1 Monday, 15 May 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 12.03 p.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon, sir.
7 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
8 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please take the card and read aloud the
10 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
11 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.
12 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
13 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Moore.
14 WITNESS: MILORAD VOJNOVIC
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
17 Examination by Mr. Moore:
18 Q. Witness, could we have your full name, please.
19 A. Milorad Vojnovic.
20 Q. And I think it's right to say that your date of birth is the 15th
21 of October, 1945; is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. That your ethnicity is Serbian?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And that you are currently retired?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. May we deal, please, with your background. Is it right that you
3 completed the JNA school for non-commissioned officers, and you were then
4 subsequently enrolled at the military academy. You graduated in 1969 as
5 an infantry officer, and then in 1982 you graduated from the command staff
6 academy? Is that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Your active military service runs from 1963 until 2001?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. That during your military career you commanded all units from
11 platoon to brigade level; is that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Prior to taking over command of the 80th Motorised Brigade in
14 September 1991, is it right you had been the commander of the 11th
15 Partisan Brigade in Slovenia?
16 A. Yes, yes.
17 Q. And with regard to the 80th Motorised Brigade, is it correct that
18 you held the post of being in command until the 30th of April, 1995?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. In 1995 until your subsequent retirement in 2002, is it correct
21 that you performed duties relating to training at the headquarters of the
22 12th Corps at Novi Sad?
23 A. Yes, up to 2001 only.
24 Q. There is a misprint in the document.
25 And can I just deal with your overall grading by your commanders.
1 Is it right that the classification, I believe, is from 1 till 5, that 1
2 is, I presume, poor, and 5 is the other end, towards excellence. What
3 were your gradings, please?
4 A. For the most part 4 and 5, very good and excellent.
5 Q. I think it's right to say that you have given evidence in relation
6 to principally this matter on no less than I think it is five occasions.
7 You were interviewed at Belgrade on the 12th of January, 1998, again
8 interviewed in Belgrade on the --
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... 1998?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. There were hearings at Belgrade, I think 24th and 25th of
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And an interview at Belgrade, slightly out of sequence, the 21st
16 of November, 2003.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And may I conclude with regard to your testimonies or statements
19 made, is it right that you made a statement for OTP here on the 25th, 26th
20 of September, 2003, concluding on the 2nd of October, 2003?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Thank you very much. I'd like to deal at the very start of your
23 evidence. Again with my learned friends' leave, I will lead the early
24 part and try to avoid any contentious matters. Is it right that on the
25 29th of October, 1991, the 80th Motorised Brigade began deploying
1 temporarily in Eastern Slavonia?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. That the deployment of your brigade was completed around the 7th
4 of November 1991?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And from its arrival until its departure -- sorry, from its
7 arrival until the departure of the 1st Guards Motorised Brigade, the 80th
8 was subordinated to OG South?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, can you, from your own independent recollection, remember
11 when it was the 1st Guards Motorised Brigade left Vukovar?
12 A. I think, as far as I can recall, it left Vukovar on the 25th or
13 the 26th of November, 1991.
14 Q. Thank you. Now, I'd like to deal with what I will call TO units.
15 Is it right that you had TO units from Serbia included -- or should I say
16 were subordinated to you at that time? So it's TO units from Serbia.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Were any of the TO units from Eastern Slavonia subordinated to
19 your brigade and whilst you were there?
20 A. [No interpretation]
21 Q. Thank you. And did you have any volunteer units that were
22 subordinated to the brigade?
23 A. No.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore, did you notice line 17?
25 MR. MOORE: I do now. I'll ask the question again, although I
1 think it's a fairly straightforward answer.
2 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, I want to ask a question again. Sometimes there is
3 an electrical fault that causes problems for the translation. I'll ask
4 the following question again: Were any of the TO units from Eastern
5 Slavonia subordinated to your brigade whilst you were there?
6 A. No.
7 Q. If I just deal with your period of service, and I will come back
8 to it at the end of your evidence, I hope. Can you tell us when it was
9 that the 80th Motorised Brigade left Eastern Slavonia?
10 A. On the 14th of January, 1992.
11 Q. And after the departure of the 80th Motorised Brigade, did you
12 remain in the area or did you leave with them?
13 A. The brigade and its units returned in their entirety, but some of
14 the officers in the brigade command remained in town. I returned, but I
15 cannot recall when I went to Kragujevac, some eight or ten days later.
16 Q. So, that's, as you believe it, eight or ten days after the 14th of
17 January - is that right - but you can't remember?
18 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the reply.
19 MR. MOORE: Again, there seems to be another problem with the
20 interpretation. I'm wondering whether the microphone is operating
22 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please wait for the witness to
23 reply before putting the next question.
24 MR. MOORE: Certainly.
25 Q. So I think it's right to say that you believe that eight or ten
1 days after the 14th of January, that's when you left the Vukovar area?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Can I deal, then, please with your arrival in Eastern Slavonia at
4 the end of October. Did you know any of the officers of OG South when you
6 A. First let me say that I didn't arrive in late October with my
7 unit -- with all my units, there was only one battalion. I came with the
8 other units on the 7th of November, and at that time I didn't know any of
9 the officers from the 1st Guards Brigade.
10 Q. Who was the commander of OG South upon your arrival?
11 A. The commander of the OG was Colonel Mile Mrksic.
12 Q. And with regard to your dealings with him, were there any
13 briefings that you were obliged to attend?
14 A. There were regular briefings in the command in Negoslavci where
15 Colonel Mile Mrksic was. I can't recall precisely, but from the 7th or
16 8th I attended regularly until they withdrew and went to Belgrade.
17 Q. Did you ever see Major General Zivota Panic at any of those daily
19 A. No.
20 Q. Did you see Arkan at any of those meetings of OG South?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Who was in charge of the security of the 1st Guards Motorised
23 Brigade and OG South at that time?
24 A. At that time it was Major Veselin Sljivancanin; he was a major at
25 the time.
1 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Page 6, line 5, when the
4 witness was referring to these regular briefings, he said that they were
5 held between the -- between 1700 and 1800 hours, but this did not enter
6 the transcript.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
8 MR. MOORE: We also have an ability to understand. I wonder if
9 that could be listened to by the interpreter because there was no
10 interruption by me. But I will ask in any event, and I had not asked that
12 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, the briefings themselves, did you mention any time
13 when those briefings were to be held in reply to the question that I posed
15 A. I think they were held from 1800 or 1900 hours. I don't recall
16 the precise time when they started.
17 Q. Let us deal then, please, with Major Sljivancanin. You said he
18 was in charge of the security of the 1st Guards Motorised Brigade and OG
19 South. Did he have any other duty in connection with your brigade?
20 A. I'm not aware of that now, except that he was the chief of
21 Operative Group South and he probably cooperated with my security organ.
22 MR. MOORE: Would Your Honour forgive me, there seems to be
23 another problem with translation.
24 [Prosecution counsel confer]
25 MR. MOORE: When -- would Your Honour forgive me while I just
1 check what has been asked.
2 Q. You have said that he was chief of security. Can we deal, please,
3 with who was your security officer at that time?
4 A. My security officer at that time was reserve Captain First Class
5 Dragi Vukosavljevic.
6 Q. And do you know if he had any contact with Major Sljivancanin?
7 A. I don't know, but through the chain of the security, I think he
8 should have done.
9 Q. When you say the "chain of security," do you mean the chain of the
10 command security? Can you explain, please, what you mean by "chain of the
12 A. I mean the chain of command within the security. The senior
13 security organ was Major Sljivancanin, and all the security organs in the
14 subordinate units were, in a manner, subordinated to him.
15 Q. Can we deal with your brigade. Did it have any police -- military
16 police attachments or units at that time?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And can you tell the Court what unit it was.
19 A. It was a military police company with one military police platoon
20 and one traffic platoon. They were within our composition all that time.
21 One military police platoon was subordinated to another unit throughout
22 this time.
23 Q. In the British army a platoon is normally about 30 or 32 bodies.
24 What is the numbering for a platoon normally within the JNA in 1991?
25 A. Depending on the formation, 25 to 30 soldiers.
1 Q. May we deal then with the strength, please, the actual strength of
2 your military police company and the platoons that you have referred to.
3 You have told us there was one military police platoon and one traffic
4 platoon. What were the actual numbering, if you are able to remember, of
5 the military police platoon existing at that time?
6 A. I think at that time a military police platoon, that one had about
7 25 men; but some of them were always absent for various reasons, either on
8 sick leave or for other reasons, whereas the traffic platoon had two
9 squads of 15 to 16 men.
10 Q. Is each squad then 15 to 16 men?
11 A. No, no. The military police squad was a little bigger than the
12 traffic squad.
13 Q. Well, how big was one traffic platoon -- sorry, one traffic squad
14 or squad contained within a traffic --
15 A. I think there were 15 or 16 men. One squad had seven men and the
16 eighth was the leader, and a similar situation obtained in the other one.
17 Q. So in reality, the traffic platoon has somewhere between 15 and 16
18 men in total; is that right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. The military police, who gave them orders?
21 A. Usually it was the chief of security who issued orders to the
22 military police, as did the Chief of Staff. Perhaps some of the operative
23 organs if the people I mentioned previously were absent.
24 Q. What about security organs? Did they or were they able to give
25 orders to the military police?
1 A. Yes, especially in professional matters.
2 Q. I think it's right to say that none of the units that you had were
3 directly involved in combat operations; is that right?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Well, if it's not right can you tell us then, please, exactly what
6 the situation was at that time, vis-a-vis combat operations.
7 A. No, not one of my units in the military police company
8 participated in combat.
9 Q. What was your task then at that time when you were based in
11 A. When I arrived on the 7th of November with my unit and when I
12 established the brigade units, I was deployed for the most part in the
13 area of the town of Vukovar, the broader area of the town. In Negoslavci,
14 Sremske Laze, the 1st Battalion at that time was within OG North across
15 the River Vuka. And all the other units were south of Vukovar. The 3rd
16 Battalion was at the entrance to Vukovar, that's where it was deployed.
17 And for the most part their task was to take up positions there, to
18 organise themselves. As they were all reservists, they did not
19 participate in the combat operations which were already going on in the
20 Vukovar area.
21 Q. Obviously the word "brigade" suggests a large military unit, but
22 the actuality can often be different. May we deal, please, with the
23 battalions that you had at that time, the infantry battalions. Were they
24 subordinated to OG South or not at that time?
25 A. They were subordinated to OG South, almost all of them were. I
1 can't remember whether it was the 3rd Battalion and the artillery unit and
2 the anti-aircraft unit which were resubordinated. Part of the military
3 police company remained in my troops, as did the logistics battalion, the
4 staff command, the communications company. The other units were later
5 resubordinated to Operative Group South.
6 Q. So if we were trying to explain this to civilians and they asked
7 the question of you: As of mid-November, what unit were actually
8 subordinated to you, Colonel Vojnovic? What was the actual strength of
9 the 80th Motorised Brigade?
10 A. As I said, the brigade command, the staff brigade, the
11 communications company, the reconnaissance company, part of the military
12 police company, the rear battalion - and I'm not sure about the 3rd
13 Battalion, I don't think that was there - but these were all units which
14 did not have the full manpower levels, according to the establishment.
15 The manpower levels were only 50 to 60 per cent of the establishment
17 Q. What about the anti-aircraft defence light artillery battalion?
18 We know it as the LAD PVO.
19 A. The LAD PVO was subordinated to OG South.
20 Q. Right. May I deal then, please, with what I will call the Vukovar
21 TO or local Serbian forces. You have told us that you had no local
22 Serbian forces subordinated to you; is that right?
23 A. Yes, it is.
24 Q. But is it equally correct to say that you did meet some of their
25 leaders or commanders during your period of tour in the Vukovar area?
1 A. I didn't meet them, and I didn't know them.
2 Q. Well, when you say you "didn't meet them," if we deal with
3 situations generally, did you ever meet or see a man called Stanko
5 A. The first time I saw Stanko Vujanovic was at Ovcara, on the 20th
6 of November. Like all the other members of the TO who I saw at the time,
7 up to that time I did not see them or know them.
8 Q. Did you ever see or meet Miroljub Vojnovic while you were in
9 Vukovar -- Vujovic. Sorry, my fault.
10 A. I also saw Miroljub Vujovic for the first time at Ovcara on the
11 20th of November, just like Stanko Vujanovic and the other members of the
12 TO who were there at Ovcara.
13 Q. I will return to that in due course, but I would like to deal,
14 please, with what I will call evacuations. Did your brigade ever become
15 responsible for the evacuation of any groups?
16 A. My brigade was responsible for evacuations only of a single group
17 of civilians, women and children. There were seven or eight buses which,
18 before the events in Ovcara, had been in the Ovcara area. They arrived in
19 these buses, we secured them all, and transported them in an organised
20 manner to certain locations we had been told to take them to. This was a
21 large group of civilians, including women, children and elderly men whom
22 we secured.
23 Q. And I will deal with the timing of that in a moment. But were you
24 ever aware of an evacuation of prisoners from Mitnica?
25 A. We secured the prisoners from Mitnica at the Ovcara hangar the
1 whole night, and this was a task given to me -- by me to my officers. I
2 wasn't sure about the soldiers, because a number of the soldiers were the
3 reserves, so I engaged the most responsible senior officers from the
4 brigade, starting with the Chief of Staff, the security organ, and other
5 senior officers from the brigade command.
6 Q. Now, what I want to do is just to clarify the sequence, and then I
7 will return to Mitnica. Can you remember whether the evacuation of the
8 women and children was before or after the Mitnica evacuation?
9 A. I can say, and I think that this was before the evacuation of the
10 group from Mitnica. I can't remember whether it was this group or the
11 Mitnica group, which day it was. But I think it was on the day before, on
12 the 18th.
13 Q. Let us then deal, please, with your role on the Mitnica
14 evacuation. So what role did you actually have in that evacuation?
15 A. After security in the Ovcara hangar sector, our task was to
16 transport them and evacuate them in an organised way to the Sremska
17 Mitrovica garrison. We did that in an organised manner without a single
18 problem. The assignment was executed and members of the brigade, and the
19 military police handed over the said prisoners in the Sremska Mitrovica
21 Q. May I deal with the arrival of the Mitnica evacuation before we
22 deal with the departure. Now, had you any dealings with the arrival or
23 the transportation of those evacuees coming to Ovcara?
24 A. We were not involved in the evacuation of the people to Ovcara.
25 We evacuated them from Ovcara to Sremska Mitrovica.
1 Q. So you had no dealings with the evacuation of the people to
2 Ovcara. Were you there when they arrived?
3 A. No, no.
4 Q. In very brief order, can you please tell us your first dealing
5 with the Mitnica evacuation.
6 A. We didn't evacuate the people from Mitnica to the hangar area.
7 Once they were at the hangar -- I don't know exactly, I can't remember who
8 issued the assignment for us to secure the group. That's what we did. I
9 personally was at the hangar at the time. I saw that there were about 120
10 or 130 people. I know that the commander of that group was Filip Karaula,
11 and I saw him too. And those soldiers, according to the list, were
12 transported and regularly handed over to Sremska Mitrovica.
13 Q. What was the name of the -- or can you remember the names of
14 officers who were present at that time at Ovcara and involved in the
15 supervision of the Mitnica group?
16 A. You mean my officers?
17 Q. Well, let's start with your officers and then we can move on to
18 other officers, if there are any.
19 A. From my brigade the Mitnica group prisoners were secured by the
20 chief of the staff, chief of security, chief of the engineers, chief of
21 the ABHO, and some other officers which, at this moment, I cannot remember
22 by name individually. But I know that they were guarding the Mitnica
23 prisoners in the Ovcara sector. At the time when I was there, I didn't
24 see other officers from other units.
25 Q. Do you know if Vezmarovic was involved at the Mitnica/Ovcara
2 A. As commander of a company, I think Vezmarovic was involved there,
3 and he was responsible for the transport of the prisoners to Sremska
5 Q. When you say that you cannot remember if officers from other units
6 were there, is it a case that you cannot remember names or you cannot
7 remember whether actual individuals were there from other units?
8 A. Right now I couldn't categorically state who was there, but I know
9 for a fact that they were brought by other organs and officers to the
10 Ovcara hangar sector.
11 Q. Do you know if Karanfilov was there or not?
12 MR. LUKIC: Objection.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think that this is a leading
15 question. On page 14, line 21 - 25, the witness replied about his
16 knowledge and that he didn't see other officers there and in line 25. So
17 in this way it's being suggested to the witness to give an answer which he
18 has already given. According to him, it's not even known who that man
19 was. But as for this particular topic, I think that an answer was already
21 MR. MOORE: I rely on the answer given by the witness at 15:6 and
22 7, where the witness says that they were brought by other organs and
23 officers. And I said was he there or not?
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic, the task of identifying whether or not
25 certain critical players, if I can use that phrase, were present, is one
1 of importance in this exercise. Mr. Moore has asked in general terms and
2 then has sought specifically: This name, was he there or not? This name,
3 there or not? I think in the circumstances that is an appropriate way,
4 and if you want to make something in cross-examination of the change
5 between a general answer that didn't include a particular witness and then
6 an answer, if one comes, that he did know a particular witness, it's open
7 to you.
8 Please carry on, Mr. Moore.
9 MR. MOORE:
10 Q. I will repeat the question. You said you saw other organs and
11 officers. I asked the question: "Do you know if Karanfilov was there or
13 A. I didn't know Karanfilov at that time, so I really couldn't say
14 whether he was there at that time or not.
15 Q. Thank you. Do you know the date that the Mitnica evacuation
16 arrived at Ovcara?
17 MR. MOORE: Or do my learned friends object if I would lead with
18 that date?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that this was the 19th of
20 November when the Mitnica group was brought to the hangar section.
21 According to what I saw, according to my knowledge, it was approximately
22 at 10.00, but I really don't have the exact time. Nobody was really
23 paying attention to that.
24 MR. MOORE: I was going to correct the witness to the proper date
25 with the Court's leave, and as long as there's no objection to that.
1 JUDGE PARKER: There seems to be none.
2 MR. MOORE:
3 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, the Mitnica evacuation actually arrived on the 18th
4 of November and departed on the 19th. It's just a -- so that you can
6 A. Yes. I said that we saw the group off on the 19th or, rather,
7 evacuated it to Sremska Mitrovica. I don't know the exact date -- or I
8 didn't say the exact date when it got there. I think that it came on the
9 same day that it was evacuated.
10 Q. No, we know that it came on the 18th and we know that it departed
11 on the 19th.
12 A. I'm saying that on the 19th we evacuated it and guarded it.
13 Q. With regard to the procedure itself for Mitnica, were there any
14 problems that you became aware of when they were under the control of
15 Vezmarovic and his military police?
16 A. While Vezmarovic, the military police, and my officers were
17 securing the Mitnica group there were no problems. They were transported
18 in an organised manner in the proper way, and handed over in Sremska
19 Mitrovica. And Vezmarovic informed about that on his return from Sremska
20 Mitrovica, he said that there were no problems.
21 Q. With regard to evacuation, you have had the one that you have
22 referred to dealing with women and children, and you have told us now
23 about the Mitnica evacuation. Did you report to your superior in OG
24 South, namely Colonel Mrksic, that the evacuations had concluded?
25 A. I think that this was done and reported on, especially in the
1 evening meetings - there wasn't too much discussion about that - and I
2 think that the military police, as well as the security organ did that,
3 informed their superiors.
4 Q. Why would it be necessary for you to tell Colonel Mrksic about
5 evacuations concluding?
6 A. Because we were given that assignment, and when we carried out the
7 assignment, it is regular military procedure to report that the assignment
8 was carried out.
9 Q. And who gave you those assignments?
10 A. I cannot remember exactly who specifically assigned this task to
11 me, but I can assume that it was some of my superiors. Whether it was
12 Colonel Mrksic or Lieutenant-Colonel Panic, I really cannot remember that
13 right this moment.
14 Q. Thank you very much. Now, I would like to deal, please, with an
15 evacuation that is now known as the hospital evacuation, which ended up in
16 the Ovcara hangar. So I wish to deal with that evacuation. Do you
18 A. Yes, I do.
19 Q. Were you ever informed that there was another group of evacuees
20 coming from the -- in this case the hospital, and where you were to be
21 directly involved?
22 A. My brigade command first didn't have any information and did not
23 participate in the planning or organising or the execution or carrying out
24 of the -- or bringing out the prisoners from the hospital and bringing
25 them to the Ovcara sector. This whole process was something that happened
1 somewhere outside of our brigade. We didn't guard the prisoners, we were
2 not at the hospital, we didn't participate in organising them or
3 transporting them to the Ovcara hangar.
4 Q. Is that another way of saying no?
5 A. No, we did not in any way participate in bringing out from the
6 hospital of the prisoners and bringing the prisoners to Ovcara.
7 Q. When did you first become aware of what I will call the Vukovar
8 Hospital evacuation?
9 A. Quite by accident. On my way back from one of my units in the
10 Sotin sector where one of our rear battalions was located and I went to
11 visit the battalion, I wanted on the way back to stop by at Ovcara and to
12 see the commander of the LAD PVO battery, (redacted) who was deploying
13 his command post in the Ovcara sector. And on the way back I saw a group,
14 first several buses, who were standing in front of Ovcara and people who
15 were coming out of the buses through a gauntlet. These people were
16 beaten, they were hit, they were cursed at and they were being treated
17 quite improperly. Some of them had their documents confiscated from them
18 or other items.
19 I was surprised with this situation. I didn't stop to see (redacted),
20 who was waiting for me there, but I immediately went in front of the
21 hangar. And with these two of my soldiers who were with me in the car, I
22 started to defend the prisoners who were entering the hangar. And while I
23 was doing it, I had no idea where they were coming from and who was
24 bringing them there. I myself was harassed, pushed, hit, and there were
25 shouts that these are not your prisoners, these are not -- these are our
1 prisoners. I was insulted, they were saying, "What are you doing here,
2 old man? What do you want? These are our prisoners." I myself was
3 pushed, and as much as I was able to I prevented these people from being
4 beaten. At that point in time (redacted) came, he was there, and he
5 helped me.
6 Q. Clearly there will be redactions in that account, but I would like
7 to deal with this account and break it into parts, if I may. I have some
9 You said that you saw people coming out of the bus and going
10 through a gauntlet. What do you mean by that?
11 A. What I mean is that there was no other way for them to pass, to
12 evade the gauntlet, because the gauntlet was formed from the door of --
13 the exit door of the bus to the entry door to the hangar. And they were
14 passing through it, and that's where they were hit, kicked, insulted,
15 humiliated, until they reached the hangar entrance.
16 Q. And what were they being hit with?
17 A. They kicked them, punched them, using their weapons first of all -
18 I'm thinking of rifle-butts - whoever had a rifle or anything else that
19 they had on them.
20 Q. And the people who were doing the hitting, do you know if any of
21 them were wearing uniform or not?
22 A. They wore different clothing. Some wore uniforms, some had mixed
23 pieces of uniform or civilian clothes. Nobody was dressed according to
24 regulations. They were mostly wearing uniforms, but they were not
25 completely in compliance with regulation uniforms.
1 Q. And are you able to say what units they belonged to?
2 A. I couldn't tell. I was seeing these people for the first time.
3 Are you talking about the prisoners or are you talking about these members
4 who were beating them?
5 Q. Yes, the people who were doing the attacks, the beatings.
6 A. Yes. I met those people for the first time. I didn't know any of
7 them, they were standing there as I described, in uniforms, and they were
8 beating them as they were going through the gauntlet. I didn't know
9 anyone. I was trying to prevent them from doing that, asked them to stop,
10 to start behaving properly, to stop beating them. But mostly they paid no
11 attention to me.
12 Q. Were you able to -- the English word is "ascertain." Were you
13 able to find out where the people who were being beaten had come from?
14 A. In the beginning I didn't know when I saw all those people with
15 (redacted) who came with two other soldiers who help me. So when all
16 of those people entered the hangar, that was when I saw Major Vukasinovic
17 who was standing somewhere in the middle of the hangar, close to where you
18 entered the hangar. I was surprised to see him there. I went up to him,
19 though, and I asked him, "Where are these people from that are being
20 brought in?" And he answered, "From the hospital." That's when I found
21 out that they were from the hospital.
22 MR. MOORE: I'm just going to delay for a moment.
23 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
24 MR. MOORE: May I continue?
25 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Moore. There is no need to show
1 that courtesy. I've got two ears.
2 MR. MOORE: All right. My apologies.
3 Q. You say that you saw Major Vukasinovic who was standing somewhere
4 in the middle of the hangar. You say you were surprised to see him
5 there. Firstly, who was he? What was his role?
6 A. Major Vukasinovic was the deputy chief of security in the guards
7 brigade or, rather, in the Operations Group South.
8 Q. And why were you surprised to see him in the Ovcara hangar?
9 A. I think that I was surprised because nobody was doing anything.
10 While the prisoners were being brought into the hangar they were being
11 beaten, nobody was preventing this, but he was there. That's what
12 surprised me.
13 Q. You asked him, "Where are these people from?" And he answered,
14 "From the hospital."
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Had you been aware of an evacuation from the hospital or that an
17 evacuation from the hospital was to occur that morning or day?
18 A. No.
19 Q. You have told us that Vukasinovic was standing somewhere in the
20 middle. Did you see any other officers, or what I will call regular
21 soldiers, with him at that time?
22 A. I saw a group around Vukasinovic, they were wearing regulation
23 uniforms. They were military personnel. I don't know who they were, but
24 mostly they were all without caps and I didn't know those people. They
25 were all wearing our M-77 military uniform.
1 Q. And can you just assist us what the M-77 military uniform looks
2 like, without going into a fashion statement?
3 A. That was the standard uniform at the time in the Yugoslav People's
4 Army and was olive-drab shirt and pants. There were boots and at the time
5 we -- it was a cap that we called the Tito cap, as well as a wind-jacket.
6 This is what all the senior officers wore, and these particular officers
7 were wearing all of those things.
8 Q. Are you able to say whether there were other officers present at
9 that time?
10 A. I could not say definitely that there were other officers. I
11 didn't know any of them, but I did know Major Vukasinovic. I knew him and
12 only him, and he was there. Maybe some people, some other people were
13 there, but I didn't see them.
14 Q. Did you see Lieutenant-Colonel Panic there?
15 A. I didn't see Lieutenant-Colonel Panic there at that time, but
16 later I heard from conversation -- from a conversation with him, and
17 during his testimony in Belgrade too, that he was there.
18 Q. Can I just move forward in time many years. You have described
19 having a conversation with Panic, and I exclude the evidence that he
20 gave. When did you have a conversation with Panic where he indicated to
21 you that he had actually been at Ovcara but you hadn't seen him?
22 A. I think that this was during the testimony at the military court
23 in Belgrade when we just happened to meet. He didn't know and I didn't
24 know that we would both testify there, and that's where I heard these
25 things from him. The fact that he was there is something that was
1 confirmed to me by (redacted), and he was surprised that I didn't see
2 Lieutenant-Colonel Panic, because I was in charge of taking care of the
3 prisoners of war. So I really didn't know who was in the hangar, to the
4 left in the hangar, to the right in the hangar and so on and so forth.
5 Q. Thank you. Now, I want to come back in time again to the Ovcara
6 hangar where you are seeing Vukasinovic. Now, you have told us that he
7 was there with, I will call, soldiers in the M-77 uniform. Did you see
8 any of those soldiers or Vukasinovic attempt to stop the beatings that
9 were occurring?
10 A. No, I didn't.
11 MR. MOORE: I think there is an objection.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I don't like to interrupt my learned
14 friend, and I'm sure he doesn't like it either, but I have to say that he
15 said that Vukasinovic was with the soldiers. Because in answer to the
16 Prosecutor's question about officers, he explained that the persons with
17 Vukasinovic were officers. I would like there to be no misleading of the
18 witness with such questions.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore, there is an issue about soldiers and
20 officers. I leave it to you to resolve.
21 MR. MOORE: The phrase I have, I'm just looking at it very quickly
22 is: "I saw a group around Vukasinovic, they were wearing regulation
23 uniform. They were military personnel." That is at 22 --
24 JUDGE PARKER: That doesn't answer it one way or another. In
25 about line 23:1 you will see something perhaps a bit more to Mr. Lukic's
2 MR. MOORE:
3 Q. Soldiers, perhaps, covers -- well, it does cover officers and
4 ordinary troops. The people that you saw with Vukasinovic, were you able
5 to ascertain if they were officers or soldiers? Can you help us?
6 A. I didn't know whether they were privates or officers. All I saw
7 was that they were neatly dressed, that they were clean-shaven with proper
8 uniforms. But for the most part they did not have caps on, neither did
9 Vukasinovic himself.
10 Q. How long did you remain at the Ovcara hangar?
11 A. I remained there about half an hour, until all the prisoners had
12 entered the hangar. As I said, I was there with Vukasinovic, I exchanged
13 a few more words with him. I observed the situation in the hangar, and
14 after that I got ready to leave for my command and for the briefing in the
15 superior command.
16 Q. And before we get you to actually leave, throughout that period
17 were you able to see if there were any -- or there was a group of people
18 outside the hangar at Ovcara?
19 A. In front of the hangar at Ovcara there were some members of the
20 Territorial Defence going in and out, milling around. I didn't really
21 watch that very carefully. I didn't know them but, yes, they were there.
22 Q. And how would you describe the atmosphere within the hangar?
23 A. In the hangar it was quite a shocking sight. There was a lot of
24 tension. The people were put on the left-hand side where there was some
25 hay. People were sitting down. They were worried, anxious, looking to
1 see what was happening. The atmosphere was not a very pleasant one,
2 especially not for the prisoners.
3 Q. Why did you leave the hangar?
4 A. First of all, I left the hangar because I wanted to ask for
5 assistance and security from my brigade command. They arrived headed by
6 reserve Captain Svetolik [phoen] Vukic. He arrived with 15 to 20 men.
7 There was no military police. Perhaps some of them did have military
8 police belts on, but they were not actually the military police because
9 Vezmarovic at that time was still in Sremska Mitrovica.
10 Q. And how did Vukic know to come to the Ovcara hangar?
11 A. As soon as we saw that the situation was complex, I acted in the
12 way an officer should, I think. I informed someone in the brigade
13 command - I don't know how - but that a team should be sent to help
14 resolve the situation at Ovcara.
15 Q. Perhaps it's because you're trying to give answers very quickly,
16 but you had not told us about leaving to Ovcara and where you went to. So
17 let's return to that. You say that you left Ovcara. Where did you go to?
18 A. By your leave, let me first explain about Vukic. After a certain
19 time - I can't tell you how long - Vukic arrived and addressed me. I
20 grabbed him by the sleeve and pointed, saying, "Do you see that tall
21 major? That's Major Vukasinovic." He said, "Yes, I can see him." I
22 said, "Report to him. If you are to be given a task or if he needs some
23 assistance in connection with the situation, ask him." I showed Vukic
24 that, and then I left for the command post in Negoslavci, where the
25 command of OG South was. The meeting had already started some time ago.
1 Q. The question that I want to return to, please, is: How was it
2 that Vukic arrived at Ovcara? Did you order him or do you know who
3 ordered him or the reason that he arrived at Ovcara?
4 A. I asked for assistance to protect the prisoners. Who transmitted
5 this to him. Whether it was Dragi Vukosavljevic or someone else, I don't
6 know, but I asked for help to be sent to protect the prisoners.
7 Q. When you say that you asked for help to be sent, where were you
8 when you asked for the help to be sent? Were you still at Ovcara, or were
9 you back in Negoslavci?
10 A. I think I was still at Ovcara, because I instructed him to go to
11 Major Vukasinovic and ask him whether he had any tasks for him.
12 Q. Do you know what occurred between the conversation between
13 Vukasinovic and Vukic?
14 A. Later on I learned from Vukic on the following day, or one or two
15 days later, that as he explained very confidently and as he testified
16 before the special court in Belgrade, he said, "Comrade Major, I'm from
17 the 80th Brigade. I was sent here to help you. Do you have any tasks for
18 me?" Vukasinovic replied, "We don't have any tasks for you."
19 Vukic went back to the entrance of the hangar. He even says that
20 he spoke to some of the prisoners and that they even had a cigarette
21 together. One of the prisoners was concerned and asked him what would
22 happen to them. Vukic said to him, "Probably, the same thing will happen
23 that happened to the group from Mitnica. You will be taken to Sremska
25 Q. Thank you. Can I deal then, please, with your return to
1 Negoslavci. Now, you told us that you wanted to go back and ask for
2 assistance. Assistance from whom?
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
5 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I think my learned friend may be
6 confused. The witness didn't say he went to Negoslavci to ask for
7 assistance. He asked for assistance from Ovcara, and he went to
8 Negoslavci for a regular briefing.
9 MR. MOORE: The reference that I have is that: I wanted to ask
10 for assistance. Perhaps if I have jumped too far ahead, and I can't
11 remember if I have, then I apologise. But certainly I have got this in my
12 own handwriting and written it down as a hook to move on to other areas.
13 JUDGE PARKER: It better be clarified I think, Mr. Moore.
14 MR. MOORE: Certainly. Could I just check for a moment, if I may,
15 on the transcript, because I know it's further back? Would Your Honour
16 forgive me for a moment?
17 [Prosecution counsel confer]
18 MR. MOORE:
19 Q. In your reply at 27:1 you say, "I asked for assistance to protect
20 the prisoners." And then it refers to other references. Can we just
21 clarify to this extent: Did you ever leave Ovcara and return to
23 A. I left Ovcara when Vukic arrived with the men, and I went to
25 Q. And what was the purpose of going to Negoslavci?
1 A. I had to go -- not I had to, but I was supposed to go the regular
2 briefing. But I couldn't abandon the prisoners in such a situation, and
3 for this reason I was late.
4 Q. Can we deal then, please, with the briefing itself. When you got
5 to the briefing, do you know what time it was, approximately?
6 A. You mean at the command post in Negoslavci at Mrksic's place?
7 Q. Well, you said that you had to go -- you were supposed to go to
8 the regular briefing.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. So I want to deal with that. Now, where was the regular briefing
12 A. The briefing was held in Negoslavci in the command post of OG
13 South. It was a regular briefing held on a daily basis at 1800 or 1900
15 Q. Have you any idea what time you actually arrived? You said, I
16 think -- that you were late for the briefing. Are you able to assess what
17 time you actually arrived?
18 A. I know for a fact that I was late for the briefing because of the
19 complex situation at Ovcara. I think it may have been around 1900 hours,
20 but I can't tell you the precise time to the minute I entered the room. I
21 apologised to the commander for being late, and I explained to him the
22 reason for my late arrival at the meeting.
23 Q. When you say you explained to him the reason for your late
24 arrival, can you please tell the Court what it was that you said that had
25 caused you to be late?
1 A. I said the following: "I'm coming from Ovcara. At Ovcara there's
2 a mess. Some prisoners of war have been brought there from a hospital, I
3 don't know. I don't know who exactly organised them and brought them
4 there. I saw that they were being treated improperly, that they are being
5 made to go through a gauntlet, that they were beaten with equipment people
6 had. And I saw a man hit one of the prisoners with a rifle-butt as he was
7 passing through the gauntlet up to the entrance to the hangar."
8 Q. And you said that you told, the commander. Was the commander whom
9 you told?
10 A. The commander at the time was Colonel Mile Mrksic.
11 Q. When you told Mrksic about this mistreatment and behaviour at
12 Ovcara, did he say anything to you?
13 A. When I gave him this explanation and described the situation at
14 Ovcara, he simply waved his hand like this and said, "Don't talk to me
15 about this."
16 Q. And can you show us, please, what you mean that he "waved his hand
17 like this." Can you demonstrate to the Court the way he treated you and
18 waved at you?
19 A. Almost all of them were there in that room, and when I reported,
20 he said, "Don't talk to me about this." Making this gesture. I was
21 surprised. I understood from this that he was aware of the situation, so
22 I didn't speak about it further in that room at that time.
23 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I know we normally take a break, I think,
24 one and a half hours. I would like to move on to another topic. It is
25 obviously related to this, but it is a natural break point. And if Your
1 Honour is considering rising within the next two or three minutes, I, for
2 my part, would prefer to stop at this edge of evidence.
3 JUDGE PARKER: We will break now, Mr. Moore.
4 MR. MOORE: And I think there may have to be, unfortunately, some
6 JUDGE PARKER: There will be many, and we will break for half an
8 --- Recess taken at 1.27 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 2.06 p.m.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Moore.
11 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
12 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, you've told us about informing, as he was then,
13 Colonel Mrksic. You have described the -- and shown us the gesture he
14 made. And you told us that you didn't speak about it further in that room
15 at the time because you understood from that he was aware of the
16 situation. And how many people were in the room at the time he spoke to
17 you and then demonstrated to you with his hand?
18 A. I think that at that point there were about 20 to 25 people in the
19 room. These were officers from the OG South command, and also there were
20 some other people present. I didn't count who was there, but regularly
21 the meetings or the briefings would be attended by 20 to 25 officers.
22 Q. Did the meeting come to an end?
23 A. Yes, it did. And we went outside in front of the room where the
24 meeting was held. Then too I spoke with Colonel Mrksic about the
25 situation, what happened, what I saw. And perhaps I described it a little
1 bit more in detail than when I talked about it when I entered the room for
2 the briefing.
3 Q. When you spoke to Colonel Mrksic about this on this -- what I will
4 call this second occasion, was there anybody else present at that time?
5 A. First let me say yes, but before I wanted to say I didn't respond
6 to the question. Before I left for Negoslavci you asked me, I called
7 Dragi Vukosavljevic and sent him to go again to Ovcara to look at what the
8 situation was, to help if anything could be done in terms of the situation
9 that was there. That's what I wanted to say.
10 The next thing is what you asked me about my conversation with
11 Colonel Mrksic outside of the room where the meeting was held. Well,
12 during the conversation Dragi Vukosavljevic came up to me. He informed me
13 that the situation was complex, that it was hard to define, that it was
14 serious, that members of our military police who were still there were
15 being pushed back and could not play any significant role in the
16 protection of the prisoners because of the attitude of the territorials,
17 that they had in relation in them. And then at one point there was a
18 mutual scuffling or pushing between the territorials and my unit or rather
19 the soldiers of the military police unit of Vezmarovic.
20 Q. May I deal with this meeting. You have told us that you were
21 speaking to Mrksic here a second time and Vukosavljevic came up to you.
22 When he was --
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. When he was explaining this situation to you, was Mrksic still
1 A. Colonel Mrksic was there outside -- outside when he was explaining
2 that to me. I don't know if he heard that or not. And Dragi
3 Vukosavljevic insisted that he also goes with me and that we once again
4 inform Colonel Mrksic about the situation at Ovcara, which is what we
5 did. Together I introduced Dragi Vukosavljevic to Colonel Mrksic as a
6 good officer, a reserve senior officer from the security organ. That's
7 what I can say about that.
8 Q. Here is Vukosavljevic insisting, as you say, that he goes and
9 informs Mrksic. Now, when Vukosavljevic informed Mrksic about that, what
10 was Mrksic's reaction, if any at all?
11 A. I can't really say exactly what Mrksic told Vukosavljevic. I do
12 know that there was a conversation, I was standing in the vicinity, but I
13 didn't hear it. And I think that later Dragi told me that he was
14 surprised when he saw Mrksic tell him, "Well, just leave it. Don't bother
15 me with that kind of thing," and similar things.
16 Q. Was there any indication by Mrksic of him being aware or unaware
17 that the 80th Motorised Brigade were at Ovcara?
18 A. I think that he didn't know that we were at Ovcara, especially
19 during the initial period. Perhaps later, through the command line he was
20 informed about it, Panic saw me there, so this is normal. But judging by
21 his reaction when we spoke about that situation when he told me what he
22 did, he decisively said to me, "What were you doing there?" He told me
23 that as the brigade commander. And I saw and understand that I really
24 should not have been there. I didn't receive any kind of task. I didn't
25 participate in the planning of that operation. We didn't have any
1 assignments in relation to that assignment, so there was no other need to
2 think about it in any other way. So simply, after that answer I
3 understood it as an order that I shouldn't be there, and that's when I
4 said to Dragi Vukosavljevic to come -- to go to Ovcara, to go and see
5 Vezmarovic there, to see what the situation was, and -- I don't know what
6 the situation was, but to stop exposing our soldiers to the danger in view
7 of the fact that they were threatened there and that they should withdraw
8 to the barracks. And this is what Dragi did, he went there and he did
9 what he was supposed to.
10 Q. Did you that evening speak either to Vezmarovic or Vukosavljevic
11 about what had happened at Ovcara after you had left?
12 A. I think that we spoke briefly. Vezmarovic informed me that he had
13 already got the units ready to move, had them all packed, and that Major
14 Karanfilov came and told him that the Territorial Defence -- actually,
15 that the prisoners should be handed over to the jurisdiction of the
16 Territorial Defence, in view of the fact that some government -- I
17 guess the government of Krajina was informed of that and that the military
18 police had no longer anything to do with that and could withdraw to the
19 barracks, which I can say Vezmarovic agreed to with pleasure.
20 MR. MOORE: I would like to go into private session, if I may,
22 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
23 [Private session]
11 Pages 8854-8856 redacted. Private session.
13 [Open session]
14 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session.
15 MR. MOORE: Thank you.
16 Q. That is the evening of the 20th. Are you able to inform the Court
17 whether or not the fact that atrocities had occurred at Ovcara had become
18 public or was known to others?
19 A. Yes. It's a fact. We heard it the next day. Mostly in
20 Negoslavci the citizens of Negoslavci had already started to talk. I
21 don't know if any of them were there or not, but in any case, there was
22 talk about it.
23 Q. Why did you not inform -- or perhaps I am jumping the gun. Did
24 you ever inform Mrksic about hearing that atrocities had occurred at
1 A. No. I didn't inform him, I thought that he knew about that, that
2 he was aware of that, because his most responsible senior officers were
3 participating in that operation.
4 Q. If we deal from the 21st to the time that the Guards Motorised
5 Brigade leave Vukovar, are you aware, or did you ever hear that there were
6 a start of investigations into these atrocities?
7 A. I heard at a meeting of Colonel Mrksic, this was after that, that
8 investigative organs would come from Belgrade who would investigate this
9 case. I didn't see him, but I know that this was something that was said.
10 Q. And when did you hear that?
11 A. At a meeting in the evening, I think, but I'm not sure if it was
12 on the 21st or the 22nd. It was sometime during either one of those days,
13 I can't remember exactly which day.
14 Q. And when you talk about investigations into these atrocities, was
15 it these atrocities at Ovcara or atrocities generally?
16 A. I think -- I think that this primarily referred to Ovcara.
17 Generally there were some minor such cases, perhaps it was general. I
18 don't know.
19 Q. Well, is it a case you know or a case you are assuming?
20 A. I know that he told us that investigative organs would arrive in
21 Negoslavci. I thought it was because of that. Whether it was broader
22 than that, I don't know.
23 Q. May we deal then, please, with the hand-over from the Guards
24 Motorised Brigade to the 80th. Now, when did that occur?
25 A. I think the hand-over occurred immediately before their return to
2 Q. And what capacity or function did you operate in when they had
4 A. We were then in command of the town of Vukovar and Borovo Naselje.
5 Q. And what was your job, what was your function at that time?
6 A. For the most part, the tasks we had to do was to clear up the
7 battle-field, de-mine the streets, collect carcasses of animals in the
8 street, create the conditions for a more normal life, prevent looting by
9 individuals, prevent people entering other people's houses and taking
10 furniture and equipment, providing security for the people residing in the
11 area, because there were still many individuals who had weapons who
12 behaved in an arrogant manner. Not infrequently one would hear shooting
13 around town and in the vicinity of the town for no special reason. We
14 tried to do our best to provide water for the citizens, to open soup
15 kitchens where people could come to eat. We tried to do whatever we could
16 for the benefit of the citizens, and that's how we behaved.
17 Q. May I deal with an issue in relation to what I will call civilian
18 leadership. As far as you're aware, was there any civilian leadership
19 existing immediately after the fall of Vukovar?
20 A. Immediately after the fall of Vukovar I think there was no
21 civilian leadership. We would have had to cooperate with them had there
22 been any, but there was actually a vacuum. And it was up to the command
23 of the brigade to look after providing food for citizens and so on. The
24 civilian leadership was in Vukovar, it was set up in Vukovar in December,
25 very soon. I know that there was a meeting in Velepromet and that it was
1 chaired by Rajko Bibic, one of the most prominent people there. He had
2 been the managing director of the Ovcara farm. I was there as an officer
3 to make sure there was order, to make sure that the meeting was held in an
4 orderly manner. They elected 12 or 14 people, and this group was headed
5 by Rajko Bibic. Some portfolio -- portfolios were distributed among them,
6 one took charge of one area, another of another. And that's when matters
7 began to develop in this way.
8 Q. So when you were operating in your capacity as town commander, who
9 did you receive your orders from?
10 A. While I was commander of the town, mostly I received orders from
11 the 1st Military District, of course when the guards brigade returned.
12 Q. Did you at any time receive orders or instructions from the SAO
14 A. No. Never.
15 Q. Did Goran Hadzic ever visit you?
16 A. No.
17 Q. I want to return to your dealings with the local Serbian or
18 Vukovar TO. You told us that you had seen Milorad Vujovic and Stanko
19 Vujanovic on the 20th of November at Ovcara. What were they doing at that
21 A. That was the first time I had seen them at Ovcara, just like all
22 the other territorials were there. And the impression they left on me was
23 as if they were in charge there, as if they were in command in that
24 place. I concluded this by the way they moved, the way they acted, the
25 way they communicated with other members of the Territorial Defence. From
1 all this I concluded that they were the leaders there.
2 Q. I would like to deal with the period before the departure of the
3 1st Guards Motorised Brigade. Did you ever have any meetings where Major
4 Sljivancanin was present?
5 A. I was there once immediately before the return of the guards
6 brigade to Belgrade; this was in Velepromet. I don't know how I happened
7 to be there, but probably somebody told me. I wouldn't have gone there of
8 my own accord if I hadn't been told.
9 Q. And can you tell us, please, what the meeting involved?
10 A. Mostly it was Sljivancanin who spoke. He addressed the
11 territorials. He said the guards brigade was withdrawing from the area,
12 that the 80th Brigade would stay there, that it would establish a command
13 post there, and that from that point on any problems that came up would
14 have to be solved with us. On that occasion he introduced Stanko
15 Vujanovic and Miroljub Vujovic and perhaps some others, but I don't recall
16 any others. I remembered those two from Ovcara. That meeting lasted for
17 about half an hour.
18 Q. And when he introduced Stanko and Miroljub, in what capacity did
19 he introduce them?
20 A. I can't be absolutely certain in what capacity he introduced them,
21 but he introduced them as important people in the Territorial Defence.
22 And I saw that they knew each other from before, that was my conclusion.
23 Q. When you say you drew the conclusion that Sljivancanin knew these
24 two individuals from before, what caused to you come to that conclusion?
25 A. I saw that he called them by their names, both of them. This led
1 me to conclude that he knew them. If you don't know someone, you can't
2 say what his name is.
3 Q. Did you ever meet a person who was nicknamed Kameni?
4 A. Yes, I did.
5 Q. When did you first meet him? Was it before or after the Ovcara
7 A. It was after the incident.
8 Q. And in what capacity did you meet him?
9 A. He came to see me in the brigade command on his own. He
10 introduced himself; I had heard of him. He asked us for some kind of
11 assistance in the form of food for his fighters, for the group he had
12 around him.
13 Q. Now, I would like to -- I would like to deal with certain
14 documents, if I may, please.
15 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, there is a small bundle of documents
16 which have been prepared for my learned friends and for the Court; the
17 registry have got them. And I would like to -- the witness, I hope, has
18 got them. Now, might I just indicate - I hope to help the Court and my
19 learned friends - that I will not be referring to all the documents, but I
20 have little doubt that some of the documents, for example, tab 1 and 2,
21 may be referred to. They are already exhibits and, consequently, there
22 would be no prejudice, in my submission. There are nine tabs in total;
23 they should be in both English and B/C/S. And if I may deal with tab 4,
25 Q. Now, Witness, I showed you this little document this morning. So
1 can we go to tab 4, and hopefully -- now, certainly my bundle, English
2 comes first, but it should then go on to B/C/S. For e-court, the
3 following number, it should be Exhibit 426. The B/C/S version is
4 0436-8417, and there shouldn't be any difficulty in locating that.
5 Now, Witness, have you got tab 4?
6 A. Yes, yes, I have.
7 Q. And I'm hoping that the top left-hand corner will be the 23rd of
8 November, running -- it's OG JUG, South, command?
9 A. Yes, yes.
10 Q. 23rd of November, village of Negoslavci. What exactly is this?
11 Can you just tell us in general terms; I don't want to go through the
12 details of it.
13 A. This document was issued by the command of OG South. It's
14 addressed to the command of the 1st Military District, and it's a daily
15 combat report.
16 Q. And if we return over to the second page, who is the commander?
17 A. Well, I have it all on one page. It's Colonel Mile Mrksic,
18 commander of OG South.
19 Q. Thank you very much. In the English it's 2. I want to go then,
20 please, in the English towards the very end. There are subnumbers on the
21 left-hand side. In the English one can see number 1, 2, turning the page,
22 there will be 3. And just three lines above the 3 I want to deal with
23 that entry commencing, "All expert, organisational, and material [sic]
25 Have you got that, Mr. Vojnovic?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. So shall I read it out, and then I will ask you a question about
3 it. So, "All expert, organisational, and material [sic] support was given
4 to the command of the 80th Motorised Brigade in resolving all issues with
5 regards to taking over the responsibility in the AOR of OG South."
6 Now, what exactly is -- or does the phrase, "... taking over
7 responsibility..." mean here, please?
8 A. I think these words, "... taking over responsibility..." refer to
9 when OG South left, that it was now we who were responsible for it and we
10 were supposed to solve all the issues in that area. And when they left,
11 they left certain logistic and other equipment for us.
12 Q. Thank you. That is already an exhibit. Can we go to tab 5,
13 please, which is not an exhibit as yet. Tab 5 is a relatively new
14 document dated the 29th of November. The B/C/S is 0465-2477 to 2478. The
15 English translation is the same.
16 I would like to go to tab 5. Have you got that, please?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. It should be a document reading, "State of combat morale in the
19 units of the 80th Motorised Brigade and its further trend." 29th of
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And it is signed by Commander Vojnovic, namely yourself. Is that
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. I would like then to go back to the first page, and it would be
1 the second principal paragraph. It should read as follows so let's see if
2 we can locate it, "Following the liberation of Vukovar, the command of the
4 Have you got that?
5 A. Yes, yes.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 "Following the liberation of Vukovar the command of the brigade,
8 functioning as the city command, was issued a task of ensuring the
9 functioning of the military authority, ensuring the conditions for the
10 revival and the establishment of the civilian government, judiciary,
11 health, economy as well as preventing robbery and other types of crime."
12 This is the 29th of November. What is meant by, "... the revival
13 and the establishment of the civilian government, judiciary, health,
14 economy..."? What is the purpose of this, please?
15 A. I think the purpose of this was to have a civilian government set
16 up and to create, as soon as possible, through it, the conditions for
17 looking after people for starting up certain economic enterprises that had
18 not been destroyed in the war, and as far as possible, securing the
19 conditions for people to reside in the town, to prevent looting, crime,
20 fights, killings and so on.
21 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, might I please make application for this
22 tab, tab 5, to be made an exhibit?
23 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, that will be Exhibit 437.
25 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
1 Q. I'd like to move to tab 6. And I can deal with tab 6, I hope,
2 fairly briefly. It, again, is a new document. It also is dated the 29th
3 of November, and it is signed by yourself. Now, would you be kind enough,
4 please, to turn that up, and the ERN number is 0465-2479 to 2484. So
5 would you be kind enough, please, to go to the B/C/S version. So if you
6 go back to tab 6.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Tab 6, it should be 29th of November, the title of the document,
9 "Regular combat report." Have you got that?
10 A. Yes, yes.
11 Q. Thank you. Now, would you be kind enough, please, to go to
12 paragraph 2 j). Have you got that? It's a rather large paragraph.
13 Paragraph 2 should read, "Situation in the units of the brigade," and
14 then --
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Then it is subnumbered by letters, and I want to go to j). Have
17 you got that?
18 A. Yes, yes. Now I have it, yes.
19 Q. And I want to go to the very last entry in paragraph 2 j).
20 Starting, "Tomorrow, the 30th of November..."
21 Have you got that?
22 A. No -- oh, yes. Yes, now I see it.
23 Q. It should read --
24 A. If that's what you're referring to. "Tomorrow underground
25 facilities are to be entered..." Is that what you mean?
1 Q. Well, my translation is slightly different. What I have got in my
2 translation I will read out and we'll see whether there is a problem.
3 "Tomorrow, the 30th of November, 1991, the engineering unit will
4 bury about 400 bodies." And indeed there is reference earlier on to
5 decaying coffins. Can I just deal about 400 bodies. Do you know where
6 these bodies were found, located? Can you give us a picture? Was this an
7 isolated incident of having to bury so many people or re-bury people?
8 A. I don't think all the bodies were found in one place. I think
9 they were found all over the town and around the town. I know that
10 Colonel Basic, from the command of the 1st Military District was carrying
11 out this task. He asked me for assistance, and I gave him men to help;
12 and I know that he did actually bury these bodies in a very civilised way.
13 Each grave was marked with a cross, a number, and with the first and
14 last name of the person if it was known.
15 Q. Thank you very much.
16 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I would make an application that tab 6
17 document be entered as an exhibit.
18 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
19 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit 438.
20 MR. MOORE:
21 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, can we move on to tab 7. Have you got that? It
22 should be, "Command of the 80th Motorised Brigade." The date is the 22nd
23 of December, and it's signed by --
24 A. The 2nd?
25 Q. No, it should be the 22nd, not the 2nd. What date do you have on
1 the original?
2 A. The 22nd of December.
3 Q. Yes. And it's signed by -- I think it's Lieutenant Vasic. Is
4 that right? I know it's down as Lieutenant-Colonel --
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. [Previous translation continues]... called Vasic should be
7 Lieutenant-Colonel. It's just a personal observation. But in relation to
8 this particular document, can we deal, please, with the situation as
9 such. Is this a report that around midnight on the 21st of December three
10 members of the TO Vukovar were killed in Vukovar, there was an attempt
11 made to cut the throat of one of them, who was later shot dead, as well as
12 two others. That the killed men were members of the Leva Supoderica under
13 the command of Lancuzanin, also known as Kameni. What I would like to
14 deal with, please, is the final paragraph starting, "The scene of crime
15 was secured..."
16 Have you got that?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. "The scene of crime was secured by the military police and the
19 SUP, Secretariat for Internal Affairs, and Vukovar police."
20 Now, this is the 22nd of December. Were the military police still
21 actively involved in investigating these sort of crimes?
22 A. With respect to these kind of crimes, the military police helped
23 wherever they could. I think at that time a police company had already
24 been formed in Vukovar. This was an exceptional incident, and it was
25 reported to the command of the 1st Military District. The --
1 Q. Thank you.
2 A. -- the neighbourhood is Hollywood.
3 Q. I think that you said that "the neighbourhood is Hollywood,"
4 perhaps we can assume that that may not be quite correct.
5 A. It is correct, it is. There was a neighbourhood which was a very
6 nice one, and certain members of the TO went to live there.
7 Q. And so it became known as Hollywood, or just it was Hollywood
8 generally within the Vukovar area?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Well, in any event, I would like that to be made an exhibit,
12 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
13 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit 439, Your Honours.
14 MR. MOORE:
15 Q. May we move on. We've only got two other tabs. This is tab 8.
16 It deals with the 14th of January, 1992; is that right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. It relates again to the command of the 1st Military District, to
19 the command of the 24th Corps, and I want to deal with paragraph 3, if I
20 may. Have you got that?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And that -- may I read it. "All units commenced the march to home
23 garrisons according to plan and in an organised manner on the 14th of
24 January, 1992."
25 Now, does that basically mean that the 80th Motorised Brigade had
1 finished what I will call their tour of duty and were returning to their
2 home garrison?
3 A. Units of the 80th Motorised Brigade all returned, and the
4 subordinate command in Vukovar only some parts of the brigade came back,
5 which had already been working in certain areas.
6 Q. Thank you very much.
7 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I can certainly put that in as an
8 exhibit, but it may well be that my learned friends will be willing to
9 admit that the 80th Motorised Brigade returned on the 14th of January,
10 1992, and we can do it without a document. Now, it's entirely up to them,
11 if -- I don't know, a slightly irregular procedure. If they're willing to
12 make such an admission, they could say so now or we could put the document
14 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
15 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I would like
16 to state on behalf of all of the Defence teams that in view of everything
17 that the witness said, we don't see a problem to tender this document into
18 the evidence, in view of the fact that the -- it says that the units
19 returned while the command stayed in Vukovar. That's what the witness
21 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
22 JUDGE PARKER: The document will be received.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit 440.
24 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, does that mean it's an exhibit?
25 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
1 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
2 JUDGE PARKER: That's as I understood the answer of Mr. Vasic.
3 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
4 And then finally, may I go to tab 9? And I would like to go into
5 private session with regard to this document, please.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
7 [Private session]
14 [Open session]
15 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] While my colleague Vasic is preparing
18 himself, I would just like to make a comment just so it doesn't seem as if
19 the Defence reacted in a way that was not appropriate to the interests of
20 the case, and this is in regard to the proposal by the Prosecutor to agree
21 about the document without it being admitted. At no point did the learned
22 friend from the Prosecution, before he suggested this, he didn't tell us
23 about this, not when he gave us this document two days ago when we talked
24 about facts not in dispute. Maybe it's -- it's not the intention of the
25 Defence to burden the Trial Chamber with a lot of documents, but in this
1 particular matter I think that the Prosecutor could have asked us what we
2 wanted to do earlier, before he made this proposal. So it seems a little
3 bit unfair that we are being asked to respond to this suggestion in front
4 of the Trial Chamber at this time.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
6 Mr. Vasic.
7 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Cross-examination by Mr. Vasic:
9 Q. Good afternoon. Since you and I speak the same language, I would
10 like to ask you, for the sake of the interpreters, after I put a question
11 to you, to wait a little bit so that the interpreters could completely
12 translate my question and then could completely translate your answer.
13 Thank you. You talked about your military career which spanned an
14 imposing number of years. You told us all the functions that you
15 occupied, and you told us about your education and training. We heard
16 that you served at one point in your career as an officer in Slovenia. My
17 question is if you were ever a battalion -- a commander of a
18 battalion of the military police in your career?
19 A. No, I was never a commander of a military police battalion, but I
20 was a commander of a military police company.
21 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us when were you such a
22 commander and which unit was that?
23 A. I was a commander of a company of the military police from 1972
24 until late 1976 in the 195th Infantry Brigade in the Maribor garrison in
25 the Republic of Slovenia.
1 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us what was your rank at the
2 time, and before you took up this post did you ever complete any kind of
3 special courses or school in order to be a military police officer?
4 A. I was a commander of a company of the military police in the rank
5 of a lieutenant and a captain. I finished the military police course in
6 Pancevo in 1971, and I went for schooling in 1970.
7 Q. Thank you. Did I understand you correctly that from this post as
8 a military police company you went to another post in the rank of captain?
9 A. Yes, I went to a course for battalion commanders in Sarajevo, and
10 after that I was appointed as a deputy commander of the 2nd Infantry
11 Battalion where I was, for less than a year, in the same unit, the same
12 brigade that I mentioned.
13 Q. Thank you. You told us that at one point you became a commander,
14 I think, of the 11th Infantry Brigade in Slovenia?
15 A. Yes, that is correct. From October 1985 I became the commander of
16 the 11th Partisan Brigade.
17 Q. Could you please tell us what was your rank then when you were at
18 this post and how many soldiers did the partisan brigade have, how many
19 soldiers does any partisan brigade have?
20 A. I was there in the rank of major and lieutenant-colonel, and each
21 partisan brigade didn't have the same strength, it depended on the
22 establishment. Mostly the strength ranged in the 2.000 number.
23 Q. Thank you very much. I would like to ask you to pause after I put
24 my question. So perhaps you could just follow the cursor on the monitor
25 when it jumps to the line for the answer, then you should start with your
1 answer. Thank you.
2 Could you please tell me -- you said in your answer to a question
3 by my learned friend that in September 1991 you came from Slovenia to
4 Serbia, and could you please tell me whether your unit and you personally,
5 as its commander, had anything to do with the events in the summer of 1990
6 in -- in the summer of 1991 in Slovenia?
7 A. No. We were blockaded in our barracks, but we -- while there we
8 didn't do anything in terms of the fighting.
9 Q. Thank you very much. Could you please tell me, when you withdrew
10 to Serbia with your unit, were you immediately assigned as commander of
11 the 80th Motorised Brigade in Kragujevac or did you have any other duties?
12 A. No. First I arrived at Gornji Milanovac and I was there for about
13 three months, and that's at that post in that brigade which no longer
14 existed because all of the men remained in Slovenia and the materiel and
15 equipment were brought back. That's when I was appointed as commander of
16 the 80th Motorised Brigade.
17 Q. Thank you. When you were transferred and became the commander of
18 the 80th Motorised Brigade, I assume that's when you met
19 Lieutenant-Colonel Jeftic?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Could you please tell us what the post of Lieutenant-Colonel
22 Jeftic was?
23 A. I know that he was the security organ in the Kragujevac Corps
25 Q. So if I understood you properly, all you know was that he was the
1 security organ in the 24th Corps of Kragujevac, and the 80th Brigade
2 belonged to that corps?
3 A. Yes, yes.
4 Q. Thank you very much. When you received your assignment to go to
5 the Vukovar sector, and you told us how this happened, did
6 Lieutenant-Colonel Jeftic had anything to do with this call-up of your
7 unit and its move to carry out assignments in the Vukovar area?
8 A. I didn't see him during the preparation and the organisation, but
9 I believe that he probably was included in the work to organise and
10 mobilise a company of the military police. Personally, as the security
11 organ, he was not in my brigade, but I think that he was there as part of
12 some other command in Vukovar.
13 Q. In any case, you do have information that he was in the Vukovar
15 A. Yes, I think that he was there for a while, a short period of
16 time, but he wasn't with me where I was.
17 Q. Thank you. Do you know that the 80th Motorised Brigade, after it
18 came to the Vukovar sector, maintained contacts with its home 24th Corps
19 in Kragujevac?
20 A. Yes, generally along the -- well, we communicated through the
21 communications system, but we didn't receive orders. I mean, it was
22 normal for them to express an interest; I was in their unit, after all.
23 Q. Thank you. You told us that one battalion from your brigade was
24 resubordinated to another unit in late October 1991. So could you please
25 tell us, you as the commander probably knew which unit that was and in
1 which sector?
2 A. That was the 1st Battalion, which was called up first, following
3 some unsuccessful call-ups. It was commanded by Major Susa. Today he is
4 a colonel, and a -- has a Ph.D. in military science in Belgrade. His
5 deputy was reserve Captain Dusko Filipovic. The Chief of Staff, Rade
6 Danilovic left with them too, he was a lieutenant-colonel, and they were
7 resubordinated to the OG North, whose command was the command of the Novi
8 Sad Corps and they remained as part of that composition, of their
9 composition, until the liberation of Vukovar. Sometime until the 20th or
10 until the end of November, until they returned to the brigade's
11 establishment formation.
12 Q. Thank you very much. You said that after -- you said after the
13 liberation of Vukovar. Can we agree that that was on the 18th of
14 November, and this unit returned to your composition sometime after the
15 18th? Can we agree on that?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you. The only thing that I'm interested in a little bit,
18 and I would like to have your expert opinion as the commander of that
19 unit, it seems strange to me that one battalion of the motorised brigade
20 is resubordinated to a corps, we're talking about the 12th Corps here.
21 Isn't that something that is a bit out of the ordinary, or did this unit
22 have some special assignment?
23 A. It didn't have a special assignment. The resubordination of units
24 can be done, this was done. The command of the 1st Military District army
25 had the right to do that, and that's what it did.
1 Q. Thank you. On arrival of your unit in the Vukovar sector, can you
2 please tell us what was the sector you occupied first. Where was your
3 unit concentrated? You said the command was in Negoslavci. What I would
4 like to know is where.
5 A. The command was in Negoslavci and then in the surrounding houses
6 we had a communications company, a part of the military police company
7 headquarters' staff, and the reconnaissance command. Then something was
8 in -- across from the Vuka River, that was the 1st Battalion, and that was
9 part of the Novi Sad Corps. The 2nd Battalion was in the area of
10 Tovarnik, and the third one was at the entrance to Vukovar near the
11 railway lines. The Howitzer battery was in the area of Negoslavci in the
12 beginning, and then this position later changed. The mixed artillery
13 battalion, and the armoured battalion was in the area of a cooperative,
14 the LAD PVO, light artillery battalion, headed by (redacted) at the time,
15 was in the area of the Sajmiste in Vukovar, one of its batteries was later
16 subordinated to Major Stupar. The engineers' battalion in the beginning
17 was located in Sremske Laze, even though it did come to Negoslavci itself,
18 and in Vukovar the armoured battalion was part of the 130th Brigade, and
19 it was in the Mirkovci sector. I don't know, I think I mentioned all the
21 Q. Yes, thank you very much. The military police company unit was
22 with the brigade command; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, yes, in Negoslavci.
24 Q. Could you please tell me, when you received the assignment to come
25 to the Vukovar front, am I right if I say that you or your units had the
1 assignment of covering and taking up the occupied -- the liberated
2 territory, as units of the second echelon, with the ultimate assignment of
3 staying as the command of the city of Vukovar after the combat operations
4 in Vukovar were completed?
5 A. I think that the primary task was as a reserve unit to cover the
6 territory here, but I am sure that at the time nobody knew that it was
7 supposed to stay in the command staff of Vukovar. When it was leaving, I
9 Q. Thank you. You told us that you communicated with the 24th Corps,
10 and from the reports you sent, after you remained as the commander of the
11 town of Vukovar, I see that you were sending reports to the 24th Corps and
12 the 1st Military District. Is this correct?
13 A. We were sending it primarily to the command of the 1st Military
14 District because we were subordinated to them at the time. When we were
15 not sending everything to the Kragujevac Corps command, sometimes we would
16 send something to them just for their information only.
17 Q. Did you ever send written regular or interim combat reports to
18 OG South or did you sent reports to the 1st Military District?
19 A. No, no, we cooperated with OG South. We would see them
20 regularly. Only the 1st Military District -- you mean after the guards
21 brigade pulled out, is that what you mean?
22 Q. When OG South existed.
23 A. No, only to the 1st Military District. We had nothing to do with
24 the guards brigade then.
25 Q. So did I understand you properly that you never submitted any
1 military reports to OG South, regular or interim ones?
2 A. After they left, no.
3 Q. You said "after they left," but while OG South was in the
4 territory of Vukovar, did you send the military reports to them?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Thank you. Did you receive written orders for certain tasks from
7 the command of OG South?
8 A. Yes, I did.
9 Q. Did you receive orders for attack in which your units would
11 A. No.
12 Q. Were you duty-bound, after receiving the written orders that you
13 received, once the assignments were completed, to submit reports to your
14 superior command, especially because you were a commander of a brigade
15 where written reporting is compulsory?
16 A. There was no need for reports. We would see each other every
17 evening and we would report back on the execution of assignments. I'm
18 talking about OG South.
19 Q. Thank you. When you became the local commander of Vukovar, did
20 you receive reports from your subordinate units?
21 A. No. We would meet on a daily basis, we would have briefings and
22 analyse the work in the units and the commands.
23 Q. And you didn't receive reports on regular or extraordinary events
24 that occurred in the territory of Vukovar while you were the local
25 commander of Vukovar?
1 A. No.
2 Q. But written reports on events in the Vukovar area, as long as you
3 were the local commander there, you sent in writing to the 1st Military
5 A. Yes, we sent out regular reports and reports about extraordinary
7 Q. Thank you very much.
8 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, am I seeing it correctly
9 that it is now time for a break?
10 JUDGE PARKER: Very well. We will resume at 4.00.
11 --- Recess taken at 3.30 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 4.02 p.m.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I'm having
15 some problems with the microphone. I'm trying to solve the problem.
16 Q. Thank you. Sir, let's proceed. Let's see where we left off. You
17 said that you attended the regular briefings in the command of OG South.
18 I would like to know whether before these briefings you first
19 had briefings within the 80th Motorised Brigade in order to collect the
20 information you presented to the command of OG South?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. As an officer you probably know that after these regular briefings
23 the command of the OG drew up a daily combat report which was submitted to
24 the 1st Military District and the Federal Secretariat for National
1 A. Well, I am not aware of that, but I think they did send those
2 reports, because that would have been the proper thing to do.
3 Q. Thank you. When answering a question from my learned friend you
4 said that you couldn't recall with precision, but that you thought these
5 briefings were held from 18 to 1900 hours. If I tell you that the daily
6 combat report of OG South was always sent at 1800 hours, do you allow for
7 the possibility that these meetings were held before that, from 1700 hours
8 to 1800 hours?
9 A. No, I don't think so.
10 Q. Would you be kind enough to tell us how one can draw up a daily
11 combat report about the situation in the subordinated units without first
12 receiving this information from the subordinate units at a briefing
14 MR. MOORE: The witness has given an answer. It may not conform
15 with the way my learned friend wishes to put his case, but all that is
16 being asked is for the witness to speculate. He has given two specific
17 answers, and that is the end of it, in my submission.
18 JUDGE PARKER: I think not, Mr. Moore. This is cross-examination,
19 and Mr. Vasic can ask the witness to explain, if it's necessary, how that
20 could be done. The witness may not be able to answer at all, he may say,
21 "I don't know." But it is not an unreasonable question.
22 So carry on, please, Mr. Vasic.
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. As a brigade commander you probably are familiar with the way
25 reports are submitted, so my question was how you can explain that the
1 commander of the OG South would be sending reports at 1800 hours to the
2 military district about the situation in the subordinated units without
3 first having received a report from these units and holding a regular
4 briefing session.
5 A. Probably there was a dead-line by which an operative report had to
6 be submitted to the command. So it's not impossible that these reports
7 could have been written previously, as they were familiar with the
8 situation. There were no other units there except ours.
9 Q. Would you agree with me that the precise situation on a particular
10 day in the zone of operations can be known only when reports arrive from
11 all subordinated units, and you said this happened during the regular
12 briefing sessions; isn't that so?
13 A. It's correct that after being briefed the commander has the
14 information from his subordinate units on the basis of which he can
15 compile a report.
16 Q. Thank you. When preparing such reports, the operations officer
17 listens to the regular briefing, and based on that he draws up a report
18 which is signed by the commander; is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Thank you. During these regular briefings was there a kind of
21 log-book or diary into which information would be entered from these
23 A. Well, in the OG there was someone whose duty it was to follow and
24 to note down what was said.
25 Q. And then, according to the rules pertaining to a brigade, this
1 documentation, along with all the other documentation such as the
2 operations diary, the war diary, would be kept in a special room?
3 A. Yes, a room where the conditions were right for keeping those
5 Q. Thank you. During these regular briefings did you come to meet
6 Major Trifunovic, who was in the command of the OG South?
7 A. No, I didn't get to know him. Maybe I would recognise his face,
8 but I don't know him by name.
9 Q. If I tell you that he was in the brigade command and that he
10 worked on operations, that he was the one who kept the war diary, and
11 therefore he probably attended these meetings, would that refresh your
13 A. In my brigade?
14 Q. No, not in your brigade. He was from the command of OG South.
15 A. No, I don't know that man. I knew very few men in OG South. I've
16 heard of his last name, but I don't know him.
17 Q. You said you knew few men from OG South. I assume that you went
18 to the regular briefings every day where, apart from officers from the
19 brigade command, the brigade staff, the commanders of subordinate units
20 were also present; is that correct?
21 A. In Operative Group South?
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. Only I went there.
24 Q. Did the commanders of the battalions or the assault detachments,
25 the guards brigade, other units, go there? And did you all attend the
1 regular briefings together in the command of the OG?
2 A. Only I went there from the brigade command. I saw some officers
3 from the OG, some subordinate officers, the commanders of the assault
4 detachment and the battalion, and they were there, yes.
5 Q. Officers from the brigade command and the command of OG South were
6 there too, weren't they?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Didn't you get to know most of the officers in the command of OG
9 South and the commanders of the other subordinate units there?
10 A. No. I stayed at those meetings very briefly, the meetings were
11 very short, and after that we all parted ways. I did get to know some of
13 Q. You said the meetings were short, everyone reported on what he had
14 to say, was assigned new tasks, and returned to his unit. Is that how it
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. After returning to your unit, if you were given a task, were
18 so-called preparatory orders drawn up?
19 A. There was no need for that.
20 Q. Thank you. Would you be kind enough to tell us when the
21 preparatory orders were issued, what kind of tasks were those with regard
22 to complexity or type of task?
23 A. This was done in the case of important forthcoming tasks, combat
24 tasks. I was never given such tasks.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could we now see Exhibit 431, please.
2 And for my learned friends, this document bears ERN number 0327-1241,
3 11811 in the English version. Thank you.
4 Q. Sir, do you see this document before you? It's a decision of the
5 command of OG South dated the 16th of November, 1991.
6 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] And would you please put page
7 0327-1242 on the ELMO [as interpreted], it's page 2 of this document.
8 Thank you. Could you please zoom in to the bottom half of this page from
9 point 8 downwards, please.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I see it.
11 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Sir, in point 8 does it say that the 80th Motorised Brigade,
13 together with a TO detachment called Stara Pazova, should take complete
14 control over the area in the Vuka River valley, the settlement called the
15 6th Proletarian Division, and the Herzegovacko [phoen] Naselje
16 neighbourhood and that part of the forces should be ready for active
17 combat on attack axes.
18 Is that an order you were issued by the command of OG South for
19 your unit?
20 A. Yes, I see it.
21 Q. Please tell me whether this is, in fact, a combat order, because
22 the units of the 80th Motorised Brigade are ordered to take control of a
23 certain territory and to be ready for further offensive action.
24 A. To take control over a certain territory, yes, and not for attack,
25 just for active operations on the attack axes. Well, yes, I see this.
1 What I can say is that there was a Territorial Defence detachment in that
2 part of the Vuka River valley which was not engaged in any kind of combat
3 activity. Stara Pazova, yes.
4 Q. The part where it says, they should be ready for active combat on
5 attack axes, that they should be ready to attack?
6 A. That's what it says here, but we did not engage in any combat
8 Q. But the 80th Motorised Brigade is ordered, together with the Stara
9 Pazova Territorial Defence Detachment, to carry out this order?
10 A. No, only the reconnaissance companies ordered to reconnoiter the
11 area, Leva Supoderica, and to discover the presence of Ustasha forces in
12 that area.
13 Q. Well, now you are looking at point 9; I was going to refer to that
15 A. No, this is still in 8.
16 Q. Oh, yes, I apologise. It's under 8, 2, but I'm asking you about
17 8, 1, where it talks about the 80th Motorised Brigade with the Stara
18 Pazova TO Detachment should take complete control over the territory in
19 the Vuka River valley and should be prepared for active combat on the
20 attack axes.
21 This is an order addressed to the 80th Motorised Brigade together
22 with this detachment.
23 A. Yes. To take control over this territory in the River Vuka
24 valley. There's no dispute about that, and it was there. And should
25 armed forces of Croatia turn up in area, they were supposed to defend
2 Q. Item 8 doesn't mention the defence, but says to be in readiness
3 for active operations along the axis of attack, not of defence. Is that
4 what it says?
5 A. Yes, that's what it says there, but there was a unit there that
6 was there to prevent any active operations in case they come in those,
7 along those axes but that was not done because there was no need for it.
8 Q. Can we agree, though, that this order constitutes a combat order;
9 is that correct?
10 A. Yes, combat order.
11 Q. Thank you very much. Do you remember whether the OG South
12 command, in the period from the 15th of November until the 20th of
13 November resubordinated some other units to you which came under the
14 command of the 80th Motorised Brigade?
15 A. No, I cannot remember exactly, but I know that there was a Stara
16 Pazova Detachment and another one, that I cannot remember where it was
17 from, that was attached to the unit.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could we now look at Exhibit 412 on
20 the screen? And for my learned friend, the reference in English is ERN
21 0350-2643. Could we zoom in on the document a little bit so that
22 Mr. Vojnovic can see it better? Thank you very much.
23 Q. This is an order to which the TO Stara Pazova Detachment was
24 resubordinated to you on the 15th of November, 1991; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And that's the detachment which, after the 16th of November, was
2 ordered to go into action with other units of the 80th Brigade, as we saw
3 earlier; is that correct?
4 A. This detachment did not carry out any operations.
5 Q. Is this the detachment that's mentioned in the order that we saw
6 earlier and which, in fact, is Exhibit 431, the one that we discussed
8 A. Yes. As I said, this detachment did not carry out any actions
9 throughout its time in the Vukovar area.
10 Q. Would you agree with me if I were to tell you that this
11 detachment, which was resubordinated to you on the 15th of November, 1991,
12 numbered about 500 men?
13 A. I really don't know how many men it had.
14 Q. A detachment is a unit which is -- corresponds to a battalion?
15 A. Yes, it does, but it's always smaller than a battalion.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could we now look at document 372 on
18 the monitor, please, and that is another order on resubordination of a
19 unit to the 80th Motorised Brigade. Thank you very much.
20 Q. Do you see this order?
21 A. Could we zoom in on the document a little bit.
22 Q. Can you see it now?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. So this order, for the purposes of achieving as soon as possible
25 the decisions of the 14th of November, 1991, unifying the command for
1 forthcoming actions to be resubordinated TG 195th Motorised Brigade,
2 80th Motorised Brigade, for activities in the broader area of Ovcara,
3 Jakubovac, Grabovo, and to be in readiness to mop-up the terrain in the
4 area of the Mala Dubrava woods and the Mitnica settlement.
5 A. Yes, but this tactical group never received any assignment from us
6 to carry it out because it was part of our composition only for a day or
7 two or two or three days. According to orders it was deployed and sent by
8 the commander of OG South to the Grabovo sector, and that is where it
9 remained throughout the whole time until it was no longer a part of our
10 strength. So it was only with us for two or three days, part of our
12 Q. This tactical group, did it also number more than 500 men?
13 A. No.
14 Q. How many men did it have, this tactical group?
15 A. Well, since I know that this unit came from Maribor, no unit there
16 was complete. These were mixed units, mostly anti-aircraft units, a part
17 of the armoured battalion. So they didn't really have 200 men even.
18 Q. And what was part of the tactical group of the 195th Motorised
20 A. Well, I cannot really go into their organisation now, it probably
21 had a command, it had some units; this would be the natural composition of
23 Q. But you were a commander of that unit?
24 A. I wasn't a commander of that unit; I was part of that unit. I was
25 battalion commander.
1 Q. You mean while the unit was in Slovenia?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. But in Vukovar, from the 19th of November, you were the superior
4 officer to the commander of this tactical group, Mr. Milan Jovic; is that
6 A. Yes, he came there on the 19th, he was deployed at Grabovo. I
7 said that he had a tank company with him or maybe something more. He had
8 an incomplete anti-artillery light battalion. He had some rear elements
9 and the least number were the infantry forces. So it was a temporary unit
10 which joined us, it became part of our strength. It had come from
11 Slavonia, I don't know from which place exactly. And it left after the
12 20th, 21st, or the 22nd. It was no longer a part of our strength.
13 Q. The operations group is also a temporary unit, so that is not any
14 kind of measure.
15 A. Yes, but they're not all of the same establishment composition,
16 they don't number the same.
17 Q. What I would like to know is: What level were the infantry units
18 of this TG, which it also had a tank unit, I think you mentioned?
19 A. Yes, I think that it did. I don't think that they even had an
20 infantry company. I don't think they even had that.
21 Q. This unit, in accordance with this order, was engaged or it was
22 ordered for it to go into action to secure the broader region of Ovcara,
23 Jakubovac, and Grabovo; is that correct?
24 A. Yes, but it didn't receive that assignment from me.
25 Q. But the execution of this task, under item 3, says that you would
1 be issuing the orders; is that correct?
2 A. Yes, and it did not receive any orders from us.
3 Q. So this was a unit that did have sufficient forces to secure the
4 terrain where it was sent? Is that correct?
5 A. Like I said, it did not receive a single order from us.
6 Q. I wasn't asking you if it was actually used. All I'm asking is
7 whether it was strong enough to carry out any assignment that it was
8 given. I wasn't asking you about whether you used it or not. Is this
10 A. No. It was -- it had anti-armour and anti-aircraft strength, but
11 it had fewer infantry forces.
12 Q. Can you secure a building with armoured forces?
13 A. Yes, you can.
14 Q. And the use of armoured forces, when you are supposed to defend a
15 building attacked by infantry in a flat terrain, something that is very
17 A. Well, it depends on the terrain, the layout, the manoeuvres, the
19 Q. Well, this is the farm of Ovcara, it's an open area, there's
20 nothing there except plains and the road. Would tank action against
21 infantry, would that not be the most efficient way in a flat terrain?
22 A. You do not use tanks against infantry, you use infantry against
23 infantry, air force against air force, and so on and so forth. Of course
24 there could have been coordinated action.
25 Q. I'm not talking about frontal combat. I'm talking about securing
1 or defending facilities, buildings. So did the commander of the tactical
2 group, was he able to secure the facilities at Ovcara with his armoured --
3 the armoured means that he had available?
4 A. Yes, he could have done that.
5 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could we now look at Exhibit 420 on
6 the monitor. And for my learned friends, this is ERN number 0327-1247.
7 This is in the English version. We already have the B/C/S version on the
8 screen, and now it's been zoomed in. Thank you very much.
9 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, you see this, an order by OG South command 446-1 of
10 the 20th of November, 1991, at 8.00 in the morning, telling the motorised
11 brigade, the 80th Motorised Brigade, that another unit is being
12 resubordinated to it; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, it is.
14 Q. This is an armoured battalion of the 544th Motorised Brigade, to
15 which you also were the superior officer following this order; is that
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. In accordance with your answer earlier that the commander of the
19 tactical group with his armoured tank company could have protected a
20 facility, I assume that this armoured battalion could also have done that
21 with its own armoured weapons?
22 A. Yes, if such an assignment was issued to it.
23 Q. Thank you very much. But, as far as you know, none of these three
24 units that we discussed so far that were subordinated to you from the 15th
25 to the 20th of November, were not used to secure the Ovcara hangar; is
1 that correct?
2 A. Yes, it is.
3 Q. Thank you. I would like to ask you something about the hangar
4 now. You told us here, in response to a question by my learned friend,
5 with some other senior officers you went to find this building, or this
6 facility - am I right - where you could create a temporary or a
7 make-shift camp for prisoners of war; is that correct?
8 A. Yes, it is.
9 Q. Do you remember who were the officers that you went with to find
10 this facility?
11 A. I don't think that it was a problem to find a facility. It was
12 the only abandoned, empty facility or building, and you could not put
13 prisoners in any other place. It was separate and it was suitable for
14 setting up guard duty.
15 Q. Thank you. I agree with this assessment. Were you familiar with
16 this facility even before you went to look for a suitable building?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Do you remember who went with you to find this building and who
19 actually helped you if you were the one to make the decision that this
20 building would be turned into a temporary camp for prisoners of war?
21 A. I cannot tell you definitely who was with me. I don't even
22 remember myself being there. I assume that the security organ was with
23 me, perhaps the Chief of Staff, and someone else. Perhaps we did not
24 decide on the facility. We were simply told to go to the building and to
25 look it over and to see whether that can be used for our work.
1 Q. You said that you were ordered to?
2 A. It was suggested for us to go and check out this facility.
3 Q. And since you saw the building and you consulted with your chief
4 of security as far as the security assessment in guarding this building,
5 and I assume you also consulted the commander of the military police
6 company who was supposed to be in charge of the guard duty, you concluded
7 that this was a suitable building for a collection centre for prisoners of
8 war and other persons who had to be detained in the sector for a short
9 period. Is that correct?
10 A. We could not assume what it was going to be used for. We didn't
11 know what could or what would happen, but it was a suitable building to
12 collect military equipment and also to guard military -- prisoners of war
14 Q. I have to ask you, this suggestion that you mentioned, was that in
15 terms of finding a facility that could be used for equipment and prisoners
16 or was it to find a facility which would be suitable to guard military --
17 prisoners of war and other persons who would be there?
18 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch the answer of the
20 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Could you please repeat your answer? It was not recorded in the
23 A. The facility was not exclusively intended for prisoners of war but
24 also for securing the equipment that was found in the area. I don't know
25 what other purpose it was supposed to serve for.
1 Q. I understood that the suggestion given to you was to find a
2 facility suitable to secure prisoners of war, and that you were given this
3 task on the 18th of November after the liberation of Vukovar.
4 A. I don't remember the date when this was done or when we were given
5 this task. I know that we did look at the facility and agree that
6 prisoners of war could be kept there.
7 Q. Would you agree with me that a prisoner-of-war camp was actually
8 established there on the 18th of November, 1991, and that the first group
9 of POWs arrived there and they were secured by your units?
10 A. A group of prisoners of war arrived from Mitnica, we secured them
11 there in accordance with the regulations and the provisions of the
12 Geneva Convention, and we handed them over to Sremska Mitrovica.
13 Q. On that occasion you lined up all the brigade officers and some of
14 the men and the military police company, and you appointed shifts, guards,
15 to guard the imprisoned members of the ZNG and the MUP in the Ovcara
16 camp - is that correct -- or this group from Mitnica?
17 A. I designated the Chief of Staff as the most responsible officer on
18 behalf of the brigade command along with a group of officers and some of
19 the men from the military police company. I told the prisoners of war
20 that they had to act in the way that the officers wanted in order to avoid
21 problems, and that's how it was.
22 Q. You said that you told the prisoners of war or, rather, their
23 commanders that they should act in accordance with regulations to avoid
24 problems, and you probably told them that should there be any problems,
25 attempts to escape and so on, that guards should have the right to use
2 A. Yes, that's correct.
3 Q. But the commanders of these ZNG forces, which surrendered at
4 Mitnica, took your warning seriously and there was no need to use
6 A. No, there wasn't. There were no problems.
7 Q. The officers and the men guarding these prisoners of war were
8 authorised to use fire-arms against anyone who would threaten the security
9 of the facility which had been declared a temporary prisoner-of-war camp;
10 is that correct?
11 A. The Chief of Staff was there and he regulated all issues
12 concerning this --
13 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch the name.
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. I hear that they did not catch the name. That was the Chief of
16 Staff, Lieutenant-Colonel Rade Danilovic; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. I understood you to say that he was authorised to decide on the
19 use of weapons. What I'm asking is: Do the guards securing the prisoners
20 have the right to use fire-arms in order to secure the facility and the
22 A. No, the Chief of Staff was there. He was the one in charge.
23 Q. Had it been necessary, could he have issued the order for the men
24 to use fire-arms against the POWs, should there be a rebellion or an
25 attempt to escape or against anyone threatening the security of the POWs?
1 A. It would be up to him to assess the situation and decide that.
2 Q. So he would have this authority?
3 A. The Chief of Staff would have made the decision.
4 Q. Can you confirm that on the 18th of November, 1991, at 1800 hours
5 you ordered around-the-clock security at Ovcara?
6 A. The Mitnica group, yes, I did.
7 Q. Thank you. During your stay in the Vukovar area, including this
8 period from the 18th of November, were you informed by your chief of
9 security of the presence and the movements of two counter-intelligence
10 groups in your area of responsibility?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Would the chief of security of your unit have been duty-bound to
13 inform you of the existence of these counter-intelligence groups, had he
14 known about it?
15 A. Well, he could have informed me, but he did not have any tasks. I
16 did hear that there were such groups, but I don't know what their
17 composition was or who was in them.
18 Q. You said that he could have informed you; does that mean he could
19 have but didn't have to?
20 A. If the chief of security felt there were issues about which he did
21 not need to inform the commander, then he wouldn't do that.
22 Q. Were you told that in the area of Ovcara, Jakubovac, and Grabovo
23 on the 18th, 19th, and 20th of November, there were certain security
24 organs from the 1st Military District and from the security administration
25 of the Main Staff?
1 A. No, I wasn't told that.
2 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us -- we mention three words here very
3 often: Ovcara, the village of Ovcara; the village of Jakubovac; the
4 village of Grabovo. What is the distance between these villages?
5 A. Jakubovac is not a village, actually, it's a farm, raising
6 cattle. There was an administrative building there, or two such
7 buildings, and the distance from there to Ovcara was 1 or 2 kilometres, I
8 don't know exactly. Grabovo was a bit further away; 3 or 4 kilometres
9 away from Ovcara.
10 Q. Thank you. What about Sotin? How far was it from Jakubovac and
12 A. I don't know. I never thought about it, but it must be 7 or
13 8 kilometres between Sotin and Ovcara.
14 Q. Of course you can't know exactly, but we heard that you went to
15 Sotin quite often to visit your units?
16 A. No, not often, on two occasions.
17 Q. You went there on two occasions, on the 20th and on the 21st of
19 A. I don't know about the 21st, but I was there twice.
20 Q. Did this unit of yours then move somewhere else from Sotin, or did
21 you simply stop going there?
22 A. The unit remained in Sotin, it was deployed there, well-organised,
23 doing a good job. There were no problems with that unit. I probably did
24 go there again, but I didn't go there often. There were seven or eight
25 battalions; I had to visit each of them.
1 Q. Yes, I understand, it's the duty of a commander, but let me try to
2 refresh your memory.
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could we see Exhibit 371 on the
4 monitor? It's the entry for the 21st of November, 1991, at 0800 hours.
5 For the sake of my learned friends, I'll try to find the page in English.
6 It's page 74693 11824. Could we look at the top of the page? Thank you.
7 Q. You see here the 21st of November, 1991, at 0800 hours. It says:
8 "The commander" --
9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could we scroll down a little bit? I
10 need 8.00. Yes, yes. That's very good now.
11 Q. It says: "The commander of the 80th Motorised Brigade goes to
12 Vukovar and then to the village of Sotin to visit units and on other
14 Is that correct?
15 A. Yes, that's what it says.
16 Q. So I wasn't mistaken when I said you went to Sotin on the 21st.
17 Does this jog your memory?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Thank you. Do you recall that on the 21st of November a
20 delegation came from Kragujevac and Arandjelovac to visit your unit, and
21 that part of that unit was taken to Sotin to visit the unit and the other
22 part was taken to Ovcara; you remember that? As you can see, it's on this
23 page at 12.15 --
24 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] If we can scroll down a little bit.
25 It's on the same page here. Could we scroll down? And a bit to the
1 right. So that we can see the time, 12.15. Yes. Excellent. Thank you.
2 Q. Do you see now the entry for 12.15?
3 A. No, no. It should be scrolled down.
4 Q. Well, it says a trade union delegation arrived. We'll ask for
6 Can you see it now? Now it can be seen clearly on my monitor at
7 least. It says: "A delegation of trade unions and other representatives
8 from Kragujevac arrived."
9 A. No -- oh, yes, I see it now.
10 Q. "Arandjelovac and a number of representatives visited the units in
11 Sotin and Ovcara in an organised way, presents were handed over," and so
12 on and so forth. Do you recall that?
13 A. Well, there were some other delegations that came as well. I know
14 that they came from Miladinovac, and whether this was also from
15 Arandjelovci and Kragujevci --
16 Q. Well, it's in this log-book.
17 A. I know that on one occasion Vlado Stojanovic brought a delegation
18 along. He was the Chief of Staff of the 1st Military District. I don't
19 remember that they were in Sotin and Ovcara. I'm not saying they weren't,
20 but I don't recall this?
21 Q. In the transcript it says that this is a question, in fact we know
22 it's an answer. Now let me ask you the following -- oh, it's been
23 corrected now.
24 Do you recall when General Vlado Stojanovic, the Chief of Staff of
25 the 1st Military District, brought a delegation to see you in Negoslavci
1 or Sotin?
2 A. Well, to the Vukovar barracks Vlado brought a delegation there. I
3 think they were from Miladinovci. Perhaps there were people there from
4 other towns as well. They wanted to know when the soldiers and the
5 officers could go back to their garrison.
6 Q. I assume this was soon after you and your unit went to the Vukovar
7 barracks and transferred there?
8 A. Yes, this was in the barracks.
9 Q. Do you recall how long this was after the fall of Vukovar,
11 A. I think it was in December. I am not sure about the precise date.
12 Q. Well, then this has nothing to do with the entry we are looking at
13 now in the operations log?
14 A. Well, at that time, people didn't really dare go to Vukovar. It
15 wasn't easy.
16 Q. But the arrival of General Vlado Stojanovic has nothing to do with
17 this entry in the log-book?
18 A. Well, perhaps it wasn't entered. There was an officer keeping
19 this log-book who had not been properly trained do it, and he may have
20 left some things out.
21 Q. Well, yes, we haven't looked at that because it's not relevant.
22 I'm asking you about the 21st.
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, I have
24 finished with this area of my questioning. We have only two minutes left,
25 and it might be a better use of my time if I were to use it in order to be
1 more efficient tomorrow.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Very well, Mr. Vasic.
3 We will adjourn now for the evening. We resume tomorrow at 9.30.
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.58 p.m.,
5 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 16th day of May,
6 2006, at 9.30 a.m.