1 Monday, 22 June 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone in and around this
7 Mr. Registrar, will you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
9 everyone in the courtroom. This is case number IT-06-90-T, the
10 Prosecutor versus Ante Gotovina et al.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
12 Could the witness be brought into the courtroom.
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning. Please be seated, Mr. Mrksic.
15 Mr. Mrksic, I would like to remind you that you are still bound
16 by the solemn declaration you've given at the beginning of your
18 WITNESS: MILE MRKSIC [Resumed]
19 [The witness answered through interpreter]
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Cayley.
21 MR. CAYLEY: The same position as last week, Your Honour. We
22 don't have any questions for this witness. Thank you.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic.
24 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, you'll now be cross-examined by
1 Mr. Mikulicic, and Mr. Mikulicic is counsel for Mr. Markac.
2 Cross-examination by Mr. Mikulicic:
3 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Mrksic. On behalf of the
4 Defence for General Markac, I will put several questions to you, and I
5 kindly ask you to answer them to the best of your recollection. At the
6 same time, I do ask you to give your answers slowly so that the
7 interpreters can do their job properly, and that we do not get questions
8 and answers confused. Do you understand?
9 A. Yes, I do. Perhaps I will be better at it today.
10 Q. Mr. Mrksic, sometime in mid-May, 1995, or, to be precise, on the
11 18th, you took up the position of the commander of the Main Staff of the
12 Army of the Republic of Serbian Krajina; is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you please tell us, briefly, what the structure of the
15 Main Staff was, in terms of how it was organised?
16 A. The Main Staff, just as all the structures of that level, had its
17 operational organ, which was the Chief of Staff, then the rear logistics
18 organ, security organ, organ for moral guidance, and personnel organ,
19 which were attached to the Chief of Staff. That would be the basic
21 Q. You also had your assistants in the Main Staff. How many were
22 there, and which duties were they charged with?
23 A. I had the Chief of Staff until the start of war. As soon as the
24 war breaks out, I take up that position, and the position of the supreme
25 commander is taken by Mile Martic. I had my assistant for logistics,
1 assistant for moral guidance - he was Kosta Novakovic - the assistant for
2 security, whose name I can't recall, and the -- or rather the security
3 and intelligence assistant.
4 Q. In other words, you had the security assistant, you also had the
5 security department?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Was Colonel Rade Raseta your security officer?
8 A. Yes. They rotated frequently. I didn't know him from before. I
9 didn't know what his background was. I think that he held that position
10 only briefly.
11 Q. That was to be my next question. Did you appoint him there or
12 did you find him there in the staff? But you've just answered the
14 A. I found all of them when I came there, holding these positions,
15 save for the commanders of the Special Units Corps. They had already
16 been holding these positions.
17 Q. What was your relationship with the assistants of the Main Staff?
18 A. Our relations were always official. I didn't have any problems,
19 and my authority was of the kind that it never would happen that I would
20 come up against obedience on the part of my subordinates, and I always
21 maintained discipline. That's what the staff was. I always appreciated
22 whenever my associates were quite open and candid in their views in
23 one-on-one conversations. I had very good relations with Bjelanovic,
24 with Bjelanovic, who was a very experienced officer - he was a
25 general - who had been there for quite a long time. He knew the people
1 and their mindset.
2 Q. Mr. Mrksic, during your testimony you said that you were
3 confronted with a situation that you tried to struggle with, and that was
4 the issue of the so-called Daddy's sons who engaged in
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. As the commander of the Main Staff of the ARSK, how did you
8 approach the situation and combat these actions?
9 A. I didn't want to proceed to take any course of action before a
10 decision was taken by those who had dispatched me there and by the top
11 leadership of the RSK, as well as the structures of Western Bosnia and
12 all others involved, until such time as the border with Western Bosnia is
13 closed. I could not create conditions for peace and peaceful integration
14 as long as black-marketeering and smuggling was going on in my area. I
15 placed this as a demand on my subordinates, and they all obeyed me, in
16 terms of applying various measures. As for these Daddy's boys, even if
17 non -- even if all the other structures felt that they were the
18 untouchables, I, with my Special Units Corps, did enforce law and order.
19 Thus, UNPROFOR's vehicles were no longer seized, commanders were not
20 faced with threats, and they felt this change of atmosphere, which was
22 Q. What was the role of the Security Department in this particular
23 activity aimed at combatting marketeering; did they have a role to play
24 in this?
25 A. The security organs did have information as to who committed
1 these actions. This was a matter for the Security Department as well as
2 Intelligence Department. On all the warring parties, the situation was
3 the same. They would always involve these officers in order to obtain
4 information about black-marketeering that was going on on all sides.
5 Everybody was both sellers and buyers.
6 When I asked for the information to be collected, they told me
7 that since I had forbidden them to be in contact with these individuals,
8 it was difficult to obtain information. I don't know if you understand
9 me. And this was not the case isolated to the RSK, it was widespread,
10 and this is how some of the individuals managed to earn their first
11 couple of million.
12 Q. Yes, I was waiting for you to finish your -- for the
13 interpretation to finish. Did there come to appear in your work the
14 situation that the Security Department collected accurate information
15 about the incidents of marketeering taking place in your area?
16 A. I don't think the matters were completely truthful. I think that
17 there were different interests at play there.
18 Q. Very well. Let us move on to a different topic, Mr. Mrksic.
19 In your earlier testimony, you portrayed for us the strategic
20 situation in the area under your command. My next couple of questions
21 will focus on the area of Velebit and Gracac. You explained to us what
22 the strategic importance of Gracac was, and if my understanding is
23 correct, and you'll correct me if I'm wrong, its importance lay in
24 particular with relation to the Gospic-Luka-Gracac road and on to Otric
25 and Srb, in order to prevent the ARSK forces from ending up in an
1 encirclement. Since you were informed in advance of the commencement of
2 Operation Storm, what was the axis along which you expected the Croatian
3 forces to launch their attack in that particular region?
4 A. The attack did transpire according to our expectations, but there
5 was fighting around Zubovi, up around the repeater up on Velebit. We
6 tried to enforce our positions there. The brigade commander received
7 assignments to that effect. However, what happened was that the peak of
8 Velebit was captured, which made the whole defence along Gospic toward
9 Gracac very vulnerable. When the repeater was destroyed -- partly
10 destroyed and then also captured, we lost all communication with the rest
11 of RSK and with Belgrade
12 Special Police that headed there.
13 Q. The advancement from the peak of Velebit
14 Gospic-Gracac road, which sits in the valley, was it of strategic
15 importance, in terms of the conduct of defence?
16 A. Yes, it was important for the Lika Corps because there was the
17 danger that -- or, rather, there were -- there were problems with the
18 Dalmatia Corps, the events you mentioned around Gospic. The special
19 units, which were trained for such difficult terrain, had an ally in the
20 local population there.
21 Q. The area was defended by the Gracac Brigade, was it not?
22 A. It was the Gracac Brigade that defended the area up there, and
23 there was the Zub feature, which is on an elevation of 1.800 metres.
24 I think it was held by the Obrovac Brigade. That's where the boundary
25 between the two brigade AORs was, and that's where the breakthrough
2 Q. If you'll recall today, where was it that you planned the second
3 line of defence was to be?
4 A. The Lika Corps had a very shallow area, and the plan was to hold
5 that first line of defence that had been in preparation for four years.
6 We didn't plan for any fall-back positions. I deployed some other
7 brigades, and I forgot what the name of the place along that axis was, in
8 order to close the ranks so that they wouldn't be able to break through
9 towards Otric. Our -- that was the gist of our concept, because this was
10 the area of 15 to 20 kilometres depth, at most. That's the sort of an
11 area where you would be able to deploy a brigade.
12 One can only create an operational depth where you have a strip
13 of land that is larger than 20 kilometres, which we didn't have. That's
14 why we expected frontal combat would take place and not to be attacked
15 from the back.
16 Q. You explained to us what the significance of the Celavac repeater
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Can you recall when it was that communications were severed once
20 the Celavac repeater was captured?
21 A. I think it was in the afternoon at around 1.00 p.m. that I
22 received first reports from corps commanders and talked to them over the
23 radio. Subsequently, all the lines were down and I could not -- no
24 longer be in contact with them. All the subsequent communication we had
25 were down, in fact, as in World War II. That's what I remember. Whether
1 it was at 1.00 or 2.00, but I do know that in early afternoon I received
2 combat reports.
3 Q. When did the 9th Gracac Brigade retreat from that area of Krajina
4 and along which axis?
5 A. I can't give you the details. It should be for the corps
6 commander to know the information. I was aware of where the main lines
7 of deployment of corps were. I didn't have information for specific
8 brigades. I know that the first brigade to encounter problems was the
9 Lika Brigade, defending the area opposite Ogulin.
10 Q. Will this jog your memory if I tell you that the Gracac Brigade
11 withdrew across Gracac, via Otric, and on towards Srb? Is this
12 consistent with how you remember these events?
13 A. If you say so. I don't remember this specifically. If you have
14 this piece of information, there's no reason I should doubt it.
15 Q. In an earlier testimony, and I'm referring to D1514 and D923, we
16 were able to see that the Main Staff was relocated from Knin to Srb
17 sometime after midnight
18 A. Yes, but the elements that were relocated were relocated before
19 the start of the aggression. This was part of a plan, that there had to
20 be a reserve -- alternate command post.
21 Q. Similarly, you told us with the commencement of the
22 Operation Storm, there were very few members of the RSK government in
23 Knin, that most of them were outside of the Krajina borders?
24 A. I can name them; perhaps not all of them. There was the minister
25 of interior, minister of defence, who were in Knin. There was the
1 official charged with social welfare, minister of social welfare, Strbac.
2 He was a young man. Then there was the president of the assembly who was
3 there, the president of the republic, along with his organs. It was the
4 prime minister and minister of foreign affairs who left for Belgrade
5 There was also the finance minister, who was in Knin. Later on, I
6 learned that he had taken the money from the SDK. It was a strong team
7 that remained there, and some of them left for Belgrade on orders in
8 order to see what could be salvaged and how war could be averted.
9 Q. Mr. Mrksic, under the circumstances where the Main Staff was
10 relocated to Srb, and subsequently or at the same time, the government
11 was relocated, certain members of the government were not present in
12 Krajina. The communications, due to the fall of the Celavac repeater,
13 were down. Under these circumstances, how did the political and military
14 authorities operate? And I'm referring to the 5th and 6th of August,
16 A. Let me explain this to you now.
17 Before the start of the aggression, together with the president
18 and the top leadership, I made an assessment of the possibility that this
19 should happen; we would lose all communication if we have forces on the
20 Adriatic Sea that could interfere with the communications. And I knew
21 that the repeat could be captured, so I asked for a scenario to be
22 developed as to how we could function without the communications.
23 On the 4th, I sent a helicopter, once the Supreme Defence Council
24 met. The minister president allowed for minister of the interior,
25 Toso Paic, to go to the areas of Kordun as a representative of the
1 government. Mile Novakovic, who had just come back from negotiations, he
2 was a general, the commander charged with political issues, and he was
3 prepared to engage in negotiations with the Croatian government on my
4 behalf because he would be an individual who would more appropriately be
5 the negotiator. He was charged with coordinating the special corps, the
6 Banija and Kordun Corps, as well as -- so coordinating these forces with
7 Fikret Abdic's forces.
8 Q. I apologise if I interrupt you. We've steered away from the
10 A. I just told you who the members of the government were who were
11 present in the area.
12 JUDGE ORIE: General Mrksic, could I ask you to make a break
13 between question and answer, and could I ask you the same, Mr. Mikulicic,
14 because it's impossible to follow for the interpreters at this speed.
15 Please proceed.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Could also the witness speak away from the
17 microphones, please.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, you are requested to take a bit of
19 distance to the microphone.
20 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. What I'm primarily interested in is: In these difficult
22 circumstances, how did the functioning of the command and the political
23 leadership function on the 5th and the 6th of August, when the
24 communications were interrupted, when regular institutions of the staff
25 and the government seat were relocated? What were the difficulties
2 A. The difficulties were that there was no direct contact. My voice
3 was not being heard. Flyers were being thrown around. Nobody was being
4 able to hear me over the media, and I had new information. It was
5 difficult to believe what they were being served. It was a very
6 difficult situation, sir, very difficult. I said that they had been
7 missing their mothers, they were crying. But this doesn't refer only to
8 me; it was a general situation. We were thrown into the clutches of all
9 the most modern systems of propaganda, ranging from a television that
10 appeared with a new name -- actually, with the same name as the one from
11 before, except the person behind the camera was not the one from before,
12 but a new one, but it functioned the way it functioned. It was very
14 Q. In such a situation, there was a division between the Army of the
15 Republic of the Serbian Krajina to the southern and northern sections?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. As briefly as possible, can you explain, how did this division
18 occur and what were the consequences of such a division of the army?
19 A. All the consequences arose from the attack on Knin from the
20 Grahovac direction, with the fall of Grahovac, all the problems came from
21 there. But the Kordun-Banija Corps and partially the Lika Corps were
22 putting up resistance for as long as they were able to, until they came
23 to the position to fight in the environment. Then the Banija Corps
24 sustained a lot of losses. The Kordun Corps was not even touched, nobody
25 was attacking. They were objecting to having to withdraw at all. And
1 that is how it occurred that we always planned, and we always were in
2 this danger that our Krajina would be divided into two zones, north and
3 south, from Ogulin, with the valley -- valley through the Vlasko [phoen],
4 towards Bihac, and that's why all these combinations of ours around Pauk
5 and all of these forces around holding this area, creating the corps, the
6 special units, were served -- were aimed at preventing this division from
8 Q. But it did take place, in any case, did it not?
9 A. Yes, yes, it did.
10 Q. My next question: After the Main Staff was relocated to Srb,
11 what happened was that in the development of the situation, the army was
12 relocated from the territory of the Republic of the Serbian Krajina to
13 the direction of Republika Srpska. What were the reasons for this
14 decision, and who made this decision to withdraw the units, the Otric,
15 Srb, Donji Lapac, Bosanski Petrovac, and so on, towards Banja Luka. Who
16 made this decision and when?
17 A. The decision, I don't know who made it, but the real situation
18 was the way it was. All of the people were in this small area, and the
19 army was there. It was a conglomerate of some 50.000, 60.000 people in a
20 very small area, and this had to be unplugged. They were expecting this
21 to be done. The people had nothing to eat. They didn't take anything
22 with them. They had no shelter.
23 On that morning, on the 6th, to go slowly, because of the
24 situation on the northern front, in Banija and Kordun, I was transferred.
25 General Mladic sent a helicopter to get me, and urgently he transferred
1 me. He told me to go there because that is where the column would be cut
2 off, in Dvor, and there would be bloodshed among the people, and that
3 together with his forces, I was supposed to prevent that.
4 And those forces that were being pulled out were supposed to be
5 engaged to security the flank to save the people. I left that area, but
6 the headquarters and the president remained there. Probably it was not
7 possible to stay in that area, technically, practically, any longer,
8 because the pressure from the back was considerable. And we were
9 expecting that the forward push of the Croatian forces would occur and
10 they would find a lot of people in this area, and the roads would be very
12 Q. And when this withdrawal did take place, did the army withdraw in
13 an organised manner or was this just a spontaneous operation?
14 A. Up to Srb, it was organised. After Srb, everybody took their own
15 families. Some put them on tanks. Everybody joined their own families,
16 and there was no longer an army there, just an armed collection of people
17 who were angry and unprepared for battle in that situation.
18 Q. And there was a lot of military equipment there; tanks, personnel
19 carriers, armoured vehicles?
20 A. Yes. People were using everything, even agricultural machinery,
21 for transport. You can imagine how that was. It was a whole mish-mash
22 of people driving all kinds of things in that area.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic.
24 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I believe there's some things left
25 out of the interpretation, beginning at page 13, line 15. If the witness
1 could be asked again what they were using for transport.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The question, Mr. Mrksic, was:
3 "And there was a lot of military equipment there; tanks,
4 personnel carriers, armoured vehicles?"
5 And then before you told us about the use of agricultural
6 machinery for transport, could you tell us what you said before you
7 referred to this agricultural machinery?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We called them "frites [phoen]" I
9 don't know what you call that. They're called moto-cultivators, that's
10 what they're called, small cultivation machinery.
11 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter is not exactly sure what the
12 term is in English.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Anyway, it's something that is
14 widely used for cultivation of the land in Dalmatia. Those who did not
15 have such equipment would go to their dad, who was a tank operator, and
16 they would ride on the tanks, because the armed units, when they arrived
17 to that area, they were happy to see their kids, to see that they were
18 alive, and then they took them with them. This was normal.
19 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. According to what you said just now, was there an inter-mingling
21 between the soldiers and civilian population, or, rather, military
22 vehicles with civilian vehicles which were being used by the population?
23 Was it all inter-mingled?
24 A. We didn't have an army and people; we had an armed people. These
25 were our soldiers, peasants, producers. They would spend six hours on
1 their positions and twelve hours at home. We didn't have a professional
2 army so that we could separate an army who could go to this front or that
3 front. The people were living normally there, where they were. These
4 were all armed populations, and of course it was all intermingled. There
5 were trailer trucks, buses there. I don't have to mention all of them.
6 All kinds of means of transportation that could be found in one area.
7 The whole town had to be moved. There were private vehicles there, many
8 of them there. Whoever got their hands on whatever was what they used
9 for transportation.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, may I seek one clarification.
11 You explained to us that even civilians would be transported on
12 tanks, civilians being transported on military vehicles and military
13 means of transportation. Was it also the other way around, that soldiers
14 would be on civilian means of transportation, like tractors, like
15 whatever was available?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Everybody took their own tractor,
17 and when they saw the family, if they didn't have to operate or drive a
18 military vehicle, of course they would take over the driving of the
19 tractor from their wife or their son. This is in the depth, when we
20 crossed over into Republika Srpska, then it was totally intermingled. As
21 far as I'm concerned, it was no longer an army; it was a population. As
22 soon as they crossed over to Republika Srpska, at the first check-point,
23 they laid down their arms or their weapons.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
25 Please proceed, Mr. Mikulicic.
1 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. According to a recollection, Mr. Mrksic, what was the date when
3 the last military units left the Republic of the Serbian Krajina and
4 crossed into Republika Srpska?
5 A. Well, let me tell you, we did have some units which were -- which
6 were left behind in the area which was surrounded and which was secretly
7 trying to get through without combat, so there were groups that were
8 reaching the place after 15 days, 20 days, and reporting to Kosara, where
9 the Main Staff was deployed, parts of the Main Staff. So it was not that
10 everybody left at the same time and easily.
11 Q. But the bulk -- and the command structure?
12 A. Up until the 10th, I was at the bridge on the Dvor. After the
13 10th, no one was crossing over anymore, and that is when Republika Srpska
14 demolished the bridge at Novi Grad.
15 Q. So let's say by the 10th of August, the bulk of the units of the
16 Army of the Serbian Krajina and the command cadre left the area, but
17 there was some groups left behind which took even a week or ten days to
18 get out of that area?
19 A. Yes. They were pulling out clandestinely in order to not engage
20 in combat with the units. They were trying to find some gaps and places
21 where they could break out.
22 Q. As a commander of the Army of Serbian Krajina, were you in
23 contact with those groups who were left behind, who were still in the
24 territory of the Republic of the Serbian Krajina in the encirclement?
25 A. I don't think that I did, personally. My intelligence staff
1 received those people, spoke with them, gathered the data; not for us,
2 but for further processes. But you know how that is. Fear was quite a
3 considerable factor, so it's incredible to know what they told about
4 their return, how they managed to pull through, and the places that they
5 managed to get out of.
6 Q. According to your recollection, how many soldiers were there in
7 these groups that remained behind after the army withdrew from the
8 territory of the Republic of the Serbian Krajina?
9 A. I cannot exactly tell you. In some groups, there were five or
10 six. They were breaking down into smaller groups deliberately, because a
11 large group can be discovered quickly and then fighting can occur. They
12 are searched for. So they kept splitting up into smaller groups. Later,
13 even I heard there were some who had stayed behind for two years, they
14 didn't dare appear, and they were found someplace in Petrova Gora. They
15 were just like the Japanese who didn't know that the war was over.
16 Q. Was there any combat contact of those remaining groups with
17 members of the Croatian Army?
18 A. They did not boast of fighting. I didn't hear of any fighting
19 from them. Perhaps some did, but perhaps this person who -- or perhaps
20 those who did engage in fighting were killed. I don't know.
21 Q. Can you say if those groups that remained behind were part of the
22 military command hierarchy of the Army of the Republic of the Serbian
23 Krajina or were they left to their own devices?
24 A. Sir, being left to their own devices, well, they had their own
25 zone, and it depends what was the position imposed on them in that zone
1 by the enemy; were they cut off, were they in the encirclement. There
2 were some cases -- the breakthrough from the Mount Velebit
3 Of course, then it's normal that they would have to resolve their own
4 problems by themselves. They would be cut off, cut communications with
5 the command.
6 If this happens, then they would pick among themselves somebody
7 who would be in charge and lead them out. This is the usual procedure.
8 This is the local population also. They knew the local area well. They
9 knew where they could pass and where they couldn't, and so on. We didn't
10 accept -- there was some partisan ideas in the beginning to apply some
11 patterns as used in World War II. This is something that we did not wish
12 to use. We didn't want to sacrifice the people. This policy is not
13 something that was implemented in our policy, the policy of sabotage, to
14 stay, to create problems, and so on and so forth. Anyway, you saw that
15 for yourselves later.
16 Q. Could you please tell me what were the axes along which the
17 members of those sections of the Army of the Republic of Serbian Krajina
18 that were left behind were using to withdraw from the territory?
19 A. Well, they didn't use the roads. They were moving through the
20 woods. They were mostly attempting to cross the Una River
21 Ostrelj, that area where the Republika Srpska was under [as interpreted]
22 control. When they would notice their position, then the problem was
23 would they believe them, that they were soldiers that had been left
24 behind, or that they were not some infiltrators and that they would open
25 fire on them. That was the most frequent consideration.
1 Q. This is the area of Lika and Mount Dinara that you're talking
3 A. Yes, yes, the Lika and Dinara region. Well, you need to know
4 that many did not manage to even come down the Mount Dinara
5 up there, and then they were crossing into Drvar as they knew best how.
6 Q. Mr. Mrksic, can you please tell us --
7 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please look at page 18, line 14, where I
8 read the word "under." It makes sense only if one reads "in control."
9 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Is that correctly understood?
11 MR. MIKULICIC: That's correctly understood, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
13 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you.
14 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Mrksic, you testified last week that there
15 was an initiative that came from Mr. Martic to form the Liberation Army
16 of the Krajina?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And we saw documents about that?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. I'm referring here to D1522 and D416. D416, this initiative, was
21 it implemented?
22 A. Well, its fate was as it was. It was not very realistic, and it
23 was not really -- nothing was done about it. It just remained on paper.
24 Of course, there was a ban on mobilising the population that had once
25 been in combat and now had received the status of refugees. You could no
1 longer get them to go back to fight. We could not reengage them, and
2 this whole matter did not really move from theory into practice. I was
3 respecting the decision of the supreme commander. We were aware that
4 this would be something difficult to implement. It was just a way of
5 proving that it was our desire to return to that area, that's all.
6 Q. Mr. Mrksic, allow me now to move to a different topic now, which
7 was also touched upon in your testimony, and that is the so-called
8 Operation Sword. Do you remember talking about it?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Well, please, in just a few sentences, what were the reasons to
11 initiate this operation? Who and how -- who conceived the operation, and
12 how was it supposed to be conducted?
13 A. The operation was implemented by me. The idea was to use these
14 free forces that I had formed, that I had at Slunj, to create conditions
15 for Fikret Abdic, because he was receiving information from the
16 5th Corps, from people from that area, that they wanted to cross over to
17 him. I was interested that as many people as possible supported
18 Fikret Abdic, because he was protecting my back. This also happened in
19 World War II. In these brief Ustasha offences from Kupa to Petrova Gora,
20 the people would go to him, because there were units there who were
21 helping our people. We were helping them, also, and we were helping them
22 in 1994, when they were expelled.
23 And I believe that this would be a way to resolve the vulnerable
24 points -- the vulnerable point at my back, because I believed that
25 Banija and Kordun could not survive without Fikret Abdic, in the same way
1 that happened in World War II. This was not something that was conceived
3 Q. I apologise for interrupting you. Let us set a time on this.
4 When did Operation Sword commence?
5 A. I need to have a look at a document. It was in the month of
6 July. The 30th of June, or the 28th, there was an inspection of forces,
7 a parade, and then it took me some time to plan this, to put together
8 forces. It may -- I think it was on the 15th, and it may have taken us
9 seven to eight days, because we had threats from Livanjsko Polje and
10 Grahovsko Polje. I had already started deploying forces to the other
12 Q. In other words, in mid-July it was that the operation commenced
13 and went on until the fall of Grahovo?
14 A. Well, I -- they continued the operation with their own forces. I
15 had pulled out my forces just ahead of the fall of Grahovo. I left
16 earlier on, but I deployed elements of the Special Units Corps in that
17 area. However, I saw that we were on a slope and they were up on top of
18 the elevation, they could fire at us at will, and I saw that this was a
19 battle lost.
20 Q. In this operation, your enemy, let's call it that, was the
21 5th Corps of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was it not?
22 A. Yes. They would always link up with the forces of the Croatian
23 forces, as they did in this particular case. They were the enemy to
24 Fikret Abdic's forces. They fought him. I didn't even see them. I only
25 assisted him by exerting pressure, and the idea was for them to see the
1 extent and the strength of the forces they were faced with. And the idea
2 was, of course, to allow these people to join Fikret Abdic's ranks.
3 Q. Mr. Mrksic, tell us, what were the sort of military equipment and
4 how were that you planned to use in this operation?
5 A. There were two groups of brigades of Fikret Abdic's who were
6 supposed to engage the forces of the 5th Corps frontally. That would
7 have been the thrust of the battle, whereas we would have provided
8 artillery support. That was no secret. My special unit was two
9 kilometres into the area, captured a certain elevation feature
10 overlooking the area, giving us a good vantage point, but we didn't want
11 to go into inhabited areas and we didn't want to be in touch with the
12 population there.
13 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can I now ask the Registrar to
14 call up 65 ter document 3D00126. I have a hard copy for the witness,
15 which may make it easier for him to follow the document through.
16 Q. Mr. Mrksic, this is a brief or report made on the 26th of July by
17 the Security Department of the Main
18 compiled by your assistant for security, Lieutenant-Colonel Rade Raseta.
19 By looking at page 1, we can see that Operation Sword was supposed to
20 commence on the 15th of July, in the early morning hours, as per plan.
21 Are you following me, sir?
22 A. Yes, I am.
23 Q. In paragraph 3 of page 1, this is what the report from your
24 assistant for security states:
25 "As part of the operation and its preparations, the SVK commander
1 decided to use biological agents to poison consumer goods (flour, sugar,
2 oil, dishwashing detergents) and to sell them by illegal trade to the
3 5th Corps, thus causing mass illness on the part of fighters and cause
4 them to be 'au comba [phoen]' as a result."
5 What is your comment on this report compiled by your assistant
6 for security, Colonel Rade Raseta?
7 A. Rade Raseta implemented the instructions of his superiors. You
8 can see that the activity here was on several channels, and they were
9 supposed to compromise the other side. I told my intelligence officer
10 that we need to collect information because I wanted to put a stop to
11 marketeering. Their answer was that they wouldn't be able to collect any
12 information because there was no marketeering. I wanted to make sure
13 that marketeering was no longer engaged in, so we had to device a ploy.
14 We had people at check-points, making sure that none of these goods would
15 go past. So what they devised was the state secret of trying to poison
16 members of the 5th Corps, to cause them to end up with diarrhoea, so that
17 they could no longer man their positions.
18 And this was the sort of documents they bandied about in front of
19 my family. This was done to compromise me and so that tomorrow they
20 would have a lever to blackmail me. This was, on their part, a pure
21 trade-off, and they wanted to get hold of certain information.
22 You can see that there's a conflict of three services here, the
23 Security Service, Intelligence, and State Security. That's what caused
24 us major problems. I don't know what sort of problems you had.
25 Q. This particular report explicitly states that you decided to use
1 biological agents and the method of poisoning?
2 A. There was no sort of poisoning. This was merely a cover. I had
3 never heard of anyone poisoning anyone else. It was for the fighters,
4 who were manning check-points, who, acting upon my orders, would not
5 allow trucks carrying illicit goods to pass through, that they would,
6 upon seeing this document, say -- not allow them to pass through.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Can Mr. Mikulicic please repeat his question.
8 It's impossible to follow at this rate.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, you're invited to repeat your
10 question. And I add to that that I invite you to make the necessary
11 pauses between question and answer.
12 MR. MIKULICIC: I will do my best, Your Honour.
13 Q. [Interpretation] My question was: The allegations made in this
14 report, that you decided about the use of poisoning agents and that you
15 issued orders to that effect, is not true, therefore?
16 A. Of course not. That was a pure trade-off, and that was the
17 subject of intelligence work, which was constantly operating. They were
18 supposed to compromise me, and I am carrying this mark from Krajina to
19 this very day.
20 Q. This report also states that the normal dosage was used on an a
21 individual, Goran Marjanovic, who was an illegal deserter of the Ustasha
22 army, by injecting the agent into his liquid dish, unknown to the
23 international humanitarian organs. In three days, he developed the
24 above-mentioned symptoms that lasted for six days. He was given medical
25 aid, which probably shortened the period of his reaction. Are you aware
1 of this experiment?
2 A. No, this is the first time I'm hearing of it and seeing this
3 report at all. The problem was that security services produced reports
4 behind their commander's backs, and this is also the problem that your
5 army had.
6 Q. But this was your assistant?
7 A. Yes. That's how my assistant operated. That was the system. I
8 have the order which was a state secret, and I'm sure the Prosecutor has
9 it. They, however, engaged in different sort of activities, and one
10 should not trust whatever a security officer writes down. If we talk
11 about this openly, about the work of security officers, let me go back to
12 Vukovar, then.
13 Q. Mr. Mrksic, are you familiar with
14 Lieutenant-Colonel Milan
15 A. I knew that he worked for the Intelligence Service. I think I
16 saw him once or twice, if that's the intelligence officer we're talking
18 Q. Where?
19 A. I think he was from Nis
20 for a while, but that was not in 1995. I didn't see him there at the
21 time. I saw Colonel Zimonja, though.
22 Q. Let's make this quite clear. We're talking about the Republic of
23 Serbian Krajina, are we not?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. You mentioned Colonel Nikola Zimonja. I believe you're related
1 to him.
2 A. He's my extended family on my maternal side. I don't know which
3 to degree. We're not close relatives, because had we been close
4 relatives, he would not have provided President Milosevic with the sort
5 of information about me he did.
6 Q. Do you know Colonel Mihajlo Knezevic?
7 A. He's the chief of the Intelligence Service. He was my
8 subordinate, whereas Zimonja was not.
9 Q. Do you know an individual called Nenad Nisevic. He was a private
10 businessman from Glina.
11 A. No.
12 Q. Now that we still have the document on our screens --
13 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
14 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Can we turn to page 2? The document goes on to say that trailer
16 trucks, loaded with goods intended for illicit trade with the 5th Corps
17 of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, were sent on their journey, unloaded
18 their goods, and on their way back encountered certain unplesantries on
19 the border because a patrol of the Army of Serbian Krajina confronted
20 them. Nevertheless, they reached their destination in Glina, and I'm
21 referring to the penultimate paragraph, where Nisevic, whom I asked you
22 about, together with Zimonja and Krkovic, came to see Rade Raseta at
23 Plitvice, carrying a briefcase full of foreign currency that they
24 scattered on the desk and started counting and distributing.
25 On the following page, it says that the total value of the goods
1 sold, which was smuggled to the BH Army, the 5th Corps, was 2.237.000
2 German marks and that the purchasing price was --
3 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't catch the amount.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know about this.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. And then page -- the following page --
7 JUDGE ORIE: Could we first try to clarify what the purchasing
8 price was.
9 MR. MIKULICIC: 50.000 Deutchemark.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Please proceed.
11 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. [Interpretation] The text goes on to say: While separating the
13 German marks in new denominations, Nisevic counted and set aside 37.000
14 German marks and came in -- and engaged in a spat with Lieutenant-Colonel
15 Krkovic as to why he was doing that and issuing it in new denominations.
16 Nisevic replied by saying that the boss had explicitly instructed him
17 that these had to be new German mark notes. Krkovic reacted by saying
18 the following, So what if he's a general? Let him find a place to change
19 them. Give him a part of it in shillings.
20 Nisevic responded that this is the way things had to be, and
21 Colonel Zimonja immediately wrote the name of General Mrksic on a folded
22 A-4 piece of paper and placed 37.000 German marks in it, and put the
23 package into his brief-case, undertaking that he would hand it over to
25 Mr. Mrksic, did you receive any sort of money out of this
2 A. First of all, this is the first time I'm seeing the information.
3 Let me tell you the truth, how it was and why I was under a pressure.
4 There was one reason to exert pressure on me, the humanitarian reason;
5 that there were people starving there and that they needed to give them
6 supplies. I said that -- I produced a document, a state secret, that
7 this trip should be made in order to obtain money for the Intelligence
8 Service so that they could collect data, rather than have a situation as
9 in Operation Storm, where I didn't have communication with my corps. I
10 wanted the money to be used to purchase cutting-edge communication
11 devices. This is something that everybody did on all sides throughout
12 the war. Had anyone given any money to me, I would not have gone to work
13 on the vegetable market in "Djeram," as I had to, once I returned from
14 this stint together with my family, why -- I would not have ended up
15 doing transactions with peasants on the market had I engaged in something
16 like this.
17 Q. The document goes on to say that:
18 "In the meantime, while the foreign currency was being counted,
19 Lieutenant-Colonel Krkovic repeatedly raised the issue of us,
20 participants in the action, that we would have to be rewarded with 3.000
21 to 4.000 German marks and that this was something that General Mrksic
22 would approve of."
23 A. Well, why didn't they come to me with this sort of report? I
24 would have had them arrested, all of them. And all the information,
25 including the information about Dimitrijevic, ended up in the archives of
1 the Intelligence Service, and we never got to buying these devices, in
2 the end, the communications devices.
3 Q. Mr. Mrksic, how is it that you know that the information was
4 centre to Aca Dimitrijevic when the cover page doesn't state at all who
5 the addressee was?
6 A. Well, who else? My chief of security would send information to
7 his superior chief. He wouldn't send it to the chief of the Main Staff,
8 he didn't send it to me. This is the sort of service-specific specialist
9 information. It would always follow the different professional chains;
10 the intelligence to the intelligence, along their chain, and the security
11 organ to their superior security organs. They wouldn't be reporting to
12 those others.
13 Q. Remind us, please, Mr. Mrksic, who Aca Dimitrijevic is.
14 A. The chief of security of the Army of Yugoslavia at that time.
15 Q. And then it goes on here to say that out of that amount of
16 foreign currency, about 400.000 marks would go into the treasury?
17 A. Yes, it did. The security chief did inform me that this did go
18 into the budget, and we were going to purchase Motorolas and some
19 satellite telephones or communications, some new systems from that money.
20 But this did not actually happen, because the money was given to
22 the money always was escorted by a policeman so that nobody would grab
23 the money from him.
24 Q. At the end of this page, Lieutenant-Colonel Raseta, your
25 assistant for security, says this:
1 "The conclusion is simple. This convoy, as many others before,
2 had the final goal of individuals to obtain material gain, and there is
3 no doubt that the SVK commander, General M. Mrksic, is involved in this."
4 A. Well, you know the information that was going around in Belgrade
5 that I had brought 15 million. I was always approached by Belgrade
6 businessmen because they wanted to enter into business with me, that I
7 could invest my money in these ventures. But when I was released from
8 house arrest, I had to work on a vegetable market.
9 MR. RUSSO: Mr. President, I'd like to object.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Russo.
11 MR. RUSSO: Two objections, Mr. President; number one, under
12 relevance grounds; secondly, that there has been no foundation
13 established for the document. The witness testified he had never seen
14 the document before.
15 JUDGE ORIE: And, Mr. Mikulicic, the relevance issue came to the
16 minds of all three Judges already a while ago, and --
17 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
18 JUDGE ORIE: Let me -- as far as the second objection is
19 concerned, you have an opportunity to answer.
20 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, the witness already stated that he
21 was planning and executing the Operation Sword, Operation Match, as it
22 calls, and that he participate in this operation with his own military
23 forces. The witness was a commander of the Main Staff of the Army of the
24 Republika Srpska Krajina, and he's witnessing here before this Court for
25 a couple of days, and I think it's very important for the Chamber to see
1 what is the relevance and what is the true position of that witness in
2 the period concerning in his testimony. So I think this document is both
3 relevant and also reliable.
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, you're invited to move on to your
6 next subject. Please proceed.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: I have no further questions, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
9 Mr. Russo, would you prefer to start now or would you prefer to
10 have an early break?
11 MR. RUSSO: I have no preference one way or the other,
12 Your Honour.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Then let's continue.
14 Mr. Mrksic, you'll now be cross-examined by Mr. Russo. Mr. Russo
15 is counsel for the Prosecution.
16 Please proceed.
17 MR. RUSSO: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Cross-examination by Mr. Russo:
19 Q. Good morning, General.
20 A. Good morning.
21 Q. General, I'd like to begin by asking you some questions to try to
22 give the Trial Chamber the clearest possible picture of what military
23 assets were inside the town of Knin
24 the 4th of August. So if you could please focus your answers on the
25 situation as it existed on the 4th of August, that will move us along
1 much quicker. You agree with me?
2 A. Mr. Russo, the assets were needed in order to relocate the
3 Main Staff. We needed the jeeps, the bus, the transport vehicles, and
4 the communication equipment that was mobile. There were no combat
5 systems in town.
6 Q. Thank you, General. Let me first begin by going back to some of
7 the testimony you gave during direct examination.
8 You stated several times in your direct that Knin was undefended.
9 Do you recall saying that?
10 A. I do, and that is correct.
11 Q. I would like you to please explain to the Trial Chamber what
12 exactly it is you mean, that Knin was not defended.
13 A. I mean to say that Knin did not have its defence unit, it did not
14 have a defence system, it did not have engineering facilities, shelter,
15 mine positions, positions, and so on. It was a free town, just like
17 every day as if it wasn't at war.
18 Q. To be clear, General, on the 4th of August did you have any
19 combat units stationed inside the town of Knin?
20 A. On the 4th of August, I think that the command of the Dalmatia
21 Corps had also left Knin. The Main Staff, or actually a part of the
22 Main Staff, was the only force left in Knin, a part of the MUP, the
23 Ministry of the Internal Affairs, and what was the security of the
24 president of the republic, and of course the staff units, a police
25 platoon that was there that I had that was securing the command. All the
1 other forces had left already by the 3rd. There were no other units in
2 Knin. There was a base, base command, but these were all non-combat
4 Q. Thank you. The commands that you just mentioned, a portion of
5 the Main Staff, a portion of the MUP, the Ministry of Internal Affairs,
6 and the security for the president of the republic, were these -- the
7 individuals in these units, were they all in the command building in
8 down-town Knin on the 4th of August?
9 A. Some were at the hotel which is close to the command building.
10 Some officers were billeted there, that HQ that was on duty. Well, I
11 didn't sleep in that building that night. I was in town. Part of the
12 staff units were on the ground floor premises, because the operations
13 room was below ground, and the rooms that they were, other than the
14 guards and fire duty officers, were outside when that first strike
16 Q. Thank you. I want to be --
17 A. What I want to say is that the police was there with us, the MUP,
18 on one floor of the building.
19 Q. Thank you, General. I just want to be as clear as possible. We
20 have your command building in down-town Knin. You've also now pointed
21 out the hotel where several of the officers were billeted. Other than
22 those two buildings --
23 A. [No interpretation]
24 Q. I'm sorry, I didn't catch that last comment.
25 A. It was a men's hostel, a men's hostel or a hostel. It was not a
1 proper hotel. It was more like a bed-and-breakfast.
2 Q. Other than that hostel and your command building, was the ARSK,
3 or the MUP, or any of the other military commands using any other
4 buildings or facilities inside the town of Knin on the 4th of August?
5 A. I think not, unless there is a police station that I never went
6 inside; probably it was requisitioned in town to work with the
7 population, traffic police and so on. There was nothing else that was
8 occupied. There were no anti-aircraft or tank units. They were all
9 outside of Knin, where they had been up until then.
10 Q. Thank you. I also wanted to clear up something about the
11 location of the command for the 7th Krajina Corps, and I think you
12 touched on it.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Russo, perhaps I could ask one clarifying
14 question. The term "undefended" has been used several times. Did I
15 understand you well that there was no formal declaration of Knin as an
16 undefended town?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I was told, when I
18 was actually putting pressure on them and when I began to get angry, and
19 when the danger appeared that Knin could be attached from the back, from
20 Grahovo, from Livanjsko Polje, they did not have such units. They were
21 not preparing it. They said it was a free town and it would not be
22 struck, and that is something that I did not really believe; the mayor of
23 the town, and the structures, and so on.
24 JUDGE ORIE: That's not precisely an answer to my question. My
25 question was whether there had ever been, which I have not heard until
1 now, a formal declaration that Knin was an undefended town.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not ask. I didn't find the
3 Official Gazette. I didn't insist that they show me where that is stated
4 in the Official Gazette. But the policy was conducted, and this was the
5 explanation provided, that it was the capital town, and if we are brought
6 into the position that we have to fight for the capital, because, well,
7 the front was far aware. We were only beginning to think -- I was only
8 beginning to think -- think about what I can build up quickly. However,
9 the citizens of Knin were not thinking of needing to defend Knin. Knin
10 must not be attacked. There were no units inside, so why would it be
11 attacked, why?
12 JUDGE ORIE: You're thinking in military terms, where I'm rather
13 referring to the legal connotation of "undefended town."
14 Is there any dispute between the parties that there was no such
15 formal declaration? There's no dispute about it.
16 Please proceed.
17 MR. RUSSO: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Q. General, during your direct examination, and for the benefit of
19 the Court and counsel, this appears at transcript page 18879, lines 9 to
20 11, General, you were asked by Mr. Misetic about the location of the
21 command of the 7th Krajina Corps, and you stated that the command was
22 located in the Northern Barracks:
23 "... until combat activities commenced. When they did, just as
24 my command did, he got up, got down to the railway station, and perhaps
25 toward Strmica."
1 A. The war or the combat location.
2 Q. "... at the IKM there, because he was practically on the slopes
3 of the Dinara with some elements of his army. That's where the IKM was,
4 and the command post was up at the abandoned railway station. I don't
5 know what it's called, the one above Knin."
6 General, can you please clarify for us, whether on the 4th of
7 August, was the commander of the 7th Krajina Corps was inside the town of
8 Knin or was he elsewhere?
9 A. The commander, General Kovacevic, was at the forward command
10 post. The former commander - what was his name? - he was at the railway
11 station, and that's where we found him that night. Martic and I found
12 him when we were conducting the relocation of the command. Martic
13 remained to spend the night there near the railway station, and the
14 Kovacevic was on the slopes and conducting the fighting as much as he
15 could, as -- for as long as he could. He was slowing down the movements
16 towards Strmica and Krno [phoen], at the forward command post. He was in
17 a very difficult position at the last slope. He personally informed me
18 about the situation there.
19 Q. Thank you. And the railway station that you're referring to,
20 this is a railway station, an old one, outside of Knin; correct?
21 A. Above the town, all the way up. We were speaking about it
22 yesterday or the other day, about where the positions were supposed to be
23 set up for breakthroughs into the depth. From that position, you have a
24 visual over the entire territory and to the other side of the Dinara,
25 towards Grahovo, Strmica, and so on.
1 MR. RUSSO: Thank you.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic.
3 MR. MISETIC: Just in terms of context, Mr. President, I just
4 wanted to draw the attention to page 18879, lines 3 to 7, because I'm
5 still not sure if this is clear.
6 MR. RUSSO: Mr. President, I think the witness's answer was
7 clear. If there's anything that Mr. Misetic wants to clear up on
8 redirect, he's certainly free to do that.
9 JUDGE ORIE: If you give me just one second to read both
11 Mr. Russo, if I read and compare page 18879, compare it with
12 page 35, line 21 and ongoing, I can't say that matters have become much
13 clearer. It's, as a matter of fact, rather confusing, if you read it
14 too. I would appreciate if you would take that step by step, by short
16 MR. RUSSO: Yes, Mr. President. I just want to be clear, it's
17 not my intention to establish exactly where he was, but, more
18 importantly, where he wasn't. So that's the point of my questioning. So
19 I'm going to take it -- I'll take it from the beginning, and then we'll
20 see where it goes.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, fine. If that's your intention, no problem.
22 Sometimes if you know where someone is, then you also know where he is
23 not; that is, at any other place compared to where he was.
24 Please proceed.
25 MR. RUSSO: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Q. General, let me ask you again. When the combat began on the 4th
2 of August, was the command of the 7th Krajina Corps inside the town of
3 Knin; yes or no?
4 MR. MISETIC: Objection to the form of the question. He's asked
5 now two different questions. The first one was "Mr. Kovacevic," the
6 second one was "the command."
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, it's such a question which can be put to the
8 witness. At the same time, at the same time, it's not following my
10 Mr. Mrksic, Mr. Kovacevic, early morning hours, 4th of August,
11 where was he, if you know?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacevic, on the 1st, the 2nd
13 and the 3rd, was up at the Dinara slopes the whole time. He was at the
14 forward command post, managing the company or two companies that he had
15 managed to gather, the soldiers he had brought up from the forward
16 positions, and he was there to prevent speedy movement. He was not at
17 the command. The command left early, just like the IKM left early. They
18 had gone to the railway station. I don't know if anyone was left behind
19 in the barracks. Perhaps some of the logistics people or something like
21 JUDGE ORIE: What you're telling us is that on the 1st, the 2nd
22 and the 3rd, he was up at the Dinara slopes. My question was about the
23 morning of the 4th. Where was he then?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was at the same place where he
25 was on the 3rd; on the slopes, in battle.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Now, you were asked about General Kovacevic earlier
2 today, and then you moved to the former commander who you said was found
3 at the railway station. So that was not Mr. Kovacevic who was found at
4 the railway station; is that correctly understood?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Just like the command of the
6 Main Staff divided into the part that went to the forward command post,
7 the corps command also divided, and a part of the corps command went up
8 to this wartime command post during the day. You know that --
9 JUDGE ORIE: So the person found at the railway station by you
10 and Mr. Martic was not Mr. Kovacevic. Did Mr. Kovacevic leave his
11 position at the Dinara slopes? And if so, when?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would really need to read his
13 report, the one that he submitted, as to exactly when he left, but he
14 probably left during the night because -- the following day and during
15 the course of the day before the forces entered Knin. I mean, I really
16 cannot know that.
17 JUDGE ORIE: If you say he probably left during the night, you
18 mean the night from the 4th to the 5th of August?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That night between the 4th and the
20 5th of August, the Main Staff also left Knin, so I expect that
21 probably --
22 JUDGE ORIE: In your answer, you are referring to during the
23 night. I just want to know from you which night you had in mind.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The night between the 4th and the
1 JUDGE ORIE: Now, do you know -- apparently you're not sure that
2 he left at that time. Did you know where he went when he left that
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When he left the forward command
5 post, he was moving with the forces. It depends on the pace of the
6 attack by the enemy. But up at the command post at the railway station,
7 we found an ordered command post with beds, officers inside. I entered,
8 received the reports about the situation. I issued additional
9 instructions to stabilise the defence at the elevations above Knin, and I
10 then left President Martic. He said, I cannot go on anymore. Beds are
11 here. I'm going to stay here with the commander and my security. And he
12 spent the night there.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You said he was moving with the forces. Do I
14 understand you well that he did not return to Knin?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, not to Knin. From Strmica, he
16 went right away to the place where his brigades were pulled up from
19 JUDGE ORIE: You said he went right away to the place where his
20 brigades were pulled up from Dalmatia
21 where that approximately was?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That would be closing the road
23 leading from Dalmatia
24 the -- done to secure the pullout, the withdrawal. And that's where the
25 railway station is, more or less.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Now you say that's where the railway station is.
2 Which railway station exactly do you have in mind now?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that it was an abandoned
4 railway station that used to operate. Before, at the time it was
5 disused, it was above Knin, at a ridge near the asphalt road leading to
6 Srb. It was out of town completely. It has its name. I don't have a
7 map here to be able to tell you what it is.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Is there any dispute about the parties -- about what
9 railway station Mr. Mrksic is talking about?
10 What distance from the town of Knin, Mr. Mrksic? What distance,
11 approximately, from the town of Knin
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you take the winding road up
13 there, it's perhaps another three or four kilometres along the road,
14 along the right side, where the railway tracks lie. There is a road up
15 to that station. Perhaps Misetic knows what the name is. I don't know.
16 I was only there for a brief period of time.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, of course, I'm not inviting for you to
18 give any evidence, but if, as you may have noticed --
19 MR. MISETIC: When I testify as an expert later, Mr. President.
20 JUDGE ORIE: In what case, Mr. Misetic.
21 MR. MISETIC: I'll do the Theunens rebuttal. Just kidding.
22 You asked whether it was in dispute. I so believe it's in
23 dispute. I think the location of the forward command post is going to be
24 in dispute, vis-a-vis this witness. Moreover, there's a bigger issue,
25 Mr. President, which is: It's my understanding that the Prosecution --
1 based on an e-mail that I received from Mr. Russo last night, they're
2 going to argue that the location is someplace, which I won't mention in
3 front of the witness, which for months, at the beginning of this trial,
4 they took a different position that the place where this IKM was located
5 was actually being shelled by the HV and was a non-militarised place. So
6 it's quite a complicated discussion.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Could you during the next break -- Mr. Russo, is
8 there any way to provide a map so that the witness could assist us,
9 because you want to know where Mr. Novakovic was not. As I said before,
10 sometimes it helps if you know where he was. Any way to provide the
11 witness with a map later so we could look at it as well? Railways are
12 usually --
13 MR. RUSSO: Two points, Mr. President.
14 The first, looking at the transcript, at line 22, you said
15 "Mr. Novakovic." I believe it's Mr. Kovacevic.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I misspoke. I'm sorry.
17 MR. RUSSO: Second point, Mr. President: I don't necessarily
18 want to -- I mean, I understand that the witness perhaps doesn't recall
19 the name of the place. However, my only purpose was to establish that it
20 was not inside the town of Knin
21 testified to its location. I don't believe I actually possess a map
22 which indicates location of an older railway station.
23 JUDGE ORIE: If that's what you want to establish, then that is
24 certainly what the witness told us. He told us about a winding road and
25 three to four
1 Now, I have -- before we have a break --
2 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, again, I apologise for this, but I'm
3 going to have to object to Mr. Russo being allowed to state where it's
4 not. As I said yesterday, they want to eat their cake and have it too.
5 The place where they think it is, but don't want to say, is also part of
6 their case in-chief against us. And they should be compelled to now
7 state that the location is where we spent months in this trial fighting
8 about whether that place had military positions in it or not. And as a
9 matter of procedure, they shouldn't be allowed to say, Well, we don't
10 want to say where it was.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Russo, if there is a dispute about what that
12 position is, so I think it would be -- it would assist the Chamber in
13 knowing what is on your mind, in relation to this, and also to know what
14 Mr. Misetic's position is. Even if you would not ask the witness, at
15 least the Chamber would be better informed as to what the dispute exactly
16 is about, if only by location. Yes? Is there any way that you could sit
17 together with Mr. Misetic during the break and to see whether you say,
18 This is where --
19 MR. RUSSO: Mr. President, first of all, I don't have any
20 problems stating our position. I don't know how much evidential value it
21 will be for the Trial Chamber, but let me just try to clear up with the
22 witness this particular location.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but I had one question remaining. I have to
24 find it again.
25 Could you tell us where he then went when he left that position,
1 and when that was, this, I understand, deserted railway station?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Do you mean General Kovacevic?
3 JUDGE ORIE: I should have been clear. Yes.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He left that position -- or,
5 rather, he wasn't there when I got to that place. His command was there.
6 He had not yet arrived, General Kovacevic. But President Martic, who
7 subsequently arrived and spent the night there with his policemen, told
8 me that they left in the course of the night, and that in the morning,
9 when he awoke, they were no longer there. They wanted Martic to join
10 them, but the policemen who were his escorts said that they should leave
11 him sleep because he had not had a chance to sleep. It was on the 5th,
12 in the evening, that Kovacevic got to Srb to report to me on the events
13 and on the actions taken by the units. When he got down the slopes, Knin
14 was empty. He got up to his command post and probably decided, together
15 with his units, to change positions. He came to report that he had under
16 his control the intersection that was vulnerable, the intersection from
17 Gracac. He also reported that there were many people, the population who
18 were there, and he didn't know what to do with them.
19 JUDGE ORIE: I'm trying to fully understand your testimony. You
21 "He wasn't there when I got to that place."
22 And we're talking about General Kovacevic. You said --
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, the commander.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You said after that:
25 "Mr. Martic arrived and spent the night there."
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
2 JUDGE ORIE: And he apparently told you that they left in the
3 course of the night. Who are "they"?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The command.
5 JUDGE ORIE: So you said he arrived after Mr. Martic had arrived,
6 and that General Kovacevic left again that same night; is that well
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your understanding is correct. It
9 was that morning, probably before dawn, that Martic woke and found that
10 they were not there. And apparently Kovacevic had invited Martic to
11 join, but his escort would not allow him to wake him up.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So Kovacevic had arrived after Martic had
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Kovacevic wanted Martic to join him, which did not
16 happen, and the next morning, when Martic woke up, Kovacevic had gone
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct. Kovacevic -- or,
19 rather, the president complained to me about being abandoned by my
20 soldiers. However, they did ask him to join, but it was his policemen
21 who played a role there.
22 JUDGE ORIE: We're not talking on why, but at this moment just to
23 establish what had happened.
24 We will have a break, and the parties are invited to report to
25 the Chamber to what extent they can assist, perhaps even not in the
1 presence of the witness after the break, what railway station is
2 apparently in dispute, and we'll resume at quarter past 11.00.
3 [The witness stands down]
4 --- Recess taken at 10.50 a.m.
5 --- On resuming at 11.18 a.m.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Have the parties reached an agreement on what they
7 disagree on?
8 MR. RUSSO: I think we've at least agreed on that, Mr. President.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
10 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President.
11 It is the position of the Gotovina Defence that the witness, in
12 talking about the location of Mr. Kovacevic before Operation Storm, most
13 likely refers to Exhibit D159, about the fact that there was a Tactical
14 Group 2 command post in the area of the village of Strmica
15 1995. So now our position is the Tactical Group 2 command post is not
16 the same as the forward command post of the 7th Knin Corps.
17 Nevertheless, it's clear from the document that on that date,
18 General Kovacevic was present there. However, we say that that is
19 because General Mrksic has already testified to the fact that the
20 7th Knin Corps engaged in -- or attempted to engage in an offensive
21 operation to take back territory near Grahovo in the succeeding one or
22 two days.
23 With respect to the railway station, the witness is most likely
24 referring to the railway station at Padjene Stara Straza, which the
25 Chamber has received some information about, and I will attempt -- I
1 believe there's -- an exhibit was created specifying the exact location
2 of that railway station earlier on in this trial. It is our position
3 that General Kovacevic went to that location after the first day of
4 Operation Storm, after the decision to withdraw from the city, and that
5 that, in all likelihood, was the rear command post of the 7th Knin Corps.
6 And it's our position, based on Exhibit D1516, paragraphs 6 and 7, which
7 is Mr. Kovacevic's own report, where he says, and I quote -- he talks
8 about the events on the night of 4/5 August. He says:
9 "After the relocation of the command post of the 7th
10 Corps Command and the General Staff from Knin ..."
11 And then goes on. I believe it's -- I shouldn't say -- it's our
12 position that that relocation from Knin was to the location Stara Straza
13 Padjene, at the railway station.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's about command posts and positions, and
15 then persons are still left to be considered, who was at what --
16 MR. MISETIC: Yes, and that was going to be my final point,
17 Your Honour.
18 The position of the Gotovina Defence is the physical location of
19 Mr. Kovacevic at any particular time, while it has some probative value
20 as to the nature of a particular target, does not change, in and of
21 itself, the definition of, for example, the Northern Barracks and its use
22 and how it would be classified under the protocol.
23 Thank you.
24 JUDGE ORIE: So we have two issues; where command posts were
25 established and who was where at what time, and what consequences this
1 would have for -- yes.
2 MR. MISETIC: Yes, and I will deal with it, I suppose, in
3 redirect, but I think, just to mention for the record, I don't believe
4 there's any evidence, for example, that Mr. Kovacevic sent a letter to
5 General Gotovina saying -- I'm being facetious here, but, Forward my mail
6 to my new address, which is now not at the Northern Barracks, but is
7 wherever they say he is, so --
8 JUDGE ORIE: I have never seen a change of address during such
9 war situations. But anyhow, Mr. Misetic, it's -- Mr. Russo, positions
10 are --
11 MR. RUSSO: Well, Mr. President, I'm not -- I'm not sure exactly
12 what it is the Court is expecting. I certainly don't think it's
13 appropriate for us to be arguing our case at this point. But let me just
14 indicate, I'm not necessarily taking issue with some of the things that
15 Mr. Misetic said. My only point in examination was, of course, to
16 establish who is and who is not in the Northern Barracks on the 4th of
17 August. The value of that can certainly be argued at a later point. I
18 did want to take it, however -- and the reason I went in to Mr. Kovacevic
19 first was because Mr. Misetic's questions, while directed at the command,
20 the witness injected into his answers specific discussion about
21 Mr. Kovacevic himself, so I was going to take it --
22 JUDGE ORIE: I think that's at least one of the things that's
23 perfectly clear now, that if we're talking about commands, not every
24 commander is always at home.
25 MR. RUSSO: Yes, Mr. President.
1 JUDGE ORIE: That apparently is the issue, and that's clear.
2 May the witness be brought into the courtroom again.
3 And it may be clear to the parties to take the witness in
4 whatever you want to elicit from him as evidence, to take him step by
5 step, You're talking about a night. What night are you referring to?
6 You're talking about a day. Who are you referring to? Because otherwise
7 we easily get lost.
8 MR. RUSSO: Yes, Mr. President. I have attempted to direct the
9 witness, at the beginning of my examination, to the 4th of August, but I
10 continue to try to --
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Both parties are encouraged and invited to
12 take care that the answers are clear.
13 [The witness takes the stand]
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, could I invite you to keep your answers
15 short. Often, you do not only answer the question, but you also explain
16 why things happened as they happened. If anyone is interested to know
17 why something happened, they'll certainly ask you.
18 Could I also ask you always to be very precise. I gave you a few
19 examples. If you're talking about morning, let me know whether it was
20 yesterday morning, this morning, or tomorrow morning you're talking
21 about, so that we always have clear facts. And if you keep your answers
22 short. Often, after one or two lines, you've answered the question
23 already. Then just wait and see whether there's any follow-up question.
24 Let me be clear. There's no need to explain to us everything
25 that happened in this period of time. There are certain matters which
1 are of great relevance for us or, of course, this Chamber has heard other
2 evidence as well and other matters that are less relevant. You could
3 leave it to the parties to draw your attention specifically to those
4 points that they consider to be very relevant, and if the Chamber wants
5 to know further details, as you may have noticed, we'll ask you for it.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. And I am also eager to
7 finish as soon as possible because of the visit on Wednesday.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Everyone is aware of that, Mr. Mrksic, and we'll try
9 to achieve that.
10 Mr. Russo.
11 MR. RUSSO: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Q. General, you will recall a discussion during your direct
13 examination in which you were educating Mr. Misetic about how you divide
14 the command of a corps prior to combat operations. Do you recall that?
15 A. I don't understand. I was not -- not dividing the corps command,
16 but of the Main Staff. What are you exactly referring to?
17 Q. I'm referring to the discussion where you -- and for the benefit
18 of the Chamber and counsel, this appears at page 18858, lines 18 to 25.
19 You were explaining to Mr. Misetic that when an attack is anticipated, as
20 a general matter, and I'm not now asking you about your staff or any
21 other particular corps, but as a general matter, a command is divided
22 into three separate units: the forward command area, the rear command
23 area, and the main logistics; correct?
24 A. That's correct. Now I understand what you're saying. Yes,
25 that's how the rules regulate the matter. A unit cannot be without a
2 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour, may I ask for a clarification of the
3 question. Three separate units: The forward command, the rear command,
4 and the main --
5 MR. RUSSO: Logistics.
6 JUDGE ORIE: We find, on page 18858, the witness is referring to
7 three structures: the reserve command post, where the commander would
8 be; the reserve command post, where the Chief of Staff was; and the
9 logistics post, where the chief of logistics is. That is what he
10 referred to on page 18858, lines 19 and following, preceded by where an
11 attack is anticipated, the command has to be divided into three
12 structures. That's what we are talking about.
13 Mr. Russo, your question.
14 MR. RUSSO: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Q. Now, General, what I'd like to do is to establish for the
16 Chamber, specifically with respect to the 7th Knin Corps, the location,
17 if you know it, of each of those separate structures on the 4th of
18 August. So let's start with the forward command. Do you know where that
19 was located, where the 7th Knin Corps Forward Command was located ?
20 A. The forward command post of the 7th Knin Corps was on the stretch
21 of the road leading to Grahovo, some 500 metres away from the
22 confrontation line, which shifted depending on the developments. It was
23 beyond Golubic, in the village of Strmica
24 where the forward line of defence of the Croatian forces was located.
25 Q. Thank you. Now, the rear command post, was that located at this
1 old railway station about which you've been speaking?
2 A. I can't tell you where exactly the rear command post was. I know
3 that the main command post was relocated to the railway station. Was it
4 called Zega? I don't know. Have you established what the name was? It
5 was at that railway station that the main command post was. And as for
6 the corps level, I don't know about their command posts. I don't
8 Q. So if I understand your answer correctly, you're unable to tell
9 us, on the 4th of August, where the rear command post was initially
10 located for the 7th Knin Corps; is that right?
11 A. It may have been in Golubic, where depots were and where supplies
12 could be obtained. Elements could have stayed behind in the barracks on
13 account of the vehicles and the assets there. I can't confirm this.
14 What I'm giving you are the possible locations.
15 Q. Thank you. And now for the third element of the structure, the
16 logistics element for the 7th Knin Corps, can you tell us, if you know,
17 where that was on the 4th of August?
18 A. That's the one you just asked me about. It could have been
19 either in the valley of the River Zrmanja, where warehouses and depots
20 were and supplies were obtained from, and elements of it could have
21 remained in the barracks. At any rate, the command was divided into
22 three parts. I'm not sure where they were. After all, they were an
23 element of the rear structure. Milovanovic would be the one to be better
24 placed to talk about it.
25 Q. Okay. General, there was -- and if it's my fault, I apologise.
1 There was some confusion. I was asking you, secondarily, about the rear
2 command post. You gave an answer. And then I asked you about the
3 logistics post, and then you told me that's what you just asked me about.
4 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I believe there may be an
5 interpretation issue, how it was initially interpreted, and hence the
6 confusion between Mr. Russo and the witness.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Then I suggest, in order to avoid confusion, that
8 you restart this whole -- because otherwise correcting questions and then
9 trying to find the correct answer is not, perhaps, the thing that would
10 work perfectly. So, Mr. Russo, you're invited to start this part of the
11 examination again.
12 MR. RUSSO: Certainly.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, forget about the last few answers.
14 Mr. Russo will reintroduce the matter, because there might have been a
15 translation issue.
16 Please proceed.
17 MR. RUSSO: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Q. General, we will take it from the top.
19 The main forward command post of the 7th Knin Corps, on the 4th
20 of August, tell us where it was.
21 A. It was mobile, and it was located on the slopes of the Dinara,
22 from the village of Strmica
23 that always follows the commander. You have several officers,
24 communications devices, and security officers. That's the IKM. The KM
25 was at the railway station. The rear post was in Golubic, or elements of
1 it remained in the barracks. I can't vouch for that. It would be
2 logical for it to have relocated to Golubic, where all the assets were
3 and depots, et cetera.
4 Q. Thank you. I think you may have included everything in that one
5 answer, which I'm thankful for, but I just want to reiterate to be clear.
6 We've now established where the forward command post was; on the
7 slopes of the Dinara. You say the KM, which is the rear command post --
8 A. The rest of the command, the main command post. The KM is the
9 main command post, the operational post, at the railway station. The
10 rear command post was in the Zrmanja Valley
11 Golubic or partly in the barracks, I can't tell you, because it had to
12 draw closer to where depots were and supplies were. I didn't go into the
13 technology of supplies and all the other details.
14 Q. When you say the rear command post, whether it was partly in
15 Golubic or partly in the barracks, can you tell us which barracks
16 specifically you are referring to there?
17 A. The Northern Barracks, I believe, where the corps command used to
18 be stationed before it left.
19 MR. RUSSO: Thank you, General.
20 Mr. President, I believe from my perspective, the matter is
21 clear, unless the Chamber has further questions.
22 JUDGE ORIE: You may move on.
23 MR. RUSSO: Thank you.
24 Q. General, your command centre, where you were on the 4th of
25 August, was the main command building which is on the main road in
1 down-town Knin; correct?
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. And you were in that command centre for most of the day on the
4 4th of August; is that right?
5 A. Not -- well, I was there until nighttime. It was after
6 10.00 p.m.
7 relocate. I was there throughout the day, observing artillery fire. I
8 was interested in that, because I had done something similar back in
9 Vukovar, and I wanted to draw comparisons. That was when I found the
10 spare time to do that, and I wondered at it.
11 Q. Yes. I'd like to now move to asking you some questions about the
12 shelling which you both observed and information that was reported to
13 you. I'd like to take another look at an RSK intelligence report which
14 Mr. Misetic showed you during your examination and ask you a few
15 follow-up questions.
16 Mr. Registrar, if we could please have Exhibit D389?
17 General, you will recall that this is an intelligence report from
18 one of your own officers, and it indicates some areas in Knin which had
19 been shelled by approximately 10.00 a.m. in the morning on the 4th of
20 August. Now, I'd like to focus on paragraph 4, and it indicates that the
21 first strike was on the building of the SVK General Staff, and that is --
22 as you've testified, that's the building where you were; correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. It also indicates that fire was later directed at the military
25 barracks, and I believe you've also testified that that refers to the
1 Northern Barracks; correct?
2 A. Yes, that's how we called it.
3 Q. The next target identified was the TVIK factory, and I'd like to
4 ask you a question about that. General, the TVIK factory, can you tell
5 the Trial Chamber whether there was any military use being made of that
7 A. I don't think so. It produced nuts and bolts that were sold in
8 the market of Serbia
9 nuts and bolts.
10 We received all the military assets from installations in Serbia
11 We could have produced 120-millimetre mortar shells in Lika, but we
12 didn't have the materials required.
13 Q. Thank you. And to be clear, you said you don't think so.
14 General, if the Army of the Republic of Serbian Krajina had, in fact,
15 made military use of it, that would have been an asset that you would
16 have known about; isn't that right?
17 A. Well, certainly. Just as I knew of the factory in Lika, I would
18 have known about this one as well, whether a nut or bolt was being
19 produced for the purposes of vehicles or something of the sort, but I
20 would have known if it had produced anything that would have had a
21 bearing on the defence mounted by the Army of the RSK. I would have
22 heard about it. General Bjelanovic, assistant for rear, would have
23 informed me about it. It would have been discussed, despite the fact
24 that I was there for only two or two and a half months and I had spent
25 most of the time in Knin.
1 JUDGE ORIE: The answer was simply, yes, you would have known
2 about it.
3 Please proceed, Mr. Russo.
4 MR. RUSSO: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Q. The next target identified was the railway intersection, and I
6 believe you've already testified that this was the main railway hub which
7 was basically across the street and a bit further down from your command;
8 is that right?
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. And you've already testified that the ARSK was not using that
11 main railway hub; is that correct?
12 A. No, it was not using it. It may have been using it in 1991 or
13 1992 for an armoured train that they had, something of the sort, but
14 during my time, it was not used and the railway was not operational.
15 Q. Thank you. The report goes on to indicate residential buildings
16 in the area beneath the Knin Fortress. Now, General, the area around
17 your command building in down-town Knin is an area that's filled with
18 civilian residences, apartment buildings, cafes and such; correct?
19 MR. MISETIC: Objection as for foundation.
20 MR. RUSSO: Mr. President, is that an objection I seriously have
21 to respond to?
22 MR. MISETIC: That's hotly disputed.
23 JUDGE ORIE: If you'd ask the witness about everything we heard
24 that could have been there, then we'll find out what -- whether it was
25 filled or whether there were many, which is not exactly the same.
1 MR. RUSSO: Thank you, Mr. President. I just want to point out
2 the fact I already have asked the witness about which buildings in Knin
3 were being made use of by the military.
4 Q. General, were there civilian --
5 MR. MISETIC: But that doesn't mean that --
6 JUDGE ORIE: Let's -- I think you told us that down from the Knin
7 Fortress, that there were government buildings there. That's looking
8 down in the direction of the railway station. Could you tell us whether
9 there were civilian residences there as well?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, they were all
11 civilian buildings except for the one that President Martic built to be
12 the headquarters of the president, with a few offices, an office for the
13 reception of foreign guests, when we had talks with them, a secretary,
14 and some rooms for the security. That was that one building. All the
15 other buildings were civilian buildings. People lived there. I don't
16 know if there were any cafes there. I didn't visit cafes. Perhaps there
17 was some kindergartens there, too. But, anyway, that is what one could
18 see looking out the window towards the fort. My office was towards -- it
19 was facing the railway station, and I could see everything from UNPROFOR
20 to the Northern Barracks. I could see the whole town from the third
21 floor, and there were civilian inhabitants there. The civilian hospital
22 was there. So it's not in dispute that there was firing on the town. I
23 did mention the military facilities. All the others were civilian ones.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
25 Please proceed, Mr. Russo.
1 MR. RUSSO: Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Q. General, you'll see, after it indicates firing on residential
3 buildings in the area beneath the Knin Fortress, it says "Et cetera,"
4 afterwards, at the end of that list of areas being shelled. Could you
5 tell the Trial Chamber whether you're aware, during the morning of the
6 4th of August, if there were other parts of Knin which were being shelled
7 that are not specifically listed in this report?
8 A. Mr. Russo, the entire Knin was being shelled except for the
9 UNPROFOR base. In my estimate, I did make estimates because I knew how
10 many divisions and batteries I had, without nine or ten batteries with
11 multiple rocket-launchers, you could not cover it all. All the sectors
12 were covered, and the firing system determined the intervals between the
13 firing. So there was firing the whole time. These were systems that do
14 not demolish buildings in the same manner that other systems do, but the
15 noise created a major disruption, disturbance, for the citizens who were
16 in these cellars. As I was observing, I was afraid that they would enter
17 the office. It's about 30 minutes --
18 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter kindly asks Mr. Mrksic to
19 repeat the last sentence.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was firing as a system. The
21 system is used for human targets outside, resting, lying about, to cover
22 a large surface. And if you wish to take or capture a town, or if you
23 wish to fight against those who are defending a town, then you would use
24 artillery systems with shaped charges. There was no such destruction
25 there. This was firing that had a psychological effect on me. As a
1 professional, I was wondering why, why is this being done, who are they
2 hitting when they have no positions. It was acceptable to me when they
3 hit the command, the Presidency building and the barracks. That was to
4 be expected, because military targets are expected to be there, but it
5 was so precise that I really couldn't believe that the Croatian forces
6 had such capabilities. These could only have been NATO capabilities.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, you earlier said that you were afraid
8 that they would enter the office, and then you continued. You said it's
9 about 30 minutes -- and then the interpreters couldn't catch your words.
10 What was about 30 minutes?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, shells were not
12 falling; rockets were falling. This is a major difference, rockets from
13 multiple rocket-launchers of 107 millimetres, NATO calibre, or 127, our
14 Russian calibre, the former SFRY or the former JNA.
15 JUDGE ORIE: I just want you to repeat what you said when you
16 started your sentence by saying, It's about 30 minutes. What was about
17 30 minutes?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was my estimate. If each
19 barrel, each barrel of the multi-barrel rocket-launcher, was charged and
20 fired one rocket every 30 minutes, and there had to be 10 batteries, a
21 battery would contain four weapons, times 18 -- or 12 barrels, and then
22 you can calculate the number of barrels, and then you would have 800 to
23 1.000 rockets hitting Knin every hour. This is why they were all
24 divided. Each battery had its own section of several hectares, six or
25 eight hectares. Well, I'm just looking at it as a professional.
1 JUDGE ORIE: No problem with that, but I just asked you to repeat
2 the line starting with: "It is about 30 minutes ...," and you started
3 explaining your answer again. What did you say, because the interpreters
4 just didn't hear you. You said: "It was about 30 minutes ...," and then
5 just --
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I gave my own estimate, looking at
7 the firing. If you had 10 batteries and you fired 30 minutes from each
8 battery or each barrel, rather, because they fired at intervals, then you
9 would almost have a thousand rockets hitting in one hour. Perhaps I
10 don't believe it was that much. Perhaps at first impact it was that
11 much, but later they were longer intervals, but the average was that you
12 would have one barrel firing at 30-minute intervals. So in my estimate,
13 you would have between 8.000 to 10.000 rockets falling in a 16-hour daily
14 period of firing.
15 JUDGE ORIE: That's clear to me now.
16 Mr. Russo.
17 MR. RUSSO: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Q. General, you testified on direct examination about artillery
19 located in Kninsko Polje. Do you recall that?
20 A. Yes. It was an artillery weapon called Nora of 152-millimetre
21 calibre. It was the only one that had the range to reach Grahovo Polje.
22 I think we only had two of those in the entire Knin Corps, compared to
23 the Dalmatia
24 Q. Thank you. And, specifically, you were asked about whether those
25 artillery pieces were returning fire on Croatian positions on the 4th of
1 August, and you stated, quote -- I'm sorry, for the benefit of counsel
2 and the Court, this appears at transcript 18920 from lines 1 to 13. You
3 stated, General:
4 "I think that that artillery had already been pulled up there.
5 As the units moved, as the people moved, it was pulled up towards Otric."
6 Now, what I'd like you to clarify, General, is whether those
7 artillery pieces were in Kninsko Polje on the morning of the 4th of
9 A. The weapons, there was nobody to operate them on the 4th up
10 there, and they were probably withdrawn into the depth. I cannot know
11 about those two weapons. All I'm saying is that I was present when the
12 artillery guy was guiding the Howitzer fire, and that was creating large
13 problems in Grahovsko Polje. This was two or three days before the 4th,
14 before the attack. I was driving the supreme commander in a helicopter
15 to the positions to see where his troops were holding the ridge, and we
16 were watching how this small captain was guiding the fire at those forces
17 that were preparing to open an attack against Knin.
18 Q. Thank you. I just want to be clear, General. Can you tell the
19 Court how far from the town of Knin
21 A. Those artillery pieces were practically beyond Crvena Zemlja,
22 which is some five or six kilometres -- or four kilometres distance from
23 Knin, that they would -- so that they would be able to reach
24 Grahovsko Polje. When the aggression began, they had no targets
25 practically in Grahovsko Polje. They had to pull out, and then the
1 120-millimetre mortars took over.
2 Q. Thank you, General. You've answered my question. Now, you've
3 testified several times that you lost your communications capability
4 sometime during the 4th of August. Now, the reason, General, that you
5 lost communications from within Knin was because the repeater station at
6 Celavac had been partly destroyed and taken over; is that right?
7 A. Correct.
8 Q. And after that repeater was taken out of operation, was it
9 possible for you to communicate with your troops in the field?
10 A. Our communications system relied on relay communications, which
11 we considered to be protected, but I can see that they were easily
12 recorded and transcripts were made. Radio links could not be maintained
13 because of electronic jamming of some radio stations. We were unable --
14 not even Motorolas could function. There was general jamming.
15 Q. General, can you explain to the Trial Chamber what relay
16 communications are?
17 A. Relay communications are traditional communications system. They
18 have antennas, they have protected facilities underground, and these are
19 nodes where communications intersect. It's a whole relay network of the
20 former SFRY that was somewhere taken over. I don't know how these
21 divisions occurred. So certain forces were using them. These nodes had
22 direct links to Petrova Gora to Zeljeva, from Petrova Gora to
23 Zrinska Gora, from Zrinska Gora would go to Poposte [phoen] to Belgrade
24 to Sarajevo
25 were so-called directed, controlled signals. Usually, it's a telephone
1 connection. It's not a radio station, but you can actually speak on the
2 telephone, use it just like a regular telephone.
3 Q. Thank you. General, I'd like to show you an excerpt from a
4 planning meeting between President Tudjman and his top military advisers
5 on the 31st of July, and then ask you a few questions relating to it.
6 If we could please have Exhibit P461, and if we could move to
7 page 25 in the English and page 47 in the B/C/S. And I'd like to begin
8 with the comments of Mladen Markac.
9 You will see, General, that Mladen Markac states:
10 "Mr. President, as soon as we take Celavac as a communications
11 centre and to all practical purposes the nerve centre of that part, their
12 communications system will be finished and there will be total chaos."
13 Then Zvonimir Cervenko intercedes:
14 "Mr. President, I would like to ask, Domazet, please explain to
15 me how these communications centres will go, in what order, in which
17 Domazet replies:
18 "In the first strike, which would be the onset of the operation,
19 we head out to the command post of the 18th Brigade in Bunic which
20 creates conditions ... for their system and enables the forces - Ljubovo
21 is reached and placed under supervision.
22 "Second, Celavac is in that same strike. We're going to Celavac
23 for the purpose of leaving him only a part of the communication between
24 Knin and through Petrova Gora, to listen in on to them. We shall do that
25 by aircraft."
1 And then someone interjects:
2 "You mean from Plomina when you say Knin?"
3 And if we could turn the page in B/C/S. Cervenko continues:
4 "From Plomina to Pljesevica, and we have it so we can listen in
5 to operative strategic communications. And the destruction of Celavac,
6 we will take down all operative and tactical communications in the area
7 of the 7th and 15th Corps. After that, when the operation in the
8 northern part is launched, we shall go to Petrova Gora. We likewise
9 leave Zrinska Gora so that we will be listening in to only one part of
10 their communications, and finally it ends with Zrinska Gora."
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Russo, did you intend to say that Domazet
12 continued, rather than Cervenko, because that's --
13 MR. RUSSO: Yes. My apologies, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
15 MR. RUSSO:
16 Q. General, were you aware that the HV were planning to leave your
17 communications in some areas open in order to be able to listen in on
18 operative and strategic communications?
19 A. No, I wasn't. I was not left with that assessment, because we
20 thought if they strike, they will strike and destroy all communications.
21 This is new to me. I knew that we were expecting them to strike at the
22 communications. That was logical. But we didn't know that they would
23 use these espionage things to listen in to some of them and destroy some
24 of them. We were not thinking about that at the time. Had they allowed
25 me to have those connections, well, it wouldn't have mattered to me if
1 they had listened in, but I was unable to talk.
2 Q. I take it, then, General, that during the operation you did not
3 become aware that your communications were being monitored; is that
5 A. That is right, I wasn't aware of that.
6 Q. Thank you. General, I would now like to talk about the military
7 assets, which were in other towns, which were attacked by artillery on
8 the 4th of August. And if you're able to assist us, please do so. If
9 you don't have the information, that's fine as well. But I would like to
10 begin first with Benkovac.
11 Can you tell the Trial Chamber whether you had any combat troops
12 stationed inside the town of Benkovac
13 of August?
14 A. I cannot tell you that. But when I was touring the position, I
15 saw that there was nobody in Benkovac, that there were no elements,
16 elements of the combat disposition. All the elements were on the
17 front-line or some line of defence. These are probably elevations,
18 inclines, not towns. We were not including towns into the defence, as
19 far as I know. But I didn't manage to tour the tactical level
20 completely. I was dealing with major things; how to create a political
21 and military situation so that we could move to negotiations.
22 Q. Thank you, General. Are you able to tell us whether there were
23 any command posts or communication centres in Benkovac on the 4th of
25 A. There were barracks in Benkovac. I don't know if it was used for
1 anything or not. I'm really unable to say right now. The corps
2 commander or the brigade commander would have to tell you that, the
3 Benkovac Brigade. I don't think that any attacks were carried out. The
4 essence was that all inhabited places were attacked. Vrginmost was
5 attacked and there was nothing there, and it was hit with all they had,
6 and we were wondering, in Knin, where they got the equipment or the
7 weapons from in order to be able to reach all the way to Vrginmost.
8 Q. Thank you, General. If we could move now to Obrovac. Can you
9 tell us whether you had any combat troops stationed inside the town of
10 Obrovac when the shelling began on the 4th of August?
11 A. All the units were at positions in Obrovac before the combat
12 began. The command of that brigade was there before. I don't know where
13 it was relocated. I really don't know. It didn't stay in town, however,
14 because Obrovac was relatively close to the forward end. So at the town
15 itself, in the hole close to the sea, I don't think that there was
16 anybody was left there. It was all up on high at Mount Velebit
17 Q. Thank you. And, likewise, are you able to tell the Trial Chamber
18 whether there were any communication centres or command posts inside the
19 town of Obrovac on the 4th of August?
20 A. I really couldn't say that right now. I'm afraid I would make a
21 mistake if I said anything. I know that man. I went to see him a few
22 times, I wanted to see what we could do up there at Velebit, but I didn't
23 see anything that would significantly indicate to me that these were
24 important positions. A brigade command with five, six officers, you can
25 put that anywhere. They're easy to locate anywhere.
1 Q. Thank you, General. And the last town I'd like to ask you about
2 is Gracac. Again, did you, as far as you know, have any combat troops
3 stationed inside the town of Gracac
5 A. Gracac didn't have any forces, as far as I know. It was in the
6 depth, and the brigade that was up there, that was going from the --
7 well, the Gracac Brigade was more forward, in the direction of Gospic. I
8 don't know. I didn't hear of any military forces being there. I didn't
9 ever have the opportunity to pass by there and somebody would say, Well,
10 come let us see there is such and such a force there. Nobody ever took
11 me there. I really don't know. Perhaps with the moving of the front,
12 the forces arrived there. That is another matter altogether.
13 Q. And, finally, were there any, as far as you know, command posts
14 or communication centres in Gracac on the 4th of August?
15 A. I don't know. It should all have been up at the facilities up
16 there, because Gracac is in a depression. I really cannot answer that.
17 I don't know.
18 Q. That's fine, General. Thank you. Now, I'd like to discuss with
19 you how the artillery attack was actually conducted, and you've already
20 given us some testimony about that. In particular, you've stressed how
21 precise you perceived the attack on your command building to be, and I'd
22 like to show you another excerpt from the meeting with President Tudjman
23 and his advisers.
24 If we could move to page 15 in the English, page 28 in the B/C/S.
25 We can move a bit further down in the B/C/S, please. Thank you.
1 In this discussion, General, President Tudjman begins:
2 "Is an attack on Knin possible without hitting the camp which
3 UNCRO-UNPROFOR has there?"
4 General Gotovina replies:
5 "At this moment, we can engage in extremely precise operations
6 at Knin, systematically, without aiming at the barracks in which UNCRO is
8 In parentheses you see:
9 "(We have all the photographs and know exactly.)"
10 If we could turn the page, please, in B/C/S.
11 Domazet interjects:
12 "In those southern barracks, and his forces are to the north.
13 Therefore, we can fire with great precision without it coming in the line
14 of fire ... a little to the south of Knin, that has been precisely ..."
15 Finally, General Gotovina says:
16 "At this moment, all of our weapons are guided, directly guided."
17 General, from what you observed of the artillery fire in Knin,
18 did it appear to you that General Gotovina was, indeed, using guided
19 weaponry on at least some of the areas shelled?
20 A. I need to say again, for me, as a professional, this was a new
21 system, a new thing, to hit right from the start without destruction
22 100 per cent. Everything else that they were hitting with the multiple
23 rocket-launcher was the way it usually happens, it was dispersed fire,
24 but in this other case, they were making very precise strikes. I believe
25 that they were probably using a GPS
1 This is not something that the Croats could have had. Possibly the
2 French could have had something like that or someone else, just like it
3 turned out to be in Sarajevo
4 punishment, where they would hit their target with the first shell. If
5 this was Ante Gotovina who was doing that on first strike, then I really
6 can say hats off to him.
7 Q. Thank you, General. Now, you testified earlier about the first
8 strike in which a projectile landed in the car park of your command
9 building, destroying several vehicles; correct?
10 A. Yes, and a soldier was killed.
11 Q. And other than that strike, can you tell the Trial Chamber
12 whether your command building received any other direct hits during the
13 day on the 4th of August?
14 A. It did not receive a single hit, and I really wonder at that; if
15 they were able to strike the first one, that they could have struck all
16 the rest and entered the town and finished the business quite soon.
17 Q. Yes, General. In regard to the shelling of your command
18 building, you testified, and this is at transcript page 18901, lines 5 to
19 10, and you state:
20 "I found it very strange that the commander continued, the
21 commander of the operation, to pound artillery with such precision
22 artillery targets in town. And had he continued, we would not have been
23 able to remain at that command post. That was strange. That was what I
24 found strange. I did not really investigate it further, but at that
25 moment, that's how I felt."
1 Now, General, what you found so strange was the fact that your
2 command building did not continue to receive such precise attention from
3 artillery; is that right?
4 A. That's right. Rockets flew by, and some of them may have grazed
5 the roof or something like that. We, and I mean officers and I, were not
6 afraid of it. The civilians were. But the sound of it, its whizzing,
7 the threat of it hitting the window and killing the individuals inside,
8 was something that made civilians very afraid. I told you that I saw
9 civilians, women and children, holding hands on their ears, frightened
10 out of their wits. When I got into one of the cellars, they asked me
11 about what was it that they were hitting us with.
12 Q. General, you did indicate, as you've just said, that you had
13 taken shelter in some cellars. Was this in civilian residential
14 buildings or was it an official building?
15 A. No, all these were blocks of flats, civilian residences. As
16 rockets started flying, I had to find shelter in any nearby buildings.
17 So they would get me out of my car. And in several such shelters,
18 cellars where I had to find refuge on my way to the command post, I
19 always had the same sort of reaction on the part of the people there, the
20 same sort of situation.
21 Q. Thank you, General. Now, at transcript page 18919, lines 5 to 7,
22 you testified that the rockets which were used against Knin were Oganj
23 rockets, 128-millimetre rockets. Do you recall that?
24 A. Yes, and 107, I also said.
25 Q. General, did you have information or were you aware of the HV
1 possessing the Oganj weapons system?
2 A. Initially, these systems stayed behind in our barracks, and
3 Eastern countries, which would sell such systems, would sell the exact
4 same systems. Our intelligence services told us that several West-type
5 multiple rocket-launchers of 107-millimetre calibre had been procured. I
6 was interested in knowing what sort of formation, what sort of a system
7 it was, that would have as many rockets at its disposal. Was it procured
8 at a very cheap price? But whatever the case, under our military
9 doctrine, such weapons systems are never used for inhabited areas and
11 Q. Thank you, General. Now, in regards to the shelling in general,
12 you testified, and this appears at 18925, lines 12 to 14, I believe:
13 "I was only briefed that all settlements, all inhabited places in
14 the municipality, all towns, were shelled. That was not logical. Rather
15 than pounding the front, they were opening fire at villages where there
16 were no combatants."
17 JUDGE ORIE: You started at line 21, Mr. Russo. Please proceed.
18 MR. RUSSO: Apologies. Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Q. General, do you recall saying that in your earlier testimony?
20 A. I do, and I would repeat the same now. I found it strange, as an
21 officer, a general, who had the experience of several battle-fields. I
22 wasn't clear on what the objective was. Our assessments never
23 anticipated that we would be intimidated and driven out. We had
24 envisaged that if we had combat hand to hand, then we would be fighting,
25 but part of the plan was not that we would be shelling towns, that we
1 would be shelling Zagreb
2 treatment from them. We expected that they would be striking the first
3 or second positions, the command, artillery positions, whatever is
4 customarily targeted by an army against an army, and not that they would
5 be targeting the bridge at Vrginmost from 30 kilometres away. They
6 hadn't even come out to their frontline of defence and they're already
7 shelling the environs of a village, or they're striking Korenica while
8 they're still -- their positions are still back at Gospic.
9 Q. General, can you tell the Trial Chamber, if you know, what the
10 reaction of the civilian population in these towns and villages that were
11 shelled was?
12 A. They all wondered at what was going on, including those at Knin,
13 and they asked the commanders what it was that they were after, because
14 it wasn't expected that -- they weren't accustomed to villages being
15 shelled. It was by sheer luck that I ordered corps commanders to
16 practice the evacuation of the civilian population in the event of combat
18 However, this did not last for long. It was already by 9.00 or
19 10.00 a.m.
20 discussed these matters, and as well as the matters at Knin, and our
21 conclusion was that they wanted to intimidate the civilian population and
22 to shake up the first line of defence so that the fighters would abandon
23 their positions and go home and see what was going on with their
25 Q. Thank you, General. Now, in fact, the citizens who were
1 remaining in these towns that were being shelled began leaving those
2 towns on their own in order to escape the shelling; isn't that right?
3 A. Everyone tried to find refuge in relatives' places, because these
4 were people who hailed from villages and knew the area and would try to
5 find a place to stay with their relatives or in wooded areas. They
6 wanted to evacuate children.
7 MR. RUSSO: If we could please have Exhibit D923.
8 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I just have one matter to raise with
9 the Chamber, outside the presence of the witness, before the break,
10 whenever that's convenient.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Before the break?
12 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
13 JUDGE ORIE: We started relatively late after the first break.
14 If you would deal with the document, unless it would take very much time.
15 MR. RUSSO: I may be on this document for a bit, Your Honour.
16 I'll put myself in the Court's hands in terms of when the Court wants to
17 take a break.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Well, then perhaps "a bit" means more than two to
19 three minutes?
20 MR. RUSSO: Possibly five minutes.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then perhaps it's better to -- how much time
22 would you need, Mr. Misetic? Two minutes. Then please proceed, since
23 it's on our screen now, and then we'll have a bit of a later break.
24 MR. RUSSO: Thank you.
25 If we could go to page 6 in the English, and page 4 in the B/C/S.
1 Q. General, this is a document which you were shown by Mr. Misetic,
2 and a few questions were asked of you. I want to focus on the part where
3 it indicates:
4 "In the area of Dalmatia
5 own, individually or in smaller or larger groups, left villages and towns
6 and moved towards Licka Kaldrma and Srb."
7 That's a correct assessment, is it not, General, of what
9 A. Yes, it is.
10 Q. And if we could move to the second page -- I'm sorry, to the next
11 page in English, that's page 7, and remain on this page in B/C/S. And
12 I'm interested where it indicates:
13 "It is more than obvious that the evacuation would have taken
14 place even if there had been no decision for it to be carried out."
15 Is that your assessment as well, General, that the people would
16 have moved out in any case in absence of the evacuation order issued by
17 the Supreme Defence Council?
18 A. Without the decision of the president -- do you mean the decision
19 of the 4th, issued in Knin? Well, let me tell you, frankly, what the
20 people would have done.
21 The people are smarter than us leaders. They take decisions
22 based on the way the situation develops. The people would definitely
23 have seized every opportunity to find shelter; to the left, right,
24 center, to forests, wherever. However, had the aggression from our backs
25 not ensued, and had Knin not fallen, had the fighting taken place the way
1 we anticipated, the situation would have been quite different. Then all
2 the plans we envisaged, perhaps the Republic of Serbian Krajina
3 have fallen all the same, but the people would not have been driven out.
4 Those who didn't want to stay would have moved out, and those who wanted
5 to stay would have stayed. And most of the people would have stayed.
6 Nobody left their cow, their piece of land and home, out of their own
7 accord, on a whim.
8 MR. RUSSO: Thank you, General.
9 Mr. President, this is probably a better time for a break.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, we'll have a break, but Mr. Misetic
11 first wants to address a matter for which your presence is not required.
12 So I'll ask you to be escorted out of the courtroom, and we'd like to see
13 you back in anything between 20 and 25 minutes from now.
14 Madam Usher --
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I hope you will not speak badly of
16 me, I hope.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic --
18 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
19 MR. MISETIC: I promise, I promise.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, although now your subject matter is
21 limited, could you please address the Court.
22 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 [The witness stands down]
24 MR. MISETIC: I just wanted to note for the record that, in terms
25 of the Prosecution's case on the shelling, I'm confused about what the
1 Prosecution's position is now with this witness. The whole Prosecution's
2 case in-chief, including the testimony of their expert, Mr. Konings was
3 that the HV used indiscriminate weapons in firing, and now the case that
4 Mr. Russo put to the witness was citing to General Gotovina's comments on
5 the Brioni transcript that, in fact, the HV had -- could have guided
6 systems, and in essence, sought to confirm that with the witness. Now,
7 if there's a change in theory, it's too late to do that now, as far as
8 we're concerned. And if there is no change in theory, and if, in fact,
9 Mr. Russo's position is that the type of weapons systems used were
10 indiscriminate, that case needs to be put to this witness under
11 Rule 90(H).
12 Thank you, Mr. President.
13 MR. RUSSO: Again, Mr. President, I'm going to object to these
14 continual insistences that the Prosecution state a position on this or
15 that. Our position is in our indictment, in our pre-trial brief, and
16 will be finally summarised in the final trial brief.
17 Let me just state, to end this particular issue, that Mr. Misetic
18 is well aware of our position, and it is not in relation to any
19 particular piece of artillery, but that it was an indiscriminate attack
20 and also a direct attack on civilians, and that can be for many reasons;
21 using guided weaponry to intentionally fire on one area or another, or
22 using indiscriminate weaponry.
23 In addition to that, our positions have been laid out quite
24 plain. The witness has provided evidence, based on his experience, that
25 he believes guided weaponry was used. There is other evidence in the
1 record to suggest that his assessment is correct.
2 If, in fact, that is the case and General Gotovina had guided
3 weaponry at his disposal, that again raises the issue of why military
4 objectives were not more precisely targeted, were not more damaged than
5 they were at the end, which is consistent with the Prosecution's theory
6 that the main military objectives in the town suffered little to no
7 damage, despite either an ability to do it or an inability -- an
8 unwillingness to actually make them targets so they could take them over;
9 basically, to feign that they were firing at these targets, with the
10 actual objective being to target the civilian population.
11 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, it is incorrect we've already cited
12 in at least one filing to the Chamber the precedents set in other
13 Chambers. The Prosecution, in the Defence case, cannot alter its theory.
14 There has been no position taken by the Prosecution. In fact, I dare say
15 the exact contrary position has been taken consistently by Mr. Russo and
16 the Prosecution, and specifically with Mr. Leslie, Mr. Konings and
17 several others, that the HV systems that were used were indiscriminate
18 weapons, per se. And, in fact, Mr. Russo elicited testimony from
19 Mr. Konings that what the HV should have done was lay siege to Knin and
20 engage in essentially taking the city without using the weapons, if they
21 didn't have them.
22 The Prosecution is in a different position, now that we are in
23 the Defence case. They cannot do what they were doing in their direct
24 examination, which is, We'll ask questions, but never put our case to any
25 specific witness, and we'll argue it at the end of trial.
1 In cross-examination, they have an obligation, under 90(H), to
2 put their case to the witness. If -- if the Prosecution now concedes
3 that there was precision targeting of certain targets in Knin, but the
4 Prosecution cannot explain or thinks there was some hidden weapons system
5 that wasn't discussed with Mr. Rajcic, that wasn't discussed with
6 Mr. Konings, that wasn't discussed with General Wesley, then either they
7 have to come forward and provide a basis for that assertion or else there
8 should be a stipulation that the weapons systems they put to Konings and
9 Rajcic were, in fact, used in a manner that was precise. But now to play
10 games with this witness to say we're going to eat around the edges, but
11 never put to him, is improper under 90(H). And they have an obligation,
12 now that they are on cross-examination, to put their case to our
14 MR. RUSSO: Mr. President, our position has not changed. We're
15 not indicating that the weapons systems which Konings testified about,
16 which Mr. Rajcic testified about, we're not taking a different position
17 to what those weapons systems were capable of. Nor are we changing our
18 position with respect to the indiscriminate nature of multiple-barrel
19 rocket-launchers for use in civilian-populated areas. The witness has
20 given evidence that multiple-barrel rocket-launchers were used. He
21 believes they are inappropriate. That is consistent with the Prosecution
23 Rule 90(H) only requires us to put to him the evidence which is
24 in contradiction of the evidence he has given. He's now given new
25 evidence, which was not in the record before that he believes some kind
1 of guided weaponry had been used. My point in exploring that is to
2 establish that if that, indeed, if that is the case, should the Chamber
3 find that, based on his testimony, that there is additional evidence to
4 suggest that the use of that weaponry, whether it was, in fact, used or
5 not, was used in a manner consistent with the way the Prosecution alleges
6 the weaponry was used; in other words, used not to target civilian --
7 military structures, but rather the civilian population.
8 MR. MISETIC: Again, Mr. President, this is -- it's absolutely a
9 new theory, and he used the Brioni transcript not just to say this is
10 what the witness said on examination but then put a different case to
11 using the Brioni transcript. And, again, I don't know the citation off
12 the top of my head, but I believe in the response -- we filed a response
13 in which we cited to the precedents in other Chambers that they cannot
14 now -- this is our time to answer what they alleged in their case
15 in-chief. To now tell us that they're going to now argue that, in fact,
16 it may be that the Croatian artillery was so precise in the first barrage
17 that now they concede that, in fact -- not just concede, but now
18 positively put to this witness that General Gotovina said at Brioni that
19 we can guide our artillery precisely, and, therefore, we're going to now
20 use that argument as part of an indiscriminate campaign, is a new theory
21 being raised in the Defence case.
22 This is, again, our opportunity to raise what they argued in
23 their case in-chief. That argument was never advanced in their case
24 in-chief, and they shouldn't be allowed now to raise a new argument; in
25 essence, to say the opposing general perceived it to be so precise that
1 he thinks NATO was targeting him, to say, Well, yes, we, the Prosecution,
2 now concede that, and we say that's proof of an indiscriminate campaign.
3 At some point, their case in-chief has to stop and our response to that
4 case has to begin.
5 And, again, Mr. President, I would just state that the theory
6 with Mr. Konings, the theory with Mr. Rajcic, was that the weapons
7 systems used were, themselves, per se, indiscriminate. And that case was
8 put to Mr. Wesley as well.
9 Thank you.
10 MR. RUSSO: I'm not going to continue to argue the issue, other
11 than to state that our position was not that these weapons were, per se,
13 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour, I would ask you to listen to
14 Mr. Russo's argument in the 98 bis hearing. That's exactly what he said;
15 in the context of this case, those weapons were indiscriminate.
16 MR. RUSSO: That is correct, Judge, I said in the manner in which
17 they were used, not that these are as the Defence has continued to point
18 out, on some list of prohibited weaponry, such as cluster munitions or
19 nuclear weapons. That's not the issue. The issue is the application of
20 the weapons system in this particular town on this particular day, given
21 the civilian and military situation in the town.
22 Now, again, I will state our theory of the case has not changed.
23 This is a new piece of evidence that the witness has provided to the
24 Court, and I'm simply exploring the basis for his assessment. Our theory
25 remains the same. We will not be arguing a different theory in the final
1 trial brief than we put forward in the indictment or in the pre-trial
3 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, just if I may respond to that.
4 He just acknowledged that he argued it at 98 bis in the context
5 of this case. Of course we're talking about the context of this case.
6 Now he's suggesting, however, that what he said at 98 bis wasn't, in
7 fact, true because there were precise targeting that was taking place in
8 the context of this case, and that is a new fact. The argument in 98 bis
9 was the HV was using indiscriminate weapons in the context of this case
10 and that that, in and of itself, constituted an unlawful attack.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Since you raised the matter, Mr. Russo is the last
12 to add one or two lines.
13 MR. RUSSO: Just to correct what Mr. Misetic just said, I have
14 never said, nor should I have been required to state a position, but I
15 did not say that there was precise targeting that was taking place in the
16 context of this case. I didn't say that. The witness provided the
17 evidence, and I explored it with him. That's all that's happened here.
18 JUDGE ORIE: We'll consider the matter. To start with, we have
19 20 minutes to think about it, because that's how long the break will be.
20 --- Recess taken at 12.42 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 1.10 p.m.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, the Chamber has considered the matter
23 raised by you. I've not explicitly given the Defence teams an
24 opportunity either to join or not to join, but at least there was no
25 request to further address the matter.
1 Mr. Misetic, the Chamber has come to the conclusion that the
2 answers the witness gave in relation to a number of, if I could say,
3 high-precision hits in the early stages have not triggered the obligation
4 we find in Rule 90(H)(i), that is, that if a witness was able to give
5 evidence relevant for the case for the cross-examining party, that
6 counsel shall put to that witness the nature of the case of the party for
7 whom that counsel appears, which is in contradiction of the evidence
8 given by the witness, it's the Chamber's conclusion that the content of
9 the evidence has not triggered an obligation to do so. But the matter
10 seems to be more complex, that it's whether or not answer an contradicts
11 the Prosecution's case also depends on an understanding of what the
12 Prosecution's case is. And we have clearly heard that you are saying you
13 are shifting your case from one area to another.
14 So despite this conclusion by the Chamber, if either you or any
15 of the other Defence teams would like to further raise the issue of
16 shifting the Prosecution's case from one point to another, that you are
17 then invited to make written submissions on it, which, of course, could
18 deal with what exactly your understanding at this moment the
19 Prosecution's case is, whether it is shifting, and why, in your view, it
20 is shifting, which of course then also might shed a different light on
21 what contradicts the Prosecution's case and also what to do about it in
22 this stage of the proceedings. You are then invited to make written
23 submissions on the matter, and then the Prosecution will have a
24 possibility to respond to that.
25 But at this moment, as far as this witness is concerned, there's
1 no need to put the case -- the Prosecution's case to the witness.
2 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President, we will go ahead and do that.
3 I do wish to state, however, that I was not raising the issue
4 that the witness's evidence of high-precision hits is in contradiction
5 with the Prosecution's case. However --
6 JUDGE ORIE: I refer to a portion of the evidence where he, and
7 he said it several times, I think he mentioned GPS twice, he was talking
8 about NATO-like, whether that is -- whether that was exclusively used and
9 whether it's the Prosecution's case that it was not part of the weaponry
10 that was used in the -- on the 4th of August, so as to that only other
11 weaponry had been used, is a matter which, of course, could still be
12 further explored for the witness if any party deems fit to do so.
13 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President, that's precisely our position,
14 is that the issue is the Prosecution now putting a case that the HV was
15 using guided weapons.
16 And if I could, in addition, state that essentially our position,
17 Mr. President, is that this is the Defence case in-chief. We've been
18 here 15 months in trial. We'd like to hear the Prosecution put this
19 shelling case to somebody, and 15 months should have been sufficient time
20 to actually put that case to someone, and we shouldn't have to be filing
21 submissions to seek further clarifications from the Prosecution.
22 You will recall that when Mr. Wesley testified, the Prosecution
23 raised the same position with respect to the Defence having to put the
24 case of targets to Mr. Wesley. The Chamber granted that request and we
25 had to come back an extra day to do it. We would hope that at some point
1 the Prosecution be required to pick a witness, and, similar to what we
2 had to do with Mr. Wesley, that they have to do with some witness of the
4 Thank you.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Misetic.
6 Could the witness be brought into the courtroom.
7 [The witness takes the stand]
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Russo, please proceed.
9 MR. RUSSO: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 Q. General, the evacuation which was ordered by the Supreme Defence
11 Council, that evacuation was never intended, much less planned, as a
12 permanent removal of the entire civilian population into Bosnia
13 A. That should not have been that. The population was supposed to
14 be moved. We were always expecting the international community to stop
15 that at any point and for us to return from Srb.
16 Q. Now, your plan was to move the civilians to the area of Srb and
17 to hold out until international pressure forced the Croatians to stop
18 their advance; is that right?
19 A. Yes, that's correct.
20 Q. And if that had --
21 A. Correct, because we didn't have the forces to stop them
23 Q. And if that had happened, you foresaw that the people would have,
24 in fact, returned to their homes and villages; correct?
25 A. That would have been the option because of which I had come to be
1 a commander in the Krajina. That would be the solution that
2 President Milosevic and Tudjman agreed on. But the change of plan came
3 from the Tudjman side, probably due to a historical desire to carry out
4 these aspirations. I think this is a major mistake imposed on the
5 Croatian people.
6 President Milosevic told me, Mile, this is a chance. All our
7 negative past that we had behind us for us now to resolve positively,
8 because you cannot resolve the position of the Croats without the
9 cooperation of Croatia
10 have been doing my duty had I not been told that. I would not have gone
11 there otherwise to lose a battle. I had never been unsuccessful in any
12 of my assignments, I was always successful, and I was so struck by that
13 fate and by that lack of trust that I couldn't get used to it.
14 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter is unable to keep up with
15 Mr. Mrksic.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, the interpreters say they just can't
17 follow your speed of speech. If you could please start again where you
18 said: "I was always successful, and I was so struck by that fate and by
19 that lack of trust ..." What did you then further tell us?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] After that, I said that I had taken
21 that personally in a very hard way, and after that I proposed, at a
22 government meeting in Bijeljina after that, that I be placed before the
23 Military Court, because I felt that I had made a mistake and that I had
24 not carried out the assignment given to me by President Milosevic. And I
25 felt that I, by doing what I did, but I didn't have enough time, that we
1 would move to a solution by means of negotiation, not by means of
2 warfare. I didn't manage to do that, but they behaved towards me as if I
3 had failed. I couldn't go back. They had -- they wanted -- they stopped
4 me from crossing the border. Then I returned. I was placed under house
5 arrest, and I was under house arrest for two years.
6 MR. RUSSO:
7 Q. General, I do understand that you have a burden on your chest to
8 relieve. However, I'm hopeful to finish my examination in the next 20
9 minutes to allow you to visit your family, so if we can just move along.
10 My next question for you is regarding this issue of encirclement.
11 Mr. Misetic asked you many questions about the danger of encirclement by
12 Croatian forces. You testified that if your forces had been encircled --
13 and this appears at transcript 18840, lines 17 to 19. If your forces had
14 been encircled, you foresaw the involvement of the international
15 community to help avert a massacre or a retaliation; is that right?
16 A. That is right, correct, yes.
17 Q. And, in that case, had you been encircled, you believed that your
18 fighters would have disarmed and returned to their homes normally and had
19 their rights guaranteed by the international community; is that right?
20 A. I believed that, and that was the plan we had worked out, and
21 that is why I had these concepts that I had issued, that were issued to
22 the 2nd Corps --
23 THE INTERPRETER: The 21st Corps, Interpreter's correction.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- If things were going to come to
25 that, the Kordun Corps.
1 MR. RUSSO:
2 Q. But the Croatian forces did not seem to want to completely
3 encircle you. That was your assessment; correct?
4 A. Correct. Let me repeat. Had they kept the exit out of Knin, the
5 winding road that leads to the road towards the -- towards the main road,
6 nobody would have been able to go out only with one-third of the
7 ammunition that they had, but the amount of ammunition they had actually
8 would have meant that nobody could have left the town, including none of
9 the command. But for me, that is an objective.
10 Q. General, you were surprised, were you not, about the fact that
11 the Croatian Army did not press their advance to capture and to enter
12 Knin as quickly as they could have; is that right?
13 A. Correct. That is why I was receiving criticism, Why did you
14 leave when nobody had yet entered Knin, why did the people leave? Well,
15 the people left because they were afraid that they would find themselves
16 trapped in a circle. Nobody could stand that firing anymore from the
17 mortars and the rocket-launchers.
18 Q. And you testified that the HV could have walked into Knin
19 whenever they wanted because the MUP forces, which were positioned at the
20 Dinara, had abandoned their positions, so there was no one to stop the HV
21 from coming into Knin; is that right?
22 A. Yes, that's right. That is correct, and General Kovacevic
23 himself was not able to do that with such a small number of forces. He
24 could have entered Knin right away. I don't know why they waited until
25 1430 hours the following day, when they actually did enter. They could
1 have entered on the first day as well.
2 Q. And, General, you testified at page 18984, lines 21 to 23. You
4 "But you didn't just cut off. You pushed, you instilled fear in
5 the people, you frightened the people, and people had to flee. You
6 pushed and you pushed and you pushed."
7 Now, General, what you're referring to there is the fact that
8 General Gotovina's forces had used artillery to push the people out,
9 correct, had left them a way open; is that right? Is that what you meant
10 by that?
11 A. I think that that's how it was, but I don't know whose idea it
12 was. I mean, it was a crazy idea. The force from the front were
13 advancing as our brigades were withdrawing, so what I'm wondering about
14 here is that there was no specific order of who would be in command of
15 specific places and villages.
16 THE INTERPRETER: The witness is kindly asked to slow down.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know if such an order
19 MR. RUSSO: Thank you, General. I have no further questions for
21 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Russo.
22 Mr. Misetic.
23 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Do you need to re-examine the witness?
25 MR. MISETIC: I'll need about a session, Mr. President.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, which means, Mr. Mrksic, don't worry, your
2 family visit will be on Wednesday. We'll certainly be finished.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have time.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic.
5 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Re-examination by Mr. Misetic:
7 Q. Following up just on this last point, General Mrksic, in terms
8 of -- apparently I take it that Mr. Russo wants to suggest that the HV
9 should have encircled you all and trapped you in, so let's put it to you.
10 Why didn't you just surrender? I asked you this question before.
11 A. Whoever surrendered without sustaining any losses? You should
12 have inflicted losses on me in the battle-field in order for me to
13 surrender. That's number one. Number two, I didn't go there to wage a
14 war, but to broker peace.
15 Q. So is it your testimony, General, that you were the commandant of
16 the SVK, yet you failed to take measures to defend your territory?
17 MR. RUSSO: Objection, Mr. President.
18 First of all, that mischaracterises the witness's testimony.
19 Second of all, it's a leading question and he's on redirect.
20 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour, I would ask for some leeway here, in
21 light of the nature of the case, and since Mr. Russo doesn't want to put
22 his case to the witness, I would like to put a case to the witness.
23 JUDGE ORIE: If you could, nevertheless, find different phrasing
24 of question, Mr. Misetic.
25 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
1 Q. General Mrksic, did you intend to defend the Republika Srpska
2 Krajina from a Croatian offensive operation; yes or no?
3 A. Yes, but not in that way. I wanted to do it the way it was
4 planned. It was a surprise.
5 Q. And in the way the Croatians conducted their operation was a
6 surprise to you, coming from the JNA school; correct?
7 A. Yes, and not because I didn't know what they could do; rather,
8 because they captured or got territory through Republika Srpska, which is
9 a political matter I don't want to go into. I was banned from defending
10 Krajina from that direction, as if we had two different peoples we were
11 dealing with.
12 Q. Okay. Now, let's ask this question: If the HV could have just
13 walked into Knin, which is what Mr. Russo wants to suggest, why, at 2000
14 hours, did you order the decisive defence of Knin?
15 MR. RUSSO: Objection, Mr. President.
16 Again, I'm objecting to the way this examination is going. If he
17 wants to establish that there was an order given, he should ask the
18 witness or put something to the witness. Leading him in this fashion is
19 assuming facts which the witness is not testifying to.
20 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President, that's completely false. My
21 direct examination talked about the meeting in the HQ at 2000 hours, the
22 order for decisive defence.
23 JUDGE ORIE: That was on the basis of the report or --
24 MR. MISETIC: The report and as well as his testimony about he
25 wanted to defend [Overlapping speakers].
1 JUDGE ORIE: If there's any dispute about it, I'd always prefer
2 that you take him to that portion.
3 MR. MISETIC: I'm at a -- I'll be ready tomorrow, Judge, but for
4 the last 15 minutes I may not have transcript reference.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Then take your time and do it tomorrow.
6 MR. MISETIC:
7 Q. General, the question is: If the HV could just walk into Knin,
8 why did you order the decisive defence of Knin at 2000 hours on 4 August?
9 A. At which facilities? Well, you know what the decision was, that
10 Knin would be defended in the features above Knin, not because of Knin
11 but because of the people who would be withdrawing towards Srb.
12 Q. If the HV could just walk into Knin, why did you order the
13 continued defence of Knin through the issuance of the order for decisive
15 A. Well, I could not as well have ordered them to leave in order to
16 make room for the Croatian Army. It was a moral issue, and we know which
17 forces were involved and what happened. It's on that basis that I said
18 that they could have walked in, and not on the basis of who issued which
19 orders, which commander would order for a place to be vacated in order
20 for the Croatian Army to move in.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, if it would assist you. It's
22 page 18946, the report by General Kovacevic is introduced where the
23 decisive defence, if that would were assist you, because --
24 MR. MISETIC: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE ORIE: I see that if I gave you time until tomorrow to find
1 it, you, nevertheless, pursued the same matters still without sources,
2 and that's not what Mr. Russo had on his mind and that's also not what I
3 had on my mind at that moment.
4 Please proceed. Either you wait until tomorrow or you take now
5 this --
6 MR. MISETIC: I was referring to transcript references,
7 Mr. President, but I will call up Exhibit D1516, please.
8 Q. Now, I'm going to raise two matters with you, General Mrksic.
9 First is your order for decisive defence; and second is your testimony in
10 answer to Judge Orie's question about whether General Kovacevic -- well,
11 I'll get to that in a minute, but whether General Kovacevic ever returned
12 to Knin on the 4th of August.
13 And if we could turn to paragraph 6 in this document, please.
14 Now, the first question. At paragraph 6:
15 "On 4 August --"
16 JUDGE ORIE: I have to apologise. I said something about a
17 report by Kovacevic, but it's the Uzelac report, isn't it, D1516?
18 MR. MISETIC: Yes. I'm glad you're more familiar with them than
19 I am, Mr. President, but it's the same point I wish to make.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. No, but I just wanted to have it corrected for
21 the transcript, for the record.
22 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
23 Q. Paragraph 6 there, is that order intended to allow the HV to
24 enter Knin?
25 A. We never wanted to allow the Croatian Army to enter Knin for as
1 long as we were able to hold out in our defence, and that was only
2 natural. The only question was whether we were able to defend from that
3 particular axis where there was no shelter, no army, and no units that
4 would be appropriate for the area. We merely wanted to narrow down the
5 front-line and to secure further advancement towards Srb.
6 Q. Sir, let me ask you a question --
7 JUDGE ORIE: Let's try to keep it bearable for interpreters and
9 MR. MISETIC: And I will alert that I will sometimes speak over
10 him in an effort to get him to stop and then I will repeat what I said,
11 for purposes of the record.
12 Q. General, now, the issue of the command of the 7th Corps, while
13 this is on the screen, paragraph 7, now, General Kovacevic reports at
14 paragraph 7. He says:
15 "In the course of the night 4-5 August, there was a general
16 chaos, and the disorganized evacuation of the population and the units
17 commenced; thus the task of decisive defence at the designated line could
18 not be accomplished.
19 "After the relocation of the command post of the 7th Corps
20 command and the General Staff from Knin, the communications with the
21 subordinated units were disabled. Due to the redeployment of the units
22 and the relocation of the command post, all command communications were
23 virtually interrupted, because the main communication of the 7th Corps
24 was wire communication (telephone) implemented through the use of
25 stationary communications, which cannot keep up with the high speed of
1 the operation."
2 Now, what is General Kovacevic referring to there? Which command
3 was relocated from Knin and what communications systems is he talking
5 MR. RUSSO: I'm sorry. I believe the Chamber pointed out it
6 was -- is it Kovacevic?
7 JUDGE ORIE: I have to again correct myself. D1516 was used in
8 close proximity to D828, which is the Uzelac report, so I corrected
9 myself, but shouldn't have done it, because my initial reference was the
10 right one. Mr. Russo, I apologise for creating confusion which, as you
11 may know, I always try to avoid others to do.
12 Please proceed.
13 MR. MISETIC:
14 Q. General Mrksic, can you tell us -- General Kovacevic there refers
15 to the relocation of the command post of the 7th Corps Command and the
16 General Staff from Knin, and I'm asking you first --
17 A. That's correct.
18 Q. -- which command post from the 7th Corps Command and the General
19 Staff from Knin is he referring to?
20 A. He's referring to me, to the elements that remained with me, and
21 other elements went on to Srb earlier on. We were among the last ones to
23 Q. Who is the -- what is the command post of the 7th Corps Command?
24 A. The command post? That was the post where most of the command
25 was there. The commander need not be there. He could be at the forward
1 command post. What is it you're asking me about?
2 Q. I'm asking you for this specific reference, where he talks about
3 the main communication was wire communication, implemented through the
4 use of stationary communication, which command post that you know of had
5 implemented wire communication implemented through the use of stationary
7 A. Well, all of the command posts, including my command post, as
8 well as the command post of the 7th Corps. We all used wire
9 communications; in other words, wired stationary communications. In
10 peacetime, in the barracks. In wartime, wires were pulled out through
11 the railway station, and we used the wire that went alongside the
12 railroad tracks. I told you that. As soon as I left, together with the
13 command -- or, rather, I changed command post, these lines were cut off
14 and we no longer had communication with Srb.
15 MR. MISETIC: Now, Mr. Registrar, if I could call up
16 Exhibit D923, please.
17 Q. And, General, we never got around to your answer to my question.
18 You asked me a question, which was, Who would -- if I can bring that up.
19 Who was -- who would surrender in that circumstance? And I had asked you
20 before, but you recall that Mr. Bulat surrendered; yes?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. My first question with respect to that is: Mr. Bulat
23 surrendered, and there were no hostilities after his surrender; correct?
24 A. Correct. Less hostilities were exhibited toward the people of
25 Kordun than those of Dalmatia
1 commanders who were there or politicians. I'm not going into that. Not
2 even my home was set on fire.
3 Q. Let's ask this question: You say not as much -- the exact words:
4 "Less hostilities were exhibited towards the people of Kordun." What
5 happened to the people of Kordun after Mr. Bulat surrendered?
6 A. Well, with the protection of international forces, the people
7 left for Belgrade
8 never asked any of them. It was a matter for politics, not for me.
9 Q. [Previous translation continues]... General. You seemed
10 confident, when Mr. Russo asks you questions, to say it was pushing,
11 pushing, pushing. Hold on.
12 MR. RUSSO: Mr. President, I'm already going to object to the
13 form of this question.
14 MR. MISETIC: Let me rephrase.
15 Q. General, why did the people --
16 A. Whatever I can do to help, I will. I will tell the truth,
17 regardless of who puts the question, you or Russo.
18 Q. What I'm asking you is --
19 A. Don't get me wrong. I'm not a hostile witness here.
20 JUDGE ORIE: No one has said that.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's the feeling I get.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Listen carefully to Mr. Misetic's question, and --
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your client was a scapegoat, just
24 as I was.
25 MR. MISETIC: Okay.
1 Q. General, let's get to the facts. Okay? Now, you're saying you
2 don't know why people left Kordun; correct?
3 A. Well, I wasn't there. Which questions were put to him, what was
4 asked of him, or what was offered him, I don't know. The last thing I
5 knew was -- about Cedo Bulat was that it was a ploy, that his associates
6 who used to work with him from Zagreb
7 However, people were afraid, and fears were stronger than promises.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please first listen carefully to the question
9 that Mr. Misetic is going to put to you.
10 MR. MISETIC: Can I have page 5 of the B/C/S of this document and
11 page 8 in the English, please.
12 Q. Now, General, at transcript page 40, beginning at line 1, you
13 were asked questions by the Presiding Judge, and he asked you:
14 "Do I understand you well, that he, meaning General Kovacevic,
15 did not return to Knin?"
16 And your answer was:
17 "No, not to Knin. From Strmica, he went right away to the place
18 where his brigades were pulled up from Dalmatia. He went to the command
19 post, and then later he came to Srb."
20 Now, if we look at your report, at the top of the page in
21 English, this is the paragraph that begins:
22 "Unable to do anything else, the SVK Main Staff insisted in its
23 order that the units protect the evacuation and that they do not allow
24 the enemy to target the columns of people retreating from the area. At
25 2000 hours, the SVK commander," that's you, "chaired a meeting with the
1 7th Corps command and the corps brigade's commanders. The commander of
2 the 1st Light Brigade (Vrlika) did not come to this meeting."
3 Now, General Mrksic, I'm putting it to you that Mr. Kovacevic, in
4 fact, was at this meeting of 2000 hours in the Main Staff in Knin, on the
5 evening of the 4th; correct?
6 A. That's what it says here, and I'm not denying this. But I could
7 not remember this before reading it, and I do recall the Vrlika Brigade
8 falling apart. I remembered it now that I saw the text. It's not that I
9 didn't want to tell the story. I merely forgot. The meeting did take
10 place, and the taking up of positions above Knin and the protection of
11 people were discussed. That's true. I'm not trying to avoid this
12 meeting in any way. That was the last meeting, followed by the
13 relocation of my command.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, it's time to adjourn for the day.
15 I'm confident that we'll be able to conclude your testimony
16 tomorrow morning, which may suit you well. I again instruct you that you
17 should not speak with anyone, whether counsel or anyone else, about your
18 testimony, whether given already or still to be given. We'd like to see
19 you back tomorrow morning in this same courtroom.
20 We adjourn until tomorrow, the 23rd of June, 9.00 in the morning,
21 Courtroom I.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m.
23 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 23rd day of June,
24 2009, at 9.00 a.m.