1 Monday, 6 November 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.20 p.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon.
6 Are we ready, Mr. Borovic -- oh, Mr. Bulatovic.
7 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we're ready. I'd
8 like to call witness Paunovic. Could he please be brought into the
10 [The witness entered court]
11 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. Would you please read aloud the
12 affirmation that is on the card given to you now.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
14 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.
16 Mr. Bulatovic.
17 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Good
18 afternoon to all participants in the proceedings. Good afternoon to all
19 in the courtroom.
20 WITNESS: RADOJE PAUNOVIC
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 Examination by Mr. Bulatovic:
23 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Paunovic.
24 A. Good afternoon.
25 Q. Mr. Paunovic, please, before we start with this examination,
1 please take into account some of the instructions I will give you. In
2 order to have your testimony interpreted properly and recorded properly in
3 the transcript, please wait for my question to end and then, after a
4 while, could you please answer, so that you and I would not overlap, so
5 that the questions and answers will not overlap. That way we'll just
6 create confusion, and we really don't want to have any problems in the
7 transcript. Do you understand me?
8 A. Yes, I follow you.
9 Q. Fine. Mr. Paunovic, to begin with, could you please tell the
10 Honourable Trial Chamber and us your full name and surname, your date and
11 place of birth, and your marital status, and your family situation.
12 A. I was born on the 30th of January, 1956, in Ursule, municipality
13 of Sjenica, Serbia.
14 Q. Mr. Paunovic, could you please give us your full name and surname.
15 We haven't heard that.
16 A. Sorry. Radoje Paunovic.
17 Q. Mr. Paunovic, is it correct that you completed the military
18 academy of the ground forces in 1979?
19 A. That is correct.
20 Q. Is it correct that in the period from 1979 until 1988 you served
21 in the garrison in Zajecar?
22 A. Yes, that's correct.
23 Q. Is it correct that in 1988 you were reassigned to the Guards
24 Brigade, to the 1st Battalion of the military police?
25 A. Yes, that is correct.
1 Q. Is it correct that in 1990 you were appointed deputy commander of
2 the 2nd Battalion of the military police in the Guards Motorised Brigade?
3 A. Yes, that's correct.
4 Q. We will agree that the duty of the 2nd -- the commander of the
5 2nd Battalion of the military police is a duty that you assumed in 1991,
6 and that, as for that duty, commander of the 2nd Battalion of the military
7 police within the Guards Motorised Brigade, is a duty you held during the
8 events in Vukovar in 1991.
9 A. Yes, that is correct.
10 Q. Upon your return from Vukovar, that is to say the end of 1991,
11 were you assigned to the command of the Guards Brigade in the teaching
13 A. Yes. In 1992, I was assigned to the teaching department of the
14 Guards Motorised Brigade.
15 Q. In 1994, were you in the corps of special units as desk officer
16 for the units of the military police?
17 A. Yes, that is correct.
18 Q. According to the information that I have, in 1999 you were
19 assigned to the command of the 72nd Special Brigade as desk officer for
20 the units of the military police; is that correct?
21 A. Yes, that is correct.
22 Q. In 2002, you were sent to the centre for training cadres for the
23 military security service as commander of military police courses.
24 A. Yes, that is correct.
25 Q. Is it correct that as for the rank of major, you got it in 1993?
1 A. Yes, that's correct.
2 Q. You were retired on the 22nd of July, 2005, as a colonel, and you
3 got the rank of colonel in 2001; is that right?
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 Q. Mr. Paunovic, can we agree on the basis of all of this that in
6 your military career you held responsible duties and posts from company
7 commander, deputy battalion commander, battalion commander, and these
8 duties that I mentioned, these posts that you held after your return to
9 Vukovar, and these are military positions of responsibility. Is that
11 A. It can be put that way.
12 Q. Mr. Paunovic, let us now move on to the subject of this trial here
13 and what we are all primarily interested in, and that is the events in
15 We heard that you were commander of the 2nd Battalion of the
16 military police within the Guards Motorised Brigade, when you were sent to
17 Vukovar. What I'm interested in is the following, and what everybody here
18 is interested in, could you please tell us and the Trial Chamber: When
19 was it that you were sent to Vukovar with your battalion?
20 A. I was sent to Vukovar on the 30th of September, 1991.
21 Q. When you were sent to Vukovar, was your entire battalion sent
22 there, the 2nd Battalion of the military police, or rather, was that
23 battalion at its full complement when you were sent to Vukovar?
24 A. On the 30th of September, the entire battalion was sent to Vukovar
25 but not under my command.
1 Q. Can you explain what that means, the whole battalion but not under
2 your command. Were some parts of the battalion somewhere else? Were they
3 attached, resubordinated, to somebody else?
4 A. I can explain that. This is how it happened: There were two
5 companies, specifically the 1st and the 2nd one, under my command, and one
6 company, specifically the 4th Company, according to the decision made by
7 the brigade commander, was resubordinated to the armoured battalion of the
8 Guards Brigade.
9 The 3rd Company was engaged, according to platoons, in the
10 following way: The 1st Platoon of the 3rd Company was resubordinated to
11 the 1st Motorised Battalion of the Guards Brigade; the 2nd Platoon of the
12 3rd Company was resubordinated to the 2nd Motorised Battalion of the
13 Guards Brigade; the 3rd Platoon of the 3rd Company was securing the rear
14 command post of the Guards Brigade.
15 That is my answer to your question as to how the battalion was
17 Q. Could you please tell me about the 4th Company.
18 A. I think I told you that the 4th Company was resubordinated to the
19 armoured battalion of the Guards Brigade.
20 Q. Could you please tell me who the commander of the 1st Motorised
21 Battalion was? And one company from your battalion was resubordinated to
22 that commander.
23 A. The commander of the 1st Motorised Battalion was Major Tesic.
24 Q. And who was commander of the 2nd Motorised Battalion?
25 A. The commander of the 2nd Motorised Battalion was Major Adem Bajic.
1 Q. Was he commander all the time?
2 A. During the initial period, as we were leaving from our peacetime
3 location, it was Bajic, Major Bajic. But at the beginning of the month of
4 October - I cannot remember the exact date now, of course - this duty was
5 assumed by Lieutenant-Colonel Lukic.
6 Q. Mr. Paunovic, you mentioned your 3rd Company from the
7 2nd Battalion of the military police that was divided into platoons. I
8 just did not hear about the 3rd Platoon. What was the duty of the
9 3rd Platoon of the 3rd Company? Where was it deployed? Perhaps you've
10 said it. I am sorry. Oh, yes, they were providing security for the rear
11 command post. Yes, thank you. Sorry about that.
12 Your 2nd Battalion of the military police, was it taken into
13 combat action?
14 A. In the initial period, that is to say, for some four or five days,
15 the 2nd Battalion of the military police was a reserve of the brigade, and
16 it was in the village of Berak, which is to say the 1st and 2nd Company,
17 with a command and the signals squad and the logistics.
18 Q. Were you taken into combat action; if so, how?
19 A. After four or five days, perhaps even less - now with this time
20 distance, I cannot remember - I was given an order by the brigade
21 commander to be ready with my battalion to go into combat, which is,
22 indeed, what happened after these four or five days, I think.
23 Q. Mr. Paunovic, were you taken into combat action as an independent
24 establishment unit, the 2nd Battalion of the military police, or were you
25 within some other composition; do you recall?
1 A. When I said that I was taken into combat action, in that period of
2 time, I don't know up until when, I carried out my duties as a battalion.
3 In the later period - again, I cannot give the exact dates - the
4 2nd Battalion of the military police became part of the 2nd Assault
6 Q. Mr. Paunovic, would you tell me who the commander of the 2nd
7 Assault Detachment was?
8 A. The commander of the 2nd Assault Detachment was Lieutenant-Colonel
10 Q. When you were brought into combat, as commander of the 2nd
11 Battalion of the military police, did you have a command post of your own
12 in Vukovar? If so, can you explain where this command post of yours was.
13 A. When I was taken into combat action, of course I had a command
14 post. It was in Prvomajska Street. I cannot remember the number now.
15 Tentatively it's to the north, or perhaps a bit to the north-west of the
17 Q. Mr. Paunovic, I'm just going to ask you another thing. You've
18 already referred to it. You actually mentioned the 2nd Battalion, and as
19 far as I understood you, the 2nd Battalion of the military police, where
20 you were commander, had four companies. Did it have any other units
21 within its composition?
22 A. Well, the establishment of the battalion, in addition to these
23 four companies, included the command of the battalion, the signals squad,
24 and a logistics platoon.
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Paunovic. Now that we're on this subject, since
1 some names may come up during your evidence, so in order for us to know
2 what this is all about, could you tell us who the commanders, komandiri,
3 of these four companies were, the 1st, 2nd, the 3rd, and 4th?
4 A. Milan Pavlovic was commander of the 1st Company. The commander of
5 the 2nd Company was Captain Dragoslav Kapor. I'm sorry, I beg your
6 pardon. The commander of the 2nd Company was Nenad Bajic. The commander
7 of the 3rd Company was Captain Dragoslav Kapor. And the commander of the
8 4th Company was Captain Esad Paldum.
9 Q. Mr. Paunovic, you are convinced -- you were brought into combat in
10 the manner that you described. Could you tell me, please -- it's been
11 said that there's something wrong with the interpretation.
12 You, Mr. Paunovic, described the way that you were brought into
13 combat. You mentioned that you were part of the Assault Detachment 2, or
14 2nd Assault Detachment. Throughout your combat engagement, was this
15 situation the same, that you were part of the 2nd Assault Detachment, or
16 were you, at times, an independent entity of the 2nd Battalion in combat?
17 A. In the initial period, I was an independent battalion but within
18 the brigade. In the subsequent period, over a longer period of time, I
19 was part of the 2nd Assault Detachment. As far as I can remember, around
20 mid-November, I acted independently; I wasn't part of the 2nd Assault
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Paunovic. I will not insist on an accurate
23 time-line because I know that much time has lapsed and it's very difficult
24 for you to remember. But if you can remember approximately some dates,
25 please indicate so.
1 Tell me, Mr. Paunovic, in accordance with the rules of service of
2 the military police of the JNA, is it customary for military police to be
3 used in combat? And before that question, whether the military police
4 troops have the proper training for combat? And what is the predominant
5 purpose of their training?
6 A. The military police is primarily trained for military police
7 tasks. And during training, military policemen are trained to perform
8 such tasks but not to such an extent as is the training of the performance
9 of military police tasks. Military police primarily performs military
10 police tasks pursuant to the rules of service of the military police of
11 the armed forces, the rules of service and the guidelines for the
12 applications of rules of service of the military police. But pursuant to
13 a brigade commander's decision and order, military police may be used to
14 perform other tasks.
15 Q. Mr. Paunovic, as battalion commander, the commander of the
16 2nd Battalion of the military police, did you attend the reports being --
17 the briefings in the motorised brigades in Vukovar? And I'm referring to
18 the period of 30th September until your return, and, if I'm not mistaken,
19 that took place on the 24th of November, 1991.
20 A. I did attend briefings at the command of the Guards Brigade.
21 Q. At these meetings at the command of the South Operative Group of
22 the 1st Guards Motorised Brigade, did you receive any tasks? And could
23 you explain to those present how this briefing looked like and how the
24 issuance of tasks did take place at the OG level.
25 A. Well, in brief, a briefing would look like this: Commanders of
1 the subordinated units, subordinate to the brigade commander, would report
2 on the conditions in their units, on the tasks achieved, tasks handed down
3 to them, on problems, requirements, et cetera.
4 Afterwards, the floor would be given to members of the command.
5 The commander would recognise anybody seeking to take the floor, if he
6 would be touring the units, to relay their opinions, their remarks and
7 impressions. And finally, the commander of the brigade would issue tasks
8 for the forthcoming period for the subsequent day.
9 That would briefly be a cross-section of such briefing.
10 Q. When you received -- when you receive a task during a briefing for
11 the forthcoming periods, one day or the subsequent several days, what you,
12 as battalion commander, do after that? Do you, at your command post, hold
13 a briefing, in turn, to elaborate that task further, or not?
14 A. Of course, having been issued a task, I then, with my subordinated
15 officers, company commanders, the commander of the logistics platoon,
16 would elaborate these tasks further and I would issue them with concrete
18 Q. Thank you, Mr. Paunovic. Now we are approaching the dates that
19 are of great interest for all of us here.
20 My first question refers specifically, if you may remember,
21 whether, on the 19th of November, 1991, did you have a task, any task,
22 which would refer to your activities in the area of the water-tower in the
23 direction towards Mitnica? If so, could you explain what kind of a task
24 it was, and when did you start performing this task?
25 A. On the 19th of November, I received from the brigade commander a
1 task to frisk and to search the area from the water-tower towards Mitnica.
2 The task, and the reason for me performing this task, was to make sure
3 whether some individuals from paramilitary formations had stayed behind;
4 to detect and find unexploded mines, other explosive devices. And another
5 task was to evacuate the population from that part of the town for their
6 security's sake.
7 Q. Mr. Paunovic, I believe that one date is beyond questioning.
8 We've heard this date so many times before. The day is the 18th of
9 November, which is, depending on the perspective of the speaker, is the
10 day when Vukovar was liberated or occupied. Could you take this date as
11 reference to your explanations? Do you know anything about the surrender
12 of the Mitnica Battalion on the 18th?
13 A. What I described just now is connected in my mind with the 19th of
14 November, because I know that on the day before, on the 18th of November,
15 the Mitnica group had surrendered.
16 Q. Thank you. During performing this task on the 19th of November,
17 did you, during its performance, receive any other task; and if so, from
19 A. During the performance of this task that I described just now, I
20 received a task from the brigade commander. And I don't believe I
21 remember; I think the Chief of Staff did relay this order. And the order
22 was to take a company of military police and to come with it to the area
23 of the Vukovar Hospital, to take over the task of securing the same.
24 Q. Did you set out to perform this task? And which units did you
25 reach the hospital with?
1 A. I ordered the 4th Company commander - at this particular point in
2 time that we're referring to, it was commanded by Captain First Class
3 Simic Milivoje - to advance with his company towards the hospital, and
4 this is exactly what he did.
5 Q. Mr. Paunovic, lest there should be any doubt, you just stated that
6 the 4th Company was commanded by Esad Paldum and now you are mentioning
7 Mr. Simic. Can you give us an explanation.
8 A. The answer is the following: Either in the first or in the second
9 half of October - I really cannot pinpoint any dates after so much time
10 has lapsed - Captain Esad Paldum, the then-commander of the 4th Company,
11 fell ill. And from that point on until we returned to Belgrade, the
12 4th Company was commanded by Captain First Class Simic Milivoje.
13 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Paunovic. Let us make this clear, lest
14 there should be any doubt about that. Can you tell me, if you remember,
15 during that day, the 19th of November, when did you reach the Vukovar
16 Hospital compound?
17 A. I cannot remember the exact hour, but it was in the afternoon.
18 Afternoon, around 1400, 1500 hours. I know that it was still daylight; it
19 hadn't grown dark.
20 Q. When you say "it hadn't grown dark," does it mean that relatively
21 quickly after your arrival, dusk fell?
22 A. No. I'm just sorting out these facts in my mind. I know which
23 activities we performed upon our arrival, how long it took us. So I
24 believe this is the hour.
25 Q. Thank you. Now, could you tell us, when you arrived with this
1 company, commanded by Captain Simic, on the 19th, did you come upon any
2 present -- any JNA commander officer already present at this date; and if
3 you could indicate the unit that they came from?
4 A. When I arrived in the area of the hospital, I found Major
5 Sljivancanin, Major Tesic, and I believe a Captain Bojkovski was there as
6 well. This is as far as I remember when it comes to the officers that I
7 saw in the area of the hospital.
8 Q. You said that you'd arrived to perform a task issued by the
9 brigade commander, that you had arrived with a company of soldiers to
10 secure the area of the hospital. Could you conclude that prior to your
11 arrival there had been some security apparatus that you took over from,
12 and could you assess the situation?
13 A. When I arrived to the area of the hospital, as I said, I already
14 saw that person and I contacted him, and that was Major Tesic. He showed
15 me where his soldiers were deployed. I cannot remember now how many
16 soldiers there were. But talking about security, in military police
17 terms, there was no security in that sense.
18 Q. When you say that "security, in military police terms," can you
19 explain what that means, to provide security for a facility in military
20 police terms?
21 A. When I said that it had not been provided in military police
22 terms, and Major Tesic also told me about this, elements of this security
23 could not seen there, the security that we're talking about; namely,
24 entrance posts, patrols, guards, and so on and so forth.
25 Q. Did you issue any order to Captain Simic related to the security
1 of the hospital; and if so, what was that order?
2 A. As for the commander of the 4th Company, Captain Simic, I issued
3 him an order to search the area surrounding the hospital and to set up
5 Q. When you say search the area of the hospital, what does that mean?
6 And why is that done?
7 A. According to our rules, when security is set up for any facility,
8 the area is searched, and it is only then that the security is set up. In
9 this case, the search was carried out in order to perhaps find some
10 paramilitary groups or formations that had been left behind; also, to find
11 mines, booby-traps; and also for the security to function properly and
13 Q. Mr. Paunovic, is there a rule in these instructions about the work
14 of the military police, or, generally speaking, is there a document of
15 this kind or is it really a matter that the commander assesses, what area
16 will be searched, what is the diameter, 5, 10 metres, 50 metres, or
18 A. Well, it depends. It depends on the facility that is being
19 secured. It depends on the configuration of the terrain, the combat
20 activities that had taken place in that area beforehand. In this specific
21 case, the area was searched to the left and right of the said facility,
22 namely the hospital, 2 to 300 metres, that is.
23 Q. Mr. Paunovic, did you have any information before you came to the
24 area of the hospital in terms of a possibility of having disguised members
25 of Croatian paramilitary forces in the hospital? If you did have such
1 information, how had you received it? Where did you hear about this?
2 A. As for this information that you're referring to, we got it from
3 the security organs; namely, that it is very likely that, in the hospital
4 itself, in addition to patients, there are also disguised members of
5 paramilitary formations, of the paramilitary formations of Croatia, that
6 is. As for their exact number, at that point in time, I did not have any
8 Q. Was this information one of the reasons, too, for you to search
9 the terrain in that diameter or in that perimeter?
10 A. That was the primary reason. And also, what I said a few moments
11 ago, namely that there was this possibility that even outside the
12 hospital, there could be some left-over individuals or groups, members of
13 the paramilitary formations of Croatia.
14 Q. Mr. Paunovic, we have information, I think that there is no doubt
15 about that, but I'm going to ask you the following: What was the
16 situation like in the hospital? Who was in the hospital? Was it only the
17 sick and the wounded who were in the hospital, or were there some other
18 structures that you saw?
19 A. There's no doubt that in the hospital, in addition to the sick and
20 wounded and the hospital staff, there were also members of the
21 paramilitary formations of Croatia.
22 Q. Were there any civilians in the hospital?
23 A. There were civilians, too.
24 Q. When searching the terrain, did you find anything that would
25 indicate that in that area there were armed individuals, armed groups or
2 A. During the search of the area around the hospital, parts of
3 military equipment were found. A certain amount of light weaponry was
4 found. When I say that, I'm referring to pistols and rifles.
5 Q. Did you perhaps have some information about where weapons could be
6 found due to the stay of these armed individuals, or rather, did you
7 perhaps get this information from civilians, from local people? Because
8 there was quite a bit of commotion there - that's my understanding - that
9 there were lots of people there.
10 A. Well, as you said, there was great commotion there. In addition
11 to this information that I had received, as I already mentioned, there was
12 also information received from civilians; namely, they were saying that
13 weapons were thrown away. "Take a look at this." They did not tell us
14 exactly where to look, but as we searched the area, as I've said, we did
15 find a certain quantity of weapons.
16 Q. All right. You said that, Mr. Paunovic. I'm only interested in
17 this: Whether you received any information from the local people. Did
18 you have any information, and did you perhaps go to a particular area or
19 particular place where somebody indicated to you that perhaps this could
20 be a place where some command of some parliament formations had been --
21 MR. WEINER: Objection --
22 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. -- do you remember any such thing?
24 MR. WEINER: -- Your Honour.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
1 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, this is outside the first preliminary
2 notes provided by the Defence on November 1st. This is outside the second
3 preliminary notes provided on November 2nd. This question is outside of
4 the 65 ter information as to what this witness is going to testify to, on
5 the 12th of July. And it's outside of the amended 65 ter information as
6 to what this witness was going to testify to on the 4th of August, 2006.
7 The first time this issue was ever even raised was last week in the
8 testimony of Mr. Sljivancanin.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic.
10 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I must admit that, if
11 we look at it this way, the Prosecutor is right. But I think that we have
12 a witness who gave an order to his company to search an area, and this has
13 to do with what the Prosecutor referred to as well. If you think that I
14 cannot proceed with this line of questioning, no problem whatsoever. I
15 won't do it.
16 JUDGE PARKER: I think it's best left, Mr. Bulatovic, in view of
17 the number of identifications of the areas of potential evidence and this
18 one being outside of all of them. Thank you.
19 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. Mr. Paunovic, do you know about this day, the 19th of November,
21 when you were providing security, were any members of paramilitary
22 formations surrendering or was anybody surrendering in the hospital area?
23 Just say yes or no.
24 A. No, no, I do not have any such information.
25 Q. All right. Will you tell me about what you found, these parts of
1 equipment, weapons, arms, and so on? Did you inform the security organ
2 about that, specifically Mr. Sljivancanin, whom you did see there within
3 the hospital compound, once you arrived?
4 A. Well, of course I informed the security organ about that. In this
5 case, it was Major Sljivancanin, because at that point in time he was
6 physically close to where I was.
7 Q. Is it your duty, is it your obligation, to inform the security
8 organ about such matters?
9 A. Yes, it is compulsory, and I did that.
10 Q. You say that you came to the area of the hospital on the 19th of
11 November, around 1500 hours. Do you remember how long you stayed there
12 and whether, in the meantime, up until the end of your stay, whether you
13 went somewhere? If so, where did you go, how many times? To the best of
14 your recollection, can you explain this to us. Can you tell us about your
15 movements on the 19th, from the hospital onwards.
16 A. From when I came to the hospital on the 19th of November all the
17 way up to 2400 hours, I left the hospital a few times and came back to the
18 hospital a few times.
19 The first reason why I left was the fact that I was supposed to
20 go - and, indeed, I did go - to the brigade command for a briefing.
21 Q. Mr. Paunovic, sorry for interrupting. When you say "a briefing,"
22 can you explain what this means? Was there a customary time when these
23 briefings took place? And then please go on.
24 A. Thank you. As far as I can remember, the briefings took place
25 around 1800 hours, 1800 hours, yes.
1 May I proceed, Mr. Bulatovic?
2 Q. Yes, yes, about this briefing on the 19th, and how long you stayed
4 A. When I went to the briefing, I stayed there for about two hours --
5 Q. Mr. Paunovic, sorry for interrupting. After that, what did you
6 do; do you remember?
7 A. After that, I returned to the hospital. I called the company
8 commander and gave him some tasks to continue securing the hospital.
9 As for the commander of the 1st Company, I told him to prepare a
10 platoon and send it to the hospital.
11 Q. This platoon that was to be sent to the hospital, was it to be
12 sent on that day, the 19th of November, or perhaps some other day? I
13 didn't understand.
14 A. Well, I was not precise enough. I gave the company commander a
15 task, namely to prepare the platoon, but to send it to the hospital area
16 in the early morning hours of the 20th.
17 Q. When you returned to the hospital after the briefing, two hours
18 later, what would the time be when you returned to the hospital, if you
19 can remember?
20 A. I cannot specify an hour after such a long time has lapsed. I
21 believe that it was possibly 2000, 2100 hours. I really cannot remember.
22 Q. At that briefing on the 19th of November, 1991, in the command of
23 the Guards Brigade, did you see Major Veselin Sljivancanin?
24 A. No, I did not see him.
25 Q. When you returned to the hospital, did you see Major Sljivancanin
1 at the hospital?
2 A. Yes, I did see him.
3 Q. Let's go back to the briefing, Mr. Paunovic, that briefing on the
4 19th of November. I'm interested in certain matters.
5 You explained the way a briefing would unfold, what is the
6 procedure, what is the schedule. What I'm interested in is the following:
7 Do you recall, on the 19th of November, in the evening, was there any talk
8 at the OG staff and 1st Motorised Brigade level, if there was any talk
9 about the evacuation of the Vukovar Hospital?
10 A. There was talk about that. It was said that on the 20th of
11 November the hospital will be evacuated, but I don't remember any time
12 being specified for that activity.
13 Q. Did you hear at the command post of the JUG of south operational
14 group the name of Major Sljivancanin to command the forthcoming evacuation
15 of the hospital?
16 MR. WEINER: Objection, Your Honour. I'd object.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
18 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, we've coming very close to the major
19 issues in the case and these should be non-leading questions.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Weiner.
21 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] I will rephrase my question.
22 Q. Mr. Paunovic, was there any talk at the briefing in the OG South
23 command about the identity of the officer to command the evacuation of the
25 A. No names were specified as to who would command the operation of
1 evacuating the people.
2 Q. Could you tell us - and we heard from your CV you are a person who
3 held positions of responsibility - could we hear from you, should there
4 have been a written order for such a task, or not?
5 A. In my opinion, there should have been a written order.
6 Q. As a competent person who held positions of responsibilities and
7 duties -- responsible duties, could you tell us, such a task, what would
8 it entail? What services, what structures, would have to be engaged? And
9 what elements of such an order should there be?
10 A. As you said yourself, this is a very complex operation and such an
11 operation should involve all segments of the brigade, and by this I mean
12 the following: The brigade command, logistics; military police should be
13 involved; security organs, and similar.
14 And an order to this effect should comprise the following
15 elements; of course I cannot remember all of them, but I will spell out
16 the basic ones: So the commander should appoint a responsible officer who
17 would be in charge of the evacuation. Other personnel from the command
18 who would be involved in the area of logistics, what should be regulated
19 are vehicles, means of transportation, food, medical care. As far as
20 organs of security are concerned, they are supposed to triage the
21 personnel, together with physicians, all the people present.
22 Another thing that slipped my mind, if one has the list of people
23 in the hospital, it should be specified whether such persons are armed,
24 whether they present a threat, et cetera, et cetera.
25 That would be it.
1 Q. On the occasion of any type of evacuation, not this one, when
2 people are transported, does the military police play a role in
3 accompanying such people? And what is the purpose of such an escort?
4 A. During such and similar operations, the task for the military
5 police is to secure the persons being transported, which would mean the
6 following, pursuant to our rules: The reception of these persons,
7 maintaining security of them during transport, and delivering them to the
8 competent organ.
9 Q. Mr. Paunovic, on the 19th, you were at the hospital, and from your
10 testimony and from exhibits, we heard testimony about the conditions in
11 the hospital. What I'm interested in is the following: Were there
12 members of, let's call them so, paramilitary formations, Territorial
13 Defence, armed civilians, around the hospital?
14 A. Around the hospital there were civilians dressed in various
15 clothes. Some were armed with light weaponry. You know, at that time,
16 almost everybody was carrying arms. They were in groups of four or five
17 people. I really cannot specify the number.
18 Q. What was their conduct? Could you describe their conduct.
19 A. I cannot say that their conduct was violent, but they did issue
20 provocations. Individuals wanted -- I mean, asked whether they could
21 enter the hospital. They shouted. There were curses as well. I really
22 cannot remember every detail.
23 Q. When you said "curses," who were these curses directed at?
24 A. Everybody, including members of the JNA.
25 Q. Why? What did they utter to you?
1 A. The most frequently used expression used by that population was
2 communist, or komunjara.
3 Q. Do you know the reason why they used that term? What was the
4 association in their minds for using that term?
5 A. I don't know what. Presumably because of the insignia that we
6 wore, a five-pointed red star, JNA, Yugoslav People's Army insignia.
7 Q. Mr. Paunovic, could you tell me, please, what was your opinion of
8 these groups? You made your views public on these. What term did you use
9 to denote them?
10 A. Since I communicated personally with some of them, I did not
11 regard them as a threat, as dangerous, as people who may jeopardise the
12 security and safety of the hospital and the hospital itself. In some of
13 my previous statements, I referred to them as model Chetniks, or Chetnik
15 Q. When you say "Chetnik models," could you explain to the Court why
16 you coined this phrase. Who were those people, in your opinion?
17 A. In my regard, in my opinion, these people were among the local
18 population. They were not fighters. I believe that they didn't even
19 engage in combat. And, in my opinion, they did not constitute any danger.
20 Q. Mr. Paunovic, I have a hypothetical question for you. If you
21 concluded, as a person in charge of the security of the hospital that
22 these people presented a threat, what would you, as an officer in charge,
23 have done?
24 A. Of course I would buff up the security around the hospital, and I
25 would have reported immediately to the brigade commander. But in this
1 case, I did not report to the brigade commander because, according to my
2 estimate, as I already stated, they did not constitute a threat, neither
3 to my security personnel, nor to the hospital.
4 Q. You recently said, Mr. Paunovic, that, on the 19th, you received a
5 task to reinforce, with a platoon or a part of a company, the security
6 detail around the hospital on the subsequent day. Do you know the reasons
7 why you were issued with such an order? I don't want to lead you. You
8 know the reason. Please tell us, if you know.
9 A. Previous -- in response to previous questions, I believe I replied
10 to this. I said that on the 20th the evacuation of the hospital was
11 supposed to start, and, given that I had one company securing the hospital
12 but that company was not at its full complement and I knew that I would be
13 needing personnel to provide escort to vehicles, carrying the evacuees.
14 Furthermore, I needed men to frisk people upon leaving the hospital, and
15 to avoid undermining the overall security system I ordered for this
16 platoon to be involved.
17 Q. Can we agree, Mr. Paunovic, that this reinforcement of security
18 had nothing to do with the greater threat? We're dealing with military
19 police operations.
20 A. Yes, of course. Had there been any threats, I would have informed
21 the brigade commander immediately and would have requested reinforcements;
22 or, alternatively, I would have reinforced, using my men, to buff up the
23 security and would have informed the brigade commander immediately. But
24 in this case, I believe that I've already provided an answer to this, to
25 wit: My assessment was that the civilians and persons located around the
1 hospital did not pose a threat to the security apparatus and system.
2 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Would it be the right time for the
3 first break, Your Honours?
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Bulatovic, yes.
5 We will resume at ten past.
6 --- Recess taken at 3.46 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 4.16 p.m.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic.
9 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Q. Mr. Paunovic, we were talking about the 19th, so we've basically
11 dealt with that subject; however, there are a few other things that I'd
12 like to ask you about the 19th.
13 Do you remember some corpses around the hospital, having seen some
14 corpses around the hospital, when you got there, around 1500 hours?
15 A. Yes, I remember the corpses. There were some near the hospital;
16 as a matter of fact, even outside the hospital compound. As for the
17 number of corpses, I could not say.
18 Q. Since obviously we have this big time distance, and it's probably
19 hard for you to remember the actual time and other things, but let's try,
20 let's have an approximation. Was it 20, 30, 50, more, less? Can you give
21 us an approximation?
22 A. There certainly weren't less than 20.
23 Q. I assume that's when you came there, so it was daylight, right?
24 Not at night. You cannot really conduct a search at night. Do you
25 remember whether Mr. Sljivancanin saw these corpses together with you when
1 touring the area around the hospital?
2 MR. WEINER: Objection, Your Honour. This is leading. And there
3 was never any evidence about Sljivancanin touring the hospital, the area
4 around the hospital either.
5 JUDGE PARKER: It is technically leading, Mr. Bulatovic, although
6 I don't see it's as significant as Mr. Weiner fears. If you could try and
7 watch the leading. Thank you.
8 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] You're right, Your Honour. That
9 was my feeling, too, that it wasn't really that dangerous and there was no
10 reason for Mr. Weiner to be afraid.
11 Q. So now I'm going to ask the witness whether somebody went together
12 with him to see those corpses.
13 A. In addition to the officers from my battalion, as I said in my
14 previous answers, in the compound of the hospital, there was Major
15 Sljivancanin, and he also saw those corpses.
16 Q. Mr. Paunovic, during your stay there, that is to say when you went
17 to that briefing, again, I mean, I'm not going to refer to any specific
18 time because it really has been quite a while, and I know that during the
19 proofing there was this problem of remembering the actual time, so I'm not
20 going to ask you about time specifically. I will try to link things to
21 certain events, certain things that happened.
22 So when you went from the hospital to that briefing, did you see
23 the representatives of the International Red Cross at the hospital?
24 A. Yes. Before I went to the briefing, I saw representatives of the
25 Red Cross.
1 Q. Thank you. As for this representative of the International
2 Red Cross who you saw on the 19th, at that time, that is to say up until
3 you went to the briefing, did you perhaps see this person the following
4 day in the hospital too?
5 A. Yes, this same gentleman I had seen that evening. I don't know
6 his name. I saw him on the next day, in the morning; that is to say, on
7 the 20th.
8 Q. All right. I said that I'm not going to refer to any specific
9 time, so this is the only thing I was interested in. On that day,
10 the 19th, when you saw the representatives of the Red Cross and hospital,
11 did you see anyone talking to them? Specifically, was Mr. Sljivancanin
12 talking to them?
13 A. Yes. The gentleman was speaking to Sljivancanin. He was in
14 Sljivancanin's company, if I can put it that way.
15 Q. While you were at the hospital and up until the moment when you
16 went to this briefing, did you receive any orders, any instructions, to
17 take some person out of the hospital? Just say yes or no, please. Let us
18 keep things as brief as possible. We have a problem with time and we want
19 to be as efficient as possible.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did you take the person from the hospital?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Do you know the name of the person?
24 A. Yes. The person's name is Marin Vidic, Bili.
25 Q. Where did you take him?
1 A. I took him to Negoslavci, and I handed him over to the desk
2 officer of the security organ, an NCO. Momcilovic, specifically,
3 Momcilovic, I know who it was.
4 Q. Thank you. Mr. Paunovic, let us now move on to the 20th of
5 November. Do you remember on the 20th you came there in the morning
6 hours, right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. If I understood you correctly, the platoon or the reinforced
9 platoon, whatever the formation was, had already arrived in the hospital.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. This platoon, this formation, did it have an officer of its own?
12 A. Yes. Lieutenant Milomir Todorovic.
13 Q. Was he your subordinate?
14 A. At that moment, yes.
15 Q. As for that officer and the soldiers from that platoon, reinforced
16 platoon --
17 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the speaker please
18 not touch the microphone, Mr. Bulatovic, please.
19 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. -- did you issue him any orders to carry out some military police
22 A. Yes. I gave them a task to carry out some military police work,
23 and that is to say frisk persons while they were being taken out of the
24 hospital. That is to say, that this took place in front of the hospital.
25 Q. Can you perhaps describe this military police work of the
2 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could Mr. Bulatovic please
3 not touch the microphone while it's on.
4 A. After the triage was carried out, groups were taken out of the
5 hospital. Now, as for the size of the groups, I cannot say, but it was up
6 to ten people. They would be lined up, up against a wall, because near
7 that exit there is a wall opposite the hospital. And every one of these
8 individuals was frisked by a soldier, a military policeman. Nearby there
9 was a table where objects that were taken away from these individuals were
11 When this would be completed, the group would be sent to the buses
12 that were behind the hospital. Now, I cannot say --
13 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Mr. Paunovic, we'll get to the buses. I'm interested in this
15 particular part now. Now, the frisking of these persons was carried out
16 by members of the company or the platoon that is immediately subordinated
17 to you. You are their first or second superior officer, right?
18 A. Specifically, in this particular case, I am the second superior
19 officer to these soldiers. As for the company commander that we referred
20 to, I am his immediate superior.
21 Q. Did you issue an order to have these persons frisked, or was this
22 order issued by somebody else?
23 A. I did not understand your question - would you care to clarify
24 it - about this order.
25 Q. All right. Who issued the order to have these persons who were
1 taken out of the hospital frisked?
2 A. I don't need any kind of order to do that, not to go back to what
3 we have already said, what our assumptions were, who was in the hospital.
4 As for the frisking, that is part of military police work.
5 Specifically, that is one of the powers or duties of the military police.
6 Q. Is this a specific action, a complicated action, or is it an
7 ordinary, routine thing?
8 A. It is not a very complicated thing to do. We cannot say that it's
9 just a routine thing, but we can say that it is normal military police
11 Q. Do you know how long the frisking of these individuals took?
12 Again, I'm telling you, yet again, I am fully aware of the fact that it's
13 been 15 years and that a great many things happened. But can you tell us
14 approximately? It doesn't have to be the exact time.
15 A. Well, roughly, this lasted for about two hours; perhaps a bit more
16 than that. But something like that.
17 Q. A few moments ago you said that you didn't need any kind of order
18 to do that kind of thing, but soldiers cannot just do it on their own. Do
19 we agree on that?
20 A. Yes, we agree on that.
21 Q. All right. Did you issue an order to the soldiers to carry out
22 this military police work?
23 A. Yes, I did.
24 Q. Did you see Mr. Sljivancanin before that, in the morning, in the
25 hospital, on the 20th?
1 A. Yes, I saw him.
2 Q. Did you see Mr. Sljivancanin issuing an order to someone, to
4 A. No, I didn't see that. If he was issuing an order to someone, it
5 could have only been me, but I never received such an order.
6 Q. Can a security organ issue any kind of order to you?
7 A. No, it cannot.
8 Q. On the 20th of November, did you see, as you saw -- that you had
9 seen, the same representative of the International Red Cross that you saw
10 on the 19th, in the morning of the 20th, together with Sljivancanin?
11 Could you please be more specific as to the time when you saw him on
12 the 20th in the hospital?
13 A. I cannot remember the exact time that I saw that person. The only
14 thing, I can try to tie it to some actions or activities. I saw him at
15 the moment, approximately, towards the end of the frisking.
16 Q. Mr. Paunovic, could you recollect, where did you see him in the
17 hospital? In the courtyard, close to the entrance? Can you specify the
18 location within the hospital compound?
19 A. Within the hospital compound is where I saw him, very close to the
21 Q. Did you see him talk with anybody within the compound?
22 Specifically, did you see him talk to Mr. Sljivancanin?
23 A. Yes. When I saw him, he was talking to Major Sljivancanin.
24 Q. How far were you at the time from them?
25 A. I cannot recall, 5 to 10 metres. Relatively close but not that
2 Q. Was it an amicable or inamicable conversation that you -- they
3 were having, in your opinion, as far as you could see on the basis of
4 their gestures, tone, if you heard or did not hear the words themselves?
5 A. Now, when I think back, I believe this was a normal conversation,
6 nothing special. There were some other people, journalists,
7 representatives of I don't know who, around them; they were not the only
8 people. It was a normal conversation, although I don't know the content.
9 Q. When you say there were other representatives there, which
10 representatives do you mean?
11 A. They were representatives of the International Red Cross. Maybe
12 observers. There were journalists. I don't know how to label these
13 organisations. I don't know their titles from this time distance.
14 Q. On the 20th of November, did you see any other JNA officers in the
15 hospital, irrespective of the time that you spent there on the 20th?
16 A. I did see -- well, there were many, maybe not many, but there were
17 officers. I don't know their names. I remember one particularly, since I
18 knew him personally. I still know that person. Nebojsa Pavkovic is his
20 Q. Mr. Paunovic, you mentioned some buses. Where were they parked or
21 stopped? Could you specify, with reference to the hospital entrance, from
22 where persons frisked by your unit were?
23 A. Well, I don't know the name of the street. They were
24 perpendicular to the hospital. And the persons frisked by our troops
25 headed towards the buses, in a straight line.
1 Q. Is it known to you whether members of the military police from the
2 unit subordinated to you provided security service around these buses?
3 A. Yes. On each coach there were two military policemen, pursuant to
4 my order, to secure said coaches.
5 Q. You issued an order to members of the military police from your
6 unit to secure the buses; is that correct?
7 A. Yes, that is correct.
8 Q. What does the specific order that you issued encompass? What was
9 the task of the military policemen escorting those buses?
10 A. The soldiers and the policemen were given an order to secure the
11 persons on those buses, primarily to make sure that such persons would not
12 attack the driver or other members; second -- or one of the tasks was to
13 prevent these persons from being attacked from without.
14 Q. Was there a real threat of an attack, or would it be a presumed
15 threat, pursuant to the rules of service of the military police?
16 A. At that point in time there was no danger of an attack, but as I
17 already explained previously, pursuant to rules, escort activities in
18 place the reception of escorted persons, securing during transport, and
19 handing over of such escorted persons.
20 And in the second element, or the second activity, rules of
21 service envisage, if there is a presumption of an attack against these
22 escorted persons, military policemen have the duty to protect them.
23 Q. Mr. Paunovic, you issued an order to the soldiers of your unit to
24 frisk such people; you ordered them to escort the buses. Did you notice,
25 during issuing such orders, that there were any groups that may present --
1 pose a threat to the persons who were being led onto the buses?
2 A. No, I did not notice any persons who may pose a threat to the
3 execution of this activity.
4 Q. When you issue an order to soldiers to escort buses, carrying
5 escorted persons in whichever form, until which point this task is valid?
6 At which point -- until which point is it in force?
7 A. In certain cases, and in this one, it cannot be specified in terms
8 of duration, but it is in force, that order, until the escorted persons
9 are handed over to the competent organs.
10 Q. Is it known to you whether officers are appointed to be on the
11 vehicles carrying people who are being either escorted or evacuated?
12 A. Yes. Officers are appointed for each bus.
13 Q. Do you know who appoints them?
14 A. The brigade commander in this case, I presume.
15 Q. Do soldiers escorting a bus, while on the bus, do they receive
16 orders from that officer or somebody else? Is it known to you or not?
17 A. When this task of escorting begins, soldiers do receive orders
18 from that officer because they don't have anybody else to receive orders
19 from. I, as battalion commander, company commander, am not in their
21 Q. Of course it is clear to us that there is a distance between you
22 and them. You stayed behind at the hospital, et cetera. I had to clarify
24 You said that you had received information that there were in the
25 hospital disguised members of the paramilitary forces. Did you have any
1 information, what was their disguise?
2 A. Could you explain this question to me.
3 Q. Yes, I will. They were disguised into somebody else. Do you know
4 what their disguise was, the disguise of the members of paramilitary
5 Croatian forces? What were they -- what was their guise? What kind of
6 information you received?
7 A. I received information that they were disguised as patients, as
8 injured people, as medical staff, and such-like.
9 Q. Is it known to you, Mr. Paunovic, that before frisking, performed
10 by members of your unit, there had been a triage of such persons in the
12 A. Yes. Before the frisking that you're referring to, within the
13 hospital, triage was executed.
14 Q. Do you know who did the triage of wounded or who could check
15 whether somebody was really wounded or not? Who can verify that?
16 A. Physicians, doctors performed that task.
17 Q. I did not ask you before: Do you know how many buses were there?
18 A. I'm sure I cannot specify a number. Maybe four, five, even more,
19 but I did not see all of those buses in the vicinity of the hospital.
20 Q. I'll ask you what uniforms people from your unit wore.
21 A. Members of the military police, of the 2nd Battalion of the
22 military police, wore olive-drab uniforms, so a single colour, not
23 variegated. They had no special marks, in terms of the uniform they wore,
24 from other members of the brigade.
25 Q. Did they wear any special insignia or parts of their uniform that
1 would distinguish them from other members of the JNA?
2 A. When it comes to equipment, members of the military police, in
3 performance of military police tasks and duties, wear the following items
4 of equipment, such as: White belt, rubber baton, handcuffs, and
6 Q. May I ask you, Mr. Paunovic, you see the buses; you provide troops
7 to escort the buses and secure the buses. Do you have information at that
8 point where these buses are headed, with the persons being evacuated from
9 the hospital after being frisked by your men?
10 A. I had information that the persons who had been frisked and sent
11 to the buses would be transported to the Vukovar barracks.
12 Q. Do you know why they were headed there? Could you tell us more
13 about what you know about that.
14 A. Well, since, in the vicinity of the barracks, there is a facility,
15 the Velepromet facility, in accordance with my information, persons who
16 had to be taken from that facility had to be merged with the persons from
17 said buses to be transported to Sremska Mitrovica.
18 Q. Do you know why it was Sremska Mitrovica?
19 A. Well, at that time the prisoner -- the prison, as well as the camp
20 for prisoners of war, was in that town.
21 Q. Mr. Paunovic, did your unit provide security for some civilians
22 who were being transported from Mitnica? Did you work on their evacuation
23 to Croatia and further on?
24 A. Members of the 2nd Battalion were providing security in several
25 directions, of civilians, that is. It had to do with the direction
1 leading to Croatia. Who wanted to go to Croatia went to Croatia; then in
2 the direction of Novi Sad and I don't know what other places.
3 Q. Do you know that there were some problems regarding the sending of
4 these convoys to Croatia, that they were returned by Croats and that they
5 had to go about things like that?
6 A. Well, I cannot remember the date. There were such cases. So
7 these convoys were returned. Now, where they went after that, did they go
8 to Sid or back to Croatia, I really cannot say.
9 Q. All right, Mr. Paunovic. Of course, if you don't know something,
10 then I'm not going to ask you about it.
11 Let me ask you about the locality of Ovcara. Do you know where it
12 is and do you know what it is?
13 A. I know where it is, this particular location, that is. Ovcara is
14 a farm, a farm, an agricultural estate, depending on what people call it.
15 Q. Do you know that every brigade, every unit, has its own area of
17 A. Yes, I know that.
18 Q. Do you know about the locality of Ovcara? On the 20th of
19 November, 1991, do you know in whose area of responsibility it was, in the
20 area of responsibility of what brigade, that is?
21 A. At that point in time, it was in the area of responsibility of the
22 80th Motorised Brigade.
23 Q. Do you know who the commander of that brigade was?
24 A. The commander of the brigade was Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic.
25 Q. Do you know whether this brigade had any military police
1 establishment; and if so, what it was?
2 A. Specifically, the 80th Brigade had a company of military police
3 within it.
4 Q. Do you know what the difference is, Mr. Paunovic, between that
5 brigade and the Guards Motorised Brigade, or between the Guards Motorised
6 Brigade and some other brigade, a mountain brigade, an infantry brigade,
7 an alpine brigade, and so on? Do you know what the difference is in terms
8 of this establishment related to military police?
9 A. The difference between the Guards Brigade and some other brigade
10 with regard to the military police is, first and foremost, reflected in
11 establishment and then in the mode of commanding military police units.
12 Q. Can you explain both, in the briefest possible terms.
13 A. The Guards Brigade has two battalions of military police. Some
14 other brigade, like the ones you mentioned, has a company of military
15 police. In the Guards Brigade, battalion commanders are commanded by the
16 brigade commander, and in the military police company, in this other
17 brigade, whatever it may be, the company is commanded by the security
19 Q. Under the authority of the brigade commander.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Now we are clear. Mr. Paunovic, I've asked you this quite a few
22 times but I'm going to ask you yet again so that we will have completed
23 that subject: Did you ever hear at any of the briefings attended by
24 battalion commanders and other officers, motorised battalions, military
25 police battalions, that anyone ever reported that Veselin Sljivancanin, as
1 security organ, ever issued anyone any kind of order?
2 A. No, I never heard of any such thing.
3 Q. What about you? During your stay in Vukovar, in the contacts that
4 you had, did Veselin Sljivancanin ever issue any order to you?
5 A. No, he never issued any order to me.
6 Q. Mr. Paunovic, during your stay in Vukovar, did you have any
7 contact with Veselin Sljivancanin in terms of him touring your command
8 post and your unit?
9 A. Yes, I had contacts when the unit was toured and things like that.
10 Q. Can you explain what the reasons were, why Veselin Sljivancanin
11 came to your command post and to your unit. What was the point of these
12 visits of his, if I can call them that?
13 A. The point of his visit primarily had to do with security problems,
14 if any. He always asked whether there were any problems. He asked about
15 the situation in the battalion from the point of view of security. He
16 would talk to the soldiers and officers that he was seeing. That would be
17 it, in the briefest possible terms.
18 Q. While you and your unit were in Vukovar, in the 2nd Battalion of
19 the military police, did you have any problems that required notification
20 of the command and the commander of the unit; and if so, could you explain
21 what it was.
22 A. At one point in time, specifically, sometime around the 4th of
23 November, I had some problems in the unit regarding morale and security.
24 I can explain that. Since, at that time, the 45-day tour of duty of
25 reserve soldiers was up in our units, they were supposed to go back to
1 Belgrade. The assistant brigade commander for morale informed the other
2 troops, that is to say, regular soldiers, that they would be sent to
3 Belgrade too. Since they were not sent to Belgrade, of course, the
4 soldiers protested. Some individuals left the positions.
5 I informed the brigade commander about this, and, on the following
6 day, he sent the Chief of Security, Major Sljivancanin, to the positions
7 of my battalion. He had a meeting with the officers and soldiers. After
8 that, the soldiers returned to the positions.
9 Q. Mr. Paunovic, you mentioned that your unit was providing security
10 for the civilians on the 19th and the transport of civilians who were
11 going to Croatia, and then we have the situation of the 20th, and so on.
12 Do you know that some unit of yours provided security in the area of
13 Velepromet; and if so, do you know in what period?
14 A. Yes. As for the Velepromet facility, external security was
15 carried out by parts of my unit. As far as I can remember now, I think it
16 was from the 20th onwards, up until the end of our stay in Vukovar, that
17 is to say, up until the 24th of November.
18 Q. When you say "the 20th," what month are you referring to?
19 A. I'm referring to the month of November.
20 Q. Who took over the security of the hospital after the 24th?
21 A. The security of the hospital, on the 24th of November, was taken
22 over from the 2nd Battalion of the military police by the company of
23 military police of the 80th Motorised Battalion.
24 Q. Do you know when the 80th Brigade was brought into the area of
1 A. As far as I can remember, it was around the 18th of November,
2 1991, of course.
3 Q. Mr. Paunovic, I didn't ask you something. Do you know whether
4 Sljivancanin toured any other units? I am only talking about this period
5 up until the 20th, that period up until the 20th of November.
6 A. Well, yes, he did tour other units. He didn't only tour my
8 Q. How come you know that?
9 A. I know that primarily from the briefings, because when I explained
10 the technical aspect of briefings, in the briefest possible terms, I said
11 that members of the brigade command presented their observations from
12 their tours of different units.
13 Q. Were these security-related observations or some other
15 A. Well, primarily security-related observations.
16 Q. Mr. Paunovic, how many times did you give statements related to
17 what happened in Vukovar, and to whom?
18 A. I gave my first statement in January 1999, at the military court
19 in Belgrade. I gave my second statement in April 2005, in the special
20 court in Belgrade. Then, in July 2005, I gave a statement at the office
21 of the investigator from The Hague in Belgrade.
22 Q. On that occasion you -- or, rather, were you then asked about all
23 of these relevant matters pertaining to the events about which you're
24 testifying here today?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Finally, Mr. Paunovic, you spoke in those statements, and today,
2 about your contacts with Veselin Sljivancanin. I'm interested in your
3 personal opinion of Veselin Sljivancanin as an officer.
4 A. I think I am not competent enough to assess him, but since you
5 asked me, I believe, I think, that he was professional, good. Nothing bad
6 to say about him.
7 Q. I should have maybe asked you this at the very beginning: What
8 was the reasons for the Guards Brigade to be sent to Vukovar?
9 A. The reason for the Guards Brigade going to Vukovar was -- as far
10 as I can say, followed from the commander of the brigade's order. One of
11 the tasks was to lift the blockade of the JNA barracks in Vukovar and the
12 liberation of the Vukovar population from paramilitary forces.
13 Q. Whose?
14 A. The paramilitary forces of Croatia.
15 Q. Mr. Paunovic, what was the ethnic composition of the Guards
16 Motorised Brigade and your battalion, as part of that brigade?
17 A. The ethnic composition of the Guards Brigade and of my battalion,
18 the 2nd Battalion of military police, was multi-ethnic. To be more
19 specific, I have information about the brigade, but I'm much more familiar
20 with the situation in my battalion.
21 Q. Mr. Paunovic, with regard to Mr. Sljivancanin, your contacts with
22 him, you said the multi-ethnic composition, you were speaking about terms
23 that you were thrown at by the so-called Chetnik models who labeled you
24 commies. Do you know what was Mr. Sljivancanin's position on these
1 A. I can't really say which term he would use, but I'm sure that he
2 neither liked them nor sympathised with them, because, in our opinion, a
3 synonym for Chetnik is one pertaining to traitors, because we are dealing
4 with the experiences from World War II.
5 Q. Okay, Mr. Paunovic, I'm not going to elaborate on this topic. I
6 was interested in Mr. Sljivancanin's opinion of that.
7 Do you know if Mr. Sljivancanin had any contacts with the TO,
8 pursuant to any line of command?
9 A. I don't know that.
10 Q. Did you see, ever, Mr. Sljivancanin with any representative of
11 the TO?
12 A. No.
13 Q. You mentioned in your testimony the presence of international
14 representatives in the hospital; then some journalists, TV crews,
15 et cetera. One of your statements given to the representatives of the
16 Prosecution - I will not waste time on all of these, but may I remind
17 you - you spoke about the media appearance of Mr. Sljivancanin and you had
18 some criticism of that. Could you explain the situation to us, please.
19 A. Your question pertains to what statements I made. What I thought
20 then I think now.
21 Q. And that is?
22 A. Which is reflected in the following: Sljivancanin was in love
23 with the media, and media, being media, are prone, for reasons of
24 increased circulation and whatnot, to exaggerate certain things, so that
25 in the domestic public and among the international public as well, an
1 impression was created that Sljivancanin was the top man; that there were
2 no other people in charge, that he was the top dog. And on several
3 occasions in the media, you could hear it said that he was the brigade
4 commander, that he was commander of this, that, or the other thing, and
6 Q. And, in reality, how far removed was Mr. Sljivancanin from the top
7 man? A little or a lot?
8 A. He was one of the assistants to the commander. He was in charge
9 of security.
10 Q. So we can deduce that quite a lot of distance was between him and
11 the top man.
12 A. Yes, you can.
13 Q. Mr. Paunovic, I'm going to ask you a couple of things with regard
14 to the indictment. You had contacts with Sljivancanin; you had contacts
15 with Mr. Mrksic, commander of the Guards Brigade; with other officers at
16 the command post, whenever you received your tasks and on other occasions.
17 Did you ever, during your stay in Vukovar, or at such briefings or
18 meetings, or in any other way, attend anything? Or did you hear anything
19 that may indicate an agreement for any action to be directed against the
20 non-Serb population in terms of torture, extermination, murder, expulsion
21 from territory? Did you ever attend such a meeting? Do you know anything
22 about that? Or during your stay there, you could feel that somebody may
23 be harbouring such plans in their mind?
24 A. No, I never could conclude that such a thing would be at work.
25 And from the brigade commander to the last soldier, we treated the
1 population equally.
2 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I've just
3 concluded my examination-in-chief of this witness.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Bulatovic.
5 Mr. Domazet, do you have questions?
6 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] I do have some questions, Your
8 JUDGE PARKER: Are they likely to take more than five minutes?
9 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE PARKER: We will break now, then, and I'll allow you to
11 commence after the break.
12 We will resume, I hope, at a quarter to, but I'm once again having
13 to see the President and I may be a little delayed.
14 --- Recess taken at 5.22 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 5.50 p.m.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Domazet.
17 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Examination by Mr. Domazet:
19 Q. [Interpretation] Good evening, Mr. Paunovic. My name is Vladimir
20 Domazet, one of the Defence counsel of Mr. Mrksic, and on behalf of his
21 Defence team, I'm going to ask you some questions.
22 In response to my colleague Bulatovic's question, you explained
23 where and when and which posts you held during your career. I'm going to
24 ask you a question relating to that. You said that then Colonel Mrksic
25 was your commander. For how long was your commander?
1 A. If you mean my immediate commander, one year, maybe a couple
2 months more than a year.
3 Q. Thank you. Given that is a substantial period, and you're
4 referring to the period where he was your immediate commander, I would
5 like to start with what Mr. Bulatovic asked you with regard to
6 Mr. Sljivancanin towards the end of his examination, and I'm going to ask
7 you towards the beginning.
8 As far as you knew Colonel Mrksic as a commander, what can you say
9 about Mr. Mrksic, both as a commander and as a person?
10 A. As in the case of the question of Mr. Bulatovic with regard to
11 Mr. Sljivancanin, I must express a reservation as to my competence to
12 assess my superior officer. My opinion, however, is that Colonel Mrksic
13 was a professional, very correct, was an expert and -- in one word: A
14 good officer.
15 Q. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Paunovic. My colleague Bulatovic also
16 asked you this: When and how many times you testified before your
17 testimony here in this court, and you cited three such instances. First,
18 in 1999, before the military court in Belgrade; is that right? That was
19 your first testimony. And then two times subsequent to that.
20 Do you recall your statements given then? Have you refreshed your
21 memory by perusing those statements soon before coming to this court?
22 A. It can be said that I have refreshed my memory. Of course, I
23 still cannot recall now what I said in each of these statements. By this,
24 I mean the hours and time in certain statements, what was contentious was
25 the date. But during proofing with a lawyer, he pointed out some of the
1 quotes from my previous statements, and that would be it.
2 Q. Mr. Paunovic, if we were to neglect some of your doubts as to
3 dates, but can you say or can it be said, since you testified before the
4 court and you had to take a solemn declaration then, can it be said that
5 you told the truth as to the facts? Of course, dates may be incorrect.
6 A. Not only can it be said, but I did tell the truth.
7 Q. Thank you. I'm going to ask the usher to hand a statement of -- a
8 copy of your statement to the Prosecution and the military court in
9 Belgrade to consult in the event I ask you something about those
10 statements, but do not consult them before I do so.
11 Mr. Paunovic, I'm going to ask you something that was the subject
12 of your interview with representatives of the OTP, but I'm going to ask
13 you directly, to see whether you remember that. Do you remember that a
14 document had been put to you, an order of the 1st Military District, dated
15 the 18th of November, signed by General Zivota Panic; and that this
16 document was shown to you and that you expressed your views with regard to
17 that document? If necessary, we're going to put the order on the screen
18 so that you can see it. Perhaps that will jog your memory.
19 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] This is Exhibit 415. Could it
20 please be shown on the screen. Can the witness see the B/C/S version.
21 Q. You can have a look, can't you?
22 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] And then can we have it lifted a bit
23 so that we see the further text of this order.
24 Q. I would like to draw your attention to paragraphs 5, 8, and 3, in
25 particular, please.
1 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] If you've had a look, could we see
2 paragraph 8 now as well.
3 Q. You've read it, right? Thank you. Do you perhaps remember that
4 in relation to this order or, generally speaking, you were giving answers
5 to the Prosecutor, and do you remember what you said in relation to this
6 in your answer or do you need to have your memory jogged through the
7 statement itself? But if you remember, can you tell us?
8 A. Yes, Mr. Domazet, I am aware of this order. I first saw it, as
9 you said yourself, before the investigators of The Hague Tribunal in
10 Belgrade. So I cannot quote myself in the statement, which I believe is
11 only natural. And in the statement, roughly, I said the following: That
12 I was not aware of this particular order but that the commander did make
13 us aware of the following: I think that I stated there that similar
14 orders in relation to the Geneva Convention were, on several occasions,
15 addressed by the brigade command, and he gave us orders in order to act
16 properly towards prisoners.
17 Q. Thank you. You talked about that, the implementation of the
18 Geneva Convention, and that your commander told you about that. And you
19 also stated your views about what is here, that is to say, revenge,
20 retaliation by local persons. Can you remember what you said about that,
21 if you don't look at the document? Do you know about such cases of
23 A. I personally was not aware of any cases of retaliation. Since
24 you're talking about this order now, in the beginning of the order, you
25 can see that it was not sent only to the command of the Guards Brigade but
1 to all subordinate levels. So one cannot deduce on the basis of this that
2 it was happening in our area of responsibility.
3 Q. I agree with you. It is certainly possible that it pertained to
4 other zones too. That's why I asked you whether you were aware of any
5 such cases of local revenge in your zone.
6 A. No. I repeat once again: I did not hear of any such thing and I
7 did not see any such thing.
8 Q. Could you please look at your statement now, paragraph 51. In the
9 English version, it is also 51.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note that they have not received
11 any documents.
12 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
13 Q. I'm going to read it out and you're going to tell me whether I
14 read it out properly and whether that is your statement and whether you
15 have any comments with regard to that as to whether it's correct or not.
16 It says that a document was shown to you here. I'm not going to read out
17 all of it. 1614-81/81, issued by the 1st Military District, on the 18th
18 of November, 1991.
19 81/82, there's a mistake in the transcript. Sorry, it is actually
21 That is what it says in your statement: "As for
22 paragraph 5, (prevention of disobedience, appearances that are not fitting
23 for the military), and paragraph 8, (that units of the TO committed acts
24 of revenge and retaliation), I recall that similar orders were regularly
25 issued by Operations Group South. I'm not aware of any such cases of
1 revenge on the part of members or units of the local Serb TO. As I
2 mentioned previously, in the zone of responsibility of the 2nd Assault
3 Platoon, there weren't any TO units. I did not see any act of revenge and
4 I have not been informed that any such things took place."
5 Have I read your statement correctly? Is that your statement?
6 Have you got anything to say perhaps by way of comment?
7 A. I could make a comment. I signed the statement in English.
8 There's probably a mistake in the translation. It is not assault platoon,
9 it is assault detachment. It's towards the end of the paragraph.
10 Q. Yes. I read it the way it's written here, but you are correcting
11 it now, that it could only be the 2nd Assault Detachment. You have no
12 other objections, if I understand you correctly.
13 Do you remember during that interview whether you talked about the
14 implementation of the Geneva Convention on any other occasion? And did
15 you make any comments about whether you and your soldiers were
16 sufficiently aware of the Geneva Conventions?
17 A. Now, whether I testified along similar lines, well, possibly
18 before the special court; I cannot be sure of that. But all JNA officers,
19 including myself, were aware of the provisions of the Geneva Convention
20 from 1949. I am primarily referring to how armed forces act in the
21 situations that we were talking about, that is to say, vis-a-vis the
22 population, prisoners, and so on.
23 Q. Thank you. So with regard to this subject, I have no further
25 The next topic that I would like to deal with is what you
1 testified about earlier on, and some of it you referred to today as well,
2 and that is with regard to your briefings at the command in Negoslavci.
3 Do you remember that you spoke about that in your previous statements, not
4 only today?
5 A. I think so.
6 Q. Yesterday I think that you spoke more about a specific day, a
7 particular briefing on the 19th, whereas my question refers to briefings
8 in general. How often did you personally attend these briefings? I'm
9 actually only referring to the briefings that took place in the evening,
10 between 1700 and 1800 hours, at the command in Negoslavci, in view of the
11 obligations that you had in the assault detachment and the other
12 obligations you had?
13 A. I always attended briefings.
14 Q. Can I understand your answer to mean that you were there
15 practically every evening or quite literally every day?
16 A. The briefings usually took place - I mean the regular briefings -
17 usually took place around 1800 hours, as I've already said. Perhaps -
18 well, I don't remember now - there were a few times when they were held in
19 the morning, but that primarily had to do with being handed out certain
21 Q. Thank you. Well, that's why I asked you about these regular
22 briefings, as we've been calling them here, that took place in the
23 afternoon, or rather, it is already the evening, isn't it? You said that
24 you attended practically every one of them.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. What about the other officers? Did they come to these briefings
2 regularly, too, or were there some exceptions? What did you see,
4 A. As for the other officers, the subordinate commanders, as far as I
5 can remember, were present at all briefings. As for members of the
6 command, I could not remember now whether they attended all the briefings,
7 because sometimes certain members of the brigade command, at the time of
8 the briefings, had some tasks. And I cannot remember any of them
9 specifically right now.
10 Q. Oh, yes, well, you made a distinction there between the
11 subordinate commanders and the members of the command. Could you explain
12 to the Trial Chamber, to the rest of us, who these other members of the
13 command were and who sometimes were not present all the time because of
14 other tasks they may have had.
15 A. Well, I'm just going to mention the inner circle of the command,
16 so to speak. I'm referring to the Chief of Staff of the brigade, the
17 chief of the security organ, perhaps somebody from the operations and
18 training department or organ. Those are the ones I meant.
19 Q. Thank you. So, to be quite certain, those are the ones you meant
20 when you said that they were absent sometimes, as opposed to yourself and
21 the other subordinates who were there practically every time. Did I
22 understand your answer correctly?
23 A. Yes, you understood it correctly.
24 Q. Do you remember whether there were any representatives of the
25 local Territorial Defence at these briefings?
1 A. These local TOs, as you've called them, were not present at
3 Q. I'm asking you that because you gave a similar answer, or rather,
4 an identical answer, when you were interviewed by the investigators of the
5 OTP. So now I would like to ask straight away about that, too, and you
6 spoke about that as well in one of your statements; whether at that time
7 you knew Dusan Jaksic.
8 A. No, I did not know him.
9 Q. And did you know Stanko Vujanovic?
10 A. I cannot give a specific answer to your question; namely, that I
11 knew him. I know who this person is because, on one occasion, in Vukovar,
12 I encountered him. But I do not know, and I did not know then, what his
13 position was.
14 Q. When I'm asking you this, I'm actually referring to that period,
15 of course, October/November, up until those days, up until the end, not
17 One more thing. At that time, did you know Miroljub Vujevic?
18 A. No, I didn't know him either.
19 Q. We may go back to the issue of the briefings that you discussed
20 today, but I would like to take this order. First, what transpired that
21 afternoon that you referred to, and that is your role in securing the
22 hospital. You said that you had a task to hold positions between the
23 water-tower and Mitnica, when you received orders relayed by the Chief of
24 Staff to go in the direction of the hospital; is that right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. First, the action that you were engaged in, did this mean that
2 this action was finished or was just a part of your subordinate sent
3 towards the hospital and the others stayed behind? Could you please
4 explain this situation further for us?
5 A. The task that I explained included -- involved the engagement of
6 two companies. That task was not achieved and fulfilled in its entirety.
7 One company, the 1st Company, continued on that task, and having received
8 the order to secure the hospital, as I said, I ordered the commander of
9 the 4th Company to set out towards the hospital to fulfil this task.
10 Q. Do you remember, in the preceding action between the water-tower
11 and Mitnica, you explained the goal, to detect remaining elements or
12 members of paramilitary forces or detect unexploded mines. Did you
13 encounter anybody? Did you capture any members of the paramilitary
14 Croatian units, you or your troops?
15 A. No. There were no captured members of the Croatian paramilitary
17 Q. When you reached the hospital, you explained your orders, what was
18 done; the search, the securing of the hospital. I'm not going to dwell on
19 that, but I'm going to ask you about something that you said in response
20 to a question by my learned colleague, which refers to the taking away of
21 Marin Vidic, Bili. First of all, who ordered you to take Marin Vidic,
22 Bili, to Negoslavci?
23 A. I cannot really specify whether somebody phoned me -- not phoned
24 me, but through radio contact. But I was told what I was supposed to do.
25 Q. Before you transported that person, had you ever seen that person;
1 and if so, where?
2 A. That person was in the hospital, which means that I saw him
3 immediately before taking him away.
4 Q. When was that, on the first evening or the first day that you
5 reached the hospital, or some other time?
6 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Objection, Your Honour.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The same day.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Bulatovic.
9 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise for having to rise to
10 my feet.
11 In response to my question, the witness said that it was on
12 the 19th that he took Vidic Bili to Negoslavci immediately before going to
13 the briefing to the command. I believe that such hypothetical questions
14 should not be allowed.
15 JUDGE PARKER: I don't think I would interfere with Mr. Domazet's
16 question, Mr. Bulatovic.
17 Carry on, Mr. Domazet.
18 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
19 Q. You heard my question concerning said Vidic. You said that you
20 saw him immediately before. My question would be: When did you take him
21 to Negoslavci?
22 A. On the 19th. I can't recall the hour. I cannot really recall,
23 but I can give you a range, a period: Between 2100 hours and 2200 hours.
24 This takes place after the briefing had ended.
25 Q. As far as I can understand your words, you came back from the
1 briefing and then you received an order - you do not recall from whom,
2 through the radio - to take this person to Negoslavci. Was this the only
3 instance that you saw him or took them there -- you saw him either at
4 Negoslavci, at Vukovar, or in the hospital?
5 A. This is the only time that I took him there. As I said, I handed
6 him over at the place I specified, and after that I never saw him in my
8 Q. If I understand you correctly, you do not know whether he was
9 returned the following night, subsequent days. Did I understand your
11 A. I'm afraid you haven't grasped my answer fully. I said that I
12 never saw him, but I'm sure that he did not return to the hospital.
13 Q. This is exactly why I'm asking you this question. There were
14 statements to the effect that that person returned to hospital, but if you
15 don't know anything about that, I'm not going to press this matter
17 A. These may be statements provided by other people. My statement is
18 that, with responsibility, I state that he did not return to the hospital.
19 Q. Would it surprise you that that person gave such a statement and
20 that he was taken to Negoslavci around 7.30, 8.00 p.m.?
21 A. That person may say whatever that person pleases. As to the time,
22 whether his 7.30 is correct to the same extent that my claim of after
23 8.00 p.m. is also correct. But I have to reiterate that I'm not stating
24 decidedly that this took place at 2000 hours.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic.
15 Q. Please take a look, Mr. Paunovic, to the -- at the statement
16 before you given to the military court in Belgrade around these facts. I
17 believe it's towards the middle of the page, paragraph 2, maybe 17th row,
18 in the second paragraph. I'm going to read it out to you and you will
19 tell me whether it really states so.
20 A. Excuse me, which page?
21 Q. Page 3, 17th row. It starts with: "I remember that day ..."
22 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters do not have the document;
23 interpreter's note.
24 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
25 Q. I'm going to read this sentence: "I recall this day that I,
1 sometime around 900 hours, pursuant to an order of the brigade security
2 organ, took Marin Vidic to the command post of the brigade. And Marin
3 Vidic is a Croatian government's commissioner who was located at the
4 hospital. I drove him and left him at the command post, and then I
5 returned to the hospital. And in the meantime, Vesna Bosanac was taken
7 You have managed to locate that part of your statement?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. First, my question referring to the time indication, 9.00 in the
10 morning; is that correct? And is your testimony as to the orders and the
11 facts surrounding Vesna Bosanac, which was for the first time mentioned
12 here, are these correct?
13 A. As to the indicated time, it does say in this statement 9.00. It
14 doesn't state whether it's in the a.m. or the p.m. But with full
15 responsibility, I say, and I remember this very well, that it was dark.
16 It was night-time when I took Marin Vidic.
17 Secondly, I see that I gave this statement as to somebody from the
18 security organ relaying to me the order, but now, nor then, I do not
19 recall specifically who relayed that order to me.
20 Q. It doesn't say "relayed," it says "order." So would you agree
21 with me that it follows from this that somebody ordered you, not relayed
22 an order to you? Do you have any other explanation?
23 A. I just recently explained that the order was relayed to me through
24 radio communication, but I cannot recall who exactly that person was.
25 Q. Thank you. Do you recall anything about Vesna Bosanac? Has this
1 jogged your memory with regard to her being taken there?
2 A. Yes. I know, partially, something about that. She was taken
3 there but after Marin Vidic. She was taken to Negoslavci, but I cannot
4 recall who drove her there, who took her there.
5 Q. Thank you. At any rate, you did not. But you recall that she was
6 taken there after Vidic, Bili, was taken there; did I understand you
8 A. Yes, you did.
9 Q. As you stated today, responding to my colleague Bulatovic's
10 questions, it follows that on the 19th, you attended the regular briefing,
11 and that, in your opinion, it lasted around two hours. Have I understood
12 today's testimony correctly?
13 A. Yes, you've understood me correctly. But I reiterate: With such
14 time distance, whether we spent one, one and a half, two hours, me and the
15 other commanders, at the command most, I really cannot remember. Maybe
16 even longer.
17 Q. Thank you. But you state today that you attended that briefing
18 that evening.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Please take a look at the same testimony, slightly above the
21 portion of the text that we examined just now. Second paragraph, maybe
22 12th row, it states, and I quote, and you are going to verify whether I
23 quoted you correctly or not.
24 "On that first night, only this company did security service, and I
25 stayed at the hospital until approximately 0100 hours, after midnight,
1 when I returned to my command post, which was located in the area of the
2 Vuteks football ground, in the Radnicka Street."
3 So if I read this correctly, there's no mention of your going to
4 Negoslavci or that you were absent for one or two hours. Do you agree
5 with this: You can read the whole of your statement and tell us whether
6 it indicates that you were at Negoslavci, at the briefing, that evening.
7 A. It would take me more time to read my entire statement, but
8 probably the president of the military court, Colonel Gojevic, never asked
9 me anything about that. I answered questions put to me.
10 Q. I agree that it's possible that he did not ask you about that
11 specifically; it's possible that he did not know about that. But do you
12 agree with me that on the basis of this statement of yours it seems that
13 all the way up to 0100 hours, you were at the hospital, near the hospital,
14 and that it is only then that you went to your command post. You did not
15 mention any departures to Negoslavci.
16 A. I'm afraid that you didn't really quite understand this.
17 Q. This statement is not long, by the way. If you wish, you can have
18 a look at it and you can see whether you mention that particular departure
19 at any point. But if not, let's not waste any time over that. Do you
20 remember whether this was referred to when you spoke to the investigators
21 of The Hague Tribunal, whether you talked about that? I'm talking about
22 the meeting, the briefing, that you left the position near the hospital
23 and that you came back.
24 A. First of all, Mr. Domazet, I did not leave my position. This is a
25 question of terminology. Secondly, I said a few moments ago, from this
1 distance now, I cannot recall everything I said in each and every
3 Q. It's not referred to anywhere that you attended the briefing. If
4 you wish, you can have a look at this later and then perhaps something can
5 be said about this. That's why I'm asking you once again: Are you sure
6 that you attended the briefing that night too?
7 A. I'm sure that on the 19th of November I attended the briefing.
8 Q. You said that you were there and that future tasks were discussed,
9 but I did not quite understand what you said, whether the evacuation of
10 the hospital or this triage was part of your tasks, the triage of persons
11 who were brought in there. I mean, was that referred to at all?
12 A. What was referred to that evening was the evacuation of the
13 hospital. As for a detailed elaboration of this operation, there wasn't
14 any while I was at the command post.
15 Q. Yes, that's my question precisely, whether it is possible that
16 this was talked about after the meeting that you attended, as you keep
17 saying, and whether that was perhaps at some other meeting with higher
18 officers, because you said that this meeting was attended by members of
19 the command and all subordinate officers.
20 A. I allow for the possibility that perhaps the brigade commander
21 elaborated some order, but I personally do not know about any details.
22 Q. Thank you. On the following day, because you possibly do not know
23 what happened on that day afterwards, did anyone tell you about any
24 specific assignments or tasks; and if so, did anyone tell you about that?
25 A. I did not see any such order, and no one conveyed that kind of
1 order to me. I'm not aware of any such order.
2 Q. Well, my question now is: How did you act on the following day,
3 when the evacuation of the hospital started, if you personally did not
4 receive any order from anyone, or any task?
5 A. Perhaps I have already responded to these questions, in part,
6 during the first part of my testimony. During the evacuation, I saw
7 officers from outside the brigade. Specifically, I saw Colonel Pavkovic.
8 Maybe at that point I thought that he was in charge of that activity, but
9 to this day I'm not sure. But I knew what my tasks were, even without
10 these orders, and, as I've already said, that is to frisk these persons
11 who were getting out of the hospital and to secure the buses.
12 Q. You mentioned Colonel Pavkovic. He did not belong to your
13 brigade, right?
14 A. No, he did not belong to our brigade.
15 Q. Do you know in what capacity he was in Vukovar then?
16 A. Well, in what capacity he was there, I cannot respond to that.
17 But I knew him from before that, that he worked in the cabinet of the
18 Federal Secretary for National Defence; that was his workplace.
19 Otherwise, I often saw him in Negoslavci, primarily at briefings. That is
20 to say, that I could not really say anything about his role.
21 Q. At this meeting, at this briefing, that you talked about, was any
22 reference made to the 1st Military District and any order issued by the
23 1st Military District about the evacuation of the hospital?
24 A. I cannot remember that.
25 Q. And do you remember whether the hospital in Vukovar was in the
1 area of responsibility of your brigade and generally of Operations Group
3 A. It was not in our area of responsibility, if we're talking about
4 these dates that we have been referring to until now.
5 Q. Who could have possibly changed that decision about the area of
6 responsibility of the hospital, that is in your view?
7 A. I'm afraid I don't understand what you were saying. Could you
8 please clarify your question.
9 Q. If, as you say, the hospital was not in the area of responsibility
10 of your brigade or of Operations Group South up until those days, and if a
11 change took place, who could have made this change of decision for the
12 hospital to become part of the area of responsibility of Operations Group
14 A. To the best of my knowledge, unless I'm mistaken, up until these
15 dates that we have been referring to, the hospital belonged to the area of
16 responsibility of Operations Group North. Again, I'm saying, unless I'm
17 mistaken, the boundary between Operations Group South and Operations Group
18 North was the Vuka River. Then, the logical conclusion would be that an
19 order about a change of area of responsibility can, in this case, be
20 issued by the commander of the 1st Military District.
21 Q. Is this conclusion of yours based on the fact that this was the
22 superior command of both Operations Group South and Tactical Group North?
23 A. Precisely.
24 Q. But if I understand you correctly, you don't know anything more
25 about this, whether the command of the 1st Military District issued any
1 kind of orders related to the evacuation of the hospital.
2 A. I have no such knowledge. I am not saying that they did not issue
3 any orders, but I don't know about that.
4 Q. Thank you. Now, as for the explanations you gave regarding your
5 work on the 20th of November, in the morning, in front of the hospital,
6 you were talking about the way in which your soldiers searched or frisked
7 persons there.
8 My question is: Did this pertain to all the persons who were
9 leaving the hospital; namely, women, children, men? Or were there
10 different groups there that were getting out of the hospital and that were
11 not submitted to these checks and searches that you have been talking
13 A. All persons, if I understand you correctly, all persons who were
14 leaving the hospital were searched. Now, it depends on when and in what
15 time-period this was.
16 Q. I am interested in whether this pertained to women, men, children,
17 irrespective of gender or age, whether all persons were searched.
18 A. All persons were searched.
19 Q. Where did women go, if they went separately, and where did men go?
20 A. I don't know about that. And that was not my task to know that.
21 Q. All right. I'm going to rephrase this question. Were special
22 groups set up after persons left the hospital, that is to say, special
23 groups of civilians and special groups of those who were considered
24 suspects after the triage; namely, that they were suspected of having
25 taken part in something which then required further checks?
1 A. As you said yourself, there is this one group of suspects, so to
2 speak. As for others, other groups, it was mixed, irrespective of gender
3 and age, where they were going to. During the introductory part, I talked
4 about that, I talked about where they went, but I could not know about
5 that for sure.
6 Q. I don't want to go back to your statements and remind you of all
7 of this, but I don't think this really matters that much. I think you
8 talked about a group that was returned from the Croatian border, that you
9 had received information to that effect. You are saying that there were
10 both men and women there, if I understood you correctly. Are those the
11 ones who were searched by you but who were in some other group, as opposed
12 to these who were taken to the buses that have been referred to?
13 A. In one of my statements I spoke about that group. I did not mean
14 that it only had to do with the people from the hospital, because there
15 were people from other parts of town there as well. Some expressed a wish
16 to go to Croatia; others, to Serbia. As far as I can remember, this has
17 to do with the border - I don't know which part exactly - between Serbia
18 and Croatia. Croatia did not want to receive these civilians who wanted
19 to go to Croatia. Now, who was that problem resolved later? I don't know
20 about that.
21 Q. Thank you. Those who were going to the buses are going to be our
22 next topic, but I'm afraid we're not going to be able to finish tonight.
23 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe that I will
24 deal with this subject tomorrow morning, then, and finish it tomorrow
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Domazet.
2 We will resume tomorrow morning at 9.00.
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,
4 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 7th day of
5 November, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.