1 THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL CASE NO. IT-94-1-T
2 FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
3 IN THE TRIAL CHAMBER
4 Thursday, 6th June 1996
5 (10.00 a.m.)
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Keegan, will you handle the next witness -- not
7 handle the next witness, will you question the next witness?
8 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, your Honour. The Prosecution will call Colonel Ludwik
10 COLONEL LUDWIK KRANJC, called.
11 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Sir, would you take that oath, please?
12 THE WITNESS [In translation]: I solemnly declare that I will speak the
13 truth, the
14 whole truth and nothing but the truth.
15 (The witness was sworn)
16 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you. You may be seated.
17 Examined by MR. KEEGAN
18 Q. Colonel Kranjc, would you state for the record your full name,
20 A. My name is Ludwik Kranjc.
21 Q. Were you born in Slovenia in the former Yugoslavia?
22 A. I was born on September 13 in 1943 in the municipality of Lasko,
23 Republic of Slovenia.
24 Q. After your primary schooling did you attend the Yugoslav Military
25 Academy in Belgrade?
1 A. The Military Academy in Belgrade I was from 1962 to 1965.
2 Q. Who was one of the class mates in your graduating class?
3 A. One of the sublieutenants who graduated with me in 1965 was today's
4 General Ratko Mladic.
5 Q. What was your area of military expertise during your service?
6 A. My speciality was officer of armoured and mechanized units of the
7 Yugoslav People's Army.
8 Q. When did your service with the military end?
9 A. My military service ended on October 31st 1962 (sic).
10 Q. What was your rank when your service ended?
11 A. My rank was Colonel of the Yugoslav People's Army.
12 Q. Colonel Kranjc, the translation of the answer to the question of when
13 did your service end says October 31st 1962. Did you mean to say 1992?
14 A. 1992, I am sorry. My military service ended on October 31st 1992.
15 Q. From what army was your separation effected?
16 A. I served in the Yugoslav People's Army and I officially completed my
17 service in the army of Yugoslavia.
18 Q. At the time you left the military, what was the position that you
19 were working at?
20 A. In the army I completed my military service serving as Operations
21 Officer in the command of the 1st Krajina Corps.
22 Q. Was that Corps headquartered in the Banja Luka region of the Republic
23 of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
24 A. Yes, that Corps was headquartered in the Banja Luka region.
25 Q. Between September 1965 and September of 1992, can you briefly
1 describe what types of commands and other major positions you held in
2 the Yugoslav Army?
3 A. From 1965 until 1971 I held various lower command posts in the
4 Educational Centre.
5 Q. Did you command armoured units at the Company, Battalion and Brigade
7 A. Then from 1971 until 1972 I was Operations Officer in the Commander
8 of the regiments in Slovenia and then Commander of Battalion in Vipava
9 until 1975. Then I went to the Command Staff Academy which I
10 graduated in 1977 with excellent marks. Then from 1977 until 1982, I
11 was head of a course in the Military Academy in the Educational Centre
12 in Banja Luka. Then I was transferred to Belgrade to Chief of Staff
13 of the 1st Mechanized Corps until 1984. From 1984 until 1985 I
14 completed the school for National Defence -- the highest educational
15 institution in the Yugoslav People's Army.
16 From 1985 until 1989 I was Commander of a Mechanized Brigade
17 in Pancevo. Then I was transferred to Banja Luka, and from 1989 until
18 1991 I was Operations Officer in the command of the mentioned 5th
19 Corps. From May 1991 until May 1992, I was Commander of the
20 Educational Centre for armoured and mechanized units in Banja Luka and
21 in May I was transferred to the command of the 5th Corps.
22 Q. The designator of the 5th Corps was later changed to the 1st Krajina
24 A. In May or end of May, the name the 5th Corps of the 2nd Military
25 District was renamed the 1st Krajina Corps of the army of the Republic
1 -- I am sorry, of the army of the Republika Srspka.
2 Q. During your training as a junior officer and at the various military
3 academies you attended, were you taught that there was a standard
4 method and format for preparing an operations order?
5 A. In the Military Academy we were taught operational tasks up to the
6 level of the battalion, and in the Academy planning and conduct of
7 operations up to the level of army and Corps, and in the National Army
8 School, in addition to planning for the Corps and army command, also
9 planning the use of the total armed forces of the Socialist Federal
10 Republic of Yugoslavia.
11 Q. Was the format, the basic format, for an operations order consistent
12 throughout your entire career?
13 A. The planning of combat operations was regulated by combat regulations
14 for a certain level of unit and by certain other regulations and hand
15 books which were applicable to the whole armed forces. Those rules
16 were respected throughout my service in the army.
17 Q. Were all officers involved in planning in every unit in the JNA
18 required to follow the format?
19 A. Yes, they were. They participated as regulated by their posts. There
20 were definite instructions. At the lower level, the officers knew how
21 to use and come and plan combat operations for their level, and high
22 level officers were familiar with the rules at the higher level.
23 Q. Can you briefly explain the process and the content of a combat
24 operations order?
25 A. When a unit Commander is given a task from his superior command, he
1 studies the task to understand it and has a basic concept about it
2 which he conveys to the members of his command; and then command
3 bodies, according to their competencies and the departments for which
4 they are responsible, prepare proposals to the Commander for the use
5 and commitment of units. After those proposals, the unit Commander
6 passes the main decision and familiarises the command members with it.
7 On the basis of that, the final order is issued for combat commitment
8 of units. This order consists of several parts or points.
9 The order begins with data on the enemy or the aggressor or
10 opponent. Then in the second point the task of that particular unit
11 which is being committed is defined. In the third point, the tasks
12 and data about neighbouring units of one's own forces, right and left,
13 forward and behind, if there are such units. In the fourth point, the
14 decision is expressed, briefly described, the decision of the
15 Commander which says in which way the Commander with subordinated
16 units will carry out the task specified in point two. In point five
17 and the subitems of that point, the specific tasks are indicated for
18 the use of units, including the direction in which they should act or
19 the zone for which they are responsible, the way in which they should
20 execute those tasks, who will support them, where is the command post
21 of that unit, and some other necessary data.
22 In the following points the artillery engineers, anti-aircraft
23 and other types of support for units are described. Then comes a
24 point talking about logistics support, then a point about moral
25 support, intelligence, political and others. Finally, the order ends
1 with the command structure and signals, where is the command post of
2 the unit and in which way communication will be achieved among units;
3 and after that the Commander signs the order.
4 Q. Does the order have to be signed by the Commander of the unit
5 preparing it before it is released to the subordinate units?
6 A. Yes, it has to be signed.
7 Q. Assuming that time permits before action is required, does each order
8 for offensive combat operations have to be approved by a higher
9 headquarters before execution?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. So, in the instant that a Brigade is the originating unit for the
12 order, that would mean that it would have to be submitted to the Corps
13 for approval?
14 A. Yes, the Brigade command or, rather, the Brigade acts according to
15 orders received from the Corps command.
16 Q. Likewise, for Corps it would have to submit its orders for offensive
17 combat actions to the main staff of the General Staff for approval?
18 A. Yes, the Corps command receives orders from its superior command. At
19 the time of June, July and on, 1992, it was the command of the 1st
20 Krajina Corps which received its commands from the main staff of the
21 army of the Republika Srspka.
22 Q. In an instance where the Corps was initiating a combat operation on
23 its own, would it have to notify the main staff of its order or plan
24 for combat operations prior to its execution, assuming time permitted?
25 A. Yes, all the units knew it. It applied to the Corps command and the
1 obligations of the Corps command and the Commander. So the
2 subordinate units knew their obligations on reporting, upon receiving
3 orders and what to do upon receiving those orders from the superior
5 Q. Was that process used in every unit that you were a member of during
6 your career?
7 A. I know, I am familiar with the chain of command between the Corps
8 command and the main staff, and the Corps command and subordinate
9 units. In those two levels, upward and downward, the chain of command
10 was carried out in accordance with existing regulations.
11 Q. Was this process and these procedures introduced and taught at the
12 mechanized school centre in Banja Luka while you were the chief of the
14 A. Yes, that process was used and the young cadets, the future officers,
15 were taught about the way in which that process was prepared and
17 MR. KEEGAN: If I could have this document marked as the next Prosecution
18 Exhibit? That would be 179. If that could be handed to the witness?
19 (Exhibit 179 was handed to the witness) (To the witness): Colonel
20 Kranjc, are you familiar with that document?
21 A. I have not seen that document, but I can read it and I can understand
23 Q. If that document could be placed on the elmo, please, the Serbian
24 version first?
25 A. At the top it says, "Main staff of the army of the Republika Srspka.
1 Strictly confidential. No. 02/2-109, date 28.08.1994. Very urgent".
2 That is the established format. One has to place either a stamp or
3 the inscription indicating the name of the unit or command or body
4 sending the document, the level of confidentiality and the date, below
5 that the level of urgency.
6 Q. Colonel Kranjc, just generally what is that document?
7 A. The substance of this document is that the main staff of the army of
8 the Republika Srspka is ordering the command of the 1st Krajina Corps
9 and the Eastern Bosnian Corps, and also the document is being sent to
10 the command post of the main staff of the army of the Republika
11 Srspka, and to the Fifth Kozara Light Infantry Brigade. It is
12 ordering ---
13 Q. If I could just ----
14 A. -- the commitment of a part of forces in an operation which the main
15 staff has code named "breza-94". Later on, it specifies the
16 obligations of the Eastern Bosnian Corps to carry out the transfer of
17 units into full combat readiness and to prepare one Battalion and to
18 send it within the 1st Krajina Corps. A deadline is given for that
19 Battalion to report to the Operations region on 4th September 1994.
20 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, I would tender the document.
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Is there any objection?
22 MR. KAY: There is no objection, your Honour.
23 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Exhibit 179 will be admitted.
24 MR. KEEGAN (To the witness): Colonel Kranjc, is that document
25 representative of the standard type of order, general order, for an
1 operation that the Corps would be given from the main staff?
2 A. Yes, yes, but if I may, I would like to add in the terminology of the
3 Yugoslav People's Army which has been taken over by the army of
4 Yugoslavia and the army of the Republika Srpska, we distinguished two
5 names of documents, "zapovjest" as broader combat document ordering
6 the use of combat units in a major assignment, and "naredjenje" or
7 order, instructions, which assign tasks of lesser magnitude and which
8 lasted shorter; as in this case, this is a naredjenje, but there is
9 also a zapovjest -- both words meaning "order" -- at a higher level
10 and which is more detailed.
11 Q. What requirements does this document place on the 1st Corps and the
12 Eastern Bosnian Corps -----
13 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Excuse me, Mr. Keegan, could you put the English
15 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, I was going to once the witness had gone through
16 the version. He can read all the way through the document.
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: OK, thank you.
18 THE WITNESS: The first part of the order came from the main staff to the
19 command of the 1st Krajina Corps and the Eastern Bosnian Corps, and it
20 was signed by Lieutenant General Ratko Mladic, and the other one by
21 Lieutenant General Momir Talic. In that order, the command of the 6th
22 Serbian Infantry Brigade and the 5th Kozara Infantry Brigade are
23 ordered to report at a briefing of Commanders of those units, those
24 performing tasks within the operation Breza-94, and to bring to the
25 briefing decisions on the use of units and to be ready to explain the
1 same as well as to elaborate on the method of implementation of that
2 operation, the Breza-94 is implied.
3 Q. Could we have the English version, please? Colonel Kranjc, is this
4 document a fair or good representation of the procedure for the
5 development of combat orders which you described earlier, that is,
6 specifically the direction from the higher unit for the development of
7 a plan and then the requirement to report by the Commanders of how
8 they intend to accomplish the basic tasks?
9 A. Yes, we could call it a school example of the way in which an order
10 is worded and conveyed.
11 Q. Breza-94, was that an operation involving the employment of Serbian
12 forces into the Bihac Velika Kladusa area, region, of Bosnia and
14 A. As far as I know, that operation was to have been carried out from
15 the region of the Republika Srspka west across the Una River to the
16 region of the so-called western Autonomous province of Bosnia.
17 Q. Did it involve the movement of units through the territory that was
18 known as the Republika Srspka Krajina, that is, Croatia territory?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Colonel Kranjc, you testified that it was required for orders of
21 combat actions to be briefed to higher headquarters for approval where
22 time permitted. Was it also the requirement for all unit Commanders
23 to receive approval of their superior prior to committing their units
24 to any offensive military actions?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. So, for example, if the 343 Brigade or any of its units from Prijedor
2 were going to be engaged in a military attack in the Prijedor Kozarac
3 area, would Colonel Arsic have to have notified the command of the 1st
4 Krajina Corps prior to that attack?
5 A. Yes, he should.
6 Q. If time or other circumstances did not permit communication to the
7 Corps prior to the military attack, would the Brigade Commander be
8 responsible to notify the Corps as soon as possible?
9 A. Yes, he should in the most appropriate way, in the best way, as soon
10 as possible he should notify them either through a liaison officer,
11 through radio, by telephone means; that is, there were several
12 possibilities in which one could inform the superior command about an
13 action undertaken.
14 Q. While you were on the staff of the 5th Corps and, as it was later
15 known, the 1st Krajina Corps, was the commanding officer of the Corps,
16 commanding General, aware of the details of the Corps' operations?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. What were the reporting requirements for the units of the Corps?
19 A. Subordinated units had to report or inform the Corps Commander in
20 several ways when receiving lower level order that they had received
21 this order, and that they had embarked on its implementation, that
22 they had engaged in combat operations on the basis of the orders, how
23 these combat operations are conducted and, finally, the outcome of the
24 task performed.
25 Furthermore, the combat regulations or instructions envisaged
1 that daily combat reports needed to be filed, and such reports covered
2 the information as follows, information about the enemy, the situation
3 in the territory, the situation in the unit, the success level,
4 execution of the task during the day, the decision or the ideas of the
5 Commander of that particular unit about operations in the forthcoming
6 period and requests and needs regarding further combat necessities
7 addressed to the superior command.
8 Q. In addition to these daily reports, did the Brigade commanders also
9 have direct private communication with the Corps Commander?
10 A. Yes, they had to have it and they did have it.
11 Q. Were the reporting requirements in the 1st Corps normally strictly
12 enforced, that is, if a unit failed to meet its reporting requirements
13 was the Corps staff responsible for determining what the problem was?
14 A. Yes. The units complied with this reporting order very strictly, by
15 and large; in case a unit did not, could not, failed to do so, to
16 submit a report for whatever reason, then depending on the importance
17 of that unit, the operations body of the Corps command intervened
18 immediately with the operations body of that unit, and from time to
19 time with the Commander directly why the report had not been sent and
20 requested information, even if very briefly, even if very brief,
21 either over the telephone or through other means of communication.
22 Q. During 1992 do you believe a situation could have existed in the 1st
23 Corps where a Brigade engaged in offensive military attacks in the
24 Banja Luka region using artillery, tanks and infantry troops and
25 failed to notify the Corps Commander prior to the attack?
1 A. That was not possible.
2 Q. To your knowledge, was the 343 Brigade under standing orders from the
3 Corps when you arrived on the staff in June 1992?
4 A. When I came to the Chief of Staff of the Corps, 343 Brigade received
5 orders from the Corps command in writing and in other forms in this
6 identically as all other units of that Corps.
7 Q. Was there a language in those orders that reflected the prior
8 standing orders that had been given?
9 A. I did not understand that question.
10 Q. Did the orders that you saw given to the 343 Brigade begin with a
11 reference to prior standing orders for its operation?
12 A. Yes, when we sent orders about combat operations to the units for the
13 343 Brigade, the order usually said that it had to carry out its tasks
14 according to the former, that is, original plan. The original plan I
15 never saw in the documents that I had at my disposal.
16 Q. Under the defence structure of the former Yugoslavia, is it true that
17 all TO units as well as police forces fell under the operational
18 control of the JNA for military actions whenever a war or a state of
19 emergency was declared?
20 A. Yes, that is correct.
21 Q. Did that same organisational structure and requirements continue in
22 the territory that was later known as the Republika Srpska?
23 A. Yes, it went on.
24 Q. Accordingly then, would the commanding General of a Corps or his
25 principal Staff Officer have the authority and ability to control the
1 military actions of any police or TO force that were within the
2 Corps's zone of responsibility?
3 A. Yes, he could discontinue the behaviour, the conduct, of these units
4 or approve them, rather, give his consent to such behaviour.
5 Q. Have you ever heard of a paramilitary group known as the Serbian
6 Defence Forces or SOS?
7 A. Yes, I have heard.
8 Q. Was that group formed in the Banja Luka region?
9 A. Yes, it was formed in Banja Luka.
10 Q. Did members of that unit wear red berets?
11 A. Yes, that is the other name, either "Red Berets" or Serb Defence
13 Q. Where was that unit trained?
14 A. That group was trained at the military training grounds of the
15 Educational Centre of the armoured and mechanized units called
17 Q. How do you know that?
18 A. I know it because the Commander of the training grounds at Manjaca
19 and my subordinate reported to me that in a facility next to a fish
20 pond a group of uniformed individuals undergoing training for under
21 water tank use, and that they were undergoing combat training for
22 combat, and that the training at the grounds was authorised by my
23 Assistant for Logistics, Colonel Subotic. When I learnt that, I called
24 Colonel Subotic, my Logistics Assistant, and he confirmed that he had
25 approved the use of this facility and the use of that area for the
2 Then I reported, as appropriate, my superior, General
3 Arandjelovic, Chief of the Administration of armoured and mechanized
4 units in Belgrade who said, who approved it, and said that it could be
6 Q. What time frame was this that this training was going on in Manjaca?
7 A. I do not remember the exact date, but I think it was February or
8 March 1992.
9 Q. What position did Lieutenant Colonel Subotic later go on to in the
10 Republika Srpska?
11 A. In May 1992 he became the first Minister of Defence in the government
12 of the Republika Srpska.
13 Q. Under the rules that you have described earlier, before this group,
14 the SOS or Red Berets would be used for any significant military type
15 action in the area of the 1st Krajina Corps, would the persons
16 committing them to that action have to have notified the Commander of
17 the 1st Corps?
18 A. Yes, if they were to be committed to a combat action, the Corps
19 Commander would have to be informed about it.
20 Q. Why is that?
21 A. Because he is responsible for all combat operations in his area of
22 responsibility because a Corps Commander is responsible for all
23 military or combat operations in the area of responsibility of his
24 Corps; and also since he knew about those forces, perhaps he envisaged
25 the deployment of these forces otherwise, and if somebody else had
1 already deployed them or committed them to something, then he would
2 not be able to do that. He had to know where these forces were,
3 whether they were free or not.
4 Q. Was the Commander of the 1st Corps a member of the Krizni Stab in the
5 Banja Luka region?
6 A. Yes, he was a member of the Stab ex-officio.
7 Q. Which political group controlled the Krizni Stab in the Banja Luka
9 A. The Party, the Serb Democratic Party, SDS, as they called them,
10 controlled not only the operations of the Crisis Staff, but all the
11 walks of life in the region of Banja Luka.
12 Q. Was there close co-operation between the Krizni Stab and the 1st
13 Krajina Corps in the Banja Luka region?
14 A. Yes, there was close co-operation, not only because the Commander or
15 his Deputy was a member of the Crisis Staff and attending regular
16 meetings, but there were also other contacts and close co-operation.
17 Q. Were the organised military or paramilitary groups supported or
18 organised by the SDS included within the armed forces utilized by the
19 1st Krajina Corps?
20 A. Yes, they were.
21 Q. Beginning with your tour of the 5th Corps (as it was then known) of
22 the JNA in 1989 and continuing on through your time in Banja Luka in
23 your final duties with the 1st Krajina Corps, had you ever seen any
24 real intelligence information or evidence showing any preparation for
25 jihad by Muslim groups?
1 A. I did not see.
2 Q. During that same -----
3 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Excuse me, Mr. Keegan, what does that mean, "jihad"?
4 MR. KEEGAN: Holy war. (To the witness): During that same time frame did
5 you ever see any real military intelligence or evidence of any large
6 scale arming or preparation for military operations by Muslim groups?
7 A. Neither did I see such information.
8 Q. Was the Serbian population in the Banja Luka region armed by the JNA
9 during 1991 and 1992?
10 A. Yes, it was.
11 Q. How do you know that?
12 A. I know it because I noticed and heard and saw that Colonel Subotic,
13 my Logistics Assistant, with several other officers left the
14 Educational Centre from time to time and was engaged in the transfer
15 of weapons from various army depots to the area of Banja Luka and that
16 it was then distributed at different points. He also talked to me
17 about that, not in much detail, but that he was carrying out the tasks
18 with which his superiors -- which his superiors knew about and that
19 he was doing it for the sake of the people.
20 Q. What kind of scale are we talking about regarding the supply of these
21 weapons and equipment?
22 A. As it happened several times, and as he told me that he was going
23 with several superiors, three or four, sometimes a dozen, that there
24 was an officer in every vehicle. They did not use army vehicles for
25 the transport, but larger trailer trucks of civilian organisations,
1 and I think there were 10 or perhaps more such actions. I should say
2 that about 10,000 -- it may be more -- of light weapons and other
3 materiel and munition were transported, were brought, into the area in
4 this manner.
5 Q. You said that Lieutenant Colonel Subotic indicated his superiors knew
6 what he was doing. Did he mention any superior by name?
7 A. He mentioned by name Major General Dragoljub Arandjelovic, head of
8 the administration of armoured mechanized units in the General Staff
9 of the JNA. In a conversation when I was reporting about General --
10 reporting to General Arandjelovic about the situation in the
11 Educational Centre, he asked me what Colonel Subotic was doing and
12 where he was. I notified him that he was carrying out the tasks that
13 he himself knew about and he said, "Right, let him be."
14 Q. What significant operations occurred while you were a part of the
15 Operations staff at the 1st Krajina Corps?
16 A. While I was in the Operational staff of the command of the 1st
17 Krajina Corps, we planned some operations and the following were
18 carried out: the withdrawal of the forces of the 1st Krajina Corps
19 which had previously and until the end of June '92 deployed north of
20 the Sava River in what is called West Slavonia. At the same time, we
21 planned an operation to open the Sava valley corridor. Both
22 operations were ordered by the main staff of the army of the Republika
23 Srpska. Both operations were planned. One referred to the pull out
24 of the forces from across the Sava and the second one, the opening
25 corridor; and both were planned and carried out in conformity with
1 existing regulations and the instructions of the main staff, the
2 command staff. A third operation was also planned. That was the
3 attack, an attempt to take Jajce.
4 Q. How did the fighting go in the Posavina corridor operation in the
6 A. In early June during the fighting for the opening of the Sava Valley
7 corridor -- we called it "corridor" only -- a smaller number of units
8 was committed in this operation, and there were the units of the
9 so-called Doboj operations group, 327 Motorized Brigade in the area of
10 Derventa, and around 10th June or a little later a Battalion was
11 brought to reinforce it from the Serb Republic Krajina, from Knin,
12 headed by Milan Martic.
13 When the units of the 1st Corps were pulled out from across
14 the Sava, that is, moved from the area West Slavonia to the territory
15 of Republika Srpska, the units responsible for the opening of
16 corridor were reinforced, and a larger part of the 1st Krajina Corps
17 units was relocated there, such as the 6th Motorized Brigade, the 5th
18 Kozara Brigade, the major part of the 329 (renamed later the 1st
19 Armoured Brigade) and Light Brigades of the municipalities, from the
20 territories centering around the corridor were also committed to it,
21 Prnjavor, from Prnjavor, Srbac, Orsin, Kurnin(?), Trebava, and some
22 other Light Brigades of the ARS.
23 Q. Several of those units you have just named, such as the 5th Kozara
24 Brigade and the Light Brigade and the municipalities, had those
25 previously been TO units?
1 A. Yes, they were TO units, except they were not Brigade, they were --
2 some were Detachments, some were Battalions of the Territorial
4 Q. At some point was the TO designation dropped and were they considered
5 to be regular units of the army?
6 A. Yes, I did not see such orders from the main staff, but I know that
7 in June it was not possible to use the term "Territorial Defence" or
8 simply went out of use. The "Territorial Defence unit" was not used
9 any more. We used the term "Light Brigades". To all intents and
10 purposes, every municipality in the area of Banja Luka, that is, in
11 the area of responsibility of the Banja Luka Corps, had not less than
12 one Brigade, such Light Brigades, and in Banja Luka there were four
13 Light Brigades in my time while I was there.
14 Q. Prior to the reinforcement by the units of the 1st Krajina Corps,
15 were the units that were conducting the Posavina corridor operation
16 very effective in their combat?
17 A. The units that were at the beginning engaged in the operation of
18 opening the corridor were not successful. A part of this was due to
19 the small number of units committed; and a second reason, in my view,
20 was that the units were concentrating more on plunder than on combat
21 operations, and they also feared going into battle. If I can say so,
22 that was the story going around us, among us officers in the command.
23 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Keegan, there is a concern at this point about
24 the considerable detail that you are going into, and perhaps you could
25 explain what is the relevance. For example, if you are talking about
1 events that occurred in 1991 and attempting to bring it forward, can
2 you tell us -- once when I was talking to Mr. Tieger, I suggested that
3 may be he tell us, give us a clue, as to what was at the end of the
4 book and then we could understand, perhaps, the relevance. Of course,
5 that is not the way we read books, but if you can give us a clue as to
6 the relevance, just a short statement, it might help.
7 MR. KEEGAN: Of course, the prior information was leading up to the
8 command and control of the military forces within a particular region
9 which is relevant to this case, and the requirements for reporting,
10 the development of combat operations and how that was required to be
11 proved and reported.
12 As he was just testifying, those units that were then
13 conducting these operations in the Posavina corridor in 1992 in the
14 beginning were more concerned with plunder than they were with
15 fighting. We are going then to develop whether or not the Corps had
16 notice of that and whether it reported it to the main staff and what
17 actions may or may not have been taken with regard to committing
18 plunder, looting and some other issues that will come up further.
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Suggesting responsibility, liability because of
20 failure to act.
21 MR. KEEGAN: Showing actual notice, the ability to control.
22 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: OK, very good.
23 JUDGE STEPHEN: What, on the part of Mr. Tadic? I mean, that is what we
24 are about.
25 MR. KEEGAN: No, not about Mr. Tadic.
1 JUDGE STEPHEN: It sounds more like a Royal Commission.
2 MR. KEEGAN: It is going more to the issue, sir, of whether or not this
3 was an international armed conflict and whether there was widespread
4 and systematic attacks.
5 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I think the testimony you elicited regarding the
6 entry into Croatia on the way to Bihac is supportive of that point.
7 Anyway, I encourage you to move as expeditiously -----
8 MR. KEEGAN: Again which is why the testimony here that the units involved
9 in Posavina, some of the units, came from the Republic of Croatia
10 territory led by leaders from that area.
11 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: OK, very good. Thank you.
12 MR. KEEGAN: That might be a convenient time to take the recess, your
13 Honour, unless you want me to begin again?
14 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We normally recess at 11.30. You are not the first
15 person. It is 11.30. You may proceed. I do not want to cut you off,
16 if that is where you are going. Thank you.
17 MR. KEEGAN (To the witness): Did the Corps command receive reports that
18 looting and the forced displacement of non-Serbs was going on in the
19 area of operations in the Posavina corridor?
20 A. Yes, the information on plunder of property and assets of non-Serb
21 inhabitants and sometimes Serbs as well, I did see in the daily combat
22 reports sent in by units from that region as well as units around
23 Jajce; and the commanders or the command bodies reported about this at
24 their regular briefings. We collected such information at the level
25 of the Corps command in our daily reports and sent them to the command
1 headquarters of the army of the Republika Srspka.
2 In addition, the Assistant Commander in the Corps for morale
3 and at lower levels regularly analysed reports about this, and this
4 too was reported along the chain of command to the superior command.
5 The security organs and other bodies of the Corps command received
6 them, so that the main staff of the army of the Republika Srspka was
7 informed about this.
8 Q. What was the response to these reports by the Commander of the Corps
9 and by the main staff?
10 A. The response was that such plunder and other negative tendencies
11 should be halted or reduced to a minimum. However, we did not seem to
13 Q. Did, in fact, the information that looting and forced displacement of
14 non-Serbs was occurring in all three areas of operation continued
15 throughout their duration?
16 A. Yes, this was reported regularly and it reached the main command.
17 Q. Did either the Corps Commander or the main staff ever take any direct
18 or effective action to prevent looting or forced displacement of
20 A. Formally and legally, measures were taken. The Commander of the main
21 staff or, rather, the main staff of the army of the Republika Srpska
22 gave orders to our Corps, and our Corps gave oral and written orders
23 to subordinate units within the zone of responsibility of the 1st
24 Corps. A military tribunal was formed with all its bodies. A large
25 number of reports were collected, and many Commanders admitted
1 criminal charges to responsible bodies, but I am not familiar whether
2 any proceedings were started, whether they had any effect, whether
3 measures were taken against individuals, but this was repeated
4 endlessly. These lootings continued endlessly.
5 Q. As a member of the Corps staff, were you ever notified that any
6 military police or other authorities were sent to the field to arrest
7 looters or those engaged in other criminal misconduct?
8 A. I never saw such orders. In addition to looting, I must say that
9 there was expulsions of people and cleansing of territory, and this
10 was written in the reports.
11 Q. Did you ever receive reports or hear or get notice that officials
12 were sent out to the field and Commanders were arrested and placed in
13 jail for allowing this conduct to be continued?
14 A. No, I have not. I did not see such a report.
15 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Keegan, may I ask a question regarding this
16 because I may have lost some of the testimony. General Talic was a
17 Commander of the 5th Corps Colonel?
18 A. Yes. He was the Commander of the 5th Corps until it was renamed to
19 the 1st Krajina Corps. Actually, it is the same Corps, only until May
20 1992 it was called the 5th Corps and after May, the 1st Krajina Corps
21 of the army of the Republika Srpska.
22 Q. That included then the geographic area around Prijedor, did it,
23 including Kozarac?
24 A. Yes, it did.
25 Q. If there were looting and an expulsion of persons from that area
1 being committed by paramilitary groups, what responsibility would
2 Commander Talic have with respect to those activities?
3 A. In my view, when the 1st Corps or, rather, the 5th Corps was renamed
4 into the 1st Corps, and from then General Talic was responsible for
5 all operations in his zone of responsibility, area of responsibility,
6 if he was familiar of the existence of paramilitary organisations and
7 failed to do anything against them, in that way he actually legalized
8 them and recognised them and included them in his own composition.
9 Upon the -- when the 1st Krajina Corps was renamed, there were no
10 longer paramilitary organisations as such. All this was known by the
11 Corps, so it is no longer paramilitary, it is part of the regular
13 Q. What do you mean that there were no longer paramilitary groups in
14 that area when the 5th Corps was renamed 1st Krajina Corps? Are you
15 saying that they then became part of the military?
16 A. They became part of the armoured forces in the area, and Talic could
17 issue them orders and commit them and he did that and, if that was so,
18 then it was no longer a paramilitary group; it was under his command.
19 Q. The TO became a part of the military, if I recall your testimony
20 earlier, in May '92?
21 A. Yes, the Territorial Defence units were simply ordered to drop that
22 designation, TO, and from then on were called Light Brigades of the
23 army of the Republika Srpska, that is 1st Krajina Corps.
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Are you going to ask about the civilian police, Mr.
25 Keegan? That is going beyond where you have been, but I had a
1 question as to where they fit within this.
2 MR. KEEGAN: Actually, ma'am, they were included within the earlier
3 testimony about both TO and units, TO units and police.
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Civilian police, did they became part of a military
5 as well after May 1992 in terms of the responsibility of Colonel
7 THE WITNESS: No, the civilian police was under the jurisdiction of the
8 regular authorities in municipalities, but in case of need or their
9 combat involvement, those units could be attached to or, rather,
10 incorporated in Corps forces and engaged in combat operations.
11 Q. In such a case then the authority in the 1st Krajina, the top
12 authority in the 1st Krajina, would be General Talic?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Over the civilian police, should they have been engaging in the war
16 A. Only if they took part in combat, in combat operations. If they were
17 performing their regular police tasks, then they were not under the
18 Corps command.
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Excuse me, Mr. Keegan. You may proceed.
20 MR. KEEGAN (To the witness): To clear that up then, Colonel Kranjc, if
21 the police forces from Prijedor were included as part of the
22 organisation or the force used in a military attack against a Local
23 Commune such as Kozarac, in that situation they would fall under and
24 be subject to the authority of the 1st Krajina Corps?
25 A. Yes, under the responsibility of the Corps command or, rather, the
1 highest level command in that region, and that was the 43rd Brigade or
2 343 Brigade in Prijedor.
3 Q. You testified earlier that Brigade from the territory of Croatia, the
4 area known as the Republic of Serb Krajina, took part in the battle in
5 the Posavina corridor under the leadership of Martic. What time frame
6 was that?
7 A. I said this was about June 10th 1992 or a few days later. I said that
8 from the territory of the Republic of Serb Krajina only one battalion
9 came, not several units, just one battalion, which stayed for about 10
10 days. With that battalion was Martic and after that they returned
11 via Banja Luka to Knin. There were no other units from that region,
12 from the territory of the Republic of Serb Krajina, as far as I know.
13 Q. Are you aware of any artillery attacks conducted from the territory
14 of the Serb Republic across the Drina River into Bosnia-Herzegovina
15 after May 18th 1992?
16 A. There was talk about it in town, and on Radio Sarajevo that fire,
17 artillery fire, was being opened from the territory of the Federal
18 Republic of Yugoslavia or the territory of the Republic of Serbia
19 towards the Bosnian side.
20 Q. In June and July 1992, did you begin to hear stories about events
21 that had occurred in the Prijedor and Kozarac area earlier that
23 A. Yes, I had already heard something about that at the beginning of
24 June when I joined the Corps command, though that was a brief report,
25 but there was more talk about it in town among the population at the
1 end of June and July, about mass killings, looting and expulsions of
2 Muslim population, especially from the region of Kozarac and Prijedor.
3 Q. During that period did you have a conversation with Lieutenant
4 Colonel Vaso Tepsic regarding the Omarska camp?
5 A. Yes, that was an official meeting of the Corps Commander with the
6 closest associates which I also attended, and at which Colonel Tepsic
7 Vaso, Assistant Corps Commander for Logistics, reported to the
8 Commander that there were problems at the prisoners of war camp in
9 Omarska regarding food and supply with drinking water for the
11 Q. During August 1992 did you see a large convoy of non-Serbs that were
12 being taken out of the region?
13 A. Yes, I did. I was present when the convoy went by.
14 MR. KEEGAN: Could I have Exhibit 78, please, shown to the witness and
15 placed on the elmo? (Exhibit 78 was handed to the witness)
16 If it could be focused in closely in the central area?
17 (To the witness): Colonel Kranjc, could you indicate on the map the area
18 where you were when you saw this convoy?
19 A. Your Honours, I was touring units of the 22nd Motorized Brigade which
20 was capturing positions in the broader region of Vlasic. Upon
21 returning from my tour on the road between Vlasic and Skender Vakuf, I
22 noticed a long line consisting of passenger cars and buses headed by
23 the police which gave us a sign to my driver and myself to move away
24 and wait for the column to pass. That was near the village of Imljani
25 which is on the map roughly here.
1 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: So for the record that is below, Colonel, Skender
3 THE WITNESS: This is south of Skender Vakuf, about seven or eight
4 kilometres or five or six kilometres north of Vlasic.
5 MR. KEEGAN: Vlasic, you referred to Vlasic Mountain?
6 A. Yes, Mount Vlasic, but we use that name for the whole region at the
7 foot of the mountain and I can show you on the map what we refer to as
8 "Vlasic". (Indicating).
9 Q. Thank you. For the record, the area which he was indicating
10 basically encircles the "R" in the word "Herzegovina" on that map.
11 What did you notice in this column -----
12 A. I apologise, this is just on the map, it coincides with Herzegovina
13 but it is still Bosnia. It is a part of Bosnia.
14 Q. Yes, I was just referring to the location on this particular map.
15 The word "Herzegovina" happens to be there.
16 A. Yes, the letters, yes.
17 Q. What did you notice about this convoy?
18 A. I said already that at the head of the convoy was civilian police,
19 not military police. On most vehicles the licence plates were of
20 Prijedor opstina or municipality, and this can mean that the people,
21 the passengers, need not necessarily have all been from Prijedor but
22 from the region because the Prijedor licence plates covered several
23 towns or opstinas around Prijedor.
24 In the passenger cars (and there were several in the convoy)
25 the passengers were sitting normally in their seats, more or less, and
1 when the buses went past us the passengers in the buses lowered their
2 heads. In my view, they probably had to do that because in each bus
3 there was a policeman, and in the passenger cars there were no
4 policemen and that is why they were not given orders to bow their
6 Most of the passengers in the buses were women, older people
7 and children. In the passenger cars there were several men as well.
8 Judging by the clothes, especially of the women, I could conclude that
9 they were mostly Muslim women.
10 Q. Do you know where that convoy was headed to?
11 A. The convoy was moving in the direction of Vlasic. I will show you on
12 the map. A point where Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel Pejovic, Commander
13 of the 22nd Motorized Brigade, was carrying out exchange in various
14 cases with Croatian forces that were located in the broader area of
15 Travnik, that point is here. It is the junction.
16 At that point, at that crossroads, an exchange was
17 occasionally carried out of bodies, of casualties, between the Croat,
18 Muslim and the Serb sides; and also here people were unloaded who were
19 travelling in that direction and then they would go on foot on to
20 Turbe and Travnik. Turbe is a little lower from the crossroads and
21 Travnik is a little further on. As on that day Lieutenant Colonel
22 Pejovic explained to me how this was being done and in what direction,
23 when I saw this convoy I realised that it was travelling towards that
24 juncture and that the people would get out of the buses and go in the
25 direction of Turbe and Travnik.
1 Q. What was the approximate date that you saw this convoy?
2 A. That was between the 10th and 15th August 1992.
3 Q. A short time after this date, did you have a conversation with one of
4 the other Deputy Commanders in the field about another convoy of
5 non-Serbs being taken through that area?
6 A. After that event when I saw this convoy, I decided not to work any
7 longer in the army of the Republika Srspka, and not to go there any
8 more. On August 18th, I ceased to work with the approval of the Corps
9 Commander and a few days later Colonel Drago Rodic came to see me,
10 Deputy Commander for the group of Light Brigades in Banja Luka -- he
11 was a good friend of mine and a former associate -- and he told me
12 that when he had travelled along that same road in the direction of
13 Vlasic, his driver had said that he had heard that one such convoy,
14 such as I had described, the policemen escorting the convoy had
15 stopped it at a point which I will show you on the map -- it was just
16 in front of a bend in the road -- and there was a precipice of about
17 150 to 200 metres deep, and that they had thrown in all the passengers
18 into this, across this precipice, he did not know exactly, between 150
19 and 200 people; and Colonel Rodic said that he was ashamed of what had
20 happened. That point was roughly here.
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Colonel, do not mark on the map, please. You may
22 point to it but do not mark -- thank you -- unless the parties want
23 you to.
24 MR. KEEGAN: No, your Honour. Let the record reflect that the witness is
25 pointing to a point in the road approximately equal with the middle
1 horizontal line in the letter "E" of "Herzegovina".
2 (To the witness): Colonel Kranjc, did they indicate who the officials
3 were involved with that convoy?
4 A. As I was told by Colonel Rodic, this was the civilian police or
5 militia, as we called it, from the Prijedor region. I do not know the
6 exact location but from the Prijedor region.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, if that would be a convenient time before we
9 move into a new area?
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I did not recall the date on that and I was looking
11 at the monitor to see if I could pick it up. What was the date,
12 Colonel, when you were told that this had occurred, well, not the date
13 when were you told it had occurred, but on what date is it your
14 understanding that it occurred?
15 A. Your Honours, when I saw the convoy that was between the 10th and
16 15th August, and at that time there was no talk about it and as I
17 passed the vehicles I looked into the gorge and there was nothing to
18 be seen, so in my opinion that event must have taken place between
19 15th and 20th August 1992.
20 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We will stand in recess for 20 minutes.
21 (11.30 a.m.)
22 (Adjourned for a short time)
23 (11.50 a.m.)
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Keegan, would you like to proceed, please?
25 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, your Honour. ( To the witness): Colonel Kranjc, I
1 would like to ask you a series of questions now regarding the public
2 division of the JNA. Was there a difference in the way that the JNA
3 and the federal authorities of the former Yugoslavia treated the
4 withdrawal of the JNA in the various republics?
5 A. Yes, there were differences.
6 Q. When the JNA withdrew from the Republic of Slovenia, did it intend to
7 take all of its personnel and equipment with it?
8 A. Yes, that was the intent.
9 Q. And was it successful?
10 A. It was mostly successful.
11 Q. In the Republic of Macedonia, similarly, did the JNA intend to take
12 all of its personnel and equipment out of that when it withdrew?
13 A. Yes, it had the same intention there.
14 Q. In Croatia, did the JNA have a similar intent in the pull out from
15 the territory of Croatia?
16 A. It did not have a similar intent there or, rather, it intended
17 something else.
18 Q. What was that?
19 A. In areas where JNA had its units and garrisons until the proclamation
20 of independence of the Republic of Croatia and where the Croats were
21 the majority ethnic group, it intended and was preparing to withdraw
22 all its equipment and troops; and in areas where the Serbs were the
23 majority ethnic group, it intended to leave the major part of its
24 troops and armaments and the explanation was that it was to serve the
25 protection of the Serb people.
1 Q. Was the JNA successful in this partial withdrawal from the territory
2 of Croatia?
3 A. The JNA successfully performed the task of leaving the major part of
4 equipment and troops in areas where the Serbs were the majority group,
5 that is, that was more or less successfully done, and in those parts
6 where the Croats were the majority population, it did not succeed in
7 carrying out its task, its intentions, in full.
8 Q. What happened in those areas?
9 A. At the time the Republic of Croatia already had its army, its
10 armoured forces, and they surrounded most of the garrisons and
11 barracks and part of units managed to get out of these garrisons,
12 these barracks, by fighting, by force, and other units negotiated the
13 pull-out of the units and equipment, and some units and parts of
14 command surrendered to the Croatian authorities.
15 Q. On the territory of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina what was the
16 JNA intent?
17 A. In the territory of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the JNA's
18 intent was similar to the one in the Republic of Croatia. In other
19 words, in those areas where the Serbs were not a majority, it wanted
20 to pull out from those areas the major part of its troops and
21 equipment; and those areas where Serbs were the majority and where the
22 Republika Srpska was already formed or was in the making, they wanted
23 to leave behind the major part of the troops and equipment. This is
24 largely what happened, that is what was carried out.
25 Q. In fact, could you say that with regard to the area of the territory
1 of Croatia and the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina that the JNA left,
2 in effect, complete armies within those regions where they wanted to?
3 A. The term "army" is not an adequate term, but it left behind Corps and
4 lower rank, lower echelon, units. If I may explain it, what is a
5 Corps and what is an army? A unit, such as Banja Luka Corps, is a
6 unit subordinate to the command of the Military District or the army
7 command. In Sarajevo, there was the Military District command;
8 whereas in Bosnia there were three Corps, Sarajevo, Tuzla and Banja
9 Luka Corps, and the JNA managed to pull out the major part of troops
10 and equipment from the area of the Tuzla and Sarajevo, of course,
11 whereas the major part of the troops and weaponry of the 5th Corps,
12 that is, then the 1st Krajina Corps remain there. So it did pull out
13 part of the Corps and equipment and armaments and part of it remained.
14 Q. Regarding the public announcement of a division of the JNA and the
15 pull out of Yugoslav forces from the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
16 did you ever see an order directing all members of the JNA who were
17 not from Bosnia-Herzegovina to leave the territory of that Republic by
18 19th May 1992?
19 A. I saw only the order affecting the members of the unit, that is, the
20 Educational Centre for armoured and mechanized unit and units under my
22 Q. Was the order to transfer the school back to the territory of the
23 Republic of Serbia?
24 A. Yes, first, there was the order in the course of April that the
25 Educational Centre was to stand prepared with all the strength and
1 facilities and equipment for the transfer to the Republic of Serbia,
2 that is, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and then it was followed
3 by an order which came in May which somewhat modified the previous
4 order, in the sense that men were to go and as for the equipment only
5 what could be transferred to a far Yugoslavia by air, because land
6 routes towards far Yugoslavia were already closed at the time.
7 Q. How many members of the staff of the school actually left and went to
9 A. On May 19th, that was the day when the troops were to leave and part
10 of the equipment was to go to Yugoslavia, between 25 to 30 officers
11 left for Yugoslavia and a certain number of civilians serving in JNA,
12 they left for Belgrade. Later on, those who stayed behind for a while
13 in the area of the 5th Corps also left for Yugoslavia and joined the
14 army of Yugoslavia on an individual basis.
15 Q. You yourself were transferred to the 5th Corps?
16 A. On 12th or 13th May, I was ordered by the head of the Personnel
17 Administration of the Federal Secretariat for National Defence,
18 General Krstic, the head of the Administration had signed it on 11th
19 May, and I was ordered by this order to surrender my duty to the
20 Commander of the armoured and mechanized units and to assume, to take
21 over the same post that I occupied before in the operational body of
22 the staff of the 5th Corps. At that time it was still called
23 officially the 5th Corps.
24 Q. That post with the Operational section of the 5th Corps, you were
25 just a member of that section, not the head of a section, is that
2 A. Yes, I was Assistant Head of the Operational Educational Department
3 in the staff of -- the Assistant Head of that department for
4 Operational Educational affairs in the headquarters of 5th Corps.
5 That was my assignment.
6 Q. With respect to the operational units of the JNA in the territory of
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina and, in particular, in the 5th Corps, rather than
8 ordering the general withdrawal of all officers of the Yugoslav
9 forces, were the officers instead encouraged to stay in
11 A. Yes, I did not see or hear of an order for their relocation or the
12 sending of the troops, that generally that all of them should be
13 included in the army of Yugoslavia.
14 Q. Was there after 19th May 1992 any significant change or any change at
15 all in the staff of the 5th Corps which later became the 1st Corps?
16 A. I took up this duty on 2nd June in the command of what was already
17 renamed into the 1st Krajina Corps, and I found there all the officers
18 and all the other troops who were there a year ago, a year earlier,
19 while I was still in the command who were there, I again found them in
20 the Corps, and the same held true of the Commanders of Battalions,
21 Brigades and other officers.
22 Q. Was there a difference between how officers and soldiers or
23 conscripts were treated under this public division of the JNA?
24 A. Yes, soldiers who at that time, that is, in May '92, for instance,
25 were serving their military service in the area of the Republika
1 Srpska or, rather, in the area of the 5th Corps and were not native to
2 the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, were enabled and provided with a
3 possibility of return to their republics, that is, the Federal
4 Republic of Yugoslavia.
5 Q. Was this a fear that the conscripted soldiers might not be willing to
6 fight as aggressively for a republic that was not their home?
7 A. Yes, there was a fear, but there were also regulations that a person
8 who was not a national of a state could not serve in the army of that
9 other state, because Serbs had proclaimed the Republika Srpska as
10 their state and those soldiers who were nationals of the Federal
11 Republic of Yugoslavia were not nationals of the Republika Srpska.
12 So that both by virtue of the military regulations both before and
13 during the war, that was prescribed it in this manner.
14 Q. Were you ever officially assigned to an entity known as the Republika
15 Srpska or its army?
16 A. I was, I already said that, ordered by the head of the Personnel
17 Administration of the Federal Secretariat, transferred from the
18 Educational Centre, which was the only such centre of the JNA, to the
19 5th Corps command which at that time also was a part of the JNA. In
20 this manner I was merely transferred from one JNA unit to another JNA
22 Q. At any time did you ever have to take a new loyalty oath to army of
23 the Republika Srpska or the Republika Srpska itself?
24 A. Nobody ever asked me to take a new oath of allegiance or to repeat an
25 oath of allegiance.
1 Q. Did any officer that you knew of ever have to take any such loyalty
3 A. I do not know that anyone was invited to take a new oath.
4 Q. What uniform did you wear while you were on duty after 19th May 1992?
5 A. I and my friends continued to wear the same uniforms.
6 Q. That is the army of the JNA, the uniform of the army -----
7 A. Yes, it was the uniform of the Yugoslav People's Army, except that
8 since the main staff of the ARS had ordered that the insignia of that
9 army had to be put on, most of the officers did put on these insignia,
10 they were mostly on their caps and on the arm, did that, but I did not
11 and I did not have any problems because of that.
12 Q. Did others also continue to wear the insignia of the JNA on their
14 A. Yes, some of the officers did continue to wear the former insignia.
15 Q. Was there ever any problems created by that fact?
16 A. As far as I know, nobody had any problems because of that.
17 Q. As far as it was understood by the officers in the 1st Corps and
18 other units that you were associated with, what was the
19 socio-political goal of the armed conflict that the various groups of
20 the former Yugoslav Army engaged in in the territory of the Republic
21 of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the territory of the Republic of Croatia?
22 A. To my knowledge, deriving from conversations with people and my
23 fellow officers, the goal was to join, to unite, with the Republic of
24 Yugoslavia territorially at first and then to become the joint
25 armoured forces of Yugoslavia sooner or later.
1 Q. So the goal to rejoin these three parts of the JNA was the goal of
2 the officers and the staff members of the army that you knew of?
3 A. Not only the commands, but people talked about it, troops talked
4 about it, that they considered themselves a part of Yugoslavia and
5 that they wanted to join it, first, to secede, to separate, from the
6 already recognised Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and then join
8 Q. So is it fair to say then that the goal or the role that the officers
9 of the 1st Corps and others that you knew saw themselves in was that
10 they continued and remained to be a part of Yugoslavia?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. I would like to ask you now some questions about the following
13 situation. Consider that there is a man of Serb dissent of military
14 age, that is, between the ages of 25 to 45, let us say, who lives in
15 an opstina in the Banja Luka region in the period of May to June 1992,
16 do you believe it is possible that the SDS leadership in the Banja
17 Luka region would permit such a person who had fled from his Local
18 Commune just before the start of combat operations in that commune
19 because he did not want to fight against the non-Serbs in that
20 territory -----
21 MR. KAY: Can I raise one matter before the witness answers the question
22 and that really -----
23 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Wait. I do not think the question has been
24 completed. Finish the question and before I allow the witness to
25 answer, I will hear your objection.
1 MR. KAY: Thank you much, your Honour.
2 MR. KEEGAN: In that situation, would it be possible that that person
3 could return to that Local Commune approximately three/four weeks
4 later, after the completion of combat operations, to become the
5 President of the SDS in that Local Commune, Secretary of the Local
6 Commune and a member of the reserve police?
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Excuse me, Colonel. Do you have an objection, Mr.
9 MR. KAY: Yes, I do, your Honour. It is a very long question that has
10 been asked to this witness involving a number of different issues. As
11 I see it, there has been no foundation or ground work as to why this
12 witness should particularly give his opinion on this matter. He is
13 being asked to comment on the position within the SDS of a
14 hypothetical male within a certain range of ages who may have
15 committed particular acts, such as fleeing from his area, without any
16 basis being given as to why he should give that opinion in relation to
17 this particular matter.
18 We have heard no detailed evidence as to the knowledge of this
19 witness relating to the SDS and what he can tell us about it to
20 qualify him to give that opinion. It seems to me an opportunity for
21 the Prosecution to make such a statement in relation to a hypothetical
22 situation that we all know what he is getting at and to have some sort
23 of comment by the witness without any proper foundation for that
25 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Keegan?
1 MR. KEEGAN: If it please the court -----
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: It is a long objection, but what I would like you to
3 focus on is this witness' knowledge about the SDS hierarchy and the
4 way that it operates.
5 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, your Honour. I will go further into foundational
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: He has certainly talked a lot about the JNA, but let
8 us look at SDS.
9 MR. KEEGAN (To the witness): Colonel Kranjc, in addition to your service
10 in the Banja Luka region, were you a candidate for the Municipal
11 Assembly in Banja Luka in 1990?
12 A. Yes, at the first so-called democratic elections in the Republic of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1990, the Party for Democratic Changes in Banja
14 Luka nominated me and included me in their list of nominees for the
15 Municipal Assembly of Banja Luka, even though I was not a member of
16 that Party. The Party won a sufficient number of votes so that I was
17 the seventh nominee on the list, it won 17 seats in the Municipal
18 Assembly, so I was a council man, I was a member of the Municipal
19 Assembly for more than a year until I resigned this duty in the
20 Municipal Assembly. So, for more than a year I was in touch with the
21 operation of the Municipal Assembly of Banja Luka and the activities
22 of all parties. As shortly afterwards I had become the Commander of
23 the head of the Educational Centre, owing to my personal contacts, or
24 official contacts, I met the majority of the leaders or the members
25 and leaders of the SDS in Banja Luka as well as the mode of operation
1 of that Party.
2 MR. KEEGAN: If Exhibit 141 could be shown to the witness, please?
3 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: While that is being shown to the witness, the
4 translation indicated that he was with the Party for Democratic
5 Changes; that is the SDS, is that not so?
6 MR. KEEGAN: No, that is not correct, your Honour. I will explain that
7 when we see Exhibit 141. (Exhibit 141 was handed to the witness) (To
8 the witness): Colonel Kranjc, if you could review that exhibit? What
9 is that, please?
10 A. Yes, this is the issue of the official gazette of the municipality of
11 Banja Luka, 9th November 1990, No. 9, page 192; the announcement on
12 the joint list. Do you want me to read it through or?
13 Q. If you could simply place it on the elmo, please?
14 A. This is a list which the parties submitted as the list of its
15 nominees for the members of the Municipal Assembly of Banja Luka
16 municipality. As I have said, my name is the seventh on the list. In
17 addition to the Reformist Party, our Party was the only Party which
18 was not a monoethnic Party. As you can see, there were Croats, Serbs,
19 Yugoslavs, Slovenes, Muslims and so on and so forth; and SDS, SDA and
20 HDZ were monoethnic parties. The lists of their nominees were
22 Q. Thank you, Colonel Kranjc. If you could place the English
23 translation, please, on that section of the screen? The first section
24 was titled "The list of candidates of the League of Communists of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina Socialist Democratic Party and Democratic Socialist
1 Alliance of Bosnia-Herzegovina". That was the Party that you were
2 nominated from?
3 A. Yes, yes, that is so.
4 Q. Thank you. During the year that you spent in the Assembly, I believe
5 you have already stated you had contact with the leadership of the SDS
6 and the other parties?
7 A. Yes, I did.
8 Q. Were you familiar with their positions and their platform?
9 A. The platform of each Party was publicly -- made public before the
11 Q. Was it also clear from your contacts with members of the SDS as to
12 who they would consider to be appropriate members of the Party, what
13 the requirements would be for a Serb to be a member of the SDS?
14 A. Yes, this happened at meetings that I attended. This also happened
15 and there was talk about it at meetings of the Municipal Assembly and
16 also on other occasions, and in the newspaper it was stated what they
17 wanted, what their Party was struggling for, the Serbian Democratic
19 Q. Was there, in fact, a public provocation or threat, if you will,
20 published in the newspapers against you and other members of the 1st
21 Corps by members of the SDS?
22 A. Yes. The leader of the Banja Luka SDS Vukic mentioned me as well as
23 a number of other members of the Banja Luka Corps, attacking me in the
24 papers, the Banja Luka Glas, when he through the journalist called on
25 Kranjc, Hasotic, Osman Selak and Radman Zvonko must leave the army, at
1 that time it was still the JNA, and that he would see to it in the
2 Corps command that people like that would no longer remain in the
3 Banja Luka Corps. This was repeated several times only in different
5 Q. When they referred to "people like that" was that the fact that you
6 were not a Serb and therefore could not be considered loyal?
7 A. Yes. Yes, they otherwise knew me as a Commander, but that Vukic in
8 person, his interests were not served for a Slovene to be a Commander
9 of the Educational Centre, even though at that time the JNA still
10 officially existed, because those attacks in the media, in the press
11 and radio were mostly in February, March, April. In May there were
12 not any as far as I can remember.
13 Q. Was it clear from your comments and your contact with the leaders of
14 the SDS whether they would allow someone to be part of the leadership
15 of the SDS who was, whose goal was peaceful coexistence with non-Serbs
16 in the region of Bosanski Krajina?
17 A. Publicly they did not say that, but in more intimate circles that was
18 their position.
19 Q. More particularly, when the armed conflict began starting in the
20 territory of the Republic of Croatia and moving into the territory of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, did it become more apparent that any Serb who
22 refused to participate in that activity would not be considered a
23 loyal member and, therefore, entitled to representation in the SDS?
24 A. Certainly he could not become, because SDS and all the power and all
25 the bodies and the people believed the same, that their army was one
1 and that it had to be respected and obeyed and everything had to be
2 done in favour of it and one should participate in it, whoever was
3 called up should go.
4 Q. Back to the hypothetical which I had posed to you earlier is ----
5 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: If you are going to repeat the same question, I
6 think we have a record of it, let me hear from Mr. Kay as to whether
7 he still has an objection.
8 MR. KAY: Much obliged, your Honour. The position is that this witness
9 had been a member of the municipal party for one year, having stood in
10 the elections for a different party of a party of the SDS to which the
11 question is directed, and the issue of the status of the Kozarac SDS
12 may be an entirely different position from that of the SDS leadership
13 which is what the questions from my learned friend have been directed
14 at whilst laying this foundation. There may be worlds apart in
15 relation to the SDS leadership and the position of the SDS in a small
16 area such as Kozarac where we know that some 141 members took part in
17 the plebiscite in November 1991. What I am concerned with here is
18 that witnesses are going to have hypothetical questions put to them in
19 such a way that matters of fact to be determined by this Tribunal to a
20 certain extent are going to be replaced.
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I will overrule your objection, Mr. Kay. You are
22 correct that we are talking about Kozarac, what happened in Kozarac.
23 As I recall the testimony, however, there was significant control, if
24 not absolute control, from the regional office in Banja Luka where
25 this witness is from, notwithstanding, as I recall, a Statute that
1 prohibited such direction and that came from at least one other
2 witness. That is my memory of the testimony. So that even though
3 there was an SDS in Kozarac, this gentleman is in Banja Luka. My
4 recollection of the testimony is that there was significant control
5 and direction from the regional headquarters, even though it was
6 prohibited by Statute. The other matter, if I may just say, most
7 importantly -- well, Mr. Keegan, you correct me if I am wrong first of
9 MR. KEEGAN: No, your Honour, I am not going to correct your statement.
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Particularly if I am going to overrule the
11 direction, but did you want to add something?
12 MR. KEEGAN: The hypothetical of course, first of all, did not relate
13 directly to Kozarac; it related to the Banja Luka region.
14 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: But the hypothetical person is leaving Kozarac and
15 coming back, is he not?
16 MR. KEEGAN: No, I did not mention the specific village. I said a Local
17 Commune in the Banja Luka region. The second issue is of course the
18 testimony of the witness ----
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Let me cut you off. If it does not relate then to
20 the Kozarac Local Commune, what is the relevance of it, back to Judge
21 Stephen's concern earlier this morning about expanding questions and
22 testimony beyond what we are immediately concerned with?
23 MR. KEEGAN: In point of fact, your Honour, the following questions were
24 going to relate to the fact that the Banja Luka SDS regional
25 authorities controlled the SDS positions for the region. I simply had
1 not gotten that far through the testimony.
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: But we have heard it from other testimony, at least
3 I heard it.
4 MR. KEEGAN: Correct, which is why I was going to cut it off and not
5 disagree with what you said. In addition, of course, as I understand,
6 you have overruled the objection, so I will just continue.
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Our rules of evidence, Rule 89 particularly, allow,
8 as we have indicated before, the admission of relevant testimony that
9 is probative. We will overrule the objection, admit the response and
10 give it the appropriate weight that we consider.
11 MR. KAY: Yes. Your Honour will appreciate that I am concerned with
12 relevance as your Honour has mentioned in the ruling just now.
13 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I did not hear you object on the grounds of
14 relevance. What I hear though, and I am particularly concerned about
15 what happened in Kozarac, however, Kozarac is within the region of
16 Banja Luka, so it has overall relevance. I certainly wish we would get
17 a little closer to Kozarac though. I overrule your objection on that
18 basis as well. Mr. Keegan, do you want the question read back or can
19 you repeat it?
20 MR. KEEGAN: I can repeat it.
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Very good.
22 MR. KEEGAN: Colonel Kranjc, to continue with the hypothetical which I
23 presented to you earlier, the situation of a Serb man of military age
24 who lives in an opstina in the Banja Luka region in the period of May
25 to June 1992, is it possible that such a person could flee from his
1 local commune just before the start of combat operations there and
2 return approximately three weeks later, and at that point be appointed
3 to the position of the President of the SDS in that Local Commune, the
4 Secretary of the Local Commune and a member of the Reserve Police?
5 A. In my opinion that was not possible. Your Honours, if I may be
6 permitted I would make a remark. Kozarac as a Local Commune belongs
7 to the opstina of Prijedor and not the opstina of Banja Luka. There
8 may be some lack of clarity because occasionally there is talk of the
9 Banja Luka region which in certain respects included the Prijedor
10 region, but sometimes we talk of the Prijedor region which covered
11 from Bosanski Novi towards Dubica, Sanski Most and Klucj, about
12 halfway between Banja Luka and Prijedor. It is true that Kozarac as a
13 local commune did not belong to Banja Luka but to Prijedor.
14 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: The Prijedor opstina or the Prijedor region?
15 A. The Prijedor, the opstina of Prijedor included the Local Commune of
16 Kozarac, and occasionally the expression the "Prijedor region" is used
17 which is broader than the opstina but which leans on the city of
18 Prijedor in the economic, health, educational and in other areas.
19 Q. Is the Prijedor opstina in the Banja Luka region?
20 A. Yes, because Banja Luka called itself the seat of the Autonomous
21 Region of Krajina and Prijedor was part of that region, but sometimes
22 it was just called the Banja Luka region and sometimes it was called
23 the Autonomous Region of Bosnian Krajina. It depended on the way in
24 which the people used the term. Officially it was the Autonomous
25 Region of Bosnian Krajina which included all the opstinas in which the
1 majority were Serbs, or rather in which the assemblies, the majority
2 was held by the SDS, so that that municipality could vote in favour of
3 joining the Autonomous Region. This did not happen in Prijedor
4 because at the elections in 1990 the party of Democratic Action or the
5 so-called SDA party won in which the majority or all were Muslims.
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Keegan in your question when you asked whether
7 this was within the Banja Luka region, did you mean that to constitute
8 the Autonomous Region of Bosnian Krajina? Were you using the Banja
9 Luka region that way?
10 MR. KEEGAN: I was using the Banja Luka region in that way, your Honour,
11 to separate the transformation when the Autonomous Region of Bosanski
12 Krajina later became part of the Republika Srpska. Rather than get
13 into that confusion, I was simply trying to contain it to the Banja
14 Luka area.
15 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Very good. I just wanted to know when you said
16 "Banja Luka region" did you mean the Autonomous Region of Bosnian
17 Krajina and the answer is yes, is that correct?
18 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, your Honour, as that is understood, that term.
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: And as the witness understands it?
20 MR. KEEGAN: Correct.
21 JUDGE STEPHEN: One further question just to clarify your question, you
22 are confining it to some hypothetical person who flees, with all that
23 that word connotes, and flees for a particular reason which you have
25 MR. KEEGAN: Correct.
1 Recalling earlier your testimony, Colonel Kranjc, which party
2 controlled the government of the autonomous region of the Krajina?
3 A. It was fully controlled only by the SDS party, the Serbian Democratic
4 Party which was headquartered in Banja Luka headed by Brdjanin and
6 Q. If at some point the Serbian members of the opstina Prijedor Assembly
7 formed their own Serbian Assembly of the opstina Prijedor and voted to
8 join the Autonomous Region of the Krajina, in your opinion then would
9 they necessarily fall under the authority of the SDS leaders in Banja
11 A. Yes, certainly.
12 Q. Again considering all of those factors, would your answer still be
13 the same if in this Banja Luka region, that is the Autonomous Region
14 of the Krajina, this individual fled the opstina to avoid the combat
15 actions in that opstina returned three to four weeks later after the
16 completion of those operations, would the SDS allow that person to
17 become the President of the SDS in that commune, Secretary of that
18 Local Commune and a member of the Reserve Police?
19 A. He could not become that except if upon instructions or assignments
20 from the SDS he went somewhere else on an important assignment for the
21 needs of the SDS, but normally he could not.
22 Q. Now if that person had in fact participated in such combat operations
23 in the opstina where he was from and where he later became the
24 President of the SDS, would that participation necessarily be noted in
25 his official military service book?
1 A. No, not necessarily. Perhaps it was not possible because of the
2 shortage of time, the slowness of the administrative bodies and
3 because most things were being done or resolved by oral agreements and
4 orders and less through paperwork.
5 Q. In your opinion then during this time frame when the armed conflicts
6 were occurring in 1992 in that region, could someone point to his
7 military book indicating no notation of an assignment to a specific
8 unit involved in combat operations and use that as proof that he was
9 not involved in combat?
10 A. It is possible.
11 Q. I am sorry, the question was could the lack of a notation be used as
12 proof that he was not involved in combat?
13 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: He has already answered the question and that
14 certainly is a legal question as to whether it can be used as proof,
15 but I think he answered earlier that it did not necessarily mean that,
16 that because of what was going on at that time the decisions were made
17 orally. So I will object for you, Mr. Kay.
18 MR. KAY: I am much obliged.
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: You can rephrase it if you insist on asking the
20 question again.
21 MR. KEEGAN: That is fine, your Honour. During this time frame May/June
22 of 1992, was it possible that just anyone could join the Reserve
23 Police in the local area instead of going to a regular combat unit?
24 A. I am sorry, I did not quite understand the question. Could it be
1 Q. Yes. During this time frame May/June 1992, was it possible that just
2 any individual could simply show up and join the Reserve Police as an
3 excuse from regular combat duty or assignments or an exception from
4 those assignments?
5 A. Yes, it was possible if he had certain connections or certain reasons
6 for rewarding him he could avoid his military obligation in a real
7 combat unit and remain in a police unit.
8 Q. Were these positions in the Reserve Police checked and controlled to
9 ensure the nature or quality of people who were permitted to join?
10 A. Yes, there was control for the civilian police but also those who
11 were sent to the military police as the municipal or local police were
12 under the direct influence or rather competence of the ruling party
13 and the administrative bodies, then they checked especially to make
14 sure who was entering those most narrow circles.
15 Q. Was it possible that factors such as political connections or money
16 could enable someone to gain those jobs?
17 A. Yes, it was possible.
18 Q. Was it possible during the time frame of May/June 1992 for a Serb to
19 leave his opstina in the Banja Luka region, the Autonomous Region of
20 the Krajina and go to Banja Luka itself to be issued a weapon and
21 ammunition by the Banja Luka Territorial Defence?
22 A. Yes, that was possible too, because some received weapons from
23 several sources; not just one weapon but several.
24 Q. Would it be more likely if the person was a trusted or influential
25 member of the SDS?
1 A. I am sorry, what do you mean? A higher rank member of the SDS?
2 Q. Yes.
3 A. A member of a higher rank? You are thinking of somebody who has a
4 higher position in the SDS?
5 Q. Yes, a higher position or greater influence in the SDS.
6 A. Yes, it was normal. It is probably normal in some other
7 organisations that the person who has a higher position has greater
8 privileges, greater possibilities to get an easier job, an easier
9 assignment, one less exposed to the danger of war and yet hold a
10 responsible position.
11 Q. Could the witness be shown Defence exhibit 8, please. (Defence
12 Exhibit 8 was handed the witness). Colonel Kranjc, if you could turn
13 to page 20.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you explain what the section, the noted Section 13 is for?
16 A. Section 13 represents data on the secession of military obligation.
17 Q. Now if someone received a work obligation assignment giving him
18 civilian responsibilities in lieu of a specific military assignment,
19 would that have to be noted in this portion of the military book?
20 A. It should be noted.
21 Q. Was someone with a work assignment in lieu of military responsibility
22 still considered to be conducting or completing his military
23 responsibility for service?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. So in that instance would the section regarding the termination of
1 military service be filled in before they finished that work
3 A. In principle yes, but at that time some administrative matters were
4 not resolved quickly. People were transferred from one post to
5 another without the whole procedure, that was obligatory reporting to
6 one unit from another, being carried out.
7 Q. If this section was then filled in and completed, would it not mean
8 that the person had completed their work assignment in lieu of
9 military duties and therefore had completed their military service?
10 A. Yes, if this booklet were to be filled in then it would mean what you
11 say, but the termination of a military obligation may cease on several
12 grounds, health, other things, permanent inability or old age, and
13 then it has to be noted on the basis of which article the military
14 obligation ceases. The responsible body must enter here, in these two
15 places, reference to the article of the law on military obligation
16 certification on deletion from the records is being done, and a date
17 has to be added and the stamp and signature of the authorised person.
18 Then it is a complete procedure.
19 MR. KEEGAN: Let the record reflect that the witness pointed to the first
20 two blank lines for the location where the articles of the law of
21 military service would have to be filled in, and then the obvious
22 state line for the date and signature. Thank you, Colonel Kranjc. I
23 have no further questions.
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Kay?
25 Cross-Examined by Mr. Kay.
1 Q. Can we just stay on this matter please, Colonel. Looking at Section
2 13 of the military book, that would be completed, would it not, when
3 someone was discharged from military obligation for all time?
4 A. For all times or temporarily.
5 Q. All time. You are discharged from your military service for a
6 particular reason under the military code?
7 A. I said he can be discharged for all times or for a certain time, and
8 that can be told from the number of the article of the law on the
9 military obligation. I do not know exactly all the articles of that
10 law, but the person certifying such a case, and I am referring to the
11 person signing this, he has before him the law, he studies the law and
12 finds the article on the grounds of which a person will be discharged.
13 I cannot say all the articles that are applied in such cases.
14 Q. So it could be applied or completed for a temporary discharge from
15 military service as well as a final discharge from military service;
16 is that what you are saying?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. If someone is excused military service and this is not completed,
19 what would be the problem for him?
20 A. If that person is really subject to one of the laws, one of the
21 articles of the law on military service and which envisages excuse
22 from military service and if he proves this with the necessary
23 documents, then he would have no problems, but if someone did not
24 have the necessary documents or if those documents were inaccurate or
25 if he managed to achieve that excuse through good connections ----
1 Q. So if ----
2 A. --- and he received this signature, then sooner or later this would
3 be discovered.
4 Q. So if it came to it that you were required to show that you were
5 excused from military service and you wanted to be excused from
6 military service, you could provide the documentation and have this
7 completed if you were called upon to perform that service?
8 A. Yes.
9 MR. KAY: Thank you. Your Honour, that would be a convenient moment. I
10 do not think I have any further questions, but I would like to review
11 the matter, if possible, over the luncheon adjournment.
12 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Very good. You will be given that opportunity. We
13 will stand in recess until 2.30.
15 (Luncheon Adjournment) PRIVATE
16 (2.30 p.m.)
17 MR. KAY: Your Honour, I have concluded my cross-examination.
18 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Wladimiroff is sitting. I wanted to say we
19 missed you this morning. Mr. Kay, would you like to continue with the
21 MR. KAY: I have completed my cross-examination. No further questions.
22 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: OK, Mr. Keegan?
23 MR. KEEGAN: Nothing in redirect, your Honour.
24 Examined by the Court
25 JUDGE STEPHEN: Colonel, there is one question you can perhaps help me on:
1 at the time that the order was given for the members of the JNA who
2 were not Bosnians to return to Yugoslavia, to the rump Yugoslavia,
3 there was also an order given for those who were Bosnians to remain in
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, I gather?
5 A. (Microphone, please). Your Lordships, I only saw the order about the
6 relocation of the personnel and equipment of the Educational Centre,
7 since it was the Educational Centre for armoured and mechanized units
8 of the JNA at large. The order specified and made it possible for the
9 troops born or from the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina could go to
10 Yugoslavia, not only those from outside Bosnia-Herzegovina, but even
11 those whose home was in Bosnia-Herzegovina, that they could go to
12 Yugoslavia, but that applied to the Educational Centre and the
13 Commanders and the officers working at the Educational Centre. I was
14 also offered the choice of going to Yugoslavia or remaining in that
16 Q. I see. Of course, when you say they could remain in Bosnia or they
17 could go to Yugoslavia, that would mean that they would go to
18 particular specified units, I suppose, would they? They would not
19 just become civilians?
20 A. Yes, it meant that the superiors in the Educational Centre who would
21 be leaving Banja Luka to Yugoslavia, they were all told they would
22 continue in the same posts in the Educational Centre at a new
24 Q. Those that chose to remain in Bosnia, were they allocated to
25 particular units?
1 A. Yes, those officers from the Educational Centre who did not want to
2 go to Yugoslavia were also ordered, but then on an individual basis
3 from the Personnel Administration in Belgrade for their temporary
4 allocation to new posts in the 5th Corps.
5 Q. I am sorry, I did not catch the last words?
6 A. 5th Corps.
7 Q. 5th Corps, thank you.
8 JUDGE VOHRAH: Colonel, when the Red Berets became part of the VRS, did
9 they take their orders from the VRS Corps commanders?
10 A. In Banja Luka, there was the command of the then 1st Krajina Corps.
11 I would not know exactly whom they received the orders from. In case
12 of orders for combat operations, then it was from the Corps command.
13 If it applied to some other activities, then it would be from the
14 political authorities or the local authorities in the region of Banja
15 Luka. Barracks which belonged to my command, that is, the Educational
16 Centre were twice surrounded. They were the facilities in the centre
17 of the town, and the barracks of Krajina Brigades which was some seven
18 kilometres to the north of Banja Luka; and because stories began to
19 spread that the JNA was about to pull out the equipment and materiel
20 from these barracks to Belgrade, so that somebody in the town
21 launched this action and the next day the Red Berets blocked the
22 barracks, both barracks. I intervened immediately with the Crisis
23 Staff and, after a brief conversation, these blocks were removed. In
24 some other instances, somebody else, that is, somebody also issued
25 orders to the Red Berets except the Corps command.
1 Q. Were these Red Berets Serbs from Serbia or were they Bosnian Serbs or
2 a mixture?
3 A. I do not know that exactly and, therefore, I cannot give you an
4 accurate answer. Personally, I think they were from the area of Banja
5 Luka and Bosnia.
6 JUDGE VOHRAH: Thank you.
7 JUDGE STEPHEN: Colonel, there is one other question arising out of your
8 evidence. I think you said that one reason why in May '92 soldiers of
9 the 5th Corps were ordered to return to the Federal Republic of
10 Yugoslavia, and one reason was that by law they were not able to serve
11 in what was a foreign state, namely, Republika Srpska; is that right?
12 A. Yes. Yes, that is so, and I quoted it as the second reason because,
13 formally or legally speaking, there were two states proclaimed, the
14 Republika Srpska and Yugoslavia on the other side.
15 Q. I think, if I am right, that you said that applied to soldiers. What
16 about officers because, clearly, officers did serve with Republika
17 Srpska which was a foreign state?
18 A. From the legal point of view, this would also hold true of the
19 officers, evidently, but under the previous orders they were only
20 temporarily assigned and, as far as I know, nobody ever raised that
21 question either from the legal point of view or from any other. If
22 somebody opted for staying there, he was allowed to do so. It was
23 made possible for him to do so.
24 JUDGE STEPHEN: Thank you.
25 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
1 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I have one question and that has to do with the
2 Yugoslav People's Army. After Croatia and Slovenia and
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina gained their independence, I gather that all that
4 was left of the Yugoslav People's Army, the JNA, was based in the
5 Federal Socialist Republic of Serbia; is that correct?
6 A. It is difficult to answer this question legally or formally speaking.
7 Until May 19th there was one JNA or, at least as far as we are
8 concerned as regards the documents that I had all received, there was
9 also JNA in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. After that it was
10 divided into two, both in two states, that is, two armies.
11 As I had received orders some 10 days before that where to
12 report, and that it even specified that I was to report to the 5th
13 Corps, that is the old name because the army of the Republic of Srpska
14 had not been proclaimed again. I accepted that. But, apart from
15 that, every officer, apart from this official part of the official
16 order, there was also something else that we were supposed to do that,
17 that is, some superior reasons for which we should either stay there
18 or move elsewhere.
19 Q. What do you mean by that? What "superior reasons that we should
20 either stay there or move elsewhere"?
21 A. Your Honour, I did not say -- I meant other reasons, family reasons
22 and the like.
23 Q. Who was the supreme Commander of the Yugoslav People's Army then in
24 Serbia after May 22nd 1992? In the United States, for example, the
25 President of the United States is the Commander-in-Chief of the
1 military forces. Who was the supreme Commander of the Yugoslav
2 People's Army on May 22nd 1992, if you know?
3 A. I have not seen the constitution of that new Yugoslavia after May 92
4 but, as far as one can learn from the media, television, papers, the
5 Commander-in-Chief, formally or legally, was the President of the
6 Republic of Yugoslavia. At first it was Dobrica Cosic, and then a new
7 President came because the former presidency of the Socialist Federal
8 Republic of Yugoslavia composed first of eight members and then, after
9 the independence of the four Republics, was abolished.
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I have no further questions. Mr. Keegan?
11 MR. KEEGAN: No, ma'am, nothing further
12 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Kay?
13 MR. KAY: No, thank you, your Honour.
14 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Is there any objection to the Colonel being
15 permanently excused?
16 MR. KAY: No.
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Fine. Then Colonel Kranjc, you may be permanently
18 excused. Thank you very much for coming.
19 THE WITNESS: Your Lordships, thank you very much for inviting me to give
20 my testimony here.
21 (The witness withdrew)
22 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Niemann?
23 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honours, I just wanted to mention something at this
24 stage. I will not be taking the next witness, but there is a matter
25 that I wanted to mention. We are now today, this afternoon, filing a
1 motion in relation to a particular witness that we expect to testify
2 next week, seeking orders for protective measures. I just announce it
3 now; your Honours will receive it this afternoon, I should imagine. I
4 announce it now because it is at such short notice. The witness is
5 coming next week and the motion will mention the reason why it has
6 come up so soon.
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We will locate the motion then. I am glad you have
8 told us that you filed it. That means we will then assure that we get
9 it this afternoon.
10 MR. NIEMANN: Yes.
11 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Very good. Thank you.
12 MR. KEEGAN: The next witness is Mr. Jerko Doko, your Honour.
13 MR. JERKO DOKO, called.
14 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Doko, would you please take the oath?
15 THE WITNESS [In translation]: May I speak? I solemnly declare that I will
17 the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
18 (The witness was sworn)
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Doko you maybe seated. Mr. Keegan, you may
21 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, your Honour.
22 Examined by MR. KEEGAN
23 Q. Mr. Doko, would you please state for the record your full name?
24 A. Jerko Doko.
25 Q. Your date of birth?
1 A. 14th September 1952.
2 Q. Were you born in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the former
3 territory of Yugoslavia?
4 A. Yes, yes.
5 Q. Are you currently a resident of the Republic of Croatia?
6 A. At the moment, yes.
7 Q. Did you grow up in the area around Mostar in the territory of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina and attend the University of Mostar?
9 A. Yes, I lived in Mostar until 1991.
10 Q. Did you complete your compulsory military service in the Yugoslav
11 People's Army?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. When was that?
14 A. In 1974/75.
15 Q. Between 1976 and 1990 did you serve in the reserves and in the Mostar
17 A. Yes, I was a member of the staff of the Territorial Defence of the
18 municipality of Mostar. I was the head of the Department for Nuclear,
19 Biological and Chemical Defence.
20 Q. Did you have the rank of Captain 1st Class?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did you also serve as the Chef de Cabinet for the first elected Mayor
23 of Mostar?
24 A. Yes, in 1991.
25 Q. Subsequent to that were you appointed as the Minister of Defence for
1 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
2 A. Yes, 1st February 1991 I took up the post of the Minister of Defence
3 of the government of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 Q. Until when did you serve in that position?
5 A. Until 13th August 1992.
6 Q. When you arrived to your post on 1st February 1991, what were the
7 main duties of the Minister of Defence?
8 A. The main duties of the Minister of Defence were at the time to
9 reorganise the Ministry of Defence and keep the control of the
10 Ministry of Defence, the mobilization, the forces in our Republic in
12 Q. At the time that you took your office was there a conflict between
13 the Republic and the Federal authorities regarding who had control
14 over the mobilization of Republic forces?
15 A. Yes, that was shortly before the elections in November 1990. The
16 Federal Assembly changed the law on National Defence specifying that
17 the laws on mobilization and records should be taken over by the army
18 authorities which the Republican government and Assembly did not go
19 along with after the elections. So that was the conflict of
21 Q. Can you briefly describe the composition and the purpose of the TO in
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina under the former Socialist Federal Republic of
24 A. The Territorial Defence was one of the components of the armed forces
25 of the former SFRY. It had Republican headquarters which were
1 responsible politically and operationally to the then Executive
2 Councils and presidencies of the then Republics, and for military, in
3 military matters, they were responsible to the JNA General Staff. We
4 had eight districts. Our Territorial Defence in Bosnia-Herzegovina
5 was divided into eight districts. It had its Republic headquarters,
6 and zonal and municipal headquarters.
7 Q. What was the purpose that the TO was supposed to serve under the old
9 A. As its name says, the Territorial Defence was to protect the
10 territory. The troops in the territory were expected to protect that
11 territory. All financial and material support was provided by
12 Republican governments, that is, Executive Councils to these units of
13 the Territorial Defence.
14 Q. Is that why the original law had the control for mobilization of that
15 TO within the Republic authority and not the Federal authorities?
16 A. The jurisdiction of the mobilization should be in the hands of the
17 civilian authorities rather than army authorities because the
18 Republican agencies and the government were to take care of this, of
19 the economic and working ability on individual parts of the territory,
20 and it was quite logical for them to do that rather than Belgrade or
21 the army, for instance.
22 Q. When you arrived at your post who was acting as the Minister of
24 A. Before me, the Minister of Defence was General Fetagic, a JNA
1 Q. Were the majority of his staff also JNA officers?
2 A. Most of them were; his Chef de Cabinet was a civilian and Assistant
3 for Civilian Affairs was a civilian. All the other assistants and
4 associates were JNA officers.
5 Q. At the time you took your office, who had control of the weapons of
6 the Republic TO in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
7 A. As early as the beginning of 1990 the orders arrived, that the
8 weapons be taken over by the JNA and placed in its depots for the sake
9 of better storage or better keeping. To my mind, it meant the
10 disarmament of the Territorial Defence. It was done in Croatia,
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia by the committee of the then parties,
12 and governments of Slovenia did not allow it and they did have their
14 Q. What effect did the ability of Slovenia of its TO to arm itself have
15 when Slovenia declared independence?
16 A. When the Yugoslav People's Army attacked Slovenia, their Minister,
17 Janez Jansa, mobilized the Territorial Defence, dressed them up and
18 armed them, and that is why it took them only four days to defend
20 Q. When you arrived at your post who was in command of the Republic TO?
21 A. The Commander was a Serb, General -- I cannot remember his name now.
22 He was there for a short time only. He was there only for a month
23 and then they brought another, General Drago Vukosavljevic, a JNA
25 Q. The original General who was in position at the command of the TO
1 when you took office, was he sympathetic to the Republic position
2 regarding mobilization or the Federal position?
3 A. He supported the Republic position and held a working meeting with me
4 where the Ministry of Defence and the Defence Staff had to discuss the
5 plans for the training of units for the materiel, supply of equipment
6 and things like that, and I think that was why they replaced him.
7 Q. General Vukosavljevic, was he sympathetic to the Republican position
8 or to the Federal position?
9 A. He was sympathetic of the Federal position.
10 Q. Did the presidency of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina approve the
11 appointment of General Vukosavljevic to the position of the Commander
12 of the TO of the Republic?
13 A. After the multi-Party elections, since national parties HDZ, SDA and
14 SDS won a majority in the Assembly, they divided up the key posts
15 amongst themselves so that the Defence Ministry was given to a
16 representative of the Croat people, of the Internal Affairs to a
17 representative of the Muslim people and the Staff Commander was to be
18 a representative of the Serb people and the JNA General Staff proposed
19 that the Drago Vukosavljevic or, rather, appointed him, and the
20 presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina agreed with this.
21 Q. As a senior government official in the Republic of
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, did you follow all of the sessions of the Assembly
23 of the Republic?
24 A. Yes, it was my duty as a member of the government to follow work in
25 the Assembly.
1 Q. In the second half of 1991 and continuing through the first part of
2 1992, did the political differences in the Assembly become divisive?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. What were the basic causes for this division?
5 A. One of the major causes at the time was whether this particular law
6 on mobilization and recruitment, whether we should apply the Federal
7 law or, as most of us wanted, that it should be the internal affair of
8 the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina and that we should have control
9 over the recruitment of our boys and the mobilization of our people.
10 That was one of the major problems causing differences.
11 Q. Was the issue of the independence of the Republic itself also one of
12 the major issues?
13 A. Yes, it figured in the Assembly debates. It was the main, the
14 ultimate goal of all of us to have the independence of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina which was opposed by members of the SDS Party,
16 because they wanted something else.
17 Q. Was a final vote reached on whether the Republic would accept the
18 Federal law on mobilization or not?
19 A. Yes, this occurred on 29th February and 1st March 1992. A referendum
20 was carried out in Bosnia-Herzegovina for the independence of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina and this was later confirmed in the Assembly when,
22 by a majority of votes, the independence was voted for. The members
23 of the SDS walked out of the Assembly upon the call of their President
25 Q. What occurred in the streets of Sarajevo after the walk out by the
1 members of the SDS?
2 A. Barricades began to be put up by members or organised by members of
3 the SDS.
4 Q. What steps were then taken to form the armed forces of
6 A. We undertook to elaborate a law on National Defence of
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was later adopted at the Assembly, in which
8 it was stated that the armed forces would be comprised of Territorial
9 Defence, the already existing defence forces in the south, HVO, we had
10 HOS units, and all those groups which would defend Bosnia-Herzegovina
11 as well as the armed forces of the Ministry.
12 Q. By that do you mean police forces?
13 A. Yes, police forces.
14 Q. During this same time, shortly after the walk out of the Assembly and
15 the initiation of the law to form the armed forces of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, did the JNA begin taking up positions around the
17 city of Sarajevo?
18 A. Yes. The JNA, among other things, focused on a blockade of Sarajevo,
19 a siege of Sarajevo. It did so even before; it prepared structures
20 for artillery weapons on the surrounding hills around Sarajevo. When
21 we insisted they give us an explanation, they said it was for the
22 purpose of an exercise of the army for the protection of the city and
23 we know what happened later, they shelled the city, and afterwards
24 they handed over those weapons to Karadzic's SDS forces which
25 destroyed Sarajevo.
1 Q. Mr. Doko, I notice that you have pulled out some notes on the table
2 from your briefcase. Did you prepare some aide memoirs to assist you
3 with the facts, figures, the numbers, dates and locations of
4 information you are going to testify to?
5 A. Yes. As my testimony contains a large number of data, I would not
6 like to misinterpret them, so I put them on paper so, if necessary, I
7 can convey them to you.
8 MR. KEEGAN: If I could have this document shown to the witness, please,
9 and mark the next Exhibit 180? (Exhibit 180 was handed to the
10 witness) (To the witness): Mr. Doko, do you recognise Exhibit 180,
11 that document?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Is that the aide memoir that you prepared yourself to assist you in
14 your testimony?
15 A. Yes, yes.
16 Q. With an English translation attached?
17 A. Yes.
18 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, I would tender Exhibit 180.
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Do you have an objection?
20 MR. KAY: It seems to me it is not technically an exhibit. It is an aide
21 memoir of the witness which has an entirely different status. It is
22 not material arriving from the background of the case, but something
23 to help him with his testimony in court. The court may feel that there
24 is a distinction as to the need for it to be an exhibit and to assist
25 him in giving his account.
1 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: There is no problem, as far as I am concerned, with
2 him using notes, if he needs them, to assist him in responding to
3 questions, as long as you have a copy of it and you are entitled to
4 that. As to whether it need be admitted, typically, it would not --
5 of course, we do not have any rules on this, but ......
6 MR. KEEGAN: That is correct, your Honour. Normally, I would not offer
7 it, but given this system I assumed you might want it as part of the
8 record and, therefore, I offered it.
9 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Do you have an objection, Mr. Kay?
10 MR. KAY: I do not think there is a need for it to be part of the record
11 as it may be something that can become overused. I can foresee that
12 there would be no limit if we were to embark on this line at this
13 stage, because the aide memoir of a witness rather than his exhibits
14 to be produced relating to the actual case itself is a distinction.
15 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Of course, in my system it would not be admissible.
16 Let me confer with my fellow judges since there is no rule on the
17 point and let us see if we can get a consensus.
18 (The learned Judges conferred)
19 I sustain your objection, Mr. Kay. It appears that our
20 systems are more alike than they are unlike and, as I have indicated,
21 there is no rule on the point. We want to hear from the witness and
22 so it is important. It is like a prior deposition maybe in your
23 system that he may have given. That would not come in if he is here
24 to testify. You may, of course, if there was a statement that he gave
25 before, and I am sure it was, and it was not what has been marked for
1 identification as 180, you may use that for impeachment purposes or,
2 if you wish, you may take a look at that statement if he is using it
3 to refresh his recollection. But we do not want it as an exhibit, so
4 I will sustain the objection. That is one piece of paper we will not
5 have to look at.
6 MR. KEEGAN: Fine, your Honour, thank you. (To the witness): After the
7 passage of the law on defence in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
8 how did your Ministry go about forming the staff of the armed forces
9 of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and who held those positions?
10 A. On 6th April 1992, we took over the offices of the former
11 headquarters of Territorial Defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and we
12 undertook to form a new staff which would be loyal to the government
13 of Bosnia-Herzegovina and that would organise the defence of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina. The head of the staff was at the time -- I must
15 have a look, I forget names -- Hasan Efendic, he was formally in the
16 municipal city of Sarajevo, he was the Commander of the staff, by
17 nationality a Muslim; Stjepan Siber, a Colonel who used to work in the
18 former TO staff, he expressed loyalty to the government of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, he was one of the deputies; another equal deputy
20 was Colonel Jovan Divjak, by nationality a Serb. Therefore, the
21 Commander was a Muslim, the deputies, a Croat and Serb, and the
22 structure of the staff was 25 Croats, 10 to 11 Serbs and the rest were
24 Q. At this point which you had created a staff and declared the
25 existence of the armed forces, had the Republic been able to gain
1 control of its weapons back from the JNA?
2 A. No, we could not get the weapons. They did not want to have any
3 contact with us; and the former staff in collaboration with the army
4 Corps in the field issued weapons to the municipal TO staff with a
5 majority Serb population and mobilized those units in those opstinas
6 which we were not informed.
7 Q. In July 1992, did the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina officially
8 become the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the HVO and police forces?
9 A. Would you please repeat the question? I did not quite understand it.
10 Q. In July 1992, did the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina officially
11 become known as the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the HVO and separate
12 police forces?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. I would like to go back to some questions regarding the start of the
15 conflict in the former Yugoslavia. In September 1991 was there a vote
16 of the presidency of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
17 regarding a declaration of martial law for the JNA?
18 A. Yes, this was a rump presidency of SFRY where the representative of
19 Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia were not present.
20 Only four remained, representatives of Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and
21 Macedonia. It was known as the "rump" presidency and it passed
22 decisions on the commitment of JNA units and the re-deployment of the
23 forces from Slovenia and Croatia in the direction of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina and further, which was unacceptable for us because
25 that presidency did not represent the whole of Yugoslavia.
1 Q. Was one person clearly identified as being the leader of those four
2 members of the presidency?
3 A. Yes, that rump presidency was headed by the representative of
4 Montenegro, Kostic.
5 Q. Was he in turn controlled by any other individual?
6 A. Yes, yes, that is correct. He was under the control of the
7 President, of the presidency, of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic, in
8 cooperation with the Commander of the General Staff of the armed
10 Q. After that vote was there a series of meetings between the Presidents
11 of the Republics, Tudjman, Itzebegovic and Milosevic?
12 A. Yes, one such meeting held in Sarajevo at a locality called
13 Stojcevac, I participated in the organisation, preparation and
14 security of such a meeting which was attended by the Presidents of
15 the former Republics of Yugoslavia.
16 Q. What was the substance of these meetings, the topics?
17 A. As far as I know, they were discussing peaceful ways of dealing with
18 the Yugoslav crisis. There were proposals on a confederation, I
20 Q. Was part of the crisis the series of decisions regarding the
21 structure and actions of the JNA during that time?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Had the SFRY presidency declared what the purpose of the JNA in
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina was to be?
25 A. The role, yes, the presidency determined the role of the JNA in
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was to place itself in the protection of a
2 part of the citizens who, according to them, were in jeopardy because
3 they did not want Bosnia-Herzegovina, but they allegedly wanted
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina and they are citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that
5 is, the Serb people, and in that way they said that the JNA should
6 protect one people.
7 Q. By "protect them" ------
8 JUDGE STEPHEN: I rather think the transcript seems to be wrong,
9 "... they did not want Bosnia-Herzegovina, but they allegedly wanted
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina". There is something gone wrong in the
12 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, thank you, your Honour. (To the witness): You said that
13 the purpose was to protect part of the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
14 What did you mean by "protecting" those persons; what was the intent
15 to allow those persons to do?
16 A. Actually, that presidency took a decision in December '91 that the
17 JNA in Bosnia-Herzegovina should be committed to prevent broader
18 inter-ethnic conflicts and this could be acceptable and, secondly, it
19 took a decision to protect the Serb people from violence and genocide
20 which meant placing the JNA in the direct protection of one people.
21 Q. Which people was that?
22 A. Serb. Just before the aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina, in
23 December, the presidency says that the army should first by use of
24 force enable the peaceful resolution of the conflict, and enable all
25 peoples in Yugoslavia who wished to live in a common state as well as
1 those who do not wish to, to achieve that right in a peaceful way.
2 That was the decision of the rump presidency. However, we knew what
3 the situation was in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The SDS which represented
4 the Serb people did not want Bosnia-Herzegovina. So, if the army
5 protects them, what about the rest of us? What protection do we have
6 from that army?
7 Q. Have you ever heard of something called the "RAM plan"?
8 A. Yes, I have.
9 Q. What does the word "RAM" mean in Serbian?
10 A. It means a frame.
11 Q. What was the substance of this plan?
12 A. The substance of the plan was to create a greater Serbia. That RAM
13 was to follow the lines of Virovitica, Karlovac, Karlobag, which we
14 saw confirmed in reality later on with the decision on the withdrawal
15 of the JNA, the Yugoslav People's Army, from Slovenia and partly from
16 Croatia to those positions in Western Slavonia up to Karlovac and
17 south almost to Karlobag.
18 Q. Do you know where this RAM plan originated from?
19 A. Well, the RAM plan originates from the Serbian Academy of Arts and
20 Sciences, the so-called SANU, where it was drawn up together with the
21 Serbian leadership, with Milosevic and some members of the General
22 Staff of JNA -- normally in strict secrecy.
23 Q. With regards to this withdrawal of JNA forces from the territory of
24 Slovenia and then parts of Croatia, what recommendations did you make
25 as the Minister of Defence for the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
1 regarding any of those forces which were coming into the territory of
3 A. Yes, together with my associates in the Ministry, I proposed to the
4 government of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and this was later approved both
5 there in the Assembly and by the presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a
6 proclamation that the army withdrawing from Slovenia and Croatia, the
7 JNA should go directly to Serbia and not all of them to
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and only the number of troops and officers should
9 remain in Bosnia-Herzegovina that corresponds to our economic
10 potentialities, and those who want to have Bosnia-Herzegovina as an
11 independent state and who are ready to express loyalty to the
12 government and to the presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina. That was not
13 accepted by the General Staff and the presidency of the Federal state
14 at the time.
15 Q. When you say the "General Staff" are you referring to the General
16 Staff of the JNA?
17 A. Yes, the General Staff of the JNA.
18 Q. How did the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia presidency and
19 the General Staff describe this relocation of forces from Slovenia and
20 parts of Croatia? Into what territory did they describe the forces as
21 withdrawing to?
22 A. I told you previously through my three comments that the JNA should
23 prevent the spreading of inter-ethnic conflicts and that it should
24 protect inter-ethnic relations allegedly, and to protect the part of
25 the people who wished to remain a part of former Yugoslavia, to make
1 it possible for them to do so. You know yourself where the Serb
2 people were living and it is to those parts that they relocated the
3 JNA forces.
4 Q. What parts of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were those, that they
6 A. In the so-called Serb Krajinas.
7 Q. What did this dislocation into the area referred to as the Krajina in
8 both Croatia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina of those JNA forces indicate to
10 A. For us, it was an aggression against our Republic.
11 Q. Were there other acts by the JNA which indicated to you that there
12 was a preparation for armed conflict?
13 A. Of course, this could be seen by the deployment of units; the control
14 of roads by the JNA; the relocation of artillery on hill tops around
15 all the major cities of Bosnia-Herzegovina; their collaboration with
16 extremist forces of the SDS, arming them and assisting the arming of
17 them; the issuance of TO weapons which were allegedly being kept in
18 the TO storage facilities with a majority Serb population, and they
19 did not accept our request for distribution of weapons to TO units in
20 municipalities in which the Muslims and Croats were in a majority.
21 Q. What direct information did you receive, if any, of arming of Serbian
22 civilians and Serbian TOs by the JNA in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
23 A. For instance, in the area of Doboj, in villages with a majority Serb
24 population, about 8,000 automatic rifles were distributed. In the
25 area of Foca, the armament of Serbs began already in the course of
1 1990, in July, on the basis of documents of the 2nd army district, and
2 by 19th March 93 the JNA had distributed among the Serb voluntary
3 units about 51,000 pieces of firearms and SDS members, about 23,000.
4 These paramilitary units were also armed with some 200 tanks
5 and only JNA had tanks. So, in all likelihood, it also gave them
6 armoured vehicles, about 400 heavy artillery pieces, 800 mortars and
7 so on and so forth. I could go on listing them in other areas, what
8 they did there.
9 They also formed four army districts directly so as to cover
10 the whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina with their structure to control it,
11 and they also set up a large number of Corps.
12 The Commander of the armed forces of Yugoslavia, General
13 Adzic, visited towards the end of March '92 these troops in the area
14 of Banja Luka and Tuzla. He visited the units of the 5th, 9th, 11th
15 and 12th Corps of the JNA to check their combat preparedness for the
16 forthcoming combat operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He came there.
17 We, I mean my Ministry and my Prime Minister, were not even informed
18 of this visit, even though we knew that he was coming.
19 Then there was a Corps and those JNA units had -- if these
20 Corps and JNA units were to protect Bosnia-Herzegovina, it would be
21 natural for that Commander of these forces from Belgrade to inform us
22 about that and co-operate with us. Evidently, their intentions were
23 quite different, as they demonstrated later on.
24 Q. This inspection trip by General Adzic of the JNA General Staff, was
25 there a request by the Republic presidency to accompany him, as was
1 required under prior law?
2 A. The presidency requested immediately from them not to come to
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina without the knowledge of the presidency, without
4 the approval of the presidency, but obviously they paid no attention
5 to the decisions and requests of the presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
6 They were doing their job, the job as they have conceived.
7 Q. Did you receive any direct reports from General Vukosavljevic, the
8 Commander of the TO in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, about the
9 arming of Serbs by the JNA?
10 A. Yes, at a session of the presidency, of the enlarged presidency, when
11 the JNA had already occupied Bosnia-Herzegovina, we had no possibility
12 to move out, to leave Sarajevo, members of the government and the
13 presidency; but we maintained contact with our people in their field
14 and they informed us that those TO units were supplied with weapons in
15 Sipovo and Mrkonjic Grad, and members of the enlarged presidency under
16 wartime conditions were Minister of Defence and Minister of the
17 Interior, the Foreign Minister, the Prime Minister and the Chairman of
18 the TO staff.
19 General Vukosavljevic then told us that he knew nothing about
20 it. When we asked him: "Well, who should know that?" he said that he
21 should know it and nothing should be done without him, and that he
22 could receive orders about such operations only from the presidency of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina. The next day he said he would notify us about it,
24 and then said something completely different. He said that that was
25 all right, that it was approved by the Commander of the Banja Luka
1 Corps commanded by General Nikola Uzelac, and that he gave them
2 weapons and that that was in line with some kind of a military order
3 which we could not accept because it was anti-constitutional act and
4 an act against legality.
5 Q. When did General Vukosavljevic leave his position as the Commander of
6 the TO in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
7 A. He fled on 5th April '92. He attended a meeting with us the day
8 before that -- the meeting that I have just told you about. He fled
9 to Pale.
10 Q. Did you at a later time go to the offices of the TO for the Republic
11 of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
12 A. Yes, on 6th April we entered the premises which were locked so we had
13 to break in. We found no records because they had all been taken away
14 by his associates and people who stayed behind and those who stated
15 their loyalty from the staff, as I have already said, at the
16 beginning, the commanders, deputies and for individual offices.
17 Q. Returning to the time after the inspection trip by General Adzic,
18 what was the state of the JNA in Bosnia-Herzegovina and was there
19 reinforcement of the forces there during that time frame?
20 A. Yes, there were reinforcements. According to the information, '92,
21 the JNA troops deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina were about 100,000 armed
22 soldiers, I mean soldiers and officers; about 700 to 800 tanks were
23 there; 1,000 APCs and other armoured vehicles; over 4,000 mortars and
24 artillery pieces; up to 100 aircraft and 500 helicopters which meant
25 large concentration of strength and weapon materiel and equipment in
1 the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and at the same time JNA occupied
2 that Republic with these troops and armaments were under direct
3 command of the General Staff of the JNA and, to our knowledge, it was
4 already under a major influence, under major sway, of Slobodan
6 Q. After May 19th 1992 when there was a public division of the JNA, with
7 the renaming of those forces in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina as
8 the army of Republika Srpska, what type of men and equipment were
9 left to form that army?
10 A. Well, all the types of armaments that I have just listed. The
11 Yugoslav People's Army left behind all weapons to that so-called army,
12 Serb army, the army of the Serb -- of the Serb Republic, because it
13 had none, just as we had none. We all, all peoples of that Republic,
14 paid for those weapons and yet it fell into the hands of only one
15 people and the armed force, as they called it?
16 Q. When was the first act of direct aggression against
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina by troops of the JNA?
18 A. If I may have a look at this? The aggression against
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina by the Yugoslav People's Army and the Serbian
20 Montenegrin aggressor took place on 20th September 1991. That was
21 when the JNA troops from the Uzice Drava Corps claiming that the army
22 airfield in Mostar and the Serb population in East Herzegovina were in
23 danger, and the real excuse was the preparation for the
24 Dubrovnik/Split operation within the "RAM" plan. They erupted the
25 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina from Serbia Montenegro. These Corps
1 were filled up with large numbers of reserves and volunteers from
2 Serbia and Herzegovina who embarked on unprecedented terror against
3 non-Serb population, plundering of property, persecution of the
4 population. As of 1991, those troops participated in the attack on
5 the village of Ravno and mostly inhabited by Croats. They killed a
6 number of villagers and destroyed the village claiming that
7 paramilitary units of the Republic of Croatia had fired at JNA units.
8 The real truth is that several soldiers of these troops were killed
9 in an ambush near a village, Cepikuce, which is in the territory of
11 On 10th April, these units shelled Dubrave in the
12 municipality of Stolac and conducted operations above Neum and
13 Podvelezje in Mostar. On 9th April they took tactical positions
14 around Doboj, took over Modrica and continued to deploy their troops
15 between Tuzla and Gracanica. On April 12th they entered the towns of
16 Mesici and Ustipraca and captured Jabuka.
17 During the night of April 13th, they took positions north east
18 of Mostar and blocked the south, an area of the town. On April 16th,
19 they came out to Mojmil Brdo and Dobrinja, near Sarajevo, and the
20 Yugoslav People's Army and the armed SDS formations surrounded Brcko
21 and the broader area around Gurbavica on April 17th -- Gradacac,
22 excuse me, on April 17th.
23 In the night of April 20th, the armoured mechanized units of
24 the JNA blockaded Vlasenica, a town which, according to '91 census,
25 55.3 per cent of the population were Bosniaks, Muslims, and 42.2 per
1 cent Serbs, and helped that the power of the city be seized by the
2 so-called Serb guard and the SDS.
3 On April 25th, JNA tanks entered Bratunac and together with
4 SDS armoured groups committed a mass crime against the Muslims --
5 against the Bosniaks. On April 28th '92, JNA artillery destroyed
6 Tomislavgrad and its engineers destroyed the bridge across the Sava at
8 Q. Mr. Doko, you indicated that initial troops involved were the Uzice
9 and Podgorica Corps of the JNA?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Where is Uzice located?
12 A. Uzice is in Serbia, the Republic of Serbia.
13 Q. Where is Podgorica located?
14 A. It is the capital of the Republic of Montenegro.
15 Q. How do you know that this particular invasion on 20th September 1991
16 occurred in that location and with those units?
17 A. On 21st September, when they reached the elevation above the Stolac
18 municipality, I agreed with some members of the government to go to
19 this site and see where that army had come from and why had they come
20 to that piece of land. I requested from the Mostar garrison Commander
21 and his Deputy, Slobodan Pudar, Lieutenant Colonel, to come with us
22 and see, because I had asked them whether they knew who that was, and
23 what it was all about, and they had said that they did not know.
24 So they came with me and I recognised the army. I even
25 recognised a lad, a young man, from the Republic of Montenegro, from a
1 place called Bar, who was with those units. They were wearing
2 different uniforms from JNA to TO uniforms. Some of them even had the
3 Chetnik fur caps. When I asked that young man why had he come there,
4 what was his intention, he said that that was Serb land and that
5 Serbia extended as far as that. We advised the government which had
6 sent them there. That is how we learned what units those were.
7 Q. You indicated in your prior testimony the Podgrica Corps remained on
8 the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina through a large part of 1992, is
9 that correct?
10 A. Yes, he stayed there. It is a fact that the units which came to
11 Mostar to supposedly guard the Mostar airfield committed a massacre on
12 18th June 92 at a place called Uborak and Sutina on the outskirts of
13 Mostar where 88 bodies of Muslims and Croats were found with their
14 throats slit and killed and another 12 at a place called Sutina. At
15 the time they were commanded by General Perisic.
16 Q. Was the Podgrica Corps also involved in the conflict in the area of
17 Trebinje in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the summer and fall of 1992?
18 A. Yes.
19 MR. KEEGAN: Excuse me, if I could have this document marked number 180?
20 If that could be placed on the elmo? (To the witness): Mr. Doko,
21 Exhibit 180 is the English translation of an article which appeared in
22 the Belgrade Tanjug, domestic service, regarding the denial by the
23 Podgrica Corps of its withdrawal from the Prevlaka Peninsular on 28th
24 September 1992. Are you familiar with this article?
25 A. Yes, I am familiar with this article and with the situation.
1 Q. Thank you. Your Honour, I would tender Exhibit 180.
2 MR. WLADIMIROFF: No objection.
3 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Exhibit 180 will be admitted.
4 MR. KEEGAN (To the witness): Is Tanjug the state controlled news agency
5 for Yugoslavia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. This article indicates that it is a statement by the 2nd army of the
8 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia army, the information service. Is that
9 the official information service for the army? I will repeat the
10 question. The article indicates that it has been released by the 2nd
11 army's information service; the 2nd army being part of the Yugoslav
12 Army. Is that the official information service for the military?
13 A. Tanjug is not an official information service for the army; it is an
14 official state agency.
15 Q. Yes, I understand that. I am talking about the article itself which
16 indicates it is released, the article was released, to Tanjug by the
17 2nd army's information service?
18 A. Yes, yes, yes.
19 Q. The article states, "The members of the Yugoslav's Army's Podgrica
20 Corps deployed east of Dubrovnik are carrying out their regular tasks
21 in line with the commanding body's orders", and indicates it has no
22 intention of withdrawing from the area. What area is east of
24 A. Trebinje in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
25 Q. To your knowledge, was, in fact, the Podgrica Corps of what was then
1 called the army of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia or the Yugoslav
2 Army still engaged in armed conflict in the Trebinje area in September
4 A. Yes, yes, yes.
5 Q. Thank you. You mentioned earlier General Perisic. Who was General
6 Perisic and what unit was he commanding in late 1991, the time frame
7 you were referring to?
8 A. Towards the end of '91 he came to command the JNA garrison in Mostar
9 from Zadar.
10 Q. What attacks was he responsible for?
11 A. You mean when he came to Mostar?
12 Q. Correct.
13 A. He was responsible for attacks for the destruction, demolition of
14 bridges on the Neretva River; the massacre I have just described in
15 Mostar, Uborak and Sutina; killing of civilians in Mostar, demolition
16 of the town. He led those operations directly.
17 Q. In February or March 1992, did you have a conversation with General
18 Perisic regarding the attack on Mostar and Zadar?
19 A. Yes. I did. As I am from Mostar, and it was my duty as I was
20 Minister for Defence, I did go to Mostar to his office in the northern
21 section of Mostar. We discussed it at length, and he said that they
22 had deceived him in Zadar -- I saw Zadar after his departure, what it
23 was like, how destroyed it was -- and that he would destroy it, that
24 he would raise it to the ground. I tried to talk to him as a normal
25 man, and I realised it was a no-go, and then I realised that he would
1 destroy Mostar, that he would commit all those misdeeds. I realised
2 what the orders he was given for that.
3 Q. OK. You said that he told you they had deceived him in Zadar?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. What did that statement mean to you, what was he referring to?
6 A. Well, it meant that he was not a normal man, and that Mostar would
7 fair even worse because it was impossible to communicate, to talk with
8 him, normally.
9 Q. I am referring to the statement, "they deceived me". Who was the
10 "they" that General Perisic was referring to and why did he feel
12 A. Well, he was deceived by his superiors who had said that Zadar would
13 be part of greater Serbia and when nothing came out with the
14 withdrawal to the retreat to Neretva, and then he said that the
15 Serbian border would be on the Neretva and that he would not be
16 deceived there.
17 Q. What position did General Perisic later take?
18 A. He was rewarded by becoming the Commander of the military district in
19 Nis. Shortly after that, he took up the highest ranking position,
20 that is, the Commander of the Chief of the armed forces of Federal
21 Republic of Yugoslavia.
22 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, that might be a convenient time before we start
23 a new topic?
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We will stand in recess for 20 minutes.
25 (4.00 p.m.)
1 (Adjourned for a short time)
2 (4.20 p.m.)
3 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Keegan, would you proceed, please?
4 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, your Honour. (To the witness): Mr. Doko, after
5 the initial shelling attack of Sarajevo in April 1992, did you have
6 any direct contact with General Mladic?
7 A. Yes, I did.
8 Q. What was the nature of that contact?
9 A. Telephone conversation.
10 Q. How did you receive that telephone call, can you describe the
12 A. Yes, the previous night was the first shelling with rocket fire of
13 Sarajevo, so that in the building of the presidency where I was,
14 members of the presidency and other members of the government, we
15 recorded the command of General Mladic and we followed it. The next
16 day we had a tape where he is speaking to his artillery command,
17 asking them: "Do you have the presidency under fire? Nikola, are you
18 ready? Hit the presidency", and then we hear the rocket. That night
19 there were injured people, one of my secretary from the Ministry was
20 injured, the water, the gas supply ---
21 Q. Did you speak to General Mladic yourself?
22 A. -- and the presidency was hit. After such a situation in the
23 building, I came to work normally at 8 o'clock in the morning, the
24 other workers were not there yet, and thinking, and my thinking in the
25 office was interrupted by the ringing of the telephone. When I lifted
1 the receiver, a voice asked: "Is that Minister Doko?" I said: "Who
2 is speaking?" and the voice said: "General Mladic." At first I did
3 not want to believe it. I said I did not like to joke with such
4 things especially after such a night. He said: "It is me". I
5 recognised his voice because I had spoken to him earlier on when we
6 were emptying the barracks in the city of Sarajevo. I recognised his
7 voice and he said, among other things: "I have called you to let you
8 know I have 110 tubes targeting you and Sarajevo, I will kill you
9 all". I answered that he cannot do anything to us, that we have a
10 heart and the people will rise against him and that he cannot destroy
11 all the people and the city of Sarajevo. That was the conversation I
12 had with him.
13 Q. Do you have any direct knowledge of involvement of paramilitary
14 forces led by an individual known as Arkan in the territory of
16 A. Yes, I do. Zeljko Raznjetovic, Arkan, at the end of March '92
17 entered Bijeljina and committed a massacre in Bijeljina. He killed
18 civilians. We watched that on the media, on television. Then we
19 convened a session of the presidency at which a decision was taken
20 that a delegation on behalf of the presidency and the government of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina should go to Bijeljina to see what is happening
23 It was decided that Fikret Abdic should go on behalf of the
24 presidency and the Vice Prime Minister, Simovic, on behalf of the
25 government and myself as Defence Minister. We started on our journey.
1 We arrived late at night outside of Bijeljina. We were stopped there
2 by some armed formations with black masks over their heads. They said
3 they were Arkan units and that we could not go to Bijeljina.
4 In the meantime, some other soldiers approached us. They
5 insulted us. They swore at us, calling us "Turks", "Ustashas". They
6 told us to lie on the ground, to lie down. This lasted for a couple of
7 minutes, and one of them with a black mask had a mobile radio
8 station, a Motorola, and as he was close to me I heard a voice at the
9 other end asking: "Are the guests there?" implying us, members of the
10 government of Bosnia-Herzegovina. When he answered "yes", he said
11 that he must not hurt us and the soldiers left. They told us to get
13 We waited for about 40 minutes, then Zeljko Raznjetovic Arkan
14 came in person. He introduced himself. He was accompanied by five of
15 his soldiers. When we told him that we wanted to talk to him about
16 what was happening in Bijeljina, he said that Bijeljina was Serb, that
17 it was his, that he had come with his fighters to Bijeljina and there
18 was nothing to talk about. When Mr. Abdic insisted on a talk, this
19 was on Tuesday, then he said that they should come on Saturday when
20 everything was settled.
21 Then we returned after midnight via Brcko, Tuzla to Sarajevo;
22 and on that Saturday Mr. Abdic together with Biljana Plavsic went to
23 Bijeljina, and you know the photographs showing her kissing Arkan in
24 the centre of Bijeljina. That was my encounter with Arkan.
25 Q. This second delegation that was sent, you said that Biljana Plavsic
1 was one of the members?
2 A. The second delegation that went after us on Saturday consisted of
3 Fikret Abdic and Biljana Plavsic, members of the presidency of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time. They went to Bijeljina. They could
5 enter Bijeljina; we could not. They entered and at the square -- this
6 was shown on television -- everyone saw her kissing Arkan.
7 Q. What was the common interpretation of her greeting of Arkan in the
8 square by kissing him?
9 A. Biljana Plavsic is a member of the presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina
10 at the time and the Vice President, and she is Vice President of SDS,
11 the Vice President of Karadzic; and the people thought that these were
12 criminals who were killing our people, they were occupiers and
13 aggressors and, therefore, this greeting by kissing was considered
14 approval and acceptance of them by the SDS.
15 MR. KEEGAN: I have no further questions, your Honour.
16 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Cross-examination?
17 MR. KAY: No cross-examination, your Honour.
18 JUDGE STEPHEN: You mentioned that when you were asked about a telephone
19 conversation that you had with General Mladic, you began by describing
20 a conversation that, I gather, you intercepted in some way. Did you
21 have means to intercept the conversation between General Mladic and
22 the people in control of the artillery?
23 A. I do not understand the question.
24 Q. Let me explain perhaps: as I understood your evidence, when you were
25 being shelled in the presidency building, you heard, you overheard, a
1 conversation between General Mladic and somebody who was operating the
2 guns; is that right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You did not, however, explain how you overheard that. Was that
5 because you had some method of intercepting the radio communication?
6 A. Yes, we had links between our staff and their staff, and the next
7 day, and after five days the whole world had this tape translated into
8 five languages where you hear the orders saying, "Nikola, do you have
9 the presidency targeted? Now fire", and this was published, this tape
10 was heard, in the United Nations.
11 JUDGE STEPHEN: Thank you.
12 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I have no additional questions. Mr. Keegan?
13 MR. KEEGAN: No, your Honour.
14 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Counsel for the Defence, cross-examination, any?
15 MR. KAY: No, your Honour.
16 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Any objection to Mr. Doko being permanently excused?
17 MR. KAY: No, your Honour.
18 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Doko, you are permanently excused. Thank you for
19 coming. You may leave now. Thank you.
20 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
21 (The witness withdrew)
22 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, the Prosecution would call Mr. Ed Vulliamy next.
25 MR. ED VULLIAMY, called.
1 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, since the court has indicated some interest in
2 some advance notice of where we are going, just for the court's
3 information, this is at this time intended to be the last policy
4 witness in the case.
5 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Sir, you will be given an oath to take in a moment,
6 if it is there.
7 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare I will speak the truth, the whole truth
8 and nothing but the truth.
9 (The witness was sworn)
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Fine, thank you. You may be seated.
11 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
12 Examined by MR. KEEGAN
13 Q. Would you please state your full name for the record.
14 A. Edward Sebastian Vulliamy.
15 Q. Mr. Vulliamy, you are a citizen of the United Kingdom?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Where did you attend university and what was your major area of
19 A. I was at university at Oxford in England and thereafter at Florence
20 in Italy studying politics and philosophy.
21 Q. Did you become a journalist?
22 A. I did indeed.
23 Q. What organisation do you currently work for?
24 A. At the moment I am employed by The Guardian of London.
25 Q. What areas of interest do you generally cover?
1 A. All sorts of things, although latterly I have been overwhelmingly
2 involved by the war in the former Yugoslavia, and I have covered over
3 conflicts elsewhere in the world for The Guardian and other
5 Q. What particular awards have you received as a journalist?
6 A. I won a thing called the Royal Television Society Award for Current
7 Affairs in the mid 1980s for a film I made about Northern Ireland, and
8 for my work in the former Yugoslavia I won a thing called the Granada
9 Television International Reporter of the Year Award; in the British
10 Press Awards, Foreign Correspondent of the Year award; I won an award
11 presented by Amnesty International described as "For Journalism in the
12 interests of Human Rights" and then I won a thing called the James
13 Cameron prize which is referred to as the sort of British Pulitzer, I
15 Q. In addition to reporting on the war for The Guardian and other
16 publications, are you also the author of a book titled "Seasons in
17 Hell" which is about the conflict in the former Yugoslavia and your
18 experiences there?
19 A. That is right.
20 Q. Sir, when did you first begin to cover the story of the break up of
21 the former Yugoslavia?
22 A. Right at the beginning. I was based in Rome and was sent to Slovenia
23 right at the start in the summer of 1991 during the first exchanges
24 between the fairly ad hoc Slovene army and the Yugoslav People's Army
25 in that country.
1 Q. When did you first travel to the former Yugoslavia to cover the
2 conflict directly?
3 A. It was June 1991.
4 Q. What area did you go to?
5 A. Well, I started off in Eastern Slovenia, in Ljubljiana, the capital
6 of Slovenia. Then the war progressed into Croatia and in Croatia I
7 was, well, all over the place actually, based in Zagreb most of the
8 time and travelling out for periods ranging from one day to a week or
9 maybe even two weeks to the area south of Zagreb which was a
10 confrontation line between the Croatian Serbs and the Croatian
11 government -- nascent Croatian government. I worked a lot in the
12 Eastern Slavonia area around Vukovar, Vinkovci and Osijek.
13 MR. KEEGAN: If I could have this document marked as the next exhibit
14 which will be 181 and then shown to the witness, please? Your Honour,
15 I would tender Exhibit 181.
16 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Is there any objection?
17 MR. WLADIMIROFF: No, your Honour.
18 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: 181 will be admitted.
19 MR. KEEGAN (To the witness): For your information, that is a map that was
20 previously provided. Mr. Vulliamy, if you could ---
21 A. Start again?
22 Q. -- indicate on the map where you started your direct coverage of the
24 A. Yes, well, I began here in Slovenia, in this area, and going off the
25 map up here, and then the war moved to Croatia. I was based in the
1 capital area, in Zagreb. I worked a lot around this part, Glina,
2 Petrinja, Sisak. That was a confrontation line between or, as it was
3 then, emergent confrontation line between the Croatian Serbs and the
4 Croatian forces, such as they were then.
5 I spent a lot of time in this area here, Vukovar, Borovo,
6 Delj, Osijek, Vinkovci and around these front lines where the siege of
7 Vukovar was later laid. Working on both sides, we used to go up
8 through Hungary and then down into Eastern Serbia, Sombor, Apatin,
9 Bogojevo (is a place that is not marked on the map, an important
10 town), an important town called Sid here near Vukovar.
11 So I was working on the Serbian side or the Yugoslav side, as
12 it most properly would be described at that time, and the Croatian
13 side and also later during the siege of Dubrovnik, down here on the
14 coast -- it is down here -- when the Montenegrin forces, as they were
15 then, were laying siege to Dubrovnik; so pretty much across the whole
16 Croatian territory.
17 Q. If we could return to the Vinkovci/Vukovar area?
18 A. Yes, this is here in the eastern part of Croatia.
19 Q. Approximately what time frame was that that you were covering that
20 aspect of the conflict?
21 A. I first went to that area when one could still cross between the two
22 communities, cross the lines as they later became, in the summer, in
23 July or late June of 1991, and continued there right until towards the
24 end of the war and the collapse of Vukovar in December 1991.
25 Q. Can you describe the types of forces that were involved on both sides
1 and the type of weaponry which they had arrayed there?
2 A. Certainly. On the Croatian side, you had fairly sort of scratched
3 together army, motivated but scantily armed at first, progressively
4 slightly better armed as the war went on. They were defending Vukovar
5 where I was until the day before the Vukovar was cut off by the Serbs
6 and completely surrounded. We came out through a track through a
7 cornfield under fire on the penultimate day that Vukovar was still
8 open. Then the Croatian armies were based mostly in Osijek which is
9 there and Vinkovci, using kalashnikov rifles, they had the odd sort of
10 make-shift tank. They would make armoured vehicles themselves out of
11 cars sometimes.
12 On the Serbian side or the Yugoslav People's Army side, it was
13 an altogether different picture. I spent a lot of time in the
14 militarized towns of Bogojevo, which is in western Serbia, about here
15 just near the Croatian border, and at this important town of Sid,
16 there near Vukovar. These were barrack towns, effectively, where
17 large collections of tanks and armoured vehicles were being collected
18 and accumulated, repaired. Men were clearly billeted there. If men
19 were fighting in Croatian territory, they might retire there for the
20 evening, because the distances are short, for a drink or so.
21 The pattern there was quite easily discernible. It was a
22 question of front lines which were in the main held by irregulars
23 local to the villages within Croatia, the Serbian villages within the
24 Croatian side, backed up by large rows of tanks and artillery which
25 were on a fairly persistent basis coming across the border from these
1 garrison towns of Bogojevo and Sid. We used to follow that movement
2 and report it quite carefully.
3 Q. Did you have contact with these "irregulars", as you called them,
4 paramilitaries, and discuss with them their role in that conflict?
5 A. Oh, very much so, over and over again -- ad nauseam, it felt like
6 sometimes. We would spend a lot of time on the front lines with them.
7 We would have a drink with them in the bars after work, if that is
8 the right expression. We used to spend nights out with them or I used
9 to spend nights out with them on their front lines sometimes, most
10 especially at a place called Bijelo Brdo which is within Croatia, just
11 over the border with Serbia. I had a particularly illuminating night
12 out with the regulars on the front of the front line. It was
13 literally in a house and the Croats were in the houses on the other
14 side of the field, and they were having a hell of an exchange across
15 the field. And, yes, I talked to them about the war, their lives,
16 what they thought they were doing and they were pretty clear about
17 what they were doing.
18 Q. What did they see as their role there? What were they doing?
19 A. Well, best described, perhaps, by one chap who struck his hand across
20 a table and just went "to Zagreb", zoom, like that. (Indicating) That
21 was anecdotal and he had a few drinks, I admit, but that seemed to be
22 the general idea. Yes, we talked to them a lot in a place called
23 Borovo Selo which was the irregulars' base, I suppose, within Croatia.
24 Yes, they were up front about it. They did not make any secret. We
25 talked tactics with them as well specifically, I mean, about how they
1 were going to surround Osijek and take it from behind, and so on.
2 Q. What did you observe in Borovo Selo.
3 A. Borovo Selo was one of the important crossroads or meeting points
4 between the regular soldiers from the Yugoslav People's Army and the
5 irregulars fighting on the front of the front lines. It was a
6 strategically important place because it was the last Serbian village
7 before Vukovar, which the Croats still held, and it was also one of
8 the places from which artillery and tanks and men could fan out on to
9 the various points to which they were ordered on the front lines
10 themselves. So -----
11 Q. Did you see -- sorry.
12 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Where is that? Could you locate that, sir, on the
13 map, please?
14 A. Yes, certainly. You can see on the map "Borovo" just there.
15 Q. Yes.
16 A. I hate to sound too complicated, but Borovo is actually Croat.
17 Borovo Selo, which means Borovo village literally, is the older part
18 of the habitation, just to the north of Borovo there on the map. So
19 the line, the front line, was between Borovo and Borovo Selo; the
20 Serbian bit being just to the north of the bit marked "Borovo" on the
22 MR. KEEGAN: From what you observed, was there clear coordination between
23 these paramilitary or volunteer groups and the organised JNA forces?
24 A. Oh, undoubtedly. They were socializing together, and in the barracks
25 in Bogojevo and in Sid, you would see them sharing quarters, sharing
1 yards where their equipment would be parked. The Yugoslav Army
2 officers whom I interviewed and spoke to and spent a lot of time with
3 were quite clear that they were in charge of both their own regular
4 forces and the people that they were, as it were, servicing on the
5 ground in the villages where they were fighting, yes.
6 Q. Did you observe that coordination and control on the battlefield as
8 A. Yes, there was no secret about it. I referred to a night I spent on
9 the front line at this place, Bijelo Brdo, and the pattern there was
10 these houses on the edge of the field, with the irregulars and snipers
11 firing at the Croats on the other side of the field, and in the field
12 indeed, and behind them were these tanks parked in the widest street
13 in the village pointing towards Osijek, the Croat town, and the
14 Croatian lines. So, it was co-ordinated. It was fairly
15 straightforward and it made sense.
16 Similarly, at a place called Trpinje which is in the Vukovar
17 area, we had again small houses full of irregulars and snipers and
18 people talking on the radio, indeed talking into Vukovar sometimes to
19 people they knew and to whom they were laying siege ironically, and
20 they would then be serviced from behind by a large row of mortars
21 manned by soldiers from the Yugoslav People's Army.
22 Q. In addition to that, after that conflict in the Vukovar/Vinkovci
23 area, did you go on to cover the war in former Yugoslavia on a
24 continuous basis in other areas -- and in other areas?
25 A. Yes, I did after -- I mean, the Vukovar area was one that one
1 returned to over and over again. Then eventually that war came to an
2 end, a temporary end, and things were just starting up in
4 Q. Did you then travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina?
5 A. Yes, I did. I had been to Bosnia, in fact, before the start of the
6 war because one of the Colonels of the JNA I had got to -- the
7 Yugoslav People's Army -- that I had got to know in the Croatian war
8 was starting opening up a front fighting into Croatia, so that was the
9 first time I went to Bosnia and then, indeed, I was dispatched back to
10 cover the war as it broke out in Bosnia.
11 Q. Can you quickly point out on the map the various places in
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the other areas in the former Yugoslavia that
13 you visited since 1991?
14 A. Right, forgive me if I take some time on this because the answer is,
15 most of it. I will do it geographically rather than chronologically,
16 if you like. Well, here is the Bihac pocket. That was under siege by
17 the Serbs. It is a Muslim area. I worked in there. Here is the
18 Bosnian Krajina area, as it called, around Prijedor and Banja Luka. I
19 worked there. This is all, by the way, between 1992 and up until only
20 a few weeks ago.
21 I worked in the capital, Sarajevo, under siege. I worked a
22 great deal in this area here, central Bosnia we will call it, Turbe,
23 Travnik, Novi Travnik, Zenica, Vitez. All these places I know well,
24 very well. I worked in Herzegovina which is the area down here to the
25 southeast, mainly Croat, most especially in Mostar here, the capital
1 of Herzegovina. I worked in Tuzla which is -- here it is, up here, in
2 that area, upper central Bosnia, let us say.
3 Latterly, because it was closed off during the war, but
4 during the period just after the war I began to explore the Drina
5 valley area around here, Visegrad, Rogatica and the Serbian held
6 territory around here.
7 So, I suppose the answer has to be, most of it.
8 Q. In all of those locations did you speak with members of all three
9 main ethnic or national groups?
10 A. Absolutely -- at great length.
11 Q. Did you speak with military, police and paramilitary members?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. With victims?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In all of those conversations, did you focus on their role in the
16 conflict, how they were conducting it, or how they had been
17 victimized, its origins and its purposes?
18 A. Yes, whether they were the victims or the perpetrators or the
19 officers or the troops or whoever they were, we talked about little
21 Q. In your research and reporting on the events in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
22 particularly in 1992, and in the research for your book, did you speak
23 with fellow journalists and review archive records about events that
24 were occurring in different regions of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
25 A. Yes, as regards the fellow journalists, I mean, as you can imagine,
1 we were quite a clan and used to compare notes obsessively all the
2 time, every day, every night that we were there. As regards
3 historical records and archives, yes, I mean, certainly for the book,
4 I would read all the books that seemed to be necessary and many that
5 were not out of interest and as much source material as I could, yes.
6 Q. Did some of that source material include official reports by
7 government and non-governmental agencies and organisations?
8 A. Yes, all sorts of stuff from all the governments involved and through
9 non-government agencies -- you mean within the former Yugoslavia?
10 Q. Correct, such as the ICRC, UNHCR etc.
11 A. Oh, absolutely, yes. We used to read all their stuff, talk to the
12 UNHCR, talk to the Red Cross, share information with them, get
13 information from them and, more often than not, actually give them
14 information because there were places that we could get to that they
15 could not, so it is not one-way traffic, it is multi-way traffic.
16 Q. With regard to people of Serbian descent, particularly those in what
17 are known as the Krajina regions, both in Croatia and
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as just over the border in the Republic of
19 Serbia, based on your experiences and your conversations, did you
20 determine that there was a difference in their perspective toward
21 people that were considered to be Muslims as compared to people who
22 were considered to be of Croatian descent?
23 A. Yes, the Serbs in the Bosnian Krajina and the Croatian Krajina
24 certainly regarded both these people as their foe, but in a different
25 way. I always felt, especially during the war in Croatia, that the
1 Serbs and the Croats opposed but respected each other. They feared
2 each other. The Serbs were in awe of the Croats, as well they might
3 have been given the history that they had and past generation of the
4 Second World War. So there was a sort of
5 mutual respect, if you like, between two powerful peoples, two
6 proud peoples. The view of the Muslims by the Serbs in that region
7 was a different one. Very occasionally they would be referred as mad
8 Islamic fanatics or fundamentalists or something, which is water off
9 my back I have to say, but more often it was far more disparaging.
10 They would be termed "balija" which is common word and translates
11 roughly as filthy gypsy. There was no fear of these people beyond a
12 rather sort of camped up propaganda line. They were considered dirty,
13 all the usual sort of epithets that one hears about too many people in
14 the world, breed like rabbits, that sort of thing. When I was with a
15 convoy of Muslims being ethnically cleansed, being herded over the
16 mountains at gunpoint once, some people were shouting at us from the
17 side of the road, I think, I have will to check, but it is "zakalati
18 tocu vas" or something like that, and I asked my Serbo-Croat speaking
19 friend what that meant and he said, oh, it means "butcher them,
20 butcher them" but is the language, it is the word we use to describe
21 animal slaughter, not human beings. That was the tenor of the thing,
22 these people were dirty gypsies.
23 Q. Did you notice this type of description about the Muslims by the
24 Serbian leaders in the discussions with you and in the press or in
25 their speeches?
1 A. Yes, definitely. A conversation comes to mind of the Vice President
2 of the now Republika Srpska, a man called Nikola Koljevic, a
3 professor, who would talk about Muslims, they are uneducated, they are
4 dirty, they do not understand these things, they have no history. He
5 used the term once "racial memory", he said they have no racial
6 memory. They are not a people, he said, "narod" is the term, in the
7 sense of rather like the German Volk. Yes, this constant allusion to
8 them being dirty, having too many children, that sort of thing.
9 Q. How did you see the use of propaganda by the Serb leaders in your
10 experience to condition the Serbian people and fighters at the start
11 of and throughout the conflict?
12 A. The message from the government in Belgrade and its sort of
13 sub-governments on the ground in Bosnia was a fairly relentless one,
14 on television, in press statements, at meetings that one might attend.
15 Most of us, when I say "us" I mean journalists and aid workers and so
16 on, would think of it as banal, but it was certainly very cogent and
17 potent. It was a message of urgency, a threat to your people, to your
18 nation, a call to arms, and, yes, a sort of an instruction to go to
19 war for your people. This came through in all sorts of way, some
20 through cartoons, through magazines, through television, but it was
21 relentless. It pushed and pushed. It was rather like a sort of
22 hammer bashing on peoples' heads I suppose.
23 Q. Mr. Vulliamy, if I could, your testimony still has to be translated
24 both into French and Serbia Croatian, so if could I ask you to slow
25 down a bit in your speech.
1 A. Certainly. I am sorry.
2 Q. In your research both for your articles and for your book, did you
3 determine whether there was an historical precedent for the use of
4 propaganda and paramilitaries officially associated with the Regular
5 Army to commit atrocities to further a Serbian cause?
6 A. Definitely, yes. During research for the book I went into the
7 histories of the Serbian revolt against the Ottoman Empire, the
8 Serbian revolt against Austro-Hungarian rule, and above all the
9 emergence of what we might call the modern Serbian extremist
10 nationalist movement in the Second World War, and each time there was
11 a pattern of the army, be it the Royal Army or the Yugoslav Army or a
12 self-appointed Serbian army, co-operating with and using irregulars.
13 They used to call them all sorts of things, but "Cheta" was the word
14 that started to emerge, the band from which the word "Chetnik" comes
15 now used to describe the Serbian royalist strictly and, more broadly,
16 the nationalist movement. But, yes, it was a recurrent theme
17 throughout the history of the people and their country.
18 Q. Did you find a similarity between the type of propaganda used back
19 then and the use of the paramilitaries during that time with the
20 propaganda during the current conflict and how paramilitaries were
21 used in the current conflict?
22 A. Yes. The language echoed down the decades, if not the centuries,
23 certainly. That is the theme that dominated the war, was that this
24 was constantly a reactivation, a re-enactment of the past, and that
25 language did resound at all these instances, yes.
1 Q. Based on your research and your extensive contact with Serbs from all
2 walks of life, in your opinion are the Serbs a people who are both
3 literate in and motivated by their history?
4 A. Yes, indeed. I think it is worth saying that when we say "Serbs", if
5 I could just make this clear, there were Serbs who fought in this
6 struggle, this war, against the Muslims and the Croats and those who
7 did not. There are very large numbers of Serbs who stayed in Sarajevo
8 who could have left and did not and large numbers who fought for the
9 government side that we often like to call the Muslim side. One kept
10 meeting Serbs. My translator in Sarajevo who was under siege and her
11 brother was in the army, she was a Serb and she was fighting the other
12 side. So when we say "Serbs" I do not mean all Serbs. So let us say
13 the Serbs who accepted the language, if you like, the call to arms
14 that had come from Belgrade and from Banja Luka and Pale, they indeed
15 showed not just an awareness of this history, but I would say
16 obsession with it.
17 Q. In your opinion were the leaders of the Serbian peoples both in the
18 Serbian Republic and in the Krajina areas in Bosnia-Herzegovina and
19 Croatia aware of both the historical precedent and the obsession, as
20 you put it, with the Serbian history among the Serbian people?
21 A. Definitely. I mean the leader I came into contact with most
22 personally was Professor Koljevic who I mentioned before, the Vice
23 President of Dr. Karadzic, now Vice President of Republika Srpska,
24 and, yes, I interviewed him only a matter of weeks ago and he was
25 talking about racial memory being a thing that was most important to
1 the Serbs. He said that: "This war that we have just been fighting is
2 the third great Balkan war." He was a leader, he was the No. 2.
3 Everything that was happening was being set in the historical context,
4 was part of history, was a continuation of history. So he was
5 certainly obsessed by history, yes.
6 Q. Were there particular documents or writings which were relied upon by
7 the Serbian leaders in promoting their ideals and these historical
9 A. Indeed, yes, there were various tracks from the 1940s which were
10 reproduced, regurgitated and quoted in some of the soldiers' manuals
11 which used to talk about a greater Serbia whose frontiers varied on
12 whatever year you were talking about, but seemed to engulf most of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, if not all, and large chunks of Croatia. They
14 were from the 40s, from the Second World War. Then there would be
15 more recent texts like a memorandum from a group called the SANU, the
16 Academy of Sciences in Belgrade who resurrected this idea of the
17 greater Serbia and wrote a famous or infamous memorandum urging its
18 reconstruction, and that was certainly a document that would be quoted
19 from. There were other epic poems and cultural points of reference
20 that would crop up. But, yes, there are texts and they are well
22 Q. Were you familiar with the SANU memorandum?
23 A. Yes, indeed, I read it. I cannot remember it that well, but I
24 remember its gist. It was produced in Belgrade. It was supposed to
25 be, if you like, the "think tank" of the new thinking in Serbia at the
1 time, spear headed by President Milosevic. Yes, it called for a
2 resurrection of the greater Serbia, for a renaissance amongst the
3 Serbian people in the sense of ethnic pride, and so on.
4 Q. Were the contents of these various memorandums or the gist of their
5 arguments regularly published and republished in papers and
6 periodicals and discussed on the radio and TV in the Serbian areas?
7 A. Yes, in various forms they were and also by their opponents of
9 Q. You mentioned your direct involvement with some paramilitary and
10 volunteer forces in Croatia in 1991. Did you have any direct contact
11 with volunteer forces or paramilitary forces from the Republic of
12 Serbia in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the second half of 1992?
13 A. Yes, there was one occasion I recall when I was in Prijedor police
14 station waiting for papers to carry further on down the road, this was
15 in late August 1992, and we chanced upon a band of pretty rugged
16 individuals who were among the few who called themselves Chetnik
17 without apology. They told us that they had been fighting down in a
18 place called Klucj which was further south of a town in which there
19 had been a large number of Muslims now held by the Serbs, and they
20 were telling us that they had been down there and they were on their
21 way back to Serbia. One was from a place called Nis that I was
22 talking to which is a large industrial town in the south of Serbia.
23 They seemed to be either taking a meal at, if not barracked at, the
24 police station, but then the local police did not want us to carry on
25 this conversation; they asked to go and wait in another room. That
1 was one encounter I remember.
2 Q. Did you happen to see what type of transportation they were using to
3 move around?
4 A. Large military coloured buses and trucks.
5 Q. Were the markings on those buses or trucks from Serbia, the Republic
6 of Serbia?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. You say you ran across them in the police station in the town of
10 A. Yes, in police station there.
11 Q. Did it appear that they were there as a result of any sort of legal
12 action or apprehension or did it appear they were there as guests, if
13 you will?
14 A. Well, they were using the police station as some sort of resting
15 place or billet. I got the impression they were passing through.
16 They were, as they said themselves, on their way home after a few days
17 tour almost. Yes, I got the impression that on their way back if they
18 needed to stop the police station was the obvious place to go and they
19 were welcome there. As I recall they were sort of half known there.
20 Q. Having followed the breakup of the former Yugoslavia from the
21 beginning, are you aware that there were periodic statements about
22 crisis involving refugees and the Commission of Atrocities from UN
23 agencies, the ICRC, both Herzegovina papers and Serbian papers, as
24 well as statements by political and military leaders from all of the
25 Republics in the former Yugoslavia, as well as Bosnian-Croat and
1 Bosnian-Serb officials?
2 A. Yes. I was outside the territory of the former Yugoslavia for the
3 first, for most of the first two months of the war, that is to say
4 April/May 1992, but glued to the papers, glued to the television.
5 Obviously I was following everything that the UNHCR, the Refugee
6 Commission was saying and the Red Cross and the leaders and the
7 Croatian Government too who were responsible for most of the refugees
8 coming into their territory. So, yes, I was following it carefully
9 and following the statements that the UNHCR, in particular, were
10 making about very large numbers of people. At one a Mr. Kesler of
11 UNHCR said it was the worst exodus or forced movement of people since
12 the Second World War.
13 Q. You mentioned earlier that you were in fact, that you took part in a
14 convoy of refugees. Can you describe how that came about?
15 A. Yes. We were in Zagreb and the UNHCR had just decided with the
16 Croatian Government, well, the Croatian Government had said that they
17 just could not take any more of these refugees; they had been pouring
18 across the border from northern Bosnia and they could not take any
19 more. The UNHCR at the same time decided that they were not going, as
20 it were, to play the game by accepting these people longer. We were
21 sitting in Zagreb, a friend of mine and I, and we said, well, there is
22 the front door shut, that will not stop what is going on; I wonder
23 where the back door is. It dawned on us -- in fact he said, well,
24 there is only one way to find out, isn't there? Yes, I know, we have
25 got to go and get ethnically cleansed ourselves. So we did. We went
1 down into the Prijedor area and stumbled upon a great convoy parked
2 along the road.
3 Q. Can you indicate on the map where it was you came across this convoy?
4 A. Prijedor here. It was just a little outside Prijedor, between
5 Prijedor and Kozarac there. There is a little hamlet there called
6 Lamovita which is where it was exactly, but it is just a few miles
7 east of Prijedor.
8 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: When was this Mr. Vulliamy?
9 A. This is late August 1992. I believe August 17th.
10 MR. KEEGAN: Approximately how big was this convoy?
11 A. We counted them. There were 55 cars and 11 to 15 trucks, and six to
12 eight buses jam packed with people.
13 Q. Did you determine where this convoy had originated?
14 A. Yes. We, they were parked up on the road and we thought, well, here
15 it is, let's slip in, so we did. They were having a break, so we
16 started talking to people and they had come from a place called Sanski
18 Q. If you could indicate, please, on the map where that is?
19 A. It is just there. It is now marked as part of the Muslim Croat
20 Federation territory but was then in Serbian hands.
21 Q. Did you determine the ethnic background of the people, the refugees
22 on the convoy?
23 A. Muslim, one or two Croats.
24 Q. How did you determine that?
25 A. I just asked them. It did not take much.
1 Q. Were there any official forces accompanying this convoy?
2 A. Yes, they were being escorted, one might say, herded would be more
3 accurate, by the Bosnian-Serb police in blue uniforms and carrying
4 Kalashnikov guns.
5 Q. After you joined the convoy in Lamovita -- I am sorry, did you
6 determine how many
7 people were on the convoy?
8 A. It was hard to establish immediately, but our calculations coupled
9 with their accounts came out at about 1600.
10 Q. How did the individuals on that convoy indicate to you this convoy
11 had been started or organised?
12 A. Well, they told us exactly what had happened to them that morning.
13 They had been told to come out of their homes. An announcement on the
14 local radio taken over by the Serbs the previous day had said that
15 this was the last chance for the Muslims, assemble tomorrow morning,
16 the transport for those of you who do not have cars we will take you,
17 bring your own car if you want to. They would have to pay to go. As
18 the journey proceeded they told us what had been happening to them in
19 Sanski Most; before departure they were under attack in their homes.
20 Q. Did they tell you where they were supposed to be going on this
22 A. Yes, they had been told that they were going to Germany or Austria
23 and that all the papers had been prepared.
24 Q. Can you describe the route that the convoy actually took by showing
25 it on the map, please?
1 A. Yes, certainly. We went down this road through Banja Luka, and a
2 little after Banja Luka started climbing up into the mountains on tiny
3 little tracks and around river gorges and over the tops of mountains
4 and mountain tops. The route we would take was through this place
5 called Skender Vakuf which is a small town up in the mountains.
6 Q. Can you describe what occurred in Skender Vakuf?
7 A. Skender Vakuf was the last town on anything resembling tarmac, and
8 it was quite a frightening place; everybody there was military or
9 paramilitary. They would stop the cars every now and then as they
10 pleased, they were fairly drunk most of them, and they would perhaps
11 open the door spit and kick or they would smash a window. They
12 stopped our car and it was quite frightening because a man was
13 shouting at me and I thought that if I let on that I was a foreigner
14 there was no guarantee of my safety at all. So I feigned deaf and
15 dumb and my friend who spoke the language said, "There's no point in
16 talking to him, he can't understand a word you are saying." They gave
17 me a Chinese burn, took the windscreen wiper off, kicked the car and
18 sent us on our way, but I think others had worse.
19 Q. After Sanski Most what was the next stop you made on that route?
20 A. After Skender Vakuf we went up into the mountains. We had no idea
21 where we were going and they kept stopping the convoy at various
22 installations, factories and sort of industrial farm buildings like
23 hen coops and things which seemed empty. It was a little worrying
24 because we thought maybe this the destination, what happens if it is a
25 camp, where are we going, we do not know. So we stopped and started
1 and stopped and started. Observations I recall, important ones, would
2 have been, one, this was a rare opportunity to see the artillery atop
3 the hills and there was a lot of guns, howitzer guns, canons, rocket
4 launches, all sorts of things and a quite remarkable amount of
6 Q. When you made these stops at these various locations, did you talk to
7 the refugees who were in the vehicles and in the buses?
8 A. Yes, we would sit out on the grass and they used to give us some
9 cheese and something like that and we would talk to them.
10 Q. What were their concerns when you stopped at these various locations?
11 A. Well, nobody knew where we were going. We said, "Is this a camp?"
12 At one point somebody said, "I hope this is not a massacre". My
13 friend said: "I think the unspeakable has just been spoken." So no one
14 had any idea what was going on.
15 Q. Were people taken out of the convoy by either the police or the
16 military personnel in the area?
17 A. Yes, we carried on. It was getting towards dusk, it was getting
18 quite frightening. We went through a place called Vitovje which is
19 south of Skender Vakuf, and we saw some girls being taken from a red
20 car towards the rear of the convoy. We had stopped by then. There
21 was a row, there was an argument, people getting very excited. We
22 were not quite clear what was going on. I admit now that we were too
23 stupid then to realise what was going on. One subsequently developed
24 a fairly clear idea about why two girls would be taken prisoner from a
25 car. But, yes, women were being taken from the car.
1 Q. Were those women returned to the vehicle before the convoy moved on?
2 A. My impression is no.
3 Q. Is that also the place where the people were yelling at the convoy,
4 "Butcher them, butcher them"?
5 A. Slaughter them, slaughter them, yes. They literally came streaming
6 across the meadows spitting at us, shouting at us, going like that
7 with their hands across their throats, yes.
8 Q. Were some vehicles also stolen from the convoy at that point?
9 A. That was a little later when we got to the last Serbian line by
10 which time dark had fallen and, yes, all the vehicles were taken,
11 except six. The people were simply evicted from the cars, told to
12 take whatever they could manage on foot, and all the people on the
13 buses were taken off the buses. Trucks were confiscated too and the
14 cars systematically turned around back to from whence we had come.
15 Q. Where was this that this occurred, the final end of the ride?
16 A. At the time it was the middle of absolutely nowhere and the dead of
17 night. It became pretty clear what it was, if not where. We were
18 being sent out along a road towards the No Man's Land and ultimately
19 towards the frontline of the outside, the Muslim-Croat line. This was
20 very frightening because rule one in war is never cross lines and for
21 all we knew we would be the first such procession of our kind, and
22 that any sensible soldier on the other side seeing us coming would
23 probably open fire.
24 Q. Was there a name to this village that was at the end of the Serbian
1 A. It was called Smet.
2 Q. Who were the people that were controlling this line?
3 A. They looked like irregular soldiers inasmuch as they were armed quite
4 well, but they were dressed in a mixture of casual clothes and
6 Q. At this point in this village of Smet all of the people from the
7 convoy were disgorged from the vehicles and the buses and trucks?
8 A. Yes, all except for six cars that were allowed through one of which
9 was ours. That was the point at which we revealed ourselves as
10 journalists and they allowed us to keep the car.
11 Q. Did the police who were escorting the convoy say anything to the
12 people or give them any indication as to what was to lay in store?
13 A. No. They just set them out along the road.
14 Q. You indicated that all of the vehicles had turned round and left.
15 Who took the vehicles?
16 A. The soldiers, the men with the guns.
17 Q. At that village were people also forced to turn over all valuables?
18 A. That had happened just earlier. During a stop a bus broke down just
19 in front of us and soldiers came down the line of cars. They were
20 taking petrol. I saw a woman having her ring taken and possessions
21 that the soldiers liked the look of.
22 Q. As you passed through the line, was there any military activity going
23 on, any firing?
24 A. Yes, a lot. The fire was coming over our heads mostly. There was a
25 village held by the Muslims and the Croats down in the valley about a
1 quarter of a mile beneath us, and the fires coming over our heads and
2 a lot of it was tracer fire so you could see it quite clearly. Yes,
3 there was a lot of fighting on the road.
4 Q. Did you see any indications that people had been recently killed on
5 the ground that you were now walking across?
6 A. Indeed I did.
7 Q. How did you know that?
8 A. Well, there was sticky blood on the road and parts of corpses, and at
9 one point I trod on a hand, a severed hand.
10 Q. Was this what you described as blood still wet on the ground?
11 A. Sticky.
12 Q. Can you describe what the foot march was like across this ground?
13 A. It was extraordinary. We still had the car at this point packed with
14 people sitting on top and everything. I sent out one of my colleagues
15 up front with a torch pointing to a t-shirt, a white t-shirt hoping
16 that the people on the other side would see a white flag. We walked
17 for about two miles in this procession, and then we got to some rocks
18 across the road which was the demarcation line, if you like, the
19 frontier, in the middle of the No Man's Land. We had to leave the car
20 there because it was a precipice on one side and a minefield around
21 the other, so there was nowhere we could drive. So we left the car.
22 This was a pathetic sight because people were scrambling over these
23 rocks, when I say "rocks", there were big boulders piled up, I mean
24 higher than a person.
25 Q. What type of people were in this convoy?
1 A. Everybody. In fact it was at the rocks that one really noticed
2 because there were a couple of people in wheelchairs and they had to
3 be hoiked over and the wheelchairs had to be hoiked over. My
4 recollection is a vivid one. It is just of sort of babies being
5 handed down to parents and teddy bears, shoes and some stuff being
6 left. It was families.
7 Q. Old people?
8 A. Old people, very young people, everybody.
9 Q. What happened when you reached the Bosnian Government lines?
10 A. We carried on walking. Some people were so scared of the firing that
11 they tried to shelter in, as it were, the shadow left by this
12 precipitous slope. One young man got them all to attention and said:
13 "Look, carry on, you can't stay here." Women were crying. We would
14 tell them to shut up because we did not know who was in the bushes.
15 Children were crying, you told them to shut up too. Then we carried on
16 and we were organised into a sort of single file line, so that if we
17 were hit by mortar there would not be too many casualties. After a
18 few more miles, I do not know how many, suddenly we saw the first
19 Bosnian Government soldier and he told people at the front, among whom
20 we now were, that we could not carry on down the road because the
21 fighting in the village was too heavy, the shelling of the village in
22 front was too heavy. So he sent us up a track, literally a sort of
23 goat track up the side of the mountain. I had no idea what it was
24 called or where on earth we were, but I now know it was called Mount
1 Q. After you made your way up that mountain how was the group then
2 carried on?
3 A. Well, we staggered up the mountain for a number of hours. Some of the
4 old people could not make it. I gather one later died. People were
5 by now carrying their kids and the fighting was now, thankfully, left
6 the valley below. It was in retrospect epic; at the time simply
7 terrifying. Then after we started coming down a slope. There was a
8 cattle trough and people stopped there to take some water, the first
9 for a number of hours. Then buildings and I remember someone saying:
10 "Well, I don't know where we are but it looks to be somewhere." Then
11 exhausted by then. A man appeared out of the darkness and said: "I am
12 with your army. Welcome to Travnik. We have buses to take you the
13 rest of the way." By then it was about 3 o'clock in the morning and
14 there were indeed buses waiting, well, there was a large crowd waiting
15 to get on the buses that were coming to and fro to take people into
16 the town of Travnik.
17 MR. KEEGAN: If that would be a convenient place to stop before we move
18 on to another area?
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I just want to raise one matter. Mr. Vulliamy, you
20 are excused until tomorrow at 10 a.m. You indicated, Mr. Niemann, that
21 this is your last policy witness. Is that correct?
22 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, your Honour.
23 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: The delayed translation equipment is not yet
24 installed. I spoke with someone this afternoon over lunch and I am
25 not sure that it is going to be installed tomorrow. I do not know how
1 long you will need with Mr. Vulliamy or whether you even need to have
2 that equipment before you begin with your first witness with count one
3 I guess as I recall the list. I am merely telling you this.
4 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you, your Honour.
5 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: You may talk to whomever you wish to to find out
6 further information and then decide how we will proceed tomorrow.
7 MR. NIEMANN: Is it likely to be installed on Tuesday?
8 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Yes, it will be from what I understand, but I will
9 get a clearer idea now that I realise that this is your last policy
10 witness. I thought that you had three additional ones beginning with
11 Mr. Vulliamy, but I will talk with someone and you also talk with
12 someone. I merely wanted to pass that on to you. As Mr. Wladimiroff
13 has been so good to pass on things that he hears, I am passing on
14 something I hear! We will resolve it, though, this evening. We will
15 adjourn then until tomorrow at 10 a.m.
16 (The court adjourned until the following day).