1 Wednesday, 11 February 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Morning, Mr. Hvalkof. Could I remind you of the
6 oath or the affirmation which you took on the first day which is still in
8 THE WITNESS: Yes.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic.
10 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Good morning. Thank you, Your Honour.
11 WITNESS: PER HVALKOF [Resumed]
12 Cross-examined by Mr. Rodic:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Hvalkof, my name is Goran
14 Rodic, and on behalf of Defence counsel, I would put to you a few
15 questions relating to your testimony.
16 A. Good morning, sir.
17 Q. Can you tell me how many years you were an active-duty military
18 person in the Danish army.
19 A. From 1955 to 1996.
20 Q. And in 1996 you retired. Is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did you retire with the rank of major?
23 A. That is correct.
24 Q. Can you tell me more details about your experience and the level
25 of training for the use of the RPG 120-millimetres.
1 A. I was trained at the infantry sergeants school at 81-millimetre
2 mortars and 120-millimetre mortars. I had been a section commander as a
3 sergeant, a platoon commander as a lieutenant, first in 81-millimetres and
4 as a lieutenant both in 81- and 120-millimetres mortars platoon.
5 Q. Can you tell me for how long in total you were involved with
6 mortar units, including your training period, so in total, please.
7 A. From 1955 until the end of the year 1960 dealing permanently with
8 mortar units.
9 Q. I presume that during these five years you were involved in lots
10 of exercises of firing mortars?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And I also presume that given your training and experience you can
13 easily recognise the incoming or outgoing mortars and shells?
14 A. I think so, yes. It depends on the distance you are from the
15 incoming and outgoing mortars. It's difficult when you are sitting far
17 Q. Can you tell me approximately which would be the distance that can
18 make it difficult for you differentiate and establish the trajectory of
19 those missiles.
20 A. If you're talking of incoming, I would say I have to be -- it's
21 pretty close. You can hear the sound, in a couple of hundred metres,
22 maybe. But in this case, I -- the mortars -- if there were mortar
23 shells - I cannot prove - landing in Dubrovnik, for example, they were too
24 far away for me to distinguish what it was.
25 Q. In July 1957, you were a lieutenant -- you were a sergeant. In
1 1975, you were a major, and you arrived in Split in 1992 also as a major.
2 A. It is correct. I was back in Split -- in the Split area as a
3 major in 1992, yes. But that was in the UNPROFOR mission in 1992. But I
4 was down in the Split area, yes.
5 Q. Were you in the area of Split in 1991 as well?
6 A. Yes, in the ECMM.
7 Q. Between 1968 and 1991, you participated in a number of UN missions
8 as a representative of the Danish army. Can you just enumerate for me the
9 countries where you served.
10 A. It was actually -- actually started in 1956, but probably from
11 1961, I was serving in the UNEF I Force in the Gaza Strip for a bit more
12 than six months as a platoon commander. I was then serving in UNSO
13 United Nations II Supervision Organisation at that time in brackets P for
14 Palestine from spring 1965 until the -- after the end of the six-day war
15 in 1967, with a break of about three to four months when I was sent to the
16 United Nations in the Pakistan observation mission in connection with the
17 war between India and Pakistan where I served in Rajastan, Sindh, and
18 Punjab. And I returned again to UNSO from 1971 and in 1971. In 1972, I
19 served in UNMO keeping -- United Nations, India, Pakistan -- military
20 observer group, basically in Kashmir. In 1979 and 1982 for a three-year
21 period I served in the -- again in UNMO in Kashmir. And during those days,
22 I both served as the officer in charge of field station around in the area
23 and as an operation officer in the headquarters in several periods. I
24 served then in the ECMM, as you have been informed already, from --
25 actually starting officially in Zagreb on the 15th of October, 1991, and
1 returning around Christmas 1991 to Denmark, because my wife was ill. And
2 then I was asked again to go to the -- as an UNMO, that means United
3 Nations Military Observer attached to UNPROFOR, the United Nations
4 Protection Force in your country, or in ex-Yugoslavia, and I was there
5 from end July until 1st -- I think 1st August, end July 1992 to 1st of
6 August or 31st of July. I can't remember the date exactly until 1993.
7 Anyway, for one year, in 1993. And then I returned to my country and
8 proceeded working both for the army and as a vice-principal at a secondary
9 school until my retirement from both duties. And that's the end of my
10 life in that respect. I hope that will please you.
11 Q. Thank you. Can you tell me what was the principle that you
12 operate on. Did you offer your services for these missions, or was any
13 other criteria applied. If you just tell us briefly, please.
14 A. The first time my company was sent to the Gaza Strip, 1961. The
15 second time, I applied. That was for UNSO. And then I have -- I think I
16 applied the next time, but the following times I was requested to go. For
17 example, when I -- sorry, I forgot one year. I think I forgot my
18 Iraq/Iran business. That was -- I'd forgotten that one. I gave
19 descriptions for you. I'm - no, I'm getting old. From 1998, early
20 August, until 1990, I was serving in Iran and Iraq, also as a military
21 observer where I was in charge of the area -- the southern part of
22 Kurdistan, Sulaymaniya including the -- in that area, first army corps.
23 It was sort of on the ad Halapsa [phoen], the Gas City.
24 Q. Thank you. Can you tell me about your ECMM mission in Yugoslavia.
25 Did you voluntarily apply for that mission?
1 A. I was asked to go.
2 Q. Thank you. You arrived in Zagreb on the 15th of October. Is that
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Can you tell me who received you in Zagreb.
6 A. I was met by a manager who was already serving at the
7 headquarters, and then I was -- I came late in the night or in the
8 evening. And I was -- then the following day, along with other newcomers,
9 reached by the operational staff in the headquarters in Zagreb.
10 Q. Who briefed you and who did they tell you about the situation in
11 the Former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia.
12 A. They gave us a general briefing of the work, the difficulties, the
13 problems, and what the situation was like. It was not easy, it was not
14 pleasant, and we were informed about the -- that we were there, as I
15 mentioned the other day, we were there to be present and try to make the
16 two sides, opposing parties, meet and negotiate. And in general, that
17 we -- the basic idea was that the two sides should negotiate themselves
18 and we should sort of assist and try to make it work. And then in case
19 there were -- we found there was something essential we had to add, we
20 had --
21 Q. Mr. Hvalkof, I'm sorry. I have to interrupt you. This is a
22 different issue, and I'll ask about that later. What I did ask you was:
23 What were you told about the situation in the former Yugoslavia? You were
24 coming to a country. You were briefed about the situation there. Who
25 briefed you? What problems did they tell you existed in the country?
1 A. I say again that I was briefed by the operational staff in the
2 headquarters, and they told me the situation was difficult, you had the
3 fighting. They told me about the JNA enclaves, for example, in Croatia.
4 I was informed about the troubles down in the Knin area. I was informed
5 about the situation in Dubrovnik, in Vukovar, Osijek area. And if you're
6 asking me about all the details at that briefing, I'm sorry, I can't give
7 you an answer. But it was a difficult situation where people were sort of
8 fighting and people were in trouble.
9 Q. Had you ever been to Yugoslavia before that?
10 A. Would you say that again, please -- oh, sorry, I can see it now.
11 Yes, I had been to Yugoslavia once before in 1967, when I came back after
12 the six-day war. I drove with my wife through Greece and passed, by the
13 way, Dubrovnik and Split. And that's the only time I have been to
14 Yugoslavia before -- oh, sorry. I've been there once more as -- I passed
15 through Yugoslavia from north to south from Greece to Austria [sic] in
16 1960 in November. It was just straight through; no sight seeing.
17 Q. Thank you. In 1991, did anyone inform you about the social and
18 political system of the country that you arrived in about the state
19 organs, institutions, and things like that? Did you have any detailed
20 information about that?
21 A. Well, we were informed briefly about the -- well, the -- we were,
22 for example, informed about the business where we were dealing, for
23 example, with presidents who were apparently mayors and we were informed
24 about -- as how the mission -- the Yugoslavian army enclaves in the area
25 and in general, as I said, what people knew about the Dubrovnik and
1 Knin -- in that area, in my case particularly. A general idea of what --
2 how the situation was, and it was, let's say, not normal.
3 Q. Did anyone tell you how many republics there were in Yugoslavia?
4 A. I knew that before I came, but I think they told me. It's common
6 Q. Did you know what was the only, at the time, legitimate armed
7 force in Yugoslavia?
8 A. Well, there was only in my opinion -- well, there was only --
9 there was the army -- the army we were dealing with was the JNA. And then
10 you had the Croatian forces, which they were called ZNG as far as I
11 remember. But you had the JNA army and then you had the Croats in -- who
12 were fighting for their cause. And I think they were called ZNG. I'm
13 sorry if that is wrong but -- you saw Croatian armed forces, yes, in the
14 area. And we knew they were there and I was told they were there, and we
15 could see them. When I was along evacuating the Borongaj - I think that
16 was the name - barracks, with the JNA forces down to Karlovac, there were
17 Croatian forces, you could see them in the distance from the roof where we
18 evacuated the troops. They were there and I was told they were there --
19 actually, how they were organised in detail, I don't know.
20 Q. I can't hear the translation.
21 Did anyone tell you that there were paramilitary formations in
22 Croatia at that time?
23 A. Yes, there were paramilitary forces, both in Croatia and in
24 JNA-controlled areas. I was informed about that.
25 Q. Did you hear of paramilitary forces whose name -- abbreviated name
1 was HOS and which were attached to the Croatian party of right.
2 A. I heart that, yes. I haven't talked to them.
3 Q. Were you told that the ZNG, or the Croatian -- the national guard
4 corps was also a paramilitary formation?
5 A. I can't recall that. We were taught about Croatian forces and the
6 JNA. I can't recall that.
7 Q. At that time were you aware under the SFRY constitution was the
8 legal armed force in the then-Yugoslavia?
9 A. The SFRY, would you please verify that abbreviation, please. I
10 can't remember I've seen the abbreviation. I would like to know exactly
11 what it means.
12 Q. That was the country in which you arrived on the 15th of October,
13 1991, and it's full name was Social Federative Republic of Yugoslavia.
14 A. Thank you very much. Sorry about that. I'll just go back and
15 read here. So what do you mean when you say: "At that time were you
16 aware under the SFRY constitution was the legal armed force in the
17 then-Yugoslavia" -- you mean that they were the legal armed forces in
18 ex-Yugoslavia or in then-Yugoslavia. Yeah, you can say -- well, they were
19 legal armed forces in my opinion, yes. It was -- in my opinion,
20 nothing -- and I have not heard that it was unlegal. Nobody heard it was
21 unlegal. It was legal according to me and according to people. I don't
22 think anybody ever sort of tried to instruct me that was a legal force; it
23 was obvious it was legal.
24 Q. Can you tell me who you are talking about now, which army.
25 A. Well, you are talking about the -- I'm trying to answer your
1 question about the JNA of the Social Republic of Yugoslavia army. And if
2 that -- well, I just don't understand what you mean, except that of course
3 it was a legal army, a legal army forces.
4 Q. With your experience as a soldier, were all the other armies on
5 the ground then, apart from the JNA, illegal or paramilitary forces?
6 A. That is not and was not up to me to decide. I was there to
7 monitor and help to assist to achieve some sort of peace between two
8 opposing parties. If you do that as a military observer, a peacekeeper,
9 you're not concerned about what people -- it might be illegal elements in
10 India or Iraq or anywhere. You are concerned about parting these groups.
11 It's a political question about if they're legal or not. And it's not up
12 to me as a military observer or an EC monitor to decide whether these
13 people were legal or not. They were there. The fact they were there and
14 I was dealing with that fact. If they were legal, it's none of my
15 business. So if you want the Danish opinion about that, you will have to
16 go ask my politicians, my government, or the EC -- or now EU.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 A. You're welcome.
19 Q. Do you know Adrian Stringer?
20 A. It doesn't ring a bell.
21 Q. An observer from Great Britain?
22 A. It doesn't ring a bell. I may have met him. I've met hundreds of
23 people, thousands. I can't remember his name, no.
24 Q. Do you know Colm Mangan, on Irish colonel? Did you see his
25 reports? He was also a monitor?
1 A. No. I might have met him. I don't recall his name.
2 Q. Do you know Lars Brolund?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did he come to Yugoslavia before you did?
5 A. Yes, to the best of my knowledge he was there when I came, yes,
6 I'm nearly sure of that.
7 Q. Lars Brolund returned from the mission in Dubrovnik just before
8 you arrived in Zagreb. And Colonel Mangan was in the same team?
9 A. Maybe.
10 Q. What did Lars Brolund, as your fellow countryman from Denmark,
11 tell you about the situation in Croatia and Dubrovnik and about his
13 A. We never really met before down in Split. And I hardly saw him
14 because of different work before we ended up in Dubrovnik together, so we
15 didn't discuss that. I only saw his reports and got information about
16 him, which I had to as a head of the Danish delegation. But actually, we
17 never discussed Dubrovnik as much person-to-person in Danish before we
18 were sitting down in the mess. And then he was an excellent support, I'll
20 Q. Do you know which sides signed the memorandum of the presence of
21 the ECMM of the 13th of July, 1991?
22 A. It would be wrong of me to sit here and say yes, I can tell
23 exactly who signed that. I would rather not. But I can just say -- and
24 if I say something, it's -- no, that would be unfair because you want all
25 the details and I can't give all the details clearly because I don't
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 remember it.
2 Q. Do you know that on the Yugoslav side, this memorandum was signed
3 by representatives of the federal secretariat for foreign affairs of
4 Slovenia and Croatia and the Ambassador and the Ministry of Foreign
5 Affairs of Holland, Kristjen Kroner [phoen] signed on behalf of the
6 international community.
7 A. I will say what I said before, I am not sure and for that reason I
8 will not answer -- I cannot answer. And if you ask again in a different
9 way, the answer will be the same.
10 Q. Were you acquainted with the contents of the memorandum of the
11 ECMM of the 13th of July, 1991? You can reply briefly with a yes or no.
12 A. Yes, thank you.
13 Q. So you were acquainted with the contents?
14 A. I have read it at the time, but you can -- are not going to force
15 me into telling all the details of what I read at the time, because that
16 was a part of the briefing. And I can't help say now --
17 Q. No, no, it's not necessary.
18 A. But may I say another word, please?
19 Q. Yes.
20 A. Thank you. I can't see what this has got to do with the case and
21 the reason why I have been chased down here, all this now. This is just
22 my remark, that's the way I feel, and I don't like to be fooled around in
23 a way in which I don't understand what it's about.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Hvalkof, if you would just answer the questions
25 put to you by counsel. It's for us to determine when that goes too far
1 from the mark, and we will do so. Thank you.
2 THE WITNESS: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
3 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. Mr. Hvalkof, isn't one -- isn't that memorandum one of the basic
5 documents on the basis of which the ECMM was active in the SFRY?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Is it now clear to you why I put that question?
8 A. Oh, yes.
9 Q. Thank you. Is it correct that the basic mandate of the ECMM was
10 to assist, number one, in stabilising the cease-fire to put an end to the
11 siege of the JNA barracks; and secondly, to oversee the suspension of the
12 declaration of independence over a three-month period, and this was agreed
13 upon by the parties receiving the mission?
14 A. Well, I think you are right. But again, I read all this in 1991.
15 I have not looked at it since. It seems very right what you are saying,
16 but I cannot remember the details. I was sent down there to do a job,
17 which I did, and nobody has criticised me for what I did according to the
18 orders I had. So all these details -- I cannot remember all the exact
19 wording, I cannot.
20 Q. Sir, Mr. Hvalkof, I am trying to make my questions clear and
21 precise. Please answer clearly and precisely, because time is very
23 Is it correct that this memorandum on the mission of the European
24 Community was to ensure the implementation of the Brioni declaration of
25 the 7th of July, 1991, which was passed with the presence and active
1 participation of the ministerial troika of the European community?
2 A. Yes, I think so.
3 Q. Is it correct that Slovenia and Croatia undertook in that
4 declaration to lift the siege of all the units and facilities of the JNA
5 and to re-establish the previous border regime, and all this within a
6 period of 24 hours?
7 A. I cannot remember. Is that short enough?
8 Q. Is it correct that the representatives of Croatia and Slovenia
9 undertook especially to refrain from any one-sided acts of violence and to
10 start negotiations on the future of the SFRY and the peaceful resolution
11 of the crisis in the spirit of the Helsinki declaration and the Paris
13 A. It may have been written -- I cannot remember it. I may have
14 been; it sounds reasonable. But I have told you, I cannot remember what
15 was written in details in these papers.
16 Q. Is it known to you that immediately after this, there was a series
17 of attacks on JNA units, on JNA conveys, that JNA property was looted, and
18 so on and so forth?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Do you know that the mandate of the ECMM was strengthened and
21 extended on the 2nd of September, 1991, by the memorandum on the
22 monitoring mission?
23 A. I know it was strengthened. I don't know the -- can't remember
24 the date.
25 Q. Do you know that you could evaluate and investigate breaches of
1 the cease-fire, as agreed on the 2nd of September, 1991, in Belgrade?
2 A. I -- for sure I know we could evaluate and investigate breaches of
3 a cease-fire, yes. Date is out of my head.
4 Q. According to that agreement, were all paramilitary and irregular
5 units to be disarmed and disbanded, including the reserve forces of the
6 Croatian National Guard, the ZNG, that was Article 1 of the memorandum of
7 the 2nd of September, 1991, which you read?
8 A. I cannot remember the details of that document.
9 Q. Do you know that the government of the SFRY in June 1991 initiated
10 proceedings before the constitutional court to the effect that the
11 founding of the ZNG, as a professional armed formation, was an
12 unconstitutional and illegal act by the Republic of Croatia?
13 MR. WEINER: Objection, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
15 MR. WEINER: Whether he knows this legal fact or not, it really
16 doesn't make a difference, his knowledge of constitutional issues of
17 what's going on in mid-1991 in Yugoslavia -- in the former Yugoslavia.
18 JUDGE PARKER: There may be much in that, but this is an attempt
19 which I can understand to develop an aspect of the Defence case through a
20 witness who was a significant representative of the monitoring mission,
21 and I think it only reasonable to allow it to continue. That doesn't mean
22 that I do not appreciate the point you make.
23 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
24 THE WITNESS: Would you just give me time to read this again, what
25 you said last. Thank you.
1 The answer is no.
2 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Do you know that after your arrival in Zagreb on the 16th of
4 October, the constitutional court issued a decision on the illegality and
5 unconstitutionality of the founding of the ZNG?
6 A. No.
7 Q. And did your mission consistently insist on disarming and the
8 disbanding of the ZNG and other paramilitary formations in Croatia?
9 A. I cannot say what the mission insisted on. It was not, let's say,
10 on my level where I was working. But my main job was to deal with
11 cease-fire violations and negotiations. And exactly when the mission
12 insisted on this and that was not an essential part of my life and my work
13 in that respect down there. And I cannot remember all these details.
14 Q. Do you know whether the mission worked on this at all pursuant to
15 the agreement and the memorandum that was signed?
16 A. I know for sure that the mission worked very hard on all lines on
17 whatever their conditions were. They did their utmost at the head of the
18 mission; I know that for sure. But they were working hard on their level
19 and I was working hard on my level. But I know they worked hard.
20 Q. While you were in Zagreb, do you know that at that time JNA forces
21 were exposed to attacks in their barracks and bases in Croatia. Is this
23 A. There were fighting around several barracks and garrisons and
24 various places, Croatia here; that is correct. Who was starting what and
25 when, I wouldn't know and that's probably difficult. But there were
1 fightings around the JNA-controlled areas, yes.
2 Q. As you were in Zagreb, the JNA, as the legal army, was it out in
3 the streets or was it in its barracks?
4 A. In its barracks.
5 Q. And the members of the ZNG and other paramilitary formations, did
6 you see them on the streets of Zagreb?
7 A. I might have seen a single soldier in Zagreb, but very few. And I
8 will have to remind you, I was only there for a few days, and during the
9 few days I was out, for example, down to this Karlovac business, I have
10 seen and I've mentioned before --
11 Q. What about Karlovac?
12 A. I saw ZNG soldiers a distance from the route, along the road,
13 motorway, what have you from Zagreb to Karlovac, I saw ZNG soldiers, but
14 actually they were not -- in the few times I was in the streets of Zagreb,
15 I didn't see any -- I might have seen one, but it was not something you
16 really saw. What I saw -- I would again remind you, I was only there for
17 a few days.
18 Q. Mr. Hvalkof, are you trying to tell me that the one or two ZNG
19 members you saw were blocking the barracks in Zagreb?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Was it somebody else?
22 A. I didn't see any blocking barracks in Zagreb. When I was walking
23 a few short times in Zagreb, it was because I had an hour or two off. I
24 was not near barracks. And when I say I might have seen a soldier who
25 I -- a uniformed man, I didn't even know if I had seen one, which unit,
1 which army, or anything, except that I would presume when he walked in the
2 streets of Zagreb he would be a Croatian soldier of some sort. But they
3 were not -- in the few times I was there, very -- not hardly any -- well,
4 I may have seen one. Civilians I saw lots of.
5 Q. Thank you. Can you tell me briefly, on your arrival in Zagreb, do
6 you know whether there were any attacks on the facilities and barracks of
7 the JNA?
8 A. No. I don't know if there were attacks. There was shooting in
9 Zagreb, and mostly at nighttime. But if that was an attack or something
10 else, I wouldn't know.
11 Q. Can you tell us exactly how many days you spent in Zagreb, bearing
12 in mind that on the 28th of October the work of the regional centre in
13 Split started?
14 A. I arrived in Split on the 23rd.
15 Q. So you spent a week in Zagreb?
16 A. Approximately a week, yeah -- well, it takes a bit of time also to
17 move down to Split, and you could not go the normal way.
18 Q. Let's take it slowly but surely, Mr. Hvalkof. So know nothing
19 about the exchanges, about the number and consequences of the attacks on
20 the JNA in Croatia at the time?
21 A. Not in that area, because I was not investigating it, I didn't
22 read the reports, I was doing other things. And I can't tell you anything
23 about something I have not taken part in. The only thing I took part in
24 was evaluating the JNA out of the Borongaj barracks down to Karlovac.
25 That's the only time I saw JNA; that's the only time I saw Croatian
1 military forces, when I was in Zagreb.
2 Q. You said yourself that in Zagreb you read the reports from various
3 parts of Croatia where your monitors were stationed, and that you
4 familiarised yourself with the situation from Karlovac to Dubrovnik. You
5 said that you followed the situation in Vukovar and all this through the
6 reports of your monitors. Is this correct?
7 A. No, I didn't say so. I said that I was briefed on the first day
8 about the general situation, and yesterday I said that the day before I
9 went to Split I read whatever was available about the Split area of
10 responsibility. I did that that day, and I -- the other stuff I did not
11 read. That was pouring through my ears in various actions of different
12 nationalities in the headquarters, so that was it.
13 Q. As you did not see and did not know, for example, that in Zagreb
14 the JNA barracks were blockaded, that somebody was attacking the barracks,
15 shooting at the army, there was no need for monitors, there was no need to
16 separate any sides or negotiate with anyone. Is this what you're trying
17 to say?
18 A. Certainly not. But I don't see that sort of thing, and it was
19 not -- I was not a party for that particular duty, I was not ordered to
20 deal with that. It's doesn't mean that. I'm telling you what I saw and
21 what I didn't saw. What the mission did or what other monitors did and
22 were ordered to do was none of my business.
23 Q. I asked you not only whether you saw this, but whether you heard
24 about it, and you are constantly denying it.
25 A. I'm not denying anything. I am just telling -- I'm supposed to
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13 English transcripts.
1 tell the truth, and I told the truth. I wouldn't think of telling nothing
2 but the truth. So I'm telling you what I experienced. And I heard
3 about -- I heard -- now and then I could hear shooting at night, yes, but
4 I was not involved in the cases. And people who probably were involved
5 were dealing with this and making their report, and it was an operational
6 matter. I was not part of that show. I was supposed to go somewhere
7 else. And I don't waste people's time by going and asking fun --
8 questions about something I'm not dealing with. Don't force me to tell
9 you something I don't want to, because I don't know it.
10 Q. Is it true that yesterday you testified about the documents from
11 Dubrovnik at the time when you were not in Dubrovnik at all and when it
12 was not even an assigned duty to you at the time. Is that correct? Can
13 you just please reply with yes or no. I don't need lengthy explanations.
14 A. Well, I need a lengthy explanation -- or more than yes or no.
15 Q. I'm kindly asking you -- I'm asking the questions, and I formulate
16 them in such a manner that I don't need elaborate explanations. I'm
17 kindly asking you not to waste my time in that manner. Therefore, is it
18 true that yesterday you testified about written documents referring to
19 Dubrovnik while you were not in Dubrovnik, or you sent anyone to carry out
20 that assignment. Instead, you just happened to be in Zagreb and you were
21 in a position to read those reports. Is that correct?
22 A. I testified about those documents because I had read them, and I
23 was asked by the Prosecutor if I had seen them and yes, I had.
24 Q. Thank you. Were any other documents, apart from those referring
25 to Dubrovnik, hidden from you while you were in Zagreb?
1 A. How would I know if anybody had hidden it? I wouldn't have seen
3 Q. It seems that you haven't seen any other document relating to the
4 problems in Croatia, except those from Dubrovnik?
5 A. In general, yes, that is correct. There were lots of documents
6 and what have you. We got a general briefing, as I said before, and I was
7 allowed to read -- I was asked to read whatever was available and there
8 was time for about the Split/Dubrovnik/Sibenik area before I went down
10 Q. Mr. Hvalkof, in your country, since you used to be an active-duty
11 military person, would any attacks on the regular army -- would be deemed
12 as terrorist attacks under your laws? And this is also part of common
14 A. Actually we are not operating with terrorist attack, but an attack
15 in -- on my country would be deemed as an action of war. But we are not
16 operating with terrorists. I wouldn't know. We haven't done so far.
17 Q. Can I say that we agree on the point that your position of the
18 head of the -- deputy head of the regional centre of the ECMM in Split was
19 a high-ranking position within the mission?
20 A. It's not up to me to decide or have an opinion about that.
21 Q. Can you please help us so that we can arrive at an opinion and to
22 evaluate that, because as far as I know there was a head of the whole
23 mission in Zagreb, that was the Dutch Ambassador. Is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Can you tell me how many regional centres of the ECMM existed in
2 A. The other day I said I was -- I could not remember -- I was not
3 aware if there were any others, but to the best of my knowledge there were
4 not at the time when I left the place.
5 Q. Thank you. So in the Split mission headquarters, you remained
6 until Christmas of 1991. Is that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. So that is something more than two months. Right?
9 A. It is more than two months, yes.
10 Q. I'm now going to quote one section from tab 42, which contains
11 your description and/or your perception of the situation in the country
12 where you were deployed, and that is on the first page beneath your
13 photograph. And I'm talking about this passage: "Since readers should
14 really know the background and the history of Yugoslavia, I will just say
15 briefly what I believe that the main reasons for conflict between Croatia
16 and Serbia (represented here by the federal army, known colloquially as
17 the JNA). Item 1, centuries of ethnic and religious disagreements; item
18 2, establishment of military Croatia within Austria-Hungary creating a
19 Serb minority; item 3, the mass extermination of Serbs in Nazi Croatia
20 during the Second World War; and item 4, the part of the Serb leaders and
21 generals, they would loose their own privileges the richer provinces into
22 the north and access to the sea."
23 Is that what you wrote?
24 A. I wrote that after I had been down there, yes.
25 Q. If I'm not wrong, that was in early May 1992. Is that right?
1 A. That is correct, yeah.
2 Q. Were you part of the mission dealing with Serbia and Croatia, or
3 were you deployed within the mission in the SFRY?
4 A. When?
5 Q. Between 15th October 1991 and Christmas 1991.
6 A. I was dealing with Croatia and Serbs and the JNA -- or I was
7 deployed on the Croatian side, yes, in Split. It wasn't the Croatian
8 side, if you will know.
9 Q. So were you working for the Croatian side then?
10 A. I was a neutral man posted on that side.
11 Q. We'll come to that later, Mr. Hvalkof. Can you please explain to
12 me in more details what do you mean by the "federal army known
13 colloquially as the JNA"?
14 A. Explaining to my countrymen what it was, and why I think I
15 probably later on used the abbreviation "JNA," to my countrymen, the
16 readers of this, so people would know because it was an official term.
17 Q. You also informed your fellow countrymen about the fact that the
18 federal army represented Serbia. Was that correct?
19 A. Well, I probably did so, but I can see now what you say, what I
20 should have said it was Yugoslavia. And I will admit that was an error.
21 The federal army represented Yugoslavia, yes. It was a wrong thing to put
23 Q. Thank you. In order not to go through all these four items that I
24 had just read to you, can you please tell me: Don't you think that these
25 statements of yours are pretentious, given the scope of knowledge that you
1 had about Yugoslavia and its history, or do you really believe that you
2 can provide some serious arguments for these conclusions of yours?
3 A. Well, my conclusions were based on what I experienced and what I
4 read afterwards and what I have read before. This was my opinion, written
5 after I had left the ECM mission, and I had the right to have an opinion
6 based on whatever. I don't think I had any reason to sit and explain here
7 why I had this opinion when I came back home and was thinking.
8 Q. Mr. Hvalkof, you have said this many times already. Apart from
9 you, two monitors appeared before this Court who didn't stay longer on the
10 ground than six or seven days. You are the only high-ranking official
11 from the monitoring mission who can hopefully help us to portray the role,
12 the terms of reference, and the workings of the mission in 1992 with
13 reference to Dubrovnik, which is also the subject of this indictment.
14 Because from your colleague Lars Brolund, we couldn't learn anything
15 because he virtually couldn't remember anything; therefore, I'm kindly
16 asking you to answer my questions.
17 MR. WEINER: I'd object to his speeches, Your Honour. There was
18 no question there; it was nothing more than a speech.
19 JUDGE PARKER: That is the position, Mr. Rodic. I think you can
20 just move on to your questions.
21 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I agree with
22 my learned colleagues; there was no question. But this was just an
23 intervention on my part with my line of questioning.
24 Mr. Hvalkof --
25 JUDGE PARKER: Can I say to you, Mr. Rodic, Mr. Weiner is being
1 very patient and understanding. He's been to half to his feet more than
2 once but he's sat down again. So you should appreciate how understanding
3 he's being this morning.
4 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I have noticed that myself,
5 Your Honour. Thank you.
6 Q. Mr. Hvalkof, in paragraph 3 on the same page, the first sentence
7 reads: "The ECMM was led by a Dutch ambassador and was for the most part
8 under Dutch control."
9 Under whose control were you?
10 A. Well, the mission was led during that period by Dutchmen as such,
11 the head of mission and the heads, as far as I remember, of the various
12 operations sections and headquarters in Zagreb were Dutchmen. And there
13 were Dutch monitors among the rest of us out. So as a principle, the head
14 of mission being a Dutchmen, Mr. Van Houten. He was the leader. So I was
15 under the Dutch leadership. When I was in Split, I was under Italian
16 leadership because my -- the head of the regional centre, Mr. Ambassador
17 Bondioli, was an Italian.
18 Q. I don't think we understood each other properly. When you say in
19 the document that: "The mission was led by a Dutch ambassador and that
20 the ambassador was for the most part under Dutch control," what does that
21 mean, that he was under the Dutch control? Was he under control of his
22 government, his Ministry of Foreign Affairs?
23 A. To the best of my knowledge, the head of the mission was having --
24 conferring with his minister of foreign affairs who, at that time Holland
25 had the chairmanship of the union, and that changes every six months. And
1 whenever anything is under operation, in the European Union at that
2 time -- the European Community at that time -- well, it will be the
3 country who are chairing the mission or who is organising whatever of
4 importance around the European Union, European Commission or Community.
5 So it is natural that the ambassador confers with his government, and
6 specifically with his minister of foreign affairs. And if it can help
7 you, as head of the Danish mission, I had to refer to my minister of
8 foreign affairs.
9 Q. At the time while you were working on the mission, is that what
10 you're saying?
11 A. At the time when I was working in the mission, yes.
12 Q. I suppose that in that way individual countries could have exerted
13 influence on the operation of their nationals posted with the mission?
14 A. That was not so. I have not in that mission, like the other ones
15 I've been to, felt anything that the people I dealt with at all levels
16 were neutral. And if we had been permitted to be moving freely on all
17 sides, it would of course have been easier to prove to people that it was
18 true we were neutral.
19 Q. You said yourself that you were under the control of the Danish
20 minister of foreign affairs, that you contacted and consulted him while
21 working for the mission. Is that right?
22 A. I referred to him or to the minister. I reported to them. All
23 heads of mission reported directly also to their own minister of foreign
24 affairs; it is quite normal and common. And that means that we reported
25 briefly what the situation was or if there was something serious going on.
1 We did not receive any orders from our minister of foreign affairs. We
2 just informed them so they were in the picture so they knew what their own
3 people were doing. Besides that, they were informed, to the best of my
4 knowledge, I was anyway told so by the Dutch leadership, and that means
5 apparently the Dutch minister of foreign affairs.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Is that a convenient time, Mr. Rodic, or would you
7 like -- did you have something you wanted to finish there?
8 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Just one more question in this
9 context, and then we can proceed with the break.
10 Q. Can you tell me in your opinion during the two and a half months
11 that you spent in Croatia, were opinions undivided and was there a single
12 influence coming from all member states of the economic -- European
13 Community regarding the situation on the ground in Yugoslavia, or were
14 there any dissenting opinions from any particular country?
15 A. I'll just read this, please. Well, it's a bit difficult for me to
16 understand what you mean; language problem I believe. But if you -- the
17 question goes on if we were sort of opinions which could indicate lack of
18 neutrality was trying to be forced upon us or something like that, no,
19 nothing. We were not influenced from our countries; we were reporting to
20 our countries. We were not -- we were under command by the head of
21 mission, a neutral and excellent man. And we were reporting -- there was
22 no way of trying force -- everybody was extremely conscious of the fact
23 that we had to be neutral.
24 Q. Thank you, Mr. Hvalkof.
25 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think we can now take a
1 break, if you agree.
2 JUDGE PARKER: We will -- yes, Mr. Weiner.
3 MR. WEINER: I was standing for the break.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Your eagerness took me by surprise.
5 We will have our 20-minute break.
6 --- Recess taken at 10.24 a.m.
7 --- On resuming at 10.54 a.m.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Rodic.
9 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Q. Mr. Hvalkof, on page 2 of this statement under tab 42, you say in
11 the second sentence that: "The basic philosophy was for the two parties
12 or sides to negotiate on their own in solving their problems, whereas we
13 acted as witnesses and helpers, what was necessary for someone to press
14 the brakes, to push the things into the right direction, and to slam the
15 fist on the table."
16 Can you please explain for me in more detail this last part of the
18 A. Yes, I can. In some cases, situation discussions could become
19 very heated. And then, somebody had to calm me down and say, That's going
20 to be the end. We calmed down and talked in a decent way or get back to
21 the point. So we're not talking about 200 years ago but now.
22 Q. Were you ever in a position while you were with the mission to
23 bang a fist on the table?
24 A. Not I.
25 Q. Is it true that you escorted a convoy of the JNA leaving the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Zagreb base Borongaj barracks?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Is it true that the command team of that unit was at the rear of
4 the column?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. In your statement in the brackets you said: "No comment." Can
7 you please explain to me what that refers.
8 A. I had no comment to their -- why it was so. I still have no
9 comments to it.
10 Q. Is it true that one of the members of your monitoring team joined
11 the command team of the JNA and that that is how he disappeared?
12 A. He did not join the command team of the JNA. He joined the team
13 at the -- EC monitors at the rear vehicle of the convoy.
14 Q. Under number 2 you say: "There were only two people in my team,
15 one of whom had decided to join the team in command so he had
17 Was that referring to the command -- JNA command team that was at
18 the rear of the convoy?
19 A. That's correct.
20 Q. Can you tell me who attacked the convoy and where this member of
21 your monitoring team disappeared.
22 A. The monitor member did not disappear; he went back and proceeded
23 along with the convoy with the last vehicle in the convoy where the
24 leaders of this operation were sitting and moving. Who attacked the
25 convoy is -- well, we heard these shells coming down, which I mentioned en
1 route, but who were flying I'm not in a position to see -- to tell. I
2 have no clue. Some grenades landed en route. The blockade of the -- the
3 artillery blockade in front of us when we reached Karlovac, I could not
4 myself tell but I was informed that it was JNA by contacting my
5 headquarters on -- I think it was a satellite phone we had along. But who
6 attacked the convoy as such, if that was an attack close to the airport, I
7 wouldn't know. And it was anyway not close to the convoy. It was just
8 the end. And it didn't worry me much, but I noted it.
9 Q. Is it correct that the JNA soldiers were nervous because there
10 were Ustasha, as you say, in the area?
11 A. It is correct that they were nervous but extremely well-behaved.
12 But no wonder they were nervous; they were driving through territory
13 controlled by people they didn't like. And there were -- we observed what
14 we considered to be what I called Ustashas, as you mentioned before, a
15 sort of, I understand, paramilitary forces. They were observed by us. I
16 cannot confirm, but they were certainly in their general attitude. They
17 were on Croatian territory and they didn't look -- or their movement
18 seemed to be of a -- well, Croatian. They didn't misbehave, but you could
19 observe them. And of course the JNA didn't like that, and they were
20 sitting there peacefully being escorted by neutral people. So they were
21 nervous, yes, quite natural. They were in a bad position if something
22 happened and we couldn't stop it.
23 Q. I will quote the way in which you called these Croatian soldiers
24 Ustasha. In the next sentence you say: "The Ustasha were fanatic
25 Croatian nationalists dressed in some sort of uniform with hand grenades
1 in all their button holes with Indian hair styles or shaved heads, mostly
2 with earrings, and they carried several pieces of infantry-type weapons,
3 real Rambo types."
4 Is this what you observed and thought?
5 A. When I saw them, I saw them up close -- some of them on closer
6 distance later. Yes, it was my final opinion. I was also briefed about
7 other -- from other ECMM monitors who had met these people and this is
8 maybe a bit of my humorous way of expressing myself, but also actually in
9 a way of a sort -- the general opinion I got when I heard about -- when I
10 heard these people and saw them, yes.
11 Q. Did you call the kind of people described here Ustasha?
12 A. Well, it may be my pronunciation, whatever. That's what they were
13 called in the area. I have no official remark about that. That's what
14 they were called.
15 Q. Is that what you called them?
16 A. I don't know if I called them that. I called them later on when I
17 left the mission in this writing, but that -- but I didn't walk around
18 calling people names so ...
19 Q. Very well. We will now move on. On the 23rd of October you
20 became the deputy head of the regional centre of the ECMM in Split which
21 opened up on the 20th of October. Is this correct -- on the 28th of
22 October --
23 A. 28th, that is correct. It was in full operation on the 28th, yes.
24 Q. Was Ambassador Bondioli the chief of your regional centre and did
25 he have a meeting with General Strugar and Admiral Jokic on the 28th of
1 October in Milejina [phoen] in Montenegro?
2 A. He was my chief and to the best of my knowledge, yes, he had a
3 meeting down there if it was Milejina. He had a meeting with General
4 Strugar down in that area.
5 Q. And did Lars Brolund also attend that meeting?
6 A. I can't remember.
7 Q. Did Ambassador Bondioli acquaint you with the results of those
9 A. Yes, he did. The way I remember them today best is according to
10 the -- some of the notes or correspondence, which we talked about
11 yesterday. But yes, he informed me.
12 Q. Did he tell you what his impressions were of the people he had
13 met, I mean primarily General Strugar and Admiral Jokic? Did he tell you
14 what he observed about them?
15 A. No. He said the meeting had gone well in that respect. No
16 personal comments about persons -- about these two officers.
17 Q. Did he perhaps mention that he experienced Admiral Jokic as a
18 hard-liner and General Strugar as an ordinary soldier?
19 A. Not at all. I've not heard that from him.
20 Q. Did he tell you about General Strugar's opinion that there should
21 also be monitors on the JNA side so that they could also see the situation
22 from the other side?
23 A. No. I've not heard that.
24 Q. In tab 23 there is Ambassador Bondioli's report, and the
25 correction of dates is there. So it's not the 28th of November, but the
1 28th of October, 1991. Is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. In the middle of that report it says that the declaration of the
4 European Community in Dubrovnik of the 27th of October was handed to
5 General Strugar, the commander of the 2nd Military District in Milejina."
6 Is this correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Under that it says: "Apparently these two declarations together
9 had a strong influence on the negotiating position of the JNA."
10 Is this correct?
11 A. It says so.
12 Q. Can you explain the next sentence to me. "On the 28th, General
13 Strugar sent an urgent message to the 20th meeting of the NOF in Brussels
14 where he says that the 11 points of Dubrovnik are not an ultimatum."
15 A. As far as I remember there was -- I've seen some -- the papers
16 where General Strugar has put down 11 points. And as far as I remember,
17 there was a discussion about this. And I can also remember this about the
18 ultimatum, but I -- it's not -- I don't have it up to date.
19 Q. From the parts we have just read, do you get the impression and am
20 I correct in saying that this -- these talks were correct and that they
21 represented cooperation between Ambassador Bondioli and the JNA?
22 A. Well, I had no feeling that there was a bad atmosphere, the way I
23 recall it, about this. There might have been, but it was not brought to
24 my attention.
25 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Would the usher please distribute
1 these documents.
2 Q. Mr. Hvalkof, yesterday you responded to questions by my learned
3 friend, the Prosecutor, in connection with a correspondence between the
4 JNA and the ECMM for the most part in connection with the 19th and 20th of
5 October. Would you please, however, look at this letter written on the
6 letterhead of the Argentina Hotel, dated the 17th of October, 1991, 1710.
7 Could you please tell us what the content of this message is; the message
8 was sent by Colonel Damjanovic to your mission in Dubrovnik.
9 A. You want me to read it loud and clear?
10 Q. Could you just read it silently for yourself and tell us what the
11 essential points are.
12 A. I would like to have the second-last word in the second line
13 explained. Is that boat?
14 Q. It seems to be.
15 A. Okay. Yeah, well as I see it, it is a complaint about transport
16 of mortars between this name I can't read, but I think I know where it is,
17 and Dubrovnik. And the two mortars, according to the Jeep man who was --
18 wrote this, have been brought in to repair -- bring mortars into position
19 where they are not wanted. And that this is a warning to the ECMM to warn
20 the crisis committee that this is not acceptable to the man who -- to the
21 colonel or general who has written this. Yeah, I think that's the
22 essential part of it. I have not seen this document before, and you may
23 recall I was not there at the time.
24 Q. You were not in Dubrovnik on the 19th and 20th of October either,
25 and yet you explained documents from that period. Isn't that correct?
1 A. That is correct. I cannot recall I have seen this piece of paper
3 Q. Can you then explain to me why you saw only the reports of one
4 side or only some of the reports, rather than gaining a complete picture
5 about something you are talking about and interpreting. And yet you are
6 not then present in Dubrovnik --
7 MR. WEINER: I'd object to that, Your Honour, that's a misleading
8 question. If you look at the four letters which came in, two are from the
9 JNA and two are from -- to the JNA. That's a misleading questions. He
10 saw reports from both sides yesterday in that period, prior to his being
11 in Dubrovnik.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Weiner.
13 My impression is that that is so, Mr. Rodic, and your question is
14 to a degree misleading. I don't believe, though, that Mr. Hvalkof was
15 misled, and he was in the process of answering.
16 Would you like to continue, Mr. Hvalkof?
17 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. I read all the information
18 available during the time, but I cannot today in 2004 sit and remember all
19 these details. What I can tell is what I had -- I'm sure of and what --
20 when I looked at my own notes from the time, because I know they were
21 correct according to the way I saw the situation.
22 JUDGE PARKER: The critical point you make, Mr. Hvalkof, is that
23 you don't recall having ever seen this particular document.
24 THE WITNESS: That is correct. I don't recall it, but I am sure I
25 have. Because we were -- all these sort of things were filed, as I had
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 mentioned. But of course this could have happened. We didn't see it in
2 Split, or what have you, when we came. We were starting up. It might
3 have been missed somewhere, but I am sure I must have seen it.
4 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I understand the
5 objection raised by my learned friend, but this is an introduction to the
6 missing documentation which I will show to the witness and which I feel
7 will alter the position with respect to the four letters he testified
8 about yesterday.
9 Q. Do you know whether any investigation was undertaken by the
10 European mission in connection with this, or whether the Crisis Staff was
11 warned in connection with the contents of this letter?
12 A. I don't know. Anyway, I don't remember, but I'm sure that the
13 crisis committee was warned by the ECMM team according to the message
14 here. And I would presume if it operated the normal way down there at
15 that time, they would have immediately investigated. But I cannot recall
16 it, and it might have happened before I even showed up.
17 Q. Do you remember whether you saw a report by the monitors of the
18 ECMM concerning any steps that might have been taken in connection with
19 this by the JNA?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Thank you. Yesterday you commented on a correspondence between
22 the ECMM and the JNA, and these were four letters of the 19th and 20th of
23 October, although you were not a direct participant because you were in
24 Zagreb at the time. Is this correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. In tab 1, if you would be so kind as to take a look, please, there
2 is a letter of protest dated the 19th of October, 1605 hours, sent from
3 the mission to General Strugar in Kumbor. Is this correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. In this letter, the monitors ask that engineering units on the
6 main road near Plat be withdrawn immediately, and it is claimed that they
7 are entering into the defence positions of the other side. Do you know
8 what engineers' units -- what the engineering units of the JNA were doing
9 at the time?
10 A. Only from what I read here.
11 Q. Yes.
12 A. That's it.
13 Q. Yes, you explained that yesterday, only on the basis of this. But
14 do you know what the JNA engineering units were doing, based on this
16 A. Nothing more than what this letter states. I have no possibility
17 of knowing more.
18 Q. Do you know who the other side was and to whose positions they
19 were entering?
20 A. We --
21 Q. Very briefly, please.
22 A. The other side could only be the opposing party in the area.
23 Q. Who would that be?
24 A. In that area you had two opposing parties: The JNA and the
25 Croatian op forces, whatever they were called.
1 Q. Do you know where the positions of this other side were, reading
2 this letter?
3 A. I can read the names. I cannot remember -- I had not been on the
4 ground at the time. And at the time I was shown on the map, but it's --
5 that's all I can say.
6 Q. What did they show you on the map? Did they show you something on
7 the map in connection with this letter?
8 A. What I know -- I've been briefed on maps several times about
9 incidents. I cannot tell you any details about these briefings. I've
10 seen maps. Now they are here, now the line is there, et cetera. That's
11 all I can answer you now.
12 Q. Can you tell me why this is seen as a provocative act by the ECMM?
13 And to assist you I will tell you that they were repairing the road.
14 A. This can only be a guess. To repair a road could mean that you
15 achieve an advantage by being able to move weapons, equipment, et cetera,
16 forward or whatever. But it's only a guess.
17 Q. So you can only guess now in connection with this?
18 A. Well, I have read it.
19 Q. Do you remember perhaps that on that same day, the 19th of
20 October, an hour before sending this protest note to Kumbor at 1455 you
21 received an explanation of the activities of the JNA in relation to the
22 disinformation from the Dubrovnik Crisis Staff, with whom you had good
24 A. Now you say I received; I didn't.
25 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Would the usher please distribute this
2 MR. WEINER: Your Honour. Your Honour.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
4 MR. WEINER: Before we distribute this next document, could this
5 one at least be either marked for identification or listed as an exhibit
6 so in the future we'll know what we're referring to with various
8 JUDGE PARKER: Do I take it you have no objection to it being
9 received as an exhibit?
10 MR. WEINER: No objection, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Is that your intention?
12 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I agree.
13 JUDGE PARKER: The letter or the note dated 18th October 1991 will
14 be received as an exhibit.
15 THE REGISTRAR: The exhibit number will be D25.
16 JUDGE PARKER: It appears to have the date as 1981. I take it
17 we're all happy that it should be 1991?
18 MR. WEINER: Yes.
19 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] It says 19th October 1991 in the upper
20 right-hand corner.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
22 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Please look at the contents of this letter which you say did not
24 reach ECMM monitors before they sent the letter to Kumbor at 1605 hours.
25 A. I said I was not there; I did not receive it. Now I will read it.
1 I might have read it before. I have read it.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
3 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Was this letter addressed to the Crisis Staff of Dubrovnik and
5 members of the ECMM?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And it's dated the 14th of October at 1455 hours?
8 A. 19th of October.
9 Q. Yes, that's right, at 1455 hours?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And it was signed by Captain Jeremic as a representative of the
12 JNA staff in Kumbor, Boka?
13 A. It looks like the signature, yeah.
14 Q. In the second paragraph of this letter, did the JNA explain that
15 their units were either advancing or going forward, that the units in the
16 Plat area were engineers that were just working on the road repairs that
17 you had blown up, and that they primarily pleaded with the Crisis Staff of
18 Dubrovnik as well as with the ECMM to give them time and opportunity to
19 repair this road. Is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Judging by the sequence in time, was this letter sent before the
22 ECMM sent a warning to General Strugar in Kumbor at 1605 hours?
23 A. This apparently was sent before, yes.
24 Q. Do you remember this report, or rather, this letter?
25 A. I say again, no.
1 Q. So you don't remember this letter as well, just like the previous
3 A. That's correct.
4 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would kindly ask for
5 this document to be given a Defence number.
6 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received, Mr. Rodic.
7 THE REGISTRAR: The number will be D26.
8 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Since you said that you don't remember either of those letters
10 marked with D25 and D26, can you tell me the -- if you must have read,
11 just as you must have read these other letters?
12 A. I said I must have read them, yes. I have not seen them since
13 that time. The rest of the letters I have been talking about I have seen
14 later than that time, the ones we talked about yesterday.
15 Q. While you were briefed for -- during the conversation, were you
16 selectively shown these letters?
17 A. When I was briefed, it was verbal; when I was reading, I got a
18 file of papers and was reading through. When you read through files, I'm
19 not a lawyer like you, but I read through at the time and I don't remember
20 14 years or 13 years later what I read in detail at the time.
21 Q. But you were an impartial observer in 1991, testifying now, and
22 therefore you should also be impartial in your testimony speaking about
23 facts and events as they actually happened, particularly if the facts are
24 well-argumented. Is that correct?
25 A. Yes, I do my best.
1 Q. Is it possible then that this letter sent at 1455 hours, given the
2 time of the meeting and the content of the very letter, and I'm referring
3 to the letter from tab 1, was not given to the ECMM by the Dubrovnik
4 Crisis Staff in time?
5 A. I don't know.
6 Q. Could that have been possible?
7 MR. WEINER: Objection, you're asking the witness to speculate --
8 THE WITNESS: I don't know.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, the objection is well-founded. The answer is
10 being given and it's a dead-neutral answer.
11 So we will move on, Mr. Rodic.
12 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 Q. Could one say that the Dubrovnik Crisis Staff was raising
14 tensions, and that that was condoned by the ECMM members through this
15 letter dated 19th October?
16 A. I have no opinion about that.
17 Q. Do you now think that the repair works on the road damaged by the
18 Croatian units could be qualified as a provocation?
19 A. I would not know. Maybe it could, I don't know.
20 Q. So in this letter sent by the ECMM, there is a demand for General
21 Strugar to immediately withdraw his engineer units near Plat. Doesn't
22 that mean then that those -- the authors of this letter knew the contents
23 of the letter D26 that I just presented to you, and in which it was
24 explained what the engineers units had been doing?
25 A. Now, I don't have that letter, again it was brought up. It
1 doesn't matter. The point is that whatever they knew or not, the neutral
2 team in a position like this must convey all messages passed from either
3 side when they are asked to do so. You may sit and disagree, but when the
4 party says, Would you pass that message, you pass it. And I believe
5 that's what they did.
6 Q. The ECMM letter referring to the withdrawal of the JNA engineers
7 units was written in a rather commanding manner?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Can I now please ask you to have a look at tab 2. It's a letter
10 dated 19th of October. The time was 1825. It was sent to General Strugar
11 by the ECMM. So if you look at this letter, it seems to me that this is
12 of an identical content with tab 5; therefore, it's the same letter. But
13 above the name of General Strugar, you can see that it was actually sent
14 by Colonel Svicevic and addressed to General Strugar.
15 A. We're still talking about tab 3, aren't we -- or tab 2, sorry?
16 Q. Yes, tab 2. And in tab 4, there is an identical document to this
17 one. I apologise. I made a mistake when I said "tab 5." So tabs 2 and 4
18 contain the same document, but in tab 4 in the left upper corner of the
19 letter, one can discern that it was sent to -- it was sent through
20 Colonel Svicevic for General Strugar.
21 A. Well, I cannot read what is above -- or I can't -- for General
22 Strugar. I'll have to trust what you're saying. I can't read it. I see
23 half the letters are cut off.
24 Q. Yes, I see that, but I think that my colleague, the Prosecutor,
25 shares my opinion. In your further response to the Prosecution's
1 question, you also gave your explanation of this letter sent to
2 Colonel Svicevic and to the attention of General Strugar. Is it true that
3 in this letter, the ECMM has become more involved in the political
4 situation? For instance, in paragraph 2, the second sentence of this
6 A. So is that the question? Okay. The letter was not made by me,
7 but to me it is quite natural that when you work as a neutral
8 organisation, in this case -- sorry, for the ECMM, it is quite natural to
9 point out that the -- what they are doing here. There is nothing unnormal
10 compared to all the other places I have been. You frequently have to
11 point this sort of thing out to all the involved parties. And it just
12 says, for example: All armed forces, all armed forces, that's on both
13 sides if that's the sort of thing you're referring to. So me, that is
14 nothing wrong; it's natural.
15 Q. I was referring to the -- from the beginning of the letter up to
16 the sentence you have just read. Are these the positions and views of the
17 ECMM in which they were explaining the political situation to
18 General Strugar?
19 A. Well, the person who wrote this, I cannot vouch for what he's
20 writing. But the way I see it is that he is trying to explain how he and
21 his team is feeling the situation is. And that's it.
22 Q. Very well. So you consider that these are appropriate views
23 presented by the ECMM to one of the sides, in this case to the JNA?
24 A. Personally, I have nothing against it.
25 Q. Can you then tell me what does this sentence mean, I quote:
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 "Concerning the -- as far as the Dubrovnik area is concerned, the EC
2 monitoring mission has been informed by the people that they did not call
3 on the JNA."
4 What does that mean?
5 A. [Microphone not activated] The way I read it is that they did not
6 call the JNA -- they did not ask the JNA to approach Dubrovnik. But I
7 can't vouch for it. I did not read it -- I didn't write it, but that is
8 obvious to me. And the monitors are bringing the views of the other party
9 across as well as when they came back from meetings were bringing your --
10 the JNA views, across to the crisis committee or town council or whatever.
11 So this is the way I -- and that was the way we worked.
12 Q. Which people it was that said that they had not called on the JNA?
13 Who told you that anyway?
14 A. Nobody told me. I said I was not there. You asked me to give a
15 remark about this, and this is the EC monitor's mission personnel down in
16 Dubrovnik at the time who have written this. And I can't give you a fair
18 Q. Let us make it clear. When I asked you who told you, I wasn't
19 referring to you personally, because I know you weren't there. But you
20 interpreted the views of other members of the mission who wrote this.
21 Could it be that it was said to the monitors by the Dubrovnik
22 Crisis Staff?
23 A. It must have been the only way it could have appeared, that way.
24 Q. Now when you read this, do you think that this language and tone
25 assumed by the monitoring mission and the formulation of sentences as such
1 is a correct way that reflects your impartiality?
2 A. To bring information from one side to the other as actually
3 requested from one of the sides, in the way in the tone it was expressed
4 is a correct way of behaving and has got nothing to do with the
5 impartiality. And I consider this, the way I read it, they are passing
6 information in the tone it was given to them, and that's a fair way of
7 passing the information to your side. It does not express - when you do
8 this sort of thing - anything about what is happening inside the neutral
9 monitor's mind.
10 Q. I think that this letter is nothing to do with being a messenger
11 conveying a message, but rather of lecturing and giving orders and it is
12 in connection with the previous letter you had agreed was written in a
13 sort of a commanding manner. Is that correct? This is not the way to
14 explain the situation in Yugoslavia to General Strugar by the ECMM.
15 A. That's your opinion. I think it's a fair way of passing
17 Q. Thank you. Can we proceed, please.
18 Was the role of the monitors to judge whether the Yugoslav
19 People's Army in its own territory, because at the time there was yet no
20 political solution and the author of this letter has stepped beyond the
21 role -- the limits of your mandate, siding with one of the parties?
22 A. You'll have to talk to him about it. I didn't write it.
23 Q. But yesterday you were prepared or willing to testify to this
24 letter and to give your interpretation. Is that correct?
25 A. You have asked me to give interpretation today; I've done it.
1 Q. Let us go down through the content. The monitors say to the
2 general that: "You should realise that after 19 days of fighting the
3 repairment [as interpreted] of the road in the defensive position of the
4 commune of Dubrovnik can only be regarded as an aggressive act, contrary
5 to the confidence you are appealing on in the message of 1710 hours today,
6 signed by Colonel Svicevic. We therefore again stress strongly that you
7 have to withdraw behind your own lines."
8 Can you explain this to me, this interpretation given by your
9 colleagues, that repair works on the road in the defensive position of the
10 commune of Dubrovnik can only be regarded as an aggressive act. Can you
11 please explain that.
12 A. I think I have done it before, but they are passing messages from
13 the other side. They might have observed something themselves, which I
14 can't say. I wasn't there. I don't know who wrote it. But, as I say,
15 they passed messages. And we had been passing messages the other way
16 around, or they had for sure about remarks, maybe in a harsh tone given
17 from both sides. And that is what is happening here.
18 Q. I think that we can agree that this sentence carries no message.
19 It is rather that the monitor is persuading the general what he should
20 realise. Is that correct?
21 A. It depends on the eyes who looks at it.
22 Q. Very well. Tell me then what -- how can repair works on the road
23 constitute an aggressive act?
24 A. I say again as I did before - and I don't want to talk directly
25 about this thing - but repair of works -- of roads may mean that it's
1 easier to move equipment and troops ahead. I have met many other cases
2 and other missions with repair of roads in areas, in front line areas,
3 where there was a hell of a lot -- sorry about my blunt language, where
4 there were a lot of problems caused. And to me, this is just the some --
5 the same sort of thing here. And I have got no further comments on this
6 one; I can't give further comments.
7 Q. Does it mean in this particular case that the monitoring mission
8 sees road repair works as an aggressive act? Let me rephrase. Does not
9 the mission see this as an aggressive act or -- and does it only convey an
10 opinion that it constitutes an aggressive act?
11 A. It's their right of -- it's their duty to pass a message. If they
12 get an information that one side is finding this an aggressive act, they
13 should pass it. And that's a part of the job, so they do so. If you
14 don't tell the opposite party that you find it an aggressive act, it may
16 Q. So you don't see this an aggressive act, rather that was a message
17 from the Crisis Staff?
18 A. I'm not saying that. I say the repairing of roads could be
19 aggressive acts, and these people consider it to be an aggressive act.
20 And that's why they're asking the message to be passed. That's why
21 repair -- the way I read it.
22 Q. This, which sounds as an order to withdraw behind the lines, was
23 that referring to the engineers units working on the road repair works?
24 A. EC monitors don't give orders -- they didn't give orders. And
25 neutral observers in missions like that don't give orders but ...
1 Q. Does it simply mean that the Crisis Staff was issuing order to
2 General Strugar through the ECMM?
3 A. No. They were issuing orders -- I don't see it as orders. If you
4 consider it to be an order -- well, to me they are passing messages of
5 worries of some nature. And the ECM mission people are forwarding them to
6 you, and bad luck if you find it's an order.
7 Q. Do you know which members of the mission were in Dubrovnik at the
9 A. No.
10 Q. Do you know, or rather, can you can sure that the monitors from
11 the mission team in Dubrovnik at the time in the hotel, were they in the
12 hotel at the time? Were they in a cafe? Or were they walking around the
13 Old Town?
14 A. Of course I can't be sure. I don't know. I wasn't there.
15 Q. Another important point: You persist in speaking about the
16 transmission of messages of one side, the Croatian side, to the other, the
17 JNA. Is it correct that it is your messages, due to problems in
18 communication, the messages that you sent out or received in the mission,
19 that they all went through the Croatian side. Is this correct?
20 A. No, it's not. Because messages you pass to the mission went
21 through the mission channels. But when the Croats, for example, asked us
22 to pass a message to you, we did it. If you had done the same, we would
23 have done that. But we did not pass messages for us to them, no. No.
24 Q. Did you have any direct connection with the staff in Kumbor, in
25 Boka, the JNA staff there?
1 A. Now you're giving me a knew name I don't know. I have not heard
2 about Kumbor before. And when are you talking about now?
3 Q. In tab 1, the letter which you testified about is addressed to
4 General Pavle Strugar in Kumbor. Do you know where Kumbor is?
5 A. No. To me it looks like Dumbar, I'm sorry, and actually I thought
6 misreading, it meant Dubrovnik. I've never been aware of that. But I
7 didn't -- I can't read that word. But -- so -- and I don't know where
8 Kumbor is, no.
9 Q. But it's addressed to General Strugar in Kumbor by the monitors
10 from your mission. Isn't that correct?
11 A. It's addressed to General Strugar, that's correct. It's from the
12 mission -- from the ECM monitor team, yes, that is correct. I have never
13 been worried about the name, whatever, it's Boka or something else. I
14 knew it was Croatian -- or sorry, JNA territory. And we were not actually
15 concerned -- informed and really concerned about where your various
16 headquarters were.
17 Q. Which staff? Whose headquarters, that is?
18 A. Well, this is addressed to Pavle Strugar, General, so personally I
19 did not know where the general was sitting on his daily desk, and that's
20 what I mean.
21 Q. Could the monitors then have addressed a letter to him in
22 Ljubljana, for example?
23 A. We were talking about addressing letters and messages to the
24 officer in command of the JNA forces in the Dubrovnik area. And I know
25 that sometimes we were talking about Boka. Now you are mentioning another
1 name. There has been meetings in Miljenje. Where the general's exact
2 headquarters -- or if he had more, which is most likely, other places, I
3 don't know. We are talking about passing messages to the senior JNA
4 officer in the Dubrovnik area, and the exact name of the office or the
5 place was no interest to me at the time and it still is not.
6 Q. Do you know where the headquarters, or rather, the command post of
7 Admiral Jokic was?
8 A. No, I did not ask the question. I have met the admiral, and it
9 was not important for me to know that. It was important to me what
10 happened and what action people took.
11 Q. Thank you. In this letter there is mention of a message signed by
12 Colonel Svicevic at 1710, and that is in tab 2. Is this correct? Tab 2
13 or 4, it's the same letter.
14 A. Tab 2, yeah.
15 Q. Tell me, are you familiar with the content of Colonel Svicevic's
16 letter at 1710, which is mentioned here?
17 A. Could you just enlighten me so I can find that through the script
18 with my old eyes where this is --
19 Q. That's --
20 A. Sorry at the bottom. Would you repeat the question now, please.
21 Q. Are you personally familiar with the content of the -- contained
22 in Colonel Svicevic's letter, and did you have an opportunity to see it
23 study it before testifying about this exhibit?
24 A. No, I can't remember I've seen that better I came down here.
25 Right now I can't, anyway.
1 Q. The Prosecutor did not show you this letter, and it is missing
2 from the file, just like the other one sent by Captain Jeremic. Isn't
3 that so? D26, I mean.
4 A. Which file are you talking about?
5 Q. D26 is not in the tab. It is rather a Defence exhibit introduced
6 today. The letter sent at 1455 hours by Captain Jeremic addressed to the
8 A. That was one of the letters which was shown before. I don't have
9 it here. It's given back.
10 Q. What I'm asking you is: The letter that you looked at you said
11 you hadn't seen before. I'm now asking you: Did you see
12 Colonel Svicevic's letter of 1710? Did you see it when you were being
13 briefed for this testimony?
14 A. No. If you're referring now -- I don't have it front of me.
15 You're referring to the piece of paper, the letters, which you distributed
16 before, I have not seen them before in connection with this arrangement
18 Q. Is this the letter sent by Captain Jeremic and is it correct that
19 you did not see it when preparing for your testimony and that it preceded
20 the first protest letter from tab 1, which was addressed to the JNA?
21 A. I didn't see it in connection with the trial, before today. I'm
22 sure I've seen it many years ago, to the best of my knowledge.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic, is that last letter Exhibit D25, the one
24 the witness has just commented on?
25 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it is D26.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
2 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] The letter sent by Captain Jeremic.
3 Q. Mr. Hvalkof, do you understand that yesterday you testified, and
4 today I am asking you in connection with tab 1 and 2. These are letters
5 sent by the ECMM to the JNA.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. In Exhibit 1, there is a letter at 1605 hours. Is this correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. I have just shown you a letter from Captain Jeremic sent at 1455,
10 which you did not see before?
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. Now I am asking you in relation to this second letter from tab 2,
13 during your proofing did you see the letter that was sent at 1710 by
14 Colonel Svicevic to the ECMM, which preceded this letter from the ECMM
15 sent at 1825? That's my question.
16 A. You said my briefing. Are you talking about the briefing in
18 Q. No, here in The Hague.
19 A. Okay.
20 Q. When you were handed these tab numbers.
21 A. I have seen these tab numbers here. The documents you have
22 produced today I have not seen here.
23 Q. When you talk about these documents in tabs 1 and 2 where you were
24 not a direct participant or the author of these documents, shouldn't you
25 be neutral, as a former monitor, and ask to see, for example, the letter
1 sent by Colonel Svicevic at 1705, which is mentioned in tab 2?
2 A. I've been asked to tell the truth, and the truth, and I have been
3 presented with these things. I've answered questions. If I had to ask
4 questions about all the other documents and conversations happening in
5 1991, I would probably be here for a long time. I have answered what I
6 have been asked as well as I could. And it has got nothing to do with my
7 neutrality in 1991 or in this case. And I don't want that to be doubted.
8 Q. Thank you. I believe you when you say this. Is it possible, in
9 view of the fact that at the time you did not participate in drawing up
10 these letters and that you were not present in Dubrovnik, that through
11 this selective presentation of ECMM documents you might be misused,
12 unconsciously, in your testimony?
13 A. I don't feel I've been misused. I've tried to do my best.
14 Q. Without reading Colonel Svicevic's letters, can you say now that
15 the standpoints put forward in the mission letters in tab 2 are correct
16 and proper and that you were not misled now by the Prosecutor and in the
17 past by the Dubrovnik Crisis Staff?
18 A. When I don't remember and don't know the letter; I can't ask for
19 it and I had no reason to ask for it. When you have two opposing parties
20 sending arguments, of course they have very different opinions about the
21 situations. When you pass the messages, you try to discuss it at
22 meetings, you try to solve the problems, that you might have a bit of a --
23 is nothing of value. I can't say anything more to this.
24 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Would the usher please distribute this
1 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues]... Issue there,
2 Mr. Rodic?
3 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is the same issue.
4 I am introducing a new document in connection with these letters, in order
5 to resolve the situation with the assistance of this witness.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Well, let's hope we can do it fairly quickly.
7 Thank you.
8 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could this document be
9 given an exhibit number right away?
10 JUDGE PARKER: I see it already has an identification number.
11 Yes, it will be received.
12 THE REGISTRAR: D27.
13 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Mr. Hvalkof, have you acquainted yourself now with the content of
15 this letter?
16 A. Just now.
17 Q. The Prosecutor did not show you this letter before?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Can you tell me on the basis of, what when you read this letter,
20 would the monitors from your mission, those who were in Dubrovnik, be able
21 to reject this letter from Colonel Svicevic. How could they justify that?
22 A. I don't know.
23 Q. When you read this, do you consider that the repair of the road
24 for the needs of the situation in the JNA was an act of aggression, as
25 mentioned in the letter in tab 2?
1 A. I would like to see the spot -- the situation on the ground before
2 I said anything about it.
3 Q. Do you know whether the monitors did anything in connection with a
4 protest against the violation of the cease-fire that is contained in
5 Colonel Svicevic's letter?
6 A. No. No.
7 Q. Do you know whether they carried out an investigation?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Do you know what the monitors did because the Croatian forces were
10 carrying out movements, as indicated in Colonel Svicevic's letter?
11 A. No, but I know that the normal procedure is, if possible, you're
12 not risking your lives, you carry out an investigation on the spot, and I
13 know that you negotiate and pass messages to try to calm the situation
14 down. What they did at the time, I still can't answer.
15 Q. You don't know whether they did anything about the new arming in
16 certain locations mentioned here?
17 A. No. We are talking about the time before I came. I concentrated
18 and there was enough to concentrate on what was happening from the time I
19 arrived, what the situation was like. And that was enough.
20 Q. But you said that regardless of the fact that you were not in
21 Dubrovnik, you read the reports from Dubrovnik, the correspondence and the
22 reports from your mission. Isn't that correct?
23 A. Whatever was available. You may take into consideration that
24 these people who were down in Dubrovnik, whatever was there, it might have
25 arrived at a time in -- when I was on the move down or later. Anyway, I
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 cannot remember all these papers; I can't. I can remember what I had
2 personally and what I had been presented with. I say, Oh, yeah, I've seen
3 that before. This -- the majority of what I presented for you is
4 something I had myself. This one I don't have, it's something that showed
5 up before my presence. I don't have it. And when you read stacks of
6 papers, anyway, if you were me, you wouldn't be able to remember all of it
7 in detail so many years after. You wouldn't. What I read myself and what
8 I -- surely matters I've handled myself, yes, I think I could, when I look
9 at it again, remember it.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Does that conclude that line of questioning,
11 Mr. Rodic?
12 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Just one more question, or rather, a
13 few questions in connection with this, because I will speak about a new
14 exhibit from the tab.
15 JUDGE PARKER: I think it would be good to have a break now, and I
16 think your client would like that, too.
17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
18 --- Recess taken at 12.25 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 12.53 p.m.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic.
21 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. Mr. Hvalkof, please look at tab number 5. This is a letter sent
23 by General Strugar to the monitoring mission, bearing the date of 20th of
24 October and the time is 1945. This is a letter which is a reply to the
25 letter from the ECMM of the 19th of October in tab 4; that is the letter
1 we were discussing before the break. Is this correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. When you look at the content of this letter, can we agree that it
4 is a polite reply, in spite of the tone used in the letters of the ECMM of
5 the 19th of October at 1605 and 1825?
6 A. It's a polite reply.
7 Q. Especially if we bear in mind that General Strugar had
8 information, the information transmitted by Captain Jeremic to the ECMM in
9 connection with the engineers' units and what they were doing and the
10 information Colonel Svicevic also transmitted to the ECMM, while in reply
11 he received from the ECMM letters numbered tabs 1 and 2. Is this correct?
12 A. Yeah.
13 Q. Do you see now that the observers in Dubrovnik were manipulated -
14 you were not there - because they did not have the entire scope of
15 communication in the letters?
16 A. I see the letter and I agree. I have nothing against the tone of
17 the letter. I cannot confirm anything about monitors being manipulated.
18 Q. I will remind you that yesterday, when questioned by the
19 Prosecutor about this letter, the one before you now, tab 5, you said you
20 did not like the tone in which it was written, although you were not in
21 Dubrovnik at the time. I believe, however, that now after having seen the
22 JNA documents sent to the monitoring mission, which you did not have an
23 opportunity of seeing before, you have changed your opinion. Is this
25 A. I don't think -- know if I have changed my opinion, but if I look
1 at it now it doesn't sound that bad. And anyway, I have nothing against a
2 sharp tone in a letter as such; I'll have to accept that.
3 Q. I think that we may be assisted here by another letter of the 20th
4 of October sent at 1950, which is in tab number 6. Would you please now
5 look at the content of this letter.
6 That means that between 1300 hours and 1900 hours on the 19th of
7 October, despite the cease-fire, the JNA suffered the loss of three men
8 and had a number of wounded. However, in that period, the mission had
9 sent these previously-discussed two letters. Can we now understand better
10 General Strugar's letter from tab 5?
11 A. I can easily understand the general's words about losing people.
12 That's of course very important. Yes, I can understand that. To me this
13 is again a normal document. Of course you are complaining about something
14 you don't like and you find is wrong, yes, I understand that very well.
15 Q. Is it proper that while the cease-fire was in force between 1500
16 and 1800 hour on the 19th of October, the JNA suffered the loss of three
17 men and had 17 wounded men, while at the same time the mission sent a
18 letter ordering the engineers units to be withdrawn because they were
19 performing an act of aggression. Is that correct?
20 A. It is always wrong when a cease-fire is broken. I cannot answer
21 for what the EC monitor mission team in Dubrovnik were doing and where
22 they were at the time.
23 Q. I fully agree with you on that, because I asked you a similar
24 question before the break. Now can you please look carefully at tab 7 and
25 read it. This is the letter sent by the mission to Captain Jeremic for
1 which I claim to be a completely different one in terms of its tone from
2 the ones sent to General Strugar on the 19th of October. I believe we can
3 agree on that.
4 A. I'll have to read it first. Yeah, I've read it.
5 Q. Are we in agreement that the tone of this letter is completely
6 different to the tone present in the letter sent by the mission on the
7 19th of October?
8 A. Well, it's different, yes.
9 Q. Thank you. Also, the mission expressed its regret of not
10 receiving the letter sent to Captain Jeremic and referring to the
11 postponement of a meeting? Is that correct?
12 A. It does, yes.
13 Q. Could the solution of this correspondence on the 20th and the 19th
14 of October between the mission be perceived from item 2 of this letter,
15 where the mission observers say that they relied or depended on Dubrovnik
16 radio to transmit their messages to the JNA and that there was no other
17 way of communicating with them, they also said that "like you mention
18 people misused this line of communication and it is unfortunately out of
19 our control."
20 Is that the key to this whole body of correspondence?
21 A. I don't know if that's the key, but it's a possibility, of course,
22 when communications are bad and you have to use the means available.
23 Q. Wasn't it only enough that the Crisis Staff of Dubrovnik failed to
24 convey the messages between the mission and the JNA, and that that could
25 have resulted in misunderstandings?
1 A. I don't know.
2 Q. The members of the mission who drafted this letter precisely speak
3 about this under item 2, and that that is they depended on their
4 communications on Radio Dubrovnik and that they had no other channels to
5 communicate other than that one?
6 A. That's what they write. I trust that is true.
7 Q. Thank you. And in -- with respect to this letter, one more issue,
8 and that is pertaining to item 3. I think that we can agree that the tone
9 of addressing the recipient is completely different than the one used in
10 the letters dated 19th of October. Is that correct?
11 A. The tone is different.
12 Q. Thank you. Can I please ask you now to move to tab 3. This
13 document is entitled "The Interpretation of the Current Cease-fire in
14 Dalmatia." When you look at this document, can you tell me: Is it sort
15 of an analysis and who has prepared this analysis and based on what?
16 A. I see -- I can remember I've seen this document before. It -- to
17 me it is an analysis. And who wrote it, I cannot remember. And I don't
18 even know -- I'll have to see but I'm not sure. But it is an analysis
19 made by ECMM.
20 Q. Can you please look at item 5 of this document entitled
22 A. Yeah, I've read that.
23 Q. Can you please explain to me what did this conclusion at the
24 beginning of the second sentence which reads that: "Dubrovnik itself has
25 no military or strategic value," and who was able to arrive at such a
2 A. The person who wrote this arrived at this conclusion, and I
3 expressed yesterday that I sort of had the same feeling myself. But
4 that's analysed by this person, and of course you don't always discuss
5 that. Anyway, that has no influence on the work you do, that you might
6 feel this. You do the work of negotiating with people, investigating, and
7 handling the matters on the ground.
8 Q. As far as I know, this type of analysis and reports are normally
9 forwarded to your headquarters in Zagreb and from then on to the
10 ambassadors of the EC member countries. Is that correct?
11 A. Well, normally it would be forwarded to headquarters of Zagreb.
12 And now I -- I don't know, but this to me seems like the paper made in
13 Zagreb, but I don't know.
14 Q. When anyone in the European Community receiving such reports from
15 monitoring missions made conclusions about the prevailing situation in
16 Yugoslavia, could they do that?
17 A. I don't know what -- how -- what conclusion they made out of
18 reading this. How should I know what they do and what they think?
19 Q. If you inform from the ground anyone in Europe by stating that
20 Dubrovnik itself has no military or strategic value, what could anyone in
21 Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt, or Copenhagen conclude from that?
22 A. Well, I didn't state anything at the time about that. So you will
23 have the people sitting then evaluating this like you evaluate any
24 intelligence information. I don't know how they do -- how they evaluated
25 this. You get opinions. You have to discuss them, find other sources and
1 that sort of stuff. But I have had nothing to do with it. So I don't
2 know what they do and where they ended up and that was the result.
3 Q. One more thing about this particular sentence. If we bear in mind
4 that Dubrovnik was in the territory of the SFRY, that the SFRY as a
5 country had its own strategy of defence and evaluation of territories that
6 it deems of importance and especially if it is unknown what the tasks of
7 the JNA second operations groups were, then we can conclude that this kind
8 of conclusion can be very pretentious.
9 MR. WEINER: I'd object to that, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
11 MR. WEINER: Number one, there's no timing on that. Number two,
12 it's an issue for this Court to determine under whose authority the city
13 of Dubrovnik was. They've indicated if we bear in mind that it was under
14 the JNA -- I'm sorry, in the territory of the SFRY and the SFRY had its
15 own strategy of defence. Then he's asking him about the conclusion can be
16 very pretentious. The question has no meaning, number one. Number two,
17 it's an issue of international law. And number three, I don't think it's
18 relevant for this witness.
19 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this document, page 1,
20 has the logo or the mark of the ECMM and it's dated the 24th of October,
21 1991. And irrespective of the comments of my learned friend, I believe
22 that the area of Dubrovnik could be deemed to be more in the context of
23 the SFRY than in the crisis situation that is being discussed here under
24 the indictment against General Strugar. And I don't see any relevance of
25 that to the question that I asked the witness.
1 JUDGE PARKER: As all counsel are well aware, it will be for this
2 Chamber at the end to determine issues such as the status of Dubrovnik and
3 what, in fact, was occurring politically at the time, and in particular
4 whether or not there was an international conflict affecting the relevant
5 events. What you put to the witness, Mr. Rodic, was very much in the line
6 of one of your statements rather than a question and was very loaded with
7 that type of international law element so that it becomes, A, impossible
8 for a witness such as Mr. Hvalkof to answer it; and in any event it's not
9 for a witness such as Mr. Hvalkof but for this Chamber. So I must uphold
10 the objection of Mr. Weiner, and if you would move on. Thank you.
11 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. In continuation of this evaluation about the situation in
13 Dubrovnik, it is stated that there were no significant Croatian forces in
14 the area, there was no heavy weaponry there other -- only small arms and
15 perhaps some anti-tank guns. Do you share this opinion, since you in your
16 capacity as the deputy head of the regional centre were active in
17 Dubrovnik and were personally visiting this territory?
18 A. I did not see any heavy weapons, so I agree with this, and I have
19 no reports of heavy weapons. So ...
20 Q. What is your definition of heavy weaponry?
21 A. Well, my definition would say heavy weaponry is above
22 81-millimetre mortars. I have met people who consider 81-millimetre
23 mortars heavy weapons, too. However, I did not see any of those in the
24 area and I have no report about heavy weapons -- anyway not that I can
1 Q. And if I tell you that the commander of the defence of the City of
2 Dubrovnik as well as many other witnesses said that there were
3 120-millimetre mortars in Dubrovnik, that there was a variety of guns, how
4 would you assess that?
5 A. Well, that's his statement. But I can't confirm they were there.
6 So I have to stick to that.
7 Q. Do you know that the 116th ZNG Brigade was in the area of
9 A. I don't know the number of the unit. I don't know the name of the
10 unit, but I know there were Croatian armed forces in the area. But I
11 don't know the numbers and the names.
12 Q. Can you tell us more precisely which area are you referring to.
13 A. Well, the Dubrovnik area -- I knew there were small forces around
14 the town of Dubrovnik itself. And to the best of my knowledge, there were
15 forces up -- Croatian forces up at Stan which is up en route towards --
16 not too far away towards Split. And I recall fighting in the Stan area
17 with JNA and Croatian forces. But the -- I never saw personally -- you
18 have to consider my own short stay in Dubrovnik. I never saw really armed
19 personnel in Dubrovnik, and I never saw any weapons in Dubrovnik. And I
20 didn't worry about the number of the unit they -- I can never recall I
21 ever heard.
22 Q. Do you want to say that there was no Croatian forces in Dubrovnik
23 and no Croatian artillery and that they did not operate from within
25 A. I didn't say that. I said I didn't see it.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Had you ever heard there were Croatian forces deployed in
2 Dubrovnik and that there were Croatian artillery weapons operating from
4 A. No. I've heard not about the weapons. There were some sort of
5 Croatian forces, armed personnel, in and around Dubrovnik. Yes, I've
6 heard about that.
7 Q. If anything else -- had you ever heard from members of your
8 monitoring team and through their reports learned about the positions and
9 operations of the Croatian army and artillery from Dubrovnik?
10 A. I know about small arms firing from -- I think it was called the
11 Fort Mount Srdj. Is that correct? I cannot recall details about anything
12 else, and I have -- say again that my impression was that the Croatian
13 forces in the Dubrovnik area were very small and armed with small-arms
14 weapons. And when you tell me what I've seen, I have told you already
15 what I have seen.
16 Q. Can you tell me on the basis of what do you assert that you know
17 they had only light weapons, that there were few of them, and that the
18 Croatian forces fired from Srdj only from light weapons.
19 A. I can tell you that my information about the forces I got from the
20 monitors down there. I did not say they only fired with light arms from
21 Srdj, but that -- what I saw myself was very little, but then I saw
22 something which sounded -- looked like machine gun fire on the 6th, and
23 that was a very short, brief, minute. That's all I know about that.
24 Q. Did you learn from the monitors in your mission that fire was
25 opened from artillery pieces in Dubrovnik; for example, Boskovic park
1 between the Belvedere Hotel and the Excelsior Hotel, from near the
2 Argentina Hotel, where the ECM monitors were put up, and similar
3 locations. Were you able to see this from their reports?
4 A. They did not report anything like that to the best of my
6 Q. Were they forbidden -- were they banned from reporting on this?
7 A. Of course not. They had to report everything. They would report.
8 Q. How then do you explain that witnesses who testified before this
9 Tribunal mentioned such things?
10 MR. WEINER: I would object, Your Honour.
11 THE WITNESS: How can I answer that?
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Weiner.
13 MR. WEINER: He can't comment on the credibility or another
14 persons' testimony.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Or on their observation, which was not the
16 observation of this witness.
17 MR. WEINER: Correct. Yes.
18 JUDGE PARKER: The question is one that is misplaced, Mr. Rodic,
19 for the reasons that have been canvassed.
20 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I'll move on.
21 Q. During the time of your mission in Dubrovnik or in connection with
22 Dubrovnik, did you ever have contacts with the Croatian army, regardless
23 of their numbers, that is with the commanders of the Croatian army?
24 A. I dealt with the crisis committee. One of the members was wearing
25 a camouflage uniform. I was not -- I was dealing with them as a crisis
1 committee, and as the leaders or the assistants, whatever you'd like to
2 call it, of Dubrovnik. But that was all.
3 Q. What was the name of this member of the crisis committee who wore
4 a camouflage uniform?
5 A. I have no idea. I have no clue. I might have talked to them if
6 he was accompanying them. He could have been a security guard; I wouldn't
8 Q. Do you have information to the effect that it was the crisis
9 committee that was at the head of the Croatian army, of course I mean in
10 the Dubrovnik area?
11 A. They were the top Croatian authorities we were negotiates with.
12 Q. What do you mean by the top Croatian authorities? I'm asking you
13 specifically did the Croatian army take orders from the Crisis Staff in
14 the Dubrovnik area, or did they have their own command?
15 A. I'll tell you that we were discussing all matters of the people we
16 had there concerning the situation around Dubrovnik and what happened on
17 the Croatian side. That was discussed, to the best of my knowledge, with
18 the crisis committee concerning military and civilian matters.
19 Q. So it was the Crisis Staff that made all important decisions,
20 because they were the ones you were in contact with. Is this correct?
21 A. I didn't say that. We were -- they were the ones we discussed
22 with, and they were the leaders of the Croats in the area to our
23 understanding and -- but I can't answer the other part of your question.
24 How should I know?
25 Q. Were you not at all interested in the Croatian army in the
1 Dubrovnik area as one of the sides, the JNA being other side? So if the
2 JNA was one side, the Croatian army was supposed to be the other side.
3 And as you explained, the goal of the mission was to mediate between those
4 two sides. Isn't that correct?
5 A. Yes, it is.
6 Q. What do you know about the Croatian army then? You know nothing
7 about one of the sides?
8 A. Whatever -- of course we were -- whatever -- there were of
9 Croatian forces. The main impression and what I recall the monitors who
10 were there and actually moved around in the area, which I didn't, was that
11 it was very small light-armed forces of a not very much regular army type.
12 You could compare with a bit of fighting resistance if I can use that word
13 comparison to the Second World War where you had something like that in
14 many places including Yugoslavia. It didn't seem to be very well
15 organised and it didn't seem to be professional people to the best of my
16 knowledge. That was what people reported. I didn't see them myself.
17 There was no time during my two visits to Dubrovnik.
18 Q. With all due respect, I think you've gone too far in your
19 portrayal going as far as back as World War II. However, what I'm asking
20 you specifically is: If there is a problem on the ground in Dubrovnik and
21 the JNA complains and addresses a protest to your mission saying that the
22 cease-fire had been violated and that a JNA soldier had been killed, for
23 example, who then do you turn to to transmit this message and possibly
24 launch a protest?
25 A. You turn in this case to the crisis committee. And the normal
1 thing to then do would be to try to investigate the matter and then insist
2 that if they carried out something like that where you have a JNA soldier
3 killed, anything which could be doing harm to the other side, to inform
4 them that they have to stop this thing if that is happening. But first of
5 all when the protest comes in, you bring it to -- you pass the information
6 in this case to the leaders of the resistance in Dubrovnik.
7 Q. And the leaders of the resistance in Dubrovnik, that was the
8 Dubrovnik Crisis Staff. Is that right?
9 A. I have mentioned that that was my general opinion. Now and then
10 and together with them, you also had the -- we were talking to the mayor
11 of Dubrovnik. If he was also a member of the crisis committee or talking
12 on -- as a town council, I'm not sure. But they were working closely
13 together, and they were the leaders in the area we were talking to.
14 Q. Tell me: You said you had contacts with, among others,
15 General Mladenic in Split. Is this correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Do you know what General Mladenic's position was?
18 A. We were informed he was the commander of the naval base, Lora
19 base, in Split.
20 Q. I will tell you that General Mladenic -- I withdraw the question.
21 You said and mentioned that you talked to General Raseta in
22 Zagreb. Can you tell me what his position was, where does he belong?
23 A. I don't -- I did not talk to General Raseta. I have never seen
24 the man.
25 Q. Were any letters addressed to him by the ECMM? Was he ever sought
1 out or asked to intervene?
2 A. I remember that in this bunch of paper his name appears. And in
3 connection with any specific case, you'll have to show me the paper. But
4 I remember his name, but I had nothing to do with the man personally.
5 Q. You remember everything only when you have before you documents
6 that you can look at?
7 A. No. I remember case -- things where I was involved personally.
8 And when you want me to get into what was written at what time at a
9 certain date, I require, due to the many years ago it happened, to look.
10 And I know the things I have written myself, messages I have received
11 myself, I know that I wrote down what was the truth at the time. And
12 you're trying to ask me about lots of pieces of paper I have had no actual
13 dealing, which I find is unfair.
14 Q. Let's move on. All right. Admiral Jokic, what do you know about
15 him? What was he?
16 A. I found out he was a vice-admiral. It was the impression I had
17 that he was attached to General Strugar. I have no idea of how the actual
18 set-up was, but he was anyway representing the JNA at the meeting I
19 attended, the two meetings, in Cavtat. And a vice-admiral is a very
20 senior officer.
21 Q. Was he the commander of a military formation? Did you have this
23 A. Well, in my opinion he would be when he is sent out to negotiate
24 with two Croatian ministers, it's most likely. But nobody informed me
25 what his exact job -- what he was at. There was no doubt that the three
1 Croatian ministers found that he was a man high-ranking enough to
2 negotiate at that level.
3 Q. As far as I can understand, you do not know now what exactly the
4 position of Vice-Admiral Miodrag Jokic was and of what he was the
5 commander at the time in October and December 1991, while you were dealing
6 with Dubrovnik. Is this correct?
7 A. It's correct I do not know his appointment -- I did not know his
8 appointment. But when he is sent out as a representative negotiating with
9 three ministers, I presume that he is an important person. But nobody
10 told me about his exact appointment in his unit or his staff or wherever
11 he came from.
12 Q. I put it to you that your monitors who were in Dubrovnik and who
13 had more frequent communication with Admiral Jokic knew and reported on
14 his appointment, both to the regional centre of your mission and to the
15 main centre in Zagreb. Do you agree with me?
16 A. Yes, I agree with you. They did that. They passed the
17 information they had. You'll find in this book also there is a note
18 somewhere stating that the people they were negotiating with in Dubrovnik
19 were first General Strugar, secondly Admiral Jokic. I think then Captain
20 Jeremic, and then there was some other people. And you assume from that
21 list that you have the people ranking in the order they are in command in
22 the area. That's what I assume.
23 Q. Tell me: What was General Strugar's appointment?
24 A. Well, in general he was mentioned as the commander of the Croatian
25 forces -- or sorry, I'm very sorry, of the JNA in the Dubrovnik area. As
1 also mentioned, I recall, we have looked at that paper today, about the
2 commander -- the commander and chief of the Military District number 2 as
3 far as I remember. But the majority of information stated that the
4 general was in command of the JNA in the Dubrovnik area.
5 Q. What was the JNA formation in the Dubrovnik area?
6 A. I have got no exact information about the specific units, their
7 numbers, et cetera. But there was no doubt that there was JNA units
8 around Dubrovnik. And I cannot -- if I have heard, I cannot remember the
9 number of units and what they were called, et cetera. But they were there
10 for sure.
11 Q. Very well. Tell me General Kadijevic, what was his appointment?
12 A. To the best of my knowledge, he was -- now, names are difficult,
13 but I think he was the minister of defence, or equivalent to what you may
14 call it in your country, and sitting in Belgrade.
15 Q. Is it correct in connection with all these names, Mladenic,
16 Raseta, Jokic, and Strugar, that either you personally or other
17 representatives of your mission addressed them on various occasions, most
18 often in writing, and all in connection with the situation around
19 Dubrovnik? Kadijevic too, of course.
20 A. The mission might have had conversations, meetings with Mladenic.
21 Raseta I believe, I can't confirm it. Jokic I know for sure. Strugar I
22 know for sure. And personally I know that I have sent messages in writing
23 to Mladenic, General Mladenic, Admiral Jokic, and General Strugar.
24 Q. Were there any messages to General Kadijevic?
25 A. Not from me.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. I said anyone from the ECMM.
2 A. To the best of my knowledge, yes.
3 JUDGE PARKER: We've run out of time, Mr. Rodic. We will --
4 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise, Your Honour. I wanted
5 to round off this topic.
6 JUDGE PARKER: I thought you were going to say your
7 cross-examination there for a moment. We must be getting nearer the end,
8 though, Mr. Rodic?
9 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, Your Honour, I cannot
10 make you happy in this way, but I will do my best tomorrow. And I believe
11 that I will be finished in the first session tomorrow. I'll do my very
12 best to do that. Thank you.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you indeed.
14 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, may I give a remark? I need to be back
15 at my farm Friday morning latest.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Well, we show every sign of your evidence finishing
17 in the course of tomorrow morning. And I would suggest you arrange a
18 flight at the latest time you can tomorrow afternoon.
19 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE PARKER: We will live in prayer until then. We will adjourn
21 now until tomorrow.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
23 at 1.48 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
24 the 12th day of February, 2004, at 9.00 a.m.