1 Wednesday, 5 November 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.15 p.m.
5 [The accused entered court]
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Registrar, please call
7 the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon,
9 everyone in the courtroom.
10 This is case IT-03-67-T, the Prosecutor versus Vojislav Seselj.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 Today is Wednesday. Good afternoon, Ms. Bosanac. Good afternoon
13 to the representatives of the OTP and to Mr. Seselj.
14 We're going to proceed with the testimony of the witness. I
15 still have a number of questions to put to you, Witness. I'm going to
16 try to deal with the most relevant questions because we have another
17 witness scheduled to testify after you. So I'm now going to focus only
18 on the main issues, because I could go on and on putting all sorts of
19 questions to you, but we are pressed for time and we need to focus on the
20 most important matters.
21 WITNESS: VESNA BOSANAC [Resumed]
22 [The witness answered through interpreter]
23 Questioned by the Court: [Continued]
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We know you were the director
25 at the hospital. At the hospital of Vukovar, did the director discharge
1 medical and administrative duties, or was this only an administrative
3 A. At that time in 1991, in July 1991, I became the director of the
4 Vukovar Medical Centre, which encompassed the hospital in Vukovar and all
5 the other infirmaries, the health centres in charge of primary
6 healthcare. At that time, I did administrative and organisational jobs.
7 When it was necessary, I also examined children, being a pediatrician by
8 specialisation. But it was predominantly administrative and
9 organisational duties that were within my competence.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You became the director of the
11 hospital and the other health centres after having been appointed to that
12 position or after having been elected?
13 A. The management body of the Vukovar Health Centre at that time was
14 a body which was called the Workers Council, so I was elected by a vote
15 on the part of the Workers Council and my appointment was endorsed by the
16 Minister of Health.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. Who was the person
18 occupying your position before you?
19 A. A doctor by the name Rade Popovic, chief physician, and he
20 resigned to that post.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Why did Dr. Popovic resign that
22 position or why was he forced to resign?
23 A. I personally cannot say with precision, but I do believe that at
24 that time the situation was extremely difficult and complicated. The war
25 had already started in our area, and I think that he simply did not want
1 to perform that duty any longer, because it was a very difficult and
2 exacting, demanding job; namely, that of organising the operation of a
3 hospital amid a war.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Was Dr. Popovic a Serb, or a
5 Croat, or was he a Muslim, a Yugoslav, or something else?
6 A. He was Montenegrin.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Okay, he was Montenegrin. At
8 the time when he resigned his position, were you aware of political
9 tensions that pitted the Croats against the Serbs in the town of Vukovar?
10 A. I think that he was not pitted against them. He was one of those
11 people who, amid all that tension which obtained after the 1991 spring
12 elections in Vukovar, and he was on that occasion a candidate to be
13 elected to the Croatian Assembly for the Chamber of Associated Labour,
14 which was one of the chambers which existed at that time. Apart from
15 that, he was one of the organisers of meetings of a group of
16 intellectuals who regularly met. They were both Croats and Serbs and of
17 different nationalities, their aim being to try and, together, see to the
18 easing of the tensions. But needless to say, nobody heeded what they had
19 to suggest, so that I don't think that he was in conflict with any
20 particular group at that time but that he simply assessed that he would
21 not be able to influence matters. He did say, however, that he would
22 remain, that he would stay on, and he stayed on as the chief of the
23 neuropsychiatry ward. But in August, he left to get his wife in Risan
24 [phoen]. She also used to work in our hospital. And then he called us
25 on the phone and he said that after all, he would not be able to return.
1 And he was not at the Vukovar Hospital until the end of the war, he was
2 in Montenegro.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Witness, we've
4 heard a great number of witnesses who told us about Vukovar. Among
5 others, we heard a witness who was cross-examined by Mr. Seselj, who was
6 asked by Mr. Seselj to confirm a number of events that took place in
7 Vukovar, and I'm going to sum up because it's a rather long list of
8 events. Serbs had been evicted by Croats. There were changes in the
9 police personnel, Croats replaced Serbs, and the same happened in other
10 institutions. There were cases of violence of Croats against the Serbs.
11 In other words, there was a series of events that allegedly led to the
12 departure of Kamenovic [phoen], head of the municipality, who was
13 replaced. We've heard all this, and the witness was sitting where you're
14 sitting today, confirmed that these events had indeed taken place.
15 What about you? Were you aware of such events? Were you aware
16 of such a behaviour of Croats against the Serbs that would have led to
17 some people being evicted or expelled?
18 A. Your question is a general one. I can claim with full
19 responsibility, because I was in Vukovar before the war, during the war,
20 after the war, and on the 20th of November when Vukovar was occupied, so
21 I claim that as far as I knew, there was no maltreatment whatsoever of
22 Serbs, nor were they threatened or their jobs threatened in any way.
23 I can state what I am certain about and what I experienced by myself, and
24 that is the following:
25 After Borovo Selo, when Croatian policemen were killed there,
1 many Serbs failed to show up for work. Some of them left for Serbia.
2 Others set up war health stations in the surrounding Serbian villages.
3 When I was appointed director of the medical centre, I actually was not
4 expecting this. But when I was nominated for that post, I accepted that
5 challenge, and I thought that I would be able to organise the hospital to
6 operate properly and to assist everybody. But the assistance which I had
7 at the time -- allow me. I have to tell you this.
8 The assistants of Director Popovic retained those posts; namely,
9 Dr. Mladen Ivankovic, who was a Serb, and Mr. Njegovan Krstic, who was
10 also a Serb. They were my assistants, and we continued working together
11 on a daily basis; namely, many Serbs remained to work in the hospital
12 until the end of the occupation, whereas many Croats also left the
13 hospital and went to the free territories in Croatia, so that I cannot
14 confirm that they were threatened in any way.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I want to use the time
16 we have as efficiently as possible, and I want to make sure that you
17 answer my questions.
18 Do you know a street in Vukovar that is called Dalmatinska
20 A. I know, more or less, where it is. It is near the barracks, the
21 former barracks of the JNA.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. During his
23 cross-examination, the accused put the following question to the witness.
24 I'm going to ask you the question myself. That's to be found at
25 page 6713 of the transcript. The question was as follows:
1 "Do you know that all Serb houses of Dalmatinska Street were
2 searched and that the Serbs were all taken to the police station, where
3 they were beaten up and some of them were killed?"
4 Were you aware of these events? Did you hear about this?
5 A. No, and I don't believe that that was so because this street is
6 very near the barracks. That was already the frontline. So I had not
7 heard of it and I don't believe it.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me move on to the topic of
9 the shelling of the hospital.
10 We know that soldiers, injured soldiers, received treatment at
11 the hospital. Was there a red cross drawn on the roof of the hospital so
12 that it would be visible from the air, that everyone would know it was a
14 A. Yes, there were two red crosses. One red cross was on what is
15 now the administrative building of the hospital, and another was in the
16 courtyard, on the lawn. And the video cassettes which the OTP has
17 visibly show it was a very conspicuous red cross and it was all
18 pockmarked on account of the shelling.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. In your written
20 statement, you explained that the hospital was shelled for days on end by
21 the JNA. Undoubtedly, your hospital was hit. But in your view, was this
22 shelling targeting your hospital, in particular, or the town, in general?
23 A. It is hard to say, because so many thousands of shells landed on
24 the city on a daily basis, and I personally witnessed the demolition of
25 everything left, right and center, so that I cannot say. But sometimes
1 it seemed to us that we were -- precisely we were the target, targeted by
2 rocket-launchers from the other bank of the Danube. Then there was
3 aerial shelling of the entire city from Mitnica to Borovo Naselje, so
4 that I don't think that exclusively the hospital was the target of the
5 shelling. But it was certainly not excepted. The entire city was razed
6 to the ground within the space of three months and practically totally
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We know, because you said it
9 yourself, that you called the JNA and General Raseta, who was in Zagreb,
10 and you called him to notify him of the shelling. Could you, very
11 briefly, tell us exactly what General Raseta told you? Was he aware of
12 the shelling? What did he tell you?
13 A. He behaved as if it was the first time he was hearing this and he
14 didn't believe it. There was a relative of his with us in the hospital,
15 a young man who wanted to talk to him, and he did talk to him, and he
16 confirmed that we were being shelled. He asked for the shelling to
17 abate, for helicopters to be sent for the wounded. However, that was all
18 to no avail.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Here you are providing us with
20 a very relevant piece of information. I was not aware of that myself.
21 There was a cousin of General Raseta who talked to him on the phone and
22 this relative of his confirmed that the hospital was, indeed, being
23 shelled by the JNA?
24 A. Yes.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. This cousin of his,
1 was he a Serb, a Croat; what was his ethnicity?
2 A. Before I answer this question, could I ask for this session --
3 for us to go into closed session, because I have not talked with his
4 family about this.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's not a problem. Let's move
6 into private session.
7 One moment, please.
8 [Private session]
17 [Open session]
18 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll come back to that issue
21 Witness, obviously General Raseta did nothing at all. Why is it
22 that you didn't call the defence ministry in Belgrade to try and talk to
23 someone there, someone who would be able to answer your call? Did you
24 try to do it, were you unable to do it?
25 A. [No interpretation].
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You did. Who did you speak to?
2 A. I did ask, but I was unable to get through by direct line in
3 Belgrade. Actually, it was through Zagreb that I got a number in
4 Sarajevo, and I got the office of Admiral Brovet, who was in charge at
5 that time. At least that is what I'd heard. I got this officer in the
6 General Staff of the Yugoslav Army. I said who I was. I said that I was
7 calling from Vukovar and that I was requesting them to stop shelling the
8 hospital and the entire town. This officer told me that he couldn't let
9 me speak to anyone else but that he would do some checking, that he
10 didn't believe it, that the hospital was being shelled and so on. I told
11 him to come in helicopter to Vukovar to see for himself, for themselves
12 that the hospital was being shelled. They actually behaved as if they
13 didn't believe it, and the truth was that they didn't want to hear it. I
14 did my very best. I managed to establish many contacts with different
15 people, but unfortunately I was unable to help stop the shelling, the
16 devastation of Vukovar, the killing of the civilians there.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. I'm now going to deal
18 with the evacuation of the hospital.
19 Apparently, the evacuation was negotiated at meetings between the
20 JNA, the Croatian Army and various international organisations. It was
21 thus decided to evacuate the hospital. Did you yourself have fears about
22 what would happen during the evacuation or after the evacuation?
23 A. I personally have to say while these negotiations were being
24 conducted, when in the early morning on the 17th I heard that the
25 evacuation would start on the 18th, I was confident that it would indeed
1 be carried out exactly according to the agreement, that the International
2 Red Cross and European Monitors would come to the hospital and that we
3 would evacuate all the wounded, the sick and all the civilians from the
4 hospital on that day. It was a Monday, the 18th, and the evacuation of
5 Borovo Naselje was to be carried out on the 19th. There was a standby
6 hospital there in Borovo Naselje with also quite a few patients and
7 civilians there. And on the 20th, the Wednesday, all the other civilians
8 who were not wounded and sick were to be evacuated. That was the
9 information I had, and that was my hope.
10 On Monday morning, when no one showed up at the hospital, nor
11 called us or reported in any way, I started worrying and I started making
12 calls and asking for the Minister of Health to see what was happening.
13 At 11.00 on that day, the European Monitors Mission people called me and
14 they told me that they could not come to the hospital as agreed because
15 they were not allowed to do so.
16 That same day, Minister Hebrang told me that he informed by the
17 International Red Cross that they were en route and that they were near
18 the hospital but that they were busy surrendering or handing over
19 Croatian soldiers in the southern part of the city. I didn't know what
20 he was talking about, but later I understood that neither the Red Cross
21 or the -- nor the European Mission was able to comply with the signed
22 agreement, because to get to the city in the first place, they would have
23 had to obtain permission from the person then in charge, who was Major
24 Sljivancanin, and he wouldn't let them go inside the city. He first took
25 them to Mitnica, where the Croatian soldiers from Mitnica were
1 surrendering, and only after that, on Tuesday, when the army had already
2 entered and with it the paramilitary units and the different ilk of
3 volunteers, it was only at dusk on the 19th that the representative of
4 the International Red Cross managed to arrive at the hospital.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The representative of the
6 International Red Cross came to the hospital on the 19th. Can you tell
7 us, very briefly, what he did, and why he did not stay at the hospital,
8 and why he left?
9 A. They came, brought a lorry full of medical supplies and medicines
10 and they were brought by Major Sljivancanin. They inspected the
11 hospital. They looked at all the lists of the wounded that we had
12 prepared. I had a very unpleasant surprise when this gentleman, Nikola,
13 said that they were going back to Belgrade but would come back in the
14 morning. Why they hadn't stayed, you would have to ask him, because
15 already that same night many people were taken away from the hospital,
16 never to be seen again, and they were not found even at Ovcara.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, in your view, if the
18 International Community had been there through its representatives,
19 through the European Mission, the Red Cross, MSF, what have you, would
20 that have changed the course of events or not?
21 A. I think it would. However, the European Monitors would have had
22 to come to the hospital and stayed there, and the ICRC would have had to
23 come to the hospital and stayed there, because the agreement clearly
24 states they would handle the evacuation of the hospital. But as I said,
25 the person in charge in the field of all that at the time was Major
1 Sljivancanin, and he simply didn't make sure it happened.
2 Mr. Borsinger, when he came, he saw buses on the other side of
3 the street. These buses were taking people to Ovcara. He saw them, and
4 he wanted to list the people. But Major Sljivancanin countered
5 aggressively. He said it was his country, not Borsinger's country, so
6 the people were not listed. And all I can say is if the European
7 Monitors and the ICRC people had been there, the crime would not have
8 happened, which of course does not detract from the responsibility and
9 guilt of those who killed civilians, over 1.500 civilians of all
10 nationalities before the evacuation and then after the evacuation, many
11 more wounded, sick people, civilians who were killed before eyewitnesses,
12 and there are testimonies to that.
13 I have to tell you that the people in Vukovar were very
14 disappointed by the judgement of this Tribunal in the case of
15 Veselin Sljivancanin and Mr. Radic, because we hold Mr. Sljivancanin to
16 have been the person who decided on the life and death of all those in
17 the Vukovar Hospital who were eventually massacred.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The indictment against this
19 accused, we have the subject of Vukovar as well, so that this Trial
20 Chamber will have to assess what happened in reality. There is no doubt
21 about it, individuals were killed in Ovcara. Nobody challenges that;
22 neither does the accused. It's just that the Judges will have to make a
23 decision, will have to decide who did that and why they did that. This
24 is going to be our problem, and we'll have to settle this after due
25 deliberation. This is why we have witnesses who come to testify, and you
1 are one of them.
2 The accused has a theory; other witnesses, too. It is the theory
3 that the events that took place in Vukovar allegedly were carried out by
4 members of the local TO who, as it were, took revenge on the prisoners
5 and allegedly have committed those crimes. What do you think of the case
6 put by the accused?
7 A. What can I tell you? I gave it a lot of thought, why in
8 precisely that way, why precisely those people, and I'm not the only one
9 who has been thinking about that. There are whole institutes in Croatia
10 grappling with the matter. The fact is I can speak only of Vukovar.
11 About Kostajnica, about Skabrnja and other locations, I cannot speak
12 because all I know is from reading. Vukovar is what I know about. I
13 know that both the army, the paramilitaries, the reservists and the
14 volunteers and what do you call them, the Territorial Defence, now
15 already ex-citizens of Vukovar, they all acted in unison. They could
16 have done nothing on their own if the army hadn't shelled and bombed the
17 town. Without the army, they could not have done anything. The army
18 destroyed the town, and just as they protected some of the wounded, 164
19 of them from the hospital, and protected the wounded from Borovo Komerc
20 company, like they protected and arrested some of us from the Vukovar
21 Hospital like myself and Mr. Njavro, they could have protected and saved
23 The Army, then represented by Veselin Sljivancanin, and all the
24 other units under the control of this accused who is sitting here and
25 listening, if they had wanted to protect the wounded, they could have.
1 They simply sacrificed them in order to take their revenge, I don't
2 really know why, for the failure they had experienced, because they had
3 been saying that Vukovar would fall within a month. I personally heard
4 Sljivancanin say on the radio that, "Vukovar will fall within a month.
5 We will plough over everything, make a park in its place." And then when
6 it didn't happen and when the massacre happened instead, he simply let
7 the soldiers take it all out on our compatriots, on the wounded, on the
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you have just expressed your
10 point of view, and it has been recorded in the transcript.
11 Several witnesses have testified. Others will come as well.
12 Some of them seem, I do say "seem," to show that at some point in time
13 the regular forces of the JNA, including the military police and some JNA
14 officers, that they were totally overwhelmed by the events and by the
15 acts of some individuals, including some members of the TO, or some
16 volunteers who were on location. What do you think? Do you think this
17 is a credible point of view or not at all; that is, that it might be that
18 the JNA was just overwhelmed and overtaken by other people?
19 A. What do you mean "overwhelmed"? If they had wanted to, they had
20 the weapons, they had the power, they could have carried out the
21 evacuation as it should have been done if they had wanted to, I say, but
22 they didn't want to, as -- just as they sent some of the wounded in an
23 evacuation convoy to Croatia, that same way they could have taken those
24 buses and those civilians and sent them not to Ovcara but to Croatia.
25 You can't say they didn't know it or they wanted to but couldn't. They
1 sent them to Ovcara for a purpose. They knew what was going on there.
2 It was widely known, not only in Vukovar. The same or similar happened
3 in many other places, and there are still survivors and witnesses who
4 managed to get out of there with their head on their shoulders and who
5 pointed out the locations of mass graves, although not all the dead have
6 been found. 494 people are still missing from Vukovar, and 262 of them
7 are missing of those who were in the hospital.
8 So if you ask me, the army that had entered the town was able to
9 control all of its troops, but it simply let things go and allowed for
10 the massacre to happen. I personally saw the autopsy report for my
11 father-in-law, which notes an entry and exit wound to the head, which
12 means it was an execution. It couldn't have happened without the
13 knowledge and consent of those who came into and occupied the city. That
14 means all the troops of the army and the reservists who acted shoulder to
15 shoulder with them.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There seems to be a mistake in
17 the transcript on line 3 -- on lines 3 and 4, page 16. There is a
18 mention of a certain amount of people, 494, and then 262. And if I
19 understood you properly, you said that there was 62 people who still are
20 missing to date.
21 A. I said 262 persons are missing from the hospital. 200 were found
22 in Ovcara and 62 were still missing. And if you take Vukovar and the
23 surrounding area, 494 people are missing.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So to date, 494 people from
25 Vukovar and the surrounding area have not been found. Out of this
1 figure, there are 62 people who had been in the hospital. Thank you for
2 making this clear.
3 One last topic, your own detention in the Sremska Mitrovica
4 prison. We have your statement and we learn that you were detained until
5 the 8th of December, 1992. Could you explain why you were detained?
6 First of all, tell us who arrested you and detained you, on what grounds,
7 and how you were released.
8 A. On that day, the 20th, in the morning - it was a Wednesday,
9 7.00 - I was again at the Vukovar Hospital after spending the night in
10 Negoslavci, being interrogated before Sljivancanin at their headquarters
11 in Negoslavci, and then in the morning Vidic and I were taken back to the
12 hospital, and at 7.00 Sljivancanin said we had to convene a meeting in a
13 large room of all the medical staff. So at 7.30, we all met in the
14 plaster room, where he addressed us and said that the hospital would be
15 taken over by the Military Medical Academy. There were seven or eight
16 doctors there in military uniforms who took over the running of the
17 hospital, and all the others were told they could either go to Croatia or
18 stay in Vukovar, as they wished.
19 One soldier or, rather, officer of the JNA - I don't know
20 rank - took Marin Vidic and myself to the barracks, saying that we were
21 going to agree with the ICRC about an evacuation. It was around 7.00,
22 8.00 in the morning when we were taken to the barracks, and we were kept
23 there under the guard of the military police until that evening. I was
24 interrogated, and then I was put, without any explanation, into a prison
25 vehicle, where I found Mr. Njavro and another technician, and we drove
1 towards Belgrade, as far as we could see through a small window. And
2 then we were taken around 2.00 a.m. to Sremska Mitrovica, to the prison,
3 where I went through the torture of prisoners.
4 One colonel of the JNA met us there --
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Excuse me, Witness. We'll get
6 to that later. Let me return to something you said.
7 So you were put in front of cameras. I suppose you were
8 recorded, filmed. Was it the army recording or was it the Belgrade TV or
9 CNN? I don't know.
10 A. I think it was the army. I didn't see any civilians there.
11 Everybody was in uniform. It was like a filmed statement, where I said
12 who I was, what I was.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you were taken
14 to the prison, and you said you were tortured there. We'll speak about
15 this in a moment.
16 When you were detained, were you told of an indictment, were you
17 told what the charges were against you, was there a military
18 investigative judge who came to see you, or were you just sort of put in
19 a cell without any reason?
20 A. No, I was put in an isolation cell in that prison in
21 Sremska Mitrovica, a very cold, dirty isolation cell where I spent that
22 night, and the next day I was placed in a room with some women who were
23 also from Vukovar, women from Mitnica and Sajmiste, 66 women in one room.
24 So I was there with them, and every day I was interrogated by one colonel
25 named Branko, whose -- in fact, I asked him what I was charged with, why
1 I was in prison, and he said I was there to make a statement about what
2 was going on in Vukovar. So there I wrote a statement which is also
3 available here at the Tribunal. I believe it was on 22 pages -- 92
4 pages. I kept asking him when I would be released, whether I would be
5 allowed to go back to Vukovar, because I wanted to know what happened to
6 my husband.
7 The ICRC delegation came a few days later. European Monitors
8 found me in that prison three or four days later. I was there in
9 Sremska Mitrovica until the 10th, writing that statement, and that
10 colonel kept saying that as soon as I'm done with the statement, I would
11 be going to Zagreb.
12 While I was still writing the statement - it was a Sunday - they
13 came suddenly and told me to pack, that I'm leaving, and then I spent
14 another two days in the investigating prison in Belgrade, and there I
15 appeared before some sort of trial chamber. There was one prosecutor,
16 one judge, and they asked me if I wanted defence counsel, to which I
17 said, "What am I charged with, in the first place?" They said the charge
18 would probably be armed insurgency, and I replied I'd never held a
19 weapon, nor had I ever done any harm to anyone, and, "What does it mean,"
20 I said. "Am I supposed to take defence counsel from here at the prison?"
21 They said one would be appointed, and then a person appeared in uniform
22 who was allegedly a defence counsel.
23 And then they went through those appeals that I had written,
24 where I clearly wrote that the Yugoslav People's Army was destroying
25 Vukovar, and that's what they were holding against me, basically.
1 However, they didn't bring any charges. Instead, I stayed in
2 that isolation cell until Tuesday, and the others who were brought from
3 Mitrovica and Nis, including some doctors and priests, and my husband was
4 in that group as well, they were also in that military investigation
5 prison in Belgrade.
6 And then, nevertheless, on Tuesday they put us on a bus, then on
7 a plane, and we were exchanged as prisoners of war for some people who
8 had been arrested in Zagreb. I don't know what they were called, some
9 sort of Laborador group, some spies. In any case, we were exchanged for
10 them, and that's how 13 days later I came to Zagreb and later learned
11 that at that time the US ambassador, whose name eludes me at the
12 moment - maybe it's Zimmerman -- anyway, Professor Hebrang and President
13 Tudjman asked that physicians, priests be released from prisons, so we
14 were eventually exchanged 13 days later.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the beginning, you said that
16 you had been tortured. Was there a mistake, did I mishear? When you
17 were detained, was there any act of physical violence against you?
18 A. Depends on what you understand "physical violence" to mean. I
19 was not abused in terms of beating, except when we were escorted as a
20 group and then the guards would hit us, not minding where and whom they
21 hit, but the whole detention was torture to me, abuse.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let us speak about Colonel
23 Branko, this famous Colonel Branko. He asked you to produce a statement.
24 Did he then say that it had to be geared towards saying something
25 specific or were you absolutely free to say everything that had happened
1 in the most free possible way?
2 A. No, no, he specifically told me to write, in chronological order,
3 what had happened, with whom I made contact, what I know about various
4 people, what I knew about fighting men, their names, and I wanted to
5 write the truth as I perceived it then, and that's how I started.
6 However, he warned me that that would not be good, the way I was writing
7 it, and the fact is I started writing the statement in the same way I
8 wrote my appeals, describing all that we had gone through during the war.
9 But he told me that that was no good, I had to state who I had cooperated
10 with, whom I had called in Zagreb. It was a kind of questioning, except
11 I had to write my answers down; whom I had contacted abroad, outside
12 Croatia, all the people whom I had called on the telephone.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you had this interview with
14 Colonel Branko. Did he want to know what kind of contacts you'd had with
15 Colonel Raseta or with the JNA? Was he interested in that or not at all?
16 A. I think he wasn't particularly interested. What he wanted to
17 know was the people whom I had contact with.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Did he then speak with you
19 about the fate of the people who had been evacuated from the hospital,
20 including the fate of those who found themselves at Ovcara, or did he say
21 nothing about it? He didn't say anything, did he?
22 A. [No interpretation].
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is going to be my last
24 question, and I'll see whether my colleagues have questions themselves.
25 You answered, "No." I can see that in the transcript on line 19,
1 page 21, the answer was not recorded. You answered with a, "No." So
2 that's corrected.
3 So, Witness, this is going to be my last question, after which
4 I'll give the floor to my colleagues, if they have questions themselves.
5 So following all these events, did you write one or many books?
6 We know that there is one book called the appeals, the appeals that you
7 had made, but did you write other books, other than that one? And if so,
8 what were the titles?
9 A. Last year, we published a monograph entitled "The Vukovar
10 Hospital, 1991." It's on 360 pages, and it also covers a history of the
11 Vukovar area and the history of the Vukovar Hospital, everything that
12 happened in 1991 in the Vukovar Hospital. And at the end of the book,
13 there are photographs of all the people who were killed in Ovcara, people
14 from the Vukovar Hospital who are still on record as missing, then
15 reminiscences of wounded children, wounded soldiers. And I turned over
16 that book to the Prosecution as well, that book that was published in
17 Croatia last year, but I have also prepared here a copy for you,
19 This year, we prepared an English edition, and on the 18th of
20 November, which is the day of remembrance for Vukovar in Croatia, this
21 book will appear in English.
22 There are just a few contributions of mine in that book. It's
23 not my book. It was co-authored by many people who worked in and for the
24 Vukovar Hospital. So when you have time to read it, maybe some things
25 will become much clearer.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Doctor, you are now working
2 again in the Vukovar Hospital. This hospital is now running today with
3 doctors, with medical staff, administrative staff, with nurses and other
4 staff. Are there Croats, Serbs, or people of other nationalities in the
5 staff or you only have Croats on the staff?
6 A. As you well know, in 1998, by virtue of the agreement on peaceful
7 reintegration of the Danube area in Croatia, Vukovar was again integrated
8 into Croatia. I was the director of the Vukovar Hospital in exile, and I
9 participated in the process of peaceful reintegration. And in the summer
10 of 1998, I first came back to the Vukovar Hospital. In 1996, I had been
11 in Vukovar already for the first negotiations, but in 1998 I returned to
12 the hospital. I found the city almost completely destroyed. The
13 hospital was partly rebuilt. And we fully implemented that agreement on
14 peaceful reintegration, which included keeping on all the personnel who
15 was working in that medical centre now called Sveti Save in 1996. That
16 included the hospital and the primary healthcare centre. We cooperated
17 with the UN, after that with the European Monitors, in the implementation
18 of that agreement.
19 However, leaving them alone, the most important thing to me in
20 1991 and today is that all the personnel, regardless of ethnicity and
21 faith, should do their jobs as best as possible, to the best their
22 ability, and treat all the patients in the best possible way, regardless,
23 again, of ethnicity, faith, or any other affiliation.
24 Nowadays, the hospital employs 520 staff members of various
25 ethnicities. Some were -- some are from Serbia, some are from Croatia,
1 some worked during the occupation in Vukovar and stayed on, while others
2 returned. Regardless of everything we had been through, none of my
3 colleagues or myself believed that ethnicity matters. What matters is
4 how good the doctor is, how able he is to help the patients.
5 I believe we have succeeded in our efforts, and the hospital is
6 now entering the last stage of rebuilding and renovation, which will be
7 over in two years. And Vukovar by that time, I hope, will also be
8 completely rebuilt.
9 There are people of all ethnicities and faiths living in Vukovar
10 today. It used to have a population of 45.000. Nowadays the population
11 is 32.000. I believe Vukovar has a future. However, we will never
12 forget the past. We've just learned to live with it. There are several
13 memorials and museums in Vukovar keeping the memory of the suffering of
14 people during the war and the occupation of Vukovar. And in our own
15 hospital, we have an area which is a small museum to commemorate the
16 victims of 1991. 18.000 people have visited this little museum in the
17 hospital. School children, retirees, teachers, lawyers, are among the
18 visitors, bishops as well. There was a recent ecumenical conference of
19 Catholic priests in Belgrade, and from Belgrade they came to our hospital
20 to see this museum. And I brought invitations to you as well, and I want
21 to hand them to you, and I believe that you will understand much better
22 all that happened and what it looks like today, once you've visited
23 Vukovar and our hospital.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm now going to turn to my
25 fellow Judges to see if they have questions for you.
1 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you.
2 Doctor, I have just a few questions to you which relate to the
3 role of the paramilitaries during the occupation of the hospital.
4 Now, you say in your statement that you saw the paramilitaries,
5 the soldiers and Chetniks, for the first time on the 19th of November,
6 and I understand that on that day and in the following days, a number of
7 the paramilitaries took part in the action that occurred at the hospital.
8 Is that correct? Just to check that I have understood correctly.
9 A. Yes, it is.
10 JUDGE HARHOFF: I'm interested to know or to learn from you what
11 you could observe regarding the coordination between the soldiers and the
12 paramilitaries, the Chetniks, the volunteers. Were you able to form an
13 impression about who controlled them, or did you see anyone giving orders
14 to them, or did they perhaps just act on their own and did they seem to
15 you to be independent of the soldiers? Did you have any impression of
16 how their actions were coordinated with the soldiers?
17 A. I don't know whether I can be precise in answering this question.
18 What I saw and what I could feel, for instance, when the troops of the
19 army entered the hospital, there was an officer of the army who came to
20 the hospital. I went out and I asked them whether they were being
21 accompanied by the ECMM and the Red Cross, and he said, "No." And I told
22 him we were expecting the International Red Cross, according to the
23 agreement, and he told me that he knew nothing about it. Then I asked
24 him, "Who is the one who does know," because I would have to get in touch
25 with someone who knew where the International Red Cross was. Then he
1 told me that he had seen some EU monitors and some ICRC representatives
2 in Negoslavci.
3 Then, of my own accord, I went to Negoslavci. I asked them to
4 take me there so I could get in touch with the Red Cross. But before
5 that, I asked him whether he could vouch, say that no one would enter the
6 hospital of the troops or anybody else until the Red Cross people came,
7 and he told me, yes, he could guarantee that, and he designated some
8 people to stand guard at the entrance to the hospital. They were to wait
9 there until the International Red Cross people arrived.
10 But I also know that when I was taken back from Negoslavci, that
11 I saw reservists barging into the hospital, paramilitary unit members
12 with helmets on their heads entering the hospital, barging into the
13 hospital, and on their helmets were some markings, some Chetnik insignia
14 with some white ribbons. That was no regular army. There was no regular
15 army there. There were some regular troops outside, but they did not
16 prevent them from entering.
17 So I went outside, and I tried to prevent them from entering the
18 hospital, but they obviously had not recognised me and they actually paid
19 no heed to me, but they did recognise a surgeon of ours whose son was in
20 these units, and he came out and he told them not to go inside the
22 When they were taking me to Negoslavci, with us rode a Chetnik,
23 as I say, in the car. This was an unkempt man with a fur hat, a bearded
24 man, in boots and with a huge knife tucked into his belt, and he looked
25 at me and this man volatile, with so much hatred that I was -- I was sure
1 if we had not been in this military vehicle that he would have killed us.
2 The moment he realised that we were from the hospital, he had such a
3 feeling of hatred that I could see that he told the driver, "Stop, I want
4 to get out." He just couldn't bear to ride in the car with us.
5 So it is hard to say now what people could have told other people
6 and who was commanding other people or could have ordered somebody else.
7 It is hard to say now. It's simply, in my view, the army had taken the
8 city, and let them do whatever they pleased.
9 I told this Colonel Branko that I don't have to show him exactly
10 where we took our dead and deposited them until we could bury them, and
11 he told me openly that it would not be wise for me to do so because we
12 would not be able to leave Vukovar alive. If that is truth, for that
13 matter, so I can't say.
14 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you. Let's just be sure about who is who.
15 The impression you leave with me is that the soldiers of the JNA
16 were easily recognisable by their uniform, whereas the paramilitaries and
17 the volunteers were equally easily recognisable by their being dressed
18 more leniently, only partly uniformed, and perhaps with insignia, or fur
19 hats, or by other recognisable traces. Is that a correct understanding?
20 A. Yes.
21 JUDGE HARHOFF: Sorry. So you were able to distinguish clearly
22 who was a JNA soldier and who was a volunteer or a paramilitary?
23 A. Well, yes, I think that I was able to distinguish between them,
24 but I cannot claim that it was like that in every situation.
25 JUDGE HARHOFF: I understand. But the general picture was that
1 the volunteers could, generally speaking, easily be recognised and
2 distinguished from the JNA soldiers. Let me then ask you if you --
3 A. My impression is the army came in and passed. I cannot say,
4 because I was taken to prison, but according to the testimonies of many
5 people and of many women whose stories I heard in prison, the army came
6 and went. These people went into these cellars, shouting, "Get out. If
7 you do not get out, we are going to throw a bomb," so that people got out
8 of the basements. They pushed them, loaded them onto vehicles, drove
9 them away. Some people survived, others didn't. Many are missing. The
10 fates of many others are unknown. They singled out people from the
11 column in plain sight of the soldiers, in plain sight of the people who
12 were responsible, who were supposed to be responsible for the evacuation.
13 They took people away, and nothing is known of them to this day. This
14 is -- these are the stories that I heard from eyewitnesses.
15 JUDGE HARHOFF: I see. And when you say "these people went into
16 these cellars," and so on, by "these people," you mean the paramilitaries
17 or the volunteers; is that correct?
18 A. That's who I mean.
19 JUDGE HARHOFF: Now, I wanted also to ask you about the
20 approximate distribution of soldiers and volunteers. Can you give me any
21 impression of how many the volunteers were in comparison to the soldiers?
22 Was it about half, half of the military persons who entered the hospital
23 were soldiers, and the other half were volunteers or --
24 A. No. What I saw, among those who arrived at the hospital and
25 those whom I met as I was taken to Negoslavci, from Negoslavci, and to
1 prison, there were many, many more regular troops there, armoured
2 personnel carriers, tanks. I just couldn't believe the number of tanks.
3 Even though we were being destroyed and razed to the ground, I just
4 couldn't believe their numbers, the numbers of the APCs. I believe there
5 must have been -- what I saw, I mean, the ratio between the regular
6 troops and the paramilitaries must have been 20 to 1 in favour of the
7 regular army, except that it is my impression that the army just went in
8 and was anxious to leave as soon as possible, and they just went out.
9 But I am quite sure that had they wanted to preserve those
10 wretched, poor civilians, sick civilians, among whom there were also
11 Serbs because there were hundreds of people in the cellars of Vukovar, a
12 third of whom were Serbs, had they genuinely wanted then preserved, the
13 army would have evacuated them properly. But, no, these other people did
14 as they pleased. And when they emerged from the cellars and when they
15 saw that there were also Serbs among the people who came out of the
16 cellars, they would separate them. Some of them would shout as they were
17 coming out, "I'm a Serb," and in respect of others, actually, others got
18 beaten because they were shouting, "I'm a Serb," because they asked them,
19 "What are you doing with a Ustasha, then, if you are a Serb?"
20 In the magazine "Vreme" which I brought, in an interview of 6
21 November, the accused wrote that not a single Ustasha can leave Vukovar
22 alive, and in his book, every Serb even who was with Ustasha was also
24 JUDGE HARHOFF: We'll get to that in a minute. Can I just ask
25 you about the ratio between JNA soldiers and the volunteers? You told us
1 it was about 20 to 1, and my question is precise: Was that same ratio
2 applicable to --
3 A. That is my impression.
4 JUDGE HARHOFF: I understand, but my question is: Was that same
5 ratio also applicable to the group of armed persons at the hospital? Do
6 you understand my question? Because I thought you said that when you
7 went outside the hospital, you were able to see that there were many more
8 JNA soldiers than there were volunteers, and my question then refers you
9 back to the hospital, during those days when you were there. And my
10 question is: At the hospital, were there also an equal -- the same ratio
11 of soldiers and volunteers; that is to say, about 20 to 1?
12 A. Yes.
13 JUDGE HARHOFF: My last question is related to the leadership
14 that you have testified about.
15 We have heard you say at several occasions, and this is also in
16 your statements, that General Mrksic was -- Colonel Mrksic was there, and
17 also Sljivancanin, yet I think you also testified yesterday when you were
18 asked by the Presiding Judge who controlled the volunteers, and your
19 answer to that, if I'm not mistaken, was that that was the accused.
20 So this raises the issue of: What did you actually mean? If
21 Mrksic and Sljivancanin were in control of the operation, then how could
22 the accused also be in control of the operation? So my question to you
23 is: What did you actually mean, and on which basis did you tell us
24 yesterday that the accused was in control?
25 A. When I talked with General Raseta, he told me that within the
1 framework of the evacuation of the hospital -- actually, Colonel Milorad
2 Mrksic was responsible for that. When I called him on the 19th on
3 Tuesday to ask how come nobody had shown up, not the Red Cross or anybody
4 else, then he told me Colonel Milan Mrksic will find you, and indeed he
5 did call me on the phone. He told me that he knew me, that we knew each
6 other, that he also was from Vukovar, and that I shouldn't worry. And I
7 said, "How shall I not worry? People are dying of gangrene. We have no
8 food, we have no water, there have been -- nobody has come to see us in
9 two days."
10 So the information I got was that the commander of that entire
11 sector was Milan Mrksic. And when they took me to Negoslavci, which is
12 what I asked for in order to see the Red Cross people and their staff,
13 Milan Mrksic was there at a desk, and he said that the International Red
14 Cross would come there immediately, that he would send water tanks. And
15 then they took me back to the hospital again, and that was the first time
16 I saw Sljivancanin with a group of soldiers driving out civilians from
17 the first floor, civilians who had not been in the hospital before that
18 day. I asked them what they were doing, that we had to evacuate the
19 hospital first, and he just shrugged off arrogantly, shooed me away, said
20 it was none of my business. And so they took all these civilians and put
21 them onto lorries. That was on the afternoon of the 19th, the Tuesday.
22 So I understood that Sljivancanin was the man in charge in the
23 field, and that other guy over there [indicates]. Why did I say this?
24 Because I -- the accused. I heard with my very own ears, when he came to
25 Vukovar before in October and November, I heard him encouraging Serbian
1 soldiers, whether they were volunteers or any other unit members, that he
2 encouraged them, and that is why I saw him as the leader. Sljivancanin
3 was the uniformed leader. That is why I said so, and that is what I
4 still maintain today. The ideatic [as interpreted] leader was the
5 accused. I said so to this person who was guarding me in the Staff. I
6 don't know what his name was. I'm talking about my own Crisis Staff. I
7 said that they were doing everything that Seselj said, and he said to me,
8 "Why are you saying that? The troops are not doing what Seselj does."
9 And I told him, "Oh, yes, they are, they certainly are," because I heard
10 him say that Vukovar would be razed to the ground and a park installed in
11 its place, and that's exactly what happened.
12 JUDGE HARHOFF: Sorry, I did not get that. Did you hear the
13 accused say that Vukovar would be razed to the ground?
14 A. Yes.
15 JUDGE HARHOFF: Where did you hear this?
16 A. On radio, on radio, whilst I was still in Vukovar, over the
17 radio. We listened to the Serbian radio, we tuned in to the Serbian
19 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Dutertre, any
22 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Two matters of procedure I would
23 like to raise, and I have two questions as part of the re-examination.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. Redirect can only take
25 place after cross-examination. As there has been no cross-examination,
1 there cannot be any redirect.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but since the Judges put
3 questions to the witness, the Prosecutor may like to explore some of the
4 issues raised by the Judges.
5 Mr. Dutertre.
6 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I have
7 two follow-up questions following the questions you put, yourself, to the
8 witness about the level of organisation of all this and the fact that the
9 JNA may have been overtaken by events.
10 Re-examination by Mr. Dutertre:
11 Q. Witness, you were the director of the hospital during the
12 conflicts. Some people died at the hospital, and you were called on to
13 take the necessary steps to have these people buried. I suppose you're
14 familiar with the steps that need to be taken to arrange a burial.
15 Could you please tell me, based on your experience, what sort of
16 organisation you need to bury 200 bodies?
17 A. Well, you need -- actually, when we saw that it was impossible to
18 bury the dead in the cemeteries, we had an excavator dig a grave next to
19 the old cemetery, and we started burying the people there. But it was a
20 problem, because under the shower of shells, the excavator was unable to
22 I'm not quite sure, actually, what you mean by "organisation,"
23 but it was not easy to organise. We made lists, we had coffins made.
24 The Borovo factory made the coffins for the dead. Everything was very
25 difficult to do under the shells. When we no longer managed to do even
1 that, we would just deposit them by the hospital and mark them.
2 Q. I'm going to rephrase my question to make it clearer.
3 We know that 200 persons died at Ovcara. What degree of
4 organisation do you need to bury 200 bodies in the mass grave at Ovcara?
5 How much organisation do you need?
6 A. It wouldn't necessarily have to have been a very high degree of
7 organisation. First of all, we would have to load all those onto buses,
8 as they were loaded onto buses, six buses, and then take them to Ovcara,
9 and then there was this excavator that came and dug this hole, and then
10 they took them by lorries and had them -- over to that spot and had them
11 executed. This was not done by Territorials only. Of that I'm certain.
12 It had to be a deliberate, well-thought-out action on the part of all of
13 them, including the army.
14 In fact, Sljivancanin told me, when he was interrogating me -- he
15 asked me where the Croatian soldiers were, the Jastreb, the hawks, and I
16 asked him why did you bring them here in the first place, "Why did you
17 bring your men here in the first place, to demolish Vukovar and to get
18 killed in Vukovar."
19 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have no further
20 questions, Your Honour, but let me raise two points very quickly. First
21 of all, the 92 ter statement of the witness was tendered and bears number
22 P587. I would like to ask the Chamber to put this document or exhibit
23 under seal. We have the same statement here, the same 92 ter statement
24 that has been redacted, and it bears identification
25 number ID 0641-9417-RED, for "redaction." I seek to tender this document
1 as the public exhibit, and I seek a number for that exhibit.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. This was to answer
3 concerns about confidentiality and relatives and medical matters.
4 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Yes, indeed.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Registrar, you need
6 to state that Exhibit P587 is under seal and we need a new number for
7 exhibit ID 0641-9417-RED.
8 Madam Registrar.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, redacted version of exhibit P587
10 becomes Exhibit P603, and P587 is placed under seal.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, P603.
12 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Page 26, line 18, Dr. Bosanac said
13 something that was not recorded on the transcript. I'd like us to move
14 briefly into closed session to deal with this, because this raises an
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Dutertre, but this is
17 on the recording, on the audio recording, and the transcript then will be
19 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Yes, but, you know, I knew who was
20 mentioned, but I believe that the name was not properly recorded.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Registrar, closed
23 [Private session]
15 [Open session]
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Doctor, on behalf of my fellow
18 Judges, I would like to thank you for having testified over these past
19 two days about the events that took place in Vukovar. Let me thank you
20 on behalf of the Trial Chamber.
21 I wish you a safe trip home back to Vukovar and to
22 the hospital, where you work as a
24 We're going to have a break, and after this 20-minute break we'll
25 hear the next witness.
1 Yes, Mr. Seselj.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, the part regarding
13 line 18 -- lines 18 and following will be redacted from page 36.
14 This witness testified under oath. You were free to
15 cross-examine her, and you decided not to because of a principle of
16 yours. All we can do now is say that her testimony is over.
17 Our apologies for this incident, Witness. What has been said is
18 going to be redacted.
19 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Well, can the redaction --
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues]...
21 no legal grounds to redact my words from the transcript.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, the Trial Chamber decides
23 that it should be redacted.
24 It is now 10 to 4.00. We're going to have a 20-minute break.
25 --- Recess taken at 3.50 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 4.13 p.m.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.
3 Mr. Mundis.
4 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Your Honours, before the next witness comes into the courtroom,
6 the Prosecution wants it put on the record, in the most clearest possible
7 terms, that the outburst by the accused is unacceptable, and we would
8 strongly recommend the Trial Chamber to caution him against such future
9 outbursts. This is not the first time the accused has made statements
10 concerning witnesses that are derogatory. This is exactly why the
11 Prosecution has sought to impose counsel upon the accused, and we would
12 argue and submit that the behaviour of the accused shortly before the
13 break is but the most recent in a string of such outrageous and improper
14 behaviour that clearly merits the imposition of Defence counsel as
15 quickly as possible.
16 Thank you.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Seselj, what has just
18 been said by Mr. Mundis is against you. He has just said that statements
19 against witnesses justify the imposition of counsel upon you, and he
20 strongly recommends the Trial Chamber to caution you against such
22 Witnesses come to testify. We have two categories of witnesses,
23 the viva voce ones, and you cross-examine them, and we have 92 ter
24 witnesses. You've decided not to cross-examine the latter.
25 You have noticed that the Trial Chamber is very vigilant when it
1 comes to 92 ter witnesses. We do ask questions that you, yourself, could
2 have asked. But if we do ask a question, it is because we want truth to
3 be expressed, to be manifested, as much as possible. We do our job the
4 best we can. It may be that we do not ask questions that you could have
5 asked, because you have other information. That is possible. We do not
6 know everything you do know. But based on everything we have available,
7 based on witnesses' answers, we do try to go to the heart of the matter.
8 It may be that you do not like all the answers provided by
9 witnesses. We can understand that, but that is not a good enough reason
10 for you to attack a witness or to express reproaches, even if you think
11 that a witness did not tell the truth or tried to avoid an issue. That
12 may be the case, but this is a judicial debate, a discussion, a
13 proceeding in which all parties have to behave properly.
14 The Prosecutor is going to put questions. You will have
15 questions. Sometimes you do not like the Prosecution's questions, you
16 object to them. On several occasions the Trial Chamber asked the
17 Prosecution to reformulate their question, and vice versa. It may happen
18 that you ask questions and that that raises objections by the
19 Prosecution. Sometimes we told you to proceed because you were right in
20 asking that question. At other times, we asked you to reformulate them.
21 So we do our best to make sure that the proceedings unfold as smoothly as
23 Admittedly, for the time being we are having Prosecution
24 witnesses at the stand, and they are not called in order to say that you
25 are innocent. If they are called, it's because in the Prosecution's
1 view, they are witnesses that are going to speak against you. You may
2 not like it. That's understandable enough, but the fact that you have a
3 Prosecution witness at the stand does not mean that you can attack the
4 witness. You should not behave in this way.
5 In the Prosecutor's view, if you had a counsel, we could avoid
6 this kind of problem. It is true that it could avoid this kind of
7 problem, but the reverse could be true as well. The fact that you have a
8 lawyer does not mean that you're not going to be on your feet and attack
9 a witness. That's the problem, that's where the problem lies.
10 Once again, Mr. Seselj, do try and get a grip on yourself. Only
11 use your words efficiently. You can say that you do not agree with what
12 a witness says, but limit it to that, and that's much more effective than
13 if you get out of bounds and say, as you said before, the things that you
14 said before the break, because each and every time you're going to have
15 the Prosecutor on his feet to say what he's just said, and I have to give
16 you the floor for you to answer, for several weeks already. And I'm
17 under the very clear impression that things were going better and better
18 all the time. The hearings were taking place very well, I should say
19 that to you and recognise that, but what happened before the break should
20 not have occurred.
21 It is true that for several weeks already, I thought that there
22 was a change, things were going better, normally as they should take
23 place or could take place in your country and mine. There was no problem
24 at all, and all of a sudden we had this problem before the break.
25 So, Mr. Seselj, I do invite you once again to do what you have
1 done so far; ask your questions whenever they're necessary, if you're not
2 happy with something, just say so, but do not attack witnesses. You may
3 have witnesses of good faith. Some of them might be against you, but
4 this is not a reason why you should attack them, because when you call
5 your own witnesses, the Prosecution is not going to attack them. If they
6 do so, well, they will be told by the Trial Chamber. The Trial Chamber
7 will tell them that they are not entitled to accuse the Defence witnesses
8 of being this or that. But the Prosecutor will cross-examine your
9 witnesses. If the Prosecutor were to say the same things as what you
10 said about the last witness, the Trial Chamber would intervene.
11 This is what I wanted to convey to you. Maybe we can remain at
12 that, unless you want to say something, and you have the floor.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Judges, I'm convinced that in this
14 courtroom, at least in this courtroom, I am the quietest and the most
15 composed man, and all that I have said concerning the testimony of
16 Vesna Bosanac under 92 ter, at the end of her testimony, I said quietly,
17 and I was very composed when I said it. Without any legal grounds, you
18 erased it from the transcript, but that's up to you. I can't change
19 anything about it.
20 But I warn you, in the system of adversarial proceedings, much
21 harsher things are allowed to be said to witnesses. What I said was so
22 innocuous, compared to what can be said. Let me remind you of Oscar
23 Wilde's trial. That's a textbook example of how cross-interrogation can
24 be done. I did not cross-interrogate at all -- cross-examine at all. I
25 just made one remark when the examination of Vesna Bosanac was complete.
1 What I said about Vesna Bosanac is the opinion of the entire Serbian
2 public, knowing well her actions in the Vukovar Hospital during the war.
3 Now, let me tell you, I sat in this box, this same box, as a
4 witness in the Milosevic trial. Jeffrey Nice was allowed to say all
5 kinds of things to me at the time. At one point, he said that I am a
6 very vicious and evil man. Find it in the transcript. Let me not repeat
7 the other things. Of course, I talked back to him, but this is just an
8 example of what the Prosecutor was allowed to tell me.
9 I have transcripts from other trials and examples of what the
10 Prosecutor said to other witnesses who were taken aback and did not know
11 how to defend themselves.
12 This is just a procedure that facilitates the parading of
13 witnesses through this courtroom. I did not cause an incident. I just
14 said, calmly and composedly, what I wanted to be entered into the record
15 concerning her testimony. Prosecutor Dutertre caused an incident. He
16 jumped up, started waving his arms, flailing and shouting uncontrollably.
17 And now the crux of this matter, Judges. You said that you asked
18 the questions that I did not want to ask, that I would have asked if I
19 had exercised my right to cross-examine. That is not true. You do not
20 know in advance what questions I would have asked. However, you have in
21 front of you the written statement compiled by the Prosecution and signed
22 by Vesna Bosanac. Based on that written statement, in spite of all my
23 warnings and demands on several occasions, you accepted her testimony to
24 go in under 92 ter. The fact that you accepted her under 92 ter obliged
25 you to make sure that her testimony stay within the scope of the written
1 statement, whereas you extended her evidence by asking her about things
2 that the Prosecutor omitted to write in the statement. All the questions
3 that you asked, you and your colleague Judge Harhoff, and especially her
4 answers, if they had been in her written statement before, I think would
5 have put you off admitting her under 92 ter. You would have made her a
6 viva voce witness.
7 There is an essential problem here, not of my doing. I caused
8 only a procedural problem because I believe that you unlawfully allowed
9 witnesses to be introduced under 92 ter. I explained my reasons several
10 times, and that is wrong. But the essential problem is the witness is
11 appearing under 92 ter, the Prosecution is given half an hour,
12 considerably exceeded by the Prosecutor, it was actually an hour, an hour
13 and a half, maybe two hours - the Registry knows - and then with the
14 questions from the Trial Chamber, it was prolonged to a whole day and one
15 session. My reckoning is that it was five hours, at least, instead of
16 the half an hour earlier planned. And then this begs the question: Why
17 was it under 92 ter at all if it took five hours? Why couldn't my two
18 hours fit in that, or an hour, which would have been possible if she had
19 testified in the courtroom about the matters asked by the Prosecutor.
20 You see what she says? She listened on Radio Sabac, to me saying
21 that not a single Ustasha should be allowed out alive because she
22 allegedly read about it in the newspaper. Somebody fabricated that
23 subsequently, because that's the part where the Prosecution is missing
24 evidence. One witness said I held a speech in front of the Command of
25 Radic's company, another says about my speech in Leva Supoderica, another
1 says he had me walking through Vukovar, and yet another says that he
2 overheard in Vukovar that not a single Ustasha must be allowed out alive.
3 You have four different testimonies, and all that is coming in while I am
4 not able to react adequately.
5 I warned the Prosecution sufficiently while I was still
6 submitting evidence for translation, I have a huge number of newspaper
7 articles speaking specifically of Vesna Bosanac.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, last time I
9 explained to you why the Trial Chamber had decided to have her as a
10 92 ter witness, because she was going to speak to the evacuation of the
11 hospital, her arrest, very little about Ovcara, and she was not going to
12 testify about volunteers, let alone about volunteers from the SRS. So
13 the Trial Chamber thought that it was not necessary to devote too much
14 time to her testimony, because what mattered was to know whether there
15 was shelling or not of the hospital, what she saw, what was said about
16 the evacuation, and, thirdly, what happened following the evacuation.
17 It so happens that, and there you're right in saying so, that the
18 Prosecutor took some time to have a few documents admitted into evidence.
19 These were lists brought by the witness and then connected with a number
20 of victims, so the witness had to be shown the documents. There were
21 questions by the Judges because there is a list that is attached to the
22 indictment, so we had to make some checks.
23 After this, the Judges and myself, we put questions to the
24 witness. She said things that were not to be found in the written
25 statement, and for the sake of justice, for justice to be done and to be
1 manifested, we had to put questions in order to shed some light on some
2 issues. That was necessary for the Prosecution case, but also for your
3 case. This is why some verifications had to be carried out. And it's
4 true that in the end, she said that she'd heard you speaking on the
5 radio, something that she had not said in the written statement. Whether
6 she did hear it or not, whether she mixed it up or not, we thought it was
7 not necessary to dwell on the matter. So this being said, this is how
8 things happened.
9 Now you say that the Serbian public opinion knows who the witness
10 is. I do not know anything at all about her. I do not know what people
11 may think of what she did. But if you had cross-examined her, you could
12 have put it to her. You could have said, "Madam, you said this," or
13 that, "Here is a book written by an individual or by myself," I don't
14 know, I think you also wrote a book about Vukovar, "and this is said in
15 this book." You could have given her a page number, and then she could
16 have answered to say whether she agreed or not, and that would have been
17 a legal proceeding, rather than you waiting until the end, precisely at
18 the moment when I thanked her for coming to testify, for having this
19 outburst, for putting down her testimony in a matter of three lines. So
20 this is how things happened.
21 The Trial Chamber wishes to remind you that Rule 92 ter allows
22 you to cross-examine. It allows us to save time. There's no need to
23 spend too much time on Prosecution questions whilst there is a statement.
24 The witness can just say, "Yes, I confirm -- I can confirm what I said
25 earlier on." The witness is then shown a few documents. Thereafter, you
1 are free to cross-examine. It is geared towards judicial economy.
2 Well, we have heard you, and this is your point of view, your
3 stance on the 92 ter proceeding.
4 Unfortunately, this is bound to happen again, because we are
5 going to hear some 92 ter witnesses; for instance, the very next witness
6 to testify. The Judges read the statement. I read the next witness's
7 statement. They identify the questions -- the relevant questions that
8 are to be asked that are relevant in view of the indictment, and through
9 our questions we're going to ascertain -- check some of the things that
10 are mentioned. We do not take for granted what is written in the written
11 statement. It's not gospel to us. So you could say, "Okay, that's not
12 how I see things. I don't just accept the written statement. There is a
13 written statement that I want to check as to its contents, its sum,"
14 especially when it has to do with alleged crimes, with the alleged
15 involvement of volunteers in such crimes, with the role of the JNA, of
16 the TO, with the role of political leaders of the municipality, if
17 applicable. That's the type of question that we put to a witnesses,
18 that's the general format. There's nothing -- no mystery about it. And
19 we also want to know whether there was any impact of speeches you made in
20 a given municipality or location.
21 Look at the questions we have put so far. We basically used this
22 format to check what witnesses say, even if some questions are not dealt
23 with. If we have a witness here, we may as well use that witness for
24 truth to be really expressed. This is the purpose of our questions.
25 When your turn comes, because you said that you were going to
1 testify, what questions will be put to you, rest assured that you will
2 have questions put by the Judges, because they want to re-thrash it out.
3 And when you call your own witnesses, we will put similar questions,
4 based on the same format, to your witnesses. Whether they are Defence or
5 Prosecution witnesses, we have the same type of questions. Of course,
6 there may be tangentially this or that might change, depending on their
7 occupation, the position of a witness, whether that witness is a military
8 or a civilian person, but basically it's the same type of questions
9 because they do contribute to justice being done.
10 Let's have VS-1131 brought in. I'm not quite sure, Mr. Ferrara.
11 How much time have you planned for this witness?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can I just say one thing?
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. How much time?
14 MR. FERRARA: He's a 92 ter witness, too, as well, so half an
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Half an hour.
17 Yes, Mr. Seselj.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have just one brief objection
20 concerning what you said; namely, that the role of the Rule 92 ter is to
21 save time. I absolutely disagree with it, because it has become evident,
22 after all these witnesses who are viva voce, that not a single one was
23 capable of repeating what is in their alleged statement, not even those
24 who make their best effort to be cooperative with the Prosecution. The
25 statements reflect what the Prosecution wanted the statement to contain,
1 not what the witness had to state.
2 But the essential question here is: Why didn't the Prosecutor
3 think to put all the questions you asked into the statement of this
4 witness? He could have done ten times more. He could have put in
5 everything that the Croatian propaganda for the past 20 years, if you ask
6 me, had put out in the public. They could have put it all in the
7 statement of Vesna Bosanac. They could have led it all.
8 Her intelligence is not to be underestimated, but her lack of
9 moral fibre, either, shouldn't be underestimated. I told you several
10 times that in my view, she's one of the key Prosecution witnesses, and I
11 kept insisting all the time how important it was for her to testify
12 viva voce.
13 Now, you asked me why I don't cross-examine 92 ter witnesses. I
14 don't cross-examine them because that would be a subsequent legalisation
15 of their 92 ter testimony, and I'm convinced that if I refuse to
16 cross-examine them, that will be later a key proof of the irregularity of
17 this trial, because nowhere in the world can a witness's testimony go
18 directly into evidence if the Defence is unable to cross-examine when the
19 statement was taken at first and in the courtroom. This rule was
20 introduced only in 2006, and the indictment against me was brought in
21 2003, so there is no legal foundation and I am prejudiced by this.
22 That's why I refuse to cross-examine them. I don't want to lose this
23 important, vital argument in contesting the whole process.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, this discussion
25 took place quite a while ago. We are aware of your position.
1 Let's have the witness brought in. It's already 20 to 5.00.
2 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, while that's being done, clearly,
3 just so there's no surprise for the accused in the future, the position
4 that we take and will continue to take is that each and every time, he is
5 waiving his right to cross-examine, and that's the end of the story.
6 Clearly, cross-examination can be waived, and that's exactly what's
7 happened. So there is no violation of his rights, as a result of his own
8 informed decision to waive that cross-examination.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you please state your
13 first name, surname, and date of birth.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Milorad Vojnovic. I was
15 born on the 15th of October, 1945, in Gorica village, Sipovo
16 municipality, currently in Republika Srpska.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir. Do you have a
18 current occupation or are you retired?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Retired.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And what was your occupation
21 before, in which corps were you?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I retired as a JNA officer, that
23 is, an officer of the Army of Yugoslavia.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What was your rank?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Colonel.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Colonel, have you
2 had an opportunity to testify before a court of law as to the events in
3 the former Yugoslavia or is this the first time you're going to testify?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I have testified before.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In which case, where?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I testified in Belgrade and in
7 The Hague. The case was Ovcara.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So it was in the Ovcara case in
9 Belgrade and in The Hague?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In The Hague, it was the trial of
11 the three; Sljivancanin, Mrksic and Radic.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I suppose that each
13 and every time, you were a Prosecution witness.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Last question before I ask you
16 to read the solemn declaration. We're going to see your written
17 statement made on the 11th of September, 2008. But prior to the
18 statement, did anyone exert pressure on you for you to testify in one way
19 or another, or were you never the object of pressure, did anyone call you
20 to say that you had to say certain things?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was regularly asked to testify in
22 Belgrade, and I have received invitations from The Hague as well.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And you were called by the
24 Office of the Prosecutor, never called by anyone else?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And before, I had calls from the
1 Defence, but later from the Prosecution.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You said before, it was calls
3 from the Defence. From which Defence?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Previously, I cooperated in the --
5 with the Defence in the Vukovar Three case, and now I am where I am.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So initially you were a Defence
7 witness for one of the three accused in the Vukovar case, and then later
8 on you became a Prosecution witness, is that so, unless in the Vukovar
9 trial you testified as a Defence witness. I don't know. Were you a
10 Defence witness? Who were you a witness for?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Were you a Prosecution witness?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For the Prosecution.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But before you were a
15 Prosecution witness, you worked with the Defence; is that right?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I was.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It's now clear.
18 Please read out the solemn declaration.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
20 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
21 WITNESS: MILORAD VOJNOVIC
22 [The witness answered through interpreter]
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. You may be seated.
24 Witness, you are testifying under Rule 92 ter. I'm sure that the
25 Prosecutor explained things to you, he's going to put a number of
1 questions to you and submit also a number of documents. He's scheduled
2 to take about 30 minutes to do so. Afterwards, the Judges sitting in
3 front of you will probably put questions to you. I, myself, I have
4 questions for you, and my colleagues may have questions for you as well.
5 Mr. Seselj should not put any questions to you, because he has
6 decided, as a matter of course, not to cross-examine witnesses testifying
7 under Rule 92 ter.
8 This is what I wanted to explain to you in order for this hearing
9 to proceed as smoothly as possible.
10 Mr. Ferrara, you have the floor. You're going to give us a brief
11 summary of the witness's testimony and also to put the usual questions,
12 questions relevant to this 92 ter proceeding.
13 MR. FERRARA: Thank you, Your Honour. I start with the court
15 Milorad Vojnovic is a retired JNA colonel, as he said. From
16 September 1991 to March 1995, he was in command of the Kragujevac-based
17 80th Motorised Brigade. On 29 October 1991, the Motorised Brigade began
18 deploying in Eastern Slavonia under the command of Operational Group
19 South. Witness brigade deployment was completed around the 7th of
20 November, 1991. Neither of his units participated directly in combat
21 operations. Their task was to cover the area during the period while
22 other more experienced units carried out specific combat missions. After
23 the takeover of the town of Vukovar towards the end of November 1991, the
24 1st Motorised Brigade left the town, and the witness was appointed town
25 commander by Colonel Mrksic. In January 1992, the 80th Motorised Brigade
1 left Eastern Slavonia, but the witness brigade remained in the area until
2 28 February 1992.
3 "Colonel Vojnovic personally witnessed the arrival of volunteers
4 in the area, and he learned some of these volunteers that tried to join
5 regular forces were often removed after only a few days because they were
6 mainly interested in looting.
7 "The witness attended daily briefings of the Operational Group
8 South command. He saw Arkan in one of these meetings in October or
9 November 1991 before the fall of the town, meeting that was held in the
10 command post of the 1st Military District and attended by all the
11 important commanders. He saw again Arkan in official meetings with
12 General Zivota Panic and General Andrija Biorcevic in January 1992 to
13 discuss the situation in the Vukovar area.
14 "After the fall of Vukovar, volunteers and TO members were
15 integrated into one detachment and put under the command of the 80th
17 "Concerning the events occurred in Ovcara, the witness was not
18 aware that the hospital in Vukovar would be evacuated. On the evening of
19 20th November 1991, he was on his way to a meeting when he passed by the
20 hangar in Ovcara. There, he saw at least two buses from the hospital and
21 the gauntlet formed by members of the local TO, people in civilian
22 clothes and people wearing different uniform garments as well as Chetniks
23 insignia, a gauntlet which the evacuees had to pass through in order to
24 enter the hangar. Before entering the hangar, the prisoners were
25 confiscated of their belongings, hit, beaten, even using weapons, and
1 cursed. The witness tried to address the people in the gauntlet, trying
2 to make them stop. Later on, he went on to try -- trying to physically
3 protect the prisoners, and for this reason he was insulted and addressed,
4 'What are you doing, old man, what do you want? These are our
5 prisoners,' he was told.
6 "Inside the hangar, the witness saw several officers from the 1st
7 Motorised Brigade, which led him to believe they were in charge of the
8 evacuation. He was shocked by the atmosphere and by the maltreatment he
9 personally witnessed inside the hangar. He continued his efforts to stop
10 them, but after 30 minutes he had to leave for a briefing with Colonel
11 Mrksic. During his meeting with Mrksic, the witness raised the issue of
12 a maltreatment of prisoners at the Ovcara hangar, and Mrksic replied,
13 'Don't talk about this.' This made the witness believe that Mrksic was
14 aware of what was going on.
15 "After the meeting, he tried to approach again Mrksic, and the
16 answer that there was a complex situation and that military police was
17 pushed back at the hangar. When the witness returned from his command
18 post, he learned that the military police withdrew from the hangar and a
19 decision had been made to hand the prisoners over to the TO.
20 "The witness does not remember whether Milan Lancuzanin, also
21 known as Kameni, was at the hangar, but he later learned that he was
22 there. However, after the fall of the town, he cooperated with Kameni
23 and his unit to form a group to search for broken weapons. The witness
24 was aware that Kameni had been awarded the title of vojvoda by
25 Vojislav Seselj and was in charge of one paramilitary unit. The witness
1 met Seselj himself at a celebration of the first anniversary of the
2 liberation of Vukovar on 18 November 1992. The witness heard that Seselj
3 had visited Vukovar in November 1991, but he did not meet him on that
5 Your Honours, this concludes my summary.
6 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] I have a problem. It may be
7 related to translation. Listening to the translation in French, I heard
8 that Kameni was in charge of a Territorial Defence unit, whereas if I
9 look at the transcript in English, I read "a paramilitary unit." What
10 did you say, Mr. Ferrara?
11 MR. FERRARA: "Paramilitary unit," Your Honours.
12 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 Examination by Mr. Ferrara:
14 MR. FERRARA:
15 Q. Colonel, did you meet with any member of the Office of the
16 Prosecutor on the 11th September 2008?
17 A. I do not remember having met with a representative of the OTP,
18 but in 2008 I met with the chief of the Security Administration. As for
19 a representative of the OTP, I don't know.
20 Q. Did you meet with me and an investigator on 11th September 2008?
21 A. You?
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. Sorry, I made a mistake. Yes, yes, I did.
24 Q. Did you sign a statement on that occasion?
25 A. Yes, I did.
1 Q. Did you review the statement before signing it?
2 A. I did.
3 Q. In which language?
4 A. In the Serbo-Croat.
5 MR. FERRARA: Could we please have the document with 65 ter
6 number 7325 on the screen, and give the hard copy to the witness, please,
8 Q. Colonel, could you please look at the first page of the
9 statement, the B/C/S version. Do you recognise your signature at the
10 bottom of the page?
11 A. Yes, I do.
12 Q. Could you now flip through the pages of the statement and tell me
13 whether you recognise your initials there?
14 A. Yes, I recognise my initials.
15 Q. Could you now look at page 16 of the statement. It should be the
16 last one -- the one before the last.
17 A. The 17th page of the witness Statement?
18 Q. Yes. Do you recognise your signature at the bottom of that page?
19 A. Yes, I do recognise my signature.
20 Q. Does this statement accurately reflect the events that you
21 describe in the statement?
22 A. It does.
23 Q. If you were asked questions about those events today, would you
24 give the same answer as contained in the statement, that are contained in
25 the statement?
1 A. I would probably give the same answers.
2 Q. Thank you. You don't need to look at the copy of this document.
3 Your Honours, I would like to seek for the admission into
4 evidence of this statement.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're going to give it a
7 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P604, Your Honours.
8 MR. FERRARA: Your Honour, you're aware that attached to this
9 statement is a table containing several documents, and I will put
10 questions to the witness concerning these documents.
11 Mr. Registrar, can we have on the screen the document 65 ter
12 number 728. Can you show him the first page? I mean, we could give him
13 a copy, too. There are a lot of pages.
14 Q. Colonel, can you tell us what this document is?
15 A. This is a standard war diary form which is maintained by commands
16 of a certain level.
17 Q. Did you have the opportunity to see this document before?
18 A. The first -- this is the first time that I see this document, now
19 with you.
20 Q. Today or when you signed the statement?
21 A. I cannot remember exactly whether it was today or when I signed
22 the statement, but, yes, I have seen this document.
23 Q. Can you tell us if there is any reference in this document to the
24 involvement of volunteers units in the combat area? For example, I would
25 like that you -- that you check this page, and if the usher can put it on
1 the screen. It is the ERN page in the B/C/S version 0293-5446.
2 A. I don't know what page that is in this document before me.
3 Q. You can check the document, and I think at the top of the page
4 should be -- you should find this number, or maybe we can put it on the
5 ELMO if the usher -- it maybe is easier.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Ferrara, can you please
7 give us the page number in English?
8 MR. FERRARA: Of course, Your Honour. I'm sorry I didn't make it
9 before. It's page L000107. It is the third entry dated 4 October at
10 hour 1430.
11 Q. Colonel, can you -- can you read for us this third entry on the
13 A. Yes. The 4th of October, 1430, some 40-odd volunteers have come
14 from Belgrade, and they were sent to the 2nd Motorised Battalion.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Ferrara, we have a problem
16 here, because in English we have L0100501, 502 and so on and so forth.
17 We don't have that 107 page. Secondly, if I go to the page corresponding
18 to the 4th of October, I can't find the entry for 1430 hours.
19 MR. FERRARA: I repeat the number. Maybe there is some problem,
20 because I have the ERN in English. It's page L0100507.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have this page in English.
22 Okay, yes, we can see the entry for the 4th of October. But,
23 Mr. Ferrara, the problem is that the 4th of October comes after -- it
24 comes after the 6th of October, and militarily speaking, this is
25 impossible. Why?
1 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, I don't know.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You don't know.
3 MR. FERRARA: You should ask who drafted it.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But the colonel may be able to
5 tell us why.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I cannot confirm the
7 authenticity of this document, because at that time I had not yet arrived
8 in that area, but I can only read what it says here.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, you served in the JNA
10 as an officer, and we know that the JNA abided by strict rules. Is it
11 understandable and normal that in such a war diary, we should have the
12 entries related to the 4th of October after the entries related to the
13 6th of October?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, that's not what I'm saying.
15 I'm saying that this is not the war diary of my unit. That's why I say I
16 can't confirm its authenticity. Otherwise, it says very clearly.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, we find an entry
18 related to Negoslavci village, the 6th of October. We have something for
19 1600 hours. Then for 1610. At 4.30, we have Air Force jets which fired.
20 We have something else that happened at 5.30 p.m., and then we move on to
21 the 4th of October at 11.00 a.m. So why is it that we move to the 4th of
22 October after the 6th of October?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot say that with any
24 certainty. I'm saying this is not our war diary, it was not kept by my
25 unit, so I cannot make any particular comment. I can't make out what it
1 says, and I don't know what you're asking me.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. Could such a thing have
3 happened in your unit?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, it wouldn't have happened. It
5 was kept regularly with indication of time, date.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
22 Q. Can you read this one?
23 A. Yes, I can see it.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, Mr. Ferrara.
25 Apparently this document -- this document is not a document that the
1 witness can tell us very much about, because it's not a document that was
2 produced by his unit. You can only put questions to the witness about
3 the contents of this document if he's aware of this. If not, then it's a
4 bit tricky.
5 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, we have a colonel of the JNA, as you
6 said, that can say how the war diary is drafted or not. This is the
7 reason we want to tender this document through this witness, because of
8 course we cannot call Major -- Colonel Mrksic to testify concerning this
9 war diary. So we have a colonel of the JNA, and I think he can say as --
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection.
11 The witness may only testify about what he had seen himself or
12 heard himself, that is, his direct knowledge. He's not here as an expert
13 to be asked to interpret whether the document is authentic or not and
14 whether its contents reflect historical facts. What Mr. Ferrara is doing
15 is really scandalous.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Ferrara, you are telling us
17 that Colonel Mrksic cannot testify. Why not?
18 MR. FERRARA: [Previous translation continues]... cannot testify.
19 I told that here we have a colonel of the JNA, so maybe we can try to
20 tender this document through him, an interpretation of this document by
21 this witness.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. We are going to
23 consider the matter.
24 No, the Trial Chamber does not agree with you. We do not accept
25 this. Please move on to something else.
1 MR. FERRARA: We'll continue with other documents, Your Honour.
2 Mr. Registrar, can you display on the screen the document bearing
3 65 ter number 854, and we can go to the first page.
4 Q. Can you tell us what this document is?
5 A. Here on the document, it says: "Report on an extraordinary
6 incident submitted to the 1st Military District." It says that: "Around
7 midnight, in a settlement called Holivud in Vukovar, three members of the
8 Territorial Defence of Vukovar were killed." Shall I go on reading? Is
9 this enough?
10 Q. It's enough. Are you familiar with the incident in question?
11 A. I did not know about the incident then. I learned about it
12 later. The first time I learned about it was when I testified in
13 Belgrade. It is, indeed, a desk officer from my brigade, but I'm not
14 sure if this was really done.
15 Q. We read in this document that the killed men were the members of
16 Leva Supoderica Detachment under the command of Milan Lancuzanin, known
17 as Kameni, and the document is dated 22nd December 1991. Does it mean
18 that the Leva Supoderica unit or detachment was still existing in
19 December 1991?
20 A. The document dates back to that year, indeed. These problems did
21 exist. I did not learn about this incident then. If I had known about
22 it, I would have probably reacted in some way. I really don't know
23 whether this incident happened. This was written by my desk officer for
24 security, bypassing our command, without our knowledge, and he sent it to
25 the 1st Military District.
1 Q. But you did not answer my question. Did it mean that
2 Leva Supoderica unit still existed in December 1991 in Vukovar and that
3 Milan Lancuzanin, also known as Kameni, was in charge of the
4 Leva Supoderica unit, as we read in this document?
5 A. I think that the Leva Supoderica unit did -- no longer existed at
6 that time. Perhaps there were people, ex-members of that unit, who
7 stayed there and maybe called themselves that, but the unit did not
8 exist. I know that for sure, because Milan Lancuzanin came to my
9 Command, and I remember him. He cooperated with us very well. I said
10 already it was a family that was wealthy and well thought of in Vukovar.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, this is important,
13 very important indeed. We have a document that, by all signs, is a
14 document, a military document. It has a stamp, names, and numbers.
15 Whilst I'm listening to you, what you say prompts a whole host of
16 questions in my mind.
17 In 1991, in December 1991, if I understand properly, you were
18 appointed a commander in Vukovar.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you were then
21 the Vukovar commander. In other words, you had authority over all of the
22 military units in Vukovar. We agree on this, don't we?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It so happens that on the 22nd
25 of December, there were two soldiers who were TO members in Vukovar that
1 were killed. We do not know by whom they were killed. Now, you, as the
2 commander in Vukovar, did you have authority over the Vukovar TO in
3 December, that is, militarily speaking?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, I did.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Since you were the
6 number 1, as it were, for military forces in Vukovar, if two soldiers
7 were killed, would such an event be automatically made known to you?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, the incident was of the nature
9 that I should have been informed, but I wasn't. You see that the
10 document was written by the security officer, who sent it to the superior
11 command, not us.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So this security officer, that
13 was Lieutenant Colonel Vasic, do you know him?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, he was Second Lieutenant Vasic.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So did you know this second
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't know him that well because
18 he was from the reserve. He never informed me of this.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I suppose that since you were
20 the military person in charge, you would meet with your officers.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I met with officers regularly.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You had regular meetings. If
23 two soldiers from a unit are killed by unknown authors, I suppose that is
24 going to be mentioned by a lieutenant, a captain or a commander, unless
25 there were so many killed at the time that that would not even be
1 mentioned in a meeting.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, it was not mentioned at any
3 meetings. I'm sure about that.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In your view, is this an
5 authentic document or do you have doubts as to the authenticity of the
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot claim anything now with
8 any degree of certainty, but we see his signature here and we see the
9 stamp of my unit, and this should be all right. But I'm telling you, I
10 can't be certain, because I saw this document for the first time many
11 years later.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Back then in December 1991, did
13 Milan Lancuzanin, also known as Kameni, was this man under your
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That December, perhaps a few days
16 after this, we set up a detachment which included all the members of the
17 Territorial Defence. I can't remember for sure whether Kameni was among
18 them, but I know he came regularly to the Command, and after these events
19 I had no problems whatsoever with him.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This Leva Supoderica unit, did
21 it exist in December 1991? Take your time before your answer, because
22 this is an extremely relevant question. So take all the time you need.
23 I'll repeat the question. Did the Leva Supoderica unit exist in
24 December 1991?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think the unit Leva Supoderica
1 did not exist then as a unit, an officially organised, registered unit.
2 That did not exist. Maybe there were individuals who believed themselves
3 to be members of that unit, but the unit did not exist.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My last question. In the event
5 that this is an authentic document and that you did not see it because
6 that eluded you or because your subordinate officers did not mention it
7 to you, how is it possible that a second lieutenant, who's a security
8 officer, so he has some competence or jurisdiction, how can he write that
9 the two people, the two soldiers that were killed, were members of that
10 detachment, of the Leva Supoderica Detachment, that was under the command
11 of Milan Lancuzanin, aka Kameni, and that therefore the military police
12 and the SUP were investigating the case? How can this man write this
13 whilst apparently the unit no longer existed?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think the unit didn't exist for
15 sure. This is an action taken by the second lieutenant and perhaps
16 another security officer who is superior to him, without our knowledge,
17 and the report they sent circumvented us. That's how this security
18 service operated, bypassing the Command, and I don't think that's right.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
20 Yes, Mr. Seselj.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I won't interfere with your
22 examination, but I have to draw your attention to the fact that I
23 discovered a very important falsification in this so-called document,
24 because we have no proof of its authenticity.
25 In paragraph 3 of the original, it says the persons killed are
1 from the Leva Supoderica unit under the command of Captain
2 Milan Lancuzanin, aka Kameni, whereas in the English translation we read:
3 [In English] "Members of Leva Supoderica Detachment under the
4 command of Milan Lancuzanin, aka Kameni."
5 [Interpretation] It's very symptomatic that the English
6 translation omits the rank of Kameni, captain. He is a reserve captain
7 of the JNA still on active duty at the time. Why was that omitted from
8 the English translation?
9 And we know that the Registry is responsible here for veracity of
10 translation. It's very important that we know that he's an officer, and
11 that as an officer, he was appointed a commander of a unit. He was a JNA
13 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, I believe --
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, the accused has just
15 noted that in the B/C/S document, Kameni's rank is mentioned. He's a
16 captain. It's not to be found in the English translation. As far as you
17 can remember, was Kameni a captain or not? Because if he was a captain,
18 the security officer, who's a lieutenant, he knows what the captain is,
19 as a rank. What do you have to say to that? Was he a captain or not?
20 Because it is written in B/C/S that he was a captain.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand the question. I see
22 that it's written, but I really didn't know if he had the rank of
23 captain. He came to see me without any insignia indicating that he was
24 an officer. I did not know he was an officer -- he was a captain at the
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, if he was a captain, when
2 you would meet with your officers, a captain would be present, by right,
3 unless he was ill?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no, no. Nobody came to our
5 meetings we had within the framework of the brigade, nobody from the
6 Territorial Defence or anyone else. He came to see me on his own when he
7 had time, to get advice or assistance, but I never saw him displaying the
8 rank of captain.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. But, Colonel, when TO
10 units are subordinated to the JNA, whenever there's a briefing, the
11 commander of the TO unit, the officer would attend the meeting, because
12 you had authority and control, or you're supposed to have control?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They did not come to our meetings.
14 They formed some other units. They were assigned to some other duties
15 mainly around the town, helping around. They did not exist as organised
16 units until a new detachment was formed in December. And once they were
17 formed, they were disbanded, they went home, and they were ready to take
18 up duty if called up. At that time, the police had been established and
19 the executive branch of the authorities in Vukovar existed.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In your view, why did
21 Lieutenant Vasic say that he was a captain?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot say now. I don't know
23 whether he, himself, knew him to be a captain, but I see that it's
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right.
1 You have already used 27 minutes, Mr. Ferrara, so you have very
2 little time left.
3 MR. FERRARA: Your Honour --
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have another objection to make.
5 I believe it is the duty of the Prosecutor to explain why the
6 indication of rank is left out of the English translation.
7 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, I believe --
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can you explain?
9 MR. FERRARA: Of course I can't explain, because I'm not a
10 translator, but I believe the accused should be informed this kind of
11 issue can be raised in the correct phase of the trial, that is, the
12 cross-examination. When you object during an examination-in-chief, you
13 object a question of the Prosecutor. I didn't put any question, so he
14 objects, so he's using the time of the Prosecution to cross-examine the
15 witness concerning these documents. Maybe he should do this in the
16 correct phase, that is, the cross-examination.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're right in saying so,
18 Mr. Ferrara, but the problem is that we may, maybe, have some doubt as to
19 this document. We have a translation into English, as Judges. I don't
20 know where it comes from. I can see "OTP/MAT." Is this translation made
21 by somebody from the OTP or is this a CLSS translation? Do you know?
22 MR. FERRARA: I was told by our case manager that "OTP/MAT," what
23 does it mean, "Military Analyst Team."
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The translation was done by the
25 Military Analyst Team. You can understand that this is not void of
1 interest. We have two possibilities. Either this document is authentic,
2 in which case Lancuzanin, aka Kameni, is a captain, a JNA captain. If
3 he's a captain, he is under the authority of the JNA, or he's not a
4 captain - this is what the witness seems to indicate - in which case it's
5 a very fuzzy situation, from the legal point of view, and we can have
6 some doubt as to the document then.
7 As you can see, I personally believe that very relevant documents
8 have to be translated by our service, by the Tribunal services, CLSS, and
9 not by the person seeking to tender the document.
10 We are going to have a question by Judge Harhoff.
11 JUDGE HARHOFF: Colonel, I would like to follow up on one of the
12 questions posed to you by the Presiding Judge in respect of your
13 description of the control or the command that you had over the
14 Leva Supoderica unit or detachment.
15 My question is: Was this detachment under the control of the JNA
16 during the time when it was active in Vukovar in November 1991? And if
17 it was, then was it under your control?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Leva Supoderica Detachment was
19 under the control of OG South, and later they were dismantled and were
20 not under my control. They did not exist as a detachment after departure
21 in December, their departure in December.
22 JUDGE HARHOFF: Right. But when it was still active, that is to
23 say in November 1991, was it then under your control?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
25 JUDGE HARHOFF: You tell us that it was under the control and
1 command of the OG South. Who was in charge of the OG?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The 1st Military District was.
3 JUDGE HARHOFF: And who was in charge of the 1st Military
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Under the control of the OG South,
6 the OG South had a commander, and the OG South was under the command of
7 the military district. Colonel Mrksic was the commander of the OG South,
8 and he was subordinated to the Command of the 1st Military District.
9 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you. Was your brigade, the 80th
10 Motorised Brigade, was that also a part of the OG South?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it was, until the 1st Guards
12 Brigade left for Belgrade.
13 JUDGE HARHOFF: And when was that?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was from the 7th of November,
15 when the brigade came, up to the time the brigade left for Belgrade,
16 until the 25th of November or thereabouts, the 25th or the 26th of
18 JUDGE HARHOFF: And during that time, I assume that you, as the
19 commander of your brigade, would take part in meetings that were convened
20 by Colonel Mrksic in the OG, and these meetings would presumably also
21 include the commander of the Leva Supoderica Detachment, would it not?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I attended those meetings, but I
23 did not see them there.
24 JUDGE HARHOFF: But it seems to me that it is strange that a
25 detachment that was under the command of the OG did not take part in the
1 meetings. How is that to be understood?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, they were not directly
3 subordinated to this OG. They were members of some other subordinated
4 units, so battalions in other units from the Operation Group South. That
5 is why they were not present at the regular briefings.
6 JUDGE HARHOFF: So to which units was the Leva Supoderica
7 Detachment then subordinated within the OG South?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot say with precision to what
9 unit it was subordinated. Perhaps to the 2nd Motorised Battalion, the
10 1st Motorised Battalion, or some other units in OG South. They had their
11 own superiors before OG South. That is why they did not appear at
13 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you, sir.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just one follow-up question,
15 and then I'll give you the floor, Mr. Seselj.
16 You said that the Leva Supoderica unit was dismantled. As far as
17 you know, when? On what exact day was it dismantled?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't remember exactly the date.
19 I only know that it was dismantled, it was disbanded, after the departure
20 of a part of the OG South, i.e., the 1st Guards Brigade to Belgrade. All
21 these units ceased to exist as a part of the establishment, and they
22 ceased to exist as units.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, Mr. Seselj said on
24 several occasions that the said unit, the Leva Supoderica unit, had left
25 Vukovar as soon as Vukovar had been taken; around the 17th or the 18th of
1 November, he said. He added that people -- the men left in buses to
2 return to Serbia, as I understood it. Some days ago, he said that he had
3 eight statements made by bus drivers, so he thought that the few members
4 of the Leva Supoderica unit that had stayed had stayed for their own
5 reasons, because they were Vukovar residents, and since they were
6 volunteers they had decided to stay. But is this consistent with what
7 you knew of the situation at the time?
8 It is a very complicated question, because that goes back in time
9 several years ago, but these are pieces of information that I have and
10 I'd like to seek your view on them.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can claim with certainty that the
12 Leva Supoderica Detachment at that time was not under my command, its
13 activities totally unknown to me, and who left and whether anyone left,
14 but a group did stay on of those men, among whom was Kameni, and what
15 their role was, I cannot say. I cannot say anything specific. They were
16 not under my command, so that's it.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have to go back to the previous
18 problem, because my objection was purely of a procedural nature, and
19 Mr. Ferrara is not right when he says that I should have presented it in
20 cross-examination. Such an objection has nothing whatsoever to do with
21 cross-examination, because it does not refer to the witness.
22 Mr. Ferrara himself told us that these documents have been
23 translated by the office of military experts, by their staff, so the
24 conclusion I draw is that (redacted) of the
25 OTP, deliberately falsified this document to omit the rank of Kameni so
1 that the English translation would not show that he is an officer, a
3 MR. FERRARA: Here we have another problem, that the accused can
4 continue to do -- behave in this way. He says that one of the witnesses
5 of the Prosecutor forged the document, deliberately falsified this
6 document, Your Honours.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Just a minute. Is it forged or is
8 it not?
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Without saying that a specific
10 individual forged the document, the Trial Chamber notes that the word
11 "captain" is to be found in the B/C/S version, but it is not to be found
12 in the English version. So anybody can draw the conclusions they like.
13 You have a few minutes left before the break.
14 MR. FERRARA: I ask to redact the sentence in the line 7, 8 and 9
15 concerning --
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're going to deliberate on
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can I previously [as interpreted]
20 present my position before you consult?
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] After discussing the matter,
23 the Trial Chamber has decided not to redact those lines. (redacted)
25 (redacted). We do not know whether he did it or not,
1 so no need to leave any doubt in this respect. But what Mr. Seselj said
2 about the rest has to be left in the transcript. So, Madam Registrar,
3 prepare a redacting order.
4 You have a few minutes left, Mr. Ferrara, to finish the procedure
5 of seeking to tender the documents.
6 MR. FERRARA: Yes. I want to point out that of course this is a
7 draft translation of the document. We can ask for an official
8 translation to the CLSS. And I'd like to move to move to seek the
9 document into evidence, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are going to give an MFI
11 number to this document, an MFI number.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will become Exhibit P605,
13 marked for identification, Your Honours.
14 MR. FERRARA: Can we have on the screen the 65 ter number 723.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, we'll have to redact what
19 you've just said.
20 MR. FERRARA: Exactly, I agree with you, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You see that when you are a
22 Presiding Judge, you can't afford to take a nap. You have to be on your
23 toes at every single moment.
24 Madam Registrar, please prepare another redaction of the
1 Mr. Ferrara.
2 MR. FERRARA: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Q. Colonel, do you recognise this document?
4 A. I do, but it's not exactly clear. Perhaps if it could be zoomed
5 in on.
6 MR. FERRARA: Can you zoom the document?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
8 MR. FERRARA:
9 Q. Could you tell us what -- who issued this order?
10 A. I think that I issued this order.
11 Q. Could you tell us what you intended to achieve with this order?
12 A. In view of the departure of the 1st Guards Brigade, what I
13 intended to do with this order was for the units in the entire area of
14 the brigade to be secured, the Command to be secured, the units to be
15 billeted in more comfortable quarters, since up to that time they were in
16 some stables and sheds and other substandard accommodation, so that I
17 wanted to transfer this number of units to better accommodation. And
18 that also applied to other units whom I had relocated in order to
19 enable -- to have them have better living conditions.
20 Q. Was this order addressed also to the TO unit?
21 A. I cannot see the bottom of the page. I cannot see that. It was
22 addressed to them, but as the TO staff of Vukovar is referred to here, I
23 expect that it was also addressed to them.
24 Q. And to the volunteers?
25 A. No, no, just to the Territorial Defence Staff of Vukovar.
1 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, I'd like to move the document into
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are going to give a number
4 to this document.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P605, Your Honours.
6 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, I don't put any question concerning
7 the document with the 65 ter number 709 attached to the statement because
8 it's already admitted into evidence as Exhibit P41, for the record.
9 And I ask the last question concerning the last document, the
10 65 ter number 701, if we have it on the screen.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, I would like to correct. The last
12 exhibit is admitted under number P606.
13 MR. FERRARA: Miss Registrar, can we have on the screen the
14 65 ter number 701.
15 Q. Colonel, can you tell us what this document is?
16 A. This is a document of OG South of the 20th of November, and it
17 deals with the regulation of the issue of resubordination. It is an
18 order which states that in order to unify the Command, we should
19 resubordinate the armoured battalion of the 544th Motorised Brigade to
20 the 80th Motorised Brigade. All issues with regard to the
21 resubordination will be regulated by the Command of the 80th
22 Motorised Brigade until they receive a new task. The armoured battalion
23 of the 544th Motorised Brigade will be carrying out its task in
24 compliance with the decision of 16 November 1991. And that was to
25 relocate from the area of Jakobovac to another place, to the best of my
2 Q. Did this resubordination occur for the TO members and volunteers
3 as well?
4 A. It is not so stated in this order.
5 Q. Do you know if it took place, even if it's not in this order,
6 with another order?
7 A. I cannot really claim that they were encompassed with this order,
8 because it is spelled out precisely in this order that the armoured
9 battalion would be transferred to my unit, and that is what was -- what
11 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, I'd like to tender this document into
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can we have a number, please.
14 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P607, Your Honours.
15 MR. FERRARA: I don't have further questions.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are going to break for 20
17 minutes. After the break, I will have a number of questions to put to
18 the witness.
19 We'll resume in 20 minutes.
20 --- Recess taken at 5.54 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 6.13 p.m.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The court is back
23 in session.
24 Colonel, I have a number of questions to put to you. First of
25 all, I'm going to deal with the volunteers, and then, in a second stage,
1 I'm going to deal with what you, yourself, saw at Ovcara.
2 Questioned by the Court:
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] First, the volunteers, the
4 volunteers you saw arrive in the area at the time, were you aware of the
5 fact that the volunteers, that's something that was provided for by the
6 law at the time in the former Yugoslavia, because if someone had not been
7 mobilised into the JNA, that person could declare himself as a volunteer?
8 Were you aware of that?
9 A. Well, the volunteers could gather, and once they gathered, they
10 could join the JNA in an organised way and act under the JNA Command.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We've had a lot of witnesses
12 testify before us, including volunteers. Some of them told us that they
13 were volunteers because they refused to serve in the ranks of the JNA,
14 because for them the JNA was tantamount to the former communist system,
15 and for them to join the JNA would be tantamount to supporting the
16 communist system, whereas they, themselves, were royalists, liberals, and
17 so on and so forth. Some of them told us that they wanted to fight for
18 their country, but they did not want to do so under the JNA. They wanted
19 to fight for their country as volunteers.
20 What do you have to say about people who give such explanations?
21 A. Well, I think there were people of both kinds. Most of them
22 joined the JNA and placed themselves under JNA command, and to a lesser
23 extent there were others who did not want to subordinate themselves and
24 acted independently, perhaps. I didn't know of any such cases in the
25 territory of Vukovar, I don't know about any such groups, but I know they
1 existed in other places.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My question follows up on your
3 answer. Within the JNA, and considering the way it was organised, was it
4 possible for the JNA to take part in military operations without
5 controlling units that were fighting with the JNA, together with the JNA?
6 In military terms, would such a thing be possible or completely
7 impossible? And here I'm putting the question to a colonel of the JNA.
8 I'm talking to a professional here.
9 A. I think that the volunteers who were part of the JNA worked under
10 JNA command, received assignments from their JNA officers, and did not
11 act independently. They were involved, together with others, in combat
12 operations and cooperated.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We know that there were
14 volunteer units, starting with Leva Supoderica, to mention only one.
15 Talking now about the command of these units, would it be possible for
16 such a volunteers unit to act independently in the field, independently
17 of the chain of command? Would such a thing be technically possible and
18 theoretically possible?
19 A. According to the rules, that unit, which acted as part of the
20 JNA, the Leva Supoderica unit, was subordinated to the JNA. I don't
21 exclude the possibility of smaller independent groups existing, but they
22 were not part of the JNA. Those groups were condemned by everyone.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. You say that you do not
24 exclude the possibility of smaller independent groups existing but that
25 they were condemned by everyone. Let's assume that in your area of
1 command, you find that you have individuals who do not obey your orders.
2 What do you do as the commander of that particular area? What steps
3 would you take to put an end to such a situation?
4 A. There were no such cases. In my unit, if there had been, they
5 would have been removed from the area.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. At least your
7 answers are extremely precise.
8 Talking about Vukovar now, before you took command of the town in
9 December, who was in charge in Vukovar? Who was the number 1 in Vukovar?
10 A. The most responsible person in Vukovar at the time I arrived was
11 the commander of Operative Group South.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And who was the commander of
13 Operative Group South?
14 A. The commander of Operative Group South at the time was
15 Mile Mrksic.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Would the commander
17 of Operative Group South regularly organise meetings with his subordinate
18 officers to prepare military operations and then to have debriefing
19 operations following these operations? Would such a procedure be
20 followed and applied?
21 A. It was a military hierarchy, wherein meetings with Mile Mrksic
22 were attended by his subordinates, where they received assignments, and
23 then they conveyed these assignments to their own subordinates and agreed
24 about operations. And among those, there were probably some volunteer
25 units that were part of the JNA.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What about you; did you attend
2 meetings presided by Colonel Mrksic?
3 A. [No interpretation].
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At the time of the takeover of
5 Vukovar by the JNA, in your recollection, were there preparatory meetings
6 before the Croats surrendered? Were there meetings organised in order to
7 put an end to the siege of Vukovar and did you attend to such meetings?
8 And I'm talking about putting an end to the siege, thanks to various
9 military operations, and of deciding what was to be done with prisoners.
10 Did such meetings take place?
11 A. These meetings were held regularly. My unit did not take part
12 directly in the execution of operations. The commander issued
13 assignments, specific assignments, to his units, such as capturing a
14 street, one part of the town, and similar.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are telling me that
16 yourself and your unit did not take part directly in the fall of Vukovar,
17 because you had not been given a task to deal with what was going to
18 happen after the fall of Vukovar. It's something you had nothing to do
20 A. Well, we did not know about the operation that would be carried
21 out, not specifically in each unit, but I was present when the commander
22 issued assignments to specific units regarding certain locations, certain
23 streets, certain areas, how they were to be captured. They looked for
24 ways how to carry out these operations, the combat, et cetera.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I was going to move on to
1 something else, but you've just said something I find rather relevant.
2 Let me put up a follow-up question to you.
3 You stated that you took part in meetings where they decided how,
4 the enemy, how the Croats were to be captured. In your recollection,
5 during the such meetings would Colonel Mrksic tell his officers that they
6 had to comply with the Geneva Conventions related to prisoners and with
7 the law of the war and the way it was applied in the JNA? Would Colonel
8 Mrksic remind his officers how important it was to comply with Geneva
10 A. I was not present during discussions about capturing Croats, that
11 is, members of the Croatian armed forces, but it is a fact that Colonel
12 Mrksic pointed out the provisions of the Geneva Conventions and the
13 appropriate treatment. In fact, every officer had a little manual on
14 Geneva Conventions on him and how to treat prisoners of war.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let me now move on
16 to the second topic of my questions, i.e., Ovcara.
17 I understand, when listening to you, that you just passed by, by
18 chance. Can you explain to us what you were doing in the area?
19 A. I was going to Sotin, where I had one unit and one command to
20 visit, and on my way back I also wanted to visit the command recently
21 deployed at Ovcara. And that's when I saw, for the first time, that
22 buses were coming and stopping outside the hangar. I didn't know what
23 that was and who those people were, so I didn't actually stop to see the
24 commander of the unit I was going to visit. I went straight to the
25 hangar to see what was going on. I saw a couple of buses --
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me stop you here, because
2 you've just said something that could be very relevant. I immediately
3 noticed it, because nothing escapes me.
4 You stated that you went to Sotin, and then you returned to
5 Ovcara because the command had been deployed at Ovcara. Does that mean
6 that the superior authority had decided that there should be a command
7 post at Ovcara, and you were aware of that?
8 A. No. My unit was deployed in Sotin. That was one command, and
9 another was in Ovcara. It was not originally planned that way, but
10 because of some problems that occurred, I placed it at Ovcara, and it
11 stayed there with the consent of the organ of the superior command.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You've just given us a very
13 relevant piece of information. You, yourself, decided to place a command
14 post at Ovcara. My fellow Judge would like to know, and I'm interested
15 as well to know, when exactly, on what day you set up a command post at
16 Ovcara, on what date exactly?
17 A. We didn't set it up separately, but under a general order a
18 command post was placed in various villages and locations, and their job
19 was to help those people in the villages to organise themselves, to
20 protect themselves and defend themselves, to get the water supply
21 working, et cetera. That's why this commanding officer in Ovcara was
22 placed there, with that purpose. It was, in fact, a circular security
23 system that the military apply in all environments.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Who was the commanding officer
25 at Ovcara that you had placed there? Who was it?
1 A. I think that commanding officer who was in charge doesn't want
2 his name mentioned. He was here as a protected witness, but we know who
3 he is.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You don't want to
5 tell us his name. Did he have soldiers with him, this officer? How many
6 people were there with him?
7 A. Well, he had perhaps six or seven soldiers servicing the command,
8 couriers, messengers, signalsmen.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you saw buses,
10 people, and you saw how these people were being mistreated, so you
11 intervened, you went inside the building. Can you tell us what you saw
12 inside the building?
13 A. Well, inside the building, which is a hangar, there were people,
14 and I didn't know where these people hailed from because that particular
15 mission bypassed me. I had nothing to do with that order from the
16 Command. Those people were to the left of the hangar, cordoned off. On
17 the other side of the cordon, there were members of the Territorial
18 Defence. I approached one commanding officer who was from the superior
19 command and asked him, "Who are these people? Where are they from?" And
20 that's when he told me that they were captives from the hospital. As I
21 entered -- as they entered the hangar, they were mistreated. They had to
22 run the gauntlet. They were beaten, kicked, insulted.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So there's a question that
24 straight away crosses my mind. So there is this officer with six or
25 seven soldiers with him and this is a command post that you have
1 established. Had the JNA controlled the entire operation, that is, the
2 prisoners as they were being evacuated from the hospital, who were
3 supposed to be at Ovcara for a certain period of time, that brings about
4 logistical and security problems, so within the military order should you
5 have been informed because, after all, you yourself -- well, "you," your
6 unit had a command post there. As part of a classical military
7 operation, should you have been informed?
8 A. I did not take part in this operation, either in the preparatory
9 stage, or the organising, or the execution, neither I nor my Command nor
10 my soldiers were involved. Such operations were executed without the
11 knowledge of anyone, and I suppose for the news not to spread, we were
12 not informed. But as I came close to the site, I found out.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So when you discovered that,
14 what did you think straight away? What did you think of, you? You were
15 a military man, you were in charge of things there. What did you think?
16 A. Well, first of all, I was surprised to be ignorant of this
17 situation and this event, because, after all, I was a brigade commander.
18 My commands were in the immediate vicinity. I took measures to secure
19 these people, and I informed my superior of all that I saw. I took
20 measures to protect these people.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before we speak about you
22 informing Colonel Mrksic: You saw what was happening inside. We're not
23 going to go into details. We are aware of them, and you spoke about
25 So you came out of the hangar. Did you then see military police
2 A. Well, you know how it was? There were soldiers who had military
3 belts, but whether they were members of the military police or not, I
4 didn't know, because not all of them were from my units. But a part of
5 my own military police came later to help organise, to help restore
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's speak about the people
8 who were there. It seems that there were JNA members, TO members,
9 civilians - one can wonder what they were doing there - and there were
10 also volunteers. Can you confirm that the people I've just listed were
11 present? I'll say it again very slowly: JNA members, Vukovar
12 Territorial Defence members, volunteers, and civilians. Did you see
13 people from these four categories?
14 A. I think I can confirm all of this. The only thing I didn't know
15 then was that volunteers were also there. They were all dressed in the
16 uniform -- the combined uniform of the Territorial Defence, so at that
17 moment I didn't know who belonged to whom. There were members of the
18 JNA, there were civilians wearing all sorts of dress, pieces of one and
19 pieces of another, so it was not very clear who was a member of what.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What about the civilians; where
21 did they come from? Were they coming out of the basements, where they
22 had sought refuge and shelter for some time? Were they coming from their
23 neighbouring villages? What were they doing there, if you know at all?
24 A. You're talking about civilians?
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, the civilians you saw.
1 Where did they come from?
2 A. I think that those were civilians from the area of the hospital
3 and also probably from the nearby villages who came to watch and to
4 participate in the action.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You were there on the spot, and
6 we heard witnesses who, too, were there. We heard victims as well, so we
7 know a lot already.
8 You were there. Therefore, as far as you can remember, what was
9 the atmosphere like? Was it complete chaos, anarchy, or did you have the
10 feeling that it was all very well organised?
11 A. I think that it was all organised, from the bringing of the
12 people from the hospital up to the hangar, and in the hangar inside, it
13 was already problematic. The situation was very complex. There was
14 beating, there was hitting, there was insults, abuse. I could see that
15 some people knew each other. They called out to each other by name or by
16 surname. So the situation within the hangar was complex.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Whether it was organised to
18 take prisoners from one point to the other, yes, you need a certain
19 degree of organisation. But as I understand it, when I say "organised,"
20 what I mean is all this beating and ill-treatment, was it organised or
21 was this just some sudden upsurge of collective violence by the people
22 who were there, who were taking revenge on the prisoners? How do you
23 analyse the situation? How did you analyse the situation back then, and
24 how do you analyse it now?
25 A. I believe that there was no organised beating of the people.
1 There were no commands issued to the effect of hit or beat. These were
2 individual actions on the part of individuals who were embittered, who
3 were disillusioned, who had grudges, mutual grudges. There were no
4 commands to that effect, as -- for that to be done.
5 Now, as I recall it, of course, it was very wrong to treat the
6 prisoners in that way, but that is the way it was.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Is this really what you feel
8 deep down?
9 A. It is my deep conviction that I can never, of course, support
10 someone beating some other people without those other people being able
11 to resist or to strike back, because these people passed through the
12 gauntlet and they had no weapons or anything to defend themselves with.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you were about to leave.
14 Did you pass by your Command first? Did you go to see the officer who
15 was there with six or seven soldiers from your unit? Did you go and see
17 A. No, because the moment he saw me, he was waiting there for me to
18 inform me about the situation in his unit. I did not stay for any length
19 of time with him. I went right -- I went to this place to see what was
20 happening, because I was surprised by what was taking place. So he came
21 from his area and gave us assistance, and he protected me and himself
22 and, as far as he was able, the prisoners.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What about the six or seven
24 soldiers from your unit; where were they?
25 A. They were there with their superiors, and they helped as much as
1 they can in order to stop the excesses, the beatings. They looked on,
2 what was happening.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You got back into your car?
4 A. Yes, I got back in my vehicle.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Did you have a Motorola or a
6 telephone, any means of communication with the Command?
7 A. No, no, not at that time, because I had not expected anything of
8 the kind.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you had absolutely no means
10 at all?
11 A. No.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So what did you do? What time
13 was it when you left?
14 A. When I left, it was already time for my regular briefing, and I
15 briefed my superior about the situation in Ovcara, about what I had seen,
16 and how surprised at it I was.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What time did you leave Ovcara?
18 A. I cannot say with precision what time it was, because nobody
19 consulted their watches then, but people were trying to do something
20 about it to help those people. I know that it was dark when I arrived at
21 Mrksic's place.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So night had fallen already.
23 You went straight away to the Command, where you met with Colonel Mrksic,
24 and this is important, as you can imagine. I assume that the questions
25 I'm asking you must have been asked of you during the Belgrade trial and
1 also in the Mrksic trial, but I have neither transcript. This is why I'm
2 asking the questions that might have been asked of you before.
3 Please explain how you met Colonel Mrksic. And your answer is of
4 the utmost relevance. What did you tell him and what is he going to tell
6 A. I entered the Command, to Mrksic's office. I was a bit late
7 because of the event that I had seen there, and on that account I had
8 stayed there a bit longer. I informed him about the situation in Ovcara,
9 what was being done there, how the prisoners were being beaten and all
10 the rest, and he told me, "Do not talk to me about it." So I understood
11 that he actually knew what the situation was, and what was happening
12 there, and who the people there were.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So he said to you, "Don't talk
14 to me about it." You are on a very familiar basis. Were you friends or
15 acquaintances, or did he speak politely to you, like, "Do not speak to me
16 about this"? Did you have some friendly ties or was it just professional
17 ties you had with him?
18 A. Ours was a professional relationship. He was my commander, he
19 was my superior, and only a top commanding officer could have been the
20 commander of the Guards Brigade. And we had only known each other for a
21 short time. He said to me on two times, "Do not talk to me about it."
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So he spoke on a friendly basis
23 to you. You heard this from your superior, and you know that things are
24 happening that are banned by the military code, so what did you think
1 A. At that moment, I did not know exactly what was happening, but I
2 realised that he knew about it. This entire arrangement had been an
3 unknown to me, this bringing of the people to Ovcara, but I could see
4 that he was aware of it, for had the situation been any different, he
5 would certainly have asked me what it was, what was being done, but he
6 didn't ask anything of the kind. The only thing he said to me was,
7 "Don't talk to me about it."
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When he told you, "Don't speak
9 to me about it," does that mean that he took on him the entire
10 responsibility or that he knew but he was totally overwhelmed because of
11 the civilians, the Territorial Defence, the volunteers and all the rest?
12 What was your feeling? Did you have a feeling that he controlled the
13 situation because he was the number 1 of the OG South, or was he totally
14 just overwhelmed?
15 A. I think that he was aware of the situation, because he had his
16 organs and his commands in the hangar, but he probably did not know that
17 it would get out of control to such an extent at that time.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In such a situation, I am not
19 going to read out to you all the rules of the military code. I could do
20 so, but I'll go straight to the chase, cut to the chase.
21 In such a situation where a subordinate officer informs his
22 superior that there is a grave, very serious situation, and that the
23 superior obviously fails to do anything, what does a JNA officer have to
24 do, in view of the then applicable military code? I'm not trying to
25 embarrass you, please do understand that, but I'd like you to give us a
1 technical -- a military answer.
2 A. I think that I behaved as a professional officer. I informed my
3 superior of the situation as I had found it. It was for him to inform
4 his superior about the situation that he had been informed about or had
5 come to know in some other way.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But in the chain of command, if
7 a subordinate officer sees that his superior is unable to carry out his
8 duty or commits a crime, is the subordinate officer not obliged to refer
9 it to the rung above, and who was above Colonel Mrksic in the chain of
11 A. His superior was General Zivota Panic, the commander of the 1st
12 Military District, and my security organ, via the security line, informed
13 our security group which was relocated there and monitored the entire
14 situation in Slavonia.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So General Panic was informed
16 via the security line of what was happening. You, you did not deem it
17 necessary to go in person to see General Panic?
18 A. No, no, that was not to be done, because I didn't know what was
19 going to happen, what the situation was like, what was going to be done
20 with those people, because no one could have anticipated that what
21 actually happened would happen.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One can easily imagine what
23 happened. So your officer who was present in Ovcara, with the seven
24 soldiers who'd stayed there, did they tell you that -- later, that is,
25 that the people who were in the hangar left it and were taken in groups
1 of 20 on board a tractor? Did they tell you that little by little the
2 hangar was emptied out? Did your subordinates tell you that?
3 A. No one of my commanding officers or men was there at that time
4 when the people were being taken out of the hangar, nor did they see
5 that, because this Command which was near the hangar, it was not actually
6 that near, it was some 800 metres away, and it was a dark night, so that
7 nobody saw it.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let us move for a few moments
9 to private session, Madam Registrar.
10 [Private session]
1 [Open session]
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you heard.
4 You'll have to tell us when you heard that. You heard there had been
5 executions in the hangar. When did you hear that?
6 A. I didn't see that, and I heard this from the lawyers in some of
7 these -- the lawyers on the Defence team in some of these
8 pre-investigation stages of the procedure, because I cooperated with
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I see. So you took over
11 command in Vukovar in December. That is just a few days later, since the
12 events took place ten days earlier. When you took over command, did
13 nobody tell you, or was there no rumour, or did rumour reach you that
14 there had been executions when you took over command?
15 And do understand my questions. I'm not trying to embarrass you.
16 That would be very easy for a Judge to do so. I'm not playing that game,
17 so my questions are absolutely neutral. But I do have this question.
18 You took your command ten days after the 20th of November. We
19 know that on the 20th of November, you told Colonel Mrksic what had
20 happened. When you took over command ten days later, did you not ask
21 yourself what had become of the detainees?
22 A. I have to say that after that date, too, until the Guards Brigade
23 returned to Belgrade, we came for regular briefings. Nothing was being
24 said in the Command about that. However, I informed my own brigade
25 command about these events. I did not hear it from my superior command,
1 but from people, from civilians in Negoslavci. I heard from them about
2 what had happened. I know that the superior commander later said that
3 there would be a team of investigators and of experts that would be
4 coming to investigate matters, examine the scene. And as he had already
5 said that and secured all that, it was not for me to take any such
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, I'm going to tell you
8 why I am amazed. You straight away reported to Colonel Mrksic after what
9 you'd said. We know that you had an officer who was present on the spot,
10 together with soldiers. Despite the fact that Colonel Mrksic did nothing
11 about it and told you not to worry about it, did you not find any
12 curiosity? Were you not curious enough to just make a phone call to your
13 officer to know whether things had calmed down or what had happened? You
14 didn't do it, did you?
15 A. I did send an officer of mine to examine the situation. No, I
16 was not calm, I was not at ease, and I wanted him to inform me what
17 was -- what the situation there was like. And he told me that the
18 situation was complex, that the soldiers had been moved away, and that
19 they held no sway at all there, because there was a larger group of armed
20 people there and those people wouldn't obey anyone.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It's 7.00 p.m. We
22 need to adjourn. We'll proceed with your testimony tomorrow morning at
23 8.30. I still have a few questions to ask you. I believe that my fellow
24 Judges have some questions for you as well, and the Prosecutor may have
25 some questions as part of his redirect.
1 Witness, you'll come back in this courtroom at 8.30. The rest of
2 your testimony won't take very long, because we have another witness we
3 want to hear tomorrow. Rest assured that your testimony will be
4 completed tomorrow morning, but let me remind you that you took the
5 solemn declaration and now you're a witness here to -- in the service of
6 justice. You're not to have, as such, any contacts with the OTP, and I
7 would like to advise you not to call anyone except members of your
8 family. But even if you do so, do not say anything about your testimony.
9 Just remain in your hotel room and try to avoid any contacts with anyone,
10 except, of course, with your closest relatives.
11 Mr. Ferrara, you wanted to say something? No, apparently.
12 As you know, tomorrow morning we'll be sitting at 8.30 in this
13 courtroom, and I would like to wish everyone a pleasant evening.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.01 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 6th day of
16 November, 2008, at 8.30 a.m.