1 Tuesday, 13 March 2012
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.19 p.m.
5 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Good morning to everyone.
6 [Microphone not activated]
7 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters cannot hear the Judge.
8 Microphone, please.
9 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Good morning -- rather, good
11 Madam Registrar, could you please call the case.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this is case IT-03-69-T, the
13 Prosecutor versus Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic.
14 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. We will
15 have a witness today who will testify by video conference; is that right?
16 Mr. Bakrac, is that right?
17 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. That's correct.
18 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Let's see now if the videolink is
19 working. Very good. Thank you. Perfect.
20 Can you hear us?
21 THE WITNESS: [Via videolink] [Interpretation] Yes, I can.
22 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very good.
23 Witness, can you hear us in a language that you understand?
24 THE WITNESS: [Via videolink] [Interpretation] I can.
25 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Can you please swear under oath
1 that you will tell the truth, Mr. Witness.
2 THE WITNESS: [Via videolink] [Interpretation] Pardon? Should I
3 read this out?
4 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Yes, please.
5 THE WITNESS: [Via videolink] [Interpretation] Can I please have
6 the text in Serbian? There is a term here, "pricegnoti [phoen]" which I
7 don't understand.
8 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] I am sorry, I do not know which
9 text you were given.
10 Mr. Registrar, could you please confirm that the witness has a
11 text he can understand.
12 THE WITNESS: [Via videolink] [Interpretation] No, I thought I was
13 supposed to take an oath, but I heard a term which I didn't understand
14 what it meant.
15 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Would you be able to swear under
16 oath with the text that you have in front of you? With that text, there.
17 THE WITNESS: [Via videolink] [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
19 and nothing but the truth.
20 WITNESS: GORAN OPACIC
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 [Witness testified via videolink]
23 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
24 Mr. Bakrac -- oh, I see the Prosecutor on his feet.
25 Yes, Mr. Groome.
1 MR. GROOME: I apologise for interrupting, but I just wonder
2 whether the formalities of 15 bis perhaps should be put on the record.
3 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Yes, you're absolutely right.
4 Given some exceptional circumstances, since Judge Orie cannot be present
5 today, we will be sitting under Article 15 bis.
6 Thank you very much, Mr. Groome.
7 Mr. Bakrac, it's your witness.
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Before I commence, may I just note that during proofing this
10 witness told us that he is suffering from a very high eye pressure. Due
11 to this, if he exerts himself too much he suffers from severe headaches.
12 I told him that should something like that arise that he can approach you
13 and ask for a break, and I hope that by doing so I did not exceed my
15 Secondly, I will be doing my best. This is something that we
16 were doing during proofing as well, not to ask the witness to read
17 portions of text. This is very difficult for him, especially if the text
18 is in small print. So I will ask him to read only a limited portion of
19 text so as to avoid this, if you will allow me to.
20 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Mr. Bakrac,
21 and thank you for reminding us that the witness has some eye problems.
22 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] If the witness has to read a text
24 or a document which you would like to show to the Court, it could maybe
25 be done this way. Maybe you could read the relevant passages into the
1 microphone and slowly so that the interpretation can be done because the
2 interpreters, of course, will not have the text. Is that okay with you?
3 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, that's correct, Your Honour.
4 You're right. And I will do my best to go through the exercise slowly so
5 as not to create any problems for the interpreters.
6 Examination by Mr. Bakrac:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Opacic, good afternoon to you.
8 A. Good afternoon.
9 Q. In order to conduct this direct examination as efficiently as
10 possible, Mr. Opacic, kindly wait for my question to be put to you and do
11 not start answering right away; rather, make a small break after I have
12 finished putting my question to you. Perhaps the Registrar who is with
13 you there can help us. He can signal you when it is that you can start
14 giving your answer.
15 A. I understand.
16 Q. Mr. Opacic, please, for the sake of the record, state your full
18 A. My name is Goran Opacic. Should I give you my date of birth?
19 Q. Mr. Opacic, I will be putting the questions to you. Kindly tell
20 us the date and place of birth -- your date and place of birth.
21 A. The 11th of March, 1964, in Benkovac.
22 Q. Mr. Opacic, can you tell us - slowly, please - what sort of
23 schooling have you had?
24 A. I completed my primary education in the municipality of Benkovac.
25 Later on I attended the secondary school of internal affairs in Zagreb.
1 These were four years of secondary schooling, and that is the education
2 that I have.
3 Q. When was it that you graduated from the secondary school of
4 internal affairs in Zagreb?
5 A. In 1983.
6 Q. Did you get a job somewhere, and if so, where?
7 A. Well, all the student of the secondary school of internal affairs
8 would get a job somewhere with the organs of internal affairs, and I was
9 posted to the police station in Sinj.
10 Q. Until what year did you continue working for the station in Sinj
11 and what were your specific duties?
12 A. I worked there from 1983 through to early 1988, and I was a
13 patrol officer.
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. Opacic. In 1988 where were you transferred?
15 A. I transferred to the internal affairs organ in Zadar.
16 Q. Can you tell us what your specific duties in Zadar were and until
17 when you stayed there?
18 A. My duties in Zadar were also those of a ordinary policeman going
19 on patrol. However, there was also a special unit composed of policemen
20 who were younger than 28 and formed some sort of a special unit. I had
21 attended training for sniper shooting, so I was basically also assigned
22 to that specific unit during my time both in Sinj and Zadar.
23 Q. In addition to the policing, were you training any sort of
25 A. Well, in high school I practiced karate and I was one of the best
1 athletes in my secondary school. As I came to Sinj I started training
2 kick-boxing, the contact sports, and then I proceeded on to train classic
4 Q. Did you go to any official competitions? Sports competitions?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And did you compete for the colours of your station in Sinj?
7 A. Well, there were police sports games for the region of Dalmatia,
8 and I regularly participated as an athlete, 800 metres racing and so on.
9 I could not participate with my basic sport of kick-boxing because they
10 wouldn't have it.
11 Q. Until what time did you continue working for the Zadar police
13 A. I worked there until mid-November 1990.
14 Q. What happened? Why did you no longer work for the Zadar police
15 station after mid-November 1990?
16 A. When the Croatian Democratic Union came to power, I did not wish
17 to sign an oath of loyalty to them, and I didn't want to wear the symbol
18 of the chequer-board besides, they also admitted people who were
19 civilians, who also used to have a criminal record. They were
20 individuals who we at some point had arrested for brawling, for violent
21 behaviour, for theft and that sort of crime. I refused to work along
22 side such individuals.
23 Q. Mr. Opacic, while you were a patrolling police officer in Sinj
24 and Zadar, did you receive any sort of citations or awards?
25 A. I received an award for the best policeman of the town of Sinj
1 while I was working for the station in Sinj. I received some sort of a
2 vase and a commendation in writing.
3 Q. Do you know which year was that?
4 A. 1985 or 1986. I can't remember.
5 Q. Mr. Opacic, during your time in Sinj and Zadar, were you accused
6 of any sort of misdemeanor or exceeding your authority or crime?
7 A. Well, I was not held responsible for any crimes or misdemeanors.
8 Rather, in Zadar, in 1990, I was suspended along with 15 other policemen
9 of Serb ethnicity, and we were suspended for the fact that we complained
10 about these individuals with a criminal past having been admitted onto
11 the force, which is something I've just explained to you a moment ago.
12 Q. If I understand you correctly, in November of 1990 you were
13 suspended. Do you know when it was that you were officially dismissed?
14 When it was that your status as policeman for the Zadar station were
16 A. Well, I was kept in the records of the police all the way through
17 to February of 1991, although I left the station in November of 1990 and
18 never returned.
19 Q. When you left the police force in Zadar, where did you go next?
20 What did you do?
21 A. At first I went to Biljane Gornje which is my native village in
22 the municipality of Benkovac. There was a disco there, and I worked in
23 that disco as a bouncer for about a month. Next, I went to the
24 municipality building in Benkovac where I reported to the president of
25 the municipality, Zekovac [phoen], and I and my brother, Zoran, Cedo
1 Zecevic, and another person, we, all of us, worked there as security
2 guards. Some of us came from Sinj, some from Benkovac, some from Zadar,
3 all of them having left their respective police forces the same way I
5 Q. Did there come a time when road blocks were erected in your area,
6 and if so, who erected them, and did you have any part in that?
7 A. Road blocks had been erected back in 1990 at a time when the
8 president of the SAO Krajina was Milan Babic. It may have been the month
9 of August. Locals participated in that and I took part in that as well,
10 together with the villages. I was with them.
11 Q. Mr. Opacic, you say that your brother, you, and two more former
12 policemen worked as security guards for Zecevic. Do you know if at some
13 point in 1991 an individual by the name of Captain Dragan came to visit
15 A. I think it was the month of February or March that he came. I
16 wasn't there at the time. I think he was accompanied by Dejan Lucic
17 [phoen], a journalist. The next time there were Lucic, Prika, and Pavic
18 who came to see Zecevic again, and then they talked about Captain Dragan.
19 Q. Did Zecevic tell you where why Captain Dragan came and what they
20 talked about, and do you know if Zecevic took him anywhere?
21 A. I think that Zecevic took him to see Milan Martic. And it was as
22 if he was somebody who had been to different fronts, in Africa. He was
23 introduced as some sort of commando, a person who had been to fronts as a
24 member of the Foreign Legion, a legionnaire. He was a mercenary, simply
1 Q. And do you know what they talked about, Captain Dragan, Martic,
2 and Zecevic?
3 A. I don't know.
4 Q. Thank you, Mr. Opacic. Do you know a person by the name of
5 Dragan Karna?
6 A. Dragan Karna is a colleague of mine. We worked together in Sinj
7 for five years at the police station.
8 Q. And in early 1991, do you know where Dragan Karna was? What was
9 his post at the time?
10 A. When he came from Sinj, Dragan Karna came to Knin, and a special
11 unit was formed, the same that we had before in the SUPs which was
12 located in Golubic. It's a youth village where youth work drives had
13 been organised before, and then the huts remained. It was abandoned and
14 this is where the police were accommodated.
15 Q. You say that a special police force was formed. Can you be a bit
16 more specific as to when this special police with Dragan Karna was
18 A. I think that this was -- it was after the action in Plitvice by
19 the Croatian MUP, but this was there before as well, but it wasn't
20 organised as well as it was after that action. It was done more
21 thoroughly, to have this unit formed of people who were trained, who had
22 gone through training. Mostly the unit consisted of the same policemen
23 who came from Zagreb, Split, Sinj, Zadar, Rijeka, Biograd na Moru, and
24 other places.
25 Q. Mr. Opacic, did you join this unit at some point?
1 A. I joined the units, if I recall correctly, in late April 1991.
2 Q. Mr. Opacic, when you say late April 1991, that time that you
3 joined, was it already then that Captain Golubic came to --
4 Captain Dragan came to Golubic. Was that correct?
5 A. No, Captain Dragan came to Golubic in May, I think. In the
6 second half of May.
7 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would kindly ask now
8 for this video-clip. We also have the transcript, so, if you permit me,
9 I don't want to play this video-clip that we already looked at. I am
10 only going to read slowly to the witness a part of the statement by
11 Dragan Karna from this video so that we can see if this corresponds to
12 the witness's experiences.
13 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Sure, absolutely, but please
14 first explain to the witness what is it about, first.
15 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. This is
16 Exhibit D117.
17 Q. Sir, Mr. Opacic, I am now -- Mr. Karna gave a statement about the
18 Golubic unit on television. I am going to read a part of it and I am
19 going to ask you to say whether what is being read to you is actually
20 something that you recall. We're looking at page 2 in the Serbian and in
21 the English. I am slowly going to be begin to read. It's in the middle
22 of the interview where Dragan Karna says:
23 "I will start with 31st of March, 1991. Members of this
24 detachment took part in the combat in Plitvice. On the 2nd of May, 1991,
25 an attack on the Kijevo police station was launched. On May 3rd, 1991,
1 members of the detachment disarmed the citizens of Croat ethnicity in
2 Vrhpolje and Potkolje."
3 A. Potkonje.
4 Q. "These citizens under the guise of the HDZ party carried out
5 arming and prepared to close up the police stations, which they were
6 prevented from doing by the members of this detachment. On this
7 occasion, 38 automatic rifles, Kalashnikov; 68 bombs; and 38 impact rifle
8 grenades were confiscated. On May 6th, 1991, the members of this unit
9 formed the police station in Bratuskovac, which is in the hinterland of
10 Skradinac [phoen]. On the 15th of May, 1991, after the educational
11 centre of Golubic was formed under the leadership of Captain Dragan, the
12 complete unit underwent training. In the course of the training, during
13 the training itself, combat activities were carried out:
14 "Thus the members of the unit were also carrying out combat
15 activities and destroying the Ustasha educational centre in Ljubovo
16 (indiscernible) Korenica."
17 This was an excerpt from the interview by Dragan Karna.
18 According to your recollection, is this correct what Dragan Karna said?
19 A. I participated in the action to disarm these civilians who were
20 armed with Kalashnikovs in Vrhpolje and Potkonje. And it's true that a
21 police station was formed in Bratiskovci [as interpreted], this is the
22 hinterland of Skradiste [as interpreted]. It's true that Captain Dragan
23 arrived on the 15th of May to Golubic. And it is also correct that an
24 attack was carried out at the Ljubova police station near Korenica. I
25 don't know what else is stated there. I don't know anything about that.
1 Q. Mr. Opacic, what changed in Golubic in this special police unit,
2 if anything did, once Captain Dragan arrived on the 15th of May, 1991?
3 A. Well, we thought Captain Dragan was some sort of an expert. But
4 actually, as far as infantry training is concerned, he went through that
5 training in the same way that we all did, and that's what he knew. We
6 were trained to jump out of Land Rovers at the speed of 30 kilometres an
7 hour. Some people fell and hurt themselves. Some people complained to
8 Martic that the training was inappropriate so that Captain Dragan then
9 had a conflict with Martic immediately because of the training, the way
10 it was. I had gone through physical endurance training in Golubic with
11 the members who were in that unit. We were there for 20 days.
12 Q. Mr. Opacic, when you say "inappropriate" - I am looking at the
13 transcript - when you say that what do you mean by that? Was there
14 anything there that was against the laws and customs of war, something
15 that was inappropriate for civilians, or was it inappropriate in some
16 other way?
17 A. It was inappropriate as far as the people who were being trained
18 is concerned. We were not used to jumping out of vehicles; for example,
19 a driver would be driving a Land Rover and you would be forced to jump
20 out while it was going at the speed of 30 to 40 kilometres an hour.
21 People were not used to that and they got hurt. This is what I meant.
22 Q. And those of you who went through police regular training and
23 training in the JNA, did you learn anything new while undergoing this
24 training with Captain Dragan? Something that was not taught during
25 regular police or army training.
1 A. I mentioned before that I was a member of a special unit in Sinj
2 and in Zadar, so we did have all of this training before. Everything --
3 I was a sniper by training in these special units. That was my
4 specialty. I went to a training course for a month which was organised
5 by instructors of the special police forces in Zagreb. The first course
6 of training was in Cakovec, it's a town in northern Croatia. The second
7 training course was in Potkonje, in the area of Lika. And this special
8 unit of ours was well-equipped. We had double uniforms. We were paid
9 more than regular members. We had Hecklers with silencers, machine-guns,
10 sniper rifles. We had chemical tear-gas bombs and other devices.
11 Q. Thank you. Mr. Opacic, all of these things that you just told us
12 has to do with the training that you had before war broke out -- this was
13 in Zagreb in the Croatian police; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, that's right.
15 Q. Mr. Opacic, can you please tell me, when Captain Dragan came, did
16 anything change in the position of Mr. Dragan Karna?
17 A. Well, he remained in the post of commander of that unit, even
18 though I had a conflict with Karna because of an attitude towards members
19 of these other police units, from Obrovac, Benkovac. I had a problem
20 with his attitude towards those people, but we worked it out.
21 Q. You say that you spent 20 days in training. Did I understand you
22 correctly, to be counting these 20 days from the point in time when
23 Captain Dragan came?
24 A. Yes, 20 days because Captain Dragan saw that we knew all of these
25 things and so there was no need for us to stay there for a long time in
1 training, to waste time with us.
2 Q. And do you know how long Captain Dragan was conducting this
3 training in Golubic?
4 A. I think it was until his conflict with Mile Martic. Perhaps this
5 was until July or August. I think it was in July. I cannot remember
6 exactly, but I know that there was a conflict between Martic and him and
7 that Martic expelled him from Knin.
8 Q. Are you able to tell me who sent you to Golubic? How did you get
9 to this unit of Dragan Karna and stay for this training by
10 Captain Dragan?
11 A. This was an order by the minister of interior of SAO Krajina.
12 Martic issued an order to all the police stations, such as Benkovac,
13 Obrovac, Gracac of the SAO Krajina, to send all of these members who had
14 completed the training, who were younger, who had been working in those
15 police branches to be sent to Knin for the special unit to be formed --
16 actually, for special units in Golubic which had already been trained and
17 had undergone training.
18 Q. And what you're saying now, is that a decision of Mr. Martic
19 before Captain Dragan came or not?
20 A. This was his decision that pre-dated the arrival of
21 Captain Dragan. I came to Golubic based on that decision.
22 Q. And do you know when Captain Dragan came and conducted the
23 training? How long did the people who were going under -- undergoing
24 training keep arriving to Golubic?
25 A. Well, there weren't really -- the conditions there weren't all
1 that great. These huts -- the conditions were not great. Everything was
2 outdated and dilapidated. And people really couldn't stay there that
4 Q. Are you able to tell me, did anybody else come with
5 Captain Dragan to give the training?
6 A. We called him Marko Irac, he came with him. We didn't know his
7 last name. His name was Marko Irac. He was together with
8 Captain Dragan. They went to France together, in Africa. That's what
9 the stories were. He was blonde with freckles, short hair. That's what
10 I recall.
11 Q. Just for the transcript, when you say "Marko Irac," is he a
12 citizen of Serbia or the former Yugoslavia, or did he come from some
13 other place?
14 A. Well, he was a foreigner. He was Irish. They told me that he
15 was from Ireland.
16 Q. Thank you, Mr. Opacic. Can you please tell me, after you
17 completed the training that lasted for 20 days, did you learn anything in
18 this training which you and your colleagues did not know until then?
19 A. My colleagues and I knew all of these things already. All the
20 things that were part of the training we already knew. There was no need
21 for us to go through the training at all. There was no point in it.
22 Q. Tell us when it was that you completed your training,
23 approximately, and where you went next?
24 A. It was somewhere on the 5th or 6th of June. We went back to the
25 Benkovac police station and resumed our policing duties.
1 Q. When you say your policing duties, do you mean the patrolling
2 duties that you had performed before?
3 A. That's correct. However, since we were also a special unit - and
4 that was the practice that was continued on from our time in Croatia -
5 whenever we were off duty we had to report our whereabouts to the duty
6 officer so that if an incident emerged or if there was a brawl, if there
7 was an incursion by terrorist groups, we would be able to get activated
9 Q. Before we leave Golubic to discuss other issues, tell us, during
10 your time in Golubic did you receive a salary, and if so, from whom?
11 A. We received our pay from the Knin SUP.
12 Q. Do you know who was responsible for ensuring that this, let's
13 call it camp, at Golubic was properly run in terms of having meals, the
14 necessary equipment, materiel, and assets, if you know?
15 A. Well, it was the ministry -- or, I mean the
16 Ministry of the Interior in Knin and of the government of SAO Krajina.
17 There were also individuals who raised funds. They were like private
18 donations that they would give to the Ministry of the Interior and they
19 would use some of these funds to pay out salaries.
20 Q. Do you know who Dragan Karna talked to, to organise the
21 activities at Golubic?
22 A. I think it must have been Milan Martic because nothing could be
23 done without his knowledge.
24 Q. Did you observe any changes in terms of organisation as
25 Captain Dragan arrived or not?
1 A. Well, as far as I was concerned, nothing changed.
2 Q. Aside from training activities and instructors activities, did
3 Captain Dragan get engaged in anything else?
4 A. Well, yes. There was this one action that he didn't take part
5 in, really. No. He devised the whole action and then we carried it out.
6 Q. So, save for the training and the action at Ljubovo you say he
7 planned, did you notice that Captain Dragan was engaged in any other
8 activities as far as Golubic was concerned, the Ministry of the Interior,
9 the Territorial Defence and anything else?
10 A. Captain Dragan went about promoting himself extensively over the
11 media. He talked a great deal. I think he was an eccentric. He had a
12 high profile among the media. I didn't listen to what he had to say,
13 really. He was extensively covered by the newspapers. He was engaged in
14 self-promotion, really.
15 Q. A day after -- or, rather, following his activities in the
16 training courses, this action, and his media appearances, did you observe
17 him doing anything else?
18 A. No. Aside from the training course intended for the police force
19 and the reserve force at Golubic, nothing else.
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Opacic. You said that in early June of 1991, you
21 resumed your earlier regular policing duties in Benkovac. Who was your
22 superior during your time in the public security station in Benkovac?
23 A. It was Chief Bosko --
24 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear the name, properly.
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Can you tell us how long --
2 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Bakrac, I am stopping you
3 here for just a second. The interpreters did not hear the name of the
4 witness's superior while he was in the public security of Benkovac.
5 Could you please ask him to repeat.
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will
7 repeat it, and the witness himself heard it.
8 Q. Can you please slowly repeat the first and last name of your
9 superior in the Benkovac police station.
10 A. Bosko Drazic was the chief of the Benkovac police station.
11 Q. Mr. Opacic, did you leave the police force in Benkovac at some
12 point? And if so, when?
13 A. I left the Benkovac police force in late July because I clashed
14 with Mile Martic. My colleagues who stayed behind in Croatia - in other
15 words, stayed on the side of the Croatian police - signed an oath of
16 loyalty, agreed to using the chequer-board symbol, and once these
17 individuals were also chased out of police stations, they crossed over
18 and came to join us in the Krajina. They were given jobs, although I
19 opposed to working with individuals who, had they not been chased away by
20 the Croats, would always have stayed there - in other words, they joined
21 us because they were forced to - whereas Mile Martic rewarded them by
22 giving them the same sort of jobs they had in the Croatian police
24 Q. Mr. Opacic, when you say that you left the police force, did this
25 mean that you simply left or you asked that your employment be
1 terminated? How did this come about?
2 A. I simply walked out of the police station. I didn't want to be a
3 part of them any more. I didn't write any letters, any applications. I
4 didn't feel that I needed to. I simply walked out of the police station
5 and joined the Territorial Defence.
6 Q. If my understanding is correct, Mr. Opacic, all of this happened
7 in late July of 1991; is that right?
8 A. That's right. That's right.
9 Q. Mr. Opacic --
10 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Or rather, Your Honours, can we now
11 look at P1212. The page is 9 in English.
12 Q. Mr. Opacic, this is a lengthy document. I will summarise it for
13 you, and you'll tell us if you had occasion to look at the document
14 during proofing. You'll also tell me now, for Their Honours and for the
15 record, what your comments on this document are. The title of this
16 document which has 11 pages is, "The Public Security Station in
17 Benkovac." The disposition of posts in view of a new restructuring of
18 the public security station in Benkovac.
19 So we start with the various specialist service sectors,
20 villages, and the individuals listed. The document doesn't have either a
21 signature or a stamp, but it reads at the end that it was produced in
22 Benkovac on the 18th of October, 1991.
23 On page 9, under the Roman numeral III, it reads:
24 "Special unit numbering 14 members."
25 Under 1, we can read:
1 "Goran Opacic."
2 Do you recall me showing this document to you during proofing and
3 reading it out for you?
4 A. Yes, I do remember.
5 Q. Sir, tell me, mention is made here of some sort of a new
6 organisation or structure of the 18th of October, 1991, and a special
7 unit mentioned where, under 1, you're listed. In October of 1991, were
8 you a member of the special police of the Benkovac police station?
9 A. Well, you see, this does not reflect the truth at all and it can
10 easily be checked in the archives of the secretariat of defence, because
11 on the 2nd of October I took part in the action of disarming the Croatian
12 population in Nadin. Already by that time I was a scout working for the
13 Territorial Defence. So that was already the case in October.
14 What was the date of the document again? The 18th or --
15 Q. The 18th of October, 1991.
16 A. This is not true at all. This may have been the case at the
17 beginning of that year and then somebody simply copied the data onto this
18 document. I left the police force in late July and transferred to the
19 Territorial Defence. It was impossible for me to be both on the police
20 and in the Territorial Defence.
21 Q. Mr. Opacic, I will ask my learned friend Mr. Groome. I don't
22 think the document is under seal. Mr. Opacic, I will read this out for
23 you, and these are names, and you will tell me if you were a member of a
24 special unit with these people and if you know them:
25 "Nikola Tintor, Sasa Matic, Jovo Uzelac, Milan Veselinovic,
1 Ilija Vitas, Gojko Calic, Bozo Koncarevic, Dusko Tintor, Milos Rnjak,
2 Bozo Miljkovic, Dusan Kresovic, Cedo Zecevic, and Zdravko Trkulja."
3 Were you together with these individuals ever a special unit of
4 the SJB Benkovac?
5 A. All these individuals you mentioned were with me working for the
6 police station in Benkovac until I left the police force together with
7 Dusan Kresovic. Again, that was in late July. Secondly, these
8 individuals were with me in Golubic, too, during the time of
9 Captain Dragan -- or, rather, before his time and during his time there.
10 Q. I do understand where you say that you were with them in Golubic
11 before Captain Dragan was there, but then you also said that
12 Dusan Kresovic and you left this unit. What my question was, was if this
13 was ever a special unit of any sort?
14 A. Well, this was no special unit. They were people -- for
15 instance, Zecevic was assistant commander of the police station. We were
16 never a special unit to speak of in the sense of going on intervention
17 missions or something like that. And I was never in any of the actions
18 together with these people save for Dusan Kresovic.
19 Q. You say that it was only Dusan Kresovic who was with you. Now as
20 for the individual under 14, Zdravko Trkulja. What was his duty in the
21 police station?
22 A. I think he was the crime scene officer.
23 Q. Mr. Opacic, let us look at a different document now. It was
24 disclosed to us by the OTP.
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] It's 2D1214. Your Honours, the
1 document is currently being translated. What we need, however, is only
2 the last page. There is a list of authorised officials there who worked
3 in the Benkovac public security station.
4 Q. Mr. Opacic, this is what the text reads. The first three names
5 are interesting. Yours is first:
6 "Goran Opacic started on the 20th of February, 1991. On the
7 31st of October, 1991, transferred to the army."
8 Let's stop here and let's ask you if this is true because you
9 denied what the previous document said. Perhaps you can explain this.
10 A. Well, of course, the first date of the 20th is correct. That's
11 when I was in the police. But the second date is not true in so far that
12 I did not transfer to the army but to the Territorial Defence. It had
13 never crossed my mind to join the army. In fact, the army would imply
14 the JNA, and I was never in the JNA. I didn't want to. I didn't want to
15 join that army. Instead, I was a member of the Territorial Defence as a
16 scout under the immediate command of Zoran Laci. This is something that
17 you can check, if you can find their archives or their files. There was
18 six or seven of us, scouts, and we were on their payroll.
19 Q. You said under the direct of command of Zoran. Can you repeat
20 the name?
21 A. Zoran Laci. He was the commander of the Territorial Defence for
22 the municipality of Benkovac.
23 Q. Tell me, sir, the date of the 31st of October, 1991, is it
24 correct? And if not, can you tell us why not and why would this document
25 contain this date?
1 A. I don't know why the document reads this. My brother,
2 Zoran Opacic, joined the army. I definitely did not. This is not true
3 at all.
4 Q. Zoran Opacic is under 2 here. It reads for him that he started
5 on the 2nd of March, 1991, and was there until the
6 30th of September, 1991, when he joined the army.
7 A. That is true.
8 Q. And then from the 21st --
9 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Bakrac, I don't think we have
10 the right document on the screen. My Serbian is not really great lately,
11 but, nevertheless, I am under the impression that what we see here does
12 not correspond to what you are saying.
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise because I
14 said -- because the document has a lot of pages. It's still being
15 translated, and I am looking at the last page which contains the list of
16 names and dates, so I would just like to look at the last page of this
17 document. I apologise, Your Honour, for not noticing that on the screen.
18 The title is, "List of authorised officers who worked at the
19 Public Security Station in Benkovac." There is no date.
20 Q. Mr. Opacic, this is what I am interested in. Can you please just
21 focus on my question. For Kresovic, Dusan, you say that he transferred
22 to the TO together with you. On this list he's under number 3. It
23 starts that he began on the 27th of February, 1991, and that he was at
24 the Benkovac public security station until the 30th of November, 1991; is
25 that correct?
1 A. No, that is not correct, because Dusan Kresovic left the police
2 force at the same time as I did.
3 Q. Thank you. Thank you Mr. Opacic. If I understood you correctly,
4 when in late July you transferred from the public security station in
5 Benkovac, you went to the Territorial Defence; is that right? And which
6 units did you -- which unit did you transfer to in the TO?
7 A. I went to the reconnaissance squad at the TO staff, and it was
8 under the personal command of Zoran Laci.
9 Q. Are you able to tell us how many men were there in this squad?
10 A. Six to seven people, that was the core, and then there would be
11 some other members joining from time to time who would leave.
12 Q. Are you able to tell us, at the time when you moved to the TO,
13 what force was the TO part of?
14 A. Well, it was part of the army. I suppose the Territorial Defence
15 was part of the army. I didn't want to join the army, but I did want to
16 go to the TO because it was all people who were from our area; people
17 that you could trust, that means.
18 Q. Mr. Opacic, Zoran Lakic, the commander of the Benkovac TO, who
19 did he get his orders from, if you know?
20 A. Well, he worked in agreement with the commander of the
21 180th Brigade in Benkovac. Cecovic, I assume --
22 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch did last sentence
23 by the witness.
24 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. And as part of the activities of the JNA, as a member of the TO,
1 did you go into any action after you joined the TO?
2 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Bakrac, I just have to
3 interrupt you for one tiny second. The interpreters did not understand
4 the end of the last answer of the witness.
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Mr. Opacic, would you please be kind enough to repeat in your
7 answer to my question if you knew from whom witness Zoran Lakic was
8 receiving orders from?
9 A. He had to co-operate narrowly with the commander of the
10 180th Brigade, Cecovic, Trivko Cecovic.
11 Q. If I may help, I'm just going to repeat to check that I heard you
12 correctly. Tripko Cecovic; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, correct.
14 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, perhaps we will listen
15 to it later because we don't want to lose time on that.
16 Q. Mr. Opacic, in early October 1991, as a member of the TO, did you
17 go into action with any unit of the Yugoslav People's Army?
18 A. There was a decision made about working in co-ordination with the
19 JNA, meaning the 180th Brigade. There was the Benkovac road, a highway
20 leading to the airport. And there was a village there where there was
21 constant fire on vehicles going down that road. Korlat, Biljane Gornje,
22 Biljane Donje, Crljuge were -- and Zemunik Gornji were all hit by mortar
23 fire. And then there was a decision made for an action in which I
24 participated to disarm these people who were firing at Serb settlements
25 and on the highway who were firing at military or civilian vehicles.
1 Q. And how did this action end? What happened?
2 A. A platoon of the intervention unit, under the command of
3 Slavko Draca, undertook that. We received two tanks and cruise from the
4 180th Brigade, but mostly it was our men from the reserve forces who were
5 there. In this operation -- during this operation, one tank tripped a
6 mine and the other tank, with me, Slavko Draca, and the rest of us who
7 were on the other side of Glavica, we carried out our assignment
8 successfully and we entered the Brzoja Varos village in the tank. A
9 member of the forces, Boro Strbac, who belonged to the reconnaissance
10 unit, was killed in combat with these Croats.
11 What happened was that we managed to get there but the other ones
12 couldn't get through because their tank hit a mine and there were people
13 who were injured. At that point in time we were surrounded and exposed
14 to fire by the enemy. We put up a defence and we asked Zoran Laci to
15 call the military police company to help us. They were located in the
16 Benkovac barracks and they were under the command of Major Ristic and
17 Captain Milivoj Ostojic.
18 So what happened next was that instead of coming to help us
19 straight away, they took this military police company to the firing range
20 in Glisici [phoen] and we waited for five hours for them to come and help
21 us to get ourselves -- extricate ourselves from this situation. It took
22 them a long time to come.
23 Q. And how did you understand this, that you had to wait for help
24 for so long from members of the 180th Brigade?
25 A. I understood that as a betrayal, that they wanted as many of us
1 to get killed as possible so that we would not present ourselves anymore
2 as any kind of military formation because they wanted us to break apart
3 because we would not accept to be under their command.
4 Q. Are you able to tell us how this event in Nadin reflected on the
5 your relations with the Yugoslav People's Army?
6 A. Well the relations were bad anyway, but this was a culmination.
7 I understood this to be a betrayal and that in a sly way they he worked
8 for us to come to harm.
9 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not understand what the
10 witness said.
11 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Opacic. It's time for a break. I am looking at
13 the clock.
14 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Yes, very good idea. But just
15 before the break, I would like to ask you to ask the witness to repeat.
16 The interpreters did not understand what he just said, the very last
17 answer. Maybe you could put the question to him again.
18 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
19 Q. Mr. Opacic, just for the transcript so that your words would be
20 recorded properly in the transcript, I asked you how this event in Nadin
21 reflected on your relations with the Yugoslav People's Army?
22 A. It was very bad. It was an act of betrayal, as if they wanted to
23 liquidate me in a perfidious way, without directly participating but by
24 allowing us to be exposed to fire. And for them to go to target practice
25 while we are out there losing our lives, you understand, and they went to
1 target practice and didn't want to come, and that was only 6 kilometres
2 away from the Benkovac barracks. Did you understand me now?
3 Q. Yes, yes, I did. It's clear now. Thank you, Mr. Opacic.
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think that this
5 would be a good time for a break.
6 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well. And then after the
7 break, Mr. Bakrac, please let us know what you intend to do with the
8 documents that you showed to the Tribunal. I don't know if you want to
9 have them admitted?
10 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I am not mistaken,
11 perhaps I did not refer to all three documents. No, I'm sorry. The
12 first two documents have already been admitted, D117 and P1212, but 2D,
13 the last document, I am going to just tender pending the translation.
14 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] And the last one? So if I
15 understand you correctly, you would like to have this document admitted
16 and you would like it to get an MFI number; is that correct?
17 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. We did not manage
18 to obtain a complete translation but we hope to do that as soon as
20 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well.
21 Yes, Mr. Groome.
22 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, can I ask that we reserve any objection
23 we might have until we are able to read the document once the translation
24 comes in. So if it's being marked for identification then it's -- that
25 it's not simply about the translation.
1 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very good. It will be MFI'd for
2 the two-above mentioned reasons.
3 Madam Registrar.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Document 2D1214 will receive number D765,
5 Your Honours.
6 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] MFI, very good. So we will
7 resume at five minutes past 4.00.
8 --- Recess taken at 3.35 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 4.06 p.m.
10 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] I would like to mention that the
11 witness got the authorisation not to stand up. He doesn't have to rise
12 because there are many different cables around him, so he doesn't have to
14 Mr. Bakrac, you may continue.
15 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. Mr. Opacic, before the break we talked about the misunderstanding
17 you had with the army, if I can put it that mildly. This is my question:
18 Did the JNA commence certain operations in early October to lift the
19 blockade of its barracks, and if so, do you know where?
20 A. In Zadar and Sibenik. I am sure about Zadar, though. There were
21 three or four barracks there.
22 Q. In the course of the operation to lift the blockade of the
23 barracks, were there attempts made to capture Skabrnja?
24 A. Well, was it in November that an attack was mounted on Skabrnja
25 in order to neutralise the Croatian army that was stationed in Skabrnja.
1 Q. Can you briefly describe for us the strategic importance of
2 gaining control over Skabrnja? How many troops were there in Skabrnja,
3 approximately, and what were their activities?
4 A. Well, I can't tell you exactly how many there were there. There
5 were Skabrnja and Nadin, and there were two elevation points there which
6 provided good vantage points. They kept on placing in danger, from these
7 two vantage points, the road leading to the Zemunik airport, as well as
8 the road leading from Benkovac, Biljane Gornje, Smijocici [phoen]. They
9 fired from 120-millimetre mortars, for the most part. The main road
10 passed along these two villages and they opened fire on the road from
11 Nadinska Glavica elevation from infantry weapons. There were quite a lot
12 of casualties. Civilians would also get killed from mortar shells that
13 they fired.
14 Q. In November of 1991, did there come a time when you received
15 information of an attack being prepared on Skabrnja, and if so, who did
16 you learn it from?
17 A. Well, you see, when the day of the attack came, I didn't know
18 that we were about to attack that location. It was on the eve, the
19 evening before, that I received an order from my commander, Zoran Laci,
20 that I should take a reconnaissance squad, complete with some five or six
21 extra men, so there was the total of 12 of us, and that with a tank we
22 should take Razina Glava [as interpreted] feature before the attack
23 itself, which was supposed to take place from the Zemunik Gornji and then
24 proceed toward the east, and that this was supposed to be carried out by
25 the JNA forces.
1 Q. Can you tell us -- do you know which forces were supposed to take
2 part on the attack on Skabrnja?
3 A. It was a company of the military police, I believe. There was
4 also the army there with APCs, that much I know. As for the rest, there
5 were Territorial Defence members and some policemen. There were there as
6 infantry men.
7 Q. Do you know Aco Draca?
8 A. Yes, I do. He was the head of the state security in Benkovac.
9 Q. A day before the attack on Skabrnja, did you happen to see
10 Aco Draca in Benkovac?
11 A. After hearing there Zoran Laci that an attack was to take place
12 on Skabrnja the following morning, I met up with Draca because the TO
13 staff had an office upstairs where there was an office of the state
14 security of Benkovac as well. The police had their premises there as
15 well as the court in Belgrade [as interpreted]. I spoke who Aco Braca
16 about this, and following the negative experience from Nadin I was afraid
17 that the army might set us a trap again with a view to having us killed
18 during the action. It was with great reluctance that I set off on that
20 Q. Mr. Opacic, let us clarify or correct the transcript. You said
21 that the premises of the police were right next to the premises of the
22 court in?
23 A. Benkovac.
24 Q. You don't have to go on explaining because what was entered in
25 the transcript was "the court in Belgrade."
1 A. No, no. Benkovac.
2 Q. Thank you, sir. You were just telling us what you were
3 discussing with Draca. When were supposed to set off on this assignment
4 you received from Draca?
5 A. I was supposed to be on the location at 5.00, and my operation
6 was scheduled to commence at 6.00. The same applied to the others. It
7 was synchronised.
8 Q. Did you join this assignment that you received from Zoran Lakic
9 after all?
10 A. Well, you see, we got to Biljane Donje, this was our starting
11 point, and from there we went in the direction of Skabrnja and
12 Razina Glava feature. Tanks were there, they were supposed to provide
13 support to us. We were supposed to capture Razovljeva Glava because it
14 was a dominant feature. And once this was taken, we would be in control
15 of the area. I agreed with the tank crew that the 12 of us would go
16 ahead and should there be any land-mines in the area, we had an explosive
17 specialist. We came across several mines, but they -- we managed to
18 clear the area of them. We were some 800 metres away from
19 Razovljeva Glava at that point. We got into a brushwood and fanned out,
20 and at that point the tanks made a U-turn and went away. I was surprised
21 by this development. I went back to one of the tank crew and he told me
22 that their orders were to go back to the starting point and stay there.
23 I immediately told the man that this was a betrayal. We said
24 that we would no longer be part of this. We got into a car. We went to
25 Biljane Donje, I abandoned my position and went to Benkovac. This was
1 roughly 7.00 in the morning by that point. I spent the day in Benkovac.
2 I think I even encountered Aco Draca and I told him what had happened up
3 to that point.
4 Q. Let's make this completely clear. If I understand you correctly,
5 you set off from the starting point to?
6 A. Razovljeva Glava.
7 Q. Please wait for me to put the question to you. You set off from
8 the starting point, and 100 metres into your journey the tanks turned
9 around and at that point you aborted your mission; is that right?
10 A. Yes. I was indignant. I decided to abort the action. I didn't
11 want what happened in Nadin to happen to me the second time around. I
12 felt that we were being left in the lurch. I simply did not trust them.
13 Q. If you recall, can you tell us who was with you at the time? Can
14 you give us a few names of those who were your group?
15 A. Razic [as interpreted], Visic, Medak, Djokic, Rujak. We even had
16 a journalist from Tanjug with us who took photographs of us.
17 Q. Thank you, Mr. Opacic. Did you go back to Skabrnja or Nadin that
18 same day or the day after? Did you go back to the area where there was
19 fighting or did you never go back again?
20 A. You see, there was fighting going on in Skabrnja for one day
21 only. The next day I went to the village of Rujakova Kosa [phoen] in the
22 vicinity there and there was nobody there. It was deserted.
23 Q. When you say you went there, you went to Nadinska Glavica feature
24 and there was no fighting going on any more?
25 A. There were no combat activities going on on the following day.
1 Besides, the army didn't even participate in the action on the second
2 day. You see, there was fighting going on in Skabrnja on the first day;
3 whereas, on the second day, both the population and the army left, and
4 there was nobody there.
5 Q. Mr. Opacic --
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can we look at P1208
8 Q. Mr. Opacic, while we're waiting for Their Honours and our learned
9 friends to see the document, I will tell you that it is one of the
10 documents we reviewed during your proofing. It's a document of the
11 180th Motorised Brigade. It was the security officer
12 Major Bratislav Ristic who wrote a note on the 27th of November, 1991.
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Can we have the last page, which is
14 page 5 in English and page 3 in B/C/S.
15 Q. While we're waiting for Their Honours to review this, I will read
16 out the explanation. It is a report on the killings of the civilians in
17 Skabrnja. It is stated that on the 25th of December 1991 this security
18 organ apparently got in touch with a collaborator who had some
19 information about the killings of civilians in Skabrnja. And he goes on
20 to say that he got the following information from this collaborator.
21 "Goran Opacic came here today (a member of the special unit of
22 the SJB Benkovac). In front of all of us in the office, he talked of how
23 there were killings of civilians mostly women and old men in Skabrnja.
24 Volunteer Chetnik, known as Jaro Jare (originally from the village of
25 Prebilovac in Herzegovina) and his friend from the same unit, a man
1 called Ljubisa, were practically prominent in these killings."
2 Let me stop here and ask you is this: On the 25th of December,
3 1991, were you a member of the special unit of the Benkovac SJB at all?
4 A. No, I was a member of the Territorial Defence.
5 Q. Did you discuss with anyone in the office or elsewhere the issue
6 of there having been civilians killed, women and elderly?
7 A. That's a pure fabrication. How would I be discussing something
8 that I did not witness or participate in? It was common knowledge in
9 Benkovac that I did not participate in this at all.
10 Q. And do you know this Major Branislav Ristic?
11 A. I do.
12 Q. And were you on good terms with him?
13 A. No, we did not get on very well.
14 Q. Why?
15 A. Because he -- I told you about the first attack in Nadin when he
16 sent the military police company to target practice instead of sending
17 them to help us. He sent them to the village of Listic [phoen] to target
18 practice, and that military police company was directly under his control
19 and under control of Major Ostojic. And so we considered them to be
20 traitors and war profiteers and cowards because of that.
21 Q. Mr. Opacic, before we finish with this document, it states here
22 as well that a certain Zoric -- Zoric, who was somewhere in the JTO, went
23 around the town showing a bag full of human ears, and he entered the
24 Seven [phoen] cafe bar and provocatively called the waitress to show her
25 a dirty glass and when she came, he showed her a glass in which there was
1 a human ear. This event with Zoric in the cafe, is that something that
2 you know about?
3 A. No, there is no way. This is pure fabrication. There is no way
4 anything like that could have happened. These are just pure lies.
5 Q. Sir, Mr. Opacic, did Major Ristic ever come to see you, ask you
6 or members of the unit who were there with you, did he ever try to talk
7 to you about any of these things?
8 A. No, never.
9 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can we look at the
10 next document, please. This document was from the
11 27th of November, 1991. And the next document is P1209. And we are
12 going to look at the first page.
13 Q. And while we are waiting, just this. Mr. Opacic, when you --
14 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Bakrac, while we wait for the
15 document to be called up, I can see it now, how much longer will you be
16 needing? You have told us that you need approximately an hour and a half
17 for the examination-in-chief of the witness. I believe that the hour and
18 a half are up.
19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if nothing else, I have
20 made a bad time estimate here. I do apologise. I discussed this with my
21 colleagues from the Prosecution. Of course, you are the ones who decide
22 on the time, but my learned friend Mr. Groome has said that he would back
23 me up in my request for a little bit of additional time because as I have
24 already said of my tendency to make bad estimates. But I believe that I
25 could finish within the next 20 minutes to half an hour, if you allow me.
1 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Jordash.
2 MR. JORDASH: Perhaps I can save Mr. Groome and back Mr. Bakrac
3 up myself. I will only need around 10 to 15 minutes, so if that assists.
4 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Groome.
5 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, the Prosecution estimates that it will
6 use three hours. I expressed some concern with Mr. Bakrac because there
7 were over 50 documents noticed to the prosecution that he would deal
8 with. And it seemed to me that after the first session we had hardly
9 made our way through it. But he is correct, I would not object to
10 whatever the Chamber thinks is fair. I believe it's the only witness
11 this week. I believe it's a rather important witness so whatever the
12 Chamber thinks is fair.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Go ahead, Mr. Bakrac. The
15 Chamber is allowing you to continue for 20 more minutes. You got your 20
16 more minutes.
17 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you, Your Honour.
18 And I apologise once again for my bad estimate.
19 Q. Sir, Mr. Opacic, Ostojic, Milivoj, he's the superior of the
20 security organ, and we are looking at the official note of the
21 8th of March, 1992, so this is almost three months or more after this
22 event. I am going to draw the Chamber's attention to the end of the
23 first page. We will start at the bottom of the page. So where we have
24 now Milivoj Ostojic of the security organ on the topic of Skabrnja, and
25 he says the following --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could the interpreters please have the English
2 text on the screen.
3 MR. BAKRAC: [No interpretation]
4 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] There seems to be no
5 interpretation in any language whatsoever.
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is Exhibit P1209.
7 I think that you have it.
8 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Yes, very good. I think we have
9 it. Indeed, yes, we have it here.
10 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Mr. Opacic, in this official note by Ostojic, what it says now is
12 that Gnjidic was the one who was showing -- actually, earlier we saw
13 Ristic saying that Zoric was showing this ear to the waitress and put it
14 in the glass, and, now three months later, we see that Ostojic is writing
15 that it is actually Gnjidic in a cafe showed an ear to a waitress,
16 keeping it in a glass while telling her that the glass was dirty. Do you
17 know about this event, that Gnjidic was showing any ear in a cafe
19 A. I don't know this Gnjidic at all. I never seen him or heard of
20 him. This Gnjidic was never in the unit with me. I don't know. Perhaps
21 it's Zoric. It's Gnjidic. Perhaps they know who it is but I don't. But
22 I think that this has nothing to do with anything.
23 Q. Mr. Opacic, I need to finish in the next 20 minutes or so, so I
24 would just kindly ask you to focus on answering my questions. Thank you
25 for your answer. We are now going to go back to the second paragraph
1 which says that:
2 "Volunteers from Serbia were killing in the village of Skabrnja
3 while Opacic's group, according to unverified information, carried out
4 the murder of the Odzakovic family members, Odzakovic the boxer, in the
5 village of Nadin, and killed three prisoners in the villages of Skabrnja
6 and the village of Smiljcic."
7 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] In the English, it's the end of the
8 first and beginning of the second page, Your Honour.
9 Q. Can you please tell us whether this is true.
10 A. This is a pure lie. For as long as I was in the war until the
11 time I was wounded, it never happened that we struck a civilian, never
12 mind that we killed anyone. I never saw this village of Odzakovic. I
13 know about the village but I've never been there. I've never been to
14 Skabrnja, so I don't know about the civilians there.
15 Q. Mr. Opacic, this Major Milivoj Ostojic, did he ever discuss this
16 incident with you, did he ever take a statement from you, or did he try
17 to check with you or any of your associates any of these allegations
19 A. No, never.
20 Q. And is this that same Ostojic for whom you said because of the
21 events in Nadin that he and Ristic were war profiteers and traitors?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did the military security service ever submit any charges against
24 you for the allegations that I've read to you?
25 A. No. Neither the military nor the state security service ever
1 submitted any criminal reports about this, anything like that. Nobody
2 ever called me about that. I never saw anything like that. This is
3 only, you understand, with them. There was state security service. They
4 also had information. They knew who it was and what was going on. I
5 mean, this was something that went on parallel.
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Opacic. Can you please tells whether volunteers
7 from Serbia were ever under your command, any volunteer from Serbia?
8 A. No, never.
9 Q. Mr. Opacic, how long did you spend in this TO formation, until
11 A. Until the UNPROFOR came, and then we were disbanded. We were on
12 stand by for a while and then everybody went home. Once the UNPROFOR
13 came, there were no more combat actions. There was no more need for
14 anybody to be engaged. I was a free civilian again.
15 Q. Can you please tell us when this was?
16 A. Well, I don't know, but I think it was about a month after the
17 UNPROFOR arrived.
18 Q. And what year is that?
19 A. This is 1992, I think, if I am not mistaken.
20 Q. And at what point in time in 1992 were you engaged in any
21 actions, and, if you were, which action was this and who deployed you
23 A. I was there in the action to break through the corridor. The
24 police from Benkovac was engaged in trying to break through the corridor,
25 but I was a free civilian at the time and guys were supposed to
1 assemble -- people were out in the field for 15 days and they needed to
2 be replaced, so the commander in Benkovac said to me that we needed to
3 find some other guys, get together, and to go and relieve the guys who
4 were deployed in the action to breakthrough the corridor.
5 We went there and we were placed under the command of
6 Milan Martic, and we completed our action successfully. And after that
7 we returned home.
8 Q. When you returned home, did you join any unit, any formation, and
9 if so, when?
10 A. No, I didn't join any formation. When I returned from the action
11 in the corridor, I was in the office of Momcilo Bogunovic when the
12 weapons and the equipment was being returned, the vehicles and so on.
13 And then General Boro Djukic called, and he said, I don't want to see
14 Opacic and his men in any formation. That is what he said, "in any
16 Q. All right. Let me just stop you here so that I could put a
17 couple more important questions to you so that we use the time that we
18 have. Momcilo Bogunovic, what was he at the time, and who was
19 Boro Djukic at the time?
20 A. Boro Djukic I think was in Knin. He was the main security
21 person, a commander of the police over there, perhaps the army there.
22 The officers who were there in the JNA, they moved then -- they
23 transferred to the Krajina police force then. I think that he was a
24 commander. I don't know exactly what he was. But since he was the main
25 security person at the time in the Knin Corps area -- Boro Djukic, that's
1 what he was, he was the number one security person in that area, as far
2 as I know.
3 Q. What about Mr. Momcilo Bogunovic, what about him?
4 A. Mr. Momcilo Bogunovic followed Cecovic. He was the commander of
5 the Benkovac barracks. When the Krajina police went there after the
6 UNPROFOR came, the army went to Serbia and the officers who were from our
7 area, who were securing that area, they stayed in the barracks.
8 Q. When the Army of the Republic of the Serbian Krajina was
9 established after, as you said, UNPROFOR arrived, the army -- the JNA
10 left, and the military transferred into the police for a time. And then
11 after a certain period of time, did -- was the Army of the Serbian
12 Krajina, was it established?
13 A. In late 1991, November or something, I cannot remember, the chief
14 of the police, Slobodan Vojko, who was in Benkovac, and Momcilo Bogunovic
15 stopped me on the street in Benkovac, and they told me, Goran, you are
16 enjoying a good reputation among the people as a fighter from the front,
17 and you have to join either the army or the police. You cannot just
18 stand on the sidelines. And since I was in the police, the former JNA
19 officers had left, so then I decided to join the police. The
20 92nd Brigade, the military police in Benkovac, whenever it was
22 Q. Can you please tell us when this was?
23 A. This was in late 1992, early 1993. I think it was December 1992.
24 I'm sorry. I don't know exactly the dates. It could have been November
25 or December in any event.
1 Q. Sir, thank you very much. Can you please just tell us this: At
2 one point were you wounded, and if you were, just briefly tell us when
3 and how did this happen?
4 A. There was an aggression by the Croatian formations. This was on
5 the 22nd of January. Although we were under the protection of the
6 United Nations they attacked us, and it seems that on the 22nd early in
7 the morning we were attacked. The UNPROFOR did not let us pull our
8 weapons out. And then at 6.00 in the morning --
9 Q. Mr. Opacic, please. We don't need all the information about the
10 action itself. We are short of time. You are -- when you say that you
11 are talking about the 22nd of January --
12 A. It was the 22nd of January at 5.00 a.m.
13 Q. And if I understood you correctly your eyes were injured and you
14 had to go for treatment?
15 A. Yes, I was shot in both eyes and I was blind for three months
17 Q. Now I would like to hear two things from you: When was it that
18 you saw Mr. Franko Simatovic for the first time?
19 A. As far as I can remember, I saw Franko Simatovic perhaps once or
20 twice. Once in front of the police station in Knin. He sported Ray-Ban
21 glasses and he drove a red car with Belgrade registration plates. As far
22 as I can remember, I asked people who he was and they told me that he was
23 a security person from Belgrade, from Serbia.
24 Q. When you say that it was in Knin, when was that? What year? Can
25 you tell us what month?
1 A. It was in 1991 and I believe that it was either in June or some
2 time around there.
3 Q. Did he wear a uniform or was he in civilian clothes?
4 A. He was in -- wearing civilian clothes.
5 Q. And his car, was that a passenger car or was that a police jeep?
6 A. It was a red passenger car. I don't know of what make, but it
7 was a normal passenger car.
8 Q. After that, did you ever see Mr. Simatovic again?
9 A. No.
10 Q. And did you see Mr. Simatovic in 1997 during a ceremony of some
12 A. Yes. I saw him at the celebration of the special operation at
14 Q. Mr. Opacic, could you please tell us whether you were ever a
15 member of the MUP of the Republic of Serbia or its state security?
16 A. I was never a member of the state security of Serbia. I helped
17 Zoran Rajic when he was setting up JSOs. Our lads who were there were to
18 become members, and I helped Zoran Rajic with the training. He asked me
19 to draw up the plan of the training of those new members.
20 Q. Sir, let us just correct something. If I understood you
21 properly, in 1991 you saw Franko Simatovic in Knin, as you have described
22 for us; and then in 1997, where did you see him?
23 A. At Kula.
24 Q. How did you find yourself there? Did you participate in that
25 ceremony at Kula?
1 A. Zoran Rajic invited me, and my brother, Milos Opacic, was a
2 member of the special operations unit, and Rajic is my family friend. He
3 invited me the attend the celebration of that unit, and the lads that
4 attended also hailed from my region. I knew them from before. They were
5 linked to the unit. They were members of that unit, and I --
6 Q. Did you go to that celebration in civilian clothes?
7 A. I arrived at that celebration wearing civilian clothes and that's
8 how I returned, but there was a little surprise in store for me there.
9 When we arrived there, I saw my old comrades, Svetozar Nakarada, Subotic,
10 Zika Jovanovic, Olujic, Dula Orlovic, who was the head of security in
11 Krajina. And there was a surprise in store for us. They told me
12 personally that we had to put uniforms on because President Milosevic was
13 supposed to arrive. We want to display you as war veterans. And from
14 Zika Jovanovic bestowed -- bestowed on me the rank of colonel. And then
15 I returned the uniform and the rank. So I was a colonel for about two or
16 three hours, until the moment the ceremony ended.
17 Q. And before that ceremony, did you ever see Rajo Bozovic or
18 Milorad Ulemek or Vaso Mijovic?
19 A. Vaso Mijovic and Radojica Bozovic, I saw them for the first time.
20 I knew Ziko Milovic [phoen], and I knew of Milorad Ulemek. He was
21 Arkan's Men, and I didn't know him. I only heard of him and read about
22 him. And he came to our region in 1993 when an attack was mounted on
23 Ravni Kotari and the Maslenica bridge.
24 Q. Mr. Opacic, I am bringing my examination to an end. My time is
25 running out. Kindly tell me again, did you ever, from 1990 up to the
1 ceremony which took place in 1997 or even perhaps until today, were you
2 ever an employee, an active duty employee or reserve duty employee, of
3 the MUP of Serbia or the state security of Serbia?
4 A. What year? From 1990 until?
5 Q. Until today.
6 A. I don't know what you imply by that. I was preparing those lads
7 for service. I drafted a plan for their deployment. And if you want to
8 consider that as me being a member of that unit, then that is something
9 else, but I was never a member of the state security. Never.
10 Q. When you say that you were helping Zoran Rajic in drafting a plan
11 and programme, what year was that?
12 A. That was in 1996 and 1997 when our lads who had arrived from
13 Krajina and who were considered candidates to join that unit for special
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Opacic.
16 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] With your leave, Your Honours, I
17 would like to look at one document, 2D1213, and then I would end with
19 Q. Mr. Opacic, when you were wounded on the 22nd of January, 1993,
20 you were supposed to go abroad for a surgery; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did you receive any aid or assistance for that surgery? And if
23 that was the case, who did that come from?
24 A. I was operated twice in Belgium, in Antwerpen, by
25 Relja Zivojinovic, and both of the operations were paid for by the
1 government of the Republic of Serbian Krajina.
2 Q. Did you provide us with a government decision dated 30 May 1993
3 where it says that the -- Djordje Bjegovic, the prime minister of the
4 RSK, approved an amount of 10.000 German marks for your eye surgery?
5 A. Yes.
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, at this moment I would
7 like to tender 2D1213.
8 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation]
9 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, if we could have until after the next
10 break to discuss perhaps with Mr. Bakrac just some information about this
11 document. It's -- we are unfamiliar with it, and then I'll state our
13 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] This will been be admitted
14 provisionally and marked for identification.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Document 2D213 will received number D716,
16 Your Honours.
17 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Marked for identification.
18 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Thank you
19 for giving me a -- some additional time. And once again I apologise for
20 my bad estimate, and these were all the questions I had for the witness.
21 Q. Thank you, Mr. Opacic.
22 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you Mr. Bakrac.
23 Mr. Jordash.
24 Mr. Opacic, now you will be examined by Mr. Jordash, he who
25 represents Mr. Stanisic in this case.
1 MR. JORDASH: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Cross-examination by Mr. Jordash:
3 Q. Good afternoon.
4 A. Good afternoon.
5 Q. I don't have many questions for you, maybe ten minutes or so.
6 And I want to, in the ten minutes or so, just ask you about some evidence
7 which was heard at the ICTY. First of all, I don't know if you're aware
8 but Zoran Lakic gave evidence in the Martic case. Were you aware of
10 A. No.
11 Q. Let me ask you about something he said and see if you have
12 comments about it. This is evidence given on the --
13 MR. JORDASH: There seems to be some problem.
14 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Actually, we can hear some music
15 being played and there is also a telephone that rings?
16 MR. JORDASH: Probably preferable to me.
17 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Now it's a bit calmer. We can go
19 MR. JORDASH:
20 Q. Can you hear me, Mr. Witness?
21 A. Yes, I can. Yes.
22 Q. Okay. I am going to just ask you if you can comment on some
23 testimony that Lakic gave in the Martic case, on the
24 27th of October, 2006, at page 10224. And he was discussing the
25 operation this Skabrnja, and I want to ask you if you agree or not with
1 some of his comments. Are you with me?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Page 10224, Lakic said that the operation was launched against
4 Skabrnja "with the sole aim of convincing the Croatian forces with
5 peaceful means to allow the pullout of the technical -- of the military
6 technical equipment smoothly and that was the sole reason behind the
8 Was that your understanding of the object of the operation?
9 A. I don't know. I believe that what Lakic said was correct, but
10 there were also attacks mounted by the Croatian forces from the same
11 place, and that was the main reason why things had to be done. I am sure
12 that they did not allow for the weapons to be pulled out. They opened
13 fire on those villages and actually threatened the roads leading to those
15 Q. Thank you. Some more testimony that he gave. Page 10247. He's
16 asked the question at line 11:
17 "Do you accept the possibility that members of the SAO Krajina
18 police were present in the village before you arrived?"
19 He answered:
20 "I do not accept that for the simple reason that I know they were
21 not active. Well, I know I wasn't along the axis of attack. That's
22 true. However, the unit -- or, rather, I should say, police force,
23 police patrols carried out those duties that were envisaged under the
24 plan involving the peace agreement. They weren't there when I was there,
25 nor were they there before on that axis."
1 Do you agree with Mr. Lakic that the SAO Krajina police were not
2 part of the Skabrnja operation?
3 A. The SAO Krajina police? I never met them. There were military
4 police and the members of the police there, from Benkovac.
5 Q. The question is more direct than that, Mr. Opacic.
6 A. In that sector, I --
7 Q. Go ahead, finish your comment about the sector.
8 A. I don't know what units participated in all of that. I know that
9 there were members of the military police -- or perhaps not the military
10 police or some military. Lieutenant Stanojevic actually got killed there
11 in Skabrnja.
12 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Groome.
13 MR. GROOME: Thank you, Your Honour. If I might inquire. It
14 seems that Mr. Jordash is reading from a transcript of another trial that
15 hasn't been tendered in this case. So my query is: Is it his intention
16 to impeach this witness with some evidence from another trial, or is he
17 laying foundation to ultimately tender this testimony? It's unclear to
18 me exactly the exercise we are undergoing at the moment.
19 MR. JORDASH: Well, it's certainly not laying the foundation to
20 introduce the evidence. It's really just to ask the witness about the
21 evidence given by Lakic and see what he has to say about it, which is, as
22 I understand it, consistent with what we have been doing during this
23 trial, including what Ms. Marcus did last week when putting to a witness
24 what other individuals had said at trials at the ICTY or what other
25 witnesses had said to the Prosecution in interviews held by the
1 Prosecution, which in many ways is a much less satisfactory mode of
2 examination in my submission.
3 MR. GROOME: It's not so much the procedure that I am objecting
4 to, it's the purpose of it. Is it -- it seems to me that there are two
5 traditional reasons for doing so: One is to refresh a witness's
6 recollection, and I don't believe we have exhausted the witness's
7 recollection at this stage; or, typically to impeach a witness, to
8 suggest that perhaps their evidence is in error in some regard. I am
9 just simply not sure what exactly is being done now by introducing or
10 reading the transcript of a case that's not in evidence in this trial.
11 MR. JORDASH: Well, I am asking the witness about -- as I have
12 just said, I am asking the witness about the evidence and asking him what
13 his view is and whether he agrees with it or not. If he doesn't agree
14 with it and I --
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Are you asking me?
16 MR. JORDASH: No.
17 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] No, Witness.
18 MR. JORDASH: If he doesn't agree with it and it's part of our
19 case, then I will then take the next step and impeach him. And, that's
20 going to be a bit clearer in a moment because the witness gives a very
21 clear indication that this witness wasn't present at Skabrnja but gives a
22 different reason than what the witness has given.
23 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, I accept Mr. Jordash's representation
24 and withdraw my objection. Sorry.
25 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well, Mr. Jordash. You may
2 MR. JORDASH: Thank you, Your Honours.
3 Q. Mr. Opacic, could you answer the question I put to you, which
4 was: Do you accept that the SAO Krajina police were not part of the
5 operation in Skabrnja?
6 A. I can't say yes or no. I wasn't there. I was not fully aware of
7 the situation.
8 Q. Okay. Fair enough. Let me ask you about another comment
9 Mr. Lakic made. Lakic says at page 10258 on the 27th of October, 2006,
10 line 9:
11 "To the best of my knowledge, a group, this Opacic's group, as
12 it's called, certainly didn't take part in Skabrnja. I know at that at
13 the time" --
14 Let me start that again:
15 "... I know that at the time he was in Benkovac or, rather,
16 outside the territory. And I say that with full responsibility because I
17 happened to meet him myself, personally, when I was returning in the
18 evening. And I know he didn't take part at all. Not only did he not
19 take part, he could not have taken part."
20 And then he goes on to say, on the same page:
21 "Opacic was a professional policeman in the Croatian police, and
22 as such -- well, that was his profession. He didn't have a group in any
23 formal legal sense. He didn't have a unit. He didn't have a group. He
24 didn't have a formation of that kind."
25 And then further down the page:
1 "He didn't take part in any operations that are being ascribed to
2 him like the one in Skabrnja. I know that for certain because later on
3 the police organs and the entire investigation and the results of it had
4 to be sent to the commanders of the JNA. We had to report back to them."
5 Did you have anything to do with this investigation, or were you
6 aware of the results of the investigation sent to the commanders of the
8 A. I had nothing whatsoever to do with that. I did go to see him --
9 actually, I was under his direct command. I stand by my statement that I
10 already provided. I was supposed to take the elevation in Skabrnja but
11 that means that I adhere by the same answer I provided in the previous
12 statement. I was never in Skabrnja. I never participated in the
13 operation there. I was supposed to participate but I did not and that
14 was for the reason that I have already explained today.
15 Q. He then goes on to say, Mr. Opacic, at page 10263, when asked
16 about -- well, let me put the question that was asked to him:
17 "Did you hear anything about Goran Opacic bragging about killing
18 civilians in Skabrnja? Did you ever hear anything about that?"
19 And he answers:
20 "I know Goran Opacic personally. This sort of bragging on his
21 part is nothing new. He tried to oversell himself as a hero, but in
22 actual fact he fled. He took to the hills whenever a situation was
23 dangerous. In the opinion of the JNA soldiers, he was an average
24 soldier, but one who was prone to telling stories. But I wish to say
25 that he wasn't a member of the SUP Benkovac. He was a lone fighter."
1 Mr. Opacic, is there any truth in that? Is that the reason you
2 didn't take part in Skabrnja, because you fled?
3 A. It's a lie. It's a lie. I didn't flee. I didn't want to
4 participate in that operation. And when it came to the civilians, that
5 had nothing whatsoever to do with that. That's a lie, a fabrication. He
6 lies that I was not there. I received salary from the
7 Territorial Defence staff in Benkovac. I was issued weapons from them,
8 as well.
9 Q. Okay. Thank you. No further questions.
10 MR. JORDASH: Thank you, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Jordash.
12 Mr. Groome, may I ask you -- I believe that it's a good moment to
13 take a break, but before that, I would like to ask you how much time will
14 you need to examine the witness?
15 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, we had originally given notice of three
16 hours. I think it may be less than that, but I think I will be able to
17 give a more accurate -- after I have had an opportunity to go through my
18 notes, but in any case it will not be more than three hours.
19 And may I suggest that during the break perhaps we check with the
20 witness about his medical condition. It is clear that I will finish
21 tomorrow morning, so if there is some medical problem that the witness --
22 that Mr. Bakrac referred to, perhaps that should be explored during the
24 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] First of all, we are going to
25 contact our Registrar in Belgrade and ask them whether it is possible
1 to -- for the witness to travel tomorrow afternoon. I think it should be
3 We shall take a break now, and we will start at quarter to 6.00.
4 --- Recess taken at 5.12 p.m.
5 --- On resuming at 5.46 p.m.
6 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Opacic, you will now be
7 cross-examined by Mr. Groome, who's the Prosecutor.
8 Mr. Groome.
9 MR. GROOME: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Your Honour, before I start, in the last session I had asked to
11 have an opportunity over the break to consider our position with respect
12 to D7 -- sorry, D766, marked for identification. I have done that and
13 the Prosecution has no objection to the admission of this document.
14 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well. D766 will be
16 Cross-examination by Mr. Groome:
17 Q. Mr. Opacic, I want to be sure that we have a very clear
18 understanding of your professional biography, and perhaps most
19 significant for the Prosecution is if and when you worked for the state
20 security department of the Serbian MUP. Do you, yourself, consider that
21 you worked for the State Security Service?
22 A. Well, if you think that my helping Rajic prepare the lads who
23 were over at our place to become members of the special operations unit,
24 if that you consider to be co-operation with the state security.
25 Q. It's not important what I think. What I am simply asking you is:
1 While you were doing that, did you, yourself, consider that you were a
2 member of the State Security Service? It seems by the way that you
3 answered my question that you did not believe you were a member.
4 A. No. No, I wasn't.
5 Q. Now can I ask you to please give us some more detail about this
6 assistance that you provided to your friend, Zoran Rajic. Can you tell
7 us with as much precision as possible when it was?
8 A. Well, you see, Zoran Rajic helped me out when in 1995 my brother
9 and I, who lived in Loznica after having fled, we were called by him to a
10 place called Ilok in eastern Slavonia. He invited us to go and settle
11 there because there were vacant houses there. We were also told that a
12 unit of some sorts was going to be set up to defend eastern Slavonia.
13 After having spent a month or two at Loznica, we moved to Ilok.
14 Zoran Rajic, who was the commander of that unit, kept me listed as a
15 member of that unit, although I was unable to do anything since I was
16 disabled by that point. Still, I was listed to be a member of that unit
17 in eastern Slavonia. There were roughly a hundred families who relocated
18 to Ilok at that time. They were all individuals who had fled the
20 Q. Was this first -- the time that you moved to Loznica, was the
21 conflict still ongoing in 1995 or was this after the conflict had ended?
22 A. You mean from Ilok or at the point when the republic of the
23 Serbian Krajina fell? What do you mean? I am not clear in your
24 question. What's the time-period you are referring to?
25 Q. Perhaps more simply, are you able to tell us the month in 1995
1 that you made this move?
2 A. You mean the move to Ilok? Well, when the Krajina fell; in other
3 words, on the 5th, or perhaps it may have been the 10th or the 11th. I
4 don't know how long the journey took. At any rate, it was the month of
5 August when the Krajina fell. We settled in a place called Brnjac, my
6 brother Milos and I, together with my wife and child and my parents.
7 Q. Now you've said that Zoran Rajic helped you out by placing you on
8 a list of a unit. Can I --
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. -- ask you, who did you believe Zoran Rajic was working for at
11 that time?
12 A. I thought that he worked for the Krajina security. I knew him at
13 the time as a member of the Krajina security. I got to know him back in
14 1990 or 1991.
15 Q. And do you know that because you told you that's who he worked
16 for, or do you have that from another source?
17 A. I know him personally from the time of the road blocks. So our
18 acquaintance lasted through to the war, and it was only in 1996 that he
19 told me that he worked for the security of Serbia.
20 Q. And when he told you that he worked for the security of Serbia,
21 did he tell you when he fist began to work for the security of Serbia?
22 A. Well, in 1996.
23 Q. Now, what was the purpose of putting you on a list of members of
24 a unit that you say you, in fact, were not a member of?
25 A. Well, you see, after I fled the Krajina, I had no means of
1 livelihood, either I, my wife, I had a child with her and she was
2 pregnant, or my parents. So I was in a hopeless situation. Since we had
3 been friends from 1990, he listed me as a member of that unit so that I
4 would be able to receive funds on that basis and have something to
5 sustain my family on. Secondly, he also took me along to the Tara river.
6 He could have taken along anyone if he wished to, to train that
7 particular unit. But he took me. Besides, this unit - and I will never
8 forget this - they all gave up or forfeited their salaries and raised
9 thousands of German marks in order for me to settle my housing problems,
10 even though they, too, were refugees, didn't have a place to stay and had
11 to feed their families, but I was in a precarious position.
12 Q. Sir, would I be incorrect in characterising this as a fraud. As
13 you representing and receiving payment for service to a unit that you, in
14 fact, did not render service to?
15 A. I was on the payroll, although I was not a member of the unit
16 formally -- or, rather, formally I was but not in actual fact. I was
17 wasn't present there. Zoran Rajic would bring along my salary, but I
18 wasn't an actual member of the unit.
19 Q. I want to be sure that we are speaking about the same person when
20 you refer to Zoran Rajic, so can I ask that you be shown 65 ter 6428.
21 MR. GROOME: And to the Registrar down below in Belgrade, it is
22 tab 40 in the binder that we provided.
23 Q. And sir, I am going to ask you to take a look at this photograph
24 and then tell us two things: First, can you tell us whether it's clear
25 enough for you to be able to reliable identify the two people in the
1 picture. And then, if you can, tell us if you recognise them.
2 A. This is Captain Dragan. And I believe this is Zoran Rajic.
3 MR. GROOME: Your Honour --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't see it clearly, but I do
5 believe that that is him. Yes. Captain Dragan and Zoran Rajic.
6 MR. GROOME:
7 Q. Are you able to see with any clarity the uniforms that they are
8 wearing? And if so, can you tell us whether you recognise them and where
9 are they from?
10 A. No, I can't see them clearly. Sorry?
11 Q. Thank you.
12 A. I didn't understand.
13 Q. If you cannot see them clearly, I wouldn't want to ask you any
14 further questions about them.
15 MR. GROOME: So, Your Honour, at this time the Prosecution
16 tenders 65 ter 6428, the photograph the witness was just shown.
17 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Jordash.
18 MR. JORDASH: I am not sure the purpose, really. There is no
19 dispute that we are talking about the same Zoran Rajic.
20 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Was that why you wanted to show
21 him that photo, to make sure that it's the same Zoran Rajic?
22 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour. I am advised that it's not that
23 uncommon a name.
24 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Bakrac.
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I would like to add this: Could my
1 learned friend, Mr. Groome, tell us the date when the photograph was
2 taken? We don't have that information.
3 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] I am not sure that it's really
4 relevant to know when the photo was taken. If the only reason for which
5 this picture is tendered is to make sure that it's the same Zoran Rajic
6 as the one that we see on the photo with Captain Dragan, the objection,
7 in fact, is slightly irrelevant.
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Then I withdraw my request if that
9 is the only reason. I apologise, my comment has to do with the uniforms,
10 but the witness did say that he was unable to comment on them anyway.
11 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Jordash, let's not dwell too
12 long on this problem. It doesn't seem to be such -- very serious
13 problem, is it?
14 MR. JORDASH: No, but I can see -- just to back up Mr. Bakrac, I
15 can see the Prosecution waiving this photograph in the future and saying,
16 Look at how great friends they were, and look how this connects Rajic,
17 Dragan and the accused. I can see that --
18 MR. GROOME: If I give Mr. Jordash my assurance that I will never
19 claim that they are great friends, will he withdraw his objection?
20 MR. JORDASH: No, I won't.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well. The objection is
23 overruled. The photo will be admitted into evidence.
24 Madam Registrar, under what Exhibit.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Document 6428 will receive number P3098,
1 Your Honours.
2 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well. So P -- I am not sure
3 that the number is the right number, the number in the transcript.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Number P3098.
5 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well. P3098 is admitted
6 into evidence.
7 MR. GROOME:
8 Q. Mr. Opacic, I am going to ask you that you look at one other
9 photo. It is 65 ter 1180.3, and is a photograph from a still of P2160, a
10 video that is in evidence. I believe it has just been sent down and
12 MR. GROOME: So the Registrar will find it in the document that
13 he received over the break.
14 THE REGISTRAR: [Via videolink] With all due respect, Mr. Groome,
15 this 65 ter is 1180.3, as indicated, as far as I understand.
16 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar in Belgrade, your
17 intervention has not been recorded, but it is the right photo, indeed, is
19 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour. If I could ask the that the
20 witness be given an opportunity hold it and examine it.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not clear on who is here.
22 MR. GROOME:
23 Q. If you're unable to, with any degree of reliability, identify the
24 people, then I'd ask you not to do so. But if you think you can, then
25 please do.
1 A. I cannot recognise anyone.
2 Q. Can I ask: Is that because you are unable to see the picture
3 clearly enough because of your eyesight; or you can see it clearly. You
4 simply do not recognise any of these people?
5 A. I can't see or recognise anyone because it's all very hazy. I
6 can't see a clear image of anyone.
7 Q. Okay. Then let's leave it there. I will investigate whether we
8 can send down a clearer picture.
9 Now, if we could return to the work that you did for Mr. Rajic, I
10 believe you said in 1996/1997, and that was the plan for deployment,
11 could I ask you to tell us with as much precision as possible when you
12 began that assistance or when you first gave that assistance?
13 A. You mean the fitness training and all that? Well, I was involved
14 in that back at Golubici under the command of Dragan Karne.
15 I had prepared physical fitness course for our
16 members --
17 THE INTERPRETER: And the interpreter didn't hear the last bit
18 the witness said.
19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours --
20 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] We have a few problems. First of
21 all, the interpreter did not quite understand what the witness just said.
22 And Mr. Bakrac, you wanted to say something?
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. In line 11, it
24 was misinterpreted what the witness said. The witness mentioned a
25 different name, that he was involved in a fitness training programme in
1 Golubic under the command of ...
2 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness please repeat? We didn't hear
3 what he said, the first name.
4 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Opacic, could you please
5 repeat very slowly and clearly the name of the person, please.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Under the command of Dragan Karna,
7 that was when I arrived in Golubic and I was working with the lads who
8 were there. That was back in 1991 in late April. And then I continued
9 all the way to the point when I left Golubic.
10 MR. GROOME:
11 Q. Sir, I'm in fact--
12 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 MR. GROOME:
14 Q. Sir, I'm in fact drawing your attention to another period of
15 time. You mentioned in your testimony earlier today that you assisted
16 Zoran Rajic by drafting a plan for deployment of the JSO in either 1996
17 or 1997. Do you recall giving that evidence earlier today?
18 A. That's not how I put it. I said that I helped him out with the
19 plan for the physical fitness programme of the candidates for the JSO,
20 and that was in 1996 and 1997.
21 Q. So do I understand you correctly that the only assistance that
22 you gave Mr. Rajic was helping him develop a plan for improving the
23 physical fitness of the candidates for the JSO?
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. How long did it take you to develop that plan?
1 A. Well, it didn't take long for me to do that. When it comes to
2 physical fitness programmes, I was an expert and I didn't require more
3 than a few days for that.
4 Q. And where did you --
5 A. I had to think of some machines that would be used with weights,
6 et cetera.
7 Q. And where did you do this work?
8 A. I did that on mount Tara near Bajina Basta in the hotel called
10 Q. And during the course of this work, did you ever visit the Kula
11 centre, the Rade Kostic centre, to look at the facilities that were
13 A. No. That was the work I did at Tara only, whereas I visited Kula
14 only on the occasion of that particular celebration. And Rajic was there
15 as well. And I had never been at Kula either before or after, although
16 my brother worked there.
17 Q. Were you paid for this work?
18 A. I did say that I received some sort of remuneration for it, and I
19 did say that the other men forfeited some of their pay in order that I
20 may be able to acquire for myself, my wife and my child, and in 1997 my
21 other daughter was born. They raised basically to 20.000 German marks
22 and that required them to forfeit their -- one of their monthly pays to
23 raise that amount of money.
24 Q. So, sir, is it your evidence that you were -- you received 20.000
25 Deutschmarks as compensation for having spent a couple of days developing
1 a physical training course? Is that your evidence?
2 A. No, no. That is not my evidence. I did receive my regular pay,
3 whereas this was just a humanitarian action on their part. Because I had
4 been wounded and my sight was ruined, they raised this money for me for
5 humanitarian purposes. I didn't get 20 German marks in exchange for my
6 work on preparing this fitness plan. That would have been ludicrous.
7 Q. Can we simply focus on the payment for the fitness plan. Do you
8 remember how you were paid? And if you remember, how much you were paid?
9 A. Well it was in dinars, but I can tell you that it was the
10 equivalent of 800 German marks.
11 Q. And did you receive that from Mr. Rajic or from someone else?
12 A. I received the money from Mr. Rajic himself.
13 Q. Now if we can return to the first time you saw Mr. Simatovic.
14 Can I ask you again, with as much precision as possible, to tell us the
15 month and year that you recall seeing him?
16 A. I did tell you this once already. I saw Mr. Simatovic outside of
17 the police station, if I remember correctly. I am not sure where I saw
18 him the second time, but I am sure that the first time I saw him was
19 outside the police station in Knin. He drove a red car, a passenger car,
20 with Belgrade license plates. I asked the people around who this was and
21 they told me that he was a security guy from Serbia.
22 Q. And the -- are you able to tell us how much time approximately
23 elapsed between the first time you saw him in the Knin area and the
24 second time?
25 A. I suppose that it was some three days later that I saw him.
1 Perhaps he was in his car or passing through Knin. I can't be sure about
3 Q. Did you speak to him on either occasion?
4 A. I had never spoken to him. Not until I came to attend the
5 celebration when that -- there was a review of that unit in 1997.
6 Q. Now, Mr. Bakrac has referred to a video, P61, of that
7 celebration. Can you tell us -- we know what's on the video, can you
8 tell us, did you have any interaction with Mr. Simatovic that we -- was
9 not filmed? Did you have any conversation with him? Did you discuss any
10 topics with him on the day that you were in the Kula centre?
11 A. When the celebration ended, there was a memorial museum there
12 where various artefacts were exhibited and that was where we exchanged a
13 few words.
14 Q. And what did you talk about, if you recall?
15 A. Well, not much. He asked about my health. He had heard that I
16 was wounded so he wanted to know how I was fairing and where I was
18 Q. And approximately how long did you speak with him at this time?
19 A. A minute or two, perhaps. There was commotion. He had many
20 other obligations. There was the President Milosevic there with the
21 entire delegation. He didn't have time to talk to me. We -- it's not
22 like we had been socialising from before.
23 Q. So do I understand your evidence correctly that the entire
24 interaction that you have had over the course of your life with
25 Mr. Simatovic is the one minute where you exchanged some conversation in
1 Kula in 1997? Do I understand your evidence correctly?
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. Now, can I ask you questions in a similar vein with respect to
4 Mr. Stanisic. Have you ever had over the course of your life any
5 personal direct interaction with Mr. Stanisic?
6 A. Only at the point when he handed over some sort of a gift to me
7 at this celebration. It was a knife for the sacrifice that I gave during
8 the war. That was the once. And then I saw him on TV -- actually, I
9 heard about it when UNPROFOR was in Bosnia and that whole affair, and
10 that was when he appeared in public. Other than that, you couldn't see
11 him easily.
12 Q. So is it your evidence that the only direct interaction you have
13 ever had with Mr. Stanisic is when he gave you a gift of a knife in Kula
14 in 1997?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. You still maintain that you are not a member of the state
17 security special units; correct?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Were other people who were not members of the State
20 Security Service also given gifts during the ceremony in Kula in 1997?
21 A. I can't remember who the recipients were.
22 Q. I want to ask you a few questions and clarify some of your
23 answers that you gave to Mr. Bakrac during your direct evidence. I want
24 to return to the point where you were speaking about your special unit.
25 And it's at transcript page 13 today. You said the following:
1 "And this special unit of ours was well-equipped. We had double
2 uniforms. We were paid more than regular members. We had Hecklers with
3 silencers, machine-guns, sniper rifles. We had chemical tear-gas bombs
4 and other devices."
5 My question to you is: First, how did the equipment you have
6 compare to the equipment in the possession of other Territorial Defence
7 units and the newly formed police stations or police personnel?
8 A. You must have misunderstood me. I spoke about the time when I
9 was a member of the police during the existence of the state of the
10 Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. I was a member of the
11 special units of the MUP of Croatia in Zadar and Sinj and that is what I
12 referred to. You must have misunderstood me.
13 Q. Obviously I have. Thank you for correcting me.
14 Now another -- other evidence you gave earlier today relates to a
15 decision of Mr. Martic, and the question was:
16 "And what you're saying now, is that a decision of Mr. Martic
17 before Captain Dragan came or not?"
18 And your answer was:
19 "This was his decision that pre-dated the arrival of
20 Captain Dragan. I came to Golubic based on that decision."
21 My question to you is: What do you know about that decision?
22 Can you tell us what you understood that decision to contain?
23 A. Well, you see, in 1991 when Plitvice was attacked, we wanted to
24 form a serious unit composed of police members, and that's when Martic
25 sent a dispatch to the Benkovac SUP, Obrovac [Realtime transcript read in
1 error "Obudovac"], Gracac, Knin, Lapac SUPs, and invited all those who
2 had left their previous police stations in Croatia to join. And they all
3 came to the Republic of the Serbian Krajina, or to be more precise the
4 SAO Krajina. This means that we gathered there pursuant to his order in
5 order to establish that unit which would be able to intervene at any
6 given moment.
7 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Bakrac.
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise for
9 interrupting. Just to avoid confusion. In the transcript after
10 "Benkovac" I am reading "Obudovac," which is not what the witness said.
11 Could he be invited to repeat what he said after the Benkovac SUP?
12 That's on line 20.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The police station that belonged to
14 the municipal organs of the interior in Benkovac, not in Obudovac. I did
15 not say Obudovac.
16 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Opacic, you mentioned a few
17 places. You talked about the SUP of Benkovac and then you also mentioned
18 Obudovac and Gracac and Knin.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Obrovac. Obrovac.
20 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. This is
21 exactly what we wanted to know.
22 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters kindly ask the witness to come
23 closer to the microphone. Thank you.
24 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Witness, the interpreters are
25 requesting that you speak closer to the microphone, please.
1 MR. GROOME:
2 Q. Sir, Obudovac is not a place that has been mentioned frequently
3 in this trial. Can I ask you to spell it so we can be sure that we have
4 the correct spelling on the record.
5 A. Obrovac. O-b-r-o-v-a-c.
6 Q. Thank you. Now today at transcript page 17, you spoke about
7 Captain Dragan and you expressed your opinion that you thought he was
8 eccentric, that he was promoting himself extensively over the media, and
9 that you didn't listen to what he had to say really.
10 My question to you is: To the extent you heard statements made
11 by Captain Dragan, did you consider the statements to be truthful and
12 accurate about whatever the matter was that Captain Dragan was
14 A. Captain Dragan used to exaggerate everything. He bragged a lot.
15 He used to brag about himself to make himself more -- as popular as
16 possible with journalists, with the media, with television journalists.
17 Q. Can you give us a concrete example, if you recall, of an example
18 where he exaggerated something that you knew not to be accurate?
19 A. He talked about Knindza, about their capabilities. That's what
20 he made up, Knindza, portraying them as invincible warriors and stupid
21 things like that. He was the one who Knindza. Some wolves, some bears,
22 I don't know.
23 Q. So is it your evidence that he was describing units that did not
24 exist, or he was attributing to some units that did exist qualities that
25 they did not possess?
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. Is it -- I expressed two possibilities. Are you saying that both
3 are correct, that he both invented units that did not exist and
4 attributed false characteristics to ones that did?
5 A. There were -- there were units, they existed, but he attributed
6 to them those qualities that they did not possess.
7 Q. Now today at transcript pages 29 to 30, you were talking about
8 Skabrnja and Nadin, and you described two elevation points that provided
9 good vantage points. Have I correctly understood your evidence to be
10 that these vantage points were controlled by Croat force and the object
11 was to take those vantage points from the Croat forces?
12 A. Those were Naviskovo Glavica [as interpreted] and Razanovo Glava
13 [as interpreted]. They were both held by the Croat forces.
14 Q. Am I correct in my understanding that both of these locations are
15 outside the town centre -- centres of both Skabrnja and Nadin?
16 A. Razanovo Glava, as far as I can remember, is between
17 Donje Biljane village and Skabrnja, to the north of Skabrnja in the
18 direction of Donje Biljane; maybe 2- or 300 metres from Skabrnja and over
19 perhaps 400 metres from Skabrnja, and about 800 metres from the other
20 village. And the Nadinska Glavica is west of Nadin -- actually, Nadin is
21 on its western slopes and Rujakova Kosa is on its other side, on its
22 northern side. Again, the latter village is on the slopes of this
23 Nadinska Glavica hill.
24 MR. GROOME: Could I ask the Registrar down in Belgrade to look
25 at tab 1 of the binder provided by the Prosecution. This is a copy of
2 Q. And sir, this is a map. Again I would ask you to look at it.
3 And if you think after looking at it that you can reliably mark the
4 location of Razovljeva Glava and Nadinska Glavica, then tell me and then
5 I will instruct you further on how I'd ask you to mark the map.
6 MR. GROOME: And perhaps it might assist those of us here if we
7 can display P41 in court so that we can see what the witness is looking
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's very difficult for me to see
10 those elevations. I can't find them.
11 MR. GROOME: With the permission of the Court, could I ask that
12 the witness be allowed to hold onto the map overnight to see if perhaps
13 he is able -- with some time able to study it. It's an unmarked map of
14 P41 of the Skabrnja area.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think I have got it. I think
16 that this is Razovljeva Glava. This is Razovljeva Glava, but I don't
17 know where Nadinska Glavica is. I believe that I have found
18 Razovljeva Glava, but I am still looking for Nadinska Glavica and I am
19 still unable to find it.
20 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Groome, is this in dispute,
21 the fact that those villages are on the map? I can see it if I look at
22 the map. And if I blow it up on my screen I can see them.
23 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, I apologise. I did not explore this
24 with my colleagues on the Defence, but if they agree that the two
25 elevations that were held by Croat forces were outside the town centres
1 of both Skabrnja and Nadin, then there is no need to proceed any further.
2 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Maybe it's going a little too
3 far, don't you think, to conclude it that way because you are asking him
4 to pin-point on a map places that are there?
5 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour, but I think that perhaps we can
6 rely just on the markings of the map. From looking at the map it's not
7 clear exactly how large those areas are, but perhaps we will deal with
8 that in another way.
9 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] You know, even if he says where
10 these places are, it doesn't necessarily mean that those were the places
11 where the Croat forces were.
12 MR. GROOME: That's true, Your Honour. I was simply trying to
13 clarify his evidence about where they were. His evidence earlier today
14 was that they were on --
15 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand. But as you
16 can see it's a little difficult.
17 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour. I withdraw those questions. And
18 there is no need for the witness to work with the map any longer.
19 Q. Sir, if I can now go to something that you gave in your -- some
20 evidence that you gave in your direct testimony in response to a question
21 that you were asked by Mr. Bakrac. It's at transcript page 18.
22 Mr. Bakrac said:
23 "Mr. Opacic, when you say that you left the police force, did
24 this mean that you simply left or you asked that your employment be
25 terminated? How did this come about?"
1 You said:
2 "I simply walked out of the police station. I didn't want to be
3 part of them anymore. I didn't write any letters, any applications."
4 My question to you is: Did you consider that you had abandoned
5 your post?
6 A. I knew that as soon as I left I would never return. There was
7 nobody to write to in order to get permission. I left the police of my
8 own will, to put it that way, very simply.
9 Q. Now a little later or shortly after you gave that evidence, you
10 were discussing your relationship to the command of the JNA, and you said
11 the following at transcript page 26.
13 "And how did you understand this, that you had to wait for help
14 for so long from members of the 180th Brigade?"
16 "I understood that as betrayal, that they wanted as many of us to
17 get killed as possible so that we would not present ourselves anymore as
18 a kind of military formation because they wanted us to break apart
19 because we would not accept to be under their command."
20 Now I want to focus in on the last portion of your answer. When
21 did you express to members of the 180th Brigade that you and your men
22 would not accept to be under their command?
23 A. You certainly meant 180th, not 108th. That's the first thing I
24 would like to mention. I did not have any contacts with them.
25 Q. So how would they have known that you would not accept to be
1 under their command?
2 A. They knew it because I did not -- you see, I did not sport a
3 five-pointed star on my forehead. I sported the insignia of a cross with
4 four Ss and then the Serbian "sajkaca," hat, the Nemanjic's hat. And
5 they didn't like that. It was contrary to what they believed in. And I
6 am sure that you will be able to find photos depicting me wearing those
8 Q. So is it true that you, in fact, did not accept to be under the
9 command of the 180th Brigade of the JNA?
10 A. I never wanted to be under their command.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please be instructed to
12 remove his hand from his mouth. Thank you.
13 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Witness, could you please try not
14 to put your hand in front of your mouth. Thank you.
15 MR. GROOME:
16 Q. So, sir, let me ask you then the next question: If you didn't
17 want to be under the command of the police, and you did not accept the
18 command of the army, who did you -- did you consider yourself to be under
19 the command of anyone?
20 A. I was under the command of Zoran Laci in the Territorial Defence.
21 Q. So it's your evidence that you are --
22 A. I reported to him.
23 Q. In the Territorial Defence, in a time of conflict, comes under
24 the command of the army, does it not?
25 A. Officially, the Territorial Defence was under the command of the
1 military. But the military was composed of the officers who belong to
2 the Albanians, as well as the Croats, Bosniak Muslims, and the Serbs.
3 That was the composition of the command cadre. Whereas the
4 Territorial Defence units were composed of the local officers from
5 Benkovac and the region, which means that the officers were locals. I
6 did not want to be commanded by some Albanian or some Croat or some
7 Muslim. I did not want them to lead me into an operation against the
8 Croatian Armed Forces or some such force. I didn't want to accept that.
9 Q. Now if I can turn our attention to your time in Golubic. During
10 the time you were in Golubic, did your brothers Milos and Zoran also
11 participate in the training at that time?
12 A. My brother Milos was in the military in 1991, which means that he
13 was discharged in 1992. He was a member of the Guards Brigade in
14 Belgrade. My brother Zoran was an artillery man.
15 Q. And were either of your --
16 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Witness, once again you're
17 covering your mouth with your hand, and so it's a bit difficult to hear
19 MR. GROOME:
20 Q. Was either of your brothers present in the Knin area at any time
21 that you're aware of?
22 A. My brother Zoran was with me. I apologise.
23 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Bakrac.
24 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Apologies, Your Honours. I wanted
25 to react before the witness answered. On line 3, it says that his
1 brother Zoran was an artillery man but the witness's words were not
2 properly recorded. Not everything that he said was recorded. Could
3 perhaps Mr. Groome repeat his question and clarify with the witness where
4 his brother Zoran was?
5 MR. GROOME:
6 Q. Mr. Opacic, could I ask you to again tell us where your brother
7 Zoran Opacic was stationed and with what unit, if he was part of a unit?
8 A. He was with me.
9 Q. Was he, Zoran Opacic, with you in Golubic during the time you
10 were there?
11 A. Yes. He was with me in Golubic.
12 Q. Now, with respect to yourself, do some of the people that know
13 you also refer to you as Klempo, K-l-e-m-p-o?
14 A. That is correct.
15 Q. And with respect to your brother Milos, is he also known as
16 Ciroki, C-i-r-o-k-i, Ciroki?
17 A. Yes, while he was at the Alpha centre.
18 Q. How long did the training at Golubic last?
19 A. I was in Golubic for 20 days for the training when Captain Dragan
20 came, if that's what you were interested in.
21 Q. Yes, it was. I am going to ask you whether you recognise any
22 names and whether you recognise them as people that were also present at
23 Golubic. Do you recognise the name of Dragan Oluic, O-l-u-i-c?
24 A. Dragan Oluic, the last name is familiar. Not the first name,
25 though. Perhaps he's from Obrovac.
1 Q. Can I ask you whether you recognise the name Davor Subotic, also
2 known as Riki?
3 A. Davor Subotic, Riki. I think that he was in Golubic for the
4 training, as far as I can remember.
5 Q. And was he one of the people being trained or was he one of the
6 people conducting the training?
7 A. When I was there, I don't think that he was there. He was not an
8 instructor. He wasn't a policeman at all.
9 Q. How do you know him then?
10 A. We met in the different fronts. He's from Obrovac. It's the
11 neighbouring town next to ours.
12 Q. And what unit did he belong to?
13 A. I think that he was in the Obrovac one because he was from
15 Q. How about a person by the name of Milenko Popovic, also known as
16 Luj, L-u-j?
17 A. I don't know him. I don't know him.
18 Q. When you did you first meet Zivojin Ivanovic, also known as
19 Zika Crnogorac?
20 A. The first volunteer who came to Golubic, that was him, and this
21 was in May.
22 Q. I want to show you a video now. Before I do, let me ask you: Do
23 you recall attending a celebration marking the two-year anniversary of
24 the log revolution on 17 August, 1992, in Bukovic?
25 A. Yes, and I gave a speech then in Bukovic.
1 Q. And Bukovic is a village located in the Benkovac municipality; is
2 that correct?
3 A. Correct. This was an anniversary celebration of the SDS in
5 Q. And were Zdravko Zecevic and Arkan also present at that
7 A. Zdravko Zecevic was there as the president of the municipality
8 and he was in the Benkovac SDS and he gave a speech. And then Arkan
9 came. He also spoke. And General Boro Djukic also, and he also
10 addressed the meeting.
11 Q. You just said that you gave a speech. I am going to play --
12 MR. GROOME: I am going to ask that we play 65 ter 6431, and I am
13 going to ask that the Registrar down there confirm that he can see the
15 Q. I'm going to ask that it be played, and then I will ask you some
16 questions afterwards.
17 [Video-clip played]
18 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] I welcome you here, on this spot
19 from which we ventured into our first actions, where we gathered when we
20 left Zadar with the rifles we had stolen from the Ustashas down there.
21 Where were the generals then? Where were the JNA officers? Why did they
22 not defend their people then? Instead, they were looking into who would
23 go where, whether the majority would be here or there, whether the old
24 Yugoslavia would remain or would we go to Serbia. However, when they saw
25 that the people were going towards Serbia, as this is the Serbian people,
1 always has been and always will be ... and no Ustasha will ever defeat
3 "And now that we have to make our own army, brown-nosers and fat
4 cats are sucking up to us ...
5 "As well as lazy bums and other incompetent persons who will lead
6 these people into disaster. But we will not let that happen! Isn't that
7 right, we will not allow it?
8 "Believe me when I say that we are the force that will defend
9 this people. Believe us! There is no special status. We can have the
10 special status only over our dead bodies, only over our dead bodies.
11 "We went to Zadar to get furniture out for the generals and
12 flower pots, and we got slapped by the Ustasha. They humiliated us. But
13 we could have conquered Zadar, Biograd. We would have had the Serbian
14 sea and our own port now. And they are making fool of us again.
15 "And do not throw your weapons away, because as long as the
16 Ustasha, the Muslims and others, are our neighbours, let us not trust
17 them ever. They will come at night and cut our throats.
18 "We should never trust them, as long as we have neighbours like
19 this. We could have given them a special status and not the other way
20 around. But you see where we are at. They are giving us a special
21 status. We also have to feel ashamed because our own Ustashas betrayed
22 us. But there are still some. They are sucking up to UNPROFOR where we
23 hid some cannon or a tank. We must kill such people on the spot!
24 "And every rifle that has been oiled and is now kept under the
25 pillow of every man. He is able to be at the position in ten minutes.
1 But as long as this one from the warehouse, from this UNPROFOR, from
2 these Ustasha ... as people say - trust no one but yourself! Long live
3 the Serbian people."
4 MR. GROOME:
5 Q. Sir, is that you that we've seen giving that --
6 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Groome, can you please --
7 maybe you can ask the witness to see if he saw the video? I am not sure
8 that he was able really to see the video.
9 MR. GROOME:
10 Q. Sir, were you able to see that video?
11 A. I did hear it, yes. And I recognised myself. It's me.
12 Q. And did it accurately record the speech that you gave on this
13 occasion in Bukovic?
14 A. From beginning to end. From beginning to end.
15 Q. I want you to ask us or assist us in understanding some of what
16 you said. At the beginning of your speech, you state:
17 "I welcome you here, on this spot from which we ventured into our
18 first actions, where we gathered when we left Zadar with the rifles we
19 had stolen from the Ustasha down there."
20 What are the first actions that you are referring to?
21 A. The barricades, the log revolution that happened. At the
22 barricades --
23 Q. When you --
24 A. -- there are no actions, actually.
25 Q. When you use the phrase "we gathered," who else did you gather
1 with? Who is the group that you are describing?
2 A. The people were there who were manning the barricades. I was at
3 the barricades already in 1919, Biljani Gornji and the other village.
4 The barricades were there manned by the inhabitants of the villages where
5 the barricades were located.
6 Q. When you refer to rifles that you had stolen, where were the
7 rifles taken from?
8 A. These were rifles that we took from the police station in Zadar.
9 Q. You continue by stating:
10 "Where were the generals then? Where were the JNA officers? Why
11 did they not defend their people then? Instead they were looking into
12 who would go where. Whether the majority would be here or there.
13 Whether the old Yugoslavia would remain or would go with Serbia.
14 However, when they saw that the people were going towards Serbia, as this
15 is the Serbian people, always has been, always will be ... no Ustasha
16 will ever defeat us."
17 When you say "people were going towards Serbia," what are you
18 referring to?
19 A. When the conflict had begun between us and Croatia, the -- when
20 the HDZ came to power, when the barricades first started, the conflict
21 actually started already in World War II during the Ustasha regime, and
22 they were intending to do that also in 1991 when we erected the
23 barricades. The Croatian army was creating a kind of buffer zone -- or
24 the JNA was creating a kind of buffer zone, but they knew that they were
25 arming themselves in Croatia, so we took up our own defence. We were
1 trying to save our lives from the Ustasha knives.
2 Q. Towards the end of the speech, you state:
3 "We must kill such people on the spot."
4 Who are you suggesting must be killed on the spot?
5 A. When the UNPROFOR came, then our army - which was the army of the
6 Krajina at the time - had some weapons concealed, self-propelled weapons
7 and things like that. And some of them would go there and they would say
8 where such a cannon was hidden or a rifle, and then the UNPROFOR would
9 come and they would confiscate these weapons ...
10 THE INTERPRETER: And the interpreter did not hear the rest of
11 what the witness said.
12 MR. GROOME:
13 Q. Sir, we can hear your answer up until the point where you say
14 that "UNPROFOR would confiscate these weapons." Can you please repeat
15 again the remainder of your answer?
16 A. Those people who betrayed the places where the weapons were, who
17 gave them away. And they were the inhabitants there. Also, I don't know
18 for what reason they disclosed the places where the weapons were being
19 hidden, and they were telling UNPROFOR that. And I said that those
20 people should have been killed. And to this very day, I stand by that,
21 that every single one of those people should have been killed for
22 weakening the -- the combat strength of the Serbian people in the
24 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, I see that it's 7.00.
25 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Yes, indeed. I was just going to
1 mention it as well.
2 It seems that the video that we just saw is not in the system.
3 The Registrar tells me that it's not uploaded. If you wish to have it
4 tendered, you will have to first upload it in e-court, and we can see
5 about it tomorrow.
6 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour. I will check into that.
7 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well. The hearing stands
8 adjourned up until tomorrow morning, Wednesday, March 14, at 9.00 in this
9 same courtroom.
10 And, Witness, I must instruct you not to discuss with anybody
11 your testimony. Up until tomorrow morning, of course. You may not speak
12 about it with anyone. And I wish you a good evening.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.01 p.m.,
14 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 14th
15 day of March, 2012, at 9.00 a.m.