1 THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL CASE NO. IT-95-13-R61
2 FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
3 IN THE TRIAL CHAMBER
5 Wednesday, 20th March 1996
10 CLAUDE JORDA
11 (The Presiding Judge)
12 JUDGE FOUAD RIAD
13 JUDGE ODIO BENITO
14 The Prosecutor
16 Mile Mrksic
17 Miroslav Radic
18 Veselin Slivancanin
20 IN THE MATTER OF VUKOVAR
25 MR. GRANT NIEMANN AND MR. CLINT WILLIAMSON appeared on behalf of the
4 Wednesday, 20th March 1996.
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Can you all hear me? The interpreters
7 are ready? Can The Prosecutors hear me, Mr. Niemann?
8 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, your Honour.
9 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Registrar, you can hear me? No problems.
10 So the judges hear me and the interpreters are ready?
11 Good. Registrar, could you please introduce the case for
12 the hearing today?
13 THE REGISTRAR: It is case IT-95-13-1, Prosecutor against
14 Mile Mrksic, Miroslav Radic and Veselin Sljivancanin. Who is representing
16 Prosecutor's office, please?
17 MR. NIEMANN: If your Honour pleases, my name is Niemann.
18 I appear with my co-counsel Mr. Williamson and I am
19 assisted at the Bar table by Miss Sutherland.
20 THE PRESIDING JUDGE SOriginal in French]: Yes. Prosecutor,
21 before you begin the floor, I would like to reiterate for
22 all those who are following our hearings that this is an
23 International Tribunal. This is a hearing under Rule 61,
24 under which an arrest warrant has not been executed for
25 reasons that The Prosecutor is to outline -- indeed, he
1 has already outlined and he is confirming to the Chamber,
2 which is to sit as it now is sitting to hear the relevant
3 evidence on the part of the Prosecution where witnesses or
4 victims may be called. If the Chamber is convinced, of
5 course, it may subsequently issue an international arrest
6 warrant and may, via the President of the Tribunal, report
7 to the Security Council the non-execution.
8 So this is why we are presently sitting in respect of
9 the case just announced by the Registrar. I am going to
10 give you the floor, Prosecutor. I would like, first, to
11 know whether any specific measures are going to be taken
12 in so far as you have asked that witnesses be called.
13 Prosecuting counsel, you have the floor, sir.
14 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you, your Honour. Just to answer that
15 first question, yes, an application has been filed.
16 I understand an order has been given in relation to
17 witnesses who we will -----
18 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Microphone, please?
19 MR. NIEMANN: I have the microphone on, your Honour. Yes. An
20 application has been made in relation to two witnesses who
21 will be respectively referred to in the course of
22 proceedings as A and B, but we will elaborate on that
23 further, if your Honour pleases, when it comes to actually
24 presenting their evidence.
25 There is one matter, a preliminary matter, that
1 I would like to raise in relation to the indictment itself
2 before I commence my opening address. On page 4 of the
3 indictment there is among a large list of names that
4 appears there the name Goran Edelinski. In fact, it is
5 Edelinski Goran. It is about the centre of the page and
6 it has against that a reference to the date of birth,
8 Your Honour, that name we have subsequently
9 discovered is in error and we would ask that, pursuant to
10 Rule 50, with leave of the Chamber, that name be deleted
11 from the list as an amendment.
12 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Why? Is that an error or it is an error
13 or why are you asking for that?
14 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, it is an error, your Honour. We have
15 discovered that man was not at the place alleged at the
16 time. We have now found that out to be the case and we
17 ask that that be removed.
18 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I am afraid, Prosecuting counsel, that is
19 on page 4 -- we have got the French version, of course --
20 you have said towards the middle -- maybe the Registrar
21 could point that out to me, if he could be so good?
22 MR. NIEMANN: It is right in the middle of the page; I will
23 spell the name out, E-D-E-L-I-N-S-K-I.
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Yes. OK. Fine. In the French version
25 it is at the bottom of the page.
1 MR. NIEMANN: I see.
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, sir. Thank you, Registrar.
3 Prosecuting counsel, if you would be so good, please, to
4 go on with regard to the substantive aspects of the
5 matter, and please tell us also how you are going to be
6 presenting your evidence. I assume you are going to begin
7 with a preliminary explanation?
8 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, your Honour, that was my intention. Your
9 Honours, the indictments that you have before you for
10 reconfirmation pursuant to Rule 61 of the Rules of
11 Procedure and Evidence charges Mile Mrksic, Miroslav
12 Tadic and Veselin Veselin Sljivancanin with Grave Breaches of the
13 Geneva Conventions of 1949, Violations of the Laws and
14 Customs of War, and Crimes Against Humanity. This
15 technical legal terminology expressed in less formal terms
16 means beatings and murder. The indictment is, therefore,
17 concerned with the beating and murder of approximately 260
18 men and boys at Ovcara near Vukovar in Croatia on 20th
19 November 1991.
20 The motive for these murders was hatred based on
21 ignorance, prejudice and intolerance. There was no
22 justification for this crime. These men were not actively
23 involved in armed conflict at the time of their death,
24 They had committed no crime. Some of them may have held
25 different political views to their executioners, some of
1 them may have taken up arms in self-defence, but these are
2 not crimes, at least crimes justifying their summary
3 execution. The sole basis for the selection and their
4 execution was the fact that they were a different national
5 ethnic and political group, namely that they were
7 Where and under what circumstances did this happen?
8 If the court pleases, Vukovar is located in the Eastern
9 Slavonia region of Croatian on the banks of the Danube
10 River, which marks the borders between Croatia and the
11 Federal Republic of the former Yugoslavia (Vojvodina
12 region of Serbia). The city straddles the Vuka river
13 which flows into the Danube just north of the city centre.
14 Southeast of the Vukovar the terrain consists mostly of
15 20 rolling hills and bluffs along the Danube rising up to the
16 21 Fruska Gora mountain 20 miles to the south-east. North of
17 the Vuka, the terrain is very flat, as it is to the south
18 and west. The area is primarily agricultural and most of
19 the land is cultivated. There are relatively few forested
22 In the 1991 census, the city of Vukovar had a
23 population of just over 44,000, consisting of 21,000
24 Croats, 14,500 Serbs, 4,300 Yugoslavs and 4,500 others.
25 The Vukovar municipality opstina which included the city
1 and surrounding villages, then had a population of just
2 over 84,000, of which 36,900 were Croat, 31,400 were Serb,
3 1,300 Hungarian, 6,100 Yugoslavs and 8,300 of other
4 nationalities. The area to the north and west of Vukovar
5 were predominantly Serb, while to south and east, the
6 villages were mainly Croatian.
8 In 1991, Vukovar was an affluent town in Croatia, due
9 primarily to its position as the service centre for the
10 surrounding agricultural areas, reputed to be the richest
11 farmland in all of the former Yugoslavia. The regional
12 economy was also supplemented by nearby oil and natural
13 gas deposits, as well as by a large Borovo factory which
14 employed almost 30,000 employees and manufactured shoes,
15 leather and rubber products.
16 Throughout its history, Vukovar has been a part of
17 Croatia. During World War II, the region around Vukovar
18 was relatively peaceful and it seems to have escaped much
19 of the internecine ethnic fighting which occurred in other
20 18 areas of Yugoslavia. After the war, however, the
21 significant ethnic German population was forced from the
22 region by the Tito government, leading to an influx of
23 settlers from other areas of Yugoslavia. Some of the
24 newcomers were forcibly sent to Eastern Slavonia, but most
25 apparently came on their own volition from the poor areas
1 of Krajina (primarily Serbian people) and from Herzegovina
2 (primarily Croats). They were seeking the rich farmland
3 for which the area was well known.
4 The ethnic tension first manifested itself in the
5 Vukovar region after the death of Tito. The atmosphere of
6 tension was exacerbated by Serbian radicals and, to a
7 lesser extent, Croatian radicals, who visited the area in
8 1990 calling for violent "responses" to the other side's
10 As a result of these Serbian calls to defend their
11 brethren in Croatia from the arriving new Croat
12 government, large numbers of ultra-nationalist Serbs began
13 arriving in the area to significantly strengthen the Serb
14 irregular forces. These units were armed and provided
15 logistical support by the JNA. In response to the build
16 up of obviously hostile elements, the Croats also
17 dispatched significant numbers of volunteers, police and
18 later the Croatian National Guard, referred to as the
19 ZNG. On both sides, the introduction of more and more
20 well-armed ultra-nationalists and nationalists caused the
21 situation to deteriorate even further.
22 In April 1991, several Serb villages near Vukovar
23 erected barricades at the entrance to the towns. The road
24 blocks were manned by heavily armed individuals who
25 restricted non-Serbs from travelling into or through the
1 villages. It was at one of these road blocks in Borovo
2 Selo (the largest town in Vukovar municipality) that two
3 Croatian policemen were detained on the night of 1st May
4 1991. The following day, approximately 30 Croatian
5 policemen in riot gear were sent to Borovo Selo to
6 retrieve the captured officers. When they exited their
7 buses they were fired on from an unknown number of Serbs
8 who were waiting in ambush near the village Community
9 Centre. 12 Croatian policemen were killed and almost all
10 the others were wounded.
11 This incident marked the beginning of armed conflict
12 in the region, and from that point forward, there were gun
13 battles occurring between the Serbs and Croats on an
14 increasingly regular basis. These fights varied in
15 intensity, but they usually ended with the arrival of the
16 JNA units which "intervened" at this stage to separate the
17 combatants. By mid-July, however, the JNA dropped the
18 neutral stance that it had previously taken and began to
19 side with the Serbs.
20 The shift in the JNA position in Vukovar became
21 obvious through a few relatively minor events such as a JNA
22 tank destroying a Croatian police car on 8th July 1991,
23 two JNA air attacks on the National Guard positions on
24 13th and 22nd July, a tank attack on a police training
25 facility on 25th July. As these incidents were occurring,
1 the JNA steadily increased its presence in the Vukovar
2 area. By mid-August, the JNA had deployed troops in the
3 Croatian side of the Danube in such a manner as to almost
4 entirely encircle the city of Vukovar. Also, the JNA
5 placed additional units on the Serbian side of the river
6 and there they erected a number of artillery and rocket
7 emplacements. These forces were also supplemented by at
8 least three gunboats from the Danube River which were
9 deployed in the river above the town.
10 On 25th August 1991, the JNA launched a full scale
11 assault on Vukovar. For the first time land, air and
12 naval forces were all utilized in a co-ordinated attack,
13 further supported by Serb irregular forces. Reportedly,
14 thousands of rockets and artillery shells were fired on
15 the city, and a number of bombs were dropped from JNA
16 aircraft. The bombardment caused extensive damage,
17 particularly to the hospital, the city water tower, the
18 radio transmitter, and also to several of the churches.
19 Simultaneous to this, the JNA launched an armoured
20 assault, using tanks and APCs, but with relatively little
21 infantry support. The land attack was repelled without
22 any substantial gains by the JNA, but the army was able to
23 further constrict Vukovar by cutting telephone lines
24 linking the city to the outside world. When the attacks
25 tapered off three days later, the road to Vinkovci had
1 been cut by the JNA, so the Croats were left only with an
2 improvised track through cornfields as their sole supply
3 and communication link.
4 On the Croatian side there were approximately 1800
5 men who had been loosely formed into volunteer defence
6 force for the city. At first this force was poorly
7 organised and contained few professional soldiers.
8 However, in time it organised itself into a much more
9 effective unit within the structure of an infantry brigade
10 with a clear chain of command and with designated areas of
12 The core of the Croat forces had initially been
13 policemen from the Croatian Ministry of Interior, which
14 was supplemented by local men, many of whom had previously
15 served their obligatory term with the JNA as conscripts.
16 As tension had risen in the area, a few units from the ZNG
17 (Croatian National Guard) had also joined the force.
18 Initially, the defenders maintained a defence line of
19 some 36 kilometres encompassing most of the city and the
20 nearby Croat suburb of Borovo Naselje. Although Croatian
21 held territory outside this line had been taken by the
22 JNA, the defence line itself largely held through the 25th
23 August 1991 attack. Over the next three months, however,
24 it was gradually pushed back as a result of continuous
25 bombardment and repeated armoured assaults.
1 Throughout the attack until the fall of the city, the
2 JNA continued shelling the city unabated. On most days
3 the bombardment of the city went on continuously 24 hours
4 a day, usually without any discernible intervals between
5 shots. Estimates from Croatian sources regularly place
6 the number of rounds fired on the city as at least 2,500 a
7 day and on some days up to as much as 16,000. Additional
8 reliable reports state that JNA aircraft were flying an
9 average of 50 sorties a day against the city, adding their
10 bombs and missiles to the onslaught. Most of these
11 bombardments occurred without any significant activity by
12 the land forces.
13 Once the JNA failed to gain ground initially,
14 reinforcements were sent to the Vukovar theatre in
15 increasing numbers. As more troops and weaponry arrived,
16 the JNA engaged in several other large-scale attacks on
17 the city, notable those commencing on 5th September through
18 to 4th November 1991. Throughout this period, the
19 bombardment campaign had substantially damaged most of the
20 buildings in the city and had totally destroyed many. By
21 the time of the 4th November attack was launched, few
22 buildings in the Croatian areas of the town were left
23 standing. The final offensive steadily progressed over a
24 two-week period and finally resulted in cutting off the
25 Croatian forces in Borovo Naselje from those in Vukovar
1 proper on 15th November 1991.
2 Three days later, the Croatian forces were further
3 split when the units at Mitnica were cut off from the
4 forces in the centre of the town. The remaining Croatian
5 defenders then surrendered on 18 November 1991, though
6 significant numbers of them were killed on the spot or
7 were executed shortly thereafter.
8 By the time the city fell, the JNA had amassed in
9 excess of 30,000 troops in the Vukovar area. The vast
10 majority of these troops were contributed by the 1st
11 Military District (Belgrade), the Novi Sad Corps, the
12 Tuzla Corps, the Kragujevac Corps, the Guards Mechanized
13 Division, the Guards Brigade and the Danube River
14 Flotilla. Additional units were also drawn from the 3rd
15 Military District. These JNA forces were joined by
16 significant numbers of Serbs irregular troops, coming from
17 Territorial Defence Units as well as volunteers who had
18 flocked to the area from Serbia, Montenegro and the
19 Serbian regions of Croatia.
20 The JNA/Serb forces apparently had at their disposal
21 most of the weaponry in the JNA armoury. Rockets and
22 artillery emplacements were sited on all sides of the
23 city, and every type and standard JNA heavy weapon was
24 utilized, including howitzers, mortars, battle tanks,
25 armoured personnel carriers, naval gunboats from the River
1 Danube flotilla and fighter/bomber aircraft.
2 The JNA/Serb forces were overwhelmingly stronger than
3 Croatian forces defending Vukovar. The attackers had at
4 least 15:1 advantage in manpower, and their advantage in
5 artillery and tanks was certainly greater than 100:1
6 ratio. Additionally, the JNA used aircraft and naval
7 gunboats which were completely unavailable to the
9 Despite this overwhelming superiority, the battle of
10 Vukovar lasted just short of three months. During the
11 course of the battle, at least 50 per cent of the
12 buildings in the city were totally destroyed. 90 per cent
13 of the buildings in the city centre were destroyed.
14 Another 40 per cent suffered substantial damage. At least
15 1,100 civilians died before the fall of the city, most of
16 them as a result of the shelling. This number constituted
17 over 10 per cent of the persons who had remained in
18 Vukovar after the city was encircled. Another 350
19 soldiers were also killed during the course of the
21 Serb residential areas in the city were largely
22 spared from the artillery, rocket and air attacks launched
23 on the town. This, despite the fact that those areas too
24 were behind the Croatian lines and Croatian soldiers were
25 setting up defensive positions there as well. It appears
1 that these areas were only hit when there was no other
2 option to dislodge the Croats than to target those
4 Other than the avoidance of predominantly Serb areas,
5 everything else in the town was subject to attack. This
6 included the hospital, churches and the town's museum.
7 Generally, the capabilities of the Croats to inflict
8 damage against the JNA forces was extremely limited. They
9 certainly could not launch offensive operations of any
10 kind, and the ammunition for their heavy weapons was
11 carefully preserved for defensive use only. Indicative of
12 this fact that the JNA barracks on the south side of
13 Vukovar remained in the hands of the JNA throughout the
14 whole course of the battle, and although it abutted the
15 front-line, the facility sustained almost no damage.
16 Throughout the course of the siege, the Vukovar
17 Hospital kept functioning notwithstanding the fact that it
18 too was constantly shelled. Head Doctor and Director of
19 the Hospital, Dr. Bosanac, who will give evidence in these
20 proceedings, maintained an heroic vigil contacting outside
21 world and international organisations, informing the world
22 of what was happening to Vukovar and especially to the
24 She contacted the local barracks of the JNA and asked
25 why they were being attacked by the Federal Army, but this
1 was to no avail.
2 The Vukovar Hospital is located in the centre of the
3 city. The hospital was well sign-posted. On its roof was
4 painted a large red cross sign and a big linen cross sign
5 was displayed in the courtyard of the hospital, but rather
6 than save the hospital from bombardment, including aerial
7 bombardment, the hospital was constantly attacked as if
8 the signs on the roof and in the yard were to be used as
10 Frantic efforts were made by the Director of the
11 Hospital, Dr. Bosanac, to stop the shelling of the
12 hospital, but her pleas fell on deaf ears. She was
13 instrumental in planning for the sick and wounded of the
14 hospital to be evacuated under the supervision of the
15 European Community Monitoring Mission and the
16 International Committee for the Red Cross. The fact that
17 she involved both of these organisations was probably
18 instrumental in the saving of the many lives.
19 Word got out among the trapped community of Vukovar
20 that this evacuation was to take place from the hospital
21 under the supervision of ECMM and the ICRC - the
22 supervised evacuation was to take place on 18th November
23 1991 from the hospital to free Croatia. Many hundreds of
24 the townsfolk gathered at the hospital.
25 Just as this evacuation was to commence, the accused,
1 Major Veselin Sljivancanin, a JNA officer, entered the hospital
2 with his troops and assumed control. He ordered the
3 nursing staff into a dressing room of the hospital on the
4 pretext of calling a meeting. Meanwhile his troops under
5 his command and control separated the men from the women.
6 No regard was had for the fact that the majority of the
7 men patients were sick or wounded.
8 Assisted by paramilitary volunteers and profiteers,
9 the JNA soldiers hurriedly removed about 300 men and boys
10 from the hospital.
11 There then followed a series of events which we have
12 seen repeated again and again in the course of this
13 terrible war. The repetition and similarity is so
14 striking as to put aside altogether any suggestion of
15 coincidence; so similar in detail that the only conclusion
16 available is that it was part of some plan. The events
17 that occurred in Vukovar was but the very beginning of
18 what was later to become known as ethnic cleansing, thus
19 planting the seeds of genocide in the conflict in the
20 former Yugoslavia.
21 These unfortunate men were loaded into buses under
22 the direct orders of Major Veselin Sljivancanin. They were taken
23 to Ovcara, a farm nearby the town, from where they were
24 then forced to run the gauntlet between two lines of
25 soldiers and paramilitaries who beat them as they passed.
1 Inside the building on the farm the men were then beaten
2 in an orgy of violence for a period of several hours. At
3 least two men succumbed to the beatings and died.
4 The prisoners were then loaded into trucks in groups
5 of 10 to 20. They were then taken to their killing fields
6 were a mass grave site had been prepared, and where they
7 were systematically and brutally murdered. Approximately
8 260 men and boys were slaughtered that night. Some of the
9 men were as young as 16 years of age, others were as old
10 as 76.
11 In the course of these proceedings the Prosecution
12 will call some 11 witnesses. The first witness will be
13 Dr. Gow. Dr. Gow will give an historical overview of
14 prewar Yugoslavia. He will give evidence of the events
15 that led up to the war between Serbia and Croatia in
16 mid-1991. He will provide the evidence relating to the
17 widespread and systematic nature of these crimes.
18 The next witness will be an investigator from the
19 Tribunal who will also provide an overview of the case
20 from the point of view of the investigation.
21 We will call evidence of a preliminary examinations
22 that have been carried out by experts on the mass grave at
23 Ovcara. We will call some evidence of eyewitnesses who
24 were at the hospital during the course of the siege, and
25 we will conclude with some evidence of victims who
1 fortuitously escaped death. During the course of the
2 evidence we will also provide audio-visual material
3 showing maps of the area and actual video footage taken at
4 the time of the events alleged in the indictment.
5 As mentioned earlier, the charges are Grave Breaches
6 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, Violations of the Laws
7 of Customs of War, and Crimes Against Humanity. Counts 1,
8 2 and 3 are concerned with the beatings that took place in
9 the farm building at Ovcara and counts 4, 5 and 6 are
10 concerned with murders that took place at the mass grave
11 site. None of the counts are in the alternative, and the
12 elements of the offence are as follows:
13 Grave Breaches. The common element is that the
14 victims are persons protected by one of the Geneva
15 Conventions. The jurisdictional prerequisite is that the
16 actions or omissions occurred during an armed conflict or
17 partial or total occupation, in which the law for
18 international armed conflict applies.
19 Article 2(c) providing for wilfully causing great
20 suffering. The elements of that offence are that the
21 accused (or a subordinate) committed a specified act or
22 omission upon the victim, and that the accused (or a
23 subordinate) committed the act or omission with the
24 intention of unlawfully inflict great suffering, and that
25 suffering was thereby inflicted.
1 Article 2(a) deals with wilful killing. The elements
2 of that offence are that the victim is dead, and the death
3 resulted from an unlawful act or omission in which the
4 accused (or a subordinate) participated, and that at the
5 time of the act or omission the accused (or a subordinate)
6 had the intent to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm
7 upon the victim.
8 In relation to Violations of the Laws or Customs of
9 War (counts 2 and 5) Article 3 of the Statute provides
10 that the Tribunal shall have the power to prosecute
11 persons violating the laws or customs of war and
12 specifically states that the enumerated offences in
13 subparagraphs (a) to (e) are not exhaustive. In addition
14 to other codifications of the laws and customs of war,
15 Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and the 1977
16 Additional Protocols I and II of 1949 are included within
17 the parameters of our Statute.
18 Further, there are recognised minimum rules
19 applicable to all armed conflicts regardless of their
20 classification which the enumerated offences in Common
21 Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions apply.
22 The common element of these offences are that the act
23 or omission occurred during an armed conflict, either
24 international or internal or both.
25 Common Article 3 dealing with Cruel Treatment; the
1 elements of that offence are that the accused (or a
2 subordinate) committed a specified act or omission against
3 the victim, the victim was a non-combatant or hors de
4 combat, and that the accused or subordinate thereby
5 intended to subject the victim to cruel treatment.
6 Murder, as covered by Common Article 3, the elements
7 are that the victim is dead, that the victim was a
8 non-cambatant or hors de combat, and that the death
9 resulted from an unlawful act or omission in which the
10 accused (or a subordinate) participated and at the time of
11 the killing the accused (or a subordinate) had the intent
12 to kill or inflict grievous bodily.
13 Finally, Crimes against Humanity, counts 3 and 6.
14 Crimes against Humanity are serious offences directed
15 against persons as part of a widespread or systematic
16 attack against any civilian population.
17 The victims of crimes against humanity constitute a
18 wider class than those who are covered by Articles 2 and 3
19 of the Statute of the Tribunal, and may include fellow
20 citizens of the person committing offences as well as
21 stateless persons. Although both are directed against a
22 specific group, crimes against humanity can be
23 distinguished from genocide in that they do not require an
24 intent to destroy the group, only proof that the act was
25 part of a widespread or systematic attack against the
1 civilian population is required.
2 The common element is that the act or omission was
3 part of a widespread systematic attack against a civilian
5 Dealing specifically with the offences charged in the
6 indictment, namely, Article 5.1, Inhumane Acts. The
7 elements of that are that the accused (or a subordinate)
8 committed a specific act or omission against the victim,
9 that the act or omission of the accused (or a subordinate)
10 was unlawful and included but was not limited to one or
11 other of the following: An outrage upon the person's
12 dignity; a sentence without proper trial; other unlawful
13 acts intended to impair the physical, intellectual or
14 moral integrity of the victim.
15 Dealing with murder, the elements are much the same
16 as those already specified for this offence, namely, that
17 the victim is dead, that the death resulted from an
18 unlawful act or omission of the accused (or a subordinate)
19 and at the time of the killing the accused (or a
20 subordinate) had the intent to kill or inflict grievous
21 bodily harm on the victim.
22 Briefly now turning to the provisions of Rule 61:
23 The decision that has to be made under Rule 61 is that if
24 the Trial Chamber is satisfied on the evidence that there
25 are reasonable grounds for believing that the accused has
1 committed all or any of the crimes charged in the
2 indictment it shall so determine.
3 This to be contrasted with what happens when an
4 indictment is confirmed under Article 18(4) of the
5 Statute, for in that case it is for The Prosecutor to
6 decide that a prima facie case exists before he embarks
7 upon preparing an indictment. Once the indictment is
8 prepared by The Prosecutor, it is submitted to the
9 confirming judge to satisfy him or herself that the
10 decision by The Prosecutor that a prima facie case exists
11 is appropriate.
12 Thus, the confirming judge does not make a fresh
13 determination on whether or not there is the prima facie
14 case but, rather, tests the decision of The Prosecutor, in
15 order to see that his decision is correct.
16 As the primary determination prior to confirmation is
17 by The Prosecutor, where reasonable minds could differ as
18 to whether a prima facie case exists or not, emphasis, it
19 is submitted, should be placed on the reasonableness or
20 otherwise of The Prosecutor's determination.
21 In dealing with the assessment of whether or not
22 there are reasonable grounds for belief that the evidence
23 should be viewed in the light most favourable to the
24 Prosecutor, all available inferences, it is submitted,
25 should be drawn in favour of the Prosecution and apparent
1 inconsistencies are not called upon to be resolved.
2 As to the meaning of prima facie case, Rule 47 of the
3 Rules of the Tribunal used the phrase "reasonable grounds
4 for believing that a suspect has committed a crime within
5 the jurisdiction of the Tribunal". These words were
6 considered by His Honour Judge Sidhwa on 29th August 1995
7 when confirming an indictment, case No. IT-9512-1. He
8 summarised those terms in following words:
9 "... the word reasonable is associated with what is
10 fair, moderate, suitable, tolerable, that which is not
11 immoderate or excessive. The expression "reasonable
12 grounds" is used; not overly convincing, substantial or
13 conclusive grounds. Reasonable grounds, therefore, point
14 to such facts and circumstances as would justify a
15 reasonable or ordinary prudent man to believe that a
16 suspect has committed a crime".
17 If your Honours please, there is no basis for drawing
18 any distinction between the test to be applied by the
19 confirming judge under Rule 47 and the test to be applied
20 by this Chamber under Rule 61. Rule 61(C) uses the same
21 terms as appears in Rule 47(A), namely, "reasonable
22 grounds for believing that the accused has committed ...
23 the crimes charged in the indictment".
24 Those, your Honour, are the matters of law that
25 I wish to address your attention to; unless there are any
1 other matters that I may assist you with, that is my
3 I now call Dr. James Gow.
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Before you call the witness, Mr. Gow,
5 I wanted just very briefly to come back to these charges.
6 The indictment that was confirmed by Judge Riad bore on
7 three counts, serious breaches of the Geneva Convention,
8 violations of the Customs of War and Crimes against
9 Humanity. This comes under both categories, that is to
10 say, injuries and murder.
11 My question is in the presentation you just made,
12 counsel, do you consider that you have added to your
13 indictment? The reason I am mentioning this is because
14 you said there was no alternative, that everything was
15 cumulative, as it were. So my understanding was, and
16 I think it on behalf of all three of us, I thought there
17 was an alternative as regards the possibility of the
18 serious injury and the homicide or murder in the case of
19 the fact that the victims have disappeared, so there is
20 room for doubt; or I had understand that it was cumulative
21 in so far as a person might have disappeared but before
22 that then seriously injured and bodily harm inflicted to
23 them. But I have the impression that you have added to
24 your indictment, as it were. Can you confirm that for me
25 or not, or is this just a matter of a different
1 presentation, particularly, in connection with the
2 alternative? We are not trying to go into anything
3 theoretical here; we have to see to it that the rules are
4 followed for all the parties involved. So we want things
5 to be transparent and straightforward. This is why we
6 would like to ask you what your feeling is on the
7 presentation you have just made in respect of the counts
8 so that we will see that subsequently in the transcripts.
9 Thank you.
10 MR. NEIMANN: May it please your Honours, we say that the
11 counts are all cumulative. They are not expressed in the
12 alternative. In fact, there are two specific events; the
13 first being the beatings, the second being the killings.
14 We seek to proceed with those charges as separate events.
15 In addition to that, we say that there is all
16 justification to distinguish them between Grave Breaches
17 and Violations of the Laws and Customs of War. We do so
18 on the classification of the persons affected by the
19 crimes committed against them, namely, you may have a
20 number of groups which I am not in a position or I do not
21 wish to go into specifying at the moment, but you could
22 have, for example, people who were combatants who were
23 hors de combat, you may have people who were simply
24 innocent stand-by civilians standing by who were ensnared
25 in all this; you may also have persons who were not of the
1 group, the Croatian group, not of the same group. It is
2 possible that all of those three eventualities may be the
4 We say that the width of the indictment is necessary
5 for all of those reasons and that, therefore, they are
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Let me just give you an example, counsel,
8 if I may? For example, when it comes to grievous bodily
9 harm -- I say this because the accused is not present so
10 it is very important in terms of the rights of the Defence
11 -- when you take grievous bodily harm category, bodily
12 injury, I would just like to understand; somebody who is
13 beaten up and he is beaten seriously but is not killed, do
14 you see that as being cumulative to your mind that that be
15 categorised as a Grave Breach to the Geneva Convention to
16 see that it is to cause serious bodily harm, suffering?
17 Is that cumulative with count 2, Violations of the Customs
18 of War, where you refer to Article 3, Cruel Treatment,
19 since beating someone is cruel treatment, so is it also
20 cumulative with count 3 which is Crimes against Humanity,
21 Inhumane Acts, Article 5(i), because beating someone may
22 also be regarded as an inhumane act.
23 The judges would like to have an explanation of
24 this. So do you give the court the possibility of
25 choosing or do you see this as being serious bodily harm,
1 Grave Breach, Violation of Customs of War and an Inhumane
2 Act? We would really like to hear your view on that.
3 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, we do. We point to distinctions that exists
4 between each of these types of offences. We say that that
5 entitles us to charge the three of them cumulatively.
6 What may be troubling your Honours is what to do with it
7 at sentence, but that is another question. The court may
8 say: "When it comes to sentence we are only going to deal
9 with it as if it was one", but that is another matter
11 We submit our indictment is based upon the fact that
12 each of these particular types of charges encompass and
13 envisage different circumstances and, as a consequence of
14 that, there is two possibilities; one is that a particular
15 individual may well fit within two of them, or three of
16 them, and so in that event a victim to those crimes
17 fitting within all three, we submit, it is appropriate
18 that we charge. Alternatively, there may be different
19 classifications of people within the overall group. So it
20 is necessary to have the three there, so that if one
21 clearly does not fall within one group, then they are
22 covered by the other. In that event, it would be not in a
23 sense cumulative, but one would fall away and would not
24 apply. But it is possible, in our submission, and
25 appropriate, to charge three events because there are
1 circumstances where the three particular offences could
2 apply to the one individual.
3 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, counsel. Now I believe you
4 wish to call Mr. Gow is that right?
5 MR. NIEMANN: That is correct.
6 DR. ANDREW JAMES GOW, called
7 Examined by Mr. Niemann
8 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Gow, would you like to put the head
9 set on? Can you hear me? Could you please stand up to
10 make your declaration and to introduce yourself to the
11 Tribunal, please?
12 THE WITNESS SOriginal in English]: I am Andrew James WilliamGow and I
13 solemnly declare that I will speak the truth,
14 the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
15 (The witness was sworn)
16 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you. You be can seated.
17 Prosecuting counsel?
18 MR. NIEMANN (To the witness): Dr. Gow, you are a Political
19 Scientist with positions of lecturer in the Department of
20 War Studies, Kings College, London, and a Research
21 Associate for Defence Studies, University of London?
22 A. That is correct.
23 Q. Formally, you were a Research Officer for the Centre of
24 Defence Studies and before that lecturer on Soviet and
25 Eastern European Affairs at Hatfield Polytechnic in the
1 United Kingdom?
2 A. I was.
3 Q. Do you hold the degree in Doctor of Philosophy from the
4 University of London where you prepared your doctoral
5 thesis on Yugoslavia at the school of Slavonic and Eastern
6 European studies?
7 That is correct.
8 For the past several years has your work been concentrated
9 on the former Yugoslavia, particularly its military and
10 political affairs, and have you written and lectured
11 extensively about this?
12 A. I believe so.
13 Q. Is your evidence based upon your personal knowledge and
14 drawn from your own work and that of other recognised
15 scholars in this field?
16 A. It is.
17 Q. Have you used published reports, military and civilian
18 writing, speeches and other official documents from the
19 area of the former Yugoslavia?
20 A. I have.
21 Q. Do you have knowledge of relevant Yugoslav language?
22 A. I have.
23 Q. Have you based your research on conversations with
24 knowledgeable persons and witnesses' statements and
25 documents made available to you by the Office of the
2 A. I have.
3 Q. Since 1988 have you published numerous books and articles?
4 A. I have.
5 Q. Have you given evidence before this Chamber of the
6 Tribunal on a previous occasion?
7 A. I have, in the case of the indictment against Dragan
8 Nikolic for cases in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
9 Q. Dr. Gow, concerning the former Socialist Republic of
10 Yugoslavia prior to 1991, can you tell the court about the
11 political composition of that Federation?
12 A. The Federation comprised six republics, Slovenia, Croatia
13 Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro
14 and within Serbia there were two autonomous provinces; in
15 the north the province of Vojvodina, and in the south the
16 province of Kosovo. The six republics were taken to be
17 the federating elements, but the two autonomous provinces
18 within Serbia also played a role at the federal level.
19 Q. Would you look now, please, at the map? If your Honour
20 pleases, I would ask the assistance of Miss Sutherland in
21 order to present this material on the machine. Dr. Gow,
22 I would like you, please, if you would, to look at this
23 document which we have styled The Prosecutor's Exhibit 1.
24 Your Honours, I think you need to press the button "video
25 monitor" in order to receive the image of this document
1 when Dr. Gow refers to it in the course of his evidence.
2 Dr. Gow, would you please look at the map that is now
3 shown to you as Prosecutor's document 1, Exhibit 1?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Tell me, firstly, what is this map a map of?
6 A. It is a map of the -- showing the territories of the
7 republics and autonomous provinces which constituted the
8 Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia before its
9 dissolution in 1991, and indicates -- the republics and
10 provinces I identified also identifies the capitals of
11 each of the republics and provinces and, because of the
12 relevance to the present case, the town of Vukovar is also
14 Q. Perhaps you might just point to that town of Vukovar now?
15 This map was prepared under your supervision?
16 A. It was.
17 Q. Just by reference to that town, could you please point out
18 the various political entities that went to make up
19 former Yugoslavia prior to 1991?
20 A. The six republics, as I said, were Slovenia, which is in
21 the north, Croatia, forming the bow shape around the north
22 and the western part of the country, Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina, the central republic, Montenegro in the
24 southwest, the smallest, in the south Macedonia and the
25 largest of them was Serbia with the two provinces, Kosovo
1 in the south and Vojvodina in the north.
2 Q. I tender that, Prosecution document No. 1. I tender that
3 document. Dr. Gow, can you tell the Chamber of the ethnic
4 composition of the Socialist Federal Republic of
5 Yugoslavia prior to 1991?
6 A. The Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia was a
7 multi-ethnic Federation. The population comprised overall
8 around 34, 35 per cent Serbs, who were the single largest
9 group, and also comprised ethnic groups, Croats, Slav
10 Muslims in Bosnia and in parts of Serbia it included
11 Slovenes and Macedonians who were Slavonic peoples but
12 distinct groups, and it also included non-Slavonic
13 populations, small numbers of Hungarians and Slovaks,
14 other central East European peoples, and the Albanians who
15 were a non-Slavonic people as well.
16 Q. Would you look at the document that is now shown to you,
17 Prosecution Exhibit 2? Firstly, can you tell me what this
19 A. This is a map showing the distribution, the ethnic
20 distribution, of the single largest group in any
21 particular area on the territories of the former Socialist
22 Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. It shows that in each
23 of the republics, I would point out that it shows the
24 single largest group which does not necessarily mean an
25 absolute majority. Many parts of the country were very
1 mixed, so it may only be a relative majority.
2 Q. This map prepared under your supervision?
3 A. It was prepared under my supervision by the Office of the
5 Q. I tender that, your Honour. It is Prosecution Exhibit 2.
6 Would you look at the next document, please Dr. Gow, that
7 I show you? Firstly, can you tell us what that document
9 A. It is a table indicating the proportions of each of the
10 ethnic groups within the total population of the SFRY,
11 Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, according to
12 the censuses taken in 1981 and 1991.
13 Q. Was that prepared under your supervision?
14 A. It was prepared at my direction by the Office of the
16 Q. I tender that document, your Honour, marked as the
17 Prosecution Exhibit 3. Dr. Gow, was there any ethnic
18 group wholly contained within any one republic?
19 A. I think it would be fair to say that no ethnic group was
20 wholly contained within any one of the republics within
21 the SFRY. Slovenia was the most ethnically homogeneous of
22 the republics with around 90 per cent of the population
23 being ethnic Slovene? In the republic of Serbia, for
24 example, around two-thirds of the population were Serbian,
25 and in Bosnia and Herzegovina it was a very mixed
1 population, around 44 per cent Muslims, 30 or so per cent
2 Serbs and 17 per cent Croats. In Croatia, again the
3 proportions were around three-quarters Croats to a quarter
5 Q. Would you now, please, look at the next document that is
6 shown to you, Prosecution Exhibit 4? By looking at that
7 document, are you able to tell me what it represents?
8 A. It represents the percentage that the single largest group
9 in each of the Republics constituted under the 1981 census
10 in the period running up to the dissolution of the SFRY.
11 You can see, as I said, 90.5 per cent of the population of
12 Slovenia comprised ethnic Slovenes; in Croatia it was 75.1
13 per cent out of a total population of around 4.6 million,
14 and in Serbia around two-thirds of the population of the
15 republic as a whole; although you will note that within
16 narrow Serbia, without the provinces, that rises to 85 per
18 Q. Again, was this document prepared under your supervision
19 and direction?
20 A. It was prepared under my supervision in the Office of the
22 Q. I tender that as Prosecution Exhibit No. 4.
24 (To the witness): Dr. Gow, were there any variations in
25 the religious beliefs of various ethnic groups in the
1 Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia?
2 A. The Socialist Federative Republic embraced a number of
3 different religious groups. The major groups were Roman
4 Catholics, mostly in the western part of the country,
5 Slovenes and Croats; the second -- another large group was
6 the orthodox church. There were a separate Serbian,
7 Montenegrin and Macedonian orthodox churches, although the
8 Serbian orthodox church was the oldest of these and,
9 perhaps, the major one. There was Islam as a religion
10 which was embraced by the Muslims, the Slav Muslims, in
11 Bosnia and in Serbia as well as by the majority of the
13 Q. Turning to the historical and political background of
14 former Yugoslavia, when was the entity known as
15 "Yugoslavia" first proclaimed?
16 A. Yugoslavia was first proclaimed on 1st December 1918. It
17 was proclaimed as the kingdom of Serbs, Croats and
18 Slovenes. It changes its name to the kingdom of
19 Yugoslavia in 1929.
20 Q. I would now ask you to look at documents, Prosecution
21 Exhibits 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, a cumulative set of maps which
22 I shall ask you to deal with together. Perhaps dealing
23 with them in number order; dealing firstly with No. 5, can
24 you tell us what that represents?
25 A. This map represents the territories which went to make up
1 Yugoslavia prior to the Balkan wars in the period 1911,
2 1913. It shows the territory. The colours are not
3 distinct on the image I have on the monitor, but it shows
4 the territory which was independent Serbia, which had
5 become independent in the course of the 19th century, and
6 in a slightly different shade of red which is not, as
7 I say, distinct on this map, but it runs approximately
8 along the line -- the line there that I just indicated,
9 the territories acquired by Serbia in the course of the
10 Balkan Wars of 1911/13, and also indicates with the pink
11 colour area acquired by Montenegro which had been
12 independent as well throughout the period, most of the
13 period, of Ottoman occupation of the peninsular.
14 Q. The next map, Prosecution Exhibit No. 6?
15 A. This map shows the territories which went to make up
16 Yugoslavia in 1918 when it was first proclaimed, the
17 territories now encompassing the whole of what was
18 independent Serbia; the territory of Montenegro, which
19 I shall indicate there, and territories which had
20 previously been until 1918 were part of the
21 Austro-Hungarian Empire; Bosnia and Herzegovina which was
22 a principality; the joint realm of Croatia, Slavonia and
23 Dalmatia, which more or less comprises the present
24 Republic of Croatia but not exactly; the Banat region,
25 most of which is now present day Vojvodina in the north,
1 and the territories which went to constitute Slovenia at
2 this stage were not all forming part of Yugoslavia,
3 although, I think, if I may point out, in drawing
4 up the map there has been an error on the line here, but
5 parts of it were with Italy here in the west.
6 Q. OK. The next document, document 7?
7 A. This map shows the administrative structure of the Kingdom
8 of Yugoslavia following the Royal Declaration of the
9 Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Royal Dictatorship in 1929. The
10 then king, King Alexander, made an effort to take away
11 some of the importance of historical territories and
12 identities to try to forge a Yugoslav identity by
14 restructuring the country administratively this shows the
15 territories, the administrative districts, which were part
16 of that arrangement.
17 Q. The next document?
18 A. This document shows the boundaries of the Croatian
19 Banovina within the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The Croatian
20 Banovina was established in 1939 by an agreement between
21 Croat politicians and the Royal Government. The first
22 Yugoslavia had been plagued by many disputes and many
23 difficulties, particularly of an ethnno-national
24 character. It was felt one of the solutions to that
25 problem would be to give an area which would be under
1 large -- the autonomous Croatian rule within the Kingdom
2 of Yugoslavia. The coast line and the red area on the map
3 marks the boundaries of that Banovina.
4 Q. I think on the map there is shown the city of Vukovar?
5 A. Vukovar town is shown on that map and indicated there, and
6 being just inside the Banovina border.
7 Q. Are you able to point in part to the course of the Danube
8 river that is shown on that map?
9 A. The Danube river approximately follows this part of
10 boundary and runs on through the other part of the
11 boundary to Belgrade. That is an approximation.
12 Q. Yes. The next document?
13 A. This map shows the territorial disposition during the
14 Second World War. The white area shows the territory of
15 the independent state of Croatia. It was ruled by a group
16 called the Ustasha who were backed by the Axis powers and
17 had been installed in power by the Axis powers following
18 the German invasion of April 1941. It shows areas, also
19 the areas of influence of Italy towards the Dalmatian
20 coast and of Germany within the central lands within that
21 independent state of Croatia. It also shows territories
22 which were ceded to Italy, encompassing Istria and parts
23 of Slovenia and to Germany encompassing other parts of
24 Slovenia, and territories which came under other control,
25 Italy in the south, Montenegro and parts of Kosovo;
1 Bulgarians taking parts of Macedonian and southern Serbia,
2 Serbia itself becoming a protectorate of the Germans under
3 a local Serbian administration.
4 Q. Finally, would you look at the next -- that is all of
5 those documents. I tender those, if your Honour pleases,
6 as Prosecution marked exhibits 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Looking
7 at the next map that you are shown, can you tell us what
8 that indicates?
9 A. This map indicates the spread of orthodox populations on
10 the territories of the former Yugoslavia prior to its
11 formation in 1918. You will note that are two shades of
12 green; the deeper shade of green indicates the areas in
13 which there was an absolute majority for the orthodox, and
14 the lighter shade of green indicates areas in which there
15 was a mixed population, but a significantly large relative
16 majority for the orthodox. The map indicates the entirety
17 of orthodox populations. Therefore, it makes no
18 distinction between Serbian orthodox and other branches of
19 the orthodox church. So, for example, that Macedonian
20 orthodox church which was not established until later is
21 indicated as being Serbian orthodox for the purposes of
22 this map.
23 The importance of this is to understand that as
24 Yugoslavia was formed it was formed from the territories
25 which went to comprise, first, the Royal Yugoslavia and
1 then the Socialist Federal Republic, but that Yugoslav
2 state represented two ideas; one was the idea of a
3 formation in which there could be self-determination for
4 all the various peoples which I have mentioned in the
5 course of giving evidence so far, but it was also a state
6 in which all the Serbs would be able to live together.
7 The spread of the population, of the orthodox population,
8 on this map indicates the territories which would be
9 included within a state which would enable all the Serbian
10 orthodox populations to come together. A consequence of
11 that, you see, is that there is a strong mixed population
12 in parts of Croatia and in parts of Bosnia and
14 Q. I tender that map as Prosecution Exhibit 10. Dr. Gow,
15 where did the concept of the unified Yugoslavia come from?
16 A. As I was just indicating, there was two ideas leading to
17 the formation of a Yugoslav state: One was a state in
18 which all the Yugoslav peoples, the south Slav peoples,
19 Yugoslav, south Slav, would come to live together and have
20 a framework for self-determination. This was on the basis
21 of thinkers largely in the Habsburg Empire, predominantly
22 Croat intellectuals, who saw that south Slav peoples had
23 enough in common that they should be able to share a
24 common life, and that many of them or most of them would
25 be too weak on their own to have a State at that stage in
2 The alternative idea which emerged as Serbia itself
3 became independent from the Turkish Ottoman Empire during
4 the course of the 19th Century was that a state should be
5 created in which all the Serbs would live together. The
6 previous map we saw indicated the spread of orthodox
7 Serbian populations, and the previous maps showed that the
8 area that was narrow Serbia and the territory acquired in
9 the course of the Balkan Wars, that left many of the
10 orthodox populations still outside the then Serbia in
11 parts of Bosnia and in parts of Croatia. There was the
12 aspiration that a state would be formed in which they
13 would all come together. So the creation of Yugoslavia
14 was both the framework for all the Serbs to live together
15 and the frame-work for self-determination, in theory, of
16 the other south Slav peoples.
17 Q. What, if any, impact did the First World War have on the
18 formation of Yugoslav?
19 A. The First World War, the outcome of the First World War,
20 was significant in that promises had been made by the
21 allies to Italy under the Treaty of London in 1915, by
22 which parts of the territory of what is now Slovenia and
23 Croatia was promised to Italy as a reward for entering the
24 war on the allies' side. Although there were two ideas
25 about forming a Yugoslavia and there were lots of
1 discussions in the course of the First World War, the
2 particular Yugoslav state which was formed in 1918 was
3 largely an expression of the existing Serbian Kingdom,
4 because the threat of Italian annexation made the Habsburg
5 south Slavs turn to Serbia for, in a sense, protection.
6 So it would, therefore, form a state on the terms of the
7 Serbian government.
8 Q. What, if any, were the major political developments or
9 events in Yugoslavia between the First and the Second
10 World War?
11 A. Because the State was formed in that way, as an extension
12 of the Serbian Kingdom, many of the other peoples,
13 particularly the Croats, were very unhappy about this.
14 There was a lot of political discontent. The country was
15 rife with problems, particularly nationalism. This led to
16 the declaration of the Royal Dictatorship I mentioned in
17 1929 following the shooting of the leader of the Croatian
18 Peasant Party, and later on led to the arrangement by
19 which the Croatian Banovina, which we saw on one of the
20 maps before, was created.
21 Q. What was the condition of the unified state of Yugoslavia
22 at the eve of the Second World War?
23 A. Although some compromise had been reached in the
24 establishment of the Croatian Banovina, it was still the
25 case that the state was largely divided, was gripped by
1 many political ethno-national problems and when the Axis
2 powers invaded it was very easy for them to take over and
3 to dismember the country.
4 Q. What were the main features of the impact of the Second
5 World War on Yugoslavia?
6 A. The Second World War in ----
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Could we have a break, perhaps, at 11.15
8 because we do not want to break at the wrong moment. It
9 would make life easier for everyone, also for the
10 interpreters. I was wondering whether you might have a
11 natural break in the discussions, so that I said we might
12 have a break at 11.15.
13 4 MR. NIEMANN: Certainly, your Honour. I will finish this
14 question and it is convenient to break then.
15 (To the witness): Perhaps you might finish the answer, if
16 you have any more to add?
17 A. I am happy to answer now or to answer after a break.
18 Q. No, please answer now.
19 A. The Second World War in Yugoslavia was an extremely
20 complex affair. There were three main groups. It was a
21 combined war of national liberation, a combined -- a civil
22 war and a revolution. The main groups involved were the
23 Croatian Ustasha who were helped into power by invading
24 Axis powers within the independent state of Croatia; a
25 group called the Chetniks, Serbs loyal to the old Royal
1 Yugoslavia who formed a resistance movement under the
2 leadership of Colonel Draza Mihajlovic, and the Communist
3 led partisan movement under leadership of Josip Broz Tito
4 who was to become President of Yugoslavia after the war.
5 The war, as I said, was very complex. There were
6 many aspects of it which I would go into, but with the
7 request for a break in mind, I would rather than beginning
8 that now, I think it might be appropriate to end my answer
9 for now here and to pick up again after a break, if we are
10 going to have one, if that is agreeable to your Honours?
11 Q. If that is a convenient time for your Honours?
12 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Yes. The session is suspended until
14 (Adjourned for a short time)
15 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Prosecuting counsel, you have the floor,
16 and so does the witness.
17 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you, your Honour. Dr. Gow, was ethnic
18 persecution adopted by the participants as a feature of
19 their campaign during the Second World War?
20 A. It was. There were a number of incidents, of actions
21 committed by all sides which could be considered to be
22 atrocities; Serbian Chetniks, for example, massacring
23 Muslims. However, the Ustasha independent state of
24 Croatia in particular adopted a policy of ethnic
25 purification, what perhaps today we would call "ethnic
1 cleansing". It had a policy by which it intended by
2 statements of senior officials to kill a third, expel a
3 third and convert a third of the orthodox population
4 within Croatia. Maybe if I might ask for the map of the
5 Second World War, the division of territory in the Second
6 World War?
7 Q. I understand.
8 A. It could assist me.
9 Q. If Exhibit 9 could be shown to the witness.
10 A. Excuse me, I do not have an image.
11 Q. Press "video monitor".
12 A. You will see that there were two areas of influence by the
13 axis powers: the Italian zone and the Germany zone. The
14 bulk of what might be called the ethnic persecution took
15 place within the areas under the Germany zone and were
16 carried out by the Ustasha in the border areas of Croatia,
17 primarily in the border areas of Croatia and Bosnia and
18 Herzegovina, where there were strong Serbian populations
19 and mixed communities. The Ustasha programme played very
20 significantly into the hands of the communist led
21 partisans. The partisans were already strong in parts of
22 southern Serbian and were strong in the areas under
23 Italian occupation because the people in Dalmatia, both
24 Serb and Croat, resented that their territory had been put
25 under Italian population and, therefore, would
1 support ----
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Sorry, there is a translation problem.
3 I did not hear the response of the expert. Excuse me
4 Mr. Gow, would you mind starting again, I am sorry?
5 A. I am happy to start again. There were two zones of
6 influence over the axis occupations in the areas of former
7 Yugoslavia: one under the Italian zone and the other under
8 the Germany zone. The ethnic purification programme
9 carried out by the Ustasha regime occurred predominantly
10 in the border areas of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina,
11 in the areas of Banja Luka, Banijal, Kordun and in north
12 western Bosnia.
13 That programme fed into the hands of the Communist
14 led partisan movement. The partisans were strong in parts
15 of southern Serbia and in parts of Dalmatia where the
16 population resented being placed under Italian occupation
17 and, therefore, supported the resistance and went to the
18 partisans, although some of them went with Chetniks. In
19 particular, the partisans fled from the campaign of
20 attempted ethnic purification. Serbs, who were aware of
21 massacres taking place, tended to side with the partisans
22 because they were providing resistance to the Ustasha
23 regime and also many Croats who formed part of the
24 Anti-Fascist in Croatia joined in the partisan
25 movement providing resistance both to the Ustasha regime
1 and to the axis powers occupation.
2 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you. I would like you to look at the
3 document which you are now shown numbered Prosecution
5 Exhibit 11. Tell us, if you would please, Dr. Gow, what
6 is this document?
7 A. This document is a copy of an Article taken from the
8 Journal Foreign Affairs, in the summer of 1993, and it
9 contains evidence of a quotation which is significant in
10 understanding the Second World War in Yugoslavia and the
11 programme of ethnic purification.
12 Q. Perhaps you might show us an excerpt of that which is on
13 what page of the document?
14 A. The excerpt is on page 116.
15 Q. Just point directly to it. I will ask that it be
16 magnified so we can read with greater clarity the relevant
17 the section of it.
18 A. The document includes a quotation from Mile Budak who is
19 not named here but was the deputy leader of the Ustasha,
20 the so-called Deputy Poglavnik and was Minister of
21 Education. On 22nd June 1941 he was reported as having
22 made the following comment in a speech you will see
23 identified. The programme was: "One third of the Serbs we
24 shall kill, another we shall deport and the last we shall
25 force to embrace the Roman Catholic religion and thus meld
1 them into Croats."
2 Q. I tender that exhibit, if your Honour pleases, as Exhibit
3 11. Dr. Gow, what were the policies adopted by Tito and
4 his followers during the Second World War?
5 A. The partisan movement led by Josip Tito organised by
6 communists aimed to gain support from all the different
7 ethnic communities with a view to creating a new
8 Yugoslavia. That new Yugoslav state would be one in which
9 there was a place for the various communities. The
10 partisans promoted the idea of brotherhood and unity; this
11 was their slogan for mobilising support, and they were not
12 the preserve exclusively of any single ethnic group within
13 Yugoslavia, unlike the Ustasha or the Chetniks each of
14 which was predominantly loyal to either a particular
15 strand of Croatian opinion or a particular strand of
16 Serbian opinion.
17 The partisan movement offered the prospect of a new
18 Yugoslavia which would be a federal Yugoslavia which by
19 being federal would rectify many of the problems which had
20 bedeviled the first Yugoslavia, that is the Kingdom of
21 Yugoslavia. It would create a federal structure in which
22 the various different national communities would each have
23 something that would be their own so-called "nation state
25 This was based on the programme during the war of
1 building government on liberated territory as they went.
2 So the federal structure at one level emerged through the
3 people's council established by the partisans in the
4 course of the war. So alongside the military campaign to
5 defeat the Ustasha, to defeat the Chetniks and to expel
6 the axis powers, they were also in the process of building
7 governments political on the territories under partisan
9 Q. Dr. Gow, could you comment on the specific developments in
10 Croatia during the period?
11 A. It was significant that the partisan movement in Croatia
12 developed with a very strong Croatian identity. The
13 Anti-Fascist of Croatia became very strong,
14 particularly in the Dalmatian areas. For most of the war
15 until very late stages the main parts of Croatia and
16 Slavonia were still under Ustasha control. The partisan
17 movement in Croatia was able to gain support on the one
18 side from Serbs because they were obviously opposing the
19 Ustasha programme, on the other from Croats and from
20 others in Dalmatia in particular, because it seemed to
21 offer the kind of solution to the problem for the Croats
22 that they felt had not been present in the first
23 Yugoslavia. It was, therefore, a very strong autonomous
24 council within the federal partisan communist movement,
25 one which at the end of the war Tito saw as being very
1 strong and as a result of which he took measures by taking
2 the leader of that movement, Andrija Hebrang, to Belgrade
3 to try to take away some, diffuse some of the potency in
4 the strength of that independent communist party led
6 Q. Did the Second World War continue to have an influence on
7 Yugoslavia throughout the postwar period?
8 A. I think it is fair to say that the Second World War
9 in the post Second World War period. On one level this
10 was because the legend of the partisan success was an
11 important founding myth within the second Yugoslavia. The
12 second Yugoslavia was very much a state which was based on
13 the success of Tito and the partisans in the Second World
14 War. It continued to be important as well because one
15 thing that Tito and partisans did not do was to try to
16 rectify, to account for many of the awful things which had
17 happened in the Second World War. At one level many
18 Croats felt that the Croatian population as a whole was
19 being identified as being Ustasha, and because it was not
20 possible openly to discuss these matters, there were many
21 questions which were left unresolved, many figures for
22 people killed in a particular place which were never
23 properly addressed. Therefore, this was an issue which
24 retained potency. In particular, in some of the areas
25 I mentioned on the borders of Croatia and Bosnia, I think
1 it is fair to say that the Serbian population continued to
2 see itself as being in a vulnerable position, although it
3 was significantly disproportionately represented within
4 the official structures of the Republic of Croatia;
5 something like about -- although 12 per cent of the
6 population may estimate say, 60, per cent of the Police
7 Force, for example, were taken from the Serbian
8 communities. So on the one side the Serbs continued to
9 feel vulnerable, but on the other the Croats tended to see
10 the communist rule, the partisan movement, in a large
11 sense as reflecting the interests of the Serbian group
12 within Croatia. So at one level there continued to be
13 tensions. There were specific examples of this, I think.
14 Some of this resonance continued in areas such as Vukovar.
15 Q. Dealing with Vukovar, are you able to comment on whether
16 the Second World War had an impact on that area and what
17 its impact was?
18 A. Vukovar was one of the last areas to fall to the
19 partisans. I think it was as late as April 13th 1945,
20 although I am not certain about the date, but it was in
21 the final campaign as the partisans moved through Slavonia
22 on towards Zagreb. It was an area in which in the course
23 of the war there had been a change in the balance of the
24 populations. Serbs had been killed or expelled and
25 predominantly Ustasha families were reported by the
1 partisans to have been moved into that area. I think it
2 is significant that that is a question which may have had
3 resonance which continued through the post Second World
4 War years.
5 Q. What constitutional measures were adopted by the
6 communists after the Second World War?
7 A. The partisan movement put in place formally a federal
8 structure of the six republics and two autonomous
9 provinces that I mentioned before. At this stage the
10 provinces were known as autonomous regions and did not
11 have the real autonomy which later they were to gain in
12 the 1970s, but they were always there formally. The
13 federation itself was largely borrowed as a model from the
14 Soviet Union and the communists did not intend for it to
15 have any real meaning.
16 Q. What role did Tito play in the federal system that was
17 established in Yugoslavia following the Second World War?
18 A. Tito was the linchpin of the federal system which
19 evolved. Tito as the leader of the wartime movement had
20 enormous personal authority. In 1948 he was the figure
21 who stood up to Stalin as Yugoslavia was expelled from
22 the communist movement. He therefore had enormous
23 personal authority. In a system which through its
24 evolution gradually came to give more and more power
25 decentralised into the republics, Tito was the figure
1 which could bring everything together. He could knock
2 heads when there were disputes. His role, therefore, was
3 extremely important and it was after Tito died that many
4 of the issues which in the past through personal authority
5 he might have been able to resolve -- in the past he might
6 have been able to resolve certain problems through his
7 personal authority. Without Tito there it became
8 increasingly difficult to find solutions to those
10 Q. What were the most significant political developments in
11 Croatia in this post World War Two period?
12 A. The most significant developments in Croatia I think in
13 the political sphere have to be seen to be the growth of a
14 nationalist movement in the late 1960s leading to the
15 so-called Croatian spring of 1971. This was a time in
16 which a group of intellectuals began, first of all, to
17 look at language issues and to complain about the way in
18 which Serbo-Croat dictionaries were written, in which
19 Serbian variants were taken to be the norm and Croatian
20 variants either ignored or treated as dialects. This
21 grew into a broader movement, moving from culture into the
22 political sphere, looking for the assertion of a greater
23 Croatian identity, looking at the proportion or the
24 allegations about the proportions of Serbs to Croats
25 within the Interior Ministry, within the Police Force,
1 within various other structures, particularly the defence
2 forces and the armed forces.
3 In general, it was a political movement which
4 had a strong Croatian identity, was inspired by
5 intellectuals, but was also embraced by leaders within the
6 communist party of Croatia and, to a large extent looked
7 back perhaps to the position in which the Anti-Fascist Council
8 of Croatia had found itself at the end of the war. That
9 was a movement which also unofficially embraced elements
10 who were calling for Croatia to become independent, to
11 seek its own membership of the United Nations. Eventually
12 it was a movement which Tito and some of the Yugoslav Army
13 generals saw as being disruptive, a factor leading to the
14 possible disintegration of Yugoslavia. So Tito carried
15 out a purge to remove the leadership in Croatia at that
16 time and to restore for a period greater communist control
17 over the structures in Croatia. At the same time, of
18 course, Tito also carried out similar purges in Slavonia
19 and Serbia of nationalists and liberal reformers in both
21 However, the effect of the events in 1971 were
22 really to be shown in the 1974 Constitution where de facto
23 authority was transferred to the republics. So, in a
24 sense, those in the Croatian movement lost many of the
25 arguments themselves at the time, that the arrangements of
1 the 1974 Constitution made concessions to many of the
2 things for which they were arguing.
3 Q. So was there going on a process of centralisation and
4 decentralisation in competing forces?
5 A. The second Yugoslavia, Tito's Yugoslavia, with its federal
6 structure but its communist party at the heart of it, was
7 always an intention between centralisation and
8 decentralisation. The trend was always gradually towards
9 greater decentralisation. The decentralisation, however,
10 was consolidated under communist party control within the
11 republics. So instead of having a single communist party
12 controlling the whole Federation, a situation emerged in
13 which six communist parties within the republics, each was
14 controlling its own fiefdom. It was that situation which
15 in many ways contributed to the constitutional political
16 past that Yugoslavia reached in the 1980s.
17 Q. Moving on to 1990 and beyond, did the events in Kosovo
18 have any influence over what happened?
19 A. The events in Kosovo had a significant impact. Those
20 events concerned a movement first among Albanian students,
21 but then more broadly for increased rights of political
22 power for the Albanians within Kosovo. If I might ask for
23 I think the second map showing the ethnic distribution
24 I could illustrate what I am saying.
25 Q. Exhibit 2.
1 A. Is that agreeable?
2 Q. Might the witness be shown Exhibit 2?
3 A. Thank you. If your Honours will look at the province of
4 Kosovo there in southern Serbia, you will see the blue on
5 this map represents predominantly Albanian populated
6 areas. Most of the province by the 1980s was, the
7 overwhelming majority in the province was Albanian. In
8 the process of liberalisation from the late -- mid-1960s
9 onwards and embraced under the 1974 constitution, the
10 province of Kosovo was given a significant degree of
11 autonomy, although it was not given the same status as the
12 republics, and was not given the quality of sovereignty
13 which inhered in the republics.
14 As a result of the changes, there were ethnic
15 tensions as Albanians came to have jobs which in the past
16 they did not have; Serbs were beginning to move out and
17 there was also an Albanian language-educated Albanian
18 elite emerging as a result of creating a university in the
19 capital, Pristina. The Albanian students, however, in a
20 very poor province did not have jobs to go to; there were
21 a serious of issues connected with this, and increasingly
22 they sought to have Kosovo elevated from the status of
23 autonomous province to republic. This, of course, was a
24 significant challenge to the Republic of Serbia and to the
25 Serbian population. On both sides of that question,
1 obviously, there was an issue.
2 Albanian protests in 1981 led to a clamp down by the
3 Serbian security forces, by Federal security forces,
4 including elements of the Yugoslav Peoples' Army, and
5 through the course of the 1980s there was a series of
6 arguments leading to events in the late 1980s when, under
7 the leadership of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic,
8 Serbia took measures to remove the effective autonomy of
9 Kosovo, although formally the autonomy remained.
10 These steps were seen in other republics, and
11 particularly in Croatia, as being the kind of moves which
12 would lead to a stronger centralisation to greater Serbian
13 influence and control within the Federation and,
14 therefore, fed the strength of opinion within a republic
15 like Croatia that there should be greater autonomy,
16 greater moves to protect the sovereignty of Croatia as a
17 republic within the Federation, although the stronger
18 element in this movement at the earlier stages was
20 As the changes came and the communist regimes fell in
21 central and Eastern Europe, then in Croatia a nationalist
22 government under President Franjo Tudjman was elected, the
23 party of the Croatian Democratic Community, Hrvatska
24 Demokratska Zajedinca, and that party was perceived by
25 many of the Serbs as being pro-independence, which it was,
1 and by being proindependence as being a reflection of the
2 Ustasha regime of the Second World War which, I think, in
3 fairness, for whatever might be said about it, it was not,
4 but it did give rise to a growth of Croatian nationalism, and
5 to increasing problems within the Republic of Croatia
6 between the Serbian communities and the Croat communities.
7 Q. Perhaps the Exhibit might be handed back? What changes
8 did the new Croatian authorities bring in 1990?
9 A. I think there were two significant measures adopted by the
10 new Croatian authorities in 1990 which were to be
11 significant in alienating the Serbian communities. The
12 first of these was a change in the constitution of the
13 Republic of Croatia which had previously defined Croatia
14 as the state of the Croatian and Serbian peoples and
15 others. The change, I believe, was made to the State of
16 the Croatian people and Serbs and others.
17 This was taken by the Serbs to diminish the place of
18 the Serbs within it and was again seen as being a
19 possible, by implication, move towards an independent
20 Croatia which would have the resonances of the independent
21 state of Croatia in the Second World War in their eyes.
22 The second measure taken was a reorganisation of
23 certain administrative structures and particularly within
24 the Interior Ministry where, I believe I already
25 mentioned, there were arguments about the proportion of
1 Serbs within the structures of the Interior Ministry in
2 the Republic of Croatia and within the Police Force. So
3 certain administrative measures were taken in a process
4 which, for the Croatian democratic community government,
5 could be said to be purging communists from the partisan
6 era was also, in effect, purging Serbs. It is not clear
7 whether the intent was really to purge Serbs or
8 communists. It probably makes little difference because
9 the effect was the same.
10 This added again to Serbian fears that things were
11 going to happen to them. These were fears which the
12 Serbian authorities in Belgrade, in particular, were able
13 to play on and begin to give assistance to local Serbian
14 communities in making stands against the Croatian
16 One particular factor in all of this is that the
17 reorganisation of the Interior Ministry and the Police
18 Forces disestablished the police headquarters at Knin
19 which had been under the control of the local Serbian
20 police chief, Mile Martic, and moved it into an area under
21 Croatian control. That was seen as a significant
22 challenge as well and Mile Martic was to be the leader of
23 an opposition movement in the Knin/Krajina area, and later
24 to become President of the so-called Republika Srpska
1 Q. What was the reaction of the Serbian population in
3 A. As I think I have been indicating, the Serbian population
4 in Croatia in this period was becoming in many cases
5 fearful. There was a degree of social disintegration,
6 ethnic disintegration in the communities in Croatia.
7 Antagonisms were rising in many of the rural areas. It is
8 not clear that the same could be said for the urban areas
9 such as the major towns such as Split or Zagreb.
10 Q. How did the JNA respond to this?
11 A. The JNA, the Yugoslav People’s Army, responded in some
12 cases, possibly not as a whole, but in some cases local
13 units giving assistance to the Serbs in the Krajina area,
14 allowing them access to weapons, as a result of which the
15 Serbs in the Kninska/Krajina area were able to erect
16 barricades and to create an effective "no go" area for the
17 Croatian areas in parts of the Republic of Croatia.
18 The JNA began from, I think, April, from Easter, 1991
19 to be deployed outside its barracks as well in what it
20 termed a peacekeeping role, a role separating the
21 different communities. This increasingly appears to have
22 become a role of protecting the Serbs or giving assistance
23 to the Serbs within Croatia.
24 Q. How did this impact upon the whole process of dissolution
25 of Yugoslavia?
1 A. The impact on the dissolution of Yugoslavia as a
2 federation was significant. The effect of this was to
3 weaken what fabric there was of a multi-ethnic community
4 within a republic such as Croatia, to put pressures on
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina and to feed ultimately the more
6 significant political constitutional disputes at the
7 federal level between the republican governments about the
8 future of Yugoslavia, what kind of Yugoslavia there would
9 be and, in particular, a salient issue in the Republic of
10 Croatia, of course, was whether or not Croatia would
11 assert its sovereignty within a federation or a
12 confederation and by doing that would possibly become
13 either largely or wholly independent leaving the Serbs as
14 a minority group within the boundaries of the Republic of
15 Croatia. The Serbs, of course, were arguing against this
16 and were getting backing from the Serbian regime in
17 Belgrade to oppose any movement of this kind.
18 So, the impact of this situation was reinforcing the
19 overall processes leading towards the dissolution of
20 Yugoslavia, adding fuel and an extra strand of
21 ethno-national tension to the issues which were being
22 discussed at the federal level as constitutional political
24 Q. In your opinion, when did the Federation of Yugoslavia
25 cease to exist or cease to function?
1 A. The SFRY ceased to function, in my judgment, on 15th May
2 1991. At that time the system for appointing a leader of
3 the collective presidency, the Presidential Council, of
4 SFRY broke down. If I may explain? The SFRY, as a
5 federation, had a collective body at its head, comprising
6 a representative from each of the six republics and from
7 each of the two autonomous provinces, so, therefore, eight
8 members. This mechanism established under the 1974
9 constitution involved a process of rotation. It was a set
10 order where from one year to the next the rotation would
11 take place. In the period leading up to May 15th, 1991,
12 the presidency of the presidency had been held by a
13 Serbian representative, Borisav Jovic. On May 15th the
14 presidency was due to rotate to the Serbian (sic)
15 representative, Stipe Mesic.
16 The Serbian grouping led by Jovic, now including
17 Serbian control representatives from Kosovo, Vojvodina and
18 Montenegro blocked the automatic rotation. It was the
19 first time, I believe, that anybody had ever called for a
20 vote to confirm the rotation and, as a result, deadlock
21 emerged in Yugoslavia and there was a crisis and, as a
22 result of that, I would judge the federation no longer
24 Q. Were there any events in the spring of 1991 which
25 exacerbated the situation in Croatia?
1 A. While these events were taking place at the federal level
2 and some of the tensions I mentioned were occurring at the
3 local level, it was significant that from the summer of
4 1990 onwards there began to be violent incidents in the
5 republic of Croatia. There were, I believe, something
6 over 0 small detonations, bombing incidents, attacks
7 against railway lines and the like. I mentioned the
8 Yugoslav People’s Army allowing Serbs in the Krajina area
9 to get weapons in addition to those they got from the
10 local police station, from Mr. Martic.
11 In other areas, at Pakrac on 2nd March and at
12 Plitvice Lakes at the beginning of April, there were
13 shooting incidents between local Serbs and Croatian
14 authorities. In the second of those the Yugoslav people's
15 army was deployed ostensibly as a peacekeeping force.
16 There was one particularly nasty incident in the village
17 of Borovo Selo in Eastern Slavonia within the Vukovar
18 district which involved, first of all, a series of
19 tensions had been emerging in that area for the month
20 before. It would be difficult to go into it in detail,
21 but there were, essentially, groups on either side,
22 Croatian and Serbian, who were carrying out attacks
23 against each other; some were between political gangster
24 and paramilitary groups, maybe dropping grenades through
25 people's doors, activities of this kind, creating tension
1 and destabilization in the area.
2 On 2nd May, two Croatian policemen were abducted by
3 Serbian paramilitary groups. The Croatian response was to
4 send in, I think, a large number of policemen, maybe 150.
5 As a result of that incident, the Croatian authorities
6 felt that their policemen had been trapped, and they were
7 ambushed and 12 of the Croatian policemen died as a result
8 of the incident. The reports indicated that a number of
9 them had been mutilated as well -- an obvious reference to
10 some of the atrocities which had taken place during the
11 Second World War.
12 Q. What did Croatia do when the federation itself collapsed?
13 A. Croatia, as the federation was breaking down, hurriedly
14 held a referendum on independence on 19th May 1991. The
15 vote in the referendum was overwhelmingly in favour of
16 Croatia's independence, either fully or within some kind
17 of overall Yugoslavia community confederation at that
18 stage, and on 25th June 1991, along with Slavonia it
19 declared its independence from the federation.
20 Dr. Gow, I would like to move on to the role and character
21 of the Yugoslav national army, the JNA, in the Socialist
22 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Firstly, under the
23 constitution, what was the position of the armed forces of
24 Yugoslavia at the commencement of the armed conflicts in
1 A. If I might first be allowed to express an opinion on the
2 use of the term "Yugoslav national army"? I think it
3 would be appropriate to say "Yugoslav People’s Army",
4 although the same word "narodna" in Serbo-Croat could be
5 taken with either sense. It has to be understood that
6 this was a communist movement and that the word "narod"
7 was used in the sense of the people as in the people's
8 republics of the other central Eastern European countries
9 or the People's Republic of China.
10 The role of the JNA was to be the first of a two tier
11 defence -- the first level of a two tier defence
12 structure. It would provide the first line of defence,
13 hold any invading force until the second tier of the
14 territorial defence forces could be mobilised. The
15 territorial defence forces were organised by a republican
16 secretariat for defence within each of the republics and
17 were there to support an overall defensive effort against
18 any potential invader and to act as a deterrent so that an
19 invader would not come.
20 The JNA was subordinate to the federal authorities,
21 to a federal secretariat for the defence and, in addition
22 its role in defence, it had a significant political
23 role under the 1974 constitution. It was charged with theduty to protect
24 the constitutional order of the SFRY and,
25 in addition, at the same time it was given particular
1 roles within the political sphere of the League of
2 Communists of Yugoslavia, the communist party movement in
4 Q. What was the intended purpose of the two tiered system of
5 armed forces in the Socialist Federal Republic of
7 A. The purpose of the two tiered system was to have a more
8 advanced and more professional force which would be able
9 to hold off an invasion for 48 hours, if necessary, to
10 allow the larger force, which would be mobilized, perhaps,
11 up to 800,000 people, which would then be able to carry
12 out gorilla resistance to make it too difficult for any
13 occupier, any invader, to maintain control of the
15 This works in two ways: (1) if an invasion actually
16 comes in practice, the system is there in theory to make
17 it too difficult for an occupier to maintain control of
18 the territory, and in this much of the thinking goes back
19 to the campaign that was carried out by the partisans in
20 the Second World War. But, of course, beyond that the
21 main idea was to send a deterrent message that it really
22 would be too difficult for anybody thinking of invading
23 Yugoslavia to maintain control and, therefore, would not
24 be worthwhile invading in the first place.
25 Q. What role did Tito consider that the JNA could play in
1 Yugoslavia following his death?
2 A. I believe the main reason that the JNA was given the
3 significant role it was in politics after 1974 was that
4 Tito judged that after he died within this balanced
5 federal structure of republics and provinces, in which
6 there were obviously sometimes mutually exclusive
7 interests, the JNA politically would be able to represent
8 a Yugoslav voice, a pan Yugoslav voice. Its interest
9 would be, as his had been, in federal issues rather than
10 in the exclusive issues of one of the particular
12 Q. Did forces of disintegration of the federation have any
13 impact on the JNA?
14 A. The processes of disintegration had a significant impact
15 on the JNA to the extent that in its political role it
16 became ever harder for it to maintain a position of
17 promoting a pan Yugoslav option. It made a difference in
18 terms of the composition of the JNA to the extent that as
19 a multi-ethnic army comprising conscript cadre in
20 proportion with the population throughout the country in
21 the 18 to 24 age band, the problems, the tensions, within
22 the country were being reflected within the army as well,
23 certainly, within the conscript cadre, to some extent
24 probably within the officer core.
25 Q. I think, going on from that, were there any other changes
1 in the organisation of the military forces of Yugoslavia
2 as a consequence of the forces of disintegration?
3 A. At the end of 1988 there was a significant, what was to
4 become a significant, change in the structure of the JNA.
5 It was reorganised from the previous system of army
6 districts into a new system of military districts. One
7 significant feature with reference to the present hearing
8 was that the boundary, that the area in which Vukovar
9 falls, I believe, changed, previously being part of the
10 5th Military District -- sorry, previously under the
11 Zagreb command, the command of the Zagreb army district,
12 that area came to be under the control of the 1st Military
13 District headquartered in Belgrade. This, I think, was to
14 have significant implications when the war came.
15 Perhaps if I could ask for the first map I could
16 quickly illustrate this? If your Honours will look at the
17 map, you will see I have indicated the border between
18 Croatia and the Serbian -- and the autonomous province of
19 Vojvodina within Serbia. Until just after Vukovar, which
20 is also marked, that border is formed by the River
21 Danube. It is my understanding that the boundary between
22 the army districts was formed by the river. As a result
23 of the changes, the 1st Military District boundary was
24 extended beyond the Danube for what were explained as
25 "operational reasons" and came to include the town of
2 Q. To sum it up, in other words, the JNA which was initially
3 for the Vukovar area under the control of Zagreb as its
4 headquarters was shifted to Belgrade?
5 A. That is the case.
6 Q. Perhaps that Exhibit might be handed back? Dr. Gow, what
7 was the principle of ethnic cleaning and how did it work?
8 A. Because Yugoslavia was a complex state, a federal state,
9 composed of the republics and of all the different
10 ethno-national communities, something called an ethnic or
11 national key system operated so that in key federal bodies
12 proportionality between the peoples of Yugoslavia, the
13 communities making up Yugoslavia, would be maintained.
14 In the case of the JNA, this was intended to try to
15 preserve a balance in proportion with the share of the
16 population within the officer core. Because there were
17 certain imbalances in the officer corps, as a whole, as a
18 result of tradition and recruitment patterns, this could
19 not operate in the officer corps, as a whole, but what
20 applied at the most senior levels in the supreme command.
21 Q. Would you look at the document I am now showing you, the
22 Prosecutor's Exhibit 12? Firstly, can you tell us what
23 the document is?
24 A. This is -- it is a document showing two tables which
25 reflect the national composition of the Yugoslav people's
1 army in the spring of 1991. The figures in the first
2 able at the top of the page show the percentage of each
3 particular national grouping in the first column within
4 the officer corp. of the JNA and in the second column
5 within the population of the SFRY as a whole. So,
6 therefore, you will see if you look at the first line that
7 Montenegrins were disproportionately highly represented in
8 the officer corps being 6.2 per cent of the officer corps,
9 but only 2.6 per cent of the total population of the
11 Similarly, you will see that whereas Slovenes
12 comprise 7.8 per cent of the SFRY population at the time,
13 they only make up 2.8 per cent of the officer corps; that
14 the Serbs making up 36 per cent approximately of the total
15 SFRY population comprised 60 per cent of the JNA officer
16 corps as a whole. So, you will see these are the kinds of
17 difficulties as a result of tradition, Serbs traditionally
18 were expected to be more likely to go into the army,
19 Slovenes, on the other hand, were in a more what might be
20 regarded as a more advanced economic situation and tended
21 to go for jobs in other spheres. This led to the
22 imbalance in the officer corps, as a whole, giving it
23 predominantly Serbian composition.
24 The second table at the bottom gives the actual
25 numbers for each group of the population at each of three
1 relatively senior ranks within the JNA at the same time.
2 The ranks of General, Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel. You
3 will see again the same kind of disproportionate balance
4 is reflected in the table there. You will see that there
5 was only one Albanian, only one Albanian General but 77
6 Serbs. The Generals tending to be more reflective of the
7 ethnic key principle and, as you move down, you see
8 increasingly large number of Serbs at the level of Colonel
9 and Lieutenant Colonel.
10 Q. Where does this document come from?
11 A. The document was prepared at my instruction in the Office
12 of The Prosecutor based on information provided by Defence
13 publication in the SFRY sourced at the bottom to Ravija
14 Obramba, a Slovenian periodical, in April 1991. A further
15 set of figures, slightly different figures, were then
16 issued and published in a newspaper, Politika, but not
17 full figures about a month later reflecting broadly the
18 same situation.
19 Q. I tender that, your Honour. What impact did the
20 dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of
21 Yugoslavia and the armed conflict in 1991/92 have on the
22 ethnic composition of the JNA?
23 A. The ethnic composition of the JNA was radically altered by
24 the course of armed conflict from being an army in which
25 the officer corp. was predominantly Serbian, but which was
1 clearly multi-ethnic and in which the conscript element
2 was wholly multi-ethnic in proportion with the shares of
3 the population as a whole. The vast majority of the
5 non-Serbs left the service of the JNA, both at the officer
6 corp. level and in the conscript cadre in the course of
7 the armed conflict in Croatia, so that by the spring of
8 1992, it was estimated, I think, that out of a total of
9 over -- whereas previously there had been 180,000 in the
10 JNA, proportionately in the conscript cadre,
11 proportionately spread between the different national
12 communities, by the spring of 1992, I think, something
13 like 11 per cent of the army as a whole, including the
14 officer corp., were non-Serbs, and that figure includes
15 the Montenegrins.
16 Q. Would you look at the document I now show you,
17 Prosecutor's Exhibit 13? I think this document relates to
18 that which you have just been speaking, does it not?
19 A. The document is a graphic representation which illustrates
20 what I was saying. You will see that the white column
21 indicates the number of Serbs within the army as a whole
22 putting that figure in June 1991 at a little under 40 per
23 cent. That figure rises to 90 per cent by March
24 1992. It is showing the impact on the JNA turning it
25 de facto from being an army in which people from all the
1 Yugoslav communities are represented into an army in which
2 predominantly the Serbs are represented.
3 Q. Just for clarification sake, the black -----
4 A. The black column represents non-Serbs within the army.
5 Q. And the white is the Serbs?
6 A. Represents the Serbs within the army, yes.
7 Q. The first group relates to pre-1991?
8 A. That is correct, and the second column relates to March
10 Q. So there is a very significant and dramatic change?
11 A. It illustrates the significant impact that the armed
12 conflict had on the composition of the JNA.
13 Q. I tender that exhibit, Prosecutor's Exhibit 13. Did the
14 JNA become Serbian as opposed to pro-Yugoslavian by a
15 process of natural evolution or were there pressures
16 brought to bear on the JNA in order to achieve this end?
17 A. The JNA could be said, clearly, to becoming de facto
18 pro-Serbianian as a result of the changes in the composition
19 of the army. There were also pressures brought to bear
20 from political sources increasingly to make the JNA pursue
21 something, to act in a Serbian interest. I think it is
22 fair to say that, although the JNA leadership and the
23 Serbian political leadership were not one, increasingly as
24 the conflict developed their positions became very closely
25 aligned and they were acting with the same objectives --
1 broadly with the same objectives.
2 Q. As a consequence of the refocusing of the JNA, did it, in
3 essence, become a Serbian military force?
4 A. I think it is fair to say that to a large extent the JNA
5 became de facto a Serbian force, although many, for some
6 time many in the JNA leadership resisted, tried to resist
7 the process of becoming completely a Serbian force, but
8 the situation, I think, largely made it inevitably that
9 eventually it would become a force which was, although
10 called Yugoslav, essentially, acting in the interests of
11 the Republic of Serbia.
12 Q. What connection was there between the paramilitaries and
13 the JNA?
14 A. The war in the -- the Yugoslav war of dissolution has been
15 characterised by the presence of a number of paramilitary
16 groups of different kinds, and in the war in Croatia, also
17 the war in Bosnia, the paramilitary groups acted in some
18 senses independently, but very often in co-ordinated
19 action with the JNA acting as adjuncts of the JNA, adding
20 greater manpower potential to the JNA which, as a result
21 of the desertions that were reflected in the graph we saw
22 before and in, as I was saying, the non-Serbs leaving the
23 army, left the JNA short of manpower and increasingly
24 relying on the paramilitaries in some situations to be
25 foot soldiers, to be infantry.
1 Q. Was there any other reason why the JNA accepted the
2 involvement of these paramilitaries?
3 A. I believe that the essential reason that the JNA accepted
4 the involvement of the paramilitaries was that there was a
5 war that was taking place, they were increasingly, if not
6 absolutely in the beginning, being placed on one side of
7 that war. They were carrying out activities pursuant to
8 the interests of a Serbian cause increasingly, but they
9 were lacking the manpower to do that.
10 In addition, I would say that it was significant that
11 because of the Yugoslav identity and because many in the
12 senior JNA leadership were still trying to hold back from being
13 completely Serbianised, many Serbian nationalists saw the
14 JNA as a Yugoslav force and, therefore, as a non-Serbian
15 force. So, many of the paramilitaries would go to fight
16 for a group labelled "Serbian" where they would not go and
17 fight for the JNA and would not see the JNA as being a
18 reliable fighting force in the cause of whatever Serbian
19 interest it was they were pursuing.
20 Q. Do you think that there was a lack of confidence in the
21 loyalty of the Serbs in the JNA?
22 A. I am not sure entirely what you mean by that question, but
23 if you mean were elements of the Serbian population
24 lacking confidence in the JNA as a pro-Serbian
25 institution, then I think that is the case, and that was
1 one of the factors that I think I was just leading towards
2 indicating why the paramilitary groups emerged in a
3 situation of transition. They were able to attract a
4 certain degree of support from nationalist Serbs who would
5 not trust the JNA to act in their interests.
6 Q. What role did the paramilitary units play in Croatia and,
7 more specifically, in Vukovar?
8 A. A number of paramilitary groups were present in the
9 Vukovar region. The paramilitary groups, these included
10 the Tigers led by Zeljko Raznjatovic, known by the nom de
11 guerre "Arkan", Chetnik forces and forces of the so-called
12 Beli Orli White Eagles, loyal in the one case to Vojislav
13 Seselj, and in the other to Dragoslav Bokan, according to
15 These forces were there, in part they involved
16 criminal elements, but in part they were acting as the
17 infantry and the foot soldiers for a JNA which was short of
18 soldiers who were capable of going into built up areas and
19 being prepared to do some of the things which the
20 paramilitaries did carry out.
21 It is a situation in which the paramilitary presence
22 added to the destabalization I mentioned to the incidents
23 in May in Borovo Selo where paramilitary groups were
24 already present as part of the events which were
25 destabilizing the situation in the Vukovar region. That
1 destabilisation continued, and I think it is fair to say
2 that the tension between the paramilitary groups on either
3 side led to a particular situation in the Vukovar region
4 where some of the things which happened were, perhaps,
5 more intense than in other areas.
6 Q. What was the reaction of the JNA to the declaration of
7 independence by Croatia that you mentioned earlier in your
9 A. The JNA rejected the declaration of independence of
10 Croatia and of Slavonia. It was deployed under an
11 instruction from the federal government in Slovenia, but
12 at the same time also began activities in Croatia. In
13 effect, its role was within the framework of what was
14 officially called separating the parties, but which
15 I would say increasingly became one of supporting the
16 Serbian effort to establish control of territories in
18 Q. Was that particularly how it conducted the war against
19 Yugoslavia in the second half of August 1991?
20 A. I am sorry, could you repeat the question?
21 Q. How did the JNA conduct the war against Croatia in the
22 second half of August 1991?
23 A. The JNA conducted the war in two, well, in fact, in three
24 phases. In the first phase, I think there was a degree of
25 uncertainty about what was going to happen, but the
1 two-phased campaign began in July 1991 where preparations
2 were made for a series of actions. That period ran
3 through, I think, according to the Generals, until
4 September, during which period preparations were
5 completed. From the second half of August, I have dated
6 approximately 19th August, the JNA began a campaign,
7 whilst still officially acting within the rubric of
8 separating the populations, to begin to establish the
9 borders of the new entities, the borders of what they
10 would regard as a mini Yugoslavia.
11 The second phase, once these areas with predominantly
12 Serbian populations had been controlled and areas, not all
13 with predominantly Serbian populations, but most of them
14 with predominantly Serbian populations, once these areas
15 had been controlled and the Serbian population within the
16 army's terms had been protected, there would then be the
17 springboard for the second phase which would be attacks
18 launched throughout the whole of Croatia to topple the
19 Croatian authorities in Zagreb.
20 Q. Would you look at the -----
21 A. If I might add, that the second phase of this, I think it
22 is fair to say, was abandoned in the face of the realities
23 of the situation in which the JNA found itself.
24 Q. Thank you. Would you look at the document I now you show,
25 Prosecutor's Exhibit 14? Firstly, what does this map
2 A. It is a map which represents, which first shows the
3 territorial division between the republics of the SFRY and
4 the emerging states, but which also shows marked in green
5 areas which were under Serbian control in the latter part
6 of 1991, and in most of which there was at least one point
7 where there was a significant -- the significant Serbian
9 It also shows with the red arrows -- for example, I
10 indicate the one there running from Mostar to Split on the
11 coast -- the main axes of movement by the JNA, according
12 to the record indicated by the head of the JNA at the
13 time, the Secretary for Defence, General Veljko
14 Kadijevic. The aim was to, these four main lines, axes of
15 action which would cut Croatia and would be there for the
16 framework for establishing territorial control within the
17 boundaries embraced by those lines.
18 In addition to this, the JNA was carrying out actions
19 in Eastern Slavonia -- the area I have just indicated, the
20 area near Vukovar -- but these activities, whereas the
21 other activities were coming out of bases in Croatia and
22 in Bosnia, these activities were being consolidated by
23 forces from the 1st Military District in Belgrade.
24 Whereas the other areas indicated in green had a
25 predominantly Serbian population, only in one small part
1 of this territory was there a majority Serbian population,
2 but the JNA took control of large parts of this territory,
3 including the agriculturally rich land of Baranja on the
4 border with Hungary and with areas embracing some
6 Q. The green areas represent the various theatres of
7 operation of the JNA?
8 A. The JNA had three separate campaigns in the war in
9 Croatia. It would regard Croatia as a whole as one
10 theatre, I guess. The three separate campaigns that were
11 being conducted were in the south in the Konavli strip
12 down the coast leading to the Prevlaka peninsular. In
13 this area, activity was almost entirely conducted by the
14 JNA using Montenegrin -- using units from Montenegro,
15 including Montenegrin reservists. That was purely JNA
16 operation -- almost purely.
17 The second area, the green marked on the map there,
18 around the edges of north western Bosnia, including the
19 Dalmatian hinterland, involved activity by the JNA and by
20 local Serbian forces, largely Serbian forces, derived from
21 using the structures of the old territorial defence system
22 and acting in conjunction with the JNA, but local Serbs.
23 Finally, in the third campaign area, distinct again,
24 the JNA with largely JNA operations supported by
25 aramilitary forces who were not predominantly local
1 forces, but were coming across the border from the
2 Republic of Serbia, and one of the most significant groups
3 I have already mentioned, the Tigers of Zeljko Raznjatovic
4 (Arkan), had their training camp at Erdut just inside the
5 border with Croatia, just about there.
6 So each of the campaigns had a different character;
7 one was entirely JNA, one was JNA and local and the other
8 was JNA and paramilitaries largely coming from Serbia.
9 They were becoming involved in a series of clashes from
10 the period before the declarations of independence, but in
11 a significant way after the declarations of independence
12 in conjunction with the JNA.
13 Q. This was, just for a point of reference, the latter part
14 of 1991?
15 A. This was -- the first activity by Serbian groups was in
16 the Knin area in August 1990. The other small local
17 activity was in the areas here at Pakrac and Plitvice,
18 somewhere there, in March/April 1991, and the incident at
19 Borovo Selo was in May 1991 across there. But after the
20 declarations -- and in the case of Knin the army gave
21 weapons, or was reported to have given weapons to the
22 local Serbs; in the case of Pakrac people said the army
23 actually deployed out of its barracks -- but it was only
24 after the declaration of independence that the JNA
25 deployed out of its barracks in a significant way and
1 only, I think, after mid-August 1991 that it began
2 properly its campaign to establish control over the
3 territories in conjunction with the various other groups.
4 Q. Was there any political action taken parallel with the
5 military operation of the JNA in the latter part of 1991?
6 A. Yes, there was. Political -- and indeed prior to the
7 military action by the JNA. I was indicating that there
8 had been some use of violence by Serbian communities
9 versus the Croatian communities prior to the declarations
10 of independence. On 21st December 1990 in the Knin area,
11 the Serbian 'Autonomous Region of Krajina' was declared by
12 the local Serbian authorities. That was followed,
13 I think, on 26th February 1991 while the process of
14 disintegration was taking place by the declaration of the
15 Autonomous Region of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western
16 Srijem, which I have indicated there, the area in which
17 Vukovar falls. On 19th December 1991, after approximately
18 six months of fighting in Croatia, these two areas which
19 under Serbian political, as well as military control, were
20 consolidated with the declaration of the Republika Srpska
21 Krajina establishing these areas as a separate political
22 entity, and saying that this entity formed a part of
23 Yugoslavia, that is, the Yugoslavia connected with Serbia
24 and Montenegro. But, Serbia and Montenegro, as far as
25 I am aware, at no stage indicated that they accepted that
1 these areas joined them, so the areas then pursued the
2 cause of independence from Croatia.
3 Q. I tender that Exhibit, your Honour. Dr. Gow, going back
4 in more detail in relation to the Vukovar area itself,
5 what was the status of the borders between the Vukovar
6 area and the Vojvodina area following the Second World War?
7 A. The border between Croatia and Vojvodina was established
8 as the border between both Croatia and the Republic of
9 Serbia, but also Croatia and the people's republic, the
10 people's autonomous region of Vojvodina which was within
12 The border at the end of the Second World War was
13 disputed between the anti-fascist Council and the
14 communist party of Croatia, on the one side, which
15 I indicated earlier had a strong independent character
16 and, on the other, between the local district committee of
17 the communist party of Srijem in Serbia and between the
18 people's autonomous province of Vojvodina.
19 The nature of the dispute concerned the division of
20 the previous county of Vukovar which had extended into the
21 area which was becoming the people's autonomous region of
22 Vojvodina. Perhaps if I might ask for the map of the
23 Croatian Banovina back? In fact, if I could ask for the
24 Croatian Banovina map as well as the first map of the
25 republics of Yugoslavia, it will help me to illustrate
1 while I am dealing with the differences.
2 Q. No. 8 and No. 1.
3 A. Thank you very much. (Handed) Thank you for your
4 patience. You see Vukovar is there. The Vukovar county
5 had been part of this area of the Croatian Banovina
6 extending into almost to the very gates of Belgrade. If
7 I can have the second map, you will see this is where the
8 border was formed between Croatia and the people's
9 autonomous region of Vojvodina. Therefore, part of the
10 area which had been extending down to Belgrade, not all of
11 which was Vukovar county, was being separated. So there
12 was a dispute over where the border line should go.
13 The dispute was put to a commission headed by a
14 commission of the Anti-fascist Council of National
15 Liberation of Yugoslavia headed by Tito's deputy, Milovan
16 Dilas, and the committee adjudicated that the border
17 should be formed by the River Danube, and that although
18 there was a small Serbian majority in the northern
19 district of Vukovar which would lie on the Croatian side
20 of the boundary, it would remain as an isolated -- for a
21 variety of geographic, economic reasons, it would lie on
22 the western side, the western northern side of the Danube,
23 and the Danube would form the border as far down as Ba~ko
24 Novo Selo. This, of course, was an area of great
1 I believe, if I recall, I mentioned that Vukovar had
2 been one of the places, the last among the places under
3 Ustasha control. It was also an area in which there had
4 been significant ethnic changes. In the course of the
5 war, the communist party of Srijem had put a submission to
6 the Commission indicating that whereas, perhaps, something
7 in the region of 2,000 Serbs had been killed or expelled
8 either in Vukovar town or the villages around it, the
9 Ustasha had also brought in approximately 2,000 people who
10 remained there and continued to be Ustasha families.
11 The area and other parts of this border were settled
12 by the Commission but continued to be disputed. It is
13 significant that one of the first major acts of ethnic
14 cleansing also took place in this area at a town of Ilok
15 just down the road, or what we term ethnic cleansing, when
16 the JNA rounded up -- Ilok had a predominantly Croatian
17 population or significant Croatian population, but was
18 within Vojvodina on the other side of the border -- the
19 JNA, I think, in September 1991 rounded up the local
20 Croatian community and gave it instructions to leave and,
21 with the assistance of international monitors, that
22 population was moved from Vojvodina into Croatia.
23 I think I am indicating that the area was
24 controversial at the end of the Second World war and that,
25 possibly, some of that controversy lingered into the
2 Q. Moving on to the actual events of 1991, when did the JNA
3 become involved in the Serbian side in the siege of
5 A. It would be -- I do not think I would be able with
6 complete assurance to say when the JNA became involved on
7 the Serbian side in the Vukovar area or any other as a
8 whole and absolutely, but it is clear that from the period
9 after 19th August where I indicate that through
10 observation of events, I think the second phase of the JNA
11 -- sorry, the first phase of the JNA operations to create
12 the new borders went into effect, that the JNA was working
13 with the Serbian forces in the area and that the siege of
14 Vukovar began somewhere around 24th -- in the days after
15 19th August, somewhere around 24th August, and was to last
16 for 90 days.
17 Q. What Serbian forces were utilized in the attack against
19 A. In the Vukovar area the Serbs used, made use of some of
20 the paramilitary groups and, in addition to that, there
21 were combined operations by units from the JNA combining
22 naval, air and land forces.
23 Q. Approximately what was the size of the JNA forces deployed
24 in relation to the siege of Vukovar?
25 A. There have been a variety of estimates that I have seen;
1 some go as high as 50,000, those others put the figure
2 around 30,000. I do not believe that anybody other than
3 those in the JNA with the records would have an accurate
4 account of that, but it is reasonable to say in excess of
5 30,000 were present at the siege of Vukovar.
6 Q. From what majority of these troops contributed, from what
7 source were they contributed?
8 A. Most of the troops involved at Vukovar came from the 1st
9 Military District at Belgrade. They included
10 predominantly units from 12 corps based at Novi Sad, also
11 units from 24 corps at Kragujvac. They also included
12 elite guards units and the mechanized elements from the
13 mechanized division at Belgrade. They were supplemented
14 by troops from the 5 corps at Tuzla and from the 2 corps
15 based in Montenegro from the 3rd Military District.
16 Q. What types of weaponry were used by the JNA?
17 A. The JNA used a full range of weaponry in the siege of
19 Q. The siege of?
20 A. Forgive me, so used to say saying certain things -- in the
21 siege of Vukovar, a full range including, I think,
22 predominantly heavy mortars, 112 millimetre calibrated, 80
23 millimetre calibre; also significant numbers of heavy
24 artillery ranging from 105 to 155 millimetre calibre.
25 They were equipped with a significant number of tanks,
1 significant enough for the Croatians, with what
2 credibility, I do not know, to claim that they destroyed
3 200 tanks at Vukovar; the tanks being either old T34
4 tanks, middle-aged T55 tanks or quite a number of M84
5 Yugoslav production tanks of the latest generation.
6 In addition, naval forces were used from the River
7 Danube firing on the town and there was substantial use of
8 the air force in some periods using ground attack aircraft
9 to bomb the town of Vukovar.
10 Q. What was the size of the Croatian forces in terms of
11 numbers of troops against the attacking Serbian forces in
12 approximate terms?
13 A. Again, it is hard to establish precise figures. Some
14 estimates, the highest estimates that I have seen, put the
15 local Croatian defence force as high as 5,000. Most
16 estimates put it in the region of 1500 to 1800 members,
17 and 1800 is the figure cited by the leader of the primary
18 defence organisation, a man called Milke Dedakovic, but
19 the situation is unclear because I think there were three
20 separate groups fighting within Vukovar on the Croatian
22 Q. What was the state of these Croatian forces at the
23 commencement of hostilities?
24 A. At the commencement of hostilities the Croatian forces
25 were mostly ill-prepared. I indicated there were three,
1 I think there were three separate groups. One was a
2 paramilitary group, the Croatian Council of Defence; the
3 second was linked with the local Police Force and was part
4 of the Croatian National Guards, Zbor narodne garde, and
5 the main element came to be the Defence forces organised
6 by Dedakovic that I mentioned.
7 None of these forces was well equipped to fight a war
8 at the beginning. The forces developed as the war went on
9 and in terms of weaponry they were significantly
10 out-gunned by the surrounding JNA Serbian forces.
11 Estimates indicate that they may have had a few heavy
12 artillery pieces, perhaps four or five, and that they were
13 able to capture a small number of tanks as well. But, for
14 the most part, they relied on using man portable anti-tank
15 weaponry, which was brought in in small quantities either
16 by parachute drops by Croatian military special forces or
17 through the small route through the corn fields which was
18 used to get access from the main part of Croatia to
19 Vukovar in the period of the siege.
20 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honour, I notice the time. I have about
21 another five or six questions to go, but I am very happy
22 to do that after lunch if that is what your Honours would
23 prefer or I am very happy to proceed now.
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Prosecuting counsel, the members of the
25 Tribunal and the President would like to ask a few
1 questions. I would like to ask the witness a few
2 questions and because your yourself have six more
3 questions, I suggest, as we already agreed, that we
4 adjourn the session and that we reconvene at 2.30.
5 (Luncheon Adjournment)
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Prosecuting counsel?
7 MR. NIEMANN: Dr. Gow, earlier in the course of your evidence
8 just before the luncheon recess, you were speaking about
9 the area known as Ilok. Would you like to add something
10 further to your evidence in relation to that?
11 A. I would just like to add as a point of clarification on
12 that that when I was talking about the area being in
13 dispute, I was making specific reference to the
14 adjudication of the Committee of Anti-Fascist National
15 Liberation Council of Yugoslavia in 1945/1946 about the
16 delineation of the border between the People's Republic of
17 Croatia and the people's autonomous province of Vojvodina,
18 and it was their adjudication that Ilok should be within
19 -- that the Ilok district should be within the province
20 of Vojvodina. I should also make clear that the town of
21 Ilok is presently within the Republic of Croatia.
22 If I might add a further point of correction,
23 I believe that I mistakenly indicated, having indicated
24 that Borisav Jovic was the Serbian representative to the
25 collective presidency of the SFRY, then went on to say
1 that there was another Serbian representative, Stipe
2 Mesic. Mr. Mesic was, in fact, the Croatian
3 representative which, I believe you would agree, is a
4 significant distinction to make.
5 Q. Moving on, Dr. Gow, we were talking just immediately
6 before the break about the Croatian forces defending
7 Vukovar, their composition and so on and their size.
8 I would like you to tell us if you can from where the
9 Croatian forces were derived primarily. I think that you
10 have already touched on this in a previous answer?
11 A. Yes. I think I was beginning to say before the recess
12 that my understanding is that there were three principal
13 Croatian groups within the town, all very small. One was
14 a paramilitary group known by the acronym HOS, the
15 Croatian defence league; the second was organised by the
16 local police Interior Ministry and was in a unit of the
17 ZNG, Zbor nardne garde, the Croatian National Guard, and
18 the final element which was perhaps the most significant
19 was the defence forces organised locally by a man called
20 Mile Dedakovic. I would add -- I think I said before but
21 to be clear -- these forces comprise something in the
22 region of 1800 personnel, for the most part lightly armed.
23 Q. You mentioned lightly armed. Are you able to elaborate on
24 the armaments that were available to the Croatian forces?
25 A. The Croatian forces, I believe, had a small number of
1 heavy artillery pieces available to them, maybe four or
2 five what we would could call big guns, and a few tanks
3 which they captured from the JNA forces, but primarily
4 they relied on either light arms or on man portable
5 anti-armour weaponry. I think I mentioned before the
6 recess that they were able to get small supplies of these
7 in either through the corn fields or by special forces
8 groups parachuting in with them. But this was a very --
9 the amounts which could be brought in relative to the
10 forces surrounding Vukovar were very small.
11 Q. Just on that, what was the ratio between the capability of
12 the Serbs vis-a-vis their Croatian opponents?
13 A. There have been estimates that between the 1800 or so,
14 maybe up to a maximum of 5,000, which I think is unlikely,
15 Croatian forces in the town and the surrounding 30,000
16 plus Serbian and JNA combined forces, the ratio is
17 somewhere in the region of 1: in terms of personnel
18 with, essentially, a small, brigade size force organised
19 within Vukovar on the Croatian side and two operational
20 groups organised outside the town encircling it on the
21 Serbian JNA side; the northern one commanded by General
22 Biorcevic and the southern one commanded by Colonel
23 Mile Mrksic. I think that ratio is estimated to be somewhere
24 in the region of 1:15. In terms of the weaponry the
25 difference was enormous; differences could run to 1:100.
1 Q. Finally, did the JNA ultimately achieve its objective in
3 A. The JNA and its Serbian allies in this context, I think,
4 can be said to have achieved its objectives in Vukovar to
5 the extent that the Serbians had designated Vukovar to be
6 the capital of the proclaimed Serbian autonomous region of
7 Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srijem. Therefore,
8 albeit a destroyed city, they had captured the city which
9 they designated would be the capital of this town. From
10 the JNA perspective, they had secured a territory in
11 Eastern Slavonia, including Vukovar, which would be a
12 Serbian territory and would, therefore, achieve one of the
13 primary objectives of the JNA, according to General
14 Kadijevic, which was to protect the Serbian population, to
15 give them areas in which they would be in control.
16 The JNA, I think, did not achieve its objective of
17 creating the spring board for an offensive through
18 Slavonia towards Zagreb because of the defections from the
19 conscript cadre and because of developments in the
20 international environment. I think that is something that
21 they would acknowledge but, in terms of securing control
22 of Vukovar, yes, they did.
23 Q. When did they secure control of Vukovar?
24 A. Vukovar was surrendered by Croatian forces on
25 18th November 1981.
1 7 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honours, I have no further questions of
2 Dr. Gow.
3 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, prosecuting counsel. I
4 would now like to address my judge colleagues, madam?
5 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Thank you. Dr. Gow, could you tell the
6 Tribunal what happened with the Muslim community during
7 the Second World War and in the aftermath of the war?
8 A. If your Honour is asking me about the Muslim communities
9 in the whole of Yugoslavia?
10 Q. Yes, in the whole.
11 A. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, some of the Muslims in the
12 early stages certainly sided with the Ustasha regime and
13 with the Axis powers and the SS Handzar division was
14 primarily composed of these Muslim volunteers. On the
15 other side, in other parts of Bosnia and many Muslims,
16 there were thousands of Muslims massacred by the Serbian
17 Chetniks with the result that there were different
18 patterns within the Muslim population in Bosnia and in the
19 Sandzak, some of them joining with the partisans, some of
20 them for periods siding with the Axis powers in this way.
21 This gave rise to some problems in Bosnia, some of
22 which, I think, continued after the war. In particular,
23 there were also questions with relation to the war in the
24 context of discussing war crimes alleged to have been
25 committed in the context of the war in Croatia in 1991.
1 The impact on Croatia in the Bihac area was such that
2 there were problems -- the Muslims in that area were
3 judged as being highly volatile as a population group, and
4 there was a suggestion at one stage, but always linked
5 with Croatia, and there was a suggestion at the end of the
6 war by the People's Republic of Bosnia that the Bihac area
7 should be transferred to Croatia. That did not happen.
8 I hope that is a satisfactory answer; if not, I am happy
9 to elaborate.
10 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: No, thank you.
11 JUDGE RIAD: Dr. Gow, I would like to ask you a few questions
12 in the light of this extremely interesting historical
13 background you gave us. I gathered from what you said
14 that the Ustashas and the responsible Croats declared that
15 they are planning to kill, and I quote, "one out of three
16 Serbs or convert them to the orthodox creed". How far was
17 this applied? Was it applied only to the Serbs or also to
18 the Serbs and to the Bosniac Muslims?
19 A. The programme was put into effect and it is clear that a
20 large number of Serbs were killed. The number of Serbs
21 killed is a subject of great dispute. I think in my
22 testimony I alluded to the fact that one of the features
23 of post 1945 Yugoslavia, Tito's communist Yugoslavia, was
24 that many of the events of the Second World War were not
25 properly accounted, and in this context the precise number
1 of Serbs who were killed either in the war as a whole or
2 as a result of the Ustasha programme is hard to fix.
3 It is fair to say that it was a large number who were
4 killed. Further than that, a large number were expelled
5 from Croatian controlled territory, but many remained and
6 many remained fighting either in smaller groups with
7 Chetnik forces or predominantly with the partisans.
8 The Ustasha was not exclusively designed to eliminate
9 Serbs, although the Serbs were the largest group in
10 Croatia and became a primary focus of that activity. The
11 camps that were established by the Ustasha, some of which
12 were death camps, also included anti-Ustasha Croats,
13 included communists, included Jews, included some people
14 of other groupings but they were predominantly -- the
15 predominant group taken into the camps were Serbs.
16 The Bosniac Muslims, some were aligned with the
17 Ustasha regime, as I said, fighting with the SS Handzar
18 division; others were opposed to the Croatian Ustasha
19 regime. I should clarify, if it was not clear either from
20 the map or my testimony before, that the independent state
21 of Croatia, the Ustasha state, embraced large parts of
22 Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the main part of Croatia
23 and Slavonia.
24 There were areas in which the Ustasha was turned
25 against the Muslims primarily because the Muslims were
1 siding with the partisans.
2 Q. Could you assimilate this attitude with the idea of racial
3 cleansing, ethnic cleansing, and consider that this was
4 the outbreak of ethnic cleansing in former Yugoslavia?
5 A. I would -- I think we would have to -- we probably need to
6 have a seminar discussing the exact meaning of ethnic
7 cleansing. Some people have said the term should apply to
8 the arrangement between Greece and Turkey over Anatolia in
9 which there was a peaceful exchange of populations because
10 the territory was purified.
11 In contemporary terms, I think the label "ethnic
12 cleansing" is associated with the forcible expulsion, if
13 not probably including demonstrative killing, of certain
14 population groups. In that context, I think it is
15 certainly fair to say that the Ustasha programme with
16 systematic elements, including camps, was a manifestation
17 of an ethnic cleansing programme and one which in many
18 ways, it could be argued, those involved in the Serbian
19 side in the 1990s were mimicking. I have even seen
20 indications that the term "ethnic cleansing" was used in
21 Croatian documents at the time, but I have not seen the
22 original documents and cannot be sure that this was the
24 Q. My second question, you mentioned that the JNA was
25 involved in Vukovar's assault. Is there any indication
1 that they had orders from their higher command or was it
2 just on the spur of the moment that they acted this way?
3 A. I think it would be very difficult to imagine that this
4 was a spontaneous action. I think any experienced
5 military man would tell you that you are not able to
6 organise several different units, even within one military
7 district, let alone bringing units from another military
8 district, as a spontaneous action, and then to position
9 those forces almost completely encircling a town and keep
10 it under siege and then keep it for a period of three
11 months and keep that force supplied.
12 I, therefore, would take it as a matter of deduction
13 that to have that size of force deployed in such a way
14 cannot in any sense be conceived of as a spontaneous
15 action. In addition to that, I would say, just before
16 your Honours began your questions, I indicated that there
17 were two operational groups in the area involving the sets
18 of forces deployed by the JNA, one under the command of
19 General Biorcevic, the other under the command of Colonel
20 Mile Mrksic. That in itself, I think, indicates that there was
21 significant JNA control of what was going on in that
22 situation at the time.
23 I would further add that I believe that there is,
24 that there was film evidence shown on radio television
25 Belgrade of the various commanders, not only General
1 Biorcevic and Colonel Mile Mrksic, but also of the commander of
2 the 1st Military District, General Zivota Panic, who was
3 later to become the Secretary, the Chief of Staff of the
4 Yugoslav army -- that is of the successor Yugoslav army,
5 not the JNA, but the Vojska Juglosvaije of the current
6 Serbia Montenegro; he is now out of office -- General
7 Panic who was then commander of the 1st Military District,
8 along with General Biorcevic and Colonel Mile Mrksic was being
9 congratulated by the then Federal Defence Secretary,
10 General Kadijevic, and his deputy and Chief of Staff,
11 General Adzic, following the collapse of Vukovar.
12 So, I think all this indicates that there could be
13 little doubt that it was a JNA operation; that it could
14 not have been spontaneous and that it was organised and
15 approved by the JNA command mechanisms.
16 Q. Or by the political leadership?
17 A. I would anticipate that it has to have been approved by
18 the political leadership. I would say that the evidence
19 indicates that it cannot have taken place without
20 organisation and without organisation and orders from the
21 military command structures. I have little doubt in my
22 own mind that it was organised with political -- that it
23 was approved and authorised by political authorities as
25 Some indication of this can be found, I suspect, in
1 the memoirs of the Croatian representative to the federal
2 presidency in the final stage of Yugoslavia, Stipe Mesic,
3 who in many instances makes reference to the way in which
4 General Kadijevic was formally taking orders from the
5 Montenegrin representative, Mr. Kostic, as the
6 representing the rump presidency of the SFRY, as they
7 alleged it still was at the time. They were trying to
8 argue that the SFRY continued and that the four
9 representatives continuing to form a body on the
10 presidency, the representative of Serbia, the
11 representative of Montenegro and of the two Serbian
12 provinces, Kosovo and Vojvodina, were said to provide the
13 leadership and Mr. Kostic was giving the instructions to
14 General Kadijevic at least on a formal level. So, in that
15 sense, I think, there was a political -- there was
16 certainly some political level of instruction and command.
17 Q. May I just ask you my last question: You indicated the
18 importance of Vukovar for the Serbian part. In the light
19 of this importance, in your assessment, what would have
20 been the ultimate goal of the assault of Vukovar?
21 A. The primary Serbian goal, I would judge, was to occupy
22 Vukovar and to drive out the non-Serbian, the non-loyal
23 population in an example of a practice of which we see
24 many examples afterwards in Croatia, but particularly in
25 Bosnia and Herzegovina, the practice generally called
1 ethnic cleansing.
2 I think the purpose was to drive out the civilian
3 population to be able to take control of the area to form
4 the border of the territory which was to be part of the
5 Republika Srpska Krajina, that is, the territory of the
6 previously declared Serbian autonomous region of Eastern
7 Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srijem. I think the
8 evidence would indicate that that was the case. The
9 purpose was to create a territory for the Serbian people,
10 to make Vukovar part of that territory and to remove the
11 non-Serbian population.
12 For the JNA, there was a secondary purpose, that it
13 would then be the launching pad for attacks through
14 Western Slavonia to Zagreb, but that was an option, the
15 second phase of the JNA operations, which never came into
17 So, in Serbian JNA terms, the first priority was to
18 get rid of the population and to make the town, in whatever
19 condition, part of that territory under Serbian control.
20 The second option was only for the JNA and was one which I
21 think the Serbian communities did not support sufficiently
22 to make it possible.
23 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Dr. Gow, just to add to the questions
25 which were already asked, can you confirm that there was
1 actually a concerted plan, a systematic attack on Vukovar?
2 A. I can confirm that there were forces of the JNA and in
3 addition, Serbian paramilitary or volunteer forces which
4 were deployed to encircle Vukovar as a town; that a
5 deployment of that kind could not have taken place without
6 planning and without organisation from command
8 I would also confirm that, according to the then
9 Federal Secretary for Defence, General Kadijevic, that the
10 object was to provide an area for the Serbian people and
11 that the Vukovar would be a key element of that territory
12 and that, therefore, Vukovar and the area in Eastern
13 Slavonia was seen as being an important aspect of the
14 first phase of the plan which the JNA had for operations
15 in the second half of 1991, that is, the project to create
16 borders of new territories which would be part of what
17 they saw was a continuing federal mini Yugoslavia.
18 Q. Do you also confirm that there are also written records or
19 radiophonic records of declarations, statements made by
20 superiors, people in charge, people who are currently the
21 object of this indictment, who expressed their
22 satisfaction with the success of the attack on Vukovar?
23 Can you confirm your references you gave concerning these
25 A. I can confirm that there was televisual evidence of the
1 Federal Secretary for Defence, General Kadijevic, and his
2 deputy, General Adzic, congratulating the commander of the
3 1st Military District, General Panic, and the commanders
4 of the two operational groups, Colonel Mile Mrksic and General
5 Biorcevic, following the fall of Vukovar.
6 Q. More generally speaking, Mr. Gow, what was the attitude of
7 the major western powers around 1991, that is, about the
8 time of the declaration of independence? How would you
9 characterise this?
10 A. Thank you, your Honour. That is a very big question.
11 I think the international environment in which the
12 declarations of independence occurred, and in which the
13 dissolution of Yugoslavia took place, was one which was in
14 a state, which characterised by a state of flux. It was
15 one which was broadly reluctant to see the dissolution of
16 Yugoslavia or of any other federal state at that stage
17 take place, particularly because Yugoslavia was seen as a
18 small version of what might happen and, indeed, eventually
19 did happen in the Soviet Union.
20 There were different perspectives from different
21 countries within Europe and within the international
22 community broadly, but I would say that the majority of
23 states at the time we are talking about were in a process
24 of moving from being either opposed to or reluctant to see
25 the dissolution of Yugoslavia to a position where they
1 recognised that the dissolution was to all intents and
2 purposes inevitable. This was seen through, I think, the
3 framework of the European Community Conference organised
4 under the chair of Lord Carrington here in The Hague,
5 where there were attempts made to try to preserve a
6 Yugoslav framework for the various Yugoslav states, but
7 I think, in general, in a six month period where everybody
8 was moving towards the recognition that at some stage the
9 dissolution of Yugoslavia would have to be accepted and
10 most of the arguments were coming to be about the timing
11 when that should be accepted as a fact.
12 I hope that is an adequate answer. I am happy to
13 elaborate if you have more specific questions, or if you
14 feel that I should elaborate generally?
15 Q. My question was relatively simple; it was just whether the
16 major powers, when they supported independence, did they
17 encourage or favour movements towards Serbism, Croatism or
18 were they more cautious in their attitude? Were they more
19 cautious with regard to respect of cultural or religious
20 entities? Do you, as an expert, believe that maybe they
21 were playing with fire a bit, or do you think that,
22 basically, this was just part of a destiny of the Balkans
23 as you have been describing it for the last 100 years?
24 A. I think inevitably in some sense they were playing with
25 fire because there was a war taking place, and it was a
1 difficult and dangerous situation both in terms of the
2 armed conflict and in terms of the issues of international
3 order that were being put into a framework of questions at
4 that time.
5 I think the work of the European Community conference
6 under the presidency of the French constitutional -- the
7 President of the French constitutional court, Monsieur
8 Badinter, went some way towards clarifying some of the
9 issues involved and made it easier for the international
10 community and particularly for the European Community (as
11 it then was) to understand the processes in ways which it
12 could accommodate, to look to the process, to say that,
13 for example, it would no longer be possible to sustain a
14 joint state comprising the various republics, but that it
15 should be possible to try to sustain some kind of future
16 for the federating elements, for the republics defined as
17 states and with the quality of sovereignty.
18 In that context, I think most states were,
19 essentially, cautious. It is broadly recognised that
20 Austria and Germany, Austria before the declarations of
21 independence and Germany fairly quickly afterwards,
22 certainly by 24th August, was very much open to the
23 possibility of accepting the break up of Yugoslavia and
24 recognising the independence of the republics. It is also
25 said at the other extreme that France and Spain until a
1 very late stage at the end of the year were reluctant to
2 see the breakup take place. This may reflect cultural
4 In the case of France, it has a highly centralised
5 system of government, whereas Germany has a highly
6 decentralised federal system of government, maybe has a
7 different understanding of situations. In the case of
8 France, I could speculate that because -- sorry, in the
9 case of Spain, I could speculate that because Spain has
10 been said to have a number of questions of its own,
11 perhaps with Catalonia, perhaps with the Basque country,
12 that Spain was reluctant to see processes of this kind.
13 I think the Badinter Commission was important because it
14 clarified a number of the issues involved and made it
15 easier for the states of the European Community, in the
16 first instance, to accept the break up of Yugoslavia in
17 terms of statehood and borders in a way which would not
18 have implications, for example, in the Spanish case for
19 Basque territories or Catalonia.
20 Between that, I think the majority of states were
21 extremely cautious. They were in a difficult situation
22 and it was a time of transition. Many eyes were focused
23 on the Soviet Union and events there. Many eyes had been
24 focused on events in the Middle East. There had been the
25 Gulf conflict at the end of 1990 and in the first part of
1 1991. It was one question among many, and it was a very,
2 very difficult question, one which states gradually and
3 cautiously came to accept in a particular -- they
4 gradually and cautiously came to accept a particular
5 interpretation of that. The interpretation sometimes led
6 some countries to be characterised as proSerb and some
7 countries to be characterised as pro-Croat during the war
8 in Croatia.
9 I am not sure to what extent it is useful, if we are
10 being serious, to try to have a kind of understanding of
11 what was going on in those terms. I think the realities
12 in the foreign ministries of all these countries were very
13 different to the simple labelling of pro-Croat or proSerb
14 or anything else of that kind.
15 In that context, I think I would just finish, I would
16 say that the major issue -- as I understand it, the major
17 issue by the end of 1991 was not recognising the
18 independence of those republics seeking it, but on the
19 time of recognition and on the need to establish an
20 overall framework of mutual agreements before that was
21 accepted, and that was the source of a big dispute within
22 the European community between Germany and Denmark, I
23 think, on one hand and a number of other countries at the
24 end of 1991 in December. I hope that has been helpful.
25 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I would like to ask you another question,
1 Mr. Gow. With regard to the militia, you mentioned armed
2 militia, you quoted names. In your studies you know this
3 region very well. Do these militia remain constituted for
4 a long time after the events in Vukovar? What happened to
5 these militia after -- do they still exist secretly? What
6 happened afterwards? They seem to have played a very
7 important role.
8 A. It is an extremely difficult question to answer. By
9 militia or paramilitary group, we can understand some
10 different phenomena. The groups organised in the
11 Kninska/Krajina area were, essentially, local Serbs.
12 There may have been Serbs from other places, but it was
13 based around the idea of a local Serbian identity, and
14 they were using the structures of the old territorial
15 defence system. As you are aware, I should -- as you may
16 well be aware, last August Croatian forces attacked the
17 Krajina area and the Serbian forces were retreated and
18 driven out, so now they no longer exist in those areas.
19 The paramilitary groups, some of which I mentioned in
20 the Vukovar area, such as Arkan's Tigers, are not known to
21 be present in many or any areas, to my knowledge, at the
22 moment. Whether this means that they no longer exist,
23 I would hesitate to say. I suspect it is in the nature of
24 these groups that the people who organise them would very
25 quickly arrange for the groups to be together and present
1 in any situation where the groups' leaders or where the
2 political authorities to whom they might be connected
3 would say that they would be needed, but I think at the
4 moment they are not a group -- that these groups are not a
5 significant feature at the moment other than by their
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you Dr. Gow. I think that is the
8 end of the questions, the end of The Prosecutor's
9 questions and those from the Tribunal. Dr. Gow, the
10 Tribunal would like to thank you for your contribution do
11 its work concerning this affair, concerning the attack on
12 Vukovar. We thank you sincerely. I think you are free
14 (The witness withdrew)
15 MR. WILLIAMSON: This time, your Honours, we would like to call
16 Dennis Milner as the next witness.
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Could the usher please bring in
18 Mr. Dennis Milner? Thank you.
19 MR. DENNIS MILNER, called.
20 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Dennis Milner, you are going to make
21 the declaration. You have the text. Maybe you could give
22 Mr. Denis Milner the head set?
23 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare I shall speak the truth.
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: If you do not mind, Mr. Milner, could you
25 put the head set on, thank you, so that the presiding
1 judge is sure that you hear everything. Do you hear me
3 1 THE WITNESS: Yes, I do.
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: So please make your declaration now.
5 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth,
6 the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I am Dennis
7 James Milner. I am a Detective Inspector from the United
8 Kingdom police service.
9 MR. WILLIAMSON: You may be seated.
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Would you please be seated? Prosecuting
11 Counsel, you have the floor for your questioning.
12 MR. WILLIAMSON: Thank you, your Honour. (To the witness):
13 Mr. Milner, you indicated that you are a Police Officer
14 from the United Kingdom. Could you inform the court how
15 long you have been so employed?
16 2 A. Yes, I have been a Police Officer for in excess of 26
18 Q. What is your current assignment?
19 A. I am currently seconded from the British Government to the
20 International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia.
21 Q. What type of work do you do at the Tribunal?
22 A. I am engaged in investigating events in former Yugoslavia
23 during the period from 1991 through to the present day,
24 but, in particular, I have been engaged with my immediate
25 colleagues in investigating events in the area of Croatia
1 and Eastern Slavonia, in particular, during 1991.
2 Q. How long have you been involved in the investigation of
3 events which occurred in Eastern Slavonia?
4 A. I was seconded to the International Tribunal on 1st May
5 1995, and since that time I have been engaged in
6 investigations relating solely to Vukovar and the Vukovar
8 1 Q. OK. During this period and during the course of your
9 investigation, have you become familiar with events which
10 occurred there during the year of 1991?
11 A. Yes, I have.
12 Q. How did you obtain this information?
13 A. I obtained my knowledge through research of documents that
14 have been written, through news media articles, through
15 witness statements, the reading of witness statements
16 taken by government and non-government organisations, and
17 by interviewing of witnesses personally, and the liaison
18 with my immediate colleagues who have also been engaged in
19 interviewing witnesses and victims and the reading of
20 their statements.
21 Q. In this way have you become familiar with the information
22 that has been provided by these witnesses?
23 A. Yes, I have.
24 Q. At some point during the year 1991, are you aware of the
25 JNA becoming actively involved in the conflict which was
1 ongoing in the Vukovar area?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. To your knowledge, what was the role of the JNA?
4 A. The role of the JNA, as far as my knowledge goes (and it
5 is not as extensive as the previous witness, obviously),
6 but the role of the JNA at that time appeared to be more
7 as a mediator between the warring factions of the
8 Croatians and Serbians who had set up small groups of
9 villages who were squabbling and having petty disputes
10 between themselves. When I say "petty", I mean petty in
11 terms of the overall situation within the war in
13 Q. At some point in time were you aware of the role of the
14 JNA changing?
15 A. Yes, I am.
16 Q. In what way did it change?
17 A. During the late summer of 1991, there was a time when many
18 of the ethnic Croatians who had been conscripted to the
19 JNA and people from other countries had started deserting
20 in quite large numbers, and it was clear that the JNA had
21 taken on the role of arming some of the paramilitary units
22 and what were referred to as Serb irregular groups, the
23 volunteer groups from many of the villages in Eastern
24 Slavonia. The JNA would actively support the actions and
25 supply armaments to these particular groups.
1 Q. At some point in time did this action by the JNA escalate
2 into active involvement in the fighting?
3 A. Absolutely, yes. Certainly, during July and through
4 August of 1991, really culminating around August 29th
5 1991, siege had been laid to Vukovar by a large number of
6 troops, a large amount of artillery, air force and naval
7 units, jointly with some of the paramilitary units from
8 that area and surrounding areas.
9 Q. What type of activities did these units engage in
10 regarding their attack on Vukovar?
11 A. Around 29th August, Vukovar was being subjected to
12 constant bombardment, shelling, bombings by aircraft; so
13 much so that people living within Vukovar had to resort to
14 living in shelters for fear of being killed, and by that
15 time a large number had already been killed as a result of
16 the military action in that area.
17 Q. These bombardments you have referred to, how long did
18 these go on?
19 A. Well, the bombardments continued through August,
20 September, October, right up until the actual fall of the
21 city of Vukovar on 18th November when the Croatian
22 soldiers and defenders, what was left of them, really had
23 no choice but to surrender.
24 Q. Over that three month period what was the result of the
25 bombardments on the city of Vukovar?
1 A. The bombardments, the shelling certainly appeared to be
2 totally indiscriminate, and the end result was that the
3 town was totally destroyed as a town.
4 Q. You have indicated that the city fell on 18th November;
5 can you briefly explain how this came about?
6 A. Yes. I do have some notes which I would like to refer to,
7 if I have your Honour's leave?
8 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Yes, you have the Tribunal's permission.
9 THE WITNESS: Over the three months of the sieges, as I have
10 already stated, the city had been almost totally
11 destroyed. It was, you could describe it as a pile of
12 rubble. The JNA had mounted a number of armoured and
13 infantry attacks. The Croatian defence lines had been
14 pushed back further and further, really, effectively,
15 until there was nowhere for them to go. There was a
16 pocket of Croatian resistance in an area called Borovo
17 Naselje, which was just to the south of Vukovar, which was
18 being defended separately. Nearly all of the population
19 had almost gathered round Vukovar Hospital which seemed to
20 be the symbol of resistance and defiance during that three
21 months period. The Croatian defenders had nowhere else to
22 go and really they were faced with no choice but to
23 surrender under overwhelming odds.
24 Q. Inspector Milner, you have mentioned Vukovar Hospital.
25 Can you tell the court something about what was going on
1 at that facility as the battle came to an end?
2 A. Certainly from the testimony of witnesses that we have
3 interviewed over the period of the investigation, it was
4 clear that the hospital itself seemed to have been made a
5 specific target of the shelling and the bombing by the JNA
6 units. What was once a three storey building with a
7 basement had been so badly bombed and shelled -- at one
8 stage they had white sheets outside with a red crosses to
9 try to get the building exempted from the shelling, and it
10 seemed to be used by aircraft as somewhere to point their
11 targets to pin point where they were going to drop their
12 bombs -- every patient in the hospital had had to go to
13 the basement. That was the only place within the building
14 where the medical staff could actually work properly.
15 When I say "properly", under very extreme conditions. How
16 they actually managed with the number of people that were
17 in the basement is quite incredible when you think about
18 it now.
19 Q. A moment ago you also indicated that a number of people
20 had gathered in the area of the hospital. Are you aware
21 of the reasons why this occurred?
22 A. Yes, I know that there had been negotiations going on
23 between the Serbian -- or the JNA representative, General
24 Raseta, humanitarian organisations and, in particular, the
25 International Committee for the Red Cross. Dr. Bosanac,
1 who was then the Director of Vukovar Hospital, together
2 with representatives of the Vukovar defenders, they had
3 reached an agreement that the hospital and the grounds of
4 the hospital would be a place that would be neutralized,
5 so to speak, that people who were within that area would
6 be evacuated from the hospital and from the grounds and
7 given safe passage to wherever they wanted to go, wherever
8 they chose to go, because at that time there were still
9 some Serbian civilians living within Vukovar itself,
10 living under the same conditions as the Croatian people.
11 Q. So it is your understanding that a lot of these people
12 came to the Vukovar Hospital seeking refuge and safe
13 transit from the area as the JNA occupied the city?
14 A. Yes. There had been communications through the sort of
15 local grapevine by people who were engaged, there that
16 people should gather at the hospital and when the
17 surrender took place, and Vukovar was actually handed over
18 to the JNA, that the evacuation would take place from the
19 hospital and people would be guaranteed a safe passage.
20 Q. At some point in time did the JNA, in fact, come to the
21 hospital and take control of the facility?
22 A. Yes, the JNA actually arrived at the hospital on
23 19th November; the surrender having been negotiated on
25 Q. What happened once JNA units arrived at the hospital?
1 A. Well, on 19th November, obviously, they arrived there,
2 there was no resistance. There were many, many people
3 gathered there waiting to be evacuated. The JNA monitored
4 what was going on during the day, how many people were
5 there. They were in the hospital during the night taking
6 names and trying to identify some of the patients who were
7 actually within the hospital at that time in the basement,
8 many of the wounded people and defenders, in particular.
9 Q. On the night of 19th November and until the morning of
10 20th November, what seemed to be the behaviour of the JNA
11 at the hospital?
12 A. At that time there was nothing in particular. The JNA
13 behaviour at that stage seemed to be consistent with an
14 army behaving properly and taking care of the people,
15 although some people had been removed, but for what reason
16 we do not know at this stage.
17 Q. Did there come a point in time when the behaviour of the
18 JNA changed?
19 A. Well, we know that on 20th November in the morning there
20 was a meeting called where all the hospital employees, all
21 the hospital staff, were ordered to attend. This meeting
22 took place on the ground floor of the hospital building.
23 Major Veselin Sljivancanin headed the meeting and spoke to all the
24 staff for a considerable amount of time. During that
25 period of time a large number of male patients, together
1 with some hospital employees, were removed from the
2 basement, from the beds where they were being treated and
3 forced to go to the rear entrance of the hospital where
4 they were searched and ordered to mount some five or six
5 buses which were parked just outside the hospital grounds
6 in a street called Gunduliceva Street.
7 Q. Inspector Milner, you indicated earlier that there had
8 been an agreement reached regarding international
9 monitoring of the evacuation of the hospital; is that
11 A. That is correct.
12 Q. This evacuation of these men taken out near the emergency
13 entrance, was this conducted in accordance with the
14 agreement that had been reached regarding international
15 monitoring of the evacuation?
16 A. No, it was not. The most significant incident on that day
17 is that, apart from having the hospital staff removed from
18 the area where the wounded were being treated so that none
19 of the staff could see who was being removed from the
20 hospital, humanitarian organisations, again in particular
21 a representative of the International Red Cross, tried to
22 gain access to the hospital but was refused. He had, in
23 fact, been told that the route was mined, that it was
24 dangerous, even in spite of the fact that the previous
25 day, on 19th, the hospital had actually been entered by
1 news crews and media and a large number of people had
2 already started to be evacuated.
3 Q. These men that were taken outside the emergency entrance,
4 approximately how many men were involved?
5 A. We estimate about 300.
6 Q. What happened to them after they were taken out of the
7 hospital building itself?
8 A. After they were taken out of the hospital building, they
9 were searched, allegedly for weapons. They were all
10 ordered to get on these five to six buses -- the exact
11 number is not clear but we believe it may have been six --
12 and as they boarded the buses they waited until everyone
13 had been searched and placed aboard the buses. Once all
14 the people had boarded the buses, the buses then turned
15 around in the street and took a route towards the JNA
16 barracks which were situated in a road called Sajmiste.
17 Q. While on the buses were the men placed under guard or
18 detained in any way?
19 A. Each bus had one or two armed guards, JNA soldiers on
20 board the buses.
21 Q. What happened once the buses arrived at the JNA barracks?
22 A. When the buses pulled into the JNA barracks, they pulled
23 into what is described as a circular driveway, so all the
24 buses were lined up in a semi-circle around the central
25 circular drive. Inside the grounds of the barracks there
1 were a large number of what has been described as Serbian
2 irregulars; in other words, not JNAs but people in part
3 uniform who were making threats and gestures of threats
4 and shouting at people, and basically engaged in verbal
5 terrorism towards these men who were on the buses.
6 Q. At some point in time while the buses were located at the
7 JNA barracks, were some of the men removed?
8 A. Yes, they were.
9 Q. How did this come about?
10 A. A list had been made of the men, we think a fairly
11 comprehensive list, and a man, one of the accused men, in
12 fact, Captain Miroslav Radic, Miroslav Miroslav Radic, got on board each
14 in turn with the list and called out names on the list.
15 As each person who was called out identified himself,
16 those particular individuals were removed from the bus and
17 put on board another bus. Eventually, all these men who
18 were put on board the other bus were taken back to Vukovar
19 Hospital. These men were, in the main, hospital
20 employees, people who had been vouched for by people who
21 were actually still at the hospital. We know that when
22 some of these men actually returned to Vukovar Hospital
23 they had to be inspected as they got off the bus, and some
24 of them were actually rejected so they were taken away
25 again and returned to the barracks.
1 Q. Now you have named a couple of individuals in connection
2 with these events already, Major Veselin Sljivancanin who spoke to
3 the hospital staff and Captain Miroslav Radic who got on the bus
4 and read out these names. Are you familiar with the
5 military unit that both of these individuals were in?
6 A. Yes, Major Veselin Sljivancanin was the Commander of the Guards
7 Brigade which was part of the first military district
8 which was actually based in Belgrade, and Captain Miroslav Radic
9 was the Commander of a special unit within the Military
10 Brigade. Major Veselin Sljivancanin in actual fact was directly
11 in charge of the Military Police section of the Guards
13 Q. OK. Are you familiar with who was in command of the
14 Brigade as a whole?
15 A. Yes. Colonel Mile Mrksic was in charge of that particular
17 Q. How long approximately did the buses remain at the JNA
18 barracks after they arrived there?
19 A. The estimates will vary, but around two hours.
20 Q. When the buses departed the JNA barracks, where did they
22 A. When the buses left the barracks, they turned out in back
23 into Sajmiste Street or Sajmiste in the same direction as
24 they had arrived, continued on that same road which turns
25 into a road called Negoslavci Road. Negoslavci is a
1 village just outside Vukovar, some three kilometres which
2 in fact had been taken over or a house in the Negoslavci
3 had been taken over and used as the sort of command
4 headquarters for Mr. Mile Mrksic. Once they left the city, the
5 city boundaries, they travelled about two kilometres south
6 of the town and then turned left on to a small road and
7 travelled through the fields to a place called Ovcara
8 Farm. Ovcara Farm was formally a co-operative farm within
9 the area.
10 Q. What happened when the buses arrived at Ovcara?
11 A. As the buses arrived outside the main building out of
12 Ovcara which is described as a hangar, the people on board
13 the buses could see a large line or a double line of JNA
14 soldiers together with a large number of these Serb
15 irregulars, as we are describing them. Each bus was
16 unloaded one at a time. As each man got off the bus he
17 was ordered to walk through this tunnel of men. As each
18 person walked through this tunnel of men towards the main
19 doors of the hangar, he was subjected to terrible
20 beatings, kickings, hitting with rifle butts. Any
21 jewellery that was visible on them was torn off them. All
22 their belongings were taken and deposited outside the
23 doors of the hangar, and each man was then made to go
24 inside the hangar and stand facing the wall.
25 Q. What happened once the men were assembled in the hangar in
1 this manner?
2 A. After all the buses had been unloaded, the doors of the
3 hangar were closed, but a number of these irregulars went
4 inside the hangar and there an orgy of beatings started to
5 take place. Some individuals were subjected to the most
6 horrific acts by some of these irregular people.
7 Certainly at least two of the individuals that were inside
8 the hangar were described as having been beaten to death
9 with people jumping up and down on top of them, kicking
10 their head, beating with rifle butts, really quite
11 indescribable in terms of horror.
12 At the same time there was an individual going
13 around taking names of all the people who were prisoner
14 inside that hangar. We do have a description from some of
15 the survivors also of a man in uniform who was inside the
16 hangar with a whistle, and after a certain period of time
17 he would below the whistle, the irregulars who had been
18 inside the hangar would then leave and they would be
19 replaced by another lot of these irregulars who would then
20 take over where the first lot of had left off engaged in
21 these horrific acts.
22 Q. Do you have any idea how long these beatings continued?
23 A. They certainly continued for several hours. As you can
24 imagine, if you had been in this situation all sort of
25 sense and time and reality would leave you totally, but it
1 is clear that it continued until dark. But there was
2 another incident that happened before the beatings finally
3 stopped. During the first couple of hours certain
4 individuals came into the hangar who were either JNA
5 soldiers or were part of the volunteer groups or Serb
6 irregulars and had a look around the people who had been
7 taken prisoner. If these people recognised someone they
8 knew, had been a friend or a colleague, they would
9 identify that person and actually put in a word for him
10 with the commander outside. Who the commander was
11 I cannot say at this time, but certainly nine people were
12 selected to come out of the hangar at one stage and were
13 taken away from Ovcara during that afternoon. But they
14 had to wait outside the hangar and could hear the sounds
15 of these beatings continuing until they actually left.
16 Q. After these men left, the nine or so that were saved by
17 people who knew them, what happened to the remaining men
18 that were left in the hangar?
19 A. Well, as I said, the beatings are described as having
20 continued until certainly the evening. No one has been
21 able to be accurate about the time, but we do know that at
22 some stage there was a generator going that operated the
23 lights, so there was electricity there and the lights were
24 switched on. The person who had made the list of names
25 started calling out names of people, and groups of what is
1 described as between 10 and 20 people were selected to go
2 outside the hangar. Those people never came back. One
3 particular witness who was in the third or fourth group of
4 people -- do you want me to continue with this -- one
5 particular witness who was in the third or fourth group of
6 people to be selected went outside where there was a
7 medium sized lorry with a canvas cover on the back, and he
8 along with some other people was ordered on board the
9 lorry. The lorry had a driver and an armed guard. The
10 armed guard was in the actual cab of the lorry. The
11 canvas on the back of the lorry was pulled down, and the
12 lorry was driven from the hangar at Ovcara out on to a
13 small road which goes towards a place called Grabovo.
14 At some stage alone that road there is a dip,
15 quite a steep dip, in the road which is described as
16 getting flooded in the winter. This particular witness
17 has lived in the Vukovar area all his life, knows the
18 geography of the place very well, and is aware of a dirt
19 track which leads to the left of this road near the dip in
20 the road towards Grabovo.
21 The lorry turns left off the Grabovo Road along
22 a dirt track which has a line of trees to the right and
23 open fields to the left. It was very dark at that time
24 and there was some discussion between two people on the
25 back of the lorry as to whether they should try to
1 escape. The people who were talking about it decided that
2 it would be safer to stay on board in case they got shot.
3 This particular individual decided he was going to try to
4 escape anyway, and managed to squeeze out between the
5 canvas and between the ladder at the back of the lorry and
6 onto the ground and actually made good his escape. He
7 does describe hearing some bullets, some gunfire, within a
8 short time of actually jumping off the lorry, but he is
9 unable to say just how many bullets were fired or what
10 happened thereafter.
11 Q. To your knowledge has anything of significance been
12 discovered near this location where the witness jumped off
13 the truck?
14 A. Well, in 1992 based, on the directions that had been given
15 by this individual, Dr. Clyde Snow and a team of people
16 from the Physicians for Human Rights went to the location
17 as described near Ovcara and started doing some
18 preliminary excavations, and they discovered what appeared
19 to be the site of a mass grave.
20 Q. After that time are you aware of any efforts which have
21 been made to fully excavate or exhume the site?
22 A. Yes. On the first visit in 1992 Dr. Snow and his
23 colleagues discovered very quickly two skeletons, and as a
24 result of that discovery went back in 1993 to do a
25 preliminary excavation, what was described as a very large
1 trench which had obviously been machine dug. After
2 digging a test trench they discovered nine skeletons and,
3 according to the research that he carried out at that
4 time, there is evidence that that grave could contain up
5 to 300 bodies. Certainly there were signs from the
6 skeletons that had been found that people had been shot
7 through the head. There were bullets scarrings on trees,
8 and empty shell casings found around the immediate area of
9 the grave.
10 Q. Were any items of jewellery or personal items discovered
11 on the skeletons that they did look at?
12 2 A. Yes. There was the remains of what was clearly a rosary.
13 There was a gold chain. There was a wooden cross and a
14 metal cross, and there was also what appeared to be
15 something like a hand-made medallion which was attached to
16 a metal chain, and the medallion was inscribed with the
17 words "Bog I Hrvati" which means God and Croats.
18 Q. After that time were any other attempts made to fully
19 exhume the site?
20 A. There were attempts made to fully exhume the site, but any
21 further work there was stopped by the Serbian authorities
22 who were then ruling that particular area and are still in
24 Q. Have any efforts been made to identify who the bodies are
25 that are in the grave?
1 A. The only means of identification at the present time has
2 been the pieces of jewellery that were actually
3 recovered. In Zagreb there is an organisation that is
4 named "Mothers of Vukovar" which consists mainly of
5 mothers, wives daughters, of missing men from the Vukovar
6 area. We have instigated enquiries through them to see if
7 we can make an identification of those particular people,
8 but until we get the opportunity to actually exhume the
9 grave properly, it will be impossible to identify properly
10 who these people are that are within the grave. As there
11 are some two and a half thousand people missing,
12 unaccounted for, from the Vukovar area, it is obviously
13 something that we would like to do as quickly as possible,
14 but that is the extent of our identification attempts.
15 Q. At this time, your Honours, I would like to have Inspector
16 Milner display a series of digital maps on the computer
17 which we will mark as Exhibits 15 through 22. I would ask
18 Inspector Milner to show these maps to the court,
19 indicating the locations of the sites that he has
20 discussed in his testimony, and also to relate to the
21 court the route which the victims were taken from Vukovar
22 Hospital on 20th November 1991. I believe this will
23 appear on the computer monitor.
24 A. Your Honour, you should have the map displayed in front of
25 you now, I believe? Here we have a map showing the area
1 of Vukovar town and the area surrounding it. The most
2 significant areas here are pointed out: Vukovar Hospital,
3 the JNA barracks which I referred to, Ovcara hangar where
4 the beatings and at least two murders took place, and the
5 actual grave site itself. Just to enlarge that bit
6 slightly, we will go into that in more detail soon. There
7 is a closer view of Vukovar town, and the Hospital up here
8 near the banks of the River Danube and the JNA barracks on
9 the south side of the town.
10 What I would like to show you here, this is the
11 representation of the Hospital building, and this
12 promontory here is a roof which covers what is described
13 as the emergency exit. This emergency exit is situated
14 near the kitchens just along this side of the building.
15 The area here to the right is the front of the hospital.
16 This was where most of the refugees were gathering from
17 the 18th and 19th November in order to be evacuated back
18 to Croatian territory in the main. This emergency exit
19 was where the wounded were removed from the hospital on
20 the morning of the 20th whilst the Hospital staff were
21 being lectured to by Major Veselin Sljivancanin. There is a
22 downward sloping ramp just alone this area here. I how
23 much you can see the arrow. Coming out here is the
24 Gunduliceva Street. Now the buses were parked alone
25 here. This road is actually a one-way road, and the buses
1 were facing to the left of the screen, if you like, the
2 wrong direction on a one-way road. When the buses were
3 loaded they had to turn around in the street and then head
4 off along this route here.
5 As you will see marked in yellow, Vukovar
6 Hospital at the top. The buses took the direction along
7 this road which seems a pretty straight road here,
8 reaching and crossing the Vuka River. Pardon me for
9 looking here but some of the names are strange for me.
10 There is a square called Marko Oreskovic Square. The
11 buses turn right and follow this route down here towards
12 the JNA barracks here.
13 Now this road is call Sajmiste. This area is
14 where the buses pulled in. This is not the main entrance
15 to the barracks. The main entrance to the barracks is up
16 here. You will see there are two white lines depicted
17 here. That is the main entrance. This is a side entrance
18 to the barracks and the buses pulled in and were in a
19 semi-circle around this particular circular drive.
20 This is where, quite clearly, the JNA were
21 working together with these Serbian irregulars and allowed
22 them to use the barracks and at that stage to start
23 preparing themselves for what was going to happen to the
24 people who were in these buses.
25 When the buses left the JNA barracks they
1 continued on along the same road but which then turns into
2 the Negoslavci Road, and then it does a right turn along
3 here. You see it is getting out into the countryside,
4 into the agricultural area here, then turns a right and
5 along a small road towards Ovcara Farm itself. Perhaps
6 I can enlarge that. This was one of the centres for or
7 the main centre for the Agricultural Co-operative. That
8 was a centre of the workforce until the conflict started
9 in 1991.
10 This road here is the Grabovo Road. As I have
11 described to you, when the lorries left the hangar later
12 on that same night they took this road here, the Grabovo
13 Road, got down to this ravine, there is a dip in the road
14 here, and turn left alone this dirt track and the grave
15 site discovered and partly excavated by Dr. Snow is
16 situated in this area here.
17 Q. Thank you, Inspector. Your Honours, at some point in the
18 near future we will have these maps reduced to hard copy
19 and at that time we will tender them to the court.
20 Before I move on, do any members of the court
21 have any questions for Inspector Milner regarding these
22 maps since they are on?
23 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: No questions, thank you, Prosecuting
25 MR. WILLIAMSON: At this time then, your Honours, I would like
1 to have a video shown which will be marked as Exhibit 23.
2 This video is a compilation of footage from various
3 sources, but comes primarily from Radio Television,
4 Belgrade, and was their coverage of events that were going
5 on in Vukovar. I would again ask Inspector Milner to
6 narrate as we go through this tape to indicate to the
7 court the locations that we have been discussing and also
8 to point out individuals who are relevant to this case as
9 they appear on the tape.
10 A. Your Honours, you will find that there is no sound track
11 with the majority of this tape, but at a certain stage
12 there will be some sound track and some transcripts have
13 been provided I believe, but I have not got them.
14 What you see here is the city of Vukovar prior
15 to 1991. You will see that Vukovar itself was quite an
16 affluent town, very beautiful, lots of cultural
17 buildings. Some parts of the town actually date back to
18 the 12th Century and many historic monuments; a very rich
19 agricultural community, as well as having lots of natural
20 resources, oil, natural gas and a very thriving factory
21 they called Borovo Factory which employed up to 30,000
22 people making shoes, leather goods, rubber goods, etc.
23 The town of Vukovar itself had a population in
24 1991 after a census of some 44,000 people and, as you can
25 see, an attractive place to live. I think the people who
1 actually were residents there were considered to be fairly
2 affluent, certainly in relative terms with the whole of
3 former Yugoslavia.
4 Here we are into 1991 and you can see the
5 differences. Some of the light is adjustable I think.
6 You can see here the absolute devastation that has been
7 caused to a once beautiful city; some of the refugees
8 being taken out. This really depicts the state of the
9 town itself once the JNA had finished their duties there.
10 I think it was described as "liberating" the town. Really
11 the pictures tend to speak for themselves, depicting the
12 needless destruction wanton destruction that has been
13 caused. Some of the cultural buildings will never ever
14 exist again. You can see the main hotel in the background
15 destroyed, all these residential buildings. It does not
16 actually need too many words. In fact, probably the
17 actual scene to visit it is even worse. Some of the tanks
18 as they close in on the town centre. What you will see,
19 it is just an example of shooting where residential
20 buildings are being targeted. There were no military
21 targets at all within that town. The only place that
22 could be described as having any sort of military value
23 was the JNA barracks which was always occupied by the
24 JNA. It was never taken over by any of the Croatian
1 Churches were a particular target for JNA
2 destruction. Again just examples of wanton indiscriminate
3 shelling, bombing and destruction. This is the water town
4 in the town which is quite a symbol for the people in
5 Vukovar. Some dead bodies on the streets. The bodies
6 here were placed in various locations, people who had
7 actually died in the hospital mainly during the conflict,
8 but because it was so unsafe at one stage to actually go
9 out and bury people, they had to be just laid down in a
10 road to await some stage when they could be buried.
11 This is a mass grave, but it was a mass grave
12 that had been dug by the authorities to dispose of the
13 people that had actually been killed during the conflict.
14 There is nothing mysterious or any significance in that,
15 apart from the numbers of people, innocent civilians, who
16 had been killed.
17 Again some JNA actions. This area itself is an
18 area called Protrovagaro where the main sort of frontline
19 at that particular part of the town is where the JNA set
20 up and controlled one part of the offensive from there.
21 These are mainly irregular JNA soldiers here. During this
22 video you will see clips of people who do not look a bit
23 like JNA soldiers. Again, shots of the destruction.
24 These are people who are obviously not JNA soldiers.
25 You are going to see very shortly a group of
1 people with certain types -- this black hat that is worn
2 by this individual here on the right is described as a
3 Kokarda, they call themselves Chetniks. And just pictures
4 of aimless shooting. The JNA by this time occupied most
5 of the strategic places that there could be for attacking
6 the population. You can get an idea of just how much
7 armoury the JNA were using against a very lightly armed
8 force of defenders of some 1,800 to 2,000 people maximum,
9 and more scenes of destruction.
10 The man in the foreground is Major
11 Veselin Sljivancanin, and the man pointing his finger by the car
12 is Captain Miroslav Radic. You can see he was there
13 directing operations at the front line. The people there
14 are a mixture of JNA and paramilitaries and irregulars.
15 That was Veselin Veselin Sljivancanin talking on the radio to
16 Croatian counterpart because they had the same radio
17 system. As you can imagine, it was all in the same way.
18 You will see Major Veselin Sljivancanin taking his part in the
19 bombardment of Vukovar here. These are regular JNA
20 soldiers and you can see the difference between those and
21 some of the other individuals. The amount of work that
22 the hospital staff had to do was totally out of proportion
23 to the number of staff that there were there and the
24 conditions they had to work in were unbelievable.
25 This is the basement of Vukovar Hospital and it
1 is not yet full up. As we got nearer to the time of
2 surrender, when more and more casualties were coming into
3 the Hospital, there were sometimes two wounded people
4 sharing a single bed, people sleeping on mattresses
5 underneath beds and people sleeping on shelves;
6 unbelievable conditions and the job that the medical staff
7 did was remarkable.
8 This is Vukovar Hospital or was Vukovar
9 Hospital. There was no way that that amount of damage can
10 be caused accidentally. This was deliberate targeting of
11 civilian locations, a place where they knew there were
12 going to be civilians wounded, helpless and defenceless
14 What you are going to see very soon is a hole, a
15 large hole that goes from the roof through every floor of
16 the building. This hole which is shown now was caused by
17 a bomb that was dropped by the JNA Air Force. This bomb
18 was estimated to be in the region of 250 kilos. By some
19 miracle it failed to explode. It landed on the bed of a
20 patient, landing between his legs apparently, and you will
21 see the size of it soon. It was referred to by the
22 hospital staff afterwards later as the "pig". This is the
23 bomb here and the bed that it landed on. It is not all
24 that clear a picture, but I think the picture tells the
25 story. I think if that had exploded there would be a few
1 less witnesses now to what horrors took place in that town
2 in 1991.
3 This is showing the evacuation of people who had
4 gathered at the hospital during the 19th and on 20th.
5 I think the most significant part of these pictures is the
6 fact that you will see there are very, very few young men
7 within these people who are evacuating the town. This
8 area here is the area that I described as the emergency
9 exit where the men prisoners were taken from on the
10 morning of 20th. This area is actually at the front of
11 the Hospital but, as I said, look around and see how many
12 young men there are there. There was a policy of
13 separating all men probably between 15 and 65 as suspected
14 defenders and they were taken away. There is the odd man,
15 but not many.
16 These people have been given the choice of where
17 to go: to go to Croatia or any other country that they
18 actually chose to, but of course their homes are all in
19 Vukovar or were. These are some of the buses that were
20 being used to take them away. What you see here are men
21 that have been separated from the rest of the community.
22 Again, these pictures speak for themselves, victims of the
23 conflict. This was one of the sheets that was used to
24 depict the Hospital as a place that should be exempted
25 from the destruction. You see there is the factory at
1 Borovo Selo which was part of the Vukovar area and some of
2 the men that have been taken prisoner, disarming the men.
3 These people will all be removed and locked up in camps.
4 The great majority of them never ever to be seen again.
5 As I said before, there are some 2,500 people still
6 missing, unaccounted for, with the wives and children
7 waiting for some news. These are the defenders, some of
8 the 1800 people who held out 30,000 of the JNA for some
9 three months.
10 What you will see now is following the
12 "What is the matter?
13 The colonel knows all the problems.
14 There aren't any problems. I just know
15 that some, that some civilians ... What's
16 the problem? Go on, state the problem,
17 please state the problem?
18 The problem is I can see soldiers walking
19 on the streets. I can see the trucks going
20 on. Look, look, look there. I have opened
21 the bridge to traffic. My colleagues were
22 there. If, sir, your only concern are the
23 interests of people who were in the cellar
24 and whom my soldiers are keeping safe, in
25 that case ... that's all taken care of. If
1 it's no concern of yours that I have had
2 young soldiers killed 18, 19 and 20 years
3 old, then you are not welcome here. And,
4 sir, my own soldiers have been killed here
5 tonight, and, sir, there's a war on here.
6 My soldiers were killed here this evening.
7 There is a war being waged here. We are
8 trying to make sure that you are all safe
9 and left in peace. While you come to me
10 talking of problems. Then if you don't like
11 it here feel free to turn back and go where
12 you do like it and I'm embarrassed to have
13 you treat me this way. Whatever you ask of
14 me I have given it all.
15 .and the court building is next to it.
16 In that building there was yesterday or
17 rather from that building people were
18 firing yesterday, and we saw soldiers
19 taking several hundred rifles from the
20 building, rifles left behind by members of
21 the Croatian National Guard and the
22 Croatian Police when they ran away towards
23 the Hospital where a number of them were
24 hiding. This is now the Hospital entrance
25 and here we see the representatives of the
1 European Mission.
2 You will allow people in these vehicles and
3 this coming into the Hospital and people in
4 white suits with these badges and Red Cross
5 badges to come here, others not.
6 So nobody else can pass through. Not until
7 the wounded are, until the wounded are
9 Those people, those people were right to
10 have done that, no matter whose side they
11 were on. No one as doctor nor any
12 paramedic has reason to fear anything.
13 Yes, go on. There was some
14 misunderstanding this morning with the Red
15 Cross. Has that been sorted out now?
16 There was no misunderstanding on our part,
17 none at all, none at all. Please,
18 gentlemen, first, there was no
19 misunderstanding on our part. I stress
20 once again that this is the zone of corp.
21 protection and that there is a war on and
22 that weather conditions must be respected
23 as well as certain activities carried out
24 by JNA units. And listen, the firing
25 still goes on and that every man and every
1 organisation coming here must be guaranteed
2 safety and security, and everybody must
3 have patience and steady nerves for this is
4 not a time of peace, and this is no
5 ordinary life, but in this kind of life you
6 or anybody else could get killed needlessly
7 at any minute.
8 As far as we are concerned, everything is
9 proceeding according to plan and as
10 agreed. As long as it doesn't happen as it
11 already did yesterday when we got ready 50
12 bus loads of civilians from Vukovar who
13 wanted to go to Croatia, but the gentleman
14 from Croatia sent them back to Vukovar ...
15 before JNA units liberated Vukovar our
16 barrack was hit by 400 to 500 mortar
17 shells. Last night when we arrested the
18 remaining Ustasha forces and the rest of
19 the citizens, I was proud of my soldiers
20 who had not once tried to take their
21 revenge on someone but extended help as
22 much as was needed, and all our soldiers
23 and all officers are told that it is highly
24 humane and a great honour to help every man
25 and every nation. At the same time, sir,
1 this is a dirty war and no other war in
2 history has been fought in this way. The
3 JNA has sprang from that People’s Army,
4 from that People’s Army which involved
5 World War II fought against fascism
6 together with the rest of the allies.
7 No. Our soldiers are altogether at their
8 positions. They only took part together in
9 the carrying out, in the liberation of the
10 town of Vukovar.
11 Can we make arrangements with the people in
12 the northern command to go and see the
13 hospital? I think I cannot ensure of this
14 right now.
15 Maybe someone else can.
16 That could be solved by, for in that
17 section that the River Vuka can be crossed
18 between us and that operations group
19 north. There are minefields and we are not
20 sure we should take you where you wouldn't
21 be safe. And we have not yet demined the
23 After a tour of the barracks, he stopped
24 briefly in Negoslavci. There he talked
25 with the commander of the operations group
1 Mile Mrksic and the members of his staff.
2 This is the village of Negoslavci three
3 kilometres south of Vukovar.
4 THE WITNESS: So Major Veselin Sljivancanin, Colonel Mile Mrksic.
5 "To mark the end of combat actions in the
6 Vukovar region, General Veljko Kadijevic
7 received several of his commanders who had
8 taken part in operations in the area, at
9 the Federal Defence Secretariat.
10 To mark the end of combat actions in the
11 Vukovar region, General Veljko Kadijevic
12 and his aides received the commander of the
13 first military district, Lieutenant General
14 Zivota Panic, the commander of the north
15 operations group, Major General Andrija
16 Biorcevic, the commander of the south
17 defence groups, Colonel Mile Mrksic and the
18 commander of the Air Force unit of the
19 First Air Force Corps of the Air Force and
20 Air Defence, Colonel Branislav Petrovic,
21 all of whom he congratulated on they
23 According to a communique issued by the
24 Federal Defence Secretariat, the reception
25 was also attended by several officers,
1 soldiers volunteers who had particularly
2 distinguished themselves in the heavy
3 fighting in the streets and catacombs of
4 the town which had been fortified for
6 In a lengthy conversation on this occasion,
7 General Kadijevic paid tribute to all the
8 participants in the nearly two months of
9 fighting in which a lead Ustasha forces and
10 numerous domestic and foreign mercenaries
11 were trounced and captured. Having pointed
12 out that the combat successes, intrepidity
13 and selflessness that the officers,
14 soldiers and volunteers had displayed in
15 the Vukovar operation, would be a great
16 incentive and inspiration to all the
17 soldiers and officers of the Yugoslav
18 People's Army and Territorial Defence in
19 their fight against resurgent fascism and
20 renewed genocide against the Serbian
21 nation, General Veljko Kadijevic stressed
22 that in a time of victory we remember with
23 all due reverence, all the officers,
24 soldiers whose volunteers lives were built
25 into the victory."
1 THE WITNESS: The next clip, your Honour, will show the road to
2 Ovcara and the hangar at Ovcara where these prisoners were
3 taken to and beaten, and then we go to the grave site that
4 was described by the survivor and partly excavated by
5 Dr. Clyde Snow. These are the preliminary excavations
6 taking place. You can quite clearly see the skull in the
7 foreground. That is the medallion and the cross that
8 I referred to earlier on in my testimony, and these
9 UNPROFOR soldiers were just examining marks on the trees,
10 bullet scars on the trees. This is Dr. Snow.
11 "We have clear-cut evidence that a mass
12 execution occurred in Ovcara. The evidence
13 so far seems to connect the victims with
14 the patients who disappeared from the
15 hospital at Ovcara on November 20th 1991,
16 so I think this amounts to clear cut
17 evidence of a possible war crime. I cannot
18 think of any other reason why we would find
19 perhaps as many as 200, 250 people executed
20 with gun wounds in a clandestine grave."
21 THE WITNESS: That is the end of the video your Honour.
22 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Counsel, maybe after the video we could
23 take a break of 15 minutes before we continue with the
24 questioning or before the judges themselves ask any
25 questions. Yes, Prosecuting Counsel?
1 MR. WILLIAMSON: Yes, your Honour. I only have one or two
2 further questions, but if your Honour have several and you
3 think a break would be appropriate that is fine.
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: The hearing is adjourned.
5 (Short Adjournment)
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Prosecuting Counsel, you have the floor.
7 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, at this time we would like to
8 show another brief clip from the video that has just been
9 viewed for only about a two-minute portion where earlier
10 you heard the voice of a witness and we are hearing a
11 translation as it was being played, but I would like to
12 have Inspector Milner explain exactly what is going on
13 there. It is a very brief portion, if the court will
14 permit it?
15 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: If the extract was not short we would
16 still consider it in any case.
17 MR. WILLIAMSON: Thank you, your Honour. At this time I would
18 ask that the video be played. Detective, if you could
19 just explain what is going on at this point in time?
20 A. Yes, your Honour. What you are about to see is a
21 situation where on the bridge over the River Vuka the
22 representative of the International Red Cross Mr. Nicholas
23 Borsinger is attempting to gain access to the hospital
24 grounds and surroundings, having been promised in writing
25 that the evacuation of the hospital would take place under
1 the supervision and monitoring of the international
2 humanitarian organisations. This is the morning of the
3 20th November and, as we saw earlier on, quite clearly the
4 hospital grounds had been entered on the 19th by Serbian
5 news crews, media crews and by soldiers and other people,
6 yet on the 20th Major Veselin Sljivancanin is denying access to
7 these people until obviously it becomes convenient for
8 him, and this time is actually the time when the patients,
9 the wounded people from the hospital, are being evacuated
10 by the soldiers of the JNA together with the Serbian
11 paramilitaries. You heard the commentary earlier on how
12 violently Major Veselin Sljivancanin was objecting.
13 Q. Inspector, can you point out who Major Veselin Sljivancanin is?
14 A. Yes, Major Veselin Sljivancanin is the man with the cap in uniform
15 with the moustache. Nicholas Borsinger is the man on the
16 right who is the representative of the International Red
17 Cross and Major Veselin Sljivancanin is obviously showing his
18 complete authority over what is happening at that place
19 and at that time. You saw also earlier on clips of a
20 meeting between Major Veselin Sljivancanin and Mr. Cyrus Vance who
21 at that time was a special envoy of the United Nations who
22 was also trying to monitor what was happening within
23 Vukovar and at the hospital in particular, and the same
24 tactics were employed by Major Veselin Sljivancanin with Mr. Cyrus
25 Vance to stop him and his associates and colleagues having
1 access to what was actually taking place within the
2 hospital grounds at that time.
3 Q. Detective, after the footage was shown of Major
4 Veselin Sljivancanin meeting with Cyrus Vance, did Major
5 Veselin Sljivancanin also meet with Colonel Mile Mrksic?
6 A. Mr. Cyrus Vance met with Colonel Mile Mrksic.
7 Q. Where did the meeting take place?
8 A. The meeting took place in a house that had been
9 commandeered as the JNA Headquarters, for want of a better
10 word, in Negoslavci, in a village which has been described
11 just, three kilometres south of the town of Vukovar.
12 Q. Detective, at this time do you have any information about
13 the current whereabouts of the three accused in this case?
14 A. Yes. Well, we know that Mile Mrksic was promoted after
15 the conflict in Vukovar, and he was serving as commander
16 of the army of the so-called Republika Srpska Krajina, the
17 RSK, but after the Croatian offensive in Krajina last year
18 in 1995 he is reported to have fled into Bosnia and is
19 probably now in Belgrade.
20 As for Miroslav Radic, he is believed very
21 strongly still to be in Belgrade. His family home is in
22 Belgrade, we know that his wife and children. As far as
23 we are aware, he is still serving in the Serbian Army.
24 As for Veselin Veselin Sljivancanin, he has also been
25 promoted. He is now a Colonel and until very recently was
1 in command of the brigade within the army corps based in
2 Podrica, Montenegro. He is a Montenegrin by descent and
3 by birth I believe. It may well be that through his
4 promotion to full Colonel he is now in Belgrade, but
5 certainly within Serbian territory.
6 Q. So all three of these individuals are on the territory of
7 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, be it Serbia or
8 Montenegro, is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Thank you. At this time I would like to show to Inspector
11 Milner Exhibit No. 24. Can you identify this for the
12 court, please?
13 A. That is a photograph of Miroslav Radic. That photograph
14 is a printout from a video clip and was actually part of
15 the video that you viewed earlier on.
16 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Miroslav Radic, OK.
17 MR. WILLIAMSON: I would like to tender this as Exhibit 24.
18 I would now like to show to Inspector Milner the exhibit
19 we are making as No. 25. Detective, can you identify this
21 A. Yes. This is Major Veselin Veselin Sljivancanin or Major as he
22 was then and Colonel as he is now.
23 Q. Can you tell what the source of this photograph is?
24 A. Again the source of this photograph is, it is a print from
25 the video film transmitted by Belgrade television
2 Q. I would like now to tender this as Exhibit 25. I would
3 now like to show Inspector Milner photographs which we are
4 making as Exhibit 26. Can you identify this document,
6 A. Yes. This is a picture of Colonel Mile Mrksic when he
7 was attending the ceremony following the fall of Vukovar
8 when a number of JNA and paramilitary officers were being
9 congratulated on their achievements in Vukovar.
10 Q. Again what was the source of this photograph?
11 A. Again the source of this photograph was a video film which
12 was originally transmitted by Belgrade television.
13 Q. I would like to tender this as Exhibit 26. Your Honours,
14 as I indicated earlier, Exhibits 15 through 22 with the
15 digital maps which we will submit to the court at a later
16 time and also Exhibit 23 which is the video, but all of
17 those will be available should your Honours like to see
18 them at any other point during the hearing.
19 With that, I have no further questions.
20 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, Prosecuting Counsel. Before
21 we let Mr. Milner go, maybe Mrs. Odio Benito has some
23 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Thank you, Mr. President. Just a simple
24 question. Inspector Milner, in your declaration you talk
25 many times of people, refugees, in the hospital in
1 Vukovar, people wandering. Could you tell me if in this
2 case the word "people" means men, women, adults, children?
3 A. Your Honour ----
4 Q. Or only men?
5 A. --- actually removed from the hospital were mainly men,
6 but we do have testimony to the fact that there were a few
7 women removed, but we have taken our list of missing
8 people from the official records of the Croatian
9 government, their commission for missing people, and it
10 seems that there has been no official report by relatives
11 of the females that were taken from the hospital at the
12 time. Therefore, they have not been included in our list
13 of people within the indictment. So the majority, I would
14 say 98 per cent, 99 per cent, were men.
15 Q. But you talk about people, refugees and we saw many images
16 about a lot of women there.
17 A. Yes, your Honour. When I talk about people being taken
18 from the hospital ----
19 Q. No. You talk about people refugees. It is different.
20 A. Yes. The refugees were in the main all women, children
21 and old men.
22 Q. So, do you acknowledge what happened to the women and
23 children and old people remaining in the hospital after
24 300 men were taken out?
25 A. They were all evacuated in buses mainly through Bosnia and
1 ended up in Croatian territory and are now spread out in
2 various parts of Croatia in refugee places.
3 Q. Under the protection of the International Red Cross?
4 2 A. There was an escort by the Red Cross and ECMM monitors who
5 took the convoys. I know from my interviews of witnesses
6 that the actual evacuation was certainly not made easy by
7 some of the routes that they were forced to take, and a
8 lot of women actually ended up in camps for some period of
9 time varying between a month and three months, but they
10 all eventually ended up in -- I say "all", I beg your
11 pardon, I am wrong saying "all" because a number of people
12 actually died within camps, but the majority of people
13 ended up in safe territory in Croatia.
14 Q. Do you know, Inspector, what happened with the rest of the
15 men, women, children out of the hospital in Vukovar?
16 A. As far as I am aware, your Honour, they were all
18 Q. The whole population in Vukovar?
19 A. Not the whole of the population in Vukovar because there
20 were still Serbian people there. A significant part of
21 what was known to be Serbian parts of Vukovar were left
22 relatively unscathed through the bombing. It would seem
23 to be a tactic that only Croatian neighbourhoods were
24 actually targeted, and obviously those people just stayed
25 on this. There are people still living in Vukovar in
1 spite of the devastation. They are all Serbian people.
2 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Thank you, Inspector.
3 JUDGE RIAD: Inspector Milner, I would like to have a few
4 clarifications, although you are very clear and I would
5 like to thank you. First, I gathered clearly from what
6 you said that Mile Mrksic Miroslav Radic and Veselin Sljivancanin had
8 roles in the JNA?
9 A. Yes, your Honour.
10 Q. That is right. They were officers and they are still?
11 A. Officers.
12 Q. In a way they are still?
13 A. Yes, your Honour, that is correct.
14 Q. I can add, if I understood rightly, that the JNA itself
15 was directly involved because you mentioned the barracks
16 of Sajmiste?
17 A. That is correct.
18 Q. Are these barracks the barracks of the JNA?
19 A. Yes, your Honour.
20 Q. So the whole operation was directed from these barracks?
21 A. No, your Honour. The operation was a combination of
22 several units of the JNA or the former JNA. The barracks
23 themselves in relation to the number of people or number
24 of soldiers, armed forces, that were engaged on the attack
25 or the conflict around Vukovar came from various parts of
1 the First Military Brigade territory. So, there was a
2 corps called the Novi Sad Corps. Now Novi Sad is another
3 town completely.
4 Q. Yes.
5 A. And a large proportion of those men were engaged with that
6 conflict as well as units from other towns.
7 Q. Were they JNA too?
8 A. All JNA, yes.
9 Q. All JNA?
10 A. All JNA, assisted and reinforced by paramilitary units and
11 volunteers of what has been described as Serb irregulars.
12 Q. You also indicated that the Minister of Defence, whatever
13 he is called, congratulated those who accomplished this
14 of the hospital?
15 A. Yes, your Honour.
16 Q. Yes. He was the Minister of -- was it of Serbia, of the
17 Serbian Republic?
18 A. Well, they still considered themselves the Yugoslav
19 National Army.
20 Q. Yugoslav National Army?
21 A. He was a Serbian but he was the head of the JNA.
22 Q. Head of the JNA?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Were there any congratulations coming from higher
25 authorities too?
1 A. Nothing that we have got on record, your Honour.
2 Q. It went as high as the Minister?
3 A. Well, it went as high as the Minister. That was
4 Mr. Kadijevic who was doing the congratulations and
5 obviously he was within the government of Serbia.
6 Q. Now if we go back to the hospital itself, you mentioned
7 that everyone coming out of the hospital was in search of
9 A. Yes, your Honour.
10 Q. Did they find any weapons within?
11 A. As far as I am aware, certainly from the testimony of all
12 the witnesses that we have interviewed, no weapons were
14 Q. No weapons were found?
15 A. No weapons were found.
16 Q. Those were taken to what we consider the execution area?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. I would like to go back to these important videos you
19 showed us. In the light of what you said too, you said
20 Vukovar was indiscriminately bombarded and, I note,
21 totally destroyed ---
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. -- is that right, during three months?
24 A. Yes, your Honour.
25 Q. Were there any military sites in Vukovar?
1 A. Only the JNA barracks at Sajmiste.
2 Q. JNA?
3 A. JNA.
4 Q. But not ---
5 A. Not Croatian, no.
6 Q. -- Croatian?
7 A. No.
8 Q. From what we saw, there has been a total destruction?
9 A. Yes, your Honour.
10 Q. And indiscriminate destruction?
11 A. Yes, your Honour.
12 Q. Then the partition of 2,500 or did they flee? You
13 mentioned something like 2,500 people deported?
14 A. I think I mentioned, I talked about 2,500 men ---
15 Q. Yes?
16 A. -- from Vukovar and the Vukovar area ---
17 Q. Yes.
18 A. -- who were taken prisoner and ---
19 Q. Not from the hospital?
20 A. -- not from the hospital, from the area in total.
21 Q. In total?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Is this destruction of Vukovar and the taking away of the
24 2,500, was it subject of your enquiry or are you following
25 it up still?
1 A. That is an ongoing part of our enquiry, your Honour. The
2 team that I am working on is charged with investigating
3 Vukovar and, as you can see yourself, a small indication,
4 it is a huge task and we concentrated our initial
5 investigations on the incidents surrounding Vukovar
6 Hospital and the mass execution at Ovcara.
7 Q. But there is a follow-up concerning Vukovar itself?
8 A. Yes, your Honour.
9 Q. Thank you very much.
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I would just like to take advantage of
11 the question that was asked my colleague, and I would like
12 to ask The Prosecutor's office, because we are within the
13 framework of Rule 61, it is the question of the
14 confirmation of an indictment. The Chamber can ask a
15 number of questions with regard to the contributions made
16 by the witness very efficiently and with great relevancy.
17 This video was very important, so I would like to address
18 The Prosecutor's Office, and it is true, I think this was
19 raised at the moment of the confirmation of the
20 indictment, I would like to be certain that the other
21 aspects of Vukovar are still being dealt with by the
22 Prosecutor's Office. Although this is part of the
23 competence of The Prosecutor's office, we have to ask this
24 question, because in this video we can see both the
25 bombing of Vukovar, which was a major, large scale bombing
1 resulting in a lot of deaths, and another part of video we
2 see the heads, the leaders, if you like, congratulating
3 Veselin Sljivancanin, Mile Mrksic and Miroslav Radic. So I would like to
4 continue the questioning of the judge who confirmed the
5 indictment to see if in this task we can find out what is
6 going on with regards to all the other aspects of
7 Vukovar. Prosecuting counsel, please?
8 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, as Detective Milner indicated,
9 there are a number of ongoing investigations of incidents
10 in and around the city of Vukovar; some of
11 these centre on events which happened in the city itself;
12 some of them centre on events which occurred in some of
13 the surrounding communities; also, one of them involving
14 the city itself deals with the destruction of Vukovar.
15 There are a number of enquiries going on and it is
16 impossible at this time to say which ones of those will
17 lead to indictment. We believe, however, that all of the
18 enquiries we are involved in are very promising and they
19 are proceeding, and we hope that they will produce
20 indictments relatively soon.
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you for these details. Prosecuting
22 counsel, maybe a last question: You published photos on
23 the video. Have these photos been distributed to the IFOR
24 and to all the authorities, because you produced these as
1 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, it is my understanding that they
2 have been. I believe that some of the photographs or all
3 of these photographs have been forwarded to the national
4 authorities. I am not sure if they have, in fact, been
5 forwarded to IFOR because it is our information that these
6 three individuals are not located within the area of
7 responsibility of IFOR. We believe that they are all in
8 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and are not in Bosnia.
9 JUDGE: Thank you, Prosecuting counsel. This
10 detail is very important for the Tribunal. Prosecuting
11 counsel, what are we doing next? I would like to thank
12 the witness and thank him for the clarity of his
13 presentation and the density and the wealth of the
14 documents presented to the Tribunal. We now free you of
15 your obligations here. We thank you very much for your
16 statements. Thank you.
17 The witness withdrew)
18 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: You have the floor, Prosecutor.
19 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you. Your Honour, that is the last witness
20 that we are to call today. Your Honours, we will be in a
21 position to call further evidence when witnesses come to
22 The Hague next week on Tuesday, 26th March. There is
23 nothing further that we would wish to put to the Chamber
24 at this stage.
25 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Niemann, so we are going to adjourn
1 the current hearing in the framework of this attack on
2 Vukovar until 26th, which is a Tuesday, I believe ---
3 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, your Honour.
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: -- at 10 o'clock for the next part of the
5 hearing, and there is a witness for whom I have signed a
6 protection order. I think this is true.
7 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, your Honour.
8 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: So I now address the technical aspects
9 because these protection measures which I have requested
10 require a certain number of technical facilities. So for
11 Tuesday, 26th at 10 o'clock, we need to ensure that we
12 have all the technical facilities available for this
13 hearing for this very special protection. The presiding
14 judges are thanking the interpreters and the technicians
15 for their participation. The hearing is adjourned until
16 the 26th, Tuesday at 10 o'clock.
17 (The hearing was adjourned until Tuesday, 26th March 1996
18 at 10.00 a.m.)