1 Friday, 16 March 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [Defence Closing Statement]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
6 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Good afternoon. We will now hear the
7 submissions of Mr. Lukic.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good
9 afternoon all the parties in the proceedings.
10 In July 2003, when Mr. Sljivacanin was to state his plea in regard
11 to the indictment for the first time and in the absence of counsel he
12 pleaded not guilty. Today, when it is upon us to close this chapter and
13 hand over all the pages of the records and documents to solely your hands,
14 Your Honours, at the end of my closing argument I shall reiterate these
15 words of his with my deepest conviction that that will be your decision as
17 I should like to remind you that in his opening words at the
18 beginning of this trial, Sljivacanin said that he wanted his truth all
19 about Ovcara to also become your truth, because the truth about Ovcara is
20 needed by all who are not afraid of it. It is needed by the families of
21 the victims, by the JNA, the Yugoslav People's Army, the families of the
22 killed soldiers and officers and the Serbian and Croatian public, the
23 Guards Brigade, and it is also needed by Veselin Sljivancanin and his
25 You have received in the closing arguments two versions of the
1 event, a version of the Prosecution which we foresaw in certain form, and
2 even though the Prosecution in his closing arguments surprised us with
3 some of his new theses, quite contrary to his earlier positions,
4 nonetheless we cannot expect the Prosecutor to do anything else but do his
5 job within the framework of the mandate, and trusted him, and that mandate
6 is to prosecute.
7 As regards that method of the Prosecution's contribution to the
8 exercise of his mandate, Prosecution and the primacy of prosecution of the
9 truth, we shall be discussing that today, but we expected that. That is
10 an attack looking the other party in the eye. That is an attack applying
11 the Machiavellian approach, namely that the end justifies the means,
12 whatever the means.
13 But then you also have received and have before you another
14 version of the events, the version of the Defence of Mr. Mrksic, his
15 Defence team. This is a version that we did not expect, and I believe
16 that the Prosecutor himself did not expect it. This is a version which
17 the Defence team kept in its custody within the confines of its notes and
18 folders avoiding to present evidence in that respect or to confront it
19 with the witnesses in the courtroom and on behalf of history as they claim
20 to actually place it in its proper place after the close of the
21 evidentiary procedure.
22 It is quite normal that that blow, the blow that you sustain with
23 the other parties not looking you in the eye, is all the harder and all
24 the more painful, but we are not afraid of the pain, we who want to
25 establish the truth and not afraid of such pain.
1 These approaches did not intimidate a single -- also did not
2 intimidate one of the witnesses for the Defence, Mr. Sljivacanin, and not
3 a single witness for the Defence of Mr. Sljivacanin who came here to
4 publicly take the witness stand among the -- those who -- from whom the
5 teams of the Prosecutor and Mrksic fled away although they had
6 courageously placed them on their lists of potential witnesses. We shall
7 be drawing attention to that also in our closing argument and to the
8 specific and selective approach in the evidentiary procedure in regard of
9 the presented version of events.
10 Now we have occasion to inform you of our own version of events.
11 We sought in our closing arguments not to impose any conclusions, not by
12 way of logic, which is the favourite approach of Mr. Moore in his closing
13 arguments nor by way of inferences or conclusions on allegations outside
14 the evidentiary procedures -- procedure, as directed to do by Mr. Vasic.
15 In our closing argument, and today here we have decided to speak primarily
16 with a desire to remind and point -- remind of and point to everything
17 that has been heard here during the trial in the respective cases and not
18 outside it. We analysed from the angle of the defence for Mr. Sljivacanin
19 the evidence and the evidentiary claims, both those which are in favour
20 and those which are not in favour of Mr. Sljivacanin. Your conclusion on
21 this trial may and must be based solely on the factual allegations which
22 were heard during this trial in this courtroom. The question which is
23 before you is whether such claims shall suffice for you to draw a
24 conclusion on the existence of the criminal liability of the accused, and
25 even more so whether they shall suffice for the establishment of the full
1 truth about the crime at Ovcara.
2 The professional burden and the task that you face is primarily to
3 analyse the testimonies of witnesses as the most voluminous portion of the
4 presented evidence, and there, in assessing their testimonies, you will be
5 confronted with a major problem, that is the reliability and the cogency,
6 the compelling nature of the descriptions of events that took place 15
7 years ago, 15 years before they were -- the evidence on them was
8 presented. And apart from that, in respect of almost all the witnesses
9 you also have their earlier statements before you and transcripts from
10 other trials about this particular event.
11 I believe that during the proceedings not a single witness
12 appeared without the parties pointing to certain contradictions of such
13 witnesses in respect of their previous accounts. There were witnesses
14 both on the Prosecution's on the Defence's side who had given six or even
15 previous statements before. All the parties in the proceedings, where it
16 suited their thesis and what the witness had stated in his prior
17 statement, always asked the cliche question, "Do you agree with me that
18 your memory earlier had been fresher with respect to that particular event
19 than it is today?"
20 So this is vitally tenable and logical thesis, but the prior
21 statements of the witnesses actually have a trap hidden in them, and this
22 is something which has not been overlooked nor neglected by the
23 jurisprudence of this Tribunal. Such statements have been taken by the
24 method of entering into the record responses without the questions of
25 those who is doing the interviewing, especially when those questions were
1 leading and directed to support the interests, to corroborate the thesis
2 of the interviewer. This was actually the Prosecution's favourite
3 approach to the taking of statements. Although we know from their
4 practice that the Prosecutors record all conversations or interviews and
5 that they have audio regarding of them, we were submitted only several
6 such recordings during this trial. When we asked them to submit to us the
7 audio recording of Witness P-009, they just informed us that one didn't
8 exist. The signature of the witness, Your Honours, is not at all in
9 doubt, nor whether it is the witness's offered the possibility to enter
10 any corrections prior to signing statements. What is in doubt, what is
11 disputable, and that is a key in respect of key topics, is what the
12 interviewer asks and how the question is formulated and how the answer is
13 formulated. Corroborating this submission of ours is the enormous number
14 of the addenda of Prosecution witnesses with respect to their prior
16 We are underlining all this, and we have pointed this in our
17 opening arguments also, that due to the lapse of time and the precise
18 questions which we were interested in with reason that documents have
19 become an important source for two of your tasks. First, you can
20 establish facts on that basis with reliability, and on the other hand you
21 can verify the credibility of witnesses. Documents, as has been shown,
22 have become during this trial the means of our struggle for the truth, and
23 for some other people they have become a problem in grappling with the
24 same truth.
25 Now I'm going to move to some other questions which were also
1 raised these days in the closing arguments, and I shall just limit myself
2 to the key issues, wishing not to repeat what has already been written.
3 First I shall say a few words about the place of the security organs in
4 the structure of the JNA and specifically the Vukovar operation, namely
5 whether by virtue of his function Sljivacanin has command function
6 primarily in respect of the military police.
7 In their final -- in their closing arguments, the Prosecution
8 seems to forget what they claimed in the indictment and what their own
9 military experts claimed. At that time, the Prosecutor claimed that
10 Sljivacanin did not have any de jure ordering position vis-a-vis anybody,
11 and this is something that the Prosecutor decidedly asserts, including not
12 towards the military police, and this ambiguously emanates from the
13 relevant regulations. I have given a detailed explanation of this in our
14 final brief, and I'm not going to dwell on the subject now.
15 What should be pointed out is the significance difference,
16 distinction, from the jobs in which the organ of security is the actual
17 holder of the office, the actual vehicle of the function, and those in
18 which he just participates. Obviously this is a difference that neither
19 the Prosecutor nor the Defence team of Mr. Mrksic wanted to notice,
20 because both the Prosecutor and Mr. Mrksic's Defence team know full well
21 that the -- this transport and security of POWs exclusively the task of
22 the military police and that in such jobs, the unit of the military police
23 as well in other jobs, it is exclusively subordinated to its commander.
24 The Prosecutor actually suppresses this fact through the
25 construction about the de jure position of Sljivacanin in the evacuation
1 of the hospital, while Mr. Mrksic's Defence team compounds that with
2 another construction yet, namely that the organs of security are only
3 competent for POWs, and the only ones competent for POWs, and that that
4 was done outside the command and the command chain, and that the commander
5 knew nothing about it. To their regret it is just not so, because the
6 evidence and the regulations and the documents and the testimonies
7 actually show that it is quite the opposite.
8 The job of evacuation including POWs is solely within the remit of
9 the command line of the unit, and it is implemented through subordinated
10 units, primarily the military police. In the service of the organs of
11 security there is no reference whatsoever about POWs, and whereas
12 regulations for the military police do make such references in contrast,
13 and it is quite clear to whom the military police is subordinated.
14 There is another thing which is sought to be mystified, which is
15 the procedure to detect persons who are potential perpetrators of criminal
16 offences against armed forces and the constitutional order. They -- this
17 is sought to be represented as the exclusive job of the OB from the lowest
18 to the highest level, and thereby as far as possible from the command
19 structure of the unit. What is important in that thesis is to portray the
20 absence of the existence -- to portray the existence of some parallel
21 chain of command in the structure of the organs of security. No, there is
22 no parallel command chain, and that is quite clear also from the report of
23 the expert Theunens and his expertise on page 81.
24 A significant number of documents have been tendered on the
25 activities of the organs of security which relate to information on the --
1 about the adversarial side. Yes, there existed reports which were
2 received from different sources on individuals who were the subject of
3 interest of organs of security specifically with relation to their own
4 ambit. Yes, these are reports, Your Honours, which the OB received, and
5 they were important information for the commanding officers' structure
6 also because they were indeed sent in order for the commanding officers to
7 acquaint themselves with them in order to plan combat operations. That is
8 evidence A 2485.
9 Those documents show that -- that there were unambiguous
10 indications that the hospital was not being used only for its primary
11 function, that members of the ZNG and the MUP were hiding there, that it
12 was being used as hideout by these persons and that after the end of
13 combat they disguised themselves as civilians and wounded. This was
14 explicitly confirmed for our benefit by Mr. Moore two days ago as well. I
15 will not be invoking those specific documents. They have been pointed out
16 in our brief.
17 What is a security organ expected to do, having received that type
18 of information and instruction, lists, data, sketches? Sljivacanin and
19 the security organs did what they had to do. They performed their task
20 under the regulations and pursuant to orders from their commander. They
21 had a duty to track down any such persons, and they had a duty to
22 contribute to setting up the conditions for a safe evacuation of the
23 wounded and sick. That was all they did, and they did no more than that.
24 However, never for a moment, and this is something that I wish to
25 underline, did they shy away from their task. And this is what
1 Sljivacanin told me when I met him. I mentioned that in my opening
2 argument. He said, "If I am to answer for what I did, and if that is a
3 crime, then the Court must establish that and tell me as much." The
4 Defence submits what Mr. Sljivacanin did in his capacity as a security
5 organ and a JNA officer is no crime. Everything was done in compliance
6 with the regulations including those relate together security organs, and
7 for as long as everything was done in compliance with those rules no crime
8 occurred nor did Mr. Sljivacanin or the security organ have anything at
9 all to do with the crime. It was only pursuant to an approval of his own
10 commander or his order could a security organ go about their work in the
11 proper way. Their work was not independent of the chain of command. It
12 is primarily used for the needs and purposes of the chain of command, and
13 it has to do with the safety and security of the units.
14 The security organ reports primarily to their own commander under
15 Article 12, Exhibit 107. This article makes no distinction whatsoever in
16 relation to cases where a commander is simply denied information. As for
17 the duty of transporting and securing prisoners, that is not
18 counter-intelligence work and nothing for the security organ, as Mr. Vasic
19 says in paragraph 138 of his own brief. It is true that the remit of the
20 security organ is to track down persons undermining the armed forces and
21 the constitutional order. However, first and foremost, it is the chain of
22 command that has a duty of security transport and ensuring that such
23 persons are safe.
24 Let us have a look at who ordered the 80th Motorised Brigade to
25 secure the Mitnica group. The commander of the brigade. Who from the
1 80th Brigade made the decision regarding the -- the hangar appointing
2 Danilovic as camp commander? Who did Vezmarovic report to when he arrived
3 from Sremska Mitrovica about having completed that task and the lists that
4 he typed up on the morning of the 19th, as he claims? Who ordered the
5 security organs to be present at Velepromet as early as the 27th of
6 October? At least that's what Exhibit 401 suggests. Who received word of
7 the fact that the ZNG and MUP were disguising themselves in the hospital?
8 And this is the commander's daily report, Exhibit 401. Who informed
9 accordingly the command of the 1st Military District and SSNO, Federal
10 Secretariat for All People's Defence cabinet? Why did Colonel Mrksic in
11 his daily report dated the 18th of November, Exhibit 417, write that
12 activities were being carried out in order to select and distinguish the
13 civilian population from the Ustashas? And then, if we look at Exhibit
14 418, which is another regular report, daily report, there is word of a
15 selection being in progress in the Vucedol area and a group of the Croat
16 forces, Ustashas, being put together in the Velepromet area; that was the
17 expression used.
18 Finally, if prisoners of war and processing prisoners of war were
19 not within the remit of the of the command, or the commander, on the
20 critical date the 28th [as interpreted] of November, why then did
21 Colonel Mrksic write the following in Exhibit 421, his regular daily
22 report at 1800 hours? He wrote that a selection was carried out and that
23 many Ustasha were discovered hidden among the civilians, mingling with the
24 civilians, and that the selection process was conducted in full compliance
25 with the Geneva Conventions. We all know what the only selection process
1 was on the 28th [as interpreted] of November, the one taking place at the
3 It should be the 20th of November, page 10, line 24.
4 If tracking down prisoners of war, selecting them and transporting
5 them is within the exclusive remit of the security organ in this notorious
6 chain of command, why then are there such precise references about this in
7 the report by the commander who was part of the regular chain of command?
8 The answer is quite simple. There is no need to look for answers in
9 the -- in the realm of imaginary security associations. The security
10 detail and its organs did their own job within the function of their
11 command at all levels.
12 There is something else I wish to say. One of the things that
13 Mr. Moore discovers and one of the theories espoused for the first time in
14 his final brief is that Sljivacanin was in charge and in command of all
15 previous evacuations, including those that took place in October, the one
16 organised by the Medecins Sans Frontiere, as well as the one on the 18th
17 of November at Mitnica and the 19th of November at Velepromet.
18 Mr. Moore, that is quite clear, had to weigh this up carefully and
19 think carefully about whether he wished to make this theory public now, at
20 the very end of our trial. One thing that was a potential trouble for him
21 was no doubt the fact that in all these evacuations the actions taken by
22 the JNA and officers of the JNA were positive steps to help conduct the
23 evacuation. These are facts that so contradict his own theory on the
24 existing plan and the joint criminal enterprise. However, in making this
25 assessment, Mr. Moore find out that he did not have sufficient evidence on
1 Sljivacanin's own command function in the context of the 20th of November
2 evacuation. Therefore, he had to create some sort of foundation. Why
3 would Sljivacanin of all people be put in charge of this evacuation?
4 Which is exactly what Mr. Moore does. "Sljivacanin," he says, "was in
5 order of all the previous evacuations. It was only logical for him to be
6 in charge of the one that occurred on the 20th as well." Unfortunately
7 that was not the case. Sljivacanin was involved in the October evacuation
8 to the extent that anyone was. This was part of his work as a security
9 organ. Even Mr. Theunens confirmed in his report that security organs
10 were actively involved in the evacuations. This is paragraph 76 and the
11 page is 10718.
12 Sljivacanin gave ample evidence in his own testimony about his own
13 involvement in these evacuations. However, Mr. Moore never asked him a
14 single question about the October evacuation, which in itself shows that
15 his theory on the purported command role of the Sljivacanin as early as
16 October only ever occurred to him as he was drafting his final brief. I
17 will not be speaking any long better October evacuation, but there has
18 been ample evidence about that during the trial. I would like to draw
19 your attention to Exhibit 829, which is a video clip. There was security
20 assessments to the effect that the Croatian side would misuse the October
21 convoy for their own ends. All the more reason for the security organ to
22 be actively involved in escorting that evacuation. These are exhibits 408
23 and 878.
24 Mr. Moore knows this full well, or perhaps he chooses to forget,
25 but what is particularly indicative is that in paragraph 530, when
1 claiming that Sljivacanin was in command of the October evacuation, in his
2 footnote 1653, Mr. Moore invokes the evidence of Dr. Bosanac, Kolesar, and
3 Njavro. This was not something that I was able to actually find in their
4 statements. As for the November 18 evacuation the Defence have provided
5 our own arguments in our brief. We have a new position, by Mr. Moore
6 again, which is quite contrary to what he says in his pre-trial brief and
7 the opening argument, namely that here again Sljivacanin was in command.
8 As to fact, based on which one could ascertain who was in charge
9 of that evacuation, this is clearly established based on such evidence as
10 has been produced, and cannot be established based on circumstantial
11 evidence and constructions. The security and transport of the prisoners
12 was something that was done by the members of the 2nd Battalion of the
13 military police, Paunovic, and the 3rd JOD under the command of Major
14 Stupar, Exhibit 831 specifically.
15 As for organising, securing, and accepting up -- or, rather,
16 appointing the camp commander at Ovcara, as well as the dismantling of
17 the Ovcara camp, we all know this Exhibit 371. These are all
18 fundamental decisions made in relation to the evacuation because of
19 Commander Vojnovic. These were orders from the commander to his own
20 units. That is the only fact there is. That is a model, and that is the
21 form that the evacuation actually took. How it was organised and the
22 hospital evacuation was supposed to follow the same pattern, the same
24 I would like to ask the Court to please go into private session
1 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Private.
2 [Private session]
16 [Open session]
17 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honours.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] What can be reliably concluded on the
19 basis of important documents and competent witnesses is once again
20 something that the Prosecutor does not wish to accept, let alone tell you
21 that. Here when it comes to evacuation the key role in negotiations,
22 surrender, and evacuation, was played by Colonel Pavkovic. He led that
23 process, he did a good job, and his efforts were recognised, and this is
24 something that is publicly known. He led negotiations. He informed the
25 command about negotiations. According to his information, commander
1 issued an order. Please look at Exhibit 401, dated 18th of November at
2 1400 hours and 1430, where they speak of Mitnica. Mr. Moore saw this but
3 he decided to ignore it.
4 Pavkovic came and supervised the departure of the Mitnica group on
5 the 19th of November. This is something that the Prosecution witness,
6 Vojnovic, testified about, transcript page 9080. The conclusion of the
7 Prosecution that the Guards Brigade once again did everything in
8 accordance with the regulations with the presence of the International Red
9 Cross is fully tendentious. The International Red Cross namely
10 Mr. Borsinger were present at negotiations and surrender of the Mitnica
11 group only on the 18th. They were not present at Ovcara. They were not
12 present when the organisation of the evacuation of civilians was done.
13 However, everything was done in accordance with regulations and
14 international standards. It was done in a professional, humane, and
15 dedicated way involving soldiers and officers of the Guards Motorised
16 Brigade, regardless of whether they were supervised by the International
17 Red Cross or not.
18 Similar to the evacuation on the 18th of November, from the
19 documents and from the testimony one can easily glean the role of
20 Sljivacanin in the evacuation on the 19th, and it is clear that he had no
21 command role in that evacuation. The Prosecutor forgets that the
22 Velepromet facility was organised as a reception centre much earlier than
23 the 19th of November and that several evacuations were organised from that
24 location by way of which civilians left the war area. This is something
25 that Dr. Vesna Bosanac was fully aware of when she insisted that civilians
1 did not come to the hospital and that they should go to Velepromet.
2 Prosecution witness P-301, page 3533, spoke about this, as well as
3 Tanja Dosen and Dr. Bosanac herself, page 7121.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Witness P-031, correction.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Even though it doesn't quite suit
6 Witness Bosanac now, she firmly confirmed before the Court that she did
7 not complain to Borsinger about the fact that civilians were taken away on
8 the 19th, of which she was fully aware at the time. Page 860 and 861. It
9 must be that Dr. Bosanac was aware of other things as well, namely that at
10 the time on the 19th in the afternoon at the hospital there were already
11 many members of ZNG and MUP. They were disguising themselves, that
12 somehow they had to be included in the evacuation of the wounded and the
13 sick, and that the presence of the large number of civilians at the
14 hospital at that time was actually a hindrance in that process.
15 As for the conflict between Sljivacanin and Borsinger, which
16 allegedly existed before the incident on the bridge only the 20th of
17 November, actually was never there.
18 Now I'm going to remind you of the body language that Mr. Moore
19 insisted upon in order to show the arrogance of Sljivacanin in Exhibit 318
20 and his constant belligerent attitude.
21 Your Honours, do you know why Mr. Moore did not play the audio
22 feed when he played that tape to support this argument? Because audio
23 feed spoils his argument about the alleged constant obstruction of
24 Sljivacanin and -- in relation to the International Red Cross. In the
25 dialogue, that we have seen so many times during this trial from opening
1 arguments on, I think that all of us by now know it by heart. So in that
2 footage Borsinger says, "I'm used to better cooperation," when Sljivacanin
3 addressed him. So it is Borsinger who claims before cameras that he had
4 good cooperation with the JNA. That's how it was on the 18th and on the
6 Please remember who put journalists in touch with Borsinger.
7 That's something that van Lynden testified about. Sljivacanin testified
8 about that as well.
9 This shows the friendly relationship between Sljivacanin,
10 Borsinger, which the Prosecutor cynically put under quotation marks. This
11 is something that Borsinger confirmed himself.
12 Velepromet was never within the jurisdiction of Sljivacanin or the
13 JNA. The Prosecutor misinterpreted Exhibit 835 in order to support this
14 argument. Please pay careful attention to the content of that exhibit,
15 and the jobs performed by Borisavljevic in order to uncover extremists and
16 members of ZNG and MUP is something that is used to attribute effective
17 control to Sljivacanin over those facilities. There is no evidence to
18 support this. The document that the Prosecutor invokes and the documents
19 that we supplied to you show something quite the opposite.
20 In that facility there were absolutely no problems before the
21 night of the 19th of November. This is something that even the Prosecutor
22 acknowledges in the indictment, because they charged Mrksic and
23 Sljivacanin with the knowledge about the crime which took place in the
24 night of -- on the 19th of November, paragraph 31. Once again here, the
25 Defence points out a very important detail when it comes to mens rea of
1 Sljivacanin and security at Velepromet. Had there indeed been something
2 in relation to the crime at Velepromet that Sljivacanin knew about or
3 supposed about, would he have taken that -- there on that same day in the
4 morning Cyrus Vance and a delegation including so many journalists? On
5 that occasion Mr. Vance had unhindered talks with civilians who were
6 present there. Exhibit 69, 70, and 861.
7 Had the evacuation task from Velepromet indeed been within the
8 competence of Sljivacanin, as the Prosecutor claims, and had it been the
9 case, as Mr. Vasic claimed, that this was within the competence of the
10 security organ, then this would not have been within the competence of the
11 Operations Group South command, Exhibit 418. The work of all security
12 organs at the Velepromet, at the hospital, and on the following day, and
13 at Vucedol on the previous day, was exactly the way it was described in
14 Exhibit 401 in the entry that is there, and you will remember that this
15 was something described by the people from the security administration who
16 came there.
17 It says there that they came there to perform the selection and
18 separation of the members of armed forces of Croatia from civilian
19 population, full stop. Transport, security, and surrender is something
20 that was done by other organs of the command of the 1st Military District.
21 When it comes to Velepromet, we have to highlight in several words
22 something that was described in detail in our final brief. Rather, I'm
23 now going to tell you that famous sentence of the witness, Vujic, which
24 was mentioned here for the first time before you, even though from 1999 he
25 testified more than four times. Allegedly Sljivacanin told him, "Don't be
1 surprised if some Chetnik there cuts a throat of some Ustasha there."
2 I'm going to tell you now something that Mr. Moore said, namely
3 that Mr. Korica is an honourable and decent officer, and is a friend of
4 Mr. Vujic. Mr. Korica firmly denies that he heard that sentence uttered,
5 even though he was present when they met. But Vujic himself is the one
6 who impeaches his own testimony. Page 4785, especially page 4795, show
7 that his own testimony at the trial in Belgrade was put to him in the
8 trial against the accused Vujanovic, et al. There, Vujic stated that he
9 was surprised by the presence of Chetniks at the Velepromet because nobody
10 told them previously that they could come across some Chetniks there, and
11 also that nobody told him that they could encounter anything unpleasant
13 The view of the Defence is that this was stated very clearly and
14 reliably. This is recorded on an audiotape, and this is an unequivocal
15 statement. However, Vujic was unable to explain before this Trial Chamber
16 the discrepancy when this comes to this sentence that was now uttered for
17 the first time, and that was not that he had just remembered it. No. He
18 claimed quite the opposite. Sljivacanin did not utter that sentence.
19 This was firmly confirmed by Korica. In that portion of his testimony,
20 Vujic is unconvincing and confused.
21 The addendum with this sentence was provided at the time when the
22 Prosecution kept trying to include the events in Velepromet in the
23 incriminating deeds in the indictment.
24 Now let us turn to the question which is truly fundamental for the
25 Defence of Mr. Sljivacanin and his criminal liability. Was he appointed
1 commander of the evacuation of the hospital both including wounded and ill
2 and the persons that were separated between hospital and Ovcara, and did
3 he, by that fact, have de jure command authority over all the persons
4 included in this? All joint passionate arguments both of the Prosecution
5 and Mr. Mrksic's Defence with the same conclusion is something that we
6 heard and read. The Prosecution needs to prove that Sljivacanin was de
7 jure competent for the evacuation of the hospital because the authority
8 was delegated to him by the commander, and the Prosecution needs to do
9 that because they're deeply aware of the fact that looking at his function
10 and position, Sljivacanin did not have such command responsibility.
11 The Defence of Mr. Mrksic needs to remove Mr. Mrksic as far away
12 from the evacuation as possible including the evacuation of the wounded
13 and sick, and they need to show he had no responsibilities whatsoever over
14 transport, security, and the accommodations of prisoners of war.
15 Can the commander transfer his competencies to one of the
16 subordinate commanders. Certain regulations allowed for such a delegation
17 of authority both in writing and verbally; however, the rules of service
18 of security organs did not allow that tasks be issued to the security
19 organ by the commander that fall outside of his scope of work. This is
20 Article 48, Exhibit 107.
21 Is this selection and separation of persons something that is
22 within the scope of work of the security organ. The position of the
23 Defence is that it is.
24 Is the transport and security of prisoners of war and evacuation
25 of the wounded and sick something that falls within the scope of work of
1 security organ? The position of the Defence is that it is not.
2 According to the regulations, was Mrksic authorised to appoint
3 Major Sljivacanin for commander of the evacuation of the hospital? Our
4 position is that he wasn't.
5 Was a special written decision necessary for such unlawful
6 decision? Well, Prosecution Witness Trifunovic, who was considered as
7 expert here, and I fully agree with that, firmly says on page 8324 that
8 such a written decision was necessary.
9 What is now even more striking in the final brief of the
10 Prosecutor in supporting such a thesis is Mr. Moore's approach to the
11 necessity of essential decisions being in the required written form and
12 the invocation of experts Vuga and Pringle in his brief in paragraph 81
13 and foot into the 363 to that effect. In accomplishing this aim, the
14 Prosecutor actually applies different standards in interpreting the
15 regulations. For resubordination, according to him, a written decision is
16 necessary, and for tasks which are beyond the remit and the -- for the
17 tasks which are within the operation of the evacuation of the hospital,
18 they do not matter.
19 You have read Vasic's thesis in his own brief talking about being
20 already at tasks of selection and triage with which, according to him, the
21 commander has nothing to do whatsoever. Sljivacanin was appointed also
22 commander of the evacuation by an oral order of the 19th of November,
23 which, as Vasic claims in paragraph 185 of his final brief, all the
24 commanding officers heard at the daily meeting. What commanding
25 officers? Paunovic was not [as interpreted] at all at the meeting.
1 Susic was at the meeting; he didn't hear it. Gluscevic, a member of the
2 command, had to be at that meeting.
3 A correction. I apologise to the interpreters. It is page 21,
4 line 25. Paunovic was at the meeting, and Gluscevic, a member of the
5 command, had to be at the meeting, a witness of Mr. Mrksic's Defence.
6 Mr. Vasic just didn't ask him about that. Lesanovic, a command member,
7 was at the meeting, also was not asked about it by anyone. He was not
8 asked by Mr. Vasic, who is actually advancing this thesis. Vojnovic
9 doesn't know anything about the evacuation. We heard that from his
10 testimony here and he was a member of the command and went to the
12 No questions are being asked about the thesis that needs to be
13 proven. The facts in this case are established on the basis of
14 testimonies and presented evidences rather than on the basis of assertions
15 in the briefs, in the submissions.
16 And, finally, both the Prosecution and Mr. Mrksic's Defence in
17 asserting this thesis solely and exclusively invoke the testimony of
18 Witness Panic from his statement, which he gave to the OTP in 2005. That
19 is indicative, namely that both the Defence of Mr. Mrksic and the OTP have
20 placed Mr. Panic on the list of their potential witnesses but they
21 abandoned it very hastily. I mean the idea. The Defence of Sljivacanin
22 claims, and this was also demonstrated during his testimony, that both
23 Mr. Moore and Mr. Vasic knew full well what Panic would testify, what
24 documents that they had shown him, and what documents they had not shown
25 him within the proofing process, and how important it was for him --
1 for -- for them for him not to appear before the Court.
2 You saw during this two days how painful for them was the
3 testimony of Mr. Panic, and you saw that from both their final submissions
4 and their closing arguments. And what was it that Mr. Panic actually
5 testified in relation to the task of the evacuation of the hospital? He
6 clearly testified before this Court that Sljivacanin had been issued a
7 precise task by the commander, and that was to separate persons suspected
8 of having participated in combat operations and to put in place safe
9 conditions for the evacuation of the wounded and sick. That is transcript
11 Sljivacanin was issued -- received no command function at all over
12 the evacuation of the hospital, and nobody heard anything of the kind at
13 the command held in OG South on the 19th of November, 1991. What he was
14 issued was a task from his own remit like other organs received -- were
15 assigned tasks from their own fields of competence. The logistics to
16 ensure transportation, military police to secure the operation, the
17 Medical Corps to examine the sick and the wounded. So Panic and all the
18 other participants in the evacuation adamantly testified that on that day
19 Sljivacanin did not issue any orders to them at all, and that, as regards
20 their tasks which they had been assigned and which they were implementing,
21 they never reported on them to Sljivacanin but to the person who had
22 issued them the task, their commander, Mrksic.
23 The facts attest to that, the testimonies attest to that, and not
24 the statements -- these statements which were taken in a quite problematic
1 And as regards how the statement -- how Panic's statement was
2 taken, the statement which is now treated as the only source of the OTP
3 assertion and the Defence of Mr. Mrksic's assertion on the alleged de jure
4 command function of Sljivacanin, and that is transcript 14546 to 48, will
5 be weighed properly, as we said at the beginning of our closing arguments,
6 by this Tribunal by judging the assertions in the prior statement, a
7 statement taken in this way. And the method of its taking was very
8 simple. That was, just show those documents which are corroborative of
9 your thesis, even though you do have at your disposal a huge number of
10 documents to the contrary.
11 Now all that notwithstanding, in his final brief the Prosecutor
12 wonders in paragraph 573 on the basis of what was it that the witnesses of
13 the -- for the Defence had refreshed their memories? Well, Mr. Moore, the
14 witnesses said it -- said that -- replied to that themselves on the basis
15 of the documents, which the Prosecution had in its possession, when it was
16 taking their statements. Those documents having been previously been
17 disclosed to us, the Defence, but it had no interest to though them to
18 these very same witnesses. And I'm talking about military documents or
19 ECMM documents.
20 This one and only statement on which the Prosecution bases its
21 assertion on the command role of Sljivacanin was taken from Panic almost
22 15 years after these events. He is now negating it in that part
23 explaining that his memory was refreshed primarily by his being shown a
24 large number of documents and evidence for the first time on the part of
25 the Defence team for Mr. Sljivacanin.
1 Now, who is shying away the establishment of facts in this case?
2 And as a cherry on this top -- on the top of this cake, which is jointly
3 offered us by the Prosecution and Mr. Mrksic's Defence, I should like to
4 say that at the time this only statement of Panic was being taken in which
5 he speaks about de jure Sljivacanin's responsibility, Panic was a
6 potential witness for the Defence of Mr. Mrksic. Then he was very hastily
7 dropped by both the OTP and Mrksic's Defence team. But General Panic
8 appeared before this Tribunal anyhow as a witness for the Defence which
9 wanted and dared find out the truth and inter alia said, and that's at
10 14420, and I shall say this in his mother tongue, "I hope, I guess that we
11 want the truth to be established here, even in the hardest of moments I
12 went to testify. I've come here regardless of whether I'm a witness for
13 the Prosecution, for the Defence of one or the other party. That is
14 immaterial for me. I'm a person who has participated at certain events.
15 I remember what I remember after so much time has elapsed, but I am one
16 who wants the truth to be established for the sake of all those who worked
17 honourably for the sake of all those who were killed, for the sake of the
18 victims of the war, and because of the lesson which posterity should
20 Should we not have called a witness who utters these words and has
21 so much active knowledge about the event which is actually the subject of
22 this trial to appear before this Tribunal? This is something that
23 actually the Honourable Trial Chamber will tell us in the end through
24 their decision.
25 There is another important detail which one needs to bear in mind
1 in assessing the command function over the evacuation of the hospital.
2 Exhibit 419 is the only written document which makes a reference to the
3 evacuation of the hospital. That is an order on the daily tasks for that
4 day signed by Mrksic. There is no information about the delegation of
5 command authority to anyone, and the tasks are being issued by the
6 commander to all the units, and all the units are in respect of the
7 execution of their tasks including the evacuation of the hospital
8 responsible to the commander, and that was how it was on that day as well.
9 All the reports on the executed tasks in connection with the
10 evacuation of the hospital, the wounded and the sick, as well as the
11 contested evacuation which ended up at Ovcara, were addressed and sent to
12 Mrksic, and we have written in detail about that in our final brief.
13 The Witness Trifunovic who also actually drew up that decision and
14 kept the war log had no knowledge whatsoever about the alleged commanding
15 of the evacuation by Sljivacanin and that is at 8181 in the transcript,
16 but he clearly described, however, what it was that the Chief of Staff
17 did. That's 8009. And that was to follow the implementation of the
18 decisions of the commander and to inform the commander of how his
19 decisions had been carried out in practice.
20 And now let us look at what Panic was doing on that day, the 20th
21 of November. On the basis of the evidence presented, a large bulk of it,
22 at the order of the commander he went to the government session with
23 instructions and thereafter he informed the commander of the outcome of
24 that meeting. Then he went to Ovcara to ascertain how the government
25 decision was being implemented and thereafter informed Commander Mrksic of
1 that. This is the conventional, classical behaviour or conduct, rather,
2 of a Chief of Staff working within the -- his own remit in connection with
3 the commander's decision.
4 So even if the Tribunal accepts the testimony of Gluscevic in
5 regard to the alleged order of Mrksic addressed to the late Bozic, the
6 Court can clearly see from it who was issuing the orders in connection
7 with persons at Ovcara. Mrksic [Realtime transcript read in error
8 "Gluscevic"], according to Gluscevic's words, did not say, "I'm not in
9 charge of that. Vojnovic, go see Sljivacanin. He is the commander. The
10 prisoners are within his competence." No. Throughout that day not a
11 single commanding officer of the OG South, which was the superior command
12 or representatives of the Supreme Command, no one addressed Sljivacanin to
13 inform him of problems or to ask that he take action. They addressed
14 their request to the commander. They reported to him, and they received
15 their orders from him.
16 An intervention in the transcript.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I said that -- this is page 27, line 7
19 in speaking about Mr. Gluscevic, I said Mrksic did not say and then what I
20 quoted would be logical if it was claimed that Sljivacanin was the
21 commander of the evacuation. In a bid to expedite matters I make
22 mistakes. I shall repeat this sentence.
23 Even if the Tribunal should accept Gluscevic's testimony in
24 connection with the alleged order of Mrksic addressed to the late Bozic,
25 and you know what that was, the Court can clearly see from that who is
1 issuing orders in connection with persons in Ovcara, because the commander
2 Mrksic, according to Gluscevic's words, did not say, "I am not competent
3 for that, I'm not in charge for that," but he gave an order that, if need
4 be, they go to Ovcara. So as Gluscevic said, if need be take an armoured
5 battalion and go -- and go to Ovcara. He doesn't say, "I have nothing to
6 do with it. I'm not in charge. Go to Sljivacanin, he's the commander."
7 That's not what he says.
8 The Prosecutor also invokes the testimony of Colonel Vojnovic to
9 the effect that at the meeting on the 19th of November Sljivacanin had
10 stated that he was personally appointed to be in charge of the
11 evacuation. The Defence analysed Vujic's testimony in its brief in
12 detail in respect of that ostensible night meeting in Negoslavci around 1
13 hour o'clock [as interpreted] after midnight and offered clear proof that
14 this encounter between Sljivacanin and Vujic and his group did not take
15 place at all at that time, but only a meeting around 2000 hours, and on
16 that occasion at that time, Sljivacanin nothing -- said nothing about his
17 alleged command function in respect of the evacuation and Korica's -- and
19 To conclude this thesis, not a single document does not speak
20 about the command function in the evacuation of the hospital given to
21 Sljivacanin. All the competent witnesses from the very structure of the
22 OG South, the Motorised Brigade, the 80th Brigade, the administration of
23 security, the security administration, the 1st MD, who participated or had
24 direct knowledge about the evacuation of the hospital, and please consult
25 our final brief, the paragraphs being 313 and 32 -- to 325, they are all
1 categorical that on that day Sljivacanin did not issue them any orders
2 whatsoever, or reports on the activities of the participants in the
3 evacuation actually were addressed to the commander of the OG South, and
4 he personally reported -- or rather, informed the superior command on all
5 the activities surrounding the evacuation including the separation and
6 singling out of POWs in his daily report of the 20th of November, 1991,
7 Exhibit 421.
8 Now for the evacuation itself. You have heard two theories on how
9 the evacuation was supposed to take place. Both theories tend to ignore
10 the government session of the SAO Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem, as
11 an event that changed the course of the plan itself as well as the
12 evacuation. The Prosecutor claims that both Mrksic and Sljivacanin knew
13 about the arrival of the government members. In relation to Sljivacanin
14 there is absolutely no reference to back that up. Not a single footnote,
15 not a single mention, simply because there is no evidence at all to show
16 that Sljivacanin knew about that.
17 The Prosecutor knows full well, both based on based on witness
18 statements, to what event Sljivacanin was clashing with certain problem
19 members of that government. For example, the minister of the interior
20 Bogunovic and what sort of report he forwarded to the security
21 administration about Prime Minister Hadzic, which is Exhibit 843. Exhibit
23 The Prosecutor knows full well what sort of evidence Goran
24 Hadzic's statement of TV Belgrade was. This is Exhibit 576. And
25 Mr. Vasic knew full well too. They made such an enormous efforts to
1 convince this Trial Chamber, and the Sljivacanin Defence as well, that
2 exhibit was useless, inappropriate, and invalid. And only the verdict
3 will eventually show us if they were right or not.
4 The Sljivacanin Defence submits that this is one of the crucial
5 pieces of evidence in this trial. We submit that this is the document
6 which in the most graphic terms and with no ambiguity whatsoever provides
7 a key to the events that followed. We submit that those events were not
8 planned, were not predictable, nor was Sljivacanin involved in those
9 events in any shape or form.
10 This is a document that smashes into bits the Prosecutor's already
11 paper thin theory on Sljivacanin's involvement in the joint criminal
13 What exactly does the Prosecutor do? Mr. Hadzic's statement was
14 introduced by the Prosecutor in the Dokmanovic case when a member of that
15 government stood indicted. In that particular trial, the document
16 appeared to them to be a valid one and, as such, had probative value.
17 Following that, the Prosecutor place this exhibit on their 65 ter list in
18 this trial but decided after all not to tender it into evidence, and they
19 were perfectly within their rights to do that. Then, however, to our
20 great surprise, they opposed asked the Sljivacanin Defence introducing
21 this document as an exhibit. This is a blatant example of how little the
22 Prosecutor cares about the truth. They much prefer simply prosecuting.
23 There must be some sort of primacy of Prosecution over truth at work here,
24 conveniently shoving aside one's own evidence whenever it proves
25 inconvenient. The truth, after all, does not seem to be a primary concern
1 in cases such as these.
2 Why then is this exhibit such a thorn in the side of the
3 Prosecutor and the Mrksic Defence? Simply because it directly
4 corroborates a theory that we have been putting forward from day one of
5 this trial. At this government session in Vukovar, the route of the
6 evacuation was changed and this session was a turning point for the
7 evacuation from the hospital to the prison in Sremska Mitrovica. Ovcara
8 was not a destination that was envisioned on that day at all. Here we
9 must consider why this exhibit is such a thorn in the side of the Mrksic
10 Defence. You have heard them insist time and time again that the hospital
11 convoy was meant to go to Ovcara because that had been announced in the
12 war log of the 80th Brigade. We defined our own position on this in our
13 final brief. Again, this is a theory that doesn't fit Mr. Moore's
14 purposes, because then Vojnovic and his own brigade are suddenly facing a
15 very inconvenient position. These are certain theories and speculations
16 that other parties to these proceedings have had to face.
17 Not us, however. Let anyone who knows something say whatever it
18 is that they know about Ovcara. Why can't everyone just help and
19 contribute to the healing of these wounds which perhaps can never heal but
20 perhaps can be made to hurt less.
21 Hadzic states for television on that day that, on that day, there
22 was the first government session in Vukovar. It wasn't an informal
23 meeting. It was a government session. The principal decision that was
24 made being that the prisoners were not allowed to leave their territory,
25 and they had apparently reached an agreement with the representatives of
1 the military authorities that the prisoners should stay in the camps
2 around Vukovar. This statement made by Mr. Hadzic is in full collaration
3 [as interpreted] with the evidence given by Vujic and Panic. The notes
4 made by Panic were not written after 2001 and the Mrksic Defence know that
5 full well because they submitted the note to the military court on the
6 28th of December, 1999, when he gave evidence. This note is fully
7 consistent with Vujic's evidence and what certain persons involved said.
8 It is even consistent with the statement made at page 4562 of Vujic's
9 testimony when he said that Panic had arrived with some sort of notebook
10 or some sort of folder.
11 The Sljivacanin Defence finds it particularly indicative that
12 there was evidence about the threat, or should I say blackmail, made by
13 the minister of the interior, Bogunovic, whom Sljivacanin press charges
14 against over crimes saying that he will, if need be, lie down in front of
15 a tank unless the prisoners were surrendered to them.
16 This is the note made by Mr. Panic. He said that the people would
17 lie down in front of the tanks, not he.
18 Your Honours, it is clear that approval for this government
19 decision could only have been issued by an activity, an order, and for the
20 convoy to be redirected to Ovcara instead of Mitrovica. This is a serious
21 task that you are facing and this is something that you need to establish.
22 Following such information as was shared by Panic with them following
23 which his approval for the send of prisoners, 14307, the meeting soon drew
24 to a close. Unlike Mr. Vasic I'm not surprised by Panic's answers quoted
25 yesterday, "I don't know, I don't know, I don't know." What that shows to
1 my mind is that the decision and what followed was something entirely new
2 to all those who were involved.
3 The Sljivacanin Defence thinks it is entirely reliable to conclude
4 that the buses were in the barracks until the government decision was
5 made. Vujic did not leave the government session and immediately go to
6 the barracks, as Mr. Vasic says. Vujic himself confirms that he stayed in
7 Velepromet for some time after the end of the meeting because he was
8 afraid to leave the room. This is page 4564 of the transcript. And you
9 can see the same thing in that video clip, which is Exhibit 269. But
10 Panic left the room immediately. That's what he says, and that's what
11 Vujic has confirmed. He off to the barracks first thing to inform
12 Colonel Mrksic, and what he finds there are buses. The page is 14321.
13 The buses soon after left the barracks and headed for Ovcara, a camp which
14 Goran Hadzic at the government meeting had referred to as a government
15 camp in the surroundings of Vukovar. The page reference in Panic's
16 evidence is 14313.
17 What else are both the Prosecutor and Mr. Mrksic's Defence
18 saying? They are wondering why the convoy was sent from the hospital to
19 the barracks as a temporary accommodation facility, explaining that the
20 facility did not have a fence, that it was near the notorious location of
21 Velepromet and that it was only logical for the convoy to be sent to
22 Mitrovica straight from the hospital or alternatively to Ovcara as the
23 Mitnica group. They forget that the Vukovar barracks was a facility with
24 a very serious and powerful military structure. This was the location of
25 the forward command post of OG South. They had good and permanent links
1 to Negoslavci. There was a military police company securing the barracks
2 all the time. That's where the command of the 1st Military Police
3 Battalion was. That's where the command post of the 2nd Motorised
4 Battalion was. And the barrack's commander to those were units of the 2nd
5 Motorised Battalion. There was no more fighting on the 20. They forget
6 that on the following day persons from the nearby Velepromet facility were
7 transferred to the barracks. They were offered accommodation and
8 protection until they were eventually taken to Mitrovica.
9 Was there a fence or not? When dealing with a facility like that
10 and the manpower present there this is entirely irrelevant. Where was the
11 fence at Ovcara and who did that fence protect from beating on the 20th of
12 November. An attempt to look for any similarity with the Mitnica location
13 is simply false. We know which area Mitnica belongs to and which area
14 Ovcara belongs to. At Mitnica the people surrendered of their own free
15 will's well as weapons, and at the hospital they didn't. The Mitnica
16 surrender took place in the late afternoon --
17 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Lukic please be asked to speak up
18 because we can barely make out what he's saying. Thank you.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The parameter for the joint criminal
20 enterprise did not occur when these persons were surrendering. It was
21 only after they were put up in the hangar during the night there was no
22 omission in triage itself, as far as the fact was concerned,, and I'm
23 saying this in relation to the hospital that the persons separated were
24 not listed while still at the hospital. They were to be listed before
25 they were surrendered and sent to the Mitrovica prison. But the plan of
1 their evacuation had been changed without Sljivacanin or his associates
2 knowing about it and with no involvement on their part, the aim having
3 been to stay away as far as possible from the anathemised security organs,
4 and from those who so severely criticised the work of that government and
5 their own command.
6 Look at Exhibit 269 in its entirety. It's a video clip. It shows
7 what went on in Velepromet on the 20th of November. You will see at the
8 end of that clip the convoy of buses from the hospital passing the
9 facility; this is the evacuation of the sick wounded and hospital staff.
10 Your Honours, this too shows that the barracks was on the way from the
11 hospital to Sremska Mitrovica. And yes, persons were separated and this
12 convoy with these persons, when a convoy was being set up for the security
13 of these people it was supposed to go to Mitrovica. That's why these
14 people were put up at the barracks and that's why the barracks was the
15 best facility for temporarily accommodating these people.
16 I will now move on to a number of brief observations in relation
17 to certain submissions made by the other parties in their final briefs.
18 It is entirely uncorroborated and contradictory what the
19 Prosecutor says in paragraph 609, namely that Sljivacanin was present at
20 the briefing at the OG South headquarters on the 20th of November when
21 Vojnovic and Mrksic spoke. We presented clear arguments about this in our
22 own brief, paragraphs 711 through 713. Who is saying this? Vojnovic and
23 Vukosavljevic, OTP witnesses, are. Seeing Mrksic, but Sljivacanin is not
24 there, you see. They say they didn't see him. They're crystal clear
25 about that. Vukasinovic is a witness whose evidence is invoked by
1 Mr. Moore because Sljivacanin told him, "I'm off to the meeting." But
2 he's not at the meeting. He's outside his command post, and he doesn't
3 know whether the meeting has already -- had already drawn to a close or
4 not. What leaves us dumbfounded is the fact that in three and a half days
5 of cross-examining Mr. Sljivacanin, the Prosecutor never asks the
6 question. Sljivacanin, in terms of his responsibility under Rule 98,
7 which is something that was so often invoked during our own
8 cross-examinations, they didn't confront Sljivacanin with their own
9 theory, with their own position. No. The Prosecutor never challenged
10 Sljivacanin's evidence as concerns this.
11 The next thing, I will not be commenting specially the Mrksic
12 defence, a proposition on the alleged forgery of Exhibit 422 committed by
13 Panic and Trifunovic. It's down to the Chamber to judge that. But let me
14 draw your attention to Exhibit 425 a report signed by Commander Mrksic on
15 the 22nd of November, signed by him personally, where he says -- where he
16 refers to that forgery and to that decision of the 1st Military District
17 which Mr. Vasic finds to -- to be not credible.
18 Apparently there were raised voices in the conversation that took
19 place between Sljivacanin and Vasiljevic in the 19th of November, but
20 there were none, especially not about the exchange telegram. Karanfilov,
21 whose evidence is referred to by my friend, clearly says that he didn't
22 hear the substance of the conversation between Sljivacanin and
23 Vasiljevic - this is page 15480 - but Witness Karan did hear the substance
24 of their conversation and says that they talked about the desire felt by
25 Karan and Sljivacanin's associates to tape their conversation with Marin
1 Vidic, and Vasiljevic flatly refused. No voices were raised during that
2 conversation, the reference being 15678. Sljivacanin is not exactly a
3 soft speaker and this was amply confirmed by Mr. Moore some days ago when
4 he spoke about his obvious arrogance.
5 The Prosecutor wrongly claims that Sljivacanin didn't testify
6 about the meeting with his subordinate commanders on the 19th of November
7 about the tasks for evacuation. Sljivacanin testified about that in
8 detail, on page 13618, about the tasks he assigned to his subordinate
10 The Prosecutor also wrongly refers to the testimony of Witness
11 P-012, transcript page 3663, about the fact that allegedly nine persons
12 who were returned from the barracks to the hospital were then returned and
13 sent to Ovcara. Nobody said that, not even that witness. It -- nine
14 persons were not returned, and there are many other testimonies about this
16 Sljivacanin was not in the barracks or at Ovcara on the 20th of
17 November. The Defence of Mr. Sljivacanin has been claiming this from
18 before the pre-trial brief and throughout the entire trial. It seems that
19 the Prosecution did not insist too much on proving this argument. They
20 kept -- they persistently chose not to call of their witnesses who
21 described Sljivacanin in great detail at the hospital, but who also said
22 that they didn't see him at Ovcara or in the barracks.
23 The Prosecution kept waiting for this sole witness of theirs who
24 allegedly saw him in the barracks and at Ovcara and the other witness who
25 saw him only at Ovcara. All other witnesses of the Prosecution, and even
1 of the Defence, did not merit the attention of the Prosecution -- of the
2 Prosecution. They chose not to check this argument with them.
3 I will now continue further about this topic, but perhaps this
4 could be a good time for our break so that I can gain five minutes after
5 the break.
6 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: We will have a break of 20 minutes now.
7 --- Recess taken at 3.41 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 4.01 p.m.
9 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Mr. Lukic, you now have 35 minutes, and
10 then we will hear from the Prosecution whether there is a need for
12 Mr. Lukic.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I started
14 discussing the argument about the alleged presence of Mr. Sljivacanin at
15 the barracks and at Ovcara on the 20th. We discussed this in detail in
16 our written brief concerning the testimony of Witness P-009 and Zlatko
17 Zlogledja. Here, in our closing arguments, I would like to add that we
18 received the greatest support of our argument precisely from the testimony
19 of the OTP witnesses. We didn't fail to ask any of them who described
20 Sljivacanin's appearance at the hospital about their observation in the
21 barracks or at Ovcara concerning Sljivacanin. There were over 15 of such
22 Prosecution witnesses, and we heard from everyone a clear and firm answer,
23 namely that Sljivacanin was not in the barracks and not at Ovcara on the
24 20th of November.
25 I will next that it was also confirmed by all of Defence
1 witnesses, and to further highlight the neglectful attitude of the
2 Prosecution for this argument of theirs, I will mention the fact that none
3 of those witnesses of the Prosecution were asked in redirect examination
4 and none of the Defence witnesses were asked in cross-examination about
5 this argument of the Prosecution, because the Prosecutor knew what kind of
6 answer he would have received.
7 I would like to remind Mr. Moore of that only because in his final
8 brief he very arbitrarily mentioned that it was only Witness Susic who
9 said that Sljivacanin was not in the barracks. There was a comment there
10 as well that Susic was not in front of the buses throughout the entire
11 time. Let me remind Mr. Moore that -- and I'm not going to mention now
12 the witnesses on the buses. I will only mention those outside of the
13 buses and, namely, there were Panic, Vukasinovic, Maric, and Karanfilov
14 there at different times, and none of them saw Sljivacanin.
15 I will also remind Mr. Moore that he should not forget a great
16 many of his witnesses' documents and videotapes which clearly show where
17 Sljivacanin was at the time when he was allegedly seen at the barracks and
18 at Ovcara. I will remind the Prosecutor that he, the Prosecutor, claims
19 in his final brief in paragraph 565 that Sljivacanin was at the hospital
20 at around 1430 when the convoy set out. Plus we also have an exhibit,
21 341, which speaks of the fact that convoy left from the hospital at around
22 1600 hours. And that's precisely the time that the Prosecution witness
23 P-009 claims that Sljivacanin was at Ovcara.
24 Why did we insist so much on establishing as accurately as
25 possible the time-frame of Sljivacanin's alleged presence in the barracks
1 and at Ovcara? Witness P-009 was very vague when he -- when it came to
2 his memory and earlier statements. Everything became physically
3 impossible in those statements, or perhaps there were more than one
4 Sljivacanin in Vukovar or even Sljivacanin was an epitome of the entire
5 JNA in Vukovar.
6 Despite such obvious media bias about his role in Vukovar events,
7 almost all witnesses of the Prosecution were unequivocal; namely, they did
8 not see Sljivacanin either at the barracks or at Ovcara.
9 This document, the folder provided by Mr. Moore two days ago, with
10 quoted words of witnesses about Sljivacanin is an excellent example of the
11 work of Prosecution and a further support of my position. Mr. Moore
12 brilliantly showed his approach to the final brief and closing arguments.
13 Take out just what suits you and pretend that nothing else exists, as
14 though all of us here in this courtroom did not spend a year and a half
15 together listening to the testimonies. However, one cannot get around the
16 fact that all of those witnesses who described Sljivacanin at the hospital
17 in such great detail did not see Sljivacanin either at the barracks or at
18 Ovcara, and he is such a man, as Witness Berghofer put it and Mr. Moore
19 quoted it, that one can recognise him from a distance of one kilometre.
20 Your Honours, this will be a difficult and thankless task for you
21 to compare all of these testimonies at the hospital. Some of the
22 witnesses said that Sljivacanin did not address them. Some claim the
23 opposite. Some said that he issued orders. Some didn't hear those
24 orders. Some said that he went outside of the bus area. Some say that he
25 didn't. Some say that he ordered the buses to set out. The others claim
1 that it wasn't him. However, it is undisputable that Sljivacanin was at
2 the hospital on the 20th in the morning and also in the afternoon hours.
3 What did Mr. Sljivacanin actually do when it comes to the
4 evacuation of the hospital? He participated together with the security
5 organs, doctors, and hospital staff, despite of how difficult it is to
6 some of them to acknowledge it now. He worked with them in order to
7 ensure all the necessary conditions for evacuation of the wounded and the
8 sick, and the separation or triage of the persons who had to be
9 separated. Even though this doesn't suit Mr. Moore, Sljivacanin did the
10 work he had to do within his duties, his competence, together with the
11 officers of the security organs of the 1st Military District and security
12 administration. He had to. He was supposed to act in accordance with the
13 order of the superior command.
14 There are two documents proving this and you heard about that
15 Exhibit 316 and 333. They speak clearly about the fact that on the 19th
16 of November, Pavkovic did not give the consent for the wounded members of
17 Croatian forces to be evacuated. Not only those who were hiding and
18 disguising but also Croatian fighters who were wounded.
19 On the 20th of November in the morning, Colonel Pavkovic told the
20 representatives of the ECMM that there was a definitive - I stress
21 definitive - order of General Raseta that wound members of the Croatian
22 forces who were at the hospital could not be evacuated. This is Exhibit
24 And what was the task of security organs now that we have all this
25 information? That they should not allow those who Mr. Moore calls former
1 town defenders to be evacuated.
2 Why does the Prosecutor wish to stress as contentious the fact
3 that in one part of that work the security organs used both local
4 residents and TO members in order to gain information? Let me just stress
5 that the Prosecution expert Mr. Pringle, in paragraph 74 of Exhibit 600,
6 said that everything that Mr. Sljivacanin did was fully legitimate.
7 Nothing was done covertly in this operation. Quite the contrary. The
8 representatives of the European mission and journalists were told by
9 Sljivacanin upon their arrival at the hospital that those people had been
10 separated and taken to the prison. Please look at Exhibit 837 and 840,
11 and please look at exhibits invoked by the Prosecutor in their paragraph
12 225 of the final brief.
13 Yes, Mr. Moore, Sljivacanin did say to the representatives of the
14 European Monitoring Mission that those people had been separated and taken
15 to prison.
16 Mr. Moore, did you ask your witnesses, Kypr and Schou, who
17 confirmed this fact, did they inquire about where these people had been
18 taken? Did they ask to go and write down their names? No, you didn't ask
19 them that. However, Sljivacanin told them clearly about this fact.
20 Just how much did you distance yourself by your position in
21 paragraph 225 from the participation of Sljivacanin in the joint criminal
22 enterprise? The Prosecutor particularly highlights the civilian status of
23 victims at Ovcara, and perhaps now I'll touch upon the question that will
24 be later dealt on with the -- by the Trial Chamber. Now I will refer to
25 the status of victims themselves.
1 First of all, I wish to say that I fully support the final brief
2 of the Defence of Mr. Radic, paragraph 71 to 128. They spoke in detail
3 about this fact. We know very well just how much Mrs. Tapuskovic and
4 Ms. Dokmanovic analysed this issue, especially Mrs. Tapuskovic.
5 I have to mention the following: The documents and testimonies
6 clearly speak of the status of the victims. The following is also
7 important: Out of 200 bodies exhumed from the grave at Ovcara, eight were
8 never identified. Out of 192 remaining bodies, for some reason the
9 Prosecutor never included two persons in the annex of the indictment. Out
10 of 190 remaining bodies, four families never accepted the results of the
11 identification, and these people are still listed as missing. Finally,
12 out of 186 bodies, the Defence teams conducted a very detailed comparative
13 analysis of the documents provided by the Prosecution. 452, Exhibit 452,
14 Strinovic; Exhibit 544, which is Grujic's testimony; then the documents
15 provided by Dr. Bosanac, Exhibits 345 and 346, as well as autopsy records,
16 Exhibit 462.
17 These documents, unfortunately I'm speaking of dry facts here own
18 though this involves individual human lives, show us that among the
19 exhumed there are at least 155 members, reported members, of Croatian
20 armed paramilitary formations, many of whom had nothing to do at the
21 hospital, especially if we take into account the fact that they disguised
22 themselves. For example, record OVC 181 indicates that the number is even
23 higher. I definitely do not wish to question the pain of the families or
24 to minimise the tragedy at Ovcara. I also do not wish to deny the status
25 of the wounded combatants who are entitled to protection under
1 international standards. However, this protection does not prevent the
2 JNA from separating those persons whose status is disputed at that point
3 in time. Even Borsinger, the representative of the ICRC, in his talk with
4 Pavkovic, Exhibit 335 and 336, says: "The role of the Red Cross is not to
5 help the fighters to disguise and to -- civilians and be evacuated from
6 the hospital." Then several seconds later, once again Borsinger says, "I
7 will never prevent you from doing your job." He says that to Colonel
8 Pavkovic. Please look at that exhibit.
9 In the interests of justice, we have to underline what is
10 necessary in establishing material facts of a crime, that we cannot say
11 that the majority of the victims here were civilians and had the status of
12 civilians. This is based first and foremost on the facts provided by the
13 families of the victims as well as by the administration of the Vukovar
14 Hospital and autopsy reports.
15 Now I'm going to move on to a key issue in this trial on which you
16 will have to render your final judgement, honourable Tribunal, for our
17 benefit, and that is who was it and at whose orders that actually withdrew
18 the security unit of the 80th Motorised Brigade from Ovcara and which is
19 very important as a fact for our defence, whether evidence, whether proof
20 has been offered that Sljivacanin had anything to do with that obviously
21 misguided decision.
22 You have heard and read two assertions. According to Mr. Moore it
23 was only Karanfilov who would have transmitted that order which could --
24 then could have only been issued by Mrksic, but it is logical, says he,
25 there is no other proof in the Prosecutor's rationale except that it is
1 logical that that went through Sljivacanin.
2 According to Mr. Vasic, that was also what Karanfilov did.
3 According to that contingent, both Panic and Sljivacanin waited for Mrksic
4 to leave for Belgrade because they knew that he, Mrksic, would never have
5 allowed it so that they transmitted an order to Razmanovic [phoen] to
6 withdraw via Karanfilov. The objective was to divert attention by this
7 crime from the Croatian crime in Gospic and for General Vasiljevic to get
8 his captured collaborators from the Labrador Operation and then, in
9 return, Croatia international recognition.
10 Distinguished Bench, as I have indicated in the beginning, your
11 task here is not to establish a criminal liability for so grave a crime on
12 the basis of logic, imagination, or construction, but on the basis of
13 proof and facts, on the basis of evidence to which you shall lend credence
14 or not. That is the basis of your assessment and your conclusion and
15 ultimately the mandate entrusted to you by the international community.
16 In its final brief the Defence team of Mr. Sljivacanin has
17 analysed in detail the evidence which is solely and exclusively of the
18 essence for your conclusions, and the evidence, primarily Exhibit 371,
19 clearly states that the security unit assigned to the hangar at -- was
20 assigned to the hangar at 16 hours on the 20th by Lieutenant Colonel
21 Vojnovic, the only person who could legitimately do so, and also then that
22 security unit was withdrawn at 2230 hours by the only person who could
23 legitimately do so, the one who had ordered it and who was able to retract
24 his decision. And it was only Commander Vojnovic who could issue such an
25 order to his unit and none other.
1 In JNA there existed the principle of singleness of command, and
2 Vojnovic, too, clearly testified that he had sent Vukosavljevic to relay
3 his order to Vezmarovic, and Vukosavljevic also went to Ovcara. He did
4 not rule out the possibility that he had relayed that order to
5 Vezmarovic. That is at 8803 in the transcript. And Vezmarovic himself
6 testified that perhaps Vukosavljevic had relayed to order to him. That's
7 8589 in the transcript.
8 And I should like to underline Vukosavljevic testified that after
9 that he informed the person who had issued him the order, Lieutenant
10 Colonel Vojnovic, and that's at page 8805.
11 I should also like to know that Vukosavljevic himself expressed
12 doubts when he heard the assertion about the alleged appearance of
13 Karanfilov for the first time, and that was in 2003. And, as he put it,
14 it was some sort of a variant of the description of the incident of the
15 event that Vezmarovic talked about, and that's at 8812. That's logical,
16 as my learned colleague Mr. Moore would put it, for Vukosavljevic to have
17 thought that because there, at Ovcara, he could see Karanfilov nowhere.
18 These are facts, and these are evidentiary assertions that both
19 Mr. Moore and Mr. Vasic are steering clear off. Doubtlessly Vojnovic sent
20 Vukosavljevic to relay the order to Captain Vezmarovic to withdraw his
21 unit. It is indubitable that Vukosavljevic and Vezmarovic returned alone
22 together and informed Vojnovic thereof, and that was entered in the war
23 log of the 80th Brigade.
24 That evening, no one at all noted in the war log that the
25 withdrawal had been executed outside the chain of command, and it is quite
1 clear that also on the 18 -- that on the 18th of November as well
2 Karanfilov had no command authority whatsoever over Vezmarovic. You can
3 consult the testimonies of Vojnovic, Mr. Moore's favourite witness, on
4 page 9085. He did not order that to Vezmarovic. And then look at
5 Danilovic's statement, and who is the favourite witness of the Defence of
6 Mr. Mrksic, and that's at transcript 12367. The commander of the camp,
7 Danilovic, claims it was impossible for the command of the military police
8 to receive any orders without him being involved, but Karanfilov needed to
9 be discredited as much as possible in order to obfuscate the so-clear path
10 to the truth. That is why his earlier statements were used in order to
11 disrupt what he had claimed from the -- from his first statement and he
12 has given -- he gave eight of them. On the day Karanfilov was not at
13 Ovcara and Vasiljevic was not at Negoslavci. And Vesna Bosanac and Marin
14 Vidic were not at the examination, the interrogation in Negoslavci on the
15 20th of November, but on the 19th of November, and you have heard a number
16 of testimonies and they're all consistent in this regard. In fact, Vesna
17 Bosanac herself at 688, and Karan, that is 15557, and Sljivacanin, 13596,
18 and Karanfilov, at 15418, all say the same thing. And Karanfilov who
19 was -- who they wanted so much to mix up the dates clearly described how
20 after eight statements he was shown for the first time during the proofing
21 for this testimony the necessary documentation, video clips, and
22 documents, and that is at transcript 154358, of so many investigators all
23 throughout these 15 years, no one wished, and they were able to, to show
24 the -- the witness any document. It seems that this was all in pursuit of
25 the objective that I've already referred to.
1 And then when the entire sequence of events from the adoption of
2 the decision on the setting up of the security unit up to their withdrawal
3 clearly and only functioned in compliance with rules and regulations upon
4 the principles of unity of command; according to precise chain of command,
5 that chain needed to be severed and another one made up. And then, of
6 course, the command authority of Karanfilov needed to be established,
7 which is impossible on the basis of regulations, and also impossible on
8 the quite clear testimonies of Vojnovic and Danilovic.
9 So Karanfilov did not have command powers at -- in any single
10 moment and Vezmarovic could not nor dared act according to his alleged
11 orders. No. Vezmarovic exclusively and solely acted according to the
12 decisions of the person who issued him the order according to the
13 regulations and in actual practice to come to Ovcara and to then withdraw
14 from Ovcara, and that was Lieutenant Colonel Vojnovic. That is what we
15 heard from him.
16 The evidence is inexorable. Sljivacanin has nothing whatsoever to
17 do with that decision nor has a single piece of evidence been presented
18 that would not only be beyond any doubt but associate Sljivacanin with
19 that decision in any way.
20 I will now draw your attention to several contentions of the OTP
21 regarding the JCE. Not so much from a legal aspect, which, actually,
22 Mr. Moore did not explore that much, but just some factual underpinnings
23 of his contention. What Mr. Moore has offered us is stated in paragraph
24 362, in which he adds new members of the JCE by name and surname. All
25 those who actually are adulterated by their testimonies, his contention,
1 as it were, to the effect that in that enterprise, the pursuit of a joint
2 plan, there also had to be the arch scoundrel, the compliment, actually,
3 that Mr. Moore paid to the witness, Vukasinovic. And that was a witness
4 which according to accounts -- at whom, according to accounts, TO members
5 had pointed their guns three times that day and who on arrival at the
6 hangar managed to personally expel all those persons from the hangar.
7 Vojnovic, who is -- who also opposes and takes on those
8 territorials is, according to the Prosecutor, a hero. And Vukasinovic who
9 does the same is, in his book, a member of the JCE, with a number of
10 insults into the bargain.
11 It is obvious that Panic's and Karanfilov's testimony do not
12 soothe the OTP and we have seen why; that is why they need to be
14 Both Mr. Moore and Mr. Vasic claim that organs of security could
15 have discharged duties outside their remits, and they invoke Exhibit 374
16 on the appointment of Vukasinovic as town commander to support that. They
17 seem to forget what actually happened, what was in Negoslavci. Let me
18 remind them. It was the command post of the Guards Brigade and of the
19 command post of the OG South. I should like to remind them also of the
20 fact that one of the basic tasks from the remit of the OB and -- is the
21 organisation of the security of the command. According to Article 7 of
22 the rules of service of the OB and there cannot be a more suitable
23 commanding officer to control and organise security than the actual
24 commanding officer of the OB unit. The appointment of Vukasinovic of town
25 commander was Commander Mrksic's decision within the remit of OB and I
1 think beyond it. If it was outside his ambit, as my learned colleague
2 asserts, then a written decision on it only demonstrates what kind of a
3 form is necessary to issue orders to an officer of security outside his
5 I shall just say a few words about the proposed sentence. In our
6 brief we didn't see anything about extenuating or aggravating
7 circumstances, and we now consider that to be deeply on a collision course
8 with our proposal, but we did deal with a part which refers to the
9 character of Mr. Sljivacanin. That's in paragraphs 892 to 908. That
10 person, his character, his person of a professional soldier, his conduct
11 in war, his desire for the war operations to stop, his human care for
12 civilians, not only as a human being but -- not only as an officer but as
13 a human being, but also his attitude when it came to the deaths of his
14 soldiers, ordinary troops, but we can also say observed from the aspect of
15 the JNA, heroes, is something that you must bear in mind to establish --
16 in establishing his liability.
17 I can only wonder whether the Prosecutor is proposing this
18 sentence due to -- to his impotence to impress the Court with his proof.
19 Is it only on formalism that he bases his perception of Sljivacanin's
20 liability when he proposes this sentence? Sljivacanin decided to take the
21 stand first in his evidentiary procedure. During the trial he wished to
22 actively contribute to the efficiency of the proceedings, also when he was
23 in hospital for treatment.
24 Your Honours, we cannot say whether we have been helpful to you in
25 establishing the truth. We did our best in professional terms, and we
1 have also followed clear instructions from Mr. Sljivacanin. We did not
2 speculate or toy around with evidence. We tried to bring such witnesses
3 before the Trial Chamber as could provide reliable answers to many
4 questions, as were raised throughout this trial.
5 This trial has gone on for a year and a half. What we now leave
6 behind us are times filled with stories of evil, pain, crime, and wounds
7 that cannot heal. It is the truth that must crush all prejudice
8 accumulated over the years among the public. One of the greatest
9 prejudices is the role purportedly played by Sljivacanin in Vukovar. An
10 executioner, a Chetnik, a Commie, and an arrogant liar.
11 Sljivacanin was in no way involved in this crime and in no shape
12 or form did he have any share in this or in the subsequent responsibility.
13 Sljivacanin's sole crime was that he had faith in a country, in a flag,
14 and in an oath. It is because of this faith, it is for the sake of him
15 and everybody else who had had the same faith, that you must crush
16 prejudice by establishing the truth. A part of that truth is your own
17 verdict by which you will establish that Veselin Sljivancanin is not
18 guilty of the crimes that were committed at Ovcara.
19 Your Honours, this is the end of my closing argument. I would
20 like to use up another minute or two to say this: I would like to express
21 my gratitude, and I think I'm speaking on behalf of all three Defence
22 teams, to all those who have contributed to this trial running as smoothly
23 as it has. We wish to thank the Detention Unit, who showed particular
24 care and affection for our clients when their health was at stake. I also
25 wish to thank the interpreters, and I wish to thank them for their work
1 today. I wish to thank the Victims and Witnesses Protection Unit in a
2 very special way. I also wish to thank my own team as well as all the
3 witnesses who appeared on behalf of Mr. Sljivacanin, raising no objection
4 whatsoever and having no regard to their own personal interest and
5 benefit. I wish to thank them all.
6 Finally, I wish to thank the Chamber for giving me an opportunity
7 to appear before this Court, which has been a great honour for me. As my
8 learned friend Mr. Borovic has said, we have tried here to cross swords
9 with the OTP, and I believe that a trace will remain of our legal efforts
10 here in the history of international law. Some of the experiences that we
11 have had throughout our time here will no doubt prove of value back in our
12 own countries.
13 Thank you.
14 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
15 Now the question is, will there be argument in rebuttal and in
17 Mr. Moore. The answer is yes?
18 MR. MOORE: The answer is in the following way: May I endorse my
19 learned friend's thanks to all parties and may I additionally thank the
20 Defence for the courtesy to which they have applied -- applied to us
21 through this trial.
22 With regard to the rebuttal matter, I will not deal with any
23 issues that have been raised except the point that Your Honour has already
24 mentioned by way of the definition of "civilian."
25 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Thank you very much. Okay. Then I think
1 we can proceed to that point now. Very well.
2 MR. MOORE: I didn't know whether Your Honour wished to see
3 whether the defendants had anything to say prior to this or for
4 subsequent -- or subsequently.
5 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: We were thinking of having that at the
6 very end of this hearing.
7 MR. MOORE: Certainly.
8 The Court has posed an interesting question which has exercised
9 many minds. The question clearly concerns the point of law, and if I
10 may just read again into the record the question that Your Honour has
11 posed. "Is the question whether the victims of a crime against humanity
12 where civilians are not relevant to the applicability of Article 5. In
13 other words, is the general condition of the civilian status of the
14 targeted population that is required for a chapeau requirement identical
15 to the condition of the civilian status of the victims of the underlying
17 I hope I read it correctly.
18 May I deal with it in this way: The Trial Chamber has asked us
19 whether Article 5 requires proof that the victims of the underlying crimes
20 were civilians and whether the civilian status requirement in the chapeau
21 of Article 5 is identical to that required for the victims of the
22 underlying crimes. May I begin by giving a brief summary of our answer,
23 and then I hopefully will explain it in a little more detail and address
24 the Tribunal's existing case law on that matter.
25 There will be two parts to my answer. The first is this: That
1 all of the victims of the crimes pleaded under Article 5 in the present
2 case qualify as civilians under Article 5. They were either persons who
3 had never participated in hostilities, or they were persons who were hors
4 de combat, and so were no longer participating in hostilities. Our
5 position is that the scope of protection afforded by Article 5 is broad
6 and broad enough to encompass both of these categories of persons.
7 The second aspect of my reply is as follows: Because your
8 question also appears to raise an issue that goes beyond the facts of the
9 present case, namely can victims of crimes against humanity include those
10 who participate in hostilities, for example, combatants. The answer to
11 this hypothetical question is that such persons could be considered as
12 victims of a crime against humanity even though they do not qualify as
13 civilians by definition. This would be so in the circumstances where they
14 are targeted in a manner that is unlawful under IHL. However, if
15 combatants are targeted in a manner that is lawful under IHL, then clearly
16 no crime has been committed and quite simply the matter ceases there.
17 May I just move on and deal with the -- the victim of an Article 5
18 crime and the definition of civilian under Article 5. As I've already
19 indicated in brief outline the definition of "civilian" under Article 5 of
20 the Statute includes all persons who are not participants hostilities. In
21 other words, a civilian under Article 5 is anyone who is not the lawful
22 object of attack under IHL. This includes persons who are hors de combat,
23 for example, through sickness or through being detained by an opposing
24 party. In this way the term "civilian" under Article 5 does not have an
25 identical meaning to the term "civilian" in Additional Protocol I
1 regulating international armed conflicts in Additional Protocol I persons
2 who are classified as hors de combat are a separate category of analysis
3 and are not subsumed in the term "civilian." However, under IHL, persons
4 hors de combat and civilians are nevertheless on the same footing. They
5 are accorded substantially similar protections. More significantly or
6 most significantly, neither category of persons can be the object of
7 attack, only combatants participating in the hostilities can be the object
8 of an attack. So it is the principle of distinction between combatants
9 and non-combatants which is the key under IHL regardless of the labels
11 This is reflected in the IHL principles regulating internal armed
12 conflict. For example, in Common Article 3 and Additional Protocol II,
13 the only distinction drawn is between persons taking no active part in
14 hostilities or persons who do not take a direct part or who have ceased to
15 take part in hostilities, and those who do take part in hostilities.
16 Common Article 3 expressly places persons hors de combat in the category
17 of persons who take no active part in the hostilities and who may not be
19 In our commission, the reference to civilians in Article 5 is
20 intended to reflect the same distinction as set out in Common Article 3.
21 The protection stemming from the civilian status extends to anyone not
22 taking an active or a direct part in hostilities, including persons who
23 are hors de combat.
24 The operation of IHL as lex specialis does not, in our submission,
25 prevent such a conclusion. It does not require that the term "civilian"
1 in Article 5 be given precisely the same definition as under IHL,
2 regulating international armed conflicts consistent with the Blaskic
3 appeal judgement at paragraph 110. The definition of civilian under IHL
4 is relevant in defining that term under Article 5. However, there is
5 nothing to mandate that the terms must be defined in identical terms.
6 What is required is that the term "civilian" in Article 5 cannot be
7 interpreted in a manner that undermines IHL. In particular, the
8 term "civilian" under Article 5 cannot be defined to include persons who
9 are lawful objects of attack under IHL. That, however, does not prevent
10 the approach that we submit is appropriate here, that is based on the
11 distinction drawn in IHL itself between persons who do not take part in
12 hostilities it and so may not be attacked and those who do, who may
13 legitimately be attacked.
14 The definition of civilian under Article 5 that we advocate is
15 supported by a number of Tribunal authorities; for example, the Rule of 61
16 decision in this case, which held that persons hors de combat may fall
17 within the definition of civilians under Article 5. The Chamber on that
18 occasion reviewed the indictment pursuant to Article 61 -- to Rule 61,
19 held that although according to the terms of Article 5 of the Statute of
20 this Tribunal, the combatants in the traditional sense of the term cannot
21 be victims of a crime against humanity. This does not apply to
22 individuals who at one particular point in time carried out acts of
23 resistance. May I refer the Bench to paragraph 29 of that decision.
24 Secondary, may I direct Your Honours' attention to the Akayesu
25 trial judgement in paragraph 582. There it held that members of the
1 civilian population are people who are not taking any active part in the
2 hostilities, including members of the armed force who lay down their arms
3 and those persons placed hors de combat. The Trial Chamber in that case
4 noted in a footnote that this definition assimilates the definition of
5 civilian with the categories of persons protected by Common Article 3.
6 The Tadic trial judgement there, the Trial Chamber asked which
7 individuals could be considered as civilians for the purposes of Article
8 5. After surveying a number of sources, the Trial Chamber concluded that
9 a wide definition of civilian population, as supported by these sources,
10 is justified. Thus the presence of those actively involved in the
11 conflict should not prevent the characterisation of a population as
12 civilian and those actively involved in a resistance movement can qualify
13 as victims of crimes against humanity. And in that it also referred to
14 the Mrksic rule where it actually used it as an authority in the following
15 way: Although crimes against humanity must target a civilian population,
16 individuals who at one point in time performed acts of resistance may in
17 certain circumstances be victims of crimes against humanity.
18 In the context of that case, patients in a hospital, either
19 civilians or resistance fighters who had laid down their arms were
20 considered crimes against humanity. Of course that is this case.
21 Finally, may I refer Your Honours to a case decided by this very
22 Trial Chamber. That was the Limaj trial judgement. In that case Your
23 Honours held in paragraph 186 when discussing the term "civilian
24 population," in Article 5 that, and I quote: "The presence within a
25 population of members of resistance armed groups or former combatants who
1 have laid down their arms does not as such alter its civilian nature."
2 Importantly, Your Honours went on to observe, "as a result, the
3 definition of a civilian is expansive, and includes individuals who at one
4 time performed acts of resistance, as well as persons hors de combat when
5 the crime was committed.
6 May I deal then, please, with the Blaskic appeal judgement. Would
7 Your Honour wish me to deal with that?
8 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Yes, please. Go ahead.
9 MR. MOORE: The Blaskic appeal judgement does not preclude this
10 approach. The Blaskic Appeals Chamber dealt with the issue of who may
11 constitute a civilians for the purpose of Article 5. Our submission is
12 that the Blaskic appeal judgement does not preclude the approach we
13 advocate -- or advocate and which is reflected in the case law that we
14 have cited. The Appeals Chamber focused on the following comment made by
15 the Blaskic Trial Chamber, and I quote: "It also follows that the
16 specific situation of the victim at the moment the crimes were committed,
17 rather than his status, must be taken into account in -- in determining
18 his standing as a civilian." That's at paragraphs 109, 108, and 114.
19 The Appeals Chamber was of the view or expressed the view that
20 this statement may be misleading. The Appeals Chamber then extracted a
21 passage from the ICRC commentary to Protocol I, which dispels the notion
22 that there is a category of part-time combatant status, that a person
23 could be considered a combatant by day and a peaceful civilian by night.
24 The key point is that if that person is targeted at night, when the person
25 was no longer engaged in combat, this does not mean that the individual is
1 no longer a combatant and has immunity from attack. Under IHL a person
2 who is not considered as a person who is no longer actively participating
3 in hostilities just because at a given point in time he is not engaged in
4 combat. For that reason, the Appeals Chamber concluded that the specific
5 situation of the victim at the time the crimes were committed may not be
6 determinative of his civilian or non-civilian status.
7 We submit that is correct. Under IHL, a person who is a combatant
8 but who happens not to be engaged in combat at a particular moment in
9 time, may still be lawfully attacked. However, the Blaskic Appeals
10 Chamber did not focus on the situation that we are concerned about in this
11 case. For that reason, the Blaskic case is distinguishable, in our
12 submission. The hors de combat victims in the present case were no longer
13 participating in any hostilities at all for the time that they had that
14 status, and we submit that this is confirmed by the language of Article
15 3. Under IHL, they could not be the lawful object of attack, and that is
16 the key distinction and is the basis for our submission that the Blaskic
17 appeal judgement does not preclude extending the term "civilian" to
18 encompass persons who would be considered hors de combat.
19 May I pose then the following question? It's simply this: Can
20 combatants be considered as victims of Article 5 crimes? The broader
21 issue raised by Your Honours' question whether persons participating in
22 the hostilities could ever be considered as victim of Article 5 crimes
23 does not, as I say, arise on the facts of this case. However, we would
24 submit that the combatants can be considered victims of a crime against
25 humanity if they are victimised in a way that is unlawful under IHL.
1 IHL's status as lex specialis imposes limitations on the extent to which
2 combatants can be considered victims of the Article 5 crimes. In
3 particular, the death of a person in lawful combat activity under IHL
4 logically could not become unlawful and a crime against humanity under
5 Article 5. Beyond this kind of scenario, however, it is possible that a
6 combatant who is targeted in a way that is unlawful under IHL could be
7 counted among the victims of a crime against humanity.
8 There are various authorities which I can refer to in relation to
9 the Supreme Court of Germany in the British occupied zone following World
10 War II entered convictions for crimes against humanity in at least three
11 instances where the victims were regular soldiers, and in one of those
12 cases the judgement concluded that, "whoever notes the expressly
13 emphasised character of the instances and classes of instance mentioned
14 there cannot come to the conclusion that action between soldiers may not
15 constitute crimes against humanity."
16 So I respectfully repeat and stress that this question does not
17 arise on the facts of this case since, as we have already submitted, the
18 victims here were hors de combat and no longer participating in the
20 We have endeavoured to deal with the matter as expeditiously and
21 as neatly as we can. If, however, and it is a complex matter and I think
22 everyone understands that, if the Court would wish any further explanation
23 or expansion of our position, we would be willing and happy to do so in
24 written form with that will assist the Court.
25 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Thank you very much, Mr. Moore.
1 Now we will hear the submissions for the Defence.
2 Mr. Vasic.
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon. Thank you. I will
4 try to respond also to the question raised by the Chamber as well as to
5 the question raised by Mr. Moore.
6 I would like to say something before I start and before I provide
7 an answer to that question. All three of our Defence teams have made
8 clear our positions on the existence or non-existence of essential
9 elements for the application of Article 5 of the Tribunal's Statute. We
10 think the elements have not been met to prove that an attack like that was
11 carried out against the JNA, an attack against civilians at the period of
12 time covered by indictment.
13 I would like to focus on something that my learned friend Mr.
14 Moore has said in his own closing argument about this. It's about Exhibit
15 312 and Exhibit 305. This is an exhibit which he refers to as the Babska
16 declaration. We can see that on page 663 of the transcript, the exhibit
17 was introduced through Witness Kypr. Kypr didn't know where the exhibit
18 came from. It wasn't something that he obtained himself. The Defence at
19 the time raised doubts as to the authenticity of the document purportedly
20 showing that there was an ultimatum given to the civilian population, to
21 the citizens of Babska to hand over their weapons lest they were
22 flattened, as this -- or razed to the ground, as this handwritten document
23 appears to suggest. Its authenticity was never proved.
24 The other exhibit I'm talking about is 312. Again, this is about
25 the attack against civilians. It was introduced through Witness Kypr.
1 This was a document that was drafted during The Hague Conference, and the
2 Defence claims that it was a form of political pressure put on the
3 Yugoslav authorities. The transcript reference is 6702 through 6704. We
4 see there clearly that Kypr knows nothing about who produced that
5 document. As to the most important portion of this document, which is
6 something especially raised by my learned friend, the attack against
7 civilians, he only seems to know about Lovas, and that's the only place he
8 mentions, and we do know for a fact that there was no attack by the JNA in
9 Lovas. What occurred there was people being killed as a result of actions
10 taken by a group led by the self-styled commander, Ljuban Devetak. So
11 that is the premise that I wish to establish before I launch into my
12 principal subject, which is attacks against civilians.
13 Unlike my learned friend, the Defence believes that in order to be
14 able to apply Article 5, victims need to be civilians, and this is
15 something that has been established in the Kunarac sentence and the
16 Krnojelac sentence, in previous trials before this Tribunal. We believe
17 there is no dilemma at all about that. What my learned friend is pleading
18 today, we believe, cannot be applied in relation to Article 5. There are
19 other norms of international humanitarian law addressing the issue.
20 It is quite clear that we have a final sentence, a final ruling
21 here, the sentence in the Blaskic case which clearly defines and accepts a
22 comment made by the Red Cross, in fact, a comment about how the category
23 of civilians should be defined. Bearing in this mind, we can say that the
24 provisions of Article 30 of the Additional Protocol of the Geneva
25 Conventions defined the status of civilians. This is a negative
1 definition of what is envisaged under Article 4(A), items 1, 2, 3 and 6 of
2 the Geneva Conventions and Article 43 of the first Protocol. This
3 encompasses all the persons who were taken out of the hospital on the
4 morning of the 20th of November. That is what the Defence teams are
5 saying. We believe there were no civilians among those people. All those
6 who on the morning of the 20th of November were taken away were
8 We do agree, however, that their civilian status cannot be
9 challenged if we have a group of civilians their civilian status cannot be
10 challenged just because there happens to be the occasional fighter among
11 them. But we do believe that in this group there were people who had not
12 laid down their weapons, and there was not a civilian majority in this
13 group. This is clearly demonstrated by what we have presented as a
14 conclusion after questioning the members of the committee for missing
15 persons, Croatia's committee for missing persons. We looked through
16 documents that they had been working on for years, and we saw what the
17 figure regarding the active fighters was. I think about 155. I think
18 that's what my learned friend has said.
19 We also need to bear in mind the fact that in addition to the
20 active fighters belonging to the National Guards Corps and the MUP, there
21 was an involvement also by the volunteers and the civilian protection. In
22 my closing argument, I pointed out that most of its members were involved,
23 most citizens of Vukovar, especially after the mobilisation had taken
25 That is precisely this provision defining what sort of group can
1 be considered as a civilian group and what sort of group can be considered
2 combatants stems from the terms provided by the International Red Cross.
3 At page 515, paragraph 1676, it says that no group taking part in combat
4 or carrying weapons can be considered as a civilian group. The status of
5 such a group and their protection can only be ensured in -- in the case of
6 wounding under the first and second Geneva Conventions and when taking
7 prisoners under the provisions of the third Geneva Conventions, and not
8 under the provisions Article 5 of the Statute granting protection only to
9 a group of civilians that is attacked.
10 What is essential here is that the group raised in the indictment
11 is a group that was separated from all the wounded patients or any other
12 civilians who had either been transferred to Velepromet or were hospital
13 staff and left on the convoy that left Vukovar on the 20th at half past
14 3.00. So this group that was kept there in the morning was made up of
15 those persons alone who had been a party to the hostilities, had been
16 involved in the hostilities. They were combatants; therefore, their
17 status could not additionally have been changed into that of civilians as
18 Mr. Moore seems to have pleaded.
19 Therefore, my position is that, as concerns any crime under
20 Article 5 of the Statute, victims must have a civilian status. The
21 conclusion therefore is the victims in this case the victims refer to in
22 the indictment had no such status.
23 Thank you.
24 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Thank you, Mr. Vasic.
25 Mr. Borovic.
1 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I shall
2 just add to what colleague Vasic has said on our joint behalves. As
3 regards the status of victims referred to by the OTP in their final
4 briefs, they pointed that these were the sick and the wounded and under
5 the first Geneva Convention applied and the corresponding provisions of
6 Additional Protocols 1 and 2 thereto, which refer to the sick and wounded;
7 however, in the indictment, I believe I said so yesterday, the persons
8 from the hospital are defined as detainees, patients, and captured
9 persons. And then the OTP also in another spot defines them as evacuees.
10 Today we heard that all the persons who ceased participating in the
11 hostilities, including combatants who had lay their arms, could acquire
12 the status of a civilian person, and they were the victims of a crime.
13 If we speak about specific matters we know from the evidence that
14 was presented when it refers -- in so much as it refers to the combatants
15 who lay their arms, that does not apply to this case. The combatants who
16 were found in the Vukovar hospital had not laid down their arms. It was
17 the Mitnica group that had done so and therefore it acquired the status
18 which entitles it to protection under the Geneva Convention.
19 I believe that this is a matter of substance. I'm not going to go
20 into explaining the correlation between the objectives of assaults on this
21 or that group of civilian population. This is something, it has to be a
22 primary objective, as we know, but that would already be an assessment of
23 evidence. So we do have a joint position on the civilian status of
24 victims which is that in this case they were not civilians. Thank you.
25 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Thank you very much, Mr. Borovic.
1 Mr. Lukic.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Very briefly with the reservation that
3 during these two days I did not focus much on your question, but we of
4 course discussed it and I fully subscribe to Mr. Vasic's and Mr. Borovic's
5 words. I should like to say that in respect of the category of civilian
6 population, we wrote about that in paragraph 767 to 774 of our brief and
7 that is how we perceive civilian population as a necessary condition for
8 Article 5 of the Statute.
9 Let me just add that I oppose Mr. Moore's thesis that the verdict
10 in the Brdjanin -- sorry, in the Blaskic case is not relevant to our
11 case. I believe that it is exceptionally relevant, and in terms of our
12 concrete case, we know that that is a second instance and final verdict.
13 As regards the civilian or non-civilian status, we actually invoked that
14 judgement in both our pre-trial and final briefs, and I'm going to read it
16 THE INTERPRETER: Will counsel please slow down.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Paragraph 114 of the second instance
18 of the appellate jurisdiction in the Blaskic case, the Appellate Chamber's
19 conclusion says: "Because of that, the specific situation of the victim
20 in the moment of the commission of the crime does not necessarily
21 determine its civilian versus not civilian status. If he is indeed a
22 member of an armed organisation, the fact that he is unarmed or does not
23 participate in combat at the time of the commission of the crime does not
24 give him, does not accord him civilian status."
25 To me this is it. This is the end of the discussion. There is no
1 dilemma at all for a legal conclusion which for us here in this courtroom
2 is the source of law.
3 As Mr. Borovic says -- said, this is not people -- persons who had
4 laid down their arms but these are and the assilerate [as interpreted]
5 that, persons who had concealed their weapons of course that is up to the
6 procedure of evidence proving but this is -- this position from the
7 Blaskic judgement is extremely important and relevant; that is why we
8 invoked it in both our briefs. These victims who did not have their arms
9 a that moment were not therefore civilians according to that judgement.
10 Thank you.
11 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
12 I'm looking at the time. At this moment in time we -- the Trial
13 Chamber has been told that both Mr. Mrksic and Mr. Sljivacanin want to
14 address the Trial Chamber. I suggest that we have a break and that we
15 resume and then the parties will let us know.
16 I'm sorry. So we could still go for 45 minutes. Can -- okay.
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: So does Mr. Mrksic want to address the
20 THE ACCUSED MRKSIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.
21 Thank you for giving me an opportunity to address the Court at the end of
22 this trial.
23 I have every confidence in your work. I have seen you follow the
24 trial closely, and I trust that you will bring a just verdict. I have
25 been listening to the lawyers as well. There have been certain
2 I would like to say a couple of words. I'm not going to the
3 merits of the case, of course, but I want to say something about some of
4 the things that the Prosecutor said yesterday.
5 They started their closing argument by putting forward a theory to
6 the effect that I was creating officers in the Guards Brigade who were
7 brutal, who in terms of their demeanour and behaviour caused fear among
8 other people, fear and a climate of intolerance. I do wish to say one
9 thing. It is generally known what sort of officers are required for any
10 Guards Unit, and I believe the same applies to the unit that Mr. Moore
11 served in himself in England.
12 We did everything within our power for our officers to be
13 athletic, cultured, clean-shaven, nice looking, and clear in their
14 approach. I said this to Mr. Vance. He was quite satisfied at the time.
15 I don't know how the theory came about that I struck anyone at all as an
16 arrogant - I'm not sure exactly what they said - an arrogant person,
17 someone to be feared. Mr. Moore said that, and later he concluded based
18 on this that there was some sort of a joint criminal enterprise.
19 What I'm trying say is this: No such people could remain in the
20 Guards Brigade. No such people could have ever become members of the
21 Guards Brigade. No brutality was tolerated, to other soldiers or indeed
22 to their wives even. If their wives came over and complained about these
23 soldiers, I would have had them transferred. Each of our officers had to
24 be well-liked, well-loved by all other officers. That's what our officers
25 were like, and that's why in combat a lot of our officers were killed in a
1 bid to protect their own soldiers.
2 If any of our officers at all ever said anything about any other
3 ethnicity, statements that weren't in the spirit of the principles of the
4 Guards Brigade, these soldiers had to be transferred. If anyone at all
5 said they would have wronged any other ethnicity in any way, they would
6 never have been taken on by the Guards Brigade. We built up our
7 relationships on brotherhood and unity, on our traditions dating back to a
8 time when Comrade Tito was still alive, and even earlier traditions. Any
9 stories saying that we wanted to create a joint criminal enterprise and
10 expel the Croats are stories that I can't accept. My officers never could
11 possibly have conceived of anything like that, and that is why I refute
13 I have many questions myself why certain things happened in a
14 certain way. Sometimes things were unclear. When the fighting started I
15 didn't understand myself why I had to remain in Vukovar all the time.
16 Mr. Moore was right when he said that it was a new Stalingrad. Who knows
17 in whose interest this was? I had the Bogdanovci three metres behind me
18 in my own combat disposition.
19 I was shown that image of the destruction of Vukovar 15 years
20 later. I realise who this served, towns and cities are laid siege to and
21 sometimes they just fall. There's no need to destroy towns and cities.
22 However, these were political and military decisions and our job was to
23 carry them out.
24 Cui bono, who stood to profit from this? This is something I
25 leave to historians, and I think analysts on Croatian TV are talking about
1 this publicly. Why were the civilians returned to Vukovar? In order to
2 make the defenders as firm, as strong as possible, and in order for the
3 Vukovar defenders to crush and defeat the very spearhead of the JNA, the
4 Guards Brigade. The divisions and other brigades were scattered all over
5 Srem. By the time we arrived in Vukovar there were tanks but no soldiers,
6 artillery weapons but no soldiers, armies abandoning their positions,
7 deserting, that sort of thing. There was chaos all over the place.
8 People were coming up with ideas like, "Stop. Give it up." But still we
9 were the Guards Brigade. We got our mission, and we would complete our
10 mission. We would see to it that our mission was completed.
11 When we faced a crisis when our reservists abandoned us, we still
12 remained. We did our best. We fought hard. We tried to restore order
13 and discipline even under those conditions, and we were to some extent
14 successful. As long as the fighting was still going on, we had no trouble
15 at all. They won't surrender. Marin Vidic calls me. I talk to him. I'm
16 offering everything. He wants to see what the leaders will say. They
17 don't want to surrender. They want to take that path that I left open out
18 of Vinkovci. I didn't want to suffer any losses myself or inflict any
19 losses on them at this point in time since Vukovar had already fallen.
20 And then there was a lot of commotion. Why weren't the prisoners there?
21 And then the telegram came, the one that was mentioned, and so on and so
23 And then the new assignments came up. Fill up, don't let them
24 pull out. Where are they? Why are they there? And then all the other
25 things that turned up. Whoever surrendered to us eventually surrendered.
1 This was done in compliance with all regulations and the same would have
2 been the case vice versa, and I was personally involved in this to make
3 sure that the rules were complied with.
4 After the conversation with Vesna Bosanac, there was this sudden
5 change and indifferent delegations kept arriving. The security delegation
6 from Sid, the delegation from the 1st Military District, the men from the
7 cabinet, and what do I know? A whole lot of officers, anyway. Too many
8 cooks spoil the broth. You know the old saying, and that's what happened
9 in the end.
10 My officers will hear me, I'm sure. I would like to take this
11 opportunity to thank them for their -- for their courage, to thank them
12 for the honourable way in which they fought. It was thanks to our
13 excellent relationships that we were successful in carrying out our task
14 and completing our mission. I also wish to recognise the effort made by
15 the defenders of the time who had suffered a great many casualties. I
16 don't know what they got from it in the end. So many lives were lost.
17 I'm sure the problem could have been resolved in a different way.
18 Finally, what I wish to say is this: I am sorry for my own
19 officers, for my own COs, for my troops, all those who fought in the
20 area. They were volunteers there and all sorts of other units as well.
21 I am sorry for the common folks who lived in the area. I am sorry for the
22 citizens of Vukovar, their defenders, their own citizens, people that I at
23 one time lived with. I lived there for four years when I still went to
24 school. I first fell in love there, of all places. My officers knew
25 that. They respected the fact.
1 It's a been a long time and now I realise that all of this was
2 just a pure act of madness that should never have happened.
3 The one essential issue that needs to be raised is this, and this
4 is something that we've been discussing all along: Why did Ovcara occur?
5 I'm asking the question now. I'll still be asking the question once this
6 trial is over. Who stood to profit from this? Why did this have to
7 happen, and so on and so forth. All I can say is, I am sorry it ever
8 happened. If I'd known that it would happen, I would have prevented it.
9 I wouldn't have left for Belgrade. I would have stuck around. I would
10 have dealt with it.
11 Nonetheless, this is just proof that there was no sort of joint
12 criminal enterprise at all. It was never our intention for this to
13 happen. When I say "we," I mean the three of us sitting here now as well
14 as those back in Belgrade. Who is behind it is something that remains a
15 mystery to me.
16 Once again, I wish to thank the Honourable Chamber for lending me
17 your ears. I think eventually the most important thing for a man is to
18 be at peace with himself. One thing I do know is that I did not give that
19 order. I didn't know that this would ever happen. It's not like I knew
20 and did nothing to prevent it. Regardless of the eventual sentence, what
21 I think is really important is this, that I can still live with myself in
22 the knowledge that I knew nothing about this.
23 Once again, thank you, Your Honours, for lending me your ears.
24 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Mr. Mrksic --
25 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
1 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: And Mr. Radic also wants to say
2 something. Mr. Radic.
3 THE ACCUSED RADIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just a couple of
4 words. It was through my Defence team that I expressed my regret for the
5 victims. I denied my involvement in any of the crimes that occurred
6 there. I wish to thank the Chamber once again for hearing me out when I
7 took the stand myself. I can only again say that I was in no way involved
8 or responsible for any of the crimes that occurred.
9 Thank you for everything. This is all I wish to say.
10 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Thank you, Mr. Radic.
11 Mr. Sljivacanin?
12 THE ACCUSED SLJIVANCANIN: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't
13 have much to say. My team has already put forward all of my own positions
14 on my behalf. I told you about how I perceived the break-up of
15 Yugoslavia, my country, the sufferings of people who were innocent, and
16 the large-scale tragedy of young JNA soldiers. I took the stand. I told
17 my story. I remained on that stand for eight days. I answered all of the
18 questions that were asked.
19 I invited honourable and responsible officers of the JNA and the
20 Guards Brigade to testify here. They were eyewitnesses to everything that
21 in those evil times I was compelled to do in Vukovar and what I eventually
22 did. Unfortunately, on Wednesday we heard from Mr. Moore and on Thursday
23 from Mr. Vasic, I'm not sure based on what, that all those men were liars,
24 that they were trying to pin the blame on someone else.
25 No, gentlemen. Those men were here for the truth, and they were
1 not intimidated by the threats made by the Prosecution to include them in
2 the joint criminal enterprise.
3 Once again, I have to remind you of this: On the 21st of
4 November, 1991, on the evening of the 21st, I parted ways with
5 Mr. Borsinger as friends. I felt this way then, and I still feel that
6 way. I wish you had called him, Mr. Moore, to check what I am saying. I
7 believe that everyone in this courtroom and all honourable and sincere
8 people just want to know the truth. All I have done has been for the
9 truth to finally come out about the tragedy that occurred in 1991. There
10 can be no greater punishment for me or to anyone than to lose my own
11 country, the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, than to witness
12 the suffering of my own people, young soldiers and officers, to face
13 enormous media pressure directed against my person. But believe me, what
14 I have been hearing over the last two days spelt the end of me. Those
15 were accusations and slander based on not a single fact.
16 I am certain that I have fulfilled my promise from the opening
17 statement, from the introduction, that my truth will be your truth at the
18 end of this trial, Your Honours. I wasn't raised to discriminate along
19 ethnic or racial lines. I was not raised to hate my own people. I was
20 not raised to destroy my own country. Croats, too, were my people.
21 Croatia, too, was my country at the time.
22 It wasn't before I came here that I found out from the OTP that
23 the distinction that had been drawn at the time was Serbs and non-Serbs.
24 I don't understand where in this great scheme of things we have place for
25 Montenegrins, like me, for example.
1 Serbs, non-Serbs, Croats and everybody else who lived in
2 Yugoslavia shared the same country, the same home, Yugoslavia. The world
3 knew us. The world remembered us. However, history was not kind to
4 them. A whirlwind came and blew them all away. Moves made by
5 politicians that were impossible to explain brought these peoples to the
6 brink of existence. This was their destiny. It was the destiny of their
7 souls, but there was also a legal provision in the constitution of the
8 Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, which I will now quote: "The
9 armed forces of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia must
10 protect the freedom, independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity
11 of the country."
12 Thank you. In this dark realm, in this tragical archetype, one
13 thing that was demonstrated was this: If you comply with the constitution
14 of the SFRY, you will be sorry; if you fail to comply, you will be sorry
15 too. I fail to understand Mr. Moore or Mr. Vasic, what exactly they base
16 their theories and what occurred in Vukovar on. I regret this.
17 Gentleman, you can go on making things up any way you like, but you can
18 never erase the truth about my humanitarian, about my readiness to
19 sacrifice myself for the sake of the good, for the sake of the truth, nor
20 can you do anything to sway my love for Yugoslavia and all of its
22 I've done that in my introduction, but I have to do it again. I
23 would like to express my deepest regret to all the victims of the Vukovar
24 tragedy. I categorically condemn all those who occurred, such a heinous
25 and atrocious crime thereby inflicting an intolerable wrong on their own
1 people and inflicting grief on the families of those killed or maimed.
2 Your Honours, I have every confidence that this Trial Chamber will
3 rule in a just way. I expect a verdict from you that will be founded on
4 facts and that will be founded on evidence, evidence of the sufferings at
5 Ovcara. The truth is needed by all those who are not afraid of the truth.
6 The truth is badly needed by the families of the victims, the families of
7 the soldiers who were killed. It is also the Guards Brigade that needs
8 the truth. All honourable, honest, and sincere people of Yugoslavia need
9 to know the truth, especially the people of Serbia and the people of
10 Croatia. I need the truth. My family needs the truth. And so do my
11 friends. I expect a just verdict to clear my name and to clear the names
12 of the honourable officers of the Guards Brigade.
13 I served the Guards Brigade honourably. I acted in accordance
14 with the laws and the oath which I have taken. Please don't hold it
15 against me. I think it was by an act of omission that my lawyer forgot to
16 say this: I would like to thank the staff at Bronovo hospital and the
17 university clinic at Leiden who treated me and thereby enabled me to see
18 this trial through to its conclusion.
19 Thank you.
20 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Thank you, Mr. Sljivacanin.
21 This brings this trial to an end. The Trial Chamber also on
22 behalf of Judge Parker wishes to thank counsel for the care with which
23 they have prepared their cases, for the good spirit in which these
24 proceedings have been conducted, which has also allowed us to proceed more
25 speedily and more efficiently. So we are very grateful to everyone for
2 I also want to express my appreciation to all those who have been
3 working behind the scenes, the many people who have supported this trial.
4 I think of the interpreters, I think of registry, I think of the
5 translators, I think of the stenographists, and maybe I am still
6 forgetting other persons.
7 We will adjourn now and we will deliver our judgement in due
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.35 p.m.