1 Friday, 14 November 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone.
7 Mr. Misetic, I see you're ready to continue your
9 Mr. Novakovic, I'd like to remind you that you're still bound by
10 the solemn declaration you gave at the beginning of your testimony; that
11 is, that you would speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
13 Please proceed.
14 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I believe we have to call the case
16 JUDGE ORIE: Oh, yes.
17 I think it's not been done.
18 Mr. Registrar.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
20 everyone in the courtroom. This is case number IT-06-90-T, The
21 Prosecutor versus Ante Gotovina, et al.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
23 Thank you, Mr. Misetic could for reminding me. We can't do
24 without each other.
25 Please proceed.
1 WITNESS: KOSTA NOVAKOVIC [Resumed]
2 [Witness answered through interpreter]
3 Cross-examination by Mr. Misetic: [Continued]
4 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Q. Good morning again, Mr. Novakovic.
6 A. Good morning, Mr. Misetic.
7 Q. Now, we left off yesterday talking about the evacuation, and I
8 would like to play -- now, first, let me state this: You yourself wound
9 up in Banja Luka on the 7th of August, 1995. Correct?
10 A. I did, indeed.
11 Q. And do you recall appearing on a television programme in the
12 studios of TV Banja Luka along with Savo Strbac?
13 A. I believe it was either once or maybe twice.
14 Q. I would like to show you a clip from your appearance on
15 television in Banja Luka on the 7th of August.
16 MR. MISETIC: And, Mr. Registrar, this is 1D61-0238, please.
17 [Videotape played]
18 TV Host: [No interpretation]
19 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover]
20 "Novakovic: First of all, a large number of the members Krajina
21 army are located in there units which have been withdrawn to other
22 territories; that is to say, in their units which had been withdrawn
23 according to our plan, as we said at the beginning. In any case, there
24 are a number of members of the army of Srpska Krajina who haven't taken
25 care of their families, which didn't have an adult family member. You
1 you may have noticed that the tractors, we had used tractors mainly, were
2 driven by 15-year-old girls and even 10-year-old girls. There was nobody
3 else to drive the vehicles, so we had to engage a member of the Serbian
4 army to take care of their family because, as we have said, we wanted to
5 look after the civilian population."
6 MR. MISETIC:
7 Q. Now, Mr. Novakovic --
8 [Defence counsel confer]
9 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour, I am alerted to the fact that the
10 first portion of the video does not appear in the transcript, but I think
11 we can take care of that later.
12 JUDGE ORIE: I don't think whether we can take care of that
13 later. Have you -- you've provided the booth with transcripts in both
14 languages, and I take it that you will tender these transcripts as well.
15 So, therefore, at least what is said is then part of the evidence, even
16 if it does not appear in its entirety on the transcript.
17 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
18 JUDGE ORIE: And may I take it that that portion is not of vital
19 importance. Is that understood? It is rather an introduction as to what
20 follows and what is on the transcript.
21 MR. MISETIC: Correct, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Under those circumstances, we can proceed.
23 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Q. Now, Mr. Novakovic, there, on the 7th of August, you say that
25 "the units had been withdrawn, according to our plan." What plan?
1 A. One might conclude that from the clip that we saw, but it is out
2 of the context.
3 I use this word "plan" very often, but there was no plan at all
4 to move units. But everything happened very chaotically. I did say in
5 public that there was a plan, because I didn't want to say in front of
6 the audience that there was no plan whatsoever. So what I'm saying is
7 there was no plan. Everything was done very chaotically.
8 You can see what the audiences were. The audiences were in
9 the -- the Republika Srpska, three days after the aggression. Everybody
10 was frustrated, so I wanted to play the whole thing down in order to
11 avoid panic among the people.
12 Q. I note you didn't say -- you said they were withdrawn according
13 to plan. You didn't say they fled because of panic and fear caused by
14 shelling. Correct?
15 A. Not correct, no. I used the word "plan," but there was no plan
16 in place.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, it seems to be clear that it was window
18 dressing rather than the truth, what was said on television. That is at
19 least how I understand the testimony of Mr. Novakovic.
20 MR. MISETIC: Well, that's what he says --
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that is what you said. What he said at the
22 time, we know that from the clip.
23 MR. MISETIC: Yes. Okay.
24 Q. Also, this statement you made in the clip, where you say soldiers
25 were engaged: "We had to engage soldiers to drive tractors" where a
1 family didn't have someone to drive a tractor because 10 and 15-year-olds
2 were driving these tractors.
3 Who engaged these soldiers?
4 A. Unfortunately, nobody. Yesterday, as we noticed, I said that
5 many people left their units of their own will because their primary
6 concern was to look after their families. If shelling was taking place
7 within the territory of a unit, person -- people would normally be
8 concerned about the destiny of their families. All our soldiers had
9 families, and they -- their families were primary concern. Those, who
10 left their units to look after their families, mostly did not come back
11 from their families, and that's why we did not need so many vehicles as
12 we requested from UNPROFOR.
13 We had enough private tractors that people drove themselves, and
14 that's how units of broke up, by and large. I repeat, our fighters,
15 heads of families would leave of their own will to see what was happening
16 with their families. What they found there was shelling, a state of
17 chaos, and they would simply get on their tractors and started moving,
18 even before the things happening the way I described them before.
19 Q. So, when you say in the video "there was nobody else to drive the
20 vehicles, so we had to engage a member of the Serbian army to take care
21 of their family," you're saying, you actually didn't engage those people.
22 They just left on their own. Correct?
23 A. Absolutely correct, yes.
24 Q. Now, Mr. Strbac was sitting next to you in that studio, and I
25 would like to play a clip from the say TV programme --
1 MR. MISETIC: I am sorry, Your Honours. I am reminded to tender
2 1D61-0238 into evidence.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly.
4 MR. HEDARALY: I know the Defence is planning to play more than
5 one clip from this television programme, as Mr. Misetic has just
6 indicated; and given the witness's answer about the context given, I
7 would like to at least have, for us, the full version of that programme
8 to see if we think there is anything else that is context relevant and we
9 may want to tender.
10 If specific clips are being tendered, I think -- at least the
11 Prosecution is entitled to still look at the whole thing. Then we made
12 decide if we want to raise the Chamber's attention to other portions.
13 MR. MISETIC: I'll play the clip, Your Honour. I don't think
14 that is a basis, though, to say that this portion would be inadmissible,
15 because --
16 JUDGE ORIE: No, I did not understand Mr. Hedaraly was -- but
17 it's just a request that when deciding on admission, that the Defence
18 would be invited to give the whole clip to the Prosecution, so to see
19 whether there are any other portions they would like to have admitted
20 into evidence as well.
21 MR. MISETIC: That's fine, Your Honour.
22 MR. HEDARALY: If we receive it this, we have no objection to
23 this clip.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that is how I understood you.
25 Mr. Registrar, this portion of the clip.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this becomes Exhibit number D925.
2 JUDGE ORIE: D925 is admitted into evidence.
3 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if could I have 1D61-0237, please.
4 [Videotape played]
5 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Mr. Strbac.
6 "The Croats never intended to live with the Serbs in the former
8 "This was now best seen in the latest examples of their
9 aggression in Western Slavonia and now in Dalmatia, Lika, Banja, and
10 Kordun. All of us who were in a position to speak to international
11 officials constantly kept warning them of this fact and spoke of it, that
12 the Croats didn't want to live with us and that we could not allow
13 ourselves to live with them so that the genocide committed against us in
14 the past would not be repeated. I use the term we dare not live
15 ourselves, because it has a stronger meaning than we do not want to live
16 with them. We do not and cannot, of course, live with them and because
17 of this, if it was necessary, first and foremost, that we preserve our
18 biological potential, our people. We could have died off. The civilian
19 population could have been killed. Our civilians and women could have
20 been killed. We need our biological potential for something that is
21 hopefully yet to come.
22 "On the day of the most recent aggression against Krajina, my
23 association, Veritas, wrote a letter to Boutros-Ghali, in which we
24 alerted him with regards to this: A never before seen massacre which
25 would be launched against the Serb population, which is why it was
1 decided in the end to begin the exodus in order to protect the people."
2 MR. MISETIC:
3 Q. Mr. Novakovic, Mr. Strbac says, at the end of that clip: "It was
4 decided in the end to begin the exodus in order to protect the people."
5 That is, in fact, what happened. You and the leadership of the
6 RSK decided to begin an exodus. Correct?
7 A. No, it's not correct. First of all, Mr. Strbac was not
8 authorised to give any such evaluations or judgements and we clarified
9 only too well yesterday that we evacuate only four Northern Dalmatia
10 municipalities, and the municipality of Gracac
11 say that this was not a decision on my part. I did draft a document, but
12 the decision was of the Supreme Defence Council of Defence, and we
13 demonstrated that rather clearly yesterday. The population, as you all
14 know, the population of Kordun and the 21st Kordun Corps was still
15 encircled. It was not outside of the territory of the Republika Srpska
17 Therefore, I cannot interpret the statements provided by
18 Mr. Strbac, but they do not reflect the situation. It is a statement
19 that was given two or three day the subsequently. He did not have any
20 competences. He was only the secretary of the government, nothing more.
21 Q. Well, do you agree with that with Mr. Strbac's assessment that:
22 "We cannot allow ourselves to live with the Croats"?
23 Did you agree with that assessment at the time?
24 A. I always thought that we could live together with Croats and
25 along Croats, but I am afraid that Mr. Strbac is right, that, not Croats,
1 but the Croatian government did not want to live with us. I would not
2 apply this across the board and involve the whole Croatian nation.
3 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... as Mr. Strbac said, you and
4 the leadership decided to "save the biological potential" of the Serb
5 population by beginning the exodus. Correct?
6 A. That's not a correct statement. It is correct that we decided to
7 protect the population of Northern Dalmatia and municipality of Gracac
8 In Lika, we evacuated them within the territory. That was our original
9 decision, but things transpired differently as a result of the situation
10 on the ground.
11 Q. Do you recall if in this TV show you corrected Mr. Strbac or
12 said, "No, Mr. Strbac, I disagree with you. We can, in fact, can live
13 with the Croats"; or that his claim that the exodus that had decided,
14 that that was wrong?
15 Do you recall ever challenging that assertion during this
16 hour-long programme?
17 A. We were guests. We did not have an opportunity to confront each
18 other. There were a few breaks during which we could have maybe talked,
19 but not in the studio in this live programme. You saw that the anchor
20 put a few questions to each and every one of us, and it was really not a
21 place for us to confront each other.
22 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... I tender 1D61-0237 into
24 MR. HEDARALY: Subject to the same proviso. In this clip, I know
25 there was, in fact, a break within the portion that is tendered, so I
1 think it is even more important that we get the full version to examine.
2 JUDGE ORIE: I don't know whether there was break in the portion
3 tendered or there was a break in the programme, but you observed
4 apparently a break.
5 Mr. Registrar.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this becomes Exhibit number D926.
7 JUDGE ORIE: D926 is admitted into evidence.
8 Please proceed.
9 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 For the record, Your Honour, there is an break, and it is just to
11 save us from having to do three clips instead of two, but that's why it
12 was made clear with a -- a dark screen and then the next clip.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
14 MR. MISETIC:
15 Q. Now, yesterday, Mr. Novakovic, you testified on direct
17 MR. MISETIC: And if I could pull it up, this is page 11.728,
18 beginning at line 23, continuing through 11.729, line 3.
19 Q. And, yesterday, in recounting how the decision was made to issue
20 the evacuation order, of which you are the author, you say, you came to
21 Mr. Mrksic's office. "Mr. Mrksic then briefed us on the situation and
22 said, literally, 'President Martic spoke with Prime Minister Babic who is
23 in Belgrade
24 Ambassador Peter Galbraith, and I think that Croatia will not stop.'"
25 Now, I'd like to show you a transcript of an intercepted
1 telephone conversation on the 4th of August, 1995, which purports to be
2 between Mr. Mrksic and Mr. Babic?
3 MR. MISETIC: If could you have 1D61-0177, please.
4 Q. And it says at the top: "A certain Milan makes a telephone call
5 and talks to an unknown. We think that it is General Mrksic."
6 And if you look at it, it says, a little bit down: "The hell
7 with everything. Do whatever you can."
8 Then: "It's like this, I talked to Galbraith, and based on his
9 words, there is no way they'll stop."
10 Then a little bit father down: "Do something to make this stop."
11 Then voice number one, which is the voice that mentioned meeting
12 with Galbraith says: "Listen, there is nothing that can be done. Pull
13 the people out of there."
14 Response: "All right. We're starting to do with that.
15 "Well, did they stop with that?
16 "Hell, no."
17 Then it continues on down. Somebody else jumps on the line and
18 says: "All right. Here is Mile (potentially, Mr. Martic) He wants to
19 talk to you.
21 Then the third voice: "Milan, from the Supreme Defence Council
22 only the General and I are here, so we are thinking of extracting the
23 women and children."
24 Then the voice from Belgrade
25 talked to Galbraith an hour ago. Judging from what he said, I don't
1 think they'll stop. Conduct every action as planned."
2 Then voice number 3: "So that means that we're extracting, does
4 Answer: "Yes."
5 Voice 3: "Okay. Then we're going up as discussed."
6 Now, Mr. Novakovic, based on your testimony yesterday in direct
7 examination, you seem to have some knowledge of the fact that Mr. Babic
8 was on the line with Mr. Mrksic in the afternoon of the 4th.
9 My question is: Looking at this conversation, looking at the
10 fact that one of the speakers references having met with Mr. Galbraith,
11 when voice number 3 says "Okay. Then we're going up as discussed," can
12 you help us on what that might mean?
13 A. What was the time of this intercept or this conversation?
14 Q. Mr. Novakovic, I'll ask the questions, but I think you can see
15 very well on the screen at what time the report was prepared?
16 MR. HEDARALY: I'm sorry, Your Honour. If he is asking a
17 question about a document --
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is very important; otherwise, I
19 can't answer the question.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly is speaking.
21 MR. HEDARALY: I think if he is asked a question on something
22 that that happened based on his testimony that was for a specific time, I
23 think he is entitled to know what time, not just when the intercept was
24 sent, but what time the conversation was. It does appear on the document
25 below the line "General Staff of the SVK. That appears to me, after the
1 first numbers, to be "04/08/95
2 Mr. Misetic can correct me, that is on the 4th August of 1995 at 4.30 in
3 the afternoon.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, you asked the witness to tell us what
5 something means, and then he is entitled to know what we know about the
7 When the report was made it is clear that is 19 hours 20 minutes
8 [sic] ? 927.55. That at least is what is shown on this. But the time
9 of the conversation, could you help us and could you help the witness.
10 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Hedaraly has already testified --
11 JUDGE ORIE: No. As you know, Mr. Hedaraly's testimony is not
13 MR. MISETIC: Well, it's not evidence also done in the presence
14 of the witness, but I will leave it to you, Your Honour, when testifying
15 before the witnesses.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Let's proceed and suppress some irritation
17 which is, by the way, understandable.
18 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
20 MR. MISETIC:
21 Q. Mr. Novakovic, let's assume that it's at 1630. Now, that doesn't
22 change what my question is, which is: As a participant in the events in
23 question here, can you help us understand what it means when it says,
24 "Okay. Then we're going up as discussed"?
25 A. I believe that the timing is important, because yesterday I said
1 that, at that time, I was in General Mrksic's office around that time, in
3 So one might say that at the time I was present. I was privy to
4 that conversation that took place.
5 JUDGE ORIE: That's not an answer to the question. The question
6 was whether you --
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have not finished.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that when Mrksic had briefed
10 us, he will already told us that Mr. Martic had spoken with Mr. Babic,
11 and that Mr. Babic had conveyed a message that he received in his
12 conversation with Mr. Galbraith. Although, I would like to say that
13 there was Mr. Galbraith's statement that everything had been resolved and
14 there was no need for war, but that's in a different context.
15 After these conversations, we were informed that Croatia
16 not stop, and that we should evacuate the population from Northern
19 This term, "up," "down," doesn't mean anything. It probably
20 means Knin. It is very difficult to interpret these terms "up" and
21 "down," and some other inappropriate words, but this is just the
22 mannerism and the words that people use.
23 Some of the inappropriate words here, this is something that I
24 did not use. Very concretely, where it says "get out of that hole," that
25 could concretely mean that the population should be moved from Knin, in
1 my view. It doesn't mean that this it is really correct, but it would
2 reflect the situation as it was at the time.
3 Q. Here's the sentence: "There is no other option. I talked to
4 Galbraith an hour ago. Judging from what he said, I don't think they'll
5 stop. Conduct every action as planned."
6 What plan?
7 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Misetic please speak into the
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's possible that Martic had
10 already called him up before this conversation, and that he had told him
11 what the standpoint of the Supreme Defence Council was and asked for his
12 approval to move the population, because you couldn't move the population
13 from the entire area and the Gracac municipality without approval. So
14 one can assume that he did give his approval for that.
15 I know personally that Mr. Kovacevic, the minister from the same
16 office, called up Mr. Babic.
17 Q. Mr. Novakovic, my question is -- he says: "Conduct every action
18 as planned."
19 My question is: What was the plan?
20 A. I told you. The decision assumed there was a plan. The decision
21 stated very clearly what had to be done: Evacuation of the population
22 that was unable to fight in the direction of Srb and Lapac in the
23 municipalities of Dalmatia
24 Q. Let's look a few lines down. Voice number 1, then, from Belgrade
25 says: "I think I'll call these ministers tomorrow for a meeting with
1 Mladic. I don't know what.
3 Where was the meeting with Mladic supposed to be?
4 A. I don't know that. Probably on the territory of Republika
5 Srpska. I can't speculate. General Mladic was the commander of the army
6 of Republika Srpska at the time. So I can assume that, but I wouldn't
7 like to speculate. I don't know.
8 Q. And which ministers would be meeting with Mladic?
9 A. I don't know that either. All I know is that some of our
10 ministers weren't always in Knin. Some of them travelled between Eastern
12 perhaps in the Republika Srpska, so I don't really know that.
13 I know that several ministers who there were in Knin at the time,
14 and they were people with whom I cooperated closely on the 4th of August,
15 1995, but I wasn't fully aware of the movement of the ministers at the
17 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I ask that the exhibit on the screen
18 be marked, and I tender it into evidence.
19 MR. HEDARALY: No objection.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this becomes Exhibit number D927.
22 JUDGE ORIE: D927 is admitted into evidence.
23 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if I could have Exhibit D106,
25 Q. Mr. Novakovic, in your statement, you say that the decision to
1 evacuate was not published in the media. Do you recall that in your 2001
3 A. Yes. It couldn't be published because the media weren't
5 Q. Well, this is a transcript of an interview General Mrksic gave on
6 the evening -- in the evening of the 4th of August to Radio Belgrade.
7 It says -- in the first portion, Mr. Mrksic says: "Knin is
8 enveloped by dark. Evacuation of the population is ongoing. Enemy
9 forces reached at four to six kilometres from the city of Knin."
10 Question: "Does that mean our lines have been penetrated?"
11 Answer: "No. We are maintaining contact. Our forces withdrew
12 to the positions for the direct defence of Knin."
13 Now, Mr. Novakovic, in fact, General Mrksic -- well, let me ask a
14 preliminary question. Your were the -- General Mrksic's officer
15 responsible for information. You would have had some knowledge of
16 Mr. Mrksic having an interview with Radio Belgrade. Correct?
17 A. Yes, yes, I was aware of that.
18 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
19 A. I wasn't there at the time, but I was with him for most of that
20 evening; however, I wasn't there when he gave the interview.
21 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... aware at the time that he
22 told Radio Belgrade that the evacuation was under way?
23 A. Probably. Yes, it was no longer a secret.
24 Q. So when wasn't it a secret any longer? What time did it not
25 become a secret any longer?
1 A. It stopped being a secret, and we spoke about this yesterday,
2 after 1800 hours when I read that decision, and a large of number of
3 journalists were present at the meeting. We told them it wouldn't be a
4 good idea to publish this before the decision was conveyed through the
5 civilian defence channels or civilian protection channels. But when the
6 civilian protection organs had conveyed the decision to their
7 commissioners in those four municipalities in Dalmatia and Gracac
8 municipality, then that decision was no longer a secret.
9 Q. Okay. Then, in fact, at some point, you are aware that the
10 evacuation decision did get into the media on the evening of the 4th.
12 A. Yes, absolutely, yes.
13 MR. MISETIC: Your Honours, I was also going to use the Sekulic's
14 book at this point, but given the witness' answers, I don't need to;
15 however, I think this is a good opportunity to, as we discussed
16 yesterday, tender the two chapters of the Sekulic book, which would be
18 JUDGE ORIE: Then from the bar table.
19 MR. MISETIC: Yes, that's fine.
20 MR. HEDARALY: No objection.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, two chapters from the Sekulic book.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit number D928.
23 JUDGE ORIE: D928 is admitted into evidence.
24 MR. MISETIC: Thank you.
25 Q. Mr. Novakovic, I'm going to take --
1 MR. MISETIC: With the indulgence of the Trial Chamber, I have a
2 bit of a longer video. This is, I believe, approximately 11 minutes.
3 Q. This is Mr. Milan Martic who gave an interview in Banja Luka
4 an unspecified date, but believed to within one year of Operation Storm.
5 And in this clip, Mr. Martic discusses the events of the 4th of August,
7 MR. MISETIC: And, Your Honours, transcripts have been provided
8 to the booths, and I would like to play the video in its entirety,
9 because it is Mr. Martic speaking.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Could I ask whether there is any possibility that we
11 make breaks now and then in playing the video, because otherwise the
12 interpreters may be minutes behind, which makes it very difficult to keep
13 a close eye on translation. So say, for example, after every one or two
14 minutes, you just stop for a second.
15 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Your Honour.
16 The video, Mr. Registrar, is 1D61-0240.
17 JUDGE ORIE: I've got one question before we start it. It says
18 "Autumn 1995." You said it was within year --
19 MR. MISETIC: I will actually check on that. This may be more
20 accurate, that it is the Autumn of 1995, I think, based on the context of
21 what he is saying in the clip.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
23 [Videotape played]
24 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover]
25 "Martic: That first day, the 4th of August, you yourself were
1 present when Knin was bombed along with other places. The Croats didn't
2 have any significant success, other than shifts in the Dinara mountain
3 and the Mali
4 its own course; and considering the Croats were in Zagreb that day,
5 especially within the shelters expecting us to react by shelling them, we
6 conclude that there was no need to bomb Zagreb during those initial
8 "What is quite indicative, though, is that I received five phone
9 calls that day from Milan Babic, from Milosevic's office, for one sole
10 purpose which was to suggest that I shouldn't bomb Zagreb. I took this
11 information on record and responded that we should assess what to do at
12 the neglects time. No one from the authorities in Serbia from the regime
13 on contacted me. They simply circumvented me, and all contacts were
14 conducted with General Mrksic. Later on, I saw the name requests not to
15 shell Zagreb
16 "In the evening at 7.30 p.m., the Croatian Central News Programme
17 was on. We had the generator and electricity within the headquarters.
18 The Croats announced the cessation of air threats in Zagreb because some
19 general of theirs, the cessation of the air-raid warning in Zagreb
20 because some General of theirs - Tolj, I believe was his name - said that
21 all the citizens should leave their shelters in Zagreb because the Serbs
22 supposedly didn't have the necessary range. I subsequently sent General
23 Mrksic the order to bomb Zagreb
24 and with all the ammunition we had. He replied, 'Okay. I understand.'
25 "Unfortunately, nothing came of this order of mine; rather, to
1 make things even more interesting, they replaced the commander of the
2 Kordun Corps, Colonel Veljko Bosanac, behind my back, for fear that I
3 would directly issue him an order for such an attack, because they
4 disposed of the assets up there. They replaced him and appointed a new
5 guy, so that the order couldn't possibly be executed; and, unfortunately,
6 not a single shell fell onto Zagreb
7 reasons to do so. Then the worse scenario took place, which was that at
8 a given moment, during my brief absence, an order that had been written a
9 couple of months prior to in Belgrade
10 according with orders to withdraw the army, which I wasn't even aware
12 "Journalist: On that unfortunate day, the 4th of August, what
13 was your last order as the Supreme Commander?"
14 "Milan Martic: My last order was what I told you about the
15 shelling of Zagreb
16 were -- what the Croats were announcing. By prior to that -- just a
17 moment. But prior to that, I had passed a decision - unfortunately, I
18 had no one to consult about it - at 1700 hours to withdraw the civilian
19 population from the cities which were under constant shelling, such as
20 Knin, Benkovac, Obrovac.
21 "The order clearly stated that the non-combat population was to
22 withdraw to the villages which were not being shelled, ending with Srb
23 and Lapac, which were in the Krajina and not in the Sumadija. I passed
24 such an order for one reason only, and that was because I remembered
25 Western Slavonia and the massive suffering of civilians there, when I was
1 attacked even by the Serbian regime and all those who conducted
2 different -- waged different politics than my own. This was a mistake.
3 I said that I wouldn't repeat the mistake and withdraw everyone. But all
4 those capable for military service along with myself were to take a rifle
5 in hand and fight for the Krajina. I say that I had no one to consult
6 with, and I gave the order. That order exists to this day. I have it.
7 "Although, later on, numerous attempts were made to manipulate
8 these facts, that this was practically the key, that I passed to the
9 order to for the army to withdraw which later proved to be untrue,
10 because that same evening, I suggested to General Mrksic that we launch a
11 counterattack towards Mount Dinara
12 know the Dinara area well, and that we could surprise the Croats. Upon
13 which, he just stared at me blankly, as if to say nothing would come of
15 "I didn't know about this famous order to withdraw the army, nor
16 could I have even anticipated it, considering the fact that the Croats
17 have experienced no significant successes up to that time I believed that
18 the next day would be better for us, to our advantage, and it surely
19 would have been. My absence from the headquarters, which lasted some two
20 hours, was enough for General Mrksic to gather all of his corps
21 commanders, whom he had appointed in the meantime with new men, and to
22 tell them to act in accordance with this new order, which had been
23 prepared by Milosevic some months previously. It was sufficient for me
24 to have been absent for that period of time for this to be issued. My
25 return to headquarters, where I had gone previously in order to set up
1 Radio Knin for it to start function, as a false Radio Knin, had been
2 broadcast and it was deceiving our people.
3 "When I returned, I was confronted by an odd situation. Everyone
4 was whispering about something, those colonels, generals, so that I
5 couldn't hear. But I believed they were whispering about minor issues
6 having to do with command tactics, and I said to myself, It's okay, this
7 is nothing serious. Later, in the evening, sometime around midnight
8 asked to get some rest, because I hadn't slept for two days. However, I
9 was immediately received a telephone call from Dr. Karadzic and
10 Krajisnik. The lines were still functioning, and they needed to tell me
11 something to give me suggestions, so I couldn't sleep. It was then that
12 Mile Mrksic suggested for the first time, regarding the command
13 conditions which were truly dire, that it was impossible to command from
14 Knin and that it was time to go to Srb. I said that it is out of the
16 After a certain period of time, after a half an hour of
17 whispering with some colonels, I suggested that we go to Padjene, a
18 location located above Knin. They said there was an excellent command
19 post there, in the sense that the normal command was possible there and
20 that such tactics would then be implemented so that the Croat would say
21 not be able to find us. I relented then, and said, 'If you're going to
22 Padjene, then okay.' They could barely wait. They simply collected
23 their things, and I didn't know they had previously dismantled everything
24 within the headquarters and they left. I remained with my men sometime
25 until 3.00 or 4.00 in the morning, and left for Padjene where I
1 encountered them. First of all, I realized this was not a command post
2 as they had told me. There was some form of communications system there,
3 but this was not what I expected. But I said it myself, Okay, I guess
4 they'll assemble it. They have good communication officers and things
5 will get better.
6 "Then I asked to go to get some rest, and they immediately
7 provided me with some sort of bed. My men who had accompanied me also
8 rested a bit, and -- sometime around 5.00 in the morning, and we awoke at
9 approximately 8.00. There was shelling going on; however, this didn't
10 bother me. It was a Saturday, yes, but it was odd that there was no
11 yelling going on. Then, all of a sudden, we jumped and saw there was no
12 command located there. They had simply run away from there without even
13 waking me up, which is truly shameful. For sometime we remained there in
14 Padjene; and around 10.00, I went to search for the command. Only then
15 did we realize what I could not have possibly anticipated, when I came
16 across a unit which was in Zitnic, mostly comprised of men from Knin and
17 surrounding villages.
18 "I encountered them towards the end of Padjene and in Kravlja
19 Draga, as we call it. I asked the men where they were going, and they
20 said 'We received order to withdraw.' 'What orders to withdraw? Get
21 back there,' I said, 'the order to withdraw is invalid.' I found their
22 commander, Colonel Davidovic, and asked him, 'Man, what is this supposed
23 to mean?' The soldiers surrounded him and defended him. He was not to
24 blame. He received an order. He was acting like a convict. At the top
25 of Otric, I needed a few hours to breakthrough."
1 [Technical Difficulty]
2 MR. MISETIC: We now appear to have a technical problem, Your
3 Honour. I think the problem is here with the computer.
4 JUDGE ORIE: We immediately get the explanation on the screen
5 what happened. It can't locate a file.
6 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
7 JUDGE ORIE: A technician will be here to see whether a
8 technician could assist, and then --
9 MR. MISETIC: I'm told --
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, since, apparently, those who are
11 knowledgeable are working on the problem, two matters: The first matter
12 is I got the impression, right or wrong, that there might be something
13 missing in the first portion of the transcript, and I ask for special
14 attention to that, mainly in relation to - let me just have a look at
15 where - somewhere in the middle of page 19, where Mr. Martic says that
16 nothing came of this order of his. I think I heard, following the
17 French, that there was something of an order on shelling Zagreb
18 the equipment available. I might be mistaken, but it is difficult to
19 follow both the transcript and what we find in the video clip as English
20 translation and, at the same time, to follow the French.
21 I haven't got the transcript here. Is it true that something is
22 missing there?
23 MR. MISETIC: Well, Your Honour, I believe you're referring to
24 line 14 there when he says: "Unfortunately, nothing came of this order
25 of mine."
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I think I earlier heard something about what
2 that order was, something about -- but it could be that --
3 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Did I hear something in French that there is with an
5 order using all -- but I might have been lost there.
6 MR. HEDARALY: I have on the transcript that was provided by
7 Mr. Misetic to us, that there does appear to be one or two lines that are
8 not reproduced in the live transcript. It is the transcript 1D61-0240 at
9 the middle of the second paragraph, right after where it says: "I
10 subsequently sent General Mrksic the order to bomb Zagreb with all
11 possible means at our disposal and with all the ammunition ..." --
12 THE INTERPRETER: Kindly slow down for the interpretations.
13 Thank you very much.
14 MR. HEDARALY: Sorry.
15 "I subsequently sent General Mrksic the order to bomb Zagreb
16 all possible means at our disposal and with all the ammunitions we had."
17 He replied: "Okay. I understand, as they say.
18 Unfortunately, nothing came of this order of mine."
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, yes. Those two lines, I heard them in French
20 and I didn't see them on the transcript. So, therefore, that is now
21 corrected. We don't have to play it again.
22 Have, meanwhile, the tell problems been resolved?
23 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Then proceed on from the point where we were, and
25 let me just check that exactly. "He was acting like a convict," I see at
1 this moment on my screen, and those are the almost the last words on
2 the --
3 MR. HEDARALY: It was at 8.27.
4 JUDGE ORIE: 8.27.
5 [Videotape played]
6 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover]
7 "Martic: At the top the Otric, I needed a few hours to
8 breakthrough. I encountered a brigade from the Dinara. Now you can only
9 guess when they had left, and it was there that I encountered our Colonel
10 Radic. He was pulling his hair out, 'Don't ask me anything, don't ask me
11 a thing,' and so forth. I saw an odd situation. 'Where is Mrksic,' I
12 said. He replied he was Srb. They, therefore, escaped to Srb. I needed
13 a few hours as well from Srpski Klanac. I couldn't break through. I
14 went to Srb on foot, only to find them in Srb, to find the famous HQ
15 which had no command. They didn't even have a telephone.
16 "I saw everything was nearly completely lost. I said, 'Mile,
17 what is the meaning of this? Do you have military police at your
18 disposal. Stop these people. I will address they them.' 'I could see
19 he didn't even make any attempt to,' he said. 'Well, you know, we'll do
20 it in Petrovac.' This was enough of an indication to me that this was
21 the verge of an unprecedented betrayal I couldn't have even dreamed of.
22 It was impossible to think that something like this could happen before
23 your eyes.
24 "Then, during those moments, I was literally on a the brink of a
25 nervous breakdown, not knowing what to do. The people were leaving. No
1 one could stop them. I remained with my associates to the very last man
2 in Srb, until they withdraw. Then I left, not knowing whether the
3 Ustashas had arrived to Licka Kaldrma at Resanovac, in the area towards
4 Drvar. I remained there in the area almost one month after the fall of
5 the Krajina. I think that when I recall these events, I can say, God
6 forbid that one's worst enemy ever have to endure what we endured in
7 those moments.
8 "Journalist: That last day, the 4th of August, how many of your
9 closest associates were with you in Knin, specifically the prime
10 minister, ministers.
11 "Martic: Well, there was no one, apart from two, three of them.
12 I think Toso Paic was in Kordun as the minister of internal affairs. I
13 believe Suput was in Lika. As far as I know, Drago Kovacevic was in
14 Knin. All the others were outside of Knin. They were all somewhere in
16 business to tend to.
17 "Journalist: Including the prime minister?"
18 "Martic: Including the prime minister, who went to meet with
19 Galbraith and who signed the Z-4 plan without my knowledge, although I
20 don't know about this. On the day before the attack, Milan Babic
21 accepted the plan without having consulted with anyone, probably only
22 with Milosevic. He signed the famous Z-4 plan. But aside from the Z-4
23 plan and the guarantees Galbraith gave regarding no attacks, we were
24 attacked. This, too, was probably supposed to serve as a form of
25 deception, the idea we were not going to be attacked, so that we remain
2 "Personally, with regards to the attack, I must state that no one
3 informed me of the attack, not even from my State Security Services, who
4 had also fled a day earlier; nor General Mrksic, who knew in advance, but
5 didn't inform me. They simply believed I didn't need to be informed, but
6 didn't inform me. They simply believed I didn't need to be informed,
7 even though, naturally, I'm not the type of man that would leave, flee.
8 I would do something prior to the attack to alarm those who died in their
9 sleep, where I personally could have been killed as two shells passed by
10 myself and my children, so that part of the population that did die while
11 sleeping would not get hurt. I would have done something to enable the
12 population to get into their shelters and basements.
13 "Journalist: Do you think they really knew about the attack?"
14 "Martic: They did, they did. He admitted to this fact later on
15 and talked around about how he knew and how he believed that there was no
16 need to inform anyone, and went on to tell a ridiculous story about how
17 he didn't even want to call his driver, so that he could go on foot and
18 so on. I mean, he knew, which he confirmed on numerous occasions to many
19 people. But he didn't feel it was necessary to inform me.
20 "Journalist: We had a news conference that day on Friday, where
21 UNPROFOR Sector South's information chief, Alun Roberts, clearly and
22 concisely said they had received notice at a quarter 4.00 in the UNPROFOR
23 HQ, in Knin, that the attack would anyone at 500 hours. The sirens were
24 not sounded.
25 "Martic: Well, they weren't sounded simply because Mile Mrksic,
1 who knew in advance, so he says, as he admitted to numerous witnesses,
2 that he was told at 3.00. My Security Service, which incidentally fled
3 the day before out of Knin, new much more in advance. None of them felt
4 the need to inform me, for me to have order, or should this have been an
5 order by General Mrksic to perhaps to alarm the people, to sound the
6 sirens, and for the people to take shelter. I mean, we could have at
7 least managed to save those ten, 15 people who were in their beds during
8 the first shelling, as was the case with the deceased Ms. Marjanovic who
9 led the dance school and so on.
10 "Journalist: Many people say that the road taken by a refugee
11 column from Srb to Republika Srpska was cleared two days prior. Is this
12 true? Do you have any information regarding that?"
13 "Martic: Not two days prior. The road was cleared 15 days to a
14 month earlier. It was cleared more for communications, at least that it
15 is what was discussed, to enable better communication towards
16 Martin Brod, which, for economic reasons and for all other interests, is
17 not a bad thing. But it seems basically that the road was cleared due to
18 the fact that a deal made in Belgrade
19 clearer than ever that the road was made for this reason, which,
20 naturally, I could not have known.
21 "Journalist: Despite these facts, do you think the RSK, on the
22 4th of August, could have defended itself?
23 "Martic: I am convinced that regardless of the fact that I have
24 to note that NATO aviation participated in the attack, NATO aviation
25 destroyed our relay systems, destroyed our electric electronic
1 installation systems, because we ended up with no electricity."
2 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The volume is gone.
3 [Technical Difficulty]
4 MR. MISETIC: We have a problem with the audio, I believe.
5 JUDGE ORIE: May I draw your specific attention to the fact that
6 it's not just the interpreters who have to translate but also the
7 transcriber which has, understandably, difficulties in following the
8 speed. We have to verify that both the interpreters and the transcriber
9 is at the point where the video is.
10 Now that the sound is back, let's get it a try.
11 [Videotape played]
12 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover]
13 "Martic: As was the late Marjanovic, it was the case of that
14 women who led the dance school and so on.
15 "Journalist: Many people say that the road taken by the refugee
16 column from Srb to Republika Srpska was cleared two days prior. Is this
17 true? Do you have any information regarding this?
18 "Martic: Not two days prior. The road was cleared 15 days to a
19 month earlier. It was cleared more so for communication, at least that
20 it is what was discussed, to enable better communication with
21 Martin Brod, which, for economic reasons and for all other interests, is
22 not a bad thing. But it seems basically that the road was cleared due to
23 the fact that a deal was being made in Belgrade. This is clearer than
24 ever, and the road was made for this reason, which, naturally, I couldn't
25 have known.
1 "Journalist: Despite these facts, do you think the RSK, on 4th
2 August, could have defending itself.
3 "Martic: I am convinced that, regardless of the fact that I have
4 to note that NATO aviation participated in the attack, the NATO aviation
5 destroyed our relay systems, destroyed our electronic installation
6 systems, and we ended up with no electricity. All of this was done by
7 NATO aviation; however, I state that had there not been Milosevic's
8 deception with the famous General Mrksic, we would still have been in
9 Krajina today. We would have suffered more casualties. This goes
10 without saying.
11 "But considering the lie of the land, the possibilities of
12 hindering their advance throughout the Krajina, I am sure the Croats
13 would not have succeeded in taking over the whole Krajina. It is
14 possible that they would have had some success advancement of their front
15 lines, but we would also have had some successes. I must say that we had
16 the possibility of taking over Karlovac, Biograd, and some other places.
17 So how would they have ended up after all this combat? They wouldn't
18 have succeeded had barriers been properly installed within the territory
19 which the terrain allows for.
20 "They would not have been able to conduct manoeuvres with
21 artillery, and their infantry, thus, would not have had any significant
22 success. Therefore, I'm sure that we would have had casualties, there is
23 no doubt, many more casualties than we suffered in this exodus, but we
24 would have remained in the Krajina."
25 JUDGE ORIE: We had one portion we see and read twice, but apart
1 that, I think we have a complete record.
2 MR. MISETIC: Apologies to the court reporter and interpreters
3 for the extra work.
4 Q. Mr. Novakovic, you've now seen Mr. Martic's version of events, at
5 least as he stated them to that journalist. Mr. Martic claims that the
6 evacuation had been planned months in advance. Do you know anything
7 about that?
8 A. No. I think many of the things he said were of his own accord,
9 and I was surprised the animosity he expressed towards Mr. Mrksic. I
10 don't think that is true.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Hedaraly, you --
12 MR. HEDARALY: I think there is a vagueness to the question.
13 We're talking about -- because Mr. Martic talks about both the decision
14 to the civilian populations of the -- and the army that apparently
15 withdrew as well. So if those two can be clarified and not be confused.
16 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour, I would -- again, this is the second
17 time in front of witness, offering alternative explanations. If there
18 are going to be speaking objections, I would ask the witness be --
19 MR. HEDARALY: Well, if the question is vague and is leading to
20 confusion --
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But then to explain what is vague and what
22 leads to confusion, that, of course, could be -- I must say, I
23 immediately add to that, that it happens on both sides now and then, but
24 we should really refrain from giving -- in objections, to give further
25 hints, or whatever, to a witness.
1 MR. HEDARALY: I apologise for that. But if the witness is shown
2 a 15 minute clip and asked a vague question, Your Honour, I don't think
3 it is a fair question.
4 JUDGE ORIE: I'm not saying that what you say is not correct, but
5 it's whether it should be said in the presence of the witness.
6 Now the witness has answered the question. Is there any need
7 to -- it's now on the record, Mr. Hedaraly. I take it that Mr. Misetic
8 has heard your observation and will certainly try to avoid to make any
9 vague references.
10 Please proceed.
11 MR. MISETIC: Let me, then, make it even more clear.
12 Q. Mr. Novakovic, whether he is talking about the evacuation of the
13 RSK military or the evacuation of RSK civilians, he is referring there to
14 some preparation of Mr. Milosevic's, as a matter of fact, he said by
15 name. Correct? Is my understanding correct?
16 A. An evacuation of the civilian population and the evacuation of
17 the armed forces are two separate items. It is beyond dispute that
18 Mr. Martic referred to those, but it is incorrect.
19 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... is my interpretation correct
20 that Mr. Martic is suggesting that it was military led by General Mrksic
21 who, together with Belgrade
23 A. Obviously, Mr. Martic said that, but that is not true.
24 Q. Mr. Martic refers to the clearing of the road towards Martin Brod
25 having been done within a month, according to him, of Operation Storm,
1 and suggests in the video that this was part of whatever had been agreed
2 upon in Belgrade
3 Martin Brod was cleared within one month of Operation Storm?
4 A. Mr. Martic did not decidedly say that it was because of that
5 reason. It was cleared at the moment when the only link with Knin
6 towards the interior was cut off to Strmica and Bosansko Grahovo. It is
7 well known that the HVO and the HV by that time, by the 27th of July, had
8 reached Bosansko Grahovo. Therefore, the road from Knin towards the
9 interior of the Krajina was no longer in operation, in particular towards
10 the RS. The reason the other road was cleared is because it was already
11 in existence and it was simply made wider, those few kilometres of it.
12 Q. Now, you made mention a few times in your testimony about the Z-4
13 plan and some agreement with Mr. Galbraith having been reached. Were you
14 aware of the fact that Mr. Martic had no knowledge of Mr. Babic having
15 reached any agreements with Mr. Galbraith?
16 A. As far as I know, Mr. Martic was authorised by -- Mr. Babic was
17 authorised by Mr. Martic to sign that agreement. That was clear. After
18 all, Mr. Babic called from Belgrade
19 from Mr. Mrksic' office. As far as, I know Mr. Martic did not oppose it,
20 at that time or later. As for Mr. Martic commenting on it a few months
21 the later, that is a different matter.
22 Q. Were you aware of the fact that Mr. Martic had ordered General
23 Mrksic at 7.30 in the evening of the 4th of August to launch a massive
24 attack on Zagreb
25 A. That was not quite so. I was present.
1 Q. Well, when you say "not quite so," how was it then?
2 A. I was present, and I was about to continue.
3 The three of us, Mr. Martic, Mr. Mrksic and I, watched the prime
4 time news on TV Zagreb. When the news were over, around 8.00, the anchor
5 said that there was no longer an air-raid in force in the city, and
6 Mr. Martic's idea was that Zagreb
7 Q. Let me ask --
8 A. Mr. Mrksic and myself exchanged glances and did not offer any
10 Q. Where -- go ahead.
11 A. May I continue?
12 Actually, I think put the question of what it actually meant. We
13 should go public with our intention to try to hit a target, perhaps not
15 I also asked what the goal of that was supposed to be, shall we
16 achieve something we did in Western Slavonia? In other words, that
17 action was to supposed to justify everything that was taking place.
18 I will try to be clearer. The shelling of Zagreb when the
19 operation in Western Slavonia was taking place --
20 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
21 A. Well, just let me finish, briefly.
22 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
23 A. It basically served as an excuse for the tragedy that
24 subsequently occurred in Western Slavonia
25 them that we had about 30 to 40.000 people at our disposal, and that
1 there was no general agreement on bombing military -- urban targets.
2 Mr. Mrksic then said that he didn't think it would be wise to
3 shell Zagreb
4 longer insisted on it. I know that for a fact, since I was present.
5 Q. Mr. Novakovic, where were you physically located when Mr. Martic
6 issued - however you want to phrase it - he says an order, you say not
7 quite an order. But where were you physically located in Knin?
8 A. We were on the first floor in the -- of the building in the
9 office of Mr. Mrksic who was in command of the armed forces of the
10 Krajina. I was there, Mr. Mrksic, and Mr. Martic.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Novakovic, could I ask you to focus your answers
12 very much on the question, so if someone asks you where you were, to tell
13 us the location. If Mr. Misetic would like to know who else were there,
14 he will certainly ask you.
15 Please proceed.
16 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
17 Q. Now, Mr. Novakovic, I'd also like to know why you are present at
18 a meeting between the president of --
19 A. [No interpretation]
20 Q. -- why you are present at meeting with the president of the
21 so-called RSK and with General Mrksic. Why did you need to be present at
22 such a meeting?
23 A. It was not an official meeting.
24 Q. Was it a leisurely meeting?
25 A. During the evening, I frequently spent my time with the president
1 and the commander.
2 Q. Mr. Martic says, in the video, that he had been criticised for
3 not ordering the evacuation in Western Slavonia and says, "I wouldn't
4 repeat that mistake."
5 Now, let me ask you again, did Mr. Martic, in fact, say this at
6 the meeting where he dictated the order to you and you wrote it down?
7 Didn't he mention that he was taking the decision because he did not want
8 to repeat the same thing that happened in Western Slavonia?
9 JUDGE ORIE: Before you answer the question.
10 Mr. Hedaraly.
11 MR. HEDARALY: There is a mischaracterization. I don't think
12 there is any evidence of Mr. Martic dictating an order to Mr. Novakovic.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps, we first raise -- I think it is my
14 recollection that a draft was made and read out, and --
15 MR. HEDARALY: I don't want testify and be accused of doing that.
16 JUDGE ORIE: No, no.
17 MR. HEDARALY: THE testimony was that it was Mr. Mrksic who gave
18 the instructions to Mr. Novakovic.
19 MR. MISETIC:
20 Q. Well, in any event, Mr. Martic is present at that meeting.
22 A. [No verbal response]
23 Q. Yes? Okay.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: There was no audible
1 JUDGE ORIE: The answer was not heard by the interpreters. I
2 think it was in the affirmative. If everyone agrees, we can proceed.
3 MR. MISETIC:
4 Q. Yes, Mr. Novakovic, do you recall Mr. Martic saying at the
5 meeting that --
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... saying at the meeting that
8 he did not wish to repeat the same mistake by not ordering the evacuation
9 of the -- the same mistake that happened in Western Slavonia by not
10 ordering the evacuation of the population fast enough?
11 A. It is possible he said that, but I didn't hear it.
12 Q. Now, let's go to follow up on this alleged discussion that you
13 were present at, where you stopped discussion about firing at military
15 Who is --
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, if we are --
17 MR. MISETIC: Briefly, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ... yes.
19 Then please proceed.
20 MR. MISETIC: [Overlapping speakers] ... first, let me tender the
21 Martic video into evidence. It is 1D61-0240.
22 MR. HEDARALY: No objection.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit number D929, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE ORIE: D929 is, which apparently includes the transcript,
1 is admitted into evidence.
2 Please proceed.
3 MR. MISETIC:
4 Q. Mr. Novakovic, Marko Vrcalj was the chief of artillery of the
5 RSK. Correct?
6 A. [No verbal response]
7 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, 1D61-00, please.
8 Q. Mr. Novakovic, Marko Vrcalj was the chief of the artillery of the
9 army of the RSK. Correct?
10 A. Yes, it is.
11 Q. This is his Mr. Vrcalj's book that he wrote about these events?
12 MR. MISETIC: And if we could turn to page 9 in the English,
13 please, at the bottom -- actually, the next page.
14 I'm sorry, Mr. Registrar.
15 Q. Now, this is the section where Mr. Vrcalj says at --
16 MR. MISETIC: Sorry. If we could scroll down to the bottom of
17 the English page, please.
18 Q. Now, Mr. Vrcalj here says: "In the afternoon when the Orkan
19 commander briefed me to have completed the tasks he has received, I
20 ordered him to get ready to fire to the military targets in Zagreb
21 MR. MISETIC: Then it goes on to the next page.
22 Q. "... and Dugo Selo, and that the firing was to start at 0700
23 hours the following morning."
24 Now, towards the middle of the page in English, in the paragraph
25 that begins, "We headed up towards Serb," in the middle, it says:
1 "Looking at the column of people leaving their homes to go to the
2 unknown, knowing that the Orkan commander has gotten a task to fire at
4 fire at Zagreb
5 would lift up their own air force and would mutilate those innocent
7 Who passed this order to Mr. Vrcalj's ^ to fire at Zagreb
9 A. I don't know that. I don't even know if there was such an order.
10 MR. MISETIC: [Previous translation continues] ... be marked, and
11 I tender it into evidence. I will be using more excerpts of the book,
12 and then we can take a break.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
14 MR. HEDARALY: I'm just seeking clarification that the 25 pages
15 in the English, is that what is being tendered.
16 MR. MISETIC: Yes, this is what we got from OTP.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Does that cover the other portions --
18 MR. MISETIC: [Overlapping speakers] ... to be using.
19 JUDGE ORIE: -- that you're going to use at a later stage?
20 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
21 MR. HEDARALY: No objection.
22 JUDGE ORIE: No objections.
23 Mr. Registrar.
24 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D930, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE ORIE: D930 is admitted into evidence.
1 First of all, we have spoken at a speed which was most likely
2 unable to be followed. When the Chamber admitted into evidence the video
3 and the transcripts, that does not appear yet. Perhaps, when corrected,
4 it would appear.
5 But just out of an abundance of caution, I repeat that the video
6 played, and I think it was D929, if I am correct, Mr. Registrar, was
7 admitted into evidence, together with the transcripts.
8 How much time would the parties need, Mr. Hedaraly, to briefly
9 discuss the issue of the photospread? Would further submissions three,
10 four minutes for you be enough?
11 MR. HEDARALY: I think so, Your Honour, for us.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic.
13 MR. MISETIC: [Overlapping speakers] ...
14 JUDGE ORIE: Then I suggest that we do that immediately after the
15 break. I prefer to do these things before the break because the
16 time-limits are more easily kept, but I'm confident that you will be
18 We will do that after the break.
19 Mr. Novakovic, we will have a break. We resume a at 11.00. We'd
20 like to see you back a little bit after 11.00, because we have to deal
21 with a lot of matters first; that is, the issue related to the photo
22 spread in relation to Witness 3.
23 We resume at 11.00.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.36 a.m.
25 [The witness withdrew]
1 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic.
3 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Your Honour, I think we should go into private
5 JUDGE ORIE: We turn into private session.
6 [Private session]
11 Pages 11841-11846 redacted. Private session.
11 [Open session]
12 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps we use the time meanwhile. Since now the
16 list of sources has been received, are there any further submissions as
17 far as the two documents, the map and the description, any further
18 submissions on the basis of what you have received; or are you not yet at
19 that point?
20 MR. MISETIC: I was going to put some questions to him in cross,
21 perhaps at the end.
22 Quite simply, the book he references doesn't match, in some
23 respect, with what he has put on the map.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Okay.
25 [The witness entered court]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Novakovic, Mr. Misetic will now continue his
3 Please proceed.
4 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Q. Mr. Novakovic, going back to the Martic video, he referenced a
6 potential counterattack on the Dinara. Were you involved in the
7 discussions he had with General Mrksic about launching counterattack on
8 the Dinara, on the evening of the 4th?
9 A. No, I wasn't present when that was being discussed.
10 Q. You heard Mr. Martic's words, and I'm going to ask you as someone
11 who was involved in these events and afterwards: When Mr. Martic talks
12 about what happened on the 4th of August as being an unprecedented
13 betrayal, he is talking about an unprecedented betrayal by the
14 authorities in Belgrade
15 A. That's what he says, but I think that is arbitrary.
16 Q. Now, let's talk a little bit about the civil protection, how that
17 worked. You mentioned it briefly in your direct examination, and you
18 were shown some routes for evacuation from Benkovac. So let's start with
20 MR. MISETIC: And, Mr. Registrar, if I could have 65 ter 3489,
22 Q. Now, this is -- this is a document from 1993, January. A plan
23 for evacuation of civilian population. It talks about the buses
24 available, it identifies the drivers, identifies the reserves.
25 MR. MISETIC: If we can turn the page.
1 Q. It says, in case of evacuation, it identifies where the vehicles
2 will be parked, how many people can be carried in each vehicle.
3 Then it says: "If the evacuation becomes large-scale and is
4 limited by time constraints, the closest buses shall be used, namely,"
5 and identifies the drivers.
6 And, now, yesterday, at trial transcript page 11.715, at page --
7 sorry, at line 25, you testified that Benkovac plan was for "a movement
8 of about ten to 20 kilometre," you said.
9 Now, the last line there in the plan says: "There are 100 litres
10 of petrol in vehicles which is enough to cross 2 to 300 kilometres."
11 How far could you get from Benkovac -- let me put it a different
13 You could get to Bosnia
14 this plan. Correct?
15 A. It was probably assumed that vehicles should go there and come
16 back again with that fuel.
17 Q. It says --
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, just from my recollection of the
19 Benkovac plan, which was with the numbers of cars and kilometres, 25, 25,
20 30, 35, that's what you're referring to?
21 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
22 JUDGE ORIE: I'm just putting this to you because it is it on my
23 mind, and sometimes I think it's good to know what is on my mind. You
24 have seen that in this plan that calculations were made of the totality
25 of kilometres needed by cars. I was puzzled by it, because how could you
1 add just 25 kilometres and then end up with 500 or 3.000? I gave that
2 some thought; and for me, but if you further want to explore that matter,
3 please do so --
4 MR. MISETIC: We will.
5 JUDGE ORIE: -- but just for you to know, if you multiply the
6 numbers of cars and distance, then you will see at the end, more or less
7 the result is that calculations were made on the basis of so many cars,
8 so many kilometres, which would then result in a large -- much larger
9 number of kilometres. That's how I understood the plan on paper.
10 I know that no attention was paid to it when the witness was
11 examined on that plan. But that, for me at least, that caused me not to
12 put any further questions, because I thought I finally understood how the
13 calculations for the kilometres were done in this plan.
14 Just for your information.
15 MR. MISETIC: Yes. What I intend to do, just so you are aware,
16 is take the plans and then show you how they evolve over the course of
17 the next two years.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. That's fine.
19 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I ask that this exhibit be marked,
20 and I tender it into evidence.
21 MR. HEDARALY: No objection.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
23 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D931, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE ORIE: D931 is admitted into evidence.
25 MR. MISETIC: [Previous translation continues] ... go to 65 ter
1 2550, please.
2 Q. This is list of local communes to which fuel for evacuation of
3 civilians has been delivered. Now, this is 30th of March, 1995. Were
4 you aware that these types of lists and plans were being updated
5 into 1995?
6 A. I assumed that, yes.
7 Q. Well, you had some involvement, did you not, in evacuation
9 A. No, I didn't say that.
10 Q. Did you attend meetings where preparation of evacuation had been
12 A. No, but I had indirect information.
13 Q. From where?
14 A. From expert people who dealt with that information. I mentioned
15 Mr. Babic and other people, and it was part of my duties to monitor the
16 organisation of the life of the civilian population.
17 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
18 A. So I had information on all issues.
19 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I ask had a this exhibit be marked,
20 and I tend it into evidence.
21 MR. HEDARALY: No objection.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
23 THE REGISTRAR: As D932, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE ORIE: D932 is admitted into evidence.
25 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if I could have 65 ter 608, please.
1 Q. Now, Mr. Novakovic, this is a document called "Republic of
2 Serbian Krajina republic civilian protection staff." It is the --
3 MR. MISETIC: If we turn the page to page - let me see - it's
4 numbered page 3. The date on it is -- it says, for the place, "Knin,"
5 and the date is August 1994.
6 If we turn to the page to the next page, it is the assessment of
7 threats and possibilities for protection and rescue. It goes through in
8 great detail the different types of civilian protection measures that
9 would be undertaken in different situations.
10 So if we could go to page -- numbered page 8 in the English, and
11 go to the bottom, please. It talks about different zones of
12 vulnerability, and that the so-called RSK has been divided in three zones
13 of vulnerability.
14 If we can turn the page in English, it identifies --
15 MR. HEDARALY: I'm sorry, Your Honour.
16 Is it possible to have the corresponding B/C/S for the witness as
17 we're moving along, so that he can follow as well.
18 JUDGE ORIE: I don't think the B/C/S, at this moment, matches.
19 MR. MISETIC: It's an OTP number, Your Honour, so I don't know if
20 there's something wrong with the exhibit or not.
21 MR. HEDARALY: I think the page doesn't match. I think it's a
22 matter of combining the two and figuring out.
23 MR. MISETIC: I don't speak B/C/S.
24 MR. HEDARALY: I can't help --
25 JUDGE ORIE: Let's see whether we can get for the witness the
1 portion in his language on the screen which you want to refer to,
2 Mr. Misetic.
3 MR. MISETIC: Page 4 of the B/C/S version.
4 Q. Now, it says: "The first -- the zone of the first degree of
5 vulnerability include the following."
6 MR. MISETIC: If we turn the page in English, then it describes
7 villages and towns located in the buffer zone. Frontier villages located
8 within ten kilometres. Villages and towns in the general area of the
9 above mentioned tactical axis.
10 Scrolling down, there is a second degree of vulnerability, which
11 includes towns and villages at a distance of 20 kilometres from the line
12 of demarcation. They would be threatened in the case of initial discuss
13 by enemy forces. Then the third degree includes small enclaves between
14 the tactical axis.
15 Q. So the civilian protection organised itself by the location of
16 certain villages and areas and their proximity to the front lines. Is
17 that correct, Mr. Novakovic?
18 A. Yes, it is.
19 Q. Okay.
20 MR. MISETIC: Now, if we could go to page 31 in the English,
22 Q. Now, you say, in your witness statement, that there were no plans
23 at the republican level, but only at the -- the regional or municipal
24 levels. However, the actual civil protection --
25 MR. MISETIC: It's page 14 of the Serbian.
1 Q. The actual civil protection plan says: "For successful command
2 of protection and rescue operations, it is necessary to organise the
3 following command organs."
4 The first command organ is the republican civilian protection
5 staff. Correct?
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, isn't it, 15 on the -- at least what I
7 have is 15 out of 15 -- oh, it's 14 numbered, but 15 in the last page of
8 the document. As uploaded, numbered page 14. Yes, I now see it.
9 MR. MISETIC:
10 Q. So the way -- you are already testified, I believe, that
11 Mr. Babic was, in fact, an assistant minister of defence of the so-called
12 RSK. Correct?
13 A. Yes, of the RSK.
14 Q. He, in fact, was at the republican level in organizing civil
15 protection. Correct?
16 A. Yes. As I said, he was the head of the civil protection staff.
17 He had his associates, including regional representatives for Northern
19 Q. Civilian protection measures would be taken with him at the top
20 of the pyramid, and then it would go all the way down, according to this
21 chart, to civilian protection commissioners in large apartment buildings,
22 blocks of buildings, streets, villages, enterprises, and other legal
23 entities. Correct?
24 A. Yes. First, the republican, then the regional and municipal
25 staffs, and then the various civil protection staffs and commissioners.
1 It was a system which went from the top, the republican level, down to
2 basically almost every building.
3 Q. Okay.
4 MR. MISETIC: Now if we can turn the page in the English, and if
5 we can scroll down, yes.
6 Q. Now, although the document is dated August 1994, it says: "The
7 republican civilian protection staff studied and adopted this assessment
8 of threats and possibilities for protection and rescue at its first
9 session held on 14 July 1995
10 Do you recall such a meeting and the fact that this plan was
11 passed on the 14th of July, 1995?
12 A. No. I am not familiar with it, and I am also not sure whether
13 this is an assessment or a plan. There's a difference.
14 MR. MISETIC: Well, let's go to D440, Mr. Registrar.
15 I'm sorry. I forgot to ask that that exhibit be marked, and I
16 tender it into evidence.
17 MR. HEDARALY: No objection.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D933, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE ORIE: D933 is admitted into evidence.
21 MR. MISETIC:
22 Q. This is now from the Ministry of Defence, Lika administration,
23 regional civilian protection staff, on 15th July, and it cites an order
24 of the RSK republican civilian protection staff, dated 14 July 1995
25 MR. MISETIC: And if we could turn the page, please.
1 Q. At point 3, it says: "To prepare adequately the leaders of
2 activities in the evacuation and movement of the population."
3 Now, were you aware that as early as the 15th of July, orders
4 were being passed to begin to prepare leaders of activities in the
5 evacuation and movement of the population?
6 A. I was not familiar with it. This seems to be done well. If
7 there was a threat or a danger, then it was only natural to prepare the
8 leaders of activities. This does not mention any particular evacuation
9 but preparation, and that can take between a few months and up to a year.
10 Q. If we look at point 5, it says: "In the conduct of these
11 activities, establish continuous cooperation with the commands of the
12 Serbian army of the Krajina in your area of responsibility."
13 Now, can you explain to us why civil protection was being
14 coordinated with military?
15 A. It is only logical. One couldn't move in the field without
16 having the army of the RSK move, particularly during times of an imminent
17 threat of war or danger of war. In particular, large quantities of
18 vehicles and people could not be moved without coordination with the
19 armed forces. Instead of the civilians, such people could be someone
20 else, such as units that were introduced in the area. Therefore, the
21 coordinate was needed --
22 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... let me ask you a different
23 question related to this topic.
24 You have indicated that part of your portfolio was dealing with
25 religious affairs. Correct?
1 A. Yes. Quite right.
2 Q. In the course of your time in the so-called Krajina, did you have
3 occasion to meet with Episcop Longin? L-o-n-g-i-n.
4 A. He was not a bishop, but a member of the Orthodox church, and I
5 met some other Catholic and Orthodox priests and officials.
6 MR. MISETIC: [Previous translation continues] ... if I could
7 have 1D61-0231, please.
8 Q. This is a news -- a religious news bulletin from Zagreb carrying
9 news about various issues from the 29th of June, 1995.
10 MR. MISETIC: And if we could go to the second page on the
11 English, please.
12 Q. It talks about -- it provides a Croatian translation of a the
13 report of the European Community Monitoring Mission regarding their
14 meeting with the Serbian Orthodox Episcop of Dalmatia Longin in Knin.
15 In the ECMM --
16 MR. MISETIC: It's page 3 of the Croatian version.
17 Q. In the ECMM Weekly Report, which was dated 16 June -- and you
18 will see that in the ECMM report, according to this news item: "Episcop
19 Longin stated that they, the Serb Orthodox church ..." --
20 MR. MISETIC: Let me see if I can find it. It's point C in the
21 Croatian at the bottom.
22 Q. "Episcop Longin stated that they, the Serb Orthodox church,
23 should the Croatian army attack the Krajina, would advise the population
24 to leave the Republic of Serbian Krajina, considering the Croats actually
25 want a territory without the Serbs. This has been proven through events
1 from 1st of May in Western Slavonia when the territory was ethnically
2 cleansed in civilised and technical manner, although Croatia has laws in
3 writing which protect the Serb minority. The Croats have frightened
4 these people to such an extent that they (the Serbs) fearing for their
5 own lives, massively fled. Episcop Longin stated another example of how
7 change their surnames."
8 Now, as someone who dealt with religious issues and knew Episcop
9 Longin, it was, in fact, the position of many in the Serbian Orthodox
10 church that if the Croatian army launched an attack, that the civilian
11 population should leave. Isn't that right?
12 A. I am not aware of that. I believe it was quite the other way,
13 that it was the position of the Orthodox church that the priesthood and
14 the civilians remain. I know Mr. Longin personally, although I was not
15 present at this meeting.
16 I was an assistant commander, but not in terms of coordinating
17 religious activities. My task was to deal with the religious affairs in
18 the armed forces, and we had an example in -- by way of a law from 1928
19 from the Kingdom of Yugoslavia
20 were dealt, and we applied some of those provision. Otherwise, I don't
21 know it was the position of our church, as you stated it here.
22 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I tender 1D61-0231 into evidence.
23 MR. HEDARALY: No objection.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
25 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D934, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE ORIE: D934 is admitted into evidence.
2 MR. MISETIC:
3 Q. Mr. Novakovic, I think I understood your proofing statement
4 correctly that you were shown simulated evacuation video during your
5 proofing. Am I correct in that?
6 Let be me specific. Maybe I don't understand what proofing is?
7 When you met with the Prosecution before appearing in court
8 yesterday, in meeting with them, did they show you a video of an
9 evacuation drill?
10 A. Yes, they did.
11 Q. Had you seen that evacuation video before?
12 A. It is possible I had, although I'm not sure; however, I know that
13 there were such drills.
14 Q. Were you generally aware that TV Knin was broadcasting images of
15 evacuation drills?
16 A. Yes. I was following all radio and TV stations, Zagreb
18 Q. As someone in the military of the so-called RSK at the time, what
19 was the purpose of broadcasting such evacuation drills in the media?
20 A. The purpose was to inform the people and to familiarise them with
21 the procedure in case of an attack or aggression, and I think it was a
22 fair thing to do.
23 Q. Okay.
24 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if I could have Exhibit D255,
1 Q. This is an order of Mr. Babic on the 29th of July. He orders --
2 first of all, we references the declaration of the state of war, and
3 orders continuous duty rosters to be established. Then orders municipal
4 civilian protection staffs to also establish continuous duty rosters;
5 update plans for sheltering, evacuating, and providing treatment; and put
6 into readiness organised civil protection units.
7 MR. MISETIC: If we could turn the page.
8 Q. Point 3 is monitor the situation through relevant SVK commands.
9 Then point 5: "Starting at 1300 hours on 30 July 1995
10 daily to this staff on the measures and activities taken as well as any
12 Now, the whole civilian protection organisation was being led by
13 Mr. Babic at the top of the pyramid, correct, that's why he needed to be
14 updated everyday?
15 A. Yes, that is correct.
16 MR. MISETIC: Now, Mr. Registrar, if I could have 65 ter 1884,
18 Q. This is the minutes of the government meeting in the government
19 building in Knin on 29th July, chaired by Mr. Babic.
20 Point 2 says -- references the decision to proclaim a state of
22 MR. MISETIC: And if we could go to page 9 in the English, which
23 is just under paragraph 3.7.1 in the Serbian. Page 4 of the Serbian.
25 Q. The conclusion is, first: "Road links through Doljani and
1 Tiskovac urgently need to be put in operation."
2 Where are Doljani and Tiskovac?
3 A. Doljani and Tiskovac are to the north of Knin in Lika.
4 Q. Are they border towns, bordering on Bosnia and Herzegovina
5 A. Not quite, but relatively close by.
6 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... roads be put into operation?
7 A. Could we please go back to the page where the date was?
8 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
9 A. It is quite clear you know that on the 27th of July, the Croatian
10 army enter Bosansko Grahovo and that the road was cut off.
11 Q. Okay. The next point is, right below that: "PTT communications
12 urgently need to be put into operation by transferring to the relay
14 Why was it urgent and a decision made at the level of the
15 government that the PTT system needed to be urgently put into operation
16 by transferring to the relay system?
17 A. I'm not sure why. Probably some of the relay stations had been
18 taken over by the Croatian army and could no longer be used.
19 Q. The reason the government is talking about this in point 2 of the
20 conclusions is that the PTT system was important to the defence of the
21 so-called RSK. Correct?
22 A. It was important for the defence and for the life of the
24 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I tender this exhibit into evidence.
25 JUDGE ORIE: No objection from Mr. Hedaraly; therefore,
1 Mr. Registrar.
2 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D935, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE ORIE: D935 is admitted into evidence.
4 MR. MISETIC: If we could now go to 1D61-0160, Mr. Registrar.
5 Q. This is now a document from the regional civilian protection
6 headquarters in Lika. It references the order of Mr. Babic that we just
7 saw, dated the 29 July 1995
8 Now this regional chief orders, again: "To maintain
9 uninterrupted duty at municipal CZ or civilian protection headquarters."
10 Within point 2, the last entry says: "Established to what extent
11 companies can be involved in implementing measures to protect, rescue,
12 relocate, and evacuate the population."
13 Are you familiar with what and how companies participated in
14 protection, rescue, relocation, and evacuation of the population.
15 A. Not quite, but I assume it included the firemen and some medical
16 personnel from the health centres. I am familiar with it in principle,
17 but not in terms of details.
18 This may have included some construction companies as well.
19 Q. Okay.
20 MR. MISETIC: I ask that this exhibit be marked, and I tender it
21 into evidence.
22 MR. HEDARALY: I have no objection. I just note that it is
23 outside the area of indictment, but I have no objection on the admission
24 of the exhibit.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Any comments on that, or just --
1 MR. MISETIC: I think it is all interrelated on the issue that
2 we're raising, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I do understand.
4 Mr. Registrar.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D936, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE ORIE: D936 is admitted into evidence.
7 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if I could please have 65 ter 1345.
8 Q. Now, this is the Drnis civil protection, and it's dated 31
9 July 1995. It's a report to the Ministry of Defence. Talks about, in
10 point 1: "Permanent duty watch by the staff members and Ministry of
11 Defence employees has been introduced."
12 MR. MISETIC: If we could turn the page in English.
13 Q. "When we spoke with the commissioners, we familiarized them with
14 the present situation and the measures and actions they are obliged to
15 take in this regard. Special emphasis was put on sheltering and
16 preparatory actions for an evacuation."
17 Then it says one line below: "List of persons to be evacuated
18 has been updated. The fuel distributed in November 1994 has been
19 checked, as has been the roadworthiness of vehicles. With the exception
20 of the problems in the town of Drnis
21 faulty, there were no problems of any sort with neither vehicles nor fuel
22 in the entire municipality."
23 Now, Drnis is a front line town. Isn't that right, Mr.
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. And as a front line town, it was particularly important to be
2 ready to evacuate the population from the Drnis municipality. Correct?
3 A. Yes, that's correct.
4 Q. And with respect to the zones that we looked at before, the three
5 zones that the civilian protection would look at, in the event of the
6 onset of hostilities, the Drnis municipality, being in zone 1, would be
7 the first to evacuate its civilian population out of the combat zone.
9 A. Yes. That's correct, and that's how it was, actually. That was
10 carried out.
11 Q. You say that's how it actually was. What happened was in --
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. -- in the morning hours, in the earlier part of the operation,
14 the evacuation order was issued to Drnis, and those people would be
15 relocated toward Knin area. Correct?
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. So do you recall seeing civilians on the move, on the morning of
18 the 4th, in and around Knin who, in fact, had removed from the front line
19 area of Drnis, as a result of the civilian protection measures being
21 A. There were some individual ones in the morning, but for the most
22 part, there was more of that in the afternoon.
23 MR. MISETIC: I ask that the exhibit be marked, and I tender it
24 into evidence.
25 MR. HEDARALY: No objection.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
2 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D937, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE ORIE: D937 is admitted into evidence.
4 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if could I have Exhibit D254,
6 Q. Mr. Novakovic, this is a document internal to the SUP or the
7 secretariat of internal affairs, dated 31 July 1995.
8 It says -- these are now the -- pursuant to the state of war and
9 the experience in Western Slavonia, there is an order that says: "All
10 secretariats of the interior are to prepare, within their organisational
11 units, for the rapid evacuation of the following archives and day-to-day
13 Within point 1, the SUP
14 birth and citizenship.
15 Why, on the 31st of July, would the SUP have to remove registers
16 of birth and citizenship?
17 A. It doesn't say they have to pack them up, but that they have to
18 prepare them for fast evacuation.
19 It means they have to have packing material ready. So it says
20 here prepare, it doesn't say pack, and that is a big difference.
21 Q. I draw your attention to the reference at the introduction that
22 says "drawing on the experience of Western Slavonia."
23 Now, in Western Slavonia, the civilian population left.
24 A. Unfortunately, they left, but most of them -- most of the ones
25 who remained were killed. These activities -- well, that's always what
1 is referred to when experience is mentioned. You've jogged my memory
3 Most of the population of Western Slavonia, including women and
4 children who remained behind, were killed.
5 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... debate with you about
6 Operation Flash. Let's stay focussed. Let's try to find a common
7 language where neither one of us will dispute.
8 The Serb population of Western Slavonia after Operation Flash was
9 no longer there. Do you agree with me?
10 A. I agree. Absolutely.
11 Q. Now --
12 A. That's correct, yes, for several reasons.
13 Q. When Minister Pajic draws on the experience of Western Slavonia,
14 what is he talking about is they need to prepare -- prepare to evacuate
15 registers of births and citizenship because, like Western Slavonia, it
16 may come to the fact that the population will not be there in the event
17 of a HV offensive. Correct?
18 A. Not just that. The books that remained, the registers that
19 remained there, were destroyed and burned. So what you say is correct,
20 but the other part is missing.
21 Q. And how do you know they were burned?
22 A. Well, I know because I studied that issue. I have a lot of
24 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... specific source for that
1 A. I cannot give you any concrete proof now. I haven't thought
2 about it. I might be able to do it next time.
3 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
4 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if I could have -- I'm sorry, is
5 this -- oh, this is already in evidence.
6 Mr. Registrar, if I could have Exhibit D256, please.
7 Q. Mr. Novakovic, I'm going to show you Mr. Babic's order from the
8 2nd of August.
9 Now, Mr. Babic is ordering, on the basis of another order:
10 "Immediately and no later than 1900 hours on the 3rd of August to forward
11 a report covering the following issues."
12 Point 1 is sheltering; point 2 is evacuation; point 3 is care.
13 MR. MISETIC: If we could turn the page.
14 Q. And, there, you see the rest of what he is asking for.
15 So were you aware that civilian protection was, in fact, then
16 speeding up its plans to be done by the evening of the 3rd of August?
17 A. I don't believe it was the 3rd of August, but for the ten or 15
18 last days, they were certainly speeding up, because it was evident that
19 something was going to happen, and they always had aggression in mind.
20 MR. MISETIC: [Previous translation continues]... please. 65 ter
21 3120, please.
22 Q. Now, that same day, the day 2nd of August, Mr. Babic issues
23 another order: "Preparation for evacuation of material, cultural, and
24 other assets. Through municipal civilian protection staffs, organs and
25 organisations, immediately order preparations to be conducted for the
1 evacuation of the following: Material goods, archives, registers of
2 births, marriages, and deaths; record files and materials of a
3 confidential nature; movable culture assets; money and accompanying
5 It is signed by Mr. Babic, and he says to send -- at the end, he
6 says --
7 MR. MISETIC: If we could turn the page in English.
8 Q. "Send daily reports on pro progress of preparations by 2000 hours
9 to this staff starting on 4 August 1995
10 Now, if I'm not mistaken, this order was passed before the order
11 that we just saw on the screen; and then Mr. Babic, in the order we just
12 saw on the screen, asks, instead of 4 August, that it be moved up to
13 3 August.
14 My question to you, sir, is: Why is the Ministry of Defence
15 ordering the preparation of the evacuation of birth registers, marriage
16 registers, death registers, movable cultural assets, money and
17 accompanying documents, and materials of a confidential nature?
18 A. I think Mr. Babic and his service did this well, and I have to
19 say putting it in the overall context, that had everything been carried
20 out as it was envisaged in this order and envisioned by Mr. Babic and his
21 associates, there might not have been what happened.
22 A little while ago, you showed me that film, and there's
23 something that I forgot to mention. Slunj, Drsic [as interpreted], and
24 other municipalities whose members were well trained in civilian
25 protection, they were not evacuated outside the territory of the Krajina
1 until they found themselves surrounded. So had everything been carried
2 out properly as it was envisioned - and it is always envisaged better
3 than it is carried out and implemented - some activities might not have
4 taken place. The population might have moved just a short distance and
5 not left the territory entirely, and everything would depend on the
6 further advance of the Croatian forces, and this was done correctly.
7 Q. Mr. Novakovic, but part of the plan, would you agree with me,
8 envisaged that the population might, in fact, move out of Croatia
9 you would need to take all these documents with you? Wasn't that part of
10 what the plan foresaw that is correct possibility as well?
11 A. No, that possibility is not mentioned. That is your conclusion,
12 and I don't want to comment on it.
13 MR. MISETIC: Your Honours, I tender 65 ter 3120 into evidence.
14 JUDGE ORIE: No objection, Mr. Hedaraly.
15 Mr. Registrar.
16 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D938 Your Honours.
17 JUDGE ORIE: D938 is admitted into evidence.
18 MR. MISETIC:
19 Q. Now, Mr. Novakovic, the fact of the matter is that, prior to
20 Operation Storm, you were encountering a serious problem of people
21 already fleeing the so-called RSK and leaving the territory. Isn't that
23 A. That problem existed, yes, I don't deny it.
24 MR. MISETIC: And if I have on the screen, please --
25 Q. In particular, in the military, you were having people massively
1 desert and leaving for the so-called Republika Srpska or the FRY.
3 A. Well, yes, but it was not large-scale.
4 MR. MISETIC: If could I have on the screen, please, 1D61-0274.
5 Q. I'm going show you, Mr. Novakovic, an order issued by General
6 Mrksic, establishing ad hoc military courts on the 30th of July, 1995
7 This is the decree, and we have translated the relevant portions.
8 A. Yes, yes.
9 Q. And on the 30th of July, 1995, in Article 2: "Ad hoc military
10 courts shall issue judgements of the first and last instance, to military
11 persons from compositions of units ... for criminal offences against the
12 armed forces and as follows: The failure or refusal to carry out orders;
13 insubordination; surrendering to the enemy; arbitrary abandonment of
14 duties during combat; abandonment of position against orders; weakening
15 combat morale; and combat situations."
16 Article 6 --
17 MR. MISETIC: Next page in the Serbian:
18 Q. "The ad hoc military court can deliver the death sentence. In
19 order to deliver the death sentence, the court must have a unanimous vote
20 from all members of the Court."
21 Article 7: "There is no possibility of appeal against the
22 judgement of the ad hoc military court."
23 Can you explain to the Court, please, Mr. Novakovic, why General
24 Mrksic needed to order to issue for a formation of ad hoc military courts
25 which had the power in both the first and last instance to issue the
1 death sentence?
2 I'm sorry, signed by Martic, is the decree.
3 A. I was about to say that this is not issued by Mr. Martic, but by
4 Mr. Mrksic. This decree took along time to prepare. I think my
5 associates worked on this, because for a long time, we had had a problem
6 with establishing military courts. We worked on that for a long time,
7 and you know what the competents of military courts are. They had far
8 broader competences.
9 Because of certain problems that occurred, this decree had more
10 of a psychological effect. We worked on it for a long time, and I know
11 that Mr. Martic and his office added something to this decree. And where
12 the more severe sanctions were provided for, he authorised the commander
13 of the military district to mitigate the measures, and the ultimate
14 approval rested with the president of the republic. This is something in
15 favour of this presidential decree.
16 I have to say that it was in the implemented in one single case.
17 Q. Well --
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, you started asking whether General
19 Mrksic needed to issue this decision; then you corrected yourself and you
20 said it was signed by Mr. Martic.
21 Then you, Mr. Novakovic you said: "I was about to say that this
22 was not issued by Mr. Martic, but by Mr. Mrksic.
23 MR. MISETIC: It's the next page in this series Your Honour. It
24 is suggested by Lieutenant-Colonel Mile Mrksic, "whose proposal is ..."
25 Then it is signed by Martic pursuant to his decree. So it is both of
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I was a bit confused by not having everything
3 before me.
4 MR. MISETIC: If you turn to the next page in English.
5 This is the proposal sent on the same day by General Mrksic to
6 the Supreme Defence Council, and it's the next page in the B/C/S.
7 His proposal is that this be instituted: "And as you say, he
8 says they would be rare in everyday practice, but would surely have a
9 great psychological effect on the possible were perpetrators.
10 "For this reason, we recommend that our proposal be accepted and
11 that the stated decree be signed by the president of the RSK."
12 Q. SO this is, in fact, a proposal by the military which was then
13 signed by Mr. Martic on the 30th of July 1995.
14 My specific question to you, Mr. Novakovic, is: Why, on the 30th
15 of July, does this decree need to be passed? What's happening on the
16 30th of July that requires an ad hoc tribunal with the power to issue the
17 death sentence?
18 A. I think the date has nothing to do with this order or this
19 decision. As I said previously, this decision took longer than a month
20 to prepare. So it was a coincidence that it was on the 30th. It might
21 have been prepared on the 30th of June or July. So the date is purely
22 accidental. There was no special reason for it to be done on that date.
23 I know that it was sent back to the president's office more than once to
24 be further worked on.
25 Q. Mr. Novakovic, right after the fall of Grahovo , did you have not
1 problems with units that were abandoning their positions, units that had
2 been defeated in Grahovo and that were not executing orders? Didn't you
3 not have that problem?
4 A. No, I didn't have that problem. As I explained a little while
5 ago, not a single unit left its positions. There were only individuals
6 who left their positions. That's a big difference. I don't think it's
7 the same thing.
8 Q. You had a problem with individuals abandoning their positions,
9 particularly after the fall of Grahovo. Correct?
10 A. Yes, there were -- there was always that problem. It may have
11 been a little worse but not too much.
12 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I ask that this exhibit be marked,
13 and I tender it into evidence.
14 MR. HEDARALY: No objection.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
16 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D939, Your Honours.
17 JUDGE ORIE: D939 is admitted into evidence.
18 Mr. Misetic, I'm looking at the clock in order to find a suitable
19 moment for a break.
20 MR. MISETIC: I'm just going to complete this area.
21 JUDGE ORIE: If it is just to be completed in the next couple of
22 minutes, then please proceed.
23 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if I could have D923, please.
24 Q. This is now again General Mrksic's report.
25 MR. MISETIC: And if we could numbered page 16 in the English,
1 and page 10 in the B/C/S, please, numbered page 10. Okay.
2 Q. Mr. Novakovic, I just asked you about this problem, and here's
3 what General Mrksic wrote: "Since the fall of Grahovo, 29 July 1995
4 people have been deserting the western part of the Republic of Serbian
5 Krajina every day.
6 "By exercising control over the bridge over the river Korana in
7 Slunj, on the 1st and 2nd of August, it was found that there were about
8 400 conscripts among 700 individuals who tried to cross the river Korana
9 towards Vojnic.
10 "Since Grahovo fell until the beginning of the aggression of the
11 Croatian army on the western part of Republic of Serbian Krajina, about
12 2.000 conscripts have deserted war units in various ways."
13 MR. MISETIC: Then if we flip four pages in, which is numbered
14 page 20 at the bottom, and page 12 of the B/C/S.
15 Q. Under the section titled, "Decision on evacuation," second
16 paragraph --
17 MR. MISETIC: Sorry, page 13. The next paragraph would be on
18 page 13. There you go.
19 Q. "In the practice, some sort of evacuation from Republic of
20 Serbian Krajina has been going on for years, and especially after the
21 fall of Grahovo and after Knin was endangered from the axis of the Dinara
22 mountain. From 1992 until August 1995, 28.000 conscripts have moved out
23 from the territory of the Republic of Serbian Krajina.
24 "In the situation when people did not believe in the possibility
25 of self-defence, without the help of the VRS and the Yugoslav army, no
1 one could have stopped the evacuation during the aggression."
2 Now, Mr. Novakovic, the reality was that after the fall of
3 Grahovo, you had a serious problem with people leaving, both civilian and
4 military, from the so-called RSK. Correct?
5 A. As I said just a while ago, the civilian population left in a
6 disorganised manner of their own free will, in individual cases and in
7 individual instances; and you saw that there were a number of people from
8 the territory of the RSK.
9 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
10 A. I'm sorry. I didn't understand your question.
11 Q. These are people that were leaving before Operation Storm.
13 A. Yes, before that aggression of the 4th of August, yes.
14 MR. MISETIC: This would be a good time for a break.
15 JUDGE ORIE: It is, Mr. Misetic.
16 Could I ask already, Madam Usher, to escort Mr. Novakovic out of
17 the courtroom.
18 [The witness withdrew]
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, earlier, you had drawn your attention
20 to the 100 litres which would take you quite a distance. I then shared
21 with you that I made some thoughts on the Benkovac evacuation plans,
22 trying to see how this was calculated, whether it would be long range or
23 short range evacuation, because that is apparently the issue apart from
24 organised or not organised.
25 Now, you have drawn your attention today to the Drnis report,
1 saying that they had checked all the means of transportation, that the
2 fuel and everything fine. Now, attached to that report is a list, first
3 of all, of ladies who would assist in evacuation matters, but also a long
4 lest of those transportation means and the fuel which was available.
5 There, we find numbers of tractors and drivers and quantities of fuel
7 I am trying to reconcile the distance with fuel. You have drawn
8 your attention to 100 litres, which would take at a far as distance.
9 There, for example, I find four tractors, 40 metres, which ten metres a
10 tractor, which, again, might go a short range.
11 I just want to let you know that I'm trying to understand all of
12 it: And, also, since you have drawn your attention to the fact that 100
13 litres would take you far, then, of course, if I see ten litres a
14 tractor, I think that is less far than -- -
15 MR. MISETIC: I can tell what you what our position is, Judge.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
17 MR. MISETIC: The Drnis specific issue is because you have had
18 some witnesses, whether UN or otherwise, talking about civilians on the
19 move earlier on than when the evacuation order was issued.
20 Our position is that's true and that that was organised, which
21 the witness has now, in my opinion, confirmed, that front line villages
22 were evacuated into Knin.
23 So that's the point that I'm trying to make there, that this is
24 not spontaneous exodus, as may be suggested by the Prosecution, but was
1 The second issue is, we don't dispute that - and I think the UN
2 has made clear and the documents made clear - that they were short of
3 fuel for the longer trek that was decided and they saw it.
4 It says in the UN reports: "Fuel to move 32.000 people to
5 Benkovac -- sorry, Petrovac and Banja Luka."
6 So our position is not necessarily that it was organised and
7 planned two years in advance that they would all move out to Bosnia
8 that there is with an infrastructure in place which went all the down to
9 apartment buildings. It was activated.
10 The fact that the decision was made without sufficient fuel is
11 something that is a fact, but that is the way it wept.
12 I think this is our evident to address the issue of spontaneous
13 movement versus organised movement.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, at least now I understand. So even if the 100
15 litres which would take you far would have been 15 litres, then you would
16 say that is exactly the reason why they needed more and perhaps they may
17 have had sufficient fuel at some places.
18 MR. MISETIC: Correct.
19 JUDGE ORIE: At least I understand the position of the Defence in
20 this respect.
21 We will have a break and resume at five minutes to 1.00.
22 --- Recess taken at 12.34 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 1.11 p.m.
24 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber apologises for the late start, but as it
25 sometimes happens, the breaks are even more busy than what happens in
2 Mr. Misetic, please proceed.
3 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Q. Mr. Novakovic, going back to this issue about the evacuation
5 preparation, you yourself attended a meeting on the 3rd of August at
6 1330 hours, with Veljko Popovic, Sava Milovic, and Drago Vujatovic to
7 discuss the preparations for the evacuation, didn't you?
8 A. I don't recall that.
9 Q. Well, let me see if can I refresh your recollection.
10 Can you tell the Court, first, who Drago Vujatovic is?
11 A. Drago Vujatovic used to be the head of civilian protection in
12 Knin municipality.
13 MR. MISETIC: [Previous translation continues] ... if I could
14 have 1D61-0051 on the screen, please.
15 Q. I'm going to show you the witness statement of Drago Vujatovic
16 again, dated 6 March 2007
17 MR. MISETIC: If we could turn to page 4 in the English,
18 paragraph 20, please.
19 Q. Now, it says: "3 August 1995, at 1330 hours, I remember
20 attending a meeting with Kosta Novakovic; Veljko Popovic, chairman of the
21 executive committee of the Knin authorities; and Sava Milovic. The
22 purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of evacuation of
23 civilian population; that is, to discuss if there were enough shelters,
24 fuel, for the movement of the population from outside to the shelters in
25 Knin, and food and sanitary facilities. It was a very short meeting, and
1 no final decisions were made."
2 MR. MISETIC: If we go to paragraph 21.
3 Q. He says: "I have been shown a document bearing number 01329697,
4 dated August 2nd, 1995
5 showed you earlier from the 2nd of August.
6 "Although I have never seen this document before, I believe that
7 this document is what triggered the meeting on August 3, 1995, as the
8 matters listed in the document were the topics of discussion at the
10 Now, Mr. Novakovic, why were you at a meeting on the 3rd of
11 August to discuss the evacuation plans that Mr. Babic had put in place on
12 the 2nd of August?
13 A. I have to say that I do not recall this meeting, although it is
14 possible that I attended it.
15 In any case, the meeting was not in relation to the document you
16 mentioned. I saw no documents before they were shown to me by the
17 Prosecution. I was probably there on some business or visiting
18 Mr. Popovic. Who was the president of the executive council for Knin
20 What was the reason that he called these gentlemen to attend, I
21 don't know. In principle, I never held meetings in other branches
22 without the presence of their heads or chiefs. I certainly would not
23 have gone to speak to Mr. Vujatovic without the regional head, which was
24 Mr. Kekic, and in particular without Mr. Babic who was their superior.
25 This was not an official meeting. It is possible that there was
1 some discussion on these issues, but can I freely state that I never went
2 to other governmental branches or bodies to have meetings at lower levels
3 bypassing their superiors.
4 Q. Now, none of the other individuals that Mr. Vujatovic says were
5 present at the meeting were part of the RSK military, were they?
6 A. No, no, they were not.
7 Q. Why -- do you have any explanation for why, from the military
8 side, you would be present at this meeting?
9 A. I had lots of contacts during any given day, even up to 30 with
10 various representatives of international organisations and from our
11 governmental bodies. Some of them were private contacts, and I did not
12 keep track of all those. I communicated with many people, since that was
13 the scope of my authority given to me by the commander.
14 Q. Let's turn your attention back to the 4th of August. And in your
15 statement, it is clear that you know Mirko Bijlanovic, who is the senior
16 logistic officer of the ARSK.
17 MR. MISETIC: And, Mr. Registrar, if we could have exhibit D161,
19 Q. These are his notes.
20 MR. MISETIC: And if we turn to page 6 of -- numbered page 6
21 of 10, and page 9 in the -- yes, that's it.
22 Q. From his notes on what happened on the 4th of August, he writes.
23 MR. MISETIC: This is -- I'm sorry. This should be page 3 at the
24 top in the English, but for some reason on the bottom, it says 6 of 10.
25 Could we scroll down, please. Can with go three pages forward.
1 There we go. That's it.
2 Q. It says, Mr. Novakovic: "At 1820 hours, I returned to the OCGS
3 Serbian Krajina army Main Staff operations centre, where I met Colonel
4 Novakovic. He says, 'We will engage the UNPROFOR capacities for the
5 elevation of the population beside our own,'" and it should say "free
7 "I was caught by surprise and asked him, 'What are you talking
8 about? What evacuation?'"
9 Then it goes on.
10 MR. MISETIC: If we turn the page in English.
11 Q. He says: "Following this explanation, I returned to the PKM and
12 made an order that ..."
13 MR. MISETIC: Page 11 of the B/C/S, please.
14 Q. "... the buses available for evacuation were to report at the
15 Knin bus station, and that this must be arranged with the Knin bus
16 company manager.
17 "That all the free transport capacities belonging to the corps
18 and trailers belonging to the L. Trans Company were to be sent to Golubic
19 to take out ammunition and the mines and explosives primarily the hand
20 head anti-artillery rocket launchers and various other weapons:
21 "That the 15th corps must send available vehicles to Tiskovac
22 warehouse in order to remove ammunition and MES."
23 Next line: "That emptying the Kosovo and Stara Straza reservoirs
24 must start immediately."
25 Now, Mr. Novakovic, it's clear that Mr. Bjelanovic put military
1 resources into assist in the evacuation. Is that correct?
2 A. I don't know what the explanation given by General Bjelanovic
3 was, but it is obvious that there was need for fuel. As you could see
4 before, we expected UNPROFOR to secure that. The only bigger issue we
5 had was with fuel. However, this is not very clear to me. You haven't
6 read out the whole thing, and some of the parts are not very legible.
7 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... you passed the order for the
8 evacuation to Mr. Bjelanovic. Correct? That part is true?
9 A. No, it is not. You misread. First of all, I was not
10 Mr. Bjelanovic's superior. I know him very well and I can testify that
11 this is his handwriting. He was my boss twice; whereas, on the 4th of
12 August, we were workmates. I was an assistant in one department and he
13 was an assistant in another.
14 It says here that I provided him with some information at
15 6.20 p.m.
16 there was a meeting with UNPROFOR that I chaired between 6.00 and
17 7.00 p.m.
18 Had you read out the whole thing, you would also said that we met
19 and I briefed him, thinking that he had information from the commander.
20 He said that the commander had arrived and that he had explained to him
21 something. As I said yesterday, my duty was only to read out the
22 decision to the civil protection organs. That was the scope of my
23 competence. I did not pass the decision. I merely technically processed
24 it, read it out, and was not competent to implement it.
25 I believe we clarified that yesterday.
1 Could you please read out the whole thing that Mr. Bjelanovic
3 Q. Well, let me ask you a question.
4 With respect with the decision to start emptying all of the
5 military ammunition facilities, what was the purpose at or around 1820 or
6 1900 of emptying the arms depots?
7 A. I'm not familiar with that. I don't know why Mr. Bjelanovic
8 drafted this note, and I did not meddle with his department, although I
9 had worked in logistics for a number of years. However, at this point in
10 time, I was not competent in that area, and I showed no particular
11 interest in it.
12 Q. Were military resources put into the evacuation of the civilian
13 population, to your knowledge?
14 A. One could say no to that. For the most part, what was used were
15 tractors, civilian vehicles, and the odd military vehicle. But, in
16 principle, no.
17 Q. Mr. Novakovic, do you know who Radivoje Nikolic is?
18 A. I don't know whether we have the same person in mind. I know
19 Radivoje Nikolic who was a well-known Knin attorney. I think he was in
20 the judiciary at Knin at that time.
21 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... was at one time the
22 secretary of the Veritas organisation?
23 A. I don't know. It is possible that he worked for the
25 Q. Do you know of a unit, an RSK unit, which was known by the name
2 A. It was not a unit, it was a band. It could be that in a
3 video-clip, they may have played as soldiers, but they were actually a
4 band of four to five guys.
5 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... where the HV breached RSK
6 lines, ARSK lines, you mentioned in the Velebit area. I believe you then
7 said that there was a breach in Vrlika. Is that right?
8 A. That is right. Well, not in Vrlika, but from the direction of
9 Sinj towards Vrlika, next to Perica dam and Ocestovo village.
10 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
11 A. I don't know that.
12 Q. You were unaware that the HV had managed to breach ARSK positions
13 up on the Dinara in the afternoon of the 4th?
14 A. I was. We knew there were movements at Dinara, although we had
15 no price information.
16 Q. Did General Mrksic know, on the day of the 4th, that there had
17 been a breach up on what is known as Srbena Zemja [phoen]?
18 A. I think he probably knew.
19 Q. Did you know?
20 A. I don't remember whether I knew, but I didn't know that that part
21 of the front line was in danger and closest to Knin. It was there that
22 the HV and the HVO units had entered the area right after
23 Bosansko Grahovo had fallen in June. The village of Strmica
24 time, had been emptied because it had been exposed to shelling.
25 Q. Well, Mr. Novakovic, isn't it true that the HV breach of the ARSK
1 line up on the Dinara is what caused panic to start in Knin on the 4th of
3 A. I don't think that was of primary importance because the
4 population didn't know what was going on, on Dinara either. The panic
5 was caused because of the shelling, rather than the Croatian army
6 breaching our lines. The population did not know about it, since they
7 were not able to feel that themselves.
8 MR. MISETIC: [Previous translation continues] ... 81, please.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, it is repeatedly happened that you ask
10 the registrar already to do something when the previous translation was
11 still continuing.
12 Now, for the record, could you please repeat.
13 MR. MISETIC: Yes, I apologise.
14 1D61-0181, please.
15 This is the witness statement of Radivoje Nikolic. And if we
16 could go --
17 MR. HEDARALY: Sorry, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic.
19 MR. HEDARALY: Given the witness's answer, can we please confirm
20 that it is the same person that we're talking about, since the witness's
21 answer is not clear. I don't know if that is going be covered or not by
22 Mr. Misetic. The witness indicated -- I don't know if we're talking
23 about the same person. I just want the record to be clear.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Can you meet this concern of Mr. Hedaraly.
25 MR. MISETIC: Sure. If we go to page 2, although I don't know if
1 it is relevant to whether it is the same person or not, to what the
2 purpose of what I am posing the question for.
3 But page 2.
4 If we could not show this to the public, Mr. Registrar, just
5 because I don't think that is his home address, but in case it is, Your
6 Honour, so that it is not broadcast.
7 Q. He says, in the first paragraph : "Practically speaking, I
8 myself, Savo Strbac, who is the head of the Veritas organisation; and one
9 fellow lawyer in Knin, Savo Popovic, were mostly involved in the
11 Then he says he used to serve as the vice president of the
12 Commission for the Exchange of Prisoners of War and Missing Persons of
13 the Republika Srpska Krajina."
14 Do you know that person?
15 A. Yes, that is the man.
16 MR. MISETIC: If we could go to page 5 of the statement, please,
17 at the very bottom, the paragraph begins: "Around 1.00 or 2.00 p.m.
18 Q. "Around 1.00 or 2.00 p.m., some shells fell on the hill called
19 Spas. You could smell smoke and something burning, actually the pine
20 trees. Just at that time, some people arrived from the direction of the
21 mountain Dinara. They were called Mindjusari. They told us that the
22 front line on Dinara was broken, and that some of our units were
23 beginning to retreat."
24 He said says that: "At that time, my neighbour, Captain
25 Milivojevic returned, and he informed that he had now such information.
1 He said, in a military slang, 'Everything is under control.' Also, at
2 that time, my father arrived ..."
3 MR. MISETIC: The next page in the B/C/S, please.
4 Q. "... and wants to know what is happening, since he had also heard
5 the front line on Dinara was broken. All of the acquaintances, friends
6 relatives arrived, all of them will having this panicking information
7 that the front line was broke on Dinara. I didn't want to believe that.
8 I tried to make order and peace in the basement with some other older
9 people, since the others in the basement were in panic."
10 MR. MISETIC: Then if we go three paragraphs down.
11 Q. "Now panic overwhelmed the city. A little bit before 6.00 p.m.
12 we could hear Radio Knin. They gave us no information. In the meantime,
13 my godfather's mother arrived and told us that she had valid information
14 from one of the Mindjusari, who returned from Dinara, that the front line
15 was broken in Mount Dinara
16 city. To explain what are the Mindjusari, it was a special unit of
17 capable young men.
18 "At that time around 6.00 p.m., a great number of cars from the
19 upper part of the city was leaving the city, moving towards
20 Bulina Strana."
21 Mr. Novakovic, this is, in fact, what happened on the afternoon
22 of the 4th of August, correct, the front line was breached, panic started
23 ensued, you issued the evacuation order, and people started to leave?
25 A. It is it not. It is your personal point of view. As I
1 explained, many people didn't know about it. You see here for yourself
2 when the captain says that things were under control. It was one of the
3 Mindjusari. It was may have been a guy who deserted his units, and such
4 people always tried to come up with a reason to justify their behaviour.
5 It is customary, whenever somebody did something wrong, it is
6 always someone's else's fault and there is always a good reason for it.
7 To me, that piece of information was irrelevant; however, it did excerpt
8 certain influence.
9 Q. Well, Mr. Novakovic, it also had the added benefit of being true.
10 Right, this information that you say is being passed by someone who is
11 coming up with, basically, an excuse. Right?
12 He is passing along true information because it turns out that
13 you know that, in fact, the front line was breached on the Dinara.
15 A. No, we didn't know. It could be true, but it could not have had
16 any effect if it was not confirmed. For the most part, people didn't
17 know about it, and even at the command, the situation was not clear. The
18 corps commander was there, as well as some other commanders, who had
19 different explanations. This cannot be taken as truthful. It only be a
20 version of events, a person's interpretation of what he had seen; and, by
21 the way, this person was not even a soldier.
22 Q. Okay.
23 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I have completed this topic. I have
24 one more or two more topics to deal with it. In the last five minutes, I
25 would like to clean up something that we discussed yesterday, if I may.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then we will allow Mr. Novakovic already to
2 leave the courtroom.
3 MR. MISETIC: Well, I want to put it to him right now, if I may.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Oh, you want to put it to the witness. I wasn't
5 with you because you were so vague.
6 MR. MISETIC: Sorry.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
8 Mr. Novakovic, Mr. Misetic has a still-pending matter to raise
9 with you.
10 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if I could have 1D61-0355, please.
11 Q. Mr. Novakovic, I just want to take you back one moment to our
12 discussion yesterday about SVK officers simultaneously being active
13 officers in the Yugoslav army. I have before you now a document you
14 authored on the 17th of January, 1994.
15 What you wrote was: "Based on an order by the commander of the
16 SVK and an evident need for an altogether more thorough process of
17 informing the active military persons ... we are delivering the following
19 Point 1: "As a response to incorrect questions as to why the
20 officers joined the RSK (SVK), the answer is very clear and simply: We
21 are responsible as educated and professional people - Krajina people - to
22 fight together with the people of the RSK for the survival and freedom of
23 the Serbian people, our grandfathers, fathers, and offspring.
24 "Point 2: Why have the active duty servicemen from the Yugoslav
25 Army been assigned to the SVK? Because they were born on the territory
1 of the former Republic of Croatia
2 duty servicemen born outside the territory of the RSK were to be assigned
3 by orders to the SVK units, this would be considered as the involvement
4 of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the war."
5 Then point 3: "What is the status of the active duty servicemen
6 in the SVK? Their status is the same as the status of the active duty
7 servicemen in the Yugoslav army."
8 4: "Where are the active duty servicemen registered, in which
9 military post? The active duty servicemen are registered in a separate
10 military post with a code for each separate garrison."
11 We can skip to 6: "Are there any changes? Nothing changes.
12 Instead, they exercise their rights the same way they do -- they did so
13 far in accordance with the laws and regulations of the SRJ, which is the
14 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
15 "Is there any difference in salary? In essence, no. They
16 receive a salary with a 10 to 20 per cent increase."
17 Finally, number 10: "What is the status of officers who refuse
18 to join the SVK? These active duty officers are put on disposal which
19 lasts for a maximum of six months, and on the expiration of that
20 time-period, those who have met the conditions for retirement, 30 years
21 of service, are retired, and the rest lose their status as active duty
23 "Signed, Kosta Novakovic."
24 Mr. Novakovic, it is, in fact, true that while you were serving
25 in the army of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, you were an active member
1 of the Yugoslav army. Correct?
2 A. Could you read point 5 which you skipped, please.
3 Q. No problem.
4 "Are the active duty officers upon joining the RSK transferred,
5 i.e., transferred on official duty? Yes. With the referral of the
6 active officers to the SVK, the same will be appointed to their
7 appropriate duties and will be no longer registered at their previous
8 formation posts."
9 A. That's part of your answer. He can't be a member of any other
10 army. It says quite clearly that they have been transferred and that
11 they will be no longer registered at their previous duties, so that
12 people who were transferred were no longer registered as having duties in
13 the army of Yugoslavia
14 I think that is an important part of the answer.
15 Q. Now, again --
16 A. Yes, please go ahead.
17 Q. Two questions: You were an active duty servicemen of the
18 Yugoslav army considered to be on duty. That's correct, isn't it? It's
19 either yes or no.
20 A. One could say that conditionally speaking, because as I explained
21 previously, we were registered in the personnel centres, and this was
22 elaborated quite sometime before.
23 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... second and final question:
24 If you or any other Yugoslav officer born on the territory of the
25 Republic of Croatia
1 Serbian Krajina, you would have been put on disposal for six months; and,
2 after, that if you still refused, you would have been either forced to
3 retire or you would have lost your active duty status. Is that correct?
4 A. It's partly correct. That's possible because that is what it
5 says. I don't deny that that's what this document says. I'm held
6 responsible for this document, although I didn't sign it. Those were the
7 interpretations, but I don't know of a single instances when someone lost
8 their job because they didn't join the army of the RSK.
9 So this information is evidently linked to the large number of
10 questions arriving from people, especially people who had families. So
11 they had no know what the technical solutions were as regards their
12 salaries and what their families would live on. The family had to be
13 provided for.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I tender 1D61-0355 into evidence.
16 MR. HEDARALY: No objection.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
18 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D940, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE ORIE: D940 is admitted into evidence.
20 We'll adjourn for the day, Mr. Novakovic. We'd like to see you
21 back Monday morning, 9.00, in this same courtroom.
22 Any adjustments as far as time estimates are concerned?
23 MR. MISETIC: I will try to finish within the first session. I
24 have one major topic area to cover with him, and then a relatively
25 smaller area. I will try to get it done by the first session.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Anything further adjustments as far as other parties
2 or other Defence teams are concerned?
3 MR. KAY: Your Honour, I have no questions.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: Mr. President, I will tell you, it very much
5 depends on the progress of Mr. Misetic, but I don't estimate that I will
6 need more than one session.
7 JUDGE ORIE: So, Mr. Novakovic, I again instruct you that you
8 should not to speak with anyone about either the testimony you have given
9 already or the testimony still to bee given.
10 We adjourn and we resume on Monday, the 17th of November, at
11 9.00, Courtroom I.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.50 p.m.
13 to be reconvened on Monday, the 17th day of
14 November, 2008, at 9.00 a.m.