1 Tuesday, 11 November 2008
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.28 p.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, kindly call the
7 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Good afternoon, Your Honour. Good afternoon to everyone in and
9 around the courtroom.
10 This is case number IT-03-67-T, the Prosecutor versus
11 Vojislav Seselj.
12 Thank you, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
14 Good afternoon to the OTP representatives, Ms. Dahl, Mr. Ferrara,
15 and their team associates. Good afternoon, Mr. Seselj, and of course
16 the -- good afternoon to the usher and the Registrar.
17 We're ten minutes late in starting because the previous Trial
18 Chamber was not able to stop at a quarter to 2:00, which causes this
19 delay, because I was waiting outside the door at 14 past 2.00. I hope
20 this is not to occur again.
21 I have three topics.
22 First of all, Mr. Seselj, your brief on the reply to the
23 Prosecution motion for imposition of counsel has been translated. We
24 have -- we got the English translation on Friday.
25 The Trial Chamber notes the following: Your filings have two
1 parts. The first part is under 35.000 words long, so no problems there.
2 That will be admitted and filed. However, as to the second part, it is
3 over 260 pages long, i.e., 91.000-odd words, so that will not be admitted
4 because the title deals with violations of your rights. And I read the
5 contents this morning, as early as 5.00 this morning. There's no direct
6 relation to the key issue of whether you should be appointed a counsel or
7 not. Therefore, the said document will not be filed.
8 Something else, another problem. It has to do with the first
9 document which will be filed. It mentions several protected witnesses,
10 giving their names and pseudonyms. As a result, the version that you
11 provided will be filed confidentially. However, as soon as you have
12 redacted the first names and surnames, that version will be made public.
13 The second topic. It concerns the witness we're going to hear
14 today. The Trial Chamber handed down a decision on Friday. It is 11
15 pages long and has 51 footnotes. The document could not be translated
16 into your language since Friday. I am therefore going to sum it up very
17 briefly. It regards the testimony of Davor Strinovic.
18 The Trial Chamber said that the motions by the Prosecution
19 pursuant to Rule 94(B), seeking admission of schedules B and C of the 18
20 September 2008 motion, including exhibits admitted in the Milosevic and
21 Mrksic cases, those requests have been turned down, dismissed by the
22 Trial Chamber.
23 Furthermore, the Prosecution had sought to admit, pursuant to
24 Rule 92 ter, annexes B, C, D and E of their motion of the 13th of July,
25 2006. They were transcripts of the testimony of the witness in the
1 Milosevic and Mrksic cases and the exhibits related thereto. The Trial
2 Chamber decided to dismiss that motion as well. However, the Trial
3 Chamber authorised the new report to be added to the Prosecution 65 ter
4 list. Therefore, the Trial Chamber, in its disposition, ordered that the
5 witness appear as an expert witness. We recognise his status of expert.
6 The examination-in-chief will be not over one hour and thirty minutes.
7 As to the cross-examination, it will be 130 minutes maximum.
8 The Trial Chamber dismissed the other motions.
9 Now, regarding next week, experts Visnja Bilic is due to testify.
10 As you know, Visnja Bilic is going to replace expert Ivan Grujic.
11 On the 3rd of November, 2008, the Prosecution filed the report by
12 Bilic pursuant to Rule 94 bis and sought to add this report and related
13 documents to the 65 ter list. The report and the documents were provided
14 to the accused on the 8th of October, 2008. The translation into B/C/S
15 of the motion was provided to the witness on the 7th of November, 2008
16 The witness is due to testify on the 18th of November, 2008, so that's
17 next Tuesday. And given the time limits for responses and replies, we
18 have four questions for you.
19 The first question: Do you challenge the additions sought by the
20 Prosecution to the 65 ter list; that is, the report and the related
21 exhibits? Secondly, do you challenge the status of expert of the
22 witness? Thirdly, do you accept the report made by Ms. Bilic? Fourthly,
23 do you wish to cross-examine the witness?
24 So, Mr. Seselj, I know that you wanted to say something. You can
25 answer the questions I put to you.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, first of all, with regard to
2 the information you've just given that you rejected the addendum to my
3 response to the Prosecution and their request to impose counsel upon me,
4 I'd like to draw your attention to the following: My response is less
5 extensive than I was allowed. It's shorter. Secondly, along with his
6 request, the Prosecutor attached material numbering more than 1.000
7 pages. I didn't even count them. Perhaps there are 2.000 pages
8 attached, and it took up a whole box, a whole box full of material. My
9 supplement to the response is four or eight times less than the
10 Prosecutor's supplement to their motion, and I protest because you
11 accepted the Prosecution response and not my supplement.
12 Now, as far as expert Visnja Bilic is concerned, you will
13 remember that I was opposed to having another expert witness called in,
14 because Ivan Grujic was seriously compromised, in the professional sense
15 and moral sense, in some other trials and proceedings, and Visnja Bilic
16 appears as an uncompromised individual who will present his material.
17 And as far as I was able to see thus far and look at the new expert
18 report that was tabled, it is quite obvious that the report is wholly
19 based on the material of Milan Grujic. Therefore, I am opposed to
20 following the 65 ter rule for new exhibits and having this one added. I
21 challenge the qualifications of Visnja Bilic herself, both in the
22 professional and the moral sense. I do not accept her report, and I'm
23 going to cross-examine her if I have the opportunity of doing so.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber is going to
25 discuss what you have just said, and you will know as early as tomorrow
1 what our decision is going to be regarding Ms. Bilic.
2 Did you have anything else to say, because we're pressed by time
3 today and I'd like us to move swiftly and hear the expert.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, yes, I do have something to
5 add very briefly, but three serious problems.
6 First of all, it was the Prosecution's duty to disclose the
7 complete transcripts of the testimony of Davor Strinovic in the Milosevic
8 trial as well as in the Markesic and Mrksic et al trial.
9 Now, in the Mrksic trial, they failed to provide me with 50 pages
10 of the transcript, and I'm referring to the final portion of the
11 transcript of the 23rd of May, 2006. Through the representatives of the
12 Registry, I took up this problem with the Prosecution. I tried to have
13 it resolved an hour ago, roughly, but was unsuccessful because I was
14 brought here at 1.15, and so I wasn't able to resolve that issue, which
15 means that it doesn't exist at all, because while I was studying this, I
16 was thinking about it and I thought perhaps they disclosed it to me
17 subsequently and I was just not able to find it. As the Prosecutor can't
18 find it either, then that material just doesn't exist. So the person who
19 translated this from the English to have it given to me probably thought
20 that I wouldn't read through the whole lot and wouldn't notice that there
21 are 50 pages missing from the central part of the document. But as I
22 read through everything, I did notice it, and it's a serious problem.
23 Secondly, and this will be even briefer, yesterday I received --
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll ask the question straight
1 Ms. Dahl or Mr. Ferrara, Mr. Seselj is telling us that he was
2 provided with a transcript of the 23rd of May, 2006, with 60 pages
3 missing. That's what he says.
4 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, we have just discovered what
5 Mr. Seselj say when he informed the Court Officer, and he's right because
6 they were not translated, the afternoon session of the evening of the
7 23rd of May, 2006. We immediately directed our office to translate these
8 50 pages missing, and we hope to disclose it to Seselj -- to Mr. Seselj
9 as soon as possible.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
11 So you've got your answer, Mr. Seselj, to this problem.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I should have been provided
13 it at least half an hour before Strinovic comes into the courtroom,
14 whereas I'm going to receive it, I think, when Davor Strinovic has
15 returned to Zagreb
16 this or had I had some unskillful counsel or lawyer, that would have gone
17 unnoticed, you see.
18 The second problem is this: Yesterday, I received a request for
19 VS-35 on the basis of 92 ter, a request from the Prosecutor, and as the
20 Trial Chamber you rejected that request. Now they're bringing it up
21 again. And it is dated the 28th of October, but I was just handed it
22 yesterday. I am categorically opposed to having this request by the
23 Prosecution adhered to, and I would like to put forward all the reasons
24 that I've already stated, why we cannot apply Rule 92 ter in these
25 proceedings, so I hope I don't have to repeat all my points again. You
1 know that I stated my views and presented the reasons and repeated them
2 several times, so that's the second point.
3 Now, the third point is this: Just before I entered the
4 courtroom, I received a request from the Prosecutor for --
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Regarding VS-035, Mr. Ferrara?
6 MR. FERRARA: Your Honour, probably there's a misunderstanding
7 interpretation, because VS-35 testified viva voce [indiscernible]. For
8 this reason, it was Mr. [Indiscernible] Ejic, so --
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] 1.035, 1.035.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So it was 1.035.
11 Now, if the Trial Chamber has already dismissed the first
12 request, request saying that it should be a viva voce witness, we now
13 take due note of new filings. The Trial Chamber will examine them, but
14 at first blush I can't see why we should change tack. But let's wait
15 until we see the contents of the filing.
16 Third and last point, Mr. Seselj?
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Before coming into the courtroom, I
18 received a Prosecution request dated the 26th of September, 2008, and the
19 heading is "Request for formally taking note of facts relevant for the
20 crime base with respect to Vukovar." And there's a large number of those
21 facts set out in that document, almost 300. I don't have time to count
22 them all. But, anyway, I'd like to inform you that I'm categorically
23 opposed to that, too, regardless of the fact that certain facts are
24 notoriously well known. So there was no reason to table this motion.
25 They can be seen from the general context and from numerous testimonies
1 and documents presented. However, there are some which are completely
3 But, anyway, the Mrksic et al trial is still ongoing, that is to
4 say, it is in the appeals stage, and they are not adjudicated facts.
5 Adjudicated facts are only those which have been officially adjudicated.
6 And so because of that very strong formal reason, this is completely
7 unacceptable. I think some notoriously well-known facts are mentioned to
8 cover up other things, but, to be honest, I haven't had time to read
9 through the whole document because I had to enter into the courtroom.
10 So for these reasons, I am categorically opposed to this.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You don't want to make any
12 filings, or have you just explained orally why you oppose them? Do you
13 intend to make any filings as to judicial notice?
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, Mr. President, I think it
15 suffices for me to say this out loud in the courtroom and it to be
16 recorded in the transcript, and that will save time, because I have filed
17 more than 400 motions and submissions to date, so let's make matters
18 simpler. If I have to write a filing, then I'll have to do it in
19 writing, in my own handwriting, without a typewriter, et cetera. So
20 while it's translated and sent to the Prosecutor, this will require a lot
21 of time. But I've already stated my formal reason, and I think it is
22 sufficient for you to reject it. And, anyway, of late I've been applying
23 this kind of practice, that is, to respond orally to everything that I
24 receive, because mostly the arguments I'd like to put forward are
25 repeated, so there's no reason for me to write them all down. And I have
1 to prepare for all the testimonies and just have two or three days free
2 between one testimony and another, so I don't have much time to write
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, very well.
5 Mr. Usher, can you bring the witness in.
6 [The witness entered court]
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir.
8 Can you please state your first name, surname, and date of birth.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Davor Strinovic, 8th of March,
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your current
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am a physician, a specialist of
14 forensic medicine, and a professor at the Faculty of Medicine in the
15 subject of forensic medicine.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You're a forensic
17 pathologist. Does that mean that you do forensic post-mortems?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I perform autopsies at the
19 Forensic Medicine Institute of the University of Zagreb
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you had an opportunity to
21 testify before this Tribunal? And if so, in which case?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours, I testified on
23 several occasions; in the Milosevic case, then in the Sljivancanin case,
24 as well as in the Martic case.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So that was on three occasions.
1 In your own country or in other countries, have you had an opportunity to
2 testify to events related to the former Yugoslavia or did you testify
3 only here?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was once invited to a trial
5 associated with the Ovcara case in Belgrade
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Please read out the
7 solemn declaration.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
9 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
10 WITNESS: DAVOR STRINOVIC
11 [The witness answered through interpreter]
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Doctor. Please sit
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Some brief explanations. I
16 mean, nothing I'm about to say is going to be a surprise to you, because
17 you have testified on several occasions.
18 You must have met with Mr. Ferrara. He's going to put questions
19 to you, following the report you drafted and documents related thereto.
20 He's going to submit documents to you, following which Mr. Seselj, who's
21 sitting on your left-hand side, is going to cross-examine you. It may be
22 that the three Judges sitting in front of you also have questions to you.
23 These are very technical matters, so please do endeavour to be
24 very precise, and if you have the feeling that we fail to understand,
25 then you can expand on your answers.
1 This is what I wanted to tell you. Without further adieu, you
2 may proceed, Mr. Ferrara.
3 MR. FERRARA: Thank you, Your Honours.
4 Given the Court's decision on 7 November 2008, qualifying
5 Mr. Strinovic as expert with respect to his report concerning the
6 exhumation and identification in Ovcara, I won't be covering a tremendous
7 amount of his background.
8 Examination by Mr. Ferrara:
9 Q. Very quickly, Dr. Strinovic, you say that you testified before
10 this Tribunal in the Milosevic, Martic, and Mrksic trials. Were you
11 asked to provide a new report in the case against Mr. Vojislav Seselj?
12 A. Yes, I was asked to present my current position in connection
13 with this particular subject matter.
14 Q. Do you have this report in front of you?
15 A. Yes, I do.
16 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, can we have on the screen the 65 ter
17 number 7250. Meanwhile, we can continue with the questions so we save
19 Q. With this report, did you provide to the office of the Prosecutor
20 your updated curriculum vitae, CV?
21 A. Yes, I did, that is correct.
22 Q. Could you please tell us the highest degree, including
23 specialisation, you hold, and from what institutions you obtained this
25 A. As I've said, I'm a forensic medicine specialist. After that, I
1 obtained my Master's and Doctoral degree at the Medical Faculty in Zagreb
2 and became an assistant professor and later on a professor, full
3 professor, at the Medical Faculty. And within the last two months, I've
4 also been head of the Forensic Medicine Institute.
5 Q. So you are also a professor. Where do you teach?
6 A. As I've already said, I teach the subject forensic medicine.
7 Q. Your CV had mentioned commissions and congresses you have
8 participated in. Did these include topics that are of interest in this
9 case, so such as identification, exhumation, and cause of death?
10 A. Yes, of course. Namely, after we started with the exhumations
11 within the institute and then at state level, and gaining experience in
12 that field, we presented our cases to the international public by
13 publishing articles or by participating in congresses where we presented
14 our experiences with exhumations and identifications, both classical DNA
15 and other types of identification, and we passed on our experiences to
16 the international scientific community, as is standard in these meetings.
17 Q. Have you ever written books or scientific papers on these topics?
18 A. Yes. As I've said, we wrote scientific articles and also parts
19 of books dealing with the subject of forensic medicine generally, and
20 specific chapters dealing with exhumation and identification in mass
21 disasters of the kind that war is.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In your own country, how many
23 forensic pathologists are there? Are they to be counted in scores, or
24 hundreds, or is it just a handful of you? How many of you are there?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that is true, Your Honour,
2 forensic pathologists, of which 12 or 13 are purely specialised in this
3 discipline, and others are pathologists and also specialise in other
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Since you are a professor in
6 forensic medicine, can it be said that you are the number one in forensic
7 medicine in Croatia
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I wouldn't put it that way.
9 There are other professors who are retired but who cooperate with us
10 always, but we do work in the number one institution in our state. That
11 is the oldest and the biggest forensic medicine institution in Croatia
12 and I am the director or the head of that institute.
13 MR. FERRARA: Thank you, Your Honours.
14 Q. You say that you have some -- you have testified before this
15 Tribunal in other cases. Did you submit any written report in that case,
16 Milosevic, Mrksic and Martic trials?
17 A. Yes, I submitted reports in those cases as well.
18 Q. Do you have this report in front of you?
19 Your Honours, for your assistance and of the accused, is the
20 report number 2672. That is the second document in the first binder. I
21 will give you this reference along with all the testimony just for your
22 assistance and for the accused.
23 A. Excuse me. Where exactly is this that your question is about?
24 Q. It is the second document in your binder.
25 A. What is the answer that you require from me? I see these
1 documents. These are my documents, I wrote them.
2 Q. Did you draft this report; yes?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. With your report -- this is the report in the Milosevic and
5 Mrksic case, and attached to this report there are several tables related
6 to certain localities in the former Yugoslavia
7 Vukovar, and Vocin. They are the only two localities involved in our
9 Before you come to testify, did you have the opportunity to
10 examine your documentation concerning these locations?
11 A. Yes, I did, I did have an opportunity to do that.
12 Q. Would these underlying documentation be available in your office
13 in Zagreb
14 like to do so?
15 A. I can say the following: All the documents which are associated
16 with the work that was done in the Forensic Medicine Institute in Zagreb
17 all these documents exist at the institute in written form as well as in
18 computerised form, whereas the documents associated with cases done by
19 other experts, they also exist, but they are in the Commission for
20 Missing Persons. For instance, a case in point is that of Ovcara, where
21 we did not process or participate in the process of examining the
22 post-mortem remains, and that is why those documents are not kept in the
23 institute, as are those pertaining to cases that were processed by us.
24 Q. We have already said that you were asked to submit a new report
25 for the case against Mr. Seselj. I'd like to direct your attention to
1 this report that you produced for the present case.
2 That is, for the assistance of Your Honours and for the accused,
3 the first document in the first binder. That is the 65 ter number 7250,
4 and of course I will seek to tender both these reports at the end of the
5 examination of the expert.
6 Q. Is that the report that you produced for this case, the first
7 document in your personal binder? The first document, the tab 1. Maybe
8 I was not clear.
9 A. 7520, you said?
10 Q. Yes, it is the 65 ter number. 7250, I'm sorry. I changed that
11 one number. 7250.
12 A. [In English] Tab 1?
13 Q. Tab 1.
14 A. [Interpretation] I'm unable to find that number. This is my
15 material, that's for sure, but I cannot find the number that you're
16 asking me about.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Strinovic, it's the first
18 document in your binder.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This document which I drafted for
20 this particular case.
21 MR. FERRARA: Okay.
22 Q. Just some general questions. Firstly, would you be so kind to
23 define, in very brief terms, what is forensic pathology? Very briefly,
24 of course.
25 A. Forensic medicine is a branch of medicine which deals with a
1 specific subject matter. It is associated with medicine and traumas,
2 primarily meaning all kinds of wounds and causes of deaths, and forensic
3 medicine in fact serves to help translate medical subject matter to court
4 language and thereby make proceedings in court possible.
5 The basic thing which we do is to establish -- ascertain causes
6 of death after post-mortems, i.e., for the needs of courts. Apart from
7 the cause of deaths, the manner of death and also the weapons used. We
8 also establish all other forms of violence which lead to the injuries of
9 persons and establish the mechanism of the infliction of injuries. And
10 that is the -- and those are the fundamentals of forensic medicine.
11 Q. You mentioned in paragraph -- in the first paragraph of this
12 report that in December, 1991 until now, you have participated in the
13 work of the Croatian government Commission for Detained and Missing
14 People; am I right?
15 A. Yes, that is right. Namely, at the beginning of the war, which
16 is to say in October or November of 1991, we were faced, in the Republic
17 of Croatia
18 persons, and the first thing we did in that situation was to set up a
19 commission, the so-called Commission for Detainees and Missing Persons,
20 which was to collect data related to what happened to such persons. So
21 this commission started working in December 1991, and for a number of
22 years, up to this very day, has been in existence, and the basic problem
23 still remains missing persons.
24 I have to note that today in Croatia, we still have a thousand
25 persons who are unaccounted for and are considered missing persons.
1 Q. So could you briefly explain to us the purpose of this
3 A. As I've stated, the commission's task was to create lists of all
4 missing persons. Then it was to get in touch with the families of the
5 missing persons, gathering data on such persons. Also, the commission
6 liaised with the then former Yugoslavia
7 with missing persons. It also had similar contacts with the authorities
8 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, trying in that way to collect as much data as
9 possible that might facilitate the later work on tracing such persons,
10 whether they were captured persons or dead -- killed persons, and to
11 later also find their gravesites and identify them.
12 Q. What was the nature of the commission's work when the conflict
13 was still in process, so between 1991 and 1995?
14 A. As I've already said, from 1991 to 1995 the commission had a
15 theoretical, we can say, part of its work, which is to collect and
16 exchange data, talk to other parties, and thus it endeavoured to create
17 as large a database as possible from which -- upon which to draw
18 subsequently in the process of identification, which only started in
20 Q. What was the nature of the cooperation between your commission
21 and the Yugoslav government commission in that period? Was it smooth or
23 A. I have to say that particularly in the beginning, namely, 1992,
24 when these meetings were first held, they were always monitored by
25 international organisations. They were very difficult and very scant
1 useful information was obtained in the beginning of these negotiations.
2 Later, the commission increasingly -- cooperated increasingly better with
3 both the Serbian and the Bosnian sides, so that today these commissions
4 are still in touch and are still cooperating, and that cooperation is
5 much better. But talking about the beginnings, 1991 and 1992, those
6 meetings were very difficult, and the results were quite meager.
7 Q. You say that at the beginning of the war, it was established,
8 this commission. Do you know if there was a specific event that set
9 up -- that moved to the decision to set up this commission?
10 A. I can say that there were a number of reasons for setting up this
11 commission. Certainly, a war which resulted in such a large number of
12 victims, with so many people missing and killed or in camps was one, but
13 the decisive factor why already in December 1991 we set up this
14 commission was the event which took place in the Vukovar Hospital
15 namely, over 260 persons went missing from that hospital, and nothing was
16 known of them until the mass grave at Ovcara was found. Obviously, this
17 incident at the hospital had a specific weight which accelerated the
18 formation of this commission.
19 Q. What was your specific role within this commission and what it is
21 A. My role in the commission then, in 1991 and 1992, was to collect
22 and obtain data regarding missing persons, in cooperation with the Red
23 Cross and the families of the missing persons. Also, we were to look for
24 data that would be of interest for later identification, the ante-mortem
25 data with characteristics of the missing persons, and in that regard it
1 was particularly important to collect such data as early as possible and
2 to get the best-quality data so as to facilitate our later work in the
3 exhumation and identification processes. It was essential, from the
4 medical standpoint, to get the best possible descriptions of the missing
5 persons, to obtain all the ante-mortem data, namely, information that
6 would assist us later in transacting our identification part of the work
7 as quickly and efficiently as possible.
8 Q. Could you describe very briefly for the Trial Chamber the
9 procedure of exhumation and identification, and what kind of
10 qualifications were involved in this procedure?
11 A. Every procedure of exhumation requires preliminary actions, in
12 terms of talks with witnesses and the identification of the location of
13 the mass grave. In the majority of cases, it took us a very long time to
14 find the mass graves, to find the places where the bodies had been
16 Once the location for exhumation has been established, then we
17 would start with our preparations, meaning examination of the terrain to
18 see whether there were any mines or any other devices that could
19 compromise the exhumation itself. Then we would secure the site and
20 start with the exhumation proper. It was done by a team headed by a
21 physician, either a forensic medicine expert or a pathologist, and he
22 supervised the exhumation, namely, the digging up of the mortal remains
23 of the people buried there.
24 The objective of every exhumation is to try, as painfully and --
25 painlessly and as efficiently to reach the body without injuring it,
1 without -- and with all the articles associated with the body in question
2 to be preserved along with the body, not to mix them with the articles
3 belonging to other persons, i.e., other bodies.
4 So the exhumation meant digging up the body, and once the body
5 was presented, it would be individually placed in a body-bag, which would
6 be marked with numbers inside and outside the bag, and the thus marked
7 bag would then be further processed either in the -- at the site itself
8 or in the dissecting room, where the conditions are of course much
10 Q. The exhumations that were conducted as a result of the war in
12 commission, or were they also conducted by international organisations?
13 A. Initially, especially when larger mass graves were in question,
14 international organisations did the exhumation and we were present there
15 in the capacity of monitors. Also, the Serbian side always had its own
16 observers attending such procedures at mass graves.
17 When we took over the complete procedure of exhuming mass graves,
18 an international organisation would always be present, so that
19 practically throughout all these years, there was always an international
20 organisation present when the mass graves in Croatia were being exhumed.
21 Q. Concerning the qualifications that were involved in this
22 procedure, can you tell us very quickly what kind of qualifications were
23 involved in the exhumation, in the analysis of mortal remains and in the
24 identification process?
25 A. That is quite a complex question. I shall try to be as brief as
1 possible and as clear as possible.
2 The procedure of exhumation itself, for instance, in the Ovcara
3 case was taken over completely by international organisations, meaning
4 first anthropologists and archaeologists attended the scene, they did
5 their measurements, and then after they proceeded with the digging, which
6 was archaeological-type digging, meaning inch by inch, in order to
7 completely and efficiently have such a gravesite presented, i.e., the
8 mortal remains in it.
9 When Croatia
10 archaeologists because we do not have such experts, and it was conducted
11 by specially-trained people who did the excavation, the digging up,
12 always supervised by physicians, i.e., by forensic medicine experts and
13 pathologists, who saw to it that the exhumation was being carried out
14 properly and at the best possible level at the given moment. That is as
15 far as exhumations are concerned.
16 As regards the subsequent processing, it was relatively the same,
17 by international experts and by us in Croatia, but I do have to mention
18 that not all cases were processed in optimal conditions, which is to say
19 at institutes. A part of cases where we had a larger number of mortal
20 remains, such as that of the Vukovar Cemetery
21 1.000 mortal remains, the complete processing was done at the cemetery
22 itself, where we had makeshift tents and makeshift conditions for such
23 work, and the forensic experts, the forensic medical experts, with the
24 help of technicians, processed the mortal remains there in-situ, and the
25 identification was also done at that location, because we invited the
1 families of the exhumed persons to attend the site and we were able to
2 identify most of the bodies. The bodies had been well preserved, so that
3 identification in the field was possible.
4 In all complex cases of identification, namely, when much time
5 has elapsed since death and where the bodies were damaged or heaped in
6 piles, the identification was done in adequate institutions where -- and
7 the majority of the cases were processed at the Forensic Medicine
8 Institute in Zagreb
9 every body was X-rayed, every single body was X-rayed to ascertain any
10 changes that might indicate the causes of death or possibly facilitate
11 identification, such as the existence of prostheses or metal objects in
12 the body that could assist us in this identification procedure.
13 After the X-raying of every single body, the forensic medicine
14 expert would start his processing, assisted by an anthropologist who
15 would ascertain on the basis of the bones the stature, the height, the
16 age of that person, such persons, and also help establish the cause of
17 death. Then there was the dentist, who inspected the complete status and
18 established the complete status of the teeth, also to aid later
20 So that after such processing, a sample of the teeth or of the
21 bones would be taken for DNA
22 be completed in terms of the processing of the mortal remains. That data
23 obtained in this way, by this post-mortem, could then be compared with
24 the previously-collected ante-mortem data which we collected since 1995,
25 which then all together would facilitate the identification.
1 So we had the post-mortem procedure in the room itself, plus the
2 data obtained previously -- would be compared to the data obtained
3 previously, and that is how we were able to identify the mortal remains.
4 That was the so-called classical method of identification when,
5 by collecting all relevant data, the age, the sex, the height, the
6 stature, the status of the teeth, different damage and disease on the
7 body itself, possibly some medical interventions that could be seen,
8 objects, articles, documents, all those were collected and were of
9 relevance, and all these made it possible for us to compare all these
10 elements with the ante-mortem data obtained from the relatives and
11 family, on which basis we then made a classical identification, which in
12 80 per cent of the -- which is the manner in which 80 per cent of the
13 identifications in Croatia
14 When this was impossible to do this way, we performed a DNA
15 analysis, which only started to be applied as of the year 2000.
16 Q. Why did you start only in 2000?
17 A. As I was saying, the DNA
18 there, a new method in the world that started in the 1990s, but it was
19 only experimental. But then in practice, it was only at the end of the
20 1990s and the beginning of the year 2000 when the method became more
21 prominent, and so we started using it. And we included DNA analysis,
22 which was able to give us 100 per cent certainty the identity of an
23 individual, and so on and so forth. And I can explain this.
24 Samples of the bone tissue or teeth were taken from the deceased
25 person, and then the DNA
1 is compared to the blood of relatives. Parents is best, or the wife and
2 child -- her mother and child. And then with 99 per cent certainty, we
3 can establish who the person is, the identity of the person.
4 The DNA
5 although there are cases where that doesn't help too, and it doesn't help
6 in carbonised bodies, that is to say, bodies that have been completely
7 burned, or when the bones are too small, too minute, and have laid on the
8 surface of the soil and are damaged or dried out, so bones of that type
9 cannot be used for DNA
10 So as I say, although DNA analysis is a very good method, we're
11 not able to use it in all cases. There are cases where we have no
12 relatives to go by to compare the samples and to take blood from, and
13 therefore we're not able to establish identity. So as I say, DNA
14 analysis facilitates our work greatly. However, it's not all powerful.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Professor Strinovic, you
16 mentioned DNA
17 Ovcara mass grave, i.e., 200 people, 11 people have not been identified.
18 They have been given a number, OCV 011, OCV 015. There are at least ten
19 people who have not been identified. Since they have no name, I assume
20 that families contacted the institute to try and find their relatives.
21 Did you compare the DNA
22 hundreds or thousands of people that are looking for a relative to
23 cross-reference the data and see whether, in terms of DNA analysis,
24 identification is possible? How is it that today some people have been
25 dug out of these mass graves and that these people still do not have a
2 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, for the answer, for the record, there
3 isn't 11 people not identified. I think there are seven people not
4 identified in Ovcara in that report, because it says, the last page of
5 the report, page 7, that up until the moment of writing this report, 193
6 bodies. Maybe it's a misunderstanding or misinterpretation.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I had a list which mentioned 11
8 bodies. Even if there are seven bodies, how is it that these persons
9 have not been identified, particularly if there are relatives that are
10 looking for them? A family that comes to see you, do you take a sample
11 of their hair to be able to conduct a DNA analysis? I assume you do.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'll do my best, Your Honour, to be
13 as brief and clear as possible.
14 The problem of DNA
15 especially when we're talking about victims of war. We can't identify
16 them. Now, we have the example of Ovcara, and as you said, there are 7
17 out of the 200 that we have not been able to identify. We started the
18 process in 1996, and it's been 12 years since then, and we've been
19 working on the matter intensively, but we still haven't identified seven
20 persons. Now, why is that?
21 At the Zagreb Cemetery
22 not identified yet. They have been processed, but we have not
23 ascertained who the people were, so a large number.
24 We do have information about missing persons, and we have taken
25 blood samples from most of these people, that is true, but unfortunately
1 we still do not have all the relatives, all the blood samples, and here's
2 why: Because some people moved out of the area, another portion has
3 died, and in certain cases we don't know who the person is.
4 And you asked about those seven specific cases. We don't know if
5 they're on the list of 200 or 260 persons or whether there are some other
6 people. For example, let me try and clarify this.
7 We had a list for 260 missing persons, but there was no -- there
8 were no women on that list, whereas in Ovcara we found the bodies of two
9 women. So they weren't on the list but their bodies were found, and we
10 managed to identify them. So these lists are not 100 per cent correct,
11 especially in wartime. So you don't know who all the bodies are who are
12 in a mass grave. We don't know who these seven are, whether they are
13 people on the list or not.
14 And, secondly, although every six months or one year we go out to
15 look for relatives, ask them to give blood samples, and they come to us
16 for assistance, but we still cannot solve all the cases in that way.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On listening to you, I was
18 thinking about those seven bodies that have not been identified. Can we
19 assume the following? In the Ovcara mass grave, if victims had been
20 buried a few days or a few months prior to that and that the persons who
21 had been executed at Vukovar were then buried in the same place, with the
22 forensic techniques you have, are you able to assess exactly on what date
23 a body is buried or aren't you able to do that, which would explain why
24 seven people from Ovcara may have come from the hospital who, to date,
25 have not been identified yet?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's difficult to answer that
2 question, Your Honour. What I can say is this: There is no certain
3 method today or procedure by which one would be able to determine, within
4 the space of seven, ten or twelve years, when the people were killed, but
5 what we can say, when we are faced with a mass grave of this kind, is
6 that we can say that those -- the people in the grave were killed at
7 around the same time.
8 Now, just to illustrate how difficult it is, we determine the age
9 of the body, that is to say, how long the body -- the person has been
10 dead until the corpse was found on the basis of certain signs. There are
11 no scientific methods by which you can do this, just signs to indicate
12 that a body has laid there for a long time. So we established the signs
13 of death, whether it has been skeletonised, whether it has -- whether
14 saponification has taken place, what kind of putrifaction has taken place
15 and so on.
16 In Ovcara, where we have a large number of bodies, around 200, on
17 the surface -- not because they have been killed previously, but because
18 they are on the surface, those bodies had already been skeletonised or
19 partially skeletonised, whereas bodies that were dug into the earth
20 deeper and the last bodies that were found, those bodies were saponified,
21 not because these people were killed later but because they were dug
22 deeper into the ground, where the process of putrifaction, decay, was
23 much slower and the process was different and saponification set in so
24 that the deeper embedded bodies were saponified, whereas scar tissue was
25 evident, skin was evident and so on, whereas the skeletonised bodies on
1 the surface were killed on the same day or around the same time, but the
2 bodies have a different appearance because they were on the surface and
3 were rather skeletonised rather than saponified.
4 MR. FERRARA: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last question. Of course,
6 we could spend hours on this, but one last question. What about these
7 seven unidentified bodies? I suppose they have a DNA profile. I suppose
8 that for each one of them, you conducted DNA tests. And for each one of
9 these seven bodies, I suppose you have a DNA profile. It looks like a
10 barcode that we're all familiar with .
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right, Your Honour. All
12 these seven unidentified corpses, well, we isolated their DNA, their DNA
13 but we haven't got anything to compare it with and then have a DNA
14 profile to match it up with the relatives. So we need blood samples in
15 order to do that.
16 MR. FERRARA: Thank you, Your Honours.
17 Q. Dr. Strinovic, I would like now to turn your mind to the
18 exhumation at Ovcara. You were involved in monitoring that exhumation;
19 that's correct?
20 A. Yes, that is correct.
21 Q. When was the mass grave at Ovcara discovered?
22 A. The mass grave at Ovcara was discovered in October 1992, when
23 Clyde Snow, an anthropologist from America, came to Ovcara, and he
24 discovered a gravesite. And on the surface or just below the surface he
25 came across human bones, and they were the bodily remains of a young
1 male. And he found a cross that the person obviously had worn around his
2 neck, and he established with a great deal of certainty that it was
3 probably a Croat.
4 Q. Concerning this work done by Dr. Snow, I want to show you some
6 Your Honours, it is the 65 ter number 2163. It is a Powerpoint
7 presentation with 28 slides related to the initial discovery of the site.
8 In your binders and the accused's binders, you find the slides at binder
9 7, document 42.
10 I would ask that you see these photographs, Dr. Strinovic, and
11 then comment on them. I will tell the usher when the slide should be
13 So, Your Honour, the Powerpoint presentation will not work
14 because all the computers are not working today, so we have these photos
15 in e-court with one number. We can see the photo one by one, and I stop
16 the photos. Of course, it will take a lot of time, but it's not
18 So let's continue, let's go on. Go on. You can continue until
19 slide 5. Yes, continue.
20 Can you tell us -- can you comment on this photo you have seen,
21 and in particular this one? What is this?
22 A. Your Honour, I'd just like to say briefly that I was in this
23 particular locality for the first time, that is to say, the mass grave at
24 Ovcara, in 1996, and these are photographs taken earlier. So when I
25 arrived there, I'd like to say that on the right-hand side it's a large
1 field. On the left-hand side, we can see some trees, and along the edges
2 of those trees there's an area right by that little wood there or -- is
3 the site where the grave was. The photographs we saw earlier on, aerial
4 photographs, there you can see the location of the mass grave or, rather,
5 the first photograph taken by Clyde Snow linked to the skeleton that we
6 saw. You could see the skull, in actual fact; obviously, a human skull.
7 And that is what led to further investigation and suspicions that there
8 was, indeed, a mass grave there.
9 MR. FERRARA: We can continue with the next photo. Just stop
11 Q. Do you know the person or the persons in this photos, the people
13 A. I know one of them, Clyde Snow. He is the elderly gentleman
14 wearing glasses and a hat, standing by this wire fence. When Clyde
15 for the first time in October 1992 to Ovcara, he asked for military
16 assistance or, rather, that the area be secured, and it was secured as
17 you see it with this barbed wire. And that's how the place was secured,
18 as far as I know, right up to 1996, when the exhumation process began.
19 MR. FERRARA: Okay, you can continue. Go on, go on, until I say,
20 "Stop," please.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think I ought to mention the
22 following: This site is the site of the mass grave, and you can see that
23 water has been collected in the indentation, and that's where Clyde Scott
24 [as interpreted] found the photo we saw in the slide a moment ago.
25 That's a slight depression there where the water has gathered, and this
1 on the very edge of the thicket or the trees. On the other side, you
2 have the fields.
3 MR. FERRARA: Okay, let's continue. Go on. Continue. Continue,
5 Q. Can you tell us what is this in this photo?
6 A. We can see part of a human body here, the arm, with part of the
7 clothing, and this was the beginning of the deeper exhumation that took
8 place in December 1992. It was a trial exhumation, if I can put it that
10 MR. FERRARA: Let's continue.
11 Q. What's this?
12 A. Yes, that's the trial exhumation, preliminary exhumation. There
13 was very little time and the commission had to leave the area quickly for
14 political reasons, so that they wanted to probe the area to see how many
15 people might be buried, then how big the grave might be, so they made a
16 probe and dug for some eight or nine metres and tried to establish what
17 earth had been dug up and what soil was untouched, and so they deduced
18 from there.
19 MR. FERRARA: Let's continue. Go on. Let's continue. Let's
21 Q. Can you explain us what are doing -- what are these soldiers
23 A. These soldiers established some damage -- strange damage on the
24 trees growing there, and that was right in the vicinity of the grave.
25 They found some defects, holes running through the trees, which had
1 obviously been caused by projectiles passing through the tree trunks.
2 MR. FERRARA: Let's continue.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] To your knowledge, were these
4 Russian UNPROFOR soldiers?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. As far as I
6 know, as of 1992, the guards securing the area were guards from the
7 Russian Battalion, yes.
8 MR. FERRARA:
9 Q. What is this in the photo?
10 A. Yes, this is what we were discussing a moment ago. This is a
11 body buried on the surface, in the surface layer, and the soil had fallen
12 away from the corpse. This is a male skull, skeletonised, as you can
13 see, and it's about a year since this person died.
14 MR. FERRARA: Okay. Let's continue. Let's continue.
15 Q. Can you tell us what you see here?
16 Let's move to the other slide that is more clear, the following.
17 A. This is an object found on the person on the surface; that is to
18 say, the skeletonised skull we saw a moment ago belongs to that
19 particular person, and nearby was this rosary or pendant worn by young
20 people, especially in the 1990s. It was a symbol of belonging to the
21 Croatian people, being an ethnic Croat.
22 MR. FERRARA: Let's continue. I think we can move very quickly
23 to the end of the photos.
24 Q. What does this photo represent?
25 A. Once again, we have the symbol of a saint esteemed by the
1 Croatian people, and very often it was sewn onto the clothing worn by a
2 Croat, a Croatian national.
3 Q. I think it is the last one, the last one photo. Okay.
4 Dr. Strinovic, looking at those slides, briefly can you describe
5 the process that occurred in that first excavation that you have already
6 done and what did doctors know made after this discovery?
7 A. When we're talking about Ovcara, let me repeat that Ovcara was
8 discovered in October 1992 and then was visited in December by Clyde Snow
9 and another team of experts, when they did the probes and trial
10 exhumations, and this area was secured, as I said, by the Russian forces.
11 It was cordoned off with barbed wire, and as far as I know the site
12 remained intact, untouched, until the exhumation officially began in
13 1996, on the 30th of October, and went on until the 2nd of November,
14 1996, when anthropologists and archaeologists, international ones,
15 conducted the full exhumation of the area.
16 Would you like me to go into that in greater detail or shall we
17 do that in due course about the actual exhumation process at Ovcara
19 MR. FERRARA: I think maybe it's time for the break, Your Honour,
20 and maybe we can continue this topic later on.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. We're going to break for
22 20 minutes.
23 --- Recess taken at 3.47 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 4.06 p.m.
25 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.
2 You may proceed, Mr. Ferrara.
3 MR. FERRARA: Thank you, Your Honours.
4 I'd like to tender the photos that we've seen into evidence.
5 It's 65 ter number 2163.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can we have a number for the
7 photos, Mr. Registrar.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, these documents shall be given
9 Exhibit number P611. Thank you, Your Honour.
10 MR. FERRARA:
11 Q. Dr. Strinovic, you say that the Commission for Detained and
12 Missing Persons was set up in 1991. Did the Croatian commission and the
13 Yugoslav commission meet at the time before the discovery of the mass
14 grave at Ovcara?
15 A. Yes. As I've already said, the commission started meeting in
16 1992 on a regular monthly basis, once a month, initially, and we met in
18 before the discovery of Ovcara.
19 Q. On that occasion, did you discuss the problem of the missing
20 people from the Vukovar Hospital
21 A. Of course, one of the principal topics of our talks, at least
22 from the Croatian side, was the question of the missing people from the
23 Vukovar Hospital
24 believe we had between seven and eight meetings in 1991, and that was on
25 the top of the agenda every time.
1 Q. And from the representative of the Yugoslav commission, at the
2 time it was Yugoslav, after it became Serbian commission, what was the
3 response to this issue? Did they have information in relation to these
4 missing people?
5 A. It was really such a long time ago, I cannot recall all the
6 details. But to the best of my recollection, we did not get any
7 information in relation to Ovcara, nor was it recognised, acknowledged as
8 such. But it was about some persons, but not about that particular case,
9 so we never got that particular reply from them, as far as I remember.
10 Q. You say that the full exhumation of the site occurred in 1996; am
11 I right?
12 A. Yes, that is correct. That was in the fall of 1996, from October
13 to November.
14 Q. Do you know why the site wasn't exhumed or the bodies weren't
15 exhumed in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996? It took four or five years --
16 four years before exhuming these people, these bodies?
17 A. As far as I know, the international organisations were willing
18 and prepared and had ready teams to start exhumations in 1992 and 1993,
19 but due to political reasons, political considerations on the Serb side,
20 that was prohibited so that no exhumations could take place until 1996.
21 Q. Was that area Serbian territory until 1996?
22 A. It was the so-called Krajina, so that, yes, it was in their
24 Q. Do you know that if between 1992 and 1996 the site that was found
25 by Dr. Snow was protected? And by whom, if "yes," of course?
1 A. As I have said, in October 1992 Dr. Snow found that gravesite,
2 and at that time it was secured by barbed wire and it was guarded by
3 Russian soldiers, by their units with international forces known as
5 Q. When the site was discovered, were you or the people involved in
6 this process, were you sure it was people missing from the hospital in
8 A. According to what information we did receive, and the information
9 would be gathered in Croatia
10 person or a group of persons, namely, the list would be immediately made
11 within a matter of days, we did suspect that those people who went
12 missing from the hospital and were seen at the Ovcara farm could be the
13 persons at that locality who had perished, and we really did suspect that
14 the Ovcara gravesite actually had the people from the Vukovar Hospital
15 Q. Did you have an idea how many people were buried there in October
16 1992, when the site was discovered by Dr. Snow?
17 A. What we knew was that -- that about 260 per cent had been taken
18 from the Vukovar Hospital
19 exact number at the Ovcara gravesite, but we supposed that it was a large
20 number and that it could have been the 260 persons who had gone missing
21 from the Vukovar Hospital
22 MR. FERRARA: Can we have on the screen the document 65 ter
23 number 1697. It is in the binder 7, document 43, for the accused and for
24 the assistance of Your Honours. It is a newspaper article dated 28th of
25 October 1992 from Novi
1 binder, Dr. Strinovic.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. That article has not
3 been disclosed in full, just in parts, and it was photocopied in a very
4 odd way. The second question is the relevance of it. What does a
5 newspaper article have to do with the exhumations and identifications of
6 bodies carried out?
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What do you say, Mr. Ferrara?
8 MR. FERRARA: Your Honour, I believe that the copy of the entire
9 article, the back, the other part of the article. I don't know what is
10 missing. I think nothing is missing here.
11 For the relevance, it is an article published immediately
12 after --
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can you please give us the
14 number? It's not recorded in the transcript.
15 MR. FERRARA: Yes, 65 ter number 1697.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Which is the number of the
18 MR. FERRARA: I'll repeat it. It is binder 7, document 43.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So that's binder 7, fourth
20 document in that binder. 2289, that's the number I have.
21 MR. FERRARA: 43, yes. Your Honour, it's 43, document 43, but
22 the 65 ter number with the document is what I said is 1697.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed.
24 MR. FERRARA:
25 Q. Dr. Strinovic, could you read the title of the article?
1 A. You probably mean this title: "Any survivors in the darkness of
3 Q. So it would be that after the discovery of the mass grave, it was
4 possible there were still people alive, missing from Vukovar Hospital
5 A. Yes, it is true that in relation to the list of the persons
6 missing from the Vukovar Hospital
7 Those are people who perhaps were released during transportation to the
8 Ovcara farm.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. Judges, please take a
10 look at my copy of that article. On one side, you have the cover page of
11 the newspaper -- of the newspaper page. On the other page, you have the
12 other part. You don't have the middle. In other words, the photocopying
13 of it was not done properly. That is why this cannot be used as a
14 document, not to mention the objection regarding the relevance of this
15 text. Such as it stands, it cannot be used. This is not a complete
16 text. Maybe you have it in the English version. I do not have it in the
18 MR. FERRARA: Your Honour --
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You don't have the complete
20 text, but what is interesting is that on the 28th of October, 1992
21 was an article raising the issue of whether there were survivors from
22 Ovcara. That's the issue. Now, as to the article, that's secondary.
23 Please proceed, Mr. Ferrara.
24 MR. FERRARA: Thank you, Your Honour. Exactly what you said. So
25 I would like to tender this document into evidence. I mean only the
1 title of the article, not the content, of course.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The title. Very well. Let's
3 have a number.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, this comment of
5 yours can also refer to the question: Were there any discussions in the
6 public about whether there were any people who survived from among those
7 who were taken away from the hospital? But in order for this article to
8 be exhibited, it has to be complete. It is not complete in the Serbian
9 language, apart from the fact of its -- the fact that it's not really
10 relevant. But I cannot use it in my counter-examination if it is not
12 MR. FERRARA: Your Honour, my -- sorry.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're going to give it an MFI
15 number, Mr. Registrar, because apparently it's not complete.
16 THE REGISTRAR: It is going to be given MFI number P612. Thank
17 you, Your Honours.
18 MR. FERRARA: My case manager has already requested a better copy
19 of the article. I think we can provide it before the end of the
20 examination of Dr. Strinovic.
21 Q. Dr. Strinovic, did you have the opportunity to read the report of
22 a preliminary site exploration of a mass grave near Vukovar in the former
24 number 1773. It is in the binder 1, document 4.
25 A. Yes, I did have the opportunity to read it.
1 Q. Can you briefly summarise what did emerge from this preliminary
2 report that was drafted in January 1993?
3 A. Well, in brief, I can say that this text speaks about the
4 existence of a mass grave, about what was done at that time, that is, in
5 1992, and how it was secured, the gravesite. Just general things
6 associated with the location of that gravesite, with the Ovcara locality,
7 and an attempt at carrying out further exhumations, which however was not
9 Q. You say that you went to Ovcara in 1996, when the exhumation
10 started. When you went there in 1996, was the situation similar to the
11 one described in this report or did you notice any relevant change after
12 four years, about three years and a half?
13 A. I could answer in this way: I was not there in 1992 and 1993,
14 but according to the photographs, i.e., the description that we are
15 talking about now, the situation has not considerably changed. The only
16 thing which has changed is the vegetation that has grown, so that that
17 has changed it, but basically it is the same place as it was. It is the
18 same since 1992, when Clyde Snow found the gravesite, until 1996, when we
19 went there to attend the scene and watch the exhumations being carried
21 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, I seek to tender this document into
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a question beforehand.
24 You can guess that I examined -- I scrutinised with great care this
25 report by American physicians based in Boston, and upon reading the
1 report, one notices that they probably had information from witnesses.
2 That's page 2, where they said that according to some witnesses, some
3 reservists, JNA soldiers and officers, and then all the events are
4 described at 6.00 and so on. So all that is very specific, so obviously
5 they had information. Obviously.
6 So when did you hear of the existence of this report, which was
7 done on the 18th of January, 1993? You, when did you read it? Because
8 it is a very detailed and very precise report.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I saw it for the first time
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Oh, I see. You'd never -- so
12 you found out about its existence yesterday only; you had no knowledge of
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not before.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. And this is a very
16 detailed report in which they explain that there was a bulldozer that dug
17 a grave of nine metres by seven, so everything was said in this report.
18 Obviously, they must have had information. And I was somewhat surprised,
19 I must confess, when the doctor that went there found a skull, I mean,
20 they must have had information, prior information. You can't just, by
21 happenstance, find a skull sort of out of the soil. I mean, there was
22 fighting everywhere, of course, but how could you imagine that beneath
23 that skull there were 200 bodies? They must have had information, had
24 they not? What do you think?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can only say what I said before.
1 We knew that about 260 persons had been taken from the Vukovar Hospital
2 by buses in that direction, and we got information that they were at the
3 farm at Ovcara. After that, all trace was lost of them. On the basis of
4 that information, we could suspect that those bodies would be somewhere
5 in the vicinity. That is how I drew that conclusion.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I see. Let's have a number for
7 the document, very official document.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit number P613. Thank you, Your Honours.
9 MR. FERRARA:
10 Q. Dr. Strinovic, you say the full exhumation occurred in 1996. Who
11 conducted that exhumation?
12 A. As far as I know, these were experts designated by the ICTY.
13 They were international experts from all over the world. I do not know
14 the exact name of the commission which carried out the exhumation and the
15 subsequent processing, but as far as I know, these were experts appointed
16 by the ICTY and the UN.
17 Q. To your knowledge, was it conducted under the Yugoslav Tribunal
18 authority or was it in any way involved with the Yugoslav Tribunal?
19 A. To my knowledge, when the Ovcara exhumation started, there were
20 present as monitors representatives of Croatia, which is to say myself
21 and some other people, and representing Serbia was a professor from Nis
22 And as far as I can remember, there was a doctor from Vukovar.
23 Q. How long did the exhumation last of retrieving the bodies from
24 the grave and delivering them? Approximately, of course.
25 A. The exhumation started on the 30th of August, 1996, and lasted
1 until the 2nd of October, 1996.
2 Q. Where were the bodies transferred -- transported after the
4 A. When the bodies were taken out, they would be placed in white
5 bags, and all together were then transported to the Forensic Medicine
6 Institute in Zagreb
7 special space precisely for that purpose, for the identification of the
8 Ovcara victims, and later those premises were used for all subsequent
9 identifications that were conducted at our institute.
10 Q. Where were the autopsies conducted, and when, and by whom?
11 A. The bodies would be transported to Zagreb, to the Forensic
12 Medical Institute, into special rooms tailormade for that particular
13 purpose, which are today still used for that particular purpose, the
14 processing of victims of war. They are some 50 metres away from our own
15 premises, those of the Pathology Institute. This was done also by
16 international experts, just as the exhumation itself. There were
17 monitors present as well from all over Yugoslavia, including from Serbia
18 Q. So in relation to this first phase, the exhumation and autopsy,
19 your role as the forensic pathologist within the commission, as we say,
20 was to -- only to monitor rather than conduct the exhumation; am I right?
21 A. Yes, that is correct.
22 Q. After the -- and after the autopsies were completed, who was in
23 charge for identification of the body? Who was put in charge?
24 A. After all the mortal remains had been completely processed, they
25 started on the 5th of October and were finished on the 16th of November,
1 1996, of all mortal remains of the persons found at Ovcara, protocols
2 were written for some time after that, the administrative part of the
3 procedure, that is. After that, the mortal remains were handed over to
4 the Croatian authorities, i.e., to the Forensic Medicine Institute, in
5 other words to me, who was in charge of the identification team. The
6 moment we received the mortal remains, we also received the autopsy
7 reports, reports which contained descriptions of the bodies with all the
8 details associated with their identification. But at that time, we were
9 not given the causes of death in respect of the persons concerned. That
10 was omitted from the protocol.
11 Q. Why not? Why were not you given the causes of death?
12 A. The explanation which was given to us was that what we had
13 received was sufficient for us for identification purposes and that the
14 cause of death was a bit of information which is of relevance to the
15 Court and would be submitted to the ICTY, rather than to us in charge of
16 identification stage.
17 Q. Before moving to the identification process, that is, the process
18 that you were personally involved with as a member of the commission and
19 as a forensic expert, I would like to show you a serious of photographs
20 taken from the exhumation that occurred in 1996.
21 Please, can we have on the screen the 65 ter number 2710. It's a
22 serious of 35 photos taken during the exhumation. As before, I will stop
23 you, the usher, when we have some photos that we need a comment from the
24 witness, from the expert. Is in the binder 6, document 25, Your
25 Honours, for your assistance and the accused.
1 Can you explain, Dr. Strinovic, what we see in this photo
2 number 1? Was this fence erected we see on the right side of the photo?
3 A. Yes. This is the locality of the mass grave which is in the
4 middle of this space. We see some trees on the left side and a fence on
5 the right-hand side which was erected in order to divide the mass
6 gravesite from the rest of the area. Then tents were erected to house
7 the people in charge of the exhumation itself. So this fence was put up
8 in order to divide the area of the mass gravesite from the other area
9 where people were moving about.
10 Q. Let's turn to photograph 2, the second photo in the series.
11 Doctor, we see a white building - it's not very clear - on the right side
12 of the photo. Can you tell us, what is this white building?
13 A. These are tents that were pitched on the other side of the fence
14 which separates the mass grave from the rest of the terrain, so this is
15 where the people who did the exhumations were, where they rested, where
16 they waited for their scheduled exhumation times.
17 MR. FERRARA: If we can slowly click through photos from 3 to 4
18 and stop at photograph 5.
19 Q. Doctor, looking at photograph 5, what do we see here?
20 A. This is the access to the gravesite at Ovcara. A road was
21 subsequently cleared to enable machines and people to arrive at the site.
22 We can also see the fence which separates the gravesite from the outer
24 MR. FERRARA: Again, if we could move through the photos until
25 photo 10, photograph 10.
1 JUDGE HARHOFF: [Interpretation] What's the purpose of all these
2 photos, Mr. Ferrara?
3 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, it's to show the situation at Ovcara
4 that was found in 1996 and how the situation was exactly the same as
5 1992, so it was not any kind of interfering on this site in these four
6 years. It was protected. And also we see the body situation, how the
7 bodies were found, and the skulls, and so on.
8 JUDGE HARHOFF: Is this a disputed question?
9 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, I think everything is disputed by the
10 accused. If it's not disputed, we can tender the photo even without
11 showing it, because, you see, we filed a motion to take judicial notice
12 of this fact -- sorry, as adjudicated facts, and until today the accused
13 has challenged this motion, so I think that really everything is
14 disputed. We can ask the accused.
15 JUDGE HARHOFF: You see, my point is that I would be hesitant
16 even to admit them into evidence because I don't see the relevance.
17 MR. FERRARA: I think it's relevant, of course. Maybe when we
18 finish seeing the photos --
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Ferrara, how many photos
20 did you want to show us, how many more?
21 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, all the photos in total are 35, but I
22 will stop only on some of them. Of course, it's a bunch of photos all
23 together. So if we can move to photo 10.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Would you like me to comment on it?
25 MR. FERRARA: Yes, please.
1 Q. What is this?
2 A. A trench that was excavated can be seen to establish the
3 boundaries of the gravesite. This is the way we dig in order to reach a
4 boundary without damaging the bodies, but in order to determine the size
5 of the grave itself.
6 Q. What was the size of the grave; do you remember? Approximately,
7 of course.
8 A. It is hard for me to give you the exact dimensions. I believe
9 that they were of the order of nine times seven metres.
10 Q. Let's move to photo 12. Can you tell us, looking at this plastic
11 sheeting, what's the purpose of this plastic sheeting?
12 A. To the best of my recollection, in 1993 and in 1992, when we did
13 the trial excavations, a part of the grave was protected in this way and
14 that plastic foil was then covered by earth, by soil. That is why it
15 remained there.
16 Q. Okay. Let's continue, please, to photo 14 -- or 15, sorry.
17 Is this 14 or 15?
18 We see here an excavator that we see in this photograph. How did
19 that assist the excavation, the excavator ?
20 A. Well, I can tell you this: In most cases, there were large
21 gravesites, a large surface area, and these were small excavators,
22 earth-moving material, and they were of great assistance, because in
23 digging the trenches the size of a grave would save time. Now, of
24 course, when the excavator came upon a body, they would stop using the
25 excavator and go on to manually digging up the grave. In large
1 gravesites, in most cases, especially if they are at great depths like
2 two or three metres, then of course digging up the bodies is much quicker
3 if you have these excavators to assist you.
4 MR. FERRARA: If we can move to the slide --
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, how much time
6 has been used so far?
7 MR. FERRARA: If we can go to slide 23. It's not this one, it's
8 not this one. Next one, please. It's not this. 23.
9 Q. Doctor, can you explain what you see here and indicate what the
10 meaning of that number 5?
11 A. The photographs are rather dark, but that's how it was in the
12 actual locality. Here we can see a number of bodies intermingled, and
13 the number 5 means that the individual who will be taken out is the fifth
14 person in order. This was on the surface, and every body was given a
15 number. It said "Ovcara," numbers 1 to 200. This is obviously body
16 number 5 extracted from the grave.
17 Q. So you say that --
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Ferrara, you have 20
19 minutes left, so please show us the important photograph which you wish
20 to tender into evidence, and please go to the point.
21 MR. FERRARA: This was the last one.
22 Q. So you said that numbers were assigned to the bodies that were in
23 the grave, and this number followed the body until now? So until now,
24 this is the body of Ovcara victim number 5; am I right?
25 A. Yes, that is right.
1 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, I'd like to tender this document into
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can we have an exhibit number
4 for the photographs, please.
5 THE REGISTRAR: These other documents shall be given Exhibit
6 number P614. Thank you.
7 MR. FERRARA: If we can go now to the 65 ter document 2689. It
8 is a table entitled "Paragraph 49." It relates to a chart that is
9 attached to your report, prepared for the Milosevic case. So it's binder
10 6, document 26.
11 Q. Can you comment on the statistics in this table?
12 A. Yes. The table shows the 200 bodies, of which we show the number
13 that -- the number of people suffering gunshot wounds, trauma and so on.
14 Of the 200 individuals who were killed, 195 were killed --
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [No interpretation].
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As I was saying, 188 were gunshot
17 wounds, six individuals were killed through trauma, and one person was
18 killed by stabbing.
19 MR. FERRARA:
20 Q. What does it mean, "killed by trauma," "killed by shooting,"
21 "killed by stabbing," "trauma"?
22 A. Most of these individuals found in Ovcara were killed by gunshot
23 wounds; that is, projectiles fired from firearms. The people that died
24 through trauma, that means that we cannot determine the means used to
25 kill them. It must have been blows with certain objects which led to
1 injury and death, other than firearms. Whereas stab wounds, since the
2 tissue was preserved, we were able to ascertain that there were a number
3 of stab wounds in the torso and neck of the individual concerned.
4 Q. What is this -- when you say "stabbing," I don't see the word
5 "stabbing" here. Where do you find this "stabbing"; under the category
6 "Other Violence," maybe in there?
7 A. Yes, it's the column where the cause of death has been
8 ascertained. Under "Other," other violent deaths.
9 Q. Can you tell us the youngest age and the eldest age of the people
10 found killed at Ovcara?
11 A. [In English] Yes. As you can see in paragraph 49 of my report --
12 [interpretation] The youngest was 16. The oldest was 72.
13 MR. FERRARA: I'd like to tender this table into evidence.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can we have an exhibit number
15 for this table, please.
16 THE REGISTRAR: This shall be Exhibit number P615. Thank you,
17 Your Honours.
18 MR. FERRARA: Can we have the document 65 ter number 2687. It is
19 in binder 6, document 28. It is the next document.
20 Q. Can you tell us what is it this list represent, and who prepared
21 this -- drafted this list? It is the document 10 in your binder, 10.
22 A. On this table, we can see the names -- the first names and last
23 names of the persons identified at Ovcara, their date of birth, and it
24 says "Pos ID," that is to say, positive identification as a separate
25 column under "Status." So it is a list of persons from Ovcara, along
1 with their dates of birth.
2 MR. FERRARA: I'd like to tender this document into evidence.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, can we have a
4 number, please.
5 THE REGISTRAR: This shall be Exhibit number P616. Thank you,
6 Your Honours.
7 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, I believe we don't have enough time
8 to examine with the expert, of course, the autopsy report. I will put
9 questions to the expert in relation to just three of these autopsy
11 In relation to one autopsy report, my aim is adding a general
12 explanation of the standard template followed in drafting all the autopsy
13 report, and in fact you can see that all the report are drafted according
14 to the same template. And I think that the answers given by the expert
15 concerning one report can fit exactly to all of them that I will ask to
16 tender into evidence.
17 In addition, I want the doctor to comment specific details in
18 other two autopsy report, because they are particularly interesting for
19 our case. It's one of the women that was killed at Ovcara and one of the
20 stabbing that we found in these bodies.
21 To tender the autopsy report, I prepared a list. I have here a
22 hard copy for Your Honours and for the accused as well, where I mentioned
23 all the -- the number of the autopsy with this reference the doctor gave
24 us is OCV 001, 002 and so on, with identification, so with the name of
25 the -- of the body, of the person who was found there, the date of birth,
1 the date of the document, the autopsy, the English ERN, the 65 ter in our
2 list, and the identification document, if it exists, because in a lot of
3 bodies, as the expert will explain, were found a lot of document,
4 identification document or other documents that were used to identify the
5 person found in the mass grave, and the photos were taken. Of course, I
6 did not prepare the set of photos related to all victims. I selected
7 only 10 of them, just to give an explanation to the Trial Chamber.
8 So if we can give this list, and I want to comment the -- from
9 the witness that 65 ter number 2297, that is the autopsy report in
10 relation to Ovcara victim number 9, Josip Balog.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In what binder is the autopsy
13 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, it's binder 2, document 37.
14 Q. Dr. Strinovic, if you can, very briefly, of course: Is this the
15 autopsy report that was prepared by the international group -- the
16 international group of pathologists; I'm right?
17 A. Yes, that is correct. More or less the 200 reports were done in
18 this way, like the one we have in front of us.
19 Q. Can you comment on the main entries of this report? Of course,
20 we don't want you to read, but just that short area.
21 A. Well, the essential points with respect to the report and the
22 prototype, you always have the number of Ovcara, Ovcara 9, then the date
23 when the autopsy was conducted, and brief information regarding the age,
24 sex and whether they were left-handed or right-handed. Then any
25 interesting pieces of clothing are listed and other facts that might be
1 of interest for identification purposes, personal documents, if they are
2 of interest. In this specific case, what was found was an ID card made
3 out to Josip Balog, which means that identification was made easier.
4 Then there's an external examination with descriptions of what was found
5 on the bodies. Some were skeletonised, others were well preserved, which
6 made the description much more detailed. The state of the skin, various
7 deformities that the person was born with or gained later on in life.
8 And if the organs were present, then a description of those organs; an
9 examination of the teeth and their description, which are especially
10 important for identification purposes. Then there was a column specific
11 to Ovcara which was any signs of hospital treatment, because it was
12 thought that most of these people had been treated in hospital, they had
13 been patients in a hospital. Then traumas linked and associated with
14 death, and the injuries that were found, if any evidence such as
15 projectiles or anything else that were found that could have been the
16 cause of death, those are recorded. And then you have the column "Cause
17 of death" and "Manner of death," "Killing."
18 Q. You say that you did not receive the entire report until such
19 time, I don't remember. Which part of this report did you receive from
20 the internationals?
21 A. As I've already said, when we received the bodies, we received a
22 partial report from the international experts which went up to "Trauma
23 associated with death." We didn't receive that column, "Trauma
24 associated with death," neither did we receive the column "Cause of
1 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, I'd like to tender this report into
2 evidence, together with the other 199 that are indicated in my list.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, please.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter document 2297 shall be given
5 Exhibit number P617. Thank you.
6 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, for the other document, I think the
7 exhibit number will be assigned outside the court, not in court, because
8 we need one hour to [indiscernible] the numbers.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This document is document 2856;
10 is that right?
11 MR. FERRARA: Your Honour, maybe I was not very clear in my
12 explanation. The document 2856, we have to show -- we have to show to
13 the witness this 2856. This is a table for your assistance to follow the
14 document in the court binder, the autopsy report.
15 Now I show to the witness this document 2856. That is the
16 document that was admitted already in the Mrksic and Milosevic. But in
17 this document I gave you, it is more complete because we found the number
18 of identification document and the photos document.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So show him the
21 MR. FERRARA: Can we have on the screen the document 2856.
22 Your Honours, this chart that we prepared, it is only a list of
23 200 autopsy report. Of course, I have yet to enter the autopsy report,
24 but if you want, I can tender all of them, but I think it is not
25 necessary. We can tender only the list, and we can have the exhibit
1 number outside the court. So we can have an exhibit number starting from
2 the chart, one by one.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Ferrara, you have two
4 alternatives. You can ask to tender all the autopsy reports or you are
5 just asking for this document to be tendered into evidence and that
6 refers to all the autopsy reports. It's for you to decide.
7 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, I'd like to tender all the autopsy
8 reports, but to have a quick list -- short list of the autopsy report, I
9 created this chart. Of course, I have the autopsy report here with me,
10 but I think ...
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's give a number to the
13 list, but show the table to the witness first.
14 MR. FERRARA: 2856 on the screen, please.
15 THE WITNESS: [In English] What is this?
16 MR. FERRARA: It is document 12, your document 12.
17 THE WITNESS: What is the question?
18 MR. FERRARA:
19 Q. Can you tell us what does this chart represent?
20 A. [Interpretation] This table represents the names and surnames of
21 persons who have been identified and the way in which they were
22 identified, which means that it was the classical method that was
24 Q. I think you're -- 12.
25 A. Yes, 12. On this table, we have the names and surnames of the
1 persons identified, their date of birth, who conducted the autopsy, when
2 the autopsy was carried out, and in what way; the classical method or in
3 any other way. The date of birth of the individual that was identified
4 is also there.
5 Q. Do we have in this chart the reference to the autopsy report, so
6 the number of the autopsy report?
7 A. Yes. There is the number Ovcara 1. Yes, the number's there.
8 Q. So we have all the autopsy report number until 200, or we see
9 200; am I right?
10 A. Yes, that is right.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's have an exhibit number
12 for this document, please, Mr. Registrar.
13 THE REGISTRAR: The document shall be given Exhibit number P618.
14 Thank you, Your Honour.
15 MR. FERRARA:
16 Q. Just in relation to the victim that we have seen before,
17 Mr. Josip Balog, can we have very quickly the 65 ter number 2706 in the
18 screen. It are the photos taken of the body. If we can move very
19 quickly to the photo.
20 Your Honours, these are a set of photos taken of this victim
21 number 9, that is Josip Balog, in this case. These is just a template of
22 the photo that were taken of the body, and I'd like to tender just ten of
23 them that are in our 65 ter list, just as an example of the video was
24 taken in -- was made in the pit.
25 So if we can go to most interesting, to the photo 17, very
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Ferrara, do you feel that
3 these photographs are really necessary or not, since we have the list
4 that refers to all the autopsy reports? Do we really need to have these
5 photographs, do you think? Technically speaking, it's not a problem as
6 far as I'm concerned, but do we really need these photographs?
7 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, we tender just this set of
8 photographs for one victim, just to have an idea of what activity it was
9 made in the field. I think it's important, because, for example, with
10 this victim we found we have the paper document, the identification paper
11 at the photo 18, so the doctor has explained a lot of times we found
12 these kind of documents in the victims, which is easier to identify them.
13 So if you go there, the doctor can confirm in the photo 18. I think it's
14 important also because we have this list of people missing from the
15 hospital and the people that was found in the pit on the field.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, to gain some time: When
17 the bodies were exhumed, you found ID papers, for instance, on some of
18 the bodies, in the case of Josip Balog, you found this document during
19 the exhumation. Coins were found, money was found, and various documents
20 were found. Can you confirm that all of this was found on the bodies
21 during the exhumation?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, certainly, I can tell you what
23 was found. In some cases it was personal documents, in others it was
24 medical documents or something similar that indicated the identity of the
25 individual, and all this helped in the identification process.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So when it says in the column
2 "Classical identification," it is thanks to this that the body has been
3 identified, all the more so that this document was found on the body; is
4 this why this is termed classical form of identification?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's not the only method of
6 identification. We cannot give a name and surname to a person only on
7 the basis of a document. We must find other elements, too, regarding
8 height, sex, and various other elements that bear out and ascertain the
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's give an exhibit number to
12 all these photographs. Registrar, can we have a number, please.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, these photographs shall be given
14 Exhibit number P619. Thank you.
15 MR. FERRARA: Can we have on the screen the 65 ter number 2371.
16 That is in the binder 4, document 25. It is 16 in your binder. It is
17 the autopsy report of Ovcara victim 174.
18 Q. Can you tell us the cause of death for this victim?
19 A. In the case of Ovcara 174, it was multiple stabbing wounds to the
20 torso, head and neck.
21 Q. So is it correct to say that the only lethal wounds in this case
22 was a stabbing; am I right?
23 A. Yes, that is right.
24 MR. FERRARA: I seek to tender these documents, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, can we have an
1 exhibit number for this document, please.
2 THE REGISTRAR: The document shall be given Exhibit number P620.
3 Thank you.
4 MR. FERRARA: Can we have on the screen the 65 ter number 2503.
5 It is the Ovcara victim number 095. This is one of the two women found
6 at Ovcara.
7 Q. What can you tell us about this victim?
8 A. Very briefly, this is a female. She was killed with multiple
9 gunshot wounds to the head, and upper leg, the pelvis area, and also the
10 thorax, the ribs, et cetera. So there were gunshot wounds all over her
11 body, from the neck down.
12 Q. Would it be possible to say -- it is to say that she was pregnant
13 or not?
14 A. No. On the basis of the autopsy report and what was found during
15 the autopsy, there was no conclusions made as to whether she was pregnant
16 or not.
17 Q. Why not? Can you explain us?
18 A. The reason is that due to putrifaction, the fetus, which is
19 composed of water mostly, disintegrates and disappears, and therefore
20 pregnancy in cases of this kind, that is to say, persons who were buried
21 in the ground for a long time after death, no traces of pregnancy are
22 found or of the fetus are found.
23 MR. FERRARA: I seek to tender this document, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can we have an exhibit number,
1 THE REGISTRAR: This shall be Exhibit P621. Thank you,
2 Your Honour.
3 MR. FERRARA: Let's move to the other location. It's Vocin, and
4 I have really a few questions on the location.
5 Please can we have on the screen the 65 ter number 2670.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. Vocin is a location
7 where the pattern of the joint criminal enterprise is supposed to be
8 shown, not --
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Vocin relates to deliberate
10 conduct, deliberate. Are you saying that in Vocin, people were killed?
11 Is that what you would like to say? Vocin is part of the deliberate
12 pattern. Are you wanting to establish that people were killed in Vocin?
13 MR. FERRARA: Exactly, Your Honour.
14 Q. What can you tell us about the Vocin crime scene in relation to
15 your finding? Were you there? Did you go to Vocin?
16 A. Yes. According to the information we had, the people had been
17 killed in Vocin on the 13th of November, 1992, and the autopsy was done
18 on the 17th of December. It was carried out in Slatina, which is a place
19 in the vicinity of Vocin.
20 Q. How many corpse were found there?
21 A. Forty-three.
22 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, I seek to tender into evidence this
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A number for this document.
25 THE REGISTRAR: The document shall be given Exhibit number P622.
1 Thank you.
2 MR. FERRARA:
3 Q. Did you take part to the identification process of the bodies
4 found at this mass grave in Vocin?
5 A. In Vocin, it was not a classical mass grave, but rather when the
6 dead bodies were found in the street, in the houses, they were collected
7 and taken there. This was a village where these bodies were found. As I
8 say, they were of 43 persons, so they were well preserved, so that the
9 autopsy was performed just as in a situation when you deal with recently
10 deceased persons.
11 MR. FERRARA: Can we have on the screen, then, document 834. The
12 document is already admitted into evidence, Your Honours, as P581. I
13 want to ask the witness only if this is the list of the victims found at
14 Vocin. It is the list in binder 7, document 46, the 21st of your binder,
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that is that list, that is
18 MR. FERRARA: Can we have on the screen the photo with 65 ter
19 number 2715.
20 Q. This photo and the following -- the next one is related to a
21 victim Stojan Nenadovic. Dr. Strinovic, what detail -- what does this
22 photo tell us about the cause of death?
23 A. This is an elderly man who died a violent death due to multiple
24 blows by a blunt object to his body. We can see on his shoulder and
25 right arm irregular traces which are consistent with the blows of a chain
1 or a similar object, and irregular trauma on the head which could have
2 been inflicted by a booted foot, by a hand, fist, or some other similar
4 Q. Do you know why this person was killed? And if you know, how did
5 you learn it?
6 A. When we arrived in Slatina to conduct the autopsy, we were
7 informed by the police guarding the area that it was a male of Serb
8 ethnicity whose son had been a member of the Croatian Army, and that is
9 why this man was killed in this way.
10 Q. So is this the only --
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. This exceeds the
12 possibilities of the expert report. The expert is here speaking about
13 the motives -- the possible motives of the killing. He can just say one
14 thing, which is that the victim was identified and that it was a Serb.
15 Why the person had been killed, that is beyond the expert's -- the
16 witness's capacity.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, if you did, as I
18 did, participate in an autopsy, you would know that the forensic
19 pathologist carrying it out seeks information from the people bringing
20 the body as to the circumstances. So before he starts with the medical
21 examination as to the manner of death, that's what you do, isn't it,
22 Doctor? You are brought a corpse, and then you ask questions to find out
23 in which circumstances the person was found, met her end, and maybe fell
24 out of a window, was run over by a bus. That's what is asked before you
25 carry out the post-mortem?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that is exactly how we
2 proceed with every forensic medical autopsy.
3 MR. FERRARA: Your Honour, I seek to tender into evidence this
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, can you give us
6 a number for this document.
7 THE REGISTRAR: The document shall be Exhibit number P623. Thank
9 MR. FERRARA: My last question.
10 Q. Concerning these 43 people killed at Vocin, did you have the
11 opportunity to review the expert report containing the forensic analysis
12 of bodily injuries and corporal wounds of victims from Vocin drafted by
13 Dr. Kraus, Zorislav? That is 65 ter number 1748.
14 That is for your assistance, Your Honours, and the accused, in
15 the binder 2, document 25.
16 A. Yes, I had occasion to read that report.
17 Q. Can you tell us, really briefly, the content of this report and
18 if you agree with the conclusion in this report?
19 A. Dr. Kraus, on the basis of the records made by forensic medicine
20 physicians in Zagreb
21 opinion -- drafted an opinion for the needs of the Court. On the basis
22 of our records, he established the causes of death, which we had also
23 established. He established the manner of the infliction of the wounds
24 and possibly the position of the person inflicting the wound and the
25 person who died. All this was derived from our own protocol which we had
1 written and submitted to the Court, and I fully subscribe to those
2 findings, to that report.
3 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, I seek to tender this into evidence.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. A number, please.
5 THE REGISTRAR: This shall be P624. Thank you.
6 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, before ending the questions, I ask to
7 tender into evidence the report of Dr. Strinovic bearing 65 ter
8 number 7250, drafted for this case, and his previous report with 65 ter
9 number 2672, drafted for the Milosevic and Mrksic case that we used today
10 for his testimony.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's give two MFI numbers.
12 Indeed, only after the cross-examination will we decide whether we need
13 to give final numbers or not. So we need to have MFI numbers for 7250
14 and 2672.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, these two documents shall be given
17 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, and concerning the document that was
18 tendered, the press article that received the MFI P612, here I have a
19 better copy of the article.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please give the copy to
21 Mr. Seselj so that he can check that it is now a complete document.
22 MR. FERRARA: This concludes my examination-in-chief.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
24 Mr. Seselj, you now have the complete article. Let's give a
25 number. So the MFI
1 THE REGISTRAR: MFI
2 Thank you, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 We're going to break for 20 minutes, and then Mr. Seselj can
5 start with his cross-examination.
6 --- Recess taken at 5.26 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 5.47 p.m.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.
9 Mr. Seselj, you now have the floor for your cross-examination.
10 Cross-examination by Mr. Seselj:
11 Q. Mr. Strinovic, when was it that you were at this mass grave near
12 Ovcara for the first time?
13 A. As far as I remember, that was in 1996, but I'm not quite sure.
14 Q. And do you remember what month it was?
15 A. In 1996, when I was at the mass grave, it was just before the
16 excavations; that is, it was August or thereabouts.
17 Q. And did there exist this filled road, this road that you just
18 showed us moments ago in the photograph, or was it constructed later?
19 A. Work was being done on the road about that time, but when it was
20 finished, it is hard to say.
21 Q. Otherwise, one could not reach the mass grave in a regular car;
22 one had to use an all-terrain vehicle or a tractor?
23 A. Yes, that is correct. That's the way it was. It was a very
24 impassable road.
25 Q. It was actually the field road used by tractors, combine,
1 harvesters and such?
2 A. Yes, that is correct, that is what I heard.
3 Q. And you were there in August, that is the height of summer, that
4 is the dry season, there is no rain; right?
5 A. Yes, that is how it usually is.
6 Q. In October and November, the rains are heavy and everything is
7 soaked, so one cannot get there except by tractor or a caterpillar fitted
8 vehicle or something similar?
9 A. Yes, a specially for that purpose outfitted vehicle.
10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Strinovic. This answer of yours to this question
11 is very important, although you may find it odd, because you know we had
12 some false witnesses here who claimed that they used a private luxury car
13 in November to reach from Ovcara to this pit to execute people. That is
14 why I'm asking this, so that you don't think that my questions make no
16 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness and the accused please pause
17 between question and answer.
18 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
19 Q. You supervised, oversaw the exhumations as director of the
20 Forensic Medicine Institute in the majority of cases; right?
21 A. Yes, generally, not only in this case. Rather, I organised the
22 work but the supervising of the exhumations was done by other people, but
23 I was there on a daily basis.
24 Q. This included exhumations where the Serbs had been victims, like
25 in Pakracka Poljana and Gospic, victims of mass crimes, that is?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Tell me one thing. When you saw this number, 260 found bodies --
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're both speaking the same
4 language. So, Witness, before answering questions put to you by
5 Mr. Seselj, wait for a little bit to allow the interpreters to translate
6 what you have said, because you're talking very fast and the interpreters
7 have difficulty following you.
8 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
9 Q. This mass grave at Ovcara, I suppose, is the biggest in terms of
10 the number of exhumed bodies. Right?
11 A. Yes, that is correct. In Croatia, that is the largest mass grave
12 that has been detected.
13 Q. And when you saw this number of 260 bodies, did it seem a bit
14 odd? 200 executed people could not have been the result of some
15 spontaneous action by a gang on the rampage or some territorial seeking
16 revenge, or any other groups. Was it not obvious that someone had
17 ordered the execution of precisely 200 people, because it is a very small
18 degree of probability that it was precisely 200 people that were killed
19 and thrown into a mass grave?
20 A. I have to tell you this in answering: I really never gave any
21 thought to what you're asking me now. I was there as an expert. I came
22 to the mass grave, I heard what the number was. Why precisely 200, I
23 cannot really say. It is very difficult for me to give you an answer to
24 that question.
25 Q. Well, I see in the case of the murder of Stojan Nenadovic, the
1 Serb, you ventured into some -- to give some lengthier explanations of
2 these secondary circumstances which had led to the crime. The Croatian
3 public was informed about this case of Ovcara very much, there was very
4 much written about it; right?
5 A. Yes, that is quite correct. Victims of Ovcara are,
6 unfortunately, one of the sad symbols of Croatia, and very much was
7 indeed written and said about it.
8 Q. Then you should be aware of the fact that not all the prisoners
9 who had been taken to Ovcara had been killed. 207 actually came there,
10 but 7 were released, their lives were spared. Do you know that?
11 A. Yes, I know that. I know that not all the people who had been
12 taken to the farm of Ovcara were executed. Some were let go.
13 Q. A total of seven were set free. We know some of them, Dragutin
14 Berghofer, Emil Cakalic, Vilim Karlovic and some others. I cannot recall
15 all the names, but we have established with certainty that there have
16 been seven of them.
17 As an expert of forensic medicine, as a secondary circumstance
18 you found 200 bodies. You know that there had been 207 prisoners, and
19 someone decided to let 7 go. So someone had planned that precisely 200
20 be executed, and those who carried out the order wouldn't do anything
21 more than they had been ordered to. A crime is a crime, there is no
22 doubt about it, but those who committed the crime did not want to surpass
23 the figure of 200; isn't that obvious?
24 A. Look, I cannot give you an answer to the question the way you put
25 it. I know about these seven people who were released. There was a
1 story associated with each one of them as to why he or -- he had been
2 released, either knew a Serb soldier or was on good terms with somebody.
3 So there was a reason why these seven people were set free.
4 As to this precise number of 200, I cannot give you an answer,
5 either as an expert or I in my personal capacity, why it had been that
6 precise number. Was it accidentally or purposefully, I don't know,
8 Q. We had occasion here to see that some other people also tried to
9 save their acquaintances or friends, and once the number of seven had
10 been filled, they were no longer able to do that. This doesn't say
11 anything to you, does it?
12 A. I have given you an answer to that. I don't know about that. I
13 really don't know anything about it.
14 Q. Fine. Do you know that there was a larger number of people at
15 Ovcara, that a large number of people had been at Ovcara, and a large
16 number of people participated in the executions?
17 A. As regards the number of people who participated in the
18 executions or those who were at Ovcara, I don't have that data. I
19 couldn't tell you with precision or even approximately how many people
20 were involved.
21 Q. But you should know how many pieces of weaponry were used in the
22 execution, because you established that on the basis of a review of the
23 found bullets or cartridges; right?
24 A. I can give you an answer to this question by saying that I know
25 how many people were killed and what the wounds were which caused their
1 deaths, but as regards the number of cartridges, that is up to the
2 ballistic experts, those who looked for and found those bullets or
3 cartridges, and this is a question for that kind of a specialist, for the
4 ballistic expert.
5 Q. But in the course --
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Following the question put to
7 you by Mr. Seselj, let me now deal with a very technical issue.
8 You, yourself, as part of your specialty, when you perform a
9 post-mortem examination, do you have any ballistic data at your disposal,
10 and don't you work in cooperation with the ballistics specialists in
11 order for you, at the time of the autopsy, to be able to determine the
12 path and the trajectory of bullets with the help of the ballistics expert
13 by knowing, for example, what was the calibre of the weapon, what sort of
14 impact that calibre can have? In other words, do you work in close
15 cooperation with a ballistics expert or not at all?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There are two stages. The first
17 stage is when the autopsy is being carried out, when we look for the
18 cause of death. When there is a gunshot wound, we can only sometimes
19 determine the calibre with which the wound had been inflicted. If it
20 involves those parts of the body, it is usually a bone where there is the
21 exact diametre of the damage, which indicates what the calibre
22 diametre -- the diametre of the calibre had been. So when we do the
23 post-mortem, actually, we do not yet know what kind of a weapon was used.
24 Later, when there is -- when the expert analysis for a court is being
25 made in the second stage, we cooperate and form a joint opinion with a
1 ballistic expert, and a ballistic expert determines the calibre of the
2 projectile, its velocity and its characteristics, but not on the basis of
3 the post-mortem report, because that is impossible, but on the basis of
4 the found projectile which can be found in-situ, which is much more
5 simpler, or in the body, rather, or if it is found elsewhere, which is a
6 bit more complicated.
7 So these expert analyses establish the characteristics of the
8 projectile, whereas we establish the cause of death and the wound caused
9 by projectile, but we cannot exactly say what kind of a projectile. We
10 can draw indirect conclusions when there is vast damage, for instance, to
11 the cranium or to the body, to the trunk, that speedy projectiles had
12 been in question, those fired from a weapon used for war purposes. These
13 are usually long-barrelled weapons which cause massive damage, which
14 suggests to us that it was a high-speed projectile which could have been
15 off this or that calibre, approximately. But the actual calibre is
16 established by the ballistic experts by finding the projectile near or
17 inside the body, or the cartridges of the projectile.
18 We can seldom speak about the direction which the projectile took
19 in passing through the body. We can talk about the direction from which
20 the shot had been fired, but not the actual movement direction of the
21 projectile in the body.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have seen a number of
23 autopsy reports, and I was very surprised to see that at no point was
24 there mention of whether the fire was opened at close range or not,
25 because in cases of execution, you can very well imagine that this would
1 be done very near to the victims. Did you also notice that in the
2 reports, that none of that type of information was provided?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I saw that this information was
4 missing, but I have to explain, as a forensic medical expert, why that is
6 When wounds of this kind are in question, sometimes we can indeed
7 establish that the shooting took place at close range or at a very short
8 range of several millimetres from the body, in which case a massive,
9 irregular defect will be caused by the shot, usually in the skull, where
10 we can see great damage, massive damage of the bones, or in other parts
11 of the body with massive damage to the tissue. Sometimes only the bones
12 remain and we cannot see these characteristics, the close-range
13 characteristics. But when we have a speedy projectile, there will be
14 massive destruction, just as in the case of close range. And if we only
15 have a bone and not soft tissue, it is difficult to tell what the
16 distance had been.
17 In other words, when we have bodies that have been in the earth
18 for many years and the post-mortem is then done, and the distance of the
19 shooting established, it is very hard to do on the basis of the remaining
20 bones or tissue. But to establish that there had been a firing from
21 close range, that is -- that is something that should have been
22 described. I have no other explanation.
23 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] I have a question for you,
24 Professor Strinovic.
25 Was it possible to establish whether the individuals found in
1 that mass grave were, for some of them, killed on the spot, after which
2 they fell into the grave, or was it possible to establish whether some of
3 them were killed in another location and whether their bodies were then
4 removed and thrown into the mass grave once they had been executed?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I can give you the
6 following answer to that question: When you have gunshot wounds, which
7 was the case in the majority of cases, multiple gunshot wounds had been
8 in question, and death was a consequence of those gunshot wounds,
9 obviously, where exactly the shooting had taken place is impossible to
10 conclude on the basis of the wounds themselves.
11 However, when the supplementary processing was conducted by
12 ballistic experts, and we participated by just attending the scene, and
13 they showed us the places where there were a large number of cartridges
14 and were able to see vegetation, i.e., damage to vegetation, which
15 indicates that there had been firing at that location, it was obvious
16 that it was the site of the shooting. So most probably the bodies then
17 fell into the already-dug pit. So I can just conclude by the
18 indications, because the found cartridges and the damage to the trees on
19 the other side, that it had been the place where the shooting had taken
20 place. And as I said, most probably because of the multiple gunshot
21 wounds, we can conclude that the shooting took place where the mass grave
22 is, but we cannot say that with precision.
23 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Strinovic, I presume that you know what a magnum revolver is.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. It has a very specific calibre. Do you know what that calibre
3 A. No, I don't know, being no ballistic expert myself, but I know it
4 has a very strong impact and effect.
5 Q. As I have to be a ballistic expert, I know that it is a .357
6 calibre. It is called a magnum .357 calibre in ballistics. Does that
7 ring a bell?
8 A. I understand what you're saying.
9 Q. It has a very specific calibre, and had that calibre was used in
10 liquidating the prisoners, that cartridge would have had to be found; is
11 that not a fact?
12 A. Not necessarily. It depends what part of the body was pierced,
13 where the bullet passed.
14 Q. A witness here claimed that one of the perpetrators, as criminals
15 say, verified the people. I suppose that's the term they also use where
16 you come from; namely, after the people had been executed, he came up to
17 every victim and shot him in the head in order to finish him off. So if
18 that were true, if that had been true, all the .357-calibre bullets would
19 have been fired into the cranium, and that would have had to be
20 established by the post-mortem analysis if that had really happened,
22 A. Yes, that would have to have been seen by a post-mortem examiner.
23 Q. If there had been ten or so or more such cases, some of the
24 bullets would have been fired into that part of the skull which certainly
25 would not have been hit had the man been erect when he was executed and
1 when he was being shot at. There is a part of the cranium, the top of
2 the cranium, where you can shoot a man who is standing upright only from
3 the air?
4 A. No, not necessarily. If one bows his head, that part of the
5 cranium is also exposed. If a man is standing, you can bend your head,
6 so one can also shoot at the nape or at the top of the head if a man is
7 in that position even standing.
8 Q. When you were testifying in the Belgrade case, the trial of the
9 accused for the concrete crimes committed at Ovcara, you testified
10 together with Dr. Milovan Kubat. He's a colleague of yours from Zagreb
11 is that correct?
12 A. Yes, that's correct. He was a colleague, a specialist for DNA
13 Q. Tell me, as I'm no expert on that, and when I passed my
14 examination in forensic medicine we had no DNA analysis, but I do
15 remember my genetics from the third grade of high school, we call it
17 A. We have two ways of marking the same thing, basically. Actually,
18 a part of Europe
19 the same -- one and the same thing.
20 Q. This deoxyribonucleic acid is what we're talking about; right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. The third witness was professor Dr. Milos Tasic. You know him as
24 A. [No interpretation].
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have a problem with the
1 microphone, and instead of listening to Mr. Strinovic, I'm hearing the
2 English interpretation. And you know how I abhor that language. I
3 became depressed straight away and quite nervous and upset. So could
4 that matter be put right, please?
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please. We're
6 going to check what's going on.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I think it's all right now. I can
8 see -- I can hear the Serbian interpretation now.
9 Q. Anyway, the three of you, to all intents and purposes, tabled the
10 report together. You went first, then Dr. Milovan Kubat and then
11 Dr. Milos Tasic; right?
12 A. This is how it was. First of all, it was Kubat and I who
13 provided identification with respect to identification at Ovcara, and
14 when we had done our job, Professor Otasevic went in to present his
15 opinion but we had already left, gone out, and we didn't hear his
17 Q. So I assume you know what his findings were.
18 A. While we were in the courtroom, we didn't take part, nor were we
19 aware of his findings.
20 Q. And two other Serbian specialists, forensic experts, took part in
21 the post-mortem examinations, the autopsies conducted in Zagreb
22 that right?
23 A. Yes, that is right.
24 Q. One of them was Dr. Dobricanin; right? I'm not sure that I
25 remember all their names, but do you remember who the doctors were?
1 A. Professor Otasevic from Nis
2 during the autopsy conducted in Zagreb
3 Q. Otasevic, and there was another one, as far as I remember.
4 A. As far as I know, not in Zagreb
5 exhumation process, there was somebody from Vukovar. I don't remember
6 the name.
7 Q. Dr. Milos Tasic claimed that one can exclude the fact that
8 gunshot wounds used in rifles was used for the liquidation of these
9 victims. Do you agree with that? Or, rather, shots.
10 A. It's difficult for me to give a decisive answer. I'd have to
11 look through all the autopsy reports and the causes of death and
12 descriptions, but I think that's the right answer. I don't think there's
13 any dilemma. Pellets from shotguns, I mean.
14 Q. I looked at all your 200 autopsies, and I never saw the mention
15 of buckshot and pellets from buckshot. I'm quite certain of that. Now,
16 if the Prosecutor considers otherwise, he can say so, but there's no
17 mention of buckshot or pellets from buckshot.
18 A. I think that's quite true. I don't remember any pellets being
20 Q. Which excludes the use of hunting rifles in this liquidation
22 A. Yes, it excludes the use of pellets, gunshot pellets.
23 Q. According to Dr. Milos Tasic, 540 projectiles were found in the
24 various bodies, and about 1.500 cartridges were found next to that mass
25 grave. Are you aware of those facts and findings?
1 A. I don't know the exact figures, but roughly those are the figures
2 that I would say were mentioned.
3 Q. And all those cartridges and projectiles testify to the fact that
4 Kalashnikov-type rifles were used, or pistol ammunitions from automatic
5 pistols of the Skorpion type, and some other automatic pistols such as
6 Hecklers or the M-56 type automatic rifles? Are you aware of that?
7 A. Well, my answer would be the same as the previous one. I don't
8 know for sure and precisely, but as far as I know, yes, that would be
10 Q. But mostly, we're dealing with bullets fired from Kalashnikovs?
11 A. Yes, in the vast majority they were Kalashnikov bullets.
12 Q. All right. You ascertained, and I assume that that is your most
13 reliable piece of information, that of a total of 200 persons liquidated
14 at Ovcara, that 6 were -- their death was caused by traumas and 1 by stab
15 wounds inflicted to the body and neck; right?
16 A. Yes, that is right. Those were our conclusions on the basis of
17 the information received about the cause of death from the international
19 Q. So there's no doubt that all the rest were killed through gunshot
20 wounds, that is to say, through firearms?
21 A. Yes, to the best of my knowledge, that is right.
22 Q. From your report, I see that some of the bodies have more gunshot
23 wounds, others were killed with just one bullet, but they were all killed
24 from firearms. Now, when it comes to these six individuals who died as a
25 result of trauma, you had certain methodology that you applied to
1 ascertain those traumas, whether it was fracture to the skull, bone
2 fractures, or anything similar; right?
3 A. Well, when trauma was the cause of death, then quite obviously it
4 was as a result of some blunt object inflicting a blow on the part of the
5 body or head, leading to death.
6 Q. And that blunt object can be a rifle-butt; right?
7 A. Yes, that is right, a blunt object; a rifle-butt or --
8 Q. A metal pipe, for instance?
9 A. Yes, a metal pipe or whatever.
10 Q. We have testimony from some survivors saying that some victims
11 were killed in hangars through having been beaten up with blunt objects.
12 Brute force was applied with some blunt object, and these six people were
13 killed through blows inflicted by blunt objects; right?
14 A. Yes, that was the cause of death, which we say trauma, trauma
15 resulted in cause of death.
16 Q. You don't have to be wary. I'm not asking you trick questions.
17 I think you're a very proper expert witness, which is quite different to
18 the ones we've heard previously.
19 Anyway, one particular victim that was found, for that victim it
20 was established that it had stab wounds on the body and neck. As far as
21 I remember, and I studied the trial in Belgrade, the wound in Belgrade
22 was inflicted from the back. It was a stab wound to the back of the
23 neck, and the metal object entered the skull, right, pierced the skull?
24 Am I right?
25 A. Well, I'd have to look at the autopsy report to see the
1 direction, the channel stab, channel took, but certainly it was a result
2 of a stab caused by a knife or whatever, and the injuries were inflicted
3 that way.
4 Q. But you established that because the skull had been damaged by
5 the stab wound. Had the person's neck been slit, it would be difficult
6 for you to ascertain that; right?
7 A. Once again, I have to look at the autopsy report. With that --
8 the particular person you're referring to, there was soft tissue present,
9 so you could see the stab wound to the soft tissue in the neck. So the
10 person conducting the autopsy saw the piercing of the skin and the
11 channel the object took as it entered the neck.
12 Q. Well, it's a lot of material. I couldn't take it all with me,
13 but I do remember that it was a bayonet or a knife that pierced the soft
14 tissue through force. It is difficult for somebody wielding a knife to
15 pierce the skull, unless he's very strong, but if it's a bayonet that was
16 used, then it's easier to pierce the skull; right? Would you agree with
17 me there?
18 A. Yes, certainly. If the skull was damaged, then it had to be
19 through great force and impact.
20 Q. And you found a number of stab wounds on the body, right,
21 several? I don't know the exact number.
22 A. Well, we didn't do that, but the person conducting the autopsy
23 found those injuries, stab wounds to the neck and torso, but there's no
24 reason to doubt it.
25 Q. Well, I assume that all the autopsies were done with the
1 intention of ascertaining the cause of death and that there was no
2 manipulation there.
3 A. Yes, that's absolutely correct. We were there to monitor the
4 whole process, and our colleagues from Serbia did the same, so there's no
5 reason to doubt any of that.
6 Q. So for these 200 victims, we agree that not a single one of them
7 died through having their throat slit, without the use of firearms,
8 without any stabbings and so on?
9 A. What we can say is that the cause of death was ascertained. They
10 were stab wounds, gunshot wounds, et cetera. Now, whether their throats
11 were slit, that's difficult to establish because the tissue from the neck
12 area was not described, because they disappeared. So there's no cause of
13 death -- so a throat slitting was not listed as a cause of death.
14 Q. I'm asking you that, because we had a false witness here who
15 claimed that several prisoners had their throat slit and died that way,
16 without the use of firearms, in the liquidation process. That's why I
17 found it important to clear that up in talking to you.
18 Now, we have a great disproportion here in the number of
19 cartridges found and bullets found. There are three times as many
20 cartridges that were found than bullets, because many of the bullets
21 didn't hit their target, they didn't hit the victim. So that is one
22 possible explanation?
23 A. I'm waiting. I'm pausing slightly for the interpretation. If
24 many more cartridges were found compared to bullets or gunshot wounds,
25 then of course a part of those projectiles used went far off the mark,
1 didn't hit their target. Now, the question is how many entrance/exit
2 wounds were established. Perhaps the soft tissue was hit, which
3 disintegrated later on, and so no traces were found during the autopsy
4 and they weren't recorded. So it's difficult for me to give you an exact
5 answer, but to all intents and purposes, the large number of cartridges
6 found show perhaps that the bullets had either gone astray or that they
7 had hit soft tissues which had disintegrated.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Could the accused repeat his question, please.
9 It was much too fast. Thank you.
10 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Seselj, the interpreters didn't catch your
11 question because you're overlapping. Could you please repeat your
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] What I was suggesting to the
14 witness is the following: I'm saying that it might be possible that
15 certain projectiles cause entrance/exit wounds, which means they went
16 through the body and continued along their trajectory and that those
17 bullets were never found, so they could have been bullets that did not
18 touch any of the bones, go through any of the bones.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that is possible, and in fact
20 many bullets, whether they passed through soft tissues or some bones,
21 might have exited the body and then, therefore, were never found. So
22 that is something that happens, too, particularly in the case of
24 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
25 Q. We had the example of one woman -- there were two women who were
1 killed, but with one of these victims, female victims, doctors,
2 specialists ascertained that it wasn't possible that she had been
3 pregnant because of her age. Now, as to the other woman, the other
4 person, you yourself said that it wasn't possible to ascertain whether
5 the person was pregnant or not because of putrifaction and decay.
6 Now, if it was advanced pregnancy, for example, the fetus in its
7 eighth month, for such an advanced pregnancy, would the same answer hold
8 true, that it's not possible to establish whether someone is pregnant or
9 not because of decay and putrifaction?
10 A. The description during the autopsy is quite clear and indicates
11 that there were no visible signs of pregnancy. And I have to repeat once
12 again, when we're dealing with pregnancy, even advanced pregnancy in the
13 eighth or ninth months, the first thing that disappears in the process of
14 decay is the fetus because, as I said, the fetus is made up 90 per cent
15 of water, and so it is the fetus that disintegrates and dissolves and you
16 cannot find it later on. So it is possible that somebody might have been
17 in an advanced state of pregnancy and that this cannot be ascertained.
18 And six years after death, it's quite possible that you can't find any
19 traces which would have suggested that the person was pregnant, the woman
20 was pregnant.
21 Q. Now, this might be morbid, and since we're in open session, I'd
22 like to ask you something, but this is important for me because of
23 previous testimony by someone else. Is it possible, and you presented
24 data about that, that on the body of that particular woman, a lot of
25 entrance wounds were found all over her body and on her head? Is it
1 possible that all those bullets, that the woman was reclining or
2 semi-reclining and that all the bullets were shot -- well, if the woman
3 was lying -- well, that all the bullets were shot into her genital area
4 and that then they spread through the body and reached the head as well?
5 Is that possible?
6 A. In view of the description of the entrance/exit wound, quite
7 obviously it was a burst of gunfire that went from top to bottom or
8 bottom to top, from head down the body or the other way around, but there
9 are no indices to show that everything was concentrated on the pelvic
10 area, because she had been pierced all over her body; her head, her body
11 and her pelvis.
12 Q. Now, we know the woman's name. I don't think I'll bring that up
13 in open session. But was she in the upright position when this burst of
14 gunfire was shot at her and into her?
15 A. The wounds and injuries that are incurred from the head down the
16 body to the extremities, as a rule, are inflicted on somebody in the
17 upright position when there's a burst of gunfire.
18 Q. Mr. Strinovic, I have one more question for you. The Serb that
19 was killed in Vocin, Stojan Nenadovic was mentioned, and in my opinion,
20 from quite clear morbid propaganda reasons, the Prosecutor chose to
21 display that photograph. And then you said the man was killed because
22 his son was in the Croatian Army. Where did you get that information
24 A. We received that information when we arrived in Slatina and
25 started the autopsy and came to that particular body. Then we were given
1 the information from the authorities who found the body in Slatina and --
2 well, we came across the body, and the officials there told us that he
3 was a Serb whose son was in the Croatian Army and that that was the
4 reason, so that's where we got the information from.
5 Q. Do you know that Croatian courts tried some of the perpetrators
6 of the crimes in Vocin on the 13th of December? Do you know that there
7 was a trial either in Bjelovar or Podravska Slatina, I think that was the
8 relevant court or was it Podravska Slatina? I'm not quite sure now, I
9 can't remember, but do you know that they were taken to court and tried?
10 A. As far as I know, proceedings were initiated against certain
11 perpetrators, certain individuals, and the investigating judge asked for
12 an expert opinion which was then to serve for that trial linked to the
13 victims of Vocin. Now, I don't know anything more than that, whether
14 there was a judgement, whether they were sentenced or not. I don't know
15 how the trial ended, but I do know that proceedings were initiated.
16 Q. Do you know that all the accused in that trial were Vocin locals,
17 local people from Vocin?
18 A. As I've already said, I don't know all the details of the case,
19 nor do I know who the perpetrators were, the accused were, so I don't
20 know who was taken to trial.
21 Q. Then I assume that you don't know whether the trial incorporated
22 or -- that the trial incorporated persons accused for the killing of the
23 Serb Stojan Nenadovic.
24 A. My answer would be the same as my previous answer. I really
25 don't know.
1 Q. But since you speculated on the basis of knowledge that you
2 received -- information that you received from the people who brought in
3 the corpse and who had heard something about the case, is my speculation
4 possible, too, that this Serb didn't want to flee from Vocin when the
5 rest of the Serbs withdrew and fled, with the onslaught of the Croatian
6 Army and the police, and he remained because he considered because of the
7 fact that his son was in the Croatian Army would mean that his life would
8 be saved; however, the first Croatian forces that entered, they beat him
9 up as a Serb, without listening to him saying that his son was a member
10 of the Croatian Army? Is that a possibility?
11 A. I've already said I have no specific or objective information,
12 except what I heard when we arrived in Vocin. Of course, all options are
14 Q. I'm glad that you said very fairly that you have no reliable
15 data. I've just now constructed this speculation of mine, and I'm sure
16 that you are quite clear on that, and that I did in response to this
17 unfair proceeding on the part of the Prosecutor.
18 Thank you, Mr. Strinovic. I think that you were a very fair
19 witness and expert witness, but you might be called again once I have
20 submitted this 50 pages of transcript that have not been translated.
21 I am going to apply for it, Mrs. Lattanzi. You can, of course,
22 not grant my application, but I will do so.
23 You will probably not be called again, Mr. Strinovic, but I'm
24 going to do so in order to teach the Prosecutor a lecture.
25 Thank you, Mr. Strinovic.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A follow-up question.
2 Questioned by the Court:
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you answered one of
4 Mr. Seselj's questions, you said you testified at the Ovcara trial in
6 beginning of your testimony. I was wondering, when you testified in
8 the examinations, forensic examinations, you were called to testify in
9 what capacity; because you're a well-known expert? Could you tell us,
11 A. Your Honours, we were given a query and a summons from the court
12 in Belgrade
13 identification of the post-mortal remains, exclusively that
14 identification, because I and Dr. Kubat worked on that identification. I
15 did the classical part and he the DNA
16 interested to hear how we had established those names that we had
17 identified, and how reliable our method was, and whether we were able to
18 guarantee that identification was reliable. So it was exclusively for
19 the purpose of the -- of our explaining how we had established that --
20 how we had identified the 192 bodies that we had identified.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And I suppose that you were put
22 questions by the judges, just as we put questions to you.
23 A. Yes, but also solely in respect of the identification, not in
24 connection with the cause of death or the history of the Ovcara gravesite
25 from beginning to end. It was all solely pertaining to the
1 identification method, the ante-mortem data strictly connected to
2 identification. That was in Belgrade
3 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you.
4 Doctor, I just have one question regarding the information that
5 you gave us on the size of the mass grave, because it struck me -- but I
6 have no experience with this, but it struck me a bit odd that you would
7 have room for 200 bodies in a single mass grave measuring 7 by 9 metres.
8 How deep was it, or were there several mass graves at Ovcara?
9 A. No, it was just one mass grave. All the bodies were in one
10 place, in one heap. Now, what the height or the depth of the grave was,
11 it is hard for me to say offhand, but it must have been at least five or
12 six metres. It was an impressive depth of that mass grave, where there
13 was a relatively small area but the depth was enough to accommodate 200
14 bodies, and they were piled up in a pyramidal heap.
15 JUDGE HARHOFF: I see, thanks.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Any re-examination?
17 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, just a couple of questions.
18 Before that, I was just informed that we have the transcript --
19 the translation of the transcript that are missing ready by tomorrow
20 afternoon. So if we want to keep the witness so he doesn't need to come
21 back, if Mr. Seselj wants to continue his cross-examination after reading
22 this transcript.
23 And before that, just a couple of questions.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I do not believe that it is
25 that relevant a point.
1 Mr. Seselj, do you insist on reading that transcript, to then
2 possibly ask further questions to the witness, or is that not necessary?
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] What matters to me is that I get
4 that portion of the transcript, because I'm entitled to it. Perhaps I am
5 not going to use it in cross-examining Mr. Strinovic. Perhaps I'm going
6 to use it at some other juncture in this place, in this trial. But if
7 Mr. Ferrara guarantees that I'm going to get it tomorrow afternoon,
8 Mr. Strinovic can have a happy journey back home. I'm not going to
9 insist on cross-examining him.
10 But today, when we finish, I'm going to raise an administrative
11 matter, so will you please bear that in mind? It is very important for
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
14 Yes, Mr. Ferrara, you will disclose the transcript to Mr. Ferrara
15 [as interpreted].
16 MR. FERRARA: Just a couple of questions.
17 Re-examination by Mr. Ferrara:
18 Q. Dr. Strinovic, your report, we found that until now there are
19 four cases, in four cases the cause of death of the people killed at
20 Ovcara are unknown. What does it mean?
21 A. When it is established that the cause of death is unknown,
22 unascertained, that means that either there have been no visible wounds
23 or that it was the soft tissue that had been wounded. It could have been
24 an exit-and-entry wound or slaughter or a gunshot wound, but because the
25 soft tissue decays and dissolves with time, it is not possible to
1 establish that. Then there could have been extensive damage to the skull
2 or some other bones, but that damage cannot be reproduced. It cannot be
3 associated with a gunshot wound, with a blow or something similar, so
4 that in some cases the post-mortem examiner is not sure, having conducted
5 all the necessary examinations, taking all the necessary steps, examining
6 all the organs and tissues. The examiner is in a dilemma, cannot
7 establish the actual cause, the real cause of death, in which case the
8 indication is the cause of death, unknown. I suppose that's what
9 happened in this case as well.
10 Q. In the case of killing as consequences of stabbing, slaughtering,
11 strangulation, is it always possible to prove the causes of death?
12 A. No, it is not. As I've just said, in such cases when we have
13 strangulation, stabbing wounds and similar, and the damage was inflicted
14 on soft tissue, and the soft tissue has decayed, completely dissolved
15 because the bodies were in this surface layer or were changed -- or other
16 changes took place, there is no indication of what wound really was
17 inflicted on the soft tissue to indicate the cause of death, in which
18 case the cause of death is unascertainable.
19 MR. FERRARA: I don't have further questions.
20 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Professor Strinovic, in such a
21 case, in the case of a wound being inflicted to the soft tissues and the
22 soft tissues being then decomposed, is it possible that these people died
23 as a result of a haemorrhage?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Absolutely. When people have bled
25 to death and then we have post-mortal damage to tissue, that is precisely
1 when it is impossible to establish the cause of death.
2 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
4 Witness, we have just completed your testimony. On my behalf and
5 on behalf of my colleagues, thank you very much for having come for the
6 fourth time, I believe, to The Hague
7 assisted the Bench with your technical knowledge.
8 I wish you every success in your occupation, and I wish you a
9 safe trip home. And I'm going to ask the usher to escort you out of the
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, you said that you
13 wanted to raise another matter. But before I give you the floor, let me
14 turn to Ms. Dahl.
15 [The witness withdrew]
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Tomorrow, we have a witness
17 whose name I'm not going to give because it's a protected witness. This
18 witness will be here at a quarter past 2.00. Two hours have been given
19 to the Prosecution to examine this witness, and two hours for Mr. Seselj
20 to cross-examine him. That's right?
21 Okay, Mr. Seselj, you have the floor.
11 Page 11643 redacted.
5 MS. DAHL: Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll give you the floor,
7 Ms. Dahl, but before I do, let me say the following:
8 Mr. Seselj, you've developed your point, and you are asking the
9 Chamber to take measures. The Trial Chamber may act proprio motu, but
10 you also can file a motion. Is what you've just said tantamount to an
11 oral motion? Should we see that as an oral motion from you?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] This is an official oral
13 application on my part. It is formulated succinctly, and -- but it is
14 very precise. I did so in order to save time. I can give it in writing
15 in a number of pages, but, yes, you can read this as my official oral
17 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Seselj, so am I to understand that you are
18 asking the Chamber to initiate contempt proceedings against this witness
19 for having done what exactly; falsely testified for having driven his car
20 into a field, which is not possible, or, I mean, what's the substance of
22 MS. DAHL: Your Honour, my request is that we go into private
23 session and redact this information, because it's susceptible to being
24 interpreted as witness intimidation, and it also relates to Rule 77. The
25 redaction would begin at today's transcript page 90, line 17.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I absolutely oppose that, because
2 I think that that would be an outrage. I strictly -- took strict care
3 that no one can even guess the identity of this witness, no one on earth,
4 so if you are going to redact this and move into private session, please
5 consider this motion not having been made, because I've had enough of
6 private sessions, really. Then I could be strangulated in the dark here
7 or I could be strangulated in public. I opt for the second possibility.
8 I'm not threatening anyone here, but if the moment is ripe for
9 instituting proceedings for contempt of court against one witness, that
10 is not intimidation of other witnesses. One has been caught shamefacedly
11 lying. What happens if we catch a witness lying and I want proceedings
12 to be instituted against him? How can that amount to intimidation of
13 other witnesses? This is only a message to other witnesses to speak the
14 truth and not falsely testify.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber has been
16 requested to redact part of the transcript, and I have to consult my
17 colleagues before we make our determination.
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, after considering
20 the matter -- but before saying anything else, let's go into private
22 Mr. Registrar, private session, please.
23 [Private session]
11 Pages 11646-11651 redacted. Private session.
8 [Open session]
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We shall resume tomorrow at a
10 quarter past 2.00. We are going to be hearing a witness who has been
11 granted protective measures.
12 I wish you a pleasant evening, and we meet again tomorrow at a
13 quarter past 2.00. The hearing stands adjourned.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.07 p.m.
15 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 12th day of
16 November, 2008, at 2.15 p.m.