1 Monday, 20 November 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.
7 May I remind you of the affirmation which you took at the
8 beginning of your evidence that still applies.
9 WITNESS: JOVAN SUSIC [Resumed]
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Good morning, Your
13 Honours. Good morning to all in the courtroom.
14 Examination by Mr. Vasic:
15 Q. Good morning, Mr. Susic. Since we speak the same language, could
16 you please pause before answering my questions, so that the interpreters
17 would interpret everything you say; like you gave your answers to Mr.
18 Bulatovic, so that we'd have everything in the transcript.
19 Mr. Susic, until now, before courts, the special court in
20 Belgrade, before investigation agencies, you did not give any evidence
21 with regard to what you are testifying about here?
22 A. You're right. I have made no such statements.
23 Q. So you were not even asked to testify before the military court in
24 1998 in the proceedings against any perpetrators of the war crime at the
25 Ovcara crime?
1 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: They cannot hear the
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. The security organisation of the Guards Brigade and the military
5 investigation agencies, in the period from until 2001, did they know where
6 you were, or rather, up until the 20th of November, 1991, and what duties
7 you were involved in at that time in Vukovar?
8 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could Mr. Vasic please turn
9 off his microphone when the witness is speaking.
10 A. Yes. And they knew when we were.
11 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Thank you. Do you know that in the proceedings before the
13 military court and in other proceedings, the generals Milorad Panic,
14 General Lukic, Colonel Vukasinovic were asked to testify, and they made
15 statements in such proceedings?
16 A. I'm aware of that.
17 Q. Thank you. Now we're going to move on to a different subject.
18 Yesterday, you described how you came to the area of Vukovar and what the
19 tasks of your unit were. You mentioned that the anti-terrorist company
20 and the 2nd Company of military police of the 1st Battalion, almost
21 immediately upon their arrival, were attached to the 2nd Assault
22 Detachment that was commanded by then Lieutenant-Colonel Lukic; is that
23 right? Did I understand that right.
24 A. Yes. But at that time, he was Major Lukic, and the 2nd
25 anti-terrorist detachment was attached on the 2nd of October; whereas, the
1 2nd Company of the APCs was attached on the 4th.
2 Q. Just a correction in the transcript in line 25 on page 2, the
3 witness said that the anti-terrorist company was on the 2nd of October
4 attached; whereas, the 2nd company of the APCs was attached on the 4th.
5 Yes. Thank you.
6 Tell me, these two attached companies remained within the 2nd
7 Assault Detachment until what date?
8 A. The anti-terrorist company up until the 20th of October; whereas,
9 the 2nd Company until the end of the activities.
10 Q. What is the "end" mean, does that mean the 24th of November?
11 A. Yes, the 24th of November.
12 Q. Thank you. The 1st Battalion of the military police, towards the
13 end of October, 1991, excluding these two units that were attached to
14 other units, was it within another assault detachment?
15 A. Not until then. But on the 1st, a unit was established that took
16 part in combat activities.
17 Q. When you say the 1st, do you mean --
18 A. The 1st of November.
19 Q. Tell me, was that the 5th Assault Detachment and, if so, who
20 commanded that unit?
21 A. Yes. It was the 5th Assault Detachment and then the
22 anti-terrorist company was within it, and also parts of the military
23 police company that I commanded.
24 Q. Am I right if I conclude that you commanded that unit in the
25 actions that took place on the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th of November in
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. As for this time that you are -- or rather, that I am referring to
4 from the 14th of November onwards, who commanded the units that were
5 attached from your unit to the 2nd Assault Detachment?
6 A. At that time, there was only the 2nd Company within the assault
7 detachment, and it was commanded by Major Lukic.
8 Q. Thank you. Do you remember about the period between the 14th and
9 the 17th of November, did you receive any tasks from the brigade command;
10 and if you remember, briefly, what kind of tasks were they, that is to
11 say, you as the 1st Battalion of the military police?
12 A. These tasks were aimed at securing convoys and combat activities
13 that took place on the axis of activity of the 1st and 2nd Assault
15 Q. In this period, did you have some contacts with the 4th Assault
16 Detachment? Do you remember that?
17 A. I did not have any such contact.
18 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please, when you received these orders that
19 we are talking about now, how did you receive them, in which way? These
20 orders to attack on the 14th, 16th, 17th?
21 A. The orders were issued in writing; and later on, things were added
22 in case there were some corrections at the briefings themselves.
23 Q. Thank you. As commander of the 1st Battalion of the military
24 police, did you have radio communication with the brigade command, or
25 rather, of the Operations Group South in Negoslavci?
1 A. I always had communication with my command.
2 Q. Just explain what kind of communication that was, and who was it
3 specifically that you communicated with at the command in Negoslavci?
4 A. I had communications equipment that, according to establishment,
5 belonged to my unit; that was wire communication, jaguar, then I had
6 communications with the operation centre and directly with the commander,
7 when necessary.
8 Q. Did you communicate with the commander through the operation
9 centre or directly?
10 A. Well, when I wanted to speak to the commander himself, then he was
11 the one who would speak to me.
12 Q. Thank you. During combat activities in Vukovar, did you get any
13 orders from Miodrag Panic, Chief of Staff?
14 A. I did not.
15 Q. And the chief of the security organ or Vukasinovic, his deputy?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Can you tell us who had the task of securing the command post in
18 Negoslavci, which unit?
19 A. In Negoslavci, the command post was secured by the 1st Company of
20 APCs, parts of the military police company, and the traffic company, minus
21 one platoon, which provided traffic security to the logistics command post
22 in Berak.
23 Q. Are all of these units that belong to the 1st Battalion of the
24 military police, whose commander you became at one point in time?
25 A. Yes. Those are the units involved.
1 Q. Who was responsible for providing security of the command post in
2 Negoslavci? I'm now referring to the actual officers involved. Who was
3 responsible for securing this command post in accordance with regulations?
4 A. Up until the 1st of November, it was Major Kavalic. After the 1st
5 of November, it was I. Captain Bozic was on the line, and he was
6 exercising control as to how this was taking place.
7 Q. Do you know that at one point in time, a command of Negoslavci was
8 established; and, if so, who was the commander?
9 A. I'm aware of this command, that it was established, and it was
10 Major Vukasinovic who was its commander.
11 Q. After the town command was established, did Major Vukasinovic
12 issue any commands to organs of the military police who were securing the
13 command in Negoslavci and also the exit/entry checkpoints in Negoslavci?
14 A. He was not in charge of commanding personnel; he was issuing these
15 passes and saying what was to be done.
16 Q. Are you saying that as town commander, he did not command the
17 units that were securing that particular locality?
18 A. He was not commanding them.
19 Q. Can you explain what the function of the town commander is? What
20 are his powers, if you know, of course?
21 A. I was not town commander of that town, so I don't know. But he
22 was supposed to regulate everything; and if he needed personnel, then he
23 had to ask for such personnel to be approved. If a desk was supposed to
24 be set up somewhere, he would issue the order and we would actually carry
25 this through.
1 Q. Since you do not have information about what the actual powers
2 are, I'm not going to ask you anything else about the powers of the town
3 commander. But tell me, can a commander of a unit transfer some of his
4 powers to another officer from that unit in terms of carrying out a
5 particular task?
6 A. He can, but he still remains responsible for that.
7 Q. Can this authority be transferred to the security organ of that
9 A. I do not know about that because I was never in such a situation.
10 Q. What about Major Vukasinovic, was he in that sort of situation in
11 as far as you know, since he is a security officer was, after all,
12 appointed a town commander in Negoslavci; am I right?
13 A. Yes. He was appointed commander; that's a fact. And he was
14 responsible for the entire security of the command post. But when he
15 needed men to carry out an assignment, he would address us and we provided
17 Q. Thank you. Yesterday, in answer to my learned friend Bulatovic's
18 question, you talked about the daily briefings that took place in
19 Negoslavci at 1800 hours. If you look at all the regular combat reports
20 sent by the command of OG South, it appears that they are in relation to
21 the time period between 1800 hours on one day and 1800 hours on the next
22 day, which means they cover a 24-hour period, which means that these
23 meetings were supposed to be held before 1800 hours every day, so that by
24 1800 hours, a report could be submitted. Would I be right, based on your
25 recollection, or not?
1 A. I do not know whether you're right or not, but briefings were held
2 at about 1800 hours.
3 Q. Thank you. You implied to Mr. Bulatovic yesterday that you
4 remember the briefing that was held on the 19th of November, 1991. No
5 mention was made of the hospital evacuation, of that briefing. Is that a
6 fair assessment of your testimony on Friday?
7 A. Yes. That's a fair assessment. At any briefing, I would just
8 write down my own assignments or anything that was said that concerned me.
9 Most tasks received in a situation of combat are difficult ones.
10 Q. Is it possible, then, that the hospital evacuation was discussed
11 on that day, but the simple fact was you didn't write it down because you
12 had no role to play in this evacuation or no specific role to play?
13 A. That's a fair statement. I never received an assignment like
14 that, and I do not know that this was discussed at all.
15 Q. Do you remember if, on the 18th of November, anything was said at
16 that briefing about the surrender of the Croatian forces?
17 A. On the 18th of November, they had surrendered already by the time
18 we got to the briefing at 1800 hours. The surrender had already been
20 Q. Was that on the agenda of that particular briefing?
21 A. It was on the agenda. The Mitnica Battalion had surrendered and
22 had been disarmed. There were a lot of civilians who took refuge in the
23 Velepromet holding centre.
24 Q. Was any reference made to Ovcara at that briefing?
25 A. Yes. The reason being, the Mitnica Battalion were put up there.
1 Q. Do you remember if any other important subjects were raised at
2 that particular meeting? Would you please share that with us?
3 A. I don't think I could comment on anything in particular.
4 Q. But what if I told you that an international delegation was to
5 arrive on the 19th, does that jog your memory? Was there anything you had
6 to do concerning that delegation? Do you remember anything like that
7 being planned for the 19th of November at all?
8 A. No, I don't remember.
9 Q. Are you aware at all of the fact a Cyrus Vance arrived in Vukovar
10 on the 19th of November?
11 A. Indeed, I am.
12 Q. Did you receive any sort of assignment concerning his visit?
13 A. Yes. I was there to set up security, and this was indeed carried
14 out by the 1st Company.
15 Q. You received this assignment on the evening of the 18th at the
16 briefing; is that right?
17 A. I don't remember specifically when I received it, but I know that
18 I did and I know that I carried it out.
19 Q. Do you remember preparing your unit for securing Cyrus Vance; what
20 day, what time?
21 A. I don't remember that, in particular. There were lots of
22 preparations being carried out so ...
23 Q. Who secured Cyrus Vance during his visit to the Vukovar barracks
24 on the 19th of November? Is this something you remember?
25 A. From the time he entered this area until the time he left, he was
1 being secured by the 1st Company.
2 Q. Thank you. Do you remember any briefing at all where the hospital
3 evacuation was discussed and assignments were handed out?
4 A. I don't.
5 Q. What if I told you that we heard evidence here by witnesses who
6 claimed that on the 19th of November, the hospital evacuation was, in
7 fact, discussed and that Major Sljivancanin was put in charge of that
8 task; would that jog your memory?
9 A. No, it wouldn't.
10 Q. You've answered. But all the same, let me re-ask this question:
11 Did any of the units of your 1st Battalion take part in anything to do
12 with the hospital evacuation?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Was any unit from the 1st Battalion of the military police
15 involved in escorting the convoy of civilians from Velepromet on the 19th
16 of November?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Can you specify which unit?
19 A. 1st Company and the Traffic Company. On the 19th, they both
20 escorted the POWs from Ovcara to Sremska Mitrovica.
21 Q. On the 19th, they escorted the prisoners from Mitnica as far as
22 Sremska Mitrovica?
23 A. Yes. Those who were originally from Mitnica were escorted as far
24 as Sremska Mitrovica.
25 Q. But they escorted a convoy from Velepromet, too; the one that left
1 for Sremska Mitrovica, am I right?
2 A. There was a convoy headed for the border. I'm not sure if that
3 was the one, but I am sure that they escorted the civilians from
4 Velepromet, too.
5 Q. Thank you. Do you know if members of the 2nd Military Police
6 Battalion were involved in the hospital evacuation in any way at all?
7 A. I know they secured the hospital itself. And I know that every
8 time a bus arrived there, there would be two military policemen on each of
9 those. I think those officers belonged to that unit but I'm not certain.
10 Q. Just a follow-up. In addition to these two military policemen,
11 were there officers on each of those buses as well?
12 A. I did not see any officers.
13 Q. Bearing in mind your previous answer about the soldiers on the
14 buses, I assume your soldiers were not on those buses?
15 A. No, they weren't.
16 Q. Does that mean that if your soldiers weren't on those buses, the
17 buses could only have been escorted by the 2nd Battalion of the military
18 police, or was there another unit that would have been fit to carry out
19 such tasks, apart from the two military police battalions that were part
20 of Operations Group South?
21 A. These were two military police battalions specifically, and they
22 were trained to perform that sort of task.
23 Q. Therefore, the conclusion might be either a convoy was escorted by
24 the 1st Military Police Battalion or the 2nd. There was no other option,
25 was there?
1 A. Not the 1st Battalion. Those soldiers were not under my command,
2 then it must have been the 2nd.
3 Q. Do you know if Major Vukasinovic had a role to play in the
5 A. They told me that Major Vukasinovic was in barracks. He led away
6 a group and returned them to the hospital. I did not see him myself
8 Q. Did you hear at any of the briefings that he had anything to do
9 with the hospital?
10 A. No, I didn't.
11 Q. When Major Vukasinovic came to barracks, did he not have to
12 address the barracks security first?
13 A. Not necessarily. But it was the done thing for him, as soon as he
14 arrived, to tell him that he was there and to ask what needed doing. I'm
15 not sure if he did or not though.
16 Q. Could he possibly have got on to one of those buses there without
17 previously requesting approval from Captain Predojevic who was guarding
18 those buses?
19 A. He could have. He was an authorised officer from a superior
20 command, but no one else could possibly have got on to those buses.
21 Q. Would Captain Predojevic not have had to inform the barracks
22 commander, Major Lukic, about Major Vukasinovic getting on to those buses?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Was Captain Predojevic not under the command of Major Lukic, as
25 barracks commander, the commander of the 2nd Assault Detachment to which
1 his own unit had been attached?
2 A. Yes. But the buses had arrived in the security zone of the 2nd
3 Company. These buses were just passing through. It was some sort of a
4 meeting point. Therefore, he had nothing to do with the persons who were
5 on the buses, apart from securing them, of course.
6 Q. Did you know that Major Lukic was there when the buses arrived,
7 and he, of all people, was the one who ordered Captain Predojevic to
8 secure those buses?
9 A. I don't know about that specifically. Captain Predojevic called
10 me when he had that problem. I went there to see what it was about. As
11 soon as I realised what was going on, I informed the brigade commander and
12 I received a specific order. I saw Lukic there at a later stage.
13 Q. Mr. Susic, was not Lukic the only person with the power to give an
14 order to Captain Predojevic about securing the barracks or any persons
15 inside the barracks, since he was both the barracks commander and the
16 commander of the unit to which Captain Predojevic had been temporarily
17 resubordinated, as well as the entire 2nd APC Company? Would that not
18 seem to be a factor, sir?
19 A. That's true. But since that company had previously been part of
20 the 1st Battalion, and the company commander addressed me, and when I
21 realised what this was about, I looked for a solution. So I spoke to the
22 commander to receive an order and to see what I was supposed to do.
23 Q. Let me just ask you something, now that we've got this far.
24 Before you addressed the commander, had you seen at the barracks the then
25 Lieutenant-Colonel Miodrag Panic, Chief of Staff?
1 A. No, not then, but I did see him later.
2 Q. We'll get to that. Thank you. Your office, sir, at the command
3 inside the barracks, where was it located in relation to the barracks
4 commander Major Lukic's office?
5 A. Major Lukic was on one of the upper floors, and my office was
6 located on the ground floor.
7 Q. Where was it that you called the Negoslavci command from?
8 A. From an all-terrain vehicle containing communications equipment.
9 This was parked outside the barracks.
10 Q. Does this mean that you used radio to communicate at that time?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. You used radio link, and who did you reach in Negoslavci? Who did
13 you reach via the radio?
14 A. I spoke to the person serving the link, and I asked to speak to
15 the commander personally.
16 Q. Do you remember who was the person serving the radio communication
17 system at that time, and what time of the day it was?
18 A. I don't remember who the operator -- radio operator was, but it
19 was between 10.00 and 11.00.
20 Q. Tell me, please, on that day before 10.00 or 11.00, what did you
21 do in the barracks? Do you remember that?
22 A. The usual morning activities; reports from commanders, receiving
23 those reports, giving out instructions, and preparations for further
25 Q. Did you tour units within the 1st Battalion of military police?
1 A. Yes, but not prior to that.
2 Q. When did you tour the units? Was it after 11.00, did I understand
3 you well?
4 A. No, after 2.00.
5 Q. Do you remember whether that morning, on the 20th of November,
6 there was a group of officers in the barracks from the security
7 administration of the 1st Military District?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Do you remember whether that morning, in the barracks, there was a
10 member of the command of the 1st Military District, General Gvero or
11 General Crmaric or Colonel Ivan Todorovic?
12 A. The only person I know is Gvero, but I don't remember on which day
13 I saw him.
14 Q. Mr. Susic, please tell me, who was in charge of the security at
15 the barracks? Who was in command of the security on that day, the 20th of
16 November, 1991?
17 A. Captain Predojevic was responsible for the security, and the
18 security was subordinated to Major Lukic.
19 Q. Do you know who made it possible for this group of civilians and
20 TO members to enter the barracks compound? Who allowed them in?
21 A. Nobody allowed them in, that's for sure. But since there was no
22 fence, it had been broken down, they managed to get in.
23 Q. You said that they managed to get in. Wasn't there a checkpoint
24 or a reception desk in the barracks where they were checking people going
25 in and out?
1 A. Yes. There was a reception desk. But as I told you, there was no
2 fence around the barracks, so there was several locations where they could
3 get in. And it was difficult to prevent them from coming in, given the
4 regular forces that were in the barracks.
5 Q. Do you know at all whether the barracks had security in the form
6 of guard posts and patrols? That's how it should have been done in
7 accordance with the regulations; it was wartime, after all.
8 A. I'm quite familiar with the security of the barracks because
9 Predojevic and I organised that security. We had observation posts, we
10 had guards, we had patrols; but it was difficult to ensure security in
11 that large of a compound, given the regular forces that we had in the
13 Q. Were you present in the barracks compound when the buses arrived
14 from the hospital?
15 A. No. I was not in the compound, and I wasn't present on the spot;
16 nor did I know what was going on until I received a call from Captain
18 Q. Do you know that Major Vukasinovic brought buses to the barracks;
19 and that upon their arrival, he ordered Captain Predojevic to provide
20 security for the buses and not allow anybody in or out? Are you aware of
22 A. I've already told you that I was told that Major Vukasinovic was
23 there, but I didn't see him. And I don't know what he ordered to Captain
25 Q. Do you know that Chief of Staff, Lieutenant-Colonel Miodrag Panic,
1 also ordered Predojevic to protect the buses. And he did so when only one
2 bus was present in the compound? Are you aware of that?
3 A. No, I'm not aware of that.
4 Q. Given everything that I have put to you so far, I believe that
5 there was no need for Captain Predojevic to address you on that occasion,
6 because he had received his orders and instructions from Major Lukic, as
7 the commander of the barracks, and his own superior, and from Major
8 Vukasinovic and from Chief of Staff Panic. So there was absolutely no
9 need for him to approach you because, at that point in time, you were not
10 superior officer to the 2nd Company of the 1st Military Police Battalion;
11 am I right?
12 A. If it is the case, indeed, as you presented it, then you are quite
13 right. However, when I arrived, it was necessary to undertake certain
15 Q. Yes, Mr. Susic. But in the barracks, it is the barracks
16 commander, Major Lukic, who issued instructions and that was outside of
17 your scope of authority. And Mr. Lukic had already done that; he was
18 already present in the barracks at that time, wasn't he?
19 A. I'm not aware whether he was present in the barracks at that point
20 in time because Predojevic approached me, addressed me. And in addition
21 to that, I knew that it was necessary to provide security, but I was
22 wondering whether anything else, in addition to security, needed to be
24 Q. As for this, whether anything else needed to be done in addition
25 to providing security, did you discuss it on that day in the barracks with
1 the Chief of Staff, Miodrag Panic?
2 A. No. Because I saw him only afterwards, after the encounter with
3 the commander.
4 Q. Did you tell him then that you had approached the commander saying
5 that it was necessary to provide security to the people and that there
6 would be a cabinet session held and that it would be held? And did you
7 inform Miodrag Panic of all of these matters?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Is it your evidence, Mr. Susic, that Captain Predojevic did not
10 tell you that he had received orders from Major Lukic, Lieutenant-Colonel
11 Panic, Major Vukasinovic, and that he only informed you that he had
12 problems in relation with the security?
13 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. I don't know that.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic.
16 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if Mr. Vasic intends
17 to put such claims before the witness, then I think we need to know what
18 was the statement given by Mr. Predojevic, who, as we know, is deceased
19 now. And it was just put to the witness that Predojevic received orders
20 from Lukic, from Vukasinovic, and so on. And as far as I know, there was
21 no way that Mr. Predojevic could have informed Mr. Vasicic of all of these
23 JUDGE PARKER: What is being put, Mr. Bulatovic, was to confirm
24 what the evidence of the witness was, and it's put: Do you confirm that
25 it is your evidence, in essence, that these things happened? It's not
1 suggesting that it is the evidence of Mr. Vasic's client or witnesses or
2 anybody else. He's merely confirming what is the position of this
4 So please continue, Mr. Vasic.
5 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
6 Q. Did you, at any point in time, inform Major Lukic, commander of
7 the barracks, about the problem that arose in the compound?
8 A. No, I didn't.
9 Q. Was it your duty to inform him of that, and was it Mr. Lukic who
10 should have called the command in Negoslavci, if necessary?
11 A. I don't know whether Lukic should have called, but this issue had
12 to be resolved for the sake of security of people on the buses.
13 Q. Mr. Susic, I have to put to you the position of my client, that on
14 that day, on the 20th of November, 1991, between 10.00 and 11.00, Colonel
15 Mrksic did not speak to you, nor did he say anything to you either about
16 the security or about the cabinet session. What would you say?
17 A. I disagree with such a suggestion. It is certain that I called
18 them at that period of time, and it is certain that I received that
19 information. I wrote that in my work notebook, which I returned to the
20 command of the Guards Brigade after it was all filled up.
21 Q. Mr. Susic, if I were to tell you that there was no need for the
22 commander to tell you anything of the sort, because at that point in time,
23 Chief of Staff, Miodrag Panic, was present in the barracks, would you
24 agree with me on this?
25 A. I would not agree with you on this, because Commander Mrksic
1 always issued very clear and specific orders.
2 Q. Mr. Susic, tell me, please, how long did you have in your
3 possession this work notebook that you just mentioned, until what year?
4 A. I returned it in late 1991.
5 Q. Do you remember that in 2001, you gave a statement to the security
6 organ of the Guards Motorised Brigade in relation to the events in Vukovar
7 on the 20th of November, 1991?
8 A. Yes. I remember giving such a statement.
9 Q. Would you agree with me that in that statement, you never
10 mentioned your conversation with Mrksic, nor did you mention him saying
11 anything to you or mentioning the cabinet session or any decisions taken
12 there? What would you say to this suggestion of mine?
13 A. I don't know which statement of mine you have; however, if they
14 put such a question to me then, yes, that's what I said.
15 Q. It seemed to me that you are familiar with this statement. But as
16 it doesn't seem to be the case, I will ask the usher to give you the
18 Would you agree with me that you did not mention it?
19 A. This is not an authentic statement.
20 Q. What do you mean it's not authentic? Very well. Would you please
21 answer my question: Is it your position that it's not authentic?
22 A. Yes. Because it seems to me that this sentence was pulled out of
24 Q. Thank you, Mr. Susic. I will now suggest to you that at that
25 time, Colonel Mrksic could not have told you that a cabinet session was in
1 progress at that time, whether it was supposed to be decided where the
2 people from the buses would go because, first of all, you didn't speak to
3 him at that time.
4 Furthermore, between 10.00 and 11.00, at which time you, according
5 to you, spoke to him. There was no cabinet session in progress, nor was
6 anything known about it, nor were the government or cabinet members
7 present in Vukovar at that time. Would you accept this suggestion?
8 For Your Honours, and my learned friends, exhibits 387, 388, and
9 389 are documents supporting our position.
10 A. I don't know when the cabinet session was held, I don't know where
11 it was held, I don't know who attended it. All I know is that I had such
12 a conversation with Colonel Mrksic.
13 Q. Thank you. Let us move on to another topic. You said that from
14 Captain Maric you heard that Commander Mrksic told him on the 18th of
15 November to go to Ovcara. Do you know how it was that Captain Maric spoke
16 to Mrksic, and how did he receive this order? Do you know?
17 A. He only could have spoken through communication channels.
18 Q. That's an assumption. You don't actually know. He didn't tell
20 A. He told me that he called -- or rather, that Commander Mrksic
21 called and that he ordered him to go with a squad of officers to Ovcara.
22 Q. How could Mrksic find Maric through radio communications? Can you
23 explain that to us a bit? How?
24 A. He could have through radio communications. He knew what the
25 channel was, and he could have reached that company at any point in time.
1 Q. I am putting it to you that the commander of the brigade and
2 Colonel Mrksic did not have direct communications. He could only have
3 communicated through the superior command; and, as for the anti-terrorist
4 company, they could only reach them either through you, while you were the
5 commander of that company while it was still within the 1st Battalion or
6 through the command of the 2nd Assault Detachment, when that company was
7 within that composition; am I right?
8 A. You're right. That is the way things were done all the time, but
9 this was also a possibility to reach the company that way, directly.
10 Q. Can you tell us where Captain Maric was when he received this
12 A. When he received that assignment, he was in his own area. That
13 was the area of the fair grounds, Sajmiste.
14 Q. Did he tell you what forces he took along to carry out this
15 assignment, and what he was planning to do if he did, indeed, call you the
16 way you said he did?
17 A. He took one squad of officers with three Puch vehicles.
18 Q. I assume that he took the commander of that squad, would that be
20 A. Well, most probably.
21 Q. Tell me, please, Mr. Susic, why did Captain Maric call you when he
22 was no longer under your command at that point in time? Do you have an
23 explanation for that?
24 A. Maric was within the 1st Battalion then, because that was on the
25 18th when the company was within the 1st Battalion.
1 Q. It seemed to me that at the beginning of my questioning, you said
2 that he was within the 2nd Assault Detachment?
3 A. No.
4 Q. From the 4th until the 20th of November?
5 A. The 20th of October [as interpreted] up until the 20th of October.
6 The anti-terrorist company was within the 2nd Assault Detachment from
7 the 2nd of October until the 20th of October.
8 Q. Do you know -- or rather, where were you when he called you and
9 said that?
10 A. I must have been on my way to the briefing, because it was around
11 1800 hours.
12 Q. Do you remember what task Captain Maric's unit was carrying out
13 then, and at what particular facility, if you remember?
14 A. At that time, it was engaged in combat activities. Part of the
15 unit was in the high school, Gimnazija, and the others were at the command
16 post, Sajmiste, the stadium, something like that.
17 Q. I have to say that Colonel Mrksic never issued any orders to
18 Captain Maric via radio communications; he never used that. He used
19 regular channels for issuing orders through unit commanders, which is the
20 only logical way to do it; right?
21 A. This is logical as well. A commander can issue an order that way,
22 especially as it is the anti-terrorist company that is involved.
23 Q. All right. Let us go back to barracks for a moment. You
24 mentioned that you saw there an unknown colonel and a captain from the
25 Territorial Defence, am I right?
1 A. You're right, yes.
2 MR. MOORE: May I just interrupt one moment with the utmost
3 respect. I'm afraid, perhaps it's my fault, but I don't understand the
4 sequence of questions starting at 23:15 through to 23:25, because it seems
5 to be contradictory. Is my learned friend saying that Maric did or did
6 not receive an order from Mrksic in any event, or is the issue that he did
7 receive an order but it was by a particular method through which this
8 officer would have had control or would have had knowledge?
9 Because as the way the matters stand now, in my submission, it is
10 not clear the way the case is being put, and it seems to be almost
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, can you clarify the position?
13 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Of course I can. Mr. Mrksic did not
14 issue an order to Captain Maric in any way.
15 JUDGE PARKER: And while you're interrupted on the matter, you did
16 put to the witness, transcript page 20, lines 19 to 20, a statement of his
17 from 1992. You mentioned documents 387, 388 and 389, but which one of
18 those was it that you put to the witness? The transcript isn't clear.
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I shall clarify both matters, Your
20 Honour. Thank you. I did not put any one of these exhibits to the
21 witness. I just said that these were the relevant exhibits. These were
22 the ones that we introduced according to 92 bis, at the request of the
24 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ... show the
25 witness then.
1 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I showed the witness his statement
2 that he gave to the security organs.
3 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ...
4 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] It's not an exhibit, Your Honour. He
5 said that it's not authentic, so I thought that I wouldn't use it further
7 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. As long as it's clear.
8 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 Q. We came to the commander of the Territorial Defence. Let's put it
10 this way: Do you remember what they wore?
11 A. SMB uniforms, olive-green/grey. The uniform of ours that was
12 there before the camouflage uniform. They were pretty far away from me
13 and I was almost in front of the barracks, in front of the building
14 itself. Predojevic was going with them. They toured the buses and set
15 out with one vehicle in front of the buses and another vehicle behind the
17 Q. Mr. Susic, did you ask them to show you their IDs?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Did you ask them what they were doing there, what their intention
21 A. I said that I did not even meet with them.
22 Q. Was the barracks commander there, Major Lukic?
23 A. He was in the building.
24 Q. He was not with those persons there within the compound?
25 A. No.
1 Q. You didn't ask Captain Predojevic why he was talking to these
2 persons, and what they wanted?
3 A. Well, I didn't ask him. They passed by, they left on the buses,
4 and they left the barracks.
5 Q. I have to put it to you that you did not do all of that, because
6 you were not in charge of all of that. Major Lukic, as commander of the
7 barracks, was in charge of that?
8 A. Well, of course he was, but I saw the buses leave.
9 Q. You were there when the buses left. Tell me, who escorted these
11 A. On the buses, there were the same policemen who had been there at
12 the front door and at the back door, and the same drivers, except that
13 there were two all-terrain vehicles; one in front, and one in the back.
14 And they set out in the direction of Negoslavci.
15 Q. Did you find out what unit escorted these buses, at least later at
17 A. No.
18 Q. On the 20th, as for the arrival of -- in barracks and then going
19 to Ovcara and then the government meeting and the events in Ovcara, were
20 they a topic at the briefing, and were you present at the briefing at all
21 on the 20th of November?
22 A. I was present, but I do not recall the details.
23 Q. What about the 21st of November? Do you remember whether you
24 attended the briefing then, and whether the events from Ovcara from the
25 previous night were on the agenda of that briefing?
1 A. No. There weren't any specificities.
2 Q. Do you remember whether you were in barracks on the 21st of
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did you see Panic, Lukic, and Sljivancanin then in the barracks,
6 and do you remember anything particular can concerning the 21st?
7 A. Well, yes, some journalists were there. I remember that, but I
8 wasn't really dealing with that matter at all.
9 Q. When was it that you first heard that at Ovcara, a temporary camp
10 for prisoners of war was established?
11 A. I did not even hear of it having been established and I don't even
12 know where it was, and I never was there.
13 Q. My last question pertains - I mean from this part - pertains to
14 this colonel you referred to in barracks. Did you ever ask anyone who
15 this colonel was who was in barracks? Did you ever ask Major Lukic,
16 Miodrag Panic anything about that? Did you ever learn about who that
17 colonel was?
18 A. I did not learn anything about that colonel. I just know that he
19 was not from the Guards Brigade. Because had he been from the Guards
20 Brigade, I would have known him.
21 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Susic, for your
23 Your Honours, I have no further questions of this witness.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic.
25 Could I just correct one thing I said when speaking to you about
1 that statement. It was a statement given in 2001, not in 1992, just so
2 the record is clear.
3 Mr. Borovic.
4 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Examination by Mr. Borovic:
6 Q. Good afternoon. We heard here that Milovo Brdo fell on the 10th
7 of November, do you know that, too?
8 A. I know, but I won't know the exact date.
9 Q. All right. Do you know from the fall of Milovo Brdo until the
10 liberation of Vukovar, on what axis of activity was the 2nd Assault
12 A. The 2nd Assault Detachment, I don't know. I think that it still
13 had the same axis throughout this period.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Could we briefly move into private
16 session, Your Honours, please, very briefly.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
18 [Private session]
6 [Open session]
7 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
8 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Do you know whether the chief of general staff, General Adzic,
10 ever visited Vukovar?
11 A. I didn't see him there.
12 Q. Fair enough, thank you. Do you know Captain Miroslav Radic?
13 A. I do.
14 Q. On the 20th of November, 1991, we're talking about what went on in
15 the barracks. On that particular day, did you see him within the barracks
16 at any point in time?
17 A. I did not see him in the barracks on that day.
18 Q. And you didn't hear of him being there?
19 A. No. I didn't even hear of him being there.
20 Q. Thank you. You say that Major Vukasinovic led a group of people
21 off the bus and sent them to the hospital, you say that. My question is:
22 This group consisting of between 15 and 20 people, they arrived on the bus
23 in the barracks, and were from there returned from the hospital; is that
24 the group you have in mind?
25 A. That's right.
1 MR. MOORE: [Previous translation continues] ... the second part.
2 And it's leading, in any event.
3 JUDGE PARKER: The whole conversation is about what the witness
4 was told by somebody, if I remember, he doesn't say that he knew any of
5 these things personally. I can see your point, Mr. Moore, but I'm reading
6 the whole thing in the context of this witness is only speaking about what
7 he's being told.
8 MR. MOORE: It's the phrase that "you say," as if he has personal
9 knowledge of fact.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Perhaps confusing.
11 Mr. Borovic, I believe I'm correct in my recollection that the
12 witness doesn't suggest he saw or that he knows, merely he's been told.
13 If your questions -- if you're content with that and your questions
14 proceed on that basis, go ahead; otherwise, correct it somehow.
15 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] That's my interpretation, too. I
16 said the witness says that he heard. I think that was fair.
17 Just for Mr. Moore's benefit, I think Vukasinovic will be coming
18 along, and he'll be telling us what it was exactly that he did.
19 Q. You said that at the head of that column of buses leaving the
20 barracks was a Puch military vehicle; and in that vehicle, were the
21 colonel and the Territorial Defence captain?
22 A. Yes. That's an all-terrain vehicle.
23 Q. The captain and the colonel were inside that vehicle; right?
24 A. Yes, I think so.
25 Q. Did you see Captain Miroslav Radic in that Puch, which was at the
1 head of the column?
2 A. No, I didn't.
3 Q. What if I tell you that we had an OTP witness here who stated that
4 Captain Miroslav Radic was this that vehicle at the head of the bus
6 MR. MOORE: Sorry. I object to that question, again, because the
7 witness said that he didn't see Captain Radic. He's being asked to give
8 opinion evidence in relation to what a witness said earlier on. The
9 answer has been given, and my learned friend is merely repeating it.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic.
11 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I would like Mr. Moore to respect
12 the established procedure in the courtroom. Wait for the answer first,
13 before an objection is raised. If that rule applies to the Defence, I
14 suppose it should likewise apply to the OTP.
15 At any rate, we heard the witness's answer. And this being my
16 last answer, I would now like to put the Miroslav Radic Defence position.
17 Q. There was an OTP witness who said there was a Puch at the head of
18 that bus convoy, and Miroslav Radic was in it. But there was no mention
19 of the TO captain, so my question is: Is that witness's testimony true or
20 is what you're saying true, that in that Puch, there were the TO captain
21 and the colonel?
22 So in other words, would you say that the witness, who said that,
23 was lying, that Captain Radic --
24 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continued...] Mr. Borovic.
25 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
1 THE WITNESS: Radic was not this that Puch.
2 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
3 Your Honours, this concludes my cross-examination.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Borovic, and what I said at line --
5 page 31, line 24 was "or mistaken." The transcript couldn't pick it up
6 because we were both talking.
7 Can I make clear, Mr. Borovic, for the future, that I established
8 a rule of practice affecting interjections in questioning by other Defence
9 counsel; because A, there was a very growing frequency of those
10 interjections, B, many of them came at critical points of
11 cross-examination, and C, many of them immediately suggested answers that
12 the witness was able to pick up on.
13 So it is a rule that applied when there was multiple Defence
14 counsel, and it applied to Defence counsel. Thank you.
15 Mr. Moore, we've got three or four minutes. Would you think it
16 better to start after the break?
17 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I can deal with a short topic in closed
18 session; and after that, we can have our break, if that's acceptable.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Very well, closed session.
20 [Private session]
11 Page 14935 redacted. Private session.
19 [Open session]
20 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much.
22 Mr. Moore, I believe we now need to adjourn for the first break
23 and we will resume at five minutes to the hour.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 10.58 a.m.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Moore.
2 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
3 Q. Mr. Susic, would it be right to say that you attended briefings at
4 OG South on a daily basis?
5 A. From the 1st of November on.
6 Q. And would it be correct to say, just using common sense, that some
7 of the people you would recognise because they came from the Guards
8 Brigade, but there would be other people who were not from the Guards
9 Brigade who were at those briefings; is that correct?
10 A. Well, yes, but for the most part, at briefings, there would be the
11 commander, the assistant commanders and the battalion commanders.
12 Q. But you also had liaison officers who were attached to OG South.
13 A. Indeed, there was Colonel Pavkovic.
14 Q. Now, can I just deal with one or two other matters. I want to
15 focus, if I may, on the briefing of the 19th, the 6.00 p.m. briefing, or
16 the 1800 hours as the military like to call it. So can we just focus on
17 that topic, please. At that time, Vukovar had fallen and evacuation
18 procedures had commenced; that is correct, isn't it?
19 A. Correct.
20 Q. It is also correct to say that one of the main tasks of the
21 military police was the assistance of evacuations of persons; that is also
22 correct, isn't it?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. In relation to those evacuations, at that time, we have seen from
25 the orders of OG South and elsewhere that there was an expected evacuation
1 of the Vukovar Hospital. You were aware of that as well, in general
2 terms; is that correct?
3 A. No. I wasn't aware of how the hospital would be evacuated, would
4 the ICRC be in charge, or whoever.
5 Q. You may not have been aware of the actual nuts and bolts, but you
6 were aware that in principle, the hospital had to be evacuated by someone;
7 that is correct, isn't it?
8 A. Well, the hospital was not within the area held by the battalion;
9 therefore, I wasn't specifically aware of that.
10 Q. I am not specifically -- or I'm not referring to the specifics;
11 I'm referring to the generalities. Because while the hospital had
12 originally been in the zone of responsibility of OG North, OG South had
13 responsibility for it from approximately the 18th of November. You were
14 aware of that fact, weren't you, in general terms?
15 A. Yes. I was aware of that, and I was also aware of the fact that
16 the 2nd Battalion was securing the hospital.
17 Q. I don't want to talk about securing hospital. I just want to deal
18 with the generality of the evacuation of the hospital; do you follow?
19 A. I do, but I don't know how it was evacuated.
20 Q. So as of the 18th, and probably I'd suggest before, you were
21 aware, in general terms, that the hospital had to be evacuated by someone;
22 that is correct, isn't it?
23 A. I was aware of the need for evacuation, but I didn't know whether
24 the ICRC would be in charge of that or perhaps someone else.
25 Q. However, the time came when you went to a briefing on the 19th of
1 November, and you were aware, in general terms, that the hospital had not
2 been evacuated by the time of that briefing; that is correct, isn't it?
3 A. I was not aware of that. I was not aware of anything about the
5 Q. So you had made no inquiry, and there had been no general
6 discussion about the possibility of evacuation of the hospital with you;
7 is that what you're saying?
8 A. That's right. I made no inquiry, nor did anyone put me in charge
9 of anything at all to do with the hospital.
10 Q. But as I said, I want to deal with the generality. We'll deal
11 with your tasks in a moment. Would it be right to say that there was a
12 possibility of you and your unit being involved in the evacuation? I'm
13 not saying you were; I am merely asking whether there was a possibility
14 that that would have occurred?
15 A. Well, we could have been involved, as a possibility, but our
16 battalion was quite stretched out. So that's one thing that you had to
17 keep in mind.
18 Q. I am merely dealing with the possibility, the possibility that
19 existed when you went to the briefing at 1800 hours on the 19th of
20 November; that is correct, isn't it?
21 A. Well, anything was possible. The simple truth is, I didn't
22 receive such assignment.
23 Q. The point I'm that I am attempting to make is quite simply this:
24 You were in charge of a military police battalion with the possibility of
25 being involved in the evacuation of the possibility; and, therefore, I
1 would suggest, if there had been mention of the evacuation on the 19th
2 briefing, that would have been something that you would have been
3 listening either for or to; do you agree?
4 A. I do agree, but I heard nothing about that; therefore, I had no
5 knowledge about that particular task.
6 Q. So are you saying - because your reply seemed to be equivocal when
7 you were being cross-examined by Mr. Mrksic's counsel - are you saying
8 there was no mention of an evacuation by Mrksic on the 19th; is that what
9 you are saying? Because if there had, you would have remembered.
10 A. I don't know whether he mentioned that or not. What I do know is
11 that I don't remember.
12 Q. Well, you would have remembered on the 20th when five buses with
13 individuals arrived on your doorstep, wouldn't you, if they were
15 A. If it had been mentioned, I probably would have remembered. But,
16 no, I didn't know this. This came as quite a surprise.
17 Q. So the mental state that you had, as far as you can recollect, is
18 the 19th, you do not recollect if there was mention of an evacuation by
19 Mrksic. On the 20th when the buses arrived, it came - and I use the
20 English phrase - "as a bolt from the blue." It came completely
21 unexpected; is that correct?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. Dealing with reality, on the 20th of November, knowing what had
24 occurred, what did you think these people were, or who they were when they
1 A. First of all, I wasn't there when the buses arrived. I arrived
2 when Captain Predojevic called me. When I reached the buses on which
3 there were civilians, there were about 50 locals around the buses wearing
4 civilian clothes and uniforms, and some were armed.
5 Q. Never mind whether Captain Predojevic mentioned anything to you.
6 I want to know what your thought processes were when you were informed
7 that five buses had come through loaded with people. So, what did you
8 think? What did you know? Tell us.
9 A. What did I think? First of all, I went there to see what was
10 going on; that was the first thing that sprang to mind, so I went.
11 Q. Well, did you ask: Who on earth are these people? Because I have
12 never been told about such a group of people coming into my area?
13 A. I asked the driver, who was in the front of one of the buses, and
14 he said: "From the hospital." And Predojevic had previously told me the
15 same thing.
16 Q. Can I suggest that the first question you would have asked is:
17 Who is in charge of this? Who do I speak to?
18 Do you agree?
19 A. I do. But I do not see a single officer there, so I decided to
20 speak to the driver to see where these people were from.
21 Q. So you asked the driver: Who is in charge of this? That is
22 correct, isn't it?
23 A. No. I asked him where these people were from; and he said they
24 came from the hospital, were to be collected there, and sent on to Sremska
1 Q. So that was the bus driver's understanding at that time. They
2 were to be held there and then they were going to Sremska Mitrovica; is
3 that correct?
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. But I return to the point that I -- or the question I pose, and it
6 is this: You're an officer. You've got five buses with individuals --
7 and we'll come to that in a moment. It is a logical, indeed proper
8 question to ask: Who is in charge? Who, as an officer, do I speak to?
9 Now, I suggest to you that you must have asked that question.
10 A. There were no officers there at the time with the buses. There
11 were drivers and military policemen; one each at the front and back doors.
12 The buses were closed, and there was no one for me to ask in the area with
13 the exception of Captain Predojevic who told me the same thing that the
14 driver had told me previously, that those people had arrived from the
16 Q. We talk about a group of people; it's a group of men; that's
17 correct, isn't it?
18 A. That's correct.
19 Q. So this is not a random group; this is a selected group, just on
20 probability theory. That is also correct, isn't it?
21 A. Correct. There were men on though buses, and I have no idea who
22 put them there.
23 Q. And it's the much more than just men, a selected group on the
24 buses; there were two soldiers armed at either end of the bus. That is
25 right, isn't it?
1 A. Two per bus; one at the front or one at the rear door. The doors
2 were shut and no one was leaving, and they were sitting on the buses.
3 Q. But the question is, and the question I'd suggest that you must
4 have asked: Who or what are they? Because it is essential to know who or
5 what are they to assess the possibility of attack and ensuring proper
6 security; isn't that right?
7 A. That's right. Those were people from the hospital, that's what I
8 was told. Now I knew that those were people from the hospital. The
9 locals around them were calling out their names, individually, accusing
10 them of having wronged them in some way, burned down their house, killed
11 one of their relatives or expelled some of their relatives. And there was
12 a degree of commotion around the scene.
13 I realised that the situation was gaining in complexity.
14 Q. Is the phrase "gaining in complexity" the same as "getting out of
16 A. Not getting out of control, but with the distinct possibility of
17 getting out of control.
18 Q. What do you mean "the distinct possibility of getting out of
20 A. Well, if you have an unhappy crowd and if some people are actually
21 armed, somebody can always start shooting.
22 Q. And so, therefore, shooting was a possibility; that is correct,
23 isn't it?
24 A. Well, whenever there are weapons around, it can always come to a
1 Q. Well, it's hardly going to come to a shoot-out with about 250
2 people in a bus, who are unarmed, and a group of TOs, who might be armed
3 outside. I would suggest that you had an extremely vulnerable group of
4 people in those buses; that is correct, isn't it?
5 A. Well, perhaps, but that's why I was there, to take measures to
6 prevent anything like that from happening.
7 Q. We have heard evidence. I'm not going to go through tranches of
8 it. But did you ever see, for example - it's at page 5285 - reference to
9 people showing knives and making gestures indicating that "he would slit
10 my throat and cut off my head?" You didn't see any people with knives
11 making those sort of gestures, by any chance?
12 A. There was a degree of verbal harassment. But there were soldiers
13 standing between the crowd and the buses, so I didn't really delve into
14 those details that much.
15 Q. It's not a question of delving into details. It's a question of
16 having a pair of ears and hearing what was going on and a pair of eyes and
17 seeing what was going on, isn't it, in reality?
18 A. In reality, precisely. I realised the situation was complex, and
19 I said what to do. I knew that we needed to secure that, but how long
20 would they be staying there for? Was there anything else I should do
21 about the buses or the men there, in addition to securing them. And
22 that's why I requested additional orders.
23 Q. And again, just one other little tranche, 3643, P012.
24 "Q. These local Serbs, were they armed or in any sort of
1 "A. They were armed. They had knives that they threatened us
2 with. They went from bus to bus, threatening to slaughter us, kill us,
3 and so on. They were dressed in different clothes, some had fur hats,
4 some had beards, some had the top part of a uniform or the bottom part,
5 not a full JNA uniform, perhaps, just a portion of it. Those were
6 paramilitaries, among them were some JNA soldiers, too."
7 Now what I want to ask you this: You mentioned that people were
8 armed. I anticipate that you may accept that. Well, people had knives.
9 Did you see individuals with fur hats, sometimes known as Chetniks?
10 A. Well, exactly, there were some who wore civilian clothes. There
11 were some who had mixed attire, bottom civilian, top uniform, different
12 variations thereof. They wore different clothes. They had different head
13 gear, hats, whatever. I could not really perceive each and every detail
14 then, because I was supposed to do something different, how to make sure
15 that no incident occurred.
16 Q. Can I take it that the description that I have just read out, you
17 would consider that to be a fair assessment or reflection of what you saw?
18 A. Well, sort of. Almost.
19 Q. And as a direct consequence of what you saw, you then say you went
20 and spoke to Mrksic. I want to deal with an area of evidence before we
21 get there.
22 Mr. Vasic was asking questions of you: Why on earth you were
23 involved because in actual fact, on the normal chain of command, it should
24 have been Lukic. So I repeat that question: Why is it you were involved?
25 A. Predojevic was, before entering the 2nd Assault Detachment, within
1 the 1st Battalion. Until I became the commander on the 1st of November, I
2 was within the 2nd Assault Detachment, and I was responsible there.
3 Predojevic addressed me. Now, I don't know whether at that
4 moment, Major Lukic was there. And I went to the spot and set out to
5 resolve that, so I could resolve that, or rather, through the company
6 commander who was commanding. I did not interfere in his command; I just
7 helped him resolve that task.
8 Q. Would it be right to say that you were surprised to receive a
9 telephone call from Predojevic because, in reality, you would have
10 expected him to contact Lukic first?
11 A. Well, I don't know whether Lukic was there, Major Lukic, whether
12 he was there on the spot, and that was supposed to be resolved as soon as
13 possible. It's better to resolve it in the beginning, rather than later
14 when it's too late.
15 Q. I would suggest to you, you have not answered the question. It is
16 right, isn't it, that on the proper chain of command, or line of command,
17 Lukic should have been contacted, not you. Whether he was there or not is
18 another issue, but that is the person who should have been contacted;
19 isn't that right?
20 A. It is certainly right. Now, did he look for him and not find him,
21 and perhaps he could not have waited any longer. He didn't have enough
22 time and then he addressed me. At any rate, I went to resolve that.
23 Q. I do not criticise in any way, please understand. But can I
24 suggest to you the reason that Predojevic contacted you was because the
25 situation was getting out of control, and he was extremely concerned about
1 approximate? That is right, isn't it?
2 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Objection, Your Honour.
3 THE WITNESS: The situation was not getting out of control, but it
4 could have gotten out of control if it were to continue that way. Perhaps
5 it could, perhaps it couldn't. But perhaps his assessment was that it
6 could get out of control, and it's better that he dealt with it that way.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic.
8 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, for the sake of
9 fairness, I would ask the Prosecutor not to speculate, not to ask the
10 witness to say what another witness thought when he addressed him. How
11 can this witness know what another person was thinking at the moment when
12 he asked him something? Or things along those lines. I'm saying that for
13 the sake of the future.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
15 Yes, Mr. Moore.
16 MR. MOORE:
17 Q. What did Predojevic say to you that caused you to go to see what
18 was happening?
19 A. He said to me that in barracks, there are buses on which there are
20 civilians, and that around the buses are locals who are threatening the
21 civilians who are on the buses, and that there could be a problem.
22 Q. And did he then ask you to come down, or did you go voluntarily
23 or, should I say, of your own volition?
24 A. He asked me to come because he was seeking a solution. In order
25 to find a solution, I went to see what there was all about so I would see
1 for myself what was going on at the actual spot.
2 Q. Did he say whether he had seen the buses arrive?
3 A. I didn't ask him how the buses arrived. He confirmed to me that
4 these were buses that had come from the hospital and that they were
5 supposed to stay there temporarily.
6 Q. So how long did you remain with the buses before returning to make
7 a telephone call or communication with Mrksic?
8 A. Well, not more than ten minutes.
9 Q. Through that period, did you see any other officer there?
10 A. That period, no.
11 Q. If we follow the sequence, it's right you then returned to the
12 barracks; is that right? To your office, presumably, to make contact with
13 Mrksic; would I be right in that?
14 A. Right. Not to the office. I had a vehicle in front of the
15 building where there were communications devices, so I went to that
17 Q. Are you saying, then, that you made contact from a vehicle as
18 opposed to a building? So you returned to the vehicle as opposed to your
20 A. Yes. Yes. From there, I could have complete communications.
21 Q. Are you aware, in your evidence, at 52:8, you said: "When I saw
22 what the situation was, I returned to the building and I called the
23 brigade commander Mrksic."
24 Now you're saying you went to a vehicle.
25 A. Well. Well, that's it, too. That's where I maintained
1 communications; it was in the building itself, right next to the building,
2 rather. That's where I had my communications. From there, I
4 Q. I won't go into that. But the reality was you spoke to Mrksic
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Can I suggest, here is the following situation: One, you cannot
8 remember hearing anything about a hospital evacuation at a briefing on the
9 19th at 1800 hours. Two, on the morning of the 20th, five buses arrive,
10 individuals, clearly pre-selected, with armed guards coming from the
11 hospital on their way to Sremska Mitrovica. Three, you have individuals
12 who are armed threatening retribution, my word, which requires you to do
13 something about it.
14 So, did you ask Mrksic, who was responsible for the evacuation;
15 namely, these people, because they're not doing their job terribly well.
16 We've got TOs all around them threatening to basically cut their throat.
17 Did you feel, perhaps, that might be something that your commander should
18 be made aware of?
19 A. That's why I called him, to see what to do and for how long in
20 order to secure these buses. How come the buses are there and ...
21 Q. No. It's not just a case about what to do. Command can be good
22 command, can be indifferent. It can be bad, and there can be
23 misunderstandings. People mixing up their tasks. So it didn't
24 necessarily follow that this was only bad command; it could have been a
25 misunderstanding of the responsibilities.
1 So I would suggest to you, the first thing you would want to tell
2 him is: There are no officers around here, Commander Mrksic. Did you
3 tell him that?
4 A. This is what I said to the commander; that buses with people were
5 brought to the barracks and that civilians are threatening them and that
6 the safety and security of these people are in danger. The commander
7 ordered me clearly to ensure the full safety and security of these people
8 at all costs. That now there was a government meeting underway of
9 Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem [as interpreted], and that was clear to
10 me that I was supposed to do nothing but just to provide security.
11 I returned to the actual spot, Predojevic stepped up the security,
12 at that moment Maric came to the barracks with one squad, because he was
13 supposed to return some equipment to the barracks; and together, with this
14 warning with increased security, we got these people out of the barracks
15 and first we repelled them from the buses and then we threw them out of
17 So the buses were no longer in any kind of danger.
18 Q. Mr. Simic, that's all well and good. But you have five buses of
19 pre-selected men coming from the hospital, and a bus driver in charge.
20 Now, can we deal with reality, with the utmost respect to you. One of the
21 questions you're either going to be asking or seeking guidance on is: Who
22 is the officer in charge of these buses? Who do I deal with? How do I
23 coordinate with him? That will probably be the first question out of
24 your lips.
25 So who was in charge? I suggest you did ask Mrksic, and I would
1 like an answer.
2 A. Had an officer been there, I would have asked the officer there,
3 but there was no officer there. I didn't see any. There was only the
4 buses, the people around them, and Predojevic.
5 Now, that's the issue, and that is what we are resolving and
6 indeed we did resolve it.
7 Q. You don't need to have an officer immediately in situ for that
8 officer to be in charge of the buses; that is correct, isn't it? The
9 officer can be nearby or on his way or waiting. That is correct, isn't
11 A. Well, yes. But if we are waiting for him, then it can be too late
12 to take any kind of security measures later.
13 Q. No. You can take your security measures and still wait. They do
14 not necessarily go hand in glove, do they?
15 A. That's right. And we did take these measures and secure the
17 Q. Do you have a difficulty telling this Court who you know was in
18 charge of that convoy?
19 A. I have no difficulty, no difficulties. If I knew, I'd say so.
20 But Vukasinovic did come; he was with the convoy. He came; he drove the
21 people there. Now whether he was the one in charge of that, I don't know.
22 Q. Tell me, where do you hail from? Where do you come from? What
24 A. I was born under Mount Durmitor in Montenegro.
25 Q. Did you know Mr. Sljivancanin, or how long did you know Mr.
1 Sljivancanin in 1991?
2 A. I knew him. I met him when I came to the Guards Brigade in 1982.
3 Q. Vukasinovic, if he was in charge of the transport, was the
4 security organ at that time and subordinated to Mr. Sljivancanin. That is
5 correct, isn't it?
6 A. He was the security organ. He was in the security department.
7 Now, whether he was subordinated to him then, well, he must have been.
8 Q. So, is the -- the answer is that Mr. Vukasinovic, you knew, was
9 subordinated to Sljivancanin on the 20th of November, and indeed sometime
10 before; that is correct, you knew that?
11 A. No. No, I didn't. I knew that he was in that department but ...
12 Q. That department, presumably, is the security organ, is it?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And the commander of the security organ for OG South was Mr.
15 Sljivancanin, you knew that.
16 A. He's not commander; he is the chief of security.
17 Q. And, therefore, Vukasinovic would have been under him; that is
18 correct, isn't it?
19 A. Yes. But I don't know whether -- well, when the commander was in
20 Negoslavci, whether something was lost there; but, otherwise, he would
21 have to be subordinated to him.
22 Q. You say that you contacted Mrksic; and basically although he
23 denies that, Sljivancanin, were you not aware, that he was responsible -
24 let's even take his account - that he was responsible for the triage down
25 at the hospital on the morning of the 20th?
1 A. I didn't know.
2 Q. What, you never knew that Sljivancanin was responsible for the
3 triage, the selection procedure at the hospital?
4 A. Later on, they told me that he was at the hospital. Now, whether
5 he carried it out or not, I don't know. I am not aware of what they were
6 doing at the hospital.
7 Q. Well, you had radio contact, that, we know.
8 A. Yes, I did.
9 Q. Did it occur to you to try and contact anyone, for example, at the
10 hospital? For example, Paunovic?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Just a moment. Paunovic was the commander responsible for
13 securing the hospital. You knew that, didn't you?
14 A. Yes, I knew that; that his unit was securing the hospital.
15 Q. Therefore, if there is going to be a person who will know who's
16 responsible, it will be Paunovic, and he's at the hospital. That is
17 correct, isn't it?
18 A. Probably.
19 Q. It's not probably; I suggest it's a certainty; isn't that right,
20 Mr. Susic?
21 A. But I don't know. I don't know. I wasn't there. I don't know.
22 Q. Well, then, why didn't you contact Paunovic, the man who could
23 answer your questions for you?
24 A. I did not establish contact with him, because I didn't know that
25 he was responsible for that. So why would I contact him?
1 Q. Forgive me, I thought you had said in evidence earlier on that you
2 were aware that Paunovic's battalion was responsible for the security at
3 the hospital. Did you not say that in your evidence?
4 A. Yes, I did. And I'm saying it now. I'm saying that that's the
5 way it was.
6 Q. Well, if that's the way it was, he is the man who can answer your
7 question, isn't he?
8 A. Well, at that moment, I didn't call him. Now, whether I should
9 have called him or not, I don't know. But I didn't call him.
10 Q. What way does the presence of five buses arriving - and I will use
11 the layman's term - arriving within your zone of responsibility, how would
12 that affect and how does that affect the way you deal with matters?
13 A. It does affect it, because they are entering the zone of
14 responsibility where security is provided by another company. That's
15 where the problem occurs that has to be resolved, and we resolve it. But
16 the only question is, for how long it is going to go on; whether we need
17 reinforcements, whether we should ask for reinforcements or whether
18 something else should be done there. That is why it is necessary to speak
19 to the commander.
20 Q. Never mind about the conversation with the commander. There is a
21 much bigger problem for you here, isn't there? You have been lumbered, to
22 use the English word, with 250 individuals who have been preselected, men,
23 with a hostile group baying for their blood; and they eventually will be
24 moving on. That is right, isn't it, as far as you are aware?
25 A. Yes, that was the situation. Within the compound of the barracks
1 are the buses, people are sitting on the buses, around them are civilians
2 who are verbally abusing them and insulting them. And in order to prevent
3 anything more serious from happening, urgent measures have to be taken to
4 ensure the full safety and security of those people.
5 Q. It is right to say that there was always the possibility of a
6 criminal act occurring against any one of them. That is also right, isn't
8 A. That is right. That could have happened.
9 Q. Consequently, if those people are to leave your zone of
10 responsibility, you have a duty, do you not, to ensure that they are moved
11 on safely and not irresponsibly; that is correct, isn't it?
12 A. Yes, that is correct, too.
13 Q. As it is the case that these five buses were within your zone of
14 responsibility, did you ensure that when they were moved on, that they
15 were going to a safe place or they would be safe, to avoid such possible
16 criminal acts?
17 A. Why would I be doing that? The basic thing for me was that they
18 should be safe within the zone of responsibility. As for their transport,
19 somebody else would take care of that further on. If I had received that
20 by way of an assignment I would have resolved that assignment, too.
21 Q. No. No, because your evidence has been in general term terms as
22 follows: I was contacted by a young officer, or a junior officer,
23 Predojevic. I witnessed what was happening. I realised the
24 responsibility of criminal acts. As a consequence, I phoned Mrksic.
25 Mrksic said give them all security, and their future will be determined by
1 the government. He does not and did not say anything to you about where
2 they would go or who would control them when they left, did he?
3 A. That's right.
4 Q. Therefore, I would like to know what steps you took to ensure that
5 these people, when they were moved on, were going to be safe.
6 A. What I did was that as for all civilians and this group of locals,
7 I simply removed them all from the barracks compound. It wasn't me, in
8 actual effect; it was Predojevic with the members of his company.
9 Q. It is right you did not speak to Panic; that is correct, is it
11 A. Panic, Lieutenant-Colonel Panic and Major Lukic, I saw them later
12 near the buses, not right by the buses but near the buses. Everything was
13 peaceful then, and we were talking a bit about the fact that there had
14 been some problems before that and that that had been redressed.
15 Q. Is the answer then you did speak to Panic?
16 A. But -- well, I did talk to him, but Panic knew that, too.
17 Whatever I knew, he knew too.
18 Q. Well, I would like to know what you said to Panic.
19 A. I don't remember.
20 Q. Let's see if you can remember what Panic said to you.
21 A. Can't remember that either.
22 Q. Vukasinovic? Third time lucky, perhaps.
23 A. I didn't see Vukasinovic at all, but he was there, or at least
24 they told me that he was there.
25 Q. Well, when you spoke to Panic, that you can remember speaking, but
1 not what you spoke about, was there any conversation about who was in
2 charge of the convoy on its onward route?
3 A. Perhaps, but I don't remember.
4 Q. Well, just a moment. You have at least 250 people there and we
5 know now, even though there will be arguments about the numbers, we know
6 there was the most appalling slaughter some hours after they left your
7 charge. So surely that is something that you must have thought about, but
8 who on earth took control of these people and led them to their death in
9 the most dreadful way? Haven't you thought about that?
10 A. Not at the time. Nothing was further from my mind than to even
11 think that anything like that might happen.
12 Q. One of the things that definitely must have been on your mind is:
13 Who on earth is that colonel going out the door with 250 people who have
14 been preselected? How did you know, for example, who he was and where
15 they were going and whether they were going to be safe?
16 A. When they came, if they had arrived in vehicles and were being
17 loaded on to other vehicles, well, I would have thought differently. If
18 they had been ordered to walk, I would have thought differently. But it
19 was the same buses; the same security taking them there. It struck me as
20 perfectly normal. When they came, I didn't even ask myself if it was the
21 same person organising all the that. It didn't mean anything to me. It's
22 not like they changed buses or anything or the security arrangements.
23 Everything was the same, and they just proceeded like that which struck me
24 as perfectly normal.
25 Q. Well, you say that they didn't exchange or change buses. Can I
1 suggest that we have heard evidence, and I'm going to read it for you, to
2 see if it refreshes your memory -- forgive me one moment.
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, while my learned friend
4 is looking for the relevant portion, may I address you please? I didn't
5 want to interrupt, but page 48, line 9, there is a correction that needs
6 making. The witness was talking about what Mr. Mrksic and the transcript
7 reads that this was a meeting of the government of Slavonia, Baranja, and
8 western Srem; whereas, the witness only said the SAO Krajina. There was
9 no reference to the other constituent parts.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
11 MR. MOORE:
12 Q. I found one part; funnily enough, not the part I wanted, but it
13 doesn't matter.
14 This was in relation to changing buses, because what I'm
15 suggesting occurred was that individuals were taken from bus A to bus B,
16 all right? And the following evidence was given at line 3649:10.
17 "The situation had already quieted down, but this high-ranking
18 officer, who called out our names, told us to go to the other bus that was
19 parked about 30 metres away from the remaining buses. The paramilitaries
20 then formed a gauntlet; and as we passed through it, they kicked us with
21 their boots, with clubs, with iron rods, whichever way they could. We ran
22 over to the other bus because we knew that if any of us fell to the
23 ground, they would probably beat us to death."
24 Well, now, you didn't see anything like that, did you, by any
1 A. No, I didn't. But this is about Major Vukasinovic, when he sent
2 some of the people back to the hospital, at least that's what Predojevic
4 Q. Well, are you saying that this account, this description agrees or
5 accords with what you have been told by others or what you've seen
7 A. I didn't see that. I wasn't there when Vukasinovic was in the
8 barracks, but Predojevic told me that Vukasinovic had indeed been there
9 and that he had sent a group from those buses back. So I do know that
10 Vukasinovic was there, at least based on other people's statements.
11 Q. But working on other people's statements, I have read out to you -
12 I can do another one if you really want - read out to the facts that
13 people were beaten, kicked, hit with rifle butts, punched, when the person
14 you say, Vukasinovic, you say it might be another, and in actual fact
15 there was a transfer from bus A to B.
16 Now I'm asking you absolutely straight: Are you saying that you
17 didn't hear about beatings when the individuals were being transferred?
18 I'm saying you saw it, but you were told; isn't that right?
19 A. I wasn't told that. All I was told was Vukasinovic had been
20 there, and he had sent a group of about 20 people back. Once we had set
21 up a security system and we'd send those people away and chase them out,
22 no one turned up and the situation around the buses was quite calm.
23 Q. But clearly beatings were occurring before you set up your cordon;
24 that is correct, isn't it? Otherwise, this doesn't make sense.
25 A. I wasn't there; therefore, I don't know about that. But that's
1 why I was taking measures; I wasn't waiting for Lukic who was elsewhere
2 outside. I ran to the scene for this to be dealt with, and that's why
3 Predojevic had called me to begin with saying that the situation was
4 difficult and needed sorting out.
5 Q. So Lukic was outside; so Lukic wasn't there; is that what you're
7 A. Well, I don't know if he was or not. But nothing was done or
8 perhaps something was done. Be that as it may, Predojevic calls me, tells
9 me the situation is complex. I come there; I realise that this is true
10 and that it might come to some beating or something, which is certainly
11 nothing that we would ever allow.
12 Q. Tell me, did you ever receive a contact from Mrksic to inquire if
13 the situation had improved? What I will call demonstrating concern of a
14 commander? I take it that's no in the translation.
15 A. No. He didn't call me and I didn't report because the situation
16 wasn't entire quiet by this time. And I realised that Lieutenant-Colonel
17 Panic was there, Chief of Staff, and Major Lukic, and I did no more
19 Q. Did you ever receive a call from Mrksic to say that he had
20 authorised the removal of the individuals from the JNA barracks?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Did you ever receive any phone call from Mrksic saying, really to
23 assist his subordinate commanders, exactly what had happened, that there
24 had been a political decision and these 250 people were being taken
25 elsewhere? Did you ever receive any call about that?
1 A. No. But when we talked, he said there was a government meeting in
2 progress and the issue was being dealt with.
3 Q. So the situation, if we just look at Mrksic's situation, is he was
4 informed by you about behaviour of TOs, armed individuals at the JNA
5 barracks, he says: Put security on it. And he does absolutely nothing
6 else to ensure that any -- if everything is fine; that is correct, isn't
8 A. If any problems whatsoever had occurred later on, if we hadn't
9 been able to send those people away from the buses and get them out of the
10 barracks, if we'd had to use other methods such as physical force, then we
11 would have told the commander. But everything went smoothly; we secured
12 the spot. The situation was now back to normal, therefore, no need to
13 inform anyone.
14 Q. So according to you, so everything went smoothly and over 250
15 people went to their death; is that what we're talking about? Is that
16 your idea of smoothly?
17 A. No. That's not at all what I'm saying. That's not what I'm
18 saying. But the situation was now calm. The same buses, the same
19 security, the vehicle driving ahead of them, and a military APC following
20 in their stead, and they were moving on. I had no idea what would happen
22 Q. And the answer --
23 A. There was no way for me to even assume.
24 Q. And the answer to the original question is: Mrksic made no
25 follow-up phone calls to let you know what was happening or expressing any
1 concerns. That is correct, isn't it?
2 A. We didn't call him. No one from the barracks called him about any
3 further problems. Therefore, there was no need for that. The reason
4 being simply the situation was now entirely peaceful.
5 Q. Did you know that this bus or these buses were going to Ovcara?
6 A. I didn't.
7 Q. Did you ever inquire: Where are these buses going to, because I
8 will have to file a report or report to my commander and/or others?
9 A. I didn't. Why? Because this is not some sort of a bus stop so
10 that I would have no know where those people were off to. It was just a
11 brief respite, a rest that they were getting there, and they simply moved
12 on the same buses that had brought them there. They were now leaving my
13 area of responsibility and entering someone else's, and they would now be
14 taking charge.
15 Q. But on the 20th at 1800 hours, you were going to have to go to a
16 command meeting, weren't you, where your commander, Mr. Mrksic, was going
17 to be hearing various reports about what was happening that day, apart
18 from other things, obviously. That is correct, isn't it?
19 A. Certainly. I believe that Lukic reported about that, too, simply
20 because this occurred inside the barracks.
21 Q. No, no. First question: Were you attending -- intending to
22 attend the command briefing at 1800 hours that evening on the 20th of
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Thank you. And is it right that one of the functions of a command
1 briefing is to gain information from your commander and also inform him
2 with regard to your zone of responsibility, what is occurring in it, such
3 problems, basically have an information available for him and inform him
4 of any problems you had. That is right, isn't it?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. And so when it came to the command briefing, and Colonel Mrksic
7 not having contacted you, you had a situation where you were going to go
8 to a briefing, as you say on your evidence, that you would be saying to
9 Colonel Mrksic and the assembled masses, other officers there, that five
10 buses arrived; they came from the hospital, but you didn't know who was in
11 charge of them; that you contacted -- that there were troubles with the
12 buses; that there were irregulars threatening the buses, and you secured
13 the situation. You would be saying that, wouldn't you?
14 A. That's what the commander submitted a report on, I mean Lukic. To
15 what extent exactly, I don't know or how extensively, simply because this
16 occurred inside the barracks.
17 Q. No, no. You had become involved, because Lukic wasn't there. You
18 had been in direct contact with your commander. So I would suggest if the
19 commander asked you about what was happening, it would be: I was there.
20 I was contacted that five buses had arrived. There was no officer there.
21 They were misbehaving very badly; so much so, I contacted the commander.
22 He told me to protect them, and everything calmed down.
23 That's what you would be saying, isn't it?
24 A. Correct. Correct, I would be saying just that.
25 Q. But you have a fairly major problem, don't you? Because the
1 corollary, the next part of your account would be as follows: Actually,
2 commander, 250 of them were taken from my zone of responsibility, and I
3 don't know who took them. I didn't even recognise him. That's right,
4 isn't it?
5 A. It wasn't my responsibility to recognise those people. My
6 responsibility was for the 2nd Company to secure those people for as long
7 as they were inside the barracks. As for anything else that happened, I
8 mean Colonel Panic Chief of Staff filed the report as is did Major Lukic,
9 and I'm sure Vukasinovic once they were done with that.
10 Q. Never mind Panic, never mind Vukasinovic, never mind anybody else.
11 I'm saying to you if Mrksic was asking you: Who took those people away?
12 You would not be able to say who it was. You would not be able to say
13 which unit he belonged to. You would not be able to say where they were
14 going. That is right, isn't it? And correct on all three points?
15 A. That's correct.
16 Q. I would suggest to you, you know perfectly well and a large number
17 of people within the Guards Brigade know perfectly well who took those
18 people to Ovcara, and you are all covering it up?
19 A. I, for one, am not covering anything up. I don't know who it was,
20 nor am I interested in knowing as far as my responsibility was concerned.
21 They were there and they moved on. My responsibility for them was as far
22 as long as they were inside the barracks, to keep them from coming to any
24 Q. And you saw the colonel who was leaving, so you say, is that
25 correct, but you did not recognise him?
1 A. I didn't. But he was a colonel; he had authority. He couldn't
2 have just taken those buses away, and the security had he not had
3 appropriate orders to do so.
4 Q. You saw his face, isn't that correct? You saw him walking around
5 the buses, and you saw him going out. That is correct, isn't it? That is
6 why you say you could not recognise him.
7 A. Well, no, the distance was considerable. I didn't recognise him.
8 But I don't think I would have recognised him anyway, since he wasn't from
9 the Guards unit.
10 Q. And the one person it was not; it was not Pavkovic, was it?
11 A. No. No. Certainly not. I do know Pavkovic.
12 Q. Can I ask you about a piece of evidence -- or actually, before I
13 do, can I just deal with that last piece of evidence. You said he had
14 authority. He couldn't have just taken those buses away, and the security
15 had he not had appropriate orders to do so.
16 Would you accept from me that the removal of those persons had to
17 be under the direction of Mrksic or a person subordinated to him or to
18 whom he delegated powers? It's a long question; I'll break it up, if you
20 A. Well, he must have taken those orders from someone. I don't know
21 from whom. It certainly wasn't from me. I was in charge of nothing
22 there, apart from securing them for as long as they were inside the
23 barracks. Who gave him that assignment? He came in two alter rain
24 vehicles: He did everything properly.
25 There was one vehicle driving ahead of the buses and there was one
1 following the buses, and they moved on. I see no error in that. It's the
2 same vehicles, the same drivers, the same security arrangement, and they
3 simply moved on.
4 Q. And, therefore, as we were within the zone of responsibility of OG
5 South, it had to be under the direction of Mrksic, one of his
6 subordinates, or perhaps more accurately, one to whom he delegated powers.
7 That is correct, isn't it? Could I have an answer, please?
8 A. No. No, I don't know. I don't know on whose orders.
9 MR. MOORE: It seems Mr. Vasic has an objection.
10 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Vasic.
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] My objection was about the fact that
13 the witness had already said he didn't know. He has just repeated that
14 yet again for our benefit, but my objection is now of no consequence, I
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
17 MR. MOORE: I would like to break that up and ask the question
18 again. I would submit it's a perfectly valid question. There is a
19 logical basis for it, and I would suggest and submit that this witness is
20 obviously avoiding the question.
21 JUDGE PARKER: I have not sought to interfere at all, Mr. Moore.
22 MR. MOORE: My apologies, Mr. Moore.
23 JUDGE PARKER: In this trial, I at least try to keep words to the
25 MR. MOORE: As indeed we all do, Your Honour.
1 Q. Mr. Susic, we were within the zone of responsibility of OG South;
2 that is correct, isn't it? What is the answer, please?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. That these buses were coming and controlled by OG South; it's
5 within OG South's zone of responsibility. That is correct; isn't it?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. But if actual fact you had spoken to Mrksic about it, and clearly
8 he accepted that they were his responsibility. That is also correct,
9 isn't it?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And I would suggest logically and sensibly for those people to be
12 removed, they had to be removed under the direction of the commander of OG
13 South, Mrksic, or to a person to whom he had delegated the powers; that is
14 correct also, isn't it?
15 A. Was that how it should have been or not, I don't know. But this
16 colonel came and that's what they did. On whose orders, the first man's
17 orders, the second man's orders, the third man's orders, or whoever. I
18 don't know. But he must have taken those orders from someone, just like I
19 had my own orders to secure them for as long as they were in the barracks.
20 Q. And that answer and the honesty of that answer, is that the same
21 honesty that we are to apply in the rest of your evidence?
22 A. I'm sorry, I don't understand.
23 Q. Let me ask you the following question: The question was put to
24 you, it was -- I think it was Mr. Vasic this morning:
25 "Could he," that's Vukasinovic, "Could Vukasinovic possibly have
1 got on to one of those buses there, without previously requesting approval
2 from Captain Predojevic who was guarding those buses?"
3 Do you remember that question being asked? So could Vukasinovic
4 possibly have got on to one of those buses there, without previously
5 requesting approval from Captain Predojevic who was guarding them? Do you
6 remember that question?
7 A. I don't know about that, because all that happened when I wasn't
8 there. I don't know. But they told me that Vukasinovic had set to one
9 side about 20 people and had them sent back to the hospital.
10 Q. No, there's a misunderstanding. That was a question that you were
11 asked this morning. Let me read out your answer. There seems to be a
13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I'm sorry for interrupting
15 but I think my question was: Did Major Vukasinovic have to report to
16 Captain Predojevic before he got on to the bus. I think that was the
17 phrasing of my question.
18 MR. MOORE: Well I've got the transcript; I'm just reading it.
19 It's at 12:18:
20 Q. So this is the question you were asked. I'm reading back what you
21 were said:
22 "Could he," that's Vukasinovic, "possibly got on to one of those
23 buses, without previously requesting approval from Captain Predojevic who
24 was guarding those buses?"
25 "A. He could have, but he was an authorised officer from a
1 superior command. But no one else could possibly have got on to those
2 buses. So the answer that you gave is: "He could have; he was an
3 authorised officer from a superior command."
4 Now that's the answer that you gave. The question that I have is
5 this: What do you mean by Vukasinovic, he was an authorised officer from
6 a superior command and therefore could?
7 A. Because Vukasinovic was from the brigade command, and that's why
8 he could if, on top of that, he was going with that convoy.
9 Q. So when you make that reply, is that what I would call standard
10 military procedure; that where a superior command comes on to the zone of
11 responsibility of a lesser command, the superior command has priority?
12 A. It depends -- it's not superior in every respect, but with regard
13 to certain issues; say, if it's security, then it should -- well, it
14 cannot be an issue of command.
15 Q. Well, I'll ask the question. He was an authorised officer from a
16 superior command, therefore he could. What I'm trying to devine is does
17 that mean, therefore, is if a person comes from an authorised, from a
18 superior command, he has superiority? Relatively simple question.
19 A. I don't know what this is about. What priority? We are not
20 doubting him. If he got in, if he's supposed to do something, there is no
21 reason for me to have any doubts as far as Vukasinovic or Predojevic are
23 Q. I'm not trying to catch you out. I'm -- you smile, but I'm not.
24 I'm merely trying to find out what you mean by this phrase. I will read
25 the question again. It was whether Vukasinsevic could go on to the bus.
1 Question by Mr. Vasic: "Could he," that's Vukasinovic, "possibly
2 have got on to one of those buses there, without previously requesting
3 approval from Captain Predojevic who was guarding those buses?"
4 "A. He could have. He was an authorised officer from a superior
5 command, but no one else could possibly have got on to those buses."
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Now that's the question; that's the answer. I'm merely trying to
8 clarify that when a person is from a superior command, he can have
9 priority by way of action and --
10 A. Although, if the officer is from the superior command and if he
11 came with a convoy, because I was not there when the convoy arrived. If
12 he came with a convoy, that means that he was in charge of the convoy, so
13 then he had the right to enter the buses, to single people out, and get
14 out. And if he did not, then he did not. Vukasinovic, if he had come
15 from somewhere else, he could not just board the buses, nor would he ever
16 have doing anything like that.
17 Q. Now here is a situation. Let's say it's Vukasinovic with the
18 buses, I'm not saying he did. Let's say it's Vukasinovic with the buses,
19 and he arrives at the barracks and there is Predojevic. Who has the
20 priority, the superior command or Predojevic?
21 A. Not the superior command. Vukasinovic is senior because he came
22 with the convoy, and he is in charge of that convoy. He can move them
23 from one bus to the other. Predojevic cannot; Predojevic can just secure
25 Q. Having issued him, then why do you refer to the phrase, "from a
1 superior command" as having the priority?
2 A. Well, Vukasinovic was from the superior command. I cannot say
3 that he was from a subordinate command when he was from the superior
4 command. He is from the command of the Guards Brigade.
5 Q. Or OG South?
6 A. It can be put that way, too. OG South, command of the Guards
7 Brigade; it's the same thing.
8 MR. MOORE: I have no further questions. Thank you very much.
9 JUDGE PARKER: This would be a convenient time, if you were
10 thinking it would be useful to have a break, Mr. Bulatovic.
11 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] I agree, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE PARKER: We will take the second break now.
13 --- Recess taken at 12.25 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 12.45 p.m.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Bulatovic.
16 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Re-examination by Mr. Bulatovic:
18 Q. Good afternoon to all in the courtroom. Good afternoon, Mr.
20 I'm going to put a few questions to you in relation to some things
21 that were unclear in my mind. Could you tell me, Mr. Susic, who was the
22 person in charge of the barracks in Vukovar?
23 A. The person in charge of the barracks in Vukovar was Major Lukic,
24 commander of the 2nd Assault Detachment.
25 Q. This responsibility of his, can you explain all the things that it
1 entails, what are all the things that he was responsible for?
2 A. In the briefest possible terms, he is responsible for the overall
3 situation in the barracks.
4 Q. Does that include -- I mean this responsibility of his, does it
5 include security in the barracks, how people who live and work in the --
6 or rather of the people who live and work in the barracks, if I can put it
7 that way, as opposed to those people who happen to find them selves there
8 for any reason?
9 A. That's right.
10 Q. You were saying that there was the security of the barracks and
11 that this was a large area where there was devastation and that is how the
12 civilians managed to come in and you spoke about the number of civilians
13 who were there. At these checkpoints or, rather, at these entrance desks,
14 are records kept of people who go in and out of the barracks?
15 A. Yes, records of kept.
16 Q. And who was responsible for the records?
17 A. It is the desk that is responsible for the records or, rather, the
18 commander of the security within the barracks there.
19 Q. Does the commander of the barracks have a responsibility for that
21 A. The commander of the barracks has responsibility for everything
22 that is done within barracks, that included. However, it is the reception
23 desk organs that do this, members of the military police who are on duty
24 at the reception desk.
25 Q. Mr. Susic, can an officer, regardless of where he comes from, and
1 if he is from the superior command too, can he issue any orders to the
2 commander of the barracks?
3 A. He cannot.
4 Q. You said that you saw four or five buses and that you saw
5 civilians, some of them were armed, you describe the way in which they
6 were clothed. The learned Prosecutor put to you some parts of statements
7 made by certain witnesses. I'm interested in the following: While you
8 were by this bus, and as you were taking these security measures, did you
9 see any one of these civilians having physical contact with any one of the
10 persons who were on the bus?
11 A. I claim with full responsibility that no one had physical contact
12 with the persons on the bus from the moment when they were -- when
13 security was ensured.
14 Q. A statement was put to you to the effect that members of the
15 Yugoslav People's Army also took part in this physical showdown with the
16 persons from the buses; did you see any such thing?
17 A. I did not see that, and it is certainly untrue that members of the
18 JNA in any way jeopardised these people who were on the buses.
19 Q. You did not see when Major Vukasinovic came, you did not see him
20 taking these people out of this bus and returning them, that was what was
21 said. I'm interested in the following: Captain Predojevic and Major
22 Vukasinovic, did they know each other?
23 A. They did know each other, because they are both from the same
24 unit, from the Guards Brigade.
25 Q. All right. You said something about the anti-terrorist company.
1 When you spoke to the Prosecutor, you referred to that as well. I asked
2 you about that, Mr. Vasic asked you about that. I'm interested in the
3 following: This task on the 18th of November was issued -- well, you
4 described how it was issued. As for the commander of the anti-terrorist
5 company, did you issue any task to him for the 19th or the 20th of
7 A. I remember that I did not issue any task on the 19th or the 20th
8 to that commander with regard to any kind of security.
9 Q. Do you remember whether their company commander Maric informed you
10 about somebody else having issued him any task for the 19th or the 20th?
11 A. I remember that, too. No one issued a task to him apart from --
12 Q. You and the brigade commander, the Guards Motorised Brigade
13 commander, can anyone else issue any kind of order to the anti-terrorist
15 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Bulatovic please turn off his
16 microphone while the witness is speaking. Interpreter's note.
17 A. No one can.
18 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 Your Honour, we have a bit of a problem in the transcript. So in
20 order to avoid any kind of misunderstanding, I'm going to put a question
21 to you, Mr. Susic, once again. Listen to me.
22 Q. Maric, as commander of the anti-terrorist company, did he inform
23 you of anyone having issued any task to him for the 19th or 20th of
24 November, 1991?
25 A. I remember that he did not inform me about that, and no one, apart
1 from myself, issued any tasks to him.
2 Q. Lest there be any misunderstanding, what does that mean "apart
3 from you?" Did you give him any task for the 19th or 20th? You have
4 already answered that, but let's clarify.
5 A. In relation to any kind of security, no.
6 Q. You were mentioning several times here that in your area of
7 responsibility, you wish to secure these buses. I'm interested in what
8 was your area of responsibility on that day, on the 20th?
9 A. The area of responsibility is where the unit disposition is. This
10 was the company barracks. This what we are talking about, and that is
11 secured by another company.
12 Q. Does that mean that every unit that has its formation in a certain
13 disposition has its own area of responsibility?
14 A. Yes. Every unit has a certain area of responsibility, and it is
15 responsible there for the security of everything that happens within that
17 Q. Does that mean that the commander -- does that mean that the
18 person who is commander of that unit, in whose area of responsibility this
19 is, is responsible for the state of affairs in that area of
21 A. That's right.
22 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we have a problem
23 with the transcript, page 73, line 11. I think that the answer is not
24 recorded properly, the witness's answer, so I'm going to put the question
25 yet again.
1 Q. Who secured the barracks on the 20th of November, 1991?
2 A. On the 20th of November, 1991, the 2nd APC Company secured the
3 barracks of the 1st Battalion of the Military Police, which became part of
4 the 2nd Assault Detachment, and the commander of that company is Captain
5 Mladen Predojevic.
6 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, Your Honours.
7 Q. You attended the briefing on the 20th of November, and you said
8 that you do not recall any mention of the evacuation of the hospital. You
9 were given some assignments. At the briefing, did you pay attention only
10 to the tasks that you were being given? Do you note them down, or do you
11 note down also the tasks that are given to other commanders?
12 A. At briefings, I only write down tasks that pertain to my unit, or
13 rather, the tasks that I'm supposed to carry out with my unit. I could
14 not note down the others, and it is not my duty to write down all the
15 others so I did not write them down.
16 Q. Mr. Susic, could you, on the basis of the behaviour of the locals
17 at the barracks and these verbal attacks by them against the men in the
18 buses, could you conclude whether the people on the buses had participated
19 in combat operations in any way, and on whose side?
20 A. Well, one could conclude that some of them were members of
21 paramilitary units, because people said that they were, that they had
22 killed some of their relatives, that they had torched some of their
23 houses, that they had been involved in certain attacks. So on that basis,
24 one could draw such a conclusion.
25 Q. If we have a zone of responsibility and we have a commanding
1 officer of a unit in whose zone of responsibility -- in that zone of
2 responsibility, can it happen that a lesser commanding officer or any
3 officer issue an order to a higher-ranking officer? Is that at all
5 A. No, it is not possible. And it has never happened and never
6 happened that a lesser-ranking officer issue any orders to a
7 higher-ranking officer. Irrespective from which command they are, the
8 commander is in charge of everything in his zone of responsibility and
9 that was the case with me.
10 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 Your Honours, I have no further questions for this witness.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Bulatovic.
13 Mr. Susic, you will be pleased to know that that concludes the
14 questions that are to be asked of you which means now that you are free to
15 go and return to your other affairs.
16 The Chamber would like to thank you for your attendance here and
17 the assistance you've been able to give us.
18 The court officer will show you out. Thank you.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 [The witness withdrew]
21 [The witness entered court]
22 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon, sir. Would you please read aloud
23 the affirmation on the card that's given to you now.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
25 the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
1 WITNESS: LJUBISA VUKASINOVIC
2 [Witness answered through interpreter]
3 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
5 Examination by Mr. Lukic:
6 Q. Good afternoon, Your Honours, and everyone. Would you, sir, give
7 us your name?
8 A. I'm Ljubisa Vukasinovic.
9 Q. I'm not sure whether you have adjusted your headphones properly.
10 Please feel free to do so, so that you have good audibility and not have
11 any problems on that score.
12 Mr. Vukasinovic, I said during our preparations that you should
13 pause after my questions in order to avoid any overlaps and, hence,
14 creating problems for the interpreters. I sure hope you will bear this in
15 mind through your testimony.
16 I shall now go through your CV. Would you please be so kind as to
17 just confirm the truthfulness on which the date you have given me? And I
18 apologise to the interpreters for not having provided a copy to them, and
19 I shall try to be slow in going through your CV.
20 You were born in 1954 in Kosovo, the municipality of Lipljani?
21 A. That is correct, and Metohija.
22 Q. You completed high school as a civilian; and then in 1977, you
23 completed the military academy?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. In -- from 1994 to 1996 in pursuing your further education, you
1 also completed the command staff school, advanced school; is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And from 2000 to 2001, you completed the highest military school
4 in the army of Yugoslavia, which is the School of National Defence; is
5 that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. In 1977, you were a lieutenant?
8 A. That is correct.
9 Q. 2nd lieutenant; and the next year, you were conferred the further
10 rank of lieutenant?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Then until 1990, you were captain first class?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. In 1990, you were conferred the rank of major, and it was with
15 that rank that you were there when the Vukovar events unfolded?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. In 1993, you were given the rank of lieutenant-colonel?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And in 1997, the rank of colonel, which you still hold today, and
20 you are still active in the military; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Just a few more particulars about you. You were in service from
23 1977, when you completed the military academy, up to 1991. You
24 practically held all duties in military police units from platoon
25 commander to company commander through deputy and commander of military
1 police battalion; is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Then in the summer of 1991, you were transferred to security
4 organs. As far as I can recall, it was sometime in August that you were
5 transferred to the Guards Brigade security organ; is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Until the end of 1992, you were assistant head of security for
8 staff security affairs in the Guards Brigade?
9 A. That is correct.
10 Q. And as of 1992 until 1994, September, you were the chief of
11 security in the Guards Brigade?
12 A. That is right.
13 Q. From 1996 to 2002, you were a teacher at the security intelligence
14 training centre at Pancevo?
15 A. That is correct.
16 Q. And from 2002 up to this very day, you have been working in the
17 administration of the military security agency of the Ministry of Defence
18 of Serbia now; right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. I just failed to ask you when was it that you arrived at the
21 Guards Brigade, can you remember the year?
22 A. It was in February 1981.
23 Q. And let us just quickly go through another thing, which are your
24 accounts, your statements so far, related to events at Ovcara and in
25 Vukovar, the topic of this case. You have given six statements to
1 different organs on that score. The first statement you gave on the 16th
2 of November, 1998, to the security administration; is that right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Then, that same year in December, you gave a statement in the
5 capacity of witness before the military court in Belgrade?
6 A. That is correct.
7 Q. And to the OTP of this Tribunal, you gave statements on the 16th
8 of November and the 26th of November?
9 A. Yes. The statement of the 26th was just a correction of the
10 previous one, so it was just one statement in all.
11 Q. Yes. The year was 2002; and then in proceedings before the
12 Belgrade Ovcara case as we referred to it here, first the -- the first
13 statement you gave was before the examining magistrate in Novi Sad in the
14 capacity of witness; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. That was in November 2003.
17 A. That is correct.
18 Q. You gave an exhaustive account in taking the stand in December
19 2004, the 16th of December, at the main hearing in the proceedings against
20 Miroljub Vujevic et al.
21 And, finally, you were summoned before that same court and the
22 same Chamber but in a different case versus Sasa Radak, I believe?
23 A. That is correct.
24 Q. And you were heard at the main hearing there in November 2005 in
25 relation to that case?
1 A. Yes.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation].
3 Q. I believe that these statements will also be discussed by the
4 other participants in the case. When talking to you, I'm going to deal
5 with the topics which are of relevance and of interest to the Defence team
6 of Mr. Sljivancanin, of course, seeking to elicit from you your
7 recollections of the events which are under review.
8 Just another question regarding your biography. You went to work
9 for the security organ immediately prior to the brigade's departure for
10 Vukovar, and we know it was the end of September?
11 A. Yes, that is correct. It was the 28th of August.
12 Q. You were of the commander of the 2nd Battalion of the military
13 police then?
14 A. Yes.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please speak into the
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Did you have any experience with work in security organs? Had you
19 finished any training courses or schools to work in security organs prior
20 to assuming that duty?
21 THE INTERPRETER: The Interpreter's note: Is that the interpreter
22 cannot hear the witness.
23 A. I had completed the training course for work in the military
24 police and not for work in security.
25 Q. In this department, security organ that was in Vukovar that we are
1 going to discuss at some length presently -- could you please approach the
2 microphone, please pull up your chair and -- who had any training or
3 professional or schooling experience in that security organ?
4 A. Basic training courses in that security organ that one needs to
5 work in the organ had been completed by Major Karan, who arrived later;
6 Captain Karanfilov; Captain First Class Petar Kovacevic; and NCOs, warrant
7 officers Grocic.
8 THE INTERPRETER: And the interpreter could not catch the other
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. You said Momcilovic?
12 A. Momcilovic. Yes. That is what I said, warrant officer Grocic and
14 Q. Tell me, Captain Kovacevic, did he leave and go with the unit to
16 A. No. He remained at the barracks in Belgrade.
17 Q. And do you remember approximately when was it that Karan joined
18 your department? How much time had passed before that?
19 A. Well, he came -- he arrived in Vukovar perhaps four or five days
20 after we had, the 4th or 5th of October, 1991.
21 Q. You will have to slow down, witness, please, and you will have to
22 wait after my question, please.
23 Do you remember Mr. Vukasinovic - and now we are immediately
24 moving on to Negoslavci - when you got there as part of the organ of
25 security, who did what? Who worked on what duties? We know that Mr.
1 Sljivancanin was the head of that organ, that is not disputable. Do you
2 know what the other colleagues did?
3 A. The first assistant, the assistant of the chief of security for
4 counter-intelligence affairs was Captain First Class and later Major
5 Karan, Mladen Karan. The assistant for staff security affairs, this is
6 the second assistant was I, myself. The desk officers were Captain First
7 Class Petar Kovacevic.
8 Q. But he was not in Vukovar?
9 A. Yes. Then Captain Borce Karanfilov, Captain First Class Srecko
10 Borisavljevic, Warrant Officer Second Class Grocic Radivoje, who was not
11 at Vukovar, and Zoran Momcilovic, staff sergeant, who was also desk
12 officer and who was at Vukovar.
13 Q. Can you tell us in a few words, what was your basic task? What
14 were your activities whilst you were there? We shall move on to another
15 topic a bit late, but while you were, solely, there in the security office
16 in Negoslavci?
17 MR. MOORE: Could I just ask my learned friend to slow down a
18 little, but it's extremely hard to try and take notes. It's the first
19 time I've asked him to do it, I think.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Well, it's difficult for me sometimes
21 to take notes when the Prosecutor speaks in English. I'll comply with Mr.
22 Moore's desire, however. Our priority is to keep the record accurate.
23 Just slow down, sir. Everytime I ask you a question, please wait
24 and answer, and try and speak up a little, too.
25 Q. What did you do?
1 A. I was assistant commander for staff security. What exactly does
2 that mean? A professional helping the chief of security in organising and
3 planning training that of the ground soldiers, as well as the military
4 police. Control of combat readiness in military police units, jointly
5 with the brigade command, whenever organised. Compiling lists and running
6 checks on special equipment used by military police units and supplying
7 their equipment.
8 And submitting a monthly report on order and discipline in terms
9 of the involvement of military police units: How many patrols went out,
10 how many violations occurred, how many criminal reports were filed.
11 Everything that had to do with order and discipline, the order and
12 discipline regime, and everything that the military police took note of.
13 In purely operative terms, I covered the area of the 2nd Military
14 Police Battalion.
15 Q. What does that mean "in operative terms?" Can you please explain
16 that as briefly as possible: "I operatively observed or the 2nd military
17 police battalion?"
18 A. When translated, it means counter-intelligence protection for the
19 unit. This unit was set apart, and it was outside its original garrison
20 in Belgrade. There had to be a security officer providing
21 counter-intelligence protection for this unit back at base.
22 Q. What about your other colleagues from the -- your department, did
23 they not have the same responsibility. This sort of operative work in
24 terms of monitoring units, I'm just talking about Vukovar now. If know
25 about that, please tell us, who was in charge of which unit?
1 A. All of my colleagues, pursuant to a plan produced by the chief of
2 security, had a certain unit, in their charge in terms of
3 counter-intelligence protection, while the units were on their way to
4 Vukovar and also during combat operation.
5 Specifically, I provided operative protection for the 2nd Military
6 Police Battalion. Captain First Class Srecko Borisavljevic was in charge
7 of the 2nd Assault Detachment or the Vukovar barracks. Captain First
8 Class Borce Karanfilov was in charge of the 1st Assault Detachment for a
9 while and later was in charge of the rear command post in Berak; and to
10 some extent, was also in charge of the counter-intelligence protection of
11 the principal command post in Negoslavci.
12 Q. What about Karan?
13 A. He was assistant commander for counter-intelligence, and he did
14 not have a particular unit that he was in charge of. He drafted daily
15 reports, which he then submitted to the chief of security.
16 Q. Thank you. Within your department -- or rather, let me ask you:
17 Physically, the area covered by your department, where was that? I just
18 want to know in relation to the command building where the command of OG
19 South was located?
20 A. We were in the immediate vicinity of the OG South command in a
21 separate building but very nearby.
22 Q. In your department, did you hold any meetings? When? How often?
23 And what did the meetings look like?
24 A. Just as briefings took place every evening, so did the chief of
25 security organise meetings with us after that official meeting, in his
1 offices. Every evening, all the desk officers would be assembled. He
2 would then listen to their reports; after which, he would inform us about
3 any tasks and conclusions from the meeting, then he told everyone what
4 their job was.
5 Q. Let's try to be specific? The briefing at the OG South command,
6 what time of day did your meetings normally take place?
7 A. Our meetings normally took place at about 2000 hours, 8.00 p.m.;
8 sometimes half past 7.00, between half past 7.00 and 8.00 in the evening.
9 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, did you at one point receive another assignment?
10 What was it exactly, and who gave you this other assignment?
11 A. At that time, I did indeed receive another assignment. I was
12 appointed town commander by the OG South commander. This was early
13 November that year.
14 Q. The command post at Negoslavci; right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. After receiving this assignment and with respect to your principal
17 role as security officer, did you continue to entertain close ties with
18 your original department, and did you continue to work there?
19 A. Yes. In terms of establishment, I was part of the security
20 department and that was my principle role, in terms of my powers. But
21 this was a temporary task, pursuant to an order that I had received from
22 the OG commander. Other than that, I continued in terms of within my
23 powers and authorities to work with my own chief of security.
24 Q. Did you continue to go to these daily briefings at the security
25 department? Were you physically still based in that still building, or
1 were you based elsewhere?
2 A. No. I took up the post that I was had been ordered to take in a
3 different building this time. This distance being about 200 metres from
4 the OG South command. I was appointed town commander, so I just moved
5 there. As for me going to those briefings, it was no longer mandatory for
6 me to go, and I hardly ever went. Sometimes they would call and I would.
7 Q. Can we now please have Exhibit 374 pulled up on our screens?
8 Mr. Vukasinovic, you're about to see a document right there in
9 front of you, and if you could please shed some light on that.
10 This is an order of the OG South commander dated the 9th of
11 November, 1991. If we could please pull it up a little.
12 Mr. Vukasinovic, is this the document containing your new
14 A. Yes. That's the very document appointing me as Negoslavci town
15 commander; and these other persons being appointed here, Captain First
16 Class Bozic Mile, my deputy; and Captain Sretko Jankovic, a member of the
17 command. He was a legal officer and that was his remit and his role
18 within that team. There was need for legal interpretation of certain
19 problems, especially when new charges are brought against individuals.
20 Q. What about your deputy, which unit did he come from, Mr. Mile
22 A. He was a member of the 1st Military Police Battalion. And he was
23 appointed my deputy, simply because there was nobody else to take that
24 place. In terms of establishment, he was the assistant commander of the
25 military police for moral guidance. However, once the commander, Major
1 Kavalic, had left these changes occurred. I became commander of that
2 command post, and he became my deputy.
3 Q. And the introductory part of this decision - and you can see that
4 on your screen - as of the 7th of November, 1991, and with a view to
5 providing counter-intelligence and security protection for commands and
6 units within the area of operations of OG South, how do you interpret your
7 own remit, your own task as the Negoslavci town commander?
8 A. If you look at the preamble, you can see that these measures were
9 essential at the time. Probably the commander, himself, believed that I
10 was the right man for that job, since I had been a military police
11 battalion commander for a long time. And purely in terms of
12 counter-intelligence work, I had already begun to hit my stride.
13 We knew each other as officers, and he probably deemed me to be
14 the most suitable person for that job, which really is the fundamental
15 thing for a commander to do at Negoslavci; simply to secure that
16 conditions were in place for the normal functioning of the OG South
17 command in terms of assessment, in terms of making decisions, in terms of
18 passing their decisions down the chain of command.
19 In one word, to secure the command from any influence, whatsoever;
20 terrorist or sabotage groups or perhaps Croatian armed units. The
21 commander's remit was to make sure the command had perfect conditions for
22 their work and were unhindered.
23 Q. In purely practical terms, what did that entail? What did your
24 task entail? What was it that you had to monitor? What was that you had
25 to focus on? Just slow down slightly, please. We are running into a lot
1 of trouble with the transcript already.
2 A. In order to be able to secure all these things, I had no choice
3 but to take certain measures and apply certain procedures. There were
4 military police units that were at the command post. I had to use those
5 to set-up control or surveillance of the territory where the command post
6 was located, meaning to protect the village of Negoslavci from unchecked
7 visitors coming in or leaving.
8 I had to set-up physical security, meaning checkpoints, reception
9 desks, patrols, guards, observers. And I also had to use the equipment
10 that we had at the time in order to carry out intelligence protection
11 along all the axes where I had no people deployed. The special equipment
12 includes infrared fences and other such devices and equipment normally
13 employed by military police units.
14 Q. In terms of your function as town commander, and based on what you
15 just shared with us, were you not supposed to know about anyone entering
16 or leaving the village of Negoslavci? I say anyone and everyone, those
17 working there and outsiders as well. Did I get that right?
18 A. Yes, that's right. This was the fundamental role; and based on
19 this, you could establish some sort of control. Since this was a war
20 zone, we needed to issue special passes or badges in order to establish
21 some sort of order in terms of who was entering or leaving the command
22 post. Not a single visit could occur to the command post without me or my
23 deputy knowing about it or approving it. If a visit was announced to the
24 commander in person, then first there would be a check and then, jointly
25 with the commander, such a visit would be approved.
1 Q. What exactly did you do? Did you have a situation where someone
2 from a is a superior command - and we know that to be the command of the
3 1st Military District - came unannounced to your command post in your zone
4 of responsibility?
5 A. In situations like these as I pointed out already, with visits
6 like these, first you would check with the command, you would announce it
7 at the command, and then if the commander is there, he approves it, if
8 not, there must be a duty officer at the command post and this duty
9 officer then approves this unannounced visit.
10 Q. As long as it's a visit from someone from a superior command?
11 A. Yes. But any other visits within my area would be under my
12 authority or required my approval?
13 Q. A technical question, your rank at the time was that of imagine?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Mrksic was a colonel, we know that. Who was the most senior
16 officer at that particular command post? Who was senior to whom, in cases
17 when Mrksic was present at the command post?
18 A. The commander is all the senior officer. There's no one as senior
19 as he.
20 Q. For example, someone comes from a superior command, the commander
21 of the 1st Military District, the Federal Secretary for All People's
22 Defence, or the general staff, there's a lieutenant-colonel showing up,
23 who is the superior officer in terms of rank?
24 A. I'm jumping the gun a little, aren't I? It's always the
25 commander, the commander of the relevant command post, in this case, the
1 commander of OG South is always the senior officer.
2 Q. Does every command post not cover a certain area of
4 A. Yes, certainly. That is fundamental. It needs to have clear
5 boundaries, left, right, and down the depth. This person then has
6 responsibility over a delineated, clearly delineated area. If an area is
7 undefined, there is no responsibility. We use four reference points in
8 the army to clearly define these responsibilities in no uncertain terms.
9 Q. We'll leave that to experts to define that more closely. First of
10 all, tell us a question, at Negoslavci, you were town commander at
11 Negoslavci, right, and the headquarters of OG South was also there, that's
12 not in dispute, is it?
13 A. Indeed.
14 Q. Do you remember which unit was providing security for the command
15 post and the command of OG South, if you remember, sir?
16 A. As far as I can remember, although it's been quite a while, I will
17 tentatively tell you what forces were involved. It was the 1st Company of
18 the military police, the 1st Armoured Company armoured vehicles, meaning
19 military police vehicles that had about 70 or so men. Then, there were
20 parts of the 2nd Company of the military police because a combat group was
21 later formed from that company that operated under Susic but there were
22 about 30 or 40 men there and there was the transport company of the
23 military police, minus a platoon that was at the PKM in the village of
24 Berak and there was the logistics platoon of the 1st Battalion of the
25 military police.
1 Those were the units that focused in Negoslavci and that I had
2 available in terms of securing the command in Negoslavci.
3 Q. Soldiers and officers from these units that you enumerated just
4 now, did they take part in other assignments? I'm referring to the
5 armoured battalion and the traffic and transportation people or were they
6 only working at the command post?
7 A. No. The only unit was a manoeuvreing unit for certain work that
8 came up during combat operations; namely, to provide security for convoys
9 in any direction, convoys of civilians or escorting a delegation. That's
10 how the transport company was used in terms of securing the area and the
11 axis of movement through its traffic patrols and also parts of the
12 armoured company using the armoured vehicles, the BOVs, the combat
13 armoured vehicles.
14 Let me put it this way, it's a good thing they were armoured
15 vehicles, that they had strong fire support and that they could meet the
16 needs of securing a convoy in any direction. And also to receive
17 delegations that came to the area of the command post to see the commander
18 and other delegations that would come in.
19 Q. We'll deal with that tomorrow. Now just another brief question
20 and then let us try to adjourn for the day. As town commander, as you
21 were there in Negoslavci, did you have any knowledge and did you have to
22 have been informed that representatives of international organisations
23 came there to Negoslavci, the European monitors, the International Red
24 Cross, were you informed about that? Did you receive information about
1 A. Yes, of course. I said that in my introductory remarks. Nothing
2 could enter the zone of the command post without being announced, let
3 alone such visits. That is to say they were registered and approved for
4 entry. That is what I did; I received them at the reception desk. Well,
5 not I, personally, but my forces would receive them and bring them to the
6 command post, further on, according to the commander's plans.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would like to adjourn although I
8 haven't concluded on this topic yet, but let us now take up any of the
9 time of the other trial. I think that this would be just about the right
10 time to adjourn.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Precisely on time, Mr. Lukic, thank you.
12 We must now adjourn and resume tomorrow. We resume at 9.30.
13 Counsel should be alerted that we are actually moving court for the whole
14 day to Courtroom 2 for tomorrow.
15 We now adjourn.
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
17 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 21st day of
18 November, 2006, at 9.30 a.m.