1 DAY 10
2 (9.15 am) 3 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning. I wonder 4 whether the Registrar could be so kind as to call out 5 the case number. 6 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, your Honour. Case number 7 IT-95-13a-T, the Prosecutor versus Slavko Dokmanovic. 8 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Could I have the 9 appearances, please? 10 MR. NIEMANN: If your Honour pleases, my name 11 is Niemann and I appear with my colleagues, Mr. Waespi, 12 Ms. Sutherland, Mr. Williamson and Mr. Vos. 13 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Fila? 14 MR. FILA: Good morning, your Honour. I am 15 Toma Fila, appearing together with Ms. Lopicic and 16 Mr. Petrovic on behalf of Slavko Dokmanovic. 17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. May I ask 18 Mr. Dokmanovic whether he can hear me well? Thank you. 19 Now, before the Prosecution calls its first 20 witness for this morning, we would like to raise an 21 issue. The court would like to raise a question about 22 the Prosecution witnesses to be called in March on the 23 exhumation of the mass grave at Ovcara. Our purpose is 24 to see whether we might be able to narrow down the 25 issues in dispute concerning these exhumations. We have Page 1247 1 noticed that last Friday Mr. Fila said the following. It 2 is in the transcript, page 1003, and I quote: 3 "Regarding the Ovcara questions, the Defence 4 is not denying at all the findings there and that those 5 people were killed at Ovcara. I said yesterday too, and 6 last time, that I am not disputing that there was an 7 armed conflict. What I am disputing is an international 8 armed conflict. I am not disputing that there were 200 9 bodies found. I am just trying to establish which 10 bodies they were." 11 We therefore wonder whether Mr. Fila could 12 specify what he is putting in issue concerning the mass 13 grave. 14 Mr. Fila, are you still disputing that most of 15 the persons found in the mass grave were taken from the 16 Vukovar hospital on the 19th or 20th November 1991? 17 Before you answer this question, Mr. Fila, let me point 18 out that we are endeavouring to see whether, in March, 19 the Prosecution could tailor their case more 20 specifically so as to address the points disputed by 21 the Defence. It should, however, be clear that the 22 court is in no way trying to push the Prosecution to 23 compress its case unreasonably. 24 So therefore I turn to Mr. Fila, and ask him 25 whether he could answer my question. Page 1248 1 MR. FILA: Your Honour, from the beginning of 2 this trial I am not disputing that what happened in 3 Ovcara is a violations of the Geneva Conventions, that 4 it is a dishonourable and abhorrent act. Even though 5 I belong to the people I belong to, I am ashamed of 6 what has happened at Ovcara, and I hope that that is 7 clear. 8 The reason that the Defence has disputed 9 individual names is in order to try and establish 10 exactly who it was that was left there, and where an 11 error was made, simply because this would be 12 advantageous for the judgement too, to have the accurate 13 data. 14 The second point is that the indictment says 15 that they were all non-Serbs. That is not correct. 16 Among the persons executed at Ovcara there are Serbs 17 and we have listed them. We expect the Prosecutor to 18 prove that they were non-Serbs because the burden is on 19 the Prosecution, and there are four such persons, four 20 names. 21 Secondly, you will see in the reports on the 22 abductions that there is the name of a man who has been 23 identified as executed at Ovcara, OVC 177, but who has 24 not been included in the indictment because it is 25 stated there that he was probably a Serb. So the Page 1249 1 Defence wonders, if the persons executed were Serbs, 2 does that mean that they should not figure in the 3 indictment? From this, one could make the conclusion 4 that it is permissible to kill Serbs, even at Ovcara, 5 or is it just a question of a mistake? 6 But the only thing I am disputing at Ovcara 7 is that it is not true that only non-Serbs were 8 executed. If the forensic commission has found 200 9 bodies then it has found 200 bodies, and it is not my 10 intention to dispute that, nor do I have any doubts 11 regarding their findings, and also that most of those 12 200 bodies are people captured at the hospital, but not 13 only on 20th, but also on the 19th, to which certain 14 witnesses have already testified. I hope I have been 15 clear enough. 16 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. Thank you. 17 Mr. Niemann, I assume you will now respond. 18 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, your Honour. 19 JUDGE CASSESE: In particular also, bearing 20 in mind what we can find in the disclaimer included in 21 the documents of the forensic investigation at Ovcara 22 grave where it is stated that the conclusions of the 23 report are not final because the final overall analysis 24 by the forensic pathologist is not -- is still missing. 25 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, your Honour, perhaps Page 1250 1 I might address that first. That is not tendered and 2 will not be tendered. It is not evidence in the case. 3 It is merely background material which can be made 4 available. 5 JUDGE CASSESE: Oh, thank you. 6 MR. NIEMANN: The position of the Prosecution 7 on this, your Honours, is that we hear what Mr. Fila 8 says, but he is saying two things. He is saying, "yes, 9 yes, we do not dispute that a terrible thing happened 10 at Ovcara", and that, "no doubt this would represent 11 a breach of the Geneva Conventions, if we can prove 12 international armed conflict and so forth", but then he 13 goes often and he says, and has consistently, and we 14 are not criticising him for it, it is his job to do it, 15 but has consistently attacked the indictment on the 16 basis of people named and more recently on the issue of 17 whether or not Serbs were there or not. This is not 18 clear. This is not a matter which can be readily 19 resolved by an admission unless we have a very clear 20 admission in writing as to these matters. 21 We have an obligation to prove murder and 22 proof of the murder is proof of death. I have not heard 23 Mr. Fila say that he accepts that murder was committed, 24 and that the proof, the element of proof of death has 25 been established, and that he will admit to that, and Page 1251 1 I am not sure that he will. 2 So, it is very difficult to say to the 3 Prosecution, "reduce your case. Mr. Fila agrees to it 4 all", and then at the end of the day we are confronted 5 with an absence of evidence on this issue, so, I mean, 6 we -- we are not trying to prolong this case and indeed 7 I think the opposite is the case. It has proceeded 8 faster than any other prosecution in this Tribunal, and 9 we are endeavouring to be as expeditious as possible, 10 but we have certain obligations, and I am not 11 convinced, certainly, at this stage, that we have 12 a sufficiently extensive and wide enough admission from 13 the Defence to say, "Oh, we can just cut the end of the 14 case off and that will be okay because everybody agrees 15 with it, with the Prosecution contention, agrees that 16 the Prosecution has proved the various elements that it 17 must establish". We say that we have to prove a number 18 of things, and one of the issues raised by Mr. Fila goes 19 to the very heart of the question, and that is the 20 definition of the group attacked. We -- there may well 21 be Serbs in the group. We are not saying that, but we 22 do need to establish that a -- that civilian population 23 was singled out and attacked and that as a consequence 24 of that they ended up being murdered at Ovcara. That is 25 what we are alleging and that is what we are seeking to Page 1252 1 prove. 2 Now, I do not think that Mr. Fila's admissions 3 go anywhere near that. 4 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Fila? 5 MR. FILA: I accept that 200 people were 6 killed at Ovcara. Whether they were all civilians or 7 not, I do not know, but it is a fact that there were 8 soldiers, as the witnesses have told us, who were 9 intentionally cut, cuts were made on their bodies in 10 order to cover up their condition. You heard that from 11 the doctor, that some people had plaster casts placed 12 on them. Those were not civilians. Those were fighters, 13 Croatian fighters, Zengers, Guards members or whoever. 14 Not for a moment am I denying that what 15 happened in Ovcara is a crime, a murder. What I seek is 16 that we establish that they were not just non-Serbs, 17 that Serbs were murdered as well, and in my opinion, if 18 you kill a civilian, it does not matter whether he is 19 a Serb or a Croat, but it is important that we know, 20 because neither Serbs nor Croats should be murdered. 21 Therefore, I do not know how to make myself 22 clearer. I accept that it is a murder, that it is 23 a breach of the Geneva Conventions during an armed 24 conflict, but I do not accept that they were only 25 civilian prisoners, that they were all from the Page 1253 1 hospital, and that they were all non-Serbs, so I ask 2 the Prosecutor to prove that those four persons were 3 Croats, or Chinamen, if you like, that they were 4 non-Serbs, in brief, because they were Serbs, and 5 I would like to know why a Serb who has been identified 6 as having been killed at Ovcara is not included in the 7 indictment, and I have indicated the names. I do not 8 know how to make myself clearer than that. 9 JUDGE CASSESE: If I understood you 10 correctly, you mean to say that you admit that those 11 people who were found, whose bodies were found at 12 Ovcara were killed, and -- were executed. However, the 13 dead do not include only Croatian civilians, taken from 14 the hospital to Ovcara, but also non-civilians, and 15 Serbs, whether or not the Serbs were 16 taken from the hospital or not from the hospital. Is 17 this correct? 18 MR. FILA: I do not know where they were taken 19 from because I do not have the list, but that they were 20 killed at Ovcara, that is obvious. 21 JUDGE CASSESE: The only point at issue, 22 therefore, in dispute, is whether or not in addition to 23 civilians killed at Ovcara, and brought to Ovcara first 24 of all out of the hospital on 19th or 20th, there were 25 also in Ovcara people who were killed but were not Page 1254 1 civilian, because they were combatants or Serbs. This 2 is the point in dispute. 3 MR. NIEMANN: Well, no, your Honour. 4 MR. FILA: Yes, just that. 5 MR. NIEMANN: There is a world of difference 6 between someone killed and someone murdered. 7 JUDGE CASSESE: I used -- you are right. 8 I meant to say, "murdered". I think Mr. Fila before 9 said -- I wrote it down: 10 "I admit there was a murder -- 11 MR. FILA: Executed. Executed. Is that 12 correct? 13 MR. NIEMANN: No, I will only accept murder. 14 JUDGE CASSESE: Do you accept that -- 15 MR. FILA: Yes, I do, completely, yes. 16 JUDGE CASSESE: You accept, you admit that 17 those people were murdered at Ovcara. 18 MR. FILA: It depends when we count on the 19 premeditation element. That is the question. When they 20 were brought to Ovcara, I admit they were brought there 21 in order to be executed, if Mr. Niemann is satisfied 22 with that. Is that acceptable? 23 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Niemann? 24 MR. NIEMANN: I am afraid not, your Honour. We 25 have to establish murder and if we are not going to Page 1255 1 call evidence we have to have an admission to murder 2 and it has to be murder, premeditated, from the moment 3 they were taken from the hospital right through to the 4 point where they were shot at the grave site. 5 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Niemann, can I make this 6 suggestion in order to try and cut the knot? Clearly, 7 what you are concerned about is that the admissions are 8 not very clear at the moment, and do not necessarily 9 cover all the necessary points. 10 MR. NIEMANN: That is right, your Honour. 11 JUDGE MAY: Now, I do not know if it is the 12 procedure here but it would seem to me that one way to 13 deal with it might be this; if you were to draft the 14 admissions which you would require in order to cover 15 the point about the exhumations and murder, they could 16 then be put to the Defence, and it could be ascertained 17 whether the Defence accept the admissions or not, or 18 are prepared to make the admissions. Would that be 19 a way forward? 20 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, your Honour. I am sure that 21 would. If it was agreed then there would be no 22 difficulty. It would be something which I would then 23 seek to tender in the proceedings and we could proceed 24 from there. But I am afraid I am far from satisfied at 25 the moment, because of the various issues that Mr. Fila Page 1256 1 has quite rightfully raised. I am not in any way 2 critical of Mr. Fila. He is entitled to argue anything 3 he likes in the case but I am not satisfied that they 4 constitute a sufficient admission for us to say, "we do 5 not need to call evidence on it". 6 JUDGE MAY: If we had your draft of the 7 admissions you would seek, then at least it might serve 8 to narrow the issues, and of course if they were made 9 it would save the calling of the evidence. It would, of 10 course, be entirely a matter for the Defence whether 11 they made the admissions or not. It is entirely for 12 them. 13 MR. NIEMANN: And I think, your Honours, we 14 would like the admissions to be agreed to, not only by 15 counsel for the Defence but at least some assurance 16 that the defendant himself accepts those admissions. 17 JUDGE MAY: Yes, of course. Of course. 18 Mr. Fila, what I am suggesting, since 19 Mr. Niemann does not seem to be -- does not seem to be 20 satisfied, and of course it is a matter for him 21 entirely, with the suggested admissions, is that he 22 drafts the admissions which he says that he wants, and 23 you have a copy, and have a look at it and decide 24 whether you could make the admissions or not, of course 25 it being a matter entirely for you, entirely for you, Page 1257 1 and the defendant, whether those admissions are made. 2 Just as a way of trying to clarify and narrow the 3 issues. 4 MR. FILA: Your Honours, please bear in mind 5 the delicacy of my position and where I come from. The 6 only thing I cannot accept is that the moment they were 7 taken out of the hospital on 19th and 20th that already 8 a decision had been taken to execute them. What I can 9 accept is that when they were captured, as Witness Q 10 stated yesterday, from the barracks onwards the 11 decision was taken to liquidate them. That I accept, 12 but that such a decision existed already in the 13 hospital I do not accept and cannot accept. And anyway, 14 I must not accept. It is very clear. 15 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Yes. So you 16 will -- anyway, you are accepting the suggestion made 17 by Judge May and accepted by the Prosecutor that the 18 Prosecutor will prepare this draft of admission and 19 then you will see whether you may accept, after 20 consulting with the defendant. 21 I think, however, this discussion this 22 morning has been extremely useful, at least for the 23 bench, because we have now a clearer idea of the points 24 in dispute. 25 All right. So we may now, if you agree, we
2 (9.15 am)
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning. I wonder
4 whether the Registrar could be so kind as to call out
5 the case number.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, your Honour. Case number
7 IT-95-13a-T, the Prosecutor versus Slavko Dokmanovic.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Could I have the
9 appearances, please?
10 MR. NIEMANN: If your Honour pleases, my name
11 is Niemann and I appear with my colleagues, Mr. Waespi,
12 Ms. Sutherland, Mr. Williamson and Mr. Vos.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Fila?
14 MR. FILA: Good morning, your Honour. I am
15 Toma Fila, appearing together with Ms. Lopicic and
16 Mr. Petrovic on behalf of Slavko Dokmanovic.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. May I ask
18 Mr. Dokmanovic whether he can hear me well? Thank you.
19 Now, before the Prosecution calls its first
20 witness for this morning, we would like to raise an
21 issue. The court would like to raise a question about
22 the Prosecution witnesses to be called in March on the
23 exhumation of the mass grave at Ovcara. Our purpose is
24 to see whether we might be able to narrow down the
25 issues in dispute concerning these exhumations. We have
1 noticed that last Friday Mr. Fila said the following. It
2 is in the transcript, page 1003, and I quote:
3 "Regarding the Ovcara questions, the Defence
4 is not denying at all the findings there and that those
5 people were killed at Ovcara. I said yesterday too, and
6 last time, that I am not disputing that there was an
7 armed conflict. What I am disputing is an international
8 armed conflict. I am not disputing that there were 200
9 bodies found. I am just trying to establish which
10 bodies they were."
11 We therefore wonder whether Mr. Fila could
12 specify what he is putting in issue concerning the mass
14 Mr. Fila, are you still disputing that most of
15 the persons found in the mass grave were taken from the
16 Vukovar hospital on the 19th or 20th November 1991?
17 Before you answer this question, Mr. Fila, let me point
18 out that we are endeavouring to see whether, in March,
19 the Prosecution could tailor their case more
20 specifically so as to address the points disputed by
21 the Defence. It should, however, be clear that the
22 court is in no way trying to push the Prosecution to
23 compress its case unreasonably.
24 So therefore I turn to Mr. Fila, and ask him
25 whether he could answer my question.
1 MR. FILA: Your Honour, from the beginning of
2 this trial I am not disputing that what happened in
3 Ovcara is a violations of the Geneva Conventions, that
4 it is a dishonourable and abhorrent act. Even though
5 I belong to the people I belong to, I am ashamed of
6 what has happened at Ovcara, and I hope that that is
8 The reason that the Defence has disputed
9 individual names is in order to try and establish
10 exactly who it was that was left there, and where an
11 error was made, simply because this would be
12 advantageous for the judgement too, to have the accurate
14 The second point is that the indictment says
15 that they were all non-Serbs. That is not correct.
16 Among the persons executed at Ovcara there are Serbs
17 and we have listed them. We expect the Prosecutor to
18 prove that they were non-Serbs because the burden is on
19 the Prosecution, and there are four such persons, four
21 Secondly, you will see in the reports on the
22 abductions that there is the name of a man who has been
23 identified as executed at Ovcara, OVC 177, but who has
24 not been included in the indictment because it is
25 stated there that he was probably a Serb. So the
1 Defence wonders, if the persons executed were Serbs,
2 does that mean that they should not figure in the
3 indictment? From this, one could make the conclusion
4 that it is permissible to kill Serbs, even at Ovcara,
5 or is it just a question of a mistake?
6 But the only thing I am disputing at Ovcara
7 is that it is not true that only non-Serbs were
8 executed. If the forensic commission has found 200
9 bodies then it has found 200 bodies, and it is not my
10 intention to dispute that, nor do I have any doubts
11 regarding their findings, and also that most of those
12 200 bodies are people captured at the hospital, but not
13 only on 20th, but also on the 19th, to which certain
14 witnesses have already testified. I hope I have been
15 clear enough.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. Thank you.
17 Mr. Niemann, I assume you will now respond.
18 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, your Honour.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: In particular also, bearing
20 in mind what we can find in the disclaimer included in
21 the documents of the forensic investigation at Ovcara
22 grave where it is stated that the conclusions of the
23 report are not final because the final overall analysis
24 by the forensic pathologist is not -- is still missing.
25 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, your Honour, perhaps
1 I might address that first. That is not tendered and
2 will not be tendered. It is not evidence in the case.
3 It is merely background material which can be made
5 JUDGE CASSESE: Oh, thank you.
6 MR. NIEMANN: The position of the Prosecution
7 on this, your Honours, is that we hear what Mr. Fila
8 says, but he is saying two things. He is saying, "yes,
9 yes, we do not dispute that a terrible thing happened
10 at Ovcara", and that, "no doubt this would represent
11 a breach of the Geneva Conventions, if we can prove
12 international armed conflict and so forth", but then he
13 goes often and he says, and has consistently, and we
14 are not criticising him for it, it is his job to do it,
15 but has consistently attacked the indictment on the
16 basis of people named and more recently on the issue of
17 whether or not Serbs were there or not. This is not
18 clear. This is not a matter which can be readily
19 resolved by an admission unless we have a very clear
20 admission in writing as to these matters.
21 We have an obligation to prove murder and
22 proof of the murder is proof of death. I have not heard
23 Mr. Fila say that he accepts that murder was committed,
24 and that the proof, the element of proof of death has
25 been established, and that he will admit to that, and
1 I am not sure that he will.
2 So, it is very difficult to say to the
3 Prosecution, "reduce your case. Mr. Fila agrees to it
4 all", and then at the end of the day we are confronted
5 with an absence of evidence on this issue, so, I mean,
6 we -- we are not trying to prolong this case and indeed
7 I think the opposite is the case. It has proceeded
8 faster than any other prosecution in this Tribunal, and
9 we are endeavouring to be as expeditious as possible,
10 but we have certain obligations, and I am not
11 convinced, certainly, at this stage, that we have
12 a sufficiently extensive and wide enough admission from
13 the Defence to say, "Oh, we can just cut the end of the
14 case off and that will be okay because everybody agrees
15 with it, with the Prosecution contention, agrees that
16 the Prosecution has proved the various elements that it
17 must establish". We say that we have to prove a number
18 of things, and one of the issues raised by Mr. Fila goes
19 to the very heart of the question, and that is the
20 definition of the group attacked. We -- there may well
21 be Serbs in the group. We are not saying that, but we
22 do need to establish that a -- that civilian population
23 was singled out and attacked and that as a consequence
24 of that they ended up being murdered at Ovcara. That is
25 what we are alleging and that is what we are seeking to
2 Now, I do not think that Mr. Fila's admissions
3 go anywhere near that.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Fila?
5 MR. FILA: I accept that 200 people were
6 killed at Ovcara. Whether they were all civilians or
7 not, I do not know, but it is a fact that there were
8 soldiers, as the witnesses have told us, who were
9 intentionally cut, cuts were made on their bodies in
10 order to cover up their condition. You heard that from
11 the doctor, that some people had plaster casts placed
12 on them. Those were not civilians. Those were fighters,
13 Croatian fighters, Zengers, Guards members or whoever.
14 Not for a moment am I denying that what
15 happened in Ovcara is a crime, a murder. What I seek is
16 that we establish that they were not just non-Serbs,
17 that Serbs were murdered as well, and in my opinion, if
18 you kill a civilian, it does not matter whether he is
19 a Serb or a Croat, but it is important that we know,
20 because neither Serbs nor Croats should be murdered.
21 Therefore, I do not know how to make myself
22 clearer. I accept that it is a murder, that it is
23 a breach of the Geneva Conventions during an armed
24 conflict, but I do not accept that they were only
25 civilian prisoners, that they were all from the
1 hospital, and that they were all non-Serbs, so I ask
2 the Prosecutor to prove that those four persons were
3 Croats, or Chinamen, if you like, that they were
4 non-Serbs, in brief, because they were Serbs, and
5 I would like to know why a Serb who has been identified
6 as having been killed at Ovcara is not included in the
7 indictment, and I have indicated the names. I do not
8 know how to make myself clearer than that.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: If I understood you
10 correctly, you mean to say that you admit that those
11 people who were found, whose bodies were found at
12 Ovcara were killed, and -- were executed. However, the
13 dead do not include only Croatian civilians, taken from
14 the hospital to Ovcara, but also non-civilians, and
15 Serbs, whether or not the Serbs were
16 taken from the hospital or not from the hospital. Is
17 this correct?
18 MR. FILA: I do not know where they were taken
19 from because I do not have the list, but that they were
20 killed at Ovcara, that is obvious.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: The only point at issue,
22 therefore, in dispute, is whether or not in addition to
23 civilians killed at Ovcara, and brought to Ovcara first
24 of all out of the hospital on 19th or 20th, there were
25 also in Ovcara people who were killed but were not
1 civilian, because they were combatants or Serbs. This
2 is the point in dispute.
3 MR. NIEMANN: Well, no, your Honour.
4 MR. FILA: Yes, just that.
5 MR. NIEMANN: There is a world of difference
6 between someone killed and someone murdered.
7 JUDGE CASSESE: I used -- you are right.
8 I meant to say, "murdered". I think Mr. Fila before
9 said -- I wrote it down:
10 "I admit there was a murder --
11 MR. FILA: Executed. Executed. Is that
13 MR. NIEMANN: No, I will only accept murder.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: Do you accept that --
15 MR. FILA: Yes, I do, completely, yes.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: You accept, you admit that
17 those people were murdered at Ovcara.
18 MR. FILA: It depends when we count on the
19 premeditation element. That is the question. When they
20 were brought to Ovcara, I admit they were brought there
21 in order to be executed, if Mr. Niemann is satisfied
22 with that. Is that acceptable?
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Niemann?
24 MR. NIEMANN: I am afraid not, your Honour. We
25 have to establish murder and if we are not going to
1 call evidence we have to have an admission to murder
2 and it has to be murder, premeditated, from the moment
3 they were taken from the hospital right through to the
4 point where they were shot at the grave site.
5 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Niemann, can I make this
6 suggestion in order to try and cut the knot? Clearly,
7 what you are concerned about is that the admissions are
8 not very clear at the moment, and do not necessarily
9 cover all the necessary points.
10 MR. NIEMANN: That is right, your Honour.
11 JUDGE MAY: Now, I do not know if it is the
12 procedure here but it would seem to me that one way to
13 deal with it might be this; if you were to draft the
14 admissions which you would require in order to cover
15 the point about the exhumations and murder, they could
16 then be put to the Defence, and it could be ascertained
17 whether the Defence accept the admissions or not, or
18 are prepared to make the admissions. Would that be
19 a way forward?
20 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, your Honour. I am sure that
21 would. If it was agreed then there would be no
22 difficulty. It would be something which I would then
23 seek to tender in the proceedings and we could proceed
24 from there. But I am afraid I am far from satisfied at
25 the moment, because of the various issues that Mr. Fila
1 has quite rightfully raised. I am not in any way
2 critical of Mr. Fila. He is entitled to argue anything
3 he likes in the case but I am not satisfied that they
4 constitute a sufficient admission for us to say, "we do
5 not need to call evidence on it".
6 JUDGE MAY: If we had your draft of the
7 admissions you would seek, then at least it might serve
8 to narrow the issues, and of course if they were made
9 it would save the calling of the evidence. It would, of
10 course, be entirely a matter for the Defence whether
11 they made the admissions or not. It is entirely for
13 MR. NIEMANN: And I think, your Honours, we
14 would like the admissions to be agreed to, not only by
15 counsel for the Defence but at least some assurance
16 that the defendant himself accepts those admissions.
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes, of course. Of course.
18 Mr. Fila, what I am suggesting, since
19 Mr. Niemann does not seem to be -- does not seem to be
20 satisfied, and of course it is a matter for him
21 entirely, with the suggested admissions, is that he
22 drafts the admissions which he says that he wants, and
23 you have a copy, and have a look at it and decide
24 whether you could make the admissions or not, of course
25 it being a matter entirely for you, entirely for you,
1 and the defendant, whether those admissions are made.
2 Just as a way of trying to clarify and narrow the
4 MR. FILA: Your Honours, please bear in mind
5 the delicacy of my position and where I come from. The
6 only thing I cannot accept is that the moment they were
7 taken out of the hospital on 19th and 20th that already
8 a decision had been taken to execute them. What I can
9 accept is that when they were captured, as Witness Q
10 stated yesterday, from the barracks onwards the
11 decision was taken to liquidate them. That I accept,
12 but that such a decision existed already in the
13 hospital I do not accept and cannot accept. And anyway,
14 I must not accept. It is very clear.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Yes. So you
16 will -- anyway, you are accepting the suggestion made
17 by Judge May and accepted by the Prosecutor that the
18 Prosecutor will prepare this draft of admission and
19 then you will see whether you may accept, after
20 consulting with the defendant.
21 I think, however, this discussion this
22 morning has been extremely useful, at least for the
23 bench, because we have now a clearer idea of the points
24 in dispute.
25 All right. So we may now, if you agree, we
1 may now ask the Prosecutor to call the first witness.
2 MR. NIEMANN: Just with respect to our order
3 of witnesses today, your Honour, the witness,
4 Witness A, is still ill and my colleague, Mr. Williamson
5 intends to take him through his evidence. We are hoping
6 that he will be in a sufficiently healthy or fit
7 enough condition to testify this afternoon, but we
8 believe that if we can give him the morning to
9 endeavour to recuperate he should be okay by this
10 afternoon but there is some uncertainty about that at
11 the moment.
12 MR. WAESPI: Good morning, your Honours. Our
13 next witness will be Mr. Jan Schou and he will testify
14 in English.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning. I would like to
16 ask you to make the solemn declaration.
17 JAN SCHOU (sworn)
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be seated.
19 Mr. Waespi, you may proceed.
20 Examined by MR. WAESPI
21 Q. Good morning, Mr. Schou. Do you understand me?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Could you please state for the court your
25 A. My name is Dr. Jan Schou.
1 Q. Were you interviewed on 4th and 5th of
2 December 1995 by investigators from this Tribunal?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And did you sign a document which was the
5 written result of this interview?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. I will now show you a document and ask you
8 whether this is the document you have signed in
9 December 1995. Do you see your signature on it?
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. WAESPI: Thank you very much. I would like
12 to tender this document as the next Prosecution
14 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit 73.
15 MR. WAESPI: And it should be under seal.
16 Dr. Schou, what nationality are you, and where
17 are you living at present?
18 A. I am Danish, and I am living in Jutland in
20 Q. What is your profession?
21 A. I am a specialist in gynaecology.
22 Q. In 1991 were you a member of the ECMM, that
23 is European Community Monitoring Mission in the former
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. What was the reason for this assignment? How
2 did you qualify for that job?
3 A. The Danish Foreign Ministry wanted, or the
4 Danish army wanted a military person which also was
5 a doctor.
6 Q. In general, what was your duty, your function
7 within the ECMM structure?
8 A. I was -- well, the medical doctor of the
9 staff of the ECMM members, and then I was in charge of
10 all negotiations about prisoners and evacuations and
11 wounded and something like that.
12 Q. Where were you based?
13 A. I was based in Zagreb.
14 Q. Now turning to the fall in 1991, did you
15 participate in two ECMM relief convoys in Vukovar, one
16 in October and one in November 1991?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Can you please give us details about the
19 first mission? I will ask you some questions
20 about that.
21 What was the purpose of this first mission in
22 October 1991?
23 A. It was to make a humanitarian corridor to
24 Vukovar and to get the wounded out from the hospital.
25 The mission had tried it, I think, two weeks
1 before, but it failed.
2 Q. Was that convoy, that relief convoy, part of
3 an agreement between the warring parties?
4 A. Yes, there was an agreement.
5 Q. And who were these warring parties? Who were
6 also part of that agreement?
7 A. The parties to the agreement were General Raseta from the
8 JNA, and I did not know the name but someone from the
9 Croatian government, and the chief of the EC Monitors,
10 and of course also the NGO Medicine Without Borders, which
11 was our humanitarian partner.
12 Q. Judging from your experience during those
13 negotiations, was the Croatian government an equal
14 partner in these negotiations?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. When did you depart from Zagreb and when did
17 you arrive in Vukovar?
18 A. We departed from Zagreb on 18th October and
19 stayed outside in Negoslavci -- no, Vinkovci, I think,
20 the night over, and at the 19th October we started in
21 morning and reached Vukovar about 12 o'clock.
22 Q. Was there a specific route, a way you were
23 required to take?
24 A. Yes, there was a specific route and it was
25 Nustar, Marinci, Bogdanovci and then Vukovar.
1 Q. And did you, in fact, follow that route?
2 A. We followed that route until we reached
3 Bogdanovci where we were told from the Croatian side
4 that the road was mined, that we had to take another
5 way, and they guided us, the whole convoy which had
6 a lot of ambulances, we were guided through the
7 fields, outside the road and reach Luzac and then
9 Q. Was there any incident on that route to which
10 the Croatians directed you to?
11 A. No.
12 Q. What situation did you encounter in Vukovar
13 in general, and in the hospital in particular.
14 A. We -- travelling directly to the hospital and
15 on the way we saw a lot of buildings which were damaged,
16 and at the hospital we saw that it was
17 damaged and only the basement could be used for
19 Q. Was the hospital defended?
20 A. Yes, a kind of defence I think there were,
21 because outside there were soldiers from the
22 Croatian -- not the army, I think it was local.
23 Q. Did you see any heavy weapons in the
24 hospital, machine-guns?
25 A. No, I did not see any heavy weapons in the
2 Q. Did you hear at a certain point another type
3 of weapon?
4 A. Yes. I heard a mortar firing from the
5 hospital area at the time we were in the hospital.
6 Q. Were you the only person in your relief
7 convoy who was able to hear that noise, that weapon?
8 A. Yes, I was the only one that -- I am the only
9 one that had heard it, I think.
10 Q. Thank you. How many patients did you take
11 with you?
12 A. I take about 110 patient.
13 Q. When did you leave again?
14 A. I think we leave the same day about three
15 hours before it get dark.
16 Q. Now, who formed this convoy when you went
17 back to Zagreb? How many cars, and can you also give us
18 some names of your colleagues, or tell us at least the
19 countries they were from?
20 A. Yes. The leader of the convoy from the ECMM
21 was a French colonel, did not know his name. His name
22 was Pierre, I think, and then there was a Danish captain
23 named is Mesk and I think we were about four or
24 five ECMM cars in that convoy, so at least we were 12
25 or 13 ECMM member in that that relief convoy, and I was
1 in the first car with the leader and with a Canadian
2 sea officer, and of course the driver. We were four in
3 the car.
4 Q. Now, heading out of Vukovar, did you take the
5 same route as you had on the way to Vukovar?
6 A. We started on the same route with our
7 Croatian guide in front of us in a civilian car, and
8 then our car which was a leading car, and then we have
9 the relief -- no, the relation officer from the Serbs
10 in the car behind, and then we have all the ambulances
11 and trucks.
12 Q. So, you tried to get out the same safe way
13 you had entered Vukovar, which was obviously cleared of
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Now, were you stopped at some point on the
17 way out of Vukovar?
18 A. Yes. When we go into the field, again, just
19 outside Luzac, there was a wire across the road, and
20 our leader, he examined the wire and cut it and then we
21 drive further around the corner, and then in front of
22 us there was a T-72 tank from the JNA army which was
23 pointed at the car.
24 Q. Did you encounter an officer in charge of
25 that tank or the forces you were stopped by?
1 A. Yes, yes. There were the tanks and then there
2 was an APC that took us to a hill, just beneath
3 where there was an officer in charge.
4 Q. Can you give us the name of that officer?
5 A. The name of that officer was Major
7 Q. Do you mean, "Sljivancanin"?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Now, what did Mr. Sljivancanin tell you? Did
10 you have any conversation with him?
11 A. You cannot call it a conversation because he
12 had arranged a press conference. At the time we reached
13 the top there were at least three or four television
14 teams with satellite communication that -- and he was
15 almost making a statement there.
16 Q. What exactly did he tell you or the media in
17 his statement?
18 A. He tell us that we were co-operating with the
19 Croatian -- that we were not following the agreement,
20 that we were not following the route we were told to
21 take, and a lot of things like that.
22 Q. Do you think that this situation, this scene
23 was prepared by --
24 A. Yes, yes, it was prepared by the JNA because
25 at the time we were stopped, the press already were
2 Q. Did Sljivancanin give you then any
3 instruction on how to, which route to take following
4 this incident?
5 A. Yes. We had to follow the original route back
6 to Bogdanovci, Marinci, Nustar and then Vinkovci.
7 Q. Did you indicate to him that you were
8 concerned about the fact that the road might be mined?
9 A. Yes. We told him that we had been told from
10 the Croatian side, that the road was mined.
11 Q. And what did he reply?
12 A. He said that we had to take that way because
13 it was the agreement.
14 Q. So you in fact went on to the road
15 Sljivancanin directed you to?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. What was the result?
18 A. The result was that the fourth car, which was
19 a truck, hit a mine on the road, and two nurses from
20 Switzerland was blowing out of the car.
21 Q. Were the nurses seriously wounded?
22 A. There was at least a broken leg but at that
23 time they were unconscious and we only treated them
24 because we did not know what was happened with them.
25 But I hear later that they had lost their hearing.
1 Q. And this occurred on the road, Sljivancanin
2 had ordered you to go on. Is that correct?
3 A. Yes, that is correct.
4 Q. I will now show you a map, depicting the
5 western part of the surroundings of Vukovar.
6 I would like you, Dr. Schou, to show us the
7 locations and roads of this first relief convoy to
8 Vukovar, if you could, please, put it onto the overhead
9 projector and it takes some time, if you could use
10 a pen and indicate, first telling us, as soon as we see
11 it on our screen where the locations are, where Vukovar
13 A. It was here. (Indicated).
14 Q. And what was the general direction of your
16 A. Between -- the agreement of the convoy was
17 Nustar, which is just outside here, Marinci, which was
18 on the Serbian side, Bogdanovci, which were JNA -- no,
19 no, this was Serbian side, this was Croatian side,
20 Bogdanovci and then this way to Vukovar. (Indicated).
21 Q. So can you make with your pen a line and tell
22 us which way you were supposed, according to the
23 agreement, to take when you entered Vukovar. Just what
24 you said in words now, drawing a line.
25 A. Yes. The agreement were Marinci, Bogdanovci
1 and Vukovar.
2 Q. If the usher could give you an appropriate
3 pen, please.
4 So first, the road you were supposed to take.
5 Okay. Thank you. Can you please mark it with
6 an "A", capital "A"? Then I would like you to show us
7 the location when you were stopped by the Croatians
8 when you entered Vukovar, and mark it with a, "B",
10 A. (Witness marked map).
11 Q. Then third, on which road were you directed
12 by the Croatians?
13 A. This way... into the hospital which is here.
15 Q. And that is, "C", please, if you could sign
16 it and that was a road which was safe for you?
17 A. That was a road which was safe on the way in.
18 Q. Thank you. Now, fourth, the way you again
19 wanted to take in order to leave the city which is,
20 I assume --
21 A. It is this one, C.
22 Q. Okay. If you could again, please, mark it
23 with a "D", then the location where you were stopped by
24 the JNA and where...
25 A. (Witness marked map). We were stopped at
1 this -- something about this point and we were taken to
2 the hill here where the press conference was.
3 Q. Okay, if you could mark that with an, "E",
4 the press conference, and then next the road
5 Sljivancanin directed you to, which was the original
6 road, the first one?
7 A. This was the original road, yes, and then we
8 were stopped by a mine, something like this. (Witness
9 marked map).
10 MR. WAESPI: If you could mark the location of
11 that mine with a, "G". Thank you very much, Dr. Schou.
12 Your Honours, I tender this map as
13 Prosecution exhibit number...
14 THE REGISTRAR: 74.
15 MR. WAESPI: Dr. Schou, when did you eventually
16 arrived in Zagreb?
17 A. From that point where we were stopped by the
18 mine, we were taken by the JNA to Petrovci and then to
19 Sid and the way around, nearly around Bosnia, back to
20 Vinkovci, and we arrived in Zagreb, I think, one day
21 after, because it take the whole night to travel.
22 Q. Thank you, Doctor.
23 Let us turn now to the second trip in
24 November 1991. What was the reason for this second
1 A. The reason, we had a meeting in Zagreb with
2 the Red Cross about evacuation of Vukovar, or try to
3 evacuate Vukovar, but then we heard from the Serbian
4 side that Vukovar was nearly taken, and I was flying
5 with the head of mission to evacuate and from there we
6 had -- we were asked from the ECMM to monitor the --
7 you can call it the fall of Vukovar.
8 Q. When did you depart from Belgrade and who was
9 with you?
10 A. We depart from Belgrade on 19th November in
11 the morning, and there were two ECMM teams with three
12 people in each team and then me as a special -- you can
13 call it, because I was the only doctor.
14 Q. Was there a liaison person from the side of
15 the JNA?
16 A. Yes, there were two liaison officers from the
17 JNA which we picked up in the military headquarters in
19 Q. When did you arrive in the area of Vukovar?
20 A. In, I think, about 10 o'clock or something in
21 the morning on the 19th, we arrived just outside Sid
22 where we were stopped by a control post and were not
23 allowed to go further, and the liaison officer, they --
24 travelling further to reach the headquarters to get
25 permission to -- that we could travel further, but from
1 Belgrade we had permission that we could go to Vukovar.
2 Q. Do you know the reasons why you could not
3 proceed with your mission?
4 A. No. No. I do not know the reason.
5 Q. Did you eventually go to Negoslavci?
6 A. Yes. We were waiting, I think about four
7 hours, three or four hours at that checkpoint, and then
8 we were almost returning to Belgrade, but then the
9 relation officer came back and took us to the military
10 headquarters in Negoslavci.
11 Q. Whom did you meet there at those
13 A. At those headquarters I meet Major
14 Sljivancanin again, and I met the colonel which was in
15 charge of the militia JNA in that area.
16 Q. Was that a gentleman called Colonel Mrksic?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, seeing Mr. Sljivancanin again, what was
19 he doing with the army? What was his function, in your
21 A. In my opinion, he was a political officer and
22 I said that because in Denmark in the military army
23 I am educated as an intelligence officer and I learn
24 about how headquarters are built up, and Sljivancanin,
25 he had a special uniform, he had a quite new uniform,
1 compared to the normal soldiers there, and the colonel
2 there. He had a -- an used uniform. You could see that
3 he had been out in the sun and there was some dirt on
4 the uniform.
5 So in that way he had special uniform, not
6 special, it was the same but it was quite new uniform,
7 camouflage uniform, and also that the colonel almost
8 had to listen to everything he said, what the major
9 said, so the major was in a kind of charge, but not in
10 charge of the forces, but in charge of everything, what
11 has happened in that area.
12 Q. Did you have a meeting with Sljivancanin and
14 A. Yes, we have a meeting there where we try to
15 get an agreement to reach the centre of Vukovar and
16 especially the hospital.
17 Q. That day, the 19th, did you try again to
18 enter the city of Vukovar?
19 A. We tried to enter the city of Vukovar and we
20 were taking on a kind of “sightseeing trip” to
21 outside Vukovar where we could see into the city.
22 Q. Did you eventually manage to go into the
24 A. We go just in the beginning of the city, and
25 we were seeing that there were fighting going on in the
1 city at that time. It was on 19th in the afternoon.
2 Q. Were you at some point in time in that
3 afternoon able to call the hospital and to talk to
4 somebody from the hospital?
5 A. Yes. From our car we called the hospital and
6 we reached Dr. Bosanac.
7 Q. Maybe you mean Dr. Bosanac?
8 A. Yes, Dr. Bosanac. It was my interpreter which
9 were in the car that were talking with her and she only
10 said that we had to come fast and help the people
11 there. And it was only, I think, 13 seconds or
12 something like that, and then the line was broken.
13 Q. Did she give any reason why you had to be
15 A. Yes. The hospital was nearly taken over by
16 the JNA, or by the -- I do not think she said the JNA,
17 I think she said, "the Serbs".
18 Q. Did you have the impression she was more
19 concerned about the hospital being taken over or that
20 something might happen to the patients?
21 A. It was that she was caring about, that
22 something could happen to the patients. She said that
23 it was awful at that time.
24 Q. Did you hear whether the ICRC was able to
25 reach the hospital that afternoon, 19th November?
1 A. Yes. We hear from the headquarters that the
2 Red Cross in the afternoon, later in the afternoon,
3 reached the hospital and were throwing away again.
4 Q. They were thrown away again after having
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Thank you. Turning now to the following
8 morning, the 20th of November 1991, did you again try
9 to get into the hospital?
10 A. Yes, we tried to get into the hospital and we
11 were told at that time in the morning that the hospital
12 was taken over, and that the Dr. Bosanac was captured
13 with some other people.
14 Q. By "Dr. Bosan" you mean Dr. Bosanac?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. The same person who you had talked on the
18 A. Yes, the woman who was leader of the
20 Q. Thank you. Were you successful this time in
21 reaching the hospital?
22 A. We reached the bridge over the Vuka in the city,
23 and at that time we were told, and held back for
24 I think two or three hours.
25 Q. What time in the morning was that around? Do
1 you recall that?
2 A. Yes. It must be about 10 o'clock in the
3 morning or something like that.
4 Q. How far away from the hospital were you
6 A. I think two kilometres or something like
8 Q. And by whom were you stopped?
9 A. We were stopped by Major Sljivancanin.
10 Q. That is the same person you saw giving that
11 press conference about a month ago and again the
12 previous day, 19th, in Negoslavci?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Was he in charge there?
15 A. He was in charge of his -- of his own people,
16 the JNA people from the normal army, which also were
17 a kind of guard for the EC members, and the EC members,
18 it was, the agreement was that it was only me and my
19 interpreter, Petr Kypr, that were able to go to the
21 Q. Did Sljivancanin give any reason why you
22 could not proceed to the hospital?
23 A. Yes. He said that it was too dangerous, that
24 there were snipers in the streets, and they had to
25 clean up before we reached the hospital. We go there.
1 Q. Were you able, from your position at the
2 bridge, to see down the road into the direction of the
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And did you see any signs of fighting, any
6 sniper activity?
7 A. No, there were no fighting. People were just
8 walking around, or not people, the soldiers, the
9 Serbian regular soldiers were walking around in the
10 streets and some of them are firing, celebrating in the
11 air with their guns.
12 Q. Did any of them, the soldiers you have just
13 described, appear to be taking cover or any other kind
14 of protective measures, being concerned about snipers?
15 A. No.
16 Q. And the gunfire you heard, that was what you
17 described as celebration --
18 A. Celebration fire, yes.
19 Q. Did any other members of the humanitarian
20 organisations try to pass into the direction of the
21 hospital as well?
22 A. Yes. When we are stopped there, maybe half an
23 hour later, the chief from the Red Cross arrived and
24 tried to reach the hospital again, and had -- you could
25 call it a conversation with Major Sljivancanin where
1 they were shouting at each other.
2 Q. And was this representative of the ICRC
3 successful in arguing about access to the hospital?
4 A. No, no. He was told that they could not trust
5 the Red Cross, and when we reached the hospital, the
6 ECMM, or me, I was in charge of these humanitarian...
7 Q. So you were eventually able to pass through
8 this checkpoint.
9 A. Yes. At that time, I think we stay at the
10 checkpoint about two hours or something like that and
11 then we were able to go to the hospital.
12 Q. When you arrived at the hospital, what did
13 you observe?
14 A. I observed that the hospital was -- had been
15 more damaged since last time, and in the hospital, or
16 around the hospital there were three kinds of
17 soldiers. Of course, our protection guard from the
18 JNA, and there were reservist soldiers, and then there
19 were these irregular soldiers, and they were just
20 walking around and some of them were beating the
21 patients that were laying on the floor.
22 Q. Was Mr. Sljivancanin around there in the
23 hospital as well?
24 A. Yes, he was.
25 Q. In terms of the patients, did you see any
2 A. Yes. I saw all the patients, and I walked
3 around with a doctor from the Red Cross and made a list
4 about all of the patients to the Red Cross.
5 Q. These patients, were they recently wounded,
6 or were the wounds older in your judgement, as a doctor?
7 A. It was at least one week old.
8 Q. So no recent wounds. Previous days or so.
9 A. No recent wounds.
10 Q. What were the unwounded civilians looking
11 like? Were there women, kids, men? Can you describe it
12 for us?
13 A. Yes, the hospital staff or the civilians were
14 outside the building and there were women and there
15 were children and of course there was some men too, but
16 later I understand that these were the men that decided
17 to go to Serbia after the evacuation.
18 Q. Which were only a few, I assume.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Did you talk to one or two of those
22 A. Yes. I talked with, I think she was
23 a dentist, a doctor, which I had been talking to one
24 month before, but she had said nothing about what has
25 happened. I think she was really scared at that time.
1 Q. Were you able to evacuate any patients or
2 other civilians from the hospital?
3 A. Yes. I think after an hour the JNA came with,
4 I think, 10 ambulances and I think four buses or
5 something like that, civilian buses.
6 Q. Did you join these buses provided by the JNA?
7 A. No. I was told that I was only monitoring,
8 and I could not do anything myself, just watch.
9 Q. In terms of timing, when did -- did you see
10 the convoy leaving the hospital and what time was that?
11 A. It was just before dark, the convoy leave the
12 hospital, and at that time it was, I think, or I was
13 told that it was taken over by our original group of
14 ECMM members.
15 Q. So you stayed all afternoon in the hospital?
16 A. No, I went also to the, I think it was
17 a school or a hospital or -- in another town where we
18 stayed with a patient, the night over, and then the
19 next day I went back to Vukovar to get the last of the
20 wounded people out.
21 Q. So you did not see the convoy leaving in the
22 afternoon, or you said evening of the 20th November.
23 A. I saw the convoy leaving from the hospital,
24 yes, and I was also told from the other ECMM members
25 that some of the buses were entered by some Serbs,
1 which they tried to scare the people in them.
2 Q. When did you eventually return back, out of
3 this area?
4 A. On the 21st November we had -- we take the
5 last patient out of the hospital and then we were
6 travelling to Bosnia, and that way around, back to
8 MR. WAESPI: At this point I would like to
9 show to you a brief video clip.
10 For your Honours and the Defence, I have
11 a transcript in both English and the original language
12 which is a mixture between English and the local
13 languages. Each of the transcripts has four pages, the
14 first four being the original, and then the second four
15 pages, the English translation.
16 I might ask you at this point, did you hear
17 later that you did not collect all the people from the
19 A. Yes. When we reached the hospital on 20th, we
20 hear that -- and the major also tell us that they had
21 taken some prisoners away from the hospital, yes. And
22 of course also the Dr. Bosanac.
23 Q. Yes. You mentioned her already. Thank you
24 very much.
25 If the technicians could get prepared,
2 (Video played)
3 Maybe can we quickly stop here? Doctor, do
4 you remember this scene here you have just seen?
5 A. Yes. I was 2 metres or 3 metres from that
6 conversation there.
7 Q. And which location is it? Is it the bridge
8 over the Vuka River you described a moment ago?
9 A. Yes. It is just beneath the bridge and we saw
10 the bridge and we saw the APC on the bridge.
11 Q. If we can have the picture of this video, the
12 still picture now on the monitor, please -- excuse me,
13 if I may ask the technicians, can we have the video,
14 the still picture on the monitor, the monitor on our
15 video, I mean, on our desks so that the witness is able
16 to -- exactly. Yes. So we could proceed with it until
17 we see the persons involved in that conversation, if
18 the technicians can go on with the video, please: if
19 you can stop now, please. Thank you very much.
20 Dr. Schou, can you describe for us now the two persons
21 we see on this -- you just saw a moment ago?
22 A. Yes. Yes. I can -- the two persons, they are
23 the leader of the Red Cross, the person to the right,
24 and to the -- oh, yes.
25 Q. And the other person?
1 A. And the other person is Major Sljivancanin.
2 Q. Thank you very much. Now we can proceed with
3 the video.
4 (Video played)
5 THE INTERPRETER: (videotape translated).
6 I got used to better collaboration with the
7 JNA than what I am getting today...
8 What is the matter?
9 The colonel knows all the problems.
10 No, there aren't any problems. It's just...
11 The problem is... I can see soldiers walking
12 on the streets. I can see the trucks going in. Look.
13 Look. Look. There.
14 Well, now I have opened the bridge to
16 That bridge was not open to traffic.
17 My colleagues were there.
18 If, sir, your only concern are the interests
19 of the people who are in that cellar and who my
20 soldiers are keeping safe in that case that is all
21 taken care of. If that is no concern of yours, then
22 I have had young soldiers killed, 18, 19 and 20 years
23 olds, then you are not welcome here. And, sir, my own
24 soldiers have been killed here tonight and, sir, there
25 is a war on here. My soldiers got killed here tonight
1 as well, and there is a war here, sir.
2 I know.
3 We are trying to make sure that you are all
4 safe and left in peace, while you are coming to me
5 talking of problems. If you do not like it here feel
6 free to return back and go where you do like it, and
7 I am embarrassed to have you treat me this way.
8 Whatever you asked of me I have given it all.
9 The convoy is moving towards the Vukovar
10 hospital. It is about a kilometre away from the centre
11 of town. This is a street that leads through the centre
12 of town, to the Vukovar hospital. On the right-hand
13 side --
14 MR. WAESPI: Can we stop the video for
15 a second, please? Can you describe the scene now for
16 us, Doctor? What is happening now?
17 A. Now we are travelling to the hospital, and in
18 the front of us there is the security people with an
19 APC, and then our liaison officer in the white car and
20 then the next car is the ECMM car where I am in,
21 together with Kypr.
22 Q. Thank you very much. Can we proceed with the
23 video, please.
24 (Video played)
25 THE INTERPRETER: (videotape translated).
1 On the right-hand side is the police station
2 of the Croatian police. In that building, or rather
3 from that building came some shooting yesterday, and we
4 witnessed the soldiers carrying out a couple of hundred
5 rifles from that building, that the ZNGs and the
6 members of the Croatian police left us. They were
7 fleeing towards the hospital where part of them were
9 Now they are entering the hospital and the
10 members of the European mission are there too. You are
11 going to take these vehicles --
12 Q. If we can stop the video again, can you
13 describe, Dr. Schou, now, what we just saw a second ago?
14 A. We arrived to the hospital and at that
15 moment, where the people stopped, the Red Cross or the
16 people were told that we were -- we were monitoring,
17 and that we were in charge.
18 Q. And now if you look at the monitor, well, it
19 has appeared again, on the left side, that is your --
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And on the right side?
22 A. That is Petr Kypr.
23 Q. And the person in the middle?
24 A. In the middle that is Major Sljivancanin.
25 Q. Yes. Thank you. It goes on for a few more
1 seconds, the video, if you could proceed until it ends,
3 (Video played)
4 (Video translation): You have these signs
5 and those people with Red Cross signs can also get in
6 and no one else. That is to say no one else can pass
8 MR. WAESPI: Thank you very much. That is it.
9 For clarification purposes also, talking about the
10 background commentary, it is a footage by the RTV
11 Belgrade news station.
12 I tender this video as the next Prosecution
14 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. The video will be
15 Exhibit 75 and the transcripts, 75A.
16 MR. WAESPI: Thank you. Next, I would like to
17 show the witness a photo album, and it is Prosecution
18 exhibit number 8. I could indicate which picture
19 I mean... (Pause) if you could put it onto the ELMO,
20 would I like to ask you, Doctor, whether you recognise
21 this building.
22 A. Yes, it is the hospital before the damage.
23 Q. And -- or maybe after damage, after it has
24 been reconstructed.
25 A. Yes, maybe, yes. Yes.
1 Q. Can you describe to us what you saw when you
2 entered the hospital yard on 20th together with your
3 colleagues and Mr. Sljivancanin, the scene we just saw
4 on the video?
5 A. Yes. We saw the hospital was totally damaged.
6 We saw a red cross on the roof of the hospital, around
7 there was some dead bodies or something, and the smell
8 of everything. Yes.
9 Q. Can you tell us where the buses you were
10 referring to in your testimony were standing? The buses
11 which were provided by the JNA?
12 A. Yes, the buses, some of the buses were
13 standing here to pick up the hospital staff which were
14 lined up at this point, and the ambulance, military
15 ambulances and some of the buses, I think two of the
16 buses were travelling this way around and down here to
17 get the people out from the basement. (Indicated).
18 Q. And what time in the day are you now
20 A. I am describing in the afternoon, I think,
21 just before it gets dark, or something, in the 20s of
23 Q. Thank you very much. The last piece I would
24 like to show you are those nine pictures you provided
25 to the OTP yourself: I would like -- yes, the usher,
1 please, to show the first picture already on the ELMO.
2 A. I just want to say that these pictures which
3 are my pictures, some of them are taken from myself and
4 some from one of the other people that are -- what we
5 changed pictures together when we arrived in Zagreb. So
6 we had all the pictures.
7 Q. A collection of pictures.
8 A. Yes. Yes.
9 Q. Thank you. If you could describe to us this
10 first picture, please.
11 A. The first picture, it is -- you could call it
12 a graveyard just outside the hospital, just on the
13 other side of the street where there were a hole in the
14 wall, and inside there, all these people were -- all
15 these dead people were.
16 Q. And these people are civilians?
17 A. These people are civilians. Only civilians,
19 Q. Thank you. Could we please turn to the second
20 picture? Can you describe this picture to us, please?
21 A. Yes. It is in October, and it is where this
22 truck hit the mine, and I can see this is -- this
23 person is myself, and that person is from Medicine
24 Without Borders and some of the others are also ECMM
25 monitors. (Indicated).
1 Q. That is now the incident with the mine you
2 have been describing, half an hour ago.
3 A. Yes, that is the incident with the mine and
4 the mine hit the car in this -- just this, this side.
5 Q. Thank you, if we could turn to the next
7 A. Just a moment, just a moment, I can tell you
8 that the last car, or something like this, this is the
9 point where this press conference was held.
10 Q. Okay. Thank you very much.
11 A. Yes. This picture shows Major Sljivancanin,
12 and German ECMM members, and our liaison officer from
13 Belgrade and it is in November, and it is the
14 19th November. It is our --
15 “sightseeing” we had just on the 19th, just for the
16 beginning of Vukovar.
17 Q. Thank you. Next picture, please.
18 A. This is also the sight where we saw
19 all these irregular people, and this is the Danish ECMM
21 Q. What do you mean by, "irregular people"?
22 A. I mean that -- I feel that there were three
23 kinds of soldiers in the -- on the Serbian side. There
24 were the JNA soldiers which were really professional
25 soldiers, then there were these reservists which also
1 were soldiers, but they were wearing older uniforms,
2 but were under command, and then at last there were
3 these irregular, which was all kinds of people, women,
4 men, old, young, and they wear a knife in the boots,
5 you can see a knife here, and they have all kinds of
6 things on their clothes. (Indicated).
7 Q. Thank you.
8 A. And they were not under command.
9 Q. Let us turn to the next picture. What can we
10 see here?
11 A. We can see the hospital, yes, and we can
12 see -- and it must be in November because this is the
13 JNA military ambulance we have there.
14 Q. The next picture, please.
15 A. And this is the same time. It is also in the
17 Q. Thank you. The next picture, please.
18 A. And this is the evacuation and it is the
19 evacuation from the basement which I show you, just
20 before, and these soldiers were doing nothing.
21 Q. And what kind of soldiers were those, now? If
22 you return to the three types of soldiers you have just
23 described a moment ago?
24 A. These types of soldiers, they were
25 reservists. They were from a platoon or something like
1 that and the officers and the soldiers were inside the
2 hospital and they were drunk.
3 Q. Next picture, please.
4 A. This is outside the hospital, and it is where
5 I took the staff from the hospital and the civilians.
6 Q. And they are now waiting to be evacuated?
7 A. They are waiting to be evacuated in the
8 buses, yes.
9 Q. In the buses you mentioned in your testimony?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Provided by the JNA?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And the last picture, please.
14 A. It is the same people from another...
15 MR. WAESPI: Thank you very much. I tender
16 these pictures as the next Prosecution exhibit.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 76.
18 MR. WAESPI: That is all, your Honours, from
19 the Prosecution side.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Fila?
21 Cross-examined by MR. FILA
22 Q. Your Honour, there is just one segment of
23 this testimony that interests the Defence. In view of
24 the fact that there are some differences in the
25 translation in relation to the original, I should like
1 to ask the witness to look at his statement before him
2 in English, and on page 2, or rather page 3 of that
3 statement, second paragraph from the bottom. In
4 connection with what you saw, regarding mortar fire,
5 I think that this is very important. If the witness
6 could explain where he saw Croatian soldiers with arms.
7 Was it in the hospital, in the hospital building,
8 within the hospital grounds, where that mortar was
9 operating from.
10 Perhaps, your Honour, you could put it to the
11 witness in one question so as to avoid us wasting time.
12 I am sure you understand what I am getting at.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: I am sure the witness can
14 answer your question.
15 A. Yes. I understand the question, and it was in
16 October, this time, the first time I was in Vukovar,
17 and at that time I was guided around in the damaged
18 hospital by the dentist doctor and at that time I hear
19 a mortar, and I think it must be a 60 or 80 millimetres
20 mortar firing from outside the hospital, but inside the
21 hospital area, somewhere, I cannot exactly say that it
22 is there, but it is inside the hospital area, and it is
23 firing from Vukovar out.
24 Q. And where did you see armed soldiers,
25 Croatian armed soldiers? Inside the hospital or within
1 the hospital grounds?
2 A. Only in the hospital ground. Of course, there
3 were some Croatian soldiers, the leader of the Croatian
4 or something like that, they were showing us around
5 inside the hospital, but only soldiers, the normal
6 soldiers were outside the hospital.
7 Q. Did you see any armed soldier inside the
8 hospital? Anyone, even one?
9 A. Yes, I think we have negotiation, or talk
10 with some of the leaders, and they were pistols, yes,
11 inside the hospital in the basement.
12 Q. Thank you. The Prosecutor has already asked
13 you, how come that only you have heard the mortar, the
14 88 millimetre mortar. How can you explain that other
15 people did not hear it? Is it because you have some
16 military experience and other people did not, or do you
17 have another explanation?
18 A. About the military experience, on that day,
19 there were also other Danish military persons, the ECMM
20 members in the hospital. I can only tell that at that
21 time I was the one that was guided around in the
22 hospital to see how the hospital was on a -- you can
23 call it on a professional view, and I did not know
24 where the other people are at this time. Maybe in the
25 basement together with the Croatian leaders, I did not
1 know it, but I was guided around and see all buildings
2 and see where they operate, the patients, and where
3 they have their medicine and where they make the supply
4 for the wounded and all these things, so I was guided
5 around, and I was the only one that was guided around,
6 outside, you can see in any floor, and... so I cannot
7 explain, I can only tell -- and I also state to the
8 ECMM that I have heard this mortar firing and it is
9 also to the head of mission when I reached Zagreb
10 I tell that I heard a mortar firing from the hospital
11 ground outside -- from Vukovar outside.
12 Q. You know, of course, that it is not allowed
13 to use weapons within a hospital, and to fire from
14 a hospital.
15 A. I know that and I also know that when
16 I told --
17 MR. FILA: Thank you, I have no further
19 MR. WAESPI: Yes. Maybe the witness could
20 answer the question.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Which question?
22 A. Yes. I know that you are not allowed to have
23 weapons inside a hospital area, not only in the
24 hospital, it is also in the area of the hospital.
25 I know that.
1 MR. FILA: Thank you.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. Mr. Waespi?
3 MR. WAESPI: Can I ask an additional question?
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Of course.
5 Re-examined by MR. WAESPI
6 Q. Did you see whether those soldiers who were
7 sort of operating the mortar were JNA forces or forces
8 from the Croatian side?
9 A. It was inside the hospital area, so of course
10 it must have been the Croatian side that was firing.
11 Q. But you saw the mortar itself, the weapon
13 A. No, I did not see the mortar. I hear the
14 mortar firing from this hospital area, and my military
15 experience said that it was in the hospital area. It
16 was about 1 or 100 metre, inside 100 metre from the
18 MR. WAESPI: Thank you.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
20 I have a couple of questions for you,
21 Dr. Schou. At one point you said that you saw irregular
22 soldiers -- I am quoting your words -- "irregular
23 soldiers beating the patients lying on the floor". This
24 was on the 20th November.
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Now, I would like to know
2 from you whether this happened outside or inside the
4 A. It happened inside the hospital. It happened
5 in the basement, and it happened when we walked around
6 to register all these wounded, when I was together with
7 the Red Cross.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, and did Major
9 Sljivancanin, or his officers or soldiers, do anything
10 to stop that beating?
11 A. No.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: And could you please tell me
13 how were the irregular soldiers beating the patients?
14 With any tool, weapon, or with their hands, or --
15 A. With their boots.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: With their boots?
17 A. Yes. The patients were lying on the floor in
18 the basement.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. And one last
20 question. In the last of the pictures -- do you have
21 the pictures?
22 A. Yes.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: You can see, just the last
24 one, you can see two soldiers together with the
25 civilians. Now, how would you place -- in which
1 category of military people would you place those two
2 soldiers? Remember, the three categories, JNA,
3 reservists and irregulars.
4 A. Yes.
5 JUDGE CASSESE: Let us look at the one at the
6 right-hand side.
7 A. Yes. These two soldiers, they are what I call
8 reservists and they are from the -- you can call it
9 hospital unit from the logistics, JNA troops.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Thank you. Is
11 there any objection to the witness being released? No
13 Thank you so much, Dr. Schou, for coming here
14 to give evidence in court. You may now be released.
15 Mr. Niemann, should we take a recess now, or
16 probably so that we can start with the new witness. Who
17 is the witness who is here? So can we maybe have
18 a recess of twenty minutes so we will convene at 11.05:
19 (10.45 am)
20 (A short break)
21 (11.05 am)
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Please make the solemn
24 MATE BRLETIC (sworn)
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be seated.
1 Mr. Niemann?
2 Examined by MR. NIEMANN
3 Q. If your Honour pleases.
4 Would you please state your full name,
6 A. Mate Brletic.
7 Q. And what is your date of birth, Mr. Brletic?
8 A. 13th July 1940.
9 Q. Mr. Brletic, on 8th November 1995, were you
10 visited by Mr. Kevin Curtis of the Office of the
11 Prosecutor of the Tribunal, and asked to provide
12 a statement?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Was that statement taken down in the English
15 language and then translated to you in the Croatian
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And when this process had been complete were
19 you asked to affix your signature to the bottom of each
20 page of that statement?
21 A. Yes.
22 MR. NIEMANN: Now, I have two copies of each
23 here, one of the original and one of the translation in
24 the Croatian. Could the translation and the original be
25 given to Mr. Fila and ones marked as exhibit, the translation
1 as exhibit A, next in order for the Prosecution, if your
2 Honours please. I think it is probably the same one as
3 Mr. Fila already has.
4 Mr. Brletic, looking at the document now shown
5 to you in the English language, can you see a signature
6 attached to the bottom of that?
7 A. I can.
8 Q. Is that your signature?
9 A. Yes.
10 MR. NIEMANN: I tender the statements, if your
11 Honours please.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 77 and the Croatian
13 translation, 77A.
14 MR. NIEMANN: Mr. Brletic, were you trained as
15 a police officer?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And did you do special study in criminology
18 as well?
19 A. Yes, I did.
20 Q. And are you a qualified criminologist?
21 A. Yes, I am.
22 Q. In 1991 did there come a time when you were
23 the police commander for Ilok?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And what was your area of responsibility as
1 police commander of Ilok?
2 A. To keep public order and law in Ilok and the
3 vicinity and also the safety and security of the entire
5 Q. Now, at the same time, did you also occupy
6 a military position in Ilok?
7 A. I was a commander of the headquarters for
8 defending the town of Ilok and the surrounding area.
9 Q. And what was the military organisation to
10 which you were attached at that time?
11 A. Territorial Defence of the town of Ilok.
12 Q. And what were your duties in your military
13 capacity, as opposed to your police capacity?
14 A. To organise defence from incursions by
15 paramilitaries into the town of Ilok, and surrounding
17 Q. I would like to ask you some questions, if
18 I may, about the structure of both these organisations,
19 the police and military, in Vukovar at that time, and
20 I would ask you firstly, with respect to the police, in
21 Vukovar, the opstina of Vukovar, what was the chain of
22 command with respect to the commander of
23 police of Ilok. In other words, who was your immediate
25 A. In Vukovar was -- there was a police station
1 and Pole Stipo was head of police.
2 Q. And he was your commander?
3 A. He was police commander of the entire police
4 area of Vukovar, which included Ilok as well.
5 Q. And your superiors, who was his superior, if
6 we can go up the chain, so to speak? Who did he answer
8 A. The Ministry of the Interior in Zagreb, to
9 the Minister of the Interior.
10 Q. Now, did the police have any connection to
11 the municipal authorities in Vukovar? Was there any
12 link to them in this chain of command?
13 A. There were direct links with the
15 Q. Can you describe those links for me please?
16 A. When security and safety and the territory of
17 the municipality are threatened then the president of
18 the municipality ask the police to intervene and to
19 ensure this safety and security.
20 Q. So, in certain circumstances does the
21 president of the municipality have a role in terms of
22 commanding the police forces of the municipality?
23 A. Yes. But with the previous approval of the
24 Ministry of the Interior in Zagreb. Then they agree on
25 the detail as to how action should be taken in order to
1 ensure safety and security.
2 Q. Thank you. Now, if we can switch over now to
3 the military side, which you were also a commander of,
4 what about that structure? Who was your immediate
5 superior in the municipality?
6 A. The superior in the military structure was
7 the head of the defence secretariat in the
9 Q. And the defence secretariat, what is that
10 body? Can you describe that for us, please?
11 A. The secretariat for national defence falls
12 directly under the Ministry of Defence of the Republic.
13 Q. Thank you. Now, is there any link to the
14 municipality authorities, the municipal authorities,
15 with respect to the Territorial Defence?
16 A. There are direct links, because in the
17 structure of the municipality that is where the
18 Ministry -- that is where the secretariat of the
19 interior and the secretariat of the defence, they are
20 also at a given point in time the authorities of the
21 municipality, and when there is a safety and security
22 threat in the municipality, then the president of the
23 municipality coordinates this, but according to the
24 command of the Ministry of the Interior and the
25 Ministry of Defence; coordinates the work of these
1 agencies and also coordinates various police and
2 military actions in the territory.
3 Q. Now, if we can move on to another body and
4 ask what its relationship to the Territorial Defence
5 is; the JNA. How did you understand the link and
6 connection between the JNA and the Territorial
7 Defence?, if there was.
8 A. That is a rather firm link between the JNA
9 and the Territorial Defence. They closely cooperated
10 because in the Territorial Defence there are reserve
11 officers of the JNA who co-ordinated their plans and
12 programmes for the defence of certain municipalities
13 and beyond that, state-wide.
14 Q. Now, when it comes to mobilisation power, who
15 has the power to mobilise the Territorial Defence?
16 A. Mobilisation is carried out through the
17 municipality concerned, where the secretariat for
18 defence is.
19 Q. And what role, if any, would the president of
20 the municipality have in relation to the issue of
21 mobilisation of the Territorial Defence?
22 A. He actually issues the order commanding
23 mobilisation of the Territorial Defence.
24 Q. Now, in terms of weapons, who has the
25 authority or responsibility to acquire weapons on
1 behalf of the Territorial Defence?
2 A. The Territorial Defence, as far as weapons
3 are concerned, is directly related to the Ministry of
4 Defence of the Republic and of the state at large.
5 Q. So in this case, prior to the dissolution of
6 the SFRY it would have been Croatia.
7 A. It would have been Croatia.
8 Q. And generally speaking, would it be fair to
9 say that Croatia, the Republic of Croatia, would have
10 considered that if it came to a question of determining
11 ownership of these weapons, that it, in fact, owned the
12 weapons of the Territorial Defence?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And would it be fair to say that they
15 could -- there could be a grievance by the Republic of
16 Croatia, under the old federation structure, if the JNA
17 were to take command of those weapons.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did the JNA in fact take possession of the
20 weapons of the Territorial Defence, in the Vukovar
21 municipality, so far as you are aware?
22 A. The JNA took possession of all the weapons of
23 the Territorial Defence of the Republic of Croatia in
24 1990 and the Territorial Defence remained without any
1 Q. And having regard to the structure of things,
2 and the authorities of the various republics versus the
3 federal authorities, was this considered to be either
4 an inappropriate or an illegal act?
5 A. Yes. It was planned, in good time, and all
6 the weapons were withdrawn because the state of
7 Yugoslavia was afraid that the Territorial Defence
8 would be that strong that it would resist the Yugoslav
9 army, and that is why the weapons were withdrawn to the
10 warehouses of the Yugoslav People's Army.
11 Q. Having regard to these twin structures, the
12 JNA and the Territorial Defence, was it ever envisaged
13 that one army would turn upon the other?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Now, I would like to, if I may, take you to
16 the events in Ilok when you were police commander and
17 when there was an increasing tension between the
18 Serbian side, if I can call it that, and the Croatian
19 side in the Vukovar area and in particular in Ilok. Can
20 you tell us how these events escalated and from when,
21 and the circumstances that led to their escalation?
22 A. On 2nd May 1991 there was an incident at
23 Borovo Selo. The forces, the paramilitary forces, Serb
24 paramilitary forces attacked the MUP forces from
25 Vinkovci when 12 policemen were killed in the area,
1 because of the fear of paramilitaries that they would
2 attack the entire area, in this area where I had
3 command. An issue was ordered to block all roads of
4 the entire border area towards Serbia, and to take the
5 bridge on the Danube River.
6 When we did that, two days later a new order
7 came from the Republic, from the Ministry of the
8 Interior; we deblocked the entire area. On 7th May 1991
9 the Yugoslav army took all the bridges on the Danube by
10 Batina Skela and all the way up to Ilok and remained
11 permanently in that area and in the area of Croatia.
12 But on the Ilok bridge on one side and the other they
13 are there. The commanders in Backa Palanka and below
14 the bridge are the navy of the Yugoslav army with heavy
15 weapons, Howitzers, guns, et cetera.
16 Q. So, in effect, your action to, in effect,
17 defend the police which were under attack was met by
18 resistance by the JNA, and the Yugoslav army.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Now, what happened after that, particularly
21 in the Ilok area? Did the JNA make any further moves or
22 did it just merely move in its forces and stay in
24 A. As tension was mounting, mutual tensions
25 among the population, this had a psychological effect
1 on the entire population, and it was force that was
2 practically advocated. We had to think about this, how
3 to line up our own forces if there was an attack on the
4 city and if they tried to break into the city, how we
5 could repel this. We did not want a conflict with the
6 Yugoslav army, we actually wanted to have full
7 cooperation with them, but on 8th July there was an
8 incident on the bridge, when the Yugoslav forces
9 started firing from tanks, at a police vehicle in which
10 there were four policemen, traffic policemen, who were
11 controlling the police -- the traffic towards Sid. One
12 policeman was killed in this vehicle and three were
13 heavily wounded and they were taken to the Vukovar
14 hospital in order to receive treatment.
15 In this incident the forces of the
16 Territorial Defence or the reservists of the National
17 Guards Corps of Ilok, they resisted and, of course,
18 they destroyed one tank of the Yugoslav army. This was
19 in the early evening around 7 pm and it lasted about
20 until 9 pm. At one point, though, Yugoslav army
21 withdrew from the bridge. We did not take the bridge
22 because we did not have such strong forces.
23 During the night the Yugoslav army took
24 advantage of what they had, and they got into the town
25 of Ilok, a kilometre and a half. That is to say, from
1 the bridge to the Dunav restaurant. This is one and a
2 half kilometres, and that is how they weakened our
3 position, so we were even more jeopardised. And on
4 8th in the morning, the 8th of July, around 2 pm,
5 aircraft of the Yugoslav army attacked Principovac and
6 bombed it where the military barracks of the ZNG were,
7 and two guards were killed and two were wounded, and
8 this made the situation in Ilok ever more complex and
9 tensions were mounting, vis-à-vis the Yugoslav army.
10 Q. So, in effect, what you had was the
11 Territorial Defence of Ilok and the police of Ilok, of
12 which you commanded both, in conflict at this stage
13 with the JNA both in its naval, air and ground forces.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, by August, what had happened in the Ilok
17 A. On the 20th July the Yugoslav army started
18 practically a general attack at 5 am using all weapons.
19 They attacked Ilok, and several facilities were
20 destroyed and a woman was wounded. The attack went on
21 for about two hours. We repelled that attack, soldiers
22 did not enter the town, and we remained in the same
23 positions, the Yugoslav army on the bridge and we near
24 the bridge.
25 I must tell you, the Croat forces were very
1 poorly armed. We hardly had 300 rifles. Out of them,
2 200 automatic rifles and 100 shotguns and we did not --
3 we could not effectively resist the Yugoslav army. We
4 were forced to talk to them in order to maintain the
5 territorial integrity of the entire area.
6 The army provoked this. They wanted
7 a conflict because they felt that we were weak,
8 although there was an incredible propaganda among the
9 army. The Jugo officers, those in charge of
10 propaganda, said that in Ilok there were about 7,000
11 well-armed soldiers with tanks, rocket-launchers and
12 other weapons, which was not true. They knew that very
13 well, because they were convinced themselves through
14 their own operative links, namely through their spies.
15 On 2nd August, the Yugoslav army penetrated
16 through the border from the direction of Sid, and took
17 a dominant position above Ilok, called Principovac and
18 we were fully blocked that way. They had Ilok as it
19 were in the palm of their hand, and they could have
20 destroyed each and every one of our targets. This is
21 a kilometre and a half away from the town of Ilok.
22 Q. And by this stage, this was about mid-August,
23 I think, had they taken the town of Sotin?
24 A. About mid-August the forces of the Yugoslav
25 army penetrated to Vucedol and cut off the road between
1 Vukovar and Sotin and Ilok. A group from Negoslavci,
2 a motorised brigade, a motorised unit, went from
3 Negoslavci to Sotin and then to Vukovar and that is
4 when Sotin fell. The people from Sotin started fleeing
5 towards Ilaca, Berk and Nijemci.
6 Q. Now, you mentioned a moment ago, you said,
7 "the Croat forces". Just to clarify that, is that
8 a reference to the police and -- the police of Ilok and
9 the Territorial Defence of which you were the
11 A. Joined forces, joined forces. The police
12 forces and the forces of the Territorial Defence, or
13 rather the reserve ZNG, National Guards Corps.
14 Q. Now, as a result of this military activity
15 out and around Ilok, and particularly in towns such as
16 Sotin and Lovas, did that have an impact in terms of
17 refugees on Ilok itself?
18 A. Those points in time had a decisive effect on
19 the state of mind of the whole population. There was
20 chaos, there was fear. People fled from those villages,
21 because there was a blockade towards Vukovar. It was
22 impossible to reach Vukovar, so they were all
23 withdrawing towards Ilok because Ilok had a population
24 of 6-7,000, but daily the population increased, so that
25 at one point there was as many as 20,000 people in Ilok
2 Q. Now, did there come a point in time when you
3 decided that the only course open to you was to have
4 negotiations with the forces that were arranged against
6 A. That situation set in later, towards the end
7 of September when the road, Nijemci-Ilaca was cut off,
8 when we had absolutely no connection left with Croatia,
9 nor could we receive military or any other kind of
10 support. Ilok had no hospital. We just had a medical
11 centre with the three general practitioners who could
12 not provide adequate medical treatment, should a larger
13 scale conflict break out between the Croatian forces
14 and the Yugoslav army. Therefore, we were in a very
15 difficult situation, so we would not be able to treat
16 our wounded if such a conflict were to break out, so
17 that the wounded would have to commit suicide.
18 Our other connection was with the Novi Sad
19 hospital, which meant negotiating with the JNA for our
20 wounded to be taken to the Novi Sad hospital, but this
21 probably would not have been feasible, because each of
22 our wounded persons would have been killed.
23 We were therefore forced to start thinking in
24 a different manner, to try and save Ilok and to create
25 some kind of a free territory there, until the crisis
1 in Yugoslavia was completely unravelled, and it was this
2 that we went to negotiate with the Yugoslav army and
3 the civilian authorities in Backa Palanka and the
4 surrounding area.
5 Q. Now, when did you go to Backa Palanka, if you
6 can remember approximately the time.
7 A. In September I went to Backa Palanka on
8 several occasions. The first negotiations regarding
9 a free Ilok started from Nesetin, Karadordevo, Backa
10 Palanka. In Karadordevo, at a higher level, we had
11 a meeting when the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Seda,
12 came directly from Vukovar, Colonel Markovski and other
13 officers were discussing the de-blocking of a farm near
14 Vukovar which the army needed for milk supplies. We
15 proposed that we would open up a communication to
16 Sotin, a road, to ensure regular supplies. The army
17 agreed to that but two days later did not respect those
18 agreements, and we did not manage to achieve anything
19 on that occasion.
20 Q. Now, when you first went to Backa Palanka,
21 did they do anything to you personally?
22 A. I went to Backa Palanka on several occasions,
23 when I was allowed to pass in cooperation with the JNA
24 because it was in the interest of the Yugoslav army for
25 us to free the road, because it was a roundabout way
1 linking Backa Palanka and Sid, because we were keeping
2 it under joint control and they wanted to use it too to
3 transfer their forces to the battle front in Vukovar,
4 and on one occasion in September when I returned from
5 Vukovar, I was called urgently to a meeting at Backa
6 Palanka, to a bridge, in order to reduce tensions and
7 reach agreement on a cease-fire.
8 Colonel Ostojic captured me on that occasion
9 and took me to the military prison in Paragovo near
10 Novi Sad.
11 Q. And how long were you held prisoner there
13 A. I was held there for five days.
14 Q. And when you were released, did you ascertain
15 or obtain certain information about what was said about
16 you while you were in detention?
17 A. I was informed, because I was at the top of
18 the headquarters combining the armed forces of Ilok and
19 the surroundings, at that time there was a general
20 attack on Tovarnik which was very important in the
21 context of the overall defence of the area. The army
22 had planned to capture me in order to carry out the
23 attack unhindered, without meeting any resistance,
24 because in the meantime -- I was in Tovarnik on the
25 21st. I spoke to the Territorial Defence there and
1 their commander regarding the resistance to be put up.
2 When I returned to Ilok, their operational people heard
3 probably that I had been to Tovarnik and that I would
4 put up resistance with men and weapons in Ilok, so they
5 tricked me and while I was in prison the whole area
6 fell and we were cut off.
7 And by capturing me they also wanted to cause
8 panic among the population, knowing that this would
9 have a psychological effect, and worsen the situation
10 in the whole area among the population.
11 Q. Now, what was the general tactics of the JNA
12 when it came to the taking of these towns? Did it
13 follow a particular pattern and course?
14 A. The Yugoslav army had recognisable patterns.
15 First it would issue sharp ultimatums if the population
16 and the leadership of the village or the town did not
17 respect them. They would first use heavy artillery to
18 shell the locality, to destroy the facilities and then
19 enter those places. Also, they used psychological
20 methods and the people fled leaving everything behind
21 in the direction of Ilok, thinking it would be safer
22 there because after all it was a town, and they thought
23 that there were larger concentrations of Croatian armed
24 forces and of the police force and members of the
25 National Guard Corps.
1 Q. Now, who was the commander in the overall
2 district where you were of the JNA, particularly that
3 you had dealings with?
4 A. The commander of the Novi Sad Corps was
5 Colonel Petar Grahovac and of the whole area was
6 General Arandelovic, who was based in Sid.
7 Q. And did you have discussions and meetings
8 with both of these people in relation to the situation
9 in Ilok?
10 A. Yes, I did.
11 Q. And were these discussions -- where did they
12 take place generally?
13 A. All these discussions took place in the
14 territory of Serbia, because Yugoslav officers did not
15 want the negotiations to be conducted in the territory
16 of Croatia, considering that their safety was in
17 jeopardy there, even though we guaranteed complete
18 safety. If I could go into Serbia with my negotiators,
19 then I could provide security for them if they came to
20 negotiate with me in Croatia. But since we were weaker,
21 we had to concede. They knew they were stronger than
22 us and they knew that we had to do as they said.
23 Q. In addition to dealing with military officers
24 from the Yugoslav People's Army, were any other
25 officials or persons involved in these negotiations
1 that you attended?, from the Serbian side?
2 A. Yes. On behalf of Backa Palanka the president
3 of the municipality, Ljubo Novakovic, Mr. Mihael Kertes,
4 their secretary of internal affairs called Dokic and
5 some others.
6 Q. Now, these other persons, what was their
7 position in the local community affairs, what rank or
8 title did they have?
9 A. Mr. Ljubo Novakovic was president of the town
10 of Backa Palanka, whereas Mr. Kertes held a prominent
11 position in the ruling socialist party of Vojvodina.
12 Q. Now, are you able to explain why it is that
13 the president of the Backa Palanka municipality would
14 have any role in these discussions in relation to Ilok.
15 What function did he perform?
16 A. He was directly linked to the Territorial
17 Defence of Backa Palanka, and it is normal for the
18 territory of Backa Palanka -- there was the
19 headquarters of the Motorised Corps of Novi Sad, and
20 JNA soldiers collaborated closely with the mayor
21 because he was their host, in a sense.
22 Q. And so, are you saying that there was, in
23 fact, in effect, a joint exercise going on between the
24 JNA and the Territorial Defence of Backa Palanka?
25 A. Yes, because the Yugoslav army additionally
1 supplied the Territorial Defence of Backa Palanka with
2 weapons, because at one point in time they were
3 preparing for a general attack in the territory of
4 Croatia, that is Ilok. They wanted to carry out an
5 invasion across the Danube. They were preparing combat
6 boats in support of the Yugoslav army so that jointly
7 they would capture and carry out a joint-planned attack
8 when the time came.
9 Q. Now, what was the substance of these
10 negotiations? What did you discuss and what was being
11 proposed on either side?
12 A. The substance of the negotiations had to do
13 almost regularly with ways of protecting the area of
14 Ilok, for the conflicts to cease until the crisis has
15 been overcome. When the tensions heightened to such
16 a pitch and when the Yugoslav army had already captured
17 a number of villages around the town of Ilok, when
18 certain crimes had already been committed against the
19 civilian population, through our intelligence we
20 learned what was in the offing for the town as a whole,
21 and judging by threats and ultimatums from the Yugoslav
22 army and officers who were planning to attack with
23 every weapon at their disposal, we learned that the
24 encirclement was tightening.
25 In fact there were three encirclements.
1 Strong forces had been brought in. 15-20,000 troops,
2 Territorial Defence units and regular army units with
3 all the possible weapons, combat boats, more than 200
4 tanks and we do not even know the number of artillery
5 pieces -- so in those negotiations we asked that we be
6 allowed and permitted a general crime to be prevented
7 from happening in Ilok because the population and the
8 town would be totally destroyed, and the economy,
9 because the whole town is concentrated on 4
10 square kilometres, each shell has its target, and the
11 little armed forces that Ilok had, would, of course,
12 resist the enemy. How long that resistance would last,
13 one cannot tell, and the Yugoslav army wanted that,
14 wanted to take advantage of that, and the whole
15 population would have been destroyed, and that is why
16 we proposed at those meetings, that they make it
17 possible for us to carry out an exodus of the
18 population because, according to the Geneva
19 Conventions, the population has a right to this.
20 However, this was not immediately -- this did
21 not immediately bear fruit, because higher level
22 commands had to be consulted, and these things had to
23 be discussed on several occasions.
24 When we had agreed on the models, then
25 this proposal was addressed through senior army
1 officers to Dragolujb Arandelovic, with whom we had
2 agreed a meeting at which we would agree on the method,
3 and see whether the Yugoslav army would allow us to
4 leave Ilok together with the entire population.
5 Q. Were the Geneva Conventions ever specifically
6 mentioned and discussed at these meetings?
7 A. Rarely were the Geneva Conventions mentioned.
8 The delegation of Ilok did mention that we had the
9 right to this, whereas the Yugoslav officer said, "you
10 know what you can do with that, right? We are the ones
11 who are determining what is right".
12 Q. Do you recall an occasion on 26th September
13 of 1991 being contacted by Colonel Grahovac?
14 A. I do. It was between the 26th and
15 30th September. The telephone rang, and my policemen
16 informed me that I was wanted urgently by Colonel
17 Grahovac. This must have been in the morning between 9
18 and 11. He asked me to come to Backa Palanka, that
19 a European Mission had arrived, or rather the European
20 Monitors who wanted to see for themselves what was
21 happening in the territory of the town of Ilok and the
23 Since they were afraid of entering the town
24 of Ilok where allegedly war operations were under way
25 and the Yugoslav army could not guarantee their safety
1 across the bridge, I was asked to come personally in
2 a police car to Backa Palanka to give them assurances
3 and to transport them to the town of Ilok.
4 Q. And what happened? When did you go -- what
5 time of the morning was this, approximately?
6 A. This was happening between 9 o'clock and
7 11 o'clock in the morning.
8 Q. And what happened? You went there and what
10 A. When I got there in my car, or rather when
11 I left the police station, the town of Ilok was full of
12 people, people were outside, they had already learned
13 that the European Monitoring Mission was in Backa
14 Palanka, and they were happy believing that they would
15 bring salvation. They would inform Europe, and the
16 tensions and the siege of Ilok would be stopped, and
17 that the JNA would withdraw. When I crossed the bridge
18 in my police car and came out in front of Mr. Grahovac's
19 headquarters we greeted each other, we met the
20 Monitors, there was a whole line of civilian
21 personages, some of them I knew, some I did not.
22 Among them was Mr. Dokmanovic, the president
23 of the municipal assembly of Vukovar. When I approached
24 him I offered my hand, he refused to shake hands with
25 me. I was embarrassed. I ignored it. I said,
1 "Mr. Slavko, it could be a good idea for you to come to
2 Ilok and help the suffering people there, to use your
3 influence with the Yugoslav army, not to allow any
4 incursions, to prevent any crime in the territory of
5 Ilok". His answer was that he cannot go to Ilok, that
6 it was an Ustasha stronghold, and he said, "escort me
7 to Vukovar", and I said, "you will be escorted by the
8 Yugoslav army. You can go where you will".
9 Q. Now, do you know -- were you able to
10 ascertain what role Slavko Dokmanovic was playing at
11 this meeting that you were having with the officers of
12 the JNA and the ECMM?
13 A. I was even surprised to see Slavko Dokmanovic
14 in Backa Palanka because until then I did not know that
15 he was in that area. I did not quite understand why he
16 was there.
17 Q. How was he dressed?
18 A. I cannot really tell you now because I cannot
19 remember whether he was in civilian clothes or in
20 an uniform.
21 Q. And are you able to name some of the other
22 people that were there at the time, and give the
23 positions that they held, apart from those which you
24 have already mentioned?
25 A. I have already mentioned Ljubo Novakovic,
1 then Mr. Kertes, with the Yugoslav officers. I did not
2 know the other people. I knew them but I do not know
3 their names.
4 Q. Now, what about the ECMM Monitors. Did you
5 ascertain who they were?
6 A. I think one of them was a Pole, one was
7 a Frenchman and I do not remember who the third one
9 Q. Now, what happened after this meeting? Did
10 the ECMM Monitors go back to Ilok with you?
11 A. Yes. The Monitors got into their car,
12 I turned my car around and led them towards the police
13 station in Ilok. When we got there, we had talked about
14 the problems, the overall situation in the whole area.
15 By mobile telephone they informed the European
16 Community headquarters and the government of the
17 Republic of Croatia regarding the situation in Ilok.
18 Q. Now, near Backa Palanka and particularly the
19 Ilok bridge, did you learn of a place that was used
20 for training volunteers and reservists on the Serbian
22 A. In the area of Backa Palanka, where the
23 Territorial Defence of Backa Palanka was billeted, is
24 a place called Bagremar. In that place was a centre for
25 the collection of volunteers of paramilitary forces of
1 the Republic of Serbia, to be sent to the front in
3 On one occasion, towards the end of
4 September, I was with a police patrol on the road that
5 was controlling the traffic at that intersection. It
6 was in the morning, and from the direction of Backa
7 Palanka a convoy of buses, full of members of
8 paramilitary formations from Serbia was heading to Sid,
9 and from Sid via Tovarnik, Negoslavci, for the battle
10 front in Vukovar. I concluded from this that there was
11 a possibility to explain why Slavko was in the
12 territory of Serbia, because, possibly, he was also
13 involved in the collection of those forces in the
14 territory of Serbia, because there were several
15 collection points in Serbia, not just in Backa Palanka,
16 in Apatin, Sombor and others.
17 We learned all this from our intelligence
18 sources that we had in that area. I cannot claim that
19 any one of my people actually saw Slavko at any point.
20 Q. Now, what happened next in the course of
21 these negotiations?
22 A. The definitive talks when we came to an
23 agreement with General Arandelovic were held in Sid in
24 the command of General Arandelovic. Representatives of
25 the town of Ilok, and the surrounding places Bapska,
1 Sarnitca, Mohovo, Lovas and a part of Tovarnik,
2 a delegation consisting of some fifteen members,
3 accompanied by the Yugo army went to Sid where we were
4 received by General Arandelovic together with his
5 escort of officers, and we spent about five hours
6 negotiating, regarding the evacuation of the entire
7 population from the town of Ilok and the surrounding
8 villages. We agreed on the details, we drew up an
9 agreement, signed it, by both sides.
10 Q. And who was attending this meeting? Who
11 attended this meeting at Sid?
12 A. Apart from General Arandelovic, there was
13 Colonel Grahovac, Captain Petrovic, Major Mucalovic,
14 Major Banic, Colonel Ostojic, public prosecutor of Sid,
15 who was also the author of the agreement. We could not
16 have much influence over of the agreement because it
17 was dictated by the Yugo army and as it had dominant
18 control over the whole region, and we were happy that
19 they would let our people out, and guarantee their
20 safety, the only thing we managed to achieve was that
21 all members of the reserve of the Guards' Corps should
22 be allowed to leave unhindered, and the police should
23 be the guarantee of a peaceful departure from Ilok, and
24 that it should provide security for the convoy of
25 displaced persons with its weapons and all its material
2 Q. Were there any discussions or agreements
3 reached with respect to people being taken out, of the
4 evacuations from Ilok?
5 A. There was a discussion, and it was agreed
6 that the evacuation should begin exactly on the 17th of
7 October at 8 o'clock from the bridge on the Danube
8 River, by the town of Ilok.
9 Q. Now --
10 A. But, the Croatian forces should surrender
11 their weapons and if we did not meet these conditions,
12 the exodus could not begin.
13 Q. Now, going back to this large meeting that
14 you had, this large meeting you had in Sid in early
15 October 1991, you mentioned the members of the JNA who
16 were present. Are you able to recall there being any
17 other parties present at this delegation, on the
18 Serbian side?
19 A. Colonel Milic Jovanovic was present. I did
20 not mention him. He was head of the
21 counter-intelligence service of the entire army in that
23 Q. Any civilian members present that you can
24 recall? You mentioned the prosecutor, I think.
25 A. Public prosecutor of the municipality of Sid,
1 but he was dressed in the uniform of a Yugoslav army
3 Q. Can you think of anyone else at this stage?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Okay. Now, can you go on from there? You
6 discussed the agreement. There was to be an evacuation
7 on 17th October. What was the next thing that was to
9 A. The Yugo army did not agree to this exodus,
10 believing that the forces of Ilok, the joint forces of
11 Ilok were talking the people into leaving, and at that
12 point in time they asked for some kind of a guarantee
13 from us as to why the people were leaving, and it was
14 proposed by the civilian authorities in town to have
15 a referendum carried out, who is in favour of
16 a surrender and who is in favour of an exodus,
17 a complete exodus from the town of Ilok, so around the
18 13th we had a referendum and about 80 per cent were in
19 favour of exodus and 70 per cent were against
20 a surrender of arms and if the army would not allow us
21 to retreat, then there would be full resistance against
22 the aggressor, namely the Yugoslav army.
23 After we carried out the referendum, through
24 Colonel Grahovac we informed General Arandelovic about
25 the outcome of the referendum, and he ordered the
1 agreement to be carried out, to start with the exodus
2 on the 17th.
3 The Yugoslav officers at that time were
4 trying to postpone the exodus for two or three days.
5 Through the operative links that existed amongst the
6 Yugoslav officers, we came to realise that a general
7 all-out attack on Ilok was supposed to begin on
8 Saturday morning at 5 o'clock. We urgently requested
9 a full observance of the agreement made, and that
10 regardless of all circumstances it begin at 8 o'clock
11 in the morning of 17th October and to have the
12 agreement honoured, and the agreement was honoured, but
13 had we not got out then, had we stayed for another two
14 or three days there would have been a terrible conflict
15 and the entire population would have been destroyed in
16 that area. That was the wish of the Yugoslav officers,
17 of the Yugoslav army and of the paramilitary units that
18 were together with the Yugoslav army.
19 Q. Now, moving forward to the day of the
20 17th October 1991, was the evacuation -- did it get
21 under way as planned?
22 A. Exactly at 8 o'clock I came with a truck full
23 of weapons and explosives. Colonel Grahovac, when he
24 was assured that the war booty was in the truck, he
25 allowed the truck to cross over to Backa Palanka. I did
1 not go to Backa Palanka. The driver of the truck and
2 I remained with Grahovac together on the bridge. The
3 booty was handed over to the headquarters of the
4 Territorial Defence in Bagremar. They were not pleased
5 with the booty because they thought that we had a lot
6 more weapons, and high quality weapons at that.
7 At one point in time Colonel Grahovac told me
8 that I had fooled him as far as weapons were concerned,
9 and he was wondering whether he should stop the exodus
10 or not and I said, "Pero, we have to honour what has
11 been agreed upon because General Kadijevic issued
12 orders that the exodus would have to be observed
13 because there was an agreement between the Croatian
14 government and the general headquarters, the general
16 Then Colonel Petar Grahovac opened the bridge
17 and the exodus started and women were on one side and
18 men were separate from them, and they were fully
19 searched at the other end of the bridge.
20 Q. Now, did you see any people from the Serbian
21 side on the bridge there that you recognised, on the
22 day of the exodus?
23 A. At the place where the exodus was taking
24 place and where the people were being separated, all
25 the officers of the Yugoslav army that I knew were
1 present. Also, all the high officials of Backa Palanka
2 were present, and among them I noticed Mr. Slavko
4 On the bridge I did not talk to Mr. Dokmanovic
5 because I was too busy with other affairs. This was
6 a highly responsible task that I had to carry out then.
7 Before my own eyes the Territorial Defence people and
8 the Yugoslav officers were taking people out of the
9 column, especially if they found a reason to get
10 someone out, to snatch someone. For example, at one
11 point, Colonel Ostojic said, "look up at the church.
12 You have a machine-gun nest up there. Go up there and
13 destroy it or I am going to go up and do something
14 about it", and together with two officers I had to go
15 to the church steeple and I had to do something about
16 it. We climbed up there and we had to see whether there
17 was a machine-gun nest or not. It took about two hours
18 and then they told him, "no, there is nothing up
19 there". And they took over 30 of my people from the
20 column, innocent people at that. They were not even
21 members of the ZNG, of the National Guards Corps or
22 members of the ruling party.
23 Q. Now, so far as you were aware was this
24 contrary to the agreement that had been concluded?
25 A. This was quite contrary to the agreement,
1 because I was given personal guarantees by General
2 Arandelovic that not a single person would be taken,
3 regardless of whether they were guilty or not, because
4 in the territory of Ilok lives of people of Serb
5 nationality were not threatened and we were not
6 torching houses of persons of Serb ethnicity. We took
7 care of them and no one was harmed, no one was hurt,
8 and no one's safety was endangered in Ilok and they had
9 no reason to snatch people in, to take them to prison.
10 This was genocide, and I think a dominant role had
11 to be played by Mr. Dokmanovic. He was president of the
12 municipality. He was the person who enjoyed a high
13 reputation and he could have had some influences over
14 the officers. He could have said, "do not take these
15 people to prison". They behaved very arrogantly.
16 Practically they were gloating over the fact that they
17 were winning and they were snatching these people away
18 from us.
19 Q. Now, what happened after that, after the
20 people were taken away? Did the convoy go on?
21 A. The convoy continued, naturally, and people
22 were moving out of Ilok. They were searched, they were
23 taken to Backa Palanka, and I found out their names and
24 surnames through Yugoslav officers whom I knew
25 personally. I managed to get some fifteen people out
1 of prison, but all of those whose names and surnames
2 I did not know, ended up in the camp at Begejci in
4 Q. Now, what happened then? What was the next
5 thing that happened?
6 A. At this very place, when people were taken
7 out, they were practically grabbing, seizing all our
8 things. People were driving vehicles that were
9 socially-owned and the army would not allow them to
10 drive these vehicles. These vehicles were seized and
11 people were loaded onto trucks or tractors and they
12 continued towards Sid.
13 At one point I had a very unpleasant verbal
14 duel with Mr. Grahovac. I told him, "if you cannot
15 command your officers, then tie some dogs here". He had
16 really irritated me, and then Mr. Tomic took out his
17 pistol and he said, "Pero, kill this dog. How can you
18 allow him to raise objections to you now?", and
19 Grahovac did not pay much attention to this. He said,
20 "Mate is right, because during that period of time
21 they took one of my vehicles where my personal
22 belongings were and where my personal weapons were and
23 they took it to Backa Palanka", and then he was
24 shouting at him. He said, "Ostojic, why did you allow
25 this vehicle to be seized?"
1 Q. What happened then?
2 A. After that, the convoy continued all the way
3 up to 5 pm when the last citizen who wished to leave
4 left Ilok, and I left at 5.30 pm. It was already dark.
5 There was some shooting around Ilok. This was the
6 scenario of the Yugoslav army, as if somebody were
7 attacking them, and that is when I managed to get the
8 last soldier out. So I went between two lines of
9 Yugoslav soldiers and paramilitary units and the
10 paramilitaries pointed their rifles at me, and Banic
11 and Mucalovic practically as if they wished to execute
12 us, and they were saying, "you banmuc, you are just
13 like the Ustasha Brletic. Once again, if you try to do
14 something we are going to kill you all".
15 Then Major Banic said to Major Grahovac, he
16 said, "it seems that the paramilitary units have
17 overtaken the command", and he said, "yes, it seems
18 that the Chetniks are more important than we are".
19 And then Mr. Grahovac advised me then. He
20 said, "Mate, if you wish, come to our side, go to Novi
21 Sad. You are going to get a four-room apartment and you
22 are going to get rank of colonel", and I said, "where
23 my people go that is where I go too, because I have to
24 take them to free territory in Croatia". He only
25 advised me, because I did not have an escort, to drive
1 without lights on because he said -- it was dark -- and
2 he said that I might be ambushed on the road, and
3 I drove along the road without lights and I reached
4 Principovac. I joined the convoy, and together with the
5 convoy through Sid I came to Lipovac around 8 pm.
6 Q. Now, you mentioned seeing Mr. Slavko
7 Dokmanovic on a number of occasions. How long had you
8 known him for, prior to these events in 1991, when you
9 saw him?
10 A. We did not know each other personally. We
11 knew of each other, because he was active in sports. He
12 was an engineer of agriculture. Often he would come to
13 Ilok, and we would meet at various meetings, for
14 example, at the ruling party meetings in then
15 Yugoslavia, but we did not have any personal contact.
16 Q. And these business contacts that you had with
17 Mr. Dokmanovic, and particularly the party meetings, how
18 often would they occur? Are you able to say?
19 A. Well, they were a couple of times a year.
20 These were the so-called municipal committees of all
22 Q. Now, I will just ask if you can look around
23 the courtroom and can you see Mr. Dokmanovic and if you
24 can, can you point to him and describe where he is
25 located in the court?
1 A. Yes. We know each other.
2 Q. And just describe where he is in the court
3 for the record, if you would, please.
4 A. He is sitting at the last table next to the
6 MR. NIEMANN: No further questions, your
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Fila?
9 Cross-examined by MR. FILA
10 Q. With the permission of your Honours,
11 Mr. Brletic, you know that Mr. Dokmanovic was president
12 of the municipal assembly of Vukovar. How long did he
13 hold this post and how long was he in the territory of
14 the municipality of Vukovar in 1991?
15 A. He was probably there until the person in
16 charge was appointed by the government of the Republic
17 of Croatia.
18 Q. And when was this? This was probably towards
19 the end of July 1991?
20 A. Yes, July 1919.
21 Q. Does that mean that after that Slavko
22 Dokmanovic was not president of the municipal assembly of
24 A. No. Then this person appointed by the
25 government of Croatia took over, Mr. Bili.
1 Q. At the point in time that you saw him in
2 connection with Ilok, was he president of the municipal
3 assembly of Vukovar or not?
4 A. At that time he was not.
5 Q. While you were commander of Ilok, under the
6 headquarters, were Serbs leaving Ilok?
7 A. While I was commander of the headquarters in
8 Ilok they would leave only when they would hear about
9 the attack of the Yugoslav army that was supposed to be
10 staged or that would actually be staged, then they
11 would flee to Backa Palanka after the attack or, if
12 there was no attack, they would go back home.
13 Q. They did not feel jeopardised?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Did all Croats leave Ilok or did some remain
16 or did some come back afterwards?
17 A. 80 per cent of Croats left when the exodus
18 took place. The majority of the population that
19 remained were Slovaks and Serbs.
20 Q. Did some Croats come back afterwards?
21 A. I do not know about that. The Croats did not
22 go back. Only those who left and who had relatives in
23 Backa Palanka and in Novi Sad, perhaps they came back
24 after the exodus, they came back to Ilok.
25 Q. As far as I understood you, in connection
1 with these events around Ilok, if that is the right way
2 to put it, you saw him twice.
3 A. That is right.
4 Q. Twice.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. The first time was in Backa Palanka, as you
7 said, and the second time when the exodus started. That
8 is to say, not several times, but twice.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. This second time, for how long did you see
11 him, because you said that you went to the belfry to
12 see whether it was -- whether there was a machine-gun
13 nest and you were --
14 A. Well, this was nonsensical, but that is what
15 the Yugoslav army asked about.
16 Q. How long did you get to see him and when?
17 A. I did not really pay much attention to that.
18 Several times I glanced at all of them, because I could
19 not really talk to them, because I was busy with other
20 matters, concerning the people who were being searched.
21 I had to be next to the Yugoslav officers who had the
22 lists, so that they would not snatch my people away. I
23 did not make personal contact.
24 Q. When you saw him, was it before your people
25 were snatched or after the people were snatched,
1 because you said that you had to go up to the church
2 steeple, so how did you know where he was then?
3 A. Well, among all these people, I saw him two
4 or three times.
5 Q. Was this before they had snatched your
7 A. They did not take these people all at once.
8 Throughout the day they tried to take advantage of when
9 I had to go to the town of Ilok or when I had to
10 surrender the town of Ilok, or when I would go to the
11 Slovak house to see whether something had happened.
12 Then people were snatched. They were being snatched all
13 the time. Not all at once.
14 Q. If I understood you correctly, throughout the
15 negotiations concerning Ilok, did you not see
16 Dokmanovic as an official participant in the
18 A. No. I only saw him in Backa Palanka and then
19 in Ilok on the 17th.
20 Q. But not during negotiations?
21 A. No, not during negotiations.
22 Q. On the basis of what are you claiming that he
23 had some kind of authority among the JNA when you said
24 yourself that he was not president of the municipal
25 assembly of Vukovar?
1 A. When he was president of the municipality of
2 Vukovar, things were getting more complicated, and
3 I think that he knew the people from the Yugoslav army
4 well. He knew the officers, he knew Mr. Ljubo Novakovic,
5 he certainly knew Mr. Kertes because this was his
6 terrain and before also the presidents of the
7 municipalities had cooperated.
8 Q. If I may say so, you are simply drawing the
9 conclusion that he must have known them?
10 A. That is right.
11 Q. But you do not have immediate knowledge of
12 the fact that he knew them.
13 A. That is right.
14 Q. Your intelligence service, in the territory
15 of Serbia, and in the other case, you called them spies
16 and here you are talking about intelligence service.
17 Did your intelligence people tell you about some kind
18 of anti-Croat role, if that is what I may call it, of
19 Mr. Dokmanovic?
20 A. No. I did not receive any kind of information
21 of that sort, that they had noticed him in that area.
22 Q. While he was president of the municipal
23 assembly, did he perhaps invite the army to help the
24 police in Borovo Selo, when those people were killed
25 with an ambush?
1 A. I am not familiar with that.
2 Q. Did you notice some kind of extremist
3 functions of his, or some kind of speeches that were
4 extremist when he held a post, and what list was he
5 elected on? How was he elected?
6 A. He was on the SDP list.
7 Q. Are those extremists?
8 A. No.
9 Q. You said that you had the impression that the
10 JNA wanted to break up Ilok, to destroy Ilok, I mean.
11 A. It is not that I had the impression, but
12 I was fully convinced of that, knowing the officers of
13 the Yugoslav army, and the paramilitary units.
14 I exactly came to that conclusion. I was convinced that
15 that is what they wished to do.
16 Q. Did somebody have some influence over them or
17 did they have their own chain of command, the JNA?
18 A. They made decisions according to their own
19 chain of command, and their own responsibility.
20 Mr. Fila, can I tell you, at one point in
21 time, General Arandelovic told me personally, "if you
22 do not surrender weapons with all the arms from
23 tanks -- all the arms you have, I am going to use tanks
24 and Howitzers and aircraft and I am going to level Ilok
25 to the ground", and I said, "Mr. General, you have one
1 daughter. If she is there, would you shoot then?". He
2 said, "yes, I would. I am a general and I carry out
3 orders of the general staff. Yes".
4 Q. Did civilian authorities have some kind of
5 influence over them, for example, the former president
6 of the municipal assembly of Vukovar, orders
7 Arandelovic, "do not shoot at them". Come on sir, we
8 grew up in the same country, and you know what the JNA
10 A. Yes, I do.
11 Q. So please will you answer.
12 A. The civilian authorities could have had
13 influence over officers and the higher command,
14 regardless. There is an area where a person with
15 a high reputation can, if he or she wishes to do so,
16 prevent an attack because it is not that we invited the
17 Yugo army to surround Ilok, and to carry out war
18 assignments in that area. It was individuals who did
19 that. You were sitting there in Belgrade, so you do not
20 know about all the things that were happening in that
21 area, but afterwards when the Yugo army would pass
22 through the area, then paramilitary forces would come
23 and they committed major atrocities, crimes in that
24 area, and we are all disassociating ourselves from
25 that, but the president of Yugoslavia is not immune
1 against that. He is probably involved in all of that,
2 and he must have found out that crimes were being
3 committed and he should have issued orders to the
4 generals, because it is the president of Republic who
5 is the commander in chief, not the general staff.
6 Q. And who was the president of the SFRY at that
7 time when this was happening?
8 A. At that time there was a presidency.
9 Q. And who was president of the presidency?
10 A. Probably Stipe Mesic.
11 Q. Do not say "probably"; you know for sure?
12 A. Stipe Mesic.
13 Q. Was Stipe Mesic a Serb?
14 A. No, he was a Croat.
15 Q. All right, so the Croat, Stipe Mesic, could
16 have ordered the Yugo army not to attack.
17 A. Stipe Mesic did order that but he did not
18 have the influence over the Yugo army. He ordered them
19 not to but they did. Did you ever see that?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Kadijevic is also a Croat.
22 A. No, he is not.
23 Q. No?
24 A. No. His mother is Croat and his father is
25 a Serb.
1 Q. All right. Who was Prime Minister of the
2 SFRY, then?
3 A. Anto Markovic.
4 Q. Also a Croat, I hope.
5 A. For sure.
6 Q. So, for sure, and how come he was Prime
7 Minister of Yugoslavia and how come the president of
8 the SFRY did not order the army not to attack Ilok and
9 Slavko Dokmanovic was supposed to tell them not to
10 attack Ilok?
11 A. Why are you asking me that when you know very
12 well who ordered it and who had influence over the
13 Yugoslav army?
14 Q. Was it Slavko Dokmanovic?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Well, that is what I am asking you.
17 A. But he could have been one of the
19 MR. FILA: He could have been. That is another
20 question, but, you know, every word you say is
21 important here. You know that the poet Milkovic said,
22 "it was one strong word that killed me". Remember
23 that? Your generation?
24 Thank you. No further questions, your Honour.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Niemann, would you like to
2 Re-examined by MR. NIEMANN
3 MR. NIEMANN: Mr. Brletic, when you said you
4 know who was responsible for this, who were you
5 referring to?
6 A. Well, I was thinking of the highest officials
7 in the army, and the highest officials in the Republic
8 of Serbia.
9 Q. And who was that? The highest in the Republic
10 of Serbia?
11 A. I think General Kadijevic is responsible who
12 was at the top of the army leadership, then, as
13 a responsible official in the Republic of Serbia,
14 Mr. Milosevic and others.
15 MR. NIEMANN: No further questions, your
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. I have two
18 questions. You said that the first time you met
19 Mr. Dokmanovic -- after the outbreak of hostilities, of
20 course -- was on 26th September 1991, and this was at
21 Backa Palanka, and in response to a question from the
22 Prosecutor you said that you do not -- did not -- you
23 do not remember how he was dressed. Do you remember
24 whether Mr. Dokmanovic played any role in the
25 discussions or negotiations which took place on that
1 day, on the 26th September? Did he speak in that
2 meeting? This is my first question.
3 A. No.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: So he kept silent. He was
5 silent during the discussion?
6 A. He was talking to a group of people over
7 there. He did not participate in my negotiations with
8 Mr. Grahovac.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. And what was his
10 relationship to Colonel Grahovac who was there? Was he
11 talking to him? Was he next to him? Do you think that
12 he was --
13 A. No, he was standing to the side.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Now, we move on to
15 the 17th October when you saw him at a different place
16 at Ilok, and if I understood you correctly, you said
17 you saw him on the bridge.
18 A. Yes.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Could you tell us what he was
20 doing on the bridge?
21 A. He was an observer like the rest, watching
22 what was happening with the exodus.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Was he talking to those
24 people who crossed the bridge?
25 A. No. He was talking to colleagues from Backa
1 Palanka and the other officers, and members, Serb
2 inhabitants of Ilok who were there.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Was he wearing
4 an uniform?
5 A. I do not remember.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. That is all. Is
7 there any objection to the witness being released? No
8 objection? Thank you so much for coming. You may now be
10 Mr. Niemann, I assume there are no other
12 MR. NIEMANN: Witness A will be available this
13 afternoon, I understood, your Honour. After the
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Would it be better for him to
16 come here tomorrow, because of his illness, or --
17 MR. NIEMANN: I might ask Mr. Williamson to
18 address you, your Honours, because he has been dealing
19 with him directly. I am not familiar with his exact
21 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, he had indicated
22 that he could go forward this afternoon, or tomorrow,
23 so it is really the preference of the court.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. Maybe it would be better
25 for him to come here tomorrow, so because, in any case,
1 there is another witness we are going to call tomorrow,
2 you are going to call tomorrow, so --
3 MR. WILLIAMSON: Very well, your Honour,
4 I will communicate that to him and I am sure there will
5 be no problem.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Therefore we will stand now
7 in recess and we will meet again tomorrow at 9.15
8 sharp. Thank you.
9 (12.30 pm)
10 (Hearing adjourned until 9.15 tomorrow morning)