Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 27696

 1                           Tuesday, 23 March 2010

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [The accused entered court]

 4                           --- Upon commencing at 2.20 p.m.

 5             JUDGE ORIE:  Good afternoon to everyone in and around this

 6     courtroom.

 7             Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.

 8             THE REGISTRAR:  Good afternoon, Your Honours.

 9             This is case number IT-06-90-T, the Prosecutor versus

10     Ante Gotovina et al.

11             JUDGE ORIE:  Thank you, Madam Registrar.

12             We will move into private session for two reasons.  First, we

13     have a procedural matter to deal with, and after that we'll continue to

14     hear the evidence of the witness who is at present giving testimony, and

15     that testimony, at least this part, which will take quite a while, will

16     be heard in private session.

17             Madam Registrar.

18                           [Private session]

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Page 27733

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22                           [Open session]

23             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, we are in open session.

24             JUDGE ORIE:  Thank you, Madam Registrar.

25             Mr. Sacic, the questions I'll put to you are dealing with the

Page 27734

 1     special police involved in combat operations, and I'll focus on

 2     Operation Storm.

 3             First of all, could you describe the uniforms that were worn by

 4     the special police when they took part in combat operations in

 5     Operation Storm.

 6        A.   They had green uniforms, the active-duty police had green

 7     uniforms.  But sometimes a reservist might have a camouflage uniform, but

 8     that was very, very infrequent.  As a rule, they had solid green

 9     uniforms.

10             JUDGE ORIE:  Did they have any insignia which would identify them

11     as belonging to special police units?

12        A.   In combat, yes.  To ensure that they would not be victims of

13     friendly fire, they had some kind of ribbons tied on their shoulder

14     patch.  They could be green or blue or yellow, so something like that.

15             JUDGE ORIE:  Did they have any other patches or whatever that

16     could identify them as such?

17        A.   They had a patch on their sleeve.  There would be a sword and

18     lightning on the left sleeve, whereas on the right sleeve they would have

19     a round patch which would say "Special Police of the Republic of Croatia

20     MUP."  And on their breast, there would be the words "Special Police."

21             JUDGE ORIE:  I'd like to show you some pictures.  Could we have

22     P324 on our screens, the second page.

23             Could you look at the picture, and could you tell us whether this

24     was someone wearing a uniform as used by the special police?

25        A.   I am certain, 100 per cent.

Page 27735

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  Could we move to the first page.

 2             The person who is carrying something and who's standing closest

 3     to the blue truck, is that the uniform of the special police?

 4        A.   Well, I cannot really see the patch on the right sleeve or

 5     shoulder.  There should be something there.  But it is a green uniform,

 6     and the shoes are standard-issue special police, and I can even see that

 7     there's a sort of yellow ribbon on his shoulder, so I could assume that

 8     perhaps this was that uniform.

 9             JUDGE ORIE:  Could I take you to Exhibit P325.  Could that be

10     brought on the screen, second.

11             Do you recognise those uniforms?

12        A.   Yes.  These are special police uniforms.

13             JUDGE ORIE:  Could we move to the third page of this document.

14             Same question for the person who is standing --

15        A.   Yes, certainly.

16             JUDGE ORIE:  I take it that you're referring to the person who

17     can be seen as the third to the left of the person with the white

18     clothing.

19        A.   They're all special police members.

20             JUDGE ORIE:  If you say "they're all," may I take it that you do

21     not include the person in the white clothing?

22        A.   Certainly, yes.

23             JUDGE ORIE:  You do include the four persons standing left to

24     him, of which one has a kind of a red band around his head?

25        A.   Yes.

Page 27736

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  The Lucko unit, were they wearing similar uniforms

 2     or the same uniforms as we have seen on these pictures?

 3        A.   Yes.  Only if somebody had another uniform in case he was caught

 4     in the rain, so the rain overcoat could be camouflaged.  So,

 5     theoretically, there may have been some pieces with a camouflage pattern.

 6             JUDGE ORIE:  So you told us that sometimes people who didn't have

 7     the plain green uniform, that they might have been dressed, although

 8     being a member of the special police, in camouflage uniforms, and that

 9     the same could happen under rainy circumstances, where a kind of an

10     overcoat was used or at least coverage against the rain, a cover against

11     the rain.

12             Now, the Chamber has heard evidence that for some combat

13     operations, the special police was attached to the Croatian Army forces,

14     the HV forces.  Would they still wear the same uniforms, or would they

15     then wear different uniforms?

16        A.   The rule was to wear green uniforms always.  Exceptionally,

17     individuals could wear a different uniform, such as -- in that case,

18     where they would change into a reserve uniform, but the rule was a green

19     uniform.

20             JUDGE ORIE:  Now, taking you back to the early stages of

21     Operation Storm, could you tell us, where were you between the 5th and

22     the 9th of August, 1995?

23        A.   On the 5th of August, at 1600 hours, I was in Gracac, until the

24     following morning, the 6th, probably until 7.00 or 8.00.  And then on the

25     6th, I suppose I set out for Bruvno.

Page 27737

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  Could you tell us where you were before 4.00 p.m. on

 2     that 5th of August?

 3        A.   From the early-morning hours, that is, all day from the 4th,

 4     until 12.00 on the 5th of August, I was at the top of the Velebit, on my

 5     forward command post which was on Mali Golic.  That's a mountain.  Around

 6     11.00 or 11.05, I received information that the units of the special

 7     police had put under their control the road to Gracac.  I immediately

 8     issued instructions to my staff that they should start packing everything

 9     up, all communications devices and other equipment, and that we would go

10     to Gracac, which we did.  The trip lasted from about 1300 until 1600

11     hours, when we arrived in Gracac.

12             JUDGE ORIE:  Now, you said you received information that the

13     units of the special police had put under their control the road to

14     Gracac.  Is that the Gospic-Gracac road, or is it another road?

15        A.   No, that's another road, the road through the Velebit area, from

16     Bukva to Mali Alan, Kraljicina Vrata, that's a pass, and an old, unpaved

17     road descends to Gracac.

18             JUDGE ORIE:  Can you tell us which units had taken control of

19     that road, which special police units?

20        A.   About two and a half thousand special police troops must have

21     moved along that road or must have taken that road, carrying out their

22     tasks, so the road remained in the rear, and the road descended to

23     Sveti Rok, where there was a junction with the tarmac road from Sveti Rok

24     to Gracac.

25             JUDGE ORIE:  If I ask you about various units, could you tell us

Page 27738

 1     whether they were involved in this operation?  The Bjelovar-Bilogora

 2     [phoen] unit, could you tell us --

 3        A.   Yes, yes, they carried out their task honourably, courageously

 4     and honourably.

 5             JUDGE ORIE:  Did they take the town of Loncari?  Did they take

 6     control of that town, as far as you're aware of?

 7        A.   Loncari?  I don't know that place, Your Honour.

 8             JUDGE ORIE:  Does the name "Lovinac" ring a bell with you?

 9        A.   Yes, it does.  I know Lovinac.  It's a village not far from

10     Sveti Rok.

11             JUDGE ORIE:  Do you know which unit took control of that village?

12        A.   There must have been more than one unit.  I would have to guess,

13     but there was a unit made up of people who hailed from Lovinac.  And that

14     unit was one of ours, and they may have been the ones.  I cannot be

15     specific at the moment.  But if you could show me a document, I believe

16     that would remind me.

17             JUDGE ORIE:  Well, instead of showing you all kind of documents:

18     Lika Sen's unit, were they among those?

19        A.   You mean a unit by the name of Lika Senj?  No.  Tigar-Gospic,

20     yes; but Lika Senj, no.

21             JUDGE ORIE:  Could you tell us whether the Lucko unit was in any

22     way involved or was ever located in Lovinac.

23        A.   According to plan, Lucko should have been along one of the

24     directions.  They descended from the top of Velebit down to Sveti Rok,

25     but whether they, indeed, entered Lovinac, I couldn't tell, Your Honour.

Page 27739

 1     Because I did prepare for this testimony, but there is such a huge amount

 2     of information, thousands of pages, so I cannot be that specific.

 3             JUDGE ORIE:  I'm asking you what you can tell us from your

 4     memory.  Of course, we have seen quite a lot of documents.

 5             The Rijeka unit, could you tell us where they were on that

 6     morning of the 5th?

 7        A.   I know that.  They were also on that axis.  I think it was the

 8     fourth auxiliary axis.  They also came down from Velebit, and they went

 9     to the Sveti Rok-Medak road.

10             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Same question for the Zagreb unit.

11        A.   The Special Police Unit Alpha from Zagreb, yes.  Their commander,

12     Zoran Cvrk, commanded one of the axes of advance.  And on that axis,

13     there was the ATJ Lucko unit, I remember.  It was one of the units on

14     that axis.

15             JUDGE ORIE:  Same questions for the Zabok unit.

16        A.   I remember them too.  They were also on that axis of advance.  I

17     believe it may have been the third auxiliary axis or the fourth.  The

18     others who were involved were the Special Police Unit Tigar, Tiger, from

19     Gospic, and part of the Vukovar-Srijem unit, Vinkovci, to be more

20     specific.  Then part of the Sisak Moslavina unit, but I'm not sure

21     whether they were from Moslavina or Sisak proper.

22             JUDGE ORIE:  The Dubrava Neretva unit, could you tell us whether

23     they were among the units?

24        A.   Dubrava Neretva, no.  Maybe Grof from Dubrovnik.  There weren't

25     many of them, 25 only.  They may have been involved as intervention unit,

Page 27740

 1     but most certainly not under the name of Dubrava Neretva.  They could

 2     have been the special police unit of the Dubrovnik-Neretva

 3     Police Administration, and their logo was -- or, rather, their name --

 4     the name by which they were known was "Grof," which means "Count."

 5             JUDGE ORIE:  You'd say they were a unit from the Dubrava Neretva

 6     Police Administration, but they were not called by that name, but they

 7     had their own name, "Grof," as you --

 8        A.   Yes.

 9             No, no.  Their name was the Special Police Unit of the

10     Dubrovnik-Neretva Police Administration.  "Grof" was an additional name.

11     They were also known as "Grof," such as with other units that were known

12     as "Tiger" or something else.

13             JUDGE ORIE:  They were nicknames for the unit.

14        A.   Yes, yes, that's what they liked.  Everybody had their own

15     nickname, if we can call it that.

16             JUDGE ORIE:  Now, when did these units, if they did, take control

17     over Gracac?

18        A.   Not all these units.  As far as I remember and as far as I know,

19     the center of Gracac was put under the control of the special police of

20     the Vukovar-Srijem Police Administration, more specifically the Delta

21     unit from Zupanja.  And the road, access road from Ricica to Gracac was

22     under the control partly of the Bijelovarska-Bilogorska unit, and the

23     surrounding hills were under the control of the Bak unit of the Istria

24     Police Administration.  They entered the area with the first echelon

25     around 1100 or 1105 on the 5th.

Page 27741

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  You're talking about the first echelon.  The second

 2     echelon arrived at what time in Gracac?

 3        A.   The task at the time was to have as few forces in Gracac as

 4     possible.  The second echelon went to the areas outside of Gracac, the

 5     area to the south of Gracac, at the foot of Mount Velebit.  And to the

 6     north of Gracac, there were also some forces from the second echelon.

 7     Some forces were at the crossroads from Gracac to Knin.

 8             JUDGE ORIE:  You told us that you went in the -- first of all,

 9     when you arrived in Gracac, what did you do?  What was your task at that

10     moment?

11        A.   Find a place for our headquarters and link up with the operation

12     commander, General Markac, and assigned for my forward command post.  I

13     didn't take much time.  As soon as he got to Gracac, I'm positive that we

14     went to the courthouse.  It's not really at the very center of Gracac,

15     but it's easily accessible on a street.

16             JUDGE ORIE:  And is that where you established your headquarters

17     for the time being or --

18        A.   Yes.  Our communications people started working immediately.

19     They placed their emitters and receivers.  The logistics people also did

20     their part of the work.  There was some furniture there, and everything

21     was ready to use soon.  As soon as 1800 hours, I think we were visited by

22     the minister of the interior, Mr. Ivan Jarnjak, and I reported to him.

23             JUDGE ORIE:  Now, you told us that -- you said the next day you

24     went to -- you proceeded in the direction of Bruvno.  This Chamber

25     received evidence that some of the troops that -- some of the units that

Page 27742

 1     moved on to Bruvno, that they stayed at Stikada for approximately one

 2     day.  Is that something you remember?

 3        A.   Certainly, Your Honour, that's correct.

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  And is Stikada just west of Gracac; is that --

 5        A.   Yes.

 6             JUDGE ORIE:  Were there any special police units that moved in

 7     the direction of Gospic, leaving Gracac on that same 5th of August?

 8        A.   Yes, Your Honour, there were such units, and they mostly moved

 9     along the main road, that is, west of Gracac, from the Sveti Rok-Medak

10     access, and further on to Licki Ribnik, where they joined up with HV

11     forces around 2200 hours which were advancing from the direction of

12     Gospic.

13             JUDGE ORIE:  Now, do you know what HV forces or what HV units it

14     were where they joined up with?

15        A.   I suppose they were local units from Gospic, possibly a home

16     guards regiment, but this -- I cannot really say which forces.  That

17     would be guess-work.

18             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Now, you were operating under the command of

19     what military district, if you were under the command of any military

20     district, for this combat operation?

21        A.   To me, as Chief of Staff, that was irrelevant.  I was under the

22     command of the operation commander, Mladen Markac, all the time.  And as

23     Chief of Staff, there was no need for me to communicate directly with any

24     military district.  My commander did that at a higher level.  He would

25     know the details.

Page 27743

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  Do you not know under whose operational command

 2     General Markac was at the time, which -- even if you did not have to

 3     communicate directly with any military district, do you know --

 4     Mr. Kehoe.

 5             MR. KEHOE:  Mr. President, just by way of clarification,

 6     I think -- I don't know if you want to put this objection in front of the

 7     witness.  I'm not sure.

 8             JUDGE ORIE:  I don't know what the objection is.  Therefore, I

 9     don't know --

10             MR. KEHOE:  Well, I think it's an undisputed fact that the

11     special police was not under any military district.

12             JUDGE ORIE:  Undisputed?

13             MS. MAHINDARATNE:  We don't dispute it, Mr. President.

14             JUDGE ORIE:  You don't dispute it.  Then we don't have to go into

15     that area.  I leave the question as it is and move on, move on to that

16     next day.

17             It seems that your recollection is now that you didn't move the

18     next day in the direction of Bruvno, but the day after that.  Is that

19     correctly understood?

20        A.   Well, it seems that I was in Gracac on the 6th.  In the

21     late-evening hours of the 5th, some units, as instructed by the chief of

22     General Staff of the HV, Mr. Zvonimir Cervenko -- General Cervenko, which

23     instructions were passed on to me by my commander, General Mladen Markac,

24     these units were supposed to be sent to Bruvno at night, and that's what

25     happened, because we received information that there was a tank

Page 27744

 1     platoon -- an enemy tank platoon there and that they were planning on

 2     carrying out a counter-attack.  So we were worried about that, and our

 3     units arrived in Bruvno around 2300 hours.  And as far as I remember,

 4     they -- there was no confrontation on the way there.

 5             Since special police units on the 5th had carried out more tasks

 6     than had been expected of them, we were in a sweep, to put it that way,

 7     and that's why our commander assigned us new tasks.  And I was seeing to

 8     it that the prerequisites for the carrying out of those tasks be in place

 9     with my collaborators.

10             JUDGE ORIE:  What did the -- you said some units were sent to

11     Bruvno at night.  First question:  After they had arrived in Bruvno,

12     where did they go after that?

13        A.   Well, they just deployed in a circular defence position in order

14     to spend the night there and in order to actually prepare everything to

15     set up a repeater there, and they were also instructed that they can go

16     on leave, of course, with all the provisions for security that are normal

17     under such wartime conditions.

18             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  And after they had done all that, could you

19     tell us, from Bruvno -- you said you moved to Bruvno on the, well, 6th or

20     the 7th.  Now, how did the units move on from Bruvno on that day, which

21     whether you call it axis or whatever you call it, how did they move?

22     Perhaps I'll first ask you, how did they end up at the end of that day,

23     the 7th of August?  Where did they -- what places did they finally reach?

24        A.   Well, for my own coherence, I would appreciate it if you allow me

25     to start from the very beginning, if that's okay.

Page 27745

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  Please do so.

 2        A.   So on the 6th, we prepare the documents, and we showed it to the

 3     commander, to our esteemed general.  And then we were to further develop

 4     the -- within -- according to the orders by General Cervenko, our units,

 5     our police units, were supposed to reach the border with Bosnia and

 6     Herzegovina, the state borders, as soon as possible.  The shortest route

 7     in order to carry that out, pursuant to the proposal put forth by our

 8     headquarters, our staff and our general, would be the Bruvno, Mazin,

 9     Gornji and Donji Lapac, and Boricevac axis; in other words, in the

10     direction of the Una River.  For that, it was necessary to employ a

11     significant number of troops, I think even five or six battalions of the

12     special police, but we also had two auxiliary axis.  General Markac felt

13     that we were supposed to make sure to provide for our flanks, and he

14     ordered that one battalion of the forces should head in the direction of

15     Udbine; whereas another battalion of the special police would set out

16     from Gracac, but this was already on the 6th - I am quite sure of

17     that - towards Otric in order to join up the Croatian Army forces.  And

18     there was another place where they were supposed to join up the Croatian

19     Army forces.  That was in Udbine.

20             And since all these plans had been drawn up, on the 7th we set

21     out very early in the morning, perhaps already at 6.00, as I already

22     described earlier.  And within the usual -- the normal chain of command,

23     with clear chains of commands, the commanders along these axis were

24     subordinated directly to me and in direct contact with me.  I had my own

25     mobile staff in a command vehicle, and I was periodically -- or, rather,

Page 27746

 1     I periodically informed, about all the key elements and key issues,

 2     General Markac, but he also had his own communications system and he

 3     could monitor or follow everything that was going on, and he could also

 4     get in touch with me whenever he needed to.  But as for the ongoing

 5     issues that I felt should be resolved between me and the commanders, I

 6     would proceed to do that on my own, and then perhaps after a while, maybe

 7     even an hour later, I would inform him of that.  But sometimes, if I did

 8     not consider it of sufficient significance, I would not even mention the

 9     actions that were taken.

10             JUDGE ORIE:  Now, the shortest route to Donji Lapac by Bruvno,

11     Mazin, Gornji Lapac, and then Donji Lapac is clear to me.  Now, you said

12     some of the units would take a different direction.  You mentioned

13     Udbina, and then from Udbina in the direction of Donji Lapac, after

14     having joined with the HV units.  Now, would they go to -- please correct

15     me.

16        A.   Thank you.  When these forces reached Udbina, and this was the

17     special police unit from Karlovac, I believe, and maybe part of Sisak

18     units, their destination was Udbina alone and the deployment in circular

19     defence position on the foot -- in the hills.  Their task was not to go

20     to Gornji or Donji Lapac, because that would have been too difficult for

21     them.  The terrain was mountainous, and it would be about 30 kilometres

22     or so, so they just deployed there.  So, so much about them.

23             JUDGE ORIE:  And going in the direction of Udbina, would they

24     first go to Bruvno and then, if you say so, to -- then further move in a

25     northwesterly direction; is that how they went there?

Page 27747

 1        A.   Well, they advanced from Bruvno towards Udbina.  That was the

 2     most logical route.  And our concentrated forces advanced from Bruvno

 3     towards Mazin and upward to Gornji Lapac, as I've already mentioned,

 4     where one part of the troops actually split and headed towards the

 5     northerly forest or wooded areas, and they were supposed to cover that in

 6     an infantry advance.  There was some 300, I believe, troops, infantry

 7     troops.  So they were then supposed, in a forced march, to reach

 8     Donji Lapac or, rather, to reach the outskirts of Donji Lapac, the

 9     approaches of Donji Lapac; whereas the main forces were advancing along

10     an asphalt road towards Gornji Lapac.

11             JUDGE ORIE:  I take you to a map of that area to especially

12     understand the last part of your answer.

13             Could I have P190 on the screen.

14        A.   I would truly appreciate that.

15             JUDGE ORIE:  And I will give some further instructions as where

16     to zoom in.

17             Maps take a while, Mr. Sacic.

18             Could we zoom in and focus on the right top corner, to start

19     with.  That's the left top corner, from what I am -- yes, we see.  Could

20     you move a little bit further.  Yes.  Could we further zoom in on that

21     area step by step, please.  Yes, if we could zoom in.  A little bit more

22     to the north, further up.  That seems not to be -- could we move the --

23     yes, Madam Registrar.  Yes.  Could we now move the whole of the picture a

24     little bit to the left, and let's stop there.

25             Can you see it on the your screen, Mr. Sacic?

Page 27748

 1        A.   Yes, I can, Your Honours.

 2             JUDGE ORIE:  Do you see Donji Lapac, which is approximately at

 3     the middle of the map on the top?

 4        A.   Yes, I can see it.

 5             JUDGE ORIE:  Can you see Gornji Lapac?

 6        A.   That's right, I can see it.

 7             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Now, could you by -- tell us how the -- in

 8     view of your last answer, and perhaps give us the names you can see on

 9     the map, how the units moved from Gornji Lapac to Donji Lapac and what

10     route they took?  If not all the same route, as I understood from your

11     answer, tell us how some of them moved and how others moved.

12        A.   Well, I can say with certainty that we set off from Mazin --

13             JUDGE ORIE:  I'd like to have the map again on the screen, and we

14     start the exercise again.  Could we move -- yes.  Zoom in further.  Yes,

15     I think we are back again.

16             Let's look --

17        A.   Yes, we are.  Well, I understood your question.  So the main

18     forces --

19             JUDGE ORIE:  One second.  You started in Mazin.  I see Mazin now

20     as a --

21        A.   That's correct.

22             JUDGE ORIE:  -- relatively small village which is located just a

23     bit south-west of the center of the map we have before us.  Please

24     proceed.

25        A.   So we set out from Mazin towards Potselo, as I can see up there,

Page 27749

 1     and then we followed the road.  It says "Zuldovaca."  It's some kind of

 2     mountain pass there.  And then you can see there are these hairpin bends

 3     in the road towards Gornji Lapac.

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  And then?

 5        A.   Then our forces proceeded up the main road towards Donji Lapac.

 6             JUDGE ORIE:  To be clear, that's the road which goes from

 7     Gornji Lapac in a northwesterly direction up to the point where it reads

 8     "Donji Lapac," "D. Lapac."  Did all the troops go on that main road?

 9        A.   That's correct -- no, not all troops.  As I already said, some of

10     the troops went through the wooded area.  It was a very difficult terrain

11     with no roads, and I think they forked away very soon, perhaps from

12     Mazin Polje, to the left towards this hill, Javornik, where you can see

13     the wood.

14             JUDGE ORIE:  I have not found that word yet.

15             Mr. Usher, could you please provide the witness with the plan so

16     that he can --

17        A.   So to the north, Javornik.

18             JUDGE ORIE:  I see -- is that close to a village which is called

19     "Orahovac"?  Is that --

20        A.   Your Honours, I shouldn't really speak off the top of my head.

21     Perhaps the best thing would be if I could have that order or the report,

22     I could tell you exactly, because that would specify exactly the axis and

23     every village and road, because I can't really remember all those

24     details.

25             JUDGE ORIE:  We will try to find that order, but we'll first have

Page 27750

 1     a break.

 2             And did you mention Ajdukovic before, or is that what you

 3     referred to?  Could you already -- you mentioned a certain name.  Could

 4     we ask already --

 5        A.   The outskirts, the approaches to Donji Lapac, that's what I

 6     mentioned.  But that's easily checked in -- you can see it in the report

 7     following Operation Storm.

 8             JUDGE ORIE:  We'll continue with that after the break.  But you

 9     just mentioned a name, and could I invite Mr. Usher already to give you

10     the pen to -- apparently, there was a -- could you please circle the

11     place you just mentioned.

12        A.   Well, here [marks], I mentioned Javornik.  Now I understood what

13     you meant.  So this is that part that I circled.

14             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  We'll continue after the break.

15             We'll have a break, and we'll resume at 6.00.

16                           --- Recess taken at 5.40 p.m.

17                           --- On resuming at 6.07 p.m.

18             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Sacic, I'm struggling with my screen.

19             Could one of the technicians assist me.

20             Mr. Mikulicic, if you could assist the Chamber, that would be

21     appreciated.  What I found at this moment, Mr. Sacic, is an order dated

22     the 6th of August, which says -- which is under the heading "Order to

23     continue combat operations in D plus 2," and I read in paragraph 3 the

24     following:

25             "Special units of the MUP, upon capturing the Bruvno and Malovan

Page 27751

 1     saddles, continue the attack towards Donji Lapac and capture this area in

 2     co-ordination with the forces of the Gospic Military District on the left

 3     flank and the forces of the Split Military District on the right flank."

 4             Mr. Mikulicic, my problem is that during breaks, I'm locked in

 5     here, so I can't at that moment consult my e-court in my office anymore.

 6             My apologies, Mr. Sacic, but my computer was not very -- any

 7     further detailed orders, Mr. Mikulicic?  Do you have them or --

 8             MR. MIKULICIC:  Your Honour, there was an order titled "D plus 1,

 9     D plus 2," and the following orders.

10             JUDGE ORIE:  But isn't that D plus 1 for the first day and --

11             MR. MIKULICIC:  No, D plus 1 is not for the first day.  In fact,

12     D plus 1 is after the Gracac, so it will be the third day, in fact.

13             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes, but I mean D plus 2, which orders --

14             MR. MIKULICIC:  D plus 2 is Order D552.

15             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes, I have just read from that one.  Is there a

16     later or more detailed order?

17             MR. MIKULICIC:  Yes.

18             On that topic?

19             JUDGE ORIE:  On that topic.

20             MR. MIKULICIC:  No, no.  The following order is D plus 3, but it

21     refers to some other territory.

22             JUDGE ORIE:  Then, Mr. Sacic, I'll take you back to the map.  I

23     just read to you --

24        A.   All right.

25             JUDGE ORIE:  "Upon capturing the Bruvno and Malovan saddles."

Page 27752

 1             Now, where Bruvno is, is relatively clear to us.  Now, could you

 2     tell us where the Malovan saddles are?

 3        A.   It's a -- we cannot see it here.  It's to the right, in the lower

 4     right, toward Otric probably.  Can we raise the map a little?  In this

 5     part, it should be around here [indicates].

 6             JUDGE ORIE:  Could we now zoom out again, but not as much as

 7     we --

 8        A.   Can anybody help me?  Otric --

 9             JUDGE ORIE:  If you tell us to go more south or -- what we have

10     at this moment is we see is "Udbina" --

11        A.   All right.  It should be Malovan.  It's up here in this part from

12     Gracac to Otric, but I ask for assistance.  There are people who know

13     this better.  The general is laughing, sir.

14             JUDGE ORIE:  Tell us whether we have to go more south or east or

15     west or north in order to find it.

16        A.   Your Honour, let's go to the Gracac-Otric road, and we'll find

17     it.  It should be there.

18             JUDGE ORIE:  Tell us to go down, left, right, or up, and then

19     we'll try to get you there, if you tell us.  And then we'll ask the

20     assistance of --

21        A.   I understand.  Raise it a bit, please.  Good.  We found Gracac.

22     Here it is.

23             Raise it some more.  I would fail a geography exam.  I apologise.

24     Malovan should be hereabouts [indicates], but the story about Malovan

25     doesn't matter to me at all.  Of course, I know of that hill or mountain.

Page 27753

 1             Could somebody help me?

 2             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Mikulicic.

 3             MR. MIKULICIC:  If I may assist.

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes, because I'm a bit confused about going from --

 5             MR. MIKULICIC:  Well, if you go -- if you go east of Gracac and a

 6     little bit south, you will see, almost in the middle of the screen,

 7     red-coloured letters "WK."  Just above that capital letters, you will see

 8     Malovan.

 9             JUDGE ORIE:  Just a second.  Gracac, and then you

10     said further ...

11             MR. MIKULICIC:  If you go from Gracac to the right side, that

12     means to the east, and a little bit -- yes, now we'll see.

13             JUDGE ORIE:  "WK," is that --

14             MR. MIKULICIC:  Yes, "WK" on the left side of the screen, and

15     above these letters is "Malovan."

16             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes, I see it.

17             MR. MIKULICIC:  Yeah, that's it.

18             JUDGE ORIE:  I'm still a bit surprised.

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thanks a lot.  Thanks a lot.

20             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  That's not very much in the direction of

21     Donji Lapac, is it?  I try to understand.

22        A.   It's in the direction of Otric, as I said initially, and I'm

23     proud of myself now.

24             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes, that's always good.  At the end of the day,

25     it's always good --

Page 27754

 1        A.   And the general can be proud of me for not making a mistake here,

 2     but I apologise.

 3             JUDGE ORIE:  Now, apparently that's not in the direction of

 4     Donji Lapac, and I would like to focus on before the break.  And can we

 5     move a little bit further up on the map.  Further, further, further,

 6     further.  Yes, further up, and now a little bit further to -- a little

 7     bit further up and a little bit further to the left.  A little bit more,

 8     yes.  Now further up; not too much, not too much.  Yes, there we are.

 9             The Bruvno saddles, do you know where that is?

10        A.   Of course.  It can be seen.  It's on the left, in this

11     corner [indicates].  If we position it in relation to Mazinsko Polje,

12     it's north-west of that, a field.  There is "Bruvanski" and, and then

13     below that.

14             JUDGE ORIE:  I see "Mazinsko Polje," and --

15        A.   Yes.  And then go back to the left and down.

16             JUDGE ORIE:  To the left and down, that is where I read

17     "Cerovac Bruvanski."  Is that --

18        A.   Yes, correct.  And a bit further left and down.

19             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes, and then we get to Bruvno, isn't it?  That's --

20        A.   Yes, that's correct.

21             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Now, how do I have to understand this?  Where

22     you told us that part of the units would go Bruvno-Mazin-Dobroselo-Gorji

23     Lapac-Donji Lapac.  Now you said another -- some other units would go in

24     a different way.  Is there any way you could indicate on this map, if

25     only by what area, approximately, they went through when going in the

Page 27755

 1     direction, as I understood you well, of Donji Lapac?

 2        A.   Yes.  Well, that would be, as I mentioned, Javornik, which I

 3     circled --

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  That has not been saved.  Could we try to do that

 5     again.

 6             Mr. Usher, could you assist?

 7        A.   Can I touch the screen?

 8             JUDGE ORIE:  You'll get a pen, and you'll be invited.  But given

 9     you said -- what name did you just mention?

10        A.   Javornik.

11             JUDGE ORIE:  Could you please circle "Javornik"?

12        A.   [Marks].  That's this wider area.

13             JUDGE ORIE:  One second, please.  Now, how would these units get

14     from Javornik approximately to Donji Lapac?  Could you give us an

15     indication, if you know?  It seems a rather mountainous area there.

16        A.   Well, that's exactly the problem.  It would seem that they --

17     [marks].  This is the route they took, this should be it through the

18     forested area, but don't take my word for it.  I think this must have

19     been the axis.  Of course, the units had to consider the terrain, so they

20     may have strayed a bit from this line.  But this is the rough axis.  The

21     detailed plan of movement should be -- it should be possible to find it

22     on our maps.  I don't have every detail in my memory, but it should be as

23     indicated.  I apologise if I made a mistake, but the majority of forces

24     took this route [marks].  Then we had protection on our left flank.  And

25     then some forces went to Udbina.  Possibly, there was an auxiliary axis

Page 27756

 1     that went like this.

 2             JUDGE ORIE:  Now, what I do understand, that is the majority of

 3     the troops took the main road, which is the blue line you've drawn at the

 4     right-hand side; whereas a smaller number of units --

 5        A.   They took the more difficult route, and my deputy, Zdravko Janjic

 6     was the leader of those forces.  That was very difficult, forbidding

 7     terrain.  Some 400 special police members moved along that axis.

 8             JUDGE ORIE:  Do I understand that they managed finally to get

 9     through the difficult terrain and then approximately, as you indicated by

10     this blue line, without perhaps great precision -- what could be the

11     margin left and right of the left line?  Would it have been one

12     kilometre, two kilometres, that you may have been mistaken?  Or is this

13     approximately what you would consider to be the route they would have

14     taken?

15        A.   I remember that as Chief of Staff, I drew that direction

16     personally on the 6th, and I'm certain that I took part in defining that

17     axis.  So now I'll be ashamed if I made a mistake, but I remember

18     Javornik and the Javornik woods.  I'm not sure whether Ajdukovic Brdo was

19     also on that axis, but I believe that this should be it.

20             JUDGE ORIE:  Now, were there any other forces, whether special

21     police forces or HV forces, or whatever forces you would have

22     co-ordinated with in this area?  That means the Javornik and then up to

23     the north to Donji Lapac area.

24        A.   I'm 100 per cent sure that there were no other forces at the

25     time, because we were the first Croatian forces to advance here.

Page 27757

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  So there were no HV troops going in that -- through

 2     that same area?

 3        A.   Not -- not as far as I remember, no, certainly not.

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  May this marked map be saved and assigned a number.

 5             If there are any problems, Madam Registrar, then we will assign

 6     that number at a later stage, as long as it is saved.

 7                           [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]

 8             JUDGE ORIE:  Saving causes some problem.  We should not touch the

 9     screen any more from now on until the moment that the map has been saved.

10             Mr. Sacic, did you go with the units in the direction of

11     Donji Lapac?

12        A.   Certainly.  I took the main road, Mazin-Mazinsko Polje-Zubovaca,

13     up to those hip and bends towards Gornji Lapac.

14             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Now, earlier we have received evidence that

15     units would go through Dobroselo as well.  Now, the main road with the

16     hairpins goes directly to Gornji Lapac.  Was there any unit that went

17     through Dobroselo?

18        A.   It was their objective to reach Dobroselo.  That may have been a

19     battalion of 300 men, and they, indeed, reached the place.  Now, I'm not

20     sure whether they took the main road to Gornji Lapac.

21             JUDGE ORIE:  I was a bit worried about your markings perhaps

22     being lost, Mr. Sacic, but apparently they're not lost.

23             Madam Registrar, the number assigned to the marked map would

24     be --

25             THE REGISTRAR:  That will be Exhibit C4, Your Honours.

Page 27758

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  C4 is admitted into evidence.

 2             Yes, they would reach Dobroselo from Gornji Lapac, or would they

 3     go through Dobroselo and then to Gornji Lapac?

 4        A.   No, no, no.  The main forces went to Gornji Lapac.  I'm sure of

 5     that, because I was there myself.  The only issue now is whether one

 6     group -- or, in fact, it's certain that one group moved from Gornji Lapac

 7     to the south, to Dobroselo, along the main road, and I assume that for

 8     security reasons a group followed the edges of the foothills here.  We

 9     see the place called Divoselo.  But at any case, they were going along

10     the road because the road was frequently under attack, exposed to

11     artillery attacks, so we all avoided it as much as we could.

12             JUDGE ORIE:  Now, talking about artillery attacks, did you

13     receive, well, let's say, on -- from the beginning, before you entered

14     Gracac, did you receive artillery support when moving to Gracac, and

15     later from Gracac, Bruvno, Donji Lapac?

16        A.   Yes, we had sustained support.  We had a very developed system.

17     It was very efficient, and the commander was extremely -- the chief of

18     artillery was extremely competent and capable, Commander Josip Turkalj.

19             JUDGE ORIE:  So this was artillery provided by the special

20     police.  It was not any outside artillery unit, but it was the artillery

21     unit -- where were they located during these days?

22        A.   Well, they had many difficulties in those days, because we

23     advanced very fast, and they had difficulty with that.  And frequently

24     they were too far forward, exposed, so that I can't tell you where

25     exactly they were.  But Mr. Turkalj did a brilliant job, and I know that

Page 27759

 1     he used to complain to me.  He criticised me, saying that he should have

 2     been advised at least a few hours earlier of what was expected of him and

 3     where, but I just couldn't do it because --

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  Could you give us further details about where the

 5     artillery batteries moved, where they were located, if you remember.

 6        A.   Well, they had their own independent logistics, so they had

 7     transport trucks, and there was a special unit that was escorting them, a

 8     reserve unit, who were just in charge of that, and they were highly

 9     qualified.

10             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Sacic, would you please focus your answer on my

11     question.  I asked you whether you knew where the locations of the

12     batteries were.  Were they -- did they stay behind?  Where -- let's say

13     at the beginning of the operation, where was the -- how many artillery

14     batteries did you have?

15        A.   Well, we had six 128-millimetre mortar batteries, we had multiple

16     rocket-launchers, 75-millimetre mortars, and we had a lot of

17     fire-power that was necessary in order to soften the forward line -- the

18     enemy's forward line, and they were deployed at the appropriate distance

19     from the line of contact.  They operated on call either from the axis

20     commander, or the axis commander would then request that I help by

21     conveying this request for artillery support.  So that's how it worked.

22             JUDGE ORIE:  If you're talking about the axis commander, that

23     would be?

24        A.   Well, those were commanders, in any case, of special police

25     units.

Page 27760

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  So you say the commander of the specific unit,

 2     and we mentioned quite a number of those units before, that they would

 3     call for the artillery support?

 4        A.   Well, sometimes even subordinate officers, perhaps his -- the

 5     commander's deputy, who at a given time found himself in tight spot,

 6     militarily speaking; they ran, for instance, into a bunker or into a

 7     stronghold, enemy stronghold, or perhaps they observed a rocket unit --

 8     enemy rocket unit, where they needed support.  So these were the

 9     situations that we usually ran into, and this type of communication was

10     what we usually had.

11             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Now, how were the targets described, or were

12     there any lists, or was it just on the basis of the observation of the

13     unit commander, or how did this work?

14        A.   As the special police force, we were a unit that was offensive,

15     and we could advance very fast, and it was necessary for our observers to

16     see where it was, where there was a stronghold, and then we would send,

17     by coded messages, information, and with specific information as to where

18     exactly they needed to open fire.  So this was the objective.  We didn't

19     have any strategic shellings or actions.  We only used them to clear the

20     passage.  So if there was an obstacle on our way, then they would assist

21     in facilitating our movement forward.

22             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Did any pre-defined target lists exist which

23     were used when calling for artillery support?

24        A.   We -- it is quite certain that Mr. Turkalj could tell you more

25     about the pre-defined targets.  I really could not name them at this

Page 27761

 1     point, nor would I want to do that.

 2             JUDGE ORIE:  I'm not asking you to name them.  My question was:

 3     Were there any such pre-defined target lists that did exist and were

 4     used?

 5        A.   Well, I assume so.  I assume, in fact, that we had -- for

 6     instance, there was a railway line, Gracac-Medak, where there was an

 7     occasion train that would move along that railway with enemy artillery,

 8     and of course at some point I'm sure that that railway line would have

 9     been a target of our artillery.  I'm just giving this by way of example.

10     Perhaps there would be a military staff or headquarters somewhere that

11     would be a target, but these are concrete targets that you can probably

12     find exact information, specific information about from people who are

13     more competent than I am.

14             JUDGE ORIE:  Again, I'm not primarily asking about whether such

15     targets existed and where they were, but I'm asking whether any

16     pre-defined targets, such as the one you mentioned, were available, or

17     lists -- or lists saying, "Railway," or "Crossroads."  Did such lists,

18     with the coordinates --

19        A.   I understand.  The first -- the front-line, the enemy line, was

20     certainly the target of our artillery.  I can remember that.  I'm quite

21     certain of that.  As for anything else that I could say now, it would

22     just be guess-work, and I really wouldn't want to engage in that.

23             JUDGE ORIE:  Again, my question is not what the targets were, and

24     I'm not inviting you to guess, but whether there were any lists, short or

25     long, saying "Railway X, Y, Z," or "Headquarters of Counter-Intelligence,

Page 27762

 1     X, Y, Z."  Did such lists with the co-ordinates, did they exist and were

 2     they used?

 3        A.   Only on the first day.  Only on the first day, when we had to

 4     break through the first line, there must have been such lists of

 5     strongholds, enemy strongholds, such as the places where we thought that

 6     there was a concentration of enemy forces.  But as for others, I think

 7     there were no such lists, that they were selected ad hoc when our units

 8     ran into some kind of obstacle, then they would call for artillery

 9     support.

10             JUDGE ORIE:  You say the first day, looking at the progress that

11     was made.  Would that go up to Gracac, for example?  I mean, for example,

12     "Crossroads in Gracac, X, Y, Z, or "Police station in Gracac," or

13     whatever target there would have been, would --

14        A.   Well, on Velebit -- on the Velebit front-line, it is certain that

15     they existed, because we had strong enemy forces there that offered firm

16     resistance.  But on the communication lines and on the foot of the

17     mountain, it was very difficult -- it was very important to define

18     exactly the target and then request -- for instance, if a request was

19     sent to me, then my subordinates would have to describe exactly what was

20     going on there, whether this was a strong point of resistance, whether

21     there were fortifications there, or things to that effect.  So it wasn't

22     given -- it wasn't -- such support was not provided without a specific

23     reason provided.

24             JUDGE ORIE:  That still does not answer my question.  You said

25     there must have been lists for the first day.  Now, how far would that

Page 27763

 1     extend?  And my question was whether that would cover or not cover

 2     potential targets, such as crossroads around Gracac or in Gracac.

 3        A.   Well, for sure, for instance, at a distance of six kilometres,

 4     that range, with 128-millimetre mortars and rocket-launchers, and maybe

 5     at a greater distance.  But at this point, Your Honours, it's really

 6     difficult for me, because when I demobilised, I did a lot of other types

 7     of work, and I couldn't really be more technical.  I have prepared for

 8     this testimony, but a lot of time has elapsed, and I couldn't be more

 9     specific and technical.

10             JUDGE ORIE:  Could you tell us at what time on the 7th, if it was

11     on the 7th, you arrived in Donji Lapac?

12        A.   Certainly.  It was around 1400 hours, I'm pretty sure, maybe

13     1430, from the direction of Gornji Lapac.

14             JUDGE ORIE:  And what did you observe when you entered

15     Donji Lapac, in terms of destruction?  Was there a lot of destruction,

16     buildings, houses?

17        A.   Well, not really.  When I entered, I saw smoke.  I think a

18     building was still on fire, it was burning, but some 10 or 15 minutes

19     later I found out that it was actually the police station building.  As

20     for others -- other features, well, there was some trucks, torched

21     trucks, that were on the side of the road, but I didn't see any burned or

22     torched buildings.  The roofs were still on, intact.  There was glass,

23     there was a lot of shattered, broken glass, but I didn't see any

24     buildings destroyed.

25             JUDGE ORIE:  So you'd say apart from this police station which

Page 27764

 1     was on fire, that there was no major damage to other houses or

 2     constructions, apart from windows broken, but not, well, let's say,

 3     corner of a house, what disappeared, or a roof, or major damage to the

 4     walls?  And I'm not talking about bullet impacts, but about real holes in

 5     the walls.  There was --

 6        A.   Well, Your Honour, I didn't really see large-scale destruction.

 7     I would have noticed it, for sure.  There was the usual damage, usual for

 8     such operations, so there wasn't major destruction.  There weren't roofs

 9     pulled down, and, after all, the roads were clear.  They were passable in

10     Donji Lapac, so they weren't blocked with debris.

11             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  When did you leave Donji Lapac?

12        A.   Well, probably already 30 to 40 minutes later, when I received an

13     order from Commander -- from the commander, from my commander,

14     General Markac, to gather my men, all the men I could, and to move on

15     forward to the state border, and to set up a blockade to prevent a

16     counter blow.  This was the axis Donji Lapac-Boricevac-Gornji Vakuf.

17             JUDGE ORIE:  Did you return to Donji Lapac at a later stage?

18        A.   On that same evening, certainly, I'm sure not.  The next day,

19     also I'm sure I didn't.  Maybe on the 9th, but I think not even on the

20     9th did I go to Donji Lapac; rather, I just went to Boricevac, where I

21     had a meeting.  The logistics base -- we didn't have anything in

22     Donji Lapac after I left with the brunt of the forces towards

23     Kulen Vakuf.

24             JUDGE ORIE:  Did you come -- did you go through Donji Lapac at

25     any later stage, which would have allowed you to observe whether the

Page 27765

 1     damage was still the same as it was when you arrived there on the 7th?

 2        A.   Well, if you can believe me, I can't recall, and I cannot even

 3     try and picture this in my mind, the events after the 9th, when I was at

 4     the closest point to Donji Lapac, some five kilometres off, because I had

 5     great difficulties in maintaining or keeping the front-line unbreached,

 6     and whenever I needed something or whatever I needed would be brought to

 7     the headquarters where I was at the time.

 8             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Sacic, I have no further questions for you, and

 9     neither have my colleagues at this moment.

10             Looking at the clock, we have seven minutes left.  Is it of any

11     use to start cross-examination, or should we give up the seven minutes?

12             MS. MAHINDARATNE:  I'd suggest, Mr. President, to start tomorrow.

13     That might be more practical.

14             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes, if there's no objection to that.

15             First of all, I'd like to ask the usher to escort the witness out

16     of the courtroom.

17             Mr. Sacic, we'd like to see you back tomorrow at quarter past

18     2.00 in the afternoon, and that would be in Courtroom -- Madam Registrar?

19     In this same Courtroom I.

20             I again want to instruct you, and I do instruct you, not to speak

21     with anyone about your testimony, whether the testimony already given or

22     still to be given.

23             Would you please follow the usher.

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.

25                           [The witness stands down]

Page 27766

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  Could I inquire with the parties whether now knowing

 2     what the examination by the Chamber covered, whether they could give

 3     already an indication as to how much time they would need for cross?

 4             MS. MAHINDARATNE:  Mr. President, I believe, for me, it would be

 5     about two to three sessions.

 6             JUDGE ORIE:  Two to three sessions.

 7             Looking at the Defence, Mr. Mikulicic?

 8             MR. MIKULICIC:  Your Honour, I presume I will need one session.

 9             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Kay?

10             MR. KAY:  One session.

11             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Kehoe?

12             MR. KEHOE:  Yes, Mr. President, we don't plan any questions at

13     this point.  But if something develops, I'll certainly bring it to the

14     Chamber's attention.

15             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  So the overall estimate is now four to five

16     sessions, which opens a possibility that we could finish with the witness

17     in two days.

18             We then adjourn for the day, and we'll resume tomorrow,

19     Wednesday, the 24th of March, quarter past 2.00, Courtroom I.

20                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.55 p.m.,

21                           to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 24th day of

22                           March, 2010, at 2.15 p.m.