1 Wednesday, 20 September 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning, sir. I remind you that you are still
7 bound to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing else but the truth,
8 as you did when you made your declaration at the beginning of the
9 testimony. Is that okay?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is okay.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Black, you had finished cross-examining?
12 MR. BLACK: That's correct, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. Mr. Milovancevic, any
15 WITNESS: MILAN DRAGISIC [Resumed]
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Perovic, I beg your pardon, Mr. Perovic. I
18 only have a couple of questions. Thank you, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
20 Re-Examination by Mr. Perovic:
21 MR. PEROVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Mr. Dragisic, in the course of yesterday's cross-examination, you
23 were asked a question connected to the blockade of barracks of the JNA, of
24 the Yugoslav People's Army by Croatian paramilitary forces. Do you
25 remember that?
1 A. Yes, I do.
2 Q. When were the Yugoslav People's Army's barracks blockaded? When
3 was that? In what period, do you remember that?
4 A. That happened in the spring and summer of 1991, starting sometime
5 in April, 1991, up until the agreement was reached for the barracks to
6 pull out.
7 Q. At that time, that is to say in the summer of 1991, did there
8 exist a state of Croatia as an internationally recognised entity?
9 A. No, it wasn't. It didn't. In fact it did not ask for secession,
10 for simple secession up to the 25th of June, 1991.
11 Q. Did that Croatia have a regular armed forces?
12 A. No, it doesn't, it didn't. It only had paramilitary forces, the
13 National Guards Corps and it mobilised its Redarstvenik which is the
14 Croatian term for their police.
15 Q. What was the only recognised, internationally recognised state in
16 the area at that time?
17 A. The only internationally recognised state at that time was the
18 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
19 Q. Did it have its regular armed forces?
20 A. It did. That was the Yugoslav People's Army and the Territorial
22 Q. Thank you. During cross-examination you were also asked a
23 question related to genocide, namely do you remember the Prosecutor asking
24 you whether top officials of the HDZ in the electoral campaign, which was
25 taking place in 1990 during the first multi-party elections, used the term
1 genocide? Were they threatening the Serbian people with genocide? Do you
2 remember that?
3 A. Yes, I do.
4 Q. And I have a question for you in that connection. Do you have
5 information -- do you know that anyone, while presenting their political
6 programmes wherever and whenever, publicly publicised their intention to
7 commit genocide against a people? Do you know of any such case?
8 A. No, I don't.
9 Q. I have no more questions for you. Thank you, Mr. Dragisic.
10 MR. PEROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that is the end of my
11 redirect. Thank you.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Perovic. Judge.
13 Questioned by the Court:
14 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you. I have no questions.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Judge. Judge.
16 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Just one small question. At page 11, line 1,
17 you mention Colonel Ante Marinov, I believe, a Croat who was dismissed as
18 head of the TO Community of Municipalities. For what reason was that
19 person dismissed? Are you able to tell us?
20 A. He was a JNA Colonel who was committed to the survival of the SFRY
21 and the armed forces, as a member of the armed forces to which he had
22 sworn allegiance.
23 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: I must be very thick, because I'm still not
24 comprehending the reason. It seems to have eluded me. You seem to be
25 giving me the circumstances, rather than the reason. I would like some
1 help. Any further clarification?
2 A. He would not participate in the creation of a Croatian
3 paramilitary, which was being formed through various clicks through the
4 Territorial Defence, namely the new authorities in Croatia were trying to
5 form it through the Territorial Defence.
6 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you very much. Now I understand. No more
7 questions for you. Thank you.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Judge.
9 Mr. Dragisic, you were the commander of the Territorial Defence in
10 Knin at the time when barricades were being set up. Am I correct?
11 A. That's right.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: And you testified that the barricades were set up
13 because some Croats -- Croatian army were coming to attack the people in
14 Knin. Am I right?
15 A. No. No. No. The Croatian army was not coming, because Croatia
16 could not have had an army at that time. It was a part of the Socialist
17 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the ones who were coming were special
18 Croatian police units.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Special Croatian police units. Fine. Were coming
20 to attack you people? That was another reason.
21 A. That's right.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now -- and you say that the barricades were then
23 set up by the SDS and the local communities.
24 A. Yes.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: You said also these barricades were unlawful?
1 A. Yes.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Why would that be allowed? Why didn't the
3 Territorial Defence, of which you were a commander, not do the -- put up
4 the barricades? Why do you allow people to commit -- to break the law and
5 put up barricades?
6 A. I couldn't and neither could anyone mobilise the Territorial
7 Defence. Only the General Staff, i.e., the president of the Socialist
8 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia could do that. Because that is a reserve
9 force. It is not a permanent establishment formation. These were
10 reservists who had their other duties, working in their work organisations
11 or at home.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Who were the reservists? Are you saying the
13 Territorial Defence, that you were commander of, is a reserve force? I
14 don't understand. Who is reserve here?
15 A. The Territorial Defence was wholly composed of reservists, namely
16 civilians who would at a call up, mobilisation call up they put on their
17 uniforms and repair to their units.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: I understand that. But isn't it more in line with
19 the law for them to be called up and mobilised rather than just
20 disorganised political parties, SDS as you say, and local communities
21 manned the barricades?
22 A. That would be so under normal circumstances, but the circumstances
23 were abnormal, because just as illegally the Croatian police using
24 helicopters, tear gas, and combat armoured vehicles tried to attack
25 citizens who were already in fear, afraid of -- who were already fearing
1 attacks by Croatian paramilitary forces which were being created at the
2 time in contravention of the law.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm not quite sure I understand what you're talking
4 about. What would be normal circumstances under which the TO would have
5 been mobilised? I would imagine the TO gets mobilised when an attack is
6 imminent. Isn't it so?
7 A. Yes, but --
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's a normal situation under which a TO would be
9 mobilised. Now what is so abnormal about this? An imminent attack is
10 there, why don't you mobilise the TO?
11 A. Well, for instance, I was not empowered. I am only empowered once
12 mobilisation has been ordered to command such units. I am not empowered
13 to order mobilisation. It was only the Presidency of Yugoslavia and the
14 General Staff of Yugoslavia that were competent to mobilise such units,
15 and no one else was.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: So until the Presidency has mobilised the TO, you
17 are just sitting ducks. You just sit there and fall for any foreign force
18 to come and attack you. You're not going to do anything about it.
19 A. I actually seek from my superior staff and, in this case it was
20 Colonel Ante Marinov, I inform him about the situation and then he talks
21 to his superiors and that process continues all the way up.
22 I myself cannot order mobilisation in any case, so that was the
23 way it was under the law.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm not even suggesting that you should do so. I'm
25 trying to find out why your orders -- I beg your pardon. Your seniors,
1 those who were supposed to make the order, why don't they make that order?
2 Why do they allow an unlawful thing to take place, i.e., barricades set up
3 unlawfully by members of the community? Instead of doing it in a
4 formalised manner?
5 A. Well, it all started because the new Croatian authorities, the
6 party, the Croatian Democratic Union party, in contravention of the
7 constitution and of the law, sought to secede from Yugoslavia and the
8 people from the Krajina --
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry, I'm sorry. You're not answering my
10 question. It doesn't matter what motivated the Croatian party to do that.
11 The fact of the matter is an attack is being mounted and, according to
12 you, against your community and your community needs to be defended. It
13 could have been anybody. It could have been Hungary. It could have been
14 Italy attacking you. It doesn't have to have been somebody whose doing
15 it, breaking the law. But the fact of the matter is, there is a physical
16 attack on you and you just sit there and say, okay, fine. The community
17 will defend us.
18 This sounds very bizarre, doesn't it?
19 A. We dare not undertake any steps and the Presidency of the SFRY and
20 the General Staff on their part were not taking any steps either, that is
21 why the citizens themselves, i.e., the Serbian Democratic Party in Knin,
22 organised the setting up of the barricades in order to block the roads.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: My question precisely. Why were the authorities
24 not taking any steps? That's my question. Why did they allow the
25 citizenry to break the law?
1 A. Because the Presidency of the SFRY was composed of nine people,
2 and they could not reach a decision. Half of them were in favour and the
3 other half was against, and therefore such a decision could not be taken.
4 There was also a deadlock in the Presidency.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Where was that deadlock? Can you refer us to a
6 meeting where that deadlock was reached?
7 A. At meetings, Presidency sessions that were held in Belgrade, there
8 were representatives of every republican province, and the representatives
9 of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Macedonia prevented mobilisation from
10 happening and the representatives of Serbia, Montenegro, Vojvodina and
11 Kosovo were requesting mobilisation so that it was half and half and no
12 decision could be reached, and the decision had to be taken by a majority.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: How did that JNA then begin to get involved in this
14 war without this mobilisation?
15 A. The representatives of these republics which I enumerated, namely
16 Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Macedonia withdrew from the Presidency and
17 what remained was the so-called rump Presidency and that Presidency was
18 now taking decisions by a majority.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: When did they withdraw? On what date did they
21 A. They withdrew sometime in autumn 1991, and the then President --
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry. They withdrew in autumn 1991?
23 A. Yes.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: And the barricades were mounted in 1990 before they
1 A. That's right.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: And the JNA got involved in this war in 1990.
3 A. No.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: How did they come in between? Isn't it so that the
5 JNA in 1990 already was forming buffer zones between the warring parties?
6 Was it not so? Or did I mishear? Did I mishear?
7 A. Yes.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: I did?
9 A. 1990 the JNA did not participate in any way whatsoever in the
10 establishing of buffer zones. The only thing that the JNA was doing was,
11 it was requesting for all paramilitary units to be disarmed. Both Serbian
12 and Croat --
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: How did it make that request if the Presidency
14 couldn't agree? There was a deadlock in the Presidency. Obviously if
15 there is no --
16 A. They agreed about disarmament, that they agreed. What they
17 couldn't agree about was mobilisation.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: On what day did they agree?
19 A. I don't recall the exact date, a decision was taken sometime in
20 January 1991 for all to return their weapons. And the weapons were
21 returned in Knin, a part of it was returned, because the JNA was
22 threatening that it would be searching and conducting searches and seizing
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: And on what day was this deadlock where the JNA or
25 the Presidency was unable to decide to mount the barricades because there
1 was a deadlock? When was that? You said earlier that they couldn't
2 decide because -- the JNA couldn't do anything because there was a
3 deadlock. On what day was this deadlock reached?
4 A. The president of the Presidency would be elected every year from
5 among the ranks of the membership and it was the term of the
6 representative of Croatia to become the president of the Presidency, as a
7 part of the Presidency would not vote for him, he was not appointed.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry. You are not answering my question. I
9 don't care who was going to be the president of the Presidency.
10 I'm saying, on the 18th of July, 1990, when the barricades were
11 being mounted, you say you couldn't mobilise the JNA because there was a
12 deadlock. And I'm saying, when and where was that meeting held on that
13 day, irrespective of who was the Presidency?
14 A. Sessions were held for months. They were held for months. The
15 members of the Presidency travelled from one republic to another, without
16 however being able to reach an agreement, for instance in May, June, July,
17 August 1991.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm asking you one question. Just one issue. On
19 what day was this item on the agenda of the Presidency and the Presidency
20 reached a deadlock on it? On what day was that? When they were deciding
21 that they should send the JNA to go and mount barricades in Knin because
22 the Croatian special units are coming to attack and therefore they could
23 not reach agreement, hence the community mounted the barricades? I just
24 want you to tell me when that item was discussed and a deadlock was
1 A. I don't recall the exact date, but it was sometime in June they
2 still could not reach an agreement. That was in June 1991.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: In June 1991, and the barricades were in July 1990.
4 A. As regards that particular issue, they couldn't agree at all.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: On what day did they discuss this issue, sir? Did
7 they ever discuss this issue?
8 A. These were daily discussions. They were daily sessions held on
9 this topic in the Presidency, but as I said, there was a deadlock in their
11 They could not reach any agreement until, in 1991, a part of the
12 members withdrew from the Presidency and went away from Belgrade to their
13 respective republics.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: And why is it that when civilians are breaking the
15 law, they don't get arrested?
16 A. This was on account of the blockade, because Croatia and Slovenia
17 were deliberately violating the constitution, seeking a secession which
18 was not in conformity with the constitution. There was a way the
19 constitution -- they could have asked for secession in, but they wanted to
20 conduct it in a forcible way, namely in contravention of that
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Dragisic, did you understand my question?
23 A. Yes, I understood it.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Well, then if you understood it, please answer my
1 A. But I may have forgotten it or perhaps I may not have understood
2 it. Would you please be so kind as to repeat.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: My question is: When the SDS and the community
4 are breaking the law, why don't they get arrested by the Knin police? Why
5 don't they get arrested? You've told us that the mounting of the
6 barricades was unlawful. Why don't they get arrested?
7 A. What was also unlawful was the attack of the special unit members
8 on the civilian population. And 50 percent of the population participated
9 in it.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Once again, the second time, did you understand my
12 A. Yes, I understood your question, but --
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm not asking you to justify why the SDS and the
14 community did what they did. I'm asking you, why the law enforcement
15 agencies do not arrest them when they break the law.
16 A. Fifty or 100 men cannot arrest 10.000 or 20.000 because the police
17 numbered between 50 and 100 maybe and there were perhaps 20.000 or 30.000
18 people who came out into the streets in their local communities, who heard
19 over the radio that the state of war was declared, who were expecting an
20 attack, and that same police was also expecting an attack. It wouldn't
21 have been normal --
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: We have heard evidence here by other witnesses and
23 I just want you to either confirm or deny it, that in fact when these
24 people had already mounted the barricades, the police then took control
25 and helped them, so that there was order. There was control of the
1 barricades. Is that correct?
2 A. That happened after the 17th, in the next few days the police did
3 not tear down the barricades.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: I didn't ask you when it happened. My question is,
5 did that happen? Is that evidence correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's right. Now the police, the police
8 associated themselves with this illegal action. Why did they do that? If
9 you say 100 police would not be able to stop 20.000 people, why then do
10 they join them and associate themselves with the illegal action instead of
11 distancing themselves from it.
12 A. The police was also a part of the people, a part of that same
13 citizenry of that same community. And as to your interpretation of
14 unlawfulness, the police complied with the law of the SFRY, the Socialist
15 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia which was the only existing entity. The
16 police could not conform with the law of a non-existing state, at least
17 not yet existing.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let me just stop you there. If you say my
19 interpretation of unlawfulness. That is not my interpretation. You told
20 me -- I asked you right at the beginning. You said that it was unlawful
21 what the people did. So unlawfulness is your interpretation. I'm
22 following on what you are telling me, okay. I have expressed no
23 interpretation of anything here. I'm just asking you questions. Am I
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now on your interpretation of unlawfulness, why did
2 the police associate themselves with this unlawful act; that's my
4 A. Since they could not act otherwise, they were just as much in
5 jeopardy as we, the people. All of us were in danger. Since mobilisation
6 of the armed forces could not be carried out, that was the only way to
7 prevent conflict and to protect.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you know what Mr. Martic's attitude was to these
10 A. I think that Mr. Martic held the same view. He thought it was the
11 only way to protect the people and the police force from a clash with
12 Croat's special units.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Perovic, any questions?
14 MR. PEROVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Very briefly.
15 Further re-examination by Mr. Perovic:
16 Q. Mr. Dragisic, did you, as the commander of the Knin Territorial
17 Defence, have legal authority to order a mobilisation of the personnel in
18 your area?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Who had such authority to issue that kind of order?
21 A. The Presidency of the SFRY or the General Staff of the armed
23 Q. What was the first time when the Yugoslav People's Army intervened
24 to create a buffer zone, as you put it? Do you remember in which period
25 that happened?
1 A. I believe it was in autumn 1990 or maybe even later. Yes, it was
2 later. In the spring of 1991. Yes, I remember now. The first time the
3 JNA established a buffer zone in Plitvice after the skirmish between the
4 police of Krajina and the Croatian police, which means after the 31st of
5 March, 1991.
6 Q. Thank you. And now to follow up on the question asked by His
7 Honour, Judge Moloto, why were not the people who organised and manned the
8 barricades arrested? I haven't finished my question. Do you have any
9 knowledge where the people who illegally smuggled arms from Hungary were
11 A. No.
12 Q. Were those who imposed blockades on JNA barracks and installations
14 A. No, they were not.
15 Q. So those who illegally smuggled arms into Croatia were not
16 arrested? And those who attacked the Yugoslav People's Army were not
17 arrested either? And those who manned the barricades were not arrested?
18 A. That's correct.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Perovic.
20 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour. Also very briefly.
21 Further cross-examination by Mr. Black:
22 Q. Mr. Dragisic, just a couple of more questions.
23 You mentioned a SFRY Presidency session which you talked about the
24 deadlock was reached. That was on the 12th of March, 1991, does that
25 sound right?
1 A. That's possible. I'm telling you I can't know for sure, because
2 those attempts to reach an agreement within the Presidency lasted for
3 months. I believe that Mr. Jovic probably has the date in the book that
4 he has written.
5 Q. Okay. And if I told you that this date of the 12th of March 1991
6 came from Jovic's book, that would probably be an accurate date, then?
7 A. Correct, correct.
8 Q. And just so that I am clear on it. So this was many months after
9 the erection of the barricades in August of 1990, right?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You also, in response to a question from His Honour Judge Moloto,
12 you said that in 1990 the JNA did not participate in any way whatsoever in
13 the establishing of buffer zones. The only thing that the JNA was doing
14 was, it was requesting for all paramilitary units to be disarmed.
15 Did you know that even before the barricades Borisav Jovic had
16 pledged that the JNA would support and protect the political ambitions of
17 the Krajina Serbs?
18 A. I don't know about that, but Mr. Jovic probably wrote about that.
19 I personally was not involved in politics and I haven't read the book.
20 Q. Okay. And you -- you yourself said that as far as you know or as
21 far as you believe, JNA planes turned back some Croatian, I believe,
22 helicopters you said on the 17th of August, 1990, correct?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. And if that's true, that would certainly constitute some sort of
25 JNA activity with regard to the conflict, separate from requesting that
1 paramilitaries be disarmed, right?
2 A. No, because the JNA was the only one authorised to issue approvals
3 for helicopter sorties and the helicopters in question took off without
4 the approval of the JNA and that's why they were prevented from flying.
5 Q. Actually another question about the SFRY Presidency sessions. You
6 talked about how some members left the Presidency and returned to their
7 own republics.
8 And I believe this was around March. It was actually Jovic, the
9 Serbian representative, who first left the Presidency and then he at some
10 point came back; isn't that correct?
11 A. I don't remember who first left the Presidency, who first walked
12 out, because they were constantly in deadlock. As I explained a moment
13 earlier, half of them was in favour of one option, and the other half was
14 in favour of the opposite, so they were not able to function.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm not sure whether -- I don't know whether you
16 are satisfied with the answer given to your question at page 17, line 1.
17 I'm particularly interested to hear that correct -- an appropriate answer
18 to that question. The question was: And if that's true, that would
19 certainly constitute some sort of JNA activity with regard to the conflict
20 separate from requesting that paramilitaries be disarmed, right? The
21 answer doesn't sort of address that question.
22 MR. BLACK:
23 Q. Mr. Dragisic, you've heard His Honour's comments. Could you,
24 could you respond to that question. This turning back of the helicopters
25 that you said happened on the 17th of August, 1990, that would constitute
1 some form of JNA intervention, separate from this issue of disarming
2 paramilitaries, correct?
3 A. That was a regular activity of the JNA. The JNA was authorised,
4 the only one authorised to issue approvals for helicopter flights. These
5 flights of the Croatian police were neither announced, nor approved. So
6 the JNA acted in conformity with the law and it would have acted the same
7 way if those flights were made by anyone else. Because the JNA was the
8 only regular lawful armed force in that state. The JNA was not only Serb.
9 It was also Slovene and Croatian and officers, as you saw from the example
10 of Mr. Marinov, Colonel Marinov, came from all ethnic groups, all
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, sir. You may proceed Mr. Black.
13 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. Mr. Dragisic, do I understand you correctly that according to you,
15 the JNA had to approve every single helicopter flight, in the entire SFRY
16 in the entire Yugoslavia?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. How did that work? Can you explain a little bit how that approval
19 system worked, if you know.
20 A. In every republic there existed an army district, military
21 district with its own army command. And one part of each command was in
22 charge of air space, all flights had to be announced, all flight plans had
23 to be submitted and the command had to issue their approval for the
24 flight. Because the army also had air defence units, these units had to
25 know about the flights, so as to avoid friendly fire.
1 Q. Okay. And that was true for every helicopter flight, emergency
2 medical evacuations, police helicopter flights, every kind of -- every
3 kind of flight in the airspace had to be approved?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Okay. One last question for you. And it's again about the SFRY.
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. It's again about the SFRY Presidency sessions. Croatia and
8 Slovenia continued to participate in those Presidency sessions until the
9 fall of 1991, isn't that right?
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. BLACK: Thank you very much. No further questions, Your
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Black. Thank you, sir. This brings
14 us to the end of your testimony. The Chamber would like to say thank you
15 to you for taking the time off to come and testify at the Tribunal. You
16 are now excused. You may stand down. Thank you so much.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 [The witness withdrew]
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic. Sorry, sorry, Mr. Milovancevic,
20 your learned friend is on his feet.
21 MR. WHITING: I'm sorry and I'm sorry, Your Honour. I hate to be
22 a pest, though some might say that is part of the job of a Prosecutor.
23 But yesterday, just to take up this issue again of the filing of
24 the 92 bis or 89(F) motion, I understood Defence counsel to say yesterday
25 that they could indicate to us, today, this morning, when they might be
1 able to file a motion with respect to the first batch. So I just wonder
2 if we could take a moment to address that.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: You are not being a pest, you are just being, being
4 my memory. Thank you.
5 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Whiting. Mr. Milovancevic, are you
7 able to give an indication to that?
8 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have begun to
9 work on those submissions and I now have a problem. Should I reply to the
10 Prosecutor about all statements? Or just the first batch? As for the
11 first batch, it should be there just after this first break. Just after
12 the first break -- I believe we have a break after this Monday from the
13 29th, right? So those statements should be submitted to the Chamber
14 around the 1st.
15 I was talking about the break, we will not be here from the 25th
16 until the 29th, and after that we should have those statements. Let us
17 say around the 1st.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Of October? Mr. Whiting, 1st of October.
19 MR. WHITING: Okay. The 1st is actually a Sunday, but I suppose
20 the 2nd of October. That's fine. Thank you, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: It will be the 2nd of October, then, Mr.
22 Milovancevic, because the 1st is a Sunday. Okay. Thank you very much.
23 Mr. Milovancevic, next witness.
24 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Can we
25 please usher in Mr. Plejo Stevo; that is Stevo, first name, Plejo.
1 [The witness entered court]
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
3 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, sir. You may take a seat.
5 Examination by Mr. Milovancevic:
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Good morning, Mr. Plejo.
8 A. Good morning.
9 Q. Before I begin my examination-in-chief, I have a request. Please,
10 we really must make a brief pause between questions and answers to enable
11 the interpreters to do their job.
12 Could you please, for the record, give us your full name.
13 A. Stevo Plejo.
14 Q. When were you born and where?
15 A. 15th of June, 1964, in Knin.
16 Q. What's your ethnicity and religion?
17 A. Serb, Orthodox Christian.
18 Q. You said you were born in Knin. Tell us about your schooling.
19 A. I completed the school of mechanical engineering in 1983, in Knin.
20 Q. When did you find employment and where?
21 A. In May, 1985, after I did my military service, I found a job in a
22 bolt and screws factory in Knin.
23 Q. You say you found a job in '84?
24 A. 1985, in a factory called Tvik.
25 Q. So you found a job in a factory in Knin. Since you were employed
1 and lived there, could you tell us, what were interpersonal relations like
2 at that time, as briefly as you can.
3 A. I suppose you mean between ethnic groups?
4 Q. Yes.
5 A. I don't remember any conflicts and I didn't hear of any conflicts
6 on ethnic grounds. There were never any problems.
7 Q. You said there had been no conflicts, but how would you describe
8 the relations among people. Were they chilly, or were they decent, were
9 the ethnic groups separated?
10 A. No. There was no separation. People intermingled, and I
11 personally socialised with people of other ethnic groups and religions.
12 We worked together and we were even friends.
13 Q. You said "we were even friends." Would it be fair to say that
14 interpersonal relations were normal, human, friendly?
15 A. Precisely.
16 Q. How large is the factory that employed you? How many people did
17 it employ?
18 A. Around 3.000.
19 Q. Were the employees of one ethnicity only, or no?
20 A. Most of them were Serbs, because the majority of the population
21 was Serb, but there were Croats as well.
22 Q. We just talk about interpersonal relations in villages and towns.
23 What were intra-ethnic relations in workplaces?
24 A. Just like in my factory. They were ideal.
25 Q. You said "they were ideal." Did that come to an end at some
2 A. As far as I know, not until the very end, not until they abandoned
3 the factory and the municipality of Knin.
4 Q. You say "they" abandoned the factory and the municipality of
5 Knin. Who is "they"? When did "they" leave and why?
6 A. When I say "they", I mean Croats. Very simply one day they just
7 didn't show up for work, not a single one of them. Until the day before
8 we had worked together. We had coffee breaks together and the next day
9 they didn't show up.
10 Q. Can I please interrupt you at this point. Can you tell us at
11 least roughly, how many Croat employees were there in your factory, Tvik?
12 You said they had just stopped coming to work one day.
13 A. I know in the section where I worked, that employed mainly younger
14 people, that is my age, and we went on coffee breaks together and I didn't
15 even know what their ethnicity was always. But as far as those I know are
16 concerned, I know were Croats, they just didn't show up for work one day.
17 Q. Can you tell us how many people you knew were Croat?
18 A. In my section, around ten, maybe.
19 Q. Do you know or did you learn why they did not show up for work?
20 A. Then I didn't know. However, since I lived halfway between two
21 municipalities, Knin and Drnis, and Knin was at the time under Croatian
22 control, I mean it was a majority Croat place, I ran into one of those men
23 wearing a uniform of the new Croatian police. And I learned that they had
24 been given instructions to leave Knin, that they would be given new jobs
25 immediately. But in those days, although we watched Croat TV and we
1 didn't hear any reports about somebody being driven out, I just concluded
2 that they had left of their own will and joined the Croatian police.
3 Q. At the moment when those employees of the Tvik factory, who were
4 Croats, stopped their employment there, moved away and joined the Croatian
5 police, can you tell us, what was the situation generally in Croatia and
6 in your community?
7 A. Well, tensions were already somewhat high. It was quite clear
8 that the Croatian state wanted to secede from the then Yugoslavia and
9 relations became increasingly tense.
10 Q. When did this mounting of tensions occur? How was it manifested?
11 How could it be seen?
12 A. Well, it was evident in evidence from what the mass media were
13 carrying and also people were talking about it, it being quite evident
14 that Croatia wished to secede from the rest of Yugoslavia, i.e., from the
15 existing state.
16 Q. Were there any political events at that time? Did they play any
18 A. I don't know what specifically you mean.
19 Q. I meant political gatherings of parties, were there any such
20 gatherings characterising the period?
21 A. I don't know of any.
22 Q. Thank you. Does the term "barricades" ring any bells?
23 A. Yes, it does.
24 Q. Can you tell us what that means for you, what is this about?
25 A. The barricades were mainly set up between territories where the
1 majority Croat, i.e., Serb population, because rumours were spreading and
2 the Croatian television was also saying that Croatia would be entering
3 Serbian municipalities, disarming the police, installing some emblems
4 which to us, people of Serb ethnicity, had always been Ustasha emblems,
5 the chequer-board flag and such.
6 So that the people spontaneously put up these barricades as a form
7 of defence against possible violence.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, Mr. Milovancevic. I couldn't understand the
9 beginning of the answer. He says -- it may be an interpretation
10 problem. "The barricades were mainly set up between territories where the
11 majority Croat, i.e., Serb population." I don't understand that part.
12 And then "because rumours were spreading." From "because" it didn't even
13 relate to what he said at the beginning. Can we just clarify that point.
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. You heard the question of His Honour, Judge Moloto. You mentioned
16 the location of the barricades, and you spoke about a majority Croat
17 populated, and a majority Serb populated territory. What did you mean?
18 A. Perhaps I didn't express myself properly. The people were
19 erecting these barricades spontaneously. At times this would not be a
20 barricade between such territories. Sometimes people just erected
21 barricades in their villages, because they expected that they might come
22 under attack. So it wasn't the rule to place barricades between Croat and
23 Serbian places or towns. Sometimes they would be put up even between two
24 Serbian places, because the objective of the people was to protect their
25 homes with the barricades.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: What year are we talking about?
2 A. I believe that that is the end of 1990, early 1991.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Milovancevic. You may
5 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. So they set up barricades, and you described that for us. Were
7 there any armed conflicts at the time when the barricades were being put
9 A. I don't know that there had been any armed conflicts before that.
10 Q. Thank you. Do you know whether there was any armed conflict or
11 what was the first time that you heard about any armed conflicts there?
12 A. I heard about the Plitvice clash. That was the first one that I
13 heard about.
14 Q. Can you tell us when that was and what was it about.
15 A. I believe that was in March 1991, although I don't remember dates
16 very well, and was not that much interested in dates. I believe it was
17 March 1991.
18 Q. How did you learn about the Plitvice clash, from whom and how?
19 A. I heard about it, in fact, a couple of my friends or neighbours
20 from the place, from my place were also at Plitvice. And they were on the
21 Krajina police force. So they had been police members from before.
22 Q. Can you tell us until which time did you remain working in the
23 bolts and screws factory in Knin. You say that you remained there until
24 1985 [as interpreted]. Until which time?
25 A. Sometime until March 1991.
1 Q. And what happened in March 1991? I mean with relation to your
2 employment, to your job.
3 A. Well, after these events, perhaps it was the beginning of April, I
4 got an oral summons from Mr. Milan Martic to come and join the reserve
5 force of the militia of the SAO Krajina, as it was called.
6 Q. You say you were orally invited. Did Mr. Martic actually know
7 you? Did you know him?
8 A. I knew him very well.
9 MR. WHITING: Objection.
10 THE WITNESS: Actually I knew him --
11 MR. WHITING: Objection.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Whiting.
13 MR. WHITING: This may be an interpretation issue but I think the
14 witness said he received an oral summons, not that he was orally invited.
15 And there may be a distinction between the two.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, the transcript says "summons," Mr.
18 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I
19 thank the Prosecutor for his intervention. The witness said that he was
20 orally invited by Mr. Martic. And we shall clarify that.
21 Q. When I asked you why you had left your job, what did you say, Mr.
22 Witness, can you repeat?
23 A. I said that I was orally invited by Mr. Martic to join the reserve
24 force of the militia of the SAO Krajina.
25 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Is this okay now, my learned
1 colleague, Mr. Whiting?
2 MR. WHITING: Well, I have nothing to say about it now.
3 JUDGE HOEPFEL: But can we ask him, --
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let me say this, Mr. Milovancevic. It becomes very
5 problematic, because before you asked the witness to clarify, you
6 clarified. So the witness has nothing to say but to say what you told
7 him. And this is what I've been trying to warn you against.
8 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you are quite
9 right. I am remiss, but this was inadvertent on my part, because I heard
10 the witness, who replied the way he did.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: If you heard him, then don't repeat after him. Ask
12 him to clarify, because we don't understand, and you see this "remiss" is
13 happening a little too often, Mr. Milovancevic. That's my problem. Okay.
14 You may proceed.
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Mr. Plejo, you worked in the bolts and screws factory until May,
17 1991. Did you change jobs after that, your employment, work post?
18 A. I said that I was invited by Mr. Milan Martic to join the reserve
19 police force of the SAO Krajina at that time.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did you join it?
21 A. Yes, I did.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
23 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. What does it mean when you say that you joined the reserve force?
25 I mean, in terms of employment. Does that imply anything in terms of
2 A. Well, I remained an employee of the factory. I remained employed
3 at the factory and, according to our rules, one could be a member of the
4 reserve police force or an army reservist if one was able and fit. One
5 had to be on a reserve force, it was just a question of which one it would
6 be, the army or the police reserve force.
7 Q. Thank you. And when you accepted to join the reserve police
8 force, what happened then?
9 A. I was then issued with equipment, arms and uniforms and for a
10 while I was assigned to the territory in which I lived, doing routine
11 duties, traffic control, controlling the situation generally and so on.
12 Q. Can you tell us what was the uniform that you were issued with at
13 that time, what colour was it?
14 A. It was blue, a blue uniform, just the way it used to be, the way
15 the standard militia, the police uniforms were.
16 Q. You say you were issued with a uniform, weapons and you were
17 assigned your work tasks. Until which time did you perform such tasks as
18 a reserve policeman?
19 A. Until -- so this was in April, so I did that work, if you are
20 referring to the duties I performed where I lived, that was until around
21 May, 1991. It may have been -- maybe the 15th or the 20th of April. In
22 fact, no, it was earlier, or rather, I cannot recall the exact date.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 A. But it was for a brief time.
25 Q. Just prior to the break, what happened after these 20 or so days?
1 Was there any change? You say that you worked as a policeman, and after
2 that what did you do?
3 A. I went to the youth settlement in Golubic which is a place near
5 Q. Why did you go there?
6 A. I was called via radio communications, via the radio which I had
7 in my car. I was to report there to the command there, and to leave my
8 car there. And I was to report to Golubic.
9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. We shall deal with
10 that question after the break. And Your Honours, I believe that this is a
11 convenient time.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic. We will take a break
13 and come back at quarter to eleven. Court adjourned.
14 --- Recess taken at 10.15 a.m.
15 --- On resuming at 10.45 a.m.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, maybe just before you proceed,
17 can I just ask one little question.
18 Witness, just before we went for the break, you indicated that you
19 went to Golubic. Am I right?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Were you asked to go to Golubic by anybody?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I said one of the commanders
23 of the police station in Knin told me that I was to bring back and return
24 my vehicle to where I had been before that, and then to report to Golubic.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Was that your personal vehicle or was it a
1 government vehicle, a police vehicle?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was a police vehicle.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Milovancevic.
4 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
5 Q. Responding to the earlier question, you said that you became a
6 member of the reserve force of the police. To what particular station did
7 you belong?
8 A. To the Knin police station.
9 Q. Thank you. When you said that after some 20 days, you had
10 returned your service vehicle and then went to Golubic, can you tell us
11 what the purpose of that was? What were you told?
12 A. They told me nothing. They just said that I should report to
14 Q. Thank you. And when you came to Golubic, what happened there?
15 A. There I was met by a commander, his name was Dragan Karina. I
16 believe that he was an inspector, and he was my commander there. He met
18 Q. What did you do in Golubic after arriving there?
19 A. Well at that particular time, nothing special. Nothing in
20 particular. We just played some soccer. Nothing in particular.
21 Q. When you arrived in Golubic and after you had been met by the
22 inspector who you said was your commanding officer, were you given any
24 A. Initially not. Only fitness training, in the beginning, which was
25 running and such.
1 Q. And how many people were there attending the fitness training and
2 how old were they?
3 A. These why all youngish people, between 20 and 30 years of age. I
4 cannot say whether they were perhaps 40 of them. Possibly their number
5 was around 40. I'm not quite certain.
6 Q. How long did this period last of fitness training in Golubic and
7 your playing of football as you put it?
8 A. Well, for several days, perhaps five -- six or seven days.
9 Q. And what happened after that? Did anything change?
10 A. After that, a certain man came and our commanding officer
11 introduced him to us as Captain Dragan.
12 Q. What was Captain Dragan's job?
13 A. Our commander told us that he was a capable man, a professional
14 and that he would be giving us some police training, which we accepted.
15 Q. Thank you. Was that training with Captain Dragan indeed carried
17 A. Yes, it was.
18 Q. Can you tell us what did that training consist of? What was it
19 that you were taught by Captain Dragan in Golubic?
20 A. Well, I would call it classical police training, which consisted
21 of securing persons. We were trained how to secure persons, and also if
22 for instance someone shot at this important person, how he was to be
23 protected. Then how to protect ourselves against terrorists, against
24 knives, against pistols, fitness training, descending a rope on a rock
25 face and the like.
1 Q. Thank you. You called this police training. Can we call it,
2 perhaps, specialist -- special unit training?
3 A. Well, I would call it classical police training.
4 Q. Thank you. And how long -- how much did this training last with
5 Captain Dragan, can you remember that?
6 A. It lasted for around 20 days.
7 Q. During those 20-odd days, were you issued any orders to go out in
8 the field? Did you have such situations?
9 A. That was only on one occasion.
10 Q. What occasion was that?
11 A. Well, once -- one night some civilians in Knin tried to burgle
12 some shops, some outlets which were in the ownership of Croatian firms, so
13 we were ordered at around 2300 or 2400 hours to get quickly dressed and to
14 go and intervene on the spot. So we sat in our cars and arrived in Knin.
15 We were not wearing any arms, but just the rubber batons that we
16 had been issued with, and because some people were burglarising some of
17 these outlets, we were to go to the scene and intervene. But the regular
18 police that was in the police station had already put things under control
19 and had apprehended the people who tried to do that so that there was no
20 need for us to intervene.
21 Q. Did you return to Golubic after that? I'm sorry. After receiving
22 that information, did you go back to Golubic?
23 A. Yes, we returned to Golubic.
24 Q. While the training was in process in Golubic, did you wear any
1 A. Yes. We wore blue service police uniforms, top and the bottom.
2 Q. Were there any insignia, any markings on the uniform?
3 A. I believe that on the sleeve there was a patch with the words "the
4 militia of the SAO Krajina" inscribed on it.
5 Q. What was the basic colour of the uniform?
6 A. It was a blue camouflage uniform.
7 Q. You say that the training with Captain Dragan lasted for 20 days.
8 What happened afterwards?
9 A. After that, other people came and I assessed -- in fact, I didn't
10 assess, I was told that these people are mainly from the Knin
11 municipality, from Benkovac, I believe. The idea was to set up a unit of
12 between 20 and 30 people from each municipality, so that people from these
13 other municipalities came.
14 Q. Do you remember how many of those people came?
15 A. I cannot recall the number. Perhaps another 60 or 70 people, 20
16 from each municipality or so.
17 Q. And what happened to you -- with you, after this training was
18 completed? Did you remain in Golubic? Did you leave Golubic?
19 A. We remained in Golubic and we were supposed to pass on the
20 knowledge we had obtained at the training course from Captain Dragan and
21 our commanding officer. We were supposed to transmit it to these other
22 people from these other municipalities, to pass on what we had learned to
24 Q. Did you also undertake that task?
25 A. Yes, I did.
1 Q. Would it be fair for me to say that you were actually an
2 instructor at this course?
3 A. Yes, that is correct.
4 Q. Did you hold any rank? Did you have any other function or any --
5 or any other role?
6 A. Yes. I and some of my colleagues were given the rank of
8 Q. When you say that you were conferred the rank of lieutenant, for
9 what unit -- of what unit were you lieutenant? Excuse me. Was it the
10 police? Was it the Territorial Defence, the army, or something else?
11 That is what I'm asking you.
12 A. It was the police.
13 Q. As an instructor, how large was the group that you were in charge
14 of, or rather, the group that you trained?
15 A. Between 30 and 40 people.
16 Q. Was this training that you were now delivering to the new
17 trainees, was it different in content from what you learned from Captain
19 A. No, it didn't different in content. What else could we pass on
20 but what we had learned from him?
21 Q. Thank you. During the training, did you go out in the field to
22 undertake some training exercises in the field?
23 A. Yes. On one occasion we went to Udbine to carry out training, it
24 was the same thing but on another location.
25 Q. When you say we went up there to Udbine, can you tell us where
1 Udbine is, between what and what?
2 A. It's in Lika, maybe 30, 40 kilometres away from Knin. It's a
3 small townlet.
4 Q. So where in Udbine did you have this drill? Outdoors? Indoors?
5 A. Outdoors. On the outskirts of Udbine, we didn't want to go into
6 the populated centre where there were people. We went to the periphery,
7 five, 600 kilometers -- metres away.
8 Q. How long were you scheduled to stay there?
9 A. I don't know how long we were scheduled to stay there, but I
10 believe we were thrown out I believe by the army.
11 Q. Can you explain that? "I think we were thrown out by the then
12 army?" Which army?
13 A. It was still the Yugoslav People's Army and on one occasion two
14 officers, two ranking officers of the JNA came and asked us to withdraw
15 immediately to go back to Knin, and if we didn't, they would use force.
16 That's what they said.
17 Q. Did those ranking officers of the JNA introduce themselves? Where
18 did they come from?
19 A. They did not, but they said they were from the 5th Army District,
20 which was the Zagreb army district. That's what it was called.
21 Q. Thank you. And how did you respond to their demand that you
22 withdraw and the threat of force? What did you do?
23 A. Within our unit there was one man in charge of communications, so
24 we told him to report the latest developments to the headquarters in Knin.
25 I don't know to whom he talked in Knin, but I believe he informed the
1 commanders in Golubic.
2 Q. What happened after that? How was this problem in Udbine
4 A. I didn't see it myself, but I heard that Mr. Martic had come,
5 together with Milan Babic, I believe, and they had some sort of
6 negotiations with the army officers and we indeed went back to Knin, maybe
7 the same day, maybe the next day.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did they come to Udbine, did Mr. Martic and Mr.
9 Milan Babic come to Udbine to come and negotiate with the police officers
10 while you were there during your exercises?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
13 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Despite these negotiations that Mr. Babic and Mr. Martic had with
15 the army officers, you said that you returned to Knin the next day. Does
16 that mean that the negotiations failed?
17 A. I did not attend them myself. I suppose they failed, since we had
18 to return before we were supposed to.
19 JUDGE HOEPFEL: To understand that, may I, Mr. Milovancevic, ask
20 further questions? So that was negotiations between Mr. Martic and Mr.
21 Babic on the one side, and the JNA officers on the other side. Is that
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
24 JUDGE HOEPFEL: And first, when the JNA people met you and said
25 you shouldn't be there, how many JNA persons were that? What size of a
1 group was that?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In that specific place where we had
3 our office, two officers came. One was lieutenant colonel and another one
4 did not have any rank insignia, but the army was based on the periphery of
5 Udbine anyway.
6 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Yes. And you had sort of an office there, is that
7 right? Because first I understood that you were there only one day in
8 Udbine. And now you used the word or in the translation I understood you
9 had an office there set up, some sort of an office. Is that right?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We had been there for several days.
11 It was not just one day.
12 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Oh, okay.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The training was ...
14 JUDGE HOEPFEL: You took a group there, or there was a larger
15 group? How many about, from Golubic, were there?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, between 30 and 40 men.
17 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you. Yes, please, Mr. Milovancevic.
18 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: He has not in fact responded as to how many JNA
19 persons were there, has he?
20 JUDGE HOEPFEL: I understood there was two, and the army in there.
21 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Very well.
22 JUDGE HOEPFEL: And this place that your office was in the
23 surrounding areas of this village, it was about half a kilometre from the
24 village, is that right?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This very spot is on an elevation.
1 It's a small place. It's clearly visible -- I mean visibility is very
2 good both there and all around. So those two officers came perhaps with a
3 driver to see us, but the army was based very near this little town, so we
4 could see them.
5 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Yes. That's okay. And did we get the name of
6 that town right, is it Udbine? Is that correct? And Udbine?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Udbine. U-D-B-I-N-E.
8 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you. That's in the transcript we -- until
9 so far, didn't have it. Is this a Croatian or Serb or mixed town? Do you
10 happen to know that, to ask a last question on that? Is that right?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, it's majority Serb
13 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you. Mr. Milovancevic. Sorry for
14 interrupting and you can go on.
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. You spoke a moment ago about completing that course, and then
17 taking over a group of men to train, as an instructor, as their commander.
18 Was that the only group that you led in training?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Could we have a rough timeline, what part of the year was that? A
21 month at least if not a date?
22 A. It could have been May or June, 1991. May, I think.
23 Q. Thank you. While you were in Golubic, do you remember if there
24 was any incident?
25 A. There were no incidents. In fact, I heard of an incident, but I
1 didn't see it.
2 Q. What is it exactly that you heard?
3 A. I heard that some Croats, a few Croats had been captured, and that
4 one of my colleagues, commanders, who was passing through slapped those
5 Croats about. Slapped their faces.
6 Q. Did that cause any kind of reaction?
7 A. I think I was at home leaving Knin on that day and my colleagues
8 told me later that Captain Dragan had summoned Mr. Martic and told him,
9 how long are we going to tolerate things of this kind? If we go on like
10 this then everything is pointless. And he told him in conclusion that
11 such things must not happen.
12 Q. You were told this by your colleagues who were there?
13 A. Yes, yes.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry to do this to you, Mr. Milovancevic.
15 What are these things that Mr. Martic was asked how long they should be
16 tolerated for?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could you please repeat? I didn't
18 quite understand your question.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: You said "I think I was at home leaving Knin on
20 that day, and my colleagues told me later that Captain Dragan had summoned
21 Mr. Martic and told him, how long are we going to tolerate things of this
22 kind? If we go on like this, then everything is pointless. And he told
23 him in conclusion that such things must not happen."
24 What are these things that he was not prepared to tolerate which
25 must stop?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Captain Dragan probably did not have
2 the authority to expel that man, so he invited Mr. Martic and he explained
3 to Mr. Martic that that commanding officer had slapped about the captives.
4 May I continue?
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Please, please do.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So he invited Mr. Martic and told
7 him what had happened. Mr. Martic, of course, himself, was not willing to
8 tolerate such things and he expelled this commanding officer immediately,
9 told him to return his equipment to supplies, and to leave immediately. I
10 mean, this commander who had done this.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: What was Mr. Martic at that time? Why was Mr.
12 Martic able to expel this person? What authority do he have?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think at that time Mr. Martic was
14 the secretary of the SUP, the secretariat of the interior. I'm not quite
15 sure but I believe he was the secretary of the SUP.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: And as such, did he have authority over Golubic?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I suppose so.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. Mr. Milovancevic.
19 Sorry, before you go on, Mr. Milovancevic. Other than this
20 instance, were there other instances of abuse by your colleagues? Because
21 you seem to have given your evidence in a manner that indicates that it
22 wasn't a singular incident.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I said there was only one
24 incident, and I related that one.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: No. But you said, Mr. Dragan said "how long are we
1 going to tolerate these things?" It looks like these things had been
2 happening and they are getting out of hand. That's the basis of the
4 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Yes. The evidence is: How long are we going to
5 tolerate things of this kind?
6 So you speak of a state of affairs that had built up, which Dragan
7 was not accepting, or happy with, and that he wanted to bring these things
8 to summon Mr. Martic and see that they were addressed. Isn't that a fact?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, either I didn't express
10 myself very well, or it was not properly interpreted. Before that
11 incident, there were no captives. No one was captured, and there were no
12 incidents. That was the first case. So Captain Dragan called Mr. Martic
13 and told him, can we tolerate this? Martic said, of course not. And he
14 expelled that commander immediately.
15 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: So were there other incidents, if that was the
16 first case?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, there were no other cases.
18 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Very well. Thank you. Mr. Milovancevic.
19 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. You said that you conducted another course. How long did that
21 second course take?
22 A. Again, 20 days or so.
23 Q. What were the trainees trained for? To be aware and do what?
24 A. We imparted to them the same training that we had received
25 earlier, and as far as I remember, the plan was for them to be within the
1 police force in their own municipalities, to be trained for the same jobs,
2 VIP security or personal security and maintaining law and order, the
3 things I described earlier.
4 Q. That will do. Thank you. The trainees in the second course that
5 you trained, did they stay in this centre in Golubic or did they leave?
6 A. No, they returned to their respective municipalities. I have no
7 idea what they did later.
8 Q. In that centre in Golubic, there were reserve policemen and
9 policemen. Was there anyone else, apart from them?
10 A. No. There were no other people. In fact I don't know who you
11 mean specifically by establishment.
12 Q. I meant Territorial Defence, the army, JNA.
13 A. No, no.
14 Q. If I mentioned the old Knin Hospital, would that ring a bell to
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. What exactly?
18 A. That's where I worked after these events, and that's where the
19 district prison of Knin was later established.
20 Q. You said you worked in the area at some point. Were you then a
21 reserve policeman of the Knin SUP?
22 A. Just for another ten days, or so.
23 Q. And can you tell us how did you come to be engaged in that job?
24 A. A number of men from the Golubic centre, maybe 15 or 20, together
25 with their commander, were sent to secure the premises and to transfer the
1 detainees to that part of the old hospital where the conditions were
2 better. The hospital was mostly in disuse, but there was one part still
4 Q. Excuse me. You're now talking about the old hospital. Can you
5 tell us where it was?
6 A. It was in the centre of Knin.
7 Q. Thank you. So what was the task of these men?
8 A. Their task was to transfer those same Croats that we mentioned
9 earlier to the still functioning part of the old hospital, and to provide
10 them with everything that was necessary until a better solution was found,
11 such as an exchange or something.
12 Q. Did you ever go into that old hospital in Knin? Can you describe
13 those premises? How large was it?
14 A. When that group of men left, I myself came there three or four
15 days later and this commander who had the task of improving the conditions
16 there complained to Dragan Karina in Golubic that he couldn't do it all
17 himself, there were window panes shattered, doors broken. There was no
18 hot water. I don't even know whether there was cold water. That he had
19 to provide security on top of all of that and that he just couldn't manage
20 all on his own.
21 So the commander told him to see me, if I can help with the job.
22 So three or four days later, I joined him there and tried to do whatever
23 is necessary to put the place in order so that it could be fit for placing
25 Q. So if I understood you correctly, the man who was sent to the old
1 hospital to restore it to some habitable condition couldn't manage and he
2 came back to the commander to complain and the commander then assigned you
3 to help him?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. What needed to be done at the hospital?
6 A. Exactly what I said a moment ago. I first listed all the things
7 that were broken or in disrepair. I saw to it that the window panes were
8 replaced, the doors reinstalled, to provide bedding. Everything that is
9 necessary for people to live there.
10 Q. Does it mean that a part of the old hospital in Knin was used as a
11 place of detention?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Can you tell us how many rooms were used for that? I suppose
14 there is some sort of lobby, corridor.
15 A. It was a rather large building, consisting of two parts, two
16 wings. The right wing was more recent and it was in better condition and
17 it was the rooms in the right wing that we used. I believe there were
18 four or five rooms, maybe two lavatories, and nothing else.
19 Q. So when you came there four our five days later, after that group,
20 and the man in charge of the group complained that he couldn't manage on
21 his own, so you were sent to help him, so when you arrived there, what did
22 you find in the rooms? Were there any beds or ...
23 A. I remember there were no beds. There were only mattresses,
24 three-piece military mattresses. I mean when I say military it is not
25 exactly precise. I don't know to whom they belonged, but I know it is the
1 type of army issue three-piece mattress that I slept on while I was in my
2 police training or in the army.
3 Q. So what was the size of the rooms? How many mattress were there?
4 How many people could you place in one room?
5 A. They were not all the same size. There were smaller and larger
6 rooms, but they were mostly the ward-type of rooms, with rather high
7 ceilings, and there was no need to put many people in one room.
8 We had just ten or so captured men and the -- we could place them
9 in a couple of rooms and the rest of the rooms could stay empty.
10 Q. You said there were about ten people. How many captives were
11 there at the time? Were they captives?
12 A. Yes. Captives.
13 Q. How many of them?
14 A. Ten or so.
15 Q. Was there a bathroom, a lavatory in the old hospital?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Where were the wash basins and toilets? In the rooms or outside?
18 A. No. There was a corridor. The rooms were on the right side of
19 the corridor, and on the left side there were bathrooms and lavatories and
20 maybe some auxiliary rooms such as pantries or ...
21 Q. So did the captives have access to the bathrooms?
22 A. Of course.
23 Q. Did they receive food? Was it organised? Or did they have to
24 make do?
25 A. Food supply was organised. They ate the same food that I did.
1 Q. How many men secured this hospital that was now used as a place of
3 A. 15 to 20 men.
4 Q. What exactly did they guard? Where they were -- were they
6 A. It was a large building, so there were three guard posts, two at
7 the gates and one more outside. It was important for us to provide
8 security outside, so that nobody could enter, enter from the street,
9 because we were in the very centre of town. And there was a couple of
10 other guard posts inside where security men would monitor movement and let
11 people in and out of the lavatories, et cetera.
12 Q. You said the security detail was deployed outside. It was a large
13 building, there were a couple of entrances. Did they secure the prison
14 alone or were there any other buildings around?
15 A. We had on-the-job occupational, medical centre. And just next to
16 us some sort of infirmary.
17 Q. So you say that one part of the building was used for providing
18 occupational medical care, and you used the other part as a place of
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. How exactly did you make sure that there would be no unauthorized
23 A. We placed guards on the gates and it was possible to ensure
25 Q. How long did you stay with this detail in the old hospital,
1 together with that group that you came to assist.
2 A. That group was there for a very short time, maybe ten days, or so,
3 and then they left. And members of the Territorial Defence later came to
4 replace them.
5 Q. To what Territorial Defence did those Territorial Defence members
7 A. They were mainly from Knin. I knew them all. They were between
8 40 and 50 years of age. They had not been mobilised into the army and
9 they belonged to the Territorial Defence. Of course I didn't know who
10 would be assigned to the Territorial Defence or to the army, but those
11 were mainly elderly people from Knin.
12 Q. When they came, did these men who were there before withdraw, all
13 of them?
14 A. Yes. All of them withdrew, except for me.
15 Q. During the stay of this first group, the first ten days when they
16 were making, so to speak, that prison, what was their attitude and their
17 treatment of the prisoners and what was yours?
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry, Mr. Milovancevic. What do you
19 mean "when they were making that prison"?
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the witness was
21 describing how a group of people was given the task of adapting some parts
22 of the old hospital to serve as a prison, so that I conditionally called
23 that process in the physical sense the making of a prison.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: I don't think that's a correct characterisation. I
25 think it was just the repairs to the prison. When you say "making of a
1 prison," it looks like it is being started and it will be used after it
2 has been made. But from this witness's testimony, people were there
3 before the repairs were made. Captives were kept there before the repairs
4 were made.
5 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. We
6 shall clear this up, if you allow, with the witness.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just clear it up.
8 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. You said that after the second group completed its training in
10 Golubic, a smaller group was assigned the task of adapting the old
11 hospital to be used as a prison. Is that what you said?
12 A. Yes, that's what I said.
13 Q. Do you know where the captive Croats had been kept until that
15 A. No, I don't know that.
16 Q. Do you know whether -- well, the question is superfluous at this
17 point -- whether they were kept in the rooms which were adapted to that
18 purpose? Do you know that?
19 A. I don't know that.
20 Q. Do you, Your Honours, have any question in connection with this
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, because I think you are --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: I think you are giving it a different slant from
25 what I think this witness has told us so far. Let me just go back to what
1 he said earlier.
2 You said to us, you heard that some Croats had been captured and
3 that one of your colleagues, a commander, who was passing through slapped
4 those Croats. Okay, wait a minute. That's going too far. Right.
5 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I think it is page 44.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Page 44? Thank you very much.
7 You said, sir: "A number of men from the Golubic centre, maybe 15
8 or 20, together with their commander were sent to secure the premises and
9 to transfer the detainees to that part of the old hospital where the
10 conditions were better. The hospital was mostly in disuse, but there was
11 one part still functioning."
12 Now from that, is it fair to infer that before this 15 and 20
13 people went there to repair the hospital, there were detainees there in
14 that hospital?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: But that's our deduction from what you say. You're
17 saying they were sent to secure the premises, and to transfer the
18 detainees to that part of the old hospital where the conditions were
19 better. So they must have been in a part of the hospital where conditions
20 were not better. Is that not so?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, it is not so, Your Honours. I
22 said that those people, that commander with some 15 to 20 people had been
23 sent to take the detainees from Golubici to the -- to the part of the
24 hospital which had slightly better conditions than the other section. The
25 other section had been abandoned some eight years ago and it was totally
1 inhabitable, so there were two wings, two parts. When I say the old
2 hospital, there was this left wing and there was the right wing.
3 The right wing was built much later, and the conditions in it were
4 slightly better than in the left wing. That is why they chose the right
5 wing, because it was a bit more decent. There was water, et cetera,
6 whereas in the left part, there was no water, no electricity, no
7 conditions at all.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: You also said -- let me tell you what you also
9 said: "That their task was to transfer those same Croats, that were
10 mentioned earlier, to the still functioning part of the old hospital, and
11 to provide them with everything that was necessary until a better solution
12 was found, such as an exchange or something." That's what you said.
13 What you are now telling us is a complete change from what you
14 told us earlier, sir.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is not different, Your Honours.
16 I really said the same thing. Perhaps you understood me differently.
17 Those people from Golubic, this group, should I --
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: It's the person who interprets for us. I am
19 reading what is written here. I am quoting. I'm not paraphrasing you.
20 JUDGE HOEPFEL: But actually it wasn't mentioned at all where
21 these detainees came from.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Say that again.
23 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Where these detainees were transferred from.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: He never mentioned that.
25 JUDGE HOEPFEL: That was not mentioned and we understood it from
1 another part of the building, but it was from another place and that was
2 the original place that was Golubic?
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: He's telling us about Golubic as a place from where
4 the detainees were being transferred for the first time now. We never
5 heard Golubic.
6 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Yes -- no. It was open. It was not being said,
7 but it was --
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry, Judge. I beg your pardon. This witness
9 said -- this witness said, that they were sent to secure the premises and
10 to transfer the detainees to that part of the old hospital where the
11 conditions were better. And he later says: Their task was to transfer
12 those same Croats that were mentioned earlier to the still functioning
13 part of the old hospital.
14 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Maybe can you clarify it by asking -- by answering
15 the following question. Before you worked on the repair of these
16 premises, were there any detainees in the building, in the whole building
17 of the old hospital? And then you repaired that and only later you were
18 involved in the transfer of the detainees? Or did you transfer them and
19 repair that at the same time, then?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that I was quite precise. I
21 came to two or four days after the rest of the group had arrived, so
22 earlier there were no captives. There had been no prisoners at all.
23 Those were the first people who were taken prisoner maybe on that very
24 same day. So when this group was sent with the prisoners, from Golubic,
25 because in Golubic there were no conditions where to place them, they took
1 them to -- put them in the old hospital building.
2 Now, in the old hospital building, they opted for the right wing,
3 which was in better shape than the left wing of that old hospital. I
4 believe that I clearly said that. In fact, there had been no prisoners at
5 all before that. 1991
6 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Yes. But what we want to know and what I got
7 from you, had you completed the repair process and improvement process
8 before those prisoners, who were taken and detained on the said day,
9 before they were put into the detention facility? Had you completed the
10 process of improvement and repair at that time?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, there were four or five
12 rooms there. Two were habitable and we could put the prisoners there. A
13 lot of work needed to be done on the other ones. Hot water needed to be
14 installed. Some windows needed to be glazed. Doors needed to be replaced
15 but they were already staying there. They had been staying there for a
16 couple of days before I arrived there, but there needed -- more work
17 needed to be done anyway, in order to create the best possible conditions.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's the point we are making. They were there
19 before the repairs were done. This is what you're telling us now.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Why does it take you so long to answer that?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I replied immediately, but perhaps I
23 was not properly understood. I sought to be as precise as possible.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: I've been saying, these people were transferred
25 from the one part of the hospital that was bad to a better part. You say,
1 no, no, no, they came from Golubic.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: So how long had they been there before the repairs
4 we're affected? In the hospital? How long were they in the hospital
5 before the repairs we're affected?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] After these prisoners had been sent
7 from Golubic, escorted by this group of guards, a couple of days later,
8 two or three days later when this commanding officer complained to me that
9 much more work needed to be done, I immediately went there. So that they
10 had been staying there for only two or three days, in this right wing of
11 the hospital after coming from Golubic. They never stayed in the left
13 They were in the right wing where the conditions were better, for
14 a couple of days. Have I made myself clear?
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Slightly.
16 JUDGE HOEPFEL: During the repair works, what did you do with the
17 inmates? Did you transfer them into -- into a different room? Would that
18 clarify that also? But I don't want to interfere too much. Exactly what
19 I also didn't really understand, what did you do with the prisoners?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were three or four or five
21 rooms there. We chose the one with the best conditions, with glazed
22 windows, where there was no draft and where the conditions were generally
23 better. So we would place them in that room in order to carry out repairs
24 in the next room. And then we would distribute them to the next room,
25 which was repaired so as not to keep all of them, 20 or 30 of them, in one
2 So as this process of repairs unfolded, we would transfer them
3 from one to the next room, because we had no other place to put them. Our
4 problem was that prior to the war, there didn't exist a prison in Knin, so
5 that we had to act quickly. And then I also forgot to add something, but
6 I will say that later, possibly to a question of relevance; namely, I
7 wanted to say also that, at that time, we already had not only Croats as
8 prisoners, we already had -- we had Serbs, who were answerable for
9 criminal offences and we had to give some thought to where we would be
10 placing the Serbs, too, when they were -- when they had committed a
11 criminal offence. It was not only a question of the placement of war
13 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: So the Croats that you had there, what type of
14 prisoners were they? Were they prisoners awaiting trial? Or prisoners
15 who were war criminals or detained as having been captured? What type of
16 prisoners were the Croats as you understood it?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, we understood them to be
18 prisoners of wars because, in previous incidents at Plitvice for instance,
19 many Serbs had been captured, and all requests for them to be released had
20 been refused.
21 So these Croats were treated as prisoners of war and were later
22 exchanged for those Serbs.
23 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: And were they kept separately from the Serb
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, they were always kept
1 separately from the Serb prisoners.
2 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: So you would have them in two separate rooms?
3 You mentioned the preparation of certain rooms and, whereas other rooms
4 were in a better condition. You always ensured that they were in separate
5 rooms, then? The Croats and the Serbs, that is.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We never allowed, Your Honours, for
7 them to be together in a single room because of security considerations.
8 And throughout the period of the war, it never happened that Serb and
9 Croat inmates would be in the same room.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: What year was this and what month was this, when
11 you had these people in the hospital?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that was perhaps May
13 or June 1991.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: And these people who were transferred to this
15 hospital, how long had they been detained for in Golubic?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know how long they had been
17 detained in Golubici. In Golubic I never saw them in fact, and I said
18 previously that I didn't know how long they had been detained.
19 I believe not long. Perhaps they were transferred to Knin on the
20 same day, because, had they been there for a longer time, I would probably
21 know where they were, in Golubic.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: This is what I can't understand, that you don't
23 even know that they were transferred the same day. You were in Golubic,
24 yourself? You were only called for five days or so after they had been
25 transferred. How did you know when they came to Golubic?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Why should I know? I was training
2 these other people. It was not me who captured them. Someone had
3 captured them, and taken them to Golubic. I actually had no reason to
4 know that they had been captured and brought to Golubic. I only saw those
5 people for the first time at the hospital in Knin.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are there detention facilities at Golubic?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, there are no detention
8 facilities in Golubic. This is a youth settlement, a youth centre,
9 consisting of prefabricated cottages, sheds. And they are spread over a
10 quite large area, and there were some seven or eight of such prefabricated
11 structures there.
12 This is where youth participating in voluntary youth drives during
13 the previous system, the Communist system, stayed and slept.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: You may proceed, Mr. Milovancevic. Oh, sorry.
15 JUDGE HOEPFEL: I just didn't want to interrupt, but now you said
16 you were assuming these prisoners were detained in Golubic only for a very
17 short time. Maybe only for one day or less. But before, you identified
18 these prisoners who were to be transferred to Knin Hospital, the old
19 hospital, as the Croat prisoners mentioned before, you said. And that, I
20 understood, as the Croats who were abused at this other occasion, because
21 it hadn't mentioned other Croat prisoners before, except with this
22 incident and then Captain Dragan informed Mr. Martic.
23 Do you remember your testimony? Were they not the same prisoners.
24 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: He mentions prisoners at line 13 or detainees,
25 so it could be understood that he was referring to them, also.
1 JUDGE HOEPFEL: No, no, I'm -- please, can you answer this
2 question? Were these the same Croats who were or some of them were
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The same men, those same people. It
5 all happened within a couple of days, so after that incident I assumed the
6 idea was to move them to Knin, to some separate building.
7 JUDGE HOEPFEL: So now it's a couple of days, not one day. It
8 must have been more than one day according to what you are telling me?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I said possibly.
10 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Yes. Well, try to be a little more focused with
11 your answers. You said before you were trying to be precise, but you
12 aren't really very precise. Okay. I'm done. Thank you.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Mr. Milovancevic.
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. So you said, after about ten days, a replacement came, a
16 replacement came in the form of Territorial Defence men who came to
17 provide security.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You said they were not so young men from Knin.
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. But the men who originally brought the captives to the old
22 hospital in Knin, all left and only you stayed out of the original group.
23 Why did you stay?
24 A. Because the new commanding officer from the Territorial Defence
25 was not very experienced and he didn't feel capable of handling it
1 himself. So I was asked to stay on and help out.
2 Q. And did you help out?
3 A. I did.
4 Q. How long did you stay together with the Territorial Defence detail
5 that secured those rooms in the old hospital?
6 A. I don't know how long they stayed. Maybe 15, 20 days or so.
7 Maybe even not that long. It's difficult for me to say, and I don't want
8 to guess too much because the Trial Chamber has already reprimanded me for
9 not being precise enough.
10 Q. At the time that we are discussing now, were there any prisons in
11 Knin? Was there a regular prison?
12 A. No. I said a moment ago that that was precisely our problem, that
13 there was no prison.
14 Q. Until the outbreak of the conflict, where would prisoners be
15 placed, if somebody was taken into custody by the Knin police, where would
16 they be taken?
17 A. Well, I was not on the police force before and I was lucky enough
18 never to be arrested, but I suppose the prisoners were taken to Sibenik,
19 because Sibenik was the closest town to Knin that had a prison.
20 Q. Do you know Mr. Risto Matkovic?
21 A. I do, and very well.
22 Q. Did you work together with him on a common assignment?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. What was that assignment? What did you do with him?
25 A. So when the Territorial Defence detail was there, he called me up
1 and told me that his ministry, Ministry of Justice and Administration was
2 taking charge, taking control of all the prisons, including that one, so
3 he asked me to come and see him and he told me that he had just been
4 appointed minister of justice and administration.
5 Q. So did you go and see him and what did you discuss?
6 A. Yes. I went to see him and we discussed what needed to be done
7 and that it needed to be done as efficiently as possible and, on that
8 occasion, I suggested that it would be best to hire men who had worked in
9 prisons before, who were trained and qualified for prison work.
10 For instance, there were former prison staff of Serb ethnicity
11 with experience who had been dismissed from their jobs.
12 Q. Why did you suggest that solution to the minister of justice? Why
13 did you think as it necessary?
14 A. One thing happened that moved me to suggest that. There was one
15 guard from that Territorial Defence detail who stood guard at the gate,
16 and once, when I came, he was not there. And I asked, why he wasn't
17 there. And I was told that he had taken a Croat prisoner and went to
18 town. I was already getting anxious, and sent people to look for him.
19 However, he returned on his own, half an hour later. And when I asked
20 where he had been, he told me that he had been to his apartment and he had
21 taken that prisoner so that the prisoner could use the telephone in his
22 apartment to call his family. Which of course is not inhumane, but it's
23 also not allowed to take prisoners out of the prison.
24 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I believe this is
25 a good time for a break.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic. But lest
2 I forget, let me just clear one point. When was this when you were
3 discussing with Mr. Risto Matkovic on the people that you need, the people
4 that were supposed to be guarding now?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Your Honour, now we are
6 talking about the time when the Territorial Defence detail was providing
7 security at the prison. They were there as security detail for a very
8 short time. So it was maybe halfway through that time. Maybe the
9 Territorial Defence detail had been there six or seven days before I had
10 that discussion. I believe it was June, end June 1991. But I really am
11 not that good with dates. I'm not sure. It could have been a little
12 earlier or a little later.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay, thank you so much. We will take a short
14 break and come back at half past 12. Court adjourned.
15 --- Recess taken at 12.00 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 12.30 p.m.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic.
18 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. We mentioned Mr. Risto Matkovic and the reason why you approached
20 him. Did you reach an agreement with him?
21 A. I've already said that I had suggested to him to hire people with
22 experience and who had worked in prisons before on the territory of
23 Croatia and had been expelled just because they were Serbs. Of course he
24 said it was an excellent solution, and he accepted my suggestion.
25 Q. Did you talk to him about your own status at the prison, about
1 your entire arrangement?
2 A. I told him I did not have any ambitions to be the warden, that he
3 should find somebody else for that position, and finally I didn't even
4 have the proper training or qualifications for that job. Under our law,
5 warden had to have a degree in law. He asked me to stay on until new
6 staff begins to work, to stay on until I could meet them and they could
7 start in their new jobs and then we would talk later, he said.
8 Q. He asked you to stay on. To stay on where? And did you?
9 A. He told me to stay on in the position of prison warden. He
10 appointed me prison warden and I stayed there.
11 Q. You say Mr. Risto Matkovic, as Minister of Justice, appointed you
12 prison warden, but of which prison?
13 A. The district prison in Knin, that was its official name.
14 Q. Do you remember had he that was, in which period of the year?
15 A. It was already the beginning of August, I believe, 1991. Around
16 that time.
17 Q. Did you succeed in hiring professional prison staff?
18 A. In a large measure, yes. I believe 20 people with experience
19 applied, but that was too little for us, because that job required four
20 shifts and we needed six to seven men per shift, so we needed a total of
21 up to 30. And I believe a total of 19 applied.
22 Q. Thank you. You said Mr. Matkovic appointed you warden of the
23 district prison. Did the district prison have a chief of the guard
25 A. Yes. The guard detail was supposed to have a chief. We found out
1 one of the applicants had worked in Zagreb, and had a university degree,
2 which was a requirement for the position of warden, and we designated him
3 as a possible -- as a potential chief of the guard.
4 Q. Can you tell us his name?
5 A. Jovica Novakovic.
6 Q. How did you establish contact with those people you were hiring?
7 Was it an open competition for those vacancies?
8 A. No. There was no time for such competitions. It spread by word
9 of mouth that there were vacancies. One would find out and he would tell
10 others, and Mr. Matkovic told me that once they come to the prison we
11 would issue them with the appropriate letters of appointment to that
13 Q. Those people who on the instructions of Mr. Matkovic applied to
14 you, did they receive proper decisions, letters of appointment?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can you tell us until what time was Jovica Novakovic chief of the
17 guard? Can you tell us at least roughly.
18 A. It was around the New Year, a couple of days earlier or a couple
19 of days later, perhaps. So before the beginning of 1992.
20 Q. At the time when you served as warden of the district prison and
21 Jovica Novakovic was chief of the guard in the district prison in Knin,
22 under whose jurisdiction was that prison?
23 A. Under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice and
24 Administration, that is the minister himself. It was the minister who had
25 the right to appoint the warden and the deputy warden.
1 Q. After that, did the ministry of the interior have any jurisdiction
2 over the district prison?
3 A. None at all. It's a completely different ministry and had no
4 jurisdiction whatsoever over the district prison.
5 Q. Could we now see on the screen one document, namely Exhibit 906.
6 Can we zoom in on the left top corner? See it more clearly, the heading.
7 Can you see this document?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Can you read to us, where did it come from?
10 A. "Republic of Serbia and Krajina, district prison, Knin". So
11 somebody from the district prison of Knin wrote it and it was addressed to
12 the ministry for justice and administration. I suppose it was the warden
13 who sent it to the minister of justice.
14 Q. Can we just raise it a bit.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry, Mr. Milovancevic. I'm probably having a
16 different exhibit here. I've got nothing about Republic of Serbia and
17 Krajina. I just have "authorised by the chief of administration, Milan
18 Babic. Rule book". Is that it? Then I've got the wrong thing.
19 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour for
20 drawing our attention to that. We have this document on our screen.
21 Seeing the B/C/S, it is a document of the district prison in Knin. Quite
22 different one. It's from the 19th of May, 1993. As it is from the 65 ter
23 list, it should also exist in the English version. It has been tendered
24 into evidence.
25 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Apparently only one part of that exhibit.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now I have something in B/C/S.
2 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Yes. The letter is in B/C/S and the rule book is
3 in both languages. They belong together, is the impression.
4 MR. WHITING: Your Honours, there is an English translation of
5 this document, and it is -- it starts at page 9 of the English document
6 that was on the screen before. So it does -- it follows the other
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. I hope I can get the other document
9 back now on my screen. I'm afraid, Mr. Whiting, page 9 of that document
10 gives us a page that is cut out in columns.
11 MR. WHITING: Yes. It starts there at the bottom of the page.
12 That's the beginning of the document, at the bottom of the page.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic.
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
15 Q. Now we have lost the document in the B/C/S version, so we need to
16 have that restored on our screens. That is okay. Can we zoom in on the
17 document so that the witness could look at the line 3 from the top.
18 You said a while ago that this was a document of the district
19 prison in Knin. That will do. Thank you. You can stop now. And the
20 serial number 1, which indicates the name of a person, there are three
22 MR. WHITING: If I may --
23 Q. What is it?
24 A. It says a list of all workers.
25 MR. WHITING: We now on the English need to go to the next page,
1 to follow along. Turn to page 10.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Whiting.
3 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Whiting.
4 Q. So this document of the district prison in Knin, does it refer to
5 a list of workers employed in the prison?
6 A. Yes. That is correct. But this is a somewhat later period, when
7 I was not the warden. But this person under number 1 Nikola Ljubojevic
8 was. So he was submitting a list of workers to the new minister,
9 probably, because Mr. Matkovic was no longer the Minister of Justice. So
10 that this new minister was probably asking for a list of the employed, of
11 the prison staff.
12 Q. Thank you for your explanation. Can we look at page 3 in B/C/S,
13 that being the number 10. So this is a list of workers from 1 to 10. So
14 we can see the person under number 10, which in the B/C/S version is on
15 page 3.
16 MR. WHITING: It's Page 12 on the English.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Page 4?
18 MR. WHITING: 12.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, if the witness could see
21 this page 3, it's 6277 in the B/C/S version. That is in the top right
23 To save time, Your Honours, I can give the witness a hard copy
24 text for him to consult. It is just that you won't be aware that he is
25 looking at page 3 in the B/C/S, but by your leave, I shall do so, in order
1 to save time, because now we've lost the B/C/S page -- no, it is back. We
2 shall go through it very quickly.
3 Q. Can we zoom in on the first paragraph from the top, please. Will
4 you read out for us the particulars given for this person under 10.
5 A. It is Stevo Plejo, father Marko, born on the 15th of June, 1964 in
6 Rasinja municipality of Knin. Completed elementary education in Kosovo
7 and secondary mechanical engineering school in Knin. Mechanical
8 technician by occupation. So far has worked at the Tvik in Knin and
9 started working in the district prison on the 17th of August, 1991. Has a
10 total of eight years of working service. Stevo lives with his parents in
11 his family home in Rasinja and has been working as the operator of basic
12 records of the main register in the district prison in Knin.
13 Q. Do you recognise this person?
14 A. That is me.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: On behalf of the interpreter, I must protest that
16 you guys are very fast. Please slow down. Sorry, Mr. Plejo.
17 THE WITNESS: [English] I'm sorry.
18 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the witness was
19 reading his own record, that is why he went through it so quickly, and he
20 has apologised, and I apologise on his behalf. Thank you.
21 Q. So this person under 10, that is you, Mr. Plejo. You are
22 indicated as working in the district prison in Knin as of the 17th of
23 August, 1991?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And that you were also the keeper of the central register, of the
1 central records, right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. When it says here that you were the keeper of the central
4 register, whose records were those?
5 A. Of the district prison in Knin.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we can now remove
8 this document from the screen. We no longer need it.
9 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: I'm sorry, Mr. Milovancevic, there seems to be a
10 discrepancy between the paragraph 9 that is on the document and what was
11 read by the interpreter towards the end. Some of what is on the
12 transcript is not on the document.
13 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, for
14 this warning. Can I ask the witness by leave to read this again slowly?
15 Or to confirm that the data given under item 10 actually does refer to
16 him? I'm not quite sure whether I understood your suggestion.
17 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Sorry, my mistake.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: She was looking at the wrong passage.
19 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Yes, I was. I must confess. My apologies are
20 in order.
21 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you, Your
23 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Yes. I stand corrected. It is there.
24 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. You said that Jovica Novakovic was the chief of the guard service
1 in the district prison of Knin until the end of 1991 or early 1992 and who
2 replaced him?
3 A. After him, Ilija Tauz occupied that post.
4 Q. Who was that person, and why did he come? Was there a specific
5 reason for that?
6 A. Ilija Tauz worked in the district prison in Zagreb. He was the
7 chief of the guards there. And because of the goings on in Croatia, I
8 believe that he had been retired early. At any rate, they had gotten rid
9 of all Serbs in all the prisons in whatever way. The way wasn't
10 important. I'm sorry, what was your second question?
11 Q. Thank you. So you said Mr. Tauz was the chief of the guards in
12 the district prison in Zadar. How did he come to be hired in the Knin
13 district prison. He was a retired worker you say. Did he accept this
15 A. I asked him to accept this position. I was not happy with the
16 work of the previous chief of the guards.
17 Q. Thank you. Did you ask that of him in your capacity of warden
18 of the district prison? Or ...
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Maybe your question may clear up my point.
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. So you said you were not happy with his work and you were looking
22 for a different person. In what capacity were you doing that?
23 A. Well, I apologise. I've omitted something. I was not happy with
24 his work, and I went to see the minister, and I told him that I was not
25 satisfied with his work and I explained why I was not satisfied with it.
1 Having heard me, the minister, and I'm referring to minister Matkovic,
2 having heard my reasons, he said that: No problem. I shall replace him,
3 because he was the only person that could replace him. I couldn't do
4 that. But before that, we have to find another man, and I've heard of Mr.
5 Tauz that he worked in Zadar as -- that he was very strict chief of the
6 guards while steady head of that service. He was a very good
7 professional. So I looked him up at the instructions of Mr. Matkovic and
8 I asked him to come -- I asked him whether he wanted to come and be chief
9 of guards in our prison in Knin.
10 Well, he waivered for a while. He wouldn't accept it readily, but
11 I thought that I would be able to persuade him. So I went to see the
12 minister again. I gave him this telephone number and the minister called
13 him up and told him to come and see him in his -- the minister's office.
14 And Mr. Tauz did so and, probably with the greater authority that he
15 wielded, Mr. Matkovic managed to persuade him to assume this post as the
16 chief of the guards.
17 Q. Yes. Thank you. But you have to answer my question. Why were
18 you not satisfied with the work of Jovica Novakovic, the chief of the
19 guards, and you were the warden of the prison there?
20 A. When he was appointed chief of the guards, I told him that it was
21 his duty to be in charge of the guards and to only mind the guard
22 business. He had free reign as far as that was concerned from me. I told
23 him: Should any guard misbehave in the sense of violating our law, the
24 law, the enforcement of criminal and misdemeanor sanctions, that was the
25 name of the law, he should, by all means, come to me and I will take the
1 necessary steps, meaning punishment, suspension, dismissal, et cetera.
2 But he didn't abide by this.
3 I was once informed that two guards had not treated some
4 prisoners, were slapping them about in his presence. He wasn't doing the
5 slapping, but he was present and did nothing to prevent that.
6 Q. Thank you. You have explained that he didn't do anything to
7 prevent it, but did he inform you about it?
8 A. No. He didn't even inform me about it, and I got this from a
9 different source, this information.
10 Q. How did you come by such information?
11 A. Well, it was my custom to tour the premises, the rooms in which
12 the prisoners were being held in custody, and it was also my custom to go
13 into the rooms and talk to those people and they would confide in me if
14 they had been -- if anything had been remiss they would inform me about
15 it. And I had the habit of going into the rooms and talking to the people
16 directly myself. And they told me that that had happened.
17 Q. With regard to this particular case, did you also relate it in
18 this way to Mr. Matkovic?
19 A. Yes, I did.
20 Q. And he agreed that a new chief of the guards should be placed in
21 the stead, that the old chief of the guards should be replaced by a new
23 A. Yes, that's correct.
24 Q. When did Mr. Tauz assume his post in the district prison?
25 A. That was early in January, 1992. The former chief was
1 automatically -- immediately, rather, replaced and several days thereafter
2 Mr. Tauz showed up for work.
3 Q. Did you follow the work of Mr. Tauz as chief of the guards and
4 were you satisfied with it?
5 A. I did follow his work and I was absolutely happy with it.
6 Q. What is -- what are you guided by when you say that you were
7 absolutely happy with his work?
8 A. Well, I told him the same thing that I had told the previous chief
9 of guards, that he had only to keep tabs on the guard, to control the
10 guard. Everything else, material supplies, medical requirements,
11 clothing, vehicles, all such requirements were my duty and I would see to
12 that; that his only task was to be a chief of the guards by the book.
13 Q. And what was the -- what was the duty of the guards in the
14 district prison of Knin?
15 A. Well, it depended on the particular post, but the task of the
16 guards were to perform their duty in keeping with the law on the
17 enforcement of criminal and misdemeanor sanctions. If you want me to say
18 something very concrete to secure the prison building, to escort people to
19 trial, or to escort people deprived of their freedom to hospital, if that
20 was necessary, and such other duties.
21 Q. In the Knin district prison in the time under review, were there
22 house rules that were applicable?
23 A. Yes, we drew up house rules list, which was an in-house list of
24 rules to be abided by in the prison.
25 Q. Did those house rules prescribe which staff members had which
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. If you were happy with the work of Mr. Tauz, does it mean he
4 worked differently than the previous chief of guards?
5 A. He was much stricter with his guards and if an incident would
6 happen, he would, as a rule, immediately inform me.
7 Q. When you received notification of an incident, what was your duty
8 and what were the duties of others?
9 A. It was my duty to institute disciplinary proceedings against the
10 person, the offender, in fact.
11 Q. Did such proceedings actually take place while you were there?
12 A. Yes. Maybe ten cases.
13 Q. What kind of offences gave rise to such proceedings? I don't mean
14 the names of offenders, but what kind of offences?
15 A. Failure to report regularly for the shift and excessive use of
16 force. Those were the two most common reasons, although there were
18 Q. What were those disciplinary proceedings like? What possibilities
19 were open to you?
20 A. I had forgotten to mention that the warden of the prison had set
21 up and appointed the disciplinary commission complete with a chairman, and
22 this disciplinary panel or commission would handle the proceedings.
23 However, if the warden of the prison was unhappy with the decision of the
24 panel, he had the last word. He would take the final decision.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: By warden, you mean yourself? When you say the
1 warden had a disciplinary commission and if the warden was not happy with
2 the decision, the warden decided himself. This warden is yourself? It
3 was yourself at the time?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes, Your Honour.
5 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. What measures were available to the disciplinary panel under the
8 A. Reprimand; fine deductible from the salary; suspension, that is
9 temporary removal from work; and finally dismissal, depending on the
10 gravity of the offence.
11 Q. Did you have occasion to actually take all of these kinds of
13 A. Certainly.
14 Q. Did you remember that one of the offences against roles of service
15 was, in your words, excessive use of force?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. What did excessive use of force mean, in a prison environment?
18 A. The law on the execution of punishment for criminal and offences
19 and misdemeanors prescribed that a guard was allowed to use force only
20 against a prisoner who was offering resistance, and in no other case.
21 Q. Thank you. Did you observe that rule and did your employees do
22 the same?
23 A. I certainly did and those among my staff who did not were
24 subjected to disciplinary measures.
25 Q. You said one of the possibilities was suspension. What did that
2 A. Well, that meant temporary removal from work. And you know how it
3 goes. Later on, we would look at all of the options and what can be done,
4 whether there were other guards available for hire. Then the offender
5 would be dismissed. If there was no alternative staff member, then the
6 offender would be reinstituted three or six months later after receiving a
7 strict caution never to repeat the offence.
8 Q. Does what you say mean that maltreatment of detained persons was
9 absolutely prohibited by the law?
10 A. Certainly. The guards were only required to observe the law and
11 house rules and the law on criminal sanctions.
12 Q. Was your conduct at the district prison in Knin supervised by any
14 A. Yes, it was already the beginning of 1992 and almost every week we
15 would have representatives of the International Red Cross visiting the
17 Q. Did ICRC representatives actually have access to the prisoners?
18 Could they talk to them?
19 A. They always had the opportunity to talk to them, sometimes they
20 would come announced, sometimes unannounced. But no matter what, we would
21 always give them access to the prisoners and they could talk with them
22 unsupervised by the staff. They could talk to the prisoners without any
23 of the staff members of the prison being present.
24 Q. Did ICRC representatives supply you, as the warden, with copies of
25 their findings or reports after making such interviews with prisoners?
1 A. After they completed their tour of the prison, they would come to
2 see me. They would never give me any copies of reports or findings, but
3 they would verbally share their comments with me.
4 Q. What were those comments about?
5 A. Almost all of them had to do with the material side of things. I
6 had a hard time explaining to them that whatever difficulties we had in
7 the prison concerning hygiene and some other things, they were common to
8 the rest of the population, outside the prison.
9 Q. Does that mean that hygiene was the greatest problem?
10 A. Well, if prisoners had access to the bathroom twice a week, they
11 would require it four times a week. But it was difficult. The technical
12 possibilities available did not allow us to meet their requirements, but
13 whenever we could, we did. We had only two bathrooms in the prison.
14 Q. Could we see Exhibit 905. Could we see the left top copy,
15 close-up, so the witness can read it. Can you see what kind of document
16 this is, Mr. Plejo?
17 A. This is the list of employees of the district prison of Knin,
18 including the positions. It's basically a list of staff.
19 Q. Could we just see the end of the document as well. All of it. We
20 see there is headings, various titles of staff: Supervisors, senior
21 guards, guards, junior guards and last, policemen. Can you see that?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Do these titles actually reflect the actual positions held by
24 staff for the district prison?
25 A. Yes. All of these people actually worked at the prison, with the
1 proviso that you have two categories of guards: Guards and junior guards,
2 or guards on a trial period. I already explained that we had a shortage
3 of guards.
4 These guards on the trial period were people who had completed
5 secondary education, but did not complete specialised course for guards.
6 And in category five were policemen who had worked previously as policemen
7 in Croatia but had been dismissed. Let's look for instance at number 1,
8 Vujo Kusalo. That was precisely his case.
9 And the others, together with him, had expressed their wish to
10 work at the district prison in Knin. And I thought it made more sense to
11 hire an experienced policeman rather than somebody in category 5. In
12 other words, I preferred to hire a professional policeman than, let's say,
13 a carpenter.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: On this date, the date of 19th of October, 1992,
15 were you normally employed at this place? Were you normally the warden?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Which date, excuse me?
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: On the 19th of October, 1992. If you look at the
18 first page of this document, the "Republic of Serbia Krajina, Knin
19 district prison, Knin, 19 October, 1992". On that date, were you still
20 the warden?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's possible. Sometime around
22 that time I stopped working as warden. Maybe in March or April, 1992 a
23 new warden came, a man we had found, Nikola Ljubojevic who had earlier
24 worked in the Lepoglava prison. And now we come back to what I said
25 earlier when I said to the minister that I was not really eager to work as
1 a warden. And I stayed on until we found somebody.
2 So we found this Nikola Ljubojevic who had worked in Lepoglava
3 prison. However he left only two days later for some family reason. His
4 daughter had found an apartment in Serbia and the minister, again, asked
5 me to stay on until we found a new warden.
6 So for a while, maybe from March 1992 until April I was acting
7 warden. That is from March or April until August 1992. And only in
8 August was I replaced by Nikola Lubavice [as interpreted] as a warden.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: The first one was Nikola Ljubojevic and now it is
10 Nikola Lubavice.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Right.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm just mentioning this, Mr. Milovancevic, because
13 I don't see a warden listed on this list. And this is a list of employees
14 of the Knin district prison and it doesn't mention a warden. It doesn't
15 mention the position. It doesn't mention the person employed as a warden.
16 That's the only reason I was asking the question.
17 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. If I
18 may assist the Trial Chamber. In Serbia, sometimes we make a distinction
19 between worker and employee. This is a list of workers, and the warden is
20 an employee of the prison. That is a slight linguistic difference, that's
21 why he is not listed as a worker. I hope I have helped you understand.
22 JUDGE HOEPFEL: So guards, supervisors, like Mr. Ilija Tauz would
23 be regarded a worker, not an employee? Mr. Milovancevic or Witness, can
24 you answer that question? The guard supervisor who is contained in this
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can I ask, sir? I've already said
2 earlier that warden is a position --
3 JUDGE HOEPFEL: No, that is not my question.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- subject to an appointment.
5 JUDGE HOEPFEL: The guard supervisor, I was referring to Ilija
6 Tauz who is the number 1 on this list, you may see it still on the screen.
7 My question was, if this position of the guard supervisor in this case was
8 the position of an employee or of a worker. Do you know the difference?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Both worker and employee. Well, in
10 my book it's the same.
11 JUDGE HOEPFEL: For you it seems to be the same, but you are not a
12 lawyer yourself, so it's a term of labour law, of course, and I didn't
13 want to ask you any legal question. But so it is not such a common
14 distinction as it is in some countries. In my country we have this
15 distinction between employees and workers and in other countries they
16 reformed that by calling everybody employees. You don't make that
17 difference in daily life probably, so you cannot really answer that
18 question, can you?
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: May I ask now question. Mr. Plejo, you indicated
20 that Jovica Novakovic was the chief guard until end of 1991, early 1992
21 and he was replaced by Ilija Tauz, but he's listed here with Ilija Tauz as
22 of October 1992, as both supervisors. Both of them are supervisors. You
23 realise that? So he really didn't replace Jovica.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it says supervisors
25 here, which are titles like a first-class police officer, or I don't know
1 how it is with you, but the chief of the guards is elected from among the
2 supervisors. There can be 50 supervisors or superintendents, but one,
3 only one of them shall be elected to be the chief of the guards. The
4 chief of the guards service would be the best one from among them.
5 So here it says supervisors, so that is more like a rank,
7 JUDGE HOEPFEL: The chief of these among the supervisors was
8 elected by the Minister of Justice?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
10 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Okay.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Didn't -- again, you may correct me here -- didn't
12 you say that after you complained to the minister that Jovica Novakovic be
13 dismissed, that you then went and looked for a replacement and that Ilija
14 Tauz had been -- had been resigned or dismissed in Croatia and he had
15 experience. And you looked for him and you brought him in to come and
16 replace Jovica Novakovic. Isn't that what you said?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I said that I was not
18 satisfied with him and Jovica Novakovic was replaced, having been
19 suspended from work for a while. And then Ilija Tauz was appointed in his
20 stead. Novakovic was reinstated later, but in a lower position.
21 He never was the warden or the chief of the prison, the chief of
22 the guards. As regards their actual ranks, I could not strip them of
23 their ranks or promote them to a higher one. These are the ranks
24 indicated here, the day acquired, their schools.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: I think we are talking at cross-purposes. My
1 understanding of your testimony was that Jovica Novakovic was the chief of
2 the guards until the -- you said in your own words, end 1991, early 1992,
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: And you said that because you were not happy, you
6 got him dismissed. Then you had to go and look for a replacement and you
7 found out that Ilija Tauz had left his job in Croatia. I don't know
8 whether dismissed or resigned. That's why I say "left." And then you
9 brought him in. Am I right in that?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You are right, but I did not say
11 that Jovica Novakovic had been dismissed. He had been replaced as chief
12 of the prison. And he was reinstated in a lower position. The
13 designations which appear here, this is only with reference to their
14 salaries, under Roman numeral 1, it says supervisors, rather than chief of
15 the prison guards.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Chief of prison, you meant also
17 chief of the guards, before? Just a minute ago you said chief of the
18 prison. You were --
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is what I meant, right. So I
20 meant, when I said the chief of the prison, I meant the chief of the
21 prison guards, yes.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let me try to put my question again. Are you
23 saying -- or let me find out. When Jovica was replaced as chief of the
24 guards, he was not dismissed? Is that what you are saying?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was not laid off. He was not
1 dismissed. He had only been suspended from work for a while, and was
2 later given a lower position. No longer the position of the chief of the
3 guards, but he occupied a lower position and had duties pertaining to that
4 lower rank.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. You may proceed, Mr. Milovancevic. I am not
6 finding what I am looking for.
7 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. We shall try to obtain an answer, Mr. Plejo. These remarks under
9 Roman numerals, one, two, three, four and five, are these -- what are
10 these designations of ranks or titles of specific functions in the prison?
11 A. These are ranks, like in the army when you have a General or a
12 Colonel, these are the ranks.
13 Q. Thank you. Under Roman numeral one, we have the supervisors of
14 the guard. And do you see that?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. These are -- there are three names there. Is this fact that
17 Jovica Novakovic is indicated as a guard supervisor, does it mean that he
18 is the warden, the chief of the prison guards?
19 A. It doesn't mean that.
20 Q. Who was the chief of the prison guards?
21 A. Ilija Tauz was.
22 Q. Does that mean that from among these three guard supervisors, the
23 minister was to decide which one would be appointed as chief of the prison
25 A. Yes, that is what it means. I --
1 Q. I don't know how else to try to explain this.
2 A. Of course you will -- you have to elect the chief of the prison
3 guards not from among the probationers but from among those with the next
4 highest rank and I hope that that is clear.
5 JUDGE HOEPFEL: May I ask one thing which is not yet clear to me.
6 We were talking about the time when this document was produced. This was
7 in, I think, late August 1992, wasn't it? Then you explained that you
8 were maybe yourself at this time no warden any more.
9 Could you explain to us if you then left this position and never
10 came back as a warden or in any function in this prison? Or was it only a
11 short term programme and then you continued working there?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I explained a while ago
13 that I asked the minister, it not being my ambition to be the prison
14 warden, I asked the minister to find a solution, to find a person to
15 appoint to that position, the position of prison warden.
16 This was in March or April 1992, a man by the name of Nikola
17 Kukavica was appointed prison warden. Can I go on?
18 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Yes. You then explained about this interim period
19 where you were acting chief or acting warden, until August and this was
20 then -- and then continue with for the rest of the period.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So when Kukavica left for reasons
22 known to him, the minister reappointed me, or rather, he asked me to serve
23 in the interim period as acting prison warden until he found the right
24 person. So for another two or three months, I was acting prison warden
25 until Nikola Ljubojevic came, who was then appointed prison warden, and
1 this was perhaps on the -- in September or October 1992. And since that
2 time I worked as the keeper of the central records.
3 JUDGE HOEPFEL: In the same institution?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, in the same one.
5 JUDGE HOEPFEL: How long did you do that?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Until the 4th of August, 1995.
7 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you. You may continue. That saves us some
8 time, you know. This is why I'm asking these questions now, as it's in
9 connection with the others. Please, I'm finished.
10 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you. Just one question. Would this
11 document reflect the demotion of Jovica Novakovic and what rank would he
12 have been demoted to.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is not what this document states.
14 This is just a list of workers by rank. This document does not indicate
15 the actual work posts of the persons indicated.
16 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Yes. So what rank was he demoted to? You
17 mentioned the fact that he was suspended for a while and then he was
18 returned to work and demoted, I believe. Sorry. You mentioned -- let me
19 repeat. That he was suspended for a while and then returned to work and
20 demoted. Is that not the evidence? So I am asking, what rank was he
21 demoted to?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I've explained that I
23 couldn't either promote or demote him, in terms of his rank. I could give
24 him a lower position within the prison structure. He no longer was the
25 chief of the prison guards. I just gave him a lower work post within the
1 prison structure.
2 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Very well. Point taken. What lower position
3 did he receive?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Just a supervisor in charge of a
5 group or to escort people to court. There is a job description that
6 corresponded to his rank, but he no longer was the chief of the prison
8 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you very much.
9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Can you tell us what were the house rules like in prison? Where
11 was there avail? What about the meals, baths, medical care? Let me not
12 put to you all of the specific questions. Can you just give us a brief
14 A. That was precisely what was prescribed by the house rules. We
15 would get up in the morning at 6 o'clock, have breakfast at 7. There were
16 three meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner. And we were served meals as
17 everybody else. They were served meals, the same meals as the employed.
18 The baths would be taken twice a week, as far as I can remember. And the
19 doctor came occasionally to visit; I believe, initially, twice a week.
20 And later we hired a medical nurse who was on the permanent staff and was
21 there on all day duty.
22 If the doctor only prescribed some therapy for some patients, if
23 he felt that that was necessary, he would do so and he would also order
24 persons taken to hospital, if he thought such treatment was required.
25 Q. Thank you. When you said that the prisoners did not make their
1 own food, but that it was supplied to them, what was the situation?
2 A. It was supplied to them.
3 Q. Where was that food prepared?
4 A. Initially we received food from all over the place, as it were.
5 We sometimes asked the army to give us food, and then the police. And
6 later, we set up our own kitchen and hired, I believe, two lady cooks and
7 actually equipped the entire kitchen to be able to cater to our own needs
8 and we had professional chefs employed.
9 Q. Thank you. What kinds of uniforms did the prison guards have?
10 A. Well, they mainly wore their own, because we were not -- because
11 of the -- our financial constraints which prevented us from buying them,
12 so special uniforms.
13 Q. You said something that might be confusing, and you said something
14 which might be misconstrued. What do you mean "in their own". What does
15 that mean?
16 A. That means that they wore the clothing that they had at the moment
17 of detention. They would wear what they had at the moment of detention.
18 Q. I see that you didn't understand my question. I didn't ask you
19 what were the uniforms of the inmates, but of the guards. That is what I
21 A. The guards wore blue uniforms, mainly uniforms like those worn
22 before the war by prison guards.
23 Q. Thank you. Were those uniforms identical to the policemen's
25 A. No, they were not identical to those.
1 Q. For a while you were the keeper of the central records. Does that
2 mean that the prison maintained the central records unit?
3 A. Yes, of course it did.
4 Q. What did a detainee or a person on the premises of the prison have
5 to have of documents? Did they have to hold any documents?
6 A. A person had to have a decision from the competent court covering
7 his detention, accounting for his detention. If it was a petty offence,
8 that would be a decision issued by the municipal petty offences or
9 misdemeanors court. In cases of criminal offences, then it would be a
10 decision of the district court in Knin or another competent court. At any
11 rate, every person, every inmate had to have a document accounting for his
12 or her detention.
13 Q. Who decided whether someone would be placed in the premises of the
14 Knin district prison?
15 A. The Courts made such decisions.
16 Q. Could you admit someone to hospital -- or to prison, sorry, and
17 release him from prison on your own initiative?
18 A. No. We could not do that at all. We could only admit persons to
19 prison on the basis of a decision of a competent court, and once that
20 court brought the decision of releasing the person, we would do so.
21 Q. Thank you. You referred to different categories of people. You
22 said some people who were convicted by misdemeanors judge and then by
23 those under investigation and -- were they altogether?
24 A. No. They were not. We had three groups of persons deprived of
25 liberty, and we sought to separate -- we didn't seek. We practiced to
1 separate those three groups. Those convicted of misdemeanors were in one
2 section, criminally persecuted -- prosecuted persons were in yet another
3 part. And prisoners of war of Croat ethnicity were in a third section.
4 Q. Thank you. Does that mean that these three groups or persons
5 could not or could intermingle and have mutual contact?
6 A. No, they could not have mutual contact.
7 Q. Thank you. As the keeper of the central register, did you prepare
8 reports and submit data on inmates and on the status of the central
9 registry to, for instance, the Ministry of Justice and Administration?
10 A. Yes. We mainly prepared monthly or annual reports. The annual
11 report being a broader one, encompassing all of the persons staying in the
12 prison, all of the inmates. And indicating on what grounds they were
13 there, and such information.
14 Q. So you say the annual report of the central register operator was
15 a broader one, but where did you get that input? On the basis of what
16 information did you prepare such reports?
17 A. I had a log. I had a logbook. All of those who would be brought
18 into the district prison in Knin would have their documents stating on
19 what grounds they were being brought there, and I would enter that into
20 the register, their names, the competent court, the issuing authority of
21 the detention order, et cetera.
22 Q. Thank you. Were those acts, those documents, decisions of the
23 court indicate the actual criminal offence, the punishment and the
24 other -- and the rest?
25 A. Yes, they did.
1 Q. Can we please look at Exhibit 908. Do you recognise this
2 document? Can we see it a bit closer up, please.
3 A. The report of the central record keeper for 1994, I suppose that's
4 the one we are talking about. I suppose I drafted it although I would
5 have to see the signature.
6 Q. Can we look at page 3 in B/C/S, that is the last page of this
7 report. And in B/C/S, the last digits of the ERN number are 6267. That's
8 page 2. We need the one behind that. Page 3. We see the date at the
9 bottom and on the right-hand side the name and signature. Can you read
11 A. Knin, 31st of December, 1994 and there is my name and signature.
12 Q. Does that mean that you are the author of the report?
13 A. Certainly.
14 Q. At the top we see it reads like this: "At the district prison in
15 Knin, in the course of 1994, there were -- there were no cases of
16 self-mutilation by inmates. We also note that there were no cases of
17 murder or suicide. And we did not have any cases of escape".
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry. Where are you reading?
19 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, excuse me. That
20 is just above the signature, four or five lines above the signature. It
21 should be the penultimate paragraph, two brief sentences. So the
22 paragraph begins with the words: "At the district prison in Knin, in the
23 course of 1994."
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: The English is slightly different. Okay, fine.
25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm so sorry. I see they say there were "no cases
2 of self-inflicted wounds at the Knin district prison in 1994. Also there
3 were no cases of homicide or suicide". Is that it?
4 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Correct.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] That is correct, Your Honour.
7 Thank you.
8 Q. Witness, you said you had insight into this information.
9 A. Yes, I did.
10 Q. Could we say about the district prison in Knin that it was an
11 installation for short-term or long-term detention with a purpose of
12 abuse, torture or even killing of people just on the grounds of their
14 A. No. Certainly not. It was just a regular prison, and there were
15 no cases of the kind you mentioned.
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] We have almost reached the end
17 of my examination. I have only two or three brief questions left.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Maybe just ask them, could you? Do not forget
19 Judge Nosworthy has to go.
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I meant to continue tomorrow,
21 because I suppose my colleague from the Prosecution will have questions
22 and you too as the Trial Chamber. That was my meaning. I have only two
23 or three questions and I will ask them tomorrow morning.
24 JUDGE HOEPFEL: One very short question. What do you mean by the
25 words "it was a regular prison." Do you know other prisons? Or how come
1 you say -- what is a regular prison, in your eyes?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not use the word regular in
3 Serbian. I meant it was a real prison of the only type that usually
4 existed everywhere. It was the only one in Knin municipality. There was
5 another district prison in Glina and a district prison in Beli Manastir.
6 In Glina there was also a correctional facility for convicts. Those were
7 the three district prisons that were in operation.
8 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was no other kind of prison
10 that could possibly exist.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. We have come to the end of
12 the day. The matter will stand adjourned until tomorrow morning at 9
13 o'clock. Court adjourned.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 21st day of
16 September, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.