1 Friday, 10 November 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.10 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. My apology that another matter
7 delayed me some minutes this morning.
8 May I remind you of the affirmation that you made at the beginning
9 of your evidence which still applies.
10 WITNESS: MIODRAG PANIC [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
13 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour. Good
14 morning to everyone in the courtroom.
15 Examination by Mr. Vasic: [Continued]
16 Q. Good morning, Mr. Panic.
17 A. Good morning.
18 Q. We shall continue where we left off yesterday. When asked my Mr.
19 Lukic in the course of your testimony, you said that on the 20th of
20 November, 1991, you came to the barracks and that before being told to
21 call Colonel Mrksic, you found there one bus and some local people moving
22 around the bus; correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Did you state this for the first time only in 2005 and did you
25 fail to mention this in your previous statements in 1998, 2001, and 2003?
1 A. I think that I did mention it.
2 Q. I'll try to put to you the statement you gave to the military
3 court and to the investigative judge in Novi Sad in 2003. Do you have the
4 set of documents with you, the one you received yesterday?
5 A. No.
6 Q. I will read it and then if you can follow it. Would you please
7 find the statement you gave to the military court, the one you gave in
8 1998, on the 28th of December.
9 A. It's not here. I have the war diary here.
10 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could I ask the usher to help the
12 Q. Do you recognise this statement, Mr. Panic?
13 A. Yes, this is the statement given to the military court, my first
15 Q. Please look at the last page in the statement. Second
16 paragraph -- first you say how you went back to the barracks, you called
17 Mrksic, and you informed him. That's the first paragraph. And then the
18 second paragraph says: "Afterwards, regarding those found at the
19 hospital, our unit and command did not make any decision nor take any
20 action. Upon my arrival to the barracks, I found one bus with those from
21 the hospital inside."
22 So you say here that you found this bus there upon your return
23 from the cabinet session; correct?
24 A. Yes, that is so, and that is a mistake.
25 Q. Now let us look at this statement you gave to the investigative
1 judge of the special court in Novi Sad.
2 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please provide the
3 witness with a copy of this statement as well.
4 Q. Mr. Panic, is this the statement you gave to the investigative
5 judge in Novi Sad in 2003?
6 A. Most likely it is so. This is the first time I see this
7 statement, though. The signature is mine.
8 Q. Would you please turn to page 3. Does it say in the penultimate
9 paragraph as follows: "I repeat, that upon my return to the barracks, I
10 saw only one bus with the prisoners. I did not see other buses."
11 Do you also state here that it was upon your return to the
13 A. This is also a mistake. There was a confusion. I had occasion to
14 refresh my memory, to organise my recollections, and it was then that I
15 gave the statement to the investigators where certain things are stated in
16 more precise terms.
17 Q. So as you told us, you organised your recollections before 2005
18 when you talked to the investigators?
19 A. Well, I had to review some of the documents that I received. I
20 worked on it. I prepared myself. Then I clarified certain dates, and as
21 I told you, I still have a problem with some dates because it's been a
22 long time.
23 Q. Well, yes, you told us, but this doesn't involve dates. It
24 involves one day. Can you confirm to us, please, that what you stated
25 here was that upon your return from the cabinet session, you found two to
1 three buses in the compound of the barracks? And this is something that
2 you never mentioned before up until 2005; correct?
3 A. Well let me conclude. I stand by the following: Upon my first --
4 or rather, when I was at the barracks up until 9.30, I saw only one bus in
5 the compound. Upon my return from the cabinet session, I found there two
6 to three buses. This is my final position.
7 Q. Tell me, please, was that only in 2005 that you adopted this final
8 position and that your position previously was quite different?
9 A. Well, if that's what it says there, then that's right.
10 Q. Would it change anything in your recollections or in your memories
11 if I were to tell you that most of the OTP witnesses who were heard here
12 and who were transported in these buses from the hospital to the barracks,
13 and later on to Ovcara, testified that all five to six buses drove
14 simultaneously in a convoy, that they arrived simultaneously at the
15 barracks and at the other place. Would that refresh your memory, and
16 would that affect your position concerning what you saw?
17 A. No. I can tell you that they could have established a convoy only
18 in the barracks and under the escort of military police sent to Ovcara.
19 That was the only possibility, so I accept that there was a convoy, that
20 there was a column, and I accept that because I, myself, saw a column of
21 buses returning from Ovcara.
22 Q. Were they lined up in a column at the barracks as well?
23 A. I didn't see a column. First I saw just one bus then I went about
24 my business and then when I returned after the cabinet session, I saw two
25 to three buses. If three buses make a column, which actually they do,
1 even two buses can make a column.
2 Q. Let me put to you -- or rather, I'm not going to put to you what
3 the OTP witnesses stated. This is something that's up to the Judges to
4 rule upon. Tell me this, when you called Colonel Mrksic from the
5 barracks, what time was it when you received a message to call him?
6 A. I think it was around 10.30.
7 Q. Very well. And you told us that you told him about a topic
8 possibly discussed at the cabinet session and you conveyed to us what his
9 response was; correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. If I were to tell you that government representatives, at that
12 time, at 10.30, had not yet even arrived in Vukovar, would you please tell
13 me how come you heard that there would be a cabinet session and what would
14 be discussed there?
15 A. I can tell you, yes, I heard that from the people who were milling
16 around the buses. Their comment was: These people from the buses will
17 not be transported to Mitrovica, rather, today, at the cabinet session, it
18 will be decided that it is this government that will try them. How come
19 they knew that, I don't know. Probably somebody had informed them, and
20 that meant quite a lot to me.
21 Q. And who were those people, Mr. Panic?
22 A. People from the local TO.
23 Q. What role did they have in the local TO?
24 A. I don't know if they had a position there, but they were milling
25 around the buses.
1 Q. Where did you get the idea that some random people who were
2 members of the TO and who were milling about there had contacts with the
3 cabinet that had not previously existed in that territory?
4 A. That surprised me too, and that's why I had to inform my
6 Q. Tell me, please, would you agree with me that this statement of
7 yours, that on that occasion, you told the commander about what the
8 possible topic of the cabinet session would be is something that you
9 didn't state until 2003. You just -- prior to that, you just said that
10 you called them after the session.
11 A. It is possible. Now, you have to take into account the context,
12 my mental state, the questions that were put to me. You also have to take
13 into account that it's been a long time since these events took place so
14 it's possible.
15 Q. So we could agree, couldn't we, that in 1998, in the military
16 court, and then 2001, when giving a statement to the security organ, you
17 said that it wasn't until the end of the cabinet session that you informed
18 Colonel Mrksic about the conclusion and the course of the meeting but that
19 you did not inform him before the cabinet session about the topic that
20 would be discussed?
21 A. Yes, I certainly informed him about the conclusions of the cabinet
22 session after the session was concluded because I certainly couldn't do
23 that prior to that.
24 Q. Would you please tell me, how long did that cabinet session last,
25 and when did you call Colonel Mrksic following that?
1 A. The cabinet session had already started, and it was in progress
2 for at least a half an hour when I arrived. My presence at the cabinet
3 session also took some 30 minutes. I think that in total, the session
4 took one hour.
5 Q. And when was the earliest that you could have called Colonel
6 Mrksic from the barracks?
7 A. Well, that could have been at around 11.00 or 11.15, if the
8 session started at 10.00. If it started at 11.00, which is also a
9 possibility, then after an hour and 15 minutes.
10 Q. Mr. Panic, it is my client's position that prior to the cabinet
11 session, he did not give you any guidance about accepting government
12 conclusions and that you did not discuss this before the session. Another
13 witness testified about this. The reference is --
14 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters didn't hear the page numbers.
15 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Do you stand by your position that you discussed this with him
17 before the session or was it the case that you discussed this with him
18 only after the session had concluded?
19 I apologise to the interpreters, I am speeding a bit due to the
20 time limit. The references are 11950 and 11951.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I have to object before the question.
22 Is it the position of Mr. Vasic that in -- on these pages, this witness
23 claims that he did not speak to Mrksic. I personally didn't hear this
24 from any witness. So I'd like to clarify what is it that Mr. Vasic claims
25 that the other witness had stated, if he's putting this to this witness.
1 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] No, I'm not putting this to this
2 witness. I gave this page references for the benefit of the Court. I
3 simply said that this page reference pertains to the position of Mr.
4 Mrksic concerning the government request. That portion was not recorded
5 in the transcript, due to the speed with which I am saying this.
6 So this is the position of Mr. Mrksic.
7 Q. It is his position that you spoke about the conclusions only after
8 the session had concluded.
9 A. And I am reiterating what I said, both before the session and
10 after the session. And would you please explain to me how can a
11 subordinate officer attend such an important session without receiving
12 prior to that some guidance and instructions.
13 Q. You went to that gathering to represent the commander and to
14 convey his greetings?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. You did not receive any authorisation with respect to the contents
17 of the meeting but you abide by your statement?
18 A. Well, regretfully, I have to say that this is the truth.
19 Q. Well, I'm putting to you that your memory is not quite good with
20 respect to this or that the facts you are putting forward did not take
21 place because, on the 20th of November, 1991, the cabinet session began
22 either at 1000 or 1100 hours, as you say, so you couldn't have called the
23 commander around that time. It started at 1400 hours and lasted until
24 1500 hours. What do you say to this?
25 A. I allow for the possibility that I may have forgotten the time. I
1 allow for the possibility I might forget the date of my birthday, but I
2 cannot forget any of the events that happened at that time because they
3 were so portentous, they were so momentous. We did everything to the best
4 of our ability and yet we are overshadowed now by what happened and this
5 will follow us for the rest of our lives.
6 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Can we see MFI 269, the video clip
7 that my colleague, Mr. Lukic, showed the witness. This is Velepromet.
8 [Videotape played]
9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Mr. Panic, would you agree with me that we can see the arrival of
11 Mr. Hadzic and Arkan to Velepromet?
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Objection.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Vasic should first ask Mr. Panic
15 whether he was there and then if he was, to answer the question;
16 otherwise, this calls for speculation.
17 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Panic will tell us if he wasn't
19 JUDGE PARKER: He already has, Mr. Vasic. He said he arrived
20 partway through the meeting. He thought perhaps half an hour after it had
22 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 Q. Mr. Panic, were you on the premises of Velepromet at the time that
24 this clip was taken?
25 A. This can only have been taken after the cabinet session and I will
1 support this by the following: Towards the end of the cabinet session,
2 Goran Hadzic announced that he would tour the town of Vukovar. So this
3 can only be a video of their departure, not their arrival. But it's not
4 really that important, in my view, whether it was 1300 hours or 1500
5 hours. What is important is that the session was held and the decisions
6 that were taken.
7 Q. Very well, Mr. Panic. We will not view the video any further.
8 But Your Honours, I believe this is still MFI, this video. Or has
9 it been admitted into evidence? Oh, it has, all right. Thank you.
10 We will not view the video any further, but I will put to you the
11 following: Another witness who was in the yard of Velepromet and at the
12 cabinet session that day says it began about 1.00 p.m. Are you still
13 saying it was in the morning?
14 A. Yes, it was certainly earlier than that.
15 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] For the Court, it's 4697 of the
17 Q. If I tell you that a witness says you were in the Velepromet yard
18 when the members of the cabinet arrived, do you still abide by your
19 statement or does that jog your memory?
20 A. Well, excuse me for being so direct, but I would say that this
21 witness is evading the truth.
22 Q. That's 4703. If I tell you that you did not carry a notepad with
23 you when you went to the cabinet session but that you took with you a
24 notebook and file and a folder and this was also stated by a witness?
25 A. I have no comment. I abide by my statement.
1 Q. That's 4562, line 18. Very well, Mr. Panic. If I tell you that
2 some witnesses who are members of the cabinet told us that there was an
3 informal meeting that day which began at 1400 hours at Velepromet and that
4 no decision was taken there on handing over the prisoners. Those are
5 Exhibits 387, pages 3145 to 3148; Exhibit 388, pages 3172 to 3191; Exhibit
6 389, pages 2507 and 2508, 2536 and 2537; and Exhibit 390, pages 3056 to
8 What would you say to that? First of all, that it was not a
9 session; secondly, that it began at 2.00 p.m.; and thirdly, that no
10 decisions were made on handing over war prisoners?
11 A. Well, the witness probably had some sort of interest, or
12 witnesses, because they obviously circumvented the truth. I know where I
13 was, and I know what I heard.
14 Q. What would you say if I put to you that with respect to the
15 notebook that you showed here, you wrote those notes only later, whereas
16 when you attended the cabinet session, you had a notebook with you in
17 which you entered maybe official information about what was happening.
18 A. Do I look like that sort of man to you? I have handed over a
19 piece of material evidence. All I had was this little notepad in my
21 Q. Why didn't you note down the conclusions of the session in that
22 little notepad, since you made notes in it?
23 A. I couldn't enter those conclusions so fast. I committed them to
24 memory. What mattered to me at that time, and I didn't even have the
25 patience to write it down, was that I couldn't understand the desire to
1 make such a decision and that they wanted not only to put those people on
2 trial, but also to bring back those who were already in Mitrovica. I
3 simply remember that. It is engraved in my memory and will stay there for
4 the rest of my life.
5 Q. You didn't note down that they decided the prison would be at
6 Ovcara. You didn't note down what you said at that session; is that
8 A. No, that wasn't noted down. In that little notepad, I noted down
9 only what I submitted to the Court.
10 Q. You didn't note down what Colonel Vujic said, did you?
11 A. No. I would have needed quite a lot of time to write that down.
12 I didn't have time to take notes.
13 Q. How long did it take you to make those notes?
14 A. Well, as each minister or each participant in the discussion took
15 the floor, without even knowing who they were, I just managed to note down
16 a little bit.
17 Q. If this was so, what sort of handover was it? Who was supposed to
18 hand them over? Was it you? Were you given the task of handing them
20 A. No, I wasn't, nor was I authorised to do so.
21 Q. Well, who was tasked with handing over those people to the
22 civilian authorities?
23 A. Well, that's the problem. That's the issue that has to be proved.
24 Q. Do you know this?
25 A. No, I don't. But when this becomes evident, then the truth will
1 be known about these events.
2 Q. Could there be a pause between question and answer.
3 A. There was supposed to be no handover to anyone by our command.
4 They were supposed to be screened, selected. The combatants were supposed
5 to be separated off from the non-combatants, the patients, and the
6 wounded, and they were to be transported to Sremska Mitrovica. Nowhere
7 was anything said, by anyone, in anyone's presence, at the command post in
8 the barracks, or anywhere else in the area at that time about their
9 handing over to the civilian authorities. The problem of who handed them
10 over is something that has to be proved and when this is proved, it will
11 be easier to arrive at the truth about this case.
12 Q. Well, at that time, you didn't even know who handed them over, who
13 was supposed to hand them over where or when this was supposed to take
15 A. No, I know only what I heard at the cabinet session, that they
16 would put them on trial and that the prison would be at Ovcara. Who
17 solved the technical issues, I don't know.
18 Q. Do you know if they were solved at all? Did you ever see a
19 document to this effect?
20 A. No. No document was ever drawn up, nor did I ever see one.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, for counsel.
22 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Yes, the interpreters can hear. Thank
24 Q. What was the purpose of the notes you took in that little notepad?
25 A. They were for my personal use, to be able to inform my commander
1 if there was discussion of this, so I could give him specific details, and
2 unfortunately, now it's being used to prove the truth.
3 Q. If I tell you that a witness said that when you entered the
4 cabinet session, you did not sit down, that you did not speak, but that
5 the members of the cabinet immediately gathered around you and that the
6 meeting was over - that's 4563 for the Court - what would you say to that?
7 A. I would say that there was some ulterior motive behind saying
9 Q. If I tell you that an officer who attended the cabinet session,
10 whom you say you only met later on, told you on the 19th of November,
11 before the cabinet session, or rather not told you --
12 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, "But met you".
13 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Did you meet and get to know this man on the 19th?
15 A. Well, it's possible that he saw me. It's possible that he knew
16 who I was. I was the Chief of Staff and I moved around quite a lot. If
17 he was at the command post at any time, he could have seen me there, but I
18 only got to know him later, later on. Even at that time, I did not know
19 his name.
20 Q. In your notepad, why doesn't it say what Goran Hadzic said, or
21 didn't he speak at the cabinet session?
22 A. I didn't note down what Goran Hadzic said because I know him and
23 logically, if he was the prime minister, he chaired the session and of
24 course he spoke. We have video clips and we saw yesterday what he said.
25 Q. If I tell you that, with respect to the cabinet session, in a
1 previous case, he stated the following -- that's in the Dokmanovic case,
2 page 3123.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] As the witness testimony is being put
5 from the other trial, I would not wish the transcript to be read out.
6 Could the counsel give him the gist, because this is in line with the
7 decision that was taken by the Chamber, not that I object really to having
8 the transcript read out, but it's a matter of principle.
9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Well, it's the point that's important,
10 not the wording.
11 Q. If he said at the meeting, "That prisoners of war are an issue for
12 the JNA, that the JNA does not recognise their civilian courts and that
13 civilian courts have no jurisdiction over these cases" and that that was
14 all that was said about prisoners of war, do you remember this from the
15 cabinet session?
16 A. These were not my words. Bogdan Vujic might have said that,
17 Colonel Vujic.
18 Q. What I just paraphrased to you were the words of Goran Hadzic
19 about this being uttered by some colonel or something like that?
20 A. Well, Goran Hadzic probably said that to protect himself.
21 Q. And you mentioned an interview that he gave. When they asked him
22 about the interview that you mention here that we saw on videotape here,
23 he said, [In English] "Only for the purposes of the political marketing
24 and in order to promote the government which did not have support among
25 the people, and, if you noticed, my conclusion in the latter part was to
1 ease the tensions and to have some kind of normalisation and to let people
2 go, and I tried to prevent a possible euphoria among the people and I
3 called up upon all to act with reserve."
4 [Interpretation] So this is reference 3019 from the same
5 transcript, Dokmanovic case.
6 Do you believe -- 3109 is the transcript reference. Would you
7 agree that this was a political position?
8 A. Yes, it was a political position, but he adapted it to the needs
9 of his defence.
10 Q. In the Ovcara case, in the Belgrade Ovcara case, on page 40 of
11 B/C/S version, you said that the delegation of your unit went to see the
12 Federal Secretary of National Defence in the morning on the 21st of
13 November and that they went in a helicopter, one helicopter.
14 A. I remember that. I remember I stated that and I can reiterate it
15 now. Our delegation, which was supposed to meet with the Federal
16 Secretary for National Defence, Army General Kadijevic, went on the 21st
17 in the morning, I think it was around 8.00.
18 Q. You said that they went in one helicopter to Belgrade.
19 A. I may have said that. Most likely they flew in a helicopter. I
20 can't remember now, but if I said helicopter, then that's how it must be.
21 Q. On that same statement, on page 58, did you state that that
22 morning, the 21st of November, 1991, you signed an order on
23 resubordinating these units, as deputy commander, in the absence of Mr.
24 Mrksic. Did you state that? Do you remember that?
25 A. Yes, there is a document concerning that and I signed it.
1 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could we now please see Exhibit 422.
2 Q. Is this the document?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. I am putting to you Mr. Mrksic's position, that he wasn't in the
5 helicopter which went on the 21st to Belgrade with the delegation, but
6 rather that Major Tesic was in that helicopter and Mr. Mrksic had gone to
7 Belgrade the night before with another colonel. Do you have any
8 information concerning that?
9 A. I disagree with that. I stand by my position.
10 Q. All right, Mr. Panic. Tell me, please, this order here, you
11 signed it at 6.00 on the 21st of November, 1991, pursuant to the order of
12 the 1st Military District 115-151; correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you please tell me if this order 115-151, the same text is
15 used as the one seen in your document such as Seselj's men, Sumadinac
16 detachment and so on. Were such terms used in the order of the 1st
17 Military District and was that the content that you simply transferred
18 into your own document?
19 A. These terms were not used in the order of the 1st Military
21 Q. Why were they then used in this document? Could you explain?
22 A. The only possibility is that the author of this order, initials
23 are RT, I suppose it stands for Radoje Trifunovic, who was an operations
24 officer, that he was the one who added these terms and I accept that I
25 signed it.
1 Q. At the time when you signed it, did you read this order?
2 A. Yes, I read it and I signed it and I stand by it.
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could we now please see document ERN
4 0D000343. And I have the English version here for everybody else.
5 Could the usher please assist me. Could we now zoom in on the
6 first portion of the document, please.
7 Q. Mr. Panic, this is the document marked "strictly confidential
8 115-151"; do you agree?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Would you please read out the title of this document, of the
12 A. It says "Command of the 1st Military District, strictly
13 confidential, 115-151." I think that the date is the 20th. It's not very
14 legible in my copy. The 20th of November, 1991. And then it
15 says, "Forward to," and then we see all of the units to whom it was sent.
16 Q. What about the text beneath it?
17 A. "Information on results of combat activities at the Slavonia front
18 forwarded by ..." So this document is entitled "Information."
19 Q. Mr. Panic, you will agree with me that this is not an order but
20 rather a document entitled "Information" issued by the 1st Military
22 A. Yes, that's what it says here.
23 Q. Thank you. And this document is the document that is referred to
24 in your order signed on the 21st of November; correct?
25 A. Yes, most likely.
1 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 Can we look at another exhibit, please, 368.
3 Q. Mr. Panic, let's look at the heading of this document. First,
4 "strictly confidential 467-1, 21st of November, 1991." Did you sign
5 this? This is a combat report sent to the command of the 1st Military
6 District and cabinet of the Federal Secretary for National Defence. Did
7 you sign this?
8 A. Yes.
9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could we scroll down, please, to the
10 portion where they discuss units.
11 Q. Can we agree, Mr. Panic, that in this report of yours sent to the
12 command, you didn't write any of the things that you said had happened at
13 the cabinet session, and that you testified about. Can we agree that it's
14 not stated here that a decision was taken at the cabinet session to
15 surrender prisoners, nor that somebody agreed to that, nor that these
16 prisoners were handed over. Do you agree with me?
17 A. Yes, I agree with you. This is dated the 21st, and as for these
18 facts, if they were supposed to be conveyed to the 1st Military District,
19 they were supposed -- it was supposed to be done on the 20th of November,
20 because all reports are written for the previous 24 hours.
21 Q. So this report of yours for the 20th of November at 1800 hours is
22 something that you report on on the following day at -- in the morning;
24 A. Yes.
25 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I don't think the translation is
1 correct. I went too fast.
2 Q. This report covers the period from 1800 hours on the 20th of
3 November to 1800 hours of the 21st of November; correct?
4 A. Yes, correct.
5 Q. Mr. Panic, just another issue that we need to clarify concerning
6 your note, the notes you jotted down at the cabinet session. The date on
7 the top is the 20th of November, 1991?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Based on this note, you refreshed your memory as you were
10 preparing for various testimonies that you gave concerning dates and
11 events that you testified about; correct?
12 A. Yes, lately.
13 Q. What about previously? Did you use it when giving your previous
14 statements or was it the case that you just took it out now?
15 A. I think that I showed it before the military court as well.
16 Q. Correct, that was in 1998.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Can you, then, explain -- do you remember whether you gave a
19 statement to the security organ of the Guards Brigade in 2001?
20 A. I gave a brief statement, one page long.
21 Q. Do you remember that in that statement, you said that the cabinet
22 session took place in Vukovar on the 19th of November, 1991?
23 A. That's a major error. If that is what is recorded, then the date
24 is not correct.
25 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could I have the assistance of the
1 usher, please.
2 Q. Mr. Panic, is this the statement you gave to the security organ in
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Does it say in the first paragraph that the cabinet session was on
6 the --
7 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters didn't hear the date.
8 A. Yes, this is a major error.
9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Did you sign this?
11 A. Yes, I did, but I was wrong, thinking that it was on the 19th, so
12 the only mistake is the date.
13 Q. Mr. Panic, I have to tell you that our position is that you
14 testified here the way you testified in order to shift responsibility for
15 what happened at Ovcara between the 20th and the 21st of November when you
16 served as commander in the absence of commander to my client, Mr. Mrksic,
17 to shift responsibility to him and that there was no surrender whatsoever
18 of prisoners to civilian authorities in Vukovar. This is our position.
19 That can be seen in this statement that you gave where you failed to
20 mention anything about Mrksic giving any suggestions about the surrender
21 of prisoners. I'm now referring to the statement that you gave to
22 security organs.
23 A. This statement was an internal one and it was taken by the then
24 Colonel Pero Kovacevic who served as security organ in the Guards Brigade.
25 He did not participate in the Vukovar operation. He remained in Belgrade
1 with the unit which remained to secure facilities and to provide security
2 to persons. He asked me to tell him briefly about the cabinet session. I
3 accept that I signed this and I reiterate that the only mistake is in the
5 As for me shifting responsibility to anyone else, first of all,
6 you are claiming that I am shifting responsibility to my commander, your
7 client. I have a lot of respect for him and I repeat once again that he
8 was a good commander with a lot of authority. He had full information
9 about the events, and as such, we all held him in high esteem.
10 As for my responsibility, I was Chief of Staff, and I was his
11 deputy in his absence. I never wanted to evade my own responsibility.
12 I'm not doing that now either. I can corroborate this by stating that I
13 gave at least five various statements up to now. In various locations, at
14 various points in time, I even went to Novi Sad, even though it wasn't
15 strictly necessary for me to go there to give a statement.
16 Otherwise, in talking to our officers and soldiers, participants
17 of the events, I always emphasised that I wished to testify in order to
18 establish the truth.
19 Q. Mr. Panic, I hate to interrupt you, but you know that we are short
20 of time. The Trial Chamber has given me the time it has.
21 A. Yes, but this is a direct attack on my person and my liberty.
22 Q. That's why I let you speak but I see that we are running out of
23 time. With Their Honours leave, I will let you continue speaking. I may
24 have overstepped the mark.
25 A. While we are all doing that, but we are trying to arrive at the
1 truth here. Even in the most difficult situations, I always went to
2 testify. I have come here, and whether I am a witness for the Prosecution
3 or for the Defence, or for the Defence of this or that person is
4 immaterial to me. I was a person who was a participant in certain events.
5 I remember what I can remember after the lapse of time, but I am someone
6 who wants the truth to be established for the sake of all of us who
7 carried out our tasks in an honourable manner, for the sake of those who
8 were killed, for the sake of the victims in this war, and for the sake of
9 a lesson to be learned by future generations. And I have nothing further
10 to add to this.
11 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 Your Honours, I have finished my cross-examination of this
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic.
15 As you will have noticed, the Chamber felt that the matters you
16 were dealing with were sufficiently important to warrant you being allowed
17 to continue.
18 Mr. Borovic.
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
20 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
21 Examination by Mr. Borovic:
22 Q. Good morning, Mr. Panic.
23 A. Good morning.
24 Q. First you spoke about assault detachments. You said that they
25 were of a temporary nature?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You even said until they had carried out their task. My question
3 is the following: On the 18th of November, when Vukovar was liberated,
4 what was the fate of the assault detachments as of that date?
5 A. As of the 18th of November, when Vukovar was liberated, the
6 assault detachments no longer existed. There was no longer any need for
7 them. Every unit went back to its establishment unit. The Territorial
8 Defence unit was sent back to Velepromet, to its pre-war situation, and
9 the battalions which, by the establishment, belonged to the Guards
10 Brigade, went back to the Guards Brigade.
11 Q. Thank you. Until the decision on resubordination was issued,
12 which we saw on the screen, of the 21st, so from the 18th to the 21st of
13 November, who controlled the Territorial Defence in Vukovar? Under whose
14 control were they?
15 A. According to the principles for the use of territorial units, they
16 may be placed under the command -- well, that's what our rules and
17 regulations say. They can be placed under the command of a JNA unit until
18 a particular task is carried out. As the task was completed on the 18th,
19 the TO units were no longer under the command of the JNA. And allow me to
20 state my opinion. For practical reasons, these people were local people
21 who had been born there, they had their homes there, their facilities,
22 they had their own staff, and both they and we could hardly wait for them
23 to return to their original situation before the combat operations began.
24 That's why I assert that on the 18th, for all practical purposes, they
25 ceased to be part of our troops.
1 Q. Thank you. If we have a written order dated the 21st of November,
2 and in your response you said that before this written order on
3 resubordination to the 80th Kragujevac unit, first there was an oral
4 order, then there's a comment, and it says written order to follow. What
5 does this mean?
6 A. Well, that's what I was talking about yesterday. An order can
7 arrive in code, it can be issued by telephone, it can be oral or it can be
8 written. Very often, because of the dynamic nature of events, an oral
9 order would be issued first followed by a written order, and that's what
10 happened in this case.
11 Q. Very well. Thank you. If I were to tell you that a commander
12 stated that on the 19th or the 20th, he received an oral order from Mrksic
13 that he was no longer to have any contact with the Territorial Defence and
14 that he passed this on to his company commanders, would that be possible?
15 A. Well, yes, it would be possible because all this can be conveyed
16 in direct contacts.
17 Q. Very well. Thank you. My question with respect to Ovcara is the
18 following: As you came up to the hangar, opposite the entrance to the
19 hangar, did you observe a big hole and did you see any corpses in that
21 A. No, I did not see that. That would certainly have attracted my
23 Q. Very well. Thank you. Can you tell us, in your estimation, how
24 many people were milling around? I won't quote what you stated in the
25 Belgrade municipality -- in the Belgrade Ovcara case?
1 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
2 A. Well, it was between 10 and 15 people, not more than 15.
3 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Thank you. As Chief of Staff, did you ever hear that in Nova
5 Ulica, at the Miroslava Radic observation point was the Main Staff for the
6 planning operation for the liberation of Vukovar?
7 A. I didn't here hear that because we had a single command. That
8 would have been a kind of shadow commander; it would have been duplicating
9 the command. I simply never heard anything like that.
10 Q. Was Nova Ulica a kind of command post where operations were
12 A. Well, that's impossible. I don't know what that might have been.
13 I never heard of it. What can I say? If someone mentions some kind of
14 command post, a battalion commander can have a command post. That would
15 be Borivoje Tesic on the left wing or, rather, on that axis. I was there
16 at this command post.
17 Q. Very well. Thank you.
18 A. I think there can only be an observation post or something of that
20 Q. Did you visit the unit where there were problems? Did you know
21 whether there were any problems at the Miroslava Radica observation post
22 on the axis of action of his troops?
23 A. No, I never heard of any problems with respect to Miroslav Radic,
24 the company commander. What I know from that time, is that in that
25 company, there was discipline. If I can say this, I still wonder why
1 Miroslav Radic is on this list, how this came about, because he is a
2 prototype of a guards officer and commander.
3 Q. Thank you. Did you ever hear anywhere and at the briefing in
4 Negoslavci, was there any mention of Miroslav Radic having any kind of
5 task relating to the evacuation of the hospital?
6 A. No, I never heard anything like that.
7 Q. All right. Thank you. And did you ever see, on the 19th or the
8 20th, Radic in the barracks and did he have any kind of tasks, to your
9 knowledge, in that area?
10 A. No. In the barracks, it was the military police organs and units
11 that had tasks. The 2nd Battalion, the 2nd Motorised Battalion was in the
12 barracks and that was outside his area of responsibility.
13 Q. Thank you. My last question: You were shown Exhibit 418 on the
14 screen here. That is that order about place commanders, town commanders
15 in Ovcara, and to avoid wasting time, it says that the town commander of
16 Petrova Gora on the 19th of November, was Borivoje Tesic for Petrova Gora,
17 and for the area from the cemetery to the Vuka River.
18 My question is the following: As you have explained to Their
19 Honours what powers the town commander had, if the Petrova Gora detachment
20 and the Leva Supoderica detachment were in the area, which was under the
21 control and command of the town commander, Borivoje Tesic, who would have
22 control over them in a situation where they were doing something illegal,
23 taking actions that were illegal?
24 A. The town commander received his tasks and authorisation and he was
25 responsible for the area we dubbed "the town." In that area, it was the
1 town commander who was responsible. In this case, it would be Commander
3 Q. Does this mean that he had effective control over all the forces
4 covered by the command post?
5 MR. WEINER: I object to that, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
7 MR. WEINER: That's mixing apples and oranges. One thing is a
8 town commander who controls, who is basically the substitute for a civil
9 government. This is an issue of effective control which is a legal issue
10 as well as a military issue. They are two separate and distinct issues
11 that have nothing to do with each other.
12 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Sorry, Mr. Borovic. I didn't hear what you were
14 saying or I haven't received an interpretation of it.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Borovic speak into the microphone,
17 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] This is what I said: I'm sorry, Mr.
18 Weiner, but you are mixing up apples and oranges. The town command is not
19 a civilian authority, it's a military authority with all the powers that
20 the town commander has in wartime conditions. So it's you mixing up
21 apples and oranges.
22 JUDGE PARKER: I think, Mr. Borovic and Mr. Weiner, it's a case of
23 pears. Please continue with your questioning, Mr. Borovic.
24 The point you have made, Mr. Weiner, is one that is very
25 adequately dealt with either in your cross-examination and/or in your
1 final address. Thank you.
2 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Weiner, I was only joking, of
3 course. I have a great respect for you.
4 Q. What did you say, Mr. Panic?
5 A. The town commander is responsible because when the order was
6 issued designating the town commanders, their tasks were listed to ensure
7 law and order, to prevent sabotage, to allow the population to live in the
8 area, to regulate traffic, and to slowly create the conditions for the
9 functioning of the civilian authorities.
10 Q. But my question was: Did he have effective control over all the
11 forces in the area?
12 A. Well, he must ensure control.
13 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have completed my
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Borovic.
16 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may have another minute,
18 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I have shown a document to the witness
20 and the Court, that's 0D00343 and I have omitted to tender it so far. It
21 is the report of the 1st Military District on combat activities in the
22 Slavonian theatre. May it be admitted into evidence, please?
23 JUDGE PARKER: What is the date of that report, Mr. Vasic? Is
24 that the report of the 19th of November?
25 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
1 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
2 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 853, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Weiner, I think this is an appropriate moment
4 for the break.
5 MR. WEINER: I agree with you, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE PARKER: We will resume, then, at maybe nearer to ten to
7 that I am able to be back.
8 --- Recess taken at 10.25 a.m.
9 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Before you commence, Mr. Weiner, may I mention one
11 brief matter, essentially for Mr. Borovic. The motion on behalf of your
12 client with respect to the notebook of Witness P002 and his recall has not
13 been supported with enough of the information which the Chamber detailed
14 in its original order allowing you leave to bring this forward.
15 If you look to paragraph 4 of the decision of the 30th of August,
16 2006, you will he see set out the information which the Chamber seeks to
17 be able to determine whether recall of the witness is justified.
18 It would be necessary for you to prepare and file further
19 information setting out what is required by the order and I would suggest
20 to do so by Tuesday of next week. Thank you.
21 Yes, Mr. Weiner.
22 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I meant by
23 Monday, yes.
24 Cross-examination by Mr. Weiner:
25 Q. Good morning, sir.
1 A. Good morning.
2 Q. I'm going to ask you some questions. My name is Phil Weiner. I'm
3 with the Office of the Prosecutor. Okay. Now the first group of
4 questions that I'm going to ask you or the first group of areas of
5 questions are going to concern general areas relating to some of the
6 information that you've provided in your different statements. All right.
7 Thank you.
8 As a matter of background, Operation Group South had a number of
9 local, territorial and volunteer units in it.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And these units were subordinated or under the command and control
12 of Operation Group South?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. For example, the Leva Supoderica and the Petrova Gora TOs were
15 subordinated to Operations Group South?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And you are also aware that volunteers from Serbia were arriving
18 on a daily basis into Operations Group South's zone of responsibility?
19 A. Yes, but it applied more in the second part of combat operations.
20 Q. Thank you. And when these groups arrived, they weren't
21 independent, they became part of Operation Group South or under the
22 command of Operation Group South.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And some smaller groups of volunteers were allowed to stay
25 together during the military operations, but the larger groups were
1 divided between the various JNA and TO units.
2 A. Yes. We did not allow for a larger group of volunteers to exist
3 because we didn't know their capabilities, so this is why we split them
4 into several units.
5 Q. And just briefly, you were aware that the Leva Supoderica
6 detachment was recruited or sponsored by the Serbian Radical Party?
7 A. I learned that after the operation, yes. I realised what the
8 nature of that unit was.
9 Q. And you know that that party was Seselj's party.
10 A. I know that now.
11 Q. Now, you also know that the front line units were a mixture of
12 Guards Motorised Brigade units and local TO soldiers.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And you know that the combat readiness and operational strength of
15 the local TO units and the volunteer units were much lower than that of
16 the Guards Motorised Brigade.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. In fact, even where those units, those TO or volunteer units were
19 strongest, such as the reconnaissance of Vukovar, they still were not as
20 good as the Guards Motorised Brigade; isn't that correct?
21 A. These units of local TOs such as Petrova Gora and Leva Supoderica,
22 they were recruited from local people from the area who had their houses
23 there, who knew Vukovar well, knew the streets, knew where barricades
24 were, knew where paramilitary formations were setting up their defence.
25 So in that respect, they provided a great deal of useful information to
1 us. We used them in other assault detachments as scouts or guides when
2 going on mission.
3 Q. But would you agree that they still were not as good as the Guards
4 Motorised Brigade?
5 A. Yes, I agree.
6 Q. Now, sir, you testified at the beginning that the Guards Motorised
7 Brigade had two battalions of military police.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And you knew that there were hundreds of police officers or
10 members within these battalions of military police?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And in fact, in one of those units or battalions, they even had an
13 anti-terrorist unit.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And you know that these units of military police were
16 well-equipped and well-trained.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And you also know that the Guards Motorised Brigade had two
19 infantry battalions and an armoured battalion in Vukovar.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. So would you agree, sir, that on November 20th, the Operational
22 Group South or Guards Motorised Brigade had sufficient resources to
23 neutralise or eliminate a threat to the prisoners by a group of soldiers?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And as you said in your statement, the local Serbian TO was no
1 match for the Guards Motorised Brigade. That's your statement to the
2 Office of the Prosecutor.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. A few more general areas. You were not aware of any functioning
5 civil or civilian police force while you were in Vukovar.
6 A. No.
7 Q. And you were not aware of any functioning civil service while you
8 were in Vukovar.
9 A. There was something that functioned in Negoslavci on a minor scale
10 and also in some areas where there was no combat. As for authorities, the
11 government of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Srem, it functioned but it was
12 outside of our area of responsibility. I believe that at the time, they
13 were -- they had their seat in Dalj.
14 Q. Within Vukovar, you were not aware of any functioning civil
15 service within the town or city of Vukovar?
16 A. No.
17 Q. And you had never seen any functioning judicial bodies in Vukovar?
18 A. No.
19 Q. And during the conflict, that SAO government played no role in
21 A. What I know from my level, and I was just a Lieutenant Colonel at
22 the time and Chief of Staff, I'm not aware of any role.
23 Q. In fact, you indicated in previous statements that they were
24 nowhere to be found; isn't that correct?
25 A. That's what I said.
1 Q. And you never received any order from any higher command to
2 recognise that government, that Serbian autonomous government.
3 A. We didn't receive anything of the sort.
4 Q. And you were under no orders from the 1st Military District to
5 abide by that government's decisions.
6 A. I'm not aware of such a document.
7 Q. In fact, you stated that the Serbian autonomous or SAO government,
8 Serbian autonomous government, had no actual authority and could not be
9 considered a serious institution, at paragraph 71 of your ICTY statement.
10 A. Yes, that's what I said. At the session itself, once their debate
11 started, things looked quite different.
12 Q. But even though they made certain claims to have all of these
13 functioning organs, you had never seen any of those.
14 A. No, I didn't see them.
15 Q. And the security organ of OG South never did an inquiry to see if
16 they existed?
17 A. I am not aware of that.
18 Q. Now, let's continue on with a few more general subjects. In your
19 statement to the ICTY, you mentioned Major Sljivancanin, and you indicated
20 that he liked to be the centre of attention; isn't that correct?
21 A. Yes, in addition to all of his qualities, one of his faults is
22 that he wanted to have a high profile.
23 Q. And he liked to be on television and in the press a lot, didn't
25 A. Yes, but also at the front.
1 Q. And you indicated that Major Sljivancanin went well beyond what
2 was required of him by his job description; isn't that correct?
3 A. Yes. But please allow me to say this, that he did that with the
4 best of intentions.
5 Q. And you know that Major Sljivancanin - excuse me - did not limit
6 his activities to what would be suspected of the head of a security organ,
7 or security service?
8 A. Yes. We had a person who was assistant commander for moral
9 guidance, and he, who was supposed to be at the front line frequently to
10 spend time with the troops for some reasons, and I don't want to judge
11 anyone harshly, for some reasons, he failed to do that at the time. So
12 part of those tasks related to moral guidance were carried out by Major
13 Sljivancanin. He was the one who affected the morale of the troops by his
14 presence, by his explanations, and by encouraging them.
15 Q. But you also know, sir, that Major Sljivancanin did things that he
16 wasn't supposed to do; isn't that correct?
17 A. He did more than necessary. He should have refrained and stuck to
18 his security tasks, but allow me -- by spending time at the front line, he
19 also did his work from the -- security-type of work.
20 Q. But he also did the work of others which he wasn't supposed to do.
21 For example, at the briefings, he would be discussing the logistical needs
22 of the Territorial Defence units which was not his responsibility; isn't
23 that correct?
24 A. He did that with the intention to emphasise the needs that they
1 Q. But that wasn't his job. There was an assistant commander for
2 logistics in OG South; isn't that correct?
3 A. Well, yes, but the assistant commander for logistics should have
4 spent more time in locations where Major Sljivancanin was.
5 Q. Well, he would also discuss the needs of the 1st Assault
6 Detachment even though that was Major Tesic's responsibility; isn't that
8 A. Yes, that is within the framework of the local TO. Since they had
9 poor weaponry and required ammunition as well as some other equipment that
10 was lacking in the TO, he emphasised that, regardless of the presence of
12 Q. However, sir, that was Major Tesic's responsibility and in your
13 own words, that was an interference with Major Tesic's responsibility;
14 isn't that correct?
15 A. In a way.
16 Q. And you also know that on his own initiative, he was out firing
17 60-millimetre mortars; isn't that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And you know that Major Sljivancanin also corrected artillery fire
20 in the Mitnica section; isn't that correct?
21 A. Yes. But please allow me. As I was preparing for my testimony, I
22 found some documents and I clarified certain issues for myself as to why
23 he had done that. I am now convinced, and it can be corroborated by
24 entries in the war diary, that he did that first and foremost for security
25 reasons, in order to protect the lives of our people, because there was
1 some doubt about the failings of our artillery. It's a serious problem,
2 and sometimes that happens at the front, at the training polygon and even
3 in peacetime and it affects adversely subordinated units. And it was both
4 a command issue and a security issue and it is in this light that I
5 interpret his involvement on that day because he was personally present
6 there as it was taking place.
7 Subsequently, after his intervention, it was established that
8 there had been mistakes and, as I read in the entry, what caused these
9 mistakes was that the gunpowder was humid and this is why they failed to
10 reach targets.
11 Q. You knew that Major Sljivancanin was not a person who'd be at the
12 front lines correcting artillery fire. You knew he is not trained for
14 A. No, but he didn't do that on his own; chief of artillery was with
15 him as they corrected the mistake. He identified that. He asked the
16 chief of artillery to go with him, and it is his mistake that he reported
17 about that. He reported the superior command about that. It should have
18 been done by the chief of artillery, he should have reported about the
20 Q. In fact, he demanded that Zivota Panic, General Zivota Panic, be
21 informed that he, Major Sljivancanin, was correcting artillery fire; isn't
22 that correct?
23 A. That's how it was.
24 Q. And he even had that placed in the war diary; isn't that correct?
25 A. Recorded, correct.
1 Q. And you know that information relating to basic corrections of
2 artillery fire do not mention or do not deserve being mentioned in a war
3 diary; isn't that correct?
4 A. Well, this was relevant because it affected adversely the morale
5 of the troops because there were rumours circulating about that it wasn't
6 just the paramilitary formations that were firing upon us but that we also
7 came under friendly fire of our own artillery that was falling short of
8 the mark. And I think that it was good that it was recorded in the war
9 diary. I wish we had recorded more because it would have made the
10 position of all of us easier now.
11 Q. But sir, you know there's no indication in the diary, which is
12 Exhibit 401 in this case, that there was any problem relating to friendly
13 fire, that there was any problem relating to wet powder, that there was
14 any problem relating to ill-precise firing; isn't that correct?
15 A. That's correct, it wasn't recorded.
16 Q. And in fact, as an assistant commander for the security, he should
17 have notified his own commander, Colonel Mrksic, and not gone over Colonel
18 Mrksic's head to Zivota Panic; isn't that correct?
19 A. Yes, but I don't know why this was done.
20 Q. Now, you also discuss, in relation to Major Sljivancanin, that he
21 had an argument with a ICRC, a Red Cross representative; do you recall
23 A. I know that from the media. I know that that was immediately
24 prior to the evacuation of the hospital.
25 Q. And you said in your statement to the Office of the Prosecutor
1 that there was an impression shared by many that the ICRC's role was to
2 save Croatian criminals; isn't that correct?
3 A. There was more than one evacuation. I think there were two in
4 October. We respected the cease-fire. The ICRC came to the hospital.
5 They took the patients that the then director of the hospital, Vesna
6 Bosanac, had prepared for the convoy, and they passed through our area of
8 Later on, we heard --
9 Q. We'll get to that next, but the question is first -- we'll get to
10 that. There was an impression that was shared by many that the ICRC's
11 role was to save Croatian criminals; is that correct?
12 A. Yes. To continue what I was saying, we heard that a large
13 number -- that's why --
14 Q. It's okay. And I just want to ask you first that question.
15 Number two, did Major Sljivancanin and yourself share that view?
16 A. I was able to believe that some fighters had left with that
17 convoy, but generally speaking, I wouldn't say that they were taking their
18 side, they were doing their job. But I'm sure they were tricked.
19 Q. And did Major Sljivancanin share the view that the ICRC's role was
20 to protect or to save Croatian criminals, if you know?
21 A. I couldn't assert that now. I can't really answer that question.
22 Q. But you do know, sir, and you've indicated in your statement, that
23 Major Sljivancanin was upset over reports that Croatian soldiers were able
24 to escape during those prior evacuations which you had mentioned?
25 A. Yes. Yes, that's true.
1 Q. Now, you also know that in October or sometime around October,
2 Major Sljivancanin was very upset over his driver being killed in an
3 ambush by Croatian soldiers.
4 A. Yes. That was a very difficult situation. Major Sljivancanin
5 could also have been killed. He happened to stay alive and the man next
6 to him, the driver, was killed.
7 Q. And he was upset not only about, as you said, that his driver
8 being killed, that he was almost killed himself in that ambush by Croatian
10 A. Yes. It was a difficult situation.
11 Q. Okay. Now, I'd like to show you two photographs. They're both
12 marked for identification at this time.
13 MR. WEINER: Could the witness be shown MFI 198, please.
14 Q. Do you see the photograph in front of you?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Do you recognise anyone in the photograph?
17 A. I do. In the red circle, that's Vojislav Seselj. On the
18 right-hand side of the photograph, I recognise Major Tesic. I don't
19 recognise the others.
20 MR. WEINER: We'd like to offer that, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
22 [Trial Chamber confers]
23 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, it will be received as Exhibit 198.
24 MR. WEINER:
25 Q. Now, before I show you the next photograph, do you recall a man by
1 the name of Lancuzanin, nicknamed Kameni?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And who was he?
4 A. He was the commander of the Leva Supoderica Territorial Defence
6 MR. WEINER: May the witness be shown MFI 689, please.
7 Q. Do you see the picture on the top?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Do you recognise anyone in that photograph?
10 A. I do. I recognise Major Sljivancanin, but not the other two
12 Q. Did you ever meet a man by the name of Stanko Vujanovic?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And do you know who he was?
15 A. Stanko Vujanovic -- well, I saw him there on several occasions. I
16 think he wore a black hat. And I think he belonged to the Leva Supoderica
17 Detachment. He was a local man.
18 Q. Can you describe his appearance, facial appearance?
19 A. I think that he wore a beard when I saw him. And I saw him at the
20 special court when I was asked whether I recognised any of the accused.
21 Q. Now, can you look at that picture and do you recognise either of
22 the men to the left or right of Major Sljivancanin?
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Objection.
24 A. Well, I can't. If the photograph were clearer, but I don't want
25 to make a mistake.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I object, Your Honours.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] This was leading by Mr. Weiner. The
4 witness has already responded so there is no further need for me to
5 object. I don't know whether counsel will put further questions on this
6 document so I will wait.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Your point is well made though.
8 Carry on, Mr. Weiner, and be more careful.
9 MR. WEINER: We'll leave that as an MFI, Your Honour.
10 Q. Sir, you testified on Monday -- I'm sorry, on Wednesday, that when
11 you got to the hospital, there were a number of corpses or dead bodies
12 outside of the hospital.
13 A. Yes. Across the road from the hospital.
14 Q. You described this sight in Belgrade at page 26 of your testimony
15 as a distressing sight; isn't that correct?
16 A. Yes. Every normal person, when he sees a pile of corpses, would
17 be upset.
18 Q. And you heard, outside the hospital, that those dead persons had
19 been summarily tried and executed by the persons who were taking shelter
20 in the hospital; isn't that what you testified to in Belgrade?
21 A. There were various comments about this going round, but the
22 comment one could hear most frequently was that most of those corpses were
23 people who had been in the hospital and had either died there, or when the
24 paramilitaries escaped the hospital, they created room for themselves by
25 ejecting those people. Those were the comments one could hear.
1 Q. In your statement on the 28th of December, you indicated that you
2 believed that those -- that these were victims, these were Serbian victims
3 who were killed and were thrown into the street. Do you recall that
5 A. Yes. There was a belief that most of those people were Serbs.
6 Q. And there were even family members trying to identify these
7 persons who they believed to be -- to have been summarily tried and
8 executed by persons from the hospital. Do you recall that testimony
9 before the Belgrade court?
10 A. Yes. There were some people who tried to recognise or identify
11 some of the corpses.
12 Q. Now, did you or any member of the JNA say to these people: Let's
13 not get carried away. Let's not start on rumours. This might not be
14 true. Did anyone try and quell those rumours?
15 A. Why, yes. There were several officers there and not I personally,
16 I stayed there briefly, but those other officers intervened to prevent
17 anyone coming there uninvited and saying that the process of
18 identification remained to be carried out.
19 Q. That's the process of identification, but did you or anyone
20 intervene and say: Let's not run off with these wild rumours. Let's
21 everyone stay calm. Did you or anyone else say that to these people who
22 were upset?
23 A. Yes. Yes, we all said that. I and everyone else who was there.
24 People, we have more urgent business to deal with now.
25 Q. You just indicated that you did not say that personally on line 1
1 and 2 on page 45 of today's transcript. You've never previously testified
2 that you ever tried to calm this situation out -- situation that occurred
3 out in front of the hospital. Are you now saying you did?
4 A. No, no, no. I didn't exert any special influence.
5 Q. And you've never said --
6 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, perhaps the witness
8 should first have been asked whether anyone put this question to him about
9 attempts to calm down the situation.
10 JUDGE PARKER: I'm sure you will be able to do that in
11 re-examination, Mr. Lukic.
12 MR. WEINER: Thank you.
13 Q. Sir, you've never stated in any previous statement or testimony
14 that you've given since 1998 that anyone ever attempted to calm these
15 people down. In fact, you personally believed that these victims were
16 Serbs; isn't that correct?
17 A. Nobody insisted on this. I was talking about other things.
18 Q. In fact, you believe that these people were murdered Serbs and had
19 been murdered by those in the hospital. That's what you've previously
21 A. Yes, I believed most of those people were Serbs. That was the
22 information we had. And we accepted it at that point in time.
23 Q. And that was information from the people that were gathering
24 outside the hospital, the local people.
25 A. Yes, from individuals who happened to be there.
1 Q. Thank you. One more brief area and then we'll get to the main
3 You testified yesterday that the artillery would not have fired on
4 water wells or people getting water. Remember that testimony yesterday?
5 A. Yes, I did say that. And this is something I've heard here for
6 the first time. That's what I know.
7 Q. Are you aware that seven or eight witnesses have testified in this
8 case that the wells and the persons going for water were targeted in
10 A. I have no reason to doubt it.
11 Q. And you were also aware, sir, that the JNA or local infantry units
12 had mortars.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Were you aware that the Petrova Gora TO had a mortar unit which
15 was part of the 3rd Assault Group of the 1st Assault Detachment?
16 A. I don't know that.
17 Q. So did you ever visit any of the mortar groups within the 3rd
18 Assault Group of the 1st Detachment?
19 A. I have already stated that on one or two occasions, I visited the
20 1st Assault Detachment and went up to the command post of Major Tesic. I
21 did not tour any mortar crews specially, except for the official artillery
22 groups of higher calibres which were behind Negoslavci, the 102-millimetre
23 mortars which belonged to the 1st and 2nd Battalion. I did not, however,
24 visit the smaller groups.
25 Q. And you know that mortars can be used to target moveable or
1 stationary objects?
2 A. Mortars are used to target, first of all, immoveable objects.
3 With respect to moveable objects, only barrage fire can be carried out
4 where live targets are expected to advance. A mortar is a weapon that
5 cannot quickly change its settings and follow a moving target. So nowhere
6 in the rules does it say that it's intended to fire on moveable objects.
7 With respect to moveable targets, it can only be used for barrage
9 Q. A mortar can be used to fire upon a tank; isn't that correct?
10 A. Well, it can be used, but to no effect.
11 Q. Well, you know a mortar can be used to fire on human beings.
12 A. Yes. Yes. If they are in a group and if they are a stationary
14 Q. So if you have a cluster of human beings getting water out of a
15 well, a mortar could be used to fire upon that.
16 A. Yes, it can.
17 Q. And we also know that a well is obviously a stationary object
18 which can be fired upon by mortars?
19 A. Yes, it can, but a well is such a small target that there's little
20 chance of hitting it.
21 Q. But you weren't out with the small mortar groups, so you can't
22 tell what they were doing or what they were hitting?
23 A. I can't. It would be guesswork on my part.
24 Q. Now, you testified in the last few days about being ordered by
25 Colonel Mrksic to attend a meeting at Velepromet. Do you recall that
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And there was an issue raised today as to whether or not -- or
4 what exactly he told you in relation to the issue of their requests for
5 prisoners. So my first question is: As best as you can recall, what did
6 he tell you in relation to that request? Because you asked him: What do
7 I say if they raise that issue? Please tell the Court.
8 A. Yes, that was the 20th when the session was held. When I received
9 the order or, rather, when the order was conveyed to me that I should
10 report to Colonel Mrksic, I called him up by telephone and was given the
11 following task by him: Go to Velepromet, to the cabinet session there.
12 Convey my greetings to them, and tell them I am prevented from attending
13 the session.
14 I added to this or, rather, I responded: Is there any need for me
15 to say something and what if there is a discussion about handing over the
16 people in the hospital to the civilian authorities? Because I already had
17 received information that they would be asking for this, that they would
18 be asking that they be the ones to put them on trial.
19 "Tell them I will accept the decision they make."
20 Q. When you said: "Tell them I will accept the decision they make,"
21 who was speaking?
22 A. Those were the words of my commander.
23 Q. You then went to that meeting.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And you indicated previously in another statement, 2003, that the
1 atmosphere was unpleasant. Was that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. That the army was being attacked in ugly terms.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. That certain so-called representatives or representatives of
6 so-called government said that they would prevent the army from
7 transporting prisoners to the military facility at Sremska Mitrovica.
8 Didn't that happen?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And there was a delegation of officials who came from outside of
11 Vukovar to that meeting: Hadzic, Arkan and so on.
12 A. I think that most members of the delegation were from outside
13 because this cabinet came from Dalj and I think that most of them were
14 from outside of Vukovar. There were perhaps one or two from Vukovar,
15 Bugunovic, and I can't remember the other name.
16 Q. And within that delegation was Arkan?
17 A. Yes, that was the first time I had seen him in the flesh.
18 Q. But you knew who Arkan was?
19 A. Yes, I knew from the media who he was before he arrived in the
21 Q. In fact, you testified yesterday at page 14376, that if he had
22 arrived and was not in that delegation, you would have arrested him if he
23 had tried to enter Vukovar.
24 A. Yes. Had he arrived in any other manner, rather than with the
25 delegation, especially while combat was still going on, he would have been
2 Q. Now, you know a few days prior to this meeting, you recall
3 receiving a warning order, if you want to call it that, from General
4 Panic, Zivota Panic, that some units, some TO units had already
5 perpetrated acts of revenge. You remember that order or do you need to
6 see it?
7 A. I know that that order arrived and it was written on the basis of
8 some events in other units.
9 Q. Well, my question to you, sir, is: Based on that warning, and
10 what you saw and heard at that meeting, including the presence of Arkan,
11 did you stop and contact Colonel Mrksic and advise him that there's a
12 dangerous situation and he should reconsider or he must reconsider his
13 decision? Did you take that action?
14 A. As Chief of Staff, I did nothing special except that we discussed
15 it at the command post and that oral warnings were issued at every
16 briefing and in personal contacts.
17 Q. Sir, you were told by Colonel Mrksic basically before you went to
18 the meeting: Let it be as that cabinet decides.
19 When you got to that meeting and you saw the ugly situation, and
20 you saw Arkan sitting there as a member of that government or a delegate
21 from that so-called government, and also knowing of that warning from
22 Zivota Panic, when you see this situation happening, did you leave the
23 meeting and contact Colonel Mrksic and say to him: There's a dangerous
24 situation here. I think you better reconsider your decision. Did you do
1 A. No, I did not. It would have been better if I had.
2 MR. WEINER: In fact -- may the witness please be shown the law on
3 service in the armed forces, Exhibit 583, please. I'm sorry, 584, please.
4 Exhibit 584. It's 00364339 to 00364395.
5 Now, could we go to Article 53. In the English, it's on page 28.
6 In the B/C/S, it's on page 00364344. No, no, go down a little bit.
7 Article 53. Or go up, I'm sorry. Stop right there. Thank you.
8 Q. Sir, the first sentence of that indicates that: "Members of armed
9 forces shall be duty-bound to carry out orders issued by their superior
10 officers, while their superior officers are in the execution of their
11 office, unless it is clear that carrying out such orders would constitute
12 a criminal offence."
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now, sir, based on what you had seen at that meeting, and what had
15 happened at the barracks earlier there, where people were trying to get to
16 the buses, just before the meeting, and based on the warning from Zivota
17 Panic, did you refuse to carry out that order knowing that it would result
18 in a crime?
19 A. Nothing indicated that there would be a crime committed here. I
20 attended a cabinet session pursuant to my orders. There was another
21 officer there, a colonel. I didn't know who he was, and pursuant to his
22 orders, he was there or what his powers were.
23 Q. But sir, in your own statement, you've indicated that they were
24 attacking the colonel, that people were indicating they would disobey the
25 orders of the army. You had seen them attempting to attack the buses
1 earlier that morning. You were aware of acts of retribution or revenge.
2 At that point, it was foreseeable that something bad was going to
3 happen, especially with seeing Arkan there as part of this so-called
4 government delegation; Arkan, a person who kills for fun. Did you at that
5 point either contact Colonel Mrksic and ask him to reconsider or did you,
6 at that time, refuse to implement that order?
7 A. I didn't contact Colonel Mrksic. Again, I listened to their
8 debate, and at one point I conveyed to them the position of Mrksic, that
9 he would accept the decision they made.
10 Q. In paragraph 77 of your statement to the OTP, you said that you
11 were tricked into attending this meeting. Did you say that because you
12 realise that you were sent to deliver an order that was wrong and would
13 foreseeably result in a crime occurring?
14 A. I said that I was surprised that I was sent to the cabinet
15 session. That had not been discussed previously. But I also cannot doubt
16 my commander believing that he had sent me to that session to entrap me.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I'm objecting, because in paragraph 77
19 of the statement of this witness, I don't see what Mr. Weiner put to him,
20 that he was trapped into going to this session. I think it would be
21 proper to put the exact words to the witness.
22 MR. WEINER: The word "tricked" was used. I will read the
24 Could we go to 77.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Second last line, Mr. Lukic.
1 MR. WEINER:
2 Q. Sir, do you have a copy of your statement that you gave to the
3 Office of the Prosecutor? It was given to you yesterday. We'll give you
4 another copy if you need one. If you could turn to paragraph 77 on page
6 A. Yes. I've read it. It is possible that this was not an ideal
7 translation. Perhaps it should be clarified. I'm reiterating that I
8 cannot believe that I was sent there with any bad intentions. That was
9 the sense of my comment.
10 Q. But you said you were tricked into being sent there; isn't that
11 correct? That's the word you used "tricked"?
12 A. No, it's not a correct interpretation. I was ordered to go. And
13 in my reasoning, I simply cannot allow myself to believe that I had been
14 sent there on purpose, that they wanted to sacrifice me. That's the
15 essence of what I'm saying.
16 Q. But even without their intention, sir, once you arrived at that
17 meeting and saw what was happening, and had seen what was happening during
18 that day, and saw the situation, and being aware of Zivota Panic's
19 warning, you had a duty to disobey that order or contact General -- I'm
20 sorry, Colonel Mrksic, and have him reconsider that decision and you
21 didn't do that; isn't that correct?
22 A. I didn't ask for him to reconsider. He had assessments, both from
23 the cabinet session, from the hospital, and from Velepromet, about the
24 situations there.
25 Q. But, sir, you had assessments on the ground. You had just seen an
1 incident at the barracks where local TO members were trying to get at the
2 people on the buses. You had just seen Arkan as being part of this
3 so-called government's delegation. You had heard the statements attacking
4 the JNA at this meeting. Did you, at that point, notify Colonel Mrksic
5 and say: "We've got a serious problem here. Someone's going to be
7 A. No, I did not conclude that somebody would be killed, but upon my
8 return to the barracks, I informed Colonel Mrksic briefly about the
9 cabinet session and their decision. And I went back to my other duties.
10 There was nothing to hint that it would end in this way except for a
11 heated debate.
12 Q. Well, sir, there was more than a heated debate and you had already
13 had observations of TO members attempting to attack the bus with people in
14 it and it was only because of your military police that they didn't enter
15 it, according to your testimony. You even said, if we go to paragraph 71,
16 that this wasn't a normal hand-over. You knew there was something wrong.
17 You knew that this wasn't a normal hand-over.
18 If you could turn to paragraph 71 which is on page 18 of the
19 English and page 18 of the B/C/S. I'll read it: "The order of the 1st
20 Military District referred to above does not include the hand-over of
21 evacuated individuals to the civilian authorities of the SAO SBZS. I do
22 not recall a single document ordering the hand-over of evacuated
23 individuals to the civilian authorities of the SAO SBZS. In retrospect, I
24 have to say that such a hand-over was not normal since the SAO SBZS
25 government had no actual authority and therefore, could not be considered
1 a serious institution."
2 That's what you said, isn't that?
3 A. Yes. Yes.
4 Q. And you knew the situation was not normal.
5 A. It was not normal. The situation was not normal, just as the war
6 is not a normal social phenomenon. But that's how it was.
7 Q. Now, there is no mention in the war diary of that hand-over, is
9 A. No, no mention.
10 Q. If we look at page 94 -- I'm sorry, paragraph 94 - excuse me - on
11 page 25. Let me read it and you can follow along. I will read your
13 "In the war diary of the Guards Motorised Brigade, ERN B/C/S
14 0293-5434-0293-5482, ERN English L0100496-L0100537. War diary of the
15 Guards Motorised Brigade for the period from 1st October until 22nd
16 November, 1991."
17 "There is no record of the hand-over of prisoners from the
18 hospital to local Serbian authorities. This is an omission. The
19 hand-over was an important event and should have been recorded in the war
20 diary. Regular combat reports of OG South for the 21st, ERN B/C/S
21 0327-1248-0327-1248. English, ET03271248-0327-1248, and the 22nd
22 November, ERN B/C/S 0327-1249, 0327-1249. English ET, 0327-1249-0327-1249
23 also show no mention of the hand-over. Since the hand-over took place on
24 the 20th, it should have been included in the report of the 20th although
25 I can see that the reports of the 21st and the 22nd also mentioned
1 evacuations that took place on the 20th."
2 Do you agree that's what it says there?
3 A. I do.
4 Q. And those are your words?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Tell us, why wasn't the notation placed in the war diary?
7 A. I stated previously and I can repeat it, I believe this to be an
8 omission, a mistake, and I think that it came about because the combat had
9 been over and there needed to be more supervision over the work of the
10 officer entering data.
11 Q. Major Trifunovic was a very careful person; isn't that correct?
12 A. Yes, he was.
13 Q. He's not the type of person to omit significant details, is he?
14 A. He was considered to be a responsible operations officer.
15 Q. And not only is this important event, and that's how you describe
16 it, important event not described in the war diary, it's not described in
17 any report from the Guards Motorised Brigade or Operations Group South;
18 isn't that correct?
19 A. That particular event is not described.
20 Q. Would you agree with me that that was purposely omitted for
21 reasons of criminal liability? That's why it wasn't listed in any of
22 those documents.
23 A. I wouldn't agree. I think this to be an omission.
24 Q. So it's an omission not just in the war diary, but all of the
25 combat reports that were filed after November 20th?
1 A. Yes.
2 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, I was going to continue. Is this the
3 time for the break or is it another five or ten minutes or ...
4 JUDGE PARKER: It would be normally ten minutes.
5 MR. WEINER: That's fine.
6 Q. From the barracks -- I'm sorry, you returned to the barracks after
7 this meeting, and you notified General Mrksic of the results. From
8 there --
9 A. Yes. Yes.
10 Q. From there, you went to Ovcara.
11 A. No. I went back to the barracks immediately after the cabinet
12 session. I called Commander Mrksic. I informed him about the cabinet
13 session and their decision, told him briefly about the situation, saying
14 that there was a colonel there, whose name I later learned, but I never
15 knew, pursuant to his orders, and for what reason he attended the session.
16 I do not know this to this day.
17 Following that, I continued with my work, together with other
18 organs of command to prepare the press conference that was to be held on
19 the following day. That lasted until the afternoon hours. It was only in
20 the afternoon that I went to Ovcara.
21 Q. That's what I meant, sir. From there, meaning from the barracks,
22 you went to Ovcara.
23 Now, yesterday, you testified --
24 A. Yes, yes.
25 Q. Yesterday, you testified at page 14324: "I felt it necessary to
1 see whether these people from the hospital were actually put up at Ovcara,
2 to see whether the -- or there are authorities that made a decision at
3 the -- it's just -- not properly written -- to see whether the authorities
4 that made a decision at the session and concluded that they would be
5 running a trial, to see whether they actually arrived on the spot and
6 quite simply, what was going on at Ovcara, so that when arriving at the
7 command post, I'd give more complete information about that to the
9 Do you recall that testimony yesterday?
10 A. I said that. I went there to see whether the organs of
11 authorities had arrived and whether they started with trials, not whether
12 there was anything going on pursuant to the decision they had made.
13 Q. No one ordered you to go there; isn't that correct?
14 A. No, no one did. I believed that I needed to be fully informed, so
15 that once I come to the command post, I could inform the commander about
16 it. And I am repeating for the umpteenth time that I was truly convinced,
17 having heard their debate and how they had all organs of authorities and
18 even courts of two instances, which is something that Goran Hadzic had
19 stated, I was convinced that they would be able to give these people a
20 fair trial.
21 Q. Sir, you used the words yesterday at page 14324: "I felt it
22 necessary." That phrase right there, "I felt it necessary," in relation
23 to you going to Ovcara. You're very careful with your language, sir. You
24 were worried about your liability over carrying out Colonel Mrksic's
25 orders and that a crime would occur. That's why you felt it was necessary
1 to go to Ovcara; isn't that correct?
2 A. No, let me tell you. I wasn't worried about myself, not in the
3 least. In that unfortunate town of Vukovar, those who were alive
4 frequently envied the dead. My life did not exist as such. It was the
5 lives of our soldiers and people who shared the same fate that existed.
6 At that moment in time, I did not think about myself and my own
7 responsibility. What I thought about was how they were going to implement
8 what they had decided, and I needed to see what was going on in order to
9 be able to inform the commander.
10 I'm telling you this sincerely, as a human being.
11 Q. Sir, you said you felt it was necessary to go there. You went out
12 of your way and went there. And you did that because you were worried or
13 concerned that something bad was going to happen. You had already seen
14 what had occurred during the day; isn't that correct?
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Objection.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The witness has answered the question
18 that Mr. Weiner is repeating for the second time, probably because he
19 wasn't happy with the answer.
20 JUDGE PARKER: No, it's not harassing at this point, so it may
22 MR. WEINER:
23 Q. I'll read the question again, sir: "You said, you felt it
24 necessary to go there. You went out of your way and went there. And you
25 did that because you were worried or concerned that something bad was
1 going to happen. You had already seen what had occurred that day; isn't
2 that correct?"
3 A. The main reason was to see whether they had arrived on the spot
4 and whether they started with trials and I needed to see that in order to
5 be able to inform the commander.
6 Q. You further testified, sir, on pages 14324, that you went to
7 Ovcara or you decided to stop at Ovcara which was on the road between the
8 barracks and the command post. It was along the roadway between the
9 barracks and the command post. Do you recall that testimony?
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. WEINER: Could the witness please be shown Exhibit 156,
12 please. It's a map of the area. Could you reduce it, please, so you can
13 see Ovcara and the command post. Could you focus a little bit on that.
14 Q. Sir, we have these pens where you can write on the map. The first
15 question is: Do you recognise that area? Could you put a one, please,
16 next to the barracks where you were.
17 A. [Marks]
18 Q. And let's go down. Could you put a 2 next to where the command
19 post was in Negoslavci.
20 A. [Marks]
21 Q. And could you put a 3 next to Ovcara where you went.
22 A. [Marks]
23 Q. Would you agree, sir, that Ovcara is not along the roadway between
24 the barracks and Negoslavci, or is this map incorrect?
25 A. This is a correct map, and I didn't say that it was right on the
1 road. I said it was en route from the barracks to Negoslavci. Travelling
2 on the road, I turned to the left and I stopped by Ovcara.
3 Q. Well, why don't you draw a line from the barracks and show us the
4 route that you went to Ovcara, and then the route that you returned.
5 First, the route that you went from the barracks to Ovcara.
6 A. [Marks]
7 Q. And could you put an A next to that, somewhere along the line, so
8 we know that that's the first route. A letter A, please.
9 A. [Marks]
10 Q. That's good. Thank you. And sir, could you put a line and show
11 us the route of how you returned to Negoslavci.
12 A. The same, except in the opposite direction.
13 Q. And could you put a B by the arrow or the arrowtip so we know
14 that's the second route from Ovcara to Negoslavci.
15 A. [Marks]
16 MR. WEINER: Thank you, sir.
17 Your Honour, is it time for the break now?
18 JUDGE PARKER: Were you tendering that?
19 MR. WEINER: Yes, I will. I thought I will do it later.
20 JUDGE PARKER: You can lose it electronically.
21 MR. WEINER: Let's tender it now.
22 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
23 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 854, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE PARKER: We will then adjourn and resume at ten to.
25 --- Recess taken at 12.25 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 12.53 p.m.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Weiner.
3 MR. WEINER: Yes, Your Honour.
4 Your Honour, before I start, both counsel, Mr. Lukic and Mr.
5 Moore, have requested to address the Court in the five minutes before the
6 session ends today, at 20 minutes to 2.00, concerning the programme for
7 the briefs, getting the briefs and the argument, oral argument.
8 JUDGE PARKER: That will let you off the hook a little earlier,
9 Mr. Weiner. Very well.
10 MR. WEINER:
11 Q. Good afternoon. Sir, as you can see on the map in front of you,
12 Ovcara is not along the road between the barracks and the command post.
13 As you testified yesterday, it was necessary for you to go there and I put
14 it to you you took that detour because you were concerned that a crime was
15 going to occur at Ovcara based on your conveying the orders of Colonel
17 A. I don't know how to answer this. I have already said, returning
18 to the command post on my way back, I wanted to see whether some kind of
19 investigative or other judicial proceeding had started because they had
20 announced that such a thing would happen at the cabinet session. Ovcara
21 is not on the main road, but it's on the way from Vukovar to Negoslavci,
22 it's in that direction. So only a brief detour was needed; I only had to
23 turn left at one point.
24 Q. You wanted to see if any trial or judicial process had started
25 because you were worried, having seen that so-called government meeting,
1 who you had never seen before, and seeing Arkan there, that it all might
2 be a fraud and a crime would be occurring or something very bad would be
4 A. I could not have the remotest idea that something bad would
5 happen. I just wanted to have complete information about what was
6 happening and to inform my commander of it. At the cabinet session, they
7 spoke very convincingly about holding a fair trial. Hadzic said that
8 those who had bloodied their hands would be put on trial, whereas those
9 who were innocent would remain living in Vukovar in a normal way.
10 I could not gather that they were preparing for anything else. I
11 thought that, as a government, they were competent because that's how they
12 represented themselves. I thought they were competent to do things
14 Q. But you'd never seen them before. You didn't know anything about
15 them, and the member of the delegation that you did know about was a
16 criminal and a murderer. You didn't look into it, did you?
17 A. I agree with your statement.
18 Q. Now, you've already previously testified that you didn't -- I'm
19 sorry, you testified, I'm talking back in Belgrade -- that you didn't know
20 who ordered those buses to go from the barracks to Ovcara; isn't that
22 A. Yes, that's one of the questions that needs resolving.
23 Q. And you knew that military police were escorting them to Ovcara
24 but you didn't know exactly from which military police battalion; isn't
25 that correct?
1 A. It was the police of the 2nd Battalion of the military police
2 together with the unit that had secured them in the barracks, the unit of
3 Captain Predojevic who were escorting them.
4 Q. So you knew who were escorting them, but you did not know who
5 ordered them there.
6 A. No. I know now. I learned later on, because later on, I saw who
7 was escorting them and I learned the details later on. But I did not see
8 the convoy setting out from the barracks.
9 Q. So you learned later on that they were sent -- that they were
10 escorted by the military police to Ovcara.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. So you said you went to Ovcara, and I want to quote you, "so you
13 would have complete information." You didn't have complete information
14 about why those people left the barracks but you wanted complete
15 information as to what was going on in Ovcara? If you wanted complete
16 information, you should have gone back to the command post and said: What
17 is going on here? Shouldn't you have?
18 A. I could have done that, but I went first to Ovcara and then to the
19 command post.
20 Q. When you went to Ovcara and -- what did you see when you arrived?
21 A. When I arrived at Ovcara, I saw a hangar and guards in front of
22 the hangar. On the road in front of the hangar, I saw several armed men,
23 and I also believe there were individuals without weapons. It was not a
24 large group of people, maybe 10 to 15 on the road. Some were circulating.
25 They may have been carrying out a task and just passing through, but most
1 of the group hung around.
2 One of them tried to approach the gate to the hangar but they were
3 prevented by the guards, that is, the military police unit standing guard
5 Q. Now, sir, there's been testimony here, that's uncontested from
6 both military and civilian witnesses, that when those buses arrived at
7 Ovcara, the prisoners had to run through a gauntlet to get to the hangars
8 where they were beaten with fists, beaten with feet, and beaten with metal
9 and wooden objects. Were you aware of that?
10 A. I heard that later on in my conversation with Vujnovic but not
11 described so dramatically. I just learned that there was some attempts to
12 assault those people and some people were continuing trying to approach.
13 Q. Well, we'll get to that, your conversation, shortly. But were you
14 aware of the gauntlet, sir, and people were beaten?
15 A. I heard some of this from Vojnovic and I learned some of this
17 Q. There has been testimony that a few members of the Guards
18 Motorised Brigade, including an officer, participated in the gauntlet;
19 were you aware of that?
20 A. No, I don't know if there was anyone there before I arrived. I
21 did not participate in that. I can assert that with full responsibility.
22 Q. There has been testimony in this court, sir, that you were present
23 and were watching the gauntlet as it was conducted and the prisoners were
24 being beaten. Do you deny this? And that's testimony at page 7705 and
1 A. I deny that testimony. I would not have been able to observe
2 that. I would have prevented it. I would have opposed it physically,
3 because it's neither good for a soldier or a human being to do something
4 like that. I arrived when these people were already in the hangar. And
5 yesterday, I explained that at that time, the buses were turning on the
6 road behind Ovcara in the direction of Grabovo and going back.
7 Q. There has been testimony that the military police officers who you
8 saw on those buses, and the drivers, took no action to protect those
9 prisoners as they were beaten, as they ran through the gauntlet. Are you
10 aware of that, sir?
11 A. I know that or, rather, I saw that there were two policemen on
12 each bus plus a driver. At that point, they were on the way back to the
13 barracks. I don't know anything else.
14 Q. Were you aware that Colonel Vojnovic attempted to protect the
15 prisoners that were entering the hangar? Colonel Vojnovic?
16 A. Yes, Vojnovic told me that. He told me about the attempt or,
17 rather, the gauntlet at the entrance to the hangar.
18 Q. He's testified that he was pushed, struck, or assaulted, and
19 harassed as he helped save some of those prisoners. Were you aware of
21 A. Well, the story he told me was not so miserable. He was a
22 soldier, an officer. We did agree together that the security had to be
23 reinforced. So it's his own fault if he was pushed.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] On page 67, in the reply, line 12, the
1 witness said he, meaning Vojnovic, was the commander and he had his
2 military police. This is not on the record.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I may have spoken very fast.
4 MR. WEINER:
5 Q. Could you repeat your answer? The question was: "He testified,"
6 meaning Colonel Vojnovic, of the 80th Motorised Brigade, "He testified
7 that he was pushed, struck or assaulted, and harassed as he helped save
8 some of those prisoners. Were you aware of that?" Could you please
9 repeat your answer. It did not come through on the record.
10 A. Vojnovic told me that he had certain problems when these people
11 got off the buses and proceeded to the hangar. He said that they created
12 a gauntlet and tried to settle accounts with them. He did not tell me
13 what they had done to him.
14 I say that if they pushed him around, harassed him, threatened
15 him, dragged him around, he, himself, was to blame because he was a
16 commander who had a military police unit there and other units he could
17 have used for his own personal protection and for the protection of other
18 persons who were under threat.
19 Q. So you're saying that he's to blame for acting heroically and
20 saving people? He's to blame for getting pushed and injured or hurt?
21 A. No, that wasn't what I meant to say. I meant to say that he, as a
22 commander, should not allow himself to be in a situation where he is not
24 Q. But sir, you just testified that if you were there - you claim
25 that you weren't there when the gauntlet - and if you were there, you
1 would have gone right in to protect those people. He did the same thing
2 as you would have done?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. So it wasn't his fault. It was a heroic gesture, wasn't it, sir?
5 A. Yes, I accept that but I would have done it more professionally.
6 Q. Well, he also described the scene in the hangar of those people
7 who'd been beaten and he described it at page 8844 as a "shocking sight."
8 You saw the people in that hangar who had been beaten. Did you also see
9 this shocking sight?
10 A. I only saw the people from the entrance to the hangar, from the
11 gate. I didn't go in. And in the hangar, nothing was happening at that
12 point, except for people standing around.
13 Q. Now, you said that you spoke to Colonel Vojnovic; isn't that
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And yesterday, you testified at page 14325 about that
17 conversation. "We exchanged a few words and he told me that there had
18 been attempts made for those who were in front of the hangar and on the
19 road or, rather, by them to enter the hangar and recognise someone. Quite
20 simply, he said to me, that he had the impression that some people were
21 trying to take revenge, wanted to take revenge, but that he did not allow
22 that, and that his security did not allow that, the security that was in
23 front of the hangar."
24 Is that what you testified to yesterday as to the conversation
25 that had occurred?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Today, you're testifying that he advised you that there was a
3 gauntlet. You know what a gauntlet is. That's different -- you know what
4 a gauntlet -- that's different from an impression that some people were
5 trying to take revenge. That's a different situation.
6 A. Well, very well. I may not have been sufficiently precise
7 yesterday. I may not have stated all the information, but if need be, I
8 can go into great detail when describing an event. Yesterday, I was
9 trying to be brief, as I am today.
10 Q. Well, a gauntlet where people are being beaten, especially
11 prisoners, is a very serious situation, isn't it?
12 A. Yes, it is.
13 Q. What, exactly, did he describe to you in relation to this
15 A. If I have to go into details. When the people got off the buses
16 and as I have been there, I know the distance is not great, it's just 7 or
17 800 meters from the road to the hangar, it's a path going up. He did not
18 go into details, but he said that when the people were getting off the
19 buses, those people gathered around trying to identify individuals and
20 they stood on both sides, so they did, in fact, create some kind of
22 He said he was there and that he intervened personally and
23 prevented it. He said that he had some problems, that the situation was
24 now quiet, calm, which I could see for myself, and that was it. We
25 concluded together that security had to be reinforced.
1 Q. The gauntlet you described was some sort of identification
2 gauntlet; is that correct?
3 A. Well, I think Vojnovic could explain it better than I.
4 Q. Well, his explanation was a gauntlet where people were being
5 beaten with fists, feet, metal, and wooden objects. That's much more
6 serious than an identification gauntlet of some kind.
7 A. Yes, I agree.
8 Q. And he had just gone through this serious situation where he threw
9 himself into this to protect people, this had just occurred, and are you
10 telling us that he never described it to you or told you what happened?
11 A. We spoke in front of the hangar, but ...
12 Q. So you want to leave it that all he told you was that it was his
13 impression that some people wanted to take revenge?
14 A. Well, to put to briefly, yes.
15 Q. Sir, isn't it true, that he told you about the serious threat to
16 the prisoners and that's why you went back to notify Colonel Mrksic?
17 A. When I was there, the situation was under control. Security at
18 the entrance to the hangar, in the hangar, people who were not being
19 beaten up at that point in time by anyone and nobody was doing anything to
20 them at that time. People on the road were milling around. Some were
21 stopping to look. Others were trying to approach the hangar. In front of
22 the hangar, there was Lieutenant Colonel Vojnovic.
23 After my conversation with him and after what I had seen, I went
24 back to the command post.
25 Q. Sir, you said after what you had seen. He described the people in
1 the hangar after being beaten as a shocking situation. You looked into
2 that hangar and as I said, it's been uncontested here that this gauntlet
3 occurred and beatings, what did you see? You didn't see any people
4 bleeding? You didn't see any people who were injured?
5 A. I didn't enter the hangar, and I was unable to see individual
6 faces. I saw a large group of people standing. The hangar was half-lit.
7 It had no proper windows, just tiny ones, and the light came in through
8 tiny cracks. I couldn't see the faces clearly, I just saw a crowd of
9 people standing. They stood further away from the door, opposite at quite
10 far from the door. I didn't enter the hangar.
11 Q. Sir, you said you went to Ovcara to get a complete picture of what
12 was happening. You didn't go into the hangar to get that complete picture
13 of what was happening?
14 A. I didn't enter the hangar. I was primarily interested in finding
15 out whether the government, which had promised a fair trial, had arrived
16 and started with a trial, whether they started taking records or doing
17 something else.
18 Q. So if we look at the date so far, you've been to the barracks in
19 the morning and there was an incident at the barracks where TO people were
20 trying to attack the people on the bus and the military police had to stop
21 them; isn't that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. You attend a meeting where Arkan is on the government delegation,
24 where they are attacking the JNA, indicating they will not obey the orders
25 of the JNA; isn't that correct?
1 A. Correct.
2 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Objection, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
4 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I apologise to my learned friend, but
5 I don't see on the basis of what he put before the witness that Arkan was
6 a member of the government delegation. No witness stated that in
8 MR. WEINER: That was his testimony yesterday, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE PARKER: I recall evidence, Mr. Vasic, that Arkan arrived as
10 a member of the government delegation and accompanying Hadzic.
11 MR. WEINER:
12 Q. In addition to that, you're aware, from a few days earlier, a
13 warning from General Zivota Panic of TO members taking revenge and your
14 testimony in its best light is that Colonel Vojnovic indicated that some
15 local people wanted to take revenge; isn't that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. At that point, sir, you knew that there was a serious problem, a
18 serious threat to these prisoners; isn't that correct?
19 A. Yes, but I also knew that nothing could happen to them if we
20 intervened with our forces and that was never in question at all.
21 Q. Well, we'll get to that in a little bit. You left Ovcara knowing
22 that there was a serious threat, and you returned to your command post and
23 spoke with Colonel Mrksic.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. You testified that you spoke to Colonel Mrksic about what you
1 knew, and that's at page 14328 to 14329. And I'll read what you testified
2 yesterday. "I informed him about all of this. I said it wouldn't be a
3 bad thing if some of the security organs or military police went to Ovcara
4 to indicate certain things or offer assistance in professional terms, if
5 necessary, to Lieutenant Colonel Vojnovic. I don't know whether he sent
6 anyone. I think he did, and think on the basis of everything I remember,
7 and having made these previous statements too. I think that he actually
8 did send some people there and I think that Mile Bozic was among them. He
9 was there in Negoslavci at the command post or, rather, in a house there
10 near the command post."
11 That was your testimony yesterday.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Would you agree with me that that testimony was not totally
14 correct or accurate or true, whichever word you want to use?
15 A. I don't see why.
16 Q. Isn't it true that you notified Colonel Mrksic in much stronger
17 terms about the situation that was occurring?
18 A. I informed Colonel Mrksic in greater detail than described here,
19 so if necessary, I can give you the details. I told him where I was, what
20 I did, what I saw, and what the situation was like.
21 Q. You didn't say to him, sir: You know, it would be a nice thing if
22 we just send someone to offer some advice to Colonel Vojnovic. You said
23 to him that there's a serious threat to the prisoners right now. Isn't
24 that correct?
25 A. That's correct. The essence is identical. The situation is
1 serious. It would be good if somebody went there.
2 Q. And if we go to paragraph 86 of your statement to the Office of
3 the Prosecutor. It's on page 23, sir.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You said, and I'll read the paragraph: "After spending about 15
6 minutes at Ovcara, I went to the OG South command post in Negoslavci where
7 I arrived at around 1530 hours. I reported to Colonel Mrksic and informed
8 him about the decision of the SAO SBZS government to prosecute prisoners
9 from the Vukovar Hospital and about my preparations for the visit of
10 reporters and about what I had seen at Ovcara. In connection with Ovcara,
11 I told him that the prisoners were at Ovcara but that there were no
12 representatives of the SAO SBZS authorities, even though they said they'd
13 be holding trials at Ovcara. I also told Mrksic I had doubts about the
14 safety of the prisoners at Ovcara. I'm not sure whether I mentioned to
15 Mrksic that the prisoners were under the protection of the 80th Motorised
17 Is that correct, sir, what was said?
18 A. Yes, but it would be good if there were questions reflected here
19 to which I gave my answers. I don't know why this last sentence was
20 inserted here. It is outside of the context, but the fact is that this is
21 my statement. It is needless to say that Vojnovic was at Ovcara and that
22 that was his area of responsibility. I don't see why this last sentence
23 was inserted here. Perhaps it could be clear if we could see the
25 Q. Well, could you go to the paragraph just above the last two
1 sentences of paragraph 85. Right above that, you state in those last two
2 sentences before paragraph 85: "I do not know why Lieutenant Colonel
3 Vojnovic and his military police were at Ovcara. I can only assume that
4 Colonel Mrksic ordered them to be there."
5 A. Yes. The 80th Brigade had Ovcara in its area of responsibility,
6 and it was logical for them to secure the place, just as they provided
7 security to the previous groups. So I don't understand why I gave that
8 comment. The fact is that they were there and that they did that job.
9 Perhaps it has to do with translation. Perhaps the meaning was
10 misrecorded. I wasn't sure that there was some other order issued by
11 Mrksic to Vojnovic.
12 Q. Well, you mention "orders from Mrksic to Vojnovic." You were
13 aware, sir, that the 80th Motorised Brigade was subordinated to Operations
14 Group South.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And as a result, you knew that Colonel Vojnovic took orders from
17 Colonel Mrksic.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now, also in that paragraph, where you believe that Colonel Mrksic
20 might have ordered the 80th to be there, you state, if you look in the
21 middle, that you mention those people and you say: "They were walking up
22 and down the path leading to the hangar at Ovcara. I do not think they
23 represented a threat to the 80th Motorised Brigade, but they may have been
24 a threat to the prisoners at Ovcara. Vojnovic and I concluded that the
25 security of the prisoners might not be sufficient. While I was at Ovcara,
1 I did not see Major Sljivancanin, but I remember seeing his deputy, Major
2 Ljubisa Vukasinovic."
3 Is that also correct? Is that what you said?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. So you, at that point, believed that there was a threat to the
6 prisoners, and did you convey this belief to Colonel Mrksic that there was
7 a threat or serious threat to those prisoners?
8 A. I conveyed that they needed to check the security detail and
9 reinforce it and I said that I thought that somebody ought to be sent
10 there whose specialty it was, so that they could make appropriate
11 corrections, and I concluded the same with Vojnovic, namely, that security
12 needed to be reinforced.
13 Q. And you state in paragraph 86 as part of that that you told Mrksic
14 that you had doubts about the safety of those prisoners at Ovcara.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And you wanted someone to evaluate the situation, if you look at
17 page 87, "... to make sure that the safety of the prisoners was
18 guaranteed." Those are your words. Paragraph 87.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Now, if we look at paragraph 93, you continue discussing this.
21 It's on page 24 in the English, I'm not sure on the B/C/S. 24 on the
22 B/C/S. Thank you.
23 "On 20th of November, 1991, Colonel Mrksic had all the information
24 necessary to make appropriate decisions to ensure the safety of prisoners
25 from the Vukovar Hospital. There were no interruptions in the system of
1 command and control or the reporting system that could have prevented him
2 from receiving the most recent information that day. Considering my
3 feelings about the local Serbian TO and the fact that Colonel Mrksic knew
4 about the threat to the safety of the prisoners posed by the local TO, he
5 could have used units of the Guards Motorised Brigade to neutralise or
6 eliminate this threat. The local Serbian TO was no match for the Guards
7 Motorised Brigade."
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Is that what you said?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. So according to your statement, you advised Colonel Mrksic of the
12 threat to the safety of those prisoners and nothing was done to neutralise
13 or eliminate this threat; isn't that correct?
14 A. I told him, and I think that he reacted. I think he did send some
15 people to Ovcara, but I cannot be certain about it and I don't know any
17 Q. But you can say for certain that he never sent members of either
18 of the two military police battalions or members of the Guards Motorised
19 Brigade infantry battalions to protect those prisoners; isn't that
21 A. He didn't send a unit. He knows this best. There was probably no
22 need for that. Vojnovic had a military police company. He had an
23 artillery battalion there. And to put it briefly, he had sufficient
24 forces to secure the place himself. What was needed there was a
25 specialist presence to give suggestions and advice; otherwise, the forces
1 that Vojnovic had were sufficient to protect them. I think that it was
2 not rational to deploy another unit when there was no other task in that
3 area of responsibility except to secure a facility.
4 Q. Sir, Major Vukasinovic was there, the deputy security organ, and
5 he was there while prisoners were being mistreated. That shows there was
6 a serious problem. Colonel Mrksic did not send members of the Guards
7 Motorised Brigade. In your words: "He could have used units of the
8 Guards Motorised Brigade to neutralise or eliminate this threat." But he
9 did not do that; isn't that correct, sir?
10 A. It is correct he could have sent, but at that moment, Vojnovic
11 alone was capable of completing this task without additional units. I saw
12 Major Vukasinovic but I don't know what task was assigned to him. I left
13 and he remained there.
14 Q. Sir, were you present when Major Vukasinovic notified Colonel
15 Mrksic of the mistreatment of prisoners at Ovcara and Mrksic did nothing?
16 Were you present for that at the command post at Negoslavci?
17 A. I don't remember that incident, and I never described it and I
18 would have if I remembered it.
19 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, I believe Mr. Moore is in the hallway
20 outside the door.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Good, I was about to say, he's overstayed his time
22 and we've run out of time.
23 MR. WEINER: Alas he appears.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
25 MR. MOORE: Your Honour mentioned certain administrative matters.
1 Yesterday, I wanted them to be clarified today. I am in a position to do
2 so. I don't know if the witness needs to remain. It's entirely for the
4 JUDGE PARKER: Our problem is time. You were wanting five minutes
5 or so and we've now got less than two.
6 MR. MOORE: Well, Your Honour --
7 JUDGE PARKER: For two days, we've overrun our time and delayed
8 the following trial.
9 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I can do it, I hope, in two minutes
10 because I've spoken to the Defence about various matters. I understood
11 there was agreement but we'll see.
12 Your Honour, the situation is as follows: The evidence on behalf
13 of Mr. Sljivancanin should conclude in the week ending the 8th of December
14 although I believe the date is the 6th of December, but I know --
15 JUDGE PARKER: I was in error, it is the 8th.
16 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, thank you very much. So Mr. Lukic can
17 just have his heart rate drop a little.
18 So that is the 8th of December. If there are going to be recall
19 of any witnesses or peripheral matters, that clearly has to be done with
20 the week ending the 15th of December because we go into the recess period
21 and that may well be an aspect that will arise.
22 The court recess is from the 18th of December until the week
23 ending, I think, the 5th of January, but of course there is the Serbian
24 new year, and therefore I think my learned friends had indicated that it
25 would be difficult for them to come before the court, of course, entirely
1 at the Court's behest, but that would be about the 7th or 8th.
2 We are considering possible rebuttal evidence and I don't know if
3 it would find favour with the Court if we tried to set aside a period and
4 that would be the 12th to the 17th of January inclusive.
5 I know that my learned friends, perhaps with the exception of Mr.
6 Borovic, agree with that particular proposal. The closing brief, I know
7 again, that all parties conclude that they would wish to have one month.
8 So if it was mid-January, that would be until mid-February, and can I just
9 suggest, perhaps, the 19th of February and then again my learned friends
10 are in agreement that preparation for closing argument would take no more
11 than two weeks.
12 So therefore, closing arguments, if the Court were agreeable, that
13 could be the 28th of February, which is a Wednesday, the 1st of March, and
14 I think the 2nd of March because my learned friends again consider, and I
15 agree with them, that it would be prudent to have three days for closing
16 arguments. That would therefore mean that the whole case would conclude
17 by the 2nd of March.
18 We have tried to put into this timetable all eventualities and in
19 our submission, I believe it is a joint submission, that this timetable
20 would be beneficial to the preparation of the case as a whole, and I don't
21 know if that would find favour with the Court.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Moore. Is there anything that
23 anybody wants to suggest contrary to that?
24 Mr. Lukic.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Not contrary, just a clarification of
1 our arguments, at least mine, but I think that my colleagues agree. We
2 are trying to abide by the plan and we hope to conclude by the date given
3 by you. Our first proposal is, if we have an extra two or three days at
4 around that time, and if it is possible to call back the witness that we
5 mentioned, then it might be prudent to take advantage of those extra two
6 or three days.
7 As for rebuttal and rejoinder, we can talk about that only later.
8 What's important for our Defence team and also for my colleagues is that
9 as soon as the case is over, we need about four working weeks to prepare
10 the final brief. I think it's important for all the parties, and
11 regardless of the conclusion of the trial, I think that we need a period
12 of four weeks for the preparation of the final brief. I think it's
13 important both for the Defence and for the OTP.
14 We also agreed that three days would be sufficient for closing
15 arguments, and we would need three weeks in between in order to prepare.
16 So we are in full agreement with the Prosecution regarding that. We would
17 just like to ask you to bear in mind this request of ours that we need a
18 good four weeks to prepare our final briefs.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic.
20 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Since I consulted Mr. Lukic, who told me that he might even
22 conclude by the 6th of December his case, if the Court should decide that
23 the additional witness can be examined, that that be done on the 7th and
25 As for the rest, I hesitate to raise any concerns because I do not
1 like to be the only one objecting constantly. I'll leave it in your
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have nothing to add in
4 order not to use up any more time. I fully agree with what everybody's
5 said and we had agreed on that during the break.
6 JUDGE PARKER: We would thank counsel. We will consider what you
7 have put to us.
8 Can we indicate the more pressing matter? That is, assuming that
9 Mr. Lukic finishes by the 8th of December, we would certainly hope to hear
10 any recalled witness, and there are still issues to be resolved there,
11 either at the end of that week if there's time, or into the next week,
12 early in the next week.
13 The question of rebuttal witnesses is a more complex and more
14 lengthy one, but if we can finish the primary case before we break for the
15 festive season, that would be a good idea. We certainly take note of the
16 Serbian celebrations and would not sit until they are passed, so that
17 people can plan their break there.
18 Thank you very much, and once again, I've got to go and apologise
19 to the next Chamber.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.52 p.m.,
21 to be reconvened on Monday, the 13th day of
22 November, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.