1 THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL CASE NO. IT-95-13-R61
2 FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
3 IN THE TRIAL CHAMBER
5 Thursday, 28th March 1996
9 CLAUDE JORDA
10 (The Presiding Judge)
12 JUDGE FUAD RIAD
13 JUDGE ODIO BENITO
15 The Prosecutor
17 Mile Mrksic
18 Miroslav Radic
19 Veselin Sljivancanin
22 IN THE MATTER OF VUKOVAR
24 MR. GRANT NIEMANN and MR. CLINT WILLIAMSON appeared on behalf of the
2 Thursday, 28th March 1996.
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE [Original in French]: We can begin the session by
5 talking about interpretation and listening to each other. First of
6 all, Prosecutor, can you hear what I am saying?
7 MR. WILLIAMSON: Yes, your Honour.
8 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Registrar, can you as well? The interpreters can
9 communicate with each other? Our colleagues? The legal assistants?
10 Good. So we can begin the session. Prosecuting counsel, the floor is
12 MR. WILLIAMSON: Yes, your Honour. Before I call the first witness, there
13 is a brief preliminary matter. At this time I would like to tender
14 to the court exhibits 15 through 22 which are the computer maps that
15 were displayed on the first day. We have now obtained hard copy
16 print-outs of these so at this time I will submit these to the court.
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Registrar, would you take possession of those maps?
19 MR. WILLIAMSON: At this time, your Honour, we are ready to call the first
20 witness, Dr. Jan Schou.
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: What is his name?
22 MR. WILLIAMSON: Jan Schou.
23 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Please show Dr. Schou in.
24 DR. JAN SCHOU, called.
25 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Dr. Schou, would you mind standing up again, please?
1 If the usher could ask the witness to stand up again, please?
2 Doctor, would you mind standing up?
3 THE WITNESS: You have to speak English.
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Yes. Dr. Schou, the judge was just asking you to
5 stand up, please. Thank you very much. Would you be kind to
6 introduce yourself to the Tribunal? Your family name, your first
8 THE WITNESS: Yes, my first name is Jan Schou and I am a medical doctor.
9 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you. Please read out the solemn declaration
10 which the usher is going to give to you.
11 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole
12 truth and nothing but the truth.
13 (The witness was sworn)
14 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Yes, please be seated. I did not actually hear
15 that. Fine, that is fine. OK. Please be seated. No problem,
16 counsel for the Prosecution.
17 Examined by MR. WILLIAMSON
18 Q. Dr. Schou, you indicated that you are physician; is that correct?
19 A. That I am what?
20 Q. A doctor?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. How long have you been a doctor?
23 A. For 10 years.
24 Q. Do you have a field of specialisation?
25 A. Yes, I am a surgeon and a gynaecologist.
1 Q. Prior to going into medicine did you spend a period of time in the
2 Danish Army?
3 A. Yes, I am educated as an officer in reserve in the Danish Army.
4 Q. How long did you serve in active service with the military?
5 A. Since 1974.
6 Q. In the early part of 1991 where were you working?
7 A. I was working on hospital in Jutland.
8 Q. That is in Denmark?
9 A. In Denmark, yes.
10 Q. At some point in 1991 did you become affiliated with the European
11 Community Monitoring Mission, with the ECMM?
12 A. Yes, I was called at the hospital from the Danish military that
13 asked me to go to Yugoslavia.
14 Q. When did this occur, if you recall?
15 A. It occurred -- just a moment -- it occurred Thursday, 10th October
17 Q. What were the circumstances under which you went to work for the
18 ECMM? What did the Danish military ask you to do?
19 A. They need a military person that also was a doctor, not a military
20 doctor but a military person that was a doctor.
21 Q. OK. Did you, in fact, go to the former Yugoslavia?
22 A. Yes, I went on Tuesday 15th.
23 Q. Where exactly did you go?
24 A. I go to Zagreb.
25 Q. When you arrived in Zagreb were you given a particular assignment by
1 the ECMM?
2 A. I did not understand the question.
3 Q. What did the ECMM ask you to do when you arrived in Zagreb?
4 A. They asked me to be the doctor for the EC member and then to be the
5 EC medical doctor in all aspect about human right, the prisoners and
6 wounded and something like that, yes.
7 Q. OK. Did you participate in a relief convoy that was going to
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. When did this convoy depart from Zagreb?
11 A. I think it was about Friday 18th.
12 Q. How long did it take you to reach Vukovar?
13 A. It take one day to reach just outside Vukovar to the borderline and
14 then we sleep there the night over and the next day, the next
15 morning, at 6 o'clock, we start the evacuation to cross borderline
16 with the Medicines without Border.
17 Q. At this time was fighting still going on in the Vukovar area?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. So this was not going on at the time of the fall of the City; this
20 was approximately a month before that; is that correct?
21 A. It was a month before, yes.
22 Q. OK. What did you observe when you entered into Vukovar?
23 A. I observed a really damaged city and there has been heavy shelling
24 in the city, and most of the building were damaged. But we only went
25 to the hospital. We did not travel around in the city. We only went
1 to the hospital.
2 Q. When you arrived at the hospital what condition was it in at that
4 A. The hospital was one of the most damaged building. It was only the
5 basement that could be used. Everything else was destroyed.
6 Q. In all how long were you in the hospital that day?
7 A. I think we were there at 10 o'clock, or something like, and then we
8 leave with the wounded about 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
9 Q. Approximately how many patients in your estimation were in the
10 hospital at that time?
11 A. I think about, if you only talk about patient, I think there must be
12 about 200.
13 Q. How many patients were you able to take out in the relief convoy?
14 A. We take 107 of the most wounded or 104, something like that.
15 Q. Were you able to observe the working conditions at that time for the
16 doctors and the other medical staff in the hospital?
17 A. Yes, they work with, they were doing a good job with the few things
18 they had to do it with.
19 Q. Did they have an adequate supply of medicine and bandages?
20 A. No, they did not have anything. They have to use the supply again
21 and again. They have to wash the bandage and something like that and
22 use it again.
23 Q. After you were able to get the patients out for the return to
24 Zagreb, did you follow the same route as you had on the way into
1 A. In the way into Vukovar, we had changed the road due to the
2 Croatians said that this was a better way, and we reached the
3 hospital, of course. On the way out we tried to went out the same
4 way, but there must have been some on the road because there was a
5 wire across the road and just after that we were not attacked but
6 stopped by the JNA Army.
7 Q. In fact, you were stopped by a JNA tank; is that correct?
8 A. I was stopped by a JNA tank, yes, and I was in the front car. I was
9 in the leading on the convoy.
10 Q. The tank gun barrel was pointed at your car, correct?
11 A. That is correct, and we had to jump out of the car while it was
12 still running.
13 Q. Who was the JNA officer in command at this blockade?
14 A. We think that it was the Colonel, as I think he was at that time, I
15 heard his name was Sljivanovic (sic).
16 Q. Sljivancanin?
17 A. Sljivancanin, yes.
18 Q. What did he tell you to do?
19 A. He had arranged a press conference at the top of a hill. At that
20 time we were stopped. There was a lot of television from Belgrade,
21 from ITV and something like that. I think there was about three or
22 four different television crew at the top of the hill. Then he had a
23 press conference where he declare that we were not following the
24 agreement, that we take not only wounded but also soldiers out in the
25 car and that -----
1 Q. Did he give you any instructions about what you were to do from that
2 point on?
3 A. Yes, he said we should follow the original agreement and that we
4 should follow the road to the next city which we not follow on the
5 way out because the Croatians said it was mined.
6 Q. Did you indicate to him that you were concerned about this fact,
7 that the road might be mined?
8 A. Yes, we said that the road was, we were told that the road was
9 mined, and we did not want to drive that way, but he said we were not
10 allowed to go any other way.
11 Q. Did you, in fact, go on the road that Major Sljivancanin directed
12 you to?
13 A. Yes, we went on the road.
14 Q. What was the result?
15 A. The result was that No. 4 car went on into a mine on the road and
16 were blowing up and two nurses from, I think it was, Switzerland were
17 thrown out of the car and hit the ground, and I and some of the staff
18 from the Medicine Without Border, we had to treat them and at that
19 time we get also help from the JNA Army and they have a helicopter so
20 they can fly the two wounded nurses to the hospital in Belgrade.
21 Q. Did these nurses survive the explosion?
22 A. Yes, they survived, yes.
23 Q. Where they seriously wounded?
24 A. At that time we could not see if they were seriously wounded. We
25 could see one of them had a broken leg and they were bleeding from
1 the ears, but later I heard that they were deaf.
2 Q. They lost their hearing?
3 A. They lost their hearing, both, yes.
4 Q. This occurred on the road Major Sljivancanin had ordered you to go
5 on; is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. After the explosion did you see Major Sljivancanin again that day?
8 A. No.
9 Q. In November were you asked to return to Vukovar once again?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. What was the reason for this trip?
12 A. The reason was I was in Zagreb at that time and we had a negotiation
13 with General Raseta about the evacuation of Vukovar one time more,
14 and then we suddenly heard that Vukovar was nearly taken, and then I
15 went to Belgrade together with the head of Mission and from Belgrade
16 we tried to make an arrangement with the Red Cross to get the wounded
17 out, but we did not reach it because we heard that the city was
18 almost taken, so it was impossible to get in.
19 Q. Did you eventually go to Vukovar?
20 A. Yes, I went to Vukovar.
21 Q. Who did you go with?
22 A. I go with, we were two EC team, EC member team, and then I with a
23 command of this evacuation or observation, if you can say so, and
24 then we have two relief, what do you call that, relief officers from
25 the Headquarters in the Military Headquarters in Belgrade.
1 Q. On what date did you arrive in the Vukovar area?
2 A. We arrived the 19th of November in the morning. In the morning we
3 reach the area of Vukovar but we were not allowed to go to the area
4 of Vukovar. We were staying outside a city called Sid for maybe four
5 or five hours, waiting for permission to go to the operation area and
6 then we went to the operation area in the evening.
7 Q. Did you eventually go to Negaslavci?
8 A. We go to Negaslavci, to the Headquarter of the Military Army forces
9 in that area, yes.
10 Q. Who did you meet with in Negaslavci?
11 A. Then we meet Sljivanci (sic) ---
12 Q. Sljivancanin?
13 A. -- Sljivancanin again, but at this time he was a Major. Later we had
14 met him, when I had met him, he was a Colonel.
15 Q. Did you say anything to him about this?
16 A. Yes, and he said he always had been a Major.
17 Q. What were your impressions of Major Sljivancanin in terms of what he
18 was doing with the Army?
19 A. I think he is a kind of political officer, and why I think it is
20 because I am educated in intelligence in the Danish Army, and he had,
21 he wear new, quite new uniform and all other people, including the
22 General, and something like that, they used clothes that you could
23 see had been used, through exposed to the sun and the underground and
24 something like that. But he had a quite new uniform and, even if he
25 spoke with some superior officer, I could feel that he was in
1 command, even if he only was a Major.
2 Q. At this meeting with Major Sljivancanin was Colonel Mrksic also
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did you and your associate from the ECMM attempt to get access to
6 Vukovar Hospital on that day, on 19th?
7 A. On 19th, we tried to get to Vukovar because we had heard that the
8 hospital were taken, or nearly were taken, and we want to go to the
9 hospital and at that time we make a connection with our phone with
10 Dr. Bosanac in Vukovar, and she nearly cry that we had to come as
11 soon as possible because they were doing some awful things in the
13 Q. Were you able to get to the hospital on 19th?
14 A. No. Major Sljivancanin, he said that we were not allowed to go the
15 hospital due to our secure, but at the same time we hear from the Red
16 Cross that they had reached the hospital without no problem and they
17 were throwing away from the hospital by the soldiers, and I think
18 that the Major himself went to the hospital and took the Red Cross
19 out because he come back later that evening and said that the Red
20 Cross, that they could not trust the Red Cross because they did not
21 follow any agreement.
22 Q. The Red Cross had, in fact, made it to the hospital safely ---
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. -- on 19th?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. But was thrown out by Major Sljivancanin?
2 A. Yes, and we also heard that night from Major Sljivancanin that they
3 have taken over the hospital and that they have removed Dr. Bosanac
4 and some other Ustasha from the hospital.
5 Q. During the course of the evening of 19th were any arrangements made
6 for you to go into the hospital the next day?
7 A. Yes, it was meaning that we the next morning, that I could go to the
8 hospital with my interpreter which was Peter Kypr and only, and only
9 the two of us could go.
10 Q. The following morning, on 20th November, did your team attempt to go
11 to the hospital?
12 A. Yes, we have a secure of military soldiers and we went to the middle
13 of the town just where the River ---
14 Q. Vuka?
15 A. -- Vuka go through the city and at that point we were stopped and
16 hold back for about two or three hours.
17 Q. Who stopped you at the bridge over the Vuka River?
18 A. Physically, it was a tank on the bridge that were, not a tank --
19 what do you call it -- a personnel car.
20 Q. An armoured personnel carrier?
21 A. A personnel car, yes.
22 Q. Or an APC?
23 A. An APC, yes. It was on the bridge and then Major Sljivancanin was
24 at the same time.
25 Q. At approximately what time in the morning was it that you arrived on
1 this bridge, if you recall?
2 A. I think it must be about 9 o'clock in the morning.
3 Q. So it was fairly early on the morning of 20th?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. What did Major Sljivancanin tell you at that time?
6 A. He tell us that due to our security we were not able to go to the
7 hospital. They had to clean the road before we go to the hospital.
8 Q. Did he indicate to you what the danger was for you moving any
10 A. The danger, it was that there still were some fighting going on and
11 there could be snipers.
12 Q. Were you able to see down the street from the Vuka River bridge in
13 the direction of the hospital?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Did you see any signs of fighting?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Did you see any people walking in the street?
18 A. Yes, Serbian soldiers.
19 Q. Did any of them appear to be taking cover or any other kind of
20 defensive measures, being concerned about snipers?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Did you hear any gunfire?
23 A. Just a few, and also just beneath us there were soldiers that were
24 firing in the air just for fun, and they were, most of the soldiers
25 at that time, it was what I called Chetnik and they were drunken.
1 They were firing that they had taken the town.
2 Q. So the only gunfire that you heard seemed to be in celebration?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. The distance to the hospital from the bridge was relatively short,
5 was it not?
6 A. It was about one and a half, two kilometres, or something like that.
7 Q. OK. Were you present when the representative from the International
8 Red Cross tried to get past Major Sljivancanin?
9 A. Yes, I was at the bridge at the same time, yes.
10 Q. What happened then?
11 A. The member from the Red Cross, he started shouting with Major
12 Sljivancanin, but he did not argument; they just shouted each other.
13 Q. But Major Sljivancanin would not let him pass either; is that
15 A. No. At that time he also told the other that I was responsible for
16 the evacuation of the hospital, it was that Red Cross was under my
18 Q. Were you eventually allowed to pass through and go to the hospital?
19 A. Yes, about two hours we went to the hospital, yes.
20 Q. At this time I would like to show the witness a brief clip of video
21 from the exhibit previously marked as exhibit 23. Do you recognise
22 this location here?
23 A. Where?
24 Q. Do you see a picture?
25 A. No, nothing.
1 Q. If we can stop it and start again?
2 A. There is nothing on the video, nothing.
3 Q. Now if you can start it? (The video was played)
4 A. Yes, now I see. I can see the car, the bridge, yes.
5 Q. This is the bridge over the Vuka River where you were stopped?
6 A. Yes and that is the Red Cross that arrived and that the chief of the
7 Red Cross and that, of course, Major Sljivancanin, yes.
8 Q. This is the new uniform that you were talking about?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. As opposed to the uniforms of everyone else around him?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. What is going on at this point in time?
13 A. They discuss or argument, or what you can call it, about why we were
14 not allowed to go and why the Red Cross not could go because Red
15 Cross could go everywhere in the world but not here.
16 Q. The Red Cross representative was pointing out that people were
17 moving freely and there seemed to be no problem in moving down the
19 A. Yes, that is correct.
20 Q. Yet Major Sljivancanin still refused to allow you through?
21 A. Yes. As you can see in the picture, there are no fighting in the
22 area beneath the car; you can see everyone just walked around; there
23 is no snipers.
24 Q. If you were in a situation of combat, based on your military
25 experience, and there were snipers and there was fighting going on,
1 would you be walking around bare-headed or would you wear a helmet?
2 A. I think I would wear a flack jacket -- not a helmet, I do not think
3 it helped anyway. But I think it is that time that the Major tells
4 that, "I am in command", or in command; we were not allowed to do
5 anything. We were just allowed to watch.
6 Q. Where were you located when this was going on?
7 A. We were located just to the left of the Red Cross car.
8 Q. Is this your vehicle?
9 A. No, that is not my vehicle. I am not sure.
10 Q. Is this you?
11 A. Yes, that is me and Peter.
12 Q. OK. This is when you were first entering the hospital; is that
14 A. Yes, that is correct.
15 Q. This is you on the left, correct?
16 A. Yes, that is me.
17 Q. What was going on at this point in time?
18 A. It is the time he told that, "It is only me that could make
19 decision", and he also told that the JNA Army would manage the
20 evacuation and we had to watch it and the Red Cross has to follow
21 what the EC member say.
22 Q. Now if we can move forward to the next clip, please?
23 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Would you like to pose any more questions,
25 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, I just want him to identify one other thing,
1 it will be very brief, and then I can move on.
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Excuse me, it is just that I was not hearing
3 anything and I was not sure if there was another technical problem or
4 whether you had finished. Excuse me for interrupting. Please carry
6 MR. WILLIAMSON: Thank you, your Honour. (To the witness): Do you
7 recognise this location that is portrayed here in the video?
8 A. Yes, that is the headquarter in Negaslavci.
9 Q. Who is the gentleman in the military uniform next to Cyrus Vance?
10 A. That is the Colonel and that is chief of the whole operation in that
12 Q. That was Colonel Mrksic?
13 A. Yes, his name you told me, but I recognise him, yes.
14 Q. That is all that we need to see of the video. Thank you. When you
15 arrived at the hospital, what did you observe?
16 A. I observed that they were walking Chetniks around in the hospital
17 together with the wounded, and some of the Chetniks were beating the
18 wounded, both with their guns and with their boots, and there were
19 only bad wounded men, no men at all -- there were only bad wounded
20 men, men that would probably die in a few days or something like
21 that, and then old men and small kids and women, of course.
22 Q. Did you see any men that appeared to be of fighting age who were
23 lightly wounded or not wounded at all in the area of the hospital?
24 A. Yes, there were some bad wounded at the fighting age, yes.
25 Q. But none that were lightly wounded ---
1 A. No.
2 Q. -- or not wounded at all?
3 A. No, only some of the people, because the Red Cross make a list and
4 asked the people whether they want to go to Serbia or whether they
5 want to go to Croatia after the evacuation, and some of the people
6 that want to go to Serbia, they were, you can see, in the middle age,
8 Q. Did you see any men that appeared to have been recently wounded?
9 A. Recent?
10 Q. Wounded in the last couple of days?
11 A. No, all the people in the hospital, they were wounded at least one
12 hour before -- one week before.
13 Q. Did you think that this was unusual since there had been fighting
14 going on in the city, according to Major Sljivancanin, up until an
15 hour ago?
16 A. Yes, if there had been fighting going on, there must have been some
17 wounded from the last day or last two days, yes.
18 Q. During the course of the day, were you or Peter Kypr given any
19 information on what had happened to all of the male patients?
20 A. We only heard that I told you before, that Dr. Bosanac and some of
21 the Ustashas were taken away the night before.
22 Q. Did anyone say what had happened to the other male patients in the
24 A. No.
25 Q. Were you able eventually to evacuate some of the patients from the
2 A. Yes, JNA military -- a JNA unit, hospital unit, made the evacuation
3 of some of the wounded in the 20s and some of the wounded in the 21s.
4 Q. Where were these patients taken?
5 A. They were taken to near a military infirmary in -- I cannot remember
6 the name of the city.
7 Q. It was a city in Serbia?
8 A. It was a city in Serbia beneath the border to Bosnia.
9 Q. Sremska Mitrovica?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. From there where were the patients taken?
12 A. From there, the next day the patients were taken to Bronk, I think
13 it was, the name was, in Bosnia just at the, across the borderline,
14 and there it was planned to take the patients from the Serbian
15 vehicles to a Croatian vehicles, but in that area we met a lot of
16 violence from the local, so we had to move to another town to make
17 that change vehicles.
18 Q. The violence that you encountered was from local Serbs in the
19 Bosnian town?
20 A. Local Serbs in the Bosnian town, yes, and also the EC members were
22 Q. They attacked the EC members as well as the patients?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Were there Army soldiers or Police present when this was going on?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Did the convoy eventually make it safely back to Zagreb?
2 A. Yes. It went not to Zagreb, it went through Bosnia and then it went
3 up to, I think about, Vinkovci, or something like that, a hospital
4 there where it was arranged that we should reach, and then we leave
5 the convoy and the Croatian take over the wounded and we follow the
6 road back to Zagreb.
7 MR. WILLIAMSON: I have no further questions for this witness, your
9 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, counsel for the Prosecutor. Judge Odio
11 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Just a small question: Doctor, could you tell me
12 again the exact date the first time you went to Vukovar because I
13 missed it?
14 A. The first day I went to Vukovar was in October.
15 Q. October?
16 A. In October, yes.
17 Q. 1991?
18 A. 19/20th of October, it was at first Vukovar where I get the wounded
19 out with the Medicine without Border.
20 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Thank you, doctor.
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Doctor, I would like you to give us some more
22 information about what you have said to the Tribunal. You said that
23 at the hospital the Chetniks were beating injured people. Could you
24 give us maybe a bit more detail about that? I think it does deserve a
25 little bit more information, in particular, you did refer to those
1 who were particularly seriously injured.
2 A. Yes. The soldiers were -- the wounded were laying on the floor in
3 the basement and these Serbian soldiers or the Chetniks, they were
4 walking around with two or three persons together everywhere, and
5 then they went to the soldiers -- to the wounded and just kick at
6 them and something like that, yes.
7 Q. I suppose that this must have been a terrible scene to witness. How
8 did the representatives of the Red Cross react? Did they do anything?
9 Did they try to stop it? Was Commander Sljivancanin present at the
10 scene? Did the leaders in the Red Cross delegation try to do
11 something? Was there a manager from the hospital? Although Dr.
12 Bosanac was not there, was there another manager from the hospital
13 who was present, because it would appear to be quite intolerable that
14 in the company of the Red Cross this beating should be taking place
15 in the hospital. What is your general impression of what took place
16 during this scene, as a whole?
17 A. I can tell you that the command of the hospital at that time was a
18 Serbian military doctor or doctors. I think there were four or five
19 of them. They wear uniforms and they were really drunken at that
20 time. Of course, both Red Cross and the EC member, we claim that the
21 patient were treated, but as they always said: "It was only
22 Ustasha". So then we had -- I talk with my secure, which was the
23 Military Police from the real Army, real JNA Army, and they help us
24 to get all these Chetniks out of the hospital so we could start the
1 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you very much, doctor. The Tribunal would
2 like to thank you for your testimony. The counsel for the
3 Prosecution has no further questions, so we would like to bring your
4 testimony to a close and show you out to the room which has been
5 reserved for you as a witness. If the usher could help with that?
6 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you very much.
8 (The witness withdrew)
9 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honour, I now call Dr. Snow.
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Counsel for the Prosecution, it seems to be a very
11 long road for the witness to get to the court room! I wonder whether
12 the witness is ready because, if not, maybe we should adjourn. In
13 fact, we were planning to adjourn at around 11 o'clock or 11.15
14 anyway. Registrar, what do you think?
15 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honours, the situation with witnesses is something I do
16 not know because it is being handled by another organisation of the
17 Tribunal, so where they are or what is happening, I am afraid I
18 cannot assist, your Honour.
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Prosecutor, please do not misunderstand me. I
20 did not mean to reproach you in any way whatsoever. I am sure both
21 of us were wondering about what was happening. I felt that if the
22 witness was not going to be able to come in a short period that we
23 should say that to the Tribunal so that the Tribunal could adopt some
24 relevant measures.
25 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honours, if your Honours wish to take an adjournment
1 now, that is certainly no problem as far as I am concerned.
2 DR. CLYDE SNOW, called.
3 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Doctor, would you be kind enough to put the
4 headphones on? The usher will help you. Usher, would you please ask
5 the witness to remain standing before the Tribunal? Thank you very
6 much, sir. We would like you to remain standing just for a few
7 seconds. Firstly, could you put your headphones on -- thank you very
8 much, thank you, doctor -- then you can hear what we are saying to
9 you. Doctor, can you hear what I am saying to you?
10 THE WITNESS: Yes, sir.
11 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Fine. Would you be kind enough to introduce
12 yourself, your family name and your first name?
13 THE WITNESS: My name is Clyde Snow.
14 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you. Then please pick up the solemn
15 declaration which the usher is going to give to you and read it out
17 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole
18 truth and nothing but the truth.
19 (The witness was sworn)
20 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you very much. Please be seated, doctor.
21 Please make yourself comfortable, doctor. You have been requested to
22 appear by the Prosecution and so the Prosecutor will have some
23 questions for you which he feels important, and perhaps the Tribunal
24 will also have some additional questions to add to its information
25 for you as well. Prosecuting counsel, the floor is yours.
1 MR. NIEMANN: If your Honours please.
2 Examined by MR. NIEMANN
3 Q. Dr. Snow, you were born in Fort Worth, Texas, in the United States
4 of America?
5 A. Yes, sir.
6 Q. You hold an Associate of Arts from the New Mexico Military
7 Institute; a Bachelor of Science from the Eastern New Mexico
8 University; a Master of Science from the Texas Technical University;
9 a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Arizona and a Doctor of
10 Science (Honours) from John Jay College of Criminal Justice which you
11 got in 1993?
12 A. Yes, sir.
13 Q. You had a career initially with the Federal Aviation Administration
14 in the United States of America?
15 A. Yes, sir.
16 Q. Then during your career you have served as a consultant in some
17 3,000 cases involving the identification and determination of a cause
18 of death of skeletonised victims?
19 A. Yes, sir.
20 Q. Your cases have included a 1979 American Airlines DC10 crash in
21 Chicago which involved the death of some 273 people?
22 A. Yes, sir.
23 Q. In 1985 at the request of the Simon Wiesenthal Institute you headed
24 a team of US Forensic Scientists which went to Brazil in order to
25 carry out an identification on the Nazi war criminal, Dr. Jozef
2 A. Yes, sir.
3 Q. In 1984, under the sponsorship of the American Association for the
4 Advancement of Science, you went to Argentina to serve as a
5 Consultant to that Nation's National Commission on Disappeared
6 Persons in an effort to determine the fate of thousands of
7 Argentinians who had been abducted and tortured during the period
8 1976 to 1983?
9 A. Yes, sir.
10 Q. In 1992 you served in Geneva as the United States delegate to the
11 United Nations Human Rights Commission, and you also completed
12 several United Nations sponsored missions to the former Yugoslavia to
13 collect forensic evidence to be used in proceedings before this
15 A. Yes, sir.
16 Q. Doctor, have you held approximately six university appointments
17 throughout your career?
18 A. Yes, sir.
19 Q. Have you been involved with approximately 12 consultantships?
20 A. Yes, sir.
21 Q. Are you a member of 10 professional organisations?
22 A. Yes, sir.
23 Q. Have you been awarded and honoured on at least 24 occasions for the
24 work that you have been carrying out?
25 A. Yes, sir.
1 Q. Have you organised and participated and directed in at least nine
2 courses in relation to forensic science and the work in which you are
4 A. Yes, sir.
5 Q. Have you published or participated in the publication of in excess
6 of 90 publications, be it articles through to books, and so forth?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Dr. Snow, were you requested during the year 1992 to participate in
9 the exhumation of suspected mass graves in the Vukovar area of the
10 former Yugoslavia?
11 A. Yes, sir, I was a member of the Mazowiecki Commission which went to
12 Yugoslavia with, and one aspect of that Commission's mandate was to
13 investigate allegations of mass graves and other atrocities that had
14 occurred in former Yugoslavia. One of those cases happened to be the
15 disappearance of the roughly 250 or so people from the hospital in
16 Vukovar, hospital patients and staff, in November of 1991.
17 Q. Could you tell the Tribunal what you did, in particular, with
18 respect to this mass grave site?
19 A. Yes, Mr. Prosecutor, may I refer to my notes?
20 Q. By all means, with your Honours' leave, I am sorry?
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Yes, of course.
22 THE WITNESS: Now, if you like, Mr. Prosecutor, I could more or less
23 describe out my activities with the Mazowiecki Commission and later
24 investigations more or less chronologically?
25 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, if you would, please, go through. I think in the
1 course of the explanation you will give in relation to what you
2 observed and did at Vukovar, you will throughout giving testimony
3 wish to refer to a number of slides; is that correct?
4 A. Yes, sir.
5 Q. Those slides that you will refer to will roughly follow a
6 chronological approach to the presentation of your evidence?
7 A. Yes, sir.
8 Q. I think, in addition to that, there is also a map that you might
9 refer us to in relation to that?
10 A. Yes, sir.
11 Q. During the course of the giving of your evidence, if you would just
12 indicate to us in advance when it is that you wish to refer to them,
13 then arrangements can be made for it to be displayed on the overhead
15 A. Well, I believe that if we could bring this unit around ... The
16 Mazowiecki Commission, we arrived in Zagreb on October 12th 1992. On
17 October 14th I had a conference with Dr. Ivica Kostovic, who at that
18 time was the Dean of the Medical Faculty and also the head of a joint
19 commission that had been established to locate missing persons and
20 repatriate the remains of people who had been killed during the
22 Meeting with him at the Faculty of Medicine that morning,
23 we reviewed several cases, but one that he described to me that
24 struck me as being particularly interesting and worth pursuing was
25 the incident involving the disappearance of the patients and the
1 medical staff from the hospital in Vukovar in, I believe it was,
2 November 20th 1991.
3 In our conversation he provided me first with a map of
4 the general area, which I will refer to here a little later, and he
5 also mentioned a witness which I believe you referred to in these
6 proceedings as "Witness B".
7 Q. Yes.
8 A. He told me that Witness B had some detailed information about the
9 disappearances at Vukovar. I asked if I might meet with the witness
10 and, through intermediaries, he was able to contact Witness B and we
11 made arrangements for him to, for me to interview him.
12 Witness B arrived at my room, room 1405, at approximately
13 6 p.m. on the evening of October 15th. I was -- in the room, my room
14 at that time, with Dr. Jack Geiger, Miss Lindsay Cook, both of him
15 were also members of the Mazowiecki Commission and a translator who
16 took notes, translated and transcribed my interview, Mr. Thomas
18 Prior to that time I had been provided with a statement
19 that Witness B had given to Dr. Kostovic's Commission in August of
20 1992. I had gone over that. So, in my interview I wanted to take
21 him through his experience there as he described it in as much detail
22 as I could, and to see if his story was, you know, always consistent
23 with what he had already given.
24 Once we introduced ourselves and made ourselves
25 comfortable, I asked him to simply start out and describe his whole
1 experience. Then later I would come back and ask him more detailed
2 questions. He did. He described his going to the hospital that
3 morning, being loaded on to buses, taken first to the JNA barracks
4 close to Vukovar there. I will not go into details because I believe
5 he has already testified to this.
6 Q. Yes.
7 A. Then later into a hangar situated near Ovcara where they spent
8 several hours being brutalised by, apparently, military and
9 paramilitary Serbian people who had taken them there. Then around 6
10 p.m., somewhere after dark -- he was not sure about the time -- they
11 started breaking the men up in the barracks into groups of around 20
12 and a truck would come and they would load these groups, 20, roughly
13 20 men at a time, on to the trucks, on to the truck, and the truck
14 would disappear and it would come back about, he estimated, 10 to 15
15 minutes later, empty and they would take another group of 20 or so
17 He noted to me that it was always the same truck, and so
18 he figured that the round trip was in the neighbourhood of, to
19 wherever they were taking these prisoners, was within a 15 minute
20 round trip or so. So it could not be too far from the farm there at
21 Ovcara. When it came to his turn in the group he was in and, as I
22 recall, he could not be sure whether he was in the third or the
23 fourth truck load, but he boarded the truck, he said that it went --
24 it took the road toward, from Ovcara down to another village or farm
25 called Grabovo, and then after a few minutes though, it turned off
1 this paved road to the left and entered a farm road or just a dirt
2 track, that was skirted on one side he could see timber trees and on
3 his right as the truck was proceeding and on the left open fields.
4 He became very apprehensive and he managed, he decided
5 that he would try to escape and he jumped out of the truck while it
6 was in motion after it had entered a field for a distance of roughly
7 200 to 300 metres, he estimated. When he jumped from the truck it
8 was dark, although there was a moon out, conditions were dry and he
9 started running. He did not -- he thought about running into the
10 woods on his right, but he decided to run across the open field
11 towards Vukovar.
12 As he was running, he could hear the truck continue on.
13 It continued for a short distance and then he heard, as I recall -- I
14 would have to look at his statement detail -- he heard the truck stop
15 and then he heard a few shots. He continued running into Vukovar
16 where later he was taken prisoner by JNA forces and repatriated after
17 a few months in prison. So that was his experience.
18 Now, I was trying to evaluate the witness. I am not a
19 professional interrogator, but I was trying to get a sense of how
20 reliable he was. First, he struck me as a pretty straightforward
21 young man, who was telling a straightforward story, and I was struck
22 by the fact that, like in other cases where I have been involved,
23 witnesses sometimes either through faulty memory or they exaggerate a
24 little bit, they make things a little more lurid then they actually
25 are, and such details as, for example, when he jumped from the truck
1 and when he heard those shots, I asked him: "You know, well, was
2 that enough? Did you hear enough gunfire to account for the execution
3 of whole truck load of men?" And he said: "No", he said, "you know,
4 there was only five or six shots", and his theory was that maybe one
5 other passenger had tried to jump out of the truck after he did, and
6 at this time they noticed it and they were firing to, perhaps, bring
7 him down. But he did not, you know, I would have been a little more
8 suspicious if he had told me that he had heard lots of gunfire and
9 lots of, you know, screaming and things of that sort. He said, no,
10 he just kept running and that was all he heard. His story ended
12 Now, can we set this -----
13 Q. Would you like to refer to a document now?
14 A. Yes, sir. I have the map here, the original map that was given to
15 me by Dr. Kostovic.
16 Q. Yes, we have now made a hard copy of that map. If we use that copy,
17 we can then tender it and that will become exhibit 28, if your
18 Honours please? You might just -----
19 A. You do not mind if I turn away here?
20 Q. No, you should be able to be heard. You might just orientate
21 everything on the map for us, if you would, please?
22 A. All right. This map -- that is fine right there -- this is the farm
23 at Ovcara. Now this map is dated 1973. It is a topographical survey
24 that was done by the Yugoslavian authorities. I am not sure whether
25 it shows the building that -- it may not have been built in 1973 --
1 the men were taken to first, but it would be along this road right
2 about where my finger is, here. The road that the Witness B said
3 that they left in the truck passes down here toward this village of
5 He and I looked at this map over there in the room in
6 Zagreb. He is an engineer. He was an officer in the Croatian forces
7 and before that, the JNA reserve. So, he is familiar with
8 topographical maps. We were looking at it and, from the time and
9 distances he described, the only place it would physically correspond
10 to his description of being a short distance from Ovcara, turning off
11 to the left into a field bounded on the right by woods, on the left
12 by open fields, would be this ravine which cuts across this road
13 almost exactly one kilometre from Ovcara.
14 Q. The ravine is shown as the darker green area?
15 A. That is the green area running up this way.
16 Q. The woods followed somewhere along that route as well; is that
18 A. Yes, the ravine itself is wooded heavy and the road paralleled that
19 ravine, not in the woods but at the edge of the woods and at the edge
20 of the field on one side and the woods on the other. He felt like he
21 made his jump, as I said, 200 to 300 metres into the field. He and I
22 looked at the map and I had -- this road, no, it goes nowhere, it
23 ends along in here. There is no other facility or any structures in
24 that field, so it is an empty field. Based on my experiences being
25 raised in Texas and Oklahoma, ranchers and farmers, if we have a
1 ravine like this on your place, you would figure that the head of the
2 ravine ----
3 Q. Perhaps you might point to it on the screen?
4 A. Yes, the head of the ravine, we always considered those kind of
5 waste areas. So I talked to Witness B and we, kind of, agreed that
6 if there were a mass grave, they probably would not be putting it out
7 in the field that would be used ordinarily for agricultural purposes;
8 they would probably place it somewhere close to the head of that
9 ravine which, as I indicated, at least where I come from, that is
10 considered a kind of waste land. In fact, very often farmers and
11 ranchers will use the head because a ravine like this is apt to cause
12 a lot of erosion of soil. They usually will throw crash, debris,
13 things of that sort, in there to help to control the erosion.
14 But, at any rate, I said, and Witness B and I agreed,
15 that probably if there was a mass grave, if the executions had
16 occurred in this area, it would be rather close to the head of this
17 ravine. I happen to put a little point on the map there. I drew a
18 wider circle saying, "Well, yes, surely, it would be, most likely be,
19 in this area".
20 Q. Doctor, you did this before you visited the scene? You drew the
21 circle and put the dot there before you visited the scene and during
22 the course of your conversation with Witness B?
23 A. Yes, sir. It was the evening of October 15th in Zagreb.
24 Q. At that stage you had not visited the scene at all?
25 A. No.
1 Q. The circle that you see there is the original circle that you put on
2 the map during the course of that conversation?
3 A. Yes, sir.
4 Q. Thank you. If you would proceed?
5 A. So armed with this map, and at the request of the people or the head
6 of the Mazowiecki Commission, I went to Vukovar arriving there
7 through Belgrade. I flew to Belgrade and then surface transportation
8 from Belgrade to Vukovar; arrived there in the evening or early
9 afternoon of October 17th. There I met a Royal Canadian mounted
10 Police sergeant who was with the CIVPOL unit there in Vukovar, whose
11 name was staff sergeant Larry Moore.
12 I showed him this map. He was quite familiar with the
13 area. By that time I believe he had been based there in Vukovar for
14 several months. So the next morning we proceeded out to this area
15 and, because of road conditions, we parked our vehicles right at the
16 intersection or close to the bridge where this ravine crosses the
17 Ovcara Gravobo road. We were accompanied by Colonel Peters, then
18 Colonel now General Peters, of the Belgian battalion there in Sector
19 East, by Ms. Vlandina Nega who was a UN civil affairs officer, and
20 one of Colonel Peters' officers or staff members.
21 We left our translators in the car but we walked on up
22 the ravine more or less following the road here on the left side of
23 the ravine. Sergeant Moore was ahead of us. He was walking faster.
24 I told him that what you would look for in the way of a mass grave
25 like this would be some kind of disturbance of the vegetation, maybe
1 a new, you know, a new generation of vegetation coming in, we see or
2 just open space or -- so he knew what to look for. He walking faster
3 got, as I recall, a couple of hundred metres ahead of Ms. Vlandina
4 Nega and I. Once he got up to this point, I heard him, I saw him
5 motioning and calling out. He had found something rather suspicious.
6 So we hurried up there and now I would like to show some slides.
7 Q. I will tender that map, if your Honours please.
8 A. I would like to keep that map handy though because I may be wanting
10 Q. Perhaps I will tender it at the end of the evidence.
11 A. Thank you.
12 Q. Perhaps the lights might be dimmed, if your Honours please, so that
13 it might make it a bit more obvious. Could the lights be dimmed a
14 little, please?
15 A. When I caught up with Sergeant Moore he was standing at the edge of
16 this open area that he had found right at the head of the ravine.
17 You can see it is surrounded by a low growth of weeds that were only
18 about a year old compared to older bushes and shrubs and small
19 saplings a little beyond this area. In fact, the centre of the area
20 had very little vegetation on it at all.
21 Q. Who is this standing in the photograph there?
22 A. That is Sergeant Moore. This is also, perhaps, a better photograph
23 showing what I was talking about. In this area here you can see a
24 low growth of weeds about waist high, smaller weeds ---
25 Q. Can you point on the slide?
1 A. -- plants in this area, but a largely open area. It is a spot that,
2 an archeologist would refer to it as a non-functional aspect of the
3 landscape. It is something that should not be there, you know, it is
4 not natural. So this is the kind of thing that arouses our suspicion
5 and we see them in cases of this sort.
6 Now, Sergeant Moore and Colonel Peters and Miss Nega and
7 I proceeded into the area. Sergeant Moore insisted on leading the
8 way in because he was a little concerned with mines, so he walked in
9 through the area and then we followed. Now, in that initial
10 inspection line right there close to the surface was a human skull at
11 one end of that cleared area which I will later refer to, will refer
12 to as skeleton No. 1. It was just incompletely buried.
13 Here is a close-up. Here you can see the orbits or
14 eyehole of the skull itself or the cranial vault. Down here is the
15 jaw, a portion of the tooth there. This is a photograph of the skull
16 as it was more or less exposed in the mud there. I was able to, just
17 based on this initial inspection, I could tell that it was probably,
18 it was a male because of the heavy brow ridges, probably an adult --
19 well, an adult male, probably a little on the younger side and, most
20 interestingly, over here on the left, in the left temple area, there
21 is a defect or a hole and it is bevelled in such a direction that I
22 can determine that it was an exit wound, that a missile had passed
23 through this skull, exited along this side.
24 Q. Is that missile consistent with a bullet from a -----
25 A. It certainly is. It is typical. Later on, as we walked through the
1 area walking beyond the grave site, I was able to find another
2 skeleton about 17 metres from the edge of the grave. It was simply
3 lying as it was, whereas this one was partially, still partially
4 buried, this one was lying on the surface and bones had been
5 scattered. It look liked they had been bleached by sun, they were
6 very white, and they showed some marks that animal scavengers had
7 inflicted on them, had damaged them, and there was some clothing.
8 Again this was the skeleton of a young male ---
9 Q. Do you have a photograph of that one?
10 A. -- or an adult male. I will have one here a little later that will
11 show some aspects of that. There was some clothing around. My
12 impression was that this individual had not been in this particular
13 mass grave. He may have been executed close to it or he could have
14 been shot, fallen into the grave and then maybe just wounded and had
15 tried to work his way out and crawled behind the area away from the
16 grave and died there. But, anyway, that was a second skeleton that we
17 observed on the site.
18 Now, at this time as we had walked up the ravine to get
19 to this site, there were some men in a -- with a vehicle, wagon and a
20 tractor, as I recall, parked along the wooded area and we could hear
21 -- I do not ever recall seeing the men, but we could hear voices in
22 there and we heard saws, like they were probably cutting wood. But,
23 after talking briefly with, conferring with, Sergeant Moore and
24 Colonel Peters, we decided that if we showed undue attention to this
25 site at that time, that if these people were -- I mean, obviously,
1 they would have been Serbian, probably residents of the farm at
2 Ovcara, the word would get out very rapidly that we had found the
4 So we decided to cut our visit short. We were not there
5 more than, perhaps, 15 minutes on the site. Then we walked back
6 down, got to our vehicles and our concern was that if, for example,
7 word had leaked out and the site was not secured, that it would be
8 very easy, say that night, to come in there, people who would like to
9 destroy that grave, to come in and remove the bodies en masse and
10 perhaps move them to another area or throw them in the Danube, which
11 is no more than, I believe, a mile or so from where this grave is
13 So, we were -- in fact, at the scene, I should mention
14 that I was so concerned about this and so was Mr. or Sergeant Moore
15 that around this first skeleton I cleared away some of the bones and
16 exposed the left scapula and we photographed it. We marked it and we
17 photographed it in situ where it was lying.
18 Q. Perhaps you might tell us what a scapula is?
19 A. A scapula is a shoulder blade, the bone back here in the shoulder;
20 in Spanish, homoplato. We took that and I gave it to Sergeant Moore
21 and I told him, you know, to keep custody of this so in case we did
22 come back out and the bodies were gone, that we would at least could
23 say that there were human remains at that site when we first examined
24 it. He took that and put it in, it remained in his custody until I
25 returned to the site in December, the following December.
1 But, at that point we returned back to the UNPROFOR
2 Headquarters at Erdut conferring again with Colonel Peters, and the
3 area happened to fall in the jurisdiction of the Russian battalion.
4 So with the RUSBAT Commander, we talked with him and we insisted or
5 pointed out that it was absolutely necessary that this site be
6 secured as soon as possible and that it be maintained as any other
7 homicide scene. We had evidence of human bodies, some hint of a mass
8 grave and evidence that these people had died of gun shot wounds, so
9 it was a homicide scene.
10 So the RUSBAT Commander made arrangements for a section
11 of Russian troops to go out there and secure the site, the scene.
12 Meanwhile, since that would take a few hours, Sergeant Moore sent a
13 vehicle out with a couple of his own CIVPOL, civilian police, people
14 on his staff, to stay there until they were relieved by the Russians.
15 This was on October 18th.
16 As it turned out, the Russians, there were some confusion
17 as to where the site was located and the Russian group did not arrive
18 there until around 11 p.m. that night. At that time, as I understand
19 it, the CIVPOL policemen left and the Russians took over and secured
20 the scene.
21 There was one other minor problem in that the next
22 morning when we returned to the scene around 10 o'clock, the Russians
23 were gone. They had stayed there. We found out that they had stayed
24 there that night, but it was their understanding that this was just a
25 one-night affair, so they had decamped the next morning. We had to
1 go back and explain to them that we wanted that perimeter established
2 with people out there from that moment on, no matter how long it
3 took. So, they did return and it is my understanding that that scene
4 is still maintained by or secured by Russian troops or Russian
6 So at that point, on October 20th, I returned to Zagreb.
7 On October 22nd the Mazowiecki Commission met again. We gave a very
8 brief press conference there in Zagreb and mentioned the fact that
9 we had found evidence of a mass grave at the place called, near
10 Ovcara. Later on, on October 27th, a report was issued with a
11 lengthier statement from the Mazowiecki Commission issued in Geneva,
12 and there is a lengthier statement by myself in, what they call it,
13 Annex 2 of that document.
14 On December 17th, I returned with some colleagues of
15 mine, Mr. Eric Stover of Physicians for Human Rights, Dr. Rebecca
16 Sanders, who is an archeologist now with the State of Louisiana, and
17 Dr. Morris Tidball-Binz, who is currently with Amnesty International.
18 We wanted at that point to do what we would call a reconnaissance of
19 the site; not a complete exhumation, but just to explore the general
20 parameters of the site to establish, you know, what we had out there
21 so that we could make plans for, perhaps, further and more detailed
22 investigation later on.
23 So our objectives of that mission was, first, to map the
24 surface features, to examine the features and the surface, for
25 example, as I will point out here a little later on, spent cartridges
1 and other things that would tell us that, perhaps, there had been a
2 mass execution at the site. We also wanted to cut a trench, kind of
3 an exploratory trench, across the site to make sure -- we had these
4 two bodies more or less on the surface, but were there, indeed, more
5 bodies below? Did we have, indeed, a mass grave?
6 Then we also wanted to see whether there was any evidence
7 of disturbance of the site after -- archeologists are pretty good at
8 this, of being able to read the earth -- and had there been any
9 evidence of disturbance of the site from the time the burial was
10 first made, had somebody gone out there and tried to move bodies and
11 things of that sort? Then, finally, to do an examination of the two
12 skeletons that were on the surface.
13 On that mission, I was able to take a short helicopter
14 ride from Vukovar over to circle the site, and this is a view of the
15 scene. The burial or the area we are looking at, exploring or going
16 to explore, is right over in here, up, it is a little hazy but you
17 can see a perimeter of barbed wire rolled, curled wire, around the
18 site which the Russians had placed to keep people out and a sort of a
19 guard shack here that the Russian troops stayed in. They also had
20 sentries posted within a few hundred metres along some of these roads
21 and on further down in the ravine area. So the site had been,
22 apparently, well secured by the Russians.
23 Q. Just before you take that off there, Dr. Snow, the trees that you
24 can just protruding into what is my right-hand side of the screen,
25 that is the wooded area that you see?
1 A. Yes, right from here on down it is woods, and the further down the
2 ravine you go, the larger the trees. There are some very sizeable
3 trees down there as you go on down toward the main road.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 A. This slide just shows the perimeter here as we arrived. This is Dr.
6 Sanders, Dr. Morris Tidball-Binz and myself.
7 Q. Doctor, if you point on that, I am afraid it will not show up?
8 A. I have to point out, you know, I am from Oklahoma we are kind of
9 undeveloped. We are not used to all this sophisticated technology
10 that you people seem to have here, but this is Dr. Sanders, this is
11 Dr. Morris Tidball-Binz, this is myself and another RCMP person who
12 was -- by that time Larry had been rotated home and this gentleman,
13 also a sergeant, had taken over and, unfortunately, I do not recall
14 his name but I can find it for you. But this is the way the site
15 looked as we arrived.
16 This is just another shot of the Russian guard shack out
17 there and one of their vehicles that they used to transport
18 themselves back and forth. Now at this time -- this was in December,
19 mid December -- there had been quite a bit of rain, so the site was
20 essentially about the same except a lot of water had accumulated in
21 there. Since we only had a few days, we had a little engineering
22 problem. We had to develop or dig a drainage ditch to get this
23 surface water out and let it dry out a little bit before we could do
24 much in the way of digging around there.
25 But at that point, though, I did take a walk around into
1 the site to see if there had been any evidence of disturbance or
2 intrusion since I had been there the previous October. I did not
3 find anything except the skull, the skeleton No. 1. Apparently, it
4 had been moved a little bit, and I was curious about that, and I
5 found out later that a British medical officer stationed at Vukovar
6 with the medical detachment there on October 19th, I believe it was,
7 or it could have been October 18th, in the afternoon, had heard about
8 our discovery and had taken it on himself to go out and examine these
9 human remains and, apparently, he picked up the skull and moved it
10 around a little bit, otherwise throughout the area I could see no
11 sign of any disturbance or any intrusion.
12 I did find a vodka bottle -- it looked fairly fresh --
13 that had been tossed over the wire, I assume by, perhaps, Russian
14 sentries. So at that point we began staking out the site, as we
15 would any other kind of archeological dig. Here you see Dr. Morris
16 Tidball-Binz putting in the stakes and the string. So, with stakes
17 and string, we worked out the area that we felt encompassed the grave
18 a little margin of a metre or so on either side.
19 Q. Just leaving that there for a moment, how did you determine that,
20 doctor? How was it determined that that would be the approximate
22 A. First, you see this sort of open or bald area in here? Now, by this
23 time, by the way, we have cut down the weeds surrounding here with
24 some machetes, so that we would have working space. We had cleared
25 the weeds, the plants around this. One of the features we are
1 talking about a little later on was that, for example, the width of
2 the grave we established at around approximately seven metres from
3 here over to here, and around 10 metres in this direction. Skeleton
4 No. 1, incidentally, is right up in this area, the person that was on
5 the surface there, and skeleton No. 2 away from the main grave, if
6 you went down in this direction and went into these woods here, there
7 is a little trail, and he is about 17 metres lying there, about 17
8 metres from this corner of the grave.
9 The way we established the approximate width of the
10 grave, for example, is when fill dirt of this sort, you take the dirt
11 out and eventually you put, in this case, bodies but also dirt back
12 in. The dirt that you use for the fill has a different consistency
13 in the structure that is different from the undisturbed soil. With
14 rain and weathering, the grave begins to subside and you will see
15 like fracture lines along the margins of the grave which
16 differentiates the area of undisturbed soil from the area of fill.
17 So, using those fracture lines, we could get at least
18 approximate, pretty close estimates of the original width and length
19 of the grave. Actually, where I said roughly 10 metres for this
20 length in this direction, it is probably a little less accurate than
21 the width, because here it was a little more ambivalent, the soil, so
22 we felt like that, perhaps, the edge of the grave could even come in
23 beyond a string here a little bit, or cord, or even perhaps on the
24 other side of it, but roughly we are talking about an area of
25 disturbed earth seven by 10 metres.
1 Now, as indicated -- let me get you orientated here --
2 out in this direction, you can just barely see where this man is
3 standing, just beyond him, is the Russian guard shack, the structure.
4 Here is the perimeter. We decided to run our test trench which we
5 made one metre wide across the width of the grave, and here you see
6 some actually UNPROFOR Luxembourg troops -- I think they were
7 attached to BELBAT, but they were a mine clearing group -- and they
8 came out to help us detect metal, we were obviously kind of
9 interested in mines, but also booby traps, but later on even spent
10 cartridges and things of that sort that might suggest that some
11 shooting had gone on out of this site. So, once we set up the
12 perimeter, the trench, they went over it with their equipment.
13 The next stage was removing, beginning to explore the
14 trench here. We, actually some of the Russian troops, sentries, had
15 volunteered to do some of the heavy digging, removing the surface
16 earth. They did a very good job and they were very anxious to work
17 with us. I think by this time they were beginning to get a little
18 bored. They had been out there for a couple of months and maybe a
19 career in archeology was beginning to look more attractive than a
20 military career. But, at any rate, they set to with great
22 We had them remove the first 10 or 15 centimetres from
23 the top which they could do very rapidly. Once we got down to that
24 depth, though, we slowed down because we began to feel like we were
25 going to be running into evidence of human bodies and, sure enough,
1 we did. For example, here is the boundary, one boundary of the
2 trench, and the other one is not shown in this slide, but here is a
3 human arm -- you can see a sleeve, clothing -- and the hand here
4 lying across this trench.
5 We did not want to expose these people, we knew --
6 indeed, it was a mass grave -- that we would be encountering human
7 bodies, but at this time we did not want to disturb them any more
8 than we had to because we would, later on we would return and, with a
9 larger crew and better equipment, do a complete exhumation of these
10 bodies. So we would leave them undisturbed.
11 What we did is we worked along this trench. Whenever we
12 came to a body, usually, or a portion of a body, we would go down
13 that far, expose it enough to see what it was, and then we would not
14 under-cut below the body. So, along this trench, however, we found
15 evidence of nine people whose bodies were intersecting and were
16 exposed in that trench. This would be the top layer of bodies in
17 this roughly seven metre long trench. So we felt that that was
18 sufficient evidence at that point to establish that we had a mass
19 grave, and it was not just limited to the two skeletons that we had
20 observed on the surface.
21 In fact, this light probably makes it a little clearer.
22 Here is the trench and you can see at various levels it is kind of
23 stepped, because up in this area a body was very close to the
24 surface, so we worked around him. Then we went down here and we had
25 to go several more centimetres before we found evidence of another
1 body because these are not all in one level. But, in this stretch
2 of trench one metre wide and roughly seven metres long, we could see
3 that there were at least nine bodies exposed.
4 Q. Were the bodies, from your examination of them, all male?
5 A. The clothing and the boots, I would have to indicate -- you see, we
6 did not, at this point we were not able to identify or to examine
7 these bodies in detail as we would, but the clothing and the boots
8 suggested, indeed, they were males. We did not see any female
9 clothing. We did not see anything that we would think might belong
10 to children.
11 This is just a rough sketch map of the area, and up in
12 this circular area here is the individual I referred to as skeleton
13 No. 1. The surface skeleton No. 2 will not be shown on this map; he
14 would be back up in this direction out in the sort of wooded area
15 there. Here are the evidence of the margins of, we felt like a
16 bulldozer had been brought in here, well, to dig the grave, and also
17 later on a bulldozer was used to cover up the grave. Now, those
18 marks are a little different than these fracture lines. Here you see
19 the fracture lines I was telling about, where the soil subsided that
20 give us an approximation of the original excavation. Here is our
21 trench going across here and here are indications of some of the
22 bodies that we encountered as we dug that trench.
23 I might point out that our archeologist, looking at the
24 soil and the area of disturbance around skeleton No. 1, it was her
25 opinion that he was, perhaps, originally in the grave but pretty
1 close to the surface so that when they closed the grave with the back
2 fill, his body had been, kind of, picked up by the grave and shoved
3 over into this end of the grave in the fill dirt, that perhaps it had
4 been covered sufficiently when the fill was made that no-one noticed
5 that he was very close to the surface and was not completely buried,
6 and that later on weathering and rain had exposed some of the bones
7 to the point where we saw them when we first visited the grave in
8 October 18th.
9 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honours, does your Honours want to take the adjournment
10 now and resume later because it will be a little bit longer?
11 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Yes. With the agreement of my colleagues, I would
12 agree. I would suggest that we can come back in 15 to 20 minutes
13 time. I did not wish to intervene at this point in the testimony
14 from Dr. Snow, but you, of course, know yourself how many questions
15 you have got and how long it is going to take. So, on that basis I
16 think we could take a break and it would also give the opportunity to
17 the doctor to rest for a short time. So the session is adjourned for
18 15 to 20 minutes
19 (11.30 p.m.).
20 (The hearing adjourned for a short time)
21 (12.14 p.m.)
22 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Prosecutor, I would like to say on behalf of my
23 colleagues and myself that we have had an interruption which has
24 caused that we had to use some time for something else. We are sorry
25 about this. We can now recommence, we can resume our hearing with
1 the rest of the testimony from Dr. Snow.
2 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you, your Honour. (To the witness): Dr. Snow, could
3 you continue, please, with your evidence in relation to the
4 exhumation, the partial exhumation, that you carried on at the site
5 of Vukovar?
6 A. Yes, sir. I believe that when we took the recess here, I had been
7 talking about the exploratory trench ---
8 Q. Trench, yes?
9 A. -- that we had made. In addition to that, as I indicated, one of
10 our other objectives was to explore surface features to see if we
11 found any evidence that an execution had occurred or, at least, some
12 shooting had occurred. As it turned out, there was abundant evidence
13 of that around the edges of the grave, in particular, and we found,
14 first, spent cartridges, cartridges without any casings, without any
15 bullets. We even found a few that had not been fired, that
16 apparently had simply dropped.
17 This shows a view of the grave area that we had marked
18 out where a trench was over in this area here, but around the edges
19 of the grave we have -- these little flags show where each
20 approximately we were able to find around 75 spent cartridges still
21 lying on the surface. Now, we did not do any digging or screening so
22 that probably there were many, many more in this vegetation, but
23 these were the ones that we were able to find that were more or less
24 obvious. So we would put a flag to mark them so that we could study
25 the distribution.
1 It was our impression, based on the distribution of these
2 cartridges around the margin of the grave, that perhaps the shooters,
3 the people who were firing, were standing over in this area here,
4 because these cartridges, they were 762 calibre and what I would call
5 AK47, I believe. They will eject to the right and, based on other
6 scenes of this sort that I have investigated in El Savaldor and
7 Kurdistan, particularly, they generally travel maybe as far as 15 to
8 20 feet.
9 So it was our impression, perhaps, that the shooters were
10 more or less at this corner of the grave and shooting along the
11 trajectory that we see here. We found further evidence of that when
12 we looked at some of the saplings and trees on the far side of the
13 grave at the opposite corner where actually you can see these two
14 gentlemen are putting a probe through a bullet hole that has passed
15 through that limb. We found a number of those and we found bullets
16 embedded in some of the trees in this area. There was also an old
17 rusted metal vehicle in that area just beyond the grave, and it had
18 some bullets embedded in it. So our impression was that there,
19 indeed, had been a number of shots fired in that area and across the
21 Along with that, as I indicated, I wanted to examine as
22 close as I could or in as much detail as I could under field
23 conditions the two skeletons that were obvious on the surface. First,
24 skeleton 1 that was found up right at the -- the first skeleton we
25 encountered right at the edge of the grave area, and the one I said
1 that we thought that, perhaps, during the back filling operation his
2 body had kind of been picked up and moved to that end of the grave
3 and, as I indicated before in my first examination which took place
4 the previous October, I could tell that this individual was, indeed,
5 a male. He was not -- he was an adult male, but I would have to have
6 said his age was in the neighbourhood of 22 to roughly 28 or 9 years
7 of age, and that we did see evidence of a gun shot wound here in the
8 temple and there were some other holes on the other side of the skull
9 that indicated a through and through gun shot wound.
10 Q. Doctor, were you able to make any assessment of the age of these
11 bodies, having regard to the state of decomposition?
12 A. Well, that always necessarily has to be a pretty broad estimate
13 based on what we could see on the basis of the condition of these two
14 bodies that we could examine in detail and the ones that we saw
15 exposed in the trench, and I felt in my final report I would have to
16 say that probably in the range of, depending on conditions,
17 environmental factors such as climate, rainfall and things of that
18 sort, I would have to say that they had been there at least six
19 months but probably no more than about 18 months, so around a year,
20 plus or minus six months.
21 Now, I continued my examination as well as I could under
22 field conditions and I took some measurements of the bones and made
23 other observations on skeleton 1, so that I could calculate stature
24 and age at death with a certain amount of precision. Actually, I was
25 able also to make a dental chart, he had some dental work.
1 Also, as we examined the clothing that we found around
2 skeleton No. 1 we found around his neck was a, even though it becomes
3 skeletonized, but we could still see that a chain encircled his neck
4 and there were several small objects on that chain. Here is a
5 close-up of what we saw. It is a crucifix here. This, apparently,
6 is a common little gold, little good luck charm, and over here is a
7 medallion, a metal medallion, and translated it says, "God and
8 Croatia". We understood, we were told, that these sorts of medals
9 were often worn by the Croatian military, paramilitary soldiers. The
10 cross is a Roman Catholic ornament, so we felt that was, at least,
11 minimal evidence that this person, based on the effects found with
12 him, was Croatian.
13 Now, turning to the second skeleton, the one that we
14 found away from the site, we found quite a bit of clothing from him
15 and also, despite the fact that some of the bones had been damaged by
16 animals, I was able to take enough measurements to get again an age
17 estimate, stature, a few features like that, that could tell us about
18 this individual, and also a very, even though it was under field
19 conditions, a pretty good dental chart.
20 For example, here are the bones of his pelvis, the hip
21 bones and the sacrum, part of the lower part of the spine, that I was
22 able -- they were disarticulated but able more or less to fit them
23 together, and the configuration of this pelvis is definitely male and
24 there were also some morphological features on the pubic bones, which
25 are the front part of the hip bones here, that gave us a pretty
1 reliable age indicator so I could come up with an age estimate of
2 this individual; also in his 20s.
3 Also some of his clothing -- this is one garment that
4 says, "Canadian", and I can no longer recall exactly what, but there
5 was English here, and there was at least one other garment that
6 suggested that they came from Canada. Now, later on I was told that
7 during the siege of Vukovar a Canadian relief organisation, maybe an
8 organisation of Canadian Croatians, had taken up collections of old
9 clothing to send to the people of Vukovar, and that this clothing was
10 primarily distributed to patients in the hospital. So I thought that
11 these garments that suggested a Canadian connection at least
12 suggested that, perhaps, we were dealing with a person who had
13 obtained clothing donated by Canadians there at Vukovar Hospital.
14 Finally, in a pocket of one of his garments we found this
15 little medallion, either St. Joseph, I believe, and again a Roman
16 Catholic piece of religious art that might be kept by a person; also
17 suggesting, therefore, that the victim was Catholic, Roman Catholic,
18 as opposed to Serb.
19 Finally, on the third day of our work, we went ahead and
20 we took the two skeletons that were -- the surface skeletons, and
21 after my examination we bagged them separately and as we closed this
22 trench we put them here right at the end of the trench with their
23 labels, so that when and if eventually the grave is completely
24 excavated, we will be able to return and identify those two
25 skeletons. We will know that they will be the ones in the plastic
1 bags at the end of this trench so they can be removed for further
2 examination. We closed up the trench and left the site more or less
3 in the condition as you see it here.
4 Q. Dr. Snow, as far as you know, has any further exhumation work been
5 carried out on this grave since the time you were there?
6 A. Not at this point. Later on in March of, it would have been '93, I
7 returned with Mr. Eric Stover and Commander Fenrick who at that time
8 was part of the commission of experts, and we went out to the site
9 and looked at it from the perimeter. We did not go into the grave
10 area. In fact, it gave me some confidence in that the Russians, the
11 guards were doing their job because they would not allow either
12 myself or Major or Commander Fenrick or any of our party to go in
13 beyond the wire. So, we left at that time, after I was able to point
14 out most of the features to Commander Fenrick and his assistant.
15 Then, as you may be aware, later that year, in fact in November of
16 that year, we mounted I guess what I would call an expedition,
17 including several archeologists from the United States, my colleague
18 Dr. Bill Hagland, and several multinational team -- I had people I
19 had worked with and helped trained in Argentina and Guatemala and
20 Chile joining us -- and it was our intention and we thought
21 arrangements had been made to go out and actually do a thorough
22 exhumation at the site. In fact, we were -- the team was deployed at
23 the site ready to begin work when the Serb local authorities
24 indicated that they would not permit any further investigation of
25 the site at Ovcara.
1 Q. Did you know which particular branch of the Serb administration
2 obstructed your further exhumation work out there?
3 A. I got the impression, I had stayed back over Pakrac -- we were
4 looking at another grave there -- but I believe it was, if I am not
5 mistaken, it may have been the Vukovar City Council or the local
6 people in the Vukovar area, whatever the governmental administration.
7 It had been my understanding that the people up in Knin, at the seat
8 of the government, had given clearance for this exhumation, but that
9 the local people overrode that decision. So our team had to redeploy
10 to another site.
11 So, to that point I do not believe there has been any
12 other disturbance or any investigation at Vukovar. So the scene
13 should be just about as it was left in December, on December 19th,
14 around 11 o'clock in the morning as I showed in that last slide.
15 Q. Doctor, I think you may have said this but, just for the sake of
16 clarification, when you arrived at the scene either on the first
17 occasion in October '92 or the later occasion in December '92, were
18 you able to make any assessment of whether or not, in your opinion,
19 the grave had been disturbed from the time of the execution and
21 A. No, we saw no evidence of that and on the second trip our
22 archeologist, Dr. Rebecca Saunders, looked at that very carefully
23 from that standpoint, to see whether there was any evidence of any
24 secondary disturbance like someone could have come in a few months
25 later, a few weeks later, and had done some work or disturbed the
1 site, and there was nothing that would indicate that. So, it was our
2 opinion that whenever that grave was made there was no, which based
3 on the vegetation, we felt like it was about a year prior to the
4 discovery of the site, that there was no major disturbance --
5 intrusion or .....
6 Q. Doctor, based on your previous experiences in these matters and
7 having regard to the dimensions of the grave that you were able to
8 map out when you were on the site, are you able to make any estimate
9 of its capacity in terms of how many people could be fitted into the
11 A. Well, as a rough indicator based on what we know -- the volume of
12 the human body, the space that it occupies, even with clothing and
13 shoes, footwear, things of that sort, it is rather easy to get as
14 many as five, easily five, bodies into a cubic metre of space. That
15 always seems remarkable to people, but there would be room left over.
16 Based on the dimensions of this grave, we are talking
17 about roughly, as I said before, around seven to 10 metres, which is
18 not a very big space, Hamlet's wound -- it is not as wide as a barn
19 and deep as a well but it is sufficient -- and in that seven by 10
20 metre space, assuming that we have a depth of at least a metre, it is
21 a matter of simple arithmetic, seven times 10 would be roughly 70,
22 and multiply that by five to get the vertical dimension, so we could
23 get 350 bodies in that grave -- at least. At this point, though,
24 all we can say is that we saw evidence of nine bodies, the two on the
25 surface -- excuse me, eleven bodies; the two on the surface and the
1 nine that were exposed in our trenching effort.
2 Q. Doctor, I would ask now that we tender the map that you first
3 referred to, exhibit 28, Prosecution exhibit 28. Doctor, I
4 understand that the slides that you have just taken us through are
5 the only copies in existence of those slides, but you have agreed
6 that they will be made available for us for the purposes of copying
7 so that they may subsequently be tendered as an exhibit?
8 A. Yes, Mr. Prosecutor.
9 MR. NIEMANN: I have no further questions of the witness, your Honour.
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Judge Odio Benito, Judge Riad? Doctor, could I ask
11 you an additional question? How would you -- the Prosecutor might
12 have something to say about my question as well -- explain this
13 relative degree of negligence on the part of local authorities
14 regarding this site? About a year or 18 months went by and nobody
15 did anything about this location. You have some experience in the
16 former Yugoslavia and, on that basis, will you conclude that that
17 negligence was characteristic of other sites in that country?
18 A. Well, I would have to say so because, as I understand it, no, I have
19 not been down to the other graves that are being located in Bosnia,
20 but the reports that I read that very often at these graves human
21 remains are visible on the surface. But this kind of I guess you
22 would say negligence, you know, is not particularly confined to
23 Yugoslavia, because I have seen in other countries where people have
24 not been too careful in covering up clandestine graves. Maybe, I do
25 not know, perhaps, you know, they feel like: "Well, we do not have
1 to worry about it because we are going to be in control here for ever
2 and there is not going to be anybody around to look at it", but
3 sometimes they are wanting in the dismal technology of trying to bury
5 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I would like now to ask the prosecuting counsel:
6 within the context of this present indictment, have your
7 investigators, physically speaking, visited this particular location
8 where this mass grave is?
9 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, some representatives of the office have been to the
10 grave site, your Honour. The grave site is not readily accessible, I
11 should say. It is at the moment under the control of UNTAES but it
12 is still, if I say so ---
13 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Under whose control? Would you please explain
15 MR. NIEMANN: -- (inaudible) control but actually it is still Serb held
16 territory, so access to it is not terribly easy. Hence, the reason
17 why the exhumation could not proceed when it was planned.
18 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you very much counsel for the Prosecution. We
19 have no further questions. Doctor, the Tribunal would like to
20 acknowledge very much your testimony and also it appreciates the
21 discipline and also the calmness and serenity with which you have
22 given your testimony. It is no doubt due to your great experience,
23 as the Prosecutor has said. Quite clearly, we have to keep all the
24 elements which you personally have been able to gather together and
25 make them available to the Prosecution, but the Prosecutor has
1 already talked about that. The Tribunal would like to thank you and
2 wish you a good trip back. Thank you very much. Would you show the
3 witness out?
4 THE WITNESS: Thank you, your Honours.
5 (The witness withdrew).
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Counsel for the Prosecution, the floor is yours.
7 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you, your Honours. That concludes the evidence that
8 we wish to call in these proceedings. At this stage, if your
9 Honours permit, or at some subsequent stage, my colleague, Mr.
10 Williamson, would wish to address you on the evidence that has been
12 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Yes, Prosecutor Williamson.
13 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honours, the indictment that is before you charges
14 three individuals with grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of
15 1949, violations of the Laws or Customs of War and Crimes Against
17 At this point I would like to reaffirm the position set
18 forth by Mr. Niemann at the outset of this hearing, that the
19 Prosecutor maintains that all of these charges are cumulative, but
20 also that this an issue that need not be addressed in a hearing of
21 this nature. Rather, it is an issue that should be resolved at the
22 trial stage and then, as Mr. Niemann suggested, perhaps only at the
23 point that sentences were to be imposed.
24 In regard to the substance of the charges alleged in the
25 indictment, however, you have heard over the past week the testimony
1 of eleven witnesses. You have seen video footage taken largely from
2 Serbian cameras and broadcast on Belgrade television. You have seen
3 Vukovar before the war, an attractive city which had grown up over
4 hundreds of years on the banks of the Danube; a city that had existed
5 for centuries but which was virtually destroyed in just over three
6 months by an army that claimed to be liberating it. This army many
7 employed every weapon in their arsenal: artillery, rockets, aircraft,
8 naval gunboats and over 30,000 troops to defeat a lightly armed
9 Croatian force of around 1800 men.
10 The military victory and destruction of the city were not
11 enough, because it was when this victory was achieved that the true
12 horror began.
13 On 19th November 1991 the JNA had crushed the Croatian
14 resistance in most Vukovar. Fighting still continued in the Mitnica
15 area on the southeast side of the city, but in the centre of the town
16 the fighting had come to an end. As the JNA and their paramilitary
17 allies moved in to occupy the city, civilians began crawling out of
18 the cellars where they had stayed for the last three months. After
19 all that they had survived, apparently many of them were to be shot
20 down as they came out, and many more were killed before they even
21 left the cellars. Fearing just this sort of bloodbath, hundreds of
22 people had taken refuge at the hospital, believing it to be a place
23 of safety.
24 By the afternoon of 19th when the first JNA soldiers
25 arrived at the hospital, there were probably more than a thousand
1 civilians gathered in and around what was left of the hospital
2 building. Many of the soldiers who had fought to defend Vukovar had
3 also come there. Only a few of them were professional soldiers.
4 Most were just men who lived in the city and had taken up arms to
5 defend their homes when the fighting began. Some had come to the
6 hospital during the course of the battle because they had been
7 wounded. Others had gone there in the closing days of the battle
8 having heard that the hospital would be evacuated in the presence of
9 international observers. By all accounts, these men had already put
10 down their arms and no one offered resistance to the JNA soldiers who
11 came to the hospital.
12 Dr. Bosanac and her staff who had continued to work under
13 appalling conditions for three months, grew worried when the
14 international monitors had not arrived. They had in fact arrived.
15 An ECMM team, which included Dr. Jan Schou, was in Negoslavci, only
16 3 kilometres away from Vukovar and the hospital. They had reached
17 the JNA headquarters there and were fully prepared to go on to the
18 hospital that day, but they were blocked by Colonel Mrksic and Major
19 Sljivancanin who would not allow it, saying that it was not safe to
20 go there. That night a Red Cross team did reach the hospital, but
21 Sljivancanin had them thrown out.
22 Finally an agreement was reached that the ECMM and the
23 Red Cross would go in the following morning, the 20th of November.
24 On that day the monitors got up and departed fairly early in the
25 morning, around, 8 or 9. Before they could get to the hospital,
1 though, events there were already unfolding very quickly. Major
2 Sljivancanin had summoned all of the hospital staff to a meeting
3 around 7 in the morning. While he preached to the doctors about how
4 he had liberated Vukovar, his soldiers were hurriedly rounding up all
5 of the fighting age men, which in their eyes included boys as young
6 as 16 and men as old as 76. They forced them out a back door and
7 into the hospital yard. All of these men were unarmed, many were
8 wounded, pulled out of their hospital beds. As this process was
9 ongoing, Dr. Schou and his ECMM team as well the Red Cross
10 representative were approaching the hospital. Before they could get
11 there, though, Major Sljivancanin appears again, this time on the
12 bridge over the Vuka River only a few blocks from the hospital.
13 Claiming that it is not safe for them to proceed, he and his soldiers
14 detained the ECMM and the Red Cross for over two hours. As Belgrade
15 television films away, Sljivancanin screams at the Red Cross
16 representative who dares insist that he live up to an agreement
17 signed by his own army.
18 In this two-hour period, though, the fate of the 260 or
19 so men was being sealed. They had been taken outside the building
20 and searched by the JNA soldiers. They were loaded on to buses
21 parked on Gunduliceva Street and then they were driven to the JNA
22 barracks under guard. By the time the ECMM, the Red Cross and Cyrus
23 Vance got to the hospital, these men and boys were already being
24 driven away, most of them to their deaths.
25 When they arrived at the barracks they found a number of
1 Serb irregulars, or Chetniks as they were called, waiting for them.
2 As the men remained seated on the buses, these Chetniks walked around
3 the buses brandishing their weapons yelling threats at them. Some of
4 them even got on the buses to reinforce the threats, but this was not
5 the place where they were to be carried out.
6 While at the barracks Captain Radic got on each of the
7 buses and read out a list of names. Apparently, the men on the list
8 were either related to hospital staff or were staff members
9 themselves. They were taken off of the buses and put into another
10 vehicle for transport back to the hospital. All of the other men
11 remained on the buses, though, waiting and listening to the threats
12 being shouted at them. After about two hours the buses left again
13 and begin travelling south in the direction of Negoslavci. About a
14 kilometre south of Vukovar the buses turned left on a road through
15 the fields and leading to the Ovcara farm complex. When the buses
16 arrived at Ovcara they turned in front of the main building which has
17 been described as a hangar. As each bus pulled up the men were made
18 to get off and run through a gauntlet of Serb paramilitary and JNA
19 soldiers. These troops beat the men with fists, with clubs, with
20 rifle butts. They stripped their coats and hats off them, took their
21 documents, watches and jewellery.
22 Once the victims survived this round of abuse, they were
23 gathered inside the hangar where the beatings continued and
24 intensified. The so-called Chetniks as well as JNA soldiers hit and
25 kicked the men over the next few hours. At least two men died there
1 in the hangar as a result of the beatings. While this was going on
2 about seven men were pulled out of the hangar by Serbs who knew them
3 from before or chose for one reason or another to intervene on their
4 behalf. During this hearing you have heard from three of those men.
5 As for the other two 260 or so men who were in the hangar, none of
6 the paramilitary troops or JNA soldiers stepped forward to save them.
7 They were consigned to death.
8 After the lucky seven were driven away back to Vukovar,
9 the remaining men were registered by the JNA, and shortly thereafter
10 they were divided into small groups of 10 to 20 men. An army truck
11 with a canvas cover on the back was brought up to the building and
12 the first group of men was loaded into this truck. It drove away and
13 then returned about 15 minutes later and the next group of men was
14 put in.
15 As we know from the testimony of Witness B who was in the
16 fourth or fifth group put in the truck, it left the hangar and
17 travelled south on the road toward Grabovo. Less than a kilometre
18 from the hangar the truck turned left at a dip in the road and then
19 drove along a wooded ravine. Witness B at that point jumped out and
20 was able to get away. Not far from the place where he jumped the
21 small road ended at the head of this ravine. At this location the
22 men were taken out of the truck and there they were brutally
23 murdered. As Dr. Snow told you, there were numerous spent cartridges
24 found on the ground where the shooters had fired their weapons. On
25 the opposite side of the site the trees bore scars from the bullets.
1 In between the men fell and there they were shoved into a mass
2 grave, a grave that had been prepared by the bulldozer that
3 Witness K had heard as he stood outside the Ovcara hangar. Some were
4 not buried well enough, though, and their bodies were there for Dr.
5 Snow to filed almost a year later. One of them, as you saw, with a
6 very prominent bullet hole in the front of his skull. Even in the
7 preliminary findings of Dr. Snow, there is strong evidence that the
8 men in this grave were Croatian and that they came from the hospital.
9 Your Honours, these killings did not happen by chance.
10 This was a well orchestrated, very organised event. Amid the chaos
11 that was Vukovar on 20th November 1991, the JNA made sure of one
12 thing and that was that this mass execution was going to take place.
13 The two highest ranking JNA officers in Vukovar, Colonel Mrksic and
14 Major Sljivancanin, dedicated all of their efforts to ensure that it
15 did. Sljivancanin's trusted subordinate, Captain Radic, assisted
16 them at every turn.
17 I would submit that the evidence against these three
18 individuals is substantial. Colonel Mrksic was the commander of the
19 Guards Brigade, the JNA unit with responsibility for the occupation
20 of the city. As Witness A told you, nothing happened in Vukovar
21 without his knowledge and approval. When Dr. Bosanac became worried
22 that no international observers had arrived at the hospital, she
23 contacted the Croatian government and both they and General Raseta,
24 the official JNA negotiator, told her that Colonel Mrksic had
25 responsibility for the hospital's evacuation. When Dr. Bosanac spoke
1 directly with Mrksic, he indicated that he was aware of the agreement
2 to evacuate the hospital in the presence of international monitors,
3 but he said that it was no longer possible. He said this despite
4 the fact that ECMM and ICRC representatives were already in his very
5 same headquarters and were asking to go to the hospital. Dr. Bosanac
6 even attempted to speak with them, but Mrksic would not permit it.
7 His superiors said he was responsible for the hospital. He
8 acknowledged his responsibility, and he had the power to ensure that
9 the evacuation was done properly, but instead he did everything he
10 would could to see to it that his subordinates were able to carry out
11 this crime undetected.
12 Captain Radic, the commander of the Special Infantry
13 Company within the Guards Brigade, was a close associate of
14 Sljivancanin. He worked side by side with him throughout the battle,
15 and he is with him again on 20th November at the hospital. It is he
16 that Sljivancanin entrusts with searching the men taken from the
17 hospital and it is Radic that Sljivancanin sends to the JNA barracks
18 to retrieve the men that were not supposed to end up at Ovcara. The
19 night of the murders, he is back at his headquarters as soldiers in
20 his company laugh and boast of the killings, yet he takes no action
21 against them.
22 His friend, Major Sljivancanin, is the man who makes this
23 all happen. He is clearly the officer in charge at the hospital
24 itself. As he occupies the entire staff in a meeting, his soldiers
25 are forcing the male patients outside. He orders Radic to search
1 them and then he sends them on to the buses. He personally blocks
2 the ECMM, the Red Cross and the UN envoy from reaching the hospital.
3 He clearly knows the fate intended for the men, because he takes
4 action to save some of them, a task he assigns to Radic. The others,
5 though, are sent on to Ovcara under the guard of Sljivancanin's
7 But despite their efforts to perpetrate the perfect
8 crime, there were flaws because they did not count on the fact that
9 among these horrific murderers there would be a few who still had a
10 shred of human decency about them. And these few, very few
11 apparently, would let seven men leave Ovcara alive. Some of these
12 men, as well as the one man able to escape from the death truck, have
13 come before you and told this tragic story.
14 As to the specific charges set forth in the indictment,
15 the accused are all charged with Grave Breaches of the Geneva
16 Conventions under Article 2 of our Statute; Violations of the Laws or
17 Customs of War under Article 3, and Crimes Against Humanity under
18 Article 5.
19 In order for any or all of these to be applicable, there
20 must exist a state of armed conflict. The evidence is clear that
21 this was the case in Croatia and in Vukovar in particular on 20th
22 November 1991. With respect to Article 2, the conflict must be shown
23 to have been international in character and that the victims were
24 persons protected by the Geneva Conventions. As Dr. Gow indicated in
25 his testimony, Croatia had declared its independence in June 1991
1 and, although this was initially suspended at the request of the
2 International Community, it did become effective in October 1991,
3 well before the events at issue in this case. This was a war waged
4 by the Government of Yugoslavia in Belgrade against an independent
5 Croatia, thus a war between two sovereign states; in other words,
7 As to Article 3 charges, the Prosecutor must show that
8 the act or omission charged is a violation of the laws or customs of
9 war. In this instance, the accused are charged with cruel treatment
10 and murder, both of which are violations of the minimum rules
11 applicable to all armed conflicts, as is made evident by the listing
12 and description of such acts within Common Article 3 of the Geneva
14 With respect to Article 5, the acts of the accused must
15 have been knowingly committed as part of a widespread and systematic
16 attack directed against a civilian population. This has had been
17 established here in several ways. First, by the testimony of Dr. Gow
18 who provided the court with a perspective on the wide-ranging attack
19 by the JNA on several fronts in Croatia. Secondly, you have heard
20 the testimony of several persons who have described the forces
21 arrayed against the city of Vukovar and the manner in which those
22 forces were utilized to totally destroy the city and to kill well
23 over a thousand civilians. Finally, you have heard testimony related
24 to this incident alone which has shown that well over 200 men were
25 murdered, some of them young boys, some elderly and incapacitated.
1 The scope of this mass murder taken alone should be sufficient to
2 constitute a widespread and systematic attack.
3 The three accused may not have pulled the triggers on the
4 guns that killed the 260 or so men, but they did everything they
5 could to see that this crime was executed. Under either Article 7(1)
6 as perpetrators individually responsible for these acts, or under
7 Article 7(3) as commanders responsible for the acts of their
8 subordinates, there is ample evidence of culpability. In light of
9 this evidence that has been presented to you, the Prosecutor requests
10 that you make a determination that reasonable grounds exist for
11 believing that the accused have committed all or any of the crimes
12 charged in the indictment, and that you order accordingly the
13 issuance of international arrest warrants for all three.
14 Your Honours, my co-counsel, Mr. Niemann, told you in
15 this his opening statement that the seeds of genocide were laid in
16 Vukovar and, indeed, they were. On the video tape you heard Major
17 Sljivancanin tell Cyrus Vance that this is a dirty war, but it is he
18 who chose that path. It is he and his fellow officers that chose to
19 employ murder as a weapon of the Yugoslav Army. On 20th November
20 1991 it is they who set the precedent, a precedent of mass murder
21 which has been repeated again and again over the past four years in
22 Croatia and Bosnia alike.
23 It is both fascinating and horrifying to watch the film
24 of these men as the events unfold. They are proud, they are
25 arrogant, as more than one witness has told you, but it is hard to
1 imagine what they are so proud of. They are not fighting valiantly
2 on a field of battle; they are not overcoming a well-armed foe.
3 Instead, they are taking unarmed men, many of them wounded, dragged
4 out of hospital beds. They have been beaten unmercifully for hours
5 and then they have been murdered in cold blood. These are not the
6 acts of brave warriors. These are the acts of cowards, cowards who
7 choose the vulnerable and the defenceless as their victims. They are
8 the acts of criminals.
9 Where are these proud men today? Today they hide. They
10 hide behind the shelter of the government that sent them there and
11 that still seeks to protect them. That government, the government of
12 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, has been informed of the
13 indictments against them. The official records of the Tribunal
14 Registry document that the indictment in this matter was confirmed by
15 Judge Riad on the 7th of November 1995. On the following day arrest
16 warrants directed to the government of the Federal Republic of
17 Yugoslavia in Belgrade were hand delivered to the Yugoslav Embassy
18 here in The Hague. When no action was taken by the Yugoslav
19 government to act on those warrants, the Prosecutor sought, in
20 accordance with Rules 60 and 61, to have newspaper advertisements
21 published in Yugoslavia to notify the accused of the indictments.
22 This request was will also transmitted to the Yugoslav Embassy in The
23 Hague on the 23rd of January 1996.
24 Yet the government does nothing. They can arrest them at
25 any time, but they do not. In this case, the accused are all
1 citizens of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and are known to be on
2 its territory either in Serbia or Montenegro. After Vukovar the
3 government gave them commendations and promotions. In the case of at
4 least one of them, Major Sljivancanin, he is a still serving officer
5 in the Yugoslav Army with an obligation to obey orders given to him
6 by that government. They can compel him to report where they choose.
7 Recent news report from Belgrade even indicate that he is now
8 assigned to the Yugoslav Military Academy situated in Belgrade, the
9 seat of the government. They have promoted, supported and continued
10 to pay an indicted war criminal, and to maintain him as a senior
11 officer in their army. If these reports are correct, they now even
12 have him training officer cadets. Can there be any more flagrant way
13 of showing their disregard and even contempt for their obligations as
14 a Member State of the United Nations, obligations they recently
15 re-affirmed by entering into the Dayton Accords. In this case it is
16 very clear that the failure to effect personal service on the accused
17 and to secure their arrests and transfer to The Hague, is due solely
18 to the refusal of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to co-operate
19 with the Tribunal as it is required to do.
20 When a government gives refuge and support to criminals,
21 in the eyes of the world, that government then too becomes criminal,
22 and that is exactly what the Belgrade government has done in this
24 It is, therefore, the request of the Prosecutor that in
25 addition to the issuance of international arrest warrants, this
1 Chamber should also certify to the President of the Tribunal that the
2 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has failed to comply with its
3 obligations under Article 29 of the Statute, and further recommend to
4 the President that he notify the Security Council of this refusal to
6 Thank you.
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Counsel, that brings the hearing to an end. The
8 Chamber will issue its decision on Wednesday, 3rd April at 9.30. The
9 session is adjourned.
10 (The hearing adjourned until 3rd April 1996)