1 Thursday, 14 September 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. Glad to see that Mr. Sljivancanin is
7 well enough to be back. Unfortunately, Judge Thelin is not, so that we
8 will have to sit without him.
9 Good morning, sir. Would you be kind enough to take the card and
10 stand and read the affirmation, please?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning. I solemnly declare
12 that I will speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth..
13 WITNESS: DUSAN JAKSIC
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.
16 Mr. Domazet.
17 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. Good
18 morning to all.
19 Examination by Mr. Domazet:
20 Q. Good morning, Mr. Jaksic.
21 A. Good morning.
22 Q. Mr. Jaksic, I'll be asking you a number of questions on behalf of
23 Mr. Mrksic's defence. There is one thing I'd like to ask you, though.
24 Please follow the interpretation on the screen and when you see a sentence
25 end, please make a pause to make it possible for the interpreters to
1 interpret the proceedings and to keep the record accurate.
2 First of all, can you please share your personal details with us,
3 your full name, when were you born and where?
4 A. My name is Dusan Jaksic, I was born on the 2nd of November 1956,
5 Babjak, Nasice municipality, Republic of Croatia. Father's name Dane.
6 Anything else you want to know, sir?
7 Q. Thank you. But can you please go slowly, sir, in answer to my
8 questions? You speak very quickly and some of the information you've just
9 shared with us has been lost in the process. Such as your place of birth,
10 as far as I can see. So please repeat that?
11 A. The village of Babjak, Nasice municipality, Republic of Croatia.
12 Q. Thank you, sir. How long did you live there in the place you were
13 born? Can you tell us about your educational background, please?
14 A. I lived in the village until 1971. I left for Vukovar to attend
15 secondary school there. I completed my secondary education there and
16 joined the army for my further schooling, the reserve officers school in
17 Bileca. After completing the reserve officers school in Bileca, I did a
18 term in Pirot. I was deputy commander for a reconnaissance platoon --
20 Q. We'll get to that. I suppose you're talking about the next stage
21 of your military service. First of all, you completed your secondary
22 education in Vukovar, didn't you?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And if I understand you correctly, immediately upon completion of
25 your secondary education you joined the JNA for your regular military
2 A. Yes. I had already turned 18 years of age.
3 Q. Can you please wait for me to finish my question before you start
4 answering, first and foremost, and then after that, if you could please
5 make another pause so that there is no overlap between questions and
6 answers? Thank you, sir.
7 You've already mentioned that you joined the JNA to go to the
8 reserve officers school in Bileca. So my question is what sort of school
9 is that and what sort of training did you receive there? Could anyone
10 join that school or was there some sort of a selection process and who set
11 the criteria for the selection process?
12 A. The reserve officers school in Bileca was the elite school for
13 training officers in the former Yugoslavia. It provided the greatest and
14 the best-trained officers and reserve officers. We did what you do at a
15 military academy. Everything that the officers were taught at the
16 military academy, we were taught at the reserve officers school although
17 in an abbreviated form. This was for the land forces, infantry,
18 specifically. But we received instruction in all the branches and the
19 application of their skills. And we also received the training normally
20 reserved for specialised units.
21 Q. The training took how long exactly?
22 A. Seven months. A full seven months. Sometimes we would get two
23 hours rest, but apart from that, everything else was studying, tactics and
25 Q. Following this training, which as you say took seven months, which
1 rank were you awarded and what happened later with your military service?
2 A. After that, we received the rank of sergeant and we did our term
3 with the various units.
4 Q. Upon completing your training, did you all stay at the school in
5 Bileca or were you deployed in various garrisons throughout the former
7 A. Some of us stayed at the school to continue to work with them and
8 the rest were deployed all over the former Yugoslavia.
9 Q. Mr. Jaksic, and you've spoken about this already, I think you
10 mentioned Pirot as the next place you went. Can you tell us more about
12 A. I spent the rest of my military term in Pirot. I was deputy
13 commander of a reconnaissance platoon of the regiment. My commander was
14 Pavle Strugar.
15 Q. Does that mean that you, as an officer, had subordinates?
16 A. Certainly.
17 Q. When you completed your military term, did you have a different
18 rank by this time?
19 A. Upon completing my military service, well, that depended on your
20 commendations and on your merit. One could have been awarded the rank of
21 Lieutenant; those who had proved their mettle. The same applied to the
22 reserve officers school. Those who failed to meet the criteria could not
23 progress past the rank of squad commander.
24 Q. As for you personally, how did you fare?
25 A. I got a job immediately. I reported for work and we had to report
1 back in our place of birth. So I travelled back to Nasice to sign up and
2 I found there the TO commander of Slovenia Baranja Zaponice, and the chief
3 of security. The moment I came they wanted to have me appointed security
4 organ in their battalion. However, I said I would only report there
5 according to the rules but that I would continue to live in Vukovar and
6 report there. And then Vukovar immediately received a reconnaissance
7 platoon for the TO. It was a territorial brigade. I did a drill with
8 them. We went from Vukovar to Nabrdje and completed a drill at Nabrdje.
9 I was commended for my performance. I got a promotion and I was sent to
10 do a security course and appointed a commander of the security -- of
11 security at the Vukovar TO Brigade.
12 Q. Can you tell us which year this was when you completed your
13 military service and reported -- well, what you're talking about?
14 A. It was in June 1976 that I completed my military term, and I
15 finally joined the army in April 1975.
16 Q. If I understand you correctly, that was your regular military
17 term. But what you were talking about now was some sort of a
18 continuation, wasn't it? Does that not mean that you turned professional,
19 as it were? Or did you just continue to serve as a reserve officer?
20 A. I continued to serve as a reserve officer. It was a proper job,
21 only in the reserve forces.
22 Q. From mid-1976 on, when you returned from your regular military
23 term of duty, you had a regular job and continued to work in Vukovar,
25 A. Yes, in the Cazmatrans company.
1 Q. Where did you live at the time?
2 A. In Vukovar. As soon as the decision was taken to grant me
3 permanent employment, I bought some land and a house. I lived with my
4 brother until I got married. When I got married, I did a make-over in
5 that house and I moved in straight away.
6 Q. From that time on, say up to 1991, did you live and work in
7 Vukovar all the time with no major interruptions?
8 A. Yes, that's right.
9 Q. You told us about the course in Pancevo and all that. Ever since
10 1976, which was the end of your military term and all the way up until
11 1991, in your capacity as a reserve officer, what were you required to do
12 in terms of training, drills, that sort of thing? Can you share that with
13 us, sir?
14 A. While I was commander of the reconnaissance platoon of the
15 brigade, I went through all the drills for special units, reconnaissance
16 units, and for military police units. Later, when I became chief of
17 security, I spent a month in Pancevo doing the security course and then in
18 Erdut, Rakijica, doing other courses. And I was with all the brigade's
19 battalions doing military drills. I would always be there helping them or
20 in an official capacity or sometimes as a referee.
21 Q. What exactly did that mean? Was this Territorial Defence? Was
22 this something else? Would you tell us about how this was organised?
23 A. A TO were the reserve forces of the armed forces of Yugoslavia.
24 This was organised along military lines in terms of units, platoons,
25 squads and then up to corps level. It comprised all the regulation
1 weapons for anti-infantry combat, for antitank combat and for anti-air
2 force combat. The only thing they didn't have were rocket systems and
3 armoured equipment.
4 Q. Do you know whether the TO was thus structured throughout the
5 territory of Yugoslavia or was this specific to the area you were resident
7 A. It is true that the TO was organised in the same way throughout
8 Yugoslavia. The TO units were financed by the municipalities in which
9 territories they lay. If the municipality had more resources then the TO
10 unit would be better equipped. And vice versa.
11 Q. I see. The level of equipment achieved in these respective TO
12 units could vary from municipality to municipality?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. As far as your TO unit in Vukovar is concerned, how did it rank in
15 your opinion?
16 A. The Vukovar TO brigade was one of the best equipped and the
17 best-trained such units in the area of Slavonia and Baranja.
18 Q. Can you tell us something about the makeup of the TO brigade? Was
19 it multi-ethnic? Did it reflect the ethnic makeup of the population in
20 the area or not?
21 A. Absolutely. The brigade consisted of all the ethnicities present
22 in the area. Depending on the part of the municipality, the units makeup
23 could differ, again reflecting the population. We could have one
24 battalion from the north, one from northwest, the other one from
25 southeast. It was on this territorial municipal basis that the brigade
1 was formed. If there were insufficient levels of manpower, specifically
2 officers, then they would be recruited from other parts of the country.
3 Q. You talked about the differing compositions of units depending on
4 the area they hailed from and we had witnesses testifying about that
5 already. We know -- my question to you is whether the makeup of the
6 population in Vukovar and in the area was mixed or not?
7 A. Yes. We called Vukovar a Yugoslavia in miniature. There were 28
8 different ethnicities and minorities living in Vukovar.
9 Q. And who were in the majority?
10 A. Serbs. Only Serbs and people from mixed marriages declared
11 themselves as Yugoslavs. They were, I believe, around 8 per cent, and
12 then the most represented were Serbs and then Croats.
13 Q. You're saying that people who declared themselves as Yugoslavs in
14 your opinion were actually Serbs declaring themselves as such?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Of course, there were quite a few Croats too. All things
17 considered, could you say that the Croat and Serb population were more or
18 less equally represented or not?
19 A. Well, there were 49 per cent of Serbs and around I think 6 per
20 cent of Yugoslavs. Then, well, you can see which ethnic group was in the
22 Q. You're talking about Vukovar. Now what about the villages around
23 Vukovar? Were there villages that were almost mono-ethnic, Croat, Serb or
24 Hungarian villages and were there villages that were multi-ethnic?
25 A. There were villages that were up to 99 per cent mono-ethnic and of
1 course there were those that were multi-ethnic too.
2 Q. Thank you. Was this why, when you talked about the makeup of the
3 TO brigade, the ethnic makeup of these units differed depending on the
4 area they hailed from?
5 A. From platoons, companies, and up to battalions, you would have
6 some ethnicities more represented than others but at any rate, these units
7 always reflected the ethnic makeup of the population in the area.
8 Q. Thank you. You told us the training you underwent, also within
9 the TO, and you said that you were also a referee during one of these
10 drills. Can you explain this for us?
11 A. This meant that this person was to follow the drill itself with
12 particular reference on the tactics applied, the command and control
13 structures and all of these different areas were then graded. It also
14 involved the advisory aspect of it, in terms of this person then giving
15 recommendations to the participants in the drill.
16 Q. That's to say that this referee was there in order to evaluate and
17 grade the participants in the drill?
18 A. That's correct.
19 Q. In that period where it seems to me you held a particularly
20 important role in the Vukovar TO brigade, did the events take their course
21 in the same way up until the year 1991?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. I will try to be as brief as possible. In the years 1990 and
24 1991, what was typical of Croatia and specifically Vukovar? Did something
25 prominent happen in the second half of 1990 in Croatia and Vukovar?
1 A. With the multi-party elections and the rise of the HDZ to power,
2 the situation changed radically. Vukovar was no longer the town it used
3 to be. One did not feel free any longer. There was no more equality in
4 society. There was apprehension at workplaces. With the rise of the HDZ
5 to power, the municipal building in Vukovar was shot at. It had been for
6 decades before that the Cyrillic sign stood on that building without ever
7 being attacked. Croats started avoiding contact with Serbs. They started
8 separating themselves from them.
9 Then in Bogdanovci there was an armed group that got organised and
10 there was another thing that boded that things would not be well and there
11 was the arming of Croatia from Hungary. This involved Spegelj and these
12 people who were involved in that should have been arrested right away but
13 this did not happen.
14 Q. Please go slowly. We want your testimony to be reflected in the
15 transcript. I will go back to your answer because it was quite a long
17 Were you talking about the period I asked about, that's to say,
18 the second half of 1990 and the first half of 1991 when you talked about
19 these events?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. I have a question involving this incident concerning the sign and
22 the coat of arms. Can you explain for us what happened? You said that
23 this coat of arms with the Cyrillic inscription had been there for many
24 years. Was it part of tradition? Was there a time when the Cyrillic
25 script was used more frequently?
1 A. During the Austro-Hungarian empire the Serbs got their autonomy,
2 their script, their schools and their national identity. In the area of
3 Vojvodina, which was the then Krajina, meaning the area dividing
4 Austro-Hungarian empire from Turkey, from the Ottoman empire, the Serbs
5 formed the army in this zone and they had their rights. At that point in
6 time, the Cyrillic script started being used. They had their religious
7 facilities and schools and all the other elements that a proper nation has
8 in its own right.
9 Q. The coat of arms that was placed on the front of that building had
10 been there for years and it was at this point that it became damaged?
11 A. In the Serb script, you spell JA separately, just as in the Croat
12 script. However, this particular coat of arms contained the letter "J"
13 written in the Russian form, which serves to show how long back in history
14 it dated from.
15 Q. You mentioned this incident as one of the incidents that made the
16 population upset and anxious. Do you know of any other such incidents?
17 A. There was gun-fire on Serb homes, and on Serb establishments, Serb
18 establishments were being blown-up.
19 Q. When you say Serb, what exactly do you mean? Are you referring to
20 the fact that these establishments were owned by Serbs?
21 A. Yes. These incidents were directed against the Serbs who owned
22 such establishments.
23 Q. Were such incidents ever the subject of prosecution by the then
25 A. No. These incidents were actually perpetrated by the members of
1 the MUP because they were part of the state-orchestrated terror organised
2 by the Republic of Croatia.
3 Q. Had not the MUP itself up to that point been a multi-ethnic
4 institution reflecting the ethnic makeup of the population?
5 A. Up until the victory of the HDZ, the MUP had been multi-ethnic.
6 At the point of the change in government, the ethnic makeup in the MUP
7 changed to the benefit of the Croats. I will tell you that one -- only
8 one combat vehicle in Vukovar was better-equipped than the entire MUP in
9 Vinkovci. However, the seat of the MUP which used to be in Vukovar was
10 relocated to Vinkovci, thereby making the office in Vukovar only a branch
11 office. The intention was to have Vinkovci run the entire personnel
12 policy, finances and the entire wherewithal.
13 Q. Do you know when this came about and why?
14 A. It occurred alongside the victory of the HDZ, or rather, the HDZ
15 did not win the multi-party elections.
16 Q. When you say that it did not win, what do you mean, in Croatia
17 or --
18 A. I'm referring to the municipality of Vukovar.
19 Q. Do you know what the situation was like in Vinkovci?
20 A. The HDZ won in Vinkovci.
21 Q. If I understand you well, it was the HDZ that won in Croatia.
22 That's something that you mentioned?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Do you believe that this was, in fact, the reason why the head
25 office of the MUP was relocated from Vukovar to Vinkovci?
1 A. Absolutely.
2 Q. Now that you're talking about the change of the ethnic makeup in
3 the MUP, did it involve the recruitment of Croats into their ranks or were
4 they recruited from other parts of Croatia?
5 A. At that point in time they increasingly started employing persons
6 who were under constant supervision of MUP who had been vetted by MUP.
7 These were persons whose personal record was terrible. They were former
8 convicts. They had been prosecuted and had such track records as would
9 never ever previously permit them to be employed in the MUP.
10 Q. Up until 1991, such persons who were former convicts or had police
11 records were -- would they ever be employed by the MUP?
12 A. No. One always vetted them thoroughly going back to their
13 fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfather, to double check that these were
14 persons of integrity.
15 Q. Based on what you say, at the point the HDZ came to power in
16 Croatia, a change in -- of policy took place where such persons with
17 criminal records were being employed by the MUP. Can you tell us what the
18 ethnicity of these persons was?
19 A. Well, they were almost entirely Croats, and people who were loyal
20 to the HDZ and the HDZ policy.
21 Q. Were there any attempts at changing the police uniform of the MUP
22 at that point in time?
23 A. Not at first, while they still had uniforms in stock. It was
24 gradually that they started changing their uniforms which were similar to
25 military uniforms but they were blue.
1 Q. Could one notice a greater presence of the police in the streets
2 of Vukovar and could it in any way be compared to the pre-election period
3 in Croatia?
4 A. Absolutely. The makeup of the police had changed. The manpower
5 had been multiplied. None of the incidents inflicted on the local Serbs
6 were ever resolved and no charges were brought.
7 Q. When you say no one was prosecuted and the perpetrators were never
8 found, is that what you mean?
9 A. It's not that the perpetrators were unknown. The perpetrators
10 were among them but they were not prepared to take any steps against those
12 Q. Did anyone do anything about it in an organised manner or
14 A. There was nothing anyone could do. As I said a while ago, the HDZ
15 had never won the elections in Vukovar but they were effectively in power.
16 Q. How did that come about? How was it possible that the local
17 authorities were made up of those who actually had won the elections?
18 A. There had been two parties originally in the running.
19 Q. When you say two parties, I assume --
20 A. The HDZ -- I mean two major parties -- and the League of
21 Communists, then known as the SDP. The Serbs and non-Croats mostly voted
22 communist and SDP.
23 Q. SDP, what did that mean? What did that stand for?
24 A. League of democratic change.
25 Q. SKH, SDP?
1 Q. Who led that party?
2 A. Ivica Racan.
3 Q. Do you know his ethnicity?
4 A. He is a Croat who contributed the most to the HDZ sweeping win in
6 Q. How exactly did he do that?
7 A. When the assembly was set up, between the SDF or the League of
8 Communists or the HDZ, all those who were there, the candidates, and over
9 50 of those were Croats in the League of Communists, everybody
10 automatically switched to the HDZ and voted in their platform and their
11 statute instead of supporting their own League of Communists, so that the
12 majority party became effectively marginalised.
13 Q. If I understand you correctly, the SDP was both a Croat and a Serb
14 party which means that it counted among its membership both Croats and
16 A. Yes, same as the League of Communists. They kept the name in
17 order to fool the Serbs because they thought they were voting the Croatian
18 League of Communists but actually they were pro-HDZ and Racan and the rest
19 of them, the alleged communists, effectively handed over power entirely to
20 the HDZ.
21 Q. Let's just go a while back. What about the election platform of
22 the HDZ? -- of the SDP, was that a nationalist one or was it pro-Yugoslav?
23 A. Pre1974, there was the League of Communists, the Yugoslav League
24 of Communists, and 1974 is the watershed because it then turned
25 nationalist because the republics all had their own parties now. So now
1 this was Croatia's League of Communists which means that to some extent it
2 did have a more ethnic feature to it.
3 Q. Ah, yes. I understand. But in terms of the platform, was it any
4 different from the HDZ?
5 A. Yes. There was different. It was a platform for the entire
6 population. It was not extremely nationalistic or anything. It was in
7 favour of unity. Brotherhood and unity were the catch words at the time
8 for all the peoples of the former Yugoslavia. So the platform of the
9 former League of Communists, Yugoslavia's League of Communists was to some
10 extent preserved.
11 Q. If I understand you correctly, it wasn't the platform that
12 constituted the real problem. The problem was most of those in the
13 party's list who were elected immediately joined the other side. They
14 switched sides.
15 A. Yes. They were like a Trojan horse. The Serbs never had their
16 own ethnic party. They were always pro-Yugoslav and that's why they
17 placed their trust in the League of Communists because the League of
18 Communists always struggled to preserve Yugoslavia as a whole. However,
19 they had their own Croat candidates, and after the elections, all those
20 who had been members of the League of Communists were now joining the HDZ.
21 They declared a majority in the assembly and the Serbs no longer had any
22 say in the government, in the town's assembly or in the Croatian
23 parliament for that matter.
24 Q. If I understand you correctly, at the time the Serbs did not have
25 their own national party. You say that most of them were members of the
1 SDP believing all the while that this party would be the best choice to
2 protect their interests, right?
3 A. I was telling you about the town of Vukovar itself.
4 Q. But you did say that in Vukovar, this party had a majority. Who
5 was the president of the Municipal Assembly after the elections?
6 A. Slavko Dokmanovic.
7 Q. He was a Serb, right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Was there anything he could do in order to improve the situation
10 of the non-Croats living in the area, because if I understand you
11 correctly, you imply that all the other non-Serbs felt the same fear on
12 account of the growing Croatian nationalism, right?
13 A. I think Slavko Dokmanovic was the only president in the whole of
14 Europe who was a municipality president but had no real power, and he was
15 reduced to saving his own neck eventually.
16 Q. Can you please explain that in the briefest possible terms? What
17 do you mean when you say that?
18 A. As municipality president, the majority party, when the Croats
19 switched over to the HDZ, he no longer had a majority to run in the
20 assembly. Later on, I heard from people who had worked with him how they
21 ran for their lives and how they were -- how they were looking for him and
22 his son in order to have them killed and they looked for them all over but
23 these people helped him hide and get away from these people who were
24 looking for him.
25 Q. Was he president of the Municipal Assembly or chairman of the
1 Municipal Assembly until the end of his term of office?
2 A. No, he did not remain all the time.
3 Q. Do you remember why?
4 A. He wasn't able to, for reasons of personal safety. He wasn't even
5 allowed to come anywhere near the Municipal Assembly building later on.
6 Q. When you say he wasn't even allowed later to come to Vukovar, he
7 didn't come to the municipality building, right?
8 A. Yes. And what remained of the Serbs in the assembly was a mere
9 handful. Everything else had been taken over by the Croats.
10 Q. Can you specify the time period at least roughly speaking?
11 A. It was quite a while ago. It's been 15 years. I didn't meddle
12 into politics because I just wasn't interested in politics at the time.
13 All I cared about was my work, my family. I was just an ordinary citizen.
14 I wasn't into politics because I simply wasn't interested at the time.
15 Q. So you were not a party member? You were not a member of any
16 party? You did not hold any post in any of the parties and you did not
17 run in the municipal elections, did you?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Do you know -- do you remember who replaced Dokmanovic?
20 A. I think his name was Marin Vidic.
21 Q. Was there another election or did happen differently?
22 A. No, it was outside of an election.
23 Q. At the outset you answered some questions about these changes that
24 affected the population in Vukovar municipality and its surroundings. You
25 talked about your work and the problems you faced there. What sort of
1 problems at work, these have been stemming from the things you just
3 A. When the HDZ came to power, the MUP made it patently clear to all
4 the Croats that they would now be allowed to receive weapons with no
5 background checks or anything. So whoever applied to receive weapons was
6 entitled to. There were no checks, no vetting. It was a matter of your
7 first and last name. If you were a Croat, you were given a weapon or you
8 were given a permit to purchase a weapon. If not, not. For example, if
9 there were 100 or 200 or 500 applications, maybe a Serb or two would slip
10 through the cracks but the Croats were receiving these permits a on
11 massive scale, even underage children.
12 Q. What about the time period preceding the first multi-party
13 elections which is the bulk of the time you spent in Vukovar. What was
14 the procedure for obtaining a weapon under the law? Were citizens
15 entitled to apply for permits and how were they vetted? Were any
16 background checks run?
17 A. It was possible but it was very difficult to obtain these permits.
18 Those who were granted their permits needed a good reason. You needed to
19 have a squeaky clean record and you had to be of impeccable mental health
20 to be granted a weapon. Very few people were ever granted these permits.
21 For the most part, it was on account of the nature of their jobs. For
22 example, if these people needed a weapon for reason as of personal safety
23 but it was nearly impossible for just an ordinary citizen, a man in the
24 street, to obtain a permit for obtaining a weapon. It was hardly ever the
1 Q. Very well. So that was the procedure applied under the law, if I
2 understand you correctly, and this was applied in practice, wasn't it? My
3 question, however, is: What kind of weapons were citizens entitled to
4 receive legally?
5 A. The only way was for a citizen to be a member of a hunters'
6 association or a marksman, a competing marksman. Military officers were
7 entitled to own a weapon and persons professionally involved in security,
8 the police, for example, but they had their own regulation weapons, but
9 they could still keep those, hold on to those, once they retired, if a
10 special permit was granted.
11 Q. When you speak about hunters, the permits were probably in
12 relation to hunting weapons. What about ordinary citizens, what kind of
13 weapons could they possibly have been granted?
14 A. Pistols and revolvers, only those two kinds, nothing else.
15 Q. What about rifles, semi-automatic, automatic? Could anything like
16 that ever end up in the hands of an ordinary citizen?
17 A. No, not legally. Permits weren't issued for that. Trophy weapons
18 alone, those actually not meant to be used but kept as trophies.
19 Q. Thank you. I understand that. You spoke about some incidents and
20 you spoke about attacks on buildings and buildings being booby trapped.
21 What about these explosives? Was it possible to come by such explosives
22 legally at the time?
23 A. Certainly not.
24 Q. But were explosives used in these incidents that started occurring
25 at the time?
1 A. Yes. They first booby trapped the kiosk near the barracks to keep
2 the army from receiving the daily press. They booby trapped it twice, and
3 blew it up and the explosives used were quite powerful.
4 Q. When you say the kiosk near the barracks, it was probably where
5 the soldiers got their newspapers, right?
6 A. Yes. It's not right next to the barracks but it's nearby.
7 Q. When you say booby trapped, that doesn't necessarily mean that the
8 explosive was used to blow up the kiosk. Was it ever blown up eventually?
9 A. Yes, not the kiosk itself. The nearby buildings were damaged too
10 because the explosive used was very powerful. The power lines were
11 damaged and the pylons and the windows and roofs on the surrounding
12 buildings. That's how strong the explosion was, how powerful.
13 Q. Do you remember the exact time when this occurred, how long before
14 the real clashes broke out?
15 A. I think by this time Croats had already erected a number of
16 barricades along certain roads, along the roads leading into Vukovar. Not
17 in the town itself at this time but I remember near the Djergaj warehouse
18 which was near the Cazmatrans company headquarters which is where I
19 worked. They set up obstacles, mines, anti-tank mines, and set up
20 electric systems of explosives along the road.
21 Q. I'll be asking you more about the barricades a little later on.
22 You said they set all those things up. Who exactly?
23 A. The National Guards Corps, the ZNG, and the MUP, Croatian MUP.
24 Q. What exactly was the National Guards Corps, since you mentioned
25 them as distinct from the MUP? Was that the same thing? Was that
2 A. This was a new unit that had never existed before. This was
3 something organised by Tudjman and the HDZ. It was outside the Yugoslav
4 army, outside the TO, outside the armed forces. In addition to these or
5 outside these, they set up their own National Guards Corps, which bore all
6 the Ustasha insignia.
7 Q. Was it an armed military formation?
8 A. Yes. They had uniforms, camouflage uniforms, and on their chest
9 pocket they had large Us standing for the Ustasha movement. They did not
10 have any caps. They had bandanas and bayonets and their boots and they
11 were frightful.
12 Q. If I understood you correctly, you mentioned the chest pocket with
13 the letter U. Was it something resembling a U or did it really stand for
14 the Ustasha?
15 A. Yes. It was a U, and beneath it was written the Ustasha rebirth.
16 I was on my way to work and at that point of the Djergaj forest, I saw a
17 uniformed person approaching another person and harassing the person
18 because they thought that the person was a Serb. He was a Croat. So
19 there was this one MUP member there who tried to ID the Croat who was
20 there. There was this Zenga member who came over and started harassing
21 him under the impression that he was a Serb. He seemed to be holding a
22 kind of a prominent position among them. The question was put, "Have you
23 brushed your teeth?" And the man answered, "Why?" What they meant was of
24 course that he had bad breath because he was a Serb but then once they
25 realised they were mistaken that the man was a Croat, they let him go and
1 we were allowed past. Had it not been for the two of them, I don't think
2 I would have escaped alive.
3 Q. If I understood you well, first there was this MUP member who
4 checked persons and then --
5 A. Yes, those who were Serbs were handed over to the other ones.
6 This police officer was an elderly man. The police officers who had been
7 in the MUP even before the changes took place, they referred to the new
8 ones as Franjo's men because of course he meant Franjo Tudjman.
9 Q. On page 23, line 4, it says that the man was a member of Zenga.
10 Of course, what you meant was that he was a Zenga, a member of the ZNG?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Was this particular incident an isolated event or were there more
13 such incidents and did they become an ordinary occurrence?
14 A. Before this incident, Jovan Jakovljevic was killed. Zeljko Pajic
15 simply disappeared. He was our neighbour. He went to town to get
16 supplies for his shop. His car was found parked in front of the municipal
17 building. It was full of drinks that he had procured for his shop. He
18 was taken away by Mercep, never to be seen again. This spring, a dead
19 body was found in the Danube River, and a DNA test was carried out on the
20 body, and it was established that this was indeed the man. His mother had
21 been trying to retrieve his body for years but it was only this year that
22 they managed to do this. There was another ethnic Hungarian whose house
23 had come under attack and who was killed. He was not a Croat and was
24 therefore killed.
25 Q. Would you please repeat the full names of these persons? Because
1 they were not entered correctly in the transcript, probably because you
2 went quite quickly. Can you tell us who these persons were?
3 A. Jovan Jakovljevic also known as Rakijica. Zeljko Pajic from Nova
5 Q. Zeljko, the person who went missing and whose identity has been
6 recently established; is that right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. I'm sure I heard you mention a family name Mercep. I'm just
9 trying to see whether I can find it in the transcript. Yes. Who is
11 A. Mercep was a construction technician who worked in Borovo before
12 the war, but he was a HDZ activist. He was setting up what were purported
13 to be unarmed detachments of the HDZ, which were in fact armed.
14 Q. Did he officially hold position in the town at the time?
15 A. He represented himself as the commander of the TO Vukovar staff.
16 He was stationed at the TO headquarters near to the municipal building.
17 There is a nuclear shelter there which was allegedly his torture chamber.
18 After the liberation of Vukovar, the nuclear shelter was found to be
19 smeared with blood, the walls covered with blood stains.
20 Q. We will come to that period later. We are talking about the
21 period shortly before the outbreak of the conflicts and the period that
22 was marked by these increasing incidents. It was at that period of time
23 that I wanted to know what he did. Was there a Secretariat for National
24 Defence in existence at the time in Vukovar as apparently it was in all
25 the other municipalities?
1 A. Yes, it was, but it worked until the rise to power of the HDZ, at
2 which point all the Serbs who used to work there were fired.
3 Q. The man you mentioned, Mercep, did he have a role to play in this
4 Secretariat for National Defence?
5 A. Do you mean before the war or right before the war or, rather, I
6 don't understand the question.
7 Q. I will repeat it. At any point in time before the outbreak of
8 hostilities, did Mercep have a role to play in the Secretariat for
9 National Defence?
10 A. Before the outbreak of conflicts, he took complete charge of the
11 Secretariat. Serbs had to ask for permits to allow them free movement.
12 As soon as there were roadblocks, they did not dare move around. His
13 groups were active throughout the town. I don't know all their names. I
14 don't know all these persons but there were many Serbs who went missing
15 before the conflicts actually broke out.
16 Q. You just mentioned passes or permits for free movement. Was it
17 necessary to have passes to move into and out of town before the war?
18 A. No. It was provided that only in the areas affected by the war,
19 such passes would be required. This was not a time of war, but
20 nevertheless, he had to be consulted if one wanted to go into town or out
21 of town. Even a MP who was a Croat had to first see him in order to be
22 allowed to leave town to attend a parliamentary session.
23 Q. Tell me, did it have any bearing on the ordinary citizens who had
24 to go to work every day and then back home?
25 A. Well, people were harassed at their workplace, simply because they
1 were Serbs. They were fired. Croats openly walked around with belts and
2 pistols tucked at the belts. Some even had as many as two pistols tucked
3 at their belts. And you can imagine what their life was like.
4 Q. You said that you knew that some persons who were Serbs simply
5 went missing. You also mentioned an ethnic Hungarian. Were people
6 leaving Vukovar at the time, individually and whole families?
7 A. As soon as these events started occurring, whoever had a place to
8 go to left to Serbia or even to the seaside, whoever had a place to go to.
9 Q. Did you personally leave Vukovar at the time or did you stay
11 A. My family left. I did not.
12 Q. Tell me, I believe I haven't asked you this: What part of town
13 did you live in at the time?
14 A. I lived at Sajmiste at the time. This was later renamed Petrova
15 Gora because a street there is called Petrova Gora and this was the part
16 of town that we organised for our uses. It's an area -- a perimeter of
17 around 500 to 700 metres that was referred to Petrova Gora.
18 Q. How many streets were covered by this area?
19 A. Petrova Gora, Solidarnost, Radnicka street, a part of Radnicka
20 street, a part of Solidarnost. A part of Svetozar Markovic street, and
21 about one fourth of Nova street.
22 Q. What was the ethnic makeup of this neighbourhood, if you know?
23 A. It was multi-ethnic but with a Serb majority.
24 Q. Let me go back to one of your earlier answers. You talked about
25 people moving out and you said that your personal family -- your own
1 family left and you said that many families went to the seaside. Were you
2 referring only to the families of Serb ethnicities and other ethnicities
3 or did this include Croats too?
4 A. At the time Mercep started erecting roadblocks. All the families
5 who had a place to go to moved out, including Serbs, Croats and others.
6 They realised that there was terror on the streets, that we were being
7 pushed into a ghetto.
8 Q. Thank you. You said that passes were being issued. You said who
9 issued them and in what way. Where were these passes checked? I suppose
10 there had to be a place where one had to present these passes?
11 A. At all the exits of the town there were check-points erected, and
12 it was members of the MUP and ZNG who checked the passes. Nobody was
13 allowed to leave town who did not have a pass.
14 Q. And the same applied to entering the town; is that right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. You mentioned these roadblocks a while ago. Were all these
17 check-points manned by members of the MUP and ZNG or were there any other
19 A. There were roadblocks erected at the streets that were peripheral
20 along the edge of town. For instance, Svetozar Markovic had two
21 roadblocks or check-points. There was Nova street that also had two
22 check-points and this was something that I was surprised to see, that we
23 should also have check-points in the downtown area as well.
24 Q. If I understood you correctly, initially these check-points were
25 erected along the perimeter of the town but later on check-points were
1 erected to separate two areas, two neighbourhoods in a town; is that
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Perhaps you don't know because you did not leave Vukovar at the
5 time, but do you know what was going on in the area around Vukovar? You
6 said this morning that there were villages with a predominant Serb
7 population or a Croat population and that there were mixed villages in the
8 hinterland of Vukovar. Do you know what the situation was like there
10 A. My wife and my children, I have four children, left Vukovar in
11 July. My children went through a horrific experience. One cannot believe
12 that. They were going across a check-point to Serbia. At every entrance
13 and exit to every single village there were ZNG members who went on the
14 bus and checked the passengers for men. If they found any men then they
15 took them off these buses.
16 Q. You said that this was in July. I suppose we know which year that
17 was but can you tell us?
18 A. In 1991.
19 Q. You explained the direction your family took when leaving Vukovar.
20 You said they went across Ilok. Which were these villages that they went
22 A. Ilok is the town to the south of Vukovar along the Danube River.
23 On the head land of Fruska Gora. From Ilok to Backa Palanka, there was a
24 bridge across the Danube.
25 Q. What about Ilok and the surrounding villages, what was the
1 population there?
2 A. Predominantly Croat.
3 Q. Sir, you spoke in great detail about the TO, about the TO Brigade,
4 from 1976 onwards, about how it was organised. How did all these
5 developments affect the very existence of that brigade? Was the TO
6 Brigade, as it had been known up to then, still in existence at the time?
7 A. The weapons and equipment belonging to the TO were stored in
8 military warehouses in the Djergaj forest or in the barracks. All of our
9 files belonging to units and other bodies were kept in the TO
11 Q. You're talking about the headquarters that --
12 A. Yes, that was taken over by Mercep. It was from this headquarters
13 the Secretariat for All People's Defence that recruitment was carried out,
14 and that call-ups were being sent.
15 Q. Did this still apply at the time? Was recruitment being done the
16 same way as before?
17 A. No. The TO Brigade was disbanded and units of the National Guards
18 Corps and MUP units were now set up to be used as their own armed forces.
19 Q. When talking about the Territorial Brigade you also mentioned your
20 position, your role. You were a commander, weren't you? One thing I
21 didn't ask you was, did you get a promotion in terms of your rank?
22 A. I had become reserve captain by this time.
23 Q. As a reserve captain, were you ever called up by the TO? Did you
24 receive any assignments and what about your other Serb mates?
25 A. No. None of the Serbs were called up or mobilised.
1 Q. Does that not mean that the Territorial Brigade had ceased to
2 exist or perhaps it continued to exist under a different guise?
3 A. On paper it existed all right. It's just that it wasn't
4 operating. The brigade members still had their uniforms at home, the full
5 kit that they had signed for. They still kept those.
6 Q. Was this all right under the law for members of the reserve forces
7 to keep their uniforms at home?
8 A. Yes. It was perfectly legitimate. All the reserve members did
9 that. As soon as they received call-ups, you would turn up at the
10 collection point already wearing a uniform and then the unit would deploy.
11 Q. I assume you too had a uniform, right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. The uniform of a reserve officer, a reserve captain, right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. You say you were not called up again for military drills or
16 mobilised for that matter. Do you perhaps remember the last time you went
17 to a military drill and how did that work exactly?
18 A. Last one was just before the multi-party elections, before the
19 emergence of the HDZ. I can't be more specific. But were I to consult my
20 military booklet, perhaps I could tell you.
21 Q. Do you know if any units were organised along party lines, armed
22 or unarmed?
23 A. The HDZ supplied the whole of the Croatian population there.
24 While I was still working, whenever I got off the bus I could tell
25 immediately which village had received weapons and which had received
1 none. You got off the bus and you saw the locals gloating, saying that
2 they had received their weapons and that weapons had already been
3 distributed to them.
4 Q. How did you notice that?
5 A. Well, they displayed these weapons and some people told you
6 stories as you were passing through. It wasn't something that could go
7 unobserved. It was an open secret virtually.
8 Q. When you say weapons, which weapons are we looking at? The same
9 weapons that were allowed before the war?
10 A. No. Now they had Kalashnikovs, pistols, machine-guns, all the
11 different types of small arms.
12 Q. You say this is something that was done by the HDZ, a political
13 party. How was this possible? Was it strictly along party lines or was
14 this organised by the authorities?
15 A. This was organised by the top-most leadership of Croatia, the top
16 party leadership, so this was torture inflicted by bodies of the Croatian
17 state against all the non-Croats and specifically Serbs in Croatia.
18 Q. But I think you said it yourself, didn't you, you were saying that
19 TO weapons were stored in certain TO warehouses or in the JNA barracks.
20 What about these weapons? According to your account, these weapons had
21 not come from those sources but from a different source. Do you know how
22 they got to be there?
23 A. The weapons came in through Hungary. When the first video was
24 aired about Spegelj and them transporting weapons.
25 Q. Yes. We are talking about a film that the RTS published at one
1 point with the then General Spegelj agreeing on something?
2 A. No I'm talking about the trucks on the border that were filmed
3 carrying weapons and there was even a plane that landed in Zagreb carrying
4 weapons and equipment. This plane was later intercepted by the army and
5 both the plane and the weapons were seized but that was at the very
7 Q. Just a point of clarification. When you talked about Hungary,
8 that isn't quite clear. You talked about these films of weapons crossing
9 the border from Hungary illegally, I suppose, into Croatia?
10 A. Yes, that's right.
11 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. Your Honours,
12 I think this might be the perfect time for our first break.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Domazet. We will resume at 10
14 minutes to.
15 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
16 --- On resuming at 10.51 a.m.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Domazet?
18 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour, but we have no prosecutor.
19 JUDGE PARKER: That's fine, Mr. Domazet. Carry on.
20 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Mr. Jaksic, let's pick up where we left off. I will ask you now
22 or, rather, you were talking before the break about barricades across
23 Vukovar, on the roads leading out of Vukovar. And now a subject which I
24 will tackle briefly, the JNA, more specifically, the Vukovar barracks
25 during this period. Do you know what became of the JNA barracks at this
1 time, or more generally, do you know what became of the JNA's armed
3 A. There was an engineers' battalion stationed in the Vukovar
4 barracks, the JNA battalion, they also kept watch on the Djergaj warehouse
5 and when the riots started there was a platoon that was securing the
6 bridge at Erdut. A vehicle which shuttled back and forth every day
7 carrying food to those at Djergaj and those at the Erdut bridge.
8 Q. Very well. Do you know how things worked with the JNA and the
9 barracks? Were they allowed through at the time?
10 A. As I've said already, just across the way from the Cazmatrans
11 company is the Djergaj warehouse, so you need to cross that road about a
12 hundred metres into the woods. There was a barricade there with road
13 obstacles, huge concrete pyramids, anti-tank mines. So this was a
14 barricade for military vehicles, not for civilian vehicles.
15 Q. When you say for military vehicles, what you mean is this
16 barricade was erected to stop military vehicles from passing, right?
17 A. Yes. When a military vehicle drove up, it would have to slow down
18 to about ten kilometres per hour in order to successfully negotiate all
19 the curves through that barricade.
20 Q. You talked about the Cazmatrans company, and this being nearby.
21 Wasn't that your company?
22 A. Yes.
23 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Can we please have Exhibit 156
24 brought up on our monitors? This is a map of Vukovar.
25 Q. If you could please have a look, sir, and try to point out some of
1 the things that I'm about to ask you about.
2 A. The Djergaj warehouse is in the direction of Brsadin village. On
3 the left-hand side of the road is the Djergaj forest.
4 Q. Can we please zoom in slightly or, rather, zoom out. That's fine.
5 A little less please because I think we are now losing sight of another
6 area that is material to us, a bit higher up, please, higher up, up. Pull
7 it up because we need Brsadin and the road to Brsadin. Lower down, down,
8 down, down. No, actually we need to --
9 A. The other way around.
10 Q. We need the upper portion of the map, right?
11 A. Yes. That's right. That's fine.
12 Q. Mr. Jaksic, what is it that you wanted to indicate on the map? I
13 think you were talking about Djergaj, right? You will be given a pen that
14 you will use to mark things on the map.
15 A. This is the military warehouse called Djergaj.
16 Q. Can you draw a circle around it, please, and use a number 1?
17 A. This is the Djergaj forest and this is the military warehouse
18 known as Djergaj.
19 Q. Can you please just circle it and put a number 1 there? Right?
20 A. Right there in the middle of this grove or woods. My own company,
21 the Cazmatrans, is here at the Vukovar-Brsadin road.
22 Q. Please put a number 2 there and circle it.
23 A. The barricade was right outside Cazmatrans where the Medica
24 warehouse used to be. They stored medicines there.
25 Q. Can you please mark the barricade, put a B there?
1 A. In the Cyrillic script.
2 Q. Can we see on this map the area you described as Petrova Gora?
3 A. No, not on this one.
4 Q. It's further down, right?
5 A. Yes. All the way down. It's in the south of Vukovar.
6 Q. While we are using this portion of the map, if you can please mark
7 other barricades that you were aware of?
8 A. There were barricades at the entry point into Vukovar along the
9 Trpinje-Vukovar road. Number 3. There was one on the way to Borovo Selo,
10 a large barricade. There was a cafe there. Around the mid-point along
11 that road there was a large barricade there, and that's where the first
12 military vehicle was booby trapped, around these parts.
13 Q. You spoke about a cafe. There were witnesses --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the speakers kindly
15 be asked to speak one at a time? Thank you.
16 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Slowly, please. Number 3 is near the Zurich cafe and number 4 is
18 near the Slon cafe, right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. If we could please scroll down a little, or rather, maybe it's
21 better in order not to lose these, perhaps, we should have this admitted
22 into evidence and then get a blank map, this same one, but without the
23 markings on our monitors, if possible, please.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this map will become Exhibit 766.
25 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you. Can we please have
1 Exhibit 156, that is the same map, but without the markings? And if we
2 could please blow up the portion just underneath where it says Nova Ulica?
4 Q. Mr. Jaksic, do you see the area that you described as --
5 A. No. This only has Brsadin and it doesn't have the entire road. A
6 bit of the road is missing.
7 Q. I'm talking about Petrova Gora.
8 A. Yes, I see that.
9 Q. Will you please mark the area you described as Petrova Gora, but
10 the general area, because you were explaining about those streets and
11 parts of streets. Mark to the best of your recollection the boundaries of
12 that area which you refer to as Petrova Gora?
13 A. I'll mark the streets where our security were holding. Petrova
14 Gora street, that's the one. Solidarnost street, Svetozar Markovica
15 street, this part up to here. And this section of Nova street, this
16 stretch, thereabouts. These roughly speaking were the boundaries of
17 Petrova Gora that was under our control and we were keeping Mercep's
18 forces out.
19 Q. Does this represent the external boundaries of Petrova Gora?
20 A. Yes. This is the boundary that we were controlling.
21 Q. Put a number 1 there, please. So this is Petrova Gora. Can you
22 please tell me where the barricades were that you spoke about earlier as
23 being in this area, in this neighbourhood?
24 A. There was one at Svetozar Markovica but further down, their
25 barricade. There was another one at Svetozar Markovica and there was --
1 Q. Can you please use crosses to mark the places where the barricades
2 were set up? Could you encircle that cross, please, and put a number 2
4 A. And a number 3 up here.
5 Q. Yes.
6 A. The number 3 barricade was on the way to Bogdanovci but that
7 doesn't matter. I'm drawing the ones in Petrova Gora and around. There
8 was another one at Vuteks, number 4. There was another one on the way to
9 Negoslavci in this neighbourhood, number 5. These were the barricades
10 around us. There was another one at the far end of Nova street,
11 Proleterska street. At the junction here, another barricade, the junction
12 of Proleterska and Carsivanja. All the junctions were blocked by
13 barricades in actual fact. But these were the largest ones where they
14 used pallets of bricks, anti-infantry and anti-tank mines to keep people
15 from crossing. This is where their check-points were. MUP and ZNG
17 Q. Thank you. You used numbers 2 to 5 or 6 to mark the significant
18 check-points held by the ZNG and MUP; is that right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And what about downtown?
21 A. Downtown they had fortifications with sandbags in all the
22 important institutions in the town, like the SDK building, the children's
23 health centre. Whenever I passed through that part of town, that was
24 where I saw them.
25 Q. Thank you. I believe that's quite enough for this part of the
1 neighbourhood you inhabited.
2 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could this be admitted
3 into evidence under a separate number?
4 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this marked map will become Exhibit
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I haven't made a marking in respect
8 of Bogdanovci.
9 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Could this same exhibit, 156, be
10 enlarged a bit so as to show the barracks as well? Thank you.
11 Q. Mr. Jaksic, do you see this part of town?
12 A. Yes, but the barracks has not been correctly entered, plotted into
13 the map because the dot is not where the barracks was.
14 Q. You mean the red dot. Could you please use a little cross to mark
15 the exact location of the barracks?
16 A. Yes. Here it is.
17 Q. Thank you. Just circle it and mark with number 1. In your
18 opinion, the barracks is a bit lower than marked here?
19 A. Yes, because this is the rough location of the health centre.
20 Q. What about Velepromet, is it approximately the right location?
21 A. Yes, approximately, it is. Yes.
22 Q. What about Nova Ulica? Of course, it cannot be a single dot,
23 seeing it's a street.
24 A. No, no. This isn't the right location of Nova Ulica. Can I draw
25 a line? It starts from the railway track and -- here, this line is Nova
2 Q. Please mark it with number 2. This will be part of your evidence.
3 A. [Marks]
4 Q. As regards the part of town where the JNA barracks was, do you
5 know whether there were any roadblocks there, check-points, and what their
6 location was?
7 A. On the way out, in the direction of Negoslavci, somewhere in the
8 direction of Negoslavci where the houses peter out.
9 Q. Please would you mark that location.
10 A. [Marks]
11 Q. Were there any check-points around the barracks itself?
12 A. The ZNG laid mines around the barracks by using anti-tank mines
13 and anti-personnel land mines. Fortunately, they were not really skillful
14 with the activation so there weren't many explosions. This is where the
15 mines were, and the ZNG members occupied all the houses around the
16 barracks and the barracks itself was constantly under mortar fire.
17 Q. The area you marked as the minefield, could you please mark it
18 with number 4.
19 A. [Marks]
20 Q. Thank you.
21 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, can this map be
22 admitted into evidence?
23 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this map will become Exhibit 768.
25 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you. We won't be needing the
1 map any more. Perhaps we will use it later on to make some markings.
2 Q. Mr. Jaksic, as you explained, you were staying in the area called
3 Petrova Gora where your house is; is that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You and your closest and dearest ones, who were in that
6 neighbourhood, did you start organising yourselves when these check-points
7 were erected?
8 A. We started once the Croats were arming themselves. We cooped up
9 all the weapons we had. Some of us had hunting weapons, others had
10 home-made weapons like I had, an old-fashioned pistol.
11 Q. Could you please explain for the Trial Chamber this old-fashioned
12 pistol Kubura, what it was, in fact, although I do see that it is entered
13 in the transcript that it was an old-fashioned pistol?
14 A. Yes, it's a home-made type of -- more of a rifle, really, which --
15 or rather, it looks like a pistol but it uses the ammunition of a hunting
17 Q. Thank you. What happened next?
18 A. We were not that afraid of the Mercep group in daytime. We were
19 afraid of their groups arriving at night. That was why we had local
20 village guards. As these check-points were already erected and they had
21 already armed themselves, we were by that time already surrounded, we were
22 unable to reach the area where the shops were. There were civilians
23 fleeing to the barracks, and the army itself managed to evacuate 2.000
24 people who had initially sought shelter in the barracks.
25 Q. This will be a separate topic that we will deal with. I will be
1 asking you about the barracks and about the people who found refuge there.
2 Now would you please explain what it was that you were doing at Petrova
4 A. As a group of citizens who were afraid and feared for their
5 families and properties, we organised ourselves under a military
6 principle, along a military principle, into village guards. We
7 established squads by streets which had squad commanders. Each commander
8 was given an area to take care of. We briefed them on the way normally
9 the ZNG members raid the area, the way they carry out attacks. We
10 developed a defence strategy, and we also envisaged a way the possible
11 evacuation or reinforcements would be made in the event of a attack.
12 Q. The unit that was organised in your street, who was its commander?
13 A. I was.
14 Q. Which way did you come to be the commander of the unit? Did
15 anyone appoint you or give you such an order?
16 A. This was self-organisation. As I was the one who had the most
17 military knowledge, I was chosen among the group to be the commander. I
18 was chosen by the locals.
19 Q. Was there anyone who held a higher rank than yours in that part of
21 A. No.
22 Q. You said that your rank at the time was that of a reserve captain?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. The other persons you mentioned, who were under your command, were
25 they also able-bodied men who had their military service, or -- and were
1 there any elderly among you?
2 A. We had all served our military term. There were no underage
3 persons among us because I didn't want to have children there. They were
4 all members of the TO. They all wore uniforms. We made sure that we had
5 uniforms on in order to be able to recognise our lot.
6 Q. You said that all those under your command were members of the TO
7 structure from before and had had uniforms assigned to them which they
8 kept at home?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Do you recall how many people were under your command in that time
11 period, this unit, I don't know how you referred to it?
12 A. By the 14th of September, we had around 180 people organised.
13 Q. All of them were natives of the area?
14 A. There were several of them who came from outside the town. There
15 were those who came from Mitnica to help us defend that area.
16 Q. Most of the people who were in your unit were actually living in
17 that part of town but there were also others?
18 A. Yes, there were others who were unable to leave the town but had
19 come to join us from other parts of town.
20 Q. Can you tell us why these people were unable to leave the town and
21 decided to join you?
22 A. These people wanted to evacuate their families but, as these large
23 check-points had already been established along the edge of town, they
24 were unable to go past these and instead, following small lanes, reached
25 our part of town.
1 Q. Can you tell us why this was so?
2 A. The Serbs did not organise themselves in any way. Whoever was
3 able to simply fled for life and that was the situation.
4 Q. Out of 180 people who were there, were they all Serbs?
5 A. There were even Croats, Ruthenians, Ukrainians, and other ethnic
6 minorities and of course there were Serbs.
7 Q. You say that there were even Croats among you. This is a bit
8 strange. How do you account for that?
9 A. They were neighbours of ours. These Croats were in favour of
11 Q. If I understand you correctly, they joined you on a voluntary
12 basis, they didn't want to abandon their homes?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You mentioned a date a while ago. I believe it was the 14th of
15 September. You said up until the 14th of September. I suppose that's in
16 1991. But why did you mention that date? In particular, why is it
18 A. It was on the 14th of September that we headed to lift the
19 blockade of the barracks. They had been under blockade for a long time,
20 their electricity and water supplies were cut off. They were unable to
21 leave the barracks. They were under constant fire from infantry and
22 artillery fire, as the barracks itself was situated in the midst of town.
23 Q. Do you know who was to be found in the barracks?
24 A. There was a military unit there and around 50 to 60 Vukovar
25 residents who were volunteers. They went to the barracks and decided to
1 lend them a hand.
2 Q. You talked about people, women and children, in the barracks.
3 What was this all about?
4 A. This was at the time when the check-points were only being erected
5 and at the time when the military vehicles were able to go out of the
6 barracks to Borovo Selo and Erdut to get the necessary supplies, and in
7 such cases when these vehicles would pass along those villages, civilians
8 would ask them to be transported back to the barracks, under the tarpaulin
9 of the military vehicle because they wanted to seek shelter there.
10 Q. What became of the vehicle?
11 A. When it was on its way to Borovo Selo, it was hit by hand-held
12 rocket launcher. The officer and the soldiers were killed on the spot and
13 the vehicle was destroyed.
14 Q. Speaking of the barracks, you mentioned something about the
15 barracks being surrounded by houses. Does that mean that houses belonging
16 to civilians, Vukovar's residents, were right there next to the barracks?
17 Was this only in one side of the barracks or all?
18 A. That's on three sides of the barracks. The fourth side was booby
19 trapped by them. There was no mine field there and they could retreat,
20 but they came under fire from the flanks by snipers and there was mortar
21 fire all the time raining on the buildings and the barracks facilities.
22 When I entered the barracks, all the shrubbery and the plants there were
23 gone. All you could see all around the barracks courtyard were craters.
24 Q. You talk about sniper fire, about shooting. You're talking about
25 the houses around the barracks and those were positions held by the other
2 A. Yes, the ZNG and the MUP. When we reached the Mitrovica Brigade,
3 when we left Petrova Gora, it was then I found out.
4 Q. Just a minute, please. We'll get to that. Just another question
5 about the barracks. What you just described at one point in time the
6 barracks was entirely besieged on all sides, you couldn't get in or out
7 and it was under permanent fire. Is that what you were trying to say,
9 A. Yes, no running water, no food and a number of wounded inside.
10 Q. You were with your unit at Petrova Gora at the time, weren't you?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Can you please just not speak at the same time as me, so that we
13 have answers and questions in a consecutive fashion.
14 You said you headed for Petrova Gora. Does that mean that your
15 unit went on a mission to do with the barracks and how distant was this
16 from the area in which you were?
17 A. Perhaps 700 to 800 metres as the crow flies, up to a kilometre.
18 We were surrounded as well. We had Pater behind us but we didn't know
19 that that too was surrounded. There was a lot of uncertainty. The
20 barracks had been under siege for days and we were left without running
21 water and electricity. Our supplies had been cut off too. We were under
22 constant mortar fire. We had to bury Galovic's father out in the garden.
23 We couldn't reach any of the town's cemeteries and we had to bury our
24 wounded in our own back and front yards. We were under fire throughout
25 and so was the barracks. We wanted to cross Atar to reach Negoslavci in
1 an attempt to break out.
2 Q. At one point in time you decided to try to get to Negoslavci?
3 A. Precisely, to see what we could do about the barracks and the
4 soldiers there, the manpower at Petrova Gora as well.
5 Q. This road that you took is the road to the barracks also?
6 A. No. That's in the opposite direction from the barracks.
7 Q. Can you please indicate that on the map, the same map that you
8 were looking at a while ago. If I could have assistance please for
9 Exhibit 156 to be brought up again. Thank you.
10 A. It's right here, it's between Petrova Gora and Solidarnost street.
11 There is a road through Dola and we reached Atar down this road. There
12 was a field here, a corn field, and we saw soldiers stationed between
13 Petrovci and Vukovar.
14 Q. Would you please use an arrow to mark a direction and put a number
15 1 there, please?
16 A. This is the road -- I sent a security platoon through the corn
17 field to position themselves there to keep us from falling into an ambush.
18 As soon as we reached the clearing with our vehicles we saw soldiers
19 there. We had a Yugoslav flag with us and we moved in that direction.
20 Q. Can we actually see that on the map, this area?
21 A. No. The road to Petrovci.
22 Q. Can you please show the continuation of this road to Petrovci?
23 A. Can we please scroll up slightly?
24 Q. Perhaps if we could use a bigger map and then you could mark these
25 points for us again.
1 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Can we have a bigger map, please?
2 Or rather, can we zoom out and look at the entire area?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There is Velepromet. It's covering
4 the area I'm talking about.
5 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation].
6 Q. You can use an arrow to write over that, please. Perhaps now you
7 can see it.
8 A. This is excellent. I can see everything here. There was the
9 direction, and the soldiers were here where it says Petrovacka Dola.
10 There is the tip there, and a mound of sorts. That's where the soldiers
11 were and we noticed them there.
12 Q. Where the arrow is, could you put a number 1 there again. And
13 could you please put a circle around the area in which you met those JNA
14 units and put a number 2 there, sir, please?
15 A. [Marks]
16 Q. What happened now? You met these JNA soldiers.
17 A. We displayed a Yugoslav flag and the soldiers thought it was
18 Croats advancing and they nearly fired on us from a tank. At the last
19 minute they realised who we were. We approached them. We told them about
20 the situation and we went to the command in Negoslavci.
21 Q. Thank you. Before we move on, I don't think we will be needing
22 this map for the time being for you to mark anything. And I move that the
23 newly made markings be admitted into evidence, Your Honours?
24 JUDGE PARKER: This will be received.
25 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 769.
1 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Jaksic, let's move on. You say that after coming across these
3 JNA units -- we don't need the map any more. You say you went to
4 Negoslavci, right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Where to in Negoslavci? Who did you see?
7 A. I reported to the command of the Mitrovica Brigade and I went to
8 see the then Lieutenant Colonel Ilija Jokic. When I told him about the
9 situation, he had a map there and the map said no Serbs in Vukovar. When
10 I told him about the situation, what we still were holding on to and how
11 we had organised ourselves, he gave me a radio to get in touch with the
12 barracks. I knew all of the officers there. And my brother was there
13 too. So I decided to move up one level or to step up a gear and to go for
14 liberating the barracks and not just relieving the siege.
15 Q. When you went to see Lieutenant Colonel Jokic, how did you
16 introduce yourself?
17 A. Jokic had reserve captain Marko Draguljac right next to him. He
18 was a reserve officer in his brigade. He saw me coming, through the
19 window. They told him and he explained who I was and what I was doing.
20 Q. Thank you. But at the time you were commander of this territorial
21 unit. Did you clearly state that to Jokic and everybody else there?
22 A. Yes, I did.
23 Q. Which demands did you make on the army?
24 A. When I found out that there were some wounded in the barracks and
25 that they had gone off to evacuate them, the first tank driving down that
1 road towards the barracks was hit by an arm-breast rocket from a ZNG
2 check-point, killing the entire crew. When the tank was destroyed, they
3 started out through the field trying to reach the barracks but the next
4 tank drove straight into a minefield. The crew managed to get away but
5 they captured the tank and its weapons.
6 Q. What do you mean its weapons?
7 A. There was an anti-aircraft machine-gun. They seized this and they
8 used it to fire at Petrova Gora.
9 Q. Just briefly, which period of time are we looking at?
10 A. That's prior to the 14th of September.
11 Q. You say this was prior to the 14th of September. You're talking
12 about this attempt to get closer to the barracks, right, the JNA attempt?
13 A. Yes. And my arrival. I arrived up to a fortnight before the 14th
14 of September, to see Jokic, I mean.
15 Q. So your arrival and this attempted break-through, that was in
16 early September, right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. When you say this thing with the barracks was before the 14th of
19 September, how long before was this attempt by the JNA tanks to approach
20 the barracks?
21 A. I can't remember.
22 Q. What then became of you or your unit? Did you go straight back to
23 Petrova Gora? What happened next?
24 A. I went over to the Novi Sad corps with Ilija Kojic. I asked
25 General Bratic, I pleaded with him. I told him about the situation on the
1 ground and the situation of the barracks, and I pleaded with him to try to
2 lift the siege of the barracks and try to evacuate the soldiers who were
3 stuck inside the barracks.
4 Q. You say you went to see Ilija Kojic. Who was he?
5 A. Ilija Kojic was Vule Sasochin's replacement in Borovo Selo. He
6 was the commander of Borovo Selo's defence.
7 Q. But you met up with him in Novi Sad, right?
8 A. Yes, that's right.
9 Q. So what was the result of your talks with General Bratic? Did
10 anything happen?
11 A. He lent me his ear. I explained to him what the situation was and
12 then he sent me to see Ilija Jokic or Kojic saying that everything would
13 be okay and that soon forces would be sent in to evacuate the soldiers who
14 were stuck in the barracks.
15 Q. Page 51, line 4, it says he sent me to see Ilija Jokic or Kojic.
16 Let's clarify this. Was it Ilija Jokic or Ilija Kojic?
17 A. Ilija Jokic, the commander of the Mitrivica brigade, his command
18 was stationed in the village of Negoslavci.
19 Q. Thank you. From this point on, what about the road to Petrova
20 Gora? Was it free or not?
21 A. No, it wasn't. I got a radio from commander Jokic. We got some
22 vehicles and some infantry weapons. I drove back down the same road to
23 Petrova Gora, awaiting a signal for an attack on the barracks.
24 Q. Do I understand you correctly, the deal was for you to go back to
25 Petrova Gora and to await the commencement of an attack, right?
1 A. Yes. My task was to organise some men. As soon as I received a
2 signal, I was to switch on my radio and I was to be off to Svetozar
3 Markovica, cross the barricade, join up with the tanks and go down a
4 street to Vuteks.
5 Q. Fine. Where were we? You've heard the interpreters. They want
6 you to speak a bit more slowly. So if you could please give us this
7 entire answer all over again?
8 A. You mean my task was to and so on.
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. To organise an assault group to attack the barricade at Svetozara
11 Markovica street, to crush it. To join up with the tanks along the
12 Petrovci road at the far end of Svetozara Markovica street.
13 Q. It's a bit imprecise. Did you have tanks or you were supposed to
14 join up with tanks?
15 A. We were supposed to join up with the tanks of the Mitrovica
16 Brigade, the active forces.
17 Q. Was this plan carried out and when, if so?
18 A. Yes, it was carried out on the 14th of September. We, the
19 infantry, were supposed to watch out for the tanks and they were supposed
20 to provide us with support so that we could move on the barracks and the
21 town in order to lift the siege.
22 Q. Could you please use the map to show how exactly you advanced on
23 the barracks and the roads which you took. If we could please have that
24 exhibit. And I hope this is the very last time, Exhibit 156. Perhaps if
25 we could blow this up slightly, we need the area between Petrova Gora and
1 the JNA barracks. The middle portion of the map. This is fine. Thank
3 Will you please indicate the road out of Petrova Gora which you
5 A. This is where their check-point was and we went along this road,
6 and cleared the area, joined up with the tanks there, and then went along
7 the Proleterska street towards Vuteks.
8 Q. Pause there a bit. Can you please mark with number 1 the first
9 section of your movement where you lifted the blockade and -- and can you
10 show us where this was?
11 A. Right here.
12 Q. And please indicate the point where you met up with the tanks of
13 the JNA?
14 A. Right away. This is number 2.
15 Q. And where was this?
16 A. That was the junction of Svetozara Markovica and Proleterska
18 Q. And then you moved back along a different route?
19 A. Yes. The adjacent -- along the adjacent street. Should I mark it
20 with number 3?
21 Q. Yes. At the far end of it, on the top -- at the top of the arrow.
22 A. [Marks]
23 Q. What was the further direction of your movement?
24 A. We had to protect the flank of the army and there was the
25 Territorial Defence Battalion from Negoslavci that was moving in toward
1 the barracks.
2 Q. Would you please indicate with a line the movement toward the
3 barracks of both the infantry moving from Negoslavci --
4 A. We have the movement along the road from Negoslavci to the
5 barracks. This was their line of movement. Should I mark it with number
7 Q. Yes, please.
8 A. [Marks]
9 Q. Thank you. Do you recall when this event took place?
10 A. On the 14th of September 1991.
11 Q. Did you reach the JNA barracks on that day?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Does that include the other units as well?
14 A. No, no.
15 Q. Please explain.
16 A. On that day, when we launched the attack in Proleterska street
17 there was a large train carriage on the railroad track that runs along the
18 road and it was mined. We were unable to pass through. It was under tank
19 fire but it wasn't very helpful. We did not think it helpful either to
20 activate the explosives because we would simply cause the carriage to roll
21 over. As it was already late in the afternoon, I decided that we should
22 spend the night at that point reached.
23 Q. Can I stop you there. I don't think we will need the map any
24 longer. We won't be making any markings.
25 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] I would like to tender this map into
1 evidence, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
3 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 770, Your Honours.
4 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 Q. You said that you spent the night between the 14th and the 15th of
6 September there. Can you tell us what happened next?
7 A. On that night, I tasked a group to carry out reconnaissance around
8 the railway carriage. There was a very decrepit house there and I asked
9 the tank to pass along and past the house so as to demolish one corner of
10 the house in order to enable the armoured unit that were to follow to pass
11 along it.
12 Q. And did you manage to do that?
13 A. Yes, it was near day break that we managed to get past that house
14 in a tank and carry on toward Vuteks.
15 Q. What happened next?
16 A. We reached Vuteks and had almost gone past it. I still had my
17 radio with me, and I heard the members of the ZNG instructing their own
18 lot to let us pass Vuteks where we would come under their mortar fire.
19 The battery of my radio set was already running empty. I lost my contacts
20 with them and this was how it remained until the arrival of the guards
22 Q. Can you please repeat part of your answer as it doesn't seem to
23 have been recorded. You said that Jokic issued an order in reaction to
24 what you were able to hear on the radio.
25 A. Jokic issued me with an order and I immediately carried it out.
1 The order was to the effect that I should withdraw from Vuteks and that I
2 should remain at the Radnicka street until further orders of attack.
3 Q. And was there in fact another attack launched by you?
4 A. No. It was impossible because I simply didn't have enough men.
5 We also had to cover Petrova Gora and our front line had become doubled.
6 Q. So what did you do then?
7 A. We went to Sajmiste where we waited for reinforcements in order to
9 Q. Does it mean that in a way you were moving toward Petrova Gora in
10 order to cover that area too?
11 A. Yes. This was the part of Petrova Gora in the direction of the
12 barracks and Sajmiste. Petrova Gora, Radnicka Conosija up to the barracks
13 was the stretch of the area that was free.
14 Q. At that point, as you were holding those positions, what happened
15 to the barracks?
16 A. I went over to the barracks. The unit that was there had already
17 been exhausted and left the barracks to take up another position. It was
18 replaced by a unit under the command of Major Mitrov.
19 Q. Did it mean that at that point the barracks was fully liberated
20 and safe?
21 A. No. The barracks was under constant fire from the other side,
22 from the direction of Mitnica. On one occasion, Major Dimitrov said that
23 the situation in the barracks was unbearable, and asked that he be allowed
24 to retreat from the barracks and that later on, when the occasion arose,
25 it would be quite easy to retake it.
1 Q. I just want to point your attention to the fact that initially it
2 was recorded Mitrov as his name in the transcript but you said later on --
3 and his name in fact is Dimitrov; is that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Is my understanding correct, you said that you were physically in
6 the barracks. However, the other parts of the town were under the control
7 of the ZNG members; is that right?
8 A. Yes. In fact, it was the Petrova Gora area and the barracks.
9 Q. Was it for this reason that Major Dimitrov asked that the units be
10 allowed to retreat?
11 A. Yes, because the mortar fire made any movement of the units there
12 impossible, and the life in the barracks was untenable under constant
13 mortar fire.
14 Q. Thank you. Let us go back to Petrova Gora. At that point, it was
15 in touch with the barracks?
16 A. Yes, and Negoslavci.
17 Q. What became of your unit?
18 A. The men who were there at that point still in the town joined the
19 unit at Petrova Gora. We managed to double the line that we held. We
20 organised ourselves according to a military hierarchy. We set up a
21 detachment, an independent TO unit. We organised logistics support. I
22 had a reserve officer Antic whom I appointed to be the commander for
23 logistics. His duty was to provide food supplies, equipment, weapons, and
24 he also had to secure facilities for the men to maintain a certain hygiene
25 level, to take their baths and so on.
1 Q. If I understand you correctly, the unit doubled in strength but so
2 did the line that you held?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Was it at this point, or perhaps later on, that you reorganised
5 yourselves, established companies and so on and so forth?
6 A. Yes. It was just before the 2nd of October that the men at
7 Petrova Gora numbered 344 men, without the logistics staff. I had four
8 companies. The 1st Company had 117 men. The 2nd one, 110. And the
9 third, 72. The fourth had 45 men.
10 Q. Tell me, you remained the commander of the entire unit?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Did you have a deputy?
13 A. Ivanovic, Milan was my deputy. He was also a reserve officer and
14 his specialty was engineering.
15 Q. Did you appoint commanders of the four companies?
16 A. As I did not have any reserve officers to command over these
17 companies, I chose the men who proved to be capable, decisive and
18 courageous in battle. I picked those out and then left it up to them to
19 decide who was going to be in command of which company.
20 Q. You stated that there weren't any trained officers you could
21 entrust these duties to, and that therefore you were forced to rely on men
22 who had proved to be good in fighting?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Who were they?
25 A. Milorad Vujovic was the commander of the first company. Miroljub
1 rather than Milorad.
2 Q. Very well.
3 A. Stanko Vujanovic was the commander of the second. Miroslav Pejic
4 commanded the third company. And Sinisa Fot the fourth. The commander of
5 the fourth company was a Croat.
6 Q. You're referring to Sinisa Fot?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. At the time, was there a TO staff in the area, and if so, where
9 was it located?
10 A. Vukovar did not have a TO staff at the time. Just before the
11 attack on the 14th September, Slobodan Grahovac and Milo Zelac came to
12 Vukovar when I was with Vujic with a view to establishing a TO staff.
13 Q. Was there a staff of the TO in Sid?
14 A. Slobodan Grahovac was in Sid and that was where the TO staff or
15 headquarters was at the time, tasked with organising men and deploying
16 them to the front line.
17 Q. If I understand you correctly, there was no organised Vukovar TO
18 staff at the time?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Please let me finish. There was the staff led by Slobodan
21 Grahovac in Sid and this staff dealt with the calling up of the men and
22 sending them to the front line and I presume that it was mobilising men
23 from that particular area. Would you please clarify the following? As
24 the staff was located in Sid, did it in a way also represent Vukovar and
25 the surrounding areas in terms of mobilising men?
1 A. They only called up men who had fled Vukovar and were now located
2 in Serbia. They wanted to join the Vukovar front line and were organised
3 by that structure.
4 Q. Was a TO staff organised in Vukovar? If so, when?
5 A. There was an order sometime around mid-October.
6 Q. A while ago you spoke about the 2nd of October. What is that in
7 relation to?
8 A. On the 1st of October we introduced the Guards Brigade to the
9 front. On the 2nd of October, we moved on with the liberation of Vukovar
10 under the command of the Guards Brigade.
11 Q. Was it just the Guards Brigade or other units too? And what was
12 the military term for that area?
13 A. The military term was operations group south. That was south of
14 the Vuka River. All the villages between Mircovci and Tovarnik south of
15 Vukovar, everything was under operations groups south, commanded by
16 Colonel Bajo Bujat.
17 Q. How long was --
18 A. Bajo Bujat stayed for sometime after the 2nd of October.
19 Q. Who replaced him?
20 A. Colonel Mrksic.
21 Q. You spoke of operations group south. Was there such a thing as
22 operations group north?
23 A. Yes. That was north of the south one. It took up the area
24 between the Danube and Tenja and all the fringe villages near Vukovar.
25 The northern sector, north of the Vuka River.
1 Q. So if we leave the Danube aside, the demarcation line between the
2 areas of responsibility of these two operations groups would be the river
3 Vuka, right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. So you could say that the bridges over the Vuka were between the
6 two operations groups, south of the Vuka you had operations group south,
7 and north of the river, you had operations group north. Is that a fair
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Upon the arrival of the Guards Brigade and its joining the fray,
11 your unit, or at least that's my understanding, continues to fight
12 alongside with them, right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you please tell me what happened later, after the 2nd of
15 October, which you say is the day that marks the beginning of your
16 cooperation with the Guards Brigade? Did your unit continue to work with
17 the Guards Brigade and how?
18 A. Prior to the 2nd of October, there was the preparation for
19 introducing the Guards Brigade. But I sent out nine scouts for the Guards
20 Brigade assault groups, and then they brought two detachments to the front
21 line. That night, the first thing that was agreed is that to have the
22 Petrova Gora detachment deployed along the front and to try to advance on
23 the river Vuka from there. However, just on the eve of the attack, Mr.
24 Mrksic gave me an order. He said, we are local people. We know the
25 layout, we know the town, we know all the villages, more so than the
1 Guards Brigade. He said we should go as far as Petrova Gora and take the
2 entire line, as far as the left Bara, the water tower, and the whole line
3 should be held by the territorials, in front of the Guards Brigade. That
4 each of the detachments should have several TO members at the front line
5 and that these TO people who had familiarity, a high degree of familiarity
6 with the area should take them around and show them around.
7 Q. And is that how it was?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. You were still a TO commander at the time, right?
10 A. Yes, the Petrova Gora detachment, commander of the Petrova Gora
11 detachment. That's what I was at the time.
12 Q. Was a TO unit organised for the whole operations group then or
14 A. Later, when there was a meeting of all the village commanders in
15 operations group south, I found out that I was appointed TO commander of
16 operations group south.
17 Q. Was this tantamount to setting up a staff for the TO operations in
18 group south?
19 A. That's right.
20 Q. And you were supposed to be in charge of this staff or
21 headquarters, right?
22 A. Yes. However, Colonel Mrksic said, "This is a political post.
23 Let's liberate Vukovar first and then you can take it from there with your
24 politics. First the fighting, first things first. This is not as
25 important right now." That's what he told me.
1 Q. Does that mean that exercise in command was more about meeting in
2 the headquarters and spending less time at the front line or something
4 A. That's how it was supposed to be. However my deputy Mile Uzelac
5 was the chief of the pre-war TO staff in Vukovar. He was an operative, he
6 loved the job, and he was much better at it.
7 Q. Can you tell us where this headquarters was, the TO staff?
8 A. At Velepromet.
9 Q. If I understand you correctly, you didn't spend that much time
10 there, you spent most of your time at --
11 A. I went to maybe two meetings altogether.
12 Q. Talking about meetings, were you called to any meetings? Did you
13 go to any meetings chaired by Colonel Mrksic at his Negoslavci
14 headquarters with his subordinate officers?
15 A. Every day, in the operations room, the briefing, the assignment,
16 every day, at about 1600 hours, I think.
17 Q. So you were a regular participant in these meetings chaired by
18 Colonel Mrksic?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. A while ago we spoke about the TO staff in operations group south.
21 You spoke about this entire area that it covered. In addition to this,
22 was there a Vukovar TO staff or was this the same thing?
23 A. It was the same thing at the time, the same for both. It covered
24 the area under operations group south, all the villages, and then later,
25 when the town of Vukovar was liberated, a special TO staff was set up for
2 Q. Were there any assistant commanders for the TO staff?
3 A. Milo Uzelac was my deputy. There was Lazo Pejic; security, Ilija
5 Q. Go slowly with the names, please.
6 A. Lazo Pejic, Ilija Vucetic; logistics, Milan Milic; Rukat
7 Sparustakovic; signals, Jovica Kresovic.
8 Q. Can you please repeat Jovica's last name?
9 A. Kresovic.
10 Q. Something else, Mile Uzelac was your deputy, right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And then security and then we can't figure it out.
13 A. Ilija Vucetic.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm about to move on to
16 a different topic now and we are nearing the time for our break, so if
17 Your Honour agrees, I think this might be a convenient time.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Domazet. And we'll resume at just
19 after 25 minutes to 1.00.
20 --- Recess taken at 12.16 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 12.39 p.m.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Domazet.
23 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. Before we start, Mr. Jaksic, could I just ask you again to answer
25 slowly and make a pause. Sometimes I was compelled to motion to you by
1 hand in order to get you to slow down. So please, for the benefit of the
2 record, please slow down, especially when you get to names.
3 Mr. Jaksic, you spoke about your company commanders and you
4 mentioned Sinisa Fot and you pointed out that he was an ethnic Croat. You
5 said that there were Croats in your unit too. I would like to say
6 something about him. He was a commander. What sort of fighter was he?
7 What became of him? Can you tell us more about that, please?
8 A. Sinisa and his brother Darko Fot were pro-Yugoslav. They were at
9 all the anti-HDZ meetings and all the meetings that were in favour of
10 Yugoslavia. They fought for that. They lived in our neighbourhood and
11 that's why they joined us. He was an exceptional fighter. You can only
12 see that sort of fighter in movies like Rambo. So much desire, so much
13 propulsion, so much energy. Why was he like that? Probably because he
14 had been arrested by the ZNG and tortured. They threw him in a prison
15 eventually realising he was a Croat so he was released. But they broke
16 his collar bone in the process. Once he was out of prison, it was
17 probably because of that that he fought so hard. It was probably because
18 of everything they had done to him that he turned against them and that he
19 became such an exceptional fighter for our cause. Above all else, he was
20 a patriot.
21 Q. Is this man still alive?
22 A. No. He was killed. His brother, Darko, was seriously wounded but
23 at least he survived. He now lives and works in Novi Sad for the local
24 customs office.
25 Q. Was Sinisa killed during the fighting in Vukovar or later on?
1 A. During the fighting in Vukovar, on the 2nd of October.
2 Q. You were saying that your commanders had no proper military
3 training. Did you mean all these whom you have just listed? You spoke
4 about Vujovic, Vujanovic, Fot and Pejic, right?
5 A. Yes, quite right. Just one thing, if I may. There is a
6 correction to be made. I didn't mean military training. Though all had
7 some military training but they were not officers. They weren't trained
8 to be officers. They had all done their regular military terms, they all
9 knew about warfare. They all knew about the international law of war. As
10 soldiers they knew about all these things. The only thing they weren't
11 trained for was to serve as officers.
12 Q. Thank you. When you speak about the law of war, during your stint
13 at Bileca, during your training there, were you taught about the Geneva
14 Conventions and all that? Were you familiarised with the substance of the
15 Geneva Conventions?
16 A. Certainly. The law of war, the Geneva Conventions, every single
17 soldier had to know about these, and the officers were particularly
19 Q. Throughout the operations in Vukovar, you were a TO commander
20 there. Did you have any such orders? Did you personally issue any orders
21 about these conventions and the application of the law of war?
22 A. Yes. I did. Mile Mrksic was adamant and he gave the appropriate
23 orders that all prisoners of war shall be treated in the spirit of the law
24 of war and the Geneva Conventions. All of us subordinates from the
25 operations staff, whenever Mrksic was in command, we always got such
2 Q. You speak about these meetings. Which precise meetings do you
3 have in mind?
4 A. The operations staff, whenever we came to briefings and whenever
5 we came to receive orders by the commander of the operations group, and he
6 handed out these orders to everyone alike. Also concerning this matter.
7 Q. What about you personally as the commander of your unit? At the
8 time it was first set up, at the time it grew, did you caution your own
9 soldiers from your own unit about these things?
10 A. I most certainly did.
11 Q. As you explained you became commander of that Petrova Gora TO
12 unit, and then as the operation wore on you became commander of the
13 operations group south TO. What about when the liberation of Vukovar
14 occurred? Were you still occupying that position at the time?
15 A. No, I wasn't.
16 Q. How come?
17 A. The fighting itself is something that effects the human mind.
18 It's something that affects one's emotions. I was beginning to notice in
19 myself some disquieting signs of an incipient Vietnam syndrome. I was
20 made of iron during the war, facing all the horrors, soldiers, maimed,
21 being brought back from the front line. However, as the operation wore on
22 I began to sense myself reseeding a little. That was towards the very
23 end, very late on, in the fighting. That was when Milovo Brdo had just
24 fallen. Sljivancanin once told Miroljub Vujic when we were at the
25 headquarters, from now on you'll be the commander, once this is over
1 you'll speak on behalf of the staff. When Milovo Brdo fell, I was no
2 longer in that position, I was no longer the commander of that unit.
3 Q. You say the fall of Milovo Brdo, can you specify that in terms of
4 a time line?
5 A. I think that was on about the 16th or the 17th of November.
6 Q. So several days before the fall of Vukovar, right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. At the time, or at any time, did you ever receive a written
9 decision on your removal?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Did you accept this decision? Did you then cease to exercise
12 command? Did you then cease to attend meetings and briefings at Colonel
14 A. I accepted it for what it was and I stopped going to briefings.
15 MR. WEINER: On page 67, line 15 it says, Sljivancanin once told
16 Miroljub Vujic. It's an important matter and it appears that the name is
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Miroljub Vujovic, Vujovic.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
20 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you. I believe we have got
21 the matter clarified now. It was indeed an error. The person we were
22 talking about Miroljub Vujovic, the commander of the first company;
24 A. Indeed.
25 Q. Once again this man named Vujovic had no background as a military
1 officer; is that right?
2 A. No, he didn't.
3 Q. Line 10, page 68, it says Jovic as the commander of the first
4 company. It's supposed to be Vujovic, Miroljub Vujovic. But I believe
5 the matter is sufficiently clarified.
6 I'd just like to go back to one thing, then.
7 When you stepped down, do you remember when that was?
8 A. That was at the headquarters of the first assault battalion of the
9 Guards Brigade.
10 Q. Was there any sort of reaction on your part or did you simply get
11 reconciled with that?
12 A. I just accepted it for what it was.
13 Q. Did you take part in any of the briefings with Captain Mrksic
14 thereafter or?
15 A. Well, as I was removed from my position, I withdrew completely
16 from there and did not take part in these activities any more.
17 Q. You stated that that was either on the 16th or 17th, in any event,
18 on the eve of the fall of Vukovar, and you stated that you did not attend
19 their meetings any longer. However, at the time the Guards Brigade was
20 still in the area, did you have occasion to see Colonel Mrksic?
21 A. I saw Colonel Mrksic on the 20th of November after the fall of
23 Q. And why was this, since you no longer held the position, as you
25 A. Representatives of the government arrived and Milos Vojnovic who
1 was a representative of the Court, who took part in the conversation, told
2 me to go to Colonel Mrksic and to plead with him that the war criminals,
3 persons who had committed war crimes, in the area of Vukovar, that they be
4 allowed to stay behind and to stand trial before a local court.
5 Q. Before I move on, there is this one point that is unclear in the
6 transcript. You said that representatives of the government arrived.
7 First of all, which government do you have in mind?
8 A. The government of the district of Slavonia Baranja and Western
10 Q. Led by who?
11 A. Goran Hadzic.
12 Q. The transcript says representative of a court. I suppose he was
13 the representative of the court of the district?
14 A. Yes, Milos Vojnovic.
15 Q. Milos Vojnovic used to be a judge before the war, I suppose?
16 A. Yes. He graduated from the Belgrade school of law.
17 Q. Was he appointed to be the judge for that district by that
18 incumbent government?
19 A. Yes.
20 MR. WEINER: I object to that, Your Honour. I object to that.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Weiner. Mr. Domazet, this would appear
22 to be an important matter and you're putting the words directly in the
23 witness's mouth.
24 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it seems to me that
25 in -- on line 13, page 69, it was stated that the representative of the
1 court told the witness to go and see Colonel Mrksic. I asked the witness
2 who the representative of the court was and the witness replied that he
3 was Milos Vojnovic, hence my follow-up question.
4 Q. What was the subject of your conversation with Milos Vojnovic?
5 A. He told me that since we had all the hallmarks of a state, we had
6 the judiciary, the police structure had already been formed by then, we
7 had the health service in place, the schooling system and all the other
8 attendant institutions, in his opinion, there was no need for these people
9 to be tried by other jurisdictions. We had competent judges who were
10 perfectly capable of bringing these proceedings about.
11 Q. Where did this exchange between you and Vojnovic take place?
12 A. At Velepromet.
13 Q. You've told us what he told you. Was there anything else he
14 requested from you?
15 A. He asked that all those persons in respect of whom there was
16 suspicion and knowledge that they had committed a crimes, should be
17 isolated and held in custody and brought to trial.
18 Q. As you say on the 20th, you were no longer the commander of the
19 TO. Was he aware of this? Was it precisely because of that that he spoke
20 to you? Was this matter discussed at all?
21 MR. WEINER: I'd object.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Weiner?
23 MR. WEINER: You're asking this witness the mental state of
24 another individual. Unless there was some conversation as to positions,
25 this should not be allowed.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Domazet, we are getting on to an area of some
2 sensitivity, so the only evidence the Chamber will take any notice of is
3 that that comes from the witness, not anything you might say. So you're
4 going to have to get the witness to say what you want, not put critical
5 words to him and then say, "Is that right?" Okay?
6 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I wanted to
7 discuss the matter of the witness's position but I will move on.
8 Q. Can you tell us what else you talked about and what happened next?
9 A. Vojnovic knew that I had been in contact with Mrksic all the time
10 and that I was able to see that through. He didn't have anyone else close
11 at hand to mediate between him and Mrksic. That's why he suggested that I
12 go and do that. I agreed and went to see Mrksic at the headquarters of
13 the Guards Brigade. As entry was not allowed to just anyone into the
14 Guards Brigade premises, Mr. Mrksic did see me because he knew me.
15 Q. Please describe the conversation for us.
16 A. I told him what Mr. Vojnovic had asked, that the criminals be
17 allowed to stay in the area and not be forwarded to Serbia. Mrksic's
18 response was that this was out of the question, that all these people
19 would be shipped off to Serbia.
20 Q. You say that he was adamant in his position. What specifically
21 are you referring to?
22 A. I was referring to the tone of his voice, which was indicative of
23 the fact that he was adamant and could not be reassured at any cost.
24 Q. Was this where the conversation ended?
25 A. It was very brief. When I received his adamant negative reply, I
1 went back to Vojnovic.
2 Q. Where did you meet with Vojnovic for the second time?
3 A. Also at Velepromet.
4 Q. Do you recall any particular reaction on the part of Vojnovic?
5 A. He got reconciled with that. He knew that this was an agreement
6 along the hierarchy. However, Hadzic, who I saw at Velepromet, asked me
7 to take him to Petrova Gora to see the area and to visit the people there.
8 Q. Were you mentioning Belgrade? Did I hear you well? No, because I
9 can't find that in the transcript. If you haven't mentioned Belgrade,
10 tell us so. If you have, tell us what it was about.
11 A. I said that if Colonel Mrksic had received an order then he must
12 have received it from the top, from his superiors in the command, and no
13 one was able to change that order or to have any bearing on it. It could
14 only have been done by the superior to him.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Weiner?
16 MR. WEINER: This is all speculation. I said that if Mrksic had
17 received an order then he must have received it from the top so that's now
18 a double speculation from his superiors in command -- a triple speculation
19 and no one was able to change that order or have any bearing on it which
20 is based on speculation.
21 JUDGE PARKER: That is the evidence, Mr. Weiner. It is patently
22 speculative and therefore of no weight. Thank you.
23 Carry on, Mr. Domazet.
24 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you. It was not my question
25 that elicited such an answer.
1 JUDGE PARKER: I'm just pointing out the witness is guessing. And
2 so we -- it's not going to be persuasive about anything. If the
3 witness knows something, we need to know it if it's relevant but if he's
4 guessing it's not going to help fishing for him to guess.
5 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 Q. You indicated that you went back to Velepromet where you saw Judge
7 Vojnovic again. Do you recall what was going on at Velepromet at the
9 A. I met the Prime Minister, minister Hadzic, Dokmanovic, and the
10 president of the Jagodina municipality there. All those who were members
11 of the cabinet and whom I knew. I spent sometime with them. And as I had
12 no other obligations, I attended the government meeting. In the meantime,
13 I can't recall clearly whether I went to intercede on behalf of Mrs.
14 Clearic's son. As I was on my way back to the health centre, near to the
15 barracks, there was a convoy holding civilians.
16 Q. Now that you mention the meeting and the figures involved, we have
17 a video clip that we would like to play before the Trial Chamber. Please
18 watch it closely.
19 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Can we have Exhibit 269 prepared
20 from 6 minutes 20 seconds?
21 Q. Let me just tell you this: Whenever you recognise anyone, if so,
22 please say stop and tell us who that person is. The same applies to where
23 you see yourself in that video clip.
24 A. Stop. Rade Leskovac and right at the outset Slavko Dokmanovic.
25 Q. Could we play the tape back a bit?
1 [Videotape played]
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Stop. This is Slavko Dokmanovic, or
3 so it seems. Stop. The one behind the back of this gentleman, wearing
4 glasses is, I believe, Rade.
5 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Right. Let's move on.
7 [Videotape played]
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Stop. This is Vlado Kosic, the
9 person wearing the uniform.
10 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
11 Q. To the left of the other person?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Let us just record the minute. 6.44, for the benefit of the
14 record. Can we play -- or rather, can you tell us who this person is?
15 A. Rade Kosic, who was the manager of the water supplies company
16 after the war. I'm not sure about what his position was before the war.
17 Q. Thank you. Let's carry on.
18 [Videotape played]
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Stop. Goran Hadzic and Arkan. I
20 believe this is Arkan, although the image is a bit blurred.
21 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Let us just look at the minutes, at the time of the tape.
23 A. Yes, here he is.
24 Q. 7.00. Right. Let's go on.
25 A. Arkan is right alongside him. I don't know this man. Or this
1 one. Stop. This is me.
2 Q. Explain to us which one of the two?
3 A. The one in the background without the mustache.
4 Q. Wearing a cap and the olive-grey uniform?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. For the record, this is at 7 minutes 18 seconds. Thank you.
7 Let's carry on.
8 [Videotape played]
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Stop. I believe that this is the
10 president of the Jagodina municipality.
11 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
12 Q. He was wearing a uniform?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. 7.27.
15 [Videotape played]
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Stop. Let us move back a bit. I
17 believe that was Rade Stupar.
18 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Stupar?
20 A. Stupar, but what is his first name? Rade? I'm not sure. I'm
21 certain about his family name. He was always alongside Hadzic.
22 Q. 7.36 is the person you identified as Stupar. Let's carry on.
23 [Videotape played]
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was Arkan again, the same
25 persons all over again. I find this person familiar but I don't know his
2 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Let us wait a bit to see if someone else will come up. Can you
4 tell us the building we see behind the people, was this where the meeting
5 of the government was?
6 A. To the left of what we saw on the scene, there was a conference
7 hall there, with tables and chairs, and that was where the government sat.
8 These are all civilians.
9 Q. I think this is enough. Thank you.
10 Do you remember when you left Velepromet?
11 A. I think this was before the session of the government. I went to
12 see Mrksic and then I went back immediately by car.
13 Q. The distance from Velepromet to the place where Mrksic was is how
14 many in kilometres?
15 A. Three to four kilometres away, maybe even less.
16 Q. Do you recall anything else that happened specifically on that day
17 at Velepromet or elsewhere or would that be all?
18 A. I can remember partially. I have only partial memory. I remember
19 I attended this but not all the time. I don't remember all the
20 participants at the meeting, all the members of the cabinet who were
21 there. I remember later on seeing Mr. Sljivancanin, his deputy, like
22 Vukasinovic, Palic, Panic, I think it was Panic. I don't remember his
23 rank, mayor.
24 Q. When you say Panic?
25 A. He was deputy to Colonel Mrksic.
1 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us something about your career
2 after these events in November 1991?
3 A. You mean as a civilian?
4 Q. Yes, in general.
5 A. I resigned from all these functions, and I received a proposal to
6 form, to establish a company. We had only four vehicles left that were
7 damaged in the war. We had received some vehicles and we established a
8 new company, and then they asked me to activate in the Republic of Srpska
9 army, and I was the deputy commander of the logistics, and then I moved on
10 to the command of the corps. I was deputy of the chief of security.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic?
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think that the witness said -- I
13 think I saw Sljivancanin, Vukasinovic and Panic. And this is not what it
14 says in the transcript. I think if the witness cannot confirm this --
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were two of them. I'm not
16 sure about Panic.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Wait, please. We can't have two people speaking.
18 Nothing can be heard on the recording. If you would wait for a particular
19 question. Now, Mr. Lukic?
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I wanted to note regarding the
21 transcript on page 77 line 11, I think that the witness said, "I think I
22 saw Sljivancanin, Vukasinovic and Panic." I would just like to verify if
23 this is correct. I am not seeking for a confirmation by the witness.
24 Thank you.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Domazet, would you deal with that matter,
2 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I'll try to
3 clarify this.
4 Q. You mentioned three officers, Sljivancanin, Vukasinovic, Panic.
5 Are you sure that you saw all three of them or do you have any doubts as
6 to seeing some of them? Could you please clarify?
7 A. The two of them were there. As for Panic, I'm not sure if he
8 joined in later on. I'm not sure.
9 Q. Thank you. On page 77, line 25, you said that you joined the
10 Republic of Republika Srpska?
11 A. Krajina.
12 Q. I think you said Krajina so I would like to have this correction
13 entered in the transcript.
14 You are talking about the army of the Republika Srpska Krajina.
15 Could you please clarify -- I think you were speaking rather fast,
16 for the sake of the transcript, when you took up this function which
17 positions did you have?
18 A. Was the commander of the logistics base of the Srem and the
19 Baranja corps. And since I have completed also a security military
20 school, I then went on to the security command, assistant to the chief of
21 security for the command chief affairs.
22 Q. Does this mean that you were chief of security and your function
23 was assistant?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. When you say that you completed the army -- does this refer to the
2 A. Yes. It refers to trainings that I undertook in Pancevo and in
3 other places. There were many of them.
4 Q. While performing this function, which rules did you abide by?
5 Were there any specific rules or did the JNA rules apply?
6 A. The JNA rules.
7 Q. Does this refer to the security organs as well?
8 A. Yes. The entire training of commanding officers was done
9 according to the JNA rules of service.
10 Q. I suppose you're very familiar with these rules and the standard
11 practice at the time?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Do you remember your specific functions as security officer in
14 terms of issuing commands or in terms of liaising with the military
16 A. Yes. I in fact was commanding the military police elements. I
17 was issuing them orders.
18 Q. Please continue. Please continue.
19 A. I was issuing assignments to the commanders of certain squads when
20 needed, so I had the authority to do this.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 A. Of course, with the approval of the commander.
23 Q. Was this standard practice while you were still in the JNA or was
24 it different?
25 MR. WEINER: I'd object, Your Honour, at this time.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Weiner?
2 MR. WEINER: This is well outside of the proofing notes. It's
3 well outside of the 65 ter notes and the additional 65 ter notes.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Domazet? Has there been notice given of these
6 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Not regarding the last ones, because
7 we finished the preparations of the witness very late last evening.
8 Therefore, I do not insist on this point if there is objection on the part
9 of the Prosecution, although I did not intend to pursue this line of
10 questioning. I was about to finish this line of questioning and not only
11 this line of questioning but my examination-in-chief of this witness.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Domazet. The evidence about that
13 matter will not be taken into consideration. And thank you for your
15 Now Mr. Borovic, do you have any questions?
16 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I have a
17 few questions for the witness.
18 Cross-examination by Mr. Borovic:
19 Q. Hello, my name is Mr. Borovic, representing Mr. Radic here.
20 In your rely to Mr. Domazet's question, you said that you used the
21 terms, I sat the course. My question is as follows: Did you, in the area
22 where you were located during the operations, in fact -- were you in a
23 position to issue commands? Second question: To whom did you issue
25 A. I had a direct connection with the commanders of the squads and
1 the companies.
2 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that the answer
3 were you able to command because the witness replied that he was able to
4 command over the commanders of the companies.
5 Q. When you refer to commanders of the companies, which companies are
6 you referring to?
7 A. Four companies that were there.
8 Q. When you are referring to the existing four companies, are you
9 referring to the companies of the Territorial Defence?
10 A. Yes, Territorial Defence, that is.
11 Q. Thank you. You said today also that Colonel Mrksic ordered four
12 members of Territorial Defence to be in front of the JNA units, to lead
14 A. Yes, since they were familiar with the streets and the town.
15 Q. Thank you. Could you please wait when giving your answer in order
16 to avoid overlaps?
17 Does this mean that this was the main reason for which the
18 Territorial Defence units in fact joined in operations with the JNA,
19 because they were familiar with the access, with the terrain, et cetera?
20 Was this the main reason for this?
21 A. This was one of the reasons.
22 Q. Thank you. Are you familiar with the sites of the shelters,
23 atomic shelters, in the city of Vukovar?
24 A. As far as I know, the main one was in the yard on the courtyard of
25 the Territorial Defence headquarters, next to the municipal building of
2 Q. Thank you. During the operations, who was controlling the
3 headquarters of the staff, Territorial Defence Staff, in November 1991,
4 where the atomic shelter was located?
5 A. Croats.
6 Q. Thank you. When you say Croats, you mean -- you are referring to
7 paramilitary formations, also known as ZNG?
8 A. Yes, that is correct.
9 Q. Are you familiar with the existence of a shelter at Komerc?
10 A. Yes. I know there was a shelter for civilians there. I don't
11 know if it was an atomic shelter or if it was merely a warehouse.
12 Q. Thank you. If I told you that the defence has come about certain
13 information that an atomic shelter was located there, my question would be
14 the following: In the period from November, from October to November,
15 under whose control was this shelter?
16 A. Under the control of the ZNG.
17 Q. What about Luzac? Was there an atomic shelter there?
18 A. I don't know. I'm not familiar with this.
19 Q. Do you know of another shelter which was located in the MUP
20 premises, in the --
21 A. In the basement of the MUP building, there were detention
23 Q. In order to avoid speculation, could you please answer the
24 following question: Was it under the control of the Territorial Defence
25 or was there any shelter that was under the control of the Territorial
1 Defence or the JNA in Vukovar before the liberation of Vukovar, of course?
2 A. There was no shelter under the control of either JNA or the
3 Territorial Defence.
4 Q. So can we conclude that all the shelters during the operations
5 were under the control of paramilitary formations and the Croatian MUP?
6 MR. WEINER: I'd object.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Absolutely.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Weiner?
9 MR. WEINER: This goes back to the issue of co-counsel. Are they
10 allowed to cross or must they use the examination-in-chief or direct
12 JUDGE PARKER: Hence the position they are taking, Mr. Weiner, as
13 I explained. I don't detect any conflict over this at the moment. You're
14 off in an area not dealt with by Mr. Domazet, so if you could avoid
15 cross-examination and go back to examining the witness. Thank you, Mr.
17 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. There will be other
18 witnesses for which I will request the Trial Chamber to allow me to
19 cross-examine them.
20 Q. From whom did you receive orders?
21 A. From Mr. Mrksic.
22 Q. Thank you. Can you tell the Trial Chamber where the main
23 operations staff was located for liberating Vukovar? Where exactly was
25 A. The main operations staff for the liberation of Vukovar, if you're
1 talking about OG South, that was based in Negoslavci. It's a village near
3 Q. Thank you. Do you know who the staff comprised?
4 A. I don't know all of them. I've forgotten some over time, but I
5 know that all the usual commanding officers were there, all the branches
6 and all the arms and all that.
7 Q. Thank you. Have you ever heard of Major Borivoj Tesic?
8 A. Yes, I have.
9 Q. Who is he?
10 A. The commander of the 1st mixed Battalion or the 1st Battalion of
11 the Guards Brigade. We were personally together at the headquarters.
12 Q. Thank you very much. Where was his own headquarters, his own
13 command post?
14 A. His command post was at Svetozara Markovica street in Jagatic's
16 Q. Who was at the command post when you were having talks and
17 planning military operations?
18 A. Myself, Mr. Tesic and Mr. Stijakovic, his deputy, as well as my
19 own deputy, Milanovic.
20 Q. Were you ever there when his company commanders, company
21 commanders of the 1st Motorised Battalion came to briefings and to be
22 debriefed or to take orders from Borivoj Tesic?
23 A. For the most part, I was the one receiving company commanders at
24 the time. I was with them.
25 Q. Have you ever heard of captain Sasa Bojkovski?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Who was he?
3 A. He was the commander of the 3rd Company,.
4 Q. Of the 1st Motorised Battalion?
5 A. Yes, that's what it was called at the time.
6 Q. Was a commander of a JNA company of the army?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. This company, did it belong to the 1st motorised Battalion?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Does that mean that he was the commander of the 3rd Company of the
11 1st Motorised Battalion, establishment-wise?
12 A. Correct.
13 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honours, page 85, line 12.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Yes?
16 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Line 12, the names are wrong. There
17 is one missing, I think the name missing is Ivanovic, but I think Mr.
18 Borovic might perhaps want to -- clearly, you see there is no such names
19 and all the others I can't see them, there were three names, so I think
20 that therefore this should be clarified.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic [Microphone not activated] I think the
22 speed and difficulty of picking up precise pronunciations has led to a
23 group of names there that require some revisiting. Would you be able to
24 do that and --
25 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Of course, Your Honours.
1 Q. Who was the commander of the 1st Motorised Battalion?
2 A. Major Borivoj Tesic.
3 Q. Thank you. What about his deputy?
4 A. Captain Stijakovic.
5 Q. The command post of the 1st Motorised Battalion, Colonel Tesic
6 was in charge; right? When you received your assignments there, who was
7 present? Slowly, please. Which persons?
8 A. Whether we received our assignments?
9 Q. When Borivoj Tesic handed out your assignments, who was present?
10 A. The company commanders.
11 Q. And Stijakovic and yourself?
12 A. I was also handing out assignments to company commanders and so
13 was he. If there was anything extraordinary that needed tackling.
14 Q. Fine. Were you ever positioned along the axis of operations of
15 Sasa Bojkovski's company?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Which axis was that, if you would be so kind, please?
18 A. It was Pionirsko Naselje. And that street, I've forgotten all the
19 street names in Vukovar.
20 Q. Do you know if there was a creche or a kindergarten somewhere
21 along that axis?
22 A. Yes, there was.
23 Q. The Petrova Gora TO detachment in November, how strong were they?
24 How many men? Which level in the military sense?
25 A. The level of a battalion, should have been. It's an independent
1 unit, this detachment. The level of a battalion that can act
2 independently, a battalion is part of a brigade and a detachment is an
3 independent unit and that is precisely why it is called a detachment.
4 Q. Does that mean that your detachment could not be incorporated into
5 any of the battalions' companies?
6 A. If necessary.
7 Q. No, I mean is it possible --
8 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please wait?
9 MR. WEINER: Once again, that's a very leading question.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Borovic. You better try again a different
11 way, if you would.
12 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Establishment-wise, can a detachment be subordinated to a company
14 that is part of a battalion? Can it be absorbed by this company,
16 A. Depends on the level of equipment the company owns, how trained
17 they are on the level of training of their commander. It's possible. As
18 a matter of principle, this is not the done thing, but that doesn't mean
19 it's not possible.
20 Q. Establishment-wise, how strong is a detachment normally?
21 A. That depends. That depends.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the speakers kindly
23 be asked to speak one at the same time, otherwise we can't hear them.
24 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. You need to talk slowly, you need to talk slowly. We are hardly
1 getting anything on to the transcript, establishment-wise, the Petrova
2 Gora detachment, how strong was it, how many men?
3 A. 344.
4 Q. Thank you. You've completed a reserve officers school. Did you
5 perhaps learn there, establishment-wise, how strong a JNA company normally
7 A. A company has about three platoons which amounts to about 120 men.
8 Q. Thank you. If you have a company which can have up to 120 men,
9 establishment-wise, how do you fit a 400-strong detachment into that sort
10 of thing, in terms of establishment?
11 A. Has this been known to happen?
12 Q. Not really. Just purely in theory, establishment-wise. If you
13 say it's not possible, we'll rest at that.
14 A. That depends on the situation, that depends on the purpose.
15 Q. I won't be pressing you on this. I won't keep confusing you on
16 this, I won't be leading you any more. It's not that important, really.
17 What was the axis of operations for Zirovic's company, captain
18 Zirovic's company?
19 A. That was at Svetozara Markovica street. The left-hand side of the
20 street. Across the way from Kruno the butcher's house.
21 Q. Have you provided any statements to The Hague investigators? I
22 mean the investigators of the OTP.
23 A. Yes, I have.
24 Q. When was that?
25 A. They came to see me at home about the Dokmanovic case.
1 Q. And you gave a statement, right?
2 A. Yes. I was still in Vukovar.
3 Q. You signed this?
4 A. Yes, or at least I believe so.
5 Q. The use of TO members and volunteers in Vukovar, who was the only
6 person in charge of this? Who was the top man who could have determined
7 what the needs were, along what axis and how they should work together
8 with JNA units? Whose call was this?
9 A. The commander of the operations group.
10 Q. The name being?
11 A. Mile Mrksic.
12 Q. Thank you very much. I have no further questions?
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Borovic.
14 Now, Mr. Lukic, four minutes. You're going to leave it to Mr.
15 Bulatovic. Is four minutes of use to you?
16 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, Your Honours, I
17 don't think four minutes will do, because of the serious nature of this
18 evidence we need more time to cross-examine him.
19 JUDGE PARKER: I was giving you an opportunity, if you wanted, the
20 four minutes. Otherwise, I'm thinking that you would like to start
22 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I don't think
23 there is any point in starting now and then breaking in a couple of
24 minutes. So unless the Chamber minds, I think it might be a good idea to
25 resume tomorrow.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Very well. Thank you. Mr. Weiner?
2 MR. WEINER: Yes, very briefly I would like to apologise to the
3 Court for being late at the beginning of the second session. I assure the
4 Court it will not occur again.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Weiner.
6 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I was going to leave
7 this for tomorrow, but I still have two minutes, so that's not a problem.
8 Unfortunately my news is not good and that is the reason I have decided to
9 address you. Our first piece of news is that Defence witness Puskar who
10 was supposed to be arriving in The Hague today, unfortunately, suffered a
11 heart attack two days ago, a stroke, and he has been hospitalised and is
12 still in hospital receiving treatment. We hope that he will be fine
13 eventually and the Defence will be filing a further motion with the Trial
14 Chamber to maybe hear this witness towards the end of our Defence case, if
15 that is possible.
16 Secondly, this is about that protected witness. I'm trying to
17 avoid private session now. We all know what I'm talking about. We only
18 received the appropriate medical document in relation to this witness
19 today, so we will have a look and at first glance what I can say is that
20 the documents indicate that the witness could not start testifying on the
21 16th, as had originally been planned. But we'll have a closer look at
22 these documents and files today to see what exactly the documents say.
23 The good news is we got the passport for that witness who had not had his
24 passport issued. So the good bit is that all our witnesses now have
25 passports. We are expecting Lisanovic here and if our cooperation remains
1 good with the Victims and Witnesses Unit -- I have to praise them a little
2 because the last time around, it seemed as if I had been scolding them. I
3 hope the witness makes it.
4 Plus another witness, who has received his call-up, I hope he'll
5 be appearing towards the end of next week. As well as the witness who is
6 due back on the 20th of September, who is now away but should be back, I
7 think an approval has already been granted, the passport is there, and of
8 course the expert, and that's all our witnesses, Your Honours. I have
9 tried to give you a briefer overview of our witness situation as it now
10 stands on behalf of Mr. Mrksic. I really hope that we can wrap this up
11 successfully and very soon.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, can you just make clearer for me your
13 position tomorrow?
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours --
15 JUDGE PARKER: What is the situation?
16 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] If this witness concludes tomorrow,
17 although I do believe that my learned friends will have a lot of questions
18 for this witness, we still have another witness in the wings, as it were,
19 Mr. Milosevic, who arrived yesterday. So he could easily appear just
20 after this witness. I do think, however, Mr. Milosevic is more likely to
21 be appearing on Monday. I think we will need the whole of tomorrow for
22 this witness, given the nature of all the topics that have been raised.
23 He might take all day, the way it seems.
24 We do have Mr. Milosevic on standby and he can certainly jump in
25 if needed. I sincerely hope that we can have Mr. Lisanovic over here this
1 coming weekend and perhaps he could or not. He could testify on the 20th.
2 No. The news is not as good as I was hoping unfortunately. My assistant
3 just told me that Lisanovic could appear on the 20th. Although --
4 JUDGE PARKER: At the moment it would appear then that you will be
5 getting into some embarrassment early next week; is that correct?
6 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] That's what it looks like for the time
7 being, Your Honours. I'm certainly hoping for improvements in this
8 situation, if Mr. Lisanovic makes it here on Sunday, he could easily start
9 on Monday or on Tuesday. I think his testimony will take up two days.
10 That is my prediction.
11 In that case, we would cover all the time until the return of
12 Witness Dannilovic. Some confusion was caused by the belief that the
13 protected witness would be appearing on the 16th and that he would thus
14 cover three days of our case. As I have already indicated, he has now
15 sent us some documents, we will be looking at that, but that may cause a
16 problem. Documents permitting, we might be filing a motion with the Trial
17 Chamber to perhaps have this witness testify via videolink, if indeed it
18 turns out to be a problem for him to travel given his condition. But we
19 only received these documents earlier today and for the time being I can't
20 say anything more than I have already indicated.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Well, Mr. Vasic, if you would give some very close
22 attention to the arrival and readiness of your witnesses and ensure other
23 counsel know, all three other sets of counsel know, who is coming, in what
24 order so it becomes clear so that they can prepare. And if you could be
25 very careful in your examination of these witnesses so that we don't just
1 use up time that you may well very greatly need if for some reason there
2 is a delay in witnesses arriving here. We want to be sure there is
3 adequate time to hear the evidence that is important from them. Don't
4 just waste time with some other witnesses on matters that aren't critical.
5 We will see what tomorrow holds.
6 We adjourn now until 9.00 tomorrow.
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.50 p.m., to
8 be reconvened on Friday, the 15th day of September,
9 2006, at 9.00 a.m.