1 Tuesday, 25 June 2013
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
5 JUDGE DELVOIE: Good morning to everyone in and around the
7 Madam Registrar, could you call the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours.
9 This is the case IT-04-75-T, the Prosecutor versus Goran Hadzic.
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
11 May we have the appearances, please, starting with the
13 MR. STRINGER: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours.
14 For the Prosecution, Douglas Stringer, Muireann Dennehy, Case
15 Manager Thomas Laugel, and legal intern Ze-emanuel Hailu.
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you. For the Defence, Mr. Zivanovic.
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Good morning, Your Honours. For the Defence of
18 Goran Hadzic, Zoran Zivanovic and Christopher Gosnell. Thank you.
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
20 Anything before we bring in the witness?
21 MS. DENNEHY: Yes, Mr. President. We have a minor procedural
22 issue that we'd like to address.
23 I do apologise, I believe my microphone is working but it doesn't
24 seem to ...
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: [Microphone not activated]
1 MS. DENNEHY: We indicated last night that the Prosecution would
2 like to request an additional 30 minutes of time in order to present this
3 witness's evidence in-chief. The Defence has raised no objection in
4 relation to the additional time.
5 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gosnell.
6 MR. GOSNELL: Unless there's something further from the
7 Prosecution, I do have a comment to make on this.
8 Mr. President, there's no objection to the additional time, as
9 such. However, we did receive a proofing note last evening. I don't
10 recall the exact time but it was after 6.00. And most of the material in
11 the proofing note is -- falls within the scope of what has been indicated
12 in the witness statement and the witness summary. But there are some
13 items that go beyond the witness summary and the witness statement which
14 was the only indication that we had of the content of the witness's
15 expected testimony until last night at 6.30.
16 One of the items of new information is innocuous but -- or
17 relatively innocuous, but we're still going to make an objection on
18 principle when the issue comes up, and some of the other items are not so
19 innocuous. I understand from my learned friend that they will not be
20 leading that new information. But nonetheless, I just thought I should
21 say for the record that although there is no objection to the additional
22 time, there may be an objection to the manner in which that additional
23 time is being used.
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: Ms. Dennehy, do you need that additional time for
25 the new information or is there no connection between the two?
1 MS. DENNEHY: Mr. President, the additional time relates
2 primarily to the number of documents that we're seeking to tender through
3 this witness. It does not relate to the additional information that was
4 given to the Defence last night in the proofing note.
5 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay.
6 MS. DENNEHY: If I may, we indicated this morning early that the
7 additional information to which the Defence objects will only be referred
8 to by way of background. We won't lead testimony in relation to that.
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: The request is granted.
10 MS. DENNEHY: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: The witness may be brought in.
12 [Trial Chamber and Legal Officer confer]
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: Good morning -- good morning, Mr. Witness. Good
15 morning, Mr. Witness. Thank you for coming to assist us.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Do you hear me in a language you understand?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can hear you very well.
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you. Could you please tell us your name
20 and date of birth?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Pero Coric. I was born
22 on 28th of April, 1962.
23 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you very much.
24 You are about to make the solemn declaration, by which witnesses
25 commit themselves to tell the truth. I must point out to you that by
1 doing so, you expose yourself to the penalties of perjury should you give
2 false or untruthful information to the Tribunal.
3 Can I now ask you to read the solemn declaration.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
5 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
6 WITNESS: PERO CORIC
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you very much. You may be seated.
9 Ms. Dennehy, your witness.
10 MS. DENNEHY: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 If I may ask for the assistance of the court usher, please. This
12 is a numbered hard copy of the witness's statement. Thank you.
13 Examination by Ms. Dennehy:
14 Q. Good morning, Mr. Coric. Can you hear me in a language that you
16 A. Good morning. I can hear you.
17 Q. Mr. Coric, do you recall giving a statement to the
18 representatives of the Tribunal in December 1995?
19 A. Yes, I do.
20 MS. DENNEHY: Turning to tab 5 of the Court's bundle, can I
21 please ask the English version of 65 ter 2221.1 be shown to the witness.
22 Q. Mr. Coric, do you recognise the document in front of you to be
23 the statement that you gave?
24 A. From what I see on the cover page, I suppose that this is the
25 same document that I have recently seen. The only thing is I can't see
1 my signature. This is a copy, I suppose. And I suppose that this is the
2 document in question.
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric. If you look at the screen in front of you,
4 on the left-hand screen you will see the English version of your
6 Can you please tell me whether you now recognise any of the
7 signatures on the bottom right-hand corner of that English version of
8 your statement?
9 A. I apologise. Yes, I can see my signature in the right-hand side
10 bottom corner.
11 Q. And before coming here today, did you have a opportunity to
12 review your statement in your own language?
13 A. Yes, I did.
14 Q. And during that review, you identified a number of minor errors
15 in your statement which I would now like you to correct.
16 Looking at the front page of your statement, can you please tell
17 the Court your current occupation?
18 A. Currently, I'm a politician.
19 Q. And now, looking at paragraph 3 of your statement at line 3,
20 where it notes that the council consisted of 24 representatives. What
21 correction would you like to make to that number?
22 A. My correction would be this: In 1995, when I provided this
23 statement, I was speaking from memory, and I said that there were
24 24 representatives.
25 However, when I returned to Vukovar, I perused some documents,
1 and I was able to establish that there were actually 25 representatives.
2 Q. And now looking at line 6 of that paragraph where it states:
3 "However, the council met only once ..." what correction would you like
4 to make to the term "council"?
5 A. At that time I didn't say, or perhaps I did by mistake, it was
6 not the council but the joint municipality of Vukovar, which had three
7 councils, one was the social and political council that I was a member
8 of. There was a -- the council of local communes that Goran Hadzic was a
9 member of. And the last council was the council of associated labour.
10 So when I said "the council" here, I didn't actually mean the
11 council but the Municipal Assembly of Vukovar as whole.
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric. And, finally, looking at paragraph 4 of
13 your statement where you referred to the man known as Bratus, can you
14 please tell me what amendment you would like to make to that line?
15 A. In Sarengrad, which is a place where I come from, people are
16 known by their nicknames. One of them was a person known as Bratus.
17 Later on, I inquired about his name and I learned that his name was
18 Milivoj Radojcin.
19 Q. And now, Mr. Coric, that you have made these corrections, if I
20 were to ask you the same questions that you were asked in 1995 when you
21 met the representative of the Tribunal, would you give the same answers?
22 A. Yes, fully.
23 Q. And now that you've taken the solemn declaration, do you affirm
24 the truthfulness and the accuracy of your statement?
25 A. Yes, I do.
1 MS. DENNEHY: Your Honours, at this time, the Prosecution tenders
2 65 ter 2221.1. That is, the numbered reference of the witness's
3 statement into evidence.
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
5 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P2275, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
7 MS. DENNEHY:
8 Q. Mr. Coric, you just told the Court that you were a professional
9 politician. What political party did you establish?
10 A. In 1989, I was the founder of the HDZ or the Croatian Democratic
11 Union. And now, for four and a half years I have been active in another
12 party that I founded four years ago. We are a party in the parliament.
13 We have a representative in Brussels who is a member of the European
14 Parliament, the name of my party is the HSP Dr. Ante Starcevic.
15 Q. And in paragraph 3 of your statement you say that you were chosen
16 as a representative of Sarengrad and Mohovo to the Social Political
17 Council in the democratic elections in 1990. When did you first
18 encounter Goran Hadzic in this role?
19 MR. GOSNELL: Objection, Mr. President. There is no mention of
20 Goran Hadzic in the witness's statement and there's no mention of
21 Goran Hadzic in the summary provided for this witness. And the only
22 mention we have is in the proofing note that arrived last night at
23 6.32 p.m. And once this question is asked, then other questions are
24 going to be asked that will lead to more substantive issues of which we
25 have no notice.
1 So that's our objection.
2 JUDGE DELVOIE: Ms. Dennehy.
3 MS. DENNEHY: Mr. President, as I indicated in an e-mail to the
4 Defence this morning, this information will be only be used by way of
5 background. The primary focus of the witness's evidence will be that
6 that is related in the witness summary relating to the events in
7 Sarengrad. The Defence is correct insofar as this information was
8 provided in the proofing note circulated late last night, but that is the
9 first indication that the Prosecution received of this information.
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE HALL: Ms. Dennehy, when you say "by way of background,"
12 having regard to the substance of the objection which the Defence has
13 made, I confess I'm somewhat confused as to what you propose to do with
14 this new information of which the Defence has not had notice.
15 MS. DENNEHY: Your Honour, I intend to lead evidence in relation
16 to this to outline the witness's political background and his political
17 experience in Vukovar around the time of the democratic elections in
18 1990. As I indicated earlier, there were only be a few handful of
19 questions in relation to the accused and his activities. The primary
20 focus of this witness's evidence will be the events in Sarengrad.
21 JUDGE HALL: But doesn't this go to the heart of the Defence
22 objection to this evidence being there at all?
23 MS. DENNEHY: It does, Your Honour. As I noted earlier the -- we
24 did provide this information as soon as the Prosecution was made aware of
25 it and that was then circulated in the proofing note late last night.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gosnell, having heard Ms. Dennehy's
3 explanation, do you maintain your objection?
4 MR. GOSNELL: I certainly do, Mr. President. The -- the excuse
5 for the -- or the explanation given for the late notice is unconvincing.
6 The Prosecution has had 18 years to take a subsequent statement from this
7 witness. An investigator could have interviewed the witness six months
8 or a year ago. That would have provided us with an opportunity to
9 discuss the matters that are addressed in the proofing note with our
10 client. We don't have a translation of the proofing note. That means
11 that there's been no consultation with the client based upon a careful
12 review of what's actually in there. The Prosecution doesn't need this
13 information to come from this witness because Your Honours already have
14 plenty of background information, if that's the purpose for the
15 information coming in. And if you look at the statement, Mr. President,
16 there's absolutely nothing incompatible in having the witness describe
17 what he knows as expressed in the statement without any reference to
18 Mr. Hadzic. That's what's in the statement already.
19 So the Prosecution doesn't even need this information for the
20 witness's testimony to be a coherent whole.
21 So, on those grounds, Mr. President, yes, we do maintain the
23 JUDGE DELVOIE: Objection sustained.
24 Please proceed, Ms. Dennehy.
25 MS. DENNEHY:
1 Q. Mr. Coric, at paragraph 3 of your statement, you said and you
2 clarified earlier that the Vukovar Assembly met only once after the
3 Borovo Selo incident in -- on the 2nd of May, 1991.
4 Can you tell me why the Vukovar Assembly met only once?
5 A. Barricades had been erected. The Bloody Easter happened on the
6 31st of March, 1991. The person present here, Goran Hadzic, was arrested
7 in Plitvice as well at the other persons --
8 THE INTERPRETER: The name escaped the interpreter.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And then we started an initiative
10 to hold a joint Assembly, speak to the media, condemn violence, and to
11 establish what was going on and whether people were really carrying arms
12 and so on and so forth. Obviously the Serbian side that had a majority
13 in -- at the Assembly in Vukovar and Goran Hadzic was one of the loudest
14 among them, the Assembly broke up and never -- was never reconvened after
16 Q. Mr. Coric, you've just told the Court that there was an
17 initiative to condemn the violence. Can you tell me more about that
18 initiative in relation to the Vukovar Assembly.
19 A. I've just said that, unfortunately, Mr. Goran Hadzic and
20 like-minded persons to him --
21 MR. GOSNELL: Objection.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: Just one moment, Mr. Witness.
23 MR. GOSNELL: Objection. We're now getting into a situation
24 where the witness has heard the objection and obviously is determined to
25 provide the information he wishes, notwithstanding the ruling.
1 So given that, I would respectfully an instruction from the
2 Chamber to the witness not to embark on a discussion of those issues.
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Coric, you heard the first objection made by
4 the Defence. You heard the Trial Chamber's ruling and the second
5 objection by the Defence.
6 Could you please try to respect what we decided until now and
7 stay within the limits of your statement and answer the questions the
8 Defence is putting to you -- sorry, the OTP is putting to you.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise. I'm not a lawyer, so
10 I do not understand when I overstep the boundaries.
11 In paragraph 3, I provided a very succinct statement and I
12 believe that the Trial Chamber should be provided with additional
13 information from me as an active protagonist of the events. I have to
14 say that those events were the starting point of everything that
15 subsequently happened in Eastern Slavonia. That's why I said in my
16 statement, i.e., in the annex to that statement, that the SDS party that
17 Goran Hadzic headed did not participate in the first
18 democratic petition -- elections.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please be instructed to slow
20 down. It is impossible to follow.
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Witness, Mr. Witness, there's another slight
22 problem. The interpreters don't follow you. You're speaking too fast.
23 Could you please slow down a little bit.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well.
25 As I've already said, the party that was headed by Goran Hadzic,
1 the SDS, did not participate in the first democratic elections in East
2 Slavonia or in Vukovar. They appeared at the elections as the Communist
3 party. They turned coat the following day and they became the SDS.
4 That's how they gained an apparent majority in that body, and that body
5 later on made subsequent decisions that resulted in war and aggression
6 against that part of Croatia. This is what I stated in paragraph 3.
7 At that joint Assembly we tried to achieve peace, to condemn
8 every form of violence and to appear as such before the people who had
9 elected us. We wanted to tell them that we would do our utmost to stop
10 any further aggression and erecting of barricades. We wanted all of us
11 to get an insight into the arms depot that was under the control of the
12 TO Vukovar. Unfortunately, it was then under the control of the SDS,
13 Goran Hadzic, and the others who were in the Assembly. We were never
14 given an opportunity to see what was going on with the military
15 equipment. Once we reached those depots, which were finally emptied, we
16 are convinced that --
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gosnell.
18 MR. GOSNELL: Now the prejudice, Mr. President, the prejudice has
19 just been caused because that was precisely the allegation, which is
20 contained nowhere in the witness's statement, that was of concern to the
21 Defence. The allegation is untrue. And yet we're in a position where
22 we're learning about it the night before the witness's testimony, at
23 6.30 p.m. And Your Honours have heard it. Your Honours are professional
24 Judges, and I have complete confidence in your ability to reject that
25 from your consideration. But it does put the Defence in a dilemma.
1 I'm not sure what would the best -- what the best manner of
2 proceeding is, but at the very least, I think we now should move on to
3 the next part of the statement, which is paragraph 4, and not dwell on
4 the subjects that are currently being testified to by the witness.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: Ms. Dennehy, we would instruct you to move on and
7 to control the witness with regard to our ruling.
8 Please proceed.
9 MS. DENNEHY: Yes, Mr. President. Thank you.
10 Q. Mr. Witness, Mr. Coric, we will now move on to the defence
11 activities that you were involved with in Sarengrad.
12 At paragraph 4 of your statement, you described that a civilian
13 defence force was established in Sarengrad and that you were the one
14 appointed in charge of that force.
15 Can you please tell the Court what duties did you have as head of
16 the civilian defence force in Sarengrad?
17 A. It was called civil protection in those days. There have been no
18 roadblocks in Sarengrad ever. There was no need for them. Neither the
19 Serbian minority nor the Croatian majority erected any. We were all
20 oriented toward co-existence, but because we were uninformed, we didn't
21 know what was going to happen. We expected to be attacked by infantry,
22 by sabotage detachments who would come at night to kill people and burn
23 down houses. That's why the civil protection was organised. There was a
24 round-the-clock duty -- there were round-the-clock duty shifts, and two
25 to three people should be awake at any time and monitor what was going on
1 in the village so as to be able to alarm all of us in case of need so
2 that we may protect the people and their property.
3 That civil protection was an organisation based on volunteering.
4 We were around 100 volunteers who didn't have any military training or
5 military equipment. We mostly had hunting rifles. Everything we had was
6 kept at the local commune facilities. Nobody carried it home or gave --
7 gave the weapons to any patrols.
8 Q. Thank you --
9 A. I have also mentioned --
10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric. I'd like to ask you a number of questions
11 about what you've just told the Court.
12 You said that you had mostly hunting rifles. Did you have any --
13 sorry. You had mostly hunting rifles. Were these weapons sufficient to
14 defend Sarengrad against a potential JNA attack?
15 A. Of course, not. As a military layman, I had no idea what kind of
16 weapons we would be faced with and what kind of power -- what kind of
17 forces would be used against bare-handed people. It wasn't anywhere
18 present in our minds that -- that the so-called JNA would side with the
20 Q. And in paragraph 7 of your statement, you say that on the
21 5th of September, 1991, the JNA surrounded the village of Sarengrad. How
22 did the people in the village react to the JNA surrounding it?
23 A. Which paragraph did you say?
24 Q. Paragraph -- paragraph 7. You say:
25 "On the 5th of September, 1991, the JNA surrounded our village."
1 My question is: How did the people in the village react to this
2 surrounding by the JNA?
3 A. It was somewhere in the month of July. It became obvious that
4 the JNA was an aggressor army. On the 16th of July, a Croatian police
5 officer was killed on duty on the bridge. He was in a police car near
6 Ilok. His name was Goran Stipak. The JNA had already attacked some
7 nearby places and we understood that they were our enemies.
8 On the 5th of September, the last road was cut. I think that
9 somebody from Sarengrad was in Vukovar on that day for the last time.
10 Until that time, communication was possible.
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Witness.
12 Can you please tell us how the people in Sarengrad reacted to the
13 JNA? And just focus on that question in particular, please.
14 A. I said that for us the JNA was beyond doubt an aggressor army who
15 cut us off from any medical assistance or other logistics such as food
16 supply or supply of medication.
17 What the people in the village, including me, heard and saw
18 having been able from -- to escape from them were horrible things. They
19 used heavy weapons to target some places and they were coming from the
20 direction of Celije where some villages had been burnt down.
21 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric. Now, in your statement you describe --
22 JUDGE HALL: Sorry, unless I missed it, I didn't hear an answer
23 to your question about how the people reacted.
24 MS. DENNEHY: Yes, Your Honour, I can put that question again if
25 it would help.
1 Q. Mr. Coric, as you have heard Your Honour say, you haven't
2 provided specific information as to how the people in Sarengrad reacted
3 to the JNA. You described that you were cut off from medical assistance
4 and other logistics, such as food supply. But how did the people react?
5 A. There were no JNA members at Sarengrad or near the village. But
6 they were a few kilometres away. They were surrounding us, attacking us
7 from time to time so that our attitude toward the JNA was very clear: It
8 was an enemy army and there was no doubt about it.
9 I can say that the prevailing emotion toward the JNA was fear.
10 Those days, they were already targeting our church and everything else.
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric. Now you describe on the 4th and 5th of
12 October, 1991, how shells -- how the JNA attacked Sarengrad. How many
13 shells fell on Sarengrad during the first day of the attack?
14 A. As I mentioned in my statement, the attack started soon after
15 12.00 on the 4th of October, 1991. Before that, there had been attacks
16 against Ilaca, Tovarnik and other nearby places, and thousands of people
17 were fleeing towards Ilok. They were all passing through Sarengrad.
18 There, there had an attack by tanks because it's a plain, and we didn't
19 expect an infantry and tank attack but the opposite happened.
20 On that day, mortar shelling began from the direction of
21 Backa Palanka, so they were shooting over the Danube, from Bent, from
22 smaller calibre mortars. The tanks were positioned at Pajzos, between
23 Sarengrad and Bapska, and they were targeting visible targets.
24 Q. Thank you, Mr. Witness. Due to the very limited time that we
25 have in court this morning, I would like you to focus on my specific
1 question. And that question was: How many shells fell on the first day?
2 A. According to our estimate, on the first day, as many as 1500
3 shells of various calibres fell on our village on that first day.
4 Q. And how many days did the shelling last for?
5 A. The most intensive shelling was on the 4th of October, until
6 evening hours. After that, it continued for five or six days where there
7 was sporadic shelling.
8 So if anybody was moving along the Danube, whenever they saw a
9 car moving, mortars fire began or fire from anti-aircraft guns and all
10 possible weapons until the end, at least 500 shells of various calibres
11 had hit the village.
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric. I'd like to now show you a document.
13 MS. DENNEHY: Can I please ask that 65 ter 365, that's at tab 15
14 of the Court bundle, be shown to the witness.
15 Q. You'll see this document appear in front of you, Mr. Coric.
16 Mr. Coric, this is a JNA military document. At page 1 it states:
17 "On 4 October 1991, division units shall be engaged in carrying
18 out the following tasks ..."
19 And now looking at page 2, under paragraph 4, the different types
20 of units involved in the proposed attacks are described.
21 Those are a Howitzer battalion, an anti-aircraft battalion, and
22 an artillery rocket battalion.
23 My question is: In your experience of the attack on Sarengrad,
24 were these the types of weapons used to attack the village?
25 A. Yes. These very Howitzers were shooting at us and the
1 anti-aircraft guns were at Bent near the Danube. They were used to shoot
2 at the houses near the Danube and all other visible targets.
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric. And now scrolling back up to page 1 of
4 that document, the date of that document is the 4th of October, 1991.
5 Can you please tell me, was this the first day of the attack on
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric.
9 MS. DENNEHY: Your Honours, the Prosecution would like to tender
10 65 ter 365 into evidence.
11 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: It's already an exhibit, Ms. Dennehy.
13 MS. DENNEHY: I apologise, Mr. President. I wasn't aware of the
14 fact that it was an exhibit.
15 Q. Now, Mr. Coric, I would now like to show you a video-clip and
16 you'll see that appear on the screen in front of you.
17 MS. DENNEHY: Can I please ask that 65 ter 5033.2 be shown and,
18 for the record, this is a video-clip with time stamp 11:35 to 13:36. And
19 I would please ask my Case Manager to pause the video at 13:36.
20 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gosnell.
21 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, could I just inquire whether I have
22 received -- whether the Defence has received the video by way of DVD or
24 [Prosecution counsel confer]
25 MS. DENNEHY: Mr. President, my Case Manager informs me that this
1 video was disclosed but a copy is on its way to the Defence for their
2 records. This was also on the exhibit list, circulated over two weeks
3 ago and has been on each draft exhibit list since.
4 MR. GOSNELL: Well, I'm not perhaps exactly sure what is a
5 practice and what is a rule. Normally in practice we do receive the
6 videos by way of CD. I don't dispute that it's been disclosed.
7 So I'm in Your Honours' hands as to whether you would wish to
8 proceed, even though we haven't received the version on a CD directly.
9 [Prosecution counsel confer]
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gosnell, can you tell me what this means to
11 you in fact? So you -- it is disclosed. It is on the exhibit list. But
12 you don't have a CD. Are you able to see it in preparation or not?
13 MR. GOSNELL: As I sit here in court, I can't see it.
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: You cannot.
15 MR. GOSNELL: I cannot as I sit here in court in advance. Of
16 course, it will be shown on the screens and we'll all be able to look at
17 it together. I -- in all honesty, Your Honours, I can't tell you whether
18 or not -- I'm not sure whether we could have pulled it out of our
19 disclosure and looked at it separately.
20 JUDGE DELVOIE: That's amazing.
21 MR. GOSNELL: It may be amazing, Mr. President, but often these
22 things are just handed to you. You don't the procedures or the
23 mechanics, and so that's why I can't answer your question.
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. Then we will proceed.
25 [Video-clip played]
1 "Ilok is rare, a small pleasant town in Eastern Croatia untouched
2 by bullet, bomb or shell. But the war has emptied its streets. Over
3 half the predominantly Croat population fleeing after the federal army
4 and the Serbs took control, leaving behind shattered homes and streets,
5 where only the occasional chimney betrays a sign of life.
6 "Traffic is monopolised by the military ferrying supplies to the
7 front lines, first at Vukovar, now around Osijek. Amongst those who
8 stayed, there is much talk about the Blue Helmets, UN soldiers who
9 Mr. Vance wants to deploy to end the war - a hope they share. But there
10 is also as clear a disagreement amongst the civilians and soldiers as
11 amongst the politicians as to precisely where they should be sent.
12 "I think it would help. If the Blue Helmets came here, many of
13 the Croats who fled would be able to come back.
14 "I think the Blue Helmets shouldn't come here at all. If they
15 did, it would only lead to a return of the Croat extremists.
16 "The Blue Helmets could stop this war but only if they deploy in
17 what we see as the true border of Serbia, and that's beyond the current
18 front lines.
19 "A standard view amongst the soldiers and Serb militiamen that
20 the war has not yet been fought to its true conclusion and that even a UN
21 deployment would not bring it to an end.
22 "The farmers of the neighbouring village of Sarengrad are still
23 harvesting their corn. They are late - a consequence of too little
24 manpower, a consequence of war. The village has survived. It was less
25 fortunate than Ilok, and Croats like Tomislav Sabo who've remained are
1 bitter, speaking of property and livestock being confiscated.
2 "They've got to go to the Croatian borders as they were when this
3 war began."
4 MS. DENNEHY:
5 Q. Mr. Coric, on the video in front you, did you recognise the towns
6 depicted in that video?
7 A. No, I wasn't able to recognise the tanks. But I recognised the
8 places and the people in the video-clip.
9 Q. And what were those places in the video-clip?
10 A. If I may say, the one that you can see now, if we're looking at
11 the same image, the church behind this man is the Orthodox church at
12 Sarengrad, which was targeted from the other side of the Danube, and it
13 was destroyed. So they destroyed their own church.
14 And the other places that we saw were the school and the
15 fire-fighters' building. And the man driving the tractor whose name is
16 Tomislav Sabo, I know him. He stayed behind in Sarengrad by chance but
17 he was tortured badly, beaten up. He had to go to work camps. Today he
18 is almost deaf, blind, and unable to work. That's a consequence of the
19 beatings he suffered.
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric.
21 MS. DENNEHY: Mr. President, I believe that this clip is already
22 in evidence. I've just been provided with that information now.
23 [Prosecution counsel confer]
24 MS. DENNEHY: Mr. President, I do apologise. I've just been
25 informed that in relation to the Defence's previous objection, I have
1 been told that this clip was provided to them in respect of a previous
2 witness so they did have a copy in their possession quite recently.
3 I was very much mistaken when I said this evidence -- this clip
4 is in evidence already. I need to tender this clip, at this time.
5 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P2276, Your Honours.
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
8 MS. DENNEHY: Can I now ask that 65 ter 414 be shown to the
9 witness. That's at tab 2 of the Court's bundle.
10 Q. This is a collection of documents, Mr. Coric, relating to
11 October 1991.
12 Looking at page 1 of this document, and page 1 is in English
13 version of this document, this is a letter written by Marin Vidic to the
14 ECMM, the European Community Monitoring Mission. Do you know
15 Marin Vidic?
16 A. Yes, I know him, both privately from the war, and we're friends
18 Q. In -- on page 1 of this document, it says:
19 "The eastern part -- the JNA increased its activities in the
20 eastern part and with no direct reason destroyed Bapska, Sarengrad and
22 In your experience, is that what happened to those towns?
23 A. I had the opportunity to see this document. I think that it's
24 accurate, fully accurate. Without any reason these places were attacked,
25 and some 15.000 civilians were already crammed in the city of -- in the
1 town of Ilok. And I believe that the final number was a bit higher
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric. Now looking at page 3 of this document,
4 again, this is a letter to the ECMM dated October 15, 1991. I don't
5 believe you have a B/C/S version in front of you. However, I will read
6 parts of that document to you and it will be translated.
7 On page 3 it says:
8 "In the agreement it is listed that on the basis of a so-called
9 local population referendum, those citizens from the area who so desire
10 to emigrate will be allowed to do so."
11 And at paragraph 1, that document mentions Ilok, Bapska, and
13 Can you tell me, did a referendum take place in Ilok; and can you
14 describe what that referendum related to?
15 A. The referendum took place on the 13th of October, 1991. I had
16 the opportunity to see this document. The word "negotiate" is not an
17 appropriate term. Because you can't really speak of negotiations. That
18 was a package of ultimatums issued by the JNA and the paramilitaries who
19 ordered us the following: You will either leave Ilok, Bapska or
20 Sarengrad or be killed. Of course, the outcome of the referendum was
21 clear. The people who were in Ilok all could vote. It didn't matter
22 whether they were residents of Ilok or not. 95 per cent voted in favour
23 of leaving Ilok and they wanted members of the Croatian police to
24 accompany them at least with side weapons.
25 In that ultimatum, safety was promised to all who decided to
1 leave, but, of course, they didn't have the right to take valuable
2 property with them. Whoever did was left without it. Many people were
3 beaten up on the spot and a large number ended up in camps. The
4 ultimatum was issued by the JNA, and the citizens of Ilok voted at the
5 referendum in favour of leaving to save their lives.
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric.
7 MS. DENNEHY: Mr. President, we would tender this document at
8 this time. That's 65 ter 414.
9 MR. GOSNELL: We object to that, Mr. President.
10 The document appears to be -- I'm -- I would say of 25 pages
11 long. There are a range of different documents that appear to be
12 attached together under the same 65 ter number. Some of them are
13 dot-matrix printouts of possibly news reports. It's not clear where they
14 came from or how they are related to the first two documents that have
15 just been shown to the witness.
16 So we would suggest that the appropriate -- and if we just look
17 at the front page of this 65 ter document, you can see that there is a --
18 a paper clip photocopied on the front page and it says faintly at the top
19 "annex A" and the second document may say "annex B" at the very top,
20 which suggests that these are two annexes that were attached to a cover
21 page that is not part of the document.
22 So what I would say is that these two documents that have been
23 shown to the witness should be split up into two separate 65 ter numbers
24 and then can be admitted on that basis separately without the other
25 documents attached.
1 JUDGE DELVOIE: Seems reasonable, Ms. Dennehy.
2 MS. DENNEHY: Mr. President, the purpose of my questions to the
3 witness were to provide sufficient foundation for this entire document.
4 It is, in fact, a series of documents received from the ECMM and that was
5 indicated on the draft exhibit list circulated two weeks ago and again
6 last Thursday and again last night. So the nature of the document is
7 clear insofar as it is a compilation of documents but it was received,
8 and it relates to the ECMM mission in October 1991 in Sarengrad.
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: Received by whom?
10 MS. DENNEHY: Received by the OTP.
11 If it would assist the Court, I can go to a number of documents
12 subsequent to the one that I addressed with the witness. However, he has
13 provided information that would assist the Court and find it -- in
14 providing a foundation for those subsequent documents in his response.
15 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gosnell.
16 MR. GOSNELL: Well, if that is the case, if that's the reason for
17 tendering these documents together as a bundle, all the more reason why
18 they shouldn't be admitted.
19 Your Honours don't have the cover page. We don't have an ECMM
20 witness in front of us, even though they have been called and presumably
21 there will be more to come. And this witness is certainly not in any
22 position to explain how these documents are interconnected in relation to
23 whatever the cover page may have been.
24 And I would suggest in respect of some of the other attachments
25 that again this witness is not in the position to explain how they are
1 interrelated, and that now seems to be what the Prosecution is trying to
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Ms. Dennehy, either you split the document and
4 tender the two documents separately, or you try to establish a nexus
5 between the other documents and the witness.
6 MS. DENNEHY: Thank you, Mr. President. I think at this time the
7 best solution would be to split the documents as the Defence has
8 suggested and tender each of them separately.
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. Admitted and marked as such.
10 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P2277, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
12 MR. GOSNELL: Sorry, I'm not quite sure of the mechanics and I've
13 displayed my utter ignorance of mechanics, so if I could just inquire, I
14 don't know what's just been admitted specifically.
15 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: So just -- just to make things clear,
17 Ms. Dennehy, we're talking about the two documents you showed the
18 witness; right? Now we would need two -- two separate 65 ter numbers for
19 them, and then we'll give, Madam Registrar, I suppose, two separate
20 exhibit numbers. Or ...
21 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: We will give them two separate numbers then.
23 THE REGISTRAR: The second number therefore is P2278. Thank you.
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
25 MS. DENNEHY: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Q. Mr. Coric, you describe the referendum that took place in Ilok
2 and the subsequent convoy that left Ilok. Turning to tab 1, that's
3 exhibit 371.
4 MS. DENNEHY: And can I ask that 65 ter 371 please be shown to
5 the witness.
6 Q. You will see an agreement. And in the first paragraph of that
7 exhibit, it was states the -- it was agreement between the authorised
8 representatives of the people of Ilok, Sarengrad, and Bapska.
9 Do you recognise the agreement in front of you?
10 A. I don't have it on the screen yet. Now I have it, yes.
11 Q. Do you recognise this document?
12 A. I recognise it. When it was drafted, I knew about it. All the
13 proposals that we tabled were turned down. And I know all the people who
14 participated. I believe that there is a mistake here. The name is not
15 Mate Bristic but Mate Brletic.
16 Q. And in your experience, was this agreement drafted on
17 14th of October, 1991, as indicated in paragraph 1?
18 A. Yes.
19 MS. DENNEHY: Mr. President, at this time we would like to tender
20 exhibit 65 ter 371 into evidence.
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
22 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P2279, Your Honours.
23 MS. DENNEHY: Can I now ask that 65 ter 2241 please be shown.
24 That's at tab 4 of the Court's bundle.
25 Q. Mr. Coric, you'll soon see a document on the screen in front of
1 you. And these are excerpts from the minutes of the Ilok Urban Community
2 Assembly Session held on the 6th of October, 1991.
3 MS. DENNEHY: The 65 ter is 2241. I apologise, 2214. And that's
4 at tab 4 of the Court's bundle. It's also Exhibit P321.
5 Q. Mr. Coric, on page 2 of this document, you see the name
6 M. Bosnjak. Do you know this person?
7 A. Yes. Marinko Bosnjak.
8 Q. And when he says, "They intend to enter Ilok and they'll do it.
9 If a decision on handing over the weapons is made, they will come and
10 carry out a massacre."
11 Who is the "they" that Marinko is referring to?
12 MR. GOSNELL: Objection. That calls for speculation.
13 JUDGE DELVOIE: Could you rephrase, Ms. Dennehy.
14 MS. DENNEHY: Yes, Mr. President.
15 Q. Mr. Coric, who were the residents of Ilok expected to hand over
16 weapons to?
17 A. There was a team of people who went to negotiate with the
18 so-called JNA. They came to pick them up in Ilok and sometimes they took
19 them to Backa Palanka and other times they took them to Sid. My deputy,
20 the late Ivan Groznica Ivsa, participated instead of me, and they took
21 them on purpose through various units. Before the negotiations they had
22 an opportunity to see thousands upon thousands of the JNA soldiers, of
23 the so-called JNA, and thousands upon thousands of volunteers. They had
24 an opportunity to see hundreds of tanks, cannons and Howitzers. This
25 obviously instilled fear in them, and people who came back spoke about
1 crimes that happened in Lovas and further afield that compounded the
3 Q. Thank you Mr. Coric. You mentioned that you knew Marinko
4 Bosnjak. Who was this man?
5 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, I'm going to object now on basis of
6 lack of notice. I don't see any indication in the witness's statement or
7 the summary of the subject matter of this testimony. Maybe I can be
8 directed by my learned friend.
9 MS. DENNEHY: Mr. President, this refers to the evacuation of
10 Ilok and the convoy that left Ilok and it's referred to at paragraph 11
11 of the witness's statement in relation to the refugees that left
12 Sarengrad for Ilok.
13 And I also intend to refer to a further subject that is mentioned
14 in this document, namely, the visit of the ECMM to Sarengrad, and that is
15 referred to at paragraph 13 of the witness's statement.
16 MR. GOSNELL: I may be confused but when I look at the minutes,
17 this seems to be a discussion of the evacuation of Ilok, not the
18 evacuation of Sarengrad.
19 So -- and -- and this witness was not a participant. He was not
20 a member of the convoy evacuated from Ilok. In fact, it's not clear from
21 the statement what his knowledge of that might be. Or -- or of these
22 minutes, so ... at least based on the information I have, it does appear
23 to be outside the scope of his statement.
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: First question, Ms. Dennehy, is this about Ilok
25 or about Sarengrad?
1 MS. DENNEHY: Mr. President, the part of the document to which
2 I've referred, refers to Ilok. But in the witness's evidence, he speaks
3 to the evacuation of Sarengrad which, in turn, leads into the evacuation
4 of Ilok.
5 If it would assist the Court, I can show a map that shows the
6 proximity of those two villages. It is witness's general evidence there
7 was an evacuation of the area of Eastern Slavonia rather than specific
8 villages within it.
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: You wanted to say something, Mr. Gosnell.
11 MR. GOSNELL: Very briefly, Mr. President.
12 The issue is not physical proximity. The issue is two different
13 events. And the issue that the minutes are speaking to is the lead-up to
14 and the circumstances of the evacuation of Ilok town. And I presume that
15 that's what these minutes are about. And curiously, there's no mention
16 in the witness's statement of the circumstances or the details of the
17 evacuation of Ilok town, because he left by a different means. And he
18 certainly doesn't mention any meetings of the town of Ilok council to
19 discuss how, when, why, that should occur.
20 So, for those reasons, it falls outside of the statement.
21 [Trial Chamber and Legal Officer confer]
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: The objection is overruled.
23 You may proceed, Ms. Dennehy.
24 MS. DENNEHY: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Q. Mr. Coric, if you could answer the question again. The Marinko
1 Bosnjak who you speak of, can you please tell me who this person is?
2 A. Can I say just one sentence?
3 Ilok is divided into four places. Sarengrad is one part of Ilok.
4 It was then in 1991 and still is. In regional terms those four parts are
6 Marinko Bosnjak was an elderly person, a private shop owner from
7 Ilok. He was one of the commanders in the civilian protection. I
8 believe that his opinion was based on the experiences that he had heard
9 from the tens of thousands of people who had fled into Ilok.
10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric. Now moving down on that page, you see
11 that, further down this next paragraph, the European Economic Community's
12 Monitoring Mission is mentioned and a Mr. P Cobankovic says that:
13 "The ECMM does not guarantee us security but that they could help
14 with the eventual evacuation of women and children. They went to
15 Sarengrad ..."
16 In your statement, you say that you went to Ilok to get the ECMM
17 monitors. Is the same visit of which Mr. Cobankovic speaks of the one
18 that you arranged?
19 A. Yes. May I explain?
20 I actively participated in the drafting of all the documents and
21 passing of all of the decisions in Ilok. I did that through my deputies.
22 I was in Sarengrad all the time because people were vulnerable there,
23 some were wounded. There was a lot of cattle killed, a lot of houses
24 burning. I couldn't be in Ilok all the time. On that day, on the 10th,
25 was the first time after the attack that I arrived in Ilok because my
1 deputies had informed me that they saw an ECMM vehicle and several people
2 in white uniforms. They asked -- we asked them whether -- we asked them
3 whether they would arrive in Sarengrad and places that were directly
4 attacked and where there were casualties, dead, and wounded, and
5 destruction. And they said that they did not feel safe and that they
6 didn't want to come. I personally went to Ilok, and upon my persistent
7 instance, the three-member commission came in Sarengrad, and you can see
8 here that they saw some civilians with hunting rifles, that they saw a
9 lot of destruction there. They took photos. I don't know whether that
10 remains anywhere. I asked them to go to Bapska with me. They said that
11 they didn't feel safe. They returned to Ilok with the promise that they
12 would do their utmost to stop further aggression. Unfortunately, I don't
13 think that they succeed.
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric.
15 MS. DENNEHY: Your Honours, can I please tender 65 ter 2241 into
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
18 MR. GOSNELL: Sorry, Mr. President. I think it should be 2214,
19 and that's already been admitted, as I understand it, as P321.
20 JUDGE DELVOIE: Yes, indeed, Ms. Dennehy, you said so.
21 MS. DENNEHY: Yes, I apologise, Mr. President. I do get my
22 numbers mixed up.
23 Can I please ask that 65 ter 5016.2 be shown. This is a video,
24 and the time stamp, for the record, is 30:10 to 32:10. And there won't
25 be any audio for the purposes of this video. It is only the scenes on
1 which I will rely.
2 I'm just being told that the exhibit number is 2024.
3 It's Exhibit 2024.
4 [Video-clip played]
5 MS. DENNEHY: As I said, there is no audio for this clip
6 required. It is only the images on which I will rely.
7 [Video-clip played]
8 MS. DENNEHY:
9 Q. Mr. Coric, did you recognise the scenes of the video that were
10 shown to you?
11 A. I was not in the convoy but did I recognise some persons, two
12 people from Sarengrad. Nikola Lukic and Emil Rimar. I know them
14 Q. [Microphone not activated] -- Lukic, the man who was situated
15 next to the baby in the video --
16 A. Yes, yes.
17 Q. -- that is at paragraph -- at time stamp 31.42 for the record.
18 Can you repeat in this name again, please.
19 A. Yes. Nikola Lukic.
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric. And the convoy that you saw at time stamp
21 31.17 of vehicles, what was that convoy of?
22 A. That was a convoy which was based on the ultimatum. People were
23 saving their own lives. The citizens of Ilok, Sarengrad and Bapska and
24 all those places that had previously fled to Ilok were given the right to
25 carry only the bare necessities. They were not allowed to take any
1 valuables with them.
2 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric, now moving onto paragraph 18 of your
3 statement, you say that:
4 "My parents stayed in Sarengrad. They experienced a lot of bad
6 When did your parents leave Sarengrad?
7 A. Most of those who remained in Sarengrad, and we're talking about
8 elderly people who were not afraid as the rest of them, they basically
9 lived in delusion because they knew some people from the JNA. They
10 expected help from them, but just the opposite happened. My parents
11 remained there. They didn't know whether I was alive or dead. They
12 stayed on for another five months in Sarengrad. They experienced a lot
13 of problems. And then when the citizens of Sarengrad and the surrounding
14 places in March 1991 had to sign statements that they were leaving all of
15 their property to the authorities in Eastern Slavonia and all the
16 valuables, money and the rest they had to surrender, they signed that
17 statement in March 1991.
18 Q. Mr. Witness, you've just told us that it was March 1991. That
19 is, before the attack on Sarengrad. Would you like to look at that date
20 again and see whether you'd like to change it?
21 A. It was in 1992. Not before the attack, no.
22 Q. So you mean March 1992.
23 A. 1992, yes.
24 Q. Mr. Coric, when did you return to Sarengrad?
25 A. On the 13th of May, 1997.
1 Q. And what did you observe in the schools in Sarengrad at the time?
2 A. On that day, when I returned, I was the deputy mayor of Ilok. I
3 took over 200-plus elderly and frail Serbs in the Franciscan monastery.
4 I found 232 children of whom 225 were Serb children, and most of those
5 children were settled there.
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric. And what happened to the two houses that
7 you had in Sarengrad while you were away from the village?
8 A. The house where I and my wife resided with my children was in the
9 same street as my parents' house. When my parents were chased from that
10 house, it was razed to the ground, and when I returned in 1997, I found
11 an elderly family from Vocin living in that second house. The courtyard
12 was very neglected and overgrown. The entire surroundings of the house
13 were rather overgrown and neglected.
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric. You said that you found an elderly family
15 from Vocin living in your second house. Where is Vocin?
16 A. Vocin is in Western Slavonia in the county of Virovitica and
18 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: The county of
19 Virovitica and Podravina.
20 MS. DENNEHY:
21 Q. Mr. Coric, the family from Vocin, do you know what ethnicity that
22 family was?
23 A. They were Serbs.
24 MS. DENNEHY: Can I now ask that 65 ter 6133 be shown.
25 Q. Mr. Coric, you will see a final document on the screen in front
1 of you.
2 Looking at page 2 of this document, and this is a report from
3 Tomislav Papic to the regional council of the SAO SBWS regarding the
4 handing out of vacant houses in Ilok to refugees.
5 Mr. Coric, at page 2 it says:
6 "Ilok Croats left Ilok in large numbers on the 17th of October."
7 And further down it says:
8 "Refugees from Western Slavonia and other war-affected
9 areas arrived successively and move into the unoccupied houses and
11 THE INTERPRETER: May it be noted that the interpreters do not
12 have the document on the screen.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: I wonder whether we have the right document on
15 the screen, Ms. Dennehy.
16 MS. DENNEHY: Yes, this is the correct document, I believe.
17 Q. So at --
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: And where -- where do we read --
19 MS. DENNEHY: I apologise. Let me rephrase the question.
20 Q. On page 2 of this document, you see question 7 says:
21 "Return of local Croats to Sarengrad, how is this [sic] to be
23 Mr. Coric, do you see this question in front of you?
24 A. Yes, I do.
25 Q. Given your parents' experience, was it realistic that Croats
1 returned to Ilok in March 1992?
2 A. It was not realistic. This document precedes the day when the
3 largest group were forcibly moved out of Sarengrad and the surrounding
5 In this document, you can see that a bus arrives daily bringing
6 Serbs from Western Slavonia, so try and imagine what those people could
7 bring with them. They could only bring their bare necessities.
8 As for the rest, they plundered the houses of those who had left
9 them. The trend of the arrival of people from Western Slavonia was
10 something that -- that dictated a number of those who had to leave their
11 houses. On several occasions, people came to my late parents' house to
12 see the condition that the house was in, and then eventually somebody
13 pointed a finger and said, I want to move in.
14 My father had to yield several hundred marks. He also had a
15 silver stopwatch that me and my sister had bought him as a present.
16 However, he had to give that to somebody to be allowed to leave the place
17 where he lived.
18 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric. And now looking at the first page of this
19 document, it's dated 14 March 1992. Does that date coincide with the
20 time that your parents were forced to leave Sarengrad?
21 A. Yes, it coincides, and a few days later they left Sarengrad, that
22 is, Ilok, and through Sid they were taken to Bosnia, and by way of
23 Slavonski Samac they entered Slavonski Brod. I was a member of the
24 Croatian Army at the time and I personally came to meet them when they
25 arrived Zagreb on a bus.
1 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric.
2 MS. DENNEHY: The Prosecution would ask that this 65 ter 6133 now
3 be admitted into evidence.
4 And that concludes my questions for now.
5 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P2280, Your Honours.
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: And that was, indeed -- I heard you say that this
8 was your final document, so that was why we are a little bit over time.
9 But basically that's good timing.
10 Mr. Witness, Mr. Coric, this is the time for our first break.
11 30 minutes. We come back at 11.00. And, at that moment, Mr. Gosnell
12 will start his cross-examination.
13 The court usher will escort you out of the courtroom. Thank you.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 [The witness stands down]
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: We'll be back at 11.05. Court adjourned.
17 --- Recess taken at 10.34 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 11.04 a.m.
19 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
20 [The witness takes the stand]
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gosnell.
22 MR. GOSNELL: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Could we remove the statement from the -- in front of the
24 witness, please.
25 Cross-examination by Mr. Gosnell:
1 Q. Good morning, Mr. Coric.
2 A. Good morning.
3 Q. My name is Christopher Gosnell, and I represent Mr. Hadzic in
4 these proceedings. I will ask you a few questions today. If any of my
5 questions come through to you as unclear, then please feel free to ask
6 for clarification or a restatement of my question, and I'll -- I'll do my
8 Do you understand that?
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 Q. You told us earlier today that you were a founding member of the
11 a political party. Can you tell us again the name of that political
13 A. I was a member of two political parties, but you are properly
14 more interested in the one from 1989. I was a founder member of the
15 Croatian Democratic Union in the former municipality of Vukovar.
16 Q. Have you been a member of any other party?
17 A. Yes, later. The HSP. Not before that.
18 Q. What does that stand for?
19 A. The Croatian Party of Right.
20 Q. And when did you join that party?
21 A. I joined it in 2001.
22 Q. Are you still a member of that party?
23 A. There were two factions in that party. Four and a half years
24 ago, I -- I separated my faction, and my party is today called the HSP,
25 Dr. Ante Starcevic, and I'm the general secretary.
1 We also have a member of European Parliament from our party.
2 That's Ms. Ruza Tomasic.
3 Q. Did Ms. Tomasic recently declare that Croatia is for Croats only.
4 All the others are guests?
5 A. I think you're referring to an excerpt from a speech of hers. I
6 was present at that rally at Slatina. The media took that out of
7 context. She never stated it that way. She explained on a few occasions
8 for the media, she meant to say that whoever lives in Croatia should
9 respect it or leave. But that didn't refer to any particular minority or
10 anybody else.
11 Q. It referred to all the minorities, didn't it?
12 A. No. Not any minority and not all minorities.
13 She was speaking about Croatia. Croatia is inhabited by Croats,
14 and they can be then divided into groups by religious affiliation and so
15 on and so forth.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the latter part
17 of his statement.
18 MR. GOSNELL:
19 Q. Sir, the interpreters did not get the last part of your answer.
20 Could you repeat that, please.
21 A. I'm not sure which part they are referring to, but I'll try.
22 In our programme, we do not divide the inhabitants of Croatia
23 into minorities. We only see honest and dishonest people, but certainly,
24 no, we don't distinguish by ethnicity. This interpretation of her
25 statement was taken out of context. We don't stand behind any such ideas
1 as a party, nor do we think that any minority should leave Croatia.
2 Q. Well, can you explain what context gives a different meaning to
3 the words "Croatia is for Croats only"?
4 A. Ms. Tomasic lived in a developed democracy for 25 years. She
5 lived in Canada. She graduated from a police academy and she respects
6 the law and abides by it. She knows how democracy works, whereas the
7 rest of us only had a chance to experience it in the last 20 years. So
8 she actually said that in Canada, the people living there are Canadians.
9 In Croatia, you will find Croatians and so on, and people should act that
11 Q. Were you a founding member of the -- of this party, the HSP?
12 A. I am the first founder.
13 Q. And can you tell us - and you may have already implicitly already
14 answered this question but I would like to know - can you tell us
15 specifically when the party first came into existence, if you can, the
16 month and the year?
17 A. If we're speaking about the HSP, Dr. Ante Starcevic, the party
18 was officially registered in October 2009. The founding assembly was
19 held at Bapska, near my house, and I did so on purpose. There were a few
20 hundred delegates. All other parliamentary parties in Croatia were
21 founded in Zagreb but I wanted to show that our party cares about
22 everybody in Croatia, not only about the capital. Officially our party
23 was founded on the 6th of October --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the year.
25 MR. GOSNELL:
1 Q. Sorry, Mr. Witness, the interpreters missed the year.
2 A. 2009.
3 Q. And before founding and participating in the founding of this
4 party, were you a member of the HSP?
5 A. Yes, yes.
6 Q. And when was that party founded; and when did you become a member
7 of the HSP?
8 A. That party was founded over 160 years ago. It was prohibited
9 occasionally. I believe that it was in 2001 that I was no longer
10 satisfied with the policy of the HDZ after the death of President Tudjman
11 and then I left that party.
12 Q. What was it about the platform of the HDZ that did not satisfy
13 you? In other words, what motivated you to participate in the founding
14 of a new party?
15 A. The basic motivation was when the cat's away, the mice will play.
16 When the late president died, there -- there began an internal
17 struggle for power and the members started to care more about form than
18 about the content.
19 Q. Is your current party and before that the HSP, are they closely
20 affiliated, in terms of outlook and ideology with another party called
21 Hrvatska Cista Stranka Prava, the Hrvatska Pure Party of Rights?
22 A. The oldest political world view in Croatia is the so-called
23 Pravastvo and one of the parties advocating that is the HCSP. We ran
24 together with the HCSP in the last electoral campaign.
25 Q. So the answer to my question is yes?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And am I right that your current party, as well as the HSP and
3 the HCSP, these parties together would be considered less moderate than
4 the HDZ party; correct?
5 A. No.
6 Q. And how would you characterise this wing of the political
8 A. Our political spectrum is conservative, Christian democrats.
9 I personally as general secretary never allowed anybody to treat
10 us as the so-called political right.
11 MR. GOSNELL: Could we have 1D486, please, which is tab --
12 Defence tab 4. It's a document recently added to our list, and I
13 sincerely hope that it's been released in e-court. Apparently it hasn't.
14 I'll have to come back to this document, thank you, Mr. Registrar [sic].
15 Could I kindly ask that hard copies of the witness's statement be
16 distributed to the legal officer and to the Judges if there's no
17 opposition from the Prosecution.
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: Is that a document you just asked to remove from
19 the witness's desk in the beginning of your cross?
20 MR. GOSNELL: Indeed, Mr. President.
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. And is it the one with the
22 paragraph numbers or without?
23 MR. GOSNELL: Yes, with paragraph numbers.
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: With. Okay. Thank you.
25 MS. DENNEHY: Mr. President, we would ask that the witness then
1 be provided with a copy if everyone else has a copy of the same document.
2 MR. GOSNELL: No, Mr. President. That's precisely the purpose of
3 exercise we're about to undertake.
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: Please proceed, Mr. Gosnell.
5 MR. GOSNELL:
6 Q. Mr. Coric, you gave the statement that you looked at earlier
7 today to an investigator of the Office of the Prosecutor 18 years ago; is
8 that right?
9 A. That's right.
10 Q. And I don't mean any criticism of you in saying this, but is it
11 possible that as you sit here today, you have forgotten some of the
12 things that you wrote down with that investigator 18 years ago?
13 A. I don't think I've forgot anything.
14 Q. When did you leave Sarengrad following the JNA attack?
15 A. I left Sarengrad on the 14th of October in the evening hours.
16 Q. And when did the women and children leave?
17 A. My wife gave birth to a daughter on the -- on Saint Ann's day on
18 the 26th of July, 1995, at Vinkovci hospital which was practically being
19 shelled and they left Eastern Slavonia. My late brother came to fetch
20 them in August --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the date.
22 A. My wife and three children, among them a newborn, only five days
24 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, I see that we -- the LiveNote
25 appears to have been interrupted. I will proceed because I have the
1 screen in front of me, but it would be helpful if that could be fixed.
2 JUDGE DELVOIE: Yes, indeed. We call the technician,
3 Madam Registrar.
4 MR. GOSNELL:
5 Q. Mr. Coric, I'm not sure that you answered my question. My
6 question was: When did the women and children -- I'm not talking just
7 about your wife when she went to give birth. I'm talking about the
8 balance of the population of women and children in Sarengrad, when did
9 they leave?
10 A. Yes, yes. If I understood well, the organised -- there was no
11 organised transportation of women and children from Sarengrad. They were
12 taken from the monastery and other cellars during the night on the 4th of
13 October, before the main attack. So we transported women, children, and
14 the elderly to Ilok. There must have been 500 to 700 persons in all.
15 There was shooting by the main road, and that's why we went through the
16 woods from the monastery. We took them to the hill above Sarengrad, and
17 there were two buses from Ilok public transportation. I remember
18 Vinko Raguz with a private truck, too. And that's how we took them to
19 Ilok. Among them, there were nuns, 21 Carmelites, and the parish priest
20 was also there. Overnight, they were put up at the monastery at Ilok.
21 And a smaller number of civilians went to their homes occasionally
22 because they still had livestock there.
23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Coric. So was it the night of the 4th or the
24 night of the 5th that this evacuation of women and children took place?
25 A. As far as I remember, it was on the night of the 4th.
1 MR. GOSNELL: And for Your Honours, that's paragraph 11 of the
3 Q. Some days later, was someone killed in a town called Sotin?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Who, and when did that occur?
6 A. It's hard for me to give you a date because I would have to take
7 a look at the document.
8 It's my deputy Kresimir Djakovic. He was charged with supplying
9 the population who was -- that was at Sarengrad with bread from Ilok.
10 Somebody told him that the JNA and the paramilitaries had left Sotin and
11 with a woman from Sotin who was dis -- displaced at Sarengrad and he took
12 her to Sotin in his car. But that was a mistake because between Opatovac
13 and Sotin the so-called JNA shot at them, killing him and wounding her.
14 That's all I know about that because at the time we didn't have
15 reliable information. He simply went missing. Only when we came to the
16 free territory we found -- we got all the information about the way he
17 lost his life.
18 Q. And at some point, you --
19 MR. GOSNELL: And for Your Honours, that's paragraph 12 of the
21 Q. And at some point, Mr. Coric, you managed to pass into Serbia.
22 Could you please tell us where you went, once you had crossed the border
23 and passed into Serbia?
24 A. In rough lines, I described that path of mine. I don't want to
25 mention some people because they still live in Serbia today.
1 After the referendum and after the signing of the agreement at
2 Sid, it was clear that Ilok would be surrendered and that the civilian
3 population would be deported in a convoy --
4 Q. Sorry, Mr. Coric, perhaps we could cut this short because we do
5 have your statement. All the details are in there. I wouldn't wish to
6 have you repeat all of that.
7 The specific detail that I am interested in is where did you go
8 once you crossed the border when you were in Serbia.
9 A. It -- what I said matters to me for the reason that if I had been
10 on the convoy, I would be taken out and probably killed, not even taken
11 to a camp.
12 My deputies and the others were taken out of the convoy and taken
13 to a camp and being mistreated --
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Witness. Mr. Witness, could you please
15 answer the specific question Mr. Gosnell put to you or say that you
16 don't -- you don't remember if that's the case.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do remember. I'm merely
18 explaining my reasons.
19 I arrived at Sid. There is a restaurant by the name of Cubura,
20 and the son of Petar Vidakovic took me to Belgrade. He was in civilian
21 clothes. And I got on a train in Belgrade, rode to Subotica and met some
22 friends there. They took me to the Hungarian border in a car, and by way
23 of Hungary, I went -- travelled on to Munich, then to Vienna, and
24 returned to Zagreb.
25 MR. GOSNELL:
1 Q. And when did you arrive back in Zagreb after this itinerary?
2 A. On the 19th of October, 1991.
3 Q. While you were in Sarengrad -- well, let me just ask again. When
4 did you say that you left -- strike that.
5 While you were in Sarengrad, was there a Croatian soldier who
6 swam the Danube River to reach Sarengrad? And can you please describe
7 that event.
8 A. The members of the civilian protection that were standing guard
9 along the Danube, sometime around the 10th or -- or rather, four, five
10 days before the fall of Ilok and Sarengrad, saw somebody that had swam
11 across the Danube. They found a frozen JNA soldier who was a Croatian
12 from Australia. He confirmed the story for us. They were told to shoot
13 at us. He was the victim of the propaganda war, according to which there
14 were thousands upon thousands of Ustasha who were slaughtering children,
15 ill-treating Serbian population, and all of them were across the Danube.
16 As a Croatian, he decided to leave the army and then he saw some dozen of
17 us poorly dressed without any weapons. He cried. He was in no position
18 to hold any duties. On that day we gave him civilian clothes. We
19 transferred him to the monastery in Ilok. There he was with our nuns.
20 Since there was a police station in Ilok, they made him fake ID papers
21 and he used those papers to join the convoy as a civilian. Later on I
22 heard that, in 1993, that soldier was killed as a Croatian soldier.
23 During all the negotiations that our commission participated in,
24 there were two ultimatums that we were given. One of them was to
25 surrender the tank, and from Ilaca it ended up in a forest near Ilok.
1 And all the time they kept on asking us where that soldier was, the one
2 who had swam the river. And obviously we did not want to surrender him
3 to them.
4 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, I'm sorry to have to mention this,
5 but we've lost the transcript server again and access to e-court. I'm
6 not sure whether that can be fixed. I can proceed but ...
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: Could you do whatever it takes, Madam Registrar.
8 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: [Microphone not activated]
10 MR. GOSNELL: I have it back now. Thank you, Mr. President.
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: [Microphone not activated]
12 MR. GOSNELL:
13 Q. Before the war broke out, how many Serbs were living in the town
14 of -- or the village of Sarengrad?
15 A. According to the last census, which took place in 1991, Sarengrad
16 had 1150 inhabitants, and there were less than 10 per cent Serbs. Not
17 more than 80 to 90 all in all.
18 MR. GOSNELL: And this is paragraph 4 of the statement for
19 Your Honours.
20 Q. And were there any members of the civilian defence force that was
21 set up in Sarengrad?
22 Excuse me, let me clarify my question. Were there any Serb
23 members of the civilian defence force?
24 A. As I've already told you, the civilian protection was not a
25 military formation. We were not trained. We didn't have any weapons.
1 Everybody who joined, joined voluntarily. Among them were
2 Milivoj Radojcin, Bratus, and Jovan Kovacevic, who personally reported to
3 me and said that they wanted to participate in all the activities
4 pertaining to the protection of the village and we gladly took them on.
5 The other Serbs did not want to join.
6 On our part, we did not put any pressure on them to bear.
7 Q. Are you sure you didn't have any weapons that were used for the
8 civilian defence force?
9 A. We did have weapons, but not enough, not enough for a hundred
10 people to be armed properly. We had hunting rifles, which is confirmed
11 by the statement of the UN commission that was in Sarengrad and that was
12 able to establish the nature of the weapons. Some of the -- the rifles
13 had been purchased. Those were shotguns whose range was about 50 metres.
14 We had some automatic weapons, pistol and others that were purchased on
15 the black market from the smugglers who toured the area daily. I think I
16 saw in some documents that one had to fork out 500 to 1200 German marks
17 to buy a rifle. People did not have enough money. Some sold their cows
18 in order to buy rifles which they considered their own personal weapons.
19 Those weapons had to be under control on the premises of the local
20 commune. This means that those weapons were never taken to any lines or
21 they were all under my control. Nobody among the Serbs in Sarengrad were
22 not as much as insulted as long as being physically ill treated [as
23 interpreted]. We were very rigorous there, and I personally take proud
24 of that part of -- of our life there.
25 Q. So you did have weapons that were used for the civilian defence
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Than included automatic rifles; correct?
4 A. Very few, yes. A fewer number.
5 Q. Were you provided with any money from the HDZ to purchase
7 A. No. I was the HDZ, together with some other people, and we did
8 not have any money for that.
9 Q. You didn't participate in a meeting in July or August 1990 at
10 which the HDZ, in particular Tomislav Mercep, discussed arming groups of
11 Croats in villages?
12 A. I was at that meeting. If you're referring to the meeting at
13 Bogdanovci. There were several hundred citizens there. There were all
14 civilians. Nobody wore a uniform. Nobody had a rifle or a pistol. That
15 Tomislav Mercep gave a motivating speech. He gave people -- that we
16 would survive, that we would defend ourselves, that we would receive
17 assistance from the west. We always believed that the Americans would be
18 on our side. We lived in an illusion and that's how it all ended.
19 Q. At the meeting at Bogdanovci -- well, first of all, precisely
20 when was that meeting, to the best of your recollection?
21 A. I really can't remember. I know that before that we managed to
22 stop tanks in Bogdanovci with our bodies. The tanks wanted to pass
23 through Bogdanovci in the direction of Vukovar. We gathered and with
24 other our own bodies we prevented their passage, and that was our motive
25 to try and gather our forces and organise ourselves.
1 Q. Was that in 1990 or 1991, as best you can recall?
2 A. I believe that that was in 1991, but I'm really not sure about
4 Q. How long before the incident in Borovo Selo when Croatian
5 policemen were killed did that occur, or was it after?
6 A. As I've already told you, I took the oath, so I don't want to say
7 something wrong. I was at the meeting. There is a video-clip which can
8 be easily obtained. You can see who those people were, and you can see
9 that none -- none of them were soldiers. It was -- it was not a military
10 formation of any kind.
11 Q. Was there any discussion of setting up HDZ armed formations in
12 towns at that meeting?
13 A. When you are in power in a town like we were in Bogdanovci and
14 Ilok, you had obligations. When -- one of those obligations is to
15 protect the population and their property, first and foremost, as I've
16 already tried to tell you, the equipment and the weapons were stored at
17 the Secretariat for National Defence in Vukovar and that was under the
18 control of the Serbian side and the SDS. When we managed to reach those
19 premises we found empty depots where once thousands upon thousands of
20 rifles had been. So that that was our obligation. That was what we
21 wanted to do. We wanted to contribute towards the defence and protection
22 of the population and its property.
23 The only thing that existed at the time was the HDZ. And in
24 keeping with that, obviously the HDZ was the generating force behind all
25 of the events. At that time we could not work on the development of the
1 economy. We had to deal with the aggression that had already started and
2 that had already reached our door-step.
3 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, I see once again that the witness
4 has strayed into territory that was covered by Your Honours' ruling. And
5 nothing in the question that I posed leaned in that direction. I was
6 inclined before I started the cross-examination not to go back to this
7 subject, but now I would seek your guidance --
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: Why don't you stop the witness?
9 MR. GOSNELL: Well, I'm listening -- I'm listening on
10 translation, and it would have been impossible to cut him off before he
11 said what he said.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Witness, we would like you to give, as far as
13 possible, short answers and precise answers to the questions, to precise
15 Could you try to do that?
16 [Defence counsel confer]
17 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, can I ask for your guidance. I
18 would wish to put a simple proposition to the witness on this subject,
19 but I wouldn't wish to open the floor to an endless cross-examination on
20 the topics. And since the witness has blurted it out twice, I would ask
21 for your latitude to put a proposition but not have that proposition open
22 the door to material that we say is just improper for having heard from
23 this witness. But I'm in Your Honours' hands as to whether that is
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: Ms. Dennehy.
1 MS. DENNEHY: The Prosecution would object to this. It is, first
2 of all, not clear what my learned friend would like to lead
3 cross-examination on from his recent statement. We were also precluded
4 from and we did follow the Trial Chamber's guide-lines in respect of what
5 was permissible in terms of our examination-in-chief, and we don't think
6 that it's appropriate or proper at this time that the Defence would then
7 be allowed to circumvent that ruling.
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: Is that what you're trying to do, Mr. Gosnell?
9 MR. GOSNELL: Well, if Your Honours can give me an assurance that
10 the two statements that have been made about the SDS allegedly being --
11 what he has now said on cross is that the SDS was in charge of the
12 Committee for National Defence and what he said during his chief was that
13 the SDS was in charge of the TO depots. Two different things.
14 If Your Honours can reassure me that those are not in evidence,
15 then I won't seek to embark on any questions on this subject.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: The Trial Chamber will not rely on the witness's
18 evidence on these points.
19 MR. GOSNELL: Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Q. Mr. Coric, what was Tomislav Mercep's position leading up to the
21 conflict in Croatia?
22 A. I'm trying to be succinct. In 1989 I met the first Croatian
23 president, Franjo Tudjman, in Stuttgart, in a Catholic mission. I joined
24 the HDZ very soon thereafter. And then I attended a meeting with
25 Branimir Glavas and Vladimir Seks at the Bendek restaurant in Osijek --
1 Q. Sorry. Sorry, Mr. Coric. I'm guided by the Chamber's
2 instructions to me to do my best to ensure that you answer the question.
3 So could I kindly ask you to just answer my question.
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: And to speak slowly, Mr. Coric.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, I'm trying to say a
6 lot as quickly as I can.
7 I was appointed the co-ordinator of the HDZ for --
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: That's not helpful, Mr. Coric --
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm trying to tell you how
10 Tomislav Mercep got involved. Without those two sentences I can't get to
11 the bottom of the whole matter. Tomislav Mercep did not fall out of the
12 sky. I have to tell you how we functioned.
13 JUDGE DELVOIE: When I -- when I said that that was not helpful
14 Mr. Coric, I meant, in the first place, you're speaking as fast as you
15 can. That's not helpful. Now, the other -- the other issue is whether
16 you should expand or not. Try to be as short as possible but, of course,
17 you need to answer the question eventually with a little bit of context.
18 But please speak slowly.
19 Perhaps you could repeat the question, Mr. Gosnell, so that we
20 are back on track.
21 MR. GOSNELL:
22 Q. Yes, Mr. Coric, the question was: What was Mr. Mercep's position
23 prior to the outbreak of hostilities in Croatia?
24 A. As the HDZ co-ordinator for Vukovar, I was looking for people
25 whom I could include. I tried to get hold of highly educated people. I
1 heard of Tomislav Mercep as an engineer who worked at the Borovo. My
2 best man worked there. I asked for a meeting. I came to [Mercep's
3 house, I explained to him who we were, what our programme and plan were.
4 That was in 1989. He then introduced me to his best man, the late Blago
5 Zadro. I asked them to come to Sarengrad on the 30th of December, 1989,
6 where the inception meeting of the HDZ for that part of Slavonia would
7 take place. That was on the 30th of December, 1989. He -- I asked him
8 to come to Sarengrad to hear what we had to say. They did come. And
9 during the break and during the secret ballot at which I was elected as
10 the first president of the HDZ, they officially became members
12 Q. Sorry -- sorry, maybe we can just focus this. Between
13 January 1st, 1990, and August 1991, can you just tell us the titles, if
14 you know, of the positions held by Mr. Mercep?
15 A. When he became a member, he was the first branch president in
16 Bogdanovci. That was on the 10 February 1990. And very soon he imposed
17 himself as a -- as a leader and he became president for the municipality
18 of Vukovar, the president of the HDZ.
19 Before he left Vukovar in August 1991, he had been appointed the
20 secretary of the Secretariat for the National Defence of Vukovar. When
21 he became secretary, we found empty depots and everything else that I've
22 already mentioned previously.
23 Q. You're sure it was August 1991? Or was it, in fact, earlier than
24 August 1991 that Mr. Mercep became the secretary of the committee for
25 national defence of Vukovar?
1 A. It was much earlier. He had been the secretary for a few months
2 before he left Vukovar in August 1991.
3 Q. In what month did he become secretary of the committee for
4 national defence?
5 A. Hard to say. Perhaps in May 1991.
6 Q. Possibly even before the incident in Borovo Selo?
7 A. Possibly.
8 Q. Was there any ZNG armed unit or presence in Sarengrad at any time
9 up until the time of your departure on the 14th of October, 1991?
10 A. There was a platoon of the ZNG, as you called them. They were
11 members of the 1st Guards Brigade, the so-called Tigers. They spent ten
12 or perhaps 15 days in Sarengrad in the month of June. Then they went to
13 Ilok. And they were billeted in Principovac. In all the subsequent
14 events, neither that unit nor any other unit participated in anything in
15 Sarengrad. They did not take part in anything surrounding the aggression
16 or any such thing.
17 Q. Do you say that there was no ZNG armed presence in Sarengrad on
18 the 4th of October, 1991?
19 MR. GOSNELL: And for Your Honours, this is paragraph 8 of the
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
22 MR. GOSNELL:
23 Q. When you gave your interview in 1995, were you asked whether
24 there was any ZNG presence in Sarengrad at any time, whether it be June,
25 July, August, September, or October 1991?
1 A. I don't need to say anything that's not true. I believe that I
2 said the same thing then that I'm saying today.
3 Q. Do you recall that you mentioned that there was a ZNG armed
4 presence at some point in time during that period?
5 A. Yes. And I have repeated that today.
6 Q. And yet that doesn't appear in your statement. That's my
7 proposition to you.
8 A. Maybe they did not deem that to be necessary or of essence. It
9 is a well-known fact that two members of the 1st Guards Brigade of the
10 so-called ZNG, or at least that's what you call them, were killed in
11 Sarengrad, but they were killed by a shell while they were in their car.
12 They were driving from Bapska. They were in -- to Ilok. They were in
13 the car of the late Ilok veterinarian. The shell hit them in the centre
14 of Sarengrad. The two of them were killed. Another one was seriously
15 wounded. He lost his arm and a leg. We handed him over on the bridge to
16 the so-called JNA. Later on, I heard that he was transported to Novi Sad
17 and that he has survived. That was our only contact with them.
18 Q. What date did that occur, that they were injured? Sorry, that
19 one was injured and one was killed.
20 A. Actually, two were killed. Lovric and Gudelj. Two were killed;
21 one was wounded on the 4th of October, 1991.
22 Q. Were they armed at the time?
23 A. I believe that they had side-arms or something of the kind in the
24 car. But that was the last of our worries at the time. At the scene
25 that I saw there was really ugly, because they suffered a direct hit.
1 The shell hit the car directly.
2 Q. Why were they there on their own? Or were they on their own?
3 A. There were three of them in the car. I didn't know that there
4 would -- they would be there. Many others tried to zoom through the
5 village during the shelling from one side to the other. Some got lucky.
6 The three of them didn't. As far as I know, they were not on any special
7 mission in Sarengrad or anywhere near.
8 One of the big misconceptions about the ZNG was that they were
9 trained militarily. It's simply not true. The two that were killed were
10 just two young lads who did not have anything whatsoever to do, either
11 with war or the military or any such thing.
12 Q. Well, then, how did you know them to be members of the ZNG?
13 A. I know their names, and I was the one who erected a monument at
14 the place where they were killed. They were in uniforms. Therefore,
15 unfortunately, we had to load them onto a small tractor. We took them to
16 the far end of the village. We loaded them into an ambulance. They were
17 transferred to Ilok. I don't know what happened next. And we went back
18 to our own business, which was saving the houses that were on fire and
19 people who had been wounded. It was only much later that I learnt the
20 names of the people who had been killed. I learned their names only when
21 I returned to Sarengrad.
22 Q. Did you speak to them prior to the event of them being injured?
23 A. No. They were killed about an hour after the most fierce
24 shelling had started. We did not have Motorolas or any means of
25 communication. We did not have telephone lines. We did not have
1 electricity. Everything was down. So there was no way for us to
2 communicate with anybody.
3 Q. Weren't they there assisting in the defence of Sarengrad at that
4 time, militarily?
5 A. [No interpretation].
6 Q. Isn't the reason that you evacuated the women and children on the
7 4th of October was precisely so that you could defend that town
8 militarily with minimum civilian casualties? Isn't that precisely why
9 they were evacuated and you didn't leave at the same time?
10 A. It was my duty as commander of the civil protection to help the
11 civilians, which I did. Whoever wanted to leave, I made it possible for
12 them. But I left and if there had been an infantry attack on Sarengrad,
13 we would have put up resistance with the few weapons that we had.
14 There's no doubt about that.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: "I stayed," not "I
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My parents stayed in Sarengrad all
18 the time. Nobody -- or, rather, we wouldn't have allowed any criminals
19 to come in without my trying to protect them.
20 MR. GOSNELL:
21 Q. So you were bracing for an infantry attack against Sarengrad, and
22 you organised, in accordance with your responsibilities in the civilian
23 protection, you organised the defence of the town accordingly; is that
25 A. In keeping with our delusions and given the poor equipment that
1 we had, once we set up -- when we're setting up the civil protection we
2 didn't know that the JNA had sided with the aggressor and the
3 paramilitaries. Instead, we expected an infantry attack, that there
4 would be infiltrated groups attempting to commit crimes and burn down
5 houses. And so we were willing to protect ourselves to the extent we
6 could with the few weapons that we had.
7 I believe these are rights guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions,
8 among others. I am afraid that our resistance would have been weak and
9 short, though.
10 Q. And how many weapons did you have? How many of you were armed in
11 preparing this defence?
12 A. I said that during those months until the fall, we had a total of
13 100 men -- people taking part in various ways.
14 Q. Let me just clarify and narrow my question.
15 After the 4th of October - let's specifically restrict ourselves
16 to that - how many of you were armed in defence of Sarengrad?
17 A. Not more than 20.
18 Q. And no one from the ZNG assisted you?
19 A. No one. No one wanted to come to Sarengrad. Neither the police,
20 nor the ZNG, nor the international community, or anybody else.
21 Q. Did you request the assistance of the ZNG or the Croatian police?
22 A. I couldn't. There was no way. Those first few days, I told you,
23 whoever was wounded had to die or was surrendered to the enemy.
24 Everything else was boiled down to a struggle for survival. Because we
25 soon realised that there would be no infantry attack, that we would be
1 shelled day and night from heavy weapons, and morale soon sank. We were
2 soon left without electricity. We were the ones supplying the population
3 with bread. We were releasing the livestock for it not to starve to
4 death --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat his last
7 MR. GOSNELL: That's all right. I'm just going to move to the
8 next question if that's all right with everyone in the courtroom.
9 Q. Sir, what is your current position in the HSP, Dr. Ante Starcevic
10 Party. What position do you hold?
11 A. General secretary.
12 Q. Is that an elected office?
13 A. Yes. Everybody is elected in our party.
14 Q. I mean to say are you elected by the population?
15 A. One of the political duties that I hold is the -- is president of
16 the local committee of Sarengrad. I got --
17 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the percentage
18 of votes he got.
19 MR. GOSNELL:
20 Q. Could you repeat how many -- what percentage of votes you
22 A. 69 per cent.
23 Q. And in the -- amongst those who you represent, do you represent
24 individuals of Serb ethnicity?
25 A. Yes, yes.
1 MR. GOSNELL: Could we have 1D486, please, which now should be
2 uploaded and ready for release on e-court. And if we could please zoom
3 in on the section entitled: "Thieves and Chetniks."
4 Q. Is that Ms. Tomasic, the one who we identified -- or that you
5 identified earlier as the leader of your party, the party of which you
6 are a member?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Here's what she is reported to have said. Well, perhaps I could
9 ask you to read it because my translation, the one that I provided may
10 not be perfect. Could you please read the sentences, two sentences, the
11 first one beginning: "It's time to loudly tell the truth ..."
12 A. It's very small. Could it be enlarged?
13 MR. GOSNELL: Let's try, if we can, to switch only to the B/C/S
14 version and zoom in on the part below: "Lopovi i Cetnici."
15 A. Excellent.
16 Q. And if we can start with: "It's time to loudly tell the
17 truth ..."
18 A. "'It is time to tell the truth aloud that a Croat today, in spite
19 of everything, may say in Croatia that a thief is a thief and a Chetnik
20 is a Chetnik,' Tomasic said."
21 Need I continue?
22 Q. Please do.
23 A. "Tomasic said and promised that this co-operation with the HDZ
24 party would be to everybody's benefit, mostly to the benefit of the
25 citizens. Tomasic announced a return of the system that was abolished
1 long ago in order to hide the truth and pointed out that Croatia is for
2 Croats and everybody else are guests."
3 Q. Were you present at this meeting?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. How was that comment received amongst the audience?
6 A. First of all, I must express my reservations towards this
7 shortened statement of hers because it does not reflect the truth of what
8 she said.
9 It was recorded on video, by the way.
10 Ms. Tomasic certainly did not refer to any minority. In Vukovar
11 we have -- also have ethnic Serbs who run on our list. My party, for
12 example, won in Miklusevci, Tompojevci, and Petrusevci [phoen], with
13 members of Ruthenian and Ukrainian -- who are members of those
14 minorities. This is a falsified statement, but having said all that, I
15 must say that I agree with what she said. A thief is a thief; and a
16 Chetnik is a Chetnik. Both Ms. Tomasic and I are known for speaking out
17 the truth without mincing our words.
18 Q. And leaving aside whatever additional words she may have uttered
19 during this meeting, did she utter the words that are reported in this
21 A. I believe that this is the journalist's free interpretation. I
22 don't know which media this was published in. That's the journalist's
24 We explained these statements on a number of occasions. They
25 were taken out of the context of her entire speech and now this sounds
1 very different.
2 Q. Are you denying that she said, "A thief is a thief; a Chetnik is
3 a Chetnik"? And are you denying that she said -- well, let's start
5 Do you deny that? Did she say that?
6 A. Yes -- no --
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: Ms. Dennehy, I see you're on your feet.
8 MS. DENNEHY: Thank you, Mr. President. I do apologise for
9 interrupting. However, the witness has already responded to that
10 particular question. He has said, actually, at line 18 of page 62, that
11 he agreed with that. And so this is repetition of the same question.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gosnell.
13 MR. GOSNELL: I believe my learned friend may have given an
14 erroneous line reference or page reference?
15 MS. DENNEHY: The LiveNote in front of me at page 61, line 18,
17 "This is a falsified statement, but having said that, I must say
18 that I agree with what she said. A thief is a thief; and a Chetnik is a
20 That was the witness's words.
21 MR. GOSNELL: Well, that's certainly ambiguous, Mr. President.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: What is there ambiguous about it?
23 MR. GOSNELL: I'm not quite sure whether in indicating that it's
24 a falsified statement, this is in line with his claim that the journalist
25 has taken it out of context or whether the witness is saying that she
1 didn't say those things. In fact, I understood earlier that he indicated
2 earlier that she did say these things.
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: You may ask the question to clarify.
4 MR. GOSNELL:
5 Q. Did she say those words: "A thief is a thief; and a Chetnik is a
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did she say Croatia ...
9 MR. GOSNELL: Something appears to be missing from the LiveNote,
10 Mr. President. It was the translation of the other portion. May I put
11 that to him?
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: [Microphone not activated]
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: I have it here on the screen. "Croatia for the
15 Croats," and then the only -- but there we have to go over the page.
16 MR. GOSNELL: Perhaps I can just put it like this.
17 Q. Did she say that Croatia is for Croats and all the others are
19 A. Not in this way.
20 MR. GOSNELL: I could conclude in two questions, depending on the
21 answers, Mr. President.
22 Q. Did -- have you spoken to anyone about your impending testimony
23 here before the ICTY, before you travelled here?
24 A. No.
25 Q. You told no one in your party that you were coming here to
2 A. No. They know I was going to The Hague, but I never speak about
3 my statement, with anyone.
4 Q. Did any of them suggest that you should testify in a particular
5 way, even in a joking manner?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Have you spoken to any public officials about your upcoming
9 A. No.
10 Q. Do you feel any motivation to testify in a particular way,
11 because if you were to say anything favourable to Mr. Hadzic, you would
12 be blamed for that in your party?
13 A. Not like that. I only feel the need to tell the truth so that it
14 may become known. That is my motivation: To tell the truth.
15 MR. GOSNELL: This document is tendered, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
17 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D74, Your Honours.
18 MR. GOSNELL: And, of course, we'll seek a proper translation of
19 the document for uploading to e-court.
20 JUDGE DELVOIE: Then I would perhaps admit it -- MFI it, pending
21 translation, right, or pending correction.
22 MR. GOSNELL: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
23 Q. Mr. Coric, thank you very much for your answers.
24 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, that concludes my cross-examination.
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: Ms. Dennehy.
1 MS. DENNEHY: Mr. President, I did get to my feet or attempted to
2 get to my feet. But I presumed that given the time, you wouldn't have
3 decided or that the Trial Chamber wouldn't have decided on whether the --
4 the admissibility of this document. The Prosecution objects to the
5 admission of this document on the basis that the witness has not provided
6 proper -- a proper foundation for it, and has actually said that he
7 disagrees with the foundation and the opinion stated in this document and
8 he believes that it's untrue.
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: You should be less hesitant with getting on your
10 feet, Ms. Dennehy. Because I saw indeed a slight movement and then you
11 sat down again.
12 MS. DENNEHY: Given the proximity to the break, I thought that
13 Your Honours were going to break at this time.
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay.
15 Mr. Gosnell.
16 MR. GOSNELL: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 The witness was present during the meeting reported in the
18 article. The witness confirmed at least two passages that are cited in
19 the article, even though he may disagree with the overall presentation,
20 and that's enough for admission and foundation.
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: Objection overruled.
22 Is there anything in re-direct, Ms. Dennehy? If there is, I
23 think we better take the break, but -- unless you say I have only one or
24 two questions.
25 MS. DENNEHY: No, I have nothing in re-direct at this time.
1 JUDGE DELVOIE: You have nothing in re-direct.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Coric, this is the end of your testimony. We
4 thank you for coming to The Hague to assist the Tribunal. You're now
5 released as a witness, and we wish you a safe journey home.
6 The court usher will escort you out of court. Thank you.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you too.
8 [The witness withdrew]
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: There's nothing else for today?
10 MS. DENNEHY: Mr. President, I have a procedural issue that I
11 would like to address in relation to the exhibits that were tendered
12 earlier. This is just for the record.
13 That is, that Exhibit P2277 should be assigned -- or excuse me.
14 Exhibit 65 ter 414.3 should be assigned to Exhibit P2277. And exhibit
15 65 ter 414.4 is assigned P2978. And those just the break -- the 2278. I
16 apologise. Those are the -- the exhibits tendered earlier.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Noted. Thank you.
18 If nothing else, court adjourned for the day.
19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.22 p.m.,
20 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 26th day of
21 June, 2013, at 9.00 a.m.