Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 2383

 1                           Tuesday, 8 January 2013

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [The accused entered court]

 4                           --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.

 5             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Good morning to everyone in and around the

 6     courtroom.  May the record reflect that we sit pursuant to Rule 15 bis

 7     for the rest of the week, that is, Judge Hall being absent.

 8                           [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]

 9             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Registrar, could you call the case, please.

10             THE REGISTRAR:  Good morning, Your Honours.  This is case number

11     IT-04-75-T, the Prosecutor versus Goran Hadzic.  Thank you.

12             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Thank you.  May we have the appearances, please,

13     starting with the Prosecution.

14             MR. GILLETT:  Good morning, Your Honours, everybody.  It's

15     Matthew Gillett together with Matthew Olmsted, Sandra Ramirez Rodriguez,

16     and Thomas Laugel.  Thank you.

17             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Thank you very much.

18             For Defence, Mr. Zivanovic.

19             MR. ZIVANOVIC:  Good morning, Your Honours.  For the Defence of

20     Goran Hadzic, Zoran Zivanovic and Christopher Gosnell.  Thank you.

21             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Thank you very much.

22             MR. GILLETT:  Your Honour, just before the witness enters, one

23     brief matter.  Yesterday I said I'd look into a document which was

24     admitted, P363, that was admitted under seal, and to explain the problem,

25     could we briefly go into private session.

Page 2384

 1             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Private session, please.

 2                           [Private session]

 3   (redacted)

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 5   (redacted)

 6   (redacted)

 7   (redacted)

 8   (redacted)

 9   (redacted)

10   (redacted)

11   (redacted)

12   (redacted)

13   (redacted)

14   (redacted)

15   (redacted)

16   (redacted)

17   (redacted)

18   (redacted)

19   (redacted)

20   (redacted)

21   (redacted)

22                           [Open session]

23             THE REGISTRAR:  We're back in open session, Your Honours.  Thank

24     you.

25             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Thank you.

Page 2385

 1                           [The witness takes the stand]

 2             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Good morning to you, Mr. Strinovic.  I remind you

 3     that you are still under oath.

 4                           WITNESS:  DAVOR STRINOVIC [Resumed]

 5                           [Witness answered through interpreter]

 6             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Gillett.

 7             MR. GILLETT:  Thank you, Your Honour.  I completed my direct

 8     examination.

 9             JUDGE DELVOIE:  I'm sorry.  You did.  You did indeed.  So,

10     Mr. Zivanovic, for cross-examination.

11             MR. ZIVANOVIC:  Thank you, Your Honour.

12                           Cross-examination by Mr. Zivanovic:

13        Q.   [No interpretation]

14             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Zivanovic, one moment, please.  We seem to

15     have a problem with the translation.

16             MR. ZIVANOVIC:  Okay.  I will repeat my introduction.

17        Q.   [Interpretation] Good morning, Professor Strinovic.  My name is

18     Zoran Zivanovic.  I represent Goran Hadzic in these proceedings, and

19     before I start putting my questions to you, I would like to convey to you

20     a request by the interpreters to slow down and allow them to follow your

21     words properly.

22             Yesterday, the Prosecutor showed you your curriculum vitae.  It

23     was admitted as P33 -- 351.  In your CV, you stated that inter alia the

24     exhumations and processing of mortal remains was something that the

25     specialists of forensic medicine were involved in and in only a smaller

Page 2386

 1     number of cases those were pathologists.

 2             First of all, could you please clarify the difference between

 3     these two categories, i.e., between these two professions?

 4        A.   Yes.  As I've already stated, forensic expert is primarily

 5     involved in violent deaths and suspicious deaths, everything that might

 6     constitute a crime.  Unlike that, the main task of a pathologist is to

 7     establish any diseases that existed in a human being whereas a

 8     pathologists is involved in post-mortem.  He concentrates on the

 9     diagnosis, on what is ill, what is not healthy.  That's the domain of a

10     pathologist; i.e., a pathologist deals with natural deaths caused by an

11     illness and this is the principal difference between a forensic expert

12     and a pathologist.

13        Q.   Yesterday, you stated that you attended the exhumations that were

14     carried out in the Republic of Croatia and that you started doing that in

15     1995.  Could you please explain the significance, if any, of the presence

16     of a forensic -- forensic expert during an exhumation?

17        A.   When the process of exhumation starts, the bodies may be

18     completely preserved or they may be just skeletons depending on the lapse

19     of time.  Since we are talking about individual and mass graves and

20     there's a suspicion of violent deaths, it's customary for a forensic

21     expert to attend such an exhumation because he will be involved in

22     further proceedings of the examination of the bodies or mortal remains,

23     the post-mortem, and then that person will also draft a protocol.  He

24     will establish all the elements necessary for the identification of the

25     body and the possible causes of death, and for that reason, a doctor has

Page 2387

 1     to attend every exhumation, if possible a forensic expert.  If that was

 2     not possible, because forensic experts had a lot of work at the time in

 3     view of the number of casualties of war, a pathologist would step in

 4     after having been given training for the procedure of exhumation.

 5             When it comes to exhumation, it is very important to do a good

 6     job, quality job.  Each body has to be taken out in full and then a

 7     post-mortem has to be done either very near the grave or in an

 8     institution that is specialised in that.  During exhumations it is very

 9     important to separate the bodies from each other and that every body and

10     all the things that belong to the body should be put in the same bag and

11     that they arrive on the table of a post-mortem expert in that shape and

12     form.

13        Q.   Could you please tell us whether during an exhumation one can

14     observe whether the mass grave was made contemporaneously, whether it was

15     already dug out and whether bodies had been added to it?  Can you see

16     that with the naked eye during the exhumation?

17        A.   It's very difficult to provide an exact answer to your question.

18     It depends on a number of factor -- factors.  In principle, they are mass

19     graves where bodies were buried over the course of one day or several

20     days.  However, what we found during exhumations is the fact that there

21     were graves with only the remains of human bodies or objects which

22     indicated that some bodies had been buried there privately.  That's what

23     we did see.  And what you're asking me, whether you can put bodies in one

24     grave on several occasions, i.e., whether the bodies could be buried over

25     a space of time, of course the answer is yes.  Yes.  How can we see that?

Page 2388

 1     If the lapse of time between the deposition of the bodies in the grave is

 2     short, then the findings will indicate that the bodies were put there

 3     more or less about the same time.  It's only logical, because the changes

 4     on the mortal remains will be the same.  If the lapse of time was longer

 5     and if the bodies are close to each other, one could draw a conclusion

 6     that some of the bodies were buried earlier and some of them later.

 7             I have to say the following:  We can see different processes of

 8     the decomposition of the bodies, and it's only logical if the bodies are

 9     buried superficially, then the process of disintegration will be very

10     fast, as I told you yesterday.  Within a space of several months, the

11     body turns into a skeleton.  In that same grave, people who were buried

12     at the same time but were buried deeper in -- in the soil and especially

13     if the soil is humid, which is the case deeper in the grave, for example,

14     at a depth of 5 to 6 metres, a different process will have taken place.

15     The bodies will become saponified, and the tissues including skin and

16     other organs will be preserved and will present changes even after

17     several years.

18             It is possible that in one grave which is deep, several different

19     processes may be taking place depending on the depth.  This doesn't mean

20     that the bodies were buried at different times.  They may have been

21     buried at the same time and still the processes affecting the bodies will

22     be different and will cause different changes on those bodily remains.

23        Q.   You obviously know as a member of the commission that certain

24     documents were compiled during the exhumations covering the exhumation

25     process.  I'm going to read to you a document that we have.  This is on

Page 2389

 1     our list -- or, rather, on the Prosecutor's list, document 2748.  I'm

 2     reading from paragraph 24.  We have only the B/C/S version.  This has not

 3     been translated into English yet.  I'm reading from paragraph 24.  I'm

 4     going to read to you to have the English translation on the record.  This

 5     is on page 15 in the B/C/S version of the document.  The document's

 6     covering an exhumation consist of written requests, reports from the --

 7             THE INTERPRETER:  May it be noted that the interpreters cannot

 8     see that document on the screen and it is difficult to provide the exact

 9     and correct translation when somebody's reading.  Now we have it.

10             MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]

11        Q.   The documentation on the implementation of an exhumation consists

12     of written requests, i.e., reports of the administration for detained and

13     missing persons sent to the authorised bodies and organisations on the

14     implementation of an exhumation, an order of the authorised investigating

15     judge for the implementation of an exhumation, the minutes of a competent

16     investigating judge about the course of the exhumation, photo

17     documentation, and in certain cases video-clips as well as a form for the

18     monitoring of the course of the exhumation which contains data on the

19     participants in the process of exhumation and the places and findings of

20     the field research.

21             Is this what is compiled during an exhumation?

22        A.   Yes.  I know that this is a standard procedure which exists

23     during every exhumation.

24        Q.   And then we can read the following paragraph:

25             "In keeping with the decree of the government of the

Page 2390

 1     Republic of Croatia, the administration for detained and missing persons

 2     collects documentation regarding all the implemented exhumations of

 3     mortal remains.  The aforementioned documentation is part of the archive

 4     of the administration for detained and missing persons and is safeguarded

 5     in its headquarters.  Only the officials of the administration for

 6     detained and missing have access to the archives pursuant to the

 7     instruction of authorised officials (the assistant minister and chief of

 8     department)."

 9             I'm asking you as a member of that commission, I can see that the

10     access to the documentation is very restricted.  For example, we have not

11     been able to access that documentation.  As far as I know, the

12     Prosecution has not been gained -- granted access either.  Do you know

13     what are the reasons why the exhumation data is so protected?  Why is the

14     access so restricted and granted only to the officials of the

15     administration?

16        A.   I wouldn't be able to answer that question.  What I can tell you

17     is that we as the medical part of the team were always there during every

18     exhumation and that after that we know what follows next, and that is

19     when the bodies come from processing.  Again, that processing is carried

20     out by people under our control, experts who process the mortal remains.

21     They draft protocols which are then sent to the authorised bodies.  Why

22     so much secrecy that you're asking me about?  I really wouldn't be able

23     to tell you about.  I can't answer your question.

24        Q.   We have an official record from just one exhumation, and that was

25     carried out in the village of Lovas.  Not at the Lovas farm but in the

Page 2391

 1     village.  That was carried out in 1996.  This is our exhibit, 1D179.  You

 2     are going to see it on the screen in a minute.

 3             The record shows that you did not attend that exhumation.

 4     However, I would like you to look at the record which was compiled by the

 5     court over there, and please tell us whether this is what the record of

 6     the exhumations that were carried out in the Republic of Croatia looked

 7     like this.  I'm talking about those exhumations that were carried out

 8     starting with 1995.

 9        A.   As for the appearance of the records from the very beginning, I

10     can't tell you anything about those because I was not involved in their

11     drafting.  However, the procedure was very similar if not identical.

12     When I say the procedure, I mean who were the people who attended the

13     exhumations, how the exhumations were prepared, the exhumation itself,

14     putting the bodies in bags, marking them, and sending them to a place

15     where they would be processed.  That procedure never changed.  And as for

16     the specific record and whether all the records looked more or less the

17     same, I really can't tell you.

18        Q.   Thank you.  Yesterday, the Prosecutor also showed you one finding

19     by Dr. Clark.  It was admitted under number 362.  It deals with

20     exhumations carried out by this Tribunal from 1998 through 2001.  Could

21     we look at that finding.

22             This is a report by the chief pathologist Dr. Clark, and on

23     page 2 he lists the experts who took part in these exhumations.  What

24     catches the eye is that he does not mention forensic experts.  He

25     mentions pathologists and other specialists but not experts in forensic

Page 2392

 1     medicine.  That's on page 2.  In fact, on page 3 in B/C/S, in English

 2     it's on page 2, the last paragraph.

 3             I don't know if you are able to see this in B/C/S.  It's in the

 4     last paragraph.

 5        A.   Is this under "Autopsy Report"?

 6        Q.   Yes.  It says the conclusions and the opinions were provided

 7     exclusively by pathologists.  I see that he doesn't mention experts in

 8     forensic medicine at all.  So I wanted to know, do you know why experts

 9     in forensic medicine were excluded on that occasion?

10        A.   As far as I know, that team of experts who worked with Dr. Clark

11     came from all of Europe and even the United States, and in their

12     terminology, the words "forensic medicine" are rarely -- very rarely

13     used.  When they say "pathologists," that includes forensic pathologists.

14     So these people were certainly forensic pathologists and had experience

15     with violent deaths and mass graves, people with experience who performed

16     this job that we are discussing, but their terminology is a bit

17     different.  They rarely refer to forensic pathologists, but this team of

18     people included, in fact, forensic pathologists as we understand the

19     term.

20        Q.   Specifically you did not make part of that team?

21        A.   No.  As I explained yesterday, when international experts

22     processed the grave from exhumation until autopsy, we and the experts

23     from Serbia were just observers.  We could observe, and we could make

24     comments, but we were not directly involved.

25        Q.   On page 1 of this report is a list of all the exhumations carried

Page 2393

 1     out by the Tribunal.  It's in the box.  And if I understood your answer

 2     correctly, you were not personally involved in any of the exhumations

 3     listed on page 1.

 4        A.   Yes.  As I said before, I did not participate, but I was there

 5     later during autopsies, and I was involved later in the identification

 6     when families were invited to Zagreb as a rule and final identification

 7     was made, when the findings were shown to the family and when they were

 8     giving our explanation of our opinion.

 9        Q.   I'll ask you about one more site that is not listed in this

10     report.  It's the exhumation at Celije.  My impression was that this site

11     was exhumed by Croatian authorities.  Were you there?

12        A.   No, I was not there.

13        Q.   Do you know anything about that exhumation?  Was it carried out

14     by the Tribunal or someone else?

15        A.   I could not say off-the-cuff.  If I had documents before me --

16     I'm sure there is information about how it was organised.  I don't know

17     by heart.

18        Q.   Unfortunately, I don't have any such papers to show you.  We will

19     now move to Exhibit 360.  It's a record of a meeting from June 1992.  It

20     was shown to you yesterday by the Prosecution.  The meeting was held with

21     representatives of Yugoslavia and representatives of some international

22     organisations.

23             You said the meeting was attended, and it's on the record, by

24     Dr. Stankovic, forensic expert, who was at the time a JNA officer.  In

25     this record, I notice that he stated at that meeting that on the 23rd,

Page 2394

 1     24th November 1991, three teams arrived in Vukovar, and they found a

 2     register of deaths at the hospital.  It's on pages 6 and 7 in B/C/S and

 3     English respectively.  And he stated they found a considerable number of

 4     bodies at two sites, the Jewish cemetery, the Sloga playground, the

 5     harbour office, et cetera.

 6             Do you know if these bodies have ever been identified?  Did you

 7     ever receive any information about that?

 8        A.   Yes.  We had that information.  In fact, we were aware that

 9     during the fighting for Vukovar a large number of people were killed, and

10     since it was impossible to bury these people at the cemetery because it

11     was dangerous, people were buried on several sites.  Those you mentioned

12     were among those where people were buried, because the war was going on

13     and the cemetery was not accessible.  But after the war the terrain was

14     sanitised.  So this team, including Dr. Stankovic, processed these mortal

15     remains, and all these bodies eventually ended up at the Vukovar new

16     cemetery.  Around 1.000 bodies were buried there, and we processed them

17     again, identified and turned over the bodies to the families.

18             So as you said, they were first buried at the closest location in

19     the city itself and later at the cemetery when that became possible.

20        Q.   This primary burial on those four locations, that was done while

21     the Croatian forces still held Vukovar?

22        A.   When exactly those bodies were buried is difficult for me to say,

23     but I know that some of them were buried while Vukovar was still in Croat

24     hands, and others were buried in the first days after 20th November 1991.

25        Q.   In this same record, I see that Colonel Starcevic was also

Page 2395

 1     present, and he said that the JNA had evacuated and turned over 174

 2     members.  The acronym is CEE, which nobody knew what it meant at the

 3     time.  So I'd like to know whether your commission ever asked for

 4     clarification of the meaning of this acronym, to whom those 174 persons

 5     were turned over?

 6        A.   Living persons?

 7        Q.   We can see it on this page.  It's the last paragraph, if you can

 8     make it out.

 9             MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Could we enlarge this a bit, in

10     B/C/S at least.

11        Q.   Yes, please.

12        A.   I don't know this acronym, and I don't know which people these

13     are from the hospital.  All I know is that immediately after the fall of

14     Vukovar, lists were made of people who had been in the hospital who went

15     missing and were later searched for.  Now, concerning the wounded from

16     the Vukovar Hospital, I would not know what this acronym CEE means.

17        Q.   After this meeting, did the commission ask for an explanation of

18     the acronym?  Do you know?

19        A.   It was a long time ago.  It was in 1992.  We must have asked, but

20     I really couldn't tell you now.

21        Q.   Let me just clarify this.  It says here in the words of

22     Major Sljivancanin, these 174 persons included all the wounded and

23     patients from the hospital.  I just want to clear this up for the record.

24     We see from the record that Major Sljivancanin was not at that meeting.

25     Does it mean that it was Colonel Starcevic who conveyed these words of

Page 2396

 1     Sljivancanin?

 2        A.   As far as I remember, Mr. Sljivancanin was not present at any of

 3     those meetings.  It must have been conveyed to us through Starcevic.  I

 4     don't remember the details but Sljivancanin did not attend any of these

 5     meetings.

 6        Q.   Did you get any explanation at the time, if you remember because

 7     it's not in the record?  Did you get any explanation why it was

 8     Major Sljivancanin who was asked about these persons?

 9        A.   I really don't know.

10        Q.   That would be all.  I have no further questions.

11             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Gillett, redirect?

12             MR. GILLETT:  There's no questions on redirect.  Thank you.

13             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Strinovic, this brings your testimony to an

14     end.  We thank you very much for coming to The Hague to assist the

15     Tribunal.  The court officer will escort you out of the courtroom, and we

16     wish you a safe journey back home.  Thank you very much.

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.

18                           [The witness withdrew]

19             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Olmsted.

20             MR. OLMSTED:  Yes, Mr. President.  I can predict your next

21     question is whether we have a witness prepared to go at this time.

22     Unfortunately, the next witness who is another expert witness, is not

23     arriving until today.  We apologise for this.  We simply were not aware

24     until yesterday that the Defence would limit its cross-examination to one

25     session and therefore we could not make alternative arrangements.  The

Page 2397

 1     next witness has a very tight schedule and we didn't want to bring him

 2     out earlier than necessary given his other commitments.

 3             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Thank you.

 4             Mr. Gillett, we still have the redacted version of that one

 5     document for this witness pending.  You will not forget that, and let's

 6     say could you deal with that before -- well, let's say today?

 7             MR. GILLETT:  Yes, Your Honour.  I don't think that will be a

 8     problem.

 9             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Thank you very much.

10             If there is nothing else, court is adjourned until Thursday.

11     Thank you.

12                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 9.44 a.m.,

13                           to be reconvened on Thursday, the 10th day

14                           of January, 2013, at 9.00 a.m.