1 Thursday, 22 November 2001
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Call the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-98-32-T, the Prosecutor versus
8 Mitar Vasiljevic.
9 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet.
10 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 WITNESS: GORAN LONCAREVIC
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 Examined by Mr. Domazet: [Continued]
14 Q. Good morning, Mr. Loncarevic?
15 A. Good morning.
16 Q. We shall continue our conversation from yesterday and as far as I
17 can recall, we stopped at the point when your patient Mitar Vasiljevic was
18 due to be taken to Uzice.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you personally remember who drove Mr. Vasiljevic to Uzice?
21 A. No, I don't remember.
22 Q. Do you know when the vehicle left in the direction of Uzice or
23 rather did you see that moment and do you remember it?
24 A. I can't remember that particular moment.
25 Q. Mr. Loncarevic, was Zivorad Savic one of the drivers at the health
1 centre at the time?
2 A. Yes. At the time, Zivorad Savic was one of the drivers at the
3 health centre.
4 Q. Could he have been the driver who took Mitar Vasiljevic to Uzice?
5 A. Yes, it's possible.
6 Q. When I asked you whether you would see Mitar Vasiljevic in town,
7 you said that you very rarely went to the centre of town because of your
8 busy schedule and because you were living in a position which doesn't take
9 you through the centre of town, but could you tell me whether this reason
10 was the only one why you didn't go into the centre of town or was there
11 any other reason why you avoided downtown Visegrad?
12 A. I intentionally avoided the centre because it was only to be
13 assumed that in wartime, and the situation such as it was at the time, I
14 might encounter unpleasantness and be confronted with a situation I would
15 rather avoid, and that is why I avoided going to the centre.
16 Q. The unpleasantness that you mention, could you tell us who they
17 might originate from and who they did originate from, in fact, at the
19 A. They came from people, most of whom I did not know.
20 Q. Does that mean, Mr. Loncarevic, that these were people who had
21 come from out of Visegrad, who were not from Visegrad?
22 A. Yes. That is precisely what I had in mind. In fact, I did have
23 some problems on two occasions.
24 Q. Could you please describe the problems you had for us?
25 A. On one occasion, I was stopped by some men, there were a number of
1 them, I don't remember exactly how many. I didn't know a single one of
2 them. They were armed. They wore beards. They stopped me on my way to
3 my house, the house I was born in, and they wanted to take all the fuel I
4 had in the tank of my car after asking having asked me to show them my ID.
5 The story ended by my fuel remaining intact after a great deal of
6 discussion, but it was unpleasant. Also on another occasion at the new
7 bridge, I was again stopped by a group of men. They could be described
8 similarly as the previous group. They told me to follow them, and they
9 took me to the Crnca neighbourhood where there were a few more of them and
10 after examining my ID papers, they again wanted to take fuel from the car,
11 but fortunately there was very little left in the car and after keeping me
12 there for a while, they let me go back to work.
13 Q. Mr. Loncarevic, you told us that those persons demanded to see
14 your ID and on both cases, wanted to take your fuel. So I assume you
15 showed them your ID?
16 A. Yes, well one wasn't allowed -- couldn't move around anywhere
17 without an ID.
18 Q. I didn't ask you at the start, though it's probably clear to
19 everyone, but please tell us what ethnic group you belong to?
20 A. By ethnicity I am a Serb.
21 Q. Is that obvious on the basis of your first and last name, the name
22 of your father, and the other information contained in your ID?
23 A. I think it is.
24 Q. Mr. Loncarevic, while working at the health centre, did you have a
25 similar encounter to the one you just described in town?
1 JUDGE HUNT: Just a moment. Where are we headed on this,
2 Mr. Domazet? We've got no identification of the people who did this to
3 him and if you are asking him to relate any more incidents of this, I
4 don't see where we're going and, indeed, you will recall your undertaking
5 not to go into detail if this is alleged to be an attack upon the Serbian
6 civilian population.
7 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. I do not intend to
8 prove any attack on the Serb population, but just to ask the witness a few
9 questions. This was going to be the last one, relevant to the conduct and
10 behaviour of paramilitaries in Visegrad at the time, and I think it is
11 relevant for the case who these people were, whether they were from
12 Visegrad or not, and whether, in addition to Muslims, they harassed other
13 inhabitants of Visegrad and I think it is significant. I only have one
14 further question regarding an incident in the medical centre itself with
15 paramilitaries who were in Visegrad at the time.
16 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, there is no suggestion that these people
17 were paramilitaries. If you want to prove that, I would agree with you,
18 it is relevant and the fact that they harassed the Serbian population as
19 well, but you haven't got any evidence of that. We can't guess at this
20 sort of thing.
21 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, from what the witness
22 has said that these were armed men, the way they behaved, I think that
23 follows that they were, but I shall rephrase the question accordingly,
24 with your leave.
25 JUDGE HUNT: Just one moment. They were armed and they wore
1 beards. Well, if you want us to take this into account, I think you might
2 have to demonstrate just a little bit more than that.
3 MR. DOMAZET: Yes.
4 JUDGE HUNT: Well, if this is the last one, I suppose we are going
5 to have this by some process of attrition. I do want to get on with this
7 MR. DOMAZET: Yes.
8 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Loncarevic, the people you encountered in
9 town, were they wearing any uniforms of any kind?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. On the basis of what you saw the reservists wearing, would you say
12 that these belonged to the regular military units?
13 A. They did not look like regular military men, nor did they behave
14 like regular soldiers. Most of them wore camouflage uniforms, some wore
15 black uniforms, some had -- most of them had beards, some had bandannas,
16 cockades, magazines across their chests, and they were heavily armed and
17 they didn't resemble in any way a regular army by appearance or by their
19 Q. Just one further point since you had direct contact with them and
20 you spoke with them, do you remember whether you could tell by the way
21 they spoke their dialect, where these people came from?
22 A. May I answer this question for security reasons, please?
23 Q. Well, it's up to you. If you feel that could put your safety at
24 risk, I will ask for us to go into private session.
25 A. I'll answer the question nevertheless. These were not men from
1 Bosnia. I, of course, have no proof, but I don't think they were from
2 Bosnia. I assume that they were men from Serbia.
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Loncarevic. One further question: Did you
4 personally experience an encounter in the health centre itself with people
5 similar to those you had just described?
6 A. Yes, indeed, I did.
7 Q. Will you please describe the incident for us?
8 A. There were several. I remember a number of occasions when they
9 would, among other places, come to the health centre and they did not show
10 a minimum of respect towards the staff. They were rude, prone to violence
11 and aggression. They usurped our space. They disturbed us. They would
12 sit on our chairs and beds. We had nowhere to sit or lie down. Sometimes
13 we had to spend the whole night on our feet because they were resting and
14 we didn't dare utter a single word of protest.
15 Q. Thank you, Dr. Loncarevic. Let me move on now. After the day you
16 described, the day when Mitar Vasiljevic left, you continued working in
17 the Uzice -- sorry, in the Visegrad health centre. Could you tell me,
18 please, until when you continued working and were there any interruptions?
19 A. After Mitar Vasiljevic was taken to hospital, I did have an
20 interruption because of an injury. Actually, it was self-inflicted by
21 myself with my own pistol. It happened on the 24th of June, 1992 when I,
22 too, went to the surgery ward of the Uzice hospital.
23 Q. How long did you, yourself, Dr. Loncarevic, stay at the Uzice
24 hospital undergoing treatment?
25 A. From the 31st of July, 1992.
1 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter corrects herself, until the 31st
2 of July.
3 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
4 Q. While you were at the Uzice hospital, did you see Mitar Vasiljevic
5 in the hospital?
6 A. I knew that Mitar Vasiljevic was in another wing of the hospital
7 right opposite mine, and as soon as I became mobile, I went to the room
8 where Mitar Vasiljevic was lying and paid him a brief visit.
9 Q. You said as soon as you were mobile, can you remember how many
10 days that was after your arrival at the Uzice hospital?
11 A. About two to three days later.
12 Q. The ward that you said was in the wing opposite yours, what ward
13 was it at which Mitar Vasiljevic was being treated at the time?
14 A. It was the orthopaedics ward.
15 Q. Did you see him or come across him any other time while you were
16 in hospital?
17 A. I did come across him a few days later, I don't remember exactly
18 how many days later, but anyway, during my stay at the hospital we met in
19 the hospital hall close to the telephone box, and we exchanged a few
20 words, but we parted quickly.
21 Q. Could you tell us whether you remember the conversation you had or
22 anything special about that conversation with Mitar at the time?
23 A. It stuck in my mind because Mitar was not speaking very logically
24 when we met. He didn't quite understand why I was there, so it was rather
25 difficult to communicate with him and that is why I didn't insist and
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 spend much time with him. He had a plaster cast on his leg with drawings
2 and names and letters scribbled all over it so I didn't want to stay any
3 longer with him.
4 Q. When you say that you didn't want to stay with him, does that mean
5 that you avoided continuing the conversation, you wanted to end it
7 A. Yes, that is the correct understanding of what I said.
8 Q. On that second occasion, you told us that he had a plaster cast
9 and some drawings on it and some stickers on it, how was he moving around
10 when you saw him on that second occasion?
11 A. He was in a wheelchair.
12 Q. The first time you saw him in his room, Mr. Loncarevic, do you
13 remember what that encounter was like or rather what position he was in?
14 Could you tell us a few more words about that?
15 A. I think he was lying in bed immobile with a traction, with weights
16 on his leg.
17 Q. Were there any other patients in that room, were there several
18 beds in that room; do you remember that?
19 A. Yes. This was a room with several beds in it. I don't remember
20 who the people in the room with Mitar were, but I think that a patient, a
21 Muslim patient whose surname was Lepenica was in the same room as Mitar.
22 Q. Do you remember, Mr. Loncarevic, that at the time you came across
23 some other people from Visegrad who were also in hospital?
24 A. Yes. I met some other people who were in the hospital.
25 Q. Do you remember the names of some of them?
1 A. Yes, I do. I would see Slavko Trifkovic, Miroslav Mirkovic,
2 Dragan Filipovic, a policeman known as Rakila [as interpreted], I don't
3 know his proper name even now. They still call him Rakila and some others
4 whose names don't occur to me just now. Excuse me, I said Rakela.
5 Q. You told us a moment ago that you stayed in the hospital until the
6 31st of July, 1992?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. As you told us that you saw Mitar only twice, do you nevertheless
9 know until when Mitar stayed in the hospital?
10 A. I am afraid I can't say exactly, but I think he left before me,
11 but I am not sure about that.
12 Q. Mr. Loncarevic, do you perhaps have on you any evidence to prove
13 that you were in the hospital during the period you have indicated?
14 A. I have the discharge paper from the hospital on me.
15 Q. If you do have it on you, would you be kind enough to read the
16 name of your case history from that discharge document, if you could,
18 A. The number on the discharge document is 1060710607.
19 Q. Thank you, Dr. Loncarevic. When you were describing the period
20 and the circumstances surrounding Mitar Vasiljevic's injury to the best of
21 your recollection, you told us as much as you remembered. In those days,
22 you probably had a lot to do, you were very busy, you had a large number
23 of patients; is that right?
24 A. Yes. There were many patients and many activities.
25 Q. Could you tell us why it is that you remember what you do
1 regarding the admission of Mitar Vasiljevic at the health centre in
2 Visegrad or, rather, in view of the time that has gone by, how it is that
3 you remember those details?
4 A. I probably would not remember Mitar as I don't many other patients
5 that I treated, but Mitar's case was indeed unusual. Even in the course
6 of my schooling or career, after that, I never had a case of somebody
7 having an injury inflicted as a result of horse riding. There are not
8 that many horses and horse riders in our area and as this was my only case
9 of such an injury with a horse, that is probably the reason why I still
10 remember some details regarding the incident.
11 Q. Thank you. Did you make a statement to Mr. Tanaskovic, an
12 attorney from Visegrad, in connection with this?
13 A. Yes, I did make a statement.
14 Q. Do you remember that in that statement, you said, when describing
15 this event, that you wouldn't know the date but that you established it on
16 the basis of the official record and it was then that you said that it was
17 on the 14th of June, 1992. Do you remember making that statement?
18 JUDGE HUNT: What is the value of an answer to a leading question
19 like that, Mr. Domazet? It would be more impressive if he produced the
20 official records or a copy of them so we could have a look at the
22 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] That is just what I intend to do,
23 Your Honour. That is exactly my intention and I wish to tender these
24 records into evidence, the records mentioned by Mr. Loncarevic.
25 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, I get the impression that we are going
1 slower with this witness than we've gone with any witness in this case.
2 There must be some limit to it. Will you please go to the relevant thing,
3 ask him to have a look at it, say that they are the official records and
4 they can be tendered or a copy.
5 MR. DOMAZET: Yes.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Please, let's get on with it.
7 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Very well.
8 Q. Mr. Loncarevic, please tell me how records were kept on patients
9 who came to the health centre asking for help?
10 A. Well, the basic details were entered on the left page of the
11 protocol, that was where the nurse entered information and the diagnosis,
12 therapy, and other notes were entered on the right-hand page.
13 Q. Did doctors write anything in this book?
14 A. Doctors mostly wrote the diagnosis.
15 Q. Mr. Loncarevic, I will now show you a book and ask you to look at
16 it and tell us whether you recognise it and if you do, tell us what it
18 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] I request that this book be shown to
19 the witness.
20 A. I think that this is the records book of the Visegrad health
21 centre of patients for the time period that can be seen on the cover.
22 Q. Please read us what it says on the cover of the book. First of
23 all, the title, and then whether there are any handwritten notes on the
25 A. The title is, "Protocol of Outpatients," and by hand it says,
1 "First-aid ward from 3821 on from the 20th of April 1992 until the 4th of
2 July 1992."
3 Q. Is this the book into which all the patients treated in the
4 first-aid ward in the period mentioned by you from the 20th of April to
5 the 4th of July, 1992 were entered?
6 A. Yes, this is that book.
7 Q. Mr. Loncarevic, this book begins with 3821?
8 A. Yes, 3821.
9 Q. Please find number 5353 in this book.
10 A. I have found number 5353.
11 Q. Please read to the Court what you can conclude from this entry,
12 entry 5353. First of all, tell us the date and whether this can be seen
13 from the records.
14 A. In the book, we can see that the date is the 14th of June. The
15 patient is Mitar Vasiljevic. He was born in 1954. He comes from
16 Visegrad, a member of the Territorial Defence, and that's what it says,
17 diagnosis, fracture. The therapy administered, eraglandrodom [phoen] 50
18 milligrams, glucose and then he was referred to the orthopaedic ward in
20 Q. Thank you. Under entry number 5354 and 5355, are these also
21 patients who were received and examined on the same day?
22 A. The basis of these records, it would appear to be so. I can't
23 recall that, but that's what it says in the records.
24 Q. Please look at number 5597 in the book.
25 A. 5597, I have found it.
1 Q. Can you tell us the date and what the injury is about?
2 A. The date is the 24th of June, 1992. Goran Loncarevic from
3 Visegrad. Diagnosis, wounds: Vulnus sclopetarium thoracis lat. dex.
4 Therapy: Infusion, referred to the surgical ward in Uzice and he was
5 given an injection.
6 Q. Was it you, Mr. Loncarevic, who entered this?
7 A. Yes, it was.
8 Q. Is this the case you described, the reason you were referred to
9 the Uzice hospital?
10 A. Yes, that's it.
11 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Loncarevic. I have
12 no further questions.
13 JUDGE HUNT: What do you want done with the book, Mr. Domazet.
14 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE HUNT: There are copies provided so we don't want the
16 original but how are you going to tender it?
17 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] I wish to tender the original as
18 evidence because some other witnesses perhaps might be able to look at the
19 original. I therefore propose that both the copies and the original be
20 entered into evidence as VGD26.
21 JUDGE HUNT: I assume the book is no longer in use.
22 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Certainly it was brought by the
23 director of the health centre who will testify here, Dr. Vasiljevic, and
24 we shall be able to ask him. I hope there will be no obstacle to this
25 book remaining here for a certain time.
1 JUDGE HUNT: Any objection, Ms. Bauer.
2 MS. BAUER: Your Honour, in this case, the Defence triggered
3 reciprocal discovery and I would like to let you know we never saw this
5 JUDGE HUNT: Well, I am not aware of those sorts of things. Are
6 you objecting to the tender?
7 MS. BAUER: We would like to have an opportunity to examine just
8 over the break or the original of the document because it's the first time
9 that we get hold of it. Despite requesting it already.
10 JUDGE HUNT: Have you not seen a copy of it before?
11 MS. BAUER: No, neither. That's exactly what I'm trying to say.
12 JUDGE HUNT: Why is that, Mr. Domazet?
13 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes.
14 JUDGE HUNT: It seems almost like a conspiracy to slow the process
15 of this case down. I'm getting very, very, annoyed.
16 MR. DOMAZET: No, no, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE HUNT: Why wasn't it shown to the Prosecution earlier than
19 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] This book was brought to The Hague
20 by Dr. Radomir Vasiljevic, a witness, who is the present director of the
21 health centre. He brought the original here, and he, himself, signed the
22 receipt which I entered into the materials and which has been described,
23 describing all the situations in 1992 when Mitar Vasiljevic was entered
24 into the records and the entry under 5353 of the 14th of June is part of
25 this material so it has been disclosed.
1 The only thing we did not have was the original because I, myself,
2 did not dare ask for the original.
3 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, are you suggesting that a copy of this
4 was produced to the Prosecution before today?
5 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Not a copy of the whole book, but a
6 report on what dates and under what numbers Mitar Vasiljevic was entered
7 into the records in 1992, and this was disclosed with the other potential
8 evidence of the Defence.
9 JUDGE HUNT: When did Dr. Vasiljevic arrive in The Hague?
10 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] I'm not sure, but I saw him two days
12 JUDGE HUNT: Well, then, why hasn't a copy of this been given to
13 the Prosecution? Can't you see that this is the only way trials here can
14 work? You are required to produce copies of exhibits in advance.
15 Anyway, we'll look at it again after lunch but it's going to have
16 to go in then and it's only a matter of weight that you could attack it
17 on. It's been properly identified. There's no reason why it should not
18 go into evidence.
19 Yes, now are there any more questions you want to ask of the
21 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] No, I have finished.
22 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you. Cross-examination, please.
23 Cross-examined by Ms. Bauer:
24 Q. Good morning, Dr. Loncarevic. I'm counsel appearing for the
25 Prosecution and I'd like to ask you several questions this morning.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Yesterday, you told us and correct me if I am wrong that you were
2 actually mobilised into the army and assigned to the Visegrad health
3 centre; is this correct?
4 A. I'm not quite sure whether I was actually mobilised or simply
5 assigned to work duty, but in any case, I was assigned to the health
6 centre and I had orders to stay there until further notice.
7 Q. And you also told us yesterday that you were one of three
8 so-called able-bodied men who had to work basically around the clock in
9 the health centre?
10 A. Yes, that's correct.
11 Q. And would I be correct in assuming that you, at the minimum, saw
12 about ten people a day in the health centre during those times?
13 A. More than ten.
14 Q. Well, definitely it would make up to 70 to 100 a week, would you
15 agree with that estimate?
16 A. Yes, yes, I would agree with the estimate.
17 Q. Now, you also told us yesterday that the first or the vague memory
18 you had of when Mr. Vasiljevic was brought in is when he was carried on a
19 stretcher to the x-ray room; is this right?
20 A. Yes, that's correct.
21 Q. I assume that was inside the hospital.
22 A. No, it was not inside the hospital because the x-ray room is
23 reached by an outside staircase.
24 Q. So would you describe you accompanied the injured Mitar Vasiljevic
25 to the x-ray room on this outside staircase?
1 A. Yes, I can say that, and that is the clearest image that sticks in
2 my memory because it was on the way to the x-ray room that I found out
3 some of the details about what had happened.
4 Q. Now, in order -- you told us today, in order to basically with so
5 many people attend, if you had to attend to, the only way to really say
6 when Mr. Vasiljevic came in at what time is to rely on medical records;
7 would you agree with that conclusion?
8 A. I really could not be certain about the time, but only about the
9 date. I am sure about the date, but as for the rest, I would have to rely
10 on the records.
11 Q. I'm sorry, there's probably now a confusion in the record. You
12 said you can't be sure about the date and you would have to rely on the
13 record or are you sure about the date without the record? I think there
14 was a bit of confusion in the record now.
15 A. It's possible there has been some confusion. No, I never said I
16 was certain about the date. I can only tell you the date on the basis of
17 the records.
18 Q. Now, the records, wouldn't it be sort of general practice if
19 somebody's brought to a hospital to also indicate a time of admission to
20 the hospital?
21 A. No, it wasn't the usual practice.
22 Q. Now, let me try to understand you. If an accident occurred and
23 somebody would come to an emergency room and would be administered first
24 aid and some medicine, wouldn't it be very vital for the subsequent
25 treatment to indicate the time the person was brought into the hospital?
1 A. Well, possibly that would have been a better way of proceeding,
2 but even today we do not enter the time someone is admitted and especially
3 then, I'm trying to explain that the conditions were very bad and we had
4 practically no instructions for our work. Most of us did what we could on
5 our own initiative and even the information we have is a lot, considering
6 the terrible conditions we had to work in.
7 Q. Well, let me ask you if somebody was dead and was brought in dead,
8 wouldn't you then enter the time of death into the record as the time of
9 the admission?
10 A. Yes, in that case it would be written down, it was done then and
11 it's still done today and that is the general practice.
12 Q. So can I get you to agree with me that basically the record was at
13 least incomplete as regards to the time somebody is admitted, admissioned
14 to the hospital?
15 A. I couldn't comment on this. I think it falls within the sphere of
16 legal interpretation.
17 Q. Now, -- well then, let's stick to the medical interpretation. You
18 told us that yesterday that an x-ray had to be taken from two different
19 angles because, as you said, it's a hard and fast rule in order to get the
20 information regarding the type and time of injury. Now --
21 A. Yes. Yes, that's the rule.
22 Q. Now, would you then not, in any kind of medical record, be it the
23 referral document or the admissions document, indicate at least a time and
24 type of the injury?
25 A. I agree with you that it would have been a good thing had it been
1 done, and that in general, it would be the proper thing to do, but at that
2 time, referral notes were not written out and the time was not entered.
3 Q. I'm sorry, I guess I got you again wrong there. You said
4 yesterday that a referral was obligatory because otherwise a patient
5 wouldn't have been able to be accepted in the hospital so a referral was
6 written out, only the time wasn't written out?
7 A. When I spoke of the referral note, I was talking about the
8 hospital in Uzice. He would not have been admitted to the hospital in
9 Uzice without a referral. I understood you to ask me about the referral
10 for the x-ray in Visegrad.
11 Q. No, I'm sorry, I was talking about the referral note. What I'm
12 actually interested in is whether you or anybody else you instructed ever
13 put down either on a referral note to the Uzice hospital or in any other
14 medical record of the health care centre in Visegrad a time and the type
15 of the injury?
16 A. I said yesterday I didn't know who wrote out the referral note, it
17 may have been me, but I can't be sure because I don't know now. Whoever
18 wrote out the referral note had to put in the name of the institution to
19 which the patient was being referred and the diagnosis, that is the type
20 of injury. This referral note was also the document on the basis of which
21 the patient was provided with transport.
22 Q. Now, Mr. Vasiljevic fractured his leg. Isn't it quite important
23 for a fracture, medically speaking, when the fracture actually occurred?
24 Because isn't it important for the treatment after, whether the fracture
25 is an old fracture, let's say, of ten hours or whether the fracture was a
1 very recent fracture; wouldn't that make a difference in the application
2 of the treatment?
3 A. I don't know whether I understood your question fully, but if I am
4 wrong, please correct me. As far as I am concerned, there was no dilemma
5 in my mind as to when the fracture had occurred, because I was told that
6 he had just recently fallen off a horse. As for the orthopaedic surgeon,
7 for them it would be important to know the time and an orthopaedic surgeon
8 could give you more information about that because I am not a specialist
9 for orthopaedic matters but that simply was not noted down.
10 Q. Now, was there ever a copy kept from the referral document,
11 because it is basically a very detailed document, or is the only
12 information you have about the patient in the protocol of the health care
14 A. There are never any copies of the referral note. The referral
15 note is sent to the medical institution where the patient is being treated
16 and then they forward that referral to the health insurance fund for
17 compensation of costs so that the health centre does not have a copy and
18 it would be right to say that this protocol is the only document where
19 there are written -- where there is written information about this
21 Q. And wouldn't on this referral document also the cause of the
22 injury be noted?
23 A. It is not customary to indicate the cause of the injury in the
24 referral note.
25 Q. So basically the health insurance then doesn't have any idea
1 whether something, an accident occurred as part of the work obligation or
2 as part of private pleasure, let's say; is that correct?
3 A. That is correct, but for our system of health insurance, that was
4 not important.
5 Q. So even if you would have broken your leg playing football or any
6 other activity which was not part of anything, the health insurance would
7 have covered it?
8 A. I have to say with some reserve, because I am not an expert, but
9 in those days, treatment was free of charge in our country regardless of
10 the cause of the disease or the injury, and the medical insurance fund did
11 not verify these things. It was only important for the company in
12 question because compensation for absence from work depended on the way in
13 which the patient had fallen ill or had got hurt, and it was important
14 later for disability benefits or any other benefits that may have been
15 claimed. But for the treatment itself, it was not important. Please
16 forgive me if what I am saying is not 100 per cent correct.
17 Q. Now, if I understand you correctly, for the claim of an insurance,
18 it wouldn't have mattered actually if on insurance document or a document
19 that was provided to the insurance, it would have noted whether
20 Mr. Vasiljevic fell off a horse or whether he injured himself on the
21 battle field; is this correct?
22 A. It would not be important. The insurance would even cover
23 injuries provoked under the influence of alcohol and any others.
24 Q. Thank you. Now, Dr. Loncarevic, when the x-ray was taken before
25 you probably instructed or filled yourself out the referral letter, you
1 probably took a look at the x-ray, didn't you?
2 A. I would have had to have a look.
3 Q. All right.
4 A. But I really do not remember whether I actually did, but I
5 probably did.
6 Q. Yesterday, you described as quite detailed what is all on the
7 x-ray. I would like to show you a document and it is the original -- said
8 to be the original x-ray and I would like only to see whether you could
9 identify that this might have been the original x-ray you took of Mitar
10 Vasiljevic's leg.
11 MS. BAUER: The number is pre-numbered 151.1.
12 A. I beg your pardon, may I make a correction? I didn't describe the
13 film in detail, I just said what is indicated on the film, the name,
14 surname, the date, and what side the film has been taken from and that
15 this was indicated with a marker. I didn't give any other details about
16 the x-ray, but I will have a look at it.
17 Q. Now, Dr. Loncarevic -- sorry, I just had one specific question
18 whether you identify that this is the type of x-rays you would have done
19 in the health care centre in 1992?
20 JUDGE HUNT: Actually you asked him specifically was that the
21 x-ray taken at the -- at his hospital. That's a slightly different
23 MS. BAUER: I agree. I wanted first to see whether he can at all
24 identify it as an x-ray which is sort of the form of the x-ray they took.
25 JUDGE HUNT: No, no, no. Do you want him to identify that as the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 one taken at his hospital?
2 MS. BAUER: Yes. And then whether he can recollect whether this
3 could be the x-ray, yes.
4 JUDGE HUNT: That's the question you're being asked, Doctor.
5 A. This resembles the format of x-rays. I didn't say that I could
6 recognise an x-ray, but I do not think that this could be the one, the one
7 you have given me.
8 MS. BAUER:
9 Q. So you don't recognise the handwriting or anything else on it
10 which would sort of indicate or the way it is written which would indicate
11 that was the usual procedure applied to in 1992 in Visegrad?
12 A. I do not recognise the handwriting and other details I probably
13 would not recognise anyway, but all in all, it is not probable that that
14 is it. The handwriting is not right.
15 Q. Anything else that seems not right on it or ...
16 A. There is a plaster longette on this leg, not plaster, I'm sorry, a
17 metal longette. I am not sure that Mitar had such a longette at the
19 Q. Thank you, Dr. Loncarevic?
20 JUDGE HUNT: Well, you may know Ms. Bauer, but I don't, what is a
21 metal longette, doctor, is that the frame that you can see in the x-ray?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, it's a metal netting
23 adjusted in such a way as to be formed according to the shape of the
24 extremity. It is adjustable to the shape of the extremity
25 JUDGE HUNT: And it's to keep the bones in place, I assume, it is
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that is its purpose.
3 MS. BAUER:
4 Q. Now, one further question, doctor, there is an indication
5 handwritten which is called "god" or what does it mean, after the 1992?
6 A. This is "god" which is short for godina which means year in
7 Latinic script, g-o-d short for year.
8 MS. BAUER: Thank you, Mr. Loncarevic.
9 I think it can be removed.
10 JUDGE HUNT: Was that not tendered in evidence when Dr. De Grave
11 gave his evidence?
12 MS. BAUER: As far as I understood, it was a copy of the original
13 but it wasn't the original, original.
14 JUDGE HUNT: I know the Prosecution has certain views about who
15 owns the exhibits in these cases, but it should not be left with a copy if
16 this is going to be important, we should have the original.
17 MS. BAUER: Well, I'm prepared to tender it. I thought only
18 because the witness doesn't identify it.
19 JUDGE HUNT: No, no, we'll have to -- but you'll have to deal with
20 it at some stage.
21 MS. BAUER:
22 Q. There was one other question I was made aware of. As soon as
23 x-rays are taken, is it a practice to label them right there once they are
24 developed or are they going to be labelled later?
25 A. The x-rays are first dried and then immediately the information is
1 written on to the film, as soon as the film has dried.
2 MS. BAUER: I'd like that the doctor looks at the Exhibit D22.1.
3 I have copies.
4 Q. Now, Dr. Loncarevic, do you recognise any of those names listed on
5 this list? And please, don't refer to the names if you do recognise one,
6 but to their numbers which are associated on the left-hand side?
7 A. Yes, I do recognise some people on the list.
8 Q. So without telling me the names, could you just tell me which VGD
9 numbers you do recognise?
10 A. I know the person VGD7, also VGD10, also VGD12, VGD16, VGD18,
11 VGD19, VGD20, and I think I also know the person under VGD14 if it is the
12 same person that I have in mind.
13 Q. Now, any of these people, have you had to treat them for any
14 injuries in the health care centre during this time?
15 A. I think that VGD7 came because she [as interpreted] had kidney
16 trouble. I think she had a stone in her kidney, and as far as I can
17 remember, I think she also went to the military medical academy in
18 Belgrade for treatment for this problem.
19 Q. Now, Dr. Loncarevic one clarifying question, is this a female,
20 according to you, or a male?
21 A. VGD7 is a male.
22 Q. That's because the record was reflecting "she" so I just wanted
23 to clarify that.
24 Now, we have heard evidence that some of these people were part of
25 a paramilitary group and could you -- would you have seen
1 them in the company of paramilitary groups?
2 A. As I said earlier on, the paramilitary groups I came across most
3 often in the medical centre and not anywhere else, and these persons that
4 I mentioned came alone to the institution I work in. So I can't claim
5 with any certainty that they belonged to a paramilitary group, but it's
6 quite -- I don't exclude the possibility that they -- some of them were.
7 Q. All right, because today, one thing caught my attention, you said,
8 "I didn't know most of them," which would indicate to me that you might
9 have known some of the paramilitaries. Would that be a correct
11 A. No, that is not correct. I was speaking about other people,
12 people that do not figure on this list. They were people that I saw for
13 the first time in my life, and whom I absolutely did not know and they
14 moved around in groups. As for these people on this list, some of them I
15 do know and they came individually.
16 Q. And you couldn't exclude that they were associated with
18 A. I do not exclude that possibility.
19 Q. Now, Doctor, did you have -- I'm sure you did have TV stations in
20 Visegrad, what kind of TV stations could you receive during wartime?
21 A. I had very little time to watch TV. For long stretches, we didn't
22 have any electricity. As far as I can recall, in those days, we could
23 watch, that is, until the war really escalated, we could watch one
24 Sarajevo station and one Belgrade station. Later on, I really don't know,
25 I think we also had a local TV programme. I don't know when it started
1 and for how long it lasted, but I do think that it existed but as I was
2 saying, I personally had really hardly any time to watch television.
3 Q. So after the war broke out, you couldn't receive Sarajevo TV
4 anymore; correct?
5 A. I'm not quite sure of that. That may be right but I'm not sure.
6 Q. And you wouldn't have seen any report about a fire on the 14th of
7 June in Visegrad on any of the TV stations, would you?
8 A. No, I didn't see anything like that, and it may sound hard to
9 believe, to this day, I am not familiar with any details.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 A. Thank you too.
12 Q. I would like you to look as a conclusion at two entries in the
13 book and I think I have the two entries marked up here. The first entry
14 is 4951 and the other one is 5270. It's regarding a person called Dragan
16 A. Did you say 4971.
17 Q. No, 4951.
18 A. Yes, I find the name Dragan Tomic born in 1957 in Visegrad.
19 Q. Can you please maybe tell us what is the diagnosis or what it is
20 says in the column 13?
21 A. Column number 13, there's no diagnosis. It says doctor's
22 examination and an electrocardiogram which means that the doctor examined
23 him and had his electrocardiogram taken. There's no other information as
24 far as I can see except in column 7, "MKP," and I don't know what that
1 Q. And then the next number is 5270 also regarding Mr. Tomic.
2 A. Yes, Dragan Tomic, born 1959 in Visegrad, and there is more
3 information here, registration number, the code for the area of activity,
4 and his ID number and it says, "Attached to the Territorial Defence with
5 enterprise Varda," the diagnosis is 462 and 466 and I think that in those
6 days, these are old codes from the international classification of disease
7 which I have almost forgotten but I think that 462 meant tonsillitis. The
8 other code I don't recognise. He was given antibiotic injections
9 garamycin, 20 milligrams; ascorbic acid, that is vitamin C; ibedoxin,
10 50 milligrams; and some other medicines. It's not indicated whether it
11 was intravenously or in the muscle. He was given this injection.
12 MS. BAUER: Thank you very much. No further questions, Your
14 THE WITNESS: Thank you too.
15 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet.
16 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Re-examined by Mr. Domazet:
18 Q. Mr. Loncarevic, in connection with this last question put to you
19 by the Prosecution, will you look at these two entries once again. The
20 first is 4951?
21 JUDGE HUNT: You will have noticed of course they had different
22 years of birth, they obviously are unlikely to be the same people.
23 MR. DOMAZET: Yes.
24 JUDGE HUNT: What is the relevance of this, I very nearly asked
25 the Prosecution, what is the relevance of this?
1 MS. BAUER: As far as I can get, Your Honour, we just tried to
2 figure out because Dragan Tomic features in the evidence and he is
3 supposed to be dead.
4 JUDGE HUNT: I know, but it is not the same person.
5 MS. BAUER: Well, there were two persons so I had to ask either of
6 them to figure out whether there is a death notice in it.
7 JUDGE HUNT: Obviously not. Now that's the relevance of the
8 Prosecution. Do you think that you really do need to ask any questions
9 about it in re-examination? Unless he died of tonsillitis, I don't see
10 what this is about.
11 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] There is two questions, Your
12 Honour. Just two, Your Honour.
13 Q. 4951 nothing more is indicated except the year of birth and
14 Mr. Loncarevic, you said you don't understand what "MKB" is, but if we
15 were to read it as MUP, then would you recognise what it stands for?
16 A. Yes, it could be read as "MUP" if the letter in the middle is
17 a U which in case it is the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in short, the
19 Q. Thank you. And in the second entry, 5270 where there is more
20 information, you said that that person was insured through the Varda
22 A. I didn't say that he was insured through the Varda company but
23 that he belonged to Varda which usually meant that he worked there because
24 that was the custom if somebody was employed somewhere, he would be
25 assigned to that company. 012310, that is the field of activity, the code
1 for the field of activity and one can check whether Varda, that company,
2 had this code because Varda was the company the patient was employed in.
3 Q. In view of what you have just said and the years of birth in the
4 first and the second case, can you infer from that whether it is the same
5 person or could it be two different persons with the same first and last
7 A. As we see that the years of birth differ, to say the least, it is
8 quite clear that these are two different persons.
9 Q. Thank you. In answer to Ms. Bauer's question about the metal
10 longette, my question is: Did you or someone else carry out the
11 immobilisation of Mitar Vasiljevic on that day before he was sent on to
13 A. Somebody had to do the immobilisation. I truly do not remember
14 who it was.
15 Q. Does immobilisation include the placement of this metal longette?
16 A. Yes, it means administering the metal longette or anything else
17 that can immobilise the joints close to the fracture.
18 Q. You told us what your specialty is in medicine, did you ever
19 specialise orthopaedics?
20 A. No, I never specialised in orthopaedics.
21 Q. Were any of your other colleagues who were working with you at the
22 time orthopaedic surgeons?
23 A. No, there was no orthopaedic surgeon working with me.
24 Q. Just one more question in this connection, would it be right to
25 say that immobilisation had to be done but that you don't remember who did
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 it, whether it was you or one of your colleagues, did I understand your
2 answer correctly?
3 A. Yes, that is correct.
4 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have no further
6 Questioned by the Court:
7 JUDGE HUNT: Doctor, this was the first-aid department, I think
8 you described it as, that this book was kept by. If somebody is being
9 dealt with as an outpatient who comes from day to day, is there -- would
10 you expect there to be an entry for that person each day that they
12 A. I would expect there to be an entry for every day, yes.
13 JUDGE HUNT: Do you want to ask any questions about that,
14 Ms. Bauer?
15 MS. BAUER: No, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet?
17 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour, just one question.
18 Further Re-examination by Mr. Domazet:
19 Q. [Interpretation] In those days in the health centre, was there any
20 other book of records for the examination of patients in addition to this
22 A. I cannot assert with certainty whether there was or not.
23 Questioned by the Court:
24 JUDGE TAYA: Doctor, I have one question. Please look up the
25 medical book which was extended by Defence counsel number 5332.
1 A. 5332, the 14th of June.
2 JUDGE TAYA: Yes.
3 A. The surname is not clear.
4 JUDGE TAYA: Yes.
5 A. It's illegible.
6 JUDGE TAYA: The second column and the third column it is written
7 14.6. It means that June 14th, 1992.
8 A. If the date hasn't been written before, and if this is the first
9 time it was written, it means that this happened on the 14th of June,
10 1992, yes.
11 JUDGE TAYA: The handwriting of the second and third column, that
12 means 14.6 is very different for me, seems like very different for me from
13 the other handwriting, the first column, the fourth column, et cetera et
14 cetera, so I have one question: When and by whom those figures, the
15 second and third column, were written?
16 A. Who wrote them down and when, I don't know, but it is the nurses
17 who are responsible for writing down the date and I said at the beginning
18 of my testimony that the whole left page of the protocol would be filled
19 in by nurses so it must have been one of the nurses. Why it's somewhat
20 different, I am really unable to say. I don't know anything about that.
21 JUDGE TAYA: Thank you.
22 JUDGE HUNT: Does either counsel want to ask any questions arising
23 out of that?
24 MS. BAUER: No, Your Honour.
25 MR. DOMAZET: No, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you, doctor, for coming along to give your
2 evidence and for the evidence you've given. You are now free to leave.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you too for inviting me to
4 come and for giving me a chance to contribute to the truth.
5 [The witness withdrew]
6 JUDGE HUNT: We will resume again at 11.35 a.m.
7 --- Recess taken at 11.05 a.m.
8 --- On resuming at 11.35 a.m.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, if I might before we begin this witness,
11 on the break I spoke with Mr. Domazet and by agreement, we would like to
12 tender the original x-ray now as Prosecution Exhibit 151.1.
13 JUDGE HUNT: Is 151 the photostat of it, is it?
14 MR. GROOME: It is, Your Honour, yes.
15 JUDGE HUNT: All right. That will be Exhibit P151.1.
16 Now, sir, would you stand up please and make the solemn
17 declaration in the document in which the court usher is showing you.
18 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
19 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
20 WITNESS: MOLOJE NOVAKOVIC
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 JUDGE HUNT: Sit down, please, sir.
23 Mr. Tanaskovic.
24 MR. TANASKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Examined by Mr. Tanaskovic:
1 Q. Good day, Mr. Novakovic.
2 A. Good day.
3 Q. To begin with, would you please tell us your full name, your date
4 of birth and your place of birth?
5 A. My name is Miloje Novakovic. I was born on the 16th of July.
6 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear the year?
7 A. In the municipality of Visegrad.
8 JUDGE HUNT: We'll need the year, the interpreter didn't hear it,
9 Mr. Tanaskovic.
10 A. 1934.
11 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you, sir.
12 MR. TANASKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 Q. Mr. Novakovic, would you tell us where you reside now?
14 A. I now live in Visegrad.
15 Q. Since when have you been living in Visegrad?
16 A. I have been living in Visegrad since 1948.
17 Q. Tell us what school you completed and what your occupation is?
18 A. I completed a two-year post secondary school for economics and I
19 work in the health centre in Visegrad as head of finance.
20 Q. Since when have you been employed in the Visegrad health centre?
21 A. I have been working in the Visegrad health centre since the 12th
22 of August, 1962.
23 Q. Did you work in the health centre during the war?
24 A. Before the war, during the war, and I still work there today.
25 Q. During the war, were you assigned to the health centre as part of
1 a work duty or other kind of duty?
2 A. I was assigned there on the basis of my work obligation.
3 Q. You said in the beginning that you live in Visegrad. For the
4 purposes of my next question, would you please tell us the street where
5 you live?
6 A. I live in Kralja Petra I Street, number 4 in Visegrad which is, in
7 fact, the main street.
8 Q. And what was the name of this street before the war?
9 A. It was called Marsala Tita Street, the house number was the same.
10 Q. Can you please tell us what route you took to get from your house
11 to the health centre where you worked?
12 A. The street I live in is on the right bank of the River Drina, the
13 health centre is on the left bank. Therefore, I had to cross the bridge,
14 go down the street and cross the bridge in order to get to work.
15 Q. When you say "the street" you are referring to Marsala Tita
16 Street later renamed King Peter Street?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did you know Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic?
19 A. Yes, I knew Mitar because he comes from Visegrad and he used to
20 work in a catering establishment in the Panos company in Visegrad.
21 Q. What sort of catering establishment, what did he do?
22 A. He was a waiter.
23 Q. So you know him both as a fellow citizen and as a waiter?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. When you used to go from your flat or house in the direction of
1 the health centre, that is, on your way to work, did you see
2 Mr. Vasiljevic?
3 A. Yes, I did. I usually drove to work and it was usually at 8.00
5 Q. And when you would see Mr. Vasiljevic, can you tell us what he was
6 doing at those times when you saw him?
7 A. There were lots of broken shop windows, a lot of garbage, a lot of
8 rubbish all over the town and he said that he was organising the cleaning
9 of the town. He would tour the streets with the people who worked in the
10 shops and other people who are probably unemployed or pensioners.
11 Q. Does that mean that until then, no one had cleaned the town?
12 A. That's right. No one had cleaned it because the utility company
13 whose job it was to take care of garbage disposal was not operating at the
15 Q. If you remember the persons working with Mr. Vasiljevic, were they
16 Serbs, Muslims, or members of some third ethnic group?
17 A. There were both Serbs and Muslims. There were people who happened
18 to be there or people who were recruited to do the job as far as I can
20 Q. And you, as a citizen of Visegrad, were you satisfied with the
21 appearance of the streets they cleaned or rather that they had cleaned?
22 A. Of course I was. As I said, there was shattered glass everywhere,
23 there was rubbish scattered about and they took care of the cleanliness of
24 the town.
25 Q. Is this just your opinion or do you know that others shared this
2 A. Well, all of us who lived there shared this opinion.
3 Q. When you would see Mr. Vasiljevic, can you remember how he was
5 A. I always saw him wearing civilian clothes. It was a suit of dark
6 coloured suit of clothes and on one occasion, I remember seeing him
7 wearing some sort of T-shirt or track suit and sneakers, as far as I was
8 able to see.
9 Q. On that one occasion when you saw him in a track suit and tennis
10 shoes, you said that he was wearing something dark on the top of his body?
11 A. No, I said that the clothes he wore were dark usually, but on that
12 occasion, he was wearing a T-shirt with short sleeves.
13 Q. Do you remember when you would see him, whether he wore any sort
14 of symbol or something that was noticeable, that distinguished him?
15 A. Yes, he wore an armband. It was red, but I don't remember
16 whether it had any symbols on it, I just remember that it was red.
17 Q. What did you understand this armband that you saw on Vasiljevic's
18 arm to mean?
19 A. I don't know. To me, it meant that he had been assigned to the
20 job he was doing probably.
21 Q. Can you tell us until when you saw Vasiljevic doing this?
22 A. Well, it was before he broke his leg and before he was transported
23 away, maybe some ten days or so. I can't be sure.
24 Q. Can I understand your answer to mean that you used to see him
25 doing this for about ten days before he broke his leg?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. According to me, it was in early June. I don't remember the exact
2 day, but it was some ten days. I can't tell you any dates.
3 Q. You have now said until he broke his leg, what can you tell us
4 about this and how do you know about it?
5 A. Well, I know because I was at home. I had just come back from
6 work, and I was resting. It was in the afternoon. I had told the drivers
7 in the health centre, because I had some problems with my eyes and my
8 blood pressure, I had asked them that if they were going to Uzice, I would
9 go with them if it was possible for a check-up, and I wasn't too sure when
10 I would be able to go there because of the passage to Uzice.
11 I got a phone call from the driver Savic, nicknamed Zika and he
12 said to me, "Mitar has fallen off his horse and broken his leg." And he
13 asked me if I would go with him, he had a free seat in his ambulance and
14 he wanted me to accompany him because he didn't like driving there on his
16 Q. So it was then that you learned that Mr. Vasiljevic had broken his
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Do you remember that Mr. Savic told you something else about your
21 A. He said he would let me know when he set out in view of the fact
22 that first aid had to be administered to Mitar and they would have to wait
23 for a vehicle to be available and he said he would ring me up or rather
24 that he would ring my doorbell when he came to my house.
25 Q. So Mr. Savic did not tell you at what time he would come by?
1 A. No, he just said it wouldn't be right away.
2 Q. Can you tell us how much time elapsed, at least approximately,
3 before Mr. Savic came by with his vehicle?
4 A. Well, maybe 40 minutes or an hour, something between 40 minutes
5 and an hour.
6 Q. And when did you lay eyes on Mr. Vasiljevic for the first time on
7 that occasion?
8 A. The vehicle stopped in front of the house where I live, I came
9 down the stairs. I got into the vehicle and I saw Mr. Vasiljevic lying on
10 a stretcher in the back of the vehicle.
11 Q. Did you then set out towards the hospital in Uzice?
12 A. Yes, we set out towards the hospital in Uzice. I remember well
13 that it was raining and that it was a winding road, there were rocks on
14 the road, so we -- land slides, so we couldn't really drive fast. And
15 when we arrived at Vardiste, Mitar asked us to stop at the Sikiric cafe
16 because his uncle and aunt were there, because he was cold, and also for
17 us to take some refreshments.
18 Q. Mr. Novakovic, would you please wait for me to complete my
19 question. When you set out from Visegrad, can you tell us what time it
20 was, approximately, and if you can't tell us this, could you at least try
21 to tell us approximately what time it was?
22 A. It was still daylight but it was dark because of the rain and the
23 clouds. It was misty. There was rain falling, drizzling, I don't know.
24 It was sometime between 1630 [as interpreted] or 1900, 1830 hours.
25 Q. So it was still daylight?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. I see in the transcript that perhaps it's a mistake so I have to
3 go back and ask you again, at what time you said it was that you set out
4 because I may have misheard or there may be a mistake in the transcript.
5 Could you please repeat what you said?
6 A. I don't know. I can't tell you the exact time, but it could have
7 been between 1830 and 19 hours.
8 MR. TANASKOVIC: [Interpretation] It says in the transcript 1630
9 instead of 1830.
10 Q. A moment ago you said that the road was wet, that it was raining,
11 that there were landslides. What about the safety situation, how safe was
12 the Visegrad to Vardiste strip of road?
13 A. It wasn't safe because there were ambushes by the Muslims so it
14 wasn't safe to travel along that road both because of the condition of the
15 road, there was no maintenance at all, and because of this.
16 Q. Very well, Mr. Novakovic, so we've got as far as Vardiste, and
17 you've dropped in to see Sikiric, that is Mr. Vasiljevic's uncle. Did you
18 go inside to see Mr. Sikiric?
19 A. Yes, we went in to the coffee bar, he was inside, and we sat down
21 Q. When you use the word "establishment," what do you mean?
22 A. Coffee bar, restaurant.
23 Q. And what is the name of that establishment, can you remember?
24 A. Believe me, I don't know.
25 Q. So you told us, you told Mr. Sikiric what had happened, and did
1 you have a drink or not?
2 A. Yes. I and Mr. Zivorad had a drink inside, and they took a drink
3 for him into the car because he couldn't come out and he was complaining
4 that he was cold.
5 Q. You don't know what Mr. Vasiljevic drank, what it was that his
6 uncle gave him, you don't know?
7 A. I don't know whether it was his uncle or his aunt, but I don't
8 know what the drink was.
9 Q. What did you say, how long did you stay there in that catering
11 A. Between 20 minutes and half an hour, not longer.
12 Q. Did you have any problems crossing the borders or was it just a
14 A. Well, we would always have to stop to show our documents, to tell
15 them where we were going at both crossing, so this took some time, you
16 see. I can't say how long, but we had to stop.
17 Q. Could you tell us, please, if you remember, tell us exactly if you
18 know when that would be even better or approximately when you arrived at
19 the Uzice hospital?
20 A. We were in Uzice about 2100 hours.
21 Q. Were you perhaps present together with Mr. Savic when he was
22 handing over the patient, Mr. Vasiljevic, to the admissions department at
23 the Uzice hospital?
24 A. No. A person comes out to take over the patient, and I
25 immediately went to the eye department, to the eye ward, ophthalmology
2 Q. Can you remember how much later you left the hospital to return to
4 A. I spent about between 10 and 15 minutes at each ward so I stayed
5 between 20 and 30 minutes.
6 Q. So Mr. Vasiljevic stayed behind at the hospital in Uzice?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Do you know how much time Mr. Vasiljevic spent at the hospital in
10 A. I don't know how much, but I would see him later on, I don't know
11 when it was I saw him again. I saw him with crutches and I know he came
12 to the health centre to change his bandages, but I don't know. I have no
14 Q. So you would see him when he came to the health centre for
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And he was on crutches at the time?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. At the beginning of your testimony, you said that you knew
20 Mr. Vasiljevic both as a waiter and as a fellow citizen.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you know that Vasiljevic liked company or rather that he liked
23 to drink, that he got drunk?
24 A. I do know that he was gay, he liked company, and I would
25 frequently see him sitting at a table with friends and he would be known
1 to have a little too much to drink and to get drunk.
2 Q. In view of the fact that Visegrad is a small town, did you hear
3 from anyone or did you see Mr. Vasiljevic commit any offences, take part
4 in any looting, or demonstrate any other kind of criminal behaviour?
5 A. No, I never heard anything like that, never anything bad about
6 him. I knew him as I said, as a good fellow citizen.
7 Q. During the war, at any time or place, did you see Mr. Vasiljevic
8 wearing any kind of uniform? If you did, tell us what kind, and did he
9 carry a weapon or something else or did he not carry anything?
10 A. As I said already, I told you what kind of clothing I saw him in.
11 I never saw him in any uniform nor with a weapon.
12 Q. Have you heard from anyone or did you personally see him
13 participating or involved with any kind of paramilitary formations or not?
14 A. No.
15 Q. In view of your knowledge of Mr. Vasiljevic, could you tell us
16 your opinion, and I'm asking for your opinion, being the kind of man you
17 described him to be, could he have taken part in any such crimes, criminal
18 activities and the like?
19 A. As far as I know him, and knowing him from before the war, I doubt
20 that he could have done that.
21 MR. TANASKOVIC: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you: I have no
22 more questions.
23 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you, Mr. Tanaskovic.
24 Mr. Groome.
25 MR. GROOME: Thank you, Your Honour
1 Cross-examined by Mr. Groome:
2 Q. Thank you. Good afternoon, Mr. Novakovic. My name is Dermot
3 Groome and I represent the Office of the Prosecutor and I'm just going to
4 ask you a few questions this afternoon regarding your testimony.
5 A. Please do.
6 Q. I want to ask you once again to describe, as best you're able, the
7 armband that you say you saw on Mr. Vasiljevic.
8 A. I said I would usually pass in a car. He had an armband that was
9 red in colour. Now, whether it had any symbol, I don't know, I didn't
10 notice it whether it could have been a red cross or not, I don't know. I
11 just know that the armband was red.
12 Q. Now, sir, you've just used the word "red cross". Do you remember
13 seeing a red cross on it?
14 A. That's what I was saying. I didn't see it.
15 Q. So your testimony here today is that you did not see a red cross
16 on that armband; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, do you remember giving a statement to Mr. Tanaskovic back in
19 May of the year 2000?
20 A. Yes, I think it was on the 5th of May, 2000.
21 Q. And were you being as truthful with Mr. Tanaskovic regarding what
22 you remembered regarding this armband at that particular time?
23 A. I said the truth then, and I'm telling the truth now and to the
24 best of my recollection and what I saw.
25 Q. Mr. Novakovic, I'm going to show you your statement, I'm going to
1 refer you to a particular sentence and then I'm going to ask you whether
2 you that changes your testimony here today.
3 MR. GROOME: I'm going to ask that Prosecution document 110.1 and
4 110.2, 110.1 being the B/C/S version of the statement and 110.2 being the
5 English translation.
6 Q. Mr. Novakovic, I'd ask you to look at the second paragraph of your
7 statement. It begins with the word "Dom," D-o-m, and in about the middle
8 of that paragraph there's a sentence that describes what you say about the
9 red cross. I'd ask you to read that to yourself and you let me know when
10 you've finished.
11 A. It seems to me that it had a red cross sign on it. Knowing it was
12 red, I thought it was of the Red Cross. I just remembered the red colour.
13 Q. So is it your testimony, sir, that when you see the colour red,
14 you immediately think of the Red Cross?
15 A. No, I wasn't saying that. I just went by and I thought to myself,
16 he might be from the Red Cross. I have always said it was red in colour,
17 now whether there was a sign on it or not, I don't know.
18 Q. Well, sir, do you admit or deny that in your statement to
19 Mr. Tanaskovic, you said, "It seems to me that he had the sign of the Red
20 Cross." Do you admit or deny that you said that in your statement?
21 A. I deny that I knew there was a red cross because here there is
22 this phrase, "It seems to me". I'm not denying anything, I'm just not
23 claiming that it was the Red Cross, that's all.
24 JUDGE HUNT: What you are being asked to say is that you concede
25 that what was read to you was what you said to the investigator. "It
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 seems to me that he had the sign of the Red Cross." Now, do you agree
2 that is what you said to the investigator?
3 A. Yes, this is what I told the investigator.
4 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you, sir.
5 MR. GROOME:
6 Q. Now, Mr. Novakovic, on the trip from the Visegrad health centre up
7 to Uzice, did you pass by Mr. Vasiljevic's house?
8 A. No. We went directly along the road leading to Uzice.
9 Q. Now, you've also testified about when you believe it was that you
10 made this trip up to Uzice and I want to ask you: When is the first time,
11 after 1992, that somebody asked you: Do you remember when it was you went
12 to Uzice with Mitar Vasiljevic in the ambulance? When was the first time
13 somebody asked you to recall that information?
14 A. The first time this question was put to me on the 5th of May by
15 the attorney Mr. Tanaskovic.
16 Q. And that was approximately eight years after the event; correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And did you recall it right away or did you receive any assistance
19 in recalling when it was that this happened?
20 A. No one assisted me. I didn't fix the date then, I just knew it
21 was a religious holiday, a Sunday, and the Troica, the Trinity.
22 Q. You say you know that it was a religious holiday. Could it have
23 been another religious holiday around that time, St. Vidovdan day or St.
24 Vitus day?
25 A. No, Vidovdan is later, it is at the end of June.
1 Q. Can you describe for us how it is eight years later you are so
2 sure it was the first religious holiday and not the second, and I believe
3 they are two weeks apart?
4 A. Of course I know when those holidays are celebrated on the same
5 dates, Vidovdan is always the 28th of June and 14 days before that is the
6 Trinity holiday.
7 Q. Do you have a clear memory of what you did earlier in the day on
8 Trinity Sunday?
9 A. Well, you see, we were under work obligation. There were no
10 holidays. We had to work every day, and you had to go to work. So I was
11 working as I did on any other day and then I came home to rest.
12 Q. What was your shift that day?
13 A. I didn't have shifts. My working hours were from 8.00 a.m. until
14 4.00 p.m.
15 Q. And did you leave the health centre directly after your work hours
16 ended or did you remain there afterwards?
17 A. No, I went straight home by car. I was resting in my own
19 Q. Up until the time you left the health centre, did you see Mitar
20 Vasiljevic in the health centre?
21 A. No.
22 Q. At 4.00 was Mr. Savic at the health centre?
23 A. He was on duty in the health centre as the driver then. Now,
24 whether he was in the centre or in the field, at that depended on whether
25 he was engaged or not.
1 MR. GROOME: Thank you, Mr. Novakovic, I have no more questions.
2 JUDGE HUNT: Re-examination, Mr. Tanaskovic?
3 MR. TANASKOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honours.
4 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you, sir, for coming along to give evidence and
5 for the evidence you have given. You are now free to leave.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too.
7 [The witness withdrew]
8 [The witness entered court]
9 JUDGE HUNT: Now, sir, would you stand up, please, and take the
10 solemn declaration in the document which the court usher is showing you.
11 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
12 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
13 WITNESS: DOBRIVOJE SIKIRIC
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 JUDGE HUNT: Sit down, please, sir.
16 Yes, Mr. Domazet.
17 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Examined by Mr. Domazet:
19 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Sikiric. Would you please get
20 closer to the microphone so that the interpreters can hear you properly
21 and please wait a couple of seconds after my question before giving your
23 Could you please introduce yourself? What is your name, where and
24 when you were born?
25 A. My name is Dobrivoje Sikiric, I was born in the village of
1 Jablanica, Visegrad municipality.
2 Q. When were you born, Mr. Sikiric?
3 A. On the 5th of June, 1938.
4 Q. What is your ethnicity, Mr. Sikiric?
5 A. I am a Serb.
6 Q. Would you be kind enough to wait a couple of seconds before giving
7 your answer because of the interpreters since we are speaking the same
9 Will you please tell me your wife's name and her date of birth?
10 A. My wife's name is Mileva, she was born on the 20th of February,
12 Q. Where is your wife from, what is her maiden name?
13 A. Her maiden name is Marinkovic and she comes from the same village
14 that I was born in, that is, Jablanica.
15 Q. Where do you live, Mr. Sikiric?
16 A. I am now living in Vardiste, Visegrad municipality.
17 Q. Since when have you been living in Vardiste?
18 A. Since 1971.
19 Q. Without any interruption, and were you living in Vardiste in 1992?
20 A. I was.
21 Q. Do you know Mitar Vasiljevic personally?
22 A. I know Mitar from the day he was born as he was my sister's son.
23 My sister gave birth to him.
24 Q. Could you describe your relationship in detail?
25 A. My sister is his mother, so I am his uncle.
1 Q. So your sister is Mr. Vasiljevic's mother?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Is she alive?
4 A. No, she's not.
5 Q. When did she die?
6 A. In 1963.
7 Q. Could you please tell me, Mr. Sikiric, you are married to Milena,
8 do you have children?
9 A. I had a son who was killed in this terrible war.
10 Q. So you only had one son, you had no other children?
11 A. I did not.
12 Q. I know, Mr. Sikiric, that even now it is hard for you to talk
13 about it, but try and control your emotions and I shall try not to delve
14 into the matter at any length, but I have to ask you a few questions about
15 the time when your son was killed and do forgive me for having to do that
16 though I know it must be very hard on you.
17 What was your occupation at the time in 1992?
18 A. I was a caterer with my own business, that was always my
19 occupation and it is still to this day.
20 Q. Where is this establishment that you own?
21 A. It is in Vardiste, Visegrad municipality.
22 Q. Where, in the village, is that restaurant situated?
23 A. It is close to the border with Serbia.
24 Q. And in relation to the main road, the Visegrad-Uzice road?
25 A. It is on that road.
1 Q. If I understand you, the establishment is right on the road?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You said, Mr. Sikiric, that you had an only son and that he was
4 killed in the war. Could you tell us when he was killed and what was his
6 A. His name was Zeljko Sikiric, he was killed on the 1st of June,
8 Q. Do you know where he was killed and under which circumstances?
9 A. He was killed on the road between Visegrad to Gorazde, not exactly
10 on the road, above the road.
11 Q. Was your son a soldier or, rather, had he been mobilised?
12 A. Yes, he had been mobilised to the Territorial Defence.
13 Q. Do you know anything further about this, what unit he was in and
14 how far the place where he was killed is from Visegrad or Vardiste?
15 A. Well, it's about ten kilometres away from Visegrad, and there are
16 20 from Vardiste to Visegrad so all together it would be about 30
17 kilometres away from our house.
18 Q. So this was not in the area of Vardiste, but on the opposite side
19 of Visegrad when you add up the kilometres and say it was 30 kilometres
20 from Vardiste, do I understand you correctly?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. On the same occasion, was it just your son Zeljko who was killed
23 or was somebody else killed at the same time?
24 A. As far as I was able to ascertain, five of them were killed and my
25 Zeljko was among them.
1 Q. Do you remember the names of the others who were killed?
2 A. Yes, I can remember because I was looking for my child so I took
3 note of everything.
4 Q. Would you tell us what you remember, please?
5 A. Radoje Masal from Vardiste, Milko Masal from Vardiste, Dragomir
6 Simsic from Vardiste, Zeljko Sikiric from Vardiste and Djordje Trivkovic
7 who was from the area of Visegrad.
8 Q. Mr. Sikiric, did you learn of your son's death on the day he was
9 killed or later?
10 A. No, we hoped he would come as he always did in the evening or in
11 the morning but on Tuesday, I became suspicious because there was no word
12 and we had heard that there had been some casualties in the vicinity of
13 Visegrad so I immediately began to suspect, I started asking questions.
14 My car had broken down, but there was a woman from the Masala family who
15 had a car and we took her car and when we arrived there, they found two of
16 them the day after but the other three it took three days to find them and
17 this happened on Monday at about 4.00 p.m., that was when it happened, and
18 we found my son and the two Masal or rather Dragomir Simsic, Mirko Masal
19 and my Zeljko, we found them only on the Thursday of the same week.
20 Q. When you spoke of the day, I think you mentioned the day of the
21 week. Do you remember?
22 A. It was Monday, the 1st of June, 1992 that my son was killed.
23 Q. If I understood you correctly, your son and two others were not
24 found until Thursday, and their bodies were not pulled out until then?
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Do you remember, Mr. Sikiric, when the funeral took place, your
2 son's funeral?
3 A. It was on Saturday, the 6th of June, the same year.
4 Q. And was it an orthodox funeral with the presence of a priest?
5 A. Yes, it was.
6 Q. And where was he buried?
7 A. He was buried in Vardiste in the cemetery.
8 Q. Was Mitar Vasiljevic present at the funeral?
9 A. Yes, he was. He came with his wife.
10 Q. What is his wife's name?
11 A. Milojka.
12 Q. I'll ask you something in connection with Serbian customs. Is it
13 customary when someone dies or is killed for relatives and friends to come
14 to the house to express their condolences?
15 A. Well, that week, they all came when I was looking for my son, they
16 all came to the house to ask what was new. And when my son was found on
17 Thursday, our family came, everybody wanted to know what had happened.
18 They came from Belgrade. My wife's brothers came from -- because my son
19 had six uncles, they came, Mitar Vasiljevic also came. I think it was on
20 Friday, and that was when the preparations were being made for the
21 funeral, according to our customs.
22 Q. So your answer to my question was yes, it was the custom and many
23 people did come and you mentioned the various family members and others
24 who came, among them you mentioned Mitar Vasiljevic. Does that mean that
25 he came to your house to express his condolences before the funeral?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You said, Mr. Sikiric, that he came to the funeral with his wife
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. There were probably many people there and you were probably
6 feeling very bad, but I still ask you whether you remember what his
7 reaction was and how he behaved?
8 A. Well, I can answer that. As you can imagine, this was a tragic
9 event for me, but I saw that Mitar was very sad at my son's funeral. He
10 was thoughtful as were all our relatives and all the family, and that's
11 usual in the cases of tragedy like this.
12 Q. Thank you. I will not go any further into this. I realise that
13 it must be very hard for you to talk about it.
14 I will now ask you the following: You said that you ran a cafe at
15 the time?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did you have your own car?
18 A. Yes, I did.
19 Q. Where did you travel at that time in order to bring supplies for
20 your cafe, because I assume that you couldn't get them in Vardiste?
21 A. Well, because I'm 20 kilometres away from Visegrad, and that
22 unfortunate war was going on at the time, there was nothing to be bought.
23 I was the only one whose establishment was open, and there was nothing to
24 be had in Visegrad, so I went to Serbia constantly to buy supplies for my
1 Q. Visegrad is about 20 kilometres away from your house. How far is
2 Uzice from Vardiste?
3 A. A little over 50 kilometres from my house, about 55 kilometres.
4 Q. If I understood you correctly, you still went to Uzice to get
5 supplies even though it was further away than Visegrad because, as you
6 said, there were shortages of goods in Visegrad. What did you mean by
7 saying that it was not a safe road?
8 A. Well, it was not safe. There was no security. It was not safe,
9 you couldn't pass and also, there were no goods to be bought in Visegrad
10 so sometimes I went to Uzice as many as two times a day and I would get
11 goods, sometimes more, sometimes less.
12 Q. If I understood you correctly, at that time, I am speaking of the
13 time just before and just after your son's death, you had no reason to go
14 to Visegrad, did I understand you correctly?
15 A. That's correct. I did not go to Visegrad at all after that.
16 Q. I will now go back to your encounter with Mitar Vasiljevic on the
17 6th of June which was a Saturday, he came to your son's funeral with his
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Can you remember when was the next time you saw him and how soon
21 after that it was?
22 A. We didn't see each other after that for a brief time. My son was
23 buried on the 6th of July and then I stopped going to Visegrad. We went
24 to the cemetery every day as was the customary and I saw Zivorad Savic and
25 Miloje. I was surprised, and they said to me, "Here is Mitar. Here is
1 your nephew. He's broken his leg. There he is in the ambulance." And I
2 was amazed. I came out and I saw him and they said to me, "Mitar says
3 he's cold," so I called my wife, my late wife. She died a year after my
4 son was killed, and she brought a blanket. We took it outside and gave it
5 to Mitar to cover himself, and the others came in and had a drink. They
6 stayed a brief while, and then they took Mitar to Uzice and I stayed at
8 Q. Thank you. Mr. Sikiric, can you remember in relation to the date
9 you remember well, Saturday, the 6th of June, the day of the funeral, how
10 much time passed until the day when you saw Mitar Vasiljevic again in the
11 circumstances you have just described?
12 A. I can't tell you how many days it was. I worked every day even on
13 Sundays, but it may have been seven or eight days later.
14 Q. So that was your first encounter with him after the day of the
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Do you remember what time of day it was?
18 A. As far as I can remember, it was in the afternoon, just before
19 nightfall. There was still quite a lot of daylight.
20 Q. You are referring to the occasion when they came to your house?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Can you say how long they stayed in your cafe?
23 A. Well, they had coffee, they waited for us to make coffee, we had a
24 chat. I can't tell you how long it was. I never look.
25 Q. Did they or Mitar, did any one of them tell you how it came about
1 that Mitar had this accident?
2 A. Well, they said he had fallen off a horse. I suppose he had a
3 horse somewhere. I was surprised to hear it.
4 Q. When you say "they said," who do you mean when you say "they"?
5 A. Savic and Novakovic.
6 Q. So you talked to them first?
7 A. Yes, they came in. I didn't know anything about it. They came in
8 and they said, "There's your nephew. He's fallen off a horse and broken
9 his leg. We're taking him to Uzice."
10 Q. And when you went outside and saw Mitar in the vehicle, what did
11 you discuss with him?
12 A. I asked him, "Mitar, how did this happen?" And he told me. I
13 found it odd.
14 Q. When you say, Mr. Sikiric, "that you found it odd," what do you
15 mean? What was odd?
16 A. Well, it was odd for him to fall off a horse -- how shall I put
17 it -- maybe he didn't know how to ride. I don't know what happened. I
18 wasn't there.
19 Q. In view of the fact that you are -- you were related through your
20 sister, I don't know how often you saw each other, but did you know
21 anything about whether he liked horses or anything like that?
22 A. I didn't know anything special about it, but I know his
23 grandfather and his father had horses when Mitar was a young boy. I knew
24 that, and I knew that he could ride when I went to visit them. That's why
25 I was so surprised that he should fall off a horse, that he should not be
1 able to command a horse properly.
2 Q. In your conversation with him on that occasion, did you can ask
3 him about the reaction of his family to this?
4 A. Well, I didn't discuss that with him. I don't remember having
5 discussed it with him at any rate.
6 Q. Did you discuss it with anyone from his family after he left?
7 A. Yes, as soon as they left for Uzice, I called Milojka and I wanted
8 to know whether she knew about this or not, so I called her. I said,
9 "Milojka, do you know what happened?" to warn her, because when someone
10 is missing, when someone doesn't come home, people are afraid. So I said
11 to my wife, "Let's call Milojka right away so that she won't worry, so
12 that she'll just know that he's just broken his leg, that it's not
13 something worse."
14 Q. From your conversation with her, were you able to gather that it
15 was from you she learned of this or that she already knew about it?
16 A. Milojka didn't know. She was surprised, and then she said, "Is
17 that all?" And I said, "It's all. He's just broken his leg. Zika and
18 the other man told me that he had just broken his leg, so trust us." She
19 was afraid that something worse had happened.
20 Q. When you say that her reaction was, "Is that all that's
21 happened?" Do you mean that she was afraid that the injury was worse and
22 that you were keeping it from her?
23 A. Yes, yes, precisely so.
24 Q. When the vehicle went on in the direction of Uzice, can you say
25 whether the time of day had changed?
1 A. How do you mean "changed"?
2 Q. The time that they spent at your place and when they left, was it
3 still daylight or twilight?
4 A. There was still daylight.
5 Q. Did you visit Mitar Vasiljevic while he was in hospital in Uzice?
6 A. Yes, I did quite often, perhaps not every time I went to Uzice
7 because I went there often to get supplies, but I did visit him once a
8 week, perhaps, or maybe even twice a week sometimes, but at least once a
9 week I went to see how he was.
10 Q. Do you remember what ward he was in when you visited him?
11 A. Well, the first time I visited him, he was in the orthopaedic
12 ward, and he had weights on his leg, traction.
13 Q. Could he get up or move around?
14 A. No, how could he get up when he had weights attached to his leg?
15 Q. You said he was in the orthopaedic ward, did he later move to
16 another ward?
17 A. Yes. Later on, he was transferred. I went to see him and they
18 said he's not here anymore. They knew me, a lot of doctors and nurses in
19 the Uzice hospital knew me because my wife had been a patient there,
20 that's why they knew me so I asked where he was and they said, "He's gone
21 to the psychiatric ward." And I found him there because I knew a lot of
22 nurses so they let me through and they allowed me to see him. It wasn't
23 really possible for everyone, but I managed, and when I came to see him in
24 the psychiatric ward, I noticed that he was out of his mind in a manner of
25 speaking, and I was very disturbed by this.
1 Q. Can you tell me what this looked like, why you had this impression
2 when you say he was out of his mind. Can you describe in greater detail
3 what was happening in your view?
4 A. Well, I can't say what the consequences were of the various
5 tragedies that happened. I can't prove anything. I'm not an expert on
6 this. But probably it was because of all the horrors that were happening
7 in Visegrad and maybe he was very upset because his cousin had been killed
8 in the war.
9 Q. Well, thank you for your reply, but that wasn't what I was asking
10 you. I didn't ask you for your opinion about the causes of this, but I
11 asked you what you noticed, what made you think that something was wrong?
12 A. Now I understand. I came to see him and I would always bring him
13 something, and I started talking to him but his answers had nothing to do
14 with my questions. That's what I noticed that he was saying things that
15 had nothing to do with the conversation between the two of us.
16 Q. Did you try to ask him questions and to get replies to them?
17 A. Well, I wasn't able to do that because I saw that he didn't
18 understand what I was asking him. He didn't understand what I was saying
19 so I couldn't correct him. It was a very tricky situation.
20 JUDGE HUNT: Is that a convenient time?
21 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, yes.
22 JUDGE HUNT: We'll adjourn now until 2.30.
23 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 --- On resuming at 2.30 p.m.
2 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet.
3 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Sikiric, let us resume with your testimony.
5 The last point we were discussing were your visits to Mitar Vasiljevic at
6 the hospital. Mr. Sikiric, do you know who took Mitar Vasiljevic out of
7 hospital when his treatment was over?
8 A. When the treatment was over, Milojka, his wife, called me that we
9 go and fetch him from hospital. So I went to Uzice with Milojka and drove
10 Mitar back home.
11 Q. When you say you drove him, you probably mean in your own car.
12 A. Yes, in my car.
13 Q. Did Mitar Vasiljevic have a car?
14 A. No, he never had a car, nor did he drive, nor did he ever pass a
15 driving test.
16 Q. Do you know, Mr. Sikiric, that Mitar Vasiljevic underwent
17 treatment before this, and if you know, tell us of what?
18 A. Yes. Before that period, maybe seven or eight years ago, he was
19 admitted to the same ward with some mental problems. He wasn't healthy
20 mentally, as I would put it. I don't know how to express myself.
21 Q. When you said "at the same ward," you mean the ward from which he
22 was discharged in Uzice?
23 A. Yes. I don't remember, it was a long time ago, but he was in
25 Q. And which hospital are you referring to?
1 A. The one in Uzice.
2 Q. Do you know why this condition set in for which he underwent
4 A. We all had our suspicions. As he worked for years as a caterer,
5 he liked to have too much to drink, and maybe it's genetic too.
6 Q. Were you ever with him when he had had too much to drink?
7 A. Yes, sometimes I was in his company.
8 Q. How would he behave then?
9 A. Under the influence of alcohol, he would not be aggressive. He
10 would be cheerful and made jokes, but after that came the problems.
11 Q. Do you perhaps know that after this period that you were referring
12 to, 1992 in Uzice, that is, do you know whether he went to hospital again
13 after that?
14 A. As far as I can recollect, a year later, he broke a leg again, I
15 don't know which one it was. So sometime in 1993 or 1994, he spent all
16 summer there. He had spinal surgery. I took him to Belgrade where he
17 underwent surgery. I went to visit him in Belgrade too.
18 Q. With the exception of the period he spent in hospital and when he
19 underwent treatment in 1992, 1993, and 1994, do you know what was his
20 profession at the time?
21 A. He was working in catering establishments, but even while working,
22 he would often be drunk.
23 Q. Later on, after this period, was he permanently employed or was
24 there a period when there was no work?
25 A. I didn't go to Visegrad that often afterwards, but there wasn't
1 work all the time continuously, but I don't know what else he could have
3 Q. Being yourself in the catering business, did you work at fairs,
4 religious holidays, under a tent, organising festivities of that kind?
5 A. Yes, that is done regularly. Ever since I started working as a
6 private caterer in 1978, as Mitar is closely related to me, he would
7 always be around and he has a lot of experience as a waiter. He was my
8 right hand for these fairs, and occasionally, he would stand in for one of
9 my own workers when he was off or when my workers were off.
10 Q. What was the name of your bar or coffee bar at the time?
11 A. It was called The Merry Bosnian Lady.
12 Q. And one final question for you. You spoke about his character a
13 little, but I would like you to tell us to the best of your knowledge
14 whether he was a man prone to violence, revenge, the settling of accounts,
15 of any other criminal activity?
16 A. As far as I know Mitar, I always called him "my Mitar," as I was
17 his uncle. He was never like that. He did a job that suited him. He
18 wasn't aggressive. He liked company. We are all like that, and that's
19 how Mitar was too. He was well seen in any company.
20 When I worked at these fairs, he would bring his colleagues to
21 help, regardless of their religion, whether they were Serbs or Muslims.
22 He would bring his whole crew to come and work for me.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] And finally, could the witness be
25 shown Defence Exhibit D19.1. D19 is in English, D19.1 in B/C/S. And
1 could D14.1 be prepared also and be shown to the witness immediately after
3 Q. Will you please look at the Exhibit D19.1. Is that a death
4 certificate for your son Zeljko?
5 A. Yes, it is.
6 Q. Thank you. Will you also now look at the second document, D14.1.
7 It's a certificate. And please confirm whether that is correct.
8 A. I personally asked the priest to issue me this, because a priest
9 was in Vardiste, and then the religious books were transferred to a
10 monastery 5 kilometres away, the Dobrun monastery.
11 Q. So do you recognise that document yourself?
12 A. Yes. I requested that document, and I personally also received
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. Sikiric.
15 Cross-examined by Ms. Bauer:
16 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Sikiric. My name is Sabine Bauer, and I'm
17 appearing on behalf of the Prosecution. I'd like to ask you several
18 questions regarding your testimony.
19 Mr. Sikiric, when was the first time you were asked to recall the
20 events of today that you recalled from that time, 1992?
21 A. You mean to tell you about the events in 1992. The attorney Rade
22 asked me, as I know quite a bit about it, and that is why he asked me --
23 Q. And at that time --
24 A. -- to testify.
25 Q. And at that time, did you give a statement to Mr. Tanaskovic?
1 A. No.
2 Q. You told us today that you would go and get your supplies from
3 Uzice, and sometimes you would get those supplies nearly twice a day.
4 Now, my question for you is: Would you go alone in your car to Uzice when
5 you were getting your supplies?
6 A. Yes. I always go alone. If I have a passenger, then I can't
7 carry enough supplies. Or if I'm transporting a relative or somebody who
8 needs help, who needs a lift to Uzice, I take them there.
9 Q. And in 1992, you told us the road was rather dangerous at that
10 time to travel, but you didn't feel you had to take anybody along for your
11 protection, did you?
12 A. The road was dangerous from Vardiste to Visegrad, to the west.
13 And my house is 200 metres from the border, from the Yugoslav border
14 nowadays the Serbian border, present-day Yugoslavia. So I didn't know
15 anybody to go with me when I would cross the border after 200 metres and
16 enter Serbia.
17 Q. How long did it take you by car to drive to Uzice?
18 A. The road is quite good, and if the road is dry, I can make it in
19 40 to 50 minutes.
20 Q. Now, you told us today that your bar was open seven days a week in
22 A. Yes. I worked every day, as I was quite some distance from
23 Visegrad, on the very Yugoslav border, so that they allowed me to work
24 because I wasn't close to the critical points.
25 Q. So you also worked on holidays and Christian holidays during that
2 A. Yes, because it's a catering establishment that works every day,
3 that is open every day.
4 Q. And you also told us that after your son died, you visited the
5 cemetery on a daily basis.
6 A. Yes. Yes, almost every day, especially the first seven days.
7 That is the custom. And the cemetery is 50 metres from my house. And I
8 had my own workers. I was running the business and the workers were
9 working in the shop, mostly women in those days.
10 Q. And would you continue to visit the cemetery after that regularly
11 as well?
12 A. Yes, according to our customs, at first you go every week at the
13 beginning, and nowadays ...
14 Q. Now, am I correct in saying that after so much time, you can't be
15 absolutely sure anymore how many days after the funeral Mitar Vasiljevic
16 came to your house; correct?
17 A. That is correct. That's what I said. I can't remember the exact
18 day, but it was around about those days, that is, shortly after my
19 tragedy, my son's death and his funeral. So it was around about then,
20 about mid-June. I said about seven or eight days later, but those who
21 drove him, they will remember better, those who testified before me.
22 Q. Now, you told us when he came by, he remained in the ambulance and
23 you were told about his fall from a horse, and then you saw him and he
24 told you about it, how it came about. What, precisely, did he tell you
25 what did happen to him?
1 A. He told me, "Uncle, I fell off a horse."
2 Q. And did you inquire with him how it happened or how come that it
3 happened since you knew he was an experienced horseback rider in his
5 A. Believe me, I can't remember. I almost laughed and I said, "How
6 come you fell when you know how to ride?" Nothing more than that. I
7 didn't ask him how he fell, at least I don't remember asking him about the
9 Q. So he didn't tell you anything about who he got the horse from and
10 how he came about to ride the horse, et cetera; am I correct?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Now, did he ask you for anything to drink?
13 A. I seem to remember that we took him out something, my wife and I,
14 to have something to drink. Now, what it was, I don't know, but we did.
15 And the others who walked through the door said, "Take something for Mitar
16 to drink."
17 Q. But in total, he appeared to you quite normal, sober, not drunk
18 that day?
19 A. I couldn't notice whether he had been drinking or not, but it was
20 an accident and he wasn't in a good mood, of course. You know how it is
21 when you have a broken leg.
22 Q. Did he ask you for alcohol?
23 A. Even if he had asked me for it, I wouldn't have given it to him.
24 Q. Now, you told us that you also visited Mr. Vasiljevic while he was
25 in the orthopaedic ward in the Uzice hospital. Did you have conversations
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 with him at that time when you were bringing him some little things?
2 A. Yes, I did talk to him, and to the room.
3 Q. And did he, at that time, tell you maybe what had happened to him?
4 A. I knew that he had fallen off a horse. I knew that. We probably
5 talked about it. He fell, and that's what happened.
6 Q. And at that time, the conversations you had with him were not out
7 of the ordinary, would you say; correct?
8 A. No. We spoke about family things and about this, his problem.
9 Q. So you told us then also today that he sort of was out of his mind
10 when he was brought to the psychiatric ward, and you said specifically you
11 estimate not that you can prove it because it was of all the horrors that
12 happened in Visegrad at that time. Did he tell you anything about all the
13 horrors that he might have witnessed in Visegrad at that time? What did
14 you mean by that?
15 A. What I mean is because he wasn't answering my questions. I would
16 say one thing and he would answer something quite disconnected, and that
17 is why I came to the conclusion that he wasn't answering my questions.
18 Q. Yes, but you concluded it was based either because he was also so
19 upset about your cousin's [sic] death or because of all the horrors that
20 happened in Visegrad at that time. What made you say "all the horrors
21 that happened in Visegrad at that time"?
22 A. I was referring to the horrors, the killing of the five men in a
23 single day, in a single hour. Because while the Yugoslav army was there,
24 Muslims and Serbs were together and nobody was killed. The first to be
25 killed were these five men in Visegrad. None of the Muslims got killed
1 before them. Yes, one did, a month, I think, later, Selim, but these were
2 the first to get killed in Visegrad, and for everybody, everybody was
3 flabbergasted about it.
4 Q. And the five men that you are talking about are the five men that
5 were killed together with your son; correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. So can I conclude that up to the psychiatric ward, you didn't
8 notice any difference in Mitar Vasiljevic's behaviour. That was the first
9 time you noticed that he was so-called out of his mind?
10 A. One could see on Mitar that he was drinking more than usual, so it
11 could have been the effect of the alcohol too.
12 Q. Now -- but what I meant was it was the first time that you saw a
13 difference in his behaviour when you saw him at the psychiatric ward.
14 That's the only thing I wanted to clear up.
15 A. Let me tell you, at the funeral of my son, whether he was really
16 drunk, he probably was drunk. He was disturbed. I could notice this, but
17 I couldn't pay more attention because there were a lot of people present.
18 It was a surprise for everyone that so many should be killed in one day.
19 And when I arrived at the psychiatric ward, I realised and noticed that he
20 had absolutely taken leave of his senses, that he didn't understand what I
21 was saying. He kept talking disconnectedly.
22 Q. Now, talking about the funeral of your son, you say actually his
23 reaction was sad and thoughtful. You didn't say he was drunk. Was he in
24 any way -- did he cry at the funeral?
25 A. Yes. As far as I was able to see, it wasn't just Mitar that was
1 crying. A lot of people were crying.
2 Q. And when he expressed his condolences, did he somehow express
3 anger at this death?
4 A. No. No.
5 Q. But you would say that your son's death -- Mitar Vasiljevic was
6 very close with your son - to clear this up front - right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. So his death upset him pretty much like it upsets any close
9 relative; correct?
10 A. Yes. Correct.
11 Q. And your son died in battle against the Muslims, didn't he?
12 A. No. At that time, there was still no battles. They were in the
13 Territorial Defence, and there was no shooting up until then. No one got
14 killed before these five men. They were killed by the Muslims. And you
15 know that things got worse after that. Not a single Muslim was killed, at
16 least as far as I know, in Visegrad until that point in time.
17 Q. Now, then, it is correct that your son died at the hands of
19 A. One hundred per cent.
20 Q. And Mitar Vasiljevic never said he would like to take revenge
21 after your son's death, did he?
22 A. He never said that to me.
23 MS. BAUER: Your Honour, no further questions.
24 JUDGE HUNT: Re-examination.
25 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour.
1 Re-examined by Mr. Domazet:
2 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Sikiric, in answer to this last question by
3 Ms. Bauer, you said that Mitar had never said anything of that kind to
4 you, but you -- your knowledge of Mitar, in addition to the fact that you
5 said that the death of your son upset him a great deal, do you think that
6 he could kill somebody because of that, especially somebody who had
7 nothing to do with the death of your son?
8 A. Well, knowing Mitar Vasiljevic, I don't think he would be capable
9 of doing anything like that. And I know him from way back, and he never
10 took part. None of our ancestors did or any of that kind. Nobody ever
11 took part in any crimes of that kind.
12 Q. In answer to a question by Ms. Bauer, you also said that at that
13 time, it wasn't a real war and that the five people who were killed,
14 including your son, were the first victims to fall.
15 A. Yes, the first victims. There was a victim on the Muslim side a
16 month prior to that in the centre of town. Well, not actually the centre
17 but the suburbs of town. Whereas the five who were killed were the first
18 victims in Visegrad. None of the Muslims had died up until then.
19 Q. As far as you knew.
20 A. Yes, as far as I knew.
21 Q. And that first victim, the Serb that you spoke about, do you
22 remember his surname?
23 A. Well, some people know, but as I'm not from Visegrad, I don't know
24 his name, no.
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Sikiric. I have no further questions for you.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I say something?
2 JUDGE HUNT: No, sir. I think that if you haven't been asked any
3 questions, it would be better for you not to say something that is not
4 required. But we are grateful to you for having come along to give
5 evidence and for the evidence which you have given. You are now free to
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too, Your Honour.
8 [The witness withdrew]
9 JUDGE HUNT: Whilst we're waiting for the next witness, I was
10 informed just before we resumed this afternoon that there is a requirement
11 of the Judges to attend a matter at midday tomorrow, so we obviously can't
12 start at 11.30.
13 What I propose is that we start at 1.00 and go through to 2.30, we
14 have a half an hour's break, and we go then from 3.00 until 4.30. But
15 unfortunately, we won't be able to start, I think, safely -- I can't say
16 that we will start before 1.00.
17 [The witness entered court]
18 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, while we are waiting, may I inquire from
19 Mr. Domazet. This next witness is the last scheduled witness for this
20 week. May I be advised of the witnesses to be called tomorrow so that I
21 may prepare for this evening?
22 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as far as I know, a
23 group of witnesses arrived today. I haven't seen them yet, but I do
24 envisage that among that group of witnesses -- or, rather, if the
25 testimony of Mr. Radomir Vasiljevic is completed tomorrow, then the next
1 witness will be Mrs. Milena Tomasevic. She is a nurse at the
2 neuropsychiatric ward at the general hospital in Uzice. And tomorrow,
3 after talking to the witnesses, I shall come up with a schedule for the
4 following week.
5 JUDGE HUNT: If anything happens, that that particular witness
6 doesn't arrive tomorrow, will you contact Mr. Groome and let him know who
7 you would call as an alternative?
8 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have been told by the
9 service that they have arrived, and that the lady has arrived. They're in
10 The Hague, but I haven't had any contact with them yet.
11 [The witness entered court]
12 JUDGE HUNT: Now, sir, would you take the solemn declaration in
13 the document which the court usher is now showing you.
14 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
15 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
16 WITNESS: RADOMIR VASILJEVIC
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you, sir. Sit down, please.
19 Mr. Domazet.
20 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Examined by Mr. Domazet:
22 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Vasiljevic.
23 A. Good afternoon.
24 Q. I shall be asking you questions on behalf of the Defence counsel
25 and -- but as we speak the same language, to facilitate of the work of the
1 interpreters, would you make pauses between my question and your answer.
2 Perhaps you could use the monitor to help you. You will see when the
3 translation is over.
4 Mr. Vasiljevic, would you tell me your full name, date of birth
5 and place of birth?
6 A. My name is Radomir Vasiljevic. I was born on the 27th of
7 February, 1952 in the village of Djurevici near Visegrad.
8 Q. Could you tell me where you went to school and what schools you
9 have -- what schooling you have had?
10 A. Primary school and secondary school I finished in Visegrad, and
11 the Faculty of Medicine in Belgrade. I did my specialist training in
12 Banja Luka.
13 Q. Where do you reside?
14 A. I reside in Visegrad.
15 Q. How long have you been living there?
16 A. I have lived in Visegrad practically since I was born with short
17 interruption, of course, when I did my schooling. And when I went --
18 began studying, I was in Kladanj, but otherwise I've been living in
19 Visegrad since 1987.
20 Q. Since 1987, what jobs have you held?
21 A. I worked as a doctor in the health centre Visegrad, and then since
22 October 1993, I was director of the Visegrad health centre.
23 Q. When you gave us your particulars and your place of birth, you
24 said the village of Djurevici as your birthplace. Now my next question
25 is: Do you know Mitar Vasiljevic?
1 A. Well, let me tell you, I have known Mitar Vasiljevic since he was
2 born. He's a little younger than me.
3 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, as you have the same surname, my next question is
4 the following: Are you related in any way to Mitar Vasiljevic?
5 A. Yes, I am related to Mitar Vasiljevic.
6 Q. Are you closely related or are you a distant relative? Can you
7 describe how you are related to him?
8 A. Well, I can't say that it is -- I am closely related despite the
9 same surname but, let me put it this way, our great-grandfathers were
10 cousins. They weren't even brothers, but they were cousins of some kind,
11 first or second.
12 Q. I see. So if your great-grandfathers were distant cousins, it
13 would be correct to say that you are very distantly related; is that
15 A. Yes, precisely so. I agree with you there.
16 Q. As you say that you have known Mitar Vasiljevic since his young
17 days, could you tell us how you know him, where you saw him, and generally
18 what you know about him and his family?
19 A. I have already said that I have known Mitar since he was born,
20 practically, and throughout that time, I don't know whether I could make
21 any criticisms of Mitar at all. I know him as a fine man, a very nice and
22 honest man, a peace-loving man. He liked to make merry. He was a jolly
23 person but not -- never in any excessive kind of way.
24 I also know Mitar's whole family. I know his father, his mother,
25 his brothers and sisters, and I can tell you that it is a very, very fine
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 and honest family. I also know Mitar's wife and his children and, as they
2 lived in my neighbourhood for a time, I can tell you that they're a fine
3 family and that there is nothing that can be characterised as bad in any
4 way. So nothing that I would find fault with or that would be
5 unacceptable in terms of into human relations or neighbourly relations or
6 relations among family members.
7 Q. Did you know him on the basis of his professional work, on the
8 basis of the job he did? Did you know him that way?
9 A. Well, yes, I know he was a waiter. I know he worked in different
10 catering establishments in Visegrad. And as all the catering
11 establishments belonged to one company, he was an employee of that
12 company, and the company would move their workers from one restaurant to
13 another. So I saw him working in all the different catering
14 establishments and I have nothing particular to say with respect to his
15 work and his conduct at work and that kind of thing.
16 Q. As we have touched upon his work, do you know either
17 professionally or otherwise whether he liked to drink?
18 A. Well, you could say that Vasiljevic was prone to drink.
19 Q. Were you ever in a situation in which you saw him when he was
20 drunk, when he drank more than he should have, when he got drunk, in fact?
21 A. Yes, I saw him in situations of that kind. I have seen Mitar
22 drunk, yes.
23 Q. Can you tell us how he behaved when he was drunk? What was he
24 like then?
25 A. Well, I can tell you that his behaviour, Mitar Vasiljevic's
1 behaviour was always acceptable. He was always a docile, peace-loving
2 person. He was never prone to be querulous or indulge in excessive
3 behaviour of any kind.
4 Q. Let me ask you something about your job now, the work you did then
5 and the work you do now, your work as a doctor, in fact. You have told us
6 that you worked in the health centre throughout, and since 1993, you have
7 held the post of director of the health centre. In view of that, let us
8 go back to the year 1992 and do you recall the month of May of that
9 particular year and what happened in May, or the second half of May, to be
10 more specific? What started happening in Visegrad at that time?
11 A. Well, I do remember that period of time. I was there. But let me
12 stress that since that time to the present day, a lot of time has gone by,
13 so I have probably forgotten many things by now. So I don't know what you
14 want me to single out in particular with respect to May 1992.
15 The year went by like all the other war years. There was great
16 fear. There was great chaos. There was great deprivation. There were
17 shortages, no fuel, no medicines, no equipment, no cadres.
18 Q. In the job that you did, Mr. Vasiljevic, at that time in the
19 health centre, did you admit both Muslim and Serb patients? Were there
20 any problems in your work regarding the admission of these patients?
21 A. The health centre, before 1992, during 1992, and after 1992
22 admitted absolutely everybody who had the need for treatment in the health
23 centre and so there were never any problems in that respect.
24 Q. In that period, were you ever in a situation in which you had to
25 offer medical assistance to Mitar Vasiljevic?
1 A. In May? In May 1992, I don't know whether I did in the health
2 centre, whether I helped him in the health centre, but I did extend
3 assistance to Mitar Vasiljevic. It might have been in May, the end of May
4 or the beginning of June, but not in the health centre itself. This was
5 in Uzamnica, in the barracks, where the Yugoslav People's Army was put up
6 before the war.
7 Q. Well, I wasn't specifically thinking about the health centre. I
8 meant in general.
9 So you say you did have occasion to give him medical assistance in
10 Uzamnica at the end of May, beginning of June. Do you happen to remember
11 how this came about and what happened? How did you help him with your
12 medical intervention?
13 A. Well, this is how it was - and let me stress that a lot of time
14 has gone by since then - from a call by Captain Kovacevic. He made two
15 calls in the course of the day. He phoned the outpatient department of
16 the health clinic. I was working there. And in the evening perhaps -- it
17 might have been 9.00 or 8.00. 8.00 or 9.00, thereabouts. I know it was
18 night-time. It was dark. You couldn't see anything.
19 I went to the Uzamnica barracks. And Captain Kovacevic over the
20 phone had told me that it was a relative of mine, Mitar Vasiljevic, he was
21 calling about, that he was undergoing a psychological crisis and that
22 he -- and that medical assistant was necessary. He refused to eat. He
23 was refusing his food. He was behaving in a strange way, at least as far
24 as Kovacevic was able to assess, and that's why he called me and that's
25 why I went, taking a nurse with me.
1 We went to the Uzamnica barracks, and as I say, before the war it
2 was used as a barracks. When I got there, I found Mitar Vasiljevic in the
3 building that they called the command, the headquarters.
4 So I came in first, and then they brought Mitar Vasiljevic in
5 several minutes later, and I examined him, and we did what was necessary.
6 Q. If I understand you correctly, you didn't go into the room in
7 which he was in, but they brought him to a building which was the
8 headquarters of the command, which is where you were; is that right?
9 A. Yes, precisely so. When I went in through the gate, I went some
10 50 metres to a building which they called the command, and several minutes
11 later, they brought in Mitar Vasiljevic. So I didn't visit -- I didn't go
12 to the room in which Mitar had been in up until then.
13 Q. You described the Uzamnica barracks as being a barracks used by
14 the JNA before the war, but you didn't tell us what it was used as at the
15 time you were there.
16 A. Well, before the war, the premises was used by the JNA as a
17 weapons depot. And in the period that I was there, as I was later told
18 and as I was to learn later on, it was a camp of some kind, a prison in
19 which prisoners of war were held, and also our soldiers were there who
20 were serving a sentence of some kind.
21 Q. Yes. You said that later on. But at the time you were there,
22 when you went at the end of May or beginning of June, did you know what it
23 was used for? Did you know what the former Uzamnica barracks were serving
24 as? Did you know that then?
25 A. Well, at that time, I knew that Mitar Vasiljevic was there. I
1 didn't know anything else, what it was all about, or what purposes the
2 barracks were used for.
3 Q. Did you know in what capacity Mitar Vasiljevic was there? Why was
4 he there?
5 A. I learnt that when talking to this man Kovacevic, and also when I
6 talked to the man who brought me and the nurse back to the health centre
7 or from the Uzamnica barracks.
8 Q. And what did they tell you? What did they say?
9 A. They said that Mitar was there as a prisoner and that he was in
10 prison because he had had some differences of opinion with his superiors.
11 Q. You said that you had heard that from the man called Kovacevic and
12 another man who had come with you, who came with you on that occasion, who
13 accompanied you.
14 A. The nurse and I were accompanied from the health centre to the
16 Q. Do you happen to know where he worked at the time?
17 A. I don't know where he worked and what he did.
18 Q. Before that, before that period of 1992, did the town of Visegrad
19 have its prison, whatever type of prison for misdemeanours or offences of
20 any kind? Did it have a prison?
21 A. Visegrad at one time did have some kind of prison for minor
22 offenders and sentencing and probably an investigations prison, but
23 whether it functioned or not and how long it functioned, I really can't
25 Q. Do you know how long Mitar Vasiljevic had been in Uzamnica before
1 you came, before the day that you came to visit as a physician?
2 A. From talking to Kovacevic, I learnt that he had been there for two
3 days or several days. I'm not sure now.
4 Q. When you were there, did anybody happen to say how long he would
5 be staying in prison?
6 A. After I examined him, after I examined Vasiljevic and after I
7 talked to him, which was the decisive part, I came to the conclusion that
8 it would be far better for Vasiljevic if he were to be released because
9 they told me that he hadn't committed any major offence and that is why --
10 that is what I proposed. I said to Kovacevic that his state, his
11 psychological state would improve if he were to be released. And
12 Kovacevic promised that he'd see what he could do and that he would
13 release him either that very evening or the next day.
14 Now, whether that was actually done, I don't know. I didn't
15 inquire after that.
16 Q. When you say that, does that mean that you don't actually know
17 when he was, in fact, released from the Uzamnica prison?
18 A. I don't know exactly, but I do know that after my -- after my
19 visit to Uzamnica, he was released. Whether it was that very evening or
20 the next day or the day after, I can't be sure.
21 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, did you have occasion a few days later to see
22 Mitar Vasiljevic?
23 A. I can tell you that I didn't see Mitar Vasiljevic very often
24 because of my work at the health centre and how busy we were, but I did
25 have occasion to see Mitar seven or eight days later.
1 Q. Do you remember that particular occasion and could you describe it
2 when you saw him?
3 A. It wasn't any special situation. I saw Mitar in the street with a
4 group of men, of people, cleaning, collecting glass, as far as I
5 recollect. You could hear the sound of broken glass. And a group of
6 people were tearing down posters and trying to wash away the graffiti on
7 some of the buildings in Visegrad.
8 Q. What was Mitar Vasiljevic doing? What were you able to notice him
9 doing when you saw him on that occasion?
10 A. I had the impression that he was organising these people to work.
11 He had some kind of leadership role in that group.
12 Q. When you say that you had the impression, on what basis did you
13 gain such an impression?
14 A. Probably because just then, he was wearing some kind of an armband
15 on his sleeve which is usually worn by people on duty at various events.
16 So I -- it was probably on that basis that I concluded that he was some
17 sort of an organiser of the group.
18 Q. Could you describe what kind of an armband that was?
19 A. I think it was a red armband, the colour was red.
20 Q. Where was he wearing this armband?
21 A. On his upper arm. I don't know whether it was his left or his
22 right arm.
23 Q. Did you notice on that armband anything else? Was there any
24 symbol or any other colour apart from the one you told us about?
25 A. No, I don't remember seeing anything else.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Did you notice whether Mitar Vasiljevic was armed on that
3 A. He wasn't armed.
4 Q. And can you remember what kind of clothing he was wearing, of
5 course if you can remember?
6 A. I can't tell you with any precision what kind of clothing it was,
7 but to the best of my recollection, it was dark clothing.
8 Q. Military or civilian?
9 A. I think it was civilian clothing.
10 Q. Do you remember seeing and recognising anyone else in that group
11 of people working with him on the cleaning?
12 A. I don't remember. I don't remember having recognised anyone else
13 in the group. I passed by very quickly. I didn't stay. I didn't
15 Q. Was that the only occasion that you saw him doing that kind of
16 work or did you see him on some other occasion as well, perhaps?
17 A. I don't remember seeing him on any other occasion, though I had
18 heard from others that Mitar Vasiljevic was organising the cleaning of the
20 Q. Who did you hear that from? Can you remember?
21 A. I don't remember who it was from. Probably people who came to the
22 health centre and who passed through the centre of town.
23 Q. What were the comments those people were making about these
24 cleaning activities? Did they speak about it favourably or unfavorably.
25 Did they talk of any problems or anything like that?
1 A. These were mostly positive reactions, favourable ones, because,
2 you see, in that period of time, no one would have cleaned the rubbish
3 from town if he hadn't taken on the task. Now, whether he did so on his
4 own initiative or whether he received orders from someone to do that, I
5 don't know.
6 Q. You told us that you rarely passed the town's centre because you
7 were very busy. Was it your duty -- was your duty as a doctor also a work
8 obligation or a military assignment, and what kind of obligations did you
9 have in that respect?
10 A. Maybe I'll have to elaborate a little to explain. You see, since
11 the war broke out, on the basis of the law and organisationally, there was
12 a vacuum. There were no instructions, no doctrine, no orders, no
13 information, so that we had to find our way around, and we did what we
14 thought was best at that point in time. In fact, you could say that the
15 staff of the health centre self-organised themselves, and we did so in
16 such a way that we spent most of our time at the health centre itself. We
17 were short of doctors, short of staff, short of nurses. We would go home
18 more or less one day a week, and we would spend the rest of the time at
19 the health centre working whenever it was necessary, without any fixed
20 working hours.
21 I have to tell you that the health centre, throughout the time of
22 the war, was a civilian institution. Never for a moment was it a military
23 institution. But we did also treat members of the army, officers,
24 soldiers, the wounded, and the injured.
25 Q. A doctor's intervention, examinations and everything else, were
1 they remunerated; that is, did patients have to pay for these services?
2 A. Absolutely all the services given by the health centre were free
3 of charge. It was out of the question to ask for payment for services
4 rendered by the health centre.
5 Q. That is as far as the patients were concerned. Was it normal to
6 send invoices, to send those bills to a medical -- either a medical
7 institution or a military administration? How did this work at the time?
8 A. You see, according to the system of health insurance that was in
9 place in socialist Yugoslavia, all citizens were covered, and they were
10 fully covered. Everyone was entitled to treatment free of charge. And we
11 would just take down the particulars of citizens, and then the services
12 rendered to the citizens who applied to the health centre were then -- the
13 bills were sent to the health insurance fund and then we would obtain
14 remuneration from them.
15 With the war, all this fell apart. And I must tell you that it
16 was only in 1993 that we learnt that there was a health ministry that was
17 functioning in Republika Srpska. So that the whole organisation
18 collapsed, and our health centre, as an institution is mainly financed, if
19 I can put it like that, by the municipality and through humanitarian aid.
20 But in any event, all the services are free of charge.
21 Q. Could you tell me, please, how did you keep records of patients
22 who came to be examined at your health centre?
23 A. That, too, is something that is prescribed by law, how you keep
24 records. However, in wartime, we continued the same method we had applied
25 before the war by inertia. So that the method of keeping records remain
1 the same, starting from the protocol, the referral documents, and so on.
2 So the aim is to have written evidence of when somebody came, why he came,
3 what the diagnosis was, what was administered to the patient as therapy,
4 whether it's an injection, when he received it, how much medication he
5 received, and so on.
6 So one could say that the protocols are the basic documents of
7 health institutions, and they continue to be that today, fundamental
9 Q. When you say that the protocol is the fundamental document, that
10 it was that then and still is today, does that mean that all patients have
11 to be registered in that protocol, that protocol of patients?
12 A. Yes, that is what that means. Whoever comes for an examination,
13 whoever is given any kind of service in the health centre, their names are
14 registered in the protocol or book of records, and this is kept as a
15 permanent document. And there are legal provisions regulating the
16 safekeeping of these records.
17 Q. Does this apply to the health centre in Visegrad of which you are
18 now the director? Do you keep protocols from the past, from earlier
20 A. Yes. All protocols in the health centre, and those that have been
21 filled in since I have been director, are kept in the health centre and
22 are readily available. I can tell you that people who lose their medical
23 documents are able to claim certain benefits on the basis of certain
24 health problems, whether they were wounded, or injured, or had some
25 serious illnesses, they address the health centre and we issue them
1 official certificates on the basis of that protocol, and then they can use
2 those documents to further claim benefits.
3 Q. So one of the reasons, in addition to the legal obligation to keep
4 such records, is also to help in proving certain facts, certain treatment
5 that patients underwent in a certain period of time; is that right?
6 A. Yes, that is quite right.
7 Q. Apart from the protocol which you said was the fundamental or
8 basic document, were there any other records? Were there patient forms or
9 cards or not?
10 A. These cards did exist, but those cards existed or index cards for
11 people who were treated at the health centre for housewives, for children,
12 for the employed. But during the war, there were people who applied to
13 the health centre for the first time, and we didn't have any cards for
14 them. They had not been registered.
15 When you take down all the particulars that you need to take down
16 in these cards, then you still have to do it in the protocol because these
17 cards are handed over to the patient. He can take it from one dispensary
18 to another, from one doctor to another, and it often gets lost. So one
19 has to have a place where this information is safely kept, and that is why
20 this protocol or book of records exists in our medical system ever since I
21 have been a part of it.
22 Q. So if I understand you correctly, as opposed to these cards on
23 which particulars are also written, but these cards move around and are
24 often given to patients to take from one doctor to another, everything has
25 to be written down in the protocol and it is stationary, it always stays
1 in the institution, it isn't taken anywhere?
2 A. Yes, more or less. But in the card, you usually have far more
3 information than in the protocol because there's very little space
4 available per patient in the protocol. So that the protocol would usually
5 contain the diagnosis, the therapy, and whether he was sent on for further
6 treatment somewhere else, whether he would be transported by ambulance or
7 by public transport, also whether the therapy was administered, the
8 therapy prescribed, or whether he was given pills or tablets, and then you
9 will find in the protocol that the patient was given prescriptions and
10 that he would get the medicines in the pharmacy.
11 Q. Could you tell us who writes down the information in the protocol?
12 A. Believe me, I never saw a rule about that which would prescribe
13 whose duty it was, but I can tell you how it's done in practice. The
14 particulars are usually written down by the examining doctor or, rather, a
15 part of it, the part relating to the diagnosis, whereas the name, surname,
16 and particulars of the patient are written down by the nurse. And when
17 the patient is given the prescriptions by the doctor, then the nurse fills
18 in, copies from the prescription what has been prescribed to the patient
19 in the protocol. So there are some entries that are filled in by doctors
20 and some by nurses.
21 It often happens for the doctor to ask the nurse for her to fill
22 it in, the doctor will just dictate the diagnosis and everything else and
23 then the nurse will just write it down. So there's no rigid rule about
24 that, hard and fast rule.
25 Q. The registration of patients in the protocol, is it done by
1 chronological order, that is, one day after another when the patient
2 appears for examination?
3 A. Yes, chronologically, and if you open a protocol, you will see
4 that the numbers are strictly in order. It is not allowed to make any
5 entries in between two patients. If a mistake is made, according to rules
6 on corrections, I'm not sure which law it was, but if you had to make a
7 correction, you would have to cross out the previous information in such a
8 way that it continues to be visible and legible and then the correction
9 has to be certified by a stamp and signature of the person making the
11 Q. That's the procedure if a correction needs to be made in the
12 protocol, is it not?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. So the protocol had an ordinal number. And did it also have to
15 indicate the date when the patient appeared?
16 A. Absolutely so. A date was essential.
17 Q. And then came the information you told us about, the personal
18 particulars of the patient, diagnosis, medicines, and where he was
19 referred to. Is that what you told us?
20 A. Yes, precisely so.
21 Q. Tell me, please, was there another -- any other book of records in
22 which a record was kept of emergency calls and when ambulances would go to
23 deal with these calls? I'm talking about the 1992 period.
24 A. There was never any such book of records in the health centre
25 before the war, during the war, and also not in the period you're
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 referring to. If I remember well, no such provision ever existed
2 regulating the need for such a book of records.
3 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, it might be a convenient time to
4 actually tender the book that the Prosecution has been looking at. What
5 number had you intended to give to it? You have some blank numbers there,
6 but they may be saved for something. The next number up is 24, I think.
7 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] 26, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE HUNT: Twenty-six.
9 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes.
10 JUDGE HUNT: Very well.
11 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] And I should like to tender it as
13 JUDGE HUNT: Any objection?
14 MR. GROOME: No, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you. The Visegrad Hospital protocol book will
16 be Exhibit D26.
17 Now, we will resume tomorrow at 1.00 p.m.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.00 p.m.,
19 to be reconvened on Friday, the 23rd day
20 of November, 2001, at 1.00 p.m.