1 Thursday, 27 November 2008
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 8.34 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Registrar, kindly call
6 the cases.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
8 everyone in the courtroom.
9 This is case number IT-03-67-T, the Prosecutor versus
10 Vojislav Seselj.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 Today is Thursday, 27th of November, 2008. Good morning,
13 Mr. Mundis, good morning, Mr. Dutertre, and good morning to your team.
14 Good morning, Mr. Seselj. And I greet Madam Registrar, the usher, and
15 all the people assisting us.
16 We have a witness scheduled for today. He is available to be
17 heard, if I am correct.
18 Mr. Prosecutor, you will need basically one hour; is that right?
19 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] I think I can do it in 50 minutes.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Excellent. So Mr. Seselj will
21 have an equal amount of time for his cross-examination, so that after the
22 witness has been heard, the Trial Chamber can deal with decisions to be
23 handed down -- or already handed down. In this way, Mr. Seselj will know
24 what the situation is with regard to deadlines, about translations for
25 decisions that can take a couple of days, so we'll have to do our level
1 best for everybody to be best informed.
2 Let's have the witness brought in, Mr. Usher.
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good morning, sir.
5 Please state your first name, your last name, and your date of
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm Ljubisa Vukasinovic. I was
8 born on the 15th of August, 1954.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Do you have a current
10 occupation? If so, what is it?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm an officer. I have the rank of
12 colonel. I'm retired since -- I'm now retired, so I provide security for
13 certain facilities. I work in the security business.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, have you had an
15 opportunity to testify in trials on the events that took place in the
16 former Yugoslavia
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I have testified before, three
19 times in Belgrade
20 was there in 2003, 2004 and, I think, 2007. I gave statements to the
21 investigating judge in Novi Sad
22 first statement in 1998 to the military prosecutor in Belgrade. And I
23 also gave a statement -- or, rather, testified as a Defence witness in
24 the trial against Milos Sljivancanin in The Hague in 2006.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, you have already testified
1 in The Hague
2 witness for?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Major Sljivancanin.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
5 Were you a Prosecution or a Defence witness in Ovcara?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was a witness of the Prosecution
7 with respect to a criminal report filed against the people on trial.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So as I understand it, you were
9 a Prosecution witness in the Belgrade
10 here you were a Defence witness for Sljivancanin in the so-called Vukovar
11 trial. Well, this enables me to ask you the following question.
12 Over the last few years, at any point in time did anybody
13 approach you to tell you to testify in favour of a given person, or did
14 this never happen, unless or except when you were asked to meet with a
15 Prosecutor or Defence counsel?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] During the period since my
17 testimony in 2006, nobody contacted me from the Prosecutor's office. I
18 learnt that I would be a Prosecution witness from a colleague of mine,
19 General Delic, who's retired, and I learned that sometime in 2007, who
20 rang me up and told me -- or, rather, asked me whether I knew that, and I
21 said I did not. So he told me that I would be a Prosecution witness, and
22 he showed me his investigation number and warned me that I should state
23 my views in the matter. We talked, and I said that I was not aware of
24 that, and I said I did not wish to be a Prosecution witness. Then, at
25 his initiative, I wrote a statement which I had certified in the court,
1 and I assume you have that verified certified statement.
2 So after that time, there was a lull, a pause. Nothing happened
3 until August of this year, when they called me up again -- or, rather,
4 that same colleague called me up again to tell me that I was still on the
5 list of Prosecution witnesses and that I ought to write a statement
6 again. I did, indeed, write another statement, certified it in a court
7 and sent it on, and I assume it arrived here.
8 But despite that intervention, for the first time I received an
9 invitation from the Municipal Court in Belgrade sometime in September. I
10 was brought the summons by a courier, and it said that I should report to
11 the office of The Hague Tribunal in Belgrade. That was a Friday, I
12 believe, in September. I did report to The Hague Tribunal's offices in
14 brief interview. When I was asked whether I wanted to be a Prosecution
15 witness, I still refused and said I didn't want to be a Prosecution
16 witness, and stated my reasons. I said why I didn't want to testify.
17 But that's where it ended. He said that I had to come if the Trial
18 Chamber sends a summons. And I said that in that case, I would accept.
19 I know what the sanctions would be if I acted otherwise. And that's
20 where the whole thing ended.
21 Now, a few days ago, I received a summons from the Trial Chamber.
22 I received that, and here I am. So that's the entire process, from the
23 beginning to the present.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, you did well to come.
25 An additional question. You were a Prosecution witness in
2 tell the Prosecutor that you didn't want to testify for him, since you'd
3 already been a Prosecution witness? Do you have a special reason?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the main reason is that I --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness repeat his answer? There was
6 a break in communications.
7 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Witness, I apologise for interrupting you,
8 but there was a short technical problem. Could you please repeat your
9 last answer. Just start all over again. Thank you.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. I had asked you why you
11 had agreed to be a Prosecution witness in Belgrade but not here in
12 The Hague
13 hitch, so please begin again.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The answer is the following: I
15 started testifying in Belgrade
16 positions and principles that were in the interests of my unit and my
17 superiors. So I was a part of that process, a link in the chain, and
18 therefore I could testify because I was defending my own unit and his
19 officers, whereas I don't see my place and role in this trial. I don't
20 see how I can contribute to the proceedings against Vojislav Seselj. I
21 had no contacts with Dr. Vojislav Seselj at all, nor did I know him at
23 At that time, I was an officer. As I said, I had the rank of
24 major. I had nothing to do with the party, or any parties, and
25 Mr. Seselj was a party leader and a politician. So in that context, I
1 don't think I have any need to testify in this trial against
2 Vojislav Seselj. I don't see my place and role in these proceedings, in
3 this trial at all.
4 So that's the substance of it, nothing more than that.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You have provided
6 your argument.
7 Prosecutor, you're on your feet.
8 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you, Your Honours.
9 Briefly, two things. Could Mr. Vukasinovic be more specific when
10 speaking about General Delic? Is he speaking about Rasim or Bozidar
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, we have a lot of Delics
13 and a lot of generals bearing that name. Which one is it?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] General Bozidar Delic. I
16 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] I don't want to interrupt the
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but my colleague was
19 reminding me that he has to take the solemn declaration.
20 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Yes, well, we can do that now.
21 But as to the issue whether the witness was willing to come voluntarily
22 as a Prosecution witness, and I'm referring back to what he said just
23 now, there was indeed an interview back in September, on the 12th of
24 September, 2008, with Mr. Vukasinovic. It was recorded, and Mr. Seselj
25 received a copy of the recording. The question put to the witness was as
2 [In English] " ... would call you as a witness in the Seselj
3 case. What do you do?"
4 [Interpretation] I'll start again, because the beginning was
6 [In English] "As a witness in the Seselj case, what do you do?"
7 [Interpretation] The answer was as follows:
8 [In English] "No problem. I will respond to the summons, but
9 I think they are useless expenses, because I already said whatever I
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] So let everything be clear.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to put the question
13 to you, Colonel.
14 Can you confirm that on the 12th of September, 2008, you were
15 asked by the Prosecutor whether you could be a witness in the Seselj
16 case, and you answered what the Prosecutor has just read out; namely,
17 that it was no problem for you, but you could see no point in it? Can
18 you confirm this?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. On the 12th of September, I
20 was in the offices of The Hague Tribunal, and there was a 15-minute
21 interview, so that is correct. But there are more reasons which I
22 stated, which the gentleman didn't read out a moment ago. I gave my
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Speak up, please, because it's
25 difficult for the interpreters to hear you.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I was in the offices of
2 The Hague
3 said that my involvement as a Prosecution witness was useless, but I
4 stipulated the reasons for which I didn't want to testify, and those
5 reasons weren't read out a moment ago.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Seselj.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Gentlemen, Judges, Mr. Vukasinovic
8 was interviewed by The Hague
9 and The Hague Tribunal had planned that Mr. Vukasinovic be a witness in
10 the Mrksic, Radic and Sljivancanin trial. And then The Hague Tribunal
11 gave up on Mr. Vukasinovic's testimony, it changed its mind.
12 When The Hague
13 witness, the Defence of Colonel Veselin Sljivancanin contacted him and
14 proposed that he be a Defence witness. So as a man who had given a
15 statement to the Prosecution beforehand and the Prosecution gave up on
16 calling him, he became a Defence witness.
17 Up until September this year, The Hague Tribunal, The Hague
18 Prosecutor's office never, ever told him that he was planned as a witness
19 in my trial, and for six years his name has been on the witness list. In
20 the meantime, Mr. Vukasinovic gave two statements to my associates in
21 which he expressly stated that he wished to be a Defence witness, and he
22 also gave his views as to certain -- about certain circumstances. You
23 have those statements. And when he gave those statements to my
24 associates, The Hague Prosecutors turned up and asked him to be a
25 Prosecution witness. That is quite obviously a play for witnesses,
1 trying to seize the witness.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, I do indeed have your
3 statement of the 16th to the 26th of November, 2008, before me, and
4 towards the end -- or 2002.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It seems that towards the end
7 of this statement, it was indicated that this interview was heard with a
8 view to having you as a witness in the Vukovar trial. But then you were
9 not called as a Prosecution witness in that trial and, if I understood
10 properly, the Defence for Major Sljivancanin approached you as a
11 potential witness, and you were a witness. And, furthermore,
12 Mr. Seselj's associates asked you for some statements.
13 As to the latter point, when, approximately, were you called by
14 Mr. Seselj's associates?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I met General Delic, Bozidar Delic,
16 for the first time -- I think it was on the 18th. Well, you have it in
17 the statement. I think it was the 18th of September or the 17th of
18 September, 2007, in his office. So that was in December [as interpreted]
19 2007. That was the first time. And then we discussed it. And then in
20 August 2008, I wrote another statement, and we met again in his office in
21 the Assembly of Serbia
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, in September 2007, you met
23 with General Delic, and in August 2008, you gave a statement. And it is
24 in September 2008 that you were contacted by the OTP. Therefore, if I'm
25 not wrong, between November 2002 and September 2008, the OTP had no
1 contact with you.
2 Yes, Mr. Prosecutor.
3 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. President, we could of
4 course try to give the whole history of contacts with the witness, and
5 then we could move to the testimony, but I want to react, if I may, to a
6 comment by Mr. Seselj. He said that the OTP is trying to take, by force,
7 witnesses from the Defence.
8 You can be a Prosecution witness in one case and a Defence
9 witness in another, and, at any rate, there was at least one contact
10 between 2002 and 2008 with this witness, because, for instance, he was
11 contacted in 2005 in relation to his possible testimony, and then he
12 stated very clearly that he would be a Prosecution witness, as I said.
13 And let me return to the fact that on page 7, line 5, the
14 question put to him about the recording in September 2008, that was if
15 the OTP calls you, it's still not recorded in the transcript. It was
16 very clear, "If you were to be called by the Prosecution, what would you
17 do?" And he said, "No problem, I would comply with the summons," he
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is by way of a preliminary
20 issue in order to shed the light --
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] -- on your testimony. I'd like
23 to explain this to you.
24 What matters to me is that you testify to what happened in
25 Vukovar. That's what is the most important thing to me, and this is the
1 reason why I'm going to ask you to take the solemn declaration.
2 Yes, what did you want to add, Mr. Seselj?
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] With respect to what Mr. Dutertre
4 just said, the witness is a professional officer. He's not a lawyer. He
5 doesn't know the finesses of law, especially not trial law. He was
6 called by The Hague Tribunal in Belgrade
7 scarecrow image of The Hague Tribunal in The Hague.
8 Now, although he gave statements for my Defence, the Prosecutor
9 asked is he going to come. The witness says, "Yes," and the witness told
10 you a moment ago that he was conscious -- fully conscious of the
11 consequences if he didn't respond to the summons from the Prosecutor.
12 Otherwise, he'd be arrested like Ljubisa Petkovic, or goodness knows
13 what. And so in order to avoid sanctions, he said, the witness said, "No
14 problem, I'll come, I'll come in if I have to." He didn't have counsel
15 present, and nobody instructed him as to what he could or could not do.
16 If he said, "I don't want to talk to you," and slammed the door, the
17 Prosecutor couldn't do anything to him. But the witness did not know,
18 nobody advised him that that's something that he could do, so the witness
19 travelled here and from August to today I don't think my Defence had any
20 contacts with him, exert any pressure on him or anything like that. And
21 when he heard that he -- we heard that he would be coming, we wielded no
22 influence on him. And that's how things stand.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is the reason why I'd
24 asked him initially in what circumstances he could have been contacted or
1 Yes, Mr. Prosecutor, briefly, and maybe we could move into closed
3 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Well, you could decide whether
4 it's good to have private session or not, if it's in the interest of
5 witness, but I'd like to react to what was just said.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I remind everybody of the fact
7 that I am interested only in what happened in Vukovar. The rest is just
8 light-years away from me.
9 Madam Registrar, let's move into private session.
10 [Private session]
7 [Open session]
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, part of what you
9 stated on the 12th of September, 2008, was repeated in private session.
10 Would you be against this being disclosed, being made public? It's up to
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There's no need. It can be made
13 public. But I'd like to ask the Prosecutor to read everything I said,
14 because he's just pulling excerpts out of context. I stated three or
15 four reasons specifically why I did not wish to testify, whereas he's
16 only quoting the last reason. And I think -- I don't think that's fair.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please give these three
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The first reason, as I said, was
20 that I testified as a Defence witness in the case against
21 Veselin Sljivancanin, and I said everything I was able to say about my
22 place and role and the events in the matter of taking out the wounded
23 people from the hospital, and I can only repeat what I said before. I
24 have nothing new to say. That was my first reason.
25 Secondly, I said that I had been a Defence witness, and now
1 I think it doesn't make sense for me to appear as a Prosecution witness,
2 to be a Defence witness in one trial and a Prosecution witness in another
3 trial regarding the same events.
4 Furthermore, a witness appearing as a Prosecution witness, as an
5 officer who is highly respected in the town where I live, is something
6 that is not appropriate. That's a fact.
7 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Vukasinovic, we have spoken long enough about
8 your being called here as a witness for the Prosecution or for the
9 Defence, but I wish to remind you that once you have entered your solemn
10 declaration, you are a witness in the hands of this Court, and the only
11 thing we want you to do is to tell the truth, to the best of your
12 knowledge, and to give accurate answers to the questions that are put to
13 you by the Prosecution and by the Defence, and to do so truthfully and
14 wholly. So what I'm saying is that once you have entered your solemn
15 declaration, the issue of whether you appear as a witness for one or the
16 other party is simply irrelevant.
17 Do you understand that?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Absolutely, yes. That's not a
19 problem. I don't know why all this discussion. I'm here.
20 JUDGE HARHOFF: [Previous translation continues]... then.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Judges, I must inform you that
22 Prosecutor Max Moore, in the trial of Mrksic, Radic and Sljivancanin,
23 during the cross-examination of Mr. Ljubisa Vukasinovic, told him the
25 "I suggest that you're a first-class bad person who has come here
1 to protect yourself."
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, Mr. Seselj. You
3 are going too fast. The interpreters can't follow you. Please repeat
4 what you are reading.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] "I suggest that you are a
6 first-class scoundrel and that you have, in fact, come here to protect
7 not only yourself, but others, and to make a statement which suits their
9 This indicates what the OTP in The Hague thinks of the eminent
10 Colonel Ljubisa Vukasinovic.
11 Let me tell you the following, without interruption. Something
12 similar happened in the Limaj et al case. Those were the three Albanians
13 who were tried for war crimes, and the two chief accused were acquitted.
14 And in the case of Slobodan Milosevic, a policeman came to testify, and
15 he testified about the crimes committed by Limaj and others, and then the
16 Prosecutor suggested to Mr. Milosevic, he said, "So-and-so is here. He
17 might be of interest for Mr. Milosevic, so we are telling him he can talk
18 to him and call him as a Defence witness if he likes." And then
19 Mr. Milosevic spoke to this man. He was the chief of a police station in
20 Prizren, I think, I can't remember his name now, but it's reliable
21 information, and he testified as a Defence witness for Mr. Milosevic.
22 And Jeffrey Nice, during the cross-examination, used the same arguments
23 that Limaj's Defence used --
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, the Milosevic case
25 is totally irrelevant here, but when it comes to what you quoted from the
1 statement of the Prosecutor in the Vukovar case, that may have some
2 relevance. I would have a comment to make on that.
3 Mr. Dutertre, you wanted to take the floor.
4 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Yes. I just wanted to say that
5 we -- Mr. Seselj seems to have started his cross-examination.
6 Judge Harhoff said something that I wanted to say, myself. The witness
7 has come here to tell the truth, so I do not see what the problem is. I
8 would respectfully request that we start the examination-in-chief.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I'm going to ask you
10 to take the solemn declaration, but first I've heard something that I was
11 not aware of.
12 Is it true that in the Vukovar case, you were called a scoundrel
13 by the Prosecutor?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that is true. My lawyer
15 translated this to me later, and then he apologised before the second
16 round of talks, he apologised in closed session.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Okay.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] There's something I must add,
19 Mr. President.
20 The Prosecutor did not actually apologise. He was attacked by
21 the Defence counsel, so he tried to mitigate his standpoint, but he did
22 not utter the word "apology." I have read the entire transcript in
23 detail. Mr. Vukasinovic probably hasn't seen it, but I have.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
25 Witness, you see, I was right to start this hearing at 8.30,
1 because we've been sitting for 40 minutes and you haven't yet read the
2 solemn declaration. But please do so now.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
4 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
5 WITNESS: LJUBISA VUKASINOVIC
6 [The witness answered through interpreter]
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You may be seated.
8 Witness, you may be seated.
9 I believe that my fellow Judge has two questions for you.
10 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Witness, you are now under oath,
11 so I expect you to tell the truth. I wanted two clarifications from you.
12 You referred to two statements that were allegedly certified
13 before a court. I'm not sure. You may be referring to a signature that
14 was certified by a court. And you said that you sent that to the
15 Tribunal. Who did you send that to, please?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I certified those statements in the
17 4th Municipal Court in Belgrade
18 my statement, and then a copy of the statement remains in the court and
19 the other copies are mine. I gave them to General Bozidar Delic and his
20 Defence brought those statements here, probably. I didn't send them by
22 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Thank you for this
24 The other question I have for you refers to the statement you
25 gave to the OTP. I may be mistaken, but I thought that you said that
1 when you gave your statement in November 2002, the OTP team told you that
2 you were expected to testify in the Sljivancanin case, and that,
3 therefore, you did not expect to have to testify in the Seselj case. Did
4 I understand you properly?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 2002, as you say, I gave a
6 statement about the circumstances in Vukovar. That was a long time ago,
7 and nobody mentioned my testimony. I just made a statement about what
8 had happened in Vukovar and at the end it said that the statement could
9 be used before the ICTY in trials, in trial proceedings. It didn't say
10 against whom. And then when the trial started, I appeared as a Defence
12 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Thank you for this
13 clarification. That's exactly what I was expecting of you.
14 One more thing. On two or three occasions, you have said here
15 that you have nothing new to tell us, but you have to understand that
16 here the evidence is received in the courtroom, so even if you have
17 nothing to add on top of what you stated in previous testimonies, it
18 makes sense for you to come back and testify in this case.
19 Thank you.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, let me give you some
21 explanation. Of course, you're familiar with the way we proceed in this
22 Tribunal, but let me repeat it.
23 The Prosecutor will put a number of questions to you, based on a
24 statement you gave to the OTP, and it's quite possible that the
25 Prosecutor will show you a number of documents. The three Judges sitting
1 before you will probably put questions to you, considering your functions
2 within the JNA. The accused in this case, Mr. Seselj, will conduct his
3 cross-examination and also put questions to you. Afterwards, we may go
4 on to redirect by the Prosecution.
5 If we all play our part correctly, the hearing should run very
6 smoothly to help us ascertain the truth, because that's our main purpose
7 here, the purpose of everyone.
8 Mr. Dutertre, you have the floor.
9 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Examination by Mr. Dutertre:
11 Q. Colonel, let's now deal with what you know, what you saw, because
12 that's what is relevant for the Trial Chamber today.
13 First question, related to what I would call your personal
14 background, first question: Where were you between September and
15 November 1992 [as interpreted]? It's not "1992," as it's stated on the
16 transcript; it's 1991.
17 A. Yes, I can tell you. I was an officer of the Guards Brigade,
18 deployed in the security department of the Guards Brigade as assistant of
19 chief of security for staff affairs, and around the 1st of September I
20 was undergoing training, regular two-year training. And then my training
21 was interrupted on the 15th of September. I reported to the Guards
22 Brigade, and as of the 29th I set out with the Guards Brigade to carry
23 out a combat task unblocking the barracks in Vukovar and liberating the
24 barracks in Vukovar from the Croatian authorities. So on the 29th of
25 September, I was in Vukovar.
1 After that --
2 Q. Let me interrupt you. I don't have all the time in the world. I
3 will put questions to you, and you will be able to provide additional
5 Until when did you stay in Vukovar with the Guards Brigade?
6 A. I returned on the 24th of November, 2001 -- 1991.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Excuse me, but something is not
9 quite clear to me.
10 The Prosecutor asked you until when you remained in Vukovar, and
11 you answer that you returned there. What is relevant for us here is to
12 know until when you remained in Vukovar as a military person.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Until the 23rd. And on the 24th,
14 in the morning, I returned to Belgrade
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Until the 23rd of November,
16 1991, you remained in Vukovar until that time. And on the 24th, you left
17 for Belgrade
18 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
19 Q. The date of arrival and the date of departure are not necessarily
20 the same things. Who was your immediate superior in Vukovar?
21 A. In Vukovar, for a time I was under Veselin Sljivancanin, from the
22 29th of September to the 4th of November, 1991, when I was his operations
23 officer in the security organ. On the 4th of November, 1991, the
24 commander of the 1st Military Police Battalion fell ill, and Mrksic
25 appointed me commander of the 1st Military Police Battalion, where I was
1 also the commander of the Negoslavci command post. And from that date
2 until the 23rd of November, I was under the command of Mrksic.
3 Q. Okay, it's very clear. Let me conclude on the description of
4 your activities between September and November. Okay, I've concluded,
5 and now I'm going to move on to a very specific day, and I have the
6 following question for you.
7 Where did you go on the 20th of November, 1991, in the morning?
8 A. On the 20th of November, 1991, at 0600 hours in the morning, I
9 was given a task by Major Sljivancanin. I was told to come to the
10 hospital area with some buses. So it was 0600 hours in the morning of
11 the 20th of November.
12 Q. Fine. So you arrived there at the hospital at 6.00 a.m. on
13 November 20th. Why were you asked to go there with buses? What was the
14 purpose of this?
15 A. The task given me by Veselin Sljivancanin was to come there with
16 buses to evacuate the prisoners from the hospital to the Vukovar
18 Q. Okay. Whom did you see, apart from the prisoners or, rather, the
19 persons that were at the hospital? Whom did you see amongst Serb forces
20 at the hospital on that particular morning?
21 A. The forces of the Vukovar Territorial Defence. You can't talk
22 about Serb forces. There were forces of the Vukovar Territorial Defence.
23 Well, "forces." It was a group of men who were there in the barracks --
24 in the hospital, that is. They were there, their commanders were there,
25 Miodrag Vujovic, Stanko Vujanovic, and Milan Lancuzanin, Kameni. Those
1 were their detachment commanders and they were there with a group of
2 fighters. Major Sljivancanin was there also and some other officers from
3 my unit.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, the Prosecutor is
5 dealing with a point of paramount importance. We have to be extremely
6 cautious now.
7 You were the commander of the 1st Military Police Battalion.
8 Your task was to go -- from what you say, was to go and fetch prisoners
9 at the hospital. This is the military task that was entrusted to you as
10 a JNA officer, and at the time the JNA was an army -- an armed forces
11 that was enjoying a very good reputation in the world. As such, as a JNA
12 officer, did you take with you enough military policemen to carry out
13 this task?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] According to my assessment, there
15 were enough, because from the hospital to the barracks there is only a
16 short distance, only two or three kilometres. It's not a long march.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] How many military policemen did
18 you have with you?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Military policemen, two in every
20 bus, and in the barracks there was a military police company.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right, 12, 12 MPs. And to
22 guard how many prisoners? How many prisoners were you supposed to guard?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't know the number at that
24 point in time.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, how can you conduct a
1 task if you don't have the necessary information, because you're telling
2 me that you had no idea. Let's assume that you are told to go and fetch
3 a number of prisoners, and you find that there are 3.000 prisoners. You
4 can't conduct that task with just 12 MPs. So you had no information
5 about this?
6 You're here to tell us the truth. If mistakes were made, tell
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not know the precise number,
9 but it wasn't I who selected the buses or the soldiers. It was all
10 organised by the brigade logistics. I simply took over the buses with
11 the soldiers and came to the place I was ordered to come to.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] How many buses were there?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were six buses and two
14 policemen in each one, and my Pugh vehicle.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Okay. So the logistics unit of
16 the brigade sent six buses, and you, without knowing how many prisoners
17 there would be, you decide to assign two policemen per bus.
18 Fine. We may proceed, because now we know what we're talking
20 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Just one
21 point of clarification.
22 Page 21, line 18, the transcript is incomplete. I suppose it's
23 going to be corrected later on. But from what I heard in the French
24 translation, I believe that the witness stated that Lancuzanin, Kameni,
25 was present at the hospital. It has not been recorded on the English
1 transcript. I suppose it will be corrected later on, but I'm raising
2 that point because I have a follow-up question.
3 Q. Witness, you mentioned the names of three individuals at the
4 hospital, Stanko Vujanovic, Vujovic and Kameni. How well did you know
5 these people before? Did you have professional dealings with these
7 A. I can't say that I knew them especially well, but I can't say
8 that I didn't know them, either. While I was the operations officer, and
9 when I toured the assault detachments, and that was the 1st
10 Assault Detachment at the -- where I attended briefings, and I saw Milan
11 [Realtime transcript read in error "General"] ^ Lancuzanin at those
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you've just given us a
14 very relevant piece of information. You have stated something about
15 briefings in relation to future operations. What about this task, this
16 task of going and fetching prisoners at the hospital; had it been part
17 of -- or subject of a briefing earlier on?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not attend the briefing, but
19 most probably this was discussed at the briefing held by the commander,
20 Colonel Mrksic.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But you did not attend that
22 meeting. Is it customary? And the reason I'm putting that question to
23 you is because I am familiar with rules. At the JNA, is it customary,
24 when you're conducting a major-scale operation, is it normal, customary,
25 for the head of the military police not to attend preparatory meetings?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, it's not normal, but I'll tell
2 you why I didn't attend. It's not customary, but the battalion commander
3 in this case was ill, and I was standing in for him. So I was more of a
4 security organ, and the commander didn't call me to come at that point in
5 time. My predecessor had attended the briefings before, but he felt that
6 I was doing only a temporary assignment, which is why he didn't call me
7 back. Major Sljivancanin was given the task of involving me.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine, now it's clear enough.
9 You have to understand that we analyse everything you say on the
10 basis of what we know about command rules.
11 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] There may be a problem in the
13 Q. Page 24, line 3, you mentioned General Lancuzanin. Is there a
14 mistake? Did you actually say "General Lancuzanin," or did you say
15 something else?
16 A. Milan
17 Q. You said that you saw Kameni during those meetings. With regard
18 to the other two people, Vujovic and Vujanovic that you mentioned, did
19 you see them at those meetings as well?
20 A. I would see them less, but I did see them around. I wasn't there
21 all the time. I was there from time to time, but when I was there, I did
22 see them.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Prosecutor's question is
24 bound to raise a question with us.
25 When you have these type of meetings, when the commanding officer
1 of the Territorial Defence was present, all the other people attending
2 such meetings. In military terms, and I'm speaking to a military man,
3 does this mean that all -- that the entire meeting, the entire operation,
4 is under the sole command, sole military command?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, the commander of the 1st
6 Assault Battalion organised meetings every evening, and so he would call
7 all his subordinate commanders and the commanders of the Territorial
8 Defence, the two detachments that were under his commander. So everybody
9 under his command would attend the meetings, and then he would set out
10 plans for combat and operations the following day, and everybody was
11 given his assignment.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
13 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Colonel, on that morning, around 6.00 in the morning on the 20th
15 of November, 1991, in the hospital, how would you describe the behaviour
16 of Vujanovic, Vujanovic [as interpreted], Kameni and their soldiers?
17 A. That morning when I arrived, a large group of prisoners from the
18 barracks had already been taken out along a ramp, a little wall, towards
19 the entrance to the hospital. There's a sort of little wall, and they
20 were standing there. Whether two-by-two or three-by-three, anyway, there
21 was a group of people by the entrance check-point, and then the other
22 group was by the buses, the TO Vukovar, and their commanders were there.
23 And when I started to board the people up onto the bus, there was
24 a lot of noise, there were threats, there were various comments made by
25 those soldiers, but there was no aggressive behaviour or an aggressive
1 atmosphere or anything. It was more verbal.
2 Q. Very well. Do you have any recollection of the threats that were
3 uttered then?
4 A. Well, mostly they would -- the threats would be -- actually, they
5 recognised people in the group who were there, adversaries who had done
6 some evil to them during July and August, that they had something against
7 some of the people there, and nobody mentions that, because in July the
8 Croatian forces committed crimes against the Serb population, and during
9 the fighting people fell casualties. So they probably recognised all the
10 people who'd done something bad to them and who were responsible earlier
11 on. And when they saw that they had been captured and taken prisoner,
12 they wanted to let them know and tell them that they would either -- they
13 would say they'd beat them up, or get their own back, or things like
14 that. That was the idea they had in mind. But we controlled the
15 situation, and during that period of time there were no attacks there by
16 the hospital. Later on, things came to a head in other places.
17 Q. I understand that you told the prisoners -- well, the people who
18 were in the hospital, you told them to get into the buses. Once the
19 prisoners were boarded onto the buses, I'm speaking about these people
20 who were in the hospital, where did you go?
21 A. I supervised the boarding of three buses, and since the people in
22 the hospital conducted a triage, I went towards the barracks with those
23 three buses. And in the barracks, I organised -- within the barracks
24 compound, I left them there and organised security for them, because I
25 had a police security company there, and they were given the task of
1 providing security for the buses until I returned with the other group.
2 Do you want me to tell you how it was? A group of TO members had
3 already arrived in the barracks, so they were there too.
4 Q. We'll get to this point later. So you left with three buses
5 towards the JNA barracks. Then there were TO people who were already
6 there. Where did they come from, these TO people?
7 A. They were the people who -- well, from the hospital, they changed
8 their direction. They followed me, followed the direction I took. They
9 were the same people that had gathered in front of the hospital. Later
10 on, they gathered in the barracks. They were all the same people, the
11 same fighters from the Territorial Defence of Vukovar.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, we have two problems
13 here. You will have -- you noted that the TO people were excited. I
14 mean, they had insulted the prisoners, and this could have degenerated.
15 And you noted that the TO people followed.
16 So in the way you saw things then, since you had not been part of
17 the meeting held the previous day by the Command, did you think that the
18 TO people had been given a task for that purpose or did you believe that
19 they had nothing to do there?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was my opinion that they
21 probably hadn't been given an assignment. I really can't say. All I do
22 know is that while we were there, they couldn't do anything to those
23 people, and those people were absolutely protected, properly protected.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. But when you realised
25 what the atmosphere was, why did you not call for some reinforcement,
1 because I suppose that you had some means of communication. Why did you
2 not call the Command in order to ask for reinforcement?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I didn't need it, any
4 reinforcements. I had a military police company, and they provided
5 security for all three buses. I had the right number of men to do that.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So let's sum up. So you
7 have -- in the buses, you have military police officers, but you've added
8 that the police company was on the spot. How many men did you have
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The military police company
11 numbered about 65 soldiers at the time.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. Why didn't you ask these
13 65 men to go and help the TO people or clear them out of the way? Why
14 was that not done? How many were there among these excited TO members?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, let me explain it like this:
16 The military police barracks and company had 65 men, as I told you. It
17 provided that number of security in the barracks, and the others had 15
18 to 20 soldiers, the TO. But the barracks -- you couldn't throw them out.
19 There were about 30 of them, 30 to 40 men, and you couldn't throw them
20 out. There would be conflicts and clashes. But they were just standing
21 there. They couldn't do anything to the prisoners.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, you are saying that they
23 couldn't do anything. Fine.
24 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Yes. I wanted to ask this
25 question about the number of people, but it's been done.
1 Q. So you left the hospital with three buses. You got to the JNA
2 barracks, where there are 30 to 40 TO members. What was the attitude of
3 the TO members who had followed you from the hospital?
4 A. Well, it was similar to the situation in front of the hospital.
5 They kept making gestures with their hands. They swore, they expressed
6 their anger. Some of them wanted to enter the building, but couldn't.
7 That kind of thing. They couldn't enter because the doors were shut.
8 The people were in the buses and the doors were shut, so all they could
9 do was verbally abuse them. And they reacted to some of the people they
10 saw in the buses and whom they recognised; not all of them. So this
11 anger of theirs was expressed in brandishing weapons that they might have
12 had in their hands, in swearing at the people, but no other attacks,
13 nothing else.
14 Q. Thank you. Now, a point of terminology. When you say or mention
15 the Territorial Defence, does this, in your mind, encompass Petrova Gora
16 or -- Petrova Gora and Leva Supoderica? Do you clarify this?
17 A. Yes. They were people -- well, the same people from the town of
18 Vukovar. The only thing is that they were divided into groups. And
19 these are geographic names of Vukovar, parts of Vukovar, Petrova Gora and
20 Leva Supoderica, so they named their detachments according to the
21 district in which they lived. But it's the same group of people that
22 belonged to the TO of Vukovar, because these are places in Vukovar. But
23 the commander -- the Petrova Gora Detachment commander was Stankovic,
24 then Vujovic, and the commander of Leva Supoderica was Milan Lancuzanin.
25 But they were all people from the same place, same locality, but they
1 just gave their detachments different names of the different districts of
2 one and the same town, Vukovar.
3 Q. At that point in time when you got there, among those 30 to 40
4 men who were there, who were you able to identify, who in your
5 recollection was present at the JNA barracks?
6 A. I saw Milivoj Vujovic there. I didn't see Milan in the barracks,
7 Milan Lancuzanin, I mean. Milivoj Vujovic, I did.
8 Q. Thank you. Did you later on return to the hospital, and if you
9 did, why did you?
10 A. Yes, I did go back to the hospital, and the reason is this: I --
11 a courier brought me a list from Major Sljivancanin, saying that I should
12 take 20 people back to the hospital, that I should find them in the
13 buses, take them off the buses, and bring them back to the hospital. And
14 then I was given a bus, and I tried to find those people. So I went from
15 one bus to the next, called the names out. I found all these people.
16 Well, there were some problems when I wanted to transport them --
17 transfer them in the bus. But, anyway, I did manage to get them out of
18 the first buses, put them in the others, and take them to the hospital,
19 where Mr. Sljivancanin, with the hospital staff and members of the TO
20 Defence -- Milan Lancuzanin was there, anyway, and so was Milivoj Vujovic
21 and Stanko Vujanovic, Milivoj Vujovic, and they discussed what to do with
22 the people. They were probably innocent, so at the intervention of the
23 hospital and the hospital staff, and on the basis of the conversations
24 they had, they let them go. So about 15 of these people were let go
25 because they said they hadn't taken part in any combat activities, they
1 were just people who happened to be in the hospital but weren't
2 combatants. So it was at this intervention that they were released.
3 Sljivancanin's intervention.
4 Q. [Previous translation continues]... follow-up questions. Here is
5 the first one.
6 You said that you got all these 20 people together, and you said,
7 "Some people gave me problems." Who caused problems for you? And once
8 you've answered this, I have another question.
9 A. Well, yes, the members of the Territorial Defence who were
10 present there were a bit difficult, because they thought we would take
11 them all back. And then they asked us where we were going and what we
12 were going to do with those 20 people. They were interested in where we
13 would take them. And then I said we would take them back, and I suppose
14 they were dissatisfied when they heard that and then they reacted. They
15 reacted in the way they reacted. There was a lot of noise and a lot of
16 swearing. They swore at me, they went that far, but we managed to take
17 them off the buses and return them to the hospital.
18 Q. Thank you, Colonel. At the hospital, you said that there was a
19 discussion between Vujovic, Vujanovic, Lancuzanin and Major Sljivancanin.
20 What was the position of Vujovic, Vujanovic and Lancuzanin regarding
21 certain prisoners? What did they say to Sljivancanin?
22 A. As far as I was able to notice -- I can't tell you all the
23 details, but, anyway, Sljivancanin, let me correct myself, he wasn't the
24 commander, he was the chief of security, so this term "commander" is very
25 often bandied about, but he was chief of security, not commander, in
1 actual fact. Anyway, they were in favour of having these people
2 released, because Major Sljivancanin consulted them, and they asked the
3 people to be returned. And the hospital staff asked -- he asked the
4 hospital staff whether these people deserved to be released, and they
5 confirmed that, and they used their authority to prevail upon him, and he
6 respected that. So, yes, they did play a part.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I hadn't thought of
8 this before, but now it appears that among the prisoners, broadly
9 speaking, in the hospital, there was some 20 people whose names were on a
10 list, and those people were released. So they left freely, if I
11 understand you properly. Does this mean that you -- you were in charge
12 of the mission and the operation you had been given. Does this mean that
13 the other people who remained as prisoners were individuals who could be
14 blamed for something? Because if I understand properly, the
15 quote/unquote "innocents," these 15 to 20 people were let go, while the
16 quote/unquote "culprits" were kept. Is that what you thought then?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you can't draw that kind of
18 conclusion. As for these people, there was an intervention. They
19 provided -- the people in the hospital provided a list. It wasn't
20 Sljivancanin who thought this up. Now, as to the others, nobody
21 intervened, but we were to establish that later on to see -- we had to
22 see whether there was anybody responsible for the events, those who were
23 responsible, who the combatants were. All that was to be determined at a
24 later stage, because they were all in the same role. They were neither
25 innocent, nor guilty. That was left to later on, to be established what
1 their responsibility was in the Vukovar operation, because the fact
2 remains that many people who did not wish to surrender and did have the
3 chance of doing so had changed their clothing and entered the hospital to
4 try to pull out of Vukovar that way with this disguise.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I understand what you are
6 saying. We've heard witnesses and we've seen documents. We therefore
7 know that the people found in Ovcara, some of them were under age. For
8 instance, there was somebody born in 1975, another in 1976, another in
9 1977, so there were people who were under age. But there was also --
10 they were also hospital staff members, and at a stretch one could think
11 that, from what you say, that the people who were released were people
12 who had nothing to do with what happened. So how do you account for the
13 fact that we found, among the victims, people who were under age and
14 staff members from the hospital? And they were not combatants, so how
15 could that happen?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know that, Mr. President.
17 I don't know that there were minors or hospital staff members. As far as
18 I was concerned, these were people from the ages of 25 to 30. I don't
19 know whether there were any under-age people, any minors, or any hospital
20 staff, for that matter, because I didn't have any time to go into matters
21 like that. All I was there to do was to take them in and to have them
22 boarded up into the buses. I didn't go through them all to be able to
23 confirm who was who. That was not something that I was supposed to do.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 Please, Prosecutor.
1 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] When are we going to have the
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In ten minutes.
4 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] I don't want to waste time on
5 translations issues, but I have to mention this.
6 I'd asked what was the position of Kameni, Vujovic and Vujanovic
7 regarding some prisoners. This was on page 32, line 14 of today's
8 transcript. The answer, as it appeared in the transcript, was this:
9 [In English] "They were in favour of having these people
11 [Interpretation] I believe -- I'm not sure, but I think I heard
12 the opposite in French. They were not in favour.
13 Q. Could you, Colonel, repeat your answer?
14 A. Yes, they were in favour of having those people released, and
15 that's what they proposed, to have them released.
16 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Well, everything's clear now.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So Vujovic, Vujanovic and
18 Kameni were in favour of releasing the people on that list, on the famous
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Okay.
22 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Once this was done, what did you do? Did you remain at the
24 hospital, did you go elsewhere?
25 A. When all that was over, the remainder of the people who were
1 waiting, the prisoners who were waiting, I boarded them up into two
2 buses, and the third bus, which was half empty and there were just five
3 or six people who remained, we took the same direction and I transported
4 them to the barracks in Vukovar.
5 Q. Thank you. And once -- what was the time when you got to the
6 barracks, approximately?
7 A. In my statements, I said that it was around 10.00. The first
8 group, that was around 10.00. The second group, since you're asking me,
9 that must have been sometime around 12.00.
10 Q. Thank you. So return towards 12:00, midday
11 with three remaining buses, if I'm not wrong. And what did you see
13 A. What I saw was this: That the buses from the first group that I
14 left behind at the barracks were not there anymore, and I asked the
15 company commander of the military police, who was responsible there,
16 where are the buses with the prisoners, and he said that an order had
17 come from headquarters that they be transported. And an officer came by
18 with a combat vehicle and drove them off to Ovcara, and the commander
19 issued orders that, "You should go to Ovcara too," that is to say, me,
20 "with the other group, the second group."
21 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 Mr. President, regarding -- I've done some research on this in
23 the meantime as to the position taken by Vujovic, Vujanovic and Kameni
24 with regard to the 20 prisoners. So I've done some research, and I might
25 want to refresh the witness's recollection with regard to a statement he
1 gave in 2007 before a Belgrade
2 what he said. But I do not have any translation into English, so this is
3 a very rough translation that I have in English. But we can look at the
4 original B/C/S version.
5 Q. It seems that you said that Vujovic was at the hospital --
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I demand that this be put on the
7 overhead projector, because the Prosecutor's interpretation is quite
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Prosecutor.
10 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] I have a version, but it's marked
11 and highlighted.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I suppose you referred to the
13 interview by the Presiding Judge of the Tribunal.
14 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Yes. But just to save time, I'm
15 going to have a clean version of it, without any markings or annotations.
16 Mr. Seselj is indeed right, it would be good to put it on the overhead
17 projector, so I'll get to this later, once this is done.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It might be best to have the
19 break now. It will give you time to prepare all this during the break.
20 And it's nearly 10.00 anyway, so let's break for 20 minutes.
21 --- Recess taken at 9.58 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 10.23 a.m.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.
24 Mr. Dutertre, have you prepared the document?
25 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] It was a problem of translation
1 from English into B/C/S. I do not need -- or B/C/S into English. I do
2 not need to refresh the witness's memory after all.
3 Can I be told how much time I have left?
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Registrar, please.
5 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have 20 minutes left.
7 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Colonel, before the break you told us that you were told to go to
9 Ovcara with the three remaining buses, I suppose. Is that what you
10 actually did?
11 A. Yes. My three remaining buses, where I was, I took them to
13 Q. Was this an order you had received?
14 A. Yes, that was an order that I received indirectly. It was the
15 order of the commander, which was conveyed to me by my company commander,
16 Mladen Predojevic.
17 Q. Around what time did you arrive in Ovcara, Colonel?
18 A. I arrived at Ovcara at around 1300 or 1330. At around that time.
19 Q. When you arrived there, had -- the three other buses you had seen
20 at the hospital in the morning, had they already arrived?
21 A. Yes. The first three buses that I had transferred earlier in the
22 morning had already there and they were empty, and the prisoners had been
23 moved to the hangar.
24 Q. Could you describe what you saw inside the hangar? What was the
25 situation there?
1 A. As I approached the hangar, the facility that had been probably
2 envisaged by our commanders, as I approached I saw that the buses were
3 empty, and I was surprised. How come the buses were empty? I wondered
4 where the people were. And as I got off the bus, I saw a group of people
5 in front of the hangar, 30 to 40 of them. They were coming in, going
6 out. I got off the bus, I entered the hangar, and I saw that they were
7 all intermingled, the prisoners and the members of the TO. The hangar
8 was open, and there were TO members inside.
9 Q. In what state were the prisoners inside the hangar?
10 A. Since the hangar is quite large, they were split in little
11 groups, and I could see injuries on them. There were occasional puddles
12 of blood. I could see fear on their faces, I could see that some were
13 bleeding from their arms or from their nose, so there were traces of
14 physical violence.
15 Q. When you entered the hangar, did you see any members of the TO
16 who were there, did you see any of them abusing the prisoners physically?
17 A. Yes, but it was a much smaller group. Most of them were in front
18 of the hangar, and then a smaller group of 10 to 15 were inside, and they
19 were talking to these people and chasing certain individuals around the
20 hangar. And as they saw me, they halted.
21 When I entered, I yelled at them, "What's going on," and I told
22 them to stop whatever they were doing. At that moment, inside -- in
23 front of the hangar, I saw Mr. Vujovic, and it occurred to me that I
24 should ask his assistance to chase his people out of the hangar so I
25 could ensure that the second batch of prisoners could enter the hangar.
1 Q. Am I to understand that this was taking place, this maltreatment
2 was taking place before Mr. Vujovic?
3 A. Absolutely. Mr. Vujovic did not react at that moment against his
4 people who were being violent.
5 Q. Let me go back in time a little. I'm not talking about the
6 moment when you entered the hangar. I'm talking about the moment when
7 you arrived with three buses at Ovcara, the last three buses. At that
8 time, did you see any JNA officers there?
9 A. Yes. I saw a chief of staff, Lieutenant Colonel Panic, but only
10 for a few seconds, as it were. I just saw him, I criticised him, and
11 then he left. And then I saw soldiers of the military police from the
12 80th Brigade, which is to say that, yes, the policemen were there, they
13 were present, and I didn't see anybody else.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, this was a critical
15 moment. You were a witness of abuse of prisoners. Under such
16 circumstances, pursuant to JNA rules, shouldn't the highest-ranking
17 officer on the spot control the situation?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Unfortunately, the
19 highest-ranking officer moved away.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but who was the
21 highest-ranking officer who should have exercised control over the
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The situation should have been
24 under the control of the commander of the 80th Brigade, because that was
25 his area of responsibility. And especially since his policemen were
1 there, that was an indicator to me that somebody had already called him
2 and that he had prepared military police to secure the hangar. And in
3 this movement from the barracks to Ovcara, for me this was quite a
4 surprise. This was quite an unknown for me. But when I arrived and when
5 I saw the soldiers there and the military policemen, I realised that this
6 had been agreed at the level of the Command and that the problem was
7 solved, in the sense of this transfer, that this had been agreed upon.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please. You are
9 telling us that the situation should have been under the control of the
10 commander of the 80th Brigade. Can you repeat his name, the name of this
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was Lieutenant Colonel Vojnovic.
13 He was the commander of the 80th Kragujevac Brigade. I think
14 Milorad Vojnovic. I'm not quite sure.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But he was not present, was he?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the commander doesn't have to
17 be present everywhere. He has his people, his subordinates, but this was
18 his area of responsibility.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right, he was not there.
20 If I understand properly, you were the highest-ranking officer in that
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the time, I was a major, and
23 there was Lieutenant Colonel Panic there. He was chief of staff. He was
24 second in command after Commander Mrksic, and he was present, he was the
25 highest-ranking officer.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Therefore, the
2 command was held by Lieutenant Colonel Panic. Then you explain that he
3 left, Lieutenant Colonel Panic left. You remained inside the hangar. I
4 suppose that members of the TO continued mistreating prisoners.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I was there.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's take into account JNA
7 command rules. Weren't you supposed to intervene then?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Naturally, and I did intervene. I
9 prevented further mistreatment by getting involved myself, by relying on
10 my authority, by relying on the soldiers who were there and their
11 commander. I threatened them, I chased these people out, and I ensured
12 that the prisoners be left alone in the hangar.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are telling us that you put
14 an end to mistreatment and that you chased these people out. Are you
15 talking about the TO members?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The prisoners remained inside
18 the building. The TO people were outside. What about the military
19 policemen, did you position them around the building?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues]...
21 Mr. President.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Did you instruct them to open
23 fire if someone tried to enter the hangar?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In that particular case, I wasn't
25 able to issue such an order because I wasn't their superior, but I told
1 them to carry out what the task of the military police is, because it was
2 their responsibility to ensure that nobody came in, into the hangar.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you tried to
4 deal with the situation as best you could. But at that particular moment
5 in time, did you have the necessary equipment to get in touch with your
6 Command? Did you have a Motorola, did you have a radio transmitter,
7 allowing you to get in touch with the HQ and Colonel Mrksic? Were you
8 able to do this immediately or not?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did have a Motorola, but I wasn't
10 on-line with the commander because I wanted to put an end to the
11 mistreatment and to ensure order and to go to the Command right away.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. But considering the
13 situation as it was, weren't you supposed, as an officer, to immediately
14 call Colonel Mrksic or his deputy at the Command to report on the
15 situation, to tell them about the steps you had just taken? Why is it
16 that you didn't do it at this particular time?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] First of all, there was no time for
18 that, because my first instinct was to prevent any further mistreatment.
19 And this is what guided me. You know, the commander always looks for a
20 solution, because the commander would ask me, "What have you done so
21 far," and then he would ask me, "What do you need?" Had I called him
22 right away, he would have said, "Why are you calling me if you haven't
23 done anything yourself?" So this is the procedure in the military. Up
24 to a certain level, you can do something yourself, and then if need be,
25 you can turn to your superior. And that was the reason why I didn't do
1 it right away. I didn't want to react immediately in the sense that you
2 are describing.
3 And the other reason was that my superior was present there, and
4 he left, or, rather, I assumed that he, as the second in command, left.
5 And all of this had been taking place in his presence with the first
6 group, when the major mistreatment took place, and I assumed that he
7 would go to the commander and report on him about what had taken place.
8 That's why I didn't call the commander, myself.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You were also the head of the
10 military police. Shouldn't you have ordered an investigation to try and
11 find out who had abused the prisoners in order then to punish the
12 authors? Was this part of your functions?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You are quite right. I couldn't
14 immediately list the names of the people who had done that, but I did
15 take certain measures. This question wasn't put to me by the Prosecutor.
16 I guess he intended to do that. But I informed the commander, Mrksic,
17 immediately, sometime at around 3.30. I informed him about the situation
18 as it was there. I told him that I prevented further mistreatment and I
19 told him that this could be repeated. Therefore, we needed to step up
20 the security measures and to properly ensure security, in the police
21 sense, so that the TO members would not be able to approach the hangar.
22 He listened to me, and then he said, "You can go."
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now it's on the record.
24 At 3.30 p.m.
25 You told him that a number of prisoners had been mistreated and that
1 security needed to be stepped up. And in answer to that, Colonel Mrksic
2 told you that you could go.
3 Mr. Dutertre.
4 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. Colonel, you've told us that you took a number of steps. Who
6 else, amongst the members of Petrova Gora and Leva Supoderica whom you
7 know, who else from these people did you recognise at Ovcara on the 20th
8 of November, 1991?
9 A. I could only recognise their main people. Mr. Vujovic was there,
10 for the most part, and he assisted me for a while, and then Kameni was
11 there just very briefly, and also Stanko Vujanovic. So all three of them
12 were at Ovcara at some point in time. I can't tell you how much time
13 they spent there, but I can tell you that Vujovic was there for the
14 longest period of time. While I was there, he was there too. However,
15 all three of them were present at some point.
16 Q. Around what time did you leave Ovcara, Colonel?
17 A. I left between 1500 and 1530.
18 Q. Fine. When you left, what about the members of Petrova Gora and
19 Leva Supoderica; were they still there? Can you tell us if they were
20 still there when you left?
21 A. Yes, they were there, but some had already left. They were
22 there, but not that many of them. Out of those 30, 40 in total, at the
23 time when I left Ovcara, there were only 15 to 20 remaining.
24 Q. Did you see the others leave with your own eyes?
25 A. Yes, I saw them leave. Since this is quite a flat area, I saw
1 them leave towards other buildings in Ovcara. I saw them leave in small
3 Q. Okay. You saw them leave towards other buildings in Ovcara. You
4 told Colonel Mrksic what was going on. It's a question I wanted to ask
5 you, but you've already told us about this. When did you find out about
6 the massacre of prisoners of Ovcara?
7 A. I learned about that -- well, was it on the following day or the
8 day after? It was on the 21st or 22nd, at around that time, either 21st
9 or 22nd, shortly thereafter. It was in the morning hours, as I was
10 preparing to transfer my duties to somebody else. My brigade was getting
11 ready to leave, and one of my assistants came and whispered to me about
12 the rumours around the village; that people were gone, that they had
13 disappeared, that they had probably been liquidated. He said to me
14 something to that effect, and I took this with a grain of salt. I wasn't
15 sure, I wasn't quite convinced. It didn't seem likely that something
16 like that could have happened. And later on, I asked him, "Were you
17 serious about this?" And he said, "Yes. I heard these rumours
18 circulating in the village."
19 So to tell you the truth, I couldn't react to his story. I
20 didn't pay particular attention to what he was saying. I thought those
21 were just rumours. I couldn't even assume that something like that could
22 have happened.
23 Q. One last point. You told us that Kameni was there for a brief
24 period of time; page 44, line 21. What did you mean by that, exactly?
25 Did you see him briefly, did you see him leave? Can you clarify that?
1 A. Well, I saw him, but for a brief period of time. That would be
2 the best description.
3 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I have no
4 further questions.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, on the 20th or on the
6 21st, you heard this rumour, and am I to understand that you did nothing,
7 yourself, afterwards?
8 THE WITNESS: [Indicates].
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] During the following days or
10 months, did the military command order what is called a command
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At what point in time were you,
14 yourself, summoned by an authority, whatever it is, to testify about
15 these events?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1998, for the first time. I
17 testified at the military court.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In 1998, which military
19 tribunal was it, and it was a case against whom?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was the case against
21 unidentified perpetrators.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Were you interviewed by an
23 investigative magistrate?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was Colonel Gojovic. He's
25 currently a general.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Okay. So I suppose he asked
2 you the same questions I'm asking you now.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. There is a statement that I
4 gave about those events, and later on there was a lull until the
5 proceedings that started concerning Ovcara at the military court, and it
6 was then we started giving statements to the prosecutor against very
7 specific individuals, accused.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One minor matter that may have
9 escaped our attention. When you left the site, the situation was under
10 control because the military policemen were around the building, but what
11 about these military policemen; did they leave with you?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, my policemen left with me,
13 because this was taken over by the military police of the 80th Kragujevac
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In other words, the others
16 stayed there? The ones from Kragujevac, they stayed there?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's correct.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you reported the matter to
19 Colonel Mrksic, when he told you that you could go, what was your
20 feeling, what was your impression? Did you have the feeling that he was
21 going to take the necessary steps or not?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I'll tell you my thoughts,
23 since you are guiding me in that direction, and those were exactly my
24 thoughts at the time. It wasn't clear to me, and knowing my commander,
25 it wasn't clear to me how he reacted in that way to a very serious report
1 that I gave him, a very serious report provided by me, especially knowing
2 that we did not have such situations previously, where the commander
3 wasn't reacting to something that was portrayed to him as negative, and
4 he didn't tell me to go and resolve that. So thinking about that, I came
5 to the conclusion that this was some kind of an arrangement between them.
6 And later on, when I heard that there was a government session of
7 the SOA Baranja and Western Srem, chaired by Mr. Goran Hadzic, where our
8 representative from the Command was present, Lieutenant Colonel Panic, I
9 learned that they had precisely discussed this, that Goran Hadzic said to
10 Mrksic -- later on I put this all together, and I'm telling you now about
11 what I heard later. And as a result of that, I came to a conclusion that
12 this had been a decision and that it had been ordered for the prisoners
13 to be turned over to them, because they had their own organs of
14 authorities, and that they would try them. And I think that Goran Hadzic
15 tricked our commander, so to speak, and that our commander gave them
16 control over the prisoners, and this is what happened afterwards.
17 These were my thoughts, and if one was to look at all of it, all
18 of the aspects, then one would come to that conclusion, because it was
19 not natural for the commander not to react to such a situation.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. I'm going to try to
21 summarise what you've said. It's just an assumption of yours, of course,
22 but you're perfectly entitled to make assumptions.
23 According to you, Goran Hadzic and Colonel Mrksic, as well as
24 Colonel Panic, had reached an agreement with relation to the prisoners,
25 to the way the prisoners should be guarded. According to you, there was
1 an agreement between them, and your assumption is that when you found out
2 about all this, you thought that Colonel Mrksic would convey the
3 information to Goran Hadzic or to the commander of the TO as part of
4 their agreement. It's an assumption you make, but you have no certainty
5 about the matter?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, I assume that some
7 decisions were made that I was not aware of.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When Goran Hadzic comes here,
9 we'll ask the question, but of course for that he needs to come here.
10 All right. It's an assumption of yours, and according to you, that's the
11 reason why Colonel Mrksic did absolutely nothing.
12 One last question. I believe that in all the armed forces in the
13 world, and especially in the JNA that at the time was an army with a very
14 good reputation, I believe that in all armies in the world, officers draw
15 up reports about events. And what about you, did you write a report?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't draw up a written report,
17 because I reported to my commander orally and I informed Major
18 Sljivancanin about all the events in the evening. They didn't ask me to
19 compile a written report. I think that was sufficient for that part of
20 the event in which I participated. Had they asked me to compile a
21 written report, I would have done so.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's assume that Colonel
23 Mrksic did not agree or does not agree with what you're saying. What if
24 he were to say that he was not informed, what would you have to say to
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The commander of Operations Group
2 South, I think it's impossible for him not to be informed.
3 Secondly, he changed the direction of the group. The group was
4 supposed to go from the Vukovar barracks to Sremska Mitrovica. That was
5 the task, and the change of direction was his decision. And all the
6 problems later arose in the place where he transferred the people.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
8 Mr. Seselj, you have 50 minutes.
9 But one moment. My fellow Judge has a number of questions to put
10 to the witness. I did not see it.
11 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you.
12 Colonel, I would like to have you explain to us a bit about the
13 effective control over the members of the two divisions of the TO that
14 were present at the Ovcara farm, the Petrova Gora and the
15 Leva Supoderica, because it seems to me, in retrospect, that if what you
16 have assumed actually turned out to be true, namely, that at some earlier
17 points in time, there was an agreement between the government, the local
18 government, and the commanders of the JNA forces present in the area,
19 that the prisoners that were taken from the hospital in Vukovar and
20 stored up in the hangar at the Ovcara farm, that these prisoners would at
21 some point be handed over to the TO. That is the agreement that you have
22 made an implication about. This is what you assume this must have
23 happened. There must have been some sort of agreement between the JNA
24 forces and the government that the prisoners could be handed over to the
1 In my understanding, Colonel, this would imply that if eventually
2 the prisoners were handed over to the TO, then terrible things could
3 happen to the prisoners, and the JNA, as such, could say, "Well, this was
4 not our responsibility. We were not involved. We didn't do it." And so
5 this is the dilemma that I see in this whole thing.
6 So I'm coming back to you now to try and explain to us who
7 exactly had the effective control over the TO volunteers, and am I right
8 to assume that it was understood by the JNA that if crimes were committed
9 by the TO members, then those crimes could not be -- then the JNA could
10 not be held responsible for those crimes? Is that a correct
11 understanding? What was the relationship between the TOs and the JNA
13 And let me just remind you that in your statement, you mention at
14 some point that the TO Petrova Gora and the Leva Supoderica were
15 separated from the JNA and they set up their own headquarters. This is
16 in your 2002 statement, on page 6. So already here you have an
17 indication that there was some sort of separation, the TO was on one side
18 and the JNA was on the other side, and maybe they cooperated, but in
19 terms of control, it was a more complicated issue.
20 I don't know if I have made my question clear, but I want you to
21 explain a bit to us how things were understood at the time.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can say right away that I think
23 that no one from the JNA knew. Had Mrksic known this would happen, I'm
24 sure he would have acted differently. I don't think anyone assumed that
25 a crime like the one that happened could happen. It was most probably a
1 mistake that they let these men leave their control. Nobody thought that
2 a group of men could liquidate 200 or 300 people. That is a very serious
3 matter which no one paid attention to, no one took into consideration,
4 and unfortunately it happened.
5 Secondly, I couldn't tell you who was in command of the TO
6 forces. All those three men had a group of their own, and as to who was
7 the main commander, the chief commander, I really couldn't answer that
8 question. But when Vukovar fell, I don't know whether you can see that
9 in Mrksic's order, but when Vukovar fell and the operation was concluded,
10 all the attached and subordinated units probably left the composition,
11 and they started moving about freely. They no longer were responsible to
12 us. They were no longer under our command, and there was no one in
13 command of them. They were all free groups. There was no combat going
14 on. And they had been under the commander of the 1st Assault Detachment
15 all the time, but whether they left that detachment under orders, I don't
17 However, their actions and their conducts show that they were not
18 under the control of the JNA in those two or three days. And I think
19 that the attitude with the JNA felt not responsible for the members of
20 the TO because they were no longer part of our units. Everyone was
21 preparing to return from Vukovar. The 82nd was to take over the area of
22 responsibility. You had the government saying one thing and people
23 acting in another way, and then something that none of us normal people
24 assumed could possibly happen actually happened.
25 I thought maybe someone might be beaten up or even there might be
1 an individual killing, but that all of them could be killed, down to the
2 last man, that was something that nobody assumed might happen. And
3 I think that this irresponsibility by the top leadership, or maybe the
4 failure of Commander Mrksic to correctly assess the situation, was
5 responsible. They thought that the TO and the government would continue
6 taking measures in the spirit of the law, that there would be an
7 investigation procedure, and between Mrksic and Lieutenant Colonel
8 Vojnovic, one should see who ordered the forces to be withdrawn, because
9 that's where there is a gap, a hiatus.
10 They withdrew their forces, and then the TO took over those
11 people and did whatever they wanted. That is where the problem lies, in
12 my view, the assessment of the situation. Could those people have made
13 that assessment that they were preparing this sort of situation? Nobody
14 could know that. I don't think those three commanders there, local
15 commanders, knew that either. I don't think they knew that, either, that
16 all those people would be shot. Well, anything is possible, but I don't
17 believe it, because during the combat operations they were very good
18 fighters, especially Leva Supoderica and Milan Lancuzanin. They
19 contributed to our 1st Assault Detachment and helped us to be very
20 successful in the combat on that axis, so that thanks to them -- and of
21 course they had lived in that town. They knew it well, they knew the
22 streets. They helped our young soldiers who came from all over the
23 former Yugoslavia
24 nationalities. There were soldiers from Croatia dying in Vukovar, from
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina, from Macedonia
2 So it was a very complex situation, a very interesting situation,
3 because after all that heavy fighting there was an omission at the end,
4 and that's why this happened.
5 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you. This has been extremely important,
6 what you have just told us about the control in the days just following
7 the fall of Vukovar.
8 Just one question to clarify. The attitude of the members of the
9 TO towards the prisoners, while they were still in the buses at the
10 barracks, and also later on when you saw -- when you came with the second
11 batch of prisoners to the Ovcara farm, that would seem to suggest that
12 the members of the TO were quite aggressive. And so my question is: Was
13 that not reported to Mrksic? I mean, Sljivancanin knew, so I agree, it
14 seems like a paradox that Mrksic had no idea of just how bad things could
15 go, but he would have been given information about the very aggressive
16 attitude of the TO members, would he not?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, he did have this information,
18 most probably from his chief of staff who was present there. I don't
19 know whether they want to admit it. He also got information from
20 Commander Vojnovic, from me also. He had a lot of information.
21 And the officer who took over the first group, it says that in
22 the report of that commander, that was a man from the Command, but nobody
23 wants to say who he was. He was given the task of taking over my group,
24 the first group, and he took them to Ovcara, because the company
25 commander says that an officer came from the Command and took my group
1 with -- of three buses to Ovcara. And I came there and they said, "You
2 go there, too, because the commander ordered this."
3 So the only thing that was not clear to me, because the first
4 task was given to me by Sljivancanin to take them to the barracks and to
5 organise transport to Mitrovica from the barracks, that was the real task
6 I was given, and everything else later represented changes, and I think
7 it's clear who bears the responsibility for that.
8 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much, Colonel. I have no further
10 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] I have one short question,
11 Witness. I'm sorry to ask about an impression rather than about a fact.
12 Is it possible that rather than not knowing, the JNA commanders were
13 afraid of this extreme aggressiveness of those who were the authors of
14 this massacre?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't believe they were afraid,
16 because this was a small group of people. They were ordinary fighters,
17 local people from Vukovar. They probably recognised some people there.
18 You can't have a Command being afraid of a group of soldiers. I don't
19 believe that. When I was on my own, I was willing to sacrifice my life,
20 but I managed to prevent further violence and threw them outside. If you
21 really want to, you can solve the problem. I believe there might be
22 people who could be afraid, but I don't believe that the Command was
23 afraid, no.
24 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] So you believe that they could
25 have been controlled, brought under control?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Absolutely, absolutely, yes.
2 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When answering a question put
4 by my fellow Judge, you said something which I believe is capital. You
5 had said that before, but I was thinking about the scope of what you
6 said, and now I grasp the scope of it better.
7 You said that the assignment you had been given initially was to
8 take the prisoners from the barracks and to take them to Mitrovica,
9 Mitrovica being the place where the detainees, the prisoners, were to be
10 detained. That was your original assignment. And mysteriously enough,
11 the assignment was changed, and that might be the key to what happened.
12 At least that's what you seem to say implicitly.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The reason I reached this
14 conclusion is the following: The decision Mrksic made at the briefing is
15 the decision conveyed to me by Sljivancanin. That was the first
16 decision. Had there been a second decision when the SAO government --
17 the government of Western Slavonia and Baranja had its session from 12.00
18 onwards, there might have been a change in the decision. I think this is
19 the link, and the commander changed his decision for that reason. That's
20 the link I can make, because the change took place when the government of
21 the SAO Slavonia, Western Srem and Baranja had its session.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Like everybody, we try to
23 understand why all these prisoners were executed, and we are seeking the
24 reasons that may have led to that.
25 During the fighting, the fighting lasted quite a while in
1 Vukovar. Based on your estimates, how many JNA soldiers were killed, I
2 mean, all included?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] According to some estimates, from
4 my Guards Brigade about 64 soldiers and officers were killed, and from
5 the whole Operative Group South, about a thousand men lost their lives.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Regarding your brigade, you say
7 that 64 soldiers and officers were killed. And regarding the Operational
8 Group South, some thousand men, soldiers and officers, were killed.
9 As to the TO members, the locals, as it were, reinforced with
10 volunteers, but the locals, as far as you know, could you tell us how
11 many were killed? Out of the thousand, how many of them?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really can't give you this
13 information, because the personnel department keeps track of that
14 information. I can't give you any numbers, I don't know the facts, but
15 some were killed, yes. They were in the first lines. They were directly
16 involved in combat, and they got killed. I can't tell you exactly how
17 many. Some of them were killed fighting with us. Some of them were
18 killed before we arrived.
19 Nobody wants to talk about the casualties among the Serbian
20 people, but there were dozens and dozens of corpses floating down the
23 have been buried in rubbish dumps. There used to be 20.000 Serbs in
24 Vukovar. When the combat started, 20.000 people left. Do you think they
25 left because they were having a nice time? The paramilitary forces of
2 has yet to be proved. Let what Mercep did be proved. He was the
3 greatest criminal against the Serbian people. They'll have to
4 investigate him. We know that he was a great criminal, a terrible
5 criminal. And there was this other man who was in charge of the HDZ. He
6 was a former officer of ours. They know best what they did in the
7 preparations for the massacre.
8 Why was Vukovar empty? It was empty because the Serbs fled, and
9 then the Croats fled, too, because they saw that there would be a war.
10 The Croatian forces blocked our barracks, and they cut off water, bread,
11 electricity for our soldiers, and they kept the barracks surrounded for a
12 month. They shot at the barracks, fired at the barracks with mortars,
13 and then those people from Croatia
14 Vukovar. But that's why there was revenge. That's why there was anger.
15 That's why individuals who had lost their nearest and dearest wanted to
16 take revenge, and they came into a situation where they were able to take
17 revenge. It's not chivalrous, it's not soldierly, but those who are
18 under threat become blind. And if you have 10 or 15 men like that,
19 that's very dangerous, and they will do what they did. Maybe they,
20 themselves, will regret this, but it was a very difficult time.
21 You know that wherever there is a war, it's something all
22 soldiers hate. People think that soldiers like combat. No, that's the
23 worst part of our job. And you have to understand this outpouring of
24 hatred. I think it was created long before, and then it just came back.
25 The debt was paid.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for this lengthy
2 answer, which enables us to understand things better.
3 You mentioned a thousand soldiers, all included, but your answer
4 prompts another question by me. As far as you know, regarding the
5 Serbian civilian population, from what you say, how many Serb civilians
6 were killed, empirically?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think those were mostly weak,
8 elderly people who stayed behind to look after their homes, and I think
9 there were about a hundred Serb civilians who were killed; mostly elderly
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You mentioned crimes by
12 paramilitary in July and August. To your knowledge, how many people did
13 they kill, these Croatian paramilitaries?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] According to some information we
15 have, between 300 and 400 people. Just as they are looking for their
16 dead, so the Serbs are still looking for many of their own, and many have
17 not been found yet.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, you have 50
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] You promised me an hour,
21 Mr. President.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, let's not argue about ten
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would need more than an hour.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to ask my colleagues
1 to know whether you can have an additional ten minutes.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Given the topic, you have an
5 Cross-examination by Mr. Seselj:
6 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Provided your questions are
8 focused on the topics of interest for the Trial Chamber, and we have just
9 really defined the scope. We're not giving you additional time to go
11 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Could the witness and Mr. Seselj
12 be asked to speak slowly, to avoid any overlapping.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Witness. You and
14 Mr. Seselj speak the same language, so please listen to his question,
15 wait for a moment, and then provide the answer, because the interpreters
16 have a hard time. So listen to the question carefully, then answer, then
17 he'll have to wait as well. Otherwise, there's overlapping.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I'm going to ask
19 questions which are exclusively of interest to my Defence.
20 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, would you please give me short answers to my
21 questions. I have a lot to get through, so "yes" or "no" would be
22 preferable whenever possible.
23 As far as I know, you went to the war school or School of
24 National Defence, as it was officially called?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did you pass your general's exam?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. What was the topic?
4 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers please slow down. Thank
6 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
7 Q. What was the topic of your thesis?
8 A. Armed conflict as part of the armed forces, armed rebellion as
9 part of the armed conflict.
10 Q. Were you a security officer while you worked in the army?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. You were the commander of Operative Group South in Negoslavci,
13 and I suppose you ought to know that the Guards Brigade, already on the
14 18th of November, when Vukovar was liberated, started preparations for
15 the return to Belgrade
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Within the frameworks of those preparations for the return, did
18 the Guards Brigade first organise having the volunteers transported back,
19 not only those of the Serbian Radical Party but all the other volunteers,
20 on the 18th, 19th, and 20th of November, by putting them onto buses going
21 to Serbia
22 A. Yes, but I want to say that the term "Seselj's volunteers"
23 doesn't exist. The term is "volunteers" that we use, so those -- because
24 it doesn't say on there who they were. So they were volunteers from
1 they belong to Seselj or Vuk Draskovic or whatever, with us in the army,
2 we don't make that distinction.
3 Q. Colonel, just briefly, please. My time is limited, but as far as
4 I'm concerned, it's important to me that you said that on the 18th and
5 19th and 20th, they were already sent back in buses. Does that mean that
6 the Leva Supoderica Detachment was reduced exclusively to the locals of
7 Vukovar as a detachment of the Territorial Defence?
8 A. In 90 per cent of the cases, I assume that is right, yes.
9 Q. All right. Now, you know that there were different types of
10 volunteers. You've confirmed that. And do you know that the volunteers
11 of the Serbian Radical Party were exclusively included in the
12 Leva Supoderica Detachment?
13 A. Well, I'm not aware of that, but I think from the stories I
14 heard -- well, I don't have official information, but I assume that that
15 would be the case, yes.
16 Q. All right. Now, do you know that on the 19th of November, Marin
17 Bilic, Bili, and the commissioner of the Croatian government for Vukovar
18 and Vesna Bosanac, head of the Vukovar Hospital
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did they have a meeting there with General Aleksandar Vasiljevic?
22 A. I don't know that.
23 Q. The then Captain and later Colonel Karanfilov, Borko Karanfilov,
24 was that his name?
25 A. Borce Karanfilov.
1 Q. Right. Borce Karanfilov said before the Court in Belgrade
2 confirmed in the Mrksic, Radic and Sljivancanin trial that General
3 Aleksandar Vasiljevic was at the command post at Negoslavci and that he
4 became included, as he says, in interrogating Marin Bilic and Vesna
6 A. Well, if he says so, then I believe it to be true.
7 Q. Together with Vasiljevic, there was Colonel, later General Simeon
8 Tumanov; right? He was his deputy?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Do you know that Vesna Bosanac already at that time had lists of
11 persons who were in the Vukovar Hospital
12 to Negoslavci?
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Prosecutor.
14 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] You can see that when there are
15 two questions in one, when the witness says, "Yes," what does he say
16 "yes" to? Was General Tumanov with him, was he also his deputy at the
17 same time? Is it "yes" to the deputy or to being with him. It's good to
18 put one question at a time.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. When you have a complex
20 question, we don't know what the witness answers to, to which part of it
21 he answers, so try to put a series of questions with single questions,
22 making the answers clear.
23 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
24 Q. I asked you, Mr. Vukasinovic, whether you knew that
25 Vesna Bosanac, in Negoslavci, brought with her a list of all the people
1 who were in the Vukovar Hospital
2 A. I didn't see that, but I did hear that she brought the lists with
4 Q. Did you hear that then the list was dovetailed and coordinated
5 with Aleksandar Vasiljevic and Simeon Tumanov with respect to the fate of
6 those people, those who were to be taken to prisoner of war camps, those
7 who would be sent in an ambulance to hospitals in Croatia, and so on and
8 so forth?
9 A. I don't know that.
10 Q. We'll move on. Do you know that those talks were very lengthy,
11 went on for a long time, and that Vesna Bosanac and Marin Bilic slept at
12 the command post at Negoslavci?
13 A. Yes, they did spend the night there.
14 Q. Vesna Bosanac slept in the bed of Colonel Nebojsa Pavkovic; is
15 that true?
16 A. I don't know about that.
17 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] There may be a language problem,
18 but I think this should be removed, this connotation.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] [Previous translation
20 continues] ... that be redacted. When Colonel Pavkovic wasn't at the
21 command post, then he was somewhere else, his room was empty, the bed was
22 empty, the bed sheets were changed, and Vesna Bosanac slept there. So
23 she was given the top level of accommodation. Nebojsa Pavkovic told me
24 that, personally, and I'm in the same prison area with him here. Colonel
25 Pavkovic was elsewhere. He wasn't sleeping at the command post in his
1 office, but the bed sheets were changed on the bed and she was given the
2 best possible treatment in that way. So why should that be struck from
3 the record? I've had enough of this striking things from the record.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, your question could
5 have raised a doubt. Well, you removed it; namely, that Colonel
6 Pavkovic, not being there, that Ms. Bosanac was accommodated in his room.
7 Please continue.
8 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, do you know that General Vasiljevic, on the 20th
10 of November, took all the money that was in the Vukovar bank and took it
11 to Belgrade
12 German marks?
13 A. What I know is the following, Dr. Seselj: What was seized in the
14 Vukovar post office was two or three bags of dinars and that a smaller
15 sum was in foreign currency that was seized from the volunteers members
16 of the army, and so on. Foreign currency was in the Command, at the
17 headquarters. I know that Major Sljivancanin handed over to
18 Aleksandar Vasiljevic the foreign currency, and all the dinar, the money
19 in dinar with cheques and receipts was in a [indiscernible], where Vladan
20 [indiscernible], Voce, was a member, and Montijovic [phoen], Zoran, and
21 this was handed over to some bank in Belgrade
22 Q. All right. Now, by law, that should be handed over to the
23 military service of the National Bank of Yugoslavia; is that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Whereas it was not handed over where it was supposed to be handed
1 over by law; is that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. When you were retired, Mr. Vukasinovic, as an active colonel of
4 the Military Security Service, you had an ID card which gave you special
5 authority; right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Those powers and authorities are identical to the civilian police
8 or the State Security Service; right?
9 A. Yes, the State Security Service.
10 Q. When you retired, did you have to give your ID back, giving you
11 these special authorisations?
12 A. Yes, I returned everything, and now I'm nothing.
13 Q. It's a very important question for me.
14 A. Yes, I returned everything, and I have nothing left.
15 Q. You've heard of a security officer Colonel Bogdan Vujic who was
16 retired on the 1st of January, 1991?
17 A. Yes, I've heard of him.
18 Q. Colonel Bogdan Vujic, when he retired on the 1st of January,
19 1991, did he, too, have to give back his ID card with all the
20 authorisations vested in it?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You heard that three retired colonels, Slavko Tomic, Bogdan Vujic
23 and Bogoljub Kijanovic were reactivated, brought out of retirement, and
24 that in official uniforms and with an official car, they arrived in
25 Vukovar sometime in the night between the 19th and 20th of November;
2 A. Yes, they did arrive.
3 Q. Is it customary to bring colonels out of retirement, colonels of
4 the Military Security Service, if some of them are over the age of 65?
5 A. Well, for a decision of that kind to be taken -- well, I don't
6 think it was necessary.
7 Q. Well, could it have been done without an order from the federal
8 Minister of Defence or the federal Secretary of Defence, as the title was
9 at the time?
10 A. No, this couldn't have been done without decision and order of
11 the federal Minister of Defence.
12 Q. Do you know that there was no such order to reactivate these
14 A. I don't know about that.
15 Q. You are now retired and a reservist; right?
16 A. Yes, I am retired, but I still have not received my assignment as
17 a reserve person.
18 Q. How long will you be a -- when will this happen or how long will
19 this apply for?
20 A. Sixty-five years old.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers kindly slow down between
22 question and answer. It's impossible to follow at this rate. Thank you.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please slow down, the both of
24 you, because once again the interpreters are telling us that they have a
25 hard time following you and they can't translate everything. So,
1 Mr. Seselj, if the answer is not recorded on the transcript, what you are
2 trying to highlight is not going to be recorded.
3 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] One comment. Mention was made
4 here of someone who was over 65, but if you try to establish such a
5 thing, then you need to produce a document to provide hard evidence.
6 Here, there's a lot of speculation going on.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, notwithstanding this
8 objection by the Prosecution, what about these three colonels who were
9 brought out of retirement? Because of their age, they were not supposed
10 to be brought out of retirement. It was not possible, was it?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I don't know how old they
12 actually were. They looked like vital men. They didn't look that old.
13 They were full of vitality.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but you can be in
15 extremely good shape but above the age limit.
16 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
17 Q. I assume you know that Slavko Tomic, Colonel Slavko Tomic, had
18 been a partisan during World War II. Is that something you're aware of?
19 A. No.
20 Q. But the Prosecutor brought forward some other witnesses who gave
21 us that information, and we have it in the transcript. They were
22 Prosecution witnesses, and I don't want to mention their names because
23 some of them filed through the courtroom under protective measures. But
24 I'd just like to remind the Prosecutor of that.
25 Anyway, sir, you said that it was not possible to reactivate
1 retired colonels without an order from the federal secretary or, rather,
2 federal Minister Veljko Kadijevic, who was the general of the army; is
3 that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, if I tell you that there are absolutely no papers relating
6 to their reactivation even with the signature of Aleksandar Vasiljevic,
7 would that be something you would find strange?
8 A. That would then be against the law.
9 Q. I see, against the law. Right. Now, if I tell you that during
10 this reactivation period, that a new post was not regulated, if they were
11 reactivated, they would have had to take up a new post with the JNA;
12 isn't that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Would that be against the law as well?
15 A. Yes, because when you reactivate an officer, that officer
16 inherits the rights that he had previously. He inherits the military
17 post and so on and so forth.
18 Q. If I tell you that during that month or two of reactivation,
19 these three colonels were not on any salary list, would that -- payroll,
20 would that be against the law too?
21 A. Absolutely, it would be against the law.
22 Q. If I tell you that in their military booklets, there was no
23 record of them having been reactivated, would that be unlawful too?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And if I go on to tell you that in their personal file, dossier,
1 there was no information about them having been reactivated, and this was
2 established by my associates in Belgrade
3 Council for Cooperation with The Hague Tribunal, and they received
4 information from the army too, would that be contrary to the law as well?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Because everything had to be entered into their personal file,
7 right, all these factors?
8 A. Yes, even observations about their work in the field. Everything
9 would be recorded.
10 Q. If, in Sremska Mitrovica, where a camp for prisoners of war was
11 organised in a prison there, if there was an order there that they go to
12 Sid first and from thence to Vukovar to perform a special assignment,
13 would it be contrary to the law that there was no written order about
14 their departure to Sid and Vukovar on assignment?
15 A. Well, I suppose there's an order from Aleksandar Vasiljevic, who
16 engaged them and decided to send them. It would have to say what the
17 basic assignment was and where they were sent.
18 Q. We established with great certainty that there's no written
19 trace. That's already been established, and I can't tell you whose
20 testimony confirmed that. But would it be against the law if there are
21 no written traces of any of that?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. All right, thank you. Now, is it also against the law if they
24 were issued an order, arrived on the 19th in the evening, in Vukovar,
25 spent the whole night in Vukovar, and then the next day some of them were
1 in the Vukovar hospital, some of them were in the Velepromet building and
2 then went to Ovcara, and at least -- we know that at least two of them
3 were at Ovcara, Slavko Tomic and Bogoljub Kijanovic. Whether Bogdan
4 Vujic was there is a debatable point still. Anyway, but around midnight
5 on the 20th, when the execution at Ovcara had already started, they went
6 back to Sremska Mitrovica --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, you're going so
8 fast that the dispatching of three colonels has not been recorded on the
9 transcript. If it is important that we know which colonel was at the
10 hospital, which was at Velepromet and which was elsewhere, it has to be
11 recorded. And if you look at the screen, you will see that it has not
12 been recorded. We, the Trial Chamber, will not be able to use this later
13 if it's not been recorded.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, after quite a long
15 time I have the first competent witness here, who is a military expert
16 and a recognised, reputable officer, and had he come as a Defence
17 witness, I would have allowed him at least three hours for testimony
18 because he knows a great many things. Now, even if he doesn't know some
19 things directly, he knows how to interpret them. So you must understand
20 my haste, because I want to get through all the questions that I have to
21 ask him within that very short hour that I've been given.
22 But let me repeat what I've already said.
23 Q. We have already established here that they were in Vukovar, that
24 Bogdan Vujic was in the Vukovar hospital, that he was at Velepromet, and
25 that at least Slavko Tomic and Bogoljub Kijanovic were at Ovcara that
1 night, that they were at Ovcara that night. That's been established
3 Now, my question to you is this: Is it possible, after that
4 special assignment, that they did not table a single report to their
5 superior command, Aleksandar Vasiljevic, who was their chief? Would that
6 be against the law if they did not report back?
7 A. First of all, their stay at Ovcara, if that is correct, in those
8 late hours -- well, we don't know why, it's not clear why they were
9 there. I'm hearing that from you now; and secondly, it's absolutely
10 against the law, because they were employed by Aleksandar Vasiljevic, a
11 level above all of us. So without writing down observations of that
12 kind, that would be amateurish and against the law.
13 Q. As an officer of military security for many years, you know what
14 the practice was in that service. Tell me, was it customary for you to
15 go on assignment and then take a non de jure like Bogdan Vujic is
16 mentioned everywhere in Vukovar as Colonel Branko, a pseudonym. When he
17 interrogated prisoners at Sremska Mitrovica, once again he introduced
18 himself as Colonel Branko. Was that usual in your service?
19 A. No. As an official person, there was no need for him to use a
20 pseudonym. A pseudonym is only used when one is working with informers.
21 Q. So there was no reason for him to conceal his true identity. He
22 should have introduced himself with his full name and first name as a JNA
24 A. Yes. That's the general rule, to introduce himself under his
25 real name. There was no need for him to use a pseudonym.
1 Q. Very well. Let us move on.
2 In addition to these three colonels, there was also another group
3 of security officers there who had come from the 1st Military District.
4 Are you aware of that?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Was General Mile Babic there as well?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Was General Jerko Crmaric there? He was a Croat by ethnicity and
9 deputy commander for logistics.
10 A. I don't know about him. I know that he was deputy commander for
11 logistics, and I know that occasionally we had problems with ammunition
13 Q. Very well. Did you see there at any point in time a colonel of
14 the Military Security Service wearing an aviation uniform, who was also
15 in charge of the transfer of prisoners?
16 A. No.
17 Q. All right. Tell me, please, do you know that on the 19th of
18 November, immediately on the eve of the arrival of General Vasiljevic,
19 Colonel Sljivancanin had received a cable from him in which
20 General Vasiljevic ordered him to secure, as many as possible, prisoners
21 of war who should be transferred to Sremska Mitrovica, where they were to
22 be exchanged for a large number of JNA members who were kept prisoner by
24 A. Yes, I'm aware of that, and I personally saw such a cable.
25 Q. Thank you. We shall proceed further on immediately.
1 Therefore, the task of the security officers was to ensure as
2 many prisoners of war as possible and to bring them to Sremska Mitrovica,
3 ensure their presence?
4 A. Yes. Throughout the beginning of combat operations, it was our
5 attempt, and that was the message we had received from the Command -- or,
6 rather, from the Cabinet of the federal Defence minister, that there were
7 many soldiers and families kept prisoner in Croatia and that we had to
8 gather as many prisoners of war as possible in order to exchange them.
9 And that was our task, to gather as many persons that could later be
10 exchanged, and this is why we insisted upon that. And we took care of
11 all of those people, preparing them for exchange, so that a large number
12 of people, around 1.500, were in Sremska Mitrovica. We had sent them
13 from Vukovar there in order to be exchanged.
14 Q. All right. Among those people that General Vasiljevic attempted
15 to free from Croatian prisons, there was a large number of officers and
16 civilian associates of the groups called Opera and Labrador?
17 A. As for the associates and agents, I don't know anything about
18 that, but I know that a large number of our officers and their families
19 had been imprisoned.
20 Q. And some of them were included in these agent networks; right?
21 You know that as much as I do.
22 A. Yes. That network had been busted completely.
23 Q. Do you know that people from that group organised the planting of
24 a bomb at the Jewish cemetery in Zagreb and the Jewish municipal building
25 in order for that to be ascribed to the Tudjman regime?
1 A. I don't know about that. I heard about it, but I don't really
2 know about that.
3 Q. But you know at least as much as I do from the press?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You know as much; right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. All right, and that's quite a satisfactory answer for me as well.
8 Now, tell me, please, the key problem here was this: You had
9 been given an assignment to go with six buses to transport prisoners of
10 war from the hospital to the barracks, and from there on to
11 Sremska Mitrovica; correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And you were shocked when, upon your return from the hospital,
14 you saw that three buses had already been sent to Ovcara and that an
15 order was conveyed to you that your three buses should go to Ovcara as
17 A. Yes, that's correct.
18 Q. That was not logical at all, there was absolutely no logic in it;
20 A. Yes, no logic whatsoever.
21 Q. You cannot bring it into any -- you can't make sense in that,
22 either looking at the telegram of General Vasiljevic or the practice, the
23 standard procedure of JNA?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. All right. Well, let's see if we can find some logic there. Was
1 it possible for the JNA to transfer a group of prisoners, precisely 200
2 of them, to the civil authorities of the Serbian Autonomous Region
3 Eastern Slavonia
4 this autonomous region was not regulated at all within the constitutional
5 system of the Yugoslav Federation? Was it possible at all for the JNA to
6 transfer their prisoners to these people? According to the regulations,
7 was it possible at the time?
8 A. According to the regulations, the JNA should not transfer
9 prisoners in such a way. They should have followed a procedure, if they
10 were still within their area of responsibility, and they were. They
11 should have taken these people to Sremska Mitrovica.
12 Q. And especially the JNA could not have transferred 200 prisoners
13 to anyone without any paperwork. They should have received some sort of
14 a receipt. So many prisoners were transferred, and they should have
15 listed them, and there should have been a signature there; am I right?
16 A. Yes, you're right, because when the organs of military police and
17 security service do their work without any influence from the Command,
18 that's the procedure that should be in place. The military police
19 escorts prisoners, they make up a list with the names, but it is
20 mandatory, upon arrival to the prison, to transfer the custody of
21 prisoners according to the list with names. This is their basic duty.
22 Q. Is it one of the tasks within the Military Security Service to
23 evacuate and to safely house prisoners of war?
24 A. No. Their main task is counter-intelligence, and what you said
25 was the main task of the military police. And the military police, in
1 the professional sense, was subordinated to the security service.
2 Q. I didn't say "the main task," I said "one of the main tasks," and
3 now that I've corrected myself, would you answer in the affirmative?
4 A. Yes, it is one of their tasks.
5 Q. All right. That's exactly what I said. Now, please, the mere
6 fact that in Vukovar, after the liberation, the town headquarters or the
7 town command was set up, is that yet another proof that the JNA still did
8 not consider that the civilian authorities were able to carry out their
9 normal, everyday duties in that area?
10 A. Well, this comes out of my sphere of responsibility, but if you
11 want my personal opinion, I will tell you that, yes, it wasn't possible.
12 Q. I'm asking you here now as an expert, as a colonel. Had the JNA
13 believed that the civil authorities were able to take over all of their
14 responsibilities and duties, then they would not have set up this town
15 Command, the military town Command; is that right? According to the
16 military regulation of the JNA, the town Command or the headquarters or
17 administration of a town is only set up in a liberated town until the
18 civilian authorities are able to take over power; am I right?
19 You're looking at the screen.
20 A. I'm looking at the screen because I'm seeing that the
21 interpretation is still going on.
22 Q. No, it's not interpretation. It's the transcript and the
23 transcript is always late, so you better turn it off.
24 A. Well, in order for us not to overlap, and we have been warned
25 about that. That is why I'm making a pause.
1 Yes, you're quite right. In a liberated town, in a liberated
2 neighbourhood or area, the Command, town Command, continues to exist
3 until all civilian authorities are established, and civilian protection
4 services, and it is upon that -- it is only after that that the military
5 withdraws and hands over power to civilians.
6 Q. Do you know that even before the liberation of Vukovar, that the
7 headquarters administration was set up that encompassed Ovcara and an
8 additional two villages around Ovcara, and that Colonel Vojnovic was the
9 commander before he became the town commander?
10 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] The question is very vague. Could
11 Mr. Seselj give us a date, provide a document? Could he be more
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, what about this
14 Colonel Vojnovic who became the town commander; when was it, according to
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj [as interpreted], I said
17 before the liberation of Vukovar, before the 18th of November. Now, as
18 to precise date, is it important? It was perhaps on the 17th, on the
19 12th. I don't know. What do I care? But he was -- he held the post of
20 the commander of the area, including Ovcara, and that's important for me.
21 And it was only upon the order of Mrksic that he was appointed commander
22 of the town of Vukovar
24 Q. Am I right, Mr. Vukasinovic?
25 A. Just a minute. The then Colonel Vojnovic, the commander of the
1 80th Kragujevac Brigade, received an area of responsibility encompassing
2 Ovcara, Jakobovac, Grabovo, and I'm not sure about Sutin. In that area
3 of responsibility, he had his subordinate units, commands or battalions
4 and so on, and his main command post would have been in Jakobovac, in
5 Grabovo, in Sutin, it makes no difference, but he's responsible for that
6 entire area. That's his area of responsibility.
7 Q. Do you know that the command of Colonel Vojnovic was housed in a
8 so-called yellow house in the immediate vicinity of Ovcara?
9 A. Yes. Yes, I am familiar with this yellow house.
10 Q. Please turn off the transcript. You're just using up my time by
11 waiting for it.
12 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, what you're saying
13 needs to be translated, but also to be transcribed. The witness is
14 right. You should wait.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, how am I to manage to do
16 everything in this one hour? I don't know, myself, Ms. Lattanzi. I will
17 do my best, but I don't know if I will succeed.
18 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] If you keep making comments
19 about what everyone says, including what the Judges say, I'm not
20 surprised that you don't have enough time.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right. It seems that I'm my
22 own worst enemy.
23 Q. Do you know, Mr. Vukasinovic --
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, Mr. Seselj. I do
25 not exactly know what your point is, what you are trying to establish.
1 Earlier on, you mentioned three colonels who were reactivated. This
2 seemed to be rather interesting. I was wondering why such a thing
3 happened. But you left that aside, and now you're moving on to a
4 different topic. You may raise this matter again at a later stage, but
5 if that's not the case, then I'm going to ask you, what was the point of
6 mentioning these three colonels in the first place?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I'm receiving
8 English interpretation. It seems like they are trying to provoke me by
9 translating my own words for me into English.
10 So I have this concept for my cross-examination, and it will make
11 sense for you at the end. Please trust me, that I will do it perfectly,
12 if I manage to achieve it within this short space of time.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Then we'll wait to
14 see what happens, then.
15 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, is it true that the government of Eastern
18 that it did not have a developed judicial system at the time, judicial
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Is it true that that government, even had it wanted, even had it
22 been entrusted with it, was unable to organise regular trials, proper
23 trials, for these prisoners?
24 A. My opinion, and these are just my impressions, in that early
25 period of time, when we still hadn't left and they still hadn't
1 established their organs of authority, I think it wasn't possible at the
3 Q. Very well. Mr. Vukasinovic, you said earlier something that
4 surprised me, when Vukovar was liberated, that these TO units left
5 immediately from the composition of the Guards Brigade. However, the OTP
6 has an order, and this was shown to us here by the OTP expert --
7 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I wanted to make it
8 very clear that the witness said that it was likely. If Mr. Seselj
9 quotes the witness, he should be very specific. He said "probably."
10 Page 52, line 20 of the transcript, "probably."
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Do you agree with this,
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I said "probably." I wasn't
14 sure. I said that because I saw them around, moving about without any
15 orders, without any commands, that they had nothing to do, and this is
16 how I came to that conclusion. It seemed like they came out of the
18 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
19 Q. But their numbers were reduced with the departure of volunteers
20 so that none of those units could have had more than 30 to 40 men; am I
22 A. Yes, and that's precisely what I said.
23 Q. All right. There was a military expert of the OTP here who
24 brought with him a document, an order of Colonel Mrksic to the effect
25 that the TO units were resubordinated to the 80th Motorised Brigade. Was
1 that logical, was that in accordance with the regulations in situations
2 where the Guards Brigade was leaving Vukovar and its responsibilities
3 were being taken over by the 80th Motorised Brigade?
4 A. Yes, that's logical.
5 Q. All right. Now, Colonel Vojnovic, at the time he was lieutenant
6 colonel, was appointed commander of Vukovar by way of an order?
7 A. Yes.
8 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm reluctant to
9 interrupt Mr. Seselj, but the document is document P41. It has a date.
10 Could that document be shown to the witness, because we do not know
11 exactly what you are talking about at this moment. It's just a
12 suggestion I'm making to Mr. Seselj.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] We have concluded that. You have
14 the document in evidence, and why do we need to bother ourselves with it
15 now? It's marginal for my purposes here, and why would you interrupt my
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, the document has
18 been admitted. All right. But to avoid any speculation by the Judges
19 with respect to this document, you should have said, "We have document or
20 exhibit P41," saying such-and-such thing, and then you would have put
21 your question.
22 Please proceed.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I don't have a
24 single assistant. How do you expect me to look up all those numbers?
25 You see that I'm absolutely swamped with papers. I am absolutely unable
1 to do all that by myself, and I'm going directly to the heart of the
3 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, my next question: Everybody in Vukovar knew
4 that a group of prisoners had been taken to Ovcara. Foreign journalists
5 saw that. There were also foreign observers there. Even Vance happened
6 to be in Vukovar on that day; correct?
7 A. Cyrus Vance was in Vukovar on the 19th.
8 Q. All right. And then between the 20th and the 21st, it was then
9 that the execution was carried out during the night?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. The entire Vukovar knew that the prisoners had been executed.
12 The rumours spread out immediately; right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. How was it possible that the new commander of Vukovar, Colonel
15 Vujovic, did nothing to investigate this case of execution? He did
16 absolutely nothing, and he was the only one responsible to do that.
17 Wasn't his conduct unlawful?
18 A. In view of the fact that he was the town commander and also the
19 commander of the area where this happened, I think he was the most
20 responsible person to report on that and take measures.
21 Q. And you agree that he did not take any measures?
22 A. To the best of my knowledge, he did not.
23 Q. Under his command, sanitization of the terrain in the area of
24 Vukovar was carried out. Corpses of people who had been killed were
25 collected. People were excavated from improvised burial sites, and all
1 these dead were systematically buried at the Vukovar cemetery; is that
2 correct? And this refers to over 900 people. Do you know about that?
3 A. No, I don't know about it.
4 Q. All right. And the sanitization of the terrain covered all the
5 locations where people who had been killed were temporarily buried,
6 except for this mass grave at Ovcara. Nobody even approached it. Is
7 that illegal?
8 A. Well, it's unlawful if the war theatre is not sanitised.
9 Q. You, yourself, said during the examination-in-chief that your
10 commander, Colonel Mrksic, seemed odd to you when you told him what had
11 happened at Ovcara. This means that he did not respond immediately in
12 the way you expected him to, knowing him well; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, that's correct.
14 Q. Does not that mean that at that time, there was a far higher
15 authority than Colonel Mrksic around? Am I right in saying that all you
16 security officers, and not just officers -- or, rather, not just security
17 officers, but all the officers, view General Vasiljevic with a kind of
19 A. Well, I wouldn't say it that way. Maybe some did, but we
20 lower-ranking officers, ops officers, were not afraid of
21 General Vasiljevic. And I did find Colonel Mrksic's behaviour odd. I
22 knew him as a very capable officer and I thought he should have dealt
23 with this straight away.
24 Q. All right. The very fact that the prisoners were shot between
25 the 20th and the 21st of November and that the first investigations were
1 started in Belgrade
2 exhumed the mass grave in 1996, and they were only assisted by Croatian
3 and Serbian pathologists and experts in forensic medicine, does that mean
4 that somebody intentionally tried to conceal the crime at Ovcara?
5 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] It calls for speculation,
6 Your Honour.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The secrecy, the very fact that
8 nobody did anything, is very illustrative, and it shows that there was
9 some sort of invisible secret activities aimed at concealing this. Who
10 was responsible for that, I don't know, but nobody wanted to speak about
12 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
13 Q. So somebody wanted to cover this up at any price. That's not
14 speculation, is it?
15 A. Well, it was evident that there were attempts to cover it up. It
16 was a very serious matter, and it would lead to people being held
17 responsible. Well, the number of people who were killed was 200, so --
18 well, the policy was to keep this quiet. I don't know who was
19 responsible for it.
20 Q. And when, finally, under public pressure, investigations were
21 started under the leadership of General Gojovic, who was then a colonel,
22 was it clear that General Gojovic is trying to prevent, by every possible
23 means, the names of General Vasiljevic and General Simeon Tumanov being
24 mentioned in that context, was that clear to you?
25 A. Well, I made a statement under my first and last name. I was not
1 aware of that. But later on, I made the statement in the
2 Security Administration, and Colonel Branko -- I can't remember his last
3 name -- insisted, when I was giving my statement to him, that there was
4 just Sljivancanin and I there. And I said, "No, no, no, you can't say
5 that. If we are telling the truth, then you have to say who was there,
6 who was in charge, who was aware of what was going on." But the policy
7 was to blame Sljivancanin and me for everything, only us and nobody else.
8 Q. Well, was it not clear that they sacrificed --
9 A. His name was Gajic, I remember now.
10 Q. That it was decided at a higher level to sacrifice Colonel --
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. You're so fast,
12 Mr. Seselj, that I find it hard to grasp it all. What you say may be
13 important, but you move from one topic to the next very quickly.
14 Especially, the issue of the date is very important.
15 As I understand it, Colonel Branko interviewed you, Witness, and
16 if I understand properly, because Mr. Seselj is so fast, you really have
17 to read between the lines. Colonel Branko seemed to suggest to you, as
18 it were, for you to bear the responsibility, and for you and Sljivancanin
19 to accept the responsibility. But you don't agree or you didn't agree,
20 and you said so to Colonel Branko.
21 Is that how it happened?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And I believe you added this:
24 They then decided to sacrifice Colonel Mrksic, or something to the
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't want to talk about the
2 policy of sacrificing someone, but about uncovering the truth, who did
3 what. You can't reduce it all to Sljivancanin or Vukasinovic, when you
4 have to go from the top to the bottom all the way down the chain. That's
5 the procedure, to see from the very top to the very bottom, the last
6 soldier at Ovcara, who did what, who saw what, who knew what, who took
7 what measures, and then the situation would be clear. If we exclude this
8 one and that one, it would turn out that Sljivancanin thought all this up
9 by himself and did it all by himself, and that's nothing to do with
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] How much time have I got left?
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. Precisely, I was
13 about to tell you. Twenty-four minutes left, but we have to have a
14 break. It might be best to have a break now.
15 Judge Lattanzi.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour, please.
17 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] What was the date of this
18 interview with Colonel Branko?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't understand. There was an
20 interruption, there was no interpretation.
21 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] I was asking about the date of
22 this interview with Colonel Branko.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think it was in November 1996.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation]
25 Q. That means that Colonel Bogdan Vujic was engaged in 1996 in
1 covering up the crime at Ovcara. Why would he be talking to you, an
2 active duty officer, as a retired officer?
3 A. On his return from Vukovar, he was sent back into retirement.
4 Q. No. I'm talking about Branko Gajic now.
5 A. Oh, all right, all right.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's have a 20-minute break.
7 We shall resume at 12.30.
8 --- Recess taken at 12.10 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 12.30 p.m.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.
11 Please proceed, Mr. Seselj.
12 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, as an officer of the Military Security Service,
14 I assume that throughout all that time, you were aware that there were
15 many foreign intelligence agents in the Vukovar area posing as
16 humanitarian workers, international representatives, and so on.
17 A. Yes, my chief of service had that information.
18 Q. As these foreign intelligence agents had formal cover, they had
19 the status of humanitarian workers or international representatives, you
20 were unable to put a stop to their activities; is that right?
21 A. Well, the counter-intelligence protection of units has to cover
22 that segment also, the fight against the intelligence work of the other
23 side, but we based ourselves more on the intelligence activities of the
24 Croatian paramilitary forces because they were a bigger threat to our
25 forces than the foreign intelligence agents. I don't think they were
1 really a threat, although the information they gathered was probably
2 significant for them. But our task was to deal with Vukovar, and our
3 operation, and all the problems that had to do with threats to our units,
4 our commands, our facilities and so on.
5 Q. So they were not your priority. However, their intelligence
6 reports had major political consequences through the behaviour of Western
7 governments; is that correct?
8 A. I didn't read these intelligence reports, so I cannot say
9 anything about that.
10 Q. All right. We'll move on, then.
11 As an intelligence officer, are you aware that the Croatian
12 paramilitary forces, sometime in October 1991, killed over 150 Serb
13 civilians in the Gospic area?
14 A. Yes, I am aware of that, because one of our officers, Toma
15 Strelja [phoen], was taken prisoner. He had been the garrison commander.
16 Q. Tell me, are you aware that the International Public heard about
17 this crime and that some Western governments which were already on the
18 point of deciding to recognise Croatian independence were -- had second
19 thoughts because of that?
20 A. Well, it's possible, but I don't know.
21 Q. Very well. I'll move on. I won't insist.
22 If I tell you that according to all the information I have, which
23 I believe are now beyond dispute, 207 war prisoners were brought to
24 Ovcara, 7 were released, and precisely 200 were shot, as an intelligence
25 officer, do you find this figure of precisely 200 people shot telling?
1 It's as if somebody had issued an order, "Shoot 200," and those who did
2 the shooting didn't want to shoot a single man more than 200, and then
3 they let these 7 go?
4 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Calls for speculation,
5 Your Honour.
6 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic.
8 A. I don't know exactly how many were shot.
9 Q. Well, precisely 200. The Chamber knows this, the Prosecutor
10 knows this, and I do. So precisely 200 were shot and 7 were released.
11 Those are indisputable facts.
12 A. I know how many I transported, more or less. But how many were
13 shot, I don't know. The first 15 were released, and now this number of 7
14 is turning up.
15 Q. Well, the ones you released from the barracks, but 7 were let go
16 from Ovcara. We have Croatian experts here and they confirmed this.
17 Nobody cast doubt on it. The papers -- the documents show that this is
18 correct, the forensic reports and so on, in which Serbs also
19 participated. So the number of 200 is beyond dispute, but is it telling?
20 Tell me, as an intelligence officer, does it say something to you?
21 A. It's a large number. To kill 200 people is really dreadful. But
22 the fact that it's a round number, 200, really is telling.
23 Q. Are you aware that Croatian war prisoners, located in
24 Sremska Mitrovica, and Serbs imprisoned in Croatian prisons, including
25 officers and civilians involved in the Opera and Labrador intelligence
1 networks, were exchanged in early December, and that
2 Aleksandar Vasiljevic personally, with a group of Croat prisoners, and
3 Vesna Bosanac, travelled by plane to Zagreb Airport, that
4 Aleksandar Vasiljevic personally flew to Zagreb
5 A. No.
6 Q. You're not aware of that. Well -- but I also hope that this is
7 also not challenged by the OTP, because they have this information.
8 Mr. Vukasinovic, in one place in your statement you say that not
9 a single member of the JNA took part directly in the crime at Ovcara.
10 Unfortunately, I have to challenge this. There was at least one. His
11 name was Spasoje Petkovic, known as Stuka. Have you heard of him? He
12 was a conscript, serving his regular military term in the Guards Brigade.
13 A. When I made this statement, I was convinced of this. However, as
14 you can see, there is always an exception. This one regular soldier
15 serving under Captain Radic managed to get away and take part in this.
16 As you say, that name didn't mean anything to me. That's his problem.
17 Q. Well, now I'll tell you briefly what I have finally discovered.
18 And then you and Their Honours will understand what all these previous
19 questions were for.
20 The Croats killed civilians in Gospic. There was a danger that
21 the Western forces would not recognise Croatia because of this crime. On
22 the other hand, Aleksandar Vasiljevic was doing his level best to have an
23 exchange and to get people released from prison who could compromise him
24 directly because of the Opera and Labrador affair. The Croats put a
25 condition to him. They said, "Shoot 200 Croat prisoners so that we can
1 have a propaganda means against the Serbs." Maybe they didn't explain it
2 that far. And he agreed with Vesna Bosanac which Croats from Vukovar
3 Hospital would be easiest to sacrifice. They were often criminals, poor
4 people, people who they thought, according to their criteria, were of
5 least value, so that prisoners were shot. Western intelligence agents
6 and journalists immediately got this information out. The propaganda
7 against the Serb people was achieved, the goal was achieved, and
8 Vasiljevic went to Zagreb
9 Opera operation.
10 What do you think of my conclusion, as an intelligence officer?
11 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Before the witness answers, I'd
12 like to say that this is a compound question, a speculative one, and that
13 the Defence has to establish facts and then to present arguments, but
14 only in their closing brief. So hence my objection.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The question was put to you,
16 Witness. What do you answer?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is a very complex question. I
18 agree there with the Prosecutor. However, during that period of time,
19 when I was engaged, my level was a low one. Later on I didn't deal with
20 problems of that kind, so that your assessment and your thoughts on the
21 matter, as far as the involvement of Aleksandar Vasiljevic is concerned,
22 that that was possible, I really can't say "yes" or "no." I would like
23 to remain neutral, because I can't actually say, I can't link it all up
24 together. I fully recognise you and your image and your position, so let
25 it remain there, but I can't confirm it myself in the way you put it.
1 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
2 Q. All right. That's a satisfactory answer as well. I'll accept
3 that, because judging by everything, you're a very proper and correct
5 Mr. Vukasinovic, on the Serb side, throughout the war between
6 Serbia Krajina and Croatia
7 that, did a more terrible crime happen, more terrible than the crime at
8 Ovcara; do you know about that, a single crime that would be even more
9 terrible than the crime at Ovcara, committed on the Serb side, I
10 emphasise once again?
11 A. I think this is the only crime on the Serb side which is
12 outside -- which is something outside of normal. A mass grave, 200
13 people, I think that's the only crime committed, if we can say it that
14 way, the Yugoslav People's Army. Well, it didn't commit the crime, but
15 it allowed the crime to be committed. I don't think there was any other
16 such major crime.
17 Q. There were individual crimes and crimes committed by groups, but
18 they were small groups, but such a terrible crime was not recorded
19 through 1991, except for that one; am I right in saying that?
20 A. Well, on the territory of Serbia
21 unique and the only such crime throughout the war, apart from Srebrenica.
22 Q. That's Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I'm asking you about Serbian
24 A. Yes, that would be a unique crime in that area.
25 Q. Now, did that crime do a great deal of damage to Serbian
1 political interests; is that quite clear and without a doubt true?
2 A. First of all, it harmed my brigade, which is an elite brigade
3 with a lot of traditions, where high-level, very competent officers
4 worked, and of course the political establishment of the Republic of
6 Q. Now we have a colonel who was later a general, Mile Mrksic, and
7 he was criticised for attempting a putsch, a military coup, when he
8 arrested Kadijevic and he didn't know what to do, and then they
9 negotiated, and then the whole thing sort of -- it turned out that
10 nothing actually had happened. Did you hear about that?
11 A. I heard about that, but -- well, I didn't take part in any of
12 that, but I think that that was more sort of raised to a level -- had he
13 really arrested Kadijevic, well, I don't think that's true.
14 Q. Mile Mrksic was here and he told me about the details. I don't
15 have time to give you all the details now, but anyway, it's not
16 important. Then Colonel Sljivancanin, in the media during the Vukovar
17 operation was most talked about; he was on the television, in the papers,
18 he had media coverage?
19 A. Yes, he bore all the responsibility.
20 Q. And as he was in the media, although he did not occupy a command
21 function, he was the foremost person bandied about in the media, his post
22 of chief of security was not a command post?
23 A. Yes, that's right. That's what I said, too.
24 Q. He is a military expert who understands everything. Other people
25 didn't understand you. I'm a military expert, too, so let's move on.
1 THE INTERPRETER: A little slower, please, thank you.
2 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
3 Q. We know that --
4 THE INTERPRETER: We did not catch who.
5 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
6 Q. ... took part in the Petrova Gora and Leva Supoderica operations,
7 and they were the three most suited persons ... [Previous translation
8 continues]... sacrifice. Why did no other officer, JNA officer be held
9 responsible for the crime? Aleksandar Vasiljevic, who was chief of
10 military security and was there that day, he could have been at least
11 responsible for hushing up the crime, if nothing else?
12 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] There are gaps in the transcript,
13 very hard to follow.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, you're too fast. There
15 are gaps in the transcript. Continue.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, all right, I'll slow down,
17 but you meet me halfway and give me another five or six minutes, should I
18 need them. I'm winding up now, but please bear that in mind that I might
19 need a little more time.
20 Q. Now, is it true and correct, in your opinion, as a colonel of the
21 military security service, as a person who passed his general's
22 examination, which is on par with a PhD, examination of a general is on
23 part with a PhD?
24 A. Yes, I do have the equivalent of a PhD degree in Military
25 Sciences, but let me answer your question.
1 There's a general theory coming through that it was the Security
2 Service that was responsible, but Sljivancanin and the people around him,
3 that's the thesis that they wanted to prove at the trial. However, I,
4 too, consider there was a great deal of responsibility on the part of
5 General Aleksandar Vasiljevic and that he was skillful in side-stepping
6 his responsibility. I think that somebody should call him to account
7 once -- or, rather, put him to a table here to answer some questions,
8 just like I'm answering questions now. And it's indicative why Captain
9 1st Class Radic, whom we defended, because the person had nothing to do
10 with this and he was freed, he had nothing to do with it.
11 Q. He's quite right and chapeau to the Trial Chamber that made that
12 decision. Now, Captain Radic was probably put there because the Croatian
13 forces had a great deal of problems. It was an officer who was very good
14 in combat. They knew that Milan Lancuzanin, Kameni, and Mr. Radic were
15 fiercest in the attack, and they broke down their wings. And the Croats
16 wanted to see that these very professional, high-ranking officers would
17 be done away with later on and be sent away from the army and be held
18 accountable. That's why they put Sljivancanin through, although he was
19 in the media, most bandied about. He wasn't responsible at Ovcara and
20 the fact that he was found guilty --
21 A. And, well, Radic, too, somebody who had absolutely nothing to do
22 with that.
23 Q. Yes, I agree with you fully there. I have the same position as
24 you, but you said that Milan Lancuzanin, Kameni, you just saw for a brief
25 moment at Ovcara. Now, if I tell you, and my information is based on his
1 statements at the Belgrade
2 pull out some of his friends from those 200 prisoners and that he was not
3 successful in that, does that seem probable to you? Is that a
5 A. Possibility, that is a possibility, yes, because all of them had
6 their friends there and probably they did try to pull them out. Yes,
7 that is quite possible, and I believe that to be possible.
8 Q. Is it possible there's a trial in Belgrade against a group of the
9 actual perpetrators, because there were actual perpetrators among them,
10 but also against people who were not the perpetrators, but were linked to
11 them to achieve a political goal; is that something that seems obvious to
13 A. Well, I think there's a lot of truth there. I'm not a judge, I'm
14 not connected to the process, but I think that that Milan Lancuzanin was
15 not personally responsible.
16 Q. All right, thank you. Do you know about his closest associates,
17 Kinez, Ceca and Mare Katic? I don't want to say their full names.
18 A. I know Ceca, well, I met him. He happened to be wounded and I
19 enabled his transport to the hospital, then he returned, he returned the
20 vehicle back, and that's how we got to know each other. He was a good
21 combatant. Later on, he appeared in court as an accused, and that too
22 was --
23 Q. Did you ever note any criminal tendencies?
24 A. Not as far as Ceca is concerned.
25 Q. And you don't know about the others?
1 A. No, I don't.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right.
3 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Now we're asking the view of the
4 witness as an expert in psychiatry.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What you say, is it based only
6 on the knowledge you had of that person?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] We're dealing with a security
8 officer, an experienced security officer, at that.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I got to know them as much as
10 I could during those encounters, but I got to know this Ceca better
11 because he was wounded, as I said, and he came to the command post in a
12 vehicle. Otherwise, I didn't like giving permits for people to use cars
13 to leave town, because what would happen is they would drive off and not
14 return the car. So he asked me to give him a permit, and I did so
15 because I saw he was wounded, so I organised his transport urgently. And
16 when he returned from hospital, he said thank you to me, and he said
17 that, yes, I am a hard man, but as I said, I let him go and gave him a
18 permit for the vehicle when it was really necessary. So I had to become
19 convinced -- they had to convince me whether they really needed a
21 So during this exchange, we got to know each other, and later on
22 I would see him around more, and in my opinion, I think he's a fairly
23 peaceful man.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could you tell me how much more
25 time I have?
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Registrar. Four minutes.
2 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
3 Q. All right. Mr. Vukasinovic, when you were interviewed on the
4 16th and 26th of November, 2002, what role did Colonel
5 Srecko Borisavljevic play who was present during your interview? Why was
6 he present at the interview at all, why did he attend it?
7 A. The colonel did not attend. It's a colonel --
8 Q. Please, don't mention any other name. Just tell me, what did you
9 say, Srecko Borisavljevic?
10 A. No, Mojsilovic was the colonel.
11 Q. We'll get to Mojsilovic in a minute, but you say that
12 Srecko Borisavljevic wasn't present at all?
13 A. He was present but he was waiting to come onto the scene after
15 Q. But wasn't he present while you were interviewed?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Well, for some reason, on the title page of your statement --
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please. We don't
19 have any transcript. It's okay now, continue.
20 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
21 Q. For some unknown reason, on the title page of your statement, the
22 Prosecution mentions here that Srecko Borisavljevic was one of the people
23 present during the interview conducted with you. Why would the
24 Prosecutor state that here?
25 A. I say quite seriously that while I conducted my talk with Djuro,
1 Vladimir, the investigator, I was there, Mojsilovic was there, the
2 interpreter was there. The man was Croatian, Marijan.
3 Q. Yes, Marijan Franjic and Paolo Pastore-Stocchi?
4 A. But the other person wasn't.
5 Q. Whenever potential witnesses were interviewed so far, and if they
6 were thought to be possible suspects, they would come in with their
7 lawyers, too; if not, they were interviewed alone. And it was only the
8 official employees of the Tribunal who were present. Now, for the first
9 time here, I see a piece of information saying that somebody else was
10 present, because it says here that present were Colonel Mihailo
11 Mojsilovic. He's a security officer too, right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Now, why was he present?
14 A. Colonel Mojsilovic [Realtime transcript read in error
15 "Vasiljevic"] was the military security in the center of high-ranking
16 military schools, but he was in the sort of team working with The Hague
17 Tribunal, if I can put it that way. So he was present as a support to
18 me, giving me support. He would follow what I said, my presentation, and
19 if something was not correct, then he would intervene. But otherwise, he
20 kept quiet and just sat there, observing.
21 Q. You're very eloquent, you're very well educated. You're a PhD
22 and have other titles, and now you need somebody like Colonel Mojsilovic
23 to be a support, to provide support?
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Where is it mentioned that this
25 colonel was present? I'm trying to find the page.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The first page, the first page at
2 the bottom, the last paragraph. Mihailo Mojsilovic. It doesn't say
3 "Colonel" here, but I know he's a colonel because I know many things.
4 JUDGE HARHOFF: Just for the record, I would draw attention to
5 what I think is an error in the transcript on page 99, line number 23.
6 The gentleman's name is here referred to as "Colonel Vasiljevic," which
7 I think is not what the witness said.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Colonel Mihailo Mojsilovic,
9 M-o-j-s-i-l-o-v-i-c. He was present there in order to supervise what you
10 were saying; right?
11 A. Colonel Mojsilovic, in formal and legal terms, that was his role.
12 But what he was actually doing there, well, I don't really know.
13 Q. I have information that his task was to strictly supervise what
14 you were going to say and to table a report, and to report back about
15 what you said.
16 A. That's what I just said. He was there, listening to what I was
17 saying. He didn't have any need to intervene, there was no need for
18 that, and we completed the interview.
19 Q. And I'll tell you something more. As a colonel of the security
20 service, he was one of the people who were given the assignment of --
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, I'm looking at the
22 English version, and I can't find any trace of what you're saying.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The last name on the list of
24 persons present is Mihailo Mojsilovic.
25 JUDGE HARHOFF: Which statement are we talking about?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It's the 2002 statement, the 16th
2 and the 26th of November.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, I'm looking at the
4 first page. We've got the last name of the witness, his date of birth,
5 what he speaks, Serbian and Albanian. We have the dates of the
6 interviews, 16th and 26th of November. Interviewer is Vladimir Djuro,
7 Paolo Pastore-Stocchi, and then the name of the interpreter. That's all
8 we have.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, then you're missing four
10 lines. You have it in the Serbian, the names of all persons present
11 during the interviews; Srecko Borisavljevic, that's the colonel.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It was hidden from us, because
13 I don't have it.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, yes, hidden. Many things
15 have been hidden from you. Look at the Serbian version, and you'll see
16 for yourself.
17 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] There's no doubt about it, it's
18 mentioned in the Serbian text.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But I don't have it in Serbian.
20 Mr. Dutertre, can you confirm?
21 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Yes, ERN 0115-2261. I don't
22 understand what is written, but I can see the names in the document that
23 was disclosed to the accused, so he has the information. I can see the
24 name Mojsilovic.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can you give us the text in
2 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation], of course, Mr. President. Let me
3 avail myself of the opportunity, since I'm on my feet, to say that when
4 there are individuals that are still officials of a country, especially
5 in Serbia
6 presence of another official. This is common practice.
7 Thank you.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'd like to see the Serbian
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, he was here officially
11 present as the secretary of the Commission of the Federal Ministry of
12 Defence and Armed Forces of Yugoslavia
14 Q. That was his official post?
15 A. Yes.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Do you want to photocopy my
17 document, Mr. President, if the Prosecutor won't give you his?
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please. I'm going
19 to have a look at the document given to me by the Prosecution.
20 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj is saying that the
21 Prosecutor does not want to give the document. It's not true.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I want it to be recorded on the
23 transcript that in the B/C/S version of this document, we have a list of
24 those present during the interview, and we have the name of Mihailo
25 Mojsilovic, but in the English version of the document that was given to
1 the Chamber, this does not appear, and I want this document to be placed
2 on the ELMO. I'm going to ask the usher to place the document on the
3 ELMO, please.
4 Please place the document on the ELMO. I want everyone to be
5 able to witness this.
6 As you can see in the English version of this document, this does
7 not appear.
8 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] I think it appears --
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I think that this is more than a
10 sufficient reason to take certain steps to punish the Prosecution.
11 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are going to place the B/C/S
13 version on the ELMO.
14 When you're dealing with legal documents, with exhibits, they
15 have to be the same in both languages. It may be a simple mistake. I'm
16 not sure.
17 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't know what
18 happened. I have no information about what happened. What's for sure is
19 that the document in B/C/S, with the name of this person, was disclosed
20 to the accused. We can say that the rights of the Defence have been
21 fully complied with. As for the translation, I don't know. I don't do
22 the translations myself. We at the OTP disclosed the document we
23 received from the Translation Department. I can inquire about it, but I
24 don't know what happened.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please return the document to
1 the Prosecutor.
2 Witness, this prompts me to put another question to you. When
3 you were interviewed by the Prosecution, were you told by the authorities
4 of the armed forces of your country, "Yes, go and testify, but we'll send
5 an officer along with you as an observer"?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. At the time, I worked at the
7 school centre, our intelligence school centre, I taught there, and then
8 the chief of security gave me permission to give a statement. At that
9 time, I was his subordinate. Aco Tomic was the chief of the
10 Security Administration. And then I had to report to Mojsilovic, that's
11 what I was told, so that Mojsilovic could come with me, and that he would
12 be the person accompanying me during the interview, since he was a member
13 of the security service as well, he worked at the Secretariat, and he was
14 a member of the Commission for Cooperation with The Hague Tribunal. And
15 it all seemed like a normal regular procedure to me. I never gave it a
16 second thought. That's how it was.
17 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, did Aco Tomic or Mihailo Mojsilovic or somebody
19 else give you any suggestions, any instructions, as to what needs to be
20 said, what needs to be discussed? Did you have any instructions before
21 you went to be interviewed?
22 A. No.
23 Q. You didn't; all right. Is it clear, Mr. Vukasinovic, that this
24 supervisory role of Mihailo Mojsilovic as a colonel of the Military
25 Security Service, was to make sure that the list of the suspects was not
1 expanded, that the focus remained on the three accused, Mrksic, Radic,
2 Sljivancanin, so that the issue of Vojnovic, Aleksandar Vasiljevic,
3 Simeon Tumanov and many others was not raised at all; wasn't that obvious
4 to you, that that was the case?
5 A. I can agree with your view, but I can't tell you for certain that
6 that's how it was. Logically, it could be that way, because knowing
7 Mr. Mojsilovic, I can say that this was a gentleman who deserves such a
8 role. I think they chose a wrong man, a completely wrong man for the
10 Q. Is Mr. Vukasinovic, I know him back from Sarajevo, back from
11 those days. He was captain first class at the time. He spent some time
12 at the law school. I guess he wanted to enroll in the law school and so
13 on, but he also had some other tasks there. I guess he was spying on the
14 professors were discussing. At the time, he was the closest associate of
15 General Aleksandar Vasiljevic back in Sarajevo back in those days; is
16 that right?
17 A. Probably.
18 Q. And I met him in the office of Milan Tomic, professor at the law
19 school. I just happened to meet him there, and he was
20 Aleksandar Vasiljevic's man in Sarajevo
21 Mr. Vukasinovic?
22 A. I think that as far as that is concerned, you're quite right.
23 Mojsilovic is a person without any principles, and it was typical for
24 Aleksandar Vasiljevic to use such people and to skillfully use them,
25 guide them.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Vukasinovic. You
2 testified honorably, honestly and accurately.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I wanted to say
4 something, because we have to be fair to everyone.
5 About the persons who were present during the interview, yes,
6 that's a fact, it's not mentioned in the English version. But
7 nonetheless, the Prosecutor disclosed the document in B/C/S to the
8 accused. But I work on the basis of the English documents. I trust the
9 English documents, so I did not have access to the B/C/S version.
10 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] I've just realised something.
11 I've been given a translation where you have the ERN number, and in that
12 English translation with the ERN number, the name of the person is
13 mentioned. So I suppose you were given the wrong or the draft
14 translation. In any case, it remains that the accused was disclosed the
15 proper document.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I want you to check
17 right away. Please check right away whether the ERN number of the
18 English version, where this information is recorded, is identical to the
19 ERN number of the English version, where this information is missing.
20 This is an even greater problem. If we have two different documents
21 bearing the same ERN number in English, then it's a catastrophe, then the
22 entire Prosecution needs to be arrested.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber will rule on
24 the matter later, after reviewing it.
25 Mr. Dutertre, any re-examination?
1 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] What was disclosed to the Chamber
2 was a translation without any ERN number. The translation I have just
3 been given bears an ERN number. I believe that it's just a minor
4 technical hitch.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We received a translation in
6 English or an English version of this document without any ERN numbers.
7 Any re-examination?
8 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Yes.
9 Re-examination by Mr. Dutertre:
10 Q. Page 55, line 25 of the transcript of today, Witness, you
11 mentioned the members of Petrova Gora and Leva Supoderica, by saying that
12 there were local people amongst them, but you were aware that a number of
13 volunteers were sent to Vukovar, weren't you, Colonel?
14 A. Yes. Naturally, I know, but this was a problem of those
15 conducting mobilisation, those officers. I, as a security officer,
16 wasn't interested in knowing which party a volunteer is from. But there
17 were activists of political parties from Belgrade who were members of
18 this Petrova Gora unit and so on, but many of them later on left those
20 Q. All right. And you knew that in the Leva Supoderica unit, there
21 were volunteers?
22 A. [No verbal response].
23 Q. Fine. Page 52, line 20, you said, in relation to a problem we
24 mentioned, that Petrova Gora and Leva Supoderica were separated from the
25 Guards Brigade after the fall of Vukovar?
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The witness gave an answer, but
2 if you look at the transcript, you see that it says "No verbal response."
3 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, could you please tell us if you knew that there
5 were volunteers within the Leva Supoderica unit?
6 A. Yes, there were.
7 Q. Fine. Let me return to the following question. Page 52, line
8 20, you said that Petrova Gora and Leva Supoderica were probably
9 separated from the Guards Brigade after the fall of Vukovar.
10 I would like the witness to be shown Exhibit P41.
11 Mr. Vukasinovic, can you tell us the date we see on this
12 document, on the top left-hand corner?
13 A. 21st November 1991, at 6.00, at 600 hours.
14 Q. Could you tell us who signed the document?
15 A. Signed by Commander Mile Mrksic.
16 Q. Can you confirm that this document states that Leva Supoderica
17 and Petrova Gora have to be resubordinated to the 80th Brigade?
18 A. Yes, he discusses resubordination here; that is to say, they are
19 coming out from the composition of the Guards Brigade and becoming a
20 component of the 80th Brigade. And I concluded that based on their
21 behaviour back on the 20th, and that was my conclusion, but we disagree
22 in one day.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, on the 21st, who were
24 they subordinated to exactly, because I see something like "21,"
25 et cetera.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues]...
2 Motorised Brigade within the 12th Corps.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So, on the 21st of November,
4 the Leva Supoderica unit was resubordinated to the unit of the 12th
5 Corps, 12th Brigade; is that correct?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, you're right.
7 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Can you confirm that in the same document, it is stated that the
9 Vukovar TO has to be resubordinated to the 80th MTBR; paragraph 4?
10 A. Yes, yes.
11 Q. In other words, these two units, Leva Supoderica and
12 Petrova Gora, still existed at that time, and they were still under the
13 command of the Guards Brigade until the 21st?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Do you know whether, amongst Mr. Seselj's volunteers in Vukovar,
16 there were only people coming from Belgrade or also local people? In
17 other words, did Mr. Seselj's -- or were Mr. Seselj's supporters in
18 Vukovar local people or also people coming from outside of Vukovar?
19 A. I told you that this issue of who belongs to which party is
20 something that Mr. Seselj is familiar with. When you see combatants in
21 the war, you can't tell, based on their appearance, which party they
22 belong to. You can conclude that based on what they say, because you can
23 have individuals saying, "Yes, I'm Seselj's man," or something like that,
24 "I've been sent by such-and-such person or such-and-such party." But I
25 can't tell you how many there were from which party.
1 It is a fact that the volunteers who came were assigned to these
2 two units, Leva Supoderica and Petrova Gora, because in this way they
3 could act in a unified way, through Territorial Defence, rather than
4 being resubordinated to the regular army, because they wouldn't fit
5 there. So it was natural for us to put them in the units that were
6 similar to them. And at the time, I was a security officer, and for me
7 to have to think about who belongs to which political party, that would
8 have been ridiculous.
9 As for the insignia, one couldn't tell, based on the insignia,
10 whether a person belonged to Seselj's unit or not. Everybody had
11 cockades. Even members of the regular army, some of them occasionally,
12 in secret, wore cockades, because those were national symbols, and the
13 discipline was becoming loose.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Colonel, when looking at this
15 order from the 21st of November, we see that it's really the application
16 of a previous order dated the 20th of November coming from the 1st
17 Military District. Can you confirm that for us?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's what it says here, but I'm
19 not familiar with these facts.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The order of 20th of November
21 from the 1st Military District, number 115-151, I suppose it had to be
22 enforced immediately, as any military order.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the army, an order comes into
24 force the minute it is signed by the commander.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In other words, in military
1 terms, on the 21st of November, at 0001 second, the Leva Supoderica unit
2 was subordinated to the 12th Brigade of the 12th Corps?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, precisely so.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That's what it means, in
5 military terms.
6 Military science is a very exact science. There's no room for --
7 or margin of error.
8 Mr. Dutertre.
9 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Can you confirm that at paragraph 1, we read:
11 [In English] "[Previous translation continues]... withdraw the
12 Leva Supoderica Volunteers Detachment and dispatch them to the 12th
14 A. Yes. The 21st was the day when units were moved. The unit is
15 taken out of this composition, moved elsewhere, and throughout that day
16 this was being done, and all activities had to be completed by midnight
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Okay. So it did not happen
18 0000. Would you agree that it starts at 0001 second?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, correct.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, but the order was
21 issued during the day, not at night, not at midnight.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Most likely, this was issued in the
23 morning. There should have been a time indication somewhere.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber will have a
25 look at order 115-151, in any case.
1 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Resubordination has to happen during the day. That's a fact.
3 Let's return to the issue of departure of volunteers.
4 Did you attend meetings related to the organisation of their
5 departure, of the departure of the volunteers?
6 A. I did not attend such a meeting as a member of the Command. Most
7 likely, this was a decision made by the commander. I never attended such
8 meetings. I mostly received my assignments from the commander,
9 personally, and I was in command of military police units for a long
10 time, so the commander seldom had any problems with me. I always acted
11 in accordance with the law, the spirit of the law, and so -- in
12 accordance with the orders of the commander that would, for example, say,
13 "Prepare units for departure to Belgrade. Prepare area of
14 responsibility," and so on. And then it's given to me in clear terms. I
15 know what I need to do, and the commander doesn't need to pull me away
16 from my job and call me to meetings.
17 The volunteers were not within my sphere of responsibility.
18 Q. All right. What do you know about the specifics of measures
19 taken with respect to the volunteers' departure?
20 A. No, that's not familiar to me. I wasn't involved in those tasks,
21 and I know nothing about them.
22 Q. With respect to the situation in Vukovar, and with respect to the
23 acts of violence committed by Croats, you mentioned that yesterday --
24 today, page 58 of the transcript. I have two follow-up questions.
25 Is it true that, as a rule, the Guards Brigade and the Serb
1 forces of OG South were superior to the Croats, in military terms, in
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] What does this have to do with
4 re-examination? This was not mentioned either in chief or in
5 cross-examination. This is really pointless.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can reply, sir.
7 If one looks at the number of artillery pieces, manpower and so
8 on, in attack you have to have forces that are three times larger than
9 those forces that are attacked. Those are the rules of combat. The side
10 attacking has to have resources that are greater three times than the
11 side that is being attacked, and in that sense, they were superior. But
12 you have another situation where you carry out an attack against an
13 inhabited town, defended by the locals, and you are carrying out your
14 attack with the forces that are from elsewhere, that have no geographical
15 or territorial connection to the area attacked. In this case, yes, we
16 outnumber them, but we are weaker because we don't know the area, we are
17 open, we are attacking, whereas they are organised, they are closed in,
18 they are defending, and they can easily inflict losses on us.
19 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] All right. I'd like to have
20 Exhibit 985 on the 65 ter list.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Judges, I have another objection.
22 All of these documents ought to have been put in examination-in-chief and
23 not now, because had they been put to the witness in
24 examination-in-chief, I would have covered them in my cross.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, when it comes to
1 re-examination, the Prosecutor can refer to a document already admitted
2 into evidence, in order to then ask a question.
3 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] I can check for you if the
4 document has been admitted or not.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If the document has not been
6 admitted, you can show it, but only insofar as it relates to the
7 credibility of the witness.
8 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Then I'll move on to something
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are running over time.
11 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] I know.
12 Q. Mention was made of attempts made to conceal a number of things,
13 and the name of Mr. Vasiljevic was mentioned. Apart from discussion you
14 had with someone named Bronco [as interpreted], what hard evidence can
15 you give us to support what you're saying about the attempts made by
16 Mr. Vasiljevic and others to conceal what had happened at Ovcara?
17 A. I have a very telling example. When giving statement, I can tell
18 you what I was guided by. When I was given a statement by Branko Gajic,
19 who was a colonel at the time, who was at Ovcara and when I said I found
20 Lieutenant Colonel Panic there, he said to me, "We're not going to record
21 that, because we're expanding the circle of names. Why not skip his
22 name?" And I said, "No, I insist that it be recorded that Colonel Panic
23 was present." Based on that, I concluded that he wanted to reduce the
24 entire activity to Sljivancanin, myself and some other security organs,
25 as though we did all of this by ourselves, as we saw fit, and then what
1 happened happened.
2 So the instant I mentioned Lieutenant Colonel Panic, he said to
3 me, "Let's not record his name, because we don't want to expand the
4 circle of people that need to be called in," and so on and so on. Based
5 on that, I concluded that he wanted to conduct an interview with me and
6 have me reduce this to just a couple of names.
7 Q. Let me repeat my question, because you have not answered my
8 question. You mentioned a conversation with Mr. Bronco [as interpreted],
9 Colonel Bronco [as interpreted]. What else do you have? What else can
10 you rely on to state that Mr. Vasiljevic and others attempted to cover up
11 what happened at Ovcara?
12 A. You mean to say that Aleksandar Vasiljevic didn't know what
13 happened in Ovcara? He, as chief of Security Administration, had to
14 order to lower echelons, to security organs, to investigate urgently what
15 happened, and he didn't do that. I know him. He was always very agile
16 when it came to solving problems. But when it came to Ovcara, he even
17 went as far as to state that he had heard from some captain from the 80th
18 Brigade that this had happened. Can you imagine this, that the chief of
19 the Security Administration does something like that? That's
21 Therefore, I think that his -- this inactivity and failure to get
22 involved on his part is something very strange, and this makes me wonder
23 that somebody wanted to have it happen this way. Now, who was it, I
24 don't know. But if you look at the entire picture, everybody kept quiet,
25 all the higher-up echelons kept quiet, and naturally lower echelons had
1 to keep quiet as well. That's logical.
2 Q. You've stated that everybody knew immediately about the
3 executions at Ovcara, and you also stated that the Guards Brigade left on
4 the 24th November 1991
5 did the Command and the superior officers of the Guards Brigade that were
6 commanding the region, why didn't they instigate an investigation?
7 A. I can't tell you that. You should ask the commander. He was the
8 most responsible, you know. It's an interesting question, but I have no
9 answer to it. And what does "concealment" mean; hiding a problem that
10 occurred because of responsibility? What does "cover-up" mean?
11 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] No further questions.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Witness, for coming
13 to testify at the request of the OTP. Thank you for your contribution to
14 the events in Vukovar. In my own name and on behalf of the Trial
15 Chamber, I wish you a safe trip home, and I'll ask the usher to escort
16 you out of the courtroom.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President, and I
18 wish to thank all your associates, and the Prosecution and the Defence as
19 well. Thank you.
20 [The witness withdrew]
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Regarding next week, we have
22 three witnesses, VS-029, VS-016 and Mr. Sulejman Tihic; is that right,
23 Mr. Mundis?
24 MR. MUNDIS: Yes, it is, Your Honours.
25 I will indicate and will notify the accused and the Trial Chamber
1 if we have any updated information. It is possible that VS-29 may not be
2 available to testify on Tuesday. We are continuing to monitor that
3 situation, and we very well might not have an answer until Monday. But
4 as soon as I have information, we will convey that.
5 VS-1016 will certainly testify, as --
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sorry, there was a mistake in
7 the transcript. It was -- I said "VS-1016." It was a mistake in the
9 MR. MUNDIS: Yes. Certainly, VS-1016 will be available to
10 testify next week, as well as President Tihic.
11 While I'm on my feet, Mr. President and Your Honours, I simply
12 wanted to also indicate that Mr. Dutertre is leaving the Tribunal, and
13 today is his last day with us and on behalf of the Prosecution team, I
14 wanted to thank him for his involvement in this trial.
15 Thank you.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, on behalf of my
17 colleagues, I also want to wish a very good professional career. He's
18 leaving the OTP, so I suppose he's going to work somewhere else. We wish
19 him all the best in his new job. And, personally, I do regret that
20 somebody who spoke French is leaving the Tribunal. There are not that
21 many in the OTP who speak French. For once, there was one, and he's
22 going. But he might be replaced; who knows.
23 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Thank you for these very kind
24 words, Mr. President. Thank you, Mr. Mundis. I'm moved, and I wanted to
25 thank all the people working with us in the hearings, without whom we
1 could not operate. Thank you, to you, Judges of the Trial Chamber, thank
2 you, Mr. Seselj, and it was both an honour and a pleasure to be part of
3 the OTP team, under the leadership of Mr. Daryl Mundis and Ms. Dahl and
4 to appear before your Chamber, an honour and a pleasure.
5 Thank you very much.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I say something?
8 I have two things to say, Mr. President, and then later on I have
9 some administrative matters that I have prepared.
10 But, firstly, as regards Mr. Dutertre leaving --
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. We have ten
12 minutes left, so we'll have to say it all in ten minutes.
13 Go ahead.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, this will be less than half a
16 As regards Mr. Dutertre and his leaving, I think that now the
17 Prosecution is much weaker. There were ten Prosecutors acting in these
18 proceedings. Now there are only nine of them against me alone, so I
19 require that the OTP strengthen their numbers urgently, because they
20 can't deal with me when there are ten of them, let alone when there are
22 Secondly, I would like to know how much time we have for
23 Witness Tihic and witness 1016 so that I may prepare. That's very
24 important for me to know. Tihic is being moved. He was not envisaged
25 for next week, but now I have to prepare for him over the weekend.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You will be informed this
2 afternoon. We have to look into all this. We'll let you know. There is
3 some uncertainty as to VS-029, but you will be informed promptly in the
4 ensuing hours.
5 Madam Registrar, can we move to private session. I wanted to
6 convey a decision to Mr. Seselj, an already handed-down decision and one
7 that is to come.
8 [Private session]
11 Pages 12402-12404 redacted. Private session.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.
22 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 2nd day of
23 December, 2008, at 8.30 a.m.