1 Tuesday, 14 November 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.20 p.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon.
6 Mr. Lukic.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] A brief motion before we continue. I
8 would like to address the Chamber, and I think Mr. Borovic has something
9 to raise briefly too.
10 It's about the next witness we have lined up. This is the witness
11 that was interviewed yesterday, Mr. Korica. I spoke to my learned friends
12 and I think there's a chance that Simic might be done today; however, it
13 wasn't before mid-morning today that I got Korica's interview. I started
14 going through it; it's about two hours and 15 minutes long. He's now
15 having lunch. I shall keep on going for at least another one and a half
16 hours, I will be listening to the tape and perhaps get a chance to talk to
17 him. We're just listening for the time being. If there's any time left
18 today, this man is aged 70 and he has heart problems, therefore I think it
19 might be a good idea to start with him tomorrow as previously envisaged.
20 Therefore, what I'm really raising is that should we be finishing
21 Mr. Simic today, I don't think it would be a good idea to start
22 Mr. Korica.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE PARKER: We will finish Mr. Simic today, then, and we will
25 then adjourn and we will resume tomorrow afternoon at 2.15 with
1 Mr. Korica.
2 Does that make you happy, Mr. Lukic?
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think this is helpful for everyone,
4 since all my other colleagues have just received the tape. They probably
5 would like to familiarise themselves with that, and I still have to submit
6 the proofing notes to Mr. Moore and I think we can all use tomorrow
7 morning to do some extra work on that.
8 JUDGE PARKER: First task, Mr. Lukic, is to finish Simic today.
9 Early, that will give you more time.
10 Mr. Borovic.
11 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will try
12 to be as brief as possible. This is not about the witness.
13 You imposed a deadline on the OTP about Witness P018, P024 and the
14 related documents. I would like to see what Mr. Smith has done about it.
15 I received a brief answer which confirms what I have heard already. He
16 did not agree but he asked for the documents to be checked beforehand, and
17 after that, he could give an opinion. All I got from the OTP is that
18 Smith had said that he had not agreed before, whereas your ruling was
19 crystal clear, even the seven days, they have all the telephone numbers,
20 they are in touch with the judges who made those rulings. I think it
21 would only be right for this to be checked, and it's been over 10 days
23 Just simply to inform the Chamber if they haven't, so far, but
24 virtually nothing has been done about the checks that Mr. Smith was
25 supposed to run on those documents. If the OTP do not believe that they
1 should do that at all, then I would like to ask the Chamber to make a
2 decision based on what I said the last time round.
3 Thank you.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
5 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, my learned friend has had replies. We
6 have contacted Mr. Smith who is in Cambodia. I think we have replied now
7 twice. I am not dealing specifically with the issue but I am aware of the
8 issue. The reply that was given on both occasions was that Mr. Smith had
9 given no undertakings at all, that he informed Mr. Borovic and his
10 colleagues that should they wish to adduce such evidence, they should go
11 about it in the normal way. That, as far as we were aware, was the way it
12 was left, and Mr. Smith was spoken to twice about this recently, and that
13 is the information that he gave us and we passed it forward to my learned
15 May I say, Mr. Smith did speak to me about it at the time. The
16 view I take about that matter is it is for the Defence to call the
17 evidence, to adduce the evidence, to demonstrate what they say is the
18 truth of the documentation, and Mr. Smith agreed with that and informed
19 the Defence of it.
20 I also seem to remember that there was an order from the Court
21 that the Defence should have -- should reply, I think, within 14 days
22 should they wish to call evidence on that matter. But that is from the
23 top of my head. I will have the matters checked, and with the Court's
24 leave, may I deal with it, or perhaps Mr. Lunny, who is dealing with it,
25 deal with it at the start of the next session. I hope it should not take
1 any length of time at all.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
3 Mr. Borovic.
4 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you.
5 To be brutally frank, Mr. Moore, I didn't see this coming from
6 you. You have the mail that we sent Mr. Smith based on his own request.
7 Just for ease of handling and in order to make possible better
8 communication with the bodies in Serbia, the authorities there, we worked
9 together in a very respectful manner for a number of years, and now this
10 is the very first time that you are telling the Chamber that Mr. Smith
11 actually did something else.
12 I'm in the hands of the Chamber. The Chamber has my position on
13 these documents. If they don't want that, or if they really mean to
14 challenge their authenticity, the documents are there and it's only a
15 matter of procedure as to what they'll do next.
16 Thank you.
17 MR. MOORE: Would Your Honour allow me just to read a document
18 that was sent to the Defence. I now have it in front of me. It's a very
19 short reply.
20 It was sent by e-mail on the 11th of October, 10.00 in the morning
21 to Ms. Guduric, who is Mr. Borovic's assistant. It reads as follows: "As
22 per my earlier e-mail, Mr. Smith has confirmed that after you asked him to
23 agree the documents and provided contact details, Mr. Smith considered the
24 position and then spoke to you directly to confirm that the documents were
25 not to be agreed. Mr. Smith has confirmed that. He confirmed that he has
1 explained to you that no contact was made with authorities in the former
2 Yugoslavia and that you should proceed to prove the documents for P024 in
3 the normal way by leading evidence.
4 "Mr. Smith has also confirmed that he made no undertaking in
5 relation to Witness P018. I hope this clarifies matters. The
6 Prosecution's position remains the same. No undertaking was given to
7 agree to any of the documents and that the Defence of Mr. Radic was
8 advised of this at the conclusion of the Prosecution case. And then
9 regards, signed by Mr. Lunny."
10 And that has been our position throughout.
11 JUDGE PARKER: The last time the ball is back to you, Mr. Borovic.
12 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise, Your Honour.
13 Your Honours, as for these documents in relation to Witness P018,
14 that's the only thing that's right; there was no undertaking by Mr. Smith.
15 But that is not what lies at the heart of the matter. Neither does the
16 matter that concerns P022. However, as for P024, I think it will be
17 material for OTP. I'm not going into the specific documents now, but I'm
18 sure that had they been interested, they would have checked the
19 authenticity of those documents in the first place.
20 I really have to control myself in order not to overreach myself
21 and say something I might regret, but Mr. Smith never said anything like
22 that and it was just a waste of time for me.
23 Mr. Smith is a very serious person. He never explained from the
24 OTP why I sent an e-mail with all the addresses of the Belgrade courts,
25 the telephone numbers of the judges there. I didn't do that just because
1 I like doing it. Do they get the e-mail or not? On the other hand, this
2 is a witness who apparently duped the OTP. I'm saying "duped the OTP."
3 They didn't check the witness's legitimacy, and this is a problem of a
4 different magnitude than it might work against the OTP, which of course
5 they don't necessarily have to agree with.
6 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ... At the next --
7 after the next break.
8 Could the witness now be brought in, please.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon, Mr. Simic. May I remind you of the
11 affirmation that you made at the beginning of your evidence which still
13 WITNESS: MILIVOJE SIMIC [Resumed]
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 JUDGE PARKER: And I think Mr. Bulatovic was in the course of
16 asking you questions.
17 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.
18 Examination by Mr. Bulatovic: [Continued]
19 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Simic. We'll continue your
20 examination where we left off yesterday. I do have to ask you one thing,
21 Mr. Simic, after each of my questions, please hold your breath, wait a
22 couple of seconds and please speak slowly in order to give the
23 interpreters a fair chance of interpreting the proceedings.
24 Mr. Simic, on the 19th of November, 1991, you arrived in the
1 hospital area in Vukovar. Do you remember if there were any other
2 officers present there? Can you please describe any memories that you
3 might have about the presence of other officers there?
4 A. I arrived at the hospital with the company at about 1400 hours.
5 At the main gate, I was met by my battalion commander, Captain First Class
6 Radoje Paunovic. In addition to him, I also met Major Tesic in the
7 hospital, the commander of the 1st Motorised Battalion. He was there with
8 some of his men and he had set up some sort of a security system for the
9 hospital. In addition to Tesic, I also met Major Sljivancanin.
10 Immediately upon our arrival, Captain Paunovic addressed me and
11 gave me some tasks in relation to the hospital security.
12 Q. Mr. Simic, please answer my question. Let's take it one step at a
13 time. Now, did you get any sort of information from Mr. Tesic since you
14 say that he was there setting up a security system already with some of
15 his men? Did he tell you anything about their presence when he had
16 arrived, what he had done, up to that point or anything of that sort?
17 A. Major Tesic told me that he, together with his men, had inspected
18 most of the hospital and that quantities of weapons had been found within
19 the hospital compound. He said there was still a likelihood that some of
20 the people inside the hospital were armed.
21 Q. What exactly did Paunovic tell you to do?
22 A. A police and military task, textbook one. I was told to secure
23 the building. The assignment was given. It contained certain details
24 that I now don't remember. What I remember is that I went with my
25 subordinates to inspect the barracks. I looked at the entire area. I
1 looked at what the buildings and facilities there were, the installations,
2 and then we also looked at the buildings close to the fence which were
3 places at which security elements might have been at risk.
4 Q. Mr. Simic, you said the barracks. I think that's probably a slip
5 of the tongue on your part. You mean the hospital, don't you?
6 A. Indeed I do, I apologise.
7 Q. Okay. So did you set up a security system there? If so, please
8 describe what sort of security and how many men did that take?
9 A. Before we organised security, we used part of the company to
10 partially search the hospital perimeter. We found about three or four
11 rifles. I don't remember the exact number though. After that, we set up
12 a security system. There was reception, there were patrols, there were
13 guards. We appointed a security commander. We had guards, the usual sort
14 of thing that you have in situations like these.
15 You asked me about the numbers. I said yesterday that there were
16 a total of 48 soldiers. In order to set up the entire security system, we
17 needed about 40 of them.
18 Q. Mr. Simic, you mentioned the fact that Major Tesic had told you
19 about weapons that had been found. He said there was a danger that some
20 of the people inside the hospital might still be armed. Did you know
21 anything to indicate who it was that was still inside the hospital?
22 A. Our information indicated that there were civilians inside the
23 hospital, first and foremost, who had taken shelter there. There were
24 still medical staff, patients, as well as disguised members of Croat
25 paramilitary units.
1 Q. When you were outside the hospital, did you speak to
2 Mr. Sljivancanin?
3 A. We exchanged greetings when I came, but before he left, he drew my
4 attention to everything that I've been telling you about. Particularly he
5 pointed out that there was a possibility that disguised members of Croat
6 paramilitary units were hiding inside and he said we still didn't know, at
7 this point, if they were armed or not. He said I should pay special
8 attention to preserving the lives of my own men, above all. He said I
9 should see to it that I accomplished my mission but that I should focus on
10 preserving the lives of my men.
11 Q. You said "before he left." What exactly do you mean when you say
13 A. There was still natural light, and before dark, Major Sljivancanin
14 left the hospital.
15 Q. On the 19th of November, did you see anyone from the International
16 Red Cross, anyone from the European community? Did you see any foreign
17 representatives there?
18 A. I remember that well. There was a team that came, an ICRC team,
19 and when they came, there was this man who led the delegation. I know his
20 first name was Nicholas. He spoke to Major Sljivancanin. I was standing
21 some way from them. I saw them talk, but I don't know what they talked
23 At the time I was talking to another person who was the driver --
24 Q. Just slow down slightly, please.
25 A. So while Mr. Sljivancanin, Major Sljivancanin was talking to this
1 gentleman, I was standing at a distance of about 30 metres from them
2 talking to the driver belonging to that delegation who happened to be a
3 Serb from Lika, so we exchanged some words.
4 Q. What about this Nicholas, do you remember how long he stayed at
5 the hospital for?
6 A. I know they didn't linger for too long. It was soon after this
7 conversation that he had with Major Sljivancanin that they left. I didn't
8 see them after that.
9 Q. Mr. Simic, can you please describe the atmosphere at the hospital?
10 You said there were civilians there, hospital staff, people. What was the
11 atmosphere like?
12 A. It was like this: There were a large number of civilians in the
13 hospital building itself. Secondly, outside the hospital perimeter, there
14 were quite a number of people, relatively speaking. There were those that
15 I will term curiosity seekers, there was some TO men from Vukovar, there
16 were volunteers, there were locals who came to look for their own
17 relatives and were waiting for everyone to leave the hospital so that they
18 might check whether their relatives and friends were still alive. There
19 were quite a number of people there.
20 Q. Mr. Simic, on the 19th, do you remember if there was an evacuation
21 of civilians from the hospital that occurred on that day?
22 A. I do remember that civilians were evacuated. As far as I know,
23 everyone with the exception of the patients and the hospital staff was
24 allowed to leave the hospital. They left the hospital and the evacuation
25 went on until late in the evening. It got dark very early that time of
1 the year.
2 Q. What was your concrete task related to the security of the
3 hospital? What were you supposed to secure the hospital from?
4 A. The task was a twofold one. First, to prevent uninvited persons
5 from entering the compound and the hospital itself. And secondly, once
6 the evacuation is over, to prevent possible armed provocations from inside
7 and outside.
8 Q. Mr. Simic, do you remember, while you were securing the hospital
9 on the 19th of November, did anybody else enter the hospital apart from
10 the people that you mentioned here?
11 A. The building itself, only a foreign TV crew entered the hospital
12 during the course of the day, no one else. No members of the brigade or
13 any other unit entered the hospital in an unauthorised way. The TV crew
14 had the proper permit to come in.
15 Q. Do you remember this foreign TV crew? Did they come on their own
16 or did somebody bring them?
17 A. The clue did not come on their own, because the crew was brought
18 by Captain Maric. I knew Captain Maric because for a while, he worked in
19 the 2nd Battalion of the military police at Mount Avala, and I know that
20 he had been wounded or injured during combat operations; I'm not sure.
21 Then when I saw him alive and well, I was really happy. That's how I
22 remember that he was there, in particular.
23 Q. Could you please explain, Mr. Simic, whether this presence of
24 Captain Maric influenced you in terms of allowing the TV crew to enter the
25 hospital, since your assignment was not to allow anyone to enter the
1 hospital or did this motivate you to let them in?
2 A. Well, first when I saw them at the gate, I exchanged greetings
3 with Maric. I asked him whether these people had a permit --
4 MR. MOORE: I'm sorry, I've let it go so far but there's no
5 reference at all in any of the three summaries about Captain Maric. There
6 is a reference to a TV crew, but there's no mention about Maric and
7 there's no mention about conversations.
8 Unless I'm wrong, and I don't believe I am, I object to that
9 aspect of the evidence. Perhaps we've heard now three summaries.
10 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Moore is right, Your Honours.
11 Indeed, I never mentioned that, who the TV crew came with, but since he
12 talked about the foreign TV crew coming, I thought that I could ask that,
13 too, but that is not really that important, so perhaps I can move on to
14 another subject and other matters at that.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Bulatovic.
16 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Do you know how long that crew stayed at the hospital, Mr. Simic?
18 A. Well, I cannot tell you exactly. Captain Maric and I were
19 standing, or rather sitting, or rather standing in front of the entrance,
20 and then when they left, we saw them off.
21 Q. During your stay there on the 19th, was your commander present
22 there, of the 2nd Battalion of the military police, Mr. Paunovic?
23 A. From the time of my arrival to the hospital, he was with me
24 throughout that time. However -- well, I don't know now. Around 5.00
25 or 5.30, he went to the command of the Guards Brigade to the briefing
2 After the briefing, I think he came back two hours later or
3 perhaps it was a bit more than that. Then he was with us until after
4 midnight. Sometime after midnight he went back, or rather he went back to
5 his command post.
6 Q. All the time from his return to -- from the briefing until he went
7 to the command post, were you together all the time or did you go
8 somewhere in the meantime?
9 A. I didn't go anywhere from the hospital compound, but from time to
10 time, I did go to see the security organs, to talk to people. There were
11 quite a few other obligations that I had there as company commander. The
12 soldiers had to be taken care of properly in terms of where they'd spend
13 the night, then their food and so on. There are many things that I had to
14 deal with as company commander.
15 Q. As for security matters, did you discuss anything with
16 Mr. Paunovic, the commander, before he went to the briefing? Do you
17 remember having discussed anything with him?
18 A. Yes. When we analysed the situation, and primarily in view of the
19 fact that we were securing a facility that we were unfamiliar with, there
20 was this assumption and possibility that within the hospital, there were
21 unarmed people -- there were armed people, rather.
22 When we saw how many people we had in our own company, on the one
23 hand, the company has certain duties regarding this security. In this
24 discussion, I proposed to the commander that if it is possible, to get
25 some people from other companies and battalions that we reinforce my
1 company, because at that moment, we did not know how long this security
2 task would last and the unit was involved in searches on that day. They
3 had been through a long march and the soldiers were really exhausted.
4 Q. Did Mr. Paunovic respond to these suggestions of yours?
5 A. He said that he was going to the briefing and that at the briefing
6 he would explain the situation and that he will ask for approval,
7 permission to reinforce the 4th Company with personnel from some other
9 Q. You say that you saw him when he came back from the briefing. Did
10 he say something to you in relation to your previous conversation, whether
11 he had talked about anything at the command, whether he had any new
12 information for you in terms of reinforcing the security there?
13 A. Upon his return, he said that his proposal was -- had been
14 accepted, and that we would get reinforcements from the 1st Company.
15 Since it was night-time, it was not possible to do it straight away, but
16 he told me to wait until the morning and that Lieutenant Todorovic would
17 bring part of his soldiers there to reinforce my company.
18 On that occasion, that is to say, after his return, he told me
19 that on the following day, an evacuation would be carried out, both of
20 patients and medical staff. And on that occasion, he told me what I, as
21 company commander, should do on the following day.
22 Q. Do you know who Major Karan is?
23 A. Yes. Major Mladen Karan was a desk officer in the security
24 department of the Guards Motorised Brigade.
25 Q. Did you see him in the hospital on the 19th of November?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Do you know when he came and why?
3 A. I think around 1900 hours, he came and said that he had orders to
4 take Dr. Vesna Bosanac to Negoslavci. We came to the entrance together.
5 We called Dr. Bosanac. She went out. We told her that she was supposed
6 to go to Negoslavci. She told us to wait so that she could get some of
7 her personal belongings. She left and came back very quickly. I remember
8 she had this little bag with her. And then with Major Karan, she went to
10 Q. Mr. Simic, does the name Marin Vidic, Bili, mean anything to you?
11 A. I remember the name, but I really don't know what his position
12 was. I know that on that very same evening, on the 19th, that is, when I
13 returned from my tour of the security organs, I stopped at the desk again.
14 The soldier who worked at the reception desk told me that the commander
15 battalion had been there and he took a man from the hospital, that they
16 drove off.
17 When Captain Paunovic came back, he told me that this person who
18 he took was Marin Vidic.
19 Q. To avoid any confusion, Mr. Paunovic --
20 A. Simic.
21 Q. Sorry about that. As for your contacts with Mr. Paunovic, let us
22 clarify some matters. If I understand you correctly, you were with
23 Paunovic until 1730 hours; is that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. After that, if I understand you correctly, Paunovic went to the
1 briefing and came back two hours later in your estimate, which is to say
2 around 2000 hours.
3 A. Just a moment, please. Let us clarify this. He came back from
4 the briefing. He took Marin Vidic, returned to Negoslavci, and went back
5 to the hospital yet again. It is only when he returned to the hospital
6 yet again that I saw him.
7 Q. Well, that's what confused me a bit. That's what I wanted to
8 clarify. And then when he returned from Negoslavci, how long did
9 Mr. Paunovic stay in the hospital?
10 A. He left the hospital sometime around midnight.
11 Q. Now, Mr. Simic, I'm interested in the atmosphere that prevailed
12 around the hospital. You mentioned the presence of some volunteers,
13 territorials, local people, what was the atmosphere like? Was there any
14 attacks, assaults, was there any aggressive behaviour vis-a-vis the people
15 you were securing who were staying at the hospital? Can you describe that
16 at bit?
17 A. First of all, these people who were around the hospital were not
18 within the compound; they were out in the street. Part of these people
19 were verbally provoking, abusing my security organs saying things along
20 the lines of: You're guarding Ustashas, my brother's killer's there, my
21 father's killer's there. And that's where it all ended, these verbal
23 As night fell, most of these people left. When the evacuation of
24 all these civilians was over, everything became quiet.
25 From 8.00 onwards, really, there weren't any provocations.
1 Everything was peaceful.
2 Q. These provocations and these things that these people did from
3 outside the hospital that you talked about, do you think that they
4 endangered the people in the hospital? Were they that dangerous? Did
5 they really constitute a threat for the people in the hospital and for
6 you, too, because you were there?
7 A. Of course not, because our task was that if this went beyond
8 verbal provocations, we would have reacted. There weren't any indicators
9 that showed that something could happen to the people who were there. On
10 the basis of our assessment of the behaviour of these people, we saw that
11 the bottom line was these verbal provocations.
12 Q. Page 16, line 19 in the transcript, you said 8.00 when everything
13 became quiet, is this 8.00 in the morning or 8.00 in the evening?
14 A. In the evening. Sorry about that.
15 Q. Tell me now, in addition to this TV crew that entered the hospital
16 on the 19th, do you remember whether anybody else entered the hospital,
17 got out of the hospital, except for these civilians that you mentioned?
18 After 8.00 in the evening, did anybody go into the hospital or out of the
20 A. After that, nobody entered the hospital. According to the reports
21 of my security organs and according to what I saw myself, no one entered
22 the hospital.
23 Q. Mr. Simic, let us now move on to what happened on the 20th. You
24 had information from Paunovic, as you said, that on the next day, there
25 would be an evacuation of the sick and wounded and people who had stayed
1 on at the hospital. Did he give you any details on the evening of
2 the 19th concerning this evacuation, or did he just say there's going to
3 be an evacuation and you're going to have certain tasks and then describe
4 these tasks?
5 A. He ordered me to prepare about 10 soldiers, I don't remember the
6 exact figure, I think it's 10, whose task it would be to search people.
7 Further on, I was told that the evacuation would most probably start
8 at 8.00 in the morning, as far as I can remember, and that I should assign
9 about two soldiers who would perhaps be there if anybody tried to do
10 anything, I mean these people who were being searched.
11 Q. All right. This search, this frisking, is it a complex,
12 complicated procedure? Could you explain this procedure of frisking
13 persons who are supposed to be evacuated, from the point of view of
14 military police work?
15 A. It's a very simple procedure. It's very simple work. I don't
16 know if I need to describe all the details now, how this is actually done.
17 Q. No, no, no. I'm just interested in the nature of this activity.
18 Is it simple?
19 A. It is a simple activity.
20 Q. You said that Mr. Paunovic told you that reinforcements would come
21 on the following day in relation to the evacuation and everything else and
22 now I'm asking you whether these reinforcements came?
23 A. Yes, in the morning. Lieutenant Todorovic brought people from the
24 1st Company of the military police so our company was reinforced. I think
25 there were about 20 soldiers who came as a reinforcement.
1 Q. On that morning, did you see Mr. Sljivancanin; if so, when? Did
2 you see him coming to the hospital?
3 A. Mr. Sljivancanin came to the hospital in the morning. It was
4 around 7.00 or 7.30. He came with another group of officers. We
5 exchanged greetings as he came in. He asked me whether there had been any
6 problems in the night and I said that everything was fine, and then with
7 this group of officers he went on into the hospital.
8 Q. On the basis of what do you conclude, Mr. Simic, that these were
10 A. Because they wore uniforms, and I saw that they had rank insignia.
11 I cannot say what rank, because I only exchanged greetings with Major
13 Q. How many people were there with Major Sljivancanin; can you
15 A. Well, I think there were four or five persons, but a bit later,
16 yet another group of officers came. I just asked: Who are you? And they
17 said that they were doctors. I think there were four or five of them
18 too. And then they entered the hospital as well. The doctors also wore
20 Q. I didn't ask you that. I asked you something different. On
21 the 20th, from the morning, from that moment of Veselin Sljivancanin's
22 arrival with a group of officers, did you enter the hospital?
23 A. No.
24 Q. So we can agree, Mr. Simic, that you don't know what was being
25 done in the hospital?
1 A. No.
2 Q. On the 20th, was your battalion commander there too, Mr. Paunovic?
3 A. The battalion commander arrived a little later, but he spent most
4 of the day within the hospital perimeter.
5 Q. Mr. Simic, before I move on to these specific actions that you
6 took, searching people there and whatever you did, let me ask you
7 something else. On the 19th of November, you see Mr. Sljivancanin, you
8 describe your conversation with him. On the 20th of November, you see
9 Mr. Sljivancanin, you describe your conversation with him.
10 On the 19th or the 20th, did Mr. Sljivancanin give you any orders?
11 A. No, I took my orders from the battalion commander, Captain
13 Q. Did you, perhaps, see Veselin Sljivancanin give any orders to
14 Mr. Paunovic, the battalion commander?
15 A. Not that I noticed. I really can't say, but not as far as I know.
16 Q. You say your task was to search persons. When did you start, and
17 tell us about the progress of this task?
18 A. Sometime after the group of officers had entered the hospital,
19 persons started leaving. I know someone was actually leading them away
20 two by two, I think. A group of about 50 people was formed. We got them
21 lined up.
22 I walked up to them and said: Anyone with any blunt objects on
23 them or possibly firearms -- or, rather, just across the way from that
24 group, there were several tables so that they should lay down their blunt
25 objects or implements of firearms on those tables. None of those persons
1 were armed.
2 There were about 10 soldiers and about 50 of those. And each
3 soldier had to search five persons. They would search these people
4 individually. Once the soldiers were done, I would tell them to stand on
5 the right and then we would escort this group as far as the hospital
6 entrance where buses were waiting for them. People would get onto these
7 buses and I would walk back. There was another group of persons to be
8 searched lined up for us in the meantime, and it just went on like that,
9 over and over.
10 Q. You say you took them to that bus, told them to stand on the
11 right. Once people left the exit, were the buses facing left or facing
12 right from the exit? I do not wish to tire you with this, Mr. Simic.
13 Let's not waste time. We have photographs to show that.
14 A. On the left, you're leaving the hospital, or right, so the buses
15 were on the left. In that passage, that's where the people were who were
16 being searched.
17 Q. Just give me the distance between the buses and the hospital exit,
19 A. The exit to the gate must be between 50 and 100 metres at most.
20 Q. You say that you with your soldiers who had searched these persons
21 escorted these persons who had been searched. Did you do that every time?
22 A. No, I just did that with the first group. As soon as I escorted
23 the first group out, I realised that Major Vukasinovic would say there.
24 We exchanged greetings. I know him because he used to be the battalion
25 commander before Captain Paunovic came along, and the hand-over actually
1 occurred about one or two months previously.
2 He met those people there. There was really no need to meet them.
3 They walked in a column, and they were just getting on those buses one by
4 one. As for those other groups, there was no need for me to follow them.
5 Q. Do you remember seeing the number of the bus that was parked in
6 the place where you brought those people?
7 A. I can't tell you how many buses there were. These buses came to
8 get these people on that day, and then the evacuation buses came later on
9 for the remaining medical staff. So, believe me, I really can't say how
10 many buses there were exactly.
11 Q. Do you remember if any military policemen were escorting those
13 A. Yes, there were soldiers securing the buses, inside the buses.
14 Q. Were those soldiers from your company?
15 A. No, they weren't. Even if I wanted to, I simply had no soldiers
16 at the time to assign to that escort.
17 Q. Do you know what company they were from?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Do you know what became of the soldiers that Lieutenant Todorovic
20 had brought there, what were they doing?
21 A. I only know what became of those from Todorovic's company that he
22 had handed over to me as reinforcement. But I don't know how many
23 soldiers he had brought to begin with or what these soldiers were
24 eventually used for.
25 Q. These persons you searched, were these persons able to walk or
2 A. All of them were able to walk.
3 Q. Did you notice any of them sporting any bandages or something like
5 A. I think there were about 10 people, probably, with bandages.
6 Q. Did you find any weapons on these persons?
7 A. No. As I have already said in my statement, the only person who
8 spoke up was a barber who said that he had some barber's kit on him and he
9 asked me whether he should lay that down too. I said he would be expected
10 to, so he just put it down on one of those tables over there.
11 Q. What was the purpose of this search? What exactly did you want to
12 establish by doing that? Why is a thing like that done?
13 A. The principle and sole purpose of that search was to establish
14 whether any of these persons had any blunt objects on them or perhaps
15 firearms. Were any to be found, they would be seized.
16 Q. You said the only person with any sort of kit on them was the
17 barber which he then laid down. What I want to know is, did you take
18 personal documents away from these people that you searched, any
19 valuables, any personal belongings such as money or jewellery?
20 A. Nothing whatsoever was seized from them.
21 Q. Mr. Simic, you say you never actually went into the hospital and
22 you didn't know what was going on there. Do you perhaps know, and if so
23 how, whether any sort of a triage was conducted inside the hospital before
24 the people were sent outside to be searched by your men?
25 A. I suppose there would have had to be some sort of a triage because
1 not everybody left, and a lot of people were late.
2 Q. On the 20th, do you remember any ICRC people at the hospital?
3 A. Yes, the same man who had appeared on the previous day named
4 Nicholas came again.
5 Q. Do you remember what time it was when he came? Was it during your
6 search, if we can use that as a reference point?
7 A. I think it was after the search, after the search had already been
9 Q. How long after?
10 A. I think he might have arrived at about 11.00, but I think we had
11 already completed all of our tasks by this time, but 10.00.
12 Q. Did he speak to anyone there?
13 A. I don't know. I didn't see. He must have spoken to someone.
14 Q. Did you see anyone else from any other organisation there?
15 A. Apart from them, I think there was an international community
16 team. They wore those arm bands with the European community emblem.
17 Q. Mr. Simic, did you see the buses leave and when?
18 A. I can't be certain. When my job was done, I withdrew. I wasn't
19 responsible for the buses so ...
20 Q. You say you saw Major Vukasinovic, you know him and you explained
21 why. Did you see any other officers next to those buses?
22 A. There may have been other officers there, but I don't remember
23 any. The only one I do remember is Major Vukasinovic.
24 Q. Did you see Major Sljivancanin anywhere around the buses at any
1 A. No, I did not see him.
2 Q. You say that you saw Major Sljivancanin enter the hospital. Did
3 you see him leave the hospital?
4 A. Well, you see, it wasn't exactly my assignment to follow Major
5 Sljivancanin. I can't say whether he came or went or how often and how
6 long he stayed for.
7 Q. Did you see him on the 20th outside the hospital within the
8 perimeter? Did you see him doing anything in particular, or were you just
9 not paying attention?
10 A. I really wasn't paying attention to that. We weren't really in
11 touch that much. I should assume that he was just doing his job.
12 Q. If you notice Sljivancanin or any of his activities outside the
13 hospital, did you, perhaps, see him trying to prevent anyone at all from
14 entering the hospital in any way at all, barring access to the hospital to
15 anyone at all?
16 A. I don't remember noticing anything like that.
17 Q. You talked about the presence of the TO men on the 19th. Were
18 they there on the 20th as well?
19 A. Not within the hospital perimeter.
20 Q. What about outside the perimeter?
21 A. I really can't say. Maybe they were there.
22 Q. If so, did you perhaps notice any kind of aggressive behaviour by
23 them against the people that you were escorting or searching?
24 A. None that I noticed. All I can tell you is that our job was done
25 in a virtually perfect and very professional manner.
1 Q. Let me ask you this, Mr. Simic, you're searching those people,
2 right, people on their way out of the hospital. You're taking them to
3 those buses. During all of this time, did anyone at all try to physically
4 attack those persons being searched in front of the buses or indeed harm
5 them in any way?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Did you have any sufficient manpower to prevent any such attacks?
8 A. I had 48 men, as I have said before. There were about 20 men
9 there from the 1st Company which adds up to a total of about 70 men. I
10 think that that number of men should be sufficient to stop any taunts or
12 Q. This is a hypothetical question, but let me try to phrase it this
13 way. On the 19th or the 20th, if those groups had tried anything serious
14 such as penetrating the hospital or attacking those people, you, as the
15 commander of that security group, what would you have done? Which steps
16 would you have taken?
17 A. My principal assignment was to secure the people inside the
18 hospital. If anything like that had happened, I would have done
19 everything within my power and within my authority. There are 14
20 different types of powers that police have. First, we would warn any such
21 people trying to attack the hospital or people. The next would be to use
22 fire-power or physical force. One thing is certain, we would have done
23 everything within our power to keep those people from being harmed.
24 Q. You say that in your estimation, the evacuation took about two
25 hours. Was there another evacuation that followed?
1 A. Yes. There was another evacuation of all the people still
2 remaining in the hospital: The wounded, the patients, medical staff.
3 Eventually, there was still some of the medical staff left inside the
4 hospital, those who opted to stay, as well as those patients who refused
5 to move. Most people had been taken away. I spent most of my time at the
6 entrance, the emergency ward. I left some of my soldiers there just in
7 case of need.
8 When the wounded and patients were being brought in, it was quite
9 high up and just in order to help them stretcher those people into the
10 hospital, medical assistance, mostly.
11 Q. Mr. Simic, once your mission was accomplished, did you submit any
12 sort of reports to anyone?
13 A. Most of the time the battalion commander was there with me.
14 Needless to say, once this was all over, I reported to the commander.
15 Q. A verbal report or a written report?
16 A. A verbal report.
17 Q. Were there any observations made about your report to the effect
18 that you had omitted to do something?
19 A. No, the simple reason being it was a very professional job.
20 Q. Mr. Simic, did you take any notes about all of these steps that
21 you took about all of your assignments?
22 A. As any other officer, I kept a war notebook, a war logbook in
23 which I recorded everything that I received from my superior officer as
24 well as any orders that I imparted to my subordinates, or anything else,
25 for that matter, that struck me as important or typical.
1 Q. Do you say there was an evacuation that followed, the one of the
2 wounded patients and medical staff. What I want to know is after this
3 evacuation, did you do any other searches or checks in order to see what
4 the situation was inside the hospital and around it?
5 A. The evacuation went on until past 1600 hours and it got dark very
6 soon, so we didn't do anything else on that day. However, the next day,
7 we did a thorough search of the hospital, the hospital where those people
8 were, as well as all those other buildings, and we thoroughly searched the
9 hospital perimeter, the entire area of the hospital.
10 Q. Did you find anything?
11 A. Well, on that occasion, we found relatively large quantities of
12 weapons, starting with automatic rifles; there were over 20 of them. Then
13 there were hunting guns. Then there were pistols. Then different types
14 of knives.
15 I can tell you that I, myself, at the entrance where the emergency
16 ward was, there was this heap of sand. When we looked through that sand,
17 we found an old rucksack containing over 20 pistols. Also in the
18 immediate vicinity, there were some logs that they probably used as a
19 barrier so that they would protect themselves from shells. We found an
20 automatic rifle there too. We found most automatic weapons in containers.
21 Q. Mr. Simic, did you search the hospital inside? Did you find
22 anything there that would be noteworthy?
23 A. We searched the hospital in detail, but inside the hospital we
24 didn't find any weapons.
25 Q. What was your impression after you found these weapons? The
1 members of your company, were they indeed endangered? Did the people in
2 the hospital constitute a threat to them?
3 A. Well, you see, obviously the intention was to hide everything that
4 was near the entrance, these weapons, that is, which gives me the right to
5 assume that perhaps somebody wanted the weapons to be close by so that
6 they could grab them as soon as possible. It was rather complex and fear
7 was justified.
8 As we are carrying out this mission, we did not know, for
9 instance, that the new part of the hospital is linked to the old part of
10 the hospital with a tunnel. When we entered the hospital, when we saw
11 that, I realised that, for example, a group of even 100 men could have
12 gone from one part to the other and killed us all from the back.
13 Q. You talked about the ethnic composition of your unit, but I'm
14 interested in something else. Did you have any members of the Territorial
15 Defence within your unit?
16 A. No, not in my unit.
17 Q. Were there any members of the so-called reservists in your unit?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Can you tell us who these reservists are, can you explain that to
20 us? We know, perhaps, this system of defence, but maybe the Trial Chamber
21 would like to hear some explanations as to what we mean when we
22 say "reservists"?
23 A. I'm not an expert in that field, but I'll try to explain this for
24 you. According to the solutions that were then in place, there were two
25 categories of soldiers within the JNA. There were conscripts, who were
1 doing their military service; and there were soldiers who were members of
2 the reserve force.
3 When a person of the male gender completed his military service,
4 he would become part of the reserve force. I think that this goes on
5 until the age of 50, I don't know what the situation is now, or 55. So
6 these are people who had served in the military a term of 12 or 15 months,
7 it varied, but most of these members of the reserve force had done a
8 military service of 12 to 15 months. They completed military training
9 lasting six months.
10 When we're talking about the military police, they were involved
11 in military police work. From the moment when they completed their
12 military service, they were called up for different training exercises,
13 military police work was done, there were shooting exercises and so on and
14 so forth, so these are very well-trained people.
15 Also at that time, our conscripts were 19 years of age.
16 Q. Please speak slower.
17 A. I'm sorry.
18 Soldiers did their military service at the age of 19. We all know
19 that people of 19 are not mature people; whereas, the reservists were
20 older, mature, in the meantime they had, say, completed university, they
21 were trained, they were healthy. Younger people were selected for
22 military police work, not persons up to the age of 55, so not those who
23 were almost 55. Physically and mentally healthy, well-trained, that would
24 be it.
25 Q. If I understand you correctly, these are mature persons who had
1 undergone full training. I'm interested in these soldiers who were doing
2 their regular military service who were in your unit. How much training
3 had they received until the 20th? What class are we talking about, as it
5 A. They came to do their military service in June that year; that is
6 to say, that they had been trained for about three months before they were
7 taken into combat action.
8 Q. What is your personal view, this three-month training, is that
9 sufficient for taking people into combat and military police work of this
10 kind? What is your view?
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
12 MR. MOORE: Once again, I've looked at the various summaries. I
13 don't see anything on this topic at all. Perhaps my learned friend could
14 point it to me and which summary, as I have had to do it very quickly.
15 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in the proofing notes
16 that I submitted to the OTP it does say that this witness is going to talk
17 about the ethnic composition of the unit and also about the reservists,
18 and generally who reservists are. I think that that is within that
19 subject, and I think that this question went beyond what I said to my
20 learned friend by way of this notification.
21 So may I proceed now?
22 JUDGE PARKER: To another topic.
23 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] With pleasure.
24 Q. Mr. Simic, how long were you engaged in securing the hospital in
1 A. My company secured it until they returned to Belgrade; that is to
2 say, until the 24th of November.
3 Q. And who took over the security of the hospital after you left?
4 A. The unit of the military police from Kragujevac. I think it was
5 the 80th Motorised Brigade, I'm not sure.
6 Q. I omitted to ask you something, I hope you don't mind. These
7 buses on the 20th who were taking people away, the people you had
8 searched, do you know where these buses went? Did anybody tell you that?
9 A. Well, you see, my superior officer did not say that to me. I just
10 know that people were talking about it, people who worked there, that
11 there was this possibility of them going to Sremska Mitrovica.
12 Q. If I understand you correctly, nobody told you?
13 A. No, nobody told me officially. I was just told that after the
14 search, I should take people to the bus.
15 Q. Mr. Paunovic -- sorry, Simic, Mr. Simic, I keep thinking of
16 Paunovic as your superior officer.
17 So, Mr. Simic, you were in combat within Assault Detachment 2?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You spoke here about the ethnic composition of your unit, about
20 combat activities. I'm not going to ask you a lot about that because I'm
21 not really interested in that, not that much.
22 Were there any problems in Assault Detachment 2 and, if so, can
23 you explain what they had to do with? Was it refusing to carry out
24 orders, leaving positions, refusing to go into combat? What do you know
25 about that?
1 A. Well, you see, in wartime, there are always problems, and there
2 are always problems in terms of command as well. The greatest problem
3 that I had while I was in Assault Detachment 2 was the problem I had on
4 the 4th of November, 1991. I remember that because that is the day of the
5 Guards Motorised Brigade.
6 Colonel Maric, who was assistant commander for morale in the
7 brigade command, toured the units on that day. I know he came to see me.
8 I don't know who else he saw on that day. And he had a meeting with
9 officers and soldiers who were on duty. On that occasion, he
10 congratulated all the soldiers, all the members of the company on the day
11 of this unit, and after a particular -- after this discussion, questions
13 Since during the course of the days right before that, either the
14 Assembly or the government of Serbia had passed a decision that reservists
15 could stay only for 45 days and it was then that their 45 days were up,
16 the 45 days of our reserve force.
17 The logical question put -- was put to Colonel Maric, whether the
18 JNA and the Guards Brigade would honour that decision. Colonel Maric said
19 yes. After that, another question followed: What about the rest of us?
20 Are we going back too? Colonel Maric said yes.
21 On that occasion, I cautioned him that in view of my knowledge,
22 the reservists would be relieved, whereas other officers and soldiers
23 would stay on mission. He then said that what he had said was correct.
24 In the meantime, this information caused a lot of commotion within
25 the unit. I don't know what the situation was in other units, but people
1 started talking that in the morning when the reservists leave, that all
2 the rest would leave with them, and that they would leave their positions.
3 Q. Mr. Simic, did you do anything on account of that? Did you inform
4 your superior officer or whatever?
5 A. I tried to find Captain Paunovic. Then I was told that he was
6 most probably at the brigade command.
7 In view of the seriousness of the situation, I took a vehicle and
8 went to Negoslavci. At that moment, a meeting was held, a briefing, I
9 don't know what it was, I know that they didn't let me in straight away.
10 But afterwards, well, there was this small cocktail party, if I can put it
11 that way, on the occasion of the day of the unit, so I walked in and
12 addressed Colonel Mrksic and I told him what the problem was. He replied
13 to me that Colonel Maric would come on the following day and that he would
14 resolve all these problems talking to the soldiers, that it's probably
15 some kind of a misunderstanding, and that it would be resolved.
16 I said to him then that I do not want Colonel Maric to come
17 because he is the one who caused the entire situation. Then he told me to
18 speak to Lieutenant-Colonel Panic. I spoke to Lieutenant-Colonel Panic
19 and I told him what this was all about. He told me that that was not his
20 line of work and that if the commander said that Maric should go, then let
21 Maric go.
22 Q. To cut the whole story short, who did what and when, was the
23 problem resolved?
24 A. Well, the core of the matter was that I spoke to Sljivancanin
25 then, that he would -- and he said that he would talk to the commander and
1 that he would come in the morning.
2 In the morning, Major Sljivancanin came. Through a professional,
3 responsible discussion with these people, he persuaded these people to
4 remain at the front line and I thank him for that to this day.
5 Q. This situation that you're talking about now, is that a situation
6 that jeopardised the security and safety of your unit?
7 A. Yes, of course. If we leave our position, if armed men with
8 ammunition go away, you cannot have a bigger security problem than that.
9 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, would it be right to
10 take the break now so that I could have a look at my remaining questions
11 and then bring my examination to a close? I do have a few minutes left,
12 but then perhaps this would be a good point to take the break.
13 JUDGE PARKER: We will have the break now, Mr. Bulatovic, and
14 resume at five minutes past 4.00.
15 --- Recess taken at 3.43 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 4.05 p.m.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic.
18 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Mr. Simic, one question that I should have asked before, it's
20 about the 20th --
21 JUDGE PARKER: I'm sorry, but I did indicate that we would deal
22 with another matter after the break, and I was distracted by your presence
23 and forgot about it.
24 Would you mind a moment? That's Mr. Lunny and Mr. Borovic that
25 are mainly concerned.
1 Mr. Lunny.
2 MR. LUNNY: Good afternoon, Your Honour.
3 Your Honour, I did have the advantage of following the proceedings
4 before the break. I am not sure I can usefully add much beyond what was
5 said by my learned friend, Mr. Moore. The position I would submit is
6 perfectly clear and straightforward. The Prosecution has contacted
7 Mr. Smith. I did so myself, both by e-mail and then by telephone. And in
8 both Mr. Smith's e-mail and during the course of conversation with him, he
9 confirmed the position as was set out in my e-mails to Your Lordship's
10 Chamber and my learned friends earlier last week.
11 Mr. Smith was asked to agree a series of documents in respect of
12 Witness P024. Mr. Smith left to consider that position. He discussed
13 that with Mr. Moore. A decision was then taken that the documents could
14 not be agreed and Mr. Smith then conveyed that in court to Mr. Borovic
15 with Ms. Guduric translating.
16 Mr. Smith was quite clear that his recollection was clear on that
17 point. He did so at the close of the Prosecution case, and he made it
18 perfectly clear to my learned friend that the Prosecution would not check
19 the documents and would not agree the documents and advised Mr. Borovic
20 that should they seek to rely upon them, they should prove them in the
21 normal way in the course of their Defence case.
22 And unless there's anything I can further add, Your Honour, I
23 would submit that the position has been made perfectly clear to Mr.
24 Borovic by my former colleague and learned friend, Mr. Smith.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Lunny.
1 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours. Your Honours, I would
2 like to know if my learned friends care to share that with us. After the
3 e-mail that I sent about links to courts in Serbia, did Mr. Smith check
4 the documents or not after that? I'm very curious. I have never been
5 informed. We are taking up a lot of the Chamber's valuable time. I never
6 received a reply as to whether these documents were checked or not.
7 Why would I even be bothering the Chamber with this? I was truly
8 astonished that someone came to testify here, the person who was a common
9 criminal, lying to the Prosecution. There is an international arrest
10 warrant against this person and the OTP are protecting him and sheltering
11 him. I think this is something that definitely deserves the attention of
12 the Trial Chamber. Were Articles 54 and 89 appropriately interpreted by
13 the OTP or the Defence. There are written submissions about this. It's
14 down to the Chamber to judge that.
15 You have been very patient with us, Your Honours, you've given us
16 an opportunity to submit our positions. It is now, I would submit, down
17 to the Chamber to be the judge of this matter and to see who is right and
18 who is wrong.
19 Thank you.
20 JUDGE PARKER: I would understand, Mr. Borovic, that the answer to
21 the question you posed is "no." That's what I understood from the
22 submissions that were put by Mr. Moore and Mr. Lunny, and I detect nods of
24 This matter is the subject of a motion before the Chamber and we
25 will now continue our consideration of the merits.
1 Thank you.
2 Now, Mr. Borovic -- Mr. Bulatovic, I'm sorry to have interrupted
3 you. Would you please continue.
4 MR. LUNNY: Your Honour, with Your Honour's leave, may I now
5 withdraw from Court and hand it back to my friend, Mr. Moore.
6 Thank you, Your Honour.
7 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I hope
8 that after this altercation where sparks were flying we can now resume a
9 calmer tone.
10 Q. I should have asked you this before, Mr. Simic, but oversights are
11 always possible. The morning of the 20th, you are conducting this
12 certain, persons are being led away from the hospital, you search them,
13 and then they are taken to the buses. Is all of this something that
14 Veselin Sljivancanin is involved in?
15 A. No, he isn't.
16 Q. Mr. Simic, you provided a number of different statements about the
17 circumstances. How many exactly?
18 A. Two.
19 Q. Who did you provide these statements to and when?
20 A. I gave a statement to the military court. I believe this was
21 early in 1999. I also provided a statement to the court trying the Ovcara
22 case in Belgrade.
23 Q. When was that?
24 A. July last year.
25 Q. Very well. When you provided those statements -- first the
1 military court, right? What about the investigating magistrate who took
2 your statement? Did he show you any document for you to look at or did
3 you just tell the story as you then remembered it?
4 A. The statement was based on my recollection.
5 Q. What about the statement in June or, rather, on the 6th of July,
6 your statement to the special department of the district court for war
7 crimes in Belgrade, which is often referred to as the Special War Crimes
8 Tribunal. On that occasion, did any of those involved in asking you
9 questions show you any sort of document at all?
10 A. I'm afraid I don't understand the question. Is this about my
11 evidence in court?
12 Q. Indeed.
13 A. All I was shown at the time were photographs of the hospital.
14 Q. Very well. The last question that concludes my examination, it's
15 a question that everybody likes to ask: As far as your recollection of
16 all of these events was concerned, when was it freshest, when was it
17 clearest or best?
18 A. Needless to say, my recollection was clearest after these events,
19 immediately after these events. However, once I found out that I would be
20 testifying at this Tribunal, given the importance of the Tribunal and this
21 particular trial, I conducted a lot of conversations with my fellow
22 soldiers who were involved in these events. I also met Counsel Lukic
23 twice, possibly a third time, and I was also proofed in The Hague.
24 During the proofing sessions, I was shown many video clips which
25 brought back everything that I had struggled to suppress, a number of
1 unpleasant memories.
2 Q. And just to wrap this up, who proofed you in The Hague after your
3 arrival in The Hague?
4 A. It was you who proofed me after my arrival in The Hague.
5 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours.
6 I have no further questions for this witness.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Bulatovic.
8 Mr. Domazet.
9 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
10 Examination by Mr. Domazet:
11 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Simic.
12 A. Good afternoon.
13 Q. I am attorney-at-law Vladimir Domazet, one of Mr. Mrksic's
14 counsel. I will be asking you a couple of questions.
15 A while ago, you were talking about your previous statements. I
16 hope that as you were being proofed you had occasion to refresh your
17 memory about your 1999 statement and your evidence at the Belgrade Ovcara
18 trial. Is that right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. You said a while ago that both times, you testified based on your
21 recollection, for the most part, right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. You probably don't have these statements on you; therefore, I
24 would kindly ask the usher to hand you these two statements and to provide
25 copies for the Trial Chamber as well in English. We have both the B/C/S
1 and the English here. If necessary, you can consult these statements.
2 I will be telling you which paragraphs to look at. But first, let
3 me ask you something else: You talked about taking orders from your
4 commander. You mentioned his name a couple of times. Sometimes you
5 didn't. I suppose all you said about that was in reference to your
6 commander, Paunovic?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Does that mean that you addressed him whenever you had problems
9 carrying out any tasks or assignments received from him or your other
10 superiors? What was the procedure whenever you came across problems such
11 as the ones in relation to those civilians around the hospital or when
12 searching the Mitnica location, any sort of problem at all, who would you
13 go to for instructions?
14 A. Whenever I came across problems while going about my tasks, I
15 would go to my direct superior.
16 Throughout my time in Vukovar, there were several people who were
17 my direct superiors. Speaking about what you asked me about, of course I
18 would have gone to the battalion commander, Captain Paunovic.
19 Q. You say several different superior officers at different times, I
20 suppose, you are talk being your own direct superior, right?
21 A. Yes. There was always the chain of command, wasn't there? If I
22 had been resubordinated to the Armoured Battalion, then its commander
23 would have been my superior. When I was part of Assault Detachment 2, my
24 superior officer was Lieutenant-Colonel Lukic.
25 Q. Would it have been the done thing, or usual, if you like? Has it
1 ever happened to you that there was a problem and yet you failed to inform
2 your superior officer, informing instead the deputy or the commander of
3 Operations Group or his deputy, the Chief of Staff?
4 A. Whenever the battalion commander was away, I explained a while ago
5 that I wasn't able to locate the battalion commander. In that case, I
6 would have spoken be to the next officer in command, the second in command
7 with a view to resolving any trouble.
8 Q. So the normal procedure would have been to go to your direct
9 superior officer, right?
10 A. Of course.
11 Q. You talked about the time you arrived at the hospital grounds on
12 the 19th of November. Today you said that this happened at about 1400
14 A. Indeed.
15 Q. You can go back to your previous statements, you can have a look
16 to see that in 1999, you said it was about 14, 1500 hours and last year
17 you said it was between 1500 hours and 1600 hours. What you said today,
18 does that not follow from your previous answer, that you consulted someone
19 or looked at some documents so you decided that it was about 1400 hours,
20 or is your memory fresher now or was your memory fresher before? Can you
21 please explain that?
22 A. Last year on the 2nd of July I returned after a three-month stay
23 abroad. I went directly to the courtroom, in a manner of speaking. I
24 hadn't even had time to go through my previous statement to the military
25 court. Believe me, I spoke to other people in Belgrade who were with me,
1 and we concluded, since there was this dilemma concerning 1400 hours or
2 1500 hours, that 1400 hours would be the most realistic estimate, in terms
3 of time, and our arrival there.
4 Q. All right. That's understandable.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note, we didn't hear the
6 speakers. Could they please kindly be asked to both speak -- to not speak
7 at the same time.
8 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
9 Q. You say you never entered the hospital but you were informed about
10 the persons inside the hospital and then you told us who those people
11 were. Among other things, there were some people you were told that were
12 inside the hospital who were suspected of being armed and possible members
13 of Croat paramilitary units. What I want to know is: Who told you this,
14 if you remember?
15 A. I told you during my evidence today that Major Tesic was the one
16 who told me about that as one of the possibilities. So did my own
17 commander. I believe Major Sljivancanin said the same thing, that there
18 was a likelihood that there were still members inside and that possibly
19 they were still armed.
20 Q. Very well. You spoke about that afternoon, the 19th. You were
21 deploying your soldiers around the hospital. How long did the whole
22 operation take until a security system was finally in place?
23 A. I can't say exactly, but I know that by nightfall the deployment
24 of the entire security detail had been concluded. I mean internally,
25 within the company, and everything else. So by nightfall --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note the witness trails off.
2 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Very well. The response to one of Mr. Bulatovic's questions
4 today, you said that your direct superior officer, Paunovic, had gone to
5 Negoslavci for that briefing at about 5.00 or 5.30 that afternoon. Do you
6 remember in your previous statements whether you ever referred to that,
7 his departure that afternoon for that briefing at the command?
8 A. I can't say. It's not a detail that I remember. I don't remember
9 if I said that or not.
10 Q. We'll come to that. What I want to know is: Did you, perhaps,
11 just remember that? Was your memory jogged or perhaps somebody told you,
12 just as somebody told you about the time line; or is this something that
13 you remember, that you've always remembered, but you just simply didn't
14 say it back in 1999 or in your other statement?
15 A. I'm sorry, but in both my previous statements, I was answering
16 questions. I was asked questions and I answered specific questions that I
17 was asked. I should assume that if I was ever asked about this, I
18 probably would have answered it, wouldn't I?
19 Q. Can you please go to your statement dated 1999, page 3; the
20 English reference is page 4, lines 22 through 26. For you, it's the lower
21 half of page 3 where it says the tasks of -- the task of securing the
22 hospital. And then the next sentence it starts: "However ..."
23 A. Page 3. What exactly did you say, how does that begin?
24 Q. "However, there were a lot of people on the hospital grounds."
25 Have you got that, sir?
1 A. My apologies. It might take some time.
2 Q. This is the lower half of the page, the second last paragraph. It
3 starts "the next day," just underneath, four lines down: "However, there
4 were a lot of people on the hospital grounds."
5 Have you found that, sir?
6 A. Am I looking at the right document?
7 Q. You have --
8 A. The next day, it could have been on the 20th of November, the
9 persons we were taking outside the hospital.
10 Q. Yes, four lines before that.
11 A. "However, there were a lot of people on the hospital grounds."
12 Q. Slowly, please. Please read all the way to the end of that
14 A. "However, there were a lot of people on the hospital grounds,
15 civilians, inhabitants, so the officers from the brigade command organised
16 this, and I think Major Sljivancanin was in charge for them to leave the
17 hospital and to walk away from the hospital compound. They left, and this
18 was completed by 19 or 2000 hours."
19 Q. My question: Who walked away from the hospital compound? Did you
20 mean the civilians or somebody else?
21 A. I said earlier today that on that day, all persons who weren't
22 medical staff or patients were allowed to leave the hospital. That's what
23 I'm saying. On that day, people were leaving the hospital. I said
24 earlier told that during the night, or during the dark, people were still
1 Q. Are you talking about hospital patients leaving the hospital or
2 are you talking about somebody else leaving?
3 A. What I'm saying is that all persons who were not hospital staff or
4 patients were allowed to leave the hospital on the afternoon of the 19th.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic.
6 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Just in order to be fair to the
7 witness, I think it might be a good idea for my learned friend
8 Mr. Domazet, because he's allowing the witness to read out an entire
9 paragraph from a statement, and this specifies what people we are talking
10 about. There is no reference to hospital patients, so I think he's trying
11 to insinuate that these are the people we are talking about, whereas there
12 is no reference to that.
13 The statement is clear. There were quite a number of people,
14 civilians and inhabitants, but there is no mention there of any patients.
15 Therefore, I don't quite understand the purpose of this question.
16 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] If I may, Your Honour, I will try to
17 explain. I didn't mean the patients. I didn't say this was about the
18 patients or that they were leaving the hospital. That's precisely what
19 the witness said. I don't understand this. I never heard that. He
20 talked about the 19th and about people leaving the hospital. So it was my
21 understanding, based on this, that he was talking about people who were on
22 the hospital grounds, civilians, and that's why I asked, and that's what I
23 would like to ask you to have a look and to focus and to try to answer the
25 Q. When you uttered this sentence, who exactly did you have in mind?
1 Who are the persons leaving the hospital compound on foot, walking away?
2 A. Well, if you look in my statement, you can see that this is about
3 civilians, inhabitants of Vukovar who happened to be in the hospital. On
4 that day, that afternoon, the 19th, late afternoon, they were allowed to
5 leave the Vukovar Hospital, which they did.
6 Q. Fair enough. When you say that this was organised by officers
7 from the brigade command, which officers did you have in mind?
8 A. When I say "officers from the brigade command," I mean Major
9 Sljivancanin. Were there several of them or not, I don't know. I know
10 Major Sljivancanin was there. I said earlier today that this was
11 organised and that he then left. I said he left before nightfall.
12 Q. But you said there were officers who organised this. That's
13 plural, isn't it? So I'm not asking you about Sljivancanin. I'm asking
14 you about any other officers belonging to the brigade who were there. Did
15 you have anybody else in mind?
16 A. I saw him. I'm not sure if there was anybody else with him. I
17 can't remember.
18 Q. Thank you. You also said before nightfall, and here you say that
19 the whole thing was over by 1900 hours or 2000 hours. Do we agree that
20 night falls much earlier in November, that time of the year. So it cannot
21 be that both are true. Although in the English, the only reference we see
22 is 1900 hours; but in the Serbian, we see the time frame specified as
23 between 19 and 2000 hours.
24 A. Sir, I have a distinct impression that you misunderstand me. In
25 these statements, in my evidence today, I said that on the 19th the
1 civilians who were evacuated from the hospital were still being evacuated
2 for about an hour or two after nightfall. I think you heard me. And the
3 hospital staff and all the other people there that were evacuated on
4 the 20th were evacuated by 1600 hours.
5 Q. I heard you loud and clear in relation to the 20th, but now we are
6 talking about the 19th, so let's stick to the 19th. What do you remember
7 about that afternoon, the afternoon of the 19th, or the late
8 afternoon/early evening of the 19th?
9 A. The idea was that there were 2.000 to 3.000 people in the
10 hospital. That is what was assumed. I think that I am repeating this for
11 the third time, that that day, on the 19th, in the afternoon and in the
12 evening, the inhabitants of Vukovar who happened to be there had the
13 possibility to leave, and only the medical staff and the patients would
14 remain in the hospital. Now these persons, these civilians went out,
15 perhaps until 1900 hours.
16 Q. Thank you. If that's your explanation, I'll accept it. So you've
17 clarified the matter.
18 You talked about the order issued by your commander, Mr. Paunovic,
19 to search persons. You talked about these 10 soldiers who were supposed
20 to be singled out for that. When did you receive this order from your
22 A. I said, while giving evidence today, that this was after Paunovic
23 returned from the briefing, or, rather, in the meantime, he took Marin
24 Vidic away and he returned by around 8.00. When he returned, he told me
25 that we received approval to reinforce forces for securing the hospital
1 and also he ordered me to search these persons tentatively around 8.00 in
2 the morning. That's what he said to me.
3 Q. You said today that one of the reasons why he went to the briefing
4 was that he would ask for these reinforcements; is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Just asking for reinforcements within your unit of the military
7 police, was that something that was supposed to be presented at the
8 briefing or could he have resolved that within his own units, the units
9 that he commanded or anybody else's? Do you believe that it had to be
10 brought up at a meeting like this?
11 A. I presented the problem to my commander. Now, whether he's going
12 to resolve it on his own or whether he is going to present it to the
13 commander of the brigade at the briefing is up to him.
14 Q. My question is whether he could have ordered the reinforcement of
15 the unit on his own? You talked about that --
16 A. Theoretically, he could have resolved it on his own.
17 Q. If I understood you correctly, you said that he went to the
18 briefing, that you saw him afterwards, about two hours later, but that you
19 did not see him at the moment when he came back and when he took Marin
20 Vidic away or only -- you actually only saw him after he came back from
21 taking Marin Vidic away.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. So I can assume that you heard that from somebody else, that he
24 took Marin Vidic away and that he then came back.
25 A. I said in my statement that I was touring my security organs and
1 that I went out to regulate the night-rest of my soldiers. When I came
2 back to the reception desk, the soldier there told me that the commander
3 was there and that he took a man away. Who that person was, I found out
4 when Captain Paunovic came back yet again.
5 Q. All right. Could you please look at the minutes from Ovcara,
6 page 5 of the Serbian version; the English version is page 8.
7 The transcript didn't say that the B/C/S is page 5 and that
8 English is page 8.
9 Have you found the page?
10 A. Yes, page 5, yes.
11 Q. So your answer to the question put by the president of the
12 chamber, perhaps I can read it out and you will tell me whether I read it
13 out right, what it says in that statement.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note we do not have the text.
15 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
16 Q. "For the most part during that night, I was at the reception desk
17 at the main entrance. For quite a while, the battalion commander was
18 there together with me. That's where we were. Quite simply, you come
19 there and you secure a facility that you see for the first time. There
20 were relatively few of us. We did not have information as to who was
21 inside, whether there was anybody who was armed or unarmed, and for that
22 reason, practically we -- or, rather, I personally spent the entire night
23 with the soldiers who were securing the facility while Captain Paunovic
24 was there for a while. Now, I don't know for exactly how long he was
25 there but then he left."
1 Have I read this out right, this statement of yours?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. When you talk about this, did you refer to any previous departure
4 by Paunovic, Paunovic going anywhere else, or does this statement show
5 that he was with you during that night for a certain period of time?
6 A. The essence of this statement is to show you how concerned both
7 the commander and I were, in view of many unknowns that we were facing and
8 that were related to our task.
9 In this statement, I said that for the most part of that night he
10 was there at the gatehouse; he was with me. If they asked me whether he
11 was coming and going, I would have told them about it.
12 Q. You can have a look at your statement, but can we agree that you
13 did not say that anywhere?
14 A. I did not deem it necessary to say that. I repeat to you yet
15 again that the point was that we were expressing our fears in view of the
16 number of people there. The company commander practically took part in
17 providing this security.
18 Q. All right. Mr. Simic, we are going to move on to the morning of
19 the 20th. You said that on the previous day, the previous evening, you
20 had received your orders, specifically with the order to search people.
21 Did I understand you properly that your commander was not present when you
22 started searching these persons?
23 A. No, he came later.
24 Q. Can we agree that in the morning you did not receive any
25 instructions from him in terms of the searches, that it was done on the
1 previous evening, as you said?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did anybody else on that morning explain to you how this was
4 supposed to be done, or did you know from this order what was supposed to
5 be done and whether you did what you did -- what you told us about, the
6 line-up of the soldiers, the tables, et cetera?
7 A. There was no need for anyone to issue any additional orders to me
8 or to give me explanations because in the evening, we, Captain Paunovic
9 and I that is, I said at the very outset that I was his deputy otherwise,
10 and we had agreed on the entire methodology of our work, the organisation
11 involved, how many people we needed, all of it. Everything was fully
12 dealt with in detail, so he had no need to come earlier in the morning.
13 Q. All right. And then you explained how this was done, that groups
14 of about 50 people went out of the hospital, that you searched them, and
15 that you took every one of these groups to the bus; is that right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Mr. Bulatovic asked you about this and then you personally talked
18 about this or, rather, you said this to these people, that everybody
19 should give their firearms or other weapons like knives, but he also asked
20 you whether valuables were also handed in and whether you asked them to do
21 that and your answer was no. But I'm asking you about this, some of the
22 witnesses who had been searched said that money and valuables were taken
23 away from them. Was that possible in view of your presence? Were you
24 checking your own soldiers there? Can you comment these statements that
25 were made here during these proceedings?
1 A. Were those witnesses searched by my soldiers?
2 Q. Well, I can tell you that these were witnesses who went to these
3 buses. Well, I assume there weren't any other soldiers except for those
4 that you commanded.
5 A. The soldiers I commanded did not take away any valuables from
6 anyone, gold, jewellery, nothing. I personally stood there five metres
7 away from them.
8 Q. Thank you. That was precisely my question. So you were there
9 checking this entire operation throughout, and it was impossible, if I
10 understand you correctly, for anyone to abuse his authority and perhaps do
11 something like that?
12 A. It was absolutely impossible.
13 Q. When you took them to the bus, you mentioned that you remember
14 only Major Vukasinovic from amongst the officers, but that there were
15 other officers, too, who you cannot remember. As for these other
16 soldiers, or, rather, officers, do you no longer remember them simply
17 because your memory doesn't serve you any longer on account of that, or
18 perhaps are these soldiers -- or, rather, officers who you did not know
19 because they did not belong to the Guards Brigade?
20 A. If I remember correctly, I said perhaps there were others, but I
21 only knew Major Vukasinovic, so I talked to him. I did say that there
22 were others. I said perhaps there were others.
23 Q. You talked about Todorovic coming that morning with a
24 reinforcement, with soldiers, right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Who commanded him on that day?
2 A. Just as Captain Paunovic was my superior officer, Second
3 Lieutenant Todorovic was then standing in for the company commander who
4 had been wounded during combat. So Second Lieutenant Todorovic was also
5 subordinated to Captain Paunovic.
6 Q. All right. I understand, then, that Paunovic was both his
7 superior and yours. Who commanded these soldiers who were brought in as a
9 A. I commanded the soldiers who were attached to me.
10 Q. To the best of your recollection, did your commander, Paunovic,
11 come during the operation of searching and taking these people to the
13 A. I said that he came around 9.00, he came a bit later. He didn't
14 come when it all started.
15 Q. There was this question that had to do with the security of the
16 buses. So if I remember correctly, you did not provide your own military
17 policemen for this kind of job?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. However, if a witness before this Tribunal, your commander,
20 Paunovic, said that he assigned two military policemen for each and every
21 bus respectively, where did they come from if they didn't come from your
22 unit? Can you answer?
23 A. Paunovic was battalion commander and he had four companies of the
24 military police under him. I was the commander only of one company. Now,
25 from which company out of the remaining three he appointed these soldiers
1 for accompanying the buses, if he did that, I really don't know. I just
2 know that from my unit, there weren't any soldiers who were escorting the
4 Q. I assume, on the basis of your answer, that you never talked about
5 that and never received any information about that from your commander,
7 My next question: I think you said today that all of this ended
8 around 10.00. Could you explain this a bit better, what was it that ended
9 around 10.00, in your view?
10 A. My task, my assignment ended around 10.00. And my task was to
11 search these persons, and that was the end of my task. So that's what
12 happened around 10.00, up to 10.00.
13 Q. Your task was to search these persons and, as you explained, to
14 take them to the buses and to hand them over so that they would be there
15 on the buses?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Was all of that over by around 10.00?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. So after that, you had no business there. You searched these
20 persons, other persons no longer went out of the hospital, so you had no
21 task -- or, rather, you withdrew from there, if I understand you
23 A. That part of the task was over, the search was over, and I still
24 had the task of providing security.
25 Q. I think that you said today that you do not remember when it was
1 that these buses set off. I think that you even said that you didn't see
2 them leaving; is that right?
3 A. Yes, I don't remember when it was that they finally left and how
4 many of them were there, and when they ultimately departed.
5 Q. Since you were still providing security, you and your soldiers, is
6 it logical to assume that you would have noticed if these buses had stayed
7 on for an unusually long time after you had accomplished your task. Am I
9 A. Well, maybe you are right, but a person who would be saying the
10 contrary would be equally right. If I complete my duty, then somebody
11 else is probably responsible for another -- for this other part of the
12 task and then this other person thinks about that. I finished my task and
13 I left.
14 Q. All right. But the buses were nearby. How far away were these
15 buses from the place where you were searching these persons?
16 A. I already said up to 100 metres.
17 Q. So can we agree that you could see that, that that was within the
18 scope of your vision?
19 A. I was not standing in the same place all the time while I was
20 there. I had to see my own people. It doesn't mean that I was just
21 standing there. I returned the people who had conducted the searches. I
22 went and toured my company. I saw my soldiers who were providing
23 security. It wasn't that I was a static feature there.
24 Q. I agree, but that is precisely why I said a moment ago if you were
25 coming and going that you certainly would have noticed, after a while,
1 that the buses were there if they were still there. That is something
2 that could not have escaped you if you are there walking around the
3 hospital. That's my assumption, but am I right?
4 A. Let me say that I didn't notice any such thing.
5 Q. You said today that the buses or, rather, those leaving the
6 hospital were on the left-hand side. Looking from the hospital entrance,
7 they were headed left, and it was on the left, looking from the hospital
8 entrance, that the buses were. Right?
9 A. The emergency ward entrance, imagine yourself leaving the
10 hospital. To your left, on that street are the buses.
11 Q. Indeed. You were still securing the hospital when those other
12 people were leaving. You mentioned the civilians leaving and the patients
13 and so on and so forth. Where were they heading? Were they all heading
14 to the same side or elsewhere?
15 A. Just one detail: There were two different exits. You have the
16 main entrance to the hospital. It was there that members of the medical
17 staff and those who could move were evacuated. Those who couldn't walk
18 were stretchered out of the building. I'm talking about the other
19 evacuation. Those who couldn't walk were stretchered out the emergency
20 exit and they were placed into ambulances. Some of them went one way and
21 the others went the other way.
22 Q. One way and the other way. Where exactly do you mean?
23 A. What I talked about before, where the buses were, that's where the
24 ambulances headed to, those carrying patients who were unable to move.
25 They took that gate out. And the civilians being evacuated took the other
1 gate. Or, rather, medical staff and those patients who were still able to
3 Q. You mentioned Karan today, didn't you? You said he was there to
4 get Vesna Bosanac. You were there, he was outside the entrance and he
5 never actually entered the hospital, right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. I took it to mean he told you that he was there to get Vesna
8 Bosanac. Just on whose orders, did he share that with you?
9 A. He probably did. But was it the commander's orders or someone
10 else's, I can hardly say. I know he came and then we went as far as the
11 entrance together. They called her and -- I've given a fairly detailed
12 account of that.
13 Q. Do you perhaps know whether Major Tesic had any contacts with
14 Vesna Bosanac or that he was the one who took her to Negoslavci?
15 A. Perhaps before my arrival, as I said, I found Major Tesic at the
16 hospital when I arrived and he had set up some sort of security before my
17 arrival. But whether he took Dr. Bosanac anywhere during this period of
18 time and before our security system was in place is not something that I
19 can say.
20 Q. I understand about before your arrival; you don't know about what
21 happened before you came. But after your arrival, do you know about Major
22 Tesic taking Dr. Bosanac anywhere?
23 A. No, I don't.
24 Q. Do you know whether they, and I mean Vesna Bosanac or possibly
25 Marin Vidic, Bili, returned to the hospital that night?
1 A. I really can't remember.
2 Q. And when, as you say, Paunovic returned for the second time from
3 Negoslavci, was Vidic not with him?
4 A. The second time, which second time are you talk about? He was off
5 to Negoslavci for that briefing. He was back from the briefing. He took
6 Mr. Vidic with him and led him away. After that, he returned.
7 Q. That's the time I'm talking about.
8 A. No, certainly not.
9 Q. What about the next day? Was Vidic brought to the hospital at any
10 time during your time there?
11 A. I'm sorry, I didn't see that gentleman. I can hardly say whether
12 I saw him return. I didn't know him from Adam. He was taken away at a
13 time when I was away. Therefore, I could hardly have seen him, could I?
14 Q. I have only a couple of questions left for you.
15 At page 27 today you said that you had submitted a verbal report
16 to the commander. You said, "I can assume who that commander was," but
17 it's not stated specifically. So who was this, for the sake of the
19 A. To my own battalion commander.
20 Q. Mr. Paunovic?
21 A. That's right.
22 Q. Just another question. You've talked at great length about
23 something that happened on the 14th of -- on the 4th of November, 1991.
24 Can we agree that you haven't mentioned this in your previous statements?
25 Why did you believe it to be a matter of particular importance, then?
1 A. I never talked about this because nobody asked.
2 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Mr. Simic.
3 Your Honours, I have no further questions for this witness.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Domazet.
5 Mr. Borovic.
6 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
7 Examination by Mr. Borovic:
8 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Simic.
9 A. Good afternoon.
10 Q. You said today that on the evening of the 19th, except for Captain
11 Mladen Karan turning up, none of the soldiers went into or out of the
12 hospital, right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Later on you were Captain Radic's commander, weren't you, after
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Therefore, you know who he is, right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. On the evening of the 19th, did you see Captain Radic anywhere at
21 A. No, I didn't.
22 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, one thing that wasn't
23 reflected in the transcript is that he was his commander after Vukovar.
24 Thank you.
25 Q. On the 20th of November, 1991, while conducting the search and
1 taking people to the buses, were you in any sort of contact with Captain
2 Radic in the sense of him helping you along, giving orders, or carrying
3 out any sort of orders at all?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Thank you. Was he involved in taking these people to the buses in
6 any way at all or in selecting these people or separating them off?
7 A. I did not see him.
8 Q. Thank you. Your own commander, Paunovic, at the time was
9 about 55; he's testified already. We know that he was born in 1956. How
10 tall is he; can you say?
11 A. About 175 [Realtime transcript read in error: "155"] centimetres.
12 Q. Thank you. Did he sport a moustache at the time?
13 A. He's always sported one, ever since I first met him.
14 Q. The transcript says 155 centimetres, whereas the witness said 175.
15 I think that -- so how tall was he?
16 A. Roughly speaking, 175 centimetres. He's slightly shorter than I
18 Q. When people are being searched, selected and taken to those buses,
19 was anyone wearing a bordeaux colour or red beret? Was anyone wearing
20 that sort of a head-gear?
21 A. Not that I remember, I really don't.
22 Q. What if somebody was wearing a head-gear of that sort? Do you
23 think you'd remember?
24 A. It probably would have been quite easy to spot because most people
25 on the scene were wearing helmets.
1 Q. Thank you. When you were in the Vukovar theatre of war, did you
2 have a left-hand neighbour, since you were in Assault Detachment 2, right?
3 A. The left-hand neighbour was Assault Detachment 1.
4 Q. Thank you. Did you specifically have any sort of communication
5 with someone who was your left-hand neighbour, a unit that was not an
6 active unit of the JNA?
7 A. There was a group from the Territorial Defence led, I believe, by
8 Stanko Vujanovic.
9 Q. Thank you. The Chamber received a copy of your statement from the
10 Belgrade Ovcara trial from Mr. Domazet, the OTP have that, page 28, and
11 the English is 57. The presiding judge asked you and Stanko Vujanovic
12 asked you about that. You explained the reasons for there being a left
13 neighbour and right neighbour and what the communication between these two
14 neighbouring units was. I won't be reading that now. And then the
15 president of the chamber said after you had stated that Stanko Vujanovic
16 was your left neighbour, called for you to explain that, and Stanko
17 Vujanovic asked you: "Well, of course he was in communication with me.
18 The five or seven of us or, rather, up to 10 of us who were up front all
19 the time, and Mr. Stamatovic, who was with his soldiers, said it himself.
20 He kept an eye on his own soldiers rather than anything else.
21 "Mr. Simke" - and he means you - "could not talk to him as a
22 non-commissioned officer. He should have talked to me because I was there
23 in front. Those of us who were ahead, and the soldiers, at least in the
24 area where I was, were guarding certain positions that we had achieved.
25 Of course Mr. Simic was communicating with me, not with Bojkovski or with
1 Zoran who was 50 or 100 metres behind. Who would he communicate with?"
2 Then a series of answers that you provided, but after all, you say
3 that you did communicate with him and that he was the commander of that
5 My question is: As you were involved in this coordinated action,
6 as the presiding judge asked you, along that particular axis, how far to
7 your left was Stanko Vujanovic and the group that he was in command of?
8 A. There was only one street between us.
9 Q. Is it true that behind that group at a distance of between 50 and
10 100 metres, there were regular troops with their company commanders?
11 A. I really can't say. I said back then that I didn't know about the
12 exact disposition of Assault Detachment 1. I joined the fray there as a
13 replacement for the anti-terrorist company. I took up those positions and
14 I never moved in order to cross to the other side. We didn't budge over
15 those 10 days, not an inch.
16 Q. Fair enough. Is it true that the only left neighbour you had was
17 Stanko Vujanovic's group, the group that he was in command of, and they
18 were not regular troops or commanders, right, not within their combat
20 A. I did not see a single soldier of ours or officer of ours with
21 Stanko Vujanovic and his group.
22 Q. Thank you. Would you please be so kind and try to remember when
23 you were deployed along that axis. First of all, what were those people
24 wearing that Stanko Vujanovic was in command of?
25 A. I didn't see much of them. Stanko would normally wear a black
1 hat, a black coat. Normally, I say. Whenever I saw him, he would wear
2 that sort of thing, that sort of clothes. I didn't see much of the rest
3 of them.
4 Q. Fair enough. Along your own axis of operations --
5 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can we please go into
6 private session for a minute.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
8 [Private session]
12 [Open session]
13 THE REGISTRAR: We are no open session, Your Honours.
14 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] This concludes my cross-examination.
15 Thank you.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Borovic.
17 Mr. Moore, you could run now for about a quarter of an hour or
18 have a break now, whichever you prefer.
19 MR. MOORE: May I run for 15 minutes and then take a break? Thank
20 you very much.
21 JUDGE PARKER: If you still have breath after 15 minutes running,
22 Mr. Moore, go ahead.
23 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
24 Cross-examination by Mr. Moore:
25 Q. Mr. Simic, when one talks about your evidence and the accounts
1 that you have given to courts, both here and Serbia, would I be right in
2 generalising in the following way, that what you're saying is in 1999 and
3 2005 you considered and expressed the view that Sljivancanin was in charge
4 of not only the matters on the 19th but also the evacuation on the 20th,
5 but since coming to The Hague and speaking to associates, you have come to
6 a different conclusion, that he was not in charge. Is that the nub of
7 your evidence on that topic?
8 A. I am testifying about events that took place. I talk about the
9 way I saw them.
10 Q. But the question is perfectly easy. You make a statement in 1999
11 to a court; 2005 you do the same. Dealing with this topic about command,
12 the suggestion is in that statement in 1999 and 2005, you're saying
13 Sljivancanin is in charge. You come, basically to The Hague, having
14 spoken to some friends, and you seem to be suggesting that Sljivancanin
15 was not in charge.
16 Now, is that right or not, or do you say as far as you remember,
17 Sljivancanin was in charge on the 19th and the 20th? And please remember
18 you are on oath.
19 A. I am saying that I got my tasks from Captain Paunovic, and I'm
20 saying that I saw Major Sljivancanin there as well. For example,
21 specifically, as for the 20th, he came in the morning, he greeted me, and
22 he entered the hospital. Now, what he did in the hospital and what he was
23 responsible for, that is something I really don't know.
24 However, as for what I was responsible for and what I did, I know
25 about that, but I assert that I did not enter the hospital.
1 Q. I'm not asking you a question about entering the hospital. I am
2 asking you about the impression that you gathered on the 19th and 20th of
3 November, 1991. Was Sljivancanin, the impression that you got, that
4 Sljivancanin was in charge on the 19th and on the 20th?
5 Now, it's a simple question. It's the third time I've asked it.
6 Yes or no, please.
7 A. Well, quite simply, I cannot respond what my impression was at
8 that time. I'm talking about facts, I'm not talking about impressions.
9 Q. I would suggest to you that is not correct. You are perfectly
10 entitled to draw impressions of what you saw in 1991 and come to a
11 conclusion. Whether it is right or wrong may be a separate issue, but is
12 the impression that you gathered that Sljivancanin was in charge on
13 the 19th and 20th? These are two separate issues.
14 A. Well, then, in that statement in 2005 that you've probably
15 read -- in that statement from 2005, I said that I think that Major
16 Sljivancanin was in charge of that part of the operation; that is to say,
17 what is going on within the hospital compound. That is the impression
18 that I had at that time.
19 Q. And it is not just 2005, it is also 1999 that you formed that
20 impression as well. That is correct, isn't it?
21 A. Probably.
22 Q. No, you have seen Mr. Lukic, two, if not three times. I have
23 absolutely no doubt, whether it was Mr. Bulatovic or Mr. Lukic that you
24 have seen these statements, and I'd suggest that topic was dealt with,
25 wasn't it? So it's not probably, the answer is you know perfectly well
1 that's what you said in both those statements; isn't that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 MR. MOORE: Thank you. Your Honour, will that be an appropriate
4 moment. I know it's a little earlier than I anticipated, but I will deal
5 with other matters and I'd prefer to deal with it in toto, if Your Honour
6 wouldn't mind.
7 JUDGE PARKER: We will resume at quarter to, Mr. Moore.
8 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
9 --- Recess taken at 5.20 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 5.47 p.m.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
12 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
13 Q. So Mr. Simic, the impression that you gathered was that
14 Sljivancanin was in charge; that is correct. You have already agreed to
16 Now, what I want to ask you is this: What were the
17 characteristics, what was the behaviour of Major Sljivancanin that made
18 you come to that conclusion?
19 A. I told you that then, when I gave those statements, I had that
20 impression. Now, why did I have this impression? Because out of all
21 persons present there in the hospital compound, as this event was taking
22 place, the most senior-ranking person was Major Sljivancanin. That is how
23 I had that assumption. However, the chain of command is clearly defined.
24 My commander was my battalion commander and he issued orders to me.
25 Q. I am not asking about orders being issued to you. That is not the
1 question. I'm talking about the operation itself, the evacuation. Isn't
2 it right that the view that you took was that Mr. Sljivancanin was in
3 charge of the entire operation? That was the view, whether it's right or
4 wrong, that was the view you took; isn't that correct?
5 A. I said that in my statement before the special court. But
6 obviously then I didn't understand the prosecutor either -- or, rather,
7 the president of the court and he didn't understand me either.
8 I presented my impression then in relation to what happened in the
9 hospital, that Sljivancanin was responsible for that.
10 Q. I'm going to go through the two documents that were compiled as a
11 result of your interviews in Belgrade.
12 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I know the documents have come in before
13 Your Honour, but for my reference purposes, may I ask the Court to look at
14 a compiled bundle that we have created which is almost identical to my
15 learned friend's, but the references are slightly different. The Court
16 should have them and we have got copies for the Defence, if they require
17 them, but I know they have already got the bundles.
18 Could the witness please be given a hard copy.
19 I see Mr. Borovic looking concerned. Can I just indicate that
20 it's exactly the same documents as given by my learned friend on behalf of
21 Mr. Mrksic, just the indexing slightly different.
22 Q. Mr. Simic, let me explain how this file is built; it's really very
23 simple. There are four tab numbers, 1, 2, 3, and 4. There is an index at
24 the front. Item 1, or tab 1, is in English; 2 is the B/C/S translation of
25 it, or perhaps it's the other way around; 3 is the English transcript for
1 the later hearing in July 2005; and number four is the original
3 So I want to deal, if I may, please, with this topic in the
4 following way. What were you doing in the latter part of 1995, just in
5 general terms? I think it's right that you had a promotion or you left
6 the Guards in 1995, I think September the 9th, something like that.
7 A. In 1995, is that what you said?
8 Q. Yes, it is.
9 A. In 1995, I was not in the Guards Brigade. On the 6th of June,
10 1994, the 46th Protection Motorised Brigade was established and I then
11 became commander of the battalion of the military police of that brigade.
12 I think that in September 1995 I was a desk officer in the
13 operations and teaching department because I was about to start school.
14 However, due to what happened in Operation Storm, the school was put off
15 for the beginning of 1996. So this school, that is to say, the staff
16 college, started for me in 1996. That's when I enrolled -- yes, what was
18 Q. What I have - and you can confirm whether it's right or not - from
19 the 5th of April, 1993, until the 8th of September, 1995, you were the
20 commander of the Guards Brigade military police battalion, Belgrade
21 garrison. Does that sound familiar?
22 A. No. First of all, I was not the commander of the brigade. I was
23 commander of the battalion. Commander of the battalion that was not
24 within the Guards Brigade. At first, it was within the 46th Regiment for
25 providing security, and then within the 46th Protection Motorised Brigade.
1 Q. In any event, in 1995, we know that indictments were issued in
2 relation to this case for Mr. Mrksic, Mr. Sljivancanin, and Mr. Radic and
3 that that fact was publicised in the press.
4 Now, were you aware of an indictment, not obviously the
5 particulars, but the fact that an indictment had been issued against these
6 three gentlemen?
7 A. I assume that I learned about that through the media.
8 Q. And I'm suggesting 1995, would that be correct, approximately?
9 I'm not going to worry about months here or there.
10 A. Well, I don't know. The answer is probably yes.
11 Q. Thank you. So the situation came that on the 15th of January,
12 1999, you were called before the Belgrade military court; is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And as I say, it's the 15th of January. How much notice were you
15 given that you were going to have to be giving evidence?
16 A. I don't know the answer to that question.
17 Q. Well, can I put it this way: Clearly giving evidence before an
18 investigating judge of the military court in Belgrade in respect of the
19 war crimes committed, as we would say, at Ovcara, is an extremely and was
20 an extremely serious event for you; do you agree with that? Not to be
21 taken lightly.
22 A. Of course I didn't take it lightly. But now I cannot say whether
23 I received the summons 15, 20 days earlier, or a month earlier.
24 Q. But the one thing is certain is that you knew that you were going
25 to be asked about an evacuation that you had played a part at the
1 beginning. That is right, isn't it?
2 A. That is something that I only could have assumed.
3 Q. You knew perfectly well that, not from your own personal
4 knowledge, but the suggestion was that there was an inquiry being made
5 about the people who had been killed at Ovcara. That's right, isn't it?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And when you came to give your evidence, the learned judge
8 informed you of various obligations and rights.
9 Now, I'm going to ask you, please, to go to divider 2, which I
10 hope is pink but may not be pink, and you will find, I hope, on
11 page 02188239 in the B/C/S, page 2 at the bottom of the English version,
12 the following phrase, and I don't want to waste much time on it: "Within
13 the meaning of Article 229 of the Law on Criminal Procedure, the witness
14 has been informed that: He does not have to answer questions if there is
15 a likelihood that by doing so he would expose himself or a close relative
16 to serious humiliation, considerable material damage or criminal
18 And the next below it: "Within the meaning of Article 231 of the
19 Law on Criminal Procedure, the witness has been reminded that he is under
20 obligation to tell the truth and not to withhold any information since
21 giving false testimony constitutes a criminal offence, and that he was
22 also under obligation to inform the court about any change of address or
24 It's something that we have seen before.
25 So the learned judge is telling you what your rights are: Tell
1 the truth, but if there's something that might incriminate you, you don't
2 have to say anything. Do you agree?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And so when it came to this particular interview, you were being
5 asked to make a statement about what you knew that had occurred on
6 the 19th and 20th, perhaps even the 21st of November, 1991. That's
7 correct, isn't it?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Well, I'm not going to take up a lot of time dealing with the
10 material at the start. What I would suggest is you indicate that your
11 battalion commander at that time was Captain Paunovic. There was
12 reference to Ovcara, but not in the sense that we know it. There is then
13 reference to "the actual town of Vukovar being taken by our units as part
14 of the lifting of the blockade." That is on English page 4 at the top;
15 and the B/C/S page is 02188240.
16 Now I want to deal from that section, if I may.
17 "The actual town of Vukovar was taken by our units as part of the
18 lifting of the blockade of Vukovar barracks and liberating imprisoned
19 civilians in Vukovar. If I remember correctly, Vukovar was taken on the
20 18th of November, 1991, in the afternoon."
21 So I would suggest, there you are, you've got the date pretty much
22 spot on.
23 You then indicate you're between two streets. "And after that, I
24 was given the task of carrying out search and investigation of the terrain
25 in the Mitnica area in order to check if there were any remnants of
1 left-over units of the opposing side."
2 So that is what you have told this Court today; isn't that right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Then you go on. You say: "While I was carrying out the task, as
5 I remember it today, it may have been the 19th of November, I was given an
6 order from the battalion commander to go urgently with my company to the
7 hospital sector in Vukovar, so I arrived with my company from the Mitnica
8 area between 1400 and 1500 hours. When I arrived in front of the hospital
9 in Vukovar, I found the battalion commander Paunovic and Major
11 So again, entirely consistent with the evidence that you have
12 given today. You get the date correct, the fact that you are called to go
13 from Mitnica, that you go there, the timing is pretty much correct, and
14 there you find Paunovic and Sljivancanin. That's right, isn't it? That's
15 right, Mr. Simic, isn't it?
16 A. I told you that it was right.
17 Q. Yes, I'm just going to go through the statement.
18 And then there is reference to Tesic. Turning over the page to
19 page 5, English, and it's the B/C/S version of -- towards the end of
20 02188240, you said: "I had not known Captain Radic until then because I
21 came to the unit later so I don't know whether he was there providing
22 security at the hospital or not."
23 You then proceed to say about providing security, not allowing
24 anyone to enter or leave. "However, in the hospital perimeter, there were
25 many people, civilians, as well as population, so through the organisation
1 of senior officers from the brigade command, and I think that Major
2 Sljivancanin was in charge of that, they left the hospital perimeter on
3 foot and they departed."
4 Just dealing with that aspect of evidence. It's right, isn't it,
5 you said that you had a discussion with Tesic. It's right that you made
6 reference to Radic. It's been dealt with here. And the fact that you
7 were providing security and you would not allow anyone to leave -- enter
8 or leave the hospital premises, that is correct, that's entirely
9 consistent with your evidence, isn't it, Mr. Simic?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And so when we come to the final part of that paragraph, "I think
12 that Major Sljivancanin was in charge of that, they left the hospital
13 perimeter on foot and they departed." What do you mean "of that"? What's
14 the phrase "of that" refer to?
15 A. Before that, I said in that same sentence -- yes, just a moment,
16 please. Sorry, let me just read it once again.
17 "Of that," meant that the departure of civilians who left the
18 hospital perimeter on that day meaning that as they departed, I thought
19 then, as it's written here, that Major Sljivancanin was in charge of that.
20 That's what I thought -- again, I'm talking about impressions because I
21 told you who was there at that moment: Major Sljivancanin, Captain
22 Paunovic and Major Tesic.
23 Out of all of them, Major Sljivancanin was the most senior-ranking
24 officer and hence my assumption that ...
25 Q. My apologies. But can I also suggest that when one comes to an
1 assumption about behaviour, it's not just about rank in the army, it's
2 also the way people behave; isn't that right?
3 A. Well, I could not agree with you.
4 Q. So are you saying, then, that you come to that collusion, "I think
5 Major Sljivancanin was in charge of that," purely because of his rank?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. That being the case, what was it that Sljivancanin was doing at
8 that time? Because you used phrase "they departed," so I'd like to know
9 what Mr. Sljivancanin was doing. Will you tell us?
10 A. I told you that on that day this team of the International
11 Committee of the Red Cross came, too, and that he talked to them on that
12 occasion and that he gave me some guidelines. I already told you that.
13 I also did other things. I told you that. I was not paying
14 attention only to what Sljivancanin was doing. Quite simply, from among
15 all the persons I encounter there, knowing the persons from the brigade
16 command, he was the only one there; hence, my logical assumption that he
17 was probably the one in charge.
18 Q. So he was an officer, the most senior officer from the brigade
19 command at that time; is that correct?
20 A. Out of those that I saw, the only one.
21 Q. Then why do you use the phrase "senior officers," plural?
22 A. Because Major Tesic and Captain Paunovic were there, too, while I
23 was there, too. And I'm saying that in relation to those who were present
24 there, he was the man who held the highest rank in the brigade command
25 from among all of those who were present there.
1 Q. But what do you mean by the phrase "through the organisation of
2 senior officers"? What organisation? What was occurring? What was being
4 A. It wasn't some big organisation. Quite simply, what was stated
5 was that persons who were not from the hospital, namely who were not
6 employed at the hospital and who were not patients at the hospital, could
7 leave the hospital on that day. It's not some organisation that's
8 involved there. People would simply leave as we opened the gate.
9 Q. But we are talking, are we not, about groups of people leaving the
10 hospital and the hospital area? And I'm asking you what organisation?
11 What was being done at that time in respect of that? Because you used the
12 phrase "through the organisation of senior officers." It's not my phrase;
13 it's your phrase.
14 A. Are we talking about the 19th of November?
15 Q. I sincerely hope so, because that's what I've been referring you
17 A. All right. Fine. Then we are talking about the same thing.
18 I'm telling you that there wasn't any need for specially
19 organising these activities. Quite simply, people were allowed, without
20 any restrictions, without any checks, to leave. Only if they were
21 patients in the hospital or if they were employees of the hospital, it was
23 As far as I can remember now, I was just supposed to channel these
24 people, so to speak, towards the main entrance to the hospital compound.
25 Q. But didn't you hear that there was going to be an evacuation from
1 Velepromet of civilians at that time?
2 A. As for what happened in Velepromet, I had nothing whatsoever to do
3 with that.
4 Q. That is not what I asked. I asked quite simply: Did you not know
5 there was going to be an evacuation from Velepromet and that the civilians
6 should go in that general area?
7 A. I did not quite understand what you said just now. Are you asking
8 me whether I knew that these civilians were supposed to go to Velepromet
9 and that from Velepromet they would be evacuated further on or whether I
10 knew at all where they were going?
11 Q. Well, didn't you think to yourself, Where on earth are these
12 people going to go? Hadn't it been mentioned by anyone that there was,
13 what I will call, a clearance facility, a refugee facility, at Velepromet?
14 Are you saying you didn't know that?
15 A. No, I said that I didn't understand your question.
16 Q. So is it right that you knew about Velepromet being the base for
17 civilians being evacuated in due course?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And is it not right to say that you got that information from that
20 group of officers, including Major Sljivancanin?
21 A. Well, I cannot really answer that because I don't remember.
22 Q. Let us move on to your statement, just continuing. I'm going to
23 call that evacuation one, if I may, just for convenience. I hope it will
24 be obvious in due course why.
25 Next paragraph: "The next day, it may have been the 20th of
1 November, I was given the task by the battalion commander to organise the
2 search of persons who were being led out of the hospital where some
3 classification and sorting had been done."
4 Then you go on to say: "... so we set up some tables in front of
5 the hospital and people came from the hospital in groups."
6 Now, is that correct, in general terms?
7 A. I had received the task on the previous day. Here I was talking
8 about the task that I was carrying out on that day.
9 Q. In general terms, is it right?
10 A. It is right that those persons were searched on the 20th and I had
11 received the task on the evening of the 19th.
12 Q. All right. The task of the -- the task was given the evening of
13 the 19th by, you said, Paunovic. Here: "I was given the task by the
14 battalion commander," we know that's Paunovic, "... to organise the search
15 of persons," that's correct, isn't it, "who were being led out of the
16 hospital," we know that's correct, "where some classifications and sorting
17 had been done, so we set up some tables in front of the hospital and
18 people came from the hospital in groups."
19 Simple question: In general terms, is that right or not?
20 A. I don't understand. Are you asking me about the entire sentence
21 being right as such, or am I supposed to address certain parts of these
23 Q. I will break it into parts so there's no misunderstanding.
24 "The next day, it may have been the 20th of November," well, you
25 say it's the 19th, "I was given the task by the battalion commander to
1 organise the search of persons."
2 Now, you were given the task by the battalion commander. You've
3 told us that Paunovic gave you such --
4 A. The previous evening.
5 Q. Yes, that's what you say. I accept that. So Paunovic gave you --
6 he gave you the order, the task, to organise the search of persons. You
7 agree with that; yes?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Thank you. "Who were being led out of the hospital." Is that
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. "Where some classification and sorting had been done." Is that
14 A. A triage, yes.
15 Q. Well, classification and sorting had been done. Can we say triage
16 reflects that? Triage is the selection, normally.
17 A. I suppose that was done back at the hospital; that is, inside the
19 Q. But the phrase "where some classification and sorting had been
20 done," you agree with that?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Thank you. "So we set up some tables in front of the hospital."
23 Is that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. "And people came from the hospital in groups." Is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Thank you. Let us just deal, then, with the next, because I will
3 come back to that.
4 "These were people between 20 and 40 years of age who were all in
5 civilian clothes." Is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. "And some of them had leather Macloud jackets on." Is that right?
8 A. There were people wearing such jackets, yes.
9 Q. Thank you. "About which we later found out had been given to them
10 as assistance and were in fact used so they could change." Is that
12 A. Those were our assumptions.
13 Q. Thank you. Now, I want to deal with this phrase which you now
14 accept is correct. I want to ask you about the phrase at the very start,
15 about: "To organise the search of persons who were being led out of the
16 hospital where some classification and sorting had been done."
17 Now the classification and sorting, I want to just focus on that
18 topic. All right?
19 A. All right.
20 Q. You have told us in your evidence that Sljivancanin came in the
21 morning of the 20th, and he came with a group of officers because you
22 refer to -- you could see the rank. That's right, isn't it?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And there was a second group of doctors in uniform; that is also
25 correct. That was your evidence?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. I want to deal with the first group, please, not the doctors, what
3 I will call the non-doctors group. So what ranks are we talking about?
4 Officer ranks, obviously, but are we able to establish what sort of ranks?
5 A. I don't quite remember those people or their ranks. I don't know
6 if all of them were officers; maybe some of them were NCOs.
7 Q. But with regard to the officers, you've told us that some of them
8 were officers, because you could see their badge, where did those officers
9 come from, which units? Because clearly, you were in charge of security,
10 and you must have been curious to know who it was that was coming in to
11 your area of responsibility.
12 A. I didn't know those people. I didn't notice. I probably did
13 notice. It's just that I don't remember now what their ranks were. It's
14 only to be expected that if a chief of security of a brigade is entering
15 there is no need to ID any of the people accompanying him.
16 Q. Clearly, Paunovic had gone to a briefing at, I think it's 6.00, of
17 OG South on the 19th; that is right, isn't it? You've told us about that,
18 he went at 5.00, 5.30?
19 A. Yes, that's what I was told. He told me.
20 Q. And clearly, here is -- from what you seem to be saying is, here
21 is the chief of the security organ of OG South coming to the hospital; is
22 that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And with regard to that, can I just deal with the other group of
25 people, the doctors. How many doctors were there, approximately?
1 A. I think there were about four or five doctors.
2 Q. And so when you say about sorting out, what was being used to sort
3 out the people in the hospital?
4 A. I can't say, because I wasn't there. I have said several times
5 that I never entered the hospital.
6 Q. But you were briefed the night before by Paunovic and a briefing
7 has a purpose. It specifically tells the individual what their task is.
8 The briefing with Paunovic, were you the only officer at that briefing?
9 A. There was also Captain Majkic.
10 Q. So two officers there for the briefing, no more?
11 A. I don't remember.
12 Q. So what was the other officer's task?
13 A. The other officer was assistant commander for moral guidance with
14 the battalion command.
15 Q. But what were you told about the purpose of the filtering system?
16 There must have been a reason to say, Well, some are going here; some are
17 going there; we are looking for. There has to be a rationale explained to
18 you so you understand what your task is. So in general terms, what was
19 the rationale of this briefing?
20 A. The task was precisely set out to me. I was to line up any
21 persons leaving the hospital and frisk them with the remaining soldiers.
22 I was to search them for any blunt objects or firearms.
23 Having searched the group, I was to take them as far as the buses.
24 My task -- or, rather, I knew nothing at all about how the work inside --
25 how work inside the hospital was organised or what the respective
1 responsibilities were inside the hospital. My task involving those people
2 only began once they had left the hospital building.
3 Q. You had no women soldiers with you, did you?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Well, perhaps I'm living in a -- or we're all living in a period
6 of political correctness, but what was going to happen if ladies were
7 coming along? Who was going to be doing the searching of them to see
8 whether they are carrying sharp implements?
9 A. There were no women -- women were not frisked. If there had been
10 any women, we probably would not have frisked anyone, anyway. It was
11 envisaged that only female persons could frisk any other female persons.
12 Q. So can we assume that what was expected was that it would be men
13 coming through, not women?
14 A. I can't even assume. I hope you understand what I mean. Whatever
15 was envisaged or done inside the hospital was nothing to do with my task.
16 My sole task was searching those persons. You referred to women. If
17 there had been any such cases, we would probably have gone and fetched a
18 nurse or a female doctor from inside the hospital to frisk that particular
20 Q. I want to go on with your statement. I'll just read it out, and
21 I'd suggest it's almost identical to what your evidence is. It reads as
22 follows, the English page 5, three-fifths of the way down the page. For
23 the assistance of the witness, it is page 021882240. "These men were
24 searched to check if they had any weapons on them or similar, and after
25 the search, escorted by the soldiers from my unit, they were loaded onto
1 the buses that were at the hospital entrance gate. After they got on the
2 buses, they were driven somewhere. I do not know where these people were
3 driven in buses because I was not interested nor was I informed. The task
4 of my unit was only to carry out the search of these people and load them
5 on the bus, nothing else."
6 Now, can I perhaps suggest to you that this tranche of evidence
7 pretty much reflects what you have said in evidence. There is no
8 significant difference at all. Would you agree?
9 A. I apologise, I need another look.
10 You could put it that way.
11 Q. I do.
12 Now, let's just move on, if we may. "Throughout this time, while
13 we were providing security and carried out the searches, none of my
14 soldiers entered the hospital premises until the evacuation was complete."
15 Can I put it that way also, that that corresponds with your
16 account in evidence?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Reading on, I'm nearly finished. "During the search, no register
19 was kept, nor were lists made of people taken out of the hospital and
20 their loading onto the buses. I do not know whether anyone had kept a
21 record in the hospital before this."
22 Can I deal with it this way, and I may come back to it, but as far
23 as you're concerned and in the evidence you gave, you didn't compile a
24 list. That is correct, isn't it?
25 A. It's true, I didn't.
1 Q. So your evidence in relation to this statement is almost
2 100 per cent a mirror. Would you agree?
3 A. Roughly speaking.
4 Q. No, not roughly speaking. I'd suggest it's much more than roughly
5 speaking; it's almost 100 per cent.
6 A. Fine.
7 Q. Thank you. I want to deal with the next passage. "As far as I
8 was able to see, all the tasks in relation to the organisation were
9 handled by Major Veselin Sljivancanin, and my battalion commander Paunovic
10 was also there."
11 Now, we have heard your evidence, now let's just look at this
12 phrase: "As far as I was able to see, all the tasks ..." So can we take
13 it, then, that when you use the phrase "as far as I was able to see ..."
14 that means from what you could see at that time, you came to the
15 conclusion, whether right or wrong, that all the tasks in relation to the
16 organisation were handled by Sljivancanin with Paunovic also being there.
17 That is right, isn't it?
18 A. It's true, Paunovic was there. It's also true, I repeat, as I
19 said in reference to the impressions that you mentioned, given the fact
20 that there was no other person from the brigade command who was more
21 senior or holding a higher ranking position than Major Sljivancanin, I
22 assumed that what was being done at the hospital or what we were doing
23 outside the hospital was something that he was in charge [as interpreted].
24 Q. Now, I will come back to that, but I want to move on, if I may,
25 to --
1 Perhaps in fairness to you -- when you made this phrase, it was in
2 relation to the entire evacuation; isn't that right?
3 A. Well, all right, that's a different statement. That's the one for
4 the special court where I said that I thought he was in charge of the
5 entire operation. But it's quite clear that there was a misunderstanding
6 between me and the presiding judge.
7 As I said in my previous statement, as for any activities going on
8 inside or outside the hospital, Sljivancanin was in charge. Or, rather, I
9 apologise, there was no way I could possibly have assumed that he was in
10 charge of an entire operation, some operation, since I was not familiar
11 with any other elements of that operation.
12 I think there was a misunderstanding when the question first
13 occurred at the special court.
14 Q. I suggest there's absolutely no misunderstanding at all. In your
15 first statement, you say "able to see all the tasks," you're quite
16 specific about it, "all the tasks," and when it comes to -- and I'll ask
17 the Court perhaps if they would be kind enough to turn to divider 3; for
18 you, Mr. Simic, divider 4. For the English, it is page 29, bottom of the
19 page, that's for the English version; and for the B/C/S, it's 0461-9798.
20 So if you go to divider 4, Mr. Simic, and the English speakers actually go
21 to page 28 and then I'll move into 29 as well, we can deal with that very
22 specific point. So page 28 and the page number for you is 0461-9798 but
23 for the English speakers 28.
24 "Presiding judge: "So at the very beginning" -- this is at the
25 bottom of page 28. "So at the very beginning, when you arrived?"
1 Deputy Prosecutor, Dusan Knezevic: "Who was in charge of - he
2 said something about this subject, so let's turn to it - screening and
3 organising the transport of these people by from the hospital onward?"
5 Page 29 English: "Witness Simic: As far as I was concerned, my
6 battalion commander was in charge, and I think that Major Sljivancanin was
7 in charge of the entire operation."
8 It's page 28/29 of the English, divider 3. I hope the Court have
9 got that.
10 Would Your Honour forgive me, I may have a spare bundle if the
11 pages have been missed.
12 My apologies if there is an error in the machine.
13 JUDGE PARKER: We have found, we believe, the right page,
14 Mr. Moore.
15 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much. May I just go over it again so
16 that there's no misunderstanding in fairness to the witness, Mr. Simic.
17 Q. Mr. Simic, the page for you should be 0461-9798. The English
18 should be bottom page 28 and 29. The question was asked -- thank you.
19 "So who was in charge of - he said something about this subject,
20 so let's turn to it - screening and organising the transport of these
21 persons by from the hospital onward?" Note the word "onward."
22 Witness, that's you, Mr. Simic: "As far as I was concerned, my
23 battalion commander was in charge, and I think that Major Sljivancanin was
24 in charge of the entire operation."
25 So I want to deal with this answer: Paunovic was your commander.
1 That is correct, isn't it?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And he was in charge of you. You were subordinated to him?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And so when you actually refer to "my battalion commander was in
6 charge," that relates to you, doesn't it?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And when you make the reply that you think that Sljivancanin was
9 in charge of the entire operation, what that means is over and above
10 Paunovic. That's correct, isn't it? That was what you thought at the
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Let us just go back, then, to divider 1 again, the original
14 statement made by you on the 15th of January, 1999. There is reference to
15 finding ammunition; I'm not going to go into that. But there is a
16 paragraph just below that paragraph that we have been talking about about
17 Mr. Sljivancanin overseeing all the tasks. "After their evacuation" --
18 it's page 6 of the English, tab 1, three-fifths of the way down the page.
19 "After their evacuation, an evacuation of sick and wounded was
20 carried out, organised by the medical personnel and the Medecins sans
21 Frontieres team. My unit did not take part in this but we continued to
22 provide security for the hospital perimeter."
23 And you agree that is what happened; is that correct?
24 A. Yes. The ill, the wounded, and the medical staff were evacuated.
25 I mentioned it in my evidence today. I didn't press the point.
1 But we were there to help things along, if needed, and we did, in some
3 Q. I want to move on to the B/C/S page 0218-8242; it is the English
4 page 7, tab 1. So your page 0218-8242. Have you got that? It should
5 start --
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. -- "while we were guarding the hospital and its perimeter" - have
8 you got that? - "there were cases that some locals, civilians and even
9 some in some uniforms tried to enter the hospital saying that there were
10 men in hospital who were sheltering there and who had killed a member of
11 someone's family, and these people now wanted to go in and settle the
12 scores. However, in spite of their forceful insistence, the security did
13 not let them go in. I could not say for sure how many such cases there
14 were, but there were quite a few. Considering the situation in Vukovar as
15 a whole, the way it was for me and my soldiers, this was a normal reaction
16 of these people, so to speak."
17 I want to deal with this area of your evidence. What you are
18 saying there, I'd suggest, almost accurately reflects what you have said
19 today, that there was hostility around the hospital on the 19th. Do you
20 agree with that?
21 A. A hostile atmosphere, perhaps yes, but no acts of hostility. I
22 said then and I said today that there were taunts, verbal acts of
23 provocation, but no use of physical force or physical attacks or indeed
24 use of weapons. Those forms of behaviour did not occur.
25 Q. But one of the things that was being said was "there were people
1 in there, in the hospital, who may have killed relatives of mine."
2 That's correct, isn't it?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And some of those people were in uniform which would suggest that
5 they would have access to weapons. That's correct also, isn't it?
6 A. Yes, but they weren't threatening anyone with those weapons.
7 Q. So when you cam to the phrase "considering the situation in
8 Vukovar as a whole, you considered that their reaction was perfectly
9 normal," what did you mean by that?
10 A. Well, it's natural for one to react. How should I put it? You
11 can't welcome the killer of your brother, can you? Of course you are
12 going to find a way of showing your revolt and showing your hatred.
13 Q. Would you accept from me when one is guarding prisoners who
14 perhaps fall in the -- into the category, perceived category of being
15 murderers of individuals who are outside, that one should attempt to
16 assess the risk to those people inside?
17 A. I feared more for the lives of my soldiers and the risk coming
18 from those potential murders. I knew that the people standing on the
19 other side would not attack those whom they had fought with. I knew that
20 none of those Territorial Defence people would use force against any of us
21 who were on a mission, because our missions, up until the day before, had
22 been shared ones.
23 Q. The question that I asked you is very simple. When a group,
24 whether it be military or any other group, takes control, position of
25 trust of protecting prisoners of war or whatever category you want, that
1 it is important to assess the risk to them, to assess the possibility of
2 injury or harm to them.
3 A. You mean danger in terms of the people who were in the hospital?
4 Q. Yes. You have a situation of vulnerable people. They are in what
5 could be classified as a killing zone. They are in an area. They are
6 contained in that area. They are not leaving that area. But when it
7 comes to them leaving, that's where they're at their most vulnerable, when
8 they're in transit; isn't that right?
9 A. Transit, I don't know what kind of threat there was against them.
10 I just know that while they were in the hospital, they didn't have to fear
11 on account of that.
12 Q. So how many people did you have actually controlling that
13 hospital, how many soldiers?
14 A. I told you already. The company, including me, had 48 men, and
15 all of us were providing security then, except that some were resting,
16 others were ready, and about one-third were on duty, perhaps a bit more
17 than that, because our assessment was that since we did not know the
18 situation within the hospital, we didn't know who was there. Instead of
19 having one guard, we had double guards, we had two guards wherever
21 Q. So when you spoke to Paunovic saying that you wanted extra
22 soldiers, was that because you were concerned about the risk just to your
23 soldiers or to the situation generally?
24 A. My assessment was that people who were in the hospital were not
25 under any kind of threat or risk from the outside. But to be on the safe
1 side, for my soldiers, I thought that there should be more people on the
2 security posts. In my head, the only danger was imminent from the persons
3 who were inside.
4 Q. But Sljivancanin had been at the hospital during daylight on
5 the 19th when that crowd was outside; isn't that correct?
6 A. I did not see Sljivancanin. I told you from when I came, I did
7 not notice Sljivancanin going into the hospital. I'm talking about --
8 Q. I'm talking about the 19th, evacuation one, when you were guarding
9 the hospital. Sljivancanin was there with Tesic, do you remember, and
10 Paunovic. Sljivancanin was present?
11 A. Yes, I said that.
12 Q. But Sljivancanin was present when there were the group of people
13 outside making threats against the people inside. That is right, isn't
15 A. Well, I don't know whether there were such threats while he was
16 there or whether they took place before or afterwards, but I know that
17 there were such threats. We thought that that was not -- I mean, I didn't
18 even insist on that with the battalion commander, let alone at a higher
19 level of command.
20 Q. When Sljivancanin came on the 20th with the group of officers, did
21 any of the other officers speak to you or was it only Sljivancanin?
22 A. I don't remember. I know that I spoke to Major Sljivancanin
23 because he asked me whether there had been any problems during the night.
24 Q. And of course you had said there had been no problems through the
25 night; is that right?
1 A. Not any big problems. I said today as well that it was peaceful
2 during the night, so there was nobody left there, those who came there out
3 of curiosity had left. Those who were looking for their family members
4 had left. Everybody had left, so it was peaceful from then on.
5 Q. And would it be correct to say that when Sljivancanin, as far as
6 you remember, was the only one spoke to you, Was there any trouble in the
7 night, was that one of the elements, one of the actions by him that made
8 you believe that he was in command of the entire operation?
9 A. I told you why I came to that conclusion, because at that moment,
10 he was the senior-ranking officer from among the persons who were present.
11 I'm saying that he was the ranking person from the brigade command.
12 I thought that that question was a natural question when a person
13 comes from a superior command to ask whether there were any problems,
14 whether any kind of assistance was needed, that is customary in day-to-day
16 Q. A natural question from a person from the superior command and a
17 person who you thought was responsible for the evacuation as a whole.
18 That is correct, isn't it?
19 A. Of course, at first I had no impression whatsoever. I stand by
20 what I said, that this impression had to do with the activities inside the
22 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I was going to move on to another topic.
23 I know it's five minutes early and I apologise for that, but might I ask
24 if the Court would mind rising now and I will go to a different topic
1 JUDGE PARKER: Very well, Mr. Moore. I can't imagine you could
2 deal with a new topic in the time remaining tonight.
3 We must therefore adjourn. We resume tomorrow at 2.15.
4 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, there is one matter that does cause me an
5 element of concern and I have no reason for suggesting it apart from
6 caution, and it is this: I don't know whether this witness has got
7 documents in his room that might be what I will call official documents or
8 statements. I wonder perhaps if the witness could -- I could ask the
9 witness if he has got those because I would not wish the witness to have
10 access to that material overnight.
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE PARKER: The question, Mr. Moore.
13 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
14 Q. Mr. Simic, have you got documents back in your hotel room or in
15 your briefcase that you can refresh your memory from, apart from your own
16 personal notes, obviously? Have you got your Belgrade statements, for
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And would you be kind enough -- would you be prepared to give
20 those statements or any other documents to the witness support assistant
21 who takes you to your hotel room?
22 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Now, Mr. Bulatovic.
25 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] This is really part of pressure
1 against the witness. I interpret it to be intimidation of the witness.
2 If the witness does have these statements that I showed him during the
3 period of our preparations, let the witness hand them over to me, let him
4 give them back to me rather than having the witness searched or handing
5 over some documents that he has in his room during the course of his
7 If Mr. Moore is not happy with this, let him go with the assistant
8 who is accompanying the witness; otherwise, let him go to his room and let
9 him see what he's got in his room. Perhaps that would be the fairest way
10 of dealing with it.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic, I think (a), you have jumped to a
12 very wild conclusion. Secondly, you have ignored the fact that this
13 matter is under the command and control of this Chamber.
14 All that Mr. Moore is asking is whether the witness would be
15 prepared to hand his documents to an officer of the Court. I'm sure it
16 would suit everybody's purpose if the witness gave the documents to the
17 court registry officer who could pass them to you. So instead of leaping,
18 as you did, to some rather exaggerated conclusions, remember the Chamber
19 is here.
20 Mr. Simic, it would be appreciated when we rise if you would pass
21 the documents to the officer of the Court who sits in front of me here,
22 and he will hand them to Mr. Bulatovic so they can be kept by
23 Mr. Bulatovic for you. Thank you very much for your assistance and
25 We now adjourn until 2.15 tomorrow.
1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.58 p.m.,
2 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 15th day of
3 November, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.