1 Wednesday, 19 February 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.08 a.m.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
6 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, just a couple of preliminary matters
7 before the witness is brought in. In view of the nature of some of the
8 testimony to be given by this witness, the Prosecution applied for
9 protective measures of delayed disclosure and use of a pseudonym. Those
10 measures were granted by the Chamber on the 3rd of May, 2002. The witness
11 having now attended to testify in The Hague has informed the Prosecution
12 that he no longer requires any protective measures or a pseudonym during
13 his testimony and will be testifying, or it would be his wish to testify
14 in open court. We therefore seek a variation of your earlier order.
15 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
16 MR. GROOME: The second matter, Your Honour, is the Prosecution,
17 with respect to a video that it intends to tender with this witness, had
18 applied for certain measures or protective measures regarding that video
19 which had been provided to the Office of the Prosecution pursuant to Rule
20 70. By a decision of the 7th of June, 2002, the Chamber ordered that,
21 one, the video and the accompanying transcript be identified as B3000 in
22 all court documents; two, the identity of the provider not be revealed;
23 three, the submission of the video and the transcript as an exhibit be
24 done under seal; and four, any Court session in which the video may be
25 shown be a closed session and that the video feed and transcript not be
1 made public.
2 Since those orders were made, the provider of this video has
3 agreed that the video may be shown publicly. The Prosecution therefore
4 requests that your orders, the first, third, and fourth order of your
5 decision of the 7th of June be varied to enable the public showing of this
6 video and the public display of the transcript.
7 As the provider still wishes to remain anonymous, the Prosecution
8 is requesting that your second order remain in effect.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
10 MR. GROOME: And finally, Your Honour, just for the record,
11 Mr. Milosevic raised a statement. I believe he misspoke when he said a
12 statement created the 17th of February, 1993, as it appeared in the
13 transcript. The statement was signed by this witness on the 17th of
14 February, 2003. It was turned over to Mr. Milosevic on the very day, an
15 hour after it was signed. I will not be asking any questions regarding
16 that statement. The history -- the brief history of the statement is it
17 was the result of an interview that began some time ago, but because this
18 witness in large part was travelling, it was unable to be completed until
19 he arrived in The Hague. It was provided to Mr. Milosevic in terms of
20 completeness but, again, I will not be asking any questions regarding the
21 contents of that statement.
22 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
23 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, the Prosecution now calls Mr. Dragan
25 JUDGE MAY: While he's being brought, we've been given three
1 separate binders of documents. They're numbered 1, 2, and 3.
2 [The witness entered court]
3 JUDGE MAY: I take them to be the exhibits which this witness will
4 be producing. Is that right?
5 MR. GROOME: That's correct, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE MAY: The first one -- the first tab on number 1 is the
7 proofing summary. That, of course, will not be an exhibit.
8 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE MAY: Although no doubt we could exhibit the others in due
11 Let the witness take the declaration.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
13 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
14 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 WITNESS: DRAGAN VASILJKOVIC
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, while we're discussing exhibits, it
19 would be helpful to assign exhibit numbers to those three binders. The
20 first one would be general exhibits, the one you've just referred to. The
21 second one would be exhibits associated with the video. And the third
22 binder are exhibits associated with the Captain Dragan fund.
23 JUDGE MAY: Yes, we'll take the numbers for those.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Binder number 1, Your Honours, is Prosecutor's
25 Exhibit 389; binder number 2 is Prosecutor's Exhibit 390; and binder
1 number 3 is Prosecutor's Exhibit 391.
2 JUDGE MAY: In the first of those, as I said, 389, the first tab,
3 which is the summary, will not be exhibited.
4 MR. GROOME: And, Your Honour, just before I begin, during the
5 presentation of the evidence here today, we will be using, in conjunction
6 with the standard way that we've been tendering evidence, just a computer
7 programme to facilitate the quick presentation of the evidence. I've put
8 an explanation of it at the beginning of the witness summary. I've also
9 -- depending on what participant and where you're sitting in the
10 courtroom, you need to push a different button on your console to have
11 access to that, and there is a chart on the witness summary to indicate to
12 all participants here what button they should push to see this evidence.
13 Examined by Mr. Groome:
14 Q. Sir, could I ask you to please begin by telling us your name.
15 A. My name is Dragan Vasiljkovic.
16 Q. Can you describe for the Chamber how it was you came to be a
17 witness in this case and your motivation for testifying here today.
18 A. There are four reasons why I'm here. For me, this was a major
19 decision. The first is that in the indictment against the accused, my
20 name is mentioned. Also, quite a number of witnesses have mentioned my
21 name here in the courtroom. Some did it in giving the chronology of
22 events in Krajina, and some did so tendentiously, to distort the truth, so
23 that by coming here I hope I will be given the chance by the Prosecution,
24 the Trial Chamber, the accused to convey the full truth.
25 And the third reason, of which I'm sure you're aware, there is a
1 great deal of scepticism towards this Tribunal, and I share that
2 scepticism, but I think that all of us who participated in those events
3 should come here and make our statements so that one day, if justice is
4 not served, people will have material on which to rely.
5 Another motive, major motive, I must say that in the last five
6 years I have had to answer questions -- the question as to whether an
7 indictment has been issued against me over the past five years. I speak
8 not only on my own behalf but on behalf of many witnesses who have been
9 here, and I think this is a big problem. So by coming here, if there's
10 anything against me, if there is an indictment against me, I'd be told
11 about it, so I can continue my life normally. Thank you.
12 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, what is your understanding of whether or not
13 there is any agreement between yourself and the Office of the Prosecutor
14 regarding your testimony here today?
15 A. Nothing except to present the truth here. That is my
17 Q. Was there ever any offer of some indemnity or immunity from
18 Prosecution offered to you at any time in your dealings with the Office of
19 the Prosecutor?
20 A. No. I said on the very first day that I did not need any
21 protection. I was given a piece of paper which I didn't wish to sign in
22 which it says that whatever I say here cannot be taken against me, but I
23 didn't want to sign that because I feel that I don't need any kind of
24 protection from this Tribunal.
25 MR. GROOME: I'd ask that the witness be shown Exhibit 389, tab
2 Q. Was there a letter of proffer provided to you in the last week in
3 your preparation for testimony?
4 A. Yes, that is the letter. As you see, I did not sign it.
5 Q. And what is your understanding of the effect of this letter of
7 A. I think this is a letter that says that whatever I may say in the
8 preparation for this trial or during the trial against the accused cannot
9 or will not be used against me. And I take full responsibility for
10 everything I did and for whatever I'm going to say here, so I see no
11 reason why I should sign it.
12 Q. And was that letter provided to you in anticipation of putting
13 allegations to you that the Office of the Prosecutor had from other
14 sources, allegations of possible wrongdoing?
15 A. I don't know what your motive for this is, but probably it is as
16 you say. But as I have already said, I really don't need any kind of
17 protection, and therefore, this one either. And I wish to respond to any
18 accusations that may be made against me.
19 Q. Thank you. I'm going to ask you to look at the screen in front of
20 you. I'm going to ask that Mr. Vasiljkovic's monitor be placed to "Off."
21 I'm going to ask that you look at 389, tab 1. It should be on the monitor
22 in front of you. Do you recognise what's depicted in that exhibit?
23 A. The letters are very small. If they could be magnified, please.
24 Oh, yes, I see. This is a description of my educational background and
25 experience prior to my arrival to Yugoslavia.
1 Q. In order to save time, I will not go into detail of your
2 background. Are you willing to answer additional questions, either by the
3 accused or the Chamber, should they wish?
4 A. Yes, of course.
5 Q. To begin your testimony, I would like to ask you just to briefly
6 describe a number of persons who you will refer to during the course of
7 your testimony. Could you please tell us who Frenki Simatovic is.
8 A. Frenki Simatovic is a member of the state security service, the
9 first man I met from that service in Yugoslavia, who later became my
10 family friend.
11 Q. Is he your personal friend to this day?
12 A. Yes, of course.
13 Q. Jovica Stanisic.
14 A. Jovica Stanisic is also a member of the state security service.
15 When I met him, I don't know what position he held, but he was a senior
16 officer in that service, and as far as I know, he was a superior to Frenki
17 Simatovic to a high degree.
18 Q. Can you please describe for us your understanding of what the
19 state security service is. What branch of government does it come under,
20 and what is its mandate?
21 A. When I got in contact with the service, though later on it was
22 changed and I can't say much about that with precision, but when I got in
23 contact with it, it was kind of a secret service, like many other secret
24 services in the world the task of which was to protect the constitution,
25 and in that period it was subordinated to the Ministry of the Interior.
1 Q. Are you referring to the Ministry of Interior of Serbia or the
2 Federal Ministry of Interior of Yugoslavia?
3 A. The Serbian service was subordinated to the Serbian Ministry of
4 the Interior, and the federal service was subordinated, I think, to the
5 Federal Ministry.
6 Q. Mr. -- or Major Fico Filipovic.
7 A. At the time I met him, he was a lower-level member of the service
8 who worked as a partner or an associate of Frenki Simatovic.
9 Q. Mr. Milan Radonjic.
10 A. Milan Radonjic was also one of the associates of Frenki Simatovic
11 who later, much later, became head of the municipal service of Belgrade.
12 Q. Can you tell us what you know, briefly, about Mr. Dusan Orlovic.
13 A. Dusan Orlovic is a very quiet, charming gentleman who in that time
14 -- at that time was head of the state security service of Krajina, of the
15 Krajina secret service that was in the process of being formed at the very
16 beginning. I had several encounters with him at the beginning. Later on,
17 I had very little occasion to meet him, but I do know that he held the
18 position of head of the secret service of Krajina.
19 Q. Mr. Sasa Medakovic.
20 A. Sasa Medakovic was a member of the Krajina service. Later, he
21 became my friend, and actually, he was the person who took me down to
22 Krajina, and it was through him that I received most information about
23 developments in Krajina, and he helped me make the decision to go to
25 Q. Mr. Srba Milovanov.
1 A. Srba Milovanov is a colleague of mine, a pilot like me, and I know
2 him from the air force days. Later he became a member of parliament --
3 I'm sorry, a member of parliament in the Serbian parliament, and he
4 introduced me to Frenki Simatovic and the service down there.
5 Q. And finally, a person by the name of Mark Lynch.
6 A. Mark Lynch is also a colleague of mine, a pilot, a former member
7 of the Red Berets of the British army who, on my invitation, came to
8 assist me to set up a training camp in Krajina.
9 Q. Now, is it true that for a period of your life you lived and
10 worked in Australia?
11 A. Yes, yes. I spent most of my life in Australia.
12 Q. And while in Australia, were you a member of the armed forces or
13 the Australian defence forces reserve?
14 A. Yes, I was a member of the armed forces.
15 Q. For approximately how many years were you a member of those
16 defence forces?
17 A. For six years. I was an active member of the defence forces of
19 Q. Now, you may have come to Yugoslavia on a number of occasions.
20 What I want to ask you at this point is did you return to Belgrade in May
21 of 1990?
22 A. Yes. But I didn't come there from Australia. I came from America
23 on my private plane, a small single-engine aircraft with which I landed in
24 Belgrade without planning to stay at all. I was on my way to Africa, and
25 Belgrade was just a stop-off, and I waited for the suitable conditions for
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 me to continue my flight to Tanzania, which was my destination.
2 Q. At this time in May of 1990, can you characterise for us your
3 understanding or lack of understanding of the political developments in
4 Yugoslavia at that time.
5 A. Well, you see, I was brought up in a Yugoslav spirit. Zagreb, for
6 me, was my town, the Adriatic was my sea, my best man is a Croat. I don't
7 know -- there is a statement in our language, a saying that says, "God
8 comes first and then the Kum," or the best man. That is how important a
9 Kum is among the Serbs. So I didn't understand it properly. I gathered
10 it was a post-Titoist era of unrest in the territory of the former
11 Yugoslavia. And later I started to experience it as a resurgence of
12 revanchism in Croatia with the strengthening of the HDZ which was reviving
13 the Ustasha policies most aggressively. That was my understanding. But
14 to tell you quite frankly, I didn't know there was an area called Krajina,
15 nor that it was inhabited by Serbs when I arrived in May 1990.
16 Another important point: When I was crossing over the Atlantic,
17 the first place I landed in was Rijeka in Croatia. So I had absolutely no
18 prejudices as to what was going on in Yugoslavia.
19 Q. Would it be fair to say that soon after your arrival in Belgrade
20 you were the subject of some attention because you had flown a
21 single-engine aircraft across the Atlantic?
22 A. Well, not just that. Several years before that, that is 1993 to
23 1996 -- no. I must correct myself. In 1983, I left Australia on a lovely
24 yacht of 28 tonnes that I had built myself. Then I cruised on it along
25 the oceans, and I arrived in Yugoslavia in a yacht. So believe me, there
1 are very few Serbs to have achieved anything like that. And especially
2 when I crossed over the Atlantic in a single-engine plane, it wasn't
3 difficult to find friends there, and I aroused quite a bit of interest at
4 that time.
5 MR. GROOME: Your Honours, the video that the Prosecution will
6 tender and ask the Chamber to watch the entirety of is 48 minutes long, so
7 I'm going to interrupt this portion of the questioning and move ahead to
8 section 4 of the witness summary - that's paragraph 52 - so that the
9 showing of the videotape does not go into the break, and then I'll return
10 to this afterwards. I do have some preliminary questions to ask
11 Mr. Vasiljkovic in advance of showing that video. Mr. Vasiljkovic's
12 monitor should be set to "Off" for him to see it as well. It will not be
13 shown on the video channel but on the computer evidence.
14 Q. Now, Mr. Vasiljkovic, did you attend a ceremony in 1997 which
15 celebrated the history of the Red Berets?
16 A. Yes. That's when I got a type of medal from that unit.
17 Q. How did you arrive at that ceremony?
18 A. I, a lady friend of mine, Frenki Simatovic, and a lady friend of
19 his arrived by helicopter from the Military Medical Academy to the place
20 where the camp was, of the unit for special operations, that is.
21 Q. Was Mr. Milosevic present during the course of that ceremony?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. I'm going to ask that you be shown Prosecution Exhibit 390, and
24 this is tab 1. It's a video cassette. I'm just going to ask that the
25 witness be shown the physical copy of the cassette.
1 After you arrived here in The Hague, were you asked to view a
2 videotape on a television?
3 A. Yes. I'm very impressed. I have to tell you a few things in
4 connection with this tape. I asked if I could get a copy of this tape. I
5 was told that I could not because this is very sensitive material. On
6 this tape are absolutely all members of the Serb service. I believe that
7 in the history of secret services, security services, this is a unique
8 case, that you have all the members of a security service on one single
9 tape. So I really wanted to have that.
10 JUDGE MAY: No doubt we shall see it in due course. Could you, if
11 you would, confine yourself just to answering the questions you're asked
12 so we can get on more quickly.
13 MR. GROOME:
14 Q. The physical cassette that you see in front of you, after you
15 viewed the videotape, was the cassette taken out and presented to you for
16 you to sign to memorialise that that is the video that you viewed?
17 A. The answer is yes.
18 Q. And are your initials contained on the label of that video
20 A. Yes.
21 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, the next exhibit, which doesn't concern
22 the witness, at least this portion of it, would be tab 2, and that would
23 be the official CLS copy of both the Serbo-Croatian text or speech and the
24 English translation.
25 Q. Now, Mr. Vasiljkovic, were you offered or given a copy of the
1 Serbo-Croatian transcript as well as the English transcript of the video,
2 of this tape?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And having been actually present there, did you identify some
5 errors in the tape, especially with respect to the identity of some of the
6 people who were present?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. I'd ask that you take a look at Prosecution Exhibit 390, tab 4.
9 There's a -- two different transcripts there. Are those the transcripts
10 that you corrected?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now, during the course of viewing this videotape, were there some
13 veterans of the conflict in Krajina, men that you had personally trained
14 and been associated with?
15 A. Yes.
16 MR. GROOME: I'd ask that the witness be shown Prosecution Exhibit
17 390, tab 4.
18 Q. Did you, with a member of the Prosecution staff, create a chart
19 listing the names of the veterans as well as the time on which they appear
20 on the videotape?
21 A. Yes. You made this, and I corrected some of the mistakes that
22 -- the grammatical mistakes and others that were obvious.
23 Q. So the exhibit before you now is the chart of the veterans and
24 people that you were associated with?
25 A. [No interpretation]
1 Q. And finally, I'd ask that the witness be shown --
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. -- Prosecution Exhibit 390, tab 5, and ask you, similarly, did you
4 also view some stills taken from the video and assist a member of the
5 Prosecution staff in identifying the people there so that the Chamber may
6 know who the different people are that appear during the course of the
8 A. Yes. Most of these people are public figures and everybody knows
10 Q. And did you initial the bottom of each of those pages to indicate
11 that the identifications of those stills are accurate?
12 A. Yes.
13 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, at this time I'm going to ask that the
14 exhibit be played. At the conclusion of it, I will ask the witness a few
15 questions regarding it.
16 JUDGE MAY: For the record, you would give the number of the
17 exhibit so we have it.
18 MR. GROOME: I'm sorry. So I would be asking that 390, tab 1, be
19 played, although I will note that what the Court will actually see is a
20 digitised version of that video as well as a version of the transcript,
21 and as the Court will see, the computer programme will move the transcript
22 along with the video so that the Chamber can relate the two. It should be
23 on everybody's monitor now.
24 [Videotape played]
25 [Please refer to Exhibit 390 tab 2 for
1 video transcript]
2 JUDGE MAY: This is the 1987 parade, is it?
3 MR. GROOME: 1997, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE MAY: 1997, sorry. Yes.
5 [Videotape played]
6 MR. GROOME: Mr. Vasiljkovic, the video that we have just watched,
7 did it fairly and accurately depict the events as you remember them at the
8 ceremony you attended on that day?
9 A. Yes, absolutely so.
10 Q. Was there any significant portion of the ceremony that was not
11 depicted on this video that you think, in fairness, you would like to
12 describe for the Chamber?
13 A. I don't know. Whoever was filming this I think did a very good
14 job, and I think he covered all the most important parts of the event.
15 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, in advance of the break, Mr. Nice would
16 like to address the Chamber in private session regarding another witness.
17 Perhaps, if it's convenient with the Court, we would excuse
18 Mr. Vasiljkovic at this point.
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Mr. Vasiljkovic, we're going to deal with some
20 other matter which doesn't concern you at all. If you'd like to go now.
21 We're going to adjourn for 20 minutes. Would you remember in this break
22 and any others there may be during your evidence not to speak to anybody
23 about it until it's over, and that includes the members of the Prosecution
24 team. If you'd like to go now and be back in 20 minutes.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 [Witness stands down]
2 JUDGE MAY: Private session
3 [Private session]
13 Pages 16456-16462 – redacted – private session
19 --- Recess taken at 10.43 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 11.08 a.m.
21 [Open session]
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
23 MR. GROOME:
24 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, I want to return to where we were prior to the
25 showing of the videotape. You were describing or you were telling us
1 about your trip or your return to Belgrade in May of 1990, and the
2 question I have for you is: At that time, did you begin to frequent a
3 coffee bar that was frequented by people from the Krajina?
4 A. Yes. That was the time when in the media there was a lot of talk
5 about the situation in the Krajina, and I started going to that place
6 often. Actually, that's where firsthand information was received as to
7 what was going on in Krajina.
8 Q. And this coffee bar, was it in Belgrade itself?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, during this time period, were you approached by a man by the
11 name of Sasa Medakovic?
12 A. Sasa Medakovic, yes.
13 Q. And can you describe for us, when you initially met Mr. Medakovic,
14 did he identify his profession or who he was to you?
15 A. No. At first he introduced himself to me as one of the defenders
16 of the barricades at that time in the Krajina. Later on, he introduced
17 himself to me as Martic's friend, and finally he introduced himself to me
18 as an employee of the state security service of Krajina.
19 Q. From your conversations with Mr. Medakovic and your conversations
20 with the people of the Krajina at this coffee bar, did you form an
21 impression of what was happening in the Krajina at that time?
22 A. Yes. We saw each other quite often, practically every day, and I
23 was quite familiar with this, and I learned quite a bit from him about the
24 situation in the Krajina.
25 Q. And can you describe for us or summarise for us what your belief
1 was about the current situation at that time in the Krajina.
2 A. I saw this as an extremist political party, like the HDZ was,
3 coming to power, and it brought about the resurgence of some of the things
4 that had happened during the Second World War. I saw this as a true
5 primeval fear on the part of the Serbs who lived in the area. And I met a
6 lot of people there, and I think that their fear was most sincere.
7 Q. Did you at some point let it be known that you were willing to go
8 down and assist in the Krajina if your assistance would be beneficial?
9 A. No. I reached that decision only after I visited the Krajina. I
10 didn't know how I could help. But I wanted to go there, and I wanted to
11 see this with my very own eyes, all these things that I heard about in
13 Q. Did there come a time when you did make a visit to the Krajina
15 A. Yes. It was that year, late in the autumn.
16 Q. So in the autumn of 1990, you made a visit to the Krajina; is that
18 A. That's right.
19 Q. Can you tell us where you went when you went to the Krajina.
20 A. Well, when we arrived in Krajina, we went straight to the office
21 of Milan Martic at the local police station. Do you want me to tell you
22 about this in greater detail?
23 Q. Before you tell us about that initial -- that meeting with
24 Mr. Martic, can you describe for the Chamber your trip down to the Krajina
25 and anything of significance that you saw.
1 A. I went down there with two other friends who are irrelevant to
2 what happened after that in Krajina. On our way to the Krajina, we came
3 across barricades, roadblocks. At these barricades, there were people,
4 civilians in some kind of half uniforms. All of this looked very
5 disorganised. From the point of view of a soldier, I mean, these were not
6 real barriers at all. All of them were placed very unprofessionally.
7 They were guarded by ordinary men, most of the time drunk, and they were
8 quite unorganised.
9 On the road to Knin itself, I saw some of these ugly messages
10 addressed to the Serbs. One remains imprinted in my memory. I remember
11 it to the present day. It said, "I cut the tree trunk and you cut the
12 branches. Ante Pavelic." Now, that is something that I really remember
13 that remained imprinted in my memory.
14 Q. The car that you drove down there, what kind of plates did it
16 A. Belgrade plates. And these Belgrade plates made it possible for
17 us to pass the barricades without any problems whatsoever. People greeted
18 us along the way when we entered Krajina. I had the impression that they
19 were overjoyed to see anyone from Belgrade in that period.
20 Q. I want to draw your attention now to the meeting you had with
21 Mr. Martic at the police station. Can you please summarise that meeting
22 for the Chamber.
23 A. As I mentioned a short while ago, before meeting Martic, I had an
24 idea as to how the defence was set up, and then I actually decided that I
25 could help introduce some discipline into this defence.
1 Perhaps it's important to mention one more thing: Very often,
2 Sasa Medakovic said to me that among the defenders, quite a few people
3 were injured because they did not use weapons professionally, because they
4 did not maintain weapons professionally. And that is when I saw that
5 there was a reason for me to get involved and to help bring into order
6 this discipline.
7 As for the meeting itself, it went on for about half an hour.
8 Martic talked about his own problems, that they had firmly decided not to
9 allow -- I mean, I remember a sentence he said to me. "We went to the
10 beds of our great grandfathers where we slept over the past 600 years, and
11 the next day we woke up not knowing whether we would live until next
13 Well, that's it more or less. Well, he convinced me that there
14 was indeed fear and that they were firmly resolved to remain there, not to
15 be expelled, and I offered to help him.
16 Q. When you offered to help him, what was his response to that offer?
17 A. Well, I'm not sure -- well, perhaps I can put it this way: In a
18 way, he refused it. He said, "At this point in time, we need all sorts of
19 things. We need money. We need equipment. We need political support.
20 We need everything. We are endangered here, and also we are encircled."
21 I left him my contact numbers, and he said that he would get in touch with
22 me if he thought that he needed this kind of concrete help. So then we
24 This meeting did not take more than half an hour. He talked more
25 than I did. To tell you the truth, I wasn't really all that interested in
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 what he had to say.
2 What I said pertained primarily to the technical aspect as to how
3 I could help, and my thinking at the time was that I should come there and
4 organise a small course so that these unnecessary, unfortunate incidents
5 would be prevented and so that this discipline would be brought into order
7 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, did you return to Belgrade that day?
8 A. Yes. Yes, the same evening, we returned to Belgrade.
9 Q. Soon after you returned to Belgrade, did you set up a meeting with
10 a member of the government?
11 A. Sorry. Just a moment. Yes. Yes. I met with two men, with two
12 men, and I would say that they were linked to the government. I don't
13 know who you mean now. One is Sainovic, and the other one is -- my mind
14 seems to have stopped. He was a member of parliament, the one I mentioned
16 Q. Let me ask you about your meeting with Mr. Sainovic first, and
17 then perhaps you will recall the name of the other person. Can you please
18 describe for us how the meeting with Mr. Nikola Sainovic came about.
19 A. Well, you see, at that time I met Mr. Sainovic through aeroplanes.
20 Mr. Sainovic had built an airport in Bor, in the town where he had lived,
21 and that is how I established contact with him. I think that in that
22 period, he was some kind of Assistant Minister for Energy or something
23 like that. But he was the only man -- he was the only man in some
24 ministry, so I thought it would be smart to consult him, to tell him what
25 I saw in Krajina and to ask him to lobby, if possible, at decision-making
1 places so that I could get involved too, because I thought I could help,
2 and I thought that I should help.
3 Q. Where did this meeting take place?
4 A. This took place at the London Hotel in the centre of Belgrade.
5 The meeting took about 15 minutes, as long as it took us to have a cup of
6 tea, and this was a friendly conversation. He promised that he would get
7 me in contact with some people. I don't know whether he did any lobbying
8 on my part or not, but I did not have any further contacts with Mr.
9 Sainovic regarding Krajina.
10 Q. You mentioned another person that you spoke with. Do you recall
11 the name now?
12 A. Yes. Srba Milovanov. As I said, Srba Milovanov also has to with
13 -- something to do with aviation; he is a pilot too. So this was more or
14 less the route I could take. He was also a member of the SPO, the
15 political party of the SPO. I joined that party too, although I was never
16 active there. It was mainly for Srba and other friends of mine, because
17 the opposition became popular then, and I liked the idea of an opposition,
18 a strong opposition, and in principle, I've always been a member of the
19 opposition until the present day. That is only thing I wish to say in
20 that regard.
21 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, when you met Mr. Milovanov, did he offer to
22 introduce you to another member of the Serbian government?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Who was that person?
25 A. Yes. He promised to get me in touch with Radmilo Bogdanovic. I
1 had never known Radmilo Bogdanovic, I had never seen him except for a few
2 pictures in the newspapers. However, there is something you have to
3 understand so that the Tribunal will have an understanding of this: I
4 knew very few people in Yugoslavia because I had just come from abroad.
5 So some people who were highly recognisable to everybody else were just
6 ordinary people to me and they didn't mean a thing to me. He promised
7 that he would get me in touch with Radmilo Bogdanovic, and one day he
8 called me and said, "You're going to have this meeting with members of the
10 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, before you describe that meeting, did you ever
11 have a meeting with Mr. Bogdanovic? And I'm talking about during this
12 time period.
13 A. Not that I know of. Perhaps we met on that day, but I did not
14 recognise him. And when Srba Milovanov took me to this meeting, there
15 were many people wearing suits in front of the service building. So I do
16 not remember having seen him too. But I don't think we talked about
17 anything important. I really cannot remember whether I actually saw him
18 then. I know that I saw him later, though.
19 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, after you had the meeting with Srba Milovanov
20 where he offers to introduce you to Mr. Bogdanovic and before you have
21 this next meeting you are about to describe, did you return to the United
23 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please be asked to wait a
24 little before answering.
25 JUDGE MAY: You're being asked, if you would, to pause between the
1 question and answer, for the interpreters.
2 MR. GROOME:
3 Q. Did you return to the United States during this period of time to
4 complete your aviation training?
5 A. After the meeting with the members of the service -- yes. Yes,
6 you're right. You're right. I did return. I did return to America. Oh,
7 I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. Twelve years is a long time, and during
8 these 12 years many things happened around me. Please bear with me. I'm
9 really trying to remember.
10 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, it's not so much important when you went to
11 America. Do you remember when you returned again to Belgrade and what
12 prompted you to return once again to Belgrade?
13 A. I remember very accurately when I returned. On the 9th of March
14 -- or on the 10th of March, sorry. It was in the headlines all around
15 the world that the tanks of the Yugoslav People's Army were in the streets
16 of Belgrade. That very same moment, I reached a decision. I thought that
17 I should stop what I was doing in America, and I thought that I should be
18 in my town, just as I think that if tanks were to appear in the streets of
19 Melbourne tomorrow, I would want to be there. That was my main motive.
20 There was a big strike going on there, so I arrived in Belgrade
21 perhaps on the 10th or possibly the 11th of March.
22 Q. Now, upon your return, did you once again meet with Mr. Milovanov,
23 at which point he offered to introduce you to two other men?
24 A. Yes. Yes, you're right. After my return -- I mean, let's get
25 this in the right chronological order. It is only then that Milovanov
1 took me to the service and introduced me to the people from the service,
2 the Serbian service.
3 Q. And what people did he introduce to you at the Serbian state
4 security service?
5 A. There was a group of people there. The only people I can remember
6 are Franko Simatovic and Dragan Filipovic, Fico.
7 Q. Did you have a meeting with both of those men?
8 A. We did not spend much time in the building itself. We immediately
9 went to the Metropole Hotel. That's where we had a conversation that took
10 a couple of hours.
11 Q. Can you summarise that conversation briefly and then I will ask
12 you some specific questions regarding particular aspects of it. So
13 please summarise that conversation.
14 A. In principle, I think that during this conversation, the members
15 of the service, although they had been very well-informed about me,
16 surprisingly well, I think that they tried to find out a lot more about
17 me. They didn't discuss Krajina very much. Whenever I tried to change
18 the subject to the Krajina, we always went back to me.
19 I think that this was a period during which they tried to
20 understand what it was that I actually wanted.
21 Q. And did you -- let me ask you this: In that meeting, who was the
22 primary person asking you questions regarding what you wanted?
23 A. Frenki Simatovic.
24 Q. And did he also ask you about what your intentions were in
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And can you describe for us -- what did you tell him?
3 A. I briefly described my impressions regarding the situation in
4 Krajina itself, and I told him that I thought that I could contribute, to
5 put some order there and that in that way we would save a number of lives
6 and strengthen the defence of Krajina.
7 Q. Now, when you were telling him that you could put some order
8 there, could you be more specific about what type of programme or things
9 you were planning to do.
10 A. My plan was to form a training camp where anyone issued with any
11 kind of weapon should go through this camp. He should be processed
12 administratively, then be trained professionally so that it should be
13 placed under some sort of control, because as I said, everything seemed
14 somehow disorganised down there.
15 Q. Did Mr. Simatovic ask you about your qualifications for running
16 such a training camp?
17 A. He was quite well informed about that already, so we did talk
18 about that too. And then he asked me whether I could put that down on
19 paper and prepare some kind of a manual for the training.
20 Q. What did you tell him in response to that question?
21 A. I said of course I could and that that was really the first step
22 that needed to be taken.
23 Q. Prior to the end of the meeting, did Mr. Simatovic give you a
24 number at which you could contact him?
25 A. Yes. We exchanged our telephone numbers, and he said that I
1 should call him once I had prepared the manual.
2 Q. At the end of the meeting, did he make any reference to his
3 activities with respect to the Krajina?
4 A. Yes. He told me that quite a lot of the things that he was trying
5 to do in Krajina -- first he told me that all the things that we had
6 discussed mustn't go any further. No one should know about it. And also,
7 he said many of the things he was doing in Krajina, if his bosses were to
8 learn about it, he would probably be arrested and dismissed. So he
9 obliged me not to tell anyone about what we had discussed.
10 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, can you approximate -- you've told us that you
11 returned to Belgrade on the 10th of March. How long after your return did
12 this meeting take place?
13 A. It's a matter of days. Very shortly after that, because already
14 on the 4th of April, I went to Krajina.
15 Q. And was this the first contact that you knowingly had with any
16 member of the Serbian state security service?
17 A. Yes, without any doubt it was.
18 Q. After the meeting, did you set out to draft a training manual?
19 A. Yes. That is what I did.
20 Q. And did you contact Mr. Simatovic and tell him -- [B/C/S on
21 English channel]
22 MR. GROOME: The translation seems to have been a bit confused.
23 Let me ask the question again.
24 Q. After you completed the manual, did you contact Mr. Simatovic and
25 tell him that you had completed the manual?
1 A. [In English] Yes, I did.
2 Q. And what did he say to you?
3 A. [Interpretation] That somebody would come and pick it up.
4 Q. Did somebody come and pick it up?
5 A. Yes, someone did come to fetch it. I'm not sure whether it was
6 Fico or another member of the service, but someone did come, took it, and
7 took it away.
8 Q. Did you hear from Mr. Simatovic after you had provided the
9 training manual?
10 A. No. Things in Krajina were getting worse. The situation was
11 deteriorating, and I firmly decided to go to Krajina, with their
12 assistance or without it.
13 Q. And did there come a time when you made the decision to go to the
14 Krajina to attempt to do this training you had described in the manual?
15 A. Yes. Sasa Medakovic lent me a helping hand, because he said,
16 "Regardless of them, we really need you down there." He really appealed
17 to me to come, and he promised to take care of me getting full support
18 from Martic and Babic and the other people who were deciding down there in
19 Krajina that these others were not all that important.
20 JUDGE MAY: Look, we're having problems with the interpretation,
21 apparently. The interpreters are having difficulty. Could you pause
22 after the question to give them time to catch up.
23 THE WITNESS: [In English] Okay. I'm sorry. I'm just not used to
24 talking with the -- remind me as often as you can, just don't get upset
25 with me because of it, please.
1 JUDGE MAY: We all have to get used to it.
2 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, perhaps I could make a suggestion.
3 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, if you would listen to the Serbian translation in
4 your headset rather than responding to my English question. I know you
5 understand both English and Serbian.
6 A. That confuses it.
7 Q. Now, when did you make the decision to go down to the Krajina?
8 A. [Interpretation] I don't hear anything now.
9 It was on the 3rd of March. I was in contact with Sasa Medakovic
10 who was already in Krajina, who literally pleaded with me to come to
11 Krajina. Because Frenki hadn't called, I called him up and I told him,
12 "I'm not going to wait any longer, I feel it is my duty to be down there,
13 and I just wish to let you know that I'm going tomorrow to Krajina."
14 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, the translation has come back that you're saying
15 the 3rd of March. You've testified earlier that you didn't arrive back
16 until the 10th of March. What is the date that you made this phone call
17 to Frenki Simatovic?
18 A. I'm sorry. I beg your pardon. Not the 3rd of March, the 3rd of
19 April. I beg your pardon.
20 Q. And what did Mr. Simatovic say when you made this phone call?
21 A. First he was rather angry. He said, "You're trying to kill
22 yourself," probably thinking that he would cool me off by taking such an
23 approach or, rather, dissuade me. However, I insisted and I said that,
24 "If I was afraid, I wouldn't go there. I really think that I am needed
25 down there and that's something I can do, and I felt it necessary to call
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 you up because we had already discussed it and to let you know." He said
2 that he would call me later but that I shouldn't go down there under any
3 circumstances without hearing from him first. I said once again if I
4 didn't hear from him the next day, that I was going, I was leaving.
5 Q. Did you have another conversation with Mr. Simatovic prior to
6 going to the Krajina?
7 A. Yes. He called me up, and he said would I mind if he went with me
8 because he had some business to attend to down there as well.
9 Q. Did Mr. Simatovic accompany you down to the Krajina when you went
10 there to begin your training?
11 A. Yes. Frenki Simatovic went with me, Fico - I thought he was his
12 driver at the time - and also Mark Lynch, who had come from England a
13 couple of days before that.
14 Q. And Mark Lynch is the person you've described as a fellow aviator
15 that you knew prior to going to Yugoslavia; is that correct?
16 A. Yes. My colleague with whom I had planned to set up a small
17 charter company in Africa. The idea was that we would spend about three
18 weeks in Krajina to set up the camp, to pass on some basics to them, and
19 then to go on to Africa, because that had been my choice, to live there.
20 Q. Now, the fourth person you said who was in the car, Fico, is that
21 Filipovic who you had described earlier as meeting you with Simatovic at
22 your initial meeting?
23 A. Yes, that's correct.
24 Q. Can you describe what happened once you arrived in the Krajina in
25 early April 1991. And I'd like you to focus on now just the day that you
1 arrived with Mr. Simatovic.
2 A. Simatovic drove me to Sasa Medakovic's house. He left me and
3 Marko there. Then as far as I can recall, after all, it was 12 years ago,
4 I can't remember all the minutest details, but Sasa Medakovic took me to
5 Golubovic. I'm not sure whether Martic was already there or came later,
6 but Martic was present when he introduced me to some guys. There were
7 some 80, maybe 100 men there, I don't know the exact number, wearing
8 different uniforms, various weapons ranging from hunting rifles to
9 Kalashnikovs, diverse insignia and markings, and that's it. Martic
10 introduced me as their instructor and told them to obey me. I was never
11 formally appointed, but I took things seriously, and I took over command
12 over Golubic.
13 Q. What was Golubic used for prior to you setting up a training
14 centre there?
15 A. It was an abandoned, some sort of a youth hostel or a vacationing
16 centre for youth, something like that, which was in a rather bad state of
17 disrepair. And I immediately started putting things in order.
18 Q. Where did you get funding to begin to build the camp and to
19 conduct the training? How did you receive your funding?
20 A. Well, you see, at first I received funds through the police
21 station, Martic - not him directly but his assistants - and the commander
22 of the Territorial Defence, I think his name was Dragisic, who supplied me
23 with the military supplies. We were quite inventive. I immediately gave
24 instructions for new uniforms to be prepared that were not reminiscent of
25 JNA uniforms. Also berets. I wanted to develop a new image for those
1 guys. The villagers from the surroundings would come on a daily basis to
2 bring material. And shortly after that, once the unit started forming and
3 lining up, assistance was coming from all over, from all over the world
4 people would come bringing money and equipment. Much of it was not of any
5 use, but he had much greater support than I really needed for this
6 training camp to be started.
7 Q. Did Mr. Martic also take care of the administrative part of these
8 people who showed up at the camp regarding recording their names and their
9 personal details?
10 A. I set up my own administration later on, but at first as I still
11 hadn't formed my teams, all the people passed through the local police
12 station, and from there, they were dispatched to me so that I received men
13 literally from the police station.
14 Q. At this point in time, can you describe what, if any, relationship
15 your training had with the Yugoslav People's Army.
16 A. Absolutely none. Believe me that 60 per cent of my forces were
17 kept on the alert for any possible clash with the JNA. The JNA, in those
18 days, was pretending to be a peace force or a buffer zone between the
19 Croats and the Serbs. They didn't like me at all. I had no contact with
20 any single officer. It was only later, many months later, that I managed
21 to establish my first contact with someone from the JNA.
22 Q. Now, did there come a time after this initial training that you
23 identified the most capable of your men and transferred them to the
24 fortress in Knin for advanced training and training to be instructors
1 A. That was my idea. I had expected to be able to establish an
2 infrastructure, some sort of an administration to train the instructors
3 and potential commanders and to leave that part of the territory. I had
4 no greater plans than that in that period of time.
5 After the training, the most capable ones or those who promised
6 most I would select and transfer them to the fortress in Knin. And I was
7 given permission from Babic. I know I waited quite some time for that
8 permission to use the fortress. Babic gave me that permission, and that
9 is where the Knindzas, as they were known, were formed.
10 Q. Around this same time, did you begin to send out some of the men
11 on reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering patrols and missions?
12 A. Yes. As soon as they were made fit for this work, they were sent
13 out in patrols to collect intelligence information or to check out
14 intelligence information that I was receiving from the local state
15 security service in those days, though I didn't have too much trust in
16 what they were doing so that I wanted to check out many of those pieces of
17 information that I received.
18 MR. GROOME: I'd ask now that a map, it's Prosecution Exhibit 389,
19 tab 4, I'd ask that it be placed on the overhead projector. It is a
20 photocopy of Prosecution Exhibit 336, pages 30 and 31.
21 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, I'd ask you to take a look at that exhibit, and
22 perhaps with the pointer could you -- could you -- first, let me ask you,
23 were you asked to make some markings on a photocopy of a map, markings of
24 places relevant to your testimony here today?
25 A. Yes, I was.
1 Q. It may be better for you to look to your left, where the original
2 is sitting on that projector. Is this the map that you marked with your
3 own hand?
4 A. Yes. You can see Knin, Golubic --
5 Q. I'd ask you to go --
6 A. -- on it.
7 Q. I'd ask you to go from left to right, pausing briefing on each
8 place that you've circled and just describe the significance of each
10 A. To the left is Skabrnja. It is a territory that I liberated or
11 occupied, depends on the point of view, in 1993. Then comes Benkovac,
12 which is close to Bruska where the Alpha training centre was formed in
13 1993. Knin, the capital of Krajina in those days. And Golubic, which was
14 very close to Knin, where the first training centre was formed.
15 Q. I've finished with that exhibit, thank you. I'd like to ask you
16 about some of the original members of your training programme. Are you
17 familiar with the name Rade Bozic?
18 A. Yes. Rade was one of the original trainees in Golubic.
19 Q. After leaving your training organisation or your training camp,
20 where did Mr. Bozic go?
21 A. After I was literally expelled from Krajina, the unit fell apart
22 and a part of the unit that didn't wish to serve under Babic went to
23 Belgrade. A part of the unit, or a part of those young men reported for
24 service in the state security service where the JSO was being formed, the
25 unit for special purposes of that service. Oh, I'm sorry, I got lost for
1 a moment.
2 Rade Bozic went there, but he didn't stay for long. After only a
3 couple of days, I think, he left the Serbian service and went to the
4 region of Bijeljina or Brcko where he said, I think, until the end of the
5 war, and I think he's still living there until this day.
6 Q. And do you know the name of the person who commanded the forces in
7 that area, the area around Bijeljina and Brcko?
8 A. His nickname was Mauzer. I don't know his name for sure. I had
9 one occasion to meet him. I would stay in his camp on my way to and from
10 Knin. Once, rather. I think I spent the night there once, maybe twice,
11 when there was a big storm, heavy snowing, something like that. I had to
12 spend the night there.
13 Q. And the second person I would ask you about is are you familiar
14 with the person by the name of Zika Ivanovic?
15 A. Yes, I know him well. Zika Ivanovic was my favourite. A very
16 witty man and an extremely brave combatant. I remember him because he was
17 the first man I actually arrested, because on one occasion - I think this
18 was in the press too - at the very outset my patrol arrested a Croatian
19 policeman who was suspected of cutting off an old man's ear. And when
20 Zika heard about it, he slapped him. That same moment, I disarmed Zika
21 and put him in the cell next to this Croat. And I think that is how Zika
22 made a name for himself, as being the first man I had arrested in Krajina.
23 Q. Was he also known by another name, a nickname?
24 A. Crnogorac, Zika Crnogorac.
25 Q. Now, at some point did your organisation actually participate in
1 military-style operations?
2 A. You must understand. I think things have to be put in proper
3 perspective. In those days, the Croatian forces were extremely
4 aggressive, and the only capable combat unit up to a point, all this is
5 relatively speaking, was the one in Golubic. On the other side, you had
6 30.000 Zengas, Croatian guards who had armoured vehicles. And I felt it
7 necessary to return a blow somewhere, and one of the first operations was
8 the attack on the garrison at Ljubovo which I had planned and which I
10 Q. Was there a code name for that operation?
11 A. Yes. The operation was known as Osa, or Wasp.
12 MR. GROOME: I'd ask that the witness be shown Prosecution Exhibit
13 389, tab 5, and I would ask you, Mr. Vasiljkovic, did you also mark a map
14 indicating the location of Ljubovo?
15 And I note for the Court this is pages 24 and 25 of Prosecution
16 Exhibit 336.
17 Q. Did you also mark a map in that way?
18 A. Yes, I did mark it. And if you look at the map, you will see that
19 Ljubovo is literally in the middle of Krajina. It was a powerful Croatian
20 garrison, and my aim was to remove them from there. There were no
21 civilians in Ljubovo or anything like that. It was just a Croatian
22 garrison, and it seemed to me to be a good target.
23 Q. Now, after the operation here, did there come a time when you
24 intercepted a bus filled with members of Vojislav Seselj's party that were
25 coming into the arena?
1 A. Well, you see, from the very beginning - and I stand by that -
2 that throughout the theatre of operations, no one could participate with
3 weapons unless he was either within the service, the police, or the army.
4 And I still abide by that.
5 Seselj, or at least that is how they were introduced to me, had
6 sent a bus of what -- they called themselves Chetniks, but I have to
7 explain to give you a proper picture. The Chetniks that I saw arriving
8 were Chetniks that were highly reminiscent of the Chetniks from Bulajic's
9 film. Let me explain what I mean when I say that.
10 After the Second World War, a well-known film director, Bulajic,
11 directed partisan films presenting the Chetniks as dirty, bearded, drunk,
12 disorderly, and literally a bus full of such people armed with --
13 prehistoric is the wrong word, but weapons from the Second World War;
14 rusty snipers who they got from who knows where from, there were only two
15 or three on the whole bus, with men who gave a very ugly impression, and
16 he sent these men to Krajina.
17 I decided, and this was my own independent decision at the time,
18 that in my zone of responsibility, and I considered this to be my zone of
19 responsibility because I had the greatest strength there at the time, that
20 no party armies should be formed, and I feared that there might again
21 break out a conflict between partisans and Chetniks, in quotation marks,
22 the conflicts from the Second World War.
23 I intercepted that bus. I ordered the occupiers of that bus to
24 get off. I delivered a brief speech saying that we need only Serbs here,
25 without any prefixes, and whoever doesn't feel he qualifies as such can go
1 back. I collected all their party markings, their badges, and everything
2 else. About 20 per cent of them returned to go back to Belgrade. I fed
3 them, I gave them something to drink, and saw them off from Krajina.
4 Those who remained, I had them shaved, bathed, uniformed, and I
5 deployed them into other units so that they wouldn't operate as a whole.
6 And I can tell you that throughout the period I was there, I had no
7 problems with them.
8 Q. Now --
9 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Vasiljkovic, what do you mean by "intercepting"?
10 Were they not sent to you originally?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, they were not sent to me. They
12 were sent to Krajina to wage war. And I intercepted the bus because I
13 received information from a local member of the state security service
14 that the border of Krajina had been crossed by a busload of Seselj's
15 volunteers and that they were heading towards Korenica. I put a barricade
16 on the road, I stopped the bus, I took them all off the bus, disarmed
17 them, sent 20 per cent of them back, and the rest of them I standardised
18 in a sense and deployed them in the unit.
19 I had a lot of conflict over this with Seselj, and that is my --
20 the beginning of my conflict with Seselj, which is still continuing. A
21 couple of days ago I read an article where he mentions my name with
22 certain accusations.
23 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
24 MR. GROOME:
25 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, you sent these people back because you determined
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 that they were unfit in their present condition or present state to
2 participate in your activities; is that correct?
3 A. As I explained, some of them physically were not capable. There
4 were some old men, people with big stomachs and people who perhaps even
5 mentally were not absolutely fit, and there were some who simply did not
6 wish to take off their party insignias. So I adopted a very firm position
7 that if anyone wanted to wage war in Krajina, they had to be part of
8 either the security service, the police, or the JNA. To carry weapons,
9 they had to be attached to one of those bodies.
10 Q. Now, you said that you learned that they had crossed the border.
11 Is that the border from the Republic of Serbia into the Krajina? Is that
12 the border that you had learned that they crossed?
13 A. Yes. Yes, that is the border I'm referring to.
14 Q. And you were informed that they had crossed the border from Serbia
15 into the Krajina, you said from the state security service. Which state
16 security service told you that they had crossed the border?
17 A. The local state security service. The state security service of
18 Krajina, under the command of Dule Orlovic.
19 Q. Now, I just want to ask you a specific question regarding your
20 earlier testimony. I'm quoting from the transcript. You said:
21 "Throughout the theatre of operations, no one could participate with
22 weapons unless he was either within the service, the police, or the army."
23 Now, you've just told us that the army, I believe, is -- you're referring
24 to the JNA. When you said "service," who were you referring to?
25 A. The secret service, or the state security. It's one and the same
1 thing. Somebody calls it the secret service, somebody calls it the state
2 secure, but we're talking about one and the same thing same service.
3 Q. You've mentioned two state security services in your testimony
4 here this morning; the Krajina state security service and the Serbian
5 state security service. Which security service were you referring to when
6 you said the "service"?
7 A. I believe that until the present day, there is no one who is
8 organised and who has weapons in the territory of present-day Yugoslavia
9 who is not a member either of the service or the police or the army. I'm
10 saying that in principle, it was not possible to survive. I mean, now,
11 why is this important? Your Honours, please give me just half a minute to
12 explain this. I think this is very important.
13 Many good men died believing that they were serving on the police
14 force or in the army or in the state security service, and today some
15 people are trying to wash their hands from them.
16 While I was in Krajina, but I'm firmly convinced that this was
17 true in any other theatre of war as well, that all people who were under
18 arms had to be under the command either of the service or of the army or
19 of the police. I do not accept that anyone, any unit, could have acted
20 independently. Even Seselj's unit. I was there as a policeman and I took
21 over control over that unit.
22 Q. When you said "state security service," were you referring to the
23 state security service of the Republic of Serbia?
24 A. You know what? Four names. You had three, and I gave you a
25 fourth name: Franko Simatovic, Dragan Filipovic, Mile Radonjic, and
1 Jovica Stanisic. These are the only names of the Serb service that appear
2 throughout the war throughout the territory of Krajina. I really cannot
3 assist you as to what happened in Bosnia and Kosovo, but I was involved in
4 what was going on in Krajina. There is not a fifth person that I'm aware
5 of. I believe that their role in the Krajina is being overplayed here,
6 and probably at that time this worked in their favour that this was
8 JUDGE MAY: Let counsel ask the questions and try and answer them,
9 if you would.
10 MR. GROOME:
11 Q. After this incident with Seselj's men, did there come a time when
12 Mr. Stanisic himself paid a visit to the training facility in Knin at the
14 A. Well, I'm not going to put it that way, that he came to visit me,
15 but he was in Knin. As far as I know, he had family somewhere near Knin,
16 and of course he visited me too. I don't think that anyone would have
17 come to Krajina then without visiting me.
18 Your Honours, please bear in mind that in that period you could
19 not buy a newspaper, even the simplest crossword newspapers, without
20 seeing my name in the newspapers. So this was in the news all the time,
21 my name, and I assure you that every day at least 200 people came to see
23 Q. I'm not suggesting that his only reason was to visit you, all I'm
24 asking is did he pay a visit to the training facility at the fortress?
25 A. Of course. Of course he did pay that kind of visit, yes.
1 Q. Who was present at the time of his visit? Can you name the other
2 significant people that were present?
3 A. Well, Frenki Simatovic was there then, then Martic. I think Babic
4 was there too. But I know that later on, all of us together were at a
5 luncheon at a nearby restaurant where a relatively informal conversation
6 was taking place.
7 Q. Did Mr. Stanisic congratulate you on the success that you had in
8 training and organising some of the men down in the Krajina?
9 A. Of course, yes. Everybody who came down there congratulated me,
10 him included.
11 Q. I want to now draw your attention to the battle of Glina. Can you
12 please set the scene for us: What had happened in Glina at the end of
13 June 1991?
14 A. On the 28th of June, 1991, I was on two-day leave in Belgrade when
15 the Croatian attack against Glina took place. The Croats took the area.
16 The very same moment, I quit my leave and I returned to Krajina.
17 The taking of Krajina -- of Glina is something that badly affected
18 the people in Krajina. They had just started getting some kind of
19 self-confidence. The barricades started looking completely different.
20 There was order and discipline throughout the area of Krajina. Some kind
21 of infrastructure had started functioning, and so on and so forth, and
22 then Glina fell. This was a great blow to Krajina, and I immediately
23 started making plans as to how we could liberate that part of the
25 Q. In part of developing your plans, did you mount a reconnaissance
1 mission to go to Glina and to assess what was going on there?
2 A. Yes. When I gathered sufficient information about the situation
3 in the field, this was already a month later, perhaps the 26th of June. I
4 went with a chosen 20 men. They had light infantry weapons. I went on
5 this reconnaissance mission with the idea of charting a detailed plan as
6 to how Glina should be freed.
7 I consulted Martic about this, and he said, "If you think you can
8 do it, just do it."
9 Q. At this time, what -- from what you could tell, what was the JNA
10 doing in the area of Glina?
11 A. The JNA was holding the line of separation between the Croat
12 forces that had occupied Glina and the Serb forces of the Territorial
13 Defence that held some kind of a defence line on the other side. But this
14 was only in the inception, I mean this defence line. And this separation
15 line would not have existed had it not been for the JNA there.
16 Q. Now --
17 A. Literally it is the JNA that held the separation line, and that is
18 an answer to your question.
19 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, during the course of this reconnaissance mission,
20 did you make the decision that you would actually try to retake the town
21 with a military operation?
22 A. Well, you see, let me just paint a picture for you. At the time,
23 we did not have any sophisticated methods of communication. My greatest
24 fear was invariably if we would set out with major forces to liberate the
25 town, that we could have great casualties on both sides, ours and theirs,
1 and that it is very hard to command large forces with an army that was
2 still so green.
3 There was a situation in Glina when I decided to turn this
4 reconnaissance mission into a mission for taking the town of Glina.
5 Actually, my assessment was that the Croatian forces had had training that
6 had been very similar to that that the Serb forces had. Not my forces,
7 the Serb forces. And I believe that if I could break their command, the
8 rest of their line would fall too. I was deeply convinced that that would
9 happen. Their command was at the police station, and it was guarded by
10 forces of the Yugoslav People's Army.
11 I managed to win over a young lieutenant who was 20 years old, and
12 he was probably impressed by Captain Dragan. He commanded a tank, and my
13 assessment was that if I managed to win him over and to have him help me
14 with that tank, that I, with my 20 men, that is to say with the total of
15 21 men, I would be able to take the police station and break the command
16 of the Croat forces.
17 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, did you -- this young person, officer, did he
18 feature in the plan that you devised for the retaking of Glina?
19 A. Oh, yes. He had a very important role.
20 Q. Now, could you, in a sentence or two, just summarise the basic
21 plan for how you planned to retake Glina.
22 A. I singled out a detail of four men headed by Sasa Medakovic, who I
23 trusted the most then, and I sent them through the JNA-held line, to go to
24 enemy territory and then to open fire from the enemy side with light
25 weapons - rifles, that is - against Drobnjak's tank. That is the officer
1 we mentioned. Drobnjak would know about this beforehand, and he would
2 protect his men by putting them behind armour. And then by returning
3 fire, he would break a machine-gun nest which was on a roof -- on the roof
4 of the house right next door to the police station. That was the most
5 dangerous part. I believed that after that a rapid attack would make it
6 possible for us, in all the commotion, to take over command and to break
7 the station.
8 Q. Were you counting on the JNA being drawn into the battle to assist
9 you in the retaking of Glina?
10 A. Yes, of course. I expected that their assessment would be that
11 the Croats were firing at them and that they would then return gunfire.
12 So it was no longer only my 20 men. Then I would also have tanks. And
13 that seemed inconceivable at the time because I was counting on tanks as
14 well. In my estimate, the whole operation was supposed to take about ten
16 Q. Did the JNA initially begin to fire on the positions as you
18 A. Well, the chances are one in a million. When Sasa Medakovic
19 opened fire from his automatic rifle, one bullet cut off the hydraulic
20 barrel of the tank. So Drobnjak only managed to fire a single shell at
21 the machine-gun nest. He couldn't shoot any longer. We were divided in
22 five groups consisting of four men respectively. This was a very
23 intensive attack. However, Grujica Boric, commander of these forces of
24 the Yugoslav People's Army, took a microphone and ordered the tank crew to
25 stop firing. He forbade them to shoot. And he said that this had nothing
1 to do with the JNA, that this was a battle between Chetniks and Ustashas.
2 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, it's time for the break. Would it be fair to say
3 that a rather lengthy battle then ensued between your men and the Croats
4 of which you were ultimately victorious?
5 A. The battle started exactly at 11.00, and we took the police
6 station only at dawn the next day.
7 Q. And did the Croat troops withdraw from the area of Glina after
8 that battle?
9 A. Yes. I attacked them from three sides, leaving the fourth side
10 open, giving them the possibility to leave. Because it really wasn't
11 possible for me to take so many prisoners with the number of men that I
12 had. They retreated across the river, and this was left to us.
13 MR. GROOME: Is that a convenient place for the Chamber to break?
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We will adjourn now. Twenty minutes.
15 --- Recess taken at 12.17 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 12.40 p.m.
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Groome.
18 MR. GROOME:
19 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, after the battle of Glina, did your men -- or did
20 you issue your men a distinctive garment that they wore from that point
22 A. Yes. All the participants in the battle for Glina had red berets.
23 I obtained red berets for them. It was the only thing I had to give them.
24 Q. After the battle of Glina, was it your intention to return to
1 A. Yes, and that's what I did.
2 Q. On your way to Knin, did something occur?
3 A. Yes. When we got close to Dvor na Uni, I was informed by a
4 policeman from Dvor -- now, there is one thing that is very important for
5 the Tribunal to understand. This was almost the fifth day that I got no
6 sleep. Try to play chess for five days, let alone go through this kind of
7 battle. When I arrived in Knin, I weighed 27 kilogrammes less than I
8 weigh today, so you can imagine the state I was in.
9 I am pointing this out because of what happened afterwards. So
10 please understand, I was very tired. This is battle fatigue. That's
11 right word for it, and I don't know the word for it in Serbian. I was so
12 fatigued that I started vomiting. I was really in poor shape. When we
13 arrived in Knin I received information that a group of armed Serbs had
14 carried out a massacre in a hospital, I think the village's name is
15 Strugar, and that at that moment they had taken the police station at Dvor
16 na Uni.
17 Please bear in mind that four men, that is to say 20 per cent of
18 my 20 men, had been wounded. I did not have any possibility to carry out
19 an investigation in the area. But since I saw that a group of armed men
20 was holding the police station, with my own men I walked up to the
21 station, I disarmed these men. I said to them that there were accusations
22 that they had committed a massacre. I disarmed them, I put them in prison
23 cells, I personally locked them up.
24 At that moment, since people had already started complaining,
25 rebelling, why are we arresting Serbs and so on and so forth, then some
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 group of JNA security men showed up. I can't remember who they were
2 exactly, but they introduced themselves as being security men from the
3 JNA. It was also announced that Martic would arrive. I kept these people
4 in prison, and quite literally I deployed my own men as follows: They
5 held the police station under siege. I did not allow anyone to approach
6 the police station until Martic arrived. I handed the key of the prison
7 over to him, and then I proceeded to Knin. And as I was leaving, I fell
8 asleep after we had travelled 200 metres.
9 Please understand that this was not within my area of
10 responsibility. I was just passing there, but since I thought that I had
11 the strength to deal with this, somebody had brought this accusation that
12 a massacre had been committed, and I believe that I did everything within
13 the powers of a single individual to deal with the situation.
14 Are you happy with my answer?
15 Q. Well, Mr. Vasiljkovic, I want to ask you, were there other
16 occasions when you arrested Croat police and similarly turned them over to
17 the custody of Milan Martic?
18 A. Croat police?
19 Q. I'm not talking about this incident at all, but were there other
20 occasions when your men on patrol apprehended either Croat police or other
21 people who were then subsequently turned over to Milan Martic as
23 A. Yes, there were arrests. I don't remember how many, but they were
24 always handed over to the police station. Not to Milan Martic personally,
25 but this was the protocol; if we arrested anyone, we were to hand them
1 over to the police station in Knin. The Red Cross was there. Within 24
2 hours, we were duty-bound to hand them over to the Red Cross. So they
3 were under Red Cross supervision.
4 I don't remember the number involved, how many there were.
5 MR. GROOME: I'd ask that Prosecution Exhibit 389, tab 6, be
6 placed on the overhead projector. And this is another map, a photocopy of
7 Prosecution Exhibit 336, pages 20 and 21.
8 Q. The question I have for you, Mr. Vasiljkovic, is is this another
9 map that you marked a particular location on relevant to your testimony?
10 A. Yes. This is the town of Glina that we discussed a short while
12 Q. I'd ask you to take, I believe it's a green pen in front of you,
13 and I would ask you to circle the town of Dvor, the town where you just
14 described this incident. And look over to your left where the original is
15 on the overhead.
16 MR. GROOME: And I'd ask the director to zoom out a bit and focus
17 on the lower portion of the map.
18 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
19 MR. GROOME:
20 Q. Thank you. Now, when you returned to the fortress in Knin, were
21 there members of Babic's Territorial Defence present at the fortress?
22 A. Yes. To my astonishment, and I think this is important for you to
23 understand, the fortress literally became a symbol of the defence of
24 Krajina. This was a place where guards stood at attention for hours,
25 where flags were flying, where everything was tidy, clean, and it really
1 looked like a proper military. It looked like a command post. When I
2 returned, to my astonishment, in the fortress I found members of the
3 Territorial Defence who were unkempt, unshaven, dirty. And all of this
4 happened while I was waging the battle for Glina. So at that moment when
5 I saw that, I ordered them to leave the fortress. They told me that they
6 were at the fortress on Babic's orders. I said to them that they should
7 find another place then and clean it up and put it in order and not use
8 the place that we had cleaned up and put in order. So that's when the
9 first clash actually occurred between Babic and myself.
10 Q. Now, Mr. Vasiljkovic, did there come a time a few days after that
11 that Frenki Simatovic showed up at the fortress?
12 A. Yes. I was having a meeting with my staff. It was a regular-type
13 meeting that I held, and Frenki Simatovic walked in. He was quite upset.
14 There is a detail that I cannot recall exactly, but I'm going to try to
15 convey the gist of it to the Tribunal. At this lunch where Jovica was,
16 there was an informal conversation as to whether it was Martic or Babic -
17 I can't remember who was saying this - but anyway, it was my understanding
18 that Martic would lead the defence of Krajina and that Milan Babic would
19 lead Krajina's policies. I wasn't that interested in it at the time, so I
20 cannot recall all details, but my understanding was that that was the
21 division of responsibilities.
22 Then Frenki Simatovic, when he walked in, he sat next to me and he
23 said to me semi-audibly that it seems that there were big problems that
24 had cropped up, that Babic was not respecting the agreements he had with
25 Martic, and let me be quite cautious. I mean, I should be quite cautious.
1 I mean, right in the middle of that conversation -- I can't remember how
2 he finished that conversation, but right in the middle of this
3 conversation, at the door of this meeting room where I held meetings -
4 this was my command post and that room was about as big as this room is -
5 at a big table, there were about 30 officers sitting with me, and I sat at
6 the head of that table, Babic walked in, and we were all astonished that
7 he walked in because we did not expect him to come.
8 Q. And what happened after Mr. Babic walked into the meeting?
9 A. When Babic walked in, Frenki stopped talking and he simply left
10 the room, walking by Babic. Babic sat right next to me in the seat that
11 he had taken. When I received all this information and also in addition
12 to everything that I experienced when I came to the fortress when I saw
13 his men who had taken the fortress, I simply proceeded, ignoring Babic. I
14 was addressing the officers, and I said, "Guys, I don't know what is going
15 on over here, but it's obvious that politicians are yet again going to
16 ruin what we've been doing so far. It may easily happen that I will be
17 replaced from this position or that you will not be under my command."
18 I felt duty-bound to say something to these men, as to what would
19 happen if I were no longer there. And I said to them, "I really don't
20 know who I can trust any more around here. The only man so far who never
21 betrayed me or cheated me is Frenki Simatovic, so listen to what he has to
22 say." So it was along those lines. That was the context. Frenki was not
23 present when I said that, but Milan Babic was present.
24 Milan Babic, when he heard what I was saying about him, simply got
25 up and left the room, quite shaken or perhaps frightened. I imagine it
1 was not all the same to him when he realised how I was talking about him.
2 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, in saying that to your men, was it your intention
3 that, should you be replaced or removed, that they then look to Frenki
4 Simatovic for their instruction?
5 A. No. I mean, I didn't have anybody of my own there. When I say
6 "of my own," I'm saying that I was the only person from Belgrade in that
7 camp, and I sort of felt that Frenki Simatovic was the person closest to
8 me. I thought literally that whatever may happen, he as an intelligence
9 person will have the best information as to what was going on. I didn't
10 say they should address them or subordinate themselves to him but they
11 should simply listen to what he had to say, because quite realistically in
12 that period, I did not have much choice and he was the only person I could
14 Q. After you addressed your men, did you at some point later in that
15 day go and speak with Frenki Simatovic?
16 A. Immediately after that, I went out. I got into my jeep and I
17 started searching for Simatovic. I found him. I asked him to sit down
18 and tell me what was going on. He was very upset.
19 Q. And what did he say to you?
20 A. He said to me that he was not sure, that there was only one thing
21 that was certain - I'm sorry, I beg your pardon - but that Babic was an
22 army whore. He meant that he was playing games with the army and that he
23 did not want to see us there, that our presence troubled him in that
24 respect. And then he said to me that I had to go to Belgrade to report to
25 Jovica Stanisic because Jovica Stanisic would have a lot more information.
1 Now, please bear in mind that I had just returned from the battle
2 for Glina. As I mentioned at the outset how meaningful the loss of Glina
3 was to the Serbs, you can well imagine what the liberation of Glina meant.
4 As Frenki said, I'm not sure whether they want to give you a decoration or
5 to dismiss you, but on your way to Belgrade, be very careful, take a lot
6 of security people with you, and make sure that nobody knows when you're
7 leaving and when you're arriving.
8 When I arrived in Belgrade, since I really didn't have that much
9 time in Krajina to follow the media, and there were hardly any in Krajina,
10 it is only then that I realised how much the media had highlighted me in
11 that period.
12 Q. Now --
13 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Groome, it would be helpful to have a date for
14 these activities. The original taking of Glina was on the 28th of June.
15 I don't think we've had a date since then. I may be wrong.
16 MR. GROOME:
17 Q. You've referred to the 28th of June as the time when the Croats
18 took Glina. Can you fix the date that you then -- your battle for Glina,
19 when was that?
20 A. Exactly a month later. The 28th of July. On the 30th of August,
21 I was already in Krajina -- sorry, in Knin. And on the 4th of August, I
22 went to Belgrade -- or, rather, on the 3rd of August, in the evening. So
23 all of these things that were happening in Knin were happening between the
24 1st and the 3rd of August. Within those two days, to be quite precise.
25 Q. Now, did you go to Belgrade and see Mr. Stanisic?
1 A. Yes, I went to Belgrade. I stayed with my friends. I called
2 Stanisic. I phoned Stanisic using the telephone number that Frenki had
3 given me, and Mr. Stanisic appeared at my home or, rather, at the home of
4 my friends where I was staying. He brought me a pistol, CZ99 with his
5 signature, as a present, and he congratulated me on the battle for Glina.
6 He asked me to go out for a walk with him because he did not want to talk
7 in the presence of my friends.
8 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, I omitted to ask you one question about the time
9 that Mr. Stanisic went down to the fortress and had lunch. During your
10 conversation with Mr. Stanisic at that time, did you ever request from him
11 whether there was any -- whether you could receive any assistance for the
12 work you were doing down in that area?
13 A. I cannot remember, but I'm almost sure I did, because I asked help
14 from anyone who came there. And of course I would ask such an important
15 man, like Jovica Stanisic was, for help too.
16 Q. My apologies. I want to draw your attention back to the 4th of
17 August, 1991. Did you go for a walk with Mr. Stanisic on that day?
18 A. That's right, yes.
19 Q. Can you please tell the Chamber what occurred during that walk
20 with Mr. Stanisic on the 4th of August, 1991.
21 A. Well, almost apologetically Stanisic said to me that some very
22 dirty business was going on in Krajina, that I probably unconsciously got
23 involved in politics and that I shouldn't go back there any more, and if I
24 tried, that he would be forced to put a barrier down, which meant
25 literally that he had forbidden me to go back to Krajina.
1 I didn't know then. I asked him -- well, he said, "I don't know
2 whether it's temporary." I remained convinced -- well, I don't know
3 whether my replacement was temporary or definite. Things were the way
4 they were, and I asked him what I should do, and he said, "Go to Bor.
5 That's the place where Nikola Sainovic lives. Then somebody will meet you
6 there and take care of you until we think of where you could help the
8 Q. Did you question Mr. Stanisic regarding who was requesting or who
9 was forbidding you from going back to the Krajina?
10 A. Yes. In principle, he said, "I can't tell you much. You will
11 understand that." But he said, "This is coming from the very top." My
12 understanding was that this should have either been the Minister of the
13 Interior or President Milosevic.
14 Q. Did you in fact go to Bor in Serbia for a period of time?
15 A. Yes. My escort that had escorted me to Belgrade stayed behind in
16 Belgrade, and I with a member of the service whom I didn't know, went to
17 Bor, and they put me up in one of Tito's villas. I stayed there for seven
18 to ten days, roughly, waiting for someone to get in touch with me and to
19 tell me what I should do next.
20 Q. Did anybody ever come and inform you about what you should do
22 A. No. I started to think that I had literally been removed from the
23 scene in a nice way. I became rather nervous, and one evening I saw Milan
24 Babic's interview on television. When one of the spectators asked him,
25 "Can you tell us anything about Captain Dragan?" And Babic answered, and
1 I quote, "Captain Dragan is a mercenary who was hired to do a job. He's
2 done it, he has been paid for it, and he's left on his way." When I heard
3 that, I really became mad with fury.
4 Q. What did you do in response to seeing that?
5 A. As I already had my doubts before leaving Belgrade that something
6 was being done behind my back, I fixed some signals so if I felt unsafe,
7 the men who had secured me as far as Belgrade would come and assist me.
8 So I called up those men, headed by Sasa Medakovic, who is a member of the
9 service from Krajina, they came to Bor. I got in touch with my friend,
10 lady friend, Klara Mandic who was influential in social circles at the
11 time, and asked her to be kind enough to arrange a press conference for me
12 in the international press centre. I wanted to tell the public that I
13 hadn't been paid for it, that I hadn't received any money for it, that I
14 hadn't left but that I had been expelled.
15 Q. Mr. Vasiljkovic, did you eventually conduct such a press
16 conference where you fully aired your positions regarding the reasons why
17 you were in Krajina?
18 A. I first of all scheduled the press conference in the international
19 press centre, but several hours later, they told me that the hall was
20 booked, reserved, and that it would continue to be reserved indefinitely
21 so that I would never get a chance to have my press conference. So Klara
22 said, "You can organise a press conference under any tree, and all the
23 journalists will come. I suggest that you do at it at my friend's who is
24 director of a hotel in Kragujevac, and don't worry, all the reporters will
25 come." That is what I did. And with Klara and my security escort, we
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 went to Kragujevac and I held a press conference there.
2 Q. Around this same time, did you begin an initiative to assist the
3 widows of war victims or -- and casualties of war?
4 A. Well, you see, it was like this: I had lost trust in the contact
5 I had with the Serbian service once I left Bor, and to make the situation
6 clear to you, I was literally guarded by two members of the State Security
7 Service of Serbia. When my guys arrived, I said, "I am leaving," so that
8 I left though they didn't want me to. So it wasn't with their approval.
9 By then, I had lost trust in the service as far as I personally was
11 Q. I just wanted to ask you -- I will ask you in detail about the
12 Captain Dragan fund tomorrow, but could you just give us one or two
13 sentences, was this the period of time which you founded the Captain
14 Dragan fund?
15 A. Yes. Yes. I founded the fund after this press conference,
16 because I realised that I obviously would no longer be included in the
17 armed forces, that somebody had his reasons not to engage me, and I wanted
18 to take advantage of this unbelievable popularity. And it must be
19 difficult for you who are not from Serbia to understand how great that
20 popularity was. It was greater than any soccer player, any pop star. It
21 was really very great, and I wanted to take advantage of it to do
22 something useful, and of course at the same time to be in the centre of
23 events in Serbia.
24 So I said to myself, if they won't let me be Milos Obilic, I've
25 decided to be Kosovka Devojka. Milos Obilic would be something like
1 Lawrence of Arabia, and Kosovka Devojka would be something like Mother
3 Q. I will ask you in greater detail about the fund tomorrow morning.
4 Can you describe for us what happened to the men that you left in the
5 Krajina now that you were in Belgrade?
6 A. Some of those men were already in Belgrade at my side and securing
7 me. My situation was rather difficult. I didn't know -- even know the
8 language too well at the time. I didn't even know who was who. I could
9 just read between the ranks in the newspapers. Klara Mandic was a major
10 source of information that I trusted. So I was really at the time totally
11 confused with respect to the overall situation.
12 As for my men, I felt a moral obligation towards them -- [In
13 English] I see myself now.
14 MR. GROOME: He's pushed a button accidentally on the console.
15 THE WITNESS: [In English] I think it's okay now. Okay.
16 MR. GROOME:
17 Q. So can you tell us, just briefly, where did they go? The ones
18 that were in Belgrade, did they go to join any other organisation? What
19 happened to them?
20 A. [Interpretation] I'm not quite sure whether I called him or he
21 called me. I don't remember the details, it's been a long time. Anyway,
22 it was Frenki Simatovic who told me that he had launched an initiative for
23 the service to form a unit, an armed unit in the military sense, and that
24 those guys who didn't want to stay in Krajina would be welcome in that
1 Of course I accepted that wholeheartedly, and I offered to
2 initiate the formation of such a centre or training camp and everything
3 that that entailed. Frenki promised or, rather, the arrangement was that
4 this time one should not act in an improvised manner but that we get all
5 the documents from the state first, that my status must be defined, that I
6 must be an employee of the service, and that all the guys who joined must
7 also be employees.
8 Q. Where was this? Where was Frenki Simatovic going to set up this
9 armed group?
10 A. There was a hunting lodge at Fruska Gora. It's a mountain not far
11 from Novi Sad in Vojvodina.
12 Q. The group that Mr. Simatovic was referring to, is that the same
13 group that was being honoured in the ceremony that we saw in the videotape
14 earlier today?
15 A. Most of the men wearing camouflage uniforms were veterans
16 belonging to that group. Of course some were killed, like Sasa Medakovic,
17 who isn't there. But yes, in principle, most of them were from that
19 Q. Around this time, were you instrumental in the purchase of
20 uniforms that would then later be worn by this group during their
22 A. Yes. As this was a unit in the process of formation, in those
23 days hundreds of men applied daily who wanted to get close to me. One of
24 them was Dafina Milanovic, a banker in those days, who offered to assist
25 the people in Krajina. I told her that a unit was being formed which
1 needed equipment and that if she wanted to help, she could help us
2 purchase that equipment because such equipment cannot be found in
3 Yugoslavia. She agreed, and she approved 1 million German marks for me.
4 I never received that money in cash, I just linked her to a German
5 merchant of military equipment. His name was Robert Keizer. I made a
6 list of supplies - helmets, flak jackets, night sights, camouflage
7 uniforms, boots - for roughly the strength of a company. And these
8 supplies reached me, I took them to Fruska Gora, and I dressed the young
9 men who were gathering gradually at Fruska Gora.
10 Q. For those of us unfamiliar with the size of a military company,
11 can you approximate the number of people that would be.
12 A. This will probably be cropping up. If we say one platoon, numbers
13 30 men. If we say a company, that's about 100 to 150 men.
14 Q. Now, would it be fair to describe the appearance of these uniforms
15 as being similar to the types of uniforms that members of NATO forces
16 would wear in their operations? And if not, could you explain the
18 A. No. They were identical to the uniforms worn by the American
19 military. They were purchased in America, and they do not differ in any
20 way from the uniforms worn by American soldiers before the Kuwait conflict
21 in 1991.
22 Q. And just so we're clear, although they appeared like these
23 American uniforms, they had no emblems or any kind of markings which
24 erroneously identified them as American uniforms, did they?
25 A. I'm talking about camouflage combat uniforms that don't have any
2 Q. Did there come a time when you were the subject of threats while
3 you were in Serbia?
4 A. Yes. An incident occurred shortly after or during this process,
5 but shall I finish the previous story so as to avoid leaving things
6 hanging in the air?
7 I didn't get the conditions promised, I didn't get the documents,
8 I didn't get what I had asked for, and I abandoned that project. I left
9 Frenki with those men and that equipment, and I devoted myself to the
11 Now, yes, at one point in time I clashed very seriously with the
12 security service. For someone listening, this might sound like a cheap
13 American thriller. The details are the following. I'll try and be brief.
14 Vojislav Seselj, with a pistol in hand, threatened students at
15 Belgrade's Faculty of Law. The students got armed in the centre of
16 Belgrade and they came to see me, asking protection from me. When I heard
17 that in my town, at my university, children were getting armed, I was
18 seriously concerned. I went to the campus, of course I disarmed the
19 children, took the equipment from them, and said the following: "In this
20 country there is a Ministry of Justice and a Ministry of the Interior, and
21 if you wish to file charges against Seselj, you must go through them."
22 They said, "They won't receive us." So I said, "If they won't receive
23 you, I will lead demonstrations against Seselj with you," never thinking
24 for a moment that the two ministers wouldn't receive them. Unfortunately,
25 they were not received by these mentioned ministers, and the children, the
1 students, announced demonstrations in front of the parliament building.
2 Seselj was already inside at the time.
3 I asked Radmilo Bogdanovic to start proceedings to strip Vojislav
4 Seselj of his immunity so that proceedings could be instituted against him
5 because of this incident with the students, and Radmilo Bogdanovic
6 promised to do that. So I stopped the strike, the protest. But in the
7 meantime, several thousand people had gathered in front of the parliament.
8 That is just the introduction to the conflict. A day later, two
9 members of the state security service came to my office and asked me to
10 follow them for an interview.
11 Q. Sorry to interrupt you. Can you please help us with what time,
12 what time period are we talking about when these two men arrived at your
14 A. I really cannot remember. It was probably the autumn of that
15 year. But the date can be found because of this incident with Seselj
16 which was published in all the media. But really, it was a long time ago,
17 and I can't remember the date. But it was that same year. Probably in
18 the autumn of that year.
19 Q. Sir, who were the two men that came to visit you?
20 A. One was Dragan Filipovic, the other was Milan Radonjic.
21 Q. And for whom did they work?
22 A. They worked for the state security service of Serbia.
23 Q. And what, if anything, did they say to you?
24 A. They took me to a raft near the river, and they explained to me
25 that it was very difficult for them to say what they were going to say but
1 that I had entered certain waters that I did not understand, and they
2 asked me to leave Yugoslavia. They told me that they had accepted to
3 carry out this assignment because if someone else had done it, they would
4 have probably done it differently, and I took this to be a threat. They
5 asked me how much money I needed to disappear from Yugoslavia for five
6 years and never to crop up again anywhere. I said, "For five years, I
7 need about $250.000, about 50.000 a year to seek shelter somewhere in an
8 island in the Indian Ocean and to wait for everything to blow over."
9 Of course I wasn't pleased with their request to leave the
10 country, but also I was not ready to clash with the state security
11 service. I had no motive to wage war against my own country.
12 So we agreed that we would see each other again the next day and
13 that Fico would try to ensure the sum I had requested.
14 Q. Sir, before this meeting ended, did you ask where this order came
15 from, where this directive came that you should leave the country?
16 A. The answer was very similar to the one given by Jovica Stanisic
17 earlier on. "It is coming from the top," they said, and no one can have
18 any influence regarding that decision. I had to leave the country.
19 I told this story to a friend of mine, a journalist that I trusted
20 absolutely, and after quite a lot of convincing, he persuaded me that we
21 go to see Nedjelko Boskovic, who was then chief of the intelligence or
22 counter-intelligence service of the JNA, I'm not quite sure which,
23 counter-intelligence, yes, and he told me that he knew Nedjelko Boskovic
24 very well, that he was a man of his word, and that if I insisted that he
25 was to keep it to himself, he would. So I trusted the chief of the
1 military intelligence with this information, and he said the following:
2 "You are a citizen of this country and no one can expel you. But if you
3 accept their offer, what could easily happen is that you'll be found
4 somewhere outside the country, dead, and a report could appear in the
5 paper saying that you had been killed in a Mafia settling of accounts, and
6 I think it's very dangerous." Then I asked, "What do you think we should
7 do?" Then he said, "Let us try and listen in to conversations." And I
8 did so.
9 I mounted it in my hotel. I went to a meeting with Filipovic. I
10 provoked him to repeat what he had said the previous day. Of course I
11 didn't bring those tapes, though they are in my possession.
12 Q. The record is unclear. What was translated was that you were
13 going to listen in to conversations. What exactly was decided to do with
14 respect to future meetings with these men?
15 A. To begin with, Nedjelko Boskovic proposed that we just tape these
16 threats of theirs. That was the purpose of the taping, of the recording.
17 And that then he would consider and analyse those threats.
18 Q. And did you do that?
19 A. Yes, I did.
20 Q. At some later point, did Frenki Simatovic come to you, to your
21 house, and request those tapes?
22 A. If you give me another 30 seconds to finish the story. I gave
23 this tape to Nedjelko Boskovic. A transcript was done, and several days
24 later Frenki Simatovic came to see me. He came to see me. That was your
25 question, wasn't it?
1 Q. Yes. Do you know what Mr. Boskovic did, or General Boskovic did
2 with the transcript of the tapes?
3 A. He told me what he would do. He said that he would copy them and
4 take it to Jovica Stanisic and that my best protection was that threat.
5 Because if anything were to happen to me, nobody would be able to free the
6 service of the responsibility for this. But he asked me not to make too
7 much noise about it, not to publicise the whole thing, not to make it
8 public, and that he would see what should be done next. And that's it.
9 Q. I'm going to ask that you take a look at the monitor now, and I'd
10 ask that it be switched to the appropriate position. I'm going to ask you
11 to take a look at Prosecution Exhibit 389, tab 7, which will appear in
12 front of you. If you need it enlarged or you want to see the hard copy,
13 we can provide that.
14 Do you recognise the signature on the bottom of the page of
15 Prosecution Exhibit tab 7?
16 A. It says Marko Njegovanovic. I never saw his signature, but I have
17 no reason to doubt that that is his signature.
18 Q. Can you tell us who he was.
19 A. I think he was the commander of the command of the town of
20 Belgrade, as far as I can remember.
21 Q. I want to ask you to read the last sentence in the first paragraph
22 that appears before you and the entire last paragraph, which refers to you
23 and then I'd ask you to comment on it. If you would read it aloud,
25 A. [In English] Okay. [Interpretation] I have a reflection here from
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 the light. I shall have to get up.
2 Q. We'll hand up a hard copy.
3 A. Yes, that would be easier perhaps. "In accordance with Article
4 137 of the Rules of Procedure of the People's Assembly of the Republic of
5 Serbia, we are giving the following answer: It is known that the armed
6 forces of Yugoslavia consist of the Yugoslav People's Army and the
7 Territorial Defence. Their interrelations are precisely defined in legal
8 and other regulations valid. Commanding in the armed forces is based on
9 the principles of the unity of commanding in regards with the use of the
10 forces --" is that what you wanted me to read?
11 Q. Actually, it would be fine if you started with the last sentence
12 of that very paragraph.
13 A. I think you've given me the wrong document. Aha. I see. I'm
14 sorry. It's on the second page.
15 "Volunteers that make war in the territory of Srpska Krajina are
16 within the TO units and they are under unique command of the armed forces
17 and so far there have not been any major problems.
18 "As far as we know, Captain Dragan has no special personnel that
19 he's training or commanding in those territories now. It is known that
20 earlier he was engaged in training the members of the TO of Krajina,
21 so-called Knindzas, and that those formations are fighting in coordination
22 with the JNA. Based on this -" this is not quite clear - "there are no
23 indications to doubt whether there is enough cooperation which is expected
24 from these units."
25 Q. What is the date of that document, please?
1 A. The 20th of January, 1992.
2 Q. Can you please comment on the veracity of that document as it
3 pertains or describes the relationship you had with Territorial Defence
5 A. Yes. In principle, I don't see anything incorrect there. I've
6 already spoken about it and I think this only confirms what I've already
7 said. Are there any additional questions in this connection.
8 Q. Not from me.
9 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, if the Chamber would still like 15
10 minutes at the end of today's session, this would be a convenient place to
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Very well. Mr. Vasiljkovic, we will adjourn
13 now. Could you be back, please, at 9.00 tomorrow morning when we'll
14 continue the evidence. Thank you. If you'd like to go.
15 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
16 [Witness stood down]
17 JUDGE MAY: We will begin by dealing with the matters we can deal
18 with in open session, which is the evidence of Mr. Davies.
19 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
20 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. Your Honour, we had actually filed a
21 subsequent motion in relation to this witness that may, I think, meet the
22 concerns of the amici, because in the subsequent motion dated the 21st of
23 January of this year, we had indicated that in relation to several
24 paragraphs - and these are the paragraphs related to the defence in
25 Dubrovnik and the targeting of civilian objects - the witness would
1 testify, testify live, and only in relation to the other paragraphs which
2 are corroborating actually only the shelling of Dubrovnik as such and some
3 other background aspects, we would recommend 92 bis, and I think that
4 meets the concerns of the amici.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes. The witness is a journalist who came to
6 Dubrovnik, describes shelling which we have heard much evidence about
7 already, but then describes matters, paragraphs 32 to 42, which are in
8 dispute as to the role of the civilian defenders.
9 What is proposed that -- Mr. Milosevic, what's proposed is that
10 those paragraphs are the subject of live evidence, the rest of the
11 statement be admitted under Rule 92 bis, there being no reference to you
12 or your acts and conduct, and that you then have the opportunity to
14 Anything you want to say about that?
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Only to point out once again that
16 I'm categorically opposed to the application of Rule 92 bis, because to
17 date, it has been proven that the application of this role is -- rule is
18 quite inadequate for establishing the facts that you wish to have
19 established here. I believe that it is quite inappropriate to apply Rule
20 92 bis in this case.
21 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kay?
22 MR. KAY: Yes. Your Honour, it's quite clear the accused is
23 opposed to any admission of evidence in written form and seeks viva voce
25 JUDGE MAY: It's very plain he's against it as a matter of
1 principle, but we have to apply our Rules.
2 MR. KAY: It's a discretionary matter for the Trial Chamber, so
3 notwithstanding even that the criteria may fit, it's still a matter that
4 the Trial Chamber has to use its discretion upon. Every statement, in
5 many respects, is a unique statement that gives different detail upon
6 incidents, and the accused's position is quite clearly that it provides
7 less opportunity for him to highlight discrepancies.
8 JUDGE MAY: We understand that, Mr. Kay, but we want your
9 submissions as amicus, not a repetition of his.
10 MR. KAY: The issue here that one as to consider is the Galic
11 decision. We've got 7(3), issue of command responsibility, and just to
12 highlight the words from that decision which we've quoted in the written
13 document put before the Court at paragraph 23: "There is often a short
14 step from a finding that the acts constituting the crimes charged were
15 committed by subordinates to finding that the accused knew or had reason
16 to know of the crimes." And the judgement goes on to say: "It comes to a
17 position no way he couldn't have heard about it."
18 So that's the position that the Appeals Chamber were highlighting.
19 JUDGE MAY: But here there is an issue as to whether this accused
20 was in charge of the JNA or not. That's a matter which is in dispute, is
21 it not, as I understand it.
22 MR. KAY: Yes, it is.
23 JUDGE MAY: So it's not a position in which in Galic you had a
24 commander, he was the commander of the Sarajevo siege. So he was the
25 commander of the troops. Here we have other issues of linkage and command
1 responsibility, not a direct responsibility as they have in Galic.
2 MR. KAY: But it's the acts of the JNA in allegedly shelling
3 Dubrovnik, which is the issue here. It's all tied up with those events
4 surrounding Dubrovnik and who was giving the orders and what would have
5 been known about it.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes. But the issue is, the crucial issue we're going
7 to have to determine here is whether there was a connection between the
8 accused and the JNA. That's one of the crucial issues in the case in this
9 regard. But you seem to be against the application of Rule 92 bis in the
10 same way as the accused. You're just against it.
11 MR. KAY: We're putting forward his position on that, and in
12 relation to it, we provide an alternative argument that permits his
13 cross-examination of witnesses called under 92 bis. If the discretion of
14 the Court is to be exercised in favour of admitting evidence in a
15 cumulative form in that way, our position is that he should at least have
16 a right to cross-examine, taking again the approach of the Trial Chamber
17 throughout this trial to date, so that those issues can be dealt with by
19 JUDGE MAY: This is a case in which there will be an opportunity
20 to cross-examine in any event. Whichever way we rule, there must be
22 [Trial Chamber confers]
23 JUDGE MAY: There are no provisions in the Rule which prevent this
24 statement being admitted under Rule 92 bis. It does not relate to the
25 acts and conduct of the accused. It is not sufficiently proximate, as
1 alleged, to him to require it to be excluded under the Rule.
2 We will order that the statement be admitted under Rule 92 bis but
3 that paragraphs 32 to 42 be given live, the accused to be able to
4 cross-examine the witness.
5 I think the other two matters have to be dealt with in private
7 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: In relation to the witness General Mangan, I
8 think we can remain in open session.
9 JUDGE MAY: I didn't know we were going to -- you want to deal
10 with him too?
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, because it's actually the same argument.
12 JUDGE MAY: It's the same argument. Do you want to call him soon?
13 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Actually, he is scheduled at the moment for
14 next week. For next week, and this is why -- and because it's a very
15 similar situation, I would think it should be dealt with also now. And we
16 have also in that same filing that related to Mr. Davies, we had suggested
17 that General Mangan should be heard also on all issues that are here
18 crucial and in dispute; that is the defence situation in Dubrovnik and
19 also the reasoning behind the attack on Dubrovnik, the artillery
20 operations, the conduct should be viva voce and only those corroborating
21 other matters should be 92 bis.
22 JUDGE MAY: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, I don't think we -- given the time
23 constraints, we must deal with those other two matters. We'll deal with
24 him tomorrow, if you would remind us. We'll come back to him.
25 Are we in private session? All right. We'll go into private
2 [Private session]
13 Pages 16526-16530 – redacted – private session
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.51 p.m.,
23 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 20th day of
24 February, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.