Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 4519

1 Friday, 17 February 2006

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 [The witness entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 a.m.

6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, sir. May I remind you of the

7 affirmation you took at the beginning of your evidence, which still

8 applies.

9 Mr. Moore.


11 [Witness answered through interpreter]

12 Examination by Mr. Moore: [Continued]

13 Q. Colonel, can I just remind you where we had ended last night. You

14 had been to the Velepromet facility, certain people had left you, you had

15 then ensured that the buses were loaded at that time. And do you remember

16 giving your evidence about that, in very general terms. Not that you gave

17 the evidence in general terms, but that you remember that that was what

18 was being said. Just yes or no, please.

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Can we deal with then with the buses went, what did you do?

21 A. I lingered for a while in the compound with the officers who were

22 still there, Branko Korica, Second Lieutenant Cekic and his junior

23 officers. At this point in time I managed to notice that Vojvoda Topola

24 was back within the compound. As far as I was able to see, he had had a

25 change of clothes. He had a new camouflage uniform on and he was with a

Page 4520

1 woman who was approximately as tall as he was. It seemed to me as if he

2 was there to show off and let me know clearly what he thought of me.

3 Apologies.

4 Q. Did he indicate to you what he thought of you? Did he say

5 anything to you?

6 A. No. He didn't speak to me. He was with his Chetniks, and he just

7 walked by for us to see him, after which he returned with this lady.

8 After that he left the Velepromet compound altogether and left the

9 compound, as we say.

10 Q. Thank you. When you were loading the buses, or indeed prior to

11 loading the buses, did you hear any shooting nearby?

12 A. As we were loading people on to buses the buses were already

13 facing the gate and the exit. The order had been given that the buses

14 would leave the compound and park in line along the road. The buses were

15 then being taken over by an officer from the military police. I didn't

16 know this officer, but the column formed was his responsibility.

17 While the buses were still inside the compound before leaving and

18 I had not yet issued my command, I was warned by Warrant Officer Korica

19 that the Chetniks and the TO people were taking people away. The officers

20 and the police officers were taking people to board the buses and at the

21 same time the Chetniks and the TO people were taking them somewhere

22 outside the compound where they could no longer be seen, and then bursts

23 of gun-fire were subsequently heard. As I have already pointed out,

24 Korica then went on to warn me about the fact that Marko Crevar had been

25 overheard as saying that, "This colonel, too, should be killed along with

Page 4521

1 the Ustashas."

2 At this point in time -- or, rather, after some Colonel Janovic

3 [as interpreted] came to see me and he confirmed these threats. He said

4 he had heard them, too, and also said that the Chetniks were taking

5 prisoners of war somewhere outside and that shots could be heard. I was

6 told the same thing by Stosic later on, Slobodan Stosic. My apologies.

7 Q. No, perhaps my apologies. But I just want to deal with one or two

8 other matters before we proceed.

9 When we're talking about the number of being taken away on the

10 buses, or being evacuated on the buses, would you be able to give an

11 indication of how many people actually were evacuated from the Velepromet

12 facility that evening?

13 A. It's difficult for me to be specific. I can't really give you a

14 specific answer. However, I did learn something about the number of

15 people by counting the buses on their way out. My conclusion at the time

16 was that we had managed to evacuate about 800 POWs.

17 Q. Obviously you left Velepromet. Where did you then go after

18 Velepromet?

19 A. I was much affected by everything that had gone on. I was much

20 affected by what I had experienced at the hands of Vojvoda Topola, as well

21 as some of my own colleagues, such as Tomic and Kijanovic. I headed back

22 to the command post accompanied by some military police officers. The

23 distance between Velepromet and the command post being about five

24 kilometres because that's what I think it was at the time, we walked as

25 soldiers do, and if the calculation is that if you do the military step

Page 4522

1 you make 60 steps a minute. I think it might have taken us between 30 and

2 45 minutes to eventually get there.

3 That evening Tomic, Major Sljivancanin and some other people were

4 at the command post. I was bitter and angry. I tried to approach Colonel

5 Mrksic to tell him about what had been going on. At one point in time

6 there was an opportunity and I seized it. I walked up to him, and as far

7 as I can now remember I said, "Commander, do you have any idea what was

8 going on over there? People killed. This is an attack against the

9 integrity of the JNA. This is an attack against you as a commander. This

10 is an attack against all of us. There was a Chetnik duke, as they called

11 him, who wanted to slit my throat in front of all the Ustashas on that

12 bus. That is a disgrace."

13 I saluted him and walked right out of the command post.

14 Q. When you told Colonel Mrksic that people were being killed, did he

15 say anything to you about that? Did he reply?

16 A. Colonel Mrksic was silent. He heard me out, but he remained

17 silent and replied nothing.

18 Q. Did Major Sljivancanin hear you telling Colonel Mrksic that people

19 were being killed at the Velepromet facility?

20 A. I do not believe that anyone had heard, neither can I remember who

21 exactly was there, but there were quite a number of people present. I

22 remember that General Jerko Crmaric appeared, accompanied by some of his

23 colonels. He was from the logistics body of the 1st Military District. I

24 shared with him as well what I had experienced at Velepromet. He heard my

25 story but said that he was here on a mission given to him by the logistics

Page 4523

1 security and because of the evacuation, so he did not really reply to my

2 story.

3 Q. When you say that you told General Jerko your story, did that

4 include the fact that killings had been going on in Velepromet?

5 A. No. I had no such information available at the time. I did not

6 know whether the Chetniks or the TO had held anyone back there. It was a

7 huge area, and it was night-time. There was no lighting, no considerable

8 lighting except the lighting that was there within the compound. It's

9 also a rather large area and it would have been possible --

10 MR. MOORE: Pardon me, I just interrupt a moment.

11 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic.

12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] One correction to make in the

13 transcript. When the Prosecutor asked about General Jerko Crmaric, he

14 said he was there as logistical back-up, but we see on page 4 of the

15 transcript, line 19, that -- line 21 and 22, that -- that he heard this on

16 a mission given to him by the logistics security. We have the word

17 "hear," h-e-a-r, instead of "here," h-e-r-e, if that could please be

18 clarified. I think that is a substantial matter.

19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much.

20 Yes, Mr. Moore.

21 MR. MOORE: What I'm considered about, the were difficulties

22 yesterday about - and I don't criticise in anyway - translation and also

23 the electronics. I have asked a question - I don't know if the witness

24 can hear this or not, I hope he can't - but the answer that is given is

25 completely inconsistent with the evidence that he's given some time

Page 4524

1 before. And that does -- that is something that would cause me concern.

2 So I would like to re-ask the question, if I may, because it is really

3 quite a perverse answer in some ways.

4 JUDGE PARKER: Please, Mr. Moore, if you see problems of that

5 nature, go over the same ground again without seeking leave.

6 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.

7 Q. Colonel, can you just listen, please, very carefully to my

8 question. If you have having difficulties in understanding or hearing,

9 please say so. Do you follow?

10 A. I follow you. It's loud and clear. Thank you.

11 Q. Thank you very much. You have told this Court that you told

12 Colonel Mrksic that killings had been occurring at Velepromet and he made

13 no reply and you then left. Now, that's right?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. I want to deal with Major Sljivancanin. Did you mention to

16 Sljivancanin either directly at that time or subsequently about what you

17 had found at Velepromet? Do you understand the question?

18 MR. LUKIC: Objection.

19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.

20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Page 4, this question was asked on

21 line 14. And the witness provided a crystal clear answer on line 16.

22 "[In English] ... anyone had heard, neither can I remember who exactly

23 was there, but there were quite a number of people ..."

24 JUDGE PARKER: I appreciate that, Mr. Lukic, but there are some

25 apparent difficulties in what is appearing. They may not be difficulties;

Page 4525

1 that is being confirmed at the moment. If there are difficulties, it's

2 not clear whether it's with an understanding of the question or whether

3 it's in the interpretation and translation or where it is. But on this

4 occasion I have just indicated to Mr. Moore he may do this thing,

5 unusually. If there is no problem with the answer, it will be the same

6 answer comes again.

7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] My apologies, Your Honour. The

8 problem may be that I was listening to the witness in my own language, and

9 I wasn't really focusing on the transcript. I do apologise.

10 JUDGE PARKER: It's often a problem, Mr. Lukic. Really the Bench

11 is irrelevant in these proceedings, but it doesn't hurt to listen to us

12 occasionally.

13 MR. MOORE: Perhaps if I ask it this in way, which I hope will not

14 impinge on anybody's sensibilities.

15 Q. You've told us that you told Mrksic about the killings at

16 Velepromet. Who else did you tell at Negoslavci that there was killing at

17 Velepromet?

18 A. Colonel Slavko Tomic, having left the command post, said that

19 Major Sljivancanin would hold a brief meeting in order to brief us on the

20 conclusions regarding the mission that had been accomplished and in order

21 to give us a brief outline of the task to be carried out on the 20th of

22 November, which was the evacuation of the hospital. As far as I remember,

23 the meeting was to be held in an area outside the command post. This had

24 already been the case when we had received our tasks about Velepromet.

25 Major Sljivancanin provided the briefest possible outline of the

Page 4526

1 fact that the mission had been accomplished as far as Velepromet was

2 concerned. Slavko Tomic immediately came up with a number of questions.

3 I interrupted by saying, "Killings occurred there, killings were committed

4 there. You have no idea what I saw there, what I experienced there. The

5 Chetniks were about to slit my throat, and you left me behind."

6 Slavko Tomic again said, "Mission completed." Major Sljivancanin

7 merely confirmed that the mission had indeed been completed, that the

8 buses had been seen off and sent on their way to Sremska Mitrovica. And

9 as far as I remember, he also said that the buses holding women, refugees

10 from Vukovar and other civilians, such as the elderly and children, had

11 been sent to the Croatian border somewhere. As far as I remember, it was

12 said that there had been several attempts -- well, actually those Croatian

13 citizens, there were several attempts to send them back to the Croatian

14 authorities, but that they were sent back.

15 Q. Can I just, before we proceed any further, go back to what you've

16 told us. You said that you had interrupted and told the meeting that

17 killings occurred there and that there were killings there. "You have no

18 idea what I saw there, what I experienced there." Did Major Sljivancanin

19 say anything to you about those killings at Velepromet?

20 A. As far as I remember, Major Sljivancanin did not say anything to

21 me about it, except for saying that the mission was completed.

22 I do apologise, I have to point out that I mentioned Colonel

23 Kijanovic too. I told you that you had informed me about the fact that he

24 had heard about killings and that there were bodies there. That same

25 evening, at that same meeting, and I'm positive that it was also at the

Page 4527

1 next meeting, on the 20th of November, the morning of the 20th of

2 November, the meeting held by Major Sljivancanin at the Velepromet gate,

3 when he briefed us on the elements of the -- of our next task, the

4 evacuation of the hospital. I'll be telling you more about this later on.

5 However, it's essential that I pointed out that Colonel Kijanovic briefed

6 me, said that he knew and that Korica, too, knew that there had been

7 killings over there and that there were dead bodies.

8 Q. Colonel, what I want it try and do, so that I can explain, I want

9 to try and give my evidence, or the questions so that we deal with

10 evidence in compartments. So we'll deal with the meeting, move on to an

11 additional meeting. We'll try and break it into segments, if we can, as

12 we're getting very long answers now. So I just want to deal, if I may,

13 with this piece of evidence that you've given about Colonel Kijanovic

14 telling you about dead bodies. I'm going to break the sequence of time

15 for a moment. Do you know if in actual fact there was any attempt to find

16 those dead bodies? Now, do you understand the question or not?

17 A. I understand your question, and my answer is that I am not aware

18 whether before the meeting somebody had taken any measures to find those

19 bodies, although I don't think that they did, because it was night-time,

20 and it would have been difficult to search the area and find the corpses.

21 Q. But what about in the morning, do you know if there was -- or the

22 next day, was there any attempt to find bodies the next day?

23 A. Yes. I would like to talk about the substance of the meeting

24 later on. In response to your question I asked Colonel Kijanovic to

25 address the superiors, the commanding officers, of the unit of Colonel

Page 4528

1 Mrksic to search both within and without the compound of Velepromet to

2 uncover dead bodies, if any.

3 Q. And do you know if that was done?

4 A. When we met that day outside the command post, that's to say on

5 the 20th in the evening at about 7.00 p.m., Colonel --

6 Q. There may be a translation error in relation to p.m. Is it 7.00

7 in the morning or 7.00 in the evening?

8 A. It was -- it was at 7.00 p.m.; that's to say, at 7.00 in the

9 evening. I apologise. Perhaps I misspoke or did not speak in military

10 terms.

11 Q. Can you continue then, please?

12 A. I was informed by Colonels Tomic and Kijanovic that the buses left

13 the Velepromet compound for Ovcara, and Colonel Kijanovic told me that

14 while I was on my way with Major Sljivancanin to the hospital he, together

15 with a group of senior officers from Colonel Mrksic's unit and military

16 police, searched the premises and found 17 corpses, that these dead bodies

17 were transported on a military truck that was in the possession of Colonel

18 Mrksic's unit. I asked him where were they taken, and he told me that

19 they were taken to the military cemetery and that they were buried there.

20 Then I asked him where the military cemetery was and whether they had

21 taken any measures to identify the bodies and whether any forensic

22 officers were involved in examining the corpses.

23 Q. And did you get an answer to that question?

24 A. As far as I remember, Colonel Kijanovic, as I said, found that --

25 that 17 dead bodies had been found and that they were taken on a military

Page 4529

1 truck to the military cemetery.

2 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic.

3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I believe that the question came out

4 of a -- an answer that was perhaps misinterpreted. That's page 10,

5 line 14. He did not ask Kijanovic, as far as I understood, whether the

6 forensics were involved and whether these bodies were examined.

7 MR. MOORE: Well, my recollection is no guarantee of accuracy, is

8 that he had. That was the interpretation that -- that I had.

9 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic, I believe, was querying the

10 interpretation. Is that right? Yes.

11 MR. MOORE: But I am entirely sympathetic if there is errors on

12 translation, but it is very unfair on a witness who is focusing on an

13 account and there is consistency of interruption, I don't criticise the

14 interruption, but it is a very destabilising process for the witness.

15 JUDGE PARKER: It's a difficult issue, Mr. Moore. We have

16 generally been assisted by those who have identified errors in the -- what

17 appears in the translation or on the transcript. It is a process that can

18 be abused; I am well aware of that. If that should occur, we would

19 certainly put an end to it.

20 Carry on, Mr. Moore.

21 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.

22 Q. Colonel, I'm sorry for pulling you, as it were, off a topic for

23 a -- about the meeting. I would like to return to the meeting that you

24 had had with Tomic and Sljivancanin when you returned. When that meeting

25 ended, were there any arrangements made to meet on the 20th?

Page 4530

1 A. If I have understood you well, your question refers to the meeting

2 that was also held on the 20th outside the command post, which means that

3 the meeting could have been held at around 1.00 or -- 0200 or 0100 on

4 the 20th, and I can repeat what Major Sljivancanin stated there, if

5 necessary. If I've understood you well.

6 Q. Can you in very general terms tell us what Major Sljivancanin

7 said, and we'll take it from there.

8 A. Major Sljivancanin talked about the mission, the forthcoming

9 mission on the evacuation of the hospital. He told us that he had

10 received lists from Dr. Vesna Bosanac. I can't remember whether he

11 indicated if this was a unified, compiled list comprising the lists

12 drafted by Dr. Njavro and Marin Bili, but I understood him to mean that

13 the list covered the hospital staff, the wounded, and the sick, including

14 the ones that were called criminals, the ones who were hiding there. I

15 understood him to mean that all these persons were on the list. That was

16 how Major Sljivancanin came by the -- this very important information,

17 which would facilitate the process of evacuation of the hospital.

18 Major Sljivancanin said that the hospital was to be vacated

19 according to an evacuation plan, that he would personally be in charge of

20 this mission, that not all of us would be able to go over there. Rather,

21 we would gather at 0600 hours at the gate of Velepromet on the 20th in the

22 morning. If you have understood me, I told you now that there were two

23 meetings where Major Sljivancanin addressed the tasks relating to the

24 evacuation of the hospital.

25 Q. Thank you very much. Now, you've told us that there was going to

Page 4531

1 be a meeting at 0600 hours outside the gates of the Velepromet facility,

2 the same facility you had been to. Did you actually attend the meeting

3 at 6.00 in the morning, 0600, as requested?

4 A. Yes. We gathered at 0600 hours at the gate to Velepromet inside

5 the compound, outside the administrative building there. I cannot tell

6 you specifically who was first to arrive there, but I remember that we

7 were among the first ones there. There were Colonel Slavko Tomic, myself,

8 Kijanovic, Slobodan Stosic, Stevan Mirkovic. And that there were senior

9 officers below Major Muncan, Dragan, that there was Korica there, as well

10 as some other officers.

11 Major Sljivancanin arrived in -- in a military all-terrain

12 vehicle, together with his escorts. There was another officer, a captain

13 there with him, and I believe the vehicle was driven by a junior officer.

14 The meeting was quite brief, and as far as I remember, Major Sljivancanin

15 said that everything was to go to plan, as he had informed us earlier,

16 that only one senior officer from among those of us who were present there

17 could accompany him over to the hospital, because he did not have any

18 extra seats in the vehicle. We looked at each other, and I don't know if

19 somebody suggested that I go or how it happened, but it was stated that I

20 should inspect the hospital from the perspective of the application of

21 international laws of war.

22 Q. I would like to deal with two issues. Firstly, when you were at

23 the Velepromet gate, did you see any other vehicle parked there?

24 A. Yes. I remember that there was an all-terrain vehicle parked

25 there with foreign registration plates, but I didn't know whether it

Page 4532

1 belonged to Medecins sans Frontieres or to representatives of the

2 International Red Cross. The window-panes were fogged over and frozen. I

3 was unable to see whether there was anybody seated in there.

4 Q. What colour was the vehicle; can you remember?

5 A. The vehicle was grey in colour -- oh, no, it was white, and it

6 bore the sign of the International Red Cross, I think. Perhaps I'm

7 mistaken, but that's the impression I have.

8 Q. Thank you. The second matter that I wish to deal with was that

9 you stated that you were going to inspect the hospital in respect of the

10 international laws of war. Now, did you then go to the hospital from the

11 Velepromet facility? Can you just answer yes or no on that, please.

12 A. Yes, I did.

13 Q. And how did you get there? What method of transport?

14 A. I got there in Major Sljivancanin's vehicle. I believe it is

15 relevant for me to state that he agreed that I should accompany him.

16 However, I told him at the time that I wanted Warrant Officer Korica to

17 accompany me there.

18 Q. Before we go on to deal with that issue, you went in

19 Sljivancanin's vehicle to the hospital from Velepromet. Did you have any

20 difficulties driving on the roads to the hospital? Just yes or no,

21 please.

22 A. I don't remember that we did have any difficulties.

23 Q. Thank you. Can we deal with -- you said that you wanted Warrant

24 Officer Korica to accompany you to the hospital. Why did you want that?

25 Why did you want that officer to accompany you?

Page 4533

1 A. I explained my request to him. I told him, "You know what I

2 experienced yesterday at the Velepromet and that my life was still at --

3 is still at risk because I was threatened from more than one quarters."

4 And that's when Major Sljivancanin agreed and Warrant Officer Korica

5 accompanied me.

6 Q. I want to deal now, please, with your arrival at the hospital. Do

7 you follow?

8 A. Yes, I do.

9 Q. Have you any idea, approximately, when you arrived at the hospital

10 itself? You have a meeting at 6.00.

11 A. I still have the image of those events back then fresh in my mind.

12 We were going down toward the centre of Vukovar when darkness started

13 setting in when you can see only the outlines of the building when one

14 cannot discern the details. When we passed by the marketplace we were

15 going down the street, I was surprised to see the town destroyed. It

16 looked like a ghost town, buildings without any roofs on, and many of them

17 are wrecked. I said out loud, "Well, Vukovar is a ghost town." Nobody

18 responded to that. When we came down the main street, I recall seeing

19 civilians approaching Major Sljivancanin's vehicle asking where they could

20 find the army, because they wanted to surrender.

21 Q. The question that I asked you was: Have you any idea what time

22 you arrived at the hospital itself?

23 A. I think we got there at around 0700 hours, roughly speaking. May

24 have been 7.15 or perhaps 7.30. But that's how I remember.

25 Q. When you got to the hospital, were you able to see whether the

Page 4534

1 hospital was being guarded by any units?

2 A. Yes. I saw that there were military police guarding the hospital

3 and they were under Major Sljivancanin's command. I also observed the

4 presence of members of the Territorial Defence there who were wearing a

5 sort of a national folk costume, but they carried military weapons and had

6 bits and pieces of military gear. However, on their heads they wore this

7 folk cap which is a red type of cap, and it may have had a patch or some

8 insignia as well, but I'm not sure about that.

9 Q. Thank you. Now, we have heard evidence about a meeting in the

10 Vukovar Hospital that morning. Were you aware of a meeting being held

11 that morning in the hospital?

12 A. Yes. I know that Major Sljivancanin proceeded to act in

13 accordance with his plan. If -- whether there was an officer there

14 reporting to him somewhere, that's something I did not witness. I was

15 touring the building and trying to see what the situation was like. As I

16 entered one room, I saw that Major Sljivancanin had gathered all the

17 hospital staff that was present there in one room. It was actually to the

18 right from the emergency ward.

19 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter's correction, to the left of the

20 emergency ward.


22 Q. Were you present when the meeting was taking place or not?

23 A. I was not present at the meeting because I was unable to enter the

24 room. However, I was there and I was able to follow what was going on. I

25 could see the hospital staff arrive there. I stood next to a nurse who

Page 4535

1 was obviously on duty that night in the -- in the nuclear shelter where

2 the wounded were placed for their safety, and I talked to her, put a

3 question or two to her, and I was following as Major Sljivancanin was --

4 Q. Did you go around the hospital at all that morning?

5 A. After this brief meeting that Major Sljivancanin held with the

6 hospital staff, he told him [as interpreted] the basic information that

7 the hospital was to be vacated, that they could choose how they wished to

8 be evacuated; I believe he gave them three options. As he went out, the

9 hospital staff went to get their belongings and went out to wait for the

10 buses and the International Red Cross, depending on which option they

11 decided for. I asked Major Sljivancanin to pick out one medical doctor

12 who was very familiar with the hospital and to allow him to accompany me,

13 and I asked him also to assign two soldiers who would also -- to serve as

14 escorts while we toured the hospital.

15 Then he introduced me to the commander of the military police

16 there - I can't remember what his last name was; he told me his last

17 name - and he brought over a lance-corporal and two police officers.

18 Major Sljivancanin said that Dr. Stanojevic should accompany me. He

19 was -- he was specialised in internal medicine, and he was a member of the

20 board and the head of the internal department, and he was the one -- of

21 the internal ward, and he was the one who showed me the hospital. Warrant

22 Officer Korica was also there with us.

23 Q. Thank you very much. How long did you tour the hospital for

24 internally?

25 A. Our tour of the hospital started at 8.00 and lasted until 11.00.

Page 4536

1 We toured the hospital following a certain order. First of all, we wanted

2 to see where the nuclear shelter was, where the wounded had taken cover.

3 Since Major Sljivancanin had said that the ones who would be -- that the

4 first ones to leave the hospital would be the -- those who were able to

5 walk, including the wounded, this was the way it was, in fact, done. They

6 started leaving the hospital out the main entrance or exit.

7 Q. Did you inspect the roof? I'm not suggesting you climbed on the

8 roof, but did you inspect the roof itself?

9 A. Yes, I did. I came to the attic area, this is what they referred

10 to as the attic area, since there was no roof left. This area was covered

11 with roof-tiles. I don't know if I was clear enough when I say

12 roof-tiles. They had wooden beams and roof-tiles atop. I remember seeing

13 a large hole on these roof-tiles, and Dr. Stanojevic said that this had

14 been caused by a plane bomb, which pierced through two levels of the

15 building and landed in a corridor above the nuclear shelter where there

16 were a number of wounded persons lying on stretchers or hospital beds.

17 One of the wounded persons had his legs up in the air, both legs

18 plastered, and the bomb went through his legs without hurting him.

19 However, he got so scared that he fainted. I asked then what happened to

20 the bomb. He said that policemen had arrived and specialists from the

21 MUP. They inspected the bomb and took it to the police administration

22 headed by Stipe Pole, that's what he said.

23 Q. Thank you. I just want to deal again with the hospital. I think

24 it's right that there was a bad smell in the hospital; is that correct?

25 The English word is "stench."

Page 4537

1 A. Yes. I remember experiencing this, or rather all of us

2 experienced this when we came to this huge refrigerator, the doors of

3 which were open. And we could see body organs inside the refrigerators.

4 Human body organs. I asked Dr. Stanojevic, "Where is this stench coming

5 from?" As a soldier, I was able to withstand something like that,

6 something that unpleasant, and I came closer to inspect what it was all

7 about.

8 Stanojevic said that those were human body organs and that in

9 accordance with the law and medical regulation, certain organs have to be

10 buried using the same procedure as a human corpse, whereas some other body

11 parts have to be burned. Since they were out of electricity for quite a

12 long time, the refrigerator wasn't functioning, started defrosting, and

13 the body parts inside started perishing and became too -- caused the

14 stench. I apologise, I also have to add that he said that a commission

15 was in charge of this.

16 Q. Thank you very much. Again, if we deal with the inspection of the

17 hospital, I think it's right to say that you found some bodies; is that

18 right?

19 A. Outside of the hospital compound we found corpses lined up bearing

20 numbers. We saw that corpses had been registered or recorded.

21 Dr. Stanojevic said that the coroner kept accurate records of the dead and

22 that he believed that the book had been handed over to Major Sljivancanin.

23 Q. The doctor that you're referring to, Dr. Stanojevic, as I think

24 you have called him, did he give any indication of the sort of missile or

25 weapons that had been used in the hospital environment?

Page 4538

1 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.

2 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.

3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think this is a

4 leading question. We didn't even hear that this had been used, and my

5 learned friend is asking what sort of missile.

6 MR. MOORE: Well, I will rephrase it if it helps. I was really

7 trying to use a generic term as opposed to anything else.

8 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, I must say Mr. Vasic, I see nothing erroneous

9 in what was put. It was directing the doctor [sic] to a specific and

10 different and new area of conversation. The choice of language was one

11 that was merely searching for an answer which identified types of

12 explosives, and I don't think carried the implication that you saw in it.


14 Q. Are you able to answer that question? Would you like me to ask

15 the question again?

16 A. Yes, please.

17 Q. You had a doctor with you who obviously knew around about the

18 hospital. Did he indicate to you the sort of weapon --

19 A. Mirko Stanojevic.

20 Q. Thank you for that. Did he indicate to you what sort of weapons

21 had been used on the hospital?

22 A. The doctor was more knowledgeable about medical issues. However,

23 he showed me some things, and he said that after that bomb measures had

24 been taken to move the wounded from the first level down below to the

25 nuclear shelter where the living and working conditions were difficult,

Page 4539

1 but this was the decision taken by the hospital Crisis Staff.

2 In addition, he said that a lot of missiles or mortar shells had

3 been fired into the compound of the hospital, mortar or some other pieces,

4 but that he wasn't aware whether anybody had been hurt or killed. Also,

5 he said that a shell had been fired on the part of the hospital which was

6 above the emergency ward and had a covered veranda, and this was sort of

7 an outer area of that building that was protruding from the building. I

8 was able to see the hole made by this shell and could tell that this was a

9 large calibre shell. But I didn't see any other major damage except for

10 the structural damage, and I could see that it produced a psychological

11 effect.

12 Q. When you were going around the hospital, did you find any weapons

13 there inside the hospital?

14 A. In the attic of the hospital I found traces of what we would call

15 evidence suggesting that there was military activity, or an activity taken

16 by a military unit or, rather, that this was used as a look-out area. I

17 asked whether this was a MUP unit or a unit of the National Guards Corps,

18 and Dr. Stanojevic told me that there had been a squad of the National

19 Guards Corps protecting the hospital. I asked him who was the commander

20 of that unit, and he said that the commander was nicknamed Veliki Bojler.

21 He was a large man, and -- and his appearance was intimidating. And

22 apparently, based on what he heard, this is the affect he had on civilians

23 and the Serbs.

24 Q. The question that I asked you was: Did you find any weapons in

25 the hospital?

Page 4540

1 A. I apologise. I should have answered specifically your question at

2 the outset. I didn't find any weapons. I found traces, and I found the

3 room in which the ZNG members were. I also found two flack jackets, which

4 I ...

5 Q. I'm sorry, I interrupted you. You found two flack jackets, and I

6 think you handed them over; is that right?

7 A. Yes, two flack jackets of NATO issue, and one belt for ammunition

8 for a hunting rifle. I thought it belonged to -- or, rather, I thought

9 that it came with an automatic hunting rifle and that it belonged to the

10 MUP organ. I think that there were weapons at the hospital because I

11 inspected the hospital in view of this, and naturally the soldiers,

12 members of the unit, be it of MUP or ZNG, who had been wounded and brought

13 in from their positions would be brought in with their weapons. I can't

14 remember who told me this, but I heard that these weapons were later

15 stored in an organised fashion within a room in the hospital.

16 Q. Thank you very much. Can we deal, please, with the arrival of the

17 International Committee of the Red Cross, the ICRC. Do you remember the

18 ICRC arriving?

19 A. It was only twice before I started touring the hospital that I

20 went outside. In my statement you can probably see that I said that one

21 of the TO members wearing this tasselled cap brought to me a man, rather

22 short, from the hospital, from the atomic shelter, and said to

23 me, "Colonel, this is a war criminal." And then he mentioned his

24 nickname, Joja or Jajo, something like that. I apologise.

25 Q. Again, I think there may be some problem. I asked the question

Page 4541

1 again, I'm quite sure you will be asked about that. But I would like to

2 ask about the Red Cross? Do you understand? Thank you very much.

3 Now, do you remember the Red Cross arriving at the hospital?

4 A. I learned that from Branko Korica. He went away from me several

5 times, descended down and went outside of the compound, most likely in

6 order to see what was going on. When we made arrangements concerning the

7 return to Velepromet, then he said -- or rather, I noticed that on the

8 lawn in front of the hospital there was Dr. Ivezic, new chief of the

9 hospital, and a JNA colonel, rather lieutenant-colonel. I saw him talking

10 to a person in white overalls who I thought was a representative of the

11 International Red Cross. It was then that I asked Korica who that was.

12 And he said to me, This is a member of the International Red Cross or

13 perhaps Medecins sans Frontieres with whom Major Sljivancanin had a verbal

14 clash. I was surprised to hear that and I asked him where this had

15 happened, and he said somewhere there in front of the hospital or at the

16 hospital entrance. I didn't ask him about the details any further.

17 Then -- I apologise. Then I approached Dr. -- Lieutenant-colonel

18 Ivezic and the ICRC representative. If you wish me to explain further, I

19 can do that.

20 Q. No, I think that won't be necessary. Thank you very much. It may

21 be that you will be asked some questions about that; I know not.

22 During your time at the hospital, who was in charge of the

23 evacuation of the people from the hospital itself?

24 A. At the meeting on two occasions Major Sljivancanin explained to

25 all of us that there was a special plan for evacuation of the hospital and

Page 4542

1 that he personally would be in charge of the implementation of the plan.

2 Q. Do you remember leaving the hospital that morning?

3 A. That day, that morning. You mean arrival or what? I didn't quite

4 understand.

5 Q. You've already arrived at the hospital, and I'm going to ask

6 you -- I think it's your evidence, or your evidence will be that you left

7 the hospital in due course. Is that right?

8 A. No, I apologise. I left the hospital, I went out through the

9 entrance to the area called the emergency ward, and it was in that area

10 that I met this civilian for whom they said that he was a criminal in

11 disguise.

12 Q. Disguise. The -- I'd like to, if I may, please, deal with --

13 you've told us about the hospital, and I think it's right that you

14 eventually left the hospital.

15 A. Yes. I left the hospital. I can't be fully accurate in telling

16 you the time, but I left the hospital then, when I approached

17 Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. Ivezic and the representative of the International

18 Red Cross. It could have been after 10.30, closer to 12.00.

19 Q. Where did you then go to, please?

20 A. I made an arrangement with Warrant Officer Korica to meet in the

21 office of Captain Borisavljevic at Velepromet. I said this to Major

22 Sljivancanin, telling him that I had accomplished my mission, touring the

23 hospital and all, and that since I had seen a civilian there in an

24 all-terrain vehicle, I believe it was a Land Rover, with Novi Sad licence

25 plates, I asked him whether he could approach that civilian and ask him to

Page 4543

1 take me to the command post of Velepromet, if this was where he was going

2 anyway. Major Sljivancanin most likely spoke to this man. I don't know

3 to this day who this man was, and he took me in his vehicle and drove me

4 to Velepromet.

5 Q. Thank you very much.

6 Your Honour, I know it's slightly earlier than we

7 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I know it's slightly earlier than we

8 would normally rise. But I'm coming on to a specific area that I would

9 prefer to be given in one piece of evidence. And I would --

10 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Moore.

11 MR. MOORE: -- ask for that to be done. Thank you.

12 JUDGE PARKER: We will now adjourn for the first break. And I

13 think it would be an opportune time to relax for a little bit and so we

14 will adjourn until a quarter to 11.00 and resume then.

15 --- Recess taken at 10.23 a.m.

16 --- On resuming at 10.47 a.m.

17 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Moore.

18 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.

19 Q. Colonel, before the break you told us that you were then going --

20 after the hospital, you were going to go to Velepromet. So I'd like to

21 deal now, please, with your return to the Velepromet area. Can you tell

22 us approximately when it was you returned to the Velepromet area or

23 facility?

24 A. In my previously given statements, the ones I gave to the military

25 judge, and then the one I gave to the Prosecutor, and also at the trial in

Page 4544

1 the special court in Belgrade, it is clear that I was unable to pin-point

2 the exact time. However, following my story I came to realise that I

3 arrived there after 12.00.

4 Q. And when you arrived at Velepromet, did you meet anyone?

5 A. The gentleman who drove me to Velepromet went on to the command

6 post, as far as I could gather. There at the gate I found a military

7 policeman who was guarding the facility; he was subordinated to Captain

8 Borisavljevic. I asked him whether Warrant Officer Korica was there and

9 he took me to the office, which Korica described as Captain

10 Borisavljevic's office. There I found another captain, or perhaps captain

11 first class, wearing the same kind of uniform that I wore. He was on duty

12 by the phone, which was on a table, and he had on him an automatic weapon,

13 a sub-machine-gun.

14 Q. And what was that -- what was that officer doing?

15 A. I suppose that he was from the TO staff. That was my impression.

16 Perhaps he was from the brigade of Colonel Mrksic, but I don't know this.

17 Even though he and I introduced each other.

18 Q. Can you remember his name? If you can't, do say so, please.

19 A. No, I don't remember, truly.

20 Q. What was Branko Korica doing at that time?

21 A. Branko Korica sat behind a desk, which was a low-type desk. And

22 there was a brief-case on this desk, which had a numeric code. The

23 brief-case was open, and he was already entering something into his

24 notebook. He was writing something in it. I was surprised when I saw him

25 take out some blue envelopes, put them on the desk, and emptied them of

Page 4545

1 their contents, which were German marks, Deutschemarks, in -- and there

2 was some other papers there, and he said that it came from the brief-case

3 or belonged to the brief-case.

4 And this is what he told me about the brief-case. He said that

5 the military policeman at the reception desk, in the presence of Captain

6 Borisavljevic, because when he came there from the hospital he found

7 Captain Borisavljevic there. And apparently he handed over this

8 brief-case saying, "Warrant officer, sir, the Chetniks gave this to me

9 saying that I was to give you this personally." Korica felt uncomfortable

10 and he used a local expression describing that, based on which I

11 understood that he saw this as something that was embarrassing for him.

12 In the brief-case there was a passport, a wallet, a passport with

13 information about its holder. There was an empty wallet with a personal

14 ID issued in the same name as the passport. As far as I remember, there

15 was a cheque-book there with cheques of the Vukovar bank. Several cheques

16 were missing.

17 Q. Do you know the name of the person whose cheque-book that -- who

18 owned these cheque-books?

19 A. Yes. Vladimir Vodopija. I remember the name because this problem

20 remained with me. It stayed with me throughout my work at the KP Dom or

21 penitentiary institution in Sremska Mitrovica. There was a stamp there as

22 well, as well as the name of the company whose director, Vladimir Vodopija

23 was. He was the director of the city water utility company of Vukovar.

24 It was clear, based on those envelopes and what was written on them, that

25 they were intended for his employees or from the members of the Vukovar

Page 4546

1 TO, or perhaps members of some ZNG unit or volunteers who performed

2 certain tasks in the war. These envelopes had money in them, between 15

3 to 18 marks, German marks, and it seems as though this money was for per

4 diems. And there was also a stamp there enabling someone to withdraw

5 money from the Vukovar bank, and then there was a cheque-book, based on

6 which we concluded that the money was missing and that if there was a

7 large sum of money belonging to this company or to the director and if

8 that money came from the safe, we concluded that the money was gone.

9 Q. Thank you very much. Whilst you were in the room at this time,

10 were you informed of the arrival of any other people?

11 A. Yes. At one point in time the military policeman from the

12 reception gate burst into the room. He was afraid. He opened the door of

13 our room and said, visibly excited, "Arkan is here. Arkan came here to

14 the compound with some civilians." Or perhaps he said "with some

15 persons." We looked around, we were taken aback.

16 My impression was, and I will describe it to you now what it was.

17 I was surprised. Arkan normally doesn't go anywhere for no reason at all.

18 He normally goes someplace when he has a very specific task. I concluded

19 that he had come there with a specific task and that we were in for an

20 unpleasant surprise, because wherever Arkan went, bad things happened.

21 This is why I was surprised. I was wondering how come he came there on

22 his own. I thought about Colonel Mrksic, Major Sljivancanin and myself.

23 I wondered about the prisoners of war who had been already evacuated, as

24 well as the events at Velepromet.

25 Q. Did any other person speak to you in relation to the arrival of

Page 4547

1 Arkan after this soldier had told you?

2 A. Yes. First a colonel came in and introduced himself. He was

3 carrying a Heckler gun across his chest. A Heckler & Koch; that is a

4 make. He asked who the most senior officer in the room was. I said my

5 name was Colonel Branko. This is something I haven't shared with this

6 Court so far, but I did say this at the special court in Belgrade while

7 testifying. Why did I have this code-name, Colonel Branko? I can explain

8 that right now, if you want me to, or perhaps later on.

9 Q. I want to deal Colonel Branko at this time, if I may, as someone

10 the Court may not be aware. When had you -- or why did you use the name

11 Colonel Branko?

12 A. The rules and principles governing the work of security bodies on

13 special missions comprise special code-names being assigned to officers on

14 a mission in order to protect their nearest and dearest from any

15 unpleasant consequences that might arise from their activities. I

16 selected a code-name for myself which I used when communicating with

17 people I did not know. All those who were working closely with me knew my

18 real name. I realised that I had been quite justified on several

19 different occasions in using a code-name. It was a good thing for me to

20 have one. The same applies to this incident involving Zeljko Raznjatovic,

21 Arkan. Everybody called him Arkan. Jastreb, the commander of Vukovar's

22 defence, also assumed a code-name. The other one, Mali [as interpreted]

23 Jastreb, had also had a code-name, so that's the explanation I can offer.

24 Q. So can we deal then, please, with you saying to the colonel that

25 your name was Colonel Branko. What did he reply, or did he reply, to you

Page 4548

1 when you told them that?

2 A. He said immediately that Commander Arkan had arrived. I

3 asked, "Which Commander Arkan do you mean?" There was an altercation

4 between us, perhaps not so much as an altercation, but we were trying to

5 outwit each other. It was a verbal duel. He was suggesting that Arkan

6 should be perceived by me as some sort of authority, that I should go and

7 meet Arkan in order to report to him. That was my understanding of the

8 man's words. And I immediately concocted a plan in my head in a bid to

9 protect both myself and all those present there. The important thing was

10 to find out why Arkan was there to begin with.

11 I suppose you're about to ask me other questions about this, and I

12 will do my best to shed light on the issue and what exactly happened.

13 Q. You're quite right. I am going to ask you some other questions.

14 So what did you say to this -- this colonel after this disagreement with

15 him? Can you paint a picture for the Court what happened?

16 A. When he tried to apply pressure for me to go and see Arkan, he

17 tried to put me under pressure, but I refused. I said, "Colonel, if

18 indeed you are a JNA colonel, then you must surely be aware of the rules

19 and regulations that prevail. When you arrive in a barracks your duty is

20 to report to a senior officer or a commanding officer. Doesn't it strike

21 you as strange that I should now go and report to this man called Arkan?

22 I don't know him and I don't know you. I don't know who you are."

23 And then he started querying this by saying things like, "How come

24 I didn't know Arkan, the commander of the Serb guards volunteers." He's

25 famous throughout Europe and the world and I appeared to be the only

Page 4549

1 person who never heard of him. He said he knew some of the officers from

2 the security administration but that he had never heard my name in the

3 context, whereupon I replied that I had never heard of him either. I did

4 drop a couple of names of the officers from the Osijek garrison of the

5 security administration. He had previously claimed that he worked there

6 in one of the security bodies of the TO staff. When Tudjman's Ustashas

7 entered Osijek, he lost his flat and he lost his family, after which he

8 decided to join Arkan and he stayed close to him throughout.

9 Q. I don't know if I asked you this question. My apologies if I have

10 and I'm repeating myself. Do you know the name of this colonel, the

11 colonel who came in and asked you to go and see Arkan?

12 A. I don't think I can give you his last name. At first he

13 introduced himself as Starcevic or Strikovic. There is another last name

14 I had in mind which now escapes me. I don't believe that I am able to

15 give you his last name though.

16 Q. Thank you. After this discussion with this colonel, did he remain

17 with you or did he leave?

18 A. He left. Every time he left, he left in order to bring Arkan up

19 to speed on the state of our altercation. Arkan was gradually finding out

20 about my position and my answers. So we were locked in a game of trying

21 to verbally outwit each other, both biding our time to see what would

22 happen. I am about to describe this for you, and I already spoke about

23 this in one of my statements.

24 At one point in time, Arkan appeared at the door carrying a

25 Heckler gun across his chest. His right fist was bandaged, and he was

Page 4550

1 wearing a number of -- he was wearing a sling across his shoulder. He

2 looked at us in order to survey the scene and then he spoke to me. He

3 said, "Colonel, you are a foolhardy man. You must be both mad and silly.

4 Where do you get the courage to take 2.000 Ustasha war criminals away from

5 here? Where did you take them to, and you will have to bring them back

6 from wherever it was that you had taken them to."

7 Q. When he said that to you, did you reply?

8 A. Yes. I said, "And how about you, clever man, where do you get the

9 courage to know exactly how many were there? How on earth do you know

10 that there were 2.000 of them, and how on earth do you know that they were

11 all criminals of war?"

12 I said a number of other things along the same lines, looking him

13 in the eyes all the while trying to fathom what his real intentions were.

14 Q. And when you replied in this way to him, did he -- did he reply to

15 your challenge?

16 A. Yes. He started explaining by saying that all those people were

17 Ustashas and criminals. I kept replying that there weren't 2.000 of them

18 to begin with, that we had only taken away as many as 800. I reiterated

19 that I was Colonel Branko from the security administration and that I was

20 there along with a team with a specific mission, a mission imparted to us

21 by the chief of the security administration. I said that those people

22 were prisoners of war. I clearly explained that to him in no uncertain

23 terms.

24 We had a discussion about the fact that there may well have been

25 Ustashas and criminals among those people for as long as they were firing

Page 4551

1 at his fighters and guards members, as he called them. But from the

2 moment they surrendered, hands up in the air and lay down their arms, they

3 became prisoners of war. I also explained that they had been evacuated to

4 the Sremska Mitrovica correctional facility, and that they would be

5 screened there by the security bodies and it -- if necessary, prosecuted

6 by the judicial authorities. I said I had no doubt that the criminals

7 among them would be found out. I told him that it was a long and

8 demanding process by which if you vetted people for war crimes, I said it

9 would require some degree of cooperation with the local population in

10 order to find out which of those people had committed any crimes, if any.

11 Q. You've told us about this, what I will use the

12 word "confrontation." Did the hostile environment remain with Arkan?

13 A. Yes. The tone remained hostile until the point in time when I

14 told him that we had been acting according to the law and under the rules

15 of the international law of war and in keeping with them throughout, and

16 that it was quite obvious to me that he knew nothing about those rules,

17 but that regardless of that these rules had to be observed. He again

18 pattered on about how those people were criminals and that they had been

19 killing the Serbian people. He knew it for a fact, he said, that those

20 people were criminals, because many of his own fighters of his own guards

21 members had been killed and that I had no idea about how many of his -- of

22 his people had been killed in their struggle for the freedom of the

23 Serbian people, in addition to which he kept saying that both he

24 personally and his guards members were fighting for the benefit of the

25 Serbs, Serbs living anywhere between Canada and Australia. And that he

Page 4552

1 made an enormous contribution to that cause.

2 This may not be the exact sequence of our exchange, but I believe

3 I have told you about all the substantial topics that were raised during

4 our confrontation.

5 Apart from this, he also tried to convince me that the JNA

6 security bodies were doing a lousy work in protecting the Serbian people

7 and that they were doing nothing to track down war criminals. It was in

8 this context that he referred to a lady he called Magda. Based on his

9 information, he said she had slit the throats of as many as 40 young

10 children. He said he was in the process of informing the relevant JNA

11 security bodies about this incident, and I assured him that this would be

12 thoroughly checked.

13 Q. Did Arkan himself indicate to you what he thought or how you

14 thought prisoners of wars should be treated?

15 A. Yes. He said that he and members of his guards recognised no such

16 thing as prisoners of war. Recognised no such thing as surrender or

17 people surrendering. He said that all those who had been killing the Serb

18 people were war criminals in his eyes, or mere criminals. I said,

19 "What do you mean, Arkan? What do you mean you don't recognise prisoners

20 of war, given the fact that you yourself were captured at one point?" His

21 facial expression suddenly changed. This was something that he had a bit

22 of a reputation for, you might say. He had the skills of an actor, you

23 might say, in changing the expressions of his face.

24 He faced me across the table and said, "It is true that I was at

25 one point captured. I was held in a prison in Zagreb. You seem to know

Page 4553

1 about this. It was thanks to divine intervention, providence or whatever

2 you want to call that, that I survived."

3 I said, "Arkan, all that actually happened was you were exchanged

4 as part of a regular procedure controlled by the government." He just

5 glossed over this and started going on again about his contribution, the

6 contribution that he made, as well as the members of his guards unit,

7 about how he helped the generals and young JNA soldiers with next to no

8 experience to survive and take them back to their mothers and families, as

9 he said. I told him that no doubt the Serbian people would give credit

10 where credit was due, and that the mothers would as well, but that there

11 was still no need to commit any further crimes. We went on talking about

12 crimes happening on both sides, in both camps, as it were. My apologies.

13 Q. That's all right. You're talking about a discussion with Arkan

14 about crimes by both parties. Did he indicate to you what he thought

15 would occur if you killed one group of people or if the Croats killed a

16 number of Serbs? Did he have any particular philosophy in relation to

17 that, what I will call tit-for-tat killing?

18 A. I suppose his understanding of the issue could be described as tit

19 for tat. He said there was no such thing in his eyes as taking prisoners

20 or prisoners, and that applied to his men too. All those who had been

21 killing people were to be killed themselves. That was what he said. Even

22 that menacing sentence that he addressed me with when he first came

23 implied as much. He knew what had occurred at Velepromet. At least that

24 was the impression I had. In addition to this --

25 Q. Thank you very much.

Page 4554

1 A. He --

2 Q. Sorry, "In addition to this"?

3 A. I was about to say he kept talking about the contribution that he

4 had made, as well as his men, about how he had helped the generals. He

5 pulled out a photograph to show me, showing him hugging a general of the

6 Novi Sad Corps, Andrija Biorcevic.

7 I meant no harm at the time, but I told him that I knew something

8 about this sort of thing too. I asked him, "Do you have a photograph

9 hugging the previous commander of the Novi Sad Corps, General Radic, who

10 lay down his life for peace, in order to have peace in the Vukovar area,

11 to restore peace?" He lay down his life for this objective. He gave all

12 that he had to give." I told Arkan I knew General Andrija Biorcevic

13 because we were schoolmates at the higher military school I also knew

14 Mladin Bratic, I said, because we were schoolmates from the officer's

15 school.

16 Q. There came a time clearly when Arkan left; is that right? Left

17 the room certainly.

18 A. Yes, there was a colonel accompanying him.

19 Q. I was about to say. And who was the next person you had dealings

20 with?

21 A. There was this colonel who was escorting him who came in and said

22 that he was wanted and needed elsewhere. He left in a hurry. I stayed

23 back in the office, and I was making a draft for a report that I would

24 later be submitting. I had this discussion with Warrant Officer Korica.

25 We were trying to arrive at some sort of conclusion as to why Arkan had

Page 4555

1 come there.

2 After a while, this colonel named Strikovic or Starcevic,

3 whatever, came in and said, "Colonel Branko is wanted at the government

4 meeting of the SAO Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem." He may

5 not have used these very words, but he was clear about one thing: I was

6 wanted at the SAO government meeting. That much was clear.

7 I was stunned by this. What government was he talking about?

8 What meeting at Velepromet was he talking about? Why Velepromet of all

9 places? It was then that it suddenly dawned on me that Arkan was not

10 there for nothing. It dawned on me that things would start happening

11 which only bode ill, if anything.

12 Q. And did you go to this so-called government?

13 A. Yes, I did. The message was delivered to me in a sharp voice. I

14 settled down the corridor, and through the glass pane I saw quite a number

15 of persons standing there, some of them wearing uniform, some wearing the

16 MUP uniform, the police uniform. I told Branko Korica to get that

17 brief-case and to follow me as fast as he could as well as to try to

18 follow what was going on around us. I came to the room where I had held

19 that officer's meeting the previous night. You asked me about the

20 meeting, and I described to you what the meeting was about, when we were

21 trying to empty those rooms in Velepromet and evacuate the POWs. It was

22 in this same room, it was a rather large office, in fact, that the

23 government meeting was held which I attended in a way, which I am about to

24 describe.

25 The tables were arranged in a square, you might say. There were

Page 4556

1 several tables at the back, to the left. I was facing the door on my way

2 in. There was a rather long table too. There was Ilija -- I can't

3 remember the person's last name. I should go back to my statement to

4 check. My apologies.

5 Q. That's all right. We'll leave that just for the moment. Did you

6 recognise any politicians there at that time?

7 A. Yes. Goran Hadzic, prime minister, was there. His face was

8 familiar from photographs, from the printed press. I knew that he was the

9 prime minister. He came in, we exchanged greetings. He sat down beside

10 Mr. Ilija, who was the president of the Assembly of the Eastern Slavonia,

11 Baranja and Western Srem SAO. And then ministers started appearing in the

12 room. Seated at the same table, facing both them and me, was the justice

13 minister, Mr. Vojin Susa. I understood the person seated next to him to

14 be the late Slavko Dokmanovic.

15 Q. May I just stop you for a moment? You use the title Goran Hadzic,

16 prime minister. Who gave him the title of prime minister? Do you know?

17 A. I gleaned from what I was told, and I was being told that I was

18 showing no respect for the generals and for the government, and I gleaned

19 from the context that the government had been elected by the people and

20 that was where they derived their legitimacy from. It was made clear to

21 me that this was something that I had to show respect for.

22 Q. And why do you say you were being accused of not showing respect

23 to this so-called government?

24 A. I would have to go back to the original sequence as given in my

25 statement. By your leave, I would like to tackle one thing at a time in

Page 4557

1 order to shed light on what exactly happened there.

2 The prime minister Goran Hadzic opened the meeting. I can tell

3 you what he talked about, what the meeting was about. I can tell you

4 about my own experience at the meeting.

5 Q. I would like, if you could, in a shortened form, to tell us what

6 the meeting apparently was about, and if there is any areas that I wish to

7 ask more questions about, or my learned friends wish to ask any more

8 questions, we will do so. But if you could try and keep your answer

9 fairly short in this area.

10 A. Briefly Goran Hadzic opened the meeting the following way: He

11 said, "I am opening the meeting of our government with the same agenda as

12 the one we had for the previous meeting." This already gave me the

13 impression that I either was not supposed to learn what the agenda of the

14 meeting was or that I was going to find out during the meeting itself.

15 In the statement where I described the meeting, I forgot to

16 mention that there was another -- or a second item on the agenda, because

17 the prosecutor at the special court asked me what the second item was, and

18 I thought about it for a while and told the prosecutor the following: He

19 stated at the meeting that this was the continuation of a meeting that had

20 been held at some point earlier somewhere. The first one who asked for

21 the floor was Minister of Justice, Vojin Susa, and he asked Goran to be

22 allowed to put some questions to the colonel in order for the colonel to

23 answer these questions in front of everyone.

24 The questions included the following: Where was I going on --

25 where did I, and on whose orders and why take 1.500 Ustashas and criminals

Page 4558

1 who had been killing the Serbian people. And I followed the same sequence

2 in answering these questions. I told them that I was a member of the team

3 from the security administration headed by Slavko Tomic, that we were

4 there on a mission given by the chief of the security administration, I

5 said this was General such and such, and that we were there to assist

6 Colonel Mrksic's unit in evacuating prisoners of war from the combat area.

7 I also said that what we were doing was within the scope of law.

8 His question to me was whose prisoners of war were they? I

9 answered that they were prisoners of the state. His question was, who

10 captured them? I answered that they had been captured by fighters in the

11 area of responsibility of Colonel Mrksic's brigade; therefore, they were

12 captured by JNA and TO units.

13 I also explained why they had been taken to the correctional

14 facility at Sremska Mitrovica, that their POW camp had been set up there

15 accordance with the regulations. His question to me was, who was going

16 interrogate these people and further bring them to justice? I said that

17 there were both investigators and military prosecutors there who were

18 going to deal with this. His question was, pursuant to which laws was

19 this procedure to be conducted under. My answer was that this was going

20 to be under the federal laws, since the correctional facility at

21 Sremska Mitrovica was a federal facility and that was the reason why they

22 had been taken there in the first place. That this was to be done and was

23 done with the approval of at least two federal ministries and of the top

24 military leadership.

25 Q. Was there any discussion about the definition of "war criminal,"

Page 4559

1 who was a war criminal?

2 A. Yes. I was in such a position that I had to explain that they may

3 as well have been Ustashas and war criminals. However, I emphasised that

4 this was the case until the moment they surrendered, raised their hands,

5 and laid their weapons. From that moment on, they became prisoners of

6 war.

7 Q. During this meeting were there any other officers present? When I

8 say "officers" I mean either TO or JNA.

9 A. There were about 30 people there. I don't think all of them were

10 ministers, which means that there were assistant to the ministers there,

11 that there was the chief of the SUP, I don't know what his name was, there

12 was his assistant there as well.

13 Furthermore, there was Ljuban Devetak wearing a uniform. He was

14 the commander of some TO staff and of some TO unit. He also took part in

15 the discussion and displayed hostility toward the Yugoslav People's Army

16 and toward myself. He uttered the following words, "The JNA had destroyed

17 and wrecked Vukovar. The JNA made a new Stalingrad out of Vukovar. This

18 will be the sort of history that the Croatian children will be taught and

19 they will be indoctrinated."

20 He used very strong language also toward the JNA generals, and

21 there were some things to that effect that were addressed to me, I

22 believe, by the late Slavko Dokmanovic.

23 Q. Can I ask about your personal safety? Did you at any time feel

24 that your personal safety was at risk?

25 A. Yes, I did. During the meeting at least three persons used very

Page 4560

1 strong language and threats to me. Whereas Arkan, who had the sort of

2 facial expression he can -- could normally be seen with, waited and

3 listened to all of this and waited to hear what the government was going

4 to -- what sort of position it was going to take in relation to my person

5 and my life.

6 I felt a hostage there, and I say so openly before this Trial

7 Chamber and the Tribunal that I respect. I want to clearly state that I

8 was a hostage at this government meeting.

9 I seem to remember that Slavko Dokmanovic suggested at some point

10 and the -- and he addressed the suggestion to Goran Hadzic that we decide

11 what to do with Vukovar. He --

12 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, what to do with

13 colonel.

14 A. He said that he should be asked to bring those POWs back from

15 Sremska Mitrovica, where he had taken them. And I said, "Well, how --

16 what do you mean? They were taken over there in an organised fashion, and

17 this is exactly the manner in which they should be taken back." However,

18 he merely ignored what I said and insisted on his idea.

19 Goran Hadzic was following this in silence without reacting, and

20 there was one man next to the door whom he addressed - he was a

21 minister - and told him, "Please take a look to see whether there is a

22 lieutenant-colonel, whether he arrived." This minister who was seated

23 next to the door said on several occasions that the lieutenant-colonel had

24 not yet arrived.

25 I didn't know who this lieutenant-colonel was who they were

Page 4561

1 mentioning. And -- and then I was told, well, the persons in attendance

2 were told that, "Well, somebody else should join the colonel here so that

3 he does not feel on his own as a JNA officer."

4 Q. Was this the first time that you had become aware that there was a

5 lieutenant-colonel involved in these proceedings?

6 A. I felt that this was just a pretext that they were using, although

7 I allowed for a possibility that there was somebody else there who had

8 been given a mission and was supposed to come back from that mission. As

9 far as I remember, Mr. Goran Hadzic told the minister who was seated next

10 to the door to check whether the man had come back two or three times, and

11 I believe it was actually three times that they went out into the corridor

12 to check if the lieutenant-colonel had come.

13 Q. Sorry, you used the phrase "the man" and then went on to say "to

14 check if the lieutenant-colonel had come." Did a lieutenant-colonel come

15 eventually?

16 A. After they had levelled threats and exerted pressure against me,

17 Slavko Dokmanovic told me, "What sort of state are you referring to,

18 Colonel? Yugoslavia, you can see that it is no more. What sort of JNA

19 are you referring to? Don't you see that it is gone? What is left of the

20 JNA is being commanded over by generals who are not Serbs. Don't you see

21 that these generals don't like Serbs anyway?"

22 In that context, he mentioned the topmost generals, the

23 top-ranking generals, Veljko Kadijevic -- I apologise.

24 Q. That's all right. You've told us that on three occasions people

25 had gone to see if a lieutenant-colonel had returned or had come. Now,

Page 4562

1 I'd like to deal with that topic, please. Do you understand the topic?

2 Thank you very much.

3 A. I do.

4 Q. I'll just follow that through. So did a lieutenant-colonel come

5 or not?

6 A. I will reiterate this sentence. After the strongest of pressure

7 had been exerted on me, along the lines of, very well, those POWs who had

8 been evacuated had been evacuated. However, we would not be allowed to

9 take those men hiding in the hospital, those criminals out of the hospital

10 further than the barracks, that the barracks was already encircled by

11 members of the TO Vukovar and the civilian population. That, if need be,

12 more of the ordinary people, population, would be brought in to physically

13 prevent the buses from leaving by lying across the road.

14 They added further threats against my person to me. Then I told

15 them, "These are not prisoners of war. I told you these are not my

16 prisoners of war. I told you where they were." At that point, we heard a

17 knock on the door while Goran was addressing the meeting, and

18 Lieutenant-Colonel Panic, Chief of Staff of Colonel Mrksic entered,

19 holding a notebook or some sort of folder in his arms. Goran Hadzic had

20 seen him immediately stood up and all the ministers who were next to the

21 door surrounded Panic and all of them together left the room with

22 Lieutenant-Colonel Panic without paying any attention to me, as if I had

23 not been there at all.

24 Q. Were you able to see whether there was any conversation, not hear,

25 were you able to see if there where is any conversation between Panic and

Page 4563

1 the group of people around?

2 A. Yes. They had a sort of conversation, and I was only able to see

3 that gestures, facial expressions, and I saw them leave the room in a

4 hurry. However, I don't know the contents of the conversation.

5 Q. Well, that was my next question. Did they ever tell you what the

6 conversation was about? When you say that you saw them leave the room in

7 a hurry, do you know where they went?

8 A. No, I don't know. But as there was mention of buses, evacuation

9 of the hospital, criminals who would not be allowed to be evacuated, and

10 there was mention of all possible measures to be taken without, of course,

11 asking them, I concluded that Susa -- based on what Susa had said that

12 they were ready to set up a court-martial, he said that they had very

13 experienced prosecutors and judges, and they were perfectly able to

14 function within the remit of the law as any other prosecutorial body.

15 Q. Please wait for a moment. Now, when you were told by Susa that

16 they would be able to cope, the phrase that you use was "able to function

17 within the remit of the law," did you believe at that time that they had

18 the structure for trying prisoner of wars? Did you say anything to them

19 or not?

20 A. I expressed my objection to that and asked them whether they had

21 the necessary conditions and human resources to embark on such an

22 enterprise, and that probably the JNA leadership was not going to be

23 opposed to that, but that they would nevertheless like to give their

24 consent. And I told them that I myself was not authorised to give them

25 the consent.

Page 4564

1 Q. Did you leave the building where the meeting had taken place?

2 A. I did not leave the building immediately. I will tell the truth

3 before this Trial Chamber in saying that I feared for my life. I

4 therefore waited for a while and proceeded to the office where I had left

5 Korica behind. I could not find him there, so I took my back-pack and my

6 belongings, and as I was leaving the room - I was still on the premises -

7 I saw two cameramen. I don't know whether they belonged to a TV crew.

8 But there was a journalist who I knew from before, he was Mr. Peternek. I

9 had seen some of his work before. I hurried toward the exit of the

10 building, and I saw a person wearing a military sort of hat, and he yelled

11 out, "Look at him, another Commie is passing by. Let's get hold of him."

12 Q. Did you at any time go to the JNA barrack area after the meeting?

13 A. Yes. I rushed straight to the barracks to seek protection there,

14 because I anticipated more threats and danger from those quarters.

15 I omitted to say that as soon as I returned from the hospital

16 Korica told me that a lieutenant sniper shooter told him, "You should feel

17 lucky because they had warned me that were you not the Colonel Branko, but

18 another different Branko." I then arrived at the barracks -- I apologise.

19 Q. That's all right. When you arrived at the barracks, did you see

20 any buses there?

21 A. No. There were no buses at the barracks. I didn't see any.

22 There were some frozen puddles on the ground that I crossed on my

23 way to the barracks, where I approached a guard, asking him to take me to

24 the commander to report to him. He took me to the commander, and I was

25 surprised to see the face that I knew from before, and that was the face

Page 4565

1 of Major Lukic, who I knew very well. We served at the Pancevo barracks

2 together.

3 Q. Did you recognise any civilians at the JNA barracks?

4 A. I didn't see any civilians, but after I had had lunch - we had the

5 beans for lunch - I told the major that I had not eaten in 24 hours, we

6 chatted a bit and then as I was going down the corridor I heard a woman

7 coughing. I asked her who that was, and the guard who was there told me

8 that Dr. Bosanac was there along with some other people. I came to the

9 conclusion that they were brought there to be held there as in a military

10 detention, because every barracks had its military detention unit.

11 Q. You have mentioned a Dr. Bosanac being there. Were any other

12 names given to you who were being detained at that time with Dr. Bosanac?

13 A. No. I arrived at my conclusion based on what Major Sljivancanin

14 had explained, that he had been talking to Dr. Bosanac, Dr. Njavro, and

15 Marin Vidic, Bili. And that was how I arrived at the conclusion that they

16 were held in detention there.

17 Q. Did you ever return to Negoslavci, the command centre in

18 Negoslavci?

19 A. Yes. Later on I went back there. But before that I met Colonel

20 Milan Gvero at the barracks. He was assistant to the chief for

21 information, or perhaps he himself was the chief for public information in

22 the secretariat for national defence. Colonel Milan Gvero told me that he

23 was drafting a press release for the public, both in the country and

24 worldwide, because -- because they -- the journalists were supposed to

25 visit Vukovar on the 21st of November.

Page 4566

1 I also saw Rade Leskovac, a minister in Goran Hadzic's government.

2 He put provocative questions to me by saying, "What would you say,

3 Colonel, in percentages, to what extent has Vukovar been destroyed?" I --

4 destroyed by the JNA, that is. And I returned him in the same measure,

5 although I don't remember how it was that I answered.

6 Q. Colonel, I am just asking to stop for a moment because sometimes

7 you speak very quickly and it's difficult for the interpreters.

8 Now, let's deal, if we may, please, about your return to the

9 command centre at Negoslavci. So can we deal with that topic, please?

10 When did you return to the command centre at Negoslavci?

11 A. Based on my recollection, that was at about 1800 hours. It was

12 dark. I found Colonel Kijanovic there, Colonel Tomic, and there were some

13 other persons there as well, in front of the command headquarters. Then

14 they briefed me, saying that the buses had been taken from the barracks to

15 Ovcara. Kijanovic said that he took out four JNA soldiers from the bus.

16 They were prisoners of war of the Croatian army and they had also been

17 wounded and hospitalised.

18 I was supposed to explain to you that when touring the hospital I

19 explicitly requested for Dr. Stanojevic to take me to the area or to the

20 room where these soldiers were. If you need me to elaborate on this, I

21 can do this. I believe it to be relevant. My apologies.

22 Q. I'm quite sure there will be questions about that, but can we just

23 please remain on the return to the command centre at Negoslavci? You've

24 told us about Kijanovic being there and Tomic being there and you'd had

25 heard that the buses had gone to Ovcara. Well, may I just ask the

Page 4567

1 question? Thank you.

2 With regard to the buses, had all the buses gone to Ovcara, as far

3 as you are aware, or not? And if you can't remember, do say so.

4 A. No, they didn't say all buses. They just referred to those

5 carrying criminals of war. We know that there were medical staff members

6 at the hospitals, doctors, civilians and so on. And that there were these

7 people in disguise. They simply said that only buses carrying these

8 persons, whom they referred to as Ustashas and war criminals, had

9 departed, and Kijanovic said that from one such bus he had taken out JNA

10 members.

11 Q. What about Tomic?

12 A. Colonel Slavko Tomic said that he went because of that two or

13 three times to see Colonel Mrksic to intervene in relation to these buses

14 and that he managed to reach Colonel Mrksic. He said that at that time

15 there was another colonel there wearing the air force uniform. He said

16 that he warned him about the fact that the TO members wanted to take buses

17 to Ovcara by using force. As far as I remember, he said that Colonel

18 Mrksic was silent, but that he raised his hand and put it in front of his

19 eyes, based on which he concluded that the TO members should be --

20 basically that they should turn a blind eye in relation to the actions of

21 TO members.

22 MR. MOORE: Would Your Honour forgive me for one moment, please?

23 I just want to check something.

24 Q. Did you have any conversation with Kijanovic at this time?

25 A. Yes. I talked to Kijanovic about what was going on there, how it

Page 4568

1 was going to end. I related my experiences to them about the government

2 cabinet session. I said that Arkan was there, and I briefly conveyed to

3 them the substance that can also be found in my statement and in my

4 evidence here before this Trial Chamber. I said that pressure had been

5 exerted on me a number of times, threats were issued. I couldn't say that

6 I survived by chance, but rather that I survived, thanks to the JNA

7 members who were implementing their tasks, and those were members

8 subordinated to Colonel Mrksic and to Sljivancanin, which means that I

9 would not have been able to accomplish my task had they not helped me.

10 Kijanovic told me that he had taken measures and steps, as we say

11 in our parlance, and approached either Colonel Mrksic or some other senior

12 officer and was given military policemen and a truck. Then they toward

13 the Velepromet compound -- my apologies.

14 Q. Do carry on.

15 A. And then he said that he had found 17 corpses, that they

16 transported them to the military graveyard and buried. I thanked him,

17 because he had promised to do that.

18 Q. Can I deal then, please, in, I hope, brief, in a brief way, did

19 you eventually leave the Negoslavci command centre and return towards Sid?

20 A. Yes. We waited for a long time for a column to be formed and for

21 them to depart to Sid. As far as I was concerned, I don't know what

22 happened afterwards. However, we waited there for a long time, long into

23 the night, perhaps it was close to 2300 hours or midnight. Our vehicle

24 was at the helm of a long column, including an armoured personnel carrier,

25 and when the decision was made for the column to move, we set out towards

Page 4569

1 Sid.

2 I said this in my statement, and I must repeat it before this

3 Trial Chamber as well. Namely, at that time one could hear bursts of

4 fire, fire to the left of us, and this sounded ominous. There perhaps

5 were some comments to that effect. In one of my statements I mentioned

6 these comments, and it was interpreted as though I was advocating a group

7 opinion. And then I said that what was written in the statement was not

8 true and that I could have kept my opinion to myself without expressing it

9 to anybody.

10 Q. With regard to the gun-fire, are you able to indicate to the

11 Court -- you've said to the left, which of course depends really which way

12 you're standing. But if one considers the various towns or locations, and

13 you are in Negoslavci, are you able to say in which direction the gun-fire

14 came from? And if you aren't, please say so. Don't guess.

15 A. I had a topographic map on me, which I had brought with me from

16 Belgrade. I also had rules on the application of the international law.

17 I brought this material with me from Belgrade. As an officer when one

18 arrives in a certain area, one has to orient oneself and then find

19 reference points, settlements, and so on. Many times at meetings I heard

20 Ovcara being mentioned -- rather, cabinet ministers mentioned it,

21 including others who were there, brigade members and so on. It was

22 mentioned by Slavko Tomic and Kijanovic as well. I might have even asked

23 them in what direction it was, and they said that it was approximately in

24 the same general area where we were all lined up, and this is how I

25 concluded that this -- these bursts of fire had come from that area.

Page 4570

1 Q. And which area is that, please?

2 A. From the direction of Ovcara.

3 Q. Can we deal, then, please, with your arrival at Sid? Did you

4 report to any senior officer there after you had left Negoslavci?

5 A. Yes. The column travelled for a long time. Pursuant to the

6 orders of Colonel Tomic, we halted in front of the command post of Colonel

7 Ljubisa Petkovic, which was in the office of the -- in the premises of the

8 main post office in Sid. And the column continued on to Mitrovica or to

9 Belgrade, or I didn't know exactly where. We entered the premises of

10 Colonel Petkovic's command post and there, at the entrance, in one of the

11 rooms we were first met by General Mile Babic. He, in the security chain

12 of command, was superior to Colonel Petkovic, chief of security of the

13 1st Military District; that was his post. He was present there, he

14 greeted us, we spent a brief time talking to him there.

15 Colonel Tomic went to the office where Colonel Petkovic was, and

16 they would spend quite a lot of time there together. Some officers would

17 come out from that room; they were not familiar to me. I remember that I

18 also saw a lady who might have been a journalist or something, but she was

19 in a uniform. Also, Captain Petkovic came to greet me, Kijanovic, and the

20 rest who were there from our group.

21 Q. I heard Captain Petkovic. Is that right or not?

22 A. No. Colonel Petkovic. Unless I misspoke, which means that I

23 might be tired.

24 Q. Well, if you're tired, perhaps we're all rather tired.

25 MR. MOORE: I wonder if Your Honour might consider it to be an

Page 4571

1 appropriate moment and I then should conclude in the following period.

2 JUDGE PARKER: We will have the second break now, Mr. Moore. And

3 in the circumstances, perhaps half an hour.

4 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.

5 JUDGE PARKER: So we will resume at a quarter to 1.00.

6 --- Recess taken at 12.16 p.m.

7 --- On resuming at 12.50 p.m.

8 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.

9 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, may I deal with one preliminary matter?

10 The Colonel has spoken to the witness assistance person and

11 indicated that he's feeling very tired, having given evidence now for two

12 days and obviously been here in The Hague. I anticipate that I would

13 have 10 or 15 minutes to take up by way of examination-in-chief. What I

14 would respectfully ask the Court to consider would be for me to conclude

15 my examination-in-chief and for the evidence to stop there this afternoon

16 and to resume on Monday with what I will call clean start on

17 cross-examination from Mr. Vasic.

18 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, would it help you to organise your

19 thoughts over the weekend? Further organise them. Don't think that I ...

20 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you kindly, Your Honour. The

21 Defence is prepared to do that. However, in the -- or rather, in the

22 similar cases when we have done so in the past, it always produced

23 positive results. We have always shown nothing but understanding for the

24 needs of the witness and the OTP. So we have no objections in this case

25 either.

Page 4572

1 JUDGE PARKER: I am encouraged, Mr. Vasic, but the Chamber is

2 aware that we have noticed that at times counsel have been extremely

3 responsive to suggestions that time should be watched and matters

4 concentrated. So we hope that the advantage of having a full weekend to

5 prepare for that will assist all cross-examining counsel. Thank you for

6 your cooperation.

7 Yes, Mr. Moore, we will break after your evidence in chief has

8 concluded.


10 Q. Colonel, may we just resume, please, where we left off before the

11 adjournment. You had told us about reporting to Sid where you saw Colonel

12 Petkovic and General Babic. Now, I would like to deal, please, with that

13 particular meeting or those meetings. Did you at any time inform either

14 Babic or Petkovic what you had seen and witnessed at Velepromet?

15 A. Yes. In my experience so far, whenever there were complex

16 problems or issues I would do this, and so I asked General Babic whether

17 he was aware of what was going on in the area of responsibility or area of

18 operations of Colonel Mrksic. And in relation to the task that we were

19 working on, he said that he was aware of everything. I did not explain

20 anything further, nor did I ask anything after that. We stayed there

21 waiting for Colonel Petkovic to come and greet us. Then I asked him, too,

22 in the presence of General Babic and other officers, whether he was aware

23 of what had happened there, what was going on there, and what we had

24 experienced. He said too that he was aware of everything. Colonel Slavko

25 Tomic had already been to see him in his office. I don't know who else

Page 4573

1 might have been there in that office.

2 As I have already told you, I saw a lady, a lady wearing a

3 military uniform who had come out of his office. I've seen that before.

4 We stayed there for quite a long time. They offered us coffee and cognac.

5 And this is where we stayed until it was time for us to go to

6 Sremska Mitrovica.

7 As for the column which travelled behind us, I don't know where it

8 went afterwards. I also don't know who was in the APC either. I can say

9 that when conducting interviews within the scope of my authorities, when

10 talking to Dr. Vesna Bosanac and Dr. Bilus, I had heard from them that

11 previously in that APC they were taken first to Belgrade and then returned

12 back to Sremska Mitrovica.

13 Q. Thank you very much. Can I deal now with your position in

14 relation to giving evidence before this Tribunal? It is right, is it not,

15 that you did not wish to give evidence before this Tribunal unless there

16 was an official request served on you through the normal administrative

17 channels. Is that right or not?

18 A. Yes. The first notice to come and be interviewed by The Hague

19 investigators is something that I understood as my duty. In addition to

20 that, as a former member of the JNA, as a former member of the security

21 organ, I realised that I needed to have an authorisation from some kind of

22 a government institution, be it an army or another state institution or

23 some minister perhaps. Based on that, I drafted an application and tried

24 to file it with the Ministry of Defence, to submit it there in the

25 building called Kula, in Knez Milos Street, right next to the building

Page 4574

1 where I used to work, which was destroyed by NATO bombs.

2 I waited for a long time at the reception desk to be told whether

3 somebody would see me. They always denied my request with the explanation

4 that the defence minister was not present. I was persistent, however. I

5 pressed on because I wanted somebody to meet with me. I wanted to be sure

6 that there would be no adverse consequences for me later on. I met with

7 chef de cabinet of Colonel Karanfilov. As far as I can remember, he was a

8 member of the security organ in Vukovar as well, subordinated to Major

9 Sljivancanin. He certainly was not in the position to make a decision

10 himself. Refused my request to meet with the assistance -- assistant or

11 deputy defence minister. I heard when one of his superiors asked him

12 whether he knew me, and I was in the vicinity, and he must have not heard

13 about me earlier because he said that he hadn't met me in Vukovar.

14 The colonel that I spoke to, I told him that it was their duty to

15 give me an authorisation to go and meet with The Hague investigators. At

16 that point in time, the law on cooperation with The Hague Tribunal had not

17 yet been passed. Fortunately, it was passed a little later.

18 Q. I don't think we need to go into a it in any more detail. And as

19 a direct consequence of various formal documentation, you now attend

20 before The Hague to give this evidence. Is that right? Just yes or no,

21 please.

22 A. Well, yes and no. I must explain this. The last time I was

23 summoned by this Tribunal I again requested in writing a formal request by

24 the Tribunal for me to appear before the Court and testify. I addressed

25 the National Council for Cooperation with The Hague Tribunal, the National

Page 4575

1 Council of Serbia and Montenegro. I asked to be received. I obtained

2 certain documents from them. The first time I went to talk to you,

3 documents were handed over to me at the Belgrade MUP central office. It

4 is for this reason that I have a number of documents with me. There is a

5 document dated 2000 that I was not free to disclose any state or military

6 secrets.

7 Q. And I think it's right to say that you have been advised of that.

8 But if I may put it in the round, you have come to give evidence in

9 relation to this case?

10 A. I received a phone call from Mr. van -- can you help me along with

11 this, please, van Rooyen or something like that.

12 Q. He is an investigator called Mr. van Rooyen.

13 Can I just deal with it in this way? Perhaps it's the easiest way

14 and we can finish you giving your evidence. That you did eventually

15 receive a telephone call from an investigator here, the Office of the

16 Prosecutor, and as a direct consequence of that, arrangements were made

17 for you to attend?

18 A. Indeed.

19 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much, indeed, and I have no further

20 questions.

21 JUDGE PARKER: Well, as indicated, we propose now to adjourn for

22 today, resuming on Monday at 2.15. So that you will have a rest period

23 over the weekend, sir, and we will continue your evidence on Monday.

24 Thank you.

25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.04 p.m.,

Page 4576

1 to be reconvened on Monday, the 20th day of

2 February, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.