1 Thursday, 2 November 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The accused Sljivancanin takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.
7 The affirmation still applies, Mr. Sljivancanin.
8 WITNESS: VESELIN SLJIVANCANIN [Resumed]
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
11 Cross-examined by Mr. Moore: [Continued]
12 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, just so there's no misunderstanding, can I
13 suggest to you that your explanation that you went to Ovcara at -- or late
14 evening on the 19th, that that is a lie and that in actual fact, you were
15 at Mitnica - not Mitnica - you were at Ovcara in the afternoon when you
16 had contact with the commander of the yellow house. You don't accept
17 that, I know. That's right, isn't it?
18 A. Good morning to everyone. Good morning, Mr. Moore.
19 First of all, I do apologise. I thought you were hurrying along.
20 Yesterday, I thought it was time to complete your cross-examination. I
21 thought there was no time, but I now see that there is more time. And I
22 tried to cut some of my answers short, therefore I do have a number of
23 additional remarks to make now that I see there is more time.
24 You read a quote out of some newspapers that I'd never seen and --
25 please I will answer that one too.
1 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, I am putting to you, on behalf of the
2 Prosecution, that the explanation that you gave being at Ovcara late in
3 the evening of the 19th is not true. You were there in the afternoon.
4 That's the only thing that I am putting to you. You have a counsel who
5 can re-examine you on many things, I would suggest.
6 May we move on, please. It's tab 13, tab 14, and I'm just going
7 to read it out.
8 A. May I just answer? Shall I answer the question, what you read out
9 to me that I was addressed in the army as Major Sljivancanin. It was
10 Major, sir, in the JNA, no mention of the name. So this person who said
11 Major and then my name just added that to add emphasis to the fact that it
12 was me, that it was my name.
13 As for what you said about me being at Ovcara on the afternoon of
14 the 19th, I had been with Mr. Vance on that day until late in the day and
15 then later on, I was with Mr. Borsinger in the hospital. And then on the
16 19th, on the afternoon of the 19th, I was not at Ovcara.
17 If you have any evidence to show for that, by all means, please do
19 Q. From recollection, Mr. Sljivancanin, Mr. Vance was away from the
20 Vukovar area by 2.00 in the afternoon, although you have said on previous
21 occasions you were there until 5.00. So we will deal with document or
22 divider or tab 13, if we may. For the English, it's page 3. But I just
23 want to read it out. It's tab 14 for you. It's quite simply this, under
24 B, "Teams Belgrade, Sarajevo." I just want to ask you about one entry
25 there, "B1." It reads as follows: "On the 20th of November, 2 ECMM teams
1 went to Vukovar via Negoslavci. They reached the centre of Vukovar at
2 8.45 hours and waited two hours whilst mines were cleared. The centre of
3 the town was described as totally destroyed, occupied by bands of Serbian
4 irregulars who were drunk and aggressive. Dead bodies were visible in the
6 Now what I want to ask you is: Did you see bands of Serbian
7 irregulars who were drunk and aggressive at that time?
8 A. Mr. Moore, you seem to be asking a number of different questions
9 there, so please it will only be fair to allow me to answer to all the
11 You asked me questions that run into half pages or thereabouts.
12 Again I'm telling you, Mr. Vance came for me in Negoslavci at 1400 hours
13 on the 19th -- or left at 1400 hours. And if you look at the documents
14 that were tendered here, you see that it was at 1400 hours. After that I
15 went to see Mr. Mrksic. After that I looked for Mr. Borsinger. And then
16 on the 19th, the afternoon of the 19th, I went with Mr. Borsinger to the
17 hospital. Therefore, I was not at Ovcara. That's what you're trying to
18 gloss over, that question persistently. So if you want to know, allow me
19 to clarify that.
20 As for the report, this is a report produced by other people. I
21 know that in the town of Vukovar itself around my zone, there were the
22 members of the Guards Motorised Brigade, there was the Vukovar TO
23 detachment with me and within its composition was something they called a
24 detachment. I thought it was a company actually, the Leva Supoderica.
25 And then there was another detachment which was replaced at one point or,
1 rather, at one point had its name changed. I thought it was the
2 Kragujevac detachment. I didn't know that there were any other forces
3 there, irregular forces, more specifically, that you referred to as
5 Q. I am asking you a very specific question. Did you see anybody
6 around there who was irregular, that could be described as drunk and
7 aggressive. It's a very simple question. Did you see anybody or not on
8 the 20th who perhaps would fit that description?
9 A. Mr. Moore, it's a large town, a great number of people and
10 civilians who resided there. A misfortune struck them, there were
11 probably all sorts of things happening that those people didn't like, but
12 I was moving about town and wherever I was, there were no such people as
13 you have described around.
14 Q. And when you talk about size, it's right, isn't it, that the
15 actual hospital grounds are not large, they're actually extremely small
16 and in what I will call hospital terms. And I asked you yesterday whether
17 you'd seen anybody who perhaps could be described as Chetnik or
18 paramilitary. So size wasn't a problem there; was it?
19 A. I answered your question yesterday, didn't I? It's not really
20 such a small area; there were two buildings there. The new building, the
21 old building and the building yard and then I moved as far as the shelter.
22 If you want me to, I'll draw that for you, where it was near the hospital,
23 where the command of the ZNG were and the perimeter was being secured by
24 the military police. I know and I'm telling that you everything was
25 perfectly in order there. You've heard witnesses who were in the
1 hospital. Nobody complained about having been mistreated or any trouble
2 caused them about the hospital.
3 I didn't see, and I said that the term Chetnik is something I was
4 taught at school. I thought it was an abominable term at the time. I
5 didn't like those people because they fought with the Nazis and I didn't
6 want any such terms used. What I want to use was JNA and TO. Chetnik to
7 me is an alien term.
8 Q. Is the term Ustasha an alien and abominable term to you?
9 A. I said that too, didn't I? Back at school, when I was a young
10 pupil and later at the secondary school and the academy, I learned that
11 the Ustasha sided with the Chetniks in terms of being on the same side in
12 World War II, so it was an alien term to me. When I used the term
13 Ustasha, I applied that term to people who used those radios to introduce
14 themselves to each other like that by using the term Ustasha. So I used
15 that term to apply to those people who used it themselves. I don't
16 describe the whole of the Croatian people as Ustasha, just those who
17 described themselves as Ustasha, just like I described myself as a member
18 of the JNA.
19 Q. Let's move to the morning of the 20th. Who was in the command of
20 the evacuation?
21 A. I told you what I know about the progress of that situation. As a
22 security officer, I went along with a group of security officers. I can
23 give you their names yet again just to check whether all the security
24 conditions at the hospital were in place to prevent any surprises and to
25 find and single out potential perpetrators of any crimes. At the
1 Velepromet gate, we decided that they should be taken as far as the
2 barracks, that they should wait and the convoy should proceed for Sremska
3 Mitrovica. They were all supposed to go to Sremska Mitrovica and then
4 after that, the convoy for taking away the wounded and sick. Colonel
5 Pavkovic brought those and then there was the bus convoy to take the
6 civilians to Sid. I can't remember right now who led that convoy, but the
7 civilian convoy that was supposed to go back to Croatia on those buses was
8 supposed to be joining that convoy on the wounded with ambulances led by
9 Colonel Pavkovic.
10 Some of the wounded stayed behind in the hospital since we didn't
11 have sufficient vehicles that day to take everybody away. As you know,
12 they were evacuated on the 21st.
13 Q. Can you think of any reason why it is that colleagues of yours,
14 military colleagues of yours, might think that you were in charge, you
15 were the commander of that evacuation from beginning to end, i.e., Sremska
17 A. Mr. Moore, this is entirely untrue. Whoever says that, bring
18 anyone, bring them on. I'll tell them straight to their face, it's a lie.
19 I wasn't in charge of that. I should have received an order in writing
20 for a -- verbal one, especially for a mission like that. It should have
21 been a written order. And then for me to hold a meeting with the people
22 who were supposed to be in charge of this or of that and then I should
23 have planned for the use of equipment but I did none of that. All I did
24 was the job of a security officer and I'm not shying away from that, but
25 that was all I did. This was quite an enterprise. It took quite some
1 planning and doing. Nor was I at any stage involved in the planning of
2 this. Therefore, the answer is I just don't know. I think this statement
3 is simply erroneous.
4 Q. Were you involved or were you in charge of the evacuation of the
5 Mitnica battalion to Ovcara?
6 A. I wasn't in charge of that either, Mr. Moore. I explained that to
7 you, haven't I? I told you, in my capacity as a security officer, I was
8 required to work with my officers, use different methods and identify the
9 perpetrators of crimes. The command of the commanders were supposed to
10 deal with the POWs. If you see -- if you look at the rules for our
11 security organ, there is no mention there whatsoever of POWs, not a single
12 mention there. The only reference there is in the military police rules,
13 it's Article 25 and Article 57. There are references there to the
14 military police having the power to take part in the escorting of POWs,
15 does not necessarily take part, but can. I didn't take part in that
16 evacuation myself. I do the job of a security officer. I've described
17 that for you. If you want me to go through that again, I will. No
18 problem at all.
19 Q. In relation to the 20th, then, you say that you were involved in
20 the selection, what I will call the triage. Who was responsible, then,
21 for the vehicles?
22 A. So, as early as the evening of the 19th when I got specific tasks,
23 security-related tasks from the commander, Colonel Mrksic, he told me that
24 I could go and see the logistics assistant commander for him to assign me
25 a sufficient number of vehicles to take away those who were suspects, who
1 were suspected of committing criminal offences. That was the job that I
2 had. I was supposed to take those crime suspects from the hospital as far
3 as the barracks, and I put Major Vukasinovic in charge of that. I
4 remember that he will be here to testify any way, and I can't be expected
5 to remember every single word. I told him to get two buses. It was my
6 assessment based on my conversations with Vesna Bosanac and Marin Vidic
7 that maybe that many would be sufficient for the first tranche. Then I
8 heard that two other buses were supposed to arrive because as many people
9 would be arriving but my first assessment was two buses.
10 So he reported and he got the two buses from the logistics
11 assistant commander.
12 Q. So who got the other two buses?
13 A. Major Vukasinovic was in charge of that job.
14 Q. And is it a case that two buses arrived on the morning of the
15 20th, you came to the conclusion that it wouldn't be sufficient, I
16 say "you," I mean collectively you, and two other buses were summoned
17 afterwards; is that what you're saying?
18 A. If you want me to go into interpreting that, perhaps I could
19 confirm, but I think you better have Vukasinovic tell you about that. The
20 previous evening, I thought two would be sufficient and then later on, he
21 was in a position to ask for more, two or whatever it took. I really
22 don't know right now. I haven't spent any time thinking about it. If two
23 would have been sufficient or if another two buses came or if the very
24 same two came back twice to get the people and take them there. I think
25 he probably would be better able to explain that for you.
1 At the time, I was with Vesna Bosanac in the office. I went to
2 the shelter and I thought that job was in progress and I realised that it
3 was a job that was being done in a routine fashion and strictly in keeping
4 with the rules.
5 Q. So your assessment, your initial assessment was you would have two
6 buses or two buses would be sufficient to accommodate the number of
7 individuals from the hospital who might interest the security organ; is
8 that correct?
9 A. Those were people I found out that night when I was in the
10 hospital from talking to Sergeant Jovic and the doctors who were treating
11 people there, the medical staff and Mrs. Vesna Bosanac and Marin Vidic
12 that they were hiding in the hospital. And they believe that they had
13 taken part in the armed insurgency. According to us, we didn't capture
14 them in the act of actually doing it. They had no weapons on them and for
15 us all they were suspects.
16 They were supposed to be taken for interrogation to Sremska
17 Mitrovica. That evening, it may have been a misjudgement on my part, but
18 that's how I remember it happening. I told Vukasinovic "I think two buses
19 should do for the number of people that we are supposed to take there." I
20 may be wrong, but that's what I think.
21 Q. Can I suggest that you had a list of your own prior to going into
22 the hospital on the 19th. Do you accept that, a list of people who might
23 interest you?
24 A. Mr. Moore, the list that you quoted yesterday is a list produced
25 by the security administration for the entire territory. And you read out
1 names from your log from the -- some other places too, that referred to
2 the entire eastern Slavonia sector. We, as security officers, used this
3 list in these cases. Should a person like that turn up a person who is
4 suspected of having committed criminal offences, there was a suspicion and
5 this person was to be taken for an interview. We didn't believe that all
6 those people were at the hospital, nor did we believe that we would find
7 all of them inside the hospital.
8 Whenever a person like that was found, this person was to be taken
9 to the Sremska Mitrovica prison, as far as their name was on the list and
10 this person was found by us at the hospital.
11 Q. So the selection process was going to be either from the list that
12 you had - by the way, I don't accept that Bosanac was trying to help you
13 to pick out individuals who fought against you - the list that you had, or
14 the information or identification by the TO of the persons who were taken
15 from the hospital; is that right? There were two principal sources of
17 A. The most principal source of identification for me and for my
18 officers at the time was that provided by the doctors of the Vukovar
19 Hospital and medical staff. I didn't ask about their ethnicity. Croats,
20 Serbs, Montenegrins, Macedonians and whoever, they were just doctors for
21 me. And they said what they said. I'm not saying that Vesna Bosanac did
22 all of that. She said she was ready to work with us. She'd be asking the
23 doctors to tell us who were the people who were hiding in order to not
24 cause any trouble to the wounded. She didn't literally go from man to man
25 picking them out saying, "That's him." And in the morning, when she had
1 the doctors summoned, she told them to work the together with the military
2 doctors and with us and that all those not belonging there and not medical
3 staff should be sent away from the hospital.
4 I'm telling you the greatest assistance we ever got in that
5 process from anyone was from the doctors and the medical staff of the
6 Vukovar Hospital.
7 Q. Can you think of any behaviour or words that you were uttering
8 that morning that would give people the impression that you were in charge
9 of the evacuation, that you were the commander of the evacuation with your
10 own officers and your own troops?
11 A. In my personal opinion, I worked exceptionally well with Mrs.
12 Vesna Bosanac and with Mr. Marin Vidic too. I was enthusiastic about the
13 conclusions that he provided. As a human being, I saw him as a human
14 being. He was being honest when talking about the JNA and talking about
15 the HDZ and Tudjman. I think he was right in everything he said. If he
16 was here, I would be glad to tell him.
17 If you want me, I'll run that past you again. Vesna Bosanac asked
18 me to hold a meeting to explain the situation. And then my understanding
19 was that those peoples' understanding was because I spoke to Dr. Ivezic,
20 Lieutenant Colonel, because he asked me for me to tell them that. I don't
21 know why he wouldn't, since I believed him to be an important person at
22 the hospital. I told them what I told them. If I have to say it again,
23 I'll say it again. I think that this was the only thing that possibly
24 could have led them to believe that I was some sort of commander.
25 After that, there was a lot of media noise being created about my
1 conversation with Mr. Borsinger at the bridge. And then everybody said
2 okay, that's Major Sljivancanin, so that's my interpretation. That was
3 the only time I gave my name to anyone or indeed focused on the fact that
4 I was some sort of a commander. So it's not the method of work of the
5 security officer to use fear to make people confess anything. Our method
6 of work was a silent one, stealthy if you like, and slow. Sometimes, I'm
7 perhaps prone to raise my voice a little, it's just a soldierly thing that
8 I do, so that might be the impression that I make on certain people. But
9 I'm telling you, that's the only meeting that possibly could have been the
10 meeting that I helped with those people. And as for everything that
11 happened in Vukovar, there was a lot of media noise being stirred up about
12 that and directed against my person.
13 Q. So the security organ don't use fear; is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Let's just look at the method of selection. It has been said that
16 individuals were told either -- "and men and those who could walk to the
17 left," is that correct? Was that said? Was that a method of selection?
18 A. In the room where the meeting was held, which is the room where I
19 was, people asked questions and I explained about the groups that were
20 there. The crime suspects who would be interrogated, who were civilians
21 who wanted to go to the Red Cross in Sid, the civilians who were to go
22 back to Croatia and those who wanted to remain in the hospital. And then
23 people asked me, "Where shall we go to get our staff ready?" And then at
24 that meeting, I may have been prompted by some people, perhaps the
25 hospital doctors themselves. I said, "To the left, those to be
1 interrogated at the barracks, and to the right, the hospital yard, all
2 those split up in two groups outside that yard." That's how it was.
3 Q. "To the left to be interrogated at the barracks." Just out of
4 interest, did you bring gender into it by any chance, perhaps men to the
5 left? Or were you expecting a few women to wander down there as well?
6 A. I didn't suspect a single woman of having committed a crime.
7 Somehow, I didn't feel that there was any need to mention that, that any
8 women were to be taken in. I didn't have the feeling at the time. There
9 may have been women like that, but at the time, it's not women that I had
10 in mind. Men were all I had in mind, and I wasn't thinking about women at
12 Q. So did you or did you not say, "Men to the left, and those who can
13 walk to the left." It's a very simple question; yes or no, please?
14 A. I didn't say "men" and I didn't say "those who can walk." I
15 said, "Those who are suspected of any crimes will head left towards the
16 gate and towards the street outside." That's what I said.
17 Q. If that is the case, then, can you explain how a woman came up to
18 you and asked, "What is happening to my husband?" And you basically
19 explained to her that, "They are going down to the barracks to be
20 interviewed and then they would be on their way to Sremska Mitrovica,"
21 because if you're putting it out on a -- if you're indicating it in a
22 meeting, it's not -- it's something that everybody would know, isn't it?
23 A. Well, you see, as I testified here, maybe as I was passing, there
24 were people approaching me, even women to ask me questions. I didn't say
25 at the meeting that people would be sent to the Sremska Mitrovica prison.
1 I said for interrogation to the barracks. I didn't want to cause any more
2 commotion, that they'd been through enough by this point. Me telling them
3 at this point that they would be taken to prison, I don't think that was a
4 good idea. I was trying to be humane in a way. I didn't wish to frighten
5 them or anything. And I may have told that particular lady as I was
6 passing that those people had been taken for interrogation to the
7 barracks. There is no escaping that. It's a possibility. But I can't
8 remember every single thing I said to every single person there. One
9 thing is certain, at the meeting, I made no reference whatsoever to the
10 Sremska Mitrovica prison.
11 Q. Being the sensitive and humane man which you obviously are, is it
12 a case, then, that you were saying to this woman to relieve her concerns
13 that her husband was going to go to the barracks to be interrogated? Was
14 that a phrase to relieve her concerns, Mr. Sljivancanin, as a person who
15 might be interviewed for suspected crimes? Is that your explanation?
16 A. Well, I'm telling you that I said this because I didn't want to
17 add something to all the trouble that these people were experiencing. I
18 didn't want to say to that woman, "Oh, your husband is going to prison."
19 In order to alleviate things, perhaps I said, "interrogation in barracks
20 and then we would consult there." And also these women, they asked for
21 these lists and again we returned those people who I thought were
22 misselected. I thought that they should be released, therefore, I did not
23 tell anyone then that they would go to prison. Whatever they asked me, I
24 didn't say to anyone that they would be going to prison in Sremska
1 Q. So there was no interview at the barracks, was there?
2 A. Not in barracks. There weren't supposed to be held any in
3 barracks. And no one was assigned to interview anyone or interrogate
4 anyone. They were supposed to wait there for a convoy to be formed and go
5 to Sremska Mitrovica.
6 Q. So you lied to the woman; that is correct, isn't it?
7 A. Oh, Mr. Moore, I said how I felt then. You can interpret it any
8 way you want. That is what you think that I lied. Her husband was
9 perhaps among those 20 that we released ultimately.
10 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, there were going to be no interviews. What you
11 told this woman was a lie. That's correct, isn't it? There were no
12 interviews. It's not a case of my interpretation. It was a lie.
13 A. It was not a lie, because before that, women asked me to make a
14 list -- that they would make a list of their husbands who they thought
15 were not crime suspects, and I released a great many of them so they could
16 return to their families.
17 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, there was no interview and there was going to be
18 no interview at the JNA barracks; that is correct, isn't it?
19 A. That is correct, but it could have happened in that selection as I
20 said to you, because I promised at the meeting that families would not be
21 split up, that the people who had made this selection had made a mistake
22 and that mistake could be corrected while they are still in barracks. The
23 mistake could also have been rectified in Sremska Mitrovica too, so it's
24 not a lie at all.
25 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin --
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. -- you told the woman that her husband was going to be interviewed
3 in the barracks. You knew there were no interviews at the barracks.
4 That, by any standard, is a lie. For whatever reason, it is a lie, isn't
6 A. Mr. Moore, that's not the way I see it. These are your
7 conclusions. I'm telling you once again, I do not know what I said to
8 what woman, but I do know that women walked up to me, put questions to me,
9 they asked for their husbands to be returned, those who were not
10 perpetrators of crimes were returned. I let them make these lists, and I
11 knew that these people would be temporarily in the barracks until the
12 convoy was established. They would go to Sremska Mitrovica. There was
13 always the possibility that, as I promised them at the meeting, if anyone
14 indicates that they have information that they took the wrong man, it was
15 possible for such a man to be released from barracks. We did everything
16 that they asked us to do. Yes.
17 Q. Do you know the name of that woman? You heard her name here. Her
18 name was Polovina. Would it surprise you to know that there is a Polovina
19 in the annex of the indictment? We would suggest it is her husband?
20 A. Sir, at that time, in the hospital, I did not hear that the
21 woman's name was Polovina. I did not ask any of the women to introduce
22 themselves to me by name and surname. If that man is indeed in the
23 indictment, and if he indeed went missing, I am really moved, as a human
24 being, but I really had no intention. I don't know whether Polovina or
25 some other woman asked me. If she was the one who asked me, I really
1 wanted to reassure her then so that she would not be stressed out. I
2 tried my best to be fair to people and I didn't know whether her husband
3 was in barracks or was not in barracks.
4 Q. And I suggest, and I don't mean to be discourteous, please
5 understand that, and I hope others do, that you were and are, an
6 egotistical gentleman, who went that day controlling a situation and it
7 was you who called that meeting, not Dr. Bosanac. You went in there in
8 charge; isn't that right?
9 A. Well, Mr. Moore, you see, you are using very ugly words, very
10 harsh words, and you are behaving here from positions of power. You
11 represent a powerful world organisation that I respect. And what am I
12 here? As a Montenegrin poet said, I'm just a straw in the whirlwinds, so
13 what is my position? What did I try to do? I was not egotistical. I
14 tried to help these people and I also want to bring before justice those
15 who created commotion, trouble, who killed innocent people, soldiers, that
16 was the law, and I strove for that. I cannot accept what you're saying
18 I don't want to squabble with you. You have the right to use any
19 words you want to use and I will always try to behave courteous and
20 properly to you. And then it is for you to decide what kind of words you
21 are going to use when addressing me and when speaking about me.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I didn't want to interrupt Mr. Moore,
24 but I am going to refer to something that he referred to in the
25 Prosecution case. When he referred to the tone of Mr. Borovic's question
1 put to one of the Prosecution witnesses. Of course I don't mind that Mr.
2 Moore puts questions related to the facts, but in terms of qualifications
3 like this, comments on Mr. Sljivancanin's personality, those are facts
4 that can only be part of a second part of a question, the way I understand
6 JUDGE PARKER: Have you finished with that matter, Mr. Moore?
7 MR. MOORE: I have, Your Honours.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Move on.
9 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
10 Q. Can I suggest, perhaps if I put it this way, you refer to
11 Montenegrins being a straw in the wind. The second time you have
12 mentioned Montenegro. You are from Montenegro. Obviously, it's a gross
13 generalisation, but would it be fair to say that Montenegrins can be plain
14 speaking people? You are not the only one in this court who is from
15 Montenegrin, but would that be a trait?
16 A. Well, if you're interested in what Montenegrins are like, I have a
17 book here in prison that was written by a German author who spent quite a
18 bit of time with Montenegrins and he described the people there. I can
19 bring it for you tomorrow and I can give it to you. You can read it.
20 I really don't want to talk about that now. I think that we are a
21 civilised people, normal people. I cannot denounce my origins. I was
22 brought up the way I was brought up. I am the way I am. It would be best
23 for you to come to Montenegro and to spend a bit of time with Montenegrins
24 and you will see that we are normal people just like anybody else.
25 Q. Let's move on to the actual evacuation itself. Who was in charge
1 of the buses and the transfer of Ovcara people?
2 A. I don't understand. What kind of transfer of Ovcara and when did
3 this occur?
4 Q. The people who were taken from the hospital, I often called them
5 the Ovcara people or the Ovcara victims, the people who were taken from
6 the hospital and eventually ended up at the JNA barracks and then went on,
7 minus some individuals at Ovcara, who was in charge of the transportation
8 of them? Who was in charge of the control of the individuals?
9 A. People who were in hospital and who were suspected of having
10 committed crimes and who were to be taken to the barracks, Major Ljubisa
11 Vukasinovic was in charge of them.
12 Q. Who supplied the soldiers on the buses?
13 A. As far as I know, soldiers for securing these buses were from the
14 2nd Battalion of the military police commanded by Major Radomir Paunovic.
15 Q. Did you have any discussion with Paunovic that morning at the
16 hospital about what was to be achieved or indeed any discussion with him
17 about these individuals being removed from the hospital?
18 A. Well, I talked to Paunovic on the afternoon of the 19th and I
19 talked to him on the morning of the 20th. He was there. As far as I can
20 remember, there was a company commander of his there too. I saw the two
21 of them. They said that the night was peaceful and that there was nothing
22 going on. And I said that what would be done then would be the work that
23 we came there for and that his soldiers would be helping. Those were the
24 tasks and the jobs that he had, normal police work.
25 Q. But the important thing to bear in mind, I would suggest, is that
1 you have a double function here. You are responsible for the triage, as
2 you call it, but you are also commander of the security organ within the
3 zone of responsibility of the 1st Motorised Brigade, Guards Motorised
4 Brigade; isn't that right?
5 A. Mr. Moore, I was not a commander, I was the chief of the security
6 organ of the Guards Motorised Brigade.
7 Q. But you still had a function as chief of the security organ of the
8 Guards Motorised Brigade. That task still subsisted; isn't that right?
9 A. Yes, that's right. I was chief of security of the Guards Brigade
10 when I was there in hospital. Yes, that's right.
11 Q. And the barracks were within the zone of responsibility of the
12 Guards Motorised Brigade; that is correct, isn't it?
13 A. The barracks were within the zone of responsibility of the Guards
14 Motorised Brigade. That is correct.
15 Q. And criminal behaviour or acts is a matter of concern to the
16 security organ; isn't that correct?
17 A. Well, security organs take part in these tasks, but crimes are
18 something that everyone has to deal with, soldiers, commanders, the
19 military police, crime prevention, control, resolving these problems.
20 Q. I will ask the question again. Criminal behaviour or criminal
21 acts are a matter of concern to the security organ; that is correct, isn't
22 it? It may well be other officers as well, we can deal with that later
23 on, but for the security organ, it is one of your areas of concern; isn't
24 that right?
25 A. That is one of the tasks in which the security organs participate
1 as well. Yesterday we interpreted the rules. Now I don't really want to
2 interpret it the way it suits you. I want to give the interpretation that
3 the regulations stipulate. Now we explained that very nicely yesterday.
4 Where they are the mainstays of certain things and where they participate
5 in certain matters.
6 THE INTERPRETER: The answer went too fast. The interpreter did
7 not catch the last sentence.
8 MR. MOORE:
9 Q. You were told by Vukasinovic -- Your Honour, it's very difficult
10 to know how to deal with it.
11 Mr. Sljivancanin, you're talking rather quickly sometimes. The
12 interpreter, I think, failed to get the last part of the answer and I'll
13 read it to you. And it's the last part of the answer if you can just
14 expand although I don't think it will change much.
15 "One of the tasks in which the security organs participate as
16 well, yesterday, we interpreted the rules. Now, I don't really want to
17 interpret it the way it suits you, I want to give the interpretation that
18 the regulations stipulate. Now we explained that very nicely yesterday.
19 Where they are the mainstays of certain things and where they participate
20 in certain matters." That is all that is recorded. Is there anything
21 else that you want to add to that?
22 A. I do apologise to the interpreters and to you, sir, if I went too
23 fast. I don't want to repeat myself, that's why I'm hurrying, but I will
24 be patient enough to speak slower.
25 Yesterday, when we discussed the rules and regulations, we said
1 what the main tasks were or, rather, where the organs of the -- security
2 organs were the mainstays, the protagonists. And there is this other
3 group of tasks which they participate like other officers, commands and so
4 on and they are not the ones who are in charge of these tasks; they
5 participate, they assist therein. One of these tasks where they
6 participate is crime prevention and control and finding the perpetrators
7 of criminal offences.
8 Q. And you were told by Vukasinovic that there had been problems at
9 the barracks; that is correct, isn't it?
10 A. I did my best to be precise. Vukasinovic, when he brought a group
11 of people that I had asked to be returned, after having talked to the
12 women, which is what you asked me about, he said that certain members of
13 the Territorial Defence, as he was taking these people out of the buses to
14 take them back, they tried to abduct some of these people. And they were
15 making noise, so to speak. They were cursing, they were saying ugly
16 things about them, shouting at them. There were also a group of members
17 of the Territorial Defence who had gathered near the barracks and they
18 were asking why I was setting these people free, these 24 who were on that
19 list. Now, that is what Vukasinovic said to me.
20 Q. Well, if you are referring to abduction, abduction means taking
21 away; isn't that right?
22 A. No, they were not taking them away. It was my understanding that
23 they were moving towards these people that Vukasinovic had singled out --
24 that's what I meant, that they did not abduct anyone because the military
25 police was there so that was prevented.
1 Q. I suspect this is a problem on translation. What you said
2 was, "They tried to abduct some of these people." What I'm suggesting to
3 you, it's not a case of just words, there was an attempt to remove people,
4 so it was an extremely serious situation. The removal of people who were
5 suspected of committing criminal acts against Serbs. That's the point.
6 It's not just words, it's the attempt to remove people that's the issue.
7 A. Well, I think differently, and I thought differently then too.
8 There were always some frustrated people in that town, people who had
9 experienced many traumas, people who lived through that, this interethnic
10 conflict. It was not easy. And now, in that nervousness, one could -- a
11 person could get very upset, perhaps somebody recognised a neighbour,
12 whoever, I don't know. But I know that nothing happened to these people
13 and as I had requested, all of the people who were on the list were
14 returned to the hospital.
15 Q. And they had tried to mistreat the people whom you had extracted.
16 These are very benign words, "mistreat." Did you ever ask, Well, what
17 were they trying to do? Were they hitting them? Were they beating them?
18 A. When these people came, Vukasinovic informed me that he did not
19 allow anyone to approach them, and none of these people who were brought
20 in had been hurt and none of them complained to me that they had been
21 beaten. I'm telling you again, there were frustrated people in town,
22 especially these civilians who were there in town and then finally when
23 the town was free and when they could move about, some people saw
24 destroyed houses, some had somebody close to them killed. So of course it
25 was our suspicion that people could feel frustrated in that kind of
1 situation and could be saying all sorts of things. And most often they
2 were saying to them that they were Ustashas, they were cursing them, using
3 these swear words that I remember Vukasinovic told me about then. Well,
4 such things did happen among the population, yes. That wasn't new.
5 Nothing was ideal there.
6 Q. I'm asking you, and as I suggested yesterday, there was a
7 possibility of revenge; isn't that right?
8 A. I was convinced, and I am convinced now as well that where these
9 officers were, the ones that I had assigned different tasks or where the
10 officers of the Guards Motorised Brigade were, that no retaliation could
11 take place. We did our best to take correct measures and to protect and
12 shield people.
13 Q. Might I respectfully suggest to you that is complete nonsense
14 because many of these people in the TO were armed and were perfectly
15 capable of shooting someone. This was not an unarmed group of people
16 completely, was it?
17 A. I know that members of the Territorial Defence were armed and from
18 day one, there was this situation until we introduced law and order. On
19 one occasion, Colonel Mrksic even issued an order to the Colonel. He
20 said, If necessary, you can trample upon them with tanks but they are not
21 going to --
22 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, the question is perfectly straightforward. It's
23 not a case of just words. You had a group of frustrated individuals, some
24 of them TO, some of them who might have lost loved ones, who were armed
25 and attacking the bus or attempting to attack the bus; that's right, isn't
2 A. I heard what people said here while they were giving evidence, but
3 I was not in barracks, so it's not for me to conclude whether it was that
4 way or whether it was not that way or whether people are adding things,
5 but the fact remains that nothing happened to anyone in the barracks.
6 I am giving you my word that I am sure that the guards would have
7 used tanks and weapons and anything and they would have prevented the
8 Territorial Defence from doing anything if they wanted to.
9 Q. And yesterday or the day before, you indicated to this Court you
10 did nothing to contact anyone at the barracks to see whether the situation
11 was deteriorating; that is right, isn't it?
12 A. Mr. Moore, you always draw some kind of conclusions that you want
13 to draw. That is your opinion. That's not what I said. So please, read
14 that page to me. I don't know. Perhaps I spoke very fast and I just
15 spoke too fast. I asked Vukasinovic who was there. I asked him, Is
16 Colonel Panic there? And he said, Yes. Is lieutenant Colonel Lukic
17 there? Yes, that was the commander of the barracks or, rather, the
18 commander of the garrison. Knowing those officers, that is not secret
19 work on the part of security organs. One knows what discipline is. The
20 security organ does not resolve this discipline. It is for the command to
21 resolve that. If they were there, I was convinced and I am convinced
22 today that they would take measures and they would resolve the question of
23 discipline and they would improve the discipline. That was my position
24 then and that is what I said to you yesterday.
25 Q. You had a radio, you had individuals at your disposal, you never
1 sent Vukasinovic back to clarify the situation and you never made any
2 radio attempt to see what was happening at the barracks; that is the fact,
3 isn't it?
4 A. Well, Mr. Moore, I gave my answer yesterday. As for this radio
5 communication I had, I had it with Negoslavci, not with the barracks, but
6 with the building where I was, with my desk officers, so that they could
7 send a message to me if necessary, and things like that. Again, I'm
8 telling you, as for the chain of command, it was not my duty to introduce
9 order and discipline in barracks. It was not for me to give assignments
10 to officers. The officers who were in barracks are going to come and
11 testify and they are going to explain what the order was in barracks. At
12 that time, I did not think it was necessary, if responsible officers in
13 barracks were there, that I was supposed to caution them about something.
14 It was the day-to-day duty of the commander there.
15 Q. And it's much more than that, because the people who were sent
16 back on your suggestion when they came with Vukasinovic, Vujevic was with
17 you on the re-selection at the hospital. And I think you told us that in
18 actual fact, that there were individuals in that re-selected group who
19 indicated that they had killed some people and they said who it was they
20 had killed. And as a consequence of that, they were, as it were,
21 re-apprehended. So you had people who actually admitted, so you say, had
22 admitted murdering or killing individuals; isn't that right?
23 A. So, when those people were returned to the hospital compound,
24 there were journalists there, there were EC monitors there, even Mr.
25 Vujevic came with some TO men and addressed me, saying, that he knew that
1 the people whom I was about to release were perpetrators of criminal
2 offences and I said, That's up to you. And then I took some people
3 outside the hospital who knew those people and I called the MPs who were
5 For example, I read out the name of this particular person, he
6 responds. I say, Does anyone know what this man did? And I ask Vujevic,
7 Do you know if there were any criminal offences that he committed? You
8 are from the area, so you should know. And he said, I heard he was a
9 member of the HDZ. And I said to him, Well, you were a party member too
10 of some party, rather, right? This man wasn't carrying a gun, he wasn't
11 shooting. So he's leaving with his family and that's that. Those four
12 people who remained said themselves, We shot at people and we killed some
13 people. And they told us about some people they killed at a petrol
14 station in front of everybody there in the hospital, and I had no doubts
15 any longer.
16 I told Vukasinovic, Take these people to the Sremska Mitrovica
17 prison. That's where they should go and that was all the selection that
18 was done.
19 Q. I would suggest that is complete and utter nonsense that four men
20 would confess to killing or murder to you or the TO and that you are using
21 that as a means to justify them getting back on that bus. That's what I'm
22 suggesting to you.
23 A. Mr. Moore, you weren't there. How can you possibly know? What
24 you're saying, again, you can say whatever you like, but I'm telling you
25 from the depths of my soul, the very truth, what we experienced. I even
1 admired that particular commander, Mitar Karaula, who was -- I admired his
2 honesty, he honour. It doesn't matter that we were enemies. He was an
3 honourable man. So, Your Honours, that's what I'm trying to say, there
4 were people -- allow me to answer this, please. Allow me to answer this
5 question. There were honourable Croats.
6 Q. This is about four people you say confessed to killing, to murder,
7 in front of the TO commander and yourself, the TO commander objecting that
8 they were being released because he knew they were killers. I'm
9 suggesting it's complete nonsense, it's not about Karaula?
10 A. Those people too, quite specifically, Mr. Moore, it's not nonsense
11 at all. There were people who regretted their actions, who were proud and
12 who were honourable, perhaps, and they said there right on the spot, I did
13 this or I did that. Either, among those people who were sent back, there
14 were people who said we have mobilised by force and we were just there to
15 take food to these ZNG men, but we didn't shoot or use a weapon. I didn't
16 believe that such people should be taken away as crime perpetrators. I
17 felt that most of the people there were telling the truth; that's the
18 feeling I had.
19 Q. Let's move off from this topic, but the situation was that you
20 were told that there were TO members up at the barracks. Now, let us move
21 on. It's right to say that you, at no time, knew about a government
22 meeting until you returned to Negoslavci; is that correct?
23 A. The first I heard about the government meeting was what I heard
24 from my desk officer Srecko Borisavljevic when I came to Negoslavci. I
25 had not known of that before.
1 Q. So the answer to that question was yes.
2 A. I didn't know about that government meeting.
3 Q. And it's right to say when you heard about it, you were surprised;
4 is that correct?
5 A. I was surprised, yes.
6 Q. It's also right to say that one of your other security organs, Mr.
7 Karanfilov, told you that day about the incidents at the JNA barracks when
8 the buses were attacked. That is correct also, isn't it? You've not
9 given that in evidence, but I'm suggesting it to you?
10 A. I met Karanfilov. I told him to bring Marin Vidic to that shelter
11 where the ZNG were on that day, that afternoon, but I don't remember
12 talking to him about the barracks at all. I simply can't remember. I
13 don't remember, as simple as that.
14 Q. Well, I'm suggesting to you that Karanfilov told you about the
15 violence at the JNA barracks that day.
16 A. That's what you're saying. I never heard Karanfilov utter
17 anything like that. I don't remember. The only thing I heard is what I
18 was told by Major Vukasinovic at the barracks.
19 Q. Mr. Karanfilov is allegedly one of your witnesses and I have a
20 statement from him and I'm suggesting to you that is what he said when
21 that statement was taken. Might he be right?
22 A. Karanfilov will take the stand. We'll hear his story. As for
23 these words, him telling me about acts of violence committed, I simply
24 don't remember. I can't even remember that we talked about the barracks.
25 We talked about his mission, the mission that he'd been assigned but I
1 told him nothing in relation to the barracks and I gave him no tasks in
2 relation to the barracks.
3 Q. And when you went to Negoslavci, you saw Vukasinovic again and he
4 told you that he had been to Ovcara with this group of people who had been
5 taken from the barracks; that is correct, isn't it?
6 A. Vukasinovic told me he had been informed by Captain Predojevic and
7 this had originally come from the brigade command to the effect that the
8 last group that he had brought was now to be taken to Ovcara because that
9 was the conclusion that no one should now stay at the barracks.
10 Q. It is right to say that Vukasinovic told you that the people had
11 been taken to Ovcara. That is what surprised you; isn't that right?
12 A. It surprised me, sure enough. I knew people were to be taken to
13 Sremska Mitrovica, so yes, I was surprised by that at the time.
14 Q. And I will read what you have said in evidence: "He found the
15 other people from the barracks there and members of the TO including
16 Miroljub Vujevic. He said they were behaving - how should I put it -
18 So you have got Vujevic having an incident with you at the
19 hospital where, I believe, I think it's right, that he raised a gun
20 towards you, but certainly he was objecting to individuals being removed.
21 And here, you are being told by Vukasinovic that those people were now at
22 Ovcara, the same man was there, and the TO were behaving violently. That
23 is correct, isn't it?
24 A. So, it's true, Vukasinovic said that the TO men had again tried to
25 act in a frustrated and violent way. He said he'd met Vujevic there and
1 had warned him about this. Vujevic allegedly reacted and restored order
2 to that scene. He also told me that the military police of the 80th
3 Motorised Brigade then arrived and took over securing those people who
4 were where they had previously been brought.
5 Q. But you had been told that they had been behaving violently. Did
6 you ask him, What do you mean violently?
7 A. Well, I asked him. He said foul language, calling out names,
8 threats being made, you murderers, that sort of thing. Those were the
9 words that I heard. I can't be expected to repeat every single word I
10 heard, but it struck me as very frustrated people calling other people
11 names such as Ustasha and that sort of thing. That's what I remember, the
12 words being used and what Vukasinovic told me in terms of what sort of
13 language was used.
14 Q. With the utmost respect to you, Mr. Sljivancanin, violently in
15 normal usage does not mean saying nasty words to people, it tends to mean
16 physical acts of violence.
17 A. Mr. Moore, well, that depends on your take on it, doesn't it?
18 That's what I took it to mean, insults, taunts. I didn't understand
19 Vukasinovic to be saying that they had been physically attacked, since the
20 military policemen from the 80th Motorised Brigade had already set up a
21 security system. I'm telling you that was my impression at the time. I
22 wasn't physically present at the scene, but that was the impression that I
24 Q. You have told this Court what a noble and decent man you are and
25 your concerns. Were you concerned for the welfare of those people at
1 Ovcara when you heard that?
2 A. I was concerned throughout. The idea of violent behaviour was
3 totally alien to me. We were all concerned. And that's why eventually I
4 went to see the commander to see what our further tasks would be and then
5 Major Vukasinovic told me that he had informed the commander of all these
6 things so those were no longer secret missions for intelligence bodies.
7 The chain of command was well-known. And he told me that Lieutenant
8 Colonel Panic had been there too.
9 So my understanding was these were perfectly normal, simple tasks.
10 If there was anything that was known, it was all known and it was normal.
11 And security would now be taken over by a fresh well-rested unit. They
12 were in charge of the area and there could be no further riots or anything
13 there. That was my understanding then.
14 Q. I asked you the question, "Were you concerned for the welfare of
15 those people at Ovcara when you heard that?" And you replied, "I was
16 concerned throughout." Does that reply, "I was concerned throughout," run
17 from the hospital through the day? Is that concern an ongoing concern?
18 A. You're adding something to what I said about my own opinion. I
19 said I was concerned throughout. I meant the area of combat operations.
20 Throughout, from day one, until the very end. I tried to make sure that
21 all that misfortune, whoever was free to still be safe and for conditions
22 to be ensured for people to get on with their lives to the extent that
23 they could.
24 From the hospital to the barracks, there were officers in charge
25 of certain tasks and I believe those officers to be capable, perfectly
1 capable of carrying out their tasks in a regular manner.
2 Q. I asked you about the people at Ovcara. I was specifically
3 targeting that group. When you heard from Vukasinovic the first time
4 you've given your reply, you've heard now Vukasinovic telling you about
5 violence, were you concerned about the welfare of those people from Ovcara
6 or at Ovcara. What is your answer, please?
7 A. Given the fact that Vukasinovic had informed me about him
8 establishing full control and that security was now in the charge of the
9 military policemen of the 80th Motorised Brigade, my conclusion was that
10 people were safe.
11 Q. Does that mean that you were not concerned?
12 A. I wasn't particularly concerned. I knew that the police were
13 there, the unit was there, the commanders were there. I knew that people
14 would now be safe, there was nothing out of hand, there was nothing that
15 was not known.
16 Q. But you indicated you were going to tell Mrksic about it; isn't
17 that right?
18 A. I went to see Mrksic to tell him what I'd seen at the hospital,
19 and what happened at the hospital that day and to see what would be
20 further tasks and duties. Vukasinovic had previously told me, when he
21 had returned from Mitnica, he went to see Mrksic and met him -- or,
22 rather, informed him about all of that. And since the chief of staff, Mr.
23 Panic was there, I believed them to be in the know in the sense of knowing
24 exactly what was going on why those people had gone there.
25 Q. Was it your intention to tell Mrksic about not only the hospital
1 but also the JNA barracks, the behaviour there, and the behaviour at
2 Ovcara towards those prisoners? Was that your intention when you were
3 intending to go and speak to him?
4 A. Well, to be quite frank, I thought the chain of command and the
5 commanders were informing people about what had been going on, and
6 everything. I wasn't in charge of the barracks myself. I wasn't in
7 charge of discipline since the barracks actually had a commander. I
8 believed that Mrksic was in touch with the commander. I had no
9 possibility of reminding Mrksic or the barracks commander all the time
10 about what their duties were.
11 Any officer doing all of that would not have been a mere chief of
12 security. Since all of the commanders and officers were in place, I
13 simply took it for a fact that everything was going smoothly.
14 Q. So does that mean you were not going to tell Mrksic about the
15 attacks at the barracks and you were not going to tell Mrksic about the
16 attacks at Ovcara? Now what is the straight answer on this, please?
17 A. Well, Mr. Moore, I didn't hear of any attacks. Again, at the
18 time, I had no task in relation to the barracks or Ovcara, for that
19 matter. The officers who were there were supposed to report on anything
20 that went on and anything to do with those tasks. It's difficult to say,
21 off the bat, I would be lying to the Chamber and I would be lying to you
22 if I said everything that you are suggesting I should say. I can't
23 remember every single thing that crossed my mind at the time.
24 I went to see the commander to ask him why those people had gone
25 to Ovcara and not to Sremska Mitrovica and to tell him about what had been
1 done at the hospital for as long as I was there.
2 Q. "So I went to see the commander to ask him why these people had
3 gone to Ovcara," yes, "not to Sremska Mitrovica, and to tell him what had
4 been done at the hospital."
5 Is that because you knew from Vukasinovic that Vukasinovic had
6 told Mrksic about the threats at the JNA barracks and the violence, as
7 you've described, at Ovcara; is that right or not?
8 A. Well simply because I knew that those people were to go to Sremska
9 Mitrovica. Based on what Vukasinovic had told me, I was now surprised
10 that they were taken to Ovcara. Instead I didn't know what was going on
11 or what they were there for. As for what Srecko Borisavljevic told me, he
12 told me that they had been at a government meeting and that was a surprise
13 for me too simply because I never believed that any such government should
14 exist and that's a political issue and it's not my place to discuss that.
15 He told me that Bogdan Vujic had told him that there had been some
16 mistreatment --
17 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, I'm dealing with the state of knowledge that you
18 had at that time and the information that had been given to Mrksic. Now,
19 you say that Borisavljevic had spoken to Mrksic. Did Borisavljevic -- I
20 beg your pardon, Vukasinovic had spoken to Mrksic. Had Vukasinovic had
21 said to Mrksic that he had told him about the behaviour at the barracks
22 and the behaviour at Ovcara. That's all I want to know, it's a simple
24 A. Well, as far as I learned from Vukasinovic that day, I think he
25 informed Colonel Mrksic about what had happened at Ovcara. My
1 understanding was correct, that order was restored and that the people
2 were there. I don't know whether he talked to him about the barracks that
3 day. I can't be expected to remember every single little thing. You
4 asked me why I went to see Mrksic and that's precisely what I am trying to
5 explain, because of what he told me, when he told me about those people
6 going to Ovcara and not to Mitrovica. And also because of that, because
7 of what Bogdan Vujic had told Srecko Borisavljevic, that someone from
8 higher up had given orders for those people to be taken over or
9 surrendered to the government. So I went to see the commander whether
10 that was in fact true.
11 Q. Let's just look at this reply you've given. Vukasinovic said he
12 told Mrksic and Mrksic said nothing. That is correct, isn't it?
13 A. I never said that Mrksic said nothing. All I said is Vukasinovic
14 told me that after coming back from Ovcara, he had informed the commander
15 about what had gone on at Ovcara and that Lieutenant Colonel Panic was
16 present too. That's what he told me.
17 Q. No, your evidence was as follows: "After this," this is
18 Vukasinovic, "After this, he went back to the command post and informed
19 Colonel Mrksic about all of this. He said Mrksic told him nothing."
20 13663: 22 is the reference. Mrksic told him nothing. That was your
22 A. I don't remember saying that. Perhaps that should be read back.
23 It may be a slip of the tongue or a misinterpretation, but I really don't
24 remember Vukasinovic telling me Mrksic told me nothing. I was surprised.
25 I was just listening to all of this. I was surprised that all those
1 people had been taken to Ovcara and not to Mitrovica. I don't remember
2 him telling me he told me nothing.
3 Q. And you then went to see Mrksic because you wanted to report to
4 him about what had happened at the hospital; is that right?
5 A. That's right. I wanted to tell about what I had done in the
6 hospital, what I had done with the shelter, the tasks I was performing,
7 and how many people were still left in the hospital.
8 Q. Did it concern you that Vukasinovic had told you that Mrksic had
9 said nothing about potential threats and acts of violence towards the
10 Ovcara individuals?
11 A. I've answered that, haven't I? I don't remember Vukasinovic
12 telling me that Mrksic had told him nothing. All I was surprised at -- I
13 can't remember every single word that was exchanged. Vukasinovic will be
14 coming along, so we'll ask him, won't we? I was surprised that the people
15 were taken from the barracks to Ovcara, rather than to Sremska Mitrovica.
16 That was what caused my surprise.
17 Q. When you went to see Colonel Mrksic, did you tell him about the
18 threats at the barracks and the account that Vukasinovic had given you
19 about what had been happening at Ovcara?
20 A. I didn’t… we didn’t talk. I didn’t repeat what Vukasinovic had
21 told me. And we did not talk about the threats. This was a spontaneous
22 conversation. I called in, I don’t know if Mr. Mrksic too was in a hurry
23 then, but time was short. And I told him that the convoy carrying the
24 wounded had set out, that they were done there, that we cleared the
25 shelter for booby-traps, that all the equipment had been taken away and
1 sent to Belgrade, as far as I remember.
2 As I was talking, Mrksic said what I said to you, what was said
3 here and then if necessary, I can repeat that for you. During that
4 conversation or dialogue, Mrksic said that there had been a government
5 meeting, that our Guards Brigade would now be going off to get some rest
6 and that the 80th Motorised Brigade would be taking over responsibility,
7 that the government took charge of some of the people back in the barracks
8 in order to have been exchanged for their own Serbs. And that was the end
9 of that conversation. It was at this point that it dawned on me that
10 those people from the barracks had been taken away and had been taken to
11 Ovcara because of that. I believed that those people would be taken from
12 there somewhere else, that they would not be held at Ovcara, that they
13 would be taken to some centre because, to begin with, there was no proper
14 conditions in place at Ovcara for holding people.
15 Q. Did Mrksic say to you that that day, he had been contacted by
16 Susic who was at the barracks and had telephoned him to warn he, Mrksic,
17 about the behaviour at the barracks?
18 A. Mrksic didn't say anything else that evening, apart from that. He
19 said, Go and see General Vasiljevic. Go get some rest. He said he would
20 be going to Belgrade the next day and he said the next morning, I should
21 see Colonel Panic to give him a hand and to set up security for the press
22 conference in Vukovar the next day. But Mrksic was in no way duty bound
23 to report to me what the battalion commander had told him and what they
24 had done. This is above the chain of command. He is a commander that was
25 not supposed to report to me.
1 Q. I've asked you a very simple question. Did Mrksic say he knew
2 about it from Susic; yes or no?
3 A. He didn't tell me anything about Susic.
4 Q. Did he say that he knew about it from Panic, because Panic had
5 been at Ovcara and had witnessed the beatings?
6 A. As far as I remember, Panic was seated right there at headquarters
7 and he made no reference to Panic whatsoever.
8 Q. Did he say that he had been contacted by Tomic who had expressed
9 concerns about what was happening at the barracks?
10 A. He didn't tell me anything about Tomic, nor do I remember that
11 name at all.
12 Q. Did he say that he had spoken or been spoken to by Vukasinovic
13 about the concerns and did nothing about it?
14 A. I'm telling you what I remember him telling me. I don't remember
15 anybody else being mentioned by the commander, nor did he submit any
16 reports to me as to any reports that have been submitted to him, simply
17 because he wasn't required to do that.
18 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm afraid the
19 transcript is running away from us. Page 38, line 21, the witness said
20 that Mr. Mrksic had told him that he would be going to Belgrade and the
21 transcript said that Mrksic told him that he would be going to Belgrade
22 the next day, so this is not something the witness said, he only told him
23 that he would be off to Belgrade.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
25 MR. MOORE:
1 Q. I want to deal, if I may, please, with General Vasiljevic. You
2 were told that General Vasiljevic wanted to speak to you as a matter of
3 urgency and you then went and telephoned him; is that right?
4 A. That's right, I phoned the security administration.
5 Q. And as far as your evidence is is that General Vasiljevic was
6 concerned about some documents; is that right?
7 A. So, the previous evening, when General Vasiljevic was with us on
8 our premises, the evening of the 19th, we informed him about what we had,
9 what we had collected, documents, letters. And I told him that we had not
10 been able to get all the documents from the commander's shelter because
11 the shelter was booby-trapped. I said that we would do it the next day
12 with the assistance of the engineers. And he said I was supposed to send
13 these documents to the chief of security of the cabinet. And then he said
14 that he would talk to him that evening because of the importance and
15 priority of this matter for that to be sent to him directly to the
16 security administration because certainly this was by all means to reach
17 the chief of security of the cabinet at the administration. He said he'd
18 see to this with Jukic and that I shouldn't worry about this. And this
19 one time that he said he called me, I said I don't remember. I haven't
20 completed my answer.
21 Q. I apologise.
22 A. And that evening, when I phoned, he picked up the phone -- or,
23 rather, General Vasiljevic didn't pick up the phone immediately, maybe it
24 was the Colonel who was on duty and maybe he conveyed to me the request of
25 General Vasiljevic or maybe he put me through. I just can't remember. He
1 did ask me though to quickly send through whatever it was that we had and
2 I said it's already on its way to you. It was sent that afternoon before
3 nightfall when we had pulled out from that shelter, whatever we were able
4 to, and that was the extent of our conversation.
5 Q. That's what I want to ask you about. Here you are, you have got a
6 government meeting that you don't actually think should even exist. You
7 have got a group of individuals who have been routed away from their
8 intended route itself. You have got indications of possible violence,
9 putting it mildly, and you have a commander saying, Our task is done. Why
10 didn't you tell Vasiljevic, General or comrade General, what is going on
11 here? I don't know what's going on and I am the chief of the security
13 Did you mention to General Vasiljevic these problems just so that
14 he could give you one of his pearls of wisdom, perhaps?
15 A. Well, Mr. Moore, I told you that I wasn't sure whether I talked to
16 General Vasiljevic that evening or the Colonel on duty; however, since the
17 General on the previous evening said to me that all questions related to
18 security, I can fully accept all the demands made by Colonel Vujic who
19 came from the security administration with those tasks. According to the
20 information given to me by Srecko Borisavljevic, Vujic had been at the
21 government meeting, he was present all the time, he was present in the
22 barracks when these people were taken over by the government. I believed
23 then -- well, if I knew everything I know now, and the advice you are
24 giving me is very wise advice, I would have been the happiest man in the
25 world if I would have thought of that then and if I had sacrificed my own
1 life and if I released all those people and even if I would be
2 court-martialed as a traitor in my own army, but if I released all of them
3 and in this way saved their lives. But I believe that if Vujic was there
4 and the security people were there, the people knew. And I did not give
5 any kind of advice to the General or to the Colonels because they were on
6 the spot and they were resolving things. And when the commander said to
7 me that this government was in session and that it was agreed that they
8 would take over these people, I thought that all of this had been agreed
9 upon normally.
10 Then I thought that perhaps they needed to exchange their own
11 people, that's what crossed my mind then. I really didn't discuss it. I
12 wish I had all the experience then that I have now and then perhaps I
13 would have acted differently.
14 Q. Does that mean the answer is "no"?
15 A. The answer is not no. The answer is the answer I gave you. I
16 gave you an extensive answer.
17 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, is that an appropriate moment?
18 JUDGE PARKER: Perhaps this is a good time, Mr. Moore.
19 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
20 --- Recess taken at 10.38 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 11.07 a.m.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a technical matter. I talked to
24 Mr. Moore during the break. He cannot say anything in very strict terms,
25 but he thinks that he will finish with his cross-examination around the
1 next break, perhaps a bit before that, perhaps after that, he said. I
2 would have about 35 minutes to 40 minutes for my redirect, so I would
3 kindly ask the Trial Chamber for permission to release our next witness so
4 that we don't keep him here today.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic, we then resume with another witness
7 at 10.00 tomorrow.
8 Mr. Moore.
9 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
10 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, 1995 was a period when you were aware that an
11 indictment had been issued against you from this Tribunal; that's right,
12 isn't it?
13 A. In 1995, I was in Podgorica and, as far as I remember, I was out
14 in the field near Herceg Novi between Herceg Novi and Dubrovnik and then I
15 read in the newspapers that an indictment had been issued against me.
16 Q. And clearly you were appalled at such an allegation and
17 presumably, you made inquiries to see what the basis of the allegation was
18 against you; is that right?
19 A. Like any normal person, I was absolutely astonished because I
20 remembered what I had learned in schools, that only SS officers were
21 tried, having been charged with aggression against different countries and
22 the fascism that they had perpetrated. It was hard for me to see myself
23 in that kind of group of people. I was a person in my own country and I
24 asked the army commander for permission to be received by the Chief of
25 General Staff of the then army of Yugoslavia.
1 Q. And is it correct to say that you were aware that Mr. Mrksic was
2 also indicted as well as Mr. Radic?
3 A. I told you I read about that in the newspapers, that this
4 indictment had been issued against the three of us.
5 Q. And is it also correct to say that you were subsequently informed,
6 presumably by some authorities, that it really dealt with the murder of
7 individuals at the Ovcara farm?
8 A. When I was received by the Chief of General Staff, of course I had
9 to wait for a long time, quite a bit of time had to go by before that
10 happened. As far as I can remember now, he told me then that he had read
11 about that in the newspapers, too, that he had not received any official
12 notification about that, that he did not believe that that kind of thing
13 could have been done by the officers of the Guards Brigade and that there
14 is no evidence against us, but that he would seek whatever was in --
15 within the realm of his possibilities, that matter be fully investigated,
16 that I should normally go on with my duties, of course, that I should be
17 concerned, that he would take all measures to investigate that and that he
18 personally would ask to see me and talk to me again when the need arose
19 for that.
20 Q. But it's right, isn't it, and it's logical that you would ask:
21 Well, what is it I'm supposed to have done? Where has this occurred? I
22 want to know details. Isn't that what you wanted to know?
23 A. Well, I tried to contact many people in order to gather
24 information who were not serving together with me then, who were in
25 different garrisons then, but we all served in Vukovar together. But we
1 were all astonished because we knew that at that time we were not aware of
2 a crime, we had not heard of a crime and we could not believe that that
3 kind of crime could have happened. It never crossed our minds that
4 something like that could have happened.
5 First of all, I was concerned as to whether, perhaps, people had
6 been killed who were taken prisoner at Mitnica. I never thought of the
7 people from the hospital because I thought that the government had taken
8 those people and exchanged them, as I was told then. And I was checking
9 the list of names of persons in Mitnica who surrendered with weapons and I
10 did not see any of those names mentioned in the newspapers. Then I
11 thought whether it was the civilians from Croatia, whether they were
12 returned to Ovcara, and then I did not see on that list -- at first there
13 weren't any women's names and I quite simply could not believe it, in a
15 Q. Let's just try and narrow it down. You thought it might be
16 Mitnica, it wasn't Mitnica. So then you thought might it be -- sorry, did
17 you think it might be people from the hospital? If it wasn't Mitnica, it
18 had to be another group.
19 A. Well, no, I didn't think of it then because I believed that if
20 these people were handed over to serious people to be exchanged for their
21 prisoners, I think that everyone then strove for the end of this violence
22 to have this exchange carried out and I really did not think that these
23 people had been killed. I thought that they had been exchanged. That is
24 what I thought then.
25 Q. Well if I deal with it then fairly quickly, you didn't have any
1 suspicion it might be the hospital people, it might have been some other
2 group; is that what you're saying?
3 A. At that time, I didn't have a shade of doubt along those lines,
4 that these people had been killed, those who were taken to be exchanged.
5 I thought it was a great virtue to save a single human life at least, and
6 to establish peace in that territory because again we have to live
7 together, geographically, and in any way, we simply cannot survive without
8 each other and I simply thought that these people had been exchanged.
9 Q. Before you went for your interviews in Belgrade in 1998,
10 therefore, you were not aware that there was the suggestion that it was
11 the people from the hospital who had been killed; is that right or not?
12 A. No, I told you I didn't know about that. There were different
13 rumours in the newspapers, these people killed, those people killed, but I
14 did not know that it was that group. I really thought that that group had
15 been exchanged. That is what I thought then.
16 Q. I've got two files created or I've created two files. I'd like to
17 hand those out now, please.
18 Thank you.
19 Now, what I want to do, again, it's exactly the same format as
20 I've used in the past. There is an index, four tabs, one, two, three and
21 four, English, B/C/S. I want to deal, if I may, please, with tab 1,
22 English, tab 2, B/C/S.
23 This is a publication. It's called, "Monitor". It's a
24 Montenegrin newspaper or publication; isn't that right? It's tab 2 for
25 you, Mr. Sljivancanin?
1 A. Yes, I found it. Mr. Moore, that is true, there is this newspaper
2 that is published in Montenegro by that name, but it's a tabloid.
3 Q. Thank you very much. And it is -- it describes an interview with
4 Lieutenant Colonel Veselin Sljivancanin, Yugoslav army 1st Motorised
5 Brigade Chief of Staff, headline, "Why I razed Vukovar to the ground." A
6 gentleman called Vladimir Jovanovic.
7 Now, I want to deal with certain parts. Now, I want to go, if I
8 may, please --
9 A. May I say something about this interview?
10 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, you've got a splendid barrister defending you
11 and I'm sure he will be able to deal with it. But for the moment, I'd
12 like to deal with the question and answer scenario.
13 Now, the first question is from monitor, sir: "You have probably
14 heard about the report of a UN special rapporteur, for human rights on the
15 fate of about 175 patients of the Vukovar Hospital." Note the word
16 "patients" and note the word "Vukovar Hospital." "On the 20th of
17 November last year, i.e., after the liberation. Many of them were taken
18 out of the hospital by the back door while you stood in front of it and
19 prevented the ICRC representatives from entering, saying, 'This is my
20 land.' What do you know about all of that, about the crimes and mass
21 graves?" This is what they say was your answer: "I know a lot about
22 those events and I want to speak openly and objectively. First during the
23 liberation of Vukovar, I maintained that all Europeans were against
24 Serbia, the Serbian people and the army. They did not want to listen to
25 many positive things. Second, it was clear what they really wanted. They
1 wanted to force the Serbian and Montenegrin peoples to their knees. To
2 this day, the Europeans have not mentioned the suffering of the Serbian
3 people. I am convinced - I know for sure - that we from the guard unit
4 treated everybody in accordance with international law. We formed columns
5 of people according to the following criteria: We first wanted to take
6 care of the women and children and then the rest. We sent the columns to
7 Croatia but the Croats returned the people the same day. So, we simply
8 did not have the opportunity to take care of them. Some of the prisoners
9 and other people attempted to escape through the cornfield at night."
10 "Furthermore, a few people who belonged to the other population
11 group attempted to do things. You know, somebody's house had been blown
12 up so they wanted revenge, to kill or mutilate people. But as long as we
13 controlled the situation, nothing happened. I am not sure that were any
14 mass graves. Well, we sent 50 buses to Vinkovci which was about 20
15 kilometres away and they returned them. They said to the people, 'Let the
16 army feed you.' Well, I don't have that much room and facilities. We let
17 them sleep in the building and houses and did not bother them because they
18 had been disarmed."
19 Dealing with this very first issue, I suggest there is reference
20 to patients, there's reference to hospital, and the fact that there are
21 missing people from the hospital. Now, do you accept that you had an
22 interview with "Monitor"?
23 A. Mr. Moore, first of all, you read a lot out and this went public
24 and you didn't allow me to explain anything. I am telling you that this
25 is an invented interview. As for the gentleman who wrote this interview,
1 at the request of the then chief of information of the general staff, his
2 name was General Bavcar [phoen]; I remember that. He was my professor at
3 the military academy too. Mr. Bavcar called me and said, Sljivancanin,
4 since you're a Montenegrin, a man from the Montenegrin newspaper is asking
5 you for an interview. Please receive him and talk to him. And I said:
6 Oh, please don't, there have been plenty of interviews, there's enough of
7 that. I don't really want to talk about anything. So in order not to
8 explain this at great length, he was my professor, after all, I did
9 receive him.
10 When I received this man, he was so full of hatred against me.
11 All of these are his words. I simply did not want to give him an
12 interview. I said to him, sir, if my General tells me to give you an
13 interview, I will give you an interview. Go write up your questions,
14 bring your questions, I'm going to answer your questions in writing and
15 then I want to authorise the interview. We chatted a bit off the record,
16 and he went away, promised that he would write up these questions. He
17 never came. He never brought his questions, and then he published this
18 interview. If you wish to read it out, read it out. If necessary, bring
19 the journalist in here. Let us confront each other and let us see whether
20 this is my interview. I do not accept this interview as my own. Perhaps
21 some of the words do come from the chat that we had but this is something
22 that he compiled without my knowledge.
23 Q. Well, let's see about the material that you said you had a chat
24 with him. When you had a chat with him, did you maintain that all
25 Europeans were against Serbia, the Serbian people and the army?
1 A. Those are his words. I never claimed that. To this day, I am a
2 civilised person belonging to a civilised people. We like other people.
3 We like to extend hospitality to other people. We received everyone
4 nicely. I talk to everyone and I never claimed that people were against
5 Serbia and the Serbian people. Everybody, of course there are some who
6 are against, but I always speak up if I feel that somebody is against
7 someone or something, as I said to my friend Borsinger, when I said what
8 happened to my soldiers, but we still remained friends.
9 Q. We'll talk about your friendship with Mr. Borsinger in a moment,
10 but did he mention to you about the fate of patients from the Vukovar
12 A. You see, this man who came to see me, came filled with hatred
13 towards the Yugoslav People's Army, and he was saying that I was a Serb.
14 There is no hesitation in my mind and I was born in Montenegro and I've
15 always known that and when I was first asked in Sarajevo at secondary
16 school what my ethnicity was, I said I was a Montenegrin and I always said
17 that freely -- yes.
18 Q. I asked you very simply, did he mention about patients from the
19 Vukovar Hospital?
20 A. Quite simply, after all these years, I do not remember all the
21 things that he mentioned to me. But this is an invented interview. The
22 gentleman did not bring it to me to authorise it and all of these are not
23 my words. There's nothing more for me to say. He attacked me, he
24 insulted me when he came to see me and he expressed that hatred through
25 this interview. Bring this gentleman here to testify and let me question
1 him and let my lawyers question him too.
2 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, we couldn't let you interview him. Now could I
3 just deal, please, with the Vukovar Hospital. Did he or did he not
4 mention it to you?
5 A. I really do not remember because I was so upset because of the way
6 he approached me. I didn't even listen to everything he was saying. I
7 said bring your concrete questions, I will give you concrete answers and
8 then we'll have it authorised. He never came. And he published
9 this "interview" and, regardless of all the bad things he did, vis-a-vis
10 me -- I mean he talked to me for five or ten minutes and then he wrote
11 this up and he put his own words in, whatever suited him.
12 Q. And did you say, "To this day, the Europeans have not mentioned
13 the suffering of the Serbian people"? Was that not a view that you took
14 at the time?
15 A. That was not my view and, as a matter of fact, I had good
16 relations with many people from Europe that I met.
17 Q. Well, did he correctly report, "I know that for sure that we from
18 the guards unit treated everybody in accordance with international law."
19 That was your view, wasn't it, that you in the guards unit had treated
20 everybody properly?
21 A. I have already said here many times until now that I truly am
22 convinced. Whatever I managed to learn, the members of the Guards
23 Brigade -- well, I'm not talking about each and every individual because
24 there are always people that are not as good as the rest but I did not
25 know that members of the Guards Brigade doing anything that was not
1 correct and that was not consistent.
2 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, I want to move on. I said to Mr. Lukic we're
3 try to finish this session. Please keep your answers short if you can.
4 Is it right that you said, moving on down, "... that a few people
5 who belonged to the other population group, attempted to do things, you
6 know, somebody's house being blown up, so they wanted revenge to kill or
7 mutilate people." Did you mention the fact that there was behaviour that
8 might generate revenge?
9 A. Mr. Moore, I am speaking very frankly all the time. And now that
10 you mention this interview, when I first saw it published, I was horrified
11 and I actually sought the man many times because I wanted to see him and
12 speak to him. And from the editorial desk of "Monitor" they actually
13 offered me what they call the golden page. He actually contacted some
14 relatives of mine and he offered me this golden page to write my own
15 answer to this. And I said that I don't want to engage in any kind of
16 correspondence with such unfair and incorrect people and I do not want to
17 engage in correspondence through the press.
18 And I -- yes --
19 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, did you mention to him about the fact there
20 might have been incidents, somebody's house blown up, which would generate
21 revenge to kill or mutilate people? It's a simple question.
22 A. I do not remember having talked to him. Everything that was said
23 had to do with some ethnic questions, really. I don't remember that we
24 talked a lot about Vukovar.
25 Q. Did you mention to him that you were not sure if there were any
1 mass graves?
2 A. Well, I'm telling you, Mr. Moore, he was obviously irritated by me
3 when he came and I was simply stunned by his behaviour, a journalist who
4 was there to interview me, based on a recommendation issued by one of my
5 superiors, a General. And he even went as far as to insult me. I can't
6 tell you anything very positive or very negative, I simply can't remember.
7 I'm telling you, this interview is a fabrication, it's entirely made up.
8 He used a lot of phrases and words there that are simply not mine.
9 Q. Well, did you mention the fact that you are not sure whether there
10 were any mass graves? Was mass graves mentioned to you?
11 A. I'm telling you again, I remember this encounter and I can't give
12 you a specific answer. I can't tell you that I mentioned this to him or
13 that I didn't. I don't know -- I don't even remember what it was
14 precisely that he asked me, but all I can say is the questions were
15 utterly offensive.
16 Q. Well, let's just look at the next question. "It has been alleged
17 that a mass grave exists two and a half kilometres south-east of the
18 Ovcara farm. People talk about two nights of constant slaughter and about
19 more than 300 people killed among whom were civilians and women. The
20 government of the so-called Serbian Autonomous District of Krajina did not
21 allow the" -- I can't pronounce the word, "and UN experts to investigate
23 Now was there any reference to a mass grave existing south-east of
24 the Ovcara farm?
25 A. Well that appears to be his question but I think he just made it
1 up and made up the answer too along with that. I may have shown him
2 documents about Mitar Karaula at the time to show that these people were
3 still alive. I may have shown him that for all I know, because I was
4 thinking about that. There is a reference to Mitar Karaula. I wanted us
5 to have a man-to-man conversation but he did what he did.
6 Q. Was there any mention about a large number of people being
7 murdered in that area?
8 A. Again, I'm telling you, we are looking at the figures here, 183
9 and Mitar Karaula, and I showed him a document with people that this
10 wasn't true, that the people were alive, probably. If you consider the
11 charge that he had against me. I really don't remember. Again, I was
12 telling him that he should bring the questions and that I would write the
13 answers up for him to have the interview.
14 Q. Was there any mention about the government?
15 A. I don't remember. I can't remember.
16 Q. The answer that you're supposed to have given is, "Why is Ovcara
17 being mentioned? We offered the commander in Mitnica, a certain Mitar
18 Karaula, a free passage for the people and all the guarantees. He came to
19 me and said he wanted us to try him and leave the people alone. I
20 respected his suggestion although he was the greatest criminal. The
21 number of people mentioned (175) is not correct. There were 183 of them,
22 I think. I have the list somewhere. They called us themselves and said:
23 We are the Ustasha army."
24 Well, let's just see about the state of knowledge that you had at
25 the time. Firstly, you've told us that in actual fact there was
1 discussions about Karaula with him; that's right, isn't it?
2 A. Well, Mr. Moore, if I talk to him, I can't remember talking to a
3 man like that that I talked to. I asked him to bring questions and we
4 could have a proper conversation but he may have insinuated something or
5 other about deaths. And then I gave him, since he mentions a specific
6 figure and the man's name, maybe I showed him the list that very moment
7 and the people who were all alive, as I previously checked, back in 1995,
8 when I said I had read the papers, and that none of those people had come
9 to any harm.
10 But as for all the details with this man who started irritating me
11 the moment I laid eyes on him, I would never have agreed to see him had
12 the General not asked me to. So these are totally arbitrary words, the
13 ones that he used here.
14 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, I'm dealing with the state of knowledge that you
15 had at the time. "I respected his suggestion although he was the greatest
16 criminal. The number of people mentioned, 175, is not correct. There was
17 183," but from memory, off the top of my head, I think there were
18 182. "But the reality is is it was around about that figure, it was just
19 over 180. I think it was 175 troops and 7 officers from memory.
20 So if that's the case, there is only one number out here and that
21 was knowledge you had, isn't it?
22 A. Well, Mr. Moore, if I knew, as early as Vukovar, that at Mitnica
23 they surrendered, I'm sorry I can't keep track of every single figure, but
24 I think that 183 armed men had surrendered at Mitnica, that's what I seem
25 to remember. I may have been off by one or two. But this is what I knew
1 in Vukovar.
2 Q. But in your evidence, not four or five minutes ago, you said, when
3 I was talking about Mitnica, you said, "I think I had a document and that
4 you were going to show it to him.
5 Let's look at what he says in your reply. "There were 183 of
6 them, I think. I have the list somewhere." That's entirely consistent
7 with what you've just told this Court, isn't it, that you had list of
9 A. Well, I didn't tell him I had the list on me. I still have it. I
10 have a list with 100 -- maybe I should look it up, the documents I
11 provided to my lawyers. Is it 183? Is it 182? I have an individual list
12 of people who were armed when they surrendered at Mitnica in the area of
13 responsibility of the Guards Brigade. I have that list. I had it in
14 Vukovar, I have it today. I had it then too.
15 Q. And the question, "But this is about the patients from the Vukovar
17 So he's saying: Yes, you're talking about Mitnica, but this
18 inquiry is about the patients from the Vukovar Hospital. It's got
19 nothing to do with Mitnica. And you are supposed to have said: "Let me
20 tell you ... we brought the prisoners to Ovcara. It's a village you know.
21 However, they were protected by the guards and we prevented any massacre
22 of them. They were there for a day or two, I can't remember exactly, and
23 we took from them from there directly to prison in Sremska Mitrovica.
24 Many of them were recently released and all of them in the hospital were
25 taken to Croatia escorted by the EU and other organisations. The Croats
1 returned them on the same day."
2 So, with regard to that answer, there is the reference about, "...
3 and all of them in the hospital were taken to Croatia." Did you ever make
4 that reply about the patients taken from the hospital being taken -- all
5 of them being taken to Croatia?
6 A. Mr. Moore, again, I'm telling you these are arbitrary words by a
7 man who tried to talk to me and I told you what it was like. I'm not
8 going into that again. It is with full responsibility that I assert
9 before this Chamber and before you. You should read the Red Cross
10 reports. You should read the ECMM reports. In their reports, they claim
11 that the 400-odd patients from the hospital were evacuated based on an
12 agreement. It's all right there. I don't know why this man wrote what he
14 If you look at this, this just confirms what I said previously,
15 that I never even suspected that any of the people who were to be
16 exchanged and who had been sent to Ovcara had been killed. I thought it
17 was some civilians coming to grieve but I didn't have the information or
18 anything to indicate that these civilians had come to grief. I simply
19 didn't know.
20 Q. Well that cannot be right, with the utmost respect, because your
21 evidence before the break was that you'd been told about bad behaviour at
22 the barracks, and you'd been told about violence at Ovcara. Therefore,
23 there is always the danger, just on a common-sense basis, that something
24 might have gone wrong; isn't that right?
25 A. Mr. Moore, the war itself, and especially this sort of interethnic
1 armed conflict, is the greatest evil that can possibly befall a people.
2 Everybody's armed. Everybody's tense. Everybody's nervous. I gave the
3 examples about our own officers who had suffered mental breakdowns leaving
4 their positions and then ending up at the military hospital academy. This
5 is a great evil but that befell all of us. It just struck us. And you
6 can't expect me to say that everything was fun and games or that
7 everything was ideal. It wasn't. But we did everything we could to
8 prevent any form of riot and any sort of evil happening.
9 Back where I come from, that's how they bring us up. Any
10 misdeeds, any evil deeds, any treason is a curse that will haunt families
11 through generations, and that's what I stick to. I tried to help people
12 and not contribute to the growing amount of misdeeds that were happening.
13 Q. What I'm going to do is I'm going to go through this question and
14 answer and you can say whether it was said or it wasn't said or whether
15 the topic was touched on; do you understand? And we'll get on much
16 quicker that way.
17 "Monitor, question: You have not been heard about patients being
18 taken at night by buses from Ovcara?"
19 "Sljivancanin: No. They were all taken to the penitentiary in
20 Mitrovica, according to the list. The international organisations have
21 the list and they checked it. Therefore, there were executions by firing
22 squad or killings. Nevertheless, there were corpses which they collected
23 on a heap during cleaning of the city. They were mostly Ustashas. Can
24 you imagine how difficult it was to bury them and, at the same time,
25 decorate them?"
1 Now, was that question never put? Just yes or no, please.
2 A. All of this is an arbitrary random comment made by a man who
3 extrapolated some questions, rephrased them the way he liked them, and
4 then he added something that he wanted there. But I simply don't remember
5 the two of us talking about anything like that.
6 Q. "Do you know who Arkan is?" Answer: "Yes." Was that asked?
7 A. Again, I'm telling you -- you asked me yesterday but I didn't
8 finish. Please, with all due respect, don't speak ill of the dead. I
9 can't remember us talking about that gentleman, nor was he anywhere near
10 me during our combat missions in Vukovar.
11 Q. So the next question about the fact, "I want you to write this:
12 Arkan's unit did not take place in the liberation of Vukovar or of Borovo
13 Naselje. This has to be distinguished." You didn't say that; is that
15 A. That's what he says. Maybe he knew better than I did about
16 Arkan's whereabouts. Arkan may have been in the area, for all I know, but
17 he certainly wasn't in the Guards Brigade, in Borovo Naselje, not with
18 us. He probably had more accurate information to indicate Arkan's
19 whereabouts at that time.
20 Q. Next question: "That does not make a difference," says he. You
21 allegedly said, "They tried to make contact with us but I did not want to
22 admit anybody who was unwilling to fulfill orders issued by me or my
23 superiors into Operations Group South. As for Arkan himself, I used
24 to ... no, we never met in Vukovar, nor did he come to Vukovar while we
25 were there. Never."
1 Now, this context of Arkan, was that mentioned at all, about him
2 assisting at OG South, or not?
3 A. Sir, this gentleman, the journalist, introduced me as a commander,
4 as a great number of media at the time did. But this phrasing, this
5 answer, is something that he made up. The gentleman that you are
6 referring to is dead. I never speak ill of the dead and I certainly never
7 discussed that gentleman with this gentleman.
8 Q. I just want to deal with one aspect of page 3 in the English.
9 There is a large reply after Arkan. It starts:
10 "No, I cannot confirm Arkan's or anybody else's crimes. It is our
11 weak point because we talk about it ourselves. We are constantly looking
12 for quarrels amongst ourselves ... I can only accept what I see in front
13 of me and not what I hear about. For example, the Croatian newspaper
14 Globus claims that the Croatian population considers me the greatest
15 criminal. I could not even have dreamt of what they are now accusing me
16 of. I can talk about Ustasha crimes because I experienced them (for
17 example, they killed my chauffeur). Croats were the ones who started
18 committing atrocities."
19 Did you mention to this journalist about your chauffeur,
20 Mr. Popovic, being killed?
21 A. Again, I'll answer for the umpteenth time, if that's what it
22 takes: This journalist irritated me the moment he came into the room. We
23 sat there for a brief while. I don't remember telling him about my
24 driver. Maybe he'd read that elsewhere. I did talk often about my driver
25 getting killed. I really felt sorry for him. He was a young man. I'm
1 still sorry. Never fired a bullet, never even carried weapons, and yet he
2 was killed in this ambush. He may have watched some TV programme or read
3 some papers and got the story about my driver from there.
4 But, Mr. Moore, if you insist on quoting this interview - I can't
5 prohibit you from doing that - but I'm telling you it's a fabrication.
6 Most of the questions are made up, most of the answers are simply made up,
7 and I do not acknowledge this interview as one that I actually gave.
8 Q. You were asked at the bottom: "Sir, are you aware that both
9 Croats and Serbs defended Vukovar?
10 "Sljivancanin: That Serbs defended it, no. They were not Serbs.
11 They were only two Serbs from mixed marriages. They surrendered to me and
12 told me that they had been forcibly mobilised."
13 Was there any reference to that with this journalist that you
14 spoke to?
15 A. My view was always that Vukovar was defended by all the honourable
16 citizens of Yugoslavia and the JNA included. They had nothing to defend
17 it from. They were just disarming paramilitary formations, because the
18 town belonged to us. But this is not the sort of thing that I shared with
19 any journalists.
20 Q. I've almost finished this document. Next question: "Tell me, why
21 did you raze Vukovar to the ground?" And then there's an answer; I'll
22 read it because, in fairness, it should be done: "We didn't want to
23 destroy Vukovar, but if we want to pursue a military option ... the
24 question was raised as to how to destroy cities, how to destroy your
25 mother country, how to kill your own people with whom you have been
1 friends. But after all instruments were used by Ustasha Croatia, by
2 Europe, and all others to attack the army and the Serbian people, we
3 launched a decisive battle for Vukovar. Let's say that the Ustasha
4 commander Dedakovic came to me and said, listen Sljivo, hey, major,
5 officer, Chetnik. If he had said that, listen, let's talk as human
6 beings, I would have forbidden my troops to fire, but when they killed my
7 chauffeur on the 6th of October, people may say what they like, but I have
8 no mercy towards the Ustashas nor will I ever have."
9 Now, was there any discussion about the Ustasha commander
11 A. Mr. Moore, again I'm telling you, I, and there was another witness
12 here allegedly P002, who told stories that weren't true. I did speak to
13 Mr. Dedakovic. I said, Let's not kill each other. Let's not keep dying.
14 Let's find a solution. But the journalists wrote whatever they saw fit.
15 Some dramatised the whole thing, some made it out as something rather
16 funny. You know what journalists are like, they just scribble away. And
17 this journalist may have picked up some of that, but I don't remember
18 talking to this gentleman about all these things that he reports. What he
19 says about my driver, this is something that really affected me as a human
20 being, when my driver was killed. It was a difficult time and again, I'm
21 repeating, when we first got to Vukovar, I thought that these people, the
22 people of our town and of our country, once they saw their own army, they
23 would say: This is our own army, don't fire at them.
24 It was a horrible feeling that I experienced when my driver was
25 killed. It's not something I remember, it's just an experience that
1 sticks with you. Well, I don't know, you're reading the answer of a man
2 who you know well, then you should bring the man and talk to him. I don't
3 know what to say, you keep interrupting me. I'm trying to give you my
4 opinion. Why don't you bring this man to Court and he can tell you all
5 about it.
6 Q. The next question, "Now what do you think about the defenders of
7 Vukovar?" Now you've mentioned Marin Vidic this morning as being a decent
8 human being, I think. "Sljivancanin: They allowed rascals and hooligans
9 to wage war. When I captured Marin Vidic," so you knew that. "I thought
10 he was somebody. He was the Croatian government's commissioner for
11 Vukovar. When I first saw him, he was nothing but a bum and he was the
12 person who led the Croatian people. He? Well, while we were talking, he
13 drank up a bottle of brandy which I gave him. How can such individuals
14 lead a people towards freedom and democracy."
15 Well, Marin Vidic, you did have dealings with; right?
16 A. I said this publicly in front of all the world, the world public,
17 everyone, that my talk with Marin Vidic was very respectful. It is true
18 he asked for a drink. He told me how he had been part of an orchestra
19 before, they played the pubs, that sort of thing. He had a glass or two -
20 I didn't keep track - three, perhaps. But would I allow a hooligan to
21 spend the night in the same room as I, the way this journalist makes it
22 out to be? If I stated on the record somewhere that I had had a brandy
23 with Marin Vidic and they made him out to be a hooligan. So that's
24 exactly the sort of words that this dishonourable journalist is using.
25 And I think he should be confronted with this, so I can look him in the
1 eye. Do you think I would have been sitting with Marin Vidic there
2 singing our songs and talking about the things that he wanted to talk
3 about if I had made him to be out like that. There is no need for me to
4 tell any stories about Marin Vidic. What I'm telling you is the truth.
5 Q. I want to move on to the next question, because it deals with
6 Seselj. Remember I asked you questions about Seselj. "Lieutenant
7 Colonel, sir, can Seselj lead another people? Sljivancanin: I don't say
8 he can and I think he never will. Monitor: Don't be too hard. Yesterday
9 you were in Vukovar with him chatting."
10 I asked you yesterday about Vukovar and the memorial service and
11 in fairness to you, you said that you didn't speak to him. But this
12 timing of this article is clearly at a time when it's being suggested by
13 this witness that he saw you at Vukovar and secondly, that Florence
14 Hartmann said she saw you in Vukovar. That's right, isn't it?
15 A. Well, first of all, if this is the journalist, you mean he could
16 have not possibly have seen me in Vukovar because he wasn't there. I
17 mean, with Seselj. That means I didn't say yesterday that I didn't see
18 Seselj. I saw him in Vukovar when he came for the second time somewhere
19 near the junction of Prvomajska Street and Nova Street. I can draw that
20 for you if you like. I was on my way back from the Bosko Buha
21 neighbourhood. We passed each other briefly and I told you about all of
23 So if he wrote that down, well, then, I said publicly here that I
24 never had any respect whatsoever for Mr. Seselj's political views. I
25 don't think that he's a great politician. I didn't think so then and I
1 don't think so now. If you want me to explain that, I'll be glad to
3 Secondly, when you have children watching the cartoons just before
4 the evening news, then, you have a granddaughter, for example, she wants
5 to see the news and the granddaughter wants to see the cartoon. And she
6 was watching all the coverage of the assembly where Seselj was staging a
7 ridiculous acts of humour and then the granddaughter would switch to the
8 comics channel and that's what our people used to do. They had to add
9 some humour to our overall experience and to all the things that we were
10 going through, so the granddaughter would then just end up switching to
11 the cartoon channel.
12 Q. But you were in Vukovar, in November 1992; that is right, isn't
14 A. 1992, yes, I was, and I explained when it was that I was.
15 Q. And finally, can I go, please, to the last question: "If the
16 Yugoslav army introduced the traditional Serbian hat and that of the
17 cockade to it as an official insignia, would you put it on your head?
18 Sljivancanin: I would. Why not?"
19 Well, now, Mr. Sljivancanin, was that mentioned?
20 A. Mr. Moore, allow me to explain. This is the greatest fabrication
21 in this interview. Let me tell you something else, too. When I was
22 commander in Podgorica, my late father was dying in hospital. I was
23 notified. I came in to see him and I had the JNA insignia on my cap, the
24 two eagles, I'm not sure what it's called. My father saw me and he was on
25 his deathbed and he said: There you go, my son. You have the eagles up
1 too, don't you? Because that was the sign of the Yugoslav army. He said,
2 you know how much blood has been shed for the five-pointed star to be worn
3 on these caps. This will come to no good at all, we'll never have a
4 country for as long as you keep wearing these. So I was always against
5 the cockade. I'm still against the cockade. And all I can say about your
6 quote, it is a total fabrication.
7 Q. If we turn to divider 3 and 4, I'm not going through the details,
8 I don't have time, but there is an interview here on the 29th of November,
9 1991, literally within a week of the fall of Vukovar. And you can see a
10 photograph of you relaxing in your uniform.
11 Now, this particular interview is an exhibit -- it's Exhibit, I
12 believe, 354. It's headlined "The return of the warrior." Do you accept
13 that this interview occurred?
14 A. The gentleman who conducted this interview with me was in this
15 courtroom. Everybody examined him. The interview occurred under very
16 peculiar circumstances. On the 24th of November, late in the evening, it
17 may have been between 11.00 and 12.00, I came back, I was tired. I was in
18 a hurry to get home but the journalists pressed and so my superiors had
19 decided, so I briefly talked to them but not nearly as much as they wrote
20 down. Journalists, being what they are, concocted an interview based on
21 this but -- yes, in short, I do remember this interview.
22 Q. And would you say, in general terms, it is accurate?
23 A. Well, for me, an interview is accurate when you have a journalist
24 bring questions and I write my answers. Then I can acknowledge that as my
25 interview. If he talks to me first and then writes up the answers however
1 he sees fit, well, those are just random interpretations, totally
2 arbitrary. He adds some, he takes some away. And then the journalist
3 writes down whatever is best for his newspaper at any given time.
4 But I don't agree that maybe in this interview is everything that
5 I said because it wasn't written by my hand, it was written by the hand of
6 the journalist.
7 Q. But did you write in and complain and ask for the golden page to
9 A. I didn't ask at the time what I said about Monitor, the golden
10 page. They were offering me, but I didn't want. And for these, then,
11 when the interview came out the following morning, I talked to journalist
12 Slahovic [phoen] that there he is for you, call him. And I criticised why
13 they had published my photograph on the front page, why they called me at
14 night. I said this was not the least bit respectful and then they offered
15 another interview. Like okay, now we'll give you a new one and then I
16 didn't want any more to talk to, nor did I ever conduct an interview with
17 them again.
18 Q. I want to move on from this file. I will make application for the
19 Monitor article to be made an exhibit.
20 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this becomes Exhibit 849.
22 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I think it is the last file that we
23 have. It's called "Belgrade statements", to assist all parties. It's
24 exactly the same format as before, one to four tabs, interview one, one
25 and two, interview 3, interview 2, 3 and 4.
1 To assist the Court and all parties, I hope that you have on the
2 English version a page number on the left-hand side, that is the page
3 number of the B/C/S so that we know where we are.
4 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, the first interview, and I'm going to call them
5 interview for convenience, I don't want to be thought I'm trying to take
6 any advantage of it, but the first interview was 14th of February, 1998.
7 Now, it's tab 2 for you.
8 A. So the interview that took place on the 14th of February, 1998,
9 that was on the premises of the security administration and I think that
10 it lasted all day.
11 Q. Thank you. Now, what I just want to deal with is some short
12 issues. There is a date at the very top saying 12th of January. It
13 doesn't say exactly what it refers to. But what I want to know is when or
14 how much before, in time, were you told that they wanted to interview you
15 and that was going to be the 14th of February. So when were you told that
16 you were going to be interviewed? I don't need to know the exact date,
17 just give us an estimate of time.
18 A. No, I have to be very exact and precise. I know that and there
19 are no approximations here, Mr. Moore. What I know I want to say exactly.
20 I attended the school of national defence. It was a Saturday morning
21 around 8.00, Saturday. The head of the centre called me in. I came to
22 his office and he said: "Please call the chief of general staff, General
23 Perisic, he wants to talk to you on the telephone." I called and that was
24 say 8.30 or 9.00 that Saturday.
25 General Perisic said to me on the telephone: "Colonel, sir, at
1 11.00," or at quarter to 11.00, I don't remember exactly, "report to the
2 security administration to General Aca Dmitrijevic, he wants to talk to
3 you about something and I have given my approval for that." So then I
4 reported to General Aca Dmitrijevic and it was then that I first heard
5 from General Aca Dmitrijevic that an interview was supposed to be
6 conducted with me in relation to Vukovar.
7 Q. And can we work on the basis that by 1998 you knew that there was
8 a suggestion that you were involved with others in the murder of people
9 from the hospital and that the murders occurred in Ovcara.
10 A. Well, you can't put it that way. That was not my understanding.
11 I told you in the press there was this indictment that we had been
12 accused. I said that I went to speak to the chief of general staff and
13 that he asked for the matter to be investigated. I imagine he went to the
14 military prosecutor and then I asked to see Mr. Dmitrijevic too but he
15 didn't receive me. When I went to see the General, he said the General
16 would receive me when he would have the time and afterwards, as I was
17 waiting to see what would be done by the military organs in charge, I
18 believed that they would call me when necessary and I was not in a
19 position to take any other measures.
20 Q. That's not what I asked you. It was a very easy question, that
21 is: You, by that time knew, there was an indictment in existence from an
22 International Tribunal and I'm asking, did you know that it related not
23 only to Vukovar but the murder of people from the hospital, the murders at
25 A. Again, I'm giving you my answer. I did not have that indictment
1 in my hands to read specifically what it said, except for what it said in
2 the newspapers. And all newspapers wrote about this any way it suited
3 them. So I was waiting to hear from official organs on the basis of
4 official regulations what it is that I'm being charged with.
5 Q. Were you aware that unofficially, there was a suggestion that you
6 were one of a number of people that were responsible for the killings at
8 A. I knew that allegedly an indictment had been issued against me,
9 Radic, and Mrksic, that we were being charged for war crimes but with
10 regard to what questions and what it was that we were being charged with,
11 I did not know all of that to tell you the truth, because I did not have
12 the indictment in my own hands.
13 Q. Never mind the indictment. There are lots of newspapers around.
14 The indictment was 1995, this is 1998. Newspapers are abounded I suggest,
15 with the suggestion that atrocities had occurred at Ovcara. Now, did you
16 know the location was Ovcara or not?
17 A. Well, I'm telling you now that I heard that it was being talked
18 about, said in various newspapers, but basically I avoided reading
19 newspapers then because one gets so upset when one reads different
20 newspapers and then you see all these different comments in different ways
21 in different newspapers. I was waiting for the official position of the
22 military organs.
23 Q. Does that mean, then, that you knew it was Ovcara but you hadn't
24 official confirmation of it? Is that your answer?
25 A. Well, I cannot agree with that, that that's the way it was. I did
1 not believe that that crime had been committed at all until I came here to
2 The Hague and until I heard what people were saying. I did not believe
3 it. I could not understand that that kind of thing could exist in a human
4 psyche, that people could commit such crimes.
5 Q. It is not a case of whether the crimes have been committed. I am
6 asking you again: Did you know or believe or did you believe
7 unofficially, or as a result of unofficial sources, i.e., newspapers, that
8 the atrocities were supposed to have occurred in Ovcara? I'm talking
9 about the location. Whether it was done or whether it wasn't, I'm wanting
10 to know: Did you know about the name Ovcara?
11 A. The name Ovcara, as a geographic concept, I knew that from Vukovar
12 when I was there, but I did not believe then that such atrocities and
13 crimes could have been committed as some newspapers wrote. I did not have
14 any information about any such thing having happened.
15 Q. So you are accepting that newspapers had written that a crime had
16 occurred at Ovcara; is that right?
17 A. Well, Mr. Moore, I'm telling you once again: If you're giving the
18 answers then what I said was that I heard stories, I read things, and then
19 I stopped reading because everybody was writing in different ways and
20 commenting in different ways. But I did not know that that crime had been
21 committed until it was confirmed, until an investigation was carried out.
22 I heard about the indictment and then I went to see the responsible people
23 to see why I was being charged with that kind of thing, but I did not know
24 about that crime itself.
25 Q. But wasn't it correct that when it came to the content of the
1 interview, that it was perfectly obvious that they were talking about
2 Ovcara? It was mentioned to you, wasn't it?
3 A. Ovcara is a geographic concept. It is a settlement, a farm. As
4 far as I knew, while I was in Vukovar, it was a farm, a livestock farm.
5 It also had some kind of administrative part and different rooms where I
6 really never went. I never went there. I wasn't interested in that. And
7 as I said here, my interest as security organ was to deblock the barracks
8 and to disarm the paramilitaries in town itself. In that area, there were
9 no operations going on, it was outside the zone where there was shooting
10 and where there was anything that was going on. So I really wasn't
11 interested in finding out more about Ovcara and I never really stayed
12 there. Perhaps only if I went down the road in a vehicle once to Mitnica
13 and once when I went to see the commander of the 20th Brigade, I don't
14 need to repeat all of that yet again, I already told but that.
15 Q. You certainly discussed Mitnica during this particular interview;
16 isn't that right? And the Mitnica evacuation?
17 A. I spent all day talking to the security organs under very complex
18 conditions. Everything I knew, not only about Mitnica, but all the time,
19 while the mission was being carried out, deblocking the barracks and
20 disarming the paramilitary formations, I talked to them about all of that.
21 However, I have to tell you that this is the note they compiled. That is
22 how I understand it. This is not my statement. This was dictated by
23 Colonel -- Colonel -- may I look at the name? May I tell you what the
24 name is? I really forget. My mind seems to stop. Colonel Gajic, yes, he
25 was dictating this to a clerk. When I would talk to him, then he would
1 dictate some sentences to the clerk. But I asked him to give me
2 permission to go and find my papers and to try to remember everything. So
3 it was four years later, no, seven years later that I asked for my reports
4 that I sent to the security administration.
5 He did not allow that, though. He said: All of this is just an
6 initial interview, information, it's not necessary now. When it becomes
7 necessary, we will make all of that possible. I mentioned some names,
8 like representatives of the security administration -- please, let me
9 finish. I have to tell you about this. This is important. I asked for
10 Vasiljevic to be mentioned --
11 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, I'm sorry, you had a long time with Mr. Lukic
12 where you have explained this. I merely want to ask some questions.
13 Now, what I want to know is, when it came to the interview in
14 Belgrade, it was perfectly clear that the interview was about what
15 happened at Ovcara; that's right, whether it was the Mitnica Battalion or
16 whether it was something else, but that is correct, isn't it?
17 A. I know that at that time, the Colonel asked me about all the tasks
18 from the first day of our arrival to have this mission accomplished until
19 our mission was ultimately accomplished. We talked all day about
20 everything, about everything.
21 May I add that he did not allow me to give other names for them to
22 be written down here except for me, Mrksic and Radic because we are like
23 on this indictment and the others don't matter and we will see about that
24 later. I was a bit irritated by that, but what was written was what he
25 had dictated.
1 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, what you say is simply not right, because when
2 one looks at the English page 2 at the bottom, there is reference to other
3 names, two lines from the bottom, on your page it's 0218/8349. There is
4 very clear statement on orders from the brigade commander Mile
5 Mrksic, "They were evacuated to Sremska Mitrovica with military trucks in
6 an organised manner and with military escort. On the 18th of November,
7 continuing into the 19th of November, I was personally at Ovcara with
8 Vukasinovic and Karanfilov." So it's not a case of just names of the 3
9 defendants; there's Karanfilov, there is Vukasinovic and if you want to
10 know there's Borisavljevic, as far as I remember, on the next page. So
11 you were saying that you were at Ovcara on the 18th, 19th, for the Mitnica
12 evacuation; isn't that right?
13 A. Mr. Moore, it is correct that names are mentioned of my men who
14 were with me from the security organs, because this man knew them too;
15 however, I'm trying to say that key names like Vujic, Vasiljevic, and some
16 other commanders are not being mentioned. Especially, at that time, the
17 gentleman suggested to me that it was -- it would not be a good thing to
18 mention them because what I was saying then is what I am saying to you
19 now. He didn't want these names to be mentioned.
20 This is his vocabulary, these are his words, this is his official
21 note, the way he wrote it, from my talk to him. I was at Mitnica or,
22 rather, at Vucedol on the 18th of November with Vukasinovic in order to
23 carry out tasks from the purview of security organs.
24 Now, as for the words written here, this is military vocabulary
25 that he used then. I didn't write this in my own hand. He dictated this
1 to the young lady who was typing this.
2 Q. Let's look at page 8 of the English version. In your page, it's
4 Now, leading in on page 7, if I may just for the moment, in the
5 English version it's the second paragraph I want to deal with and then
6 turn over the page to page 8. So Mr. Sljivancanin, 0218-8352, "The
7 brigade staff consisting of Panic, Lieutenant Colonel Lukic, Major Bajic
8 and other people whose names I cannot remember, led the further evacuation
9 of the people from the barracks in Vukovar. I do not know what happened
10 in the barracks in Vukovar or how the process of evacuating these people
12 Well, that is not right. You did know what was happening in the
13 barracks. That is correct, isn't it?
14 A. Mr. Moore, I am answering you yet again. These are the words that
15 were then deemed necessary by the gentleman who was an official there on
16 behalf of the security organs. He thought that he should write it this
17 way. I talked differently. Perhaps he didn't like the way I talked so he
18 was the one who was dictating the record.
19 At the end, I even got upset. I said, "We are going to stop this.
20 I'm not going to go on any longer. Let me sign this. I want to go and
21 have lunch. I haven't eaten anything all day." It wasn't really a
22 quarrel, but it was sort of a squabble and that's how we ended our
23 conversation. He was the one who was dictating. Now why he dictated this
24 way, I don't know, but I already explained to you, I explained everything
25 to you. I -- yes.
1 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, if we look on your page halfway down, the
2 English page is page 8, halfway down it starts, "Regarding the allegations
3 in the indictment that 260 persons were shot dead at Ovcara on the 20th of
4 November, and that these were people who had been evacuated from the
5 hospital in Vukovar, I claim that I know nothing about this. I just know
6 that after the completion of the evacuation of the wounded and medical
7 staff from the hospital in Vukovar and my return to the command post, on
8 the evening of the 19th of November. I heard from somebody, perhaps it
9 was Major Vukasinovic, although I am not sure about this, that "it was not
10 nice that they were maltreating these people at Ovcara."
11 So there is a reference to the 20th. There is the reference to
12 the indictment. There is the reference to the people who were killed and
13 there is the reference to Vukasinovic telling you.
14 Now, isn't it right that that was said at the time?
15 A. Mr. Moore, if we look at this official note very carefully, you
16 will see that I made a mistake with many of the dates there because I
17 didn't have any documents. The first thing that I was primarily guided
18 with was Mr. Vance's visit to Vukovar and the visit of his delegation. I
19 can tell you that I claimed then and that was correct that Mr. Vance was
20 in Vukovar on the 18th. And until I came here to the Detention Unit,
21 until I saw the diaries, because I didn't have any documents then, until I
22 saw the diaries, until the documents were shown here, and the records, I
23 was convinced that Mr. Vance came to Vukovar on the 18th, really. I did
24 not know. I forgot got, quite simply. I knew everything we did, but I
25 did not know the time. I did not know those events.
1 Now, when you read this, I note again the 19th of November. He
2 asked me about the 20th. I said: I don't know about the 20th. And that
3 is where we came to squabble. I kept saying to him -- he asked me how is
4 it that you took people from the hospital on the 20th or, rather, on the
5 19th when they were killed on the 20th. And I said, I don't know that
6 they were killed. I didn't know that at the time.
7 So that's when we started squabbling about these dates. And then
8 he concluded what he concluded here. I don't know if I mentioned all
9 these names; I cannot remember. But he wrote these names from the Guards
10 Brigade and everything else.
11 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Forget about dates. Just remember incidents.
14 A. All right.
15 Q. When one looks at this, there is the reference to "It was not
16 nice. They were maltreating those people at Ovcara." So there was a very
17 specific indication of maltreatment of the people at Ovcara.
18 Now, when one reads on about it, it goes on, "As far as I
19 remember, Colonel Mrksic tried to telephone the 80th Brigade to determine
20 what was going on. But the line was -- it says not down but I presume it
21 was down." Then he sent me, Karanfilov, or Vukasinovic and Karanfilov to
22 determine through the brigade command, on the spot, to the Ovcara facility
23 of what was going on. When we arrived there, it was between 2200 and
25 So the reference is about what was going on vis-a-vis the
1 maltreatment at Ovcara. So never mind the dates. We're talking about the
2 Vukasinovic information which you say was the evening of the 20th, that
3 things were going on. And what you're saying here is Mrksic tried to
4 contact the 80th, couldn't do so, and sent you, Vukasinovic and Karanfilov
5 to find what was going on. That's right, isn't it?
6 A. Mr. Moore, I'm reading this here now, this note, and he has here
7 in relation to the indictment on the 20th and then he says in the late
8 evening hours, this is allegedly what I'm saying, on the 19th, that I
9 heard that somebody was being maltreated in Ovcara.
10 I testified here that I heard about that on the 19th but not from
11 Vukasinovic, but Mr. Skoric, as I testified here. He is the one who
12 returned these people. What I testified about is correct and here it is
13 also confirmed. You asked me about the hour 20 -- 2300 hours. It
14 pertains to the people who were returned -- who were sent out as a convoy
15 to the Republic of Croatia and then was returned. That was my
16 understanding and as far as I can remember, I was explaining it to the
17 gentleman at that time too that that was it. And no crime suspects are
18 referred to here or prisoners. It is people that is referred to. I
19 remember having said that then.
20 Now, whether he wrote everything down the way I had put it and
21 whether he dictated it properly, well, people make mistakes, don't they.
22 And I said what I had to say and it seems that the time is right here, on
23 the 19th at 2200 hours. Perhaps that's the way it was.
24 Q. No, Mr. Sljivancanin. The topic of concern was the mistreatment
25 of the people at Ovcara which was coming as a result of the information
1 given by Vukasinovic. And you have told us this morning that Vukasinovic
2 gave that information on the evening of the 20th. It is the incident that
3 is important not the date.
4 Now let's look on at what you say you found: "However, you say
5 you got there and you didn't notice anything special. However, we found
6 Miroljub Vujanovic, a TO commander, with several of his men. When I asked
7 him what was he doing there at the time, Vujanovic answered that he had
8 come to find out what would happen to the vehicles which were there but
9 were originally from Vukovar and that he had come to take these vehicles.
10 I just replied to him that these things regarding the vehicles would be
11 arranged over the following days. We stayed there for ten to 15 minutes
12 at most. We then returned to the command post. I reported to the
13 commander that everything was peaceful at Ovcara."
14 Well, the word "peaceful," might I respectfully suggest to you,
15 does not refer to vehicles. You don't have peaceful vehicles, do you? It
16 refers to the situation at Ovcara, the people?
17 A. Well, Mr. Moore, that is what my testimony was here, except that I
18 didn't testify about being sent by Commander Mrksic as it is written here.
19 Perhaps the person just wanted to link this up to Mrksic because Vujic and
20 Vasiljevic were being talked about.
21 When I -- in the evening, I came across Vasiljevic in the command
22 and that was not mentioned, but around 2200 hours, when I was at Ovcara on
23 the 19th with Vukasinovic, there was total order, peace, no gunfire was
24 heard, there was nothing that -- I was not talking about peaceful
25 vehicles. Oh, please let me answer.
1 Q. I'm sorry, Mr. Sljivancanin, the question was quite specific. The
2 information had come from Vukasinovic about what had happened at Ovcara
3 and you had been sent there by Mrksic along with Vukasinovic and
4 Karanfilov. That's what the question was about.
5 Now, how do you account for that answer and what you have said in
6 evidence today?
7 A. Well, Mr. Moore, on the 19th, in the evening, Vukasinovic and I
8 went to Ovcara, Karanfilov did not go. This name was put in. I don't
9 know why then, maybe the man made a mistake. I don't remember having
10 mentioned that name because he did not go with me. I don't remember. He
11 really didn't go with me. And everything I said or, rather, everything
12 that is written here for the most part is what I testified about here as
13 to what happened on the 19th and this concerning the vehicles, well,
14 perhaps, written a dit bit differently, but I talked about that to all of
15 you here as well.
16 Well, you are insisting on now that I should tell you, on the
17 20th, Vukasinovic told me about this evacuation or, rather, that these
18 people being taken away from the barracks to Ovcara. But it wasn't
19 people, these were suspects, crime suspects. And then I'd say that that
20 was that but then he didn't write about that. He didn't write what I said
21 so this term was not presented here in this statement. It was not
22 written. And what happened this time coincides with what I answered you
23 during my previous testimony.
24 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, please look at the end of that document that you
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Where you refer to "Before a court of my own country and my own
3 people and nowhere else." And it says as follows: "I have nothing else
4 to say and I do not want to read the statement because I listened to the
5 reading of my words which were incorporated in the statement and I hereby
6 sign it without any objections."
7 I would suggest to you, you are an experienced man, you are an
8 officer, but much more importantly, you knew there was an indictment out
9 for you in relation to the killings at Ovcara and you were not going to
10 sign your life away just on some -- if you excuse me -- some hissy fit,
11 because it suited you and you wanted to have lunch. You gave this as a
12 way of trying to get out of your responsibility at Ovcara; isn't that
14 A. Mr. Moore, again, I'm telling you, you keep drawing your own
15 conclusions that I disagree with. I was suddenly summoned to this
16 interview. As a human being and as an officer, I cared, however and how,
17 to tell my story, everything I knew and for all these problems to be
18 resolved and for the truth to finally be known. I didn't shy away from
19 the truth, not when I was on my mission. I spoke to journalists, I spoke
20 to international monitors, I spoke to everyone. I didn't keep them from
21 seeing everything. Wherever I went, they went too. I cared a great deal
22 for all of this to be known, but an altercation ensued between this
23 gentleman and myself because he did not convey my statement faithfully.
24 He mentioned all the persons that he had mentioned and he dictated this
25 statement the way he saw fit.
1 At the end of it all, I said, "I won't read this. Just give it to
2 me to sign." And I've been fooled because that morning when I set out
3 from my home, I hadn't even had breakfast and I was fed up, I just wanted
4 to get my documents and go. I said I would be called again, summoned with
5 my documents to go again and see them but they never called again. And
6 did I care? Yes, I did care for light to be shed on all of this.
7 Q. And Mr. Sljivancanin, you had another interview on the 17th of
8 December of that same year. Now, you say that you had been badly treated
9 in interview, in your first interview. You were then perfectly aware of
10 what the nature of the allegation was so the situation came for an
11 interview in December; isn't that right?
12 A. Mr. Moore, it wasn't mistreatment but it was certainly
13 disrespectful treatment. They should have made it possible for me to have
14 my papers, have the reports, all the reports that I submitted that I've
15 been trying to show you here for the exact facts and the exact dates to be
16 established for that statement to be authentic. So that's that. As for
17 the 17th of December, as you can see here, I was summoned to go to the
18 military court and I responded to this summons.
19 Q. Let's very briefly look at this particular interview. You were
20 called to say everything you knew about the case. I'm not going to go
21 through the earlier parts.
22 Now, I want to go, please, to page 6 of the English version, and
23 your page, B/C/S, it is 0218-8293.
24 Now, on that particular page 6 of the English version and on your
25 page, it is the penultimate paragraph and it starts as follows: "That
1 day, on the 18th of November, 1991, at around 1100 hours," well, we know
2 that's the 19th, "Cyrus Vance also came to that sector as a representative
3 of the international community." Then it goes on about things occurring.
4 You say the following: "I stayed with him until 1700 hours." Isn't that
6 A. Well, Mr. Moore, this is also --
7 Q. That is right, isn't it, Mr. Sljivancanin?
8 A. Well, it says 1700 hours. I don't remember actually saying 1700
9 hours. I didn't stay the whole day. This is something else that the
10 judge dictated. I was giving him my account and he was dictating it to
11 the clerk, the secretary, so the actual words are his.
12 Q. Are you saying that the judge fabricated or was inaccurate about
13 the time of 1700 hours on the 19th of November? That's all I'm asking at
14 this stage.
15 A. Well, I don't remember. I'm not saying that he fabricated this.
16 But 1700 hours, that's nightfall isn't it, that time of the year. I
17 wasn't with Mr. Vance until 1700 hours and I can't say we didn't part
18 before nightfall. I remember that Vance completed his visit around
19 lunchtime and it reads here 1700 hours. I just don't believe I said that
20 because that's dark already, that time of winter. It may be a typo for
21 all I know.
22 Q. Would you then say in evidence today that you left Vance around
23 about 2.00, somewhere between that, around 1.00 or 2.00? Would that be
25 A. Well, there, even the date is wrong. It was probably me, the
1 18th, whereas it was the 19th. Well, the date that was misrecorded, I
2 accept that was my mistake because I didn't have any documents to be
3 brutally frank. I remember that we parted ways. According to what I
4 remember, it certainly was at about 2.00 or 1400 hours in the afternoon if
5 you prefer on the 19th, and the date here is wrong on top of that, the
7 Q. So it would have been perfectly possible for you to have been to
8 the yellow house that afternoon on the 19th, that is correct, isn't it, as
9 has been suggested?
10 A. Well, Mr. Moore, that is simply impossible. I don't think there
11 is any option at all open to allow for the possibility that I was at the
12 yellow house on the afternoon of the 18th. That is entirely impossible.
13 On that afternoon, I was in the Vukovar Hospital.
14 Q. I want to move on, as I say, I've got time constraints. Page 10
15 of the English. On your page it is 0218-8295. In the page 10 and I'm
16 sorry, I can't be more specific about this, it's towards the bottom of
17 your page about four-fifths of the way down the page.
18 It starts "To understand this better, I would like to point out
19 that the barracks were about three to five kilometres away from the
20 Vukovar Hospital and the large number of citizens were arriving in Vukovar
21 at the time of the evacuation. They were returning because they had
22 previously fled and they were all local people who knew each other and
23 knew who had antagonised whom and who had done what to whom, and since
24 many serious things had happened, there was motive for revenge. So the
25 safest thing to do was to drive them first to the barracks and then secure
1 their transportation from there to Sremska Mitrovica. I am stressing this
2 in particular because I was also in a situation to be exposed not just to
3 insults but even to an assault when I allowed about 24 people from that
4 group to leave."
5 Now, there, you are saying that there was clearly a motive for
6 revenge. Do you accept that that is accurately recorded in relation to
7 motive for revenge?
8 A. Again, Mr. Moore, I'm telling you the judge was dictating what he
9 was listening to, what I was saying. I did my best as I have explained to
10 explain exactly what had happened. And I'm telling you, throughout the
11 fighting, throughout our attempt to lift the siege on the barracks and the
12 disarming process, we always kept one thing in mind, that the population
13 there was suffering under dire circumstances, that those people were to be
14 comforted, helped. There were certain loose cannons, psychopaths who were
15 creating a lot of trouble. I'm not sure if I should go back to that now.
16 I believe that I told the judge at the time and the judge dictated that in
17 his own words in order to keep the record as short as possible as, the way
18 he saw fit, the way he thought it should be reflected in the record. I
19 didn't see any need to change any of his words. And the representatives
20 of The Hague Tribunal were listening too, both to what I was saying and
21 what the Judge was dictating.
22 But you can't say that it was peaceful because, had it been
23 peaceful, there would have been no need whatsoever for JNA presence.
24 Q. Can I ask you to move on to your page 0218-8297. Before I do it,
25 it's my fault because I was trying to find it and I couldn't, and now I
1 have. Could you just go to 0218-8294, first of all. So 0218-8294, the
2 English version is page 6 at the bottom. So 0218-8294, page 6 in the
3 English. It reads as follows: "I had with me a list of people who
4 organised, together with her, the rebellion in Vukovar. Vidic, Dedakovic,
5 Pol and others, including Bosanac, were on this list."
6 So is it right that you did have a list at that time when you
7 arrived at the hospital?
8 A. We talked about that yesterday Mr. Moore, the list that I got from
9 the security administration. I don't remember if I had that list on me at
10 the hospital. Maybe it was on the table in that room. But I had my --
11 where we stayed. I didn't carry those lists in my pocket all the time, so
12 to speak, but the list that we discussed yesterday I got such lists. I
13 had those for perpetrators of crimes to be found or suspects at any rate,
14 although not all of those were from the Vukovar area but, rather, from the
15 general area as you read out with more detail yesterday.
16 Q. Can I ask you, please, page 0218-8297, English page 13, going into
17 14. It is approximately two-fifths of the way down your page. It reads
18 as follows, at the bottom of page 13, English: "While I was in the
19 Vukovar area, after the cessation of fighting and the completion of the
20 evacuation, I was not informed that a group of prisoners were taken to the
21 hangars at the Ovcara farm. I learned about this only later from the
22 media, and it surprised me."
23 Can you assist me on this little point? What about Vukasinovic
24 telling you that in actual fact, there had been a group of people from the
25 hospital and the barracks taken to Ovcara? Because that has been your
1 evidence. And how do you reconcile it with this?
2 A. Well I can explain that too. After the interview at the security
3 administration, I asked to find those documents and I was waiting,
4 thinking that I would be summoned for another interview. I phoned the
5 Guards Brigade command since I was no longer an officer of that unit. The
6 then commander of the Guards Brigade told me that he didn't have the
7 documents, nor was there anything he could do about it. He said I should
8 speak to General Panic, who was the commander of the special unit corps.
9 And back in Vukovar, he had been the Chief of Staff of the brigade. So I
10 called Mr. Panic. The General set up an point -- well, I have to tell
11 you, don't I?
12 Q. Well, no. With the utmost of respect to you, the question I would
13 suggest is perfectly clear. What you are saying in this interview is that
14 you did not know about a group of prisoners being taken to Ovcara. I am
15 asking you why are you not saying to the judge, well, I did know about a
16 group of prisoners being taken to Ovcara because Vukasinovic said it to
18 A. Well, what I'm trying to tell you is what I kept silent about at
19 the time. Back at the military court, I wanted there to be a certain
20 order to this but you are just disrupting me. I went to see Panic. I
21 found Mr. Mrksic there. I wanted to have the documents. Mr. Mrksic then
22 repeated the very same words, he said he had been summoned to the military
23 court too. He said that the government had taken over those people, taken
24 charge of those people. That he would explain in court why that happened
25 and that I and Mr. Radic had nothing whatsoever to do with that.
1 I kept silent in court then, waiting for the commander to speak up
2 about that, since he had a great deal of information of why the people
3 were taken charge of by the government at the time. So I kept silent
4 about that and I told you about how the judge recorded that.
5 Q. Does that mean, then, you did not tell the truth at your interview
6 on the second occasion?
7 A. I told the whole truth except I kept silent about this final
8 exchange between Mr. Mrksic and myself. I told everything else as I had
9 previously told at the security administration and all of my statements
11 Q. Is that reply -- does that indicate, the phrase that's used in
12 English, that you were economic with the truth, you only put in that that
13 you wanted?
14 A. No, Mr. Moore, I was not being economic with the truth. Everybody
15 knew about it. It was a public session. So I obtained that information
16 from elsewhere, from the commander and from the people that I told you. I
17 expected that it wouldn't be me raising that point in court. I thought
18 Mr. Mrksic would be. The judge didn't ask me. I didn't say anything.
19 And that's how it came to pass and I can hardly come up with a different
20 story now.
21 Q. The last question for this document, page 0218-8298 is yours, the
22 English version is page 15 moving into 16. So for you, 0218-8298, 15/16
23 for English speakers. Answering a question for the military Prosecutor in
24 Belgrade, the witness stated: "As far as I remember now, I came once to
25 the Ovcara farm with my deputy Vukasinovic to check if the machinery and
1 other vehicles located at the farm had been handed over to the civilian
2 authorities and the Territorial Defence of Vukovar municipality. I'm not
3 sure when this happened and whether this was on the 19th of November or
4 some other day, but I do know that it was sometime in the evening, around
5 about 8.00 p.m.," you say 2000 hours. "And that I found the commander of
6 the 80th Brigade there but I am not sure that it was this unit. This
7 commander informed me that everything was all right there and that the
8 handover of the equipment and the machinery was going on without
9 difficulties. The area of the Ovcara military farm was not in the area of
10 responsibility of our brigade and, therefore, it was not in mine, as the
11 chief of security either. Perhaps the road I was travelling then led me
12 there and I asked about the handover of vehicles and other machinery. I
13 wanted to check this and also draw their attention to prevent any theft of
14 that machinery since there were many cases of looting," and other
16 So here is a question from the military Prosecutor. You say
17 you've been once to Ovcara and it was only to do with machinery and you
18 were only with Vukasinovic. How do you reconcile that answer with the
19 earlier answer where in actual fact you had been sent by Mrksic to find
20 out what had been going on at Ovcara and you had found Vojinovic not the
21 leader or the officer in charge of the 80th? How do you reconcile those
22 positions and your answers today?
23 A. Mr. Moore, Mrksic never sent me. I don't remember stating that.
24 I don't remember ever saying that Mrksic sent me to Ovcara. I told you
25 everything that I told you. These are the words of the judge dictating
1 the statement. I repeated to the judge at the time the story that I told
2 here about the mechanisation of other people, what I heard about that and
3 that this occurred on the 19th as agreed. And I believe I said at the
4 time the same thing as I had said previously at the security
5 administration, but that I need to express reservation. There I may have
6 misspoken or something. It is very similar but these are the words of
7 that judge recorded by that secretary. I used my language, the language
8 that I'm using here now. Did he record every single word I said into that
9 record or not, I don't know, but it's very similar. I said that
10 Vukasinovic and I were at Ovcara. There's reference there to
11 mechanisation and everything you're telling me about the officers of the
12 80th Brigade because we they'd only just arrived. I didn't know a single
13 one of them. I'd never worked with them previously and I didn't know
14 specifically what their names were.
15 I didn't explain to them everything; I didn't give them the entire
16 story as I did at the military court. I talked about the 18th, Vucedol
17 and Ovcara, you can go back and read that statement. It's right there.
18 What exactly was it that he eventually dictated just that once, I really
19 don't know. It may have slipped my mind. May have slipped my attention
20 when there were all the questions and answer. Maybe there were omissions
21 in this process of my statement being dictated into the record.
22 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, might I make application for these
23 statements to be made exhibits?
24 JUDGE PARKER: They will be, Mr. Moore, but we must break now.
25 We've reached the limit of our time, I'm afraid.
1 MR. MOORE: Yes, I'm sorry. It's taken a little longer than I
2 thought. Your Honour, there is only a very small area of evidence that I
3 was going to deal with yesterday. You remember there were video problems.
4 In fairness to Mr. Lukic and Mr. Sljivancanin, I would like to put those
5 matters to him, perhaps, after the break. They will not take more than 10
7 JUDGE PARKER: They can't, Mr. Moore, and I think that means that
8 Mr. Lukic will run out of time today. He may be able to manage.
9 We must break now. We resume at a quarter past.
10 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
11 --- Recess taken at 12.55 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 1.20 p.m.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic was on his feet following your motion,
14 Mr. Moore.
15 Yes, Mr. Lukic.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Indeed, Your Honour, I must say I'm
17 actually surprised by Mr. Moore's motion. I think your 16-page written
18 ruling ...
19 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ... Mr. Lukic, by
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] That is precisely why I was surprised
22 that Mr. Moore was raising the point.
23 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ... to be
24 continued, not changed.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] You've cut my arguments short, I
1 believe, unless you want me to elaborate or unless you think there is
2 anything special that I should add in relation to how I interpret or
3 understand your decision.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
5 Mr. Moore, first, can it be clear what reports or statements you
6 are moving for admission?
7 MR. MOORE: Yes, I'm asking for the two Belgrade statements to be
8 admissible. I seek to use Rule 89(C). I would submit that that
9 subsection: "A Chamber may admit any relevance evidence which it deems to
10 have probative value."
11 This defendant has given an account, extensively. He has now been
12 cross-examined on the accounts that he gave before the magistrates or the
13 judges and as such, it facilitates a clear understanding by way of
14 comparison and in relation to his credit of the evidence that Mr.
15 Sljivancanin gave.
16 JUDGE PARKER: You suggest for those reasons that circumstances
17 have now changed from those considered in the decision that was given
19 MR. MOORE: Yes, I do, because he has now given evidence. And in
20 relation to that, the Court is entitled to look at that evidence, that
21 account, compare it with the accounts that he has given beforehand, and to
22 assess his credibility in relation to important topics.
23 So in my submission, the ruling was correct initially, but it is
24 the giving of evidence that changes that and modifies it and a court in my
25 submission, and there is provision within the rules, can attach such
1 weight as they deem appropriate to those statements.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Moore.
3 Now, Mr. Lukic. I thought I should flesh that out before you
4 spoke. Do you want to add anything further to your submissions?
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] You know what our position is in it's
6 entirety, Your Honours. I don't think anything's been raised here in
7 relation to our written positions as far as the desire of Mr. Moore was
8 concerned to use these statements in cross-examination and the facts
9 testified to by Mr. Sljivancanin.
10 What you allowed the OTP to do and your understanding of Rule 89
11 and the case law from the Mucic case that we referred to, when that
12 statement was admitted, that just reinforces our argument from our motion.
13 Your ruling on cross-examination was used and that much is clear. Mr.
14 Moore showed certain segments in his cross-examination to check the
15 credibility. He did that. He did what you required him to do by that
16 decision. None of the facts have changed.
17 We addressed in our motion something that Mr. Sljivancanin
18 addressed in his testimony, how those statements were taken. Those are
19 facts. And you were familiar with those facts when you made that
20 decision; therefore, I think Mr. Moore's new argument brings nothing new
21 to this discussion. It's nothing that you haven't addressed before. Your
22 ruling is very thorough and it thoroughly analyses the arguments proposed
23 by both parties. It is not for me to remind this Trial Chamber that none
24 of the statements were tendered in their entirety; sections were shown and
25 that was evidence. We believe this statement is contrary to the Statute
1 and especially as far as his status before this Court is concerned.
2 I think this would set a precedent in the jurisprudence that has
3 applied throughout this trial so far.
4 JUDGE PARKER: The motion, Mr. Moore, will be -- the decision on
5 the motion will be reserved and we will evaluate the submissions we've now
6 had. Thank you.
7 Now, you have more questions?
8 MR. MOORE: Very few. There was a video compiled yesterday that I
9 wanted to deal with the propaganda that existed at that time and we submit
10 is an element that should be taken into account and Mr. Sljivancanin has
11 already indicated that there were certain beliefs, whether erroneous or
12 not. And I would wish to deal with those extractions at the request,
13 indeed, of Mr. Sljivancanin, to show him those video clips if they indeed
15 There are four clips. They are short, and I would wish to play
16 those to him. So may I ask for the first video to be played.
17 Mr. Sljivancanin, this is from the Serbian television.
18 [Videotape played]
19 MR. MOORE: I'd like to deal with the next clip, please.
20 [Videotape played]
21 MR. MOORE: Mr. Sljivancanin, the next clip I'm going to ask you,
22 please, to consider about lists and the availability of lists to soldiers.
23 [Videotape played]
24 MR. MOORE:
25 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, those are four short extracts of material taken
1 from Serbian television in relation to Vukovar. That last extract related
2 to a soldier who was asking about sons. So clearly, the soldier knew,
3 either personally or from something, the names of individuals who were
4 supposed to be fighters against the JNA. Were you ever aware of soldiers
5 being given lists or names of people that they wanted to find?
6 A. Mr. Moore, the clips you've just shown, I watched all the videos
7 that I received when I came here to the Detention Unit. These are all
8 parts of the video set. And as far as I know, with the exception of the
9 bodies outside the hospital, this is all part of the video material in
10 relation to Borovo Naselje. I found out about this while watching this.
11 I am familiar with these. These are dreadful scenes, dreadful imagery.
12 And the last man to be shown wearing a military uniform with a short
13 beard, that's the section I'm talking about, are soldiers, members of the
14 guards unit never got any lists at all. The only exception was what I
15 explained, the lists given to the security officers for intelligence work.
16 That's all they got.
17 The first footage, you called that a JNA soldier giving his
18 account. That's no JNA soldier at all. It's an old man aged over 70.
19 And he is wearing just part of a uniform. Therefore, those who were
20 recording him, the journalists who were creating propaganda for
21 television, since I wasn't an employee of the television myself, could
22 probably shed more light on that, why they recorded it the way they did.
23 There is a lot of material here and I just didn't see that on TV at the
25 Q. Can I take it then that the bodies that we saw at the hospital,
1 that footage, was the same group of bodies that you said you had seen when
2 you got to Vukovar and had so appalled you?
3 A. Mr. Moore, I remember this footage. This is exactly the way I saw
4 bodies lined up and in another street too there were several bodies, when
5 I came on the first day before the Vukovar Hospital. This remained in my
6 memory and the footage shows quite realistically the way it was. I didn't
7 know whether these were bodies of Serbs or Croats or whoever.
8 Q. Thank you very much. I want to now move and play a video which
9 Mr. Lukic has played but it didn't have a transcript. I think it was
10 Exhibit 839. We have got a transcript which I hope will assist, and the
11 version we are using is V0001411 but the transcript links with that
12 Exhibit 839. If I can just give that transcript out now, please.
13 I wish to play, if I could, please, Exhibit 839, and this is the
14 transcript from it.
15 [Videotape played]
16 MR. MOORE:
17 Q. Mr. Sljivancanin, I'm not going to go through the whole video, but
18 the transcript, and we have heard the interpreter about it, he interprets
19 and our translation is the following: "I am very proud to be the
20 commander of these soldiers and officers."
21 Now, this was taken outside the hospital on the 20th; isn't that
23 A. That's right, in front of the hospital on the 20th.
24 MR. MOORE: Mr. Lukic has an objection.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Since we have the transcript in his
1 words, Mr. Sljivancanin said he was proud to have been at the helm of, na
2 celu, at the helm of; he did not say that he was the commander. Those
3 were his exact words.
4 MR. MOORE: Mr. Lukic --
5 JUDGE PARKER: We seem to have an interpretation issue there.
6 MR. MOORE: Well, may I deal with my interpretation and then we
7 can deal with Mr. Lukic's interpretation. I'm quite happy to try and deal
8 with it as best I can.
9 Q. Do you accept that you said that: "I am at the helm of these
10 soldiers and officers"?
11 A. You see, Mr. Moore, I tried many times to explain this to you. As
12 an officer, and as a man, I spoke then before the media, and I had this
13 argument as I had agreed on with Colonel Pavkovic, that after all I do
14 represent a person from the Yugoslav People's Army who is speaking
15 publicly for the media. And I did not want to explain to journalists what
16 duties I had and what it was that I was doing. I did not explain that I
17 was chief of security then, but as I got carried away and at that moment,
18 as I felt things about these young people and that any officer would have
19 been proud to be with such young people, I thought that all soldiers,
20 especially ours from the Guards Brigade, were good people, young people,
21 and that one should be proud to be with these young people. And it's at
22 that moment that I said that I was at the helm of these people.
23 I'm not changing what it was that I thought. I don't want to
24 comment on this. I'm commander, I am commanding. How should I put this?
25 This is sort of a phrase, sort of representation before the public, to put
1 it in the briefest possible terms. It wasn't for me to explain exactly
2 what position I held.
3 Q. But with the utmost respect to you, Mr. Sljivancanin, even with
4 Mr. Lukic's beneficial interpretation that you were at the helm of these
5 soldiers and officers; helm means captain of the ship, doesn't it? That's
6 exactly what it means. In charge.
7 A. Mr. Moore, it can be interpreted the way you're putting it but I'm
8 just telling you at that moment, as the representative of the army, I was
9 speaking in order to refute what Mr. Moore was saying. At the request of
10 Mr. Martin Bell, I felt then that I was representing the Yugoslav People's
11 Army and the public would hear it and that is what I said at the time as
12 the representative of the army which, in my opinion, at that time, was
13 honourable and honest.
14 Q. On the second page of the English version, you repeat the
15 commander element. It's halfway down the English version. It's one word
16 in. "I told this gentleman this morning that I was the commander in my
17 homeland, in my country." Now, I think in fairness to you, we will play
18 all of the video up to that and we'll hear what the interpreter also says.
19 So if that could be done, I would be very grateful. So shall we start
20 from the beginning, please.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, perhaps I may be of
22 assistance. Let me not challenge so that we don't have to watch the
23 entire video that that is indeed what it says on the second page. "I'm
24 commander in my own country." I mean I want to speed up the proceedings.
25 It's on the second page, yes.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much.
2 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
3 Q. I would suggest to you that in actual fact, you were not only de
4 jure commander at the hospital and elsewhere, you were the de facto
5 commander. And secondly, you were the chief of the security organ, the
6 zone of the responsibility of the Guards Motorised Brigade at the least,
7 was not only from the hospital but also the barracks, and I'm suggesting
8 you knew perfectly well that you were part of the structure of OG South
9 and your zone of responsibility included Ovcara. What do you say to that?
10 A. Mr. Moore, really, with all due respect, I do not accept that but
11 I am telling you the following: This word that I said to this man,
12 this -- I met Mr. Borsinger, and there is video footage of what I said to
13 him but then it just came out of my mouth and in front of the
14 journalists. Because I was not very good at this, dealing with
15 journalists. Then I repeated other words. I did not know how to say
16 those words about the death of the young soldiers. It just came out
17 because of exhaustion and because of the killing of these young men. I
18 was chief of security of the Guards Motorised Brigade and as a
19 professional organ of the command of that brigade, with regard to state
20 security matters, I tried, to the best of my ability, to conduct my duties
21 professionally and correctly and I do not agree that I had any kind of
22 command function de jure and de facto. It says in the rules and
23 regulations what I was and also in my personal files and documents you
24 have exact information as to what duties I held, what I was, and what I
1 That is my position.
2 MR. MOORE: I have no further questions for you, Mr. Sljivancanin.
3 Thank you.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Moore.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Moore. Clearly, we should now break
6 for the day and continue tomorrow, Mr. Lukic.
7 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, could I just deal with one small matter.
8 I didn't make an application to put in what I call the propaganda videos.
9 Might I make an application for that to be made an exhibit?
10 JUDGE PARKER: The four clips will be received as one exhibit.
11 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the four clips will become Exhibit
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. We resume tomorrow at 10.00. May I
15 thank, in particular, the -- those supporting the court, in particular,
16 the interpreters for the unusual time we extended the sessions this
17 morning to try and ensure the proper flow of the evidence and the -- what
18 I thought was to be the end of the cross-examination at the end of the
19 last session. With those words of thanks, we adjourn for the day to
20 resume tomorrow at 10.00.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
22 to be reconvened on Friday, the 3rd day of
23 November, 2006, at 10.00 a.m.