1 Thursday, 26 October 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The accused Sljivancanin takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.
7 Mr. Moore.
8 MR. MOORE: Good morning, Your Honour. Just a very small matter.
9 It relates to the development last night about the understanding that it
10 is the Guards Motorised Brigade as opposed to OG South and Mr. Lukic
11 saying that that matter had been put to the witnesses. We have examined
12 all the transcripts that we believe are relevant. It has never ever been
13 put to any witness directly. There have been elliptical questions in
14 respect to Trifunovic. It was not put in the 65 ter; it has not been put
15 in the summaries. There is nothing now that we can do with it, but I just
16 wanted to make absolutely certain, so it was clear, that that was the
17 facts as opposed to, perhaps, a misunderstanding by Mr. Lukic.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Moore.
19 May I remind you of the affirmation, Mr. Sljivancanin, that you
20 made at the beginning of your evidence which still applies.
21 The indications are that Mr. Sljivancanin did not hear what I have
22 just said. Is the interpretation functioning?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it's functioning. I've just
24 heard it now. Thank you, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
1 Mr. Lukic.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. I shall
3 respond to Mr. Moore straight away, and during the break I will find the
4 page, that we asked the witness Trifunovic about Operations Group South,
5 whether it was something that existed in actual fact or whether it was -
6 how shall I put this? - a category that just existed on paper. I will
7 find the page reference. I know the question was put. I even know what
8 the answer was.
9 On the other hand, in our first summary that we submitted
10 according to Rule 65 ter, we decidedly say that Mr. Sljivancanin was the
11 chief of security of the Guards Motorised Brigade and that is what we say
12 in that summary; we also say what his job was as chief of security of the
13 Guards Motorised Brigade. That can be seen in the first summary.
14 Now I'm going to put a question to Mr. Sljivancanin about that.
15 Before that, may I say that I agreed with Mr. Moore on this. Yesterday,
16 they gave us another document that they intend to use in
17 Mr. Sljivancanin's cross-examination or perhaps not, but then I asked that
18 they give Mr. Sljivancanin a copy of that person's statement in B/C/S. We
19 did receive this through disclosure. This is a statement made by a
20 particular person before a military court in Belgrade, but I'm not sure
21 that Mr. Sljivancanin has it. And I'm sure it's no problem to submit that
22 to him during the break so that he would have his own copy in B/C/S.
23 And now I shall go on.
24 WITNESS: VESELIN SLJIVANCANIN [Resumed]
25 [Witness answered through interpreter]
1 Examination by Mr. Lukic: [Continued]
2 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, you know what the subject is and you know what
3 was raised yesterday. What is Operations Group South? Where were you
4 chief of security? Were you a member of the command of Operations Group
5 South? And who comprised the command of Operations Group South?
6 A. Good morning to all. Your Honours, perhaps it's going to be a bit
7 of a lengthy answer, but I really wish to clarify this matter to show you
8 what the truth is in this regard. I took the stand in order to say what I
9 know and what is true. And now whether that suits someone or not, it is
10 for you to judge.
11 The Court has the power in its hands and my head can fly. That
12 doesn't matter, but what matters is that I will tell the truth. I know
13 that when I came to the area of Negoslavci, that there was a command that,
14 at that time, introduced itself as the command of Operations Group South.
15 I remember that in that command there were a few officers. I know two or
16 three of their names for sure. The commander who introduced himself then
17 was Colonel Rajo Bojat, and the Chief of Staff was also a colonel,
18 Ljubicic, but I've forgotten his first name. I think that in that command
19 there was an assistant for morale, Jelic Blagoje. I think he was a
20 lieutenant colonel. And on the staff there were a few other officers and
21 in their command as well, but I do not remember.
22 A few days later, when the fighting started for deblocking the
23 barracks and disarming the paramilitary formations, all of a sudden this
24 command disappeared, if I can put it that way, and I know that Colonel
25 Mrksic took over command over the units. What I knew then is that no one
1 ever gave me an order or a paper, and if anyone has a paper of that kind,
2 they can show it to me and I will apologise for everything I've been
3 saying. I have only been appointed chief of security of the Guards
4 Motorised Brigade and nothing else.
5 There were organs that gave me professional guidance and that is
6 the chief of security of the cabinet of the Federal Secretary, and apart
7 from them, I did not ever receive any kind of specialist direction or
8 instructions that I shall report to any other security organ in order to
9 get any kind of direction with regard to counter-intelligence work.
10 Anyone who has any such document can feel free to show it to me, but I
11 don't think any such thing ever existed.
12 While carrying out my tasks, I was never called by the security
13 organs of the 1st Military District to any meeting, and I did not receive
14 from them any document that had to do with counter-intelligence work in
15 the zone.
16 All the documents that I wish to show here and that I have and
17 that have to do with counter-intelligence work and that came to me through
18 security channels were addressed to the security organ of the Guards
19 Motorised Brigade. All my documents that I sent, I sent as chief of
20 security of the Guards Motorised Brigade.
21 The next thing I wish to add with regard to this question: I'm
22 not saying that I am that smart. I did go to military schools. There are
23 military experts here. There are rules and regulations, according to
24 which one worked then, in the units of the Yugoslav Peoples' Army. I
25 observed these rules and I did my best to act in accordance with them.
1 In the rules it says that operations groups can be set up as
2 temporary units in order to carry out a temporary assignment that can last
3 for one day, two days, three days, five days, and that operations -- and
4 that an operations group consists of operations units.
5 If we analyse this here, this so-called Operations Group South,
6 namely, that it consisted of up to two brigades, then an assessment can be
7 made as to whether this is an operations group or whatever else. I don't
8 know what to call it.
9 One more thing, Your Honours. Studying military regulations, I
10 studied in military schools that units of the Yugoslav Peoples' Army were
11 established on the basis of assessing territory of the Socialist Federal
12 Republic of Yugoslavia, its strategic operations and tactical directions
13 for use in conditions of war. If one looks at the map - and we can
14 display a map here - if you look at Sid-Vukovar, that direction, as far as
15 what I learned and what I knew, that direction can only be at a tactical
16 level, the capacity of one reinforced brigade or perhaps simply one
17 brigade. That is the next thing that I wish to corroborate that with.
18 Further on, if we precisely analyse the documents that were
19 presented by Commander Mrksic, will you see that in the order and
20 decisions, he gave assignments to battalions, battalions from the Guards
21 Motorised Brigade, that were the only ones that took part in deblocking
22 the Vukovar barracks, and they acted in concert with the Territorial
23 Defence of Vukovar. Other units were temporarily staying in this
24 territory and they were being replaced and they were outside the town of
25 Vukovar where there was no combat action.
1 I, as chief of security of the Guards Motorised Brigade at that
2 time, did everything I could in order to be in Vukovar with the soldiers
3 of the Guards Motorised Brigade and to try to contribute to saving their
4 lives and accomplishing this mission. That is what I wished to say.
5 There are quite a few clever people here who can assess what is true and
6 what is not true. Thank you.
7 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, let us clarify this a bit more. Out of many
8 documents that were exhibited here and that we have discussed and shall
9 discuss, a term is used, "Command of the Operations Group South" in the
10 documents; that is the term used. I would like to ask you the following:
11 Did you attend meetings? Actually I thought that I should ask you about
12 this later, that we should discuss this later, but I believe that this is
13 the right time to clarify this point. Were you part of this command? Did
14 you attend these meetings? How often were these meetings held, and what
15 was the content of these meetings?
16 A. At that time, as for the term "Operations Group South," I accepted
17 this as it was suggested to me that this should be a secret name so that
18 formation names would not be mentioned, especially not the actual name of
19 the Guards Brigade. I attended meetings that were held by Commander
20 Mrksic and I remember that these meetings were certainly attended by all
21 assistant commanders from the command of the Guards Brigade, in terms of
22 establishment; then commanders at battalion and division level from the
23 Guards Motorised Brigade; the commander of the Territorial Defence of
24 Vukovar. And some meetings, depending on the presence of each and every
25 unit in this territory, some meetings were attended by the commanders of
1 brigades, either the Podinavska Brigade or the 80th or the 20th Partisan
2 Brigade, depending on who was there when. As for battalion commanders
3 from those brigades, they did not attend the meetings that I attended.
4 When you ask me about these meetings and when they were held, they
5 were held when the commander convened them; usually at nightfall, not
6 every day, but when necessary. Sometimes they were held evening in the
7 morning, say, at 7.00, at 8.00. All of that is recorded in the war log.
8 And also there was a book recording these meetings that was kept by the
9 Chief of Staff, and you can see it there, except that the commander, in
10 accordance with his own ideas and necessity, he convened only meetings of
11 some commanders sometimes, because if he thought that some commander
12 needed additional guidance, then he would have such meetings. And that is
13 what the war log says.
14 Q. How did these meetings evolve?
15 A. As for how the meetings evolved, well, usually there was a plan
16 for meetings, and, as far as I can remember, this is the way it went:
17 First, subordinate commanders would report in accordance with an order set
18 up by the Chief of Staff about assignments carried out and their tasks.
19 Then, members of the command, or rather, the assistant commanders
20 presented their views on what was going on in the units and they were
21 responding in terms of tasks that they had.
22 For example, as far as command was concerned, and operative tasks,
23 the assistant commander for operations would talk about that, or the Chief
24 of Staff would, because that is their line of work; then, after that,
25 somebody from the operations and training department would discuss the
1 plan; then the assistant Chief of Staff for mobilisation and replenishment
2 would talk about manning losses and all other problems that had to be
3 resolved; then the assistant commander for morale; then the assistant
4 commander for logistics would report. And with regard to security
5 questions and tasks related to security, it was the chief of security who
6 reported, or rather, the assistant commander for security. At the end,
7 the Chief of Staff would propose the tasks for the following day and then
8 the commander would adopt that and he would say what the focus would be,
9 what the focal tasks would be.
10 Q. Did you go to these meetings regularly?
11 A. Every time I was called, I went.
12 Q. I think we can continue now. If Mr. Moore has any further
13 questions about these matters, I'm sure he's going to avail himself of the
14 right to ask the questions in his cross-examination.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I'd like to pick up where we left off
16 yesterday. I'd like to have MFI 3D050027 brought up in e-court. This is
17 a document produced by the security administration dated the 15th of
18 October, 1991. The 65 ter number is 3D04.
19 Q. Briefly about this document, Mr. Sljivancanin, speaking of what
20 you were talking about a while ago, 65 ter 3D04 and 3D050027, that is the
21 e-court reference. Who is this document addressed to, Mr. Sljivancanin?
22 A. I can't see anything on my screen.
23 Q. All right. I thought you had it in front of you.
24 A. I do have it now.
25 Q. Perhaps we can blow it up a little. Who was this document sent
1 to, if you look at the heading?
2 A. This was sent by the assistant chief of security of the chef du
3 cabinet of the federal ministry. It was sent to the command of the Guards
4 Brigade and the addressee is the chief of the security organ.
5 Q. I think the document speaks for itself. It is obvious that
6 something is being submitted to the security administration, and what I
7 really want to know about is, further down, it says "Operations Groups for
8 Work with Prisoners" and their composition. Tell me, please, what did
9 your security organs do with any prisoners, exactly? And as far as there
10 were prisoners, what exactly was the procedure?
11 A. I can explain this document briefly. I'm looking at this now and
12 I see that this is a document produced by the security administration.
13 The security administration is the focal point for tactics, for equipping
14 the military police units with military equipment, and they work closely
15 together with other focal points in the military police in terms of
16 weapons and equipment. This document was sent for me to write exactly
17 where the military police units were deployed, what their strength was,
18 what their assignments were exactly, so that the administration, as the
19 focal point, could send enough weapons, could adjust the manpower levels,
20 and that sort of thing.
21 As for any POWs, or rather, perpetrators of crimes, which is what
22 we called them at the time, we were ordered by the commander and by the
23 administration, in the specialist technical terms, and the issue of those
24 people was an issue for the commands and not just for the security organ
25 and the military police. We were told that, should we find any such
1 people, they were to be taken to Sid directly, to some sort of collection
2 centre, where they were worked with from there.
3 Q. We'll see about that later. Which of your associates were members
4 of these operative groups, or was there anyone?
5 A. As the assignment was underway to lift the siege of the barracks,
6 the only place where civilians were being collected was some sort of
7 triage and vetting, if you like, where screening was performed. There was
8 the Velepromet facility where my own subordinate security organs sometimes
9 took part in these technical and specialist tasks, more specifically
10 Captain Srecko Borisavljevic.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we have a number for this
12 document, please.
13 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
14 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 821, Your Honours.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The next document that I would like to
16 see is document with the e-court reference 3D050165; the 65 ter reference
17 is 3D37. This is entitled "Information," dated the 22nd of October.
18 Q. We will not be dwelling on this document for long but there is one
19 thing I want to know. Tell us what it's about. Who produced this
20 document, and on based on whose information?
21 A. We looked at a document just like this one yesterday. That was
22 also produced by the chief of security of the cabinet of the Federal
23 Secretary based on information that I had sent them from our area of
24 operations, and I forwarded it to the security administration.
25 Q. Now that we're going through it, can you please comment on the
1 first two paragraphs on the screen. What was the subject of your security
2 analysis and security processing throughout the Vukovar operation?
3 A. While combat operations were still underway in Vukovar and the
4 siege was being lifted of the barracks, there were all sorts of issues
5 being raised about our work, but there were also all these other issues
6 affecting morale and impairing the combat-readiness of the units; that
7 means any sort of enemy activity aimed against these units. In other
8 words, there was no issue that did not concern me, as the chief of the
9 security organ. Here we see comments about irregular work being performed
10 by artillery units, and if you want me to, I can explain that too.
11 Q. We'll get to that later once we start analysing.
12 A. In the second paragraph, there is talk of a peace, anonymity and
13 defeatism in a unit of the 2nd Battalion, where soldiers started
14 expressing their discontent on a massive scale with how combat operations
15 were going, and also the question of dismissing some of the reservists
16 because they had already been with the unit for over 45 days.
17 Q. This is something you mentioned yesterday, but just to specify for
18 the benefit of the Chamber: What exactly was your position regarding this
19 decision of the government of the Republic of Serbia to dismiss the
20 reservists and send them away from the front line? How did that affect
21 the security-related issues that you were in charge of?
22 A. Then, as now, I believe that the Guards Motorised Brigade was a
23 unit of the armed forces of the Socialist Federative Republic of
24 Yugoslavia. I believe that decisions taken by the defence minister of the
25 Republic of Serbia did not apply to us under the constitution as it was at
1 the time. I thought that applied to the Territorial Defence of the
2 Republic of Serbia rather than to us.
3 So I demanded from the commander that this decision not be
4 complied with and that all the mobilised fighters who arrived there as
5 part of our overall units stay there until the completion of the task, and
6 that the young soldiers, the junior soldiers be withdrawn.
7 I met with a great deal of resistance about this with the
8 reservists, the Motorised Battalion, and also some volunteers who started
9 pointing their weapons at me, that sort of thing. Eventually, I also met
10 with the reluctance of the assistant commander for moral guidance. I had
11 to go and talk to him, I had to go and see him, and he explained to me
12 that we simply had to comply with this one. And that's where my influence
13 stopped. There was nothing more I could do. It had to be complied with,
14 but those were my proposals at the time.
15 Q. Page 2 of this document, if we can look at paragraph 1, talks
16 about a man named Miroslav Macura. Again, there is reference here to your
17 own operative work or intelligence work.
18 A. Well, this is one of the ways that intelligence was gathered about
19 arms smuggling and selling weapons. We took steps for all such persons
20 involved in such activities to be identified and for legal steps to be
21 taken against them.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have a number for this
23 document, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
25 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 822.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The next document is the document that
2 I wish to discuss, but please, can we go into private session because
3 there is mention of a protected witness in this document.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
5 [Private session]
11 Page 13505 redacted. Private session.
9 [Open session]
10 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Perhaps the document could be brought
12 up on the screen for the benefit of the public.
13 Q. What can you see in the second and third paragraphs,
14 Mr. Sljivancanin?
15 A. The second paragraph talks about volunteers.
16 Q. Quite right. What exactly went on there, and what did you do
17 about it?
18 A. There's a lot being said about these volunteers. It's a long
19 story. I could go on until the cows come home. As members of the Guards
20 Brigade, we wanted to restore order and discipline, to the extent that it
21 was possible under the conditions, and to the extent that it was possible
22 with -- those people had been sent over to work with us. It wasn't us who
23 came up with the idea of volunteers. We received the assistance of
24 volunteers just in order to have the manpower levels brought up in the
25 reserve forces. Whoever came up with that, please come forward and say
1 so. This is not something that I can speak about. It was somebody from
2 the Superior Command. We were just fighting there.
3 So the idea was for order and discipline to be restored to the
4 ranks of those fighters. And those we couldn't manage, we tried to get
5 them to be reasonable, to some extent. We sent reports about this, and
6 there is a report here saying that we sent back 70 volunteers.
7 This report says we, at one point, sent back 70 volunteers, and
8 that on the 24th we would be returning another 20 who had previously
9 joined the Guards Motorised Brigade because of their mental instability,
10 because of their erroneous understanding of the task at hand, and because
11 of their lack of discipline.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Your answers are long and they are delivered very
13 quickly. To give the interpreters more chance, if you could keep them
14 shorter and slower. Thank you.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. The next paragraph refers to a search that was conducted and that
18 certain things were found. I'm not going to ask you about that. I guess
19 this was a regular procedure when such persons went away from the zone of
20 combat operations; right? And please be brief.
21 A. That was a very precise and clear-cut procedure. No one could
22 take out any weapons or any equipment from that zone.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we have a number for this
24 document, which I propose to tender under seal.
25 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received under seal.
1 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 823, under seal, Your Honour.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Now we are going to go to a document of the 25th of October,
4 1991. Actually, these are two documents, but let us go to the first one.
5 First, that is a letter by the assistant chief of security as a covering
6 document and then a letter by the administration of -- security
7 administration of the 25th of October, 1991.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I don't have the e-court reference
9 right now. I believe that everyone has it.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't have it.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] 65 ter is 3D09, but if the Chamber
12 does not have it before them, then I could -- so it's 3D050205 in
13 e-court. Can we zoom in on this, please.
14 Q. What is this in terms of form; will you tell us? And then we
15 shall go to the next document of which this is a covering document.
16 A. You can see under seal that this is the assistant of the chief of
17 cabinet for security -- of the cabinet of the Federal Secretary for
18 National Defence submitting a memorandum informing about certain
19 information of events in Vukovar, and it refers to the small number of
20 loyal Croats, "loyal" in inverted commas.
21 Q. Can we now see the next document. Do you have it before you,
22 Mr. Sljivancanin, the report of the security administration, or do we have
23 to bring it up on the screen? Of the 25th of October, 1991, that is.
24 A. I'm trying to find it here but I'm unable to.
25 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could it please also be put
1 on the e-court for our benefit.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a minute. Of course, inadvertent
3 errors are possible with this volume of documents.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Now I see it on the screen.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Do you? Okay. All right. Thank you. When you look at the
7 previous document, it actually refers to this document quite clearly. I
8 should like you to comment on the second paragraph.
9 A. The chief of security of the cabinet of the Federal Secretary
10 received a letter from the administration for security and he assisted --
11 it was an important document for the work of the security organ in the
12 Guards Brigade as it referred to the zone where we were. And he referred
13 that document to the security administration, and its second paragraph
15 "One of the centres of defence of the National Guards Corps and
16 the MUP is the Vukovar Hospital, on the premises of which are housed
17 members of the National Guards Corps, whereas MUP members have been
18 accommodated at a police station. The most extreme of butchers have been
19 accommodated in the rooms of the former neuropsychiatry ward, and a number
20 of the medical staff of the Vukovar Hospital are also involved in the
21 commission of crimes."
22 Q. When you get such a memorandum, according to this technical line,
23 is this a sort of guideline for work for you? And what kind of a
24 guideline is it?
25 A. Evidence has already been presented here regarding the log entries
1 of the war log of the Guards Brigade, where the reconnaissance organs of
2 our 1st Battalion had a similar report already in October. At that time,
3 the Vukovar Hospital was not in the zone of operations of the Guards
4 Brigade, but I informed, of this document, our commander and the core
5 command at a meeting, and I also informed of it the subordinate commanders
6 so that they would also work on collecting information. And I gave
7 instructions for operational work to my subordinated security organs for
8 further data gathering.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I believe, Your Honours, that these
10 two documents could be tendered as a single exhibit; and if not, then
11 perhaps as two.
12 JUDGE PARKER: As we don't have copies of them, I think it will be
13 better if they were separate.
14 We are told that your wish is met because in e-court they've been
15 made into one document, so they will have one number collectively.
16 THE REGISTRAR: And the number will be 824, Your Honour, so
17 Exhibit 824.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we now see report of the organ of
19 security of the 25th of October. This is 3D05211, 3D10. And we will have
20 to go into private session again.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
22 [Private session]
21 [Open session]
22 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honours.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. General, according to the line of security, did you generally
25 receive information about the situation in the war theatre about units of
1 the adversary and relevant information for combat operation in terms of
2 security? And from whom did you get some information?
3 A. All the information which I received had to do with
4 counter-intelligence measures and security from the chief of security of
5 the cabinet of the Federal Secretary and from nobody else, as I've already
6 said. We have seen the memo that he sent me about the situation in the
7 Vukovar Hospital, and there were other such reports and memorandums which
8 we used for further operational work and for direction of the units in the
10 Q. You have given me this answer but I will repeat: Did you get such
11 information from the organs of security of the 1st Military District?
12 A. As I have repeatedly said, from no one else, from no one else did
13 I get any information, including from the security organ of the 1st
14 Military District. I only received professional advice from General
15 Vasiljevic when he stayed in the zone of combat operations. So I received
16 information from no one else from the chief of security of the cabinet of
17 the Federal Secretary.
18 Q. During your stay at the Vukovar front, did you have any direct
19 contacts or via communication centres with Mr. Mile Babic and Mr. Ljubisa
20 Petkovic? And the Chamber knows that these are the chief and assistant
21 chief for security of the 1st Military District.
22 A. I had no contacts whatsoever with these two men, either during the
23 combat operations, before them, or ever after those.
24 Q. Did you, during your stay in Vukovar, hear, as you have heard
25 people testify before this Court, about events in Ilok, Sarengrad, Lovas
1 and other places of Eastern Slavonia?
2 A. The first time I heard about this was from the documents which
3 were presented to this august Tribunal, and before that, I had had no
4 information about that at all. And, frankly speaking, I was preoccupied
5 with the discharge of my duty assigned to us as a unit.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we now look at another document
7 which is a document which, in e-court, is marked in the system 3D050054;
8 in the 65 ter list, it is document 3D12. That is a letter of the security
9 administration of the 5th of November, 1991.
10 Q. I should just like to read this first part and then the end and
11 ask you for your comment. So this is a letter of the security
12 administration, sent through the cabinet of the assistant for security of
13 the SSNO to the security organ of the Guards Brigade. It says:
14 "On the 3rd of November, 1991, the commander of the Vukovar
15 Defence Staff, M. Dedakovic, aka Jastreb, stated in a conversation with F.
16 Tudjman that the ZNG and MUP forces in this town were in a very difficult
17 situation; that a JNA unit (8 tanks and infantry) had penetrated to the
18 port silos and hospital sector, i.e., near the shelters of the ZNG and MUP
19 that he has not received ammunition."
20 It goes on to speak about this intercepted conversation on the
21 next page, page 2. It refers to the purpose of the submission of this
23 Tell me, do you remember this? And what was done in connection
24 with it?
25 A. I do remember the document. This is also a document which, like
1 the previous one, arrived. I informed the command [Realtime transcript
2 read in error "combat"] the core [Realtime transcript read in error
3 "corps"] command, headed by the commander of the Guards Brigade; I
4 informed my own security officers.
5 What is important to say in this regard is that data of -- to the
6 security organ does not come from just one chief, it comes from a number
7 of sides to the organs of security, to the administration of security,
8 which then undertakes an analysis to see whether they are true or not. It
9 has to have a number of sources because some information can be planted or
10 misinformation or simply incorrect. So information which is established
11 to be correct is sent to the structures, to the units in that zone, in
12 order for them to plan their further combat missions.
13 MR. MOORE: I don't know if it's a question of translation. I'm
14 looking at 23, 7, and the way I have it doesn't agree with what we
15 understand. It is: "I informed the combat -- the core command, headed by
16 the commander of the Guards Brigade ..." I wonder if my learned friend --
17 it doesn't make sense, I would have thought, just on a common sense basis,
18 whether that could be clarified, if my learned friend would mind doing
20 THE INTERPRETER: Excuse me, if the interpreter can explain. It's
21 "core command," c-o-r-e command, the core command staff.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I thank Mr. Moore. It was obviously a
23 translation mistake.
24 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, this is because you speak too fast.
25 A. So I, as the assistant commander for security of the Guards
1 Motorised Brigade, with documents of this kind and similar documents, had
2 a meeting with a commander; would always inform the commander and the
3 core, c-o-r-e, command staff whose -- namely, his assistants in the
4 command of the Guards Motorised Brigade, in order for that information to
5 be used for further use of the units and the planning of combat
7 Q. A moment ago you mentioned in private session the arrival of
8 Mr. Vasiljevic. Now, in public session, just be careful about that
9 particular part. What was it that he wanted? And were you present when
10 he was there? I think this was the second time that he came.
11 A. This is the way it was: I remembered it well. General Aca
12 Vasiljevic came to Vukovar, or rather, to the zone that was then under the
13 control of the Guards Motorised Brigade three times. The first time he
14 came in the month of October; the second time also in late October or
15 perhaps the beginning ever November - I cannot remember the exact date;
16 and the third time he came - perhaps I remember that date better - during
17 the visit of -- or rather, the day when Mr. Vance was in Vukovar, but he
18 came in the evening.
19 General Vasiljevic was highly disciplined, a fair officer, and
20 what his tasks were, that is to say, why he came, I don't know exactly.
21 Every time he came, he first contacted the commander, and I always found
22 him with the commander. They would invite me to come into the commander's
24 After the talks he had with the commander - and I really don't
25 know what they talked about - he would come to the rooms where I was and
1 he would give me advice in terms of professional guidance with regard to
2 counter-intelligence. He also criticised me in terms of some of the work
3 I was doing where I was exposed perhaps more than I should have. I have
4 already referred to the example of General Adzic's visit. He also asked
5 me for my observations regarding security in the Guards Motorised Brigade.
6 Those were primarily the matters that he discussed then.
7 During his second stay, when I told him about the security
8 situation in the 1st Battalion of the military police, and the problem of
9 Witness P01, since Mr. Aca Vasiljevic knew him as well, when some
10 intelligence work was being done by them, when they had some intelligence
11 assignments that they were on, he wanted to go and talk to him. I advised
12 him not to go, that we would solve the question, but he did go and I know
13 that then, those questions related to their dissatisfaction were not
14 involved. I've already explained how they were resolved.
15 Q. Why did you advise him not to go to the unit?
16 A. I advised him not to go then because of the rumours and stories
17 that were being bandied about even among the members of the Yugoslav
18 Peoples' Army and because I thought that at that moment these people were
19 tired, and that once they got some rest we would find solutions that would
20 make it possible to resolve matters in an easier manner.
21 There were occurrences at that time that many high-ranking
22 officers of the Yugoslav Peoples' Army - how should I put this? - well,
23 they deserted or left the units of the Yugoslav Peoples' Army. And this
24 was being talked about all the time - who was a traitor, who no longer
25 believed in the JNA, and so on.
1 And now I can tell the honourable Trial Chamber and all of you
2 this: When General Vasiljevic attended this meeting, in that unit, there
3 was an exceptionally honourable and honest man in that unit, a Croat, Ivo
4 Pavkovic, an officer, who taught me as well what kind of officer I should
5 be. He had two sons who were NCOs, and he brought both of them out on
6 this mission. Officers were putting questions regarding some statement
7 made by Admiral Grubesic, the commander of the navy, as to why he had
9 The general tried to explain to them, justifying this by saying
10 that it was his children who lived in Split that talked him into it.
11 Mr. Ivo Pavkovic said the following, and I remember his words: "Comrade
12 General, I am a Croat, and I was born in a village near Sibenik." I
13 cannot remember the exact name of the village now. "And I have an
14 argument with all my local villagers and my family because I think that
15 Yugoslavia is a country where we can all live happily together, and now
16 you are justifying what the general did by saying that he listened to his
18 So I'm trying to say that this is what was being discussed at the
19 front line and what people were saying.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we move on to an exhibit now, 749.
21 MR. MOORE: Is my learned friend going to make 3D12 an exhibit?
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could this document, dated
23 the 5th of November, 1991, be admitted into evidence.
24 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
25 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 825, Your Honours.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] 749. Could we please display the
2 second page. I would be interested in this third, fourth paragraph.
3 Could we have it up a bit. Thank you.
4 Q. This is an official report from Operations Group South. It's
5 going up to their superiors and there is a reference to what you talked
6 about a few moments ago and that is the problem related to combat morale.
7 Mr. Sljivancanin, just tell me one thing: From the aspect of
8 security organs, how important is discipline and morale and not to have
9 defeatism and desertion? How important is that from the point of view of
11 A. That is important with regard to all questions, not only security;
12 in terms of command in general. Defeatism, morale, desertion, if that
13 kind of thing happens in units, or rather, if there is a drop in morale,
14 then the command cannot have any kind of task carried out.
15 Q. All right. Do you know, since, in your unit, there was an
16 assistant commander for morale and information - his name was already
17 mentioned - was he, like you, often at the front line? And did he have
18 first-hand information about these things that we have been discussing?
19 A. May I just add one more thing in respect to this document? In my
20 reports, there is a reference to this problem of morale in the 20th
21 Partisan Brigade and the armoured battalion of the 544th, and now you see
22 that it's being referred to in this report as well.
23 As for the assistant commander for morale, throughout the
24 operation regarding the deblockade of the barracks, I never saw him
25 anywhere except for the village of Negoslavci. Now, whether he went
1 anywhere else, I don't know; but I never came across him anywhere else.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we now please look at a
3 document which is marked in e-court 3D050701, and the 65 ter number is
4 3D38. There is an accompanying letter as well. Information about members
5 of the MUP and the ZNG in Vukovar. Again, as far as I can see, this is
6 another document submitted to the security administration. Could we have
7 page 10 of the B/C/S on the screen, and in English, it is page 8.
8 Q. Could you tell us, generally speaking, what this document is,
9 Mr. Sljivancanin?
10 A. Well, this is a similar document but it's much lengthier. It was
11 compiled by the security administration on the basis of information
12 accessible to it from different sources regarding the network of rebel
13 paramilitary forces in Vukovar and their formations, names, as well as
14 groupings at different points where they were that were supposed to be
15 used by the further intelligence work of the organs that were in that
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we see the next page on the
19 Q. What it says here is something that I'm going to read.
20 "Certain information indicates that the nuclear and similar
21 shelters being used by the Croatian paramilitary formations are located as
22 follows: Number 1, shelter located in the middle of Olajnica; then the
23 cellar in Vukovar PU; and number 3, the cellar between the old and new
24 hospitals, which, according to some intelligence, contains about 200
25 wounded. According to some estimates, there could be another 50 people
1 sheltering there. The hospital is guarded by about 7 ZNG members."
2 Was this important information for your own intelligence work?
3 MR. MOORE: It's perhaps late in the day, but I would object to
4 this particular document unless the groundwork has been laid, because as
5 far as I can understand it, this is not a document that was either created
6 as a result of Mr. Sljivancanin's work or that he was a recipient of the
7 document, and consequently, his knowledge of the document has to be
8 established before he, surely, can comment on it vis-a-vis the evidence.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, maybe I was moving too fast.
11 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, tell us what it is that you know about this
12 document. What Mr. Moore asked, did you create this document or did
13 somebody else create this document and did you just come across it?
14 A. As I've already said, like the other documents came in, the ones
15 that we read here about the commanders, talks with Tudjman, and
16 information about what is in the hospital, and so on and so forth, this
17 document comes from the security administration, as they compiled
18 information from different sides. And they know where they collected this
19 information through security organs. And it was sent to the chief of
20 security of the cabinet to the Federal Secretary and then he forwarded
21 that document to me.
22 The procedure was the same like with other documents. First, it
23 is used in intelligence work of the security organs that are subordinated
24 to me, and I informed the commander and command of the Guards Motorised
25 Brigade about excerpts from this document that are used for planning
1 combat actions. These paragraphs that you read out just now say that
2 intelligence information collected then, even before the blockade of the
3 barracks, and the final disarmament of paramilitary formations were
4 correct and according to witness -- witnesses who appeared before this
5 Court said the same thing. They talked about the shelter in Olajnica,
6 they talked about the agricultural farm and where people were being put
7 up, and they talked about the cellars between the two hospitals in
8 Vukovar; that is to say, that the security administration, by its own
9 methods and through its own work, collected this information that was
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I hope that this has been clarified,
12 and I would like to tender this document.
13 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
14 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 826, Your Honours.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We are going to stop with documents
16 now and we are going to talk about a completely different subject, but we
17 will go back to this. I would like for you to testify now, or actually
18 we're going to take a break but then we're going to move on to a subject.
19 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, regarding the evacuation of wounded from the
20 Vukovar Hospital, your name was being referred to, so I would like to ask
21 you: What was it that was going on there? We heard about two convoys in
22 evidence here. What happened the first time? What happened the second
23 time? Would you start first ...
24 A. Once the siege had been lifted and the paramilitaries had been
25 disarmed, on about the 10th of October, an order came from the Superior
1 Command. I would like for you at the end to ask me about my conversation
2 with Marin Vidic about this matter. An order came from the Superior
3 Command to cease all operations and, over the following two or three days,
4 to receive a humanitarian convoy on its way to Vukovar. They said that
5 convoy should be used to evacuate all the wounded from the town.
6 The command of the Guards Brigade, headed by the commander and all
7 the senior officers, did whatever it could to stop the fighting at the
8 cost of sustaining the greatest losses up until that point. And, indeed,
9 we complied with the cease-fire.
10 On the 13th of November, rather, the 13th of October -- my
11 mistake, I apologise. Somebody might be wondering how come I remember the
12 date. Because I have a document that I believe you will be showing later
13 on. The commander, Mr. Mrksic, determined the tasks and handed the tasks
14 out to Colonel Pavkovic and myself, telling us to go to the village of
15 Marinci to take over the convoy from units of the 1st Guards Division and
16 to bring it back to Vukovar in the safest possible way as well as to allow
17 it to cross into the area under the control of Croat paramilitaries.
18 I used the radio that I told you about yesterday; I explained
19 yesterday how I had got hold of it. And I repeatedly called the commander
20 of the Croat paramilitary forces on that day, pleading with him to create
21 conditions that were safe for those people who were coming in to help
22 them. However, more often than not, they would not react. This fell on
23 deaf ears. They carried out acts of provocation and they fired at us.
24 It wasn't before that afternoon that we got the convoy safe, as
25 far as the Vukovar Hospital. Again, we called the commander of the Croat
1 paramilitary forces to open up a passage for the convoy to take the
2 asphalt road down the Sajmiste Street all the way up to the downtown
3 area. There's one thing that I wish to say now about something that I saw
4 on the Zagreb TV last year, something they like to refer to as the
5 commemoration of the fall of Vukovar. The programme is called Latinica,
6 and there was this commander who was called to that programme and he
7 stated this verbatim, "The convoy was not allowed to pass because
8 Sljivancanin wanted to use his cunning in order to enter Vukovar in
9 tanks," which is the worst piece of nonsense I've heard of in ages.
10 That's not what I was thinking about at the time, nor did I have any tanks
11 under my command.
12 Still, they did not allow the convoy through and the convoy had to
13 spend that night at the Vukovar barracks. There were about 100 vehicles
14 in that convoy - trucks, medical vehicles, carrying supplies and all the
15 other necessities. This convoy was led by a person named Robert Michel.
16 We members of the Guards Brigade did our best to make sure conditions were
17 safe for them and to allow the convoy to enter Vukovar.
18 During that night, fire was opened on the barracks, so the people
19 driving those vehicles and accompanying the convoy got scared. They asked
20 for the convoy to be sent back. I remained adamant that they should drive
21 into Vukovar and the commander was adamant, too. We called the command of
22 the 1st Military District, specifically General Panic. He decided that
23 since they had refused to proceed, they should be sent back, and we were
24 to make sure they got back to Vinkovci safe. This task was far harder
25 than the task of bringing the convoy in.
1 I talked to Robert Michel and I said we'd do everything, but I
2 said what I wanted in return from him was a certificate saying that we had
3 done all within our power. And he said he would oblige as soon as we got
4 the convoy as far as Vinkovci, the perimeter of the Vinkovci area.
5 When we reached the villages of Marinci, we faced a great deal of
6 trouble with the locals and the village's TO. They virtually were
7 hellbent on attacking the convoy and all the people there. Their main
8 reason, at least that's the way they painted the situation, was the day
9 before we escorted the convoy through the village, Croat paramilitary
10 forces had entered the village and committed a massacre. So what they
11 were saying now was, "We are burying our own people today that were killed
12 yesterday because of the convoy, and you JNA traitors are doing nothing
13 but helping the Croats along." That was a difficult situation.
14 So, again, I'm coming back to the Latinica programme on Croatian
15 TV, the one that I saw last year, where Mr. Paraga and the commander of
16 the Croatian forces both stated that on the 13th, at 6.00, they had
17 initiated a breakaway through the village of Marinci and then on to
18 Vukovar. They tried to break through and they showed a document to that
19 effect, allegedly.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Before the break can we just look at
21 another document.
22 A. Please allow me to finish. We managed to safely get the convoy
23 back. The convoy drove back into Croatia without having accomplished its
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just another document, 3D010060, one
1 last document before the break. We have it in e-court.
2 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, you know what we are about to bring up on the
3 screen, don't you?
4 MR. MOORE: Is this a 3D Defence document working on the Defence
5 number or is it an exhibit? Because I've just got the one number.
6 Normally we get 3D37 or 36 or 25. Does my learned friend have that
7 particular number? It would help enormously.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] This is ID 3D010060. There, it's on
9 our screens right now.
10 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, that's the English. I'm not asking you to read
11 it. We know there's a B/C/S version, too. What is this, in a nutshell,
13 A. This is a certificate that I was issued personally by Mr. Michel,
14 in his own hand, on the 14th of October, 1991, in the village of Marinci,
15 when the convoy was returned to Croatia.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] So the document was then translated
17 into B/C/S. Can we please have the B/C/S admitted into evidence; the
18 English, too.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Both will be admitted.
20 THE REGISTRAR: With exhibit reference 827, Your Honours.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think it's time for our break, Your
23 JUDGE PARKER: We will resume at ten minutes to 11.00.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, could you please keep your answers as brief as
4 possible. As Judge Parker has noticed, we have a lot of different
5 subjects to go through and we have a lot of important things to say, so
6 please bear that in mind. If necessary, we can raise further issues in
7 redirect. For the time being, let's stick to what is really important.
8 Now let us move on to that second evacuation in October, if we can
9 call it that. What happened several days later, if you can give us a
10 brief description?
11 A. Several days later, after that first convoy failed to go through,
12 again, Colonel Pavkovic and I received an assignment from the commander to
13 meet a new convoy in the village of Marinci. Again, the convoy was led by
14 Robert Michel and it comprised a lot less vehicles than the first time
15 around. There were about 30, mostly medical vehicles and the odd small
16 truck; no trailers this time around.
17 Again, he asked that the convoy take the road through the village
18 of Bogdanovci. Like the first time around, we warned him that the road
19 was booby-trapped and that the village was under the control of the Croat
20 paramilitary units. We said we could take him near that village but no
21 further than that. We showed him the map to indicate where we would be
22 waiting for him so that they might be escorted from Bogdanovci to
23 Vukovar. This is the area around elevation 102, along the road, the
24 village of Bogdanovci, in the Vukovar area. He agreed, saying that he had
25 another commitment to take someone along who was waiting in the village of
1 Bogdanovci; I don't know who that was.
2 We took them near the village. They took a different road from
3 there. We went back and informed Commander Mrksic about this. I don't
4 remember exactly what Mrksic told us but I know that he, too, later went
5 with us to elevation 102 to see if the convoy would reach Vukovar safely.
6 We had received orders from our own Superior Command that no fire must be
7 opened and that we had to make sure the convoy got into Vukovar. We
8 complied with that decision.
9 When we reached elevation 102, as far as I remember, there was a
10 unit deployed there. It was a unit of the armoured battalion of the 212th
11 Mechanised Brigade. I might be off the mark, but I think that was the
12 unit that was there. I know the commander informed the battalion
13 commander that the convoy had not got through. We were concerned about
14 this because we were responsible for this convoy. I don't know what tasks
15 the commander then issued to the commander of the armoured battalion, but
16 he should have exercised better control over his own territory at the
17 time. That is certain.
18 We waited there, and after some time the convoy emerged from the
19 direction of Vukovar. They were travelling through some cornfields. I
20 could indicate that on the map that we used. It was preceded by a car
21 bearing a -- white Zastava car, a white Zastava 101. The people walking
22 ahead of the convoy opened fire on the soldiers manning a tank. They left
23 the Zastava car behind, ran out, and started running through the
24 cornfield. Commander Mrksic then ordered that no one was to open fire,
25 regardless of the fact that we had been fired at, that those people had
1 fired at our soldiers. We never found out who the persons from that
2 vehicle were.
3 The convoy stopped right there. A group of officers descended
4 from elevation 102 and went into the cornfield where we met up with Robert
5 Michel. We got the convoy as far as elevation 102, the asphalt road
6 leading from Bogdanovci to Vukovar, and Commander Mrksic had a word with
7 Mr. Robert Michel. He explained, as far as I remember, that he had been
8 derailed, as it were, by the people in Bogdanovci to a village road, and
9 that was the reason he had not been able to comply with what had been
10 agreed. But they had difficulty with this minefield, he said.
11 Nonetheless, he asked us to show him the best asphalt road that they could
12 now take to go back to Bogdanovci, because apparently he had some people
13 there in Bogdanovci that he had left behind, people from the convoy, and
14 that he now needed to pick up.
15 The commander showed him the road - I can indicate that on the
16 map - and the conversation was over. They headed out. They took that
17 road back to Bogdanovci. Colonel Pavkovic and I were supposed to take the
18 long way around, through the village of Petrovci, and arrive outside the
19 village of Bogdanovci to take them further to the village of Marinci from
20 where they would eventually be able to return to Croatia.
21 About 800 metres away from where we were, in the direction of the
22 village of Bogdanovci, we heard an explosion, and I remember clearly the
23 fifth vehicle in that column was blown up. So the first four got through,
24 but the fifth vehicle was a vehicle belonging to the international
25 observers, the international monitors. So what we feared most eventually
1 happened. We feared that someone might provoke an accident or something
2 like that so that they might be able to say that the JNA units were
3 hampering the international monitors, yet again.
4 This time around, two ladies, or a lady, was wounded. I'm not
5 quite certain. I do know for a fact, though, that immediately a JNA
6 ambulance came and took them to the Negoslavci hospital. From there, they
7 were taken by helicopter to the Military Medical Academy in Belgrade.
8 Robert Michel returned and asked for the JNA to again take charge
9 of that convoy. The commander offered for him to take the asphalt road to
10 Vukovar and then down another asphalt road to the village of Petrovci and
11 on to Sid. Robert Michel said he was willing to go to the village of
12 Petrovci but was not willing to go back to Vukovar; rather, while being
13 shown the map, and we indicated to him the distance between these two
14 places, he chose a plain or some sort of a village road and he wanted to
15 take that road and the asphalt road to the village of Petrovci. Commander
16 Mrksic agreed.
17 Our members of command returned and I was ordered to stay behind
18 with some military policemen who would make sure they were safe until they
19 reached the asphalt road and were on their way back to the area under the
20 control of the 1st Guards Division, near the village of Petrovci.
21 Once they were on their way - it was raining heavily; this was
22 afternoon of that day - the vehicles got bogged down on that dirt track
23 and they couldn't move forward or, indeed, turn back. We tried to free
24 those vehicles by using APCs and we spent the whole night doing that until
25 we got them back to the Petrovci road. I exchanged greetings with
1 Mr. Michel. We were all soaked to our skin.
2 Then, at one point, one of these vehicles disgorged one of our
3 soldiers whom I had been looking for, someone who had gone missing on the
4 2nd of October. He had recognised the voices of his own fellow soldiers
5 who were pulling those vehicles out by using APCs. The name of this
6 soldier is Zivkovic, and he was a member of the armoured battalion.
7 Q. Thank you. Let's pause there for a while. You keep mentioning to
8 the village of -- we keep mentioning the village of Bogdanovci. Under
9 whose firepower, as it were, was the village of Bogdanovci? Who was
10 controlling that village at the time?
11 A. The village of Bogdanovci, all the way up until the 18th or
12 possibly the 15th of November, remained under the control of the Croat
13 paramilitary forces.
14 Q. Based on your information, what exactly brought about this
15 explosion and caused those ladies in the convoy to be hurt or injured?
16 Who provoked that incident?
17 A. It was one of the defenders of that village. We later realised,
18 when we arrived, they placed a mine from the cornfield underneath that
19 vehicle and the grenade was placed under the fifth vehicle in that convoy,
20 consisting of international monitors.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we now please place on our screens
22 the map marked ZA004292.
23 THE REGISTRAR: I cannot find this document in e-court. Okay.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a minute, please. 3D0060009.
25 This is one of the documents which we received in the OTP's disclosure and
1 it accompanied the reports of the European Monitoring Mission at the time,
2 so that I do not know who is the author or what has been drawn in the map,
3 but I think that it is useful.
4 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, let us not repeat the entire story. Just draw
5 in the sector which was controlled by the paramilitary units of Croatia.
6 Where did you wait for them? Where is this elevation point? And where
7 did this incident, i.e., suffering, occur?
8 A. The elevation point 102 is right here.
9 Q. Can we zoom in on this map, please.
10 A. So I said elevation 102.
11 Q. Perhaps we could go on now and then ...
12 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can I show it on the map in Exhibit
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I don't know whether Mr. Sljivancanin
16 has a paper map in front of him which we could place on the ELMO and then
17 try to proceed.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Well, then, perhaps that would be the best way to proceed. Put it
21 on the ELMO and then use that copy and then tender it into evidence.
22 A. I said elevation point 102 is right here. Should I mark it?
23 Q. Mark it with number 1.
24 A. Yes, I shall draw a line here to indicate it, so 1. The village
25 of Bogdanovci, which was controlled by the paramilitary forces of Croatia,
1 was right here, in this part. More or less, this is it. Lusac, this was
2 under their control. Outside this line was under the control of the
3 Croatian paramilitary forces.
4 Q. Put number 2 there, and thereby you are showing whether it is true
5 whether, from there, they had access to Vukovar, a link with Vukovar.
6 A. They had a link via this field road by the Vuka River through
7 Lusac and on. Evidence has been presented here time and again and a lot
8 has been said about it.
9 So the village of Marinci, shall I mark that, too?
10 Q. Yes.
11 A. The village of Marinci is here, marked with a number 3.
12 Q. And that was under whose control?
13 A. It was in the zone of operations of the 1st Guards Motorised
14 Division. They held that village, and when we met that convoy at this
15 cross roads, they took the turn to Bogdanovci. They went to Bogdanovci,
16 and, as Robert Michel told us later, they took this road along the River
17 Vuka, towards Vukovar, from Bogdanovci. He did not take the asphalt road
18 where we were waiting for him at elevation 102. And the convoy returned
19 from Vukovar. He took this road here, this direction, towards elevation
20 102, and that is this area number 4.
21 Q. That's right.
22 A. After the talk with the commander, he set off in this direction,
23 and that is indicated by arrow number 5, towards the village of
25 After the mine incident, they returned to the elevation point 102,
1 and at night, I took them in this direction, marked by 6, to the asphalt
2 road, pulling them out of the asphalt road towards the village of
4 Q. Mark by a number 7 where the explosion occurred.
5 A. I shall put a point there and then I shall draw an arrow. This is
6 more or less where this explosion happened. Perhaps it was closer to the
7 village. So it is marked by number 7.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can we tender this into
9 evidence, extract it from this batch, and Mr. Sljivancanin will not be
10 needing this particular paper anymore.
11 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
12 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 828, Your Honours.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we look at a short video clip,
14 some video footage, in connection with this. That is a video clip which
15 is part of the V document -- of the video document, V000-5034.
16 [Videotape played]
17 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] On this road here, you could have
18 passed by the asphalt road with all of our best regards, because we do not
19 want the wounded in Vukovar to die but to be pulled out. We waited for
20 you and you are taking secret roads, danger roads, to endanger your own
21 lives and the lives of the wounded. [In English] Withdraw from this town
22 as much as possible wounded people."
23 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
24 Q. [Interpretation] What is this, and who was talking here? Who is
25 this dialogue between?
1 A. This is a dialogue of Commander Mrksic and Mr. Robert Michel, and
2 I believe that this was a conversation which took place at elevation point
3 102. I don't know the exact date right now, but some four days must have
4 elapsed since the day of the first convoy.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can we tender this video
6 into evidence.
7 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
8 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 829, Your Honours.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Speaking of the date, let us take a
10 look at one exhibit which is related to this and wrap up this topic. It
11 is Exhibit 327, which I should like to ask to be placed on the screen.
12 Page 2 of the B/C/S version, that is a report of the command of the 1st
13 Army District, 1st Military District, of the 19th of October, 1991, number
14 832-85/115. If we can bring up page 2, the bottom part. This is it.
15 Q. Let us read the text. Is this a report which pertains to and does
16 it describe what you have just testified about? You can read it to
17 yourself or you can read it out, if you prefer.
18 A. I can read it out, if need be, but this is a report which pertains
19 exactly to what I have been describing, and this document shows that it
20 took place on the 19th of October, 1991.
21 Q. This is a report of the 19th of October, and a lot about it has
22 been said in the war log of the Guards Brigade with a precise timetable of
23 the events that happened. And perhaps we will be taking a look at that,
24 too, but now we shall move on to another topic.
25 You obviously had frequent contacts with journalists during your
1 stay in Vukovar. Can I ask you why, and how come? And how was it
3 A. Well, during the execution of combat operations and the lifting of
4 the blockade on the barracks in Vukovar, it is true that I had frequent
5 encounters with the press.
6 First of all, journalists were always curious to come and -- come
7 by the most recent information in connection with the execution of combat
9 There have been different testimonies about me here and I am not
10 hiding this fact. From the first day, I was, throughout the day, on the
11 front line and I toured all the troops of the Motorised Guards Brigade, in
12 particular the young soldiers from the 2nd Battalion of the military
13 police and the 2nd Motorised Battalion, because these were soldiers who
14 were just completing their third month of their combat training and had
15 not completed their full combat training by that time.
16 Combat training was supposed to last five months and 22 days,
17 according to our teaching curricula and plans at that time, but they were
18 not fortunate enough, seeing -- in view of everything that had befallen
19 us, and they had to go and carry out this mission that was assigned to us.
20 I regarded all those soldiers - and I was relatively young at that
21 time - as my own sons, and it was really hard for me -- it would have been
22 hard for me if anything had happened to any of them. So by my presence, I
23 wanted sometimes to draw their attention to the fact that -- because they
24 were playing like children, you know, that they should be wary, lest some
25 surprises happened.
1 Secondly, I was at the front line, as I have said at the
2 beginning, and I really did my level best to learn any and all information
3 about our soldiers who went missing in order to liberate them and return
4 them to the unit. And I was also at the front line because I very often
5 was called by senior commanding officers whom I knew from Belgrade or from
6 other garrisons in the territory of Yugoslavia, and sometimes also people
7 called me from the command of the 1st Military District, very often, I
8 have to say, including senior commanding officers who were Croats, who
9 asked me to find some of their kin, relatives, and members of their
10 families and to send them to Sid, if I could. And I did that.
11 So the journalists, when they came to the front line -- and there
12 was, by the way, a press centre in Negoslavci. The press centre was
13 managed by Captain Radojica Zvorcan, who, for a while, was the commander
14 of a military police company in the 1st Battalion of the military police
15 when I was the commander of that battalion, and he asked me to help me
16 out, saying that the assistant for morale would not come to the front
17 line. And he asked for assistance to help him actually direct the
18 journalists and respond to their requests.
19 As all of these were accredited journalists who had been issued
20 permits from the Federal Secretariat for National Defence, I considered
21 that we had nothing to hide from them and that we, as members of the
22 Yugoslav Peoples' Army, were doing everything publicly, irrespective of
23 the fact that I was the chief of security, that we wanted to help every
24 person and every citizen of our country.
25 Q. Did you have any contacts and did you have this position when it
1 came to the treatment of foreign journalists as well at that time?
2 A. Actually, I was even more cooperative when it came to foreign
3 journalists and I took more pains to provide their security than when it
4 came to journalists who came from our country. And I always did my best
5 to be available, to be there for them, to show them everything that we
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we now see the document marked
8 3D010058 on the screen, please.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Until it comes up on the screen, I
10 can also add this: I remember on one occasion, personally, the chief of
11 the cabinet of the Federal Secretary, Mr. Vuk Obranovic, asked, through
12 the commander, through Mr. Mrksic, that a team of journalists, led by
13 Mr. van Lynden, a journalist who took the stand here, for them to spend
14 the night at the positions of our units and to be with us. And, with
15 permission from my commander, I personally took him to the anti-terrorist
16 unit and I spent the entire night with them in order to prevent anything
17 from happening to them. And they spent the night on those positions with
18 those people.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, this document is in English but I believe that
21 you are familiar with it. What is this, and what did you get it? If you
22 did get it, how did you come by it?
23 A. Upon returning from Vukovar, and during the execution of missions
24 in Vukovar, I received letters from different people, including
25 journalists, and I remember very well this document. I received this
1 letter whilst still in Vukovar. I remember that it was the 4th of
2 November, the day of the Guards Motorised Brigade. The letter was sent to
3 me by a British journalist who was staying in Vukovar and had contact with
4 me during his stay in Vukovar. And this is the letter and I'm still
5 keeping it and I'm glad that I still have it.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can we tender this
7 document into evidence.
8 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
9 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 830, Your Honours.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we go into private session for a
12 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
13 [Private session]
11 [Open session]
12 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honour.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. We saw from the video footage and we heard from testimony that you
15 had direct contact with international organisations as well and with the
16 International Red Cross. Very soon we are going to move on to those dates
17 that we are particularly interested in. But I would like to ask you the
18 following: Before the 18th of November, did you have any contact with
19 Mr. Borsinger, first and foremost, and what kind of contacts were they,
20 during the war operations, during combat?
21 A. As for Mr. Nicholas Borsinger, I had contacts with him from
22 sometime in mid-October until the ultimate -- or rather, until the 21st of
23 November, in the evening, every day in Vukovar.
24 Mr. Borsinger -- actually, a day would not go by without him
25 coming to see me for an hour or two and without me taking him along the
1 front line in Vukovar. And he spent most of his time in Velepromet, in
2 the centre, where civilians came at the time. And he said that he would
3 help in terms of bringing food supplies, medicine, and so on.
4 Unfortunately, he didn't bring anything ever, except for that one time we
5 went to the Vukovar Hospital.
6 I was on very friendly, very good terms with him. Later on, we
7 remained on friendly terms as well. I never feel that our relationship
8 was impaired in any way. If Mr. Borsinger is listening to this somewhere
9 now, I'm asking him to come forth and to say the truth, whether this is
10 the truth. I tried to help him do everything that he intended. I even
11 did not ask the commander for permission, and sometimes I even went apart
12 from regulations. I found a house near the press centre and I asked
13 Captain Radojica Zvorcan to always make it possible for him and his team
14 to spend the night at the house, if necessary.
15 And, indeed, for these international organisations, if I had a
16 good relationship with anyone, it was with Mr. Nicholas Borsinger.
17 Q. Now, I would just like to deal with the war diary as quickly as
18 possible and then let us move on to the events that everyone here is
19 interested in the most. Just a few entries in the war diary and I believe
20 that you are a relevant witness for this. So please let us move on to --
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] It is Exhibit 401. The B/C/S version
22 is 02935465. Actually, I'd like to ask for something else, if we can deal
23 with this in a chronological manner. The B/C/S page is 13-02935446, the
24 entry from the 4th of October at 12.00. Page 13. The B/C/S. Right.
25 Thank you. The English, page 12. The 4th of the October, at 12.00.
1 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, can you see that entry?
2 A. Well --
3 MR. MOORE: I'm sorry to interrupt. I understand the
4 difficulties. We don't have such an entry on our copy. Is it possible to
5 put it on the screen?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't have that entry either.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please. I have it
8 right in front of me. The pages are a bit mixed up here. I'll tell you,
9 the English version -- well, all right, it's the right entry here on the
10 screen, and in English here it is, 0100507. We've already made comments
11 about that.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have it now, fine.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. We've already made comments with regard to this entry.
15 A. Here it says the village of Negoslavci, 1200 hours, the 4th of
17 "The reconnaissance organs of the 1st Motorised Battalion have
18 reported that in the old and the new hospitals is the Ustasha headquarters
19 that is underground."
20 I already made comments on that with regard to the reports from
21 the security administration.
22 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, in your view, how far away were Jastreb's
23 headquarters? We're going to talk about that later. How far away from
24 the hospital?
25 A. I was personally in that shelter on the 19th, in the evening, and
1 on the 20th, in the afternoon and in the morning. This is the 19th and
2 20th of November. And I can measure it in steps, say it is 200 or 300
3 metres at the most. That's the distance.
4 Q. All right.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Let's move on to another entry. That
6 is 02935457. The English version -- the B/C/S version is page 24, rather,
7 and the English version is page 22. The entry is dated the 11th of
8 October; the time is 1645 hours. I'm going to read it out. The
9 handwriting is quite illegible, so I imagine that the English version will
10 be more readily understandable.
11 Q. "Received order of the command of the 1st IKM Military District,
12 number 1614-82/18, of the 11th of October, 1991, regulating the procedure
13 of vehicles entering the town of Vukovar with food and journalists and the
14 treatment of women, children, and the elderly."
15 We don't have this order among our documents, at least I didn't
16 manage to find it except for this entry in the war diary. Tell me, then,
17 do you remember, after this document, what the procedure was in relation
18 to these matters, especially this treatment of women, children, and the
19 elderly? Why are younger men not referred to there, if I can put it that
21 A. I have already spoken about that. I talked about it yesterday.
22 Q. Could you just slow down a bit, please.
23 A. When we came to the area of Vukovar, I personally expected - and I
24 believe that many other officers did, too --
25 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, I really have to interrupt you. I keep telling
1 you: Please slow down. Speak two times slower than you are speaking now.
2 A. I apologise. I and, I believe, many other officers were expecting
3 that when our units came to Vukovar that people would accept us as their
4 own soldiers and make it possible for us to carry out our task of
5 disarming the paramilitary formations, and for people to live a normal
6 life in that town. However, the opposite happened.
7 When fierce combat started, if I can put it that way, all of a
8 sudden, many civilians started cropping up - women, children, and so on.
9 As far as I can remember, this order regulated the following: that all
10 women, children, and elderly persons and persons who are unfit for
11 carrying out combat, if I can put it that way, should be allowed to leave
12 the combat zone and that they should be evacuated to the Red Cross in
13 Sid. Whoever wished to remain at their homes could stay on. We wouldn't
14 touch them.
15 Why men are not being referred to, well, the reason for that is
16 that all able-bodied military-aged men should stay on and help the units
17 of the JNA carry out these tasks. That is how I understood that order, as
18 far as I can remember it.
19 Q. We are going to look at one of your reports later on. What about
20 the feeling of the local population? Did they want to actively
21 participate in combat, in your view?
22 A. The prevailing feelings differed or varied. Many of these local
23 people were sometimes even bothered, if I can put it that way, by the
24 Yugoslav Peoples' Army, because they called for discipline, law and order,
25 and some say that they minded the fact that we wore the red five-pointed
1 star. So feelings varied, as I said to you.
2 Q. Thank you. Now we are going to look at something else. It seems
3 that Mr. Theunens and the Prosecutor were particularly interested in
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The page I would like to display now
6 on the screen is 0293-5466. The English version, page 30; B/C/S version
7 is 33. That is the entry of the 21st of October, at 1630 hours. Perhaps
8 we can zoom in on the lower part.
9 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, what it says here is:
10 "On the 21st of October, at 1630 hours, Major Veselin Sljivancanin
11 informed General Panic that, during the course of the day, he corrected
12 artillery fire in the Mitnica sector at about 1300 hours."
13 What can you tell us about this entry? Just please speak slower
14 and try to be as brief as possible.
15 A. I've already said in my reports, too, that as I was touring the
16 units, and as I spoke to individuals, I came to learn that artillery units
17 of the 1st Military District are not targeting precisely, and they're even
18 hitting the positions of our own soldiers. I informed my commander,
19 Colonel Mrksic, about that, too. Mrksic intervened with the command of
20 the 1st Military District, but individuals proclaimed me to be too
21 emotional, that is to say, individuals from the command of the 1st
22 Military District, and that I was taking this in a way, well, that was not
24 Again, I remained at these positions and I spent the night with
25 the unit commanded by Witness P01, and I experienced something like that.
1 And, again, I asked the commander to have attention drawn to this and to
2 prevent things like that from happening.
3 General Panic personally wanted to speak to me; he was the
4 commander of the Military District. I explain what this was all about.
5 He had his doubts regarding my report, but he said that he would send the
6 chief of artillery to see for himself whether that was true. He came on
7 this day, as stated here, the chief of artillery - I remember his name was
8 Colonel Grce - to the commander. The commander is present there, too. We
9 informed him about the situation and it was agreed that the colonel should
10 go with me to Vukovar, that I should select a target, and that we should
11 check whether that is true.
12 Colonel Grce gave orders to some artillery officers who I don't
13 know - I cannot remember all names now - to go with me, and we chose the
14 area of the observation point of Vinarija, in Vukovar. That is the
15 building from which Mitnica can be seen the best, because this is a plain,
16 this is where it is flat.
17 At a lower level of Mitnica, there was the fortification from
18 where they were firing towards Dudinjak. I asked the colonel to have
19 artillery commanded from there, as this is done through communications
20 equipment, and that his observers should see where the shells will fall.
21 He took all his people along - his signalmen, his other soldiers -
22 and he did this at Vinarija. They targeted individual targets. I think
23 they used howitzers of 122 millimetres and then howitzers of 155. And to
24 keep this as short as possible, not a single artillery piece hit its
25 target. They really went off the mark, even up to 400 metres.
1 From there, we went to the firing positions of the units. He took
2 me in his vehicle to where these units were deployed to check why this was
3 not done right. Since it was raining heavily at the time - and it was a
4 flat land; there is mud - the units were dug in the ground and their
5 ammunition got wet due to the heavy rain. And it was concluded that it
6 was their gunpowder charges that got damp and that that is why these
7 mistakes were made.
8 This was the professional answer of the artillery organs. We
9 returned to the command post. We told the commander about this and they
10 understood that I was right. The commander ordered me to report
11 personally, then, to General Panic and to tell him that what I had talked
12 about was true. And that is why this entry was made in the war diary.
13 Q. Why did you, as a security organ, take such an active part in this
14 matter? Why did it matter so much to you?
15 A. In my answer, I said that officers from the command of the 1st
16 Military District doubted the veracity of the information that I had
17 provided. I was in a situation where I had to justify such information
18 and prove that it was accurate. There is no greater task for a security
19 organ than to ascertain whether an activity was the work of the enemy, if
20 it turns out that your own forces are killing each other.
21 Q. That wraps up the issue of the war log. Now we'll be moving on to
22 the events described in the indictment, those that get the greatest amount
23 of attention during this trial.
24 Is there any reason why you remember the 18th [as interpreted] of
25 November, 1991?
1 A. There was a method, a security method, that I used at the time and
2 this method is called "misinformation."
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Correction: I said the 17th of
4 November and the transcript reflects the 18th.
5 Q. We'll talk about that later but now we're talking about the 17th
6 of November, 1991.
7 A. Again, it seems you are trying to get me to say something
8 specific, and this is something that we discussed. Yes, I remember this
9 date really well because I used a method of security work
10 called "spreading misinformation." That's what the method was called. I
11 was criticised for this but that's what I did.
12 What am I talking about? I said before that, during the lifting
13 of the siege of the barracks, we had captured very few paramilitaries.
14 Throughout this entire time, it didn't go beyond a mere 20 for as long as
15 a month, 20 people captured. Based on interviews that I conducted with
16 those people, I learned, "Whenever we can, we watched TV Belgrade most of
17 all, because TV Belgrade conveys information in an accurate manner without
18 trying to hide anything. TV Zagreb is something we no longer watch
19 because they are trying to manipulate us and are lying to us." I said,
20 "What sort of information?" and they said, "TV Belgrade shows exactly
21 the footage which shows the position of your forces and we know exactly
22 the street in which your forces are deployed or how far you got, that sort
23 of thing."
24 As we had spent quite some time in the area, my desire was to
25 complete the mission as soon as possible and for Vukovar to be a free
1 town. This was Sunday, the 17th.
2 On Sundays, there was one television centre in Yugoslavia which
3 aired TV news for the whole territory of the former Yugoslavia. It was
4 that afternoon, the afternoon of the 17th, that I was at Milovo Brdo with
5 Major Tesic.
6 On the preceding days, Major Tesic was in the area all the time.
7 Major Tesic told me that a TV crew from Novi Sad was asking to speak to
8 me. Bearing in mind what I had been told by the captured members of the
9 Croat paramilitary units, I advised the officers to not take all their
10 teams to the front line because then everybody watching the TV would know
11 our positions. Nonetheless, Tesic went there to tell the crew that I
12 would not be making a statement and that I wasn't in the area. However,
13 they were persistent and eventually I decided to make a statement. They
14 told me they were a crew preparing the 1930 hours TV news to be aired
15 throughout the former Yugoslavia. Having remembered what I had been told
16 by the captured paramilitaries, I stated, among other things, that Vukovar
17 had been liberated. So this is a piece of misinformation that I tried to
18 have circulated just to see what the Croat paramilitaries would do next.
19 There are other things that I said in that particular declaration,
20 and I can't remember everything that I said. Later, I realised that I had
21 made a mistake because I had failed to confer with my commander for him to
22 approve this method.
23 At about 1800 hours, I was back at the command post and I reported
24 to the commander. I told him about making such and such a statement for
25 TV Novi Sad and what my intention was. He criticised me, but there was no
1 changing what had happened. I hoped that this would eventually not be
2 aired. So that evening, at about 8.00, we watched the Novi Sad TV news
3 and the supplement and they aired my statement as it was. The first name
4 they put on the screen was "Major Veselin Sljivovcanin." They twisted my
5 name around, but my name had never previously appeared on a TV screen, so
6 they didn't know.
7 Later on, at about 9.00 that evening, I had this radio and I got a
8 call over this radio from one of the Croatian paramilitaries, asking to
9 speak to "Major Sljivovcanin." That's why I remember this happening
10 because they didn't get my name right. I told the commander about this,
11 and straight after we received a call at the switchboard of our signals
12 unit and they said that they wished to discuss the possibility of a
13 surrender. We conferred briefly and took this for some sort of deception,
14 a ploy, because our own forces at the front line were meager at the time,
15 because many people had been wounded. The reservists had left. We had
16 sent away some of the volunteers that we believed could no longer stay at
17 the front line.
18 As a result, Colonel Mrksic ordered me not to talk to anyone
19 anymore. He also said that all conversations would be conducted through
20 the signals switchboard at the brigade's headquarters and he said that he
21 would be conducting any future conversations or any other officers present
22 there. So I simply switched my radio off.
23 I know that throughout that night members of the Croat
24 paramilitary forces called, because the next morning I received a report
25 to that effect. I know it was at about 1.00 or 2.00, early in the
1 morning, and Mr. Mrksic scheduled a meeting for the following morning,
2 early morning hours, at about 8.00 or 9.00, a meeting with Marin Vidic,
3 Bili. I listened to his conversation with Marin Vidic, Bili, over the
4 radio the following morning and the conditions that he imposed.
5 The morning of the 18th of November, 1991, he gave Colonel
6 Pavkovic the responsibility of using our eavesdropping equipment to talk
7 to the Mitnica commander about their surrender, which Pavkovic eventually
8 did at about 9.00. I'm talking about the morning of the 18th of November,
10 Q. Do you remember the conversation between Colonel Mrksic and
11 Mr. Marin Vidic, Bili? You said you were there when they talked. What
12 exactly did Mrksic say on that occasion? What were the conditions that he
13 specified, the conditions for their surrender, insofar as that was
14 discussed at all? And where exactly was Mr. Vidic located, in which area?
15 A. Colonel Pavkovic had returned to the command post of the Guards
16 Brigade, if I remember correctly, at about 9.00. It may have been between
17 9.00 and 10.00. From this place where we had our eavesdropping equipment,
18 which was a place between Negoslavci and Ovcara, he said he had got in
19 touch with the forces at Mitnica and that they were now willing to
21 As far as I was able to memorise his words, Mr. Mrksic dictated to
22 Mr. Vidic the terms of surrender. I think Vidic was speaking from the
23 hospital area. That was outside our own area and we still said that we
24 would accept their surrender under the following terms: All of the armed
25 paramilitaries should go to the stadium known as Rupe, and I can show you
1 the location of the stadium on the map. He said they should lay down
2 their weapons and he would guarantee safety for those of the JNA men who
3 would be checking that.
4 Q. Who is "he"?
5 A. I mean Marin Vidic. As far as I know, Marin Vidic was not able to
6 make that promise off the bat, in terms of being able to control the whole
7 situation, but he did say that he would get back to us later, as soon as
8 he had agreed everything with those people who were about to surrender.
9 However, I don't think he called again to talk about the surrender or the
10 terms of surrender.
11 Q. Can I therefore conclude, without leading, that these were two
12 separate instances of people surrendering? Are we talking about the same
13 forces surrendering from the same area or were these two different groups
15 A. These were two totally different locations. On the one hand,
16 there were the forces at Mitnica under the command of Dmitar Karaula, and
17 on the other, the forces in the general hospital area. I don't know who
18 their commander was.
19 At this point in time, those two groups were not in touch.
20 Mitnica was in the area of operations of the Guards Brigade, whereas the
21 hospital, at that time, was not.
22 Q. Can you tell us what happened later? Let's talk about the Mitnica
23 group first, the Mitnica evacuation. Do you know what happened next, that
24 morning? And then we'll see what you did.
25 A. Having conducted these talks, Commander Mrksic issued precise
1 assignments to the officers, or rather, the unit commanders, tasking
2 Colonel Pavkovic and Colonel Marko Maric, who was the assistant for moral
3 guidance, with going there and negotiating the surrender at Mitnica. He
4 tasked me, or rather gave me a task, with tracking down the ICRC people
5 because I was the one liaising with them, and to allow them to go and
6 attend the surrender negotiations. He also said that I should make sure,
7 through the press centre, for journalists to be there and to wait there
8 until all the terms had been agreed, all the terms of the surrender, and
9 to keep them from straying and wandering all along the front line. If any
10 international organisation arrived or their representatives, he said I
11 should welcome them and show them whatever I could. That was as far as he
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would now like to see
14 a clip. This is V0000686. We have a brief portion of this video in
15 evidence already when we heard witness Sarlota Foro. I think it's about
16 17 minutes long, this particular clip. I don't want us to watch the whole
17 thing. There's a transcript for this which also comprises the Mitnica
18 surrender negotiations and the participants. It is 3D060023. I would
19 like us now to see the rather short portion of this video, and then if the
20 OTP agree, we don't need to see the entire clip. Afterwards we'll be
21 tendering it. We can have a look and see what Mr. Sljivancanin has to say
22 about this.
23 [Videotape played]
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We're at 00:32. We can just let it
25 run on.
1 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, what do you think this is?
2 A. All I can see in this video is an ICRC vehicle, and as far as I
3 can tell, this is the road leading from Negoslavci to Vukovar.
4 Q. Thank you. Let's just move along and then we can comment as we go
6 Now we are at 01:15.
7 A. This is the house at Ovcara where, for a while, there was the
8 command post of the commander of the 20th Partisan Brigade. Later on, it
9 was the command post of a unit from the 80th Motorised Brigade, although I
10 didn't know anything more specific about that brigade at the time.
11 Q. We're at 01:45.
12 A. This is Mr. Borsinger
13 Q. Can we pause there for a while, please.
14 A. In this frame, you can see Mr. Borsinger, Colonel Nebojsa
15 Pavkovic. This arrow is a helmet.
16 Q. This person on the right; right?
17 A. Yes. And the person wearing the camouflage uniform is Major
18 Milorad Stupar, the commander of the 3rd Assault Detachment.
19 Q. He's on the left; right?
20 A. Yes, precisely.
21 Q. Let's move on.
22 [Videotape played]
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We're at 04:29.
24 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, do you know what's going on here in this frame?
25 A. This frame, you can see Mr. Borsinger and Major Stupar meeting
1 representatives of the Croatian paramilitary forces. This gentleman with
2 the hand-held radio is someone I met when they were surrendering their
3 weapons and I allowed him to keep some souvenirs that he had on him at the
5 Q. What is his name?
6 A. Dmitar Karaula.
7 [Videotape played]
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We're at 07:15.
9 Q. What about this? Do you recognise this area?
10 A. In passing, yes. I have a passing familiarity with this area.
11 This, I think, is a part of Mitnica known as Vucedol, buildings and houses
12 there, flanking the Vukovar-Sotin road.
13 Q. At 7:45, who do we see here?
14 A. This is Colonel Pavkovic, the representatives of the Croatian
15 paramilitary units. As far as I can see, Major Skoric is there, too, but
16 I'm not certain because the image is not clear.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we pause there, please.
18 From this point on, we have the negotiations and that takes quite
19 some time. If Mr. Moore agrees and if the Chamber agrees, we might tender
20 this now and avoid looking at the whole thing because it's quite lengthy.
21 Previously though, I would like to ask Mr. Sljivancanin a question.
22 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, did you attend these negotiations at any point
23 in time?
24 A. No, not at any point. At this time I was elsewhere with the
25 European monitors, in Velepromet and at Milovo Brdo.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 MR. MOORE: We have no objection to this being made an exhibit.
3 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
4 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 831, Your Honour.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Shall the transcript be assigned a
6 separate number, 3D060023, that one?
7 THE REGISTRAR: The transcript will become Exhibit 832, Your
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we now take our second break, Your
11 JUDGE PARKER: We will resume at 20 minutes to.
12 --- Recess taken at 12.15 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 12.40 p.m.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, we heard your testimony to the effect that you
17 did not take part in those negotiations and I shall add "at Vucedol," to
18 be precise, with the Mitnica group, that is. Did you in any way see
19 Mr. Borsinger that morning, and when was that, if you can recall?
20 A. That morning, the 18th of November, 1991, I saw Mr. Borsinger in
21 the village of Negoslavci, around 1000 hours, where he came after having
22 been called and reminded to come to negotiations, and after that I
23 introduced him to Colonel Pavkovic.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we look at Exhibit 140 again, a
25 video clip which was tendered during the testimony of Mr. van Lynden, I
1 believe. I'm not quite sure. Can we take a look at that exhibit, please.
2 [Videotape played]
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 Q. Can you tell us, where was this, and what is it that we've just
6 A. At the beginning of this footage, the person exiting the military
7 jeep is the commander of the traffic transport company from the 1st
8 Battalion of the military police, Dane Krajisnik. He went to fetch
9 Mr. Borsinger. Actually, I sent several people to seek him out, to look
10 for him. And he brought him to Negoslavci and I introduced him to
11 Mr. Pavkovic, and I asked him to be present at the negotiations regarding
12 the surrender of Mitnica. And all this was ordered by Colonel Mrksic.
13 Q. Not to be leading, what we say relative to the previous video
14 footage, when you went to Mitnica, I suppose that this was before.
15 A. Yes, this was before. You can see now that the column was setting
16 off towards -- for Mitnica.
17 Q. Thank you. Did you have any encounters that morning, that day,
18 with the press?
19 A. As I've said, when Colonel Mrksic assigned -- when I talked about
20 the assignments given us by Colonel Mrksic, that morning, on the 18th,
21 around 9.00, I asked Captain Zvorcan to assemble the journalists in the
22 press centre so that I could ask them not to go to the front line and to
23 wait there, and tell them that we would be informing them if we reached an
24 agreement. I gave them some brief information, the information that I had
25 at the time.
1 Q. We will now move on. What happened afterwards? Whom did you see
2 after that?
3 A. After that I met with representatives of the European Monitors,
4 and I remember that a gentleman was there whom I recognised because he
5 took the stand here, Mr. Kypr and Mr. Schou, whom you can see in the
7 Q. Now we shall take a look at that clip, also. How long did they
8 stay there in Negoslavci, and what happened afterwards, during the
10 A. First, we had some sort of an agreement in this house, in the
11 village of Negoslavci, where the press centre was, or in the house right
12 next to it; I'm not quite sure at this point. But perhaps I could point
13 to it on the clip. I informed them, on behalf of the command of the
14 Motorised Guards Brigade, what the units of the Guards Brigade were doing
15 currently regarding the agreements to be -- the negotiations to be
16 conducted at Mitnica. And I told them that very many civilians were
17 coming to Velepromet. They said that they wanted to see that and to see
18 what could be shown to them in other parts of Vukovar also.
19 Mr. Kypr, if I am saying his name right, requested for me to sign
20 my name, in my hand, in his notebook because he had a problem remembering
21 names, because he wanted to have my name exactly so that he would know
22 whom he had talked to. And I did that; I wrote my name in his notebook.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we have Exhibit 314 on the screen
24 for one moment, please.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Until it comes, can I just add:
1 They always asked that no journalists attend our talks. So I had to
2 address the journalists that morning and to order them, actually, not to
3 be present there.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we zoom in on the central portion.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is in my handwriting. It says
6 "Major Veselin Sljivancanin." I was never ashamed of my first or last
7 name or of anything that I was doing for my country, for my people,
8 although I knew that they were people who were engaged in intelligence
9 activities, actually.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] All right. We shall take a look at
11 the video. Let me just see.
12 Q. What happened afterwards? No. First tell me, had you ever,
13 before that day, met Mr. Kypr and people from the European Monitoring
15 A. Well, before that, as I said, I had had two or three encounters,
16 and I recognised Mr. Schou from the encounter that we had at elevation
17 point 102 on the 19th of October, as shown here. When we greeted each
18 other in the morning, I told him that I knew him and he told me that he
19 had never set eyes on me before in his life and that that was the first
20 time. Now, as regards Mr. Kypr, I don't know whether that is the case. I
21 cannot remember the other details.
22 You were asking me what happened afterwards.
23 Q. Just wait a bit. Let us take a look at the video clip. Please do
24 slow down.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Now we are going to take a look at
1 video clip V000625, is the reference to it.
2 [Videotape played]
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. You can comment now, Mr. Sljivancanin. You can comment on the
5 video footage.
6 A. Well, from what I can recognise, this is the vehicle of the
7 European Monitoring Mission, the kind they used to come to the sector of
8 our unit, and this is the village of Negoslavci.
9 This is them. This is the house where we had that first meeting
10 on the morning of the 18th, so the meeting on the 18th, in the morning,
11 and as far as I can recall, it was sometime around 10.00 in the morning.
12 The liaison officer who arrived there on behalf of the SSNO met them, saw
14 This is the actual venue of the meeting. The gentleman asked me
15 to send away the press. This here is Captain Zvorcan at the press centre.
16 I asked the journalists -- this is me asking the journalists to
17 leave because the European Monitoring Mission representatives asked me to
18 do that. And throughout their stay in our zone, I always endeavored. And
19 that was also the position of the commander, to make it possible for them
20 to do their job and to accommodate their requests.
21 Q. Please do not comment on this part of the video. Let us hear what
22 you have to say.
23 [Videotape played]
24 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] We agreed with the gentleman from the
25 European Community on our further work plans. They accepted what I said;
1 I accepted what they said. So I should like to tell all the citizens and
2 all the people, We are going to pursue our mission alone without the
3 journalists. When the time for journalists come, we shall say so, so let
4 us not make any problems. Please be so kind as to appreciate this,
5 because we are treating you fair and correctly. And we will be informing
6 you about everything which is important so that you can note it down. The
7 minute we finish our work, if it happens -- if it is solved, as I told you
8 this morning, at that level, you will be informed of everything we said.
9 And please respect what I've just told you. Radojica, it is your duty.
10 Don't let the journalists follow me."
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we tender this document into
13 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
14 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 833, Your Honours.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. I shall not comment on this or you shall not comment on this, what
17 you just told us a moment ago.
18 A. That was the way it was.
19 Q. What happened afterwards? Where did you go from Negoslavci, later
20 that day?
21 A. As I've said, first, they asked me to take me to Velepromet where
22 a large number of civilians were assembling, as well as people who were
23 coming from the centre of Vukovar.
24 Q. Who asked you to do that?
25 A. The European monitors did.
1 Q. Let's go on.
2 A. So we were there at Velepromet. After that, they insisted that I
3 take them to a place from which one could see the disposition of the
4 events currently going on in Vukovar, so I took them to Milovo Brdo,
5 Milovo hill. Fighting was still going on in the centre of Vukovar; one
6 could hear intermittent fire. They wanted to know where the Vukovar
7 Hospital was, so from Milovo Brdo - and this can be measured on the
8 topographic map which we have here - one can see the roof of the Vukovar
9 Hospital across the River Vuka, a kilometre and a half or a bit more
10 distance, as the crow flies. Also, the area the Mitnica could be seen.
11 They saw it and they expressed the desire to return and to talk to these
12 civilians who had assembled at Velepromet.
13 They were introduced to the manager of this holding centre, this
14 reception centre, Ljubinko Stojanovic. And sometime that day, perhaps
15 after 1400 hours, I said good-bye to them and they went on their own
16 business. They also talked to those civilians and they said that they
17 were supposed to return to Belgrade and submit a report. This is what
18 they said.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we have Exhibit 339 on the screen
20 for one moment, please.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] While we were still talking, I did
22 not know, I had no information, about the outcome of the talks at
23 Mitnica. And I also explained to them to which point did the border of
24 the zone of the Guards Brigade stretch, and that the --
25 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry, the interpreter did not hear the end of
1 the answer because of the overlap.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. We see the timing of this visit. Do you agree that around this
4 period, this visit actually took place around this time period? And were
5 you with them all the time?
6 A. Well, it says here in the last paragraph that the last talk with
7 the refugees was around 1445 until 1530 hours and that they left Vukovar
8 at 1530 hours. I believe that these people followed this meticulously.
9 And as far as my memory serves me, I know that I talked with Captain
10 Karanfilov about the surrender in Mitnica in Negoslavci between 15 and 14
11 hours, if I remember, plus or minus 15 minutes.
12 Q. Let me ask you a simple question: Were you with them until they
13 left, all the time? So were you with them until they left Negoslavci, all
14 the time?
15 A. I said that I said good-bye to them at Velepromet, after we had
16 returned from Milovo Brdo. Now, did they or did they not stay there for
17 another half hour or not, I really can't say. The officers from the
18 military police and the liaison officers stayed with them. I didn't
19 follow them throughout that period. They said that they would be
21 Q. Could you please slow down. What happened then,
22 Mr. Sljivancanin? What were your activities after that?
23 A. After that, I came to Negoslavci.
24 Q. Just slower, please.
25 A. I came to Negoslavci, to the house where I was staying. Probably
1 I had some lunch as well. And I called Captain Borce Karanfilov, since I
2 had assigned him to go to Mitnica with Colonel Pavkovic, to give me
3 results about the negotiations.
4 Q. What was the reason for Captain Karanfilov to go to Mitnica? What
5 was this task that you gave him?
6 A. The primary task that I gave him then was to be Colonel Pavkovic's
7 security because Colonel Pavkovic asked me for that. His task was not to
8 take part in the negotiations. The captain then informed me that the
9 negotiations had ended and that the commander of the paramilitary forces
10 of Croatia had accepted a surrender, and that the surrender would take
11 place in the afternoon hours. I think, as I remember it now, when I came
12 to Mitnica then, it was sometime after 1500 or 1600 hours.
13 At that time I found some people who were surrendering their
14 weapons. The units that were doing this were doing this in an organised
15 manner. And I know then that the captain asked me about this gentleman,
16 who I recognised in the photograph before, whether some of his personal
17 belongings can be left, whether he could keep them as a memento. And I
18 said, "Don't do anything to the man," because I looked upon him then as a
19 fair person, a fair fighter, and I said that they should not take anything
20 from him except for weapons.
21 Q. Tell me, did you find out - and if so, when? - what was supposed
22 to happen to these people once they surrendered their weapons? Who made
23 the decision? What was the plan? What happened to this Mitnica group?
24 When did you find out about that, and what was it that you found out?
25 A. These people who surrendered were no longer of interest to the
1 security organs because they, themselves, laid down their weapons and
2 accepted that they were members of the paramilitary forces of Croatia.
3 As for the decision on where they would be taken afterwards and
4 where they would be put up, as far as I know, this decision was made by
5 Colonel Mrksic. And he gave tasks to commanders in the zone as to what
6 would be their treatment later on, where they would be taken, and so on.
7 Through some talks with my security organs, I was asking them
8 whether they could give us information about where their arms depots were,
9 whether there were any left, were there any minefields left, and did they
10 know anything that they could tell us so that people could not be hurt by
11 explosive devices that were left behind.
12 May I also say that in these talks, they were very fair and that
13 they said a great many things. I was interested in this work afterwards
14 in the area of Mitnica itself and in assisting the civilian population and
15 in taking care of these people. I wanted to check whether, perhaps, among
16 this civilian population there was somebody who was hiding, somebody who
17 had belonged to the paramilitary formations and had committed a crime.
18 Q. How much time did you spend there at Mitnica, if I can put it that
19 way? Where were you, specifically, the place? I mean Mitnica is a broad
21 A. I was in the area of Vucedol, as I said first, and, for the most
22 part, people from the area of Mitnica came to Vucedol. It was twilight;
23 it was almost dark by then, just before nightfall. Well, before that,
24 perhaps I said already that I informed the brigade command that there were
25 many civilians there and that vehicles should be sent for their
1 evacuation. They reacted quickly and there are entries in the war log of
2 the Guards Brigade about that. I believe that this was regulated through
3 command channels, that it was said then that, for the first time, in
4 addition to the fact that the civilians could go to the Red Cross, to Sid,
5 that those civilians who wanted to go to Croatia could go to Croatia, and
6 that the army would provide transportation for that.
7 So there were two groups of civilians; one group of civilians that
8 were supposed to go to Sid and the other group that were supposed to go to
9 Croatia, in that area the Vucedol. As for these civilians, most of them
10 wanted to go to Croatia, a vast majority.
11 Q. How many were there, in your estimate?
12 A. In my estimate, at that time at Mitnica, there were over 4.000
13 civilians. And I was there with my assistant, Major Ljubisa Vukasinovic.
14 We were moving about through these civilians, and I said to him at one
15 point, "You see, Ljubisa, how few soldiers are securing these civilians?"
16 There were up to 30 of them. "And look at the masses of these people.
17 And if they knew that there were only 30 of us here, if they were to take
18 sticks, they could beat us all." And I said, "That is why you will now
19 understand why resistance was so strong."
20 At that point a messenger came, a soldier who was looking for me,
21 and he introduced himself, saying that he was coming from the command of
22 the brigade and that he was bringing me a telegram. I took that envelope;
23 I opened it. It was probably a coded telegram. And then the signal
24 centre wrote the -- wrote this in hand. I remember the content of the
25 telegram very well. "Around 2.000 of our soldiers and officers are in
1 Croat prisons. What should be done is to bring in as many perpetrators of
2 crimes as possible in order to carry out an exchange," signed Major
3 General Aca Vasiljevic.
4 I looked at this telegram for a while and I handed it over to
5 Major Vukasinovic, and I said, "Have a look at this telegram." He read
6 the telegram. I put it in my notebook. And that evening, both I and
7 Major Vukasinovic stayed in the area of Vucedol some time, until 2300
8 hours, 11.00 p.m., if I can put it that way, where we were trying to help
9 the other soldiers and officers to have the civilians board the buses, the
10 vehicles assigned by the Yugoslav Peoples' Army, and that we help; that
11 they be divided into these two groups. There were certainly officers who
12 were assigned, who would be in charge of which convoy, and that they be
13 sent to where they wanted to go.
14 At the same time we were interviewing individuals to see whether
15 there were any perpetrators of crimes among them. We were assisted in
16 this by the members of the Territorial Defence of Vukovar who knew people.
17 Q. On that day, did you go to Ovcara? On that day, on that evening.
18 A. On that evening, to the best of my recollection, I came to the
19 area of Ovcara with a convoy of buses. The civilians from Vucedol were on
20 these buses, those who wanted to go to Croatia. A group came with this
21 convoy, a group of civilian vehicles and vehicles like tractors, too. The
22 convoy stopped at Ovcara. This is where we were met by an officer who I
23 didn't know at the time. He introduced himself as being from the 80th
24 Motorised Brigade. And he said that his troops were now in the area of
25 Ovcara and that they were in charge of security.
1 I asked that all these vehicles, civilian vehicles, tractors, et
2 cetera, be parked on a field, a meadow. And he told these civilians that
3 if they wanted to leave this area, they could board the buses and that
4 their wishes would be met, as I said, these different groups; and that the
5 motor vehicles had to stay there; and that people could not take private
6 vehicles for the sake of security and safety; and that these vehicles
7 would then be transported to Velepromet, to the reception centre there,
8 under the control of the Territorial Defence of the town of Vukovar.
9 I certainly remember this very well. It was between 2300 hours
10 and 1.00, after midnight.
11 Q. This officer that you described just now, did you recognise him
13 A. Well, quite a bit later. When I went to work at the Centre of
14 Military Schools, and through a conversation, I found out --
15 Q. Don't say any names.
16 A. -- that he has the name that he has and -- because I recognised
17 him at the Centre of Military Schools. And he was a witness here and I
18 don't know exactly the pseudonym under which he testified here.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we move into private session for a
20 moment, please.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
22 [Private session]
15 [Open session]
16 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. What happened to these civilians that evening? What happened that
19 evening? You heard the testimony of Sarlota Foro. Did that jog your
20 memory? Do you remember any details?
21 A. Well, many of the testimonies I heard here jogged my memory. And
22 I must say that in that part of the statement regarding Ovcara in that
23 some territorials asked me something, that they were indicating some
24 persons with their fingers, saying that they were crime suspects, and I
25 said that they should board the buses and I don't want to separate them
1 from their families. Somebody else testified about this. And I confirm
2 that the time could have been, as she put it, Ms. Foro. And I know that
3 the leader of that convoy was Major Skoric, because he reported for that
4 duty; and that the column -- the convoy was followed by the transport
5 police from the 1st Battalion of the military police; and that the
6 commander of that security, that escort - I remember that very
7 profoundly - it was Captain Jankovic, who was deputy commander of a
8 company in the traffic police.
9 When I came to Negoslavci, I found out that this convoy was
10 supposed to leave that evening, immediately, because we did not have any
11 space to put people up and we didn't want anybody to freeze out there.
12 And I think that it was on the highway towards Sid, going to Zagreb, and
13 then they left.
14 Q. Since we heard testimony before this Court that that night, in
15 Ovcara, members of the Mitnica group were there in that hangar, did you
16 see them? Did you go to the hangar? And in that respect, did you have
17 any contacts?
18 A. As for these people who had surrendered and who had confessed that
19 they had fired and that they used weapons, we did not do anything
20 vis-a-vis them, because our orders were to send these people immediately
21 to Sremska Mitrovica and that there were the right organs there that would
22 deal with these people. And Captain Borce Karanfilov was the person I
23 assigned to see to them, and he informed me on the 19th that these people
24 had gone to Sremska Mitrovica.
25 I never went to that hangar and I did not know where they were put
1 up that night. The first time I saw this hangar was here, in pictures.
2 Had you asked me before about that, the only thing I know in Ovcara is
3 that yellow house, where the command was. And I know this yellow house
4 more from my previous contacts with the commander of the 20th Partisan
5 Brigade, Mr. Slobodan Misovic, Lieutenant Colonel Slobodan Micevic,
6 because he is a Montenegrin. He comes from the same area that I come
7 from. I came to him, to ask him for help, but unfortunately he did not
8 help me.
9 Q. As for what you witnessed in Ovcara on the evening of the 18th,
10 that is to say, this dialogue with Foro, with the civilians, the
11 territorials, where was this happening, to the best of your recollection?
12 A. Where was this happening? The road from Vucedol leads on to
13 Ovcara, and then there's a flat area, a green area. So it's to the right
14 of the Vucedol-Ovcara road, looking in the direction of Ovcara. It was
15 night-time, however, and I didn't notice any buildings or anything. I
16 know that it was night-time and it was all flat. It's to the right, if
17 you head from Vucedol towards Ovcara. I didn't notice any buildings
18 nearby, near this flat area, flat stretch, to the extent that my
19 perception was accurate.
20 Q. Were any of your security people there with you at Ovcara that
22 A. As far as I remember, that whole evening or that afternoon, there
23 was Major Ljubisa Vukasinovic who was with me throughout. It's not just
24 based on my recollection. I'm actually certain that he was there.
25 Q. You say you were there late at night. Is there anything else
1 etched in your mind about the 18th, or do you think we can move on to the
2 next day?
3 A. One thing that I do remember is late at night, it was past
4 midnight, I arrived at the Guards Brigade headquarters in Negoslavci. I
5 told them about everything that had occurred at Ovcara, and I was tired.
6 I received the order at this time to go to a meeting at Colonel Mrksic's
7 at about 7.00 the following morning.
8 Q. We're listening. What happens next?
9 A. The next morning I went and reported to the colonel. He informed
10 us, the officers from the core command -- and I think Colonel Pavkovic was
11 there, too, but I can't be certain. What I'm certain about is the
12 presence of the Chief of Staff, the assistant commander for moral
13 guidance. I'm not sure about the assistant commander for logistics.
14 There was someone from the operations and training organ, and he
15 gave a specific assignment to me. He said a high-ranking delegation, led
16 by Mr. Cyrus Vance, would be visiting our unit and their arrival was
17 expected about 10.00 that same day. He said I should do everything
18 necessary to welcome them as they entered the village of Negoslavci. He
19 said we should take them to the command post and that all of us assistant
20 commanders would be attending the meeting that the colonel would be
21 holding with that particular delegation. That's what I remember.
22 After this I handed out assignments to my own security
23 assistants. I told them what each of them would be doing. I think I
24 pointed out with particular attention to Captain Karanfilov to see if
25 those men who had been disarmed at Mitnica had been sent to Sremska
1 Mitrovica and to report back to me about this.
2 Q. Do you know anything about this: From your own area of
3 operations, were any prisoners ever sent to Sremska Mitrovica, or was this
4 the first time? Or perhaps you've talked about it already, so my
5 apologies in that case.
6 A. As I've already said, no prisoners had ever been sent to Sremska
7 Mitrovica up until this point in time. We had been taking very few
8 prisoners and we'd never seen this coming. We thought we would be taking,
9 at most, two or three prisoners, and this was the first time an order ever
10 came for us to send prisoners to Sremska Mitrovica.
11 Q. All right. Let's hear about Mr. Vance's visit now. We've all
12 heard evidence before this Court by Mr. Okun, but before any specific
13 questions, could you please give us your own account of Mr. Vance's
14 visit. And what exactly was your role?
15 A. I remembered that the battalion commander, the 1st Battalion of
16 the military police, having received approval from the brigade commander,
17 assigned a police patrol with a vehicle. This patrol met the convoy
18 carrying Mr. Vance. We then took them to the command post to see the
19 commander. The commander was waiting for them outside the building. We
20 went straight into a room and we sat down. The commander had a map of the
21 town of Vukovar, a huge sketch, if you like, and he told the Vance
22 delegation everything that they wanted to know about. I think the
23 briefing went on until about 11.00.
24 It had been announced, or at least that's what the commander had
25 told us, that this delegation would not be staying in our area past 2.00
1 that day, unless I'm mistaken, and I may have forgotten, but I believe
2 this to have been the case.
3 After this final meeting, Mr. Vance expressed a desire to go to
4 Vukovar himself, to see for himself what things were like there. The
5 delegation arrived outside the Secretariat for All People's Defence.
6 Accompanying Mr. Vance was my own technical assistant for security-related
7 issues, the Chief of Staff of the cabinet of the Federal Secretary for All
8 People's Defence, Lieutenant Colonel Dragoljub Djukic.
9 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Chief of security of
10 the cabinet.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Dragoljub Djukic, is that the person who signed all these
13 documents that we've been looking at this morning?
14 A. Yes, indeed, that's the very person.
15 Q. Just slow down, please.
16 A. With him was the chief of the liaison department, who was in
17 charge of liaising with international military representatives, Colonel
18 Pero Stojic. I know about those two being there for a fact. There may
19 have been other officers there, too, but that escapes me right now. I can
20 hardly be expected to remember every one.
21 So, once Mr. Vance had expressed this desire to go and visit
22 Vukovar, Colonel Mrksic called my name, he said, "Major Sljivancanin, now
23 you will go with the delegation. Take Mr. Vance to all the safe places
24 for him to be able to see whatever he wishes to see." I carried out this
1 Q. During their visit, or upon their arrival in Negoslavci and later,
2 until the very end of their visit, were there any journalists accompanying
4 A. Throughout all this time, from Vance's arrival to the time he
5 left, there was a large group of journalists tagging along and they went
6 everywhere in Vukovar. There were two journalist crews that drove in with
7 Mr. Vance in the same vehicle, and they never stayed away from this
8 delegation. They were always with them; they always stayed close.
9 Q. So what exactly do you remember? Where did you go? What did you
11 A. We drove in an APC belonging to the military police, belonging to
12 the 1st Battalion of the military police. I was in this APC together with
13 Mr. Vance.
14 Q. Do you remember anyone else from that APC?
15 A. I remember there was the liaison officer and Colonel Pavkovic or
16 Pero Stojic may have been in that same APC. It was either of those two.
17 But there was room enough to hold eight soldiers, but we didn't want it to
18 be too crowded. I'm sure that Mr. Vance was there; the liaison officer
19 was there because he was interpreting our conversation; and there was
20 either one of these two officers that I mentioned.
21 The first place we arrived at was the Vukovar barracks because he
22 wanted to be shown the barracks, so we did. During our conversation, I
23 talked to Mr. Vance about the partisans in World War II. We also talked
24 about the partisans entering the city in Trieste, in Italy, in World War
25 II and about the arrival of the American forces in that city. I was glad
1 that we had been allies in World War II and I think he was glad about
2 this, too, at least that was the feeling I had.
3 After that, I took him and the entire delegation to the Velepromet
4 facility where there were a large number of refugees. We stayed at
5 Velepromet for quite some time. Vance spoke to some of the refugees and
6 some of the other people there. We weren't trying to stage anything for
7 this high-ranking delegation from an important country.
8 At one point he asked if we could go and see the Vukovar
9 Hospital. I explained to him that the hospital was in an area that was
10 under the control of a different unit. But having previously been advised
11 by General Vasiljevic, without taking the chief of the general staff with
12 nobody's approval, I replied to Mr. Vance that I wasn't authorised to take
13 anybody there, including him. It wasn't safe. There was still fighting
14 in downtown Vukovar, at least according to my information, such
15 information as was available to me at the time. I simply couldn't meet
16 this request.
17 I also knew that many of the areas were still booby-trapped.
18 There was something said by the leader of that team. I think it was
19 either Pero Stojic or Colonel Pavkovic. They said they were in no
20 position to take Vance anywhere outside our own area. I tried to explain
21 and I told him how I saw things, that I was in no position to take him
22 anywhere outside our own area.
23 He then wanted to be taken somewhere else from where he had a view
24 of Vukovar. I then took him to Milovo Brdo, and it was from there that
25 Mr. Vance surveyed the Vukovar Hospital. There, you had a view of the
1 roof, the hospital roof from there. We explained everything about the
2 bridges and the Vuka River, because that was within sight.
3 And then I said this: If he still wanted to see a hospital, there
4 was a hospital over in Negoslavci and maybe it was a good idea for him to
5 go and visit that one. He replied that it was late. He said he ought to
6 make it to a different meeting in Zagreb that same day, and they still had
7 to drive back to Belgrade so there would be no time left for them. I
8 said, and I remember clearly what I said at the time: "Mr. Vance, today
9 we have declared a holiday for us and our soldiers, because we are greatly
10 honoured that you, as a high-ranking international politician and a
11 representative of a great power, a power that was our ally in World War
12 II, are here to visit our country and our unit. You should go and see
13 that hospital, since at this point in time that is probably the most
14 humane hospital anywhere, worldwide." He said, "How come? What exactly
15 do you mean?" I replied, "Because, as we speak, our young soldiers and
16 officers are receiving treatment there, who, through no fault of their
17 own, have been wounded or killed. Everybody, the entire population of
18 this area, is receiving treatment there as we speak. Go there and see for
19 yourself that our doctors are extending the best possible care also to
20 those paramilitaries who had, until not such a long time ago, been firing
21 at those same soldiers that are being treated there now."
22 Q. How long did he stay there for?
23 A. Just let me wrap this up. And then Mr. Vance said that he did,
24 indeed, want to go there and see the hospital. So off we went to
1 I thought he would only stay for a brief while, but when he
2 realised what I had been talking about, what I had been telling him about,
3 I think the delegation must have stayed at the hospital for at least half
4 an hour, maybe even up to one hour. And there was a gentleman who was
5 with him who was telling everybody else to take notes, to write down what
6 they saw around them, inside the hospital.
7 Q. When did you part ways, eventually?
8 A. There's another detail that I have to mention. I'm sorry, but
9 this is really important.
10 On the road between Milovo Brdo and Negoslavci, inside the APC, at
11 one point in time Mr. Vance asked me, "Major, sir, will your unit launch
12 an attack on Osijek?" That was a mere hour after this previous assignment
13 had been accomplished. I was moved, in a way, by his question. I
14 said, "Mr. Vance, my unit will always follow orders issued by our Superior
15 Command, but I see no reason for us to attack Osijek since it is a town in
16 our own country." And then he replied, "Major, sir, do you know about the
17 ethnic make-up of that town?" and I said, "Mr. Vance, I really don't
18 know. I'm not familiar with the ethnic make-up of Osijek." He said, "73
19 per cent of the town's population are Croats, roughly speaking, and those
20 same Croats see you, the JNA, as an occupation army, as an aggressor."
21 I fell silent and I was simply speechless. I had no answer to
22 that one. I wanted to change the subject because I really couldn't bring
23 myself to believe that all those people with whom we had happily coexisted
24 until not such a long time ago now saw us as an occupation army and as an
1 So we proceeded along our way. The hospital visit was now over,
2 and we parted ways on very friendly terms. Mr. Vance thanked us and said
3 something to the effect that he was really glad to have visited a JNA unit
4 like this one, but that he wasn't really happy about the timing of his
5 visit, since this was a very unfortunate time, a miserable time. He said
6 everything would be done within their power to stop interethnic clashes in
7 Yugoslavia. He said his impression at the time was that we had not
8 concealed anything from him. He believed we had shown him the situation
9 for what it was. Should there be another opportunity, he said he would
10 make sure to return and visit our unit again.
11 Q. When did you learn that members of your unit had reached the
12 hospital? When did you first hear that they had reached the hospital?
13 And when you heard, what exactly was the information about? When did they
14 get there?
15 A. The first time I heard of this was that same day, the afternoon of
16 that same day. It was past 2.00 p.m., when Vance had already left our
17 area, and then I went back to Colonel Mrksic's command post. He
18 personally shared this with me.
19 Q. You saw a document during the proceedings. It has been
20 exhibited. It's a report to the effect that members of the Guards
21 Brigade's operations group reached the hospital at about 11.00. So you
22 heard they had reached the hospital. What were you told about the timing
23 of their arrival, and is that consistent with the report?
24 A. I remember this very clearly. Once my assignment with Mr. Vance
25 had been completed, I was off to the command post to inform the commander
1 about the fact that the delegation had left the area under the control of
2 our unit. As far as I remember, Colonel Mrksic told me this: "Fine, did
3 everything go smoothly?" I said, "Yes." And he said, "The units of the
4 1st Motorised Battalion had crossed the Vuka River and had entered the
5 police station area and the hospital area. I had the hospital director
6 here to come and talk to me and I promised that we would be sending
7 medicines, food, water and all the other necessities, to the hospital. As
8 you are the one who is permanently in touch with the representatives of
9 all these international organisations, track them down for me and see if
10 they can secure an amount of medicines to be sent to the hospital. In
11 addition to this, you need to go to the hospital with these
12 representatives. You need to verify the security reports that I had
13 received about what was really going on over there. We want to know more
14 about our own missing soldiers. As far as I remember, he also mentioned
15 that commander that you were looking for all the time, the commander of
16 the Croatian forces. See if you can go there and meet him."
17 Q. We'll probably have to deal with this tomorrow, about Mr. Vance's
18 visit. Just two questions left for today.
19 You've heard Mr. Okun's testimony live, haven't you? During that
20 entire visit, did you have a slanging match, a shouting match, at any time
21 with Mr. Vance? And the other thing we heard: Did you, at any point,
22 train your rifle at him or physically stand in his way and keep him from
23 visiting the hospital?
24 A. Well, look, when I heard that evidence, there was a turmoil in my
25 head and the entire courtroom seemed to be spinning. I welcomed Mr. Vance
1 as a well-respected gentleman and a high-ranking politician, a senior
2 politician, if you like. I was relatively young at the time, myself.
3 Sometimes I want to, perhaps, raise my voice and someone may as well call
4 that yelling or shouting, but that is just my normal tone of voice. That
5 is how I see it, be that as it may. But pointing a rifle at a man like
6 Vance, or anyone his age for that matter, well, I should have been locked
7 up and sectioned off a long time ago in that case. That's all I can say
8 about this particular debate.
9 You have the footage showing the whole of that visit. Journalists
10 were there. And it's crystal clear for everyone to see that I wasn't even
11 carrying a rifle during that visit. During Vance's visit, I had no need
12 for a rifle. Any further comments would be superfluous.
13 Q. Can I take it, then, that on the occasion you weren't carrying a
14 rifle, let alone pointing a rifle at Mr. Vance or in his general
16 A. Never.
17 Q. Thank you very much.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think this is a good
19 time for us to wrap up for the day.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
21 We'll resume tomorrow at 9.00 in the morning.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.43 p.m.,
23 to be reconvened on Friday, the 27th day of
24 October, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.