Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 11616

1 Friday, 8 September 2006

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 [The witness entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.

6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. Unfortunately, Judge Thelin is

7 unable to sit this morning, and we will continue as a Bench of two under

8 the Rule.


10 [Witness answered through interpreter]

11 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, sir. Would you please stand and read

12 aloud the affirmation on the card.

13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak

14 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.

16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.

17 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.

18 Examination by Mr. Vasic:

19 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning. Good morning to all.

20 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters note, we can barely hear Mr.

21 Vasic.

22 JUDGE PARKER: You're asked, Mr. Vasic, if you could keep your

23 voice up.

24 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I'm moving closer to the microphone.

25 I think that's what's causing the problem. Thank you very much. I think

Page 11617

1 this will be much better.

2 Before I start asking away, can I please have the usher's

3 assistance. If Ms. Usher could do something for me. I would like to

4 submit a set of documents to each of the parties that we shall be using

5 during the examination of this witness. Thank you very much.

6 Q. Good morning, sir. Would you please be so kind as to introduce

7 yourself.

8 A. My name is Zoran Basic.

9 Q. Sir, we both speak the same language. We are being interpreted

10 for the benefit of the Chamber and all the parties. Therefore, could you

11 please make a short pause after each of my questions before you start your

12 answers, thereby enabling the interpreters to accurately interpret our

13 exchanges. I'll do the same after each of your answers. The best thing

14 perhaps would be for you to follow the cursor on the screen, on the

15 monitor in front of you. As soon as a sentence is over, then you can

16 start answering.

17 A. Very well.

18 Q. Sir, you are an officer of the JNA, a retired officer?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Can you please tell us about your military career, about your

21 educational background and your specific jobs over the entire span of your

22 career with the JNA?

23 A. I have completed the highest possible military schools, including

24 the All Peoples Defence school. I occupied all positions, platoon

25 commanders up to chief, including stints with engineering units. I was

Page 11618

1 always successful. Whenever there was a mission, I would complete it

2 successfully. So my rates, my success rates, throughout my military

3 career were as high as possible.

4 Q. Thank you very much. At the time you retired, which rank were you

5 holding?

6 A. At my retirement, I was a colonel, but I occupied the position

7 equivalent to that of a general.

8 Q. To understand you correctly, when you say that the post you

9 occupied would normally have required the rank of general, although you

10 were a mere colonel at the time.

11 A. No, not quite. I was the chief of my branch. However, based on

12 my exceptional merit, I was in pay-group 6, which is equivalent to the pay

13 of a general.

14 Q. Thank you very much. You mentioned that at one point in your

15 career you served with the military district headquarters. Can you tell

16 us which one and at which specific time?

17 A. Having completed the All Peoples Defence college, I was appointed

18 commander of a major unit in the 1st Military District. Three and a half

19 years later I was appointed to a higher-ranking position with the military

20 district. I was head of a branch. I could even say that I stayed there

21 for too long. I occupied this position between 1969 and 1973, and I was

22 again exceptionally successful in my work.

23 Q. You say 1969 to 1973 you were the chief of branch or head of

24 branch throughout that time. Which particular branch was that, and was it

25 during the time period specified?

Page 11619

1 A. I'm sorry. I have made an error. It was between 1976 and 1979.

2 I was a brigade commander. Between 1979 and 1993, I was chief of branch

3 in the Belgrade Military District, which is in terms of the area covered,

4 the largest military district in the former Yugoslavia. It covered some

5 of Serbia, some of Bosnia-Herzegovina and some of Croatia.

6 Q. You say the Belgrade Military District. You said the 1st Military

7 District. I assume that this is what you had in mind. In the time

8 relevant to this trial, 1990, 1991, based on what you've just told me, you

9 were searching as chief in the branch of the 1st Military District. Which

10 branch, can you tell us, sir.

11 A. Since 1979 and until 1993, I was the chief of engineers in the 1st

12 Military District.

13 Q. Thank you very much. As chief of engineers back in 1991, do you

14 remember receiving any special assignments after the riots started in what

15 used to be the Republic of Croatia?

16 A. Yes. At the time, those of us who were more experienced officers

17 were sent on certain missions. Just to give you one example, in 1991

18 there was a visit to Mrkovci and Vinkovci. I did go into Vinkovci,

19 actually. And we were monitoring the situation. It was a complex

20 assignment, a complex mission, but I was in charge of teams that went to

21 the Vukovar front and the Vinkovac front, that area.

22 Q. You say you were present in this area, and your mission was to

23 monitor the situation. Who were you assisted by on this mission, and who

24 were you cooperating with? Who were you working with at this time?

25 A. I'm not sure if you mean the situation when the breakaway, the

Page 11620

1 secession began. Is that what you're referring to, sir?

2 Q. By all means. I'll need to clarify this. You told us about

3 monitoring the situation. This monitoring, was that before armed clashes

4 broke out or after?

5 A. I think it was before armed clashes broke out. Since this part of

6 Croatia was under our jurisdiction, our units were deployed in Osijek, in

7 Donje Mikojac, Vukovar, and so on and so forth. I as chief received

8 certain assignments as an operative body to visit those garrisons and to

9 assist wherever necessary.

10 Q. Thank you. Sir, if you remember, did you continue to assist and

11 advise these garrisons once armed clashes had broken out and the fight for

12 secession had begun as you put it?

13 A. You're quite right. We had our own units under our jurisdiction

14 over which we exercised command, but we also had jurisdiction over some

15 other units within the military district. It was for this reason that

16 certain activities were pursued pursuant to orders from the military

17 district itself, and we worked with those units.

18 Q. Thank you. This role you played at the time, did that cover

19 Croatia in it's entirety or, rather, that area of Croatia which was under

20 the jurisdiction of the 1st Military District?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Thank you very much. Or, rather, how long did you stay in this

23 position? I mean in relation to units subordinate to the command of the

24 1st Military District. Is this something you remember, sir?

25 A. Of course I do. How wouldn't I? Back in 1992, more specifically

Page 11621

1 in August, I retired. Up until that point in time, until the very last

2 day, in fact, I was in charge over the operative units of the 1st Army as

3 well as the TO units coordinating with the JNA.

4 Q. Thank you. At this time, as a representative of the command of

5 the 1st Military District, did you relate in the same way to the units of

6 the guards motorised division that were deployed near Vukovar?

7 A. Let me tell you, perhaps you're misexpressing yourself. The 1st

8 guards division if that's the one you had in mind, or, rather, the brigade

9 of the Federal Secretariat, do you mean the one or the other?

10 Q. I'm waiting for the interpretation.

11 A. My apologies.

12 Q. I mean the guards division that was involved in the fighting in

13 Vukovar in September, 1991.

14 A. Yes. You're quite right. I had two many commitments, in fact,

15 towards that unit in terms of preparing the unit as well as carrying out

16 the actual assignments of the 1st Guards Division. I have to point out at

17 that I made several visits there in order to sort out a variety of

18 situations in Mrkovci, Pavlovci, Bogdanovci. Furthermore, I was myself in

19 Mrkovci where the TO units were holding the area. I was there myself.

20 Q. Thank you. Did you report to the command of the 1st Military

21 District about these activities and, if so, how?

22 A. Let me tell you -- I apologise. Let me tell you. To be the chief

23 of branch is a great commitment, and the link to the Chief of Staff and

24 the commander is direct, which means that one needs to report every single

25 move and every single action that one takes in writing. We had our own

Page 11622

1 codes. We regularly submitted these reports. It would be less than

2 serious for a person in that position not to keep reporting. The entire

3 command would be briefed about everything that had occurred, regularly.

4 Q. This system of reporting that you have mentioned, was this

5 established practice with the command of the 1st Military District, and

6 was the same thing done by other bodies with other commitments and duties,

7 other chiefs of branches?

8 A. Absolutely. I have to tell you this: In the evening decisions

9 were made for the following day. Mr. Mrksic and all the others know that,

10 because they were under our authority, and they pursued our orders, and

11 every evening we would be debriefed, and then we would correct our

12 previous orders and issue new orders. All the organs did absolutely the

13 same.

14 Q. Thank you. Tell me, sometime in mid-November, did you receive a

15 very specific task relative to the completion of combat activities in the

16 Borovo-Vukovar sector in addition to the tasks that you had or any tasks

17 that were relative to Eastern Slavonia?

18 A. I monitored that task constantly, and that was the focus of our

19 monitoring. And I participated all the time in those efforts on the

20 Vinkovci-Osik access. So this was nothing new. When this activity ended,

21 we continued our supervision of those units, and we continued having

22 commitments towards those units.

23 I received an order from the Secretariat for National Defence to

24 take urgent measures for de-mining, return of population to the territory,

25 cleaning of the terrain, and this was a very complex task, and it was a

Page 11623

1 burning issue, one of the most difficult tasks in my career.

2 Q. Thank you very much, sir. Can we please be shown Exhibit number

3 1D6 from the 65 ter list, ERN is 0D0003. I apologise. 1D16 is the

4 document number, and the ERN now is 0D000350. The English version is

5 0D000351. The B/C/S version is 0D000348, and the last two digits of the

6 next document are 49. Thank you.

7 Sir, do you have the document before you on the screen? Do you

8 also have a hard copy?

9 A. Yes, I do.

10 Q. Since we all have the hard copy version in B/C/S, maybe we could

11 have the English version on the screen. Sir, I'm referring you to your

12 hard copy version. I'm sure it will be easier for you to follow that

13 rather than the copy on the screen.

14 Can you please tell us whose order is this? Who issued this

15 order? The number in the heading is 1614-176.

16 A. This order was issued by the command of the military district, and

17 this was something that preceded the order of the Federal Secretariat.

18 The order was necessary because the deployment was necessary because

19 certain orders had to be taken to clean up the area, to de-mine the area

20 and everything else that accompanied the situation. So the unit started

21 doing at that as soon as they received this order, and three days later a

22 new order arrived and this would be relevant to supplement the previous

23 order and to enlarge the scope of activities.

24 Q. Thank you very much. What preceded the issuance of this order on

25 clean-up? What problems preceded this order? What prompted the command

Page 11624

1 of the 1st Military District to set up a commission that would be engaged

2 in the issues of the clean-up of the terrain that this issue -- that this

3 order is relevant to?

4 A. Let me tell you this: All our rules, instructions that dealt with

5 the issue of clean-up were so minor that they only dealt with sporadic

6 problems. There were no wide-reaching rules. At the end of my task I

7 proposed that instructions should be drafted for the critical stages where

8 works had been undertaken in a larger territory that had been struck by

9 war or some ecological disasters. This did not exist. Everything that

10 happened with these units -- I must tell you that the biggest problem --

11 problems stemmed from the -- from the fact that dead bodies had not been

12 cleaned up, that carcasses had not been cleaned up, and this was all why

13 we had to do something urgently, and this is why this order was issued.

14 Q. Can you please speak a little slowly, because our interpreters are

15 having a rather difficult time if we speed up.

16 Can you -- you've mentioned some obstacles or barricades that had

17 been put up by somebody. Who was it who put up those barricades that

18 prompted the command of the 1st district to issue this order and to

19 undertake orders?

20 A. In this war, obstacles were placed in very different ways. No

21 record was kept of these obstacles, and no attention was paid to the

22 Geneva Conventions. We thought that members of the Croatian National

23 Guard were not very well-versed in placing obstacles, but they did it in a

24 very devious way. They destroyed bridges in the Mrkovci sector, in the

25 Nijemci sector, and all the while up to the placing gas tanks, activating

Page 11625

1 gas tanks. They would place mines in a four-storey building, and that was

2 terrible. I was astonished when I saw around Dudik, the memorial park in

3 Dudik that they placed mines in a very expert way, that those were very,

4 very sophisticated mines that inflicted a lot of damage.

5 Q. Thank you very much for this answer. Can you please slow down a

6 little when you're speaking for the benefit of the interpreters.

7 You were saying when giving your answer that there were certain

8 events that took place and that went beyond some rules that were in place

9 at that time. Who the perpetrators of those offences were? Who placed

10 those obstacles beyond the scope of any rules?

11 A. Of course the perpetrator is well known. My authority was well

12 pronounced when it came to the system of placing obstacles. This was done

13 in such an expert and sophisticated way. For example, the blowing up of

14 the bridge in Nijemci. This was a very sophisticated act. Minefields

15 were placed in the same way. But I have to tell you one more thing.

16 There were very professional officers in the Croatian National Guard who

17 all completed their education in Karlovac and engineers school. The chief

18 of engineers in the national guard of Croatia was Tolice who was in charge

19 of placing obstacles around the entire area of Vukovar.

20 Q. I'm still waiting for the interpretation to end. Tell me, who was

21 it who was in charge of the territory where these obstacles were placed

22 during the armed conflict. Do you have that information? Which side was

23 in charge of that territory? In whose hands was it?

24 A. Of course I know, because I was deployed in that territory before

25 the armed conflict and -- during the armed conflict up to the fall of the

Page 11626

1 Jovanovci-Bijelo Brdo line going all the way up to Tenjavera [phoen]. It

2 was the Croatian National Guard forces.

3 Q. Thank you. Let's go back to the order that you have before you.

4 In paragraph two of this order, the objective of setting up of this

5 commission is indicated. Can you please read this part very slowly. I'm

6 referring to the paragraph in the order number 1614-176 on the setting up

7 of this commission. Do you have that in front of you in hard copy?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. The second paragraph speaks about the need to set up the

10 commission, and can you please read for us why the commission was set up?

11 A. You see, we had to comply with the order of the Federal

12 Secretariat. Our task, according to that order, was like the command of

13 the 1st District received information from the ground on the situation.

14 That was very difficult at the time. This reflected on the Federal

15 Secretariat that issued this order and said in the order urgently secure

16 the area, find the dead and the wounded, remove mines and explosives,

17 de-mine the fields, remove the explosives and mines on the ground. And

18 this was all necessary so as to enable people to go back to their homes as

19 soon as possible. Conditions had to be created for that.

20 I can tell you from experience, because this was in a certain way

21 my wish, to see how many citizens of Vukovar and Borovo would return. And

22 I must tell you that by the beginning of December, over 15.000 people

23 returned to Vukovar.

24 At the time, we did not count heads of Serbs, Croats, Ruthenians.

25 We were Yugoslav officers and people were equal to us. We created a

Page 11627

1 security and safety. I can tell you what the press wrote about our

2 successes in the territory at the time, but I can only tell you that we

3 have contributed to the well-being of these people to a very large extent.

4 And I believe that this order was a very valuable one and that it achieved

5 its goal.

6 Q. Thank you very much. A commission was set up pursuant to this

7 order, and in the order it says that a commission is set up in the

8 following composition: Colonel Zoran Basic, Colonel Bratislav Stasic,

9 Colonel Savo Djelasan, and Colonel Svetislav Kostic. Can you please tell

10 us if this was indeed the make-up of the commission and who the president

11 of the commission was?

12 A. This was the composition of the commission, save for the last

13 member, who for, I don't know what reason, did not attend the work of the

14 commission but the first through were there. They were all experts in the

15 area of security, engineering. In other words, we were very professional,

16 and we were well-equipped to perform that task. And I was appointed

17 president of that commission.

18 Q. Thank you very much. I would like to draw your attention as well

19 as the attention of my learned friends to the last paragraph of this order

20 by the command of the 1st District setting up the commission, and this is

21 immediately above the signature of Vladimir Stojanovic, the Chief of

22 Staff, and it says here that on the basis of the proposals and suggestions

23 as well as the collected data an organisational order should be drafted

24 for the implementation of this task.

25 I would like to know who should have been in charge of drafting

Page 11628

1 this organisational order for the implementation of this task. Do you

2 know that?

3 A. You saw my initials in the corner, ZB. That's one thing. And I

4 was the one who was best equipped to do that job, because I had spent most

5 time in the territory, and having been familiar with the situation, I

6 could have drafted such an order that would find its use in all units. I

7 was the one who could represent the reality of the situation in the best

8 possible way.

9 Q. As far as I understand, and please correct me if I'm wrong, you

10 drafted this organisational order for implementing this task adopted by

11 the command of the 1st Military District on the 23rd of November, 1991.

12 Is that true, sir?

13 A. Precisely.

14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I move this order of the

15 1st Military District command, 1614-176, ID16, be admitted into evidence.

16 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.

17 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit number 758, Your Honours.

18 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.

19 Q. After the commission was established, sir, where did you go, you

20 and I expect members of your commission? Where did you go, and where were

21 you billeted?

22 A. Since I was monitoring the situation, whenever a need began to

23 bud, it wasn't difficult to get me there in order to organise everything.

24 Although an order was being drafted by the Federal Secretariat, orders

25 were still being issued, brief ones, succinct ones, so everything could be

Page 11629

1 prepared. The important thing was to get there as soon as possible.

2 Winter was encroaching gradually, and the difficulty faced by those on the

3 ground was considerable. Therefore, we had to roll up our socks and get

4 down to actually working on the ground.

5 We were told to go to Dalj and stay with the 12 Corps, the late

6 Bratic. That's where we were. On the 22nd and 23rd, we had completed

7 organising all of our forces, all of our units. These units, these forces

8 were exceptionally qualified, and this was important in view of the

9 complex tasks that we were facing. Our powers were exceptionally

10 extensive. No one would have been allowed to limit our movement or our

11 remit. It was down to us to show initiative in terms of organising work

12 and life in the area and to be expeditious too.

13 Q. Thank you very much. I was just about to ask, was it your work,

14 your task, of all things, that assumed a formal aspect because of the

15 order that was issued on the 23rd of November, 1991. And now, if we could

16 please have a 65 ter document, Defence document, on our screens. 1D10.

17 The ERN of the English being 0D000469. My apologies. It's my mistake.

18 The ERN 0D000373 through 0375. The B/C/S is 0D000371 through 72. Thank

19 you. I hope we all have a hard copy of this order.

20 Sir, so should you. You should have a hard copy in front of you.

21 This is strictly confidential. Number 1614-182. The 1st Military

22 District command, the 23rd of November, 1991.

23 Would you be so kind, sir, as to have a look at this order and

24 tell us what it says. Based on which other orders was this order

25 produced, and does it not amount to the same thing as the organisational

Page 11630

1 order for the implementation of your task that you talked about a while

2 ago?

3 A. Yes, certainly. This is certainly a basis for an order to be

4 drafted.

5 You know something? It's pretty clear cut in the army who gives

6 directives and who hands them out and it is in line that that you have to

7 draft orders. The timing is important, and you have to know what forces

8 are available. You will probably be asking another question later about

9 the forces that were grouping there. That was the most complex aspect, to

10 gather them and to get them organised.

11 Q. Thank you very much indeed, sir. In your response you mentioned

12 this Federal Secretariat for All People's Defence. I would like to draw

13 your attention to the very beginning of the order on the consideration

14 now, 1614-182, and the portion entitled "Signals." And then there is this

15 order by the Federal Secretariat, strictly confidential, 693-106. What I

16 want to know is is this the order that you refer to later -- earlier in

17 one of your answers as the fundamental order for clearing the terrain

18 which was eventually followed by the 1st Military District command?

19 A. Indeed. With certain provisos, obviously. There is an outline of

20 what else needs doing.

21 Q. Thank you. We're getting to the question you raised yourself a

22 while ago. What were the forces that were under the command of the

23 commission headed by you? What were the forces involved in the

24 implementation of this task, and what was the area in which this activity

25 took place?

Page 11631

1 A. The military district command, the SSNO, in order to have these

2 tasks implemented needed to provide appropriate assistance. There was a

3 great variety of forces. This was a very complex situation. So one thing

4 I'd like to point out is the JNA provided the investigating magistrates

5 from the Belgrade military court led by Saljic Milo investigative

6 magistrate and his assistants. Further, a body from the 50th medical

7 regiment held by Ljubomir Sljivovic, and then bodies from the Military

8 Medical Academy, pathology institute, headed by Major Zoran Stankovic.

9 Q. Thank you very much. You may continue but there is one name that

10 has been misrecorded and just to keep from losing the thread, please, when

11 you pronounce names and unit, just try to go a little more slowly so we

12 can get it all in.

13 The 5th medical regiment --

14 A. No, no, no, no. The associated preventive medical detachment from

15 Svezdara headed by Ljubomir Videnovic.

16 Q. Thank you very much. We will have to really sink our teeth into

17 this. We have to pronounce the names of these units slowly because we

18 have a great deal of confusion in the transcript. I will do it all over

19 again. You were speaking about this medical unit. Please tell us slowly

20 which medical unit and tell us slowly who it was held by? But slowly so

21 everybody understands what you're talking about.

22 A. Organs of the 50th protection preventive medical detachment led by

23 Lieutenant Colonel Ljubo Videnovic.

24 Q. Thank you for trying. As you continue enumerating these various

25 units, please do it in perhaps the same way as now, slowly.

Page 11632

1 A. Organs of the Military Medical Academy. The pathology institute

2 led by the then Major Zoran Stankovic. Further, units for immediate

3 implementation of assignments, the 305th Engineering Brigade. Further,

4 the 24th Engineers Regiment. Further, the 813th Engineers Regiment, its

5 numerical strength being about 3.150 officers and soldiers. And about 138

6 pieces of engineering equipment. Further, a company for biological,

7 chemical, and -- protection and atomic warfare from the 246th regiment of

8 the atomic, biological and chemical defence, as well as a platoon from

9 Belgrade city's defence system, which was another JNA unit.

10 Q. Thank you very much. We need to stop here before we go on with

11 this unit that was outside the JNA. The ones that you mentioned as being

12 inside the JNA, part of the JNA, this particular unit, was it placed at

13 your disposal and sent to your area, especially after the organisational

14 order was received when you realised how many different things you would

15 have needed and what exactly, were they placed at your disposal by the 1st

16 Military District command?

17 A. Yes, all these units were placed under my direct command. It was

18 a fortunate circumstance that these were units that had been organised on

19 the ground even before this time. They were just taken away from their

20 normal units, larger units of which they were part and placed under my

21 command.

22 Q. Were these units, too, in the area covered by the 12th corps,

23 which is where your headquarters was before you set out for this

24 operation?

25 A. Yes.

Page 11633

1 Q. Would you please be so kind and tell us what the units were that

2 were not formally part of the JNA, these other units that were involved in

3 carrying out the task of which you were in charge?

4 A. As for the external units, non-JNA units, we had the following

5 units: Interior Ministry of the Republic of Serbia; SUP of Vojvodina, the

6 province of Vojvodina. Further, investigating magistrate from Novi Sad.

7 Further, doctors from the pathology institute of the Novi Sad hospital.

8 Whenever necessary, the -- we could have had more, which sometimes we

9 required. There was a task, an initiative, at one point in time to enlist

10 the assistance of the Red Cross from that area as well as other forces.

11 There was little we could do about that, but we had some Red Cross people

12 from Borovo Naselje who helped us clear the ground. But there was little

13 we could do in order to get that. But we had our own manpower. We had

14 our own qualified people, our own technicians and everything else that was

15 required, in Vukovar.

16 Q. You say you enlisted the assistance of the Red Cross from Borovo

17 Selo, but did you also enlist the help of the Vukovar TO staff?

18 A. We worked with the assistant commander for logistics, Antic, from

19 the TO staff. He backed us and he helped us, but it was more us who were

20 helping them on certain assignments, but rather than them assisting us.

21 We couldn't even get ordinary citizens to help us clear the bodies and

22 bury the bodies. Eventually we had to gather a number of volunteers and

23 pay them daily rates to help us with this.

24 Q. When you talk about this assistance, cooperation, I don't know

25 what I should call it, with the assistant commander of the TO staff of

Page 11634

1 logistics, do you know where this headquarters was, or this logistics base

2 of the Vukovar TO, its location?

3 A. Of course I know. I was in touch with them all the time. Antic

4 was stationed at Velepromet. This entire territorial structure that was

5 unified was there. The Municipal Assembly was a street away from there.

6 I think Vukum [phoen] Radic was the chairman of the Municipal Assembly,

7 and I knew all of them as the Assembly was being set up. I knew all of

8 these people because I needed all the help I could get. They helped to

9 the best of their abilities, but we could hardly have expected more.

10 Q. When I look at this order that we have in front of us, if I look

11 at item 1, which describes the composition of the units placed under your

12 command for this mission, it says: "Organs of the SAO Krajina of

13 Slavonija, Baranja and Zapadonja Srem [phoen]." Can you tell us which

14 organs of the autonomous province are these, the ones referred to here?

15 A. We had nothing to do with them and no help from them.

16 Q. So although they're specifically stated in this order by the 1st

17 Military District command, you still got no support from these autonomous

18 province bodies. Can you tell us at least which organs or which bodies

19 the reference is to?

20 A. I believe that the reference here is more to organs of the

21 vicinity of Vukovar, Slavonija where we had Borovo Naselje, where we had

22 Borovo Selo, major settlements. And it was from Borovo Selo of all places

23 that we received the most assistance from ordinary citizens, from the

24 locals, because they were the ones maintaining the siege and taking into

25 account everything that needed doing, but we didn't get any help from

Page 11635

1 anyone else, not even an undertaker who could have helped us bury the

2 bodies.

3 Q. Thank you very much. Mr. Basic, I would like to go back to what

4 you mentioned before as someone being within your group, the investigators

5 of the military court who had their own jobs and the investigators of the

6 civilian judiciary. What were their jobs and what were their assignments

7 really?

8 A. Had we not had them with us, we could not have legally worked on

9 any of the jobs, especially when it came to the discovering of graves,

10 mass graves, identification of bodies. This was all their job. We set up

11 such groups in order to provide them with protection, freedom of work, and

12 physical protection when they performed their duties. In order for them

13 to perform their jobs, we had to help them, and there was a harmony

14 between us. We never had a single problem whether it was the fact that we

15 all loved our work, that we wanted to carry the job through, that we took

16 pride in what we did, I don't know what was the cause of that.

17 Q. Sir, was the task of these investigative bodies in addition to

18 what you have mentioned and that was the legal way to exhume bodies, was

19 their task also to process perpetrators of crimes if such perpetrators

20 were discovered?

21 A. Yes, that was the case, of course. And they helped us with that.

22 We had very few situations of them working beyond that scope. There was

23 so much work here that they couldn't do much else. And this part of the

24 job we gave to Antic, who was the commander of the logistics in Vukovar

25 and they also processed thefts and other crimes. I don't know to what

Page 11636

1 extent and how this continued.

2 Q. Tell me, these bodies, including the ones that we are talking

3 about right now, were they also responsible to the command of the 1st

4 District for the implementation of their tasks?

5 A. Let me put it this way: We knew exactly how far our authorities

6 went. That's why we had Alan Piovic [phoen], the little Saljic, and so on

7 and so forth. They were our right hand in that respect. All of the

8 authorities that touched upon those issues we handed over to them.

9 Q. The persons that you just mentioned, were they actually

10 investigative judges who were on the ground and who were in charge of

11 anything that had to do with law?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Tell me please, your commission that was in involved in the task

14 of clearing and clean-up, what part of the area were you responsible for

15 and in which period of time?

16 A. When the command issues an order, they don't know what the scope

17 of the job will be. The winter was very harsh. It was icy. It was very

18 difficult to dig up the victims' bodies and identify them. Those were all

19 consequences of the winter. And up to 20th of February, we managed to

20 perform the total scope of the de-mining jobs. We did the entire

21 clear-up. A lot of people returned to their homes. This -- the Vukovar

22 Hospital was completed and restored to its function.

23 What we did not accomplish by February we put forward to March.

24 Let me just give you an example. About 1.350 victims were identified and

25 300 remained for identification. We collected all the bodies at Ciglana

Page 11637

1 where they were kept and we were in constant conflict with our pathologist

2 and we dealt with all these problems. This whole mission was completed by

3 the end of April, 1992, for all the various reasons that I've just

4 mentioned.

5 Q. Thank you very much. Let's go -- we shall go back to our -- to

6 your particular task a bit later. Can you please look at the order that

7 we are talking about. That is strictly confidential order number 1614-182

8 paragraph 8 of this order which speaks about the military investigative

9 organs of the 1st District. Let me read and then you will explain the

10 meaning of this paragraph. It says in this paragraph as follows: "The

11 military investigative organ of the 1st District will determine a

12 necessary number of persons for all the tasks relative to the

13 identification of bodies and other tasks from -- stemming from their

14 authorities."

15 Is this what you were talking about, and that is that the

16 investigative judge was in charge of the tasks of identification and

17 everything else that accompanied exhumation and other things all the way

18 up to the prosecution of the perpetrator if there is a reasonable doubt

19 that there was a crime involved in the death of the -- that body?

20 A. You are right. We were assisted by the organs of the Supreme

21 Court. At certain points they came to provide advice and this was the

22 mutual assistance that we provided to each other. And I believe that the

23 military investigative bodies did a very good job. I don't know whether

24 their competence -- whether it was in their purview to prosecute

25 perpetrators or not. However, they had a very serious task, and it was

Page 11638

1 very difficult for them to go beyond that task and prosecute thieves or

2 perpetrators of minor crimes, but we knew that, and they did their job

3 very well.

4 Q. Thank you, Mr. Basic. I would now like to draw your attention to

5 paragraph 12 of this order in which it says that communications chief of

6 the 1st District will plan communications of the Operative Group south for

7 the purposes of the city command and the commission.

8 Does that mean that what had been used before by the Operative

9 Group south is now being transferred to the command of the city of Vukovar

10 and the commission for clear-up?

11 A. This was indispensable, because the garrison command, the

12 commander of the 80th Motorised Brigade, Vojnovic, he assumed duties of

13 the garrison commander.

14 Second of all, our commission was in the entire territory of

15 Slavonija, not only in Vukovar but everywhere where anything appeared. I

16 am referring to the general area of Vukovar. That's why we had to have

17 communications means. We had to be in contact with the 1st Guards Brigade

18 and so on and so forth. The system had to function, and it had to be

19 enlarged to other structures that had been established in the meantime.

20 Q. Thank you very much. Page 23, line 15, the name recorded is

21 "Vujovic". It should be "Vojnovic".

22 You've just mentioned the territory in which your commission was

23 active, which brings me to paragraph 17 of that same order, the last

24 paragraph in the order in which it says that the mission commander will

25 submit daily reports to the commission on the implementation of all tasks

Page 11639

1 in various microlocations, and the commission, in its turn, will regularly

2 report to the command about the situation on the ground.

3 Can you please explain how you as the head of this commission

4 report -- reported to the district command? In what form were your

5 reports, and how often were they submitted?

6 A. Our commission was billeted in Ciglane near Velepromet across the

7 road from Vupik. This was our command post. In the morning we organised

8 the beginning of work. We organised ourselves. Around 1600 hours, just

9 before dusk, we had to stop working to pull people back because there was

10 fire all over the town. This task of collection, as soon as it was

11 processed at the level of the commission, it was coded through the

12 garrison command, and it was sent to the command of the military district.

13 And this was what happened every day.

14 In drastic cases I would report urgently by means of radio

15 telephone to the commander, because I was in constant contact with him.

16 Secondly, at the level of the garrison command we organised a

17 meeting, a regular meeting involving the president of the command of the

18 1st Guards Brigade, Mr. Sljivic. He was there at every meeting. We met

19 regularly in order to assist each other in all the relevant issues. The

20 commander was not very experienced, and that's why he benefited from our

21 assistance. Then once a week I would meet with the military commander and

22 his assistants to discuss all the issues.

23 Q. Can you please repeat who was there in addition to the commander

24 of the military district, which assistants were there? But slowly.

25 A. The commander of the military district could not have done

Page 11640

1 anything without his assistants and those were assistant commanders for

2 logistics, the chief of medical department, the chief of technical

3 department, the chief of security. Mile Babic was in that post at the

4 time. These are the bodies who were of immediate assistance to the

5 commander for all the relevant -- relevant issues.

6 Q. Thank you.

7 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would tender this

8 document bearing number ID 1D10 for admission.

9 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.

10 THE REGISTRAR: With the Exhibit number 759, Your Honours.

11 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

12 Q. You were talking about reporting to the commander and his

13 assistants. Did you report to any other bodies in the 1st Military

14 District about any problems or irregularities that you encountered on the

15 ground? In other words, problems that happened that you were informed

16 about, problems that would be relative to volunteers, members of the ZNG?

17 Q. We were very good colleagues and we cooperated very well, and the

18 commander of the military district issued an order that every form of

19 assistance should be extended to me. And this did not have to be

20 reiterated. As soon as I requested something from the assistant, any

21 assistant, this would be implemented immediately. There were no

22 confrontations there. There was no position on anybody's part to any of

23 the requests that I may have had.

24 Q. I would now like to ask you whether you knew an officer, Colonel

25 Petkovic. Can you tell us who he was at the relevant time?

Page 11641

1 A. Colonel Petkovic was a chief of security of the military district.

2 He was in Sid. Actually, he was not chief. Milan Babic was chief, but he

3 was his assistant in Sid. In critical situations, I had to call him in

4 order to deal with some issues, to resolve certain problems. Sometimes

5 problems were major so he had to come over. They thought that we could

6 deal with everything, and we could. We dealt with issues that were within

7 our purview, but we had him who could turn up and provide us with

8 assistance if needed. He would come from -- all the way from Sid to help

9 us.

10 Q. Does that mean that when you informed him about certain problems

11 he was not very willing to help you solve them, although he was informed

12 about problems that existed on the ground?

13 A. You spotted that very well.

14 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please, Mr. Basic, the commission that you

15 led, did it meet every day to consider plans for more efficient and better

16 implementation of your mission? And when it came to the implementation of

17 your mission, did you ask for support from companies across Yugoslavia?

18 A. Let me put it this way: Our commission worked in a very

19 responsible way. We did not need any help from elsewhere in Yugoslavia,

20 because the command of the military district was a very strong

21 organisation, and if they could not solve the problem, nobody could.

22 Several times we addressed SAO Krajina, but we did not receive any help.

23 The Minister of Health was there who did not help us in any way. He did

24 not help us in an adequate way, although these were his people. The

25 president, who had come from Bosnia, actually from Krajina, he was in

Page 11642

1 Erdut. He also did not help us in any way. Sometimes as he was passing

2 by he would stop in his vehicle just to ask us how we were doing, but he

3 did not help us. We did not need his help, as a matter of fact. We were

4 glad when he stopped. But we could deal with all the problems ourselves.

5 Q. We'll return to the specific assignments of your commission later

6 on to discuss them in greater detail. Now I want to know about repairing

7 buildings that were of public interest in order to get as many people as

8 possible back.

9 Where did you find the construction materials necessary for these

10 repairs, and who was helping you with that?

11 A. You know, to be a chairman of a commission you need a lot of

12 understanding, a lot of knowledge. You need to be aware of what is

13 possible. For example, just for the Vukovar Hospital, I picked up a power

14 generator that weighed 600 kilos myself from a pit in the ground for it to

15 be used there, and then I took several trucks -- truckloads of glass from

16 the Novi Sad glassworks for the Vukovar Hospital. I got 80 of the best

17 people, stone masons, concrete workers, stone cutters, from all the

18 brigades, and then we set up a working group to help mend the hospital. A

19 month later the hospital was up and running and in a position to perform

20 even the most complex times of surgery.

21 The chairman of the commission and all members were not there to

22 stand by and idly watch. They had to blanch headlong into the tasks

23 facing them. I knew every single building from roof to basement. I knew

24 every single construction site. I knew every single street. The length

25 of all these roads, the total length, was 218 kilometres. We cleared all

Page 11643

1 of these. Not a single mine left. Roads fit for travel. All the

2 vehicles that had been destroyed, but now it was all clear, and most of

3 the debris was near the bus terminal, and we later took this to Odzak.

4 But we certainly did a great deal to help the returnees, to the people

5 returning to Vukovar.

6 Just as all the principal streets. We did the mending ourselves.

7 We mentioned all these houses for the citizens, all the principal

8 buildings, but they helped too.

9 Q. Before we head for our break, just one thing. What about the

10 water pipes in Vukovar, the water supply system? Was this badly damaged,

11 and how long did you take to get it up and running again?

12 A. The water supply system was entirely destroyed. Just to give you

13 an example, we built artesian wells for the Vukovar Hospital, but

14 meanwhile we also helped clean the water supply system. We introduced

15 high voltage electricity with a company from Vojvodina. We had people

16 doing this, distributing the cables, putting up pylons. Until the final

17 confrontation there was high voltage. So Vukovar was up and running

18 again. It got a new lease of life. It had running water, electricity,

19 everything.

20 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Basic.

21 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Maybe this would be a convenient time

22 for our first break.

23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic. We will resume at just after

24 a quarter to eleven.

25 --- Recess taken at 10.25 a.m.

Page 11644

1 --- On resuming at 10.52 a.m.

2 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.

3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

4 Q. I know there have been problems with the interpreters. I hope

5 that now the sound is better. If so, I would like to continue.

6 Sir, before the break we spoke about the assignments of your

7 commission in Vukovar, Borovo, and parts of Eastern Slavonia. You

8 enumerated for us the units involved, the units that were under your

9 command while you were carrying out all those tasks. At one point in

10 time, I think you said, and it may have been a mistake, you mentioned the

11 1st Guards Brigade. I suppose you meant the 1st guards division, since as

12 far as I know there was no such thing as the 1st Guards Brigade.

13 A. I think it was an error in terms of the authority of the military

14 district over the brigade, and the 1st guards division is the 1st guards

15 division.

16 Q. Thank you. Sir, you spoke about the fact that you succeeded in

17 record time to get the hospital up and running. I would now like to show

18 you the photograph that has an exhibit number. The photograph shows the

19 hospital.

20 Can we please have Exhibit 170. This is photograph number 11.

21 The ERN number is 00531266.

22 Mr. Basic, can you tell what's in this photograph?

23 A. Yes. This is the side entrance to the hospital building near the

24 basement. I spent some time there. I was there several times surveying

25 the situation, and I have to say in my opinion the hospital had been

Page 11645

1 prepared in some way for combat operations and used for combat operations.

2 I went to all the rooms, and I surveyed the entire situation.

3 In addition to this, the basement and the first floor had water

4 mattresses on which they slept with hundreds of litres of water, and this

5 water was used for combat. That's my opinion. I have to tell it like it

6 is.

7 My friend and colleague was the director of the hospital, Ivezic.

8 I have to say that hospital did not put up a single soldier, did not

9 hospitalise a single soldier, but in a month's time we had the hospital

10 full of soldiers, wounded persons, people who had lost their limbs.

11 One thing is for certain. I'm familiar with the hospital.

12 Q. Can we clarify something, please? You said that as of the 23rd

13 you started clearing up. I suppose it's after that date that you got to

14 the hospital, the hospital building. Can you confirm that for me, sir?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Another matter which I would like to have clarified. You gave us

17 your opinion on what the hospital had been used for. Would you agree with

18 me that you saw no weapons in the hospital when you came? This was

19 several days after Vukovar had been taken.

20 A. Indeed. We pulled out a number of bodies from the hospital, dead

21 bodies, but one thing that was particularly exceptional was there were two

22 common graves across the way.

23 MR. MOORE: I object to the questions in relation to the hospital.

24 My learned friend knows that we have indicated that the summaries that we

25 received were inadequate. We received a proofing note at 3.50 this

Page 11646

1 morning, which is extensive, and there is no reference, as far as I can

2 see, to anything about the hospital. We submit if this topic is going to

3 be dealt with, it should have been in the summary so that we have the

4 proper and appropriate notice of any of these areas or this specific area.

5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.

6 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it wasn't my intention to

7 speak about the hospital, and I wouldn't have unless the witness had

8 confirmed about them getting the hospital up and running in a month's

9 time. And I will not inquire into any further circumstances regarding the

10 hospital, especially in view of the fact that the witness only arrived at

11 the hospital several days after the fall of Vukovar, which makes it

12 entirely irrelevant for our purposes.

13 JUDGE PARKER: I'm glad you used those words, because that is the

14 fact. A number of the matters being dealt with by the witness have no

15 relevance to the issues we're trying. They may be very important to the

16 witness, having regard to his role, but they're not going to assist us in

17 the trial of this matter.

18 The evidence concerning the hospital will not be taken into

19 account by the Trial Chamber in its deliberations.

20 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

21 Q. Can we now please move on to what I indicated would be another

22 subject matter for us to tackle, that is the mines lying about Vukovar and

23 the areas that were mined.

24 Can you specify the areas that you worked in when you were

25 clearing these mines, and can you tell us what sort of explosives were

Page 11647

1 found? Can you tell us about whether there was any system to these mines

2 being laid and distributed, in the briefest possible terms, please.

3 A. If we look at the general area of Vukovar and Borovo, the entire

4 area was strewn with mines and explosives. The clearing was done in a

5 systematic way in order to get the area back to normal as soon as

6 possible.

7 Now, as to the system that was used while laying these mines, we

8 cleared 16.000 anti-tank mines in Vukovar, the airport, and Borovo

9 Naselje. Seven tonnes of explosives, gas cylinders, that sort of thing.

10 It was dreadful. It was dreadful the sort of explosives that were

11 concealed all around the area, especially near the major roads such as the

12 Borovo-Dalj-Bogojeva [phoen] road. There were lots of mines there. The

13 Vukovar-Sotin-Sid road, the Vukovar-Bogdanovci road, the

14 Vukovar-Negoslavci road. Likewise these were the directions in which our

15 brigade was moving. The Vukovar-Brsadin road, the Vukovar-Trpinje road.

16 In Vukovar itself there were lots of obstacles near the bridges, the Vuka

17 River, near the Marina. That area was affected to a large degree.

18 Also, another area where this problem was particularly pronounced

19 was the area around Luzac, also Mitnica. These were areas where the most

20 obstacles were found.

21 Q. What I want to know is downtown Vukovar. I'm particularly

22 interested in that. Could we have Exhibit 256 brought up, photograph

23 number 6. Exhibit 256, photograph number 6. The ERN is 00531236. Thank

24 you. We have it on our screens.

25 Mr. Basic, what does this photograph show?

Page 11648

1 A. This is the bus terminal, the market, and then the road to the

2 hospital on the left and then the road to the department store. Also

3 heading for the hospital there is the marina, and this area had lots of

4 mines and other sorts of obstacles in it.

5 Q. If you can please continue to speak slowly. I think the second

6 part of your testimony in the morning was much, much better in those

7 terms.

8 And if the usher could hand the witness what my learned friend

9 usually calls the magic pen so he can mark for us the areas of downtown

10 Vukovar that were mined and booby-trapped before the team that arrived

11 cleared the mines.

12 A. The bridge over the river Vuka. There are two bridges. The

13 marina, this area, and I just have to tell you, this street, the road to

14 the hospital, it was all booby-trapped as well. So this is the area shown

15 in the photograph. Mitnica, Oljinica [phoen], all these areas were

16 booby-trapped all over. Oljinica is to the left of the hospital on the

17 way to Luzac. That area was quite booby-trapped as well. We lost two

18 soldiers there from the 305th brigade.

19 Q. Could you please put a number 1 in the area where the bridges

20 were, per se number 2 where the marina was that you mentioned. Number 3,

21 you said. Okay. Number 2 --

22 A. Where the bus terminal was.

23 Q. What about this arrow in the direction of the hospital? Can you

24 put a number 4 there, please. Thank you.

25 A. [Marks]

Page 11649

1 Q. Thank you.

2 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I move that this be

3 admitted into evidence, the map as marked.

4 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.

5 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, it will be received with Exhibit

6 number 760.

7 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.

8 Q. Mr. Basic -- we won't be needing Ms. Usher's help with the

9 photograph for the time being. A little later perhaps. Thank you.

10 Mr. Basic, can you tell us how long your team took to clear the

11 Vukovar area and its surroundings, to clear the mines, and when was this

12 mission completed, roughly speaking?

13 A. Vukovar was divided into areas as well as Borovo Naselje, as far

14 as the Bulgarian cemetery and Vucedol. Vucedol and the surrounding

15 vineyards were booby-trapped to a large extent, and each unit was given an

16 area. The 305th brigade was given Borovo Naselje because that was the

17 strongest unit, and they were capable of carrying out this mission. They

18 were well trained with some experienced senior officers, and their

19 numerical strength was the greatest of all the units there. The 24th got

20 the area to the right, Oljinica. And the 813th was assigned the area near

21 the Bulgarian cemetery, Dubrava, Jakvolac [phoen], Ovcara, and that

22 general area. So that the entire room was enveloped. They got themselves

23 organised and they finished sometime in December, on the 25th or the 28th.

24 Some of the units were leaving the area by this time and were on their way

25 back.

Page 11650

1 Q. Can you tell us, when was it safe for people, for civilians, to

2 move about the centre of Vukovar without fearing that they would come

3 across a mine?

4 A. Listen, we used Free Slavonija, the radio station, on a daily

5 basis. Every three or four days I would publicly announce the rules of

6 conduct for the citizens. We were telling them that the situation was

7 quite complex and that there were many dangers of being injured and

8 wounded. So we took all kinds of measures to ensure safety. We

9 instructed citizens to inform us as soon as possible if they noticed

10 anything in their houses, in their gardens. We had small intervention

11 platoons that would be available to intervene immediately should there be

12 any explosive found. I think that we had very brave people there who were

13 very loyal to us and reported things to us. We even conducted some

14 exhumations upon receiving information and found some people.

15 It is quite certain that the commanders guaranteed that their

16 sectors were all complete, and we had no fatalities in those areas. Yes,

17 there were some mines planted and there were cases where neighbours did

18 that to each other and peoples limbs were blown off, but that's another

19 matter.

20 Q. What you said about the commanders, did you have in mind December?

21 A. Yes, yes. December. Late November and December.

22 Q. In addition to the work on de-mining and the work on ensuring safe

23 passage through the region, your commission and units subordinated to it

24 also were duty-bound to remove carcasses so that there would be no

25 infection spreading around.

Page 11651

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Can you tell us in which locations carcasses were buried?

3 A. Not only in the Vukovar region but throughout the entire Slavonian

4 and down towards Nijemci we came across a terrible situation in relation

5 to dead animals. Why? Because there was a lot of food for them but no

6 water, and in Vukovar there was a great amount of dead animals. Some

7 cattle died in Jakupovac and Ovcara in great numbers, so we buried those

8 carcasses immediately. And then there was some cattle that died in

9 Vukovar itself.

10 We had a prevention platoon, and they had a large number of

11 vehicles, loaders, and they would transport those carcasses in them. The

12 unit was capable of digging graves and then atomic, biological, and

13 chemical warfare unit also did its share in order to clear up the Vukovar

14 region from all the carcasses.

15 Let me just tell you that out of 15 -- there were actually 15.000

16 carcasses in the territory of Vukovar and the surrounding area, which is

17 quite a lot.

18 I apologise. If I can say this: The units and the preventive

19 platoon were tasks -- tasked with collecting all carcasses in Jakupovac,

20 Ovcara, and Sutin and hospitalised, if I can say so. Rather, not

21 carcasses but the living animals. They were supposed to capture them, and

22 we managed together to round up 27.000 to 28.000 heads of cattle, and we

23 put them under quarantine, and for several months there was a ban on using

24 those animals until we were sure that they were not infected.

25 Q. Could we see Exhibit 256, please, photograph number 20. ERN

Page 11652

1 number 00531250.

2 Do you recognise the area? Do I need to clarify?

3 A. No, no. This is Ovcara, the region of Ovcara. This is the road

4 leading from the main road to Ovcara, to the administration building, and

5 to the right of the administration building is where we dug large canals,

6 large trenches where we put layers of animal carcasses and then poured

7 lime over it and then finally covered it with soil. We did this both to

8 the left and to the right of the administration building.

9 Q. Could we now have the assistance of the usher, please, so that the

10 witness can mark the areas that he just described as the areas where the

11 carcasses were buried in order to prevent epidemics.

12 A. I saw this area when I toured it, and there was some here too. 1

13 is the central area, and this is 2.

14 Q. Thank you. I don't think we will be requiring the assistance any

15 longer. Thank you.

16 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can I tender this marked

17 photograph into evidence, please?

18 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.

19 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 761, Your Honour.

20 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. We won't be requiring the

21 usher's assistance. Thank you. We won't be requiring it until we have

22 the next photograph.

23 Q. Now I would like to turn to the issue of exhumation of corpses,

24 identification of corpses, which was one of the most important tasks of

25 your commission and units subordinated to it.

Page 11653

1 Tell us, please, how did this part of your team function, this

2 part that dealt with locating, exhuming, identifying and marking corpses

3 and then reburying them?

4 A. I have to tell you that that was the most difficult part of our

5 work for a number of reasons, both involving the families of those who

6 died and the victims. And I have to tell you that our most solid work was

7 performed in that area. We worked at Ciglana and we established a large

8 identification station there. There were all kinds of doctors there,

9 surgeons, dentists, pathologists, anybody who we needed in order to

10 identify persons.

11 I have to tell you that we took great care in locating bodies and

12 recording those locations. So we created several documents to that

13 effect. The first document was the document on the finding of the corpse.

14 No military person was allowed to get involved until lawyers and

15 technicians came to the spot and everything was recorded as to what was

16 found on the victim.

17 From that location the corpse was placed into a body bag with

18 certain information and then transported to the identification station.

19 The identification station had the best working conditions. We had heated

20 tents. We had sufficient amount of warm water to bathe the corpses and do

21 everything else, and then there were doctors there who analysed injuries

22 and all other details concerning the death.

23 Then further, we had records on what was found on corpses, and we

24 did this following very strict rules. We had to ensure that everything

25 was done in full compliance. And it lasted for days. People were

Page 11654

1 removing these corpses and taking them to the right place.

2 We also had a location where the corpses were examined, and this

3 is where we wrote post-mortem -- post-mortem records, and then we had all

4 other kinds of records concerning fingerprints, dental records, and so on,

5 in order to ensure that we could better identify these bodies.

6 Victims were, after being processed, put into body bags and then

7 buried at the Bulgarian cemetery, Bugarsko Groblje, with all appropriate

8 dignity and in a dignified ceremony.

9 Q. You said that before the body was processed for post-mortem

10 examination, it was handed over to investigative organs who performed

11 their work and then -- only then was a post-mortem conducted.

12 A. Yes, yes. Correct. Crime technicians were there on the spot to

13 give their analysis, their evaluation.

14 Q. Once a body arrived to pathologists for post-mortem examination,

15 were injuries recorded? Did you have any schematic, graphic drawing to

16 record injuries in that drawing?

17 A. This is one of the most sensitive issues. Not only pathologists

18 but also doctors had drawings of human bodies, and they were the ones who

19 entered into the drawing of injuries, whereas all factual details were

20 recorded in the post-mortem record. Yes, this was mandatory. Dental

21 records were recorded there as well. And this is evidenced in the success

22 that we achieved. Namely, we processed 1.300 bodies by December.

23 Q. Yes. You mentioned that a large number of persons were

24 identified. Tell me, what did you do about the identified victims? Were

25 families informed or was it not done?

Page 11655

1 A. We had a whole panoply of activities that we conducted. If the

2 person was from the territory of Eastern Slavonia, then, yes, the person's

3 family was informed by Glas Slavonia and then other media. We also had an

4 information bureau at Ciglana, and that functioned very well so that the

5 families would be able to take over bodies as soon as they were available.

6 In the cases where we did not have sufficient information, where

7 the person was not identified, we would bury that body, making sure that

8 whatever records we had were maintained. And if the family was delayed in

9 coming to take over the body, they could pick it up later. It was also

10 possible.

11 Q. Does this mean that in relation to each corpse you knew where it

12 was buried, you knew where the information was stored regarding that

13 corpse so that if a family came subsequently you could easily find that

14 corpse and find that information?

15 A. Yes, absolutely. I have to tell you that until late December we

16 held a meeting with military attaches and other international

17 representatives who were relevant where we described to them the work

18 procedure at Ciglana. Major Stankovic held that meeting with them. TV

19 cameras were there. We explained to them the procedure that we used in

20 relation to corpses uncovered in the wider territory of Vukovar.

21 Q. Thank you. You said that these bodies were buried at the

22 Bulgarian cemetery.

23 Can we now see Exhibit 156. This is a map of Vukovar. I think

24 that this is the map of Vukovar in large scale, or in small scale. Yes,

25 we have it on the screen now. Can we zoom into the central area by 25 per

Page 11656

1 cent. No this is too much. This is too much. Can you zoom out. Yes,

2 excellent.

3 Mr. Basic, I guess you are familiar with this map.

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Certain areas are marked here.

6 A. On the left side there is the Dubrava forest, and on the right

7 side there is the cemetery right there in the middle.

8 Q. I want to ask the usher to give you the magic pen again so you can

9 mark the cemetery where you buried corpses that you had exhumed throughout

10 Vukovar.

11 A. [Marks]

12 Q. You marked it with 1?

13 A. Yes. Mala Dubrava is also interesting because it was extensively

14 mined.

15 Q. Would you please mark it on the map, this Mala Dubrava area, and

16 put a 2 there.

17 A. These are forest roads, and they were extensively mined.

18 Q. Thank you very much.

19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could we tender this map

20 into evidence, please.

21 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.

22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Would you repeat the procedure.

23 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ... it will need to

24 be remarked.

25 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. We will do it

Page 11657

1 very quickly.

2 Q. Mr. Basic, can you mark the Bulgarian cemetery where the bodies

3 exhumed in Vukovar were reburied?

4 A. [Marks]

5 Q. And now 2, next to the Mala Dubrava forest for which you say it

6 was extensively mined.

7 A. [Marks]

8 Q. Thank you very much.

9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Now, Your Honour, I would like to

10 tender this document into evidence.

11 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, the map marked of Vukovar will become

12 Exhibit 762.

13 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]

14 Q. Thank you. Mr. Basic, in the first half of my examination I asked

15 you about Colonel Petkovic and how you reported to him, and he did not

16 want to react. Can you tell us what it was all about? Why did he not

17 want to react? If you can tell us.

18 A. Of course I will tell you. I will. When there was this issue

19 with the Chetnik leader Kamena where six people were killed, among them

20 during the night on the eve of new year or thereabouts, I came there

21 urgently. I was there. I could not reach them. There was extensive

22 security, and I asked Petkovic to come there urgently to deal with that.

23 I told you what had happened there.

24 Q. You said that he didn't come?

25 A. No, he didn't come. I went to control this settlement, the Kijena

Page 11658

1 settlement. I could have been killed because I was held at gunpoint

2 and ...

3 Q. I would like to ask you one more question, probably my last. Did

4 you ever learn from Colonel Petkovic about the cemetery in Ovcara, that

5 about 200 people had been executed in Ovcara? Did you ever learn that

6 from Colonel Petkovic from Sid?

7 A. Let me put it this way: In the territory of Vukovar, I was mostly

8 interested in graves and mass graves. We take a lot of pride that we

9 buried these bodies, that we assist these people regardless of the side

10 that they had been on. We buried everybody with a lot of dignity. That

11 was our utmost priority.

12 However, I'm absolutely certain that if I had known where that

13 grave was I could have exhumed bodies from that grave as well, but I

14 didn't know. I had a few soldiers from the TO who hinted to that, but I

15 did not have the exact information, so I could not know. But I did move

16 around the territory of Jakupovac, but I did not have any information as

17 to where that was, and I could not react.

18 Q. So you never received any information from Colonel Petkovic?

19 A. I'm sure that I didn't. Petkovic and I were good pals. That's

20 why our relationship was what it was.

21 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Basic, for your answers?

22 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have no further

23 questions for this witness.

24 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic.

25 Examination by Mr. Borovic:

Page 11659

1 MR. BOROVIC: Good afternoon, I'm Borovoje Borovic. I represent

2 Miroslav Radic. Your Honour, could we have Exhibit 761 on the screen,

3 please.

4 Q. Do you see this on your screen? A while ago you made some

5 markings on this map. Do you see under 1 where you buried the carcasses

6 and also in the place marked number 2. My question to you is this: Were

7 you the first people to carry out these jobs of clean-up after the fall of

8 Vukovar and Ovcara?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Was there anybody else that was allowed to do any digging,

11 burying, apart from your commission and your people?

12 A. No.

13 Q. Could you please tell us whether you remember whether in this area

14 that we're looking at the screen on the number 1 where you buried the

15 carcasses, did you find any grave with human bodies or not?

16 A. No, we didn't.

17 Q. Later on when you finished your job in Vukovar, did you

18 subsequently receive any information as to the fact that across the road

19 from the hangar there was a grave of some sort?

20 A. No.

21 Q. One more question. When you physically carried out this clean-up

22 and when you dug out the grave for these carcasses, did you find there any

23 empty graves or were there none? Were there no traces of any burials

24 having taken place there?

25 A. There was absolutely nothing there.

Page 11660

1 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I am asking these

2 questions to explain to the Trial Chamber the reference for my question is

3 on page 5008, line 2, with regard to Witness P022. That is the reference

4 that has made me put this question to the witness.

5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Borovic.

6 Mr. Lukic.

7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I have no questions for this witness,

8 Your Honour.

9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Moore.

10 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.

11 Cross-examination by Mr. Moore:

12 Q. Mr. Basic, I have very few questions for you, but I think it's

13 right to say that you have indicated what an excellent military record you

14 have. You've excelled in everything that you have done. I think being

15 modest, that's correct, isn't it?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Can I just ask you about one or two things? You say and have said

18 in your evidence that you have completed the highest possible military

19 schools, including the All People's Defence school. You occupied all

20 positions, platoon commanders up to chief. What exactly does that mean?

21 Can you just give us an idea what your experience was?

22 A. Let me tell you. I am a person with a lot of practice. I was in

23 construction all my life, throughout my career. I acquired knowledge from

24 everybody, from the most common person to the most experienced and

25 knowledgeable person. My experience and the practice that I had helped me

Page 11661

1 to deal with all the problems that I've encountered in my life.

2 I went through all sorts of military schools, the academy, the war

3 school, and this has all helped me to use my knowledge for the well-being

4 of my state which existed at time. At the time, we were all Yugoslavs,

5 let me put it this way. And my view of the territory where I was deployed

6 reflected that.

7 Q. What I'm really trying to clarify is you said that you occupied

8 the position equivalent to that of a general. What exactly do you mean by

9 that, that you had a command structure that operated underneath you?

10 A. Let me tell you. In my work, I was held in high regard. I always

11 used my authority as best as I could. Maybe that was my mistake. Maybe I

12 did not call a spade a spade often enough. I had financial recognition

13 that I found satisfactory for the work that I was doing.

14 Q. But the question is very simple. Did you have a command

15 structure, a comprehensive command structure underneath you at various

16 times. For example, I think you were a brigade commander between 1976 and

17 1979. I want to know if you could just tell us what exactly you mean by

18 command structure. What way did it operate?

19 A. I must tell you that a commander is a personality invested with

20 all the responsibility, but a commander cannot work on his own. He has

21 his assistants, the chiefs of staff, the assistant for political work, and

22 they all work in a synchronised manner. I always respected these people,

23 and I held their views in high regard. I respected their knowledge, their

24 profession, and everything that could be of assistance to my work.

25 I worked in a synchronised manner with everybody, and that has

Page 11662

1 been a great help to me in my whole life.

2 Q. Would it be fair to say that as a commander in, as it was then,

3 the JNA army, that it was important for commanders to coordinate with

4 lesser officers so they understood what was existing within their area of

5 responsibility and their area of command? Would that be a fair way of

6 putting it?

7 A. Of course.

8 Q. And so it would really be a two-way process, I presume. Your

9 subordinates would inform you of what was occurring, and you would, using

10 experience as a commander, observe and make sure that you knew what was

11 going on underneath by your subordinates. Would that again be a fair way

12 of putting it?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Thank you. I want to ask you about something really to -- to

15 assist me, as I don't really understand it very well. What you say is as

16 follows: "It's pretty clear cut in the army who gives the directives, who

17 hands them out. You have to know what forces are available."

18 I want to deal with if I may with the first part because I don't

19 understand. What do you mean "it's pretty clear cut in the army who gives

20 directives"? What did you mean by that?

21 A. I must tell you one thing that you may not be able to understand

22 fully, and that is that the personality of a commander is a personality

23 that is fully capable of command. A commander has to have a lot of

24 characteristics that make him able to command whether he will lead people

25 into war or not, and if people love the commander they will not desert the

Page 11663

1 army, and the commander has to prove himself by his behaviour and by his

2 attitude towards his people.

3 JUDGE PARKER: We're just asked, Mr. Moore, to remind the witness

4 to try and speak more slowly because there is difficulty in keeping up

5 with your speed of speaking by the interpreters.

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


8 Q. But it's the phrase that you use, "It's pretty clear cut in the

9 army." What I think you mean is it's pretty clear to the soldiers who's

10 in charge; is that right?

11 A. Let me tell you, in the army there's not just one person in

12 charge. We had a system of command in steps, and the commands are handed

13 down, down the ladder, and the one at the bottom of the ladder is the one

14 that is superior to the soldier. And his attitude will also reflect on

15 the commander, but the commander is responsible for the whole system.

16 I occupied a lot of commanding posts, and I had never experienced

17 any confrontation.

18 Q. When you refer to the whole system, I don't come from the Balkan

19 area, I come from the United Kingdom, we did not in our army have anything

20 equivalent to what is called and has been called the security organ. When

21 you refer to the whole system, does that include the security organ?

22 A. Of course.

23 Q. And when it comes to ensuring that orders are carried out, what

24 methods does a commander of your seniority use to ensure that orders are

25 carried out? What I'm trying to say is you can give an order, but how do

Page 11664

1 you make sure it's acted upon?

2 A. The difference in education between the UK army and our army is

3 very big. I watched movies, I watched relationships, I studied

4 presentations, I followed lectures by officers from those armies. I

5 realised that our system was different. Morale is different.

6 When I was commander, I said to every soldier, "When you see light

7 in my office, that means I'm here. You can bring your parents or whoever

8 to see me." I made sure that the parents of my soldiers dined with them,

9 and I received everybody. There's no recipe, but you have to know that

10 there has to be discipline. That is normal. That is normal across the

11 board, but another thing prevails, and that is love for your commander,

12 love between commanders and soldiers.

13 Q. Well, can I just set aside love one's commander for a moment and

14 operate on the basis of discipline? Would that be possible?

15 Dealing with discipline, would it be right to say that it is and

16 was an essential element within the JNA army? And we're talking now the

17 1980s, early 1990s. Would you accept that?

18 A. Could you please repeat the last part of your question? Was this

19 the key -- something?

20 Q. All I'm suggesting -- maybe I'm going about it in a rather

21 roundabout way. Would you accept that discipline is essential for the

22 existence of any army?

23 A. Yes, absolutely. But how you achieve it is an entirely different

24 ball game.

25 Q. Well, let's look at the ball game for a moment. Clearly you have

Page 11665

1 referred to documents and the reporting. So, for example, if a order is

2 issued, it's right to say it can be done in two ways principally, and

3 we're talking 1990, 1991, it can be done orally; is that right? That nod

4 means yes, I presume.

5 And it can be done if written form. That is correct, isn't it?

6 A. Relevant order's always issued in writing. Minor orders are

7 issued orally.

8 Q. Yes, but I mean an unimportant fact like the resubordination of a

9 unit is not important. That could just be done orally, couldn't it?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. But you would expect to find that written in the subsequent order

12 to ensure everybody knew where they stood. That's right, isn't it?

13 You've got to know who's underneath you.

14 A. That would be bad practice, if you first issued an oral order and

15 then followed it up by a written order. The essence of most orders and

16 the approach to them is this: Sometimes you don't even have to issue

17 written orders if your officer is responsible. But in any case, if you

18 want to know who is responsible, if you want to assign responsibility to

19 somebody, then yes, you have to follow up with a written order.

20 Q. And why is it important to follow up with a written order? Can

21 you explain to me?

22 A. You see, we are talking about a very significant task if you're

23 referring to the order by the 1st Guards Brigade to the units, which was

24 followed up by the Secretariat for Defence. The second order in this case

25 has to be issued because the latter body was a superior body and the

Page 11666

1 methodology of dealing with the issue contained in the order was different

2 when the subsequent order came from the Federal Secretariat.

3 Q. Well, that's wonderful, but I'm afraid I've completely lost what

4 exactly your talking about. My question really is very simple.

5 You have told us that if you want to assign responsibility to

6 somebody, then, yes, you have to follow it up with a written order, and

7 I'm asking you why you have to follow it up with a written order. I'm

8 talking about the principle. Why do you use the written order as a

9 follow-up? Why is it necessary?

10 A. Let me tell you one thing. In our command practice, the written

11 order is compulsory up to the level of company commander. From company

12 commander level down, you have oral orders. Orders are transmitted

13 orally. That's the command system we have.

14 Secondly, the person giving an order must also cover everything in

15 an order, because an order can include a great many aspects relevant for

16 whoever is supposed to carry it out. It all depends on the degree of

17 complexity involved in an order. This is a methodology that anybody is

18 free to use to the best of their ability.

19 Sometimes some commanders write their orders down without

20 necessarily envisioning the implementation there.

21 Q. But when we talk about methodology in relation to orders, would it

22 be right to say the more complex the task the more important that there is

23 an order which has specific details outlining the task? I think you've

24 nodded your head, but ...

25 A. Yes, you are right.

Page 11667

1 Q. Do you speak English? Okay. You just understand it intuitively.

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Can we just deal then, please, with orders themselves? Why is it

4 important to issue orders on complex tasks?

5 A. It's a little strange the way you're phrasing this question.

6 Every order, especially complex one, must inform the subject about the

7 methodology, about the nature of the order, and a whole series of other

8 matters helping this individual to have the order implemented. An order

9 is never just for an order's sake. That would be the easy way out, to

10 just have it written down. But how exactly do I help those supposed to

11 carry an order out in very practical terms?

12 Q. Let us assume. Let us take you back in time hopefully not very

13 long to where you remember being a brigadier or ostensibly a general. Let

14 us imagine you in that role, that task. You issue a written order. How

15 do you as a brigadier general or a general ensure that that order is

16 carried out? Can you explain that to someone like myself?

17 A. Each commander writing an order just to justify his actions

18 without taking into account the implementation stage and without

19 monitoring the implementation stage and without giving practical

20 assistance to whoever is carry it out, well that's something for the

21 commander, right.

22 Q. Why is it something for the commander? Please explain.

23 A. I think there should never be an order just for an order's sake.

24 An order must contain practical elements, instructions, what is required

25 in terms of equipment and the exact scope of the task to be carried out by

Page 11668

1 a subordinate officer well-defined. No order is meant forever. The

2 greatest misfortune is that people believe there is such a thing as a

3 recipe for writing orders. There is no such thing as a recipe for orders.

4 It all boils down to the skill and ability of the officer drafting an

5 order. But if you'll excuse me, each subordinate officer is normally

6 familiar and well familiar with their commander, aren't they?

7 Q. Ah, you're just talking to a lawyer, I'm afraid. But can we just

8 deal with orders. When you issue an order as a commander, is it important

9 that you familiarise yourself with the environment, the context of the

10 order in relation to what should be achieved? So if something is going to

11 be more difficult, that should be taken into the equation?

12 A. It seems that we are talking at cross-purposes. You cannot have a

13 commander writing for the sake of writing. A commander must be

14 reasonable. He must make sure that assistance is provided through an

15 order to their subordinate officers and to make sure that any mission

16 ordered is successful in terms of implementation. If I don't insist on

17 that, that will soon be the end of me as a commander, because I don't have

18 my own officers making sure that everything is right.

19 Q. But what about the subordinate officer whom you give a task to?

20 If the task that is being given to him is either unreasonable,

21 unachievable, then what is that junior subordinate officer supposed to do?

22 Here he is. He's been given an order, but he perhaps doesn't have, as he

23 sees it, the capacity to carry it out. What's the junior officer's

24 responsibility? What should he do in those circumstances? Can you -- can

25 you help me on this?

Page 11669

1 A. We have developed a debate here. We're talking about the

2 framework of command and control. We had a subject talk called command

3 and control for a commander to learn exactly what constitutes good command

4 and good control. If I can't write an order, I'm a poor commander. My

5 superior officer will soon feel the extent of my failure in terms of

6 exercising command and control. If I want my subordinate to get the

7 simplest possible understanding of my order then I should phrase it in

8 such a way that with the least effort expended he understands what it's

9 about. But each subordinate has the right to ask further questions once

10 an order has been seed.

11 Q. What about your situation as a brigadier general or a general, and

12 you receive an order from a superior officer to you indicating an urgent

13 topic or topics that clearly should be implemented at a lower level by

14 units subordinated to you? How do you transmit the urgency or the context

15 or the content to your subordinate officers? Can you explain that to me?

16 A. I must tell you that I faced a situation like that. I was

17 building this road that was to be used by President Tito himself. My

18 deadline is now down to five months. I'm ordering my soldiers, eat -- or,

19 rather, drink your food because you don't have enough time to eat your

20 food. I have to stick to my deadline.

21 Why did I do this? My love for that man, my desire, whatever.

22 But I always found sufficient resources to be able to do that. However,

23 that is no way to go about that sort of task.

24 An officer must be capable. He must know how to give orders, how

25 to receive orders, and how to pass orders down to his own subordinate

Page 11670

1 officers.

2 I must say I'm exceptionally glad to be discussing this matter

3 with you now.

4 Q. I think probably you're the only person, you and I, that are. But

5 can I just go back to the question I asked you, and I asked you is how do

6 you transmit the urgency from your superior officer? Do you -- can you

7 tell us? You get something marked very urgent. It clearly applies to

8 subordinate units. What do you do as a brigadier general or general? I

9 want to know about the methodology that's implied here for command and

10 control of the JNA, and you have that experience. Can you help us?

11 A. I must tell you one thing and one thing alone. We have norms for

12 everything we do, for all the steps we take. We have books containing

13 these norms. It is in the spirit of these norms that we place a soldier,

14 that we place a tank in position, all in the best combat spirit.

15 Improvement can be achieved by using equipment but one of the ways

16 to motivate people is to approach people. This approach, you give them

17 something extra. You give them something that is outside of what would be

18 considered strictly necessary. It's not always like that. You shouldn't

19 think that it's always like that, but there are cases like that and I have

20 had many cases throughout my career.

21 Q. Let me see if I can put it more directly. If you as a brigadier

22 received an order from, let's say, your general informing you that there

23 was a danger of, let us take this context, atrocities, the possibility of

24 atrocities occurring at a lower level. Wouldn't you issue an order

25 immediately transmitting your general's concern? Because if you didn't do

Page 11671

1 so, you wouldn't be carrying out the orders of your general. Isn't that

2 right?

3 A. No. The methodology's quite different. You can use knowledge

4 obtained from your closest superiors, from your most intimate superiors,

5 or perhaps you can choose a different methodology.

6 Please, bear one thing in mind. My army commander, I told

7 him, "Sir, General, you can't build a road by using haystacks. You can't

8 do it without money. It's as simple as that."

9 Q. What I'm suggesting to you is within the structure of the JNA, if

10 you received an order from your general indicating a topic of concern, you

11 passed it on to your subordinates. Do you agree with that; yes or no?

12 A. No. You know which method is to be applied to which person. You

13 always use the one you have the most confidence in, and you take one step

14 at a time. There are so many ways to find something out. There are so

15 many ways to obtain certain kinds of information.

16 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.

17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.

18 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours. I

19 don't have an objection to this question, but I don't think the entire

20 answer has been recorded. He said, "No, not to all, not to all the

21 subordinates." That part was not recorded. And then he continued by

22 saying, "Depending on the method," and so on and so forth.

23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really love your questions.

24 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.


Page 11672

1 Q. You must be one of the very few people who do. Let's -- let's

2 move on. What happens if in actual fact you receive an order from your

3 superior officer, can you disobey it? Can you disobey that order?

4 A. No. There is no such order. You need to approach him to know

5 what is at stake, a case of revolt, a case of insubordination, and then

6 you take further steps.

7 Q. But if you're ordered to -- if as a -- perhaps if I rephrase it.

8 If you receive an order from your superior commander to do something,

9 you're ordered to do it, which would be clear that carrying out that order

10 would involve committing a criminal offence, what do you do then? You

11 can't carry on, can you, because you'll be committing a criminal offence?

12 A. No. Our commanders are reasonable when drafting their orders. We

13 have our commanders. I've had many commanders myself. I spent all my

14 life with commanders, all my career, and I've never seen anything like

15 that happen.

16 There were confrontations. There were considerations to be made,

17 but it wasn't as if I was committing a crime by carrying out an order. It

18 wasn't like I had to be responsible for it. I might as well be carrying

19 out an order by one of my superiors officers but making such omissions in

20 the process that it leads to the same result.

21 Q. Well, what I'm going to do is I'm going to read out something to

22 you. You might be aware of it. It's our Exhibit 584. I'm not going to

23 pull it up on e-court. But it's the decree on the declaration of the law

24 on service in the armed forces, February 1985. The sub-heading is, number

25 2, "Carrying out orders." And it's Article 53. I'll read it out slowly

Page 11673

1 so that you can have it properly translated. It reads as follows:

2 "Members of the armed forces shall be duty-bound to carry out

3 orders issued by their superior officers while their superior officers are

4 in the execution of their office."

5 Now, can we say that we agree with that part, or you agree with

6 that part?

7 A. Yes, we do.

8 Q. But it hasn't quite finished. It reads on as follows: "Unless it

9 is clear that carrying out such orders would constitute a criminal

10 offence."

11 Do you agree with that as being a correct statement of carrying

12 out orders? Yes or no, please.

13 A. Yes. If you'd read out the entire meaning I would have said yes

14 or no immediately. Yet you read the first half first and only then do you

15 continue with the second half. This is a whole law. You can't have it

16 done by halves.

17 Q. I'm not trying to do it by halves, I'm merely just breaking it up

18 for understanding. I'm not trying to catch you in any way. I need your

19 help.

20 So you agree that if there was -- the carrying out such orders

21 would constitute a criminal offence, what in your judgement should that

22 junior officer who has received that order do? Can you tell us?

23 A. You have several methods. He gets back to his superior officer

24 for a report. He seeks an explanation in order to see what he was in for.

25 Further, he can submit a complaint. But one thing that's important in all

Page 11674

1 of this is the relationship between a junior officer and a senior officer

2 with not even the least bit of a spirit of revenge involved.

3 Q. I'm not asking about spirit of revenge. I'm asking you what the

4 duty is. Now, can I just read out the fourth paragraph of Article 53, and

5 I suggest it deals with it.

6 "If he," that's the junior officer, "receives an order and

7 compliance or agreement with that order would constitute a criminal

8 offence, a member of the armed forces shall immediately notify a higher

9 superior officer or an officer senior to the individual who issued the

10 order."

11 Do you agree with that? It seems that it does correspond --

12 A. Certainly, certainly.

13 Q. So what it really means is that you are duty-bound to carry out an

14 order unless it's going to involve the likelihood of a criminal act. Do

15 you agree? Yes or no, please?

16 A. Certainly. Yes, I do. I do.

17 Q. And if -- and if that junior officer believes that that is the

18 case, he basically goes to a superior officer, a superior officer to the

19 one who issued the order. That's correct, isn't it?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. I asked you about disobeying an officer. If a situation arose --

22 we deal now with the theory, what I call the JNA command and control

23 climate existing in the 1990, 1991.

24 If an officer receives an order from his superior commander

25 indicating that something is not to be done, not to be done, would it be

Page 11675

1 right to say that unless that officer who receives the superior officer's

2 order, unless he refers either to that officer or a superior officer, he

3 should do nothing except, of course, abide by the order of the superior?

4 It's a convoluted question. I apologise for it, but I think you

5 understand the question.

6 That is right, isn't it?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. So if a senior officer indicates no prisoners were to be exchanged

9 without the permission of a superior officer, that should not be done

10 without that senior officer's permission. That is correct, is it not?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Thank you.

13 And adopting my learned friend Mr. Borovic's technique, I refer to

14 Exhibit 442, for the Court's assistance.

15 Can I now move off the riveting topic of command and control and

16 deal with one or two other areas.

17 MR. MOORE: Would Your Honour forgive me one moment, please.

18 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, while my learned friend

19 is thinking as to his next move, I am afraid that the tape will run out.

20 JUDGE PARKER: Not yet, I don't believe, Mr. Vasic. I would be

21 thinking of a break in about seven minutes.

22 MR. MOORE: Well, I'll try and do a topic within seven minutes if

23 I may.

24 Q. We have seen some of the documents and -- dealing with your

25 commission. Shall I just deal with it? Clearly it was a great honour to

Page 11676

1 receive the position you did, running as it is and being responsible for

2 the commission, but what I want to know is if we just deal with Exhibit

3 758, which is the new exhibit from today, we have got the commission

4 hereby established and made up of. It gives yourself there as chairman,

5 deputy chairman, and there are two members. There is yourself, basically

6 all Colonels, all extremely responsible. Why was there no civilian on

7 that commission?

8 A. A commission is composed of three to five men. Secondly, if the

9 military district commander thinks that his men would be best suited to do

10 the job, he has the right to appoint whoever he wants. I don't have any

11 influence on his opinion. But I believe that the superior command did

12 have a say in the appointment of the commission members.

13 Q. But I think it's right to say you never suggested the -- because

14 there's only four, we've got one seat vacant, you never recommended a

15 civilian, did you, to come onto your commission, committee? That's right,

16 I think, isn't it?

17 A. That's true. In any case, there has to be an odd number of people

18 in any commission in order to be able to make decisions.

19 Q. Well, there were only four. So if you had another, that would be

20 the odd number, wouldn't it. But in any event, you didn't ask for a

21 civilian.

22 Can I move on to another aspect of the commission itself. That

23 was the -- the terms of reference. I'll use that phrase if I may. What

24 would you say in general terms was the principal term of reference for

25 the -- the role of the commission? What was its principal task?

Page 11677

1 A. I believe that in the documents of the Federal Secretariat you

2 will find the tasks. It's very difficult to prioritise them and say which

3 is the most important. That is why we did not work on just one element.

4 We worked on all the issues parallelly, all the activities relative to

5 identification. De-mining were done at the same time, in the same room.

6 Q. Would it be fair to say that often the term of reference don't

7 deal with the reality, but you were there, you knew what the reality was,

8 would it be fair to say that the real job of this commission was to get

9 Vukovar back and running?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. You told us about the water supply. You indicated, I think, that

12 the -- you were involved and obliged to bring in water bowsers as I call

13 them, so people could have water to drink. That's right, I think, isn't

14 it?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Was the water damage -- or was the water supply damaged to such a

17 degree that that was necessary?

18 A. I must tell you that water supply through the town was completely

19 destroyed in many places and that the pipes, the water pipes, had to be

20 replaced because the water system suffered a lot of damage during the war.

21 Everything had to be reconstructed in order to bring the water supply

22 system up to the standard.

23 Q. If I may pay a small compliment to you. You come across as a

24 senior officer who has integrity. Would you view the targeting of water

25 supplies that were really going to supply civilians, would you take the

Page 11678

1 view that targeting such water supplies would be a breach of all the rules

2 of war?

3 A. Yes, of course.

4 MR. MOORE: May I perhaps suggest that that's an appropriate

5 moment.

6 JUDGE PARKER: We will resume at a quarter to.

7 --- Recess taken at 12.23 p.m.

8 --- On resuming at 12.51 p.m.

9 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.

10 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Just a

11 technical issue and a very brief one. We have another witness who is

12 waiting outside, but given the timing, given the fact that my learned

13 friend has asked for another half hour, I would like your permission to

14 send the witness home and start with him on Monday.

15 JUDGE PARKER: Your time estimate, Mr. Moore?

16 MR. MOORE: My learned friend asked me how long I would take. I

17 have perhaps three topics. It's difficult to estimate because sometimes

18 the answers and I mean no discourtesy, are not always on point. Perhaps

19 the questions are not always on point. But I would think I would be

20 finishing at half past 1.00.

21 JUDGE PARKER: The witness will not be reached today, Mr. Vasic.

22 Part of the reason for that, could I suggest, is the questioning in chief

23 this morning dealt with many issues that weren't kernel to the case. So

24 if you could bear that in mind. We're going to simply have to speed up

25 the rate at which we deal with witnesses.

Page 11679

1 Very well. That is the position of the witness Monday. It will

2 be 9.00 morning. 2.15 on Monday, I'm reminded. There were some worried

3 looks.

4 MR. MOORE: Extremely worried looks.

5 Q. Mr. Basic, could I move on to a different topic. What was

6 actually working within the Vukovar infrastructure when you took over

7 22nd, 23rd? I'm talking about buildings, electricity. Can you just give

8 us an idea?

9 A. Yes. Nothing worked save for the logistical support by the

10 assistant commander of the Territorial Defence, Mr. Antic. We had

11 logistical support from them, and there were also some things directly

12 connected with the organisation of life, but very little. We did not even

13 have any support when it came to exhumation and reburials.

14 Q. Thank you very much. I would like, please, just to turn up

15 today's exhibit. I think it is Exhibit 760. It should be the photograph

16 of the bridge or bridges. Here we are.

17 We've got -- have you got it in front of you, Mr. Basic?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Thank you very much. I'm not going to take very long on this

20 topic. We've got the bridges 1, 2, 3 and 4. You were saying that the --

21 the area, the road up towards the hospital, 4, I think you said was

22 booby-trapped.

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. But would it be right to say that if you stuck to the road you

25 would have been all right, but don't go off the road? Would that be

Page 11680

1 correct?

2 A. The road itself was not dangerous between the hard shoulders.

3 However, around the department store there was a lot, and a lot around

4 marina. There were a lot of minefields there, and this was the reason for

5 concern.

6 Also, between the department store and the hospital, the park

7 leading up to the hospital was also very dangerous.

8 Q. Thank you very much. May we deal with a topic, I've given a sort

9 of generic title of carcasses, burial of carcasses. You've told us about

10 how many carcasses there were and the need to bury them, and it's right to

11 say that you buried them in the Ovcara area? Do you remember that?

12 A. Yes. Yes. I was there when the carcasses were buried. I was

13 interested in the way things were done. I had to gain an impression.

14 This was done by a special unit from Belgrade. The burial was

15 the -- was a minor problem. The biggest problem was to clear up the town

16 and the Ovcara itself where there was cattle moving around in an

17 uncontrolled manner, and that was the biggest problem we faced.

18 You asked me how many head of cattle there were. About 15.000.

19 Pigs and cows. And I can give you a breakdown. Ovcara had 4.500 dead

20 pigs.

21 Q. Thank you very much. That's very helpful. Perhaps my learned

22 friend may deal with it in re-examination. I won't.

23 Can I move on now to a topic that perhaps concerns this trial a

24 little more than the others, and it is this: It is the bodies of human

25 beings that you were obliged to retrieve and bury. I want to deal with

Page 11681

1 that topic, if I may. So if you can just focus on that.

2 Clearly one of your responsibilities was the collection of those

3 bodies. Yes? Could I just ask you what document you're looking at? Can

4 you just tell me what that is?

5 A. This is the record on the task accomplished about the clearing of

6 Vukovar. This is signed, and one copy was seen to the secretariat. This

7 was signed by the commission.

8 Q. Thank you very much. And I'm not very good on documents. Do we

9 have a copy of that document, do you know? Apparently Mr. Vasic says that

10 we haven't.

11 Would you have any objection if I have a look at that document?

12 Unfortunately, I don't speak your language, but could I have a look at it

13 for a moment? Do you mind? Could you just pass it over to me? Would you

14 mind?

15 Thank you. That's extremely kind of you.

16 Would Your Honour give me a moment, please.

17 Would you mind if I, with the Court's leave, because it's not an

18 exhibit, but if I gave it to someone trustworthy here to have it

19 photocopied and you could have back the original? You wouldn't mind that,

20 would you?

21 A. I don't know whether this document is a classified document. This

22 is my concern. And I sent the document to the Federal Secretariat on the

23 date indicated on the document, and I kept my copy to myself because I was

24 entitled to it. I was the head of the commission.

25 Q. I don't criticise you in any way at all. Please understand that.

Page 11682

1 All I'm simply saying is would you mind terribly if I just had this

2 photocopied and you have the original back? I'm asking to be allowed to

3 do that.

4 A. Let me tell you, I don't have the power to allow you to use it

5 without you requesting that officially from the General Staff under a

6 number. I'm sure that they will allow you to have it. I don't know.

7 JUDGE PARKER: The document was used in court, Mr. Moore. I will

8 have a court officer copy it for the purpose of the Court.

9 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.

10 Q. Are there any other documents that you have there? I notice that

11 you have some in front of you that are yellow and look as if they're

12 written records.

13 A. No. No.

14 Q. What about the -- what about the book that you have? Not that

15 one?

16 A. What you have here?

17 Q. No, the one that's sitting on the table.

18 A. There's just one page with something written on it. The rest of

19 the book is empty.

20 Q. And the page that is -- has writing on it, what does that page

21 refer to?

22 A. The commission that was in charge of the clear-up, and these are

23 the original words from the minutes. I can quote you what is written in

24 here and you will see that it is identical.

25 Q. All right. I'll not -- I'll not deal with that document for the

Page 11683

1 moment, but let's move on to bodies.

2 Clearly you had, unfortunately, a large number of bodies that were

3 located, and you did your best to identify them and inform the loved ones

4 that their -- someone had been found who had been killed. Was the

5 location of dead bodies a priority for your commission?

6 A. There were three significant tasks pursuant to the document, to

7 collect bodies, to collect cattle in order to prevent infections, and

8 de-mining. Those were the three priorities which were to be followed by

9 the clearing of Vukovar. But the three first tasks could not wait. The

10 others could.

11 Q. Well, I just want to deal with the discovery of human bodies. I

12 suggest it was important because clearly the last thing you need from a

13 health position is decaying human bodies or carcasses in a built-up area;

14 and secondly, just for respect for people, to make sure they are given a

15 proper burial. That's right, isn't it, surely?

16 You nod and then we'll put it on the record as yes.

17 Now, you clearly are aware now that there were people who were --

18 you're clearly aware now that people were murdered and buried at Ovcara.

19 You're aware of that fact? Isn't that right?

20 A. No.

21 Q. No, that's not right, I'd suggest. Are you saying you aren't

22 aware that bodies were found? I'm not talking about you in 1991, I'm

23 talking about now. You're aware that bodies were buried at Ovcara.

24 A. I'm aware now.

25 Q. Yes. Thank you. Now, can we deal, please --

Page 11684

1 A. Can I say something, please?

2 Q. Of course you may.

3 A. From the press I learnt about Ovcara. There were some Australian

4 journalists who were interested in that. When I came to Ovcara, I didn't

5 know where to go. And then the guards told me to go left. I took that

6 road until I came to the Russian battalion that was providing security for

7 that place. The colonel who was in command there received me, told me

8 that the place was fenced off. He asked me to have a seat, but he did not

9 want to discuss the situation with him, and that was the long and the

10 short of it. Later on, I told you straight and generously that I didn't

11 know a thing. Why wouldn't I have told him if I had known something? If

12 I had known about the place I would have exhumed the bodies.

13 Q. Let me ask you to stop, please. You talk very quickly. I'm not

14 suggesting anything about you. I've told you before, I'm not here to trap

15 you. I'm here to obtain information. Do you understand? That is my

16 function. So please listen to the question.

17 You told us that you had heard or you were aware Australian

18 journalists were interested in the killings at Ovcara. I see you nod your

19 head. Can you just say yes so it goes on the record, you see.

20 A. I had already left the army, and as a private citizen I came with

21 them. That was in 1993, sometime in spring. I came there. It took me a

22 while to find the place, and then I was surprised. It was to the very

23 left from the place where we -- where we exhumed bodies. If I had known

24 about that, I could have exhumed the bodies. I could have identified them

25 like all the other bodies that we had found in various burial sites. And

Page 11685

1 this place was some 800 metres to a kilometre from that place.

2 Q. I'll try and keep my questions short if you try and keep your

3 answers short. I think that's a fair exchange.

4 Would it be right to say, then, that on the record, you were

5 aware, because of Australian journalists in 1993, the suggestion of people

6 being murdered and being buried at Ovcara? Is that correct?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And may we deal then, please, was that something that concerned

9 you, that you had been responsible for the burial of bodies, and here was

10 a suggestion of a large number of people who had been murdered and were

11 buried at Ovcara?

12 A. No.

13 Q. That didn't concern you?

14 A. No.

15 Q. Why, because they were Croats?

16 A. No, it's not about that. What I knew about Vukovar was about

17 Vukovar. This was out of the scope of my responsibilities. And if it had

18 been hidden away from me, I could not have known about that. This place

19 Ovcara was something outside of my knowledge.

20 Q. The area, the actual physical area, was within your scope of

21 responsibility. That is correct, is it not, in 1991?

22 A. If you take into consideration that I was in charge of the

23 downtown area and the general area, then I would say yes.

24 Q. So can we just say yes and let's move on a little quicker, please.

25 So Ovcara was within your area of responsibility in 1991, early

Page 11686

1 1992. Ovcara, in 1993, and we'll just leave it at that moment, there was

2 a suggestion of individuals having been murdered and buried at Ovcara,

3 your former area of responsibility. That is correct, isn't it?

4 A. No.

5 Q. Why not?

6 A. Because at the time when I arrived there, the place where the

7 burials had taken place that the Russian colonel pointed to me. I saw the

8 area but I couldn't get the impression. The colonel told me that an

9 Australian doctor had arrived and they excavated a skull and that was all.

10 I could not see anything else, and we returned to Belgrade just as we had

11 come there.

12 Q. We receive from the Defence what is called a proofing note, and

13 that basically means an indication of what your evidence is going to be.

14 Now, it is right, is it not, that you had discussions with lawyers for Mr.

15 Mrksic last evening? That is correct, is it not?

16 A. No. No. I spoke to only one lawyer, Mr. Vasic, and nobody else.

17 Q. I'll deal with it more specifically. The gentleman sitting there,

18 with the moustache --

19 A. And that was just to prepare me and nothing else. The lawyers did

20 not try to influence me in any way at all.

21 Q. I am not for one moment suggesting that Mr. Vasic tried to

22 influence you. Do you understand?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Good.

25 A. I understand.

Page 11687

1 Q. Good.

2 Q. And it's right, isn't it, you saw Mr. Vasic last night? That is

3 correct, isn't it?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And it is correct that you gave an account to him of what had

6 happened. That is also right also isn't?

7 A. No.

8 Q. Not at all?

9 A. No.

10 Q. You didn't discuss -- you didn't discuss this case and what your

11 evidence was going to be?

12 A. Of course that we discussed the possible elements. First of all,

13 I was angry that this did not take place at a normal time. I arrived

14 yesterday evening, and they told me, "You would -- you will appear before

15 The Hague Tribunal," and I said, "How? Why?" I had to know what this was

16 all about.

17 You, as a lawyer, must have had a lot of preparation in order to

18 defend your positions.

19 Q. I'm entirely sympathetic to the position that witnesses find

20 themselves in in this Tribunal, so understand that you're speaking to

21 someone who is sympathetic. But the fact of the matter is you did discuss

22 what your evidence might well be. That is correct, under it?

23 A. No.

24 Q. So what did you discuss? Just tea and biscuits?

25 A. We had topics to discuss. We had met before. And we never

Page 11688

1 discussed this, in Belgrade or elsewhere. I did not want to waste my time

2 on that. I have my reasoning. I have my own preparations. Why would we

3 have to discuss that? I thought you would talk to me about the

4 impressions of Mr. Sljivancanin and Mrksic. I thought you would ask me to

5 discuss them and not this that you're asking me to discuss.

6 Q. The questions I ask are a matter for me as long as they're

7 relevant. Do you understand?

8 Now, I'm going to read out what is in this proofing note, which I

9 would suggest indicates what your evidence was going to be. "During the

10 period he," that's you, "worked on the field, the witness said that he

11 found out that some of the volunteer formations had breached the law. On

12 that fact, he had informed Colonel Petkovic in Sid, but the colonel was

13 not apt to take any action."

14 Now, that's -- I won't -- please just don't answer, and I won't

15 ask any questions until the conversation is concluded.

16 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]

17 MR. MOORE: If Your Honour gets the proofing note. I don't know

18 if Your Honours do or not. This is the one that came at 3.50 last night.

19 JUDGE PARKER: It may be one you have. It's not one we have.

20 MR. MOORE: Well, I've got spare copies. Mr. Vasic, I'm sure,

21 will supply to his colleagues. That's for the Court, please.

22 Q. I've got it in English. My apologies. I don't know if it's in

23 B/C/S as well.

24 To assist the Court, and I know they like to read it quickly, but

25 if one looks at the very bottom paragraph.

Page 11689

1 May I continue? I'll read it again just to assist all parties and

2 my learned friends.

3 During the period he worked on the field, the witness said that he

4 had found out that "some of the volunteer formations had breached the law.

5 On that fact, he had informed Colonel Petkovic in Sid, but the colonel was

6 not apt to take any action."

7 Now, I would suggest to you that in actual fact there is a very

8 clear indication that when you were in the field in Vukovar you had found

9 out that atrocities had been committed by volunteer formations. Now, what

10 do you say to that? This is a document that's created in relation to the

11 evidence you were to give.

12 A. It's not true at all. Petkovic was never informed, and we talked

13 about that. I'm sorry to say he's to longer alive, but for as long as I

14 knew, he didn't know.

15 MR. MOORE: I see my learned friend Mr. Vasic wants to interject.

16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.

17 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, maybe this is something

18 that should be raised if redirect, but I think that the witness is misled,

19 if you followed his evidence, and he talked himself about the information

20 shared with Mr. -- Colonel Petkovic, and I think that follows from his own

21 explanations, the ones that we discussed today.

22 JUDGE PARKER: I think we better not go into your understanding of

23 facts at the moment. The witness will deal with it, and you can follow it

24 up. Thank you.

25 Yes, Mr. Moore.

Page 11690


2 Q. I'm suggesting that on this proofing note, which is a document

3 created to -- both parties must supply the other side, you see. There is

4 a suggestion, one, that you had found out that volunteers had breached the

5 law, and I would suggest that that means that you found out, either by

6 rumour or by another way, that volunteers had committed atrocities. What

7 do you say to that?

8 A. I say this is an untruth and nothing but an untruth. For the

9 first time in my entire career, I can say this: I haven't a clue about

10 this, no clue. It was something entirely different that I discussed with

11 Petkovic, about what happened at the Carrington, and when you brought it

12 up a moment ago, it was the first I ever heard of it.

13 Q. I suggest that's not right either, because what you were told in

14 evidence in chief is that you were told by Petkovic about graves. "I had

15 no information." I'm trying to abbreviate from my recollection where it

16 was. "I did have some info in respect of the TO."

17 So did you have a discussion with Petkovic about graves?

18 A. Not at all.

19 Q. Well, can you explain the following to me, and this is your

20 evidence. What you say is however -- it's 43.20, "However, I'm absolutely

21 certain that if I had known where the grave was, I could have exhumed

22 bodies from that grave as well, but I didn't know." The following

23 phrase: "I had a few soldiers from the TO who hinted to that."

24 Now, what do you mean bit phrase "I had a few soldiers from the TO

25 who hinted to that"? What do you mean by that?

Page 11691

1 A. First of all, I wish to say that I did not have any TO in my unit.

2 But in the area where we had our ID station, there were always some TO

3 men. A man named met Metrusic, if I'm not mistaken. He said there's

4 something behind the barracks, there is something we need to look into.

5 But it was so disconnected, so out of context that I didn't pay it any

6 heed at the time.

7 I know that Radio Free Slavonia kept saying that whoever spotted a

8 single dead body should get in touch immediately, and that was a

9 speculation. But I think you misconnected some bits there. The truth of

10 the matter is I called Mr. Petkovic in relation to what had occurred at

11 villa Carrington, not in connection with this. I think you should try to

12 follow more closely. You're misleading me there. Villa Carrington. You

13 know what I'm talking about? Six people -- six men from his group had

14 been killed. That was the problem. You're confusing things there.

15 Q. I'm not confusing anything, and I'll read it out so there's no

16 misunderstanding what your evidence was. You were actually asked

17 questions by your counsel, and it is as follows: "I would like to ask you

18 one more question, probably my last." That's Mr. Vasic. "Did you ever

19 learn from Colonel Petkovic about the cemetery in Ovcara?"

20 Now, I'm working on the basis that cemeteries doesn't refer to

21 animals. "That about 200 people had been executed in Ovcara. Did you

22 ever learn that from Colonel Petkovic from Sid?"

23 This is your answer: "Let me put it this way: In the territory

24 of Vukovar, I was mostly interested in graves and mass graves. We take a

25 lot of pride that we buried these bodies, that we assist these people

Page 11692

1 regardless of the side that they had been on. We buried everybody with a

2 lot of dignity. That was our utmost priority."

3 Listen now to the following: "However, I'm absolutely certain

4 that if I had known where that grave was, I could have exhumed bodies from

5 that grave as well, but I didn't know. I had a few soldiers from the TO

6 who hinted to that, but I did not have the exact information, so I could

7 not know."

8 That is specifically designed and relates to Ovcara. It's got

9 nothing to do with Velepromet or any other area. That's correct, isn't

10 it?

11 A. I think you are totally off the mark. It's got nothing to do with

12 it. It really amazes me that you can act like this. I'm totally clueless

13 about this. You're suggesting that I know about this. How on earth can

14 you possibly know whether I do or not?

15 Please, sir, I'm no clueless brat myself.

16 Q. Answer the simple question. Answer the simple question. How is

17 it that that question refers specifically to Ovcara, you refer to TO

18 hints, and you even refer to the grave. Now, explain to me how it is that

19 you give that reply if you didn't know?

20 A. I didn't give anyone that answer. And please don't mislead me on

21 what it was that I was talking about. I'm not sure where you get the idea

22 of putting it to me that I knew. I wish I had known. I wish I'd have

23 been able to do something about it, but I knew nothing at all. Eventually

24 the grave at Ovcara is outside Vukovar. The Bulgarian cemetery marks the

25 end of Vukovar. I'm not saying I wouldn't have done it. I'm not saying I

Page 11693

1 wouldn't have reported it officially. I had no clue. I had no idea,

2 believe me, but you're trying to insinuate that I knew about it, so please

3 don't, sir.

4 Q. I do suggest you did know, and I'm relying on your evidence, and I

5 would suggest you had a discussion with Petkovic about it and that quite

6 simply the JNA did not want to know about it. That is the reality of this

7 situation.

8 A. That is not the reality of the situation. This is sheer nonsense.

9 I'm not sure where you get this at all. Now you're trying to insinuate

10 something that I wasn't even thinking about, not even in my wildest

11 dreams. How can you possibly be doing like this?

12 Q. I'm suggesting it because I'm using your words, not anybody

13 else's.

14 A. Manipulated ones, twisted ones.

15 Q. They are not manipulated, I would suggest, they are not twisted,

16 and I would equally suggest the reason you're denying it is because you

17 know perfectly well that if you admit that you knew to the grave at that

18 time, that you would be held responsible as well for not passing that

19 information on to superiors. That's why you're denying it. What do you

20 say to that?

21 A. I say your illusions are entirely off the mark. It's got nothing

22 to do with the situation that prevailed. Where do you get this

23 information? What can your possible source be? I can tell you that I

24 never had anything to do with this, not even in my wildest imaginings.

25 Why wouldn't I have said so. I didn't even know where it was. I just

Page 11694

1 came there -- I didn't even know where anything else was and you're

2 suggesting I knew. Please, this is simply disrespectful. You are a

3 lawyer. You should know about that.

4 Q. I have no further questions for you.

5 JUDGE PARKER: I thank you, Mr. Moore.

6 Mr. Vasic.

7 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.

8 Re-examination by Mr. Vasic:

9 Q. [Interpretation] First of all, let me try to clarify this matter

10 that remains moot. Mr. Vasic, you mentioned a group of people surrounding

11 Kameni; right?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. You said six people had been killed?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Were these people killed in a clash amid volunteers?

16 A. Yes. It was about the sharing out of their booty but that's

17 something I found out later.

18 Q. For you, the murder of six individuals is a crime; right?

19 A. Yes, definitely a crime.

20 Q. Six people were killed, volunteers. For you, that was a crime.

21 You informed Colonel Petkovic; right?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Colonel Petkovic did not react, refused to react; right?

24 A. Yes. I was on Carrington street. I couldn't go in because I was

25 being held at gunpoint.

Page 11695

1 Q. This is the only incident that you reported to Colonel Petkovic as

2 a crime; right?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. I didn't see him at the time to discuss anything else really.

5 Q. I would like to move on to something different now. You talked

6 about the way orders were issued. I said orders were issued orally or in

7 writing. My question is if there was an order that was issued orally and

8 it was entered into a notebook belonging to a certain officer, would that

9 have carried the force of a written order?

10 A. No, it wouldn't.

11 Q. Thank you. If, for example, an officer orders his subordinate

12 officer to carry out an act which would probably lead to a criminal

13 offence, what about that officer? Would he have the duty to refuse that

14 oral order and ask for the order to be submitted in writing first?

15 A. Yes, that's correct.

16 Q. If this officer still believes that this might lead to a crime

17 being committed, he mustn't even carry out at that written order but must,

18 instead, inform his superior officer; is that right?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Now, about the water supply system. You said that the destruction

21 of a water supply system constitutes a war crime in your opinion. I would

22 phrase the question in the following way: What about deliberate

23 destruction of a water supply system? Would that constitute a war crime?

24 What if a water supply system is destroyed merely as a consequence of

25 other combat operations and not a deliberate act aiming at leaving people

Page 11696

1 without their water supply?

2 A. Yes, you're quite right in suggesting that, and the distinction

3 between these two is enormous.

4 Q. Were you ever aware of the fact that an infection was rife in

5 Vukovar because of the shortage of water among the population? Those

6 people in the hospital were lying on mattresses stuffed with water after

7 all, weren't they?

8 A. Yes, that's correct.

9 Q. Does that mean you never heard any reference to an infection

10 breaking out in Vukovar during the combat; right?

11 A. No, never.

12 Q. Do you know that during combat in Vukovar they kept on using

13 artesian wells and almost every house had one?

14 A. Yes, that's correct. And we built one such well for the hospital,

15 to be used by the hospital.

16 Q. So your testimony was solely if relation to the town's water

17 supply system, which wasn't operated. Meanwhile the wells and artesian

18 wells continued to be used and operated; right?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Do you know where the main water pump of the town's waterworks

21 used to be?

22 A. No.

23 Q. Did you ever find out if the waterworks facilities had been

24 destroyed by the JNA, or maybe there had been an act of sabotage by the

25 Croatian forces whereby the facilities were destroyed?

Page 11697

1 A. I can't say, but the facilities were entirely disrupted,

2 destroyed.

3 Q. The facilities were destroyed because they were amid ruins, ruins

4 created by artillery fire; right?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. But these ruins could have been caused by booby-traps and by

7 mines, explosives equally; is that right?

8 A. Right.

9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours. I

10 have no further questions.

11 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic. Could the Court officer

12 return to the witness the original of the document. The copy held by the

13 Court will be marked for identification, and all counsel have leave to

14 examine that photocopy if they wish.

15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, it will be marked with the reference

16 number 763, Your Honours.

17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Sir, you're be pleased to know that is

18 the end of the questions for you. You are now able to return to your

19 home. We would like to thank you for your attendance here and the

20 assistance you have given. And the court officer will show you out.

21 Thank you very much.

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

23 Thank you for the way you have treated me. I wish you every success.

24 [The witness withdrew]

25 JUDGE PARKER: There are some matters that need to be raised now.

Page 11698

1 We had planned by this stage to have dealt with the issue of the length of

2 the Defence cases. The turn of events this week means that I suspect

3 there is not adequate time left at this moment, unless I see on the looks

4 of counsel the thought that it could be dealt with very quickly, and I

5 don't think that is the case. We will simply have to fit it in next week.

6 For that reason and generally, Mr. Vasic, if the Chamber could

7 make clear that it will become imperative for you to be very careful as to

8 the relevance and importance of the matters you deal with with witnesses

9 from now on. We want to get from your witnesses their evidence that is

10 important, but we don't want to have this trial drag on unnecessarily with

11 unimportant and side issues, and we will be much more attentive to

12 interrupting evidence and having counsel move on if counsel are not

13 successful in directing their questions only to important issues. Time is

14 increasingly becoming critical in this case.

15 A problem with that is that the President has called a Plenary

16 meeting for next Wednesday, which means we must try and get into next week

17 the evidence of the witnesses you had planned for the week in four days

18 rather than five. So it will be important for all counsel to be attentive

19 to time.

20 Now, we have just five minutes. Is it that we can successfully

21 deal with the length of the Defence cases in that time? I suspect it's

22 unreasonable and impractical to think of it. So we will defer that issue

23 until next week. Ah, you're showing some hope, are you, Mr. Borovic?

24 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think we can be

25 pretty accurate in five minutes about our own predictions. That would be

Page 11699

1 useful, useful for me to know what other Defence teams have on their

2 minds. That's efficient.

3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.

4 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will try to meet my

5 learned friend halfway, as well as everybody else in this courtroom, but

6 my Defence case is the first to start, and I hope that I'll be wrapping it

7 up by the end of the first week of October at the latest.

8 JUDGE PARKER: And the number of witnesses you have in mind?

9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] The number of witnesses is in line

10 with our previous predictions, a total of 18, possibly, 19 witnesses.

11 Certainly within that estimate. We've dropped more than half our

12 witnesses who we now believe to be superfluous but we leave the

13 possibility open that we will be further curtailing our list.

14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Mr. Borovic.

15 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. As I've

16 already indicated in my motion, we have a total of eight witnesses, two of

17 them 92 bis witnesses. We've taken certain steps already to get their

18 statements signed and accepted by the Court.

19 We have the accused himself, who has decided to appear, and we

20 have an expert. We have a schedule of four hours for each of these

21 witnesses, seven hours in the case of our military witness -- military

22 expert, and 12 hours for the accused himself, which is a total of eight

23 working days. I assume the OTP will not be going too far with their

24 questions, and if we split the time equally, this shouldn't exceed a total

25 of 10 days for all of our witnesses.

Page 11700

1 JUDGE PARKER: I make it 16 days on what you've just said. Eight

2 days in chief.

3 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] When I said 10 days, I meant the

4 whole thing including the OTP's bit, the total time it would take. If I

5 look at my time only, if I say, for example, 12 hours for Miroslav Radic,

6 what I mean is six hours for the Defence and six hours for the cross.

7 The only thing I can't do is say how long the Prosecution are

8 planning on taking up.

9 And if I may just say another thing. I had been preparing a total

10 of about 20 witnesses, but then I realised what you were saying, that time

11 was of the essence for the accused. I have peared this back down to the

12 bare bones. I have a minimum of witnesses that I require. I have really

13 done my best. I believe that I have achieved most of the things that were

14 essential for our defence with Prosecution witnesses already. I don't

15 think I should go over 10 days including cross-examination as my colleague

16 has just suggested to me.

17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] If you give me a minute and a half, I

18 don't think I'll be able to deal with this, and I certainly wish to have

19 this raised as soon as possible. Your Honour, there is the suggestion

20 that you made at the Pre-Trial Conference. I took it to heart very much

21 so, in fact. I have drafted an overview for that purpose indicating what

22 we believe will be required for examination-in-chief. I would like to

23 provide a table, a copy of this table, for everyone in the courtroom. Ms.

24 Usher, if you could give me hand, and then you could have a look. By

25 Monday -- look at my tentative schedule and then give me five minutes to

Page 11701

1 explain my arguments once you've looked at the table.

2 My Defence case seems to be a very demanding one. It probably

3 requires a greater amount of analysis and in-depth work, especially if I

4 look at the nature of the witnesses I'm calling. I can only draw your

5 attention to one thing, Witness number 2, Witness number 6, Witness number

6 8, Witness number 9, and Witness number 13 at one point in time gave

7 statements to the OTP, and Mr. Moore can determine confirm this. And

8 these statements ran into 10, 15, sometimes 20 pages, which is a lot

9 longer than the one we took from Vesna Bosanac. And that is something

10 that very much dictates the terms for me in terms of time especially.

11 I think you are fully familiar with some of these names. We're

12 well into this trial, and I believe everybody understands the significance

13 of some of these names and why they would take up the amount of time

14 indicated to testify on behalf of our defence.

15 I dropped witness number 12, and I have a new proposal. I

16 discussed this with Mr. Moore. There are certain witnesses that I wanted

17 to -- to get depositions from, but maybe they could be 98 -- 89(F)

18 witnesses. That would help us avoid their examination-in-chief, and all

19 they would take up is the time that their cross-examination would take.

20 I've tried to be very rational in going through all of these witnesses.

21 If you can give me some more time now or on Monday, depending on the

22 Chamber obviously, perhaps I can go through it and explain in greater

23 detail.

24 JUDGE PARKER: I am grateful, Mr. Lukic, for the preparation

25 you've done here, but we really are over time now. There is another trial

Page 11702

1 commencing at 2.15 -- not commencing, continuing at 2.15. We simply as

2 matter of courtesy have to leave to give time for the tapes to be replayed

3 and the staff to have a break.

4 So we must adjourn now, but with the information provided now and

5 with opportunity early next week at an appropriate time, we will get to

6 the bottom of this important issue. I'm sure everybody realises it's an

7 issue we can't just put off. It's got to be dealt with if this trial is

8 to be managed sensibly so that we get to its end in a way that deals

9 adequately with the issues but which doesn't just use time wastefully at

10 the cost of the accused, the cost of everybody, and of the cost of the

11 waiting accused. We have trials banked up behind this one waiting. We've

12 got to look at all of those.

13 We will adjourn now. We'll resume on Monday at 2.15.

14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.,

15 to be reconvened on Monday, the 11th day of

16 September, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.