1 Thursday, 9 November 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.
6 Mr. Lukic.
7 [The witness entered court]
8 WITNESS: MIODRAG PANIC [Resumed]
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. Please sit down.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 JUDGE PARKER: The affirmation you gave at the beginning of your
13 evidence still applies, Mr. Panic.
14 Yes, Mr. Lukic.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I have an intervention regarding the
16 transcript. I have a minor correction concerning the translation, but I
17 will verify this during the break. And I will bring it up in the next
19 Examination by Mr. Lukic: [Continued]
20 Q. Mr. Panic, good morning. Good morning, Your Honours, good morning
21 to everyone in the courtroom. We will continue where we left off
22 yesterday, but let me ask you something I may have failed to ask you
23 yesterday. You said that before going to the cabinet session, you saw a
24 bus in the barracks, and you described the situation that was taking place
25 in front of the bus.
1 Yesterday, you said that there was no mention of any buses
2 going -- of anyone going either to Ovcara or to barracks when the triage
3 was discussed. So were you surprised, what was your reaction when you say
4 that bus? What did you conclude?
5 A. There was no mention of buses with the people from the hospital
6 coming to the barracks, because the barracks was being prepared for quite
7 a different activity that was to take place on the following day. This is
8 why I was surprised when I saw a bus there. It drew my attention so I
9 approached it. I saw the people on the bus and I saw other people trying
10 to approach the bus, but they were prevented from approaching by the
11 military police unit which was in the barracks.
12 Q. Did you inform anyone about the fact that you saw this bus before
13 going to the cabinet session and, if so, whom?
14 A. Following that when Commander Mrksic called me and told me to go
15 to the cabinet session, I mentioned to him that there was already a
16 bus -- one bus in the barracks, and that there were people trying to
17 approach the bus in order to recognise someone who may have harmed their
18 family members. So the conclusion is yes, I informed Colonel Mrksic.
19 Q. Yesterday, we adjourned at -- when we discussed the cabinet
20 session. But we are now about to see a video excerpt but let me first ask
21 you this: While you were at the cabinet session, did you see Veselin
22 Sljivancanin coming there or his deputy Ljubisa Vukasinovic?
23 A. No. I didn't see either one of them, either before or after the
25 Q. And that means during the session also?
1 A. Yes, correct.
2 Q. Did you hear from anyone that he may have dropped in?
3 A. No. Nobody mentioned him at this session. And while I stayed
4 there briefly, nobody mentioned him at all.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] All right. We are now going to see a
6 video excerpt. Your Honours, I believe it's video 269. Mr. Panic, if you
7 recognise someone, please tell us and we'll try to identify it by
8 reference to the time indication on the video excerpt.
9 [Videotape played]
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Do you see it on your screen?
12 A. No.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could somebody please ensure that
14 Mr. Panic has it on his screen.
15 Q. Do you see it now?
16 A. No. I see it now.
17 [Videotape played]
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Do you see it now? Do you recognise anyone?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. This is 07:03 time reference, who did you recognise?
22 A. I recognised Goran Hadzic and Arkan.
23 Q. This is 07:07. Can you recognise anyone now on this frame?
24 A. I can't see it any longer. This is Arkan. Zeljko Raznjatovic,
1 Q. We anyway proceed.
2 A. Goran Hadzic and then Dusan Jaksic, commander of the Territorial
3 Defence of Vukovar.
4 Q. This is 07:17. Is this still him?
5 A. Yes, still Dusan Jaksic. He is now kissing someone.
6 Q. Can you recognise anyone here?
7 A. I see the colonel here; the one who attended the session.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please rewind just a little
9 bit. Stop now please.
10 A. A person wearing a cap, Tito-style cap is the colonel who attended
11 the cabinet session. At the time, I didn't know his name. I didn't know
12 him at all. And it wasn't until many years later, once the Ovcara trial
13 started, that I had occasion to meet him at the special court in Belgrade.
14 This is Bogdan Vujic.
15 Q. We are now at 07:34. Since there are several faces here, could
16 you be more specific. Which one is him on this freeze-frame?
17 A. I don't have it in front of me -- well, I have it now. Yes, I can
18 tell you.
19 Q. Would you please describe ...
20 A. It's the man on the left of the screen; he is facing us. He has a
21 Tito-style cap on his head. We can see most of his face; definitely his
22 nose and his right eye and the rest is -- the rest of it is obstructed by
23 this other person standing in front of him.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We may proceed.
25 That's it. We don't need to play it any longer.
1 Q. Mr. Panic, what happened afterwards, after the meeting, after the
2 cabinet session that you attended?
3 A. After attending the cabinet session, I returned to the barracks;
4 and then I saw two or three additional two or three buses at the barracks.
5 I think that people from the hospital were on the buses, at least that's
6 what I was told, and there were guards securing the buses. The situation
7 was a bit more calm. There were fewer curious people than in the case of
8 the first bus that I mentioned.
9 Q. Did you happen to see any trucks or any ambulance vehicles next to
10 the buses?
11 A. No. I didn't see any other vehicles; I only saw the policemen
12 standing there and securing the buses.
13 Q. What happened then?
14 A. I entered the barracks, the building where there is a telephone,
15 the same telephone via which I received my order. And I informed Colonel
16 Mrksic that I had attended the cabinet session, that the session was over,
17 that there was a heated debate, that the JNA was insulted there, and I
18 don't need to go into details unless you ask me to. I simply described
19 the situation at the session.
20 I described it briefly, and I said that they had decided that they
21 were going to put these criminals, as they called them, on trial.
22 Criminals from the hospital that they said that they wouldn't allow for
23 them to be transported to Mitrovica. And if they failed to prevent us in
24 transporting them, they were ready to lay down on the road and we would
25 have to drive over their bodies. That was the last option.
1 Q. Let us just be more specific. You said "they said" who did you
2 have in mind?
3 A. That was the conclusion reached at the cabinet session. This is
4 something uttered by Goran Hadzic. And they said that there would be a
5 prison at Ovcara.
6 Q. Very well.
7 A. Colonel Mrksic just made brief comments saying: "Very well, let
8 it be as they decided."
9 Q. How much longer did you stay at the barracks?
10 A. I stayed for another couple of hours.
11 Q. Did you see the moment when the buses left the barracks? Were you
12 present on the premises or within the compound?
13 A. No. I wasn't present. But later, when I left, as I had to go to
14 Negoslavci, there were no longer any buses there.
15 Q. Mr. Panic, during that period of time, that is to say in the
16 morning from the moment when you came to the barracks for the first time
17 until you left the barracks, did you see Mr. Sljivancanin in the barracks
18 at any point in time?
19 A. No. I never saw him in the barracks.
20 Q. Did you hear from anyone that he may have dropped in, that he may
21 have come to the barracks during that period of time?
22 A. No. I didn't hear that and I didn't see him myself.
23 Q. This is not a speculative question, rather, it is more of a
24 theoretical nature. If chief of security had known that you, as Chief of
25 Staff, were in the barracks, would he have expected you to come in and
1 talk to him?
2 A. Not only him, but other officers.
3 MR. WEINER: I object to that. Objection.
4 JUDGE PARKER: The objection is upheld, Mr. Weiner.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I put the question, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE PARKER: It is not being allowed. We will not take notice
7 of the answer. How can this witness say what others would have thought or
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] It was a theoretical question. I
10 wanted to inquire about the procedure. Perhaps I didn't phrase it well,
11 but I think that the witness is competent to explain what a typical
12 procedure is. And by your leave, I would put such a question to him
13 because he is a senior officer. It's not a factual question; I'm just
14 interested in establishing what the regular procedure was.
15 JUDGE PARKER: The question as to the normal procedure will be
16 allowed, Mr. Lukic, but your question was quite different.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Mr. Panic, within the system of singleness of command, within the
19 system that existed in the JNA, on any premises, if the Chief of Staff of
20 a unit is present, as is his subordinate officer, do they have a duty of
21 reporting to each other?
22 A. Yes, this is a regular procedure. This is something mandated by
23 regulations both in peacetime, and especially during wartime when there is
24 both a desire and a need to meet and exchange information.
25 Q. Thank you. What happened then, Mr. Panic?
1 A. After my stay at the barracks and after I worked on the tasks that
2 I had received in relation to preparing the press conference for the
3 following day, I went out into the compound of the barracks, where my
4 driver was waiting with the vehicle, and I set out to Negoslavci to the
5 command post of Operations Group South.
6 Since I still had some time left, in terms of daytime, that is, it
7 was sometime in the afternoon, I decided to stop by at Ovcara. Ovcara is
8 on the road between the barracks and our command post. I felt it
9 necessary to see whether these people from the hospital were actually put
10 up at Ovcara, to see whether the are authorities that made a decision at
11 the session and concluded that they would be running a trial, to see
12 whether they actually arrived on the spot and, quite simply, what was
13 going on at Ovcara, so that when arriving at the command post, I would
14 give more complete information about that to the commander.
15 I reached Ovcara and I got to the hangar where members of military
16 formations had been staying before, those who had already been transported
17 to Mitrovica. On the road, I saw a few armed men, small groups of men.
18 There were a few without weapons, too. There were people who were simply
19 going up and down that road between Ovcara and Grabovo.
20 Some even stayed by the hangar and tried to approach the entrance
21 into the hangar. By the hangar, there was security; these were armed
22 soldiers of the Yugoslav People's Army. To be specific, or more specific,
23 those were members of the 80th Motorised Brigade from their military
24 police company, military policemen, that is.
25 That is where I came across Lieutenant Colonel Vojnovic, commander
1 of the 80th Brigade. We exchanged a few words and he told me that there
2 had been attempts made for those who were in front of the hangar and on
3 the road or, rather, by them to enter the hangar and recognise someone.
4 Quite simply, he said to me that he had the impression that some people
5 were trying to take revenge, wanted to take revenge, but that he did not
6 allow that and that his security did not allow that; the security that was
7 in front of the hangar.
8 I got to the entrance into the hangar, and I looked through the
9 door. Since it's a big door, it's a farm, it was half closed. Perhaps
10 there was just a metre or two. The door was ajar, and I saw the people
11 who were standing in the hangar. It was a big group of people. They were
12 throughout the hangar, but there were more of them in the other part and
13 less of them near the door.
14 There wasn't enough daylight there, because there is some small
15 windows and openings there. In all fairness, I wasn't really interested
16 in faces, but you could discern peoples's faces.
17 I talked to Vojnovic a bit more there, and we concluded that the
18 security needed to be stepped up so that there wouldn't be any undesired
19 consequences. Bearing in mind the attempts made by these people from the
20 road to approach the hangar, I did not stay there for a long time, perhaps
21 ten to 15 minutes.
22 Q. I would like to ask you about a few details in relation to this
23 part of your evidence. At that time, did you know who provided security
24 during the night of the 18th for the Mitnica group at the hangar?
25 A. I knew the procedure that was applied during the surrender of this
1 Mitnica group. I've already commented upon that. It was done according
2 to rules and in military fashion. The security was also provided by the
3 police of the 80th Brigade, police security.
4 I'm sorry. It's logical. It's their area of responsibility; it's
5 a facility that is in their immediate vicinity.
6 Q. When talking to Vojnovic, when you concluded that perhaps security
7 should be stepped up, did Vojinovic perhaps ask you to send some of your
8 people from the Guards Brigade to help out, some security people?
9 A. He did not ask for any assistance because he had sufficient
10 manpower. The 80th Brigade, not to go into its establishment and
11 organisation, is a brigade that has a company of military police and many
12 other units. In Ovcara itself, and in Grabovo, Jakupovac, and in other
13 surrounding villages, they had battalion-level units that were strong
14 enough to be used by him. Since combat activity was over, it was not
15 logical for him to ask us for reinforcements. He did not ask for any.
16 Q. At that time, when you were at Ovcara, at that moment, did you see
17 any people from the military police of the Guards Brigade there at Ovcara?
18 A. There was not a single member there, except that I saw the buses
19 that were turning around, passing by the hangar as they returned to where
20 they had left from. I concluded that those were the buses that had
21 brought those people in. Only in these buses, and that's what I saw in
22 the barracks, too, there were military policemen. I can even remember
23 that there were only two policemen in one bus; that is to say, in every
24 bus, there were two policemen respectively.
25 Q. Let me be very specific. These military policemen were on the
1 buses that were leaving the area?
2 A. The buses were leaving, and these policemen did not stay on the
3 buses did not stay on. They turned around and they were going back.
4 Q. In that period while you were at Ovcara, did you see Veselin
5 Sljivancanin at Ovcara?
6 A. I didn't see him at Ovcara. I saw another officer, that was his
7 deputy, Ljubisa Vukasinovic; however, Sljivancanin was not at Ovcara.
8 Q. Did you perhaps talk to Vukasinovic? Do you remember what he was
9 doing there, and where he was?
10 A. I just saw him briefly. He had some task; I don't know what it
11 was. Perhaps he will be able to describe that. We didn't talk very much.
12 Q. Did you hear from anyone that Sljivancanin was at Ovcara? Did
13 Vojnovic perhaps mention that to you or Vukasinovic or anybody?
14 A. No. No, I have no such information.
15 Q. Tell me, when talking to Vojnovic, did he express his surprise as
16 to why those people were there? Did he say that he didn't want to provide
17 security there, that he had nothing to do with that? Do you remember any
18 such thing?
19 A. No. As a matter of course, I saw him carrying out that assignment
20 as he carried out his previous assignments. There was no need for me to
21 doubt the seriousness of their implementation of that task, because he
22 carried out the previous task as required.
23 Q. When you left Ovcara, what did Vojinovic and Vukasinovic do? Did
24 they stay on there?
25 A. They stayed on. I already said that I was there very briefly, ten
1 to 15 minutes, but the two of them stayed on. As a matter of fact,
2 Vojnovic had his own command post in the immediate vicinity. That is
3 where his command functioned. Vukasinovic stayed longer. I don't know
5 Q. Tell us what happened then?
6 A. From there, I returned to Negoslavci and at the command post, I
7 found Colonel Mrksic. I briefed him in greater detail about everything
8 that was going on, what I did, what I saw. Quite simply, he received
9 complete information from me about all these things that I've been
10 speaking about here.
11 Q. This conversation of yours with Mr. Mrksic, was it during daytime,
12 was it before the afternoon briefing? Can you define when it was?
13 A. If I went to Ovcara between 1400, 1500 hours, if I needed about
14 ten to 15 minutes to stay there, or rather ten minutes to get there, too,
15 I think it was about 1530 hours. It was daylight; you could still see
16 properly. The subordinate commanders hadn't arrived yet or the command
17 organs for the evening briefing. It was still the afternoon.
18 Q. Did you make any proposals to Colonel Mrksic then in relation to
19 what was going on at the hangar?
20 A. Yes. Yes. When I informed him about all of this, I said it
21 wouldn't be a bad thing if some of the security organs or military police
22 went to Ovcara to indicate certain things or offer assistance, in
23 professional terms, if necessary, to Lieutenant Colonel Vojnovic. I don't
24 know whether he sent anyone.
25 I think he did, and I think on the basis of everything I remember
1 and having made these previous statements, too, I think that he actually
2 did send some people there and I think that Mile Bozic was among them. He
3 was there in Negoslavci at the command post or, rather, in a house there
4 near the command post.
5 Q. From documents, we know that he was deputy commander of the
6 village of Negoslavci, but, otherwise, what unit did he belong to?
7 A. He was from the 1st Battalion of the military police. And at
8 first, while Kavalic was there as commander, he was his assistant
9 commander for morale. After that, he became the deputy commander of that
10 settlement. And I believe that since he was a policeman and since he was
11 nearby, I think that Colonel Mrksic sent him.
12 Q. Do you remember whether the regular briefing took place on that
13 day, and what was discussed there and whether any details were referred
15 A. Well, there was a regular briefing at that meeting, the regular
16 meeting. I cannot say now whether everybody was present because there
17 were quite a few parallel tasks on that day, and there were people who --
18 there were people who were outside our area of responsibility. Some were
19 taking convoys of buses, some were involved in other work or this at the
20 hospital, what was being done there, or the barracks. So my conclusion is
21 that the meeting did take place, the meeting was attended by a majority,
22 primarily of subordinate officers, and most of the members of the command.
23 Q. Do you remember specifically whether Sljivancanin attended that
24 meeting, whether he said something, whether he reported? Do you have any
25 memory of that, and did you see him that evening at all?
1 A. Of course, Sljivancanin was given time to say something at all
2 meetings, to say things, to ask things. I don't remember that he was
3 present, because I certainly would have remembered what it was that he
4 would have said about what he did at the hospital. As far as I can
5 remember, he came somewhat later to the command post. It was dark. In
6 all fairness, at 1800 hours, it's dark, too. I think he came, say, around
7 2000 hours, and I know that he talked to the commander.
8 Q. Tell me, please, from -- coming from Ovcara until the meeting held
9 at the command post and later that evening -- actually, first of all, let
10 me ask you, do you know who Borce Karanfilov is?
11 A. Yes, I do. At the time, I think he was a lieutenant, and he
12 worked in the security organ.
13 Q. Do you perhaps remember seeing him during that day at the command
14 post, and did he actually ever come to the command post?
15 A. Lieutenant Karanfilov didn't come then to the command post, and I
16 don't remember him coming earlier. There was really nothing for him to do
17 at the command post. He had no business there.
18 Q. Do you remember your activities on the following day? Is there
19 something that stands out on the 21st of November?
20 A. I remember the 21st of November because I was ordered and I was
21 one of those people carrying out that order. The commander wasn't
22 supposed to be there that day and a large group of journalists was
23 expected, 100 to 120, both local and foreign journalists, and that was the
24 main task for the 21st. We were supposed to greet them, take them to the
25 barracks, enable them to organise a press conference, and ensure they are
1 able to see a number of soldiers, commanders, regardless of all the
2 trouble that we have had over the previous several days; as well as to see
3 the others who took part in the liberation operation.
4 I know that that morning, as soon as the commander left, and --
5 yes, that's another reason I remember the 21st; namely, because the
6 commander and another group of people left for Belgrade. And they were
7 supposed to attend a briefing and a reception given by Veljko Kadijevic,
8 Federal Secretary for Defence.
9 After they left for Belgrade, we set out towards the Vukovar
10 barracks. And on that day, the press conference was held, as I have
11 indicated. Following the press conference, the journalists were enabled
12 to see Vukovar, to see the condition it was in, to meet with inhabitants,
13 soldiers, officers, and so on, and they spent the entire day in Vukovar.
14 This is why I remember the 21st.
15 Q. When did the unit return to Belgrade?
16 A. Our unit returned to Belgrade on the 24th; however, we received an
17 order to be on standby, and we were ready to go back on a very short
18 notice. We very actively worked on putting units from wartime disposition
19 into peacetime disposition to let people rest, to organise vehicles,
20 supplies, and so on. And we were expecting the order to return to come at
21 any minute, but that didn't happen until the 24th when we returned to the
22 garrison in Belgrade. We set out in the morning.
23 Q. A question just occurred to me, and I don't really want us to look
24 into the war diary. Do you remember in that period of time between the
25 21st and the 24th, were there various delegations of high officials, state
1 officials coming to Vukovar, and did you meet them?
2 A. Yes. There were delegations coming from state organs, civilian
3 organs. There were quite a lot, and the largest majority of these
4 delegations had to report to the commander. And given the level of
5 dignitaries coming to visit, it was the commander who met with them and
6 there were many of them.
7 Q. Thank you. I'm mostly done, but let me put some questions to you
8 because the OTP, when taking a statement from you, put some theoretical
9 questions to you. Let me ask you, in professional terms, who can issue an
10 order to a military police unit of the 80th Brigade to go to Ovcara and to
11 secure the hangar there?
12 A. Pursuant to the rules in force, the rules that were applied, a
13 military police unit is under the command of its commander. Military
14 police company is under the command of the company commander who receives
15 his orders from his commander, that is to say, Lieutenant Colonel
17 Q. Let's say a military police company, who can issue an order to
18 such a company to cease implementing its task and to withdraw?
19 A. Logically speaking, such a task can be issued only by the unit's
21 Q. If anyone from superior command came to the area of responsibility
22 of another unit without announcing their arrival, what would the commander
23 of that area of responsibility be duty-bound to do? Would he need to
24 verify some facts? What is the regular procedure under those
1 A. Based on our regulations, when somebody comes from a superior
2 command, it is natural that he needs to be given full respect. And the
3 commander needs to be informed that somebody has arrived to his area of
4 responsibility. He knows who he receives his tasks from. He can
5 obviously talk to the person who has arrived, but he previously needs to
6 verify with his commander whether the person who has arrived is
8 Q. Is this a typical principle that exists within any army, whether
9 singleness of command?
10 A. Yes. This is a principle of singleness of command and unity of
11 command. Ranks are respected, yes, but there are strict rules as to who
12 is superior to whom and who is competent for what.
13 Q. Mr. Panic, you spoke quite a lot about Mr. Sljivancanin giving
14 your views, positions about him. Let me ask you to describe your
15 impression of Veselin Sljivancanin, especially during the Vukovar
16 operation in one sentence, please?
17 A. Yes. I answered a lot of OTP questions concerning the person of
18 Major Sljivancanin at the time. In brief, Mr. Sljivancanin is a
19 charismatic, imposing person who enjoyed great respect among his
20 colleagues and subordinates, perhaps he stood out even more than necessary
21 owing to his courage and his presence in all locations, where perhaps he
22 did not necessarily have to be. I realised and I can explain that this
23 has to do with a great desire on his part to carry out his tasks in the
24 best possible manner, his eagerness to do that, as a result of which he
25 perhaps received more high-profile attention than he should have or that
1 corresponded to his position.
2 He performed his duties conscientiously, wishing to ensure that
3 his tasks are completed on time and in accordance with all existing
4 regulations. I could speak about him at length.
5 Q. I'm sure that you will have an opportunity to do so in
6 cross-examination. Your Honours, I have completed my
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
9 Mr. Vasic.
10 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Examination by Mr. Vasic:
12 Q. Good morning to everyone. Good morning, Mr. Panic.
13 A. Good morning.
14 Q. I will be putting questions to you on behalf of the Defence of Mr.
15 Mrksic. I may change the sequence of questions I have prepared for you,
16 and I will do that in order to follow-up logically on the questions put to
17 you by my colleague, Mr. Lukic.
18 Please make a pause after hearing my question and I will do the
19 same. We need to ensure the accuracy of the transcript.
20 Towards the end of your examination-in-chief, you said that the
21 company of military police of the 80th Motorised Brigade could only
22 received its orders from company commander, and he could only receive his
23 orders from brigade commander. Can the company commander and the company
24 itself receive orders from any other officer pursuant -- who was
25 authorised by the brigade commander?
1 A. Such an order can be received, yes, but the company commander is
2 duty to inform his commander and to ask his authorisation to carry out
3 this task.
4 Q. If the company commander of the military police commander to learn
5 from his commander that a certain person is responsible for a certain
6 task, does he still need to consult his commander about such a matter?
7 A. Under normal circumstances, yes, especially under wartime, and
8 especially when people do not know each other well enough. Vojnovic and
9 his military police company were not present the entire time in that area;
10 and naturally, people didn't really know each other well. This is why it
11 was so important to verify everything.
12 MR. WEINER: Your Honour.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Weiner.
14 MR. WEINER: Yes. Page 19, line 5, there are some words missing
15 and I think this is an important area as to orders and tasks and who has
16 to notify whom. That information should be within the transcript. If
17 they could just have the witness re-explain his answer.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Would you follow that up, please, Mr. Vasic.
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Certainly, Your Honour. Is it page
20 19, line 5, Mr. Weiner.
21 MR. WEINER: Yes. Do you see the mark there indicating words are
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 Q. Mr. Panic, the question was: Can the company commander of a
25 military police company receive his orders from any other officer
1 authorised by the brigade commander to issue tasks to the military police
3 A. Brigade commander can authorise another officer to do that, and
4 the company commander can accept such an order. But before proceeding to
5 implement the task, he's duty-bound to verify this with his commander.
6 Q. Thank you. If the commander authorizes an officer to carry out a
7 task; for example, to guard prisoners of war, and he -- if he informs of
8 this, the company commander of the military police company securing this,
9 isn't that case the company commander actually implementing this order
10 given by this other officer to guard prisoners of war?
11 A. Yes. He can do that but only if approved by his commander.
12 Q. Let us now turn to the area of responsibility. You must be
13 familiar, as Chief of Staff at the time, that pursuant to the command of
14 the 1st Military District in the entire territory where there was combat,
15 there was an order to establish town commands and to designate town
16 commanders for all sectors where there were no civilian authorities;
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Pursuant to these orders, was the town commander duty-bound in
20 accordance with the rules of service, especially those applying to the
21 garrison and barracks service in his area of responsibility to undertake
22 measures and to draft a plan for protecting persons and property for
23 securing -- for ensuring, rather, the control of egress and -- ingress
24 and egress? Are you aware of that?
25 A. The order concerning town commanders specified that they were
1 duty-bound to prevent any sabotage and terrorist activity in their area of
2 responsibility to ensure proper transportation, to ensure normal
3 conditions in that area, to prepare conditions necessary for the civilian
4 authorities to function and to assist them in that, and to, in general, be
5 responsible for general security, law an order, in their area of
6 responsibility, rather, in the town where they were town commanders.
7 Q. And this security pertained both to the security of persons and
9 A. The order specified that they needed to prevent looting. They
10 needed to ensure physical security to persons, and to provide any other
11 guarantees they needed for peaceful life in that area.
12 Q. According to the roles in force at the time, was anybody entering
13 the area of responsibility duty-bound to report to the town commander, and
14 was the town commander duty-bound to inform that person of the roles of
15 conduct which applied in that area?
16 A. Yes. Such a person had to announce his arrival; and if unable to
17 do so, they had to report as soon as they arrived, and then to proceed
18 with their business that brought them to that area.
19 Q. It was up to the town commander to decide whether such a person
20 would be allowed to remain in that area of responsibility or would need to
22 A. It depends on the person involved. If it was an official person
23 arriving on an official business and if that person arrived from a
24 superior command, then the town commander could not limit his stay there.
25 However, if the person came uninvited, if that's what you have in mind, if
1 this was a person that just wandered in without a specific aim, then the
2 town commander was duty-bound to remove such persons from his area of
4 Q. Are officers from the superior command duty-bound to report to the
5 town commander when they come to his territory, although they come from a
6 superior command?
7 A. Yes. Regulations and simply good customs make that necessary.
8 Q. If there was not a specific task involved -- received from the
9 commander, that is, to stay in the territory of the town command, could
10 the town commander ask such an officer to leave his area of responsibility
11 and to inform his own superior commander about that?
12 A. Yes, he can apply that method.
13 Q. Thank you, Mr. Panic. Just a few more questions related to the
14 town command. Does the town commander have to know at every moment what
15 is going on in his area of responsibility, that is to say, within the zone
16 of the town where he is commander?
17 A. He has to aspire for that. He has to establish a system whereby
18 can be well-informed. He is duty-bound to know.
19 Q. Thank you. We will go back to the question of town commands
20 during this examination, because I think this is a very important question
21 for all the parties.
22 And now I would like to start with what I intended to deal with
23 originally. Arriving in Vukovar, you told my learned friend Mr. Lukic
24 about that, and you mentioned some specific characteristics of the Guards
25 Brigade. In addition to that, I would like to ask you something else. In
1 addition to all these special characteristics, what was the multi-ethnic
2 like of the Guards Brigade, in terms of the officers and soldiers there as
3 you were getting ready to go on this assignment?
4 A. The Guards Brigade was a unique brigade in the JNA. Its
5 composition included the best officers, NCOs, and soldiers. The Guards
6 Brigade involves people, and this is something that was really focused on,
7 especially in Tito's time, the people from all republics and provinces
8 should come to the Guards Brigade. Many representatives of all the
9 nations and nationalities, all ethnic groups.
10 So before we went to Vukovar, the brigade consisted of
11 representatives of different nations and nationalities, different ethnic
12 groups. So there were Serbs there, and Croats, and Muslims, and
13 Macedonians and Slovenes. All others as well, not to mention all the 36
14 ethnic groups that we still have to this day in the territory of the
15 Republic of Serbia.
16 Q. Was that the situation as regards officers and soldiers?
17 A. Yes, absolutely. It was proportionate.
18 Q. When you set out on this assignment, the composition was not
19 changed, a selection had not been made; is that right?
20 A. As we set out on this assignment, there was no special
21 differentiation. Only the battalion for security did not go out on this
22 assignment, and also the guards military orchestra. All other units were
23 involved in our basic task.
24 Q. These units that stayed on in Belgrade that did not go out on this
25 assignment, did they actually stay on to carry out their regular duties,
1 the regular tasks of the Guards Brigade that it otherwise carried out on a
2 daily basis in peacetime?
3 A. Yes. These units remained to provide security. That was the
4 battalion for security of facilities and important personages, so its task
5 does not differ in war or in peace, and they continued doing that. Some
6 people stayed from the command structures who were not indispensable for
7 combat tasks.
8 For example, Colonel Janjetovic who was assistant commander for
9 special technical matters and communications and who was now liaising in
10 terms of these tasks and these people who stayed on at the Belgrade
11 garrison. He had his associates there.
12 Q. Thank you. This unit for security, you said that it provided
13 security for the Federal Secretary and the chief of the General Staff. My
14 question is whether it provided security for the other members of the
15 Presidency of the SFRY as members of the Supreme Command?
16 A. Yes. Every members of our Supreme Command, or, rather, member of
17 the then was a member of the Supreme Command, and they had everything that
18 belonged to them as if they were all the President of the Presidency, that
20 Q. So that's the reason why this unit had to stay on in Belgrade, to
21 carry out these functions because the Presidency was functioning?
22 A. Yes. And the Federal Secretary was functioning, and everybody
23 else and quite a few other institutions. There wasn't a state of war that
24 was on for them.
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Panic. My learned friend Mr. Lukic asked you about
1 the unit's departure for Vukovar, and you said that that was done on the
2 basis of an order issued by the chief of cabinet of the Federal Secretary
3 for National Defence.
4 403 is the exhibit number, Your Honours. I don't really need it
5 on the screen, but I'm just referring to it.
6 This order resubordinated the Guards Brigade to the 1st Military
7 District while carrying out the assignment at the Vukovar front; is that
9 A. Yes, that is correct.
10 Q. I will be interested in the following: Do you know or do you
11 remember that when arriving at the Vukovar theatre of war, although you
12 were resubordinated to the 1st Military District, through this order,
13 further on through the order of the Military District, were you
14 resubordinated to the 12th corps, or, rather, Operations Group South that
15 was then within that military district?
16 A. Yes. There is such an order. While preparing for this testimony
17 I saw that order so within the 1st Military District, the 12th corps, but
18 that lasted until Colonel Mrksic was appointed commander of the operations
20 Q. Yes. We are going to get to that moment. Thank you. In your
21 testimony, you mentioned a special characteristic of the Guards Brigade or
22 rather the staff of the Guards Brigade and you were its chief; namely, the
23 existence of a desk officer for the military police battalion. Can you
24 tell me what the tasks were of this desk officer? I assume that you know
25 that because you were his chief; and secondly, did this desk officer go
1 with you to Vukovar, or did he stay on in Belgrade to carry out his duties
3 A. Yes. That person was in charge, among other duties, at the
4 operations and teaching organ to be aware of the plan of the military
5 police units, and to make sure that they are properly trained, and to make
6 proposals related at their higher combat readiness, to supervise the
7 situation in these units, and to propose certain solutions to the Chief of
8 Staff and the brigade commander.
9 Q. Did that person go with you to Vukovar, or did that person stay in
11 A. In the meantime, certain changes took place in the staff. In the
12 meantime, that person was appointed battalion commander; and then as
13 battalion commander, he went to carry out this task.
14 Q. Can you tell us who that is?
15 A. Adim Bajic.
16 Q. When he went as battalion commander to carry out his tasks, you no
17 longer had him on the staff?
18 A. That desk officer was not there and quite a few officers were, and
19 we had certain losses, the chief of engineer got killed. And at one
20 moment, I mentioned the reason why we stopped keeping an operations log,
21 because we didn't have enough people in the command. And we made an
22 effort to have more of a presence in the units themselves.
23 Q. Thank you. Tell us briefly, if you can, since you were Chief of
24 Staff, what are the main tasks of the Chief of Staff of a brigade, a
25 brigade, in this case, the Guards Brigade, but a brigade in general?
1 A. Our rules and regulations specify them very concretely, but in the
2 briefest possible terms, the Chief of Staff of a brigade is in charge of
3 the staff. He has organs in the staff, if necessary, I'm going to
4 enumerate them; that's the operations and teaching organ, then the head of
5 arms and services, then the assistant organ that makes it possible to
6 provide logistics and material resources.
7 So the Chief of Staff is in charge of the organs of the staff,
8 takes part in planning, and making decisions, makes proposals to the
9 commander in terms of certain solutions, suggests the use of various
10 units. Quite simply, the Chief of Staff does most of the things at the
11 command; and at the same time, he is the deputy commander of the brigade.
12 If necessary, we can go into greater detail.
13 Q. Thank you very much. For the most part, you have said everything,
14 haven't you? All the duties of the Chief of Staff, you said that he is
15 deputy commander, that means in his absence, right, when the commander is
16 not there?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Can the Chief of Staff, in keeping with a decision made by the
19 commander, give tasks to subordinate units?
20 A. Yes, on the basis of the commander's decision.
21 Q. Does the Chief of Staff also supervise the implementation of the
22 decisions made by the commander?
23 A. Yes, primarily on the ground. So once a decision is made for some
24 tasks, for a combat activity, these tasks are issued to subordinate
25 commanders. The commanders go out to carry out this task or these tasks,
1 and the Chief of Staff, with his organs and personally, supervises the
2 implementation of these tasks, or, rather, how they are put into practice.
3 On that basis, I and some of the organs of the command -- I mean,
4 there were some people who did not find it necessary or -- I don't know,
5 perhaps some people will take offence, but some did not dare go where
6 perhaps at some moment they should have gone. So then some other people
7 happened to be there.
8 I'm referring to myself. I'm not -- I don't think I'm too brave,
9 but my subordinates can say where they saw me, what I was doing, and I'm
10 also referring to the persons present here.
11 Q. Thank you. Tell me, you said that the Chief of Staff, together
12 with the staff, prepares decisions, or, rather, elements that are needed
13 for a commander's decision and makes proposals as to how units should be
14 used. Can you explain this to us in a few sentences?
15 A. Well, on the basis of the situation in the units, on the basis of
16 the situation on the ground, the Chief of Staff with his organs makes a
17 proposal of how units should be used, or, rather, a draft decision for the
18 commander and shows the commander that decision, draft decision. The
19 commander and his assistant commanders can agree with some elements,
20 disagree with others. They can agree with it in it's entirety as well.
21 There are situations when the draft is good, when the commander
22 simply says: "I accept the decision as drafted by the Chief of Staff, and
23 I hereby order that its implementation start." And there are situations
24 that are the complete opposite: "Thank you, chief, but it's going to be
1 Q. Thank you. I understand this fully. But it is the duty of the
2 Chief of Staff, taking into account all the circumstances involved, to
3 prepare the decision that is the best possible in their opinion?
4 A. Yes, to provide him full information so that he would make his
6 Q. So we can say that the Chief of Staff is in charge of the staff
7 that constitutes the basic organ of the brigade command; and, from a
8 functional point of view, it brings together all the organs of the
9 command; is that right?
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I'm sorry. I don't seem to have the
12 transcript on my screen. Thank you.
13 Q. After a decision is made, do the staff and the organs of the
14 brigade elaborate this decision in detail and the use of the unit in terms
15 of that decision? Do they compile the necessary combat documents, and do
16 they transmit this order to subordinate units, or, rather, subordinate
18 A. Yes, that's correct. This is something that is done in all
19 situations where time allows. When a task is urgent, when the situation
20 on the front is such that it requires an urgent intervention, then
21 ordering can be done verbally; and it can go directly, without consulting
22 command organs and without producing the necessary documents. That is to
23 say, within the JNA, ordering could be done both in writing and orally,
24 and both of them had same validity.
25 Q. Thank you. You said that the supervision of how the order of the
1 commander was implemented was one of the tasks of the Chief of Staff, and
2 that that was the reason why you specifically toured front lines, toured
3 units, to see how the tasks were implemented. Yesterday, you said that
4 you mostly toured the right flank of the disposition of your unit because
5 there were more problems there; did I understand you well?
6 A. Yes, that's what I said.
7 Q. Were other flanks of your combat disposition also toured, and was
8 information collected there as well? Which organ was in charge of this
9 type of supervision?
10 A. I toured the left flank also, but less frequently than other
11 units. When I say "left flank," I'm referring to the territory in the
12 area of responsibility of the 1st Assault Detachment. There were a number
13 of officers who were sent to tour that unit as well.
14 Q. Given that at one point assault detachments were established, did
15 each axis have an officer supervising that particular area, or did that
16 depend on the day, on the task, on the situation?
17 A. Assault detachment did not have their, if I may say so, permanent
18 mentor. For example, on one day, a chief of engineering could tour them.
19 On another day, chief of signals or chief of atomic, biological, and
20 chemical warfare or quarter master service chief. It just depended on
21 what problems arose in the unit and what assistance they required.
22 Q. Were these officers sent to certain sectors, or did they go there
23 on their own initiative as part of their regular duties?
24 A. Most often, they would receive a task; that is to say, they
25 couldn't simply say: "I'll go and check what's happening there. I want
1 to go and smell the powder, the gun powder." They would normally be given
2 a task to go there; however, there were also situations where a person in
3 charge would make an assessment that it was necessary to go and do
4 something; and, upon completing his task, such a person would normally
5 inform his superior.
6 Q. Given that this involved the supervision of the implementation of
7 an order, did you, as Chief of Staff, designate persons who would go and
9 A. Yes. If there were members of staff. But I wasn't in the
10 superior position to the entire command.
11 Q. I suppose that assistant commanders went, when necessary, and
12 when, in their own view, they had to do something?
13 A. Yes, providing that the commander approved.
14 Q. Was the 3rd Assault Detachment also supervised, and the
15 anti-terrorist company?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. So it wasn't just the left and the right flank but all units?
18 A. When I say the right flank, I'm referring to all units all the way
19 up to the Danube in Vucedol; and then the combat disposition of the 3rd
20 Assault Detachment Mitnica, the 80th Brigade, or the 20th Brigade, and the
21 2nd Assault Detachment and all other units that were in that area.
22 Q. Tell me, please, given what you told us about how much time you
23 spent outside of the command touring the units, tell us how much did you
24 normally -- how much time did you normally spend at the command? How long
25 you stay?
1 A. Let me first mention that combat operations in Vukovar were quite
2 unique, and they mostly took place during daytime. As soon as it became
3 dark, combat ceased, both on our side and on the side of the paramilitary
4 formations in Vukovar. Somebody observing it from the side could have
5 concluded that it was some kind of a tacit agreement, that we needed to
6 have a break, and then continue on the following day. So in the evening,
7 we would discuss and plan operations for the following day.
8 Now, as to how much time I spent there, well, let me tell you,
9 during daytime, I would be present at the command post very briefly. And
10 after completing tours of units, I would always attend regular briefings,
11 except on several occasions where I happened to stay with the unit after
12 it was dark, and it wasn't advisable to move around after dusk.
13 So as I said, during daytime, I would be present very little. I
14 would normally leave in the morning and come back in the evening; and at
15 night, I was at the command post.
16 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. We will go back to these
17 issues of the work of the command during night hours, but I think that
18 it's time for our first break, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic. We will resume at 10 minutes
20 to 11.00.
21 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 10.50 a.m.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
24 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Mr. Panic, let us proceed. You spoke about how much time you
1 spent at the brigade command, that there was work regarding the daytime
2 combat operations. Can you tell me, please, how long into the night did
3 the command work, and when would duty officers take over after the rest of
4 the command went to sleep?
5 A. Well, the command functions incessantly, 24-hours a day.
6 Depending on the task and the need, a certain number of persons always
7 remained there during the night to do the work. Most often after
8 midnight, there would be duty officers, be it regular organs on duty or
9 reinforced ones. They had the right and authority to call up Chief of
10 Staff or commander at any time, if there was a task or a problem that they
11 couldn't resolve on their own, or if they required the position and
12 opinion of the commander or Chief of Staff.
13 Q. Thank you. Based on what you said, the duty organ had to decide
14 whether he could resolve the problem on his own or he needed to wake-up
15 the Chief of Staff or commander or leave the information for the following
16 day to be conveyed then?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. The events which transpired during duty hours and the documents
19 which arrived during duty hours, were they recorded? Was there a log book
20 of the duty service?
21 A. At the command post in the operations room where most of the work
22 was conducted, there was a war log, a war diary. War diary is the most
23 important document and all relevant events are recorded there, be it day
24 or night. It is recorded continuously.
25 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. For the sake of the
1 transcript, on page 33, question and answer are written together. The
2 second portion is the answer.
3 Q. Was there a log book of the duty officer at the brigade command?
4 In addition to the war diary, was there such a log book?
5 A. I don't understand your question.
6 Q. In addition to the war diary that you mentioned at the command of
7 OG South or command of the Guards Motorised Brigade, was there also a log
8 book of the duty officer, where he recorded all events which transpired
9 during duty service, as well as all documents which arrive during duty
11 A. A duty officer normally had his own notebook. In addition to the
12 war diary, another official document was a ledger or a registry book, and
13 the duty officer typically had a notebook where they recorded the tasks
14 received, reports received, and the information conveyed and to whom it
15 was conveyed.
16 Q. So every duty officer had his own notebook?
17 A. Yes. Everyone had their own official notebooks which were stamped
18 and maintained at the command. There wasn't a special log book for duty
19 service. There wasn't one.
20 Q. You mentioned a ledger or a registry book. Can you please tell us
21 what kind of information was recorded there?
22 A. What was recorded there were orders received and orders conveyed
23 to subordinate units; reports, reports that were recorded and received, as
24 well as any other documents that were arriving from superior command.
25 Q. Was there a registry book for orders arriving encoded to the
1 command post?
2 A. Yes. In addition to the orders arriving in writing, there were
3 also encoded, encrypted orders. And there was a special registry book for
4 such orders; this book was maintained by specialist organs from the
5 signals unit.
6 Q. Where were these documents kept, the ones maintained by the
7 signals unit? Was it in their premises or the premises of the command
9 A. They kept those documents. And later on, just like all other
10 documents, they were compiled together and handed over to the archives. I
11 know very well that in the building, where the brigade command was during
12 peacetime and where the room was where documents were archived, all of
13 that was destroyed during NATO bombs. Perhaps one day somebody might be
14 able to retrieve these documents.
15 Q. Do you know whether there was a registry book for briefings where
16 information was recorded on regular daily briefings?
17 A. No. As I said, there was no such book. Every officer had his own
18 notebook, where he would record the information which pertained to him.
19 This type of book was kept during peacetime; only peacetime, not wartime.
20 Q. Can you tell me which command organ was in charge of maintaining
21 the war journal, the ledger, or registry book of the orders that arrived,
22 and who maintained the operations diary? You said that such a diary was
23 maintained only initially
24 A. Yes. I said so. And I explained why they ceased entering
25 information in the operations log book. As for the ledger or registry
1 book, that was kept by the people working in the office of general
2 administration. At the time, the people there were two warrant officers;
3 one was Radisavljevic, and the second one was Male Bore [phoen], if I'm
4 not mistaken. They were in charge of the ledger.
5 As for the war diary, which was kept at the command post, several
6 people entered information into it; first of all, Trifunovic, Radoje, most
7 of the information was entered by him, then Bratislav Goykovic and Dragan
9 Q. What about the operations log book initially?
10 A. Initially, it was kept by Trifunovic, Goykovic, and Skoric. They
11 did it in parallel, because they kept two documents in parallel
12 continuously, and because it was necessary to use staff officers in units;
13 and because a number of officers were killed, and so on, because Lukic was
14 sent -- was appointed commander of Assault Detachment and the Vukovar
15 barracks. For all of those reasons, we decided to proceed with just one
16 such document.
17 Q. If I tell you that here before the Tribunal, a witness said that
18 all these documents were kept until the end of the operation, and that
19 they were safe-guarded after that at the brigade, do you think that that
20 man remembered that properly, and does this jog your memory? Sorry, 8288,
21 lines 11:23 and lines from 7 to 23 on the following page.
22 A. He can say that and think that, but I stick to what I said. And I
23 think that I got it right. Perhaps I did make some oversights, but ...
24 Q. Tell me, please, who was responsible to the commander for the
25 accuracy of these entries about the brigade command?
1 A. I was.
2 Q. And who was in charge of safeguarding these documents?
3 A. The assistant Chief of Staff for operations and teaching, at that
4 time, Branislav Lukic; afterwards, it was Trifunovic.
5 Q. You said, "afterwards, it was Trifunovic," does that mean that
6 that happened after Lukic went to be commander of the 2nd Assault
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Do you remember when it was that you last saw these documents when
10 you were at the Guards Brigade?
11 A. I think I saw them when we stored them, when we actually locked
12 them up and sealed them.
13 Q. Was that after the return of the Guards Brigade in Belgrade?
14 A. Yes, it was upon our return.
15 Q. After these documents were sealed, you were in charge of
16 safeguarding them at the war room as the Chief of Staff of the Guards
17 Brigade, still; right?
18 A. The assistant Chief of Staff for operations and teaching was in
19 charge of that, but then there's this hierarchy. There's this chain. I
20 was his superior officer.
21 Q. When you became commander of the Guards Brigade, and when you
22 handed over the duty of Chief of Staff, whose duty was it to safeguard
23 these documents?
24 A. These documents remained where they were. When there was this
25 hand-over of duty, one did not do it in terms of individual documents.
1 All documents were dealt with, that is to say, the entire war room.
2 Q. Does that mean that those who took over the duty of safeguarding
3 the war room did not individually inspect every document; is that what you
4 were saying?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. So he just received the documents according to a list that was
7 then presented to him, I assume?
8 A. Primarily, documents that were in force for the war use of the
9 unit, that is to say, war plans. These documents were received as they
10 were packed and sealed. Quite simply, documents from a period to/from,
11 according to an internal list. He was not duty-bound to inspect the
12 internal list.
13 Q. Thank you. Among these documents was the war diary there, the
14 operations diary there, and the ledger of orders that arrived, and also
15 the ledger of orders that were coded?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you. You are aware of the fact that -- or, rather, that you
18 probably had the opportunity to see the war diary of the brigade?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. While you testified where you testified, did you see the
21 operations log or this ledger of coded orders?
22 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: They could not hear the
24 Could Mr. Vasic please turn off his microphone when he finishes
25 his questions. There is typing and other background noises. Thank you.
1 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Thank you. Could you please be so kind as to repeat your answer?
3 The interpreters did not manage to hear it, because my microphone was on.
4 A. The war diary, I had occasion to see it. The operations log and
5 the ledger, I saw them considerably later. When I started preparing
6 intensively for this testimony, I saw the copy.
7 Q. Can you tell us where it was that you saw the copy of the
8 operations log?
9 A. No. I never saw the operations log after the said time. I am
10 sorry, a mistake.
11 Q. Thank you. Let us move on to something that has to do with
12 formations that your unit became a part of; that is to say, the Operations
13 Group as an ad hoc formation. I think that yesterday you said that they
14 are usually established at corps or division level; am I right?
15 A. According to our principles and regulations, an operations group
16 is a temporary composition, and it is established for carrying out a
17 specific task. Upon the completion of that task, it is disbanded, units
18 go back to their original units.
19 As for all these temporary compositions, in principle, one knows
20 which commands can establish them. In order to be able to plan and
21 supervise combat operations, usually it is the division command or the
22 corps command that is in charge. This is a command that has a certain
23 number of people and that is conceived in a way enabling it to plan
24 activities successfully and command subordinate units.
25 May I say straight away, as Chief of Staff, we did not have that,
1 and that was a major problem for us.
2 Q. Actually, when such units are established, it has to do with
3 commanding and issuing tasks to joint units at operations level.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Am I mistaken? You already said what problems your command had,
6 because your command became the command of Operations Group South, apart
7 from regulations that were in force, and I'm interested in the problems.
8 Were they bigger towards the end of the operation when many civilians were
9 leaving and when convoys were being returned because of the commotion in
10 the territory where your unit was?
11 A. Yes. If the commander of the Operation Group is not one of these
12 commands; namely, a division command or a corps command, then the officer
13 that establishes an operative group through his order is duty-bound to
14 reinforce the command by persons from other units so that the said command
15 could function.
16 We got, as I mentioned yesterday, only two additional officers,
17 not to repeat their names. And since you mentioned this, we had most of
18 our problems towards the end of the operations; the operation in Vukovar,
19 that is. Because of all of these situations, primarily because of the
20 large number of citizens that required assistance, the large number of
21 units, the large number of units that were surrendering and being
22 disarmed, and so on.
23 In that period, we needed the greatest help of all, and we had our
24 own losses at the time. Some of our officers got killed, some of our
25 officers were wounded. Our command counter were on the decline and our
1 problems were on the rise. That is it in a nutshell.
2 Q. We are going to talk about the convoys that were passing by there
3 later. But can you tell me from memory or perhaps you know exactly, how
4 many civilians were evacuated between the 18th and the 21st from the
5 territory of Vukovar over those three days.
6 A. Over 10.000. Our figure was between 10 and 12.000. I don't know
7 whether that's accurate, perhaps there are even more.
8 Q. Thank you. Now I would like to go back to the two officers you
9 mentioned. For my learned friends and the Trial Chamber, it is Exhibit
10 404, Colonel Pavkovic and Colonel Tesic were sent on the basis of that
12 Mr. Panic, I'm saying that even they were not a reinforcement to
13 your brigade in terms of assisting the Operations Group, because they were
14 sent on the 29th of September with your command and with your unit that
15 was going to Vukovar, when no one knew that you would become the
16 Operations Group. And their task was actually to supervise your unit on
17 behalf of the cabinet, the staff of the Federal Secretary under whose
18 command you were then; and then later, you were resubordinated to the 1st
19 Military District. So they had this supervisory function and they were
20 supposed to report to the SSNO.
21 Could it please be enlarged? Could the document please be
22 enlarged, the lower part. Yes, thank you.
23 Mr. Panic.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. You see here, paragraph 4, "Reports, observations, and proposals
1 should be sent to me from time to time, and when necessary."
2 A. Now I see it. I see it. The witness read it out again.
3 Q. So is the chief of cabinet, Colonel Vuk Obradovic who signed it?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Am I correct when I say that these two officers were not a
6 reinforcement either, but that they were there as supervisory organs when
7 no one knew that you would become Operations Group South?
8 A. Yes. It says that Pavkovic is being sent to the command and
9 Terzic to the artillery command; they were with us from the very outset.
10 At the outset, there was no need for any excessive engagement on their
11 part, but later on you will see, from the documents and from the events
12 concerned, it was very useful that Colonel Pavkovic did part of the work.
13 Q. I'm not saying that they were not engaged; I am just saying that
14 they were not sent in order to reinforce the command of your unit. Tell
15 me, please, as for the command of Operations Group South that was
16 established on the basis of the order of the 1st Military District, that's
17 what you told us yesterday, it included the commander, the Chief of Staff,
18 officers of the staff, and assistant commanders, assistant brigade
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Tell me, meetings at the command that you talked about yesterday,
22 you said that they practically took place every day and that they were
23 held around 1800 hours on a given day.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. I would like to put something to you, and you probably know about
1 that. These are combat reports sent by the command of Operations Group
2 South that bore a certain date and time, 1800 hours. These were daily
3 reports, 24-hour reports. They actually included reports of subordinate
4 units for that period; am I right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. We had another officer testifying here for the Trial Chamber and
7 my colleagues. It is page 8229, lines 13 to 20; namely, that these
8 meetings were held around 1700 hours when they were held in the afternoon,
9 and at 8.00 or -- and that is more logical, if we look at the time in the
10 regular combat reports. And before that, reports had to be heard from
11 subordinate commands. Do you still remember these meetings as being at
12 1800 hours, or does this jog your memory; namely, that they could have
13 been held around 1700 hours?
14 A. Well. It was possible, but most of them were held at 1800 hours.
15 Q. Another thing that I'd like to clarify. Yesterday, in response to
16 my learned friend, you said how these briefings, how these meetings at the
17 brigade command went. And you said that usually the commander would speak
18 first about what had happened, he'd present his views, and then others
19 would take the floor.
20 What we have here also is evidence given by a certain witness who
21 said that the briefing went differently; that first, commanders of
22 subordinate units gave their reports, and then members of the staff and
23 assistant commanders. And it was only at the end that the commander would
24 make his decision. So what is your recollection? Does this jog your
25 memory, and what actually happened at the time we're talking about?
1 A. That witness is not mistaken, that is correct. The commander
2 would normally open the meeting, give introductory remarks, say what
3 important events took place during that day, perhaps there was an
4 important order that had arrived or something like that. He would give
5 brief introductory remarks, so the commander would be the first to take
6 the floor. This is a typical custom, anyway.
7 Perhaps I wasn't specific enough. Commander would call the
8 meeting to order, give introductory remarks, give the agenda, and then
9 subordinate commanders, naturally, would give their reports, members of
10 command, and then assistants of the commander who would give certain
11 proposals, suggestions, and so on. Then finally at the end, the commander
12 would give his conclusions, issue orders, and the meeting. So there is no
13 disagreement between what I said and that other witness said.
14 Q. All right. This is more clear.
15 A. Yes. I clarified it, because the commander doesn't brief. He
16 only briefs his own superior; whereas in these briefings, he issues
18 Q. All right. At the time when assault detachments were established,
19 would only commanders of assault detachments attend briefings or also
20 commanders of units which comprised assault detachments?
21 A. Normally, the most superior officer would come, that is to say,
22 commanders of assault detachments; however, there were periods of time
23 where, for example, there were various TO units which comprised assault
24 detachments, in which case where commander of such unit, TO unit would
25 also come to such briefing.
1 Q. Thank you. You said to Mr. Lukic, yesterday, something about
2 orders, saying that tasks were issued by the commander of OG South; both
3 in writing and orally, and that commander of OG South received both
4 written and verbal orders from his superior command, that of the 1st
5 Military District; correct?
6 A. Yes, because regulations specify that ordering can be done both in
7 writing and orally.
8 Q. This regulation about orders, does it apply to all levels of
9 command and to all units?
10 A. No, not to all. Because it is best when commander or any superior
11 officer issues a task on the spot. We called that commander
12 reconnaissance. That's how we termed it, and that was precisely the
13 reason why a commander would go to a unit or to a formation and issue a
14 task there.
15 As for the lower levels, there was no need, nor were there
16 preconditions for them to issue orders in writing when they were in their
17 combat disposition and could produce immediate effect on the ground.
18 Q. What remains unclear to me is whether at this higher level of
19 command, after an oral order is issued, was it mandatory to produce a
20 written order, or was the oral order sufficient, say at the level of the
21 1st Military District?
22 A. When an order is issued at such a high level, it can be a verbal
23 one; but most often, there would be a written order coming later.
24 However, the task had to be implemented immediately, without waiting for
25 the written order, say, there was an urgent need and documents needed to
1 be produced and so on. If this involved a minor task, then sometimes no
2 written order followed.
3 For example, we have a situation with the chief of General Staff
4 and his subordinate formations. There's not much correspondence between
5 them. They have telephone and other type of contact. Because if they had
6 to constantly write, they would never leave their offices. I'm now
7 referring to peacetime.
8 Q. You said that they would speak on the phone. You are now
9 referring to orders issued via phone by the General Staff?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. The reports sent to superior command were sent in writing at the
12 level of the brigade command and up; correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Yesterday, you said to Mr. Lukic that you knew that security
15 organs also sent their reports to the chief of security department within
16 the Federal Secretariat for National Defence, were you familiar with such
17 reports, you, as Chief of Staff?
18 A. I, as Chief of Staff, was not superior to the assistant --
19 assistant commander for security. I was not familiar with his reports,
20 nor was he duty-bound to familiarise me with them. He was not duty-bound
21 to inform the commander either of the full content of his report. No, he
22 would simply inform him of the necessary portions.
23 Security organ normally deals with a number of issues where, for
24 example, there is a security operation in progress and divulging
25 information about it could, perhaps, jeopardise the entire operation. For
1 those reasons, such reports were partially encrypted or protected. And
2 this was regulated by the rules of service, the rules of service on the
3 work of security organs and so on.
4 Q. Thank you. We spoke of town commands, and I said we would go back
5 to that issue. You must remember that in early November, pursuant to the
6 order of the 1st Military District, command of OG South designated town
7 commands in the vicinity of Vukovar; whereas in Vukovar, itself,
8 commanders of Assault Detachments became town commanders in the territory
9 under their control; do you remember that?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Each of these town commanders had duties and competencies we
12 described today concerning the security of persons, property, and
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Do you know that the command of OG South appointed as town
16 commanders of Jakubovac, Grabovo, and Ovcara Misevic Slobodan, commander
17 of the 20th partisan brigade; and after he left the area of responsibility
18 on the 18th of November, 1991, they appointed Lieutenant Colonel Vojnovic
19 the commander of the 80th Motorised Brigade?
20 A. Yes. Misevic was there until the 18th of November, until that
21 unit left our area of responsibility. From the 18th onwards, it was
22 Lieutenant Colonel Vojnovic. But not only was there the commander of
23 Ovcara, but also Jakubovac and Grabovo. And his subordinate commanders,
24 commanders of artillery battalions were town commanders in that area,
25 (redacted) was one such commander and his subordinates as well. I am not
1 familiar with other names but I'm sure you can look it up.
2 Q. Thank you, that order was introduced into evidence.
3 MR. WEINER: Excuse me, Your Honour, private session for a moment.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
5 [Private session]
12 [Open session]
13 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honour.
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I apologise
15 but I could not envisage that this name would be given.
16 Q. In future, if you are planning to refer this name, then just use
17 pseudonym P014.
18 A. I am not going to mention this name again.
19 Q. You were Chief of Staff of OG South. Can you tell us whether the
20 light artillery division of anti-aircraft defence of the 80th Brigade was
21 ever subordinated to OG South or to the Guards Brigade during your stay in
22 the Vukovar region?
23 A. The 80th Motorised Brigade, within its composition, had a light
24 artillery battalion of anti-aircraft defence, and this unit was deployed
25 in the Ovcara sector. What you asked -- for some reason, the sound is
1 gone -- no, it's all right now. It's gone again.
2 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] We have problems with the microphone.
3 A. It's fine now. I'm not touching anything.
4 This unit had its area of responsibility in relation to air
5 defence. Air defence is a single system in one area. It is under the
6 control and is guided from one centre. In our case, chief of rocket
7 artillery units of air defence, Lesanovic, produced the plan; and based on
8 his plan and his proposals, an order was issued for single control of air
9 space and air defence.
10 Within that framework, that unit received its area of
11 responsibility for air defence. In that regard, they had something in
12 common with the chief of PVO and brigade command. When it came to all
13 other tasks, primarily disciplinary issues and implementation of tasks,
14 they had nothing to do with the command of OG South. Thus, they were not
15 subordinated to the command of OG South; they had their own commander.
16 They could only carry out the tasks of air defence pursuant to a single
17 signal as it is done in all other armies in the world.
18 Q. Thank you. As for orders I mentioned earlier pertaining to town
19 commands of Jabukovac, Ovcara and Grabovo, these are exhibits --
20 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters didn't hear the numbers of the
22 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Let me ask you this: The commander of the 80th Motorised Brigade,
24 say, could he order this person to appoint him as town commander?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Could the commander of the 80th Motorised Brigade appoint him town
2 commander, as is stated in Exhibit 369?
3 A. Yes. Yes, I spoke too soon. His commander could appoint him town
4 commander. Commander of operations group could not appoint him, because
5 this is the area of responsibility of the 80th Brigade, and he cannot go
6 down to that level.
7 Q. If commander of Operations Group were to issue orders to parts of
8 the 80th Motorised Brigade, would it go against the singleness of command,
9 because he would be issuing orders through the command of the 80th
11 A. It is not advisable in peacetime, let alone in wartime, because it
12 involves conflict of competencies.
13 Q. Thank you. In relation to Ovcara itself, yesterday, you said in
14 response to my learned friend's question that this is a specific place
15 where there is a farm; however, do you remember that there were some
16 houses there, nevertheless? We heard some testimony here that there were
17 some houses there, that some people lived there. It wasn't only hangars.
18 Does this jog your memory?
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, transcript page 339,
20 lines 18 to 23.
21 Q. Does this jog your memory, or do you still say that it was
22 only ...
23 A. You see, it is a pig farm. There are quite a few pig sties there.
24 There are some smaller houses there, too, probably the staff live there;
25 the staff that worked at the farm, or they stayed there while they worked
1 there for 24 hours; then there was an administration building which was
2 dominant there. It's a biggish house.
3 Apart from that, there are a few smaller buildings, auxiliary
4 buildings; then there are a few hangars, like the one that we are talking
5 about, for better, for worse. I didn't go anywhere off the road, so I
6 cannot really confirm whether people lived there. People lived there
7 before these events; but at that time, there weren't any civilians there.
8 I don't remember coming across civilians there.
9 Q. Thank you. Yesterday, you also talked about the artillery of
10 Operations Group South, and you said that it only operated within the
11 combat zone of the Operations Group; did I understand you correctly?
12 A. Yes, within the allotted zone.
13 Q. The commander. Now, the commander, did he issue orders in this
14 zone for the artillery to engage only targets that can be proclaimed
15 military targets?
16 A. The use of artillery is a serious task, and it has to be planned
17 properly. Every artillery fire is planned, records are made of it, the
18 number of projectiles is set, and the effects are registered, too.
19 Commanders of the artillery units, who are to carry this out, would get an
20 exact plan of action. And this plan would involve only military targets,
21 or, rather, these are facilities and positions on the ground from where
22 paramilitary formations fired at our units or the civilian population.
23 For example, during the course of a day -- I mean, it happened all
24 the time, regularly, shells falling on Negoslavci and other populated
25 areas. I can say that I remember a few deaths within Negoslavci, itself,
1 where these shells fell. So when we discover where it was that they were
2 firing from, then we would plan our own fire at these facilities,
3 exclusively military targets were engaged.
4 However, paramilitary formations moved from one place to another.
5 They would open fire from Mitnica and then they would go to the water
6 tower and then our fire moved the same way then.
7 Q. Battery commanders, commanders of artillery units received
8 information from the chief of artillery; am I right?
9 A. Yes. He plans fire and; on the basis of the commander's order, he
10 conveys this to them, gives them the necessary coordinates.
11 Q. You said that the Vukovar Hospital was not within the area of
12 responsibility of Operations Group South, all the way up to the 19th of
13 November when an order was issued to enter the hospital?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. So artillery of OG South did not fire this facility; is that
17 A. The Vukovar Hospital was on the other side of the Vuka River, on
18 the left bank of the Vuka River. Our boundary was the right bank of the
19 Vuka River. And it's not only that we did not fire there; it was
20 prohibited. As a matter of fact, the commander explicitly prohibited
21 anything from going out of our zone and planned firing. We had a
22 supervisor, if I can put it that way. Colonel Zlatoje Terzic for
23 artillery matters, together with our chief of artillery, he verified the
25 Q. Zlatoje Terzic is a Colonel, an officer, from the SSNO, from the
1 Supreme Command; right?
2 A. Yes. General Kadijevic's order, or rather, his chief of cabinet
3 issued that order sending him to our artillery organ.
4 Q. Thank you. Do you know whether the artillery of OG South ever
5 targeted wells in Vukovar and the surrounding area during combat
6 operations? Do you know about that?
7 A. Wells?
8 Q. Wells from where people drank water.
9 A. I have no information, but that is impossible. I would really
10 like to see someone manage to hit a well.
11 Q. Do you know that wells were allegedly targeted at moments when
12 people came there to get water? Is that possible? You're an experienced
13 soldier. Is it possible to have that kind of targeted, precise shooting,
14 to make this kind of information reliable?
15 A. No. I considered this to be a pure fantasy. First of all, we are
16 not people like that; and secondly, fire is planned and people move
17 about. We never targeted people. Why would we? I mean, somebody was
18 either joking or speaking just off the top of their heads.
19 Q. Now, I'd like to deal with something that you referred to
20 yesterday, too. You talked about the Croat forces in Vukovar; and as you
21 took different parts of Vukovar, and when the combat operations were over,
22 you talked about booby-traps. What are booby-traps, actually, and how do
23 they work?
24 A. Well, the actual combat activities in Vukovar were actually
25 fighting in built-up areas. Fighting in built-up areas is considerably
1 different from fighting in an open space. This is very complex, difficult
2 action, and the outcome is very uncertain.
3 A certain group is established for such actions that would make it
4 possible for them to move up to a particular house or up to a particular
5 street. Sometimes we'd even have to go through a wall in order to avoid a
6 particular area. For example, yards. Yards were mined as a rule. Then
7 gateways, gates were always mined, and entrances, doors to houses.
8 Booby-traps are precisely used in built-up areas. They are supposed to
9 inflict losses and, even more, to have a psychological effect on the other
10 side. Those who want to go that way enter a particular area. So as we
11 went there, we never knew where there would be a booby-trap.
12 You would try to open a door, the doorknob would explode. You
13 tried to entered gate or you tried to turn on the light where there was
14 still electricity at the time, the same thing happens. You lift an
15 object, and they really went to incredible lengths sometimes. Corpses of
16 animals and even human beings were mined. That is contained in many of
17 the records from that period and this, indeed, did happen. That would be
18 it, in the briefest possible terms.
19 Q. Thank you. After combat activities, were there such mines and
20 booby-traps in the centre of Vukovar?
21 A. There were many and for a long time, at that time.
22 Q. Thank you. Now, I would like to move on to something that is not
23 directly related to what happened in Vukovar, but I am convinced that my
24 learned friends from the Prosecution are going to show you these
25 regulations. So I would like to ask you something about that.
1 Actually, it has to do with Exhibit 396, laws of war. Could we
2 please see this on the screen. Article 1 first.
3 Tell me, as we are waiting to see the document, as an officer, are
4 you aware of this rule on the application of international humanitarian
6 A. Yes. And we insisted on that. As a matter of fact, even soldiers
7 got these handbooks that they carried in their pockets that dealt with
8 that subject matter.
9 Q. You're talking about Vukovar when you went to the Vukovar front?
10 I mean, what you said just now?
11 A. Yes. Yes.
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you. Could we see
13 Article 1, please. That's right.
14 Q. These regulations are referred to here and conditions under which
15 it is implemented. I am just going to read this very slowly and could you
16 please just follow it:
17 "The provisions of these instructions contain principles and rules
18 of international law of war in armed -- in an armed conflict of an
19 international nature and prescribe the way in which these regulations are
20 applied ..."
21 Next page, please.
22 "... in the armed forces of the SFRY, as to say the JNA and
23 Territorial Defence, in an armed conflict in which the SFRY takes part."
24 That's Article 1.
25 Now Article 3. The time when this instruction is applied.
1 "The armed forces of the SFRY shall apply these instructions
2 during the period of time in which the SFRY takes part in an armed
3 conflict. Individual provisions of these instructions will be applied
4 even after the cessation of the armed conflicted if so prescribed by these
5 instructions or specifically ordered."
6 Could I see page -- or rather Article 39 stating when the armed
7 conflict starts. Article 39, page 36. Thank you. It says here:
8 "Beginning of armed conflict. If a state or several states carry
9 out an armed attack against the SFRY or declare war on the SFRY, the SFRY
10 shall, from the moment the armed conflict starts or from the moment of
11 declaration of war, be in a state of lawful self-defence and shall resort
12 to force to repel the attack. From that moment onwards, the SFRY and the
13 state or states that committed an armed attack against it are in a state
14 of armed conflict."
15 "For the SFRY, an armed conflict starts also from the moment when
16 its competent authority informs the United Nations, or rather, the other
17 side in the conflict, that the SFRY takes part in collective armed action
18 of the United Nations against an aggressor. From the beginning of the
19 armed conflict, the parties in conflict are duty-bound to apply rules of
20 international law of war."
21 Mr. Panic, does this mean that these rules are applied in an armed
22 conflict, an international conflict, and in the case of aggression against
23 the SFRY?
24 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: They did not have the
1 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, the witness was answering before the
2 matter was even translated to the Prosecution or in English. If this is
3 going to be questions in a legal nature of whether or not this was an
4 international armed conflict, an armed conflict, or whatever type of
5 conflict, that's out of the area of this person who is a fact witness, or
6 a quasi expert on military issues.
7 But if we're getting into issues of the type of conflict that
8 existed and whether or not there were two nations or two states involved,
9 this is outside of his area of observation or expertise.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
11 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I just read what the
12 rules said. The rules that the witness had to be aware of as an officer.
13 And I'm simply asking him whether the rules say that these rules are
14 applied in case of international conflict. As an officer, he had to know
15 that. I think that this question is proper.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, I can help you this much: If you ask
17 him what his understanding of this rule was, you can get that much into
18 evidence. But beyond that, Mr. Weiner's objection is well-founded.
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. What is your understanding of these provisions?
23 A. Just like anybody else analysing this text, I can see that this
24 pertains to an international conflict where there are two states
25 participating as warring sides.
1 Q. Thank you. We are now going to turn to something quite different.
2 Yesterday, you said that in certain -- at a certain time, a commander of
3 the 1st Military District, and even chief of General Staff came to
4 Vukovar, but that you were not part of those events; correct?
5 A. Yes. Based on my position, I wasn't duty-bound, nor was I ordered
6 to attend the meetings where these high officials were, but I saw them
7 when they came.
8 Q. Certainly, you were Chief of Staff of OG South. I believe that's
9 a position high enough, and that that was not the reason for you not being
10 included in various functions held when they arrived; am I right?
11 A. Well, I am not a person who should greet head of the army or chief
12 of General Staff unless my commander is absent. If I am away from the
13 command post doing my task, then naturally, I can't be there.
14 Q. That's exactly what I was going to ask you about. Do you remember
15 where you were and what tasks you had during the visit of these high
17 A. Perhaps it could be traced down in the war diary. I don't
18 remember where I was, but I saw these people. I wasn't part of the
19 delegation they met with. I just had a brief meeting with the commander
20 of the 1st Military District, but not with the chief of the General Staff.
21 Commander of the army, that is to say, commander of the 1st Military
22 District came several times. I was there when he came for the first time.
23 It was then that he defined area of responsibility and OG South and gave
24 specific tasks showing them on the map.
25 Q. That must have been early October.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Now that we are discussing the persons you saw, did you ever see
3 General Aleksandar in Vasiljevic from the 18th to the 21st of November,
5 A. Yes. But I couldn't tell you what day it was. It was in the
6 afternoon or in the evening.
7 Q. Did you see him just once or more than once during this period?
8 A. I know definitely I saw him once, but I wouldn't rule out that he
9 came more than once.
10 Q. Thank you. Yesterday, you told us that you knew that Seselj came
11 to Vukovar once. Do you know whether commander of OG South during the
12 Vukovar operation objected to any political activity in your area of
13 responsibility? Do you know what his position was on the matter?
14 A. Commander Mrksic valued his authority, and if I may be allowed to
15 say so, he was a true commander at the time. I don't want to go into
16 description of his character. But in response to your question, I will
17 tell you that he did not allow anyone to interfere into command, nor did
18 he allow any political influence. The units that were under his command
19 had to carry out the tasks ordered by him. There was no room for any
20 politics or any activity of political parties.
21 Q. Thank you. Based on this, I can put the following question to
22 you: Did any political or party leader come? Could they come during
23 combat operation for a visit? Come to the command, not to the territory
25 A. I remember some situations where there were telephone calls at the
1 command post. People asking for consent, announcing their arrival in the
2 role of advisors; be it retired generals or former soldiers or rather old
3 soldiers from World War II. Be it politicians or people from the
4 government, no one was allowed to come. Commander did not issue his
5 consent for anyone to come to the area of combat operations.
6 Q. Thank you. You mentioned Arkan here. I think you even mentioned
7 Badza Stojcic, did they ever come to the area where your unit was engaged,
8 up until the 20th of November, 1991?
9 A. I knew about Arkan from the media. He had quite a high profile.
10 Not once, except for the day when the cabinet session was held, did he
11 come to our area. Had he tried, he would have been arrested in our area.
12 However, on that day when the cabinet session was held, he was a member of
13 the delegation, together with Goran Hadzic and his ministers and as such,
14 he entered the room. Nobody even knew that he was there until we came to
15 the session.
16 If you have time, I can tell you that he went to the units, and he
17 went behind the units where the discipline was loose and where there was
18 room for him. He stood no chance in our area.
19 As for Badzo Stojcic, I only knew about him later on when he was
20 minister of the Interior, but I can tell you that he never visited our
21 area. I know, however, about some of his activities, previously, where he
22 wanted to become famous by attacking a Silo. And we just thought it was a
23 cheap trick.
24 Q. You mentioned Goran Hadzic and the government, did they ever come
25 to the area under your control before the 20th of November?
1 A. Neither Goran Hadzic nor the government cabinet. They did
2 function, but it was outside of our area. I think that they had their
3 seat in Dalj. It is possible that some of his ministers visited. I think
4 that one of them frequently came to Negoslavci. He might have been called
5 Bogunovic or something like that. I know we had security issues with him
6 and he was a personae non gratae in our area as well and then he left.
7 I know that Major Sljivancanin had security problems with some
8 people. Until that date, they never functioned as a government, and on
9 that date, they showed up and they said: We are the government. We are
10 in power. That's all.
11 Q. Let us go back to the 18th of November, 1991, and the events in
12 Vukovar itself. Can you tell us where you spent that day? You touched
13 upon this yesterday, but can you tell us what tasks you had and where you
14 spent that day.
15 A. In those days, the number of persons from paramilitary formations
16 who had crossed over to our territory increased. They provided important
17 information to us. The number of civilians found by us in shelters and
18 basements also increased. They could have crossed over to our territory
19 from where they were. They could see us. We called them, called out to
20 them, but they were not allowed to do that because paramilitary formations
21 used them as a shield. They used them as a sort of a guarantee that we
22 wouldn't open fire on them.
23 This is what happened during the last days of the Vukovar
24 operation. As the 18th approached, it was quite obvious, there were
25 indications that they would surrender at Mitnica, and given how we
1 liberated some key strongholds of theirs, for example, elementary school,
2 high school, even the water tower itself. I was on the axis leading to
3 Vodotaranj. I left from the barracks together with a group of soldiers
4 and officers. If you need some names, I can give you them.
5 And together with units advancing along that axis towards the
6 water tower, we reached the water tower on the 18th in the afternoon after
7 sporadic fighting. There was no fierce resistance there. We placed that
8 territory under our control. And instead of the checkerboard flag which
9 flew over the water tower -- and that represented a huge problem for us
10 throughout the operation, because from that water tower, they would always
11 fire at our soldiers from a sniper. Water tower was built off solid
12 material and it was a dominant feature in that area. And it was important
13 for us to remove the checkerboard flag and hoist the state flag of
14 Yugoslavia which is what we did. That symbolised the liberation of
15 Vukovar and the fact that the main combat ceased.
16 Below the water tower towards Ovcara, in Mitnica region, a unit of
17 170 men surrendered and we then applied the procedure that was already
18 described here. This was what I have to say in brief.
19 Q. You said that you reached the water tower in the afternoon. Was
20 it still daylight?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. After hoisting the flag, the Yugoslav tri-colour flag on the water
23 tower, where did you personally go?
24 A. I went to the barracks together with the people who were with me,
25 the officers, Savo Cujetinovic, Jovan Susic, Branislav Lukic, and others,
1 Babovic, staff sergeant. We all went to the Vukovar barracks. And as we
2 went back, a huge column of people started following us, people leaving
3 wineries, shelters, basements. All of a sudden these people started
4 following us freely to the barracks, Negoslavci and Velepromet.
5 Q. Thank you. Did you stay long in the barracks or did you change
6 location and go elsewhere that afternoon?
7 A. I didn't stay there long. I was back at the command post before
8 dark. We talked about how to help these people, how to assist them, what
9 advice to give them, so that's what we dealt with, assistance to
11 Q. Thank you. After the barracks, you say you went to the command
13 A. Yes, even though in one of my previous statements, until I saw
14 some footage and some documents -- you know I gave many statements under
15 different circumstances. And with various psychological problems due to
16 my personal situation, I was misled. And I stated in one of the
17 statements that I went on the 18th towards the hospital, but that is
18 absolutely impossible.
19 Later on when I checked documents and the footage, I realised it
20 was impossible. I remember well that going from the water tower towards
21 the hospital, in one of the streets, I came across a Campagnola, a
22 military vehicle. And there was staff sergeant Devic there and also the
23 wounded and captured sergeant Jovic and the soldiers with him. I'm now
24 correcting my statement saying that that was on the 19th of November and
25 not on the 18th. Because on the 19th, while some persons and some units
1 had tasks relating to the hospital, liberation of hospital, and so on, my
2 task and that of other units, was to sweep the terrain looking for
3 remaining paramilitary formations, mines and explosives, as well as giving
4 advice to the people who had suffered for so long as to where they needed
5 to go. That is to say, that on the 19th, I was by the water tower and
6 then on the 19th in the afternoon, I was also at the hospital.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, we will need to break. We will resume
8 at -- we must have a half-hour break because of the redaction. We will
9 resume at five minutes to 1.00.
10 You are watching your time, are you, Mr. Vasic?
11 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I am watching my
12 time. This is a witness who was Chief of Staff so --
13 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ... to finish?
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I expect to finish
15 tomorrow during the course of the first session.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Our inclination is to suggest to you, Mr. Vasic,
17 you should try to finish today. There are two other counsel to deal with
18 this witness. If you would consider that over the break. Thank you.
19 --- Recess taken at 12.25 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 12.58 p.m.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
22 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. Mr. Panic, just before the break, we heard from you that what you
24 said happened on the 18th; namely, your coming to the hospital, that that
25 actually took place on the 19th. On the 18th of November, did you go to
1 the command post in Negoslavci for a briefing?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Do you remember what the topic of the briefing was?
4 A. I'm not sure whether the briefing was attended by all, like until
5 then, the main subject was -- or rather, a task was received from the
6 command of the 1st Military District for the further clean-up of Vukovar,
7 the liberation of the hospital, and taking care of the population.
8 Q. At that meeting, was any reference made to evacuating the
9 hospital, and were tasks related to evacuation handed out?
10 A. The liberation of the hospital was discussed, further activities
11 aimed at liberating the hospital. As for tasks related to evacuation of
12 the hospital, as far as I can remember, they were handed out on the
13 following day.
14 Q. Do you remember that you gave the investigator of the OTP a
15 statement on the 25th and 26th of July and on the 1st of September, 2005?
16 A. Yes. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you. Do you remember that you said in this statement that
18 on the 18th of November, 1991, the briefing held at the command in
19 Negoslavci was where tasks were handed out for the evacuation and that the
20 commander did that?
21 A. Possibly that's what I said. If that's what's written there,
22 that's what I said.
23 Q. Do you have the copies that were handed out yesterday of the
24 statements that you gave?
25 A. I haven't got them here now.
1 MR. WEINER: We have an extra copy or he could use our copy. We
2 have our own. It's also on the e-court system if...
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] The page we need bears the ERN number
4 04618195 in B/C/S; otherwise, that is paragraph 69. I assume that it's
5 paragraph 69 in the English version, too.
6 Q. Have you found it?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Does it say here:
9 "Mrksic also informed us at the command briefing in Negoslavci on
10 the 18th of November, 1991, that Major Sljivancanin was going to be in
11 charge of that is command," it says in brackets, "the evacuation of the
12 Vukovar Hospital on the 19th and the 20th of November, 1991. Mrksic said
13 that Sljivancanin was allowed to use as many military policemen as
14 necessary to escort the prisoners and ensure their safe passage. If I
15 remember correctly, Paunovic's military police battalion (that is the 2nd
16 Military Police Battalion) and a company of armoured combat vehicles of
17 the 1st Military Police Battalion were tasked with escorting the prisoners
18 to Sremska Mitrovica."
19 Do you remember having stated something like that to the
20 investigators of the OTP?
21 A. I remember that I stated that, but I kindly ask -- well, perhaps
22 there are some mistakes in some dates and some formulations.
23 Q. Did you read the statement before you signed it?
24 A. I read it.
25 Q. On page 28. If you don't mind, could you look at page 28? There
1 is an acknowledgment that -- stating that it contains everything you said
2 and that that was stated to the best of your recollection and memory.
3 Do you remember whether such a briefing was held on the 18th of
4 November? Was that correct what you said to the investigators of the OTP?
5 A. The briefing was held. The tasks were given, but I still think it
6 was the 19th. I have a problem with dates, because of my memory. But if
7 possible -- well, it's probably in the war diary, too, noted down in the
8 war diary.
9 Q. Unfortunately, I haven't found it in the war diary.
10 A. Now, I think after having read a series of documents. After
11 refreshing my memory of these events, I think that these tasks were handed
12 out on the 19th. Because I had this mistake, I had this misconception in
13 terms of going to the hospital. It wasn't on the 18th. It was on the
14 19th, and there is material evidence of that.
15 Q. Could you please be so kind as to look at paragraph 66 of that
16 same statement of yours. It's at the end of the previous page. Over
17 here, you are saying who attended the session -- no, not the session, who
18 attended the briefing in Negoslavci. Here you say, "On the 18th of
19 November, 1991," now that you say perhaps it's the 19th.
20 Tell me, I'll read it out and you will tell me whether you
22 "I first heard of the evacuation of the Vukovar Hospital," here it
23 says "on the 18th he have November, 1991, at the daily command briefing of
24 the OG South command in Negoslavci. I believe the following persons were
25 in attendance: Colonel Mrksic, Mile; Major Veselin Sljivancanin; Major
1 Borivoje Tesic, the commander of the 1st Assault Detachment; Major Lukic,
2 commander of the 2nd Assault Detachment; Major Milorad Stupar, commander
3 of the 3rd Assault Detachment; Captain First Class Jovan Susic, commander
4 of the 1st Military Police Battalion; Captain First Class Radoje Paunovic,
5 commander of the 2nd Military Police Battalion; Colonel Milorad Vojnovic,
6 commander of the 80th Motorised Brigade, and so on."
7 Are these the attendees on the 19th of November as you say now?
8 A. Allow me to correct myself, the 19th. And in addition to these
9 people, the assistant commanders were there as well. I could give their
10 names, too.
11 Q. Go ahead.
12 A. Logistics assistant Borisa Jurcic; assistant for Morale, Marko
13 Maric; then -- well, there. I know for sure about the two of them.
14 Q. Bearing in mind what you've said, Mr. Panic, it seems that you
15 have less problems with people and more problems with dates.
16 A. Yes, with dates.
17 Q. Thank you. Did you state at that time to the investigators of the
18 OTP -- please look at paragraph 72 -- I quote:
19 "It was unusual for a security officer to be given responsibility
20 for an evacuation operation. However, I assume Mrksic appointed Major
21 Sljivancanin because of the important role of the security organ in that
22 operation. Sljivancanin was not responsible only for the selection of
23 prisoners; he commanded the entire evacuation of people to Sremska
24 Mitrovica. This implied that Sljivancanin was able to issue orders to the
25 military police or any other unit participating in the operation."
1 Do you remember whether this is what you stated to the
2 investigators of the OTP?
3 A. Well, I stated this but, let me tell you, when one reads this
4 statement of mine, the questions are not there. It's not that I am
5 looking for any kind of excuse now, but only if you were to compare
6 questions and answers could you perhaps get the right picture, the real
7 picture. I think that here, perhaps I spoke in haste, or perhaps I was
8 led in terms of phrasing this answer. However, it is a fact that Major
9 Sljivancanin was given the task of selecting -- well, not only he, but
10 with his organs, Dr. Vesna Bosanac, the staff of the hospital, the organs
11 from the security administration who came, to separate combatants from
13 It says here that he is responsible for this group that is
14 supposed to go to Sremska Mitrovica.
15 Q. Thank you. Tell me, what was this important role of the security
16 organs that you referred to here?
17 A. Well, he had the task since, according to the information we had
18 received, there were armed people in the hospital, too; that there were
19 many members of the paramilitary formations there who did not want to
20 surrender their weapons on the 18th, when that group from Mitnica
21 surrendered. Because this formation from Mitnica far more numerous, a
22 number came out and surrendered. That is one direction of movement. The
23 other direction of movement of their combatants was towards the hospital.
24 They entered the hospital and they tried to disguise themselves. We had
25 that information and that was very important to carry out this selection
1 then in terms of combatants and non-combatants. That makes the role of
2 the security organs so important.
3 Q. Is it because of that important role that the security
4 administration sent its own team separately to carry out the triage of
5 prisoners and the sending out of prisoners of war in the 1st Military
6 District, or rather, the security department of the 1st Military
7 District? Did they send their own people, then, to carry out this
8 selection and triage?
9 A. Precisely, because this is a difficult responsible complex task,
10 we did not have enough professional people to carry this out properly. So
11 the security administration deemed it necessary to send people, and a
12 group like that arrived. Most of them were experienced people with the
13 rank of colonel.
14 Q. Thank you. Do you know whether, at the time of the evacuations in
15 Vukovar, the ones that you mentioned, including this evacuation of the
16 hospital, do you know that the command of the 1st Military District set up
17 some commission that was following the course of these evacuations and
18 sending reports to the command of the 1st Military District in terms of
19 how the evacuations were taking place?
20 A. Yes. I know that, and there are documents following that
22 Q. For a moment, I'd like to go back to documents related to the
23 evacuation, or rather, orders. Yesterday, you said that you did not see
24 any written documents. There is this one that was shown to you by the
25 investigators of the OTP. I'm going to ask you now; this is the document,
1 or rather, the order. It is Exhibit 415. It's strictly confidential
2 document 161482/81, and you have it as number 43. Please take a look in
3 the statement that you gave to the OTP; it is paragraph 43.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Thank you. In this document, in paragraph 1 it says that
6 Operations Group South is going to carry out detailed full preparations;
7 and in concert with Technical Group North during the course of the morning
8 on the 19th of November, take the hospital MUP and clean the liberated
9 parts of town from remaining Ustasha groups. This is the only order that
10 actually authorises Operations Group South, that after the 18th of
11 November or rather on the 19th, they cross the Vuka River and go to the
12 hospital; is that right?
13 A. Yes. The hospital was outside our area of responsibility. Up
14 until the 18th, no one had crossed the Vuka River. The task that we got
15 was for the 19th to liberate the hospital. Until 1000 hours, we carried
16 out task at 11.00, and there are written documents confirming that.
17 Q. Thank you. Bearing in mind these provisions and the evacuation of
18 the hospital, does it not seem to you that there must have been a written
19 order of the command of the 1st Military District. And that its number
20 should be 161482/82?
21 A. Yes. Triage selection and evacuation of the hospital is a serious
22 task. The 1st Military District was supposed to take active part in this
23 and spell out in its own order the duties of individual persons and
25 Q. Bearing in mind that considerable logistics were involved, Jelko
1 Crmaric was there, assistant commander for logistics of the 1st Military
2 District. Do you remember that perhaps there was such an order there at
3 the time and now at least I did not manage to find it.
4 A. It's possible that among those documents, there was one. I
5 believe there was one. And how come it has gone, I don't know. I know
6 that Jelko Crmaric, now that you mention him. He also came to our command
7 post as logistics officer. He had duties and tasks to support, first of
8 all, the transportation, or rather, the logistical part of this activity.
9 Q. Due to the fact that we're running out of time, let me try it this
10 way: Would you please look at paragraph 43 of Exhibit 415. OTP
11 investigators asked you about paragraph 5 and paragraph 8, which is
12 resolute prevention of non-military conduct and wilful conduct by certain
13 local TO units.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. You said that, "This was not consistent with the situation in our
16 zone of responsibility. They probably referred to TO units in the zone of
17 responsibility of OG north, not the TO detachment Leva Supoderica of
18 Petrova Gora. We understood this order as a warning by the 1st Military
19 District commander, who wanted to draw our attention to the matter and
20 prevent the occurrence of similar incidents involving local Serbian TO
21 members in our zone of responsibility. I believe that Colonel Mile
22 Mrksic, as a result of this order by the 1st Military District, issued a
23 similar order to our subordinated units asking them to prevent in our area
24 of responsibility the occurrence of such incidents as described in
25 paragraphs 5 and 8."
1 Did you state this to the OTP investigators, and is this true?
2 A. Yes, and a brief comment. The 1st Military District wrote an
3 order of this nature based on the information in some other units.
4 However, it is a regular practice that if something happens elsewhere,
5 other units are warned of this as well. And this is why this order was
6 sent to us. You can see, based on this order, to whom it was forwarded,
7 which is not to say that events described here occurred in all of these
9 Q. Thank you. Now, please tell me in relation to this evacuation,
10 and this is something you said to Mr. Lukic yesterday. You had no
11 knowledge of the Zagreb Agreement at the time in November of 1991. While
12 you were in Vukovar, you didn't know that there were negotiations held in
13 Zagreb or what the outcome was; correct?
14 A. Yes. I knew that there were constantly some negotiations held,
15 that there were contacts. General Raseta was in Zagreb, so there was
16 constantly something going on on the diplomatic scene. Frequently, we
17 received orders on cessation of hostilities which we abided by. But the
18 opposing side would very soon violate them. Based on that, I know that
19 the negotiations activity was quite intense, but I didn't know about the
21 When preparing for this testimony, I learned that there was such a
22 document, but I didn't know it at the time.
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could we please see Exhibit 419 now,
24 which is dated 19th of November, order of the command of OG South. Could
25 we please zoom in on the first portion.
1 Q. Mr. Panic, can you see this? This is dated the 20th of November,
2 439-11, strictly confidential, regulation of daily activities.
3 Could we see the second paragraph:
4 "In parallel with this, conduct evacuation and transport of
5 civilian population, the wounded, and sick from the hospital in Vukovar."
6 Is that what it says there, and would you agree with me that no
7 crime suspects are mentioned here nobody suspected of committing war
8 crimes participating in armed rebellion is mentioned here. Would you
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Thus, by means of this document, a commander of OG South orders
12 the following persons be evacuated.
13 Would you please look at paragraph, above item, 4 which begins
14 with the words: "Town commanders."
15 "Town commanders in area of responsibility of OG South shall take
16 all measures necessary for full functioning of military authority in
17 accordance with the order strictly confidential number 349-1 dated 9th of
18 November, 1991."
19 Is this a warning of the commander to town commanders, asking that
20 they ensure everything necessary for the functioning of military
21 authorities and protection of persons and property in their area of
23 A. Yes. This was one of the written orders, in addition to numerous
24 verbal orders, that accompanied any contact with subordinate formations.
25 Q. Thank you. Now let us turn to the portion concerning the Mitnica
1 group. You said that they surrendered, that they were taken to Ovcara,
2 where they were guarded by the military police of the 80th Motorised
3 Brigade. Do you know whether the command of OG South, Colonel Mrksic,
4 ordered commander of the 80th Motorised Brigade, before the 18th of
5 November, to locate in his area of responsibility an appropriate facility
6 where a temporary detention centre could be established for prisoners of
8 A. As the surrender was expected, there were proper preparations and
9 the command of the 80th received such an order.
10 Q. Did the commander of the 80th inform, then, the commander of OG
11 South that he had found a hangar at Ovcara, that it was in pretty good
12 shape, and that prisoners could be kept there for a brief period of time?
13 A. Yes. And that's how the task was implemented.
14 Q. Do you know when this group of prisoners of war went to Mitnica
15 from Sremska Mitrovica? Did the military police of OG South provide
16 security to this convoy, or was it the representatives of prison in
17 Sremska Mitrovica, those who came to take over prisoners of war. Did they
18 come to your sector, or rather, to the sector of the 80th Brigade?
19 A. The military police of the 80th Brigade provided security,
20 provided guards for the hangar. As far as I know, that convoy was
21 escorted by the police of OG South, that is to say, the Guards Brigade, as
22 far as I'm aware.
23 Q. Before the convoy from Ovcara set out, did the representatives of
24 the prison in Sremska Mitrovica come or not? Do you know about that?
25 A. No, I don't know.
1 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could we now see Exhibit
2 442, please, which is an order from the same period of time, the 19th of
3 November, of the command of the 1st Military District, strictly
4 confidential, 2346-2, signed by Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Stojanovic.
5 And it has to do with the prisoners of war and a ban on the exchange of
6 the captured members of armed forces of SFRY for the captured members of
7 Croatian forces.
8 Q. Are you familiar with this order?
9 A. Yes. This was sent to me and to the security organ.
10 Q. So this would indicate that the decisions on the exchange of
11 prisoners of war fell under the competence of the commander of the 1st
12 Military District, if I'm not mistaken.
13 A. Yes, at the time.
14 Q. The 19th of November, please tell us. You tell us that you went
15 to the briefing in the evening; you told us all about it. Can you tell
16 us, in the course of the day, what were your movements, but briefly?
17 A. Which date?
18 Q. The 19th of November, 1991.
19 A. The 19th of November was the day when we continued clearing the
20 terrain from the remaining groups of paramilitary formations in the
21 territory of Vukovar. In addition to that, the hospital was liberated. I
22 myself, was in the central part of Vukovar on the axis Negoslavci, the
23 barracks, water tower. I was together with the commanders on that axis.
24 Q. How long did you stay there? When did you reach the hospital?
25 A. That lasted until the afternoon hours, that is to say, it was
1 until daylight. I can't give you the exact hour.
2 Q. You told us, yesterday, whom you found in front of the hospital.
3 Did you enter the hospital?
4 A. Yes, I did.
5 Q. Who did you enter the hospital with, and which rooms did you
7 A. I entered with two officers. I believe that one was Stanko
8 Mijatovic, and the other one was either Susic or Tesic. I can't be sure.
9 Perhaps they remember. We saw several rooms in the hospital, and we saw
10 that all spaces were used up.
11 The hospital adapted its work to the wartime conditions. They had
12 improvised beds. The fact is that the hospital was completely full. They
13 had some lighting; I think it was powered by a generator. The light was
14 dimmed. And if I were to describe those who were lying, I can tell you
15 straight away that I realised that they were not patients.
16 Q. Did you see Vesna Bosanac before you entered the hospital or
18 A. She stood at the entrance to the hospital with some other doctors.
19 There were people there with the Red Cross symbols; and Major Sljivancanin
20 was there, and some other officers of ours whose names I couldn't really
21 give you now.
22 Q. When you saw Mrs. Bosanac, had she already completed her
23 conversation with Colonel Mrksic on not?
24 A. I think that she had already had contact with Colonel Mrksic, but
25 he would be better placed to tell you that or other people who were
1 involved in that.
2 Q. We heard that from her, too. But I'd like to know who told you
3 that she had already seen Mrksic, or did you learn about this later?
4 A. I learned about this later, upon my return to the command post. I
5 learned that she had gone there and that she had a conversation.
6 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please, how long did you stay there at the
7 hospital, and where did you go after that?
8 A. I stayed at the hospital for half an hour, at the most, maybe less
9 than that; and then I went back to Negoslavci to the command post.
10 Q. I suppose that after that, you attended the briefing that you
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Please tell us, until the 19th, when that briefing took place,
14 until what time did you stay at the command post?
15 A. I think that on the 19th, I was at the command post, throughout,
16 the whole time after the briefing.
17 Q. Do you remember until what time?
18 A. Continuously until the following day, until the following tasks
19 were issued.
20 Q. Do you remember when you went to bed, if you remember, roughly?
21 A. I don't remember. Probably later at night. Sometimes we even
22 didn't sleep. It's been too long a time for me to remember that.
23 Q. Do you remember whether this group of officers from the security
24 administration, the colonels and others that you mentioned, arrived at the
1 A. Yes. I remember that they arrived, but I didn't meet them and I
2 didn't know any of them. It was only later that I saw and learned of some
3 of them, such as Bogdan Vujic, Kijanovic, and so on.
4 Q. Yes. But you didn't see them personally at the command that
6 A. No.
7 Q. Thank you. On the following day, the 20th of November, when did
8 you leave the command in Negoslavci, and where did you go to?
9 A. I think that it was around 8.00. I went to Negoslavci because we
10 had sent off a group to Belgrade from the command post. I went to the
11 barracks, and I've already told you about this. Some other assistants of
12 commanders and I had to do something; and later on, Major Sljivancanin got
13 involved, too. Our job was to organise a press conference; that is to say
14 that that morning I went to the barracks.
15 Q. Was Susic, commander of the 1st Battalion of the military police,
16 present there at the barracks when you came?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Tell me, please, how long did you stay in the barracks on that
19 occasion when you came in the morning?
20 A. I stayed in the barracks -- no, there is a mistake here. I have
21 to make a correction. I really have a problem with the dates, times.
22 There are much too many details, so please allow me to make a correction.
23 Q. Please, go ahead.
24 A. On that day -- it wasn't on that day that the delegation left for
25 Belgrade; that was on the 20th. The --, or rather, that was the 20th and
1 the delegation left on the 21st. I received an order by telephone from
2 Colonel Mrksic. I was told to go attend a cabinet session, and that was
3 sometime 9.30 or 10.00, as far as I can remember. So it was in the
5 Later on, I explained it here. That was the 20th.
6 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 Your Honours, I spoke to Mr. Borovic and he said that he needed
8 ten to 15 minutes. I would require additional half an hour to conclude my
9 cross-examination, by your leave.
10 [Trial Chamber confers].
11 MR. WEINER: Your Honour.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Weiner.
13 MR. WEINER: We have no objection. It's an important witness. On
14 behalf of the Prosecution, we're not asking for any restriction.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Between you and Mr. Borovic, the first half of the
16 first session tomorrow.
17 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Could I indicate, as we rise, that at a convenient
19 time, if not earlier at the end of the evidence of this witness, the
20 Chamber would like to receive very brief submissions as to the time
21 parties would need for their final written submissions, and the time when
22 they would be ready, the time that can be expected. With respect to oral
23 submissions, the time that the parties would be ready for those and how
24 long would be asked.
25 These, I think, should be prepared on the anticipation that we
1 will finish Mr. Lukic's case in the time he has estimated, that is by the
2 6th of December. It's a question of how we set a programme up after that,
3 because we've now seen enough of Mr. Lukic's case to get an idea of the
4 time. And it's in light of that that we will be able to look at the
5 question of when we should sit and when we should not be sitting over the
6 Christmas period.
7 We will adjourn now until tomorrow at 9.00.
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m.,
9 to be reconvened on Friday, the 10th day of
10 November, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.