1 3 April 1996
2 [Decision on Prosecutor's Motions]
3 [Open session]
4 JUDGE JORDA: First of all, does everyone hear me?
5 The Trial Chamber made up of Judge Claude Jorda presiding, Judge
6 Elizabeth Odio-Benito, and Judge Fouad Riad, assisted by Mr. Didier
7 Triscos and Mr. Roeland Bos for the Registrar, on this day, the 3rd of
8 April, 1996, amid the review of the indictment pursuant to Rule 61 of the
9 Rules of Procedure and Evidence, Rule 61 proceedings.
10 In a decision dated 7 November 1995, Judge Fouad Riad confirmed
11 the indictment issued by the Prosecutor against Mile Mrksic, Miroslav
12 Radic, Veselin Sljivancanin. On that same day, he issued a warrant of
13 arrest against each of the accused. The warrants were sent to the Federal
14 Republic of Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro, but to date have not been
15 executed. For this reason, the Confirming Judge, having considered in his
16 decision of 6 March 1996 that a reasonable period of time had elapsed
17 since the warrants of arrest were issued invited the Prosecutor to report
18 on the measures he has taken to effect personal service of the
19 indictment. Satisfied that the Prosecutor has acted with diligence in
20 that same decision and pursuant to Rule 61 of the Rules of Procedure and
21 Evidence ("Rules"), the Judge ordered the Prosecutor to submit the case
22 for review to the full panel of Judges of the Trial Chamber.
23 During the review, the Trial Chamber must decide whether there are
24 reasonable grounds for believing that the accused has committed all or any
25 of the crimes charged in the indictment. In order that it might reach its
1 decision, the evidence submitted to the Confirming Judge was made
2 available to the Trial Chamber. In addition, the Trial Chamber heard the
3 witnesses called to testify by the Prosecutor during the hearings
4 of 20, 26, 27, and 28 March 1996. The Trial Chamber must also ensure that
5 its jurisdiction at this stage has been established.
6 The use of Rule 61 permits the Tribunal, which does not have its
7 own police force, to react to the failure to execute the warrants of
8 arrest issued against the accused. If the Trial Chamber to which it has
9 been submitted for review reconfirms the indictment, it must issue an
10 international warrant of arrest. The Trial Chamber may also know that the
11 failure to execute the initial warrants of arrest is due to a failure or
12 refusal of a state to which they were sent to cooperate and, through the
13 President of the Tribunal, may inform the Security Council of that
14 failure. Lastly, the Rule 61 proceedings permit public exposure of the
15 evidence produced in support of the indictment. When the victims have
16 been summoned to appear by the Prosecutor, the proceedings allow them to
17 have their voices heard and to become part of history.
18 We will first -- the Chamber will first examine charges and the
20 Starting on 25 August 1991, the city of Vukovar was subjected to a
21 violent offensive led by the JNA, Yugoslav army, which deployed a huge
22 military arsenal against it. In the JNA's ranks were conscripts and
23 Serbian nationalist volunteers. The JNA was apparently responsible for
24 coordinating the activities of various paramilitary groups such as Arkan's
25 Tigers, some of which were local and some of which had come from the
1 Serbian republic. To respond to the offensive, resistance was organised
2 in the city. The resistance forces included a reduced number of
3 combatants and had very limited weapons available. The expert witness
4 considered that compared to those of the JNA deployed in Vukovar, the
5 ratio of men was 1:15 in favour of the JNA. In respect of weapons, the
6 ratio was 1:100.
7 Starting on 17 November 1991, while the resistance movement was
8 beginning to crumble, a large number of civilians who had survived the
9 offensive in the cellars of buildings fled in terror to the hospital after
10 having heard that an evacuation would be organised there. Some of the
11 resistance fighters also surrendered at the hospital after laying down
12 their weapons. Vukovar Hospital had been the object of constant shelling
13 and at that moment was overflowing with wounded.
14 On 19 November 1991, under the command of Major Sljivancanin, the
15 JNA surrounded the hospital and captured it.
16 We'll first look at beatings. Both the case file and testimonies
17 heard at the hearing show that on the morning of 20 November 1991, the
18 population of the hospital was brutally evacuated by the JNA, whereas the
19 medical personnel was kept in place by Major Sljivancanin. A group of
20 approximately 300 mainly non-Serbian male patients and other civilians of
21 all ages, and sometimes very young, was selected and assembled in the
22 hospital's rear court. Men were then transported in buses to the JNA
23 barracks and -- in Sajmiste by JNA soldiers under the orders from Major
24 Sljivancanin. When they arrived at the barracks, some of the people were
25 forced to wait in the buses where they were threatened verbally by
1 soldiers and members of paramilitary groups. Others were selected by
2 Captain Radic and forced to change buses. As they got off the buses, some
3 of them were struck and beaten with sticks and metal bars.
4 Several hours later, the great majority of men were transported to
5 Ovcara, a former collective farm in the vicinity of Vukovar. According to
6 many testimonies, as they got off the buses, the people were made to pass
7 between two rows of soldiers and members of paramilitary groups who beat
8 them savagely with truncheons and all sorts of blunt instruments such as
9 rifle butts and chains. People using crutches to walk were beaten with
10 their own crutches. They were searched and their property was
11 confiscated. The inhumane treatment in the hangars where they had been
12 confined continued until nightfall.
13 A witness reported the following scene: "The Chetniks were
14 divided into two groups. One was responsible for the beatings and the
15 other merely watched what was happening. A JNA officer was inside with a
16 whistle, and when he saw that one of the groups was tired, he would blow
17 it as a signal to the other group to begin beating. We heard the
18 prisoners screaming. It was horrible."
19 Murders: At the Ovcara farm, heights of violence would be reached
20 characterised both by individual murders committed in the hangar of the
21 farm and by mass murders committed nearby.
22 The indictment submitted to the Trial Chamber contains a list of
23 261 men who have been missing since 20 November 1991, from which the Trial
24 Chamber authorises the Prosecutor to withdraw a name. It seems that the
25 list compiled by the Croatian Commission for Detained and Missing Persons
1 identifies most of the men who were executed on 20 November 1991.
2 Murders in the hangar of the farm: Two murders were committed at
3 the Ovcara farm. Kemal Saiti thus died after uninterrupted beatings -
4 violent blows with truncheons and kicks to the face and head - which
5 caused him to bleed from his nose, ears, and mouth.
6 A man who escaped reported the following scene, and I quote: "The
7 moment came when the Chetniks asked whether there were any Albanians, and
8 a man named Kemal Saiti said that he was Albanian. Someone began beating
9 Kemal violently with a truncheon, and when he collapsed on his back, the
10 man kicked him in the face, then head, and then trampled his body. After
11 awhile, Kemal appeared to be dead. He was bleeding from his nose, ears,
12 and mouth, but the man continued beating him for about half an hour."
13 A man named Damjan Samardzic was to suffer comparable torture and
14 a similar fate. Soldiers kicked him with their boots and baseball bats
15 and jumped on his stomach and back causing him to bleed from his nose and
16 mouth. At the same time, a member of the Serbian militia held his head
17 down on the concrete floor until he died.
18 Mass murders: After that torture, serial executions are alleged
19 to have been perpetrated later during the evening of 20 November 1991. At
20 about 1800 hours, JNA soldiers separated the prisoners into groups of 20.
21 Every 15 to 20 minutes a truck took away a group and returned empty.
22 Another group then took its place in the truck.
23 According to the witness statements, including Witness B who
24 succeeded in escaping during one of the transports, the truck left the
25 building and turned onto a paved road leading to Grabovo, a village about
1 3 kilometres south-east of Ovcara. A few minutes later, the truck turned
2 left onto a dirt road which went through a field of sunflowers to the left
3 and a wooded area to the right.
4 In light of the estimates of the time and distances between the
5 farm and the site, as well as the description of the roads taken, one
6 place matches the description, the location where Dr. Clyde Snow, an
7 anthropologist and forensics doctor acting as an expert for the Mazowiecki
8 Commission, would, by virtue of the directions given by Witness B,
9 discover a mass grave in October 1992.
10 After preliminary excavations at that site in December 1992, an
11 international forensic team organised by Physicians for Human Rights
12 confirmed the existence of the mass grave in an isolated region south-east
13 of the farming village of Ovcara near Vukovar. In its conclusions,
14 confirmed at the hearing by Dr. Snow, who had directed the work, the team
15 reported that a mass execution had occurred at the site. A bulldozer had
16 been used to clear the undergrowth and to dig a pit in an existing dump,
17 and I quote: "The grave seems to coincide perfectly with the statements
18 of the witnesses indicating that the site was the place patients and
19 medical personnel missing since the evacuation of Vukovar Hospital on 20
20 November 1991 were executed and buried. The fact that two bodies had
21 chains with Catholic crosses, one of which had a little plate bearing the
22 inscription `Bog I Hrvati,' `God and the Croats,' would indicate that the
23 mass grave probably contained the mortal remains of Croats."
24 The international forensics team presented two types of evidence
25 discovered during their investigation which showed that an execution had
1 occurred at the site. First, a large concentration of 7.62-millimetre
2 cartridge shells of the type used for Kalashnikov automatic pistols was
3 discovered in the bushes north-east of the mass grave. The second type of
4 indication, which related to the first, were traces of bullets on the
5 trees south-east of the site.
6 When questioned by the Prosecutor about the contents of the mass
7 grave, Dr. Snow stated that on the basis of a test sample of the trench,
8 skeletons discovered and other recognised scientific indicators,
9 specifically the size of the mass grave and volume of the human body, the
10 pit could have held about 350 bodies.
11 Information supplied by former JNA soldiers who participated or
12 assisted in all or some of the acts for which charges have been brought
13 support the allegations of mass murders.
14 On 20 November 1991, soldiers in the unit under the command of
15 Miroslav Radic said in his presence -- with a unit under Miroslav Radic,
16 that, I quote: "All those who had been taken prisoner there had been
17 killed. They were laughing about it and celebrated what had happened."
18 In the presence of Major Veselin Sljivancanin and on his orders,
19 and I quote: "The men were killed, thrown into pits, and covered with a
20 type of powder used to hasten decomposition, after which logs were placed
21 over each layer."
22 The executions seem, in fact, to have been premeditated and
23 planned, and the place where they are said to have occurred was arranged
24 for the occasion. Several days before the fall of Vukovar, a JNA
25 Engineering Unit equipped with bulldozers and other machines was at work
1 at the Ovcara site. The same machine noises, from the hangar of the farm,
2 would be heard again on 20 November 1991. According to a certain soldier
3 present at the site and reported by one of the witnesses, the bulldozers
4 were preparing mass graves in which victims would later be buried.
5 We will now look into the position of the accused and type of
6 responsibility ascribable to them.
7 The indictment and the exhibits in the file on which it is based
8 highlight the fact that the responsibility of the accused for the acts for
9 which they have been charged could be established not only because of
10 their position of authority but also because of their direct participation
11 in the commission of those acts.
12 It has, in fact, been established that the acts charged were
13 carried out by the Guards Brigade under the command or control of the
14 accused acting in various capacities and in concert. Colonel Mile Mrksic
15 was the Commander of the Guards Brigade whose territorial jurisdiction
16 extended to the first military district which answered to Belgrade and
17 covered the entire Vukovar zone. Although the general offensive against
18 Vukovar was not his responsibility alone, his position at the head of the
19 Guards Brigade permits ascribing a major responsibility to him.
20 Captain Miroslav Radic was head of a special infantry unit of the
21 Guards Brigade. Briefing his troops about their mission in mid-November
22 1991, he made clear that they were to take control of the area extending
23 from Petrova Gora, a suburb of Vukovar, to the Vuka River.
24 Under Colonel Mile Mrksic's authority was Major Veselin
25 Sljivancanin, who was put in charge of the direct operational command of
1 the JNA forces in the immediate vicinity of the city of Vukovar.
2 Responsible for the security of the Guards Brigade, Major Sljivancanin
3 was also the commander of a military police battalion that was part of the
5 Throughout the conduct of the operations, the accused worked and
6 operated in close collaboration. During the day, Captain Radic and
7 Major Sljivancanin were together most of the time. During the evening,
8 Major Sljivancanin would return to Colonel Mrksic's headquarters in
9 Negoslavci where both -- Negoslavci, where both of them would spend the
11 That Captain Radic and Major Sljivancanin were present at the
12 Vukovar Hospital on 20 November 1991 is abundantly attested to both by the
13 statements of the witnesses and the video images submitted to the Trial
15 On 17 November 1991, at the hospital, together with Captain Radic
16 and Major Sljivancanin, Colonel Mrksic allegedly met with ICRC
17 representative about the evacuation of the hospital. Specifically under
18 the general supervision of Major Sljivancanin, people at the hospital were
19 selected in accordance with various criteria and then transferred by bus
20 to Ovcara. One witness declared, and I quote: "When I arrived at the
21 hospital, I realised that there were three groups: a group of Serbs, a
22 group of non-Serbian women and children, and a third grouped comprised
23 exclusively of men."
24 Sljivancanin gave all the instructions as to the number of lines
25 that were to be formed, the categories of people supposed to join the
1 lines, and the moment people were to get onto the bus. All the
2 testimonies match in their assertion that, and I quote:
3 "Major Sljivancanin was responsible for everything that happened at
4 Vukovar Hospital. He behaved like a commander and took the decisions."
5 Furthermore, as regards executions near Ovcara, according to the
6 statements of soldiers who took part in the massacres reported by
7 Witness A, and I quote: "Major Sljivancanin was present when the murders
8 were committed, and he was the one who gave the orders."
9 Already by the morning of 20 November 1991, at the hospital, Major
10 Sljivancanin clearly referred to the fate awaiting those who had been
11 transferred. In answer to the question of one of the witnesses on the bus
12 about where they were going, he asserted: "Those people" -- and I quote:
13 "Those people over there will be swallowed up by the darkness in broad
14 daylight," an expression which means that nobody will ever see them again
15 and that all will disappear.
16 Other information submitted to the Trial Chamber cites the
17 presence of Colonel Mile Mrksic in the hangar of the farm at Ovcara. He
18 allegedly organised the torture inflicted on the prisoners by the Serbian
19 paramilitary militia members who were present.
20 After having looked into the accusations and the position of the
21 accused, the Tribunal has looked into the competence of the Tribunal
22 pursuant to Articles 2, 3, and 5 of the Statute, which are the basis for
23 the indictment.
24 During the public review of the indictment as part of the Rule 61
25 public hearings, the Trial Chamber must verify that its competence has
1 been established at this stage. The Prosecutor holds that the acts
2 charged followed in the jurisdiction of the Tribunal pursuant to
3 Articles 2, 3, and 5 of the Statute.
4 First Articles 2 and 3. Article 3 of the statute non-exhaustively
5 enumerates violations of the laws or customs of war which the Tribunal has
6 the power to prosecute. In its decision of jurisdiction of 2 October
7 1995, the Appeals Chamber stipulated that Article 3 refers to a broad
8 category of offences and laid down four conditions which must be satisfied
9 for a violation to fall within the purview of Article 3. The violation
10 must constitute an infringement of the rule of international humanitarian
11 law. The rule must be customary in nature or, if it is part of treaty
12 law, certain required conditions must be met. Furthermore, the violation
13 must be "serious," that is, it must contravene a rule protecting important
14 values and must involve grave consequences for the victim. Lastly, the
15 violation of the Rule must entail the individual criminal responsibility
16 of the person breaching the Rule.
17 In the indictment submitted to the Trial Chamber, the Prosecutor
18 characterised the beatings inflicted as constituting cruel treatment.
19 Furthermore, the Prosecutor characterised the alleged execution of the
20 260 men as murder. The acts so characterised constitute violations of
21 Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions, and the violations themselves
22 are serious violations of the laws or customs of war covered by Article 3
23 of the Statute; paragraph 89 of the above-cited decision of the Appeals
25 Article 3 of the Statute may be taken to cover all violations of
1 international humanitarian law other than the grave breaches of the Geneva
2 Conventions falling under Article 2 of the Statute. Article 3 applies
3 whether the conflict is international or internal.
4 Article 2 of the Statute states that the Tribunal, and I quote:
5 "Shall have the power to prosecute persons committing or ordering to be
6 committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949."
7 The acts enumerated in these provisions are committed against persons or
8 property protected under provisions of the relevant Convention.
9 The above-cited decision of the Appeals Chamber also stipulates
10 that, and I quote: "The offences under Article 2 can be prosecuted when
11 perpetrated against persons or property regarded as `protected' by the
12 Geneva Conventions under the strict conditions set out by the convictions
13 themselves," and concludes that Article 2 of the Statute, and I quote:
14 "Only applies to offences committed within the context of international
15 armed conflicts"; paragraphs 81 and 84 of the decision of the Appeals
17 In the Article, the reference to the notion of protected persons
18 or property covers the persons and objects mentioned in Articles 13, 19,
19 24 through 26, 33 through 35 of the Geneva Convention I; Articles 13, 22,
20 24, 25, 27, 36, 37 of Geneva Convention II; Article 2 of Geneva
21 Convention III; and Articles 4, 18 through 22, 33, 53, 57 of Geneva
22 Convention IV.
23 The Prosecutor specified in the indictment that the beatings
24 inflicted on 260 men after they had been transported from Vukovar Hospital
25 constitute the grave breach defined as wilfully causing great suffering;
1 Article 2(C) of the Statute. He also specified that the alleged execution
2 of the 260 men at a site between Ovcara and Grabovo and the murders
3 committed in a hangar at Ovcara constitute the grave breach of wilful
4 killing; Article 2(A) of the Statute.
5 In respect of the general conditions for application of Article 3
6 of the Statute, all the testimonies indicated there at the times indicated
7 in the indictment, the Vukovar region was the theatre of an armed
8 conflict. During the same period, the alleged victims of the beatings and
9 executions were individuals who had not actively participated in the
10 hostilities, such as wounded or uninjured civilians and wounded or
11 uninjured members of the Croatian defence forces who had laid down their
13 The general conditions for application of Article 2 of the Statute
14 are the existence of an international armed conflict and the
15 classification of victims as protected persons as defined by the relevant
16 Geneva Convention. The acts charged in the indictment occurred after the
17 declaration of independence of Croatia had gone into effect on 8 October
18 1991, while the city of Vukovar was being subjected to an attack by the
19 JNA. According to the statement of expert witness Dr. James Gow at the
20 hearing, by the end of August 1991, the JNA had begun acting in the
21 interests of the Serbian republic. In addition, the Trial Chamber noted
22 that according to Dr. Gow, and I quote: "The Yugoslav Federation ceased
23 to exist on 15 May 1991, which is the date that the system of appointing a
24 chief of the collective presidency of the Federative Socialist Republic of
25 Yugoslavia came apart."
1 The 260 men taken from the Vukovar Hospital were, therefore,
2 either civilians or medical personnel, wounded persons, and other persons
3 falling within the categories of protected persons as defined in the four
4 Geneva Conventions of 1949.
5 With regard to the charge of ill-treatment stated in Articles 2
6 and 3, the majority of the witnesses cite beatings inflicted on them while
7 they were passing through a double line of Serbs or members of Serbian
8 paramilitary groups as they entered the hangar at Ovcara. The arrested
9 people were also beaten inside the hangar. Basing itself on all the
10 testimonies presented to it as described above in paragraph 6 of this
11 decision, the Trial Chamber considers that the approximately 260 persons
12 transferred from Vukovar Hospital were subjected intentionally to great
14 With regard to the charge of murder under Articles 2 and 3 of the
15 Statute, the evidence submitted to this Trial Chamber and, in particular,
16 the statements of the witnesses during the investigation of the hearing,
17 which have been analysed in paragraphs 8 to 14 above, indicate that two
18 persons were killed in the hangar and that the vast majority of
19 individuals detained at Ovcara were transported in groups to a nearby site
20 where they were apparently executed.
21 The Trial Chamber now will look at competence as defined under
22 Article 5.
23 As the basis for the competence of the Tribunal, the Prosecutor
24 cites Article 5, Crimes Against Humanity. Pursuant to this Article:
25 "The International Tribunal shall have the power to Prosecutor
1 persons responsible for the following crimes when committed in armed
2 conflict, whether international or internal in character, and directed
3 against any civilian population:
4 "(a) murder;
5 "(b) extermination;
6 "(c) enslavement;
7 "(d) deportation;
8 "(e) imprisonment;
9 "(f) torture;
10 "(g) rape;
11 "(h) persecutions on political, racial, and religious
13 "(i) other inhumane acts."
14 In its decision of 20 October 1995 in the Nikolic case, this Trial
15 Chamber specified in what context criminal acts listed in Article 5 must
16 fall in order for them to be characterised as crimes against humanity.
17 Criminal acts must, therefore, have as their object any civilian
18 population. In the report which proposed the drafting of the Statute of
19 the Tribunal and which was approved in Security Council resolution 827,
20 the Secretary-General stated, and I quote: "Crimes against humanity refer
21 to inhumane acts of a very serious nature such as wilful killing, torture
22 or rape, committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against
23 any civilian population on national, political, ethnic, or religious
25 Although according to the terms of Article 5 of this Tribunal, the
1 combatants, in the traditional sense of the term, cannot being victims of
2 a crime against humanity, this does not apply to individuals who, at one
3 particular point in time, carried out acts of resistance. As the
4 commission of experts pursuant to Security Council resolution 780 noted,
5 "It seems," and I quote: "that Article 5 applies first and foremost to
6 civilians, meaning people who are not combatants. This, however, should
7 not lead to any rapid conclusions concerning people who at one particular
8 point in time did bear arms. Information of the overall circumstances is
9 relevant for the interpretation of the provision in a spirit consistent
10 with its purpose."
11 This conclusion is supported by case law. In the Barbie case, the
12 French Court of Cassation said that, and I quote: "Inhumane acts and
13 persecution which, in the name of a state practising a policy of
14 ideological hegemony, were committed systematically or collectively not
15 only against individuals because of their membership in a racial or
16 religious group but also against the adversaries of that policy whatever
17 the form of the opposition," could be considered a crime against
18 humanity. Court of Cassation, 20 December 1985 and 26 November 1986.
19 Crimes against humanity are to be distinguished from war crimes
20 against individuals, and, particularly, they must be widespread or
21 demonstrate a systematic character. However, as long as there is a link
22 with the widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population, a
23 single act could qualify as a crime against humanity. As such, an
24 individual committing a crime against a single victim or a limited number
25 of victims might be recognised as guilty of a crime against humanity if
1 his acts were part of the specific context identified above.
2 The Trial Chamber considers that the indictment submitted to it
3 shows first and foremost that a crime against humanity was committed. The
4 beatings and executions ascribed to the three accused indeed seem to have
5 been perpetrated under circumstances which are characteristic of the crime
6 against humanity.
7 The victims of these acts were mainly non-Serbian men, patients at
8 the hospital, civilians, or resistance fighters who had laid down their
9 arms. These events seem to be part of a widespread and systematic attack
10 against the civilian population of the city of Vukovar.
11 The facts presented at the hearings brought out the fact that
12 starting in the summer of 1991, the city of Vukovar had been subjected to
13 a massive land, naval, and air offensive by the forces of the JNA.
14 Starting with the end of August 1991, the city was intensely shelled for
15 almost three months. After the attack which killed many civilians and
16 resistance fighters and during which the civilian population had sought
17 shelters in the cellars of the buildings, the women and children were
18 deported en masse whereas the men were arrested. More than a thousand of
19 them are still missing.
20 According to the expert witness Dr. Gow, the JNA attack on Vukovar
21 was intended, and I quote: "to occupy Vukovar," and another quote: "and
22 to expel the non-Serbian and disloyal populations from the city." The
23 attack was an example, and I quote, "of what was called ethnic cleansing,
24 that is, the expulsion of the civilian populations carried out as a way of
25 seizing the region and establishing the borders of the territories which
1 were to be part of the Serbian republic." The attack on Vukovar was part
2 of a campaign carried out at several places on Croatian territory.
3 The Trial Chamber noted the words of the Prosecutor who said
4 that: "From the very outset, the events in Vukovar can, without a doubt,
5 be classified as planned ethnic cleansing which the sowed seeds of the
6 genocide in the conflict in the former Yugoslavia."
7 In that respect, the Trial Chamber also notes that the acts
8 charged in the indictment submitted to it constitute only one aspect of a
9 broader operation including inter alia the shelling, the siege, the
10 capture of Vukovar, the deaths and disappearances of individuals, and the
11 massive expulsions of the civilian population which followed.
12 The evidence produced during the hearings, particularly the
13 televised images which were shown, brought out the fact that the military
14 and political responsibilities of the operation derive from a very high
15 level of authority. The Secretary of Defence of the Serbian authorities
16 and chief of the JNA, General Kadijevic, in person congratulated the main
17 participants of the operations at Vukovar, among whom was Colonel Mrksic.
18 According to the expert witness, the attitude of that army can only be
19 explained by the existence of some sort of political command.
20 The Trial Chamber also noted the fact that the Prosecutor asserted
21 during the hearing that he was continuing his investigations into the
22 entire transaction carried out in the Vukovar region starting in the
23 summer of 1991.
24 In light of all of the above, the Trial Chamber considers that
25 there are reasonable grounds for believing that Mile Mrksic, Miroslav
1 Radic, and Veselin Sljivancanin have committed the crimes charged in the
2 indictment, crimes which, pursuant to Articles 2, 3, and 5 of the Statute,
3 fall under the jurisdiction of the Tribunal. In accordance with the
4 provisions of Rule 61 of these Rules, there are grounds for reconfirming
5 all the counts in the indictment against them and for issuing
6 international warrants of arrest which will be sent to all the states. In
7 addition, the Trial Chamber considers that the warrants of arrest must be
8 transmitted to the Multinational Military Implementation Force, IFOR,
9 deployed on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina pursuant to the Dayton
10 Agreements which were signed in Paris on 14 December 1995.
11 At present, the Chamber will examine the specific point of the
12 failure of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's duty to honour its
13 responsibilities for cooperation with the Tribunal.
14 After the initial confirmation of the indictment submitted to this
15 Trial Chamber, on 7 November 1995, Judge Riad issued three warrants of
16 arrest for Mile Mrksic, Miroslav Radic, and Veselin Sljivancanin which
17 were sent to the government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The
18 warrants were transmitted by the Registrar of the Tribunal to diplomatic
19 representatives of that state in the Netherlands on 8 November 1995.
20 Furthermore, at the request of the Prosecutor, on 23 January 1996, the
21 Registrar asked those representatives to ensure that, in accordance with
22 the provisions of Rule 60 of the Rules, the indictment was published in
23 newspapers having wide circulation in that country.
24 To date, the above-cited warrants of arrest have not been executed
25 by the FRY. That state has not informed the Registrar of the Tribunal of
1 the reasons for its failure to execute the warrants of arrest and, in
2 consequence, has not honoured its obligation to cooperate as stipulated in
3 Rule 59(A) of the Rules of the Tribunal.
4 Moreover, as already indicated in paragraph 35 above, after the
5 events at Vukovar, Colonel Mrksic was congratulated by General Kadijevic,
6 Secretary of Defence and Chief of Staff of the JNA. The Prosecutor
7 asserted that Colonel Mrksic received a promotion in the army and became
8 military commander of the army of the Republic of Serbian Krajina. He is
9 alleged to be in Belgrade today. Major Sljivancanin allegedly was also
10 promoted and is currently said to be in Belgrade at the Belgrade Military
11 Academy. Captain Radic is allegedly still serving in the army of the
12 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and is said to be living in Belgrade.
13 During the hearing, the Prosecutor affirmed that the accused, and
14 I quote: "Hide behind the shelter of the government of the Federal
15 Republic of Yugoslavia that sent them there, to Vukovar, and that it still
16 seeks to protect them." In his words, and again I quote: "When a
17 government gives refuge and support to criminals, in the eyes of the
18 world, that government too then becomes criminal, and that is exactly what
19 the Belgrade government has done in this case."
20 In light of all the above, the Trial Chamber considers that the
21 failure to execute the warrants of arrest issued against Mile Mrksic,
22 Miroslav Radic, and Veselin Sljivancanin can be ascribed to the refusal of
23 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to cooperate with the Tribunal. It so
24 certifies for the purpose of notifying the Security Council.
25 Disposition: Having regards to Rules 59 bis and 61 of the Rules
1 of Procedure and Evidence; having regard to the confirmation of the
2 indictment by Judge Riad on 7 November 1995 and the warrants of arrest
3 issued on that same day; having regard to the decision of 6 March 1996 in
4 which Judge Riad ordered the Prosecutor to refer the case to the Trial
5 Chamber; having heard the Prosecutor's observations and the statements of
6 the witness during the hearings, the hearings which were held on the 20th,
7 the 26th, the 27th, and 28th of March, 1996 at the seat of the Tribunal,
8 the Trial Chamber, ruling unanimously, expunges the name of Goran
9 Edelinski from the list of the alleged victims contained in the
10 indictment; states that there are sufficient grounds for believing that
11 Mile Mrksic, Miroslav Radic, and Veselin Sljivancanin committed the
12 offences for which they have been accused in the indictment of 26 October
13 1995; confirms all six counts of the indictment; issues an international
14 warrant of arrest for Mile Mrksic, Miroslav Radic, and Veselin
15 Sljivancanin; entrusts the President of the Tribunal with notifying the
16 Security Council thereof in accordance with the procedure of Rule 61(E);
17 states that the warrants shall be transmitted to all states and if
18 necessary to the Implementation Force; notes and certifies that the
19 failure to effect service of the indictment was due to the Federal
20 Republic of Yugoslavia's refusal to cooperate with the Tribunal which it
21 therefore -- and done in French and English, the French version being
22 authoritative; this 3rd day of April, 1996; The Hague; The Netherlands at
23 the moment that this hearing is concluded.
24 I would like to thank all the interpreters who have assisted us
25 during these long -- these long hours of the hearing, as well as the
1 people who work with the victims and the witnesses, who have worked to
2 ensure the anonymity of all the witnesses who were willing to come to
3 testify for the hearing, and now the Court stands adjourned.
4 --- Whereupon the proceedings adjourned.