1 Tuesday, 21 November 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.
7 May I remind you, Mr. Vukasinovic, that the affirmation you made
8 at the beginning of your evidence still applies.
9 WITNESS: LJUBISA VUKASINOVIC [Resumed]
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
13 Yes, Mr. Lukic.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good
15 morning to all.
16 Examination by Mr. Lukic: [Continued]
17 Q. Good morning, Mr. Vukasinovic.
18 Your Honours, before we resume, there's something about
19 yesterday's transcript, it's about one of my questions. I think the
20 English interpretation was all right. It was probably a typo, so the
21 question is unintelligible, page 14991, line 13, my question was, Mr.
22 Vukasinovic, which rank did you hold at the time?
23 The question was: "Was your rank at the time Major?" And the
24 answer was "Yes." And the English was reads "Your rank of the time was
25 that of imagine." The page is 14991, and the line is 13.
1 Sir, Mr. Vukasinovic, the interpreters asked me yesterday after
2 the hearing to make longer breaks between questions and answers and to try
3 to go at a steadier pace. Therefore, please try to exercise some control
4 over your pace, so that we don't run into any trouble regarding the
6 You told us yesterday about your tasks as town commander in terms
7 of such information as who was coming and who was going in your area of
8 responsibility, the village of Negoslavci. You say you were aware of the
9 fact that people from the international community visited.
10 My next question is about that. Do you know if any journalists
11 came to Negoslavci or to the area of combat operations? If so, what
12 exactly was the regime of their visits, if any, to the area covered by
13 your town command?
14 A. They came during the fighting, especially as the operations were
15 nearing a conclusion. Their visits were authorised through our superior
16 command, needless to say. I would get all the names of any teams due to
17 arrive and then I would simply let them in. At the time, there was a
18 press centre in a building in Negoslavci. That's where they would go and
19 where the relevant officers received them and took them anywhere they'd
20 ask to go.
21 Q. Do you know which particular officer was in charge of that press
23 A. In terms of establishment, it was the assistant commander for
24 moral guidance, Lieutenant Marko Maric.
25 Q. Does the name of Radojica Sforca mean anything to you?
1 A. Yes. I forgot to mention him. He was one of the officers who was
2 in charge of communicating with journalists, to be at the centre, to
3 receive journalists and to take them wherever they wanted to go.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The rank was Colonel Marko
5 Maric, not lieutenant.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. What was the relationship between your own security organ of the
8 Guards Brigade - the OTP referred to that as operation group - at any
9 rate, between your department and the other security bodies present within
10 the territory of OG South or within OG South itself as a unit?
11 A. That relationship was of a collegial nature. We weren't their
12 superiors, and they weren't our superiors. We each had our own respective
13 areas of responsibility, and we were all in charge of our own units. They
14 sent their reports to their own superior officer.
15 What was -- when it was really important for any of their tasks
16 within the area of combat operations, they could have gone to the chief of
17 security of Operations Group South for assistance, if needed in terms of
18 assessing certain situations, for example.
19 Q. Do you remember any activities that you had yourself with any
20 other security bodies within the area covered by OG South? Did you have
21 any contact like that?
22 A. Yes. Once the 20th Partisan Brigade arrived in the operations
23 zone, and I was told to go to call all the security officers and to inform
24 them about the situation that prevailed along the front line, especially
25 as concerned their own security measures and counter-intelligence
1 difficulties that we were encountering. Any unit, when arriving in a zone
2 of combat operations, must be met by someone who will then introduce them
3 into combat and explain to them what the situation was, and that is
4 precisely what I did in the case of the arrival of the 20th Partisan
6 Q. Do you perhaps remember in which sector they were stationed when
7 you contacted them?
8 A. They were in the Ovcara/Jakubovac sector, in that general area.
9 Their command was in the Ovcara sector.
10 Q. Do you remember if they, the security officers of the 20th
11 Partisan Brigade, at any point in time submitted any reports to you
12 regarding their own activities, submitted them to you as a security
13 officer of OG South or the Guards Brigade?
14 A. Not to me personally. But if you consider what I said a moment
15 ago, I am certain that they submitted such reports to their own superior,
16 and their superior would have been part of the 1st Military District. Did
17 the commander of that particular unit need to seek assistance from the
18 commander of OG South or through his own chief of security, Mr.
19 Sljivancanin? I don't know. If any assistance was sought or received,
20 then Mr. Sljivancanin must know, I'm certain.
21 Q. Can we please look at Exhibit 841. Can we please have that
22 brought up on our screens.
23 Mr. Vukasinovic, my question: Do you remember, after the Vukovar
24 operation, being involved in compiling a list? We've been looking at that
25 document over the last few days; just a glance, and we can see what that
1 is about?
2 A. Can I have that slightly enlarged please? That's fine now.
3 Q. Just a minute, please. Can we please first have page two and then
4 we'll go back to page 1, the lower half of page 2.
5 Mr. Vukasinovic, tell us what you know about this document.
6 A. Yes. This is a document that I wrote. Normally, after the
7 conclusion of any combat activities, one analyses assignments, one
8 assesses any weaknesses that occurred, in terms of using one's own units
9 and conducting combat operations. Another assessment is made is that of
10 equipment and weapons. In one word, anything that affected the course of
12 As I was in charge, in charge of looking after those military
13 police units, in charge of making assessments regarding their combat
14 readiness, my assignment, the assignment that I received, was to write
15 down any observations that I made regarding the use of military police
16 units in the fighting in Vukovar.
17 Q. Based on what do you claim in this document that you took part in
18 the -- in producing this document?
19 A. You have my initials right there, Ljubisa Vukasinovic, LJV, That
20 is the person who actually wrote the document. ZM, the following
21 initials, is the person who typed that report; and on the right-hand side,
22 you have the signature of the officer who eventually signed the report, in
23 this case, Lieutenant-Colonel Veselin Sljivancanin.
24 Q. Can we now go back to page 1, please?
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] A correction for the transcript, page
1 5, line 21, B/C/S, the witness said LJV.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: LJ is a single letter and
3 sound in B/C/S, which does not exist in English.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please pull the document up a
5 little. We need the portion that is midway down the page. A little
6 further up. Thank you.
7 Q. I have a single question in relation to this document which seems
8 to be self-explanatory. Halfway down the page, we see this: "The quarter
9 master's uniforms are not appropriate for carrying out assignments in a
10 settled area, in a populated area, especially the M-77-type uniform."
11 My question: How did members of -- what did members of the
12 military police of the Guards Brigade wear? What sort of uniforms during
13 the actual fighting, and were these uniforms in any way different than
14 those worn by other brigades that were part of OG South?
15 A. The military composition of military police units, or rather, the
16 men of military police units were wearing M-77 uniforms. The
17 anti-terrorist company and some of its officers were wearing what was
18 commonly referred to at the time as camouflage uniforms. All the other
19 units within the zone of combat operations wore either M-77 or another
20 older type of uniform, so the-called --
21 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not understand the witness
22 or the expression that he used.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The last word, what exactly did you
24 use? The old type of uniform.
25 A. It's a uniform made of wool.
1 Q. Did the other members of military police units wear the same types
2 of uniform as those in the Guards Brigade during the fighting?
3 A. Yes. They had M-77, white belts; and when fighting, they would
4 wear grey ones. But the military police insignia are clearly displayed on
5 the grey one, too. So the change in colour didn't matter.
6 Q. Let us now move on to what we really want to know at this trial,
7 the 18th, the 19th and the 20th of November. Mr. Vukasinovic, we take the
8 18th of November as the date when combat operations ceased, for the
9 purposes of this trial. Do you still remember what you did on the 18th of
11 I was trying not to lead you. I don't want to know about the
12 whole day. What I want to know is that do you know that the Mitnica group
13 surrendered on that day, and is there anything that you did about that?
14 A. I will try to explain in the briefest possible terms what
15 happened. After combat operations were successfully brought to an end
16 along that axis, there were negotiations and a surrender of the Croatian
17 forces along that axis was agreed. Colonel Pavkovic was party to those
18 negotiations. The negotiations were successful that day, and a surrender
19 of the Mitnica battalion at Mitnica was agreed.
20 I arrived there sometime in the afternoon. I had been informed
21 that there was a flood of people that started coming in after the
22 surrender of the Mitnica battalion, and the civilians living in that
23 neighbourhood started showing up in great numbers. Word had got through
24 to the command already. So the security commander summoned me to go there
25 and help with the security situation, in terms of helping to pull people
1 out and in terms of putting up such large numbers of people. Between two
2 and a half thousand and 3.000 people in my estimate, perhaps more.
3 It's very difficult to be very specific about what happened at the
4 time, because it has been a long time. It's very difficult to pinpoint
5 the exact point in time at which certain things happened back then. It is
6 a problematic exercise. However, I do remember the event itself, and I
7 can, in general terms, say what it was about.
8 I arrived there to see my chief, Mr. Sljivancanin. I saw a large
9 number of people there, a huge crowd, and something had to be done in
10 order to put them up and meet their needs. The commander was informed,
11 and he immediately took action to send vehicles over. Four fighters had
12 surrendered, and civilians alike. So now there were a lot of lorries
13 there and buses in order to have people evacuated from the Vucedol and
14 Mitnica area.
15 Q. What is the name of the area in which you were at that moment with
16 Mr. Sljivancanin?
17 A. It is Vucedol. It is to the south from the place where the
18 Mitnica group surrendered, so the name is Vucedol.
19 Q. During your stay at Vucedol, did anything else happen that you can
20 recall? Did anyone come to see you there?
21 A. Yes, I remember quite well. It was already dusk. Night was
22 falling when a courier brought a telegram, or rather, an envelope with a
23 cable in it which he handed over to Sljivancanin.
24 Q. Do you remember what was in the telegram? Did you have occasion
25 to see the content of that telegram? And please do slow down, Mr.
2 A. Yes. I did have occasion to see it. It was a coded telegram; and
3 also in the meanwhile, Sljivancanin himself told me what the content of it
4 was. In principle, I can retell you what it was. They said that -- it
5 said that a large number of our men and officers were prisoners of the
6 Croatian forces; and that it was necessary, if possible, to ensure a
7 number of persons for the purpose of exchange. So that was the gist of
8 it, the content of the telegram, that is.
9 Q. Do you remember whether there was anyone -- anyone's signature
10 below the telegram?
11 A. The signature was that of Aca Vasiljevic, the then chief of the
12 security administration.
13 Q. Tell us, during that day, did you, and if so when, go to Ovcara?
14 At what time of day, if you can remember? You don't have to give us the
15 exact time, and what happened then?
16 A. But before I do that, there is something else I have to say.
17 Sljivancanin said - and I remember his words well - he said to me, he
18 said: "Vukasin," and that is how everybody called me, "Look at the number
19 of people here. We need to look after all these people," and that was the
20 basic task. How to go about pulling out these frightened people who
21 practically, without any clothes, to take them out of the area, pull them
22 out, and see to their needs.
23 That took some time. You know how it was, that people were
24 upset. They were anxious; they were frightened. Everybody wanted to go
25 somewhere, so that that took us sometime in order to establish some sort
1 of order and calm and to start loading the people on to the buses, talk to
2 them, and so on. So that took a while.
3 In addition to that, we had problems with people who had gone out
4 with their own private cars and who insisted that they sit off in their
5 respective directions in their cars. But that was not possible to secure,
6 to ensure, in view of the fact that combat operations were still in
7 progress. We told them that we would be organising, in the Ovcara area,
8 this space where they could rest and wait for further decisions in terms
9 of where they would be transported.
10 They were all transported as far as Ovcara; and when we arrived at
11 Ovcara, the area of the command. The so-called yellow house and the --
12 this road towards the hangars, there were buses parked there; and on a
13 meadow right by the road, to the right-hand side, was a spot where they
14 ordered that they park all their private cars and leave the keys in the
16 Q. Can you approximately tell us what the number of cars was
18 A. To the best of my recollection, I believe that there were about 30
19 or 40 cars there; different vehicles, different makes, mostly of domestic
20 make: Zastavas, perhaps a Mercedes or two. It was quite late. Actually,
21 I think it was about 2200 or 2300 hours. I know that it was very late
22 when we had regulated the entire situation and prepared for the command to
23 take measures and send other organs that would be leading the convoy in
24 other directions towards Serbia and so on. It was very late.
25 Q. In connection with this last answer of yours, do you know whether
1 these civilians were offered to go to Croatia, if any of them wanted to go
2 to Croatia, and others offered to go to Serbia if that is what they
3 wanted? Do you know that?
4 A. Yes, yes. We asked them. They were asked and they were all put
5 on the convoy for which they opted, and we actually accommodated their
6 wishes. That was the least that we could do for them.
7 Q. The civilians who have come in their private cars, that left their
8 cars there, did they leave Ovcara that evening?
9 A. Yes. A number were transported to Sremska Mitrovica and Sid; and
10 a number of them went towards Velepromet. That is how I remember it.
11 Q. Tell me, how long did you stay, if you can, at Ovcara that
13 A. Well, assessing the time it took for us to complete all those
14 activities, I believe that we stayed there for about six or seven hours.
15 Q. Was Sljivancanin with you that evening at Ovcara?
16 A. Yes. We were there until the entire situation was resolved and
17 the people put on the buses and the convoys had set off; then I went to
18 the village of Negoslavci with him.
19 Q. Now we should move on to the 19th of November. Do you remember,
20 is there anything that makes you remember your activities on the 19th in
21 the morning?
22 A. Well, the 19th of November was a day that was quite rife with
23 activities, starting with the visit of Mr. Cyrus Vance, a representative
24 of the United Nations in the morning. This was a very important visit so
25 that we needed to take certain measures in order for the visit to take
1 place, which it, of course, had its purpose. And our task was to create
2 the necessary security conditions for Mr. Cyrus Vance and the rest of his
3 delegation to be protected against any possible influences.
4 I received Mr. Cyrus Vance; not I personally, but my forces
5 already at Sid. He was transported in our combat vehicle to the village
6 of Negoslavci, to the command of the OG South, where he spent a certain
7 time with the commander and the rest of the command members. And then,
8 having been given a security escort, he was then further transported to
9 the barracks in Vukovar, and I don't know what his further activities
11 Q. So you know only about what happened in the area of Negoslavci?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. That is in connection with that visit, and I'm not going to ask
14 you any further questions about that.
15 My next question is: During that day, did you see Mr.
16 Sljivancanin and, if so, when; and what was the theme of your encounter,
17 of your meeting? What did you talk about?
18 A. Yes. We would meet, as I said, usually after the briefing.
19 During that talk -- first of all, he wanted to know and asked me how Mr.
20 Cyrus Vance had been received, and what he had said in connection with the
21 situation that he had observed and the measures that we had taken. He
22 told me that he was satisfied with how we had received him and the
23 preparations that we had undertaken and the guarantees and security that
24 we had provided for him under very difficult circumstances.
25 Most importantly, at that moment, I informed him of some other
1 problems, which had cropped up on the 19th of November, that he had not
2 been aware of. All our convoys that had been sent towards Croatia
3 returned in the afternoon about 6.00 or 7.00 p.m. in the afternoon,
4 because the Croatian forces would not let them in. And this one convoy
5 that had been returned from Zupanja was stationed at Ovcara again.
6 So there were problems associated with that; namely, to secure
7 food and water for those people to be able to make it through the night
8 until the next morning. And the commander undertook every possible step
9 to ensure that water and food was taken to them; but I told him that
10 despite all that, the Croatian forces and the Croatian authorities were
11 creating problems for us, because they were returning their own
12 population. So I wanted to inform him of that so that he might know what
13 the problems were.
14 Q. Just a little bit, we will follow-up on that topic a bit later.
15 What I would like to know at this point is whether you talked about the
16 evacuation of the hospital at all at that point?
17 A. Yes. We talked about the evacuation of the hospital, but that was
18 later when I informed him of the problems and when I informed him of the
19 problems with the cars that had remained there. As for the second part,
20 after having listened to me, he told me that we had a difficult, serious
21 task ahead of us, in which I was tasked with doing certain things.
22 On the following day, on the 20th, he had tasked me with preparing
23 the buses, reporting at the hospital where I was to take persons who had
24 been selected, and transport them to the Vukovar barracks. After all of
25 them were transported, I was to organise a convoy for Sremska Mitrovica.
1 That was a very detailed and specific task that I received from him that
3 So by your leave, let me repeat it. I was told to go to the
4 hospital with a certain number of buses to take people who had been
5 selected at the hospital, to transport them to the Vukovar barracks, to
6 organise security there, and organise the convoy, and then dispatch that
7 convoy towards Sremska Mitrovica. That was my main task.
8 Q. In relation to the task that you had for the following day, did
9 Mr. Sljivancanin mention the word "Ovcara" at any point in time?
10 A. No. There was no mention of Ovcara. The task was extremely
11 clear, to transport people from the hospital to the Vukovar barracks.
12 Ovcara was something we didn't even dream of, as we say in our country.
13 Q. Do you know who was supposed to secure, or rather, provide buses
14 on the 20th, now that we're dealing with this task?
15 A. All of that was most likely regulated at the command. At any
16 rate, the buses were supplied by the chief of traffic service,
17 Lieutenant-Colonel Loncar. He supplied me with buses. The military
18 policemen came from the 2nd Military Police Battalion, that was the other
19 component. So all of that was ready for me, prepared for me in front of
20 my command post in Negoslavci. I simply got into my vehicle and then I
21 proceeded with implementation of my task.
22 Q. That evening conversation you had with Sljivancanin on the 19th,
23 did you discuss the number of buses? Did you mention the number of buses,
24 the number of persons, or not?
25 A. We didn't know anything about the numbers. The numbers were not
1 discussed at all. We simply said that we needed to prepare vehicles in
2 order to transport the selected persons. Nobody had any clue as to how
3 many such persons there were.
4 Q. Let me ask you now about this term, "selected persons." In the
5 previous period of time, you, as a security organ, did you have any
6 knowledge about the persons located in the hospital, and what purposes the
7 hospital was used for?
8 A. Yes. We had knowledge about that, that's natural. Our superior
9 administration, security administration continuously sent to the chief of
10 security information that they had received concerning the situation and
11 certain counter-intelligence measures that had been undertaken and
12 generally about this situation in our area of combat operations. Thus,
13 such information continuously arrived, continuously arrived to us.
14 And after the fall of Vukovar, a large number of the ZNG members,
15 who did not wish to surrender and were given an opportunity to do so, in a
16 way, camouflaged themselves. They hid in the hospital and in several
17 other facilities in addition to the hospital. So we knew that at the
18 hospital, there were members of the ZNG who had discarded their weapons,
19 changed their clothes, and used the hospital as a means of getting out of
20 the town via the International Red Cross.
21 We also had information that we collected ourselves. We
22 wiretapped certain conversations. We had our own sources of obtaining
23 information. So, yes, we knew that there were people who had refused to
24 surrender and who had chosen this means of fleeing. They disguised
25 themselves as hospital personnel.
1 Q. My question was this: When you said earlier "selected persons,"
2 persons who were singled out, were those the persons whom you were
3 supposed to transport from the hospital?
4 A. Yes. All of those who were not wounded, were not patients, or
5 were not hospital staff were the persons whose identity had to be
6 established, because there were too many people in the hospital who didn't
7 actually belong there. Therefore, there was a danger that if we didn't do
8 it, there would be an incident. There would be trouble, and those were
9 the security measures that needed to be done when the wounded were
11 Had we failed to do that, there was the potential for a problem to
12 arise and that was part of the task for the security organ; namely, to
13 ensure that everything that needed to be done with the wounded and with
14 the patients was done in the safest possible way, so that it would also be
15 safe for our forces taking part in the evacuation.
16 Q. At the time when you talked to Sljivancanin, did you have any
17 information as to whether the units of OG South had already been at the
19 A. Our units had arrived there sometime at noon, 11.00 or 12.00. I
20 knew, and I saw later when I came there. I saw them implementing their
21 task; that was our unit from the 2nd Military Police Battalion.
22 Q. Did you go to Ovcara that evening and, if so, when and with whom?
23 A. Yes. I was at Ovcara that evening, on the 19th in the evening.
24 Due to what I have earlier told you about, telling Sljivancanin about that
25 convoy and the persons, the convoy that had returned. And I told him that
1 we had certain problems with private cars that were in it. And this is
2 why we went there to see what measures had been taken up there and to see
3 how that problem could be resolved, how those vehicles, cars could be
4 removed from that position, because we had insufficient forces, security
5 forces. And there was a risk, at that time, that it would be taken over
6 by people who were unable to do that. That is to say, it was risky to
7 leave vehicles up there because there was a risk of them being stolen or
9 After the briefing, after all the these discussions, he and I went
10 there together to observe the situation, to survey the situation. It
11 lasted about 20 minutes, half an hour. We got there. This was the sector
12 of another unit, and their patrol stopped us. When they were given
13 authorisation to let us in, we entered the area and an officer awaited us
14 there who reported to him.
15 Q. What did you do there?
16 A. I was there next to the vehicles, and I was analysing the
17 situation, how to resolve that problem with these vehicles that had
18 remained there. They walked on the path towards buses, towards hangars,
19 and they talked about something. I don't know about what. At any rate,
20 after about some 20 minutes of conversation with him, the major came back
21 and said that everything was fine there and that we had to resolve the
22 issue with the vehicles by organising for them to be transported to
23 Velepromet on the following day, because it was very risky. And he
24 concluded that it was better for them to remain there that night.
25 So that's how the situation was resolved. We got into our car and
1 drove back to Negoslavci. I went to my command post, and he went to his.
2 Q. Do you remember whether you saw any of the TO members there on
3 that occasion, any TO members of the Vukovar TO?
4 A. Yes, I remember. There were several people there, but I wouldn't
5 be able to identify them. There were perhaps seven to eight of them,
6 because they were, in general, interested in picking out vehicles. And
7 Sljivancanin talked to them about that. He told them that nobody was
8 allowed to take those vehicles, that those vehicles were temporarily
9 requisitioned, and that no private persons were allowed to take them.
10 That these vehicles would go to Velepromet, because Velepromet had been
11 designated as a centre for such property.
12 Q. I didn't ask you something of general nature before these events
13 of 18th and 19th. Did you know Miroljub Vujevic and Stanko Vujanovic at
14 the time? Did you have any contact with them? I'm talking now about the
15 events before the 18th.
16 Just a minute, please. We have an error interpretation into
17 English, page 18, line 14. My question was: Did you know Miroljub
18 Vujevic and Stanko Vujanovic?
19 A. Well, to know somebody is a very vague term. I saw them a couple
20 of times initially before the combat operations actually commenced. Once
21 they got involved in combat, I didn't see them. But I saw them prior to
22 that, five or six times in passing. Otherwise, we did not know each
23 other. Personally, we did not have any detailed conversations. However,
24 I had heard and I knew that they existed as such, and that they led
25 certain units or combat groups.
1 Q. What about Milan Lancuzanin, nicknamed Kameni? He was in charge
2 of the Leva Supoderica detachment, does this mean much to you?
3 A. Well, what I said pertains to all three of them. I heard of
4 them. I maybe even saw them a couple of times. I knew that these two
5 were commanders of the Petrova Gora detachment, and that Kameni was the
6 commander of the Leva Supoderica detachment. That's what people used to
7 call him.
8 Q. We are now going to turn to the events on the 20th. You were
9 quite active on that day, so let us start with the morning. What do you
10 remember? Is there anything memorable about the 20th of November in the
12 A. Given the passage of time, I'll try to be as brief in my
13 description and to tell you what I remember and what, according to my
14 recollections, is realistic and truthful. It is difficult to remember all
15 that now. I continuously prepared myself, thought about this,
16 contemplated this. But to tell you the truth, it's been so many years
17 that it's somewhat difficult to give a proper answer. And I know that I'm
18 required to give such an answer, so that the Trial Chamber can properly
19 rule on this. So I will do my best to tell you how this transpired, and
20 what my role and position in all of that was.
21 On the 19th in the evening, having completed my conversation with
22 Mr. Sljivancanin, I received the task that I told you about. On the 20th
23 in the morning, sometime at around 6.00; that is to say, quite early.
24 Because later on, it was more difficult once the units got active and
25 started moving about. I got up quite early, because I wanted to get to
1 the hospital early. So I took six military buses, whose drivers were
2 civilians, and there were two military policemen on each bus. I headed
3 the column in a Puch vehicle with a driver, and we went to the hospital.
4 Q. Just a second, please. I want to be sure that we get everything.
5 Please slow down. Where did you take over the buses?
6 A. The buses awaited me -- awaited me in front of my command post in
7 Negoslavci on the road.
8 Q. Where were the military policemen at that time?
9 A. Yes. Yes, they were on the buses.
10 Q. So in front of your command post, we had six buses; and on each
11 bus, there were already two policemen; correct?
12 A. Yes, correct.
13 Q. Let us proceed.
14 A. So I arrived at the hospital. En route, the road leading to the
15 hospital was damaged by shells. There were all kinds of obstacles on that
16 road; however, we passed through, and we crossed the bridge, which had
17 been partially damaged, and we came to the hospital. I parked the buses
18 there on that road in front of the gate. I parked the buses in rows in a
19 line right next to the fence. They were parked in a military line.
20 Q. Just a minute.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we would like to put a
22 photograph on the screen so the witness can describe it. This is from
23 Exhibit 170, photograph number 5.
24 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, do you recognise this area?
25 A. Yes.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please hand the
2 witness a pen.
3 Q. If you could please draw for us, based on your recollection, where
4 they were parked. This is the Vukovar Hospital, right? You can draw on
5 the screen itself.
6 A. So this huge building, in the middle, is the hospital.
7 Q. Just a minute, please, sir. It means nothing to us when you point
8 like that. We don't get to see that. You will have to actually draw on
9 the image, and it will turn up on our screens. Can you please show, or
10 rather, mark where the buses were parked, based on your recollection.
11 A. Right here, next to the fence. Between this small house and this
12 point over here.
13 Q. We'll talk later about the people getting on the buses, but could
14 you please mark that line with a number one.
15 A. [Marks]
16 Q. Can you mark the location in this image where the people were
17 standing, who were later made to get on the buses, when you arrived. Can
18 you please mark that on this photograph.
19 A. This is the number two line. So it was right here. There's a
20 steep stretch towards the hospital entrance.
21 Q. Maybe this is not the ideal image for this purpose. You said it
22 steeps towards the entrance?
23 A. Yes. It's some sort of a driveway for ambulances to approach the
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can we please have this
1 photograph admitted into evidence.
2 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
3 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 859, Your Honours.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, the morning that you left Negoslavci, you were on
6 the way to the hospital. Later on, after you had left the hospital, did
7 you ever see any ICRC vehicles throughout that time, throughout this
9 A. No, not that morning. I didn't see any. When I arrived at the
10 hospital, I didn't see any.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
13 JUDGE PARKER: Sorry, Mr. Lukic. The picture was not saved.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, there's a tiny bit of difficulty with our
16 equipment. Could you please mark the position of the buses, and mark that
17 with the number one again.
18 A. [Marks]
19 Q. And now, please, mark the position of those people that were due
20 to get on the buses.
21 A. It's right here. Right here.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The witness's memory seems to have
23 improved during this second go. I seek that this photograph now be
24 admitted. Thank you.
25 JUDGE PARKER: The improved photograph will be admitted.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Did that get a number? I didn't
2 realise. Of course. We can now proceed. Thank you.
3 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, when you got as far as the hospital, what exactly
4 was the situation that you found there?
5 A. When I arrived at the hospital, I found the following situation:
6 As for the area that I marked with the number two, there was a group of
7 persons standing there that had been separated off. How many exactly, I
8 don't know, but there was a group standing there.
9 Across the way, in front of the buses and across the street, there
10 was a group of TO members. At this point in time, there was nothing much
11 going on, and this is the situation that I found when I came there.
12 Q. Throughout this time, where were you for most of this time?
13 A. Outside the gate, most of the time. I was standing right next to
14 that first bus between the first bus, the gate, and the pylon that was
15 there, the street lighting. I was waiting for the moment when that first
16 group would start heading towards me.
17 Q. Did you see any search being conducted there, those persons being
18 searched; and, if so, who by? Any soldiers or officers?
19 A. No. No search was being conducted. The way I understand things
20 to have happened, they were probably searched. But people were just
21 standing there at this point, and no one was being searched. There's a
22 concrete elevation by the road, and these people were lined up forming a
23 sort of corridor.
24 Q. Did you enter the hospital building itself?
25 A. No. I never entered the hospital building itself.
1 Q. Throughout this time, did you ever enter the hospital yard?
2 A. Yes. I passed the swing gate, and I reached those first groups of
3 persons who had been separated off, which is probably five or six metres
4 into the area.
5 Q. While you were there, did you see Sljivancanin; and, if so, where?
6 A. While I was there, I did not see him. I did see him later though.
7 I saw him leave the hospital and go back several times.
8 Q. When you say "later," is that before the buses left or after? Did
9 you see Sljivancanin at any point in time between your arriving and the
10 time the first group was taken away?
11 A. No. It was after that first group was taken away.
12 Q. Who commanded the loading of persons on to buses?
13 A. I received a signal from Captain Simic that that group was now
14 done and that they could start boarding. I took charge of that, and I
15 personally got them to board the bus one-by-one, filling the seats as they
16 went in.
17 Q. You mentioned Captain Simic. What do you think he was doing
18 there, and what exactly was your contact about?
19 A. As far as I know, he and his company were securing the hospital.
20 It was that that I talked to him about. There was this group that had
21 been screened, and he was saying something to the effect that I should now
22 take charge of them.
23 Q. Did you see any other officers there at roughly the same time, any
24 other Guards Brigade or OG South officers, to be more specific?
25 A. I did. I only remember my own colleagues, people who worked with
1 me. There was Major Mladen Karan. I saw Radoje Paunovic. I saw Simic.
2 I saw some of his commanders. I saw some people from our medical corps,
3 some doctors and so on.
4 Q. Did you know that any officers had arrived on the previous day
5 from the security administration, or did you personally meet them?
6 A. I didn't meet any. But if this occurred at the command post, it
7 must have been recorded. A group of officers from the security
8 administration arrived at the command post, and this was registered at our
10 Q. Thank you. Mr. Vukasinovic, what, precisely, were you wearing at
11 this time?
12 A. I was wearing a camouflage uniform. I had a pistol and a belt. I
13 was wearing a NATO helmet. When I wasn't wearing one, I would normally
14 wear a Tito cap with the five-pointed star.
15 Q. What about your superior, Veselin Sljivancanin? Was he wearing
16 the same sort of camouflage uniform at the time?
17 A. Yes, the same sort of uniform.
18 MR. MOORE: Can I ask my learned friend to be careful about the
19 way he asks questions. That is about the third time. I would submit the
20 structure of the question tends to suggest the answer and, therefore, is
21 leading. The question that should have been asking was: "Do you know
22 what uniform Mr. Sljivancanin was wearing?"
23 JUDGE PARKER: You are asked to be careful, Mr. Lukic. Thank you.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] My apologies.
25 Q. Please, sir, tell me this: How tall are you exactly?
1 A. 190 centimetres.
2 Q. Thank you. Let me ask you something else about the loading of
3 persons on to buses. As far as I understand, you say that you tried to
4 fill the buses as they came; right?
5 A. That's right.
6 Q. During this loading procedure, was there anyone else around, with
7 the exception of the soldiers, the military policemen, and you, the
8 officers? I'm talking about that area just outside the buses themselves.
9 A. There was no one between the gate itself, the swing gate, and the
10 buses, aside from my policemen and myself.
11 Across the street at a distance of about ten or 15 metres, there
12 was some TO men standing there.
13 Q. Did you see any TO men in the hospital courtyard during your time
15 A. No. There were none there.
16 Q. While you were there, aside from buses, did you see any other
17 vehicles parked there?
18 A. No. There were none, at least not along the stretch of the road
19 where I was standing.
20 Q. Specifically, any ambulances?
21 A. There were ambulances, but that was across the way on the opposite
22 side of the hospital, as it were.
23 Q. Thank you. While you were there, did you see anyone being
24 stretchered, as far as the buses?
25 A. No.
1 Q. While you were there with those buses, did you see any women
2 outside the buses?
3 A. No. There was no one there.
4 Q. Fine. Did you hear any threats being uttered against the people
5 getting on to the buses, in the area in which you were standing?
6 A. There were exchanges; there were people muttering. But it was
7 still quite early, so there was nothing special. There were cat calls and
8 whistles, but not much more than that.
9 Q. Did you hear anyone utter the following words: "They will be
10 swallowed by the dark in broad daylight." Does that phrase ring a bell,
12 A. No.
13 Q. While you were there next to the buses, did you see Sljivancanin
14 emerge in front of the buses and outside the hospital fence, the hospital
16 A. No.
17 Q. Does the name of Bogdan Kuzmic ring a bell?
18 A. No.
19 Q. What about Darko Kovacevic, aka Drka?
20 A. No.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, given the fact that our
22 next session will be a shorter one, and I'm about to move on to a
23 different topic, maybe it would be convent for us to take an early break,
24 because the next session will be concluded at a quarter to 1.00.
25 JUDGE PARKER: No, the next session will be -- I beg your pardon,
1 yes, 12.45, an hour earlier than on other days.
2 We will then have the break now, Mr. Lukic. Quarter past.
3 --- Recess taken at 10.55 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 11.23 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: My apologies that I was delayed on another matter,
6 and we're back in court nearly 10 minutes late. All my fault.
7 Mr. Lukic.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, at a certain point in time, did you leave this
10 area outside the hospital, and how did that happen? How did that go, in a
11 couple words, and then we shall move on?
12 A. After I had all the three buses loaded, after I had filled all the
13 three buses, as there was nobody else left there, I assessed that we
14 should then move.
15 Q. Just a minute. How many buses did you bring outside the hospital?
16 A. Six.
17 Q. And you said that you enter as the buses came and filled the buses
18 as they came?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. I don't want to be leading, to suggest any answer to you. Tell
21 me, how did you reach that decision? When did you reach that decision?
22 How many buses left on the first group?
23 A. When this separated off group, the searched group, the already
24 processed group, so to speak, when that was loaded, that bus left; and
25 then I decided to load the other people and not to wait for the others.
1 How many there would be, I wasn't sure. I decided to take them to Vukovar
2 barracks, and this is what I did. I turned my vehicle and with those
3 three buses, we set off towards Vukovar barracks.
4 Q. How many buses remained there in situ?
5 A. Three buses remained there on the spot.
6 Q. I want us to be precise. You know that I told you during the
7 proofing that there were people who were claiming that all the six buses
8 left at once. I have told you this before, and I want to ask you once
9 again: Are you sure what you have just told us; namely, that you led in
10 the first group three buses, that you led three loaded buses outside this
11 first group?
12 A. Yes I'm quite positive about that, because I did it myself. And
13 I'm the best placed person to do that, and I set here before you, Your
14 Honours, that these other stories do not correspond to the truth, and that
15 what I'm telling you is the precise account of the situation. I know what
16 I did; namely, I drove, I took away three loaded buses with around 100,
17 150 people on them, and we took them in the direction of the Vukovar
19 Q. Can you tell us approximately at what time - we appreciate that
20 you can't have the exact time, as you have already expressed your
21 reservations in that connection - but what was the time, approximately,
22 that you left towards the barracks?
23 A. I have already stated that in some statements, but I suppose it
24 was about 10.00 in the morning. It could be that time, as far as I can
1 Q. What direction did you take? What route did you take when moving
2 towards the barracks, vis-a-vis the one when you were coming? Did you
3 return to the barracks taking the same route, in other words?
4 A. Yes. One didn't have much choice. There was just this one route,
5 and we took that same road across the bridge up to the barracks in
7 Q. To the best of your recollection, Mr. Vukasinovic, what time did
8 you arrive at the barracks? Where did the buses stop, and what happened
9 after that?
10 A. When I got to the barracks, we passed through the checkpoint which
11 was at the gate to the barracks. There was a ramp. There was a swing
12 gate, which actually the ramp was outward and it was in vertical position.
13 I entered the compound, the barracks compound; and had the bus drivers
14 park the buses in a circular, round position, one behind another in a ring
15 at a prescribed distance, one from another, of course.
16 Q. In what vehicle were you when this column left the hospital to go
17 to the barracks?
18 A. I had my Puch vehicle, and I led the column -- the convoy.
19 Q. And what happened after you arrived at the barracks?
20 A. After I arrived at the barracks and after the -- I had the buses
21 parked, I immediately observed that the passenger vehicles were arriving
22 with TO Vukovar members in them. So they left their vehicles outside and
23 entered barracks compound on foot, and they just stood there outside the
24 buses, opposite the buses.
25 When I left my car, I saw that there were quite a few of them
1 there. I could say an estimate between 30 and 40 TO members. So they
2 stood there outside the buses on the side, and they started protesting and
3 threatening, uttering threats at people in the buses whom they knew;
4 probably their neighbours, former neighbours and friends whilst they had
5 still been living in peace and at peace with each other.
6 So they actually demonstrated that they recognised them and that
7 they wanted to threaten them, in a way, for everything they had done at a
8 certain point in the past to their neighbours. So they actually
9 recognised some neighbours of theirs that they felt they had some scores
10 to settle with, so that there was a crying out, cat calls and utterances
11 of curses. And there was a big din.
12 Q. Were they trying to get on the buses, to board the buses? Did
13 they try to do that?
14 A. No, no. I was perfectly aware that they wouldn't dare do that.
15 The buses were closed; there were policemen at the bus doors. There was
16 no possibility for them to break into the buses at all. That was totally
17 ruled out.
18 Q. I just forgot to ask you a previous question. Let us hear what
19 you have to say on that; namely, were those buses escorted, apart from
20 military police also by officers?
21 A. No. I was the only officer.
22 Q. Thank you. As things evolved, what did you do? Did you take any
23 steps, did you take any measures regarding the situation outside the
25 A. Assessing the situation, I could see that they were being
1 aggressive; and as the MP Company commander was there, Captain Predojevic,
2 namely, who was in charge of security of the barracks, for securing the
3 barracks, I called him. He was surprised at my arrival and the entry of
4 these TO members into the compound. I told him that this was a task that
5 had to be carried out during that day, and that we will be most probably
6 organising a transport convoy to Sremska Mitrovica from that place.
7 I told him that since I needed to go back to the hospital, that he
8 needed to secure protection for the people in the buses, to prevent their
9 being harassed in any way whatsoever, being approached, accessed in any
10 way. So the people in the buses had to be secure.
11 Q. Did you hear whether there were any other officers there at that
13 A. Yes, I did hear. We had the forward command post there, and the
14 commander had set up his forward command post for the barracks before and
15 after the fall of Vukovar. So Lukic was there and Lieutenant-Colonel
16 Panic was also there, and they were probably in the barracks. I did not
17 see them in the compound, but I presume that they were there.
18 Q. MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The translation here says, "I
19 presume," you said that "you knew" that they were there. I'm referring to
20 Panic and Lukic?
21 A. Yes. It was the forward command post. He was the commander of
22 the forward command post, so it was presupposed that he would be there.
23 Q. But did you hear that Panic was there when you were there?
24 A. Yes. I heard that Panic was at the barracks, and I heard that
25 from Mladen Predojevic.
1 Q. Thank you. And then what happened?
2 A. I insisted right away, I insisted to see who the leader was among
3 them, and I saw that that was the gentleman, Commander Vujovic.
4 Q. Among whom when you say "among them," among which group were you
5 trying to pinpoint that group?
6 A. In the TO group.
7 Q. And then what happened?
8 A. I told him to bring pressure to bear on his combatants, to try to
9 calm down the situation and actually get them out of the barracks. And I
10 told him also that I had other obligations to discharge vis-a-vis the
12 Q. And what was his reaction to that?
13 A. Well, there was not much of a reaction on his part. He just
14 stared blankly at me, like no big deal style. He didn't really react.
15 And then I insisted that he really bring pressure to bear on his men, so
16 they stop all this shouting and so on and so forth.
17 Q. Was there a more serious clash between you and then at a certain
18 point then?
19 A. Yes. A more serious clash occurred at a moment when a driver --
20 actually, the driver of Mr. Sljivancanin arrived, and he brought a piece
21 of paper, printed paper to me on which was written how many people should
22 return to the hospital. It was a list, actually. And the list contained
23 20 persons.
24 Q. What did you do then?
25 A. I said to the driver, "that is okay." I told him to bring up an
1 empty bus, so that I would put these people, transfer them to that bus.
2 In the meanwhile, I went from to bus to bus, called peoples' names out, to
3 find those people and to see whether they were on any of those buses.
4 Having found them all, I told them to approach the front door, and
5 that I would be calling out one-by-one somewhat later to transfer them to
6 the other bus, which had arrived in the meantime. They didn't know where
7 they would be taken. They just heard that they should report, and they
8 did report -- rather, respond as I called their names out.
9 Once the bus arrived, I had it come closer, some ten metres
10 closer, some halfway between the buses -- these buses in the middle of
11 these buses, so that I could put these people in as quickly as possible.
12 So I had people come out from the first bus, from the second bus, and from
13 the third bus and put them on that bus.
14 During that process of transferring people, there was even more
15 arrogance manifested by the assembled persons, and some even tried to
16 deliver a blow or two with their hands. They didn't wield any things,
17 blunt instruments or something, but some individuals did receive a blow or
18 two. I probably sustained a couple myself, and I really don't know how
20 So that was a clash, and this is where we have this conflict. But
21 I managed to overcome that problem, and eventually they desisted, perhaps
22 waited for a different opportunity. I, however, waited for them to leave
23 the barracks to go outside the compound.
24 In the meantime, Mr. Vujovic actually left the barracks.
25 Q. A number of questions about this and then we'll move on. Is there
1 anything else you wanted to say, sir, about this fact that you moved the
3 A. No. I was just saying I took the bus back to the hospital.
4 Q. We're about to tackle that subject anyway, sir.
5 As for that group of TO men who were voicing their displeasure, to
6 put it that way, did you see any regular JNA soldiers standing among them,
7 among that group?
8 A. No. As far as I remember, the regular JNA troops were standing
9 around the buses, sheltering them from being attacked by those people. As
10 far as I was able to notice, I did not see any of our regular soldiers
11 among them taunting or jeering. As far as I remember, no such thing
13 Q. Did you see any of your fellow officers standing there, who were
14 also jeering and who were acting in a rather passive way in this entire
16 A. At this time, there was no one, aside from myself and Mladen
17 Predojevic. I don't know who any jeering officers might have been.
18 Q. I take it, based on your testimony, that as you were loading those
19 people on to the buses, you were actually on the receiving end of a blow
20 or two in that entire situation, weren't you?
21 A. Yes. But I'm pretty strong, myself, so I took it in my stride.
22 Q. During your time in the barracks and before you again left for the
23 hospital, did you see any lorries there, together with those buses or
24 right next to them?
25 A. Inside the barracks, you mean?
1 Q. Yes.
2 A. None inside the barracks, no lorries. Quite the contrary, in
3 fact. My own unit was there, the one from the barracks, the APCs, but
4 that was a military police unit with their own equipment.
5 Q. For as long as you were in the barracks, did you ever realise that
6 a van had driven up to where the buses were? Did you see anyone being
7 taken off one of the buses, in circumvention of your previous decision and
8 the people that you had, in fact, taken off?
9 A. No, certainly not. Not for as long as I was there, and there was
10 no vehicles there.
11 Q. While you were in the barracks, did you ever at any point see Mr.
12 Sljivancanin there?
13 A. No, I didn't.
14 Q. What about the name of Milan Bulic, aka Bulija? Does that ring a
16 A. No.
17 Q. This empty bus that had arrived from the hospital, were there two
18 military police officers on that bus as well? Do you remember sir?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. In addition to those policemen, did anyone else get on that bus,
21 aside from the persons that you took there and put on the buses? Did any
22 other soldiers or possibly TO men actually get on to that bus, with the
23 exception of those military police officers?
24 A. No.
25 Q. What happens next?
1 A. I just loaded 20 persons on to this bus, based on the list that I
2 had. I now drove back to the hospital, and I left these persons just
3 outside the gate. I saw a lot of medical staff there and other people
4 too; and yet again, I spotted Vujovic, the TO commander, as well as Mr.
5 Stanko Vujanovic, their former commander. I also came across the then
6 Major Sljivancanin just outside.
7 Q. This bus that you drove up in, what about those two other buses?
8 A. The other two buses had been filled with the remaining persons who
9 had been separated off. They were waiting on the buses, the doors were
10 closed, and the policemen were inside.
11 Q. What about the people you returned to that area outside the
13 A. When I arrived with those people, Major Sljivancanin talked to
14 each one of them about their release. He talked to each one individually,
15 asked them about what they had done and where they had been. Each of them
16 provided some guarantees. Everybody had somebody; the medical staff, the
17 nurses, the doctors. Every time a person was brought up, they would give
18 their opinion on that person, indicating whether they believed that person
19 had been involved in some sort of criminal offence or in the actual
20 fighting and whether that person should be released.
21 He considered each of the cases in its own right. He sought
22 everyone's approval; and whenever the conclusion was reached that someone
23 was clean and not -- had not wronged anybody else, that person was
24 released. Sometimes even the TO commanders would say: "He's all right.
25 He's free to go."
1 Three or four of them even spoke up to say that they had been
2 involved in the fighting. They actually sent it themselves, so we just
3 sent them back. I think Major Sljivancanin must have released at least 15
4 or 16 persons there who were ascertained to be innocent and in relation to
5 whom who there was no further need to keep them apart.
6 Q. Just a minute, please. I want to go back to something in
7 particular. When you came from the barracks to the hospital, did you tell
8 Sljivancanin about what had gone on there? Did you inform him about that?
9 Did you tell him about the facts that you were aware of at the time?
10 A. Yes. I was a little angry for the very first time. I was quite
11 tolerant in certain situations, but this was very difficult for me to do.
12 Under the circumstances, it was very difficult to get those people off the
13 buses. I realise those are the people who were being arrogant, and I
14 feared consequences. So I asked him that we should not do that sort of
15 thing again. "There was no need," I said. It was hindering any further
16 activity on our part and was inciting those TO men who were there who
17 probably thought, "Look, they're releasing them. They're about to release
18 them." That sort of thing.
19 So I asked him not to do that sort of thing, but rather we should
20 focus on our principal assignment to organise the groups within the
21 barracks, form a convoy, set up a security system, and take these people
22 to Sremska Mitrovica where they were supposed to be taken.
23 There would be further screening there, further processing,
24 interrogations, and it would be easy enough once there to ascertain who
25 was a war criminal and who was blameless. That's what I asked him at the
1 time, that we should get those people out of there, in order to avoid
2 causing any further irritation to the TO men.
3 Q. Did you tell him what exactly had gone on to the barracks previous
4 to your departure? Did you tell him about that? Who was there, what
5 happened, that sort of thing?
6 A. Needless to say, it was for that reason that I asked him the
7 things that I asked him. I told him I had been encountering some
8 difficulty with those people, that they had followed me all the way, that
9 they had got as far as the barracks to make clear their displeasure and
10 virtually physical attack those people.
11 He seemed surprised. "What on earth were they doing there," he
12 said. I said, "Well, there you are. They were there. We had some
13 problems back at the barracks, and this is the very reason." And that's
14 why I asked him to not do that sort of thing again. He was somewhat
15 surprised that they had been behaving in that way. And I had told them
16 [as interpreted] that there was a security system in place at the
17 barracks. I said everything was perfectly all right in terms of that
18 security system, that there were some tiny problems. Still, I was adamant
19 that we shouldn't do that kind of thing again.
20 I told him security was all right, but I also warned them that
21 actions such as these might be a bit difficult under the circumstances
22 that prevailed at the time in this wartime situation.
23 Q. You described the situation you found at the hospital when you
24 arrived there that morning. What about now? Did you notice anything
25 different? Did you notice any changes in relation to your earlier
1 impressions when you were standing outside the hospital?
2 A. Yes, of course. The situation was that group was moving.
3 MR. MOORE: [Previous translation continues] ... and it's not his
4 fault. I don't know whether it's an error in the translation or not. If
5 one looks at 40 and then 3, "I told him security was all right, but I also
6 warned them that actions such as these might be a bit difficult." Is it a
7 case of a warning to the TO, or is it a case that he is warning Mr.
8 Sljivancanin? Because it's, in structure, it's illogical.
9 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: I said "him," not them.
10 MR. MOORE: That's what I thought.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation].
12 Q. You've heard this, Mr. Vukasinovic. Please just explain who it
13 was that you warned at the time about what you had experienced at the
15 A. I informed Major Sljivancanin about the fact that they were there
16 and about the sort of behaviour displayed by the TO men. I informed him
17 and, again, I let him know that everything was fine there in terms of
18 security, but that he shouldn't give me this sort of assignment again, in
19 terms of sending me back there and expecting me to evacuate a group like
21 I asked to stop this sort of individual intervention, but rather
22 stick to our original tasks to take them to the barracks and from the
23 barracks. It was in this sense that I informed Major Sljivancanin of the
24 sort of actions taken by the TO men back at the barracks.
25 Q. It's much clearer now. Thank you. What about my previous
1 question: What exactly constituted the difference between this arrival
2 and the first time you arrived outside the hospital?
3 A. There is more displeasure being voiced now. They were using
4 slogans, saying: "They'll be releasing the whole lot. They're protecting
5 them, these people who had killed so many of our relatives." All sorts of
6 things being said in a general sense of discontent or protest about this
7 particular belief that they held at the time; namely, that we were about
8 to release those people.
9 So they were just voicing in the strongest terms their
10 disagreement with the fact that Sljivancanin had released about 15
11 individuals. When I say "they," I mean the remaining TO men, and there
12 were a little more of them there now in relation to their number, that
13 same morning. They probably moved at some point from the barracks and
14 went to the hospital. In one word, there were more of them now.
15 Q. What about inside the hospital perimeter in the courtyard, did you
16 notice anything different happening?
17 A. Yes. I watched from a distance and noticed that a number of
18 journalists had arrived. There were quite a number of them near the
19 hospital entrance. They were talking, which suggested to me that these
20 press teams had arrived sometime before my return.
21 Q. Did you at any point, during that day, go to Velepromet, Mr.
23 A. No.
24 Q. Did you personally attend the SAO Baranja Eastern Slavonia and
25 Western Srem government meeting?
1 A. No.
2 Q. What happens now?
3 A. We released the persons that we released. There was that bus with
4 three or four persons and the other two buses that were full, so three
5 buses, a total of three buses and in other group. I took them all to the
6 barracks. When I got there, I noticed there were no buses there. I
7 didn't actually enter the compound. Captain Predojevic met me at the gate
8 and said, "Major comrade." And I said, "Where are the buses?" And he
9 said, "Major comrade, the buses have left for Ovcara." And I said, "Who
10 gave that order?" And he said, "The commander did." And he said, "You
11 should turn this other group around as well and head in the same
13 I was somewhat taken aback by this. But given the sort of answer
14 that I received, I had no reason not to believe that this was now the
15 case. So I had my buses turn around, and I drove in the direction of
17 Q. When was the last time you saw Sljivancanin?
18 A. It was at that moment when we dealt with those 20 persons that he
19 had released. That was the conversation we had last, and I didn't see him
20 until that evening later.
21 Q. During your last meeting at the hospital, did he at any point in
22 time mention the word "Ovcara"?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Did he mention at any point in time that there would be some
25 changes to the plan that you had discussed the previous day?
1 A. No, no. No changes whatsoever.
2 Q. What happened next?
3 A. When I arrived to the Ovcara sector with my group of buses, I saw
4 that the first three buses, which had arrived with the first group, were
5 empty. When I got off my vehicle -- got out of my vehicle, I saw that
6 there were many members of the TO, also some 40 to 50 of them in front of
7 the hangar. And I saw this larger group of people milling about the
8 hangar, around the hangar. The hangar door was open; and as I was moving
9 about, I saw Lieutenant-Colonel Panic, who was Chief of Staff at the time.
10 Q. Before we proceed, you said that these buses were empty. Where
11 did you park your buses, in relation to these other three buses that
12 you've just mentioned, that had been taken there before you came,
14 A. I parked behind them in a column.
15 Q. What happened next?
16 A. Given that I had noticed that this was outside of the regular
17 procedure, I was surprised and I saw that there was a lot of commotion
18 there. I was angry once again, and I turned to Lieutenant-Colonel Panic
19 and I told him, "What is this? Who ordered this?" He looked at me in a
20 surprised way, but he said that those were the orders.
21 I turned around and I went straight to the hangar to see what was
22 going on there. However, there, I saw that a group of TO members was
23 actually inside, that the people who had been taken off the buses were in
24 a state of fear, and that these other men were slapping them, hitting
25 them. And I could see that those people were scared; I could see that.
1 I concluded that that all of them were intermingled, that they had
2 gone in, and that they started looking for the people that they wanted to
3 find, people that they had threatened earlier. Once again, I saw the
4 commander, the TO commander, Vujovic. And I decided to kick them all
5 outside to establish peace and order; however, in order to do that, I
6 decided to approach him to ask him to help me do that.
7 Q. Where did you see Vujovic, inside the hang or in front of it?
8 A. Vujovic was in front of it, outside the hangar. There, in front
9 of the hangar, I addressed him, and I said to him, "You are their
10 commander. Let's deal with this. Let's kick these people out. Tell your
11 men that they are not allowed to go in and beat these people and do
12 anything physical to these people who are under our jurisdiction."
13 Q. And what happened next? How did he react? What happened then?
14 A. In the meantime, there was several policemen there from the 80th
15 Brigade who were also scared. There were maybe five or six of them. I
16 think that there was an officer among them, but I'm not sure. They were
17 also fearful.
18 I called them, and I called my policemen. I said we should go
19 inside; and with the support of Commander Vujovic, we should deal with
20 this, kick these people out, and make sure that the other men were left
21 there inside alone.
22 In my conversation with Vujovic, he had this nonchalant
23 appearance, as though he was hesitating whether to help me or not to help
24 me. And I went up and down and he kept saying things, "Oh, this is really
25 nothing. I can't deal with this." But when I realised what the situation
1 was like, I approached him and said, "Vujovic, the situation is quite
2 serious. I ask that you help me to kick these people out. We didn't
3 bring these men here so that you could beat them and judge them
5 He said to me, "Very well. Which people are yours and which
6 people are ours?" That was the drift of what he was saying, and then he
7 started helping me. And he started exerting influence over his people,
8 and we started pushing them out until we pushed the last man out.
9 Once I was sure that not a single one of them remained in the
10 hangar, I brought the buses closer, the other three buses closer, because
11 the other three I had turned in the opposite direction; and then with the
12 assistance of the soldiers, I put on the buses the people that I had
13 brought to the hangar.
14 As we were boarding them on the buses, as far as I could observe,
15 there was no beating going on. They stood there yelling, but there was no
16 significant beating, as was the case in the first instance. Because I
17 could see on the people -- on the -- the people who were in the hangar
18 that some of them were bloody, confused, afraid, and that they had been
20 Q. Just a minute, please. We have an intervention to the transcript,
21 page 45, line 11. Your dialogue with Vujovic, you said something that was
22 not a formal expression. Would you please -- and that may have caused
23 confusion in the transcript. Can you please tell us, again, what did
24 Vujovic say to you when you asked him for assistance?
25 A. Well, it's hard for me to remember his words verbatim. We argued
1 and when I said that those were ours, he said, "No, those were their
2 soldiers." That's what he said. And I said, "No. No, those were ours.
3 And as long as they are under our control, you have nothing to do with
4 them." That was the gist of our conversation. I kept insisting and
5 telling him that they are not allowed to do that, and he should use his
6 men to help me get these people out where they did not belong.
7 As far as I can remember, that was the conversation that we had.
8 I needed his support and his assistance in dealing with this issue.
9 Q. As far as you could remember, how many TO members were there in
10 the hangar when you entered?
11 A. I think that there were about 15 -- ten to 15 in front and then --
12 well, about 15. 15 to 20, thereabouts. It's difficult for me to pinpoint
13 the exact number, but I think that that's the approximate figure. Because
14 when we pushed them outside, I could see better how many there were.
15 Q. When you entered for the first time -- or rather, let me ask you
16 this: Did you enter the hangar more than once?
17 A. I was in the hangar until we kicked them all out. When we pushed
18 them all out, I was in front of the hangar. And I stood there until we
19 made sure that the doors were closed and that we put security detail in
20 front, and then I stood in front of the hangar talking to Vujovic about
21 the need for him to remove his people from the area because their presence
22 irritated the other people and put people at risk.
23 Q. Did you see Lieutenant-Colonel Panic later on as well? Was he
24 there throughout your contacts with Vujovic?
25 A. No. After that initial contact I had with Lieutenant-Colonel
1 Panic, he left. He didn't stay there longer. I don't know where he went.
2 Q. Tell me, during that period of time while you were in the hangar,
3 while you were in front of the hangar, did you happen to see
4 Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic there?
5 A. No. I may have seen that person sometimes in passing. I barely
6 knew what he looked like. I knew that he was brigade commander; however,
7 that was a new unit that came to our area of responsibility. I had very
8 little -- very few dealings with that unit. I had heard of them. I knew
9 some of them, but I had very little contact with them, didn't really know
11 Q. Do you remember that any JNA officer addressed you there in that
12 area, or did you address any of the JNA officers?
13 A. No. That is completely untrue. Nobody addressed me; and,
14 likewise, I did not address anyone, except for Mr. Vujovic.
15 Q. Tell me, please, when these TO members were kicked out, were
16 thrown out of the hangar, what measures were taken then? What happened
17 then in relation to the hangar and the security of persons there?
18 A. First of all, as I was talking to Vujovic, I saw that a large
19 number of TO members withdrew. So that when I was done with that, perhaps
20 there was a group of ten of them in the broader area around hangar; that
21 is to say, many of them had left. Mr. Vujovic left after that, too. And
22 I called the soldiers, who were there, telling them that they should
23 proceed, take their positions, and ensure security. And I asked them,
24 "How come you were doing nothing?" They were taken aback. However, when
25 they realised that the situation calmed down, they resumed their positions
1 and started guarding.
2 The hangar door was closed. I told them to ensure that nobody
3 should be allowed in without their superior officer's approval. Given the
4 situation and what it was at that point in time, I decided to leave the
5 Ovcara sector. I decided to get into my car, take me buses and my
6 soldiers to Negoslavci, and I went to my command post.
7 Q. Very well. Now, let us deal with some specific questions.
8 My first question: Mr. Vukasinovic, can you specify how long you
9 stayed at Ovcara on that occasion from the moment you arrived until the
10 moment you left? How much time elapsed, and can you give us some idea
11 about the time of the day, if you're not sure about the exact time?
12 A. In some of my statements, I gave some indication of time; however,
13 once again, Your Honours, I must tell you that those indications are quite
14 different. I can be more specific if I take into account the activities
15 or the time of the, day but it's very difficult to say that it was at
16 10.00 or some other time. But I can tell you that I was there from about
17 1.30 to 2.00, and that I stayed there for about an hour and a half, that's
18 my assessment.
19 And I can't give you the exact idea. I'm just presenting you my
20 perceptions, but I think that I left the Ovcara sector sometime at around
21 3.30, as far as I can remember and taking into account the activities that
22 I had carried out. And if you also take into account what other witnesses
23 said, then you will probably have a pretty good idea of the time that it
25 Q. We're interested in how long you stayed. As for the exact time,
1 we will adduce additional evidence concerning that. Let me put several
2 brief questions to you. While you were at Ovcara, did you see any
3 colonels there, any JNA colonels in uniform standing in front of the
4 hangar or perhaps inside of it?
5 A. No. I wish they were there. They would have been of use to me,
6 but there was nobody there because I would have used their presence to
7 help me with my work.
8 Q. Do you remember, while you stood there in front of the hangar, did
9 you see a group of civilians standing there, people who had been separated
10 off and who had somebody guarding there, securing them there? Do you
11 remember seeing anything of that sort?
12 A. No.
13 Q. While you were there in that area, did you see a bulldozer, a
14 digger, or a tractor or anything of that sort standing in the vicinity?
15 A. No.
16 Q. While you were in the hangar, did you see that there was a rope
17 stretched out in the hangar itself?
18 A. No.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: It wasn't a
20 bulldozer, digger, it was an excavator.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. While you were in the hangar, did you see anybody making a list of
23 the people inside?
24 A. No.
25 Q. While you were there in the hangar, did you see anyone beating
1 those people? Did you see any beating going on, kicking during your
2 presence there?
3 A. No. No. We started immediately to carry out my idea to kick them
4 out of the hangar, and we succeeded in that.
5 Q. While you were in front of the hangar and inside the hangar, did
6 you hear a whistle and some moaning after you would hear a whistle blown?
7 Anything of the sort?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Does the name Kemal Ajiti [phoen] or Kemal mean anything to you?
10 Kemal Sajiti or Kemal?
11 A. In my statement, I said that I saw one Albanian in the hangar who
12 was apparently beaten harder than others; and since I spoke Albanian, I
13 talked with him. I saw that he was from the same -- hails from the same
14 region that I do. I spoke to him. He was relatively okay, although he'd
15 been beaten. I didn't know his name, but I could see he was an Albanian.
16 Q. Did you see any women within the hangar?
17 A. Yes. There was one woman, blonde. I don't know -- I couldn't
18 place her age, between 25, 30. I'm not sure whether she was any older
19 than that.
20 Q. While you were in that area, within and in front of the hangar,
21 were you approached by anybody asking to be allowed to take some persons
22 out of the hangar? Were you approached personally?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Do you know how Vezmarevic Dragan looks like?
25 A. No. From conversations I heard that that gentleman was a company
1 commander, but I never set my eyes on him. Maybe I did see him. But I
2 was never introduced to him.
3 Q. In the period while you were at Ovcara, and you stated how long
4 you stayed there, did you at any point see Veselin Sljivancanin in the
6 A. No.
7 Q. Where did you go after Ovcara?
8 A. So after the situation calmed down, I arrived at Negoslavci, went
9 to my command post. There, I briefed my deputy; he briefed me about some
10 current affairs. I rested a bit; and before the evening briefing, I went
11 to see the commander.
12 Q. Where did you go to see your commander, which commander?
13 A. To the command post, to see commander, Colonel Mrksic.
14 Q. For what reason?
15 A. Given that the marching route had been changed, that there'd been
16 problems at Ovcara, it was my duty to brief the commander of the changes
17 that had not been known to me. I entered the hall, addressed my
18 commander, and literally, I said, "Colonel comrade, I was at Ovcara.
19 People are lodged there. I had some problems with the Territorial Defence
20 members. I calmed down the situation. They departed somewhere. I
21 proposed that we strengthen security detail there, because I have a
22 feeling that there might be some problems in the future."
23 As I said just now, the commander listened me out and said,
24 "Vukasin," this is how they called me, "you may go." And then upon that,
25 I left the command post and went to my command post. This is what I felt
1 I had to tell the commander about the situation that I had described.
2 Q. On that day, on that evening, did you, and when did you see Mr.
3 Sljivancanin? And if so, what is your recollection of that meeting with
4 him or conversation you had with him?
5 A. Yes. As far as I can remember, he was late in the briefing that
6 evening. He passed by my command post. We saw each other for a couple of
7 seconds. I told him that I'd been to Ovcara, and he was in passing, he
8 said, "I'm late going to the briefing."
9 After the briefing, he summoned me, I think. I briefed him on
10 developments; and at the time when I was telling him that there had been
11 people at Ovcara, he was surprised at the location they were taken to.
12 Then I referred to him the problems that I'd encountered, and I told him
13 that the situation had been sorted out.
14 He answered, "Yes, okay. I knew that you would carry out your
15 task, that you would protect the people. Well done." And that was it.
16 And he said that he would probably look into it later on.
17 Q. Did you, and when did you hear that there was a government session
18 at Vukovar that day, and do you have any information about that government
20 A. I learned about that government session only after I had returned
21 to my command post. Because en route, and while dealing with these
22 problems, I was cut-off from any information. I didn't know anything.
23 But when I arrived to my command post, my deputy told me, "Boss, there was
24 going to be a government session," as he'd heard, "and that some very
25 important decisions for us are going to be taken at that government
2 I asked him, "What kind of decisions?" And he said that he'd
3 heard about the government session, that we now had our army, and that all
4 the prisoners would be in their care.
5 I asked him, "Where did you get this information from?" And he
6 answered that there'd been a press release on the radio, and that he'd
7 heard people talk about that in the command post area. And this is all I
8 learned about that government session.
9 Q. Could you refresh our memory as to the -- your deputy's name?
10 A. Captain Bozic Mile.
11 Q. This all takes place on your command post -- the command post of
12 the Negoslavci village?
13 A. Yes, correct.
14 Q. After returning from Ovcara, did you ever go back to Ovcara before
15 you left Vukovar altogether?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Do you remember, in the following days, did any representatives of
18 the International Red Cross arrive to Negoslavci? Do you know of any of
19 them possible meetings with anybody else?
20 A. Yes. On the 21st, it seems to me, they arrived, I mean the
21 International Red Cross representatives, and they had a meeting. I
22 believe that Major Sljivancanin was with them at the time. Probably he
23 was, I'm not sure, but I think it was him who was accompanying them. But
24 I know that they were there because my gate service registered their
1 Q. What were your activities in the following days, and when did you
2 leave Vukovar altogether, generally speaking, roughly, if you may recall?
3 A. My activities were focused mainly on preparations for a return to
4 Belgrade, which means the command post of the OG South had to be
5 evacuated, which means preparations had to be made to move the command
6 post. I was supposed to provide security and hand it over to the
7 commander of the 80th Motorised Brigade, which means that we had to
8 prepare everything for secure dislocation and withdrawal of command and
9 all units from the area of Negoslavci towards Belgrade, and handing over
10 the areas of responsibility to others, and introducing and inducing the
11 new officer, showing him the ropes, main communications, brief him on the
12 problems that we'd encountered, et cetera.
13 Q. We know that the brigade left the Negoslavci-Vukovar area on the
14 24th of November. During your stay there, could you tell us whether you
15 heard any stories about the people at the hangar. If so, what were the
17 A. Yes. On the following day, on the 21st, I was flooded with many
18 tasks. I was back at my command post. Many decisions passed through me.
19 I had to be involved. My deputy was there to tour the control points. He
20 commanded his own units.
21 And on one occasion, he returned from an inspection tour; and, in
22 passing, he told me, well, since I was not his permanent but temporary
23 commander, he just nonchalantly said that, "Boss, we heard that the people
24 from Ovcara disappeared overnight. They were taken away or liquidated."
25 I heard this from him, but I couldn't believe that something of
1 the sort might be possible. At that time, while combat operations were
2 underway, there were many rumours flying around. It was a war of
4 I believed this to be a rumour implanted among many others that
5 were sent. I heard some children had been roasted at Borovo Naselje, that
6 some babies were slaughtered. Many people had been found killed in the
7 landfill at Vukovar, and I thought that this was just another rumour of
8 the same sort and I simply disbelieved it.
9 I kept this information in my head, but nobody subsequently had
10 confirmed that this had happened; and a couple of days later, I simply
11 stopped thinking about that.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe I do not have
13 any more questions. But if we were to take a break now, I would go
14 through my notes; and then if we were to come back from the break five
15 minutes earlier, I may have some other questions for him because this is a
16 very important witness. So can we move the break a bit forward before I
17 hand this witness to my learned colleagues?
18 JUDGE PARKER: Very well, Mr. Lukic. We will adjourn now for
19 lunch and resume at five minutes before 2.00.
20 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.40 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 2.00 p.m.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a clarification on two issues and
24 two questions, and I'm going to be over.
25 Q. Before the break, Mr. Vukasinovic, we were dealing with the
1 rumours that you heard. You said that you heard from your deputy, from
2 whom and when did you hear those rumours?
3 A. I said that I heard those rumours on my command post from my
4 deputy Captain Bozic, from Captain Bozic.
5 Q. Did you relate this to Mr. Sljivancanin, those rumours that you
7 A. No, I did not. I thought that this was impossible. I really took
8 those to be rumours.
9 Q. And just one more question. On that day, when you were at Ovcara,
10 and later on when you returned to the command post at Commander Mrksic's,
11 did you at any point see Captain Karanfilov?
12 A. No. I had no contacts with him, no need to contact, and I state
13 here that I was not in contact with that captain, neither at Ovcara nor at
14 the hospital. I never saw him.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I hereby confirm that
16 I've finished my examination-in-chief.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
18 Mr. Vasic.
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
20 Examination by Mr. Vasic:
21 Q. Good afternoon to everybody in the courtroom. Good afternoon, Mr.
22 Vukasinovic. I'm going to examine you on behalf of the Defence team of
23 Mr. Mrksic, and the same instruction still holds that you make a pause
24 between question and answer so that everything can be stated for the
25 record. Thank you.
1 Answering to my colleague Lukic's question, you said that on the
2 19th in the evening, Mr. Sljivancanin, at the meeting of security organs,
3 told you about the evacuation of the hospital and told you about the tasks
4 that you were about to carry out on the 20th, if I understood you
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. On that occasion, did he tell you also that the task concerning
8 the evacuation of the hospital was determined at the regular briefing at
9 the brigade commander's office, and that it elaborates further at the
10 security organs meeting?
11 A. No. Not in that sense; to wit, he did not explain who is about to
12 do what, meaning the task from that meeting. He simply stated that my
13 task was this and that.
14 Q. On that evening, did Mr. Sljivancanin tell you that persons that
15 may be separated as participants in an armed insurrection or perpetrators
16 of a crime were supposed to be taken to Sremska Mitrovica, and that that
17 was an order of the OG South, the OG South command?
18 A. He told me that my task was with regard to those separated people
19 who may be located at the hospital to be transported to the barracks, the
20 barracks of Vukovar, from where they would be sent by convoy to Sremska
21 Mitrovica. Where did he receive that information? That, I don't know.
22 Q. Thank you. In response to my colleague Lukic's question, you
23 stated that you provided a statement to the OTP on the 16th of November,
24 2002; it was signed on the 26th; isn't that correct?
25 A. That's correct.
1 Q. Thank you. Do you recall whether you stated to the OTP
2 investigators -- and that would be page 0115264. I would like to ask the
3 usher to provide the witness with a set of these statements, and I would
4 also like to bring on to the screen the English version, page 5 of 10 of
5 this, and the number is 01152269.
6 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, may I just interrupt for a moment. My
7 learned friend, Mr. Vasic, asked whether he could use the statements that
8 we had prepared before lunch, inquired before lunch about that. We didn't
9 have them. I have a set prepared with indexes; and if my learned friend
10 wants to use them, rather than me produce them now, I'm quite happy for
11 them to be given to the Defence and the Bench so that there is an element
12 of continuity.
13 I'm sorry for changing this. I just now have access to them.
14 Would that help?
15 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thanks to my learned
16 colleague from the OTP. Maybe this would be a useful for continuity
17 purposes and for the transcript, because my learned colleague is going to
18 cross-examine on the basis of the same documents.
19 Thank you for this assistance.
20 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, could I just assist my learned friend and
21 the Court and indicate just exactly the way they are structured? It's not
22 terribly difficult but it will help my friend, Mr. Vasic, who's not seen
23 it before. Might I be permitted to do that.
24 JUDGE PARKER: That would be helpful, Mr. Moore, I think.
25 MR. MOORE: If one just goes to the very front, one can see the
1 index. There are 12 tabs; it's the customary route that we take. The
2 B/C/S version, the date of the document is clearly particularised. I'm
3 sorry it's in English, not B/C/S. Number 2 is the original B/C/S for the
4 16th of November, 1998. Number 4 is the 21st of December; that's B/C/S.
5 Again, if we move down, number 6, 16th and 26th of November, 2002. Then
6 we have got number 8, 28th of November, 2003. And number 10, 16th of
7 December, 2004. And then we have the final statement at the Belgrade
8 district court, 11th of November, number 12.
9 They all, and I hope they are, in chronological order, and the
10 English are the other tabs. I hope that helps.
11 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. It was very useful, of
12 course. And given that we all have these documents before us, I would
13 like to ask the usher when I invoke a document, to have it brought in the
14 B/C/S version to e-court for the benefit of the witness, and the rest of
15 us are going to use the English version. So thank you very much.
16 Q. Let us go back to the document that I referred to previously, and
17 that would be tab 6, Mr. Vukasinovic. That would be page -- or rather,
18 paragraph 16.
19 For the benefit of the Bench and my learned colleague, so tab 5,
20 paragraph 16, on page 4 of 10 in the English version.
21 Mr. Vukasinovic, does this paragraph state that security organs in
22 the Guards Brigade had regular tasking throughout the combat activities
23 and, "among other things, our tasks included the evacuation of prisoners
24 of war from Vukovar."
25 Is it what you stated to the OTP investigators?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. In this paragraph, you mention the telegram from Aleksandar
3 Vasiljevic and the election of prisoners for an exchange; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. On that evening, did Mr. Sljivancanin say to you what the
6 transport route should be? You stated today it should take you first to
7 the barracks, and then could you explain the route from the barracks
9 A. Initially, I stated that my area of responsibility was -- rather,
10 my task, when I became commander of the command post of Negoslavci, was to
11 secure convoys. Now I'm -- what I'm referring to is that my involvement
12 was well justified in this matter, because I had the forces that dealt
13 with such tasks and that my involvement was fully justified. The basic
14 goal, as I stated already, was to separate suspects who had no place in
15 the hospital, in terms of security so that we could perform the basic task
16 and that would be the evacuation of the infirm and injured from the
17 hospital. And that was the task of the command as a whole, and the
18 command that was tasked with that will give out tasks to its component
20 And our basic duty within that structure was to take security
21 measures to carry out the basic task. Why? Because in the hospital,
22 there were indications and intelligence that a large number of HDZ
23 members, who did not want to surrender, disguised themselves as patients
24 and purported to be infirm or that they were hospital staff. And given
25 that the in the meantime, we had received information that there was
1 continued need to take measures against the groups that threatened action
2 against command posts in the rear, or some dislocated units of ours;
3 therefore, we had the task for those who did not belong to the hospital as
4 a neutral facility, to separate those so that this may not ingender
5 further problems, so that these members would not perform attacks against
6 our units or people from other units.
7 And this was the task of the security organ to perform a triage to
8 separate these from the rest of the population, to separate and transport
9 these from the hospital toward the barracks. And the 1st armoured company
10 was in charge of that, to organise a convoy at the barracks, secure the
11 column, and dispatch it towards Sremska Mitrovica. That was the gist of
12 the task that was handed to me by him and as I understood it and as I was
13 about to carry it out.
14 Q. When you were given this task that evening, did you plan the
15 number of vehicles that you needed to secure the convoy? How many patrols
16 you needed for that purpose, and why did those vehicles and patrols -- why
17 did they not form a convoy directly from the hospital towards Sremska
19 A. We had an elaborate tactics for that. It was prearranged. I did
20 that at my command post in terms of securing any sort of convoy. We had
21 two combat vehicles; one at the point, one at the rear. These were the
22 measures that we had prepared at all times.
23 Why didn't we go from hospital straight to Sremska Mitrovica?
24 Well, the hospital is a neutral facility where we had a very complex
25 situation with different categories of persons still not defined. It was
1 impossible to secure that place. And practice has borne us out that the
2 barracks should be the place where we should do that, because it was under
3 our control that, in security terms, it was -- provided the greatest level
4 of safety, that we had enough manpower at the barracks, and that we could
5 prepare everything necessary at the barracks and task somebody to organise
6 a convoy to take it to Sremska Mitrovica. And that was our basic
7 intention; to use the barracks as a place which provided us with the
8 greatest level of security at that point in time.
9 Q. Could you tell me whether you think that that security estimate,
10 with regard to the barracks, was appropriate in terms of safety of the
11 personnel, the way that you just described?
12 A. Absolutely, I agree with this statement. There was no better
13 facility that could be found in the area at that moment for those
15 Q. May I remind you - and I believe that you answered to my friend
16 Lukic's question - that two days before that, there was a number of
17 convoys departing from Vukovar; one on the 18th from the Mitnica
18 prisoners, then a convoy of civilians that was returned from Lipovac on
19 the motor way, which passed through the Ovcara hangar. Did you think that
20 the Ovcara hangar was a more secure place than the barracks at that
22 A. No, in my opinion. In the first case, it is only logical that
23 Ovcara was used because activities were taking place in that axis, and the
24 hangar was the most appropriate place. But on this axis, this would not
25 be an appropriate facility because here, along this axis, we have an
1 advance command post. You know what that is? Most of the command is put
2 in a forward position. We have a unit which has the manpower and the
3 conditions to secure any activity at the barracks, and the barracks is
4 located adjacent to the route of withdrawal and it's closest to the
6 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please.
7 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise.
8 Q. When my learned colleague Lukic asked you this question, you
9 explained what you did on the 18th of November. What I want to know is
10 whether, on the 18th of November, you actually saw Mr. Mrksic at all?
11 A. We saw each other every day because I was there, and this is a
12 very difficult question. Of course I saw had him, but I don't know at
13 what time. I don't know what you're aiming at, but I'm sure we did see
14 each other on that day.
15 Q. I'm asking you this because as far as I understand it, you did not
16 attend the regular briefings. Because Mr. Sljivancanin, who was the chief
17 of the security organ, he attended them; is that correct?
18 A. Yes. I did not attend those briefings, but I could have gone to
19 the command post. And I could have come and seen my commander and to have
20 a chat with him or perhaps to carry out a task that he would give me, so I
21 was not prohibited from going to the command post.
22 Q. You told us that on the 20th, you actually went to the command
23 post, and you explained to us what you spoke about with Mr. Mrksic, that
24 was in the afternoon of the 20th. Did you see him later on during that
25 day or not?
1 A. I saw my commander on that occasion; and later on, I did not see
2 him again. I don't know at what time my commander actually left; but
3 after this briefing, I did not see him.
4 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell me, you are given this task.
5 You come with six buses in front of the hospital, and you told us who you
6 found there in front of the hospital. Did you encounter Captain
7 Karanfilov in front of the hospital? You told us that you did not see him
8 at the barracks and at Ovcara, but did you see him there at the hospital?
9 A. In a statement, I stated that I did see him. But I have to say
10 now from this vantage point that I may have seen him, but I'm not sure
11 anymore. I stated at one point that I had seen him, but now I can no
12 longer be sure. I'm sort of undecided. I don't know whether I had seen
13 him or not. I have this feeling that I did see him, but I cannot be
14 sure. So I cannot really give you a decisive answer. As far as I can
15 recall at this point, I may have seen him but I'm not sure.
16 Q. So you may have seen him, but you're not sure.
17 A. I'm not sure.
18 Q. You assigned the soldiers from the 2nd Battalion of the military
19 police who would escort the convoy?
20 A. No. I did not assign them; I was given those soldiers. So they
21 were actually assigned to me, and they came there.
22 Q. And did you put these soldiers on to the buses, and did you tell
23 them how many soldiers per each bus, and did you instruct them what they
24 were to do?
25 A. Yes. I put the soldiers on to the buses, and I gave them their
1 task. I told them that they were supposed to secure the people who were
2 loaded on to the bus, to assign places to them on the bus, and we
3 basically decided who would do what.
4 Q. And while you were there in front of the hospital, did those
5 soldiers, were they on the buses all the time, or were they also in the
6 hospital compound? Do you remember that?
7 A. The soldiers were on the buses at all times, and they could get
8 off only when I told them to. They sat in the front seats on all the
10 Q. You told us that you had first filled three buses and that then
11 you had taken those three buses to the barracks. Did you get the task
12 from Mr. Sljivancanin to head towards the barracks with those three buses?
13 A. No. As I stated in my statement, I decided to take the buses
14 there because in the meantime, there was no need for them to just stand
15 there. This whole area was rather narrow, and I decided to move the first
16 group towards their destination, which was the barracks, in order to have
17 more manoeuvreing space and space for the activities that were to follow,
18 the evacuation of the sick and wounded. So I decided to move them from
19 there. That was my decision.
20 Q. I would now like you to look at the statement that you had given
21 to the military court, that would be at tab 4, or 3 for my learned
22 colleagues and Your Honours.
23 I'm interested in page 3 in B/C/S and the English that would
24 be ...
25 MR. MOORE: To assist my learned friend, to assist my learned
1 friend, what I have done with the English is -- and I think the Court
2 should have it. You should have the B/C/S page number on the English.
3 Therefore, if my learned friend calls out the B/C/S number, we will be
4 able to see which English page it is.
5 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] So that would be page 3 in English,
6 too. This is the second paragraph.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have it in English.
8 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] That's at tab 4. The B/C/S version is
9 at tab 4 and the page is page 3, second paragraph.
10 Q. It says here -- I mean you say, "First, I transported one group of
11 150 people from the hospital in Vukovar to the Vukovar barracks around
12 1000 hours, pursuant to the order issued by Major Sljivancanin."
13 Do you remember stating that to the investigating judge of the
14 military court?
15 A. Yes, I do remember that.
16 Q. So this group, was it transported there on the orders of Mr.
17 Sljivancanin in accordance with what -- the conversation that you had had
18 in the evening of the 19th regarding the evacuation of the hospital?
19 A. Well, this was a task that was given in the evening of the 19th,
20 so this sentence probably relates to this. This, of course, would also
21 depend on the actual question that the investigating judge asked me; but
22 if you insist, this is generally true. But in terms of who actually took
23 this decision, in that specific instance, I made this decision to do so.
24 Q. Can you please tell me how long were you in the hospital? So from
25 the moment when you arrived there with six buses until the moment where
1 the three buses were full of people and you headed out towards the
3 A. Well, I guess that it took until 3.00 at the barracks. So we
4 spent there about three hours and then the first group headed out. That's
5 my guess, three hours, three and a half hours, thereabouts. And from my
6 command post, I headed out at around 6.00. So that all told, I think I
7 can see -- I think that it may have been around 10.00 that we actually
8 arrived at the barracks, as I stated in my statement.
9 Q. And can you tell us what you did in those four hours? So
10 actually, if you headed out at 6.00 from Negoslavci, it would take you
11 about 45 minutes to get there; is that correct?
12 A. Yes, that's correct.
13 Q. So what did you actually do, you and your soldiers you, who there
14 on and around the buses, in the three hours and 15 minutes?
15 A. Well, we were waiting for all the activities to be completed; the
16 triage, the searches. It takes a long time for all of that to be done. A
17 certain time is needed to do that, to separate those people. And we
18 simply stood there and waited for those people to be ready.
19 It's a very serious situation to carry out a search of such a
20 person. There is a special methodology. And when you're dealing with a
21 hospital, when you have people that are sick, who are wounded, I guess
22 that this time was taken to actually carry out all those activities. And
23 I was simply waiting for them to be ready for me to take them on, for all
24 those activities to be completed.
25 Q. When you took on those persons, when they were ready to be handed
1 over to you, did this mean that triage was over, or did the triage
2 continue while you were travelling on the buses?
3 A. The triage was over in terms of the separation of people within
4 the hospital. But in terms of the identification of those people and any
5 further analysis, this was to be done in Sremska Mitrovica. But as far as
6 our part of the task was concerned, that was over and done with.
7 Q. Now let me make this clear: Does this relate to all the people
8 that were supposed to be triaged at the hospital or just the group that
9 you had taken away?
10 A. This concerned also the other group. So the triage was to be over
11 for me to be able to take them all to the barracks, and then their
12 identification and interviews would be carried out at Sremska Mitrovica.
13 Our service had intelligence on those groups and individuals, and probably
14 their status would be decided there; who would be held there and who would
15 be released. This was not something that we had the power to do.
16 Q. So if the whole group was triaged, why did you then not take all
17 the five or six buses on, if the whole group had already been dealt with?
18 Is there any particular reason for that?
19 A. There was no reason. There simply were no conditions to do that.
20 The first group was over, and the second group was in the process of being
21 processed. And I didn't want to wait for the second group to be over, so
22 that was simply the only reason. I just wanted to move these people out
23 so that they don't cause any irritation. Because as the day progressed,
24 there would probably be even worse problems if you had all the six buses
25 full of people just standing there.
1 I think it would have interfered with the evacuation of the sick
2 and wounded, because it was a very narrow area. For this reason, I simply
3 told myself, "Well, this a part it over now. Let's take these people now
4 to the barracks," and I assumed that the second group would be smaller.
5 And it turned out to have been the case, and I think it was not a mistake
6 to do that. One could do either this or that, and I decided to do what I
7 actually did.
8 Q. After you went to the barracks - and this is what you said to
9 Captain Predojevic who was surprised at first, but then you explained to
10 him what he would do and how he should go about securing the buses - do
11 you know whether Captain Predojevic had informed Mr. Lukic, the barracks
12 commander, about that? I think his rank was major.
13 A. I personally didn't know if that was the case, but Captain
14 Predojevic was duty-bound to secure the people who had come to his
15 barracks. That was -- the barracks was his responsibility.
16 Q. While you were in the barracks with the three buses, who actually
17 secured the people who were on the process of triage and who were being
18 put on the remaining buses at the hospital? So who was securing these
19 people at the hospital?
20 A. There were two police officers per bus. We had the unit that was
21 securing the hospital. So there were no problems, in fact, that would
22 have affected the security of the these people. And after all, this was a
23 very short time, because I came back within an hour, an hour and a half.
24 Q. Can you tell us, do you know who authorised this group - you said
25 that there were TO members - to actually get into the barracks compound?
1 Did the barracks not have its own secured, the guards?
2 A. Well, this is the question that should be answered by the barracks
3 commander. I could not give you an answer to that, because it is the
4 responsibility of the barracks commander; the functioning of all the
5 relevant organs within his barracks. The barracks had its organs, and
6 that is a fact; and of course it -- its fence, it has to have a fence.
7 But the fence was quite badly damaged, and the soldiers were assigned
8 according to the assessment of the commander.
9 You didn't have enough soldiers to actually close off all the
10 entry points. And the organs that were assigned to those tasks probably
11 did not do their job properly, and they could not prevent the TO members
12 from actually entering the barracks compound. This is something that is
13 within the responsibility of the barracks commander.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for counsel, please.
15 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. You ordered Mr. Predojevic to use his forces to expel the TO
17 members and establish order in the barracks, and you did that -- he did
18 that; right?
19 A. Yes. First, I ordered him to see to it that the buses couldn't be
20 opened or anybody -- so that nobody would be able to go on the buses or
21 for the bus doors to be opened. In principle, that was his basic task.
22 Later, with other forces - and this is something that I didn't
23 actually order him. It was his commander, Susic, who did that - but the
24 second order was for them to remove these people from the barracks. My
25 basic purpose was to protect the people, and that is what I insisted on.
1 Q. How do you know that it was Susic that ordered Predojevic to carry
2 out this action of removing these people? When did you find that out?
3 A. I found that out in talking with my colleagues. Well, you know,
4 you cannot be a witness without asking people anything or without having
5 any documents. Actually, what jogged my memory was when I received some
6 documents. After so many years have passed, you cannot remember all the
7 details. So in these talks, we actually found out who did what, and I
8 found out that this part of the task was executed by him.
9 Q. When did you find that out, can you say that?
10 THE INTERPRETER: Excuse me. The interpreter did not hear the
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Your answer has not been recorded.
14 A. Before the Belgrade Ovcara.
15 Q. If I tell you that Mr. Susic, at that time, was not Captain
16 Predojevic's superior, when such an assertion would actually be pointless?
17 A. I don't understand your question at all. What do you mean he was
18 not his superior? Before my testifying in the Belgrade Ovcara case, 2003.
19 Q. If I tell you that this time, that we are talking about the 20th
20 of November, the 2nd Company, captain of the 1st Battalion of the military
21 police, Captain Predojevic's unit; in other words, had been attached to
22 the 2nd Assault Detachment and was under the command of the -- its
23 commander, Major Lukic. Of course this does refresh your memory.
24 Actually, you will tell me that that was the way it was; right?
25 A. Well, now it is quite clear now. You are asking me things that
1 were not within my remit. Why he returned to his former -- or just
2 happened to be there with his superior, now that is a question of their
3 relationship. This is something I have no way of knowing, and I have no
4 way of influencing any relation of theirs; Predojevic and Susic, that is.
5 Q. And who told you that Predojevic actually approached Susic? Where
6 did you get that information from?
7 A. I told you. After the first two statements that we have given;
8 one to the security administration, the other to the military court, we
9 saw that some things needed -- that we needed to refresh our memories
10 about some things. And so in so doing, we actually talked about some of
11 these activities, because one has no way of knowing or remembering
12 everything. So we talked amongst ourselves, as interlocutors, as
13 collaborators, as friends. And these days, not these days, but before the
14 Belgrade Ovcara case, which was sometime in the summer of 2003, that was
15 when we did that.
16 Q. Do you know whether the Chief of Staff, Miodrag Panic, had ordered
17 Captain Predojevic to secure the buses and not to let anyone near the
18 buses? Do you know anything about that?
19 A. No.
20 Q. And did you see the Chief of Staff, Miodrag Panic, then, at the
21 barracks at the time when those buses were there and when the members of
22 the TO were around the buses?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Thank you. Do you recall that in 2005, I suppose after these
25 consultations that you have just described, in your testimony in the case
1 of the accused Sasa Radak on the 11th of November, 2005. This is binder
2 12 and the tab number in the English is 11, the page being 8/24 in the
3 B/C/S. In English, the page is -- please bear with me, I need a little
4 time to find the English.
5 MR. MOORE: If my learned friend tells the page number top
6 right-hand corner of the B/C/S, we can find it on the English.
7 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] 06042901. Thank you.
8 Q. Sir, would you look at the last paragraph. You are referring to
9 the barracks, and you say there the worse situation was in the barracks;
10 probably that first meeting with the rivals, when they recognised them and
11 that one killed my father, one killed my so and so, and so on.
12 Is this conclusion, which you adduced at the trial in Belgrade, is
13 this a product of the exchange of information that you referred to a while
14 ago; this exchange with your colleagues, who had been at Vukovar in the
15 time under review, or was this purely your own judgement?
16 A. No. Namely, this is solely my own position; my own view of the
17 situation that obtained. And when I said pulling out of these 20, that
18 was even worse because they thought that I meant that we would be
19 liberating them. And that is why they were all the more aggressive and
20 all the more angry with me, and that is what accounted for their conduct.
21 This is the way I saw the situation myself. This is my position.
22 Q. According to your position, the situation in the barracks was
23 worse than at the hospital and later at Ovcara, was that your conclusion?
24 A. No. The worst situation was at Ovcara. At the hospital, there
25 were no problems. There were problems in the barracks; but in the
1 barracks, no one sustained any blows, except for us who were transferring
2 these people, but these were mere slaps, more or less. But the worst,
3 most difficult situation was at Ovcara. There, there were problems that I
4 couldn't take care of, because I wasn't there. But once I got there, I
5 could see what kind of problems they had, because I could see it on the
6 peoples' faces, from the way the people looked.
7 Q. But why then did you say that the worst situation was in the
8 barracks? You did not say that the worst situation was at Ovcara?
9 A. Now I'm stating officially, before this Court, that the worst
10 situation was there, and perhaps that was a slip of the tongue before.
11 I'm now answering your question in this way.
12 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, are you certain that you were issued a task that
13 evening by Major Sljivancanin to first take the people to the barracks,
14 and then to set up this convoy to transport them to Sremska Mitrovica?
15 According to testimonies that we have heard here, this decision
16 crystalised only the following morning; namely, that the convoy should
17 first be dispatched to the barracks.
18 Does this change anything in your recollection, or do you still
19 adhere to your version of how events unfolded?
20 A. I am not changing anything. The task which I was given was such,
21 and I don't see any other position. Namely, that was my position, that
22 was my task, that is what I was issued. All these assumptions and
23 thoughts are something that is alien to me.
24 Q. What was the security of this convoy to be, according to your
25 plans, and how did you propose to make lists of these people that were
1 going to Sremska Mitrovica?
2 A. What I did not do -- let me retell you this. Some others
3 prevented me from doing that. Now, who these others were, that is
4 something they change the course of my action.
5 Q. No. No, I asked you when? When were you supposed to make these
7 A. Well, the --
8 THE INTERPRETER: Will the witness and counsel please not overlap
9 because the interpreter is not able to follow.
10 A. There were two combat vehicles; one heading the column, the other
11 at the end of the column. There was traffic patrol to regulate, traffic
12 on the road, according to our methods by intervening in front of the
13 column when needed and so on. Now, when it comes to lists, I had foreseen
14 that the lists should be prepared, drawn up in the barracks.
15 However, that being impossible, given the technology and the
16 regulations that we had to observe; namely, lists can be drawn up either
17 in the barracks or on the move. But once we arrive at our destination,
18 Sremska Mitrovica, lists had to be drawn up and persons delivered
19 according to a list. Now, it is not written anywhere where responsible
20 people would be drawing up those lists. They can do so whilst moving at
21 the start of the journey; but at end, they have to deliver the persons
22 according to the list.
23 Q. That was my question. I assumed that at a certain point, it had
24 been envisaged that a list so being transported would have to be drawn up,
25 because it would be quite unnatural to actually lead these people without
1 a list; right?
2 A. Of course, lists needed to be drawn up, so that we would know what
3 was being handed over and what was being taken over. That's not where the
4 problem lay.
5 Q. Do you know that such lists were also drawn up when the Mitnica
6 group was taken -- handed over, which departed on the 19th in the morning?
7 A. Yes. I know that that was so, and I know their exact number.
8 Namely, under conditions which are normal and securing such actions, these
9 are things which one could not skip over. That is a normal activity in
10 such circumstances.
11 Q. Thank you. Tell me, when you were given the task to separate off
12 some persons in the barracks and return them to the hospital, how did you
13 plan to secure the buses which remained in the barracks? Who did you put
14 in charge of controlling -- of ensuring the security of those buses which
15 would remain in the barracks until you returned?
16 A. That task was Captain Predojevic's task. From the very outset
17 until the end, that was his obligation. And when there is the military
18 police there and it is our facility and our structures, they know what
19 these steps and measures and activities that they need to take are. There
20 is no need to issue any specific instructions to that effected. So in my
21 book, that was a solved problem.
22 Q. Tell me, on arrival at the barracks -- sorry, on arrival at the
23 hospital, were two loaded buses there waiting for you, and were they
24 awaiting for a decision on your part to set off towards the barracks? In
25 other words, why didn't they go to the barracks on their own before that?
1 A. So persons boarded the buses; they were on the buses. They had to
2 wait for me. I was the responsible person. No other person could have
3 taken them to the barracks. They had to wait for me. My soldiers knew
4 that, those who are under my command, and they waited for me to arrive.
5 Q. You said --
6 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Page 77, row 18. He said that my
8 soldiers knew that temporarily, "my soldiers," and the interpretation in
9 the transcript is something different.
10 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Tell me, Mr. Vukasinovic, how long did you take from reaching the
12 barracks with the first three buses until the other three buses arrived at
13 the barracks? Can you recall how much time elapsed until the entirety of
14 the convoy reached the barracks?
15 A. That -- the problem is that the whole convoy never reached the
16 barracks. I said that I reached the barracks around 10.00, then I had to
17 carry out the subsequently given to me task, which took me around one
18 hour, then I went back to the hospital.
19 I presume that I set out from the hospital around 12.30, 1.00
20 p.m., around that time. I'm certain it wasn't before 1.00, so around 1.00
21 p.m. I presume that that was the time. As I already stated, it's very
22 difficult for me to pinpoint the exact time. But gauging by certain
23 activities that I had to carry out, I presume I must have been there for
24 an hour, an hour and a half.
25 Q. If the buses that were already at the hospital site were already
1 filled with people, what did you spend this one, one and a half hours on,
2 while waiting for them to start, to set off?
3 A. I said that. I'm not sure whether you listened to me. 20 people
4 had to be released and to say to them, "You are free to go," but it wasn't
5 down to somebody saying to them that. I was there listening to
6 conversations conducted by Major Sljivancanin on a case-by-case basis, so
7 at least one hour was spent that or even more. It wasn't as simple as it
8 may look now.
9 Q. When did you reach Ovcara, approximately, please? Could you tell
11 A. In my previous statements, I put that around 1.30, 1.00, 1.30
12 p.m., on average that would be the time that I specified. I believe it
13 may vary, but not much; around 1.30 p.m.
14 Q. In your statement to the OTP investigators, do you recall - if
15 not, we may consult your statement - you said that you saw Chief of Staff
16 Miodrag Panic, and you said that you thought he left Ovcara at around
17 1.00, which means that you had to arrive earlier than that?
18 A. Yes. These are approximate time indications. I did not invent
19 him. He had to be there when I arrived. I'm very difficult to pinpoint
20 the exact time, but he was there when I arrived. And this is for certain,
21 and this is true, and I believe that your [as interpreted] witness may
22 have confirmed that or not, I cannot really say. But what I can testify
23 to is that I encountered him there, and that is the truth.
24 Q. You said that maybe the witness would have confirmed, but this is
25 not my witness.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could we ask counsel and witness not to overlap.
2 Interpreter's note.
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] To explain for the transcript, the
4 witness said: Whether another witness confirmed that or not, he did not
6 But in the transcript, page 79, line 12, it says that "your
7 witness," whereas the witness never used the pronoun "your."
8 Q. Please tell me, how long did Chief of Staff Miodrag Panic stay at
9 Ovcara while you were there? Obviously, he had arrived prior to your
11 A. I don't know when he arrived. But after I approached him, to the
12 effect that what was going on and why were you here, he answered and he
13 immediately left after one minute's conversation with me. I approached
14 him, of course.
15 Q. Thank you. Let us take your statement to the OTP, tab 6 of the
16 B/C/S version and tab 5 for the English version. And if you could please
17 find paragraph 35. Have you managed to locate it?
18 A. Yes. Yes.
19 Q. The same page is in English. It says here:
20 "The POWs that are brought to Ovcara were placed in the hangar in
21 my presence; and on that occasion, no one was physically abused or
22 harassed. I do not know whether this was the case with the previous
23 group, because I was not present then. I think that all those placed in
24 the hangar were supposed to stay there one day at the most, in order to do
25 some checking and then to be transported to Sid or Sremska Mitrovica. As
1 it had been done previously with those who were captured and detained at
3 You stated that to the OTP's investigators; is that correct?
4 Could you, for the benefit of the transcript, say something?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. On the basis of what, did you ascertain that they had to stay
7 there for one day for verification or checking purposes and that they were
8 supposed to be sent to Sremska Mitrovica, as had been done with the
9 previous group that had been located and lodged at Ovcara?
10 A. I cannot recall the question put to me, but this is my personal
11 thinking. When weighing everything, I presumed that the change of
12 direction or destination had to have some reason and the same way that we
13 kept the Mitnica group overnight, that we -- this would be the case in --
14 if it had started being wintertime, dusk fell very early.
15 And this was my thinking that we had a large hangar to accommodate
16 those people, and my thinking was that they had to spend the night there.
17 And they would set off in the morning, presuming that the methodology of
18 processing of these people would be the same as in the case of the
19 previous group.
20 Q. And the group that had already entered the hangar were guarded by
21 the military police of the 80th Motorised Brigade; is that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. They were doing so in the same way that they did in the case of
24 the previous group from Mitnica on the days 18th to the 19th of November?
25 A. Probably, yes.
1 Q. Is it known to you, what was the area of responsibility of the
2 80th Motorised Brigade?
3 A. No, I couldn't know. But roughly, judging by where they were
4 located, maybe Ovcara and the wider area. But that was determined by the
5 commander of the OG South through his decisions and orders, and it could
6 be ascertained there. It is not up to me to comment on the area of
7 responsibility of the 80th Motorised Brigade.
8 Q. Could you agree with me that you interpreted that when you were --
9 testified at the Belgrade district court on the 11th of November? Would
10 you like me to confront you with that?
11 A. I did not draw up the demarcation lines between zones of
12 responsibility. If you mean that, I did not know that. But if the
13 command was at Ovcara, probably Ovcara was within their area of
14 responsibility. But now the question is the scope of their area of
15 responsibility, at what -- at any rate, where the command is located, that
16 is probably within its area of responsibility.
17 Q. Would it be normal that some -- a unit would guard prisoners of
18 war within the area of responsibility of that unit?
19 A. Of course, this would be one of the main tasks. They had a unit
20 of military police that was tasked to carry out such activities.
21 Q. Could you please tell me, given that you stated that you had not
22 seen Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic or that you didn't know him, does that
23 mean that -- or rather, did you see any officer around the hangar at
24 Ovcara or within the hangar, apart from Lieutenant-Colonel Panic at the
25 time when you arrived?
1 A. I did not see Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic. I can state that with
2 full responsibility. I said in my statement that there was a captain
3 there at the time of my arrival. Whether that captain was the one
4 mentioned, Captain Vezmarevic, it doesn't mean anything to me. I saw a
5 captain there and nobody else, in terms of officers.
6 Q. In accordance with your testimony, you, together with that
7 captain, managed to introduce some order at the Ovcara hangar; is that
9 A. I introduced order at the hangar thanks to the Commander Vujovic.
10 He is more to be credited with that than anybody else, and of course his
11 men and the soldiers that were there.
12 Q. When order had been established at Ovcara, was any security detail
13 of the hangar set up, and where were the POWs at that time? Could you
14 tell us, please.
15 A. We had problems with POWs and people separated from the general
16 population. I believe that the prisoners of war is too harsh a term; but
17 if you say it so, they, and nobody else, were contained in the hangar.
18 The hangar was closed. We had the 80th Brigade military policemen in
19 front. There was security detailed in front of the hangar and around it,
20 and they were tasked with securing the hangar.
21 After all that had been put in place, I insisted that they take
22 their posts and to secure the people inside and to prevent all other
23 personnel from entering the hangar. This was their task throughout, and I
24 just reminded them that they had this task which they had to carry out
25 before the status of these people within is resolved.
1 Q. Did they have enough manpower to do so, or did they ask for
2 reinforcement from you?
3 A. They did not ask any troops from me. They had enough manpower to
4 secure that hangar. They had a company of military policemen with three
5 platoons. A company is 100 troops strong. These were military police in
6 national -- doing their national service, and converted into reserve.
7 They had been mobilised. They were experienced men who could carry out
8 this task with no problems.
9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, would it be the right
10 time to take a break?
11 JUDGE PARKER: We could, Mr. Vasic, if that would be convenient to
12 you or we could go on until half past.
13 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Maybe it would be convenient to take
14 the break now, if possible, but I will of course be guided by your
16 JUDGE PARKER: We will adjourn now, Mr. Vasic, and resume at a
17 quarter to.
18 --- Recess taken at 3.22 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 3.50 p.m.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
21 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, can I just indicate one small matter?
22 I've spoken to my learned friend Mr. Borovic and his learned colleagues.
23 There is an issue to be raised in respect of Witness 002. That might take
24 a little bit of time and I wonder if it is possible after
25 cross-examination today, which I believe will finish close to 5.00 or the
1 witching hour, which is 5.00, which the matter could be raised then, at
2 the end of the day.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Do we know anything of this, Mr. Moore or is
4 this ...
5 MR. MOORE: Well, I think the curtain will be raised at -- it's
6 just to assist the Court. It's to do about the notebook, the location of
7 the notebook, the translation of the book of 002. And I think it's a case
8 of looking for judicial guidance in relation to what the Defence require
9 done. And if it's going to be done, it should be started now.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Well, Mr. Moore, we will see how the evidence
11 progresses, and you think it will take five minutes or more?
12 MR. MOORE: It's Mr. Borovic, Your Honour. I would think at least
13 ten or 15.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Five. Thank you, Mr. Moore.
15 I think Mr. Borovic owes you one now.
16 Yes, Mr. Vasic.
17 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Perhaps I can
18 make things easier, because I'm nearing the end of my examination. So
19 there will be enough time for my learned colleagues to pursue this matter.
20 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, I would like to clarify one matter. In the
21 cross-examination, I've already asked you about a portion of your
22 statement relating to the persons that you had brought to Ovcara yourself.
23 Did you see that these persons that you had brought in, in the three
24 buses, as you described to us, had been abused or mistreated or beaten by
1 A. No. They were not beaten because I had taken measures; in other
2 words, I placed my soldiers in front of the hangar and they formed the
3 gauntlet, so they could not run into the hangar and beat people. And that
4 is how actually they went into the hangar.
5 Q. Do you know whether, in the course of the Vukovar operations, that
6 the -- whether the soldiers were warned about the rules of international
7 law, whether in the case that they are taken captive or if they capture
8 any enemy soldiers?
9 A. Yes. I think that an order to this effect was issued by the
10 commander of the OG South. There was some guidelines and some orders from
11 the 1st Military District; and we, as professional soldiers, had the right
12 and the duty to train our soldiers and to teach them about combat
13 activities and about the conduct -- the compliance with the Geneva
14 Conventions, the laws and customs of wars so that conscripts and
15 professional soldiers in our unit, the Guards Brigade, before they went
16 into combat, had been fully briefed about this. And they were aware of
17 their rights in case of capture, and also what they had to do if they
18 captured any enemy soldiers.
19 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vukasinovic. I have another question for you. I
20 would now like you to take this binder and to open it at tab 10, that
21 would be tab 9 in English. That's page 15 in the B/C/S version; and in
22 English, that would be page 11.
23 Were you able to find this, Mr. Vukasinovic?
24 A. Page 15.
25 Q. Yes, page 15. In fact, this is an answer that you provided to a
1 question asked by the presiding judge, what you did after you left
2 Ovcara. This is what this is all about and you say, as follows:
3 "So order was imposed; and it was all, you know, order was
4 instilled. They went through some phases. They even laughed at times.
5 Sometimes, as they say, something came over them, they would become
6 extremely aggressive and so on. But in essence, we somehow managed to
7 calm that down."
8 "After that, when I was done with all that, I went to my command
9 post. Of course after the short break when I had lunch and so on, I went
10 to the command. It was about 5.00, half past 5.00 in the afternoon, to
11 see whether Sljivancanin was there and to simply brief him to see what the
12 story was, why the people were there, and to tell him what the situation
13 was. I arrived there to the operations room, the colonel, or rather, the
14 then Major Sljivancanin was not there. The commander was there," and then
15 you say what you told Mrksic.
16 This is what you stated before the Belgrade court in the Ovcara
18 A. Yes.
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mr. Vukasinovic, I have no
20 further questions for you. Thank you very much for your answers.
21 Your Honours, this completes my cross-examination.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic.
23 Yes, Mr. Borovic.
24 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Examination by Mr. Borovic:
1 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Vukasinovic?
2 A. Good afternoon.
3 Q. Do you know Captain Miroslav Radic?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Thank you. On the 20th of November, 1991, when you took those
6 people on to the buses, did Captain Miroslav Radic assist you in any way,
7 or did he in any way participate in that activity?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Thank you. You gave a statement to the OTP stating who was
10 present in the hospital compound on the 20th and you repeated that, and
11 you said that you had not seen him at all there on the 20th of November,
12 1991; is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Thank you. When you brought the 20 people back to the hospital,
15 according to this list, and you described in detail how you went from bus
16 to bus and read out the names and counted the people, did Captain Miroslav
17 Radic participate in those activities in any way whatsoever?
18 A. He did not.
19 Q. Does it mean that you actually never ever saw him in the barracks
20 on that day?
21 A. Yes.
22 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 Your Honour, this completes my cross-examination -- I'm sorry, if
24 I may just have one question.
25 Q. Did you ever go to Captain Radic's observation post during the
1 events in Vukovar?
2 A. Never.
3 Q. Does it mean that you actually don't know any of his soldiers?
4 A. Yes, that's what it means.
5 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I'm done now.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Borovic.
7 Mr. Moore.
8 Cross-examination by Mr. Moore:
9 Q. We have heard Mr. Sljivancanin being described so tall, so brave,
10 so handsome. He had a moustache on the 20th, did you?
11 A. No.
12 Q. You have spoken to a number of people, various institutions asking
13 about your participation at this incident. And it would be right to
14 say - you've now got the file in front of you - that the first time that
15 certainly we are aware of you being spoken to was the 16th of November,
16 1998; is that correct? Was that the first occasion?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And you were summoned, the date given, is the 16th of November,
19 1998. Again, do you agree with that?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. You clearly must have been concerned about -- not for guilt or any
22 reason like that, of course, but you must have been concerned about giving
23 a statement in relation to this matter. It's not a pleasant experience,
24 is it?
25 A. Of course.
1 Q. And without putting too fine a point on it, there are many people
2 who have expressed the view that you are a man that should have been
3 indicted for offences here in Ovcara. You are aware of that, aren't you?
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I have to disagree with this question,
5 Your Honour.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think that this question is, in
8 fact, some form of pressure, and I can't see what this conclusion by Mr.
9 Moore is based on, what facts. And I think the least Mr. Moore can say,
10 is to tell the witness, Mr. Vukasinovic, who is that person who thought
11 that he should be indicted. I think that this is really unfair to put
12 this kind of question to the witness.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
14 MR. MOORE:
15 Q. I'm suggesting that you have been interviewed on several occasions
16 about your participation; isn't that right? And you have been cautioned;
17 is that not right?
18 A. I don't know what kind of caution you're talking about. I gave a
19 number of statements, and I don't know what kind of caution you're now
20 insisting on.
21 Q. Well, why don't we look at the first statement that you were asked
22 to give, shall we? It's clear it is in relation to giving necessary
23 information in respect of Mr. Sljivancanin, Mr. Mrksic, Mr. Radic for
24 several crimes against civilians, war prisoners. So you were summoned in
25 relation to that, isn't that right?
1 It's tab 2, for you, the very first one that you made. Just go to
2 tab 2. So this is a statement, isn't it, you're being asked about this
3 particular matter. Isn't that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, what did you think the purpose of giving this statement was?
6 It certainly says "information." I don't dispute that in any way, but what
7 did you think the purpose was?
8 A. The purpose of my statement is that I, as a witness, might
9 contribute with my evidence about the events that I saw, in order to
10 assign responsibility to the responsible persons for this incident, as you
11 termed it; in other words, to give evidence about the places that I was
12 and things that I saw.
13 Q. Would it be right to say that when it came to be discovered that
14 there had been mass murder at Ovcara, for a group of people that you had
15 had responsibility for, that you were understandably concerned?
16 A. I am concerned. I am worried, but I do not feel in any way
17 responsible, and I am not responsible.
18 Q. Well, I'm not asking about that now. I'm asking about 1998. Here
19 you are the first time. You're going before a court to give your version;
20 that is correct, isn't it?
21 A. That is correct.
22 Q. And it was perfectly clear that it was important that you were
23 accurate and truthful; isn't that right?
24 A. Correct testimony, on the basis of my recollection.
25 Q. Well, this is the first in time, and we know that you have made
1 statements through to 2005. Unless your mind is like fine wine, minds
2 tend not to improve with age, do they? This is your first account; that
3 is right, isn't it?
4 A. Yes, this is the first account.
5 Q. Shall we just go through the account that you gave? I will read
6 it out in English, it's a short version, we can do it perhaps with this
7 but not perhaps with others. "Sometimes in the evening of November the
8 18th," can I suggest you later on in other interview accept that that's
9 the wrong date. It should be the 19th, but:
10 "Sometimes in the evening on November the 18th, after Vukovar had
11 been liberated, Major Sljivancanin ordered me to organise evacuation of
12 people from hospital to the barracks in Vukovar on November the 19th,
14 Now, I think you accept and you have accepted in the past you're
15 one day out here.
16 "I came with three buses in front of the hospital at Vukovar at
17 6.00 in the morning on November the 16th, 1991. And the people had
18 already been ready for evacuation. I took around 150 persons in the three
19 buses in the first shift and drove them to Vukovar barracks. After I had
20 arrived to Vukovar barracks, I determined that military police company
21 commanded by late Captain Predojevic, Milan, was providing security. I
22 ordered him to secure all the persons in the buses.
23 "There were 30 or 40 armed men, Vukovar TO members at the
24 barracks. They were rushing at the bus and asking me for permission to
25 take out some of the persons and deal with them immediately. I did not
1 allow that, and I ordered late Captain Predojevic to secure buses with
2 military police and not to let anyone either open the bus door or go in or
4 "Then I returned again with two empty buses to Vukovar Hospital,
5 took the remaining 100 persons and left for Vukovar barracks. No lists
6 were made while we were getting on -- while they were getting on. When I
7 came to Vukovar barracks, I noticed that there were neither buses nor
8 persons from the first shift I had left there. Late Captain Predojevic
9 informed me that named persons transfer had been organised in buses with
10 police security to Ovcara.
11 "I continued towards Ovcara with the buses and persons on them;
12 and when I came there, I found all 150 persons in a hangar where I also
13 put the remaining 100. Then I noticed an armed paramilitary group of
14 people, among whom I recognised Stanko Vujanovic and Miroljub Vujovic. I
15 noticed that they were rather loud, and that they verbally threatened the
16 civilians in the hangar."
17 "Around 1800 hours the same day, I returned to the command place
18 and informed Colonel Mrksic on behaviour of the named group. On that
19 occasion, I expressed my suspicion that behaving in that way, they could
20 endanger the civilians in the hangar. Colonel Mrksic ordered me and Major
21 Sljivancanin to go back and determine on the spot what was going on. That
22 was around 2200 hours. After we came to the spot, we determined that
23 everything was calm. We found Miroljub Vujovic there with some of his
24 people who were not making troubles.
25 "After some 30 minutes of talk to them, we came back to the
1 command and referred to the commander on the situation found. I am not
2 familiar with the further course of events. The following day, on
3 November 20th, we found out that all the persons in Ovcara had disappeared
4 during the night, and their destiny was unknown. I categorically declare
5 that no JNA member took part in killings of the imprisoned civilians. I
6 have nothing further to say. All my words have been included in this
7 statement. I have dictated its contents, and I signed it without any
9 Well, can I deal now with several aspects of this statement. If
10 we deal with the second page, here, as indeed you have told this Court,
11 you say that you inform Colonel Mrksic about the behaviour and your
12 concern and in consequence thereof, my words, "Mrksic ordered me and Major
13 Sljivancanin to go back and determine on the spot what was going on, and
14 that was around 2200 hours."
15 Well, now, your evidence here, there has been no suggestion at all
16 about Sljivancanin going to Ovcara after you had seen the abuse of the
17 prisoners; that is right, isn't it?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Can I take it that you most certainly will have seen these
20 statements from Mr. Lukic before you came in to give evidence? I don't
21 want you to be caught unawares in any way. Have you seen this statement?
22 You've been here one week. Have you seen this statement before coming
23 into court?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And would it be right to say that the other statements that I will
1 go through in part, you have also seen?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. So I'm asking you questions, presumably, that you knew you would
4 be asked. So I ask it again: Here you are, you have got persons in
5 danger at Ovcara. Subsequently -- consequently, you speak to Mrksic and
6 again consequently, you and Sljivancanin at Mrksic's request go to Ovcara.
7 Now, that is 1998. It is seven years after the event. Today is
8 15 years after the event. How is it that you have got this wrong in 1998,
9 but have got it right in 2006? Is it a case of hearing from somebody
10 else, or is your memory improved?
11 A. Recollection can be improved, but it is not possible to hear about
12 those things from others. So I stated that I had moved the time, both in
13 terms of the actual hour and date, to some extent. But the thing is when
14 I gave those statements, I simply -- that's how I recollected events. And
15 I simply telescoped the events of the 19th and the 20th into a single day.
16 Then later on when I discussed this with my colleagues and when I
17 looked at my war log, I realised that there was a day missing. The
18 activities -- one day of activities, and that's when I realised that --
19 that the days were not really correct, and that the dates were not correct
20 and nor that I was twice at Ovcara with Major Sljivancanin, that was on
21 the 18th and the 19th.
22 I was not there on the 20th. This is what I determined at a later
23 stage when I checked the war log and when it said -- where it says that it
24 was the 20th. And then I recall that on the 19th, when I visited those
25 areas, I realised that I had got the two days mixed up and -- because
1 people were brought back from Zupanja, and there were cars there and the
2 people from the hospital.
3 So in my head, I thought that it was all on the 19th, and that is
4 why I said that we had gone up there to see what was happening. That is
5 how I recollected the events at the time, and this is what I stated at the
7 Q. The dates are irrelevant. It is the incidents that are relevant.
8 Because the way your statement is structured, it is a consequence of the
9 actions towards the prisoners that caused you to go and see Mrksic. That
10 is correct, isn't it?
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. So when you are referring, in this statement, to saying about: "I
13 expressed my suspicion that behaving in that way could endanger the
14 civilians," it is the behaviour that is causing you to go to see Mrksic.
15 That is correct, isn't it?
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. And it is a consequence of that that Mrksic sends you and
18 Sljivancanin to see whether matters are still going on, the phrase
19 is: "To go back and determine on the spot what was going on."
20 It's got nothing to do with vehicles. It's got nothing to do with
21 diesels. It's to do with people who are being beaten. That's right,
22 isn't it?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. So in actual fact, if one is dealing with recollection, this is
25 your recollection unadulterated by other people's input. That is correct,
1 isn't it?
2 A. My recollection has not changed as to the events, that's for sure,
3 the main event concerning the people at the hangar. But I inserted into
4 my memory the recollection of the people, the civilians, a large convoy of
5 people who were returned from Zupanja. And for that reason, I put all
6 these events to the 19th of November. You know, if you can imagine, there
7 is one date which sticks out in one's memory and there were subsequent
8 events, and this may have caused my -- a glitch in my memory that I may
9 have been on the 20th there. But later on, it emerged that it was on the
10 18th and 19th.
11 I just switched dates and switched events; and I put that main
12 event, the evacuation of the hospital, on the 19th, but also connected
13 that event with the group of civilians that had been returned from Zupanja
14 and the problems that they had with their vehicles. But that's completely
15 a side event compared with these events.
16 But I was there to accommodate these people. I saved them, but I
17 cannot be held responsible for anything because I had taken all measures
18 necessary to save those people from harassment. I introduced order and,
19 as an officer, reported back to my superior officer. It was not my
20 responsibility to take measures or to order units, this or that. I've
21 taken all measures with respect to my superior officers. I proposed some
22 necessary measures and, as a person and as an officer, I performed my main
23 duty to protect those people. I prevented them from being further
24 mistreated; I, personally. And in my presence, they were protected.
25 Q. That's very interesting, Mr. Vukasinovic. Could you just answer
1 the question? Would that be possible? That 1998, you gave an account
2 that was unadulterated by input from other people, that this is your
3 recollection? Whether it's mixed up or not, this is your recollection.
4 A. Well, the essence is this: There's no difference between this
5 statement and the other one. They deal with the same thing. They deal
6 with the people who were under the influences, that we protected them, and
7 that we said that we had to take measures. Now you are harping on the
8 date. I'm not focussing on the date. I'm focussing on the events, my
9 place and role in these events and the results of my actions before my
10 superior officer, before my commander. And this is what I, as a witness,
11 could remember at that time in my first statement.
12 And there is nothing doubtful about that as to the people, the
13 problems, the mistreatment of these people, and the protection of these
14 people and the taking of basic measures to protect them, which were in
15 keeping with the highest possible standards and done by me as an officer
16 and a human being, if you understand me.
17 Q. I do understand you. I have not referred to the date. I have
18 specifically said it isn't the date. I am referring to the incident. I
19 am suggesting it is the incident and the facts and the consequence of the
20 actions. Firstly, you see the mistreatment, which clearly concerns you.
21 Two, you speak to Mrksic about those concerns. Three, as a consequence,
22 you and Sljivancanin are sent by Mrksic at 10.00 to find out what's going
23 on. Four, you find that nothing is going on and you come back half an
24 hour later.
25 So I am not referring to the date. I am referring to a series of
1 consequential acts which are in your statement. That is right, isn't it?
2 Whether you are right or wrong, whether your mind is confused, that is the
3 way this has been created. That is the focus of the statement, isn't it?
4 A. First of all, I'm not confused. There is no reason for me to be
5 confused at all. Secondly, we are talking in the same way, but you want
6 me to say that something that did not happen did happen. I cannot confirm
7 that because the situation was like this: Nothing was happening at the
8 moment when, on the 19th, Major Sljivancanin and I were there. And I
9 expressly stated that on the 20th, neither of us were there at certain
10 point in time from 3.30 onwards.
11 I did not skip anything. I explained everything verbatim in terms
12 of our conduct towards these civilians from the first stage to the last
13 stage, and this is how it was. I cannot say that something else happened
14 that did not happen. Do you understand me?
15 Q. But let's just look at it. You've told this Bench and one or two
16 others, that you really went on the 19th, the correct 19th, because you
17 wanted to have a look to see if the cars were all right. You were very
18 worried about the cars, and perhaps the general situation.
19 Now, this is nothing to do with cars. It's got nothing to do with
20 the situation. This is to do with a beating, beating of people who you
21 did have responsibility for, whether you like it or whether you don't.
22 You saw what was going on, that's why you went to Mrksic. So it's not a
23 case of cars. This is a case, in your statement, of seeing what is
24 happening and telling your commander politely, passing the buck to your
25 commanding officer, and he then ordering you to go find out what is
2 And this happens at 10.00, 10.30 at night, when, as we know, Mr.
3 Mrksic is supposed to be home in a bath. I don't know if you haven't
4 heard about that. I don't know if Mr. Lukic hasn't told you about that
5 one yet. Do you know about that? Have you been told about Mr. Mrksic
6 going home on the night of the 20th to have a bath, put the boiler on?
7 Do you know about that, Mr. Vukasinovic, 10.00, that Mr. Mrksic is
8 supposed to be back in Belgrade? Have you been told that?
9 A. This is not known to me, but I know about the war log. And it
10 states that the commander, Mr. Mrksic, departed for Belgrade in the
11 morning hours of the 21st. I believe that a log should be trusted. This
12 is a wartime document, which is classified as the most accurate document.
13 But I wouldn't dwell on when and where Mrksic was. This is not the
15 You take it as correct that this was -- this is so, and you take
16 my testimony as incorrect. How can you state that Mrksic was there and
17 put the boiler on? What kind of facts support that?
18 Q. Perhaps I'm mixing two topics. But I'll come to the war log in a
20 What I'm simply suggesting to you and I'll move off the topic.
21 What I'm suggesting to you, quite simply, is this is your account. You
22 and Sljivancanin are sent to Ovcara at around about 10.00 and nothing is
23 going on.
24 Were you aware, or had you been told that there is evidence been
25 given that you were seen at Ovcara in the evening of the 20th? Have you
1 been told that by Mr. Lukic or anybody else?
2 A. No, it is not known to me. Anyway, I can confront any witness
3 that may have stated that. And facts will corroborate the truth and will
4 not corroborate what is untrue; and if there are more facts pointing that
5 something is so, then we are basing everything on facts. I can say that
6 you are here today because I want to invent something; and you, by the
7 same token, you may say that I wasn't here. But if ten people say that
8 you were here today, then it is you who are here today. So I'm not
9 troubled, and I can responsibly say that I wasn't at Ovcara after 3.30 on
10 the 20th of November, 1991.
11 Q. In this statement, there is absolutely no reference to a so-called
12 government meeting, is there? You were asked the question about "the
13 government," but there is absolutely no mention about the government in
14 this statement, is there?
15 A. I heard and asked about the government session. I answered what I
16 heard and when I did hear news about the government's meeting.
17 Q. But you see, the government allegedly has an importance because it
18 is the raison d'etre. It is the reason why these people did not go to
19 Sremska Mitrovica but were taken to Ovcara. That will explain the change
20 of direction; isn't that right? Isn't that what you've told this Bench?
21 A. This may be the reason, but this is not up to me. I had no duty
22 to know what the government was doing, when they were sitting. I'm just
23 an executioner of orders and I'm outside the loop. I have no connections
24 with the government. I was not informed. It is true what you are
25 presuming, but I was not involved in that. I was not informed of that
1 and, I have no knowledge of the developments taking place while I was
2 going about performing my duties.
3 This is true, I agree with you, but this is a question that should
4 be put to somebody else.
5 Q. No. I'm putting the question to you. It's a perfectly reasonable
6 question, I will suggest. You will be asked -- may I --
7 A. I apologise.
8 Q. I extend the courtesy to you to be not interfering, please be kind
9 to me.
10 This is an inquiry about the crimes basically at Ovcara. Now, if
11 what you say is right, it is a fact that the government have decided, or
12 Mr. Mrksic and the government have decided that these persons who had been
13 preselected were not going to be taken to Sremska Mitrovica, but were
14 going to be taken to Ovcara, and some might think that that is the reason
15 why they were killed. I'm not that is, but I'm just saying some might
16 think that.
17 Why didn't you tell the learned judge, if it was a learned judge,
18 the military prosecutor? Why didn't you just tell them about that? It's
19 only a simple question. Why didn't you mention that?
20 A. Well, you know, you cannot answer a question that wasn't put to
21 you. I answer the questions put to me by the investigating judge. When
22 they asked, I answered. When they didn't ask, I didn't answer. I cannot
23 speak about things falling outside my purview. I emphasised that I had
24 heard when arriving, which was quite late when I heard these things, and
25 this is -- and I heard when I came, and I never heard about the government
1 sitting, while they were sitting, I wasn't informed.
2 You have to understand that I am a low-ranking officer. I was a
3 Major; I could not learn what was going on at different and higher levels.
4 I had no command responsibilities; I wasn't part of the command. I wasn't
5 at the briefings. I just performed parts of tasks given to units.
6 Q. But with the utmost courtesy, Mr. Vukasinovic, you are not a man
7 who is short of words, are you? We don't have one-line answers, do we?
8 A. I do not understand what you're saying. I'm listening to you, but
9 I'm answering questions put to you and I'm offering my perspective from
10 that time and not from today. Everything looks different from -- with
11 hindsight. I'm telling you how things looked then.
12 Q. I want to come back to the fact about the war log. You said that
13 the war log should be trusted and you were aware that Mrksic left on the
14 morning of the 21st. That was the information you had; is that right?
15 A. Correct. This was recorded in our war log of the Guards Brigade.
16 Whether this was true or not, I'm not authorised to interpret, but I do
17 know that it's stated so there.
18 Q. No. That wasn't your answer what you said earlier on. What you
19 did say was that a war log should be trusted, I think was the phrase;
20 isn't that right?
21 A. Absolutely. As per records of documents in combat operations, the
22 order book and the war log are the most trustworthy documents, and they
23 have to be kept and stored for the longest period of time.
24 Q. In any event, that interview concluded. There is one question I
25 should have asked.
1 Look at the final sentence on that main paragraph, the very end.
2 It reads, "The following day," have you got that? "The following day,
3 November the 20st," we know of course that's the 21st.
4 So we're on subdivider 2, the very end. And it should be: "The
5 following day, on November 20st, we found out that all the persons in
6 Ovcara ..." Have you got that?
7 A. You mean the first statement.
8 Q. Yes. If you go to subdivider 2, it should be pink but I wouldn't
9 bank on it. So the very end of --
10 A. Yes, I'm listening.
11 Q. I just want to see if you've found it, that's all.
12 A. Yes. Yes, I've found it.
13 Q. Thank you very much.
14 "The following day, on November 20th," i.e., the 21st, "we found
15 out that all the persons in Ovcara had disappeared in the night and their
16 destiny was unknown."
17 Now, "We found out," there's no suggestion of rumours, is there?
18 It suggests that, in actual fact, finding out and that there was a rumour
19 that people had been disappeared are two entirely different things. Do
20 you see what I'm saying? So could you just explain the phrase to me, "We
21 found out," as opposed to "There was a rumour which I just disregarded"?
22 A. First, it says here, "On the following day, we found that the
23 persons from Ovcara," and it doesn't say all persons from Ovcara. This is
24 my answer to a question of -- that gentleman put questions to me about
25 when did you find out that those persons had disappeared, and this is the
1 answer that I provided. It's a very short answer.
2 Q. Yes. But the consequence can be different, can't it? It's rather
3 like saying: "Well, I heard a rumour that they'd all disappeared, but I
4 didn't really pay much attention because there were lots of rumours around
5 that time." And the phrase: "We found out that persons in Ovcara." Do
6 you see? I imagine it's the same in Serb as it is in English, is it not?
7 A. This is a short answer to his question. I answered with precision
8 to that question from whom I heard it, from when I learned about it, and
9 my attitude towards such information that I heard at the time.
10 Why was it put this way? Because it was not later, subsequently
11 confirmed, because that story was not being retold. Nobody would repeat
12 that story. There were not many people saying the same story. Had it
13 been so, there would be a need to investigate. But the gist was that we
14 understood that information to be rumour, because we had no firm
15 confirmation that this was really so. I did not have such confirmation.
16 Q. I know it's jumping ahead a little bit, but can I just ask you
17 this question: Why didn't you go to Mrksic or Sljivancanin and say,
18 "Things were rather bad last night. I've heard this rumour. Shouldn't
19 we not check this?" Or why didn't you make a check? Would you like a
20 glass of water, are you all right?
21 A. No, no. I feel fine. Thanks.
22 I believe that there's no need to comment such remarks. Let us
23 not use such tricks. Let us be -- let us keep to the spirit of the
24 conversation that we've been having here.
25 So you are asking me this. I was commander of the command post of
1 Negoslavci at the time. I had my responsibilities and duties to focus on
2 that job. I had no other tasks to resolve any problems falling outside
3 the zone of responsibility of my place. But had there been problems, it
4 wouldn't certainly be me resolving those issues because there were other
5 units there. First, I did not deal with things you outside my
6 jurisdiction. Secondly, I had quite a lot of things to do to prepare the
7 command's withdrawal to handing over the area of responsibility to a
9 So nobody came around to me and asked me whether this had
10 happened, nobody from the person's responsible who had the authority to
11 initiate. In the meantime, crime investigation team came to Belgrade, I
12 correct myself, to Vukovar, who were dealing with such matters. So all
13 the appropriate bodies were there. Had this been true, they would have
14 gotten involved in this. They didn't. I had to stick to my tasks, and my
15 main task was to make sure that preparations are there to hand over the
16 area of responsibility and to withdraw the command post and other units to
18 This was the only -- the main reason that I did not see this as
19 necessary to launch any sort of initiative.
20 Q. Weren't you worried about it?
21 A. Well, you can be concerned only if you were certain that this were
22 so, then it would be normal for a person to be concerned. But if you have
23 no firm belief that this was so, that that transpired, then you would not
24 be concerned, and I wasn't concerned.
25 Q. But that's not right, is it? Because -- do you remember when you
1 gave your evidence? You said you came back, you had a rest. Do you
2 remember the evidence about having a rest? And then you went to see
3 Colonel Mrksic. So you were concerned, because you went to see Colonel
4 Mrksic; isn't that right? Can you just give me a yes or no, so we can
5 move a little quicker?
6 A. Yes. Yes.
7 Q. And can I also suggest, perhaps, the reason you had a rest was
8 because you realised that you were in the situation where you might be
9 privy to criminal acts. You were having a rest to think about what you
10 should do, and the best thing to do was to speak to your commander who was
11 available. Would that be a fair analysis?
12 A. No. Absolutely, no. Not the first thing.
13 Q. So you had the rest because you were tired, and then you went and
14 told Colonel Mrksic; is that it?
15 A. I was tired. I had many duties to tend to, and of course I could
16 not approach the commander whenever I wished. So it was close to the
17 briefing time, and I had reason for wait for half an hour or one hour and
18 went to the commander to report back on what had happened. It wasn't on
19 the subsequent day.
20 I believe that everything that I did was done on time like a
21 responsible officer, and pursuant to the tasks of the day.
22 Q. But forgive me. I don't know if you've been told this also, but
23 Captain Susic - whom you had, I believe, supper with on a couple of
24 occasions last week - he, being a captain, contacted Mrksic for the
25 behaviour that he saw at the barracks.
1 Now, you have told us that the behaviour at Ovcara was worse than
2 the behaviour at the barracks. So if a captain can contact Mrksic pretty
3 much immediately, I'm just curious why a major, who is in Negoslavci in
4 the same area, wasn't able to do the same, rather than going and having a
5 rest. Do you see my point?
6 A. The point is that this is not as different as you would like to
7 put it. And secondly, the group or the unit that was responsible there,
8 they were providing security so that I had no reason to run there. There
9 were people there securing the hangar. But I simply stated that the
10 security, in my opinion, should be stepped up. I did not them unsecured
11 without anyone there, so there is a big difference there.
12 So at every time, wherever we were, measures were taken as far as
13 we were concerned, while we were responsible.
14 Q. You've told us about going off to see Mr. Mrksic. Can you just
15 answer me this, before perhaps we adjourn for the day: What act or
16 action, apart from going seeing Mrksic, did you do or make to check
17 whether everything was all right at Ovcara vis-a-vis security?
18 A. This was not within my purview and I -- once I completed my
19 briefing of the commander, my -- when I submitted my report to the
20 commander, my task was done. And it was the duty of the commander to
21 order the relevant unit to step-up the security or to take other measures
22 in line with my recommendations. It was not my task. It was not my
23 responsibility to take care of the prisoners 24 hours a day.
24 I simply had to dispatch them to the barracks and then to Ovcara.
25 THE INTERPRETER: To Sremska Mitrovica, interpreter's correction.
1 A. I couldn't leave those people halfway there, so what I did was I
2 stayed there the entire time. I participated in the whole task. I
3 protected the people and then I went back to the commander and I reported
4 to him. I had absolutely no other duty, because there was the responsible
5 unit. The command that was responsible was there, so I think it was
6 really way beyond my possibilities, my capabilities at the time.
7 And my rank, it was not a high rank. It was not a rank that would
8 enable me to make decisions. Because the way you're painting things, it
9 would be as if I, myself, were the commander of Operations Group South.
10 Q. I take it that's a no, you didn't do anything apart from speak to
11 Mrksic; is that right?
12 A. Yes. I didn't do anything else that night, that evening, as far
13 as the Ovcara case is concerned.
14 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I did not mean to be premature in any way
15 or usurp Your Honour's function. I can proceed for another ten minutes,
16 but there is another matter that I know has to be dealt with.
17 JUDGE PARKER: We have agreed to deal with that now, Mr. Moore.
18 So I will ask Mr. Vukasinovic if he would leave us now. The court officer
19 will show him out, and we will resume again tomorrow at 9.30 to continue
20 your evidence. Thank you.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 [The witness stands down]
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic, is it?
24 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I don't
25 want to take up too much of your time with issues that had already been
1 discussed so I will be brief.
2 On the 15th of September, 2006, so almost two months ago, we sent
3 an e-mail to the Prosecution asking for two things: The transcript of the
4 witness P002, and the translation of the notebook. And in order for this
5 e-mail not to get lost, we sent this to all members of the team.
6 On the 18th of September, we resent the e-mail, yet we never
7 received the response to any -- or either of the mails. These e-mails
8 were sent after the decision that you made on the 30th of August and until
9 our motion to be granted the right to reexamine.
10 What are we asking for? We want the Prosecution, first of all, to
11 confirm that the notes are still here at the Tribunal for two reasons; so
12 we can scan them and do that in colour. This is very important for your
13 sake, Your Honours, because you will then be able to see different pens
14 that were used, different colours, and to check when some notes were made.
15 It would be best for the Registry to do that since my learned
16 colleague, Mr. Moore, believes that they cannot do that. We can do that.
17 We, the Defence, can do that. It's technically possible for us to do
18 that, but it would be best for the Registry to do that.
19 So we don't want the whole notes, because we want to comply with
20 what is in the Court's order, just the parts of the note that begin with
21 Vukovar for the first time. So only a small excerpt from the notes would
22 be used in the re-examination of the witness. So we want this to be
23 transcribed because it is illegible and translated.
24 We think that these are two very small things. Scanning is
25 important for the sake of the Judges, for the Trial Chamber, not so much
1 for the sake of the Prosecution and the Defence. And as for the
2 translation of the notebook, it would be important because then we would
3 be able to adduce evidence before the Trial Chamber.
4 This is, perhaps, the first instance when the Prosecution has not
5 cooperated with us. Perhaps it would be good for the Trial Chamber to
6 order the Prosecution to scan the notes and to transcribe and translate
7 the portion beginning with "Vukovar for the first time," and then we could
8 start our re-examination in a timely manner. We are now in a little bit
9 of a panic, because we are afraid that we would not be able to do all that
10 in time. And this is why we decided to make this motion in this manner.
11 Thank you.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
13 MR. MOORE: Yes. I haven't got the dates in front of me, but can
14 I just go back to the way this commenced?
15 My learned friends, in particular, Mr. Borovic, wanted the book,
16 the notebook of 002 to be examined by a handwriting expert.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore, can we come to the present request?
18 MR. MOORE: Yes. I need to put it in context. So what has
19 happened is quite simply, I have said to my learned friend trying to short
20 circuit it,"I've send to my learned friend, we have not got a complete
21 translation of everything. We have got a translation of the matters that
22 relate to what we will call the relevant dates in Vukovar."
23 My learned friend has got the B/C/S, a copy of the whole diary,
24 absolutely everything. I do not know what areas he is going to
25 cross-examine on. He does. So with the utmost respect, if he does want
1 us to try and assist in translation, could he please particularise which
2 areas he would like translated. That's the first point.
3 The second point: Scanning in colour, I've not been aware of that
4 particular process, but it does concern me for the following reasons:
5 Certainly in my jurisdiction, and I know national court jurisdiction does
6 not apply here, the great danger is that there may be an attempt to
7 circumvent the removing of the request of the expert and for the courts to
8 become experts in themselves in relation to handwriting analysis, because
9 I can see no other point in that particular scanning.
10 So I don't know why my learned friend is asking for that, perhaps
11 he could be kind enough to ask what it is he is trying to achieve by that,
12 because the original request for the handwriting was for ink analysis,
13 handwriting analysis, and I think there were two or three other areas. So
14 what is the purpose of it being scanned in colour, and I do not believe we
15 have that ability here in any event.
16 I am more that be willing to help my learned friend, but I have no
17 know exactly to what purpose and to what end he wants me to do this and
18 whether I'm able to do it. There have been a number of e-mails back and
19 forth. We were not trying to be obstructive, but I do need no know what
20 is the purpose for the scanning in colour. Because if it is to draw
21 expert conclusions, we would object to that in any event.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Mr. Borovic, in one minute, are you
23 able to give Mr. Moore details of what part of the diary you want
25 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, under one. Had my
1 learned friend more read your decision, our motion, everything would have
2 been clear to him.
3 Secondly, scanning is for the Chamber's benefit, because in the
4 notes that we would require to be translated, and transcribed are these
5 are -- these are written by three types of pencils. Somebody in the
6 battle field could not use three different pencils within one text and
7 this we wanted verified.
8 Furthermore, I would decipher the longhand myself, but this is not
9 satisfactory to the Chamber. And for something to be adduced, then it has
10 to be monitored by the Chamber. "Vukovar for the first time," this is the
11 relevant paragraph. I don't want these text on Borovo Naselje and other
12 places to be transcribed. But pursuant to your decision, I want the
13 Chamber to be able to follow for themselves what evidence I am leading,
14 and even those things that are relevant for the Prosecution have not been
15 translated into English.
16 Apart from that, Your Honour, I have a couple of seconds left, our
17 motion specifies excerpts and paragraphs that we would like to use and
18 focus on during the examination of that witness, you approved that. Maybe
19 it has slipped the attention of my learned colleague Moore, and I don't
20 believe that this should be a problem. Thank you.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic, tomorrow morning, will you be in a
22 position to identify to Mr. Moore the parts that you want transcribed?
23 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, of course I
24 will do so as instructed by you.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Tomorrow morning, will you be in a position to
1 explain to the Chamber whether you have made inquiries and are able to
2 assure us that colour scanning can be undertaken either by the Registry or
3 the OTP?
4 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I've already verified
5 that. My learned colleague sitting by me is going to do so herself, and
6 she can use the technology available here. And we've checked with the
7 Registry that they can do so, and my answer to your question right now is
9 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. Well the answer is --
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE PARKER: The answer is that the parts when they're
12 identified, unless Mr. Moore suggests then that they are on some basis
13 excessive or unreasonable, they should be transcribed and translated. And
14 Mr. Borovic, you should make arrangements with the Registry officer to
15 have access to the diary for the purpose of scanning the parts that you
16 need and you will then, of course, make copies of those scans available to
17 the OTP and other parties.
18 We must adjourn now and we resume tomorrow at 9.30.
19 Would you please arrange, and the Chamber will so order, if
20 necessary, it so orders now, so that it is unnecessary further, that the
21 diary be made available to the court officer for the purpose of that
22 colour scanning.
23 MR. MOORE: Yes, sir.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.04 p.m.,
1 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 22nd day of
2 November, 2006, at 9.30 a.m.