1 Friday, 27 June 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
7 WITNESS: SUAD DZAFIC [Resumed]
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Milosevic: [Continued]
10 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Dzafic, you say that those people were
11 disarmed and that the same day, two buses arrived in the village, and --
12 A. Which people?
13 Q. The paramilitary formations. What kind of paramilitaries were
15 A. And which people were disarmed on that day? What do you mean?
16 Q. I'm talking about the day when they were taken into custody and
17 taken to the police station, those people, that day.
18 A. They had been brought in the day before.
19 Q. So when the paramilitary formations arrived, nobody was taken into
21 A. No.
22 Q. Which paramilitary formations were they?
23 A. They were soldiers belonging to the territorial Serbian defence,
24 and it was related, in fact, to my neighbours. They were the ones who
25 took part.
1 Q. So these were people you knew, as far as I understand it.
2 A. Yes, that's right.
3 Q. Did you know them all?
4 A. Well, 90 per cent of them, yes.
5 Q. And they were all from the Bratunac municipality, were they?
6 That's right, is it?
7 A. Well, 90 per cent of them were people living around my village.
8 Q. You say on page 4, paragraph 1 of your statement that while you
9 were waiting in Bratunac, a certain Fadil Habibovic was called. Is that
11 A. Yes, that's right.
12 Q. What was he? Why was he called? Why was his name called out by
13 the people who were there? I assume you knew him too because you all knew
14 each other there. That's right, isn't it?
15 A. The people who took him away, took him off you mean.
16 Q. Well, yes. You say that they were all your neighbours?
17 A. No. The person who took Fadil Habibovic away, I did not know him.
18 Q. You said that Habibovic had been taken to the house in Krasno
19 Polje; that is right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. You say he was killed there?
22 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I be of
23 assistance? It's paragraph 20.
24 JUDGE KWON: We have it.
25 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. You said that he was taken to his home in Krasno Polje and killed
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Who did you hear this from?
5 A. I don't remember who I heard it from.
6 Q. What was the reason for him to have been taken back?
7 A. Well, according to what some people said, Fadil Habibovic was a
8 well-to-do man. He was well off.
9 Q. So that could have been the reason, is that it?
10 A. Well, I would say so, yes, in my opinion.
11 Q. But you didn't see what actually happened to him?
12 A. No. I was just -- I just saw him being taken away.
13 Q. And another man, Omer Muminovic was also called out, shall is that
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Apart from these two men was anybody else's name called out?
17 A. No.
18 Q. You say that nothing happened to this man Muminovic.
19 A. No, nothing did.
20 Q. So he came back?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Muminovic, whose name was called out, returned. Habibovic did not
23 return, and you heard that somebody killed him; is that right?
24 A. I heard that he was killed by Novo.
25 Q. What did you say? Who killed him?
1 A. Novo.
2 Q. Who is this Novo man?
3 A. My neighbour and a former taxi driver in Bratunac.
4 Q. You also say that on that occasion, a military rucksack was found
5 with Jasmin Muminovic and that he was taken to the MUP for interrogation.
6 Was he relation, this man Jasmin Muminovic, with this man Omer Muminovic?
7 A. Yes, it was his father.
8 Q. So Omer was taken over there and released. And what happened to
10 A. Jasmin was taken to the Vlasenica police station. He was
11 interrogated and then released.
12 Q. So he was taken in too because of the military equipment that was
13 found on him and then released.
14 A. I don't know what kind of equipment he had. He just had a
15 military rucksack because he had come back several days before that from
16 doing his Yugoslav People's Army military service.
17 Q. All right. And you say that 32 prisoners, males, men who were
18 military-able men, as you say, they were taken to the MUP.
19 A. No, not to the MUP, to the premises of the MUP, and it was a sort
20 of prison, a MUP prison.
21 Q. But was it within the frameworks of the MUP building itself?
22 A. No. It was next door.
23 Q. A regular prison?
24 A. Well, whether it was a prison or not, I don't know. But I felt it
25 to be a prison. I was never in Vlasenica myself. I was never at the
1 police station there or the prison there so I can't say, but that's what
2 it felt like.
3 Q. And you say the cell you were put up in was about 3 by 5 metres;
4 is that right?
5 A. Yes. Approximately between 3 and 5 metres.
6 Q. And 32 of you went inside plus another five soldiers who came to
7 beat you; is that right?
8 A. They weren't soldiers, they were civilians.
9 Q. Who were these civilians then?
10 A. They were brought in later on.
11 Q. Were those civilians from your parts too?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Tell me this, please, how was it possible that in this small room,
14 3 by 5 metres, you had 32 prisoners and five civilians? How could all
15 this be going on there? How could they be beaten in such a small room?
16 A. They were all civilians in the room, so it wasn't 32 men plus five
17 civilians. They were all civilians. There were 37 of us in all. And
18 yes, it was possible. Everything is possible.
19 Q. Yes, I understand the answer that everything's possible, yes.
20 Tell me this now, please, to move on to the actual event when you
21 say a certain Macedonian boarded the bus in which you were put up and
22 said -- and told you to step down by the back door in groups of four and
23 five. I think you say that on page 6, paragraph 5.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Where were you at that particular point in time?
1 A. I was right next to the entrance to Kasaba.
2 Q. Does that mean you were in town when you refer to this?
3 A. No.
4 Q. And you say at the entrance to Kasaba. So you were far from --
5 you weren't far from town. When you say Kasaba, it refers to the old part
6 of down; right?
7 A. Well, it's not a big town. It's a very small town.
8 Q. All right. A small town then. So you were at this entrance to
9 this small town; right?
10 A. At the entrance, yes.
11 Q. Then you go on to say that the first group stepped down from the
12 bus and that the soldiers killed them there on the spot; is that right?
13 A. Yes, that's right.
14 Q. Right at the entrance to this small town, is that it?
15 A. At the entrance to the small town, yes.
16 Q. And from what distance did they shoot?
17 A. I can't answer that. I didn't have time to count the metres and
18 steps or whatever.
19 Q. But you have some idea, I'm sure.
20 A. Well, I do have some idea. The bus was parked on the asphalt
21 road. There was one group of people standing by the back door to the bus.
22 The others were in front of the bus. There was an APC in front of the
23 bus, and it took part in the shooting. And as the people got off, they
24 would pass across the fields and that's when they shot, did the shooting.
25 Q. Tell me, were you shot at straight after you got off the bus?
1 A. As I was getting off the bus, I heard an order being called out
2 that we should flee across the fields, escape across the fields, run
3 across the fields. So I managed to get a little away from the asphalt
4 road, because the people who were first and stepped down from the bus
5 first were right up by the asphalt, and then you get to the field and
6 that's where they were killed.
7 Q. There's something that doesn't seem to be quite clear to me there,
8 because you say that as they got off the bus, somebody shot at them.
9 A. Not somebody shot. We know who shot.
10 Q. Well, you described who those people were a moment ago.
11 A. No. Those people who expelled me from the village weren't the
12 same people.
13 Q. Well, I can't link all this up now. Does that mean that it wasn't
14 the people who expelled you and brought you there who shot you? Who did
15 shoot at you?
16 A. The people who expelled me from the village were not there when
17 this execution took place. The people had come in -- actually, other
18 people had come into Vlasenica.
19 Q. So who were these other people who came into Vlasenica?
20 A. According to what I learnt later on they were members of the
21 Vukovar diversionary or sabotage platoon. And I mentioned that they were
22 wearing uniforms the Arkan Tiger type and the White Eagles. People in
23 uniforms, the olive-green uniforms. And I knew one of them personally.
24 He was a neighbour of mine and his name was Pero Mitrovic, and he was an
25 active participant in the event and he was wearing the olive-green
1 uniform. And as I had done my military service in the Yugoslav People's
2 Army, I could recognise that he had a sniper on him too, and I noticed
3 that another man was wearing shorts. There were people who wore masks.
4 This other man had a cape.
5 Q. So there was one in a cape. Others were wearing shorts?
6 A. Well, there were all sorts.
7 Q. You say that you were wounded in different -- in four different
8 parts of your body from an automatic weapon and a heavy machine-gun. Is
9 that what you say?
10 A. I was wounded in four parts of my body on the right-hand side. So
11 the right-hand side of my body received four gunshot wounds, and one of
12 them was caused by the heavy machine-gun that was fired.
13 Q. Where were you exactly wounded?
14 A. My stomach, my hip, leg, two bullets to my leg.
15 Q. Do you have any medical documents to prove that?
16 A. No, but I have visible scars.
17 Q. How do you know which of the weapons hit you?
18 A. Well, I just do. I know that this APC and the bullet came from
19 there, and the wound was inflicted from a higher altitude, from -- the
20 shot came from up above, and it was actually the machine-gun fire that hit
21 me from the APC.
22 Q. I'm not quite clear on this situation here, because in the
23 statement you gave on the 15th of June, 1993, in the security centre of
24 Tuzla, you describe this event in a different way.
25 A. Yes.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. In that statement, on page 5, you claim that you heard shooting
2 coming from the APC and that you saw a group being taken out of the bus
3 and ordered to move towards the nearby field.
4 A. I don't think I said that, because it didn't happen that way. It
5 happened the way I described a moment ago.
6 Q. Well, I have your statement here from that centre in Tuzla. It's
7 not very legible, the copy, but ...
8 MR. NICE: Does the Chamber want a copy if it doesn't already?
9 JUDGE MAY: We haven't a copy. We ought to, yes.
10 MR. NICE: And the witness ought to have -- I don't know if we've
11 got a B/C/S version available for him. We have -- it's also on page 5,
12 both the English and the B/C/S, and I will hand in the -- hand to the
13 usher the B/C/S version for the witness.
14 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. You say towards the end of that page: "I saw that a group had
16 also been taken out of the bus and they were ordered to move to the
18 MR. NICE: [Previous translation continues] ... eight lines down.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was the group that I got out
21 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, could you identify that.
22 MR. NICE: It's page 5 in the English, but it's about eight lines
23 down from the top. "I saw that a group had already been taken off the
24 bus," I think that's the passage he's referring to, "and had been ordered
25 to head toward the field."
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Now, tell me this: Did they shoot at them from the spot or did
3 they order them to move towards the field? I can't align these two
4 statements, because a moment ago you said it wasn't correct, but that's
5 what it says here?
6 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment. Don't confuse the witness. Have you
7 got -- just a moment.
8 Have you got the passage, Mr. Dzafic, in the statement to the
9 security centre? Have you identified the passage? You see here it says
10 that one -- "I saw one group being taken off and had been ordered to head
11 towards the field. The Serbian soldiers shot at their backs and the
12 people fell to the ground." Then the next sentence reads: "Five or six
13 people at a time were taken off the bus and chased into the field, after
14 which they were gunned down by bursts of fire from automatic rifles and
15 anti-aircraft machine-guns."
16 Now, do you want to make any comment about that, Mr. Dzafic?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were not taken into the field,
18 that is to say, they were shot after as soon as they got off the bus,
19 which means that they were given a bit of leeway. They could go a bit in
20 front of the soldiers and then they were shot at.
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. That's why I'm asking you, because you say that they went about 30
23 or 40 metres away, and in the statement you say that they were being shot
24 at on the spot, as soon as they got off the bus. So what is true?
25 A. It is possible that my group of five or six men that was the last
1 to get off the bus managed to move about 30 to 40 metres away from the
2 asphalt road, because that was the last group to get off.
3 Q. All right. But in the statement given to the investigators, you
4 say that you were hit as soon as you got off the bus. And in the
5 statement given to the authorities in Tuzla, you say that you were ordered
6 to run and that you managed to cross 30 or 40 metres. What is true?
7 A. I was not hit on the bus. I was hit when I got off the bus. So
8 it's in this type period. It wasn't minutes, it was a question of
9 seconds. I got off the bus and then the order was to run across the field
10 and that's it. That's how it happened.
11 Q. Tell me, as you say, those men who were shooting at you were
12 looking for survivors.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And then they shot from pistols.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. At every group?
17 A. I didn't hear what you said.
18 Q. Were they looking for survivors after they shot at every group or
19 after you had been hit?
20 A. Well, I was the last group to get off, so when it was all over,
21 then they set out to look for survivors, to see whether anybody had
23 Q. They managed to get to you right at the moment when they started
24 quarreling between themselves. That is what you say on paragraph 13, page
1 A. What was that?
2 Q. When they reached you, they managed to quarrel somewhere when they
3 were there between you.
4 A. Well, it wasn't right next to me. It was, say, within a radius of
5 10 to 20 metres.
6 Q. And then they quarreled and they --
7 A. And then they did what they did. They checked who survived and
8 Mitrovic and Makedonac had quarreled amongst themselves. They said this
9 should not have happened by the main road. And then I just heard a voice
10 that they should get on to the vehicles and leave. And I heard this group
11 of vehicles and then, all of a sudden, there was silence. Then I got up.
12 Then I raised my head, actually.
13 Q. All right. You say that after they left you lay on the ground for
14 two more hours?
15 A. No. I needed two hours to get to the place where I stayed. And
16 after me, these other two survivors came. They came two hours after I
18 Q. Please look at the last paragraph on page 6. You say: "I lay on
19 the ground for two more hours."
20 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Milosevic, the witness made the correction to
21 that paragraph. He said: "I got up immediately and tried to go in the
22 direction of a nearby Muslim hamlet."
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Kwon.
24 JUDGE MAY: Now, which statement are you now referring to? You've
25 referred to page 6. Is this the security centre or are you referring to
1 the OTP statement?
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No, no. The statement made to the
3 investigators here, yes.
4 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is paragraph
5 50, paragraph 50.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, we have it together with the correction.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. So you did not lie for another two hours. When they got off, then
9 you got up and left.
10 A. Yes, then I set out.
11 Q. Then, since you were wounded in four different places, you had two
12 wounds in your leg and one in the hip, is that right, and one wound was in
13 the stomach, is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And then you went to a village?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Which village is this?
18 A. I left without knowing where I was going. I was looking for a
19 village in order to seek shelter. Celikovic is the village concerned. A
20 small village, just a few houses, and that's where I got to.
21 Q. And how far away is this village from the site where everything
23 A. Well, I don't know exactly. It took me two hours approximately to
24 get there. Probably if I were healthy and if everything were all right, I
25 would have gotten there in, say, about 30 minutes.
1 Q. You would walk with all those four wounds?
2 A. I had to walk, because I tried to lie down but I couldn't because
3 of the pain.
4 Q. You say: "After a while, two other survivors were brought to the
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Who brought them?
8 A. Men from that village.
9 Q. And this statement that you made in Tuzla, you say that they had
10 lighter wounds.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. What kind of wounds were they?
13 A. Rahman Karic had an exit/entry wound here on the left arm, and
14 Sado Muhic was just grazed by a bullet on his arm. Only his skin was
15 grazed. And this wound was caused by a pistol. Because they were telling
16 me when they were getting off, they were not hit but then they were
17 actually wounded when those men were going around to check whether there
18 were any survivors.
19 Q. They stayed after you at the site where all this had taken place?
20 A. Yes, yes.
21 Q. Those men who had lighter wounds stayed there on the spot and they
22 stayed after you, and you, although you had more serious wounds, managed
23 to leave earlier on?
24 A. Because I couldn't lie there because of the pain. I had to get up
25 immediately. And it was probably fear and everything else because of
1 everything that had happened there.
2 Q. Mr. Dzafic, actually, since you spoke about this here and you gave
3 a list of persons - all of them are men, actually, men from your
4 area - are these men who were killed in fighting while they were a part of
5 Naser Oric's units? Is that the case rather than them being executed?
6 There was no execution.
7 A. I didn't hear the question.
8 Q. Mr. Dzafic, I'm asking you whether these men were actually killed
9 in fighting in the units of Naser Oric in that area. They were not
11 A. Which fighting? Which units?
12 Q. In that area, there were Muslim --
13 A. You mean the men on the list.
14 Q. Yes.
15 A. No.
16 JUDGE MAY: It's suggested, Mr. Dzafic, and you should have the
17 chance to deal with it, it's suggested there was no execution at all, is
18 what the accused is saying. Now, is there any truth, is there any
19 possibility of that being so?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The execution did take place, and
21 these men who are on the list were executed during that execution.
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. You're claiming that these men on the list were not in
24 Naser Oric's units and were not killed in combat? You're saying that they
25 were executed by these other people?
1 JUDGE MAY: We've heard that. That's what he says. We've heard
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right, Mr. May. I have no
4 further questions of this witness.
5 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have no
7 MR. NICE: Two questions.
8 Re-examined by Mr. Nice:
9 Q. You were asked about the requirement of surrendering of arms.
10 Tell us, when the man came to require that you surrender arms, did he have
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Did you get to know what was on the lists at some stage?
14 A. He held the lists in his hands, and he said, "According to this
15 list you had been issued weapons."
16 Q. Is there any truth to that suggestion?
17 A. No.
18 Q. As to this suggestion by the accused that you made up this entire
19 story of the execution, how many family members of yours were included in
20 those who died as they came off that bus?
21 A. Ninety per cent of them were relatives and family. From my very
22 own house were my father and two brothers who were killed there.
23 Q. So what the accused is suggesting, your father, yourself, your two
24 brothers, amongst others, were fighting for Naser Oric and that they were
25 killed and you were injured, I suppose, in the course of that fighting.
1 Any truth in that suggestion at all?
2 A. No. That is not true. The truth is that we were captured at home
3 and that they were taken out there and killed as civilians.
4 MR. NICE: Your Honour, that's all I ask. I observe that the
5 accused even challenged whether the witness was injured. The witness
6 effectively offered inspection of his injuries, but I'm not proposing to
7 go to that detail. It seems inappropriate in the setting of this --
8 JUDGE MAY: Certainly.
9 MR. NICE: Yes. That's all I ask of this witness.
10 JUDGE MAY: We'll give an exhibit number to the -- the next D
11 number for the state security services statement.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Defence Exhibit 153, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, I'm just debating whether in fact it might
14 be more convenient to make it a Prosecution Exhibit. The practice has
15 already been to make these Defence statements, but I wonder whether it's
16 not more convenient to --
17 MR. NICE: For retrieval purposes it might be simpler to add it
18 right after the --
19 JUDGE MAY: So the package, as it were, of statements --
20 MR. NICE: I'm tempted to do that. I didn't re-examine on the
21 alleged differences. It seems to me that they may have been rather more
22 seeming than real.
23 JUDGE MAY: Make it so. Make it so.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, Prosecution Exhibit 474.
25 MR. NICE: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff will be calling the next witness.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 May this witness be released?
2 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Dzafic, the Court's grateful to you for coming
3 here to give your evidence. It is now concluded, and you are free to go.
4 [The witness withdrew]
5 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, the next witness is General Imra
6 Agotic, and he will testify without protective measures.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, Prosecution Exhibit 475. That's for
8 the exhibit of documents for witness Imra Agotic, Exhibit 475.
9 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, just to explain to you, we have
10 provided the new exhibits, and you find them in one bundle and then you
11 find the courtesy copy for those already discussed, and you have also a
12 few maps. And you can see it in the proofing summary how they are marked.
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness take the declaration.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
16 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
17 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
18 WITNESS: IMRA AGOTIC
19 [Witness answered through interpreter]
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Examined by Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff:
23 Q. Sir, would you please state your name.
24 A. Imra Agotic.
25 Q. Before the war, had you been a professional soldier in the JNA and
1 later in the Croatian army?
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. When did you retire from the Croatian army and with which rank?
4 A. I retired on the 2nd of July, 1991, with the rank of colonel.
5 Q. That's from the JNA. And when did you retire from the Croatian
6 army and with which rank?
7 A. I retired from the Croatian army on the 30th of December, 2002.
8 Q. With which rank?
9 A. With the rank of lieutenant colonel, a four-star general.
10 Q. Besides being a professional soldier, do you also have a Masters
11 Degree from the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Zagreb?
12 A. Yes. I had a Masters Degree in international relations in 1985.
13 Q. What is your current occupation?
14 A. I am currently advisor to the president of the Republic of Croatia
15 for national security.
16 Q. During the preparation of your testimony, did you, together with
17 staff from the Prosecution office, provide and list -- did you make a
18 listing of your personal and professional background?
19 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: That's tab 1, Your Honours.
20 Q. Did you review this document, and is it correct?
21 A. I did, and what I have in front of me is correct.
22 Q. Before May 1990, were the -- this is enough, sir. It's -- that
23 was -- we can put this exhibit aside.
24 In -- before May 1990, were the weapons of the TO stored, where
25 were they stored, and who had control over them?
1 A. I didn't quite hear the last part of your question, the
2 interpretation of it.
3 Q. Where were the weapons of the TO stored before May 1990, and who
4 had control over them?
5 A. You mean the weapons of the Territorial Defence of the Republic of
7 Q. Yes.
8 A. The weapons of the Territorial Defence of the Republic of Croatia,
9 up until May 1991, were held in warehouses of the TO of the Republic of
10 Croatia. And the commanders, the officers in the Territorial Defence of
11 the Republic of Croatia had the right to use them and control them.
12 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: With the help of the usher, I would like to
13 put to the witness Exhibit 447, tab 3. It's an order from General Adzic
14 of the 14th May 1990 regarding the transfer of the weapons and ammunition
15 of the TO.
16 Q. Are you familiar with this order?
17 A. I am, but in the course of 1990, I did not see it because I wasn't
18 in office to be able see it then. But I did see it later on when I joined
19 the Croatian army.
20 Q. It says here in the little paragraph above the word "Order," there
21 is a reference that it is about safe storage and safekeeping of the
22 weapons. Were the weapons at that time stored unsafe in the TO
24 A. In the sense of safety, they were well-protected in the
25 warehouses, and I know this also on the basis of the report of the main
1 inspection, which took place several months before this event, that is
2 when the weapons were taken over, and who went to check some of the
3 warehouses of the Territorial Defence.
4 Q. There is also a reference in this -- in the first paragraph of the
5 order where there is said that, "In the absence of space in the dumps of
6 depots, use the most suitable premises within the area of those dumps and
7 depots," and there's also even a reference to using rooms in the barracks.
8 Is -- were these places indicated here, in particular the rooms, were they
9 more safe than what -- than the TO warehouses?
10 A. The gist of this first paragraph and of the whole order was not to
11 place it under safer conditions as far as guarding the weapons was
12 concerned. The aim of it was, in fact, to replace the TO guards and the
13 guards of the Ministry of the Interior who were guarding those warehouses
14 up until then with JNA guards.
15 Q. There in paragraph 2 there is also a reference to exceptional
16 cases where TO weapons would remain outside of the JNA depots, and it says
17 here: "They should be stored and safeguarded in the TO depots guarded by
18 JNA units."
19 What effect did that have?
20 A. That is quite correct, and this confirms what I've just said, that
21 the aim was to change the guards, for another company, in quotation marks,
22 to control the weapons. And the effect of it was that the Territorial
23 Defence of the Republic of Croatia was disempowered in terms of
24 controlling its own property.
25 Q. Did the Croatian government comply with this order?
1 A. The order was fully complied with, and all that remained at the
2 disposal of the Croatian government was in a warehouse or in a company in
3 Zagreb called Mega, and it amounted to some 30 rifles, because they
4 refused to hand them over. All the others in Croatia did hand their
5 weapons over to the Territorial Defence.
6 Q. And I would like --
7 JUDGE MAY: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, we don't have or I don't have in
8 my binder the Adzic order. We have the report. I have the report of the
9 colonel, but I don't have that.
10 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: You have a separate bundle with a green
11 cover. Those were the exhibits that were already tendered.
12 JUDGE MAY: Perhaps you'd make it plain. I've got it now.
13 Perhaps you'd make it plain.
14 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: The next document is tab 2. This is in the
15 bundle of new documents, Your Honour. Tab 2.
16 Q. General, I would like you briefly to just look at this. This
17 seems to be an example of compliance with the order, and it refers to the
18 municipality of Split and the compliance is, as it says here, achieved,
19 and the date is the 21 of May, 1990. Is that just one example of numerous
20 similar letters?
21 A. Correct. That is correct. This was the way that the
22 implementation of tasks were reported. In this case, it was the handing
23 over of the ammunition of the Territorial Defence to JNA warehouses.
24 Q. Can you estimate how many weapons the TO actually transferred in
25 May 1990? Just a rough estimate.
1 A. The TO of the Republic of Croatia handed over to JNA control about
2 180.000 rifles, which means light weaponry with long barrels. It handed
3 over about 60 mortars, a large number of anti-aircraft guns, in fact, all
4 those that it had at its disposal. These were small calibre guns of 20
5 millimetres and all the ammunition that it had at that time. And this was
6 up to five combat sets, which means several million rounds ranging from
7 small to the largest calibres.
8 Q. You said already that you left the JNA on the 2nd of July, 1991.
9 Was that on your own request, and if so, why did you want to leave?
10 A. That is right. I wrote a request on the 2nd of July in the
11 morning, and in the afternoon I was informed that a decision had been
12 taken granting me permission to leave. This was because of the JNA
13 operations in Slovenia. That was the last drop that when I lost patience
14 and decided no longer to remain an officer of the Yugoslav People's Army.
15 Q. You did then join the ZNG?
16 A. That's right. I offered my services to the government of the
17 Republic of Croatia. I was received by the president, and he said that
18 for five days I should be his military advisor. Five days later, he
19 ordered me to take over the command over the National Guards Corps, that
20 is, to be the Chief of Staff of the National Guards Corps.
21 Q. How long did you serve in this position?
22 A. I remained Chief of Staff and commander of the National Guards
23 Corps until the 21st of September, 1991, when the Main Staff of the
24 Croatian army was formed and General Anton Tus was then appointed head of
25 that General Staff.
1 Q. When you joined the ZNG, what was its strength as to manpower, and
2 what about weapons?
3 A. The National Guards Corps was formed within the Ministry of
4 Internal Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, and at that point in time
5 when I joined it, it had four brigades which were about 80 per cent filled
6 to capacity in terms of personnel, which meant between 8.000 and 9.000
7 men, and about -- it had 30 per cent of the required quantity of
8 long-barrel weapons. And when I say that, I mean rifles.
9 Q. What was the state of organisation of these brigades? Were these
10 professional soldiers and the organisation as such?
11 A. The National Guards Corps, at first, was formed immediately as a
12 professional army. People joined on a voluntary basis. While I was
13 commander of the guards, people joined as volunteers.
14 Q. Was it a highly organised organisation when you joined or was
15 it -- what was the standard of organisation?
16 A. In view of the fact that the National Guards Corps was composed at
17 the beginning of men who did not have military knowledge or military
18 training or were not graduates of military schools, it could not be
19 organised in the way it was later on after training had been completed and
20 after some combat experience had been gained. So that one can say that
21 the National Guards Corps in those days was not sufficiently well trained,
22 but it had a great deal of commitment to the defence of Croatia.
23 Q. Had General Spegelj purchased weapons before you joined the ZNG,
24 and can you say anything about the amount and the kind of the weapons?
25 A. When I joined, there was a certain amount of weaponry within the
1 National Guards Corps. The popular Kalashnikovs, which are long-barrel
2 weapons, then also the guards had about 8.000 of those weapons. But from
3 conversations I had later on with General Spegelj, I learnt that in the
4 period when he and men around him were procuring weapons, about 20.000
5 rifles were procured of those rifles.
6 Q. Had General Spegelj tried to purchase weapons legally through the
7 federal organs, and if so, what was the procedure?
8 A. After the Territorial Defence had been disarmed, General Spegelj,
9 being the Defence Minister of the Republic of Croatia, requested through a
10 formal letter or request from the Federal Secretariat for National Defence
11 that weapons be procured for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, because it
12 has to be known that the National Guards Corps was not formed until the
13 28th of May, 1991, which means the request was made for the Ministry
14 Internal Affairs, not for the guards. There were either no responses or
15 that request was not met with in the way that was customary to procure
16 weapons in -- within the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
17 JUDGE MAY: Would you clarify this, please, General. You said
18 that the ZNG had 30 per cent of the long-barrelled weapons required, but
19 you also said that they had 8.000 Kalashnikovs, and you say that there
20 were about 8.000 to 9.000 men in the ZNG. Now, it may be that you are
21 talking about different times, but could you please just explain that.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Since about 20.000 of those
23 Kalashnikovs were obtained in the period prior to the formation of the
24 National Guards Corps, these weapons were used to arm units of the
25 Ministry of Internal Affairs that had existed within the forces of the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Republic of Croatia to deal with internal affairs. When the National
2 Guards Corps was formed at the end of May 1991, again under the auspices
3 and within the Ministry of Internal Affairs, one battalion within each of
4 these brigades was armed, and that is why I say that only about 30 per
5 cent of all the personnel had weapons, because there was a large influx of
6 men and the weapons had already been distributed to this battalion of
7 National Guards Corps within each brigade and also some to units of the
8 Ministry of Internal Affairs for whom those weapons had originally been
9 intended. So there may be an apparent discrepancy in the numbers because
10 of this.
11 By way of an example, within the 1st brigade that was stationed in
12 Zagreb or in the environs in Zagreb, when I took over duty, I had only one
13 battalion fully armed. And in fact there was manpower for four battalions
14 because people were voluntarily joining at a fast pace. So that those who
15 did not have weapons, and there was no way to obtain them, had to get
16 round the problem in various ways. For instance, getting hunting
17 weapons --
18 JUDGE MAY: I think you've clarified it. Yes.
19 Can we move on, please, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
20 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
21 Q. And in relation to at approval of the SSNO that you've mentioned,
22 did that apply to both, that means the request for weapons for the TO and
23 requests for weapons of the police? Would the SSNO always have to approve
25 A. That's correct. That was procedure. The SSNO was the body that
1 would approve or give approval whether a particular unit would be armed,
2 replenished, re-armed, and the like.
3 Q. Did the SSNO control the companies that produced weapons
4 throughout the former Yugoslavia in this way?
5 A. That is right. That was the so-called special purpose industry
6 which was under the command of the Federal Secretariat for National
8 Q. When you noticed that there was a lack of arms, did you brief
9 President Tudjman about it, and did you make suggestions for the purchase
10 of weapons?
11 A. I did. Among the first requests that I made of President Tudjman,
12 who was at the time Supreme Commander of the armed forces of the Republic
13 of Croatia, thereby also of the National Guards Corps, was that in view of
14 the situation that existed in the territory of the Republic of Croatia at
15 the time, there were many barricades, roadblocks, that Croatia already
16 controlled only 30 per cent of its territory [as interpreted], I requested
17 that weapons and ammunition be obtained for the personnel within the
18 National Guards Corps.
19 President Tudjman, in August 1991, responded, "Don't hurry. There
20 won't be any war. We'll come to an agreement. We'll solve the problems
21 and the situation peacefully." Unfortunately, that did not come about.
22 Q. Why did he believe that he would come to an agreement, and
23 agreement with whom? Did he say something about that?
24 A. I was not involved in any political issues, and I didn't know at
25 the time who he negotiated with, but I do know that there were many
1 sessions of the SFRY Presidency, some of which he attended, and I know and
2 I heard later that he had frequent telephone contacts, maybe some others
3 as well, with the Serbian leadership, which in our judgement was the
4 partner with which to negotiate the situation in the Republic of Croatia.
5 Q. I would like to clarify one point that I see in the transcript.
6 You said that at that time, the Croatian -- the Croatian authorities
7 controlled only 30 per cent of its territory. Is that what you said?
8 A. I said that it did not control 30 per cent of its territory. It
9 did control the rest of its territory. So about 30 per cent of its
10 territory was under blockade of the Serb rebels within the Republic of
12 Q. After the war had started, did the Croatian forces capture weapons
13 from the JNA, and if so, how was that done?
14 A. Partly the Croatian forces seized weapons from the JNA because
15 they captured some barracks by force. Once it became clear that war was
16 raging throughout Croatia and that the JNA had sided with the Serb rebels
17 in Croatia, a second part of the weaponry that Croatia received by the end
18 of 1991 to arm units of the Croatian army were weapons of the Territorial
19 Defence of the Republic of Croatia that were returned, a part of those
20 weapons at least, as a result of negotiations with authorised negotiators
21 of the Yugoslav People's Army in Zagreb, which started on the 8th of
22 October, 1991. And they were based on a Hague agreement of the 4th of
23 October, 1991.
24 Q. In which period did the Croatian army get back TO weapons? You
25 said it started in October 1991, but in which time period did they
1 actually receive the weapons from the TO?
2 A. In the extent to which the JNA units withdrew from the Republic of
3 Croatia, the arms were handed over to the Croatian army, that is to say
4 the weapons that belonged to the Territorial Defence of Croatia. And the
5 last unit to withdraw from the territory of the Republic of Croatia was
6 from Vis and Lastovo, and this took place sometime in January 1992.
7 However, the largest portion withdrew at the end of 1991. And
8 when I'm speaking about withdrawal, what I am referring to is that part of
9 the territory of the Republic of Croatia which was under the control of
10 Croatia -- the Croatian authorities itself -- themselves, which is the 70
11 per cent of the territory that I mentioned.
12 Q. And did you get back the full amount of weapons that you
13 previously had transferred or less?
14 A. I don't have the exact figures, but I do know that certain
15 warehouses where the weapons were stored belonging to the Territorial
16 Defence of Croatia from -- in May 1991 when it was confiscated, that they
17 were blown up by the Yugoslav People's Army. For example, the depot at
18 Rijeka, the depot at Gorski Kotar in Delnice, where several tens of
19 thousands of guns and ammunition were destroyed on that occasion in that
21 Q. So -- but you cannot estimate how many weapons you got back?
22 A. It would be my assessment that it was between 60 and 70 per cent
23 of the weapons of the Territorial Defence.
24 Q. And in relation to the weapons that you -- that were seized during
25 the war as such, I would like to put to you a quote from tab 3. Tab 3,
1 new exhibit. And it's actually a reference, it's in English, and
2 therefore I quote it. I'll read it to you. It's a reference to a lecture
3 given by General Tus in -- 7th of February, 1993, and in relation to the
4 Croatian army, he says the following: "By 1 October 1991, 24 brigades had
5 been formed and another ten were being established. Near the end of that
6 year, the Croatian army had already grown to about 200 fighting men in six
7 zones of operations with 63 brigades and a navy, air force, and air
8 defence. Is that also what you would say?
9 A. That was right with respect to the number of brigades. First of
10 all, these 24 brigades up until the 1st of October 1991, but not as far as
11 their weapons were concerned, because part of the brigades at the time,
12 regardless of the fact that they had been mobilised were -- either had no
13 weapons at all or only half the number had the weapons required by the
14 beginning of October.
15 By the end of the year, the -- there were about 63 brigades, and
16 they were fully armed by that time in the way that I mentioned a moment
17 ago, which means in part through the weapons given back by the Territorial
18 Defence and in part by taking over the JNA barracks on the territory of
19 the Republic of Croatia.
20 And I have to stress here that -- I apologise. Yes? I would like
21 to emphasise that it was said in the translation that 63 brigades
22 including the air force and navy, which means there are around 63 brigades
23 for the ground forces and the air force and navy were also formed,
24 although truth to tell, they weren't armed properly at the time.
25 Q. There is also a reference in this same article from General Tus
1 saying that general mobilisation was not declared in Croatia because there
2 were not enough weapons for everyone. Is that also your recollection?
3 A. Yes, that's correct. The general mobilisation was to have been
4 declared already at the beginning of September, but it was not because
5 there wasn't enough -- there weren't enough weapons to go around.
6 Q. And in relation to the weapons seized during the takeover of
7 garrisons, he also remarks that in this way, "We captured 230 tanks, more
8 than 400 heavy artillery pieces, coastal artillery, several warships and a
9 large amount of light weapons." Would you also agree to this?
10 A. That is correct, yes, with the proviso that these 230 tanks also
11 refers to armoured personnel carriers, APCs, and the basic source was the
12 Varazdin Corps which surrendered in September 1991.
13 Q. These entire weapons seized, in which time period were these
14 weapons seized? You already mentioned September 1991. How long did this
15 process take place?
16 A. The first operations to take over the weapons depots started at
17 the end of August, 1991, and went on until roughly the beginning of the
18 negotiations with the JNA about a peaceful withdrawal, which means
19 sometime around the 10th of October, 1991, as far as the taking over of
20 the barracks is concerned. But the process of taking over the Territorial
21 Defence weapons went on until the end of the year, as I've already
23 Q. Did -- when the JNA left the barracks in that 70 per cent of the
24 territory, did they also leave equipment and weapons behind that you then
25 could take over?
1 A. Except for equipment and weapons or, rather, part of the equipment
2 and weapons belonging to the Territorial Defence of the Republic of
3 Croatia, they took all weaponry and equipment. The part they were not
4 able to take away they left in such a state that it wasn't operational.
5 It couldn't be used. And that was also the result of The Hague agreement
6 by which the JNA had to withdraw from the Republic of Croatia taking
7 weapons and equipment with it.
8 Q. You worked in the security administration in the JNA for how many
10 A. I worked in the security service. As to the security
11 administration, I did not work in that body. However, all the
12 security -- JNA security organs headed by the security administration is
13 incorporated under the JNA security service, and it is the JNA security
14 service in which I worked from June 1971 until the beginning of March
15 1991, when I was replaced.
16 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: With the help of the usher, I would like to
17 put to the witness Exhibit 387, and that is actually in this green bundle,
18 tab 36. We have here a chart of the security administration.
19 Q. We do not need to have you explain it. I just would like you to
20 tell the Judges in which position you were when you left. Could you tell
21 us exactly where you were positioned?
22 A. I was positioned as chief of security of the 5th Air Force Corps,
23 which is here. It is within the composition of the RV and PVO security
24 department in air force and air defence, and it is the last box on the
25 left-hand side.
1 Q. Yes. It's where we have the number five?
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. And who was your superior?
4 A. My superior in the security service was the chief of the security
5 administration of the air force, organ of the air force and anti-air
6 defence in Zemun, and that was Colonel Slobodan Rakocevic.
7 Q. That is enough in relation to the chart. I have just a few
8 questions in relation to the chain of command within the security organs.
9 Officers in the security organs of the JNA, were they part of two
10 chains of reporting and command, and what were the chains?
11 A. All the members of the corresponding units or commands in the
12 former JNA were under a unified command of a commander, right up to the
13 top and the federal secretary for national defence. There was a single
14 command. However, the security organs had their own parallel,
15 professional chain of command, control and command, which means that a
16 part of the duties and assignments they had, which were purely
17 counter-intelligence or, for example, of a professional nature, they were
18 responsible exclusively to their professional leader down that chain of
19 command or up the chain of control and command. And the other tasks such
20 as prevention, protection of confidentiality and so on, for that they were
21 accountable to their military commanders. So that is that double chain of
23 Q. Could General Vasiljevic, as the head of the security
24 administration or the SSNO, General Kadijevic, could they issue orders
25 down the security chain of command without informing the immediate
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 military commanders involved?
2 A. General Vasiljevic could do so in view of the chain of command for
3 the security service. However, in the spirit of the guidelines given by
4 the military commander, in this case the federal secretary for national
5 defence. What I mean is this: The federal secretary for national defence
6 and the commanders of the military districts, including the air force and
7 the navy, could be informed and as a rule were informed with all the
8 details of the service's activities. So that for them in that field, in
9 that domain, there should not have been any secrets.
10 Q. Giving the -- now the reporting, in case a war crime had been
11 committed, how would such an event be reported within the chain of command
12 and reporting of the security organs? What would the officer, the
13 security officer, have to do?
14 A. In the JNA, there were several reporting chains as to the
15 situation in any given unit. I can enumerate at least five of them.
16 One line was the chain of command by which the lowest commander
17 informs his superior officer about the situation or whenever an event
18 takes place or gives a regular situation report. The second line is the
19 political line, the political chain, including political organs. The
20 third line or chain is the League of Communists of Yugoslavia chain, which
21 at that time in the JNA, and I'm not talking about 1991 here any more
22 because I don't know about that, but it had its chain of reporting. The
23 fourth chain was the chain of the military police chain of reporting, and
24 they reported to the military police in a professional manner to the very
25 tops that were in the Federal Secretariat. And then there was a fifth
1 chain of reporting which was the security chain of reporting, and they
2 reported to their superior officers following directives and guidelines of
3 the superior security organ and the chain of command itself. When an
4 event took place in which a security officer considered that he ought to
5 be engaged, involved, to clear up the problem that had occurred such as a
6 war crime, if that had taken place or if there was some emergency in the
7 region or in the formation, then he would contact his sources. That would
8 mean that he would apply his regular methods. He would take stock of the
9 situation and report back to the commander. He would tell him all the
10 things he needed to know and take steps to deal with the situation that
11 had occurred. And as to the overall subject, he would inform his superior
12 in the service itself. So that was that involvement.
13 Q. You mentioned the political organs and the political chain. What
14 do you mean? What do you mean within the JNA?
15 A. They were organs who were -- which were in the JNA, and they were
16 very powerful. And they were in charge, basically, for moral guidance and
17 morale boosting, morale boosting with fighters, with members of the
18 formations and units to be able them to carry out their assignments and
19 the orders that the unit had been given.
20 These organs, then, were deployed and distributed from the bottom
21 to the top, right throughout the former structure of the JNA. And it was
22 their duty to report on the situations that affected the morale of the
23 unit and its members.
24 Q. Was it obligatory to inform the top levels of war crimes happening
25 on the ground?
1 A. Certainly that obligation did exist, because the top level had to
2 be informed and reported to, and it was, at least in peacetime, and that
3 is the time that I am acquainted with in the JNA. They had to inform on
4 the most minute incident that took place, either in a unit or in the
5 region where the unit was deployed at the time. As to any mass deaths,
6 how they occurred is another matter, but, yes, that certainly had to be
7 the subject of the reporting right up to the top levels of the JNA, top
9 Q. I would like to put to you now several documents related to
11 JUDGE MAY: I wonder if that would be a convenient time. It's
12 half past ten.
13 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MAY: General Agotic, we are now going to adjourn for 20
15 minutes. I must tell you --
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
17 JUDGE MAY: -- As we tell all the witnesses not to speak to
18 anybody until your evidence is over about it, and that does include the
19 members of the Prosecution team. Could you be back, please, in 20
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's clear.
22 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. General, first I would like to turn to a report of Major Branislav
2 Ristic from the 27th of November, 1991, related to the killing of
3 civilians in Skabrnja.
4 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, it's Exhibit 387, tab 34 from
5 the green bundle.
6 Q. And I don't want you to comment on what is actually written in the
7 report, just the following: Is this a report of a security organ officer
8 to another higher ranking security organ?
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. And according to your experience, is it an authentic report?
11 A. I can say that the security organs did write reports of this kind
12 with respect to the rules of service for the security organs that provided
13 for this kind of report to be written and compiled, and I do believe that
14 it is authentic, yes.
15 Q. And it says here it goes to the 9th Corps. Is that the Knin
17 A. Correct, yes. The corps command in Knin.
18 Q. And the next tab, that's --
19 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, that's tab 387 -- sorry, Exhibit
20 387, tab 35.
21 Q. It's now a report of the 1st of December, 1991, from a Lieutenant
22 Radjen, to the authorised military police official in Benkovac. Would
23 that be a report within this military chain, military police chain, that
24 you mentioned earlier on?
25 A. That's right, yes. This quite obviously is a man having the rank
1 of commander, platoon commander who went to the village of Skabrnja after
2 the massacre had been committed to ascertain the situation on the ground,
3 and in this way he reports to his superior officer in the military police
4 and informs him of it.
5 Q. Is it authentic according to your knowledge of the procedures?
6 A. I think it is authentic. That's how it is written and that's how
7 it was done essentially in the military police service, how these things
8 were done.
9 Q. The next is tab 4. This is now a new exhibit, Your Honours, tab 4
10 of the Exhibit 475.
11 This is now a report also related to Skabrnja and Nadin. It's
12 Lieutenant Commander Rosic reporting to the 9th Corps security organ on
13 the 8th of March, 1992. Is that an authentic document within the security
14 organs line of reporting and command?
15 A. This Official Note is the old form that was still used until the
16 1990s in the security service. However, it was -- it was used and
17 documents were written according to this principle. So I think that it
18 was compiled and written at the time it says it was with the purpose it
19 was written as it says in this official report.
20 Q. This -- this document and also some others are not signed by
21 the -- by the security officer. Is that something extraordinary or was
22 that rather usually so?
23 A. It was usual, customary, and it wasn't signed. Official reports
24 weren't signed, or this kind of note on applying the methods of work that
25 we saw a moment ago. So that was customary, usual, yes, in the service.
1 The source or, rather, the person who compiled the document would state in
2 the upper left-hand corner this.
3 Q. The next is tab 5. It's a -- again a document within the security
4 organs, and it goes to the 9th Corps, and it relates now to an event in
5 Bruska, and it's of the 11th of March, 1992. Is this an authentic
7 A. The same as the previous one. I do believe it is authentic, yes,
8 because that was the type of form it would take in the service. So it's a
9 report once again to the superior officer in the security organ of the
10 command of the 9th Corps of Knin.
11 Q. And I would like to refer you in this -- in regard of this report,
12 I would like to refer you to the end of the report. There is a remark
13 made. It says: "As much as I know, SRS police station Benkovac has
14 completed its investigation in this case, making a conclusion that for
15 this massacre should be held responsible Ustasha sabotage terrorist group.
16 I believe that they did not have material evidence in order to make such
17 conclusion and that the investigation in this case should be reopened for
18 the purpose of taking the blame for the massacre of Serb nation."
19 Are you aware -- were you aware that this was tried, to blame the
20 Croats for this?
21 A. I did hear that there was manipulation and that this particular
22 case in Grusun [phoen] was ascribed to the Croatian side, that from our
23 information later on, which gave a review of the situation on occupied
24 territory of the Republic of Croatia, they wrote about this. That's what
25 was written at the time. And obviously, the security organs of the JNA
1 had a different conclusion, made a different conclusion about that same
2 event than was presented by the police station or public security station
3 of Benkovac.
4 Q. And the next document, tab 6, it's again a security organ's notes
5 related to Bruska, and it's from Major Ristic and going to the 9th Corps.
6 Is that an authentic document?
7 A. Yes, authentic, just like the other one.
8 Q. The last -- the last one in this context is tab 7, and it's a
9 report, a situation report, from Lieutenant Colonel Slobodan Tarbuk of the
10 13th of July, 1991 to the security organs of the 5th Military District and
11 the 10th corps. First of all, Lieutenant Colonel Tarbuk, do you know this
12 person and his position?
13 A. Yes, I did know him from those days during peacetime. He was one
14 of the organs of security in the 5th Military District.
15 Q. And this is an urgent security report, and it refers to an attack
16 on the Kraljevcani police. Is that a Croatian police station in that
18 A. Correct. That's right. Yes, it is the Croatian police station
19 and it's a place in Banija not far from the town of Sisak. And this
20 particular document is a telegram or as we used to call it in the JNA a
21 dispatch which informed urgently, gave information urgently about a
22 particular event. And after it, it should have been accompanied by the
23 kind of document that we saw in the first example, first exhibit. It
24 should have taken that form containing more details.
25 Q. And in this document, reference is made in the first paragraph and
1 also in the last paragraph to special unit commander Dusan Momcilovic, and
2 there's also in the last paragraph mentioned special forces from Knin.
3 Were these JNA forces or something different or don't you know?
4 A. As for this Dusan Momcilovic, I don't know him. I didn't hear of
5 him before. And in this last paragraph it says that 24 persons came from
6 the special unit training in Knin. They had spent three weeks there, and
7 they were immediately sent to the area where they were used for combat
9 It is obvious that these are members of special forces of the
10 so-called SAO Krajina at that time, not members of the special forces of
11 the JNA.
12 Q. And in that last paragraph is also a reference to -- that they
13 were immediately sent to Samarica. Samarica, was there a military base
14 there, and if so, who was in control?
15 A. I don't know who was in charge, but I know that in Samarica there
16 was the command of a unit that was at the level of a brigade. It existed
17 there throughout the war all the way up to Operation Storm in 1995.
18 Actually, this is a hilly area, a forested, and it is well suited to
19 special operations.
20 Q. Yes. That should be enough for this document. We don't need to
21 go into the details.
22 Now, this is an urgent situation report. In the war situation in
23 1991, would the security administration submit daily reports, weekly
24 reports, monthly reports? Can you explain that, what they actually
25 reported and which frequencies?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. In the military organisation, in principle, reporting concerning
2 certain events takes place once these events had happened. This form of
3 reporting such as telegrams are or sometimes there are even voice messages
4 involved, that is to say telephones or radio links. This means that a
5 superior is informed by his subordinate immediately upon learning about a
6 certain event. However, in all orders related to activities during the
7 day or in a particular stage that may involve a longer period of time, it
8 is stated and for the most part this is done in the last paragraph of the
9 order, it says "Reporting," and for the most part it is the following
10 wording, and I believe that in the JNA, from the summer of 1991 when I
11 left, this was not changed, and this is how it read: "Daily reporting,"
12 up to such-and-such hour. For lower-level units earlier, and for
13 higher-level units later, so that all these reports could be compiled in
14 time, regularly on a daily basis. If there is an emergency, then
15 reporting should be immediate. I believe that that was JNA practice
16 during the war as well.
17 Q. Before the war, did the security organs monitor nationalist
18 movements including Serbian nationalism?
19 A. Correct. Security organs throughout the period of my service, and
20 that is almost all of 20 years, were in charge of acting vis-a-vis the
21 so-called internal enemy. At that time, that's what it was called, the
22 structure that opposed the government or the system.
23 One of the main structures, from 1971 onwards, that is to say from
24 when I joined the service and all the way up to the end, was viewing
25 nationalist tendencies or occurrences in the JNA.
1 When speaking of nationalist occurrences, it was not specified
2 which occurrences these actually were. This had to do with all
3 nationalisms, depending on which one was topical at a given point in time.
4 Then more attention was focused on that particular form of nationalism.
5 JUDGE MAY: I don't want to interrupt, but if counsel wants
6 something elucidated, she can always ask. Yes.
7 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
8 Q. I would ask request you to be more brief in your answers and just
9 answer the question that I actually put.
10 Now did the JNA leadership react to Serb nationalism? Did they
11 oppose it as well?
12 A. They were against Serb nationalism in the time that went all the
13 way up to the end of 1989, the beginning of 1990.
14 Q. Were nationalist officers actually placed under surveillance, and
15 if so, can you give an example?
16 A. They were actually placed under surveillance, yes. I'm going to
17 give an example that I'm aware of from the air force. That is
18 General Mika Stevanovic.
19 The security service of the JNA decided to place him under
20 surveillance because he was in favour of Serbian nationalism, to put it
22 Q. Did this affect his career negatively or was he later on promoted?
23 A. This affected his career negatively until the beginning of the
24 war. However, during the war, he was promoted to the position of
25 commander of the air force, that is to say, it was no longer viewed as a
1 disadvantage on his part.
2 Q. Does this mean the JNA changed their policy towards Serb
3 nationalism at some point in time, and if so, when and why?
4 A. Obviously during the war it was changed. In the JNA, through
5 information that regularly came in from Belgrade from the political
6 administration of the Federal Secretariat for National Defence, tasks were
7 given to all units and also all members of the JNA were informed that
8 Yugoslavia had to be preserved at all costs.
9 My assessment and the assessment of people who were around me then
10 and later was that the JNA accepted the option favoured by the Serb
11 leadership, that is to say to preserve Yugoslavia at all costs, either
12 Yugoslavia in its entirety or in an abridged form.
13 Q. When the League of Communists of Yugoslavia disintegrated in 1990,
14 was a League of Communist Movement for Yugoslavia formed and supported by
15 the JNA leadership?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. And did they have this same aim, that is, preservation of
18 Yugoslavia at all costs as you mentioned?
19 A. Correct. The League of Communist Movement for Yugoslavia was
20 established towards the end of 1990. The army leadership was in favour of
21 the League of Communist Movement for Yugoslavia. Until the 15th of
22 January, 1991, all members of the JNA were supposed to decide whether they
23 are going to become members of the League of Communist Movement for
25 Q. Those who did not join the movement, did they suffer any
1 disadvantages within the JNA?
2 A. Correct. They were at a disadvantage because they were
3 immediately viewed with mistrust, and whenever the opportunity arose, they
4 were removed from positions of greater responsibility.
5 Q. Were you removed, and if so, who replaced you?
6 A. I openly spoke against the movement, and I did not wish to join
7 it. When the first opportunity arose to replace me, this was the 1st of
8 March, 1991, and that is indeed when I was replaced by my superior
10 Q. And who replaced you?
11 A. Lieutenant Colonel Jovo Topalovic, my deputy until then, was
12 appointed to the position that I had held.
13 Q. Is he a Serb?
14 A. Yes. He is a Serb from Bosnia.
15 Q. You said the first opportunity was taken to replace you. What was
16 the -- actually the reason to replace you on the 2nd of March, 1991?
17 A. No reason was referred to in writing. However, the pretext was my
18 assessment of what had happened in Pakrac on the 1st of March, 1991, and
19 the role of the JNA in these developments.
20 Q. In which way did you disagree with what happened there? What was
21 in dispute between you and your superior on this point?
22 A. I was in favour of the following: That the newly-elected
23 leaderships of the republics, in this case Slovenia and Croatia, and this
24 is the area where I was operating together with my corps, had to be
25 recognised. Also, that they were legally elected at multi-party
2 My superiors held such views against me.
3 Q. When you said that you were replaced on the 2nd of March but you,
4 however, stayed in the JNA until July, what did you do? What kind of
5 tasks did you have in that time in between?
6 A. Formally, it was called being at the disposal of the command of
7 the 5th Corps of the air force and the anti-aircraft units and the air
8 defence. Actually, I was assigned an office where I did not sit. I came
9 to work, and I was not given any assignments whatsoever.
10 Q. Did you take part in briefings and discussions during this time?
11 A. I did not take part in any official meetings, and I was not
12 invited to any. I only speak to people who came to see me or people I
13 happened to come across. But as for the official line of command
14 vis-a-vis myself, there wasn't any.
15 Q. Were other non-Serbs or opponents to the JNA official policy, were
16 they also replaced in the security organs in 1991?
17 A. During the first half of 1991, no prominent members of the service
18 were replaced because until then, the service had already been cleansed
19 sufficiently of all those who did not agree with the JNA line or the
20 League of Communist movement in Yugoslavia line.
21 Q. Was the security or administration pre -- or rather, homogenous
22 Serb-Montenegrin staff? At that time. I'm speaking about 1991.
23 A. Correct. In 1991, it had practically a nationally homogenous
24 composition of members of the Serb and Montenegrin ethnic groups only.
25 Q. Was this structure used for passing sensitive orders through the
2 A. Correct, it was.
3 Q. What kind of orders? If you know.
4 A. For example, the arming of Serb areas in the Republic of Croatia
5 went through that line. From the end of 1990 until the beginning of the
6 war while I was in a position to follow this or to be informed about it in
7 part at least.
8 Q. We will come to some of the details of this later on.
9 Was the security administration or the organs an important factor
10 in relation to appointments of JNA officers?
11 A. They were. The security administration or, rather, the security
12 organ had the possibility of vetoing an appointment or at least raising
13 objections in respect of an officer who was supposed to be appointed to a
14 particular post.
15 Q. You mentioned the JNA goal of the preservation of Yugoslavia at
16 all costs. Was there a plan how to achieve that in relation to the
17 governments in Slovenia and Croatia, and if so, did this plan evolve?
18 A. There was such a plan, and it was corrected, modified depending on
19 how the situation evolved. At first the plan was to preserve Yugoslavia
20 at all costs. I know that in the month of June 1990, General Adzic, at
21 that time chief of the General Staff of the JNA, at a meeting with part of
22 the military commanders at the Zagreb airport, Pleso, he then said in
23 response to a question put by a general, a Serb in this case, how to
24 cooperate in the future with the new authorities in the Republic of
25 Croatia and the Republic of Slovenia.
1 Adzic spoke very energetically and in a very angry manner, "There
2 is no cooperation with Tudjman. Tudjman should be told vamoose from that
3 chair." That meant that he would not recognise the legal -- legally
4 elected authorities of Croatia.
5 Later on, the preparations of the JNA did develop along that
6 course as Serbs were armed in that part of Croatia, because it was
7 expected that with JNA support, they would be the force that would
8 overthrow the Croatian leadership.
9 Later on in 1991, as the situation developed in the territory of
10 Croatia, this plan was modified due to pressure exerted by international
12 After the war, after it left Yugoslavia, after Slovenia left
13 Yugoslavia, then Croatia was next. Croatia was supposed to be placed
14 under the control of the JNA, all of it. This was the plan that was in
15 existence until the second half of 1991.
16 Later on, it was modified as well. I used to call it Plan B.
17 Croatia was supposed to be placed under control up to the
18 Virovitica-Karlovac-Karlobag line, and that was supposed to include
19 territories that had majority Serb populations, but also they included a
20 considerable part of other Croatian territories. Subsequently, even that
21 plan was modified, and then Plan C was opted for. This plan meant that
22 the JNA, along with Serb insurgents, would take the territory that were
23 predominantly inhabited by Serbs.
24 Q. As for Plan A, the toppling, as I understand you, the overthrowing
25 of the Croatian government, did you ever see any plan or any document or
1 any preparation to do that?
2 A. I was at too low a level at that time in order to be in a position
3 to see that plan. Whether it existed as such on paper is something that I
4 don't know. However, all information that came in from the Federal
5 Secretariat for National Defence, either along the line of the political
6 administration or along the line of the security administration, indicated
7 such options.
8 The only thing I saw was a document that wished to carry through a
9 plan to take the borders of Croatia in a certain form. This was Plan A.
10 And this was from September 1991, and it was sent to units in the
11 territory of the Republic of Croatia. It was sent by the General Staff of
12 the JNA.
13 Q. And how did you see this document? You said you saw it, but you
14 were no more in the JNA. So how did you see it?
15 A. This document was in the form of a telegram on several pages, and
16 it arrived from the General Staff to the signals brigade in Samobor.
17 These particular barracks were taken by the Croatian army during the month
18 of September, and at that time, this document was seized. They found that
19 document in their archives, and that's how I saw it.
20 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, we were not in a position to
21 locate this document. We have asked -- we had asked the witness to look
22 for it, but he didn't find it, he said.
23 Q. Correct?
24 JUDGE KWON: If the witness can tell more detail about the
25 contents of the document.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
2 Q. Can you be more specific, if you remember? What was requested or
3 said in this document?
4 A. In this document, assignments were given to JNA units in the
5 territory of the Republic of Croatia, namely that in concert with forces
6 that got close to the borders of the Republic of Croatia from Bosnia and
7 from Serbia, namely Vojvodina and also Montenegro, that the territory of
8 the Republic of Croatia should be cut, so to speak, in various directions.
9 Appropriate operations should take place on the part of units that were
10 already in the Republic of Croatia and the newly arrived units from other
11 republics, and that is how the borders of Croatia should be taken. This
12 order specifically refers to the border with Slovenia. There is specific
13 reference to the following direction: From Knin towards Zadar, that this
14 is where the territory of Croatia should be cut. Then also the Neretva
15 valley, the Neretva River valley. This was basically the
16 content of this telegram that was seized in the month of September.
17 In that document, there is no reference to an overthrow of the
18 government of the Republic of Croatia because this is a military order. It
19 talks about taking the territory of the Republic of Croatia, and this, in
20 other words, means that the new government should be gotten rid of. That
21 is what I'd have to say at this point, and if necessary, I can talk about
22 it in greater detail too.
23 Q. I think we actually come to this -- these directions in a
24 different way when we speak about the book of Kadijevic.
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Or would Your Honour Judge Kwon like to have
1 more details?
2 JUDGE KWON: It's okay. Thank you.
3 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Thank you.
4 Q. Let me refer you now to two documents, two quotes from a book of
5 Jovica Jovic -- sorry. Jovica. Mr. Jovic, the then president of the
7 JUDGE MAY: Now, you'll need to take care about this. I'm not
8 quite sure on what basis this is being put in.
9 Mr. Kay, perhaps you'd like to address us on this.
10 MR. KAY: Yes. I've been looking through the exhibits that have
11 come this morning with this particular witness, and I notice there's
12 General Kadijevic's book further along in the testimony. I know the Trial
13 Chamber has been very concerned that we're not introducing material that
14 is the opinions of other people and using witnesses to thereby adopt it
15 without them giving their own testimony on the matter. It's an artificial
16 form, if you like, of putting evidence before the Trial Chamber.
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes. I don't think it's admissible.
18 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, this is what Mr. Jovic writes. If you want to
19 call him, you can, but I'm not quite sure how the witness can deal with
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: The witness had actually explained the plan,
22 how he saw it develop and evolve over this time period of about a year,
23 and I actually wanted to put only the quotes to him, a few quotes to him
24 related to that.
25 JUDGE MAY: No. Then ask him if he agrees with it.
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Only if that is what he saw happening on the
2 ground. That is what I wanted to ask him.
3 JUDGE MAY: He can tell us what he saw happening, of course.
4 That's his evidence. But he can't use Jovic's book or anybody else's book
5 to say that is what he saw happening. If you want him to give evidence
6 about what he saw, he must give it yourself, not use somebody else's
7 opinions, which are those people's opinions and nothing else.
8 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Then I will skip the book, but the witness
9 had prepared a map related to operation --
10 JUDGE KWON: Excuse me. Have we admitted Jovic's diary already?
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. It was actually --
12 JUDGE KWON: Marked under --
13 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: It's Exhibit 448.
14 JUDGE KWON: Was it marked for identification?
15 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Only portions actually where witnesses had a
16 close relation to the book and the sequences described in the book. When
17 a certain event was described in Jovic's book where a witness was
18 mentioned or related to, then it was admitted in a very few sections. The
19 situation here would be different, of course, because the witness wasn't
20 addressed here in any relation to the event.
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
22 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I would like to put to the witness now a map
23 with marks on it. It would be exhibit from the Croatian map binder. It's
24 Exhibit 326, tab 30, and -- Your Honours, you have this map at the end of
25 the green -- it's in a separate -- you have it already. It's a separate
1 map binder, and you can see certain troop movements here.
2 Q. My question to you, General, is did you mark this map, and what is
3 the basis of these markings?
4 A. Yes, I did mark the map. The places marked here and, globally
5 speaking, that was the implementation of the order that I mentioned a
6 moment ago, and that was by making a breakthrough and taking control of
7 Eastern Slavonia, and with the assistance of the Serb population in the
8 western part of Slavonia, this is this yellow line from Nova Gradiska to
9 Virovitica which was slightly more to the west, left of that line, in
10 those days that area was already under the control of Serb rebels. So by
11 a fast operation from Eastern Slavonia, using a Guards Unit which was
12 brought there from Belgrade, that it should link up with these other
13 forces in Western Slavonia, and together with surrounded units in the
14 region of Varazdin, Bjelovar, and Zagreb, Karlovac, that they should reach
15 the border between Croatia and Slovenia.
16 Another part of the forces from the region of Bihac, which at that
17 time was already under the control of the Serb insurgents, that it should
18 head towards Karlovac to facilitate the realisation of the task I have
19 just described and a third part of this task was for forces from Knin, and
20 with units brought from the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the
21 territory should be -- a line should be drawn towards the town of Zadar.
22 A fourth part of that task was to use units from the region of
23 Mostar to make a breakthrough towards Split and there to cut the Republic
24 of Croatia. That was, in general terms, the order.
25 Mention was also made about units from the region of Trebinje,
1 that is Eastern Herzegovina, and units from Montenegro that should also be
2 deployed to surround Dubrovnik, to place it under a blockade, to reach the
3 Neretva River valley, which is right here, in the area of Metkovici.
4 Q. You have already mentioned that this was the original plan, and it
5 was not executed in this way then. Why not? Do you know why?
6 JUDGE MAY: I'm not sure if I understand the plan. It's extremely
8 Can you just put it in a few words for us, General, so we can
9 understand it? What was the plan?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The plan, in global terms, was to
11 take control of the territory of the Republic of Croatia north of the Sava
12 River and south of the Sava as far as the Kupa River, to reach the border
13 between the Republic of Croatia and Slovenia. So all the territory
14 between the Drava and the Sava should have been taken control of by JNA
15 units. This was one part of it.
16 The second was to cut the territory of the Republic of Croatia in
17 two between Knin and Zadar so as to prevent communication between those
18 two parts. And this part of the task was the only part that was actually
20 And the fourth part was to intersect it again between Mostar and
21 Split, so that the Republic of Croatia as a whole could not communicate
22 within its own territory.
23 And the fifth part was achieved, that is, Dubrovnik was placed
24 under a blockade using units from Trebinje and Montenegro. But it wasn't
25 fully implemented for reasons I will explain later on.
1 JUDGE MAY: Well, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, we must really try and speed
2 this up a bit.
3 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Uh-huh.
4 Q. Witness, you have already mentioned that the plan was later
5 modified and reduced to parts of Croatia. And do you know whether
6 this -- on what these modifications were based? Was it the resistance of
7 the Croatian forces, or don't you know?
8 A. There were two reasons. The first and main reason was the
9 resistance of the Croatian forces. The second reason was the inability of
10 JNA units to achieve it, because they were unable to mobilise forces where
11 they wanted to mobilise forces, that is, to replenish their units. They
12 didn't have sufficient manpower.
13 And a third reason, I don't know how important it is, that was the
14 pressure of the international public opinion to put an end to the war.
15 Q. You mentioned that the JNA security organs were involved in the
16 arming of Croatian Serbs. Who did that? Which part of the security
17 organs and how do you know about it?
18 A. I know that this was done by the 2nd Detachment of the
19 counter-intelligence group. It was a section that was based in Zagreb, a
20 brigade in which I worked too. And I heard this from members of that same
22 Q. Who?
23 A. To be specific, from the then-Lieutenant Colonel Mirko Martic who
24 was chief of that detachment. And later on, upon joining the Croatian
25 army, I heard it from then-Major Slavko Hodak -- Rakaric, who was at the
1 airport in Bihac, and Major Stjepan Rakaric, who was a member of the same
2 2nd Detachment of the counter-intelligence group.
3 Secondly, I also know that during the spring of 1991, two members
4 of the security organ, one of them is Lieutenant Colonel Smiljanic from
5 the 5th Military District was apprehended by the Croatian police in
6 Eastern Slavonia together with a truck full of light weapons which they
7 had been distributing to the Serb population in those villages. And this
8 was reported on by the Croatian press at the time.
9 Q. And when you speak about the arming of the Croatian Serbs, in
10 which time period was that done from the -- by the security organs? Do
11 you know?
12 A. This was the autumn of 1990 and the spring of 1991. Whether it
13 was done later on, I don't know, but I can guarantee as regards this
14 period of time.
15 Q. And in which region did that take place?
16 A. The 2nd Detachment of the counter-intelligence group was
17 responsible for the regions of Banija, Kordun, and the Bihac Krajina or
18 the area around Bihac, the Serb villages around Bihac. And the part in
19 Eastern Slavonia was under the 5th Military District that was
20 headquartered in Zagreb.
21 Q. You meaning that had Mirko Martic was actually the head of this
22 organisation, the 2nd KOG detachment that did it. Did he get an order to
23 do so or was it his random action?
24 A. As far as I know, he received an order from his superior Colonel
25 Rakocevic. Now, whether people above Rakocevic in the service were aware
1 of this I don't know.
2 Q. Did the security organs have weapons storage themselves or would
3 they get the weapons from other parts of the JNA or even elsewhere?
4 A. The security service did not have its own storage space. The
5 warehouses were under military commanders, and the 2nd Detachment of the
6 KOG used the warehouse at the Bihac airport to arm these elements that I
7 have referred to.
8 Q. Does that mean that they needed cooperation from the military
9 commanders responsible for the warehouses?
10 A. Correct. They needed cooperation, and they probably encountered a
11 positive opinion from that particular commander regarding those activities
12 and were given those weapons by him. Now, whether he received any order
13 along any chain of command, I don't know. Probably he did.
14 Q. In relation to the Bihac airport JNA base, did you get information
15 that they also had a detention facility there?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Yes.
18 A. I did have information to that effect in the village of Valjevac,
19 in the immediate vicinity of the Bihac airport. One could even say that
20 it was within that compound of the air base.
21 Q. Can you briefly tell the Judges about the fate of the priest Josip
22 Bogovic and how you met him?
23 A. Josip Bogovic was a priest in the area right next to Bihac, in the
24 village of Drezni Grad and he was arrested by JNA security organs sometime
25 in September 1991 because he had authority in the area. And he was sent
1 to that reception centre at the Bihac airport, and after some time, he was
2 sent on to the Batajnica airport and kept in detention for several months.
3 He was interrogated and mistreated.
4 Q. Did you interview this person or did you speak to this person
5 after his release and were you actually involved in efforts to get him
7 A. As a negotiator on behalf of the Croatian government with the JNA,
8 having learnt that he had been arrested, at those negotiations with
9 General Raseta, I requested that he be released. And when he was released
10 several months later, he contacted me and I had a talk with him about the
11 circumstances of his detention.
12 Q. Did you notice any physical or mental results of his detention on
14 A. The man was psychologically in a bad condition, and I -- to this
15 day he has problems, and I believe that these were provoked by that
16 detention. I didn't see any physical injuries, nor did I examine him.
17 Q. You mentioned already that you were negotiating with General
18 Raseta. Were you indeed in 1991 one of the chief negotiators of the
19 Croatian side in negotiations with the Serb -- the JNA and the ECMM?
20 A. Yes. I was appointed by the president of the Republic as the
21 authorised negotiator with the JNA regarding their withdrawal from the
22 Republic of Croatia.
23 Q. When did the negotiations start?
24 A. The negotiations started on the 8th of October, 1991.
25 Q. And where did they take place and how often?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. The talks took place at the Hotel I in Zagreb with the mediation
2 of monitors from the European Community, and they were held on a daily
3 basis up until the end of 1991.
4 Q. Was General Raseta the chief negotiator on the JNA side?
5 A. Until the end of 1991, yes.
6 Q. And who was his superior?
7 A. His superior, in the formal sense, was the commander of the 5th
8 Military District, Colonel General Zivota Avramovic, who was the commander
9 in Zagreb. At the time of the negotiations, he had been withdrawn
10 together with his command to the area of Slunj. And the consultant during
11 the negotiations was most frequently Admiral Brovet. He would pass on the
12 positions to him. He would advise him. And to some extent General Adzic
13 as well.
14 Q. Does that mean that General Raseta was in frequent contact with
15 the JNA headquarters in Belgrade, that's Brovet and Adzic?
16 A. He would most frequently consult with Admiral Brovet, and he did
17 so several times a day and almost every day.
18 Q. How do you know that?
19 A. Because we were sitting at the opposite ends of the table. And
20 whenever I insisted on something, there would be a break in the
21 negotiations. He would go to the room next door. He would make a
22 telephone call, speak to Brovet or Adzic, and then he would come back with
23 his position. And very frequently he would even mention the names of the
24 people he had consulted.
25 Q. Was he in contact with Zivota -- General Zivota Panic as well?
1 A. On one occasion he was, I am quite sure, in contact with General
2 Zivota Panic, and that was with respect to the siege of Vukovar and the
3 shelling of the hospital in Vukovar. I protested against it and requested
4 that it stop. And after consulting, after his consultations, he came back
5 and said that he had spoken to General Zivota Panic, the commander of the
6 Belgrade Military District who, at the observation post near Vukovar, who
7 was there and who said that the Croatian side was lying, that the hospital
8 was not being hit --
9 Q. What was that?
10 JUDGE MAY: Just listen to the questions. Yes. Are we going on
11 now to Vukovar?
12 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. We are actually going through the
13 documents, starting at tab 8 in relation to notice, when complaints were
14 made and how it was reacted to. It's actually the end of the summary when
15 you look at the proofing summary. It's Vukovar. It's actually the
16 negotiations between the Croats and the JNA including Vukovar.
17 Q. First of all, I would like to put -- first, you haven't mentioned
18 when that -- on what date Panic was according to what was said in Vukovar
19 and the shelling of the hospital. When was that?
20 A. It was in October 1991, in the third decade of that month. I have
21 it noted down in my diary, but I can't recollect the exact date now.
22 Q. First of all, have a look at tab 8. That's the memorandum, and
23 that's the memorandum of 8 October 1991. That's the initial agreement; is
24 that correct?
25 A. Yes, correct.
1 Q. And in point 1 in this memorandum, there is the general cease-fire
2 mentioned. Was the -- was it followed by subsequent cease-fires agreed
3 upon during the negotiations?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And then at point 3, there is a mention of the simultaneous
6 lifting of the blockade and the withdrawal of the JNA. How many months
7 did it last and what were the main obstacles from your side?
8 A. The negotiations and the withdrawal of the JNA lasted on the whole
9 until the end of 1991, but some smaller units on the islands of Vis and
10 Lastovo left at the end of 1992. The main problem in this connection was
11 that JNA units wanted to take with them the entire armaments and equipment
12 for which they needed additional means of transport. And we spent most of
13 the time at the negotiations discussing this.
14 Q. Did you also have a -- the Croatian side, did you also have a
15 special request on the order of the withdrawal that was opposed by the
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. What was it?
19 A. I insisted on two points. First, that the JNA units should
20 withdraw, which did not have their peacetime garrisons in Croatia. That
21 is, they were brought there for the needs of the war.
22 And secondly, I insisted that the topic of discussion should be
23 the withdrawal of all JNA units from the territory of the whole of Croatia
24 and not only from the part that was under the control of the Croatian
1 Q. I would like now to go into a few questions in relation to
2 protests during negotiations. Did you protest against actions of the JNA
3 or other Serb forces during these months of negotiations?
4 A. On a daily basis and several times during one day I did protest.
5 Q. What would the ECMM observer do in such a case?
6 A. The protests were in writing and oral ones, and the ECMM, at the
7 time, asked to get a response from the JNA representative.
8 Q. And what -- how would Raseta react? What would he do?
9 A. Most frequently, he would say that what the Croatian side alleged
10 was not true but that what was actually happening was quite the reverse,
11 the opposite.
12 Q. Let's now move to some of the documents related to such protests.
13 And first, tab 9 related to the shelling of Dubrovnik, and it's a letter
14 that you wrote to the ECMM on October 24, 1991.
15 Had Dubrovnik been shelled at that time, and what did follow your
16 protest, your written protest this time?
17 A. This is my protest, yes. Dubrovnik had been shelled at the time.
18 And after that, Raseta's response was, as far as I remember, to say that
19 that was not correct, that the Croatian forces were just feigning attacks,
20 especially on the old, protected city area of Dubrovnik, the old town.
21 Q. The next -- the next document is actually an exhibit that is
22 already provided. That means it is in the green bundle. It's Exhibit
23 330, tab 12, and it is Minister Ivan Vekic writing to the SFRY committee
24 for control of the truce, and he's referring to attacks in the Osijek
1 Do you know what the response was to this protest or request,
2 rather, for urgent intervention?
3 A. I don't know what the answer given was, but I do know that these
4 particular villages, two months later, were occupied.
5 Q. Did you ever protest any expulsion of Croats?
6 A. Correct. I did so on a daily basis in the course of 1991.
7 Q. And what would be General Raseta's response to that?
8 A. His response would be that he would see what it was about. He
9 would inquire. And he said that people were leaving of their own free
10 will and that there was no pressure that was being brought to bear against
12 Q. According to your information, was that what was really happening?
13 A. No, that was not what was really happening, because all the
14 villages -- actually, it was tactics well known in Eastern Slavonia, that
15 is to say before attacking the villages, they would be heavily shelled
16 first, and the people under pressure of this kind left the area from the
17 front. And on occupied territories, there were constant pressures being
18 exerted by the new Serb authorities to prevail upon the Croatian
19 population to leave and this was realised.
20 Q. I would like to have put to the witness now the tab numbers 10 to
21 17. They all relate to Vukovar.
22 And the situation in Vukovar, as it can be seen, is discussed
23 right from the beginning; is that correct?
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. And as we can see, we have now tab 10, October the 12th, and it's
1 a letter from you to the ECMM, and it is -- refers to the wounded, the
2 wounded in Vukovar. Was that a constant concern and was that constantly
3 raised during the negotiations with General Raseta?
4 A. That was a constant problem, and most of the negotiations were
5 taken up with discussing the problem of Vukovar especially the sick and
6 wounded from the Vukovar Hospital.
7 Q. Tab 11 is a letter about the 18th of October, 1991. It's from
8 General Tus, and it's also referring to artillery attacks and wounded
9 persons. Is that an authentic document?
10 A. Yes, it is. It is an authentic document.
11 Q. And now the next, tab 12. We have here a document related to a
12 proposal dated the 17th of November, 1991. Is that what was agreed with
13 regard to the evacuation of the sick and wounded from Vukovar Hospital?
14 A. During the time immediately prior to the occupation of Vukovar,
15 the main negotiations on the evacuation of the sick and wounded was
16 initiated by the Minister of Health, Dr. Andrija Hebrang. And I remember
17 this document. It did exist at that time.
18 Q. And it was agreed to have an evacuation in a certain -- around --
19 along a certain route on the 7th -- 17th of November.
20 And if you turn to tab 13, there is actually an agreement of the
21 18th of November in relation to such an evacuation. And can you tell us
22 who signs it?
23 A. This agreement was signed on the Croatian side by Dr. Andrija
24 Hebrang, and for the JNA it was signed by General Andrija Raseta.
25 Q. In point 6 of this agreement, it actually refers to the Republic
1 of Croatia and the JNA will recognise the neutrality of the Vukovar
2 Hospital during a period governing the evacuation.
3 Did the JNA keep that? Did they comply with this fact?
4 A. The JNA did not comply, and this can be seen fully today.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We have in fact, had evidence about that, and I
6 think we've had this document in evidence. If you look at the evidence of
7 Dr. Bosanac, I think we covered this document. We've certainly seen it
9 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
10 Q. The next document in this row is tab 14. We have here Raseta,
11 General Raseta, making a proposal for the -- on the 21st of November, and
12 it refers to a verbal agreement reached on the 20th. Were you aware of
14 A. Yes, I was.
15 Q. And when we look at tab 15, it's actually a letter from you
16 directed to Raseta, also referring to that same verbal agreement. There
17 is a point where the transfer from the wounded and sick was supposed to
18 take place Bosanska Raca. We know already, and we do not need to discuss
19 that. Only some of the people actually reached this place. What did you
20 do when you noticed that only some of the people had arrived there?
21 A. There were daily protests to the JNA via General Raseta to the
22 effect that the remaining number of wounded and those who were evacuated
23 should be sent along that route or some other route to the Croatian side.
24 Q. What was the response? What was said?
25 A. The response was to say, "We don't know where they are. It will
1 take place. Wait. We will organise it." But more or less indeterminate.
2 And we didn't have anyway to force them to behave differently.
3 Q. And then we have actually the tab 16 and tab 17, letters of
4 Granic, Dr. Granic, and Minister Hebrang asking for where the wounded are
5 and the missing people are. Did the JNA ever tell you or did you find out
7 A. I'm not sure I understand your question.
8 Q. Did you ever get an official response from the JNA about what
9 happened to the missing people?
10 A. Never. We never received an official written response from the
11 JNA. Not even an oral one, for that matter.
12 JUDGE MAY: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, it's past that time. Would that
13 be a convenient moment or do you want a few more minutes.
14 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. No, Vukovar is covered. I would just
15 want to speak about a different point, the expulsion of people and the
16 complaints of people about that, yes, and Saborsko. I would address
17 Saborsko briefly with the witness.
18 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We will adjourn now. Twenty minutes,
20 --- Recess taken at 12.18 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 12.43 p.m.
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
23 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. General, tab 18 is an information on a meeting of the head of
25 mission of the ECMM and Prime Minister Granic of the 15th of January,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 1992, and you are also mentioned as participant in these talks. Was this
2 a preparatory meeting for future negotiations with Raseta?
3 A. Yes. Upon the completion of this meeting in Zagreb, negotiations
4 were later started in Hungary, and this was one of the agreements reached
5 with the European Commission regarding such meetings.
6 Q. It's an English document but you had time to review it with an
7 interpreter during the preparation of your testimony; is that correct?
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. In point 4 of this information there are listed the Croatian
10 priorities for the future talks and it says here under 4A. "To halt the
11 process of intimidation of Croatians out of their homes and areas under
12 JNA control as well as to halt their replacement by Serbian settlers."
13 Can you tell us to which regions this refers? Where did this
14 happen, and when?
15 A. In all the occupied areas, people were moved out, which means in
16 the eastern part, less so in the western part because it had already been
17 cleansed of Croats earlier on, and in the Sector North and Sector South.
18 But first and foremost in Sector East there were most such cases.
19 Q. And that means Eastern Slavonia?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. And tab 19 is a letter -- rather, a fax, as you can see on the
22 original, of the 15th of March, 1992. Is that an example of this sort of
23 conduct, in this case related to the village of Boksic?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And in this document, is that your handwriting, this handwritten
1 note saying, "I have asked for the urgent sending of ECMM team from
2 Belgrade for the purpose of protection of inhabitants ..."? Is that your
4 A. Yes, that is my handwriting.
5 Q. And could the ECMM, then, access the region and could they stop
6 what was going on?
7 A. They should have had access from Belgrade. They didn't have
8 access from Zagreb. I know that. And they could intervene. Now, whether
9 they could stop it, obviously they couldn't because it continued.
10 Q. How long did it continue? I mean, in the entire regions?
11 A. Up until the end of 1993, because by then all the areas taken
12 control of by the Serbs had been cleansed by other -- of other ethnic
13 groups. Only some old people remained in their homes.
14 Q. And then tab 20, it is a report, a summary of a series of meetings
15 taking part on and around the 20th of March, 1992, between internationals
16 and Croatians, tan says in paragraph 4 that you also took part in these
17 talks, as did Mr. Ramljak, Ambassador Salgueiro, and also a Czech
18 Consul-General. Do you recall this?
19 A. Yes, I do. There was a whole series of such meetings.
20 Q. And as the document says, it's about expulsion of population and
21 related issues.
22 And in paragraph 2 in this document, it says as follows -- it
23 refers first of all to the expulsion of 61 persons from Jovarnik and
24 Nijemci. What kind of persons were expelled from there, ethnicity?
25 A. From Nijemci. Croats, because more than 95 per cent of the
1 inhabitants were Croats before the war, whereas from Jovarnik and other
2 areas in Eastern Slavonia members of other groups as well. To be more
3 specific, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, who were quite numerous in those
5 Q. And I would like to quote something to you in relation to other
6 ethnicities. It says here, "The Czech Consul-General had on 27 March come
7 to complain, in strong language, over the expulsion of Czechs from Ilok.
8 Ramljak, calling for a meeting ASAP which ECMM would also attend, strongly
9 contended that the practice had developed in the UNPAs of attempted
10 'ethnic purge': - not only Croats, but Czechs, Hungarians, Ukrainians and
11 Ruthenians were being driven out before UNPROFOR's deployment.
12 Were you aware of this and to what time period does this refer?
13 A. That is correct. This did occur.
14 Q. But when?
15 A. This was happening at the time. These were both individual cases
16 and more large-scale cases. People would report it, and they were
17 transferred to the Croatian side or brought as far as the separation line.
18 Q. And it says here in that same paragraph: "The worst areas were,
19 at present, Central Dalmatia, Eastern Slavonia, and the Ilok region."
20 Does that concur with your memory on the regions?
21 A. It does.
22 Q. Now, a different issue, and I will go now to a map, a map that
23 refers to the attack on Saborsko, and it's actually a document that was
24 marked for identification with another witness. It's tab -- Exhibit 326,
25 tab 9. And the witness that actually was meant to use this document
1 wasn't able to explain it, and I would like you, General, to help us.
2 First of all, were you aware of what was going on in Saborsko
3 on -- in November 1991?
4 A. I was, because the president of the local commune in Saborsko
5 would call me very frequently up until then asking for assistance in
6 easing the pressure on Saborsko and the arming of Saborsko so that they
7 might be able to defend themselves.
8 Q. And is this a map, a -- is this a JNA map, according to your
9 experience with that kind of maps?
10 A. On this map, it doesn't say, as is customary. There should be a
11 signature and the rank of the commander. But maps of this kind were made
12 when planning any assault operations, offensive operations. So this is a
13 map for the level of a brigade. And from what can be seen on it, it
14 appears to be the map of the commander of the 5th Partisan Brigade that
15 was stationed in that area.
16 Q. The 5th Partisan Brigade, is that a JNA brigade or what kind of
17 brigade is a Partisan Brigade?
18 A. Partisan Brigades were envisaged in the process of mobilisation of
19 the former JNA, and they were under the command of JNA units, and they
20 were filled by the members of the local population who were under the
21 obligation to serve in such brigades in defence. It was -- these Partisan
22 Brigades were intended for the local territory, and they would not be
23 deployed in other areas. They would be armed with light weapons, and they
24 can defend the area and engage in small-scale offensive operations only.
25 Q. And this red, the indications -- the red indications, would that
1 be the Serb movements? And the blue ones, what would that be?
2 A. The markings in red are those of the JNA and the Serbs, and the
3 markings in blue are the Croatian forces in the area.
4 Q. And is this the attack on the -- an attack plan on Saborsko and
5 the two other villages, Poljanac and --
6 A. That is correct.
7 Q. And were you correct about the Croatian army being there? Were
8 there any Croatian army units there or police units?
9 A. There was a unit of the police there and the self-organised
10 population of Saborsko, as well as the population of the villages up to
11 Sertic Poljana, that is southeast from Saborsko towards the Plitvice
13 Q. And from this map, can you see the -- which units take part on the
14 Serb side?
15 A. First of all, I said that it was the 5th Partisan Brigade, that
16 this was its map. And on her part, obviously, a tactical group had been
17 formed from that Brigade. It is here called Tactical Group 2. And in
18 Plasko which had been captured by Serb forces by then already, there was a
19 company of Territorial Defence of Plasko, that here in the region of
20 Ogrizovici north-west of Licka Jasenica and Saborsko, there was the 2nd
21 armoured company -- battalion, I'm sorry, and in other positions there
22 were some other smaller units. Also judging from the structure of the
23 operation which is indicated here on the left-hand side, it can be seen
24 that they had the support of the air force, from 8.40 until 9.10. Which
25 means for half an hour they had air support. I assume that this came from
1 Bihac air base, because at the time, it was active in combat and the
2 planes were based at the Bihac airport.
3 Also, we can see that artillery preparation and artillery support
4 had been planned for that purpose. An artillery group of 122-millimetre
5 howitzers which is a relatively large calibre from the region of the
6 Plitvice lakes was positioned here. So this is not an operation of only
7 members of the TO but also of the Partisan Brigade and legal units of the
9 Q. And how many defenders were there? You mentioned police and you
10 mentioned the local defenders. How many were there and what kind of
11 weapons do they have?
12 A. I do not have the precise figures here, but there was one 100 men
13 under arms on the outside in Saborsko and the surrounding villages. They
14 were armed with light weapons, and that means rifles. And here in this
15 presentation with the exception of some roadblocks by the Croatian side,
16 there is no evidence that the attackers had envisaged any heavy artillery
17 weapons here.
18 Q. And do you know whether this plan was actually executed and --
19 executed according to this plan?
20 A. Yes, that is right. This plan was executed, and Saborsko was
21 captured, the people removed, and after that, it was completely razed to
22 the ground.
23 Q. Do you know whether the defenders fled during the air force attack
24 or the artillery that preceded the infantry attack?
25 A. Most of them -- most of the population fled, but the defenders
1 withdrew in the face of a superior attacker.
2 JUDGE MAY: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, help us. Where does this plan
3 come from?
4 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: This plan was provided by the -- by the
5 Croatian government. They seized it together with other documents.
6 Q. Were you aware of this fact, General, that this document was
8 A. I don't know about this document, but I do know that many
9 documents were seized after the Operation Storm.
10 Q. You said that the village, afterwards, was razed to the ground.
11 Did that happen to other villages in that same region at about that same
12 time? Do you know about that?
13 A. More or less all Croatian villages in this area were -- the people
14 were displaced, after which the houses and all facilities were devastated.
15 There were relatively few Croatian villages there in the area between
16 Plitvice and Saborsko, but there were some in the area from Plitvice
17 towards Slunj. But their occupation, the occupation of those villages,
18 was carried out before that with the exception of Slunj itself. And I'm
19 referring to the villages of Vaganac, Drezni Grad, and Rakovica.
20 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours --
21 JUDGE KWON: General Agotic, in this map am I correct that there
22 is a passage which refers to the casualties of this operation?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot guarantee whether this was
24 a forecast of casualties or whether they were actual casualties suffered,
25 what we find here at the bottom.
1 JUDGE KWON: Yes. That's the point I'd like to raise. It
2 says -- according to the legend I was given earlier, red, three wounded,
3 blue is around 315. Is it correct? Given that passage was this rather a
4 report than a plan, if you have any observation on that?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It would rather be a plan, because
6 this figure of 315 can relate to the number of inhabitants in Saborsko,
7 including those who were armed.
8 JUDGE KWON: If you can tell us the meaning of red and blues. Red,
9 three wounded. That colour, three wounded, around 315. Three hundred and
10 fifteen may be the number of inhabitants in your assessment.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. And it is a realistic
12 assessment that there would be three wounded on the Serb side, because
13 there was a disproportion in terms of armaments. And this figure of 315
14 were the people that were moved out of Saborsko, because that would
15 roughly be the number of inhabitants it had.
16 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
17 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: In this context, I have also one more
19 Q. In a military map like this when you make such a plan, would you
20 actually add a section like this, estimated -- estimated casualties for
21 both sides?
22 A. This is usually included in the order. The map is an accompanying
23 document and a component part of the order that is issued in written form,
24 and one of the points is the estimated or assumed casualties. We do not
25 have that written order. We only have the map.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, this concludes the questions of
2 the Prosecution.
3 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
4 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours, I dropped the other map because
5 it was not crucial and we are pressed for time. So it's the Slunj map.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
7 Cross-examined by Mr. Milosevic:
8 Q. [Interpretation] General, you provided very clear and precise
9 answers, and I hope we will be able to make very efficient use of our
11 First of all, I would like us to clear up a few matters that you
12 commented on in the examination-in-chief towards the end of it. Namely
13 I'm referring to the JNA plan for the preservation of Yugoslavia at all
14 cost. You spoke about that; isn't that right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. I gathered that when you were describing operations which the JNA
17 had planned, the plan was to place the whole of Croatia under JNA control
18 or, rather, for the forces to be positioned on the border towards
19 Slovenia. Is that right?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. And that was the first plan. I gather that you described this as
22 the first plan that was elaborated. Is that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Then you went on to explain how that plan was to be implemented,
25 and you mentioned a dispatch of 1991, a telegram, in which this was
1 elaborated in some detail. Is that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Unfortunately, we don't have that cable, do we? But you are
4 familiar with its contents.
5 A. Yes, that's right. But it is surely in the JNA archives.
6 Q. We can probably obtain it, and I hope that there shouldn't be any
7 real dispute over that.
8 Q. In the context of the assignment specified by that dispatch or
9 cable, you speak about JNA forces being brought in from various areas and
10 along different axes. In view of the fact that you are a general, a
11 military expert therefore, could we clear up certain things that were
12 explained in rather confused terms during some other testimony?
13 So there is no dispute that the JNA had a plan to position itself
14 on the border with Slovenia to preserve the SFRY, without Slovenia but
15 including Croatia.
16 Now, when you talk about axes of approach and the intersection of
17 the territory, it's not a question of forming any kind of borders, as I
18 understand you, but, rather, of cutting across the territory for bringing
19 in units to fulfil this task of preserving the whole of Croatia within
20 Yugoslavia by positioning the forces on the border with Slovenia.
21 A. That is partially so.
22 Q. So according to that first plan, it reflected the JNA's intention
23 to keep Croatia within the integral territory of the SFRY with the
24 exception of Slovenia?
25 A. Yes, that's right.
1 Q. And in view of that, when you mentioned forces being brought in
2 from Bihac, Knin, the Neretva River valley, from the area of Montenegro,
3 Serbia, et cetera, all that was part of the implementation process of that
4 plan; is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. So this cutting of territory indicates the axes and directions
7 along which the troops would come with a view to preserving Croatia within
8 the borders of the SFRY.
9 A. Partially, that is right.
10 Q. After that, you go on to say that since that plan could not be
11 implemented with success for the reasons that you gave that the assignment
12 was reduced. Is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. The second level of modification of that plan was to position the
15 units along the line you mentioned, Virovitica-Karlovac-Karlobag; is that
17 A. Yes, it is.
18 Q. And then after that, the third level of the further shrinking of
19 the plan and the withdrawal of forces limited them to the territories
20 where the Serbs had a majority, that is, the territories in which the
21 population did not see the JNA as an enemy force; is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. General, from your explanations the first time here during the
24 year and a half that this trial has been continuing, we can see for the
25 first time now that these were military operations and no border that
1 would go Karlovac, Virovitica, Karlobag?
2 A. That is partially true. Where the army positions itself that is
3 where the border should have been.
4 Q. Yes, but we're talking about a plan which the JNA had on the one
5 hand and the Croatian armed forces on the other.
6 A. Correct. They were two conflicting, opposing plans, yes.
7 Q. And throughout your testimony today, you ever made reference all
8 the time to one side made up of the JNA and the other side made up of the
9 armed forces of Croatia; right? That's right, isn't it?
10 A. Yes, it is.
11 Q. Now, is there anywhere there do we see Serbia? Is Serbia anywhere
13 A. Whether it's there or not, I don't know. What I'm talking about
14 is the situation on the ground that existed at the time. Now, who stood
15 behind it, who was behind all this, that is up to others to prove. As a
16 military man myself, that is how I saw it, and that is how I recount it
18 Q. Well, I think that that is why your testimony is very useful,
19 because you as a soldier -- not only as a soldier but somebody who
20 commanded the army and who was the main negotiator to boot on the other
21 side you had the JNA as the negotiating party on the other side. That's
22 right, isn't it, throughout the whole time?
23 A. Yes, yes, that's right.
24 Q. Now, as to the political leadership, as far as that is concerned,
25 you spoke about the participation of President Tudjman when he attended
1 SFRY meetings and the activities that went hand-in-hand with the
2 activities that you testified about. That's right, isn't it?
3 A. Yes, right.
4 Q. I'm going to try and put some order into my questions and to make
5 our work as efficacious as possible. From the very beginning, General,
6 did you support the idea of an independent Croatian state outside the
7 borders of Yugoslavia?
8 A. What do you mean at the beginning? What beginning are you
9 referring to?
10 Q. Well, let me ask it this way: When did you start supporting that
11 idea as you were a JNA officer?
12 A. I lent my support to it from the moment when the war started on
13 the territory of Croatia and when I realised that that was the only
14 solution, that is to say, an independent Croatian state and all the other
15 republics, in actual fact, the other republics of the former Yugoslavia.
16 That applied to them too.
17 Q. All right. As you described a moment ago the efforts made by the
18 JNA, you reached the highest officer rank in the JNA. You were a colonel;
19 right? And I'm sure you knew that the basic task of the JNA was to
20 preserve Yugoslavia's integrity. That's right, isn't it?
21 A. Yes, it is.
22 Q. But you, as a JNA officer yourself at that time, nonetheless one
23 given moment changed your opinion and position and came to consider that
24 it should not be preserved and that independent states should be set up in
25 its stead.
1 A. Mr. Milosevic, it wasn't a moment in time. It was a process that
2 I went through from 1989 onwards. In actual fact, I gave intensive
3 thought to all this and wrote to General Veljko Kadijevic as the number
4 one man in the former JNA. I wrote to him officially as the chief of
5 security, in my official capacity, and I also wrote to him as a private
6 individual. I don't know if he received those letters because I never got
7 a response from him. But in those letters, I expressed my concern with
8 regard to developments. From my level of vision, I was able to see that
9 the relationships that prevailed were deteriorating and that they were
10 leading up to a conflict on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, and I
11 also realised and saw that the JNA within this conflict or, rather, in
12 preventing the conflict, to be more precise, could play a much more
13 significant and effective role. And it could have done so had it not
14 taken anybody's side. Had it sought for a peaceful solution or the
15 reconstitution of Yugoslavia or a peaceful disassociation in Yugoslavia.
16 But when all this fell through and when the JNA took one side over the
17 others, and I can guarantee it was the Serb side that it took, it was at
18 this point in time that I lost all hope in the JNA. And there was the war
19 in Slovenia, and this was followed by the situation in Croatia.
20 So that was the process. It wasn't a momentary decision. It was
21 a process that led me to change my opinion.
22 Q. All right. Very well. But before your new career, the one you
23 embarked upon, having spent your entire life as an officer of the JNA, you
24 attended the military academy in Belgrade from which you graduated, you
25 went to all the high military schools?
1 A. The War College as well.
2 Q. Yes. The War College as the highest institution in the army?
3 A. Yes, that's right.
4 Q. This is a school attended by generals. And therefore, I also
5 assume that you acquitted yourself affably in the JNA, and you were
6 promoted with respect to rank and with respect to the highly important
7 security position you held in the 5th Air Force Corps in which you stayed
8 until March 1992; that is right?
9 A. Yes, right.
10 Q. And you spent most of your time in your career working on security
11 matters, holding positions in the security sector?
12 A. Yes, that's right.
13 Q. Now, as a professional man, as an expert, for officers who perform
14 military security assignments and work in that field, do they appoint
15 people that are highly respected, highly professional and in which they
16 can place their trust? Of course along with all the military schools that
17 you would have to have graduated from and everything else that officers
18 have to have to occupy their positions. Would that be right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. You also said that your main task as chief of the security command
21 of the 5th Corps was to protect the units of that corps; is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And what do you mean by protection? What does "protection" imply?
24 I assume that you feel you acquitted yourself affably and you did your
25 work successfully; right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. On page 2 of your statement, paragraph 6, you say that in fact,
3 this entire security administration -- you don't have to look at your
4 statement. I'm not going to play a trick on you or anything like that. I
5 don't want to set a trap for you. You just went to enumerate neutral --
6 the neutralisation of the activities of foreign intelligence services,
7 that that was one of your jobs and then to neutralise the work of
8 extremists from emigres circles and to neutralise domestic or internal
9 enemies; is that right? Those were the basic tasks that you had and you
10 addressed them; right?
11 Now, tell me, in what area did your -- were you engaged in most?
12 A. From 1971, the service itself, right up until 1991, focused or,
13 rather, 70 per cent of its capacities were focused on neutralising
14 internal enemies.
15 Q. Did the JNA as the sole legitimate armed force of the SFRY, was it
16 against all forms of nationalism?
17 A. For a time, yes, or, rather, during my years of service there,
19 Q. You say that the situation in the SFRY after Tito's death became
20 far more complex. That's right, isn't?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Does that mean that it was immediately after his death that there
23 was a burgeoning of different secessionists, separatists and other
24 movements having elements of nationalistic extremism, chauvinism and the
25 like which in one way or another posed a threat to Yugoslavia's integrity?
1 A. Yes, that's right.
2 Q. And did the security service carefully follow all these activities
3 regardless of the side they came from, regardless of whether they were
4 dealing with Serbs, Croats, Albanians, or whoever?
5 A. Yes, that's right, for a time. Later on, it changed its position
6 and attitude, and it no longer considered certain nationalisms to be
7 dangerous, whereas it did consider others to be dangerous.
8 Q. When you say certain nationalisms dangerous, others not, do you
9 mean that it considered nationalisms to be dangerous who were geared
10 towards the break-up of Yugoslavia, those?
11 A. All nationalisms taken as a whole would, asserting their own
12 ethnic group to the detriment of others, would come under that category,
13 and this at the same time will lead to problems and the ultimate effect
14 would be the break-up of Yugoslavia itself. Therefore, depending on the
15 given period of time, the security service and administration would devote
16 more or less attention to one or another nationalism depending on which it
17 was. Whether this was historically justified or not, that's another
18 question, a matter apart.
19 Q. Now, at that particular time, we're talking about the period after
20 Tito's death, are you disputing that what was expressed most at that time
21 was Albanian extremism and nationalism? Would you challenge that at all?
22 A. The official policy or, rather, the policies of the security
23 service was that, yes, Albanian nationalism and extremism was being
24 expressed most. Now, whether that was correct objectively speaking was
25 another matter. But that was the official position taken by the security
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13 English transcripts.
1 service and administration.
2 Q. But tell me, is that right or not? Was that correct or not?
3 A. For a time, perhaps it was correct.
4 Q. Thank you very much for your answer. Now, you go on to say that
5 the military leadership, and you say that on page 3, paragraph 4, but I'm
6 sure you'll recall what you said in your statement, that the security
7 administration proposed that -- and suggested that Kosovo military
8 conscripts were sent to do their service as far away from Kosovo as
9 possible, to serve their military obligations because there were armed
10 Albanians in the area.
11 Now, tell me please, General --
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. When I did my military service, I did it in Zadar, the coastal
14 town of Zadar. Is it not true that it was standard practice in the SFRY
15 for recruits, conscripts from, for example, one republic should do their
16 military service in quite another republic and not do their military
17 service in their own republic, region or town? For example, in the 1960s
18 I did my military service. I'm from Pozarevac and I went to do my
19 military service in Zadar. So that was standard practice. Recruits would
20 be sent throughout Yugoslavia because that too expressed a sort of
21 Yugoslav character that the army had. It was one of the components making
22 up the Yugoslav character of the army. That's right, isn't it?
23 A. Yes, that's right.
24 Q. So many Croats, for example, did their military services in
25 Serbia, Macedonia, Slovenia, et cetera; is that right?
1 A. Yes, quite right.
2 Q. Now, as for your assertion that I said a moment ago and you
3 confirmed it and I quoted it regarding Kosovo, was an additional reason
4 for that precisely the fact that Albanian separatism was burgeoning and
5 that it had flared up and that there was brutal demonstration of that
6 particular nationalism and separatism? Would that be right?
7 A. Well, that would be the subject of a deep discussion, a more
8 profound discussion.
9 In certain units, by the by, of the JNA, regardless of the number
10 of soldiers, Albanian soldiers, which exist -- and there are always most
11 of them in the ground forces for understandable reasons, reasons that were
12 common knowledge, there was a great deal of Albanian nationalism, under
13 inverted commas and irredentism as we used to call it at the time, that
14 was the term we used and others having the same number of soldiers, this
15 was not rampant.
16 Now, what does this indicate? It shows that certain officers,
17 security officers, and first and foremost this took place in the latter
18 half of the 1980s in the areas of the Sarajevo army, that's what it was
19 called then the Sarajevo army, then on the territory of the Belgrade army,
20 that what was covered was large numbers of what we referred to as illegal
21 groups. Now, these same Albanians, Albanians of that kind in other units,
22 where this was not the politics pursued, that is to say to use force to
23 uncover Albanian nationalism, this did not prove to be the case, which
24 indicates again that the treatment of Albanians, the attitude towards
25 Albanians regardless of whether, objectively speaking, they were
1 organising themselves nationalistically or irredentistically that the
2 treatment was adjusted to the political mood of the moment and that
3 enemies were looked for, sought for in the Albanian section of the
4 population. And that's how we felt in other parts of Yugoslavia. And it
5 is my assessment that that proved to be correct ultimately.
6 Q. All right. Tell me, General, do you know about the case of
7 soldier Kelmendi? You did refer to it.
8 A. I am aware of that case.
9 Q. What did he do?
10 A. At that time, it was said that he had committed a murder. Later
11 reports showed that perhaps that's not really the way it was, that perhaps
12 it had been rigged. I don't know about that quite fully because I was not
13 in a position to investigate. However, the Kelmendi case was used in all
14 of the JNA for a -- a witch hunt against Albanians. This was just an
15 individual case of a single soldier and it happens anywhere, in any army,
16 in any organisation.
17 Q. All right. But this soldier killed a number of his fellow
18 soldiers as they were sleeping. There wasn't even a quarrel or a fight
19 before that. There wasn't even an incident of any kind. Quite simply, he
20 used his weapon to kill people around him. Do you know about that?
21 A. Yes, I do, but my answer to that is that there are dozens of
22 incidents taking place nowadays in the US army that an individual commits
23 because he goes crazy, so to speak, under quotation marks. So why are we
24 saying that this was done for nationalistic purposes on Kelmendi's part?
25 This was used in order to create a psychosis of danger. That was my
1 impression of this.
2 Q. All right. In your opinion, the military leadership and the
3 security administration where you worked, do you feel they did not have
4 reason to be concerned about this particular phenomenon, especially after
5 that case that we just referred to? I'm talking about Albanian
7 A. I think there was no reason for that and I think individuals from
8 the security administration, and from the security services in general in
9 the JNA, took advantage of that situation for going on this hunt against
10 Albanian soldiers and for no reason whatsoever. For example, in the 5th
11 Air Force Corps where I was head of security, there was not a single
12 Albanian group that was illegally organised. And we never had less than 7
13 or 800 Albanian soldiers, as opposed to some others like Sarajevo, the
14 Sarajevo district where Mr. Vasiljevic was. Then also some units in the
15 territory of Serbia where there were other chiefs of security who kept
16 finding illegal troikas of Albanians all the time. And it was sufficient
17 for them to get three Albanian names and to claim that this was a group.
18 I was in this environment, and I know that that's the way it was.
19 Q. When was this year when you were in this environment?
20 A. I'm not talking about Kosovo. I'm talking about the army, the
21 army. This was 1986, 1987, 1988 when people would come from the security
22 administration, specifically Colonel Bogdan Vujic as a specialist, under
23 quotation marks, for the Albanian irredenta. And he would ask for a list
24 of Albanian soldiers in the unit concerned. And then according to that
25 list, he would make up lists of troikas, of illegal groups. I was there
1 and I opposed those methods. From then onwards, I was not really well
2 liked among the security administration people.
3 Q. All right. But if you say this was 1986 and in 1991 you were
4 chief of security of the 5th Corps, one really couldn't put it that way
5 that because of this position of yours you suffered certain consequences.
6 A. This was one of the details where I disagreed with my superiors,
7 superior officers. Other details of my military career were different and
8 indicated different things. So perhaps that is the reason for my success.
9 Q. All right. Do you remember that actually these things were on the
10 rise immediately after Tito's death, after 1980? In 1981 already there
11 were demonstrations by Albanians in Kosovo. Kosovo Republika was the
12 slogan and so on and so together. And then what we're discussing now was
13 probably and after effect of the things that happened then and this did
14 not start only immediately after Tito's death. You remember the
15 demonstrations in 1965 and so on and so forth?
16 A. I do remember that.
17 Q. So one cannot really say that these are disturbed individuals, a
18 deranged individual. Of course, whoever kills his comrades while they are
19 sleeping is a deranged individual, but here there was a justifiable
20 concern on the part of the security administration. Is that right or is
21 that not right, General?
22 A. The assessment was that this was done for nationalist reasons, and
23 this was the assessment that prevailed in JNA structures and also
24 throughout Yugoslav society. Now, whether it was objectively that way or
25 not is now a question that was really up to the people who investigated
1 the matter.
2 For a long time now, I've seen matters differently.
3 Q. When you say in the structures that the entire Yugoslav society,
4 do you remember how many prominent Slovenians, Croats, Muslims,
5 Macedonians and others wrote about that at the time? So it was not the
6 product of Serb nationalism of any kind. It was something that was
7 written about throughout Yugoslav society. Do you remember that?
8 A. Yes, I do remember that. A lot was written about it, and this was
9 a subject of interest throughout the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
10 Q. Thank you very much. Now, tell me, why are you saying that the
11 one of the major successes of General Vasiljevic was the trial of Officers
12 Ademi and Rrahim and that this was some kind of a fabrication - how should
13 I put this? - something that was artificially created and that nobody
14 knows what the reasons were for bringing charges against these persons?
15 Let me just assist you with the best of intentions. Your former
16 colleague, in all fairness, he held a lower rank than you did, Mustafa
17 Candic, he testified here and he gave rather precise information about
18 this case and why these persons had charged brought against them.
19 A. From 1991 onwards, I talked a great deal to Albanians who were
20 either charged with Albanian nationalism and irredentism or suspected of
21 such things. And the case of Rrahim Ademi convinced me over 100 per cent,
22 if that is at all possible, that he was not encumbered by any kind of
23 nationalism. He did not do anything illegal. He did not organise
24 soldiers, and this was part of the indictment raised against him.
25 I can give you again the example of the 5th Corps where there were
1 officers and junior officers and soldiers, hundreds. There was no
2 Albanian nationalism and irredentism there. And it proved true now in
3 what happened in 1989 in Kosovo, that the officers and the NCOs from the
4 5th Corps did not take part in everything that happened on the irredenta
5 side, if that's what we can call it now-a-days. So they were not
6 illegally organised. It is quite simply the truth.
7 So General Vasiljevic was really working hard on this and the
8 mentioned Bogdan Vujovic too and the others individuals from the security
9 administration. They were playing this up. And there was a different
10 purpose for all of this.
11 Later on, that also proved to be true.
12 Q. So what could have been the motive? For example, my impression
13 was although General Vasiljevic here testified here against me, sitting in
14 that very same chair, my impression was that General Vasiljevic was a
15 general with a Yugoslav orientation. Is that your assessment that he was
16 a Yugoslav-oriented General or was he some kind of a Serb nationalist?
17 A. I have a high regard for General Vasiljevic as a professional, as
18 a person at the time when I knew him. However, in 1991, he placed himself
19 in the service of war against the Republic of Croatia; that is to say in
20 the interests of one of the Yugoslav peoples. So from that point of view
21 I do not have a high regard for him.
22 But in terms of professionalism, until then I can only
23 congratulate him.
24 Q. General, he's the one who discovered the illegal import of
25 weapons. Wasn't that his duty? He was head of security. Wasn't this the
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13 English transcripts.
1 against the interests of Yugoslavia and wasn't this the task of the
2 security service, to stop this, to discover this, and to render it
4 A. This was his task, but then on the other hand, it's also debatable
5 whether this should have been his task or whether it should have been the
6 task of the state security. So there's a major dilemma in this respect.
7 That is one point. Because according to the rules of service, the JNA
8 security organs could not work outside JNA structures and that's exactly
9 what he was doing.
10 Secondly, once he discovered this, once he saw that he saw that
11 one of the republics was arming itself, in this case the Republic of
12 Croatia, he should have studied this in depth. He should have seen why
13 this was being done and he should have insisted with the military
14 leadership and asked them to take a different position with regard to
15 resolving the JNA crisis. And I think that the JNA leadership, had they
16 taken a different view, there would have been a peaceful break-up of
17 Yugoslavia and there wouldn't have been this many victims.
18 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, it's now quarter to. It's time to
19 adjourn, I think. I see Mr. Nice is here. I don't know if he has fresh
21 MR. NICE: No.
22 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Mr. Milosevic, you have two hours on
23 Monday morning with this witness, which will give you the same as the
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, yesterday we got an information
1 from the witness unit that General Agotic needs to be in Croatia on
2 Monday. I wonder whether this could be solved and whether he is available
3 on Monday.
4 JUDGE MAY: General, what -- can you tell us your position on
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If we could finish today if at all
7 possible, but I certainly don't want to upset your schedule in any way,
8 but I do have some engagements in Zagreb on Monday that I had planned.
9 JUDGE MAY: Well, I'd be grateful if you would be here on Monday,
10 because it's not possible for us to sit this afternoon. There's another
11 case coming in. Could you try and reschedule your engagements? We'll try
12 and make sure you're away as quickly as we possibly can.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If this is necessary, I would kindly
14 ask that I be the first on Monday morning so that I could catch a plane to
15 Zagreb and be there in the evening if possible.
16 JUDGE MAY: That we can assure you of.
17 Yes. We will adjourn now.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
19 1.47 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
20 the 30th day of June, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.