1 Wednesday, 15 March 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 4.57 p.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon.
7 THE WITNESS: Good afternoon.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please take the card that is offered to
9 you and read allowed the affirmation.
10 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. I solemnly declare that I will
11 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.
13 THE WITNESS: You're welcome.
14 WITNESS: WITNESS P-009
15 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Smith.
16 MR. SMITH: Good afternoon, Your Honours.
17 Examination by Mr. Smith:
18 Q. Witness, there's a piece of paper that I'd like to produce to you,
19 and it contains your name, date of birth, and place of birth, and can you
20 verify whether those details are accurate? Thank you.
21 MR. SMITH: And, Mr. Usher, I would also ask that that copy be
22 left with the witness.
23 Q. Witness, are those details accurate?
24 A. That's correct, sir.
25 Q. And also on that sheet you see four names which are indicated by
1 person A, person B, person C, and person D. When -- when you give your
2 testimony and when if any of those individuals become relevant, can we use
3 the -- the letter rather than the name itself?
4 A. Yes, please.
5 Q. Because you're a protected witness.
6 A. Yes, please.
7 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I seek to tender that document under
9 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received under seal.
10 THE REGISTRAR: As exhibit number 274, Your Honour.
11 MR. SMITH:
12 Q. Witness, you're another one of those impressive individuals who
13 can speak more than one language. I believe that B/C/S is your original
14 language, but you'd prefer to speak in English today; is that correct?
15 A. That's correct, sir.
16 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, if we could just go into private session
17 in relation to some particular details of this individual.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
19 [Private session]
11 Page 6063 redacted. Private session.
5 [Open session]
6 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honours.
7 MR. SMITH:
8 Q. Witness, you were raised in Vukovar; is that correct?
9 A. That's correct, sir.
10 Q. And you lived there with your stepfather and mother?
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. At the time that you were raised, were you aware of the ethnic
13 make-up of the town of Vukovar, what main ethnic groups were there?
14 A. No, sir. I was never -- that was never an issue or topic in my
16 Q. And in June 1990, did you complete your schooling and were you
17 enrolled for university?
18 A. Yes, sir.
19 Q. And is it the case that you deferred university and undertook your
20 national service with the JNA?
21 A. That is correct, sir.
22 Q. In what month did you start your national service?
23 A. 17th September, 1990.
24 Q. And where did you first do your training?
25 A. Slavonska Pozega. I was stationed over there.
1 Q. Witness, if I can just ask if you can just take your time a little
2 bit with the answers, especially with names so that they can be fully --
3 fully recorded.
4 A. Yes, sir.
5 Q. And what was your speciality, your training speciality?
6 A. I was trained over there as a driver, truck driver.
7 Q. And how long did you train before you were posted somewhere else?
8 A. Three months, sir.
9 Q. And where were you posted?
10 A. I was transferred to Kranj, Slovenia.
11 Q. And is that on the border between Croatia and Slovenia?
12 A. No. That's on the border with Slovenia and Austria.
13 Q. And what was your duty there?
14 A. I was a driver, what I was trained for.
15 Q. And what was the duty of the unit there?
16 A. We were border unit.
17 Q. And what was the main role of the unit?
18 A. Guarding the borders of former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
19 Q. If you can just explain to the Court briefly the uniform that the
20 regular JNA soldier had at that time?
21 A. It would be an olive-green colour uniform while I was stationed in
22 Pozega, with the regular black boots, the Tito hat with a star on it,
23 brown belt, typical -- that would be a kind of typical soldier uniform at
24 that point.
25 Q. And the Tito hat, would that have any markings on it or not?
1 A. It had a star on it, yes, red star.
2 Q. Were helmets ever worn by the regular soldiers?
3 A. Yes. But those would be only in situations, let's say, if
4 something would arise, some kind of situation that we have to wear them,
6 Q. And if the helmets were worn, were there any markings on those
8 A. There was a red star on it as well.
9 Q. Would that be the uniform that the average JNA conscript would
11 A. Yes, sir. That would be a typical soldier uniform.
12 Q. And as opposed to conscripts that did training, people that were
13 mobilised after they had finished their training, what type of uniform
14 would they wear?
15 A. Mobilised in what sense? Would you mind clarifying that?
16 Q. If -- if someone had finished their training in the JNA and they
17 were released back to normal duties but were then mobilised, let's say
18 for -- for the war effort, what type of uniform would they wear in
19 relation to the regular conscript that was doing their training or --
20 A. I believe that would be the same uniform.
21 Q. In January 1991, did you leave Kranj and go on leave back to
23 A. Yes, sir.
24 Q. And before you got to Vukovar, was -- did an incident occur at
1 A. There was, yes. I'm sorry. Yeah.
2 Q. And if you can just explain briefly to the Court what happened to
3 you at Vinkovci before you arrived in Vukovar?
4 A. Well, when we exited the train, it was three of us. The Croatian
5 police at that point -- well, people with the Croatian markings on
6 their -- on their uniforms stopped us and -- which was unusual for that
7 point of -- of time for police, regular civilian police to stop army
8 personnel and ask for their identification. And so they did request it.
9 They stopped us. There were more than three of them. They stopped us.
10 They wanted our identification. They wanted to know where we are, where
11 we are going, what's our ethnicity. They basically harassed us for more
12 than a half an hour, which was really unusual that civilian police would
13 interfere with anything that has to do with the army at that point.
14 Q. And after that half an hour did you travel on to Vukovar?
15 A. They let us go and we went back home. Well, I went home.
16 Q. And when you say you went home, did you go home to where your
17 family was living in Vukovar?
18 A. Yes. That's where they resided, yes.
19 Q. And that night did something further occur, and if it did, can you
20 explain what happened to the Court?
21 A. Yes, sir. We went -- we had talked and, you know, I talked to my
22 parents and, you know, we went to bed and around -- I'm not exactly
23 time -- timing but around 1.00, 2.00 in the morning, about four people
24 barged into our apartment, broke to the door, took me out of the bed,
25 pushed my mother on the floor, and took me out, put me in a car. They
1 screamed at me that I'm a Chetnik. Then at that point I was beating -- I
2 was beat up. They were hitting me in the car, you know. They all weared
3 masks. I couldn't see anything there. They were pretty much in civilian
4 clothes at that point. They took me to a forest close, nearby Vukovar.
5 They beat me even more over there, screaming at me like -- that I'm a
6 Chetnik, you know. I'm a soldier, all that kind of stuff. And, you know,
7 they took out a piece of paper where it was typed that, you know, my --
8 that sentence that they're going to kill me. That's what -- that's what
9 they told me. So they told me to read it out loud, and I was -- since I
10 was really badly beaten at that point, I hardly read the whole sentence,
11 the whole thing that was on the paper. I thought at that point I was
12 going to be killed or -- I didn't know what was going to happen basically,
13 and they made me put that paper in my mouth and swallow it, and they left
14 me over there.
15 Q. Thank you. Witness, I just ask that we -- sometimes I speak a
16 little quickly in the courtroom as well as sometimes your answers are a
17 little quick, so if we can just slow the pace down a bit so that we can
18 record everything that you're saying. Thank you.
19 A. Yes, sir.
20 Q. They left you there. And then how did you -- how did you get back
21 from that location to --
22 A. My mother --
23 Q. -- place?
24 A. My mother contacted the police, and I think the military police as
25 well, and they found me in the morning. They brought me to hospital. I
1 ended up with a lot of bruises and stuff. And then after that I was
2 shipped back to my unit, which I never returned to basically. I ended up
3 in the hospital, and I -- I basically used that opportunity to leave the
5 I was complaining about psychological trauma that I've been
6 through and, you know, I had a lot of bruises and all this. I didn't
7 wanted to go back anymore to the army. In the situation in our barracks
8 where I served the army was already difficult. They wouldn't let us use
9 the phones to call our families. The situation in Slovenia was difficult
10 at that point. There were -- I'm sorry.
11 Q. Thank you. If I can just stop you there.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You said that these men called you a Chetnik. What did you think
14 Chetnik meant?
15 A. Well, I guess they referred to me as I'm a Serbian or that I have
16 anything to do with the Serbia or -- I guess Chetnik would be all Serbian
17 army from before the Second World War.
18 Q. And you said that before you got to Vukovar that the Croatian
19 police were harassing you. Can you tell the Court about that time in
20 January 1991, whether there was any tension in and around Vukovar between
21 Croats and Serbs generally?
22 A. Not that I know of, but -- no, I can only speculate about that.
23 I'm not sure.
24 Q. And about how long were you in hospital for?
25 A. About a week and a half to two weeks.
1 Q. And then you went back to your unit and -- but how long did you
2 stay with your unit?
3 A. I was released from the hospital and went straight home.
4 Q. And you were released from your military service?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And in 1991, did you go to Belgrade at some point?
7 A. Yes. I went to Belgrade with my sister and my mother in July.
8 Q. So from January to -- to July you were living in Vukovar; is that
10 A. That's correct, sir.
11 Q. And during that time were you aware of any ethnic tensions between
12 the Croats and the Serbs?
13 A. There were a lot of them, especially close where I used to live.
14 Q. And can you describe that tension and how it -- how could you see
16 A. Well, what I could see where I used to live, there was a lot of
17 Croatian army -- there was a lot of -- a huge gathering of Croatian army,
18 people in different military uniforms, wearing the Croatian symbols on
19 their uniforms. They were coming in the cars with no licence plates on.
20 They would call our -- well, I don't know was -- was it them, but, you
21 know, we received a lot of threatening phone calls at home telling that my
22 mom is a Chetnik and we should leave home.
23 There was a lot of -- a lot of threatening phone calls at that
24 point plus very noticeable a lot of police and army of Croatian -- I
25 believe Croatian nationality at that point.
1 Q. And what -- what part of the town or what area of the town were
2 you living -- living in, just generally?
3 A. I lived very close by to the hospital, to Vukovar general
5 Q. And when you stated that you saw a gathering of Croatian army
6 people in different uniforms, was that in the area that you lived, or was
7 it in other areas as well?
8 A. Right at the location where I used to live, yes. There used to
9 be -- it's -- it used to be a headquarters for a Vupik company, very close
10 to castle of Count Eltz over there, that whole area, and plus Territorial
11 Defence building across the street. It was all full with the Croatian
12 soldiers and police.
13 Q. Did you know if anything else was happening militarily on the
14 other side of the Vuka River, on the south side of the Vuka River --
15 A. No, sir.
16 Q. -- during that time?
17 A. No, sir, not at that point. We heard stories, but I didn't see or
18 witness any of -- any of that kind of stuff.
19 Q. And during that time, between January and July, what -- what were
20 you doing?
21 A. Nothing. Basically you couldn't go anywhere. It was unsafe to
22 walk. If it starts getting darker at nights, you would not go outside
23 anywhere. You were basically scared for your life. You heard a lot of
24 different scary stories that were happening around town, and, you know, it
25 was not really -- it wasn't safe for you to go anywhere basically, only
1 during the day.
2 Q. And just briefly, why wasn't it safe for you to go anywhere? Are
3 you talking about you in particular or people generally?
4 A. I'm talking people generally at night, or as soon as it starts
5 getting dark, yeah.
6 Q. And what was the danger that you felt was there?
7 A. There was army all over the place. There was police all over the
8 place. There were these people who were coming, as I said, in -- in those
9 unmarked vehicles, waving their guns, you know, talking about different
10 things that they do at night and, you know -- you know. It wasn't really
11 safe. We felt unsafe, plus all this -- all this harassing phone calls
12 that we were getting at home. I -- we were not really feeling safe to go
13 anywhere at that time.
14 Q. And so you testified that you went to Belgrade in July; is that
16 A. That's correct, sir.
17 Q. And can you explain why you went to Belgrade?
18 A. Well, the situation deteriorated a lot. Like it really became
19 very dangerous. You can hear some shooting at night, especially after
20 the 2nd of May when that attack on Borovo Selo happened. You could hear
21 Croatian soldiers singing some national songs about the killings of Serbs,
22 and -- they were all close by to us, and we didn't feel safe anymore. My
23 mom was called so many times. My stepdad was called so many times to
24 leave Vukovar because he lives with a Chetnik. They barged one day into
25 our house, and they took all the weapons that he had. He used to be a
2 Q. And when you say they barged into your house, who do you mean
3 by "they"?
4 A. Croatian police at that point.
5 Q. And so where did you stay in Belgrade?
6 A. I stayed with my aunt. At my aunt's house, yeah.
7 Q. And how long did you stay in Belgrade for?
8 A. Almost until mid-October.
9 Q. And what were you doing in those months in Belgrade?
10 A. Well, pretty much I would say I would pretty much be hiding over
11 there. We heard a lot of rumours and seen a lot of -- a lot of
12 mobilisation happening at that point in Belgrade. People were -- people
13 were picked up on the street and taken to -- well, being basically
14 mobilised at that point.
15 You know, I was just scared. I didn't want to go anywhere. We
16 knew that war was going on back -- back at home where we used to live,
17 so -- and we -- I mean, it was noticeable outside that there was a lot of
18 army, a lot of army movement, a lot of military police, and so basically
19 we didn't do much. We pretty much stayed all the time in the house, or if
20 you would go, you would just go to the store and come back.
21 Q. And where did you go after Belgrade?
22 A. We went to Bijeljina. We went to Bosnia.
23 Q. And why did you go to Bijeljina?
24 A. We felt safer -- safer over there because nothing was happening.
25 There was no war or anything, and plus my mother applied as a refugee and
1 got a place in that -- we got a house to stay in in Bijeljina, so we
2 decided to move. It was much safer for us to go there.
3 Q. And is it the case that you didn't want to be mobilised into the
5 A. That's correct, sir. Not me nor my stepfather.
6 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, if we could just briefly go into private
8 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
9 [Private session]
4 [Open session]
5 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
6 MR. SMITH:
7 Q. How long did you stay in Bijeljina for?
8 A. Not into long. Since mid-October until the 4th of November. So
9 about, I would say, 15, 20 days.
10 Q. And what did you do on the 4th of November?
11 A. I went with a friend of mine that I met in Bijeljina. I went to
12 Sid. Well, we decided to go in Sid. I heard that one of my friends lived
13 in Sid at that point, so I wanted to go and see somebody that I used to
14 live with before. So we decided to take a train and go to Sid.
15 Q. Now, I'm going to ask you a couple of questions about what
16 happened in Sid, and if you could look at the sheet in front of you, and
17 if one of those person's names becomes relevant, if you can just use the
19 A. Yes, sir.
20 Q. Can you tell the Court what happened when you got to Sid?
21 A. When we got to Sid, I noticed there was a lot of -- lot of army,
22 like, I mean, a lot of people dressed in uniforms over there. It was all
23 over the place. And I -- I don't think I've seen any civilian people --
24 well, at least men in civilian clothes. I noticed one of the -- one of my
25 friends which I'm going to name as the person A on the list who recognised
1 me and asked me to go if I -- well, he said, "Hi, how's everything going,"
2 and, you know, kind of started this conversation. And he said, "Well, you
3 know, like let's go somewhere to sit for the coffee," and so we decided
4 well, let's go, let's do it.
5 So on the way to the coffee-shop he said he wants to go and grab
6 some stuff from the house, we were just passing by, so, you know, he said,
7 like, you know, "Well, come in with us," and there were two of them. We
8 got in and they pushed me inside the door basically, me and the other
9 friend of mine, and then I noticed that there was some kind of a military
10 command office at that point.
11 They became very aggressive towards us. They told me to stand
12 over there, which I did at that point. And I was over there, maybe, I
13 don't know, for 15, 20 minutes, maybe a little longer than that. I can't
14 really give exact time, but he left. There were a couple of other
15 soldiers came in, and they -- they through me on the back of the truck, a
16 military truck.
17 They checked our IDs before that; I'm sorry, I forgot to say that.
18 They released my friend because he was from Bosnia. They put me on a
19 military truck together with another three or four people sitting in the
20 truck, in the back, and -- with two guards on the truck as well.
21 Q. If I can -- thank you for that. If I may stop you there. You
22 said at this military command other soldiers came in. Do you know which
23 army they were from or which unit or what type of military grouping they
24 belonged to?
25 A. I could not say that, but they were wearing a typical military
1 uniform, typical JNA uniform. I would not -- I can just, you know,
2 estimate at this point. I'm not really sure.
3 Q. And at this military command place, this was a house; is that
5 A. That's correct, yes.
6 Q. And were you being asked questions in this house?
7 A. Not -- except taking my -- notes of my ID, couple of details who I
8 am and where I'm from, but not too many questions, no.
9 Q. And did they tell you what was -- what was going to happen to you?
10 A. No, sir. I was not told anything. I was just told to climb on
11 the truck.
12 Q. And the two guards that you referred to on the truck, what were
13 they wearing and do you know what military grouping they may have belonged
15 A. They were wearing military uniforms, but they were not really kind
16 of clean looking, I would say. As far as I remember, they had beards. I
17 would say they would be kind of reservists type of personnel at that
18 point. But that's my estimate.
19 Q. And reservists of which army?
20 A. Of the JNA army.
21 Q. The military uniforms, what -- what colour were they?
22 A. They were all green. They had green long overcoats with the brown
23 belts and black boots, so that would associate me to a typical military
25 Q. You may have mentioned this already, but the other four people
1 that were on the truck, did you hear any background information about who
2 they were?
3 A. At first when we were -- when I was put on the truck they told us
4 not -- to be silent -- well, to be silent and not to say anything, not to
5 speak at all unless they ask you something. I was so scared at that point
6 I didn't know what to do. I really -- I was in civilian clothes at that
7 point. I thought, like, you know, well, I'm just getting mobilised or
8 something. I don't know what's going on. And no, I was not able to find
9 out anything at that point.
10 Later on when we started moving with the truck and when we, I
11 guess, entered the region where the war was happening, war region I would
12 say, and we stopped a couple times. I guess that would be kind of at
13 check-points or -- those guards would be -- would step from the truck.
14 They would still stay with the truck but they would step off. So at that
15 point I managed to talk to one of them, and he said that he was released
16 from Mitrovica prison, and he was over there for some kind of rape or
17 something. I guess he was a prisoner over there. That's my understanding
18 of what he was.
19 Q. And what about the other three? Did you find any background
20 information on who they were?
21 A. My -- my opinion, I think that they were all -- they all came from
22 the same place. They were not really talking people, but I spoke to one
23 of them. One of them said that.
24 Q. And if you can just slow it down one -- one level more, then that
25 would be good for the transcript because we're just missing a couple of
1 words every now and again.
2 A. Yes, sorry.
3 Q. Thank you. And I think I should slow my question down too because
4 I've missed a couple of words myself.
5 You said that you thought you were being mobilised. Being
6 mobilised into which army?
7 A. Into the JNA army.
8 Q. Now, whilst you were in Belgrade and whilst you were in Bijeljina,
9 were you watching the media, the television, reading the papers, as to
10 what was happening in Vukovar before you -- before you went to Sid?
11 A. Yes, sir. I was -- the war was -- well, media was showing the war
12 and what was all the -- all the happenings there happening around --
13 around the town of Vukovar and in the close -- close proximity, villages
14 that were around Vukovar. They were showing the war pictures and some
15 footage over there too.
16 Q. And who was the war between?
17 A. It's my understanding from TV would be that the JNA was trying to
18 liberate Vukovar as a town from Croatian paramilitary organisation or army
19 at that point.
20 Q. And you said that you were placed on a truck and then you were
21 taken through check-points. Where did you end up?
22 A. I ended up on -- I'm sorry. Am I going too fast?
23 Q. I think your pace is good now.
24 A. Okay. I -- that night it was dark when we arrived. I ended up in
25 Velepromet. There was -- sorry.
1 Q. Had you ever been to Velepromet before?
2 A. I've seen that place before, yes.
3 Q. And what was Velepromet used before for?
4 A. That place was used as warehouse, as far as to my knowledge.
5 Q. Have you ever been in Velepromet before you arrived there that
7 A. I think I've -- I've been couple of times, I think, yeah.
8 Q. And when you got to Velepromet, can you tell the Court what
9 happened initially?
10 A. I was taken off the -- well, all four of us were taken off the
11 truck. Those three guys were taken away or they just, I guess, joined
12 their -- joined their -- a group, wherever they took them. They told me
13 to sit down and wait here. They took my ID from me. And I was sitting
14 and waiting for something to happen. There were a couple of guards at the
15 door, but I was waiting there basically for almost, I don't know, let's
16 say for a longer time.
17 Q. And who took your ID from you? Was it the guards on the truck or
18 was it someone from Velepromet?
19 A. It was -- it was the guards at the Velepromet.
20 Q. And those guards, do you know what -- what grouping they belonged
22 A. At that point I didn't know who they belonged to, at that point.
23 Later on I learned that there was -- they were all the Territorial
25 Q. And Territorial Defence of which -- of which army?
1 A. Of Vukovar army, I guess. Well, I don't understand the question.
2 Which army?
3 Q. You're right. It was -- it was a bad question.
4 Do you know the ethnicity of this Territorial Defence that you're
5 referring to --
6 A. I would say --
7 Q. -- of the people?
8 A. Serbian I would say, yeah.
9 Q. And what happened after that, after your ID was taken from you and
10 you were waiting for something to happen? What happened?
11 A. One of the people arrived -- well, one of guards came to me and
12 said, you know, is this -- "Is this your name?" And I said yes. And he
13 said, "What are you doing here?" And I said, "Well, I'm not really sure
14 what I'm doing here."
15 At that point I was really -- I was really, really scared. And he
16 said, "Oh, we know what you're doing here." And then he, "Follow me," and
17 he took me to the room where I saw Zigic. He was, I guess, a commander at
18 that point, or whoever, somebody -- somebody in charge in that room.
19 Q. Can you describe what Zigic was wearing and what he looked like?
20 A. He was wearing a JNA uniform. He was an older person to me at
21 that point. I would say about 40 years old, 45-year-old person. Kind of
22 greyish hair. That's as much as I recall right now.
23 Q. And did he ask you any questions in that room? And perhaps when
24 you answer the question, if there's anything in relation to your name if
25 you can just not state your name?
1 A. Yes, sir. Well, he asked me -- he asked me where my father was,
2 my stepfather actually, where I was for all this time, where is my mother,
3 what am I doing here, how did I end up here, you know. He asked me what
4 was I doing downtown Vukovar, because apparently somebody saw me a couple
5 days before on a motorcycle downtown Vukovar while all this fight was
6 happening. And I had no answers for that. I said I was a refugee in
7 Belgrade. I tried to kind of save myself.
8 At that point I was that scared. And when I -- whenever I would
9 not have an answer for him, there was a person that was inside -- in the
10 room with the room with us and he would hit me in the head, sometimes
11 very, very hard. Sometimes he would just slap me in the back. Couple
12 times hit me really, really bad in the head so I fell on the floor. And
13 just repeating all the same questions which I had no answers for. And
14 then, you know, he would smack me with his foot in my stomach and put me
15 back in the chair and asking me again the same questions, you know, where
16 is my stepfather, do I know that he did some bad stuff during whatever,
17 beginning of the war. And I said what -- like that's not possible because
18 he was with us all this time as a refugee, so -- but I asked -- I told him
19 that my mom is Serb. I tried to defend myself as much as I could. But at
20 that point there was no -- there was no -- he wasn't really interested in
21 or understanding any of the answers that I was giving him.
22 Q. Thank you. If we can just try to slow it down a fraction.
23 A. Yes, sir.
24 Q. This person that was hitting you, do you know who he was?
25 A. At that point I didn't know who that was, I mean, but later on
1 when I came back to Velepromet a couple days later, or a couple weeks
2 later, I learned that it was Miroljub Vujovic's body-guard.
3 Q. Can you say his surname again, please?
4 A. One -- whose name?
5 Q. Miroljub's surname.
6 A. Oh, I'm sorry. Miroljub Vujovic.
7 Q. And after this beating, what happened to you?
8 A. I was taken to -- I can't call it a prison cell, but I was taken
9 to the room by two guards. It was on the other side of the -- of the
10 Velepromet complex. They put me in a room with about -- about 30 people.
11 From my understanding at that point, it was -- it was a dark room, but I
12 would say about 30 people, all very, very old, as far as I could hear
13 voices of people inside the room. They told me -- they closed the door
14 and locked the door with a chain.
15 I wasn't beat at that point anymore that night, but I found some
16 spot to lie down. It was all concrete. There was nothing on the floor
17 for nobody to sleep on. I could hear through the window that I'm lucky,
18 that -- that some kind of Kosovo guy is not present at Velepromet right
19 now. If he is, you know, he would slaughter me like -- like a chicken
20 very fast.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic?
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as far as I know, we
23 continue in morning tomorrow. I'm looking at the transcript and tomorrow
24 morning the transcript might prove useless with so many blanks to be
25 filled. Therefore, what I would like to ask, once again, is to please
1 slow down everyone for the benefit of the transcript, because there are so
2 many blanks in it that I really have no idea how we can have it ready for
3 tomorrow morning. If we had more time to have these blanks filled, that
4 would be fine, but we don't. There are a lot of blanks and what I would
5 like to ask is for the OTP to please try to conduct proceedings at a much
6 slower pace.
7 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I agree with that. I think the
8 witness -- it's a unusual experience and --
9 JUDGE PARKER: We appreciate that. If you could just interrupt if
10 the flow is going too fast Mr. Smith.
11 MR. SMITH: Yes, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE PARKER: I'm sure the witness understand, as we understand
13 that he normally speaks fast and the circumstances enhance that.
14 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. So, Witness, we'll try and go as slow as we can because your
16 information is important and it's important that it's completely recorded
17 on the transcript.
18 A. Yes, sir.
19 Q. The two guards that took you to this room where you slept, what
20 were they wearing?
21 A. I -- I can't remember right now. No, I could not remember.
22 Q. In the room where you slept, were there windows?
23 A. There were window frames, but there were no windows because
24 everything was broken, I guess, because of a war happening around.
25 Q. And I think you said there were about 30 people in this room.
1 A. Yes, I did.
2 Q. Were they male or female, and what were the ages of this -- these
4 A. They would be mostly female as I -- as I recall from the day after
5 when it was daylight and that I could see who was inside in the room with
6 me. Not a lot of male but -- each group would be about around 60 to 70,
8 Q. Were there any mattresses in the room?
9 A. No, sir. It was bear concrete.
10 Q. What was the weather like at that time? What was the temperature
12 A. It was very, very cold. I can -- I can say -- there was no --
13 there was no rain or snow but it was very, very cold.
14 Q. And in relation to hygiene facilities, like toilets during the
15 night, did you have access to a toilet?
16 A. No, sir. We did not have an access to a toilet. We had a garbage
17 can in the middle of the room which we all used at the same time. Well,
18 for whoever wanted to use it. But basically, yeah, we all used the same.
19 Q. The next morning, what happened?
20 A. They -- they let us go outside. There was adjacent room to the
21 room where we were held at that point, and you could walk over there for a
22 while. I mean, or you could see what's happening inside a yard or
23 courtyard of a -- of the Velepromet building warehouse, sorry, but
24 nothing -- nothing more at that point. The guards were still standing
25 over there. Some people were going about their duties. I think they were
1 chopping wood, cleaning around.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, just for the record, some of the -- what
4 appear to be blanks nothing is in fact being said by the witness so it may
5 be a little bit misleading as well that something is being missed on the
6 transcript, but that's -- that's not the case on a number of cases.
7 Q. Witness, did you see Zigic again that day?
8 A. Yes, I was taken to his office again later that day, yes.
9 Q. And did you -- did he speak to you about anything, and if he did,
10 what was it about?
11 A. Again, I had the same questions asked, what I was doing over
12 there, what was I doing downtown Vukovar couple -- a couple days ago on
13 the motorcycle, where is my stepfather, how did I end up being here. And
14 then he said, "Now take him away because I haven't decided what to do with
16 Q. And sometime that day, the first day that you had at Velepromet,
17 did you see someone -- someone you knew?
18 A. Yes, I -- I've seen an acquaintance of mine from school, yes.
19 Q. And did you say anything to that acquaintance?
20 A. I tried to get his attention, and I tried to speak to somebody
21 like -- because kind of -- I knew that person so I was trying to do
22 whatever to get his attention and so he notices that I'm over there, but
23 he wasn't really interested in coming and talking to me at all.
24 Q. And that day did you also see a family friend?
25 A. Yes. I've seen a person be in the courtyard of Velepromet, yes.
1 Q. Did you finally get to speak to your acquaintance and ask him to
2 do something?
3 A. Yes, I did, sir. I managed to ask him if he can go and talk to
4 the person B because I -- he was a family friend and I -- I was trying
5 just to get -- get out of from there. You know, I tried to save my life
6 as fast as I can. So, yes, he did. And he -- he spoke to him, yes.
7 Q. And did you again stay at Velepromet that night for a second
9 A. Yes, sir. I stayed one more night over there.
10 Q. And which room did you stay in?
11 A. We stayed in the same room that I was brought into the first
13 Q. And were the same conditions there, no mattresses, cold, cramped?
14 A. Same conditions, sir. Nothing changed. It stayed the same every
16 Q. What happened on the second day after the second night?
17 A. The person B came finally and spoke to me. The first day that I
18 managed to contact him through that acquaintance of mine he didn't come
19 and speak to me that time, but next day he came back, and he said he's
20 going to help me and get me out from there.
21 He went to speak to Zigic. They had some kind of argument because
22 apparently I was not supposed to be released. And then after a while he
23 came back and he said, "Don't worry about anything. I'll take you with
24 me, and I'll be responsible for you." And at that point, a little bit
25 later in the afternoon I was released from there.
1 Q. And this person B, was he related to any military grouping? Was
2 he in any military group?
3 A. Yes, sir. He was in Territorial Defence.
4 Q. And where did he take you?
5 A. He took me to his house close to a place called Petrova Gora.
6 That's -- that's where we stayed.
7 Q. And before I ask you some questions about your stay at this house,
8 in relation to the other 30 people that were in the room with you at
9 Velepromet, were they free to stay or go? Were they free to leave
11 A. No, I don't -- I believe not, sir. They were -- we were all kept
12 during the night under the chain and the door was locked all the time. So
13 I -- I would presume that they were over there as prisoners as well.
14 Q. And were you able to find out what any of the ethnicities of these
15 people were?
16 A. No, sir, no. I did not, no.
17 Q. And for the two days you were at Velepromet, did you see what it
18 was being used as apart from the group that was being locked up there and
19 yourself? What else was happening at Velepromet?
20 A. There was a gas station in the middle of the Velepromet. I could
21 see it clearly from the room that we were kind of -- I would call it an
22 exercise room. The trucks would come in and they would refuel. There was
23 a kitchen over there, I guess a part of a public kitchen. Some soldiers
24 would come and have meals over there. Basically coming in and out of
25 military equipment. Mostly trucks refuelling, like a refuelling station.
1 Taking of -- some trucks left with food supplies. Pretty much the trucks
2 that I've seen there.
3 Q. And military trucks of -- were they military trucks of the JNA or
4 some other military group?
5 A. I believe so, the JNA. I believe so.
6 Q. And the types of uniforms that you saw people were wearing in
7 Velepromet, can you explain the types that were being worn?
8 A. There were all kinds of -- all kinds of uniforms. People were
9 wearing some -- some of them would wear the full uniform of -- green
10 uniform as a JNA uniform. Some people would have just bits and pieces of
11 JNA uniform together with some different colour overcoats or different hat
12 styles. Basically there were all kinds of uniforms coming in and out.
13 Some of them were camouflage uniforms.
14 Q. And you said that trucks came in to refuel. You said some of them
15 were military trucks, JNA military trucks. About how often were they
16 coming in to Velepromet to refuel over the two days that you were there?
17 A. I don't think I can -- I don't know. Maybe I've seen, like, 10,
18 15 of them. I don't know what the time-frame would be for them to come in
19 and out.
20 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I'd ask that Exhibit 262 be placed on the
21 screen, please.
22 If that can be enlarged one more level, please. Thank you.
23 Q. Witness, looking at this photograph on the screen, do you
24 recognise it?
25 A. Yes, sir. That would be Velepromet warehouse.
1 Q. You mentioned that you were questioned when you first arrived at
2 Velepromet in the evening by Zigic. Can you mark on that photograph with
3 the letter A the room that you were questioned in?
4 A. Yes, sir. With the letter A?
5 Q. A. Large A. Thank you.
6 A. [Marks].
7 Q. Can you mark with the letter B the room that you slept in?
8 A. Yes, sir.
9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise. Thank you.
10 I reacted a little bit earlier. We didn't have it on our screens.
11 We have the letter B on the screens. We can see that. But we don't know
12 where the letter A is. Well, now we see letter A as well. Thank you.
13 MR. SMITH:
14 Q. Witness, also you mentioned an exercise room which you were taken
15 to during the day. Can you mark that with the letter C, please?
16 A. Okay. That would be -- this would be kind of a divider wall
17 beside, and then the room would be right here.
18 Q. Thank you. Witness, what work were these 30 people -- what were
19 they undertaking whilst at Velepromet?
20 A. What I observed when I was over there for those few days, they
21 were mostly doing kind of -- they were cleaning the yard. They were
22 chopping wood. Basically some -- some of those -- some of those physical
23 activities as far as -- as far as I know, what I observed, yes.
24 Q. Do you know where they were chopping wood on that photograph?
25 A. Where they were chopping wood? Yes.
1 Q. Yes.
2 A. Would you like me to mark it?
3 Q. If you could mark it with a D, please.
4 A. Yes, sir.
5 Q. So they were chopping wood inside that building?
6 A. Yeah. There's actually three rooms. There would be kind of a
7 divider here for the third room. That's where the washroom was as well
8 if -- during the day that we were allowed to use.
9 Q. And you've divided the building into the rooms by the red lines;
10 is that right?
11 A. Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
12 Q. You also mentioned that military trucks would come in and refuel.
13 Do you know the approximate location where they would do that?
14 A. Yes, sir. It was right here.
15 Q. And if you can mark that circle with an E, please.
16 A. E.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MR. SMITH: I seek to tender that photograph, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will be Exhibit number 275.
21 MR. SMITH:
22 Q. Witness, you mentioned earlier that person B, who was an
23 acquaintance of yours, was able to convince Zigic to release you; is that
25 A. The acquaintance actually talked to person B, and then he
1 convinced Zigic, yes.
2 Q. And person B was a friend of your family's; is that correct?
3 A. That's correct, sir.
4 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, if we could go into private session,
5 please, for a minute.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
7 [Private session]
15 [Open session]
16 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honours.
17 MR. SMITH:
18 Q. Witness, we'll refer to this person as person B now. He took you
19 back to a house; is that correct?
20 A. That's correct. That house that they used during the war, where
21 they lived during the -- all the actions that were happening there, yes.
22 Q. And how far away was that from Velepromet?
23 A. It's about, I would say, ten minutes walk from Velepromet.
24 Q. And the house, was that in a Serb or Croat area of Vukovar?
25 A. I would say a mostly Serb area.
1 Q. And when you got to that house and the neighbourhood in which it
2 was in, can you explain whether or not buildings were damaged or
4 A. They were not -- they were not visible damage at that point that I
5 could -- that I can recall of, at that specific area.
6 Q. And what was the arrangement that you had with person B?
7 A. That he's going --
8 Q. He took you from Velepromet. Was there any understanding between
9 you as far as what you were to do from this point forward?
10 A. My understanding was that he's -- he's going to be responsible for
11 me, and I'm going to stay in his house, and he's going to take me safely
12 to my mother. That's exactly his words.
13 Q. And when you got to his house, was his family living there?
14 A. Yes, sir, his wife and two sons.
15 Q. And without stating their names, were also another three people
16 staying there?
17 A. Yes, sir.
18 Q. And those -- those three people, were they males?
19 A. At that point, yes.
20 Q. And did they have any role in the conflict that was occurring in
21 Vukovar, those three males that were staying at the house?
22 A. As far as I understood, yes, they were -- they were soldiers at
23 that point, yes.
24 Q. And were they in the same Territorial Defence unit as person B or
25 do you -- did you not know?
1 A. Not at that point I didn't know, but -- no, I didn't know that at
2 that point, no.
3 Q. And what was the reaction to you staying at the house? How did
4 the family or these other people? What did they think about that?
5 A. It was a kind of mixed reaction. I wasn't really trusted at that
6 point when I came in, I guess because of my background. But they were
7 okay. I mean, nobody was really rude or anything to me, but kind of you
8 felt tension. At least I did.
9 Q. And did you stay at that house until the fall of Vukovar?
10 A. Yes, sir. That's correct.
11 Q. And when did Vukovar -- what date did Vukovar fall, from your
13 A. I would describe that as the 18th of November.
14 Q. And between the time you arrived at the house until the 18th of
15 November, what were you doing for that period?
16 A. I was pretty much stationed in the house. I would go out maybe
17 two or three times a day to the public kitchen to have a meal together
18 with other people or other civilians that were in the area. Taking care
19 of his kids at that point, and staying in the house pretty much. Not
20 going anywhere.
21 Q. And person B and the other three men, what were they doing?
22 A. They would leave usually around 6.00 in the morning to 7.00 and go
23 off to their duties.
24 A. And do you know particularly what they were doing during that,
25 say, 11-day period.
1 A. No, sir. I'm not aware of that.
2 Q. Were you ever mobilised to join the Territorial Defence whilst you
3 were staying at that house?
4 A. Yes, the very next day, sir. I was told -- I was approached by a
5 person called Zarko Amidzic, and he said that I have to be dressed up in
6 the uniform, if I'm planning to stay there, and I have to have a weapon,
7 which person B strongly objected, wouldn't allow me to have anything at
8 that point. I don't know whether it's because of mistrust or whatever it
9 is, but he wouldn't let me have any.
10 After that, two other soldiers came in, and they made me go there
11 to the command house at Petrova Gora and told me I have to put a uniform
12 on and I have to get a weapon, which I did at that point, and I signed up
13 with the Territorial Defence.
14 Q. Thank you. And the name of the person that approached you, what
15 was his surname again?
16 A. Amidzic, yeah. That's spelled correct, yeah.
17 Q. And the two soldiers that made you go to the command house, what
18 were they wearing?
19 A. They were wearing JNA uniforms, but they were local people so I
20 would say they were Territorial Defence.
21 Q. And the uniform you were given, what type uniform was that?
22 A. It was a green old JNA uniform.
23 Q. And you said when Zarko approached you that I think you said that
24 person -- person B objected to -- objected to you being mobilised; is
25 that correct?
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. And why did he do that?
3 A. He didn't want me to have any weapons. He said, you know, "You're
4 not here for that." You know, "I have full responsibility of you and
5 you're not going to go anywhere. You're going to stay in this house and
6 you're going to be alive, and I'll take you to your mother."
7 Q. And you ultimately were given a weapon at the Territorial Defence
8 command; is that correct?
9 A. Yes, sir. When I was dressed up, I got a weapon too. It was an
10 M-48 weapon.
11 Q. Did you keep that weapon?
12 A. No. (redacted) -- he took it right away from me, and he said he's
13 going to use it for hunting.
14 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I just ask that line 37 -- sorry,
15 page 37, line 2, if that could be redacted, the name please.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. If you can indicate when it is convenient,
17 Mr. Smith.
18 MR. SMITH: It's convenient now, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE PARKER: We will break now for 20 minutes.
20 If the redaction can be held, we'll break for 20 minutes.
21 Otherwise, we have to break for half an hour.
22 MR. SMITH: The redaction can be -- I think it can be held.
23 JUDGE PARKER: We'll resume at 25 past.
24 --- Recess taken at 6.07 p.m.
25 --- On resuming at 6.27 p.m.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Smith.
2 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Q. Witness, before the break you said that you were ordered to take a
4 uniform and a weapon from the Territorial Defence command centre, and that
5 person B decided to take that weapon away from you; is that correct?
6 A. That's correct, sir.
7 Q. And you also said for that, say, 11-day period that you were at
8 person B's house that you would basically stay around the house other than
9 going to this public kitchen, say, two or three times a day; is that
11 A. We just went for meals, but basically we stayed -- I stayed most
12 of the time in the house, yes.
13 Q. And about how far was this public kitchen, say, from the house
14 that you were staying at and who was running it?
15 A. I think it was run by Territorial Defence or -- I think the
16 Territorial Defence, and it's about three minutes walk from the house
17 where we used to stay.
18 Q. And were only Territorial Defence using the public kitchen or was
19 there any other military groups using it as well?
20 A. Well, I've seen a lot of people come in over there. I cannot say
21 which military groups used it.
22 Q. And during that 11-day period, were you wearing a uniform?
23 A. Yes. Inside the house, yes.
24 Q. And also when you went to the public kitchen?
25 A. Yes. You had to.
1 Q. And can you tell the Court how you were feeling at this stage in
2 terms of your safety and what you were doing at that house?
3 A. Well, I was feeling more relieved because I had somebody to look
4 after me at that point. It wasn't really -- I wasn't feeling safe going
5 over there because people would sometimes point out at me and said, "Oh, I
6 know who that is," or in that kind of sense, you know. So safety wasn't
7 really -- I don't know. I wasn't feeling safe going over there by myself.
8 I was always going with somebody. But in the house or around the house, I
9 was feeling okay.
10 Q. And if you can just explain it briefly, why weren't you feeling
11 safe as opposed to perhaps maybe other people that were in the Territorial
13 A. I would say before -- because of my background and that people
14 knew who I was.
15 Q. And when you say your background, are you talking about your
16 ethnic background?
17 A. Yes. My ethnicity, yes.
18 Q. And then you said that Vukovar fell on the 18th of November. The
19 night -- the night before that, was a woman brought to the house that you
20 were living in by someone there?
21 A. Yes, that's correct, sir. One older woman, yes.
22 Q. And can you explain to the Court what she was saying about her
23 experience in Vukovar, just briefly?
24 A. Well, she said that -- I mean, during her time in Vukovar during
25 the war, basically she said that her husband died by trying to get water
1 from the well. He died from shelling. She survived, but she buried the
2 body. And the most surprising thing for us at that point was that she was
3 able to go downtown Vukovar just a couple days before it fell and buy some
4 groceries in Nama, which was a kind of convenience superstore that we had
5 in down, which was really unimaginable for us to understand, how was that
6 possible, but she said she did, so is it true or not, I don't know, but
7 she said that in her story.
8 Q. And why did you find it unimaginable that she could go to the Nama
9 department store?
10 A. Because of all the shelling. The shelling was just constant. It
11 was falling all over the place. You could hear it. I mean, like during
12 the day as soon as -- starting from early morning until the night. It was
13 just going on and on. You know, I don't see how anybody would feel safe
14 just to walk on the street and go buy -- get some groceries or anything.
15 Q. And this woman, do you know whether she was a Serb or a Croat or
16 what ethnic background she had?
17 A. I'm not sure of her ethnicity, no.
18 MR. SMITH: If I can ask that Exhibit 156 be placed on the screen,
19 please. Thank you. And if we can enlarge the centre of town, the main --
20 that area there. Thank you.
21 Q. Witness, looking at this map on your screen, do you recognise it?
22 A. Yes, I do, sir. That's a map of Vukovar.
23 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I'd ask that we go into private session
25 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
1 [Private session]
11 Pages 6102-6111 redacted. Private session.
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.56 p.m.,
18 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 16th day
19 of March, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.