1 Wednesday, 22 November 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.33 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.
7 Could I remind you of the affirmation you made which still
9 WITNESS: LJUBISA VUKASINOVIC [Resumed]
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
12 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
13 Cross-examination by Mr. Moore: [Continued]
14 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, I want to clarify something that was said last
15 night. On our page, it's 82, line 22. It's to do with the 20th when you
16 return to the hangar -- or I say "return," you go to the hangar, clearly
17 there is an incident, and you are asked the following question:
18 "In accordance with your testimony, you, together with that
19 captain, managed to introduce some order at the Ovcara hangar; is that
21 And the answer that you gave was: "I introduced order at the
22 hangar, thanks to commander Vujovic?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. "He is who ought to be credited with that more than anybody else,
25 and of course his men and the soldiers that were there."
1 Are you actually meaning Vujovic or do you mean Vojnovic,
2 Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic. I just ask you who is it you're saying is
3 responsible for that act, that they should be credited? Is it Vujovic?
4 A. At the moment when we were resolving the problem with his men,
5 then Vujovic should be credited for that.
6 Q. But am I not right in saying that it is Vujovic who was convicted
7 in Belgrade for the murder of these people? That's right, isn't it? You
8 see for my part, I thought you'd said Vojnovic, not Vujovic. So the
9 person you say should be credited is the very man who is responsible for
10 the murder of those people that late evening; is that right? Is that what
11 you are saying?
12 A. I don't know whether he killed people. I know that he was held
13 responsible for that. But what I also know is that at that point in time,
14 he assisted me in the sense that he insisted that his men leave the
16 Q. So he insisted that his men leave the hangar and that the
17 prisoners were locked up in a secure location; is that it?
18 A. I insisted on that and he helped me to achieve that, to get these
19 people out so that the men inside would be safe and indoors.
20 Q. But the men weren't safe indoors. They were murdered in the most
21 dreadful way by this man and his gang that very same day, the man you say
22 should be given credit.
23 A. Yes. But that happened later, and I cannot analyse his conduct
24 after that. I neither knew what he did nor what his contribution in that
25 event was. This was something established by court and he was sentenced,
1 but I'm telling you about that particular moment. At that particular
2 moment, he helped me by insisting that his men leave the hangar; and in
3 that sense, I was assisted by him.
4 Q. But you use the word "credited," does that not in some ways -- is
5 that not rather offensive just on a -- in a perceptive way? Crediting a
6 man who is responsible for rounding up and ensuring that individuals are
7 locked and then murdered by the same person.
8 MR. LUKIC: Objection, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I'm not trying to suggest an answer,
11 but I think that the witness was clear about his position about Vujovic at
12 the point in time when he was with him, not about the knowledge of what
13 happened afterwards, which is what Mr. Moore is putting to him now.
14 The witness is talking about the moment in time when he was with
15 him, and Mr. Moore wants him to speculate. I don't need to comment any
16 further, but I think that it's clear what this is about.
17 MR. MOORE: I will move on to a slightly different topic, and it's
18 quite simply this.
19 Q. You have told, I think, Mr. Vasic, that the violence at Ovcara was
20 much worse than at the barracks. That is correct, isn't it?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And that violence was by Vujovic's men, wasn't it?
23 A. Naturally.
24 Q. Let's move back to some of your interviews. We have seen the
25 interview yesterday at tab 1 and 2, 16th of November. I want to deal with
1 tab 3 and 4. 4 is the B/C/S, tab 3 is the English, 21st of December. So
2 it is five weeks after you had already been interviewed by the military
4 Now, while the file is being obtained, would it be right to say
5 that you spoke to others about your testimony and/or what had happened at
6 Ovcara prior to this investigating judge of the military court in
8 A. No.
9 Q. So any alteration in the account that you gave was a result of
10 your reflection, your individual and independent reflection; is that
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Well, shall we just look at it? I'm going to use the same system.
14 I will try and refer to page numbers. The first thing is you clearly were
15 informed that you were not obliged to answer any particular questions, if
16 it is probable that in such a way, you may expose yourself or any close
17 relative to deep disgrace, material damage, or criminal prosecution, and
18 that you were obliged to speak the truth and that you must not be silent
19 on any issue, and then you were warned that giving a false statement was a
20 crime, and then there was a matter about change of address.
21 The first paragraph basically relates to your background. I don't
22 want to really deal with that. English page 3 of 7. Now, it's for you,
23 it is the very bottom of page 0218-8283. So let's just look at this. The
24 sentence starting: "Pursuant to those assignments on the 18th of
25 November, 1991." Have you got that particular passage?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Thank you. "I was ordered by Major Sljivancanin to provide the
3 buses for evacuation for a number of persons from the hospital in Vukovar,
4 acting accordance to the given order on the 19th/11th around 6.00 in the
5 morning," and I accept 19th to the 20th.
6 "I headed to the Vukovar Hospital with six coaches. When I
7 arrived to the hospital, I found there Major Sljivancanin, Major Karan,
8 and Captain Karanfilov, as well as the commander of the military police
9 company, Simic, whose unit was guarding the hospital in Vukovar."
10 So in this was December 1998, Karanfilov has now been located by
11 you at the hospital. That is right, isn't it? That's what you say.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You then go on and say:
14 "There is Paunovic, commander of the military police battalion.
15 He was securing the hospital. At the hospital, performed was triage of
16 all the persons found there, in accordance with some categories, which I
17 did not take part in. However, I was ordered by Major Sljivancanin to
18 take all persons, single out in one group consisting of approximately 250,
19 260 people with the buses to the Vukovar barracks. For those who were
20 singled out, I learned they were not ill or injured, but were the locals
21 from Vukovar that had been engaged in combat activities against our units.
22 While for some of them, I heard the stories that they had committed crimes
23 which had to be checked."
24 And then it goes on:
25 "I noticed that there was a great deal" -- sorry, "there was a
1 great number of the Territorial Defence members from the Petrova Gora
2 detachment around the hospital. They were mainly the local people from
3 Vukovar, who had known them well, and were very determined to single out
4 particular persons in order to take some actions against them. We
5 encountered many problems trying to stop them to single out anyone from
6 the group. I did not specially count those separated. But according to
7 the number, the buses, I transported them -- them in could take on, my
8 guess was there could be around 250-260 people."
9 So you would refer --
10 MR. LUKIC: Excuse me. Before you start.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Before Mr. Moore proceeds with his
13 question, I just wanted to say this: In the original version, I don't
14 know -- I don't have the English translation. But in the line now quoted
15 by Mr. Moore, line -- page 5, line 3, in the original text, it says, "I
16 received a task from Major Sljivancanin." And then page 5, line 18, in
17 the original, it says, "I received a task from Major Sljivancanin."
18 In both cases, the original says "received a task;" whereas, the
19 English translation reads "I was ordered." I just wanted to point your
20 attention to this fact. Task or assignment.
21 MR. MOORE:
22 Q. Can I ask you, then, please, about the reference to the -- some
23 categories. I presume that translation is correct. What were the
24 categories at that time?
25 A. You mean the people who were there? There were people who were
1 sick, wounded, and those who did not belong to the hospital. Those were
2 the categories: Sick, wounded, and those neither sick nor wounded, but
3 were staying at the hospital illegally.
4 Q. I think you told us yesterday that in actual fact you had
5 intelligence about various individuals who might have been desirable to be
6 spoken to; would that be right?
7 A. Security service received information that there were certain
8 groups in the hospital which, following the fall of Vukovar, took off
9 their uniforms, discarded their weapons, and entered the hospital in order
10 to become part of the convoy for the sick and wounded and flee from
11 Vukovar. That's a fact. We received this information from our superior
12 command, and we also knew this based on the work that we had performed.
13 Q. And it's also right to say you had certain names; isn't that
15 A. I didn't have any names, but most likely the security service, the
16 security department had them.
17 Q. Let's just move on to compare what your evidence was and what you
18 say here. "I noticed that there was a great deal of the Territorial
19 Defence members Petrova Gora detachment around the hospital."
20 Now, what do you mean by the phrase: "They were very determined
21 to single out particular persons in order to take some actions against
23 A. His presence was obvious and the way they behaved; they were
24 shouting, yelling, whistling, and it all indicated that they knew those
25 people there. But right there on the spot, there was nothing more but
1 verbal protests, verbal displeasure that they exhibited, and that was
2 aimed at certain individuals. There was no other physical violence nor
3 there could have been at that point in time.
4 Q. But the word and phrase is "very determined." What is that
5 supposed to mean? Because I'd suggest it's more than just whistling and
6 shouting names. So why do you use the phrase "very determined" to single
7 out particular persons?
8 A. You are concluding that based on the translation. It was my
9 assessment that their presence and their conduct hinted at the possibility
10 that there could be such behaviour. Yes. There was a possibility for
11 that. But at that point in time, on that spot, there was no violence
12 whatsoever, nor was there any possibility for any violence to be
13 exhibited. It was just my personal assessment that based on their conduct
14 and based on their appearance, there was a potential for that, if you are
15 following me.
16 Q. And that was outside the hospital grounds in full view of
17 everyone; that is right, isn't it?
18 A. Outside of the hospital compound, yes.
19 Q. And in view of everyone and able to be heard by virtually
20 everyone; that is correct, isn't it?
21 A. Those who were there were able to hear that, yes.
22 Q. Can I just move on to the next paragraph. It deals with the
23 transfer of 150 people. Pursuant to the English order - obviously, as
24 Mr. Lukic would say "task" - issued by Major Sljivancanin, you thought
25 maybe it would be Sid, then there's reference to Predojevic, and then I'd
1 like to commence if I may, please, with:
2 "There was also here in the barracks yard a great number of
3 members of the Petrova Gora Territorial Defence detachment who attempted
4 using aggressive ruthless methods to separate some people from the bus and
5 to take them under their charge in order to clear up the things with them.
6 We prevented them in that; frequently exposed to verbal abuses,
7 unpleasantness and even reaching for their guns."
8 Now, are you happy enough with the translation, Mr. Vukasinovic?
9 A. Yes, yes.
10 Q. Thank you. So it's the same people from the Petrova Gora, that's
11 correct, isn't it, that you saw at the hospital?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. "Using aggressive and ruthless methods to separate some people
14 from the bus."
15 Please tell us what aggressive and ruthless methods they were
16 attempting to use to separate people and take them away.
17 A. The aggressivity that I described at the time, the aggressiveness
18 that I described at the time manifested itself in their verbal threats,
19 pointing out to individuals, threatening gestures, and cursing. They were
20 unable to get on the buses. They were milling around the buses, and the
21 only avenue open to them was to recognise say their neighbour, who, in
22 their view, was guilty. So they were making threatening gestures showing
23 that they would slaughter them, because everything else was not allowed to
25 So in that sense, it was the -- that type of aggressive behaviour
1 and threats aimed at intimidating the people. This is how I describe
2 their aggressive behaviour. I said that they wanted to settle accounts
3 with certain people that they considered guilty because they had
4 recognised their neighbours, if I understood your question well.
5 Q. Well, we have heard evidence here, and I'll see if I can assist by
6 way of recollection. Did you see people with knives out and waving
7 knives? The answer is yes or no, surely?
8 A. No, no.
9 Q. Because we have had evidence from some of the people in the buses
10 that knives were being waved and even drawing across the throat clearly
11 indicating that throats would be cut. You've probably seen that on
12 television, occasionally. Did you see anything like that?
13 A. I saw weapons, but I didn't see knives. I saw weapons, yes. I
14 saw weapons pointed, weapons held in hands. But as for knives, I can't
15 that I saw them when I didn't.
16 Q. Well, what weapons did you see pointed?
17 A. Their weapons, the weapons that they had on them. Those were our
18 automatic rifles, pistols, stuff like that.
19 Q. So when the use the phrases you did a couple of minutes
20 ago,"showing them that they would slaughter them," that clearly indicates,
21 I would suggest, that if they had got hold of them, there was an intention
22 to kill them.
23 I see there's another problem with the translation.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I never heard the witness said that
1 they would slaughter them. He said that they threatened with their
2 fingers as though they would kill them. If it was a case of bad
3 translation, then I apologise for not reacting earlier, if that is indeed
4 how it was recorded.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Some of the distinctions in translation that you
6 draw, Mr. Lukic, are extremely fine, bearing in mind the capacity in each
7 language for different expressions to convey a meaning.
8 The interpreters try to give the sense of what is being said,
9 rather than, as I understand it, a mechanical exactly precise translation
10 where that is possible. Often it is not, and the nearest words have to be
12 So I wouldn't think at this point, that that interpretation or
13 translation requires correction. Thank you.
14 MR. MOORE:
15 Q. It meant quite simply this, didn't it, that if they had got hold
16 of them, they were indicating, whether, it was right or not, that they
17 would kill them. That's the phrase you use, even by Mr. Lukic's
18 translation. That's right, isn't it, Mr. Vukasinovic.
19 A. I disagree with that. You're drawing conclusions, and you're
20 doing it presently. I don't see based on what should I have concluded
21 that. I never said that I knew they would kill them. I said that they
22 acted aggressively, that they sought out their neighbours, that they
23 threatened them.
24 And as for killing them, that was your conclusion, not mine. And
25 in addition to that, they were unavailable to them. What do you say?
1 They were available to them. Had they been available to them, yes, they
2 would have done it right there on the spot, but we didn't allow them to do
3 what you said, to kill them right away. Please don't turn your
4 conclusions into practical consequences.
5 Q. Well, I merely use your words. But I will move on, as a result of
6 one of the things you have said. "Had they been available to them, yes,
7 they would have done it right there on the spot." The fact of the matter
8 is, they were available to them, and you became aware of that fact later
9 on that day; isn't that right? I presume you agree with that conclusion?
10 A. I disagree. I absolutely disagree with your conclusion, and
11 please don't put me in the position where I do not belong. I am
12 responsible only for those instance where I was present. You have tried
13 several times to impute that I had done certain things which I didn't. I
14 would like to kindly ask you to treat me fairly and to have a proper
15 exchange with me.
16 Q. Firstly, I would suggest to you I'm being perfectly fair, and I'm
17 using the words that you use. You may not like them and you may not like
18 the way the question is framed, but I am only using your words, Mr.
19 Vukasinovic. Do we understand each other?
20 A. Well let's see about that. For the time being, I do not
21 understand you.
22 Q. Let us look at the next paragraph. "While I was in the barracks,
23 I received a list of the part of the persons from these buses," then
24 there's reference to 20, it came from Sljivancanin, "told me to separate
25 them and return them to the hospital."
1 "I experienced many difficulties with reference to the behaviour
2 of the Territorial Defence members about which I told you a while ago,"
3 and indeed you did here.
4 "Major Sljivancanin tasked me to release those persons who are
5 going brought back to the hospital which I did."
6 And then there is reference to the fact that what I will call the
7 reselection, "It was local people and hospital staff had intervened for
8 them, that they found at the hospital by accident and could not be held
9 responsible for whatsoever. So there was no need to treat them
11 Well, the first thing I want to ask you is this: Did you have a
12 radio or a method of electronic communication with you when you were at
13 the barracks? And please bear in mind that evidence has been given prior
14 to you giving evidence.
15 A. I'm sorry, I didn't understand the question. Did I have what?
16 Q. Did you have a radio? Sometimes it's called a Motorola. Did you
17 have access to a radio?
18 A. At that point, I didn't have a radio in the car.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the answer, the
20 interpreters didn't understand what he said.
21 MR. MOORE: You're being asked to repeat your reply as there's
22 difficulty with interpretation.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't have a Motorola with me,
24 and I was unable to use it.
25 MR. MOORE:
1 Q. We heard from Mr. Simic that he had access at the barracks to a
2 radio. Did you attempt to use a radio or find out if a radio was
3 available at the forward command post? If I've said Simic, I meant Susic.
4 My apologies.
5 A. There was radio communication; there's no doubt about that. I
6 don't know what radio communication has got to do with me when we're
7 referring to the 20 people. We are discussing this, and now you are
8 asking me about radio communication. Radio communication did exist in the
9 OG South. We had radio communication with the OKM and IKM.
10 Q. The reason I ask you about a radio is that with a radio, you have
11 the ability to contact Sljivancanin, who had a radio. We know that; he's
12 told us that. You would be in a position to tell him the situation at the
13 barracks, and you would be in a position to tell him about the
14 difficulties that you were encountering, wouldn't you? And also, by the
15 way, to send a bus up.
16 A. I explained to Major Sljivancanin when I returned with the 20
17 people about the situation at the barracks, because it wasn't something
18 that he wasn't aware of.
19 Q. When you gave this statement, there is no reference, as far as I
20 can see, about the reselection process, where Mr. Sljivancanin went along
21 asking them individual questions assisted by, I think it was, Vujanovic
22 and perhaps members of the TO. Is there any why it's not in there?
23 A. That wasn't the question.
24 Q. Let's move on to the next paragraph. The reference is: "In the
25 second go, I took the remaining people, singled out in the military
1 hospital in Vukovar, taking them around 1400 hours to the Vukovar
3 Then you inform -- or are informed by Captain Predojevic what had
4 happened and that the commander had given an order that they be taken to
6 So it's very similar to the evidence that you have given here,
7 isn't it?
8 A. That is the same.
9 Q. The question that I have for you is this: If you took them to the
10 Vukovar barracks at 1400 hours, as you say, that means that the ICRC and
11 the ECMM have been at the Vukovar Hospital for something close to three
12 and a half hours, while this group of people who had been isolated were
13 presumably sitting in a bus or were about to be selected. Am I right on
14 my timings on that?
15 A. In my statement, I said where was this group in the hospital.
16 They were in the buses. I was very precise about that. And that I
17 arrived with that group to Ovcara at around 1300, 1330. That was my
19 Q. Well, here you see, you're saying quite simply, you're taking them
20 around 2.00 in the afternoon to the Vukovar barracks. And my point, and
21 it's a point that everyone in this room is aware of, is we have heard
22 tranches of evidence, large amounts of evidence that those people were
23 moved in one group, and they were out of the hospital before the monitors
24 arrived. Now, your account is that this group was split into two, and
25 that the final group only left on this account around about 1.00 in the
1 afternoon. I mean that's your evidence, isn't it, without beating about
2 the bush?
3 A. Correct. I claim that there were two groups, not one. I may vary
4 the times up to one or half an hour, but what I stated is true; first one
5 group and then the second group. What is not true is that there was just
6 one column.
7 Q. And let's just take your account. There are therefore three
8 buses, two of them full of men, with armed guards, and a third bus with
9 five or six on board sitting outside the hospital for three and a half
10 hours when the ICRC and the ECMM monitors are there. That's, in reality,
11 what you're saying, isn't it?
12 A. When I arrived, I found two buses; and the one which I emptied
13 which had several people on it, that was my second column of buses.
14 Q. And on your account, the reselection process with Sljivancanin
15 involved and the TOs with Vojnovic asking questions occurred while the
16 monitors were there. That's also what you're saying; is that right?
17 That's your account.
18 A. I describe the work to release these people, and at the moment the
19 monitors were not there while that was being done. While we were going
20 about releasing these people, I did not see a single ECMM member next to
22 Q. Look, all I want to know is, simple question: Are you saying the
23 monitors were there prior to your return from the barracks? Now, simple
24 question; yes or no, please. You know, they are the men who used to be
25 called the ice cream men in the white suits. That was the phrase that was
1 often given to them.
2 A. When I returned from the barracks, they were there at the
3 hospital. When I returned with 20 people, they were there at the
5 Q. And therefore, on your account, the reselection process which took
6 an hour, approximately, the reselection process was being done in the
7 hospital grounds; is that right?
8 MR. LUKIC: Objection.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Carry on, Mr. Moore.
10 MR. MOORE:
11 Q. So the reselection process was being done where?
12 A. I wasn't involved in that, and I cannot say anything about that to
13 you. I stated that I had no knowledge of that. I wasn't there, and I
14 don't know where or when the process of triage was being carried out.
15 Q. I'm talking about the small group of people, the 20 that you
16 brought back. Are you saying you weren't present when that was done, or
17 you weren't aware?
18 A. Apparently, we cannot understand each other, and we do not want to
19 understand each other. Listen, you are asking me about the triage --
20 well, now you say that I returned pursuant to a list, 20 people back. We
21 are not talking about triage. We are discussing the -- their involvement
22 in combat on their status, whether they were innocent, righteous people or
23 people taking part in combat. This is what we discussed.
24 And there were guarantees about these people in the conversation
25 with Major Sljivancanin that they were clean, that they had not fought,
1 and that they just took refuge in the hospital, and that was the basis for
2 him releasing a number of people. This is not a triage. This was an
3 attempt to establish some facts, so that we could do the right thing.
4 Let's understand one another. When we say triage, then this is
5 the triage at the hospital.
6 Q. I'm talking about the 20 people who were brought back -- I call
7 this, for convenience, a reselection process. All right? Because people
8 are being selected, either -- for whatever reason, off they go to the
9 barracks, and 20 are brought back. So to try and distinguish, I call this
10 a reselection process. So the 20 people come back, and I want to know
11 where this reselection process occurred? What location?
12 A. I told you, that was in front of the gatehouse, on the entrance to
13 the hospital. It was a wider space next to that gate house.
14 Q. And that was being done when the monitors were at the hospital; is
15 that what you are saying?
16 A. That's probable. This is not known to me. I know that they were
17 there. They were not over there; they were supposed to be at the
19 Q. We have seen video clips of the ECM monitors there; they were
20 gentlemen in white suits. I was not trying to trivialise it in any way.
21 I want a simple answer, I believe to a simple question: When those 20
22 people were brought back, are you saying that the monitors were there or
23 were not there?
24 A. That they were there.
25 Q. And therefore, on your account, this reselection process of 20
1 men, with the TOs assisting Sljivancanin, was being done in front of --
2 when the monitors were there. That is what you are saying; is that right?
3 A. I'm telling you, they were not immediately there, but they were
4 within the hospital. But they were not in the immediate vicinity of this
5 process of reselection or triage. Nobody of them was standing there. I
6 don't know what you want me to tell you. I'm telling you what happened
7 and where it happened, but now you want me to say that they were there.
8 They were not there in the immediate vicinity.
9 Q. No. I suggest you are merely telling us what you believe
10 happened. I am suggesting that that triage, if it is that, or a
11 reselection process, occurred at a time when the monitors were not there,
12 and that all these men were out and away before the monitors were let in
13 at 10.00 to 10.30 by Mr. Sljivancanin. That's what I'm suggesting.
14 A. I disagree with that. I know when I set out, and I know what they
15 were doing there in front of -- so I could not agree with such a
16 statement. I don't know when they -- exactly they entered, but I know
17 that it was after 1100 hours when this triage, as you put it, the triage
18 of the 20 people was taking place. It was after 11.00.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Now, Mr. Moore, I detect you've reached an end of a
21 subject for a moment so I turn to Mr. Lukic.
22 Do you have an objection? There was a subject theme that I wanted
23 to see finished before we took the objection.
24 There is nothing to be pursued. It's been cleared up, so carry
25 on, Mr. Moore.
1 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
2 Q. Can we go to your page 0218-8285. I want to deal with this area
3 of evidence. It is page 4 of 7 of the English version, four-fifths of the
4 way down the page in the middle. It starts as follows: "The hangar was
5 guarded by one MP platoon, a part of a unit from ..." and then it goes on
6 the 80th Brigade, do you see that?
7 "I think the commander was Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic." So it
8 should be your page 0218-8285. Have you got that?
9 A. There is no such page here. There are two 284 but not 285.
10 Q. Well, I will read out what I've got, and you can assist us. It's
11 not a large part. I think what you'll find is the page number has not got
12 a good number on it. It's been covered by photo copying. If you look at
13 it, it's between 83 and 85. Can you do that?
14 Mr. Lukic has an objection?
15 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic, no, he's eager to help you.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes. That's page 4 of your statement
17 before the military court at the beginning, as far as I understood what
18 Mr. Moore was trying to say, when Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic is
19 mentioned. Can you see that, Mr. Vukasinovic? The first paragraph, the
20 first line.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
22 Mr. Moore.
23 MR. MOORE:
24 Q. Have we got that? The real key is, "I believe it was the 80th
25 Brigade ..."
1 A. Your read it out; I will listen to it.
2 Q. I would like to make sure that you have it. It makes life so much
3 easier. Have you got it there?
4 A. Go on, read it, please, and I will be listening to you.
5 Q. Thank you very much for that.
6 It goes on about Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic. "The persons brought
7 by me were put in a hangar with my presence, and no one did undertake any
8 actions that would present physical abuse or maltreating."
9 And then you say you don't know whether it referred to the
10 previous group, because you were not there.
11 "I do not have any knowledge if someone was fully abusing them
12 while putting them in the hangar. All those people placed in this hangar,
13 how much I knew there was supposed to stay there for one day as the
14 longest in order to do some checks and to take them to Sid or Sremska
15 Mitrovica, which was done with the previously-captured persons."
16 The next, 5 of 7: "At Ovcara, I found then Lieutenant-Colonel
17 Panic. He was the assistant brigade commander. I did not know the
18 reasons why he was here. I did not contact him. I simply noticed him
19 here, but he left shortly after that."
20 Now, yesterday, you told us that you did speak to Panic; and
21 indeed, you were angry with Mr. Panic. I'm not saying you had a healthy
22 discussion with him, but you spoke to him; isn't that right? That's what
23 your evidence here is. But in this, you say you didn't contact him, you
24 simply noticed him. Can you just explain the distinction in your
1 A. The difference is in this: I approached him. It wasn't a
2 conversation; I just asked him: "Why are these people here?" Because I
3 saw that this wasn't part of my task. When I saw the Chief of Staff, it
4 was only natural for me to ask him what people, which had no need to be
5 there, were doing there. He just looked at me and said, "It was so
6 ordered," and then he left.
7 This is a minute or maybe a couple of seconds of -- worth of
8 conversation that I had with him and nothing more; and, of course, my
9 answer is dependent on the questions put to me. Lieutenant-Colonel Panic
10 was a witness. You could ask him what his answer was.
11 Q. The question I'm asking you is: How is it that you say that you
12 don't say anything here when you're speaking in 1998; and yet when you
13 give your evidence, you are concerned and angry? Because, after all, he
14 is the Chief of Staff, isn't he, superior rank to you.
15 A. He was the Chief of Staff, that is correct. He is my superior in
16 the chain of command, and that is also correct.
17 Q. But the evidence that you gave was quite specific in the nature of
18 your concern, wasn't it? Because you said to him, "What is this? Who
19 ordered this?" And then you went to the hangar to see what was going on.
20 So in actual fact, I would suggest the whole thrust of that is you're
21 going to Panic himself, that you are very unhappy because you are angry
22 with him, you told us that.
23 And what is this? Who ordered this? It goes to the whole crux,
24 doesn't it? It goes to behaviour, it goes to control, it goes to why are
25 they in Ovcara? It deals with the core of the whole case. Isn't that
2 A. My question to Panic was addressed for exactly that reason,
3 because the task I was given took a turn in the direction; and as second
4 in command, he was supposed to give me an answer. And in that sense, I
5 addressed him with a single sentence to see where did this change in the
6 direction of the task came from. And then I turned to set off towards the
7 hangar to see what was going on. But still, I was performing this basic
8 function of transferring those separated people and protecting them.
9 I didn't deal with other business. I dealt with them.
10 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, you are coming to this court. You are sitting
11 there and you're saying: I am an honest man. I am here to tell the
12 truth. That's what you're saying, isn't it? I was there, you weren't; I
13 know what happened, you didn't. That's what it's all about, isn't it.
14 And I'm asking you how it is when you're asked in December about Panic,
15 you say: I didn't contact him.
16 And yet when you come here to this Bench and everyone here, you
17 are irritated, you are angry with your Chief of Staff, what's going on,
18 who did this? And I'm saying to you that's an extremely important
19 question, and I want to know what your answer is. Why you didn't mention
20 it in December in 1998? That's my question.
21 A. But I'm telling you, I mentioned that only when asked about it. I
22 simply, in my first statement, the question was: Who did you see there?
23 I said I saw Panic, Chief of Staff. It depends on the investigating
24 judge's level of detail sought by him. I answered his question. At this
25 place, I'm saying what should be said, what I omitted before which I
1 remembered in the meantime. This is the right place to tell the right
2 truth, and this is why I'm here.
3 And as you say, I am an honest man; I can say that with full
4 fright. If I'm who not an honest man, somebody is going to disprove me.
5 But this is my right to say and contend that I am an honest man. I don't
6 know what you have against my attitude. We are discussing about events
7 and not who is an honest man and who isn't.
8 Q. Well, it might be honesty is something a Court has to take into
10 Are you aware that Susic has given evidence, and indeed others
11 have given evidence at various times, saying that a colonel went out with
12 the convoy from the JNA barracks. But nobody seems to be able to identify
13 him. Are you aware of that?
14 A. No.
15 Q. You've never heard the fact that a colonel and a TO captain were
16 responsible -- no, wrong, that a colonel and a TO captain went out in a
17 separate vehicle with the buses on the way to Ovcara? You never heard
19 A. That is the statement of an eye witness. I did not see that, and
20 I cannot confirm anything. If he saw that, he stated that. That's his
21 statement. What I know, I'm going to testify about. But please do not
22 lead me into saying something that I don't know. Whether a colonel was
23 there, I don't know. If Mr. Susic cannot recognise a colonel, then ...
24 Q. Well, when you were at the barracks, reflecting upon what you had
25 seen there, give us the names of any colonels you saw there.
1 A. I did not see a single colonel in the barracks.
2 Q. Thank you very much. Let us move on, then, to the next paragraph.
3 There is reference about "as soon as combat actions stopped ..."
4 Sorry, my apologies, the next one relates to Petrova Gora. So
5 it's Petrova Gora again. So it's the people who were threatening at the
6 hospital, the people who were threatening at the buses, and it's the
7 Petrova Gora again at Ovcara. That is correct, isn't it, along with
8 others, obviously. That's right, I think, isn't it?
9 A. I cannot find this passage that you are reading. Could you please
10 tell me, is that the statement -- am I reading the right statement?
11 Q. I'm going to start again.
12 A. To the Belgrade court.
13 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, just listen to me for a moment, please, all
14 right? Thank you very much.
15 If you go to tab 4. Have you got tab 4? The tabs are on the
16 right-hand side. Have you got tab 4?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Thank you very much. Now, find page 0218-8285.
19 A. I don't have that page; I keep telling you that. I don't have the
21 Q. All right. Find page 8286. They are at the top right-hand
22 corner. Everybody else, I think, has got them.
23 A. 286.
24 Q. 8286. Have you got that, Mr. Vukasinovic? Top right-hand corner?
25 A. Yes, yes.
1 Q. Well turn back one page, and that's 8285. Have you got that page?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Turn back one page, and you've got 8284. So I want you -- you've
4 got 8285; I want you to go back to 8284. Right. Now you've been shown by
5 the legal assistant. I want you to deal with the paragraph: "While I was
6 in the barracks ..." Have you got that? I really want to move on a bit
7 quicker if I can?
8 A. Yes, I have.
9 Q. Can I just confirm that what you say in 1998, that you're saying
10 that you see the same group, the Petrova Gora; the same group that you had
11 seen at the barracks, the same groups that you'd seen at the hospital, and
12 now the same group are at Ovcara; that is correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And you agree with that as being accurate; that is correct?
15 A. That group moved. I was unable to recognise all of them; but,
16 generally speaking, that group moved as I moved.
17 Q. So we have got the same people. Now, let us move on to 8285.
18 Have you got that page?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Thank you. Now, I want to deal with halfway down the page. It
21 refers to the sentence; it's 5 of 7 in English: "After placing those
22 people in hangars, I returned back to my command post."
23 Have you got that? It's the penultimate paragraph, by the looks
24 of it. "After placing those people in hangars, I returned back to my
25 command post." Have you got that?
1 A. Yes, yes.
2 Q. Thank you. Let's read it, please.
3 "After placing those people in hangars, I returned back to my
4 command post. After that, on the 19th," which is the 20th, "around 2130,
5 Major Sljivancanin and I went to the Ovcara agricultural farm in order to
6 inspect the sector, on which occasion one of the officers, who was
7 participating in guarding those detained in the hangars, handed over a
8 report to Major Sljivancanin informing him that there had been no
9 problems. We stayed there for about 20 minutes, unable to notice anything
11 "Everything was all right. Besides, we also were there to see
12 whether there were any attempts of robbery since we had that information,
13 as well as to see if there was some other problems arising from guarding
14 those detained persons. Personally, I noticed on that occasion a number
15 of Petrova Gora territorial unit members strolling around that area even
16 though it was dark, but I noticed that it was them. They did not do
17 anything at that time, nor the duty officer informed us about that.
18 "After approximately 20 minutes, two of us returned to our
19 command post. After we returned from Ovcara that evening, I believe that
20 Major Sljivancanin informed Commander Mrksic about our observations. I
21 had no obligations or duties that would refer to those people placed in
22 the hangar in Ovcara. My next engagement was on the assignments of a
23 different nature. However, during the 20th," obviously the 21st of
24 November, "news spread out that the persons placed in the hangar at Ovcara
25 were either disappeared and killed."
1 Now I want to deal with this account, which I suggest is very
2 similar to the account that you gave, but with variations on a them, if I
3 may use that phrase.
4 The visit that you went to Ovcara, whatever date it was, the visit
5 in the evening was at approximately 9.30; is that right? Whether it was
6 the actual 19th or the actual 20th, the time was 9.30, there or
7 thereabouts; is that correct?
8 A. 2130, that would be the time, roughly.
9 Q. And if it was the 19th or the 20th, in relation, you only stayed
10 20 minutes, and you were back in the Negoslavci area approximately
11 10.00ish; would that be right?
12 A. Most likely at about 10.00, we were back, because that's quite
13 close and one doesn't need more time to get back, half an hour.
14 Q. And so if it was the 19th, you went from Negoslavci with
15 Sljivancanin, and you returned to Negoslavci with Sljivancanin; that is
16 correct, isn't it?
17 A. To Ovcara.
18 Q. Obviously to Ovcara.
19 A. Yes. But I am -- what do you want me to say, yes?
20 Q. I just want you to answer the question. We know it's about
21 Ovcara. If it is the 19th, the actual 19th or the actual 20th, that can
22 be determined later. You are back in Negoslavci by 10.00, and you are
23 probably out of Negoslavci a little bit before, let's say, 9.00. Would
24 that be right? You are away from Negoslavci, the both of you, for about
25 an hour, an hour and 15 minutes; would that be right?
1 A. It is possible that we were absent for that long.
2 Q. No, it's not a question of possible. You're giving evidence. You
3 say you remember it, and I'm asking you, you think it's 9.30. How long
4 does it take to get from Negoslavci to Ovcara? Approximately, how long
5 does it take?
6 A. Fifteen minutes.
7 Q. So 15 minutes from Negoslavci to Ovcara, approximately 20 minutes,
8 I'm not going to hold you on 20 minutes. Approximately, 20 minutes there,
9 and 15 minutes back; yes?
10 A. Since it was night-time, yes, and the road was clear, no traffic,
11 then yes. I told you that already. I don't see why you keep insisting on
12 time. We were there. Now as to the exact time, yes, it's within that
13 time frame. I don't see the problem.
14 Q. And so Sljivancanin goes back; and as far as you are aware, he
15 speaks to Mrksic, what shall we say, 2200 hours? 2230?
16 A. Yes. Actually, I don't know whether he went to see Mrksic at all
17 and, if so, when. I suppose that he did go to Mrksic, but I didn't go
18 with him so I wouldn't know.
19 Q. No, but you use the phrase: "I believe that Sljivancanin informed
20 the commander about our observations."
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. And the observations were in relation to problems arising from
23 guarding "those detained persons." That's right, isn't it?
24 A. That's what I said there, and now when we translate it, then, yes,
25 it is all consistent. But what I wanted to tell you is that I spent a --
1 lost a whole day when I was giving evidence and statements. On the 19th,
2 I went to see civilians and the wounded. All of this was taking place in
3 the same day. I don't know if you can understand that.
4 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, you have told us that. I'm not trying to be
5 discourteous in any way. I'm saying on the account that you gave to the
6 court, it was in relation to reporting back for the problems arising from
7 guarding those detained persons. That is correct, isn't it? That is
9 A. That's what I stated there, yes. That's what I stated.
10 Q. Thank you very much. Can I deal, then, with your evidence --
11 sorry, I just want to go to the next page, and it's my fault for just
12 dealing with it that way. Go to page 0218-8286. Have you got that? Top
13 right-hand corner.
14 A. Yes, yes.
15 Q. I read in from the previous page:
16 "However, during the 21st," although you say 20th, "news spread
17 out that persons placed in the hangar near Ovcara were either disappeared
18 and killed. I had no assignments whatsoever with reference to that nor
19 had I the obligation to investigate if it really took place, from which
20 reason, and who did it. As much as I know, no one from our unit command
21 did verify that information. Furthermore, I do not know why it was done.
22 I have heard only that during the night, they disappeared and most likely
23 were killed. But who did it, I do not know."
24 Now, let's do it in a slightly Irish way; let's start at the back
25 and move forward. This is 1998. "But who did it, I do not know."
1 Well, you may not actually know, because I'm not suggesting you
2 were present at that time, but you had a pretty good idea who was the
3 number one suspect, didn't you? Isn't that right?
4 A. This is the question that was put to me then. And these were my
5 thoughts with respect to that question, because I knew that members of the
6 army would not do such things. And this is a reply that I gave to the
7 question put to me by the judge, as to who might have done it. And I said
8 that it could have been those who had acted that way all along, but under
9 no circumstances could that be members of the army.
10 I knew my men in my unit. I knew that my men and my officers in
11 my unit would have never done that. That is my position.
12 Q. I am right in saying that you were aware the following day that,
13 in actual fact, the suggestion was that either they had disappeared or
14 been killed. That is correct, isn't it? That was your state of knowledge
15 on the 21st of November. Isn't that right?
16 A. Well, I didn't know. I heard. Had I knew, I would have done
17 something, but I didn't know. To know and to hear are two very different
18 things. These are quite different claims.
19 Q. And moving back again: "As much as I know, no one from our unit
20 command did verify that information."
21 Now, "no one from our unit command," who is your unit command?
22 Can you just tell us who you're referring to there?
23 A. Command of the Guards Brigade, and that was my original basic
25 Q. So that, presumably, means Mrksic; is that correct? Yes or no,
2 A. Command of the unit, that's how it goes, in that sequence;
3 Commander, Chief of Staff, and then down the chain of command. It is
4 clear that Mrksic was the commander.
5 Q. And as far as you're aware, Mrksic did nothing to verify that
6 information; if, of course, he was aware of it.
7 A. That's the right question. That's exactly the question that I
8 put. Naturally, if he knew.
9 Q. And Sljivancanin, he did nothing, of course, provided on his state
10 of knowledge at the time; that's right, isn't it?
11 A. Naturally, all of that is linked. You cannot have a situation
12 where the top man and the chief of security know nothing, and how can they
13 order things? Now, as to whether they knew or didn't know, it's up to
14 them to say. I have no right, nor do I attempt to speak on their behalf.
15 I don't know whether they knew or didn't know.
16 Q. Well, can I just go back to your evidence. And you told us that
17 Mr. Sljivancanin was going past to I think it was the command briefing.
18 He had only a few seconds. You mentioned Ovcara. He went off, he came
19 back, and he said well done - I'm sorry, I forget the name that he uses -
20 well done to you. I knew I could trust you. You mentioned to him the
21 incidents at Ovcara and presumably the barracks. That's right, isn't it?
22 And Mr. Sljivancanin said -- just remind us again what he said. Something
23 along the lines that he would probably have a look at it; is that right?
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. Sorry?
1 A. Yes. That's correct, yes.
2 Q. And as far as you are aware, he never did. That's right, isn't
4 A. As far as I am aware, I don't know whether he did. I did not
5 receive a reply.
6 Q. I asked the question very simply: As far as you are aware, he
7 never did. As far as you are aware. That's right, isn't it?
8 A. Yes.
9 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much. Your Honour, I know we're six
10 minutes early from the break. I was going to move on to a different topic
11 and move away from the statements and hopefully move a little faster, but
12 I will come back to the statements in due course.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Very well, Mr. Moore.
14 We will resume at a quarter past.
15 --- Recess taken at 10.54 a.m.
16 --- On resuming at 11.20 a.m.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
18 MR. MOORE:
19 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, I'm going to move away from statements for the
20 moment and I will be dealing really with topics and they don't always
21 follow in sequence, I apologise for that but it's not always easy to do
23 I want to deal with the briefing of Mr. Sljivancanin on the 19th
24 of November, so that is the topic I wish to deal with. Is that all right?
25 Do you understand?
1 A. When you start, we'll see.
2 Q. Thank you very much. Well, no guarantee.
3 So, how many people were at the briefing with Mr. Sljivancanin
4 when tasks were being given out?
5 A. Everybody from the security department were there, but I don't
6 remember the figure. They should be counted. All of them were there.
7 Q. And that briefing itself, as a general rule, tended to occur after
8 what I will call the Mrksic command briefing; would that be right or not?
9 A. Yes, after the command briefing.
10 Q. So if the command briefing was at, let us say - and I don't say it
11 for any particular reason - if it was at 6.00 and it was finished at 7.00,
12 what I will call the security organ briefing or Mr. Sljivancanin's
13 briefing would be after that.
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. And that is what happened on the 19th; is that correct?
16 A. Briefing was every day when he was there around the same time,
17 around 7.30 p.m., until the point when I went back to the command post on
18 the 19th when I was appointed as head of the command post, and then I
19 wasn't a part of the team that attended the briefing.
20 Q. But on the 19th, you were there?
21 A. I was invited.
22 Q. What sort of tasks were given out by Mr. Sljivancanin on the
23 evening of the 19th? Just give us a flavour of that, please.
24 A. I was given my task and then left the briefing. I wasn't there to
25 listen to other tasks being given. I could not linger on.
1 Q. Were there any tasks given before you left, apart from the one to
3 A. I was the first to be issued with a task, and then I was free to
4 go. I had duties to attend to at my command post, and this is why I was
5 the first to be given my task; and then he was left with the other
6 officers and gave out tasks known to him.
7 Q. But normally, when one has a briefing, the person giving the
8 briefing will have what I will call a preamble indicating the nature of
9 the tasks that are to be done in general, and then moving on to the
10 specific allocation; do you understand?
11 A. I understand that. The task of the rest of them was to provide
12 security for the following day, to put security measures in place, to make
13 sure that the evacuation of the sick and the wounded from the hospital can
14 be carried out; and pursuant to such security measures, everybody was
15 given their particular task. But I was the first to be given my task, and
16 I asked him to be allowed to return to my command post, because I had
17 other duties and for the purpose of me preparing myself for that task
18 given to me.
19 Q. I know this may be slightly corny, but rather like an orange, the
20 person giving the brief indicates what the general shape is going to be;
21 and then the parts of the orange, the components, the sectors, are then
22 given to the individual person. Do you see my analogy? It's not a very
23 good one, but would that be right?
24 A. This is the method of work in any process, not in this briefing.
25 There is the general and main tasks, which is then further elaborated upon
1 into parts, and everybody is given that part to perform. That's correct.
2 I fully agree with you here in that.
3 Q. Thank you very much. Perhaps we can forget the orange.
4 Let's move on to the numbers. Would it be right to say that the
5 number of, approximately, 200 individuals were believed to be in the
6 hospital and represented those who were not genuinely there? Would that
7 be a fairly reasonable figure that was given out?
8 A. That figure was not known, at the evening, you mean, nobody knew
9 that figure. The following day, that figure emerged. Nobody knew how
10 many members of which category were in the hospital. The hospital had
11 been taken, and it still had to be determined. So that nobody was dealing
12 with any figures or numbers. There was this main task.
13 And the main task was to secure evacuation of the sick and
14 wounded; and that all those who do not belong to the hospital, who are not
15 part of the hospital staff, those who took refuge in the hospital, they
16 had to be separated and determined their status, because they could
17 influence the security and safety of the operation to secure the sick and
18 the wounded.
19 We did not know who was in the hospital.
20 Q. Can I just -- oh, you did know who was in the hospital; you just
21 weren't sure of their identity.
22 Well, the reason I ask you that question is because we have got an
23 operational log belonging to the 80th Motorised Brigade, a warning order
24 from memory from 1800 hours on the 19th where it gives the figure of 200
25 people, HDZ and MUP, I can't remember exactly, were expected. And I'm
1 just curious if you might know how that number -- where that number came
2 from? That's the first point.
3 The second thing is that a grave was dug, and I think 198 bodies
4 were taken out of it. So I'm just curious if you would know where that
5 figure came from on the 19th?
6 A. I was not aware of that figure. I have nothing to do with the
7 80th Brigade. This is their operational log. I had no access to their
8 log, and I know nothing of the information that you are dealing with. I
9 did not know about that.
10 Q. Then I will move on to a different topic.
11 The Mitnica evacuation, you have told us about communication
12 coming into Mr. Sljivancanin from Vasiljevic, in respect of the exchange
13 of prisoners, Croatian forces, and officers; do you remember that? You've
14 told -- given us evidence about that.
15 A. Yes. Yes.
16 Q. And when one hears about the Mitnica evacuation, the phrase that
17 is invariably used is the "Mitnica Battalion." Have you heard them called
18 that? The suggestion being that they are soldiers, basically, the
20 A. Which is more of a Mitnica group for me. That would be the term
21 that I used and which corresponds to what they were, the Mitnica group.
22 Q. I want to ask about the perception existing at that time of the
23 people in the hospital, the HDZ, the MUP, and can I just use the
24 phrase "Ustasha criminals." Did you ever hear the fact about Ustasha
25 criminals being in the hospital?
1 A. For a time, while I was an operative, I had information and
2 sources and data that the so-called defenders of Vukovar, or as they were
3 labelled, the HDZ men, they took part in combat in pursuit of their goals.
4 Whether they were criminals or not, well, it later was confirmed that
5 there was some crime being committed. And when we received from our
6 superior command a list of which criminals there were, it wasn't a large
7 number, but there were names submitted to us.
8 Q. The names submitted to you, was that before the evacuation or
9 after the evacuation?
10 A. Before.
11 Q. And who were they again, please, can you just remind us?
12 A. I don't know now who those people were. We concluded the
13 procedure. There were people who were not sick. It was possible to
14 establish that,; and then there were also people who had acknowledged that
15 they had fought on the side of Croatian forces; and then there were people
16 who kept silent and did not acknowledge anything.
17 This is why this triage was conducted through interviews and other
18 means. We tried to establish whether there were any other criminals among
19 them and who were the criminals and who were mere combatants. It was just
20 a matter of a procedure to be followed.
21 Q. And I am relying on what you have said: "It was later confirmed
22 that there was some crime being committed; and then we received from our
23 superior command a list of which criminals there were. It wasn't a large
24 number, but there were names submitted to us."
25 So it's a case of names being given to you. That is right, isn't
2 A. Yes, but that wasn't given to me. I did not have those names, nor
3 was I -- nor could I have had such names, because such names were sent to
4 the security department.
5 Q. What do you mean by the "security department?"
6 A. To the chief. He was the one receiving information from the
7 superior command, instructions and all; and then he forwarded it to his
8 organs, to his assistant for counter-intelligence work, and to other
9 officers depending on each officer was in the area of responsibility.
10 Q. And they were names of people who were perceived to be criminals;
11 that is right, isn't it? That's right, Mr. Vukasinovic, isn't it?
12 A. You keep testing me. I didn't read these names. I didn't read
13 their dossiers. Yes. There was a number of people regarding whom we
14 knew, that they had committed crimes, that they were criminals, and that
15 there was a possibility that they had not surrendered and could be found
16 in the hospital. This is why the instruction was given for the situation
17 to be looked into and to see whether any such persons in the hospital.
18 According to our information, in the final operations, the
19 hospital served as a facility where all of those who had remained in town,
20 who had taken part in combat and had refused to surrender, changed their
21 clothes and hid in the hospital. That was a fact that we had information
22 about. We established that to be so and measures were taken to that end.
23 Q. I presume what you mean is measures were taken to identify them.
24 Is that right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. I think it's also right to say that there was a belief by the JNA
2 that atrocities had been committed against Serbs. That is also correct,
3 is it not?
4 A. Atrocities were committed against Serbs and against other citizens
5 who did not accept their policies, if I may call them that.
6 Q. May I then move on to another topic. You told us about
7 intelligence, you told us about lists and documents, and you referred to
8 surveillance, I believe - it may have been my phrase rather than you - the
9 tapping of communications, wiretapping, as I call it. I think that was
10 done, wasn't it?
11 A. Those were measures conducted in combat operations, and this is
12 done by certain organs on both sides.
13 Q. I'm not criticising or trying to attribute blame. I am merely
14 saying the JNA had the facility and, indeed, did listen into
15 communication; that is correct, isn't it?
16 A. Yes. And they had the facility of listening to us as well. We
17 were one single army. We had gone through the same training; and then
18 overnight, we split into two opposing sides. So our enemy was not unknown
19 to us. No, our enemy were our colleagues who had gone to school with us.
20 So the same methods and principles --
21 Q. Yes. I'm not disputing that, but I want to just focus, please, on
22 what the JNA were doing at that time. It is not a criticism. It is
23 merely a process of trying to find out exactly what was occurring.
24 So, you were listening in or wiretapping; that is right, isn't it?
25 A. I didn't, but our organs did, yes.
1 Q. And they had the capacity to be able to listen to radio
2 communication and telephone communication; that is right, isn't it?
3 A. All kinds of communication: Radio, telephone, wire. All kinds of
5 Q. You may or may not know the answer to this question. If you
6 don't, just say: "I don't know." Were you aware that there had been
7 wiretaps or listening in to what I will call peace negotiations or what I
8 call surrender negotiations towards the end of the third week in November?
9 A. I'm not aware of that.
10 Q. Thank you very much. Let us then move on to another area. You
11 have told us that I believe on the 18th of November, in relation to the
12 Mitnica evacuation, everybody was everywhere and certain people were
13 taking their cars; and you, not you personally, but they were informed
14 that Ovcara was an exit point. That is right, isn't it, and a number of
15 cars ended up at Ovcara?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. And I think again from memory, you said that the cars were to be
18 left there with the keys left in -- with the keys; is that right or not?
19 A. Correct. Correct.
20 Q. Now, when one approaches the hangar at Ovcara, I assume that we
21 agree with this. You go along eventually a straight road from the yellow
22 house, and the Ovcara hangar is on the right-hand side; do you remember
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Can you, in your mind's eye, just tell us where it was the cars
1 were parked at Ovcara?
2 A. Halfway between the yellow house and the hangar, there is a meadow
3 on the right side, and this is where they were parked.
4 Q. And they were cars belonging to, principally, private people; is
5 that correct?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. And when the cars were left, what happened to the owners of those
9 A. The owners were transported in buses to wherever they wanted to
11 Q. Well, we know some of them didn't manage to get there. Was it
12 also right to say that there was an ongoing problem of people coming to
13 claim those cars? Whether they genuinely owned the cars or genuinely had
14 a right to drive the car was open to question.
15 JUDGE PARKER: I was waiting for the answer.
16 A. I listened carefully, but I wouldn't agree with you about those
17 people not coming back. Those who left on the buses, they left. The cars
18 remained there, and the cars were protected. Nobody stole the cars.
19 Later on, these cars were turned over to the collection centre at
20 Velepromet, down to the last one. I remember that a yellow Mercedes had
21 gone missing, and we found it in the course of the day and brought it
22 back. So down to the last car, all of them were taken to the collection
23 centre at Velepromet. That is my answer.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We heard the answer, but in Mr.
1 Moore's question, this fact that was stated in the question is not
2 something that we heard during the trial, that those who came on the 18th
3 to Ovcara did not manage to leave, at least I'm not familiar with that
4 reference; and if Mr. Moore can enlighten us, please go ahead. We know of
5 only one testimony where something of the sort is mentioned, but this fact
6 was not part of that testimony.
7 MR. MOORE: I was trying to find out from the witness whether, in
8 actual fact, he was aware if people were claiming their car or not
9 claiming their car.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Carry on, Mr. Moore.
11 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
12 Q. So can you assist us that they, firstly, were under guard; is that
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. That there was always the danger of someone coming to collect
16 those cars; is that correct? I say "danger," there was always the
17 likelihood of someone coming to collect those cars; would that be right?
18 A. There was danger, yes.
19 Q. And there was always a likelihood, it could either be a person who
20 was genuinely entitled or perhaps someone who was pretending to be
22 A. Well, I think that the question is -- Mr. Moore, all kinds of
23 unlawful things take place during the war. So anybody who came to claim
24 the car and was not the lawful owner, that is considered theft. So the
25 owners could come, yes; but in that sense, there was the danger. And this
1 why we tried to protect the cars to ensure that they wouldn't be stolen.
2 Now, as to who could have stolen them, that's a different
3 question. Whether it was the citizens or those other ones who were there,
4 that's questionable. But the fact is that it was dangerous for them to be
5 piled up all in one place, and we didn't have enough forces to deal with
6 all kinds of security issues.
7 Q. No, you missed my point. My point is quite simply this: That
8 there was a likelihood that civilians would come to the Ovcara area to
9 claim a car. That's all I'm saying.
10 A. I'm not aware of that. As to such assumptions, yes, we can
11 reflect on them now; but at that time, who would come back when was quite
13 Q. That's exactly the point I'm trying to make; that it was not known
14 when someone would come to collect a car.
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. Thank you. Now, at Ovcara, you had the capacity and the ability
17 to protect the cars; that is right, isn't it?
18 A. We protected them.
19 Q. What I would like clarification is this: You went to Ovcara on
20 the 19th with Major Sljivancanin, and you told us that he had expressed
21 concern about those cars. And I think it was him who suggested that they
22 should be taken to Velepromet. Do you remember giving that evidence?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Am I right in saying it was his suggestion?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And when were the cars moved?
2 A. That was done by the centre for collection in Velepromet. I think
3 that they were handed over on the 20th in the morning. A group of their
4 people came from Velepromet. Ljubinko Stojanovic, the so-called TO chief,
5 came with his people and transported all of the cars. All of the cars
6 were transported to Velepromet.
7 Q. And, therefore, by the end of the morning on the 20th of November,
8 the likelihood of civilians coming to the Ovcara area unannounced was
9 removed, wasn't it, because the cars had been taken to Velepromet. Isn't
10 that right?
11 A. Our task was to remove the coarse. Now, as to the possibility of
12 those people returning, I wasn't familiar with that.
13 Q. But it means that civilians would not be coming to Ovcara on the
14 afternoon of the 20th or the evening of the 20th, because the cars were no
15 longer there. The risk was diminished, wasn't it?
16 A. They were taken to Croatian, Mr. Moore, to Serbia. Do you
17 understand that? So not a single person remained there. They were
18 transported according to their wishes; some to Croatia, some to Serbia.
19 So their return followed, I don't know, a month or two later, but there
20 was no possibility of them returning on the following day to reclaim their
22 Q. Can I just ask you this question, you may or may not be able to
23 help me with the answer. Do you know how it was that individuals knew
24 that the Ovcara facility was empty on the afternoon of the 20th and the
25 evening of the 20th? Do you know how that was ascertained? What I'm
1 wondering is that somebody might have actually gone to Ovcara, and there
2 were actually people in it.
3 A. I'm not aware of that.
4 Q. Because our understanding is that the Ovcara facility apparently
5 was chosen in the afternoon of the 20th or the early hours of the
6 afternoon of the 20th. That seems to be the impression.
7 A. Your insistence on that topic is something that I am not familiar
8 with. I'm telling you, I did not know about Ovcara at all. Don't ask me
9 about that. Now, whether it was vacant, not vacant, who said what, I
10 don't know. I have no answer for you concerning that, because I simply
11 didn't know.
12 Q. Thank you very much. I will move then on to a different topic.
13 Let us deal with the 20th and the fact that you returned from
14 Ovcara, and you went to what I will call the command post area at
15 Negoslavci. Do you follow the topic I want to deal with?
16 A. When everything is clear, then I understand everything. Why don't
17 you start and then we'll see.
18 Q. I will do my best. Your state of knowledge at that time when you
19 returned to the command post was: There had been a selection process at
20 the hospital with the Petrova Gora TO threatening, but nothing happening.
21 Secondly, your state of knowledge was that at the JNA barracks,
22 there had been quite severe threats and that you communicated that to
23 Sljivancanin, but nothing had happened apart from, as you said, a few
25 And the third element was you had been to Ovcara, and you had seen
1 the same group, along with others, and clearly, acts of violence had been
2 committed, obviously not on your individuals, but acts of violence had
3 been committed, and there was an extremely hostile atmosphere at the time.
4 Would that be a fair analysis of your state of knowledge vis-a-vis that
6 A. All of that is true, as I described it. Up until Ovcara, yes,
7 there were such manifestations. I was aware of them. It was conveyed to
8 me, and all of that did exist to the extent that I described in my
10 Q. You come to the command post. I think you told us in evidence, it
11 was 4.00 or 4.30 in the afternoon. Can we just assume, rather than try
12 and work out time, between light and dark; it might have been around dusk,
13 would that be correct or not?
14 A. It was still light. When I left Ovcara, it was still light. But
15 within about half an hour, what we call winter dusk set on, and that
16 usually happens between 4.00 and 4.30, in that area.
17 Q. Now, I want to deal with your decision to go and see your
18 commander, Mr. Mrksic. You used the phrase, if my longhand note is
19 correct: "My duty was to brief him of the changes and the problems at
21 What do you mean by the phrase "my duty?"
22 A. To tell you what I mean by that phrase, well, that was my duty, my
23 obligation, because the circumstances forced me in the situation where I
24 found myself at Ovcara. So that entire trip from the barracks to Ovcara
25 was not familiar to me, but I stayed there until the end. I could have
1 abandoned it halfway through, but that would not have been proper. I had
2 to perservere to the end and complete my task. And why did I have this
3 need? Our books and our regulations stipulate that the commander is the
4 most responsible person in an area of responsibility, so he is to be
5 credited and to be blamed for everything.
6 So just prior to the briefing, I went to inform him, because all
7 of the commanders were supposed to be present at that point in time, and
8 then he would be able to resolve the problem and issue a direct task to
9 the commander of the 80th Brigade to undertake measures. That was my an
10 assumption. Battalion commanders, brigade commander were all there; they
11 were briefed about the problem. That was the best and the most opportune
12 moment to resolve the problem.
13 In that sense, I waited for half an hour or an hour, didn't leave
14 right away. That was my duty, as an officer, given that there were
15 problems, that the whole course of events had changed. I was duty-bound
16 to say -- to report on what had happened, to ensure that it would not
17 happen later on, so that measures could be taken to prevent the problem
18 from escalating and to ensure that it was solved.
19 To that end, I acted preventively in order to inform the
20 commander, Mrksic.
21 Q. Thank you for that. Bit it's right you had been told that the JNA
22 barracks, when you went there, that the commander had ordered the buses to
23 go to Ovcara. So on the information that you had available to you, you
24 were aware that the commander himself had ordered that the buses go to
25 Ovcara. That is right, isn't it?
1 A. That was stated; those were the statements. I didn't know. That
2 was the information I received from a subordinate, Mr. Predojevic. So all
3 of that is correct, yes. I heard that the commander had ordered to go to
4 Ovcara, but it wasn't enough for me to conclude that it was normal. My
5 impressions was that something was not logical, normal. I received the
6 task and all of a sudden the task was changed. I couldn't disrupt the
7 implementation of the task. The rule is that you complete the task and,
8 then if you have reasons to complain to protest then you do that. But you
9 don't abandon your task halfway through.
10 Q. When you use the phrase "not normal," may I suggest the word that
11 it was "odd" what had happened?
12 A. What happened where? Ovcara? Well, yes, it was odd. I agree. I
14 Q. And why was it odd?
15 A. Because the change of direction was odd to me. I didn't know why
16 the direction was being changed. I had prepared myself and focused on the
17 task. The barracks, and then from the barracks straight to Mitrovica.
18 That was how I prepared myself. That was my basic task. And then at some
19 point in time, you receive a different itinerary and you have no
20 information concerning that. Nobody gives you the exact information. You
21 just hear this person said that, this person said that; and then you
22 arrived at the spot and then you realise that the situation is odd. Yes,
23 odd is the right word. You said it right.
24 Had it not been that way, it would not have been odd. Had they
25 remained at the barracks, everything would have been all right. That's
1 where the problem lies, but I was not part of the problem. I was simply
2 executing my task. I would like for you to tell me who constituted the
3 problem on the route between barracks and Ovcara. That's a different
5 Q. Well, can I then deal with it this way. While it may have been
6 odd, the information was that had been at the commander's order. So when
7 you went to see the commander, would it be right to say that it was a
8 two-fold purpose: One, to confirm that Mrksic had indeed been responsible
9 for the redirection; and two, to let him know that there were events and
10 incidents happening at both the barracks and, more particularly, Ovcara,
11 that gave you cause for concern? Would that be a fair way of putting it?
12 A. The latter one is correct. And as for the former one, it was not
13 part of my confidence for me to go and double-check what the commander had
14 ordered. He knows what he had ordered, and he's here so you can check
15 with him.
16 As for the latter, then, yes, if he is fully conscious of what he
17 had ordered, then there is nothing for me to say. But perhaps he wasn't
18 fully familiar or wasn't familiar at all with what had happened there.
19 And in that case, I, as a direct executor of the task, then, yes, it was
20 my role to inform him that there had been problems there, to inform him of
21 the problems and to suggest measures. It is up to me to suggest measures.
22 Now, as to whether the commander would accept my measures or define
23 different measures on his own, that's his prerogative.
24 Q. So when you went, it was to inform him about the problems that
25 caused you concern, and to try and ascertain if there were measures that
1 could avoid those problems from escalating out of control; would that be
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. Mr. Mrksic, I think, said, "You may go." Consequently, is one to
5 assume that he gave you no instructions about what to do; is that correct?
6 A. That's correct.
7 Q. He did not contact anybody in your presence to overcome the
8 perceived problems; is that correct?
9 A. I don't know about that. There was a meeting that he attended
10 after that; in other words, there was a briefing.
11 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, listen to the question, please. He did not
12 contact anybody in your presence to overcome the perceived problems. That
13 is correct, isn't it?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. He did not explain to you about the government or the change of
16 route. That is correct also, isn't it?
17 A. Yes, correct.
18 Q. And it is also correct to say that he did not state or indicate to
19 you that he had received instructions or guidance from other officers or
20 senior officers. That is correct, is it not?
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. Thank you. Let us move on, then, dealing with Mr. Sljivancanin.
23 The briefing was somewhere around 6.00ish. Obviously, it would
24 tend to vary, but you saw Mr. Sljivancanin arrive for a brief moment; that
25 is right, isn't it? You've given evidence of that.
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. Thank you. He went to the commander's briefing; that is right,
3 isn't it, as far as you're aware?
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. And you had given this information to Mrksic prior to the
6 commander's briefing; that is right, isn't it?
7 A. That's correct.
8 Q. And then you spoke to Mr. Sljivancanin. Now, it's my -- my
9 apologies for missing something. When you saw Sljivancanin and he was on
10 his way to the commander's briefing, is it right you very briefly
11 mentioned about the problems that you had seen that day?
12 A. That's correct. Just in a couple of sentences.
13 Q. Thank you. So when Mr. Sljivancanin came or you spoke to Mr.
14 Sljivancanin, I think it is as a result of him summoning you; is that
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. And is it correct to say that you informed Mr. Sljivancanin,
18 basically, of the same facts that you had told Colonel Mrksic? That is
19 correct, is it not?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And as far as you are aware, he did not contact Mrksic about the
22 information that you gave him.
23 A. I don't know about that.
24 Q. Well, he did not pick up a telephone or he did not say, "I'm on my
25 way to see Mrksic." That's all you can say, isn't it. He did not do
1 anything like that; that is right, isn't it?
2 A. I don't know what he was doing. At that time while I was with
3 him, no. But I did not sit there for hours. We were there for half an
4 hour and then I went on. I don't know if called him or not. While I was
5 there, he did not.
6 Q. Very well, we will deal the half hour while you were there.
7 Through that half hour, he did not contact Mrksic. That is correct, is it
9 A. No. That's correct.
10 Q. He, on your evidence, did not suggest to go to Ovcara to try and
11 see if there were any problems that he could resolve. That is correct on
12 your evidence that you have given.
13 A. Well, he didn't suggest anything to me. Now, as to whether he
14 suggested anything to the commander or not, that's not something that I
15 know of.
16 Q. I have asked a simple question. We're dealing with the 30
17 minutes. It is right to say within that 30-minute period when you gave
18 him that same information that you had given Mrksic, on the evidence that
19 you had given, he did not suggest going to Ovcara. That is right, isn't
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. It is also right to say that in your presence, he did not contact
23 anyone to ascertain what was happening at Ovcara. That is correct, isn't
25 A. That's correct.
1 Q. And it is also correct to say that he said that he would probably
2 look into it later.
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. And on the evidence that you have, and the knowledge that you
5 have, you are not aware of him actually looking into it. This is on the
6 evidence you have given.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. MOORE: Would Your Honour forgive me one moment. I just want
10 to try to clarify matters so I can speed up.
11 Q. It is slightly out of sequence in time, but I want to deal with
12 this topic if I may. My apologies if I haven't got it quite word perfect.
13 Is it right that you went into the hangar at Ovcara?
14 A. When? On the day when I transported the people there?
15 Q. My apologies for being presumptuous. I'm talking about when the
16 people were taken there on the 20th. Did you go into the hangar? Do you
17 remember the three buses that you went, and you went and you saw Mr. Panic
18 and you had a chat?
19 A. No, I -- on the 20th, when I saw Mr. Panic, I was in the hangar
20 and I actually did something about those people. I threw them out.
21 That's what I talked about. I said that I was there and that I threw
22 these people out, if that is what you are talking about.
23 Q. That is what I am talking about. Thank you.
24 You used the phrase in evidence - I've written it down longhand,
25 so my apologies - "They are under our control. They are under our
1 jurisdiction." What did you mean by that?
2 A. Well, the word itself tells you what I meant. They are under the
3 jurisdiction of the army, not of any other unit. The army was the sole
4 party responsible at that time there, and that is why the army carried out
5 the evacuation, carried out the whole operation. And now, at one point,
6 all of a sudden, this is not something that belongs -- that is under our
7 control. It is now somebody else there, and that is why I thought that we
8 had an obligation to act here as part of the Operations Group South. So
9 this was the sense in which I meant.
10 Q. Thank you very much. A simple question: On the night of the 20th
11 of November when those people were in the Ovcara hangar - and we know
12 about the background. Not only from you, but from others - it is right to
13 say, is it not, that once the police were withdrawn, those individuals in
14 the hangar were completely unprotected? That is right, isn't it?
15 A. At that time, I was not aware of that. But from this vantage
16 point when we say that this is what happened, then, yes, that is what
17 happened. But I was not aware of it at the time.
18 Q. I am not discussing your personal circumstances. I am merely
19 giving you a situation. You were privy to what was happening. I am
20 asking you the simple question: That the once the police, the military
21 police were withdrawn, those individuals in the hangar were completely
22 unprotected. That is right, isn't it, from what you could see?
23 A. If that is how it was, then yes, it is.
24 Q. So who issued the withdrawal of the military police on the evening
25 of the 20th?
1 A. I don't know about that. I didn't know anything about that. And
2 in fact, to this day, I don't know who ordered that, and I would like to
3 know and I'm looking forward to learning that. That's the real answer,
4 and this must be proven who ordered this to be done? I am waiting with
5 great anticipation to learn that, and I would like to know who it was that
6 ordered for this unit to stop securing the site and to leave the people
7 there, the people for whom I had put my life on the line several times.
8 And this is why I would like to urge you, Your Honours, to determine that.
9 This is the crux of the matter. This is the most important thing here.
10 Q. Did you really put your life on the line at the Ovcara hangar on
11 the 20th?
12 A. I have to apologise. It may seem strange to you here, but this is
13 war that we're talking about. I can't really explain to you how often one
14 risks one's life in war, unless you, yourself, fought in a war. And I
15 have seen a lot of fighting, and this is how it is in the war. You risk
16 your life all the time. I am not a trainee soldier, I'm not a rookie, I'm
17 an experienced soldier. So I put my life on the line to protect these
18 people, and this is really what I did.
19 I'm not saying this to boast or anything. I just wanted to say
20 that we officers in this unit of the OG South; that we were all
21 honourable, honest people, that we abided by the Geneva Conventions and
22 laws and customs of war, and there can be no doubt about that.
23 Q. Is that why you said to Mr. Sljivancanin that things could be so
24 different in wartime circumstances when you were briefing him about the
1 A. No. No. Please don't try to establish a link between what I said
2 and this. I merely wanted to explain to you, in light of your allegations
3 that I was responsible in some way for this. I merely wanted to say to
4 you that I really made every effort I could to protect these people;
5 anything that was within my purview as an officer, as a professional, as a
6 person charged with completing a task. I merely said this as an aside, so
7 you cannot really say this, what you just put to me.
8 Q. Well, I can say it, because it's what your evidence is. It's at
9 page 40, line 3. It was vis-a-vis and relation to the conversation you
10 had with Sljivancanin.
11 "I told him security was all right, but I also warned them that
12 actions such as these might be a bit difficult under the circumstances
13 that prevailed at the time in this wartime situation."
14 So you are actually indicating that it was the prevailing
15 circumstances at the time, being a wartime situation, that might make it
16 even worse; isn't that right? Isn't that your point?
17 A. I merely wanted to let Major Sljivancanin know that these
18 procedures, separating people in groups, releasing them; and then if this
19 procedure were to be repeated, that this would irritate further people who
20 were already quite irritated. And the best option was for people not to
21 be in contact with them, for them to be isolated; and that would be the
22 highest level of security one could provide them.
23 So to prevent anyone from getting on the buses, into the hangar,
24 so these people could be kept sort of untouchable. So while they were in
25 transport, that actually opened up the possibility for these people to
1 vent this aggressive behaviour. And that is why I suggested that this not
2 be done any further, but that only the first -- that after the first
3 group, no further groups be processed in this way.
4 Isolation was the only solution, the only way in which they could
5 have been saved.
6 Q. Thank you very much, indeed.
7 Your Honour, I have cut down my cross-examination, although it may
8 not be immediately apparent, significantly. And I thought that I would
9 run until the witching hour of a quarter to 1.00. I would like to move on
10 to a different topic, and I would also like to pare down my
11 cross-examination for this afternoon, which would mean that the next
12 witness could start this afternoon, I would think, fairly easily. Could I
13 possibly ask the Court's indulgence to rise a little early and perhaps
14 resume a little early, if that's possible?
15 JUDGE PARKER: You mean now, Mr. Moore?
16 MR. MOORE: That's exactly what I mean.
17 JUDGE PARKER: It is early, perhaps, not a little.
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE PARKER: Is there inconvenience for anybody of counsel or in
20 the courtroom and those assisting if we resumed at a quarter to 2.00
21 rather than 2.00? I'm trying to see through clouded glass.
22 Mr. Lukic.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I just wanted to make a point in
24 advance. It might happen with our next witness, and I will know more
25 about that during the break, for him to start later, because from what I
1 know now, Mr. Maric was interviewed by Mr. Weiner, from the Prosecution.
2 This is what we scheduled yesterday, and I wanted Mr. Bulatovic to be
3 present and Mr. Weiner said that he would agree. And if it is indeed the
4 case if Mr. Bulatovic told me that he had been told about it and that he
5 attended the interview, that there would be no need for any further
6 proofing of Witness Maric, then we will agree to Mr. Moore ending sooner
7 and I will not have too much of a re-examination,.
8 But if we learn that the witness has already been proofed or that
9 it was done not in the presence of Mr. Bulatovic, then I might ask for a
10 little postponement. So this is a little caveat here, but I will be able
11 to let you know after the break what the situation is. And I just wanted
12 to take this opportunity, after the end of Mr. Vukasinovic's testimony, I
13 wanted to inform you about our plan, how we plan to proceed with our case.
14 I think it would be quite useful for us to acquaint you with the
15 development of our case. I think that we are set to end our case, perhaps
16 even sooner than the deadline. I think it would be good to tell you that
17 in light of the return of P002 to the courtroom, but I will be
18 able to tell you more about that after Mr. Vukasinovic is excused.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic, we will be in suspense all over the
20 lunch break. You realise we're sitting longer hours at the moment to
21 finish within the time you've indicated, and I wanted to ensure that
22 counsel were conscious of this so we were making most use of the available
23 time. So we look forward to what you have to say and I have not detected
24 any problem about a quarter to 2.00 start so we will adjourn now and
25 resume at 1.45.
1 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.25 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 1.50 p.m.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
4 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, yes.
5 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, I want to go on to the -- you've given us one
6 account of your evidence. I want to deal with the other account because
7 you unusually give two accounts. I want you to turn, please, to the
8 statement of the Office of the Prosecutor which is, in your case, tab 6,
9 in the English, tab 5. You've already seen it because Mr. Vasic referred
10 to it.
11 Now, as I say, it's tab 6 for you, and I've had all the paragraphs
12 individually numbered to help. Have you got it there in front of you?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. I have two short questions before we commence. You told us, I
15 think, that you were born in Kosovo; is that right?
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. Why do you give your ethnic origin as Montenegrin?
18 A. Because my father is a Montenegrin from Montenegro, and I am
19 entitled to do that.
20 Q. You are entitled to put wherever you want, Mr. Vukasinovic, even
21 Khazakstan. But as far as I am concerned, I just wanted to know why
22 Montenegro. The second question is simply this: Names of the persons
23 present during the interview, I see you've got Mr. Borisavljevic present
24 with you. Is that right or not? Was he present at some time the
25 interview, as is being suggested?
1 A. I don't know what you mean, that he was present where? What do
2 you mean?
3 Q. Well, if you look at the front page, it gives your name, family
4 name; it gives your first name; it gives your date of birth, 15th of
5 August, 1954. So you are about a year and three months younger than Mr.
6 Sljivancanin; and then right down at the bottom, "Names of all persons
7 present during interview." Do you see that?
8 A. Yes, yes, I see that. I have to apologise. Now I do know what
9 you're talking about.
10 Q. So we've got Mr. Borisavljevic, Dzuro, Paolo Pastore-Stocchi,
11 Franjic; and then a gentleman, I presume, from the commission of
12 cooperation with The Hague.
13 Now, merely inquiring, Mr. Borisavljevic, is that the same
14 Borisavljevic who was a member of the security organ with responsibility,
15 in a neutral sense, for Velepromet in 1991?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And was the date of interview was the 16th and the 26th of
18 November. I presume that the interview was on the 16th, and then there
19 was, I presume again, a rereading; is that right? Can you just help us on
21 A. That's correct. Yes.
22 Q. And Mr. Borisavljevic, was he there during the interview? You see
23 sometimes --
24 A. No. No. Mr. Vladimir Dzuro conducted the interview in the
25 presence of Paolo, the interpreter, and there was also Colonel Mojsilovic
1 and myself. So that is a mistake. If that's what it says here, then
2 that's a mistake.
3 Q. Well, was Borisavljevic with you on one of these days, even if he
4 wasn't there during the interview?
5 A. No, no.
6 Q. So we can just disregard how Mr. Borisavljevic's name got there.
7 We can just put a pen through it?
8 A. Absolutely.
9 Q. So --
10 A. Yeah, you can just go ahead and do that.
11 Q. So there is no misunderstanding, I have made inquiries of whether
12 he was there or not; and from the OTP position, they can't remember. And
13 you say he wasn't there.
14 A. Yes. I say now that he was not there.
15 Q. Thank you very much. Can we deal then with certain aspects of
16 your OTP statement; page or paragraph 13, which is 4 of 10 in the English
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Paragraph 13, and I have no doubt at all that you have read this
20 statement recently, haven't you? Yes?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Paragraph 13 reference to: "I know that in mid-November, 1991,
23 shortly before the fall of Vukovar, Seselj visited our zone of operation."
24 Now, we have heard evidence that Seselj apparently visited on the
25 13th of November, which clearly is shortly before the fall of Vukovar.
1 Would that date or interval be consistent with your recollection?
2 A. I think that it was a bit earlier than that. As far as I can
3 recall, it was earlier than that. I can't give you an exact date. I
4 think it was actually before the 13th. I can't recall the date; I only
5 know that it was in November.
6 Q. Were you asked by Mr. Lukic about the Seselj visit when you were
7 being proofed?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Can we just look, then, at what is said in paragraph 13. You have
10 personally nothing to do with this visit.
11 "I know for a fact he visited members of the Serbian Radical Party
12 in Vukovar, as his volunteers were within our military composition when he
13 was visiting those units. He also visited the area of our responsibility.
14 And then I know that many members of the Leva Supoderica were volunteers
15 of the Serbian Radical Party," and then you go on to say how he arrived,
16 and that you saw him pass the command post in Negoslavci.
17 It's the next line that I want to deal with if I may.
18 "I also know for a fact that he visited the command of the TO of
19 Petrova Gora and Leva Supoderica. Those command posts were located in
20 private houses in the area of Petrova Gora."
21 Now, "I also know for a fact that he visited," how do you know for
22 a fact that he visited? Was it a case that, perhaps, you were at that
23 meeting, in the most honest of reasons, of course?
24 A. I was not at the meeting. But I do know that he was visiting the
25 forward area; and, quite naturally, he came to see them. He specifically
1 arrived there to see them, not us. But I was not at the meeting.
2 Q. Well, it goes on:
3 "It would be natural that somebody from the security organs of the
4 Guards Brigade monitored this visit. It was the responsibility of Captain
5 Borce Karanfilov, because he was the security officer assigned to the 1st
6 Assault Detachment. But I do not know if he was present at this meeting,
7 and I know that Seselj's visit lasted one day."
8 Well, now, you saw Seselj arrive. You said here in your statement
9 that it would be logical and sensible for the security organ to be present
10 or -- I beg your pardon, to monitor the visit. Did you inquire from
11 anyone whether they had been to that Seselj visit at Petrova Gora?
12 A. It was not within my purview to investigate, but I know that when
13 I was the commander of the command post, that this visit occurred. He
14 went to the command post. He couldn't have gotten in without my knowing
15 that. I know that he went to the combat positions in order to visit his
16 volunteer units.
17 But when you ask me whether it would be normal, it would be normal
18 for somebody to monitor that, and that's what I was asked by the
19 investigator. That's what I said. It would be normal to monitor it, but
20 not in such a way that you are actually sitting there all the time. But
21 you have to get intelligence data about the visit and see what the purpose
22 of it was. That's normal.
23 So at the time, Borce Karanfilov was in charge of that unit
24 because it was a peacetime unit. I don't know whether he was there.
25 That's what I stated, and I can't tell you whether he attended it or not.
1 MR. MOORE: I think there may be an objection with Mr. Lukic.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, the interpreters are to
4 blame this time. Page 64, line 23, and the witness said, "When asked by
5 the investigator whether that would be normal, this was the response that
6 he gave."
7 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I'm not quite sure what that means, but
8 the reality is that it's a statement that you signed.
9 Q. That's right, isn't it?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Thank you. You had been in the Vukovar area for how long?
12 A. From the 30th of September until the 24th of November.
13 Q. Were you ever aware of Seselj coming on previous occasions?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Because he was a fairly high-profile political figure, wasn't he?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Do you know how he was able to make his way to the houses that
18 were located in the area of Petrova Gora? Do you know what assistance he
19 got for guidance to get there?
20 A. He had his own security, his bodyguards, his fighters that
21 escorted him, so he had his own security detail.
22 Q. Can I just ask you to look at paragraph 17 of this statement.
23 It's at the very bottom of that paragraph. It relates to the Velepromet
25 "I believe that most of those people in this collection centre
1 were civilians. I do not know about any mistreatment that would take
2 place in this centre, but I believe that Captain First Class Borisavljevic
3 would be able to provide for detailed information about what was going on
4 there. I only went there once or twice."
5 Now, you had the name of Borisavljevic at the start of your
6 witness statement, it must have been an error. Do you know Mr.
7 Borisavljevic? Do you still know him?
8 A. I know him. He was my colleague. We worked together. He is
9 retired now.
10 Q. Do you know, and I don't want the exact address, but are you in
11 contact with him? If need be, can he be contacted?
12 A. Yes, he can be contacted. I have not been in touch with him
13 recently. He has some health problems, but he can be contacted.
14 Q. So if the Defence wanted to contact him and call him as a witness,
15 you would be willing and able to assist them, would that be right?
16 A. If need be, absolutely, yes.
17 Q. Thank you very much. Can we just move on. Page 6 of 10,
18 paragraph 25.
19 I want to ask you about one or two issues in this paragraph. I
20 read as follows:
21 "Due to my recognised natural authority, I was tasked by Major
22 Sljivancanin with preventing any violent incidents around the hospital. I
23 personally talked to Miroljub Vujovic and Stanko Vujanovic. I told
24 Miroljub Vujovic that he should keep men under control. One of those
25 fighters pointed a rifle to my stomach and threatened to kill me. I
1 remember that we had a nasty argument there."
2 Now, may I deal with one or two parts of that statement. "Due to
3 my recognised natural authority," - perhaps I'm guilty more of curiosity
4 than anything else - but what is "recognised natural authority?" How does
5 one demonstrate that?
6 A. Well, it's up to those who work with me to explain it to you. Now
7 I have to tell you about myself; is that right? Okay. Well, you can ask
8 my superior officers. I was -- I was not easily frightened. I was
9 reliable. I was responsible and persistent, and that is all very
10 important. This is what -- this is what you have to demonstrate, because
11 if you don't, then the other side will win. So this is the state of mind,
12 the spirit that you have to show to those people; because then, they
13 cannot make any wilful decisions. They have to abide by what is asked of
15 So this is the essence of my natural authority.
16 Q. "One of those fighters pointed a rifle to my stomach and
17 threatened to kill me." Where did that occur? Was that at the barracks
18 or was that at the hospital?
19 A. This happened both at the barracks and in the hospital. At the
20 barracks, it was when I was taking the people out; and in the hospital, it
21 was just across the road when I went there to talk to them, when the major
22 had released the people that we had brought back and one of them asked me:
23 "What are you doing?" And he was holding his rifle trained at me and --
24 well, that incident then ended and -- so these are all the situations in
25 which, if you show fear, you lose the battle.
1 Q. So just so we get it accurately, one of them was the Petrova Gora
2 group of people who put a gun in your stomach; is that right?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. And you said it also happened at the barracks; is that right?
5 A. That's correct, yes. And also at Ovcara.
6 Q. So you had guns pulled on you personally on at least three
8 A. Probably even more than that.
9 Q. Thank you. May we move to paragraph 27, because I want to look at
10 this in comparison with the evidence that you have given.
11 "I took the first group of prisoners of war out of the hospital
12 before the argument between Sljivancanin and Borsinger. A representative
13 of the ICRC took place on the bridge over the river in Vukovar. I do not
14 know why Major Sljivancanin did not allow Red Cross representatives to
15 come to the hospital, but I know that all those selected people were
16 transported out of the hospital before the Red Cross was allowed in."
17 Now, I have asked you questions earlier on about whether the ICRC
18 and the ECMM were present or not when you returned. You suggested that
19 they were there when you returned. But on this particular paragraph,
20 there is a clear statement which suggests the contrary. Do you agree?
21 A. Yes, this is correct. When you look at this answer, that's how it
22 was, but the question that the investigator asked me was completely
23 different from the one that you're now asking me. He asked me, "Did you
24 see representatives of the Red Cross there when you were pulling the
25 second group out?" And I said, "No, because I didn't see them."
1 I said that I had seen journalists, reporters, when they were at
2 the hospital. But as for the first question, my answer was like this
3 because I didn't know why Major Sljivancanin had not allowed them to cross
4 the bridge. This is something that I just didn't know.
5 Q. But it's not that part - I can certainly deal with it if you
6 wish - but it's not that part that I'm asking. I'm asking how it is you
7 say, "Two hours or one hour ago, half of the evacuees were taken to the
8 barracks, you then returned. I returned," I think it was around about
9 10.30, somewhere around about there. And you remained for approximately
10 two and a half hours when the ICRC and the ECMM were supposed to be there.
11 Here, in plain language, it says that in actual fact: "They were
12 transported out of the hospital." All - note the word, "all those
13 selected people were transported out of the hospital before the Red Cross
14 was allowed in."
15 Now, I'm suggesting to you that sentence indicates perfectly
16 clearly that you knew that they were all out before the ICRC came in,
17 doesn't it? And it is completely contradictory to what your evidence was
18 an hour ago.
19 A. I did not know this thing that you're claiming now. I said that
20 the representatives of the International Red Cross had been in the
21 hospital. I did not say that they were there next to the persons that had
22 been separated. I -- that's what I meant.
23 Q. I will move on.
24 A. In this sense, I said that they had not been there. It's -- it
25 seems that you don't understand what I'm saying, and I don't understand
1 what you're saying. I'm telling you about one single spot there on the
2 site, and you are now talking about this entire situation.
3 Q. I wanted to move off. I'll come back and deal with this.
4 Let us look what it says:
5 "I took the first group of prisoners of war out of the hospital
6 before the argument between Sljivancanin and Borsinger. A representative
7 of the ICRC took place on the bridge over the Vuka river in Vukovar."
8 Now we know that was around about 10.00.
9 "I do not know why Sljivancanin did not allow the Red Cross
10 representative to come to the hospital, but I know that all those selected
11 people were transported out of the hospital before the Red Cross was
12 allowed in."
13 Now, I don't hear any change in the translation with regard to
14 this particular matter. So, how do you reconcile that perfectly clean
15 statement and the evidence that you gave at about 12.15?
16 A. I reiterate my original statement, that they were in the hospital,
17 but not on the spot where I was taking the people that I was tasked with
18 transporting. In that sense, I gave this statement. I didn't give a
19 statement that they were not in the hospital, as a whole. This refers
20 particularly to the group that I was transporting out of it, but it does
21 say so here, that's correct.
22 Q. That is all the questions I wish to ask you about that statement.
23 There are many more, but I will cut down the time.
24 Finally, and there are a lot of other statements, but I want to
25 deal with English tab 7, B/C/S tab 8. It relates to an interview at Novi
1 Sad on the 28th of November, 2003. Now, have you got that in front of
3 A. Yes, I do have.
4 Q. Can I just go through one or two parts. The first B/C/S page --
5 there is a mandatory warning, but the first B/C/S page that I want to deal
6 with is English page 2, B/C/S page 0346-5363, and it would be
7 approximately halfway down the B/C/S page.
8 A. Yes, I can see that.
9 Q. I just want you to confirm one part of the evidence on this. You
10 said that: "I saw many people there," this is clearly Ovcara, "when I got
11 closer. I saw Lieutenant-Colonel Panic. He did not go inside. When I
12 went in, I saw that many prisoners were covered in blood and beaten up."
13 It's page 4 of the English version. Do you agree with that
14 statement as being an accurate record of what you saw?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Thank you. Let us then go to page 0346-5364. English page 5.
17 This is the account that I suggest you have not put before this Bench. It
18 reads: "At one point that afternoon ..." Have you got that? It's at the
19 top of the page, second paragraph. "At one point that afternoon, sometime
20 around 1700 hours ..." Have you got that?
21 A. Yes. Yes, that's correct.
22 Q. "At one point that afternoon sometime around 1700 hours, I
23 informed Colonel Mrksic that the situation there had been critical and
24 that I had brought it under control. I also pointed out that those men
25 had remained there. The colonel did not comment at all, and he did not
1 say that anything further should be done."
2 Now, it's the next part I want to deal with.
3 "Major Sljivancanin was not at Ovcara that day at all. When he
4 returned to the command post sometime around 2130 hours and asked me to go
5 with him to Ovcara because he had heard there had been problems there, so
6 we went there together. When we got there, the police captain on duty
7 reported to Sljivancanin and did not mention any problems."
8 So do you confirm that that is, again, the fourth time that you
9 have indicated that you went with Sljivancanin to investigate troubles at
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Could we deal, then, please, with that same page 5364, and I think
13 it's about three-fifths down the page in B/C/S version. It's page 6 in
14 the English, halfway down the English page. It reads: "I said that the
15 hospital had been evacuated on the 19th of November." Have you got that
17 A. Yes, yes.
18 Q. "And that I was at Ovcara on the 19th of November. On the 20th of
19 November, I did not go to Ovcara."
20 Now, the next is the part I wish to deal with: "I knew Stanko,
21 Miroljub, and Kameni only by sight. I did not speak to them that day at
22 all. Sljivancanin knew them better as he had more frequent contacts with
24 So do you agree that Sljivancanin knew them better because he had
25 more frequent contacts with them? Do you accept that?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What contacts did he have with them?
3 A. You'll have to ask him that. I don't know. I cannot answer on
4 behalf of Sljivancanin.
5 Q. You can answer on the basis of what you have seen and what you
6 have been told. That's perfectly permissible. So, if you agree that that
7 is accurate, what is the basis for the statement?
8 A. I really do not understand you. You ask of me something which is
9 outside my powers, but I will try to answer. These are virtual questions.
10 I've never been asked such questions.
11 So we have combat operations carried out. People come and go. It
12 is known who are the commanders, and now you ask me how we knew them. Of
13 course, we had to have contacts with them, because we subsumed them into
14 our combat establishment and formations; and most probably he saw them
15 there when he was on that spot. This is most probably that this is the
16 kind of contact that he had.
17 You think that we sat down together and ate and drank every day.
18 But you know, in war, 15 or 20 days may pass without seeing somebody. It
19 is quite unnatural for me to explain how a third person knows somebody
20 else. If you want to ask me about my contacts, I can tell you. If you
21 want to hear from Mr. Sljivancanin about his contacts, you should ask him.
22 What I know is that they had contacts during the touring of units
23 and that's all.
24 Q. The English translation used the word, "they were you subsumed
25 within ours." Subsumed normally in English means "included within." Is
1 that correct?
2 MR. MOORE: Could Mr. Borovic please keep his voice down?
3 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I have an objection, Your Honours.
4 JUDGE PARKER: We will have the answer first, Mr. Borovic.
5 A. Representatives of those volunteer -- I mean, Leva Supoderica and
6 Petrova Gora units, these fighters were under the command of our 1st
7 Assault Detachment, and they fought within our units, in the composition
8 of our units.
9 MR. MOORE:
10 Q. May I deal -- sorry, my apologies.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Borovic.
12 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] With regard to this answer, now it
13 is clear. But the witness, prompted by the Prosecutor, did not say that
14 they were included in our units. They were included in the combat
15 establishment or deployment of our units. But since the witness answered
16 in the correct way, now my objection has no grounds. Thank you very much,
17 Your Honour.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
19 MR. MOORE:
20 Q. I would like to deal with a document which I believe was published
21 on the (redacted)
23 (redacted) Shall I just pass it forward to you, and English translations
24 for the Court. May I just pass this forward?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, as I've said, you know that you have referred specifically to
9 one person in this article. Please, we will both try not to mention that
10 person's name. Do you follow me? We will just call him "the witness."
11 So can we just deal then, please, with the article itself.
12 "Dear readers and journalists in particular, I believe that there
13 is not a single fairly literate person in this country who has not in
14 their youth enjoyed reading about spectacular adventures of the king of
15 all liars. Baron Munchausen including among other things about his flying
16 on a cannon ball. Obviously, the baron inspired many a young generation.
17 Only the modern big-time liars fly by planes and land in The Hague, and
18 then in front of TV cameras. And an audience dressed in black robes and
19 white bibs, they take part in the show supposedly called a trial. The
20 greatest irony is that this show has been staged for the purpose of
21 establishing the truth."
22 I won't ask you any questions about individuals dressed in black
23 robes and white bibs, so you can relax in relation to that.
24 Let us move to the second paragraph.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. "Since," and which refer to the witness "took part in this farce of
2 planetary proportions as a witness, who devoted most of his time
3 reminiscing about Vukovar and the events which I personally was involved,
4 and since the only truth about these events is that they are a blatant
5 lie..." --
6 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please slow down when reading.
7 MR. MOORE: I've got versions for the interpreters. Your Honour,
8 I've got versions for the interpreters. I thought they had been given, my
10 JUDGE PARKER: It would be useful if they could be passed now.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may suggest that we
12 go into private session because Mr. Moore just stated the date, the hour,
13 the name of the paper and the byline of the author. I do believe that
14 this may be helpful if publicised to pinpoint the witness, because there
15 is an archive of all newspapers. It is not my witness, but I do believe
16 that this would be useful.
17 MR. MOORE: I'm quite happy to go into private session if there is
18 a risk. I don't think it was identifiable as my learned friends, but it
19 may become that way.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
21 [Private session]
11 Pages 15185-15194 redacted. Private session.
14 [Open session]
15 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Now, Mr. Lukic.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] This was obviously Mr. Moore's
18 opinion, not a question. I think that he was not trying to elicit any
19 response, and I think that this is not a proper way to complete the
20 cross-examination, and as regards this document. I would like to be
21 allowed to conduct my redirect and then perhaps that would be the right
22 moment to decide. So I would first present my views on this document and
23 through my redirect, and then we can decide on that ...
24 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We did not hear the last
25 part of the intervention.
1 JUDGE PARKER: There was some words of yours at the end that were
2 lost, Mr. Lukic. Are they worth repeating?
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I said I'm not opposed to an MFI being
4 given to this document, but I just wanted to ask you, first, to be allowed
5 to ask some questions in redirect about this document, and then to give
6 you my views about the admission of this document into evidence. That's
7 what I said.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. We'll hear your re-examination, Mr. Lukic.
9 Re-examination by Mr. Lukic:
10 Q. Let us begin with this document, this article published in the
11 newspaper. Mr. Vukasinovic --
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic, I must interrupt you. I think we both
13 knew from all the signals of counsel that Mr. Moore had finished his
14 cross-examination, but the record doesn't reveal it. Is that the case?
15 MR. MOORE: The signals were right, but I didn't utter the words,
16 I'm sorry. That concludes my cross-examination.
17 JUDGE PARKER: I didn't want you to have a false start, Mr. Lukic.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can I criticise my colleague, Mr.
19 Moore, before I begin my re-examination. I have noticed that he is in the
20 habit of concluding his cross-examination by making comments rather than
21 questions. But I have to admit that this time, he really, in my opinion,
22 went too far. But let us now try to complete this witness's evidence in a
23 more appropriate manner and more normal way.
24 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, this article that we've been talking about, is
25 this a response to an article by this person?
1 A. Yes, precisely. In order for this to be reliable, you would have
2 to find the initial article for Mr. Moore, and then you could get a proper
3 idea of what this was all about. But you're using just the part that you
4 wanted and you needed.
7 (redacted) This was the darkest possible account that
8 could have been published. That was what was done by this person.
9 Q. I will go on, but, sir, can you please just give me very brief
10 answers. Is this text a response to some facts that were published about
11 your unit, your colleagues in the course of Vukovar operation, very
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. The facts that Mr. Moore asked you about, are they presented here
15 in response to the facts that were claimed as such by this man?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did this man, as far as you know, or has this man ever contacted
18 you and your colleagues to ask you about facts that pertain to the events
19 in Vukovar, to interview you, to talk to you? Do you know anything about
21 A. No. He's never contacted us.
22 Q. Let me ask you the same question that me learned colleague, Mr.
23 Borovic, did regarding the facts. Were you ever at the command post of
24 Captain Radic?
25 A. No, never. And I don't know how many times I have to repeat that.
1 I never was there.
2 Q. So, as you say, this article is an emotional response on your
3 part, to the way he presented the facts about your unit in his articles?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Thank you. Now I will move on to some other issues.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, perhaps you can now hear
7 my views about this MFI. I oppose its admission into evidence because I
8 think that it has no value, no weight. This is a document that speaks to
9 the personality of a certain person, and this is a response to a text that
10 we have not seen. We cannot compare it with anything. I think that this
11 document is inadmissible, and its evidentiary value is quite small as to
12 the facts.
13 Now, as to the credibility, I think that the Trial Chamber has
14 been able to satisfy itself about the credibility of this witness, and
15 this document is not necessary for this purpose. It has absolutely no
16 evidentiary weight with regard to proving the counts in the indictment.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Is that the end of your re-examination?
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No, no. I have a few more questions,
19 but I simply wanted to deal with this issue, but perhaps it would be good
20 for me to complete my redirect and then we can release the witness.
21 JUDGE PARKER: That would be good. Thank you.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, I will first ask you a few questions regarding
24 Mr. Vasic, in fact, Mr. Vasic's examination, and we both have to slow
25 down. I have to apologise to the interpreters.
1 Now, please look at your statement under tab 6. Now I want you to
2 focus on paragraph 16 that Mr. Vasic referred to. And he read to you that
3 you said, among other things, "Our tasks included," meaning the Guards
4 Brigade's tasks, "the evacuation of POWs and civilians from Vukovar."
5 That's what you said.
6 Now, my question to you is who escorted the prisoners of war from
7 Vukovar when they were being evacuated? Which unit?
8 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I apologise.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Vasic.
10 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think there is an error
11 in interpretation. Page 91, line 13, these are the evacuations as tasks
12 and here the term is in singular, the evacuation, and my colleague can
13 confirm whether this is indeed the fact.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes. The whole sentence reads as
15 follows: "Security organs in the Guards Brigade had regular tasking
16 throughout the combat activities. Among other things, our tasks included
17 evacuation of prisoners of war." This is in singular but obviously this
18 means plural, "evacuations."
19 Q. So my question to you is which unit escorted the prisoners of war,
20 because this is the term used in this statement, from Vukovar, when they
22 A. It was a unit from the 1st Battalion of the military police, the
23 1st Company of the military police with armed personnel carriers.
24 Q. No. No, in general, what kind of unit?
25 A. Military police units.
1 Q. Who secured the prisoners of war while they were in the Vukovar
3 A. The security of prisoners of war was in the purview of the
4 military police.
5 Q. Who was the commander of those transports in which the prisoners
6 of war were evacuated; for instance, the Mitnica transport, do you know
8 A. It was the commanding officer of the military police, so the one
9 who was directly in command of the unit in question.
10 Q. And the officers in the military police units, who were they
11 subordinate to?
12 A. In the Guards Brigade, the military police units, two battalions,
13 were directly subordinate to the brigade commander.
14 Q. Thank you. Mr. Vasic asked you - that's page 69 of the draft
15 version of the transcript. You don't have that here. That's the
16 transcript of the proceedings - and you said regarding your contacts with
17 Captain Predojevic, you said that Captain Predojevic was in charge of the
18 security of the barracks. That's what you said. Can a security organ
19 issue an order to a commanding officer of the military police?
20 A. No. He cannot issue direct orders. But if authorised to do so by
21 the brigade commander, he can do so.
22 Q. Thank you. This discussion that you had with Predojevic, was it
23 in the nature of issuing orders, or was its nature different? I'm
24 referring to the conversation in the barracks.
25 A. My conversation with him did not contain any orders. This was not
1 the tone. There was just the demand that measures be taken. In light of
2 the situation, I simply asked him. I didn't order him. I asked him to
3 take measures because this was something that he was authorised to do. So
4 it was a request of the kind that one colleague makes to another
5 colleague, because the security organs had a gentler approach to the chain
6 of command issues.
7 Q. Mr. Vasic also read out to you a brief sentence from your
8 testimony before the Belgrade court. That was at page 50. Can you please
9 look at it, that's tab 10, page 50. That was the last question that he
10 asked you. And that's where you said:
11 "After a brief rest, I had lunch. I went to the command. It was
12 sometime around 5.00, 5.30. I went to see whether Sljivancanin was there
13 and to simply brief him, to see what the story was, why the people were
14 there, and tell him what the situation was. I arrived there to the
15 operations room, the colonel, or rather, the then Major Sljivancanin was
16 not there. The commander was there."
17 And then you describe -- well, we heard the account here in court,
18 so I don't have to go into that. So my question to you is - and I think
19 that you actually said that yesterday - where was physically the building
20 where Mr. Sljivancanin's command post was? Was it in the same building or
22 A. It was about ten to 15 metres away from the OG South headquarters.
23 Q. So now my question to you is: Did you go to his command or to the
24 OG South headquarters when this was going on?
25 A. I went to the OG South headquarters.
1 Q. Had you wanted to see Sljivancanin himself, where would you have
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Objection.
4 A. I would have gone to the building where his section was located.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
6 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Well, the witness replied already, so
7 it's not relevant anymore. I think that the witness has already stated
8 here. It is stated here who he wanted to see and where, so I think that
9 this was a leading question. But now that the reply has already been
10 given, this is really not relevant anymore.
11 JUDGE PARKER: I would just indicate that as it is when there are
12 differences between the Prosecution and the Defence, so it should also be
13 when there are differences being between Defence counsel, and we will
14 follow the same pattern. If Mr. Lukic asks a question that is not
15 obviously objectionable, I would think we should let the witness give his
16 reaction to that before another counsel seeks to raise some point in
18 Yes, Mr. Lukic.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Well, we seem to be in a sort of
20 situation where Defence starts objecting to a Defence's claims, but I
21 apologise for that.
22 JUDGE PARKER: It is a position where there is difference between
23 the cases of different accused.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes, I understand that.
25 JUDGE PARKER: But the point is the witness is not a witness who
1 is overwrought or overborne by what is happening here. The witness knows
2 what is on his mind and speaks it very clearly. He can understand what is
3 put to him; he can react. That reaction is more important and valuable to
4 this Chamber than to have a counsel interject and to put their version on
5 it and then to find the witness then speaks in similar words to the
6 interjecting counsel. We are left thinking probably the answer was
7 suggested to the witness; whereas, it may have been just what the witness
8 wanted to say in the first place.
9 So we get much more and learn much more about the witness's
10 understanding if we hear his answer to questions which, on their face, are
11 not objectionable.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I fully understand, and this is why,
13 when Mr. Moore started asking his questions, I did not want to put forth
14 such an objection. Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, we are going to broach another subject. Mr.
16 Moore, today and yesterday, repeatedly confronted you with your statements
17 given at earlier times to different bodies and trying to pinpoint
18 inconsistencies between your today's testimony and those statements,
19 particularly in view of the fact and pertaining to your going to Ovcara
20 with Mr. Sljivancanin on the 19th in the evening, or the 20th in the
22 In all your statements that you were confronted with by Mr. Moore
23 to the security department in 1998, one month later before the military
24 court, a statement to the OTP, a statement at Novi Sad. We're dealing
25 with four statements then. Did any of your interviewers show you any
1 documents, orders, decisions, anything dating from that relevant period?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Did you, before going to be interviewed by these interviewers, did
4 you have occasion to refresh your memory as to the dates of certain events
5 by consulting your personal diary or maybe official notebook?
6 A. No, because I did not have any such notebooks. We left them
7 within our units when we left the area.
8 Q. Were you given an opportunity, after giving such statements, to
9 consult any of the documents from the period?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Which documents?
12 A. The war log of the Guards Brigade, which helped me a great deal to
13 recollect certain events that I had forgotten in the meantime, in talks
14 with my colleagues and officers, superiors, where we discussed things to
15 try to remember what happened when, because we had forgotten many things.
16 And later, by seeing the statements, the documents, and some other
17 documents that you showed me, and that I was confronted with from brigade
18 commander's orders, documents from the superior command, et cetera, et
19 cetera, everything has influenced an improvement in establishing in
20 chronological order.
21 Those events followed one another. There was certain lacunas. It
22 was very difficult for me to tell two events apart. Sometimes, it all
23 seems to have happened in a single day.
24 Q. What did you use the war log for in terms of refreshing your
25 memory? To which events did it pertain?
1 A. Maybe this is something that Mr. Moore cannot understand. That I
2 was convinced that the evacuation took place on the 19th. That on the
3 17th, we captured Vukovar. This is what I wrote. In my view, Vukovar was
4 liberated on the 17th. This is what I remembered. But in the war log, I
5 noticed that on the 19th, there was the visit of Cyrus Vance, and then I
6 remembered then that day was not the day of the evacuation, but the
7 following day.
8 So -- because I had some obligations concerning Cyrus Vance's
9 visit and that I had some other duties, that people from the security
10 department had come there, and I remembered some other activities, then
11 that the convoy from Croatia was returned to Ovcara. All these events
12 that I could see recorded in that war log and which made me realise that
13 my memory of these events was lacking accuracy.
14 Eventually, I saw the date when commander departed for Belgrade.
15 It was said 21st of November, 8.15, the commanding officer with some other
16 officers departed for Belgrade. It stated so in the log.
17 Q. While giving your first four statements before the Belgrade
18 trials, so when you gave those statements and testimony of -- about which
19 you were not questioned and I'm not going to question you either, did any
20 of your interviewers state that they had some documents that they may show
21 to you to jog your memory?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Did any of your statements that we analysed today contain any of
24 your interviewer's questions or do they contain only and solely your
1 A. Well, statements are composed of both questions and answers.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Maybe we've reached the time for a
3 break. I do believe that I have some five minutes more worth of
4 questions, but if the time is right, maybe we can break now. Your Honours
5 lead me please.
6 JUDGE PARKER: We detect, in your voice, a plea and we will
7 adjourn now and resume at quarter to -- I'm sorry, it must be half an
8 hour. We've had redactions. Five minutes to 4.00.
9 --- Recess taken at 3.25 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 4.00 p.m.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Just a handful of questions on one single topic, Mr. Vukasinovic,
14 and this refers to Mr. Moore's question during his cross today. He asked
15 you whether you knew anything about Sljivancanin allegedly doing something
16 after the conversation you had on the 20th, after you had briefed him on
17 the situation at Ovcara.
18 My question is: On that day, did you attend the meeting of the OG
19 South command?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Responding to my question during my examination-in-chief,
22 referring to your conversation with Sljivancanin.
23 And I'm referring to page 52: "As far as I can remember, he was
24 late in the briefing."
25 [In English] "By my command post, We saw each other for a couple
1 of seconds. I told him that I'd been at Ovcara and he was in passing. He
2 said: I'm late, going to the briefing."
3 [Interpretation] Is it known to you whether at meetings of the OG
4 South command, since that you did not that day, but usually would
5 Lieutenant-Colonel Panic attend such meetings of the OG South command?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Is it known to you whether Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic would
8 attend meetings at the OG South command?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Is it known to you that Colonel Lesanovic and Gluscevic would
11 attend OG South command meetings?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Is Major Sljivancanin obliged to inform you about conversations he
14 had with Colonel Mrksic and when he conducted such conversations with Mr.
16 A. No.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions for this
19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
20 There remains the motion of Mr. Moore for the admission of the
21 article from the publication of Glas. We've heard submissions. In the
22 Chamber's view, the article should be admitted under seal. Some elements
23 of it may bear upon the credit we attach to the evidence of the witness.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the document will be admitted as
25 Exhibit 860 under seal.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
2 Mr. Vukasinovic, you will be pleased to know that that concludes
3 your evidence before the Tribunal. There will be no further questions for
4 you. The Chamber would like to thank you for your attendance here, and
5 for the assistance that you have given us. And you are now, of course,
6 free to return to your ordinary activities.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you.
8 JUDGE PARKER: The court officer will show you out. Thank you.
9 [The witness withdrew]
10 JUDGE PARKER: Do you rise for a reason, Mr. Lukic?
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I usually do not rise without reason.
12 I would like to advise you about our further plans for the proceedings;
13 but before doing so, I, by your leave, will have to say something.
14 During these proceedings, we tried, under your guidance, to be
15 observant, fair, and cultured. But Mr. Moore's address at the end of his
16 cross-examination has translated into our language were: "You are a
17 first-rate scoundrel." The word "scoundrel" in our language is very
18 offensive. Maybe the term scoundrel in English is not as offensive, but
19 my learned colleagues and I believe that a line has been overstepped.
20 On several occasions during our examination, we've been advised
21 not to impinge on a witness's integrity. But I believe that the comment,
22 which was not a question by Mr. Moore, is something that no witness should
23 really tolerate. And in the B/C/S, the word "nitkov," scoundrel is very
25 What I'd like to brief you on as soon as possible is what we see
1 as the state of play, so that we can impart what can be expected and we
2 can prime ourselves for what is next. And we would like to hear from you
3 guidance on further steps in these proceedings.
4 Upon conversations with Mr. Sljivancanin and other consultations,
5 we decided to give up certain witnesses which are repetitive, which would
6 provide testimony on matters that have been testified to extensively. So
7 our schedule for the forthcoming period would be as follows: We have two
8 witnesses who are ready; one of them to start witness immediately, and the
9 other maybe tomorrow or on Friday. Mr. Maric, who is in the court
10 building, and Mr. Stojic, Petar, let me remind you, he is to testify about
11 the visit of Mr. Vance, and I believe that we can deal with him within one
12 working day.
13 Next weekend, we expect the arrival of two witnesses to witness
14 next week and they should be testifying for a longer period of time. The
15 first of them is Mr. Karanfilov, and then Mladen Karan.
16 As per our schedule and our assessment, each should take two days.
17 So this may do away with the whole week next week. I believe that this is
18 a realistic assessment, given all the parties in the proceedings.
19 The next witness after those two who may take the stand as early
20 as Friday next or failing that, on Monday, should be Susnjar Pero; and
21 according to our estimates, he is going to testify to the events in the
22 hospital on the 20th. He was there on behalf of the ICRC, and he may
23 testify to other things that may known to him and he should take one day.
24 Then we should like to summon our expert witness, Vuka Petar, who
25 should take at most two days. And I believe that one session would be
1 used per Defence and then he would be left for cross-examination. Which
2 means that the other witnesses that we've listed; one Radakovic Dragan is
3 inaccessible. I haven't been able to locate him. I heard that I was in
4 Italy, but there's been no contact him.
5 And other witnesses in, in our view, would be repetitive. And
6 given your guidance to focus on the meritorious points and to which we may
7 provide new facts, then we, given all that, we've abandoned some of our
8 witnesses. So we've abandoned their viva voce testimony.
9 So maybe the last two days of the week of December would be free.
10 I believe that our assessment has been realistic, and I believe that those
11 two free days would be ideal for the re-examination of Witness 002 to
12 round off this stage in the proceedings.
13 What will happen next is a point of conjecture. I believe that
14 you should know that; and on the basis of that, you should provide
16 Another thing, on behalf of all of the Defence teams, we have very
17 grave difficulties with air transportation during the Christmas season.
18 It would be very useful for us to know at least two or three days in
19 advance what the plans would be so that we can plan our recess, our
20 holidays, if there would be a recess. And I believe that we can make use
21 of next week to deal with the proposals coming from Mr. Moore. I believe
22 that it would be useful for everybody in this courtroom, primarily the
23 Bench, to be guided by what we've explained now.
24 We will seek tolerancy for we may be missed by one day, but I
25 believe that we should be through by 7th of December.
1 As far as Witness Maric, he is here and ready. Mr. Moore proposes
2 that we start examination now. I was told that there is no audio tape of
3 today's interview. It is up to you to discuss -- to decide whether we
4 should start with Mr. Maric today or if we -- even if we were to start
5 tomorrow, we will be finished with him within one and a half days. Of
6 course it's not up to me to take this decision.
7 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, would Your Honour just hear me on one
8 matter before Your Honour makes any decision. It's in relation to Mr.
10 Mr. Bulatovic has been present throughout the interview with the
11 Office of the Prosecutor. The Defence are in no way unaware of what was
12 said, and we would wish to start today.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. Maybe the interpretation
14 was not correct. It is true, Mr. Bulatovic was at the interview. He
15 heard it. But I said that the other Defence teams were not given the
16 audiotape pertaining to Mr. Mr. Vasic.
17 As far as the others are concerned, we are ready to conduct our
18 examination immediately. This is what I meant to say.
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
21 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it is incumbent upon me
22 to rise, since I have been quoted by my colleague. We haven't been given
23 either the proofing notes nor the audio tape of today's interview. The
24 only thing I know is that he mentioned my client, and that he was the
25 topic of conversation between the OTP and the witness. And at any rate, I
1 should have this audio tape before examining the said witness, so that I
2 may prepare my cross-examination. Thank you.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore, are you able to indicate when that will
4 be available?
5 MR. MOORE: Yes. I have told Mr. Vasic before you came into court
6 that that audio tape is being done, being miffed I think is the phrase,
7 and it will be available to him today.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
9 Mr. Lukic, can I just be clear. Looking at your amended 65 ter
10 list, you are not planning now to call two further witnesses, is that
11 correct, number 7 on the list and number 9 on the list?
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] That is correct. We are not going to
13 call them, including the witnesses that are also referred to. I can tell
14 you that number 19, 18, Witness 17, 15, and the two that you referred to
15 will not be called.
16 JUDGE PARKER: That resolves those issues. Yes. Thank you.
17 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, there's one small matter. Could I deal
18 with it in chambers? It will take no time at all; but in fairness, it
19 should be dealt with in chambers, if Your Honour could trust me to that
21 JUDGE PARKER: When would you propose.
22 MR. MOORE: Not in chambers, I beg your pardon, in closed session.
23 Sorry, I'm a diehard.
24 [Private session]
23 [Open session]
24 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE PARKER: In the submissions you put earlier about the future
1 programme, there was ventured the possibility of rebuttal witnesses.
2 MR. MOORE: That's correct.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Are you able to indicate - and we don't press you
4 if that's not yet clear - are you able to indicate whether there's any
5 certainty about that matter yet?
6 MR. MOORE: There is a matter which is actually being investigated
7 today where we will know more specifically whether it is feasible or not,
8 and I will have the answer tomorrow.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
10 Thank you, Mr. Moore.
11 We're grateful, Mr. Lukic, for the indications that you have
12 given. The present programme, it would appear, could continue unchanged.
13 And it may be if things go well, that you will finish a day or two days
14 earlier than the programme allows, given the witnesses that are not to be
16 We would indicate the Chamber's view that the witness being
17 recalled, Witness P22, should be available for recall at the end of the
18 case of Mr. Sljivancanin, and that may be the Thursday or the Friday of
19 what had been the planned last week of Mr. Sljivancanin's evidence.
20 If everything goes well, we may be able to finish then that
21 evidence by the weekend. I'm searching for the precise date. I think the
22 8th of December was the Friday. It may be possible to conclude the
23 definitely-known evidence by that time, but we must leave, for the moment,
24 open the prospect of rebuttal evidence and that will remain on the four
25 days that were previously indicated in mid-January, a Friday, Monday,
1 Tuesday, and Wednesday. The remainder of the time table for written
2 submissions and oral submissions will remain as indicated.
3 That being so, I think we should start on the witness. It will
4 fortunately be possible overnight for Mr. Vasic and Mr. Borovic to have
5 the tape, it appears. And it may be that we'll be able to continue with
6 that evidence without interruption. But if that's not possible,
7 interruption will have to occur. So if the witness could be brought in.
8 [The witness entered court]
9 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon, sir.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please read allowed the affirmation on
12 the card.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
14 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 WITNESS: MLADEN MARIC
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 JUDGE PARKER: Please sit down.
18 Mr. Bulatovic has some questions for you.
19 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon to everybody in the
21 Examination by Mr. Bulatovic:
22 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Maric.
23 A. Good afternoon.
24 Q. Before we start with your examination, I would like to give you
25 some guidance in order for everything we say to be transposed accurately
1 into the record. Please listen to my question and then start your answer
2 after I finish so that we don't overlap, because that causes problems for
3 the interpreters. Do you understand me?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Thank you. First of all, could you please state your full name
6 for the record, your date of birth, your father's name.
7 A. My name is Mladen Maric. My father's name was Bogdan. And I was
8 born on the 21st of September in 1960 in Novi Travnik, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
9 Q. Since 1975 until 1979, according to the information I was given by
10 you, you attended the military high school in Belgrade; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And then from 1979 until 1983, you attended the military academy
13 of the ground forces infantry?
14 A. Yes, that is correct.
15 Q. In 1983, you were the commander of the 1st Platoon of the military
16 police, 2nd Military Police company, Military Police Battalion in the
17 Motorised Guards Brigade?
18 A. Yes, I was not the commandant but kommandir.
19 Q. In 1984, you were a lieutenant, and you had completed a course for
20 the military police officers in Parace; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And then you became the commander of the 2nd Military Police
23 Company in the 2nd Military Police Battalion in the Guards Motorised
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. In 1987, you had the rank of captain and then you received the
2 rank of a major later on?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. In 1990, you became a member of the anti-terrorist military police
5 company that was part of the 1st Military Police Battalion of the
6 Motorised Guards Brigade?
7 A. Yes, that's correct.
8 Q. In 1991, you were promoted to the rank of Captain First Class; is
9 that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. In 1991 [Realtime transrcript read in error "1992"], you were
12 appointed to the post of the deputy commander of the 1st Military Police
13 Battalion of the Motorised Guards Brigade?
14 A. Yes. It says 1991 in the transcript, it should read 1992.
15 Q. Yes, that's correct, 1992.
16 A. Yes, in 1992.
17 Q. In 1995, you were promoted to the rank of major?
18 A. Yes, that is correct.
19 Q. In 1996, you left the army, were no longer an active dutyman?
20 A. Yes, that's correct.
21 Q. Mr. Maric, after those preliminary data, your curriculum vitae, I
22 would like us to turn to the events in Vukovar and the time when your
23 company was dispatched to Vukovar. Can you please tell us when that
24 happened, how was your company dispatched there, and what was its
25 composition at the time?
1 A. The company was dispatched in late September. I think it was on
2 the 30th of September as part of the Motorised Guards Brigade or the
3 battalion that we belonged to. We were sent to the Vukovar sector, and an
4 element of our company was deployed in combat on the 2nd of October. You
5 also asked me about the composition of our company.
6 Q. Yes, the composition of the company.
7 A. The anti-terrorist company --
8 Q. Could you please speak a little bit slower for the interpretation.
9 A. The anti-terrorist military police company had its command
10 element. The first platoon of the military police, these were officers,
11 and two platoons of the military police composed of soldiers, rank and
12 file soldiers.
13 Q. Do you know who were the komandiri of the platoons?
14 A. The komandir of the 1st platoon was (redacted). The
15 second platoon was commanded by Lieutenant Zeljko Bajic. The commander of
16 the 3rd platoon was Captain Vlajko Todorcevic.
17 Q. When you say the 1st platoon, is this the officer platoon?
18 A. Yes. It this was the first platoon composed of officers.
19 Q. How was your company deployed in combat in accordance with the
20 training that you had undergone, the objective, and had this unit received
21 the training for this kind of combat?
22 A. On the 2nd of October, in fact, the unit was meant to be used to
23 fight terrorist formations. It was organised in this way that if you have
24 a terrorist group, the elements of this unit were supposed to encircle it
25 and then the broader encirclement should be done by the soldier platoon
1 and then my unit should go in and destroy the group.
2 In Vukovar, when we entered combat, I received the task to take
3 the soldiers's element of our unit, the two soldier platoons, to be as
4 part of the 2nd Infantry Battalion, to cover their backs, so to speak, and
5 to prevent any attacks by Croatian units that could be expected to be
6 launched from the underground tunnels that were rumoured to have existed.
7 So if any such actions were launched, I was to prevent them; and
8 if, in their advance, they should come to a stronghold, I was supposed to
9 deal with it. And if the stronghold was particularly strong, then the
10 first platoon that was in Negoslavci as some kind of a reserve would be
11 engaged. That was -- it was there at the brigade headquarters.
12 I think that the unit was not really meant to perform this kind of
13 tasks. But at that time, it was justified to deploy it in this manner
14 because we were -- we had the best training. These were the early days of
15 the combat there, and it was only logical to deploy us in this manner.
16 Q. Mr. Maric, you said that on the 2nd, you joined the fight and you
17 described in which way. Can you please tell us who issued you the order
18 to join the fight on the 2nd?
19 A. I was given the direct order by Colonel Mrksic, who was the
20 brigade commander. So it was on the 1st, around 10.00 p.m., that was in
21 the brigade headquarters. He told me, Battalion Commander Kavalic,
22 Branislav Kavalic. He was a major; he was present there. Colonel Mrksic
23 told me the basic concept of the task and told me that I should report to
24 Major Adem Bajic, the commander of the 2nd Assault Detachment deployed in
25 the sector stretching from the Negoslavci, the village of Negoslavci, the
1 outskirts of the village towards Vukovar. And he told me that I would be
2 given a more detailed task by that person, and that's how it happened. At
3 2.00 a.m. -- Is it necessary for me to go on?
4 Q. No, no. I just posed a very general question. So if you could
5 give me very brief answers, until we get to the main point.
6 On the 2nd of October, you took part in fighting. Why does that
7 day stick in your memory, Mr. Maric? Is there anything particular that
8 made you remember that day?
9 A. Well, it was the first time that I took part in fighting and that
10 very fact makes it memorable. But I was also wounded that morning, so
11 these are the two things that really -- the most basic things.
12 Q. So you were wounded on the 2nd of October. What happened then?
13 Did you stay in Vukovar? Did you -- were you transported some place; and,
14 if so, can you explain to us until when you were absent from Vukovar and
15 from combat?
16 A. I was wounded at around 8.00 a.m. I was given first aid in the
17 Vukovar barracks, and then I was transported to the hospital in
18 Negoslavci. I think it was about 10.00 or 11.00 when I came there, and
19 then I was transferred to the military medical academy the same day in the
20 evening of the same day. And I was there being treated until early
21 November. I was first in the military medical academy and then I was at
22 home, and then I returned -- I don't know the exact date, the 5th, the
23 10th, sometime in that period.
24 Q. You said that you were transferred to the VMA, military medical
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Can you tell us where it is? We all know that but for the same of
3 the Chamber?
4 A. It is located in Belgrade.
5 Q. Could you please wait until I finish my question and then give
6 your answer, Mr. Maric. While you were absent from the 2nd of October
7 until your return to Vukovar, which was sometime between the 5th and the
8 10th of November, 1991, who was in command of the company -- military
9 police company, I mean the anti-terrorist company?
10 A. While I was absent, the company was under the command of Captain
11 Todorcic, that was the soldier element; and the officer element was
12 commanded by (redacted). And the person in overall control was
13 Captain Susic, because he was the deputy commander of the battalion so he
14 had the command of the company.
15 Q. During your treatment for your injury and during your absence from
16 Vukovar, did you get any information about the situation in your unit?
17 A. I got most of my information from the wounded, who would come into
18 the military medical academy while I was there, and the people that I
19 visited when I was discharged from the hospital.
20 Q. Mr. Maric, I will not now ask you about what happened when you
21 returned. What I'm interested in is something else. Do you remember when
22 Vukovar was liberated from our -- from this perspective, some people say
23 it was occupied on that date. Can you tell us the date; do you remember?
24 A. It was the 18th of November, 1991.
25 Q. Do you remember whether you -- I mean, your unit had any tasks on
1 the 18th of November, 1991, and what were those tasks?
2 A. On the 18th of November, our task was to secure the left wing of
3 the 2nd Assault Detachment that was attacking the Stjepan Zupanc school
4 and to continue on along the axis towards the high school.
5 Q. And did you execute this task?
6 A. Yes. This task was executed between 10.00 a.m., when the action
7 started, until 1500 hours when we reached the water tower area.
8 Q. Can you please explain. The water tower area, where is this area
9 in Vukovar? What is it adjacent to?
10 A. The water tower is on a ridge, and there is the church there, the
11 high school, and the water tower. These are the landmarks there. And we
12 were actually attacking eastwards, and there is the Danube River that is
13 behind this area.
14 Q. Did you have any combat in this area on the 18th, and did
15 something specific happen there?
16 A. Well, there was no direct clashes. We were just advancing, and we
17 did not encounter any resistance. The specific thing is that there were
18 many civilians there. As we advanced, they would come out of the
19 shelters, and this was the impression that I got. I never expected that
20 many people to be there.
21 Q. On the 18th, did you learn anything about what was going on at
23 A. Nothing special, nothing particular. We were progressing along
24 our axis. Later in the afternoon, sometime after noon, we learned that
25 one unit had surrendered commanded by Crni or Veliki Joe. I am not sure,
1 that was the nickname of that person. It was the so-called Mitnica unit,
2 and this is what we took to be the end of the operation aimed at
3 liberating Vukovar.
4 Q. Mr. Maric, you mentioned a large number of civilians, could you
5 explain to us where did those civilians emerge from?
6 A. Along the axis that my unit took to the left, there is a hillock
7 with many wine cellars, I presume. A large number of people emerged from
8 there; and in the area of the water tower, there were many wine cellars
9 dug into the earth and a large number of people emerged from those as
11 Q. What did you do with these civilians, Mr. Maric?
12 A. We forwarded those civilians, pursuant to orders given, down that
13 street. I do not recall the name of the street, where there were accosted
14 by a military police unit that was behind us, who then directed them to a
15 prearranged place for that purpose. I believe that that place was
17 Q. Mr. Maric, do you recall that you had a meeting with a member of
18 Croatian paramilitary units during the 18th, during carrying out your
20 A. When we reached the water tower, we hoisted our flag on the water
21 tower. It was to signal the point to which we advanced, and that water
22 tower is in the immediate vicinity of Mitnica. And coming from Mitnica,
23 there was a member of Croatian forces who wore a camouflage blouse. He
24 was armed, but he wore civilian trousers.
25 We disarmed him. We, (redacted) and I, disarmed him. And while
1 waiting for a vehicle to arrive to take him to a certain place, I entered
2 into conversation with him. He told me that that his name was Herve
3 [phoen] Djako. He used to be a butcher; he was a manager of a
4 supermarket. We discussed matters, et cetera.
5 Q. Thank you. Mr. Maric, you said that you were waiting for a
6 vehicle to take this man. Do you know what happened to him later on, who
7 he was handed over to?
8 A. I know that he was exchanged; and before that, he was taken to
9 Velepromet. He was exchanged when the members of such units were
10 exchanged. I was told that by my superior officer who managed and oversaw
11 that exchange.
12 Q. When did you accomplish your operation that you started with on at
14 A. I completed it when the dusk fell. We had secured the line,
15 because Mitnica had not been inspected and searched. And when dusk fell,
16 I went back to my observation post.
17 Q. Well, thank you. You came back to your observation post after
18 dusk had fallen. Did you receive any other tasks while you were there; if
19 so, from who and what kind of a task?
20 A. Sometime later, maybe one hour after my arrival to the observation
21 post, I received from Colonel Mrksic a task to go to the Ovcara region,
22 where the surrendered combatants were, to inspect whether everything was
23 all right there, to perform a security assessment, and to report back on
24 my findings to him.
25 Q. Did you go there, and what was the composition of the group that
1 you took there? Could you tell us approximately what time it was?
2 A. I took three vehicles together with officers, some 20 of them. I
3 believe that we reached Ovcara at around 8.00 p.m. It's very difficult
4 for me to pinpoint time, but I believe that it was around 8.00 p.m.
5 Q. This is the same commissioned officers, platoon, that had been
6 involved in your operation earlier that day?
7 A. Yes, I had no other such platoon.
8 Q. Was the komandir of that commissioned officers platoon there. I'm
9 not going to name him for obvious reasons?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Could you explain, Mr. Maric, your arrival to Ovcara: What you
12 saw, what you did, how long you were there? Just proceed slowly with your
13 description. If need be, I'm going to ask you additional questions?
14 A. Since I had never been to Ovcara before and it was dark already,
15 we proceeded in the following manner. Komandir of the platoon would take
16 his vehicle in front of me. I was in the middle and the third brought up
17 the rear. When we reached Ovcara, there are no other facilities en
19 It was dark. We stopped in front of a warehouse. To our right,
20 as we approached, the door was open. On a plateau, there was a Pinzgauer
21 vehicle with headlights on, parked at a slant, and the headlights provided
22 lighting for the interior of the warehouse. There was some soldiers
23 standing by the Pinzgauer wearing olive drab or JNA uniforms.
24 We got out of our vehicles, and I asked, "Who is the commanding
25 officer here?" Some lieutenant-colonel was there. He was shorter than
1 me, wore a moustache. He told me his name, but I did not remember it. I
2 asked him what was going on there, and he briefly told me that the
3 prisoners were there, that nothing particular was going on. We had a
4 short discussion, and then I went into the hangar.
5 I entered the hangar to make sure that there were -- whether there
6 were any of my former soldiers or subordinates in there. The situation
7 was like this: To the right-hand side, there was a rope stretched a
8 certain distance. There were 70, 80 people. I could not see very well.
9 It was quite dark. The only lighting came from the headlights.
10 When we came in, the people withdrew towards the back wall out of
11 fear, and I regretted my coming in immediately. And after I made some
12 headway, five, six metres into the hangar, there were some soldiers
13 kneeling down spaced at five, six metres. They were guarding the
15 Opposite the entrance, I saw something that I thought might be
16 illegal. I approached them to ask them what was going on. There was one
17 soldiers -- or one prisoner who was urinating. And then I heard behind me
18 one member of Croatian forces, to the effect that he was protesting that
19 they had been promised to be treated in accordance with the Geneva
20 Conventions. One of my officers tersely ordered him to go back to where
21 he came from, and then I ordered my men to go out.
22 Q. Mr. Maric, I apologise for interrupting you. You said that on
23 your right-hand side from the entrance, there was 70, 80 prisoners.
24 Opposite them, there were four to five soldiers with rifles trained at
1 A. They were not trained at them; they were just guarding them.
2 Q. What was the distance between the rope and the people?
3 A. Well, maybe ten to 15 metres, as wide as this courtroom.
4 Q. Apart from these people behind the rope and the soldiers guarding
5 them, was there anybody else on that evening on the 18th of November,
7 A. No.
8 Q. How long did you stay here?
9 A. For half an hour, maybe an hour at most. But let me tell you
10 another thing. After emerging from the hangar, maybe four or five of my
11 people followed me in. The rest inspected the surrounds of the facility
12 and reported back to me that there was nothing around the facility, that
13 everything was calm.
14 And I reported to Colonel Mrksic that my assessment was that
15 everything was in order there, that there was no need for me to stay on
16 there at that facility, and then Mr. Mrksic told us, "Then get some rest."
17 Q. The order for this task you received from Colonel Mrksic?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did you inform your immediate superior officer?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Who was that?
22 A. Captain Susic. I informed him upon my return that I had completed
23 that task.
24 Q. Well, you said that next to the vehicle providing lighting for the
25 hangar, that there was one lieutenant-colonel. Did you contact him,
1 discuss possible problems at the hangar?
2 A. Yes. We had another conversation for a while after I emerged from
3 the hangar; and when my people came back to report to me, we discussed
4 that there was nothing else around.
5 Q. Did that lieutenant-colonel say that there were any problems?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Did he tell you that he expected some problems?
8 A. Yes. He thought that something might happen, in terms that it's
9 dark. There were cornfields around, that there may be some combat action,
10 but that was his assessment rather than a reflection of reality.
11 Q. Did you offer him any assistance, if necessary?
12 A. Yes. I gave him the radio frequency where I may be contacted at,
13 and I told him that if he had any other problems that he may contact me.
14 Q. So you departed after one hour from the hangar at Ovcara, so that
15 could be around 9.00 p.m.?
16 A. Yes. 9.00 p.m., plus/minus half an hour.
17 Q. Did you notice anything interesting around Ovcara?
18 A. Yes. There was a commotion; there was a crowd of civilians
19 emerging from Vukovar, some buses. Lieutenant-Colonel Vukasinovic was
20 marshalling people around.
21 Q. What was that distance between that place and the hangar?
22 A. Some 100, 150 metres, I think.
23 Q. After that, you came back to your observation post?
24 A. Yes. My whole unit came back with me to my observation post.
25 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like us to
1 conclude because the next topic is the 19th, which I cannot process in two
2 minutes' time. So if we may continue tomorrow, I would be much obliged.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Indeed, Mr. Bulatovic. We must adjourn now, then,
4 and we resume tomorrow at 9.30, and the evidence of the witness will
5 continue then.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.59 p.m.,
7 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 23rd day of
8 November, 2006, at 9.30 a.m.