1 Friday, 7 April 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.51 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. The affirmation you made at the
7 beginning of your evidence still applies.
8 Mr. Borovic.
9 WITNESS: SLAVOLJUB KACAREVIC [Resumed]
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 Cross-examination by Mr. Borovic:
12 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning. My name is Borivoje Borovic, I am
13 the Defence counsel of Miroslav Radic. My first question, before you left
14 for Vukovar did you know what the reason was for the JNA stepping in to
15 resolve matters in Vukovar?
16 A. Yes, I did.
17 Q. Would you please be so kind as to share that with us?
18 A. The reason for them going there was the emergence of armed units
19 that were holding Vukovar under their control unlawfully, so to speak.
20 Q. Thank you. Did you hear at the time that this had anything to do
21 with the Vukovar barracks?
22 A. Yes. This was a frequent occurrence at the time. JNA barracks,
23 throughout Croatia, were coming under siege by armed civilians, and the
24 army frequently had difficulties securing the barracks and evacuating
25 their soldiers, and this was one of those cases.
1 Q. When did you find out about that? Before you left that day to
2 conduct the interview or was it much earlier when the JNA intervention
3 will originally begun?
4 A. It was much earlier.
5 Q. I have your statement to the OTP in front of you, I also have the
6 interview, so if there is any need to read out any portions, I can help
7 you with that, or do you have copies already?
8 A. I do.
9 Q. Thank you. You testified yesterday that you were taking pictures
10 of dead bodies near the hospital. At one point there was a soldier who
11 stood in the way, but after the situation was resolved, that's at least
12 what you said, and you were eventually able to take your photographs.
13 Does that mean that at the time when you were taking photographs of
14 buildings and people there was nobody, no soldier standing in your way,
15 you were perfectly free to do what you wanted at that point in time?
16 A. Yes, that's what it means.
17 Q. Yesterday on page 7289 of the transcript, lines 9 through 11, you
18 stated that before you started your interview with Mr. Radic in that
19 half-ruined house the army had begun to leave Vukovar on that day, right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And that is the reason why you spent nearly one and a half hours
22 waiting for Radic to appear in that house?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. He just came to say good-bye, right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Before you started your interview you had said that Radic was a
2 well-respected officer of the JNA, and you were recommended him to
3 interview of all people, right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. In addition to telling you that he was a well-respected officer,
6 did they say he was brave too? Did they say he required discipline, that
7 he was a responsible officer, what else did they tell you about Mr. Radic
8 before you conducted this interview?
9 A. It was something along these lines: That was the general
10 impression, I can't really remember specifically but I was told that he
11 was a well-respected, model officer of the JNA and this was the reason I
12 was to meet him and interview him of all people.
13 Q. Thank you. In the interview that you made there is some reference
14 to this, and that is my question. During your interview, did you learn
15 that he was against robbery, against looting, against killing, that he had
16 sent home over 40 volunteers just to keep them from doing things like
17 those? Do you know about that?
18 A. Yes, I do. My interview reflects that, doesn't it.
19 Q. What was your impression that this was indeed how he acted how he
20 behaved during the war operations?
21 A. Yes, that was my impression, he left a very good, very favourable
22 impression on me.
23 Q. Thank you. Would you be so kind as to tell us who briefed you on
24 how you should conduct your interview with Radic, what you were to ask him
25 about, what you were to ask him about his actions at the front line?
1 A. I don't think anybody did that. But I can't be certain now.
2 Q. Thank you. Now, before you started your interview did you know
3 exactly what post he was holding in the JNA at that point in time, and
4 during the operations in Vukovar?
5 A. I didn't know. I learned in the middle of the interview. I'm not
6 sure if he told me himself or other people who were there, but I had not
7 previously been aware of his exact post.
8 Q. So you found out he was commander of one of the JNA companies
9 there, right?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Thank you. Likewise, you described yesterday that damaged tank
12 that you saw on Petrova Gora. My question is, in addition to that, did
13 you see any ruined or damaged buildings in the same area where the house
14 was, where you conducted your interview?
15 A. Yes. There were some damaged buildings.
16 Q. Can you provide a closer description of those?
17 A. What do you mean a closer description? There are details I don't
18 remember. What is certain is that all or most of the houses at any rate
19 were damaged. I think all, in fact, there wasn't a single house that was
20 virtually intact.
21 Q. Thank you very much. What about those people who were present
22 during your interview, did they tell you anything about who caused that
23 damage, members of the ZNG, another armed unit or whatever, what did they
24 call them?
25 A. No, nobody told me anything about who had done that, nothing at
1 all was said about that. The term used in reference to the other side,
2 the enemy, were for the most part ZNG and Ustashas. Those were the two
3 terms being used predominantly.
4 Q. Thank you very much. Did you conduct any sort of conversation at
5 all in addition to what you told us yesterday about those Croatian
6 paramilitary units we have just heard what the terms being used were.
7 Where were their main defence lines? What well-known features did they
8 occupy at the time, did you learn anything about that while you were
9 there? More specifically, did they tell you anything about snipers,
11 A. There were things being said about snipers, but in addition to all
12 the information that I published, I can hardly be expected to remember any
13 other details. This was, after all, 15 years ago, and there were
14 references to snipers, there were references to where exactly the Croatian
15 defence forces were, where their strongholds were, where their positions
16 were, but I can't remember any details about that.
17 Q. Thank you very much. Do you remember in relation to these
18 snipers, did anyone mention the archers club, the marksman's club in
19 Vukovar, were most of those snipers members of that club?
20 A. Yes, somebody did drop a hint to that effect.
21 Q. Did you perhaps hear not only during the interview, but also
22 during your time in the area, or later for that matter because you did go
23 to Vukovar later on, that in addition to the ZNG and the police forces
24 back in 1991 there were members of the HOS, and paramilitary units, that
25 came from somewhere abroad, that there were a lot of foreigners fighting
1 on the Croatian side. Did you hear that in Vukovar a lot of volunteers
2 from all parts of Croatia had assembled?
3 A. Yes, I found out about the foreigners and about volunteers from
4 other towns. I imagined to interview a couple of those foreigners later
5 on at the Mitrovica prison.
6 Q. Thank you very much. Could you tell us more about that, please?
7 Those foreigners, which specific countries did they come from, how did
8 they arrive in Vukovar, what did you, as an investigating journalist, find
9 out about that at the time?
10 A. I had occasion to interview one American and one Dutch person who
11 were captured around Vukovar and they both said that they were adventurers
12 who just arrived in the area of their own accord, nobody had helped them
13 to get there and it was based on their personal convictions that they took
14 sides and that was all I could glean from what they told me. That was all
15 I learned about the reasons for their arrival in the area.
16 Q. Thank you. Did you perhaps know that they were mercenaries, that
17 they were foreign mercenaries, that they were being paid for being there
18 and fighting?
19 A. Yes, I did know a thing or two about that.
20 Q. I'm about to ask you something about a person that yesterday you
21 referred to as Stuka, or Pike. Do you know what that person's real name
22 is without reading and checking?
23 A. His surname is Petkovic, I can't remember his name.
24 Q. Fair enough. Yesterday you talked about conducting the interview
25 in that half-ruined building and you said that somewhere nearby one of
1 your fellow journalists was interviewing Stuka. My question is, does that
2 mean that you did not see Stuka on that day?
3 A. I don't think I did.
4 Q. Thank you. Can you explain, sir, since you testified yesterday,
5 both in chief and in cross-examination, that he came at least once to your
6 offices, the offices of your newspaper. Can you tell me exactly who he
7 came there to see?
8 A. I don't know specifically who he was there to see, but whoever it
9 was that he had been interviewed by.
10 Q. Which year was that?
11 A. It was in late 1991 or possibly early 1992.
12 Q. Thank you. How do you know that if you are certain that he didn't
13 talk to you, that Stuka had been there and why was it so important for you
14 to be told and for you to now tell us specifically? Did he come to you
15 and ask you to write about him or was it for a different reason? Can you
16 please try to think back and try to remember?
17 A. I can't remember the exact reason for him being there. Somebody
18 did tell me that he was there and that's what I remember. But that's all
19 I knew about that.
20 Q. Thank you. On page 7304 of the transcript, lines 17 through 19,
21 you said that you went to Vukovar two or three times after the war or
22 after the liberation of Vukovar. The reason being you hosted delegations
23 of foreign journalists there, as well as representatives of various
24 political institutions just to show them around, right?
25 A. Yes, that's right.
1 Q. My question is, in what official capacity did you take
2 representatives of foreign international institutions there?
3 A. I was externally contracted to a Serbian company, and these people
4 were in touch with someone in the States and they brought those people
6 Q. Can you tell us which company? I don't think that should be very
7 harmful if you tell us, right?
8 A. It's called ABC Produkt that's what it's called.
9 Q. Were you manager or an editor-in-chief with that company at any
10 point in time?
11 A. Yes. Later on, after those rounds of Vukovar. It was later on,
12 sometime in 1995, I think.
13 Q. What exactly did that company do, what sort of activity did that
14 company pursue, ABC Produkt, before you took over? What did they do?
15 A. Since the beginning of the 1990s it dealt in transport, trade, and
16 printing. Those were their three principal areas of activity.
17 Q. So why was this company suddenly interested in going to Vukovar
18 and in checking what had been going on during the war, this political
19 delegation, I mean?
20 A. That is because this company organised the arrival of those people
21 from America, so they planned their stay there, they drew up the schedule
22 and this schedule included a visit to Vukovar.
23 Q. Can you tell us about which political delegation this was? What
24 was the name of this political delegation and how many times did you take
25 them to Vukovar and did they pay you for that?
1 A. This was an informal delegation comprising several officials who
2 had introduced themselves as being attached to the offices of several
3 different congressmen in the States, as well as a handful of journalists,
4 journalists from the Voice of America and another paper. They didn't pay
5 me for that, they just paid for the expenses but nothing in addition to
6 that. There was no additional fee.
7 Q. Thank you very much. Have you ever heard of a journalist named
8 Jovan Dulovic?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Was he working with these political organisations at the same time
11 too, the ones you took to Vukovar?
12 A. Not as far as I knew.
13 Q. And who was he working with then?
14 A. I would really be hard put to say. I don't know.
15 Q. Do you know a journalist named Tomasevic?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Was he working with these political organisations that you
19 A. No, I don't think anybody else was attached to them. They arrived
20 in a different way. Their interest was obvious, but it was equally
21 obvious that they knew no one there, and that they knew little about the
22 situation if anything. I don't think they had any other contacts, save
23 for those that I've specified.
24 Q. Thank you very much. You also testified yesterday, or rather you
25 pointed out for our benefit the Danube Hotel, which was a symbol of the
1 town that had been destroyed?
2 A. It was a landmark, and everybody tended to notice it somehow.
3 Q. If I told you that the so-called Danube platoon a paramilitary
4 unit and its command were positioned or stationed in the hotel ever since
5 January 1991, that there were many foreigners there wearing uniforms,
6 perhaps if you think back to the time you spent at Petrova Gora, do you
7 remember anybody there telling you anything about the Ustashas being in
8 control of the Danube Hotel all the time?
9 A. Yes, that was a well-known fact. I didn't verify that, but it was
10 a well-known fact.
11 Q. So you agree with me, what I have just put to you?
12 A. Yes, I believe so.
13 Q. In October and November, 1991, do you know if there was newspaper
14 being published in Serbia called Ekspres Politika?
15 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters didn't get the witness's
17 Q. At that time in 1991 -- my apologies. It's for the transcript,
18 the interpreter failed to hear your answer and your answer was, "Yes,"
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Thank you very much. At that time back in 1991 this newspaper,
22 Ekspres Politika, did it serve the needs of the regime, if you know that
23 what means? Did it toady up to the regime?
24 A. Yes, I know what that means and you could say that it was.
25 Q. Who was in power in Serbia at the time?
1 A. The Socialist Party of Serbia. And the president of that party
2 was Serbia's president too.
3 Q. And the name is?
4 A. Slobodan Milosevic.
5 Q. Thank you. You say you have heard of Jovan Dulovic. Do you know
6 that he was Ekspres Politika's reporter from the Vukovar front at the
7 time? Is this something you're familiar with?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. So he was writing for this pro-regime newspaper, right?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Do you know who Aleksandar Vasiljevic is?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. What can you tell us about him?
14 A. He is a JNA general, he was at one time the head of the
15 counter-intelligence services.
16 Q. Do you know anything about whether he interfered with the
17 newspaper's policies in terms of how the army was being reported on?
18 A. I have nothing reliable about that. People were saying all sorts
19 of things. I knew that he was well-connected in a number of editors'
20 offices? A wide range of newspapers.
21 Q. Such as?
22 A. Some journalists were given informal chances to meet with him and
23 talk to him, such as the journalists of the Nin [Realtime transcript read
24 in error "Knin"] newspaper.
25 Q. Do you know that he was well-connected with Ekspres Politika who
1 were covering the war in Vukovar?
2 A. I didn't know at the time.
3 Q. At the time, you mean.
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 MR. BOROVIC: Your Honours, there is an error in the transcript.
6 It says the Knin newspaper whereas it should read the Nin newspaper,
7 N-i-n, if that can be corrected, please. Thank you.
8 Q. This article about Miroslav Radic, what is the headline of that
10 A. "Disgusted of the war," that's how it reads. "I have grown
11 disgusted with the war."
12 Q. Thank you. Were you involved in making this the headline for this
13 article? Please go ahead, sir.
14 A. Yes. I was behind this head line.
15 Q. Can you please now look at the interview and try to find the
16 second question you asked Radic, which was, "What was the fighting that
17 you took part in like?" Have you got that?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Could you please read the first two passages for us, what Captain
20 Miroslav Radic stated in this interview? Please read slowly, sir.
21 A. "The first few days we encountered extremely heavy resistance
22 from our opponents. They had been preparing for the fight for months
23 before we arrived. They expected the army to attack, so they dug in and
24 made underground tunnels so that they could move between shelters and
25 fortifications. They camouflaged themselves well and it was difficult to
1 spot them. This was my first experience of combat."
2 Q. Can you slow down a little, please?
3 A. "This was my first experience of this sort of combat. I had
4 knowledge but experience is something altogether different."
5 Q. Thank you. You testified in chief yesterday about the first two
6 passages that's the last question, and the last question is, "Today, as
7 you leave Vukovar, what is the most important lesson you have learned
8 during the fighting?" It's not going to be long. Please don't read the
9 first two paragraphs that you read out yesterday, but paragraphs number 3,
10 4, and 5. And that also concludes my cross-examination, I'm sure the
11 Chamber will be happy to hear.
12 A. "The one who started this war and who stirred up clashes between
13 the peoples, because this amounted almost to a war of religion between the
14 Orthodox and the Catholic peoples, whoever started that should be placed
15 right in the middle and beaten from both sides.
16 "I don't know whether there is any point in sending out an appeal
17 because I don't know whether that would be doable or not, but no war
18 regardless of its nature, with the possible exception of the wars of
19 liberation, can ever bring luck to anybody. Mothers, women, and children
20 must mourn. I saw one of my reservists who had been killed. He left
21 behind three children, the eldest of whom was not older than eight years
22 the question is what he had to die for. Just for whose ideas or
23 fantasies. It wasn't just him. There were many people like that.
24 "This matter should be resolved by political means and through
25 negotiations. Anything is better than war. Nevertheless, there is
1 something that lurks in every human being. I'm not sure what it is. I've
2 grown disgusted with this war. I wouldn't wish it upon anybody to be in
3 the same kind of situation as we have spent the past two months in. This
4 story is difficult to tell or explain. It's an experience that goes on
5 and on. None of my dreams were about my family, my children, my parents,
6 or my peacetime existence. Even in my dreams all I have been worrying
7 about is the army. It is an obsession. It is a heavy burden, and it is
8 hard to get rid of it. I don't know how I will behave once I am back in
10 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think this is a
11 fitting end to my cross-examination. Thank you very much.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Borovic.
13 Mr. Lukic.
14 Cross-examination by Mr. Lukic:
15 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to all.
16 Good morning, Mr. Kacarevic, my name is Novak Lukic, attorney-at-law.
17 I'll be asking you questions on behalf of Veselin Sljivancanin's defence
18 team. Please bear in mind the fact that we speak in the same language and
19 there needs to be interpretation. So please pause between my questions
20 and your answers. Most of my questions will be -- will require yes or no
21 answers. If any further clarification needs to be provided, you can
22 certainly say so.
23 You confirmed yesterday that you were a journalist with the
24 newspaper known as Intervju at the time relevant for this Court. Did you
25 have a special area that you covered in terms of what the general nature
1 of that newspaper was, which was interviewing celebrities, famous people?
2 A. We tried to do everything, we tried to cover everything. For the
3 most part I covered economics and politics.
4 Q. You testified that you were a journalist at the time. However, I
5 came across information indicating that you were a member of the
7 A. Yes, that's right. I was a member of the board. Which means that
8 I was kind of an editor.
9 Q. About the Vukovar operations we know this went on until
10 mid-November. Was there anyone in your newspaper who spent this whole
11 time at the front line in Vukovar?
12 A. There were several people from our newspaper who sent in reports
13 from the front.
14 Q. But as far as I can tell each and every issue of your magazine
15 brought something that was interesting for your readers and that was in
16 relation to the Vukovar front?
17 A. I'm not sure if each and every issue, but we did cover that, yes.
18 Q. Were you in touch with other fellow journalists from other
19 magazines, journals and newspapers who went to the Vukovar front to cover
20 what was going on there?
21 A. Yes, I was in touch with other journalists, and we exchanged
22 information, we exchanged verified and unverified information alike, and
23 there were all sorts of things being said about this at the time.
24 Q. Were you in a position to follow what the media abroad were saying
25 about Vukovar?
1 A. Not very often. We only were able to follow any foreign media in
2 as far as this was being reported in our domestic media. We could follow
3 a situation in Vukovar, but there wasn't that much being published,
4 especially not in Slavonia itself.
5 Q. You will agree with me that there was a special focus over the
6 last few days of the fighting and after the liberation from mid-November
8 A. Yes, that's true. The interest in Vukovar grew as the fighting
9 was drawing to a close.
10 Q. Do you remember that at that time, perhaps even on the 19th of
11 November, there was a sensational piece of news, an Italian agency
12 reported that over 40 dead bodies of children had been found in an
13 orphanage. Do you remember this making head-lines in those days?
14 A. Of course I remember that. I think this is still much debated,
15 and I think there are probably court cases and libel cases to ascertain
16 whether that was false or not. People are still dragging this through
18 Q. This is especially true of our own domestic media, right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. On the 19th of November do you remember Cyrus Vance, personal
21 envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations visiting Vukovar?
22 A. Yes, it does. Now that you've jogged my memory, I do remember
24 Q. I'm asking you this as a professional journalist. We've heard
25 testimony before this Court that Sljivancanin pointed a rifle at Cyrus
1 Vance in a bid to prevent him from approaching the hospital. Do you think
2 this would make for an attractive headline? What is your view as a
3 journalist, since journalists were in the area covering it?
4 A. I don't think this happened. First I hear of it. If this was
5 true, it certainly would have been impossible to conceal.
6 Q. Do you know whether the JNA made it possible for a certain media
7 at the time, even foreign media, to do some front line reporting, such
8 media as Sky News, as an example?
9 A. I heard about that, but I'm not familiar with any details. I know
10 there were attempts to secure access for foreign media, even more so than
11 for domestic media to prevent any erroneous reports from coming out, but I
12 don't know about Sky News or any foreign media specifically.
13 Q. My learned friend, Mr. Domazet, asked you a number of questions
14 about the relationship between the authorities and the media. I
15 understand that at the time the authorities were trying to keep the media
16 under control in the sense of interfering with their staffing policies.
17 That was my understanding of what you testified?
18 A. Yes, this would be the briefest possible description of how they
19 tried to exercise control over the work of the media.
20 Q. In actual fact the less interference with the authorities there
21 was, the freer the media were, right?
22 A. Yes. That seems like a fair assumption.
23 Q. You testified yesterday briefly about the bi-weekly, Intervju.
24 You were trying to interview celebrities who your editors thought might
25 interest the general public. Who was the founder of this paper?
1 A. The Politika newspaper company.
2 Q. So Intervju was one of Politika's publications, right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. What about Zika Milanic [as interpreted], does that ring a bell?
5 Who was he?
6 A. At the time he was the editor-in-chief of the daily Politika, and
7 the manager of the entire company, or enterprise.
8 Q. Correction for the transcript, Zika Minovic, M-i-n-o-v-i-c. You
9 will agree with me that at the time he -- this person was believed to be
10 a -- a fervent follower of Slobodan Milosevic and his policies, right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. The editor-in-chief of Intervju at the time was a man named Petar
13 Jankovic, right? That's what my information suggests.
14 A. Yes, he had been appointed editor-in-chief, just several months
16 Q. What about Dragan Vlahovic, wasn't he the deputy editor-in-chief?
17 A. That's right. He used to be editor-in-chief, but then a new one
18 appointed and he became the new deputy.
19 Q. Dragan Vlahovic is a name you had mentioned as one of the people
20 who were with you in Vukovar, the group that comprised three journalists
21 and photo reporters, right?
22 A. That's right.
23 Q. Do you remember if your core staff was informed at the time, or
24 did you personally hear that on the 21st of November the federal
25 secretariat for All People's Defence, or their information office
1 organised a huge press conference and that the journalists were given a
2 chance to tour the Vukovar area? Is this something you remember, sir?
3 A. Yes, I do.
4 Q. As far as I understand, you became interested, your newspaper
5 became interested, after the footage showing the clash between
6 Mr. Sljivancanin and Mr. Borsinger, the International Committee of the Red
7 Cross man in Vukovar was shown, the clash that occurred on 20th of
8 November, right?
9 A. Yes, that's right.
10 Q. If I can have the OTP's assistance on this, please, I would like
11 now to show again the footage that we've already seen so many times. This
12 is Exhibit 318.
13 Mr. Kacarevic, we're about to see a short video clip.
14 [Videotape played]
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Mr. Kacarevic, is that the famous footage that you mentioned
18 A. Yes, that's the one.
19 Q. Who do you recognise?
20 A. Major Sljivancanin and Colonel Pavkovic.
21 Q. Just what I was about to ask, if you could see any other officers
22 apart from Mr. Sljivancanin. And your answer Colonel Nebojsa Pavkovic,
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. We have information to indicate, but I believe you can actually
1 see that if you look at the date of the recording, or rather can you tell
2 me which TV station this footage or video clip was taken from, have you
3 noticed that?
4 A. No, I haven't.
5 Q. Thank you very much. We have information to indicate this was
6 actually broadcast on the 20th of November on the evening news. Let me
7 ask you something else: Do you remember if, at the time, TV Belgrade
8 would show so-called additional news after the regular evening news?
9 A. Yes, I remember that.
10 Q. What was this additional news programme about? What constituted
11 the general nature of that programme, generally speaking?
12 A. Generally speaking it was used for propaganda. They had a
13 different topic every time, but at the time it was mostly about the
14 spreading clashes. It was about the fighting, it was about the fate of
15 the refugees. It was about the confessions of survivors, people who
16 survived the horrors of war.
17 Q. You say it was used for propaganda, mostly. For the benefit of
18 the Chamber, I believe we more or less agree under whose control, or under
19 whose influence was TV Belgrade at the time?
20 A. TV Belgrade was under the direct influence of the party in power
21 at the time, the influence of Slobodan Milosevic, and his closest allies.
22 Q. This additional news programme, perhaps you will remember,
23 sometimes it went on for a very long time depending on the viewers'
24 interest. Sometimes they would go on from 8.00 in the evening until
25 11.00, there were no major restrictions placed on that programme?
1 A. Yes, I remember that. That's true.
2 Q. In relation to the footage that we've just seen, what do you
3 remember about the reaction of the public in Serbia at the time when this
4 was shown on TV? I mean the media and the -- those involved in politics?
5 A. My basic impression is that this footage was very much in the
6 public eye. Everybody seems to have seen it, and suddenly Sljivancanin
7 became a celebrity because of this footage that was shown. Most of the
8 public looked favourably on Sljivancanin's role as it was portrayed in
9 this footage.
10 Q. Can we now go back for a while to November, 1991, and the autumn
11 of 1991 in general. Will you agree with me if I say at the time the media
12 in Serbia in general, especially those who were under the influence of the
13 party in power, were not --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Can the counsel please repeat the last part of
15 the question? The interpreter did not get it.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. I will have to repeat the last part of my question. I apologise
18 to the interpreters.
19 My question is, at the time the media in Serbia did not portray
20 the international institutions in a favourable light, or various
21 intergovernmental organisations, the predominant reason being the way
22 these institutions and organisations viewed the conflict in Yugoslavia and
23 from the positions of our own political party's organisations. I'm not
24 sure if you understand the question?
25 A. Yes, I do. Yes, you could say that.
1 Q. Can we agree that, and I'm talking about those involved in
2 politics now, there was a certain degree of animosity towards the way the
3 international media were covering the JNA and the role of the JNA in the
4 break-up of the former Yugoslavia, and the same sort of animosity was felt
5 towards coverage by most of the international observers in the area at the
6 time, right?
7 A. Yes, this was a time when our public was just beginning to
8 familiarise itself with the simplified way in which events in our country
9 were being shown. Everything was being portrayed very much in black and
10 white, and reality was never that simple.
11 Q. As a media professional, can you tell me something about this,
12 this propaganda, this propaganda in the media, was this something that was
13 organised or something that was very much erratic?
14 A. If you mean our media, it was quite spontaneous and very often
15 counter-productive. As for international media, I don't know. They
16 seemed better organised at the time.
17 Q. When you saw this footage with Sljivancanin, and the other times
18 that he appeared on television, was it your impression, and this is more
19 or less what you did say yesterday so I'm asking you more specifically
20 today, that this was a different JNA officer in respect of how the JNA had
21 communicated with the public until that point very clearly, in a very
22 clear-cut fashion?
23 A. Yes, you are right, there are several explanations why
24 Sljivancanin attracted so much public attention at that time, and what you
25 have just said is among those reasons. As I said, this was the first
1 officer who appeared in this role, not a desk officer, just issuing
2 communications from his office and statements in writing, but he was in
3 the public eye and people who would see him in the flesh, an officer in
4 Vukovar. And then he talked about a topic which was really very much
5 preoccupying the public, the organisation of all factors relevant to the
6 conflict in Vukovar, the organisations featuring in the conflict in
7 Vukovar, and he said something which was very much shared by the rest of
8 the public, and this is what markedly heightened his popularity in the
9 public eye.
10 Q. Am I wrong if I say that the media and the public needed to
11 pin-point a hero after this so to speak, victory, who would be
12 materialised and that Sljivancanin was indeed the ideal person for that
14 A. You are right. That is correct.
15 Q. Do you remember what the reaction was among your own colleagues in
16 your editorial office after you saw this footage and prior to your
17 departure for Vukovar?
18 A. Yes, this footage elicited the comments all over the place, and
19 everybody talked about it. These reactions, first of all, were the
20 undivided attention of everybody, and we assessed that it would be
21 advisable for us to acquaint the public with this person in more detail,
22 because everybody had found about the existence of Sljivancanin at that
23 particular point, but not really what he was about.
24 Q. In relation to this footage, do you also perhaps remember this
25 footage having been shown on our television later which was on that -- of
1 course the television under the influence of the party in power, which
2 showed the relationship of the international community towards the JNA and
3 how they saw its role in the conflict?
4 A. Yes, I think that that footage was shown on our television
5 countless times, in fact.
6 Q. We shall also talk about the interview later, but let me just
7 clarify one thing. From talking with him, both in that interview and
8 later as well, and you did say that you had later contacts with him, did
9 you gain the impression that Sljivancanin was a person who wanted to speak
10 about all questions asked him openly? Did you gain that impression, that
11 he wanted that talk openly, especially with the media representatives?
12 A. Yes, from our very first encounter it was my impression that he
13 was a very frank person, a person completely open to the interests of the
14 profession that I pursued, because actually given his line of -- his
15 profession, because prior to that we always had difficulties with
16 representatives of the JNA, it was always associated with some permits and
17 what have you, and it was practically virtually impossible to be granted
18 interviews. And Sljivancanin, from our very first meeting, actually
19 showed a most uncustomary openness to discuss all topics.
20 Q. With relation to the actual content of the text, including this
21 particular dialogue, were you interested at that time to further
22 investigate his words from the bridge? "This evening my soldiers also got
23 killed. This evening my soldiers also got killed this evening." Did that
24 prompt you to write something about it or to investigate that statement
1 A. To the best of my recollection, I believe that we talked about it,
2 but it was not included in my text. I cannot recall the details. We did,
3 however, discuss the topic, but I can't be sure of my memory right now. I
4 cannot rely on it. I don't know.
5 Q. There is a small part of the text which refers to that, but I was
6 asking in principle, generally after that, were you interested in pursuing
7 that topic further? Were you also interested in hearing the other side,
8 to hear what the reaction was of the International Red Cross and whether
9 there were any statements issued in connection with that conflict from the
10 International Red Cross, if you remember?
11 A. No, I do not remember what happened further in connection with
12 this controversial case. I really cannot remember.
13 Q. The then attitude, the then position of your paper was not that
14 you should perhaps establish contact with a representative of the Red
15 Cross and conduct a talk with them?
16 A. Well, perhaps, yes. Perhaps they did think that it would be
17 necessary, but I cannot remember at this point. When we speak today about
18 it, it is quite logical, it stands to reason that we also sought to hear
19 the other side, but I cannot remember now, really.
20 Q. But at that particular moment when you saw that footage and in
21 your editor's office decided that you should seek out this person in
22 Vukovar, which was designated by your side and by your paper as the Knight
23 from Vukovar?
24 A. Yes, that's right.
25 Q. So you, not you personally, but the editor-in-chief, I suppose, in
1 view of the importance of the entire topic you decided that he should
2 feature on the cover of that particular issue where the interview was
3 published, right?
4 A. That is correct.
5 Q. Would I be wrong if I said that -- if I claimed that your desire
6 to have as soon as possible, namely that evening, when the brigade arrived
7 in Belgrade, as you said it was on the 24th of November in the evening, to
8 have that interview with him conducted so as to gain an edge over some
9 other competitive papers concretely speaking the Nin magazine, do you
10 remember that?
11 A. Yes, Sljivancanin did not only elicit our attention, because given
12 these competitive relations, we had a handicap interview that we were
13 fortnightly bi-weekly and the issue, the dead-line for completing our
14 issue was a Monday, for inserting any text into that particular issue and
15 that was why we were in such a hurry to complete this task by that
16 dead-line and we were aware of the fact that other papers were also trying
17 to do the same, and that was of course an additional problem that we had
18 to deal with.
19 Q. And that interview and the cover page of the magazine Intervju, as
20 well as these other articles that we discussed were actually published in
21 the 29th of November, 1991, the anniversary issue of Intervju, were they
23 A. That is correct.
24 Q. Would you please just take a brief look at this article of the
25 Intervju of Sljivancanin, which is called, "The return of the -- return of
1 a warrior." I suppose that these two first paragraphs before the actual
2 question, the first question is a text, an introductory text by you why
3 you decided to interview him and where you found him?
4 A. Yes, that's correct.
5 Q. And there you note in the very first paragraph, that he had
6 become -- he had certainly become one of the most well-known officers of
7 the JNA, thanks to TV reports from the battle front, which portrayed him
8 as an excellent soldier, and a resolute officer. This conclusion of yours
9 was given, namely on the basis of the footage on the basis of which you
10 actually established your view of him?
11 A. Yes, that is right.
12 Q. Did you retain that impression after you had met him in person,
13 and after you had conducted your interview with him?
14 A. Yes, I did.
15 Q. Did you gain the impression from talking to him that he was
16 sincerely affected by the devastation of the city and the perishing of so
17 many civilians in it?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did you gain the impression from talking to him that he was proud
20 because the Yugoslav People's Army was a multi-national one, and that is,
21 in fact, indicated in the text? Did you gain that impression, that that
22 was the case, that he was proud of that?
23 A. Yes. At that time Sljivancanin quite frankly and candidly
24 advocated the idea of brotherhood and unity. He bore the symbols, the
25 emblems of the Yugoslav People's Army that had already started to be
1 substituted. He still wore the five-pointed star, and he struck one as a
2 man who did so with conviction.
3 Q. This five-pointed star symbol, it was a symbol of the flag of the
4 SFRY, was already anachronous at that time even in relation to positions
5 maintained within the JNA, it was not that popular within the JNA ranks,
6 and generally a pro-Yugoslav position, pro-Yugoslav partial -- was not all
7 that popular at that time, was it?
8 A. Yes, and the other side in Vukovar had its own star with its own
9 symbols of the Independent State of Croatia from the Second World War,
10 which show the particular unrest and fear among the population, but as far
11 as the Yugoslav People's Army is concerned, those symbols were also quite
12 compromised, there were some volunteers and other members who did not want
13 to bear such symbols anymore, but just wanted to wear their own emblems
14 and did so.
15 Q. I should like to ask the secretary -- the registry, and would like
16 to thank the registry on this occasion for so expeditiously helping us in
17 preparing the electronic version. There is 3D01-0062 and we shall of
18 course put a question in regard to the witness. Yesterday, actually, I
19 informed the Prosecutor of that document; I believe that there will no
20 problem for us to hear a comment on it.
21 Mr. Kacarevic, can you tell us what it is that we can see on our
22 screens today -- now, sorry.
23 A. That is the cover page of the magazine Intervju, the issue in
24 which the talk with Sljivancanin was published.
25 Q. Do you remember when this photograph was taken?
1 A. It should have been taken that evening when we actually conducted
2 the interview, which is to say on the 20th -- in the evening -- on the
3 24th of November in the evening.
4 Q. The 20th of November, 1991 was still the day of the republic
5 officially --
6 A. The 29th, you mean, of November.
7 Q. Will you read the head line in the -- in red, in red letters?
8 A. So that is the announcement of the interview, on the cover page it
9 says, "Veselin Sljivancanin, the Knight from Vukovar."
10 Q. Can you see this emblem? First of all, can you tell us what is
11 the emblem, what is written on it?
12 A. So this is a patch which is actually the Yugoslav flag, or the
13 flag of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with a five-pointed
14 star and it is indicated above that it is SFRY, or the Socialist Federal
15 Republic of Yugoslavia.
16 Q. Do you remember whether this patch was worn by many officers when
17 you were in Vukovar by many officers and men when you were in Vukovar?
18 A. I don't remember. There really were many different uniforms and
19 we encountered at least -- the fewest officers and there so many different
20 uniforms and so many different patches I can't really remember.
21 Q. From what I read in the introductory part of your text, I see that
22 you actually talked to him and you could see, you say here that there were
23 still some things lying about, strewn about, a military belt, et cetera,
24 did you get the impression that he had just arrived from the battle front?
25 A. Yes, that is why I wrote so. That was my impression. And I
1 believe that it was a correct one, that Major Sljivancanin had just
2 arrived in Belgrade, and half an hour after that we came to see him and
3 the conducted in the interview. In the room where we talked there were
4 obvious traces of someone having arrived only recently.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I should like to propose
6 that this photograph be tendered into evidence, if the Prosecution has no
7 objection to that.
8 MR. SMITH: No observation, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will be Exhibit Number 358.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic, is that a convenient time? Or are you
12 very near?
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I certainly have a number of other
14 questions, not too many, but I should like to wrap up this particular
15 topic by another couple of questions, and then we can make the break.
16 Thank you very much.
17 Q. You said yesterday to the Prosecutor that you remembered how
18 Sljivancanin had helped you when you were the first who entered the White
19 Palace. Would you explain for the distinguished Chamber, what is this
20 White Palace, whose residence was it prior to your entry, and why couldn't
21 one gain access to it, and whose residence was it?
22 A. Prior to the Second World War, this was the royal house of the
23 Karadjordjevic Dynasty, and after the war, the white palace was used ass
24 the residence of the Yugoslav Marshal, Josip Broz Tito. So for a very
25 long time it was one of the secretive edifices about which rumours could
1 be heard but very few had occasion to actually see from the inside.
2 Q. You said before the war that was before the Second World War?
3 A. Yes, prior to the Second World War.
4 Q. Another -- just one more question and we shall finish with this
5 topic. Do you remember, did you ever gain any information as to the
6 attitude, as to the feeling of Mr. Sljivancanin towards Josip Broz Tito?
7 A. I could only say something from my memory, but I believe that he
8 harboured a negative position in this regard, if I'm sure -- but I'm not
9 sure, I cannot be sure at this point.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Perhaps we can take that break now,
11 Your Honours.
12 JUDGE PARKER: It's occurring to me, Mr. Lukic, we either have
13 three very short sessions today, or we have two full-length, and finish a
14 little early. Because of the late start we can't have three sessions of
15 the normal time. Would it be more practical to have full-length sessions
16 and finish early, do you think? I see some support on the faces of those
17 around. In that event, you could carry on now and finish your questioning
18 of the witness.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I still have about half
20 an hour.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Keep going.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. All right. Mr. Kacarevic, now we shall deal with the actual
24 interview with Mr. Sljivancanin, from what I -- what I can see from the
25 text, you asked -- put to him five questions, I counted them, and the
1 basic topic of the interview was actually the conflict, the argument
2 between Sljivancanin and the Red Cross representatives, and this was the
3 focus of your attention; is that not so?
4 A. Yes, that is right.
5 Q. You had been in Vukovar prior to that interview and you had seen
6 everything that you have already described for us. Part of your
7 impression -- impressions is also shown on these photographs. I'm not
8 sure whether you have that section with the photographs that you published
9 along with the interview, these two pages of black and white -- white
10 photographs. Do you have it?
11 A. Yes, I do have it, but it is a poor image of -- of course, I know
12 what they are about.
13 Q. Let me just read this comment, and I suppose it is an editorial
14 comment accompanying these photographs. I'm reading the text, and please,
15 you follow whether I'm doing it right. "The journalist of interview found
16 themselves the only people in Vukovar last week in several yards across
17 from the Vukovar Hospital when JNA members were taking care of the bodies
18 of 93 innocent victims of Ustasha terror. With understanding shown on the
19 part of the -- of the army -- army officers they -- the journalist made
20 attempts of photographs of the perished children, women, and old people."
21 Let me ask you, the victims of Ustasha terror. Was this term,
22 the "Ustasha terror," something that was customary to designate at that
23 time, the other side?
24 A. Yes, it was quite customary. In fact, the Croatian armed
25 formations -- armed units called themselves that very often.
1 Q. Did anyone prevent you from talking, try to forbid you from
2 talking to anyone in Vukovar whilst you were there?
3 A. No.
4 Q. We heard from your statement that you were led through the city up
5 to this point near the hospital by a local who knew the streets and that
6 you took some side streets, that entire streets were virtually impassable,
7 and did I understand you well that these officers who were surprised of
8 your presence there were primarily concerned over your safety because of
9 the presence of the mines that had not been removed from there at that
10 time yet?
11 A. Yes, they said that the terrain was dangerous, that there were
12 still mines strewn about, and that we, as civilians, should not be there,
13 that it was an area that only the army was controlling and clearing up and
14 that they would not want to leave us there because they wouldn't want to
15 be held responsible for any consequences.
16 Q. And this, of course, pertained to that area within the vicinity of
17 the Vukovar Hospital itself?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Let us go back to your interview, please. You didn't ask a single
20 question in your interview based on what you experienced in Vukovar on
21 that day, which must have caused you a great impression, everything that
22 you saw in Vukovar, but you never intended to tackle that in your
23 interview, did you?
24 A. No, that's right.
25 Q. Were you aware of the fact that the pathologists from the military
1 medical academy in Vukovar were also processing, is it were, the bodies at
2 the time, that they were very busy examining the dead bodies?
3 A. Yes, that was precisely the reason why we didn't cover that
4 subject. There had been a lot of speculation, a lot of unreliable
5 information concerning the victims, and their origin. A professional
6 military team, forensic experts were sent out to examine the bodies and we
7 just wanted to wait and see what the results would be of the work carried
8 out about these professionals.
9 Q. During the interview itself, you said so yesterday, I suppose.
10 You were taking notes, weren't you? You think that even an audio
11 recording was done, but you're not sure about it, are you? The OTP asked
12 you about the Radic interview, and you said that the Sljivancanin
13 interview started at about 2200 hours. Do you remember how long it went
14 on for?
15 A. It took quite some time. Several hours, perhaps. I can't be more
16 specific. Two hours, perhaps more.
17 Q. Well, what strikes me as obvious then, is that not everything that
18 you were talking about was eventually published. You made a selection, as
19 it were, of what you thought would attract the greatest possible interest
20 from your readership, right?
21 A. That's right.
22 Q. You say there was a photographer there, and another fellow
23 journalist during the interview. Who were these people, who was this
24 other fellow journalist that was there?
25 A. I remember it was Dragan Vlahovic, who was deputy editor-in-chief
1 at the time.
2 Q. So the same team that had just arrived from Vukovar, right?
3 A. That's right.
4 Q. You came together and you left together, the three of you, right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. I'll tell you now what my client claims, I'll try to jog your
7 memory about some details of the interview. Do you now remember what
8 Dragan Vlahovic said at the time? Didn't he ask Sljivancanin why they
9 hadn't just chucked him into the Vuka River, in reference to the ICRC man?
10 Do you remember the conversation taking that course?
11 A. I remember that now, yes. There were casual remarks like that
12 being made, yes.
13 Q. Now for something else. The OTP asked you whether Sljivancanin
14 made any observations later on when you met. Do you perhaps remember
15 Sljivancanin being particularly unhappy about certain portions of the
16 text, specifically the head line calling him the Knight of Vukovar? Did
17 he complain to Vlahovic about this? Did Vlahovic then in fact offer for a
18 new interview to be put together which Sljivancanin refused because the
19 original one had been published by this time. Do you know anything about
20 this, sir?
21 A. Yes. This is more or less what transpired between the two of
22 them. Sljivancanin believed that this was blown out of proportion, but
23 eventually it stayed this way.
24 Q. It was because the interview had to be published so soon that no
25 copy was of submitted to Sljivancanin for authorisation prior to the
1 interview being published, right?
2 A. No, not as far as I remember.
3 Q. Do you still have your notes of this interview? Do you still keep
4 any of the tapes that were made? Can these still be found in the archives
5 unit of your former newspaper?
6 A. None of these have been preserved, regrettably. The newspaper is
7 no longer around, so the archive is gone as well.
8 Q. My understanding is you took notes at the time and then you typed
9 the interview up. Since you had to glean from your notes what the
10 conversation actually was, you were in no position to repeat verbatim what
11 your co-locutor [phoen] had told you, had shared with you, right?
12 A. That's right.
13 Q. In actual fact, or rather would I be wrong to say that the
14 interview represents your own interpretation of what the interviewee
15 actually said?
16 A. Yes, but I still hope that it was a faithful, accurate
18 Q. Yes, you did say so to the OTP. Was anything said during the
19 interview about how the ICRC man and Sljivancanin got on after this clash
20 at the bridge? Specifically, did Sljivancanin tell you anything about
21 Nicholas Borsinger coming to visit him at Negoslavci the next day to
22 smooth things over, as it were. Do you remember anything being said about
24 A. Yes, but nothing -- no great detail was provided about their
25 further contact.
1 Q. It seems I will be able to wrap up sooner than I thought. I just
2 have a couple of questions to go.
3 You told the Prosecutor that you later met my client on several
4 different occasions. I expect that you followed at the time what my
5 client was saying to other media and other newspapers after his return
6 from Vukovar, did you not?
7 A. Did I follow? Yes, I did.
8 Q. Can you then confirm this: Whenever he spoke out in public he
9 always made sure everybody understood he was a man of pro-Yugoslav
10 orientation, didn't he?
11 A. Yes, but it wasn't quite the "in" thing anymore in any part of
12 Yugoslavia, with the possible exception of some smaller marginal groups.
13 Q. He would always speak about the need to preserve Yugoslavia as a
14 whole, right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Whenever he could he highlighted the multi-ethnic make-up of the
17 JNA, indicating that the JNA was the only multi-ethnic force left in
18 Yugoslavia at the time, didn't he?
19 A. Yes. Major Sljivancanin was a staunch believer in the fact that
20 the army was important and the mission of the army was to preserve peace
21 in its own territory.
22 Q. I asked whether the JNA, according to Major Sljivancanin, was the
23 only regular army in Yugoslavia at the time. You heard my question, and I
24 think you answered during one of your previous answers, but can you just
25 confirm that for me, sir, please?
1 A. Yes, that's correct.
2 Q. Thank you very much.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this concludes my
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
6 We will now adjourn and resume at a quarter to 12.00.
7 --- Recess taken at 11.24 a.m.
8 --- On resuming at 11.52 a.m.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Smith.
10 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour. Just a few questions in
11 re-examination. But before I start I would like to raise a matter under
12 Rule 90 (H)(ii) in relation to -- especially in relation to the counsel
13 for Mr. Sljivancanin and whether or not the case has been fully put to
14 this witness. What I would ask from the Defence counsel is that if any
15 other aspects of the interview have been disagreed by the accused,
16 Mr. Sljivancanin, that that be put to the witness, there's been a few -- a
17 few aspects being put that has been disagreed by the accused, but the
18 remaining of the interview, the Prosecution would be relying on as
19 accurate. So I'm just calling on my friend, if he disagrees with any
20 other part, I would ask that that be put to the witness.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Is there any other matters.
22 MR. SMITH: That is the only matter.
23 JUDGE PARKER: What is being advanced, Mr. Lukic, as I understand
24 it is, whereas you have, in your questioning of the witness got him to
25 agree that he doesn't suggest that the article is verbatim, the words of
1 your client, and nevertheless you have not challenged the specific
2 correctness of any particular parts of it. And if it is your case that
3 they wrongly represent your client's position, that ought to be put to
4 this witness so there can be no doubt. So you know your case. If there
5 is reason to question the accuracy of a particular part in a way that's
6 your material to your case, it would be appropriate for you to put that
7 directly to the witness.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I fully understand what
9 my duty is under Rule 90 (H). Also respecting this myself, and Mr. Smith
10 even told me that he would be raising the issue. I have a very human
11 explanation to offer of my position, and of my client's position. First
12 of all, I think that in -- on page 36, paragraph 1 I have asked several
13 questions about the way this interview was done. And I drew the witness's
14 attention to that. When I spoke to Mr. Sljivancanin about the substance
15 of this interview, he simply told me that there were portions that, after
16 all these years, he simply could no longer remember. And I presented my
17 client's position on the relevant page. It's very difficult for me to be
18 putting my case differently, since my client simply doesn't remember some
19 of the things he -- he said 15 years ago. And my question had that sort
20 of general drift.
21 JUDGE PARKER: I take it clearly from what you have said,
22 Mr. Lukic, that you considered the issue carefully and you believe you
23 have cross-examined as much as you can and should on that issue. Thank
25 Yes, Mr. Smith.
1 Re-examination by Mr. Smith:
2 Q. Witness, I will just ask you a few questions that have arisen out
3 of the cross-examination with the Defence. And my first question is about
4 Mr. Sljivancanin and his views on the Yugoslavian state back in 1991.
5 When you spoke to him on the 24th of November, was that the only time that
6 you spoke to him in matters of substance, such as his views on the
7 Yugoslavian state and other matters?
8 A. Yes, that's right. We had no previous opportunities to talk about
9 that, but even later our conversations were not particularly specific.
10 Q. You responded to my friend's questions that as far as you can
11 remember you believe that he may have had a negative attitude towards
12 Josip Tito, who was the president of Yugoslavia for many years. How did
13 you get that impression?
14 A. I'm not sure about that. I can't say whether his impression was
15 negative or not. My view is that he, in fact, did not hold a negative
16 view of Tito, but there is no way I can tell.
17 Q. Sorry, there may have been a problem in the transcript in relation
18 to that, so that that's now cleared up. Thank you.
19 You were asked by the Defence counsel that the interview that you
20 recorded with Mr. Sljivancanin was your interpretation of what he said in
21 relation to the substance of what he said do you believe that you recorded
22 that accurately or not?
23 A. Yes, I believe that I did.
24 Q. If we can go back now to the 24th of November when you went to
25 Vukovar, you said that you were stopped at a check-point at Sid, and then
1 you picked up Mr. Radak, I think on the outskirts of Vukovar, and then you
2 proceeded into Vukovar and you weren't stopped at any check-point. Do you
3 remember say that in cross-examination?
4 A. Yes, I do.
5 Q. Are you able to say whether you passed any check-points as you
6 moved from the outskirts of the town to the centre of the town, even if
7 you weren't stopped?
8 A. I don't remember. If there were any such check-points that we
9 passed on our way, I don't remember any.
10 Q. In relation to Sasa Radak who escorted you around the town and you
11 said was the commander of the -- sorry, not the commander, but in the
12 death platoon in Vukovar during the conflict, did he seem to be a
13 well-known character around the town when he was relating to other
14 soldiers on that day or when he was relating to anyone or not?
15 A. I can't really say whether he was a well-known character or not,
16 but he certainly knew his way around Vukovar. He was familiar with all
17 the streets, especially given the fact how difficult it was to get through
18 on account of all the ruins and all the destruction strewn about the
20 Q. Thank you. You described seeing the number of bodies in the
21 medical centre, or in the place that was near the hospital and in the
22 yard. And you've also stated that the soldiers there said that the
23 ethnicity of those bodies was Serbian; is that correct?
24 A. Yes, that's correct.
25 Q. And I think it was also stated in the article that these soldiers
1 said that they were killed by Ustashas, these victims.
2 A. That wasn't in my article, but this manufactures did appear in
3 another article which was published in the same issue of our newspaper.
4 Q. Were you ever able to verify whether, in fact, the victims were
5 Serbian, Croatian, or of any other ethnicity?
6 A. No. I never saw any inconvertible evidence as to the background
7 of the victims. Or about who had killed them or who was to blame that
8 these people had been killed.
9 Q. So the source of that information was from the JNA soldiers that
10 were present where the bodies were; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. You were asked a number of questions about, perhaps, your
13 knowledge and the public perception of what had occurred in Vukovar during
14 that three months and the types of topics that you had been asked about in
15 cross-examination by all three counsel are topics such as what was the
16 reason for the JNA and other forces being there, being at Vukovar, you
17 were asked what was the -- were there any atrocities committed by Croats
18 in Vukovar. You were also asked about questions about killings of
19 civilians, Serb civilians in Gospic, a town near Vukovar, and you were
20 also asked about questions relating to the defence of the town, and your
21 knowledge of, say, the Croatian defence of the town. I'd like to clarify
22 the basis of your knowledge. Most -- in relation to your firsthand
23 knowledge of what occurred in Vukovar, obviously you went there on the
24 24th of November. That's correct, isn't it?
25 A. Yes. That's correct.
1 Q. And you hadn't spoken to anyone from Vukovar, say, a refugee or
2 soldiers that were in Vukovar prior to going on the 24th of November; is
3 that correct? Or had you?
4 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think this is too leading a
7 question. The witness could simply be asked, "Did you talk to anyone?
8 Who was it you talked to?" But this amounts to leading the witness, in my
10 MR. SMITH: I can approach it that way, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, I hadn't really seen the problem. I was just
12 going back over that very, very lengthy question, but apart from the
13 length, I hadn't seen the problem. But if you can rephrase it in a way
14 that makes Mr. Lukic happy, that would be wonderful.
15 MR. SMITH:
16 Q. Witness, you received firsthand knowledge from Captain Radic and
17 Major Sljivancanin on what their role was in Vukovar. Had you received
18 any firsthand knowledge from people involved in the events of Vukovar
19 prior to going there on the 24th of November?
20 A. Prior to going there my knowledge was based on information coming
21 from the so-called information centre in Belgrade where documents were
22 being gathered about events in the Vukovar area. Not just Vukovar, but
23 also the surrounding area where there had been combat. The statements
24 were collected from refugees and witnesses, all those who came to give
25 evidence about what exactly had gone on. So this was the extent of my
1 firsthand information, as you put it. I spent a lot of time at the
2 centre, I would go through people's statements and sometimes I met some of
3 the people who provided statements. That was all the firsthand knowledge
4 that I had. Everything else was based on media reports and other such
6 When I met Captain Radic and when I met Sljivancanin I tried to
7 give their story in my articles. There is nothing that I learned from
8 them at the time that wasn't published.
9 Q. And this information centre, it was run by -- run by the Serbian
10 government at the time?
11 A. No. This was an NGO. They worked independently.
12 Q. And did you read some of those statements before you went to
13 Vukovar, or was this afterwards?
14 A. Both before and after. I also heard some testimony from people
15 before I ever went to Vukovar.
16 Q. And you mentioned that there was public perception or you learned
17 that there were atrocities committed by Croats in Vukovar during the
18 fighting. Did you read that in statements or was that from the media,
19 from articles in the media?
20 A. There was some of that in the media too, but it was mostly based
21 on the accounts of refugees that I learned about what had been going on
23 Q. And what specific -- what specific events, what specific
24 atrocities did you hear about in Vukovar from these statements? Are you
25 able to remember or not?
1 A. It's difficult to be very specific, but generally speaking people
2 were talking about being expelled from their homes, night-time executions,
3 whole families being taken away from their houses, people who later went
4 missing and were never again found.
5 Q. And did you -- did you hear about some of this information through
6 the press?
7 A. Yes. Yes.
8 Q. Was there a substantial amount of this information coming from the
10 A. It's difficult to say whether it was a substantial amount, but
11 there was quite a bit.
12 Q. And I think it's your evidence in cross-examination that certainly
13 back in 1991 and during the fighting in Vukovar, that the press was
14 heavily controlled by the state?
15 A. Yes. The press was under the control of the state, but I don't
16 know about heavily controlled. There was a thing or two that escaped
17 their attention, the attention of the powers that be, that is.
18 Q. You referred to the way in which the state would control the
19 press, and you referred to that they would place people in key positions
20 in their editorial staff, or positions such as editor-in-chief. Was that
21 happening at the time, people that were pro-Milosevic would have been
22 placed in those positions at the time in the major papers?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Was that one of the reasons why you left Politika in 1989, because
25 of the state control of the press, or was it something else, if you can
2 A. There were other reasons too, but this was the preponderant
4 Q. In relation to how the state controlled the press at that time,
5 did they -- how did they control it; in terms of the substance that was
6 published, in terms of the style, how they were published? Can you
8 A. It wasn't really that specific, it didn't go all the way down to
9 the nitty gritty, not trying to influence somebody's style of writing.
10 But certain topics were imposed and certain others were deliberately
11 neglected or put on the back burner, as it were. Sometimes journalists
12 would prepare an article that didn't pander sufficiently to the needs of
13 the powers that be. Such journalists always put their jobs on the line
14 when doing this, although this was not that frequently the case.
15 Q. And how did this influence of the state on the media, how did it
16 affect the objectivity of the papers being produced at the time in terms
17 of stating the truth of events?
18 A. Generally speaking there was a school of journalism at the time
19 that had reasonably high standards, and these standards had to be
20 satisfied in order for anything at all to get published. It wasn't a
21 simple matter to impose control, and wherever a control was imposed, it
22 had to be done in a way that was not overly conspicuous, so as to avoid
23 possible resistance and unfavourable reactions from the public itself.
24 There had to be some semblance of objectivity.
25 Now, if we look at how objective certain specific articles or
1 features were, well, all you can say is that in the last instance this
2 very much depended on the specific journalist, and the specific editor in
4 Q. At that time, in 1991, say for example if there was reports of
5 atrocities committed by Serb forces against Croat civilians, would that be
6 likely to be published in the paper in relation to this state control you
7 talk about?
8 A. I suppose if anything it would be less likely for something like
9 that to be published. Unlike the case for example if a crime had been
10 committed by the other sides.
11 Q. So in that sense, the public perceptions were moulded by the --
12 obviously the journalists, and also by state policy; is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Were you able to read any of the Croatian papers being produced at
15 the time, say in late 1991?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. In those Croatian papers were they publicising stories and
18 relating to atrocities committed by Croatian soldiers against Serb
19 civilians in Vukovar, did you see stories like that in the Croatian
21 A. I don't remember seeing anything like that.
22 Q. Were you able to make a comparison between -- talking about public
23 perceptions now and the ability for the public perception to be accurate,
24 are you able to say what the public perception was of Croatians in -- in
25 Zagreb, in that area, relative to Belgrade, as to what happened in
2 A. I'm sorry, I don't think I understand your question. Can you
3 please repeat that for me?
4 Q. Are you aware of the public perception in Croatia, say in Zagreb,
5 was that the same as the public perception that was held in Belgrade, in
6 relation to atrocities committed by Croats against Serbs? Or are you not
7 able to say?
8 A. Can't say with certainty, but at least as far as I remember my
9 impression at the time was that the Croatian public had no knowledge of
10 any atrocities committed against Serbs in Vukovar.
11 Q. So would it be fair to say that the truth of matters in relation
12 to what happened in Vukovar is probably less likely to be found in the
13 papers than from firsthand knowledge?
14 A. You could put it that way. But firsthand knowledge was nearly
15 unavailable to the general public. All the general public had to rely on
16 was the media.
17 Q. And you mentioned to my friend in cross-examination about the
18 killing of 40 children in an orphanage, and what more do you know about
19 that, and where is that meant to have happened?
20 A. As far as I know, this piece of news was broken by one of the
21 foreign agencies, Reuters, I think, and that's why it enjoyed even more
22 credibility at the time. It was about something that was discovered in
23 the Vukovar area, but that's about everything I remember about it. This
24 was later denied and the authenticity of the whole story was challenged.
25 I do remember that there was an Italian journalist who was involved, but
1 that's about the extent of my memory.
2 Q. Do you also remember whether a Serb journalist was releasing that
3 story to the television and to the press as well, a young Serb journalist?
4 A. I don't remember these details. It's possible. It's just that I
5 don't remember.
6 Q. In any event, this story that was published in the paper has never
7 been proven to be a fact; is that correct? As far as you are aware.
8 A. As far as I am aware, the story was subject to much challenging.
9 It was denied on a number of occasions, but never sufficiently disproven
10 as to be generally accepted as not being authentic.
11 Q. And in relation to the statements that you read in Belgrade, the
12 statements that you read in relation to people going missing and
13 executions, were they from -- primarily from Serb refugees returning from
15 A. For the most part from Serb refugees, yes. To a lesser extent
16 also people of other ethnicities.
17 MR. SMITH: I have no further questions, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Smith.
19 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, if I may, I just have one matter to
20 raise. It's about a couple of corrections to the transcript from previous
21 days. It would only take, I say a minute to deal with.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Perhaps while the witness is here, that would be
24 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, it's not in relation to this witness,
25 it's in relation to other witnesses.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Perhaps in fairness to the witness then, we should
2 conclude his participation.
3 Mr. Kacarevic, you will be pleased to know that that ends your
4 questioning. The Chamber would like very much to thank you for your
5 attendance and for the assistance that you have given. And you are now of
6 course free to return to your home and work. Thank you, indeed. The
7 court officer will show you out.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 [The witness withdrew]
10 JUDGE PARKER: Yes Mr. Smith.
11 MR. SMITH: Mr. Demirdjian will deal with this matter.
12 MR. DEMIRDJIAN: Thank you. Like Mr. Smith announced, we have two
13 small applications to make. And to assist the Chamber and the parties we
14 have some documents to pass around. And maybe we should wait for the
15 usher to be right back or maybe the registry can assist us on that.
16 JUDGE PARKER: I think the registry officer may be able to.
17 MR. DEMIRDJIAN: Your Honours, you're going to find two small
18 documents in this bundle that was just distributed. The first one --
19 well, actually we should perhaps go into private session for these two
20 applications, since they deal with protected witnesses.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
22 [Private session]
11 Pages 7375-7376 redacted. Private session.
7 [Open session]
8 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. In view of the indication that we are
10 in the position that there is no witness available for the balance of
11 today, we will adjourn now to resume on Monday afternoon at 2.15.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.30 p.m.,
13 to be reconvened on Monday, the 10th day of April,
14 2006, at 2.15 p.m.