1 Friday, 27 October 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The accused Sljivancanin takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good
8 morning to all the participants in the proceedings.
9 Before we proceed, I should like to enter a correction in
10 yesterday's transcript. At the very end of the testimony, when I asked
11 Mr. Sljivancanin about the talk that he had with Colonel Mrksic, which is
12 page 87 of the working transcript, from line 2 to line 17,
13 Mr. Sljivancanin first spoke in the first person and then in the third
14 person. So in order not to read the entire passage, we, in the courtroom,
15 are quite clear on who was saying what and what Mr. Mrksic was being
16 saying and what was being interpreted by Mr. Sljivancanin.
17 So from line 5 to line 17, there should be quotation marks only in
18 that passage, which is the portion where Mr. Sljivancanin quotes the words
19 of Mr. Mrksic. If there is any dispute about that, I shall ask Mr.
20 Sljivancanin to repeat. When he says, "I had a talk with the principal,
21 with the directress of the hospital, he is obviously interpreting the
22 words, relaying the words, of Mr. Mrksic. I believe that there is no
23 doubt about that so that there is no need to ask Mr. Sljivancanin any
24 further clarifying questions.
25 The second thing I should like to say has to do with --
1 MR. MOORE: I see Mr. Lukic looking at me. The only thing that I
2 would have suggested, with the utmost of respect, it's probably wiser and
3 more prudent for Mr. Sljivancanin to be asked the question again and we
4 know exactly then what is being said, rather than speculating. That was
6 WITNESS: VESELIN SLJIVANCANIN [Resumed]
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 Examination by Mr. Lukic: [Continued]
9 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, let us then clarify this first. Will you tell
10 us what Mr. Mrksic told you when you returned to Negoslavci, having toured
11 Vukovar with Mr. Vance. But when you speak, don't speak in the first
12 person, or do specify when you are quoting, for the transcript.
13 A. Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning all.
14 Upon finishing -- the finish of the visit by Mr. Vance, I returned
15 to the command post. I reported to the commander that Vance had left our
16 zone with the delegation. On that occasion, Commander Mrksic told me that
17 the units of the 1st Militarised Battalion had passed across the bridges
18 on the River Vuka and had entered the sector where the buildings of the
19 Vukovar Hospital and of the Vukovar MUP were. He said that he had talked
20 with the director, lady director, of the hospital and that he had promised
21 help to the hospital. He said that -- he asked me, he actually asked me,
22 to look for and find the representatives of the International Red Cross,
23 with whom I was frequently cooperating, and to see how much medical
24 supplies they could give to the hospital and to take them there. And he
25 also told me to see whether there were any of our soldiers, captured
1 soldiers there. He told me to analyse security issues, which I'm not
2 going to enumerate right now, and I believe that he said to me that
3 General Zivota Panic -- or that I was to call him by phone, or he actually
4 told me personally that I should look for Dr. Gordana Antic in the
5 hospital and to send her on the first transport, as quickly as possible,
6 to Sid.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Prior to proceeding with the
9 examination, two other matters which I still have to clarify from
10 yesterday related to Mr. Sljivancanin's answers from the beginning of the
11 session, as far as his perception of the OG South is concerned. And we
12 asked Witness Trifunovic, on the 5th of May, 2006; the pages in the
13 transcript are 8332 and 8333. I also asked representatives of the OTP, as
14 this morning we received another four translations into the B/C/S language
15 from them, whether they can personally give those documents to
16 Mr. Sljivancanin - yes, I see that they are ready - so that he can
17 familiarise himself with them.
18 Q. And finally, Mr. Sljivancanin, now I'm talking to you, I suppose
19 that you also would like us to efficiently transact this business, deal
20 with this part today, so please be so kind as to give us very precise and
21 brief answers so that we can deal with these topics which are highly
22 relevant to your defence. So give us brief descriptions and just give us
23 the material, the important things.
24 So my next question is: What did you do after that? Where did
25 you go, and did you go with someone?
1 A. I went to the sector of my building in Negoslavci and I issued a
2 task that Mr. Borsinger be found. When he was found, I had a talk with
3 him in which he said that currently he had a small lorry with medical
4 supplies and that he could help me out with that and that we should go to
5 the hospital. So we agreed and we set out towards the hospital.
6 Q. Together?
7 A. No. I was in my vehicle, he was in his vehicle, and there was
8 this small lorry, so it was a small column.
9 Q. Before we go on, one question: You heard the testimony given
10 before this Court to the effect that approximately on that day, at that
11 time, there was a meeting in Negoslavci. You saw written evidence between
12 Colonels Pavkovic and Loncar and Misevic and Mr. Kypr and Mr. Schou, i.e.,
13 these two representatives of the European Community. Tell me briefly,
14 were you at that meeting? Did you know that that meeting was being held
15 in Negoslavci at that time?
16 A. No, I did not attend that meeting. The first time I learned about
17 that meeting having been held was when I came here to the Detention Unit
18 and when I received materials from the OTP and heard testimonies of the
19 witnesses Kypr and Schou here.
20 Q. Did you, on the 19th of November, have any direct or any other
21 contact through signals communication with representatives of the European
22 Monitoring Mission?
23 A. On the 19th of November, I only had encounters with the delegation
24 that came with Mr. Vance and with Mr. Borsinger. As regards other
25 European monitors or ICRC representatives, no, I had no contacts with
1 anybody else.
2 Q. Did you, and if so, ever hear of the Zagreb agreement here in this
3 courtroom of the 18th of November which was concluded between Mr. Hebrang
4 and Raseta?
5 A. I heard about that agreement for the first time here in the
6 Tribunal, at The Hague, and I saw it here for the first time as well.
7 Q. During the developments in Vukovar, did you know that there was
8 some negotiations being conducted in Zagreb, the outcome of which was that
9 agreement? Had anybody informed you about that?
10 A. No, never. I had never heard about those negotiations. At the
11 time, I was just the chief of security of the Guards Brigade and I had no
12 way of knowing about such negotiations being held.
13 Q. When, approximately, did you arrive at the hospital? What time of
14 day was it? And what happened thereafter? Whom did you see?
15 A. We arrived at the hospital, after having to negotiate the
16 obstacles on the road which were being cleared by engineer machinery. As
17 far as I can recall, it was in the afternoon. Whether it was 3.00 or 4.00
18 p.m., I cannot say with precision, but it was definitely one hour prior to
19 nightfall, because one could see; there was visibility.
20 At the gate to the hospital, at the entrance to the yard of the
21 hospital, I met with the commander of the 1st Motorised Battalion, Major
22 Borivoje Tesic, and the commander of the 2nd Military Police Battalion,
23 Radoje Paunovic.
24 Q. What happened then?
25 A. Radoje Paunovic is the name of the commander of the 2nd Battalion
1 of the military police. They briefed me very briefly that the commander
2 of the military police had been given the task by the commander to assume
3 security; that there were many civilians in the hospital; that they had
4 found outfits, clothing, equipment, bombs, weapons, in and outside the
5 hospital; and they drew my attention to the fact that I should not go into
6 the cellars or the corridors of the hospital because it wasn't safe until
7 full security measures were established.
8 Q. When you say "clothing," what did you mean? What did they find?
9 A. They found, and they showed me, camouflage uniforms, soldiers'
10 camouflage uniforms. Mr. Borsinger was with me all the time. I don't
11 remember that he had an interpreter at the time; I don't know whether he
12 understood it all, everything that we were saying. But I do know that
13 both I and Mr. Borsinger suggested that civilians should go to Velepromet
14 so that they would be assigned to the different centres or to places where
15 they should be. And they told me that they had found a shelter where the
16 staff of the National Guards Corps and their commander was, that it was
17 mined; and they also told me that they had found large numbers of bodies,
18 of corpses, human corpses, in another street, in a street opposite the
20 They proposed that they take me to the office of the hospital lady
21 director, and from there we went to the cellar together, to the entrance
22 which is quite well known, the one where the wounded were taken in and out
23 of the hospital, and we went straight to the office of Mrs. Vesna Bosanac.
24 Q. You were speaking in plural. Who was with you all the time? Let
25 us be precise.
1 A. Major Tesic, Major Paunovic, and Mr. Borsinger were with me.
2 Q. You can go on.
3 A. At that time I took a very hard -- I was introduced to Madam
4 Bosanac. I asked her if she was faced with any problems and I told her
5 that we had brought medicaments for the hospital. I also asked her
6 whether -- I said, "Are there any of our soldiers here?" Mrs. Vesna
7 Bosanac, more or less, said this to me, in answering, she said that
8 contrary to her approval, a large number of civilians had arrived at the
9 hospital, as well as other people whom she didn't know, and she said that
10 this was obstructing their further work of treatment of the wounded. She
11 said that there were three of our soldiers at the hospital, that they were
12 undergoing treatment and that if I wanted, I could see them.
13 Then I asked her if she knew that civilians were supposed to go to
14 Velepromet, to which she responded that she knew that and that she had
15 drawn their attention to that and that it was precisely there that some
16 women were. And she actually introduced a woman to me whose name,
17 however, I've forgotten and cannot recall at this point. She introduced
18 her as an activist of the Red Cross who was working on having the
19 civilians led in an organised fashion from the hospital to Velepromet for
20 the purpose of the further evacuation.
21 After that, we went to see our soldiers. When one goes out of her
22 office - and I remember that very well - we took the lift in the corridor,
23 because the office is right at the entrance to the cellars of that
24 building. So we took a lift [as interpreted] corridor, arrived at a large
25 room which was full of wounded people, among whom I recognised also
1 Sergeant Ljubic [as interpreted]. I said hello to him and the other two
2 soldiers and another two soldiers. Mrs. Vesna Bosanac was there as well.
3 Tesic might also have been with me, but I know for a fact that Borsinger
4 did not enter that room. On that occasion Jovic told me, he said,
5 "Comrade Major, please don't go any further. There is a large number of
6 masked members of the National Guards Corps here," and he pointed to a
7 corner where there were three people in white overalls and he said that
8 they were disguised. He said that people also had weapons, in particular,
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a minute, the 17th line, it says
11 "lift corridor" and you said "left corridor." You said "Sergeant Jovic"
12 and it is "Ljubic" in the transcript. I believe that was later corrected.
13 And the quotation marks are properly placed here.
14 Q. Thank you. We can go on.
15 A. So we stayed there for a short time. It was very difficult. It
16 was very distressing for me, especially having to see so many wounded
17 people and seeing that we had all those problems that we have gone through
19 So I returned with Mrs. Vesna Bosanac again to her office. In
20 front of the door, there was already a group of people waiting, a group of
21 men and women in white coats waiting. They all wanted to know when the
22 evacuation would be and all of them wanted to say something to me. So all
23 of them had something to tell me.
24 For the most part, what they were telling me, first, there were
25 people that were saying they wanted to cooperate with the JNA, that they
1 were hiding at the hospital --
2 THE INTERPRETER: No, sorry, interpreter's correction: That
3 members of the National Guards Corps and of the MUP were hiding at the
5 A. They never helped them. And even some weapons had been introduced
6 into the hospital. At that time I met a man, whose name I did not
7 remember at the time, who introduced himself as the director of surgery -
8 this is what he said - and he said that he had performed surgery on our
9 soldiers, that he had helped them, and that he wanted to help. And he
10 also added that pressure had been exerted on him; that the night before he
11 had to dress wounds and put dressings on healthy people and plaster casts
12 and that he would be showing to us who these people were.
13 Later in the morning, when I arrived, I found that his name was
14 Dr. Njavro Gjuro, or rather, Gjuro Njavro. I told him, "Okay, we are
15 going to discuss this." I wanted to cooperate with him. I entered the
16 office of Dr. Vesna Bosanac where I found another person, another man. I
17 wanted to talk to Dr. Vesna Bosanac tete-a-tete about the information that
18 I had learned in the corridor, and I asked this man to leave the office.
19 Before that, I forgot to say, when I arrived at the gate, when I
20 was introduced -- when the -- sorry, when the commanders of the units told
21 me what the situation in the hospital was like and what one could see
22 there, I also asked that my assistant commander for counter-intelligence
23 work, Mladen Karan, be called to come there. And now when I was entering
24 for the second time this office, he appeared at the door.
25 Mrs. Vesna Bosanac said to me, "It's not just anybody, it's
1 Mr. Marin Vidic, Bili, the commissioner of the Croatian government for the
2 town of Vukovar, and he should remain in the office." I agreed with her.
3 We had a brief talk there and I asked her, or rather, I asked whether Dr.
4 Gordana Antic is there and she said that yes, she was there, and I asked
5 her to have her called in. She called one of her employees and asked her
6 to find her. I said that they should take the medicine. And in Vesna
7 Bosanac's office, I left my assistant commander and Mr. Borsinger stayed
8 there as well.
9 I went further on. Vesna Bosanac followed me. I told her that it
10 wasn't necessary for her to accompany me because I would go with Major
11 Paunovic, so she went back from this entrance into the hospital. We went
12 out through the different entrance. When you go right from her office and
13 then straight ahead, I think that's the main entrance.
14 Paunovic took me to see that shelter where the headquarters had
15 been of the National Guards Corps. I could just see it from the outside
16 because we noticed that the shelter had been mined and that there were
17 quite a few booby-traps. I remembered that the entrance was between two
18 make-shift buildings. It was made of concrete. And in front there was an
19 armoured Mercedes that was a bit damaged, but what remains striking in my
20 memory is that it had foreign licence plates. I think they were German
21 but I cannot be sure of that.
22 I said to Paunovic that they should be increasingly alert, that
23 soldiers should not touch this, and that they should not enter the shelter
24 until the engineering units come in and demine it. So we did not take
25 anything or see anything except from the outside, and then we returned to
1 the hospital once again.
2 Again, I talked to Dr. Bosanac. I asked her about lists of
3 wounded, injured persons. She showed me some papers that she got out of
4 the drawer. They were quite messy. There were some names on the lists
5 and then there weren't any on others, and so on. She explained that it
6 was difficult, in a situation of war and in the situation that they were
7 in, to keep all papers in proper order.
8 I told my assistant commander for counter-intelligence to check
9 all these papers, to check these lists, and to see whether we can find out
10 who is in the hospital and how many wounded there are. Then Dr. Antic
11 arrived. I had wished to talk to her in Vesna's office. She asked me to
12 go outside to conduct this conversation. I went out in front of the
13 hospital with her, we were on our own, and we talked. She also said that
14 she wanted to help and do whatever she could. I told her that I was
15 called by the general and that he asked me to get her to Sid during the
16 night. She asked me whether I could make it possible for her to go
17 straight to Hungary rather than Sid. I told her that I really didn't have
18 the authority to do that, and I told her the only thing I could do was
19 have her transported to Sid. She thought about it a bit and she said that
20 that evening she did not want to leave, and that in the morning she would
21 decide what she would do afterwards. I went along with her wish.
22 After that, I returned -- or rather, I don't know whether I went
23 back to the office, but I found Major Paunovic there. Mr. Borsinger went
24 out. And it was almost dark by then. I made an offer to Mr. Borsinger.
25 I asked him whether he wanted to come with me and see these corpses that
1 the commanders had told me about, and what he told -- what he said to me,
2 roughly, as far as I can remember, was that he was in a hurry; that he had
3 seen everything he was interested in in the hospital and that he had to
4 arrive in Belgrade, I don't know, that he had some engagements there and
5 that he could not go and see that with me then. He asked me when the
6 evacuation of the hospital would start. I said to him that that would
7 probably start on the following day, at daybreak, immediately.
8 Q. I have a question. On that day, were you informed, or was anybody
9 else informed, that Mr. Borsinger had any objections to the way the army
10 was behaving that day in the hospital; yes or no?
11 A. There were no objections.
12 Q. You've already given an answer but I wanted to be precise. Did
13 Borsinger object to anything regarding this proposal and agreement that
14 the civilians should go to Velepromet?
15 A. He did not object. As a matter of fact, he suggested that the
16 hospital be emptied and that the civilians go, so they would be evacuated
17 as soon as possible, because their people were on the ground all the time.
18 Q. On that afternoon, and then we're going to talk about the next
19 day, did Borsinger ever mention to you the concept of neutrality of the
21 A. I did not hear about that and I did not talk about that to him.
22 Q. During that afternoon, evening or night, at any point in time did
23 you come to the hospital again?
24 A. No. In the evening, when I went back, I did not go back to the
1 Q. Did Borsinger ask you or did you hear him ask from anyone -- ask
2 anyone else that they remain in the hospital that night?
3 A. No, he did not ask for that. As a matter of fact, he asked to
4 leave because he said he had other engagements.
5 Q. Just a moment. Let me see whether there are any interventions or
6 any suggestions.
7 Would you just be as precise as possible. What did Borsinger say
8 to you about Velepromet? Were his teams there or not? Can you be more
9 precise about that.
10 A. Borsinger suggested to Vesna Bosanac, Mrs. Vesna Bosanac, that
11 civilians should go to Velepromet because that is where their teams were.
12 And they were there on the first day and on that day and they were
13 following the evacuation of civilians.
14 Q. Thank you. Can we see what happened after you left the hospital?
15 A. I went with Major Paunovic and I saw many corpses in that street
16 where he pointed them out to me. I found it very hard to see that. It
17 was almost nightfall by then. I went back. I called my assistant,
18 Karan. He told me that he had taken some papers, some lists, the ones
19 that I told him about, but he also told me that he saw that Mrs. Vesna
20 Bosanac had given some lists to Mr. Borsinger that were far tidier than
21 the ones that we had had. I said, "All right, then. Fine." I don't know
22 whether he had found any other material there. I cannot recall all the
23 details right now.
24 I asked Mr. Paunovic, the commander of the 2nd Battalion of the
25 military police, to bring to Negoslavci Mrs. Vesna Bosanac and Mr. Marin
1 Vidic so that we could have a talk. Then I returned to Negoslavci with my
2 vehicle and I was waiting -- or rather, first I went to see the commander.
3 Q. Just a moment. Now I'm just going to put a few things to you that
4 you had heard yourself in this courtroom. On page 683 of the transcript
5 of the 27th of October, Mrs. Bosanac says that, on that day, you came to
6 the hospital twice and that you came with Borsinger during the night.
7 Just tell us, without a comment, yes or no; is that correct?
8 A. That's not correct. I told you in detail, I made an effort to
9 tell you all the things that I did in the hospital at that time.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Lukic please not speak at the same
11 time at the witness.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. On page 1021, on transcript page from the 11th of October --
14 November. 1521. I do apologise to the interpreters. Mr. Njavro
15 testified that he saw you on the 18th of November, around 1300 hours, with
16 Mr. Borsinger in front of the hospital; is that correct? Were you by the
17 hospital on that day?
18 A. That is sheer nonsense. There are video recordings as to where I
19 was on the 18th of November. I first came to the hospital on the
20 afternoon of the 19th.
21 Q. A few witnesses, P22 and P009, mention that on that afternoon,
22 when they came to the area in front of the hospital, they saw quite a few
23 local people gathered there and who were threatening and who said that
24 these people should be killed.
25 With regard to that testimony and with regard to your own
1 recollections, on that day, when you were at the hospital, in front of the
2 hospital, did you hear such comments, and were you informed about that,
3 that there were serious threats that were being issued to people who were
4 in the hospital, or any kind of threats, for that matter?
5 A. In the hospital yard and further on, where I was moving about, I
6 did not hear any threats or anything that would be something that I would
7 consider to be a lack of order.
8 Q. Witness Cakalic, when he testified on the 13th of March,
9 transcript page 59 -- 5893, said that in the night between the 18th and
10 the 19th, or rather, at dawn, you personally took Marin Vidic out of the
11 hospital; that you were in the office and that then you took him out.
12 A. That is quite incorrect. I said where I found Marin Vidic.
13 Mr. Paunovic will come here to testify. And I gave him the task of
14 bringing Marin Vidic in and he did bring him.
15 Q. Just one more question, and I'm going to put something that you
16 heard in this courtroom to you. I found that to be important; maybe the
17 Prosecution is going to put other things to you.
18 Mr. Njavro, also on the 11th of November, when he testified,
19 transcript page 1535, when he described a dialogue he had with a person he
20 called Radic, he said that this person said to him that you had told him
21 to mistreat people. Did you tell anyone, any officer, any soldier, to
22 mistreat anyone in the hospital during the course of that night or at any
23 point in time?
24 A. That is wholly untrue. It would be a shame for me to behave that
25 way. I would have been ashamed of any such thing. I was chief of
1 security, as you said. I had a certain authority; I was at a certain
2 level. I did my best to do my work properly and I trusted that people who
3 were supposed to carry out the tasks that were given to them.
4 As for Captain Radic, I watched him as I did other commanders,
5 komandiri, but after reaching Milovo Brdo, I do not recall having seen him
6 anywhere and I did not issue any tasks to him.
7 Q. What about somebody else?
8 A. No one else.
9 Q. Did you hear from anyone on that day, that night, that evening, or
10 the following day, that European monitors or anyone else wanted to go to
11 the hospital that night?
12 A. I never heard that except for here. I think that somebody talked
13 about something like that in the courtroom. But all who came to our zone
14 were made aware of the curfew from 1700 hours until 6.00 in the morning,
15 and that then, almost no one was moving around in the zone unless there
16 was some exceptional need to save a life or to help people.
17 Q. Where did you go after that?
18 A. After coming from the hospital, again, I reported to the command,
19 to the commander, and I reported to him that we took the medicine there.
20 I said to General Panic that Dr. Antic did not want to go to Sid. Then I
21 told Commander Mrksic about what I had found there and I informed him that
22 I had asked for Vesna Bosanac to be called in for an interview with me and
23 Marin Vidic as well. And probably we talked about other things, too, but
24 I cannot remember everything.
25 I remember that after that, Mr. Mrksic said the following to me:
1 that I should no longer ask for vehicles from the European Red Cross for
2 evacuating the hospital because all of this had been regulated, and that
3 on the following morning the evacuation of the hospital would start; that
4 officers and vehicles would come from the 1st Military District and that
5 Colonel Pavkovic was in charge of that effort.
6 He gave me the following task: that I must ensure full security
7 to have all of those who are suspected of having committed war crimes
8 taken out of the hospital first so that they would be transported to the
9 prison in Sremska Mitrovica. As for the transport of these persons, I
10 should report to the assistant for logistics; that he had already been
11 ordered to assign buses for that. That before going to the hospital, I
12 should report to the head of the medical service, Lieutenant Colonel
13 Jovanovic, and that Mr. Mrksic had already given him the task to assign
14 ten military doctors who should examine the wounded together with the
15 doctors of the Vukovar Hospital, and that security organs, during the
16 screening, are not allowed to take anyone out of the hospital without
17 having these persons first having been examined by doctors and in their
18 presence, that I should not carry out any kind of triage without the
19 doctors being with me, the doctors who had been assigned to that task.
20 I accepted that and we scheduled this for 6.00 the following
21 morning. I was off to organise my own business and to interview Vesna
22 Bosanac and Marin Vidic.
23 Q. I don't think I will be addressing all the counts in the
24 indictment, just some that we'll not be addressing now. The Prosecutor
25 says that Commander Mrksic conferred upon you the power to conduct an
1 evacuation, which the OTP claims started at the hospital, went through the
2 barracks, and ended up at Ovcara. The Prosecutor also claims that you
3 commanded all the forces that were involved in this evacuation from the
4 hospital to Ovcara. Please tell us if that is true.
5 A. That is entirely erroneous. I never received an order like that.
6 Q. Perhaps we can have a look now at what you did after the meeting
7 at Colonel Mrksic's.
8 A. I went back to that building, near where I drew the command post
9 of the town commander. The forensics were there already; my two security
10 clerks and Vesna Bosanac as well. I talked to her briefly. Most of all,
11 I wanted to see if she could help me find the commander, Mr. Jastreb. I
12 wanted to know about the numbers of the wounded and who the remaining
13 people in the hospital were. She said she was willing to help. She said
14 there were plenty of people there and she didn't know the exact figure.
15 But if I remember correctly the figures she gave me at the time, although
16 they may be inaccurate, she said, I believe, that there were over 200
17 wounded and about 60 inpatients. But I wasn't very familiar with some of
18 the more medical/technical terms that she was using.
19 And then she said, "Sir, the only ones to remain faithful to their
20 people until the bitter end are myself," and she meant herself, "and
21 Mr. Marin Vidic. And you will not find this gentleman you're after
22 because he has long fled Vukovar." I asked her again but she said, "I'm
23 sorry, I can't help you." I wanted to see if I could do anything about
24 her being taken to Zagreb, or rather, she asked me and I said I would do
25 everything within my power. I asked her whether she was in touch with
1 anyone in Zagreb. She said she was permanently in touch with Mr. Tus and
2 she could always call him any time she wanted. The same with Mr. Hebrang
3 and Mr. Tudjman.
4 I told her that I would find the names of some officers who I knew
5 had been taken prisoner in other JNA barracks, in Croatia, in Gospic, and
6 other parts of Croatia. I'm not mentioning other names, just to avoid
7 hurting that person's feelings. I was looking for a major who had served
8 with me in the Guards Brigade but who had then been transferred to the
9 Gospic barracks. It was the previous spring that he was captured and
10 nobody knew what had become of him. I was adamant that I should find out
11 about this man's fate and she promised to give me a hand with this.
12 Just after our conversation --
13 Q. Slow down, please.
14 A. Mrs. Bosanac started talking about politics, about Tudjman, how he
15 had betrayed them --
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the speakers please
17 kindly be asked to speak one at a time. Thank you very much.
18 A. The messenger came to see me to call me back to the commander's
19 post. I came and Mr. Mrksic was seated at a table in the operations
20 room. There were three other high-ranking officers, colonels, seated at
21 the same table as well as a number of other officers. I think this was
22 about 8.00 in the evening.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. You saw that entrance -- that entry in the war log about that. I
25 will not be showing this now. This was at about 2000 hours. Was that the
1 thing that jogged your memory?
2 A. Yes, it did, but the log was also discussed. It said 7.30,
3 possibly 8.00, and then the log was in that building where we interviewed
4 Vesna Bosanac. We were watching TV.
5 Q. So tell us what happens now.
6 A. The colonel briefly addressed me to say, "These are officers from
7 the security administration. They're here on a mission. Their mission is
8 to conduct a triage and to identify any crime suspects so that they might
9 then be taken to Sremska Mitrovica. Please sit down with them and tell
10 them about the security situation in the area of responsibility of the
11 Guards Brigade."
12 I greeted those men. I had never met any of those officers
13 before; didn't know a single one of them. I started my briefing. I told
14 them that in the area covered by our brigade, those who had surrendered
15 had already been evacuated, as well as anyone from the Mitnica area, and
16 there was no one left there now. The only two places where there were
17 still men to be screened were Velepromet and the hospital. I said that
18 Velepromet was under the control of the Vukovar TO and that that was the
19 place where a screening was needed the most. I made a proposal and
20 Colonel Mrksic reacted right away that the hospital was not to be touched
21 until the following morning.
22 I was interrupted immediately by the leader of that group. He
23 introduced himself as Bogdan Vujic, Colonel Bogdan Vujic. And this is
24 roughly what he said to me: "Major, Comrade, we know all of that but we
25 must get on. And this is what we'll do. My team," that is, the team that
1 arrived with Bogdan Vujic, "will go straight to Velepromet to do some work
2 there. You assign an officer to us who will introduce us to the people
3 there. You carry on interviewing the persons that you have been
4 interviewing and also prepare for the triage and the selection process at
5 the hospital. But you can't go to the hospital before you've talked to
6 me," since this had already been scheduled for 6.00 the following
7 morning. "Tomorrow morning report to me at the Velepromet gate with the
8 team at 6.00 sharp," he said.
9 The commander had already issued an assignment to the duty
10 operations officer to use the military police battalion to provide escort
11 for those people as far as Velepromet. I phoned the barracks to speak to
12 my security assistant, Srecko Borisavljevic. I told him to meet these
13 officers at the Velepromet gate and to introduce them to the
14 representatives of the Territorial Defence and the Velepromet warden so
15 that -- and that he should be with them until they carried out all their
16 assignments, and this is where we parted ways.
17 Q. Hold on a second, please. You've heard the evidence of Mr. Vujic
18 on the 16th of February. On page 4497, he said that. As they were
19 setting off, you said this: "Don't be surprised if you see a Chetnik slit
20 the throat of an Ustasha there."
21 A. I read different statements made by this gentleman, Mr. Vujic,
22 when I arrived in The Hague, since they became available at the time. One
23 thing I realised is that he tends to change his statements very often.
24 I'm not repeating what you've already said. He added something on his way
25 into the courtroom also what the purpose was behind him -- behind him
1 making these additions to his statement. I don't know. But all these
2 things are lies, pure lies. He even said that I had held a meeting
3 outside the headquarters.
4 Your Honours, our army was a serious army. I don't even wish to
5 go into statements of that kind. It is up to you to judge what is right
6 and what is wrong, but it would have been a little too much for a major to
7 be lining up colonels for review and to be giving them orders.
8 Q. Let's not go any further into that. You never said any such
9 thing, based on what I gather from the conversation between the two of
11 A. No, I never stated any such thing.
12 Q. Thank you. Did you at any point throughout that evening meet
13 those persons again?
14 A. No, not the same evening. It wasn't before the next morning, at
15 6.00, when I reported to Colonel Vujic at the Velepromet gate, that I saw
16 them again.
17 Q. Thank you. Let's move on to something different now, but before
18 we do, I wish to put something else to you. I would like to stay in
19 public session. I can tell you the name, if you like, but then we'll have
20 to go into private session. Witness P32, testifying on the 7th of
21 December - 6962 is the reference in the transcript - he claims he saw you
22 on the 19th, the morning of the 19th, in the hospital area. You put him
23 in the vehicle you were using, he says, and then drove him to the
24 hospital. Do you remember this witness and what he said?
25 A. Yes, I remember the evidence but, believe me, it's very difficult
1 to keep track of all these codes, P0, P3. Where I live, we use last
2 names, not codes. Be that as it may, his evidence is simply not correct.
3 Q. Thank you. I will be asking you some questions about the
4 Velepromet facility now. Can you tell us whose facility it was? Who was
5 there? Who was securing the facility? Who was holding the facility? Was
6 it someone from your own security organs? Did they go there? Were they
7 there, and what did they do? Generally speaking, a word or two about
8 Velepromet, please.
9 A. Velepromet is a huge warehouse of some sort of a wholesaler or
10 trading company or something, or that's what it used to be in peacetime.
11 By the time we got there, a holding centre had been set up there for
12 Vukovar's residents. It was the Vukovar TO that controlled this
13 facility. They had their own food storage there, fuel and ammunition.
14 They had special rooms to hold people who needed putting up. They knew
15 the people. And we didn't interfere very much but we tried to help as
16 much as we could. For the most part, it was their men securing
18 For members of the Guards Brigade, Velepromet was not very
19 important, or at least not before the 18th of November. We hardly ever
20 went there. However, the commander of the 2nd Assault Detachment had been
21 given the task of making sure there was sufficient order and discipline
22 there, and you can see that based on the order that was issued by Colonel
24 I personally gave Captain Srecko Borisavljevic a task, and that
25 was pursuant to the commander's order. There is an entry to show that in
1 the war log. I gave him the task of occasionally controlling the security
2 situation in the holding centre and to work with the security organs. In
3 this case, the man was called Zigic, the TO security person. And I also
4 told him to exchange any useful information with Zigic. So much about
6 Q. What do you know about whoever was in charge of the centre?
7 A. Ljubinko Stojanovic was in charge of the holding centre.
8 Q. And he was ...
9 A. He was the commander of the TO. And based on my information and
10 based on what Srecko Borisavljevic had told me, he was a hard-working,
11 capable fellow and he did his job really well. The ICRC men and the
12 European monitors often came to talk to him, and Mr. Vance also went to
13 talk to him when he was visiting Vukovar.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just something about the transcript.
15 It's page 23, line 25, "Ljubinko Stojanovic" is the name. And page 24,
16 line 2, he was not the commander of the TO; he was a member of the TO.
17 Q. Isn't that what you said?
18 A. Yes, a member of the Vukovar TO.
19 Q. Had you ever heard anything about any irregularities, crimes being
20 committed, in Velepromet prior to this period?
21 A. I'd heard no such thing throughout my time in Vukovar, nothing to
22 indicate that there had been anything like that at all in Velepromet.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to use the
24 e-court system now to look at the war log. This is Exhibit 70. The
25 B/C/S -- 107, my apologies. The war log, it's 107. The B/C/S page is 33,
1 and the e-court reference is 02935466. The English is page 30. My
2 apologies, it's 401. The exhibit number is 401. It's the war log of the
3 Guards Brigade. We all know it by heart, I believe, or perhaps we don't.
4 401. The B/C/S page is 33 and the English is page 30. The entry is dated
5 the 22nd. 02935466. The last bit, if you can, please, if you can blow it
6 up a little, it's the last entry on this page. It's dated the 22nd of
7 October, 1330 hours. I'll read it out.
8 "The commander of OG South ordered that in the Velepromet company
9 where refugees are being gathered, there should always have been one
10 security officer to gather information," and then I think what it says in
11 parentheses is "(chief of security)."
12 A. I've talked about this already even before you read this out. I
13 told you that I had put Captain Srecko Borisavljevic in charge of this
14 task and he was also a security clerk in the 2nd Assault Detachment.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we take a look at another two
16 documents from our 62 ter batch, which also referred to Velepromet which
17 is why I left them for this stage in the proceedings. Can we now put on
18 the screen 65 ter, 13 documents marked 3D050058. That is 3D050058. That
19 is again a report of the security organ of the Guards Brigade from
20 November the 9th.
21 Q. I should like to deal first with the second paragraph,
22 Mr. Sljivancanin, and hear your comments. "In the 1st Battalion of the
23 military police," that is how it starts. Do you remember that?
24 A. This is also a report of mine addressed to the chief of security
25 in the cabinet of the Federal Secretary. While I can read out for you
1 what is written in it, this was a practice -- this refers to 26 Croatian
2 soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the military police who started to
3 worry about their future fate because they had learned that the Republic
4 of Croatia had proclaimed, on the 10th of November, that it would be
5 independent, and it was only normal that people should be concerned.
6 This is what I wrote about in these reports of mine, seeking
7 advice as to allow a further course of action.
8 Q. The next paragraph speaks for itself. It confirms that on that
9 day there were also those problems that we talked about yesterday in the
10 anti-terrorist company. But what I should like to deal with now is the
11 last paragraph on the following page.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] So can we turn the page, please,
13 over. Can we zoom in on the last paragraph.
14 Q. This is what it says:
15 "By the liberation of the settlement Bosko Buha in Vukovar, after
16 that, rather, suddenly emerged -- appeared a large number of people in the
17 shelters. Over 300 persons were evacuated to Velepromet where they were
18 individually processed. During the day, around 100 persons were
19 processed, from which number around 25 persons were singled out as being
20 of relevance to the security organs in terms of the further gathering of
21 data on the positions and forces of the Ustasha units and for the possible
22 exchange for captured JNA members," and then you go on to explain who was
23 in question.
24 Can you give us a brief comment on this paragraph.
25 A. What is written here is true. That is the way it was at that
1 time. We, the security organs, could suspect people of having committed a
2 crime only if we caught them red-handed, on the spot, on the crime scene,
3 or if they surrendered with weapons or if we caught them in the act.
4 As regards other persons, they had to be processed. They had to
5 be subjected to the selection process in which we were assisted by members
6 of the Territorial Defence of Vukovar, also on the basis of the list that
7 we received from the security administration on the identification of such
8 persons. We then processed such persons and then decided whether they
9 were civilians or should be detained. There were 25 such people, and if I
10 remember correctly, as I said yesterday, it was proved that only two or
11 three had committed certain criminal offences. The others were let go.
12 Q. Please slow down.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The next document -- but before we do
14 that, I should like to ask that we move into private session. Can we just
15 have a mark given to this document.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, it will be marked for identification, if
17 that's what you want.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I should like to mark it for admission
19 into the case file, into the evidence, and I was referring to the next
20 document when I asked for us to go into private session because it refers
21 to the name of a protected witness.
22 JUDGE PARKER: If you're tendering this document, it will be
23 received, Mr. Lukic.
24 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 834, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. And now private.
1 [Private session]
16 [Open session]
17 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours. This
18 document will become Exhibit 835, under seal.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I believe that we shall manage to deal
20 with another topic before the break.
21 Q. Did you go to Ovcara that evening, Mr. Sljivancanin? We are still
22 talking about the 19th of November.
23 A. On the 19th of November, after my meeting with organs from the
24 security administration, I remained at the command post, because officers
25 were coming, having accomplished certain tasks, and information was coming
1 in. And I, of course, was interested in hearing the information and
2 seeing what was going on. And as far as I can remember, Major Skoric was
3 also among the people returning. Major Skoric had been assigned the night
4 before to lead civilians to Croatia, to the highway, to the crossing at
5 Sid. And he reported that Croatia did not want to take in those people,
6 and as far as I could learn, they were returned to Ovcara again.
7 That was a big problem for the people concerned, and I remember
8 the words uttered, which were, "Why is it allowed for those people to be
9 maltreated?" I think that they also, in passing, talked to the chief of
10 the quartermaster service who was supplying food and water for those
11 people and he adduced a series of problems. He even said that Territorial
12 Defence members were there and that they were cannibalising certain
13 vehicles - that is what he said - because he had just returned from the
14 region of Ovcara.
15 So these were all the problems that were being conveyed to me, and
16 I was a bit taken aback. I wasn't aware that all this was happening. And
17 I feel sorry for those people because the night before I had worked on
18 those things with Major Vukasinovic. I don't know whether Colonel Mrksic
19 said something about that to me. I might have talked about it with him
20 also, but I am not quite sure. I cannot remember.
21 So I went and called Major Vukasinovic and he and I went to Ovcara
22 directly. I couldn't go on my own because of security considerations and
23 it was dark.
24 As we were approaching Ovcara, we were stopped at a gate which was
25 installed by the command post there. For at least 20 minutes they
1 wouldn't let us enter, because the curfew was on and they didn't know us
2 and we didn't know them because they were from another unit. After some
3 insistence, this commander from that command post actually made an
4 appearance or called in and he checked and verified who we were. He let
5 us in. And with our vehicle, we came outside the so-called yellow
7 There, an officer of rank of captain first class, in uniform - I
8 remember that - told me that there were a large number of civilians who
9 had returned, that they would not disembark from the buses to be placed in
10 the hangar, that they wanted to stay on the buses, that they had ensured
11 water and food for them; but he said that everything was all right and
12 that the military police had arrived to secure that -- the place. And,
13 according to him, there were no problems whatsoever.
14 There, I also found the commander, one of the komandiri of the
15 Territorial Defence, Miroljub Vujevic, accompanied by several members of
16 the Territorial Defence. I asked him what business he had being there and
17 he told me that he had come on account of the motor vehicles and the
18 mechanisation, the machines that were supposed to come to Velepromet that
19 had been extracted from Mitnica but had not yet arrived; not all of the
20 machinery had arrived. Of course, as it was dark, I didn't go out to
21 check. There was no lighting or anything there.
22 I told him that he should rest assured that the members of the
23 Yugoslav Peoples' Army would not take or take away anything that belonged
24 to anybody else; that that would be put in Velepromet; that he should wait
25 for daybreak -- for day and that that would be solved. So this officer
1 said what his name was but I forgot. He was a representative of the 80th
2 Motorised Brigade. He said that there were no problems, that it would be
3 regulated according to the orders received. And he offered me to go and
4 see those people on the buses. I thought that it was not necessary for us
5 to go and see those people that we -- I cannot say ill-treated, but we
6 only helped, in fact, last night; that there was no need to expose them to
7 any further such treatment, and that actually -- that was not the task of
8 my unit.
9 So we stayed there for about 10 or 15 minutes and then we went
10 back. Vukasinovic went to his own building; I went to my command post.
11 As far as I can recall, I believe that I told Colonel Mrksic that
12 I had been at Ovcara, although I'm not 100 per cent sure of that, and I
13 believe that he said to me, "Well, I know all of that. Lieutenant Colonel
14 Vojnovic, the commander of --
15 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear of what.
16 A. -- of the 80th Brigade has informed me about all of that. And
17 that evening I met for the first time with General Aca Vasiljevic and
18 Colonel Tumanov.
19 Q. Just a moment. You have to repeat the previous sentence. What
20 did Colonel Mrksic tell you when you reported to him upon returning from
22 A. If I remember correctly --
23 Q. Just slow down. What did Mrksic tell you that had been told to
25 A. If I remember that, I talked to Mrksic that time. More or less,
1 this is what Mrksic told me. He told me that he knew that the people had
2 been returned to Ovcara, that he had been informed about that by
3 Lieutenant Colonel Vojnovic, the commander of the 80th Motorised Brigade,
4 and that all the necessary measures to take proper care of those people
5 had been taken and that he knew that there were no problems whatsoever.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Page 32, line 12, the witness said
7 "Lieutenant Colonel Vojnovic." We shall continue after the break.
8 JUDGE PARKER: We will resume at ten minutes to 11.00.
9 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
10 --- On resuming at 10.53 a.m.
11 JUDGE PARKER: They stand to the left and they stand to the right.
12 Mr. Moore.
13 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, could I possibly ask one small indulgence
14 from my learned friend. I know how difficult it is when one is taking a
15 witness in chief, especially one like Mr. Sljivancanin who is important,
16 but sometimes the questions will have two or three questions in the
17 question; more importantly, the answers are enormously long. And I, for
18 my part, would be extremely grateful - perhaps it's my inability to take
19 so much material in quickly - but I would be very grateful if, in actual
20 fact, my learned friend could control Mr. Sljivancanin, as best he can, so
21 that the answers become intelligible. They may require cross-examination
22 in due course. And it is not a criticism, just merely a request.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think that in relation to my planned
25 sequence of questions and current questions, I have full control of the
1 witness. Possibly his answers are a bit long, but that's because we
2 carried out intensive preparations, the two of us. And sometimes, in
3 response to some of my questions, he gives me three or four answers to
4 three or four possibly questions. If Mr. Moore does not find some of
5 these things clear, perhaps we will be able to clarify them, as we did
6 yesterday, but he will have plenty of time during the cross-examination.
7 What I am doing is making an effort to take Mr. Sljivancanin through a
8 great many topics as efficiently as possible.
9 Q. But we will try, first and foremost, for the efficiency of these
10 proceedings, to be as clear as possible, Mr. Sljivancanin, and we would
11 like the answers to be what we can proffer to the Court.
12 Mr. Sljivancanin, we broke off when you went back to Mrksic. Who
13 did you find there at Mr. Mrksic's when you arrived back from Ovcara on
14 the 19th, in the evening? And what did you do then?
15 A. As I've already started saying, I found General -- Major General
16 Aca Vasiljevic there, then Colonel Tumanov, and there were other officers
17 there from the 1st Military District, then from the General Staff, too.
18 But I cannot remember their names, and I didn't even know some of them.
19 Q. Who was Mr. Tumanov? Who was he then?
20 A. At that time he was the deputy of Aca Vasiljevic.
21 Q. What happened then?
22 A. I briefly informed General Vasiljevic and Tumanov about what we
23 security organs did over the previous two days, especially in Mitnica.
24 When a group of officers came and -- from the security administration, I
25 said that they went to Velepromet. And I said that I brought in Dr. Vesna
1 Bosanac and Marin Vidic for an interview and that I asked them to come to
2 the same premises where we were.
3 Q. Very well. In your view, did Vasiljevic respond to you? Did he
4 know anything about the group from the security administration that came?
5 Was that referred to?
6 A. That was referred to. He said that he knew and, as a matter of
7 fact, he even advised me, or rather, he suggested to me that these are
8 experienced officers and that, in my future work, as far as security
9 matters are concerned, I should cooperate with them and that I should go
10 by the instructions that they give me.
11 Q. Where did you go after that? What happened?
12 A. After that, I went to my building and -- well, I forgot something
13 here. I don't remember now whether I sent Mrs. Vesna Bosanac to go to
14 sleep before or after I went to Ovcara. I cannot remember all these
15 details. But, at any rate, I told her, since it was night-time and there
16 was a curfew on, that it was risky to travel to the hospital at night;
17 that nearby we had a hospital of our own and that quite a few nurses and
18 lady doctors were there, because I didn't want her, as a female person, to
19 spend the night at the buildings where we were spending the night. So I
20 was suggesting to her that she spend the night in our hospital and to see
21 how our doctors worked and to see who they were treating. She agreed to
23 I called Lieutenant Colonel Jovanovic and I asked that he receive
24 the doctor at the hospital and provide whatever was necessary for her. We
25 did not apply any kind of measures of coercion vis-a-vis her, except for
1 the fact that I said to her that on the next day, at 6.00 in the morning,
2 she would go to the hospital together with me and that we would continue
3 our conversation. Then I continued talking to Mr. Marin Vidic, Bili.
4 Q. Where was this conversation taking place, and do you remember who
5 was present there? And at what time this happened in the evening, can you
6 tell us, approximately?
7 A. I spoke to Marin Vidic, Bili, in the evening, sometime before
8 midnight, on the 19th of November, 1991, in the premises of the building
9 where the security organ was. I made a drawing of this here. Karan was
10 present, Borce Karanfilov, and perhaps some of the crime scene technicians
11 who were recording these interviews on camera. I cannot remember the
12 names of all of these persons, but the two I mentioned were there for
14 Q. Did anybody come during this interview? Did anybody enter your
16 A. Later, around 12.00 at night, or rather, at midnight or perhaps a
17 bit later, General Vasiljevic came and Colonel Tumanov.
18 Q. Let us repeat once again: Where was this taking place?
19 A. This was taking place in the premises of the house where the
20 security organs were staying in the village of Negoslavci.
21 Q. And what was it that was happening there? What were they doing
23 A. I asked General Vasiljevic that perhaps he talk to Mr. Vidic as
24 well. The general said that he did not want to conduct any conversations
25 with him, that I should take care of it. He also asked me that I should
1 show him all the documents I had, that I managed to collect from members
2 of the National Guards Corps and that I managed to find until then, in the
3 course of our work, and also what we took away from the volunteers that we
4 were disarming and sending outside the zone of combat.
5 He was asking questions about the method of work that we were
6 carrying out then. We briefly discussed the telegram as well that I had
7 received from him. I said to him, "We are doing whatever we can with
8 regard to this matter." He suggested to me that, without any interviews,
9 we should send all suspects to the prison in Sremska Mitrovica and that
10 there were organs there that would further investigate these persons.
11 These were the brief conversations that we had.
12 Q. This building where your rooms were, if I can put it that way, the
13 ones that you showed us on the first day, is that the building where you
14 slept otherwise, where you - how should I put this? - spent time when you
15 were not outside?
16 A. This is the building where we slept, where we stayed, when we were
17 not out in the field, and we spent our time only in that building during
18 the time of combat.
19 Q. Who else slept in that building along with you?
20 A. Karan, Karanfilov, Momcilovic. For a while, before he became
21 commander of this place, Vukasinovic slept there, too. And my driver did
22 as well.
23 Q. On that evening, did you go out after this conversation with
24 Vidic, after Mr. Vasiljevic came? Did you leave the building during the
25 course of the night?
1 A. I was very tired because I hadn't slept the previous night, and I
2 could hardly wait for this activity of ours to be over, to get a bit of
3 rest, knowing of the exertion that lay ahead. I didn't go anywhere. I
4 continued talking to Mr. Marin Vidic, who handed over his diary to me and
5 quite a few other papers that he had written to the President of Croatia,
6 Mr. Franjo Tudjman.
7 Once he said that previously he had been a musician and that he
8 liked nightlife. And he asked me if I had a glass of brandy for him and I
9 said that I was not really a drinker. But then I asked for a drink to be
10 brought for him and they brought him a glass. And we sang. He sang well.
11 Q. Did you give any tasks out for the following day to your people?
12 A. That evening I gave assignments for the next day.
13 As for Major Vukasinovic, I said that he should get two buses that
14 would go to the area of the hospital and transport suspects, crime
15 suspects, who were hiding at the hospital.
16 As for Captain Karan, I assigned him to get the documents from the
17 hospital and to go to the hospital together with me and Dr. Bosanac.
18 As for Captain Karanfilov, I assigned him to continue talks with
19 Marin Vidic in the morning, and that he should go to the shelter that
20 should be demined so that we see what was in that shelter where the
21 headquarters of the ZNG had been.
22 At the same time I asked an officer from the engineering unit to
23 assign some professionals to remove the booby-traps so that the security
24 organs could enter the shelter.
25 Q. Can we move on to the 20th of November, please.
1 A. Sorry, there is one thing that I didn't say about the 19th. There
2 is such a lot of information.
3 That evening, on orders from Lieutenant Colonel Jovanovic, a
4 doctor, lieutenant colonel, called me, Lieutenant Colonel Ivezic, and he
5 told me that he was assigned to take the doctors to the Vukovar Hospital.
6 And the lieutenant colonel told him to report to me and that I would tell
7 him what to do. And I said to him that in the morning, at 6.00, we would
8 go to the Vukovar Hospital; that they were supposed to carry out their
9 tasks there and that we agree on the spot, but they should be ready to
10 leave with us at 6.00 in the morning.
11 Q. So did you actually leave at 6.00 in the morning? Who left?
12 Where did you go to?
13 A. We assembled, perhaps just before 6.00. There were my driver and
14 I in this vehicle; Captain Karan was there and Dr. Ivezic. In the other
15 vehicle, there was, I think, Vesna Bosanac. And whether there was another
16 vehicle driving behind that vehicle, I think there were doctors driving in
17 that one that Captain Ivezic had brought along. We set out on the morning
18 of the 20th, and we met Colonel Bogdan Vujic at the Velepromet gate in
19 Vukovar at 6.00.
20 Q. What happens next?
21 A. I reported to Colonel Vujic; I told him the team was there. He
22 asked how many seats were available in my car and I said there was one
23 seat available, but no room left. He said, "We ought to find room for
24 another officer." I said, "If the man doesn't mind, he can have a seat in
25 the trunk of the car," because there was still room there. They said,
1 "All right."
2 We talked briefly about where those suspects should be taken.
3 Earlier on there had been a plan for all civilians - we took them all to
4 be civilians simply because these people had surrendered unarmed; it
5 wasn't like we caught them in the act, committing a crime - they were all
6 to go through Velepromet first. We, the security organs, were to be there
7 for the screening and we didn't believe that those people should be sent
8 back to Velepromet to be searched, to be screened, if you like; rather, we
9 agreed that the best course of action would be for them to be taken to the
10 barracks, for them to wait there until a convoy was formed to go to
11 Sremska Mitrovica. The colonel gave some other assignments to those other
12 officers, his own officers who were there, but that's not something I
13 concerned myself with.
14 Q. So who came with you in that vehicle?
15 A. Colonel Bogdan Vujic and another officer from the security organ,
16 but, believe me, at the time I didn't know his name, and I still don't
17 know his name.
18 Q. But now you know who he was, don't you?
19 A. Well, of course I do. As I was preparing for all of this, I
20 learnt that this was Korica.
21 Q. Thank you. The previous day you talked to Colonel Mrksic about
22 the hospital evacuation and your assignment. What was the plan? What did
23 Mrksic tell you? What did you learn? Where were all those persons to be
24 taken to, the persons who were crime suspects, potential perpetrators of
1 A. As soon as the 18th of November, at that meeting, Mrksic said that
2 all crime suspects, or all those who had surrendered as crime suspects,
3 were to be taken to Sremska Mitrovica, to the prison in Sremska Mitrovica,
4 whereas the civilians could be taken to two different places - either to
5 the Red Cross headquarters in Sid or to a place along the Croatian border
6 where it was agreed that they would be received. There were also those
7 who wanted to remain in Vukovar and it was said that those people should
8 be allowed to do so undisturbed and unharassed.
9 Q. Prior to the 20th - do you perhaps know this? - had anyone
10 mentioned that anyone was to be taken to Ovcara on the 20th of November
11 from the hospital?
12 A. As far as I was concerned, the entire area of the town of Vukovar
13 bordering on the Velepromet area, there was the instruction that only
14 civilians should go to Velepromet and no one from that area ever said
15 anything about anyone being taken to Ovcara, nor was that necessary. The
16 only thing was that Mitnica, as a Vukovar neighbourhood, a part of Mitnica
17 bordered on the general Ovcara area, and in order to continue on to
18 Sremska Mitrovica, some of those persons were sent through that facility
19 in order to continue their journey from there on to Sremska Mitrovica.
20 Q. What about the hospital? Did it, in your words, gravitate more
21 towards Velepromet or towards Ovcara?
22 A. That facility gravitated towards Velepromet and the barracks
24 Q. You were off to the hospital, I suppose. Tell me something else:
25 Outside Velepromet at that point, on the 20th, or on the way to the
1 hospital, as you talked to Vujic and the other people, did anyone at this
2 time tell you about what had occurred at Velepromet the previous night?
3 Did they share any of their impressions with you?
4 A. The officer who drove with us kept silent, for the most part.
5 Myself, Dr. Vujic and Dr. Ivezic did most of the talking. Nothing at all
6 was said about what they had done at Velepromet, nor was he, in any way,
7 required to brief me on any of that. For the most part, we talked with
8 Dr. Ivezic was about what the best way was to avoid hurting anyone, to
9 avoid any disruptions to the life of the wounded, whatever that meant.
10 Another important thing was to establish if there were any
11 potential crime suspects there and how to screen the men, and that's what
12 we discussed on our way to the hospital.
13 Q. Who did you find, as far as officers from the Guards Brigade were
14 concerned, upon your arrival at the hospital? Which soldiers were there,
15 which military officers? Anyone from the Guards Brigade?
16 A. When we reached the hospital that morning, there were soldiers and
17 officers there from the 2nd Military Police Battalion. As far as I
18 remember, Major Paunovic, Radoje Paunovic, was there and Captain Simic. I
19 am certain about the two of them. There were other officers from the
20 military police, but I can't quite remember who. I've forgotten.
21 Q. You heard evidence by certain witnesses about what happened that
22 night at the hospital, the night between the 19th and the 20th. Did those
23 officers there tell you about any incidents at the hospital the previous
25 A. I asked Mr. Major Paunovic whether the night had been a quiet
1 one. He didn't tell me about anything bad happening at the hospital, nor
2 did he make any negative observations.
3 Q. What happens next?
4 A. We went to Mrs. Bosanac's office. We asked Mrs. Vesna Bosanac to
5 summon her doctors who were supposed to be working together with our
6 military physicians in order to inspect the hospital patients and the
7 wounded. Dr. Ivezic did most of the talking as to how this was to be
8 carried out. Bogdan Vujic left me there to deal with that. He said that
9 he would be off with Officer Korica to pursue their own plans.
10 After a brief discussion, Mrs. Vesna Bosanac came up with the idea
11 that it would be best to have a meeting with all the medical staff
12 attending so that our doctors could introduce themselves to their doctors
13 and so that they could explain what needed doing. And she was willing to
14 help us with this. I asked her how much time it would take for her to get
15 everyone assembled. She said, "Ten minutes will do." And she also
16 proposed a room where all these people would assemble. And, indeed, she
17 convened some of her lady associates and then they told us to go to that
18 room where the hospital staff had already assembled. Vesna Bosanac, Dr.
19 Ivezic and I reached the room together.
20 When you leave Bosanac's office, this room was just on the
21 right-hand side of the corridor and then left, towards the exit. I think
22 they called it the plaster room, or at least that's how I heard them refer
23 to it.
24 Dr. Ivezic asked me to hold that meeting and to say whatever it
25 was that I had to say.
1 Q. So what did you say; do you remember? A word or two about that,
2 please. What did you share with the medical staff?
3 A. It was a difficult time for words. All those people and we,
4 together with them, had been through so much suffering over the previous
5 period of time. I tried not to give a proper speech but, rather, to tell
6 them what they really wanted to know, although I've heard all kinds of
7 evidence here and many fabrications, to be sure. This is, in very rough
8 terms, what I said:
9 "Gentlemen, doctors, I'm here on behalf of the JNA." I'm not sure
10 if I introduced myself or not. Perhaps I did; perhaps I didn't. "The JNA
11 is here to help everyone in this town. We are one people. You doctors
12 took the doctor's oath and you have no reason to fear anything at all.
13 You, of all people, have no reason to fear. We don't want to know whose
14 wounded you have been treating. The crux of the matter is you provided
15 people with appropriate treatment and you did your job. It's a sad thing
16 that this had to happen. It's a sad thing we started killing each other.
17 I believe this will be a warning for everyone and I hope this will never
18 happen again."
19 I also said this: "I think Tudjman and the HDZ, most of everyone,
20 are to blame for this."
21 If I may just finish, please. I said: "I know you want to know
22 what we are to do. There is a possibility that the JNA believes that all
23 honourable and hard-working people, especially those in this hospital,
24 especially those who want to carry on living in Vukovar, you should give
25 us a hand, you should stay here and help us along. Those who do not wish
1 to remain have three choices: Firstly, they can go to the Red Cross in
2 Sid or else they can go to Croatia."
3 I also pointed out that we had information to indicate that there
4 were individuals hiding inside the hospital who were suspected of having
5 committed crimes. Any such persons will be brought in for interviews.
6 "It is in your best interest," I said, "to help us find these people."
7 That is, in very rough terms, what I said at the meeting.
8 Q. Did you offer the medical staff and the doctors to carry on
9 working at the hospital and to remain in Vukovar?
10 A. As I have said already, I offered everyone a chance to stay
11 because we needed them.
12 Q. Did you tell them at the time, or anyone else, for that matter,
13 that a new hospital director had been appointed, Dr. Ivezic?
14 A. I said at the time that until civilian control was reestablished,
15 Dr. Ivezic will be in charge of the hospital. I introduced him, but I
16 don't remember actually saying that he would be the hospital director. I
17 said he would be in charge of all the hospital business.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please look at Exhibit 338,
19 photograph number 23, for a moment.
20 Q. Do you recognise this room, and do you recognise anyone in this
22 A. Certainly. This is Lieutenant Colonel Ivezic, the doctor in
23 uniform. There is the rank on his shoulder strap. That's him. And this
24 room is probably the room where the doctor was checking the hospital
25 patients and preparing them for the evacuation.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. We're done with
2 this photograph.
3 Q. As for the meeting in the plaster room, let me ask you a
4 question. It's a question that stems from some allegations in the
5 indictment. It's an agreed fact that you were there at that meeting in
6 the plaster room. Mr. Sljivancanin, did you keep anyone in the meeting,
7 hold people back from leaving the meeting, as the soldiers were going
8 about their business taking away about 400 non-Serbs?
9 A. That is a lie and it's also sheer nonsense. All I wanted was to
10 tell those people what was in store for them and to provide any assistance
11 I could, without holding anybody back at all. I was at the meeting to
12 begin with because Vesna Bosanac had asked me to be there.
13 Q. Let me ask you several questions about the triage.
14 A. But I didn't tell you everything about the meeting yet.
15 After my presentation, people spoke up because they had questions
16 for me. The main questions were about where the civilians were to
17 assemble who wanted to go to those two places. We hadn't quite organised
18 ourselves yet, but at the meeting I said that any crime suspects would be
19 taken outside the hospital and then to the left, the street; and those who
20 were preparing to go to Sid or back to Croatia should head right of the
21 entrance and should split up into two groups so that the column leaders or
22 the convoy leaders would know. We didn't separate them off ourselves.
23 They asked me what they were allowed to bring in terms of their
24 belongings. I said we would be everything within our power to help them
25 but there wouldn't be that much room in the vehicles, so the best thing
1 was for them to bring the bare necessities and not really bring a lot of
2 things, because I didn't know at the time how much room there would be in
3 the vehicles, or how many vehicles, for that matter.
4 They asked me whether families would be allowed to not be split
5 up. I thought they met husband, wife, sons, daughters, that sort of
6 thing. I said that had not -- had they not asked for it, we would have
7 asked for it, we would have insisted on it, that we will not be splitting
8 families up. But any crime suspects would have to go and be interviewed.
9 And that was the end of that meeting.
10 Q. You heard the testimony of Zvezdana Polovina. You remember her
11 words. She heard you say that the men would be taken to the barracks for
12 brief interviews and that they would later be joining them. Do you
13 remember saying anything like that at the meeting, since there were so
14 many different things being said?
15 A. Whatever I told the civilians I tried not to upset them any more
16 than they already were. I perhaps may have said that they would be taken
17 for short interviews without saying that they would be taken to prison in
18 Sremska Mitrovica in order to avoid creating any tensions, any anxiety in
19 the family.
20 Q. Thank you. What is triage? Who did the screening? Who
21 participated in it, and how long did it last?
22 A. Well, the very word "triage" means the separation of people who
23 are suspected of having committed a crime, and at that time, for us, they
24 were -- these were primarily men.
25 Q. Of what age?
1 A. Between the ages of 18 -- from the age of 18 and up, depending on
2 the physical fitness, constitution, and the risk, and the existence of
3 doubt. This screening was done by doctors, by security organs, and all of
4 the people cooperating in the hospital, including some Territorial Defence
5 members chosen to participate in that work and who knew the people. And,
6 of course, military police soldiers also participated, if the doctors told
7 them to take people out, or so. But I should like to stress that we
8 received the most help in identifying such persons from the doctors of the
9 Vukovar Hospital. I really didn't ask the doctors what ethnicity they
10 were. Those who came forward themselves and offered assistance, they
11 would assist us. Among others, Dr. Gjuro Njavro did so and he helped us
12 in the screening process together with our doctors.
13 Q. Just a minute. I should not like to be leading. If you stick to
14 this, you referred to able-bodied men from the age of 18. Do you
15 remember, according to regulations on national defence, what was the
16 lowest age threshold for men able to serve in the army at that time?
17 A. I remember that young men who were 18 or over came to do their
18 military service.
19 Q. And recruitment, at what age was that?
20 A. I did not deal with recruitment, but as far as I can recall, it
21 was from the age of 16.
22 Q. Thank you. I suppose that the screening took place of people who
23 had traces to indicate that they were either sick people or wounded
24 people. Were there any people who presented different appearances but,
25 for you, were people that should be singled out, that should be in the
1 group that should be singled out, according to your criteria for
3 A. I remember a case when Dr. Ivezic took one man -- brought one man
4 to me, and he told me, "Let me show you what a wounded person looks like."
5 His entire head was in bandages, and the doctor asked him, "What is your
6 problem?" And he said he did not have a single eye. Then on the spot,
7 the doctor, having probably learned that earlier from the doctors of the
8 Vukovar Hospital, removed the bandage and this was a completely healthy
10 Well, now, there may have been -- there were probably other cases
11 like this, but I didn't go to see what each soldier and what each doctor
12 was doing because, of course, I had my own work to do. And if I didn't
13 know, other persons would have been required. But I know that this was
14 the case. And I did not hear here in this court that any person in the
15 hospital, during the screening process, complained that anyone was
16 taking -- exacting any reprisals in so doing against them.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry, the interpreter could not hear the
19 A. After this meeting and after a short consultation with Mr. Njavro,
20 for him to help our doctors, as he had promised the evening before, I went
21 to Mrs. Vesna Bosanac's office and there we resumed our dialogue.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. What did you talk about?
24 A. I asked to see whether we could establish contact with Zagreb and
25 talk to the people and she said that she would enable us to do that. Then
1 I -- she remained there with Mladen Karan and I went out -- while she was
2 trying to establish that connection.
3 And then I went out to the right side, to the area of the shelter
4 -- where the shelter of the ZNG was. Members of the engineer units,
5 demining units, arrived at the spot and I had a short consultation and
6 agreement with them in order for them to clear the shelter of mines. They
7 said that they could do so but that the area needed to be secured. The
8 security had to be ensured, that no one could pass via the road from the
9 Dunav Hotel towards the hospital until the shelter was demined, because it
10 was in the immediate vicinity of the road.
11 An armoured battalion unit was there in that area at the time, so
12 I asked the captain to help me secure the area. And he informed me that
13 morning that, in the immediate vicinity of the hospital, that evening,
14 explosives had killed three soldiers from his own battalion, which, of
15 course, touched me deeply as a human being.
16 So I returned to the office of Vesna Bosanac in an organised
17 fashion, and en route, in passing, I saw all these civilians who were
18 flocking to go. I might have exchanged a word or two with some of them,
19 but I cannot remember all of that.
20 Q. We heard testimonies here from two witnesses that said that you
21 had said that the process should be expedited and that the process should
22 not be allowed to drag on until nightfall. Do you remember that, having
23 said something like that?
24 A. I do not deny that perhaps in passing from the shelter to the
25 hospital, through this group of civilians, I might have hurried them on.
1 I may have said something to that effect. I cannot remember my every
2 word. I do not deny that.
3 Q. Why would it have been your objective for the process to be
5 A. The objective of expediting the process would have been in the
6 fact that I knew that vehicles and a convoy were to arrive to take away
7 the wounded at a scheduled time to a place called Zidine. We had a
8 precise time schedule when they were to arrive at that point in order to
9 be taken over by other organisations from Croatia, so we needed to create
10 safe conditions for these wounded to set off on their journey.
11 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, you, as the security organ, do you consider it
12 safe for the evacuation of the wounded and the sick to start before a
13 screening process has been conducted to check whether, in the hospital,
14 there were any reasons which would jeopardise such an evacuation?
15 A. No, it is not safe. It is not safe, because at that time we had
16 received information that around 2.000 armed members of the National
17 Guards Corps and around 800 members of the MUP were fighting with weapons
18 in Vukovar. To us surrendered only their members at Mitnica. By that
19 time no one had surrendered from the hospital area, and we suspected - and
20 that was later borne out to be true; and witnesses who will be coming here
21 will probably confirm that - there were people with weapons hiding either
22 in or around the hospital. And it was obvious that they could create
23 problems in the evacuation process.
24 Q. Thank you. Who searched those persons, and where were they taken?
25 How did the searching process go, in a couple of words?
1 A. The search was probably -- not "probably," but it was done by the
2 military police, the 2nd Battalion members, and, from the witness
3 testimonies that I have heard here, this was just a routine search that
4 was carried out in quite a correct fashion. I was, in fact, proud of the
5 dignified and humane way in which these young people were treating all the
6 persons. They were supposed to board the buses, under the guidance of
7 Major Vukasinovic, to be led to the barracks.
8 Q. During this period of time, from the time when they were taken
9 out - and we have heard testimonies also to that effect - so from the
10 building of the hospital up to the time they boarded the buses and were
11 taken to the barracks, did you leave the hospital compound?
12 A. I do not remember leaving the hospital compound during that time
13 because I stayed on talking to Vesna Bosanac and talking to people from
14 Zagreb by telephone from her office. And I also remained in the rooms of
15 a doctor, a lady doctor, who offered to take me to her office and give me
16 photographic material about everything that had been happening in the
17 hospital during the war.
18 Q. Can we hear her name, or should we go to private session?
19 A. I'd prefer that we go into private session because I had promised
20 that to her.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we move into private session for a
22 minute, Your Honours.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
24 [Private session]
10 [Open session]
11 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. In the course of this second conversation with Vesna Bosanac,
14 after the plaster room meeting, as it were, do you remember whether she
15 talked to anyone and whether you talked to anyone?
16 A. I asked Vesna Bosanac -- actually, she pleaded with me, and I
17 asked her to impart to us information obtained from the Croatian
18 authorities in respect of a major taken prisoner in Gospic of whose fate
19 nothing had been known for six months. And, to be brief, she just told
20 me, "I will get in touch with," as she told me, "Mr. Tudjman, but I really
21 think that we talk to Hebrang. I'm not sure." She said, "It will be
22 better once I establish connection that I hand it over to you and you ask
23 about the major's fate." And once she had got in touch with his
24 secretary, male or female secretary, and after exchanging a few words with
25 him and then with that gentleman, she told him, "A representative of the
1 Yugoslav Peoples' Army is here in my office and he wants to talk to you."
2 And she handed the receiver to me. So I took the receiver and I said who
3 I was to the man, and I heard from the other side the words, "I do not
4 wish to talk to a Chetnik." And he hung up and that was it. There was no
5 more talking.
6 Q. Did you talk to anybody else?
7 A. After that, I rang up General Aca Vasiljevic.
8 Q. Why?
9 A. I called him so as to consult with him because I had obtained a
10 lot of information, both in the hospital -- to the effect that Dr. Njavro,
11 too, was suspected of not having properly treated the patients and of
12 having committed crimes. Many doctors also complained of the conduct of
13 Dr. Vesna Bosanac, and it was then, for the first time, they reported a
14 man who I later learned -- whose name I later learned was Anto Aric, and
15 it was then, on the 20th, in the morning, that I saw him for the first
16 time. He had come there in August on orders from Tudjman to discharge
17 some tasks.
18 And I consulted with General Vasiljevic in terms of what was I to
19 do with these three people and about those three people, as well as with
20 Mr. Marin Vidic. The general told me, "Here, Tumanov, let Tumanov explain
21 what you are to do." Tumanov talked to me on the phone and, more or less,
22 this is what he said: "Sljivancanin, you know the routine. You know the
23 procedures. Send them to Sremska Mitrovica for interrogation." And that
24 was the end of that conversation.
25 After that I summoned to the command from the -- two escorts to be
1 assigned from the 1st Battalion of the military police. Captain Bozic,
2 Mile, came with a military police vehicle, and I entrusted my assistant,
3 Mladen Karan, with the task of resolving the question of the departure of
4 these people to Sremska Mitrovica.
5 Q. You heard the testimony of Vesna Bosanac here and she claimed that
6 she had spent a very large part of that day in the barracks. Did you know
7 anything about that at that time? Or do you know anything else related to
8 her continued stay in Vukovar?
9 A. I heard that here, but you will see from my further testimony how
10 busy of a schedule of activities I had during the rest of that day. I'm
11 sure that my assistant Karan did his job properly; I know that. But I
12 really don't know where they stayed, whether they were held up anywhere.
13 The man will come here and take the stand and will say that. But I do
14 know for a fact that they were taken to the prison in Sremska Mitrovica.
15 Q. In your view, when did these buses with these people who were
16 separated, when did they leave the hospital? Did you see them off, or do
17 you not remember exactly? What is that you know about this?
18 A. What I know is that after leaving the office of the mentioned
19 doctor, I set out to the other bridge, if I can put it that way, on the
20 Vuka River, where I was supposed to be met by a captain from whose unit
21 some soldiers got killed, in order to find out how they got killed. And I
22 know that I scheduled a meeting with him at 10.00; I remember that. That
23 remains in my memory. And when I was leaving, going to that bridge, I saw
24 that the buses were already moving away.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we see Exhibit 421 for a moment,
1 please, the report of the Operations Group South of the 20th of November,
2 at 1800 hours. If the last page can be displayed, please. I don't know
3 whether it's 2 or 3. The lower part, if that can be zoomed in.
4 Q. This is a regular combat report from the 20th of November, at 1800
5 hours. Why is this document relevant in relation to what you have been
6 testifying about just now?
7 A. Regrettably, we can see the names of the soldiers here. I even
8 know the towns that these soldiers were from. One person was from
9 Danilovgrad --
10 Q. That doesn't matter.
11 A. But I can say it. One was from Pozarevac; one was from Backa
13 The report is sent at 1800 hours, because the previous one was
14 sent on the previous evening, on the 19th, at 1800 hours, and the soldiers
15 were killed during the night between the 19th and the 20th. And they are
16 all from the armoured battalion. These are the soldiers that I was
17 talking about.
18 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter could not hear Mr. Lukic.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Map 156, please. Could we just have
20 that marked. If Mr. Sljivancanin can mark on that map [In English]
21 evidence, Exhibit 156.
22 [Interpretation] Could Mr. Sljivancanin use the pen to mark the
23 place where this incident had occurred.
24 Q. Did these three soldiers get killed in the same incident,
25 Mr. Sljivancanin?
1 A. They got killed in the same incident.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can this be enlarged a bit, the part
3 near the central part of the map.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can put a circle here, too, as
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment. Could the central part
7 please be enlarged a bit.
8 Q. Just mark it, please.
9 A. This is the area where they got killed.
10 Q. Can you describe it. Is it across the bridges? In relation to
11 the bridges and the hospital, where is this?
12 A. It is between the bridges on the Vuka and the hospital. It's
13 closer to the hospital.
14 Q. Thank you. Can we -- or rather, put number 1 there,
15 Mr. Sljivancanin, and then let's have this admitted into evidence.
16 A. [Marks].
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would like to tender this, please.
18 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
19 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 836, Your Honour.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, in the period before these buses had left and
22 before this convoy came, the one that we are going to talk about now, did
23 you see any trucks there or any ambulance vehicles at the time when the
24 buses were there?
25 A. I did not see any such thing.
1 Q. You heard the dialogue that was described by Ljubisa Dosen, a
2 witness here. Do you remember anyone who was taken out on a stretcher?
3 Do you remember that dialogue, that story, and what she testified about
4 with regard to her late husband?
5 A. I am sorry about all the things that the lady said and I am sorry
6 about what happened to her husband. But also it is correct that many
7 witnesses were just saying that they knew of Sljivancanin, that they
8 didn't know any other officers there. There were quite a few officers
9 there. But I really do not remember having talked to the mentioned lady
10 at all.
11 Q. Were there other officers there that were wearing camouflage
12 uniforms like you at the time?
13 A. The same uniform and the same build, that's something that my
14 assistant Vukasinovic had. And similar uniforms were worn by some other
15 officers from the military police.
16 Q. During the search within the compound, and as persons were
17 boarding buses, were there any officers from the military police there?
18 To the best of your recollection, do you remember how many officers were
20 A. I told you that I saw Major Paunovic there and Captain Simic. I
21 really do not remember who else I saw, but there should have been other
22 platoon leaders there, at least three officers of the military police.
23 Q. At the beginning of the trial, on the 3rd of November, on page
24 1160, Witness 006 testified. Probably you don't actually know who this
25 is, so if necessary, we can move into private session. But he said that
1 he, as a technical/medical man, was taken off the bus together with a few
2 of his colleagues; that he was in front of the hospital, that he was put
3 there; and that they waited there for about an hour; and that then you
4 came and that you talked to him and returned him to the hospital.
5 Has this jogged your memory? Do you remember that there was a
6 group that was standing there and waiting there for a while until you
7 talked to them?
8 A. Well, when you hear any statement, it either jogs your memory or
9 you realise that that was not the case. I said that after I returned
10 again to Vesna Bosanac's office, at one point in time, a lady came and
11 said to me, "You promised that you would not separate families and our
12 husbands were taken to the barracks." I asked, "How come?" She
13 said, "Well, they're not there. They were taken away." I said, "Madam,
14 make a list of all these husbands who you think are members of the
15 hospital staff and that belong to your families. I promise you, if they
16 had not committed any crimes, they will be with your families."
17 The lady left, and after a certain amount of time - I don't know
18 whether it was half an hour; more than that, less than that, I really
19 don't know - at any rate, as I set out to see the places where these
20 soldiers got killed, she brought me that list. I sent my driver to the
21 barracks and I said to him that he should find Major Vukasinovic and that
22 I asked that these persons from the list should be returned to the
23 hospital. He went and took that list.
24 Then, later, when I came with the representatives of the European
25 Community and the Red Cross to the hospital, and with Colonel Pavkovic, I
1 went towards the gate to see whether these persons, these men, had been
2 returned. And I remember that I found a group of men there who were
3 standing there. They said that they had been separated out there and that
4 they had some kind of membership cards, as they had put it, of the
6 I saw these passes that they had and I said that it was not
7 necessary for them to stand there any longer. I said that they could go
8 back and return to the hospital. I remember that.
9 Q. Since a witness, another protected witness, said on page 3373 -
10 the witness is 031 - on the 26th of January, said that you came to the
11 bus, that he showed you his ID even before the buses left, that this ID
12 did not have a photograph, and that you returned him to the bus. What do
13 you say to that? Is that correct?
14 A. Well, I've already answered that question. I was not present. I
15 was not in the street when the buses left, so I could not have returned
16 anyone on to the bus. But I know that I talked to people in the street
17 who were waiting, allegedly, for transportation, and I found these people
18 who had these IDs and I returned them to the hospital. As for the rest, I
19 do not remember it -- well, there's nothing to remember. I never did
21 Q. A few moments ago, when you said that you agreed that the buses
22 should go to the barracks, not to Velepromet, and that from there they
23 would go further on to Sremska Mitrovica, what was your expectation? How
24 long would the buses stay? What was the task involved? Why would they go
25 to the barracks? Why did they not go to Sremska Mitrovica straight away?
1 A. Well, when Bogdan Vujic left the hospital, he left the hospital
2 before I went to see where the young soldiers got killed. I heard
3 different testimony here, but I am sure that he left before I went off and
4 before the observers of the European Community came. He said to me that I
5 should stay on in the hospital to see whether there were other people
6 there who were hiding, and that he would regulate all further questions
7 regarding the departure of the column -- the convoy to Sremska Mitrovica.
8 What was being awaited was to see whether there were other people
9 left in the hospital as the wounded were being carried out. That's why
10 they were waiting at the barracks. So what was being waited for was that,
11 if there are some persons who were still in some cellars, a convoy could
12 be organised and escorted by the police, the escort that would take
13 suspects to Sremska Mitrovica. And this was regulated by the command of
14 the Guards Brigade, when the convoys left, that is.
15 Q. At one point in time, did you come to the place where the
16 representatives of the International Red Cross were and the convoy that
17 was supposed to evacuate the wounded? And what happened there?
18 A. When I came to this bridge, as for the radio that was on the APC
19 that was on the bridge, because it was also from the armoured battalion,
20 it was said that Colonel Pavkovic was looking for me. At the same time
21 this was communicated to me by a photographer from Zastava Film called
22 Zare; that was his nickname. He was there to record what was going on.
23 And he said, "The colonel said that you should go to the other bridge. He
24 said that I should tell you that if I see you." I went there, and first I
25 saw Colonel Pavkovic there and then I saw Mr. Borsinger as well.
1 Q. I believe there is no need for us to show the footage that we have
2 already seen so many times. Could you describe for us what the reason was
3 and why you said what you said to Mr. Borsinger during that dialogue.
4 A. Well, I was shaken by the news of the death of our three young
5 soldiers. Then Mr. Borsinger promised that he would come at 6.00 in the
6 morning and he didn't come. He promised that he would bring a lot of
7 food, that he would bring food, tents, and many other things that I had
8 asked him to bring for the people who were staying there and who had no
9 proper accommodation.
10 When we met, Colonel Pavkovic first complained to me that he had
11 behaved unfairly - how should I put this? - and then when we had some
12 conversation, he and I, he said that I should first remove the
13 journalists, that they should not attend. And there was an enormous group
14 of journalists there. I said, "Sir, I really don't know why we are
15 evading journalists. Let people take pictures and let them show the world
16 what is going on in our country." And I said to the journalists, "Feel
17 free to record everything because this is really major suffering on the
18 part of all of our peoples." That's what I said. I said what I said
19 about my soldiers, and that's the way it was. And that is what the
20 situation was at that moment.
21 Q. Did you prohibit Mr. Borsinger or anybody else from the
22 International Red Cross from entering the hospital?
23 A. I did not prohibit Mr. Borsinger or anybody else. But I got into
24 a vehicle together with them and went to the hospital, and that can be
25 seen on the recording as well. And I stayed with them in the hospital
1 throughout the time while they were there.
2 Q. Who carried out the evacuation of the wounded?
3 A. The evacuation, or rather, this convoy for the evacuation of the
4 wounded was brought by Colonel Pavkovic and with him from officers from
5 the 1st Military District. One was called Loncar, and I don't know -- I
6 think he was a colonel, too, and I don't know the other names.
7 As for the wounded being put into vehicles, Major Tesic appeared
8 there as well and he said that Colonel Mrksic had charged him with the
9 duty of having the wounded carried into the vehicles and establishing full
10 order in terms of preparing the departure of the wounded from the
12 Q. I just have to put a question to you: Do you know, in relation to
13 the transport of these persons on the buses, whether they had any kind of
14 military escort? And who was the military escort of these persons to the
16 A. I put Major Vukasinovic, my assistant for military and police
17 affairs, in charge of that. I know that he got some soldiers from the 2nd
18 Military Police Battalion for that.
19 Q. From Paunovic; right?
20 A. Indeed.
21 Q. During the evacuation of the wounded, and we'll be looking at some
22 footage, were there any complaints by anyone about the procedure itself?
23 Did you ever find out that there were grievances about the way the
24 evacuation was conducted?
25 A. Throughout my time at the hospital, I watched, I helped, and on
1 that day no one came to complain to me.
2 Q. Did anyone stand in the way of the civilians present there, such
3 as women and medical staff, preventing them from getting in touch with the
4 ICRC people and the international observers?
5 A. No, there was no one standing in their way. If you look at the
6 videos, you can see that everybody was perfectly free to go and talk to
7 whomever they wanted to talk to.
8 Q. Did anyone stand in the way of journalists trying to get in touch
9 with the civilians, the European monitors or any of the medical staff?
10 A. No. No one stood in anybody else's way. They took all the
11 pictures they wanted and pursued all of their plans.
12 Q. We'll see later a particular portion where there were journalists
13 talking to you. There were quite many journalists at the hospital as the
14 evacuation was being conducted; right?
15 A. Yes. I reckon over 50 journalists and cameramen.
16 Q. Were you personally in touch with journalists? Did they ask
17 questions about the men? Had they already been told that some men had
18 been taken away before the crews got there?
19 A. I talked to the journalists there and they saw for themselves when
20 the group from the barracks was returned, the group that I said should be
21 checked again in terms of why they had been taken away. They asked me
22 where those people had been and I told them that we'd taken some people to
23 the barracks to be interrogated because they were crime suspects.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would now like to look
25 at a clip. It's V0001131; that is the reference. There's the B/C/S
1 transcript for the time being, 3D060016. I gave the B/C/S to the
2 interpreters. We don't have the English yet. So, first of all, I would
3 like to thank the interpreters for doing their best to cover this
4 transcript, based on our B/C/S. And then, first of all, I would like this
5 to be marked for identification, and then once we have the English, the
6 whole thing to be admitted. This is an excerpt from the Belgrade TV news
7 that evening; it goes on for several minutes.
8 [Videotape played]
9 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] A little later, someone from the Red
10 Cross headed for the Vukovar Hospital. It's some kilometres from the
11 centre of town. I see a street leading from the centre of town to the
12 Vukovar Hospital. To the right of this convoy, there's the police
13 station, or rather, the MUP, the Croatian MUP station. Next to it is the
14 municipal court.
15 Yesterday, there was firing from that building and we saw soldiers
16 bringing out hundreds of rifles from that building which members of the
17 National Guard and the Croatian MUP had discarded as they were running for
18 the hospital where some of them were hiding. This is the entrance to the
19 hospital, and we see the representatives of the European Mission.
20 Sljivancanin: You will allow these vehicles and these entering
21 the hospital and the people to wear white coats with these insignia and
22 the Red Cross signs so they can come in.
23 Unidentified voice: The rest, nothing. The rest, nothing.
24 Sljivancanin: Everybody should do their own job which means that
25 nobody else would be allowed through.
1 Journalist: These are the civilians who had fled who were in the
2 hospital compound.
3 Sljivancanin: We'll do the transport in that direction. Let them
4 take this road here [ unintelligible].
5 Journalist: According to press agencies, there are about 400
7 Sljivancanin: Don't push. There will be enough room for
9 Journalist: They are leaving on buses on their way to a holding
10 centre; from there, to Sid, and from Sid, depending on their choice, just
11 as on the previous days, or else they remain in their homes, if they still
12 have roofs over their heads. Since, for the most part, they don't, they
13 are leaving for cities in Serbia or other cities in Croatia, according to
14 their choice. By the way, we tried to get into the hospital yesterday but
15 our crew was not allowed inside.
16 As we can see, for the most part, these are women and elderly
17 people, because all the others are being screened, which means the
18 remaining men aged between 16 and 60, because there is a suspicion that
19 they are disguised in civilian clothes but, in actual fact, are members of
20 the Croatian MUP and the other paramilitary units. It is precisely in the
21 same direction that this convoy is moving across the way that there is a
22 mass grave containing Serb bodies, being patients of the hospital who had
23 received medical treatment, being people against whom crimes were
25 The evacuation of patients from the Vukovar Hospital is now
1 beginning and is being monitored by the Red Cross and the European
2 Mission. We don't know for the time being which medical centre they're
3 being evacuated to, whether to Sremska Mitrovica or Sid, which would be
4 the closest towns, but there will probably be a triage conducted as well.
5 This is the inside of the hospital.
6 Unidentified voice: [unintelligible].
7 Journalist: Let me repeat: There are about 420 ill and seriously
8 wounded in the hospital. These are the first frames of what the hospital
9 looks like inside. It is obviously overcrowded.
10 Unidentified voice: This is the hospital. This is where you
11 administer anaesthetics.
12 Uniformed person: All the time throughout the last three months
13 [unintelligible] no chance. How many operations, I don't know.
14 Unidentified voice: What do you think about all of this?
15 Uniformed person: I think it's dreadful. It's really, really
17 Unidentified voice: Will all of this end today?
18 Uniformed person: Yes, I hope so.
19 Journalist: That's as much as I know, given the fact that the
20 hospital was overcrowded and there is only one room for performing
21 surgery, and that is the room that you saw a minute ago.
22 We must also say that a month ago, the military authorities asked
23 the Vukovar Crisis Staff for civilians and children to be evacuated from
24 this building. They were attempts by various international humanitarian
25 organisations for the civilians and children to leave town, but there was
1 a firm refusal by the Croatian authorities to allow this. This is an
2 aggravating circumstance which seems to --
3 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We are unable to work from
4 two voices speaking at the same time. Thank you.
5 [Voiceover] Journalist: The evacuation of the patients is
6 underway and will be finished by evening time, as a fellow journalist
7 Grulevic [phoen] from VRS News has told us.
8 Unidentified voice: Don't. Stop this. Let the women out
10 Journalist: In Vukovar Hospital, throughout these horrors, even
11 the maternity ward kept on working. The man in a white suit is a BBC
12 journalist. In situations like these, even journalists can be moved by
13 what is going on and they can be found assisting civilians. This is all
14 happening outside the hospital.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: On account of the
16 exceptionally poor sound quality, the record is unreliable. Thank you.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would like to tender this video into
18 evidence now and the -- well, we have the interpretation. It goes with
19 the transcript. I'm not sure what we should do about this. Perhaps we
20 should wait for an official translation from CLSS, or perhaps we can just
21 take it as it comes and, with the assistance of our interpreters, have
22 this record tendered into evidence.
23 MR. MOORE: Could I -- may I --
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
25 MR. MOORE: May I object to that course at the moment. I thought
1 my learned friend had indicated that he would want it to be marked for
2 identification subject to translation. That would be my first point.
3 The second point is this: I'm sure it's our fault, but we cannot
4 find the video anywhere in documents disclosed to us. It may be an
5 oversight on our behalf, but if my learned friend, over the luncheon
6 adjournment or the next break, could tell us where it is, I would be very
7 grateful, so we can check it.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic, if you could bring that matter up when
9 we return after the break, having, hopefully by then, resolved it.
10 That then, of course, brings us to a convenient time for the
11 break. We will continue at a quarter to 1.00.
12 --- Recess taken at 12.25 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 12.48 p.m.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Finally, just to inform the Chamber of
16 our discussion with the OTP during the break. We submitted to the OTP a
17 list of our documents, exhibits and documents, the 65 ter list for those
18 that we intend to use for Mr. Sljivancanin's evidence; we provided numbers
19 for three or four video clips. These are all numbers from their own 65
20 ter list exhibits, that is, proposals by the OTP, and the clip that we saw
21 before the break is part of this video list, such as all the ones that
22 we've been showing so far. This is OTP evidence. I can't quite nail this
23 number for them - I'm not sure if it's in our submission - but they should
24 be familiar with this document because it's their document.
25 As for the transcript, my proposal is we wait for an official
1 translation into English. So the transcript could be marked for
2 identification, but I think the video clip should be admitted into
3 evidence simply because it appears to be an OTP document. It's the last
4 six and a half minutes of the clip that I marked before it was shown. The
5 clip itself is two and a half hours long, if I remember correctly.
6 JUDGE PARKER: We will receive the clip as an exhibit and the
7 transcript will be marked for identification.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the video clip will become Exhibit
9 837, while the transcript will become MFI 838.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, I do not mean to lead, but in this clip we saw a
12 man wearing a white suit and the journalist said something about him.
13 What exactly was going on? Did you talk to that man? What else happened
14 at the hospital during the, let me call it, evacuation of the patients?
15 A. I know the man in white really well. If he's monitoring what goes
16 on here as a journalist, if he wants to know, I would like to greet him
17 because I think that he was a great, respectful person. I believe his
18 coverage is faithful. His name is Martin Bell. He is a journalist from
20 Q. Did you talk to him at one point, and what was it about?
21 A. We talked that day at the hospital, because this gentleman came to
22 see me and said that Mr. Borsinger had held a press conference near the
23 hospital somewhere and that he spoke in exceptionally scathing terms of
24 the JNA. Mr. Bell said, "I am an eyewitness, I have been an eyewitness to
25 everything going on here nearly from day 1. And particularly in relation
1 to this morning, I see that the JNA are doing their best and taking all
2 the steps needed. I would regret such an interview becoming publicly and
3 internationally known. I suppose you issue an official denial and I can
4 organise your own press conference if you like." I said, "Sir, but I
5 simply don't know what Mr. Borsinger was saying at this press conference."
6 And he said he would hand me the very camera that was used to tape that
7 interview and that I should follow the small screen of that camera to see
8 what Borsinger had said at the meeting. I asked him to please wait until
9 I had a chance to speak to my superiors.
10 As far as I remember, I went to see Colonel Pavkovic and perhaps
11 also the liaison officer, who was also a colonel. I think his name was
12 Memisevic. I told them what Mr. Martin Bell had told me previously, and I
13 asked Pavkovic to have a look and see if he could, perhaps, give an
14 interview. Mr. Pavkovic said, "Since you were here throughout the
15 morning, you know what was going on and you know these journalists, too.
16 The best course of action would be for you to issue an official denial and
17 to give the interview."
18 I found Mr. Bell later on. They brought some interpreters. I
19 took about half an hour, perhaps more, first to listen to Mr. Borsinger's
20 statement. There were a lot of untruths being said. Martin Bell
21 organised a press conference next to the hospital. A huge number of
22 journalists assembled. I gave a brief statement for the benefit of the
23 journalists, and the liaison officer, Colonel Memisevic was interpreting.
24 Q. I won't ask you exactly what you stated on that occasion.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please play another video from
1 the OTP list, V0003250. Again, we have a transcript in B/C/S which we
2 provided to the interpreters; 3D060019. I hope that they will be
3 successful in giving us a hand with the statement made by
4 Mr. Sljivancanin.
5 [Videotape played]
6 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Gentlemen of the press, this is the
7 Yugoslav People's Army. I'm proud to be at the helm of such soldiers and
8 such officers. This army has been imposed a war and major problems are
9 created by those who do not think well of the army. We are fighting to
10 help every decent person and citizen of this country. I believe that you
11 witnessed for yourself in this town of Vukovar when we pulled out and
12 salvaged the wounded and, at the same time, the civilian population from
13 cellars, from tunnels, from all the places where the Ustasha units were
14 keeping them. And finally, you also saw when we finally took Vukovar, not
15 for a single moment did any soldier, any officer, try to point his weapon
16 or anything in order to take revenge on any civilian or any citizen that
17 we captured here, even though they may have been on the other, opposite
18 side, as a member of the Ustasha formations. And I'm particularly pleased
19 because of that and I'm proud that we should be comporting ourselves with
20 such dignity and integrity.
21 Secondly, gentlemen, we sought to show to all journalists, to all
22 international organisations, and to every person, everything that is
23 happening in this city. Never did we defend anyone, prevent anyone, or
24 advocate that anyone should not come and see what the JNA units are doing,
25 nor are we doing that today, nor are we preventing them today from doing
1 that in respect of the evacuation of this hospital.
2 Although there were comrades, i.e., gentlemen from international
3 organisations, who wanted to hold meetings behind closed doors and would
4 not allow journalists to record everything that they wanted to tell us,
5 then, also, I told you -- I told you that I didn't mind, that you can
6 record everything because here, we are doing nothing clandestinely. We
7 are only doing what all our people want in order to save all our people
8 and all men of integrity.
9 Certain gentlemen from the International Red Cross arrive at
10 Vukovar and, for the most part, stroll around and observe as if they had
11 come to review the JNA units in some sort of a control exercise. I asked
12 them whether they were interested in the wounded, the injured, and the
13 unattended-to young soldiers from my army. Never did they show any such
14 interest, but they went to every length to come here, although we are
15 caring for these wounded here. In fact, not in a single moment did they
16 help us, the army, through the organisation of the Red Cross, for any
17 evacuation to be undertaken or for any aid, in medicaments, in food, or in
18 clothing, or any other items to be forthcoming to help us. We had to do
19 it all on our own, to take proper care for about 10.000 population --
20 people in Vukovar, whereas they seek to portray themselves as coming here
21 constantly as a humanitarian organisation and as being neutral. If they
22 are neutral, if they are a humanitarian organisation, then they should not
23 choose whom they should help but they should help all the people in
24 Vukovar, irrespective of their national affiliation.
25 This morning I said to one gentleman that here I was in my own
1 homeland, in my own country, and I am the commander; I shall respect and
2 recognise his laws and everything that he tells me when I come to his
3 country. I offer them all conceivable hospitality, everything that I
4 could. We provided fuel and food and accommodation for them and we took
5 them where they wanted. But the gentlemen failed to comprehend that there
6 is a war being waged here and that the life of every single soldier of
7 mine is very, very important [unintelligible].
8 Unknown voice: [unintelligible].
9 Sljivancanin: These people [unintelligible] actually should have
10 done that, irrespective of whose side they are aligned with, and no decent
11 doctor or any individual on the medical staff should fear anything,
12 because -- yes?
13 Unidentified voice: There was some misunderstandings this morning
14 with the Red Cross organisation. Has that been dealt with?
15 Commentator: This was a question from SkyNews.
16 Sljivancanin: No, there was no misunderstandings as far as we
17 were concerned. No misunderstandings, gentlemen. No misunderstandings as
18 far as we were concerned. And I have to stress, once again, that this is
19 a war operations zone and that we are prosecuting war here and that we
20 have to abide by the time conditions and respect the operations being
21 conducted by JNA units. You can hear that they are still shooting here
22 today, and we have to create conditions of security and safety for every
23 person and every organisation coming here. And we have to have patience
24 and we have to be patient now because we don't have peace here, but just
25 ordinary life and this is everyday life. And you or anybody else ...
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is part of
3 Mr. Sljivancanin's interview which has already become Exhibit 138 during
4 Mr. van Lynden's evidence. Just half a minute, I think. So now I would
5 like to suggest this entire video recording be admitted into evidence, and
6 once we get the transcript with the official translation into English,
7 that we tender that as a separate exhibit.
8 JUDGE PARKER: The video will be received.
9 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 839, Your Honours.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, where was Mr. Borsinger? Did you see him in
12 that period while you were at the hospital?
13 A. I really do not know --
14 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, sorry, before we proceed, what is going
15 to happen about the possibility of a transcript?
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore, I was waiting for the answer to the
18 MR. MOORE: My apologies.
19 JUDGE PARKER: I'd better confirm that we have the transcript in
20 the unofficial form, and I was going to propose it be treated in the same
21 way as the previous transcript, that is, marked for identification as 840.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The B/C/S of this transcript is
23 3D060019, so could we please now have it marked for identification.
24 THE REGISTRAR: It is marked for identification with the reference
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. I asked you whether you saw Mr. Borsinger and whether you
3 prohibited him from entering the hospital. That's my second question and
4 then let's move on.
5 A. I've already given you my answer; that I never prohibited him from
6 doing that, not him, not anyone else. After this interview of mine, which
7 I think was after 1.00 on that day, perhaps around 2.00 - I don't know the
8 exact time - I did not meet Mr. Borsinger. I only saw him on the evening
9 of the 21st. I assume -- well, yes, we're going to discuss that a bit
11 Q. That was in Negoslavci; right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Could you just give us a brief description, and you mentioned that
14 a few moments ago, when these people came, the people who were brought
15 from the buses to the barracks, what happened then?
16 A. As for the list that I sent to the barracks, as far as I can
17 remember now, I think that on the list there were 20 to 24 persons, and
18 this was handed over to me by these ladies at the hospital. This was a
19 plain piece of paper and they wrote the names down in their own hand.
20 Major Ljubisa Vukasinovic brought them on the bus. It was
21 sometime after all went into the hospital, perhaps after 11.00, closer to
22 12.00, if I can put it that way. Then, when the Major came, he said to
23 me -- roughly, these were his words: "Comrade Major, I had problems in
24 the barracks because members of the Territorial Defence think that you are
25 releasing the most notorious Ustashas, and that you did that last night at
1 Mitnica, too. They came to around the barracks and they tried to mistreat
2 people who I got out of the bus to return them here to the hospital, as
3 you had asked. That is why I ask you not to send me out on such
4 assignments." This was roughly his report to me.
5 I asked him: "Did you return the people who were on the list?"
6 And he said, "Yes." I asked him whether, in the barracks, whether
7 Lieutenant Colonel Miodrag Panic was in the barracks, and he said, "Yes."
8 I asked him whether Lukic was there, Lieutenant Colonel Lukic. He said
9 that he was there and that a military police company was there, Captain
10 Predojevic's company, and that the buses were safe.
11 At that moment a group appeared, in actual fact, of members of the
12 Territorial Defence that was brought by Miroljub Vujevic. There was this
13 small incident there, it so happened. They expressed their revolt to me,
14 so to speak, as to why I wanted to return those people to the buses.
15 Vukasinovic even reacted a bit severely to one of these people and I
16 reacted, too, so this was quickly resolved.
17 I warned Mr. Vujevic, because I knew that he was one of the
18 commanders in the Territorial Defence, that he should warn his people not
19 to behave towards me in an unsoldierly way, and that he should say what it
20 was that they wanted. He said that he knew that these were members of
21 paramilitary formations and what kind of crimes they committed. I said to
22 him, "All right. If you know, you will tell me and we will look into it
23 and we will see what is true and what is not true."
24 After that, I called some doctors from the Vukovar Hospital; I
25 called the members of the military police. And Mr. Vujevic was there. I
1 asked this group of people to get off the bus. I was calling out their
2 names from that list, one by one. I asked Vujevic what he had to say to
3 me about each and every one of these persons and what they had done
4 wrong. That they were not wearing uniforms and that they were not
5 carrying weapons, so I did not think that they did anything wrong and I
6 let all these 20 people go with their families except for four.
7 Four persons from that group said -- I remember that very well,
8 that -- I mean they themselves admitted, nobody forced them to say this,
9 that at the gasoline station in Vukovar, they killed some people and they
10 said who it was that they had killed. And I said to their families and to
11 them that they had to go to be interrogated in prison. And I asked Major
12 Vukasinovic that these four be returned again to the group of suspects
13 that were being sent to prison, and I released the rest. As for that
14 case, as for that case, that is how it was resolved.
15 Q. We have some exhibits here, 331 and 333, and we are not going to
16 place them on the screen now. You saw them. They say that the convoy
17 with the wounded left the hospital around 1430 hours. I'm going to ask
18 you the following: Were you there when the convoy left the hospital, and
19 does that actually correspond to what your memory is in terms of when the
20 convoy left the hospital? Just be brief.
21 A. I was there when the convoy left and I think that the hour is
22 correct, too.
23 Q. Do you remember, maybe, some details? We heard Mara Bucko testify
24 before this Court, when you suggested to the medical staff that they stay
25 on and work in the hospital, even then.
1 A. Even then, and a few times during the course of the day, at the
2 intervention of Dr. Ivezic, and some other doctors who decided to stay on
3 working at the hospital, I asked some of them to stay on and work in the
4 hospital, some of them who wanted to leave. But many left, many did not
5 want to stay.
6 Q. Now I'm going to put three questions to you. Please answer
7 briefly and then we will go on.
8 During the course of that day, in the period when these buses were
9 in barracks, did you come to the barracks at any point in time, and did
10 you enter the barracks in Vukovar?
11 A. Never. On that day, I never entered the barracks in Vukovar until
12 night-time. At night-time, in the evening of the 20th of November, I was
13 at the gate of the barracks.
14 Q. Were you ever at Velepromet in that period, on that day?
15 A. On that day, during the course of that day, never.
16 Q. On that day, evening, or night, at any point in time, were you in
18 A. On that day, I was not at Ovcara either during the day or during
19 the night, on that day, the 20th of November, 1991.
20 Q. You said a few moments ago, about the barracks in Vukovar --
21 rather, who was the commander of the barracks, and within whose area of
22 responsibility was the Vukovar barracks on the day of the 20th of
24 A. As far as I know - but I would kindly like to ask that we use
25 documents more because maybe I'm making mistakes - the commander of the
1 garrison was Lieutenant Colonel Lukic. But I saw an order here as well
2 that was presented to the Court that, on the 18th of November or before
3 that, that Major Adem Bajic was commander of the barracks, appointed
4 commander of the barracks, and the area around the barracks. So out of
5 these two, one was it, but it is hard for me to say now.
6 Q. To the best of your knowledge, who provided security of the
7 barracks in Vukovar at that time, and what comprised this security?
8 A. According to all military regulations, the commander of barracks
9 is responsible for the security of the barracks. And the security
10 consisted of all the members who were there, especially the personnel who
11 were assigned to carry out those security duties.
12 Q. According to the testimony we heard from quite a few witnesses
13 before this Court, the period when the buses left barracks is between 1330
14 and 1430 hours, to put it in general terms. I'm going to put a few
15 questions to you in relation to the indictment and in relation to this
17 Mr. Sljivancanin, did you personally supervise the detention of
18 detainees in barracks during about two hours while the members of the TO
19 were exposing them to threats and psychological provocations?
20 A. That is quite incorrect. On that day, I was not in the barracks
21 and there are exact recordings, including video recordings, as to where I
23 Q. One more thing, Mr. Sljivancanin. During that triage, during the
24 search, and while these persons were being taken away, did you see whether
25 in that hospital, within the hospital compound, by the buses, there were
1 any volunteers, territorials?
2 A. I really did not observe any such thing. I did not see that.
3 Q. We heard before this Court evidence to the effect that a meeting
4 of the government of the Slavonia, Baranja, Western Srem government was
5 held at that time. I'm going to ask you whether you attended that
6 government session at any point then.
7 A. Not for a moment was I present at that meeting.
8 Q. I'm just going to ask you something and then please answer me then
9 and then we're going to hear the content. When did you hear, and from
10 whom, that the government meeting was held?
11 A. The first time I heard that the government session was held was on
12 the evening of the 20th, when I returned to my building in Negoslavci. I
13 heard this from Captain Srecko Borisavljevic and later at the command post
14 from Colonel Mrksic.
15 Q. During this period when the buses left and up until when you left
16 to Negoslavci - and you will tell us when this happened, if you can
17 specify this - where were you and what were you doing?
18 A. After the buses left, I went to the shelter that I described to
19 you, near the hospital, where the demining had been completed. So I
20 toured the entire shelter and that's where one of my security officers
21 was, Captain Karanfilov. I tasked him with collecting the equipment that
22 was in that shelter. And since the security administration had asked me
23 to have this done, I told them to have this taken to the security
24 administration in Belgrade. I believe that immediately after that he
25 left. I know that he took this and that this equipment did, indeed, reach
1 the security administration.
2 Night was already falling by then, by the time I returned from
3 that shelter. I went to see Dr. Ivezic in hospital, because there were
4 other wounded persons who were left in the hospital and we agreed that he
5 should prepare them to be evacuated on the following day.
6 Then, the hospital staff offered to have a cup of coffee. I sat
7 with them for about an hour or so, perhaps even more. We had coffee and
8 they told me what they had experienced there before in the hospital.
9 Q. Where did you go then?
10 A. I took my vehicle from there to the command post or to
11 Negoslavci. Passing by the barracks, I stopped at the gate of the
12 barracks and that's where I saw Captain Mladen Predojevic -- Captain
13 Blagoje Predojevic, commander of the company of military police. I cannot
14 be sure as to whether there was somebody else there with him. Maybe there
15 were some other officers there, too, but he was there for sure. It's
16 really hard for me to say whether there was anyone else.
17 In any event, Predojevic roughly said the following to me: that
18 the evacuation from the barracks had taken place as planned, that the
19 soldiers were resting now, that his company was providing security, and
20 that no one was there any longer except for the soldiers, and that this is
21 the first night after so many sleepless nights where they can get some
22 better rest.
23 I gave him a bit of advice there. I told him to take care of the
24 safety and security of the soldiers, I told him about the death of the
25 soldiers the previous night, and I proceeded along the road to Negoslavci.
1 As I was passing by Velepromet, perhaps I stopped at Velepromet,
2 but really it is hard for me to say all these things now. If I stopped
3 there, it was peaceful over there, too. I don't remember that detail.
4 And I came to my building in the village of Negoslavci.
5 Q. Did you find anyone there?
6 A. I found Srecko Borisavljevic. When I went to see Predojevic, I
7 was looking for him, too, at the barracks, and he said he had gone before
8 I had arrived in Negoslavci. So I called Major Vukasinovic as well.
9 Major Vukasinovic told me this: When he had returned those people from
10 the hospital and when he arrived at the barracks, the last thing
11 Predojevic told him was that an order had arrived from the commander that
12 those people should be taken to Ovcara, and that he had taken those people
13 to Ovcara, which surprised me.
14 He found the other people from barracks there and members of the
15 TO, including Miroljub Vujevic. He said they were behaving - how should I
16 put it? - violently. He warned Miroljub that this was no way to go about
17 this, or that's at least what he told me. He restored order to that scene
18 and he said that all those people went into a hangar where the military
19 police of the 80th Motorised Brigade secured them. The brigade's Chief of
20 Staff, Lieutenant Colonel Panic, was there, too.
21 After this, he went back to the command post and informed Colonel
22 Mrksic about all of this. He said Mrksic told him nothing. After that,
23 Srecko Borisavljevic told me this: He said that there had been a
24 government meeting at Velepromet, or that's what it was now called, the
25 Baranja and Western Srem SAO, or what have you. When they came there for
1 the meeting, Srecko opposed this. He refused to let them inside
2 Velepromet. After a while, Lieutenant Colonel Matko Petrovic appeared.
3 He was from the moral guidance organ. He conveyed to him the order and
4 approval that Colonel Mrksic had granted for this meeting to be held at
6 Srecko said that he had no further part in this, but he knew that
7 Colonel Bogdan Vujic had attended the meeting. Bogdan Vujic later told
8 him that at the government meeting the decision had been taken for the
9 suspects who had been taken from the hospital to the barracks to be handed
10 over to the government of Western Srem and Slavonia so that they could be
11 exchanged for captured Serbs. Srecko asked him who had taken that
12 decision and Mr. Vujic apparently told him, "The powers that be." This is
13 what I was told by my two security clerks when I reached Negoslavci.
14 Q. Did Borisavljevic say anything about the previous evening at
16 A. He told me about that, too. He said the previous evening there
17 had been a triage as planned and Colonel Vujic was in charge while he was
18 helping. At one point in time, a drunken TO member appeared. I think he
19 mentioned the name, too, but the name escapes me and it's very difficult
20 to remember what it was. This man was sent away. However, there was a
21 distinct possibility that more such people would appear at Velepromet.
22 I then told Srecko that he should go back to the barracks that
23 evening, that he should tell the barracks commander about this, and that
24 he should tell him, as well as the military police company commander, that
25 I said that should this man turn up again, they should arrest him. And
1 also to check whether, at Velepromet, there were other such people that
2 were not put up properly. If so, he should ask the commander for those
3 people to be taken to spend the night at the barracks until they could be
4 sent to wherever it was they were going in order to avoid any further
5 mistreatment or harassment occurring.
6 The next day, Srecko told me that he had done what I had told him
7 to do and that he had spoken to the barracks commander. But he also found
8 out, apparently, that this man was from a detachment under the command of
9 Milan Lancuzanin and that the commander had already sent him away from the
10 area of combat operations that same day. This man was a volunteer and
11 therefore we had no power to arrest him, or probably that was the very
12 reason he had sent him away, because we were about to arrest that man.
13 Q. Did you go to Colonel Mrksic's command to see him, and when?
14 A. After the meeting with these officers, the one I told you about here,
15 I went to the command post and called in on Colonel Mrksic. As far as I can
16 recall at this time, Colonel Mrksic was sitting there, as was Lieutenant
17 Colonel Panic, I think one of the operations officers, but I really cannot
18 remember everything, and there was definitely an officer sitting at the
19 signals desk. I briefly reported on what was basically happening with
20 the hospital. The Colonel told me that he had also been informed by
21 Colonel Pavkovic and that he was in constant contact with him. We didn't
22 discuss that very much. As far as I remember, he told me this: "We have
23 completed our missions. The Guards Brigade is pulling out to get some rest.
24 All the commitments in this area will be taken over by the 80th Motorised
25 Brigade and the Vukovar TO detachment. Today, a government meeting was
1 held of the Baranja, Slavonia, and Western Srem government at Velepromet.
2 They will now start setting up civilian authorities. They also took
3 charge of a group of suspects from the hospital who had been brought to
4 the barracks in order to later be exchanged for captured Serbs."
5 He also said that he would be off to a meeting in Belgrade, a
6 meeting with the Federal Secretary. Having returned from that meeting, he
7 would be making further decisions about what the brigade would be doing
8 next. He told me that the following day, the 21st of November, 1991,
9 there would be a press conference at the Vukovar barracks, and that
10 Lieutenant Colonel Panic would be in charge of that. He said that the
11 next morning, as soon as I'd rested, I should give Lieutenant Colonel
12 Panic a hand to make sure the whole thing went smoothly and safely. He
13 also said that General Vasiljevic had asked to speak to me urgently, that
14 I should get in touch as quickly as possible, and that was the end of our
16 Q. What did you do next?
17 A. I immediately used the services of that signals officer to speak
18 to General Vasiljevic in the security department. All these days I've
19 been racking my brains trying to remember whether it was Mr. Vasiljevic
20 that I spoke to or a colonel who was on duty at the security
21 administration. I seem to his name, Radojevic. So it will much sooner
22 have been the colonel that I spoke to at the time. But be that as it may,
23 he told me why Vasiljevic had asked to speak to me and wanted to see me.
24 He said that the general had ordered that first night that he came to see
25 me, for me to gather all the documents that I had taken from Marin Vidic
1 and from other ZNG men and the hideout used by the commander of the ZNG,
2 and send them immediately to the security administration.
3 I told the colonel that the documents were already on their way to
4 Belgrade and that they would be receiving those either during that same
5 night or perhaps the following morning, and that was the end of that
6 conversation. I then went back to the building where I was billeted.
7 Q. What did you do next that evening?
8 A. As I was moving towards that building, I met some officers,
9 Zvorcan, perhaps, or someone. It was the TV news time, the evening news
10 time, and someone told me that some coverage from Vukovar had been
11 announced to cover what had transpired on that day. And they also said
12 they would be showing footage of me. This would be after the evening news
13 but it was something that was announced during the actual TV news.
14 He came up with the idea that we should see this programme
15 together. I went to that house but there was no TV. There was a TV set
16 at Colonel Mrksic's command post or at the press centre, but if you used the
17 generator, or as soon as there was electricity, you were able to watch TV.
18 That evening, we were able to watch TV and I watched all this
19 footage from Vukovar that was aired that night. This went on until 11.00
20 in the evening, I believe. I also saw the footage that I've just seen;
21 first of all, my talk with Borsinger at the bridge, and then the last
22 footage that was shown. That programme was the footage from the press
23 conference organized by Martin Bell.
24 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, I've asked you about Ovcara, haven't I? Did you
25 personally send anyone to Ovcara that day, that evening, that night?
1 A. No, I didn't send anyone to Ovcara that day, that evening, that
3 Q. Do you know that any of the officers from your own security organ,
4 with the exception of Vukasinovic, which is something you've described for
5 us, went to Ovcara that evening?
6 A. I'm certain that no one went because I knew the whereabouts of all
7 my officers. And I still know - and I can tell you - Vukasinovic was
8 right there in Negoslavci. He was a town commander. Srecko Borisavljevic
9 was off to the barracks on the business that I had charged him with.
10 Karanfilov was in the process of bringing documents from the shelter to
11 the security administration. Karan was in Sremska Mitrovica with Captain
12 Bozic, about taking Marin Vidic, Bili; Vesna Bosanac; Njavro; and that man
13 from the company.
14 Q. Did you hear about any military policemen from the Guards Brigade
15 being at Ovcara that night?
16 A. I didn't know about that but I wasn't in a position to check where
17 the MPs were. That was something for the military police commander to
18 do. I don't know.
19 Q. Let me rephrase something that the Prosecutor alleges in the
20 indictment. Did you tell anyone to confer the powers and the orders --
21 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters did not understand Mr. Lukic's
23 A. First of all, that would be utter nonsense. There was no chain of
24 command making it possible for anyone to carry out an order like that, nor
25 was I authorised to carry out any such orders, nor was I authorised to
1 interfere with the area of responsibility of another unit.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] My apologies to the interpreters. I
3 will try to ask this question again.
4 Q. The question was: Did you tell anyone, did you personally convey
5 to anyone, to inform or to convey or to order that the Ovcara order should
6 be retracted? You've provided the answer. We can move on.
7 A. Should I say it again?
8 Q. I don't think that will be necessary. Thank you.
9 The next day, there was the press conference. I wouldn't -- well,
10 maybe a couple of words. But if you can tell me what you described. Your
11 meeting again with Borsinger, when was it? And, briefly, what was it
12 like? What was the level of that conversation?
13 A. The next morning, at about 7.00, the 21st of November, 1991, at
14 about 7.00, I reported to Lieutenant Colonel Panic and was off to the
15 Vukovar barracks. I was there when the press conference took place. I'm
16 not sure about the time, but I think it went on until about 12.00 or 1.00
18 After that, I was tasked with taking the journalists - and I'm not
19 sure who was in charge of this - around Vukovar to show them all the
20 places where we had previously located shelters, bunkers, fortified
21 buildings, and all of the stuff that had gone on. I remained with them
22 until nightfall. There were other officers with us.
23 At one point I received a message via the radio that I had on me
24 all the time that people from the ICRC were looking for me. The message
25 came through from Negoslavci. I asked who this was, who these people were
1 who were looking for me, and they said Mr. Borsinger was trying to track
2 me down. I said they should tell him that I was willing to talk to him
3 and that it was possible for us to talk but not before 1900 hours that
4 evening, if that was convenient for him, on account of my other
5 commitments. The answer came back that he had agreed.
6 So we met, we had dinner together, on the 21st of November, 1991,
7 at 1900 hours, in Vukovar. And there were three our people from the ICRC
8 accompanying him. We had dinner for over two hours, and we talked. The
9 gentleman, so to speak, apologised, saying that he had not been aware of
10 our soldiers being killed. He said he was sorry for any misunderstanding
11 that may have occurred between us, that we were always respectful in the
12 way we treated them. I took that at face value and that brought our
13 meeting to an end. It was a friendly and cordial end to that meeting.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no questions left
15 about Vukovar but I do have some questions left for Witness Sljivancanin.
16 I wanted to finish today, although I wasn't able to. I also want to ask
17 some questions about what happened after Vukovar and complete my
19 JUDGE PARKER: We will adjourn now, Mr. Lukic, to resume on
20 Monday, in the afternoon, at 2.15.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
22 to be reconvened on Monday, the 30th day of
23 October, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.