1 Tuesday, 31 October 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.25 p.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good afternoon, Mrs. Pupovac. Yesterday when you
7 started testifying you made a declaration to the effect that you would
8 tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing else but the truth. I just
9 want to remind you that you are still bound by that declaration to tell
10 the truth today.
11 Thank you very much.
12 Mr. Milovancevic.
13 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
14 WITNESS: NADA PUPOVAC [Resumed]
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 Examination by Mr. Milovancevic: [Continued]
17 Q. [Interpretation] Mrs. Pupovac, good afternoon.
18 A. Good afternoon.
19 Q. Before I continue with the examination, I would just like to
20 briefly remind you to speak slowly for the benefit of the interpreters,
21 and may we make pauses between my questions and your answers. Thank you.
22 Yesterday, towards the end of the day, you mentioned a certain man
23 called Miljanic, and somebody in an invalid chair told you about him, a
24 civilian, a civilian whom you assisted. Do you remember that?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Can you tell us who that man Miljanic was? What was he doing
2 there in Skabrnja?
3 A. Miljanic, according to what this other man told me, was the
4 commander of a platoon fighting against the regular army of Yugoslavia,
5 and he had the assignment of fighting with all available resources against
6 the Yugoslav People's Army, the army of the state of Yugoslavia.
7 Q. Thank you. I'm going to ask you something else now. Did you
8 follow these trials on television, the trials held here on television?
9 A. I did follow some of the proceedings but not all of them.
10 Q. Did you have an opportunity of hearing of a man who testified here
11 with that name? Do you happen to remember that?
12 A. No, I didn't attend that particular trial.
13 Q. Thank you. When this civilian in the invalid's chair told you, in
14 the wheelchair told you that Miljanic forbade the population, who were
15 ethnic Croats, to withdraw from the village before the fighting, did he
16 say why he banned that?
17 A. Well, in my view, and in talking to him, the conclusion I arrived
18 at was that, quite simply, they wanted to show the world that there were a
19 lot of casualties, and in order to demonstrate that, they forfeited their
20 own people, which is a horrendous thing to do for any nation in the world.
21 Q. Thank you. Yesterday you spoke about the civilians who were
22 evacuated. Can you remind us -- or, rather, do you remember how many
23 civilians from the village of Skabrnja you evacuated?
24 A. I remember -- or, rather, are you referring to the wounded and
25 injured or civilians who were not wounded and injured?
1 Q. Yes. Thank you for asking me that. I was thinking of the
2 civilians, not the wounded and injured but the inhabitants of the village
3 who were pulled out during the fighting.
4 A. Well, there were over 150 people, men, women, children, who were
5 pulled out of the combat. I don't mean pulling them out physically,
6 pulling their bodies out, but withdrawing them from the combat activities,
7 and they were transported to Benkovac where they were provided with food.
8 Q. Thank you. That will suffice. In view of your last answer, does
9 that mean, when you -- or, rather, if I say that there were any pregnant
10 women, would that remind you of anything?
11 A. No.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: You are asking a leading question,
13 Mr. Milovancevic. You see, once you say --
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] In view of the answer, Your
15 Honour, I think that clears the situation up and I won't insist on the
16 question. Yes, I do agree with you, Your Honour. That could have been
17 the case.
18 Q. What was your attitude towards the wounded and towards the
19 civilians? Did you differentiate at all between the people when you were
20 working as a nurse on the ground?
21 A. Well, as a nurse, I cannot make any differences between -- treat
22 people differently because they are all my own people from my own country,
23 Yugoslavia, people who lived in the area. They were of a different
24 religion, but I can't act differently towards anybody, and all the more so
25 as I have relatives among the ethnic Croats myself.
1 Q. Thank you. Around the 18th of November, 1991, you said towards
2 evening on that date that the fighting stopped. Where did you yourself
3 stop in the village of Skabrnja?
4 A. It was in the centre of the village where the church is.
5 Q. Thank you. Now I'd like to know the following: Did you have an
6 opportunity of entering the houses to see whether there were any
7 casualties? Did you do that, in fact, on the 18th and 19th of November?
8 Did you go into the houses?
9 A. No. I didn't go into the houses.
10 Q. When, on that 18th of November, 1991, you stopped in the centre of
11 the village, did you personally, and other soldiers, did they know or
12 could they have known where the forces who were in Skabrnja were located,
13 these soldiers that you were fighting against? What part of the village
14 and were they in the village at all?
15 A. Are you referring to the 18th or the 19th of November?
16 Q. I'm referring to the 18th of November.
17 A. Well, they still had the positions around the railway station.
18 I'm referring to the Croatian paramilitaries.
19 Q. Thank you. And in the night between the 18th and 19th of
20 November, 1991, was there any fighting, any shooting at all?
21 A. No, it was a quiet night. All you could hear was voices shouting
22 out, "This isn't Serbia, you Chetniks. This is Croatian land," and
23 various abuses of that kind.
24 Q. And what happened on the following day, on the 19th of November,
25 1991? You said that you spent the night in the centre of the village.
1 What happened the following day?
2 A. The following day we advanced along the road towards Nadin to
3 Skabrnja, Nadin-Skabrnja, which was very important for lifting the siege,
4 lifting the blockade at the airport.
5 Q. Can you --
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, I thought we are in Skabrnja. Now the
7 following day, we are advancing along the road towards Nadin, to Skabrnja.
8 I thought we are already in Skabrnja. Where are we going to now?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Would you like me to answer?
10 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, there seems to be
11 an imprecise interpretation there. I'll repeat that question and then she
12 can give us her answer, if you agree.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. As you were saying, you were in the centre of the village. And
16 the next day you set off along the road. Where did you go to?
17 A. We continued along that road and it's still part of Skabrnja.
18 It's the area above the railway station of Ivkovici and then you reach the
19 village of Nadin.
20 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us, at least roughly, how far Nadin is
21 from Skabrnja, the village of Nadin from the village of Skabrnja?
22 A. Well, one follows on into the other. They are connected.
23 Q. Thank you. How long did you move along that road from Skabrnja to
24 Nadin? Do you remember that? How long did it take you?
25 A. Well, we progressed very slowly. There were some sporadic
1 shooting during the morning, but we were very cautious and wary so we
2 moved slowly and there weren't any casualties in Nadin, and we passed
3 through Nadin by 2.00 p.m.
4 Q. A moment ago, you said that there was a little shooting. Who shot
5 at whom?
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just a second, Mr. Milovancevic. Your question had
7 been how long it took them. To say they passed Nadin by 2.00 p.m. when we
8 don't know when they left doesn't tell you how long it took. Can you
9 establish that fact, please? At least she must tell you when they left
10 Skabrnja to reach Nadin by 2.00 p.m.
11 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I followed the
12 witness's answer, but I'll ask the question again. I don't think that the
13 interpretation was precise enough perhaps.
14 Q. Let's take it this way: At what time the following day, on the
15 19th of November, 1991, did you set out from the centre of Skabrnja? What
16 time was that?
17 A. It was in the morning at around 7.00 a.m. But we passed through
18 Nadin by 1400 hours, 2.00 in the afternoon. That's what I said in my
19 first answer.
20 Q. Yes, thank you. When you say 2.00 in the afternoon, 2.00 p.m.,
21 that's on the 19th of November, 1991. Have I understood you correctly?
22 A. Yes, that's right.
23 Q. Thank you. Now, you said that when you entered Nadin, and you
24 explained to us that Skabrnja and Nadin are two neighbouring villages,
25 that there was a little shooting. Who shot at whom?
1 A. The Croatian paramilitaries, what was left of them, shot at the
2 members of the JNA, Yugoslav People's Army.
3 Q. You explained to us that there weren't any casualties there?
4 A. No, there weren't. We had some wounded towards Nadinska Glava,
5 which was mined when they withdrew. When I say "they," I mean the
6 Croatian paramilitary forces. There were anti-aircraft mines that had
7 been laid, trip mines, and that's what happened.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Anti-tank mines, interpreter's correction.
9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. In respect of the village of Nadin, where is this place that you
11 mentioned Nadinska Glava or Nadinska Greda. Is that the same thing?
12 A. It was called Nadinska Glava. That's what it was called the whole
13 time, and I think that in the present state of Croatia the name has
14 remained the same. Nadinska Glava is an elevation which is a very
15 important feature in the area from which you would be able to control all
16 the roads running from Benkovac to Ravni Kotari, that is the
17 Benkovac-Biljane Gornje-Smiljcic road and Islam-Kasic road. And then the
18 Benkovac-Biljane Donje road, because it passes above Nadinska Glava. It's
19 about 100 metres as the crow flies. Then the Benkovac Biograd road. And
20 the large Zadar airport, you can control the whole of that area from that
21 vantage point. Yes. You asked me about the roads leading to the Zadar
22 airport; is that right?
23 Q. When you say that from Nadinska Glava you can control all the
24 roads and including the Zadar airport, how can you control them and who
25 did this controlling? Who controlled them?
1 A. Well, in the war operations you know how this was controlled.
2 They could prevent any passage along those roads, anybody from passing,
3 civilians and soldiers alike, if you were up at Ravni Kotari, that
5 Q. And how would you do that? What means would you use, what
7 A. Well, as far as I was able to see, and I did see this at the end,
8 they were well armed. They had mortars, 60- and 82- and 120-millimetre
9 mortars. They had hand-held grenades. They had the zolja type of weapon,
10 hand-held grenade, and some artillery pieces as well. I don't know what
11 they were called. Of long-range weapons anyway.
12 Q. In your answers you mentioned the basic positions held in
13 Skabrnja, the Glava [indiscernible], Nadinska Kosa, Nadinska Glava. Were
14 there any other positions or were they the only fortified positions from
15 when they opened fire while you were in Skabrnja on the 18th and 19th of
17 A. Well, they opened fire from other positions as well. Zemunik
18 Donji is located between Skabrnja and the airport. A place called Prkos
19 below Skabrnja and Galovac, another place. So from three axes, they were
20 able to target Skabrnja from these three axes apart from the elevation
21 which is in Skabrnja itself.
22 Q. Thank you. When you reached Nadinska Glavica and took up your
23 positions there, what happened next?
24 A. Well, the army was withdrawing to its reserve positions. They
25 went back to barracks like any other army, any other soldiers returning
1 back to barracks.
2 Q. And where did you go after that operation?
3 A. I reported to the TO commander and returned to Benkovac, of
4 course. Zoran Lakic was his name.
5 Q. Can you tell us -- or, rather, do you know what happened to the
6 civilians who were evacuated from Skabrnja?
7 A. Yes. Those civilians were first of all taken to Benkovac, those
8 of them who were not injured and wounded. Anybody who was injured and
9 wounded were taken to a clinic to be given medical assistance. The
10 civilians who arrived in Benkovac to the barracks there were fed and they
11 were also put up in the children's nursery school. And they expressed the
12 desire to cross over to Zadar because they had relatives there.
13 However, through some friends who were working there, they asked
14 that the Croatian authorities receive them in Zadar. This was a hot line,
15 because you weren't able to communicate in the normal way with Zadar, but
16 Zadar refused to allow them to do that. Since they insisted, and since
17 there was a cease-fire anyway, in the area of Pristeg, Ceranje Gornje,
18 that is a location which is south towards Biokovo [as interpreted]
19 underneath Benkovac, the road to Sibenik turns left. Anyway, they took
20 the people to that crossroads, the crossroads, the junction, between
21 Pristeg and Ceranje Gornje. Ceranje Gornje is a Serb village; Pristonje
22 [as interpreted] is a Croatian village. And they had to pass that area on
23 foot. I think that their own people gave up on them. That's my opinion.
24 And they didn't want to take them in, but they had to go and cross over to
25 Croatian territory on foot.
1 Q. Thank you. After that, all this happened in November 1991, how
2 long were you when you resided in your home town and in Krajina?
3 A. Until the 4th of August, 1995, until the Croatian fascist action
4 of Storm, which drove me from my home, and now I'm currently residing in
6 So until the 4th of August 1995, in early morning hours, I left my
7 home town and my home village and my home.
8 Q. Could it be said that you left voluntarily, that you wanted to
10 A. Well, sir --
11 MR. BLACK: I apologise for the interruption. The first question
12 got by and the answer started before I could object. But there is nothing
13 in the 65 ter summary about, you know, when she left her home or anything
14 after 1991, as far as I can tell, so I would object to more evidence on
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic.
17 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I accept this. I just wanted
18 to make a connection between the place of residence that the witness
19 informed us about at the beginning of her statement, and the place which
20 she left. Thank you, Your Honours. Defence --
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not 1991, 1995.
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Okay. Your Honours, Defence
23 has thus concluded the examination-in-chief.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. I assume you're saying that you are
25 withdrawing that last question against which there was an objection.
1 Thank you very much, if that is the case.
2 Any cross-examination, Mr. Black?
3 MR. BLACK: Yes, Your Honour, thank you. If I could have just a
4 moment to send my list to the Defence, please.
5 Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Cross-examination by Mr. Black:
7 Q. Mrs. Pupovac, my name is Mr. Black. I'm one of the Prosecutors in
8 this case, and I'm going to ask you questions for a while now. Do you
9 understand that?
10 A. Yes. My name is Drmanic and my -- Pupovac is my maiden name.
11 Q. Okay. Thank you. Most of my questions are going to be
12 specifically about the 18th and 19th of November, 1991, about the
13 operation in Skabrnja, but there are a couple other things I'd like to ask
14 you about. For example, yesterday you said -- and this was at
15 transcript 59 to 60 for Your Honours and Defence counsel. You said that
16 the 1990 elections resulted in the HDZ and Ustasha party taking power, and
17 throughout your testimony you've referred often to Ustashas.
18 My question to you is this: You considered the HDZ and the newly
19 elected Croatian authorities to be Ustashas; correct?
20 A. Sir, the authorities and their attitude towards the Serbs and that
21 kicked a sovereign people from their constitution in 1990 and turned them
22 into a minority in a country where they used not to be a minority, that
23 authority has to be labelled an Ustasha authority.
24 Q. Okay. So I guess the answer to my question was yes.
25 A. Yeah. Ustasha authorities even now.
1 Q. Okay. And you still hold that view now?
2 A. Yes. I still hold, as long as my people do not have the right to
3 truth, that they did not leave their homes voluntarily, that they were
4 expelled by the Ustasha governments, as long as my people do not have the
5 right to their property and as long as the so-called homeland war is not
6 characterised --
7 Q. Ma'am --
8 A. -- for what it is because of the actions -- please let me finish.
9 Q. Well, you can finish if you focus on my questions. There is a
10 procedure here and it's I ask you questions and then you need to answer my
11 questions. So please try to focus on them and don't go on talking about
12 other things. You're kind of getting involved as long as this, as long as
13 that. Focus on my questions, okay, please?
14 A. Sir, I focused on your question, and in that question, to that
15 question, there is only one answer. Let's remember Medak pocket on the
16 20th January, the largest holiday for the Serb people.
17 May I continue?
18 Q. No, you may not. You really -- there is -- you really need to
19 focus on my questions. After I get done asking my questions, then counsel
20 for Mr. Martic will get a chance to ask you questions again, and if there
21 is things that weren't clarified or that I didn't ask you about and he
22 thinks that need to be clarified, he can ask you more questions. Just so
23 you understand that. But you need to really focus on my questions and
24 just try to answer them, okay? Do you understand that?
25 And I would add, you know, the purpose of us being here is not to
1 argue about these things. My job is to put questions to you and your job
2 is to answer them the best you can, so we don't have to try to argue about
3 it. Have I made myself clear?
4 A. The only answer that I can give was the one that I gave you.
5 Q. Okay. Let me move on to another question. You referred in your
6 testimony several times to the chequer-board symbol. Am I correct that
7 you considered that red-and-white chequer-board symbol to be an Ustasha
8 symbol, not merely a Croat symbol but an Ustasha symbol; is that right?
9 A. Sir, under the chequer-board symbol, my mother from 1941 to 1945,
10 during the World War II, lost her child, while she was handcuffed by the
11 Ustashas and the Germans and the Ustashas wore that chequer-board symbol.
12 And now 16 years she hasn't seen her other second child. That's me.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can we please understand each other. What the
14 lawyer has been telling you is that you must focus on his questions and
15 answer his questions only. Please, it's very important. He hasn't asked
16 you about your mother. He just asked you about the chequer-board colours.
17 Concentrate on what you are being asked. We understand you may have
18 emotional attachments to these things because of what you -- according to
19 you has happened to you and your mother. Try to restrain yourself and
20 keep to the question. Okay? That way we'll finish quicker. And you will
21 go home earlier. Okay?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
24 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. One other thing that you mentioned in your testimony, you talked
1 about "redarstvenici," and I hope I'm pronouncing that close to correctly.
2 Now, you describe the "redarstvenici" as HDZ paramilitaries, and you said
3 how they wore Ustasha emblems. These people that you've described in
4 those terms, that was just -- those were Croatian policemen, correct,
5 that's who you're referring to?
6 A. No, sir. Yugoslavia still existed at the time.
7 Q. But even when Yugoslavia existed, Croatia had a Ministry of the
8 Interior, right? There was such a thing as Croatian policemen, even
9 during the SFRY, right?
10 A. Yes, sir. But the symbols were different, not the chequer-board
11 symbols, but the five-pointed red star.
12 Q. Okay. Let me focus on this word "redarstvenici." I just wanted
13 to know if the people that you described as HDZ paramilitaries and
14 Ustasha, the people you were talking about were members of the Croatian
15 MUP, correct, Croatian policemen?
16 A. There were of the HDZ, policemen of the HDZ, because the proper
17 authorities had not been established. They were part, political party
19 Q. Okay. Did you consider the SAO Krajina police to be
21 A. Krajina, I don't know which period you're referring to.
22 Q. I'm talking about from the -- well, actually from August 1990, all
23 through 1991, mostly in 1991 when the SAO Krajina was in existence and
24 they had their own secretary and later Ministry of the Interior and they
25 had their own police. Now, did you consider those SAO Krajina police to
1 be paramilitaries in the way that you've described the Croatian police?
2 A. No, sir. Because they wore the symbols of the state of Yugoslavia
3 that was still in existence then.
4 Q. Well, actually, the SAO Krajina police had their own patch that
5 said "Milicija Krajina" on it, didn't they? So they didn't actually wear
6 the symbols of the old police.
7 A. They still hadn't put any other symbol on those insignia.
8 Q. Okay. So even in 1991, let's say in November of 1991, you weren't
9 aware of the Milicija Krajina patch worn by the SAO Krajina police?
10 You're saying that didn't exist then?
11 A. Sir, you forgot that I was a nurse, not a policewoman.
12 Q. All right. I didn't actually forget that.
13 Please, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: I'm sorry, Mr. Black, I must admit I thought she
15 was admitting that they did wear the Krajina Milicija, but saying other
16 than that there was no other emblem, so I don't know if you could clear
17 that up.
18 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, you may be right. I didn't notice the
19 word "other" in that answer, so perhaps that was --
20 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: It may just be my understanding it could be
21 clarified further for better understanding.
22 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour. I accept what you say. I had
23 missed the word "other" in her answer. Let me put just one more question.
24 Q. Witness, just so that I'm clear, so you accept that the -- and I
25 know you were a nurse but you accept that the SAO Krajina police wore the
1 Milicija Krajina patch, and you say other than that, they still wore the
2 old insignia? Is that -- could you explain it to me because as you can
3 tell I didn't really understand why you were saying that the SAO Krajina
4 police were not paramilitaries.
5 A. Sir, you put an answer that suits you in your question, but I
6 cannot answer your question as it was put to me.
7 Q. Let me put my question to you again and see if you can answer it
8 this way. To you -- in your mind, why were the Croatian police in 1991
9 paramilitaries and yet the SAO Krajina police in 1991, at the same time,
10 you don't consider them paramilitaries? Just please explain that to me
11 and I'll move on to the next topic.
12 A. Because no fascist symbol was put on the uniforms by the
13 SAO Krajina policemen as opposed to the others, those others.
14 Q. Okay. Let me ask you about another thing you said yesterday. You
15 said that the HDZ wanted to break up Yugoslavia, "With the help of foreign
16 states that wanted that." And I just wonder if you could explain that a
17 little bit more. Which foreign states did you mean and what were their
18 goals, according to you?
19 A. I meant Germany and the USA, countries that recognised the
20 break-up of Yugoslavia, followed by others, affected through the secession
21 of Slovenia and Croatia through their attacks against the JNA, Slovenia
22 and Croatia started the war.
23 Q. Okay. Because yesterday it seemed like you were talking about
24 1990. But are you saying that you're talking about events that happened
25 later, with the recognition of the independence of Croatia and Slovenia in
1 199 -- well, their declaration in 1991 and later their recognition in the
2 international community? Is that what you were talking about?
3 A. Well, sir, taking into account German aspirations during
4 World War II and later, the importation of arms, the arrival to the front
5 line of volunteers from these countries, importation of arms from those
6 countries, would it not be tantamount to a break-up of a sovereign
8 Sir, this was the most beautiful country on earth. Very
9 beautiful, with lots of diversity.
10 Q. Ma'am, would you say that you have a tendency to exaggerate
11 things? Or would you disagree with that?
12 A. I do not agree.
13 Q. Okay. Well let me ask you about one example. You testified
14 yesterday about the horrible murder of the Stegnjaja couple. First of
15 all, that happened in September of 1991, not in 1990, as you suggested,
17 A. Sir, I cannot really remember all those dates spanning five years.
18 But that's no the reason for you to accuse me of exaggerating, because the
19 murder of a single bird would be too much.
20 Q. Okay. So you accept that that happened in 1991, rather than 1990?
21 Or you just don't remember?
22 A. I do not accept.
23 Q. Okay. Well, let me move on to the actual facts of what happened
24 because --
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: But wait a minute.
1 What's your answer now? First of all you say you cannot be
2 expected to remember all those dates. Now you say you do not accept that
3 it was 1991. Now you tell us, when was it, according to your memory?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I meant to say that it was --
5 occurred before any other armed conflict. There still was no armed
6 conflict at the time. There were no attacks, direct attacks.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: There is no question --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And still one could travel to Zadar
9 and back from Zadar.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can I just interrupt you? There was no mention of
11 armed conflict in the question. I'm just asking you a question: When did
12 it take place? Was it 1990 or was it in 1991? Just be specific and let's
13 get over this point and get to the next point.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot really specify the date.
15 What I know is that there -- this was a heinous murder.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Would you then accept that it could have been in
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can.
19 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. Ma'am, on this same event, isn't it the fact that it happened as
21 follows: Those people were -- weren't taken off of a bus but, rather,
22 they got off of the bus one day because it didn't stop at their usual stop
23 and so they had to walk across a field to get back to their village, and
24 they were apparently killed in that field and their bodies were discovered
25 some two months later. The man had been decapitated, as you said, but his
1 head was never found, and the wife had been beaten to death. Isn't that
2 what actually happened to those people?
3 A. No. They were taken off the bus.
4 Q. Could we --
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: I think you have asked several questions, if you
6 can break them up. Walking in the field, man decapitated, woman beaten to
8 MR. BLACK: Okay. Thank you, Your Honour. I was trying not to
9 spend too much time on this.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: But she has answered only one of those questions.
11 MR. BLACK: I think there is a way we could do it if we could use
12 a document. If we could at ERN 01445726, please. If we could see that on
13 the screens in front of us. Thank you.
14 Q. Ma'am, you can see this has been translated into what's there in
15 front of you in your language. This is a document actually compiled by
16 the FRY, by the Yugoslav authorities. And you can see there it refers --
17 gives this description of the killing of the Stegnjajas in September of
19 If we could scroll down just a little bit, perhaps the witness can
20 just read that to herself and we'll read it silently to ourselves.
21 And, Witness, when you've had a chance to finish it tell me if you
22 accept that as the correct description of what happened on this occasion.
23 Ma'am, when you've finished reading it, please let me know and
24 I'll continue with my questions, but please take your time. It's no
1 A. I've finished.
2 Q. So having seen this, do you still insist that these people were
3 pulled off of a bus by paramilitaries and they were both decapitated and
4 they switched the heads, or is it the case that you exaggerated the
5 already gruesome facts of this murder?
6 A. I don't think I exaggerated. I don't know who compiled this
7 report either. And this is based on the story of a woman -- as told by a
8 woman who was on the bus.
9 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, could this be admitted as evidence,
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
12 please be given an exhibit number.
13 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Objection, Your Honour. Can we
14 just establish where this document comes from, who compiled it, when,
15 where? Its provenance, whose document is it?
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Black.
17 MR. BLACK: Well, Your Honour, I don't want to testify about this,
18 but my information is that this is an FRY government document compiled in
19 response to a United Nations Security Council document.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Where is that written, Mr. Black?
21 MR. BLACK: It can be deduced if you -- if I had more specific
22 knowledge from the heading, Your Honour, at the top, the YU/SC 78092. I'm
23 relying on what I was told by an analyst. This is -- that's as far as I
24 can take it.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Is there nothing on the B/C/S copy, original, to
1 give us an indication?
2 MR. BLACK: No, Your Honour. I think actually the English copy is
3 the original.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: English copy is the original. Thank you.
5 Mr. Milovancevic? I'm told, Mr. Milovancevic, that that YU/SC and
6 those numbers give you the source.
7 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in this document,
8 it says Stegnjajici. The persons killed did not have that surname. The
9 surname in fact was Stegnjaja, according to the testimony of the witness
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic --
12 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] And the second point is this.
13 All I can do is to believe my learned friend, take him at his word. I'm
14 sure he received the information that he conveyed to us. But I would like
15 to see what document it was that is being presented to the Court, if it is
16 going to be tendered.
17 From what I can see before me, nothing can be deduced, absolutely
18 nothing. It doesn't say who compiled it, who it was addressed to, when it
19 was compiled, or the purpose it was written for, whether it was signed,
20 unsigned, sent, not sent. It tells us absolutely nothing, Your Honour.
21 So what I want to say is that this is not a proper document. We
22 cannot accept it. The Defence cannot accept it as a document of any kind.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic. The document is
24 admitted into evidence. May it please be given an exhibit number?
25 THE REGISTRAR: It will be --
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: The objection is noted but --
2 THE REGISTRAR: The Exhibit number will be 994, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
4 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Sorry, before you proceed Mr. Black, there is a
6 question I wish to ask of the witness that I'm not quite certain about.
7 Mrs. Pupovac, at page 19, lines 20 to 22, you said you were not
8 exaggerating and that this is based on a story of a woman as told by a
9 woman on a bus. Which one of the stories are you saying, yours -- what
10 you have said or what is in this document?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It says here Branko Stegnjajic.
12 That's not the person.
13 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: What have you said -- all right, let me find the
14 specific portion because I have it written down but let me read back to
15 you verbatim.
16 Now, you were -- it was suggested to you that you exaggerated the
17 already gruesome facts of this murder, and your answer was thus: I don't
18 think I exaggerated. I don't know who compiled this report either. And
19 this is based on the story of a woman as told by a woman who was on the
21 When you say "this" what are you referring to, what was in the
22 document that you looked at or your own story? Which one?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I meant the story that I recounted,
24 but this is the story about another man called Stegnjajic. The other
25 man's name was Stegnjaja.
1 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: One other thing: As far as you're aware, did
2 your incident take place on the 13th of September, 1991, allegedly?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. I don't know. About
4 the incident you asked me about, I don't know. Stegnjajic I don't know
5 anybody like that.
6 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: The incident that you have told us about, that
7 you are saying that we should rely on as correct, did it take place in
8 September of 1991 or when did it take place as known to you?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I think it was in 1990.
10 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: All right. Was it in September, as far as you
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know the exact date or
13 anything like that, but the whole of Krajina knows about that particular
15 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Where was the bus coming from and where was it
16 on its way to? Where was the bus coming from and where was it on its way
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Benkovac-Zadar.
19 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Would that be the same as Zadar-Posedarje?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What has Posedarje got to do with
21 Islam Grcki? They had nothing to do with that. When they were going to
22 Benkovac to Zadar, Posedarje is to the east from Islam Grcki. It's got
23 nothing to do with that. The person who compiled this report, well, I
24 don't know who that was or what their purpose was.
25 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: And where would the Nova Bistrica agricultural
1 estate be?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have no idea. I've never heard of
3 that agricultural estate. Never heard of it.
4 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: What about Islam Grcki?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Islam Grcki is a large Serb village
6 in Ravni Kotari, which is located next to another big Serbian village by
7 the name of Kasic.
8 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: So none of those places figured in your report
9 that you received?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. And to begin with, this family
11 has nothing to do with Posedarje. And I've never heard of Nova Bistrica
12 or that agricultural estate there. And the surname doesn't correspond to
13 the other one either.
14 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you very much.
15 JUDGE HOEPFEL: I would like to ask you, then, the following: It
16 isn't said that the family has something to do with Posedarje, is it? It
17 was just a mentioning of the bus, Zadar-Posedarje. And you said that this
18 makes no sense to read it this way. Do I understand you correctly?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Perhaps I didn't express myself in
20 the best way. If people are going from Benkovac to Zadar, they have no
21 way of going to Zadar via Posedarje. There was a road at Islam Latinski
22 going that way, and from Biljane to Zadar, but as to this here, nothing
23 seems to be clear.
24 JUDGE HOEPFEL: What road has a bus connection in connection with
25 this --
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Benkovac-Kasic-Islam Grcki-Islam
2 Latinski, and then the road goes down to Zadar through Murvic to Zadar.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can the names be repeated, please? Sorry, they are
4 not written here so we are not able to check them out in the map.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Do you want me to repeat? Kasic,
6 Benkovac-Kasic. Do you wish me to repeat the villages that come before
7 Kasic or not?
8 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Maybe we can try to understand how this
9 description should be read or can be read.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Starting from Zadar.
11 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Starting from Zadar, apparently. It is said in
12 this document that this couple was working in Zadar at a newspaper.
13 Nacional List. And they were on their way back from work on that day, by
14 the Zadar-Posedarje bus, as usual.
15 Do you know this bus? Have you used this bus line already in your
16 life? Okay.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Never. That bus for Posedarje I
18 have no need to use it if I'm going to Benkovac, because that would take
19 me to Zagreb.
20 JUDGE HOEPFEL: No, no. It's okay. So this -- if someone would
21 live in Islam Grcki, what way would this person then use if going by bus
22 from Zadar? Give me every reasonable possibility. And if you don't
23 exactly know, just say so.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know I would go through Murica,
25 Zeleni Hrast, and then enter Islam Latinski and Islam Grcki, and then the
1 bus for Islam Grcki was the only one going to Benkovac.
2 JUDGE HOEPFEL: What do you mean, "the bus for Islam Grcki was the
3 only one going to Benkovac"? We don't need to go to Benkovac, do we, in
4 this hypothetical case.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, but it's the bus route that was
6 used. Zadar-Islam Grcki-Benkovac was the bus route.
7 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you. And this would not go by Posedarje?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, it wouldn't.
9 JUDGE HOEPFEL: We will go into this matter --
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Posedarje is on the way to Maslenica
11 as you go to Zagreb, in the direction of Zagreb.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Please, Mr. Black.
13 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, I don't mean to interrupt, but I think
14 the important thing here is whether or not these people that she was
15 talking about were from Islam Grcki or not, and if she could answer that
16 that might be enough for us to know whether we can move on.
17 JUDGE HOEPFEL: So in your eyes these people you reported about,
18 where were they from? The couple you called Stegnjajic, Stegnjaja.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Stegnjaja couple were from Islam
20 Grcki. And I've never heard of Stegnjajics at Islam Grcki.
21 JUDGE HOEPFEL: So can you spell that once more, what the family
22 name in your eyes was?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] S-t-e-g-n-j-a-j-a.
24 JUDGE HOEPFEL: And the first name of the man and his wife,
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know them. I don't know
2 their first names.
3 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you. I don't think we can go any further in
5 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour. In fact, I'm about to broach
6 a new subject. Perhaps -- it's a couple minutes before our regularly
7 scheduled break but it would be a convenient time, unless Your Honours
8 want me to press on for the next two minutes.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: We will take a break and come back at 4.00.
10 Court adjourned.
11 [The witness stands down]
12 --- Recess taken at 3.26 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 4.00 p.m.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry to interrupt your cross-examination,
15 Mr. Black, but there is this little housekeeping matter that needs
16 attention. It's pretty urgent.
17 The Trial Chamber will now render its decision on the second
18 Defence motion for protective measures for Witness MM-105 which was filed
19 on the 31st of August, 2006, whereby the Defence seeks the assignment of
20 face and voice distortion to Witness MM-105. The Prosecution has informed
21 the Trial Chamber in its response on the 30th of October, 2006, that it
22 would not object to the granting of voice and face distortion should they
23 be requested. The Trial Chamber notes the arguments of the Defence and
24 finds that the Defence has established that there exists an objectively
25 grounded risk to the security or welfare of the witness or the witness's
1 family. The Trial Chamber further finds that the requested protective
2 measures are appropriate for the protection of the witness.
3 The requested protective measures for Witness MM-105 are therefore
4 granted. The registrar is ordered to enable voice and image distortion
5 during the witness's testimony.
6 Thank you very much. The witness may be brought into court.
7 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Mr. Black, before you proceed on to your next
8 area of cross-examination with the witness, I'd like to have a look at
9 that last document for just two seconds.
10 MR. BLACK: Absolutely, Your Honour. In fact, over the break we
11 found one more document that I hope could clear this up about the day at
12 least, so I'll show that to her.
13 The last document received, Exhibit number 994, so if we could see
14 that on the screens, please.
15 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you.
16 [The witness entered court]
17 MR. BLACK: And, Your Honour, would you like to put some questions
18 before I resume on this document or shall I continue?
19 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: No. I just wanted to have a look at it. Thank
20 you. I do not think any questions will arise out of it. Thank you very
21 much. That's sufficient. I appreciate it.
22 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. Welcome back, Mrs. Drmanic. I just have one more document to show
24 you on the last topic that we were discussing.
25 MR. BLACK: So with the assistance of the usher, I could provide
1 the witness a copy and also copies to the Bench.
2 Your Honours, this is something we just pulled off the net. It's
3 in B/C/S. It's quite simple, but we will provide a translation as soon as
4 we can get one through the system. And I provided a copy of this to
5 Defence counsel during the break of course.
6 Q. Ma'am, are you familiar with the Veritas organisation? Have you
7 heard of that before?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Well, I'd like you to look at this document which, two-page
10 printouts from the Veritas web site, and you'll see there it refers to
11 Branko Stegnjaja and Anka Stegnjaja, and it says that they were killed on
12 the 13th of September, 1991, in Islam Grcki. Do you see that there?
13 A. Yes. But this document and the one that you showed are different.
14 Q. That's right. This is a different document now, but it's on the
15 same subject. And so I just wanted to ask you, before you weren't sure
16 about the date, but seeing this document, do you agree with me now that
17 the Stegnjaja couple that you talked about, they were killed in 1991, not
18 in 1990? Do you agree with that, having seen this document?
19 A. I cannot agree because I was told that they were killed then.
20 JUDGE HOEPFEL: When were you told that, please, Witness?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was told to me a long time ago,
22 while we were still in Krajina.
23 JUDGE HOEPFEL: No more precise answer possible?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] During the war period. I was told
25 during the war period.
1 JUDGE HOEPFEL: What do you mean?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I mean between 1990 and 1995. I met
3 that woman who told me what she experienced and that she experienced all
5 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you.
6 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour. I'm not sure we could take it
7 any further.
8 Could this be admitted into evidence, please, Your Honour?
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
10 please be given an exhibit number.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this document will become
12 Exhibit 995.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
14 Yes, Mr. Black.
15 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. Ma'am, I'm turning now to a different subject. You testified
17 yesterday that you saw dead civilians when you were in Skabrnja on the
18 18th of November, 1991. But then you also suggested it was difficult to
19 distinguish civilians from combatants, et cetera, and just so we are
20 clear, according to you, were crimes committed by the attacking forces in
21 Skabrnja on the 18th of November, 1991?
22 A. Sir, you phrased this question wrongly. No forces were attacking
23 Skabrnja. The forces of the Yugoslav People's Army were attacked by the
24 paramilitary formations and forces at Skabrnja. When it comes to your
25 question concerning the civilians, I did see, of course, killed people in
1 the streets in Skabrnja.
2 Q. Okay. We'll come back to this issue of attack or who attacked
3 whom. But you've said now that you saw killed people in the streets in
4 Skabrnja. But my question for you is were -- were innocent civilians
5 intentionally killed in Skabrnja, as far as you know?
6 A. Sir, I have to reiterate, not in the streets but in the street,
7 the single street of Skabrnja, which the army took. The street is a very
8 wide term. And for somebody to be intentionally killed by the Yugoslav
9 People's Army, that I believe was not the case.
10 Q. Okay. So regardless of streets or where it happened, you're
11 saying that as far as you know, no civilians were intentionally killed in
12 Skabrnja on the 18th of November, 1991. Have I understood you correctly?
13 A. What I saw, there were people killed by shells or bullets, people
14 who were caught in the cross-fire. Many of them have been pulled out by
15 us and they were later exchanged. I believe that I was quite clear while
16 I was testifying.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did you see them being killed, ma'am?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, sir. I could not see that -- I
19 could not see when anybody was killed.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: How do you know they were killed in cross-fire?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Because a group of people were
22 passing between the positions held by the Croatian forces. They were in
23 the basements, together with the combatants. All able-bodied men, as far
24 as could be seen, were armed whether wearing a uniform or in civilian
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did you see people passing between the positions
2 held by the Croatian forces maybe?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] People that we saved are those that
4 we managed to save from the fire-fight. Those who were later exchanged.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's not my question. Did you see those people
6 passing between positions held by Croatian forces?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Croatian forces, the Croatian
8 paramilitary forces, were together with them in the basements and they
9 opened fire from basements, from Razovljeva Glava. From all houses, they
10 opened fire.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... we'll deal
12 with basements. Just answer my question. You said because a group of
13 people were passing between the positions held by the Croatian forces.
14 I'm asking you did you see them passing between the positions held by
15 Croatian forces?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: You did?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: And did you see people in basements together with
20 the combatants?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, basements were the places
22 where fire was opened from and civilians emerged from these basements and
23 the basements were the places where fire was opened from.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did you see this fire being opened from the
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Of course. Because I was
2 there. I did not go back with my team. I wanted to stay there for me to
3 be able to provide first aid, because there were opened -- they opened
4 fire at the van marked with a red cross and the people who were wearing
5 the Red Cross arm band.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, did you then see the cross-fire? Did you see
7 them being hit in cross-fire?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I could not lift my head, because I
9 was targeted.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: So you didn't see anybody being hit in cross-fire?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were hit at the time when fire
12 was opened from both sides.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Ma'am, my question is very simple. You did not see
14 people being hit in cross-fire, did you?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sir, I pulled out the wounded people
16 that I could pull out. I couldn't -- I did not see who was hit from which
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm not -- that's not my question. You did not see
19 people being hit in cross-fire, did you?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
22 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. Ma'am, we heard evidence in this trial that on 18th November,
24 1991, you intervened to save the life of a young boy named Marin who was
25 about to be killed by a soldier. And according to the account that we
1 heard, you were with two other people, apparently nurses, and when the
2 soldiers wanted to kill this boy, you said to him something like, "Don't
3 kill him. We've had enough of such things."
4 That happened, didn't it? Do you remember something like that
5 happening? Or do you say that it never happened?
6 A. No. No.
7 Q. So you can remember no incident where you saved the life of some
8 young boy?
9 A. Not that I -- I never saved anybody's life in this way. I did
10 save some people, some wounded people, several of them.
11 Q. Okay. Let me ask you about a -- I think appears to be a different
12 episode. If we could look at Exhibit 116 on our screens, please, on
14 And, ma'am, you'll see that this is an Official Note. It's
15 compiled by a security officer of the JNA 9th Corps, and it's dated the
16 8th of March, 1992. You can see there in the first paragraph, that
17 according to the document, it deals with the killing of civilians in
18 Skabrnja and Nadin on the 18th and 19th of 1991 [sic]. You can see there
19 in the first bullet point, I just want to ask you about this, you can see
20 it says: "All the collected data shows that the killings were committed
21 by members of the Benkovac Territorial Defence Staff special units or
22 units that fought under their command. These were volunteers from Serbia
23 and Opacic's group composed of combatants from the area."
24 My question for you, ma'am, is: Can you confirm this or deny it?
25 Do you have any information about what's stated in that first
1 bullet-pointed paragraph there?
2 A. First, there were no volunteers, only our Territorial Defence and
3 the Yugoslav People's Army. When it comes to Opacic's group, I know
4 Opacic. I know him well, very well. He used to be a policeman in
5 Yugoslavia while it existed. I can state with full responsibility that he
6 wasn't in Skabrnja. Opacic was more involved with politicians, providing
7 protection to police -- politicians. I can state with full responsibility
8 that Opacic was not even in Skabrnja.
9 Q. Okay. But you -- I guess you confirm that members of the
10 Territorial Defence were in Skabrnja on the 18th of November, 1991;
12 A. Sir, I confirm that they were there, but I'm not confirming that
13 they committed the crime as alleged here. This report was compiled in
15 Q. Setting aside for the moment whether they committed crimes, can
16 you -- you confirm, don't you, that they were there and they participated
17 in the fighting at least, putting aside the issue of crimes? I'm talking
18 about the TO.
19 A. Members of the TO were under the command of the Yugoslav People's
21 Q. Okay. Whoever's command they were under, you can confirm, can't
22 you, that they were present in Skabrnja engaged in the fighting. That's
23 the only thing I'm getting at right now, just that they were there and
24 that they were involved in the fighting. It's not a question from the
25 document. It's a question about what you know, ma'am.
1 A. Yes, sir. But it says here there were volunteers in the TO.
2 There were no volunteers within the TO.
3 Q. Okay.
4 A. As far as I can see from this, it says that there were volunteers.
5 Volunteers were not part of the Territorial Defence. Somebody invented
6 this out of thin air, and this report was compiled, I don't know for whom,
7 and on the basis of which data.
8 Q. Well, I'll just answer that question so you can see this was
9 compiled for the JNA, the 9th Corps command, and it says that it's based
10 on talks with personal and official contacts and having examined the
11 unit's combat documentation. You see that in the first paragraph. So
12 just so you know who this is for and on what basis.
13 But, please, can you just answer my question? I don't think it's
14 a difficult one. Can you confirm that in fact members of the Territorial
15 Defence participated in the fighting in Skabrnja on the 18th of November,
17 A. Under the command of the Yugoslav People's Army, not autonomously
18 but under the command of the Yugoslav People's Army, and this was compiled
19 by an officer of the Yugoslav People's Army. What was his intention with
20 this? Maybe to clear his own name. I don't know.
21 Q. Ma'am, please don't speculate about things you don't know, and you
22 don't need to ask questions. I'll take care of asking the questions. But
23 I think it's almost clear from your answer but you keep kind of giving
24 these explanations. Yes, yes, members of the Territorial Defence
25 participated in the fighting in Skabrnja on the 18th of November, 1991;
1 correct? Just answer that clearly and then I'll move on to the next
3 A. Well, I can't separate the TO from the JNA, when they were under a
4 single command, sir. You're forcing me to say something that does not
6 Q. No, ma'am, I'm not asking you anything about command. I don't
7 care about command for this question. I just want to know if people who
8 were members of the TO, they belonged to the TO, and they fought in the
9 action in Skabrnja on the 18th of November, 1991. Whether under the JNA
10 command or whoever's command, I'm not interested in that right now. But
11 it's true that TO members fought there; correct?
12 A. Sir, as far as I'm able to read, if we eliminate one word from the
13 context that would -- it says they were volunteers. Now, there were no
14 volunteers in the TO, whereas it says here that it was the volunteers
15 who --
16 Q. Excuse me, and I apologise for interrupting, but you really need
17 to focus on the question. I'm not asking you about the document. I'm
18 asking about you and what you know, because you said that you yourself
19 were in Skabrnja on the 18th of November, 1991. And I'm just asking the
20 very simple question: Isn't it true that members of the TO participated
21 in the fighting on that day? Please answer that. I think you can answer
22 it yes or no. And I'll move on to the next question.
23 A. Sir, this kind of document, as you've been showing me, and the
24 answer that you wish to get from me is not possible.
25 Q. Ma'am, forget about the document for a second. Don't think at all
1 about the document. And don't, you know, try to think about the answer
2 that I'm trying to get. I just want you to tell the truth.
3 Isn't it true that on the 18th of November, 1991, members of the
4 Territorial Defence participated in the fighting?
5 A. They did take part, under the command of the JNA.
6 Q. Okay. Thank you.
7 If we could scroll down, please, to the bottom -- actually that's
8 perfect right there.
9 Ma'am, you can see that the -- what's now the first visible bullet
10 point, it's actually the third bullet point on the document, and if you
11 look at the second sentence, it says -- follow along with me. It
12 says: "Members of the Serbian volunteer unit apparently interrogated a
13 captured member of the ZNG who was beaten in the process. This was
14 witnessed by three nurses in a blue van from the Benkovac Territorial
15 Defence Staff. And one of the nurses stood up to Vucicevic. "Vucicevic
16 demanded that the member of the ZNG shows him where the mortar is, then he
17 led him away, and as soon as they disappeared behind the house a burst of
18 fire was heard and Vucicevic returned alone."
19 Ma'am, you testified yesterday that you were there with two other
20 woman nurses and that you moved around Skabrnja in a blue van. This must
21 be referring to you; isn't that right? What's stated in this document
22 refers to you and the other nurses?
23 A. I don't know. He was referring to us, but I didn't know Vucicevic
24 nor did I see Vucicevic in Skabrnja, nor did I see this killing, the
25 killing of this man.
1 Q. Well, ma'am, if you don't know Vucicevic, how do you know if you
2 saw him in Skabrnja? Maybe you saw him and you didn't know it was
4 A. Sir, I told you that I didn't see this incident take place at all.
5 I didn't see this episode. I didn't see this member of the Zenga who had
6 been arrested, that they beat him, and that three nurses were there in a
7 blue van. I saw none of that.
8 Q. Okay. You agree with me, though, that there weren't any other
9 nurses in any other blue van in Skabrnja on the 18th of November; correct?
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. And you don't remember anything like this. You can't -- this
12 incident does not ring a bell with you at all?
13 A. No, it does not.
14 MR. BLACK: I think we are done with that document. Thank you.
15 It can be taken off the screen.
16 JUDGE HOEPFEL: May I get back to that?
17 Witness, can you explain us, has anybody interviewed you among the
18 people who might have set up this report? So that must have been, then,
19 between November 1991 and March 1992.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All the reports and everything that
21 I saw I conveyed to Mr. Lakic. That was my duty. And he was the TO
22 commander of Benkovac. What I saw -- now, I really don't know anything
23 about this particular incident.
24 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Please.
25 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. Ma'am, you --
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you by any chance know a Lieutenant Commander
3 Simo Rosic?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Major Milivoje Ostojic?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Judging by the surname I know what
7 village he was from. But no, I don't know the person.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Thank you very much. Maybe just look at
9 the -- you may proceed.
10 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. Ma'am, you've suggested yesterday and again today that every
12 able-bodied man in Skabrnja was a combatant on the 18th of November, 1991.
13 I just want to show you a couple of photographs on this issue about
15 MR. BLACK: If we could see Exhibit 270 on the screen, please?
16 And if we could actually turn to page 7835, the ERN -- that's the end ERN
17 number there, photographs F 2 and F 2A.
18 Q. And, ma'am, these are photographs that purport to be -- have been
19 taken by the Benkovac SUP on or before the 21st of November, 1991. It's a
20 little hard to distinguish, but there are two people there, two dead
21 people. You said that you didn't go off the roads, but I'm just checking,
22 did you see these people when were you in Skabrnja on the 18th of
23 November, 1991?
24 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: [Microphone not activated].
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I can't know what I saw. I
1 pulled out the wounded and the injured. If anybody was wounded or
2 injured, we pulled them out, administered first aid and transported them.
3 I know that there were three or four elderly persons, two or three men, I
4 know that I managed to pull out a child who had been wounded in the leg.
5 I think the child's name was Ivica. I'm not quite sure.
6 MR. BLACK:
7 Q. You talked about that a little bit. I was just wondering do you
8 remember seeing these people? If you don't, that's fine. But do you
9 remember seeing these people?
10 A. Well, I can't know whether these were the people. I saw dead
11 people. But on the basis of this photograph, I can't say. I didn't know
12 the people for me to be able to recognise them.
13 Q. Okay.
14 A. All I know is that there were people who were dead. And this
15 isn't on the road, sir. This is a house.
16 Q. You're correct that this is not on the road.
17 According to eye-witnesses, these older people were taken out of a
18 basement where they were hiding with other civilians including children,
19 and then these people were -- these older people were each shot in the
20 head by Serb fighters. Did you hear anything about such an incident?
21 A. You cannot claim, sir, that these acts were perpetrated by Serb
22 fighters. That would be biased, because there were no Serb fighters at
23 the time. The Yugoslav People's Army, sir, is what there was at the time,
24 not Serb combatants or fighters. When there were Muslims and Siptars and
25 Serbs and Hungarians and what have you.
1 Q. I'm just repeating to you what the evidence was in this case. I'm
2 not qualifying people one way or another, but that's what was said so
3 that's why I put it to you, okay?
4 My question is did you hear anything about such an incident as
5 I've described to you?
6 A. No, no.
7 Q. Would you agree with me that if that account is true, that these
8 people were civilians, right, not combatants, these people we see in front
9 of us?
10 A. Well, you just showed me some people in front of a house. How can
11 I know under what circumstances these people were killed?
12 Q. I'm trying to understand your definition of civilian, I guess.
13 And so if what I've described to you is true, that these older people were
14 taken out of a basement under the control of soldiers and shot in the head
15 from a close range, would you agree with me that they were civilians and
16 not combatants?
17 A. One thing is true, and that is that there was shooting coming from
18 cellars. So together with civilians, there were their side's fighters.
19 Now, how they were killed, I really don't know. I can't say.
20 Q. If you can't answer this question, you can say so. But if what
21 I've told you is accurate, that these people were taken out of a cellar
22 where there were no fighters, just civilians, and in any case, if they
23 were under the control of the soldiers and they were shot in the head from
24 close range, you'd agree with me that they weren't fighters, they were
25 civilians, right? Or do you resist even that?
1 A. I can't answer a question like that because there was shooting
2 coming from cellars. I can't say who was killed in what way and you can't
3 really see anything or deduce anything from these photographs. All you
4 can see is dead bodies.
5 Q. Okay. Let me show you a couple other photographs. These are the
6 page with the ERN ending 7849.
7 Ma'am, take a close look there. Do these people look like
8 combatants to you, or are they civilians, as far as you can tell from the
10 We can scroll down to see maybe the last photograph as well.
11 A. Civilians. But it is also a fact that this is a stamp, our stamp,
12 and that you can see that they didn't wish to hide anything but that
13 everything was done above board and professionally and that nobody wanted
14 to conceal anything.
15 Q. Okay. Having seen these photographs, would you now agree with me
16 that civilians were intentionally killed in Skabrnja on the 18th of
17 November, 1991? Or are you still unable to agree with that?
18 A. Well, I'm still unable to agree that they were intentionally
19 killed, if I didn't see them actually being intentionally killed and the
20 circumstances under which they were killed, and whether the wounds were
21 from a grenade or from a bullet or whatever. How can I answer?
22 Q. Okay. We are done with that document.
23 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Whose stamp are you saying it is when you say
24 "it's our stamp"?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The stamp of the interior affairs
1 department. I can see that it's the police that conducted the on-site
2 investigation. We can see it says "Benkovac" and it says "public security
3 Benkovac." So I assume that there was no attempt at concealing anything.
4 Had an intentional genocide been perpetrated, they might have just buried
5 the bodies without anybody knowing anything about it. And as far as I can
6 see, if that it is the proper stamp, and if it is the Ministry of the
7 Interior, as it says here, that's what I can see. There was no attempt to
8 conceal anything.
9 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Madam, you're using the word "genocide." Did I
10 hear that correctly? If yes, then what do you mean by that? When are you
11 using that word?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I wasn't thinking about
13 genocide, genocide over these people. Nobody reasonable would have
14 perpetrated such an act. All I wanted to say by saying that is that if
15 you have the Ministry of the Interior here, if that's what it says --
16 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Please answer my question.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Would you repeat that question,
18 then, please?
19 JUDGE HOEPFEL: What do you mean by "genocide" if you used the
20 word as you did in your answer, which made me ask that.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Genocide in my view is the
22 destruction of a people.
23 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you.
24 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Ma'am, I take it this is just pure speculation on your part about
1 whether there was a cover-up or there wasn't a cover-up. You're just
2 guessing based on seeing the Benkovac SUP stamp on these photographs,
3 right? Just so that we are clear about that.
4 A. Well, that's why you shouldn't have shown me documents that I have
5 nothing to do with. I'm just giving you my own opinion based on what
6 you've shown me.
7 Q. Okay. But you don't actually know whether there was an
8 investigation or trials or anything that flowed from these apparent crimes
9 in Skabrnja, do you?
10 A. No, no.
11 Q. Okay. Thank you. I think now we are done with that document.
12 Ma'am, many of the victims who were killed in Skabrnja on the
13 18th of November, 1991, were autopsied a few days later. According to
14 those autopsies, 23 people were found to have been killed by gun-shot
15 wounds. Now, you were there. Is that consistent with the kind of wounds
16 that you saw on that day? Did you see a large number of people with
17 gun-shot wounds?
18 A. I cannot say how many people were killed or how many casualties
19 there were. I can't really give you a precise answer to that question.
20 Q. Okay.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: That was not the question. The question was not
22 about the numbers. The question was about gun wounds. Did you see people
23 with gun wounds, gun-shot wounds amongst the people that you rescued?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were wounds caused by firearms
25 and grenades, at least as far as I was able to see.
1 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Q. I understand when you say that you can't give a precise answer to
3 how many people were killed or how many casualties were there. Can you
4 give me an estimate of how many civilians were killed in Skabrnja on the
5 18th and 19th of November? Can you give an approximation?
6 A. No, no.
7 Q. Let me ask you about a couple of specific cases. Stana Vickovic
8 was born in 1936. The evidence shows that on the morning of 18 November,
9 1991, she was taken from a basement along with other civilians and shot in
10 the head. She was one of the women that we saw in the photograph.
11 Did you see any civilians who had been shot in the head
13 A. Sir, I was not looking who got shot in the head or who was
14 targeting whom.
15 Q. Okay. Can we --
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: I thought you said yesterday, ma'am, that you were
17 giving these people whatever first aid you could give before you
18 transported them to a physician who was going to look into detail -- into
19 the detail of their medical condition. Isn't that what you testified
20 about yesterday?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, sir. I spoke about people who
22 were wounded. I was helped by the soldiers, by saying whether there were
23 wounded people there or not.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: You said -- listen to what my question is: Didn't
25 you say yesterday that the people that you found on the scene, you tried
1 to give them whatever nursing care you could give, as much as you could
2 do, and as much as you knew, and then you transported them to be attended
3 to by a doctor. Did you not say so?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, sir. But on the road --
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, if you have said so, surely, to be able to
6 give assistance, you've got to look at the injury. Isn't it so? You
7 attend to the injuries when you give assistance, don't you?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] But these pictures that were shown
9 to me they were inside houses. I wasn't in houses.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Ma'am, forget about the pictures, please. Listen
11 to my questions. When you gave assistance to these people in the form of
12 whatever nursing care you could, you did so by attending to their
13 injuries, didn't you?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I would dress the wound before
15 we --
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: To dress the wound you've got to know where the
17 wound is, don't you?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, but I --
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, then the question simply is: In the wounds
20 that you dressed, did you see any wound to the head? Did you see any
21 injury to the head of anybody?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. We don't have to struggle
24 this much to get an answer.
25 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour. Could we see Exhibit 344 on
1 the e-court, please.
2 Q. Mrs. Drmanic, you worked as a nurse. This is an autopsy report
3 for Stana Vickovic and you can see there in the first line she was 55
4 years old and, according to this anyhow, she was killed in Skabrnja on the
5 18th of November, 1991. If you look down in that first paragraph about
6 the external findings on the body, about the fourth sentence there, it
7 says: "There are two gun-shot wounds, one to the head and one to the
8 lower right leg." Do you see that there?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. If we could scroll down, please, all the way to the bottom, I
11 guess. Perfect. You see there, in the -- it's the top paragraph, the
12 last sentence of the top visible paragraph, it says: "The wound was
13 inflicted at close range." Do you see that? This is on page 2 in the
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. At the top of the page.
17 Ma'am, this is consistent, isn't it, with the eye-witness evidence
18 that she died from a gun-shot wound from close range, that she was shot in
19 the head from close range, right?
20 A. What have I got to do with this document?
21 Q. I'm asking you -- you're a nurse, right? Have you ever seen an
22 autopsy report before?
23 A. I don't want to answer this question.
24 Q. I'm -- well, if there is a particular reason, tell us and -- but I
25 think otherwise you have to answer the question.
1 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, an objection. In
2 response to the Bench's question whether the witness saw on the ground or
3 tended to wounds of people having head wounds, the witness answered no.
4 The witness is not a medical expert to be able to answer these questions.
5 In cross-examination, she said --
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: What are you objecting to, Mr. Milovancevic? I'm
7 trying to follow what you are saying here to understand what is it you are
8 objecting to. Are you objecting to the questions that were asked by the
9 Bench some minutes ago?
10 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] No, no, no. I'm pointing out
11 the fact that the witness in response to the Bench's question stated that
12 she never saw a head wound out on the ground and that she could not say
13 anything about that. She said, why are you showing me documents because I
14 don't know anything about it because I never saw head wounds.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: She's not being asked about any wounds that she
16 saw. She is being asked about this document and the evidence that was
17 tendered to say that the person was shot at close range. And she is just
18 being asked if that evidence, together with the post-mortem report, are
19 those two consistent? She is not being asked about anything that she saw
20 on the ground. Is the post-mortem report consistent with a shot at close
21 range? That's the question. She is a nurse. She has told us she's a
22 nurse. She doesn't have to be a medical expert to have seen a post-mortem
23 report before.
24 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] But, Your Honour, I understand
25 what you're saying, but in this sense, I object. How could this witness
1 answer such a question? Only an expert witness, a medical expert, could
2 provide this answer.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ...
4 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. Ma'am, do you need me to repeat the question or do you remember
6 what the question was?
7 A. I remember the question. I see that this was signed by a
8 pathologist specialist. I'm not a pathologist. I really cannot answer
9 such questions to give my assessment.
10 If you're going to provoke me by your facial expressions, I'm
11 quite ready for that as well. But, sir, I cannot answer such a question.
12 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Ma'am, please, you have to show respect to
13 counsel. Whatever you're used to in your jurisdiction, then you have to
14 forget it. You're not allowed to engage in repartee with counsel. Please
15 respect him. The question that he has asked in the course of his duties,
16 then you're duty here is to respond to him. He's asking you, have you
17 ever seen a post-mortem report before, a very, very simple question to
18 respond to and answer, and you have that knowledge, and please give it to
19 the Trial Chamber. And, in future, please do not disrespect counsel.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
21 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: You have to be careful how you give your
22 evidence and how you respond. Because it's part of the Defence case.
23 Don't go beyond the line.
24 I'm sorry, Judge, please, I realise that you wanted to say
25 something. But, you know, madam, I have held back because I think you
1 have been breaching the rules for sometime. You just have to learn that
2 his duty is to ask you whatever question he chooses within the bounds of
3 the laws of evidence, and we three will stop him when he goes outside. We
4 will determine, not you. So please do proceed. And do the best that you
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: May I just add one point? That disrespecting
7 counsel is tantamount to disrespecting this Court also. Okay?
8 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honours.
9 Q. Ma'am, the first question, simple question: Have you seen autopsy
10 reports before?
11 A. No.
12 Q. You're able to follow along with what I showed you, and the reason
13 I ask you is simply this: You've contended that there weren't
14 intentionally killings of civilians in Skabrnja on the 18th of November,
15 1991, but based on this autopsy report it would seem that this, Stana
16 Vickovic must have been killed intentionally, correct, because she was
17 shot in the head from a close range. Do you agree with me that that
18 suggests that it was an intentional killing?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Okay. So give me the alternative explanation of why a 55-year-old
21 woman would be shot in the head from close range and it would not be
23 A. I did not see that and I cannot provide any comment on that.
24 Q. Can you imagine any justification for shooting a 55-year-old
25 civilian woman in the head from close range during combat?
1 A. I cannot give you any explanation. I don't want to discuss
2 this -- these documents. I have got nothing to do with these documents.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Ma'am, can I ask you a question? Do you want to
4 testify in this matter? You have been brought here by the Defence to come
5 and testify. If you don't want to testify, tell us you don't want to
6 testify any further. We will find out from counsel what he wants to do
7 with you.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sir, I cannot testify on the basis
9 of what I was shown. I did not see that. I cannot testify to that.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Please, do you want to -- do you still want to
11 testify in this case or don't you want to testify in this case?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: What does -- what does that mean? What do you mean
14 by yes? I didn't ask you -- I'm asking you do you want to testify or not?
15 I want to know what do you say yes to.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I want to testify about what I know.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, fine. Then if you don't know a thing, you
18 just say, "I don't know." You don't go into argument with counsel.
19 Now if you want to testify, ma'am, the Judge has just told you a
20 couple of minutes ago that your job here is to answer questions that are
21 put to you, and if any question is put to you that is not proper, it is
22 for these people sitting here to say to counsel, "That question is not
23 proper." For as long as these people are quiet, yours is just one thing:
24 To answer. Okay? Now, please do that.
25 MR. BLACK: May I continue, Your Honour?
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: You may, sir.
2 MR. BLACK: Thank you very much.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry.
4 MR. BLACK:
5 Q. Ma'am, we have been discussing now intentional killings of
6 civilians I want to ask you about something related but slightly
7 different. Did you see or did you hear anything about fighters,
8 combatants, who were intentionally mistreated or killed after they were
9 captured by the attacking forces?
10 A. Didn't see.
11 Q. Okay. We have another autopsy report. I won't ask you to look at
12 it but let me just put its contents to you. It talks about a man by the
13 name of Ante Razun, who I believe was in his 30s, and according to the
14 autopsy report he was tortured before being shot in the head from
15 point-blank range, and then he was mutilated, his left ear was severed
16 from his head.
17 First of all, did you ever hear about anything like that, any
18 incidents like that at all?
19 A. No, I didn't see that. I heard about an incident of that kind but
20 I did not see that.
21 Q. Okay. What did you hear about an incident of that kind?
22 A. I only heard that there was a man without an ear, but I don't know
23 who perpetrated that neither. A young soldier told me that.
24 Q. In fact, did you hear stories about someone with a bag of human
25 ears or someone going to a restaurant, for example, and putting a human
1 ear in a dirty glass? Did you hear about any kind of stories like that
2 about ears?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Before I move on, would you agree with me that even if this man
5 was a combatant, that such brutality is unjustifiable and that his torture
6 and execution was a criminal act, even if he were a combatant?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Let me now take your attention to a different subject, so I'm
9 leaving the 18th of November, 1991, for a few minutes. I want to ask you
10 about some things that happened before that.
11 You mentioned loyalty oaths yesterday. Let me ask you: By July
12 and August of 1990, the Serb authorities in Knin were rebelling against
13 the Croatian authorities; correct? They were rejecting the authority of
14 the Croatian government.
15 A. In that period, I believe that the Croatian authorities --
16 authorities of the Croatian republic, a unit within the federal
17 Yugoslavia, wanted to change the then valid symbols, the symbols valid in
18 the then country. I remember that, and I remember that there was a
19 rebellion about that, because until 1992 the valid symbols were
20 five-pointed star and not a chequer-board, because the Croatian flag, the
21 one -- the unit of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was red, white, and blue
22 with a five-pointed star, and they put the chequer-board on the red,
23 white, and blue fields.
24 Q. Ma'am, is it possible that these loyalty oaths which you talked
25 about were simply a clumsy response to the Serb rebellion as Croats became
1 afraid of what was happening in Krajina? Is that a possible explanation
2 for why there may have been loyalty oaths?
3 A. I don't know why, but what I do know is that after those loyalty
4 oaths, the people were dismissed, they were intimidated, and that they had
5 to leave their companies in order to avoid being killed.
6 Q. It's also true, isn't it, that there were some Croats who were
7 forced to sign loyalty oaths or be dismissed from their jobs in the
8 SAO Krajina. Isn't that also true?
9 A. I don't know that.
10 Q. So you don't know whether that happened or not? Is that right?
11 A. I don't know.
12 Q. From August 1990 onwards, Serbs in the Krajina were illegally
13 arming themselves; isn't that correct?
14 A. Could you repeat that question, please?
15 Q. Sure. Isn't it correct that from August 1990 onwards, Serbs in
16 the Krajina were illegally arming themselves?
17 A. I don't know that.
18 Q. Did you know about incidents also from August of 1990 and really
19 onwards, where Serbs blocked rail traffic, blew up kiosks, damaged private
20 shops owned by Croats, all of this in an effort to create a situation of
21 chaos? Were you aware of such incidents in the latter part of 1990?
22 A. No. In my town, nothing like that happened. Not a single
23 Croatian house was blown up. And looking at my village, because it has a
24 mixed population, after our departure, when we were expelled from Krajina,
25 all the Croatian houses remained standing, intact.
1 Q. Let me --
2 A. I think that says a lot.
3 Q. Let me keep you focused on 1990. What about other places, other
4 towns like Knin or Benkovac? Did you ever hear about these kind of
5 incidents in other towns in the Krajina?
6 A. I don't know. I wasn't there so I can't say.
7 Q. Okay. And you didn't hear anything about that from your friends
8 or neighbours or see anything in the paper or on TV?
9 A. No.
10 Q. You testified yesterday that all the -- and I think today as
11 well -- that all the roads between Benkovac and the Zemunik airport were
12 blocked. I take it you were referring to the fall of 1991. Is that the
13 time-period that you were talking about?
14 A. Well, from 1990 onwards, you couldn't go to Zadar. The road
15 wasn't open, and afterwards, the army withdrew from the airport. So there
16 were no planes down there at that time or any equipment at the airport.
17 And those soldiers who stayed on, they weren't able to -- supplies weren't
18 able to reach them along the normal route.
19 Q. Well, let's focus on the fall of 1991. At that time, the JNA was
20 actively using the Zemunik airport. Flights were departing from the
21 Zemunik airport. Correct?
22 A. Well, during that period, when this happened, you couldn't go
23 along any road. They were not passable. And you had to go through
24 orchards, woods, things like that.
25 Q. I'll ask you about roads in a minute, but my question was about
1 the Zemunik airport. Isn't it right that in the fall of 1991 the JNA was
2 using the airport? In fact, there were flights departing from the Zemunik
3 airport in that period.
4 A. I don't know.
5 Q. With regard to roads, isn't it correct that the JNA continued to
6 travel from Benkovac and to Zemunik by going through Smiljcic? You can go
7 the road up to Smiljcic? Isn't it true that the JNA continued to use that
8 route in the fall of 1991?
9 A. Sir, the Zadar airport is located between the Croatian village of
10 Zemunik Donji and Skabrnja, which is above Zemunik Gornji. The road
11 passing from the airport towards Benkovac is the road through Donji
12 Zemunik, which arrives at Tromilje, which is the junction. It's the
13 crossroad between Zemunik Gornji and Skabrnja. One road leads to
14 Biljane Donje, Benkovac, and the other branch of the road from Tromilje
15 goes to Smiljcic, towards Benkovac, which means that the army, the
16 soldiers, could certainly not have passed along that way, along that
18 Q. Okay. So you deny that the JNA was able to reach the airport from
19 Benkovac by going through Smiljcic? You say that absolutely did not
21 A. It was impossible to pass that way because the Croatian village
22 Zemunik Donji -- you would have to pass through the Croatian village of
23 Zemunik Donji if you took that route, because there are two roads which
24 merge as a crossroads and that crossroads is called Tromilje. And one
25 branch of the road goes towards Biljane Donje, and the other towards
1 Smiljcici. And then you turn off towards Biljane through Bastica and the
2 orchard there.
3 Q. Thank you. That's plenty of detail. I think you've answered my
5 You testified about an operation at Nadin in September of 1991, I
6 think you said on the 30th of September, which you described as an attempt
7 to enter Nadin peacefully. My first question on this topic: This wasn't
8 some kind of peace mission, was it? This was an operation where the JNA
9 and whoever else was with them arrived with tanks and armed soldiers;
11 A. Every army has the task of defending the territory of its country.
12 So the territory of Nadin and Nadinska Glava was the territory of the
13 Republic of Croatia, a federal unit within the composition of Yugoslavia.
14 The fact is that the army did not fire a single bullet before they, the
15 Croats, shot at the army.
16 Q. Ma'am --
17 A. And everything was mined --
18 Q. Sorry for the interruption, but just on that point that you just
19 mentioned, you say that the Croatian forces opened fire first, but even if
20 that's as you say, it was only after the JNA and the TO came at them with
21 tanks and armed soldiers, right? No one from Nadin went looking for the
22 JNA. It was the opposite. The JNA came to Nadin.
23 A. But the Yugoslav People's Army is an army. It is the army of the
24 Serbs, the Croats, and the Slovenes, and the Macedonians, and the
25 Montenegrins. That's what it was at that time.
1 Q. But I don't think that answers my question. I'm not interested in
2 whose army was. The fact is the JNA and the TO went to Nadin, armed and
3 with tanks, and that was how the conflict, the fighting there started,
5 A. But sir, the road running from Benkovac to Biljane Donje and
6 Zemunik airport passes exactly above Nadin, and it is controlled from
7 Nadinska Glava. You can control it very well from that vantage point.
8 And it can also be controlled from the village down below because it's so
9 near the road. That you can certainly control it, which means that this
10 wasn't safe passage for the soldiers, or the civilians either from
11 Benkovac for that matter, towards Zemunik airport and the other villages.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you for all that narration that you told us.
13 Will you please answer the question now?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could you repeat the question,
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes. Now you must listen to the question and
17 answer that question. Don't formulate your own question and then answer
18 it because then you forget the question that's put to you.
19 The question is: The fact is that the JNA and the TO went to
20 Nadin, armed with tanks, and that was how the conflict started; is that
21 correct? Now, you should be able to say yes, it's correct; no, it's not
22 correct. I don't want any further discussion from you beyond those two,
23 one of those two. Is it correct or is it not correct?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot answer that with a yes or
25 a no. It's a complex question.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: What's complex about the question?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's complex because before that,
3 the Yugoslav People's Army was attacked, before that.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm not asking you about what happened before. The
5 question is the JNA and the TO went to Nadin armed with tanks and that's
6 how the conflict there started. In Nadin, the conflict in Nadin. It
7 started because the JNA went to Nadin armed with tanks. Is that correct?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They did not enter Nadin. They were
9 in Devici.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... said they went
11 there and that's how the conflict started. Is that how the conflict
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't answer that question.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Okay. You refuse to answer the
15 question. We will make a note of that.
16 You may proceed.
17 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. Ma'am, what role did the TO, the Territorial Defence, play in this
19 operation at the end of September, I think you said it was? Was the TO
20 directly involved in fighting in that operation?
21 A. They took part together with the JNA, under the command of the
22 Yugoslav People's Army, in fact.
23 Q. All right. Thank you. I believe you said that the date of this
24 operation was the 30th of September, 1991. Is it possible that it could
25 have been closer to the 2nd of October? Are you sure about the dates or
1 might it have been one or two days later; do you know?
2 A. Yes. That is possible.
3 Q. Okay. Thank you.
4 MR. BLACK: Your Honours, I see we are at the time for our regular
5 break and it's a convenient moment for me.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. We will take an adjournment
7 and come back at quarter to 6.00.
8 Court adjourned.
9 --- Recess taken at 5.13 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 5.45 p.m.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: According to our time allocation, Mr. Black, you've
12 got one hour left with this witness to round off everything, depending on
13 how much longer you think you will be.
14 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, it had been my hope to finish today, but
15 the way things have gone, we've gotten side-tracked on a couple of things.
16 I think it might be very close for me to finish at the end of the day
17 today. I would say that this is an important witness who was actually at
18 one of our crime scenes as opposed to we've had a lot of testimony about
19 politics and other things. I think this is a very important witness. I
20 will certainly go as quickly as I can, but I would ask that I at least
21 have the rest of the day and perhaps a few minutes in the morning if
22 necessary, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let's see how far you go.
24 MR. BLACK: Okay. Thank you. I'll certainly bear that in mind
25 and move as quickly as I can. Thank you.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.
2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I accept what my
3 learned colleague has just said. We, too, consider this to be an
4 important witness, and we have nothing against the request made by the
5 Prosecutor. I'd like that to be understood. Thank you.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Milovancevic.
7 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. Ma'am, we were just discussing fighting at the end of September or
9 perhaps at the beginning of October 1991. Just very quickly, there was
10 also fighting actually in Polaca, which is about 10 kilometres away.
11 There was fighting in May 1991; correct? Do you remember that?
12 A. I don't know. I can't really give any answer to that.
13 Q. Okay. Do you know that Nadin, the village of Nadin, was shelled
14 in September of 1991? Do you know anything about that?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Do you know anything about Zadar being shelled between the 30th of
17 September and the 7th of October, 1991?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Do you know that in early -- excuse me, early October 1991 after
20 the fighting which we discussed before the break, most of the villagers of
21 Skabrnja were evacuated to the islands and they only returned after the
22 cease-fire agreement which was reached around the 9th of October, 1991?
23 A. I don't know.
24 Q. The reason I ask you all these questions is because isn't it the
25 case that Skabrnja didn't set up its village guard for offensive purposes
1 but rather to defend itself because of all the fighting that was going on
2 in the area and the various aggressions by the JNA and other Serb forces
3 during 1991?
4 A. I don't know of any aggressions, so I can't answer that really.
5 Q. Well, do you agree with me that the village guard in Skabrnja, the
6 forces in Skabrnja, they were primarily defensive, not offensive? They
7 were there to protect the village of Skabrnja and the village of Nadin;
9 A. And who would defend a village from its own army of the existing
11 Q. Please don't -- try not to answer in rhetorical questions. Do I
12 take it that you disagree with me that it was defensive, or do you agree
13 with me that it was defensive?
14 A. I do not agree.
15 Q. Before I move on to ask you some specific questions about the
16 attack on the 18th of November, let me put something to you for your
17 comment, and just try to listen to this question carefully.
18 I suggest to you that the attack on Skabrnja was an example of
19 provocations by the Serb side, and by that I mean the JNA, the TO, and the
20 police, provocations against the Croat village with shelling or other
21 small-scale aggressions until the Croat village responded by arming or
22 other resistance and then the Serb side used that response as an excuse to
23 launch a full-scale assault, destroy the village and expel the
24 inhabitants? Isn't that really what happened in Skabrnja in November of
1 A. Sir, I'm not a military expert for me to be able to give you an
2 assessment of the situation. I really can't answer that question.
3 Q. Very well. Let me ask you some questions that hopefully you'll be
4 able to answer.
5 First of all, you will agree with me that certainly in November,
6 the operation on the 18th of November, 1991, against Skabrnja, that was an
7 offensive operation, an attack; correct? It wasn't a defensive operation
8 by the JNA but an offensive operation.
9 A. It was not an offensive operation because the JNA was attacked
11 Q. Okay. But just like in September, the Croats from Skabrnja and
12 Nadin didn't go looking. They didn't go out and take the fight to the
13 JNA. The JNA and the TO forces and the police came to Nadin and Skabrnja;
14 correct? They brought the fight to the village.
15 A. Sir, you're mixing up these things. The police didn't enter
16 Skabrnja and it wasn't in Skabrnja. It was the Territorial Defence within
17 the composition of the Yugoslav People's Army.
18 Q. Okay. Thank you. So you deny that members of the police, whether
19 it be a group of police or individual members of the police, were present
20 during the fighting in Skabrnja?
21 A. There were no policemen in Skabrnja at all. The Territorial
22 Defence within the frameworks of the Yugoslav People's Army of the state
23 that it still existed which was Yugoslavia.
24 Q. Okay. So when you say there were no policemen in Skabrnja at all,
25 there were police involved in the operation; correct? You concede that
1 much, don't you? Involved in the planning and in the execution of that
3 A. I am not an officer of any kind, and I didn't see who planned the
4 action, but I didn't see any policemen in Skabrnja. I know that there was
5 the Territorial Defence there and the Yugoslav People's Army.
6 Q. Okay. And you explained to us earlier that -- about, you know,
7 that you were focused on medical aid and things like that. Is it fair to
8 say that you saw what you saw and you say you didn't see any policemen but
9 you can't actually rule out definitively the participation of some
10 policemen in the fighting in Skabrnja, right? You can't say for certain
11 that that didn't happen.
12 A. I can, because at the starting point there wasn't a single
14 Q. But after the starting point, once the fighting actually started,
15 you can't -- you weren't able to see every soldier and all the activity
16 and the fighting throughout the whole village during the fighting;
18 A. Sir, in Skabrnja, you could only enter Skabrnja by a single road,
19 and since in the rear of the soldiers, to the rear of the soldiers, I was
20 there and I could see the road and I could see whether a policeman had
21 entered or not, and I claim with full responsibility that there was not a
22 single policeman in Skabrnja.
23 Q. Okay. So you claim that you saw every single person who took part
24 from the -- on the attacking side in the fighting in Skabrnja, despite all
25 the other duties which you've discussed to us, about pulling people out
1 and crawling through the bushes to save wounded people, you're telling us
2 that you could see every fighter who participated?
3 A. Sir, from the starting point, when you set out, there was not a
4 single policeman that moved in. We could see who was coming and going
5 because you had to take the road. For them to advance, they would have to
6 have passed by us, passed by the medical corps, rather, the nurses.
7 Q. And are you saying that it was impossible, that anyone would have
8 entered Skabrnja from other directions other than through Ambar, that no
9 one could have come in without you seeing them?
10 A. You couldn't enter because everything was mined through the forest
11 so you couldn't take the forest route. You would use Zemunik Gornji, that
12 parts of the road, that's a Croatian village, where there was no
13 resistance, and nobody -- there were no fatalities either, and in Skabrnja
14 there was a lot of resistance, and nobody went off the road because they
15 would have been shot at from Zemunik Donji and Prkos and Galovac and they
16 would have been like clay pigeons 6.
17 Q. So I understand you, according to you, no one could have gotten
18 into Skabrnja without coming through that one road and going by and
19 through the JNA and the TO; correct? No one could have gotten through
20 without the JNA and the TO knowing about it, and you seeing them?
21 A. As far as the Yugoslav side, no. Now, when it comes to the
22 Croatian side, they could have got support from Prkos, Galovac and Zemunik
23 because that part of the village was free, so they could have got
24 reinforcements from that side.
25 Q. Okay. Just one more question on this and then I'll move on to a
1 slightly -- to another question. You mentioned Goran Opacic, and you said
2 categorically that he was not in Skabrnja on the 18th of November, 1991.
3 But you actually, in fact, you can't rule out him being there at some
4 point. You may not have seen him, but you can't categorically rule out
5 his presence, can you?
6 A. No. Goran Opacic was not in Skabrnja, and I say that with full
7 responsibility. Because Goran was dealing with security, the security and
8 safety of individuals, politicians in Krajina. He was an active-duty
9 policeman in Zadar, and they imposed the chequer-board emblem there and he
10 rose up in rebellion in Zadar against that. He stood up and came out
11 against it at a policemen's meeting; I know that. And then he left Zadar
12 and arrived in Benkovac and provided security for politicians. He liked
13 to talk a lot, brag a lot, but I do know that he provided security for
14 politicians. And I say with full responsibility once again that he was
15 not in Skabrnja on that day.
16 Q. You mentioned that he liked to brag a lot. But you know that
17 Goran Opacic received awards for his bravery and his valour, both from the
18 RSK police and from the Serbian police. Did you know about that?
19 A. No.
20 Q. So that it's clear, I'm not sure, in the fall of 1991, Goran
21 Opacic was a member of the Benkovac police; correct? Is that what you're
22 saying? Or are you saying something different when you talk about him
23 with politicians?
24 A. I don't know whether he was a member of the police force but I
25 know that he provided security for political figures.
1 Q. Do you know whether he was a member of the TO at some stage?
2 A. Wasn't, no.
3 Q. Let me move on to something slightly different.
4 You referred to the death of JNA officer Stefanovic and you
5 told -- you described how you arrived at the scene shortly after he was
6 killed and you evacuated his body out of Skabrnja. Again, for clarity,
7 you didn't actually see him killed; correct? You arrived after he was
8 already dead.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And you talked about one other JNA soldier who was killed in the
11 same incident. Those were the only two JNA soldiers who lost their lives
12 on the 18th and 19th of November, 1991, in Skabrnja; correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Let's accept for the sake of argument that Stefanovic spoke on the
15 megaphone in the way you described. At the very most, what he was
16 offering the villagers of Skabrnja was sort of a last chance to surrender
17 before the Serbs took over the town by force, right? That's the most that
18 you could interpret out of what you say Stefanovic was saying in the
20 A. I don't know what the man meant. How could -- everybody has their
21 own opinion. But the goal of the action was to lift the blockade of that
22 road going towards the airport and I know that for sure.
23 Q. Wasn't the goal of the operation all along really to take over the
24 village and drive out its inhabitants? Wasn't that really always the
1 A. No.
2 Q. Well, if the goal were sort of peaceful, as you've suggested, why
3 were so many crimes committed against the villagers, not just on the 18th
4 and the 19th of November, 1991, but crimes were committed up through
5 February of 1992 against villagers in Skabrnja. Doesn't that indicate
6 that the goal was really to drive the villagers out and to take over the
8 A. Sir, I don't know how they got killed. What I do know is that
9 there were civilians together with their soldiers. Therefore, army opened
10 fire at each basement that they received fire from, not knowing who opened
11 the fire.
12 Q. Okay. You've explained that. Let me move on to something else.
13 You testified that Croatian forces in Skabrnja received artillery
14 support from nearby villages, and you even said that it was Croatian
15 artillery support that was destroying houses there. What leads to you
16 believe that it was Croatian artillery that was destroying houses and not
17 Serb artillery or JNA artillery?
18 A. Well, JNA artillery did not act. There were some tanks. It would
19 be too close. Croats shelled our positions in Skabrnja and they were
20 shelling their own village.
21 Q. So you say that it was somehow too close for the JNA to use
22 artillery but the Croats went ahead and shelled their own village? Is
23 that your testimony?
24 A. Well, they shelled the village because we were in the village.
25 Q. The JNA also shelled Skabrnja on that day, didn't it? They used
1 artillery, in addition to the tank fire -- the tank shelling.
2 A. No. There was no artillery preparation, and no shells were
3 falling on Skabrnja before that. Nothing.
4 Q. Okay. So at 7.30 in the morning, for instance, you didn't see or
5 hear any JNA artillery against Skabrnja?
6 A. No.
7 Q. You testified that there was gun-fire coming from the bell-tower
8 of the church in Skabrnja. That's simply not true, is it? And you're
9 just saying that to justify the damage to that church. Isn't that the
11 A. It is true, sir, that they opened fire from the bell-tower and
12 this is why the church was targeted. The bell-tower was so high that you
13 could see from the bell-tower where you can fire. I do not want to
14 anybody. I'm here because of the truth.
15 Q. So you do confirm that the church was targeted by the JNA forces,
16 JNA and TO, although you say that it was because there was fire coming
17 from there, right?
18 A. Yes. Fire was opened from the bell-tower.
19 Q. Were you present when one of the tanks tried to actually drive --
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: I beg your pardon. I beg your pardon. The
21 question was: So you do confirm that the church was targeted by the JNA
22 forces, the JNA and the TO, although you say that it was because there was
23 fire coming from there, right?
24 The answer is: Yes, fire was opened from the bell-tower.
25 The question that is being put is whether it was targeted, and
1 that was not answered.
2 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour. I had interpreted the first
3 yes as an affirmative, but let me put it to the witness again just so that
4 it's clear.
5 Q. Sorry, just to go back to that last question. You do confirm that
6 the church was targeted; correct?
7 A. The church was not fired at as a Christian temple but what was
8 fired at was the position, the nest that was in the bell-tower of the
10 Q. But -- okay. You've given your explanation but fire was opened at
11 the bell-tower, just so that we are -- at the church so that we are clear;
13 A. I reiterate, church as a Christian facility, was not targeted.
14 What was targeted were the position of the Croatian forces.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: That is not the question. The question is it was
16 fired at, wasn't it? For whatever reason it was fired at.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was -- there were firing at
19 MR. BLACK: Okay. Thank you.
20 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Mr. Black, you asked about the tower being --
21 having been a target. And then you said the church. Was the tower
22 separate from the church or was it one and the same building?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Bell-tower is right beside the
24 church. On the church, part of the church.
25 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you.
1 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Q. So they are part of the same building. The bell-tower is one part
3 the of the church building; is that right?
4 JUDGE HOEPFEL: I don't know if it is but it was at that time,
6 MR. BLACK: Correct, exactly, Your Honour.
7 Q. At the time the bell-tower was part of the church building, right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Were you present when one of the tanks tried to actually drive
10 into the church?
11 A. No. I don't know of that.
12 Q. Did you see or hear anything about members of the attacking force
13 entering the church, firing their weapons in the church, breaking things
14 and attacking the altar of the church?
15 A. I don't know that. I did not enter any building in Skabrnja.
16 Q. Okay. And you didn't see any such thing happening at the church?
17 A. I couldn't see because I wasn't in there.
18 Q. You testified yesterday that JNA soldiers didn't come off the road
19 during the fighting, and you talked about how you yourself didn't leave
20 the road. First of all, when you said that, did you include TO members?
21 You're saying that no one, JNA or TO, left the road?
22 A. It refers to the JNA and the TO because they were under single
24 Q. Wouldn't it be practically impossible to take control of a village
25 like Skabrnja without leaving the road? What about the fighters in the
1 yards and buildings beside the road? Were they just left there to
2 continue firing on the attacking troops, or how was it that they fought
3 this battle without leaving the road?
4 A. Fight was conducted exclusively from the road, and the free
5 passage to evacuate the population was opened towards Zemunik Donji,
6 Galovci and Prkos. The goal of the action was not to destroy the village.
7 Q. Are you saying that people -- that the soldiers didn't leave the
8 road because you know that crimes were committed at the houses and in the
9 yards and pulling people from the cellars and you want to distance the
10 soldiers from those crimes? Is that why you're saying that no one left
11 the road?
12 A. I don't know that crimes were committed in basements. I'm not
13 claiming anything and I'm not defending anything. I'm saying what I saw.
14 Q. You also said and you've said several times that combatants and
15 civilians were mingling together in the cellars of houses and you couldn't
16 tell who was a civilian and who wasn't. My first question is you just
17 said that you didn't leave the road. How do you know that civilians and
18 combatants were mingling together in the cellars of houses?
19 A. I know because fire was opened at me, among other people, from
20 those basements while I was providing first aid. And many of those
21 civilians were evacuated towards Benkovac.
22 Q. But how do you know, even accepting for the moment that fire was
23 opened at -- from cellars, how do you know that in those cellars there
24 were civilians as well as combatants? How do you know that they were
25 mingled and there weren't just some buildings where there were combatants
1 and other buildings where there were civilians?
2 A. People came back to the starting point from those basements who
3 told that they were in the basements, and the basements were the places
4 where fire was opened at the JNA from.
5 Q. But those people didn't say that they were in basements with
6 fighters, right? You don't actually know if there were cellars or
7 basements where there were both fighters and civilians. You may assume
8 that but you don't actually know it, do you?
9 A. I do not assume. From those basements, civilians emerged and set
10 out towards Krncetina. Now I don't know what was the name of the starting
11 point in the direction of Ambar. I don't know who remained in the
12 basements. They came there to the starting point.
13 Q. Okay. But you never saw civilians coming out of a basement where
14 you know that there were also combatants there, right? You never actually
15 saw civilians and combatants together in a basement. That's just
16 something that you've sort of assumed happened, but you didn't see it, did
18 A. I don't assume. I saw from one basement ten people emerging.
19 They set out towards Krncetina Novi. The military was directing them
20 there, and that basement was where fire came from.
21 Q. Are you changing your story as we go along so that it kind of gets
22 better and better? Are you changing it to meet my questions? To fit with
23 my questions?
24 A. Sir, I don't want to prettify anything. In this case, you cannot
25 prettify anything because people were dead there. Nothing beautiful came
1 out of it when you have war, when people lose their lives and the lives of
2 their beloved ones.
3 Q. I agree with you that we don't want to prettify what happened
4 there. As I've said to you, there is evidence that civilians were taken
5 out of basements where there were no combatants, just civilians, taken out
6 under the control of the soldiers and murdered. Now, would you agree with
7 me that if that happened there could be no justification for that, that
8 that would be criminal, that those people didn't die accidentally or in
9 the cross-fire or things like that? If people were in fact -- civilians
10 taken out of basements and executed, that's a crime.
11 A. If it were so, of course it would be a crime. But I cannot state
12 it was a crime because I did not see one being committed. Of course, it
13 would be a crime to kill somebody, anybody, and to deprive themselves of
14 the right to live.
15 Q. Okay. You claimed at the end of the day yesterday that you
16 received some information from a villager in a wheelchair. In fact, this
17 was one of the first questions today that Defence counsel asked you about.
18 This was a person who you were evacuating, who was under your control and
19 in a sense sort of at your mercy at the time; correct?
20 A. Why at my mercy? Me who helped him, who fed him there? Why at my
22 Q. I take it this person, and correct me if I'm wrong, but that
23 person was extremely frightened under the circumstances when you talked to
24 him, if indeed you did talk to him, right?
25 A. No. He wasn't frightened. He led such a nice conversation with
1 me. Maybe he felt secure. Maybe he was happy that he chanced upon me.
2 Q. So when he was evacuated from the fighting in Skabrnja on the 18th
3 of November, 1991, he wasn't afraid, in fact he was happy? He was having
4 a nice conversation with you?
5 A. Yes. He led a very nice conversation with me. It was a
6 spontaneous conversation.
7 Q. You claim that a person named Miljanic did not allow civilians to
8 be pulled out of the village. But in fact, many civilians did flee the
9 village, didn't they?
10 A. I don't know how many civilians fled. I know what he told me.
11 The story was that a certain Miljanic would not allow civilians to
12 withdraw, to leave them as a shield for the military.
13 Q. Okay. You've already explained that. Just because we are short
14 of time I don't want you to rehash your evidence.
15 Those that did not flee on the 18th of November, 1991, it wasn't
16 because someone told them not to, it was because this was absolutely no
17 warning before this attack. People didn't have time to get away, that's
18 why people -- the ones who didn't flee, the reason they didn't flee is
19 because there was no time to flee. They just hid. Isn't that right?
20 A. Sir, whoever wanted to save their lives and who was allowed to
21 withdraw, there was ample room for them to withdraw safely.
22 Q. So is it really your evidence, as you just said here a moment ago
23 and you said yesterday, that this person Miljanic intentionally sacrificed
24 the villagers of Skabrnja? Is that what you're saying, that he used them
25 as shields for the military or in order to gain sympathy?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Aren't you just trying to justify the crimes that were committed
3 in Skabrnja by pushing that blame on to someone else, whether it be
4 Miljanic or the Croatian side in general? Aren't you just trying to
5 justify what happened there?
6 A. I am not justifying any crime. What happened is horrible. Even
7 if one person were wounded it would be difficult. I do not justify his
8 actions, if he did that because of that purpose, for some other interest
9 to sacrifice their own people. I would never sacrifice anybody or for
10 them to be killed because of some other interests in that way. I did not
11 say that. The person in the wheelchair said that. He allegedly -- stated
12 that he allegedly was a policeman before he was retired, and he was in the
14 Q. I'm going to move on to a different topic now.
15 After the attack on the 18th and the 19th of November, 1991, some
16 civilians remained in Skabrnja; correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Do you accept that after that time, and up until about February
19 1992, more than 20 people were killed in Skabrnja?
20 A. I don't know the exact number.
21 Q. Do you know that people --
22 A. Yes. I know there were people killed.
23 Q. And who as far as you know was responsible for those killings, if
24 you know?
25 A. Don't -- I don't know.
1 Q. Can you give us any approximation of about how many people were
2 killed? Do you know even approximately?
3 A. I don't know. I'm not sure. So I cannot give you a figure. I
4 would be mistaken whichever figure I may give you.
5 Q. Okay. I understand that. Thank you. There has been evidence in
6 this case that in December of 1991 TO members were killing elderly people
7 in Skabrnja. Did you ever hear about anything like that in December of
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Which TO members? Which TO?
10 MR. BLACK: I believe the Benkovac TO, Your Honour, the
11 SAO Krajina TO, not the Croatian TO, if that's the import.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know about that.
13 MR. BLACK:
14 Q. You testified that when the troops moved on to Nadin on the 19th
15 of November, 1991, there was -- well, I think you said sporadic shooting
16 but not much resistance. Do you know or did you hear anything about nine
17 civilians being killed in Nadin on the 19th of November, 1991?
18 A. I did not hear that then. I heard about that later, but I don't
19 know who perpetrated it. At the time when we military were passing
20 through there, I did not hear anything of that sort. Later I did hear and
21 I was surprised.
22 Q. What did you hear later? Can you give us any details, anything
23 you remember about what you heard?
24 A. Well, this was a couple of years later, that I learned that some
25 civilians were found dead or killed some years before, but I don't know
1 how they were killed nor who killed them.
2 Q. Okay. Did you hear anything about the village of Nadin being
3 burnt or a large part of it was set fire in the evening of the 19th of
4 November, 1991?
5 A. No. Because we were at Benkovac by that time. The military and
6 the TO were in Benkovac at the time.
7 Q. Thank you. Just one final topic -- actually, I'm surprised even
8 myself with my ability to speed things up.
9 You mentioned that another -- a nurse by the name of Zorana Banic
10 is serving a prison sentence in Croatia and you explained how you think
11 that she has been unjustly convicted. You yourself were also convicted
12 in absentia by Croatian courts for crimes that they say were committed in
13 Skabrnja in the events that we've been talking about; correct?
14 A. Yes. Zorana Banic was not in Skabrnja at all. I was in Skabrnja,
15 but I'm not a criminal. I helped people. And I'm glad that I had this
16 opportunity before this Court to say that. And of course, I am sorry for
17 a woman who hasn't hurt a fly and who was not in Skabrnja. Zorana does
18 not know me. I know her and her family, and I know that she wasn't in
19 Skabrnja, and now she's in Croatian prison and she has been unjustly
20 convicted and sentenced to six years. I was invited through the Interpol
21 and testified at the palace of justice in Belgrade. I heeded the summons
22 and I testified there.
23 Q. Thank you. I have no further questions for you at this time.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Black.
25 Mr. Milovancevic.
1 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Re-examination by Mr. Milovancevic:
3 Q. Do you remember, Witness, that the Prosecutor asked you a couple
4 of questions about what happened as you said on the 30th of September,
5 1991, in the vicinity of Nadin when you entered a minefield? Do you
6 remember that?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Could you tell us what was the reason for that action on the part
9 of the JNA? What was the intended goal? Why did the JNA set out towards
11 A. Because from Nadinska Glava, Benkovac was shelled a couple of days
12 before that, and the roads between Benkovac and Biljane Gornje and
13 Benkovac and Biljane Donje was unpassable. Neither the military nor
14 civilians, the people tending their fields could not pass that road.
15 Q. When was that situation like that, when you say that there was
16 shelling? How long before the 30th of September? When did it begin?
17 A. Well, it happened from time to time, then two days would go by,
18 then again, and so on. So Biljane Gornje were attacked that way with
19 shells, and from that elevation, you would go to the airport, but you
20 couldn't pass that way because everything was mined up until the road, up
21 to the road.
22 Q. When you say that from Nadin, they shot from Nadin, what did they
23 use? What weapons? What happened at Biljane and the road? How was this
25 A. Well, you can use weapons, rifles, machine-guns, mortars,
1 targeting Benkovac and the surrounding villages.
2 Q. How long did -- were these mortars active? How long were they
3 used? I don't think you understand my question.
4 If you look at the 30th of September, when did the mortars go into
5 action? Ten, 15 days, a month prior to that? Do you understand what I'm
6 asking you?
7 A. Well, it went on for about a month. As soon as somebody appeared,
8 there would be shooting. So you were never sure of a free passage.
9 Q. Do you know why these people at Nadinska Kosa armed themselves?
10 Who armed them?
11 A. Well, the HDZ armed them. The party that came into power. And
12 broke up Yugoslavia.
13 Q. How do you know that? You say the HDZ armed them. How do you
14 know that?
15 A. I know that because everybody in my village was armed by the HDZ.
16 They received weapons from the HDZ.
17 Q. You said that the targeting from Nadin and Nadinska Kosa made it
18 impossible for the JNA to move around. What consequences did this have on
19 the JNA? The consequences of those actions?
20 A. Well, quite simply, the JNA had its materiel at the airport. They
21 couldn't pull it out. They couldn't have -- their food couldn't arrive,
22 and people were left without a means of livelihood.
23 Q. I know when you said that there was targeting at Zemunik but how
24 do you know that the JNA lacked food? How could you have known that?
25 A. Well, it couldn't have had any food because the road was blocked
1 and food supplies couldn't reach them.
2 Q. All right. If the main road was blocked, wasn't there any other
3 route to approach Zemunik?
4 A. That's the main road and the only road from Smiljcici, Tromilje,
5 Zemunik Donji via Biljane. And later on you had to pass through some
6 woods towards Smokovic, a Serbian village, behind the airport. And what
7 was targeted was Suhovar [phoen] where you could lose your life every day
8 and that's where most people were killed, on that section of the route.
9 Q. Did I understand you correctly, is this what you're saying, that
10 before the 30th of September, 1991, the JNA didn't use the road taking it
11 through the fields, the by-road but used that later on?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Can you tell us the reason for the JNA to advance towards Nadin?
14 You were with the medical corps. What were you told?
15 A. I was told that there was a blockade of the Ravni Kotari road
16 leading to the Ravni Kotari villages and that there was a blockade towards
17 the airport and Biljane, Benkovac-Biljane Donje, that road, and the
18 Serbian part of Zemunik Gornji, were inaccessible by the road. You had to
19 go through the woods and the upper part through Biljane Gornje, Kasic and
21 Q. Thank you. Do you remember my learned friend of the Prosecution
22 asking you, and I think that Their Honours asked you that question as
23 well, whether the JNA moved towards Nadin first on that date, the 30th of
24 September, 1991? I'm sure you will remember that question.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. When the JNA advanced towards Nadin, what did it represent in
3 A. It was the army, the Yugoslav People's Army, in fact, an army
4 which had its normal tasks and assignments and among which it said that it
5 had to defend the sovereignty of its state, of the country.
6 Q. Thank you. Now, according to you, what were the people in Nadin
7 and at Nadinska Kosa who used mortars and artillery weapons to fire, what
8 were they?
9 A. The Ustashas.
10 Q. Who were they fighting against?
11 A. Against the Yugoslav People's Army, the army of the existing state
12 at that time, Yugoslavia, which was the country they inhabited too.
13 Q. Thank you. Do you remember when my learned friend of the
14 Prosecution asked you a question linked to the post-mortem report?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. When you gave us a -- told us about your CV you said that you had
17 completed secondary administrative school, that you are an administrative
18 worker in fact?
19 A. Yes, I did complete that school, but I didn't work as an
20 administrative worker. I worked in a company called Jugoplastika.
21 Q. Did you attend any medical schools?
22 A. I was in the civilian protection of the Jugoplastika firm.
23 Q. Thank you. Apart from the courses that you mentioned having
24 attended, did -- have you got any official training in the field of
1 A. No. Just first aid. Otherwise not.
2 Q. When you say you were in the civilian protection service and that
3 you worked with first aid, is that all you -- all the knowledge you have
4 in the field of medicine, just your first aid course and first aid
5 training; is that right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Thank you. When you mentioned the events in Skabrnja of the 18th
8 and 19th of November, 1991, you were asked who took part in that
9 operation. Do you remember that?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Do you remember that in response to a question you explained many
12 times that you were in Biljane Donje and in Trpolje [as interpreted] and
13 you left after the shooting had started?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you tell us once again how did it come about that from Trljuge
16 as a member of the medical corps in a TO unit from Benkovac, you happened
17 to go to the hamlet of Ambar? Who called you to go there?
18 A. The commander of the Territorial Defence Lakic called me to go
19 there and the command from Skabrnja, where a soldier was killed, because
20 we were on a radio connection, a radio line.
21 Q. When you said that you set out together with the JNA unit, in the
22 morning, and that you arrived in Trljuge, when you say "we arrived in
23 Trljuge," who do you mean, who is the "we"?
24 A. The medical corps arrived in Trljuge. It's a hamlet in
25 Biljane Donje. Trljuge is a hamlet in Biljane Donje.
1 Q. Do you remember that the Prosecutor asked you whether the JNA and
2 the TO had taken part in any fighting? Do you remember that question?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Do you remember what your answer was? Your answer was that you --
5 or, rather, that the TO units -- or, rather, that the TO on that day, the
6 18th and 19th of November, were under JNA command?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. You as a member of the TO's medical corps, come under the command
9 of the JNA as well?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Do you remember that the Prosecutor asked you about how you knew
12 that the civilians with the soldiers were together in the houses by the
13 road? Do you remember that question?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Do you remember that the Prosecutor also asked you how come you
16 knew that the civilians were in the houses together with people who were
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Can you explain to us how you come to claim that it was the
20 civilians and the people who shot at you were in the same cellars in the
21 same houses if you didn't enter those houses and cellars?
22 A. Because in front of the windows of the cellar, as far as I was
23 able to see, there were sandbags, which were protection for the soldiers,
24 and because there was shooting coming from the cellars and the civilians
25 who left those cellars, or that cellar, and made their way out were taken
1 by us to I think something that was called Krncetina, that particular
2 district. But there was shooting coming from the cellar.
3 Q. Thank you. Now, in connection with those civilians that emerged
4 from the cellar, the ones you saw, can you tell us what the attitude of
5 the JNA soldiers was towards them. At that point in time when they
6 appeared and there was general shooting in the village, what did the JNA
7 soldiers do?
8 A. The JNA soldiers led them towards Krncetina or pointed them in
9 that direction so that the people could take safety there and save their
11 Q. Thank you. Do you remember Judge Moloto asking you at one point
12 about whether or not you had seen any people who were wounded, killed and
13 so on, and these questions were linked to the fatalities and the
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can you tell us, as a nurse, on the spot, who did you receive
17 information from? Who told you where there was somebody who needed first
18 aid and because they were wounded or injured? Who gave that you
20 A. The soldiers.
21 Q. When you say that the soldiers gave you that information, which
23 A. Soldiers of the Yugoslav People's Army and the Territorial Defence
24 within its composition.
25 Q. Thank you. When there were civilians who were wounded and
1 injured, who gave you that information?
2 A. The soldiers.
3 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us what your attitude was and the
4 attitude of the people who took in those civilians and wounded civilians,
5 so both civilians who were uninjured and those who were. What was their
6 attitude towards those civilians?
7 A. As far as I was able to see -- or, rather, my team helped the
8 people, administered first aid, dressed their wounds. Now, we had nothing
9 to do with the dead people, those who had been killed. That -- they were
10 dealt with later on.
11 Q. Do you remember that there was another question from the
12 Prosecutor asking you whether you just moved along the road and you didn't
13 happen to venture away from the road?
14 A. Yes, I do remember that question.
15 Q. Can you tell us whether, in Skabrnja, in Skabrnja itself, Skabrnja
16 proper, there were any areas that had been mined?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Where was that?
19 A. Skabrnja was mined throughout, from Ambar through the length of
20 the road towards Biljane Gornje, Razovljeva Glava and linked to Nadin and
21 Nadinska Glava towards Rastevic.
22 Q. When you say that the whole area was mined, how did you happen to
23 know that? Did you know that at the time when the fighting was going on?
24 A. Well, the first mines that I saw a were dismantled at the entrance
25 to Skabrnja, the anti-tank mines. And in Nadin, I knew about the mines in
1 Nadin before that because I was on the minefield pulling out two wounded
2 soldiers from a tank, which had come across anti-tank mines, and I stepped
3 onto the minefield, they were trip mines, but luckily I didn't step on any
4 one and they were dismantled.
5 Q. On the 19th -- 18th and 19th of November, 1991, when you arrived
6 at Nadinska Kosa, were there any mines? Was anybody injured? Or not?
7 A. Yes. There was a minefield that had been laid, and we came across
8 the anti-tank mines and some of the soldiers were killed. Were wounded,
9 sorry, soldiers of the Yugoslav People's Army.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Anti-personnel mines,
11 not anti-tank mines.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: The time has elapsed. How much longer are you
13 going to be?
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I think I've almost reached the
15 end, just perhaps one more question, Your Honour. Might I just take a
16 moment to consult my notes? My last question, Your Honour.
17 Q. The Prosecutor asked you on several occasions, several times,
18 whether you testified here -- whether you changed the facts, distorted the
19 facts, hid the facts, in order to justify something. Do you remember that
21 A. Yes, I do.
22 Q. Did you indeed tell us what you saw and what you know?
23 A. I told you what I knew, the truth as I knew it, what I did not
24 know I could not answer.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] That completes my examination
2 of this witness, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Milovancevic.
4 Questioned by the Court:
5 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Witness, please, following general question. How
6 come that Mr. Zoran Lakic asked you to be part of that operation?
7 A. Sir, it is not Dragan Lakic, it is Zoran Lakic.
8 JUDGE HOEPFEL: I said Zoran, Zoran Lakic.
9 A. Well, since I was in the civilian protection of Jugoplastika, a
10 member of the Territorial Defence, of course every inhabitant of the
11 country, well, they asked me to be a member of the civilian defence. I
12 received an invitation to come, and I responded to the call-up, and if you
13 didn't respond that would entail certain steps to be taken against you.
14 JUDGE HOEPFEL: And what was the chain of command above you?
15 A. I didn't understand. How do you mean above me?
16 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Okay. Who was your commander?
17 A. The TO commander was Zoran Lakic, and in that action, the command
18 was taken over by a JNA officer. The first was Stefanovic and I don't
19 know what the second officer's name was.
20 JUDGE HOEPFEL: But that was the officer who was killed, yeah?
22 A. Yes, yes.
23 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you. Maybe one additional general question.
24 Did you before have to face dead bodies, or was it the first time you
25 actually saw dead bodies in such a situation?
1 A. That was the first time. There was a war and I saw all the
2 atrocities, and it's difficult to take all that and to see all that. You
3 have to be very strong psychologically, mentally strong to be able to take
4 it all.
5 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Of course. I understand. And your main concern
6 was the injured, not the dead, you said.
7 A. Yes, yes.
8 JUDGE HOEPFEL: And if you saw a body looking like a dead body,
9 you didn't approach that?
10 A. No.
11 JUDGE HOEPFEL: How many dead or seemingly dead did you see
12 overall in Skabrnja on that occasion?
13 A. I only saw several dead bodies along the road. I tried not to
14 look. I did my best not to look because it's not a pleasant sight to see
15 a dead body. It's a human life. Even if there's just one it's difficult
16 to take that. But I helped the injured and wounded to the best of my
18 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you.
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Maybe it didn't come out very clearly. You said
21 you saw several dead bodies along the road. What do you mean
22 by "several"? Can we maybe clarify that, although I understand you did
23 your best not to look, you said, but what you saw, how many was that?
24 A. What I saw was four, because an elderly man was injured there
25 nearby, so that's how I came to see them. And as I say, it's not easy to
1 look at corpses.
2 JUDGE HOEPFEL: I understand that and that was all. Thank you.
3 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Mrs. Pupovac, the first question I want to ask
4 you is this: The crime or crimes that you were convicted of in absentia
5 by a Croatian court in respect of Skabrnja, is it, what were those crimes?
6 Do you know? Are you able to say?
7 A. I don't know that because I never saw it, nor did I have an
8 opportunity of defending myself. That is why I am glad to have been given
9 this opportunity to come to this International Tribunal and to at least
10 say the truth as I know it, because all I know is that I was convicted for
11 20 years in absentia, to a sentence of 20 years. I don't know why.
12 Because I helped them, if they are human beings, let God be the judge of
13 their acts.
14 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you very much. I'm going to try to be
15 brief, and my next question is in respect of the JNA members at Skabrnja.
16 Could you say how they were dressed, their uniform, including head-gear,
17 if any, any emblems or patches. And I would like you to give me the same
18 description in relation to the members of the TO who you say became
19 subject to JNA command during the course of the operation. So could you
20 deal with that as concisely as you can for me, respond to that question?
21 A. An olive-green uniform with caps on their heads with the
22 five-point --
23 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: [Previous translation continues] ...
24 A. Yes.
25 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you.
1 A. As I was saying, an olive-green uniform with caps on their heads,
2 or helmets, with the five-pointed star, that was the emblem of the state
3 which they represented, and some of them had camouflage uniforms. Here
4 and there you would see a camouflage uniform. So some wore the
5 olive-green type and some wore the camouflage uniform. The TO had olive
6 green uniforms as well.
7 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Now, in respect of the TO you say they had
8 olive-green uniforms as well. Did they have any head-gear, did they have
9 patches, any emblems?
10 A. They also had helmets and caps, just like the JNA soldiers.
11 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Now, you have not mentioned any patches or
12 emblems. Did they wear any at all?
13 A. No. All I know is that they had a white band on their left
14 shoulder. As to the other emblems, I don't know. They just had the
15 five-pointed star and it said "TO" on their helmets and caps.
16 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: In so far as the TO members were concerned,
17 roughly what ages were you say they were, as appeared to you?
18 A. Well, they were average age, I don't know, middle age, I don't
19 know, I didn't look at their birth certificates.
20 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: All right. Now we are on to a very delicate
21 subject. What age is middle age now, 50, or 35, or some other age? Sorry
22 to laugh.
23 A. Well, from 40 onwards.
24 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: You're saying they were in their 40s?
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you very much, Mrs. Pupovac.
2 Sorry, just one last question: Were you at any point in time an
3 ambassador for Yugoslavia, a diplomat, an ambassador for Yugoslavia at any
5 A. Never in my entire life. Nor would I wish to be.
6 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: That is my very last question. Thank you very
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. We've come to the end of the
9 day for today. The case will continue tomorrow at quarter past 2.00 in
10 the afternoon. If you will make sure that you are in court here at that
11 time, ma'am, quarter past 2.00.
12 Court adjourned. Tomorrow, quarter past 2.00.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.59 p.m.,
14 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 1st day of
15 November, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.