1 THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL CASE NO. IT-95-13-R61
2 FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
3 IN THE TRIAL CHAMBER
6 Tuesday, 26th March 1996
15 CLAUDE JORDA
16 (The Presiding Judge)
18 JUDGE FUAD RIAD
19 JUDGE ODIO BENITO
25 IN THE MATTER OF VUKOVAR
8 MR. GRANT NIEMANN and MR. CLINT WILLIAMSON appeared on behalf of the
16 Tuesday, 26th March 1996.
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE [Original in French]: First of all, I would like to
18 be sure that the interpretation booths are working properly. First
19 of all, let me turn to the Registrar. Do you hear what I am saying?
20 Does the Prosecutor hear me? Do the assistants hear? The person
21 who is working on the transcripts, do you hear? Yes. Do my
22 colleagues hear me? All right. Mr. Marro, would you please call the
24 THE REGISTRAR [Original in French]: This is case IT-95-13-R61, the
25 Prosecutor of the Tribunal against Mrksic, Sljivancanin and Radic.
1 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We will now continue listening to the witnesses. I
2 give the floor to the Prosecutor to bring in the first witness and to
3 make the statements that we would like this person to make to the
4 Tribunal. I give you the floor.
5 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, Clint Williamson on behalf of the Office of
6 the Prosecutor. I am assisted today by Miss Ann Sutherland in court.
7 At this time the Prosecutor would request a brief recess in this
8 matter, an adjournment, until 2 o'clock this afternoon. My
9 co-counsel, Mr. Niemann, has been taken ill this morning. We do not
10 think that it is anything serious, but he has gone to a doctor and he
11 should be back and able to proceed this afternoon, but we would ask
12 the court's indulgence for a brief adjournment until that time.
13 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you. I will speak for a moment with my
14 colleagues. Mr. Williamson, first, the Tribunal wishes a good and
15 speedy recovery to Mr. Niemann. We will suspend the hearing but only
16 until 2 o'clock. The hearings and the questioning of the 11
17 witnesses have already been announced. We had planned to listen to
18 them during the course of 26th, 27th and 28th March.
19 The Tribunal, therefore, does grant you this adjournment,
20 but at 2 o'clock the Tribunal wishes to start again and that there be
21 no further interruptions. For now we will adjourn the meeting until
22 2 o'clock.
23 (The hearing was adjourned for a short time)
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Legal assistants, everybody is ready to return. The
25 Registrar, would you record the number of the case on the record,
2 THE REGISTRAR: This is the case IT-95-13, Rule 61, Prosecutor of the
3 Tribunal against Mrksic, Radic and Sljivancanin.
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, Registrar. I would like to record that
5 we are in the 61 hearing, and that this hearing will deal with the
6 charges against the three accused whose names have just been recorded
7 by the Registrar, the Prosecutor who has decided to call witnesses.
8 The hearing was suspended this morning. We are pleased to note that
9 Mr. Niemann has returned to us, and we give the floor to him
10 immediately. The floor is yours, Mr. Niemann, and we would like to
11 know whether we are now talking about witnesses which are those who
12 were asking for protection. I give the floor to you, prosecution.
13 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you, your Honour. I am grateful for your Honours'
14 indulgence this morning. Your Honours, the organisation of the
15 witnesses will go back to what was originally planned, and so the
16 protection measures will apply to those witnesses with the exception
17 of Dr. Striber who has sought protection. Your Honours, I call the
18 first witness, Dr. Vesna Bosanac.
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Excuse me, do you mean that the protection measures
20 that the Tribunal took will be extended to other witnesses as well?
21 MR. NIEMANN: One other witness.
22 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I would like to remind you that we had decided as
23 for witnesses A and B and then another witness who does not wish to
24 have his identity protected, but does wish to have both his face and
25 voice hidden. That was the order, in fact.
1 MR. NIEMANN: Yes.
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Has the Office of the Prosecutor decided that it
3 will ask for other protective measures for any others. If that is the
4 case, as the presiding judge, I am not going to refuse the request,
5 but, first, I would have to confer with my colleagues and to be
6 assured that the Prosecutor has made his position clear as regards
7 the first witness.
8 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, your Honour, with respect to the first witness,
9 Bosanac, there is no application to be made at all. My colleague Mr.
10 Williamson has had some discussions with other witnesses. I think
11 once we have concluded with the witness Dr. Bosanac, then I will ask
12 him to inform the Chamber of the current position with respect to any
13 other witnesses in which protective measures are sought. So, if your
14 Honour has no objection to that course, that is the way I wish to
15 proceed. Dr. Bosanac, there is no application at all made in relation
16 to her.
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: OK. I will just ask for a moment. Mr. Niemann, the
18 Tribunal has decided to grant your request. If you would like to, I
19 would ask the Registrar to help me where necessary. Each time a
20 witness is called or cited, we would like before that witness even
21 comes to the court, would you tell us what kind of protection he
22 wants and we ask the Registrar to prepare the order which I can sign
23 in accordance with my colleagues who will grant the kind of
24 protection that has been asked for. Things are now clear. You can
25 bring in the first witness who is not being protected in any way, nor
1 is he having his voice or face hidden. So this witness can now come
2 into the courtroom. The windows in front of the public gallery are
3 open and he is invited to make his solemn declaration before begins
4 to speak. So bring him in, please.
5 Dr. VESNA BOSANAC called.
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: First of all, ma'am, do you hear me? Do you hear
7 the Tribunal speaking to you? Do you hear us? Perhaps the Bailiff
8 can make sure that the channel is turned to the proper place. Do you
9 hear me now?
10 THE WITNESS [Original in Serbo-Croat]: OK.
11 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: You do hear me.
12 THE WITNESS: Yes.
13 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Does everybody hear me? Would you please rise, and
14 tell us what your name is, what is your first name, what you do, and
15 answer the Prosecutor's questions when he asks them. Please read the
16 solemn declaration before you begin to speak. Who are you, ma'am,
17 and would you please then make your statement?
18 THE WITNESS: Yes, my name is Vesna Bosanac. I am a medical doctor from
19 Vukovar. I live currently in Zagreb and I work outside of the
20 general hospital, and I am still head of the general hospital in
21 Vukovar in exile.
22 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Could you please read the declaration which was
23 given to you?
24 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, nothing but
25 the truth and the whole truth.
1 (The witness was sworn)
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, ma'am. You can sit down now. This is the
3 first witness. Could we please ask the Bailiff to remain close to
4 the person who is speaking, at least in the beginning, in order to
5 hand the declaration to that person and to make sure that it is in
6 compliance with the Rules of our Tribunal so that everything goes
7 smoothly as it ought to.
8 The Tribunal is now asking to speak to us in serenity and
9 as the Prosecutor will ask you to, please, answer the questions.
10 This is an international criminal Tribunal in which you can speak
11 with serenity and in full freedom. The floor is now yours, Mr.
13 Examined by MR. NIEMANN
14 MR. NIEMANN (To the witness): Dr. Bosanac, were you born in Subotica in
15 Vjovodina in Serbia?
16 A. Yes, I was.
17 Q. Are you a doctor of medicine?
18 A. Yes, I am.
19 Q. Did you earn your Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of
21 A. That is correct, yes.
22 Q. After that did you work at the "Sveti Duh" Hospital and then were you
23 subsequently transferred to the Vukovar Medical Centre?
24 A. That is correct.
25 Q. That was in February 1974?
1 A. Yes, it was.
2 Q. Is your specialisation paediatrics?
3 A. Yes, I am.
4 Q. Did you work from 1978 to 1979 at the Osijek General Hospital?
5 A. That is correct, yes.
6 Q. Did you do two years, 1979 to 1981, at the Zagreb Hospital?
7 A. Yes, I did.
8 Q. Are you currently a paediatrician at the Children's Clinic at
9 Kliepka(?) in Zagreb?
10 A. Yes, I am.
11 Q. At the same time are you the director in exile of the Vukovar General
13 A. Yes, I am.
14 Q. Are you also an advisor to the Minister of the Ministry of Health in
16 A. That is correct, yes.
17 Q. Were you appointed as the director of the Vukovar General Hospital on
18 25th July 1991?
19 A. Yes, I was.
20 Q. At the time the war in Vukovar had started, were you the director of
21 the hospital?
22 A. The war in Vukovar started earlier than that. It started on 2nd May
24 Q. When the shelling started in the city of Vukovar itself, was that
25 round about July 1991?
1 A. That is correct.
2 Q. At that stage, I think, on 25th July, later on you became the
3 director of the hospital?
4 A. Yes, it was on 25th July.
5 Q. Can you tell us when the shelling started to hit the middle of the
6 town of Vukovar, what month of the year was that, do you recall?
7 A. It was at the beginning of August, around 5th August.
8 Q. Can you recall the first occasion when the hospital was hit by the
10 A. The hospital was hit, that is, the administrative building of the
11 hospital, the hospital was hit by a shell around 7th August. It
12 destroyed our record section but nobody was hurt at that occasion.
13 Q. When this rocket hit the administrative building of the hospital, did
14 you contact anyone about this event at the time?
15 A. Yes, I did. I informed about this Government's Commissioner for the
16 municipality of Vukovar, the Minister of Health and I also talked to
17 the Commander of the barracks of the Yugoslav People's Army in
18 Vukovar, Captain Ristic.
19 Q. In particular, speaking to Captain Ristic, did he tell you anything
20 about the shelling or did he give you any assistance when you rang
22 A. No, he did not. I simply asked him the explanation for that but he
23 did not answer anything specifically, because the administration of
24 the building -- the hospital, the administration building was very
25 close to the building where JNA officers live, and a shell fell on
1 their garages as well. After that date, all officers were evacuated
2 from the centre of the town and they withdrew to the southern part of
3 the town to the barracks.
4 Q. Is this the JNA barracks in the southern part of the town?
5 A. That is correct.
6 Q. Can you recall the direction that the shelling was coming from at the
7 time that the administration building of the hospital was hit, from
8 what direction they were being fired?
9 A. We thought that it came from the direction of Borovo Selo, but I
10 cannot claim that with absolute certainty; whether it was from the
11 direction of Borovo Selo or from the other bank of the Danube River.
12 Q. On 24th August 1991 were some Serb soldiers injured around Borovo
14 A. Yes, that is correct. Actually, those soldiers were soldiers of the
15 Yugoslav People's Army who kept passing through the town in an APC
16 and they went to -----
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We do not have the transcript on our monitors.
18 Excuse me for a moment, please. We seem to have lost the transcript.
19 The screen should now be working. All right, Mr.
20 Niemann. We can resume.
21 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you, your Honour.
22 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: What shall we do about the transcript? Is it all
23 right now? It is back on the screen now.
24 MR. NIEMANN: It is back on our screen.
25 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We return the floor back over to the Prosecutor now.
1 MR. NIEMANN (To the witness): Dr. Bosanac, you were telling us before the
2 interruption about the fact there were some JNA soldiers who were
3 injured on 24th August 1991 in Borovo Selo. Would you tell us what
4 happened to those soldiers when they were wounded?
5 A. To the extent I am informed about that, those soldiers were driving
6 in an APC. They were travelling from Borovo Selo in the direction of
7 Vukovar and they turned from the road and hit a mine.
8 Q. And ----
9 A. Operation defenders then brought the four wounded soldiers to us, to
10 the hospital.
11 Q. Once they were brought to the hospital, what happened then? What
12 happened after that?
13 A. One of them was seriously wounded and he was burnt from the explosion
14 and the other three were only slightly wounded, and they were given
15 the necessary medical assistance right away. We gave them medicines,
16 infusion and placed them under medical treatment. But shortly after
17 that I was contacted by telephone by Captain Ristic from the JNA
18 barracks and he requested that the soldiers be evacuated to the
19 barracks. I told him that we could not do that because they had just
20 been wounded and that they had to rest and receive medication, and
21 they had to stay in hospital.
22 Q. What did Captain Ristic say to you when you said they could not be
23 discharged from the hospital?
24 A. At that time he did not say anything any more, but he probably called
25 our Chief of the Police and Government's Commissioner because he
1 called me -- I was then called by the Chief of Police who told me
2 that Captain Ristic insisted that we should prepare those wounded
3 soldiers for the evacuation to the barracks. They wanted to transfer
4 them to Belgrade from there, from the barracks.
5 Q. Just for the record, who was at that time the Chief of Police in
6 Vukovar? Can you remember his name?
7 A. Yes, I do, it was Mr. Stipa Pole.
8 Q. After he contacted you and said that they must be released, what
9 happened then? What was the next thing to happen?
10 A. Well, then we prepared them, well, actually I said that we could give
11 them one ambulance and that they should send us a van or some other
12 vehicle for the lightly wounded ones. So after that, after one hour
13 maybe, an APC arrived at the hospital compound. It was closed down,
14 and the janitor called me out and I got out and I saw that there was
15 an APC in the hospital yard and I knocked at their lid and then an
16 officer came out, but he did not get out of the vehicle, he just
17 peered out, and then I asked him why he came to the hospital in a
18 military APC, and then he said that he came to escort those wounded
20 He had a video camera and he recorded the hospital yard,
21 and I told him that he did not have to come to the hospital in an
22 APC, that we had been informed about everything and that the soldiers
23 were ready for evacuation if they had to go, but that this was by no
24 means good for them. Then the APC left the hospital premises, and a
25 military van arrived with their driver.
1 Q. At the time were there any military installations of any sort in the
2 hospital ground or around the hospital?
3 A. No. No.
4 Q. Did anyone accompany these wounded soldiers that were taken away in
5 the ambulance, anyone from the hospital?
6 A. Yes, the ambulance was driven by our driver, and our nurse
7 accompanied them, Anto Janko.
8 Q. When the nurse came back from where they were taken, did she tell you
9 what had happened to the soldiers?
10 A. Yes, she did. She came back and she told me that there was a
11 helicopter in the yard of the barracks and that Belgrade TV was
12 there, and there were many people waiting for the wounded soldiers
13 inside the barracks, and then they were transferred from our
14 ambulance to the helicopter and they let her go back to the hospital.
15 Q. Thank you. Doctor, were there any other JNA soldiers as patients in
16 the hospital at that time apart from these men that were brought in
17 who had been wounded in the APC?
18 A. No, that day, no, there were none, but before that soldiers used to
19 come to our emergency section if they were ill and that was the first
20 time that the wounded were brought there, wounded soldiers from the
21 JNA. After that very often Croatian defenders brought captured
22 wounded JNA soldiers to the hospital. So at the end of the war there
23 were about nine who were treated in our hospital.
24 Q. Doctor, apart from the damage that had been done to the
25 administration building of the hospital, up until this time -- this
1 is up until 24th August 1991 -- had any other attacks, I call it
2 that, been made upon the hospital?
3 A. Yes. There were attacks in the vicinity of the hospital, several
4 shells hit the vicinity of the hospital, but it was only after that
5 date that the hospital building was hit almost daily by shells and it
6 was bombed from the air.
7 Q. Is it true that from 25th August 1991, that is, the next day after
8 these soldiers had been removed, was the hospital itself bombed?
9 A. That is correct.
10 Q. Doctor, were there any signs or markings on the hospital or in the
11 vicinity of the hospital such as to indicate that it was a hospital
12 if it was to be looked at from the air?
13 A. Yes, there were. There was a sign on one of the buildings of the
14 hospital, because the hospital had several buildings inside one yard,
15 and one building had a red cross sign on the roof, and between the
16 old and the new building, just on top above the nuclear shelter, we
17 had placed a linen cloth sign, a very big one, very visible, bearing
18 the Red Cross sign in white linen.
19 Q. Despite the existence of these signs was the hospital,
20 notwithstanding that, attacked after 25th August 1991?
21 A. Yes, it was attacked almost daily, and throughout October and
22 November the hospital itself was hit between 150 and 200 shells a
23 day. It was bombarded several times from planes, and two big bombs
24 which weighed 250 kilos fell, hit the hospital directly and damaged
25 it very badly.
1 Q. Did you complain to anyone about the fact that the hospital was being
3 A. Yes, I did. I lodged protests every day, I lodged appeals by
4 telephone, by fax, over the radio, in my reports. I sent appeals to
5 the Minister of Health, to the Croatian office in Hotel "I" in Zagreb
6 where the European monitor mission was. I appealed to the
7 international Red Cross in Geneva as well, and also using all kinds
8 of media via Slovenian television, for example, through Croatian
9 media as well, and I asked the Centre for Information in Zagreb to be
10 connected by telephone to the general staff of the JNA in Belgrade.
11 I made protests every day.
12 Q. In particular, the protests to the JNA officers, did that achieve any
13 cessation of the bombing of the hospital for you?
14 A. No, it was to no avail. It was as if I did not say anything. They
15 just kept telling it was not possible, that the JNA would never do
16 such things, and we could clearly see that the projectiles were being
17 dropped from planes and the other bank of the Danube River from
18 Petrova Gora (where the JNA was) and as of 1st October Vukovar was
19 completely encircled, blockaded.
20 Q. Doctor, what, if anything, did you do with the patients at the
21 hospital in order to protect them from this constant artillery and
22 bombing attacks?
23 A. Well, as early as August we organised -----
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We are not actually receiving any translation. I
25 am sorry about this technical problem but I cannot hear anything in
1 my headphones any longer. I can not hear any Serbo-Croat and no
2 French -- I have tried both channels. Now I can hear you. Thank you
3 very much. That is fine. Yes, please go on.
4 THE WITNESS: So, in August 1991, when the first shells hit the town, we
5 cleared up and prepared the shelter under the hospital building where
6 we could move the patients. It was an underground shelter. So we
7 worked and we spent all the time working in the basement in very
8 improvised conditions, and we also practically lived and worked in
9 the nuclear shelter. Before Vukovar was completely blockaded, at the
10 time it was still possible to go through the cornfields, we were able
11 to evacuate the wounded every day to Vinkovci and Osijek, but from
12 1st October it was not possible for us to send our wounded anywhere.
13 It was very risky because the JNA soldiers or the Serbs who had
14 weapons kept firing at ambulances as they were leaving the town and
15 transporting the wounded. So the hospital was equipped so that we
16 would have enough room for the wounded who were first surgically
17 treated. So, after that initial treatment they were sent to some
18 other shelters, to Borovo Selo, for example, in the factory where
19 they had some very good nuclear shelters.
20 We also placed them in residential buildings which had
21 good nuclear shelters, so that is how we did it. We kept sending our
22 wounded patients, or those who felt a bit better or those who were
23 only lighted wounded, we sent them away from the hospital because it
24 was impossible to keep all of them in the hospital. The hospital
25 admitted daily an average of 60 wounded. One day we admitted only 12
1 patients and the greatest number was 92 patients one day. Most of
2 them were civilians. Because they would leave their homes in the
3 morning to get some food or water and Vukovar was constantly shelled,
4 shells simply rained on the town every day especially at the centre
5 where we were. The centre is about 10 kilometres away and every day
6 there were about 7 to 9,000 shells that hit the town daily, and every
7 day there were several attacks from the air as well.
8 Q. Doctor, I think you said earlier in evidence that on one occasion, I
9 think 4th October 1991, two bombs hit the hospital, one exploded and
10 the other one travelled down through the hospital; is that right?
11 A. Yes, both fell on the roof of the hospital, but one bomb, as soon as
12 it dropped, it fell through the roof and exploded in the attic
13 destroying totally, completely, three hospital rooms on the second
14 floor. That was our surgical ward. The entire hospital building
15 shook. There were some splinters of glass and dust. There was also
16 smoke and stench from the hospital. We all rushed there to see if
17 there was any fire burning, because we felt that there was an
18 explosion. However, then somebody said that the bomb actually fell
19 on to the shelter, so we went to the shelter. This is the entrance,
20 the back entrance, to this shelter. You can see this very well on
21 the video because I think you cannot describe it so clearly. So that
22 second bomb went through the roof of the attic and then through three
23 slabs of concrete and then fell on to a bed on which a patient was
25 Luckily, it fell on to that bed by his feet and the bed
1 broke, collapsed, and it seemed as if the man was, sort of, riding on
2 top of the bomb, unexploded bomb. The patient was totally shocked,
3 he could not speak, while the medical nurse who was near him was also
4 very shocked. All of this happened within seconds and she just
5 thought that this was a cylinder, oxygen cylinder, that fell; in
6 fact, it was a large bomb, aircraft bomb -- as large as this desk in
7 front of me now. It was 250 kilos heavy and it did not explode.
8 Then I called the Police Inspector to see, check whether
9 the bomb was dangerous, whether it would explode later or not. He
10 said: "No, it will not explode". So people put it on stretchers and
11 took it out. First of all, we, of course, took the patients and then
12 they took the bomb out into the backyard.
13 Q. Doctor, apart from the air bombs that were dropped, can you describe,
14 from the best of your recollection, the other types of bombs that you
15 can recall that were being dropped in and about the hospital?
16 A. There were quite a number of bombs of all kinds and descriptions. We
17 saw only remnants of the unexploded bombs. Some of them fell but did
18 not explode. We had a Police Inspector who was in charge of checking
19 on these things. He would always come. He would check to see if
20 there was any danger that some of the shells would explode
22 There were also some kind of bullets like clusters. Then
23 from the aircraft some sort of small parachute, the parachute
24 objects, made of metal and plastic material with some kind of powder
25 in them and a sort of gas came, something hazy something like fog,
1 and smelling of DDT. People were very much afraid that these might
2 be poisonous gases, but it was found later that, in fact, these
3 bombs and shells contained some kind of mild poison, but the effect
4 was supposed to be mostly psychological.
5 Also, some phosphorous bombs, fire bombs or fire
6 grenades, fell that exploded and caused an immediate conflagration of
7 fire. One such bomb or shelter fell on the roof which was dangerous.
8 We had to go quickly upstairs and then, of course, put out the fire
9 so that we do not get the panic in the hospital.
10 Q. Was anyone injured as a result of these phosphorous bombs that you
11 can recall from those times?
12 A. Yes, I remember a girl who was brought to us who was all burnt, and
13 we removed her clothes, shoes, and after half an hour the boots still
14 had some kind of vapours coming out of the boots and had a very
15 strong smell like sulphuric acid. She was very badly burnt. We took
16 the physiological solution, infusions. We put on vaseline. We
17 thought she would never survive. But we kept her clothes, remnants
18 of her clothes, to establish later what kind of bomb that was, but
19 all of this was left in the hospital when we were taken away. But I
20 must say, luckily, the girl survived and she is all right now, but
21 for two days after she left, the room in which she was lying had this
22 very terrible stench. This was a very bad odour of this inflammable
24 Q. Doctor, you have said that you maintained your protests to various
25 international agencies, such as the European Community monitoring
1 mission that was located in Zagreb; that you rang various people in
2 the Government in Croatia as well as you maintained contact with
3 various peoples in the JNA itself. Did you also attempt to speak to
4 people in Belgrade about what was happening to the hospital?
5 A. Yes, I tried to contact them by telephone. I called the office of
6 the Yugoslav Prime Minister, Ante Markovic, who was at the time the
7 Prime Minister. I did not actually get through to him. Then I asked
8 for the Yugoslav army General of staff to contact them. Zivota Panic
9 was the Chief of Staff. I wanted to talk to him, but then some
10 assistants replied on the telephone and said that, I do not quite
11 understand what I am saying, that it is quite impossible that their
12 planes would ever hit the hospital and nothing changed at all.
13 On one occasion I talked to General Raseta who was in
14 Zagreb, who was representing the Yugoslav army in Zagreb, and I asked
15 a wounded soldier who was a JNA solder -- his name was Sasa Jovic --
16 I asked him would he like to talk to the General to tell him the
17 exact facts. He said: "Yes, I would". So he tried to convince the
18 General that, indeed, the hospital was being hit, and I do not know
19 what they said to each other, but I saw that the General asked him:
20 "What do we have in the hospital? Do we have Croatian army?" He
21 said: "No Croatian army, there are only wounded people here and
22 medical staff", but despite all of this there was no change; the
23 shelling never stopped.
24 Q. Doctor, were people in the community of Vukovar brought to the
25 hospital when they were killed in the course of these attacks on the
2 A. At first, when the war was not so bad, the ambulance would always go
3 out, collect the wounded people, and bring them to the hospital.
4 But, later all our ambulances were mostly destroyed and damaged, and
5 the Croatian soldiers and the civilians would simply bring wounded
6 people, dead bodies. They would all bring them to hospital because
7 sometimes they did not even know whether the person was alive or
8 dead; they thought we might be able to save lives, so sometimes they
9 actually did bring dead people but our doctors could only declare
10 them dead on arrival if they were dead.
11 These people were then taken on the following day. First
12 of all, the Police Inspector who was in charge of this, he took he
13 made records of these people. He was like a coroner and he
14 identified them as -- following the medical examination, he also
15 conducted the police investigation. So, as I say, yes, both wounded
16 and dead people were brought to the hospital compound; but not all of
17 them, I must say, because sometimes they say: "We did not even know
18 that he had been killed or how he died"; they simply buried him
19 locally where they found him.
20 Q. Doctor, where were these people buried, the people that died at the
21 hospital or were brought to the hospital dead, what did you do?
22 A. Before the war became very bad or intense, we took dead bodies to the
23 so-called Bulgarian cemetery, which was the official cemetery for the
24 city of Vukovar, outside the city behind the Mitnica district in the
25 direction of Vucedol. But in August when the shooting became very
1 intense, the cemetery itself came under fire and it was not safe to
2 go there to bury the people. Then we actually sent dead people to
3 cemeteries, the old catholic and the old orthodox cemeteries which
4 were both closer to -- which were close to the JNA barracks on the
5 Sajmiste district of Vukovar.
6 However, on one occasion in early October, the lorry that
7 was taking dead bodies in coffins was actually hit from the JNA
8 barracks, so that the drivers had to run for their lives leaving the
9 lorry and the coffins there, and actually it was not possible to
10 bury the people there either. Therefore, we dug a large grave not
11 far from the old Jewish cemetery near Count Eltz chapel in the
12 vicinity of the hospital and we continued to bury the dead people
13 there. We buried them in coffins that were made in the Borovo
14 factory. They were made from pieces of furniture -- wooden
15 wardrobes were turned into coffins and so on -- and we buried them in
16 three -- stacked three on top of each other, and we made records of
17 them, we took numbers, so just as somebody was killed they were
18 buried and somebody died and they were buried there.
19 In the same grave we also had Croatian soldiers,
20 civilians, and so on, but when that grave was filled, we tried to
21 have to dig another grave between the football stadium and the
22 railway line, but this was in open countryside, so to speak, so that
23 the JNA tanks could shoot at the people directly across the Vuka
24 River, so this became too dangerous as well.
25 So, eventually we decided to transport, transfer the dead
1 bodies to a building called Kapitanija just across the street from
2 the hospital. This was a disused old people's home and this is where
3 during the last two weeks of our stay there these people were buried
4 in graves dug by hands, more or less, and they were simply wrapped in
5 plastic foil. Again, we numbered them and buried people.
6 I remember that during the last two weeks of our stay in
7 Vukovar we had about 120 bodies that had to be buried, but we were
8 told by the municipality that only a few people could be buried while
9 large numbers remained unburied because there were people who were
10 doing the burying had been attacked across the Danube River all the
12 Q. Doctor, on 10th November 1991, did some negotiations commence
13 concerning the evacuation from the hospital?
14 A. Yes, that was the time when negotiations began between the European
15 Commission, the International Red Cross, and the negotiated
16 evacuation began which was supposed to be carried out by the
17 organisation Medicines Sans Frontier.
18 Q. What was the purpose of these negotiations; what was sought to be
19 achieved by them?
20 A. The idea was that there would be a humanitarian corridor established
21 through which the Vukovar Hospital could be supplied with basic
22 supplies and medical aid for the blood transfusion and so on, because
23 we needed those things very badly because we were very short of
24 medical supplies because for two months practically we had no medical
25 supplies arriving and our supplies had been allowed to run out. We
1 did not have enough medicine, blood for transfusion and many other
2 things that you need in a hospital to treat people, wounded people,
3 and the people who were patients otherwise. Many civilians were in
4 Vukovar. They were mostly women and children. We had 16 births and
5 in the maternity ward we had three premature births in the nuclear
6 shelter and we had no medicines to treat these young children.
7 Q. Doctor when did ----
8 A. The corridor was expected then to bring us medicines and supplies.
9 This should be done by the organisation of Medicines Sans Frontier,
10 while at the same time the same organisation would be evacuating the
11 wounded people, the patients and women and children.
12 Q. When did the shelling of the hospital and its surroundings stop,
13 cease, at what date, can you remember?
14 A. On 17th November, after that the hospital was not shelled.
15 Q. After the cessation of the shelling of the hospital, what happened
17 A. We expected the arrival of the International Red Cross and the
18 European monitors. The European mission in Zagreb negotiated for
19 their arrival and I was informed by telephone by our Minister of
20 Health, and on 18th November at 8 o'clock the evacuation from the
21 hospital was supposed to start. After that the civilians would also
22 be evacuated.
23 At that time, however, there was no shooting and shelling
24 of the hospital any more, but we began to prepare for the evacuation,
25 but large numbers of civilians from the shelters in the vicinity
1 began to arrive into hospital. People heard over the radio that the
2 corridor would be opened. They knew of the evacuation being prepared
3 and so on. So they heard that the Croatian troops had left the town
4 and they were very much afraid for their lives. They heard that the
5 hospital would be evacuated and that the International Red Cross and
6 the European Mission would arrive to evacuate people so that the
7 hospital would be considered as neutral, so they came to us for help.
8 Q. Was your family with you at this time, on 7th/8th November?
9 A. No, no, on these days, no. My husband was in Borovo Naselje. He was
10 in charge of the organisation for logistical support for electricity,
11 for -- he was an engineer so he was in Borovo Naselje. My mother and
12 my father-in-law and my mother-in-law were in the cellar of our house
13 not far from the hospital, and I tried to visit them every day. Late
14 in the evening when I finished I would go home and then would come
15 back to the hospital in the morning, but I expected that when the
16 evacuation started we would also manage to bring the whole family
17 together so that we will be evacuated together under the protection
18 of the International Red Cross, and we also thought that we would be
19 able to evacuate people from the shelter. This was our reserve
20 hospital with nine doctors and there were 14 nurses and about 150
21 people, injured people, wounded people, who we had sent from our
22 hospital to that shelter which was a well organised shelter with
23 electricity, food and water.
24 Q. Doctor, when was the evacuation to take place? Had a date been
25 agreed when this would occur?
1 A. The agreed date was 18th November, 8 o'clock a.m. EC monitors and
2 representatives of the ICRC were supposed to come to the hospital at
3 that time.
4 Q. What did you do in advance of 18th November, you and your staff do,
5 in order to prepare for the evacuation?
6 A. On Sunday, on 17th November, we prepared the wounded for the
7 evacuation. All those who had pins or some kind of extensions, we
8 put plasters on their wounds so that they would be able to travel.
9 We prepared, we drew up lists and medical documentation for all
10 patients, for all the wounded. So, each wounded had a white plastic
11 bag with him with his case history and the X-ray findings as well.
12 Other case histories and medical documentation of those
13 who were no longer in hospital, we prepared, we put that in one box
14 and we were supposed to, as well as all our records, because we kept
15 records of everything we did in hospital, operation reports and so
16 on. So, all of our reports, we prepared everything and put it into a
17 box and we expected that we would be able to take it with us for the
18 evacuation. That is what we did on Sunday.
19 I informed all doctors who were in charge of specific wards of
20 the situation, so we made lists of patients and we wanted them to
21 know, to declare, where they wanted to continue their medical
22 treatment, because we had lots of wounded, lots of civilians as well,
23 and several JNA soldiers in the hospital who wanted to continue their
24 medical treatment in Novi Sad or Belgrade. So we made note of that
25 so that we would be able to know how many vehicles we needed and what
1 destination they will be going to. That is what we were doing on
2 Sunday, on 17th November.
3 Q. On the day of the planned evacuation on 18th November 1991, what
4 happened on that day?
5 A. Nothing happened in the morning. Nobody showed up in the hospital.
6 It was very quiet. There was no shooting going on, and we only heard
7 some distant fire shells, but the very centre of the town was not
8 hit; there was no shooting going on. So I phoned Zagreb and I wanted
9 to know when they will arrive, why they were not coming. Minister
10 Hebrang told me that he did not know anything for the time being,
11 that he only knew that they had left but he did not know when they
12 would arrive.
13 A Red Cross team was supposed to come from the direction
14 of Ilok and the other one across the Danube River by boat, and
15 European monitors were supposed to come as well, but nobody showed
17 At 11 a.m. the European monitors called me on the
18 telephone and they told me that they were on their way to the
19 hospital, they were in the village of Negoslavci, but that they could
20 not go, they could not leave yet, because the Yugoslav People's army
21 was telling them that the situation was not safe yet, that there was
22 still shooting going on, but that they would arrive as soon as
23 possible. So I told them there was no shooting here, that the
24 situation was quiet and that they should come as soon as possible
25 because people already started dying because of the gangrene. We
1 had run out of medication and water and food.
2 Q. So what did you then do when they had not arrived at the agreed time?
3 What did you then do?
4 A. Nothing. I just wrote protests again. I sent faxes. I sent a fax on
5 18th to the European Mission and I requested for their arrival, but
6 they did not come, and Minister Hebrang told me that he had heard
7 that the International Red Cross were busy with the surrender of the
8 Croatian civilians and soldiers at the southern part of the town, but
9 that they would arrive at the hospital in the morning of the 19th.
10 So we then waited for the 19th. So I called again
11 because they did not arrive the next morning. I called General
12 Raseta in Zagreb who was the representative of the Yugoslav People's
13 army to see what was going on, what happened to them, because the
14 monitors called me on the phone, had called me on the phone, the day
15 before from Negoslavci so I knew that they there were around, so if
16 there were people surrounding at the southern part of the town.
17 So General Raseta told me that I should contact Colonel
18 Mrksic and that he was in charge of Vukovar. I asked him how because
19 I did not know where he was. So he said that Colonel Mrksic would
20 find me.
21 Q. What happened after that, after he said that to you?
22 A. So then I called again and Mrksic did call me once, and he said that
23 they would be there shortly and I should not worry about it; Vukovar
24 was now liberated and that there was no more war going on. So I
25 protested and I told him that the situation was very difficult, and
1 that we should start the evacuation immediately, that the wounded
2 were dying and were in very bad condition.
3 So I called Raseta again and he told me that he had
4 information that the International Red Cross and the army had reached
5 the bridge. That was on Tuesday, in the morning of Tuesday, on the
6 19th of November. So then Marin Vidic who was the Government's
7 Commissioner for the municipality of Vukovar and my assistant, Stanko
8 Voloder, as an interpreter, and myself, we went to the bridge on foot
9 to find them.
10 So we got there to the bridge, and it is a sort of an
11 overpass above the railways in the direction of Borovo, and we saw
12 many military lorries there, APCs, many soldiers, and Serbian
13 paramilitary soldiers as well.
14 Q. This bridge, can you just describe it a little bit more for us,
15 please, what was it a bridge over?
16 A. It was the bridge in the direction of Borovo Naselje. It is a sort
17 of an overpass over the railway lines, and it was not far from the
18 hospital, maybe 300 metres away. That is where we saw all those
19 soldiers, Serbs, Chetniks, that is where we saw them entering the
20 town and loading civilians on to the lorries.
21 Q. When you saw these JNA soldiers and other paramilitary people, did
22 they say anything to you or did they notice you at all?
23 A. Yes, they noticed us immediately because we had arrived from that
24 part of the street and there was no-one there and I said that we were
25 from hospital and I asked for their commander, so they shouted at one
1 person and then an officer came. I asked him where the ICRC people
2 were, and that we were told by General Raseta that they were supposed
3 to come any moment.
4 I was very afraid because the ICRC and monitors were not
5 there, but the officer told me that he knew nothing about it, and
6 that he was from the Novi Sad corps and that his assignment was to
7 reach the bridge, and that they were not in charge of the area after
8 the bridge at the hospital and this part of the town of Vukovar.
9 So we went back to the hospital and we waited again. Then
10 two hours later, around 12 o'clock clock maybe, a military industry
11 vehicle came in front of the hospital, and then I got out again and I
12 asked them where the ICRC people were. The person was a JNA officer
13 and he told me that he knew nothing about it, that he had seen some
14 white vehicles from an international organisation in the village of
15 Negoslavci but that he knew nothing about the evacuation of the
17 Q. Did you ask him then to do anything?
18 A. Yes, I asked him if he could take me to Negoslavci so that I can find
19 ICRC people and he said that he could. I then asked him if he could
20 guarantee that no-one would enter the hospital until the arrival of
21 ICRC people. So he asked him (sic) how many entrances there were to
22 the hospital, and I told him there was one in the yard and I told him
23 where the buildings were, and he said that he could guarantee the
24 safety. He called some of his soldiers and told them to deploy
25 around the hospital and that no-one should either enter or leave the
1 hospital until we return.
2 Q. What happened then? What did you do then?
3 A. So I went back just shortly to the hospital and told my colleagues
4 that I was going to Negoslavci to find the International Red Cross,
5 and some of them tried to talk me out of it because they were very
6 afraid, but I told them I had to go because we did not know when the
7 international Red Cross people would arrive. So that is how I left.
8 Q. What happened then when you left?
9 A. So we passed that area of the town which was completely destroyed.
10 Just a second, please. We arrived in Negoslavci and I saw many
11 soldiers there and many equipment, APCs, tanks, other vehicles, and
12 they took me to a house. The house was just a family house, a
13 residential building, but it had written "Headquarters" on it. So
14 that is where they took me. There was another young man who was with
15 me who spoke English, his name was Voloder, who was supposed to
16 interpret for me if I find ICRC members. So we arrived there. They
17 took me upstairs inside that house. They took me to a room where an
18 officer was sitting and he said -- his name was Mrksic, Colonel
19 Mrksic -- I told him I was Dr. Bosanac from the hospital and the
20 General Raseta told me I should contact him, the International Red
21 Cross members were not there and that the situation in the hospital
22 was critical because many wounded were dying of the gangrene, and
23 there were also some of their soldiers, JNA soldiers, in the
24 hospital. He was surprised and he said: "What soldiers?" I told
25 him that Jovic Sasa was there, among others. He was very surprised
1 because he thought that those soldiers had been killed. I could see
2 that he was glad that they were alive.
3 He also told me that it was impossible to organise the
4 evacuation which was signed by General Raseta because the situation
5 in the field was completely different, but that we could organise an
6 evacuation via Serbia, Sid, and the town of Sid, but I told him it
7 was impossible because everybody was expecting us in Nustar because
8 that was what the International Red Cross guaranteed, and they were
9 all waiting for us in Nustar, and we were supposed to go to Luzac,
10 Marinci, Bogdanovci and then to Nustar. Then he said ----
11 Q. I am sorry, did he say why you had to go via Serbia?
12 A. No, he did not tell me why; he just told me that the area before
13 Nustar was mined and that their positions were there and that they
14 had to clear the minefields, the JNA soldiers had to clear the mines
15 so that we could pass.
16 Q. What did you say to him then after that?
17 A. I told him that I did not understand much about that, but I knew that
18 that was the agreement because the Minister told me on the telephone
19 that an agreement had been signed and that we should go through
20 Marinci, Bogdanovci, Nustar and Vinkovci because this territory was
21 free territory of Croatia, and I simply could not believe how they
22 would be able to take us to Serbia and it was impossible considering
23 the fact that the town had been destroyed and shelled, and I could
24 not simply imagine that they were going to take us to Serbia. I
25 thought that the evacuation that was agreed in European mission
1 should be -- that that agreement should be respected.
2 Q. Did you also tell him that you needed the representatives of the
3 International Red Cross and the European Community monitoring mission
4 people there as well?
5 A. Yes, yes. That is why, and I told him that that was the reason why I
6 had come to Negoslavci because I heard that they were there, and he
7 told me that they were indeed around, but that they kept moving
8 around and taking, drawing up some lists but that they were actually
9 of no use and that we could do much more if we find an agreement. I
10 told him that they should be in charge of that because they signed
11 the agreement. So he said that as soon as he finds them that he
12 would send them to the hospital, and that he would also send food
13 and water to the hospital.
14 Q. What did you do then?
15 A. So then I ask him if I could return to the hospital and he said, yes,
16 and as I was leaving the house, I saw in the street a white vehicle
17 standing, belonging maybe to European monitor, so I asked the driver
18 to take me to that vehicle but he said he could not, that he had to
19 ask the Colonel again. So he went and then came back, and when he
20 came back to me and Voloder, the interpreter, he said: "No, the
21 Colonel said that I should not take you anywhere else now, that I
22 should take you to the hospital and that you should wait there and
23 that the International Red Cross people would arrive". Then he took
24 us back to the hospital.
25 Q. When you arrived back at the hospital, what did you find there at the
2 A. On the way back to the hospital, I saw many civilians walking through
3 the city, including my mother among them. I saw her, so I asked the
4 driver to stop the vehicle and take me to our vehicle, and she said
5 they were all being driven, that they should leave their shelters and
6 their cellars because they would be throwing bombs or grenades in to
7 there and they were all being sent to Velepromet compound. Also she
8 said that my father and mother-in-law had already left because the
9 father-in-law could not walk, he was being taken in a vehicle.
10 Then we came back to the hospital and saw soldiers there
11 surrounding the hospital, but I also saw one of our staff, one of our
12 workers, who used to work in the hospital and who had joined the
13 Serbian Chetnik group troops, and I saw him running around the
14 hospital. Everybody was very much afraid of him.
15 Q. What happened?
16 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Excuse me for interrupting you. I would like to ask
17 the witness if she is not too tired. The witness has been speaking
18 for one hour and 10 minutes. I would like to know whether she would
19 prefer that we have a break; if not, we can continue. I would also
20 ask the Prosecutor to ask where we are in this testimony. There is
21 also the issue of nervousness, so perhaps we could answer this
22 question. I would like to ask you, Mrs. Bosanac, how do you feel?
23 THE WITNESS: I am not tired, but I am shaken. I never thought I would
24 find it so difficult to testify.
25 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I would, therefore, propose, as confirmed by the
1 emotions which we do understand, that we take a 15 minute break and
2 resume in 15 minutes.
3 MR. NIEMANN: If your Honour pleases.
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: The hearing is adjourned.
5 (Short Adjournment)
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Registrar, could you please ask the usher to show in
7 the witness? Thank you. Mr. Prosecutor, the Tribunal has decided
8 that to try to catch up with some of the lost time we will hear the
9 witness or witnesses until quarter to five, so for another hour, and
10 then we will take a break of another 15 minutes and, with your
11 agreement and I would like to thank the interpreters who are here for
12 also their agreement, we would then carry on this evening until
13 quarter past 6 with your agreement. Prosecutor, quite clear, if you
14 would prefer to pose your questions sitting, then the Tribunal would
15 very well authorise you to do that.
16 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you, your Honour, I am fine. (To the witness): Dr.
17 Bosanac, just before the break you were telling us how you had
18 returned to the hospital after seeing Colonel Mrksic, and when you
19 arrived back there that there were JNA soldiers and paramilitary type
20 people surrounding the hospital. I think you said that there was a
21 state of great tension in the hospital at that time with the patients
22 and the staff; is that right?
23 A. Yes, that is correct.
24 Q. What happened when you returned? Can you carry on from there?
25 A. I got back to the hospital to my office, and I tried to calm down the
1 people who were around me. I told them that we were expecting the
2 International Red Cross so that we could agree on the evacuation of
3 the hospital.
4 Q. What were the JNA soldiers doing with the patients, with the people,
5 at the hospital when you arrived there?
6 A. Some of the JNA soldiers remained at the hospital entrance to provide
7 some sort of security, but some of them entered the hospital. Our
8 former janitor who used to work in the hospital entered with them to
9 see who was in the hospital. He greeted some people in the hospital,
10 people who used to work with him before the war.
11 Q. Did you say anything to these JNA officers or these other people,
12 these other people in uniform, that were there?
13 A. Yes, I did. When, for example, a soldier wanted to enter the
14 hospital with weapons, and my office was very close to the entrance,
15 I would then approach him, get out, approach him and I would tell him
16 that it was prohibited to enter the hospital with weapons. Once
17 there was a group of soldiers, weirdly dressed soldiers with helmets
18 and some White Eagles painted on their helmets. They were very
19 aggressive towards me and they said that -- they asked who I was and
20 that I had no business telling them anything.
21 So then a doctor, a Serb, who used to work with us, Dr.
22 Ivankovic, he got out of the hospital and he told them that they
23 should not behave aggressively; he told them to calm down and he told
24 me not to provoke them, to keep quiet, because otherwise it would be
25 bad for us, and that I was director of the hospital, that I had been
1 director of the hospital for too long a time, something like that.
2 He told me, "You have been issuing orders long enough Vesna; you had
3 better keep quiet now". That is what he said, but those soldiers
4 with helmets then left.
5 Actually, his son was with them. He went to visit his
6 father and they left together. There were many people in the
7 hospital because the previous two days lots of civilians arrived in
8 the hospital. Zeljka Zgonjanin, who was the representative of the
9 Croatian Red Cross organisation arrived, arrived at my office, and
10 Marin Vidic was also with me in my office. She said that people were
11 panicking, people who were on the first floor, they were mainly
12 civilians. There was no longer any shooting so it was not dangerous
13 to be on the first floor. So she came to me and she said that they
14 were panicking because the soldiers started separating men from women
15 and they started to take the civilians away.
16 Q. Did you speak to any of the senior JNA officers at that time or
17 shortly after?
18 A. Well, then after -- when she told me that, I got out to see what was
19 going on and I saw that on the other entrance of the hospital, the
20 entrance which we did not use then, the entrance which was just
21 closed in for the protection, and I saw they were taking away
22 civilians through that entrance, so I asked them what was going on.
23 That is when I saw Major Sljivancanin for the first time. I saw him
24 there. So I approached him and I asked him where they were taking
25 the civilians, and he said that they were being taken away for the
1 purpose of getting listed down to the Velepromet shelter. He said
2 that after that they would meet again with their families.
3 I did not know him before, but he appeared -- he was, he
4 appeared very arrogant to me and he did not pay too much attention to
5 what I was saying, and I ask him when the International Red Cross
6 would arrive, and that I was told that they would come as soon as
7 possible, but that we have been waiting for them for two days. He
8 said, well, they will show up eventually.
9 It all happened around 5 o'clock p.m. It was still
10 daylight. Then it was getting dark, and then this representative of
11 the International Red Cross, Mr. Nicolas Borsinger arrived and one
12 more doctor who said he was just a medical doctor working for the
13 International Red Cross, and they were brought by Sljivancanin.
14 Q. Brought to where, where were these people brought?
15 A. To the hospital.
16 Q. What happened when they were brought to you? What did you say to
18 A. Well, I was in my office and they arrived to my office and
19 Sljivancanin said, "Here they are, you have been asking for them for
20 so long, now I have brought them to you". Then Mr. Nicolas came and
21 he said that they had brought a truck full of medicine for us.
22 At that time I was already very disappointed and I told
23 him that we expected them, that we were waiting for them the day
24 before for the purpose of the evacuation, and that the wounded are
25 in a very bad condition, so I did not know what to do with the
1 medicine that they had brought and that we were supposed to leave for
2 the evacuation. Then he said that I should try anyway, that they
3 could not arrive earlier, and he told me to use those medicines, if
5 So I sent our head nurse and a pharmacist to the lorry so
6 that they can see if there is anything that we can use for the
7 transport. So we passed through one part of the hospital to show
8 them how difficult the situation was, and there were lots of wounded
9 who had been waiting for very long for the evacuation. They were
10 very tired and sick because they did not have adequate medicine,
11 adequate treatment, or water or food for very long time.
12 He said that he would come back the next morning and that
13 we should start organising the evacuation. So I told him that I
14 expected that he would stay, remain in the hospital, and that we were
15 all very scared. So they asked us if we had lists of patients and we
16 said we did.
17 Q. When you say, "they asked you", who was "they" asked you for the list
18 of patients?
19 A. They were together in a group.
20 Q. Yes, but -----
21 A. Major Sljivancanin, this Mr. Nicolas Borsinger, and another doctor
22 whose name I do not know, but who worked for the International Red
23 Cross and there was also a lady interpreter with them.
24 Q. But do you remember which one of them, was it Major Sljivancanin that
25 asked you for the list or was it the gentleman from -----
1 A. Major Sljivancanin.
2 Q. Was it Mr. Nicolas that you were saying you wanted to actually stay
3 at the hospital and not go away and come the next day?
4 A. I did not quite understand your question, please?
5 Q. I am sorry. I think you said in your evidence that one of them said,
6 and I am asking you whether it was Mr. Nicolas, that he would go away
7 and then come back the next day, the 19th, in order to evacuate the
9 A. Yes, that is correct, because I expected that he would stay in the
10 hospital now that they had arrived, but, no, he said, no. He said
11 that they would leave and come back the next morning. He also asked
12 him, and I was very surprised by that question, if I thought that it
13 was absolutely necessary that they should come, and I said, "Of
14 course, I expected them to stay here".
15 Q. Did you give any copies of lists to either Mr. Nicolas or Major
17 A. Yes, I did. I had on my desk four copies of the list of wounded who
18 were treated in the hospital and who were ready for the evacuation.
19 Q. Did Major Sljivancanin say anything to you about the people on the
20 list? Did he say anything about their condition?
21 A. Actually, I wanted to give to Mr. Nikolas one of the lists, one copy,
22 and leave other three for us, because I wanted to take them for the
23 evacuation together with the wounded, but Major Sljivancanin wanted
24 me to give me -- to give him all of the lists, and I asked him, why,
25 because the copies were all the same. He said that he wanted to
1 check them. He also asked me if there were -- if the lists carried
2 also medical staff, names of the medical staff, and I told him, no,
3 and that I thought that it was not necessary to make a list of the
4 medical staff and that we only needed the list of the wounded who
5 were treated in the hospital. So he said that I should make also a
6 list of the hospital staff.
7 So I told the nurse and one of the administrative
8 employee to make a list of medical staff, and also a list of lightly
9 wounded who had come to the hospital together with the civilians and
10 were on the first floor. They drew up a list in the evening, on
11 Tuesday, but I think they never gave those lists to anyone. I do not
12 know anything about that because I was no longer there after that.
13 Q. What happened after that, after you had given these lists to Major
14 Sljivancanin and Mr. Nikolas? What was the next event that occurred?
15 A. When they left, they left the hospital, it happened in the evening of
16 the 19th of November, Tuesday. So we just sat there, waited and the
17 night fell, but then a young officer or a JNA soldier arrived and he
18 told me that he had an order to take me to Negoslavci. I told him,
19 "OK". I took my coat and my bag and I just thought that Mrksic
20 wanted to see me again in a meeting to organise the evacuation. So I
21 went to the vehicle with that soldier and he drove me to Negoslavci
22 that evening.
23 Q. When you arrived at Negoslavci what happened there at that place?
24 A. Well, I arrived in the same house, in the same house I had been
25 during the day, and there was "Headquarters" written on it, and I was
1 again taken to the same room upstairs. The only thing that was
2 different was Mrksic was no longer there, but Major Sljivancanin and
3 another officer, a captain -- I do not know his name -- and they told
4 me to sit down.
5 I asked them where Colonel Mrksic was and then
6 Sljivancanin asked me why I asked him that. I told him that I
7 expected Colonel Mrksic there because I had talked to him earlier.
8 Then he told me that he already had another assignment and he again
9 told me to sit down and talk.
10 Then he asked me, well, then we talked for a while, and
11 he asked me if I knew where Jastreb was. "Jastreb" was the nickname
12 for the Commander of the Defence of the town, and I told him I did
13 not know and that I had not seen him since last week. He asked me
14 where other Croatian soldiers were, and I also told him that I no
15 longer saw the ones I knew because they had already left. He was
16 very angry and he asked me, well, if there are no Croatian soldiers
17 here, who then killed his young soldiers -- young soldiers who had
18 only joined the army, and I told him I did not know. I told him I
19 was only a doctor and I had no military information whatsoever, and
20 that I always tried to help people and that I did not understand why
21 they came and why they had destroyed the city.
22 This captain who was sitting there as well, he was very
23 arrogant as well. He threatened me and he said that they knew me and
24 that they had listened to all my conversations with Zagreb, and that
25 they knew that I had called President Tudjman, the government and so
1 on. I told him that that was correct and I told him that I had
2 indeed called everyone and asked for help, any kind of help, and that
3 I wanted the hospital -- I did not want hospital to be bombarded and
4 I asked for supplies to be sent because we had run out of everything.
5 Q. What did he say when you replied this way to Major Sljivancanin?
6 A. Well, he said that he has all conversations recorded and that they
7 have other methods, and that they could easily find out about my
8 guilt. Then Major Sljivancanin asked me if I knew how much money
9 President Tudjman was prepared to offer for me. I told him that I was
10 convinced that he would not give anything because I was just an
11 ordinary doctor, like all other doctors, and that there was actually
12 no reason for him to pay for me. So then he asked me: "As a doctor,
13 would you work in our war hospital with Serbs?" I said: "I do not
14 know, probably yes", but I was very scared at that time.
15 Q. When he said how much would Tudjman pay, did you understand that to
16 be how much ransom he would be prepared to pay for you?
17 A. Yes, that is correct.
18 Q. After you had this conversation, what else, what did they then say to
19 you that would happen?
20 A. He said: "OK, we would see about that tomorrow, and tonight you have
21 to stay here". I asked him, I begged him, to take me back to the
22 hospital and he said it was impossible, it was still very dangerous
23 and there was still shooting going on. I said: "But it was not
24 dangerous and that if I had been able to survive so far, I could as
25 well go back to the hospital". Then he said that he would take me to
1 their hospital which was housed in a elementary school building to
2 spend the night there.
3 A soldier took me there, to the school building in
4 Negoslavci, to a room upstairs where there were four beds. So that
5 is where I spent the night sitting on the bed. At 6 o'clock the next
6 morning the same soldier came to pick me up, and he took me out and
7 into a jeep, and Marin Vidic was already sitting in that jeep, so I
8 realised that he had probably been interrogated. So they took us
9 back to the hospital together.
10 Q. When you say "the hospital", you mean your hospital, the Vukovar
11 General Hospital?
12 A. Yes, that is correct, in Vukovar.
13 Q. This date, the next morning, was the 20th of November 1991; is that
15 A. That is correct, Wednesday.
16 Q. You went back to the hospital; when you arrived back there what
17 happened at the hospital?
18 A. I came back to the hospital in the morning, it was before 7.00 in the
19 morning. I went back to my office and a young officer came to my
20 office. He had a weapon, a rifle of some sort, and he sat next to me
21 all the time. He said that I should stay, that I had to stay there
22 until further notice and that I could not make any telephone calls
23 nor contact anyone. The telephone kept ringing, but he would not
24 allow me to pick up the receiver and he answered the phone every time
25 it rang.
1 So we stayed like that for a while and some of my
2 colleagues entered my office; they wanted to know what was going on.
3 Everybody was afraid. I told them that we were expecting the Red
4 Cross, and I was actually expecting Mr. Nicolas and I thought that we
5 would be evacuated. But at that moment Sljivancanin arrived and he
6 told me that I should ask all doctors to come to a meeting in a big
7 room. So I called the head nurse and I told her to tell all chiefs
8 of wards to meet in a plaster room which was a very large room and
9 which was actually a makeshift operating theatre.
10 Q. Where was this room located, the plaster room?
11 A. The plaster room was not far from my office, just next to the
12 surgical ward, close to the entrance.
13 Q. On what floor of the hospital was it?
14 A. It was in the basement. As you enter the hospital through the
15 emergency ward entrance, you turn to the left and that is where we
16 had a surgical ward and the plaster room. Two thirds of that room
17 are actually underground, but there is also a little window which are
18 above the level of the ground.
19 Q. At approximately what time of the day was this?
20 A. It was at 7.30 a.m.
21 Q. Did you then subsequently attend this meeting in the plaster room
22 with your staff?
23 A. Yes, we were there in the plaster room and Major Sljivancanin came
24 and spoke to us. He said that the Yugoslav army had freed Vukovar,
25 that it had taken the control of the hospital, that I am no longer
1 the director of the hospital and that the evacuation will be in the
2 hands of the military medical academy. He pointed to a few people in
3 the room, there were doctors, the Yugoslav army doctors, but in
4 uniforms, the Yugoslav army uniforms.
5 Q. How long did -----
6 A. I did not know these people, I must say. But he said that if
7 somebody would like to stay and work for the hospital, continue
8 working for the hospital, they could, but that I need not stay, I can
9 go back to my room, he said. So I came back to my room indeed and
10 hoped that I could wait there until the International Red Cross
12 However, a young junior officer came who had been driving
13 me to Negoslavci the previous evening and he told me that he was
14 ordered to take Marin Vidic, the Government Commissioner for the
15 municipality of Vukovar and myself, that he should take us to the
16 place where the negotiations with the International Red Cross would
17 take place.
18 So we, indeed, left the hospital. I saw a number of our
19 staff waiting there ready for evacuation. They were in their white
20 medical uniforms, and we passed through them or between them as a
21 corridor. Then a nurse asked me: "Madam, where are they taking
22 you?" I said: "Well, to negotiations with the International Red
23 Cross to arrange for the evacuation and I will be back soon", I said.
24 I was, indeed, convinced that we would be taken to a meeting with
25 the International Red Cross but they actually took us to the army
2 Q. When you say the "army barracks", do you mean the JNA army barracks
3 that you referred to earlier in your evidence?
4 A. Right.
5 Q. When you saw these people around the hospital, the staff that you
6 have just referred to, were they just standing around in groups or in
7 lines or were they being organised in any way? Did you notice
8 anything like that?
9 A. No, as a group, sort of grouped around the entrance. This was no
10 orderly arrangement. They were simply standing there, wasting their
11 time, waiting for the evacuation. There was no order in that, but
12 there were quite a number of people there. I saw many nurses. I saw
13 also our drivers, men, all dressed in white overcoats. Then we had
14 laboratory technicians, doctors. They were all huddled around the
15 entrance. I would not say whether everybody was there or not. I
16 cannot -- I could not notice that.
17 Q. What about the patients of the hospital? Were they there at the time
18 or were they back inside the hospital?
19 A. No, the patients were still in hospital, as far as I know. I saw no
20 patients in the yard, in the grounds.
21 Q. What about some of the people who had come up from the town to
22 assemble at the hospital in the hope of being evacuated, were they
23 there at the time?
24 THE INTERPRETER: The French translation is breaking through and the
25 witness hears French.
1 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Prosecutor, apparently, we have another technical
2 problem with the interpreting channels.
3 THE WITNESS: Now it is all right. The translation is all right now.
4 Thank you.
5 MR. NIEMANN: Dr. Bosanac, did you hear my question or would you like me
6 to repeat it?
7 A. Could you please repeat?
8 Q. What I asked you, doctor, was what about the people from the town
9 that had assembled around the hospital in the hope of being
10 evacuated, did you see any of those people at the time when you were
11 taken away?
12 A. No. I think that most of these people had already been taken the
13 previous day, on Tuesday, because as I was leaving the hospital I saw
14 a small group of civilians not far from the emergency unit, but I did
15 not see many people in the yard because I was walking in the
16 direction of the main entrance and I did not see many people there.
17 Q. Tell us then what happened when you went to the JNA barracks in the
18 southern part of the town?
19 A. When we arrived there, we entered the barracks. I had never been to
20 that barracks before. We climbed the steps to the first floor. We
21 were taken to a room where there was a soldier, a young soldier, with
22 a white pistol or with a white holster for the pistol, probably
23 military police.
24 The junior officer who brought us there said that we
25 should stay there, and that they would come and fetch us in about
1 half an hour's time. He also told the young soldier, the military
2 policeman, he said: "You stay here, do not leave the room and make
3 sure that nobody either leaves this room or enters this room". That
4 is what he said and left.
5 Q. Did they, in fact, return in half an hour like they had promised?
6 A. No. The same man returned only at 6 o'clock in the evening.
7 Q. So did you wait there all of the day, approximately all of the day?
8 A. Right.
9 Q. When he returned at 6 o'clock in the evening what happened then?
10 A. I asked him: "Where have you been? You said you would be coming
11 back in half an hour". He said: "Well, the plans have changed. The
12 evacuation has already been completed". I said: "But where is the
13 International Red Cross?" They said: "Yes, yes, they were there;
14 everything was in order, but the plan was changed", and that we
15 should stay there and spend the night there, not in the same room.
16 So he took us to a large room with a number of empty
17 beds, and he again told the same soldier to stay with us in the same
18 room and make sure that nobody should enter or leave. Anyway, so we
19 sat, each on one bed, and we were quite sure that we had been
20 arrested. We just sat there.
21 Q. What happened then after that?
22 A. Later in the evening, around 10 o'clock, he came back, the same
23 soldier, and said I should go out. Marin also stood up. He said:
24 "No, no, you stay there, you stay there, only the doctor should
25 leave". So I followed the man. He took me to the ground floor, to
1 a room where there were several officers and a woman in combat
2 uniform. They said, they addressed me and said that I should make a
3 statement for the Yugoslav army. I said: "A statement on what?" and
4 they said about the situation in Vukovar, what had been done in
5 Vukovar so that they could decide how to treat me and what to do with
6 me. They asked me whether I would like to make that statement.
7 Q. What did you say?
8 A. Well, I said that I can make a statement. They asked, could they
9 take a video recording and I said, yes, with a camera. So I said to
10 them that I had been the director of the hospital, that everything
11 was done in the interests of the patients and I gave the same kind of
12 statement that I am making now to you, only it did not take that
14 I spoke for 10 to 15 minutes describing the situation at
15 the hospital as impossible, that it was most important to help people
16 and patients and so on. The woman in that group told me that,
17 according to their information, I was not doing only that and that
18 they would have to check on that.
19 So they took me out, out of the barracks. There was a
20 police vehicle outside, a black vehicle. They opened the back door
21 for me to go into the vehicle, and I saw a colleague of mine seated
22 there already, that was Dr. Juraj Njavro, in his white overcoat and
23 doctor's uniform and trousers, and sitting next to him was a
24 technician who came as a volunteer from Zagreb. He came to Vukovar.
25 That was Anto Aric. The door was closed and we were arrested again.
1 Q. Where were you taken then?
2 A. They took us within that car, we could not see where because they was
3 only a small window in the front, but we saw that we were being
4 taken out of Vukovar towards Sid and towards the motor way for
5 Belgrade. So we drove on the motor way for Belgrade all the way to
6 Belgrade, and we came to Trpinja, that is a district of Belgrade, and
7 I know from earlier, I knew that that was the place where the
8 barracks, the Yugoslav army barracks, in Belgrade were. We thought
9 we were being taken for investigation and examination.
10 We stopped there. I knocked on the door because I wanted
11 to say I was going, I needed to go to the toilet, but nobody would
12 open the door for me. They sat into the car again. We started
13 again, turned back and returned the same way, the same way from
14 Belgrade towards Mitrovica, the same motor way, but in the direction
15 of Mitrovica.
16 We came to Mitrovica in front of the Police building.
17 They asked something. It seems that the drivers had no idea where
18 they should be taking us, so they asked something at the Police
19 Station, then brought us to a building that was a prison in Sremska
21 Q. Mitrovica is in Serbia; is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. What about the rest of your family? What had happened to them? Did
24 you know?
25 A. No, I had no idea. I only knew that both of my sons were in Zagreb.
1 Q. What happened? How long were you held in Mitrovica?
2 A. 18 days.
3 Q. Did anything happen to when you were in Mitrovica?
4 A. This was, first of all, a great shock for me. We came to Mitrovica,
5 that was a Thursday morning around 3 o'clock. As soon as we entered
6 through the gate, some policemen dressed in black, two of them
7 actually, started to beat us; first of all, the technician, Anto
8 Aric, and they started beating him with fists. When he fell they
9 also trampled on him, kicked him with feet. I could not watch that.
10 I protested, but they were very arrogant and said I should turn
11 towards the wall and keep quiet, but then they did stop beating him.
12 They beat him for about three minutes, and so they left
13 us standing there. Then a woman came wearing a Police uniform and
14 she said I should follow her. So she took me to her room and said I
15 must empty my bag and I must totally undress, that this is the
16 procedure with prisoners and I found that very degrading. I asked
17 whether I had been charged with any crimes. She did not say anything.
18 I asked again: "Am I charged with something?" She said: "Ask the
19 army". I said: "But then do call somebody, a soldier, officer on
20 duty so I could ask him", but I had to stand there and I was very
22 She did leave and after about quarter of an hour an army
23 officer came, and later I learned that he was the Lieutenant Colonel,
24 but I learned later that he was the Stajicevo prison camp commander.
25 I saw that he was rather sleepy when he arrived, that he had no idea
1 what was happening. He was in a very kind of, with a -- he had a red
2 beret on the head and the uniform was not full, not complete. He was
3 about a 55 year old man, not a young man.
4 Anyway, he came. I asked: "Am I now arrested? He said
5 : "Who are you?" I said: "I am Dr. Bosanac from the Vukovar
6 Hospital". He told me to sit down, to calm down. He gave -- he
7 asked me to have a cigarette, while Dr. Njavro and Anto were standing
8 in the corridor with a head leaning against the wall.
9 So I sat down and I said I had no idea why I was there
10 because we were medical people and what kind of procedure is that. I
11 told him that Anto had been beaten and Dr. Njavro was an elderly man
12 and suffered from ulcer, and his ulcer was bleeding, but he worked
13 all day, the day before. He was a surgeon. I explained to the
14 officer that we were medical people.
15 He said: "Well, I do not know why you were brought here,
16 but we will see in the morning and things would be clarified", he
17 said. So he again called the prison guards to take us somewhere.
18 The woman took me through the prison yard into some kind of cellar,
19 or through some kind of cellar, into a basement cell, cell, solitary
20 confinement cell, with a very heavy door and windows, barred windows,
21 so that I was locked there for that night.
22 Q. I think you said a little earlier you stayed there for a further
23 period of 18 days?
24 A. Yes. Well, in the morning a woman came and brought a piece of bread
25 and one boiled egg, and I asked her again to call the officer on
1 duty. She did not say anything; she simply left. So, again after
2 about an hour or two -- so that night for me was very awful. I heard
3 many screams during the night and wailing. I did not know who was in
4 prison. I never saw anybody but the three of us who were brought
6 So, anyway, two officers came; one was Captain Zoric and
7 the other was the one that was examining me when he was with
8 Sljivancanin in Negoslavci that evening earlier. So these two came
9 and said: "We understand that you wanted to talk to us". I said: "I
10 wanted to talk to an officer on duty to simply ask what I have been
11 charged with". They said: "Ah, you would like to talk?" I said:
12 "Yes, of course I would like to talk because I do not know what to
13 talk about, but I would like to know why I am here". He said: "No,
14 you are not charged with anything yet". Then I said: "Why am I in
15 this cell and why am I in prison? This was an awful cell and why
16 should I be here if I had not been charged?" He said: "Well, we
17 will see; it will take some time, but would you like to be in a room
18 with other women?" I said: "What other women?" He said: "Why do
19 you ask what other women?" I said: "Well, I would not like to be
20 with somebody who is killer or a criminal." He said: "No, no, no,
21 no. They are all women from Vukovar". I said: "Oh, in that case,
22 yes, I would like to be with them".
23 So they took me, first of all, for an examination to a
24 Colonel who said his name was Branko, but he never gave his second
25 name, an elderly man, and he had not a camouflage uniform but an
1 ordinary uniform, because all that time they were changing uniforms
2 from regular uniforms to camouflage uniforms and back. Anyway, that
3 Branko started to examine me; who am I; where I came from; what am I;
4 whether I was married; where I had lived -- the usual questions.
5 Then he explained to me that I would have to write a
6 statement about the situation in Vukovar. So they brought me back to
7 the room in which there were some -- there were 52 other women from
8 Vukovar in that room at that time. As soon as I entered, they
9 recognised me because I knew some of them too. Most of these women
10 were from the Mitnica district of Vukovar. So when Mitnica was
11 evacuated, their men were taken to prison; the women actually came
12 with their sons and husbands and remained in the prison. There were
13 also women with children. There was an old woman who was alone, who
14 had nobody.
15 So when they took, when they captured the part of a city,
16 they usually took men, God knows where, but they took the women to
17 Mitrovica. So when I came among these women, I felt better. I could
18 at least change my clothes and then sleep, and so on.
19 Q. Doctor, I would like to show you, if I may, a short excerpt on the
20 video. This is exhibit 23, a part of exhibit 23, if your Honours
21 please. This is just a part of that exhibit. When you see it,
22 doctor, if you could see parts of it that you recognise and that you
23 would wish to speak about, if you would just give me a signal and
24 then we will stop at it and we will talk at that point. So could you
25 just watch the video that is being shown now? As it is being shown,
1 tell us about what you recollect from seeing this video that is being
2 played to you. It will be necessary for you to put on your video
3 monitor, I believe. So might that part of exhibit 23 please now be
4 shown to the witness? (Extract of video is played)
5 A. Let me just explain. What you see now, before that -- can we see the
6 beginning because that was .....
7 Q. Perhaps we could just stop there for a moment?
8 A. If you could return just a little bit more. Can we go back a little
9 bit more? You see this, this is the hole through which that heavy
10 bomb, the aircraft bomb, fell which did not explode that I was
11 telling you about earlier. That was the hole in the roof, then
12 through the attic and through all the floors, all the way to the
13 cellar to the nuclear shelter, and fell on to that bed where the
14 patient was lying, and the technician actually was taking -- took
15 this picture and wanted to get the sky. What you see, the yellow is
16 the sky.
17 Q. Thank you. Now if it could be played on?
18 A. These are patients that were lying there on the ground floor.
19 Q. Stop just there, please.
20 A. The doctor behind me is a man from Zagreb, anaesthesiologist. So
21 this was a very small room next to the plaster room where we used to
22 come, take a break when we had a moment of respite and then we could
23 talk there. We also had our lunches or dinners there and so on.
24 Sometimes we even sang.
25 Q. It is very obvious, but the lady in the front is yourself, I take it?
1 A. That is me, yes. Perhaps they could play on. This was Dr. Stanko, a
2 physiologist, from Zagreb. What we saw were our medical rooms hit by
3 grenades. These are nurses with patients on the ground floor.
4 Q. Just stop there, please.
5 A. And this is the bomb, this is the bomb, maybe just a little bit back
6 or maybe you cannot change this. The bomb is actually lying on the
7 bed and the patient was there, and when the Police Inspector came to
8 check, this was on 5th October 1991 -- you see the date -- the
9 Inspector looked at this and found that the bomb was not dangerous,
10 it would not explode. Then they took the piece of wire and pulled it
11 because it was very, very heavy and they transferred it on to
12 stretchers and took it out of the room on the stretchers. What you
13 see there, the fragments, are the parts of the bed, the hospital bed.
14 The patient was lucky to have survived. Now you can see what the
15 bed looks like.
16 The patient was a Serb, Peravu Kacni, an elderly man, who
17 had been wounded, who was lying in hospital, and later I heard that
18 he stayed in Vukovar and is, in fact, even now living there.
19 Q. So it can be played on.
20 A. Now, again this was what you see from the hole, looking down. This
21 is the corridor and through this corridor you could walk to the air
22 raid shelter. There were patients in that corridor. These are our
23 ambulance vehicles you can see, and this is now the preparation for
24 evacuation. That was taken after I had left. While I was there, the
25 nurses and the children with the nurses were still in hospital. This
1 is a nurse, Jurja, from the paediatric department of our hospital,
2 but I was not there at that time when this was taken.
3 They are leaving here now, but there are no technicians,
4 laboratory technicians, no drivers. They are all women now and
5 children, as you can see. Now they are all leaving through the main
6 gate, and this is the gate through which I left when I left. Now
7 they are moving towards -- they are moving towards the main entrance.
8 There you can see the vehicles, the cars, that had been damaged.
9 This is no longer the hospital. That is something else. That is
10 some other evacuation.
11 Q. Thank you. Finally, doctor, I think that after 18 days you were
12 exchanged; is that right? You were released?
13 A. After 18 days in Mitrovica, I first spent three days in the military
14 investigation prison in Belgrade, and then I was exchanged, because
15 in Belgrade I was questioned again, but that was real prison.
16 Everything was according to the rules. That is where I spent three
17 days. There I was with the whole group because they at that point,
18 after 18 days, they prepared the group for exchange which consisted
19 of doctors, medical staff, priests and some more civilians and my
20 husband was in that same group, and that is when I saw him for the
21 first time after so much time. I saw him on the bus when we were
22 being taken from Mitrovica to Belgrade. I saw that he was still
23 alive and that he was there. I had been informed earlier by some
24 people that he was alive, and that he was also in Mitrovica at the
25 same time, because he was taken from Borovo Naselje -- that is
1 another story, of course, because there, Borovo Naselje, they totally
2 destroyed our reserve hospital, our back-up hospital.
3 There was a white flag with a red cross painted on it,
4 but they brought the guns and trained their guns on to that building.
5 They also dropped gas grenade, and so everybody started coming out,
6 patients, wounded people and so on. My husband was there and then he
7 left, then he was taken via Dalj to Kamanica and then to Stajicevo
8 camp, and then I heard from a woman that he was there. I asked for
9 the International Red Cross to come to Mitrovica and they came about
10 eight days after our arrival.
11 In Mitrovica we actually heard that some wounded people
12 had been brought there, and that only 174 wounded people had arrived
13 in Croatia. So we hoped that the rest of the wounded people were in
14 Mitrovica. Later, when we came to Croatia, we found out that they
15 were not the same wounded people; they were only a few people from
16 our hospital, while the majority of them were from Borovo Naselje,
17 and that our wounded people, our laboratory technicians, our
18 civilians, including my father-in-law, that these people were not
20 I was questioned in Belgrade for three days in that
21 prison, as I told you, military prison. There was a prosecutor
22 there, there was an investigating judge, and they asked me whether I
23 would like to have a court appointed lawyer or whether I have a
24 lawyer that I will appoint myself. I said: "I cannot decide
25 anything. I have to ask the Minister of Health in Zagreb because I
1 am a doctor and I have no idea about these procedures. I do not
2 understand the law. I do not know what I am charged with".
3 They said that it would take some time, that I might be
4 exchanged sooner if they decide not to press any changes against me.
5 So I said: "OK, I do not need any lawyer, any defence counsel", but
6 they insisted and they called a lawyer, a military lawyer, a young
7 man who came from a military legal institute in Belgrade and they
8 said: "Now you will be a court appointed lawyer for this woman, for
9 this doctor who is here."
10 He had no idea who I am, and why he was brought there. I
11 do not really know why they staged it like that, but they examined
12 me, questioned me, all afternoon, although I had written in Mitrovica
13 in my own hand, 118 pages, describing the situation in Vukovar, what
14 was happening, from the beginning of the war until I left. But they
15 questioned me again about the same things and they said that they had
16 some serious indications, that they might press charges against me,
17 that they would consider this, because I was publicly speaking on the
18 telephone on fax accusing the Yugoslav army as an aggressor.
19 I said: "I can admit that freely and I have the letters,
20 I have copies, because that was the truth because they did actually
21 for three months performed an act of aggression against us". The
22 prosecutor, the one who acted as a prosecutor, he said: "Well, we
23 have some more evidence against you and in connection with some
24 doctors", and then they showed me a piece of paper from a doctor,
25 because I sent two doctors Dr. Kosmanovic and Dr. Emedi, I sent them
1 from our hospital to Borovo Komerz to organise a hospital there, and
2 I issued them an order to do this so -----
3 Q. Were you subsequently charged when you were there?
4 A. No, no. Eventually, they said I should go back to my room and that
5 they will tell me in the evening whether I would be charged or not.
6 In the evening they came to us again. They asked me to give an
7 interview for television, B independent television, they said, and
8 they decided that I was not going to be charged. So, the following
9 morning they put us all -- exchanged us all, prisoners.
10 Q. Thank you. I have no further questions.
11 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, Mr. Niemann. I would turn to my two
12 colleagues to ask whether they have any questions?
13 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Thank you, Mr. President. Doctor, could you tell us,
14 did someone organise during the war any military action from the
15 hospital against the JNA or in any way took part in the war from the
17 A. No, never, never. There was no one like that because at that time
18 the Croatian army had no real organisation at that time. There was a
19 headquarters from which I sent my fax messages, because that was the
20 only place where the fax machine was operating at all times, but
21 nobody from the hospital was involved. Across the street from the
22 hospital was the Police Station with the policemen, but in the
23 hospital itself, there was nobody and we were quite apart from where
24 the armies were.
25 We often would go to the top floor and we watched, and we
1 could see quite a long distance. We saw where the battle lines were;
2 we could actually see the lines of supply that could -- but nobody
3 came and the army did not want to compromise the hospital and that is
4 why they never came to the hospital. There were only wounded people
5 in the hospital, nobody else.
6 Q. So, according to that, you did not have any kind of weapon inside
7 your hospital?
8 A. No. Police Inspector, Branko Lukinda, he was in charge of recording
9 the wounded people when they arrived, to take the uniform from the
10 wounded soldier and he took the uniform and the weapons to the Police
11 every day. There may have been a gun or two which I did not know
12 because the hospital was a large complex. There may be a man who had
13 personal weapons which I did not know. We sometimes checked on the
14 patients and on the wounded people. When, for instance, the
15 commanders would come to visit their wounded soldiers, they were
16 asked to leave all their weapons at the entry gate, and we told them
17 never to give any weapons to the wounded people, to the patients,
18 because it is dangerous in the hospital and weapons were not to be
19 held there.
20 Q. After you were released, did anyone tell you what happened with the
21 people who were at the hospital in November, 19, 18, what happened
22 with those people?
23 A. When I left the prison I worked for the Ministry of Health and the
24 medical school in Zagreb. There we had a department, an office, that
25 was gathering evidence or statements from the medical staff, from
1 doctors, from nurses and so on. So they asked me and I went there to
2 reconstruct the whole situation, to see who is there, who is missing
3 and so on, because people who came to Zagreb immediately, nurses and
4 doctors, they noticed that some people were missing. There were some
5 wounded people who were missing, some patients. My mother-in-law and
6 my sons noticed that I was missing, that my husband was missing. So
7 when I arrived we checked on people who I knew and who were not
9 We, for instance, looked at the medical staff, the
10 drivers, their families and we investigated all the time to try to
11 see who was missing and where they could be. We could not decide
12 where they could be at all until in May 1992, I was travelling a lot
13 at that time, I went to Brussels. I spoke to Monsieur Kouchner from
14 France, who was the French Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, who was
15 trying to organise a convoy for Vukovar. I met also representatives
16 of the Medicines Sans Frontier. I visited Lord Carrington in London.
17 I checked with all these people, so to speak, asking them for help,
18 to identify where these people could be.
19 I told Lord Carrington: "Look, some people are missing.
20 There is the camp called Stajicevo, not far from Zrenjanin". That
21 is where my husband had been kept. Lord Carrington was very excited.
22 He said: "I do not know what I can do. I will go and talk to
23 Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia or to Switzerland", I do not know, but
24 he said he was afraid he could not do anything because Milosevic
25 would say everything is not true. Then I said: "Ask Mr. Milosevic
1 to take you to Zrenjanin to the Stajicevo camp", this is in Vojvodina
2 in Serbia, "and there you could see that there are people there". My
3 husband was brought to Mitrovica from that camp and was then later
4 exchanged later".
5 Three days later we heard that the Stajicevo camp had
6 been closed and people who were still alive were taken to Mitrovica
7 and Nis, but that was a real concentration camp. It was a farm
8 turned into a concentration camp, like later in Bosnia. Lord
9 Carrington knew this.
10 Then I spoke to Mr. Vance on 15th January 1992. I showed
11 my complete list of all wounded people that we were looking for and
12 I gave him the list, but we never had any response to our appeals or
13 our requests.
14 In May 1992, it was the first time that people were began
15 to be exchanged from the Yugoslav prison. The Vukovar people began
16 to be exchanged from the Yugoslav prisons and then we had the first
17 witnesses, witnesses from Ovcara. There was Mr. Guncevic who used to
18 work in the hospital. He was an economist and, anyway, he came to
19 hospital to be evacuated. Then Mr. Zakovic who was a Red Cross
20 worker. They were released and they told us about the Ovcara camp.
21 That was the first we knew that.
22 They told us they had been taken by bus to the barracks.
23 They had spent some time in the army barracks and then were
24 transferred to the Ovcara camp. They told us what kind of life they
25 had there; how they were beaten. They recognised some people who had
1 earlier been on the hospital staff, and Mr. Zakovic told me that that
2 was the last time that he saw my father-in-law sitting on straw, on a
3 heap of straw.
4 Now, these two people, witnesses, and some others who you
5 will probably hear, they were actually saved by some Serbs who took
6 them to another camp, who took them to -- they were in Mitrovica, in
7 Nis and, finally, they came here. But most of these people who had
8 been taken away who were there with us on the morning of the 20th of
9 November never actually appeared again, and we do not know where they
10 are. They are missing. We are looking for them in all kinds of
12 There are many wives in Croatia whose husbands or sons
13 were lost. There is a non-governmental organisation called "The
14 Vukovar Mothers" who is searching for them, not only for them, also
15 for other missing people. From Vukovar, Borovo Naselje and Eastern
16 Slavonia, 1,280 people are missing, and the largest group from one
17 single place is the hospital group. In this group there were four
18 young men who were 16 years old at that time; a son of one of our
19 cleaning women, and a husband who was suffering from cancer, an
20 elderly man, and he had a tracheostomy. So that many members, many
21 families, lost their members. 18 staff, technical staff, of the
22 medical centre are missing, drivers, laboratory technicians. This is
23 a very difficult tragedy, and both the parents and the medical staff
24 actually hold me sort of responsible because I was responsible for
25 the hospital and they think I can do for them something to find these
2 Q. Doctor, may I ask you what happened with your mother?
3 A. My mother was with the father-in-law. The father-in-law is still
4 missing while -- my mother and my father-in-law remained in the
5 hospital when the children and women left. The two of them remained,
6 and my mother was waiting for me to come back and when the last
7 wounded people were being transferred, then a doctor, Dr. Ivankovic,
8 a Serb, told her (because he knew her as my mother), he said: "Look,
9 if you intend to leave, leave now because God knows whether Vesna
10 would ever come back or not, if you would like to go to Zagreb, do go
11 to Zagreb now". So he put them into a transport of wounded people so
12 that they left the hospital with the last transport on the evening of
13 Wednesday, and they left for Mitrovica.
14 That part of the convey was taken to Mitrovica. They
15 spent the time in Mitrovica in the sports hall, in the gymnasium, and
16 on the following day they were brought via Bosnia to Croatia for this
17 free part of Croatia.
18 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Thank you.
19 JUDGE RIAD: Dr. Bosanac, allow me just to tire you for another five
20 minutes because I know you are already very tired, and we thank you
21 very much for this long testimony. The first thing I want to just
22 make sure of is how far was Vukovar itself bombarded by the air
23 raids? The hospital was part of Vukovar and the bombardment, as you
24 mentioned, was the shelling was all over Vukovar; is that right?
25 A. Yes, very much so.
1 Q. The hospital, I just add, you said they used parachute objects with
2 powder, poisonous powder, and gas and the hospital itself received
3 something like bombs of 250 kilogrammes which means that the hospital
4 had a bigger share of the bombarding; is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Although the hospital had an indication that it was a hospital and
7 anybody shelling the city could know that it is a hospital ---
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. -- is that right? Do you think they had any reasons to do that?
10 A. No.
11 Q. You mentioned to Judge Odio-Benito that all those who were in the
12 hospital were not armed, but did you have any previous formal
13 resistance in the hospital?
14 A. Only wounded, wounded people. We only had wounded people, those who
15 had been wounded. The hospital only had wounded people, patients,
16 and the two Inspectors of the Police who came to take records. We
17 had no armed people in the hospital as a hospital.
18 Q. Did you have any military objectives just beside the hospital?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Nothing like canons against aircraft or anything?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Nothing like that?
23 A. No. I walked through the city quite a lot because I was sending the
24 fax from the Headquarters which was not quite -- I walked to my home
25 across the cemetery and so on. I moved around the city, but I never
1 saw any guns or anything by the way of artillery. Let me also add
2 that at that time the defenders of Vukovar had very few weapons.
3 They may have had one or two guns, canons, artillery, but that was on
4 the battle front in Dubrava in the Borovo Naselje district because
5 this is far away from the hospital.
6 Q. You mentioned that you had the opportunity, when you went to
7 Negoslavci, you went to the headquarters and met Colonel Mrksic, is
8 that right, to arrange the evacuation?
9 A. I went there to establish contact with the International Red Cross
10 and the EC monitors, European Community monitors, because on the day
11 before the EC monitors called me by phone and said: "We are calling
12 from Negoslavci".
13 Q. You noticed when you met Mrksic that he is the responsible person and
14 he is the one who could do things, who could run the whole situation
15 -- was that your impression?
16 A. Yes. You see, I had that information from General Raseta. General
17 Raseta, Andrija Raseta, was the Commander of the 5th army district of
18 the Yugoslav People's army in Zagreb at that time, and he was
19 speaking on behalf of the Yugoslav People's army and he signed an
20 agreement to neutralise the hospital, to make it neutral, to declare
21 it neutral, and to evacuate the hospital under the supervision of
22 the EC monitors and the International Red Cross. The agreement
23 exists, his signature exists, and I think you have it in your
24 documentation. You have a copy of that. He told me on the phone
25 that Colonel Milan Mrksic was responsible for the implementation of
1 this in the district of Vukovar.
2 Q. When you were in the hospital you met Sljivancanin, as you mentioned,
3 and he asked you for the lists of the patients; is that right?
4 A. Yes. He was there together with the representative of the
5 International Red Cross, Mr. Nicolas.
6 Q. Did he give you the strong impression that he was the one who is
7 directing the whole thing, or was there someone else?
8 A. My impression was that he was in charge in the field, because he in
9 he was in the hospital. Colonel Mrksic was in the Headquarters.
10 Negoslavci is about seven to eight kilometres away from the hospital.
11 While Major Sljivancanin came that afternoon and stayed in the
12 hospital, and he would come in and out and so on, so he was actually
13 conducting and was in charge of the evacuation of the civilians. I
14 had the impression that he brought the International Red Cross
15 representatives and that he was responsible in the field. That was
16 my impression.
17 Q. Did you come across Radic?
18 A. No -- or I may have, but I did not know the name. I do not remember.
19 Q. When Sljivancanin made his lists, was there any criterion to
20 distinguish the several lists from one another, except the one you
21 mentioned, that the doctors, the medical staff, were separate? Did
22 they choose young people, old people? Was there any criterion?
23 A. No, no, I do not think they made any lists that evening at all
24 because they took our lists, and our lists had just the name,
25 surname, diagnosis, and where the patient would like to be evacuated
1 to. That was all the information the list contained. But our
2 Administrative Officer and a nurse made a list of the medical staff
3 because we did not have that list.
4 I never heard that the Yugoslav army or the International
5 Red Cross made their own lists. They only took my list of patients,
6 of wounded people, and I am not aware of them making their own lists.
7 I heard later, and you might hear it from other witnesses, that when
8 they brought these people to the Ovcara camp they took their
9 documents and then started to make lists.
10 I heard later from one of our clerical staff who remained
11 in Vukovar, who remained for several months later in Vukovar, and
12 came to Croatia later -- her name is Slavica Baraz and she is now in
13 the free part of Croatia -- she came to me and said: "When you had
14 all left, then the doctors, Serbs" asked her to continue working in
15 the hospital because she was a specialist in something she knew. She
16 saw a box full of documents and identification papers, and she said
17 she saw the identity cards of my father-in-law on top of that pile.
18 She asked what kind of documents were they, and she was told that
19 these documents go to Belgrade and she should not go through them.
20 So, I believe that when they got these people, they took their
21 documents and they realised who was present there. They did not make
22 any list beforehand.
23 I heard from my head nurse that they brought only a list
24 of 18 patients, wounded patients, whose names were called first, and
25 some of these people are now still listed as missing. These were
1 more serious patients with grave wounds, but we never heard that
2 these more seriously wounded people were in Ovcara. They probably
3 were not in Ovcara and we do not know where they were taken and how
4 they are missing, in what sense they are missing now.
5 Q. You mentioned there are 2,800 people missing. Did I get this number
7 A. 2,800 from the whole of Croatia, but from Vukovar, 1,280, 1,280 from
8 Vukovar, Borovo, Ilok. That is the eastern part of Croatia which is
9 still under occupation. 1,280 people missing. From Vukovar itself,
10 some 300 people are missing from the hospital; about 100 people are
11 missing from Borovo Naselje; some 50 from the Velepromet group. So,
12 at every point where evacuation was made, there were some missing
13 people, civilians and wounded people, and we still do not know where
14 these people are now.
15 We have some evidence, some eyewitness reports, of mass
16 graves but for none of these, apart from Ovcara, do we have any
17 confirmation because we can only rely on what we hear from people who
18 were eyewitnesses.
19 Q. So if you consider that 1,280 people are just missing from Vukovar,
20 and the total amount is 2,800, it means that Vukovar was very heavily
21 damaged and distressed and lost, perhaps, more than one-third of --
22 composes almost more than one-third of the people missing?
23 A. This is true. Vukovar, which you can see, there is a book called
24 "Mass Killing" (and I have few copies here), you can see what the
25 share of Vukovar was in the total war against Croatia in 1991/92. It
1 is difficult to give you statistics because I do not remember them
2 all and I am rather tired, but out of a total number of wounded in
3 the whole of Croatia, one-third are wounded people in Vukovar. Out
4 of the total number of killed people, Vukovar accounts, there are
5 some 7,000 people who were killed in the whole of Croatia. In the
6 whole of Croatia there is some 7,000; out of this, according to our
7 knowledge of what we know when we were there, there were about 1,100
8 people killed and some close to 1,300 are missing. If these are also
9 killed, then we have 2,400 people killed, which is one-third of the
10 whole of Croatia, and Vukovar is very small area. It is a small area
11 which had 164 square kilometres, 84,000 population. This is the part
12 which has been disproportionately damaged and suffering in the whole
13 of Yugoslavia. Sarajevo was damaged, Bosnia was badly damaged, but
14 nowhere do you find such a heavy concentration of suffering. This is
15 10 by three kilometres. Over three months you had more than 9,000
16 missiles falling on to the city.
17 During that time we had underground 15,000 people living
18 in underground shelters, women, children; 30,000 -- 30 per cent of
19 them Serbs because Vukovar was a multi-ethnic town. So, the Serbs
20 themselves, when they entered Vukovar, when we started coming out in
21 the barracks, Marin Vivic and I, and an officer came and said: "Is
22 it possible that so many people survived?" They could not even
23 believe that so many people could survive such heavy shelling.
24 Vukovar is an awful tragedy.
25 Q. Was it by any chance a military centre or was it one of the -----
1 A. Not at all. No, no, it was not a military centre at all. At that
2 time in the former Yugoslavia, Vukovar was a small town on the banks
3 of the Danube that was always the most eastern most part of Croatia.
4 Ilok is, perhaps, more to the east. Ilok had some 90 per cent of
5 Croats, some Slovaks, Ruthenians and a few Serbs. Vukovar was 35
6 kilometres to the west of Ilok, but it always through the centuries
7 probably from, I do not know, 200 years ago, it had always been the
8 meeting point, a cross-roads, of various cultures.
9 The Vucedol culture dates back to many centuries before
10 Christ, and later during the feudal times and during Turkish
11 invasions in the First and Second World War, this area was always a
12 place where the -- at the cross-roads between east and west, north
13 and sort, and in the former Yugoslavia this was an area where people
14 lived in very mixed communities. 30 per cent of marriages were mixed
15 marriages. 43.8 per cent were Croats; 37 per cent were Serbs; 1.5
16 per cent Hungarians, and there were also some who declared themselves
17 Yugoslavs, they were seven per cent.
18 The town of Vukovar was the centre and mostly Croatian.
19 Before the war, Vukovar had 45,000 population. This was a whole.
20 Borovo Naselje was its industrial district. The villages in the
21 direction of Osijek were mainly Serbian villages, Borovo Selo,
22 Bobota, Trpinja, Brsadin; towards the east were Croatian villages.
23 When the whole fighting started in October, there was
24 shooting, they started hitting Tovanic and Ilok. People were afraid
25 and they saw that they had no chance of survival there. So, they
1 started negotiating with the European, with the European monitors,
2 and under their protection they left Ilok. For instance, the whole of
3 Ilok, all Croats, had to leave Ilok. This was the first example of
4 ethnic cleansing in October 1991.
5 We heard this on television, and we were very unhappy
6 about this, about Ilok, but we did not want to leave Vukovar.
7 Vukovar, we thought, we cannot leave; this is our town. Nobody has
8 any right or any reason to drive us out. So, the Serbs remained
9 there as well, not all of them, some left perhaps. But later, some
10 other Serbs came with the Yugoslav army, but most local Serbs were
11 still there. When you look at the lists of people who were killed by
12 the grenades, there were many Serbs who were killed.
13 They started shooting in August with several grenades
14 every week, and they wanted us to empty the city, to behave like
15 Ilok. We refused. Then they took us and occupied us at all cost,
16 and we survived it all. We knew that this was a war and that we had
17 to hold out. What happened later, what people suffered later, the
18 civilians, women who left -- who lost members of their families and
19 what they went through later after occupation of Vukovar, that was
20 horrible because in the cellars you would find some 70 people living.
21 In the one shelter there were 700 people, all of them mixed Croats
22 and Serbs together, and they all waited for the day to come when they
23 could live in peace again.
24 But when the Yugoslav army came and the Chetniks came,
25 then they said: "No, Croats on one side; Serbs on the other side",
1 and they took this group in one direction, the other group in another
2 direction, and that was when the true consequences of the war began
3 to be felt and these people are still missing.
4 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
5 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I am sure that you are very tired, Mrs. Bosanac. We
6 will not prolong this hearing, but I would like to ask you a simple
7 impression that you have. When you go back to this story of the
8 hospital, do you feel this was a concerted plan, an organised, a
9 premeditated plan? I am talking about the disappearance of the
10 people who were under your responsibility and authority?
11 A. I do not know. It is very difficult for me to say. I see no reason,
12 I see no logic, in separating these people, you see, because there
13 were children there, there were wounded soldiers, the Croatian
14 soldiers, there were some elderly people, people who were weak,
15 civilians. I see no criterion. The only thing was that they said
16 all men should go out. So, all men left, as my mother-in-law told
17 me, and they put them on to buses and took them away. Some of them
18 were brought back, in fact.
19 Some nurses realised that their husbands were missing, so
20 they came with the list to Sljivancanin and asked for these people to
21 be returned, and some people who had identification papers on them as
22 drivers of the medical centre and so on. So 15 were brought back
23 from the barracks. They were brought back on a bus, but the others
24 were taken somewhere else, and I think that people who were in
25 Ovcara, your witnesses, will be able to tell you more. But I
1 personally see no criterion as to how these people were separated and
2 how they were classified.
3 Also, people who are missing from Vukovar, from Borovo,
4 quite a number are civilians and young girls, women, children,
5 elderly people. There is no visible criterion that you will say:
6 "Well, somebody was a fighter and was treated differently". I think
7 that some criterion must have been there, but what they were is
8 beyond me, but they were always Croats, non-Serbs. It has for
9 generations been like that, that the same families are attacked and
10 they suffer.
11 In 1945, for instance, my father-in-law's two brothers
12 were taken away and they were lost. Now from the hospital my
13 father-in-law was taken away, and his nephew, the husband of the man
14 who was taken away in 1945 -- the son of the man who was taken away
15 in 1945. There are other family histories that connected what
16 happened now with what had happened in 1945 and what would probably
17 happen again in the next war in 50 years time, unless a solution is
19 I was born in 1949. We lived in the former Yugoslav. I
20 grew up in the former Yugoslavia, but I knew what the war is -- I
21 did not know what war was, and I never experienced a Second World War
22 and I had to experience it now, although I never expected it.
23 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mrs. Bosanac, the Tribunal would like to thank you.
24 Do you have the impression that you were able to say everything that
25 you wanted to the Tribunal, to answer all of the questions asked by
1 the Prosecutor, and the several additional questions that the judges
2 asked? Do you have the feeling that you were able to express
3 yourself fully as to what you intended to do? Do you have the
4 feeling that you would like to conclude by saying something else; if
5 you do, would you tell us, otherwise say what would you like before
6 going back to your country.
7 A. It is difficult to say much. Whenever I speak about Vukovar, I speak
8 a lot and I never feel I have said enough. You see, this part of the
9 country was very badly destroyed during these few months, and now
10 after five years, five years later, I can only say that it is a great
11 pity that the international community had not reacted sooner,
12 because, possibly, had the IFOR or UNTAES, or some other forces,
13 European monitors, that would have been effective, had they arrived
14 in August 1991 in Vukovar with enough political pressure against
15 Milosevic and the Yugoslav army, they would have, perhaps, had an
16 effect. They would have not -- they would have prevented
17 destruction and killing, and I think probably in that case the war in
18 Bosnia would have been prevented as well.
19 So this is my general message, if I may say so, that one
20 should be better informed and that one should react as soon as
21 possible to protect people. We expected a great deal from the
22 international community. We thought that they had the convoy of the
23 Medicines Sans Frontier would bring us infusions and medical
24 supplies, and they would take our wounded people as long as we have
25 wounded people. That was the agreement and they promised this, but
1 the Yugoslav army did not allow them. They did not allow a single
2 aspirin to be brought to our hospital, not a single infusion. They
3 took a group of patients and that was all. The aggressor is always
4 obeyed -- he has to be obeyed probably -- and people who need to be
5 helped do not get helped. I apologise for such emotional words and it
6 would take a long time to tell you everything about Vukovar. There
7 are some books even in English and perhaps you might find it
8 interesting if you have the time to go through them and read them.
9 Thank you.
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mrs. Bosanac, the Tribunals thank you. It is very
11 sensitive for you having come and wishes you a good and calm journey
12 home, and hopes that you will find the serenity that you need, if it
13 is possible. The Usher can accompany the witness out. Once the
14 witness has left the courtroom we will suspend the session for 10
15 minutes before we resuming. Thank you.
16 (The witness withdrew).
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We will resume at 5.30. The hearing is adjourned.
18 (5.17 p.m.)
19 (Adjourned for a short time).
20 (5.33 p.m.)
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Prosecuting Counsel, we are going to introduce the
22 next witness. Are you making a request for any particular
23 protection? I notice that the Registrar is ready. Prosecutor, would
24 you please introduce the next witness?
25 MR. WILLIAMSON: Yes, your Honour. At this time we will call Dr. Neda
1 Striber as the next witness. We are requesting protective measures
2 for this witness. The sole measure we are asking for is that her
3 image be altered and that the gallery not be able to observe her as
4 she enters the courtroom.
5 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Registrar, firstly, would you please note in the
6 minutes of this hearing, according to a well-known procedure, that we
7 have undertaken an amendment to the proceedings for the hearing for
8 the next witness who wishes that her identity not be concealed, but
9 that the Prosecutor has requested that the image of the witness which
10 can be broadcast through the media be completely concealed. Before
11 showing in the witness it is, therefore, necessary to lower the
12 screens in order that the public not be able to identify the face of
13 Dr. Striber, following which then we can bring up the screens again.
14 Are you quite sure that there is no possibility of seeing
15 through? There are no problems? Mr. Registrar, could you please ask
16 the Usher to show in the witness who will then introduce herself.
17 Dr. Neda Striber, called.
18 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Madam, firstly can you hear in your mother tongue
19 what I am saying?
20 THE WITNESS: Yes.
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Are you tuned in to the right channel? If so,
22 please introduce yourself and then the solemn oath, the solemn
23 statement which the Usher has given to you, your family name, your
24 first name, your age and your profession.
25 THE WITNESS: My name is Neda Striber. I was born in 1960. I am a doctor
1 specialised in opthamology. I solemnly declare that I shall speak
2 the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
3 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you very much, madam. Kindly be seated. Do
4 you feel comfortable to make your statement, give your testimony? Do
5 you feel quite comfortable? You are appearing before an
6 International Tribunal which at the request of the Prosecutor is
7 ready to listen to you. Do you feel calm and tranquil? Prosecutor,
8 the floor is yours, your questions to the witness.
9 MR. WILLIAMSON: Dr. Striber, you indicated that you are doctor
10 specialising in the field of opthamology, is that correct?
11 A. Yes, that is correct.
12 Q. How long have been working as an opthamologist?
13 A. For the past four years. I would like to apologise. I passed my
14 specialisation exam in 1994. I would like to apologise because I did
15 not give you a correct.
16 Q. That is all right. How long have you been a physician?
17 A. I have worked since 1985.
18 Q. In 1991 where were you working?
19 A. Then I worked I started to work at the Opthamology Department at
20 Vukovar Hospital.
21 Q. What were your specific duties at the Vukovar Hospital at that time?
22 A. At the beginning I worked with the whole department of the
23 Opthamology Department. During 1990 when the situation changed
24 completely, so at the end of the May 1991 I was the only physician of
25 the Opthamology Department at Vukovar Hospital.
1 Q. You indicated that the situation changed at the end of May 1991.
2 What had happened at the beginning of May which had led to an
3 increase in tension in the area?
4 A. Yes, at that time the first tensions started to emerge especially
5 after the incident at Borovo Selo.
6 Q. Did there come a time when this tension erupted into actual fighting
7 between the Croats and the Yugoslav People's Army?
8 A. The first major incident with armed conflicts started to take place
9 in July and in August of '91.
10 Q. How did this affect operations at Vukovar Hospital?
11 A. Well, of course, the Vukovar Hospital had to adjust to these new
12 circumstances, especially since the situation in the city of Vukovar
13 changed completely. At the same time there were also changes within
14 the hospital, because staff started to leave us, you know, people
15 started to leave the city as the fighting started to intensify. Some
16 people remained; other people decided to leave with their families.
17 That was according to the individual assessment of each and everyone,
18 whether one should stay or leave.
19 Q. You indicated that some of the staff members began to leave, so there
20 was a decrease in the total hospital staff. Is that correct?
21 A. Yes, considerably. I could tell you approximately for our
22 department, for instance, until the beginning of the war there were
23 about 20 people working in our department, 18 or 19, I cannot give
24 you the exact answer. At the beginning of the aggression we were
25 just four including myself to work at this department.
1 Q. At the same time that there was a decrease in staff members, I take
2 it that there was an increase in the number of patients who were
3 coming into the hospital?
4 A. Yes, the number of patients was increasing every day. This was
5 especially visible in August 1991. At that time we were receiving
6 many more patients, i.e. wounded and, of course, working conditions
7 were changed as well in the hospital. Due to the initial shelling of
8 one part of the hospital we had to adjust to those new circumstances.
9 Therefore, we tried to evacuate the upper parts of the hospital for
10 security reasons, we tried to evacuate both staff and patients. As
11 the fightings were intensifying, we were obliged to go to the lower
12 part of the hospital. So at the beginning of September '91 we moved
13 definitely to the cellar of the new and old part of the hospital and
14 we also opened the atomic shelter where we would put patients and
16 Q. You indicated that the hospital had been hit from the shelling. Was
17 it hit on more than one occasion?
18 A. At the beginning the shelling was less intensive and we did not think
19 that it would really continue, but during the fightings the hospital
20 was constantly exposed to the shelling. Every day we would receive
21 more and more shellings, so there were some days where you could not
22 even go out to the hospital compound, let alone to count all the
23 mortars that would hit the hospital.
24 Q. Over the course of the three months in which the battle of Vukovar
25 went on, what was the result in terms of damage to the hospital?
1 A. We were directly hit, the building was directly shelled, so the
2 building of the new hospital was completely destroyed. You could see
3 that on a lot of photos that were taken after the fall. The old
4 hospital was also hit, so it means that the whole construction of the
5 old hospital was in fact destroyed. They were no windows on those
6 facilities and there were certain parts of the hospital that could
7 not be used at all.
8 Q. During the time when the battle was going on were you able to move
9 around freely within the city?
10 A. Well, that was always risky. Every time when you would step out
11 there was always 50 per cent of a chance that you would come back and
12 50 per cent of a chance that you would get killed. I mean it was at
13 your own risk that you would go out.
14 Q. Were you able to go to your home at all during the battle?
15 A. At the beginning I would go back home. I would always wait until a
16 decrease in the fighting, until there were less shells, but at the
17 end of August and at the beginning of September '91 all the staff,
18 all the medical staff in fact moved to the hospital. So we literally
19 lived and worked all the time in the hospital. A lot of staff also
20 brought their family members, their children with them, because they
21 just could not go back home. Their houses, they could not use any
22 more their homes either.
23 Q. OK. What happened to your family?
24 A. I took my children out of the town somewhere around mid-September, so
25 my children were not with me, my husband neither.
1 Q. But you continued to stay in Vukovar to continue working in the
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. As the battle continued, did conditions at the hospital deteriorate?
5 A. Yes, the situation deteriorated. We had more and more wounded people
6 coming and at the same time we ran out of water and electricity.
7 These were really very specific conditions of work; these were not
8 normal working conditions.
9 Q. By the middle of November what was the situation like in the
11 A. At the middle of November 1991 the hospital was literally fully
12 booked, every single centimetre of space was occupied. There were a
13 lot of patients, wounded people, civilians. There were a lot of
14 staff with their family members, with their children. This situation
15 at certain moments was really critical because there were just too
16 many people.
17 Q. As the fall of the city to the JNA became imminent, did you see other
18 people from Vukovar coming to the hospital?
19 A. In the last days of the battle more and more people, more and more
20 civilians began to come to the hospital. I cannot remember exactly
21 the date, I think it was in the afternoon when the civilians, at
22 least I had a feeling that those civilians were coming from all parts
23 of the city, for the first time in fact we realised how many
24 civilians there were left in the city. There was a whole river, a
25 flood of civilians, of people that were coming into the hospitals and
1 they were looking for the refuge in the hospital. These were elderly
2 people, mothers with small children. They wanted to be safe in the
3 hospital. It is very difficult to say how many people there were in
4 the hospital at that time. Those people would not say anything. They
5 would not ask for anything. They were just begging for a little bit
6 of space where they could take refuge. You know, it is very
7 difficult to say, to describe how it looked like. Every single inch
8 was filled. It was dark and there was only this flood of people that
9 was entering the hospital. We did not have any food. We did not
10 have water. We did not have anything to give these people. I
11 remember one grandmother said to me: "But look, my child, we are not
12 looking for anything; we are just looking for a safe place."
13 Q. In your estimate, approximately how many people had gathered at the
14 hospital by the 19th of November?
15 A. By the 19th of November there were definitely more than 1,000 people.
16 I cannot say exactly the number, but definitely more than 1,000.
17 Q. Where were they located? Were they inside the building, outside?
18 A. Most of them were within the hospital itself, but since the hospital
19 was so occupied and people could not enter the hospital, I really
20 have the impression that a lot of people stayed within the hospital
21 compound, which means outside of the hospital itself.
22 Q. During this time period, especially near the end of the battle, did
23 you see any Croatian soldiers in uniform at the hospital?
24 A. Towards the end of the battle, well, you know, Croatian soldiers
25 would come to pay a visit to their friends in the hospital, they
1 would always come to see them, so there was always someone coming in
2 the hospital. I cannot say whether at that particular moment there
3 were people who were visiting patients.
4 Q. Did you see anyone carrying weapons at the hospital?
5 A. Excuse me, could you please clarify your question?
6 Q. Did you see any soldiers carrying weapons or anyone at all bringing
7 weapons into the hospital, guns?
8 A. Do you mean during the last days or do you mean in general, during
9 the whole period of the battle?
10 Q. First of all, during the whole period of the battle and then
11 specifically near the end, at the end of the battle as the city was
12 about to fall.
13 A. All of the patients and all of the fighters that were wounded and
14 they were coming in the hospital, they always had to leave their
15 weapons, their guns, at the entry of the hospital. There was a person
16 in charge of recording the weapons. I do not know where those
17 weapons were kept later on, but as patients, in their capacity as
18 patients, they were not in possession of weapons. I cannot say of
19 course that maybe someone did not have a weapon or a gun, but there
20 was an instruction that new weapons should be kept in the hospital.
21 The soldiers that would come to pay a visit to someone, they had
22 weapons because they would enter with their weapons and also go out
23 with their weapons. During the last days it is sure that none of
24 those who were there had weapons.
25 Q. Did there come a point in time when JNA soldiers arrived at the
2 A. As far as I know, the first time I saw the JNA soldiers was on the
3 19th of November in the afternoon.
4 Q. Was there any resistance given to these JNA soldiers by anyone in the
6 A. Definitely not.
7 Q. OK. These first JNA soldiers that arrived there, how did they
9 A. I would not say that they approached any of the staff or patients at
10 that time. They would simply establish contact with our Hospital
11 Crisis Committee, that is to say with our Director. On the 19th of
12 November in the evening, late afternoon or evening I believe, I do
13 not remember exactly the hour, you will understand it because the
14 time just stopped for us, but on the 19th of November several JNA
15 soldiers walked through the hospital and they were looking at the
16 patients and at the hospital and I remember their comment, they said:
17 "It is really impossible. We cannot believe that they are working
18 under such conditions."
19 Q. How did you spend the night of the 19th of November to the morning of
20 the 20th ?
21 A. We did not know what would happen during that night. Nobody was able
22 to tell us what was going to happen the following day. We were
23 expecting an evacuation of the patients and the wounded, because we
24 were constantly told that such a thing would happen. We were
25 expecting, you know, to receive instructions how to prepare our
1 wounded, because we heard that there have been some negotiations
2 about the evacuation of the hospital. People were afraid, they did
3 not know what would happen. There was a certain chaos because we
4 were all trying to do something. We were all taking care of the
5 wounded, but we were also all very afraid how the evacuation due to
6 happen the following day would really happen. The nurses continued
7 with their regular work. They were preparing the wounded for the
8 evacuation that was agreed upon.
9 Q. Where did you stay that night?
10 A. I spent that night in my room, in my medical room, which is a space
11 where we all lived together. It is a room that has 12 or maybe up to
12 15 square metres and it is situated in the cellar of the old part of
13 the hospital. There were four, sorry, there were nine of us living
14 there. This was our medical room, but this was also a room where we
15 would reside throughout the war. It is a very limited space with a
16 concrete floor. We had some mattresses on the floor. We tried to
17 sleep on those mattresses. There was a very, very small hole, sort
18 of windows, but there were no glasses or net; there were just planks,
19 wooden planks put on that hole. We tried to protect ourselves from
20 the shelling.
21 Q. Early on the morning of the 20th of November did you see the head
22 nurse for any reason?
23 A. Excuse me, you ask me about the 20th?
24 Q. Yes, it is on the morning of the 20th.
25 A. A little bit before 7 a.m. on the 20th of November the head nurse
1 came to our medical room (or as I would call it our living room).
2 She came with the list accompanied by a military person. She called
3 out one of my patients who during that time was in this limited
4 space. They asked him to step out in the corridor. This person in
5 military uniform, I assume he was a physician because he said to me:
6 "Dear colleague, would you please tell me what were the injuries?"
7 He wanted to know whether these were heavily or light bodily
9 Q. What was the name of this man that they called out?
10 A. It was Josip Bradaric.
11 Q. Did you see what happened to him?
12 A. No, I did not. I know just that he was taken out of this space
13 somewhere outside.
14 Q. After this contact with the head nurse, where did you go?
15 A. The head nurse said to us that there is an order that all medical
16 staff should gather in one part of the hospital for a meeting.
17 Q. Where did there meeting take place?
18 A. It took place in the surgery ward which was, in fact, the former
19 plaster room of the emergency department. There were doctors, nurses
20 and all other staff of the hospital were present at this meeting.
21 Major Sljivancanin invited us to this meeting and that was when he
22 introduced himself to us.
23 Q. Was he the person who was in charge of the meeting?
24 A. Yes, he was in charge of the meeting.
25 Q. What did he say to all of you?
1 A. Well, I am afraid I am not able to repeat every single word that was
2 said by Major Sljivancanin, but it was more or less like this: "Our
3 doctors, Dr. Bosanac and Dr. Njavro -- your doctors, Dr. Bosanac and
4 Dr. Njavro are not any more in charge of the hospital. We are taking
5 over the hospital. The JNA army came here to liberate the city and
6 the hospital." At the same time we were told that he understands
7 that in our capacity of medical staff we were obliged to perform our
8 duties, but each person who fought against JNA soldiers should be
9 held accountable for that.
10 Q. How long did this meeting last?
11 A. It is very difficult to say this, but I would say it was during an
13 Q. While the meeting was going on did you notice anything unusual
14 occurring in the hospital?
15 A. At a certain point I left a group of the medical staff gathered in
16 this meeting and I stepped out of the room, and at that moment I
17 noticed some of our patients who could walk, they were going out
18 accompanied by one of the soldiers towards one of the entries to the
19 hospital, the entry to the emergency department.
20 Q. When you finally did get out of the meeting, what did you observe in
21 the hospital?
22 A. The patients left in the hospital. There was almost nobody left in
23 the hospital. There were very, very few patients left in the first
24 part of the hospital. There were just a couple of beds with some
1 Q. The patients that were remaining, were any of them men?
2 A. Very few.
3 Q. What about with your patients, the patients that you were responsible
4 for, what happened to them?
5 A. On my return from the meeting I saw that none of my patients was
6 there. I walked through all the rooms. I wanted to see how they
7 were doing. I wanted to give them the last instructions for the
8 evacuation, and I really believed that this was the beginning of the
10 Q. How many patients were under your care at that time?
11 A. Twenty-four patients.
12 Q. At any point in time had you prepared a list of these patients?
13 A. In the evening of the 19th of November, that was the last time when I
14 went to take care of my patients to give them the medication that
15 they would need during the evacuation the following day, and when I
16 wanted to give them the instructions and tell them that we would be
17 with them. I wanted to reassure them. During that visit I made the
18 exact list of all the patients. I also made a list of their injuries
19 with the exact description. I added also their address and I asked
20 them where would they like to continue with their treatment, because,
21 you know, in our areas we would sometimes send people for treatment
22 to Zagreb or to Belgrade and it was always an individual decision.
23 Q. At this time I would like to show what we have marked as Exhibit No.
24 27. Can you identify this document?
25 A. Yes. This is my handwriting and the information that it contains,
1 this is my last list of patients that I made and submitted to the
3 Q. Is this an original document?
4 A. I think it is a photocopy.
5 Q. Does it appear to be an accurate photocopy of the original?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. How many names are contained in this list?
8 A. Twenty-four.
9 Q. Can you briefly describe what information you have listed next to
10 each name?
11 A. Well, this is the first name and surname, then the kind of injury and
12 the address of the patient and the place where that patient would
13 like to continue his or her treatment, because these were mostly
14 patients that needed further treatment in some kind of more
15 specialised institution.
16 Q. How many of the patients that are on this list were men?
17 A. I think there were only two women on the list, if I am not mistaken,
18 patient No. 8, madam Zahora, and then Mrs. Ostro Kata, Kata Ostro,
19 and Mrs. Janka Potkorski, three women.
20 Q. Were these patients still in their beds when you returned from the
22 A. Men not. They were absent.
23 Q. But the three women were still there?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Were all of the people there included on this list actually wounded?
1 A. I had two patients. One was a patient that was in our hospital in
2 August and September 1991 and who had an impaired oratory canal, and
3 at the moment of the evacuation he was already under control, so to
4 speak. He was the husband of my head nurse and she asked me to keep
5 him in hospital so that he could leave with us during the evacuation.
6 Also there was another patient, a gentleman, who was the husband of
7 one of my colleagues, Dr. Zego where again he was a member, so to
8 speak, of the families of our staff and we had him also on the list.
9 These were then husbands of two of our ladies who were working on our
11 Q. Why had these men or their wives asked that they be included among
12 the wounded?
13 A. You see it is normal that one is concerned about their family
14 members, and I in fact understand why these women decided that they
15 should take their husbands with them as patients. This was fear, fear
16 of the unknown. This was a desire to protect somebody who is a
17 member of your family, but also it is a kind of thought which says,
18 well, if you have a patient, the patient will be protected, because
19 there are all kinds of international conventions to protect patients.
20 Q. They feared for their safety otherwise, is that correct?
21 A. We all were afraid for our safety.
22 Q. Do you know what happened to all of these men that were taken out of
23 the hospital, that were removed from their beds that morning?
24 A. I know about the destinies of some of these people because they came
25 to Zagreb and they were treated in Zagreb, but many of them are now
1 listed as missing. We do not know what the criterion was that some
2 patients were allowed to proceed to Zagreb and what was the criterion
3 that some people were kept and are now listed as missing.
4 Q. Did you see any of these men again that day?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Where did you see them being taken out of the hospital?
7 A. I did not leave the hospital compound. I only saw that they were
8 being taken into the backyard of the hospital, but I was not allowed
9 to go out of the hospital so I do not know where they were taken.
10 Q. Through which entrance to the building were they taken out of?
11 A. We assumed, and I cannot claim that that is correct, they did not
12 leave through the main gate, but rather through the side gate. This
13 is the gate leading towards -- which is in the back part of the
15 Q. At any point during that morning did you see international monitors
16 from the International Red Cross or the ECMM present at the hospital?
17 A. During that morning while we had the meeting and when the patients
18 were being taken away, I am quite sure that there was no observer in
19 the vicinity.
20 Q. Did you later see monitors present at the hospital?
21 A. Probably quite a lot of time elapsed and when we all decided where we
22 would go and we were standing outside on the hospital ground, those
23 of us who wanted to go to Zagreb, so it was several hours later then
24 we saw them.
25 Q. By this time it was well after all of the men had been removed from
1 the hospital, is that correct?
2 A. Yes, quite a long time after that.
3 Q. During the course of the morning of the 20th as people were being
4 evacuated from the hospital, did you hear any shooting or explosions
5 occurring anywhere in the area?
6 A. On the 20th we heard no explosions.
7 Q. Was there any shooting or any indication that fighting was still
8 going on anywhere in the area of the hospital?
9 A. No, definitely not.
10 Q. At approximately what time did you leave the hospital that day?
11 A. Probably around noon. I cannot tell you the precise time, but it was
12 around noon.
13 Q. How were you taken out of the hospital?
14 A. We spent -- once we decided rather to go to Zagreb which we were
15 allowed to decide, we were standing in the hospital grounds for an
16 hour or two hours. This was in front of our emergency admission
17 room. This was, as I say, in the hospital grounds but outside in the
18 open. After that we were told that buses were waiting. We left the
19 hospital grounds and came to the part where the court building used
20 to stand, and we saw buses parked there and we entered those buses.
21 Q. As you were leaving the city of Vukovar, were you able to observe
22 what had happened to the city over the past three months?
23 A. You could not recognise the city any more. There was deadly silence
24 and you could not even hear birds singing. It looked horrible.
25 Trees were lying on the ground. The buildings, you could only
1 surmise that they had been buildings. The centre of the city was
2 totally destroyed. Also there were various parts of building
3 materials lying on the street, parts of trees, big branches and tree
4 trunks lying on the street in front of the department store. In the
5 very centre of the city you could see through the -- you could see
6 from the buses, you could see also people lying in front of that
7 department store by the side of the road.
8 Q. These people appeared to be dead?
9 A. Yes, judging by the position of their bodies I would say they were
11 Q. Were you able to see them well enough to tell if they had been killed
12 recently or had been there for a long period of time?
13 A. You could see very well that they were corpses that had not been
14 lying there for a long time. I would say that they looked, it is
15 difficult to say, but they were people killed moments earlier or a
16 couple of hours before. I cannot be precise but they were certainly
17 not long-lying corpses.
18 Q. At this time, your Honours, I would like to tender Exhibit 27 to the
19 court. I have no further questions for this witness.
20 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Counsel for the Prosecution, I would like to give
21 the floor to my colleagues. Judge Odio Benito.
22 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Thank you. Doctor, do you know why Sljivancanin talk
23 about liberate the city and the hospital? Liberate from whom? What
24 was the situation because it is a little strange to hear about
25 liberation in this case. Do you know?
1 A. This was their vision of things. You see, all of the time in the
2 Serbian media, as far as we could see, the JNA always said that they
3 were liberating the city. We did not want to be liberated. We were
4 there in our city. There was no need for any kind of liberation. We
5 lived there normally. At least in our view it was a normal kind of
6 life with our neighbours, with our friends. Nobody had to come and
7 liberate us from anything.
8 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Thank you. I have no further questions.
9 JUDGE RIAD: Dr. Striber, you mentioned that crowds of people were asking
10 for shelter in the hospital because they were afraid and they thought
11 the hospital would give them some safety. Many of these people or
12 some of them were resistant, do you think, or was it just the simple
13 crowds of people, citizens of Vukovar? Were there some combatants,
14 resistance among the people who took shelter in the hospital?
15 A. I can tell you, when I saw people entering the hospital they were
16 very, very ordinary people, common people, ordinary citizens of
17 Vukovar, elderly people, women, children, who came for help or for
18 safety or they thought was safety. So they were civilians quite
19 definitely and they came to find -- but the second half of your
20 question I lost, so could you please repeat it?
21 Q. No, I understood your answer. Some of your patients, were some of
22 your patients among the resistants or the previous fighters? You
23 said that you found when you came back to the rooms the men were not
24 there any more. Were they, as you said simply patients or were they
25 combatants and resistants who were being treated at the hospital?
1 A. You see for me at the moment of admission of a patient they were all
2 simply patients and I would not then separate them into class, a
3 class of patients, civilian patients and combatants, because all
4 previous activities, if they had had any of which I was not even
5 aware, that is the end of it. That is not something which I am
6 concerned with.
7 Q. Did you have anything to do with Sljivancanin? Did you have some
8 contact with him and how do you assess his position in the hospital?
9 Was he the man ruling the hospital or was there a director who
10 managed the hospital and Sljivancanin was just staying aside?
11 A. Personally I did not have any direct contact with him apart from that
12 meeting where everybody was present at the meeting, but my general
13 impression, and the impression of all of us, was that he was the kind
14 of person who was taking the hospital over, so to speak, that is how
15 he appeared. He said: "Now I am in charge of hospital, all aspects
16 of its operation, all aspects of its work." This was our impression
17 and my impression personally.
18 Q. So according to your assessment, you think that everything that
19 happened in the hospital was under the authority of Sljivancanin?
20 A. I would say that this is very probable. I would say that this is
21 very probable.
22 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
23 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Dr. Striber, just a few points of clarification.
24 The patients at the point of evacuation, were they brutally treated?
25 A. In the course of evacuation I cannot tell you, but if this was
1 evacuation, I do not know whether one could call this evacuation, but
2 there was no maltreatment, at least I saw none.
3 Q. Would you be able to say anything about how many people disappeared
4 at Vukovar between the bombing, the shelling of the city, as well
5 then later on as the disappearances from the hospital; the number of
6 people who lost their lives, the number of disappeared persons,
7 injured persons, have you heard about any figures?
8 A. As far as I know, judging by the records that we have, there was
9 something like 1,200 or 1,300, 1,200, 1,300, but during the fighting
10 itself I would say that this figure includes, covers only people for
11 which records are kept. The total number of those killed in the
12 fighting again is known to the extent that we have records about
13 them, people whose deaths were recorded in the hospital and so on.
14 But I know for sure that after so much shelling and bombardment quite
15 a number of people died, a very large number. Many civilians
16 remained in their shelters, in their houses or in the remnants, the
17 ruins of their houses.
18 Q. So you are saying the number of disappeared persons from the hospital
19 would be around 1,000 or 1,200. That is the only figure you are
20 aware of. What exactly does this figure consist of? I am sorry this
21 appears to be a question about accounting. It is very dramatic
22 accounting of course, but this is an important point for the
24 A. Let me try to explain. From the hospital some 300 people are
25 missing, but when I say 1,200, this is the total number of people
1 missing from Vukovar, not from the hospital. I was not precise
2 enough in my first statement.
3 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you very much. Last question. What is the
4 state of Vukovar at the present time? What is the dominant feeling
5 in Vukovar? What is the situation in Vukovar, very briefly?
6 A. I could not tell you that because for five years I have not been to
7 the city. I left with a convoy and I can only see some pictures. I
8 can see some documents or what you find on television, in the media
9 and so on. This used to be a lovely city and today it is ruined.
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you very much, Madam Striber. The Tribunal is
11 sensitive to the fact that you have come to give your testimony. It
12 would like to thank you. I would like to issue a very calm and
13 serene journey back following these events which you have
14 experienced. Once again the Tribunal would like to thank you.
15 Registrar, please take all necessary measures in order to
16 ensure that the witness is protected, firstly, visually.
17 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, I would like to thank you very much and thank
18 you for your good wishes and kind words, but I would like to go back
19 to my city. We all of us from Vukovar would like to go back in
20 peace. There has been a lot of killing. There is a lot of people
21 who have suffered and nobody would want to have the same experience
22 repeated ever. It would be best if this could be done in peace.
23 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you very much indeed, madam. If the Usher
24 would show the witness out.
25 (The witness withdrew).
1 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Counsel for the Prosecution, we will recommence our
2 hearing tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. to continue the hearing of the
3 witnesses which you have requested should be heard at the Tribunal.
4 So this hearing is adjourned and we will recommence tomorrow morning
5 at 9 a.m.. The hearing is adjourned.
6 (The hearing adjourned)