1 Tuesday, 5 December 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 1.07 p.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. We understand counsel wishes to
6 raise a matter.
7 Mr. Domazet.
8 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Indeed, Your Honour, good afternoon.
9 I just wanted to raise a question. You allowed me to spend this
10 morning in a different case by moving this trial to this afternoon but you
11 said that Wednesday was not possible, at least back then, but that you
12 would do your best. There was information to indicate that the Seselj
13 trial was to be held in this courtroom tomorrow afternoon. That trial has
14 been cancelled, so I just wanted to see whether there was still an option
15 for us to perhaps try this case in the afternoon tomorrow, since again
16 tomorrow morning I will need to be in a different courtroom for the
17 Blagojevic/Jokic case.
18 I don't expect that I will be able to finish my cross-examination
19 of this witness within a single session, assuming that Mr. Lukic will take
20 up an entire session, of course.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE PARKER: Well, Mr. Domazet, our understanding is that
23 Mr. Lukic will probably take the first session with the witness. Because
24 of our shortened hours, it will be a slightly shortened session and that
25 you were to have the second, with the possibility that you might creep
1 into the third, but that was all, so that tomorrow, it would be Mr. Vasic
2 who was here in the morning anyway, your role, active role would have
3 finished, so you just would need to be sure that Mr. Vasic was alert to
4 matters of interest to you. It's not that you would have any further role
5 to play with this witness. But we will certainly look at the
6 possibilities. There are a number of other commitments that people have
7 taken up on the basis that we would be sitting in the morning. We will
9 Can we have the witness, please.
10 I would expect that we would finish the first session at 2.25, and
11 the second session at five minutes to 4.00.
12 [The witness entered court]
13 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon, sir. Would you please read aloud
14 the affirmation on the card shown to you.
15 WITNESS: PETAR VUGA
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
18 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.
20 Mr. Lukic has some questions for you. Yes, Mr. Lukic.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, though I have copies of
22 the expert report, we have three copies for the Chamber, a copy for each
23 of the Defence teams, and a copy for the OTP.
24 Your Honours, as you see, we compiled a special binder for your
25 benefit containing the expert report of Mr. Vuga as well as 65 ter Defence
1 documents which are mentioned in the report and which we will, in due
2 course, be tendering into evidence. I think the most meaningful way to
3 tender these documents is once Mr. Vuga has been heard, much like the
4 procedure applying in the case of Mr. Theunens. That's one thing.
5 The other thing that I wish to address orally, you might remember
6 there was a written motion by the OTP requesting to cross-examine Mr. Vuga
7 live and they opposed the idea for Mr. Vuga's annex regarding the
8 historical context, historical framework in which the security service
9 evolved in the Yugoslav army being admitted into evidence because it was,
10 they submitted, irrelevant, and Mr. Vuga was not competent for that
11 particular issue. That's at least based on my recollection.
12 So my proposal now is to have his expert report admitted first
13 with the annexes and to perhaps have a ruling on that particular annex at
14 the end.
15 The Defence will not be adamant about this annex being admitted,
16 not necessarily, but we do believe some elements to be quite relevant for
17 the substance of the report itself. We believe that the most helpful way
18 to go about this would be to have a ruling at the end of Mr. Vuga's
20 Thank you.
21 JUDGE PARKER: With that in mind, we can delay any decision until
22 then, Mr. Lukic. But carry on, making use of the whole document including
23 the annex if you need to. If it's ruled inadmissible, we'll just have to
24 ignore certain parts of the evidence.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 Examination by Mr. Lukic:
2 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Vuga, my first question, can you please state
3 your name for the record.
4 A. Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon to all. My name is
5 Petar Vuga, a retired colonel. I spent about 30 years working in the
6 security organs, and I was called to testify before this Court as a
7 security expert. I gladly responded to this invitation in the firm belief
8 that my evidence might prove useful to the work of this court.
9 Q. Mr. Vuga, are you the author of this expert report in front of
10 you, the Defence expert report on behalf of Mr. Sljivancanin?
11 A. Yes, indeed, I am the author of this report.
12 Q. Just two questions regarding your career.
13 Generally speaking, the intention of our team in our
14 examination-in-chief is to not go through everything that we have in the
15 actual report but rather to focus on certain elements or certain aspects
16 of your expert report which we believe to be particularly relevant or
17 particularly typical of the general tenor of your expert report.
18 A general question about your career. Over the course of your
19 entire career, Mr. Vuga, were you involved on any sort of work on draft
20 laws concerning security in the JNA?
21 A. When changes were made in the security organs, when new laws were
22 to be drafted and literature was to be produced to train the personnel,
23 I'd already had over 20 years of experience working in the security
24 organs. It is for this reason that the leaders in the security sector
25 called upon my contribution.
1 Among other things, in 1983, I was involved, alongside with
2 another three JNA officers, in investigating and carrying out a project
3 entitled the situation and problems in terms of guiding security organs
4 and measures for improvement.
5 Q. In a footnote, you referred to the results of this particular
6 piece of research. There's one thing in particular that I want to know
7 about. Were you personally involved in the preparation, drafting and
8 evaluation of a document that we here refer to as Exhibit 107, the rules
9 of service for the security organ, the one that applied back in 1991?
10 That set of rules is the one I'm referring to.
11 A. Following the research that I have referred to, the results of
12 that particular work were used to produce the new set of rules. I was
13 involved in analysing these results and defining a platform based on which
14 the rules governing the work of the security organs were produced, and in
15 1991 this was the relevant document used for their work and the relevant
16 set of rules that applied.
17 I was also involved in drafting the proposed rules governing the
18 work of security organs. It was later revised, this set of rules, and
19 this new revised edition is the copy that we have in front of us now.
20 Q. Could you just slow down, please.
21 A. Very well.
22 Q. Does that mean that these new rules of the security organs, the
23 rules that were evaluated and analysed in your report -- so is that
24 document also a result of your involvement?
25 A. Yes, that's right.
1 Q. In addition to that, were you involved in drafting all the other
2 documents, sublaws, instructions, and other documents that were used along
3 with these rules for the security organs?
4 A. I was involved in drafting all the operative rules and their
5 application. I won't name all of them, but one of the most important ones
6 was the instructions and -- for the methods of work of security organs and
7 that was the one that I was the most involved in.
8 Q. That document is another exhibit in this trial. I will now move
9 on to your career. I think what we have just gone through was of
10 particular relevance towards proving your competence for the subjects that
11 we are discussing here.
12 The first page of your report tells us about what your report
13 really is. I would like to read that out for the benefit of the public.
14 All of us in the courtroom have this document in front of us.
15 You wrote that the report contains: "The overview of the function
16 of the security organs of the armed forces of the SFRY and the actions of
17 the security organs and military police of the Guards Motorised Brigade
18 and OG South on fulfilling all work and tasks they had within the provided
19 territory, authority, and responsibility in Operation Vukovar in November
20 1991 with particular accent on Major now retired Colonel Veselin
21 Sljivancanin while he was on the position of the chief of the security
22 organ in the period of the indictment."
23 In the briefest possible terms, this is what your report focuses
24 on. We might say that. My question is: In paragraph 4 where you say
25 that you would like to stress out that "I have primarily dealt with the
1 security aspects of the acts within my report while I make notion of other
2 aspects only as part of the general analysis," can you please explain to
3 the Trial Chamber what it is that we are meant to focus on while studying
4 your report?
5 A. The distribution of the tasks of the security organ in any
6 military organisation is quite large scale 6. It's intertwined with other
7 types of activity, and it was very difficult to judge because it was very
8 close to other activities. From the security aspect, it was difficult for
9 them to be distinct from any other activity so that they might be
10 identified so that whenever something happened, it might be possible to
11 ascertain what really occurred.
12 Q. Can you slow down, please.
13 Purely in terms of methodology, how exactly did you produce this
14 report? What was the method you used when you tackled the subject that
15 your expert report addresses?
16 A. The goal is defined on page 1 of this report. All the steps were
17 envisaged that were necessary to achieve this goal. One needed to cover
18 all the facts in relation to the function of the security organ. One
19 needed to analyse these facts, make a comparative analysis in the light of
20 the regulations under which the security organs were supposed to work.
21 One needed to establish whether there was any distinction or any
22 consistency with what really was the function that was carried out in the
23 territory at the time.
24 Q. What were the sources that you used while you analysed this
1 A. The principal sources that I used were the documents, the
2 regulations that were to be followed in the territory and at the time that
3 are the subject of my report.
4 Secondly, I had statements available as well as combat documents.
5 I studied everything else that was published about the function of the
6 security sector and the events that significantly determined the function
7 of security and its evolution as a very significant function.
8 There are important elements that depend on what exactly happened
9 between the two warring parties at the time.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a little clarification for the
11 Chamber. In keeping with the instructions that the Chamber provided and
12 the method that the Chamber applied when dealing with Mr. Pringle, Mr.
13 Vuga invoked certain statements in the footnotes of his report. He was at
14 one point shown the transcripts, too, and we developed a new system with
15 footnotes containing sections of the transcript that are relevant for his
16 report, whereas, on the other hand, we also dropped some of the transcript
17 material previously used that did not prove to be as relevant. We did
18 inform the OTP at the time. We had been in touch for that whole weekend
19 and there was a motion with this final version of the expert report as a
20 corrigendum with all the footnotes and the relevant sources specifically
22 Q. Let us now move on to the regulations. Just a couple of questions
23 related to this issue. The first question pertains to the scope of the
24 activities of the security organs in the armed forces. We are now talking
25 about page 9 in B/C/S and page 9 in the English version.
1 Mr. Vuga, in simple terms, because we are all lawyers, can you
2 please explain to us what is the scope of the activities of the security
3 organs and why is this relevant for us in order to make it possible for us
4 to understand their function and what Mr. Sljivancanin himself did? I
5 think these are Article 1 through 5 of the rules of the service of the
6 security organ.
7 A. Yes. These are the articles that we're talking about. But let me
8 make a general remark to preface all of this discussion, because this will
9 make it possible for us to see the tasks in a much clearer light than we
10 would be able to if we only had this text to guide us.
11 The first thing that I would like to stress is that the issue of
12 understanding and interpreting of the scope of activities of the security
13 organs is indeed the key issue which is the foundation, the gateway for
14 the entire work and the entire function seen in its entirety. And this
15 issue underlies the -- all the activities of the security organs, and if
16 you don't know this scope, if you don't understand the very concept, it is
17 impossible to understand, evaluate everything that happened and that had
18 to do with the security organs.
19 In this sense, I would just like to say a few important things
20 and -- because there are more but these would just be the most salient
21 ones. The first thing is that the scope defines only the tasks performed
22 by the security organs, and these tasks are later on transformed into the
23 actual assignments. All the other work that is not carried out by
24 security organs are done by other structures within the armed forces or
25 certain civilian elements that are employed by the armed forces.
1 It is especially important to note that because this type of work
2 is labelled "state security" there is a substantial difference and there
3 is a very clear demarcation line between the state security work and other
4 security work that may bear a certain similarity with this work. So this
5 is the first aspect of the scope.
6 The second aspect of the scope of the activities is the part where
7 it is stipulated how security organs actually go about performing these
9 The third element defines where security organs perform their
10 tasks, the commands, staffs, units, establishments, and organisations for
11 weapons and military equipment in the armed forces.
12 The fourth element regulates the relationship between the security
13 organs and all the other entities involved in performing security tasks,
14 either as organisational units of the armed forces or as individuals,
15 their mutual obligations, mode of communication, and the demarcation of
16 their specific scopes of activity.
17 Q. Thank you. You explained the difference between Article 6 and 7
18 of the rules of service of the security organs where the security organs
19 are the primary performers of the task and where they are only involved in
20 the performance of the task. Where is the essential difference between
21 those two tasks where the security organ is either an agent or merely
22 participates in the performance of these tasks? That was in
23 paragraphs 11 and 12 of your work.
24 A. When we spoke about the scope of the work, we already noted that
25 there are certain types of work that are clearly delineated from other
1 types of work that belong into the sphere of state security. The purpose
2 of the study that I referred to was to determine whether this demarcation
3 line really exists or obtains in the actual daily work and regular duties
4 of the security organs or whether this line actually becomes blurred and
5 there is an overlap of authority and responsibility in some areas.
6 The security organs at a time when we did this research had to
7 perform quite a lot of tasks that were not part of the state security and
8 that was a significant burden for them and something had to be done to
9 deal with this. And after our research, the tasks were clearly delineated
10 and it was clearly defined what the security organs have to do as agents
11 and what are those tasks where they, as the technical organs of a command,
12 participate in the execution of a task in accordance with the rules.
13 Q. We've heard quite a few times in the courtroom and you yourself
14 define it here that where the security organs are the agents, that these
15 tasks are called counter-intelligence, and that the tasks where security
16 organs are actually only participants, that these are not
17 counter-intelligence tasks.
18 A. The terminology is actually the terminology that is used in
19 practice because in practice, the practice gave us guidance how to define
20 this and this was, in fact, done exactly the way it is. So
21 non-counter-intelligence tasks are tasks where the agents are not security
22 organs but other organs of the command staffs and units and so on.
23 Q. Let us move on to page 13 of your expert report, third paragraph
24 in the chapter dealing with the directing of security organs. And here
25 you say: "Other non-counter-intelligence staff security, military police,
1 criminal law tasks where the principal agents or other organs are carried
2 out by security organs in the organisational and establishment units to
3 which they actually are. In this role, as participants in the performance
4 of non-counter-intelligence tasks, the security organs are not doing this
5 as subordinates of their superior security organ."
6 A. Well, this gives you a reflection of the first aspect of the
7 division of tasks. The security organs are participants and other organs
8 are agents, and all the professional tasks, professional direction of the
9 security organs could not be carried out in the usual way because in that
10 way, that superior security organ would be directing the work of another
11 organ which is not subordinate to the security organ. And this is why
12 this was put in place in order to clarify things.
13 Q. You go on to explain about the superior security organs providing
14 professional guidance to the security organs in the subordinate command.
15 Can you please explain to us what does it mean? How is it defined, the
16 provision of technical help, technical assistance, professional guidance
17 and so on? What does it mean? What do the security organs of the
18 superior command do in relation to the security organs of a subordinate
20 A. The professional or technical guidance or provision of assistance
21 and even control in the performance of certain tasks geared towards
22 assisting later, it has to do with the organisation of the work in the
23 performance of these tasks, the application of work methods used in the
24 actual execution of the tasks, the professional capabilities of the
25 subordinate security organ in order to improve them, bring them up to
1 higher level, and to bring them in line with the actual needs. Mutual
2 flow of information to the degree that is necessary to keep the system as
3 a whole functioning.
4 Superior security organs have more information at their disposal.
5 They usually have more experience, and they are better positioned to make
6 proper assessments, and they can thus improve the functioning of the
7 subordinate security organs in terms of their performance of
8 counter-intelligence tasks and in general.
9 Q. On page 13 of your report and page 60 [as interpreted] when you
10 actually describe the facts, the event when the representatives of the
11 security organ of the 1st Military District and of the security
12 administration who arrived in Vukovar on the 19th, this group of officers,
13 are they governed by Article 19, paragraph 3, of the rules of service of
14 the security organs as you just described it to us?
15 A. These persons, as I answered before, are persons who have more
16 experience and who are better positioned to actually perform the tasks
17 because they are familiar with the issues they have to deal with when they
18 arrive, and also more aware of the obligations they have to fulfill in
19 relation to the entity that actually dispatched them there. And in this
20 light, it is quite clear that this is not the military chain of command,
21 this is professional and -- this is governed by professionalism or their
22 competence, and they are able to perform this task because they have
23 better capabilities to do so than the unit where the subordinate security
24 organs were supposed to carry out these tasks have.
25 Let me now make a final note. Dispatching such teams is something
1 that is usually decided at a higher level than the level to which they
2 actually belong. And it is quite clear that these are the teams that are
3 actually acting quite independently on the basis of the information and
4 intelligence they get in the field.
5 Q. Thank you. My next question is the question that has been
6 discussed at length during the trial, that's the status of the security
7 organs within operational groups and this was studied, this was actually
8 dealt with in paragraph 6 on page 14 in both versions. Here you say that
9 the security organs of the command of the OG direct, in professional
10 terms, the security organs within the units that are now part of the
11 operation group only in the tasks and in the work that is carried out by
12 the security organs, state security, and which serve the functions of
13 providing counter-intelligence security in the performance of the tasks of
14 its unit within the operations group and until the objective has been
16 Can you please explain to us in simple terms what kind of a
17 relationship are we talking about between the two security organs in the
18 operations group?
19 A. First of all, we have to bear in mind a few elements if we want to
20 give a proper answer.
21 First of all, operations groups are task forces; they are
22 temporary formations. They are set up in order for the execution of a
23 specific mission, and after that they cease to exist. This means that the
24 operations group command has a temporary mandate to issue orders, to
25 exercise command, and within the organs of the command the security organ
1 is temporarily assigned or appointed to perform tasks to assist in the
2 performance of the overall objective of the operations group.
3 In other words, this means that by carrying out those tasks, the
4 security organ is not treated in the same way. It does not have the same
5 kind of mandate that it would have in a permanent formation. Since it is
6 carrying out these tasks on a temporary basis while the OG is in
7 existence, the security organ is given special task. In principle, this
8 means that the flow of information from the security organ to the security
9 organs in the other units that are part of the OG are quite limited.
10 Let me be more specific. If, in counter-intelligence work, there
11 is no relevant intelligence that should be exchanged between the security
12 organs in the units that are part of the OG and the security organ in the
13 command of the OG, then this function will not actually exist. It will
14 just be the possibility of establishing it until the real need arises.
15 So security organs in the units that are now part of the OG are,
16 in professional terms, subordinate to the security organs in their
17 permanent unit or formation. They submit reports to them and they are
18 accountable to them about counter-intelligence, in general, and any
19 related business. They must take instructions and guidance from them or
20 anything else that a superior security organ is normally responsible for.
21 Q. A brief answer, please. In your work, have you ever encountered
22 anything to indicate that there was a professional link between the
23 security organs of the Guards Brigade and the remain organs that were part
24 of the Operation Group?
25 A. I have done some research to see whether that link was in fact
1 working. I tried to gather additional information to see if there was any
2 need for a link like that to be functional at all. In both cases, firstly
3 if there were any documents to show that the link indeed functioned, and
4 secondly if there was any need for a link like that to be in place. So in
5 both cases, the answer is I haven't come across anything.
6 Q. Did you ever find any trace or a document in your analysis that
7 there was any link between the security organs of the 1st Military
8 District, on the one hand, and the security organ of OG South on the
10 A. There is a problem about this. There is no specific mandate, in a
11 manner of speaking, for the security organ of OG South in terms of the
12 tasks facing them or any provisional authority for them in terms of
13 professional guidance. This of all things was the role of the founder or
14 whoever had established the Operations Group. So there is this vertical
15 line, too, between the Operations Group, on the one hand, and the security
16 organ that had established the Operations Group, but this vertical link
17 didn't work in terms of the exchange of any information about such a
19 Q. We can now move on to a set of questions about the relations
20 between the military police and the security organ.
21 Can you tell us, sir, we've heard a lot of references to that, but
22 can you please try to put this in the simplest possible terms as a
23 lecturer. What does it mean when a security organ manages a military
24 police contingent in a professional or technical sense, what does that
1 A. In order to have a good answer to this one, it is necessary to
2 point out that the military police and the security organs have different
3 purviews, which means that they use different methods. Likewise,
4 professional guidance in these respective areas requires a certain amount
5 of explanation as to what it means exactly.
6 For a security organ to be in charge of a military police unit,
7 first of all they must be well familiar with the remit of a military
8 police unit. They must know what the situation is that prevails in a
9 given military police unit. They must know what the assignments are that
10 a military police unit faces; and, lastly, they must gather information in
11 order to have the whole picture which would enable them to understand any
12 problems within that military police unit.
13 It is based on all of these factors that they can identify what
14 the best possible use might be for that military police unit and what
15 professional influence might be required for that military police unit to
16 carry out any task received from its superior officer in the best possible
18 This is the simplest possible option for a security organ to be in
19 charge of a military police unit. There is a lot more to it, but all of
20 it is a ramification of what you've just told you about how this
21 relationship works globally and what method is applied for this purpose.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have a chart on our
23 screens. The e-court reference is 3D070093.
24 Your Honours, if you go to your binders, this is at tab 10,
25 document number 2. This is a chart of the motorised brigade,
1 attachment 2, it's at the very end of the report in one of the
3 Q. As we are waiting for this to come up on our screens, Mr. Vuga,
4 can you please tell us this: What is the distinction between a motorised
5 brigade, especially that belonging to a security organ or the military
6 police, on the one hand, and the Guards Brigade on the other?
7 The English reference is 3D070190. It's part of the report.
8 Mr. Vuga, you have it right there. If you have a textbook
9 motorised brigade, what is it that the security organ does exactly with
10 the military police unit?
11 A. Before I answer that, I must preface my answer with several
13 The first thing is there is Guards Brigade and there are other
14 types of brigade that were represented in the JNA. There are numerous
15 distinctions between the two. This is by no means the only distinction.
16 This distinction follows from all the other distinctions. It's a matter
17 of purpose for which the Guards Brigade is used and the purpose for which
18 other brigades are used as envisaged in the brigade rules. The infantry,
19 the brigade, the mountain brigade, and all the other brigades.
20 Speaking of this distinction, these distinctions are a direct or
21 indirect result of the first distinction that there is in terms of
22 function. The most fundamental ramification of this would be the
23 following: A Guards Brigade is a very peculiar unit used for specific
24 purposes which are enumerated in my report. You have military police
25 battalions in it, and if you look at the chart, these military police
1 battalions are directly subordinated to the brigade commander. He is the
2 one who hands out tasks to military police commanders, or at least that's
3 what the chart appears to suggest.
4 Q. We have it in front of us. The chart about a motorised brigade,
6 A. Yes. I am talking about a military police unit in a brigade like
7 this, as opposed to what I've just been saying. In a motorised brigade,
8 we have a military police unit. This military police unit is subordinated
9 to the brigade commander through the security organ which means that the
10 security organ is a mediator in exercising command over the military
11 police unit and the actual command is then exercised by the brigade
12 commander. But there is a mediator.
13 They are not outside the chain of command. They are a component
14 part, part and parcel of this chain of command. So any orders from the
15 brigade commander to the military police commander are channeled through
16 the security organ, as well as any reports or any other questions between
17 the military police commander and the brigade commander.
18 Again, all of this is channeled through the security commander.
19 Any proposals by the security commander on the use of military police go
20 this way, as well as any decisions on how the military police unit is to
21 be used. It is part and parcel of this working relationship between the
22 brigade commander and the military police commander.
23 One thing that must be noted, however, is that one can never rule
24 out the possibility that based on his own assessment, the commander can
25 issue direct orders to the military police commander.
1 Q. Was that, in fact, the case with the 80th Motorised Brigade?
2 A. The 80th Motorised Brigade is an example that is analogous to this
3 example and there is no major difference in terms of that, simply because
4 the relationships appear to be the same. It -- there may be a difference
5 in terms of methodology but none that I found.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please now have attachment
7 number one brought up on our screens. The English is 3D070188, that's the
8 e-court reference, the B/C/S is 3D070091. This is a chart that is part of
9 a book called Guards Brigade Units which has been admitted into evidence
10 in this trial.
11 Q. Tell us what this chart is about, sir, and how is this chart
12 different from the other chart that we've been looking at?
13 A. I was talking about this of all things and now we can all see what
14 that means. The military police battalions are at the same level as all
15 the other units directly subordinated to the brigade commander. Between
16 the brigade commander and the battalion -- and the military police
17 battalion commanders, there are no security organs mediating such as is
18 the case with the textbook infantry brigade such as the one shown in the
19 previous chart.
20 This is not a mere formal distinction. We've heard what the
21 security organ does in relation to the military police in an infantry
22 unit, but its role is not shown in the same terms here. But on the other
23 hand, its role is not entirely erased, it's just that the methodology is
24 entirely different.
25 The methodology, however, is not the only difference. The
1 security organ, in relation to the military police, in this type of unit,
2 a unit such as the Guards Brigade, what it should do it can do by making
3 proposals to the brigade commander. Otherwise by trying to exert direct
4 influence upon the military police unit, they would be meddling directly
5 with the chain of command which is neither desirable nor actually allowed.
6 Another thing that must be noted about this chart is the
7 following: The military police battalions, in terms of their actual
8 location, are, to all practical intents, operative units of the brigade
9 and are used for the brigade's functional purpose. The military police in
10 an infantry brigade is normally a unit used for military police-type
11 business within a brigade. There is a certain distinction there,
12 regardless of the fact that in both cases we are looking at military
13 police units.
14 The next thing we see in this chart is the security organ does,
15 after all, have certain tasks that are military police tasks in nature.
16 This is a result of the peculiar nature of the Guards Brigade; that is, a
17 military police corps for special purposes is directly subordinated to the
18 security organ. Its purpose is described specifically in the reports. I
19 won't go any further into that.
20 Q. In your report, you point out the peculiar nature of the Guards
21 Brigade staff in relation to the military police; Mr. Panic testified to
22 that particular aspect at this trial. Can you tell us what this really
23 means, what is this peculiarity in terms of the Guards Brigade structure
24 and how that structure relates to any military police presence within it?
25 A. We see that the security organ does not act as a mediator between
1 the commander and the military police as an organ used for professional
2 guidance of the military police. Because of the peculiar nature of the
3 tasks and use of military police units in the Guards Brigade as well as
4 other units that are at the same level as military police battalions, any
5 units ordered by the commander are elaborated on by the brigade staff and
6 they see to it that these tasks are carried out.
7 In terms of establishment, a brigade has two desk officers
8 specialising in military police business. These officers are required to
9 work on tasks handed out by the commander, tasks that has something to do
10 with the military police. So that the task of the security organ, in
11 terms of being in charge of the military police, for the most part is
12 attached to the brigade staff where you have the desk officers in charge
13 of the military police who have the competence to go about these tasks,
14 who have the qualifications. I have no other information to indicate
15 anything else about the exact structure and how this works.
16 Q. I'll now be skipping two whole chapters of your reports, important
17 ones, but I do believe that you will be cross-examined on these. It's
18 about threats to safety in Croatia and the final stages of the Vukovar
19 operation. I'm skipping directly to chapter 5 of your report and the
20 issues addressed therein, which is the evacuation of the Vukovar Hospital
21 on the 19th, 20th and 21st of November. This starts on page 48 or 50 in
23 First question, Mr. Vuga, when writing your report, did you come
24 across any document to deal with the regulations that you studied,
25 indicating that Major Sljivancanin was in charge of commanding the
1 hospital evacuation on the 20th of November?
2 A. I never found a document that would lead me to the unequivocal
3 conclusion that Major Sljivancanin was in command of the evacuation.
4 There is no document to show that anybody at all had been appointed to
5 being commander of the evacuation. No one at all. Not just Major
6 Sljivancanin. So what follows was I was unable to conclude what you
8 As for the activities that were actually carried out during the
9 evacuation, there is nothing to indicate what the exact command function
10 of any of the people involved was. The only thing one can ascertain is
11 that the nature of the tasks that were carried out, their scope and the
12 performing agents appear in documents under a number of different guises.
13 If you compare these different roles that you come across in the
14 documents, you do get a certain picture as to who did the most in certain
15 ways but without clearly delineated command functions with respect to all
16 of these different individuals.
17 Q. You addressed the issue that I want to raise now on page 50 of
18 your report and the question is this: In light of what we said about the
19 scope of work of the security organs, I want to ask you whether the
20 evacuation of hospital would be within the scope of the activities of the
21 security organs within their purview, in other words, and can a security
22 organ be assigned a task that is outside of its purview and, if so, when,
23 under which circumstances? Very briefly, please.
24 A. We started from defining the scope of work or the purview of the
25 security organ and we did note that this is something that will keep
1 cropping up. And now I have to refer to the rules -- the part of the
2 rules of service that we have not yet mentioned. The rules of service of
3 the security organ, Article 48, clearly specifies the authority of the
4 commander in issuing tasks to the security organ because the exercise of
5 command is an activity based on law, instructions, and other regulations
6 passed in accordance with the law. So this provision that states that a
7 commander may issue a task to a security organ that are within the purview
8 or the scope of the activities of the security organ that are not carried
9 out at its permanent post, this may lead us to conclude that the commander
10 of the unit may have issued the task to Major Sljivancanin to carry out
11 some security organs that he himself would not be performing in his own
12 brigade but that he may be required to perform within the Operations
13 Group. In other words, these can only be tasks within the purview of the
14 security organ.
15 If we look at the other laws and regulations, even the Federal
16 Secretary of National Defence does not have the power to use the security
17 organs on tasks that are not within their purview. Things are quite
18 different when it comes to military police.
19 Q. Thank you. Perhaps we will be able to clarify this a little bit
20 later on, and it is, after all, written in your report, this whole issue
21 who assigns tasks to whom.
22 In your report, you did deal with the next issue, but I want to
23 hear it from you. That's pages 56 and 57 in the English version and
24 page 56 in the B/C/S version. You drew certain conclusion on the role
25 played by Colonel Pavkovic in the evacuation of the wounded and the sick
1 on the 20th of November. What do you base your conclusions on and what
2 are the indicators that led you to make these conclusions?
3 A. I inspected the documents, as I already stated in my testimony,
4 that the documents were, in fact, a major source for my conclusions on how
5 the participants, what the participants in this task were actually doing.
6 On the basis of the documents that I had at my disposal, most of them
7 actually indicated that it was Colonel Pavkovic.
8 As for the other participants, there are precious few sources to
9 indicate what they actually were doing. And when you look at the tasks,
10 the nature of these tasks, then you can state that these were very
11 important tasks from the point of view of the person commanding this whole
12 exercise, but one could not really call that person the commander but the
13 actual position would be very close to the position of a commander on the
14 basis of the documents that we studied.
15 Q. You saw the testimony of witnesses that we heard during the trial
16 here and to the effect that Major Sljivancanin was in charge of ensuring
17 that there are security conditions in place for the evacuation of the
18 wounded and the sick. So what was Major Sljivancanin, in fact, supposed
19 to do?
20 MR. WEINER: Objection. Counsel has made a comment: "You saw the
21 testimony of witnesses that we've heard through the trial that
22 Sljivancanin did as follows." Could he please state who these witnesses
23 are and what he's referring to? Usually when we make a comment, we give a
25 JUDGE PARKER: I think it needs to be specific, Mr. Lukic. Thank
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise. I think that this is
3 actually in the footnote on pages 57 and 58 but I don't have the paper
4 with the footnotes here in front of me, but this would be testimony by
5 Mr. Sljivancanin, Panic, and Vukasinovic.
6 Is that --
7 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ... Mr. Lukic, and
8 see if he accepts that.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Yes. Mr. Vuga, as you drafted your report, I showed you the
11 testimony of those witnesses. Do you remember what those witnesses said
12 about the role played or task that Major Sljivancanin had in the
13 evacuation of the hospital, and if you remember that, my question is:
14 What was he supposed to do in light of the rules in the performance of
15 this task? Can you say something about this variation, page 58 of your
17 A. The evaluation of the role played by Mr. Sljivancanin is based on
18 two major sources. The first are the regulations obliging him to put in
19 place the security conditions because as the security organ in --
20 MR. WEINER: Objection. Your Honour, I don't have any footnote
21 referring to that -- any of that testimony. The only footnotes relating
22 to testimony were the footnotes that were related to Panic that were
23 changed from Panic's statements to the Office of the Prosecutor to Panic's
24 testimony. This report was filed in September. These people did not
25 testify in September. We've just had a new version filed on Monday but
1 the contents other than a few changes are pretty much the same.
2 So he could not have drafted his report based on testimony which
3 hadn't even occurred to that time.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic, it's going to be necessary for the
5 Chamber to make any use of this aspect of the report to know what it is
6 based on. If the footnotes don't identify that fully and clearly, you're
7 going to have the witness identify what it was that he relied on.
8 Now, if you're not equipped to do that right now, it may be that
9 that needs to be done in the break. But understand: We need to know what
10 it is the witness has relied on.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that this, in
12 fact, listed here but these are footnotes 107 and 108; that's
13 transcript -- page of transcript 14294.
14 I think that it is not really necessary, Your Honours, to go into
15 this because the footnotes that are used by the witness are listed here as
16 the reference, and actually there have been some modifications. That may
17 be the cause of the problem, but we can deal with that later but it's not
18 a problem because the Prosecution has it and we provided the references as
19 an attachment to the report that was filed in its entirety and then later
20 on it was modified.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Just understand, Mr. Lukic, the report is of no
22 value to the Chamber if we don't know what it is based on because we have
23 to evaluate the reliability of what the report was based on. So either
24 now or perhaps more profitably after the break, identify the sources or
25 have the witness do it.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] During the break, I will hunt down
2 this reference. Apparently I found the wrong footnote here. Perhaps I
3 just misidentified it. Let me now move on to another topic and then I
4 will readdress this issue later on as I near the end of my examination.
5 Q. Mr. Vuga, in your report, you explained that the separation of
6 people of military age was the usual expected measure that had to be
7 carried out. But my question to you is: What was the security organ to
8 do once persons who are not supposed to be in the hospital are identified
9 as such?
10 A. First of all, Major Sljivancanin was duty-bound, because of the
11 post that he held, once he was given this task to perform security tasks
12 at the hospital to perform them as his primary task. I don't know whether
13 he was given any other assignments. A security task was the principal
14 task. There are several key issues here that need to be addressed.
15 First of all, a hospital is an institution that has certain
16 standards that have to be complied with throughout an operation,
17 throughout a period in order for it to be considered a protected facility.
18 These standards define the elements that should not be in a hospital and
19 something had to be done in order to identify and remove the elements that
20 do not belong to the hospital because it is impermissible and untenable to
21 take any other measures before this task is done.
22 So the first step to be taken was to deal with the security issues
23 regarding persons who are not supposed to be there. So this is one of the
24 measures that he was duty-bound to take.
25 Secondly, there are combat documents that actually state that the
1 hospital could not be considered as a protected facility during the combat
2 activities for certain reasons, and those reasons are identified. I will
3 not now be quoting my sources, but I can do that. So these are combat
4 documents, not statements.
5 Another thing. There had already been intelligence indicating
6 that there were persons in the hospital whose conduct in the hospital
7 could be labelled a kind of enemy activity against the JNA on the part of
8 the institution that in a way gave them shelter and made it possible for
9 them to perform these kinds of activities, and in such a situation, the
10 security organ has to perform all the tasks as defined by the law, and
11 everything is quite clearly stipulated in the relevant legal provisions,
12 to eliminate such persons and to accord them the appropriate status and to
13 treat them in a way that is stipulated in the Law on Criminal Procedure on
14 the orders of the superior command. So there are at least three
15 foundations for the actions undertaken by Major Sljivancanin in relation
16 to these persons. And it must also be noted that different categories of
17 persons are to be treated differently, and this is something that Major
18 Sljivancanin was supposed to take into account.
19 So this is all based purely on regulations and not -- we are not
20 now going into the intelligence that he may have had at his disposal that
21 indicated to him that the hospital could not have been evacuated until
22 security measures are taken, until the level is reached where the hospital
23 is really nothing more but a hospital.
24 Q. Thank you. Let me just point out that I found the reference to
25 the testimony by Mr. Panic and Mr. Vukasinovic, that's footnote 113, and
1 here you have the relevant portions of the transcript that I referred to.
2 Just one more topic before the final portion of my examination.
3 The assessment that led to the conclusion that these persons should be
4 transferred to the barracks, is this an adequate, a valid assessment?
5 A. In my report, I provided the picture of Vukovar from the security
6 point of view. In Vukovar, and this is something that is also stipulated
7 in military regulations, the barracks are facilities that must be the
8 facilities with the highest level of security, provided, of course, that
9 something -- that things that actually happened did not happen. So --
10 here I'm referring to the blockade of the barracks. But once the barracks
11 was unblocked, once the blockade was lifted, the barracks could be
12 considered as the safest and the most secure place where this activity
13 that had to be carried out should be carried out.
14 And hence the assessment to do this in the barracks, and in fact
15 this assessment is actually the only one that could be made. This was the
16 only place where this could be carried out and this was the only valid
17 conclusion. I couldn't find any other facility that could be used for
18 this purpose in light of the law and intelligence, and once it was stated
19 that the -- that Vukovar was placed under JNA control, from that point
20 onwards, the barracks was, in fact, the safest and the most secure place,
21 much more secure than the hospital itself.
22 Q. The fact that the forward command post was actually situated in
23 the barracks, would that make -- would that corroborate on your conclusion
24 that the barracks was the best place to put those persons, the suspects?
25 A. Well, in principle, that would be just an additional element.
1 It's not the decisive factor, but it's one of the things that means that
2 this function must be protected until it is abolished. This only means
3 that any previous activities that had been taken were meant to contribute
4 to the increasing security within -- that prevailed within the barracks
5 itself so that it could be used for its original purpose. So there isn't
6 too much weight that attaches to this, but it certainly affects any
7 evaluation saying that the barracks is a facility that must and can be
8 appropriately used for a purpose like this.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have five or six
10 minutes left of very specific questions with brief answers expected. If
11 it's a matter of the tape, we can have the break now or else I can press
12 for the remaining five or six minutes.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Press on, Mr. Lukic.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Mr. Vuga, my final questions. Your own assessment, from the point
16 of view of security regulations regarding certain allegations that we have
17 heard throughout this trial, does a unit commander have the power to
18 empower a person not from his unit to give orders to one of the officers
19 in that unit? A brief answer, please.
20 A. No. Because that person has no power over those persons, and he
21 can only empower the organs of a command to which he is the superior.
22 Q. Who can withdraw an order that has been issued by one of the
23 commanding officers, for example?
24 A. Any order issued by a commander can be withdrawn by that same
25 commander or by his superior, at least under the rules of command and
1 control, and the principles enshrined therein.
2 Q. What if an officer who previously takes an order from his own
3 commander on withdrawal or, rather, takes it from his superior officer,
4 what he is he required to do at a time like that?
5 A. If a person receives an order from a superior officer who had
6 previously given him a task, he is required to inform his own commander to
7 indicate that he is no longer able to carry out the tasks that he took
8 from him and that rather now, he will move on and carry out another task
9 which has been given to him by an even higher-ranking officer.
10 Q. Can a military police officer from one unit take orders from a
11 security organ officer from another unit, any other unit, including the
12 superior command?
13 A. We spoke of subordination and the chain of command in terms of
14 military police and command and technical and professional guidance.
15 I would just like to begin something that I said at the outset.
16 Any decision on the use of the military police is made by the commander of
17 the unit within which the military police happens to be, directly or
18 through his subordinate security organ. There is a chain of command that
19 is clearly and unequivocally prescribed and defined. I have not
20 considered any other possibilities outside this chain of command and I
21 don't think there are any.
22 Q. In keeping with that, my next question. A commander of a
23 motorised brigade, if he gives an order to a military police company
24 commander, would the commander of that brigade have the power to withdraw
25 that order?
1 A. A commander who gives an order in keeping with regulations is free
2 to withdraw any order that he gives as soon as he ascertains that it is no
3 longer justified or that there is no longer any need for it to be carried
4 out. If changes, for example, occur that affect the original nature of
5 his previous order.
6 Q. Much in keeping with what you explained about the security organ
7 of a motorised brigade, can a commander convey this decision through a
8 through his security organ to a military police commander?
9 A. A commander through his security organ, in terms of establishment,
10 I mean, can hand out orders to the military police, whatever orders he may
11 deem necessary. He receives professional guidance from the security organ
12 for this purpose. A typical example would be in a brigade such as the
13 80th Brigade because -- I apologise, I must point out one thing, lest it
14 be forgotten. Because the security organ is a mediator between the
15 military police and the commander, in professional terms or technical
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
18 questions for this witness.
19 I would now like to tender Mr. Vuga's report into evidence. I
20 think we will just give up the annexes purely for ease of handling or to
21 avoid any difficulties. So we want the expert report and the attachments
22 in evidence. As for the remaining 65 ter documents, I thought that was
23 best left for the end of this witness's appearance.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic, we'll deal with it on our return at five
25 minutes to 3.00 when you will indicate the nature of the sources relied on
1 if you have them identified in footnotes or, failing that, have the
2 witness specify the sources relied on for his report.
3 We adjourn now.
4 --- Recess taken at 2.36 p.m.
5 --- On resuming at 2.58 p.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, first I would like to
8 provide a clarification to avoid any misunderstanding about what I said
10 Mr. Vuga's report contains an annex and three attachments -- or,
11 rather, four attachments. When we proofed Mr. Vuga, we proofed him in
12 keeping with your instructions. The same method as was applied with
13 Mr. Pringle, which is what Mr. Moore requested about a week ago.
14 Previously, when Mr. Vuga had drafted his first report in July, he
15 had been using statements made by certain persons as his sources. We now
16 showed him various transcripts of those same persons' evidence and these
17 are now invoked in his footnotes, in the footnotes of his present report.
18 He no longer invokes any statements but rather the evidence given by those
19 witnesses. If you remember what Mr. Moore highlighted in different
20 colours with Mr. Pringle the parts of statements that weren't relevant and
21 were therefore not made evidence.
22 All the footnotes that you have in the final version of the report
23 indicate Mr. Vuga's reliance on evidence. So these are the amendments
24 that were made to the footnotes. I think there is one particular
25 reference to a person's statement. We didn't manage to track that one
1 down in any of the transcripts and we just edited that out of the report.
2 We have been in touch with Mr. Weiner over the last several days
3 and we have kept him informed in a timely manner about everything. So
4 what I am now tendering into evidence is Mr. Vuga's report with the four
5 attachments, but no annex.
6 As for the evidence he invokes for rather the exhibits from the
7 65 ter list, in order not to waste more time with Mr. Vuga, I thought the
8 same procedure might be applied as with Mr. Theunens, previously. Once
9 our Defence case is over, we would like to individually tender these
10 documents into evidence or have them marked for identification as well as
11 a number of other documents that we shall be tendering under Rule 92 bis
13 I think this would be the most meaningful way to go about this and
14 not use Mr. Vuga's presence in the courtroom for each and every one of
15 these documents. That was the clarification that I was hoping to provide.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic, as we understand it, you say that with
17 the corrections that have been made, the corrigenda, the report in the
18 footnotes indicates all the documents relied on by the witness. Thank
19 you, I see your nod in concurrence.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] One thing that would like to explain
21 is the amended version is part of our e-court system. There is an
22 electronic copy which was inserted today.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Now, Mr. Weiner, the objection, is it
24 maintained as the annex is not now being tendered?
25 MR. WEINER: No, Your Honour. There's no objection with the annex
1 being removed.
2 JUDGE PARKER: The report with the attachments but no annex will
3 be received.
4 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 868, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
6 Now, thank you, Mr. Lukic, for all of that and for the timely
7 handling of things.
8 Mr. Domazet.
9 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
10 Examination by Mr. Domazet:
11 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Vuga.
12 A. Good afternoon.
13 Q. I am Vladimir Domazet. I will be asking you questions on behalf
14 of Mr. Mrksic's Defence team.
15 I'll start with the evacuation. I will pick up where you left off
16 in answer to one of my learned friend's Mr. Lukic's questions, page 76,
17 selecting the barracks of all places as the most appropriate facility.
18 You remember that, don't you?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. What exactly did you establish? Who decided that prisoners should
21 be taken to the barracks and when?
22 A. This is about the fact that the barracks was the most appropriate
23 facility for this purpose. The barracks was an installation in Vukovar
24 that was the most appropriate one for prisoners to be taken to in order to
25 make sure that they were safe, at least -- with all the relevant standards
1 in place. But I don't have anything to equivocally indicate who decided
2 that the prisoners would be sent to the barracks. I did not find any
3 paper trail. There are statements made at briefings and other meetings
4 but I didn't take that to be the final position. There is nothing in
5 writing to indicate that a final decision was taken.
6 Q. Why did you not take that to be the final position?
7 A. I could only have done that if I had taken into account the
8 statement made by the Chief of Staff, but that wasn't the option that I
10 Q. Are you suggesting -- Mr. Panic is probably the person you have in
11 mind, right? Are you suggesting that Mr. Panic had said that the barracks
12 had been selected as the place to which the prisoners would be taken?
13 A. Based on my memory, there was talk of the barracks at that
15 Q. Thank you. But for the Chamber, the transcript reference is
16 14295. Mr. Panic is on record as saying that the barracks was never
17 mentioned. They were supposed to go to Sremska Mitrovica and the convoy
18 was supposed to go to Sremska Mitrovica, so he didn't mention it. You
19 might have had someone else in mind.
20 When you say the choice of the barracks is the most appropriate
21 place under the assumption that there was a check-point at the gate,
22 somebody checking at the gate, that it was secured according to the
23 regulations and that it met all the requirements for any barracks?
24 A. There are clear-cut regulations governing how a barracks is
25 organised and set up. There is no proviso for the fact that a barracks
1 might not meet all these requirements or, in other words, not really be
2 sufficiently safe.
3 Q. I'm asking you because of what various witnesses have suggested as
4 well as the fact that many people who just didn't belong there happened to
5 be inside the barracks at the same time that the buses were there. The
6 explanation preferred by the witnesses was they were coming in in all
7 sorts of ways, the fence was not complete, there were holes in the fence
8 and people just kept coming in. How, then, would you still maintain that
9 the barracks as such was a safe place?
10 A. A barracks is not guarded by a fence; it is guarded by soldiers.
11 Q. Fair enough. You say the barracks was selected as a holding
13 A. I studied documents about the barracks, and I also relied on my
14 experience as someone who lived and worked in a barracks. So when I
15 studied the situation in Vukovar, I concluded that this was the most
16 appropriate place because of the elements that I've addressed.
17 Were all the elements in place, well, it was up to whoever was in
18 charge of the barracks, whoever was the barracks commander to make sure
19 that they were and to what degree exactly.
20 Q. Does that mean that you studied this from a theoretical point of
21 view when you made your report? You didn't study the actual situation
22 that prevailed in Vukovar at the time?
23 A. I did study the situation as it was, but I also had to take into
24 account the very definition of a barracks in all the rules and regulations
25 governing work in the armed forces.
1 Q. Thank you very much. Looking at the various documents of this
2 case, did you ever realise that both Velepromet and Ovcara had also been
3 used as holding centres or collection points?
4 A. I found all the various procedures in relation to Velepromet. But
5 it wasn't defined just as a collection point, it was defined as a place
6 where a triage was conducted of persons who, after the end of operations,
7 were still not taken care of and still did not know where they would go
8 next or where their future lay. It was from there that persons were
9 selected who were to be treated as prisoners of war.
10 In relation to a number of such persons, as far as I was able to
11 ascertain based on documents, the barracks was, in fact, taken into
12 consideration for a while, but they didn't stay there for too long. I
13 realise that the Mitnica group that surrendered had laid down their arms
14 and had been put up at the Ovcara facility. On the 18th and on the 19th,
15 they were taken to Sremska Mitrovica and all the standards were applied
16 that applied to prisoners of war, those who had laid down their arms and
17 had put up no resistance, everything that applied under the Geneva
19 Q. When you studied this, did you perhaps come across anything to
20 indicate that Ovcara was one of the places designated as a POW camp?
21 A. The fact that Ovcara was designated as a POW camp was the
22 indication concerning where the Mitnica group would be put up, so that's
23 all that I came across. Rather, when the actual location was selected;
24 that's what I meant.
25 Q. Your position is that the hospital evacuation was not a job for a
1 security organ; is that right?
2 A. Yes, that's right.
3 Q. When you say that, do you mean the evacuation of the actual
4 patients or the evacuation that was supposed to take place that obviously
5 was not meant to include just the patients or any civilians found in the
6 hospital, but also was meant to include crime suspects?
7 A. At this point and earlier on when I thought about this, I bore in
8 mind the evacuation as a unified task. If you look at the position of the
9 Croatian side, they had by no means done everything within their power to
10 comply with all the regulations regarding the hospital. They knew there
11 would be an evacuation and they did all within their power to create
12 circumstances that were impossible.
13 I firmly believe that the situation as it was at the hospital
14 required all the steps that were taken from the security aspect. Also,
15 you must say that their hand was forced in the way by the Croatian side.
16 It was something foisted on them by the Croats. This was meant to be an
17 evacuation, a unified task with the usual procedure as it was eventually
18 carried out, but at the outset it was certainly a single task, and that's
19 what I mean when I say that.
20 Q. If you don't think this is a job for a security organ, who is it a
21 job for then?
22 A. This is something for the unit commander to decide. I was in no
23 position myself to reflect on that, of who that might have been. One
24 needed to know the situation and the openings at the time, and the
25 openings were limited. If anyone, it should have been a different officer
1 in different position. Under the existing regulations, this was most
2 certainly not a job for any security organs.
3 Q. In your report, you invoked statements made by witnesses. Most of
4 the times you invoked the statements of Colonel Panic, right? Would you
5 agree with that?
6 A. I invoked Lieutenant-Colonel Panic to the degree that he was
7 involved and to the degree that these things happened through him without
8 the active participation of other persons.
9 Q. Thank you very much. Were you aware of the fact that
10 Lieutenant-Colonel Panic at page 14294 had said before this Trial Chamber
11 that Sljivancanin had been given an assignment for the 20th of November,
12 the morning of the 20th of November to proceed with the hospital
14 A. I'm trying to remember that part of Panic's evidence and I can't,
15 not because I don't want to but because I -- it may have slipped my mind.
16 I would have to read it and then view it in the context and then assess
17 the actual value of it.
18 Q. It was mentioned at the next page, 14295 was shown to you, and
19 does that mean that the previous page 14294 was not shown to you?
20 A. I simply said that I couldn't remember this part of his testimony.
21 If what you say is true, if he in fact really did state that, then I would
22 have to view this statement in the context of the overall evidence and
23 then tell you what it means. I can't do it like this, out of context.
24 Q. Now let us go to page 49 of the B/C/S version, and let us go to
25 paragraph B1, I hope that the English speakers will be able to find it,
1 where it says that Colonel -- that Major Sljivancanin was also appointed
2 among other officers by Colonel Mile Mrksic.
3 Were you able to identify the other officers that you mentioned
5 A. The term that is mentioned here actually referred to the medical
6 staff, the doctors.
7 Q. So when you said "other officers," you meant medical staff?
8 A. Yes, I meant the doctors, because they are also military officers
9 at the same time.
10 Q. As you analysed all the documents, did you learn or did you
11 perhaps learn from some other sources about a telegram that was sent by
12 General Aco Vasiljevic. I don't know if you know what I mean. Do you
13 have any comments about that, or do I have to be more specific?
14 A. I did not see the text of the telegram, so any comments I might
15 make would be inappropriate because I would not know the actual contents
16 of the telegram. I could do so on the basis of what I heard about the
17 telegram and its contents, but that would be inappropriate and
18 insufficient for any conclusions to be drawn.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would just like to state for the
21 record I have just checked pages 14294 and 14295 of Colonel Panic's
22 testimony and the words that my learned colleague just quoted as having
23 been uttered by Mr. Panic are not there regarding Mr. Sljivancanin being
24 put in charge of the evacuation of the hospital. I simply could not find
25 any such reference in the two pages of the transcript.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Domazet.
2 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I can't check it now,
3 but I'm quite sure 14294, on that page of the transcript, this is Panic's
4 evidence of the 8th of November where he discusses the appointment or the
5 task that Major Sljivancanin was given on the 20th in the morning, and the
6 next page, 95, there he talks about how the convoy was supposed to go to
7 Sremska Mitrovica and no mention is made of neither the barracks or
9 Q. Mr. Vuga, are you aware of what Mr. Panic said at page 14318 of
10 the transcript, that he was surprised when he saw the buses at the
11 barracks because this had not been planned and he should have known -- he
12 should have been aware of it had any such orders been issued? Some other
13 witnesses mentioned this fact too.
14 A. I cannot make any comments as to whether he was or was not
15 surprised, because the fact that he was surprised would not tell me how he
16 was surprised at seeing the buses at the barracks because there are no
17 other comments as to why he was surprised.
18 Q. Yes, precisely. He says because this had not been envisaged or
19 planned. Does it mean that this was not envisaged in the task?
20 A. There is a number of other options, other elements that have to be
21 taken into account by an expert to be able to draw any conclusions.
22 Please do not make me speculate. He should have specified why he was
24 Q. If I understand you correctly, you were unable to conclude who had
25 issued the order for the buses to go to the barracks?
1 A. I was unable to draw any unequivocal conclusions so I could not
2 really maintain that such and such a person had issued the order for the
3 buses to go to the barracks.
4 Q. During the proofing sessions, were you told who had testified to
6 A. As far as I can remember, this was Ljubisa Vukasinovic. This is
7 as far as I'm able to remember, so this is the caveat I have to put in
8 place here, because in my view this was not a crucial element for the
9 choice. This was obviously what it was. These prisoners were obviously
10 taken to Sremska Mitrovica in stages, and this is something that is
11 stipulated in the rules of service of the military police and the
12 instruction of the implementation of the rules of service of military
13 police, so this was not -- this would not be in contravention of the
14 existing regulations.
15 Q. Could you now go to page 62 of your report. I'm interested in
16 paragraph 7(3).
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. So this is item 2. I will read it out to you and then you can
19 tell us what you think of it. So this is 7(3) --
20 MR. WEINER: Your Honour.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Weiner.
22 MR. WEINER: We can't seem to find the page but there's a method
23 actually to finding pages quickly. If counsel can just state a footnote
24 number that's on the page, then we can usually find things much quicker.
25 So if you say page 59 in the B/C/S but there's a footnote 58 on there, we
1 can then try and find it.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Weiner, that may be helpful.
3 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you. The footnote is 124 on
4 this page where we have paragraph 7(3).
5 Q. Let me read: "Major Sljivancanin, on the basis of existing
6 regulations and the criteria for the barracks as a military facility,
7 could conclude that the prisoners of war, after their safe conduct from
8 the hospital to the barracks and the disposition of the buses, with the
9 direct security in place in the barracks compound that they would have --
10 enjoy full security including the security necessary for their transfer to
11 Sremska Mitrovica."
12 Is this stated in your report?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you explain, does it mean that it was your view that Major
15 Sljivancanin decided this or what?
16 A. This is what it says here verbatim. He could realistically
17 conclude, in light of the nature of the barracks as the military facility,
18 that it could be used to put the prisoners of war there.
19 So he could make a realistic conclusion to that effect in light of
20 the existing regulations and the criteria that applied to the barracks as
21 a military facility. This is all that it says here, nothing more.
22 Q. Thank you. There were some objections regarding Mr. Panic's
23 evidence. My colleague, Mr. Vasic, was able to locate the reference about
24 the evacuation. So this -- the reference can be found at page 14384 and
1 While we are on this page of your report, paragraph 7(4), you
2 quote an entry from the war log; the date is the 20th of November. Does
3 it say here that the activity regarding the cleaning, evacuation and the
4 transport of the civilian population from Ovcara, Velepromet and the
5 Vukovar Hospital. That's what it says here?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Can we agree that the civilian population is the only category
8 listed here and no other?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You said a little while ago that as regards the buses, you -- that
11 people should have gathered some place. You probably had in mind the
12 witness testimony to the effect that first the three buses left and then
13 the two buses after them. Are you aware that the witnesses, in particular
14 those who were on the buses, that they testified that all the buses left
15 at the same time from the hospital to the barracks, and from the barracks
16 to the -- to Ovcara?
17 A. Is this a question?
18 Q. Yes.
19 A. As far as I'm concerned, the manner in which the buses moved, if
20 we looked at it from the security point of view, is quite irrelevant, both
21 in terms of the security measures and the place of accommodation. The
22 only relevant point here, as regards the buses, is that when people
23 boarded the buses in the barracks, they should not have remained there for
24 a long time. And now, how long is long or short it's something that one
25 needs to assess.
1 This is the only relevant element when it comes to the transport.
2 Now whether the buses moved three by three or all six at the same time, it
3 didn't matter because there were no security risks en route from the
4 hospital to the barracks, and these are the facts relevant for the
5 security -- for the transport on the buses.
6 Q. Were you able to determine who actually had decided for the buses
7 to go to Ovcara at all?
8 A. From the elements that I have been shown so far, it is impossible
9 to identify the person who actually decided that the prisoners of war
10 should go to Ovcara.
11 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell me, in light of your answer to my
12 penultimate question when you said that it could have been done in this
13 way or any other way, was it proper to organise a convoy in such a way
14 that there is a special vehicle marked in a proper way at the beginning of
15 the -- at the head of the column and at the rear of the column or convoy?
16 A. What convoy do you have in mind?
17 Q. When I say "the convoy," I mean the buses. Even if there had been
18 only three buses, and then another convoy with three buses, or a convoy of
19 six buses. So was this the proper way to secure the convoy?
20 A. There are different ways in which to secure a convoy so there is
21 no obligation to put one vehicle at the head and one at the rear. It also
22 depends on other security measures that were in place. I have nothing --
23 no data to conclude that this was the most secure way to do it. It is one
24 of the options, but it is not the most secure option because to determine
25 that, you have to analyse the route, what are the possible security
1 threats along the route, because the -- even the convoys that are secured
2 by two weeks, one at the head, one at the rear, can be in as much danger
3 as convoys secured in any other way if you have security threats along
4 your -- along the route that you decided to take.
5 Q. Mr. Vuga, I will now move on to a different topic.
6 You mention as particularly relevant the government decision
7 allegedly taken at its session in Velepromet on the 20th -- yes, on the
8 20th of November. In your research, did you find whether this decision
9 actually existed? Did you find any evidence on the existence of this
10 decision, I mean the decision to take over the prisoners from the
11 hospital, the written decision?
12 A. It depends on your definition of the decision. Conclusions can
13 also be considered to be a decision if they are binding. I didn't find
14 the decision in writing but if such conclusions were made by the
15 government, then this could be considered a decision, although I didn't
16 see the written decision to that effect.
17 Q. I think you relied on Lieutenant-Colonel Panic's evidence to draw
18 your conclusions in this regard.
19 A. I also used the evidence provided by Colonel Vujic.
20 Q. In your report, you mention a security organ that attended the
21 government meeting. Who did you have in mind?
22 A. Colonel Vujic, the authorised officer from the security organs.
23 Q. Did you have occasion to familiarise yourself with Vujic's
24 evidence specifically in relation to what happened at that meeting?
25 A. I familiarised myself with his evidence but I was, myself, present
1 when Colonel Vujic testified at a trial in Belgrade before the special war
2 crimes court in Belgrade, the trial of the Ovcara perpetrators. Some
3 evidence that he provided there addressed the very fact that he was
4 present at this government meeting. It may be his recollection that he
5 used as a basis for what later came to be his evidence.
6 Q. Indeed. He gave evidence before this Court too. I'm not sure if
7 you're familiar with that evidence. You say that Vujic stated that he had
8 been talking about the fact that the prisoners were to be taken to
9 Sremska Mitrovica. So he said this on behalf of the Supreme Command and
10 the security administration. That's what he said. Are you familiar with
11 that particular piece of evidence that he gave?
12 A. There is something about the echo of that statement. I didn't
13 find that bit of evidence and I didn't get that specific quote, but there
14 are considerable discrepancies in his various statements which may lead
15 one to believe that his memory was not exactly accurate in relation to
16 everything that he said at the time. We do know, however, that he was
17 there and that he later spoke of other persons being there.
18 Q. Mr. Vuga, when I talk about Mr. Vujic's evidence, I mean evidence
19 before this court. Because that is evidence. Any other statements that
20 you may be thinking about are not evidence before this Chamber and I have
21 no right whatsoever to examine you on those. That's why I asked you the
22 question. That's why I asked you if you are familiar with his testimony
23 before this Trial Chamber.
24 Are you familiar with the fact that he testified that just before
25 Colonel Panic entered the room, the government meeting had been
1 interrupted and was not continued. Afterwards everybody left and they
2 talked to him later on?
3 A. I don't remember that specific bit. I did follow over the
4 internet and I can't rule out the possibility that this is just something
5 that escaped my attention at the time. If confronted with this, I will
6 draw my conclusions and what potential significance that might have for
7 the government meeting or anything that happened at that particular
9 Q. What's even -- what strikes me as even more important about
10 Vujic's evidence before this Trial Chamber, he never stated that a
11 conclusion or a decision had been adopted by the government to take charge
12 of the prisoners. There is nothing in his evidence to show that. Is this
13 something that you considered or not since a while ago you said that in
14 addition to Lieutenant-Colonel Panic, you also based your expert report on
15 Colonel Vujic's evidence.
16 A. I would need to have the evidence back to go through it and then I
17 would need to see to what extent that would change my conclusion about the
18 POWs and the government meeting.
19 There is also Goran Hadzic's evidence about the conclusions
20 reached by the government, the evidence that he provided in Sid. We would
21 need to go back to that statement and then cross-reference the two
23 MR. WEINER: Objection, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Weiner.
25 MR. WEINER: This witness is now talking about Goran Hadzic's
1 testimony which he provided in Sid. That's not part of this trial.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
3 Mr. Lukic.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I must say something, the first thing
5 that Mr. Weiner said but then I also wanted to say something about this
6 line of questioning. The witness said his statement on Radio Sid and then
7 the television and then maybe in English and then there is the reference
8 in the footnote that he invokes, the statement made by Mr. Hadzic that was
9 tendered into evidence; this is 576.
10 But another thing I wanted to say, Your Honours, now that I have
11 the floor, I think this line of questioning, Mr. Domazet is trying to
12 examine the witness on what he knows about what various people said.
13 First of all, let me point out a while ago when the reference was provided
14 to the evidence of Mr. Panic, the Mrksic team was quoting sections of what
15 Mr. Panic stated before the Belgrade court and then the answer provided by
16 Mr. Panic, which is the only relevant bit, was not shown to the witness.
17 You will see that if you look at the relevant pages. The witness is now
18 being told here that he stated something that he never, in fact, stated,
19 but that was put to him through a question.
20 I'm just trying to avoid having the witness confused. The
21 witness -- if something based on a transcript is being put to the witness,
22 we should quote accurately and not have the expert examined on what he
23 knows about other people saying or not saying something at various times.
24 I think if this line of questioning is pursued any further, it might leave
25 the witness utterly confused.
1 Thank you.
2 JUDGE PARKER: It is proper for Mr. Domazet to be putting to the
3 witness other passages of the evidence which it is contended would be
4 contrary to the view of the evidence taken by the witness for the purpose
5 of his report.
6 From what Mr. Lukic has said, the reference to the earlier
7 evidence in Sid was referring not to the evidence in court but to what was
8 said on radio or television and there is evidence before the Chamber as to
9 that, without making any comment about how reliable that is, so that would
10 appear to be a proper basis for Mr. Domazet's question.
11 Mr. Lukic's second comment, though, Mr. Domazet, is something that
12 is significant. It's a common track to look at a question put to the
13 witness and think it's part of the evidence of the witness. In fact, it's
14 what the witness says in response to the question that is important and it
15 may be that an answer picks up what is in the question. It may be that
16 the answer is saying something different from what is in the question.
17 Mr. Lukic's memory or check of the record in this respect suggests
18 that the answer given was quite different from the question; whereas
19 you've been putting to the witness the question as though it was the
21 So you better check your position if you are asserting that that
22 was the evidence before proceeding with that question.
23 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours.
24 Our time is limited. I'm not able to delve into that now. If, however,
25 the transcript page, as far as I can see, the answer was -- and then there
1 is an explanation. I really don't wish to dwell on this. We'll evaluate
2 this later. I don't think it's of any great relevance, frankly.
3 My question about the witness is precisely to see based on what
4 Mr. Vuga reached a conclusion; that is quite important here. He reached a
5 conclusion that the prisoners from the hospital were handed over to the
6 government. I'm trying to get at the why. Was this only based on Panic's
7 statement? The answer I got a while ago was that Vujic's testimony was
8 included and then I had to draw the witness's attention to the simple fact
9 there was no such reference in Vujic's reference. I have another witness
10 mention Goran Hadzic.
11 Q. Do you quote Goran Hadzic as one of your sources in your report,
13 A. In my reflections, I tried to draw comparisons. I can't say that
14 he is a source, but his is one of the allegations based on which I could
15 cross-reference what really happened. But it wasn't necessarily a
16 principal source for answer of my inferences. It's just one of the
17 methods one uses. You check for additional information that might
18 corroborate some other allegation that might be of this nature or of that
19 nature or entirely different.
20 Q. That's true, Mr. Vuga. But isn't it a little contradictory when
21 you say this and yet you don't accept Panic's evidence about the barracks,
22 if indeed he stated that, and yet you do accept that allegedly at the
23 meeting he found out that the government had adopted a decision on the
24 handover of the prisoners?
25 A. The difference between these two statements is I never said I
1 didn't accept that. I just don't see the reasons that might have caused
2 his surprise. That was the gist of my answer. Him being surprised at the
3 fact that there was a single bus in the barracks. It just didn't convince
4 me sufficiently. What could possibly have caused that degree of
5 surprise. That was my answer to your question. And the other question is
6 entirely unrelated. And the nature of his position at the government
7 meeting was quite different, wasn't it?
8 Q. Yes. But you will agree that he is the only person addressing
9 this. Or are you still saying that you got this from Vujic too?
10 A. I can check the latter. I can't be positive right now. As for
11 the former, yes, he might be the only one, but he is what he is, no more.
12 Q. During your proofing, were you told what Colonel Panic said before
13 the court here, after you had completed your expert report, what he had
14 said specifically about this government meeting at Velepromet?
15 A. I'm not pretending that I remember every little detail, but I
16 never found a compelling reason to change my conclusion. I have never
17 been able to find any compelling reasons in Panic's evidence, not before
18 and not after. This could certainly be revised if there proves to be a
19 reason for any revisions, but I did go through that again, and based on my
20 recollection I stood by my original conclusion, the way it was phrased at
21 the time.
22 Q. I will have to quote after all, since that is what you think, that
23 there be no discrepancies, Panic's statement before this court. It's
24 14313, line 13. Panic talks about his arrival at the barracks and talks
25 about what he allegedly told his commander, Commander Mrksic, upon his
1 arrival. This has been challenged by the Mrksic Defence but I'm giving
2 you what he said. He said, "I told them," and he means the cabinet
3 members, the government members, "that the commander had told me that he
4 would accept their decision."
5 Does that mean that they were handed over to them, or is there
6 something else you have in mind when you elaborate on this theory that the
7 prisoners were handed over to the government for further procedure?
8 A. If a witness who was actually there says that a decision was
9 accepted, I have no other interpretation to offer apart from what that can
10 be taken to mean at face value; namely, that the decision was accepted.
11 Q. No, sir, that's not what it says. It says that a decision would
12 be accepted. So someone has to make a decision and then someone has to
13 accept it, and then someone has to give orders related to that decision.
14 Did you find any trace of that in your study of the documents?
15 A. No such procedure was recorded. I'm not saying that this is how
16 the decision was made.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think it would only be fair to read
19 the following sentence to the witnesses as well, what Witness Panic said.
20 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, I don't have the
21 following sentence in my notes. This is the only one that I have. But if
22 Mr. Lukic wishes to go ahead and read the next one out as well, if he
23 considers it relevant, I certainly wouldn't oppose that. However, I asked
24 Mr. Vuga to explain this one, but if he thinks that's necessary,
25 personally, I wouldn't dwell on this.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think this is not a
2 matter of redirect. This has to do with the question: "[In English] ....
3 but he didn't continue for much longer. Naturally, Hadzic uttered
4 conclusions and the session ended soon thereafter."
5 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Fine. If my learned friend believes
6 that this affects the overall scheme of things in any significant way, I
7 don't think so myself for what it's worth.
8 Q. I'd like to wrap this particular line of questioning up by asking
9 you whether during your proofing or during the actual trial you may have
10 become aware of the fact that pursuant to an OTP motion, 92 bis statements
11 were admitted by witnesses, ministers or cabinet members, who actually had
12 attended the government meeting at Velepromet. I'm talking about
13 Exhibit 387, pages 3145 through 3148. Exhibit 388, 3172 through 3191.
14 Next, Exhibit 389, pages 2507 through 2508, and pages 2536 through 2537.
15 As well as Exhibit 390, pages 3056 through 3071.
16 If you're not familiar with these statements, I might as well show
17 you them, but they all indicate that this was not a proper meeting. There
18 was no quorum and no such decision was reached at this meeting. There is
19 no reference to what Lieutenant-Colonel Panic testified to. The view of
20 all those people who were there seems exactly to be -- exactly the
22 My question is: Were you ever shown these or not?
23 A. No, I was never shown these.
24 Q. Thank you. And during your proofing session --
25 JUDGE PARKER: Before you go on, Mr. Domazet, the witness needs to
1 indicate whether the additional passage read by Mr. Lukic affects his
2 earlier answer, that is, about what occurred at the meeting, and it
3 finishes, essentially "he didn't continue much longer and naturally Hadzic
4 uttered conclusions and the session ended soon thereafter."
5 It may or may not affect what the witness had to say. If it did,
6 perhaps the witness could indicate that.
7 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Let me ask
8 the witness, and I think the witness understood the question himself.
9 Q. You remember what Mr. Lukic read out to you. This is the
10 continuation of the sentence that I quoted. Does this affect or change
11 your testimony in any way?
12 A. In this case, the fact that the session was interrupted in the way
13 that is described here by both sides, what was -- what I was told and what
14 you read out to me about how the session had ended, this leads me to
15 conclude that some people were happy at the end because there had been
16 some pressure to take over the prisoners.
17 I, myself, cannot draw any conclusions. Anyone could draw a
18 conclusion on whether they were, in fact, handed over or not, but the fact
19 is that the session ended when this demand was made.
20 So this is a possible conclusion and it is up to the Trial Chamber
21 to make the final finding of fact in this issue, and I can merely say that
22 this is one of the possible options, one of the possible consequences, but
23 it is quite clear that -- I have to take a broader context of the event
24 into consideration because this is an excerpt of a broader picture and
25 then we could -- I would be able to draw a conclusion.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Domazet, we need to break now and will resume
2 at 20 minutes past.
3 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, thank you, Your Honour.
4 --- Recess taken at 4.00 p.m.
5 --- On resuming at 4.21 p.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Domazet.
7 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. Mr. Vuga, we will try to complete your examination in the next
9 half-hour, so please let me ask you to be as brief as possible in your
10 responses, whenever you can actually give me your response.
11 Let me go back to the conclusions on the hand-over of the
12 prisoners that you spoke about, the hand-over on the basis of the
13 conclusions. Do you know, did you have any information as to who actually
14 carried out the hand-over?
15 A. No, I did not have any information as to who actually handed the
16 prisoners over.
17 Q. And did you have any information as to when the hand-over took
19 A. I don't have the information as to when exactly the hand-over took
20 place, but there is other information that points to when it actually
22 Q. When was it then?
23 A. In the part where the barracks was designated as the collection
24 point or holding area, in a certain time-period they were initially to go
25 to Sremska Mitrovica, but then there was a change and they were taken to
1 Ovcara. So this was the modification that I mentioned, so this was an
2 event, not a decision. I base my decisions on the event, not the
4 Q. And when?
5 A. I cannot give you the time reference now because I can't remember
6 but I think it was around 1400 hours -- between 1400 and 1500 hours.
7 That's on the basis of the statement that I had been given, but I cannot
8 be quite certain about the exact time now.
9 Q. Okay. If you can't do that, but can you tell us who they were
10 handed over?
11 A. I have just stated that we can't identify those people.
12 Q. So the answer to the question where they were handed over, is it
13 that they were handed over at the barracks?
14 A. I can say only that the barracks was designated as the collection
15 point for the first stage of the transport to Mitrovica and when they did
16 not go to Sremska Mitrovica, when there was a change of the destination,
17 this is where and when it was done, approximately in that time-period.
18 Q. And can you tell us how it was done?
19 A. As far as I can remember, Witness Susic spoke about that.
20 Q. And what did he say about it?
21 A. I didn't have much time to prepare, so I can't really give you the
22 exact reference, but if you remind me then I will be able to provide you
23 with an answer as best as I can.
24 Q. You mentioned Susic, Mr. Vuga, not I. I merely asked you if you
25 knew how they had been handed over. But since you are familiar with the
1 regulations, can you tell us how it should have been done in accordance
2 with those regulations?
3 A. The rules on escort service are the ones that apply here. They
4 are quite specific, and they are actually provided in my report in the
5 portion that deals with the escort service.
6 Q. Yes, I think you called it patrol service.
7 A. Yes, patrol and escort service. Both elements exist.
8 Q. You explained in detail what should be done and how it should be
9 done, but is it necessary, is it one of the necessary elements to make a
11 A. Yes. The organ that carries out the -- that escorts such a group
12 should draft a list. This should be done in accordance with the
14 Q. Was this done?
15 A. I have no information to the effect that this was indeed done.
16 Q. And do you have any information that such a list was drafted for
17 the period from the hospital to the barracks for this part of the route?
18 A. No, I have no information that would confirm with any certainty
19 that this had been done.
20 Q. You said that you didn't have any exact information, positive
21 information. This could perhaps cast some doubt. What kind of
22 information do you have?
23 A. No, I only have information about how the -- the prisoners were
24 put on the buses, but when I say exact or positive information, what I
25 have in mind the list. And we don't know who actually did this list, so
1 this is why I use this term "positive information."
2 Q. Perhaps it would be good for me to repeat the question because of
3 interpretation problems.
4 Do you have any information that anyone had drafted any such list?
5 A. Could you please tell me what you're referring to? Because lists
6 were made at one point and were not made at other points. You asked me a
7 general question.
8 Q. I was referring to the list of the prisoners that were transported
9 from the hospital.
10 A. No, I don't have this information. I'm waiting for you to tell me
11 that. I was waiting for you to tell me that because their lists were made
12 at other points.
13 Q. Thank you, because your answer was a little bit equivocal because
14 of interpretation because you said that you didn't know who made the
15 lists, so I asked you for this clarification.
16 Mr. Vuga, do you know that Colonel Panic stated that after his
17 visit to the barracks that he had testified about, that he had gone to
18 Ovcara at the time when the prisoners had been there in the hangar?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you know that he spoke with Colonel Vojnovic, the commander of
21 the 80th Brigade at the time?
22 A. As far as I can recall, I cannot really confirm that, but I seem
23 to remember vaguely that he had met Vojnovic.
24 Q. Since you have such a vague recollection, it would probably be
25 difficult for you to answer my next question, which is: Do you remember
1 that he spoke about the hand-over of those prisoners to Colonel Vojnovic?
2 The hand-over to the government, that's what I mean.
3 A. I have to say that I don't remember that.
4 Q. Thank you. Since you are familiar with the statement but not
5 completely, I will now try to refresh your memory by reading out to you.
6 Lieutenant-Colonel Panic, testifying on page 14325, line 17 [Realtime
7 transcript read in error "27"], speaks about the conversation with
8 Vojnovic, and he says: "We concluded that security should be stepped up."
9 And then -- the transcript reads line 27, I said line 17. That
10 the security should be stepped up. So the next page, 14326, Panic says
11 that Vojnovic did not call for the reinforcements because he had enough
12 forces there.
13 Next page, 14327, line 19, it says that Vojnovic was not caught by
14 surprise by this situation because he was carrying out his orders and
15 Panic gives his own assessment that he had no reason to because he had
16 done his previous job, probably a reference to the Mitnica group, very
18 Now let me quote from page 14328 where it is stated that Panic
19 says that upon his return to Negoslavci, he said to his commander Mrksic
20 that it would not be a bad idea to send somebody there and that he thought
21 that Mile Bozic had gone to Ovcara to check things there.
22 If this is indeed the case, does it not indicate to you that there
23 was no mention of the hand-over of those prisoners, yet according to what
24 you say, they had already been handed over to the government and this
25 would seem to indicate that they were still being taken care of because
1 Vojnovic refers to them; there is reference made here.
2 So what conclusion would be the correct one? Do you have any
3 comments or -- please go ahead if you have any comments.
4 A. I was waiting for this break, this pause, so that's why I was
5 waiting for my answer.
6 As for your question, I cannot really make any comments whether
7 this would be logical or not because Panic's request for somebody to go
8 and make an assessment of a situation that he himself had already seen and
9 that he had been able to deal with points to the fact that this was quite
11 I have another element here. The question I have is once it was
12 seen that the situation was normal, that everything was okay, there was no
13 need for somebody of a lower rank, of a lower level of knowledge, of
14 expertise, to be sent there to check. So logic is not a tool that one can
15 apply to the analysis of this situation -- this testimony.
16 Q. Lieutenant-Colonel Panic, as the Chief of Staff, is he authorised
17 to carry out the orders issued by Commander Mrksic in accordance with the
18 regulations? Is he duty-bound to do so? Does he have the right to do so?
19 A. I didn't understand your question. Could you please put it in
20 more specific terms and then I probably would be able to give you an
22 Q. Is the Chief of Staff obliged to elaborate and carry out the
23 orders issued by his commander?
24 A. Yes, that is his basic duty and obligation.
25 Q. On page 65 of your report, that's paragraph 16, the footnotes on
1 this page for the benefit of the Prosecution are 135 and on, you made the
2 quote from the war log of the 80th Brigade that on -- at 1600 hours on
3 the 20th, the brigade commander, the brigade commander requests the --
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter asks if the counsel could read
5 the entry again. We didn't catch one word.
6 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Let me repeat, because it is not on
7 the record. You have it in front of you.
8 Q. So the entry in the operations log for 1600 hours. The commander
9 of the 80th Brigade asked for shifts of officers to be made for guarding
10 the imprisoned members of the ZNG and MUP and that the military police
11 company and officers from the brigade command were assigned.
12 Does this also not speak to the fact that the prisoners had not
13 been handed over to the government in the barracks but that they remained
14 within the jurisdiction of the 80th Brigade?
15 A. I cannot now talk about the jurisdiction because the events in
16 this period are rather ambiguous once you've read out this to me. Because
17 according to the data that was available previously, they were not
18 supposed to because the security that had come in from the 80th Brigade
19 and the statement that they were there in this time-period but, on the
20 other hand, that the security was not in place already, this casts some
21 doubts on the whole transaction.
22 I did not make any claims. I only stated that this referred --
23 this could only refer to the prisoners taken from the hospital to the
24 barracks because there were no other groups of prisoners at the time. But
25 the jurisdiction involves other elements apart from the security. It
1 would follow from this that at this time-period they were secured by the
2 80th Brigade. This is what is stated here.
3 Q. What follows from your answer, they were not under the control of
4 the government at the time, right?
5 A. At the moment when the security was still there, they were still
6 under the security of the 80th Brigade.
7 Q. Having studied the documents or based on your proofing, do you
8 know whether at the briefing that day, which normally took place at 1800
9 hours, the fact was discussed that these prisoners had been handed over to
10 the government or that they would be handed over to the government?
11 A. Nothing like that was recorded.
12 Q. Do you believe that something like this would be an important
13 topic at the briefing? Do you think this could possibly have been
14 discussed at the briefing?
15 A. The topic like that should be the subject of a briefing, and like
16 any other things that happened on that particular day, the topic would
17 certainly have been important enough to be discussed.
18 Q. Thank you. In your expert report, you say that the security
19 organs of the 1st Military District were superior to Major Sljivancanin
20 and his security organ, right?
21 A. I don't think I fully understand your question.
22 Q. Do you say that in your report?
23 A. Not the word "superior." I don't think it was pronounced
25 Q. You mean technically speaking?
1 A. Well, that's a different kettle of fish, isn't it?
2 Q. Are you familiar with the order of the 1st Military District to
3 ban any exchange of prisoners without prior approval from whoever issues
4 the order?
5 A. I've seen the order.
6 Q. The exhibit number is - can you please just pause - 442. Can you
7 please repeat your answer?
8 A. I've seen the order.
9 Q. In your opinion, does that not mean that the 1st Military
10 District, too, decides the fate of prisoners, what will become of them,
11 will they be exchanged, will they be tried or whatever?
12 A. This is not for security; this is for control. But if so, then
13 certainly they are involved. That's what the document suggests. My
14 judgement is irrelevant.
15 Q. Mind you, this is the command of the 1st Military District. They
16 are superior to Commander Mrksic as well, aren't they?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. What does that mean they are involved? Is this something that
19 they decide? This is an order coming from them. Is it within their
20 jurisdiction they impose a ban like that. Is it up to them to decide what
21 the fate of those prisoners would be?
22 A. I didn't analyse that particular order since it was no element of
23 the function of the security organs. This came down the chain of control
24 and I studied no such documents that were in no direct relation to the
25 security organ or its function.
1 So my answer is this is the chain of command and control. There
2 are perfectly clear interpretations of what that means in both the area
3 and practice.
4 Q. What does that mean? Can you comment or not?
5 A. I've told you. I do not, as a rule, comment on documents like
6 that. This document is an issue regarding the chain of command.
7 Q. Can you answer this one then. Commander Mrksic, the 1st Military
8 District are his commander [as interpreted]. Could he make any decisions
9 regarding the exchange of prisoners without their approval since you seem
10 to be interpreting this order on the surrender of prisoners. You think
11 you are qualified to do that. So can you do this for us, too, please?
12 Can you comment on that, sir?
13 A. I can't comment whether Colonel Mrksic can do that or not. The
14 military regulations are specific about what commanders do and how they
15 should go about their job. Could he do it or not is not for me to judge
16 or speculate about. I did not speculate as to whether he did something
17 contrary to the order or whether he did anything at all. I was merely
18 looking at the facts that were available to me at the time, to the extent
19 that they were reliable. It's down to the Chamber to judge when assessing
20 my expert opinion.
21 Q. Talking about security organs, which obviously you are quite an
22 expert for, after all, you said yourself that this was your role and that
23 this was your primary purpose in providing this report. It seems to
24 follow from your report, you say something about an extremely important
25 role played by security organs at the time of Vukovar, if I may put it
1 that way. Can you please look at page 78, paragraph is 35.
2 You speak here about what happened after the evacuation of the
3 Vukovar Hospital that was completed on the 21st. You say that in addition
4 to security tasks in commands and units of OG South, security organs had
5 two more sets of priority tasks. You state what they are, and then there
6 is a sentence that I'm about to read out which is a judgement on your
7 part: "The complexity and volume of those tasks required involvement by
8 all the available security organs in the light of the fact that the
9 overall situation was exceptionally difficult."
10 Is that your conclusion, sir? Do you stand by that conclusion?
11 A. This is a conclusion which sums up my entire report. The
12 situation was exceptionally difficult.
13 If you look at some documents produced after the fall of Vukovar,
14 you still see references to threats that were still around. In addition
15 to that, the order of the command of the 1st Military District, 161482/81,
16 warns about the consequences that ensue after the fighting is over and
17 what the enemy is expected to be doing, what sort of operations they are
18 likely to undertake. This made the entire situation even riskier, simply
19 because the security organs must forestall any potential threats, not only
20 act in order to block any real threats that are actually happening.
21 Q. That's quite comprehensive. I think you're talking about the
22 situation on 21st and 22nd perhaps. Could you say the same in relation to
23 the 18th, 19th and 20th, the critical days, if I may call them that, of
24 the Vukovar operation?
25 A. From the very moment that the Croatian side had suffered a
1 military defeat, there were all these other avenues opening up for the --
2 putting up resistance. These were some of the fundamental and most
3 important options still open to the Croatian side. They had suffered a
4 military defeat. What they were left with now was what the 1st Military
5 District order was talking about. Therefore, each day and each hour were
6 risky, were risk-laiden.
7 Secondly, I state something here based on my insight into the
8 actual combat documents and the actual losses suffered by Operations Group
9 South by 1800 hours on the 19th, the total of their losses, the losses
10 they sustained. I took that to be an extremely reliable indicator of the
11 situation that prevailed that day.
12 Q. Thank you very much. Once again, please, if possible, keep your
13 answers previous.
14 My next question: Do you know who it was who interrogated war
15 crime suspects in Sremska Mitrovica, which was where those people were
16 sent to?
17 A. Negative. This was a long time ago. There were three such
18 centres. I don't remember the exact scheduling as to who was where. I
19 can't give you their names or anything like that for the simple fact that
20 there were three such centres where such interrogations were being
21 conducted which leaves me unable to specify anything about that.
22 Q. I wasn't after the name, sir.
23 A. Well, then, I must have failed to understand your question.
24 Q. Not the names. Who was doing this?
25 A. A team of -- appointed by the security administration, teams of
1 security officers. And this answer applies to all the centres where
2 prisoners of war were being processed.
3 Q. Does that apply to all POWs, including those who were not war
4 crimes suspects or also war crime suspects?
5 A. This is something they had to do under the Law on Criminal
6 Procedure. These people were prisoners. They had to be treated according
7 to a -- according to the usual procedure. Information had to be gathered
8 in order to shed light on their possible involvement in the armed
9 insurgency. And the next thing that came were the results of these
10 investigations. Those were the steps that were taken.
11 First, there is an investigation. Then you get some results
12 which, in turn, result in any further actions that are taken.
13 Q. Did you refer to the Law on Criminal Procedure in your previous
15 A. Yes, I did.
16 Q. That wasn't recorded.
17 A. That's fine.
18 Q. You say that they acted in keeping with the Law on Criminal
19 Procedure; isn't that right, sir?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Thank you. We are nearing the end of our examination, so let me
22 talk about the following conclusion that you made. Do you believe that
23 these prisoners were handed over to the government and that -- by that
24 same token they were no longer under the jurisdiction of the JNA?
25 So my question is: Should the Chamber find otherwise, namely that
1 they were never handed over to the government to begin with, would you
2 offer a different conclusion or not?
3 A. You don't quote my conclusion accurately. My conclusion is
4 slightly different, that they were handed over, but that there was abuse
5 of that particular action and the abuse relates to which ever persons were
7 I will stick to that, and I think it is up to the Chamber to
8 decide what applies and what doesn't, what holds and what doesn't. I
9 arrived at this conclusion based on facts and I think -- and am convinced
10 that there is certainly some validity at least to it that will eventually
11 stick. That's in as far as I understand your question at all.
12 Q. Is it possible that this misuse or abuse did not stem from the
13 very act of surrender?
14 A. It's certainly possible, but I don't have evidence to prove
15 either. I can't say why this misuse or abuse occurred, and it's up to the
16 Chamber to judge whether it was as a result of the surrender or something
18 Q. Towards the end, you invoked the war log of the Guards Brigade
19 saying that Colonel Mrksic with a group of officers on the morning of
20 the 21st was off to Belgrade. Your comment in your report was that he had
21 been there that night and he would have been able to do something about
22 it, had he been informed that anything was being done that wasn't quite
23 right with those people. That's in your report. I wouldn't comment on
25 Rather, my question: We've heard different evidence here about
1 Mrksic's departure. Should this Chamber find that Commander Mrksic that
2 previous evening at about 2000 hours or thereabouts had left for Belgrade
3 in a passenger vehicle and not, as the war log suggests, the following
4 morning, and was no longer in Negoslavci from that moment on, would that
5 not mean that the entire responsibility for making any decisions in his
6 absence would rest squarely on the shoulders of Colonel Panic, Chief of
8 A. I have two things to point out here. First thing is that at the
9 very beginning of my report in as far as anything I am saying here can be
10 taken as reliable or true.
11 Q. Please, answer.
12 A. Please let me finish. I told you loud and clear I have two things
13 to tell you.
14 Secondly, the regulations are crystal clear about who stands in
15 for the commander when the commander is away. That takes care of the
16 responsibility issue.
17 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Mr. Vuga. I
18 have reached -- well, the very end of my cross-examination, and I hereby
19 conclude it as I have promised.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Domazet. That means we must now
21 adjourn and continue the evidence of Mr. Vuga again tomorrow.
22 Could I say, Mr. Domazet, it has not proved practical to rearrange
23 tomorrow's listing so that we will be sitting from 9.00 in the morning
24 until 1.45 as programmed, but Mr. Vasic will, of course, be here.
25 You may see a tentative note come out about a change to 10.00. We
1 hoped to be able to meet you some way by moving to 10.00 to 2.45, but that
2 created a problem elsewhere so we've had to abandon that and are back to
3 the normal programme of 9.00 to 1.45 tomorrow.
4 We adjourn.
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.00 p.m.,
6 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 6th day of
7 December, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.