1 Wednesday, 2 June 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The accused Stanisic not present]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.22 p.m.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon to everyone. Madam Registrar, would
7 you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon
9 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case IT-03-69-T,
10 Prosecutor versus Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar. The first matter I'd
12 like to address is the suggestion by the Stanisic Defence that would give
13 an opportunity to ask further questions to Dr. Eekhof. The Chamber will
14 take the following approach but is welcoming any further input from the
16 The Chamber would like to receive an updated report before the
17 weekend. The Chamber would also like to receive a report after the
18 weekend. And we want to reschedule the Monday and Tuesday sessions.
19 Now, depending on the circumstances, we could add another day to the
20 weeks after that then sitting three days a week, which would give more
21 time for preparation and, of course, everything depends on how the health
22 situation of Mr. Stanisic develops, but to have lengthy discussions about
23 that at this moment doesn't assist greatly.
24 Another option still would be, although I'm saying it with some
25 hesitation, to move to the Thursday and Friday next week. What we want
1 is not to lose court time and at the same time give fully respect that
2 the rights of Mr. Stanisic should be observed appropriately. And,
3 therefore, we are trying to see whether we can serve both these
4 interests, and of course, the fair trial rights are first, but at the
5 same time we are trying not to lose or rather to -- yes, to lose court
6 time also in the interest of Mr. Stanisic, because no one is served by
7 having this case being dragged along for another additional year.
8 That's the approach we'd like to take. Yes, Mr. Bakrac.
9 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] First of all, I'd like to apologise
10 for interrupting you, however, it was my impression that you were going
11 to conclude this issue. Hence by your leave, I'd like to address you.
12 We would like to exhibit full co-operation, and we fully understand the
13 attempts made by this Chamber not to lose any court days. However, this
14 represents a difficulty to us. Mr. Petrovic and myself has spent a
15 prolonged period of time here, and we had the June schedule ahead. Since
16 there should have been a break between the 9th and 15th, we had planned
17 to travel to Belgrade
18 the Registrar, and we wanted to anticipate the further list of witnesses
19 in order to know precisely who would appear at what time so as it to be
20 ready and make things easier for the court. I believe so far we have
21 been rather successful. We had counted on this break, and we scheduled a
22 number of meetings with the witnesses and people we wanted to see who
23 were intended to appear just after the break, rather than to spend time
24 here sitting around waiting to see which day of the week we'll sit next
25 without doing anything that would be of our client's interest.
1 JUDGE ORIE: So to put matters short, at this moment you would
2 say, rather not move next week to the end of the week because that causes
3 us problems.
4 Second, if we would sit more, don't do it on Monday the 14th or
5 Tuesday the 15th, but rather than, for example, on the 18th, which is the
6 day after the two days for which the case was scheduled, the 16th and
7 17th of June.
8 Mr. Groome.
9 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, on this issue with respect to the
10 witness, the witness, as I said yesterday, is scheduled to travel on
11 Friday. Could I ask, or what the Prosecution is requesting, is that the
12 Chamber ask Dr. Eekhof to provide a report tomorrow and that the Chamber
13 make its best decision on the best information that is available tomorrow
14 and advise the Prosecution whether it wants us to continue to have the
15 witness get on a plane or whether it wishes us to do whatever, but I
16 would appreciate some guidance about whether we should bring the witness
17 or continue to have the witness travel.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Of course, our approach would include that the
19 witness wouldn't have to travel. Now, at the same time, the option for
20 the Friday -- the Thursday and Friday, the 10th and 11th of June seems to
21 cause a problem, which would then most likely result in adding another
22 day to the week after that. We have to consider that we didn't have the
23 input of Mr. Bakrac before. So it may well be that the Chamber will
24 decide -- of course, unless tomorrow Dr. Eekhof would tell us that
25 everything has been fine for the last few days, but rather than entering
1 into lengthy debates on medical matters, the Chamber prefers to find
2 solutions which avoid discussions in this field which always have some
3 level of what is possible. What is not possible? Why is four and a half
4 hours a day possible but not five days? Why is two days possible? Is
5 three days possible? But of course, what I'm -- I asked for the input of
6 the parties, part of that would also be that if matters get a bit better
7 and if preparation is still at a level which is acceptable whether
8 Mr. Stanisic then still would prefer to come to the courtroom or to
9 attend the hearings from the videolink.
10 All options, all ways of at the same time paying proper attention
11 to what are medical problems and not to overstep what is possible, and at
12 the same time to see how we could proceed with this case without
13 unnecessarily losing time. That's our purpose. Mr. Bakrac gave his
14 input. I take it that we may receive input from you as well, but most
15 likely, Mr. Groome, there will be no hearing on Monday and Tuesday as
16 matters stand now.
17 MR. GROOME: So am I free to direct VWS to hold off on travel
18 plans until we hear further from the Chamber?
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but finally, and later today, we'd like to hear
20 from the Stanisic Defence whether they would prefer to see whether we can
21 have two days at the end of next week despite the problems Mr. Bakrac may
22 have with that or whether there would be any objections against three
23 days a week in the weeks after that, which would mean that we catch up
24 and compensate for the two lost days. Where I have to add that it was
25 already in the Chamber's mind to look at it more at the possibility of
1 sitting more than two days a week in the near future.
2 MR. GROOME: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ORIE: We'll hear later today perhaps from you, and we'll
4 try to resolve the matter in such time that the witness does not travel
5 in vain to The Hague
6 MR. GROOME: That's appreciated, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Then we have two witnesses still to be
8 cross-examined. Matters are related. I take it that we'll start with
9 Mr. Strinovic.
10 Yesterday the Defence asked for further time to be able to
11 connect the various documents to each other and to see whether that
12 causes major problems.
13 Mr. Jordash.
14 MR. JORDASH: There are no major questions -- sorry, there are no
15 major problems. Those that there are can be dealt with in
17 JUDGE ORIE: That's fine.
18 Mr. Bakrac.
19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] The same goes for Mr. Simatovic's
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then is my assumption right that we'll start
22 with Mr. Strinovic?
23 MR. JORDASH: I hope so.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could Mr. Strinovic be escorted into the
25 courtroom. Any estimate of time, Mr. Jordash?
1 MR. JORDASH: For the first witness no more than five, ten,
2 minutes. For the second, approximately 20 to 25.
3 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as far as I'm
4 concerned, we'll need five to ten minutes for the first witness and 15 to
5 20 for the next.
6 [The witness takes the stand]
7 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon, Mr. Strinovic. The Defence is now
8 ready to cross-examine you. The first who cross-examines you is
9 Mr. Jordash, but before I invite him to start, I would like to remind you
10 that you are still bound by the solemn declaration you've given yesterday
11 at the beginning of your testimony that you'll speak the truth, the whole
12 truth and nothing but the truth. Mr. Jordash, you may proceed.
13 MR. JORDASH: Your Honour, thank you.
14 WITNESS: DAVOR STRINOVIC [Resumed]
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 Cross-examination by Mr. Jordash:
17 Q. Good afternoon. Can you hear me?
18 A. Yes. Thank you.
19 Q. Thank you. I just have very few questions for you.
20 MR. JORDASH: Could I please ask for Exhibit P00512 to be brought
21 on to e-court. And the page I'm looking for is page 11.
22 Q. And the entry, Mr. Strinovic, I'm going to direct you to is entry
23 9. And the name of Ivan Zelember.
24 MR. JORDASH: Could I go to page 9, please, of the exhibit.
25 Sorry, page 11.
1 Q. We can turn -- can you just have a look at entry 9 there,
2 Mr. Strinovic. Ivan Zelember, and you place the comment in the cause of
3 death or date of disappearance as follows:
4 "Fracture to the right side of the face bone, right upper jaw and
5 also to the left side of the scapula and left arm. Brownish jacket, dark
6 shirt and brown pullover."
7 I suspect you wouldn't be able to do this from memory, so we
8 might have to turn to the autopsy report, but let me just try to see if
9 you can. Can you confirm that there was no evidence of gun-shot wound
10 when you looked at the autopsy report? Would you like me to ask for the
11 autopsy report to be --
12 JUDGE ORIE: Also for the Chamber. We have no access to it so
13 we'd like to have a look at it as well.
14 MR. JORDASH: My apologies. Could we have --
15 JUDGE ORIE: 65 ter 5571.
16 MR. JORDASH: Your Honour, yes, thank you. Yes, that's right, we
17 are looking at the new autopsy reports with only B/C/S available at the
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, which doesn't make it easy for us to ...
20 MR. JORDASH:
21 Q. Perhaps, Mr. Strinovic, the best way for you to explain to the
22 Court your comment as we've just looked at the last column of your chart
23 is to explain looking at the autopsy report precisely what you conclude
24 was the cause of death with reference to the report, and if you would
25 read the relevant bits so the Court can follow in the absence of an
1 English translation.
2 A. The relevant information in this particular document is as you
3 can find it in the English translation, i.e., the injuries recorded in
4 the autopsy report are stated therein. We have no cause of those
5 fractures stated, only the fractures you can find in the English
6 translation as well. Out of that description it is difficult to provide
7 definitive reason or cause of death. There was definitely a trauma which
8 came about be it by the use of a blunt instrument or a projectile or an
9 explosion. That is something I was unable to conclude. That is why you
10 find my conclusion as such in the English translation with the injuries
12 One, there were injuries; two, this was definitely a violent
13 death, however, it is difficult for me to conclude what the cause of
14 those injuries was if I look at this document alone.
15 Q. You cannot be sure that the death was caused by any particular
17 A. This is what I wanted to explain next. With cases such as this
18 one where there are fractures without any specific characteristics, for
19 example, on a bone, there could be something that would indicate the
20 means such as a piece of shrapnel, a projectile, or a blow, however in
21 this case we only have the description of the fractures, and based only
22 on that, I cannot draw conclusions on the manner in which such injuries
23 were caused.
24 Q. Is there anything in the report which would indicate in any way
25 that this was caused by a gun-shot wound of any kind?
1 A. No, as far as I can recall concerning this document, had
2 something like that existed, I would have mentioned it in the English
3 translation, but looking at this protocol, I don't see such a piece of
4 information that would provide an answer to your question, i.e., the
5 specific manner by which the injuries occurred.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MR. JORDASH: For Your Honours' reference, this is --
8 MS. MARCUS: I just wanted to point out that there is a second
9 page. Maybe the doctor would just review that before we leave the
10 document. That's all.
11 MR. JORDASH: Certainly. Could we have the second page on the
12 screen, please.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On page 2, mention is made of an
14 injury in the area of the left scapula as well as the left upper arm.
15 These are additional injuries which alone cannot tell us anything about
16 the manner of those injuries.
17 MR. JORDASH: Thank you.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jordash, perhaps it's very practical since we
19 have it on our screen now instead of getting it back on our screen at a
20 later stage. You said this is a violent death, although you do not know
21 whether it's shrapnel or bullet or blows or -- do I understand you well
22 that the picture in its totality excludes then for a simple fall of that
23 person which would have caused those injuries or -- so that it is
24 violent, not falling within the scope of what you would normally find if
25 there is just an accident? I'm not talking about very complex accidents,
1 that's of course, another matter, but a normal people falling or from the
2 stairs or?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, I can confirm
4 that. Given the location of those injuries and fractures, on the head,
5 the chest, as well as the limbs, such as the upper arm, such injuries
6 occur be it by multiple blows with blunt instruments or as a consequence
7 of projectiles or explosions. This does not come about by a mere fall
8 down the stairs.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Please proceed, Mr. Jordash.
10 MR. JORDASH: Thank you. I've got nothing further on that point,
11 thank you. And those questions for Your Honours' reference were in
12 reference to paragraph 36 of the indictment.
13 Could I have, please, on the e-court Rule 65 ter 05575. Another
14 autopsy report which is only in B/C/S presently.
15 Q. This is an autopsy report relating to Danica Razov, and we can
16 turn, if need be to your chart, but your chart notes as the cause of
17 death, no visible injures, defects on the surface of the stomach and
18 softening of one part of the brain, cause of death, cerebral impact
19 (according to pathologist who performed autopsy, cause of death is listed
20 as freezing).
21 Could you elaborate on that a little, please.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jordash, could you first link this to one of the
23 items in the --
24 MR. JORDASH: I beg your pardon, yes. Page 29 of P00512. Item
25 28, Danica Razov.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, new autopsy report. Therefore, no translation.
3 MR. JORDASH: Cause of death described by Mr. Strinovic as no
4 visible injuries, defects on the surface of the stomach and softening of
5 one part of the brain described by pathologist as freezing being the
6 cause of death.
7 Q. Could you elaborate a little on that, please.
8 A. I just need to describe briefly how death due to freezing is
9 ascertained. The finding is normally quite nonspecific, which means when
10 there is no other cause of death, that is obvious to speak of, no other
11 forensic findings and a person was found somewhere when it was cold be it
12 inside a house or outside where there was a low temperature, then
13 freezing is considered as a possible cause of death. When there is
14 another cause of death that is suggested, as in the case of Razov Danica,
15 there is obviously some cerebral damage there, there is softening on the
16 brain which tells us that was incident, maybe some kind of a stoke that
17 occurred. The brain was left without the appropriate amount of blood for
18 sometime obviously, and this is another possible of cause of death.
19 My opinion would be that this was a natural death, perhaps a kind
20 of stroke that occurred in the brain area. If I'm not being sufficiently
21 clear, please by all means let me know and I can explain more.
22 Nevertheless, my conclusion is natural death, cerebral haemorrhage or
23 stroke, which is or more less the same thing.
24 MR. JORDASH: Thank you. Again for Your Honours' reference
25 that's paragraph 32 of the indictment. I've got no further questions.
1 Thank you, Mr. Witness.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Could I ask one question. Do I understand that it's
3 difficult now than if someone had a stroke to determine whether due to
4 the circumstances in which that person suffered a stroke finally the
5 person died of freezing or whether that person died and then ended up,
6 due to the circumstances, in a situation where the body was frozen; is
7 that how I have to understand your explanation?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in this case we are
9 looking at a person who was obviously not in good health, she was 67
10 years old at the time of her death. The postmortem showed that there
11 were changes to the brain in those sections of the brain where the damage
12 caused would lead to immediate death. These are vital sections of the
13 brain. When there's a lesion or damage that occurs, death follows
14 immediately as a result. After death, the person may have happened to be
15 in a cold place, and therefore, appearing to be frozen, but the true
16 cause of death in this case was irreversible damage to a vital section of
17 the person's brain.
18 JUDGE ORIE: So you disagree with the cause of death as described
19 in the report, and you would say on the basis of the findings it may have
20 been cold but that's not what the person died of. Thank you. This
21 finishes your cross-examination, Mr. Jordash?
22 MR. JORDASH: Your Honour, yes, thank you.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Bakrac, do you have any questions for
24 Mr. Strinovic? Mr. Strinovic, Mr. Bakrac is counsel for Mr. Simatovic,
25 and he will be the next one to cross-examine you, and perhaps I explain
1 to you that I could call you Professor or call you doctor, with due
2 respect for all your qualifications, I have the habit of addressing all
3 witnesses by Mr. or Ms. or Mrs., and this is not in any way expressing
4 any disrespect for you -- for your academic qualifications.
5 Please proceed.
6 Cross-examination by Mr. Bakrac:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Good afternoon,
8 Professor. His Honour Judge Orie has introduced me. I only have a
9 handful of general questions for you, sir. If my understanding is
10 correct, that the findings of the PMs that occurred at these various
11 locations, would I be right in stating that there were only two
12 locations, specifically Skabrnja and Nadin where you were working with,
13 what shall I call them, fresh bodies, persons who had been killed two or
14 three days before the PM took place? And all the other postmortems did
15 not take place until much later, three, five, or six years later in some
17 A. Yes, that's quite right.
18 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, when talking about
19 the bodies from Skabrnja and Nadin, I would like to have the following
20 played in e-court. This is Prosecution Exhibit 65 ter number 4634.
21 Starting at 1 minute 20 seconds, or rather, 1 hour 20 seconds, 41 minutes
22 then up to 1 hour 23 minutes, 30 seconds, please. That is the section
23 that I would like to upload.
24 JUDGE ORIE: May I take that it's not the kind of video of which
25 the Chamber yesterday said it would not assist its understanding of the
1 case. There must be something not just illustration but something that
2 clarifies a matter which is in dispute, is that?
3 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Precisely, Your Honour. At this
4 point in time I don't see a witness that we could use for this exhibit,
5 to tender this exhibit through. This witness appears to be our best
6 opportunity. The document shows who was in charge of handing over the
7 bodies on this occasion. I would merely like the witness to tell us
8 whether what the video reflects is consistent with his own knowledge of
9 what happened and how the bodies of those killed were retrieved. I think
10 this might be helpful to you as far as locations themselves are
12 JUDGE ORIE: Is there any dispute about how and by whom the
13 bodies were handed over? Could you -- perhaps we first ask the questions
14 to the witness and then see whether there's any dispute because as you
15 may have become aware of, the Chamber is not assisted by looking at some
16 unidentified or even identified autopsy room or by looking at what the
17 colour was of the -- in which the doctors were dressed when performing
18 the -- or to see a body which is not identified where apparently there's
19 no specific problem with that person. So I hope that the message was
20 clear enough. I think it was for the Prosecution, but it should be for
21 the Defence as well. So let's first -- if you first perhaps ask the
22 questions to the witness --
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Ms. Marcus was on her feet, I should give her
25 an opportunity to.
1 MS. MARCUS: Thank you, Your Honour. It was just merely to
2 inform the Chamber that this video is not in sanction, so it would
3 take -- if the Chamber would like the video to be played, it would take
4 the Case Manager a few minutes to be able to manage it technically.
5 JUDGE ORIE: We'll first see whether there is any need to look at
6 the video which will not be elicited by just asking questions to the
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, Your Honour. Perhaps you
9 are right. I will try to take this up with the professor and try to deal
10 with the matter in a simplest possible way by following your
12 Q. Professor, do you know that the bodies of the people killed on
13 the 18th and 19th of December, 1991 -- November, I'm sorry, I actually
14 said December in Skabrnja and Nadin were taken or brought there by the
16 A. I really don't know.
17 Q. Do you know who performed the postmortem on those bodies?
18 A. Yes. Forensic pathologist from Zadar, Dr. Dujlan [phoen].
19 Q. What about the pathologist you mentioned, did he perhaps tell you
20 that the JNA allowed him to inspect the bodies since the JNA was at the
21 time holding the bodies?
22 A. I don't actually know that for a fact, but I assume that to be
23 the case.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Bakrac, could you please try to put your
25 questions in a non-composite manner because is it true that they were
1 brought there by the JNA is too different matters. First of all, that
2 there were not there yet but were brought there. The second question is
3 by whom were they brought there. With the last question, it's the same,
4 did he tell you that the JNA allowed him to inspect the bodies since the
5 JNA was at the time holding the bodies. These are two different matters.
6 You can give permission for something you are not holding, and the second
7 is, whether you are holding those bodies. So let's try to keep focused
8 and avoid whatever way of confusion or mixing up matters.
9 Perhaps we could ask the witness what is the basis for his
10 assumption. You said, I don't actually know that for fact, but I assume
11 that to be the case. First of all, did you refer to the JNA holding the
12 bodies, or did you refer to the JNA allowing the forensic pathologist to
13 inspect the bodies, which of the two, or both elements of the question
14 you were addressing?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as I said, I'm not
16 familiar with the details. I only found out later on. I received
17 detailed information relating to this case when I first arrived in The
18 Hague, for my first testimony here. I don't know who handed over the
19 bodies or in whose possession the bodies were, I just know the PM was
20 performed in a hospital in Zadar. I know that it was performed by Dr.
21 Ivo Dujlan. I'm also familiar with the findings of those PMs.
22 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would not like to
23 take up any more time with this, and I think the Professor's answer was
24 crystal clear. I would like to, therefore, invite the OTP just in case
25 they have nothing else to challenge and as long as they agree that the
1 video-clip shows clearly that 35 bodies were brought there by a JNA truck
2 and also the military persons are mentioned there who did the hand-over,
3 if that is not something they wish to challenge in that case I would like
4 to move for the 65 ter exhibit to be moved into evidence. There's no
5 need to go through it to have a look. We have the Professor's answer.
6 I'm not sure if there's anything else here for the OTP to challenge.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Is the transportation of the dead bodies a matter
8 which is in dispute? If it's unclear or if you do not know, then, of
9 course, it's a possible matter in dispute and then we'd have to look at
10 it because Mr. Bakrac tells us that the video supports his view where the
11 view of the Prosecution is still unknown.
12 MS. MARCUS: Your Honours, could I have a moment to consult?
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please do so.
14 [Prosecution counsel confer]
15 MS. MARCUS: Your Honours, it's something we would like to check
16 into with your leave, before we respond. We didn't know that the Defence
17 was going to show this document -- this video, so we'd like to look into
18 it. We'll do it as soon as we possibly can, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but then if it's unclear if we would have to
20 return later because this would be the last part of your
21 cross-examination, Mr. Bakrac? Or would there be more?
22 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. No, no, it's not
23 the last question. I have two or three left, general ones, Your Honours,
24 if I may. As far as this is concerned --
25 JUDGE ORIE: It's the difference with the matter yesterday is
1 that I have not seen anything on that video what reasonably was one could
2 consider to be in dispute. Here it seems that at least a matter of
3 potential substance is shown and under those circumstances, I would like
4 to allow Mr. Bakrac to play the video. Mr. Bakrac, you may play the
6 MS. MARCUS: Mr. Laugel is prepared to play the video now.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
8 [Video-clip played]
9 THE INTERPRETER: The booth has received no transcript of the
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Bakrac, there's no transcript available. Have
12 you provided it to the booth?
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. My mistake.
14 Quite simply, I had not announced this exhibit. It's part of the 92 ter
15 package of the OTP. Therefore, I assumed that there was a translation
16 available, as has been the case with all documents up to now. I do have
17 the transcript in B/C/S. The number is 65 ter 4634.
18 JUDGE ORIE: But there's no translation. Ms. Marcus.
19 MS. MARCUS: Yes, Your Honour, the transcript is in e-court, if
20 Mr. Bakrac identifies where in the transcript -- it hasn't been provided
21 to the booth because the booth didn't know that the Defence was going to
22 play it, so normally we would provide a transcript in advance to the
23 booth, so perhaps either it can be brought to them and/or it could be
24 somehow shown on the screen or something. Called up in e-court. It's in
25 there under that 65 ter number.
1 JUDGE ORIE: I suggest that you resolve this matter during the --
2 no, we are not yet at a break. How much more is it, Mr. Bakrac?
3 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have the transcript
5 in e-court, but I know that the booths are not able to see it. I'm not
6 sure if it might be helpful to perhaps --
7 JUDGE ORIE: How long is it? The transcript -- the portion of
8 the transcript you would like to use? Is that one page or ten pages, or?
9 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Three pages -- four pages, Your
10 Honour. No, again, correction, four and a half pages in English.
11 JUDGE ORIE: I suggest that they will be printed out, they will
12 be distributed to the booth and that we then look at the video. That may
13 take awhile. At the same time part of what I said yesterday is that we
14 got a lot of explanations from persons on the screen. There it was one
15 of the witnesses who had told us already three or four times the same.
16 Here it is an unidentified person.
17 Mr. Bakrac, if he is going to tell you that orange car is a JNA
18 car, then, of course, then it really goes to the substance, and I don't
19 know whether this is the way in which we want to receive that evidence
20 because wearing a -- I would say the doctor's clothes doesn't make him
21 immediately as an expert. But I don't know what that followed, and
22 apparently the Prosecution also doesn't know. But I want to keep matters
23 clean. Ms. Marcus, do you know who this is and what --
24 MS. MARCUS: Yes, Your Honour. The clip that the Defence has
25 given us, 1 minute 20 -- sorry, 1 hour 20 minutes 41 seconds to 1 hour 23
1 minutes 30 seconds appears on the first page of the transcript, and it
2 says, unknown man. And then there's one paragraph spoken by this
3 gentleman. That's within the time clip.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Bakrac, could you tell us who this unknown
5 man is because he apparently is going to convey relevant information.
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was just about to
7 check that with the witness. If he perhaps knows who the person is,
8 explaining to us how the Zadar hospital obtained the 35 bodies from
9 Skabrnja and Nadin.
10 JUDGE ORIE: We could start already with that. We have this --
11 still at this moment at 1 hour 21 minutes 53.5 seconds.
12 Mr. Strinovic, do you recognise this person which is on your
13 screen at this moment?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [No interpretation]
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Bakrac.
16 MR. BAKRAC: Your Honour --
17 JUDGE ORIE: I just want to say to you that I've got no idea what
18 this person is going to tell us. It may well be that it's of no
19 importance to know who he is if he tells it. But if he is going to tell
20 us anything of any substance, for which it is important to know who it
21 is, you better find out because the Chamber might have difficulties in
22 accepting any statements without any cross-examination of an unknown
24 Yes, Mr. Bakrac.
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my mistake and my
1 apologies to all in the courtroom. It was an oversight. I forgot all
2 about the exact time of the hand-over and then this unknown person starts
3 telling us about it, nonetheless, it is Ivan Jelic that tells us
4 specifically who and in what way the bodies were taken over from. This
5 is 1 hour 25 minutes 24 seconds. In the same video, 1 hour 45 minutes 20
6 seconds is the outer limit of this section, so to speak. It's a total of
7 four or five pages.
8 Ivan Jelic tells us that on Friday, the 22nd of November, there
9 were negotiations between the Zadar people and major Markovic. They were
10 informed that they were free to take charge of the bodies along the road
11 into the village of Skabrnja
12 details to do with the persons and the units that was holding these
13 bodies and how the Zadar hospital and the pathologist in Zadar eventually
14 got hold of the body.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Does this ring a bell to you, Mr. Ivan Jelic or?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Then ...
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Bakrac, you said this would be the only witness
20 who would be the person through which this evidence could be introduced.
21 Now, apparently most of it is someone telling us what happened, someone
22 who is not available to be cross-examined. I'm not saying -- the witness
23 apparently doesn't know this person, so, therefore, if there's any
24 specific matter where you would expect the witness to have any knowledge,
25 if it comes to arrival in hospitals or whatever, then perhaps it makes
1 sense to play that portion. Ms. Marcus, you are on your feet.
2 MS. MARCUS: Yes, Your Honour. Just to inform the Chamber that
3 Ivan Jelic is a witness, not protected. JF-066. 92 bis witness.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We are still struggling with the 92 bis long
5 lists. Did you oppose against admission into evidence of the evidence of
6 the 92 bis statement of this witness, Mr. Bakrac? And if so, for what
7 reasons? I think you opposed to it, isn't it?
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes, that's right. That's
9 right, Your Honour. I wasn't focusing specifically in order to answer
10 this question unfortunately, but what we have now is a situation and the
11 situation is like this: If you decide that the 92 witness should come
12 along with a statement and no cross-examination, then I had to take this
13 opportunity to ask the present witness or perhaps for the recording to be
14 exhibited from the bar table. This is an OTP witness. The Prosecution
15 knows the witness. I really don't see what they could possibly be
16 challenging about this.
17 JUDGE ORIE: If the Prosecution doesn't challenge in any way what
18 the witness tells here, then we could perhaps bar table the document, but
19 then we'd have to go through it and see what it is.
20 MS. MARCUS: Your Honours, the Prosecution has no objection to
21 the portion of the video as spoken by Ivan Jelic, JF-066.
22 JUDGE ORIE: That means that.
23 MS. MARCUS: That would be following this unknown individual.
24 The time code was just quoted by Mr. Bakrac, I'll look for it --
25 JUDGE ORIE: I do not -- this apparently is the unknown
1 individual, and Mr. Bakrac told us that he would play -- so you want us
2 to look at 1 hour 25.24 to 1 hour 45.20 or? I suggest the following:
3 This witness is patiently waiting for us to conclude a discussion in
4 which he has got nothing to say. Let's discuss the admission of this
5 portion of whether we should look at it or not. Let's continue this
6 discussion once we have heard the evidence of this witness. Perhaps we
7 find later today time for that. If the parties would agree on that, if
8 the parties would agree and say you should look at it. I saw you said a
9 JNA truck delivering the bodies, I was a bit surprised by the colour, it
10 is not certainly not olive green, but it was orange, which is, well, at
11 least a colour not daily used by the army, but it could well be, perhaps
12 we should, for that reason, look at it, but let's do that once we have
13 concluded the evidence of this witness.
14 Mr. Bakrac, any further questions in cross-examination?
15 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Indeed, Your Honour. Just very
16 briefly, a number of general questions.
17 Q. Sir, Professor, we have so far agreed that these were the only
18 two locations, Skabrnja and Nadin, where you conducted autopsies with
19 bodies that were still relatively fresh, so to speak. The remaining
20 bodies were bodies that were beginning to mummify at this stage already,
21 you've said that, haven't you?
22 A. Yes, that's true.
23 Q. Professor, would there be any changes to the clothes in terms of
24 decay over a three-to-five-year period? Would rot begin to set in?
25 Would the clothing get even more deformed, so to speak, over the
1 three-to-five-year period?
2 A. As far as any changes that occur over time to bodies as well as
3 clothes, this can vary to quite a high degree, and the changes can vary
4 in nature. Sometimes the bodies and the clothes will decay faster and
5 sometimes they will be preserved for a longer time, even over five years.
6 Although, of course, you can tell that there was damage to the clothing.
7 The colour pales, but the relatives may be able to identify a specific
8 piece of clothing even after ten years. Nevertheless, any damage that
9 occurs is clearly visible, such as tears, for example, or bullet-holes,
10 shrapnel, anything like that. Quite often even after the
11 three-to-five-year period we can still find damage to the clothing that
12 is consistent with mechanical damage.
13 Q. During your examinations and the autopsies you carried out, have
14 you ever come across a situation whereby you found damage to the clothes
15 which would not be indicative of the mechanism and manner of the creation
16 of those injuries?
17 A. Certainly. Clothes are no primary indication of the manner
18 injuries are caused. It can only serve as an aid. If we have injuries,
19 if we have something that we believe is suspicious, then the clothes can
20 be used to confirm or exclude our hypothesis. However, there are
21 numerous cases where clothes are so damaged that we can determine nothing
22 from it. Such clothes are of no use to indicate anything, let alone any
23 types of injuries. However, we also come across preserved clothes which
24 would clearly indicate or confirm our hypothesis.
25 Q. Thank you, Professor. In situations when there is no more soft
1 tissue and when you need to make conclusions based on bone damage alone,
2 is there a possibility that such damage or injuries occurred due to a
3 single piece of shrapnel which would then resemble a bullet damage or
4 something of that sort?
5 A. As I've stated already, we have cases in which shrapnel can
6 actually resemble a bullet, i.e. of the same velocity and appearance
7 resulting damage that would be quite similar and difficult to
8 differentiate. Such damage to the clothes and on the bones can be very
9 much alike or even identical. This primarily is seen in cases of high
10 velocity projectiles, for example, to the skull occurring at high
11 velocity and causing damage which we cannot with any degree of certainty
12 ascertain the cause of.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no more
15 questions of this witness.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Bakrac.
17 Ms. Marcus, any need to re-examine the witness?
18 MS. MARCUS: No, Your Honours, simply the remaining question of
19 the exhibits that were marked for identification, the chart and the
20 underlying documents.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We'll ask the Defence first -- because we had
22 several types of objections. One of the objections was that there were
23 no translations of the new autopsy reports, therefore, they should remain
24 for marked for identification.
25 Another one was that you had no time to look at it and to see
1 whether. Now, could I ask you Mr. Bakrac or you Mr. Jordash to inform
2 the Chamber about what still stands now and what is -- has become moot?
3 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Concerning Mr. Simatovic's Defence,
4 our objections no longer stand.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jordash, you are an English-speaking person. I
6 can imagine that you have a different position.
7 MR. JORDASH: Precisely, Your Honour. Until we receive the
8 translations, we are duty-bound to maintain our objection.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And that would also be in respect of the
10 charts because they are related.
11 MR. JORDASH: Your Honour, yes.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Under those circumstances, I do understand that the
13 Prosecution and the Registry are preparing a -- kind of a new structure
14 in which the material related to the testimony of Mr. Strinovic and of
15 Ms. Bilic will be put in a kind of a geographical order but then being
16 put together that each location receives one exhibit number and that the
17 beginning of that exhibit, which then consists of several documents,
18 would be an index of what exactly how many, and which previously 65 ter
19 numbers are to be found in -- under that one exhibit number. And I think
20 that we'll wait for that to be finished and then we'll after that wait
21 for all the translations to be completed and to be uploaded and then
22 finally we'll decide on admission.
23 Ms. Marcus.
24 MS. MARCUS: Your Honour, that's acceptable of course. The one
25 question, just for clarification, does that mean that the underlying
1 documents for Dr. Strinovic that were on the 65 ter list are then
2 admitted into evidence with the chart and the new documents being marked
3 for identification?
4 JUDGE ORIE: I think it's better to wait at this moment. Why?
5 Because for the chart we do not know whether any inconsistencies are
6 found once Mr. Jordash has seen the translations. And we all are aware
7 that Mr. Jordash's reservation is exclusively in relation to not yet
8 translated underlying documents and the way in which they are reflected
9 or presented in the chart. So we all know that although it's not yet
10 admitted into evidence, we know exactly what the fate of the already
11 translated documents and those portions of the chart will be, but
12 otherwise, we get a huge exercise of bookkeeping, today A44 is now
13 admitted but B55 still has to wait. Let's try to keep matters simple.
14 And the parties all understand, I think, where we are.
15 MS. MARCUS: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE ORIE: Dr. Strinovic, this concludes your evidence in this
18 case. I'd like to thank you very much both for answering all the
19 questions that were put to you by the parties and by the Bench, but also
20 for your patience and the homework you had done in dealing with all the
21 charts and giving your comments on it. You are excused, and I wish you a
22 safe return home again.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE ORIE: May the witness be escorted out of the courtroom.
25 [The witness withdrew]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Would it be preferable to start now with the
2 cross-examination of Ms. Bilic? Most likely both parties would not
3 conclude it or to have an early break and then try to do it in one
5 MR. JORDASH: We would prefer an early break because we are
6 trying to sort out something which would make the cross-examination
7 quicker. So we would go for that option. Thank you.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I may take it that there's no objection from
9 the Prosecution to that suggestion.
10 MR. FARR: No, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Then we'll have a break and we resume at five
12 minutes to 4.00.
13 --- Recess taken at 3.27 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 4.00 p.m.
15 [The witness takes the stand]
16 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Bilic, welcome in the court room. If you would
17 forgive me, I would just briefly address a practical matter with the
18 parties. One of -- Mr. Bakrac, I'm asking you specifically. Would it be
19 an option, you said you would leave The Hague and not return until the
20 15th. Would sitting on the 15th of June in the afternoon be a
21 possibility? And then not to sit next week?
22 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you for your
23 understanding. That would be possible because we wanted to return on the
24 15th. We will have finished with all the meetings by the 14th concerning
25 the upcoming witnesses. The 15th was the day of our return. Thank you
1 for your understanding yet again.
2 JUDGE ORIE: And you would arrive in the morning so that we could
3 start in the afternoon?
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Yes, Your
5 Honour. Unless there is another volcano erupting somewhere.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, we'll take care of that. There will be no
7 eruptions until that day. Yes, Mr. Knoops.
8 MR. KNOOPS: Just to be clear, the request of the Stanisic
9 Defence is that we not sit next week because even, in our submission, if
10 Mr. Stanisic would recover or have some kind of recovery tomorrow by
11 Friday, we would still be in a position not to have had ample time to
12 take the instructions --
13 JUDGE ORIE: But what is the problem if we are talking about the
15 MR. KNOOPS: That would be perfectly fine.
16 JUDGE ORIE: That would leave the whole of the week open if we
17 would --
18 MR. KNOOPS: We would support that request, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then since I said we would not like to lose
20 court time for the week after that we'll schedule for Monday 21st,
21 Tuesday 22nd, we might consider then to add the 24th, the Thursday.
22 Wednesday would be a bit of a problem, practical problem. May I just
23 suggest that you consider that, and if at any later stage today you would
24 have any problems, same of course is true of the Prosecution, we'd like
25 to hear and then -- but that's a matter which is totally unrelated, but
1 the Chamber would prefer to sit on the 22nd, that's the Tuesday, 22nd of
2 June in the morning rather than in the afternoon. If that would cause
3 major problems, we'd like to know in advance before we start -- before we
4 start doing all the fuss needed to move from one part of the day to
5 another part of the day.
6 If that's in your mind then -- Ms. Bilic, first of all, again
7 apologies. Thank you for your patience. I would like to remind you
8 that you are still bound by the solemn declaration you've given yesterday
9 at the beginning of your testimony, that is, that you'll speak the truth,
10 the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. You'll now be cross-examined
11 first by Mr. Jordash.
12 Mr. Jordash, please proceed.
13 MR. JORDASH: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 WITNESS: VISNJA BILIC [Resumed]
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 Cross-examination by Mr. Jordash:
17 Q. Good afternoon.
18 A. Good afternoon.
19 MR. JORDASH: First, can I ask for Exhibit P516 to be brought on
20 to the screen. I just want to refer you to the chart where you entered
21 comments concerning authenticity and so on.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Bilic, I'd forgotten to introduce Mr. Jordash to
23 you. He is counsel for Mr. Stanisic.
24 MR. JORDASH: Could we go, please, to page 8.
25 Q. The entry I'm interested in for the moment is number 1 concerning
1 Missing person Ernest Baca, and you note on the right-hand column that
2 the missing persons report indicates that this person went missing in
3 mid-September of 1991 in Kotlina in Baranja. On the column to the left
4 of that, you note that this was a case where there were two
5 questionnaires for the same person.
6 MR. JORDASH: For completeness sake, could I now stand to --
7 could we have 65 ter 0187 on the screen.
8 Q. This, I'm going to suggest, is the second questionnaire. If you
9 just have a look at that, please. Please let me know when you've had an
10 opportunity to read that.
11 A. Yes, I read the first page.
12 MR. JORDASH: Could we go to the second, please.
13 Q. And just, could you bear this in mind, that I am going to ask you
14 to confirm that this second questionnaire relating to Ernest Baca
15 suggests that somebody is saw Ernest Baca in 1992 in a Serb camp in
16 Jagodinjak; is that correct?
17 A. I must confess that I don't see where it is stated that he had
18 been seen in a camp.
19 MR. JORDASH: Perhaps we need to go to the next page because I
20 don't see it on page 2 either. Can we go to page 3. And also the --
21 thank you.
22 JUDGE ORIE: It's in paragraph 21, item 21 of the report.
23 MR. JORDASH: Can we go to the next page, please.
24 JUDGE ORIE: It's the fourth page in English. At least that's --
25 MR. JORDASH: Yes.
1 JUDGE ORIE: I don't get it, is everything what we see in English
2 visible now in the B/C/S version for the witness?
3 MR. JORDASH: Yes, except we can --
4 JUDGE ORIE: I see 39/91 and then a bit of text follows under 21,
5 but perhaps I have not the full picture of what the witness sees. 21,
6 there's an asterisk, and the asterisk takes us down to 29 in the
7 original. Let me see what happens there.
8 MR. JORDASH: Can we go to 29 in the English, please.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Apparently not all of the text which appears
10 under 21 is there in the original, or am I wrong -- because under 29 a
11 reference is there to an asterisk takes us to 29, but in 29 it's about
12 which, if any, list article beginning 1992 and that seems not to be
13 exactly the same as.
14 MR. JORDASH: Yeah, there does seem to be some discrepancy which
15 I hadn't observed before.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So what now appears under item 21 seems at
17 least the second part, a woman witness allegedly saw him somewhere in
18 October 1992, seems not to be there in the original. Perhaps somewhere
19 else, but certainly not in 21. So perhaps you take your time to find it
20 somewhere in the document, it may well be that it's somewhere.
21 MR. JORDASH: Perhaps I can leave this point until a little later
22 and ask a member of our Defence to check that while I move on to another
24 JUDGE ORIE: Please do so.
25 MR. JORDASH: Thank you.
1 Q. Let me take you back to --
2 MR. JORDASH: Could we have on e-court, please, P516 again.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Farr is going to help you out, I take it.
4 MR. FARR: Yes, I was just going to mention that it is on ERN
5 page 0103-6717 of the B/C/S, which is page 5 in e-court.
6 MR. JORDASH: Thank you, Mr. Farr.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, there it appears.
8 MR. JORDASH:
9 Q. Given the confusion that existed a moment ago, can you confirm
10 that that is the -- the B/C/S says in relation to entry 21, probably at
11 the Beli Manastir police station under the questionnaire states 30th of
12 the -- let me cut that short. Does it say in the --
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jordash, the problem is that the original
14 appears on two different pages. A woman witness apparently is on page
15 6717 last four digits original, whereas the other entry is found under
16 paragraph 21 in the original.
17 MR. JORDASH: Your Honour, yes.
18 Q. Perhaps I can try and shortcut it. Madam, does the B/C/S from
19 what you've seen under 21 and the notes at the end of the form, suggest
20 that a witness had seen Ernest Baca in 1992 in a Serb camp in Jagodinjak?
21 A. In the answer provided to item 21 it is stated that Ernest Baca
22 was positively seen in front of the police station in Beli Manastir.
23 There is also an additional note at the back of the page that there was a
24 witness who stated that she allegedly saw him in a Serb camp in
25 Jagodinjak in October 1992. It seems that there was a positive
1 identification in front of the police station in Beli Manastir, and the
2 alleged seeing of the person in the Serb camp in Jagodinjak as stated in
3 the request for a search for this person.
4 Q. How are you able to choose one above the other in terms of
5 adopting one identification and not the other?
6 A. We accepted the date of disappearance, which was specified by the
7 person requesting that the person be found, which seems to be positive,
8 and we discarded the alleged spotting of the witness whose identity is
9 not even specified in the document.
10 Q. But on what basis did you discard that second identification?
11 What made you conclude you could not rely upon it such that you could
12 rely upon the first?
13 JUDGE ORIE: Could I first try to understand what we are doing at
14 this moment. This is a person apparently missing, yes. Now, apparently
15 the issue is whether he is still missing. That may be of your major
16 concern, whether he is found or not, whether he is located so that his
17 family knows where he is. Is that what it's all about, Ms. Bilic?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. As far as I understand, the
19 counsel wanted to know what criteria we used to ascertain the date of
20 disappearance in September 1991 instead of going for the date of
21 disappearance in October 1992. We chose the date of disappearance based
22 on the degree of certainty of the person submitting the request for
23 search of Ernest Baca.
24 MR. JORDASH: Thank you.
25 Q. On the other hand, you said a moment ago that the person who made
1 the second identification wasn't identified on the form, so how were you
2 able to ascertain that witness as a certainty?
3 A. I apologise, I'd like to clarify something. This comment on the
4 back of the page, which is not part of the form, was something provided
5 by the person initiating the request for search who as the date of
6 disappearance specified September 1991. However, that person was
7 obviously in contact with some other witnesses whereby he or she learned
8 that the missing Ernest Baca was allegedly seen in 1992 and was still
9 alive at the time. So we had the same source of information. Both
10 dates, that is, come from the same source, the source being the person
11 initiating the request. If we were able to see the whole questionnaire,
12 it would be clear. It will become clear that the second piece of
13 information about Ernest Baca being seen in 1992 was provided by the same
14 person as an additional piece of information arrived at by himself which
15 may contribute to the search itself.
16 If I can add something, I would say something in answer to His
17 Honour's question. Mr. Ernest Baca was identified later on. His mortal
18 remains were found in the Republic of Serbia
19 Croatian authorities and positively identified on the 12th of February,
21 Q. Perhaps it's me but I'm not quite following. If we can -- the
22 person who identified Mr. Baca as going missing in September 1991 was the
23 same person who identified him in 1992.
24 JUDGE ORIE: No, that's not.
25 MR. JORDASH: That's what I'm trying to work out. I'm not
2 JUDGE ORIE: Could I try to understand. What is apparently
3 registered here is that most probably he has been seen for the last time
4 on the 30th of September, 1991 in Beli Manastir, and that he has not been
5 seen since then apart from this same person telling when he was seen for
6 the last time also referring to an unnamed source who would have told the
7 reporting person that that unnamed source thinks that he has seen him in
8 a camp in 1992, whereas, finally the bodily remains were found and were
9 identified. That's how I understand your testimony.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Precisely. Precisely.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jordash, I still have problems in understanding
12 how -- is it your suggestion that you would say on the basis of an
13 unnamed source who saw him once that then that's the date on which he
14 disappeared? I mean, if the facts are known, then whether you choose for
15 the one or the other, the story is apparently as the witness told us
16 someone reporting, we saw him for the last time, but we once heard from
17 another person that he most likely had seen him at another place. I
18 mean, then you have the full story.
19 MR. JORDASH: If the person who made the identification on the
20 second occasion was right or might have been right --
21 JUDGE ORIE: What is then -- then he was still missing since 1991
22 but at a certain moment was spotted by someone at another place, which
23 doesn't invalidate the first observation that from Beli Manastir he had
24 not been seen again and that -- I do not see the real point.
25 MR. JORDASH: The real point is that paragraph 37 of the
1 indictment puts this witness as a victim of Arkan who shot him along with
2 25 other Croat detainees. So in October of 1991, according to the
3 Prosecution, he was dead, and according to this witness he might have
4 been still alive in 1992.
5 JUDGE ORIE: So what we'll have to do is we will have to compare
6 the data from the autopsy, where the body was found, when the body was
7 found, whether we have any further details there and then compare that
8 with the unnamed source and see what is true or not. It's not -- it's
9 comparing the two stories rather than to say what is the date of --
10 MR. JORDASH: All I was seeking to do was ascertain whether the
11 second report had been properly considered by the expert witness and
12 properly dismissed. If it hadn't been, there might have been a doubt
13 that that witness was a victim and that might prove important in the end
14 in terms of an eventual sentence. I was simply seeing if there was a
15 doubt and raising it if it existed.
16 JUDGE ORIE: You very much attach it to the date of
17 disappearance, whereas, I looked at it as this is what we know as a story
18 from disappearing, some doubts as to whether he was still alive at a
19 certain moment, and we have the autopsy report, and we have to carefully
20 consider whether the one contradicts the other.
21 MR. JORDASH: Well, the autopsy report, I mean, I don't have it
22 in front of me, but in terms of this point, whether the unfortunate man
23 ended up dead, doesn't necessarily change the situation if the unnamed
24 witness who saw him or purportedly saw him was accurate.
25 JUDGE ORIE: It depends on what we find in the autopsy report.
1 MR. JORDASH: Exactly, but it may not actually touch on the
2 subject that I was --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I do not know that, but now it's clear to me
4 and if you want to stress the importance of comparing all the information
5 we have before we reach any conclusions, then the point is perfectly
7 Mr. Farr.
8 MR. FARR: Your Honour, I was just going to note for the record
9 that on the authentication chart of Mr. Strinovic, it indicates that no
10 autopsy report -- and again this is a new untranslated report 65 ter
11 number 5540 indicates that the autopsy was performed in 1991 in Novi Sad
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I haven't seen that yet, but that's of course
14 the problem with all the new reports which have not been translated and
15 which we cannot read, although perhaps it wouldn't be bad to have a look
16 at it perhaps later today.
17 MR. JORDASH: I take Mr. Farr's word. I know he is fluent. So I
18 take his word for that, and I can move on. I'm sorry.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could we have it on the screen while you are
20 continuing so that we can have a look at it. Could we have 65 ter 5540.
21 Unless you have any further questions for the witness in relation to
23 MR. JORDASH: Not on this. Thank you.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Then could we -- if you would please proceed and
25 meanwhile we can have a look at P5540.
1 MR. FARR: It's on page 5, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
3 MR. FARR: Your Honour, just to clarify, my comment was based on
4 what we find in Dr. Strinovic's chart rather than in the underlying
5 document itself.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. At the same time, that should be reflected in
7 the document, isn't it? But we are interrupting you again and again,
8 Mr. Jordash, which we shouldn't do. Please proceed.
9 MR. JORDASH:
10 Q. I want to do, Ms. Bilic, the same exercise with the missing
11 person Josip Balog. Please could we have P516 on e-court at page 8 and
12 it's entry 2. P516. Page 8, please. Entry 2. And I see there your
13 entry under authenticity and a reference to two questionnaires and your
14 conclusion that Mr. Balog went missing on the 28th of September 1991
15 Knezevi Vinogradi.
16 MR. JORDASH: Can I please have Rule 65 ter 00160 on e-court.
17 That's 00160. Sorry, I think I've got the wrong one, I do apologise. 65
18 ter 03054 is the missing persons form I want to refer to. That's 03054.
19 And can we turn to page -- just have a quick look at page 1 just to
20 confirm what it is. And can we go to the next page of the B/C/S, please.
21 Q. And once you've had an opportunity to look at that, can we go to
22 page 2. Are you ready for page 2?
23 A. Certainly.
24 MR. JORDASH: Can we go to page 2, please. Can we go to page 2,
1 Q. Perhaps while that's happening, if I can read you what I'm
2 interested in from page 2. It may be that you remember this. It says
3 under the title "information of the forcible" -- oh, we are there. It
4 appears to indicate that in the second report concerning Josip Balog that
5 the date and hour of the disappearance or the date of his becoming
6 missing, the 20th of November 1991 at 7.30 a.m. from Vukovar. Have you
7 seen this before?
8 A. Yes, I've seen this before. Nevertheless, what we are looking at
9 here is two entirely different persons. One person is Josip Balog, who
10 went missing, I'm not sure when but I think it was August or September
11 1991 in Baranja. What we are looking at here is an altogether different
12 man also named Josip Balog, which is obvious if you look at his date of
13 birth. This is a person who went missing in Vukovar. The only thing the
14 two share is their name, but these are, in actual fact, two different
16 Q. Okay. Thank you for the answer. Can I move to methodology now,
17 please. You testified yesterday about your role in compiling the missing
18 persons form. Could you explain the process by which it was compiled,
19 when I say compiled, I mean designed. Are you able to provide some
20 detail as to how it was designed?
21 A. I can try. First and foremost, standarised forms were used to
22 compile information on missing persons. First of all, the ICRC form
23 followed by the United Nations Human Rights Centre and the INTERPOL form
24 used to officially publish that a person was missing and a search would
25 then be launched. Having gathered all these materials, a Working Group
1 was put together including people from the Ministry of Internal Affairs,
2 people from the forensic institute and criminal medicine, members of our
3 office for missing persons and prisoners of war headed by the president
4 of that office. The general form was agreed that would be used and it
5 was to be based on the existing standard forms. Nevertheless, it was
6 also agreed that the form would need to adapt to the peculiarities of the
7 situation that prevailed in Croatia
8 Group was in charge of a section of the questionnaire that they were then
9 to design and prepare, a special set of questions, each within their own
10 remit. The proposals were then forwarded to the committee of Croatia
11 government for missing persons and prisoners of war. The methodology
12 used was then adapted to the sets of questions in order to be able to
13 process all the information electronically and to avoid gathering too
14 much descriptive information. Despite this, the objective was to have a
15 sufficient amount of detail as to enable us to better try and track down
16 these missing persons.
17 This is the procedure that was used to compile this form on
18 missing persons.
19 Q. Thank you. The objective was to have a sufficient amount of
20 detail to enable you to try and track down any missing person or missing
21 persons of a Croat ethnicity?
22 A. The purpose for putting together this questionnaire was gather
23 information on any missing persons who went missing as a result of the
24 war. The public campaign was launched for that reason as well, so first
25 the form or questionnaire was compiled and this was followed by a public
1 campaign calling on all the families of missing nationals of the Republic
2 of Croatia
3 down. And this applied to any case which in one way or another had to do
4 with the war.
5 Q. So there was no thought at that stage that this was going to be
6 predominantly designed to assist finding Croats as opposed to other
7 ethnic groups?
8 A. The purpose was to try and find any persons who went missing amid
9 the armed conflicts regardless of their background, ethnicity, religion,
10 or indeed any other distinguishing factor. The fact is during this
11 operation, a lot of information was gathered and information was gathered
12 as well in relation to ethnic Serbs who went missing during the war.
13 MR. JORDASH: Could I ask for 65 ter 03054 to be put back on the
14 screen, please.
15 Q. This form, which we looked at a moment ago, is identical to the
16 form that was designed; is this correct? This is typical of the forms?
17 A. Yes, that's right. This would be a typical sample of the form
18 that was used to collect information on missing persons.
19 MR. JORDASH: Can we go to the top of page 2, please. Thank you.
20 Q. Now, is this typical B, information on formation affiliation.
21 18, the missing person was at the moment of the forcible
22 taking-away/disappearance/capture, a member of (a), HV Croatian army
23 active forces; (b), HV reserve forces, and so on down to (g), other
24 defenders of RH? Is that typical of the missing forms?
25 A. Yes, this was one of the questions that was always there and used
1 in the forms that we used during the 1994 campaign.
2 Q. There isn't -- or is there, a space designed for other ethnic
3 groups? Is that a fair reading of 18?
4 A. Information that was asked under item 18 was about the status of
5 the missing person and not the missing person's ethnicity. It was about
6 the status. At the time of disappearance, a person was either a member
7 of the armed forces of the Republic of Croatia
9 Q. What about members of the Serbian forces at the time the person
10 disappeared? Why isn't that on the form?
11 A. At the time the whole campaign was launched in 1994 in a bid to
12 track down any missing persons, there were parts of Croatia that were
13 still occupied. Back then, there weren't in actual fact too many such
14 cases occurring where families of missing soldiers fighting on the other
15 side, on the enemy side, so to say, were submitting requests for searches
16 to be conducted. Nevertheless, we did encounter a number of cases where
17 families would add, for example, that they had a relative who was a JNA
18 member or a relative doing their regular military term of duty in the JNA
19 at the time. And that is as much as I can remember.
20 Q. Well, let's leave aside the reality on the ground as to who was
21 or wasn't going missing. What I'm interested in is the format of the
22 form. The questions that the form was asking and the form appears to ask
23 only in relation to Croats. Do you accept that?
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Farr.
25 MR. FARR: Your Honour, Mr. Jordash's previous questions were
1 related to question 18. As he has now phrased the question, I think it
2 misstates the information that is on the form.
3 JUDGE ORIE: The witness has answered to some extent the question
4 that is about status. I think -- I don't think you would disagree with
5 me, Mr. Jordash, that what you are actually asking the witness is why
6 there are no non-Croat organisations mentioned here in this question of
7 which the witness said was aiming at establishing the status, was the
8 status as being a soldier in the JNA or in the SRK or in BiH Army, was
9 that not relevant for you, that apparently is the issue you want to
11 MR. JORDASH: Your Honour, put it much clearer than I did, but
12 yes, exactly.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Could you comment on what now appears to be the
14 question of Mr. Jordash, why only Croatian institutions and, may I take
15 it that MUP active forces refer to Croatian MUP active forces, it doesn't
16 say so, but why there is no reference to any organisations, structures,
17 which are beyond the Croatian organisational structure? Why no question
18 was he a JNA member? Why no question was he Republika Srpska Krajina
19 army member? Or whether why he was -- whether he was a BiH, HVO,
20 whatever, everything which does not appear here?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, let's put it this way: The
22 form was compiled in 1994. This was three years after the outbreak of
23 war in the Republic of Croatia
25 to expect that any considerable number of families, of members of
1 paramilitary units would now address the authorities or specifically our
2 office for missing persons and prisoners with requests for searches to be
3 conducted, although, as I said, there were such cases where families
4 would write in to say that some of their relatives were members of the
5 JNA, JNA reservists, or doing their military term in the JNA and the
7 Beyond that, it is also noteworthy that the form was compiled in
8 order to gather information on missing nationals of the Republic of
10 and compiling records concerning missing Croatian nationals and not
11 missing Serbian nationals or indeed missing BH nationals. The reason
12 being simply, these countries had their own bodies that were in charge of
13 similar searches and procedures which had been set up precisely for that
14 purpose, and it was these bodies that were in charge of these persons.
15 MR. JORDASH: Thank you. Could I ask, please, that we move to
16 page 3 of this document.
17 Q. And I'm interested towards the bottom of the page number 8. The
18 question there, who carried out the forcible taking-away/capture of the
19 person, and the list of possibilities underneath, was that typical of the
21 A. Yes, it was a typical question in this form.
22 Q. Was there room on the form or a question which was designed to
23 deal with missing persons who had not been forcibly taken away or
24 captured, or was it a presumption of the form that the missing persons
25 would have been forcibly taken away or captured?
1 A. No, it was not the presumption in the form that each and every
2 missing person was forcibly taken away or detained. However, this
3 question made its way into the form in case that there had been detention
4 or a forcible take-away, and if the person initiating the search had
5 information about the persons or units that carried out this forcible
6 take-away, such information should be forwarded. If there was no such
7 information, if the person went missing, say, in action, for the most
8 part, answers were not provided to this question.
9 Q. And --
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jordash, just for me to understand, the form
11 again and again repeats the three categories that is forcible
12 taking-away, disappearance, capture. Now, thinking about these three
13 options, when I'm thinking about a question who did it, that is a
14 relevant question for taking away and for capture, but for disappearance,
15 it seems logically but perhaps it's my understanding of what these words
16 mean, someone disappears, who did it, no, he disappeared, so therefore,
17 with the whole of the form again and again has the three categories,
18 would you agree with me that for the type of question we find under the
19 heading you just addressed, that it would be a useless question for those
20 who just disappeared?
21 MR. JORDASH: Well, I agree with you, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Let's move on.
23 MR. JORDASH:
24 Q. How was paramilitary units defined in the minds of those who
25 compiled the form? What was the --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Let's first invite Mr. Jordash to finish his
2 question. If you have any objection then we'll hear from you, Mr. Farr.
3 MR. JORDASH:
4 Q. What was the definition that was agreed, if any, by those who
5 compiled the form when considering question 8? I managed to keep
6 Mr. Farr on his seat.
7 A. As for any members of paramilitary units or units themselves, it
8 was understood that it should include members of the armed forces active
9 in the territory of Croatia
10 the JNA. It had to do with local population which fought against the
11 republic of Croatia
12 MR. JORDASH: Can we go back, please, to page 2. And back to 18.
13 Q. (G), other defenders of RH. Am I correct that there was a
14 presumption that the forces within, or the Croatia forces, I should say,
15 were defenders as opposed to perhaps a more pejorative term
17 A. It is difficult to -- for me to speak about this part since I'm
18 not familiar with any military structures and the laws regulating this
19 issue. Hence, I don't feel competent to answer this question.
20 Q. But you worked with the forms for many years. The subject of
21 other defenders of RH must have come up at some point. What was your
22 understanding of what that term did in terms of defining the Croatian
23 forces? And I intentionally compare that with paramilitaries when
24 referencing those fighting Croatian forces.
25 A. As I've already said, I'm not sufficiently familiar with the
1 system of the military. I can only speak from memory as to what was
2 specified under this item. Still, I don't feel adequately equipped to
3 answer this question. I don't even know what the legislative framework
4 regulating this issue is even nowadays.
5 Q. Would you agree with me then that the process of compiling
6 missing persons of Croat ethnicity avoided defining any of them as
7 paramilitaries but defined them as one form of defender or another; would
8 that be right?
9 A. I would not agree with that.
10 Q. Well --
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jordash, perhaps a very practical question: If
12 someone would report that the missing person was a member of a
13 paramilitary unit, would you then fill in the name of that unit under
15 THE WITNESS: No. We would not have entered it under 18(g).
16 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Could you then tell us, give us an example of
17 what you would enter under 18(g)?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For example, a member of the HOS.
19 JUDGE ORIE: HOS?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I think it is short for the
21 Croatian defensive forces although I'm not positive about that.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Jordash.
23 MR. JORDASH: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. Let me turn, if I can now, please, to your report. P514.
25 MR. JORDASH: Could we have that on the screen. And can we go,
1 please, to page 31 of the English and page 13 of the B/C/S. It should
2 be -- I'm looking for Number 30, data on missing persons, so I might have
3 given the wrong page, but it's 30, and it's page 30 of -- page 30 of the
4 English, 30 is also the section, and the B/C/S should be page 13, or
5 perhaps 12 for the beginning of the section.
6 Now, this is the section which deals with data on missing persons
7 and dealing with the administration for detainees and missing persons and
8 the resolution of 1.976 cases and the outstanding search request for
9 1.076. I know the figures have slightly changed, and I'm not concerned
10 with the figures directly, but the definition. So can we move to page 31
11 of the English and the paragraph which starts "of the 1.076 missing
12 persons" reference to the attachment. "In terms of gender, 860 are male
13 and 260 female; in terms of the status, the fate is unknown of 542
14 civilians, 98 members of civilian protection, 402 Croatian defenders
15 while the status of 34 missing persons is unknown." And that's in
16 reference to the figures which are below where the Croats are the
17 majority. Are you following me so far?
18 A. I do.
19 Q. Now, with reference to this figure where the Croats are the
20 majority, how was it that civilians were defined precisely? Was this
21 something that came directly from the families or those reporting the
22 missing person?
23 A. All information in this part of the report concerning ethnicity,
24 gender, age, as well as the status of those missing is based on the
25 information provided by those initiating requests. That is to say,
1 members of their families much as was the case with the form provided by
2 the international committee of the Red Cross.
3 Q. Was there any standardised definition of civilians which was
4 applied to the description given by those making the requests?
5 A. There probably was. I cannot recall it off the cuff, but these
6 would be persons not belonging to any armed forces, and who did not take
7 part in any defensive tasks.
8 Q. Who didn't at the point of going missing or never had or, I mean
9 perhaps I'm asking you to speculate since you've just said you cannot
10 recall it, but, I don't wish you to speculate.
11 A. Well, I don't know precisely, but I can only presume that these
12 were persons not belonging to any armed forces.
13 Q. What would be in your mind having worked with these forms, the
14 difference between say civilian protection and paramilitary formations?
15 A. Members of civilian protection carried out their regular duties
16 and tasks such as utility tasks, things that had to do with shelters,
17 et cetera. This was the basic task of civilian protection, as opposed to
18 defenders who were members of the armed forces and as well as opposed to
19 civilians who did not have such tasks.
20 Q. What if a civilian protector carried a gun at times during some
21 of their duties, would they still remain civilian protectors, or would
22 they become something else in the minds of those compiling the reports?
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Farr.
24 MR. FARR: Your Honour, this witness has indicated that she
25 doesn't really know exactly how these categories were determined. I
1 think that at this point this is asking for speculation.
2 JUDGE ORIE: At the same time, she reviewed them and she filled
3 them in now and then, therefore, if the witness can give an answer, she
4 is invited to do so. If you can't, please tell us as well.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In such a case, the person would
6 probably have been registered as a member of the armed forces, in the
7 example you used, if there was a member of civilian protection who used
8 weapons. However, it is only a presumption.
9 MR. JORDASH:
10 Q. Thank you. Would the term Croatian defender be used to describe
11 all organised military formations of Croat ethnicity from the Croatian
12 Armed Forces to paramilitaries?
13 A. Croatian defenders were not only Croats. Their ranks included
14 people of all ethnicities, however, the term Croatian defenders is
15 something that was used for those belonging to the armed forces of the
16 Republic of Croatia
17 familiar with any military structures, especially in terms of legislation
18 which defines and regulates the status of Croatian defenders. Therefore,
19 it is very difficult for me to provide a detailed and precise answer.
20 Q. I'm not asking you about military structures, I'm asking you
21 about the definitions that were used in compiling information, and that's
22 in your report. I appreciate you are not a military expert.
23 MR. JORDASH: Can we turn to page 32, please.
24 Q. Now, this is with reference to data compiled in the period from
25 2002 to 2006 and 874 missing persons where the majority this time are
2 A. That is correct.
3 Q. And I'm interested in the sentence which says:
4 "In terms of status (according to statements by their family
5 members) 401 were civilians, 428 persons were members of military
6 formations, where the status of 45 missing persons is unknown."
7 First question is this: When we looked at the previous page,
8 there was no caveat expressed when the majority of missing persons were
9 Croats, that the information was, according to statements by their family
10 members. Is there a significance as to why it's there when the majority
11 of missing are Serbs? Perhaps I can simplify the question. Was there a
12 skepticism about what was reported by Serbian families concerning
13 civilian status?
14 A. Absolutely not. There was no skepticism whatsoever. In both
15 cases the data is based on the information provided by family members and
16 those who initiated search requests.
17 Q. But only in relation to when the Serbs were the majority, and
18 we'll come -- there's another entry which is exactly the same. Only when
19 the Serbs are the majority is there this caveat according to statements
20 by their family members, which might be read as expressing a degree of
21 skepticism. Do you know why that caveat is there in relation to when the
22 Serbs are the majority missing but not when the Croats are missing and
23 are in the majority? Perhaps so it's clear, I'm referring also to --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could all background noise
25 please cease.
1 MR. JORDASH:
2 Q. I'm also referring to page 34 which relates to the exhumation --
3 well, we'll turn to that in a minute. Was there a significance in that
4 statement, or it has no significance according to you?
5 A. There was absolutely no skepticism concerning the status
6 specified. I wanted to add something else, as for the status of those
7 exhumed, although we still not have arrive at that part one could discuss
8 the issue of caution. If it was formulated the same way concerning those
9 identified. It had to do with the following: The status of those
10 identified from the first group, that is to say, the 3.100 of them, even
11 if the person was allegedly a Croatian defender that could be checked
12 against the official records. Depending on that, there were further
13 procedures concerning internment. In the cases where the family stated
14 in the case of those 380 persons missing, when the family stated that the
15 person in question belonged to a military formation, we had no way of
16 verifying that piece of information in any of our records because such
17 information was simply not available to us.
18 What it was, I believe, was a degree of caution in question,
19 trying to provide as clear an explanation as possible about the way we
20 obtained that information.
21 Q. But in relation to -- sorry, which official records could you
22 check to see if the Croat was a member of -- or could be termed a
23 Croatian defender?
24 A. As I've said already, the source of information about a status of
25 those missing, which is the basis of the information put in the report,
1 is based on the statements of their family members. However, when we are
2 discussing those identified, in such a case, if the person in question
3 was a Croatian defender, his or her status was ascertained with the
4 administration in charge of the issue of Croatian defenders. This was a
5 department in the ministry I worked for.
6 In that regard, it was important to ascertain the status of those
7 identified, because according to the law on the rights of war veterans in
9 families had some additional rights what had to do with funerals. It was
10 for that reason that for each person identified, a check was carried out
11 to confirm the late person's actual status of a Croatian defender.
12 Q. Were you able to check the status of the 1.881 persons identified
13 as civilians?
14 A. Yes. Those people were civilians, and they are not in the
15 records pertaining to Croatian defenders.
16 Q. That was the definition that was used to corroborate the initial
17 request, that they didn't appear in the records of the Croatian
19 A. I apologise, I have to say I did not understand this comment.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jordash, may I try to assist you. What
21 Mr. Jordash is putting to you is that someone who is not registered as a
22 member of a regular or at least, administrated armed force, is not
23 necessarily a civilian because if someone without being registered as a
24 member of the army or the police or nevertheless takes up weapons for the
25 purposes of what we are discussing here, they may be considered not to be
1 civilians because they are carrying arms.
2 Now, that apparently is something what Mr. Jordash is addressing,
3 Mr. Jordash, if I understood you well.
4 MR. JORDASH: Your Honour, yes.
5 JUDGE ORIE: And what Mr. Jordash now wants to know is whether
6 there's any chance that someone who you could not identify as being
7 registered as, well, let's say as a soldier or member of the armed
8 forces, that you would more or less automatically put them on your list
9 as a civilian, whereas Mr. Jordash says, well, even if not registered, if
10 armed, they might not have been civilians in this context. Mr. Jordash,
11 did I understand the issue well, and could we ask the witness to comment
12 on that.
13 MR. JORDASH: Yes, please.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed. Could you please comment on what I
15 just explained to you and which is similar to what Mr. Jordash did put to
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'll do my best. There were
18 individual cases where I don't think anyone could rule out the
19 possibility that a person carrying weapons was classified as a civilian.
20 Nevertheless, there could have been no more than individual cases of this
21 happening. There was no default classifying of persons as Croatian
22 defenders or civilians. This could not have been the case and, in fact,
23 was not the case. Most persons who were indeed Croatian defenders were
24 also recorded as Croatian defenders and their records were kept, also
25 because under the law on Croatian defenders, their rights and the rights
1 of their families, their families enjoyed certain status related rights.
2 In most cases, if not all, these families obtained all of their
3 entitlements eventually. So this could only have occurred on an
4 individual basis, on a sporadic basis. But as long as we are talking
5 about the official records, we must lend those some credence.
6 On the other hand, it's very hard for me to say anything about
7 possible individual cases or the status of these cases at the time when a
8 person went missing or was killed.
9 MR. JORDASH:
10 Q. You cannot comment on the completeness of these Croatian defender
11 records, can you? You can only presume because certain rights would
12 attach to becoming registered that everybody or most people would have
13 done so; isn't that correct?
14 A. No. I said this was one of the reasons. But this certainly
15 wasn't the way in which the records of Croatian defenders were created.
16 It was certainly not the way in which these records or the database was
17 created. The database was created based on the official records of the
18 Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Internal Affairs concerning
19 members of the armed forces who were involved in the defence of the
20 Republic of Croatia
21 an official database.
22 Could there have been individual cases where something else
23 happened or not? Well, that's very hard for me to say from where I
24 stand, but the database was official and complete and was being used and
25 still is used, as a matter of fact, in the Republic of Croatia
1 Q. How do you know it was complete? I accept it was official, but
2 how do you know it was complete?
3 A. The database was created by unifying all the databases of the
4 relevant ministries of the Republic of Croatia
5 or employees were also members of the armed forces of the Republic of
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jordash, the point you apparently want to make
8 is clear, so --
9 MR. JORDASH: I'll move on.
10 JUDGE ORIE: There's of course 100 per cent completeness, well, I
11 would not put my money on that. On any database. Please proceed.
12 MR. JORDASH: Could we go to page 34, please. And I'm nearly
13 finished on this point.
14 Q. And please would be you able to explain page 34 and page, I
15 think, 13 or 14. Yes, page 14 of the B/C/S, and I'm looking at the
16 paragraph besides mass and individual graves. Perhaps we can go up the
17 page, please, to the top of the B/C/S page and bring the English page
18 down a bit. I just want to read something and ask for your comment.
19 "Besides mass and individual graves, the remains of 700 persons were
20 exhumed in the Republic of Croatia
21 following the humane terrain restoration of mortal remains from the Storm
22 military-police action."
23 I think we've got a glitch in the system. Sorry, our system is
24 playing up.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Your last words appear again.
1 MR. JORDASH: Thank you. We need to go to the next page, I think
2 of the B/C/S.
3 Q. Yes, the bottom paragraph there, Ms. Bilic.
4 "Besides mass and individual graves, the remains of 700 persons
5 were exhumed in the Republic of Croatia
6 following the humane terrain restoration of mortal remains from the Storm
7 military-police action."
8 Maybe I'm not reading this correctly or maybe I am. So what is
9 the reference to the humane terrain restoration?
10 A. Before I try to answer that question, if I may, I would like to
11 address your comment in relation to the previous question. You said you
12 weren't sure that any database, even an official one could ever be
13 complete. That was precisely what I was trying to say when I said that
14 individual cases were possible in which the database was not complete,
15 but on the whole and generally speaking, the database was complete. As
16 for the humane terrain restoration or the humane evacuation of bodily
17 remains of those killed, the bodies were gathered in a relatively broad
18 area. Each of the bodies was recorded and then they would be buried in
19 graves that were prepared already and in keeping with the Geneva
21 Q. Thank you. Going back to your comment about the record and the
22 completeness of the record, did the record record any paramilitary
24 A. I don't know.
25 MR. FARR: I just would ask Mr. Jordash to perhaps specify
1 exactly which records he is talking about.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Earlier questions were put about paramilitary
3 groups. An example of what was filled in was given HOS. Now, I don't
4 where exactly to draw all the lines in the Croatian system, still to be
5 explored. Could you be as precise as possible, Mr. Jordash.
6 MR. JORDASH: Well, the question was a general one because I was
7 seeking to explore for Your Honours whether those records were complete
8 in another sense, in the sense of what was recorded as well as who was
9 recorded as a member of the military formation. So the question was
10 not --
11 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps in order to avoid whatever confusion,
12 Ms. Bilic, several times the expression "paramilitary force" or
13 "paramilitary units" were used. Are you familiar with that concept?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In answering to one of the previous
15 questions, I said what was implied by that expression, paramilitary
16 formations. The expression denotes members of the armed forces from a
17 part of Croatia
18 war on the Republic of Croatia
19 JUDGE ORIE: There seems to be quite a bit of confusion.
20 Apparently you consider the armed forces of -- the armed forces which
21 were operational in areas of Croatia
22 under Croatian administrative control and military control. You consider
23 that to be paramilitary forces; is that well understood?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For the most part, yes. But those
25 weren't just paramilitary formations, there was also the JNA.
1 JUDGE ORIE: I do understand that. But for example, the Army of
2 the Republika Srpska Krajina, you consider that to be a paramilitary
3 force; is that well understood?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Now, going back to what on those parts of the -- see
6 on the Croatian force apart from the example we just discussed, are you
7 aware of any paramilitary forces other than the one we've mentioned
8 either Croat paramilitary forces or Serb paramilitary forces or Bosnian
9 military forces. Could you give us an example of any other paramilitary
10 force operating on Croatian territory whether occupied or not, and not
11 being the armed forces of what you called rebel forces or the rebel
12 government. Could you give us any other example of paramilitary forces?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. Regrettably this is not a
14 subject that I've been studying, and I don't think I'm qualified to
15 address it.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, whether you are qualified or not, is -- if you
17 know anything, if you say, well, my neighbour told me that the ABC forces
18 are paramilitary forces, or I saw a newspaper article about the
19 paramilitary forces by the name of XQY, then whether you are qualified or
20 not, I'd like to hear from you. If you have any idea, any impression for
21 yourself of what you understood to be paramilitary forces not being the
22 type of forces I just mentioned before.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I really have no other
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jordash, I explored this because I felt that
1 there may be a total lack of understanding on what you are talking about
2 and what you are asking the witness about and that her perception may be
3 a totally different one from yours. So please keep that in mind when you
4 continue your cross-examination.
5 MR. JORDASH: Thank you. I may be jumping the gun, but I've only
6 got two or three more questions.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Two or three more questions. And then for after the
8 break, Mr. Petrovic.
9 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, after the break
10 I have some questions which I cannot fit into the remaining time before
11 the break.
12 JUDGE ORIE: No, no, I do understand that. But you can fit it
13 into the remaining time after the break?
14 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I certainly hope so.
15 JUDGE ORIE: And hopefully even in such a time that Mr. Jordash,
16 his 10 to 15 minutes which he asked for yesterday would also still
17 remain. Mr. Jordash, your last three or four questions, you said two or
18 three, but.
19 MR. JORDASH:
20 Q. Just going back to your definitions of paramilitary formations.
21 That's a term that those involved in, the compilation of these records
22 understood as applicable to Serb forces or forces fighting the Croatian
23 forces; is that correct?
24 A. Probably so.
25 Q. And the term "defender" was understood by those compiling this
1 information to apply to Croatian forces; is that correct?
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. And what that meant was that those who were not Croatians
4 reporting missing persons must have been to a degree regarded by those
5 compiling the data as coming from the aggressor forces; is that correct?
6 A. Well, as I've been saying, the question was not envisaged in the
7 form, was a missing person a member of a paramilitary formation. There
8 was, however, the option if the person's family wanted to address the
9 issue when submitting a request for a search to be conducted to clearly
10 say so.
11 Q. And you would still suggest that this compilation of data of
12 missing persons was an impartial exercise, would you assert that,
14 A. Compilation of data and missing persons from the first appeal to
15 the general public and then down to the last steps that were taken in
16 relation to each individual missing person was always following the same
17 procedure regardless of a person's ethnicity, religion, or any other type
18 of affiliation.
19 MR. JORDASH: I've got no further questions. Thank you very
21 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Jordash. We first have a break and
22 we resume at five minutes past 6.00.
23 --- Recess taken at 5.42 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 6.08 p.m.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Petrovic, are you ready to cross-examine the
2 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I am, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Bilic, you'll now be cross-examined by
4 Mr. Petrovic. Mr. Petrovic is counsel for Mr. Simatovic.
5 Cross-examination by Mr. Petrovic:
6 Q. Good evening, Ms. Bilic.
7 A. Good evening.
8 Q. I have several questions for you. First of all, I would like to
9 briefly go back to the form for missing persons, 65 ter 3054 you were
10 looking at a awhile ago, question number 18. Shall we have that on our
11 screens again, or do you know what I'm talking about?
12 A. I can check in my copy.
13 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] In that case can we please have
14 that displayed, 3054 page 2, question 18. 3054 page 2. Question 18 in
15 the English copy, it's in the next page. Could we please have the next
16 page, which may then be page 3.
17 Q. Ms. Bilic, question 18, you say that you were directly involved
18 in filling one of these forms; right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. My question to you is how would you fill in the form on behalf of
21 a national of the Republic of Croatia
22 of Krajina whose family wishes to submit to you a request for missing
23 persons? How would you fill in the form as regards question 18, please?
24 A. I would simply supplement the question. What I would like to say
25 is this question is no obstacle at all to submitting a request to conduct
1 a search by Serb families, even in cases in which their missing relatives
2 were members of armed paramilitary formations. The fact remains that as
3 this sort of information was gathered, searches were launched in relation
4 to 131 ethnic Serbs. There were some members of the armed forces among
5 them as well. Other than that, between 2002 --
6 Q. I apologise for interrupting you, can you please restrict
7 yourself to answering my question which indeed you have done. So you
8 would supplement the question by adding information to it; right?
9 A. Yes, that's right.
10 Q. How many cases like that occurred in which information was added
11 to the form? Did you come across a single such occurrence where the form
12 was added to by saying that a missing person was a Croatian national who
13 was also a member of the Army of Serbian Krajina? How many cases can you
15 A. I can't remember a single case where that type of information was
16 stated. The person being a member of the army of the Republic of Serbian
17 Krajina. I can remember cases involving members of the JNA or JNA
18 reservists though.
19 Q. So we have a person who is a Croatian national and a member of
20 the paramilitary formations of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, so-called
21 the Republic of Serbian Krajina but that's hardly of any importance
22 whatsoever. No such cases were, in fact, recorded of such a person
23 submitting a request and succeeding in getting the form through to your
24 office; right?
25 A. All I'm saying is I can't remember any cases like that.
1 Q. All right. What about Croatian nationals who were members of
2 paramilitary formations in the so-called Republic of Serbian Krajina
3 Was there another procedure that they were allowed to follow, I mean
4 their families, in terms of reporting their absence of those persons
5 going missing?
6 A. Those relatives would report their own family members going
7 missing to the relevant bodies in the occupied territories of the
8 Republic of Croatia
9 Q. Could they have reported their absence of them going missing even
10 if the families were in the Republic of Serbia
11 example, reported the person going missing to the Red Cross,
12 International Red Cross, the Red Cross of the Republic of Serbia
13 A. Absolutely, yes.
14 Q. And you will agree, of course -- you will agree with me that
15 there were cases like that, quite many, in fact, at the time we are
16 talking about, 1991 prior to Operation Flash and Operation Storm?
17 A. What I can tell you right now is about our administration for
18 missing persons and prisoners of war. There were 131 requests submitted
19 by Serbs, ethnic Serbs.
20 Q. But that's not what I'm asking you, Ms. Bilic. I'm asking you if
21 you know whether there existed quite many forms and questionnaires in
22 relation to missing persons who were Croatian nationals submitted to the
23 International Red Cross be it in Belgrade
24 countries of the former Yugoslavia
1 A. Yes, I am.
2 Q. All right. This information was then taken up by the ICRC,
4 A. Yes, the ICRC and the relevant commission on behalf of the
5 Republic of Serbia
6 Q. Did you have access to ICRC information regarding missing
7 persons? Such information as was available between 1991 and 1995 prior
8 to Operation Flash and Operation Storm?
9 A. Yes, we did have access to that information. There was a joint
10 database, as a matter of fact, and this was published all together in the
11 book of missing persons published by the ICRC in co-operation with
12 administration for missing persons and prisoners of war and the Croatian
13 Red Cross. All of this information was put together at the same time by
14 the ICRC and the administration for missing persons and prisoners of war.
15 Q. Ms. Bilic, in your report, paragraph 30 specifically, it is
16 mentioned that there was a request to launch searches in relation to
17 3.052 missing persons. What about this figure, 3.052 missing person?
18 Does this represent the total of the requests submitted to the ICRC in
19 relation to Croatian nationals who were members of paramilitary
21 A. No, this information was not part of the overall figure. It
22 wasn't included in the overall figure. Instead it was published in the
23 book of missing persons in the territory of the Republic of Serbia
24 figure that we are looking at 3052 search requests is actually in
25 relation to the search requests that were collected during the campaign
1 back in 1994.
2 Q. Can you please tell us, first of all, why the information was not
3 included or covered by the this total of 3052 persons who were Croatian
4 nationals going missing during the war in 1992 and certainly before
5 Operation Flash and Operation Storm, why is that?
6 A. Well, we are looking at two different campaigns of collecting
7 information. During the first, forms were compiled for these 3.052
8 persons. And in the other campaign, it's difficult to say now, but I
9 think it was about 1.200 persons in the other campaign. At the time the
10 report was drawn up, it was 1.110. During the other campaign that was
11 launched, a relatively small number of family member reported persons who
12 went missing, and these were families who had not previously filed a
13 report with the administration for missing person and prisoners of war
14 whose family members had gone missing at some point prior to Operation
15 Flash and Operation Storm, however, we were dealing with a relatively
16 small number of cases like that.
17 Q. Ms. Bilic --
18 JUDGE ORIE: It's only now that the interpreters have finished
19 the English translation. Could I ask you to make a small pause between
20 question and answer. Mr. Petrovic will show you how to do it.
21 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. Ms. Bilic, in 1994 and 1995, the information that was available
23 to you or made available to you by the ICRC was not taken into
24 consideration when the total number of those missing Croatian nationals
25 who went missing, why was that not taken into account? I'm not talking
1 about the list that was drawn up in 2002, I'm talking about what I
3 A. Quite simply, at the time the information was not included
4 because it was not available to the administration on missing persons and
5 prisoners of war in that form. The criteria for distinction were not
6 sufficiently clear at the time.
7 Q. Yes, but, Ms. Bilic, my question is why, why was that the number
8 not covered by the total? Can you answer?
9 A. I can offer no more than I've said. Information in relation to
10 3.052 persons is about the requests that were filed during the 1994
12 Q. And then what about the other lists that we are talking about
13 that? That wasn't drawn up before the period between 2002 and 2006,
15 A. Yes, that's right.
16 Q. Okay. Can you please tell us -- can you please tell us this:
17 What about the territory of the Republic of Croatian
18 territory that was actually under the control of Croatia's government,
19 how many people went missing in that territory? Between 1991 and
20 Operation Flash and Operation Storm, how many people went missing in that
21 part of the territory?
22 A. I really can't say right now. Not with any degree of accuracy.
23 I know that in Gospic seven persons were reported as missing, in the
24 [indiscernible] 19, nevertheless it would be very difficult for me to
25 address the question of the total number of missing persons throughout
1 that area.
2 Q. Ms. Bilic, why were no records kept then of people who went
3 missing in the territory of the Republic of Croatia
4 territory that was actually under the control of the government between
5 1991 and 1995?
6 A. It is simply not true that no records were kept.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Farr.
8 MR. FARR: My objection was that he was misstating her evidence
9 but she has corrected it.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Please continue and complete your answer.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is not true that no records were
12 kept of the missing persons in the territory under the Croatian
13 authorities. Records were, in fact, kept, but I can't say off the bat
14 what the exact figure might be. I had not expected this question to come
15 up, and I have not updated my information on that. Nevertheless,
16 regardless of the place where these persons went missing anywhere at all
17 in the Republic of Croatia
18 long as their families submitted search requests.
19 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Was there a special database or files relating to the persons,
21 the category of persons that I'm addressing at the time I specified,
22 anything that you know about?
23 A. No, there isn't a special record or a special database. There is
24 a unified, a joint database for all missing persons who went missing
25 during the war in the Republic of Croatia
1 allows us to update our information according to all the required
2 criteria, therefore, the criteria that you had just specified could be
3 used to update that kind of information and obtain an answer.
4 Q. To sum up, Ms. Bilic, you or anyone in your office, in fact,
5 never tried to update this sort of information based on the following
6 criteria, people who went missing between 1991 and 1995 during the war in
7 the territory that was actually under the Croatian authorities and
8 control by the government of the Republic of Croatia
9 A. Listen, all the information is being constantly updated, and the
10 only thing that really is true is I am unable to say at this point in
11 time what the figure is of the persons who went missing during that time
12 in the territory that was actually under the control of Croatia's
14 JUDGE ORIE: Could we please slow down. I mean, I have to switch
15 from one booth to another to see how far they are behind, and that's not
16 their mistake, that's your mistake. I am not blaming you, Ms. Bilic, but
17 Mr. Petrovic knows what he is expected to do.
18 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise to the interpreters
19 primarily. I apologise to you, Your Honours, as well, and particularly
20 to the interpreters because of the speed of my questions, however, I have
21 to keep in mind the time.
22 Q. Ms. Bilic, what about the list in relation to the other category
23 of persons, persons who were in the territory controlled by the Republic
24 of Serbian Krajina and persons who were members of the army of the
25 Republic of Serbian Krajina, and who went missing following Operation
1 Flash and Operation Storm? The list first began to be drawn up back in
2 2002, right?
3 A. Yes that was back in 2002.
4 Q. Ms. Bilic, why did it take seven years for such a vital list to
5 begin to be drawn up, vital for the families of those persons who went
6 missing, what took so long?
7 A. Well, first of all, for the most part the families of those
8 missing persons were at the time staying in the Republic of Serbia
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina. For the most part those families were not physically
10 residing in the Republic of Croatia
11 launch these procedures primarily with the ICRC. Some of the families
12 would report their own relatives who went missing to a number of NGOs
13 active in the Republic of Serbia
14 admit that there were certain disagreements as to who was in charge of
15 keeping records of missing persons during Operation Flash and Operation
16 Storm. There was also some dispute about the methodology that was to be
17 used in terms of gathering information on those missing persons.
18 Negotiations were held in 2000 in Zagreb, more specifically in
19 July 2000, where an agreement was reached with the relevant commission in
20 charge of missing persons of the government of the Republic of Serbia
21 The agreement concerned launching or taking some steps to start gathering
22 information, based on the same methodology and the same criteria as the
23 one that had occurred in 1994.
24 Following that, there was a series of working meetings, people
25 were trained to take these steps and to take these measures and the
1 operation finally began in 2002.
2 Q. Ms. Bilic, what kept Croatia
3 full seven years? I'm not asking you about the specifics of this
4 agreement, but what about the Republic of Croatia
5 government was able to do something like this in 1994, yet, now it took
6 them another seven years to start doing the same thing in 2002. I
7 realise that there were problems, and I accept that, but this was a vital
8 issue, and it simple brooked no long deferral --
9 JUDGE ORIE: First of all, your question contains some six, seven
10 or eight propositions. Mr. Farr, apart from that.
11 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I withdraw the
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Farr, then I take it that you withdraw your
14 intension to object. Please proceed.
15 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. In your report, paragraph 15, you provided some definitions, such
17 as the definition of a mass grave and the definition of a communal grave.
18 What about the territory of the Republic of Croatia
19 of Serbian Krajina, were there any mass graves in those areas?
20 A. First of all, I'd like to try and answer the question about why
21 the Croatian authorities took seven years to --
22 Q. No, no, please.
23 JUDGE ORIE: The question has been withdrawn and, therefore, we
24 don't need to hear an answer on that. There may be good reason, there
25 may not be good reasons, it's not very relevant anyhow. Please proceed.
1 So could you -- when I say, "please proceed," could you answer the
2 question. Were there any mass graves?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. As far as I can remember,
4 there was a mass grave that was identified at [indiscernible] not far
5 from Gospic. There was another mass grave that was found in a part of
6 Gospic known as Obradovic Varos. At this point in time, frankly, I'm
7 unable to remember any other mass graves.
8 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Ms. Bilic, are you familiar with the grave at Pakracka Poljana?
10 A. Yes, I am aware of that grave too.
11 Q. Is that a mass grave?
12 A. That is a complex issue. As for Pakracka Poljana, the remains of
13 a total of 19 persons were buried. These were bodies that, as far as I
14 am aware, had been found on the ground and buried by the Argentine
15 battalion of the UN operating in the area. The fact remains that the
16 location of the grave was not marked. The fact also remains that the UN
17 Argentine battalion who were the people, who buried those bodies,
18 recorded the finding of those bodies and the marks were found on the
19 actual bodies when the bodies were later exhumed in 1995. It is beyond
20 dispute that we are talking about a place where bodies were buried, in
21 fact, bodies belonging to 19 persons.
22 Q. Ms. Bilic, in paragraph 21 of your report, you state that between
23 September 1995 and July 2008, there were 143 mass graves exhumed as well
24 as 1.200 individual graves. Out of this total, how many had to do with
25 mass graves and individual graves of those who disappeared after the
1 military-police Operations Flash and Storm?
2 A. You mean those found after those operations? They all were.
3 Q. Perhaps I wasn't sufficiently precise. Out of this total, in how
4 many graves were there any remains found of those who perished during or
5 at the time of Operations Storm and Flash, out of the number you
6 mentioned in paragraph 21?
7 A. The mortal remains of people who perished in the military-police
8 operations of Operation Storm and Flash were exhumed from communal graves
9 in Knin, Gracac, Zitnic, Korenica, Petrinja, and Dvor so far. As I've
10 said, these are communal graves, and as such, they did not find their way
11 on to the list of 143 mass graves. As for the individual graves, I truly
12 don't know what was the number of individual graves containing the
13 remains of those who perished during the two operations, but it may be
14 that there are between 20 and 30 such locations so far.
15 Q. Ms. Bilic, the grave, or rather, the four graves in Knin after
16 the operations of Flash and Storm, were those graves communal or mass
17 graves, if you know?
18 A. I think they were categorised as communal graves.
19 Q. Ms. Bilic, if I told you that in those graves in two different
20 locations there were 295 bodies complete bodies found as well as 94
21 partial bodies without any identification, what would that tell you?
22 Would you say it was a communal or a mass grave in your understanding of
23 the two categories?
24 A. As far as I know.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Farr.
1 MR. FARR: Your Honour, I think Mr. Petrovic is giving evidence.
2 If he wants to pose a hypothetical to Ms. Bilic, if a grave was found
3 with certain characteristics, how would you characterise that, that would
4 be fine, but here he is assuming matters not in evidence.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, now, first of all that is not prohibited in
6 cross-examination, to suggest facts which have not yet been established.
7 Apart from that, the question Mr. Petrovic did put comes down to what
8 conclusions would you draw and whether that's a hypothetical situation or
9 a situation which really exists. If it's not established the Chamber
10 will consider it as not to exist and although it may be wiser for
11 Mr. Petrovic not even to suggest the existence of that without any
12 evidence, that Chamber will not misunderstand him.
13 Please proceed, Mr. Petrovic, or perhaps we could ask you what
14 would that tell you? Would you say it was communal or a mass grave in
15 your understanding of the two categories, and it's about -- if you would
16 find 295 bodies complete and 94 partial bodily remains?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Under the terms of communal and
18 mass graves, one first and foremost needs to consider the circumstances
19 under which those bodies were buried. As far as I know, the mortal
20 remains in Knin were marked. Concerning the mortal remains in Knin
21 during the sanitation and hygiene measures operation, complete
22 documentation was drafted with a view to carry out a preliminary
23 identification of the mortal remains. Such documents were presented to
24 the families.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Petrovic. Is there any chance that you would
1 finish in the next couple of minutes?
2 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if it's a matter of a
3 couple of minutes, then unfortunately the answer is no. It was not what
4 I expected. I keep receiving extensive answers, and I am unable to
5 comply. I do believe I still have a number of relevant questions.
6 JUDGE ORIE: The answers you receive are not unrelated to the
7 questions you are putting to the witness. Just to give you an example, I
8 wouldn't say that whether you call a grave a mass grave or communal grave
9 has no relevance at all, but of course, the core of the issue is who were
10 buried there, how did they die, who is responsible for that, how did it
11 happen under the circumstances, and if you would focus on that rather
12 than on a rather theoretical debate on how exactly whether these 19
13 persons, whether you should call the grave a communal grave and then to
14 go through all the details, which would make the distinction, that's
15 really not the core of what this case is about. Would you please keep
16 that in mind and finish as quickly as you can.
17 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm doing my best,
18 but I believe it is clear that I'm putting these questions to try and
19 indicate the degree of credibility -- I apologise, I'll move on.
20 JUDGE ORIE: We are not a debating club, we are a court floor.
21 Please proceed.
22 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Certainly, Your Honour, I
23 apologise yet again.
24 Q. Ms. Bilic, you mentioned that in the Knin cemetery there were
25 markings indicating that certain people were buried there. My question
1 is this: If this was so, if it was known that there were graves there,
2 do you know why the exhumations began only six years later in 2001?
3 A. I don't know why the exhumations took place six years after the
5 Q. I will try to do away with as many questions as possible.
6 Another thing that had to do with the procedure of preparation, you said
7 that the people who carried out those activities in 1995 and 2001 were
8 trained to do so, and that they entered information into the
9 questionnaires. Can you tell us why it was so? Why was it done by
10 trained personnel and not those who were in search of their family
12 A. It was precisely because such people needed precise instruction
13 on how to fill out the questionnaires so as to have as quality and
14 detailed answers as possible. If you look at certain questions,
15 especially the anti-mortem data and health information, that is a complex
16 issue, and it does require a certain amount of instructions in order to
17 arrive at answers which would be as precise as possible.
18 Q. Thank you. Please bear with me. I have just another topic to
19 cover. Do you have any data on those who were detained in the territory
20 of Croatia
21 such information?
22 A. The administration for detained and missing persons as well as
23 the commission, it functioned before its inception, were not competent to
24 keep records about those who were in the territory that was controlled by
25 the Croatian government in relation to any war time activities.
1 Q. Did your commission take part in the release and exchange of
2 persons detained on either side?
3 A. The commission did take part in it according to the regulations
4 stipulating its remit. It was one of its tasks to carry out exchanges
5 and repatriation of detained persons. The other task was to monitor the
6 conditions of detention, but it was not its task to keep records of
7 persons in relation to war time activities who were in the territory
8 controlled by the Croatian government.
9 Q. So there were no records kept --
10 A. I did not say there weren't any records kept.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jordash.
12 MR. JORDASH: Your Honour, I'm sorry to jump up and interrupt my
13 learned friend, but I wanted to alert the Court, I thought it was fair to
14 alert the Court to the issue relating to B-1244. I will not require the
15 15 minutes, I will only require five minutes having changed our position.
16 JUDGE ORIE: I have a few other matters as well.
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Petrovic, any chance that you would finish in
19 the next five minutes?
20 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] I will do my utmost to comply,
21 Your Honour.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not say that there were no
24 records kept. I said that this was not within the remit of the
25 administration for the detained and missing persons and the commission
1 which existed before it.
2 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. So you were a member of the commission which, as you said a
4 moment ago, was tasked with monitoring the conditions of detention in the
5 territory controlled by the Croatian government. Can you tell us where
6 those people were detained?
7 A. Persons under the control of the Croatian government were kept in
8 jails and detention centres as well as in centres for prisoners of war
9 and penitentiary institutions.
10 Q. Which locations specifically are these? Can you enumerate as
11 many as you can recall?
12 A. For example, the penitentiaries of Lepoglava and Pozega. The
13 centres for POWs that was in Lora as well as Sibenika, I think. I think
14 there was one at Koningsknecht [phoen] as well. Concerning jails, there
15 was one in Zagreb
16 Q. Very well.
17 A. Bjelovar.
18 Q. This is enough, thank you. Your office supervised the conditions
19 in Lora. What were the results of your monitoring, what information did
20 you have about detention conditions in Lora?
21 A. Well, I can only speak of the information I received after 1993
22 because that is when I was employed there.
23 Q. Ms. Bilic, with all due respect, you should be able to speak of
24 the activities of your office as far back as 1991. Why would you be in
25 no position to address the earlier period before your employment?
1 A. Because I have no information before that. I was familiar with
2 the proceedings in the Lora case only through the media, therefore, I
3 only have very scant information about the issue.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have dropped a
6 number of my questions, and in spite of that, I believe I hope I have met
7 your expectations in terms of time.
8 Thank you, Ms. Bilic, I have no further questions.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Petrovic, you have even left some time
10 which was suggested to you as being available.
11 Any re-examination, Mr. Farr?
12 MR. FARR: I do have a few questions, Your Honour. I'm conscious
13 that our time is very limited.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
15 MR. FARR: Could I first have 65 ter 466 on the screen.
16 Re-examination by Mr. Farr:
17 Q. Ms. Bilic, do you recognise this document on the screen?
18 A. I do.
19 Q. What is it?
20 A. It is a standard form of the questionnaire with information about
21 those detained and missing. In this particular case the person in
22 question is Anna Tepic.
23 MR. FARR: Can I have the middle of page 5 in B/C/S and the
24 middle of page 4 in English, please.
25 Q. And I'm interested in questions 12 to 14. Ms. Bilic, based on
1 questions 12 to 14, can you tell us what the citizenship, nationality,
2 and religion of this missing person is?
3 A. The citizenship was that of the Republic of Croatia
4 was Serbian and religion Orthodox.
5 Q. In your evidence today, you mentioned -- I'm done with that
6 document, thank you. In your evidence today you mentioned information
7 gathered during the process of creating the common graves following the
8 "asanacija" process, information regarding the people who were buried.
9 Can you tell us what that information was?
10 A. I apologise, I did not understand the question.
11 Q. During the process of burying people in the common graves
12 following the "asanacija" process, you mentioned that certain information
13 was gathered about the people who were buried in those common graves.
14 Can you tell us what some of that information was?
15 A. The information had to do with the place where the mortal remains
16 were found, the time when they were found, the mortal remains were
17 photographed, and a description of the clothes and other characteristics
18 was noted down, which would help in subsequent identification of those
19 mortal remains. If possible, finger-prints were taken as well as a
20 further attempt to identify the mortal remains in question.
21 Q. Did your administration receive that information?
22 A. Yes, it did. Upon receipt, it forwarded it to the competent
23 commission of the Republic of Serbia
24 persons in Bosnia-Herzegovina where the families of those who perished
25 resided so as to contribute further to their preliminary identification.
1 In addition to that, the information was also made publicly and daily
2 available on the administration premises so that people could have access
3 to it.
4 Q. And as close as you can remember, in what month and year did your
5 administration forward that information to the competent commission of
6 the Republic of Serbia
8 A. It is difficult for me to remember that. I think it was perhaps
9 one year after the military-police operations of Flash and Storm were
10 concluded, although, I'm not positive about that. All information was
11 collated, put into standard forms, and handed over to the competent
12 commissions of the neighbouring states.
13 MR. FARR: Your Honour, at this time I would tender P516, which
14 was marked for identification yesterday. That's the authentication chart
15 with Ms. Bilic's comments on it, and I would also correct to 76, the
16 number of underlying documents identified on that chart. Your Honour
17 admitted 81 underlying documents based on my calculation error yesterday
18 at page 5577 of the transcript. In fact, the correct number of
19 underlying documents is 76.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I think that we have decided that they would be
21 admitted without numbers already. P516, that -- any objections against
22 P516? If not, P516 is admitted into evidence and the others they'll find
23 their way in the lists and charts, and it is clear that nothing opposes
25 MR. FARR: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Petrovic.
2 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, by your leave, just
3 one question.
4 JUDGE ORIE: One question, Mr. Petrovic. I take it that this
5 concluded your re-examination?
6 MR. FARR: That's correct, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ORIE: One question, Mr. Petrovic.
8 Further Cross-examination by Mr. Petrovic:
9 Q. Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Ms. Bilic, in answer to my learned friend's question, you
11 explained the way sanitation and hygiene measures were taken and how the
12 communal graves were treated. Does this also include the four graves in
13 the Knin cemetery, yes or no?
14 A. Yes. This includes the mortal remains buried and exhumed at the
15 Knin cemetery.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic. Since the Judges have no
17 questions for you, Ms. Bilic, this concludes your evidence. I'd like to
18 thank you very much for coming in and the patience you have shown to us
19 and patience apart from of course answering all the questions that were
20 put to you by the parties and by the bench. I wish you a safe return
21 home again.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Madam usher, could you please escort the witness out
24 of the courtroom.
25 [The witness withdrew]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Jordash, five minutes, and think about my
2 reputation as well.
3 MR. JORDASH: The application is to -- it's in relation to
4 B-1244, and Your Honours' request that we agree a set of facts
5 summarising this witness's bad character. What I would like to propose
6 and ask Your Honours to allow is, in fact, a new response by the Defence
7 to the original motion. And the reason for that request is that having
8 looked at our response, I do not think we address the evidence in
9 sufficient detail to assist Your Honours.
10 Secondly, in relation to the bad character evidence as indicated
11 in the informal e-mail to your Legal Officer, the documents, which we
12 have to look through number in excess of 280, so there is much about this
13 witness's -- and all of that is not strictly relevant to his bad
14 character, but there is lots of it which is. In our submission, Your
15 Honours, would be assisted in the decision if we were to revisit this
16 issue in light of that voluminous evidence of bad character and relate it
17 to the witness's specific evidence to try to demonstrate to Your Honours
18 why it would not be safe to go down the Rule 92 quater route.
19 At the moment, Your Honours, in our submission on the basis of
20 our response, which is inadequate, and on the basis of the voluminous
21 character evidence which we have to yet to go through, do not, in our
22 submission, have the requisite assistance from the Defence.
23 If Your Honours are not with us on that, we would ask for more
24 time to summarise the agreed evidence because there's, as I've said,
25 plenty of it and we would require more than the week which we initially
1 asked for. That's the application.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Jordash. You'll understand the
3 Chamber would first like to hear the response of the Prosecution if it
4 can be given right away then, of course, we'll have to consider and think
5 about it.
6 Mr. Groome.
7 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, the Prosecution's position would be if
8 the Chamber feels it would be assisted by a renewed response, the
9 Prosecution would not objection to the Stanisic Defence as such.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Any position taken by the Simatovic Defence in this
12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. Jordash spoke on
13 behalf of both Defence teams. We discussed this during the last break.
14 Our position is identical.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. The Chamber will consider it and will
16 give a decision in due course. I have very few and procedural matters.
17 The first one is the following: On the 25th of May, the Chamber has
18 invited the Simatovic Defence to peruse the Croatian crime base of the
19 facts submitted for agreement by the Prosecution on the 16th of February
20 2010 within a week's time. Since witnesses Strinovic and Bilic testify
21 about this crime base, they have testified, the Prosecution had indicated
22 that if there was no agreement it would seek to tender such documents.
23 Now, the first question would be, has the Prosecution tendered
24 everything from the Croatian crime base that was included in the agreed
25 facts motion of the 16th of February?
1 MS. MARCUS: We have, Your Honours. The only thing I would add
2 to that is that you will note on reviewing the authentication charts that
3 in some cases where we still did not have any documentation we wrote that
4 we would request that documentation if necessary, but they are very few,
5 if Your Honours would like us to count exactly how many, we'll be happy
6 to do that, but it is a very small number.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, so I would say most of the -- in this respect
8 quite a bit of the 16th of February, 2010 motion is moot now. To the
9 extent that it's not moot, because that's -- it's there now, so for the
10 remainder, is there -- no, let me just -- yes, Mr. Groome.
11 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, it certainly may be moot from the
12 Prosecution's point of view with respect to tendering evidence, but
13 certainly if there's an agreement, it certainly saves the Chamber with
14 respect to the judgement.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but that is -- I was not very precise. It's
16 past 7.00. Is there any chance that on the remaining issues and on the
17 issues which were now supported by all the evidence tendered that an
18 agreement can be reached, or?
19 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't know whether
20 you know, but in keeping with your order of the 25th of May, on the 31st
21 of May, we informed our colleagues from the Prosecution of our position.
22 Concerning Annex A, we identified clearly what is not in dispute in our
23 view, and I believe we encompassed most of what we are discussing here
25 JUDGE ORIE: I think that the Chamber is not informed about this
1 yet, is that correct, or am I wrong?
2 MS. MARCUS: Your Honours, we received an e-mail from the
3 Simatovic Defence, that's correct. In that they say that they agreed to
4 the annexes but they didn't say that they agreed to the facts, so what we
5 took that to mean -- our understanding was that they did not agree to the
6 date of death, the location, the manner of death, et cetera, but --
7 JUDGE ORIE: Let's do the following. You sit together with the
8 Simatovic Defence and you make a joint filing on what is agreed upon and
9 what is not agreed upon and whether it's -- and then the Chamber will
10 know where we stand.
11 Then one -- yes. The medical journal article which was 65 ter
12 5183, the Chamber has deferred its decision on the -- this document in
13 its decision on the 14th motion for leave to amend its 65 ter list. We
14 left it out, and we have invited the OTP to elaborate on its intended use
15 and whether it would be intended pursuant to Rule 94 bis. Now we raised
16 the matter on the 27th of May, and then we heard that the Prosecution
17 would consider how to tender the document, whether through expert witness
18 Dr. Strinovic or otherwise. Mr. Strinovic has now given his evidence,
19 this document was not introduced through him. What is the other way you
20 intend to introduce this in evidence?
21 MS. MARCUS: Your Honours, yes, it was decided that it couldn't
22 be tendered through Dr. Strinovic. With your leave, I'd like to consult
23 with my colleagues and report back to the Chamber.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, we'd like to hear from you within seven days
25 from today. Even if that will be informal, because the Chamber has
1 decided that -- first of all, Madam Registrar, the Chamber would very
2 much like to receive the next report, as I said, before the weekend, but
3 in order for scheduling purposes, it would important for us to receive
4 that document by tomorrow noon
5 examine Mr. Stanisic and then briefly report on that, even if it's not
6 yet officially filed that we know it. Mr. Groome, everything tends now
7 in the direction of not sitting on Monday and Tuesday. The only thing is
8 tomorrow at noon
9 dramatically the situation, we'll consider otherwise, but.
10 MR. GROOME: Can I ask Your Honour, it wasn't clear to me
11 earlier, are we sitting on the 15th?
12 JUDGE ORIE: We'll consider that once we have -- but we are
13 aiming at this moment at sitting on the 15th, but before we make any
14 final determinations, but what we discussed is the most likely course
15 that we'll take. It also depends on many others who have to contribute
16 to make it possible. We were considering it and exploring it.
17 MR. GROOME: Understood, Your Honour. Thank you.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Again my apologies for all those who I hardly can
19 see behind the smoked glass. We'll adjourn for the day, and we'll resume
20 most likely Tuesday the 15th of June quarter past 2.00 in the afternoon.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.06 p.m.
22 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 15th of June,
23 2010, at 2.15 p.m.