1 THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL CASE NO. IT-95-13-R61
2 FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
3 IN THE TRIAL CHAMBER
7 Wednesday, 27th March 1996
17 CLAUDE JORDA
18 (The Presiding Judge)
20 JUDGE FOUAD RIAD
21 JUDGE ODIO BENITO
24 Mile Mrksic
25 Miroslav Radic
1 Veselin Sljivancanin
8 IN THE MATTER OF VUKOVAR
17 MR. GRANT NIEMANN and MR. CLINT WILLIAMSON appeared on behalf of the
24 Wednesday, 27th March 1996.
25 THE PRESIDING JUDGE [Original in French]: First of all, I would like to
1 be sure that all the interpretation booths are working properly.
2 Does the Prosecutor's group hear me? The Registrar? My colleagues?
3 We give the floor to you, Mr. Niemann. We are resuming
4 our audience. The floor is yours to introduce the following witness.
5 Will you first inform the Tribunal of the level of protection
6 required by this witness which you have asked from the Tribunal? We
7 are working pursuant to an order which our Chamber has taken and, at
8 the request of the witnesses, it planned for a certain level of
9 protection. The witness we are going to call, can we say that this
10 person is included among the protection measures you have indicated?
11 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, the individual that we are about to call had
12 previously requested protection measures, but now has decided that he
13 will testify without any protective measures being implemented; so,
14 at this time we are not requesting any.
15 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Was this person one of those included in our order?
16 You said, yes; could you please give me his name, please?
17 MR. WILLIAMSON: Yes, your Honour. The witness to be called is Zarko
18 Kojic. He was identified by name in our previous request.
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Therefore, we must modify the order for a moment. I
20 will confer with my colleagues. Mrs. de Sampayo, the Tribunal has
21 decided to amend its order which it had issued on the witness Kojic
22 in the minutes of this hearing. Would you please indicate that this
23 modification has been made? Thank you. You may now bring in the
24 witness, Mr. Kojic.
25 MR. ZARKO KOJIC, called.
1 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I would take advantage of these few moments to say
2 that the Tribunal will take a break at 10.15, of course, relating to
3 the declaration of the witness; if the person is just about to
4 finish, we will not interrupt him but, in theory, it should be about
6 Mr. Kojic, do you hear me in your own language? Do you
7 hear me in your own language? Do you hear the interpretation?
8 THE WITNESS [Original in Serbo-Croat]: Yes, thank you.
9 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Is the interpretation going through? Yes, it is. I
10 can hear you as well. We have given a declaration to you which we
11 are going to ask you to read while you are standing, after having
12 said who you are. What is your name, please?
13 THE WITNESS: My name is Zarko Kojic, and I solemnly declare I shall speak
14 the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
15 (The witness was sworn)
16 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Please sit down. Mr. Kojic, you are now before the
17 international criminal Tribunal. You must express yourself in
18 accordance with the declaration you have just made. We wish to tell
19 you that you should be able to testify in serenity and in a quiet
20 spirit of mind before an international tribunal. The floor is now
21 yours, Mr. Prosecutor.
22 MR. WILLIAMSON: Thank you, your Honour.
23 Examined by MR. WILLIAMSON
24 Q. Mr. Kojic, where are you from originally?
25 A. I am from Vukovar. I was born in Vukovar.
1 Q. Did you live in Vukovar all your life until 1991?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. What is your nationality?
4 A. I am Croatian.
5 Q. Where was your home in 1991?
6 A. I was at the Otokara Kersovanija Street, No. 2, in Vukovar.
7 Q. What was your occupation at that time? Were you working?
8 A. I was -- I had just graduated from high school, from secondary
10 Q. Are you familiar with an incident that occurred in Borovo Selo on
11 the 2nd of May 1991?
12 A. Yes, I know that on that occasion there were two -- 12 Croatian
13 policemen who were massacred there.
14 Q. What was the atmosphere like in Vukovar after this incident?
15 A. It was a very tense atmosphere, and for about a week we did not have
16 to go to school and also -- and all exits and entrances to the city
17 were blocked, but I only heard about this. I am not sure.
18 Q. Did there come a time when this tension erupted into actual fighting
19 in and around Vukovar?
20 A. Not at that time, not yet not at that moment yet -- which moment do
21 you have in mind?
22 Q. At some point later did fighting erupt in the area?
23 A. Again I find it difficult to understand what you mean by "this",
24 after "this".
25 Q. After the Borovo Selo incident occurred in May, you had indicated
1 that there was a lot of tension in the area, correct?
2 A. That is correct.
3 Q. Later on in the summer did fighting start actually occurring between
4 the Croatians and the JNA in and around Vukovar?
5 A. In Borovo, they started bombarding or shelling Borovo in July. I
6 was not there that month, but on television I saw pictures of the
7 bombardment. Then later, after July, the attacks began throughout
8 the Vukovar and Borovo area, and that was on 24th August when the
9 start of the shelling was serious.
10 Q. After the 24th of August, did you join in the defence of the city?
11 A. Not at that time yet. I returned from holiday on the 18th of
12 August. I had spent my holidays in Bjelovar with my relatives. On
13 the 18th of August I came back to Vukovar and during these days the
14 situation was still quiet, although Borovo was shelled and some
15 shooting was heard from Borovo, but Vukovar itself was basically
16 quiet. There were occasional shots from small arms fire during the
17 night, but on 24th August the shelling of Vukovar started on a
18 serious scale and the whole area was affected, the whole region was
19 affected. I was at that time in my own house and we lived in the
20 cellar until 15th September.
21 On 15th September Chetniks came to some 100, 150 metres
22 from my house, so my mother and I left our house and we went to
23 Olajnica, to a shelter, an air raid shelter, and then I joined the
24 defenders in the capacity of some kind of a logistics group, that I
25 was involved in the logistics.
1 Q. In the answer that you just gave you indicated that Chetniks came
2 within 100 or 150 metres of your house. Can you explain to the court
3 what you mean by "Chetniks", when you use that word?
4 A. At that time I did not know that they were Chetniks, but I can
5 define the Chetnik and say I saw, I actually saw them and that was on
6 the day that Vukovar fell. These were the people dressed half in
7 army uniforms, half in civilian clothes. There were -- usually they
8 had parts of the JNA uniforms, camouflage uniforms, or ordinary
9 fatigues. Also, they were very dishevelled, unshaven, unclean, and
10 there was a clear difference between them and the soldiers of the
12 Q. You indicated that when you joined the defence force you became part
13 of a logistical support unit; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Where was your unit located in the city of Vukovar?
16 A. It was at the Olajnica. Olajnica was our base from which we went
17 out to buy food, to acquire food, bring water, to bring wounded
18 people into the city and so on. So that is what we were doing.
19 Q. Did you remain at the same location throughout the battle, at this
20 same base?
21 A. From 15th September until the 18th of November, that is where I
22 spent there. That was the nuclear air raid shelter at Olajnica.
23 That is where we slept and then during the day we went on our
25 Q. On the 18th of November where did you go?
1 A. On the 18th of November, I still spent the night in the shelter. On
2 the morning of the 19th of November, a woman came with a white flag
3 and said: "Anybody who would like to go to Serbia to meet the JNA
4 should go towards the marketplace from Olajnica, and those who would
5 like to go to Croatia should then proceed to the hospital". So, on
6 this advice, I decided to go to hospital, and quite a number of
7 civilians went towards the marketplace in Serbia while the rest went
8 to the hospital to go to Croatia eventually.
9 Q. What was the situation like when you arrived at the hospital?
10 A. When we arrived there, there were many civilians there, many wounded
11 people, women, children and the hospital was overfilled. On the 19th
12 of November the army was already in the hospital, the JNA army was
13 in the hospital already, and they told everybody to proceed to
14 Velepromet. So everybody went for Velepromet, both men and women,
15 and I was considering myself whether to go or not, but since my
16 mother was wounded and was lying in hospital, I decided to stay.
17 Actually, I joined the last group for Velepromet, but then a woman
18 told me I could stay with my mother and that then I would be in the
19 company of -- accompanying the wounded people when they are
21 Q. At this point in time had the fighting stopped around the area of
22 the hospital?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. During the battle had you been wearing a military uniform?
25 A. No, I only had yellow boots which were not part of a uniform, but
1 they were the boots which I -- it was a good pair of boots in which I
2 could walk very easily and nicely. That was the only military part.
3 I had some kind of camouflage cap, but this was not part of
4 anybody's uniform, not part of the official Croatian uniform, but was
5 something I bought at the marketplace in Zagreb.
6 Q. During the course of the battle had you carried a weapon?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did you bring this weapon with you to the hospital?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Did you see other soldiers at the hospital carrying weapons?
11 A. No, no, not Croatian soldiers.
12 Q. How did you spend the night between the 19th and of the 20th of
14 A. Well, I was in the basement of the hospital. I talked to my mother
15 long into the evening. We were trying to decide what to do about our
16 future, where to proceed. Then I talked to other wounded people and
17 civilians and then I slept in a chair as much as I could sleep.
18 Q. On the morning of the 20th of November, what happened at the
20 A. When I woke up some JNA officers arrived and they had a list of
21 people, and they called out some names, I cannot tell you how many
22 names, but some seven to eight names they called. These people were
23 taken out. They were both, some of them wounded people, some of them
24 were ordinary civilians, not patients. Later, these officers said
25 that all men over the age of 16 and under the age of 60, and that all
1 wounded patients who could move should leave the hospital, and they
2 declared that those who could move were the people walking on stilts,
3 people with very severe wounds in the stomach and in the lungs and so
4 on, but they were able to walk and they were ordered to leave the
6 Q. Did you also leave the hospital at this time?
7 A. Yes, yes. I left the hospital then, but I was still on the hospital
8 grounds. I left the building.
9 Q. How old were you at that time?
10 A. I was 18 years, 18 and a half years old.
11 Q. What happened after you left the hospital?
12 A. First of all, they said we should stand in two lines. There were
13 quite a number of Chetniks there, army people, and they searched us.
14 The searches were ordered by Major Sjivancanin. I used to know his
15 name and when I saw him I recognised him, and he actually gave orders
16 to Captain Radic who was standing to his left and he addressed him
17 directly, he said: "Captain Radic, search these people". Then Radic
18 took three or four soldiers, pointed his finger at us and they
19 actually began to search us.
20 Q. They were JNA soldiers that conducted these searches?
21 A. Yes, they were regular JNA soldiers, but the Chetniks were around us
22 and they watched the proceedings. Then they took all hard objects,
23 pencils, lighters, cigarette lighters, anything that was solid
24 objects. Then they told us to proceed to the buses lined at the back
25 of the hospital in Gunduliceva Street turning -- turned towards
1 Borovo. The buses then turned around and proceeded towards the
3 Q. When you got on the buses were you under guard?
4 A. Yes, there was a soldier with a Kalashnikov rifle. He was in the
5 bus and there was a driver also.
6 Q. The soldiers that were guarding the buses, these were regular JNA
7 soldiers as well?
8 A. They were regular JNA soldiers, yes.
9 Q. Where exactly did the buses take you?
10 A. It was along Gunduliceva Street, then Bozidara Adzije Street, across
11 the bridge to -- we went by the medical centre, turned right into the
12 Josip Kras Street. We followed that street up to the crossing with
13 Ognjen Prica Street. Then at that crossing there was another street
14 called Sajmiste, and we proceeded along the Sajmiste Street towards
15 the Vukovar barracks.
16 Q. Up to the JNA barracks, did anything happen on the buses?
17 A. In the buses we were seated and the buses parked in the barracks, on
18 the barrack grounds, and the Chetniks began to enter the buses. They
19 boarded the buses. They did not do anything but they provoked us.
20 It was some kind of psychological pressure on us. One of them
21 entered and said: "Don't you worry, I cut only noses and ears".
22 Another one came and asked why did you need all this, what was that
23 for? So they simply circled around us, so to speak, and they walked
24 around the buses. They would put knives between their teeth and
25 said: "Here, I have captured a bus load of the Ustasha". Then they
1 took -- I think that there was some kind of fire fighting equipment,
2 some spades, some pickaxes, and they took -- they broke the handles
3 and with these handles they threatened to beat us. Then some more
4 people came. They heard, there was a grinding machine somewhere; you
5 could hear the grinding.
6 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, I believe the translation has malfunctioned
8 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We do not have interpretation coming from that booth
9 across there.
10 THE WITNESS: I hear French in my headphones. I can hear you.
11 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Do you hear now?
12 THE WITNESS: It is all right now.
13 MR. WILLIAMSON: Did these ---- now we do not hear in English.
14 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Do you hear me now?
15 MR. WILLIAMSON: Yes, your Honour. We had lost the English translation.
16 Now we are getting it. (To the witness): Proceed, please.
17 THE WITNESS: So then somebody, Captain Radic, came into our bus and other
18 buses. He called five or six names. It is my French again -- I am
19 still getting French in my headphones.
20 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: What is happening, Mrs. Sampayo? Can you tell us?
21 Has it picked up again?
22 THE WITNESS: Can I continue?
23 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Would you go on, please?
24 THE WITNESS: Captain Radic came. He called five or six names from my bus
25 and they were taken out into a separate bus and what happened to them
1 later, I have no idea. I heard that they had been taken back to
2 hospital and these people are now free. That is what I heard later.
3 We spent some three hours or longer in the barracks and nothing
4 happened during that time. They did not beat us, but the Chetniks
5 did board the bus, but the guard on the bus did not allow them to do
6 anything, so they just threatened us, threatened with abuse, and they
7 were saying, "What are you doing? What have you done to us? Why was
8 it necessary", and so on.
9 Q. At this time I would like to show you a small portion of video which
10 has been previously been marked as exhibit 23. If we can show that?
11 A. I cannot see anything on my screen because -- OK. The lights are
12 falling on to my screen and I cannot see very much what is happening
13 on the screen. Now is better.
14 Q. Do you recognise the individual that is shown in this video?
15 A. Yes, the person now behind the helmet, behind the helmet, yes.
16 Q. The individual that is not wearing a hat?
17 A. This was Captain Radic. This was Captain Radic, but he was dressed
18 differently when he was in hospital. He had a beret at that time and
19 he had a leather jacket.
20 Q. Is this the same man who had conducted the searches of the men
21 outside the hospital?
22 A. Right, the same person.
23 Q. Not the same man that read out the names of the people at the JNA
24 barracks; is that correct?
25 A. Yes, that is correct.
1 Q. OK. Thank you. We can turn off the video at this time. Now you
2 indicated that the buses remained at the barracks for approximately
3 two or three hours; is that correct?
4 A. Three and maybe even longer than that -- three hours at least.
5 Q. When the buses did leave where did you go?
6 A. We started, we started -- we left the barracks along the Sajmiste
7 Street towards Negoslavci and we turned left on to a local road, an
8 asphalt road but leading through the fields. So we drove along that
9 road through the fields and we came to a small fork where the street,
10 the road, there was a fork on the road. To our left, there were some
11 buildings, farmhouses and old buildings, but we turned right and
12 after some 50 metres or so, maybe 100 metres, we stopped in front of
13 a hangar. My bus did not stop directly because there were several
14 buses before our bus which stopped at the gate of the hangar.
15 Q. Did you know the name of the place where you were?
16 A. Yes, I know this was Ovcara because that was an agricultural estate.
17 Q. Had you been there before the war?
18 A. Well, this was the road on which I passed my driver's test, but even
19 earlier, as a young child, we were brought there by our school on
20 school excursions or outings and sometimes I rode my bicycle along
21 the road so I knew it was Ovcara.
22 Q. You said that there were other buses in front of you so your bus did
23 not pull up directly in front of the hangar, correct?
24 A. That is correct.
25 Q. Did you see what was happening to the people on the buses ahead of
2 A. I could not see very much until I came fairly close, until my bus
3 stopped in front of the hangar door. I was in the back part of the
5 Q. When your bus stopped in front of the hangar, what did you observe
7 A. I saw through the window that people were being beaten, that their
8 jackets hats, caps, were taken away. They went between two files of
9 people beating them, and I saw large numbers of the Chetniks raging
10 there, so everybody was passing through their ranks before entering
11 the hangar.
12 Q. What were they beating the men with, could you tell?
13 A. Well, two or three of them had some kind of handles. One had an axe
14 handle, but most people had nothing. They only had their fists and
15 they also kicked them with their feet.
16 Q. When you pulled in front of the hangar and you saw what was
17 occurring, what did you think was going to happen to you?
18 A. While I was on the bus, I thought everybody would be killed. It
19 looked very bad. The situation seemed very bad.
20 Q. When you did, in fact, get off the bus, what happened to you?
21 A. When I descended, as I descended, they started beating me and I went
22 through the two files. I had to take off my jacket, give them all my
23 documents. They threw the documents on to a pile in front of the
24 hangar. They also took my money, they beat me, and so I was in -- I
25 was simply in a sweat shirt and I ran quickly into the hangar, but
1 they continued beating me in the hangar with truncheons, with batons,
2 with chains. There was some kind of flexible iron rod, and with
3 that they beat me as well. When they finished, when the next person
4 arrived, they simply put me on the left side of the hangar. There
5 was some straw on the floor. We had to stand there first and then we
6 sat down.
7 Q. Did you know many of the men who had been brought there on the
9 A. Well, I knew quite a number of them. Many of them I simply knew by
10 meeting them, but I did not know their names.
11 Q. Did you see anyone being singled out inside the hangar for harsher
13 A. When we entered and when we stood on the straw, the Chetniks came to
14 ask if there were any Albanians among us. So Kemal, I think Kemal
15 Saiti, but his nickname was Kemal, he said yes he was an Albanian, so
16 then three or four Chetniks started beating him, but especially
17 passionate and wild was the person who beat him; there was one person
18 who beat him particularly and jumped upon him as he was lying on the
19 floor, and then he would return, regain consciousness, then that
20 person jumped upon him, hit him with a baton until blood started
21 streaming out of his mouth and lungs and nose. I would say that
22 Kemal died, I am 99 per cent sure that Kemal died on that occasion.
23 Q. To your knowledge, was anyone else seriously injured or killed as a
24 result of the beatings?
25 A. Another person that was beaten very badly was Damjan. He was a
1 large man, and they beat him until he remained lying unconscious on
2 the floor. But I did not see this very well because they broke my
3 glasses as I entered and I could not see very well, but the beating
4 of Kemal happened before my eyes which I could see very well.
5 Then Damjan Kovacic was another person that was badly
6 beaten. I think he was called Kole. His nickname was Kole. He had
7 been wounded, wounded in the lungs. He had shrapnel, grenade
8 shrapnel, in the lungs. So somebody asked him, "And you were part
9 of the Croatian national guards", and said: "Why did you do this?
10 Why did you do that?" Then he started beating him, two people
11 actually beat him, especially his acquaintance, and Damjan also began
12 to spit blood after a few beatings. Blood came through his mouth.
13 His wound probably opened in the lungs and Tomislav Papp that was
14 standing next to him asked the Chetniks to give him some bandages
15 because these people had the first aid bandages.
16 So he asked for a bandage, but they did not give him
17 anything, so he covered his wounds, covered his wounds. In fact,
18 there were documents stating the nature of the wounds, so with this
19 documentation, with the papers, they put it on his chest to stop the
20 bleeding but that did not help.
21 Q. You indicated that most of these beatings were being done by the men
22 you referred to as Chetniks. Were regular JNA soldiers also
23 participating in the beatings?
24 A. In that file through which we had to pass, there were also some
25 regular soldiers and in the hangar itself there were some regular
1 soldiers and everybody hit somebody, but the main beatings came from
2 the Chetniks. There was an officer, a JNA officer, in the mid middle
3 of the room. He said: "Do not beat them" but, of course, he was not
4 obeyed, and he did not actually do anything to be obeyed. But he was
5 -- it was some kind of farcical attempt at quieting the situation.
6 Q. Approximately how many men that you have called Chetniks and JNA
7 troops were inside the hangar altogether?
8 A. Altogether some 40, I would say. That is my guess.
9 Q. Did any of these men tell you why this was happening?
10 A. No.
11 Q. How long did these beatings go on?
12 A. Well, they beat somebody at all times. There was always somebody
13 who was being beaten. First of all, everybody was beaten as they
14 entered the hangar. Then later they singled out Kemal, then Damjan,
15 in the other part of the building they beat somebody else, and when
16 the situation calmed down a little, then Sasha Guja came in front of
17 me. That is how I know it. "Guja" is probably not his surname, but
18 probably his nickname, or his stepfather was Guja. I do not know his
19 real surname. So he was my age; we used to be friends, go out
20 together in the evenings and so on, and he was in a JNA uniform but
21 he was not a soldier. He actually said that he was a member of the
22 territorials, and this, in fact, was a name applied to local
24 Anyway, so he asked me: "What are you doing there?" I
25 just shrugged my shoulders. I could not answer that. He asked me:
1 "Did you do any shooting?" I said: "Never". He said: "Did you
2 have any weapons?" I said: "No." "Have you been in uniform?" I
3 said: "No". "Have you been mobilised?" "I have not". It was all
4 negative answers that I gave, so Tomislav Papp, who was some two or
5 three metres away from me, said: "No, no, he was in the air raid
6 shelter at Olajnica". Thus, he confirmed my statement.
7 Then he said, he took me aside by the wall to the left
8 of the hangar, to the left side of the hangar, inside the hangar, he
9 put me on the left side towards, near the door. Vjekoslav Sindilj was
10 also there. He was also brought to this position, to this place.
11 So, that was an attempt to save us. So there was a soldier guarding
12 us with a sniper. So he was two or three steps far from us. Anyway,
13 so he was guarding us.
14 Q. Did there come a point in time when you were actually taken outside
15 the building?
16 A. Yes, so I was sitting there for a while, and then they took me out
17 while the Vjekoslav remained, and so they took me out and Igor Kacic
18 was outside and some more people came later, and the Chetniks came
19 out all the time asking: "Who are these?" Then they said: "Well,
20 they are ours". The Chetniks said that we are theirs and there were
21 attempts to bring us back into the hangar. But then Guja would come
22 and some other people came and said: "Leave them in peace", so we
23 were left there. There were nine of us in front of the hangar.
24 It was already getting dark. It was getting dark
25 probably around 5 o'clock because in November it gets dark fairly
1 early, and there were nine of us standing outside. Then -- let me
2 concentrate -- a man came that was beating Damjan Kovacic. Then he
3 asked for Igor Kacic who was 16 years old, and he said, what was he
4 doing there. Then he was told that we were the kind of group -- that
5 we were the group that would be taken away. But then he returned
6 Damjan back to hangar.
7 In fact, all of us had to go to the hangar again where
8 the list was named in duplicate with our names. They gave the one
9 copy of the list to an army officer who was, I think, a security
10 officer. They called it the state security officer. So, one copy of
11 the list was given to him and the other copy was in the hands of the
12 person accompanying us. So, then Kacic joined us again and then, as
13 I left the hangar, I saw Sinisa Glavesevic surrounded by some
14 officers and Chetniks. They said: "You, the Ustasha journalist,
15 who had been writing against us", so he was being abused and beaten
16 at that time.
17 We left the hangar. Kacic was returned to our group,
18 and we went towards the mini bus that was supposed to take us to
19 Vukovar. As we walked towards the mini bus, there was also Ivan
20 Ajasovic with us walking with a stick. Then Miroljub came who was
21 some kind of territorial defence commander. Miroljub, I do not
22 remember the surname, Vujasinovic, I think. I cannot -- I am not
23 sure about the surname.
24 Anyway, so he took Nejasmic again and said: "He is the
25 secretary of the HDZ. Why should he be released?" So Ivan Ajasovic
1 was taken back to the hangar and seven of us boarded the mini bus.
2 Q. I would like to go back a little further now. You indicated that
3 Sinisa Glavasevic was being beaten near the door; is that correct?
4 A. Yes, yes, correct.
5 Q. What had been his occupation during the battle? What had he been
6 doing during the war?
7 A. Before the war and during the war, he was the journalist working for
8 Vukovar radio. This was Croatian radio, Vukovar. He was reporting
9 about the events in Vukovar before the war and during the war.
10 Q. When you went back inside to have your names registered and you saw
11 him, did you also see other people still being beaten at that time?
12 A. I saw them beating some other people, especially Ivan Zvonimir
13 Plavsic, who said that he had not done anything, that he was an
14 elderly man. They said: "We know you; your son was the commander of
15 a section of the city defences", and so they abused him, beat him,
16 and also they beat some other people, but I could not see much
17 because it was getting dark and I did not have my glasses so I could
18 not see very well.
19 Q. When you were placed in the van with the other men that had been
20 saved, where were you taken?
21 A. They took us first to Velepromet and they took us out of the van,
22 but then they were told that there was not enough room for us there.
23 There was a Chetnik there, Ljubin Milikovic, who simply said:
24 "There is not enough room here for these people". So we boarded the
25 van again and we were taken to Modateks. This is a textile plant.
1 So there were a number of women there from the centre of the city,
2 who had been in the centre of the city during the war.
3 They placed us on a marble slab or table which was
4 actually used in that textile mill for fabric stretching. Anyway, so
5 we were left there to sleep on that big table. Nobody touched us that
6 evening. There were some kind of shoulder pads on which we could
8 Q. How long did you remain there at Modateks?
9 A. We spent one night and in the morning a JNA officer came. He was a
10 Macedonian. He was wearing a jacket and a beret hat. Then he
11 examined us, questioned us. He asked our names, nationalities, what
12 we were doing. They again shouted abuse at some people. There were
13 also Sladana Korda in uniform. She was born in 1973, so roughly my
14 age, but she was very arrogant. She was standing there, and when the
15 Macedonian, that officer, asked me whether I knew her, I said, yes,
16 of course I knew her from the Three Roses Cafe, because this was the
17 cafe where mostly Serbian youth, Serbian young people, were
18 congregating, but I went to all the cafes, regardless, and I used to
19 see her there. So we said: "Oh, good, since you saw her there,
20 that is good for you".
21 Q. Were you released from Modateks?
22 A. Yes. Then Miroslav Slavic came to get me and he took me to the
23 Svetozara Markovica Street where I was with some old people; some
24 were the fathers, barons of the Chetniks, some of the parents of the
25 national guardsmen. There were mostly elderly people, one was quite
1 old, and myself. This was a building, this was a building
2 requisitioned by the Chetniks. Mirko Stajic took this building and
3 he said that was his house now, although it was somebody else's
4 before the war.
5 Q. How long did you remain in Vukovar after you were released?
6 A. Up to 14th December, but then I was not released; I was in this
7 building. The Chetniks would come every day. They did not beat me,
8 but they questioned me all the time, "Who was in the national guards?
9 Who was in the ZNG organisation?", that is Croatian national guards.
10 So, to tell them something, I told them about the dead people and I
11 mentioned those names. For the rest, I said I did not know.
12 I also told them that I had a hernia, that I was
13 imprisoned and that they should let me know because I have a hernia,
14 and they should let me go to Belgrade to my Godmother and to be
15 operated there. My grandmother, my father's mother, was in the
16 uniform, Serbian uniform, she was very loyal to Serbs, and through
17 her connections she obtained a piece of paper which enabled me to get
18 a pass out of the Vukovar. So, on 14th December I left for Sid to
19 live with her brother, and then my Belgrade Godmother came to fetch
20 me and then I was in Belgrade for a while and through Bosnia later I
21 came back to Croatia.
22 Q. I want to go back again a little more. During the period of time
23 that you did remain in Vukovar where did you stay?
24 A. Svetozar Markovic 70, No. 70.
25 Q. Whose house was this?
1 A. I do not know whose it was before the war, but during the war or
2 after the war Miroslav Savic occupied the house, so to speak.
3 Q. Was your grandmother also staying in this house?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. During this time were you free to move about the city of Vukovar at
7 A. No.
8 Q. Did you have any occasion during the period that you were there,
9 though, to see any of the Serbian men who had been present at Ovcara?
10 A. Miroslav Savic, in fact, was at Ovcara and Goran Mugosa used to come
11 to this building as well who had also been at Ovcara.
12 Q. At this stage I would like to show another portion of the video that
13 we marked as exhibit 23. If you would look at this, Mr. Kojic. We
14 can dim the lights again also, please. Maybe we can back it up just
15 a little bit? Then I want to ask you if you recognise anyone who is
16 in this picture?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Who is that?
19 A. Yes, you can stop now. The person with the -- the bearded man, he
20 was at Ovcara and he was the one that beat Kemal, the strong Chetnik.
21 He said that he came from Montenegro and he said, he said, "Come to
22 Montenegro to see what culture is."
23 Q. Thank you.
24 A. That is why how I concluded that he was a Montenegrin, but he was
25 at Ovcara. He was one of the most aggressive Chetniks there.
1 Q. We can conclude the video at this time. Did you have an opportunity
2 during this time that you had remained in Vukovar to speak with any
3 of these Serbian men about what had happened at Ovcara?
4 A. I only had an opportunity to talk to Miroslav Savic because at one
5 point I said: "What happened to these people?" and he said: "They
6 are all underground now" or "under the grass", as he put it, which
7 means they are all buried, dead and buried. I also talked to Goran
8 Mugosa. I told him that he had taken my documents, he had taken my
9 money and that he hit me on several occasions, but he said: "No, no,
10 that was just joking; you are lucky to be alive".
11 Q. Other than the men who left Ovcara in the van with you on the 20th
12 of November, have you even seen any of the other men who were taken
13 out of the hospital by the JNA on that morning? We have lost the
14 translation again.
15 A. It is back.
16 Q. Are you able to hear it now in Croatian?
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I have been told that the French interpreters have
18 not touched any buttons. Mr. Registrar, would you have anything to
19 say? Could I suggest that we take a 10 minute, 15 minute break so
20 that our technicians can do something about these audio/visual
21 problems? Really, it is a bit too much so we will suspend the
22 meeting for 10 to 15 minutes.
23 (10.00 a.m.).
24 (The hearing adjourned for a short time)
25 (10.15 a.m.)
1 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Please bring in the witness.
2 MR. ZARKO KOJIC, recalled.
3 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Registrar, is the equipment working? I would
4 like to know. Looking around the room, I would like to know if
5 everybody can hear me, The Prosecutor, for example?
6 MR. WILLIAMSON: Yes your Honour.
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Registrar, can you hear me? My colleagues on the
8 Bench? How about the interpreters? Is everything working for the
9 interpreters? I know it is a difficult situation. Let us all try to
10 work together. Even with the most sophisticated equipment in the
11 world, of course, you can never exclude defects totally.
12 (To the witness): Mr. Kojic, please take a seat. Are
13 you tuned into the right language channel? Can you hear what I am
14 saying to you, Mr. Kojic? Are you getting interpretation into your
15 language? Is that OK?
16 THE WITNESS: I hear very well.
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: You have taken a short rest now. Do you feel
18 reasonably relaxed now?
19 THE WITNESS: Yes, I had a cigarette so I feel better now.
20 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Prosecutor?
21 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, I just have one additional question for Mr.
22 Kojic. (To the witness): Mr. Kojic, other than the men who left
23 Ovcara in the van with you on the 20th of November 1991, have you
24 ever seen again any of the other men who had been taken out of the
25 hospital with you that morning?
1 A. Yes, I saw a boy, a young man, who lives at Zevrin near Bjelovar in
2 Croatia. He had been -- he was in the JNA army and he was in a tank
3 unit, and then in September at Luzac he fled from the army, joined
4 the Croatian forces; first served in the Croatian Police, and then
5 had a position in the Police, I think. Anyway, he was captured, and
6 I am telling you his story now, and when the beating began they said:
7 "Do not beat us, we are JNA soldiers." So, four of them, before
8 they were brought into the hangar, they were taken to Negoslavci. He
9 was then in Belgrade. He was tried, and he spent two years in prison
10 in Valjevo. Now he is back home. I know his name but I do not know
11 the names of the other three young men with him, but he would know
12 these names. His name is Hajro, Hajro Dode, Hajro Dode. He is an
14 Q. Of the men that remained inside the hangar after you left in the
15 van, have you seen any of them again alive?
16 A. No, never.
17 MR. WILLIAMSON: I have no further questions, your Honour.
18 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you very much, Prosecutor. Judge Odio Benito,
19 would you like to pose any questions?
20 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Yes, thank you. (To the witness): Mr. Kojic, when you
21 were taken out from the hospital the men who were with you in the
22 bus, were they patients of the hospital or they were soldiers or they
23 were civil people?
24 A. There were wounded people, there were some hospital staff and there
25 were some civilians. I did not notice anybody belonging to the
1 Croatian army. But all these people, all the wounded soldiers, were
2 civilian in civilian clothes and they had no weapons and if there
3 were any other army people on the bus they were in civilian clothes.
4 Q. Excuse me, were they all Croats?
5 A. I would assume there must be some Ruthenians, some Hungarians and I
6 would assume also some Serbs.
7 Q. Muslims?
8 A. Possibly, yes.
9 Q. You told us that when you went to the hospital your mother was there
10 and she was wounded. When and where was she wounded?
11 A. On 8th Of November we were called to hospital because they needed
12 blood, to donate blood. We sat into a small car, a Fiat 750. We sat
13 in the car. The driver, Damir Bosnjakovic, myself, my mother was in
14 the back seat and there was another woman, elderly woman, called
15 Subasic and Delfa, another woman; anyway, three women sat in the
17 When we left the shelter, air raid shelter, and started
18 driving from Olajnica towards Kidriceva Street and in the direction
19 of the hospital, we were fired on not far from the school, but anyway
20 so the school was on a hill across the river and they shot from that
21 direction. My mother was the only one who was wounded, but she had a
22 bullet in her liver.
23 Anyway, we went to hospital. She was operated but the
24 problem was that nobody could give blood for her transfusion. Because
25 I had given blood a month earlier, I was not allowed to give it
1 again, and the other people were so exhausted and so badly under
2 nourished that they were not allowed to give blood for transfusion.
3 So I stayed in hospital with my mother. The two other women were
4 taken back to the air raid shelter, but there was more shooting and
5 our driver, Damir Bosnjakovic, was wounded with a grenade shrapnel.
6 My mother stayed in hospital.
7 Q. What happened with your mother after the fall of the hospital?
8 A. She left in the convoy with the wounded people, went to Sremska
9 Mitrovica and then via Bosnia to Croatia. She was in hospital in
10 Jujici and then went to Bjelovar.
11 Q. How is she now?
12 A. She has recovered. The liver has recovered, but she has had
13 several operations and six stitches because there was no -- they did
14 not have the X-ray so they wanted to check on her bladder so that
15 they had to check by surgery. She also had some bile problems. So
16 she is not in a bad condition but not in top form either.
17 Q. When you were inside the hangar, did you receive any food or water
18 or any kind of support?
19 A. Nothing, no, only beating.
20 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Thank you. No further questions.
21 JUDGE RIAD: Mr. Zarko Kojic, I would like you to clarify to me a few
22 things. First, you mentioned that on the morning of the 20th of
23 November somebody ordered that men between the age of 16 and 60 and
24 also the wounded who could walk should leave the hospital. Could you
25 recall who, in particular, gave that order?
1 A. A JNA officer came, I do not know his rank, because I was not in the
2 Yugoslav army so I do not know the ranking markings, but he had a
3 leather bag, shoulder bag, and he was an officer. He was a short man,
4 stout with greying hair, so he might have been 55 years old, roughly.
5 He was very similar, he resembled very much the person in the hangar
6 who ordered the beatings but I cannot confirm that. But, anyway, he
7 said that all men and so on should go out.
8 Q. Did you see any of those who went out in this case, did you see them
9 afterwards anywhere, or did they disappear completely?
10 A. I never saw them since then.
11 Q. You never saw anybody since then? Next when you went to Negoslavci
12 and Ovcara -----
13 A. No, I was not in Negoslavci, I am sorry.
14 Q. You said you went to Ovcara to the barracks, to the hangar, where
15 the ranks were standing and you could pass through the ranks and
16 they were beaten by iron rods, yes?
17 A. You mentioned Negoslavci; I only said we went in the direction of
18 Negoslavci, not to Negoslavci. We did not go all the way to
20 Q. The hangar was in Ovcara, was it?
21 A. Right.
22 Q. You went down and had to pass through, as you said, ranks and you
23 were beaten by axes, feet, and iron rods and so on. Was Sjivancanin
24 or Radic around?
25 A. No, they were not. I did not see them. They might have been there
1 but I did not see them.
2 Q. Inside the hangar where there was also beating, there was no sign of
3 Radic or Sjivancanin?
4 A. No.
5 Q. You mentioned that some people were distinguished from the others
6 and received a more cruel treatment. You mentioned Kemal who was
7 beaten to death, as you said, and Damjan; was it because they
8 belonged to a different -- they were Albanians, you said, was that
9 the only reason?
10 A. For Kemal, this was the only reason, yes. I think this was the
11 major reason, I assume, because that was the reason. Damjan was not
12 Albanian, but he was one of the commanders in the National Guards,
13 Croatian National Guards.
14 Q. So you think there were certain distinctions because people were in
15 the National Guard or had any role in the resistance, would this
16 assumption be right?
17 A. Yes, the assumption is right, but there was no real rule. Sometimes
18 people were taken out for reasons which were not clear. When they
19 saw a younger person, then they would say: "Yes, you kill some
20 children", anybody. There was a lot of random; some people were
21 accused of having been snipers. For Damjan, they knew that he was in
22 the National Guards; Kemal stated himself he was an Albanian, so they
23 were badly beaten, but there was indiscriminate beating. Sinisa
24 Glavasevic was beaten because he was a journalist of Croatian radio.
25 Damjan Kovacic was beaten because he was in the National Guards.
1 But again, on the other hand, many people were beaten without any
2 obvious reason and they would simply be beaten badly.
3 Q. Yes, but those who were saved were saved for a specific reason,
4 including yourself; what was the reason which made them take some
5 people back, in your opinion, relatives or -----
6 A. In my case I was friend of Guja. Guja could have decided to kill me
7 because I was his friend but he decided to save me. There was another
8 man from Zagreb, a volunteer. He was saved without any reason. He
9 simply asked a soldier: "Please save me", and the soldier saved him.
10 Emil was saved because he was a sanitary officer, so he at one point
11 made some favour to a Serb, helping him to open a cafe and he signed
12 the paper for sanitary conditions. The reasons were all very varied
13 and not easily understood; everything was individual and each case
14 was different and sort of random.
15 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much, Mr. Kojic.
16 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Kojic, I think you have been asked many
17 questions; I will not ask you any others. I would like to turn to
18 The Prosecutor and ask for clarification as to the origin of the
19 video that we have been shown, as we were. What is the source, what
20 is the origin, of this video?
21 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, this is the video that we previously marked
22 as exhibit 23. It is a compilation from various sources, but the
23 vast majority of it, probably 95 per cent, comes from footage that
24 was broadcast on Radio Television Belgrade. So this was generally
25 filmed by cameras that had been sent out from Belgrade.
1 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you. So these are Serbian sources then, is
2 that what you are saying, that you are using here?
3 MR. WILLIAMSON: That is correct, your Honour. It was filmed by a Serbian
4 news agency and was broadcast and most of these were recorded by
5 Croatian television and then provided to us at our request.
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: This is not a real question, but could we again see
7 the three pictures showing the faces of the three accused? Could we
8 show these pictures to the witness again? I think he recognised one
9 of them, but I would like to see if he recognises the Major. Would
10 that be possible?
11 MR. WILLIAMSON: Yes, your Honour, these are marked as exhibits 24, 25 and
12 26. If we could have those, please?
13 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Are the technicians ready?
14 MR. WILLIAMSON: I am sorry, your Honour. Did you wish to see it on the
15 video or the photographs that had been lifted from the video?
16 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: What I think I would like, and which would be of
17 interest to the Tribunal, is to know whether the witness does
18 recognise the three accused. I think that he recognised the Captain,
19 but I would like to know whether he recognises the Major; I do not
20 think he could recognise Mr. Mrksic, but I think the Major would be
21 important. I would like to see if he does recognise him and, if he
22 does, because he saw him himself or because he saw the images on
24 MR. WILLIAMSON: Very well, your Honour. We will show him the photograph
25 at this time. At this time, your Honour, we will be showing the
1 witness exhibit 25.
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Can you focus it better, please?
3 THE WITNESS: I do not see anything.
4 MR. WILLIAMSON: I believe it has to be set on "computer monitor", your
5 Honour, rather than "video".
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Yes, I have pressed the "monitor" button but what I
7 am seeing is a photograph -- oh, it is a copy. So there were
8 photographs of the man in the video that we saw. So this is an
9 excerpt from the video. Perhaps if we lighten the screen? Does the
10 witness see anything? (To the witness): Mr. Kojic, do you see the
12 THE WITNESS: Yes, I see. This is Major Sjivancanin. I saw him in the
14 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Do you have the impression that he was the one who
15 was directing the evacuation?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Perhaps then, under these circumstances, it is not necessary to
18 extend the hearing, which has already been long, unless we could see
19 a picture of Mrksic as well. Could we see that?
20 MR. WILLIAMSON: Yes, your Honour. At this time we will show the witness
21 a photograph which has previously been marked as exhibit No. 26.
22 This is also an excerpt from the video.
23 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I do not know if you see very clearly? Mr. Kojic, do
24 you recognise this person? Certainly you did not see him yourself
25 but do you recognise this individual? What do you see? Can you say
1 what this means to you?
2 THE WITNESS: I know the name but I have not seen the person in life, so
3 to speak.
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Kojic, the Tribunal thanks you. We know it is
5 not easy to come here to an International Tribunal. The hearing has
6 been long; it recalls difficult and painful things to you and so it
7 specifically would like to thank you and wishes you a safe journey
8 back to your home. I believe that the usher can now accompany the
9 witness out of the courtroom.
10 (The witness withdrew)
11 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We return to the Prosecutor and give him the floor.
12 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, the next witness that we will be calling is
13 Witness K. We are requesting for this witness some protective
14 measures. We asked that his image be altered while he is testifying
15 and also that the blinds be lowered as he enters the courtroom so
16 that he is shielded from view by the public gallery. These are the
17 only protective measures we are requesting for this witness. These
18 were not previously requested in the motion that was submitted to the
20 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: The Tribunal, of course, agrees to grant this
21 protection to the witness. Registrar, would you please indicate in
22 the record the provisions that were taken to comply with the needs
23 and the requests of these people? We are not hiding his identity; is
24 that right?
25 MR. WILLIAMSON: That is correct, your Honour, just that his image be
1 altered and the partition be placed behind the witness chair.
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Right. Would you mind having the shades drawn,
3 please, so that this would protect the witness from having his image
4 projected. Is everything ready, Mr. Marro? You might now bring the
5 witness in. We are talking about Mr. Witness K.
6 Witness K, called
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Witness K, would you please take the headset and
8 make sure that you hear? Do you hear me? Do you hear the
9 interpretation? Do you hear me speaking?
10 THE WITNESS [Original in Serbo-Croat]: Yes, I do, yes. Yes, I do.
11 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: You hear me. You have a declaration which you can
12 read before the Tribunal, please.
13 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I shall speak the truth, the whole
14 truth and nothing but the truth.
15 (The witness was sworn)
16 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Witness K, can you please be seated, and please
17 tell us who you are, how old you are?
18 THE WITNESS: My name is Witness K. I am 26 years old.
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We can turn to the Prosecutor for a second. This is
20 a public hearing. We now raise the shades. Does Mr. Witness K know --
21 he does know that he has had his requests complied with. You can,
22 therefore, testify with serenity before this Tribunal knowing that
23 your identity has been protected, as you have requested.
24 Examined by MR. WILLIAMSON
25 Q. Mr. Witness K, which city are you from originally?
1 A. I am from Zagreb.
2 Q. Have you lived in Zagreb most of your life?
3 A. Yes, I have.
4 Q. Your nationality is Croatian, correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. You were living in Zagreb in the early part of the year 1991, were
7 you not?
8 A. I did.
9 Q. At some point in time did you enter into the Croatian National
10 Guard, the ZNG?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. When did that occur?
13 A. That occurred in August 1991, early August 1991.
14 Q. How did you come to join the ZNG?
15 A. Since the situation in Croatia was such that Croatia was being
16 attacked, I felt I needed to join the defences of my country.
17 Q. When you joined the National Guard, where did you go?
18 A. I joined the National Guards on 5th August 1991. Then we went to
19 Kumrovec for training.
20 Q. How long did this training period last?
21 A. Very short, some 20 days, I think.
22 Q. Did there come a time when you went to Vukovar?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. When did this occur?
25 A. I left on 30th September, and I entered Vukovar early morning on 1st
1 Of October.
2 Q. How did you get there?
3 A. We went to Bogdanovci on buses, on a bus, and then we walked to
5 Q. At that point in time was Vukovar almost entirely cut off from the
6 outside world by the JNA forces?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Were you able to go down a road to get into Vukovar? How did you
9 actually get into the city itself?
10 A. Well, there was a side road, we had a guide, local guide, who took
11 us through the fields and so we entered the city.
12 Q. How many men did you go there with?
13 A. My unit had about 20 people.
14 Q. What happened after you arrived in Vukovar?
15 A. We were assigned to defend the Silos on the Danube River, and our
16 duty was to protect the city against the crossings by the Yugoslav
17 Army across the Danube.
18 Q. What type of weapons did you have?
19 A. We had light, small arms, rifles, Kalashnikov rifles.
20 Q. What type of weapons were the JNA using that you were fighting
22 A. Everything, all the full range that you can imagine an army would
23 have in its arsenal -- aircraft, tanks, heavy guns, everything.
24 Q. Did you remain at this same position guarding the Silos throughout
25 the whole course of the battle?
1 A. No.
2 Q. When did you change positions?
3 A. Probably around the 20th of October we left to take another position
4 in the city.
5 Q. Where did you go at that time?
6 A. We went to a part of the city called Sajmiste by the local people,
7 but the street name was Prvomajska Street, the "1st May Street".
8 Q. By the middle of November what was the overall situation in Vukovar?
9 A. At that time we concluded and saw clearly that the city would fall.
10 The situation was difficult, I must say. You could see that the
11 army had already taken some parts of the city and pushing us towards
12 the city centre, and we saw that the city was -- it was not possible
13 to defend the city.
14 Q. Did there come a time when you went to Vukovar Hospital?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. When exactly did this occur, if you recall?
17 A. I think it was on 16th November.
18 Q. What was the reason why you went to the hospital?
19 A. Since my entire unit was wounded, so to speak, I was the only one
20 that was not wounded at that time, and I felt that my best bet would
21 be to wait in the hospital for the surrender of the city.
22 Q. What was the situation like when you arrived at the hospital?
23 A. First of all, there were lots of wounded people, and there was fear
24 in the air. It was obvious to everybody that the city would fall,
25 and there was panic, people were panicky, fearing for what was going
1 to happen to them.
2 Q. Were there a lot of other people gathered there other than the
3 wounded, civilians from other parts of the city?
4 A. Yes, especially -- not on the 16th, but then later when the city
5 actually fell, then masses of people fled to the hospital, mostly
7 Q. Did you take your weapon with you to the hospital?
8 A. No, not to the hospital.
9 Q. What did you do with it?
10 A. It was left in the house, in the building, where our last post was.
11 Q. Did you see other Croatian soldiers with weapons at the hospital?
12 A. No, personally, I saw nobody. I saw nobody wearing any arms, no,
13 not in the hospital.
14 Q. By the 19th of November had the fighting stopped in the area around
15 the hospital?
16 A. Yes. The fighting had stopped because the army had already
17 surrounded the hospital, and on the 19th of November, as far as I can
18 remember, there was no serious fighting on that day.
19 Q. On that day did you become aware of the presence of JNA soldiers at
20 the hospital?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. How did these first JNA soldiers behave?
23 A. As we entered the hospital on the 19th of November, they did not
24 react at all. They were cool, so to speak. They just walked around
25 the hospital. They walked around part of the hospital where I was.
1 I did not move much in the hospital, but where I could see, they did
2 not do anything at all on the 19th when they entered the hospital.
3 Q. On the morning of the 20th of November, did the behaviour of the JNA
4 soldiers change?
5 A. I know that at one point we all had to go out of the building. Yes,
6 of course, they started to classify us, to separate us, to search us.
7 They started shouting abuse at us.
8 Q. What happened to you personally at this time? Were you taken from
9 the hospital?
10 A. I was taken with a group of people, taken out of the hospital
11 building. We were then searched and they were -- and then we were
12 taken on to buses waiting outside, outside the hospital grounds.
13 Q. Who conducted these searches?
14 A. JNA soldiers.
15 Q. What did they appear to be looking for?
16 A. They might have thought that we had weapons, that was my guess.
17 Q. You indicated that they had you board some buses; where were these
18 buses parked?
19 A. They were parked on the other side of the hospital. I called it the
20 rear part of the hospital, that is how I imagined, but I never
21 entered the hospital through that rear entrance when I went to visit
22 my wounded colleagues.
23 Q. It was the side of the hospital that was opposite the Danube river;
24 is that correct?
25 A. Right, that is what I thought, that was my conclusion.
1 Q. Approximately, how many men were placed on each bus, if you know?
2 A. Well, buses were filled, all seats were taken, which would mean that
3 each bus was carrying up to 50 people.
4 Q. Approximately, how many buses were there? Approximately, how many
5 buses were there?
6 A. Near the hospital, I could not quite see how many buses there were,
7 but when we came to the Vukovar barracks, I could see that there were
8 the total of six buses.
9 Q. When you were on the buses, was there anyone guarding you?
10 A. Yes, in my bus there were two soldiers guarding us.
11 Q. These were regular JNA soldiers?
12 A. That is how they presented themselves to us.
13 Q. You said that you went to the Vukovar barracks. This was the
14 barracks of the JNA, correct?
15 A. Right.
16 Q. What did you observe when you arrived at the JNA barracks?
17 A. I noticed that there were lots of troops there, Yugoslav Army
18 troops, and that there were also there what we called "Chetniks", I
19 would say paramilitary formations, that were also under the control
20 of the JNA. That is what I noticed then.
21 Q. When you use the term "Chetnik", what do you mean by that?
22 A. I personally think that they are the most extreme Serbs who are
23 prepared to commit any crimes for their own national interest.
24 Q. These people you have referred to as Chetniks and the other
25 paramilitary soldiers, what were they doing?
1 A. Well, they behaved in the way that I would call, sort of, a kind of
2 band or banditry. They did not really look like a real army.
3 Q. How were they behaving at the barracks when you arrived there? What
4 were they doing?
5 A. At that time it seemed that the army was able to control the events,
6 but they came with a list of people, a list of names, and they called
7 the names of people disembarking from the buses. There was a bus
8 that was empty, and the names of people from our buses that were
9 read, these people were taken to that extra bus and they were being
10 beaten there. On our bus we had not at that time been beaten in the
12 Q. Did any of these paramilitary soldiers or Chetniks get on your bus?
13 A. Yes, they came to the door, but he did not enter the bus, he did not
14 actually go into the bus.
15 Q. Were you able to hear these men saying anything?
16 A. Yes. They were swearing at us, threatened that they would kill us.
17 They said: "You are finished, there is no Croatia any more". That
18 was the kind of abuse we had.
19 Q. Were they armed with any type of weapons?
20 A. They were all armed.
21 Q. How long, approximately, did the buses remain at the JNA barracks?
22 A. Well, I would say not less than two hours, probably more. I cannot
23 tell you precisely how long we stayed there. I did not even have my
24 watch with me, so I could not follow the time.
25 Q. When the buses did, in fact, leave, where did you go at that point?
1 A. I did not know where they were taking us. I only knew they were
2 taking us out of the city. We went through the fields. Since I am
3 from Zagreb, this was my first visit to Vukovar, I did not know much
4 about, you know, the geography of Vukovar, but when we came to the
5 hangers I heard that the location was called Ovcara.
6 Q. You had never been there before this time?
7 A. No, no.
8 Q. Which bus were you on in the group of buses that went to Ovcara?
9 A. I was in the fifth bus, last but one.
10 Q. What did the buses do when they arrived at Ovcara?
11 A. Well, we stopped, all the buses stopped the engines, and then the
12 people started to disembark. I would say we waited there for some 15
13 minutes before anybody came out of the bus, but then people started
14 coming out of the buses and walking towards the hangar.
15 Q. Were you able to see what was happening to the people getting off
16 the buses in front of you?
17 A. I saw that in front of the hangar there was a file, there were ranks
18 consisting of Chetniks and JNA soldiers. They took away parts of the
19 clothing, took away documents, money from the people, any gold
20 objects which people might have had. They threw their clothes on to
21 a pile. But, especially, what I noticed that as people passed
22 through these two ranks they were being beaten very, very badly. I
23 must say that they did not -- they made sure that we could not pass
24 through these ranks very quickly. The tempo, the pace, was kept in
25 such a way that everybody should be suddenly beaten while walking.
1 Q. When you got off the bus what happened to you personally?
2 A. Well, I stopped in front of my bus which was parallel to the
3 entrance to the hangar, and there were also JNA soldiers standing
4 there who made sure we could not escape.
5 Q. Were you beaten?
6 A. Not at that point. But I can continue the story, if you like, and
7 then you will see what happened.
8 Q. Please.
9 A. It might be easier then. You see, at that point we were not beaten
10 outside the hangar but, as we moved towards these two ranks of
11 soldiers, a soldier, a young man my age, around 20, he asked me:
12 "Where are you from?" I said: "I am from Zagreb". He said: "What
13 are you doing here?" I shrugged my shoulders. I just said I did not
14 know. He did not swear at me or anything and I noticed that,
15 perhaps, I could establish some human contact with him. So I asked:
16 "Where are you from? I said: "Can I ask you where you come from?"
17 He said: "I am from Ruma", that is in Serbia. Then I said: "Look,
18 listen, before the war I used to come to Ruma before the war. I had
19 a friend with whom I had some dealings". He said: "But where did
20 you come in Ruma precisely?" I said: "I cannot know precisely the
21 name of the street, but it seems something like Partizansikh odreda
22 Street, near the JNA hall". He said: "But this is my street in
23 Ruma". He asked me for the name of my friend in Ruma. I gave the
24 name. I said: "Miroslav, and I did not know the surname, but we
25 called him Kemo". He said: "Oh, I know the man very well".
1 So we walked towards the ranks, and I forgot to
2 mention, I said: "Please try to save me, do something for me. Look
3 what is happening here". He did not react. He did not do anything,
4 so I continued walking towards the ranks of the beaters. They took
5 my clothes, the upper part of my clothes, not everything, a jacket
6 they took away. They took my documents, my family pictures, photos,
7 money and my ring, also the rosary which I had around my neck, and
8 they kept beating me as they were doing this. Then I entered the
9 hangar, but in the hangar there were a number of people already and
10 many were being beaten, because those that were beating us, they were
11 beating us with large sticks, they had chains, also with rifle butts,
12 and not to mention the fists and the kicking with their feet.
13 So I went to the left side of the hangar towards the
14 wall, and then again they started beating me, but at one point I
15 heard behind my back somebody said: "Leave him alone, leave him
16 alone, do not beat him". So somebody took my shoulder, turned me
17 towards himself. I saw that this was the young soldier from Ruma who
18 brought somebody to whom he referred as Captain. He said: "Comrad
19 Captain, can we save this man? Can we take him out of here? I know
20 him. I know him from before the war. We are friends, can we save
21 him?" The Captain said: "All right, take him out of the hangar and
22 watch him outside so that somebody does not kill him".
23 Q. Before this happened approximately how long do you think you had
24 been inside the hangar?
25 A. It is again difficult to say, to reconstruct the time, not very
1 long. I would say from the moment we entered through the ranks in
2 the hangar itself, I would say it would be realistic to say I spent
3 only about 10 minutes, but, honestly, I cannot say; it might have
4 been more, it might have been less, I just do not know, but my guess
5 is some 10 minutes.
6 Q. While you were inside the hangar you indicated that you saw other
7 people already being beaten, correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Did you see anyone who appeared to have been seriously injured or
10 killed as a result of the beatings?
11 A. At that moment I could not see much, I only saw the beatings, and
12 the beatings were directed at me as well. Some people were falling
13 to the floor. But when I entered the hangar for the second time
14 after an hour or two hours, because I was about two hours outside,
15 and then I saw people lying on the floor motionless. I did not touch
16 their pulse to say whether they were alive or dead but many of them
17 were lying motionless; some were sobbing, some were wailing in pain.
18 Q. You said that you had been outside for approximately two hours.
19 What had you been doing while you were outside the hangar?
20 A. I think I was just standing there and was listening to what was
21 happening inside the hangar.
22 Q. What was the reason why you were taken back inside?
23 A. Well, it was said that they needed to make a list, to take our
24 names. There were some seven people, some seven of us standing
25 outside so they brought us back around 6 o'clock in the evening. It
1 was getting dark, and we were told that they would take our names
2 while we were in the hangar.
3 Q. Did they, in fact, register down your names?
4 A. Yes, they took my name, but they did not take the names of everybody
5 in the group. They started making the list and then they stopped the
6 taking of the register.
7 Q. Inside the hangar approximately how many Chetniks, how many JNA
8 soldiers, other paramilitary soldiers, were there inside?
9 A. I can only guess, probably not very correctly, but my conclusion was
10 that there must have been around 100 of them.
11 Q. Approximately, how many Croatian men that had been taken out of the
12 hospital that morning were located inside the hangar?
13 A. Again, I am thinking logically, if the buses would have some 50
14 seats, with six buses you would have up to 300 people then.
15 Q. After your name was registered inside, what happened next?
16 A. We were taken out of the hangar, and we were waiting for a vehicle
17 to come and get us.
18 Q. During this time did you have an opportunity to talk with this JNA
19 soldier again?
20 A. Yes, yes, I had an opportunity.
21 Q. What did you discuss with him?
22 A. Maybe I cannot reconstruct the whole sequence, but I will sort of
23 reconstruct the content of what we said. I asked him what is
24 happening, what will be with us? He said that these people will
25 probably all be killed, that he is trying to save my head and my
1 life. And as we were leaving the hangar, he told me: "If anybody
2 should ask you anything, you and I are old friends before the war.
3 My name is Ilija, nickname 'Stuka'". Then he told me that he, that
4 all these other people will be killed but that he was trying to save
5 my life. He even gave me some money. I remember again at one point
6 some 4 or 500 metres away I heard some machinery. I thought that was
7 tanks and I said: "What was that noise? What do we hear there?" He
8 said: "This is the graves being dug for those who will be killed
10 Q. Were you eventually taken away from Ovcara in the van?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Where were you taken?
13 A. They took me to a place called Modateks. That was a textile
14 garments factory, a small garments factory, Modateks.
15 Q. How long were you held there?
16 A. There was one thing I forget to mention, I am sorry. We were first
17 taken to Velepromet, but at Velepromet there was not room for us and,
18 therefore, they decided to take us to Modateks. Then we stayed, our
19 group stayed there. We came in the evening. We spent the night
20 until around noon the following day.
21 Q. Where did you go from Modateks?
22 A. Back to Velepromet again because at Modateks the Chetniks arrived
23 there, I recognised some of them as people from the Ovcara. So they
24 started shouting at the guard at Modateks. They shouted and said:
25 "Who brought them here? Why are these people here? We will kill
1 them all and we will kill the person who brought them here", they
2 said. So under this kind psychological pressure the guards decided
3 to send us back to Velepromet.
4 I also forget to mention that the person who came to
5 Modateks said, when he threatened to kill us, he also boasted, he
6 said: "I have been killing all night so I can continue killing and
7 finish you off. This is no problem for me", he said.
8 Q. How long did you remain in Vukovar?
9 A. I stayed until 22nd November.
10 Q. Where were you taken then?
11 A. To Sremska Mitrovica.
12 Q. How long were you held at Sremska Mitrovica?
13 A. Six months. I left, I was released on 22nd May 1992.
14 Q. At that time you were able to able to return to Croatia?
15 A. Yes, there was an exchange, a major exchange, operation.
16 Q. Other than the men who left in the van with you on the 20th of
17 November, have you seen again any of the other men that were in the
18 hangar at Ovcara?
19 A. I did not quite understand the question. Do you mean the van that
20 took us on 22nd November, or what exactly did you mean?
21 Q. No. On the 20th of November you left in a van with six or seven
22 other people ---
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. -- on the 20th of November from Ovcara to go to Modateks. The
25 people that had remained at the hangar at Ovcara, have you seen any
1 of them again since that time alive?
2 A. Sorry, not my group? Exclusive of my group, you mean?
3 Q. That is correct.
4 A. No, I never saw anybody of the people who were left there.
5 MR. WILLIAMSON: Thank you. I have no further questions.
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, Prosecutor. Judge Odio Benito?
7 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Yes, thank you. (To the witness): I just would like
8 to ask some clarification about those so-called Chetniks. Tell me,
9 had they come from Belgrade, from Zagreb or from Vukovar, do you know
11 A. I can only assume that they were from all over the place. I cannot
12 tell you precisely where they came from. Some of them would say:
13 "Yes, we are from Belgrade or from other parts of Serbia", but
14 precisely where they came from, I cannot tell you; I would say from
16 Q. All of them were Serbs or there were Croats among them?
17 A. I thought that they were all Serbs and I would say 99.9 per cent of
18 them must have been Serbs.
19 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Thank you. No further questions.
20 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you. Judge Riad, do you have any questions?
21 JUDGE RIAD: Mr. Witness K, you mentioned first that you went to the
22 hospital on 16th November. You were not wounded, was that right?
23 A. No, no, I was not wounded, not in the hospital.
24 Q. Not in the hospital. Then when they started putting people in the
25 buses, you mentioned that there was an extra bus where they took
1 people to be beaten. I noted that. "The Chetniks called names of
2 people to take to an extra bus". Why was this separation? Were they
3 different from the others in any way? What do you think
4 differentiated them from the others?
5 A. Let me say it was not the Chetniks that called their names; it was a
6 Yugoslav Army officer who came with a list. He separated them into
7 an extra bus. This was happening in the Vukovar barracks and this
8 was done by an army officer. I could not understand the criterion.
9 I did not know why they were put on an extra bus, but then when they
10 came to that extra bus they were beaten by the Chetniks and by the
11 JNA soldiers, but I cannot tell you what the criterion of selection
12 was, why they were taken to a separate bus, I have no idea.
13 Q. So the beating was done by the Chetniks and by the regular soldiers
14 of the Yugoslav Army -- not only by the Chetniks?
15 A. Yes, some regular soldiers also took part, some reservists perhaps
16 and the Chetniks, they all beat people together, so to speak.
17 Q. They also took their clothes and documents, as you said; was that
18 also done by the people of the Yugoslav Army?
19 A. Yes, at Ovcara, exactly, together.
20 Q. In all these happenings, did you notice any person particularly in
21 command of what is happening, giving orders?
22 A. On two occasions I noticed this. This was the first time that I saw
23 somebody who I now know is Major Sjivancanin. I did not know his
24 name at that time. I knew that a Major was appointed to take over
25 the hospital. I heard it in the hospital. Then I saw him in
1 passing. I saw him shouting, waving his hands and arms. He was
2 fairly tall, taller than I am, with moustache. Now when I think back
3 and so on, I decided that that was Major Sjivancanin, that he was in
4 command. But at that moment I did not quite know this.
5 Later, at Ovcara, I also noticed higher ranking officer,
6 a Yugoslav Army officer, who came there and he said that he was a
7 Colonel, but I forgot his name. I cannot tell you precisely whether
8 it was Colonel Ivanovic, Ivankovic or Jorvanovic, something like
9 that, but he introduced himself as a Colonel, a high ranking officer
10 in Ovcara. He came with a delegation and was also a fairly tall man.
11 Q. Of course, if you see the pictures you can recognise them?
12 A. Sjivancanin, I would recognise, yes. Actually, I realise that was
13 him later when I saw his pictures. I said: "This is the same man
14 who I saw in front of the hospital." The other Colonel, I think I
15 could recognise him if I could see his picture.
16 Q. Was he present during the beatings or during the choice of the
17 people to be put in an extra bus, in particular, or just did you see
18 him at the hospital passing by?
19 A. Do you mean that second Colonel, not Sjivancanin?
20 Q. Sjivancanin.
21 A. I saw Sjivancanin only as I was leaving the hospital, and that might
22 have been for a minute or two, not more than that. As I was leaving,
23 he was on my right-hand side and I saw him waving, shouting, ordering
24 soldiers and so on, and there were two persons in white uniforms,
25 probably some hospital staff, I thought, or European monitors who
1 were also dressed in white. I cannot tell you precisely.
2 Q. But it was clear that he was in full command of the situation?
3 A. That was the impression and it was clear to me now that he must have
4 been commanding. I mean, now when I left the camp, when I saw his
5 pictures, I actually formed the conclusion that he was the one who
6 was giving orders. You could see very well; he is a tall person, he
7 was shouting, issuing loud orders and so on.
8 Q. Just my last question: you said that you heard sounds and
9 bulldozers working and asked this person who saved you what that was.
10 He told you they were building graves. Did you pass by these graves
11 or did you see them or just heard the noise?
12 A. No, I never went by. I only heard the noise. It was already dark.
13 When I was leaving Ovcara it was already dark already.
14 Q. Did he give you more details about these graves?
15 A. No, unfortunately not. He said, when he left me at Modateks, he
16 said: "We must go on. We move on to Vinkovci, Osijek, to capture
17 these cities", he said. He said: "You might have saved your life
18 but I may not have saved mine because we must go now to attack
19 Vinkovci and Osijek".
20 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much, Mr. Witness K.
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Witness K, in the hospital were there many of you
22 who were in the same situation as you, that is, you were not wounded
23 but went to the hospital really because it was a place, I believe you
24 said that it was a safe place? Were there many of you in that same
25 situation wearing some sort of a uniform which would show that you
1 were not a wounded person, but somebody who was a combatant? Can you
2 remember this point?
3 A. Well, let me say this. The hospital was not very safe, no, it was
4 not a very safe place during the war, but we heard that the surrender
5 would take place there and that it was best for us to be all together
6 and I was prepared to surrender. I did not want to go out as a
7 soldier and raise my hands and say "I surrender." I thought it was
8 best to surrender in a group. It was announced that there were would
9 be a general surrender in the group -- in the hospital and I thought
10 that was best for me to do that.
11 Whether there were many such people like me, I do not
12 know. I did not move much about the hospital. I only saw many, many
13 people. In the part of the hospital where I was there were -- there
14 might have been other soldiers who wanted to surrender, but they were
15 mostly people from Vukovar whose names I did not know, of course.
16 What happened with my uniform was that I took my uniform off, took
17 off my uniform, because again I heard that we should leave our
18 uniforms behind and that it will be easier to surrender. So that the
19 soldiers who come will actually be able to control their paramilitary
20 forces better, without too many men in uniforms around. So I left my
21 uniform -- I was in civilian clothes -- and what happened to my
22 uniform I do not know. There was a place where we had to dump it.
23 I actually gave my uniform to a person who took it away
24 and placed it somewhere else. The hospital staff did not want to
25 have any weapons, any uniforms in the hospital because they thought
1 that it was better for the protection of the wounded people and that
2 was better for all of us together.
3 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you Mr. Witness K. Two clarifications,
4 perhaps, I now turn to the Prosecutor, but we need the witness here.
5 Do you make any connection between the Captain that the witness
6 mentioned who had given out the order not to fight any more, that is,
7 his Serbian friend, do you think that you could identify this person
8 through the witness? I do not really understand very well the
9 answer. There was a Colonel, there was the Major who was recognised
10 by the witness. Do you see this connection between what he said? I
11 would like you to answer for him; give us that clarification for him.
12 MR. WILLIAMSON: Yes, your Honour. Your Honour, other than Major
13 Sjivancanin, we have not been able to positively identify any of the
14 other individuals that he has referred to. We have made attempts to
15 do so. The witness has viewed a number of videos and seen
16 photographs, but he has not been able to provide either a complete
17 name of these persons or to identify them in any of the videos or
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: A second clarification: when the witness alludes to
20 the bulldozers which my colleague also noted, in your investigation
21 -- I am now talking about the geographical location -- were these the
22 same mass graves to which the experts went?
23 MR. WILLIAMSON: We can only assume that they are, your Honour, based on
24 the proximity to the hangar. To our knowledge, no other mass graves
25 have been found in the area. The mass grave that is referenced in
1 our indictment is located a little over a kilometre away from the
2 hangar and, to our knowledge, no other grave sites have been
3 discovered in the area, so we believe that it is one and the same.
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you. (To the witness): A last question, Mr.
5 Witness K. Did you ever see this Serb who saved your life again? Do
6 you have any connection with him? Have you maintained contact with
8 A. No, never. I never managed to do this.
9 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: The Tribunal thanks you, Mr. Witness K. Before you
10 get up, we are going to take precautions. To conclude the protective
11 measures, we will now once again lower the shades. The Tribunal
12 wishes you a safe and peaceful journey back to your home. What do
13 you do now, Mr. Witness K?
14 A. I am an Army officer of the Croatian Army now. I am still in the
16 Q. What is your rank?
17 A. This is the higher ranking Captain, between Captain and Major,
18 between Captain and Major.
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We are sensitive to your having testified and wish
20 you a safe journey back home. Thank you very much. The witness may
21 be accompanied out of the courtroom. Thank you.
22 THE WITNESS: Thank you for your patience.
23 (The witness withdrew)
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Turning to the Prosecutor again, we are going to
25 adjourn the hearing for 15 minutes and we will resume at 11.45. The
1 hearing is now adjourned.
2 (11.30 a.m.).
3 (The hearing adjourned for a short time)
4 (11.50 a.m.)
5 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Niemann, before you introduce the next witness,
6 the Tribunal would like to know for its own organisation where we are
7 with the witnesses. How many more do you plan to call? We are
8 trying to organise the work, our work and the work of the
9 interpreters as well.
10 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honours, there are five more witnesses to be called. I
11 can indicate that the next witness, no protective measures will be
12 sought in relation to that witness. Then there will be two witnesses
13 in which orders have been made and protective measures will be
14 sought. Then there will be two final witnesses where no orders are
15 sought in relation to them. So it is a total of five witnesses.
16 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Right. The next witness has not asked for any
17 protective measures, so I think we can bring him in now.
18 MR. NIEMANN: I call Dragutin Berghofer.
19 MR. DRAGUTIN BERGHOFER, called.
20 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Dragutin Berghofer, first, I would like to ask
21 whether you hear me on the proper channel. Do you hear me? Are you
22 hearing the interpretation? We are going to give you a solemn
23 declaration which you are going to read to us, please.
24 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I shall speak the truth, the whole
25 truth and nothing but the truth.
1 (The witness was sworn)
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Would you please give us your name, your identity,
3 what you do now and your date of birth?
4 THE WITNESS: I was born on 29th of October 1940 in Osijek.
5 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Please be seated. The floor is yours, Mr. Niemann.
6 Examined by MR. NIEMANN
7 Q. Mr. Berghofer, you were born in Croatia, though I think that your
8 name suggests German origins at some stage; is that right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Where did you go to school? Did you go to school in Vukovar?
11 A. In 1945 I was in a camp in Valpovo and then in 1946 I was deported
12 from that camp to Vukovar, and I have been living in Vukovar from
13 that time until 1991.
14 Q. Is your training, your employment that of a decorator?
15 A. No. I am also wall paper layer and a decorator. So both of these
16 and I have my own workshop.
17 Q. I think that in Vukovar you had your own business; is that right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. I think you did your service in the army for a period of two years?
20 A. Yes, I did.
21 Q. On 24th August 1991 when Vukovar was attacked, where were you at
22 that time?
23 A. On 24th August at 12 o'clock, rather at midnight and five minutes,
24 my house which is 12 metres from the barrack fences, and that night
25 at midnight and five minutes they started shooting from a tank, or
1 rather from the anti-aircraft machine gun. So the shooting actually
2 continued every 30 to 40 minutes and that lasted for about three
4 Q. When this started to happen, what did you do?
5 A. Well, when my house was shelled and hit I was very much frightened.
6 I could not understand that this could happen. So the following
7 morning when I heard the voices, I took the courage to go out. I saw
8 a neighbour who was also a Serb and I asked him: "Milan, who has
9 been shooting at my house, and who has placed me before the Serbs so
10 that you are now destroying my house?" He said: "I have no idea." So
11 I took a scooter and drove some 800 metres towards the city where my
12 business was, where my workshop was, and from that moment on I never
13 came back home.
14 Q. When you went to your business in the city where did you stay during
15 the course of the attack on the town?
16 A. Well, my business was in the city centre almost, and this is a hilly
17 part. So there were cellars some 20 to 30 metres long and they were
18 dug into that hill. So I spent the whole time of the war with other,
19 with some other people, some 2,000 people who were in these shelters.
20 Q. Was your family with you at the time?
21 A. Yes, one of my daughters was with me, then my son-in-law and my
22 unmarried wife. My wife was killed. My daughter was taken out of
23 the house near the barracks on 15th September. I have never heard
24 about her, anything about her. She actually left Vukovar two days
25 before occupation. She left with a baby that she carried in her arms
1 and her three-year old son.
2 Q. Do you know who took your daughter out of the house?
3 A. No, I have no idea.
4 Q. What of your wife that you said was killed, how did that come about?
5 A. Well, you see, Vukovar was being, was surrounded. You never knew
6 from which side the grenades were coming, but we saw grenades coming
7 from across the Danube from Backa Palanka in Vojvodina. The grenade
8 fell through the door of my business, of my workshop, hit the wall
9 and my wife was killed.
10 Q. Were you or any of the people with you armed during the course of
11 your stay in the basements?
12 A. I was not armed. I never had any weapons. The last time I saw a
13 weapon was 30 years ago when I served my army in the JNA, my army
14 duty. In the cellars I saw nobody with weapons. You must know that
15 at that time we civilians could not obtain weapons very easily.
16 Q. Were there women as well as children in these basements as well?
17 A. In my workshop, in my business, I had 40 women and some seven small
18 children between two and three years old. Some 30 metres away from
19 my workshop there were also large basements where I worked later as a
20 civil defence worker, there were some 500 women and a few children.
21 Just across the street was another large cellar with some 400 to 500
22 women and children. I would say that within the range of a 150 metres
23 we had between 1,500 and 2,000 men, women, elderly people, elderly
25 Q. How were all these people fed during the period of the siege of
2 A. We received food from Djakovo while the road was open and some
3 people actually, who never thought that such things would happen. I
4 thought I could save my workshops, my own workshop, my daughter's
5 workshop. We were local Vukovar people. We thought that nothing
6 would happen to us. Later various shops were destroyed, and we
7 gathered what was left, to save the food items and so on, and towards
8 the end we had only flour and nothing else.
9 Q. Apart from supplying the people with food in the vicinity around
10 where your basement was, were you also supplying food to the
12 A. Yes. On several occasions we took food to the hospital because,
13 you know, animals were roaming the streets of the city; there was no
14 electricity; there was no refrigeration and refrigerators of course
15 could not work without electricity. So we had plenty of meat.
16 Sometimes we took food to the hospital because they did not have
17 flour, they did not have pasta and so on, so we did actually take
18 food to the hospital.
19 Q. Where did you obtain the water from for the people to drink that
20 were in these cellars?
21 A. Water we had from wells, but even these wells were then destroyed.
22 I cannot tell you precisely when the list of wells was made.
23 Actually people did come and made lists of wells. We drank water
24 from a well which had not been used for more than 30 years but now
25 was reactivated.
1 Q. Did there come a time when you decided to attempt to escape from
2 Vukovar or force your way out of Vukovar?
3 A. Well, you see, trying to break our way out, we did not really think
4 we should do that. We had television, we had radios, transistor
5 radios and so on, and we thought there would be a truce, peace would
6 come back, we do not have to leave. We always consoled ourselves
7 with the idea that we could stay on, but at the moment when we saw
8 that things were going in a very bad way, on 17th Of November 1991 a
9 group of people decided to flee. I would not call it a break-through
10 because they were not armed, at least not sufficiently armed, for us
11 to break through the ranks of the former Yugoslav Army. These were
12 mainly civilians. I joined their ranks, I joined them, deciding also
13 to flee with them.
14 Q. Can you describe to the Chamber the circumstances of what then
15 happened during the course of this attempt?
16 A. On 17th Of November around 10.30 in the evening some 350 people,
17 including myself -- and in fact I was one of the organisers, I knew
18 Vukovar very well -- in the direction of Borisa Kidrica Street, we
19 went past the cemetery, through the Sloga Stadium and when we came
20 into the forest apparently one of our friends, Mika Holika, knew the
21 paths, forest paths, because he was a hunter and he lived on the
22 outskirts of the city. So I went to look for him and the column of
23 people following me. I came to the last person and I said: "But you
24 are not the last." I said: "There is another group, another group,
25 because you were too fast, you are moving too fast." So I came back
1 to look for this group. I found them at the Sloga Stadium entrance
2 and I said: "Why can't you join us? Why don't you join us and catch
3 up with our group?" But in that group there were some wounded
4 people, some people could not walk very easily, a friend of mine
5 sprained his ankle and so on, so they could not walk very fast. When
6 we wanted to catch up with the first group we did not manage. We
7 were left to ourselves and they started to shoot at us with mortars
8 from the so-called railway bridge on the Vuka River. We wanted to
9 cross the Vuka but we did not know which paths were not mined. One
10 of my friends, Zoran Njovra -- Njovra, sorry, Zoran Njovra, and
11 Jankovic said: "Now, don't go this way, there are mines there."
12 However, two boys from Nasice did not listen to him. They hit the
13 mine and they were both thrown into the river Vuka. Personally I
14 became very frightened, not the fear of death; I would not have
15 minded that, but I would not have liked to be lying and dying in the
16 maize fields. So with a friend, Marko Mandic who was the plasterer
17 in the hospital and his wife, also the man called Jankovic and a
18 doctor whose name I do not remember now. So we returned to the
20 Q. Do you know what happened to the other people that continued on?
21 A. What happened with them I only learned later when I was captured and
22 in Sremska Mitrovica, I was beaten very badly at Mitrovica and then I
23 was again saying, "Oh I might have better gone trying to find the way
24 out." They said: "No, no, you are lucky that you did not try to do
25 this because many of those groups were killed, captured slaughtered,
1 slain", and out of the 350 people not more than 70, not more than 70
2 were saved, those people who tried to escape on 17th Of November
4 Q. You said that when were you trying to do the escape you were fired
5 upon by mortars. The people attacking you, did you have any
6 knowledge of who these people were that were attacking you when you
7 were trying to make this escape?
8 A. Well, we knew that they were the Chetniks and the former Yugoslav
9 Army because some of our young people had already clashed with them
10 at the barracks and at the Mitnica district, so we knew precisely who
11 was attacking us and who was killing us.
12 Q. When you use the term "Chetnik", what is your understanding of that
14 A. Well, I think that they are, that you were lucky if you were dealing
15 with the Yugoslav Army because these people saved their lives, but if
16 you had to deal with the Chetniks, then they had no chance of
17 surviving. Until that time I did not know that. They were
18 apparently present in the Second World War, but I saw them for the
19 first time now.
20 Q. Mr. Berghofer, what happened when you arrived back at the hospital?
21 Can you tell us the sequence of events when you returned to the
23 A. It was raining, it was a kind of autumn slow rain. I came back to
24 the hospital and you could hardly enter the hospital from all the
25 numbers of civilians that were there, women, children and the wounded
1 people, people who were separate groups, so to speak. So I sat
2 through the night with the wife of my late friend who was killed at
3 the beginning of atrocities so we are now talking about the 18th of
4 November. In the hospital there were crowds of people. You could
5 hardly move because people were standing in the way, so to speak.
6 From the 18th until the 19th of November I spent the night in a small
7 child's bed. The situation was very difficult. There was no food,
8 but on the upper floor I found baby food, that is the baby powder
9 preparation. They are for small babies when they are five or six
10 months old, the children are. So this is baby food. I found two or
11 three boxes of that and I ate that until the 19th . On the 19th of
12 November around 4 o'clock in the afternoon, or maybe 3.30, the first
13 reservists of the Yugoslav Army entered the hospital.
14 Q. Just prior to that time, had you seen any reservists or any
15 paramilitaries or JNA at the hospital at any time prior to then?
16 A. No, not prior to that, neither one nor the other or the third kind.
17 The first time I saw them was on the 19th of November around half
18 past three. These were reservists of the Yugoslav Army.
19 Q. When these reservists arrived at the hospital, what happened then?
20 A. I remember a man, a janitor or a porter, Bogdan Kuzmic who was
21 having a quarrel on the bed with Stanko Dubnjak who was also in the
22 hospital; he was probably wounded. Kuzmic asked him something and
23 then he said: "But what could I have done? I could not have done
24 anything", but that was all I could hear. So I hid in a room, in a
25 doctor's room. There were also some nurses there, and there was
1 another man called Perkovic. So we were in that room. We spent the
2 night with the doctors until the 20th of November.
3 Q. Apart from the reservists did you see any other military people, JNA
4 or others there?
5 A. Not that evening, but the following morning, early in the morning, I
6 saw quite a number of young soldiers and somebody who was a commander
7 which was an officer. He was obeyed by everybody. He was a tall man
8 with a moustache, with an army cap Tito style. He had a flak jacket.
9 So he was shouting, he said: "Doctor, what are we waiting for? We
10 are at war. All those lightly wounded people and civilians, should
11 go to the left side. Here is the side entrance." This was the
12 Sapudl Street. That was the local name.
13 Q. I just want to take you back on a couple of points. The person that
14 you originally came back to the hospital with back on 17th of
15 November when you tried to escape from Vukovar, were you accompanied
16 at that time by Dr. Mladen Ivankovic?
17 A. Yes. He saw me on the 18th of November and I had been great friends
18 with him for some 15 years. So he actually took me to that doctor's
19 room, doctor's office, where I could be with doctors and nurses.
20 Q. Did Milan Dr. Mladen Ivankovic have a son Goran?
21 A. Yes, Dr. Ivankovic's son was Goran known as "Dzo" (that was his
22 nickname) who came to greet his father, and they had not seen each
23 other for some three to four months, I decided by the amount of
24 kissing and hugging and so on. Goran Ivankovic said: "I told you to
25 leave Vukovar and we will be burning the city with napalm bombs".
1 He was wearing a helmet with a five-pointed star, but he also asked
2 about his mother -- sorry, he asked about his grandmother and he was
3 told that she was killed when a big bomb that we called a "pig" fell
4 on to the hospital. He was sorry for her not to be alive, to take the
5 Serbian cap and fight for Serbia. That is how I heard them sort of
6 talk to each other.
7 Q. I just want to sort out a few things there. The son, Goran, was in
8 the army with the Serbian forces; is that right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. He had been away fighting outside of the city prior to this meeting?
11 A. I assume that. I had never seen him, but judging by the way he
12 greeted his father and the father greeted him, he must have been away
13 for sometime, I would say three to four months, although actually he
14 was a student at Novi Sad.
15 Q. Dr. Mladen Ivankovic was the person who was your friend?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You started to tell us about the day when you first saw the JNA come
18 to the hospital, it was in the morning of the 20th of November 1991,
19 and you described there a man, a tall man with a beard, was giving
20 orders and people were being divided?
21 A. This was on the 20th . On the 19th of November the first army
22 soldiers arrived. On the 20th was that high officer or that tall
23 officer. I only learned later who he was but he was ordering, he was
24 issuing orders.
25 Q. What did you later learn his name to be?
1 A. I came after being released from Sremska Mitrovica I lost everything
2 and for two years in '93 I think -- he said 63 -- the BBC showed
3 pictures from Vukovar, and we saw that man who I saw in 1991. I
4 knew that his name was Sjivancanin, that he was a Major because it
5 was written, the name was written down there, and he was speaking in
6 a kind of military fashion. He was -- and there was a representative
7 of a peace organisation or a Red Cross representative from England
8 was talking to him. He was showing that he was not allowed to go
9 into the hospital. Then he pointed towards another bridge that we
10 called the wooden bridge. It was not wooden any more; it was wooden
11 before. We could see buses and I was in one of these buses on the
12 20th of November.
13 Q. How was it that you got into the bus? Who told you to go there and
14 how did you end up on the bus?
15 A. In the morning on the 20th of November when that tall man with a
16 moustache said, "Doctor, what are we waiting for? This is a war
17 situation, all these lightly wounded and civilians should go to the
18 left side", there were some 300 people, 320 people lined in two
19 lines, because during that night many of the civilians had been taken
20 away and we who were left turned towards Sapudl Street. We had to
21 spread our legs. We had to take all metal objects out of our
22 pockets. They did not take the money, they did not take our wallets
23 or identification papers; only metal objects, if you had a small
24 pocket knife, keys and things like that. As you were searched by the
25 reservists, ordered by that gentleman who was issuing orders, so we
1 were being searched and then boarding the buses. When the buses were
2 filled and when there were no other people left, the buses started
3 towards the barracks.
4 Q. When you say "the barracks" you mean the JNA barracks in Vukovar?
5 A. Precisely, yes. This was the only barracks in Vukovar and, as I
6 already said, it was close to my house, some 12 metres. I lived in my
7 house 12 metres away from there. So we were brought to the barracks
8 and as young soldiers were guarding us nobody could enter the buses,
9 but some individual Chetniks -- this was like the Indians celebrating
10 the capture of a white man, so they would be dancing the Indian dance
11 around the person -- the Chetniks were dancing around the bus. One
12 of the group, one group actually broke into a fire fighting box which
13 is always there in the barracks. They took a few axe handles, pick
14 axes, they also broke to have the handles and to beat us with them.
15 They broke and then they, as I say, played their mad dance around the
16 bus. A friend of mine, Duro Antunovic, when he saw me, he in fact
17 had lived three houses further from my house and we were very good
18 friends, especially with his parents, so when he saw me, he showed
19 that he had a knife with which he would kill me and cut my throat.
20 Q. He was with the Chetniks that were dancing around the bus, was he?
21 A. Yes, yes. He was part of the Chetnik group outside. I also saw
22 Darko Gradina. Then I also noticed that some people were taken out
23 of the bus and I thought, well, they are lucky, they will be saved,
24 but I had to change my opinion very soon because two minutes later
25 they were thrown into the seventh bus, military bus, where they were
1 beaten mercilessly with fists, feet, kicked with the feet, hit into
2 the backside, and then I realised that their luck was not very much
3 or very great. That bus then left in a direction that I did not know.
4 It was a military bus. It turned towards Negoslavci, but I had no
5 idea where it was taking them. After that there was another car, a
6 small passenger car, a Yugo brand. There came people, the Chetniks
7 shouting and screaming, and they followed the military bus.
8 Q. Were you at any time when you were in the bus at the JNA barracks
9 hit, physically hit, or beaten by anyone?
10 A. No, no. In the barracks nobody beat me. They only threatened us.
11 Some person, Goda, said: "What is it, Beli? There is no more
12 football", and so on. They just shouted abuse at us.
13 Q. Were there any guards on your bus?
14 A. Yes, there was a young soldier at the door and the door was closed,
15 and nobody entered the bus as long as we were in the barracks, and in
16 the buses.
17 Q. Was the young soldier part of the JNA or part of the Chetniks or you
18 may not know?
19 A. The young soldier that was guarding us was a regular, a regular
20 soldier, a JNA soldier.
21 Q. What then happened after you had been at the barracks? What happened
23 A. We stayed in the barracks, I cannot tell you precisely how long but
24 some four hours. That is my guess. So they must have been deciding
25 what to do with us. That is how I interpret this. Then we turned in
1 the direction of Negoslavci. Nobody told us where we would end up.
2 When we came close to Negoslavci, we turned left and we turned
3 towards Ovcara. Ovcara, at Ovcara the buses stopped and we had to
4 leave the buses one by one.
5 Q. Can you describe what happened as you left the buses? What did you
6 see? What happened?
7 A. When my turn came, my friend and I, the man who lived next door to
8 my workshop, Goran Mugosa, known as "Kustro", he was about 22, 23
9 years old. I cannot remember precisely. So I came to him, all of us
10 came to him, because he was there and then my turn came. He took my
11 money, my wallet and he took everything that I had in my pockets, and
12 since I was not the first one, I was 250th to be taken care of, so to
13 speak, and there was already a pile of documents, money and various
14 kinds of suitcases because some people had some baggage that they
15 brought with them. I had nothing. I had no baggage personally.
16 When you passed from that point on, you came between the
17 ranks, two ranks, but it is difficult to describe, but try to believe
18 me, you could see all the stars from the beating. You were being
19 beaten on all sides with every instrument that you can imagine. I
20 saw somebody asking: "Do you know him?" because I was working at
21 Negoslavci, this is a Serbian village, and of course I was working
22 for them. I turned that moment and I was badly, awfully badly hit
23 into the -- on the right side of my head behind the ear, and blood
24 started streaming down my face. This was done with a stick, with a
25 walking stick. You know that the walking sticks are used for
1 walking, and that I was hit with that. Then I was hit on the lower
2 part of my body but I did not fall. I managed to go past that and
3 run into the hangar.
4 Q. When you got into the hangar what did you see happening there?
5 A. When I was in the hangar, as far as I could see, while running,
6 still running, I saw some of my, some of the people that I knew, my
7 acquaintances, some of them much younger than I am, but we were good
8 friends; my neighbour, Zeljko Begov, was there, Ante Podruzic, Zvonko
9 Ilic, Stanko Bosovic and others. They were all young men who had been
10 taken from the bus in the barracks. It was awful to look at them.
11 They had swollen heads, blood streaming all over the place. You
12 could not even recognise their faces because they were massacred
13 while we were still on the buses or rather in the barracks.
14 So I soon realised that they were the people who were
15 put on that extra bus. I know some 20 people from that group and I
16 remember their names. I have written them down, in fact, to remember
17 their names. Zeljko Begov lived only five houses down the street
18 from me. He fainted four times because he could not stand and he
19 could not remain conscious.
20 In the hangar, in that hall in Ovcara, there were four
21 or five people who continued beating us without interruption. One of
22 them had a chain and one had a pipe, a piece of metal pipe. We were
23 not allowed to turn.
24 Q. Did you know the names of any of the people that were actually
25 beating you with the pipe and the chains, did you know their names?
1 A. One of them was a high official, a Serbian official, and one was
2 called Milan Bulic, "Bulidza" was his nickname. He was a butcher in
3 the hospital and he literally killed Damjan Samardzic and I was --
4 with a stick, painless stick, which was, in fact, the pickaxe handle.
5 Q. Did you see this happening in front of you?
6 A. Yes. This was before all of us because the door was still open, and
7 later when we left he was all in blood. In the hall, in the hangar,
8 one Montenegrin was looking for a young Frenchman. He said: "Is the
9 Frenchman there?" He was a young man around 20. But I cannot
10 describe the situation. This was a horrible situation. You cannot
11 even show it in a movie what he did to that young man. Then there
12 was another Meho who -- one Meho was beaten and one Meho who was a
13 coach of the Ovcara football club, and his left arm was wounded, was
14 injured, and yet with that injured arm or with the healthy arm he
15 continued to beat the young man until he fainted and left -- gave no
16 sign of life.
17 Q. Later on in the day, did something then happen with respect to you?
18 Did someone come to you?
19 A. I am pausing. I forgot one more name, one of the leading beaters,
20 Stevan Zoric. I learned later that his satellite, so to speak, were
21 his sons, so he was beating us and his sons were beating us. For
22 about an hour and a half, the torture lasted for about an hour and a
23 half. Personally, I was not beaten that much. They hit me on two or
24 three occasions. The worst that I got was when I was entering the
25 barracks but then Goran Ivankovic came. He took me, Perkovic and
1 Guncevic, and Stevan Zoric took out Emil Cakalic, and while Emil
2 Cakalic was leaving the bus and went through the ranks of those who
3 beat people, those Chetniks, he ran into the hangar where that high
4 Serbian official said: "Oh, Mr. Inspector, you are here too". So
5 that that other group started beating Mr. Cakalic as well. This was
6 -- he was a sanitary inspector, the municipal sanitary inspector.
7 Then came my liberation. Goran came and he took me out
8 and some other people. There were several more people and it was
9 getting dark. A car was coming with the lights on. So we were put
10 on to a small van, Volkswagen van, a Polo. We were put on to that
11 and took us to Velepromet but there was not room for us there.
12 Q. Just stopping there for a moment. The man that separated you, was
13 this Goran Ivankovic which was the son of Dr. Ivankovic that we
14 spoke of earlier?
15 A. Right, right, this was Goran Ivankovic, the son of Dr. Ivankovic.
16 Q. Goran Ivankovic was, in fact, with the paramilitary group that was
17 participating in the beatings?
18 A. I did not see him beating anybody, but he was in the -- wearing the
19 uniform of the Yugoslav army.
20 Q. Yes. Did he say anything to you when he separated you out from the
22 A. Yes. He said to me: "See, Beli, do you know who Zambata in this
23 group?" I said: "Goran, they are all young people, people that I do
24 not know and I do not know their names" because, apparently, Zambata
25 was standing next to me, in fact. He was, in fact, the brother-in-law
1 of my son-in-law and I did not want to betray him, so I pretended
2 that I did not know the name. Then he said: "I would not kill him
3 but I would break all his bones."
4 Q. Apart from that, did Goran Ivankovic say anything to you?
5 A. No, I cannot remember anything else. He took the three of us and
6 put us on one side.
7 Q. You said you were then taken in a small van to Velepromet?
8 A. Yes, they brought us to Velepromet but there was no room there and,
9 therefore, they continued for a kilometre or two, maybe two
10 kilometres, they had to drive around, or maybe even three kilometres.
11 I was sitting in the back of the car. They took us to Modatex.
12 Modatex is a knitting factory owned by a German built on the along
13 the road to Petrovci.
14 Q. How long did you stay at Modatex?
15 A. Well, it was dark evening when we arrived there. There were many
16 women there sitting on the left side in a corner, and there were
17 women from three or four buses, I think. When we -- when I came to
18 Modatex I was recognised by Dorde Pavlovic who was a guard, who was
19 on guard that evening when my house was first hit on 24th August. So
20 he, in fact, was working as a bricklayer and building a house for my
22 So when he saw me, in less than three minutes, a tall
23 boy came, a man rather, some 30, 35 years old, his name was Dusko and
24 he was a hardware shop assistant in the Velepromet. So, in the
25 darkness under small light he said: "Who is Beli?" I said I was
1 Beli. He looked at me and said: "That is you then. We will talk
2 tomorrow morning".
3 So that night or that evening nobody touched us. We had
4 two guards. We slept on some tables. But around 4 o'clock in the
5 morning, half past 4, more buses arrived and the women were taken on
6 to these buses that then drove in the direction that we did not know.
7 Some seven or eight of us who remained there were given some
8 assignments. My assignment was to wash the big room, to wash the
9 floor. It was raining. I had to bring water from outside
10 accompanied by a guard. That soldier started shooting above my head
11 from a pistol. It was so sudden I did not even have time to be
12 afraid. A young soldier was on an APC vehicle with a machine gun.
13 He also shot in the air and he said: "Do not worry", he said, one
14 soldier said, "Do not worry, he is celebrating his family's patron
15 saint". That was 21st November.
16 Q. How long did you stay in the Vukovar area in terms of months after
17 this period, after you went to the Modatex?
18 A. Well, not very long. Let me say only that around half past 10 in
19 the morning a young girl, aged 15, came. Her name was Sladana Korda.
20 She was accompanied by two young soldiers and she pointed her
21 finger at me. I was taken on the side, to the side of other
22 prisoners. The two soldiers took my arms, left and right, and she
23 thrust a big knife under my throat and asked me, how many Serbs I had
24 killed; where are my weapons; where is my uniform? I honestly was
25 not afraid as I was at Ovcara where my knees were weak, and I said:
1 "Listen, young girl", because I was a good friend of her father, we
2 played chess together, he was an educated man; he was the manager of
3 the Medica Company; Damjan Korda was also a judge, so I said: "Who
4 did you vote for at the last elections?" I said: "I voted for Ivica
5 Racan", and I could have voted for HDZ, although I never was any
6 member of any political organisation, only of football organisations,
7 football clubs, like Dinamo in Zagreb.
8 When she finished with her threats and attacks, then she
9 took a cigarette from the young soldier, came to me two centimetres
10 from my eye. She was going to extinguish the cigarette on my
11 eyelids, but she did not do that. Then I was released. They left
12 me, but around 1 o'clock, half past one, this was in the afternoon,
13 Bulidza came -- the same Bulidza that beat and killed Damjan
14 Samardzic at the Ovcara -- and he said: "Listen, Beli", he said,
15 "you mother fuckers, who brought you here?" Perkovic and I said in
16 one voice: "We are brought by Ivankovic, by Goran Ivankovic, Dzo".
17 He had a nickname "Dzo".
18 Then he said, and he would fuck the mother of him and
19 us. He says: "I first kill him and then I will finish with you".
20 We were guarded by a Serb who was a reservist with whom I was very
21 good friends during the civilian times. He was known by the nickname
22 of "Deda" and he treated us very nicely. When we arrived around 12
23 o'clock, we were given some bread and liver paste, so we shared this
24 and ate. Then he locked us up. In an hour, an hour and a half, he
25 unlocked that room and said: "I will take you to Velepromet; that is
1 where military police is and where you will be safer than you are
3 I remember that Zelimir Stankovic took us to Velepromet
4 in the company of another soldier.
5 Q. At any of this stage or any of this time did you hear any discussion
6 about what had happened to the people at Ovcara that were left
8 A. I heard something, but since my right ear was badly damaged from the
9 beating and there was blood in my ear I could not hear very well, but
10 I heard him say, "I have killed quite a number of them tonight; I can
11 do the same to you today." That was the tone of voice.
12 Q. Then when you were taken to Velepromet for the second time, taken
13 back there, from where did you go after that?
14 A. Well, they brought us to Velepromet. We were searched again but we
15 had nothing in our pockets anyway. In the evening they took out some
16 four to five people and these people I never saw again.
17 They took Zerk Golac, then the son of a gypsy musician,
18 and they took out a boy, a young man, who had been the one that was
19 the witness to this court before me, so he was returned, and the rest
20 of the people I never saw again. Among the people that were taken
21 out was Perkovic, one who came with me from Ovcara. He was taken by
22 Draca, the butcher's son. He was hit in the face with an army boot
23 and he said: "I will first kill your -- cut your ear and then your
24 throat; get out of here", they said.
25 Around half past 10 two young soldiers arrived -- and
1 let me add also when we entered, when we entered the hangar or,
2 rather, when we entered the hut, and when the young soldier found
3 nothing in my pockets, we had little money that we received from the
4 doctor's son at Ovcara, so he asked: "What have you got in your
5 shoes?" I had nothing in my shoes. "If I find anything in your
6 shoes, I will cut your feet". I said: "You can cut them easily".
7 Anyway, so four or five people were taken out, and
8 around 11 o'clock in the evening, two more young soldiers walked into
9 our room and said: "Do not be afraid, the Captain is trying to save
10 you. Let us go and push the bus." So we came out. We pushed the
11 bus that would not start. The engine started and they took us to the
12 barracks. In the barracks each was given 20, 25 decogrammes of
13 bread, a packet of cigarettes and a meat can.
14 Q. Where did you go then from the barracks until you were released,
15 finally released?
16 A. Well, we spent the night in the barracks and in the morning a young
17 soldier arrived, came in, and asked us for -- asked for our names,
18 surnames, nationality. I said I was a Yugoslav, but he did not
19 manage to get my name right, my surname right. "Berghofer" is
20 difficult. So he actually gave me the name "Yugoslav". He called
21 the names after an hour and he said those names that I read should
22 come out, and he said the Yugoslav should also go. I was the last
23 one. So we boarded the bus, and that took us direct to Sremska
25 Q. From there what happened?
1 A. Well, now we are talking about 22nd November, and again at Mitrovica
2 there was also, there were two ranks, two files of policemen lined up
3 to the right and left, and we had to go between these two ranks and
4 they used every opportunity to hit us, beat us with batons, kicked
5 us. At that moment I was not kicked, I was only beaten. So we had
6 to take all our clothes, we were naked.
7 Then they continued to hit us. They used karate
8 technique to hit us. One hit me on the stomach with a karate move.
9 We had to lie down, lie on the floor and they continued to beat us.
10 I was being badly beaten. I fainted on three occasions. At that
11 time Soljic was killed. After two hours lying in the cold, he simply
12 froze. So that this one slaughterer that hit me, in particular, that
13 singled me out, his name was Dusko. One man called, told him, he
14 said: "Dusko, how can you beat such a person? How can you beat him
15 so badly?" I did not know what Dusko answered, but I know that he was
16 laughing or sneering at the dead body. I know -- in fact, there were
17 two dead bodies; one was the son of Kata Solic who froze to death,
18 and he says: "Look at him, he has had too much ice cream".
19 I was fainting repeatedly. I could not stand on my
20 feet. So I fell, I collapsed, and one soldier allowed me to sit.
21 Later Slobodan Nikolic and Buljan, Zeljko Buljan, took me, carried
22 me, to a room 3 by 3 metres in size. I could not walk for five days.
23 In fact, my skin was totally shrunk.
24 Q. Then on 27th March 1992 were you exchanged?
25 A. On 27th, 27th, yes, at Nemetin I was exchanged.
1 Q. From that time until now have you ever seen any of the people that
2 were left behind at Ovcara at the time you were taken away?
3 A. No, no, no nobody. I told you already that I have a list of twenty
4 people that I remember that were with me. You cannot remember all
5 the names, but I remember the names of my neighbours, my friends, but
6 I never saw them again ever since that time.
7 MR. NIEMANN: I have no further questions.
8 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, sir.
9 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: I just wanted to ask the witness something. Were there
10 always JNA barracks -- I am sorry -- I would like to know if were
11 there always JNA barracks in Vukovar?
12 A. Yes, there has always been one and, as long as I remember, there has
13 been a barracks outside the city, a little outside the city.
14 Q. Barracks and soldiers? JNA soldiers?
15 A. Yes, it was an operating barracks. It was always used with
17 Q. What about the Chetniks, did they appear for the first time during
18 these days?
19 A. Yes, yes. You see, we used the name for -- the name "Chetnik" for
20 people that were beating us, that were slaughtering us, that were
21 killing us. But they all wore the Yugoslav army uniforms, and some
22 of them had beards, they were uniformed and they all had the five
23 pointed stars on their hats, on their caps. So it was difficult to
24 distinguish between the Chetniks and the JNA. But some people from
25 the JNA were good people, and saved some of us.
1 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Thank you. I have no further questions.
2 JUDGE RIAD: Mr. Berghofer, if I can follow up the continuation of the
3 movement of the events, you said that on 17th Of November there was
4 an attempt to flee and 350 people went through the forest and,
5 ultimately, only 70 of them were saved. Could you tell me what
6 happened to the others?
7 A. That evening, I did not count them, but I can say this. I was the
8 first one because, as I told you, I said when we -- if you go on the
9 main street, you can hear the sounds of feet, voices and so on, it
10 was dark, so I can say that some, the line was 450 metres long, the
11 line of people. I also said that when I was looking for a guide,
12 because we did not have a guide, we did not know all of these paths,
13 but a group was left behind, so I came back to the Sloga stadium and
14 the first group simply left us, so to speak, and some people made
15 their own decisions. Some swam across the River Vuka. For instance,
16 the brother of the late Perkovic who was with me at Ovcara, he
17 survived but he was hit in the face by a shrapnel and two people
18 behind him from Nasice, they were killed by mine. But I learned
19 these things much later in Sremska Mitrovica from some people who
20 managed to survive.
21 So, how many were killed and what happened to individual
22 groups, because, you see, the groups would be, would break up. These
23 people did not quite know where they were going, and they were
24 roaming in the maize fields. They had no orientation, depending on
25 what happened to what individual or which group, much depended on how
1 lucky you were.
2 Q. You mentioned that some people were put into an extra bus and you
3 discovered later that they were receiving a very severe treatment;
4 you said there was blood and they became unrecognisable and their
5 suffering was beyond imagination. Was there any reason for this
6 distinction, in your opinion? Why did they choose these people, in
7 particular, for a harsher treatment?
8 A. Well, you see, there may have been various reasons. First, they
9 were young, young people. They might have had some personal
10 quarrels with some people. There were Croats, Zeljko, Ante Podruzic.
11 Then others said they could not live with us. I was 52 years old. I
12 had no enemies in life. But suddenly somebody would say: "Yes, you
13 are my enemy" and they do things to you. If your chicken walked in
14 their garden, then, of course, they would say: "Now, that was the
15 reason to do something". Not everybody was like that, and I would
16 now say not everybody is like that, but there were people like that.
17 Q. Who made this choice? Who made the choice of people to be put in
18 this extra treatment?
19 A. I have no idea. I have no idea. I was in my own bus. We could not
20 come out. I could only watch what was happening, but we -- I could
21 not even dream that that is what they were planning, to kill us.
22 Q. You also mentioned that someone came and was looking for a Frenchman
23 and said: "I want to kill, to torture this Frenchman". Did I hear
24 you right?
25 A. Yes, you heard me right, but this was at Ovcara already, two or
1 three metres away from me. The man came and was looking for a
2 Frenchman and that I could see that. The Frenchman came with us on
3 the bus and those who were standing by the wall, they came an hour
4 and a half earlier.
5 Q. Do you know where this Frenchman came from?
6 A. I did not know him. He was about 19 or 20 years old. Maybe it was
7 his nickname. I have no idea.
8 Q. In all this what was the role of Sjivancanin whom you recognised?
9 Did you see him often or saw what he did?
10 A. No. Everything I saw was in the hospital. I saw him in the
11 hospital when he said: "Doctor, what are we waiting for? It is
12 wartime. All the lightly wounded patients and civilians should go
13 to the left side". He was issuing orders. He ordered that we should
14 be searched, that we should be placed on the buses, and many
15 addressed him as a man in authority and I realised he was in
16 authority and was commanding. Two years later I saw him on
18 Q. Who was the man whom you heard saying: "I have killed some and I
19 would still kill again"? You said that you heard the man in Ovcara
20 boasting that he has killed a lot and he is coming to kill again.
21 Who was that? Did you recognise him?
22 A. That happened in Modatex when Milan Bulic, known as "Bulidza", the
23 hospital butcher, he came and, as far as I could understand him, he
24 said: "I have killed plenty tonight and will kill you as well".
25 Roughly, that is what he said; that was the main content of what he
2 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
3 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: The Tribunal thanks the witness and is conscious of
4 the difficulties which this type of hearing presents. You do hear
5 me? Again, the Tribunal thanks you and is conscious of the
6 difficulties which this represents for you, for the physical,
7 emotional, psychological sufferings you have gone through, and wishes
8 you calm and serenity. Our hearing has concluded. Thank you. The
9 witness can be accompanied out of the courtroom.
10 THE WITNESS: Thank you very much.
11 (The witness withdrew)
12 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I turn to the Prosecutor now, and suggest that we
13 adjourn this hearing and resume at 3 o'clock.
14 MR. NIEMANN: If your Honour pleases.
15 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: The hearing is adjourned.
16 (Luncheon Adjournment)
17 (3.00 p.m.)
18 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: The first question then for my side is whether the
19 equipment is working. Mr. Prosecutor, can you hear what I am saying?
20 MR. NIEMANN: It is working here, your Honour.
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Good. How about you, Registrar, and my colleagues,
22 can you hear me? Legal assistants as well? Interpreters, do you hear
23 yourselves? Good. Excellent. In that case the Prosecutor please go
25 MR. NIEMANN: If your Honours please. Your Honours, at this stage I would
1 like to make an application, if I may, to make a submission to you in
2 camera. The submission that I wish to make will not take long; it is
3 a very short matter and, for the people in the gallery who are
4 watching, I would not think longer than about 15 minutes, if your
5 Honours please, but for the purpose of this application, I would ask
6 that it be in camera and I would ask that the broadcast of the
7 proceedings cease for that purpose and that the courtroom be closed
8 down for the application, if your Honours please. I will go into
9 greater detail when I make my application, if that pleases the court.
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: At the request of the Prosecutor we will order an in
11 camera session. Registrar, please could you ensure in technical
12 terms that we can now hold an in camera session so that the
13 Prosecutor can go into details regarding his request to the court?
14 Yes, without a transcript, no transcription whatsoever. You can get
15 this done in a few minutes, can you? Prosecutor, would you see any
16 problem if this is taped, so this will be taped? Would there be any
17 problem for you with that.
18 MR. NIEMANN: Not at all. If there is a transcript, in fact, we would
19 encourage there be a transcript, your Honour. The only request we
20 make it is not broadcast outside of the courtroom. That is the only
22 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Recording, transcription, what you are asking for is
23 that there be no broadcast to the public, so it is just an in camera
24 session which you are asking, just that.
25 MR. NIEMANN: That is correct, your Honour.
1 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you very much, Prosecutor. Very clear
2 instructions there. We now give orders for the in camera session.
3 Mr. Prosecutor, if you would like this in camera to be complete, we
4 have to be clear about this. Quite clearly, we would have to switch
5 off the video as well, would we not, the external video?
6 MR. NIEMANN: Only the external video, your Honour. The videos that
7 operate in the courtroom, there is no problem with that, but it is
8 only that which would go to the public.
9 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Quite right, exactly. Fine. That is just what I
10 meant. That is what I intended with my question. So please switch
11 off the external video. Thank you very much, Mr. Prosecutor. Yes.
12 Then there should be no interpreting for the public either, should
13 there? Right. I would like to ask to the security services that all
14 the staff in the public gallery should now empty the public gallery,
15 in fact. The security services, would they do that, kindly?
16 Registrar, would you pass on the message? Thank you.
17 [Closed session]
13 Pages 351-365 redacted – closed session
1 --- Whereupon the in camera hearing concluded
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: The floor is yours, Mr. Niemann.
3 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you, your Honours. Your Honours, we would now wish to
4 proceed with the Rule 61 hearing. The next witness we would wish to
5 call is witness B. He has been referred to as B and of which I
6 understand your Honours have made some orders already.
7 Your Honours, with witness B we are asking face
8 distortion and voice distortion of this witness, and that he give his
9 evidence behind the screen. But, other than that, the proceedings
10 would be in public, your Honours. I should also add, your Honour,
11 that reference to him in the course of the proceedings, if we could
12 maintain the usage of the pseudonym "B"?
13 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Niemann, the order was already given by the
14 Chamber. It has not been modified in any way, is that correct, Mr.
15 Registrar? Therefore, I will ask that witness B now be called and
16 will be called both by myself and the other judges as "witness B".
17 I will ask that the witness now be brought into the room
18 and once he is here, first, we can reopen the shades and then ask the
19 technicians that the broadcast of the images be broadcast, in fact,
20 to the public. Thank you, Registrar, for ensuring that everything is
21 in the proper place.
22 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I think that the usher has gone to get witness B.
23 (Witness B was called)
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Witness B, do you hear me?
25 THE WITNESS [Original in Serbo-Croat]: Yes.
1 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: You are going to be given a declaration and asked to
2 read it.
3 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I shall speak the truth, the whole
4 truth and nothing but the truth.
5 (The witness was sworn)
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Please sit down. "Witness B", this is what we are
7 going to call you throughout the hearing in accordance with some of
8 the protective measures that were requested for you by the
9 Prosecutor, and by you as well. All these measures of protection
10 have now been taken having to do with your face and your identity.
11 You can now, witness B, testify in complete serenity and
12 with peace of mind. You are before an International Tribunal
13 composed of judges who are seeking truth, all the truth, and now
14 gives the Prosecutor the floor.
15 Examined by MR. NIEMANN
16 Q. Witness, where were you born?
17 A. I was born at Vukovar.
18 Q. Had your whole family originally lived in Vukovar?
19 A. Yes, all my family.
20 Q. You attended a school in Vukovar?
21 A. Yes, yes, I went to school at Vukovar.
22 Q. Then after you left school what was your work?
23 A. I worked in shipping, a company, international shipping, in a firm
24 called Transjug-Rijeka, export/import.
25 Q. Then I think that you got married and you bought some land near the
1 River Vuka; is that correct?
2 A. In fact, I did get married and had a family, and I bought a house
3 with the help of my parents and I simply built a new part near the
4 house, new part of the house.
5 Q. Were you still in the course of building this house when the war
6 started in 1991?
7 A. Yes, it was a house that had been adapted for living and this new
8 part of the building was to be for my future life there. Up until
9 the beginning of the war, I was very intensely working to building
10 this new part of the house.
11 Q. Did you prior to that do your military service, the usual military
12 service, from 1984 to 1985?
13 A. Yes, I did. I did military service for a year, slightly less than a
14 year, and that was at Karlovac and then at Pivka.
15 Q. Can you describe to their Honours the environment in Vukovar, the
16 way of life in Vukovar, prior to the commencement of hostilities in
17 1991 that you can recall?
18 A. It is difficult to describe everything that was going on, but when
19 you try to describe the life of an ordinary man, they lived in a
20 usual way, lots of problems; everyone was trying to either do his or
21 her own work, and after this social changes that had occurred, there
22 was a situation of a slight confusion and so many things were going
23 on so very quickly. But these things were far away from us and
24 nobody expected any kind of a war let alone the war that happened.
25 Q. Was there a mixture of ethnic groups in living in and around Vukovar
1 in the period leading up to the war?
2 A. Oh, yes, very much. That was known, Vukovar was known to be a very
3 mixed area maybe the mostly mixed area in it this part of country
4 probably more than 20 ethnic groups used to live there, and they had
5 to live through whatever they had to live through.
6 Q. And apart from the usual day-to-day problems that people everybody
7 where experienced did the ethnic groups get along more or less in a
8 harmonious way?
9 A. I would say that they did. They used to live a normal way except
10 from some small problems, I think that people lived in a normal way
11 and there were no -- the ethnic, belonging to an ethnic group was not
12 particularly important.
13 Q. Did this begin to change when you heard of an event where some
14 Croatian Police Officers were killed in Borovo Selo?
15 A. I do not know. I can only speak from my point of view. Yes, the
16 tension was there, but people managed to overcome it. People even
17 joked with that, with creating of a Serbia, that something like that
18 could happen.
19 Q. When did the shells start falling on Vukovar, can you remember?
20 A. Except for the night shooting that was coming from Borovo Naselje
21 and Borovo Selo, the real shelling of Vukovar started somewhere in
22 July at two occasions, at the beginning and maybe at the end of the
24 Q. Were attempts made to organise evacuations of women and children?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. What was done in this regard?
2 A. The evacuation was made in various ways. The HDZ organised it, the
3 municipality characters, the church organisation; many organisations
4 tried to send the children away. We thought that it was simply
5 sending children away or to the seaside.
6 Q. Did your wife and children go away?
7 A. Yes, with the last convoy because I insisted upon it. They were put
8 on that convoy, and they never came back, luckily.
9 Q. During the course of the attack upon Vukovar, the siege of Vukovar,
10 what were you doing?
11 A. At the beginning, I was trying to exist, I was taking care of my
12 life and the life of my parents. They were constantly between their
13 house and my house. We were trying to repair the houses that were
14 literally disappearing. The roof would be hit with several shells,
15 and then we would go up on the roof when everything would calm down
16 and then transfer bricks. We were simply trying to try to do
17 whatever we could in order to survive, and waiting for everything to
19 Q. Did you then change and do something else subsequently?
20 A. It was not my decision to do something else. I was called to the
21 town hall of Vukovar where additional resistance was being organised
22 because the fighting was going on, and I was included in the defence
23 of the town.
24 Q. What was your duties in relation to the defence of the town?
25 A. My basic duty was to be in charge of part of the fighting units for
1 mining and trying to prevent the coming of the enemy.
2 Q. OK. How many men did you have in your unit?
3 A. The unit, the members of the unit, was changing all the time but
4 directly there were eight people there.
5 Q. Were you uniformed? Did you wear a uniform of any sort?
6 A. Not completely because at that time there were no uniforms. When I
7 started to be in charge of this unit there was not enough equipment.
8 I only had parts of a uniform from the old JNA.
9 Q. What sort of weapons did you have in your unit? What were the men
10 armed with?
11 A. I think as a unit or me personally?
12 Q. You personally, to start with.
13 A. I was not really armed because we did not have weapons. As I was
14 their commander, I only had the authority and I had the direct
15 communication with our headquarters. From time to time people from
16 my unit gave me some weapons to carry, some automatic rifle, or just
17 a rifle, but that was from time to time. My soldiers had either the
18 automatic guns or what they called Pap(?). You know, that was the
19 weapons from the former JNA. We also had hand bombs, grenades.
20 Q. Through September and October of 1991 what were your forces doing,
21 what was your group of men and the defence forces of Vukovar doing?
22 A. We desperately tried to stop further coming of the enemy and we were
23 expecting help of the international community, so that everything
24 would stop and they would find a normal, human way of putting an end
25 to this needless conflict.
1 Q. What was the situation like during these months of September through
2 October/November like in the town? Were there services such as
3 electricity supplied to the town?
4 A. It is very problematic question. We did not have electricity.
5 There were electricity cuts even in August. In September there was
6 no electricity at all. Everything was improvised, trying to get some
7 other sources of energy but, no, we did not have any direct
8 electricity. In short, it was hell in which we had to survive.
9 Q. Where were the women and children during the period of the siege, do
10 you know?
11 A. Unfortunately, I saw it. I had the opportunity to go through some
12 shelters from time to time and I saw how the children suffered. That
13 was desperate, awful, to have to see that. These short contacts were
14 so painful. They also had to suffer. Nobody could really help.
15 Q. Did anyone during this period try to escape?
16 A. Probably. There must have been people who managed to escape, but I
17 cannot really analyse it.
18 Q. What about your mother and father that you spoke of, did they stay
19 on or did they leave?
20 A. Yes, they did stay, unfortunately. I tried to convince them to go
21 away while they could still get out. I offered them my car so that
22 they could go away but they decided to stay because I was there, my
23 brother was there, everything they had was there, everything they had
24 ever owned. So they did not want to stay. Later on the situation
25 had changed, even they changed the way they thought. When the first
1 convoy of -- when the wounded left, they thought they might leave but
2 that was too late already.
3 Q. What about your brother, did he stay on?
4 A. Yes, he stayed on. He was also -- he also participated in the
5 defence of the town.
6 Q. On or about 16th Of November1991, what was the state of the conflict
7 between the defenders of Vukovar and the people that were besieging
8 it, the JNA?
9 A. Up until the end there was heavy fighting, up to the last man,
10 literally speaking. These last days, we can say that the organised
11 defence, organised resistance stopped. I was surprised by that.
12 People continued individually.
13 Q. After the organised defence stopped -- what was the date that the
14 organised defence stopped, approximately?
15 A. It is a very difficult question to answer, because in such events
16 you lose the feeling for time, but probably from the 17th -- 16th to
17 17th, probably the official defence resistance stopped then.
18 Q. When you say 16th and 17th, do you mean 16th/17th Of November 1991?
19 A. Yes, that is correct. The 16th to 17th November.
20 Q. Once the organised defence of the city collapsed, what did you
21 personally do?
22 A. Personally, when I found out that our headquarters was not where it
23 used to be, that is that we were left alone, I came back to my unit
24 and I explained to my people that it was over, there was no
25 organised resistance, and I showed them to the way because they
1 wanted to go through the so-called individual or breaking through in
2 groups. I indicated them the way they should go, and I chose a
3 person who was a local person who knew the ground, so that he would
4 take them out. So we were to part and I came back home trying to
5 find my parents.
6 Q. So when you say you showed them the way, you mean you showed them
7 the way to escape?
8 A. Yes, roughly speaking, because I thought that they might go through.
9 Q. But you did not go with them when they went on this way that you had
10 shown them?
11 A. No.
12 Q. What did you do?
13 A. Yes, I told you I went to try to find my parents. I went back home.
14 Q. OK. Did you eventually find your parents?
15 A. Yes, I found them in our cellar.
16 Q. What happened then? Explain what happened then?
17 A. That night I stayed there, I changed my clothes, my mother had
18 prepared warm clothes. She managed to put, to organise some heating.
19 I do not know how she managed to do that. That night or the other
20 night we heard that there was an evacuation that was being organised
21 and that a meeting point was the hospital. As we lived relatively
22 near the hospital, that is what we did.
23 Q. How did you hear about the fact that the evacuation was to take
24 place from the hospital?
25 A. I think it was -- we heard it on mass media on the radio because we
1 did have batteries so we could listen to the news on the radio.
2 Q. So did you subsequently go to the hospital?
3 A. Yes, yes, we did go to the hospital.
4 Q. When you went to the hospital what happened then?
5 A. In the hospital there were many people there already. People were
6 gathering in the hospital grounds between the main entrance and the
7 emergency ward.
8 Q. What did you do?
9 A. For some time I was there outside with my parents and I was watching
10 what was going on, and then I parted with them to see my wounded
11 friend and spent some hours with him.
12 Q. What date, approximately, again if you can remember, was this that
13 you were at the hospital? Do you remember the date?
14 A. It is a very difficult question to answer. I still have the feeling
15 that one day went by -- was it the 18th or the 19th ? I am not sure,
16 not even now.
17 Q. But it was around about the 18th to the 19th of November; is that
19 A. Yes, that is correct. It was either the 18th or the 19th of
20 November 1991.
21 Q. When you went to the hospital did you see any of the medical staff?
22 A. Yes. I saw Dr. Bosanac and many others that worked there as staff.
23 Q. Did you meet with Dr. Jozo Tomic?
24 A. Dr. Itzaro(?) Tomic is somebody I do not know. I cannot say either
25 yes or no.
1 Q. What happened then after you had gone to the hospital when you had
2 seen your friend there, what was the next thing that occurred?
3 A. After that, that day the so-called Yugoslavia or the reservists,
4 the Yugoslav reservists, came on the hospital grounds. They
5 surrounded the hospital.
6 Q. Were these Serbian -----
7 A. Those were the forces that were our enemy; whether they were Serb,
8 they had various kinds of uniform. The first party arrived. They
9 had the insignia of the former JNA, ranking officers, and the
10 soldiers that accompanied them were rather mixed. Apart from the
11 regular soldiers, there are some non -- there were some non-regular
12 forces as well, unregular in the physical appearance.
13 Q. What did these soldiers do?
14 A. Well, the soldiers were put around the hospital and they, according
15 to the Major who issued the orders, they did not allow in or out.
16 One of his officers was a young lieutenant who was trying to say,
17 calm everybody and saying all would be all right. I talked a bit to
18 the civilians and then I went to the basement and I do not know what
19 went on later on when in the hospital compound and outside the actual
20 building of the -- the hospital building, because from then on I was
21 in the building itself.
22 Q. Did you see the soldiers doing anything to the people that were
23 assembled at the hospital?
24 A. No, no. I have not seen anything doing to the people.
25 Q. Were there many people gathered at the hospital at this time?
1 A. Yes, quite a few people. I cannot tell you the exact number. Maybe
2 100 people were in front of the building, and inside of the hospital
3 there were many more people there.
4 Q. The people in front of the hospital, were they patients of the
5 hospital or were they just assembled at the place in the same way as
6 you had?
7 A. People in front of the hospital were civilians that were gathered
8 there. They either came there because of a threat or because of
9 their suffering. They went there to be evacuated.
10 Q. You went down into the basement. Who was in the basement of the
12 A. In the basement of the hospital were many wounded people, many of
13 them were from Igreb. It was really crowded with people. I can say
14 that many defenders of the town were there and many civilians that
15 were injured.
16 Q. Did you stay in the hospital basement or did you go somewhere else
17 that night?
18 A. That night I went to one of the floors of the hospital, because
19 downstairs it was so crowded that it was impossible to find a small
20 place where you could spend the night. I do not know whether I went
21 to the first or the second floor. There were some medical staff
22 there, and that is where I spent that night.
23 Q. The next morning, what happened?
24 A. The next morning I came back to the basement of the hospital. I do
25 not know what I expected really. Rumour had it, it might have been
1 around 8 o'clock, rumour had it that everybody should go out.
2 Somebody was shouting. I cannot say who was shouting, but what I
3 heard was that all the Kudj should go out, whoever could walk should
4 go out through the emergency ward door.
5 Q. When you say you do not know who was shouting, was it a member of
6 the hospital? Did you know whether or not it was a member of the
7 Serbian group or was it a member of the hospital staff? Were you
8 able to make that distinction?
9 A. No, no, I really do not know who was shouting and who was saying
10 that we should go out. It was -- the person was going through the
11 corridor, and shouting, "Everybody out". I think those were the
12 soldiers but I cannot be sure.
13 Q. You followed this order and you went outside; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. When you went outside what did you see?
16 A. We were all lined in a row and then separated and then searched.
17 They were trying to see whether we had weapons, pistols, grenades,
18 knives. They were searching us and then they sent us to the right,
19 if you look towards the hospital building, towards the Gunduliceva
20 street in the buses.
21 Q. Were you searched and were things taken from you?
22 A. They only searched me but they did not take anything. After they
23 searched us they sent us to the buses.
24 Q. Now when you say "they sent us to the buses", are you able at this
25 stage to remember who "they" were?
1 A. Those were the soldiers that were from securing the hospital.
2 Q. When you arrived at the buses, what happened then?
3 A. We were taken to the buses and everybody could choose the bus they
4 want to go to. There were three, maybe more, buses, certainly not
5 less, and everybody chose the bus he wanted to go on to and they sat
6 on the bus.
7 Q. When you got on the bus did you see were there any guards on the
9 A. Yes. There were two soldiers. They were guards plus a driver.
10 Q. Was any violence used at this stage against any of the people
11 boarding the buses?
12 A. As far as I could see, no.
13 Q. What happened once you got on the bus?
14 A. We were there for a short time. Then they shut the door of the bus.
15 They started the engine and started towards the centre of the town
16 as a convoy.
17 Q. Where did you go? Explain the route.
18 A. We went through Gundeliceva Street, then the square, Marko
19 Oreskovic, then the street Bozidara Adzije, then we went through the
20 main square, through the street Dimitrija Tucovica, then we went
21 through Smaj Jove Street and Kraseva and, finally, we went to the
22 street called Sajmiste. After that we were taken to the barracks
23 which is in that part of the town.
24 Q. When you say "the barracks", what barracks are they?
25 A. The official barracks of the Vukovar garrison of the so-called
1 former JNA.
2 Q. Were these the only JNA barracks in Vukovar?
3 A. Officially, that was the only one, maybe they had some smaller bases
4 somewhere, but this was the only barracks in Vukovar.
5 Q. Did all the buses turn into the barracks?
6 A. Yes, that was a convoy. The convoy arrived and pulled up in a
7 semi-circle in the middle part of the barracks.
8 Q. Do you remember any of the people that were on the bus with you?
9 A. Yes. Zeljko Jurela was there; somebody called by the nickname
10 "Veliki", "Boiler," called Damjan; there was somebody else called
11 Kemal. I can confirm they were on the same bus.
12 Q. When you were inside the base did you see soldiers who were on the
13 Serbian side?
14 A. Lots of people, they looked very mixed from simple soldiers up to
15 various people who were dressed in a different way, various shoes,
16 various types of clothing, one of them was Brolja.
17 Q. Did you recognise any of these people?
18 A. Yes, I recognised, especially because he was the loudest one,
19 Jakovljevic Radivoje, called "Frigider". He was threatening the
20 person sitting next to me called Zeljko, which I mentioned. He was
21 trying to put pressure on him, why did he kill his wife, but his wife
22 actually had died from a shell of the JNA which put fire on a meat
23 vehicle that had to, that had to leave the town with the children.
24 At that -- during that shelling his wife had died and Jakovljevic was
25 trying to say that the other person killed his own wife, and he was
1 threatening him and Damjan that he would kill them and he was singing
2 Chetnik songs. He was the loudest one.
3 Q. How long did you stay at the barracks?
4 A. It is very difficult to say -- maybe an hour or two.
5 Q. After that what happened then?
6 A. In the meantime, two or three more buses had joined us. They came
7 from the same side, the same that we came from, from the street
8 called Sajmiste, and the convoy came and after some time the whole
9 convoy went further on. We went to the street Sajmiste. Then we
10 turned left towards going outside of Vukovar, and then they took us
11 to the farm called Ovcara.
12 Q. Had you been to this place Ovcara before?
13 A. Yes, I was, as a child, I remember that my father used to say: "In
14 the spring we will go and collect flowers, catkins" and so on and
15 sometimes I went to fishing there.
16 Q. Can you describe Ovcara? What is it? Can you give us a very brief
17 description of it?
18 A. I can tell you Ovcara is or was an agricultural estate, a farm, and
19 it actually was for the livestock production, cattle raising, and
20 there were various kinds of buildings there for their production, for
21 their livestock raising. Also, there were a few buildings for the
22 farm labourers. This is a very small place. You cannot even call it
23 a village, but just a hamlet, but it has its own name and is probably
24 listed in the list of inhabited villages as a village, but the main
25 purpose was an agricultural estate or we call it agricultural
2 Q. Was it once a State owned collective farm?
3 A. Yes, this was what we call the agricultural estate, Vupik. Vupik was
4 a company and they had different kinds of production. They had
5 livestock raising, cattle raising, pig raising and so on this, and
6 this was Vupik, Vukovar was the name of the company.
7 Q. After you arrived there what happened then?
8 A. When we arrived there the buses were lined one after the other, and
9 the buses were then emptied one by one so that people disembarked the
10 buses, and in front of the hangar they had to leave all their
11 belongings, all their personal belongings, or maybe also things they
12 had as souvenirs or Mementoes. Everything was piled up and then these
13 objects were thrown and dumped on the pile. After that, they were
14 searched again and they were robbed by the group of people. I call
15 them a rabble, or they were a combination of soldiers and those
16 brigands. Then they were told to go into the hangar and, as they
17 entered, they were being beaten with sticks, iron bars, handles and
18 they were thrown into the hangar.
19 Q. When you refer to the word "soldiers" do you mean JNA?
20 A. I assume so.
21 Q. They were assisted by other men who were not part of the JNA, as you
22 understood it?
23 A. That is what I was trying to say. They were a combination, so to
24 speak, of all kind of people, both military and non-military in
25 origin, as I would say. There was a mixed kind of company standing
1 in front of the hangar and they were the people that waited for us
2 and beat us.
3 Q. Did you go down through this cordon of men on either side who were
4 beating people as they went in?
5 A. Yes. Like everybody else, I went through that as well.
6 Q. Were you hit or beaten at all as you went through?
7 A. I was beaten in several parts of my body, but especially badly on my
8 head, at the back of my head, and I had a cut which was very bad and
9 the bleeding was bad.
10 Q. What happened when you got inside?
11 A. We were, as I say, we went through the cordon and then people came
12 into the hangar. They sat down on the floor. There was some straw
13 in the centre of the building, or they were leaning against the walls
14 of the hangar. In groups, two or three people came, soldiers and
15 non-soldiers, and they would come and question and maltreat people,
16 beating them with truncheons, batons and especially with the weapons.
17 They would hit them with the rifle butts, rifles, and I know a man
18 Dado, Dado Vladimir Djukic, he was beaten with his own stick. He was
19 -- he had, well, he could not move so he was on walking with the
20 help of a stick, and then that was broken on him; he was beaten with
22 So they went around; they asked people where they came
23 from and those who were not from Vukovar they were especially badly
24 beaten. They said: "What are you doing here? Why did you come?"
25 and so on. In the meantime, there was a man who had a whistle who
1 was in charge, so to speak. He was there supervising, you might say.
2 He had no special rank or anything, so he was not anything special
3 but he did have a whistle. So, he would sometimes whistle, and send
4 these people out. They would come back again and there was this kind
5 of beatings in waves.
6 In the meantime, also they started making lists and a
7 soldier was walking past us. He was a regular soldier. He had a
8 flak jacket.
9 Q. When you say "regular soldier", again you are referring to a JNA
11 A. Yes, yes, the JNA soldier who was dressed is in the regular army
12 uniform, and he did have a flak jacket. So, he had the JNA uniform,
13 but that was the combat uniform, the combat camouflage uniform. He
14 came and took the names of everybody who was in the hangar.
15 Q. Are you able to name any of the people that you saw in the hangar
16 hitting people, beating people, that you knew?
17 A. I only know the people who were being beaten, but I did not know
18 those who were doing the beating. But in a video, later on a video
19 recording, I saw a person and that was the person that maltreated
20 people more than everybody else. I would say with -- I would say
21 that that person also killed people, because I remember seeing him
22 hitting a man called Kemal. That was a metre or two metres away from
23 where I was standing. He actually killed him by beating him,
24 assisted with -- assisted by his friends or comrades or fellow
25 participants. So the man Kemal was actually trampled to death. He
1 was kicked and while Kemal still showed some kinds of life, he asked
2 him to sing about the Chetnik commander, a song about the Chetnik
3 commander and so on. They had their own songs which they loved to
4 hear, and after that Kemal showed no signs of life after all the
5 trampling, and I am convinced that he was actually killed there on
6 that occasion.
7 Q. Is there anyone else, in particular, who you knew, who you could
8 name, whom you saw being beaten in this way?
9 A. Well, Dado Djukic, he was also very badly beaten and several other
10 people were hit from all sides. I only know the name "Damjan", but I
11 do not know his surname. He was our -- he was a driver in the
12 hospital and he was driving wounded people. He was hit with a rifle
13 butt and with the upper part of the rifle. That was a very bad
14 beating; it was horrible to see.
15 Q. All in all, how long did you stay in this hangar for, approximately,
16 can you remember?
17 A. It is difficult to say how long because the notion of time, I think,
18 I totally lost track of time, but I know that it was getting dark and
19 they had reflectors on us. This was actually almost winter, late
20 autumn. So, after 5 o'clock it was getting dark. So, we probably
21 spent some two to three hours there, maybe less.
22 Q. What happened then?
23 A. Then they started taking people out. They would take a few people
24 out, some 20 people, maybe less, maybe fewer, so they would simply go
25 there and they would take them through the door. This was happening
1 at particular intervals, let us say, at the intervals of 15 to 20
3 Q. What happened to you?
4 A. My turn came, my group was taken out, and we were told to go to
5 another hangar. So they actually put us into a van, a military van,
6 and they put us on to that van and closed the trampoline, so this was
7 covered with a canvas and they transported us towards Grabovo.
8 Q. Towards Grabovo. How big was this truck? Was it a very large truck
9 or a small truck?
10 A. I would say smaller truck. It was a military truck, less than two
11 tonnes capacity.
12 Q. How many, approximately, men were in your group that were loaded on
13 to the truck?
14 A. I would say up to 20, not more than 20, certainly.
15 Q. I think you said that the truck was covered with a canvas. How did
16 you board the truck? What were the means of getting on or off it?
17 A. In the back part, in the rear part, of the truck, there was a
18 ladder, a collapsible ladder, which was let down and after we boarded
19 they lifted the ladder and actually you could not come out. The rest
20 was covered with a canvas.
21 Q. When you got into the back of the truck, were you only there with
22 prisoners or was there a guard in the truck with you, in the back of
23 the truck?
24 A. There was no guard. It was just us, the prisoners, we unfortunate
25 people, but nobody from their part was in the back part of the truck.
1 Q. You said a moment ago in your evidence that you drove off towards
2 Grabovo. How far is Grabovo, approximately, from Ovcara?
3 A. Maybe two kilometres, a little bit more -- not very far.
4 Q. Did you make it all the way to Grabovo or did something happen?
5 A. No, half the way towards Grabovo there is a valley and in that
6 valley the vehicle started to stop, to brake and the vehicle turned
7 left towards a forest, a grove, on the left-hand, on the left side of
8 that grove or forest. So we continued at a very slow speed. The
9 vehicle did not stop but moved very slowly and -- yes, go ahead,
11 Q. What is the road like that goes along beside the forest? Is it a
12 formed road or can you describe it?
13 A. This was not really a road; this was a dirt track where you could
14 actually drive. When forest work was done or when tractors had to go
15 into the fields, this was the kind of path. This was not a normal
16 road, but it was just a field or forest path.
17 Q. When the truck was travelling along that, what speed was it doing,
19 A. Slow, maybe some 20 to 30 kilometres per hour, not more than that,
20 because this was a rough kind of road and the speed could not be
21 picked up at all.
22 Q. This area where you were driving along, were you familiar with this
24 A. Not really. I did not know that part of the surrounding area very
25 well, but the other side, to the right of the valley, I knew very
1 well, but I had never been to that left part of the valley. I only
2 sort of remembered it driving along the road, that you could see the
3 forest on the left-hand side but I never went in there.
4 Q. When you were going along at this very slow speed along this dirt
5 track, did you hear the men talking about something?
6 A. There was a man in my group, his name is Mato Perak; he tried to --
7 he was thinking of escaping, of jumping off the truck, but Zeljko
8 that I mentioned earlier stopped him and said: "Do not do that
9 because we will all be killed if you escape." So he did not allow
10 him to escape fearing for himself, so to speak. Then he did not just
11 know what to do, should he escape, should he not escape.
12 Q. What did you do?
13 A. At that point I decided that I would try to escape and I did. I
14 jumped off the truck through this small opening in the back where the
15 ladder is usually kept, and I jumped off the truck not knowing where
16 I was and what I was doing really.
17 Q. When you jumped off the truck, how did you land?
18 A. I landed on my feet and legs and I made some kind of acrobatic jump,
19 if you like, and I fell on my hand and feet. Immediately I got up and
20 started to run towards, up the hill rather, to the left side in the
21 direction of the movement of the vehicle.
22 Q. Did you follow the vehicle, where it went?
23 A. (No interpretation). Very soon, very soon I came -- I am sorry -- I
24 came to the middle of the hill and after that, from that point on I
25 could not see the truck any more.
1 Q. When you were running towards Vukovar or heading towards the other
2 side of the field, did you hear anything?
3 A. Not at that time. I only heard the noise of the vehicle. There was
4 some kind of monotonous noise of the vehicle moving along the path.
5 Since it was night and very calm and quiet you could hear this noise
6 for quite some time. Now I was starting to run behind the hill, on
7 the other side of the hill. I heard that the vehicle stopped and at
8 the same time I would say I heard a short burst of fire and several
9 individual shots from several kinds of automatic weapons.
10 Q. Just for the clarification of record, do you mean gunfire from a
12 A. This was rifle fire I think or machine gun.
13 Q. What did you do then?
14 A. You see, I was running all the time, so I simply continued to run.
15 Occasionally I would slow down and walk and then run again to come as
16 fast, as far as possible, but I could not run all the time because I
17 was getting tired.
18 Q. Just going back to when you heard the rifle fire, did you hear a lot
19 of fire or was it just a very short round of fire that you heard?
20 A. It was a short round of fire. I still have it in my ears. This was
21 a short burst of fire, followed by several individual shots.
22 Q. What did you do?
23 A. Before I came close to the city, to the place called Mitnica I tried
24 to avoid that part, and I went through the maize fields and I came to
25 Sajmiste where the barracks was. So I went past that. I saw another
1 military building with a radar on it. Then I continued running
2 towards Bogdanovci. I went through the Petrovos Road, came into the
3 open fields again and continued towards Bogdanovci. My ultimate
4 objective was to come to Vinkovci.
5 Q. Then what happened?
6 A. I managed to come to a place which I thought would be the village of
7 Seric, and going through the village I decided that I was too close
8 to the battle lines where perhaps mines had been laid and so on.
9 Since I was very tired and exhausted, totally without water, I went
10 back to try to look for some water, to find some water, and I went
11 into a cellar. Then I woke the occupants, the military reservists.
12 Q. The cellar you went into was occupied, was it?
13 A. Yes. This was, the whole village was occupied. This was the
14 village of Seric which was in the hands of the enemy army that we
15 were trying to defend Vukovar from.
16 Q. I think my question may have confused you. The cellar itself, were
17 there people in the cellar that you went into?
18 A. I said earlier that there were soldiers in the cellar and I woke
19 them up. They were the ones who were supposed to be on guard duty,
20 but they were not and I surprised them. There were soldiers there,
21 but I was there and what could I have done?
22 Q. What happened when you woke the soldiers up?
23 A. Well, they first asked me who I was, where I was from and then I,
24 since they also pointed their guns at me, I tried to -- I confused
25 them a little and I said: "I am coming from Vinkovci and I cannot
1 live there any more, I did not want to live". So they had the
2 impression that I must have been a Serb or one of theirs, so that
3 they did not touch me. Actually, they gave me a pillow and put me in
4 a place for the smoking of smoked meat and then they said: "Stay
5 there until the morning and then we will see."
6 I tried to run away from that smoking, smoked meat
7 chamber, but they realised that something was wrong. They kept a
8 guard outside (this time he was awake), and then he shot a few bursts
9 above my head or above that building and said that if I should try to
10 escape once again he will shoot through the door and try to hit me.
11 So I then decided it was no use trying, so I left, waited to see what
12 my fate was going to be.
13 In the morning they took me to their, I might say,
14 commander or officer, and then I told him more or less who I was and
15 where I was going. I said I was going towards Vinkovci and Zagreb
16 and I said I was trying to join my family. They then transported me
17 to another part of that village of Seric where their headquarters
18 were, that was an ordinary house, and they left me there in front of
19 a door or in the corridor or in the yard of that building. Then some
20 soldiers came and maltreated me, asking me had I been slaughtering
21 people and so on. So there was some maltreatment, beating. They
22 broke my arkade. So this was bad enough. They also took my
23 medallion that I had from my father that he gave me before I left
24 which I managed to preserve in a pocket, they took it away from me
25 and they were sort of pleased with that. They said that we were the
1 Ustasha, that we were the killers, that we had slaughtered so many
2 children, that they saw something like that on television. This is
3 something I had no idea about of course, and as far as I know we
4 never did anything of that kind.
5 So after that they -- so after that a guard was placed
6 with me on to a large army truck, and they took me to the village of
7 Stari Jankovci where I was beaten again as usual by the military
8 police, and I was kept in a cellar where I met several similar
9 prisoners from the town of Vukovar. So they also questioned me
10 there. They interrogated me for a while. I spent the night there,
11 after which I was transported to Sid and then from Sid, again being
12 maltreated and interrogated, but this was done within a single day,
13 and I was brought to Sremska Mitrovica. After Sremska Mitrovica,
14 again after interrogation and maltreatment, I was sent to the
15 Military Court in Belgrade where they started a trial against me,
16 charging me with various crimes. In the middle of the trial I was in
17 fact exchanged. This was the last big exchange on 14th August 1992.
18 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you. I have no further questions.
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, Mr. Niemann. I turn to my colleagues.
20 Do you have any questions you would like to ask?
21 JUDGE RIAD: You mentioned that when you went to the hospital you found
22 many defenders of Vukovar in the hospital in the basement. Was that
23 right? Were they armed? Did they have any weapons with them?
24 A. The defenders that were on the hospital ground could not have any
25 weapons, because our forces have forbidden that. Whoever would enter
1 the hospital grounds was not allowed to have any weapons with them.
2 Everyone was unarmed.
3 Q. Then you mentioned that in the barracks they were beating in waves
4 and people being killed and hit very badly. When a man blew a
5 whistle, did you recognise this man? Do you know by any chance who
6 he is?
7 A. Yes, I did mention that people were maltreated more or less
8 individually depending on who they came across, but I do not know who
9 that man was. I can partly describe him. I do not know him. He was
10 a very stout person; I could even say fat. I think he wore a
11 moustache. He was in a green uniform. These were the winter clothes
12 on him, a winter uniform, but there were no insignia of rank. I
13 cannot know who he was.
14 Q. You do not remember somebody calling him by a certain name?
15 A. No, no I cannot recall that.
16 Q. How far was the JNA involved in the operations in your opinion in
17 all these situations? Were they very obvious or it was the other
18 kind of people who were involved in these beatings?
19 A. Initially the soldiers were mostly securing the area and the others
20 were, they were surrounding around the circle with their guns
21 pointing towards the prisoners, but those who performed the beatings
22 were not dressed in regular uniform. So we could say that it was
23 mixed. There were the reservists. There was the army there but also
24 the reservists as well.
25 Q. But the army saw what was happening and was present?
1 A. Yes, the army was there and they were acting as guards and they were
2 observing whatever was going on. They brought us there and they held
3 us there under guard, at gun point.
4 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
5 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: You must be very tired. I will not ask you many
6 questions. First, I would like to know whether you were united with
7 your family and how do you live now? If you could give us a few
8 indications about that, if I am not asking an indiscreet question?
9 A. No. This is my life force because I came back to life. I found my
10 wife, my two children, so I have a family once again. I think I have
11 profited from this war. At the moment I work for a firm that used to
12 work in the Vukovar area, but also now I work in a programme for
13 rehabilitation which includes working with computers. So I am part
14 of that now and I live as best I can.
15 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: The Tribunal would like to thank you for your
16 testimony and is sensitive to the fact that you came and the efforts
17 that you have shown on its behalf. It wishes you also a peaceful
18 return to your country, and that if you cannot forget what happened,
19 at least you can find some peace again in your country.
20 We will lower the shades so that your anonymity be
21 protected all way to the end, and then we will return you to the
22 Witness Protection Unit for your protection. Please do not move for
23 a moment. In order your security to be absolutely ensured, we will
24 take further measures. We will also adjourn until a quarter after
25 five. Please remain where you are, and the Registrar will take care
1 of all the measures needed to ensure your protection. Thank you very
3 (The hearing adjourned for a short time).
4 (The witness withdrew).
5 (5.05 p.m.).
6 (5.20 p.m.)
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Prosecuting Counsel, the floor is yours.
8 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, at this time we would call Witness A. We
9 are requesting the same protective measures for this witness as were
10 implemented for the last witness. These are the same as were
11 contained in the previous order of the court.
12 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Fine. Please show in Witness A then. We will try
13 to complete this hearing of this witness today, with your agreement,
14 and would start tomorrow at 9.30. Then there will be two outstanding
15 witnesses, is that correct?
16 MR. WILLIAMSON: That is correct, your Honour.
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Good. Fine. If we start tomorrow morning at 9.30,
18 then I think it should be possible to finish in good time. So we
19 will finish this evening with Witness A.
20 Witness A called.
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: First of all your headphones. I would like to start
22 by asking you whether you can hear me clearly?
23 THE WITNESS: Yes, I can hear you.
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: In your own language of course. If so, please start
25 by reading out the solemn declaration which has been given to you as
1 a witness.
2 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I shall speak the truth, the whole
3 truth and nothing but the truth.
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you. Please be seated. At the request of the
5 Prosecutor and at your own request -- yes, please adjust that screen
6 -- you are covered by protection of your identity of your voice and
7 also of your image. So appearing before the International Tribunal
8 you can deliver your testimony with a fully calm mind and feel quite
9 serene about the process. We are now winding up the screens, but you
10 cannot be seen so your protection is fully assured, but this is a
11 public hearing. Prosecuting Counsel.
12 MR. WILLIAMSON: Witness A, you are from Bosnia; is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You are a Bosnian Muslim, are you not?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. In 1990 you entered into the Yugoslav People's Army for your
17 National Service; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. When exactly did this occur?
20 A. That was on 15th December 1990.
21 Q. Where did you report to the JNA?
22 A. I reported at the barracks in Belgrade, the barracks Marsala Tita.
23 Q. When you arrived at the Marsala Tita barracks, were you assigned to
24 a particular brigade?
25 A. Yes. I was assigned to Tito’s Guard and my unit was Special
1 Infantry Unit.
2 Q. Who was your direct commander of the Special Infantry Unit?
3 A. My unit or the head of it was Captain Radic Miroslav.
4 Q. Who was the commander of the entire brigade?
5 A. The commander of the whole brigade was General Milan Mrksic.
6 Q. Are you familiar with a man named Veselin Sjivancanin?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Was he also an officer in the Guards Brigade?
9 A. Yes. He was at Avalo at the military police there.
10 Q. This was a different barracks from the Marsala Tita barracks where
11 you were based; is that correct?
12 A. It was also part of the Guards Brigade but it was at another
14 Q. Do you know what Major Sjivancanin's function was within the Guards
15 Brigade? Was he commander of a certain battalion?
16 A. He was -- I know he was in the military police. I do not know
18 Q. The Guards Brigade that you were in was made up of a mixture of
19 people from all over Yugoslavia, was it not?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. This included at that time Croats, Slovenes, Albanians, Bosnians and
23 A. No, in the unit there were no Albanians.
24 Q. By the summer of 1991 did you notice a difference in the way that
25 the Croatian soldiers in the unit were being treated?
1 A. Yes, before we went through the battlefield the behaviour started to
3 Q. Were the Croatian soldiers given as much responsibility as they had
4 been given before that time?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Did there come a time when the Croatian conscripts started failing
7 to show up for their National Service or begin deserting from the
8 JNA, those who were already serving?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. As these Croatian soldiers left, was anything done to replace them?
11 Were other men brought in to replace the Croatians which had left?
12 A. Later on they filled in those places with Serbian voluntary soldiers
13 -- volunteers.
14 Q. Were these Serbian volunteers different in age from the other
15 conscripts who were serving there?
16 A. Yes, they were older.
17 Q. What was the average age of the conscripts?
18 A. The conscripts were between 18 and 20 years old.
19 Q. How old were most of these reservists?
20 A. Up to 30 years; let us say 30 years old.
21 Q. Did their arrival in your barracks change the atmosphere there in
22 any way?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Was the discipline the same as it had been earlier?
25 A. No, there was no discipline.
1 Q. Did you ever hear any of these reservists who came in refer to
2 themselves as "Chetniks"?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did they ever talk about what was going on in Yugoslavia at the time
5 and discuss any type of opinions that they had about what was going
7 A. Yes. They were interested only in a great Serbia, a greater Serbia.
8 That was their objective.
9 Q. Did there come a time when your unit and in fact all of the Guards
10 Brigade left Belgrade?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Before you left, was there any prior indication that something was
14 A. Yes, the Croats were separated; they disappeared.
15 Q. Were you told in advance where your unit was being deployed to?
16 A. No.
17 Q. When did you first find this out?
18 A. When we arrived at Tovarnik.
19 Q. Tovarnik is in Croatia, correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Can you describe to the court the circumstances under which your
22 unit was moved out of Belgrade?
23 A. Will you repeat the question, please?
24 Q. Let me rephrase it. What time of the day did you leave Belgrade?
25 A. We left after midnight at 3 o'clock, 3 a.m.
1 Q. Were you told to take anything with you?
2 A. Yes, full military gear.
3 Q. How long were you given to get ready?
4 A. Five minutes, which was usual for soldiers.
5 Q. What did you observe as the Guards Brigade moved out of Belgrade?
6 A. There were many civilians. They were throwing flowers on the
8 Q. Again this was close to 3 o'clock in the morning, correct?
9 A. 3, 5 o'clock when we left Belgrade.
10 Q. At this point you still did not know where you were going, correct?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Did you think it unusual that so many civilians were out on the
13 street cheering you on and throwing flowers on your convoy?
14 A. Yes. It was unclear to me, but the reservists that were in the
15 brigade, they were, they cheered back.
16 Q. Did they make any kind of signs or wave back to the crowd that was
17 throwing the flowers at them?
18 A. Yes, they were waving at the crowd and they were showing their sign,
19 the Serbian sign.
20 Q. Can you demonstrate the sign for the court, please?
21 A. Yes. (Indicated).
22 Q. Thank you. Where exactly did your convoy go after it left Belgrade?
23 A. The convoy went in the direction of Sid and we went out of the
25 Q. From Sid did you cross into Croatia?
1 A. Yes, we went towards Croatia and when we arrived at Tovarnik.
2 Q. What did you see when you arrived in Tovarnik? What was going on
4 A. There were houses that were burnt down; there were lots of soldiers,
5 tanks, lots of military force.
6 Q. Up until this point in time, had you known that there was fighting
7 taking place anywhere in former Yugoslavia?
8 A. No.
9 Q. How long did your unit stay in Tovarnik?
10 A. I cannot remember exactly, but I know that they gave us anti-tank
12 Q. From Tovarnik where did the convoy go?
13 A. We went towards Negoslavci.
14 Q. What were the conditions like as you travelled from Tovarnik to
15 Negoslavci? What was going on along the way?
16 A. Along the road everything was destroyed and burnt down. There was
17 spoRadic fighting and trucks.
18 Q. Once you arrived in Negoslavci what happened there?
19 A. In Negoslavci we saw a lot of soldiers. The civilians waited for
20 us, local civilians.
21 Q. When you say you saw soldiers, were these all regular JNA soldiers
22 or did you also see some paramilitary soldiers there as well?
23 A. There were lots of paramilitary there, lots of Chetniks.
24 Q. During the transfer from Belgrade all the way to Negoslavci, had you
25 seen either Colonel Mrksic or Major Sjivancanin?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Did you see either of them in Negoslavci?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. What did Colonel Mrksic do when you saw him in Negoslavci?
5 A. He lined us up there and he was issuing orders to other officers.
6 Q. Did he review the soldiers as you were lined up?
7 A. No.
8 Q. How long did you stay in Negoslavci?
9 A. Not for a very long time at Negoslavci.
10 Q. Where did you go from there?
11 A. After that we went on foot towards a field. We were dug in and we
12 had to spend the night there.
13 Q. Did any part of the Guards Brigade remain in Negoslavci?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. What parts were those?
16 A. The heavy weapons stayed at Negoslavci, the police, the security of
17 our command. I do not know.
18 Q. But the brigade headquarters were established there, were they not?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. After you spent the night in this field outside of Negoslavci, where
21 did you go from there?
22 A. During the night from the garrison we went towards Vukovar.
23 Q. Did you go to a certain area of Vukovar when you arrived there?
24 A. Yes, we came to a part of it called Petrova Gora.
25 Q. Was there fighting going on at Petrova Gora when you arrived there?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Were you provided accommodations in Petrova Gora?
3 A. Yes, in houses.
4 Q. How far were you from the frontline where the fighting was going on?
5 A. Some 500 metres.
6 Q. Where was your unit commander, Captain Radic, during this period?
7 A. He was with us.
8 Q. Did he establish a headquarters in the same area?
9 A. He established his headquarters in Nova Ulica.
10 Q. Where exactly in Nova Ulica were his headquarters established?
11 A. As far as I know, it was in the house of Stanko whose surname I
12 cannot remember exactly.
13 Q. What type of person was Stanko?
14 A. He was a local man. He used to be a taxi driver before the war.
15 Q. He is someone you would describe as a Chetnik?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did he call himself a Chetnik?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did Captain Radic also establish his living quarters in the same
20 house where his headquarters were?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. At some point did your unit join in the fighting that was going on
23 in Vukovar?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. How long was this after you had arrived in the area?
1 A. After some two to three days.
2 Q. Where exactly did you become involved in fighting?
3 A. At Nova Ulica.
4 Q. Were the paramilitary troops, these Chetniks, also involved in the
5 fighting along with the JNA?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Were they operating as a separate unit or were they integrated
8 within your JNA unit?
9 A. They were together integrated, part of them.
10 Q. Were there any orders given prior to the attack as to how it was to
11 be conducted from the JNA side?
12 A. I did not understand the question.
13 Q. Did anyone tell you what to do or give you instructions about how to
14 conduct yourself as you went into battle?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Who was in command of your unit and of these paramilitary soldiers
17 as you went into the fighting?
18 A. Captain Radic.
19 Q. Can you describe for the court how this fighting occurred? What was
20 going on when you got up to the frontline?
21 A. On the frontline there were barricades. During the first day we
22 started with tanks. One tank was hit and he was destroyed. So we
23 did not go further on that day.
24 Q. The way that your JNA unit conducted itself in the fighting on this
25 first day, was that the way that you had been trained to fight during
1 your training period?
2 A. No, that was not the same army, not the way we were trained.
3 Q. Was your unit eventually able to overtake the Croatian barricades on
4 Nova Ulica?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Several days after this fighting was going on, did there come an
7 occasion when General Adzic visited Vukovar?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. What did he do when he arrived in your unit's operational area?
10 A. He went around and inspected the lines.
11 Q. Were you involved in his visit in any way?
12 A. Yes, I personally took him through the lines.
13 Q. Was anyone else accompanying General Adzic as he went through the
15 A. Yes, he had his own security people.
16 Q. Was Major Sjivancanin also along with him?
17 A. I cannot really remember whether he was accompanying him.
18 Q. Was he also present with him?
19 A. After that they held a meeting at Stanko's house where there was
20 Radic and Sjivancanin and Seselj and the others.
21 Q. From this time forward did your unit continue engaging in battles
22 with the Croatian forces?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. As a result of these attacks by the JNA on the Croatian positions,
25 were they forced further and further back toward the Danube River?
1 A. Yes. They were withdrawing towards the centre of the town because
2 they could not survive there because of all the forces that went
3 towards them and the damage that was done to the town.
4 Q. Did there come an occasion at one point when you went on a
5 reconnaissance mission with a JNA lieutenant?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Where exactly did you go with him?
8 A. I do not understand you.
9 Q. Where did you go with this lieutenant?
10 A. We went on a reconnaissance mission and during that reconnaissance
11 mission the lieutenant was killed. I took him in front of our
12 command. He was all in pieces. After that they sent me to the
13 military academy, medical academy.
14 Q. Why did they send you to the military medical institute?
15 A. Because they thought that I became crazy, that I could not be normal
16 after what I did, what I saw.
17 Q. This was because you had retrieved his body and brought it back to
18 the headquarters?
19 A. Yes, and my duty in the army when I was there was that I should not
20 leave anyone personally, not an officer leave behind.
21 Q. So you behaved in the way that you had been trained to perform, is
22 that correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. At some point in time while you were in Vukovar did you start
25 working more closely with Captain Radic?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What was your role with Captain Radic? What were you doing?
3 A. I was his courier or messenger, things he could not send by telecom
4 and such communication means I had to carry the messages.
5 Q. As a result of this position as Captain Radic's courier, did you see
6 him more often?
7 A. Yes, I was with him on a daily basis.
8 Q. Were you present for meetings that he had?
9 A. Yes, but not the more important meetings.
10 Q. As a result of your role as a courier for Captain Radic, did you
11 also come in contact with Major Sjivancanin more?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. At some point in time did you begin working as a courier directly
14 for Major Sjivancanin?
15 A. Well, yes.
16 Q. In this role, though, were you transferred to Major Sjivancanin's
18 A. No.
19 Q. Where did Sjivancanin maintain his headquarters?
20 A. Sjivancanin, I do not know exactly where his headquarters was, but I
21 know that it was in Negoslavci.
22 Q. Did you ever accompany Major Sjivancanin around the battle area?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Did you go with him when he visited the commander unit?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. What would happen when he would visit these other officers?
2 A. He would be issuing orders. He was the one that was supposed to
3 give orders.
4 Q. Were these other officers reporting to him on what was going on in
5 their units?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. So it appeared to you that Major Sjivancanin was in command of most
8 of the operations that were going on in the area?
9 A. Yes. Nobody else could be that because he supervised everything and
10 everything that was done had to be reported back to him.
11 Q. What about the paramilitary soldiers, the Chetniks, did they also
12 look up to Sjivancanin as a commander?
13 A. Yes. The commander was one. There was a single command. He was
14 ordering both the Chetniks and everything else and Sjivancanin was
15 the main boss in the way I could understand. He was the main person
16 responsible for the siege of Vukovar.
17 Q. Were you familiar with a building which was located across the
18 street and a little bit down from Stanko's house where Croatian
19 soldiers were brought?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. What happened to them after they were brought to that location?
22 A. They were interrogated in Stanko's house and then taken to an old
23 house and every trace of them was lost there.
24 Q. You saw them being taken into this house alive, correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did you ever see them being brought out alive?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Did you see their bodies come out or you just never saw them again?
4 A. No.
5 Q. In the last couple of weeks before the city of Vukovar fell, what
6 were the conditions like for you and the other soldiers in your
8 A. They were not human conditions. We could not sleep. We were on the
9 battle front day and night.
10 Q. During this time period did the fighting with the Croatian forces
11 get more intense?
12 A. Yes, because the artillery was hitting and shelling the city at all
13 times, and then we captured street by street. This was our tactics.
14 Q. On the day that the JNA took the centre of the city of Vukovar from
15 the Croatian forces, were you on the frontline?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did you have an opportunity to walk around the city centre?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. What did you observe there?
20 A. There were lots of dead civilian bodies.
21 Q. Did these people appear to have been persons that had died in battle
22 from the shelling or had they been recently killed?
23 A. There were those that were killed by shells, but there were also
24 those that were shot.
25 Q. On that same day did you see civilians being assembled for
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Where were they being gathered?
4 A. They were being gathered at a particular point near the petrol
5 station in the centre of the city, and then were taken to Velepromet
6 or Unipromet. I do not know the name but think Velepromet.
7 Q. Did you participate in this evacuation?
8 A. Personally ----
9 THE INTERPRETER: I did not hear the witness.
10 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, I believe the microphone just went out.
11 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: There is a microphone problem. My interpreters hear
12 me. If so, could we perhaps proceed? Would that be possible?
13 MR. WILLIAMSON: I will ask the question again. Did you participate in
14 this evacuation of civilians from the petrol station to either
15 Unipromet or Velepromet?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. How did you participate? What was your role?
18 A. I was driving a car and I took the civilians to Velepromet and I
19 would leave them at Velepromet. So I made several rounds. I went on
20 several occasions.
21 Q. These were civilians that you were taking, correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Were these older people, young people? Can you describe what most
24 of them were like?
25 A. They were elderly people and there were children.
1 Q. Did you talk to these people at all?
2 A. I tried to talk to them but it was impossible to talk to them
3 because they were so scared and frightened.
4 Q. After you finished helping with this transfer of people, where did
5 you go?
6 A. I went to Nova Ulica, to our base.
7 Q. You went back to the house where you were staying; is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. During that night how were the JNA soldiers and the Chetniks who
10 were in Vukovar, how were they behaving?
11 A. There was some kind of celebration, lots of shooting. I do not know
12 how to explain this. They were very gay and merry and ----
13 Q. Early the next morning did you meet with Captain Radic?
14 A. I do not understand what you mean?
15 Q. The next morning did you see Captain Radic?
16 A. Yes. The next morning, yes.
17 Q. Where did you see him?
18 A. In our base and then we went towards the hospital.
19 Q. You accompanied Captain Radic to the hospital from Stanko’house,
21 A. Right.
22 Q. When you arrived at the hospital what did you see there?
23 A. In the hospital, the hospital was filled with patients. The cellar
24 was full. The basement was full. Everything was full.
25 Q. Did you go into the hospital itself with Captain Radic?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Did you also see Major Sjivancanin there?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did you see Sjivancanin talking with any of the local Serbs?
5 A. Sjivancanin and Radic went together while I came only to the
6 entrance of the building, but Sjivancanin and Radic then went further
7 into the building.
8 Q. You did not accompany them into the hospital, correct?
9 A. No.
10 Q. At some point on this morning did you see some of the wounded men
11 being removed from the hospital building?
12 A. Yes, the wounded people were taken out at the rear exit. I do not
13 know whether they were wounded people. I would say patients. Some
14 of them were being taken out through a rear exit or entrance.
15 Q. Did these people appear to be under the guard of JNA soldiers?
16 A. Well, the whole building was under guard of the JNA soldiers.
17 Q. How long did you remain inside the hospital building?
18 A. Not very long.
19 Q. Did you stay outside the building for a long period of time?
20 A. Right.
21 Q. While you were outside the hospital, did you see what had happened
22 to these men who had been brought out the back entrance?
23 A. They were being put on to lorries, trucks and taken away.
24 Q. While you were at the hospital did you have an opportunity to speak
25 with any other soldiers or Chetniks about what was happening to these
2 A. Yes. According to what they said the idea was that everybody should
3 have been killed because they did not deserve any better.
4 Q. At the end of the day where did you go?
5 A. I went back to our building, to our base.
6 Q. Again this was the house on Nova Ulica where you were staying,
8 A. Right.
9 Q. Later that evening did you have occasion to go to Stanko's house
11 A. Yes, I went to Stanko's house to see what was happening and Captain
12 Radic was there, but he was so nervous that you could not talk to
13 him. He sounded and looked very unusual.
14 Q. Had you ever seen him behaving in this way before?
15 A. Never before.
16 Q. Were there also other people present there?
17 A. Yes. In another room Vidacek, Stuka, they were there.
18 Q. Did you hear any of them talking about the wounded men who had been
19 taken from the hospital earlier that day?
20 A. Yes, that they had been taken to Ovcara, that everybody was killed,
21 that nobody had survived. I heard it from Vidacek and from Stuka.
22 Q. What was their mood or their behaviour while they were talking about
24 A. They were merry. They were very self-confident and self-assured.
25 Q. Where was Captain Radic when this was going on?
1 A. Captain Radic was in another room.
2 Q. Was he close to where they were?
3 A. This was the next room. There was just another door.
4 Q. Was he in a position to hear what they were saying?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. What was his reaction to this? Was there any reaction?
7 A. No.
8 Q. These men, Vidacek and Stuka, that were talking about this, they
9 were in the same unit as you, the same special infantry unit,
11 A. Right.
12 Q. So Captain Radic was their direct commander, was he not?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. The following day did you have occasion to go the Velepromet
15 warehouse or Unipromet?
16 A. Yes. There was a man called Zlatko, a Croat, who was a prisoner at
18 Q. Why did you go there to see him?
19 A. I actually tried to get him out of that prison.
20 Q. During that day did you have a chance to speak further with Stuka
21 and Vidacek and others about what had happened at Ovcara?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. What were they saying had occurred?
24 A. They said that everybody that was sent to Ovcara was killed, and
25 they did not believe anybody survived.
1 Q. Was this talked about openly among the JNA soldiers and the
2 paramilitary troops in Vukovar?
3 A. Yes, quite openly. The two of them actually boasted.
4 Q. How long after this did you remain in Vukovar?
5 A. You mean after the fall of Vukovar or what?
6 Q. That is correct, yes.
7 A. Some 15 days or 20 days.
8 Q. And during this time period what was going on in the city?
9 A. Robbery, robbing, looting, taking away everything that could be
10 taken away and they destroyed the remaining houses.
11 Q. Was there any discipline of the soldiers or did the commanders try
12 to control the troops in any way?
13 A. Not really. This was not any army any more. This was just a mob.
14 Q. After you left Vukovar where did you go?
15 A. To Belgrade back to our barracks.
16 Q. Did you go with your entire brigade or who did you go back to
17 Belgrade with?
18 A. We were put on a truck, those of us that survived that were still
20 Q. Approximately how many men in your brigade had come there
22 A. I cannot give you the precise figure.
23 Q. What was your reception like in Belgrade when you returned?
24 A. The same as when we were leaving. There were civilians and they
25 threw even more flowers upon us.
1 Q. To your knowledge were any of the soldiers which admitted
2 participating at the killings in Ovcara, were they punished in any
4 A. No. He I think would have been rewarded actually given the way that
5 they behaved.
6 Q. At this time, your Honour, I would like to show the witness some
7 brief portions of the video which has previously been marked as
8 Exhibit 23, and I would ask the witness to identify some of the
9 individuals who are portrayed on here. If we can see the first clip,
10 please. In this video there is a soldier. If you can stop it right
11 here, please. Back it up just a little bit. There, that is good.
12 The individual that is to the left of the bald headed man, the
13 soldier wearing the brown beret, can you identify this man?
14 A. This is Spasoje Petkovic known as Stuka, my former colleague.
15 Q. Thank you. If you can run it now, please, to the next clip. Right
16 here. Just a little further, please. Can you identify the
17 individual who just lowered his arm who is on the left in this
19 A. Captain Radic.
20 Q. Who is the individual that is to his right with the red hat on?
21 A. Sirco.
22 Q. Who is Sirco?
23 A. Chetnik.
24 Q. I do not believe we are getting a translation.
25 A. Sorry, a local Chetnik.
1 Q. If you can run it again, please, to the next clip. If you can stop
2 it. A little further. Right here. OK. Who is this individual?
3 A. This is Major Sjivancanin.
4 Q. Do you recognise what is going on in this clip from the video?
5 A. Yes. I was in the same room as he was talking to a Croatian
6 commander whose name I do not remember, and he said that he would be
7 coming ----
8 THE INTERPRETER: I cannot hear the witness again I am afraid.
9 MR. WILLIAMSON: Could you repeat the end of that, please?
10 A. He was talking to the Croatian officer and said that he would come
11 for coffee. They were quarrelling in fact.
12 Q. If you can run it now to the next clip, please. Back it up just a
13 little bit, please. Right there and now start running it. Do you
14 recognise this location?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Where is this?
17 A. Negoslavci. That is at Negoslavci.
18 Q. Is this the headquarters in Negoslavci?
19 A. Yes, and Milan Mrksic is there.
20 Q. Is this Milan Mrksic who is portrayed on the video?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. He is the individual with the military hat?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. That was the commander of your brigade, Guards Brigade?
25 A. Yes.
1 MR. WILLIAMSON: Thank you. That is all I need to see of the video thank
2 you. Your Honour, I have no further questions for this witness.
3 THE INTERPRETER: No microphone for the Presiding Judge.
4 JUDGE RIAD: You mentioned that in the centre of Vukovar there were bodies
5 of civilians shot dead. Was there any indication that they were shot
6 in fighting or in resistance? Did they have any arms beside them or
7 were they just lying down without any sign of resistance?
8 A. There were no signs of resistance. Those were civilians.
9 Q. Was there a great number of them?
10 A. I cannot tell you exactly how many bodies were there. Many people.
11 Q. Many people. You also mentioned that Croatian soldiers were taken
12 to the old house and no trace of them was to be found after they
13 entered in. You concluded that they were all massacred and killed.
14 Do you have any kind of information where they were taken?
15 A. They were taking to the house and the local people, you could find
16 out from them because nothing was really kept secret. They were
17 killed there. Whoever entered that house never came out of it.
18 Q. Who did the looting and destruction of Vukovar which you mentioned?
19 Was it soldiers of the JNA?
20 A. Yes, Chetniks that were there. The actual soldiers did not need it.
21 We all got back to Belgrade, to the barracks.
22 Q. Was Stuka, your friend, your colleagues, Stuka and Vidacek, were
23 they JNA or were they Chetniks?
24 A. JNA.
25 Q. The JNA. Were they present in Ovcara during what happened or were
1 they just hear about it?
2 A. According to their story which they were telling me, they were
3 there. According to what they said, they were there.
4 Q. They were there. Was Captain Radic there?
5 A. I cannot say. I do not know.
6 Q. You cannot say?
7 A. I do not know.
8 Q. You said you were always a messenger between Radic and Sjivancanin.
9 How close was the relationship and who gave the ultimate, the higher
11 A. A higher ranking was Sjivancanin and he was the one who issued
12 orders to all the other lower ranking officers, because there was not
13 only my unit there, there were three or four other units from my
15 Q. Mrksic, what was his role in all this situation?
16 A. General Mrksic was the commander of all the units that went from
17 Belgrade, from the Marshal Tito barracks. He was the commander of
18 the brigade.
19 Q. But, as far as Vukovar was concerned, what exactly was his
21 A. As they told us at the barracks, without his knowledge nothing could
22 be done because he was the one responsible for everything, for the
23 soldiers and the officers under his command.
24 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
25 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Witness, how did you yourself personally experience
1 the end of the war when it came to an end? What was your personal
2 situation? Could you tell us about your military unit and your
3 personal circumstances? What did you actually do at that period?
4 A. When I returned to the barracks, I was supposed to stay there but I
5 had to sign a contract that I would stay, but I decided not to accept
6 it and I decided to run away from the barracks.
7 Q. What do you presently do? You may not wish to answer that question;
8 you may feel that those particular facts in answer to my question may
9 help to identify you, in which case please do not answer it. I will
10 withdraw my question. Yes, I will withdraw my question.
11 I did want to ask you, were there many of you who shared the
12 same circumstances that you had? These were very difficult
13 circumstances, of course, vis-a-vis the hierarchy, your military
14 hierarchy. Were there many Muslims from Bosnia in a similar
15 situation to yours in Vukovar? It was a very, very painful and very,
16 very cruel set of circumstances.
17 A. No, there were not many of us. I know those that were killed, it is
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you very much indeed. The Tribunal would like
20 to thank you sincerely and is very grateful to you for coming. We
21 would like to wish you a very peaceful journey home. Please do not
22 move. We are going to ensure that we can protect you until you
23 leave. So lower the screens, please.
24 (The witness withdrew)
25 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: As we said at the beginning of the hearing, I would
1 now propose that we adjourn this session and that we come back
2 tomorrow at 9.30 a.m. to hear the last two witnesses. So the session
3 is adjourned.
4 (The hearing was adjourned until 9.30 a.m. Tomorrow morning)