1 Wednesday, 11 October 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.22 p.m.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good afternoon. The Trial Chamber apologises for
6 coming in late. Apparently some messages were sent through to some of the
7 Judges that we were starting a bit late.
8 I asked that the witness be not brought in because there is just
9 one urgent matter that we need to deal with. I don't like doing this in
10 between -- during the testimony of a witness, but the Trial Chamber had
11 hoped to do this yesterday. There wasn't any time, and I think it should
12 be done now.
13 This is in relation to the Defence motion for protective measures
14 for Witness MM-117.
15 Shall we -- does this need private session? Yes, it does.
16 May we move into private session, please?
17 Thank you, Judge.
18 [Private session]
17 [Open session]
18 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we are back in open session.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
20 [The witness entered court]
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good afternoon, sir. Once again, I remind you that
22 you are still bound by the declaration you made at the beginning of your
23 testimony to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing else but the
24 truth. Okay?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good afternoon.
2 Mr. Whiting.
3 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 WITNESS: NIKOLA MEDAKOVIC [Resumed]
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 Cross-examination by Mr. Whiting: [Continued]
7 Q. Good afternoon, sir. I've moved over here not to confuse you or
8 to make you turn further, but just because I thought I might have better
9 luck with the computer.
10 When we broke yesterday we were talking about events in Saborsko
11 on the 5th of August, 1991. And at the beginning of the cross-examination
12 yesterday you agreed that by the summer of 1991 there were Serb forces,
13 meaning police, TO, and JNA units, in both Plaski and Plitvice on both
14 sides of the villages of Saborsko, Vukovici, and Poljanak. Do you
15 remember that testimony?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And you would agree with me, would you not, that in August 1991 in
18 Saborsko there were only some members of the Croatian police or MUP,
19 correct, in terms of armed forces?
20 A. I know for a fact that at that time on the Croatian side all men
21 who were fit to serve in the military were armed, just as on the Serbian
22 side, of course.
23 Q. Okay. But in terms of organised forces, units, there were some
24 policemen in Saborsko, and that's it; correct?
25 A. Everyone was involved in some kind of military organisation. They
1 had units that were called people's defence or national defence. They
2 were armed and most likely paid for that.
3 Q. And on what basis do you say they were most likely paid? Is that
4 just speculation on your part or do you have information on that?
5 A. I have information from talking to people who were captured and
6 who said that from Slunj money would arrive regularly to Saborsko for
7 salaries. That means that before any operations were conducted in
8 Saborsko, they had established MUP, reserve forces of MUP, and units of
9 people's defence. This is what was written on the emblem that they wore.
10 There was that infamous chequer-board and the text "people's defence" on
11 the emblem. I know that for a fact because I brought one such souvenir
13 Q. So you're contending that in August of 1991 the -- all of the men
14 in Saborsko were organised into units? That's your contention?
15 A. They were definitely armed. As for their internal organisation, I
16 can't testify about that.
17 Q. Now, we testified about the targeting of Saborsko that occurred on
18 the 5th of August, 1991. And I will put to you that in fact before August
19 of -- the 5th of August, 1991, and on the 5th of August, 1991, there were
20 no attacks from Saborsko and nobody in Saborsko had done anything to be --
21 had done anything to deserve being called or labelled an Ustasha. Isn't
22 that right, sir?
23 A. No, you're not right.
24 Q. That's fine, sir --
25 A. -- First of all --
1 Q. -- you've answered the question.
2 And I put to you also that Serb forces targeted Saborsko starting
3 on the 5th of August, 1991, and every day -- nearly every day after that
4 not because of provocations, as you claim, but because Saborsko was in the
5 way and the Serb forces wanted to drive the people out of Saborsko and
6 wanted to link up Plaski with the rest of the SAO Krajina. Isn't that
7 right, sir? And you can answer that yes or no. I don't need explanation.
8 A. No, you're not right.
9 Q. And at the end -- at the end of August, 1991, the shelling of
10 Poljanak also began almost on a daily basis. Is that -- do you know
11 anything about that? Can you comment on that either way? Because
12 yesterday you indicated that you don't know about Poljanak or Plitvice.
13 So are you able to comment on whether shelling also began in Poljanak at
14 the end of August 1991?
15 A. In August of 1991, the Serbian Territorial Defence from Plaski had
16 only 82-millimetre mortars. Such mortars could not reach the village of
17 Poljanak from our positions --
18 Q. Sir, I'm going to interrupt you --
19 A. -- that is to say --
20 Q. Sir, I'm going to interrupt you because I think you misunderstood
21 my question. I was not suggesting that Poljanak was being shelled by
22 forces in Plaski. I was merely suggesting -- I was merely putting to you
23 that Poljanak was shelled by Serb forces starting at the end of August
24 1991. Do you know anything about that, sir, yes or no?
25 A. No. We were so far away from Poljanak that I wasn't even able to
1 hear that. I didn't hear any detonations.
2 Q. Okay. I'm going to move into September of 1991. And you
3 testified in your direct examination that some men arrived in Saborsko in
4 September of 1991, and you said that they were -- there were about 200 men
5 and that they armed everybody in Saborsko. Now, first of all, in fact
6 there were only about a hundred men who came in September of 1991. Isn't
7 that true, sir, yes or no?
8 A. As to the first part of your question, based on my information
9 there were 200 of them. I wasn't able to count them, even though I saw
11 Q. And you -- you testified in your direct examination that they
12 armed everybody in Saborsko, but you have said just a moment ago that
13 everybody was already armed in Saborsko in August of 1991. Are you able
14 to reconcile those to statements that you've made?
15 A. Yes, I can, and in a very simple way. I said that they armed
16 Saborsko with heavy weaponry, and then I told you how many mortars and
17 recoilless guns they brought in. They needed crew of several people to
18 service that kind of weaponry.
19 As for August, people at that time were armed, mostly with
20 Kalashnikov, which are considered infantry weapons.
21 If necessary, I will repeat what kind of weapons arrived at that
22 time, based on my information.
23 Q. No, that's not necessary. But in your direct examination, it's at
24 page 8983, you testified that: "They brought infantry weapons for all the
25 remaining population in Saborsko."
1 A. They brought in weaponry. Now, whether I said that that applied
2 to the remaining population, I can't remember. I accept that I might have
3 said that. At any rate --
4 Q. Okay. So which is it? Did the population have -- were they armed
5 with the infantry weapons in August or did -- were they armed in
6 September? You've now given two different versions, so I'll give you a
7 chance to choose which one you want to go with.
8 A. Sir, the activists of the Croatian Democratic Union in Saborsko
9 were armed back in late 1990, as is the case in the entire state of
10 Croatia. The first unit that arrived there, this special unit from
11 Ogulin, established --
12 Q. Sir, I'm going to interrupt you because I just really want an
13 answer to my question.
14 Did -- was the population in Saborsko armed with infantry weapons
15 in August of 1991 or only after the men arrived in September of 1991?
16 Which one, please?
17 A. I didn't say that they were armed in August, that somebody brought
18 weapons to them in August, no. They had been in possession of weapons in
19 late 1990, especially when the check-point was established between
20 the 30th and 31st of March, 1991. Following that, weapons were brought in
21 from many sources. And as for the 25th of September, the remaining
22 population received it. And if somebody had just a hunting rifle, then
23 they received also automatic or semi-automatic rifles too. As I said,
24 everybody was armed, everybody who was fit for military service, as was
25 the case on our side too. I'm not denying that.
1 Q. Well, sir, I'm not sure that you've answered my question, but I
2 think the transcript speaks for itself, and I'll just leave it there and
3 move on in the interests of time.
4 You testified, and this is at 8983 of the transcript, that the
5 arrival of these reinforcements, whether it's a hundred or 200, as you
6 say, in September 1991 "ruined the negotiations that were going on."
7 Do you remember that testimony?
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. Now, on your own account, on your own account between the dates of
10 the 31st of March, 1991, and September of 1991, you have told us that the
11 following things happened in Plaski, among other things: A
12 special-purpose unit of the SAO Krajina police was created; it was trained
13 in Golubic; it received weapons there. The Croat police left Plaski
14 because they wouldn't sign the loyalty oath that they were required to
15 sign to the SAO Krajina. The Serb TO was established in Plaski, and it
16 was armed by the JNA.
17 Now, why don't you say any of those things ruined the
19 A. In everything that you enumerated you said the Serbian Territorial
20 Defence in Plaski. It wasn't called that, and there was some members who
21 were Croats, Croats from Plaski. We felt threatened to a much greater
22 extent from Josipdol than from Saborsko, Josipdol and Ogulin, and it
23 suited us to find a peaceful resolution. There were too few of us to
24 establish a circular defence, and we were cut off from the rest of the
1 Q. Sir, if you could, please, focus on my question. You indicated
2 that the fact that reinforcements arrived in Saborsko in September 1991
3 caused a break-down in the negotiations between -- what you claimed were
4 negotiations between Plaski and Saborsko.
5 My question is: Why wasn't arming and organisation that was
6 occurring on the side of -- your side in Plaski, why didn't -- why don't
7 you say that they also caused or that even more so caused break-down in
9 Are you able to answer that question?
10 A. Are you asking me to give you the Croatian perspective or my
11 perspective in Saborski? I'm telling you that it suited us to find a
12 peaceful settlement in Saborsko and we tried everything. Up until that
13 time, no residents in Saborsko were killed and there were instances of
14 exchange of fire, but nothing serious. This was like that until the end
15 of September. There was still good chances for negotiations.
16 Q. But, sir --
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can I tell you something, Witness. You've just
18 been reminded before you testified this afternoon to tell the truth, the
19 whole truth, and nothing else but the truth, not a Croatian perspective or
20 a Serbian perspective. Okay?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All right, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. And if you have been telling us a
23 Serbian perspective all this time and not the truth, please do tell us.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the --
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, Mr. Milovancevic, I'll ask you to talk to
1 the accused not to make such silly noises in court.
2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I will do that. I
3 myself didn't hear anything.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. I heard something.
5 Have you been telling us a Serbian perspective during your
6 testimony, sir?
7 [Defence counsel and accused confer]
8 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that we
9 may continue. Mr. Martic considered one question to be a leading one, and
10 he waved his head, but he won't do that in the future. Should he have any
11 other comments, he will pass me a note. Thank you.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may I answer your
14 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Sorry, waved his head?
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, I didn't see a waving of the head by
16 Mr. Martic, I heard something, a noise, number one. Number two, I'm not
17 quite sure what a leading question could that have been. The witness is
18 being asked questions -- was being asked questions by the Bench. But
19 anyway, I accept what you say ear saying that he says it will not recur.
20 Judge Nosworthy wanted to say something.
21 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Sorry, I wish to inquiry with the other members
23 of the Trial Chamber. Thank you.
24 [Trial Chamber confers]
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, you may answer my question.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the beginning of my testimony I
2 gave a solemn declaration, and I'm still abiding by it. As for the
3 events, I'm just testifying about the events about which I have personal
4 knowledge and in which I participated.
5 As for this question, I took it that the Prosecutor was requiring
6 me to speculate, as was the case several times in the past. They're
7 asking me to give my assumptions. I can't give you any assumptions now.
8 I can only give you information about my position at the time 15 years ago
9 when I was part of authorities. I can just give you what I know, and then
10 you can draw your own conclusions. I can't change the way things happen,
11 nor do I wish to mislead anybody and make them believe that things
12 happened in a different way. No, I'm just telling you about the events in
13 which I participated.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now -- sorry, just a second.
15 Now, if the Prosecutor is asking you to speculate, all you need to
16 say to him is: Sorry, I will be speculating if I answer that question and
17 I'd rather not speculate. You don't go on to say: Are you asking me to
18 give you the Croatian perspective or my perspective in Saborski? Okay?
19 Which is what you said -- at least that's what was translated to us in the
20 English. Okay. Thank you very much.
21 You may proceed.
22 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. And just to be clear, sir, I never want you to speculate or to
24 guess. Please just tell me what you know; and if you don't know the
25 answer, just tell me you don't know.
1 Now, I'm going to try to rephrase the question I put to you
2 concerning the negotiations, the so-called negotiations, because you --
3 it's your testimony that they broke down because these reinforcements
4 arrived in Saborsko. Was it your view at that time that on your side,
5 that is the Serb side, in Plaski you had a right to arm yourselves and
6 organise yourselves and train and create formations, but the Serbs in -- I
7 mean the Croats in Saborsko did not have that right? And that's why you
8 say that the negotiations broke down when they had reinforcements brought
9 in in September of 1991?
10 A. Once again, there is several questions in one question. It's not
11 clear to me. What are you referring to? Are you asking me whether they
12 had the right to arm themselves? Is that the question? I apologise, but
13 it's just not clear to me.
14 Q. That's fine, that's fine. And you've done the right thing. If
15 it's not clear to you, then just tell me.
16 I guess my question is: Why do you say that the negotiations
17 broke down when reinforcements arrived in Saborsko? Why did that cause
18 negotiations to break down?
19 A. The reinforcements that arrived in Saborsko on their way to
20 Saborsko in Glibodolski Kriz, they captured our guards, several policemen,
21 several civilians, and the late Major Milan Boca. They also cut off the
22 road where I was. By some chance they didn't capture me personally.
23 These people that they captured and taken to Saborsko were beaten
24 and mistreated. After these people were exchanged for some Croats that we
25 captured on the following night, it was impossible to recognise
1 Milan Boca. He personally told me who beat him, how, and why.
2 As for the prisoners from Saborsko who were captured by us, they
3 were not mistreated, absolutely not. And once the blood is shed, then it
4 is very difficult to, once again, re-establish negotiations. It takes a
5 lot of years for that to happen. This man was beaten only because he was
6 a JNA major in retirement and because they link him to me.
7 Q. Well, in fact the men who were arrested on your side were Vlado
8 Vukovic, Ivica Vukovic, and Nijaz Poric. Those were the men you're
9 referring to who were captured from Saborsko and arrested on your side;
11 A. Once again, I have to give you a more detailed answer.
12 These three people you mentioned remained on our side after the
13 exchange, because they were captured after the exchange. And before them
14 there were three or four men who had been captured for nine of our people.
15 This was an all-for-all exchange.
16 As for this group of people who had been sent to cut off the road
17 between Slunj and Saborsko, they captured the three men that you mentioned
18 and they were brought to Plaski on the evening of the day when the
19 exchange had taken place in Licka Jesenica. I remember that I thought it
20 unusual that the third gentleman was not from Saborsko; he was a Muslim by
21 ethnicity. And I kept wondering how come he was in Saborsko at all.
22 Q. And with respect to Vlado Vukovic, he was detained at the Plaski
23 police station for approximately 12 days, he was beaten by Martic's
24 police, and he -- you, in fact, you yourself beat him with a belt. Isn't
25 that true, sir? You're smiling.
1 A. Sir, what I heard just now is not in good taste. I never beat any
2 prisoner. That evening when Vlado Vukovic arrived and the other two men,
3 the man who captured him was called Drago Jovanovic, and he invited him to
4 his birthday and -- to his birthday party. And they wanted to release
5 them after that. And I said: We will not release them. We will take
6 them to Korenica because there are other captured Serbs.
7 This Vlado Vukovic attended the birthday party and sat at the
8 table and ate together with other invitees. They had gone to Slunj
9 earlier, several days earlier, to attend another birthday party. It was
10 not a mission, no. They went to a birthday party. And this is the truth
11 about Vlado Vukovic. He likes to play the role of a victim --
12 Q. Sir, sir --
13 A. -- he -- I'm just explaining to you how come he's giving false
15 Q. Sir, if you could just limit yourself -- please not comment on his
16 testimony. Just provide your own testimony, please.
17 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Just at that point, would he still have been in
18 detention at the birthday parties? It seems somewhat strange and curious.
19 Was he attended by persons who were keeping him in detention or what was
20 the nature of it?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is a bit of a strange case, but
22 it's true. They were not tied. We did not have a prison in Plaski. We
23 just had a small police station, and the facility was very small. There
24 was an area behind the stairs that they used as detention, and there was
25 no -- no proper detention facility.
1 I saw Vlado Vukovic that first night, and then he was transferred
2 to some other police force. I don't think that he spent 12 days there. I
3 know that he was transferred to Korenica soon thereafter, and I don't know
4 what happened to him afterwards, probably the same thing that happened to
5 other prisoners.
6 As for Plaski, that evening I didn't beat him. I talked to him
7 and I especially talked to the Muslim gentleman, because I was
8 particularly interested in learning how many other people like them there
9 were. They said that they had arrived from Karlovac and other places, and
10 then I asked him how come there were any Muslims in Saborsko. And he said
11 that his wife was from there originally and that he had come to defend his
13 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you. But at the birthday party or
14 parties, he could not just have walked away from there?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. He was still our prisoner. But
16 I told you, just to explain, that there was no mistreatment --
17 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: [Previous translation continues] ... Thank you.
18 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, I don't understand, I just want to get -- do
20 I understand you to be saying, sir, that you -- you - when I say "you," I
21 mean your unit there - attended parties with people that they had arrested
22 or you just allowed him to go alone to a party and then come back? What
23 happened? He's detained, then he goes to a party; I don't understand
24 this. Is that ...
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were brought to the police
1 station in Plaski. We interviewed them. They were arrested by three
2 people who had spent three days in the forest. That was my order, because
3 we needed prisoners were exchange, and I told my men: Don't come back
4 without prisoners. We had some of our people in Croatian prisons, and
5 they came back after the exchange was completed. So they came to the
6 police station --
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just come to the party issue. While you had them
8 arrested, you went to parties with them? That's just what I want to
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's correct. That's exactly
11 how it was. The man who captured them is called Dragomir Dokmanovic, and
12 he took them to his house. It was a small type of house. He took them
13 there. He was there together with his friends and the prisoners, and
14 after the party he took them back for the night to the police station.
15 They were not tied. There was no mistreatment whatsoever. His house is
16 some 500 to 600 metres from the police station. This is why I felt so bad
17 when I read the transcript from the Milosevic trial in which he accused
18 the residents of Plaski for mistreating him.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... the Milosevic
20 trial. We're here in the Martic trial now, okay? We're dealing with the
21 Martic trial.
22 Now, I think -- am I right to say that earlier you also mentioned
23 that these very detainees went to Slunj? I don't know whether it was for
24 a party also there, but I think you mentioned Slunj. So it's not -- they
25 didn't just go -- yeah. Can you answer, please?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can. Between Saborsko, which
2 was under Croat -- Croatian control, and Slunj, which was also under the
3 Croatian control, there's a road. It was along that road that they were
4 on their way to Slunj, and it was along that road that they were taken
5 prisoner. They were then taken to Plaski across a forest track. I can
6 even show it to you on a map, if you want me to.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: No, no, just listen to my question and answer my
8 question. Did these people also go to Slunj while they were in detention
9 in Plaski, yes or no? Just don't tell me things that I'm not asking you
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No --
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you --
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- they were taken prisoner as they
14 were coming back from Saborsko to Slunj.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Whiting, you may proceed. I'm
17 MR. WHITING: That's fine. Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. Sir, isn't it in fact the case that the reason Vlado Vukovic was
19 taken to that party, if that in fact happened, was it was to show him off
20 as a prisoner, to taunt him, to ridicule him, to parade him? Isn't that
21 in fact what happened, whether in that party or at some other location on
22 that first day. That's what happened, isn't it, sir?
23 A. That's not correct. We wanted to show them that because they had
24 surrendered without putting up resistance --
25 Q. You were just being nice to them to take them to the party. Is
1 that the end of the sentence? You were rewarding them?
2 A. Sir, I have the feeling now that I'm being ridiculed myself here.
3 I'm not sure, Your Honour, if I should respond to such a
4 provocation at all.
5 Q. Sir, I was -- I was not trying to ridicule you in any way. I was
6 simply trying to finish your -- what I thought would be the end of your
7 sentence. You said: "We wanted to show them that because they had
8 surrendered without putting up resistance," and I assumed you were going
9 to say --
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.
11 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the words uttered
12 by the Prosecutor just now amount to his explanation. However, the
13 witness himself was interrupted by the Prosecutor as he was trying to give
14 an answer to a very precise and difficult question, which was why they
15 treated a prisoner this way. He was interrupted in giving his answer and
16 was then given the comment that he was given. Perhaps an intervention
17 from the Bench is not warranted, but nevertheless the Prosecutor should
18 treat the witness fairly as a witness should be treated.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Whiting.
20 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I always try to treat witnesses fairly,
21 and I'm trying to treat this witness as fairly as all others.
22 I did -- it's true, I did interrupt the witness because I was
23 trying -- I'm trying to move on, I'm trying to get through this material.
24 When I saw the first half of the sentence, I thought it might be
25 interesting to have the end, and I thought I knew and so I put it to him.
1 If he disagrees, that's the end of the sentence, he can just tell me. He
2 can just tell me what the end of the sentence was going to be. I'm not
3 trying to create any unfairness or anything here. So I'm happy to just
4 ask him what the end of the sentence was.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. You may proceed.
6 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. So you said we wanted to show -- you took them to the party. "We
8 wanted to show them that because they surrendered without putting up
10 And what were you going to say, sir?
11 A. And that because they cooperated during the interview by providing
12 us accurate and complete information as to who arrived in Saborsko and
13 with what sorts of weaponry, they were not mistreated at all and they were
14 clearly told that they were taken prisoner only with a view to being
15 exchanged and that this was the sole purpose of their capture and that
16 they would be exchanged as soon as possible. I didn't take them to the
17 party. I told you that Dragomir Dokmanovic, also known as Zuja, took them
19 Q. So the answer you've just provided us really had nothing to do
20 with the reason they were taken to the party; correct? You're talking
21 about something else here, about why they were taken prisoner and the
23 A. I told you that they were taken to the birthday party as a reward
24 for the fact that they did not cause us any trouble and for the fact that
25 they cooperated with us.
1 Q. Thank you. Now, let's go back to these negotiations that you
2 described. The demand on your side was that the Croats in Saborsko simply
3 disarmed themselves. You testified that you demanded that the Croats
4 surrender their weapons to the JNA, and then that -- that was your demand
5 in the negotiations; correct?
6 A. Yes. On several occasions the Serbs were called upon to surrender
7 JNA weapons, which they did.
8 Q. Well, in Plaski the -- you told us yesterday that the TO in Plaski
9 was armed by the Serbs in July of 1991 and that the special-purpose unit
10 had been armed. You weren't about -- you weren't going to turn over those
11 weapons, were you? You were simply asking the Croat side to disarm
13 A. Sir, in your question - at least this is how it was interpreted to
14 me - you said that the TO in Plaski was armed by the Serbs. What does
15 this mean? Which Serbs do you mean?
16 Q. Sorry, you're absolutely right. That is exactly what I said and I
17 misspoke. What I meant to say was armed by the JNA.
18 A. Sir, the JNA is superior to the TO, and the most senior JNA
19 officer is the one who decides who will be mobilised and with what means
20 and when. This was in 1991 when there was the JNA and the TO in
21 Yugoslavia. There was nothing else.
22 Q. Sir, by September of 1991 the JNA was openly siding with the Serbs
23 in Croatia; correct?
24 A. You have to tell me whether you're referring to the period prior
25 to September or as of September. Which month do you have in mind and
1 which year? You have to put a precise question to me because you seem to
2 be putting words into my mouth. I'm listening very carefully.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: The question was: By September 1991. Exactly what
4 you're asking for; that's what's contained in the question. The month and
5 the year are given there. What more do you want?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'd say that the case was rather as
7 of September, after the attack by the Croatian forces on the JNA barracks.
8 I believe it was in the month of September that the first JNA barracks
9 fell under the attack of the Croatian forces. As I said, the first one
10 fell in Vukovar, I don't remember the date, but I do remember it was in
12 MR. WHITING:
13 Q. And you say that was in September of 1991?
14 A. Possibly in October. I don't know the exact date, but I'm sure
15 that it took place in Vukovar.
16 Q. But in fact, already on August 26th of 1991, the JNA and the TO
17 and Martic's police, the Serb TO under the authority of the SAO Krajina
18 and Martic's police engaged in a joint military operation in Kijevo. Do
19 you know anything about that, sir?
20 A. I don't know anything about that, sir. All the information I have
21 I learned subsequently.
22 Q. Okay. If you don't know anything about it, that's fine. I'll
23 really move on.
24 Now, let's -- you told -- oh, I'm sorry.
25 JUDGE HOEPFEL: What does that mean, "I don't know anything about
1 that. All the information I have I learned subsequently"?
2 You were asked what you know by today, weren't you?
3 MR. WHITING: Yes, Your Honour, that's correct. Yes.
4 Q. So, sir, when did you learn information about Kijevo?
5 A. I didn't even know where Kijevo was. I had never been in the area
6 or even close to Kijevo in my life. I only knew what --
7 Q. Sir, sir, please listen to the question. You told us that: "All
8 the information I have learned subsequently."
9 When did you learn that information?
10 A. I learnt the information when it was broadcast by the Croatian
11 television, which --
12 Q. What date, sir --
13 A. -- was still available to us at the time.
14 Q. And when was that, what date did you learn that? At the time, in
15 August/September 1991?
16 A. I can't recall that exactly, sir. You're asking me things that
17 happened is a years ago.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please be asked to come closer
19 to the microphones.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Would you please approach the microphones. You
21 cannot be heard by the people who are supposed to interpret.
22 MR. WHITING:
23 Q. Well, sir, if you can't remember the exact date -- I mean, did you
24 learn it at the time, during 1991, or is this something that you learned
1 A. I heard that there was fighting in Kijevo, and I heard it on
2 Croatia television probably at the time the operation took place.
3 However, I still do not have reliable information as to who took part in
4 the operation or the details of it. I heard on television that Kijevo
6 Q. That's fine. Okay. If you don't have reliable information as to
7 who took part, that was my question and I'm happy to move on.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: But the question was: When did you hear this
9 information said. But as to who took part was never part of the question.
10 When did you hear of this information?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Probably at the time the events
12 happened, because the Croatian television broadcast the information on the
13 events as soon as they happened.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: So in fact the information didn't come to you
15 subsequently; it came to you contemporaneously. Is that it?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You have to tell me which piece of
17 information you're referring to exactly. I heard, as everybody else did,
18 that Kijevo fell. I did not listen to what the Croatian propaganda had to
19 say because they referred to us as the Serb Chetniks and the Serb Chetnik
20 armada --
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can you stop there. You have not been talking
22 Chetniks. And don't ask me what information -- you're talking about the
23 information that you said came to you subsequently. You talked about
24 getting information subsequently, and I'm saying to you, therefore, that
25 information didn't come to you subsequently. It came to you
1 contemporaneously with the events.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In his question, Mr. Prosecutor
3 stated --
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Consider my question, sir. Forget about
5 Mr. Prosecutor's questions. I'm talking to you about my question. Did
6 the information come to you contemporaneously or subsequently?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The information concerning the fall
8 of Kijevo was something I received or heard on Croatian television. I did
9 not have either the time to watch Croatian television or the electricity
10 most of the time.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay.
12 You may proceed, Mr. Whiting.
13 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. Now, earlier today you told us that you did not know about events
15 in Poljanak in August of 1991. Does that remain true for September,
16 October, November of 1991, that you do not know anything about what
17 happened in Poljanak?
18 A. No, no. I -- I know nothing of Poljanak. I categorically state
20 Q. Fine. Then I won't put any questions to you about that.
21 Let's move to November of 1991. At the beginning of November of
22 1991, do you -- are you aware that there were some people in Saborsko who
23 were killed by Serb fire on the -- around the 1st of November, 1991? Do
24 you know that?
25 A. No, I don't know anything.
1 Q. Let's talk now about the events leading up to the attack on
2 Saborsko on the 12th of November, 1991.
3 First of all, you were asked about the relative -- in your direct
4 examination, the Defence attorney asked you about the relative strength of
5 the forces in Saborsko in November of 1991, as compared to the forces of
6 the JNA and Plaski -- Plaski units.
7 Now, even accepting that there were 400 fighters in Saborsko,
8 accepting that for a moment, with artillery weapons, you would agree with
9 me that the JNA, the TO, and the police of the SAO Krajina surrounding
10 Saborsko had overwhelming force compared to that?
11 A. I will not agree with that. I can state the exact make-up of
12 units. I know that for a fact --
13 Q. Sir, isn't it true that Tactical Group 2 included an armoured
14 battalion, mixed artillery division, a light infantry division, and that's
15 just the Tactical Group 2, that's not even talking about the
16 5th Partisan Brigade, the TO, the police. Would you agree with that, sir?
17 A. It was interpreted to me as the light infantry artillery
18 battalion. I tell you that this cannot exist at all.
19 Q. So if there's a document which says that Tactical Group 2 included
20 that, you would -- your evidence would be that that document is wrong?
21 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Apparently there is a comma missing, so to say, in
22 what was interpreted to the witness. The question was: Isn't it true
23 that Tactical Group 2 included an armoured battalion, mixed artillery
24 division, a light infantry division," --
25 MR. WHITING: Oh, yes, I understand. Yes, thank you, Your Honour,
1 I had missed that. Right.
2 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Is that clear now to you, Witness? You understand
3 the question now?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, what you have as the
5 mixed artillery unit is the mixed artillery battalion because a division
6 should have several brigades on its strength, at least based on my
7 knowledge of the establishment. So at least it should have some 4.000 to
8 5.000 soldiers. Can you tell me -- or can anyone tell me exactly whether
9 these forces were there? I should have known about them, given that I had
10 lived in the area. Because an artillery battalion, "divizion," would have
11 several batteries and several artillery pieces. A division is quite a
12 different matter altogether.
13 MR. WHITING:
14 Q. So is it then your answer that the Tactical Group 2 did not
15 include these things that I have stated?
16 A. You confused me with -- by mentioning the light infantry division.
17 That's something I never heard of.
18 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may be
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.
21 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I would like to be of
22 assistance, and I'd rather not do that under the heading of an objection.
23 If we look at the document referring to Tactical Group 2, there are
24 acronyms there, and these acronyms in the B/C/S could be interpreted as a
25 division. However, when one looks at all at abbreviations together, MAD
1 is short for the mixed artillery battalion, which only has several
2 batteries on its strength. One of the units which formed part of
3 Tactical Group 2 was a reconnaissance detachment. If the unit indeed had
4 been a division, this particular unit should at least have been on the
5 strength of a company.
6 The question put by the Prosecutor is impossible, both in terms of
7 the military doctrine and linguistically. But I don't want to testify
8 here. Perhaps the Prosecutor should invite the witness to explain what
9 the abbreviations stand for in this document rather than offering an
10 interpretation of them, if you agree, Your Honours.
11 As things stand at the moment, we have a confusion caused which is
12 difficult to clear up later on. I'm saying this because I am aware of the
13 fact that my learned friend may be inadvertently causing confusion.
14 However, as I myself served in the military, as did the witness, I know
15 what these abbreviations stand for and can fully understand them.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic, for trying to clear up
17 and without testifying, but also thank you for your testimony.
18 I think the confusion between the Prosecution and the witness is
19 really no confusion. The witness heard what was interpreted to him
20 as "light infantry artillery." Now, Mr. Whiting had never said anything
21 of the sort, and -- just a second, please. Just a second. Mr. Whiting
22 had heard nothing -- had said nothing of the sort, and that is why Judge
23 Hoepfel tried to draw the attention of both Mr. Whiting and the witness to
24 what Mr. Whiting had said so that the witness could answer. And if you
25 look at what the witness -- what Mr. Whiting had said - I'm trying to get
1 it - it was -- there was absolutely no statement to the effect that there
2 was anything like light infantry -- 24.7.
3 Now, Mr. Whiting said: "Sir, isn't it true that Tactical Group 2
4 included an armoured battalion, mixed artillery division, a light infantry
5 division, and that's just the Tactical Group 2. That's not even talking
6 about the 5th Partisan Brigade, the TO, the police. Would you
7 agree with that, sir?"
8 If there's something wrong with that, then I'm sure the witness
9 can clear that.
10 MR. WHITING: Yeah, Your Honour, I do think the witness is
11 disputing that it was the strength of a division, is my understanding of
12 his evidence. So perhaps I'll give him an opportunity to further explain
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sure.
15 MR. WHITING:
16 Q. Let's just go through it. Why don't you tell us what your
17 understanding is of what comprised the Tactical Group 2, what forces were
18 comprising Tactical Group 2, if you can recall.
19 A. Your Honour, I respectfully submit that you misunderstood me. It
20 was -- what I heard was "light infantry division" --
21 Q. Sir, it's not going to be productive to go over this. Just -- I
22 think we can solve this if you just tell us what you knew.
23 A. Can you please place these abbreviations on the overhead projector
24 here and then I can interpret them. Because "light infantry division" is
25 something I never heard of in all my life.
1 Q. Sir, I want to put the question differently. I want you to tell
2 us what --
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: From your knowledge.
4 MR. WHITING: Right.
5 Q. What do you know -- what do you say was comprised in the
6 Tactical Group 2.
7 A. Sir, I wasn't the commander of Tactical Group 2. This information
8 was presented to me here. I do not want to speculate --
9 Q. So the answer is you don't know. You don't know what forces were
10 in Tactical Group 2. Is that fair?
11 A. I know that for a fact there was no light infantry division in
12 there and I categorically assert that.
13 Q. Aside from that, are you able to tell us at all what units
14 comprised Tactical Group 2, yes or no? If you can't tell us, that's fine,
15 we'll move on.
16 A. I cannot tell you precisely.
17 Q. Well, let me try to approach this in a -- in a more basic way.
18 You would agree with me, would you not, that the Serb forces in November
19 of 1991 had tanks, air support, long-range artillery, APCs, all things
20 that those 400 men, even assuming that there are 400 men, in Saborsko did
21 not have. Would you agree with me about that?
22 A. I wouldn't agree with you because these were not Serb forces.
23 This was the JNA. I know for a fact that the commanders of some of these
24 units were Croats --
25 Q. Sir, sir, let's put aside that issue, whether the JNA was --
1 constituted Serb forces because you would agree with me, right, that the
2 JNA participated in the attack on Saborsko along with the TO and the
3 police, right?
4 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I raise an
5 objection regardless of what sort of an answer the witness would have.
6 On the basis of what can the Prosecutor state that the JNA
7 equipment amounts to Serb equipment or equipment of the Serb forces?
8 These are very important material, legal matters, relevant for the entire
9 case against Mr. Martic.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic.
11 Mr. Whiting, the witness objected also before, Mr. Whiting, to the
12 use of the word "Serb," and you suggested that he put it aside, that
14 I think let's try to be as accurate as we possibly can. What you
15 are referring to is the JNA, TO, SAO Krajina TO, and police.
16 MR. WHITING: Yes. But of course, Your Honour, it's our case
17 that -- it's the Prosecution case that the JNA was acting with the Serb
18 forces and constituted part of the Serb forces, but that's not the issue
19 that I want to take up with the witness right now. And Your Honour is
20 absolutely correct that I should be more distinct about it for that -- the
21 purposes of that question.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yeah, for purposes of the question, and for
23 purposes of your case we know where Serbs and Croats fall in.
24 MR. WHITING: Right. Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Put aside the -- whether the JNA is Serb forces or not. You would
1 agree with me that the JNA, the TO -- the forces that attacked Saborsko on
2 the 12th of November, 1991, had at their disposal tanks, air support,
3 long-range artillery, and APCs, all things that the Croats in Saborsko did
4 not have. Will you agree or disagree with that, sir?
5 A. It was the commander of that operation who decided on the use of
6 forces. I can't comment that because I would have attacked Saborsko with
7 much fewer forces because I would have been afraid of counter-attack from
8 Ogulin. However, Cedomir Bulat was the commander, so --
9 Q. Sir, that's an answer to a different question than the one I
10 asked. I asked whether the forces that attacked Saborsko on the 12th of
11 November, 1991, had at their disposal tanks, air support, long-range
12 artillery, and APCs, all things that the Croats in Saborsko did not have.
13 You agree with that, don't you, sir?
14 A. Once again, you answered instead of me.
15 Q. Sir, I'm asking you to answer, would you agree with me. Do you
16 agree or disagree with what I have said in, and you're free to answer how
17 you like.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: No, no --
19 MR. WHITING: I'm sorry --
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Agree or disagree --
21 MR. WHITING: -- in those terms.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I answer?
23 MR. WHITING:
24 Q. Yes, please.
25 A. There was superiority on the side of the Yugoslav People's Army
1 because they were on the offensive, and those who are on the offensive
2 have to be more powerful than those who are defending themselves. That's
3 how it is in all the armies in the world and all the wars that have been
4 waged in the world. Everything else would be adventure-like on the part
5 of those attacking.
6 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, could --
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... on that note?
8 MR. WHITING: I just would ask that it be noted on the record that
9 the witness is refusing to answer the question, or has not answered the
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Would you like to pursue it when we come back?
12 MR. WHITING: I will.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: On that note, we will break and come back at 4.00.
14 Court adjourned.
15 --- Recess taken at 3.33 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 4.00 p.m.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Whiting.
18 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Sir, I'm going to try and see if we can get this issue resolved
20 one last time.
21 In -- during the attack on Saborsko on the 12th of November, 1991,
22 the JNA had air support, tanks, long-range artillery, APCs; correct?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. The Croats in Saborsko did not have these things; correct?
25 A. As I've already stated, they had some weapons. I told you which
1 ones --
2 Q. They did not have tanks, air support, long-range artillery, and
3 APCs; correct?
4 A. Correct. You are very accurate on that point.
5 Q. Thank you. Now, let's look, please, if we could at Exhibit 52.
6 You've seen this exhibit before in your direct examination. And you
7 testified, did you not, that this was an order for the attack on Saborsko;
9 MR. WHITING: Yeah, there we go. Thank you.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
11 MR. WHITING:
12 Q. And to be clear, it's dated the 7th of November, 1991, at the top
13 there, top left; correct?
14 A. Correct, correct.
15 Q. Now, in the first paragraph it talks about Ustasha formations in
16 Saborsko, right? Do you see that? It says 400 --
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. Thank you. And further down, if we go down, scroll down a little
19 bit, it says there -- thank you.
20 You'll see that it says in those points that have dashes the
21 following fire points have been noticed so far in Borik it says there are
22 50 Ustashas, in north-west from Alan there's a group of 200 Ustashas. In
23 Saborsko, 150 Ustashas. Do you see that in the document, in this military
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. So this order is saying that there are approximately 400 fighters
2 in Saborsko and the surrounding hamlets of Saborsko and that they're all
3 Ustashas; correct? Is that how you understand this order?
4 A. Yes, that's exactly what it says here.
5 Q. And you testified on Monday that when the reinforcements arrived
6 in September of 1991 to Saborsko, that there was celebrating and cheering
7 by the people. So in your mind at least, the people were supporting --
8 the people of Saborsko were supporting these Ustashas; correct? Would you
9 agree with me on that?
10 A. I can't say anything about that. I wasn't present in Saborsko at
11 the time.
12 MR. WHITING: Yes, Your Honour?
13 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Yes, Mr. Whiting, didn't we have a debate before
14 in the first session about the people in Saborsko or -- who had weapons
15 being no Ustashas? And you are now putting in the mouth of the witness
16 the word "Ustashas." That's a little bit -- to me it seems a little
17 fast -- we can go back to that.
18 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I think that's a reference to a debate
19 we had yesterday in reference to an exhibit, which was -- I think it's
20 Exhibit 38. And it was whether -- as I recall the debate, it was whether
21 the reference to Ustashas was to fighters in Saborsko or residents. And
22 here I'm only going on -- I'm only asking questions based on this document
23 that is before the witness, and the reference to Ustashas -- 400 Ustashas
24 is in the document, Exhibit 52.
25 JUDGE HOEPFEL: I'm referring to page 4, line 15.
1 MR. WHITING: Of today's transcript, Your Honour?
2 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Yes. But I think the witness said that, no, you
3 are not right.
4 MR. WHITING: Yes.
5 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Can we just check. Yeah, okay. It was not
7 MR. WHITING: Right, yes. That's right.
8 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Nobody deserved being called Ustashas.
9 MR. WHITING: Right.
10 JUDGE HOEPFEL: But it was still not the opposite expressed, was
12 MR. WHITING: Well, it was -- the opposite was expressed
13 yesterday, Your Honour. The witness did testify about it yesterday on
14 this very -- very point, at the end of the day.
15 JUDGE HOEPFEL: I had in mind what was discussed today, yes.
16 Thank you.
17 MR. WHITING: Okay. May I proceed?
18 JUDGE HOEPFEL: You may proceed.
19 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Sorry.
21 MR. WHITING:
22 Q. Sir, you -- do you recall testifying on Monday that when the
23 reinforcements arrived in September of 1991 to Saborsko there was
24 celebrating by the people?
25 A. Yes. I said that they fired in the air because I heard that.
1 Q. Okay. Now, in fact, referring to the fighters in Saborsko as
2 Ustashas, as this order does on the 7th of November, 1991, serves only the
3 purpose of demonising those men. Would you agree with me about that?
4 A. I can't agree with you. They were demonised enough by their own
5 deeds. Colonel Djordjevic wrote this order; I didn't. And I don't know
6 what the purpose was of this order.
7 Q. But -- well, you know that the purpose was to order the attack on
8 Saborsko. You agree with that, right, sir?
9 A. That was an order, yes, correct.
10 Q. And in fact, the people in Saborsko, the men in Saborsko had done
11 nothing to deserve being called Ustashas. Isn't that right, sir?
12 A. That's not correct, sir. I've already spoken about that. In
13 Saborsko at the time there was still living Ustashas, those who had been
14 Ustashas in the World War II and who had participated in combat as members
15 of German units. And it stayed a tradition in certain families and they
16 bragged about it.
17 Q. Well, sir, if anybody had been participating in activities in
18 World War II, they certainly would have been quite old by 1991, right? At
19 least 70 years old.
20 A. They were old, that's right, even though there was some people who
21 were younger than that.
22 Q. And this reference to 400 Ustashas in Saborsko in this order is
23 not -- that's not a reference to 400, 70-year-old men, is it?
24 A. Yesterday I stated clearly that every armed Croat who represented
25 a real threat to the security of Serbs was an Ustasha in my eyes, and I
1 believe that the same opinion was shared by the person who signed this
2 order. That was --
3 Q. But, sir --
4 A. -- generally an accepted claim at the time.
5 Q. But, sir, the term "Ustasha" means more than that. That's a
6 reference to a state in World War II that didn't -- that wasn't just in
7 conflict with the Serbs, but that in your -- in your view and the view of
8 many people committed crimes against Serb civilians, including even
9 genocide; correct?
10 A. Correct, yes.
11 Q. So when you used that term in 1991 to refer to somebody, you're
12 not just referring to somebody who's in conflict with the Serbs -- with
13 the JNA or with the Serb military, you're using that to refer to somebody
14 who threatens Serb civilians, who threatens the Serb people in Croatia;
16 A. Sir, the forces that were in Saborsko at the time clearly wrote
17 the letter U, which was a symbol of Ustashas during World War II. This
18 letter was written in many locations in Saborsko. I also saw this letter
19 on their uniforms, on their caps and hats. I didn't call them that. This
20 is how they bragged. They considered themselves to be the followers,
21 direct followers, of Ustashas from World War II. And if Colonel
22 Djordjevic called them that at the time, then I share his opinion.
23 Q. Sir, you're claiming that the men in -- these 400 men in Saborsko
24 were dressed in uniforms with the U symbol on them. Is that your claim?
25 A. Not all of them, but there were some with U symbols that they had
1 preserved in their houses from the time of World War II.
2 Q. Well, sir, you would agree with me, would you not, that among any
3 group, particularly in a war -- and that kind of conflict, there are going
4 to be individual extremists, whether it be on the Croat side or on the
5 Serb side. Would you agree with me on that?
6 A. I wouldn't agree with you. On the Serb side we never had people
7 who were as extreme as Ustashas were, both in World War II and in the
8 latest war.
9 Q. Well, I won't debate you on that point at this moment, and
10 actually we're not here to debate, but I -- let's focus on the Croat side.
11 Whether there were a few individual extremists, even in Saborsko, there
12 were not 400 Ustasha followers in Saborsko, were there?
13 A. I disagree with you. Why didn't they isolate them and why didn't
14 they send them back to where they had come from if they had conflicts with
16 By your leave, let me say this. On the other side behind Ogulin
17 were Serb villages that were in the similar situation as Saborsko. They
18 had received weapons, and they surrendered them to Croats because they
19 didn't have any chances of winning, and I drew a parallel between them and
20 the people in Saborsko. Why didn't people in Saborsko expel such men as
21 Luka Hodak and some others? No, they let themselves become victims, which
22 means that the Ustasha ideology was the dominant one at the time in
23 Saborsko. That's the real truth, sir.
24 Q. So, sir, you believe that --
25 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Mr. Whiting --
1 MR. WHITING: Yes.
2 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: I doubt that you're going to get the witness to
3 budge. He has his own view --
4 MR. WHITING: I appreciate it. I understand, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: With respect, my belief is that we have spent
6 enough time.
7 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: He has a position, he's maintaining his
9 position, whether right or wrong.
10 MR. WHITING: I'm extremely grateful.
11 Q. Now, this order dated the 7th of November, 1991, was issued before
12 anybody knew about those three men that you say were killed at Glibodol
13 cross; correct?
14 A. Yes. I think that they were killed on the 8th.
15 Q. So when you testified on Monday that -- this is at 8992 of the
16 transcript that: "Before the order was issued," meaning the order to
17 attack Saborsko was issued, "a terrible incident took place at Glibodol
19 That was wrong, right? That was incorrect what you said on
20 that -- in that testimony, because now you've told us that it happened
22 A. Sir, the order that I received as a company commander was after
23 the event. This order here is the order -- if you can bring it to the
24 beginning, I think you'll see that it was sent to the Operations Group 3,
25 command of the 13th Corps, forward command post, and it was sent to the
1 command of Tactical Group 2. And only upon receiving this did the
2 Tactical Group 2 send the order further to the battalion commander, and
3 then he sent it down to us.
4 Q. But, sir --
5 A. -- and in addition to this crime --
6 Q. -- I'm sorry --
7 A. Can I please complete my answer because that's not all I said.
8 Q. Well, I am focussed on this at the moment, sir.
9 On Monday, when you testified, you knew that this order, that the
10 original order to attack Saborsko had been given before the event occurred
11 at Glibodol cross. You knew that on Monday when you testified, didn't
13 A. I didn't know back in 1991 that there would be an attack on
15 Q. Sir, I'm talking about on Monday. When you testified on Monday
16 that before the order was issued a terrible incident took place at
17 Glibodol cross. You knew on Monday that in fact the order to attack
18 Saborsko had been issued before the terrible incident at Glibodol cross;
20 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Pardon, what do you mean by issued before this
22 MR. WHITING: I'm --
23 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Written or delivered?
24 MR. WHITING: Well, I understood the -- I understood that before
25 the decision was made that -- because that was sort of the import of the
1 testimony. That's how I had understood it.
2 JUDGE HOEPFEL: This is more precise now.
3 MR. WHITING:
4 Q. You knew, sir, on Monday that before the decision -- that the
5 decision to attack Saborsko was made before the incident at Glibodol
6 cross, right? You knew that on Monday?
7 A. Sir, I'm testifying here about the facts that I knew at the time
8 in November before the attack, and I'm saying about what was known to all
9 of the fighters in Plaski.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: The question is very simple. Just don't try to
11 evade the question. The question is: On Monday, when you started
12 testifying here in this trial, did you know then that this decision to
13 attack had been made before the incident at Glibodol cross? You should --
14 you should be able to answer to that question. Did you know?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will very clearly state that I
16 learned that once I saw this document, and back then in 1991 I learned
17 that after the incident. Here I saw it when I saw the document --
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can I stop you. Will you please answer the
19 question. Did you know on Monday when you testified or didn't you know?
20 It is a very simple question. It doesn't need a lot of explanation. You
21 should be able to say: Yes, I knew; or no, I didn't know.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't remember when this document
23 was shown to me for the first time.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's not the question. That's not the question.
25 The question to you simply is: Do you -- did you know on Monday when you
1 had testified that when this decision was made it was before the incident
2 that took place at Glibodol cross? You either did or you did not know.
3 Just tell us that, sir. What's so difficult about that question?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On Monday I learned that this was
5 written on the 7th of November.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: You're not being asked when you learnt. I'm just
7 asking you a question. On Monday when you testified, did you know that at
8 the time the decision was made the incident had Glibodol had not taken
9 place yet? It's a very simple question.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know whether I was asked
11 before I was shown this document. I saw this document for the first time
12 here. I wasn't paying attention to the date, and I can see now here that
13 in the upper right-hand corner it says when it was delivered.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sir, I'm sorry, I can't allow you to go on telling
15 me things that have nothing to do with my question. My question is very
16 simple to you. Whether you saw this document on Monday for the first time
17 or not, it's immaterial. And whether you did look at the date on Monday
18 or not, it's immaterial. I might remind you, though, that counsel for the
19 Defence drew your attention to this date on Monday.
20 But that's not the point. The point is on Monday when you
21 testified, did you know that the incident at Glibodol bridge took place
22 after this decision was made? And I'm sure you can answer that very
23 simply. Yes, I knew, or no, I didn't know.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I learned about that here --
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: No, no, no, I'm not asking you about when you
1 learnt. Did you know that this decision had been taken before the
2 incident at Glibodol. Just answer that question. Don't phrase your own
3 question and answer the question that you put to yourself; answer the
4 question that's put to you by whoever is questioning you.
5 Did you know? And if you don't want to answer, fine, then we'll
6 record that you're evading questions, if that's what you are doing. We'll
7 record that.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. My answer to your
10 question is: Yes.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Now, it didn't have to take you that
12 long to answer this question.
13 MR. WHITING:
14 Q. Now, sir, if we can --
15 MR. WHITING: I'd like to look at the map, and if we could have
16 page -- Exhibit 23, page 19, and the last four digits of the ERN is 6288.
17 It is the atlas, Your Honour.
18 And if we could zoom in again around Ogulin, which is right in the
19 middle there. Now -- if you could just scroll down a little bit. And
20 there do you see Glibodol there? It's in the lower half --
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, sir.
22 MR. WHITING: If you could zoom in just a little bit on Glibodol.
23 It's the Glibodol Licka -- right there, exactly. Perfect.
24 Q. Now, sir, would you agree with me that Glibodol cross is at the --
25 is at the point where the road from Glibodol meets the road from Dabar?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And actually, if you wouldn't mind marking that.
3 MR. WHITING: If we could give the witness a pen.
4 Q. And you could mark that on the map.
5 A. [Marks].
6 Q. You've drawn a circle, a red circle. Is that -- have you drawn a
7 red circle around Glibodol cross?
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. Now, this is evident on the map, but that -- Glibodol cross is on
10 the other side of Licka Jesenica from Saborsko; correct? There's Glibodol
11 cross, then Licka Jesenica, and then you reach Saborsko; correct?
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated].
13 MR. WHITING: Then you reach --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
15 [B/C/S on English channel].
16 MR. WHITING: And then Saborsko.
17 Q. Is that correct, sir?
18 A. Sir, I can't agree with you on geographic issues either. There is
19 a direct road from Glibodolski Kriz to Saborsko which is not shown on this
20 map. If you have a military map, and I believe you do, then you will be
21 able to clearly see that here. This map is not large enough, and not all
22 of the roads are shown there. One doesn't need to go via indirect roads.
23 There is a direct road leading through Lugovi --
24 Q. Okay.
25 A. -- which goes above the barracks in Licka Jesenica. Towards the
1 railway station in Tovarnik [as interpreted], there's a road there leading
2 directly to Saborsko. So going from Glibodolski Kriz to Saborsko, one
3 doesn't necessarily have to go to Licka Jesenica.
4 Q. Fine. Now, nonetheless, you would agree with me that the MUP
5 forces that attacked at Glibodol cross in November of 1991 on -- around
6 the 8th of November, 1991, were in fact from the other side of -- not from
7 the Saborsko side but were from the -- from Ogulin; correct?
8 A. Again, that's not correct. This was a joint attack that commenced
9 on the 4th and not on the 8th. I testified about that when
10 Mr. Milovancevic showed me an official note that was compiled by TG 2 or I
11 don't know who, and there you have the date of the commencement of the
12 action and of the place from where the action was launched.
13 Q. Right. And what happened starting -- I believe it was actually on
14 the 5th of November, not on the 4th, but in any event it's not document.
15 What happened is there was an attack on Licka Jesenica from both sides,
16 from the Glibodol side, from MUP forces on the Glibodol side, and also
17 from forces in Saborsko; correct?
18 A. Correct. On that occasion the forces from Saborsko killed Branko
19 Vukelic, Sapina, the medical nurse, Javorka Vukelic, and Dusanka Grba was
20 seriously wounded. I believe it very important to note that.
21 Q. Well, sir, wasn't it your testimony that the forces in Saborsko
22 were directing fire but that the fire was actually coming from elsewhere?
23 A. Excellent, yes. I agree with you this time. However, Branko
24 Vukelic was killed at the threshold of his home; whereas Nurse Vukelic was
25 killed at the entrance to the health centre, which was clearly marked with
1 a red cross. And I believe the attack was launched from the village of
2 Lipice facing Glibodol. However, one cannot see the barracks clearly from
3 Plaski. One can see it from Saborsko. And I'm talking about the
4 Vidakovic mount where the health centre was housed.
5 Q. And this attack that started on the 5th of November, 1991, its
6 objective was the barracks, the JNA barracks at Licka Jesenica; correct?
7 That's what was being attacked?
8 A. I don't know what the objective of the attack was, but I know that
9 the barracks at Licka Jesenica was the most sought-after target. It was
10 hit with more than 200 projectiles and shells, and I know that it -- the
11 infantry forces approached the barracks from two sides. I've already
12 spoken about this. If you want me to, I can tell you some more.
13 Q. No, I think that's fine. But just to be clear, this attack, as
14 you say, was on two sides. There was forces from Ogulin or from the
15 Ogulin side that was in Glibodol and there were the men in Saborsko, and
16 from both sides they attacked Licka Jesenica; correct? And I think you've
17 explained that.
18 A. That's correct. This time I fully agree with you.
19 Q. Would you also agree with me then, sir, that the men -- those
20 three men who were killed on November 8th, 1991, at Glibodol cross, they
21 would have been killed then by MUP forces from Ogulin, not anybody from
22 Saborsko; correct?
23 A. I'd be grateful to you if you told me exactly who killed them, if
24 we could uncover that. This was a coordinated action --
25 Q. Sir, let me put it this way -- let's take it a different way.
1 It's not known who killed them exactly; correct? Nobody knows who killed
2 them; is that right? Would you agree with me about that?
3 A. The perpetrator knows and the eye-witnesses do. This was a show
4 put on for all the soldiers there, and it lasted for several hours.
5 Q. Fine, fine. Aside from the perpetrators and any witnesses, you
6 don't know - you don't know, sir - do you, as you sit here today, who
7 killed them; correct?
8 A. I don't, sir.
9 Q. Now, if we focus, however, on what units or forces were operating
10 in that area, would you agree with me that the likelihood is, it's most,
11 if not certain, that forces from Ogulin were the ones involved in that
12 event on the 8th of November, 1991?
13 A. For the umpteenth time --
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] If I may be allowed.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honours.
17 Could my learned friend specify which forces he's referring to from
18 Ogulin. Whose side is involved? There are two sides, if I can put it
19 that way.
20 MR. WHITING: I didn't think that -- I didn't think there was any
21 mystery about that. I'm talking about Croat forces, the Croat MUP.
22 Q. The Croat -- the MUP -- the Croatian MUP forces from Ogulin were
23 operating around Glibodol. They're the ones most likely to be involved in
24 this event, right, and not the people from Saborsko? Right?
25 A. No, you're not right. This was coordinated action, and the entire
1 area of Kapela was under their control. And the people from Saborsko
2 could freely come to Glibodol. You're asking me to speculate, and this is
3 something I cannot do. I cannot give you an accurate answer to that
4 question, although I'd very much like to know who was involved.
5 Q. So is it fair to say, then, that you have no idea whether people
6 from Saborsko were actually involved in the murder of those three men. Is
7 that fair to say? You don't know if it was people from Saborsko or people
8 from somewhere else; correct?
9 A. I have some information to the effect that persons from Saborsko
10 took part in that crime. The information I have is not reliable because
11 it's second-hand information. This is not my personal experience,
12 although I do consider the information accurate.
13 Q. Well, when you say it's not reliable, I assume you mean it's -- if
14 it's not reliable that you would not want to take an important -- make an
15 important decision based on that information, right?
16 A. I don't want to say that, because I am testifying here under an
17 oath about the matters that I personally experienced and acted upon. And
18 it is for this reason only that I do not wish to speak on this matter. I
19 do not want it to be put down on record.
20 Q. I think you may have misunderstood. I'm not going to ask you to
21 speak on it. All I'm asking you is that you would not base an important
22 decision on unreliable information, would you, sir? If you had an
23 important decision to make, you would not base it on unreliable
24 information. This is not a trick question.
25 A. I'm not an easy person to entrap. I'm listening carefully and
1 giving you truthful answers. In my parts, you say that the person who is
2 a thief is equally to blame as the one who is on the lookout for him to be
3 involved in a theft. Now, if you're asking me whether it's the men from
4 Saborsko or from Ogulin, I can tell you that I heard people boasting about
5 having taken part in that action, and they were from Saborsko. I heard
6 them over a radio.
7 Q. But you told us that you thought that was unreliable information,
9 A. I told you that this was hearsay, this was second-hand
10 information. I didn't personally see that. And had I seen it, I would
11 have made sure that I found the person.
12 Q. You said, sir, that the information you had was not reliable. You
13 say -- I'm reading from it. It says: "The information I have is not
15 A. One can put it that way. I said that it was second-hand
16 information; those were my words. And I know that any such information is
17 hardly reliable.
18 Q. Okay. Thank you,,
19 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Excuse me, may I be curious why the witness
20 says "second-hand information"? And before you said you heard people
21 boasting to have been involved on the radio or on radio. What do you mean
22 by "radio"? Is this broadcasting or is it a private radio connection,
23 where you heard something by accident?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sir, in the police in Plaski, we had
25 a radio set that could be set on the Ogulin police channel, the one that
1 they used. The Ustasha side was referred to as Vujo, and the Chetnik side
2 was referred to as Cedo. And this person was boasting about having
3 stabbed to death this and that person, and this was for the purposes of
4 intimidation. These were very ugly things that one could eavesdrop on,
5 and I personally experienced them.
6 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you.
7 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. Now, by the way, just to be --
9 MR. WHITING: Actually, if we could save that exhibit, please, and
10 if it could be given a number.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: You mean the map with the circling of the Glibodol
13 MR. WHITING: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Page 19 of Exhibit 23 is admitted into evidence as
15 an exhibit. May it please be given an exhibit number.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this becomes Exhibit Number 962.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
18 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. The barracks at Licka Jesenica are at a higher elevation than
20 Saborsko; correct?
21 A. You have to specify which part of Saborsko you have in mind.
22 Saborsko stretches over 6 kilometres, and it is not on a higher ground
23 than some parts of Saborsko. You have two mounts --
24 THE INTERPRETER: And the interpreter didn't catch their names.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And Borik is one of them which may
1 be on a -- more or less the same height.
2 MR. WHITING:
3 Q. The --
4 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Can you give us the name of these two mounts? The
5 interpreters didn't catch their names.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise. I spoke quickly.
7 The hill called Borik is on the same level as the barracks, as
8 well as Alan and Sivnik. These are all the mounts forming part of Mala
9 Kapela range, and I believe that the upper part of Saborsko is even higher
10 than the hill where the barracks are. And you can show me the map. I can
11 point to those, and I believe they are on the same height above sea level,
12 but I would need a map to be more precise in my answers.
13 MR. WHITING:
14 Q. Well, you testified about the -- about the church, the small
15 church in Saborsko. Do you remember testifying about that?
16 A. Yes, yes.
17 Q. And that small church was at a point that was lower in elevation
18 than the Licka Jesenica barracks; correct?
19 A. I can't tell you anything about that. If indeed there is a
20 difference, it can't be that big, but you would have to show me the map
21 to -- for me to be able to tell you precisely. I'm not sure. I don't
22 think they're not on the same level, but I don't know which one is higher.
23 Although the visibility is very good.
24 Q. Okay. From that point you can see -- you can see -- from that
25 point you can see the Licka Jesenica barracks, and from Licka Jesenica
1 barracks you can see the church; correct?
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. Now, the attack that you spoke about on the barracks of Licka
4 Jesenica that occurred from the 5th of November to the 8th of November,
5 that was -- that attack was repelled; it was not successful. Correct?
6 A. After three days of fighting, yes.
7 Q. By the 8th of November, it was defeated; it was not successful.
9 A. I can't tell you with any certainty, but I think that it lasted
10 until the 8th of November, yes, that's correct.
11 Q. Thank you. Now, let's go -- let's talk about the attack itself on
12 Saborsko on the 12th of November.
13 MR. WHITING: And if we could go back to Exhibit 52, please. And
14 if we could go to the first paragraph of the document.
15 Q. In the first paragraph it's a -- I think the third -- no, sorry,
16 the fourth sentence. It says -- no, sorry, it's the third
17 sentence: "Furthermore, we have information that a part of hard-line
18 Ustasha prepared, entrenched, and ready for a long-term battle. By direct
19 reconnaissance and from the information given from the field, it was
20 established that the enemy has not organised a classic defence but is
21 fortifying using entrenched position with machine-guns," and it goes on.
22 Now, that is consistent, that -- what's contained in there is
23 consistent with what you observed, isn't it, because you testified on
24 Monday that you observed that the people in Saborsko were "preparing
25 seriously for defence." And you described the trenches that had been dug
1 in Saborsko. So they had taken -- they had prepared defensive positions
2 in Saborsko, hadn't they?
3 A. Yes, yes.
4 MR. WHITING: Now, if we could go to page 3 of the B/C/S of this
5 order and page 5 of the English. And --
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have to go to the
7 rest room for a minute. I can really not go on at this time.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: The Chamber will take a short break for ten
9 minutes -- ten minutes or five minutes? We'll come back in five minutes'
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 --- Break taken at 4.49 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 4.54 p.m.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Whiting.
15 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 On this document if we could scroll down to the bottom of the
17 page. And I'm looking at -- I want to look at 11(B) which is
18 entitled "security," and it's on page 5 of the English at the top of the
20 Q. And it says: "All strangers moving towards the sector of unit
21 deployment shall be kept and after interrogation removed, informing
22 authorised officers thereof. Unknown persons who for any reason are found
23 in the zone of troop deployment shall be arrested by the police
24 authorities as for investigation and further action."
25 Now, language like this was included in many or all of the orders
1 regarding the attack on Saborsko; correct? This is standard language that
2 was contained in the orders, right?
3 A. I had -- the largest unit under my command was a company, but I
4 suppose that this was the standard procedure, standard language used by
5 the JNA, yes.
6 Q. And in fact, the -- it's true, isn't it, that the military would
7 not -- would never allow people who were not involved in the attack simply
8 to show up in the area to do whatever they wanted, would it? Right? You
9 agree with me?
10 A. Just a moment, please. Can you please repeat your question. I
11 was focussed on the text where it said "unknown persons." Can you please
12 repeat it.
13 Q. I suggest -- oh, I see, you were looking at the exhibit. I
15 Yes, I can repeat my question. The military, the JNA, would
16 not -- would never or would never allow people who were not involved in
17 the attack simply to show up in the area to do whatever they wanted, would
18 it? It would never it allow that? It's part of standard military
19 operations that you do not permit that, correct, which is why it appears
20 in these orders?
21 A. I suppose that that's the reason why, yes.
22 Q. Okay. Now, there were no -- during the attack on Saborsko on the
23 12th of November, 1991, there were no -- nobody on your side, let's say,
24 was killed, correct? From the TO, the police, or the JNA, there were no
25 fighters who were killed. There was some injured, a couple who were
1 injured, but nobody was killed; correct?
2 A. Yes. The group that I led, we only had one slightly wounded
3 person, and I know for a fact that nobody was killed in the other groups,
4 although I don't know the exact number of the wounded.
5 Q. Now, let's talk about your role in the attack. You testified that
6 you started in -- you started off in Momcilovici village, that you
7 attacked along the right flank, that at the beginning there was an air
8 attack, that you engaged in hand-to-hand combat at a certain point and
9 killed three enemy soldiers. You agree with me so far?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. That at a certain point there was a danger of friendly fire and so
12 you retreated to Vukelic Poljana; correct?
13 A. No, that's not correct. I -- if it was interpreted as "friendly
14 fire," I said fire from our barracks, and it wasn't -- it was the Vukelic
15 Poljana and not something that I heard.
16 Q. I used the term "friendly fire" to mean fire from your own side.
17 And I did try to say Vukelic Poljana like you did, but it may have come
18 out differently.
19 Now -- and then you testified that you did not enter Saborsko;
21 A. Correct.
22 Q. You told us that Dusan Latas was part of your group; correct?
23 A. Correct.
24 MR. WHITING: If we could, I'd like to look at his account of the
25 events, and it's Exhibit 605.
1 Q. You've seen this document before; we've talked about it. It's a
2 report that was written on the 23rd of November, 1991?
3 MR. WHITING: And if we could turn to page 2, please, of both the
4 English and the B/C/S. And if we could go to point 2 on ...
5 Q. Now, do you see in that first paragraph he says -- he says: "The
6 entire police unit," he's talking about the attack that was supposed to be
7 on the 10th of November but it actually occurred on the 12th of November.
8 And he says: "The unit was stationed in Momcilovici village," just like
9 you said, right?
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, what part are you looking at?
11 MR. WHITING: It's point 2. It's the first paragraph of point 2,
12 which is halfway down the page.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: My point 2 doesn't say: "The entire police unit."
14 It says: "The general attack on Saborsko."
15 MR. WHITING: No, sorry, I'm reading from the second sentence.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: The second sentence: "However, the weather was
17 very bad."
18 MR. WHITING: I'm sorry, the third sentence. I'm sorry, Your
19 Honour, it's the third sentence.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: The third sentence says that: "Those two days the
21 entire police" --
22 MR. WHITING: "The entire police unit was stationed in Momcilovici
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. "Stationed in Momcilovici village."
25 MR. WHITING: I'm sorry, I should have been more clear. I
1 apologise, Your Honour.
2 Q. So just like you said, "started off in Momcilovici village,"
3 right? That's what you said, too, that your --
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. And then in the next paragraph -- it says: "On the 12th November,
6 1991, following the air attack," so there was -- it started with an air
7 attack just like you said, right? Correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And then he says: "The police unit and the special unit made up
10 the right flank of our attack," just like you said, went on the right
11 flank. Correct? Do you see that? It's also on the second paragraph,
12 it's the third sentence of the second paragraph.
13 A. Would you please read out the villages mentioned there, because it
14 says the village of Strkovi, Brdine and Alan grid reference. You actually
15 skipped two lines and then mentioned the right flank.
16 Q. Right. I'm skipping over that. I'm just going to the sentence
17 where he says: "The police unit and the special unit made up the right
18 flank of our attack."
19 Do you see that?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And that's just like you said, you were on the right flank;
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. And then skip the next sentence. And -- and then he says: "At
25 one point we simply mingled with 10 or 13 MUP members which resulted in a
1 show-down with knives and hand-grenades. The police acted especially well
2 in that situation as they inflicted great casualties on the MUP in a very
3 brief time."
4 Now, that's consistent with what you said that you engaged in
5 hand-to-hand combat and three MUP Croatian -- MUP men were killed;
7 A. This hand-to-hand combat is a bit too strong of a word. It was
8 close combat. And it's true that we mingled with the policemen, yeah.
9 Q. Okay.
10 MR. WHITING: Now, if we could turn to page 3 of the B/C/S and
11 stay on page 2 of the English and go to the top, please.
12 Q. You'll see that he says that -- and it's at the bottom -- end of
13 the -- bottom of the page in English, and I think it's at the top of the
14 page in the B/C/S here, that -- it's a paragraph that begins: "At that
15 moment, a line of our tanks was supposed to stretch in front of us, so we
16 lay down and waited for the tanks."
17 And then he says: "We thought it would be best if we retreated to
18 the fall-back position, Vukelic Poljana village."
19 Do you see that there?
20 A. I didn't receive the translation. I only received the translation
21 up to the word "tanks."
22 Q. Okay. Okay. Let me repeat it. Are you receiving translation
24 A. It's all right now. Yes.
25 Q. All right. Do you see the sentence where he says: "We thought it
1 would be best if we retreated to the fall-back position, Vukelic Poljana
3 Do you see that, sir?
4 A. I do.
5 Q. And that's also what you -- what you said happened, that you
6 retreated to Vukelic Poljana village; correct? Correct?
7 A. Correct.
8 MR. WHITING: Now, could we turn to the next page in the English,
9 please, and stay on this page of the B/C/S. And scroll down a little bit
10 more on the B/C/S. There. Perfect.
11 Q. Now, in the end of the paragraph -- you see there's a paragraph
12 right before point 3. Go to the end of the paragraph before that. He
13 says -- he's speaking about being in Vukelic Poljana village. "We left
14 scouts and snipers at the advance points."
15 And then he says: "We established communication with our staff
16 and we were ordered to move towards Saborski along the main road. We
17 could see that Saborski was on fire and that it was no longer there."
18 Now, that part of the account is different from what you told us,
19 isn't it, sir?
20 A. Yes, significantly different.
21 Q. And in fact, what Mr. Latas says happened is exactly what
22 happened. You went towards Saborski, you were ordered to go to Saborsko,
23 you went there, towards there, you saw that it was on fire and that it was
24 no longer there; correct, sir?
25 A. That's not correct. I explained where I found the first group of
1 civilians at the crossroads, along the road leading to Vukelic Poljana, on
2 the asphalt road, and I was quite specific in describing that.
3 Q. So you deny, sir, that you were ordered to go back to Saborsko --
4 go towards Saborsko, that you went towards Saborsko, that you saw that it
5 was on fire and that it was no longer there. You deny that, sir?
6 A. From the point where I stood, one could see the reflection of
7 fire. We couldn't see what was on fire, but we could see that the fire
8 was burning. It was already getting dark because it was winter-time, it
9 was late in the afternoon.
10 As for what Dusan Latas saw, you should ask him. Nobody was in
11 the position to order me anything because I didn't have any radio
12 communication. My radio set had broken down, and I ordered my men to
13 withdraw on my own initiative.
14 Q. Well -- so when Dusan Latas says: "We established communication
15 with our staff and were ordered to move towards Saborsko," you deny that
16 that occurred?
17 A. I deny that that occurred for the reason that I didn't establish
18 communication with anyone until we came to Plavca Draga, which is about
19 15 kilometres away. And it was only then when we reached the battalion
20 command that we found other people and discussed the operation.
21 Q. Sir, in fact, Dusan Latas says that you could -- that he could see
22 and -- that Saborsko was no longer there. And that was actually the aim
23 of the attack, wasn't it, to make sure that Saborsko would no longer be
24 there, right? Wasn't that the aim of the attack, sir?
25 A. Sir, I wasn't the one designating the goals of the attack; I was
1 just in command of a company. And I completed my mission to the best of
2 my abilities. I can't answer your question. The person who issued the
3 order for attack was the one who specified the goal of the attack.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: What was the order for the attack? What were you
5 ordered to do?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To crush the Ustasha stronghold, to
7 free the road, and to lift the siege of the barracks in Plaski -- rather,
8 in Licka Jesenica.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Not in Saborsko?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said crush the Ustasha stronghold
11 in Saborsko. I think that's what it said verbatim in my order.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: So that was the objective of the attack, to crush
13 the Ustasha stronghold in Saborsko.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's what it said there. Maybe I
15 got a word wrong, but I think that that's exactly what it said verbatim,
16 plus liberate or free the road.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
18 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Now, you testified that the day after the attack you visited some
20 civilians who were taken to a school in Licka Jesenica, right?
21 A. Correct.
22 Q. And do you recall the name of the Serb who had taken him -- taken
23 them there? I think you gave us the last name, Solaja.
24 A. I said that I met that group of people at the junction of roads.
25 There is a road there leading to Vukelic Poljana. This is below Borik
1 towards Licka Jesenica. I could see there that one of our TO members with
2 a rifle on his shoulder, he was quite short and I think his name was Sreta
3 or Sveta, he accompanied that group of people. There was a youngish man
4 among them. I didn't recognise him right away, but when I came closer I
5 could see it was Solaja. I don't remember his first name. I know,
6 however, that he was a Serb living in Saborsko. I didn't know the other
7 people personally.
8 And then another Solaja came down from forest yelling: Solaja,
9 Solaja. He wasn't with that group but he came out saying: Solaja, Solaja
10 so that nobody would fire at him and he came straight at me at that
12 Q. And why would nobody fire at him if he said: Solaja, Solaja?
13 A. Most likely in his head that meant that he would be safe because
14 everybody in Licka Jesenica knew that Solaja was a Serb last name. This
15 was a younger person, a civilian. And at that time anybody who came out
16 of the forest was dangerous.
17 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I think this would be a convenient
19 JUDGE HOEPFEL: May I ask you first, how do you spell this Solaja
20 typically in Serb, in Latin letters?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There is a letter in Serbian
22 language, "sh." So the first letter is S-o-l-a-j-a.
23 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
25 We'll take a break and come back at quarter to 6.00.
1 Court adjourned.
2 --- Recess taken at 5.15 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 5.44 p.m.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Whiting.
5 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. Sir, before the break we were talking about your visit to the
7 school in Licka Jesenica on the day after the attack on Saborsko, so on
8 the 13th of November, 1991, where you saw civilians. Now, in fact, sir,
9 when you saw those civilians there, you cursed their Ustasha mothers, you
10 asked them where their sons were, and you told them that you would send
11 them to Ogulin to Rudi Spehar to tell him that Saborsko did not exist
12 anymore. Isn't that true, sir?
13 A. None of that is true, sir. Whoever knows me, even a little bit,
14 will know full well that I never communicated in that way, especially not
15 with civilians.
16 MR. WHITING: If we could look, please, at exhibit -- sorry, it's
17 not an exhibit, a document 01510812.
18 Q. This is a statement, sir, that was given by Slavko Dumencic on the
19 25th of January, 1992, in Karlovac.
20 MR. WHITING: And if we could go, please, to page 2 of the English
21 and page 2 of the B/C/S. And he's talking about -- well, I'm sorry, I
22 think I rushed this a little bit. If we could go to page 1, please, on
23 both the English and the B/C/S.
24 Q. You see he's talking about Saborsko on the 12th of November, and
25 he talks about being with his family in the basement of the house of his
1 neighbour Stevo --
2 MR. WHITING: Thank you.
3 Q. Stevo Solaja, which is the family that you had told us about
4 before. And he says: "As the occupying army began to enter Saborsko in
5 the afternoon that day, the inhabitants were leaving their houses and
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Where are you reading, Mr. Whiting?
8 MR. WHITING: That's the next-to-last sentence on the English.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
10 MR. WHITING:
11 Q. Do you see that, sir?
12 A. I do.
13 Q. And then --
14 MR. WHITING: And now if we could turn to the next page on both.
15 Q. He says that they went to a school in Licka Jesenica. And then it
16 says: "Nikola Medakovic met us there and insulted us, cursed our Ustasha
17 mothers and asked us where our sons were. He also yelled that he would
18 send us to Ogulin to Rudi Spehar to tell us that Saborsko did not exist
20 And that happened, didn't it, sir, you did that?
21 A. It didn't happen. One can clearly see that the person giving the
22 statement was instructed as to what to say. I met them at the junction of
23 the roads from Licka Jesenica to Saborsko and Vukelic Poljana, which is
24 1 kilometre away from the school. I never cursed anyone's Ustasha mother,
25 nor did I ask them where their sons were.
1 As for sending a letter to Rudo Spehar, I said clearly when asked
2 by Mr. Milovancevic. Someone gave this statement under instructions in
3 order to place me somewhere where I wasn't. I didn't get to the school
4 until the following day. I came in civilian clothes, I had a track-suit
5 on, and I had no weapons on me.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can I just find out something.
7 On what basis do you say one can see that the person who wrote the
8 statement was instructed to write -- to write it this way?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Because it says here that I told
10 them to go to Rudi Spehar. I gave a letter to one of the civilians in an
11 envelope marked for Rudo Spehar. There was no way they could know what
12 was written in that letter. And there are some portions of the letter
13 quoted here, which means that somebody read this letter to them and told
14 them what to say to incriminate me.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: What are the parts that are quoted from the letter
16 in this document?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In Serbian version, this is behind
18 the words "Medakovic Nikola," where it says: "Insulting us and cursing
19 our Ustasha mothers, asking where our sons were."
20 And then it says: "He said he yelled that he would send us to
21 Ogulin to Rudi Spehar to tell him that Saborsko is no more and that Ogulin
22 was under threat as well."
23 Most likely the Prosecutor will be using that letter that I wrote
24 and we should be able to compare the two texts.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are you saying -- let me understand you. Are you
1 saying the sentence starting: "He also yelled that he would send us to
2 Ogulin to Rudi Spehar to tell him that Saborsko did not exist anymore and
3 that he also threatened Ogulin," you're saying that's also a quotation
4 from the letter?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Something along those lines is
6 written in the letter, namely that Saborsko is no more. And I warned the
7 Croatian authorities in Ogulin -- I think they have the letter here, so we
8 should put it on the ELMO so that I don't have to paraphrase my own words.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: No, no, we understand that -- I just want to know
10 what is it that was quoted from the letter. You're saying: "He also
11 yelled that he would send us to Ogulin to Rudi Spehar to tell him that
12 Saborsko did not exist anymore and that he also threatened Ogulin." That
13 is a quotation from your letter. Is that your letter, in fact?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In my letter it says that Saborsko,
15 unfortunately, is no more and that it most likely will never exist again.
16 And then there is a sentence about Ogulin, and we can discuss that, too.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Well, Ogulin is mentioned twice there. And what
18 you have just told us is not what is written here, so that's not a
19 quotation from your letter, sir. But anyway, thank you so much.
20 Mr. Whiting, you may proceed.
21 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. In fact, the truth is, isn't it, sir, that that was something that
23 you were saying -- you were saying and writing in those days, that you
24 were taunting Croats with the fact that Saborsko no longer existed. Isn't
25 that true, sir? And you said it to this man and that group of civilians
1 and you wrote it to Rudolf Spehar. Isn't that true?
2 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I met that group of civilians under the
3 circumstances that I described to you. The next time I saw them was when
4 I entered the school in Licka Jesenica in civilian clothes, asking them
5 whether they needed anything, whether anybody was threatening them, and
6 whether they wanted to go to the Croatian side. I never yelled,
7 especially not then. I expressed my force only in relation to people who
8 were my equals. That's my principle. Everything else is invented.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can I just warn you once again, please listen to
10 the questions and answer directly to the questions. Three-quarters of
11 what you've just told us has nothing to do with the question that was put
12 to you. The question to you had been: You said it to this man and that
13 group of civilians and you wrote it to Rudolf Spehar. Isn't that true?
14 The answer should be: Yes, it is true; or no it is not true.
15 Simple. We haven't got much time.
16 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Could this document be admitted into evidence, please.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
19 please be given an exhibit number.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this becomes Exhibit Number 963.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
22 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. Mr. Medakovic, you're right. I do have the letter, and I'm --
24 let's look at it.
25 MR. WHITING: It's Exhibit 269 and it's in evidence. If we could
1 scroll down, please.
2 Q. You recognise this letter, sir? Do you need to see the next page?
3 A. Yes, could you scroll up, please.
4 Q. I'm sorry, there is no next page, it's just down at the bottom.
5 Is that your signature on this letter, sir, your name, your signature?
6 A. Yes, this is my signature.
7 MR. WHITING: Now, if we could go to the top, please.
8 Q. And now, just a moment ago when you were quoting the letter you
9 said -- you quoted the letter as saying -- it's at line 10 -- 11 of 65 of
10 the transcript today. It says: "In my letter it says that Saborsko,
11 unfortunately, is no more and that it most likely will never exist again."
12 MR. WHITING: Now, if we could look -- scroll down a little bit.
13 Q. And you say -- the sentence actually reads: "Now there is no
14 Saborsko anymore and it is likely that it never -- it will never be there
16 I don't see the word "unfortunately."
17 A. My mistake. I fully accept that. And at the beginning of the
18 letter I said "following grave events."
19 Q. Right. And you say that Saborsko suffered the same sad fate of
20 Vaganac, Dreznik, Lovinac and all other places whose residents tried to
21 defy the Serbs by using force. And you say that: "The immediate cause
22 for the attack were your soldiers' gruesome actions towards our civilians
23 during the attack on Licka Jesenica."
24 And then you talk about: "Those who chop live people into pieces
25 and castrate them, those who cut off their ears and pick their eyes cannot
1 hope for anything better."
2 Now, that's a reference, isn't it, to the three men who were
3 killed at Glibodol cross; correct?
4 A. It is a reference to Vukelic, Branko, called Sapina, and Vukelic
5 Javor, who were also victims at the time.
6 Q. No. But, sir, those people were not chopped and had their ears
7 cut off and castrated. That's a specific reference to the three men who
8 were killed at Glibodol cross. Correct?
9 A. In these words, cuts into pieces, castrates, cuts off ears and
10 picks eyes, the reference is precisely to the three men. An atrocity
11 is --
12 Q. The three men at Glibodol cross, just so we're clear; correct.
13 The three men killed at Glibodol cross?
14 A. Precisely, sir.
15 Q. And, in fact, that was not the immediate cause for the attack on
16 Saborsko, was it, because the decision to attack Saborsko was made before
17 that happened, right? So what you wrote in this letter was not true.
18 A. Now we're coming to the essence of what you tried to use to entrap
19 me. It was only yesterday or before yesterday that I found out that the
20 attack was being ordered earlier on. At the time when I was drafting this
21 letter was after the Glibodol Kriz -- it was after the Glibodol Kriz
22 events that I received order for attack. And Colonel Cedomir Bulat stated
23 that such events would not be allowed to happen again.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry, that -- all what you're saying
25 notwithstanding. The fact of the matter is that the order was made at the
1 very latest on the 7th and it is mailed out on the 8th. So that death
2 could not have been the immediate cause of the attack. You were not the
3 person who was ordering the attack; the attack was ordered by your
4 seniors. You've told us so just before the break. Isn't that correct?
5 Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct, and I received the
7 order after these events at Glibodol Kriz --
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's not the point. That's not -- you may have
9 received -- whenever you received the order, you may have received it
10 whenever you received it. However, the person who wrote that order on
11 the 7th, who decided on the attack, did so before the death at Glibodol
12 cross. The Prosecutor is not saying that you knew then in 1991, before
13 the deaths of these three that -- the immediate cause of the attack. He's
14 saying the truth of the matter is that the immediate cause of the attack
15 was not the death of the three, because the attack was -- the decision to
16 attack was made before they died. It's a simple thing. We've talked
17 about it a little earlier today. We don't have to waste any more time on
18 it. I asked you a question on it, I insisted you answer it, you agreed
19 with me. And if you will listen to the questions put to you, very
20 attentively, you would not waste this time by telling us about your
21 writing of the letter which was -- has nothing to do with the question.
22 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. In some of the answers to questions today, sir, you have expressed
24 some reluctance in trying to say what the goals of the attack were, but
25 how is it that you were so confident since you did not order the attack on
1 Saborsko, that wasn't your decision, how is it on the 13th of November you
2 felt confident to tell -- to write in this letter what the cause of the
3 attack was, since you had not ordered it?
4 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in terms of the
5 contents themselves, they are being distorted.
6 What is the immediate cause; that is a factual question. What is
7 the goal behind an order for an attack? What is the goal behind the order
8 of the Tactical Group 2 or that of the 5th Army District command? And
9 this is a very dangerous way of replacing the thesis and of distorting the
10 order in which all of these orders were issued. If the 5th Military
11 District of the JNA, through the Secretariat for National Defence, issued
12 the decision to establish Tactical Group 2 and the 13th Corps issued an
13 order for an attack that was carried out by the Tactical Group 2, then
14 that is where the goals are contained.
15 The witness here is being asked about a letter which was written
16 after all these events and which has to do with Glibodolski Kriz, but this
17 letter has nothing to do with the order for the attack against Saborsko,
18 which is a military operation involving the air force, tanks, and so on
19 and so forth. And the witness here is being asked whether what is
20 contained in this letter is the immediate cause of the attack. I believe
21 that we are misconstruing matters here. We are lumping together matters
22 that are significant and insignificant.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: No, Mr. Milovancevic --
24 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, at no point in
25 time did the witness hesitate in talking about the purpose of the order
1 for an attack. The order for an attack is something that is issued by the
2 military command. He interpreted it. The evidence was led, and we know
3 precisely when the orders were issued. The events at Glibodolski Kriz are
4 being tied up with the reason behind the military operation --
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, have you read this letter?
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, very
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Have you read the paragraph where the author of
9 this letter says: "The immediate cause for the attack were your soldiers'
10 gruesome actions towards our civilians during the attack on
11 Licka Jesenica. Those who chopped live people into pieces and castrated
12 them, those who cut off their ears and picked their eyes out cannot hope
13 for anything better."
14 That's -- what the Prosecutor is --
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] That's correct, Your Honour.
16 But this has nothing to do with the order for the attack, and that is the
17 personal view of the witness here.
18 Now, what an order for an attack is and what the reasons behind
19 the order were, which were entertained by the 13th Corps, by
20 Tactical Group 2, the 5th Military District, that's quite a different
21 matter because the military orders and actions one matter.
22 Now, the events touched upon in this letter by the witness on the
23 ground are quite a different matter. We cannot tie the orders issued by
24 military commands in with the letter that was written by a person who took
25 part in the fighting on the ground, and that is the gist of my objection.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Whiting.
2 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I accept that there is a distinction
3 between the cause of the attack and the aim of the attack. And the point
4 I was trying to make is that when I asked the witness earlier today, it's
5 at page 59, about the aim of the attack, he said: Well, I can't tell you
6 what the aim of the attack was because that was made above me. And I was
7 trying to draw a parallel that the similar -- you would think there would
8 be a similar answer with respect to what the cause of the attack was, also
9 something known to the people who ordered the attack. And so I'm asking
10 him why it is that he is able to write on the 13th of November what the
11 cause of the attack is when he was here reluctant to testify about the aim
12 of the attack because it's something made above his grade, it's made above
13 him by superiors.
14 Now, it's a parallel, but I of course accept that there is a
15 distinction between the cause of the attack and the aim of the attack.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you have any response to that, Mr. Milovancevic?
17 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is not a
18 parallel. In our view, this is a dangerous attempt at changing the
19 content and the sense of what is contained is there.
20 We saw three documents, orders, the order for the setting up of
21 Tactical Group 2, of the 5th military command, we have the 13th Corps
22 order, and then the order issued by the commander of Tactical Group 2.
23 And all of them talk of the goals and the purpose of the military action
24 to be carried out by the military forces.
25 Now, the witness here talks merely about one detail. My learned
1 friend Prosecutor put a line of questions to him; isn't it true that the
2 Croatian forces have been attacking the JNA barracks from the 5th to
3 the 8th, and the answers he received were in the affirmative. And the
4 Prosecutor confirmed through the witness the contents of these orders.
5 And now through this letter written by the president of the Plaski and
6 Ogulin municipality, he is trying to depict as the role and the aim of the
7 attack something that is quite different. And this is what I wanted to
8 draw the Bench's attention to. As my learned friend said himself, there
9 is a distinction there.
10 The Prosecutor can now ask the witness what he had in mind whilst
11 drafting the letter, but it wasn't the witness who set the goal of the
12 attack through this letter. He tied up the military operation with the
13 events at Glibodolski Kriz, also with those events. But that's as far as
14 this went.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic.
16 The objection is overruled.
17 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. Sir, I'll put the question a little differently to you.
19 How did you know on the 13th of November, 1991, what the cause,
20 the immediate cause, of the attack was?
21 A. Sir, this letter was written 15 years ago. I was 24 years old at
22 the time, and I was deeply shaken by what the Ustasha soldier did to our
23 people. One of the men was a fighter of mine.
24 In addition to that, I was dissatisfied with the way the operation
25 at Saborsko ended.
1 Thirdly, you have to bear in mind my social background. You have
2 to know that Saborsko is very similar to the area I hailed from, where I
3 lived, and I can understand these people. And it wasn't that I was happy
4 with anybody's distress. I was writing this to a very cool-minded HDZ
5 member who I had negotiated with on several occasions and who threatened
6 me with throwing me in a jail.
7 Q. Sir, can I -- I'm going to interrupt you because you've gone on
8 for a long time but you haven't answered my question.
9 How did you know or why did you think you knew on the 13th of
10 November, 1991, what the immediate cause of the attack was?
11 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Couldn't we first make one thing clear.
12 Witness, was this, what you wrote there, your personal view or was
13 it an attempt to describe the reality, the real cause? It could have been
14 just your interpretation also.
15 Therefore, your question sounds as if he knew that. Then we can
16 ask how did he know. But maybe in a different approach in this letter.
17 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, if maybe I could --
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I may be allowed to answer His
19 Honour's question.
20 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Please.
21 MR. WHITING:
22 Q. That's fine, please.
23 A. I was presenting my personal view at the time only. I was in a
24 very difficult psychological state of mind. I saw that the people who
25 were not to blame were the ones who suffered; whereas the perpetrators of
1 the events at Saborsko, which the Prosecutor asked me about, were still at
2 large. Therefore, this was my personal view, Your Honour, that I
3 presented here. The units I commanded over were never bigger than --
4 Q. Sir, this is not a personal letter, is it? It's a letter written
5 in your capacity as president of the Plaski municipality. This is an
6 official letter, isn't it, sir?
7 JUDGE HOEPFEL: With a political nature --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Please, does the president of any
9 municipality command over any military units? Do you know of such an
11 MR. WHITING:
12 Q. Sir, you have written here "SAO Krajina" at the top, "Plaski
13 Municipal Assembly president," and you have signed the letter and stamped
14 it with an official seal. This is an official letter to Rudolf Spehar who
15 himself was the president of the Ogulin municipality; correct?
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can we see the bottom of the B/C/S version of the
17 letter, please?
18 MR. WHITING: All the way to the bottom I think, please.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
20 You may proceed, Mr. Whiting.
21 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. This is an official letter, isn't it, sir? This is not a personal
24 A. This is the official letter from the president of the municipality
25 of Plaski to the president of the municipality of Ogulin. It was never
1 the subject of discussion of the Municipal Assembly of Plaski or the
2 Executive Council. I wrote it and my secretary typed it out, and I stand
3 by every word written in that letter.
4 Q. And, sir, this letter is not a regretful or a sad letter at all;
5 it's a taunting letter, isn't it? You say: "Now there is no Saborsko
6 anymore and it is likely that it will never be there again. May this be a
7 warning to all those who are planning to impose their power on the Serbs
8 by using force."
9 You weren't upset about what happened in Saborsko. You were happy
10 about what happened there and wanted it to be a warning to others. Isn't
11 that true, sir?
12 A. Again, you're picking out parts of the letter that you want to
13 serve your turn. Why don't you go back to the beginning of the letter
14 where I stated in line 3 "Saborsko befell a sad" -- "A sad fate befell
15 Saborsko," and as I mentioned here, Saborsko -- and then I mentioned all
16 the others.
17 Q. The last -- sir, at the beginning of the cross-examination I asked
18 you if there was any justification for the crimes that occurred in
19 Saborsko, and you said: No, there's no justification for crimes. And
20 isn't the last sentence of this letter and the -- this letter in its
21 entirety, the last sentence which reads: "There is no evil in doing evil
22 to evil people," isn't that a justification of the crimes that occurred in
23 Saborsko? Aren't you trying to justify it there in that letter, sir?
24 A. Sir, you're a lawyer. This is the short definition of necessity,
25 and if you as a lawyer take necessity into account, then this is a
1 mitigating circumstance. Because you're trying to ward off greater evil,
2 although in the end we suffered that evil four years later.
3 Q. Do you think that necessity justified crimes, the crimes that
4 occurred in Saborsko?
5 A. Unfortunately, on that day I didn't know that those crimes had
6 occurred because I had not been in Saborsko yet by then. I thought that
7 all civilians had left Saborsko.
8 Q. Sir --
9 A. And that that was how the operation ended. This is what I thought
10 at the time I wrote this letter.
11 Q. Could you answer my question, please? Do you think that necessity
12 justifies or justified the crimes that occurred in Saborsko?
13 A. I repeat, sir. Perhaps you haven't understood me clearly. I
14 thought that this was a pure operation, faultless operation, and that
15 nothing had happened to civilians. And of course whenever you have a
16 person killed, that is a misfortune in itself. Even when you see cattle
17 slaughtered. I wrote this letter in this confused state of mind, but I do
18 stand by it because it reflects what was my position and my opinion at the
19 time. I wasn't pleased with seeing other people's houses on fire. Those
20 were the evils that I referred to. I did not know at the time about the
21 tragedy that had happened in Saborsko.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, but if you stand by it at this point in
23 time, then there's no need for you to refer us to the confusion that you
24 suffered at the time you wrote it because you still believe it. You are
25 not confused now. You are not a 24-year-old youngster, you are a
1 39-year-old mature man and you still stand by it. So save us the time and
2 don't refer us to your confusion.
3 If you were saying you are holding a different view today from
4 what you wrote here, I would think you would be justified in telling us
5 about your confusion, but if you still stand by it then there's no need to
6 tell us about it.
7 MR. WHITING: Sir --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't know how it was
9 interpreted to you, but that's the gist of what I stated. I state that
10 this letter is credible, that I signed it, and that this was my opinion at
11 the time. Of course, with hindsight I can be cleverer than I was then,
12 but it is of no use to me now.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: My question to you would then be: Do you stand by
14 the letter, or do you regret some of the things you wrote in the letter,
15 or do you have a changed to mind?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do regret some formulations.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Now you are justified in saying what
18 you are saying.
19 You may proceed, Mr. Whiting.
20 MR. WHITING:
21 Q. Sir, when you testified at the very end of your direct examination
22 about this letter and -- and you told Mr. Milovancevic about having
23 written this letter, why didn't you tell us then that you regretted
24 writing it, or that you regretted some formulations in it?
25 A. I was asked here to answer the questions, and I was warned that,
1 in fact, by His Honour on several occasions. And Mr. Milovancevic didn't
2 ask me anything to that effect.
3 Q. Now, I notice that the LiveNote is down --
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated].
5 MR. WHITING: So if we --
6 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Not the LiveNote, but the e-court --
7 MR. WHITING: I'm sorry. That's right, the e-court.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated].
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
10 MR. WHITING: I'm happy to proceed.
11 JUDGE HOEPFEL: I would think we don't have to go into that why
12 regretting only today not the day before yesterday or whatever.
13 MR. WHITING: You say do not go into it?
14 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Yeah, just go on with it.
15 MR. WHITING: Yeah, yeah, I'm happy to go on.
16 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: [Microphone not activated].
17 MR. WHITING: You're lucky, Your Honour. Oh, I've got mine now --
18 no, I don't.
19 Your Honour, would you like me to proceed or wait to get this
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Proceed.
22 MR. WHITING: Okay. Thank you.
23 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: [Microphone not activated].
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
25 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: When you were that young man of 24, was your
1 conduct and your action and your views, was it -- were these things
2 coloured by what had happened to your forebears in your opinion at the
3 hands of the Ustashas? Because you still seem to feel pretty strongly.
4 I'm trying to put myself in the mind of that 24-year-old who had to make
5 those decisions.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, at one point when
7 Mr. Milovancevic was examining me, I said that the crossroads or the
8 turning point in my life was the event at Glibodolski Kriz. What I saw
9 with my own eyes there caused enormous problems to me.
10 You see, when you're 24 and when you're entrusted with commanding
11 over a unit and when you have to take a person out of their home and then
12 return their bodies back, then this is a problem to me and these families.
13 I knew all these fighters and their families personally. They had been
14 living there for hundreds of years.
15 It wasn't a group of mercenaries that I had under my command that
16 I could use whichever way I wanted. To this day, I have been experiencing
17 the consequences of the conflict.
18 Now, as for my ancestors, well, perhaps I would have been a
19 different person had my grandfather lived to see the day when I was born
20 rather than having to not even know where his grave was because he had
21 been killed by the Ustasha in World War II and his body was buried and
22 cemented somewhere. However, I went to school together with Croats.
23 There were Croats in Plaski as well.
24 The secretary of the Executive Council, of which I was the
25 president, was a Croat, a lady Croat. I don't have trouble communicating
1 with Croats, but I do have trouble communicating with the Ustasha.
2 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: But can you make a distinction in your mind?
3 When the chips are down, are you really able to make that distinction?
4 Were you able to make that distinction?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in addition to
6 Saborsko, the part of Plaski toward Ogulin there were the villages of
7 Turkalji and Vajin Vrh that were inhabited by Croats. I went to their
8 homes where they would even invite me to share their festivities on
9 Christmas. One of the ladies there gave birth to her child and she was
10 put up in the same room as my wife. And these were people who had not
11 been instrumentalised by others, as were those unfortunate people in
13 When the international monitors came to Plaski, they came up with
14 a list of names of 67 Croats and non-Serbs from Plaski. The first
15 question they put to me was where these people were. I told them that
16 some of them were still there and that some of them were put up at my
18 As I said the secretary, Nedeljka Trbojevic, nee Sucic, was a
19 Croat and her family spent the entire war at my home. I didn't have any
20 problems there.
21 They asked me why had those events at Saborsko transpired. I told
22 them: Well, I'm sure in your homes -- back at home you also see people
23 who are merciless and who commit crimes, and the same type of crimes were
24 committed by some people in Saborsko, crimes that caused consternation on
25 the part of the international community. And this is my opinion today.
1 In order to obtain a state of their own, they had to sacrifice half of the
3 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: So do you think that the end always justifies
4 the means?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean wartime goals? If the goal
6 is to save an entire settlement, if the goal is to enable people to lead
7 normal lives, if an -- and if in order to achieve that you have to do some
8 ugly things because you have to liberate that settlement, you have to lift
9 the siege. I think that all our armies, when they receive orders, have to
10 take that into account. If the order is to lift the siege, all I could do
11 was try to save the lives of people under my command and to preserve my
12 honour. And I affirm that I did that. I preserve my honour. I never
13 fired at anyone who was helpless or unarmed, nor did I ever order anyone
14 to do that. And whoever did that needs to be tried, either before this
15 court or before some other court.
16 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you very much, Mr. Medakovic.
17 Sorry --
18 MR. WHITING: No. Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Well, I do want to stay with this letter just for one more moment,
20 if I may.
21 Q. Sir, you told us earlier that then and even today you did not know
22 who was responsible for the murder of those three men at Glibodol cross,
23 and you couldn't -- you couldn't even say that they came from Saborsko.
24 So how -- how is it that the people of Saborsko -- even in your mind then,
25 on the 13th of November, how is it that you could think that the people of
1 Saborsko could be responsible for that and be held responsible and suffer
2 evil in the attack because of it? How could you think that, sir?
3 A. I told you, sir, that they boasted themselves on radio frequency.
4 When someone says: That man of yours, he screamed really loudly as we
5 stabbed him with the knife, he's doing that in order to hurt you. And it
6 was I who talked that man into joining the unit, who mobilised him --
7 Q. I'm going to interrupt you because you also told us you thought
8 that information was unreliable and you told us that it came over the
9 radio from Ogulin. Did you -- did you think, sir, that the entire village
10 of Saborsko should suffer and be destroyed because of what had happened to
11 those three men? Even though you have no -- no reliable evidence that
12 the -- that it had happened as a result of anybody in Saborsko? Did you
13 think that, sir?
14 A. I didn't, sir. You are misconstruing it. I said that everybody
15 individually has to be held accountable for crimes. And as for everything
16 together which took place in Saborsko, I wasn't the one who decided on
17 that. I described to you exactly in which combat I took place, under what
18 circumstances, and who was killed then. And now you're trying to shift to
19 my shoulders --
20 Q. Sir, I'm just trying to talk about what you wrote. And what you
21 wrote on the 13th of November, 1991 --
22 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Mr. Whiting.
23 MR. WHITING: Yes.
24 JUDGE HOEPFEL: You are trying to talk about what the witness
25 wrote as saying -- but this trying seems to be a little difficult for the
1 witness and I would have reacted before already. Your question, in fact,
2 was compound. It was, on the one hand, assuming that the witness had no
3 reason to think that the people of Saborsko were responsible; and on the
4 other hand, we should have said: Given he was convinced it was somebody
5 from Saborsko, was that a justification or a good reason for a fight
6 against the village. You should separate these two things a little bit.
7 And I would like to ask the one thing myself to the witness. Were
8 you at that time, on the 13th of -- yeah, on the 13th, still convinced --
9 or were you sort of convinced based on this, as you now say, unreliable
10 radio frequency notion that -- that it was people from Saborsko? Was that
11 your conviction at that time?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the time, as I was writing this
13 letter, it was my firm conviction that this was a show produced together
14 by the forces from Saborsko and Ogulin because that's precisely where they
15 met up and went into further operation. These unfortunate people had come
16 from Dabar, where they were on some civilian business, having collected
17 the horses and transporting them in a trailer.
18 It was my firm conviction then, and I put in a lot of effort to
19 find out that perpetrators were even paid to receive information because I
20 wanted to know who was that monster who could have done it. It was my
21 firm conviction that they did it together and that they drew satisfaction
22 as they tortured these people for several hours. They did it together
23 because this is a junction of roads in the forest and there is a clearing
25 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you.
1 So this is to be pre-supposed to the next question. Please,
2 Mr. Whiting, you can continue.
3 MR. WHITING:
4 Q. Let's assume -- let's assume what you say -- how you felt at the
5 time and what you believed at the time. Is that -- is that a
6 justification for what occurred in Saborsko, the attack on Saborsko and
7 the crimes that were committed in Saborsko?
8 A. No crime can ever justify another crime. Innocent people always
9 become victims. Had I found those people in the act, had I caught them in
10 the act, they would not have lived to stand trial. I can tell you about
11 my feelings, and now that I'm 40 years old I can tell you that violence
12 begets more violence, and that it is up to the Judges to solve these
13 issues, not up to revengeful people.
14 Q. Well, sir, isn't it also up to commanders and leaders such as
15 yourself as the president of the Plaski municipality and commander of 60
16 men in this operation, isn't it up to people like you, commanders, to not
17 give in to passions and speculations and myths and to -- and to follow the
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic.
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, my learned friend
21 has no foundation for putting this question because the witness never
22 stated anything of this sort earlier to justify this question. On the
23 contrary, the witness said something quite opposite; namely, that no crime
24 justifies another crime. I don't see why we are wasting time now on such
1 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I think, first of all, that the letter
2 that we have before us does seek to justify what happened, the evil that
3 happened in Saborsko. It says: "There is no evil in doing evil to evil
5 And secondly, I was just asking my question going on what the
6 witness said, which is: "Violence begets more violence and it is up to
7 the Judges" -- sir.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can you just keep quiet. You'll be addressed and
9 you will be given an opportunity to answer. Right now the lawyers are
10 speaking to the Court.
11 MR. WHITING: "That it is up to the Judges to solve these issues,"
12 and I was just going on from there that -- to ask him if he believed that
13 also commanders and leaders had a responsibility during wartime to follow
14 the law and not succumb to passions.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you have any reply to that, Mr. Milovancevic?
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, but the witness
17 stated that at the time when he was writing the letter he didn't know
18 about the victims, he hadn't been in the village at that point, that he
19 didn't know about the destruction and the suffering. Why is this question
20 put to him as, then, though he knew all that? That was the point of my
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry, I won't allow you to speak because I
23 don't think the last reply addresses the question, and I'm just ruling the
24 objection overruled.
25 MR. WHITING: Thank you.
1 Q. Sir, in fact you did -- when you wrote this letter, you did know
2 that evil had been done in Saborsko on the 12th of November, 1991, didn't
3 you? And that's why you wrote "there is no evil in doing evil to evil
5 A. I've told you that I didn't know of the extent of what had
6 happened. I told you that given my background I consider it an evil event
7 when somebody's house is set on fire.
8 We refer to the cattle as treasure in my region. When we see
9 cattle wandering off, we know that that's evil, that that's misfortune,
10 and it bothers me.
11 As for the extent of destruction and civilian deaths, I learned of
12 that only when the sanitization of the terrain was conducted. That's when
13 I learned of that. Nobody has a right to commit a crime on my behalf.
14 And to answer your question about the leaders and commanders, let
15 me tell you that in Iraq, British and American forces --
16 Q. I'm going to interrupt you --
17 A. You're not letting me speak --
18 Q. Well, sir --
19 A. You can put that question to me, but you can't put the same
20 question to the US president. You should have the same position to
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Medakovic, the US president is not in this
23 court to answer any questions. You're not dealing with Iraqi issues.
24 We're dealing with the Croatian issues or the former Yugoslavian issues.
25 I'll ask you to refrain from referring us to the president of the United
1 States or to Iraq. Let's deal with the facts that are before us.
2 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Q. Mr. Medakovic, everybody knew by the 13th of November, 1991, the
4 day after, that Saborsko was no more. As you wrote it, "There is no
5 Saborsko anymore," that it had been destroyed, that the people had left,
6 and hat civilians had been killed. Everybody knew that, including you.
7 Isn't that true, sir?
8 A. That is not true, sir. That is not true. There was no
9 television, no cameras to record that at the time. That's a huge area.
10 The village itself is 6 to 8 kilometres long. We had no fuel. We had no
11 resources. I did not have a helicopter to conduct a reconnaissance above
12 Saborsko. I wasn't even there --
13 Q. But, sir, you wrote that Saborsko is -- "there is no Saborsko
14 anymore." Those are your words. So you knew on the 13th of November when
15 you wrote this letter that there was no Saborsko anymore, right?
16 A. It was no more as an Ustasha stronghold. There was no resistance
17 there any longer. It simply didn't exist. There was nobody there to do
18 things that had been done before by people to whom I refer as Ustashas.
19 There were no longer such people in Saborsko. And let me tell you, they
20 were the first ones to flee.
21 Q. Sir, and you were a 24-year-old man, but you were -- you were
22 president of the municipality, you were commander in the operation, you
23 had been the -- you had been and you were still in command of the special
24 unit of the SAO Krajina police. Those are all important positions of
25 responsibility; correct?
1 A. That's not true that I was the commander of the operation. It's
2 not true that I was at the helm of the special unit.
3 Sir, once again you are misquoting facts, and then you want me to
4 give my position. I cannot do that when the facts are incorrect. It is
5 not true, and I disagree with you.
6 Q. Sir -- well, I think there may have been a misinterpretation. I
7 didn't mean to suggest you were the commander of the operation.
8 Let me put it differently. You held important positions of
9 responsibility at that time, didn't you, sir?
10 A. Yes, I had a very important post, one and only, and it was called
11 president of municipality during wartime.
12 Q. And this is not the letter of -- well, I'll leave that.
13 MR. WHITING: I'm going to leave this letter unless there is other
14 questions from Your Honours.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Say that again?
16 MR. WHITING: I'm going to move on from this letter unless there
17 are other questions from Your Honours about the letter.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: I just have one question about the letter.
19 What is it, sir, that you regret today in this letter?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] First of all, I regret writing the
21 letter at the time while the situation was not entirely clear to me as to
22 what had truly happened.
23 Second, I regret because I myself experienced the fate of those
24 unfortunate people in Saborsko. I experienced that in 1995. Had I had
25 that experience, I would have never allowed the people leaving their homes
1 to take the letter with them. It was humiliating enough to leave their
2 homes, and they didn't need additional humiliation of serving as my
4 As for Rudo Spehar and Croatian authorities and everything else I
5 felt at the time, I still have those feelings.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. I appreciate what you have told us.
7 There's only one point in all the points that you've given us that has a
8 direct relation to the contents of the letter, namely writing the letter
9 when you are not clear of the facts. What facts were you not clear about
10 at the time you wrote the letter?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't know the extent of civilian
12 casualties and destruction in Saborsko. I'm stating that with full
13 responsibility here under oath. I didn't know of deaths of civilians. I
14 knew that their soldiers were killed and that houses were set on fire.
15 It's an evil event whenever somebody's child is killed, regardless of
16 whose army they are members of. But I didn't know of the extent of the
17 destruction in Saborsko.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: But you knew that there are soldiers who were
19 killed and that they are children of some people, those soldiers that were
20 killed? That you didn't regret -- that you do not regret? Do I
21 understand you to be saying so?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I took part in combat.
23 They fired at me. I fired at them at close range. I was the first one
24 leading the column. I took part in it. By some luck I survived and they
25 didn't. That's war.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: No, I understand that. But you don't regret that
2 their soldiers died.
3 I'll tell you why I'm asking the question. You say -- you said in
4 your answer: "I knew that their soldiers were killed and that houses were
5 set on fire."
6 And then you go on to say: "It's an evil event whenever
7 somebody's child is killed, regardless of whose army they are members of."
8 Now, what you seem to be saying to us is that you regret if
9 civilians die, you regret the fact that their houses were burnt, but you
10 don't regret that their soldiers died, but in the same breath you say: If
11 a soldier dies, irrespective of which army he belongs to, it is still an
12 evil thing.
13 I am not quite sure I understand you, and I would like you to
14 clarify this. Because I would really like to understand what it is that
15 you do regret in this letter. What are you saying? I find some kind of
16 equivocation in your answer.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I will give you a
18 completely frank answer. The soldiers, the enemy soldiers, the Ustashas
19 who died in the conflict with us were very young. I could see them
20 myself. They were young men, and I felt great sorrow that such young
21 children were there. I was 24 myself, and they were younger than me.
22 The other thing I wanted to say, I read once a book, Hemingway's
23 book, which in the preface says that the death of each man reduces my
24 being as well. This is something that one learns as one grows older. How
25 I regret that those Croatian soldiers died, but at the time I felt proud
1 that I was able to neutralise them.
2 I never bragged about this in bars or anywhere else. I never
3 talked about these events before coming here to the Tribunal. I never
4 wrote books, and a lot of people wrote books even though they never saw
5 action. They are trying to portray things as it suits them. I am telling
6 you about what I experienced.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let's not go much further. Is there anything else
8 other than what you've told us that you regret in the letter, in the
9 contents of the letter? Not sending people as couriers or writing to the
10 addressee, but in the content of the letter is there anything that --
11 other than what you have told us that you regret today?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could you please scroll down on my
13 monitor? Yes. Thank you.
14 I think that this line here: "May this be a warning to all those
15 who thought that they could impose their power by force over Serbian
16 people," it was no warning to them, the fate that the misfortunate people
17 in Saborsko suffered; they used it to their own advantage.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated].
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not receive interpretation. I
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: So sorry. Who used it to their own advantage and
22 what is it they used?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From a peaceful village, Saborsko
24 was turned into a stronghold when people from elsewhere were brought. You
25 were able to see yourselves that Muslims were brought there.
1 Non-Catholics were brought to a Catholic area to have people under their
2 command there. Nothing is sacred to those people. They sacrificed them
3 deliberately because they knew that that would draw a response from the
4 JNA. They needed human victims in order to attract the pity of Europe.
5 Tudjman was their leader, and he stated that he knew --
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry, I have to interrupt you. My -- what I
7 would like to find out from you -- and if you don't have anything else,
8 just tell me you don't have anything else. My question to you simply is:
9 What is it in this letter that you regret? Now, you've told us you regret
10 the statement that "let this be a warning." Anything else?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I regret writing
12 that "it is not evil to do evil to evil people," I regret ever doing evil
13 to anyone. I was frequently forced, placed between a rock and a hard
14 place, and that's how it was.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Is that all you regret?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry about that, Mr. --
18 Thank you, Mr. Whiting. You may continue.
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Well, I don't want to take too much of your time,
21 but I would like to ask you also about that.
22 This sentence in the end sort of summarising the message you
23 wanted to give at that time, was this an expression saying at that time
24 you learned somewhere, not exactly defining a justification, but this is a
25 moral message, isn't it? Yeah. Yeah?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You've noticed throughout my
2 testimony that I like to use sayings that are traditional. I don't know
3 how well they translate into English, but where I come from we have
4 sayings that are over 100 years old and that have quite a lot of meaning
5 to us. I'm sure that they are difficult to translate into your language.
6 I think that this phrase is mentioned here somewhere, you know the
7 sayings "tit for tat," but in a different sense. I was not the one who
8 coined this saying. I just used it at that moment.
9 JUDGE HOEPFEL: This is what I was thinking, that you -- it caught
10 you in this moment and you had the feeling that this would be a good
11 summary idea, that it would catch what you wanted to say in this letter at
12 that time. And could it be that you are regretting the contents also due
13 to this strong language you used in the light of what you know now what
14 were really the unhappy events in Saborsko?
15 You were referring to unhappy events in Saborsko; this is a foggy
16 expression. It seems to cover what we know or you know today about the
17 crimes, but at that time it was just a strong language, wasn't it?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What is also significant is to whom
19 this letter is addressed. I sent this letter to Rudolf Spehar who at that
20 time in my mind represented the Croatian side, the face of the Croatian
21 side that I was familiar with. I talked to him after writing this letter.
22 Perhaps I wrote this deliberately in such strong terms so that he
23 could understand that we are prepared to fight, to fight to the last man,
24 if necessary, but we were not ready to accept him and what he represented
25 in my mind. I talked to him when UNPROFOR arrived in 1992 or in 1993.
1 This was in Vojnovic. And he never once asked he about this letter, and I
2 kept repeating what is stated at the end of this letter: Give us the
3 books that we need, give us what we had created together so that we can
4 negotiate the border. At the time I believed that the Republic of Serbian
5 Krajina would continue to exist.
6 It is very difficult for me now to justify my acts. I'm not under
7 indictment here. If somebody should issue an indictment against me, I
8 would gladly respond. I would gladly respond to any prosecutor except for
9 the prosecutor in Croatia.
10 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you.
11 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I think it's a convenient time.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: It is indeed. Okay. We'll take an adjournment for
13 the day, and the matter will -- stands adjourned to tomorrow at 9.00 in
14 the same courtroom, Courtroom I.
15 Court adjourned.
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.01 p.m.,
17 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 12th day of
18 October, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.