1 Monday, 15 June 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone.
6 Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
8 everyone in the courtroom. This is case number IT-06-90-T, the
9 Prosecutor versus Ante Gotovina, et al.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 I would like to go in private session for a short moment.
12 [Private session]
23 [Open session]
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
1 I would like to address the representative of the Registry at the
2 place of the videolink.
3 First of all, can we check whether you can hear me, whether you
4 can see me.
5 THE REGISTRAR: [Via videolink] [Microphone not activated] I can
6 confirm that I can hear you quite well. Good morning, Your Honours. I
7 can only confirm that everything is set here. I hope you hear me now.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please repeat your words because I had to
9 change my plug in.
10 THE REGISTRAR: [Via videolink] [Microphone not activated] Good
11 morning to all the Judges and to everyone in the courtroom. Hopefully
12 everything is fine now.
13 We may proceed. Can we bring in the witness?
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I do. Let's check again that all the judges
15 do. Could you please repeat your last sentence.
16 THE REGISTRAR: [Microphone not activated]
17 JUDGE ORIE: We -- not completely yet.
18 THE REGISTRAR: [Microphone not activated]
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, could I first be informed about who is in the
20 room at this moment.
21 THE REGISTRAR: [Via videolink] [Microphone not activated]... a
22 technician here.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, then we invite you to escort the witness into
24 the videolink room.
25 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, before we do that, can I just bring
1 one matter to the Chamber's attention while that is going on.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
3 MR. KEHOE: This morning we asked Mr. Monkhouse if he would
4 contact the Court officer down there to have the witness review his
5 statement because we had not met with him prior to this. So I just
6 wanted to tell the Chamber we attempted to do that.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The Chamber was informed about it, and I take
8 it that you will -- give follow-up in the questioning of the witness.
9 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning. Good morning, I start addressing you
11 as Witness 61 because the Chamber is not aware of any protective measures
12 sought by you. Is that correct, Witness?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I haven't asked for them.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vukasinovic, before you give testimony, the
15 Rules of Procedure and Evidence require you to make a solemn declaration
16 that will you speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
17 truth. I can see that the Registrar has now handed out you to the text
18 of that solemn declaration.
19 May I invite you to stand and to make that solemn declaration.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
21 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Vukasinovic. Please be seated.
23 Mr. Vukasinovic, you will first be examined by Mr. Kehoe, who is
24 counsel for Mr. Gotovina.
25 Please proceed, Mr. Kehoe.
1 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
2 WITNESS: DJURO VUKASINOVIC
3 [Witness answered through interpreter]
4 [Witness testified via videolink]
5 Examination by Mr. Kehoe:
6 Q. Sir, could you state your name for the record and spell your last
8 A. V-u-k-a-s-i-n-o-v-i-c; D-j-u-r-o.
9 Q. And, sir, is your date of birth 4 July, 1948?
10 A. Yes, exactly. In Benkovac, the Republic of Croatia
11 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, did you -- do you recall meeting with members of
12 the Office of the Prosecutor on 3 April 2007?
13 A. I recall it. I don't recall the exact date, but it was about two
14 years ago.
15 Q. Without knowing the exact date, do you recall signing a statement
16 that you gave to the Office of the Prosecutor at that time?
17 A. Of course I do. I signed the statement that I handed over.
18 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President --
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 [Defence counsel confer]
21 JUDGE ORIE: Judge Kinis still has some technical problems, but
22 it's the balance between the different sources of sound.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Kehoe.
25 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, with the Court's permission, if we
1 could pull up 65 ter 1D75 -- 1D75, yes.
2 For the court officer in Belgrade, that would be tab O.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
4 MR. KEHOE:
5 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, do you recognise the document before you as the
6 statement that you signed on 3 April 2007?
7 A. Yes, exactly. That is my statement.
8 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
9 A. And the document that I see in front of me.
10 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, did you have a chance to review this statement
11 prior to beginning your testimony this morning?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Would you like to make any changes or clarifications to that
14 statement at this time?
15 A. There is nothing I would like to change, and I stand by this
16 statement in full, the statement that I made to the investigator of the
17 OTP. However, I do have some remarks in respect of the spelling. Some
18 of the names have been misspelled. But that is it not really very
20 Q. Okay. If at any point, Mr. Vukasinovic, you want to bring a
21 misspelling or some misunderstanding to our attention, please feel free
22 to do so.
23 Does the statement before you, Mr. Vukasinovic, accurately
24 reflect what you told the Office of the Prosecutor back on 3 April 2007?
25 A. Completely, in full.
1 Q. And is the information that you provided in that statement true
2 and accurate, to the best of your knowledge?
3 A. They're completely true, as far as I could recall at the time,
4 because from the events themselves to the time of my statement, some
5 12 years had elapsed, and to the best of my recollection, this is the
6 full truth. And it's not only to the best of my recollection, but also
7 on the basis of my personal experience and what I saw and heard myself.
8 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, if I asked you questions regarding the same
9 matters that are contained in your statement, if I asked those questions
10 again in court would your answers the same here today in court as those
11 you gave in your witness statement, back in April of 2007?
12 A. Yes, they would, in essence, be identical. Perhaps there would
13 be some minor discrepancies because of the time elapsed and the fact that
14 we forget, but the essence remains the same.
15 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, at this time, we would offer into
16 evidence 65 ter 1D75.
17 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, that would be number?
19 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D1499, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Is admitted into evidence.
21 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, with regard to the summary itself, I
22 haven't had the opportunity to meet with this witness. I haven't
23 explained --
24 JUDGE ORIE: I explain to the witness.
25 Mr. Vukasinovic, Mr. Kehoe will now read a short summary of the
1 statement you gave in 2007, which has now been admitted into evidence.
2 That is to inform the public about the substance of your testimony, so
3 you don't have to respond to any questions. It's just that those who are
4 watching these proceedings are aware of what approximately is found in
5 your statement.
6 So, therefore, if you would just listen for a while when
7 Mr. Kehoe reads the summary.
8 Please proceed, Mr. Kehoe.
9 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 Mr. Djuro Vukasinovic was the deputy chief of the public security
11 station in Benkovac during Operation Storm. On the morning of
12 4 August 1995, Mr. Vukasinovic was the acting commander of the Benkovac
13 police station. Concerning the shelling of Benkovac on the morning of
14 4 August 1995, Mr. Vukasinovic notes that artillery shells were falling
15 on specific locations, identified in his statement, among them the
16 Benkovac military barracks.
17 Mr. Vukasinovic is also aware of the decision to evacuate the
18 civilian population of Benkovac in an orderly and organised manner during
19 the afternoon and evening of 4 August 1995.
20 That would be the summary, Mr. President.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Kehoe. You may please proceed.
22 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, I'm going to ask you some clarification
24 questions concerning your statement which has been received in evidence.
25 And the first question I would like to ask you is directed to
1 paragraph 4 of your statement in the last sentence where you note that
2 you were acting commander of the police station in the absence of the
3 chief of police.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, I take it that the witness has a hard
5 copy in front of him. That's at least what I conclude from the body
7 Mr. Vukasinovic, do you have a hard copy of your statement in
8 front of you?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
11 MR. KEHOE: For the record, Mr. President, the submission was
12 tab O that we gave to the Registry.
13 Q. Staying with that sentence, Mr. Vukasinovic, who was the chief of
14 the police for the Benkovac station at that time?
15 A. The chief of police, or, rather, it was the police -- the station
16 of public security, as part of the Knin SUP was Zoran Lakic. Personally,
17 I was never appointed in writing to be his deputy. However, because our
18 entire complement of -- our entire police force was in the area of
19 Bosansko Grahovo in the then Republika Srpska, I stayed behind with a
20 number of senior, older policemen and civilians who were involved in
21 general administrative matters. In view of the fact that I was an
22 inspector, it was considered logical that I should be the leader at the
23 time as a Deputy Chief, but I never - and I would like to reiterate
24 this - I never received a written decision on my appointment as
25 Deputy Chief.
1 Q. Understood, sir. Was Mr. -- was chief of police, Mr. Lakic, was
2 he on -- up in the Dinara near Bosansko Grahovo with the rest of the
3 police officers on the morning of the 4th?
4 A. Yes, he was.
5 MR. KEHOE: Just for reference, Mr. President, that's in
6 paragraph 6 of the statement.
7 Q. In paragraph 16, and we're moving ahead because the statement is
8 in evidence, in paragraph 16 where you talk about later on, on the 4th of
9 August, police officers from Benkovac who walked to Kistanje.
10 Did these police officers, Mr. Vukasinovic, did they tell you why
11 they left their positions on the Dinara and walked to Kistanje?
12 A. Of course they did.
13 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
14 A. They said that there was general chaos there. They told me
15 firmly, they confirmed this, that there was general chaos in the -- in
16 the -- among the ranks of the army of the then Republic of Serbian
17 Krajina and that they had to leave their positions around
18 Bosansko Grahovo, so they walked from there to Kistanje, and that's over
19 a distance of some 30 kilometres. And on my part, I sent from Benkovac
20 some means of transport so that they could be taken from Kistanje to
22 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, if I could just stay with your answer, which
23 Mr. President is on line 10 -- excuse me, page 10, line 4. When you talk
24 about "general chaos," could you explain this general chaos that you --
25 to which you were referring, regarding the army of the Republic of Serb
2 A. Well, first of all, I did not say -- I did not use the term
3 chaos. I said disarray. I cannot say anything more specifically because
4 I was not there myself. And I was warned before my testimony that I
5 should only speak the truth.
6 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the latter part of
7 the witness's answer.
8 THE WITNESS: So I cannot testify as to what thinking was among
9 the leaders in the area of Grahovo because I was not there myself.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Let me just inquire whether there is still a portion
11 missing and what portion exactly it is. I mean missing in translation.
12 Because the witness, after you invited him to repeat -- after the
13 interpreters told us that they had missed part of the answer, the witness
14 then continued.
15 Is there any portion missing? Otherwise, Mr. Kehoe, perhaps you
16 read the whole of the answer and ask the witness whether that's the
17 complete answer.
18 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
19 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, I would like to - pursuant to the President's
20 instructions - just reread your answer back and see if this accurately
21 reflects your testimony or if you would like to change your -- correct
23 I asked you on page 10, line 11, Mr. Vukasinovic, if I could just
24 stay with your answer which, Mr. President, is on line 10, excuse me,
25 page 10, line 4.
1 "When you talk about general chaos, could you explain this
2 general chaos that you -- to which you were referring, regarding the army
3 of Republic of Serb
4 "A. First of all, I did not say -- I did not use the term chaos.
5 I said disarray. I cannot say anything more specific because I was not
6 there myself. And I was warned before my testimony that I should only
7 speak the truth."
8 In the interlineation, the interpreter did not hear the latter
9 part of the witnesses answer. And Mr. Vukasinovic you continue and say:
10 "So I cannot testify as to what thinking was among the leaders in
11 the area of Grahovo because I was not there myself."
12 Now, Mr. Vukasinovic, other than the comment by the interpreter,
13 is there anything in there that was either left out, incomplete, or you
14 would want to correct?
15 A. This is basically the essence of what I said before.
16 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, in your conversations with the police officers
17 that came back, did they describe to you this disarray, and, if so, what
18 did they tell you?
19 A. They didn't have that much time. We didn't have that much time
20 to talk about it because they came late in the evening on that date, the
21 4th of August, and the people needed to rest, so I sent them to their
22 respective homes. Some lived in the town itself, and most of them were
23 residing in the neighbouring villages.
24 I just wanted to send them home for them to rest and to take a
25 bath and prepare for the next day. We did not talk in detail about the
1 situation in Grahovo, and I could see that they, themselves, did not know
2 much about it because they were - how shall I put it - secondary people
3 in all these developments. They were just mere policemen.
4 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, I would like to address several other issues in
5 your statement. And the first one I would like to talk about is your
6 description of artillery targets in the Benkovac area.
7 Initially, I would just like to ask you: What was the distance
8 from Benkovac to the confrontation line on the 4th of August, 1995
9 A. There were several lines. The first, if we look from the
10 direction of the east relative to Benkovac, was in the village of Priseg
11 where there practically was just one path, one ditch, rather, dividing
12 our positions and those of the Croatian army.
13 Going from the east to the west, a second line of separation was
14 in the village -- between the villages of Vrana and Miranje Donje and on
15 westwards up to Zemunik Gornji.
16 If you're asking me about the distance to the city of Benkovac
17 if I understood you properly, I can also tell you that.
18 Q. Please do.
19 A. The first line which I mentioned is about 9 or 10 kilometres from
20 it. The second one about 7 kilometres. And the final one, some
21 18 kilometres, I believe. I might be wrong, by a kilometre or two, but
22 that is of no consequence.
23 Q. In your statement, sir, in paragraph 7 you mention, on the
24 morning of the 4th going to see a battalion of the 92nd Brigade, and,
25 again, in paragraph 17, you say you received information that the
1 3rd Brigade had been told to evacuate.
2 What army of the Republic of Serbian Krajina units were on the
3 front line in the Benkovac area at that time? And I'm talking about the
4 4th of August.
5 A. Could you be so kind as to repeat your last question? There was
6 an interruption in the interpretation that I was receiving.
7 Q. I was referring in paragraph 7 and 17 to your mention of at least
8 two units from the army of the Republic of Serb Krajina. In paragraph 7
9 you mentioned the 2nd Battalion of the 92nd Brigade, and in paragraph 17
10 you mentioned the 3rd brigade. I take it that's the 3rd Infantry
12 My question for you Mr. Vukasinovic is at that time on the
13 morning of the 4th of August, what ARSK units were on the front lines in
14 the Benkovac area?
15 A. This is generally known, our two brigades, one had the numerical
16 designation 92nd, and the other one 3rd. These are -- 3rd Brigade. The
17 3rd Brigade. These are mixed infantry brigades.
18 Q. Do you know, sir, where the 7th Mixed Artillery Regiment was
20 A. In the area of Benkovac, there was no such unit. Maybe you are
21 referring to the 7th Corps headquartered in Knin which covered the entire
22 area, including our own area in Benkovac. So it was not a regiment but a
24 Q. Well, was part of that corps, the artillery part of that corps,
25 was that deployed in the Benkovac area?
1 A. I said that our brigades were mixed units so that they did
2 include some artillery weapons of smaller calibres and some tank pieces.
3 So there was no need for any special unit from the 7th Knin Corps to
4 arrive in our area. This is out of my recollection, these things that
5 I'm saying, and I believe them to be true.
6 And if I can add, the situation frequently changed; namely, I was
7 not a member of those brigades. I was a part of the police force, and
8 possibly there could have been some units from the Knin area, but I
9 wasn't aware of it. I -- I don't know that that was the case.
10 Q. Well, with regard to the 92nd Motorised Brigade and the 3rd
11 Infantry Brigade, where were the command posts for those units?
12 A. The command post of the first one that you mentioned was in the
13 village of Biljane Gorjne, that is the so-called forward command post.
14 And the forward command post of the 2nd Brigade was in the village of
16 Q. Now, as for the artillery that was attached to the 92nd Motorised
17 Brigade and the 3rd Infantry Brigade, where was that artillery deployed
18 in the Benkovac area?
19 A. I cannot give you a precise decided answer to that question,
20 because I don't know.
21 Q. Now, I'd like to turn our attention to that part of your
22 statement that discusses locations of artillery fire by the army -- the
23 Croatian army on the morning of the 4th.
24 MR. KEHOE: And, Mr. President and Mr. Vukasinovic, I will be
25 talking about paragraphs 3, 5, 7, and 12, where the witness talks about
1 these various locales.
2 Q. Now in your first paragraph, paragraph 3, you mention that you
3 observed artillery fire around the petrol station. How many petrol
4 stations were there in Benkovac, Mr. Vukasinovic?
5 A. In Benkovac proper there was just one petrol station which was in
6 the direction of Biograd, some 600 metres from the centre of town.
7 Q. Now, was this located at the cross-roads, 600 metres from the
8 centre of town on the road towards Zadar, close to the railway?
9 A. That's right, at the cross-roads from which one road loads to
10 Zadar, another one to Biograd, and two towards the centre of the town.
11 It is some 400 metres from the railway station in the direction of the
13 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I would like to bring up a map which
14 is 1D72-2159. And I ask you -- it's a blank map of Benkovac, and I ask
15 oral leave to add it to the 65 ter list. It's just a blank map that I
16 have turned over previously.
17 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objections, Mr. President.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Your request to add the blank map to the 65 ter list
19 is granted.
20 Please proceed.
21 MR. KEHOE: And for the record, Mr. President, it would be 65 ter
23 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, I just would like to show you a map of Benkovac,
24 and it should be tab 29.
25 MR. KEHOE: If the court officer, Mr. President, could give the
1 witness a blue marker so we can just briefly go through this.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness be given a blue marker.
3 MR. KEHOE:
4 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, taking a look at this, the map that's before
5 you, could you circle the cross-roads for the petrol station and mark
6 that with the letter A?
7 A. I'm a little confused by the names of these streets, but this is
9 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I understand the procedure is for the
10 court officer to hold it up so that Your Honours can see it at this
12 JUDGE ORIE: Could the court officer hold up and have the camera
13 zoom in on where the marking was made.
14 Now let me just ...
15 MR. KEHOE: It's over to the left just a little bit.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, you apparently -- yes, it's the circle
17 and the letter A which now appears at the south-western part of town,
18 where we find cross-roads close to the railway line, which bends there,
19 from south-west to -- in south-easterly direction, or the other way
20 around. Just whatever way you go.
21 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I actually have two more. Would you
22 like me to have them marked and then show them in toto.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps if you first ask the witness to mark and
24 then we'll have a further look to the map.
25 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
1 Q. Now likewise, Mr. Vukasinovic, in paragraph 3 you also mention
2 the firemen's hall. And before we ask you to mark that, Mr. Vukasinovic,
3 were -- were there Territorial Defence offices located in the firemen's
5 A. Not in the vicinity of, but they were stationed at the firemen's
6 hall in the offices on the first floor. They were civilian -- civilian
7 defence. There was the fire-fighting society. And the information and
8 alert centre to alert citizens in the event of an air-raid or generally
9 speaking. There were no military units at the firemen's hall.
10 Q. Was the firemen's hall used as a locale where, when there was
11 order to mobilize troops, those troops met? Did they meet at the
12 firemen's hall?
13 A. There was no need. If there was mobilisation, probably the men
14 would immediately go upon receiving the call to their respective units.
15 There was no need for any larger number of people to -- or men to
16 assemble there.
17 Q. Well, on that map, Mr. Vukasinovic, could you circle the
18 firemen's hall and put the letter B next to that location.
19 That's okay.
20 A. [Marks]
21 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
22 Q. Now, likewise, Mr. Vukasinovic, in your statement, again at
23 paragraph 3 you mention the Bagat factory?
24 Now, do you recall a building called the cool storage that was
25 located near the Bagat factory?
1 A. Of course I remember. This is an industrial facility below the
2 settlement itself to the east from the railway station.
3 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
4 A. It was the --
5 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the -- this part
6 of the witness's answer. The last part.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Would you please repeat the last part of your
8 answer. You said it was an industrial facility below the settlement
9 itself, to the east from the railway station. And what did you say then?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said east from the railway
11 station, and then I said there was, in this industrial complex, a cool
12 storage unit as part of the trading enterprise Agroprodukt. Further on
13 towards the east was a building of the Kepol factory. And behind it
14 another one of the Bagat factory. All these three buildings were some
15 300 metres distant from one another.
16 MR. KEHOE:
17 Q. Looking at the map in front of you, sir, can you circle the cool
18 storage facility and the Bagat factory. Cool storage with the letter C;
19 and the Bagat factory with the letter D.
20 A. I do not see all that well, or cannot see. But I suppose that
21 this is it. And this one here.
22 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
23 A. So it will be a C -- a C to mark the cool storage. And the
24 Bagat factory with a D?
25 Q. Yes.
1 A. And this building in between is Kepol, the chemical industry
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vukasinovic.
4 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, at this time, we'd like to offer into
5 evidence 65 ter 1D2723.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne.
7 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, the marked map would be number?
9 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D1500, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE ORIE: D1500 is admitted into evidence.
11 MR. KEHOE:
12 Q. If we can move to paragraph 5 of your statement, Mr. Vukasinovic,
13 and you talk about shelling in the area of Benkovacko Selo, and if we
14 could bring up D1446, page 6. And for the purposes -- it's at tab 31,
15 for the Registrar, map 6.
16 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, I have no objection to the
17 Defence showing this particular map to the witness, because I believe
18 this is the map produced by the Defence, you know, based on a couple of
19 sources. And, you know, it would amount to leading perhaps the witness
20 can be asked as to what he knows about the military positions present in
21 that area. But showing this witness a map produced by the Defence with
22 certain markings would amount to leading the witness. He would not be
23 able to say anything about this map.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe.
25 MR. KEHOE: I think if I might respond, Mr. President. I think
1 that for clarity sake with regard to Benkovacko Selo, this area is
2 depicted in the map. I don't think that is a subject of dispute. And I
3 was going to ask him about a locale in that area that he mentions he sees
4 a degree of shelling.
5 JUDGE ORIE: There are quite a bit of markings on it.
6 MR. KEHOE: Okay. If I could take -- the page 6 that I put up,
7 Mr. President, does not have any markings other than the grid references.
8 If I can --
9 JUDGE ORIE: I see red dots with numbers on it. What is on my
10 screen now, perhaps it is not the map that you had in mind?
11 MR. KEHOE: No, it's not, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE ORIE: No. Then let's get this one from our screens, and
13 if you would then -- I take it that there's a certain sequence. Would be
14 an earlier one a later one?
15 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me.
16 [Defence counsel confer]
17 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, that was the first one. We were
18 looking at number 6.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Number 6 of this tab.
20 MR. KEHOE: Of this sequence, yes.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Of this sequence.
22 MR. KEHOE: And that map has no targets on it. None of the red
23 dots that we were talking about before. I mean, it does have
24 Benkovacko Selo there. But none of the targets that we looked at before.
25 It's just a map of roads and grid references.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, you apparently have problems in
2 finding a non-marked map.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, page 6 in e-court which is 1D69-0149
4 has many red dots.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Could I invite the Gotovina Defence team perhaps to
6 show it to Mr. Registrar so that ...
7 MR. KEHOE: That's it, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE ORIE: That's the one.
9 Now, in order to avoid whatever confusion, is there consensus on
10 what the identity of this map is?
11 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, this is a -- the major arteries as you
12 can see in the Benkovac area. The numbers reflected there are grid
13 reference numbers, and they are not target numbers.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. May I take it that there is no objection
15 against the roads being marked on the map.
16 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
18 Let's proceed.
19 MR. KEHOE:
20 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, you were --
21 MR. KEHOE: If I might have one moment.
22 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, you have a map before you that depicts the
23 general location of Benkovacko Selo. And how far was the -- was
24 Benkovacko Selo area from the police station in Benkovac?
25 JUDGE ORIE: Tab number, Mr. Registrar in ...
1 MR. KEHOE: It is tab number 31, map 6.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could it be shown on the camera before it's
3 shown to the witness.
4 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I believe that's the right one.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, it seems that this is the same one as we have
6 on our screen now.
7 Perhaps on the left top -- yes, I see the markings.
8 Yes, please proceed.
9 The map may be shown to the witness.
10 MR. KEHOE:
11 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, taking a look on this map, and you see depicted
12 in there is the general area of Benkovacko Selo.
13 And my question for you is: How far was Benkovacko Selo area
14 from the police station?
15 A. Benkovacko Selo itself is physically connected to the town of
16 Benkovac. If you're asking me about the area which came under shelling,
17 the Ristici hamlet in the coniferous woods, that hamlet is some
18 700 metres distant as the crow flies from the police station in Benkovac,
19 and it is to the north of the police station in Benkovac.
20 Q. Well, sir, was there was a cross-roads in the Benkovacko Selo
22 A. There is an asphalt road which leads to Obrovac near the pine
23 woods which I referred to. There is a village road which turns left from
24 the road leading to Obrovac. Then a bit farther on, there is another
25 offshoot branching off from that road to another hamlet, that is from the
1 road leading to Obrovac. There are no other road there, so there is not
2 a classic cross-roads. There is one -- one road leading to the right,
3 and a few hundred metres later on, there is another one which turns left
4 from the road leading to Obrovac.
5 Q. Well, with the use of a pen, Mr. Vukasinovic, could you circle
6 that area that you were discussing of where these roads were and mark
7 that with a letter A.
8 A. Well, I have to tell you that this is a very small map. It will
9 be very difficult to be precise in marking. But I believe that it is
10 here. But I must add, there was another road which turned left, before
11 the one which I described earlier.
12 Q. Okay, sir.
13 Now, if we can move -- you mentioned some shelling in the pine
14 wood area of Ristici. And I ask you, are you aware of a warehouse called
15 the Pladina [phoen] warehouse?
16 A. This is the first time that I hear that name. There was no
17 warehouse in that area, as far as I know.
18 Q. Well, if we look at an area just north of the area that you
19 circled, was there a warehouse that the army of the Republic of Serb
20 Krajina used as a logistics base.
21 A. Even before the war, during the war, and from what I hear, now as
22 well, is an area where fairs are held. It's a fairground; in other
23 words, that's where all kinds of different things are sold. And as part
24 of that compound there is an building that was a catering establishment,
25 a small cafe. There was a small shop, and there was also an area where
1 lamb would be turned on the spit.
2 Let me also say this. This area was used at one time for
3 training of high school students in range shooting. But this was a long
4 time ago.
5 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, could you, on the map before you, circle the
6 area that is the forested area in Ristici, and circle that as B.
7 A. Approximately around the 77 number here.
8 Q. Now, looking at that location, sir, of B, and if you look to the
9 right of the area that you circled as letter B, were you aware of any of
10 those warehouses or buildings to the right being used as a logistics base
11 for the army of the Republic of Serb Krajina?
12 A. I was not aware of it.
13 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, at this time, we will offer this exhibit
14 into evidence and move on.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Map marked with A and B, Ms. Mahindaratne.
16 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objections, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1501.
19 JUDGE ORIE: D1051 is admitted into evidence.
20 Please proceed.
21 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Q. In paragraph 7 of your statement you mention, Mr. Vukasinovic, of
23 going up to see the 2nd Battalion of the 92nd Brigade and then going up
24 around Obrovac. And in the third-to-last sentence you note:
25 "At around 8.20 we reached the intersection where you can go
1 either Benkovac, Obrovac, or Knin. The intersection was under severe
2 attack and trees were on fire."
3 Now, sir, was this in the intersection that was south of Obrovac?
4 A. If you allow me to say before that, that I did not go to
5 Gornji Zemun to meet anyone, as it says here to meet the commander;
6 rather, I took that road so that I could reach Obrovac because the
7 Benkovac-Obrovac road via Karin, which would been the shorter way for
8 Obrovac, was --
9 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear what --
10 THE WITNESS: -- under fire. And in order to avoid this fire, I
11 went via Smilcic and then returned via Pridraga to Karin.
12 So to answer your question, yes, this is an intersection to the
13 south of Obrovac. The northern road leads to Obrovac. The left road
14 leads to Benkovac, and right road leads to Knin from the direction of
15 Benkovac, viewed from that direction. This is the Krusevo village.
16 MR. KEHOE:
17 Q. And that was the area -- that was intersection that was under
18 severe attack; is that correct?
19 A. Exactly as I've said it.
20 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, on line 25 -- page 25, line 6, it says
21 the interpreter doesn't hear something. I'm not quite certain if the --
22 JUDGE ORIE: I got the impression that it was then nevertheless
23 translated where the witness said.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Your Honour, you are correct.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. They caught up.
1 Please proceed, Mr. Kehoe.
2 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, how far was this intersection from the centre of
5 A. From the centre of Obrovac, there are two roads -- well, actually
6 there are two roads leading from there to the centre of Obrovac. The
7 shorter way is about one and a half kilometres to the centre, and the
8 farther, the roundabout way, is about 2 kilometres along.
9 And let me just say this, this intersection is at a higher
10 elevation than Obrovac. So in order to reach that intersection, you have
11 to go up the so-called Burovacka -- or down the Burovacka slopes, so that
12 viewed from this intersection, Obrovac is in a depression, to put it that
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vukasinovic. I would like to take us to another
15 topic which is the evacuation from Benkovac on the 4th and later the 5th
16 of August of 1995.
17 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, Your Honours, we'll be referring to
18 paragraphs 11, 14, 15, 17, and 18, where the witness discusses that.
19 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, turning our attention to the evacuation, were
20 you aware of plans to evacuate Benkovac and other towns that were --
21 these plans being in existence before Operation Storm was launched?
22 A. No, I didn't know that. But I should have known it, had such
23 plans existed. I should have known it, because I was, in a way, in
24 charge of organizing traffic, traffic control, in situations such as
1 I heard of this plan on that day, in the afternoon, I think it
2 would have been around 5.00 or 6.00 p.m., when I was informed by the then
3 president of the municipality, Dr. Stevan Vuksa.
4 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, I would like to show you a document. And this
5 would be tab 10 in the documents. And this is D253.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Before we do so, Mr. Kehoe.
7 Could I ask a clarification of the last answer. You said you
8 were informed by the then president of the municipality. Informed about
9 what exactly?
10 A. I was informed that we should organise the displacement of the
11 civilian, the so-called non-combatants, to the area of Srb and Lika.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for that answer.
13 Please proceed.
14 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 If I can --
16 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, do you know if the civil defence had any plans
17 in place to evacuate the civilians from Benkovac, in the event of an
18 outbreak of hostilities?
19 A. Of course I know of this. These were plans that were drawn up as
20 part of the defence plan for the municipality. These plans were drafted,
21 I believe, since 1974. Up until the war, they would be drafted by each
22 organ separately, the civilian defence, the national defence. And these
23 plans had to be drawn up for evacuation of the civilian population, not
24 only in the event of an outbreak of hostilities but also of major natural
1 Q. Now, Mr. Vukasinovic, did you participate in these plans and this
2 planning that the area had established prior to Operation Storm?
3 A. If I may correct you, I did participate in them, but before the
4 war. Before 1991. I participated because I was supposed to take care of
5 traffic control in the event of evacuations, because, at the time I was
6 in charge of preparing these plans, the general defence plan -- national
7 defence plans within the SUP
8 Q. And how about, sir, after the war, and during the war? Did you
9 continue to participate in some capacity and, if so, in what capacity?
10 A. During the war, I did not; and after the war, of course, it goes
11 without saying, no.
12 Q. Now, you were aware, sir, of the evacuation that took place that
13 you mentioned in your statement in the paragraphs that I've talked about,
14 11, 14, 17, and 18.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, before we continue, could I have a
16 further specification in terms of time of what is considered to be the
18 MR. KEHOE: That's fine, Mr. President.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vukasinovic, when you were talking about the
20 war, does that cover the whole of the period 1991 up to and including
21 August 1995; or do you have a more limited concept of what you consider
22 to be wartime -- the war?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The period of war is, in my view,
24 the period between September 1991, when the then official army of the
25 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that was called Yugoslav
1 People's Army took certain actions in the area of Benkovac municipality,
2 up until the 5th of August, 1995, in the morning. For me, that is the
3 war period, wartime period; at least as far as the Benkovac municipality
4 is concerned.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for this clarification.
6 Please proceed, Mr. Kehoe.
7 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
8 Q. Now, Mr. Vukasinovic, in paragraph 14 of your statement, you note
10 "I returned to the municipal hall around 6.00 p.m., around ten
11 people were at the meeting and assignments were given to each person to
12 ensure that the evacuation was carried out in an orderly manner."
13 Now, when the evacuation was carried out, Mr. Vukasinovic, did
14 they do it pursuant to the plan that was in existence at that time?
15 A. As far as I know, no, that was not the case, because panic set in
16 as a result of the shelling, and as a result of misinformation, and also
17 some news that caused unrest among the citizens. But already around
18 4.00, people began to take things in their own hands, and on their own
19 initiative, used the vehicles they had at their disposal, cars, tractors,
20 whatever they had. They started moving out from the town and pulling out
21 in the direction of north, north north-east without any actual order
22 being issued. So if there was plan, an evacuation plan, it was not
23 actually necessary to implement it in practice because people had already
24 started doing it on their own from the town and from the villages to the
25 east, the south-east, and the south, and the south-west, and west of the
1 town, as well as from Karin Gornji which is to the north of the town. In
2 other words, let me wrap up. There was no need to implement any
3 organised plan, if it existed, because panic had set in, and people
4 started fleeing on their own initiative.
5 On our part, we organised transportation by buses from the bus
6 station, and we used the buses that we had at our disposal at the time.
7 And also we used some trucks, some commercial trucks, owned by companies
8 in Benkovac.
9 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, in paragraph 16, the first two sentences it
11 "All the people in Benkovac were already panicked, so there was
12 no need to appoint anyone to go around and tell them that they were to
13 evacuate. The organisation of the evacuation was communicated to
14 everyone by word of mouth. After this meeting at 6.00 p.m., the
15 organised evacuation started. However, even before, people had been
16 leaving on tractors and other vehicles they could obtain."
17 Are those sentences that I read for you, are they accurate, sir?
18 A. Yes. This is what I reiterated in my testimony, but I corrected
19 myself a bit in the sense that I said that there was no need to implement
20 any kind of organised plan because panic had set in and people started
21 fleeing of their own -- on their own. And what I said, that there was
22 information being circulated around orally, that's true. There was an
23 order to implement an evacuation and to leave the territory -- for the
24 civilian population to leave the territory of Benkovac and from the area
25 of Srb in Lika.
1 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, when you --
2 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, if I may, just to correct a --
3 there's a correction. It should read paragraph 15 and not 16.
4 MR. KEHOE: That's correct. It should read 16. Thank you.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, when you said that after this meeting at 6.00
9 after the meeting that you talked about in paragraph 15?
10 A. I have just tried to explain this a moment ago. I said that it
11 was not organised evacuation, because there was no need for that because
12 people in panic had already begun to leave the area, this area of
13 Benkovac municipality, using their own private vehicles. And I also said
14 that we, if we can use the term, organised evacuation, for that purpose,
15 we provided buses and some trucks that we took from these companies. So,
16 as far as I'm concerned that was the only thing that was organised in
17 this entire -- in this entire project of leaving this area.
18 Q. Now, you also note in -- in your testimony at page 30, line 13,
19 you say that:
20 "... there was an information being circulated around orally,
21 that's true. There was an order to implement an evacuation and to leave
22 the territory -- for the civilian population to leave the territory of
23 Benkovac and from the area of Srb in Lika."
24 Who gave this order to implement the evacuation?
25 A. I was relayed this order by Mr. Vuksa Stevan, by telephone. He
1 was the president of the municipality. And he said that he had received
2 an order to evacuate the non-combatants, the non-combatant civilian
3 population. I don't know whom he had been ordered by; probably someone
4 from higher level in Knin.
5 Q. And what time did you get this order, sir?
6 A. I left around - I can't exactly say what time it was - but I
7 think it was probably around 5.30 or 6.00 p.m.
8 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, prior to coming here, have you spoken to anyone
9 about your testimony in this case, within the last month?
10 A. Yes. I discussed it with my family.
11 Q. Do you know Mr. Savo Strbac?
12 A. Absolutely. I apologise, I omitted him. I also consulted with
13 him because we are on friendly terms, and he is involved in matters that
14 relate to these trials here. So I just wanted to hear his personal
15 opinion as to what my position should be and whether I had to exactly
16 agree to testify on behalf of the Defence; that was the basic thing I
17 wanted to learn from him, and he said that, yes, I had to do it.
18 Q. And just reading what you said here concerning Mr. Strbac page
19 32, line 4, you said: "I just wanted to hear his personal opinion as to
20 what my position should be ..."
21 So you talk to Mr. Strbac about what you should say in this
22 courtroom here today? Is that accurate?
23 A. No, that is not accurate. And that is not what I said, if my
24 testimony of a minute ago was correctly transcribed or interpreted.
25 What I felt I could ask him was whether I needed to accept to
1 testify on behalf of Defence, because I -- in view of the fact that I was
2 a witness for the Prosecution, so that was a bit unusual, and I didn't
3 know if there was a legal basis for this, that I could be called to
4 testify here also by the Defence of Mr. Gotovina's, and in view of the
5 fact that Savo Strbac is a lawyer, an attorney, he knew that this was
6 legally possible, and he said that I had to accept to testify. And that
7 was the only subject matter of the conversation between him and me, and
8 this conversation was conducted over the phone. I called him at his home
10 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, did you discuss with Mr. Strbac the issue of
11 whether there was an organised evacuation from Benkovac?
12 A. No, absolutely not.
13 Q. And when did you call Mr. Strbac?
14 A. If you mean on this last occasion.
15 Q. When you were talking to him prior to coming here today, did you
16 discuss the issue of the organised evacuation with him then, or did you
17 -- as a matter of fact, did you discuss it with him at any time?
18 A. No, never. There was no mention of evacuation in the
19 conversations that I had with Mr. Strbac.
20 I explained to you twice now already, what it was that I
21 discussed with Mr. Strbac, and if you'd like me to repeat it, I can.
22 You asked me when this was. I think this was last Tuesday.
23 Because he was away on sick-leave or something. He had some surgical
24 intervention, so I couldn't reach him before that day. I only was able
25 to reach him on Tuesday, and this was my only contact with him since the
1 moment that I received the information that I will be called to testify
3 Q. Let me address one last issue with you, and if I can refer to the
4 brigades and military units that you had talked about. In paragraph 7
5 you talked about going and seeing a commander, or talking to a commander
6 in the 92nd Brigade. And in paragraph 17 you note:
7 "At 11.00 p.m.
8 me that the 3rd Brigade had been told to evacuate."
9 Mr. Vukasinovic, during the course of the 4th, were you aware or
10 did you know or learn that there was heavy fighting in the Benkovac area
11 between the Croatian army and the army of the Republic of Serb Krajina
12 A. As far as I knew in the area of Benkovac municipality, the only
13 fighting was in the area of Zemunik Gornji, and I mentioned this in one
14 of the paragraphs of my statement. I said that members of the Croatian
15 army had taken up positions, had taken control, of some of those
16 positions called oris.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Goles, interpreter's correction.
18 THE WITNESS: As for the fighting on the 4th of August, I had not
19 heard of them. I did not hear of them. I mean, infantry fighting.
20 Q. Well, in the fighting that you learned of in Zemunik, that you
21 talk about or you refer to just in paragraph 7, that is where the
22 92nd Motorised Brigade was according to your testimony. In that
23 particular area, did you learn that there was heavy fighting in that area
24 between the HV and the ARSK?
25 A. I have already explained this. I heard that there was fighting
1 in the morning hours on the 4th of August and that the Croatian army had
2 taken a position in the area of this village, the area that is called --
3 the position that is called Goles.
4 Q. Now on this area that you are talking about, were you aware of
5 the casualties that were suffered by the Croatian army in that area?
6 A. I absolutely have no information of that.
7 Q. Were you aware, sir, that the line being held by the 92nd Brigade
8 did not break at any time during the 4th of August?
9 A. I didn't know that. But let me reiterate, a portion of the area
10 of Zemunik Gornji was taken by the Croatian army. This is the so-called
11 Goles area. In other words, the Croatian army had broken through the
12 Defence lines in that area.
13 Q. Well, staying with that, sir, you mention in paragraph 17 that
14 the 3rd Brigade was evacuating on the night of the 4th. Were you aware
15 that the 92nd Motorised Brigade didn't withdraw until late morning on the
17 A. As regards the 3rd Brigade, it was just by accident in talking
18 with a soldier that I found out that they had already left their
19 positions. I got that information as I indicated here about 2300 hours
20 on the 4th of August.
21 As for the 92nd Brigade, the situation was such that certain
22 lines had been abandoned and some remained manned until the second day,
23 i.e., 5th of August, in the morning, for reasons of lack of information.
24 These were some forward positions towards the Croatian army, where,
25 simply speaking, word had not reached the men there to the effect that
1 they should withdraw.
2 The men did not know that because of the absence of
3 communications means. In one of the paragraphs I described how the
4 communications system had been destroyed in the early morning hours on
5 August the 4th.
6 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, thank you very much.
7 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I have no further questions.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Kehoe.
9 We will have a break, but before having the break, I'd like to
10 hear from the first of the Cermak Defence and Markac Defence how much
11 time they would need for either examination or cross-examination.
12 MR. KAY: We have no questions, Your Honour.
13 MR. MIKULICIC: I will have a couple of questions, Your Honour,
14 maybe 15 to 20 minutes at most.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Fifteen to twenty minutes.
16 Ms. Mahindaratne, could you tell us how much time you would need
17 for cross-examination.
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Very short, Mr. President. Not more than 15
19 minutes; ten minutes at the most, I believe.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
21 Then we will have a break, and we will resume at 11.00.
22 --- Recess taken at 10.35 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 11.08 a.m.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, are you ready to examine the witness?
25 MR. MIKULICIC: Indeed, Your Honour, I am.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vukasinovic, you will now be examined by
2 Mr. Mikulicic. Mr. Mikulicic is counsel for Mr. Markac.
3 Please proceed.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Cross-examination by Mr. Mikulicic
6 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Vukasinovic. Can you hear me
8 A. Yes, I can hear you very well.
9 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, at the time prior to the commencement of the
10 Operation Oluja, as you said, you informally discharge the function of
11 the deputy commander of the police station, which, at the time was called
12 the public security station in Obrovac.
13 A. In Benkovac, in fact, I should like to correct you if you will
14 allow me.
15 Q. A slip of the tongue. I'm sorry, I meant Benkovac.
16 Can you tell us, what the role was in the armed forces of the
17 army of the -- in the armed forces of the Serbian Krajina of the police.
18 A. Actually, we inherited this from the time of the Socialist
19 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, when the police was one of the defence
20 components of the Yugoslav People's Army. That remained that way, also
21 at the time of the conflicts from 1991 to 1995.
22 Q. In your statement, which you gave to the ICTY investigators, and
23 I refer to item 6, you stated that a large number of policemen were in
24 fact engaged at Mount Dinara
25 Bosansko Grahovo.
1 Who was in command of those police units which were deployed on
2 Mount Dinara
4 A. I suppose the military command of the area. I, myself, was never
5 there to be -- to have gained any experiences. But I assume that it was
6 the military command of some of the units of the 7th Knin Corps. Members
7 of the police were under the command of the army.
8 Q. Do you know what types of weapons were issued to the policemen in
9 discharging those duties?
10 A. I certainly do. It was so-called personnel weaponry. They were
11 rifles, whether automatic or semi-automatic, and pistols. The police
12 units did not have any other armaments. Yes, there were the machine-guns
13 which had the same power, firing power, as automatic rifles.
14 Q. Where was this stored, the police armaments.
15 A. It was within the police building in Benkovac. But there were
16 few in the depot because they had been distributed to police members as
17 personal weapons so they had them with them, both in periods of rest and
18 in periods when they were in whatever way engaged at the front line.
19 Q. All right. A different topic now.
20 The question of the repeater at Celavac. In your statement, you
21 say that Celavac is only -- was only some 3 kilometres distant, as the
22 crow flies, from Obrovac, where you found yourself in the morning on the
23 4th of August and that when you entered the police station, you heard
24 them say on the radio that NATO aircraft had attacked the repeater at
1 Could you clarify for us this segment of your statement, please.
2 A. I shall do my best.
3 I arrived in Obrovac with a lad who was a car mechanic in your
4 unit, because, the day before, a car had broken down, an official vehicle
5 had broken down. When we arrived there, outside the police station in
6 Obrovac, while actually entering the building, I heard via radio
7 communications NATO aircraft are killing us off. So I asked the
8 policemen on duty - it's not an officer as you state in your statement,
9 as you write in the statement, but just a policeman - what was happening,
10 and that is exactly what he said. We are being shelled by NATO aircraft
11 at Celavac.
12 Now why Celavac? Celavac is interesting for a number of reasons.
13 First of all, because it had a complete communications equipment. Their
14 system of the Republic of Serbian Krajina located there. So ordinary
15 radio communications, television communication, special radio
16 communications, special telephone communications, it was all there in
17 that location.
18 So I hope that I have answered your question.
19 Q. Thank you for your reply. And my last question, Mr. Vukasinovic,
20 in your statement you refer to civilian defence also. Can you recall
21 within which ministry was the civilian defence located?
22 A. Civilian defence is a component part of the Ministry of Defence.
23 It was so structured that the -- it was within the competent of the
24 secretariat of national defence which was its name before the war. So
25 this was a component part of the Secretariat for National Defence of
1 every municipality and so was the case in Obrovac as well, and I can
2 expand further if are you interested.
3 Q. Thank you. I have no further questions.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Mikulicic.
5 Ms. Mahindaratne, are you ready to cross-examined the witness.
6 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vukasinovic, you will now be cross-examined by
8 Ms. Mahindaratne. Ms. Mahindaratne is counsel for the Prosecution.
9 You may proceed.
10 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Cross-examination by Ms. Mahindaratne:
12 Q. Good morning, Mr. Vukasinovic.
13 A. Good morning.
14 Q. Your testimony was that you participated in drawing up evacuation
15 plans which was part of the defence plan of the municipality. And those
16 plans were in existence since 1974. And I'm referring to testimony at
17 page 27, line 15.
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. Registrar, if I could have D253, please,
19 and it's in the -- it's in tab 7 of the Prosecution binder.
20 [Prosecution counsel confer]
21 Q. Do you know the document -- do you have the Benkovac evacuation
22 plan in front of you, Mr. Vukasinovic?
23 MS. MAHINDARATNE: If it is not tab 7 perhaps --
24 THE WITNESS: No.
25 MS. MAHINDARATNE: -- Mr. Registrar, could you try tab 1.
1 I'm sorry, it's at tab 1.
2 JUDGE ORIE: It is the same as O for the Defence, from what I
4 Please proceed.
5 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
6 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, are you familiar with this document?
7 A. Well, if I can take a closer look at it, perhaps I will find that
8 I'm familiar with it. Just give me a minute, please.
9 I can tell you right away, no, I'm not familiar with this
10 document. This was done by a service in charge of these matters and that
11 was the civilian defence staff of the municipality, of which I was not a
13 Q. Okay. I just wanted to bring only one page to your attention.
14 MS. MAHINDARATNE: And, Mr. Registrar, if you could just turn to
15 page 2, and you have to follow the page 2 because the chart has not been
16 reproduced in the English translation.
17 Q. Do you note the -- the evacuation routes that are noted on that
19 A. I can see them. It is -- they are drawn in very clearly.
20 Q. Now, isn't it correct that with the exception of the two
21 locations at the upper right-hand side of that chart, that is Kistanje
22 and Benkovacko Selo - I beg your pardon for my pronunciation - all the
23 other destinations, or the upper most limits of this complicated
24 evacuation plan, are within the Benkovac municipality? Isn't that
1 A. That is correct. But with your permission, I have to correct
2 you. The "B Selo" in the right -- right upper corner refers to
3 Biovicino Selo and not to Benkovacko Selo. That is the north of
5 Q. I'm sorry, I think that was my mispronunciation. And that place
6 is within the Obrovac municipality; is that correct?
7 A. All these places are in Benkovac municipality, expect for Knin
8 and Biovicino Selo which are in Knin municipality. All the other places
9 drawn in this map, in this outline are in Benkovac municipality. And
10 this other path is just a route indicator in case the need should arise
11 to leave the municipality, at least I assume that that is the case.
12 Q. Now, you said that you were involved in drafting -- or sorry,
13 participated in drawing up the existing old evacuation plans. Isn't it
14 correct that there was never a plan that was complicated to move the
15 population beyond the borders of the Krajina under the existing old
17 A. Let me explain, with your permission. All the plans, since they
18 started to be drawn up, including the evacuation plan, were made to be
19 implemented in the event of an attack by an external enemy. So in the
20 period of the existence of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
21 defence plans were drawn up to be implemented in the event of an outside
22 aggression on the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
23 This plan was of a quite different nature, and it only shows
24 routes to leave places that might possibly come under an attack by a
25 hostile force, so these are routes for relocation to the, so to say,
1 rugged part of the Benkovac municipality, which is called Bukovica which
2 has more natural shelters enabling the population to take shelter there.
3 And the assumption was that an external enemy would not actually arrive
4 with any major military forces in the area, in the event of an attack.
5 Q. Thank you for that.
6 A. And there, then I named the actual villages.
7 Q. Thank you for that, Mr. Vukasinovic. Now moving on I just want
8 to take you to something you said in response to Mr. Kehoe, and that is
9 at page -- page 30, line 13, for the record.
10 Now -- if you could just bear with me for a minute,
11 Mr. Vukasinovic.
12 In response to Mr. Kehoe you said:
13 "And what I said that there was information being circulated
14 around orally, that's true. There was an order to implement an
15 evacuation and to leave the territory for the civilian population, to
16 leave the territory of Benkovac and from the area of Srb in Lika."
17 This is referring to 4th August.
18 Now, isn't it correct that -- the decision that was contemplated
19 on the 4th was to evacuate the population up to Srb, up to Donji Lapac
20 and Srb? I just want to see if there is a misunderstanding here in using
21 the word "from," or did you mean to say "to Srb in Lika"?
22 Do you understand my question, Mr. Vukasinovic?
23 A. I fully understand your question, and that is exactly what I said
24 "to Srb," not "from Srb." So from the area of Benkovac, the thinking was
25 that the civilian population should be relocated to Srb, because it was
1 assumed that they not be in endangered there.
2 Q. Thank you for that. And just one last question on that,
3 Mr. Vukasinovic.
4 From what you understood at the meeting in the municipal council
5 building when the -- when you discussed with the others about organizing
6 evacuation of the population, did you understand that evacuation to be of
7 a permanent nature, where the population were to be moved outside the
8 territory of the Krajina on a permanent basis; or did you understand it
9 to be of a temporary nature, where they were to be moved out of harm's
10 way, temporarily?
11 A. When the action of the Croatian army started in the early morning
12 hours of the 4th of August, the assumption was based on previous cases
13 that the Croatian army would partially attack a part of our area. That
14 is why the idea was that the non-combatants, the civilian population,
15 should be moved away from that area for a temporary period until the
16 action was over.
17 However, what happened was that the Croatian army's action was
18 comprehensive and final, and the population in question never returned
19 but only went on farther afield. In implementing the decision that we
20 carried out, we actually thought that this would be a short-lived
21 exercise, that it would not involve the civilian population permanently
22 leaving the municipality area. I hope that I have managed to answer your
24 Q. Just a few more questions, Mr. Vukasinovic, and I will be -- I'll
25 finish off.
1 Now in a response to a question posed by Mr. Kehoe, on the -- on
2 the presence of -- as to who occupied or who was present at the fire
3 brigade premises, you responded as follows. You said: "There were no
4 military units." And this is at page 17, line number 10.
5 Now were there any fighting forces at all at the firemen's hall,
6 apart from organised units? I'm using the word "fighting forces," combat
8 A. Apart from members of the civilian defence, members of the fire
9 brigade, and employees of the Secretariat of National Defence, and of the
10 department -- or, rather, the early warning centre, there were no other
11 units, especially not military units. The only facility in the area of
12 the town of Benkovac
13 That was the only facility of a military significance, and there were
14 none -- there was not -- no -- there were no others.
15 Q. And when you use the term "army barracks," you're referring to
16 the Slobodan Macura Barracks. Is that correct?
17 A. Yes, precisely. That was the only one in the municipality area.
18 Q. And today Mr. Kehoe discussed with you the cool storage and the
19 two factories, Bagat and Kepol.
20 Do you know what type of activity was being carried out in those
21 three places, what was being manufactured? And I'm referring to the cool
22 storage and the two factories, Bagat and Kepol.
23 A. If you are referring to some kind of a military activity, nothing
24 -- no such production was going on, nor did we have any capacity or
25 possibility for that. Bagat was the branch unit of the Bagat factory in
1 Zadar, was not fitted out nor for the production of any equipment or
2 armaments, and there was no need for that is correct because the Benkovac
3 factory was outfitted for that and had the necessary personnel.
4 Production went on only in the cool storage, but that was food
5 processing or foodstuffs necessary for the population.
6 Q. And what was going on at Kepol? What was being manufactured at
7 the Kepol factory?
8 A. Kepol was also a branch firm of the Zadar and Zagreb Kepol.
9 Before the war they produced chemical products, such as the tape,
10 adhesive tapes, and that's it.
11 If you mean -- if you mean potentially that they could produce
12 some poisonous gases, that is absolutely out of the question.
13 Q. Now, in your statement you have referred to -- you list -- you
14 note that you saw the petrol shed, the fire brigade, and the two
15 factories being shelled.
16 Isn't it correct that there were civilian structures in the
17 direct vicinity of those places?
18 A. Absolutely. That part of town is to the south-east of the
19 centre. It's part of a settlement, a neighbourhood of private homes, and
20 in the immediate vicinity is also the railway station, and there were two
21 residential buildings there with some 20 or so apartments, where families
22 of people who worked for the railway were. So, this was the civilian
23 population in their own private homes. That was what these facilities
25 Q. And at paragraph 7 of your statement, and it was also dealt with
1 earlier in direct examination, you testified that you saw the
2 Benkovac-Obrovac-Knin intersection under severe artillery attack.
3 Now, at the time you saw the intersection under attack, were
4 there any ARSK members or units present at the intersection or in its
5 direct vicinity?
6 A. No. No, this was an intersection leading from Benkovac via
7 Obrovac, to Knin. It is in the area of Krusevo village which belongs to
8 Obrovac municipality, and there were no facilities there, other than a
9 private home of the Tomljenovic brothers who also had a bakery there. In
10 other words, a plant for the production of bread. So there were no other
11 facilities there.
12 Q. I just have only two more questions, Mr. Vukasinovic.
13 Now, in paragraph 5 of your statement, you say that when you went
14 to the police station the shelling became more intense and that between
15 5.00 and 7.00 in the morning, approximately 100 shells would have landed.
16 Now, do you know, or were you aware as to where those shells
17 landed? Did they land on civilian structures?
18 A. That was my assessment, that that was the number of shells that
19 landed there. As I described already, this started early in the morning
20 and throughout -- and it went on throughout the day. As for the period
21 when I was away, I don't know, but these are the figures that I
22 mentioned. So the areas also that I mentioned are the areas of these
23 three companies, the Bagat, the Kepol, and the cool storage, and then
24 further on, towards the petrol station, the barracks, and the police
25 station in Benkovac, and also in Benkovac village, the Ristic hamlet in
1 the pine woods. I need not mention the names.
2 As -- during the period when I was there, as far as I can recall,
3 two shells landed, one of them, as I described in my statement to the
4 OTP, one of them landed on a little hut at the football pitch. The hut
5 is used for selling tickets, and the other one landed on the field itself
6 where the -- in the area where the players who were not playing, who are
7 sitting on the benches would be.
8 In addition to this, there were also five or six shells that
9 landed on the high school building which was in the immediate vicinity of
10 the football pitch. And let me just say that the football field was next
11 to the building -- next to the police station building.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic.
13 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour, if perhaps the witness can take off
14 his earphones, please.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness take off his earphones for a
16 second. But let's first ask the witness whether he understands any
18 Mr. Vukasinovic, do you understand English?
19 Could you please take off your earphones for a second.
20 Mr. Misetic.
21 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, page 47, line 17, the witness
22 prefaced that observation with a qualification, which I think is quite
23 relevant. Can I tell you orally since the witness is not listening to
25 The witness said:
1 "I learned later," if that is of any value to you, "that five or
2 six shells landed on ..." et cetera.
3 So, in other words the witness qualified this by saying these
4 were not his personal observations and perhaps if we could clarify that
5 with the witness.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could the witness --
7 Ms. Mahindaratne, I take it that you will give that some follow
9 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I will do that, Mr. President.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness put on his earphones again.
11 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
12 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, you testified that there were also five or six
13 shells that landed on the high school building which was in the immediate
14 vicinity of the football pitch.
15 Now, was that based on your own observations, or did you learn
16 about it through another source?
17 A. If you listened carefully, I said that I learned of this later at
18 the time when I was not in Benkovac; in other words, in the period when I
19 was in Obrovac. I did not personally see those shells landing there, nor
20 did I hear them. Rather, later on, I was told of this by someone, that
21 the football pitch of the high school was hit and also the gym. I didn't
22 have time -- at the time I didn't have time to go and check whether this
23 was true.
24 Q. Now, you say that you learned of it when you were in Obrovac.
25 Did you learn of this particular shelling of the high school on the 4th
2 A. No.
3 Q. [Microphone not activated] When did you learn of it?
4 A. Well, at some point after I returned from Obrovac, let's say
5 around noon
7 Q. So you learned of it on the 4th August itself, that day itself.
8 That's what you're saying.
9 A. Yes, yes, on the 4th of August. That was when I was in Benkovac.
10 I was there the whole day. I also went there on the 5th, but early in
11 the morning.
12 Q. And when you went there on the 5th, did you observe any damage
13 that was consistent with this information?
14 A. No. I did not inspect this on the 5th, because, as early as 7.30
15 on the 5th, I left Benkovac, and during the night, I had some other
16 responsibilities that had to do with evacuating certain documents and
17 equipment from the police station. So that I did not have time to go and
18 check those places that were mentioned, and as I said, I only heard of
19 this from the employees the police -- who were at the police station at
20 the time.
21 So all of this was happening while I was away from Benkovac, when
22 I was in Obrovac, on the 4th of August.
23 Q. Thank you. Mr. Vukasinovic, just one last question.
24 At paragraphs 10 and 11, you referred to returning to Benkovac at
25 10.30; that is, after going to Obrovac, and being present at the police
1 station from that point onwards till 5.00 p.m.
2 Now between 10.30 and approximately 5.00, are you able to say
3 about how many shells would have landed in the area you were?
4 Now you made an assessment of 100 shells falling between, up to
6 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. If there's a question on the table, that
7 has been asked. So if the witness could get the opportunity to answer
8 it, as opposed to asked another question.
9 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I'm not going to ask a question,
10 Mr. President. I was just going to clarify my question in case there was
12 JUDGE ORIE: If Ms. Mahindaratne thinks that the question will be
13 clearer after she has further explained it, she is allowed to do so.
15 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
16 Q. Now you made an assessment saying between -- up to 7.00
17 approximately 100 shells would have landed.
18 Now my question to you is from 10.30 to 5.00, approximately how
19 many shells would have landed? Can you make an assessment of that
21 A. You asked me earlier, you mentioned in my immediate vicinity.
22 Well, during that period, two shells landed on the football pitch in my
23 immediate vicinity, and I have described this already.
24 Now in this period the Ristici hamlet and the barracks were under
25 fire and the facilities that I have already mentioned. Between 10.30 or
1 11.00 when I returned from Obrovac, up until 5.00 p.m., in my assessment,
2 some 30 or 40 shells landed. To be honest, I did not keep count of them,
3 but approximately in my free estimate it would be around that number.
4 As for the two shells that I described landing on the football
5 pitch, they fell in my immediate vicinity.
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vukasinovic. I have no further questions for you.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Ms. Mahindaratne.
8 Mr. Kehoe, you would have further questions for the witness.
9 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Often this is the moment when the Chamber questions
11 are --
12 MR. KEHOE: That's fine, Judge.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE ORIE: I may have a question, but I would first want to
15 invite the witness to take his earphones off again.
16 Mr. Kehoe, whether or not I have a question for the witness
17 depends a bit on how to interpret one of the maps. Of course, we haven't
18 got the markings here yet. They will come at a later stage. But you
19 showed the witness the map, you remember with the yellow roads on it, the
20 important roads. I see the Ristici. Could we have that on the screen
22 MR. KEHOE: That's D1501.
23 JUDGE ORIE: As a matter of fact, I --
24 Yes. There it is, although still unmarked. I think the witness
25 said that where the shells in the pine wood fell was at 77,
1 approximately, which is just above Benkovacko Selo, and you asked him the
2 distance from the police station to that place.
3 MR. KEHOE: I did.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Now you didn't ask him to tell us where the police
5 station was but, I take it, from D248 which is the map indicated on it
6 all kind of facilities, I would say it would be very close to what we see
7 on this map as being depicted as 76.
8 MR. KEHOE: Approximately, correct.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's -- could be a -- 50 metres off that,
10 but that's -- I would think it was a little bit further down from the 6
11 in westerly direction. But that's -- that's minimal.
12 Now, if we look at the scale of this map, could we move the map
13 so that we can see the scale and ... I see a scale which apparently is
14 related to miles.
15 Now, first of all, Mr. Kehoe, this 1573 metres, where do you
16 start in reading this scale? To the left part of it, the -- where it's
17 just above the DA of Datumi Slika or the next bus-stop, I would say,
18 which is just above, between the 0 and the S for Srpanj?
19 What is the 1573?
20 MR. KEHOE: I'm speculating at this point without full knowledge.
21 I understand now it is the entire span from left to right.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, if you look at that, approximately at
23 that scale, 1573 metres, if I try to figure out what the distance between
24 76, to take it as a rough estimate, and 77 would be, that would not be
25 anywhere near to 700 metres, as the crow flies. I must tell you that I
1 have --
2 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President --
3 JUDGE ORIE: -- problems in accepting that your interpretation of
4 the scale is the right one.
5 MR. KEHOE: Between 76 and 77 is 1 kilometre.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Well, I would.
7 MR. KEHOE: That's the grid.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Could we zoom out a tiny little bit then we -- yes.
9 And -- but, therefore, if I look at this scale and, of course, we can
10 measure that. If we now not change the scale anymore, that would be very
12 If your interpretation would be right, it would be 2 kilometres.
13 So I am wondering whether your interpretation of the scale is the correct
14 one. I'm inclined to believe that it is the smaller portion -- or
15 the ...
16 MR. KEHOE: In these maps, Mr. President, the way they're laid
17 out, the grid reference from the 76 to the 77 is a kilometre. If we go
18 from the grid that's on the bottom - and I'm just eyeballing it at this
19 point - it appears to be approximately the same. And we can -- we can
20 actually go back and give you a map of the distance between the two. But
21 we were giving a rough approximation with the witness without holding him
22 to a specific locale. But these are maps obviously taken off
23 Google Earth, and the distances between these two, I assume, are pretty
24 well established. We can certainly go back and check this distance,
25 Mr. President, and come up with a more accurate distance.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Of course, I'm not unfamiliar with Google Earth or
2 Google Maps, Mr. Kehoe.
3 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
4 JUDGE ORIE: And because as we see on this map, the distance as
5 the crow flies would be -- if that is 1573 metres, then it would -- if
6 the scale is correct, then it would not be as the crow flies anything
7 near 700 metres; it would be far more. It would be up to one and a half
8 kilometre, if not more. Because if you put the scale of 1573 metres as
9 just explained by you over there, then I would be more inclined to
10 believe that perhaps the full scale, not from the first to the third
11 bus-stop, but up to and including the fifth bus-stop would 1573 metres
13 Is that --
14 MR. KEHOE: I think you're absolutely right, Judge. I think the
15 whole scale is 1500 plus metres.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, not to halfway -- I'd say 1573.
17 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
18 JUDGE ORIE: That has been clarified. I think that I have got no
19 further questions then for the witness.
20 It just appears in the middle and whether that covers up till
21 there or the whole of it is not entirely clear. But I have no further
22 questions for the witness in relation to the -- still his -- it would be
23 a kilometre rather than 700 metres.
24 MR. KEHOE: I think that's correct.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
1 Ms. Mahindaratne, having followed my exchange of views with
2 Mr. Kehoe, would you agree?
3 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, Mr. President.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then I think it is it of no need to ask the
5 witness further specifications, whether it was 700 metres or 1.000
6 metres, or that's all within the normal limit of -- of error.
7 The witness can put on his earphones again.
8 Mr. Kehoe, do you have any further questions for the witness?
9 MR. KEHOE: Just very briefly, Mr. President.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
11 Some more questions will be put to you, Mr. Vukasinovic, by
12 Mr. Kehoe.
13 Re-examination by Mr. Kehoe:
14 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic on page 45, line 11 and 12, you noted that the
15 Benkovac factory was -- I'll read to you exactly what you said:
16 "Bagat was not the branch unit of the Bagat factory in Zadar --
17 was the branch unit of the Bagat factory in Zadar, was not fitted out nor
18 for the production of any equipment or armaments. And there was no need
19 for that" --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, you're reading.
21 MR. KEHOE: Sorry.
22 Q. "There was no need for that because the Benkovac factory was
23 outfitted for that and had the necessary personnel."
24 Now, the Benkovac factory was outfitted for what, sir? For
25 making equipment and armaments?
1 A. It does not refer to the factory but to the barracks. I said
2 that the barracks was outfitted for repairs of armaments and that they
3 had the personnel for that, not for the production but for the repairs of
4 armaments. So let me repeat: I was referring to the barracks, not the
5 Bagat factory.
6 Q. Thank you, sir. Thank you for that clarification.
7 Now, with regard to some of the evacuation questions asked by
8 Ms. Mahindaratne, let me show you D932.
9 MR. KEHOE: And, Mr. Registrar, that's at tab 17.
10 Q. Now, this is a document, Mr. Vukasinovic, which notes fuel
11 deliveries in the Benkovac area for the evacuation of civilians, dated
12 30 March 1995
13 Were aware that this was part of the evacuation plan to deliver
14 fuel to these various villages so that they could evacuate, if need be?
15 A. No, I was not aware of this.
16 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
17 A. Even if I did participate in drafting plans such as these, that
18 would renature only to traffic control; in other words, to ensure that
19 there was a normal flow of people and vehicles, and I didn't know
20 anything about fuel.
21 Q. Well, let me show you another document from the Ministry of the
22 Interior for the Republic of Serbian
23 route -- and that's at, if I may, tab 11, Mr. Registrar.
24 As a preface to this, in response to some questions by
25 Ms. Mahindaratne, you noted that the evacuation was not meant to be
1 permanent but just temporary.
2 I show you this document, and if you could take a look at this
3 document that's in front of you, it reflects the evacuation -- well, says
4 -- let me read it very briefly, just the preface:
5 "Due to the declaration of a state of war in the territory of the
6 Republic of Serbian Krajina" -- I'm sorry, it's D254. I'm sorry if I --
7 did I say D253?
8 MR. KEHOE: It's D254; my apologies. But it's still tab 11,
9 Mr. Registrar, in your -- Mr. Mr. Vukasinovic's book.
10 Q. This is dated 31 July 1995
11 "Due to the declaration of a state of war in the territory of the
12 Republic of Serbian Krajina and the uncertain ... political situation,
13 and drawing on experience of Western Slavonia, order, all secretariats of
14 the interior are to prepare within their organisational units for the
15 rapid evacuation of the following archives and day-to-day documentation."
16 Enlisted in the first item, birth certificates, weapons registries,
17 vehicle files. In 2, personnel -- employee personnel documents, records
18 of the -- of the dead and wounded. And it's -- you can review this
19 document. It goes into any number of specific items that call to be
20 evacuated, and it's signed by Toso Pajic.
21 Now, you know Mr. Pajic, don't you?
22 A. Not personally, no. Only by name.
23 Q. You know who he is, don't you?
24 A. He was one of the chiefs, as indicated by his signature, the
25 heading says the office of the minister. So he was something in the
1 office of the minister of the interior. But what he -- I did not know
2 him personally, no.
3 Q. Well, Mr. Vukasinovic, did you see this order after it was issued
4 on the 31st of July, 1995, calling for the evacuation of all of this
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. -- could we have a look at the top of this
7 document before --
8 MR. KEHOE: I'm sorry, Mr. President. I misspoke on the
9 document, so it is D254.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But, no, I'd rather go to the first page
12 MR. KEHOE: Yes, yes.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
14 You described the order as an order to evacuate these documents,
15 whereas the beginning of the document says that one should be prepared
16 for it. And at the end of it, it says who decides whether or not to
17 evacuate these documents.
18 So I --
19 MR. KEHOE: I stand corrected, Mr. President.
20 JUDGE ORIE: -- have I doubts as to whether this is a proper --
21 MR. KEHOE: You're absolutely right, Mr. President. Let me
22 clarify this.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, and put the question in such a way
24 to the witness that it is reflecting accurately the order.
25 Please do so.
1 MR. KEHOE: Yes, sir.
2 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, my question to you with regard to these
3 documents was not precise enough, and that was my fault. I ask you, were
4 you aware of this order by Mr. Pajic that was written on the 31st of
5 July, calling for the preparation to evacuate these documents? Were you
6 aware of this?
7 A. This is the first time I see this order, so I was not aware of
8 the existence of such an order. And apart from that, that was not within
9 my line of duty in my -- at my post in the police station at Benkovac. I
10 suppose that it existed at the time as it addressed as it was to all the
11 secretariats and the organisation of units. But, as for me, this is the
12 first time that I see it.
13 Q. On that same score, if I could just ask you about one other
14 document which was dated the 2nd of August, and this will be at tab 20.
15 MR. KEHOE: And, Mr. President, this is it at D938. D938.
16 Again, this is an another preparatory document, Mr. President, not the
17 actual evacuation.
18 Q. Now, if you can take a look at this document, again tab 20 in the
19 book, this is a document from the 2nd of August, again, calling for the
20 preparation of the evacuation, preparations for evacuation of material,
21 cultural, and other assets. And this comes from the -- the republican
22 civilian protection staff of the Republic of Serbian Krajina.
23 Were you aware of this document, sir?
24 A. No, I was not aware of this document.
25 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, you noted during your direct examination and
1 both in cross that there was no need to issue an evacuation order --
2 there was no need to issue the evacuation order because people were in
3 panic. That is in the substance of your testimony. Do you recall that?
4 A. Yes, I do, I recall that.
5 Q. If there was no need to issue the evacuation order,
6 Mr. Vukasinovic, why was the order actually issued?
7 A. The order was issued at a certain time of the day; I believe it
8 was between 1730 and 1800 hours, but the people had started fleeing much
9 before that, because the assumption was that the Croatian army was
10 advancing on all the parts of the front. Apart from that, shells kept
11 falling on the area of the town of Benkovac
12 fleeing prior to the formal issuance of an evacuation order. And when
13 the people started to flee, everything -- everybody had left by the late
14 evening hours. Benkovac was totally deserted by that time, by early
16 Q. Mr. Vukasinovic, thank you very much.
17 MR. KEHOE: I have no further questions.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Kehoe.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vukasinovic, this concludes your testimony in
21 this court. I would like to thank you very much for coming to the
22 video-conference room and for giving your testimony, answering the
23 questions that were put to you by the parties and by the Bench, and I
24 wish you a safe trip home again.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. My gratitude to you.
1 JUDGE ORIE: This concludes our videolink.
2 [The witness' testimony via videolink concluded]
3 JUDGE ORIE: Let me deal with a few procedural matters before we
4 adjourn for the day.
5 Is the next witness -- is the next witness available already
6 or ...
7 MR. KEHOE: No, Mr. President. It -- he will be here tomorrow.
8 It's a prescheduled time.
9 JUDGE ORIE: He will be here tomorrow, then we will use our
10 remaining time for some procedural matters.
11 First of all, there was an application still pending for a
12 subpoena for the witness, I think, who just testified. The witness now
13 testified through videolink. May I take it that this application has
14 become moot or is withdrawn?
15 MR. KEHOE: I'm sorry, Mr. President. It is beyond moot. There
16 is no need for the subpoena. I'm sorry.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It's now on the record that that application
18 has been withdrawn.
19 I move on to another matter, which always also comes perhaps a
20 bit late. The text was ready last week, but we didn't find time to read
21 it, and I didn't want to re-call the parties just for this purpose. But
22 the Chamber still owes you the reasons for its decision to hear witness,
23 then still called AG-61, Mr. Vukasinovic, via conference.
24 These are the Chamber's reasons for its decision granting the
25 Gotovina's Defence's motion for Witness Vukasinovic to testify via
1 video-conference link.
2 On the 15th of May, 2009, the Gotovina Defence applied for the
3 issuance of a subpoena directing witnesses Vukasinovic to appear before
4 the Chamber on 10th of June, 2009. I add to this that, at that time he
5 was still referred to as Witness AG-61. In its application the
6 Gotovina Defence stated that the witness refused to appear voluntarily
7 but also mentioned that the witness had indicated a willingness to
8 testify via video-conference link. On the 3rd of June the
9 Gotovina Defence expressed its intention to file a separate motion for --
10 for this witness to testify by video-conference link, and the Prosecution
11 announced that it had no objections. See transcript pages 17973, 974,
12 and 18049.
13 The Gotovina Defence subsequently filed the motion on the 4th of
14 June. And on the 5th of June, the Prosecution, the Cermak Defence, and
15 the Markac Defence made no objections to the motion. On the same day,
16 the Chamber delivered its decision to grant this motion and place the
17 Gotovina Defence request for a subpoena on hold. I refer you to
18 transcript pages 18201 and 18202.
19 According to Rule 81 bis of the Tribunal's Rules of Procedure and
20 Evidence, a Chamber may order that proceedings be conducted by way of
21 video-conference link if it is consistent with the interests of justice.
22 This standard is met only if, first, the witness is unable or has good
23 reasons to be unwilling to come to the seat of the Tribunal; second, the
24 witness's testimony is sufficiently important to make it unfair to the
25 requesting party to proceed without it; and, third, the accused are not
1 prejudiced in the exercise of their rights to confront the witness.
2 Applying this standard, the Chamber first accepted that
3 Witness Vukasinovic is physically unable to travel to The Hague to
4 testify before the Tribunal. The Chamber took into consideration the
5 fact that the witness has serious health problems. The Gotovina Defence
6 submitted that the witness informed the victims and witness section that
7 he suffers from angina pectoris, asthma, and a blood vessel obstruction
8 and is awaiting to receive by-pass surgery in October or November 2009.
9 The Chamber was informed by the Gotovina Defence on two separate
10 occasions that confirming medical reports have been sought from the
11 witness and will be provided shortly. I'm giving the reasons for the
12 decision as it was given at the time. I refer you to transcript pages
13 17905 and 17973.
14 Due to the urgency of the matter and the fact that none of the
15 parties opposed the motion, the Chamber proceeded in making its decision
16 without these reports. Ultimately, should the medical reports not
17 corroborate the health conditions that Witness Vukasinovic claims to
18 suffer, the parties may ask the Chamber to reconsider its decision.
19 Second, having been apprised of the substance of the witness's
20 anticipated testimony, the Chamber was also satisfied that the testimony
21 of Witness Vukasinovic is sufficiently important. The Chamber deemed the
22 importance of this testimony such that it would be unfair to require the
23 Gotovina Defence to proceed without it.
24 Finally, the Chamber found that neither the other accused, nor
25 the Prosecution would be prejudiced in the exercise of their right to
1 confront Witness Vukasinovic, if the witness were to appear via
2 video-conference link. These parties, none of whom objected to the
3 motion, will all be provided the opportunity to cross-examine the
5 And for these reasons and pursuant to Rule 81 bis, the Chamber
6 granted the motion for Witness, then still referred to as Witness AG-61,
7 to present evidence via conference link.
8 And this concludes the Chamber's reasons on this decision.
9 I would like to deliver a brief statement by the Chamber on
11 It's a statement on the further scheduling of court time in this
12 case, for the time up to the summer recess.
13 The Chamber already informed the parties at the Pre-Defence
14 Conference on the 27th of May, 2009, that the courtroom schedule in this
15 case might need to be adapted due to the fact that two Judges on this
16 Bench are also sitting on the case against Jovica Stanisic and
17 Franko Simatovic. For the time being, the parties should continue to
18 plan with five sessions per week; however, depending on the developments
19 in the Stanisic and Simatovic case, this might be decreased to four
20 sessions a week. Having said that, should such a reduction become
21 necessary, the Chamber has already identified four days which potentially
22 may be dropped from the courtroom schedule in this case. These days are:
23 Monday, the 29th of June; Monday, the 6th of July; Thursday, the 16th of
24 July; and Monday, the 20th of July.
25 The Chamber will endeavour to give a more definitive decision on
1 the scheduling matter as soon as circumstances allow for it.
2 This concludes the Chamber's statement in this respect.
3 I add to this, Mr. Kehoe, that you have informed the Chamber that
4 due to other matters you have to attend, that you would prefer, if to the
5 extent possible, not to sit on the 10th of July and the 17th of July.
6 MR. KEHOE: Either.
7 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber received this information and has
8 considered whether, already at this time, and, of course, this is all
9 very much provisional, whether it could meet your request, and that
10 certainly is not possible in relation to the 10th of July. Whether there
11 still would be a possibility not to sit on Friday, the 17th, rather than
12 on, Thursday, the 16th, is very uncertain. Chances are small, but we
13 will nevertheless further explore whether Thursday, the 16th of
14 July could still be exchanged for Friday, the 17th. But as matters stand
15 now, it is still the 16th of July.
16 MR. KEHOE: Yes, sir.
17 JUDGE ORIE: We have not ignored what you asked us, but just for
18 your information.
19 MR. KEHOE: May I --
20 JUDGE ORIE: And I take that it if you are not present in court,
21 that Mr. Misetic would be there anyhow. But I take it that it is because
22 of witnesses, perhaps, that you would prefer to be present.
23 MR. KEHOE: On a personal level, he can't live without me, Judge.
24 Just kidding.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Some people can't live without, and at the same
1 time, not with the same. I don't know whether that is your situation.
2 MR. KEHOE: I'm kidding.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Oh, you were kidding.
4 MR. KEHOE: Just on one separate note on scheduling. I noted
5 from the order of the Chamber concerning the hearing on the 26th of June,
6 Your Honour had scheduled a Rule 54 hearing, I believe. And on that date
7 I trust that we don't have to have a witness present at that time.
8 JUDGE ORIE: We'll consider that. It depends, of course, on how
9 much time that hearing would go take.
10 MR. KEHOE: Yes, sir.
11 JUDGE ORIE: And it might not take the whole of the day. But --
12 so, therefore, we will consider --
13 MR. KEHOE: Yes, sir.
14 JUDGE ORIE: -- how much time it would take. If the parties
15 would be able to assist the Chamber. It is not our intention to repeat
16 all of the submissions, but the Chamber would have some questions,
17 perhaps, which it would seek an answer to and that -- but we'll consider
18 how much time that will take and then informally tell you whether we
19 would expect other -- to hear other testimony that day.
20 MR. KEHOE: Yes, sir.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Then having dealt with that matter, there are a few
22 decisions to be delivered. That is -- the first is in relation to two
23 audio clips that were used by the Gotovina Defence. It's 1D33-0081 and
25 The Gotovina Defence used these two audio clips during the
1 testimony of Mr. Galbraith. The Chamber, at that time, delayed tendering
2 a decision on admission until the Prosecution had reviewed those clips.
3 You find that at transcript page 5065.
4 On the 9th of June, 2009, the Prosecution informed the Chamber
5 that it had no objection to admission. That's found on transcript
6 page 18381. The Registrar is invited to assign exhibit numbers to the
7 two audio clips.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 1D33-0081 becomes Exhibit D1502.
9 And 1D33-0082 becomes Exhibit D1503.
10 JUDGE ORIE: D1502 and D1503 are admitted into evidence.
11 I move to the next item, which is about a video-clip known under
12 the exhibit number D1451.
13 It is a video-clip of Mr. Tudjman speaking on the 26th of August.
14 The exhibit was tendered from the bar table during the Prosecution's case
15 in March 2009. You will find that at transcript page 17096. It was
16 marked at the time but not admitted during the housekeeping session on
17 the 5th of March. The Gotovina Defence sought admission into evidence
18 again on 8th of June of this year, and the Prosecution did not object to
20 For those reasons, D1455 is admitted into evidence.
21 Next one is D1497. It is a satellite picture on which Witness --
23 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I apologise. I -- on line 12 of page
24 67, you said D1455 is in evidence.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Oh, I should have said then 451 because that was --
1 that was what I was talking about. Yes. I apologise for the mistake.
2 So we are now back at 1497, the satellite picture on which
3 Witness AG-58 marked his route into downtown Knin. The exhibit was
4 tendered during the witness's testimony on the 10th of June, but the
5 Chamber forgot to state on the record that the exhibit was admitted into
6 evidence. Hereby it is put on the record that D1497 is admitted into
8 MR. KEHOE: I would then just want to -- if I may, Mr. President,
9 I think that's under seal because --
10 JUDGE ORIE: That's under seal. Thank you for reminding me.
11 D1497 is admitted, under seal.
12 I would like to move briefly into private session.
13 [Private session]
11 Pages 18599-18601 redacted. Private session.
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.39 p.m.
11 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 16th day of June,
12 2009, at 2.15 p.m.