1 Wednesday, 6 September 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, sir.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please read aloud the affirmation on the
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
11 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.
13 WITNESS: RAZVIGOR VIRIJEVIC
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Domazet.
16 Examined by Mr. Domazet:
17 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Good morning, witness. Good morning to everyone. I'll be
19 examining you today on behalf of Mr. Mrksic's Defence. As you see, you
20 have a monitor in front of you with the questions reflected in English.
21 Please wait until the interpretation is done before you start your answer,
22 thereby creating a pause between question and answer.
23 Can you please tell us your first name, last name, personal
24 details. Thank you.
25 A. My name is Razvigor Virijevic. I was born in the village of
1 Zecevici, Kosovska Mitrovica municipality, the republic of Serbia.
2 Q. Thank you. We have some problems with the transcript. Virijevic.
3 That's your last name, isn't it? And your place of birth, Zecevici in
4 Kosovska Mitrovica.
5 A. I don't speak English, but I see that it says Razvigor Rjelic.
6 Q. Yes, yes, we know. Thank you. This will be corrected in due
8 Will you please tell us about your educational background.
9 A. I went to primary school in my native village, and continued my
10 education in Sarajevo. I completed a secondary military school for the
11 land forces. I left for Sarajevo in '83 and I completed that college in
12 1987. In 1973, that's when I left.
13 Q. Thank you. So you left in 1973, and four years later, in 1977 you
14 completed your education in Sarajevo, didn't you?
15 Will you please now proceed to tell me about your education or
16 career. Did you, perhaps, join the JNA after this?
17 A. After completing my secondary military education, there was an
18 assignment by default almost to Belgrade to the military police battalion,
19 or rather any military police battalion belonging to the security
21 Q. Thank you. That was immediately after the conclusion of your
22 secondary education. How long did you stay in that unit for?
23 A. I started in August, August 1987. In September that same year, or
24 rather -- my apologies. In 1977. It's my mistake. I apologise. I'm
25 probably going through a bit of stage fright.
1 In 1977 I was off to do a course with the military police in
2 Pancevo. It was a six-month course. After that I was appointed squad
3 commander of a military police platoon stationed at Avala, if that means
4 anything. The time frame would be between February and the 1st of
5 September, 1978.
6 On the 1st of September, 1978, a department for anti-terrorist
7 activities was set up within the security administration. I joined this
8 new department on the 1st of September. Just to avoid any confusion about
9 that department, some people say March, some people say April, the reason
10 probably being that the decision was taken back then but this wasn't
11 implemented before the 1st of September. That's when the department got
12 off the ground or started working, and that is certainly the date that,
13 for me, marks the beginning of that department.
14 Q. So if I understand you correctly, the anti-terrorist unit was set
15 up on the 1st of September, 1978. Up until that time there had, in fact,
16 existed no such unit, to your knowledge. You were one of the first people
17 involved with this type of unit; is that right?
18 A. Yes, your understanding is entirely right. Up until that time,
19 and this should be easy enough to verify, there existed no such unit, no
20 unit known by that name and no unit with that specific composition. It
21 was by pure coincidence that I was the very first person ever to join that
22 unit, in fact.
23 Q. Just one thing about the setting up of that unit. I think you
24 explained that at the time the unit was under the JNA security
25 administration, didn't you?
1 A. Yes. And I said previously that that entire military police
2 battalion was under the security administration. Formally, and in terms
3 of our establishment, we were part of that battalion. But all our
4 logistics, planning, supplies, training and assignments went directly, for
5 the most part, through the security administration. When I say "tasks and
6 assignments", I mean the more complex ones, not the kind of thing we did
7 on an everyday basis.
8 Q. How long did you stay with that unit under the security
9 administration, as you've just explained?
10 A. We stayed with that unit until 1981, under the security
11 administration. At this time there was the merger of that battalion,
12 which became part of the Guards Brigade. This is after Josip Broz Tito's
13 death, president of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
14 Q. That's right. So for as long as he lived, you were not, in fact,
15 a member of the guards, his personal guard. It wasn't before he died that
16 your unit was merged with the guards unit; right?
17 A. Yes, your understanding is perfectly accurate.
18 Q. Can you tell us more about how your own military career proceeded
19 after 1981, when your unit was merged with the Guards Brigade?
20 A. In a way we remained what we might call independent, even within
21 the guards unit. We had our own training plan, and most of our
22 assignments were carried out independently. I can't say that we gave our
23 own assignments. It was the commander, naturally. But the plan was our
24 own and we would always go on our own in terms of carrying out more
25 complex assignments, assignments that followed the logic of our very name.
1 It was as a department that we continued to exist over there. I don't
2 have a very good head for figures, I'm afraid, but we grew into a platoon
3 for anti-terrorist activities. It was in the mid-'80s.
4 Q. In addition to your regular tasks, you've also referenced a number
5 of tasks that were out of the ordinary. Did you perhaps receive such
6 assignments through the security administration, which previously you were
7 part of even in a formal sense?
8 A. Yes, there were such assignments, assignments that we received
9 directly from the security administration. We weren't even allowed to
10 inform our own direct superiors of such assignments. As a result, our
11 superiors would generally not know about these assignments as we went
12 about carrying them out.
13 Q. When you say your direct superiors were not aware of such
14 assignments, which ones do you mean, the guards unit or someone else?
15 A. No, specifically I have the brigade commander and the military
16 police battalion commander in mind. The military police battalion
17 commander was our direct superior. He was directly in charge of our unit.
18 Q. This modus operandi of your unit, did it change substantially over
19 those ten years that you were part of that unit? So I would say between
20 the time the guards unit was set up and Vukovar in 1991.
21 A. No, not substantially. There was the daily training. You know
22 what the times were like in the SFRY. Those were peaceful times. There
23 was no need for us to get involved, save for our regular security
24 assignments. Whenever foreign dignitaries were visiting, we were
25 providing escort for the federal secretary for All People's Defence and
1 also for the chief of the general staff.
2 Q. Can you tell me about the makeup of that unit, its composition?
3 Did it comprise professional military personnel only or also soldiers
4 doing their regular military term with the JNA?
5 A. The composition, and I'm only talking about the anti-terrorist
6 platoon - we'll get to the two companies later on - but my own unit only
7 included officers. And literally all of them had completed at least their
8 secondary military education. There had been a selection process, and
9 only the best were selected. This was a professional unit if ever there
10 was one.
11 Q. Does that imply that everybody had completed specialised courses
12 for this type of activity?
13 A. Yes, yes, that is understood. Everyone was supposed to have
14 completed a specialised military police training course, and as a result
15 these people were, formally speaking, military policemen. I had also
16 taken and completed an anti-sabotage course. Everyone in my unit had
17 completed some sort of a specialised course: anti-sniper's course, a
18 course in handling explosives, all sorts of specialised courses, whatever
19 was required.
20 Q. But in addition to that requirement for you to complete all of
21 these training courses, you said that it was the best and most reliable
22 that were selected into that unit. Did I understand you well?
23 A. Yes, you did. In our unit, there were no officers who had
24 received any mark below excellent or outstanding. Whoever came to the
25 unit with lower marks was subsequently replaced by a better student.
1 There was zero tolerance for any excessive behaviour. Members of that
2 unit had to be -- had to serve as a model for everyone else in terms of
3 their behaviour, skills, and everything else.
4 Q. In addition to these professional and personal qualities of those
5 selected into that unit, do you know whether some thought was given to the
6 ethnic composition of that unit? What was the ethnic composition of your
8 A. I'm telling you this now straight from the heart: I completed my
9 military secondary school in Sarajevo and the ethnic background of the
10 students was a very diverse one. The climate prevailing at that time
11 completely ignored that feature. Nobody thought about anybody else's
12 ethnic background. We represented a mini-Yugoslavia in terms of our
13 composition, our unit. When the unit was made, when people were selected
14 into that unit, the main criteria used were professional skills and
15 abilities. But in the end it turned out that we were quite a diverse
16 ethnic mix, except that I believe that we didn't have any Albanians in our
17 unit. Not because anybody had anything against Albanians. I guess that
18 those in charge of the selection process didn't find any Albanian officers
19 fulfilling the requirements.
20 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please, about the number - I'm sure that the
21 number oscillated over the years - but can you give us the number of how
22 many professional officers there was?
23 A. I apologise. I started answering too soon. We did not always
24 have full strength. Normally there were nine of us plus one commander,
25 and normally a platoon should have 30 or 31 members. I'm now not
1 referring to logistic support but rather the members themselves, those who
2 were trained and equipped to carry out assignments in line with the name
3 of the unit.
4 Q. I'm now going to ask you something about the unit but in relation
5 to 1991. You must remember that year. But prior to that, I would like to
6 ask Your Honours to turn into private session.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
8 [Private session]
11 Page 11535 redacted. Private session.
1 [Open session]
2 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honour.
3 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
4 Q. To go back to 1991, you spoke about the multiethnic composition of
5 the unit. I would like to know this: Since there were already problems
6 emerging with various republics of the former Yugoslavia, did you have any
7 officers in your unit who were of Croatian descent?
8 A. Yes, yes. We had very capable outstanding officers. I can even
9 give you names, if it's not a problem.
10 Q. Yes, please go ahead.
11 A. We had Lucic Josip, a sergeant. We had Sergeant Marinko, I can't
12 remember his last name. There was Sergeant Franjo; again, I can't
13 remember his last name. Then we had a warrant officer who was part of the
14 logistics support, Ivo Pavkovic. He died in the meantime, unfortunately.
15 In addition to him, his son also served in the unit. I can't remember his
16 name right now, but he had also completed the secondary military school
17 and was a member of our unit. There was also Zeljko Sinikovic, and people
18 say that he came from a mixed marriage; his father was a Croat, his mother
19 was a Serb. Then there was Zlatko Visitica, also a Croat. Ivica
20 Bunjevcevic who had declared himself as Bunjevac, a member of that ethnic
21 community. That's all that I can recall right now.
22 Q. Thank you. When you spoke about your unit being a platoon, I
23 think that you said that later on it became a company. Can you explain
24 under which circumstances?
25 A. In late '80s, our unit grew into a company. To tell you the
1 truth, we, as a platoon, never really saw it as an organic part of our
2 unit. There were, in fact, two platoons comprising soldiers who were
3 performing their regular military service. Usually those who were more
4 capable would be selected into that platoon. Naturally, commanders of
5 squads were officers who had completed the secondary military school, and
6 then there were platoon commanders and company commander.
7 Q. When you say in late '80s, does that mean somewhere towards 1990?
8 Was it then that your unit grew into a company with three platoons?
9 A. Yes, yes. I can't remember the exact year, but it was towards
10 that time, closer to 1990.
11 Q. If I understood you well, your platoon, as it existed in 1981 when
12 it was established, remained the same, except that two additional platoons
13 were added with specially selected soldiers.
14 A. Yes. But I have to emphasise that we were not housed in the same
15 quarters with these people. We had special, separate training programmes
16 and other separate programmes. So except for being one unit in name only,
17 we had nothing else in common.
18 Q. Thank you. You have said enough about it. It's quite clear now.
19 I'd like to now go to 1991. You must remember the events in
20 Vukovar. You were still in Belgrade at the time, weren't you?
21 A. It's been a long time. Normally when I speak of Vukovar I feel I
22 must give the history of events preceding Vukovar; otherwise, I feel the
23 story's incomplete. But, yes, I was in Belgrade during the Vukovar
25 Q. Before we turn to that subject of your service in Vukovar and that
1 of your company, let us clarify this: Will you agree with me that in 1990
2 and 1991 things started happening in the former Yugoslavia? Did you and
3 members of your unit take part in some tasks preceding Vukovar, something
4 that was quite atypical and outside of Belgrade where your headquarters
6 A. I told you that I can't separate 1991 and Vukovar from the events
7 that preceded it. I'm now referring to 1990 specifically. I, and
8 everybody else who had learned of some events, were shocked. I don't know
9 what other word to use to describe our shock.
10 I remember very well that on the 29th of November - I don't know
11 whether the Trial Chamber knows that that was the day of the republic, the
12 state holiday - on that day I was invited to come to the command
13 headquarters of the Guards Brigade. It was my day off. I was at home.
14 And I was summoned to come in civilian clothes, which is what I did.
15 When I arrived at the headquarters, I went to the duty operations
16 officer. You can verify based on the duty logbook who was on duty on that
17 day. So when I arrived there, I found three of my fellow soldiers who
18 were there: Ramadan Huric, Dragan Djorovic, and Radomir Vucinic. I think
19 that later on I learned that many of us had been summoned but the four of
20 us were the first to arrive.
21 We received an order from the duty operations officer of the
22 Guards Brigade to go to Zagreb. We were given a car. I think it was an
23 Opel Record but I'm not sure. It was a passenger car at any rate. We
24 were told to take equipment that we required, and naturally that implied
25 weapons, to put it into the trunk and to go to Zagreb as soon as possible.
1 We had a radio in the car. Since I was the most senior in the
2 group, I was considered a leader. We were told to establish radio
3 communication. I'm not sure what the signal code was, but we were to
4 report to the duty officer of the military police of the 5th Military
6 Once again, we were told if we received a response, and there was
7 again a code, that we were to continue to Varazdin. Something else: We
8 used military insignia on our vehicle, because soldiers had been harassed
9 in Croatia already and it was safer to display these all the same, just
10 because the Zagreb police wouldn't think to stop us. And that's what we
12 So the first response we got was to be off to Varazdin
13 immediately, so we did. A second time around I got another code telling
14 me to drive by the military district command in Zagreb, which is what I
15 eventually did.
16 Q. Before we begin, needless to say, I would like to ask you to
17 please put in the briefest possible terms what the objective was of that
19 First of all, I would like to ask you: Do you know under whose
20 orders you were acting here?
21 A. We didn't know for as long as we were still on the road. When I
22 arrived at the 5th Military District headquarters I finally found out. We
23 had General Aca Vasiljevic waiting for us there. At the time he was chief
24 of the security administration. He received us on the premises of the
25 counter-intelligence group. The abbreviation used is KOG.
1 There were four of us. There was a brief interview, a
2 conversation, and he informed us that people in Croatia had begun to arm
3 themselves. He said we were there to perform some assignments, operative
4 ones, and try to arrest those who had received weapons and bring them in
5 to stand trial.
6 In order to be able to recognise such persons, General Aleksandar
7 Vasiljevic showed us some footage that was later shown on Radio-Television
8 Serbia. This was all going on on the 29th [Realtime transcript read in
9 error "20th"] of November. And this footage was shown on the T.V. on the
10 20th of January, I believe. No one had known about this at this point,
11 but this footage helped us show the players, so we at least knew the
12 people we were to arrest and take in.
13 Q. Before we continue, there's something about the transcript. You
14 gave us the date when you were shown this footage. If you can please
15 repeat because I think there's an error here in terms of the date. When
16 were you shown these parts of footage?
17 A. On the 29th, that very day, the day we arrived in Zagreb, the day
18 of the republic, Dan Republike day in the former Yugoslavia.
19 Q. Thank you. There was an error. It said the 20th, whereas you
20 said the 29th.
21 Just another thing, just to make sure I understand you correctly,
22 General Vasiljevic was waiting for you right there and he was the head at
23 the time of the JNA's security administration; right?
24 A. Yes. And he specified that this was absolutely classified
25 information, not to be shared with anyone including our own commander.
1 Being soldiers we understood exactly what he was driving at.
2 We spent the night in Zagreb and we were given a vehicle the next
3 day, as well as a driver. But I'm not sure about the latter. Yes, there
4 was a driver we were assigned, but I didn't know his name because I didn't
5 know anyone around there.
6 So this driver took us to Virovitica, the reason being the persons
7 discussed earlier hailed from that area or rather that town?
8 Q. Do you remember their names, the people you were supposed to
10 A. Djuro Decak; he was occupying a post with the local HDZ in
11 Virovitica municipality. There was someone else, Habijanec. I think he
12 was the president of Virovitica's municipal assembly. Unfortunately these
13 were two JNA NCOs. But I realised later on that they hadn't completed
14 their secondary military schooling. To all of us who had completed such
15 training, this spelled trouble, because such people were capable of
16 committing -- of doing silly things. And there was another person called
17 Franjo Horvat, who was also supposed to be arrested, as well as a man
18 named Vlado, whose last name I can't remember right now. Another
19 important thing is Djuro Decak and Habijanec were based in Virovitica,
20 whereas Vlado Sabaric was in Koprivnica. He was a checkpoint commander,
21 this border patrol commander. There was this video showing him in
22 conversation with Spegelj.
23 Q. Before we continue, speaking of this footage, this video, you saw
24 parts of it, but in January it was shown to the general public throughout
25 the former Yugoslavia, the portion that you had been shown as well as
1 other things that you saw in that video.
2 A. Yes, it was shown in its entirety sometime in January. We had
3 only seen brief portions of that footage just in order to see these
4 people's faces.
5 Q. We're talking about January.
6 A. January '92. Oh, I'm sorry, January '91?
7 Q. In the briefest possible terms, what was that video about, just to
8 set the transcript right?
9 A. Yes, January '91.
10 Q. Thank you. In the briefest possible terms this video was shown to
11 the general public in January 1991. What was this about? You mentioned a
12 man named Spegelj. In the briefest possible terms, tell us what the video
13 was about.
14 A. During the arrest we were actually on the ground, right there.
15 This video was released for public viewing. There had been an attempt at
16 arresting these people back in '90, and I'm not sure why it was failed.
17 Then we were back in Belgrade and it was January. But we hadn't spent all
18 this time in Croatia, if that's what you mean, if that's of any interest
19 to you.
20 In 1991, after the arrests were made, we heard from General
21 Vasiljevic that this had been shown, but we weren't given a chance to see
22 it in Croatia. Back then I didn't even know what it was about. Believe
23 me, it wasn't before I returned to Belgrade the concern and shock that
24 this had caused in my own environment, with people all around me. I think
25 the Chamber already knows because this has been shown so many times. It
1 was about people arming themselves; it was about people being killed.
2 Whenever Spegelj was mentioning the dumdum bullets, the stores -- but to
3 be quite frank I didn't see that because I was in Belgrade.
4 Q. Before we go on to that, I would like to go back to one of your
5 previous answers. General Vasiljevic had told you what your assignment
6 was, and that this was classified information that you weren't to share
7 even with your own commander. Which commander did he have in mind?
8 A. At the time the commander of my Guards Brigade was Mile Mrksic,
9 the then colonel.
10 Q. Can you tell us exactly how long this assignment took before you
11 were able to return to Belgrade? Because let me get this straight: It
12 seems you were off a number of different times. Can you please clarify
14 A. Yes. The first time we were off was on the 29th of November,
15 1990, the four of us went, and then after that the entire group went
16 without the commander because the commander was off on mission. So what
17 happened was it was down to me to organise these arrests.
18 Let me say, though, that Aca Vasiljevic told us that everything
19 had to be done in keeping with the law; that not even the least amount of
20 force was to be used, because these were essential witnesses, essential
21 for him to be able to prove that the arming process had begun in Croatia.
22 The first attempted arrest occurred in early December 1990. The
23 four of us spent about four days in the area, observing, just looking,
24 seeing who was where and what the best way to do this was. And then the
25 remainder of the unit arrived. They arrived in Zagreb in Puch vehicles.
1 The next day, and don't hold me to the date, but it may have been
2 around the 3rd or the 4th of December, around that time, we organised the
3 arrest of this group. We went to Zagreb and then left Zagreb to go and
4 arrest these persons early in December, as I said.
5 So the whole hog, the forensic officer, the black Meraja, the
6 paddy wagon that we used.
7 I have a sound in my earphones.
8 Q. Can you hear now?
9 A. Yes, I can. Thank you.
10 Q. In the briefest possible terms, please, you completed this mission
11 eventually, didn't you, and the persons you mentioned were arrested?
12 A. No. Back in 1990, when we were off, somebody stopped this mission
13 just before the arrest was made. We arrived in Virovitica, all of us, and
14 then we were radioed to go straight to the barracks. We waited until
15 midnight. Aca Vasiljevic was not with us; that's one thing you have to
16 know. I think it was Colonel Gligorevic who was with us. And we waited
17 and waited, biding our time. And then after midnight we were told to
18 drive back to Zagreb because no arrest would be made.
19 Later when we talked to Aca, we once asked him what was the
20 problem with that, and he said the federal secretary was out of the time
21 at the time and there was no one to approve the mission, to tell him to go
22 ahead with it.
23 Q. And the federal secretary was in?
24 A. In Hungary. That's what we were told.
25 Q. Who was the federal secretary at the time?
1 A. Veljko Kadijevic.
2 Q. These people were eventually arrested. When was this and who did
4 A. We're talking about 1991.
5 Q. The first mission that you were talking about.
6 A. Yes, we did go back to Belgrade several times, and then in January
7 1991 we returned to the area and arrested the persons specified above.
8 I really have a problem with dates, you see. It's January. You
9 might be about the 20th, give or take a day or two, when this movie was
10 shown. They were arrested on the day the film was shown on RTS,
11 Radio-Television Serbia. And there are documents that show that. It
12 should be easy enough to verify.
13 Q. When you talked about these people you mentioned the HDZ in
14 reference to some of them. What were you told at the time about these
15 persons and about the involvement of the HDZ in the arming process in
16 Croatia, in the arming campaign?
17 A. I was a low-ranking officer so I wasn't told much, but what I knew
18 about the HDZ is that they were a nationalist party; they were driving --
19 they were pushing for a breakup of Yugoslavia. And it was with that sort
20 of intentions that they started covertly importing weapons from Hungary.
21 That's what I knew about it. Later on the ground I, indeed, reassured
22 myself that this was the case.
23 Q. When you say in your conversation with Atso, who do you mean?
24 A. I mean General Atso Vasiljevic.
25 Q. The second time you went to Croatia, same orders, same remit, was
1 that done the same way as the first time around?
2 A. Yes, yes. But one thing I have to say, the equipment we brought
3 the first time around, we arrived in our vehicle with our vehicle and we
4 left this behind in Zagreb in the barracks. So we found it when we got
5 back, but we flew back to Zagreb. The second time around we went to
6 Croatia, we flew by plane pursuant to orders from the chief of the
7 security administration General Atso Vasiljevic. Nobody in the barracks
8 itself, even the commander, knew what we were up to, probably.
9 Q. If I understand you correctly, your commander wasn't aware of your
10 exact remit or his officers, officers from the Guards Brigade.
11 A. No, no one in the Guards Brigade knew what we were up to.
12 Q. Did you go in military uniform or in civilian clothes?
13 A. The second time around it was in plain clothes that we went. We
14 landed at Crkaja Op Krka [phoen], and we drove in a van with civilian
15 registration plates to Gajova street. I think that's where the military
16 remand prison used to be in Zagreb.
17 Q. You spoke about Spegelj. For the benefit of the Chamber, can you
18 explain who that person was?
19 A. He was the commander of the 5th Military District. I can't give
20 you the exact year, but it was certainly in the late '80s. And I think it
21 was in this capacity that he eventually required, the commander of the 5th
22 Military District. So he was a JNA general.
23 Q. At the time when the film was shot, when you were on this mission
24 and when you saw these people on the film footage, was he still then an
25 active-duty JNA general?
1 A. No. I think that he had already retired at the time, but he was
2 appointed the minister of the army, or something to that effect, in
4 Q. Did your mission then conclude, what you were doing there?
5 A. No. We went for the third time. At the insistence of Atso
6 Vasiljevic we went for the third time. Once again nobody in our barracks
7 knew about this. We were supposed to capture people from whose houses the
8 weapons were distributed. We were told that they were distributed to the
9 HDZ members, but I can't be fully certain about this. We were to arrest
10 Belanija from Suho Polje. I can't remember his first name.
11 Prior to this, the Croatian police also attempted to arrest
12 Belanija. This was the time when they were in gaol, for the sake of the
13 court proceedings. I know that they failed in this arrest attempt, so we
14 were given this assignment, but we didn't find him at the specified
15 address so we didn't arrest him either. However, we managed to arrest --
16 I remember quite a few details because, to me, this all resembled a bad
17 movie. I couldn't believe that something like this could be going on in
18 my country. We arrested Mehmed Zeljko from the village of Zubica in
19 Podravska Slatina municipality. I remember that I provided security to
20 the people arresting him, and he was arrested by General Atso Vasiljevic
21 and my commander specifically.
22 In order to stay within the bounds of the law, we brought in a
23 forensic technician. The weapons were found on the premises. And
24 initially he confessed about everything and later on, in court, he denied
25 it all.
1 Q. Can you give us some idea about the date?
2 A. February of '91, or maybe March. I know that we had another
3 arrest, Bijelobrk Vinko, who was selling bananas on the market, was also
4 implicated, and we arrested him, took him to gaol. And then it was out of
5 our hands. Somebody else took him over.
6 Q. Thank you. We will now turn to your unit, your brigade, just
7 before they were deployed to Vukovar. Do you remember that period of
9 A. Who wouldn't? Of course I remember how we went to Vukovar. I
10 remember that well. We knew about the events that preceded Vukovar. We
11 were -- we were informed from the media. Perhaps it was exaggerated, the
12 reportings, but we knew there was a war going on there.
13 Q. Thank you. Did your platoon go, or perhaps the entire company,
14 with the brigade?
15 A. We arrived at the same time, but my particular unit, the
16 anti-terrorist platoon, went out before. We were billeted in the vicinity
17 of Sid and we were told that we were to provide flank security to the
18 brigade during the march.
19 Q. So you had set out earlier in order to secure the march of the
21 A. Yes, all the way up to Negoslavci. However, we didn't really
22 implement our assignment, because when we arrived there we were told that
23 we should join and mingle with the brigade, and that's how we went to
24 Negoslavci. A person was wounded just before we entered Negoslavci, I
25 think in Djelatovci village. This fellow wasn't in my unit but rather a
1 member of the Guards Brigade.
2 Q. Since we already know that the Guards Brigade had its command
3 headquarters in Negoslavci, please tell us, did your unit stay in
4 Negoslavci or move on to Vukovar?
5 A. On that day when we arrived, all of us stayed in Negoslavci. As
6 far as I remember, and I'm not fully certain about this, our unit stayed
7 there, but a part of the brigade moved on to Vukovar. I'm not certain
8 about the time. It wasn't on that day or on the following. I think it
9 was on the third day that they moved on.
10 Q. From that time on, until the fall of Vukovar, were you personally
11 in Vukovar with your unit?
12 A. Yes. The commander was in charge of our unit. No, it wasn't from
13 that day. No. We were introduced a day later, a day later, after the
14 brigade entered Vukovar. So from that day on I was in Vukovar directly on
15 the front.
16 Q. Do you remember during that stay whether there were any
17 journalists in your unit, staying with your unit?
18 A. No. The only single journalist who was with us was the journalist
19 of SkyNews. I think his name was Van Lynden. There was also an
20 interpreter who had a local last name, shortish, blonde man, I think, and
21 there was a cameraman. So I think those three were the only ones.
22 Q. So the SkyNews crew was there, comprising cameraman, interpreter,
23 and this journalist that you described.
24 A. Precisely. In fact, there is some footage where I was recorded.
25 I have it at home.
1 Q. Do you remember how long they stayed with your unit?
2 A. The positions of my unit were such that my squad, which was the
3 first squad, was in the first house and they were in the house with the
4 commander. And I think that they stayed with us for a day or two. In
5 fact, when we went into combat to pierce some enemy lines, they went with
6 us. And they taped it on video, and that was broadcast on the main news
7 programme. The footage shows people running, taking shelter from the
8 fire, and so on. There's some footage of Mr. Van Lynden and my commander
10 Q. Thank you. So you don't remember seeing any other journalists.
11 You didn't have any contacts with them.
12 A. No, no. Nobody really was looking forward to going there.
13 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can we go into private
14 session briefly, please?
15 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
16 [Private session]
24 [Open session]
25 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honour.
1 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Virijevic, I'm now going to turn to a completely different
3 topic. I'm not going to go into other aspects of your war experience at
4 Vukovar. I'm specifically interested in the day Vukovar fell. Can you
5 describe to me what you did on that day, you and other people around you?
6 A. I remember that day above all other days in Vukovar and how not to
7 remember it. It was the day war ended. No more killings; no more enemy
8 side. I remember that day, perhaps not all of the details, but I have
9 quite a good idea of the sequence of events on that day because I was so
10 overjoyed that the war was over. I remember it as something positive.
11 Q. Can you describe to us what you remember? Let's start with the
12 morning hours. Was there any combat in the morning? Did you participate
13 in any of it? And what was taking place that morning?
14 A. On that day, in the axis held by my unit, there was no combat
15 whatsoever. We were housed in Pavle's house. That's what it was called.
16 Pavle was a private entrepreneur before the war in Vukovar. He was a
17 wealthy man. Everybody knew his house; that's why it was called Pavle's
19 So we left the house towards the Ruthenian church, and then
20 further on towards the fire house. There was no resistance whatsoever.
21 When we reached the fire house, we heard the order of Colonel Panic to
22 halt, and that the negotiations were in progress and that it seemed as
23 though Vukovar would surrender. We complied with the order.
24 Q. Before we continue, you mentioned Colonel Panic. Which one do you
25 have in mind?
1 A. Colonel Panic, head -- chief of staff of the Guards Motorised
3 Q. Thank you. Was he a colonel then? That's my follow-up question.
4 A. I think so.
5 Q. But you're sure that he was chief of staff of the Guards Brigade?
6 A. Yes, I'm positive about that. Miodrag Panic.
7 Q. What were you told, then, when you received that order on the
8 radio, other than to halt?
9 A. We were told to wait as negotiations were in progress, and it
10 seemed as though there would be a surrender. So we waited. And then,
11 since I was standing close to the commander, I heard on the radio that we
12 were given the green light to move on. We were to proceed carefully and
13 sweep the terrain to ensure that there were no pockets of resistance
14 remaining anywhere. And that's what we did.
15 Q. Was that the case? Was there no pockets of resistance anywhere?
16 A. Yes, there was no resistance at all. I remember that we were
17 moving through the area where the school is, and then I'm not sure what
18 these neighbourhoods are called, and we were calling, issuing calls to the
19 residents to come out from the shelters. We were telling them, the army
20 is there; it's safe. People were leaving shelters. We were moving on.
21 And we were directing people to go to Velepromet as that was the gathering
22 site. People were asking us questions, and we used to tell them, Well,
23 just go there, and then following that you will be able to go home. That
24 was our understanding.
25 So we were moving on, and then we went to a small elevation and
1 entered the high school. And we could tell that the high school had been
2 used by the military, it was used for military purposes. We found some
3 food there and some other military equipment. Especially the gym was
4 heavily used and there were many anti-tank mines in one part of the
6 Since I had completed my civil protection training, the thought
7 that crossed my mind was, thank god that nobody had activated these mines,
8 because they would have inflicted severe damage. And then we proceeded on
9 towards the Catholic church, which was already on fire, its roof was. We
10 entered the church and found the priest there with nuns. They came out to
11 greet us.
12 I spoke to the priest, I apologised. I still remember what I said
13 to him. I'm slightly religious myself, but I know this is a house of god.
14 There's a war on. Let's just have a look to see if any soldiers were
15 here. He said, "No problem at all. No soldiers were ever here. You can
16 have a look if you like."
17 So we searched it. We didn't really search it properly, but we
18 realised that no traces of any soldiers present were there. And he
19 probably didn't expect us to be that respectful, and he wanted to have a
20 certificate signed to the effect that we had been there so that no one
21 else would search the church, if anyone else came around, the church or
22 search him or the nuns. Mladen Maric was with us but he wasn't in
23 command, the commander was. He signed the certificate on our behalf that
24 such and such a unit had searched the premises, that nothing needed doing
25 from there on.
1 So we just left and proceeded. I remember something happening --
2 well, it's a war, you know. Soldiers were dying. But we found this
3 accordion and nobody cared about the war any longer. There was this
4 accordion and we used it to set up a dance. We were singing this song,
5 Danube, Danube, it was the end of Vukovar, with Vukovar being conquered,
6 and all of that. So we reached Mitnica in the end. It's not much of a
7 distance, really. I can't remember right now. But it's nearby. Well,
8 Mitnica, there you have it.
9 We started calling on the people there to come out slowly. There
10 was no reason or anything, and right there that day is where it ended. I
11 don't think you could call it a war operation, but at least our
12 involvement in the war, that's where it ended and that's where the war in
13 Vukovar ended for me personally. After that the only thing left were a
14 number of technicalities, going back, that sort of thing.
15 Q. You said you went to Mitnica. Did you reach the water tower in
17 A. Yes, yes, we reached the water tower itself, and I think we went
18 through the first three or four rows of the houses behind the water tower,
19 but not further than that. We went as far as -- there's a detail there.
20 It's not really important, but it just regaled my heart. This man came
21 forward. He wasn't armed. He surrendered. And we just sent him off in a
22 column. I think I remember his name, Hrvoje Dzalto. I think he ended up
23 in Zagreb. You see what I mean? I think I asked questions later on. He
24 left but I don't think he was harmed in any way.
25 Q. So you say the only person who came forward and surrendered in
1 uniform bearing arms until you disarmed him. That's what you mean.
2 A. Yes. That really appealed to me because he came forward wearing a
3 full uniform, helmet, armed. That was an honourable act in my eyes.
4 Q. Did you see anybody else surrendering as soldiers in their
6 A. No, no, I wasn't along that axis. I was over in that other area,
7 Mitnica, where all the people were coming. The elderly, women, children,
8 some middle-aged children, they were being evacuated in the direction of
10 Q. About the water tower, did you notice at the time if anything was
11 going on on the water tower itself?
12 A. Well, it was something about who should be the first to hoist the
13 flag on the water tower, our guys. And the meaning was that person was
14 the first to liberate Vukovar, a symbol of something or other, the end of
15 something or other.
16 Q. Did anyone end up hoisting that flag?
17 A. Yes. It was that unit. We didn't much feel like climbing
18 ourselves. It was commander Zunic. That unit, he was probably the first
19 to climb up and put the flag on.
20 Q. Do you remember whose flag that was?
21 A. The flag, we were all -- the Yugoslav flag. What else could it
22 possibly have been. You know the times back then.
23 Q. The Yugoslav flag?
24 A. Yes, the one and only.
25 Q. But there were the republican flags too, weren't there?
1 A. Yes, yes. There were some flags that were not official flags.
2 But the one that you mean, of course, needless to say, the thought
3 wouldn't have occurred to anyone at all to set up any other flag.
4 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Virijevic. I think this is a convenient
5 time for our break because I'm about to move on to a different subject, a
6 different area. Thank you.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Domazet. We will resume at just
8 after a quarter to 11.00.
9 --- Recess taken at 10.25 a.m.
10 --- On resuming at 10.50 a.m.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Domazet.
12 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Virijevic, let us continue, please. We
14 talked about the day Vukovar fell, and you were telling us about what had
15 been going on on that day. What you just told us about, which time of day
16 was this, and what do you remember about that afternoon and evening, if
18 A. If memory serves, this was sometime in the afternoon. Might have
19 been at about 2 or 3.00 in the afternoon that the whole thing drew to a
20 close. I was very tired, extremely tired, and the first thing I wished
21 for after it was all over was to take off somewhere, get a proper rest.
22 That's one thing. And my other motive was to leave the area as soon as
23 possible. It was all going smoothly. Nothing much was happening. I had
24 been all along the front line. Thanks to my good luck, I was never
25 seriously wounded aside from a number of minor injuries. Since now there
1 was peace, but there were unexploded mines and ordinance all over the
2 place, mines laid by the Croats. Some of our own mortar shells,
3 unexploded, lying around. I just upped sticks with my unit, the squad, or
4 what remained of the squad, those who were not wounded.
5 I went to that cellar in Pavle's house where we set out from that
6 very morning, and we crossed the road to Mitnica.
7 Q. So that afternoon you went to Pavle's house and you rested; right?
8 A. Yes. I was fed up with war.
9 Q. What happened next?
10 A. I wasn't there alone in that house. Aca Gvozdenovic was with me.
11 I was his commander. Zeljko Sinikovic was there as well and another
12 officer whose name escapes me. It was past 5.00. It was getting dark,
13 but it's difficult to get my bearings exactly. Time of day didn't mean
14 much because I had other things on my mind.
15 Anyway, our commander came over. He said, "Get your equipment and
16 get going; get a shift on." We said, "Where to?" He said, "You're off to
17 Ovcara. It seems there's something going on there."
18 My reaction was I kept silent, but I thought to myself silently
19 how much longer. I was beginning to hope that it was all over, but a new
20 order came and we got into the Puchs. It was a vehicle that our unit
21 used. And we just drove straight to Ovcara.
22 Q. Do you perhaps remember how many vehicles altogether you had?
23 A. It's been 15 years, especially in view of the nature of the things
24 going on, but I think we had a total of three Puch vehicles. About three
25 of those, but I can't be more specific than that.
1 Q. Mr. Virijevic, do you remember who was in the same vehicle as you?
2 Who else?
3 A. Some men from my squad, those who were still fit enough to fight.
4 Aca Gvozdenovic was the driver. Zeljko Sinikovic was with me, and -- let
5 me see if I can remember. Let me see if I can remember who else was
6 there. Two of them, and I can't remember the rest, except there was one
7 soldier who was wounded, but I don't think he was there at the time, and
8 there was a volunteer who was a member of the unit. He was in that Puch
9 too. His name was Zoran Ivanovic. And believe it or not, I can't
10 remember anybody else. I can't remember all of the names.
11 Q. What about your commander? He was with you, right, or in a
12 different vehicle?
13 A. No. It was the end of the war and we were friends, but we
14 complied with the subordination principle in a very strict way. He was at
15 the head of the column, in the first Puch to leave. And Mladen Maric, who
16 was company commander, had returned by this time. He was still in charge
17 of the company because the other man was wounded. He wasn't up to date
18 with what was going on. And I think he was in another vehicle, but I'm
19 not sure. If memory serves me, I think he was in the first vehicle, and I
20 myself was in the third.
21 Q. When the commander arrived to get you, you and the other people
22 who were staying in Pavle's house, do you remember who drove his vehicle,
23 the vehicle that he was in?
24 A. The person driving his vehicle was warrant officer second class
25 Stevo Bisic. He was a professional driver with our unit.
1 Q. Very well. Can you tell us what you remember about when you
2 arrived at Ovcara in your vehicles? Was that the first time you went to
4 A. Yes, that was the first and last time that we went there in an
5 organised manner. Once we arrived, we realised there was a hangar there
6 and a group of people inside it. Stacks of hay next to it, that's one
7 thing I remember, and a length of rope marking the point up to which we
8 were allowed to go. They were just standing there. We left our vehicles.
9 And what I was thinking about at the time was why we were there, because
10 when we arrived everything was peaceful. I was look around to see if
11 there was anything dodgy going on, but it was all peaceful and that was
12 the first impression I had upon arriving. So there, that's what I
14 Let me say something else. The people there averaged about 30
15 years of age. I think -- and they looked cleaner and generally better
16 than we did. They seemed quite fit, which is something I wasn't
17 expecting, given the prolonged siege of Vukovar, the siege that we had
18 maintained. They looked like a neat military unit, good, fit soldiers,
20 Q. Thank you very much. We'll get to that, we'll get to the
21 description of the people you found there, but let me ask you something
22 about your previous observation. You say that because you were told that
23 there was some problems, once there, you were looking left and right to
24 see if anything was the matter and you failed to observe anything that set
25 your mind thinking, did you?
1 MR. WEINER: Objection, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
3 MR. WEINER: I just want to place an objection on the record.
4 Again, the summary of this witness' testimony with regard to this section,
5 he will testify to his contacts with Prosecution Witness P-001. Again,
6 we're involved in all sorts of facts well outside any of the disclosure or
7 summary of facts provided to the Prosecution. This is now the second
8 witness that I have objected to or we've objected to within two days of
9 trial. At this point we're not asking that he be restricted from
10 introducing any of this testimony and we're not asking to strike.
11 However, we are asking that we receive additional facts into this -- into
12 these contested areas before these witnesses take the stand.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Weiner. I would point out for all
14 Defence teams that what the rule contemplates is that the summary will
15 outline the facts about which the witness will testify. What Mr. Weiner
16 points out about this witness is entirely well-founded. The summary does
17 not give an indication in any way of the nature of the facts which are now
18 being led from the witness. Therefore, the need to comply with the rule
19 will have to be taken into more close consideration by each Defence team.
20 Now, the rule doesn't require that you provide a full detailed
21 statement covering every word the witness will speak about, but there must
22 at least be an indication of the material facts about which the evidence
23 of the witness will go.
24 If that is not done, there are a number of potential consequences.
25 The first of them is that you may be allowed to lead the evidence, but
1 that it will be necessary to adjourn the cross-examination so that the
2 witness would have to remain or go away and come back at another time.
3 Another consequence is that you may not be allowed to lead certain
5 I just use those two of illustrations of the possible
6 consequences. Every circumstance could open up different ones. You need
7 to be aware of those and be sure that the summaries provided are an
8 adequate compliance with the requirements and spirit of the rule.
9 Now, at the moment nothing is called for by Mr. Weiner, so we will
10 take no specific action in this respect.
11 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Mr. Virijevic, you started telling us about how you entered the
13 hangar and saw those people. You gave us your judgement about their age.
14 But you said that they were Croatian soldiers. Were they in uniforms or
15 in civilian clothes?
16 A. All of them were in civilian clothes. When I said "soldiers", I
17 meant that their appearance was such that they would have made good
18 soldiers. That's how they looked to me. They seemed fit. That's what I
19 was trying to explain.
20 Q. Did you personally speak to anyone or approach them? Did you get
22 A. No, no.
23 Q. Did you stay longer? Did you stay for a while, in the hangar or
25 A. No. In fact, I didn't even enter the hangar. I just came to the
1 entrance but didn't go further, so it wasn't even close enough to the rope
2 that separated them. There was no need for me. I had no business there
3 in the hangar.
4 Q. Did you see whether any of the people from your group talked to
6 A. Yes, there was one member of our group, Aziz Memic. I stood some
7 5 to 6 metres behind him and he entered into a verbal duel with somebody
8 from that group who came out of that group and introduced himself as Big
9 Dzo. They started a conversation. I didn't hear what they were talking
10 about. The conversation ended soon thereafter, and nothing of
11 significance happened, nothing worth mentioning.
12 Q. Did you ever find out who talked to Memic? Who was it who talked
13 to him?
14 A. As a soldier I was curious. I have to tell you that, as a
15 soldier, I was impressed by the attitude of this Croat. He acted
16 honourably. He came out, he stepped out in front of his people. So I
17 asked Borce who this person might be, and he said, Well, that was
18 Filip Karaula. I learned that later.
19 Q. And who is Borce?
20 A. Borce Karanfilov was security commander in our unit, I mean the
21 Guards Brigade.
22 Q. Thank you. Do you remember, or rather, do you have any idea as to
23 how many people there were?
24 A. Actually, I made two observations. The first one was that as soon
25 as we came there, I was struck by the fact that the troops who were around
1 there securing the perimeter were bearing very new, brand new uniforms,
2 and we had been there with two months without any new equipment. So I was
3 struck by that.
4 And my second observation was, I didn't really count the people,
5 but I think there might have been some 50 of them. That's my assessment.
6 Q. When you say "around 50," does this mean that there could have
7 been less or more?
8 A. Not less, because the other part of the hangar was in the dark so
9 one couldn't see everyone. So it definitely wasn't less than 50. It
10 could have only been more than 50, in my view.
11 Q. Now that you've mentioned this, you said that a part of the hangar
12 was in the dark. Does it mean that the other part had light?
13 A. Well, to tell you the truth, I don't know how come this was so,
14 but I know that when I arrived, there was light shining in the area where
15 these people were. I don't know how this was set up, but we could see
17 Q. Just another question in relation to this. You were in the third
18 vehicle. I assume that you were among the last to approach the area. Did
19 you see what others did? Did they enter inside? Were there any problems
20 or conversations before they entered the hangar?
21 A. From what I could see from the third vehicle, when Bisic Stevo
22 stopped the car, I saw him discussing something with a man wearing the JNA
23 uniform. It was a heated discussion and he sort of pushed him lightly
24 away. But I didn't see or hear what it was.
25 When I approached later, I heard that this was some man called
1 Petar, a commander. And I don't know what it was all about, but later on
2 he told us that an order had been issued from above, saying that these
3 people must not be touched. That's what I heard from this captain whom I
4 didn't know and who wasn't from my unit. I had no previous contact with
6 Q. Transcript line 39 -- page 39, line 3, it says "Petar, a
7 commander." I don't think that you mentioned a name. You said something
9 A. I said "captain", I said "captain" and not "Petar". I was
10 referring to the rank.
11 Q. And this bit where you were told that there was an order coming
12 from above, what did they mean by "above"?
13 A. They meant Belgrade, from Belgrade. That's what "above" meant.
14 And we knew who was in Belgrade, chief of general staff, and so on. So we
15 didn't really ask for further details. We didn't ask for any names.
16 Q. Did you at any point in time hear anything about this alleged
17 problem, if there ever was any?
18 A. I asked my commander. We were friends privately, but at work it
19 was strictly business. So I asked him, "Why did we come? What was the
20 reason?" And he said, "Some drunk captain came and started threatening
21 the prisoners." That's the explanation he gave me, saying that that was
22 the reason we had to go there that night. My comment was, Hey, classmate,
23 that's how we used to refer to each other when we were alone, I said, "Did
24 we really need to send out an anti-terrorist platoon to straighten out
25 some drunk captain?"
1 Q. How long did you stay there, in your view.
2 A. I'm not very good with figures, as I told you, but I think it was
3 about half an hour. Ten minutes, more or less. We didn't see much, but
4 everything that we saw was absolutely calm. So we got back into our
5 vehicles and went back to Vukovar.
6 Q. You say that everything was calm. Let me ask you this directly:
7 As you were leaving, did you hear any shooting in the vicinity?
8 A. Since I am an experienced marksman and I am the army champion in
9 that category, I'm quite qualified, but there was absolutely nothing.
10 There was some shooting in Vukovar but not in that area. There was
11 nothing going on in that area.
12 Q. Now, just a few words about your relations with your commander.
13 You said that you were classmates, and you mentioned several times how you
14 were on very good times privately. Is that how it remained after Vukovar?
15 Did you continue seeing him, socialising with him, not only while on duty
16 but also privately?
17 A. Well, if you've known somebody since 1983, if you met somebody
18 when you were 15-year-olds, if you were friends throughout and even
19 trained judo and were together in the same sports club, it is natural that
20 we remained friends all the way up until he left. I don't know where he
21 went. We were family friends, so it wasn't just a friendship between us.
22 Our children were friends, as was natural between two friends. It was a
23 normal, friendly communication.
24 Q. Following his departure, as you say, did he ever get in touch with
25 you by phone, in writing, or in any other way?
1 A. No. And it hurts me. I see no reason for that.
2 Q. Do you think that there was a reason?
3 A. No, not on my part. No. We were friends for a great many years.
4 It's not clear not only to me -- rather, not only did he get in touch with
5 me, he didn't get in touch with anyone in Belgrade, and I was wondering
7 Q. Thank you, Mr. Virijevic.
8 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have completed by
10 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Domazet.
11 Mr. Borovic.
12 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I will have a couple of questions,
13 Your Honours.
14 Examination by Mr. Borovic:
15 Q. If the witness is ready, my first question is: Would you explain
16 to the Court your axis of action in September of '91 -- rather, in
17 November of '91?
18 A. I can't remember the exact name of the street. I don't want to
19 get it wrong. I think it was Augusta Cesarca Street. It was a green zone
20 that was across from Pavle's house. So we were on the right flank of the
21 unit commanded by Captain Bojkovski Sasa at the time.
22 Q. Thank you. Do you know who was on your right side?
23 A. Unfortunately a lot of commanders died and I can't remember
24 exactly who was there in November. But that was the unit under the
25 command of Adem Bajic, an infantry unit.
1 Q. Did you get to know Sasa Bojkovski well at the time?
2 A. Yes. We worked in the barracks. I knew him prior to that. Yes,
3 yes, I got to know him well.
4 Q. Thank you. My next question: During the war in Vukovar, was the
5 person called (redacted) ever wounded?
6 A. No, not even a scratch. That person was the commander. He was
7 naturally in the rear. So, no, he wasn't.
8 Q. Thank you. I'm not going to ask you --
9 MR. WEINER: Excuse me, Your Honour. Can we go into private
10 session for one moment?
11 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
12 [Private session]
25 [Open session]
1 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honour.
2 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Can we now please have Exhibit 171
3 brought up on our screens, or rather my assistant will play that for us.
4 But before that appears on our monitors, I would like to ask the witness a
6 Q. Have you ever seen a film called "The 100 Days of Vukovar"?
7 A. I think I've seen parts of it but not the entire film. I find
8 that a bit saddening so I try to avoid these things.
9 Q. But you are familiar of its existence and you've seen parts of it;
11 A. Yes.
12 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Can we have that shown now, please.
13 Thank you.
14 [Videotape played]
15 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 Q. Have you seen this film?
17 A. Yes, this particular bit. Not the whole thing, but this was shown
18 on our T.V. several times, this part.
19 Q. What does the very beginning say?
20 A. "The 100 days of Vukovar".
21 Q. Can you please not cover your mouth with your hand because I'm
22 having trouble hearing you. Thank you.
23 Do you recognise the person in this frame whose voice we have just
25 A. This is Bojkovski, whose last name now appears to be Bojkovic,
1 Sasa. He was a member of my unit, my commander's unit. We exchanged
2 positions. We assumed their positions at one point and they moved
3 elsewhere. I know the man, yes.
4 Q. You saw this film in Serbia; is that right?
5 A. Yes, part of it, not the whole thing.
6 Q. Do you know if this film was shown throughout Croatia, or just in
7 some parts of Croatia?
8 A. I don't know.
9 Q. When you watched parts of this film and when you heard Sasa
10 Bojkovski say what he does, which other name was dropped as the person who
11 was allegedly uttering these words in this film?
12 A. I even said it once. I once met Bojkovski. Somebody quoted Radic
13 as saying this, because that's what the film itself suggests, which is
14 plain wrong. This excerpt has been run and rerun and it always said
15 Radic. I was greatly amazed that there was nobody to do anything about
16 it, and deny it, because there's not even the vaguest physical
18 Q. Just to make things clear for the Trial Chamber, why do they say
19 Radic, and which Radic do they have in mind? What exactly did you hear
20 when you heard parts of this movie?
21 MR. WEINER: I'd object to that.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
23 MR. WEINER: You're asking this witness why someone else or why
24 the people from Croatia who made the movie said it was Radic? That's for
25 the producers, the director, the people who made the movie, not for this
1 particular witness.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic?
3 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. The
4 question to the witness is:
5 Q. When he was listening to parts of this movie, as shown on Serbian
6 T.V., was there a running commentary within the film itself as to who was
7 saying those words, identifying the person uttering these words?
8 A. Yes. These words were attributed to the criminal Radic. That was
9 the Croatian subtitles but that was deleted.
10 Q. Did they say which Radic they had in mind?
11 A. The Radic who was convicted -- rather, I apologise, indicted
12 before the Hague Tribunal, to prove that he was a criminal. That was the
13 nature of comment, the running commentary. I can't remember every single
15 Q. Was that the sound belonging to the film that you were watching?
16 A. Yes. These very words. I even asked Bojkovski, "What was that
17 all about" and he said "Let it be, nobody’s bothering me."
18 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. Your Honours,
19 I have no further questions for this witness.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Borovic.
21 Mr. Lukic?
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I'll need to raise my working
23 temperature, too.
24 Examination by Mr. Lukic:
25 Q. I have two very brief questions for you. Mr. Virijevic, I am
1 Novak Lukic, counsel for Veselin Sljivancanin. I'll ask you two very
2 short questions stemming from answers you provided to Mr. Domazet.
3 You talked about the ethnic makeup of your own platoon, and you
4 specified its ethnic makeup. Does the name of Saban Sabani ring a bell?
5 A. It doesn't, not at all.
6 Q. Let me try to jog your memory. This is an ethnic Albanian who was
7 for a while a member of -- well, for my client you know. But if you don't
8 know, you don't know.
9 A. You probably mean Idriz Sabani, not Saban Sabani.
10 Q. Your information is better than mine.
11 A. He comes from the same place as I and we were friends.
12 Q. Was he a member of your unit?
13 A. No. He was a member of the military police battalion.
14 Q. Very well. My next question stems from your answer when Mr.
15 Domazet asked you about the flag that was eventually hoisted up on the
16 water tower. You were surprised by the very nature of that question, so
17 let me ask you this: Do you know about my client's feelings about the
18 Yugoslav flag and about Yugoslavdom as such?
19 A. I think I know him well enough to be able to say that. I think he
20 was even going too far. We even made jokes at his expense, because he was
21 so extremely pro-Yugoslav. "I kiss the very grave of our Partizan
22 struggle," that sort of thing, along these lines. It was exaggerated --
23 well, not really exaggerated. You know what I mean. But he was certainly
24 emphatically pro-Yugoslav.
25 Q. We know this thing about kissing the grave. The Trial Chamber
1 doesn't. I'm not going into those details. How did he feel about the
2 Chetniks and their insignia, insignia that were being supported in
3 Vukovar? That much is obvious.
4 A. I don't know about what happened in Vukovar itself, but I can tell
5 you in very general terms, whoever wanted to be expelled from his unit,
6 all they needed to do was just mention the very hint of it and then they
7 would be out in no time all, before they could brink an eye.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. These are all my
10 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
11 Mr. Weiner, is it more practical to proceed immediately or to have
12 the break now?
13 MR. WEINER: Either. A small break now would be fine, whatever
14 the Court pleases.
15 JUDGE PARKER: We have to have a half hour break because of the
16 redaction. You would have 10 or 12 minutes before we head to break. I
17 think a break now might be more practical.
18 MR. WEINER: Yes, I agree, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE PARKER: We will adjourn until just after 12.00.
20 --- Recess taken at 11.30 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 12.05 p.m.
22 [The witness stood down]
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
24 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, may I --
25 JUDGE PARKER: I spotted the difference.
1 MR. MOORE: Not a high level of similarity, actually.
2 Your Honour, may I deal with two small matters. It's quite simply
3 this: The Prosecution called three principal witnesses in relation to the
4 18th of November. They were not protected witnesses; they are clearly
5 Vezmarovic, Vojnovic and Vasiljevic -- Vukosavljevic. At no time was it
6 ever put by the Defence counsel that the anti-terrorist unit came on that
7 day, had dealings with those officers or those units; that there was any
8 conversation with Filip Karaula. There was nothing said at all.
9 So as the situation now stands, the Defence are intending, and
10 clearly are calling witnesses, as to this topic, where our witnesses have
11 had no opportunity of either accepting or denying that that actually
12 occurred. And it puts the Prosecution at a significant disadvantage. And
13 it's not a case that the Defence are caught unaware, because Witness 001
14 was on the 65 ter list and clearly indicated what his evidence was going
15 to be. That is one submission that we are concerned about. At this time
16 we don't know exactly whether we'll make an application to recall, but I
17 merely air it at this time.
18 The second matter: I would ask the Court's indulgence in allowing
19 me to cross-examine this witness on certain areas, and I'll explain quite
20 simply why. The Court is well aware that two members of the Prosecution
21 team have gone on to greater fields. Mr. Weiner has come in very late and
22 he did not deal with this area of evidence specifically. He has read the
23 case, but it's not the same as being actively involved in the case at that
24 time. I dealt with these witnesses and I dealt with this topic, and I
25 would ask the Court's indulgence to cross-examine this witness in relation
1 to these matters, and Mr. Weiner then to continue on other topics.
2 JUDGE PARKER: So you're seeking, really, to split the
4 MR. MOORE: Yes, we are. And it will be an application that we
5 will be making on some other witnesses because clearly the way things have
6 developed within the Prosecution team, and it's no one's fault.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
8 Now, does any Defence counsel wish to deal with the first of those
9 issues, which is essentially a failure to raise this aspect of the Defence
10 case in the course of cross-examination of Prosecution witnesses?
11 Yes, Mr. Vasic.
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I would like
13 to remind everyone in this courtroom that this subject was tackled by a
14 protected witness of the OTP, the very protected witness that was
15 mentioned here today. I personally cross-examined that witness and
16 confronted him with this position regarding the date of his departure,
17 right here in this courtroom, when he left for that particular place. He
18 said in cross-examination that it was possible the date was the one
19 mentioned by the Defence witnesses. I have to say this protected witness
20 came to testify after the witness brought up by my learned friend, Witness
21 Vojnovic, Witness Vezmarovic and Witness Vukosavljevic, these three
22 witnesses. The Defence had no reason to ask these witnesses anything
23 about this fact simply because they didn't speak to the fact while being
24 examined by my learned friend. The only witness to speak about the
25 arrival and the date was the protected witness that I cross-examined on
1 that, making it clear to him that there had been witnesses suggesting a
2 date very different from the one that he insisted on.
3 It was this very witness who agreed with me that my position was
4 possible. For this reason I did not believe that the Defence was under
5 any obligation to question Vezmarovic, Vukosavljevic, and Vojnovic on
6 something that hadn't been raised in the examination-in-chief or the
7 original statements. I think we took the right course of action, and we
8 only examined on these matters the witnesses who spoke directly to these
10 As for the other motion of my learned friend, it is my belief that
11 we should try to make everyone's work easier to the extent possible. But
12 the rule that we have always applied was one counsel, one witness. And I
13 think the OTP enjoys a much more convenient position than the Defence
14 teams in terms of our resources and our ability to prepare our respective
15 cases. The Defence teams have not been able to avail themselves of this
16 possibility when cross-examining witnesses. It is in the name of equality
17 of arms that I think we should keep the same principle now.
18 Thank you very much.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Anything, Mr. Borovic?
20 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] As for the first matter, the legal
21 interests of Mr. Radic's defence is, in no way challenged.
22 As for the other issue, in principle I shall oppose that.
23 However, out of professional respect I choose not to oppose this motion.
24 Thank you.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic?
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just to add something to what my
2 colleague, Mr. Vasic, has said in relation to the first subject. If I'm
3 wrong, may Mr. Moore please correct me. I've been slightly taken aback.
4 As far as I remember, the testimony of Witness P001 about his arrival at
5 Ovcara was submitted to us through an addendum received immediately before
6 he entered the courtroom. In his statement that we had received from the
7 OTP at the disclosure stage, there was no mention whatsoever of the fact
8 that he had gone to Ovcara at all. I think that's the way things are. If
9 I'm wrong, I think Mr. Moore will correct me. But I think the very
10 subject of his addendum was about Ovcara, and I did cross-examine the
11 witness about that. That's the first thing.
12 Secondly, speaking of this issue, namely, whether members of the
13 anti-terrorist company arrived at Ovcara on the 18th or not, if that was
14 of substantial interest to Mr. Moore and the Prosecutor, and if they had
15 known about this, they should have asked their own witnesses about this
16 and they should have laid a path open to us, knowing what their own
17 witnesses knew about this. But I really can't be expected to raise issues
18 that I don't know about. I may end up speculating, but my inferences at
19 this stage, the OTP don't want to know. I might as well be wrong; please
20 correct me if I am.
21 As for this other issue, I know that I was once denied an
22 objection when my colleague Mr. Bulatovic was cross-examining a witness.
23 I am really fully familiar with this particular difficulty, what the OTP
24 have just raised. I've been thinking along the following lines: I might
25 have a motion to raise when my own case starts due to the scope of some of
1 the subjects that need covering. I think we shall be in a position where
2 both counsel will have to take part with certain witnesses, and I
3 certainly hope that a relevant decision will be made when the time arises.
4 Thank you.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
6 Mr. Moore?
7 MR. MOORE: Firstly, our witnesses at no time spoke about the
8 anti-terrorist unit coming on the 18th, so we had no reason to know that
9 there was a suggestion of the anti-terrorist unit coming on the 18th. So
10 it's not a topic we would have dealt with in chief; we had no way of
11 knowing about it. With respect to the addendum, that is being checked.
12 In any event, if my learned friend were going to and know what
13 their case is going to be, namely, that 001 did attend at Ovcara, they
14 should -- and that was on the 18th, it should have been put to the three
15 officers who were present at Ovcara on the 18th, dealing with the Mitnica
16 battalion. As I say, we will check what the witness statement says.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Is that going to be a lengthy process?
18 MR. MOORE: Well, it's not as quick a process as it should be, I'm
19 afraid. We try and go through the electronics. But from my own memory,
20 there was reference by 001 - that was the reason he was called - was that
21 he had been summoned to Ovcara and then basically returned. And that,
22 from my memory, was included in his witness statement. By I, like Mr.
23 Lukic, am trying to go back in time very quickly.
24 But if Your Honour gives me a moment, I can check the statement.
25 [Prosecution counsel confer]
1 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, could I make a suggestion which will mean
2 that we don't waste any time? Could I seek, perhaps, a Court ruling in
3 relation to whether it will be permissible to cross-examine, and the other
4 matter, whether the matters should be put or not, can be clarified once
5 the statements have been looked at.
6 JUDGE PARKER: I've just been casting my eye down your document,
7 the 65 ter statement for the witness, 001, dated the 29th of August, 2005,
8 and it includes no reference to that date at all, if that's of help, Mr.
10 MR. MOORE: But I seem to remember that there was reference to him
11 being called and then having to return. But, as I say, that can be
12 checked. There's no doubt at all there was an addendum, but there was
13 reference to him being called to Ovcara.
14 JUDGE PARKER: In view of the need to clarify recollection, we
15 will not make any observation about the first matter at this present time.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE PARKER: As to the second motion, Mr. Moore, the Chamber is
18 of the view that there is not a sufficient justification for departure
19 from the normal practice of one witness, one counsel. Obviously had this
20 happened, as it were, as a matter of unexpected emergency this morning or
21 last night, our position would probably have been different. But there
22 has been time to consider and prepare.
23 MR. MOORE: Thank you, Your Honour. I take it, then, that that
24 will apply to the application that my learned friend will make on behalf
25 of Mr. Sljivancanin.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore, you can not take that. We have no
2 application from Mr. Sljivancanin. There was a musing of a possibility.
3 If an application is made, we will have to consider the application on its
4 merits. Its merits will have to be very distinctive in order to overcome
5 what we have just said.
6 MR. MOORE: Certainly.
7 JUDGE PARKER: You're thrust into stardom, Mr. Weiner.
8 MR. WEINER: We have no visible witness here.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 WITNESS: RAZVIGOR VIRIJEVIC [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
13 Cross-examined by Mr. Weiner:
14 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
15 A. Good afternoon.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 MR. WEINER: Could we go into private session just for one moment?
18 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
19 [Private session]
4 [Open session]
5 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honour.
6 MR. WEINER: Thank you.
7 Q. Now, sir, you've testified that you've known number 1 for many
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. In fact, you said that you first met him in 1983. Did you mean
12 A. Yes, yes, 1973. Yes.
13 Q. Okay. Now, you served together?
14 A. No. We attended the secondary military school in Sarajevo
16 Q. You served in the military together.
17 A. If you mean the mandatory military service, that's one thing,
18 whereas the schooling at school is a different matter. Yes, we were
19 together in the secondary school. And when you attend the military
20 school, then you don't have to serve the military service.
21 Q. A different use of terms -- terminology that we use in the States.
22 You were both together in the same unit? Yes?
23 A. Yes, yes, from 1973, when we were in the same classroom. We were
24 schooled together.
25 Q. And he was a good friend?
1 A. From my point of view, yes.
2 Q. And you played sports together?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And he treated you fairly, and you the same to him?
5 A. Yes, yes, as friends normally treat each other.
6 Q. That's correct. And you trusted him?
7 A. Yes, yes, without limits.
8 Q. And you asked him that -- you asked him, "Why were we called out?"
9 because you knew that he would tell you the truth.
10 A. Yes. At least I believed that he would tell me the truth.
11 Q. And that's because you trusted his word.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And that's because -- and you trusted his word because he was
14 honest with you.
15 A. I have to add to that: Not only with me. As a commander, he was
16 sincere in his dealings with all members.
17 Q. So you know him as a sincere and honest person.
18 A. Yes, during the period while we were still friends.
19 Q. And a person who you can rely upon what he says.
20 A. Yes, during the time while we were still socialising.
21 Q. Now, let's move on to a few other issues in relation to your unit.
22 Your unit returned back to Belgrade in November 1991; isn't that correct?
23 A. Yes, correct.
24 Q. And you remained part of the Guards Motorised Brigade until what
1 A. Until retirement in 2002.
2 Q. Now, I'd like to go back to November 21st, 1991, through the end
3 of the year. Were you or any members of your unit ever interviewed or
4 questioned in relation to the member -- to the murder of prisoners at
5 Ovcara? From November 21st, 1991, through the end of the year, were you
6 or members of your unit ever interviewed or questioned in relation to the
7 murder of prisoners at Ovcara?
8 A. No. What's more, I didn't know that anything had happened at
9 Ovcara. In my view, nothing happened there. So for that reason, nobody
10 ever questioned me about anything, nor did I see a reason for anyone to
11 question me.
12 Q. Okay. What about 1992? Were you or members of your unit
13 questioned about the murders at Ovcara?
14 A. I can now speak only on my behalf. Nobody ever asked me anything
15 about murders at Ovcara, nor did I know that anything had happened in
16 Ovcara. I'm now referring to 1992.
17 Q. Thank you. Now, what about members of the Guards Brigade? Had
18 you heard of anyone being questioned about the murders at Ovcara in 1991
19 or 1992?
20 A. I can't tell you that either way. Since I am a non-commissioned
21 officer, not everything was available to me. I didn't know about
22 everything. Perhaps yes; perhaps no.
23 Q. Well, let's return to your unit. Were you or any members of your
24 unit, in 1991 or 1992, asked to provide a written report or a statement in
25 relation to the persons who were murdered at Ovcara?
1 A. I don't know. As far as I know -- actually, I didn't even know
2 that any murders had taken place. Nobody asked for a written statement or
3 report, nor did we provide any. I have to qualify this, once again, by
4 saying that I am speaking only on my own behalf.
5 On the 1st of June, 2002, I moved into another unit as a result of
6 which I lost touch with a lot of people who had served with me previously.
7 Q. Okay. And then were you aware, in 1991 or 1992, of any
8 investigation in relation to the murder of prisoners at Ovcara? Were you
9 aware in 1991 or 1992 of any investigation being under way?
10 A. No. I personally didn't know anything. Once again, I am only
11 speaking from my own angle.
12 Q. Now, you, having been a police officer or a military police
13 officer previously, you're aware that when a serious crime occurs, police
14 must act quickly; isn't that correct?
15 A. Yes. But let me clarify: I was a military policeman in the squad
16 for anti-sabotage activity aimed at locating mines and explosives. There
17 is another squad in charge of what you referred about that deals with
18 criminal forensics. I'm not sure about their exact name, but they deal
19 with such issues. And I was not informed about their activities.
20 Q. I know that, sir. What I'm just asking you is, based on your
21 police training, you're aware that if a serious crime occurs, the police
22 must act quickly; isn't that correct?
23 A. Absolutely, yes.
24 Q. You have to secure the scene; you have to collect evidence, locate
25 witnesses. Aren't those required?
1 A. You described it quite well.
2 Q. You have to interview witnesses, interview suspects.
3 A. Yes, yes. And all of these tasks are in the gamut of this special
4 squad that I told you about, and we don't interfere in their work.
5 Q. And there was a special squad within the Guards Motorised Brigade
6 that completed these assignments or were responsible for these
8 A. Yes, yes. With the battalion of the military police, within the
9 Guards Brigade, within it I think there was what we called crime
10 suppression squad. I think that each brigade has it, and ours definitely
11 had it. And this squad performs the work that you described - securing
12 the crime scene, locating witnesses, and so on.
13 Q. And they also have to do certain forensic types of work - find
14 evidence, secure evidence, collect evidence.
15 A. Yes. That's their job. They have no other job but that.
16 Q. And like yourself, you received anti-terrorist training, they
17 received training in this area of evidence collection and forensic
19 A. Yes. Very technical training. In addition to the military police
20 training, they receive additional training for crime technicians.
21 Q. Now, you referred to your unit as the so-called cream of the crop,
22 the best of the best. These police officers, the officers in this unit,
23 in this crime suppression and investigation unit, were they also the best
24 within the JNA?
25 A. I was of too low a rank to be able to give you my judgement. I
1 think that they were well trained for the job that they were performing.
2 But, once again, who am I to say so? I am not competent enough to judge
4 Q. Okay. Now, just one more question in a related area, sir. In
5 1991 and in 1992, were you aware of anyone being disciplined or punished
6 for the murders that were committed at Ovcara?
7 A. I'm not aware, and I am now speaking in the capacity of an
8 ordinary citizen. No, I am not aware of that. You know that there was a
9 distribution of assignments and tasks within the army, which means that we
10 didn't know what somebody else was doing. So it may have been done by
11 somebody else; it's just that I'm not aware of it.
12 Q. Well, if someone was arrested or someone was punished for a
13 massacre, it's something that you would have heard about; isn't that
14 correct, sir?
15 A. Most likely I would have heard, yes, because it was a unit where
16 all of us served. We were all housed in the same place, so it would be
17 hard to conceal that fact.
18 Q. And you never heard anything in 1991 and 1992 of anyone being
19 punished, as you all were in that same barracks?
20 A. No, I didn't hear. But, once again, I am emphasising that my job
21 was such that I didn't have a duty to try to learn of such things. Even
22 though it was a small unit, not all of us knew what the other person was
23 doing. Everybody did their job, as is typical in any army, and everybody
24 was responsible for their work.
25 Q. But, again, sir, if someone was arrested for hundreds of murders,
1 you would have heard about that. If someone from your unit or someone
2 from your Guards Motorised Brigade was arrested, you would have known
3 about that.
4 A. I would have definitely heard about it, and I believe that had
5 somebody done that, a member of the Guards Brigade, he would have been
6 arrested back in Vukovar- I firmly believe in this- because that was the
7 state of affairs within the unit. We were brought to task for minor
8 things, let alone for something of that scale. I am now referring to
9 minor disciplinary infringements.
10 Q. But you also know that no one was punished in Vukovar for any of
11 those murders. From November 21st to the end of the year, no one was
12 punished in Vukovar for any of those murders; isn't that correct?
13 A. I can't tell you in relation to the entire Vukovar. Could you
14 please be more specific? You mean my unit? Because Vukovar is quite a
15 broad term. There were many units there.
16 Q. Were you aware of anyone being punished - just yes or no - were
17 you aware of anyone being punished in Vukovar, from November 21st to the
18 end of the year, for the murders that occurred in Ovcara?
19 A. No. As far as I remember -- it's not that I remember. It's just
20 that I don't know. I don't think so.
21 Q. Okay. Now, I'd like to take you back to November 18th, 19th and
22 20th. Do you recall being advised of any orders where soldiers were
23 warned that the Geneva Conventions must be observed? On those three days,
24 do you recall being advised by your supervisor or being advised by
25 Commander Mrksic down that the Geneva Conventions must be observed? And
1 that's with regard to prisoners.
2 A. Now we're referring to my unit; right?
3 Q. Yes.
4 A. There was no need for something like that, because in our training
5 we received instruction as to what needs to be done.
6 Q. Sir, I'm asking you a very specific question. Were you advised by
7 order --
8 MR. DOMAZET: Objection.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Domazet.
10 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe that the
11 witness needs to complete his answer. He didn't complete it, and perhaps
12 it would be clear what the response is. He was cut off before he was
13 allowed to complete his answer.
14 JUDGE PARKER: I think the essence of his response had become
15 clear, and Mr. Weiner was bringing him back to the particular question.
16 Yes, Mr. Weiner.
17 MR. WEINER:
18 Q. Sir, my question is: Did you receive an order, from the Commander
19 Mrksic down to your level, on the 18th, 19th or 20th of November, warning
20 soldiers that the Geneva Conventions must be observed with regard to
22 A. You interrupted me as I was about to answer. Every soldier
23 received this in writing before we were deployed to Vukovar, and I think
24 there was no need to repeat it every 20 days or so. All of us received it
25 in writing, the explanation on what war is and how we need to conduct
1 ourselves. We received it on the second day after our arrival in
2 Negoslavci, all of us, to the last one.
3 Q. Sir, my question is: On the 18th, 19th and 20th of November, on
4 those three dates, did you receive that order and warning from Commander
5 Mrksic that was sent down to your unit? I'm looking for those days.
6 A. Specifically in those three days, we received no additional
7 instructions or orders.
8 Q. Thank you. Did you receive an order during those days that
9 disobedience or unsoldierly behaviour must be prevented? On those three
11 A. It's hard to answer. This goes without saying. We didn't receive
12 it in the form of a specific order. But we were professional soldiers.
13 There was no need to issue orders every day about something that was
15 Q. Sir, did you receive an order that commanders at all levels will
16 be responsible for their areas, and no one has the right of retribution or
17 revenge? Did you receive that order and warning on the 18th, 19th or 20th
18 of November?
19 A. I'm talking on my own behalf. No more than that. I did not see
20 such an order. But, again, I must say, this was understood. There was no
21 need to have such an order issued. We were trained professional soldiers,
22 after all.
23 As for any other units, whether they received anything or not, I
24 really can't tell you. I'm in no position to.
25 Q. Sir, were you also made aware as -- were you also made aware on
1 those three days that acts of retribution and revenge had been committed
2 by TO members, and as a result they were warning all soldiers not to take
3 those acts and commands to ensure that such acts were not taken? Do you
4 recall that being provided on the 18th, 19th or 20th of November?
5 A. Again, speaking for myself, I did not hear of anyone committing
6 any murders in Vukovar at the time. I wasn't moving about Vukovar that
7 much. I was just trying to survive, get home to my family safe and in one
8 piece, if possible. I did not receive any order or instruction as to what
9 I was supposed to be doing or preventing, simply because I did not know
10 there was anything going on at the time that needed preventing, to begin
12 Q. And finally, sir, did you receive notice on the 18th, 19th and
13 20th of November that persons who take revenge or retribution, or actually
14 soldiers who take revenge or retribution must be arrested? Did you
15 receive that order?
16 A. I received no such order. There was no need. We weren't near any
17 detainees at the time. I'm talking about right after the fall of Vukovar.
18 Q. And finally, sir, were you aware that General Zivota Panic issued
19 those orders that I just mentioned to you? Were you aware of that, sir?
20 All those orders we've been discussing in the last five minutes, were you
21 aware that General Zivoda Panic issued those orders to subordinate troops?
22 Were you aware of that on the 18th, 19th or 20th of November?
23 A. It's too high a level for me to know anything about. Zivota Panic
24 was chief of the general staff, or his deputy, as far as I remember. It's
25 a possibility, but I certainly have no direct and personal knowledge of
1 that. I was just a warrant officer second class, after all, and a general
2 is always a general.
3 Q. I have some other questions for you about Vukovar. While in
4 Vukovar, sir, you saw soldiers from other units and detachments; isn't
5 that correct?
6 A. Yes, correct in part. I did see some, but the combat deployment
7 was such that they were moving left and right all the time and we didn't
8 cross that often.
9 Q. And at times you saw some members of the Vukovar TO?
10 A. Specifically along my own axis, I never saw a single one - I
11 repeat - TO members. I had two volunteers in my own unit, two volunteers
12 from Vukovar who were with me throughout. They felt as members of our
13 unit, and they did some logistics for us.
14 Q. Well, you had volunteers working with you. Did you see any of the
15 so-called Chetniks while you were there in Vukovar, before or after the
16 so-called liberation?
17 A. Well, let's start with before. The composition and rank of our
18 unit implied that we would have been highly irritated by the presence of
19 any Chetniks, and I'm sure they would have been irritated by us, perhaps
20 even more so. The answer is I didn't see any. I just didn't. It was
21 incompatible with our interpretation of war and struggle. We still all
22 wore the five-pointed star on our caps, but we just didn't see any.
23 Q. And after the so-called liberation, did you see any along the
25 A. After the liberation, well, when I reached the cellar - I only
1 spent a brief time out in the street - I saw all sorts of things. There
2 were all sorts of people moving about. People in uniform, unkempt people.
3 There were some dressed in uniforms that weren't our military uniforms but
4 rather some other uniforms. They didn't look like soldiers, their
5 physical appearance I mean. I'm talking about the time I spent walking
6 along that road before I reached the cellar.
7 But in that area, right then and there, you certainly couldn't see
8 anyone mistreating or unsettling, disturbing, anybody else. That might
9 have been just out of respect to our own unit, but I can't go into that.
10 Q. Did you see Arkan or any of his men on the 18th, 19th or 20th,
12 A. God forbid. God forbid.
13 Q. You say "God forbid," sir. Had you ever worked with any of those
14 groups previously, the Chetniks, Arkan and his men, or a number of those
15 volunteer groups prior to that -- prior to Vukovar?
16 A. No. No, never, nothing. Never did we do anything with them or
17 would have done. If we had been asked to, we probably would have stood up
18 to that order at any cost.
19 Q. Because you realise that there's a difference in levels of
20 training between the training that you had and the training that these
21 other groups have, these quasi-military, if you want to call them,
22 volunteer groups.
23 A. Yes, yes. They were probably people doing their regular military
24 term, and that was all the military training they had. Unlike them, we
25 had undergone training that was a lot longer and more complex in
2 Q. And these groups were not as disciplined as your unit; isn't that
4 A. That is entirely correct. Not just those groups. No other unit
5 was as disciplined as we were.
6 Q. And you were aware that some of these groups of volunteers,
7 whether they're Chetniks or Arkan's people, were drinking and looting?
8 Had you heard of that?
9 A. Again, I locked myself up in that cellar. I didn't see anything;
10 I didn't hear anything like that. As far as I know, if Arkan ever was in
11 Vukovar, he must have come from somewhere else, from a totally different
12 direction. Not during the siege, not after the fall, nothing at all.
13 Q. When did you lock yourself up in that cellar?
14 A. Not lock myself up. I came to that cellar on the 18th. We went
15 to Ovcara and I again returned to that cellar. I didn't literally lock
16 myself up. I was just spending most of my time in the cellar or just
17 outside. It's not a cellar, really. It's like a room underneath a house
18 used for private business by a man who built the house. So when I
19 say "cellar", that's what I mean.
20 What I meant to say is I spent most of my time there. I was
21 amongst the most senior people in that group, the oldest people. I was
22 fed up with everything. And after the 18th, my only objective was to
23 survive, to save my hide and not get maimed or anything like that.
24 Q. Now, you knew these other groups, the ones you referred to which
25 you wouldn't work with, some of these other groups of volunteers, you knew
1 that they were prone to violence, didn't you?
2 A. They weren't anywhere near me, but my assumption is they could not
3 have had the same level of discipline that we had. But anything is
4 possible. There was certainly nothing like that happening near where I
5 was. I did not witness any of these volunteer groups committing acts of
6 violence. But it's the same --
7 Q. I'm asking you -- I'm asking you, sir. Listen to my question,
8 please. Were you aware that these groups were prone to violence? Not
9 that you saw it directly. Based on what you had heard, because you said
10 "God forbid" you would ever work with these groups. Were you aware that
11 they were prone to violence?
12 A. Some sort, yes. There wasn't a group like us. We just refused to
13 identify with someone who was not as well trained.
14 Q. And being some sort of prone to violence - that's your statement
15 - you knew that these groups could cause a very serious danger.
16 A. Yes, yes. That is -- yeah.
17 Q. Now, while you were in Vukovar, did you see any orders coming down
18 from Colonel Mrksic or filtering down to your level that the volunteers
19 must be trained according to the rules of the Geneva Convention? Did you
20 see any such order?
21 A. Well, I was just a lowly soldier. If there was an order like
22 that, the commander would have seen it, not me. It wasn't necessary to
23 pass it down, all the way down the chain, to me. I was a squad commander.
24 I didn't see an order like that myself. I'm not saying it was never
25 issued, I'm just saying I didn't see it.
1 Q. Were you aware of the volunteers, the Chetniks, TO members, being
2 trained according to the Geneva Conventions while in Vukovar? Had you
3 heard of such training occurring?
4 A. I really can't answer that question. I simply don't know. I was
5 a front line soldier. I was just looking to save my life. I don't know.
6 Q. Now, you, on the other hand, were a member of an elite unit in the
7 Guards Motorised Brigade, the anti-terrorist unit?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And it was a section of the military police?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. The unit was comprised of officers, sergeants and soldiers?
12 A. My unit, my platoon, comprised officers and NCOs, but when you say
13 sergeants, I suppose that's what you mean.
14 Q. NCOs, yes.
15 A. I'm talking about my platoon.
16 Q. And the other platoons?
17 A. The other platoons comprised a commander and komandiri, lower
18 level commanders. The rest were others doing their regular military term,
20 Q. And you received special training to be in that anti-terrorist
21 unit; isn't that correct?
22 A. Yes. It wasn't just training every day; it was training all the
24 Q. And you were trained to deal with terrorists.
25 A. That's what we were set up for originally.
1 Q. You were trained to deal with rebel groups.
2 A. I don't understand the question.
3 Q. Groups of terrorists as opposed to a single terrorist. Groups.
4 A. We were in the middle of training when the war broke out.
5 Terrorism, do you know what that means? One, two, three minor groups.
6 But there was a war on suddenly and we were in the middle of something
7 that ...
8 Q. And you were trained to deal in hostage situations.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And you were trained for rapid intervention.
11 A. Whenever ordered, yes.
12 Q. Being a highly trained and specialised unit, your unit could have
13 been used to protect prisoners in a hostile or difficult situation.
14 A. If anyone had ordered us to, then yes. But this was the end of
15 the war. We were decimated by this time. Many had been wounded. Many
16 were at the military academy hospital in Belgrade. But yes, in theory.
17 Q. And your unit could be utilised to free hostages or prisoners
18 being held as hostages.
19 A. Yes, we were trained for that.
20 Q. And your unit could be used to prevent an attack on a government
21 building or a prison facility.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Now, on November 20th, 1991, your unit was not ordered to guard
24 the prisoners at Ovcara on a 24-hour -- over a 24-hour basis; isn't that
1 A. No, no. It wasn't an order.
2 Q. On November --
3 A. If it had received that order, it certainly would have carried out
4 that order.
5 Q. It would have carried out the order. Your unit wasn't ordered to
6 continue to take necessary action to protect the prisoners at Ovcara from
7 harm on November 20th. Were you ordered to do that?
8 A. To be frank, I found out about the prisoners after the 18th. But
9 there were no orders. I personally at least, from where I stand now, we
10 personally didn't know on the 20th that there were prisoners in the hangar
12 Q. Sir, you were not ordered on the 20th to remove any TO members,
13 Chetniks or volunteers, from the area of the detention facility at Ovcara.
14 You didn't receive those order on the 20th either.
15 A. No. On the 20th we received no combat orders at all, as far as I
17 Q. In fact, sir, were you aware of any orders being issued that TO
18 members, Chetniks or volunteers were not to be in the area of the Ovcara
19 detention facility? Were you aware of any orders of that kind on November
21 A. Perhaps there were orders that were issued, but at my level they
22 certainly didn't reach me.
23 Q. The question is: Were you aware of any such order?
24 A. I don't understand what you mean by "were".
25 Q. Did you have knowledge of any order that the TO members, the
1 Chetniks, the volunteers, were not allowed in the area of the detention
2 facility at Ovcara? Were you aware of any order of that kind being
3 issued? Do you have any knowledge of that?
4 A. No, no knowledge of that at all. It wasn't my job to know. I
5 personally knew nothing.
6 Q. Now, sir, you have no records, any written records, as to what you
7 did in November of 1990, do you?
8 A. No. No records.
9 Q. You have no diary of what you did in November 1990.
10 A. No, none. I didn't keep a diary.
11 Q. I'm sorry, 1991. I said 1990. 1991, sir.
12 A. That's fine. Same answer: I didn't keep a diary. But we had
13 people in charge of that in our unit. And I didn't really have time for
14 anything like that. I was just looking to save my life. I wasn't
15 thinking about logbooks or diaries or anything. It was a full-scale front
16 line war, shooting every day, if you see what I mean.
17 Q. And you have no agenda or calendar indicating what you did on each
18 day of November 1990.
19 A. No, no. I'm not sure if the -- if my commander, 001, kept an
20 agenda or anything. But I certainly knew nothing about it.
21 Q. And that's --
22 A. My apologies. The commander, it's not a mistake, is it?
23 Q. And you -- when we talk about 1991, you're not aware, actually,
24 what day of the week November 18th was, are you?
25 A. No.
1 Q. The 19th?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Or the 20th?
4 A. No. I had no idea what day it was the 1st of September,
5 especially contemporaneously. It's not something that I keep in mind. I
6 don't have a good head for figures, and I don't even try to.
7 Q. Now, on the 19th and 20th, you were mostly at that house, either
8 in the basement, if you want to call it the cellar, the basement, or in
9 the house.
10 A. Not in the house. The house was ruined. I slept underground, and
11 I would spend some time in the front yard of that house. It was peaceful.
12 There wasn't much going on. But it's been too long. It's difficult to
13 think back and remember everything, all the nitty-gritty. I can just tell
14 you where I spent most of my time.
15 Q. Now, you weren't walking around in downtown Vukovar during those
16 dates, the 18th, 19th and 20th.
17 A. What do you mean, walking around?
18 Q. Just strolling around. On the 19th and 20th, things were more
19 relaxed, weren't they?
20 A. Yes, yes, yes. I think it was on the 20th that I took a 15-minute
21 drive to the center of Vukovar, downtown Vukovar as you say, in a Puch,
22 just to see what it's like, the center. But that's as much time as I
23 spent there.
24 Q. And on the 19th and 20th, there were civilians walking around.
25 Did you see that?
1 A. As I was driving through, yes, I did.
2 Q. And there were various soldiers walking around.
3 A. Soldiers, yes, there were soldiers.
4 Q. And there were --
5 A. There had been a war. It's the way things usually are after a war
6 has just ended.
7 Q. And there were press people walking around --
8 A. Just a minute, please. There were journalists around but not with
9 me, not a single one.
10 Q. And there were photographers walking around.
11 A. Around Vukovar, you mean, the 19th, 20th?
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. Certainly. Very much so.
14 Q. And there were television people walking around. Television and
15 radio people.
16 A. Well, yes, sure.
17 Q. And people were celebrating.
18 A. Well, it wasn't until much later on T.V. that I realised there had
19 been celebrations. Not while there, on the spot. I hadn't really
20 realised. I saw the first footage of these celebrations in downtown
21 Vukovar several days later when I came home. I don't know how much later.
22 Q. And it was a relaxed atmosphere, wasn't it?
23 A. You might say it was relaxed, as far as that term would have been
24 appropriate at the time, after all that had happened. There had been
25 combat operations going on for a long time, and now the atmosphere was
1 more relaxed, yes.
2 Q. And people were wearing different parts of uniforms. People were
3 wearing hats that didn't belong to the uniforms. Do you recall that, sir?
4 A. As I say, I saw much more on television later on than in those 15
5 minutes that I spent driving through the center. I saw more of it in the
6 footage that I saw later on. Yes, there were people going on wearing all
7 sorts of caps. They were just put on, that sort of thing. Yes, it's been
8 known to happen.
9 Q. And a lot of the soldiers, including yourself, were not
11 A. Yes, yes. There was such a dramatic lack of hygiene that if we
12 had been clean-shaven, I think we would have ended up in a dermatology
13 ward. I did have an electric shaver, so sometimes I would just trim my
14 beard a little, just to not let myself slide altogether.
15 Q. You don't recall anything significant happening that afternoon, or
16 the morning/afternoon of the 19th of November, 1991?
17 A. I remember nothing significant happening, nothing that would have
18 drawn my attention. I certainly -- that would have attracted my
19 attention. I remember nothing.
20 Q. And you don't have -- recall anything significant happening to you
21 on the morning or the afternoon of the 20th; isn't that correct?
22 A. The 20th, nothing that meant anything to me.
23 Q. And you were mainly back at that house where you had been staying
24 or sleeping on the 19th and 20th.
25 A. I spent most of the time in the house or outside the house. I
1 can't rule out the possibility that I drove over to Negoslavci on one
2 occasion, perhaps, but I can't remember.
3 Q. And you can't say what every member of your unit was doing on the
4 19th and 20th, can you?
5 A. No, I can't. I can't say. I can talk about most in my squad, in
6 my group, but I can't say all.
7 Q. And, obviously, you have no records, you've maintained no records,
8 now 15 years later, of what everybody was doing on the 19th and 20th;
9 isn't that correct?
10 A. I have no notes or records. I had no wish to note anything down.
11 I just wanted to erase all of those events and have no memory of them.
12 Q. And some of the members of your unit were at various locations:
13 Some were at the school; some were in other houses; some were walking
14 around. Isn't that correct?
15 A. I don't rule out the possibility. As I said, not everyone was
16 next to me or where I was.
17 Q. And you can't say where everyone was, where all members of your
18 unit were, on the evening of November 19th, can you?
19 A. On the evening of the 19th, no, I can't remember.
20 Q. And you can't say where you were on the evening -- where the
21 members -- every member of your unit was, on the evening of the 20th of
22 November, 1991.
23 A. It's been 15 years. I can't remember everything. There was
24 nothing remarkable that I saw happening that would remain etched in my
25 mind. I can't say that nothing happened anywhere, but nothing that I
1 would notice or remember.
2 Q. Basically, without any records or notes, there's nothing you can
3 really recall 15 years later, you yourself can recall; isn't that correct?
4 A. I can remember important things. As for the dates, I'm not always
5 fully certain about them. But in general, when it comes to important
6 events, such as the fall of Vukovar, those things I remember. I remember
7 the relief I felt on that day, because I thought that something positive
8 had happened. This is precisely why I remember it.
9 Q. You said that, "as for the dates, I'm not always fully certain
10 about them." You said previously that you're not good with dates or
11 figures; isn't that correct? Or numbers.
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. You know facts but you really can't apply them to a particular
14 date; isn't that correct?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. We'll get back to this, but I want to ask you a few questions
17 concerning a few other matters that were raised today.
18 You were shown a video by learned counsel Borovic. Do you recall
19 that? You were shown a video with a sergeant, I think, with a thick,
20 thick moustache. A picture on a video.
21 A. Yes. He was a captain. One could see it on his uniform.
22 Q. Okay. And there was a mistake made as to the identity of that
23 person by the speaker. You recall that; isn't that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And you said that there wasn't even a vague resemblance of that
1 person to Captain Radic. That was the phrase you used, "not even a vague
2 resemblance" to Captain Radic.
3 MR. BOROVIC: Objection. Objection.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
5 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I think it's too late now, and this
6 is something that the witness didn't state earlier. He didn't state this
7 earlier that he bore no resemblance to Radic whatsoever.
8 MR. WEINER: The phrase I have is "not even a vague resemblance."
9 I can get it in the ...
10 JUDGE PARKER: I have such a note, too.
11 MR. WEINER: Page 45, the phrase is "because there's not even the
12 vaguest physical resemblance," is the phrase.
13 Q. Now, you didn't participate in the making of this film or
14 documentary; isn't that correct?
15 A. No, but I watched it on television in Belgrade.
16 Q. And you were aware that it was made by Croatians; isn't that
18 A. Yes. Or, rather, I wasn't aware, but Mr. Borovic reminded me and
19 then -- I simply paid no attention to who produced it.
20 Q. And you realise it was made by a person who did not know these
21 soldiers or officers.
22 A. If they were able to make such a comparison, then it means it's
23 either a case of bad intentions or lack of knowledge. No other option.
24 Q. Because, if you know a person or you've known a person for a long
25 time, you wouldn't make that type of mistake; isn't that correct?
1 A. Such a big mistake? No.
2 Q. So if you've known Captain Radic for a number of years, not being
3 a close friend, but if you've known him for a number of years, you're not
4 going to make that mistake, mixing him up with someone else that doesn't
5 even look like him. Isn't that correct? It's common sense.
6 A. Only if I was malevolent and wanted to set him up with something.
7 But otherwise no.
8 Q. And you have no evidence of any malevolence in that case, in this
9 particular situation in this video.
10 A. I have no evidence. If it was the Croatians who produced it, I
11 know that they were quite well informed about what was going on. That's
12 my experience. They even published lists as to who held which position.
13 So it's surprising that they would make such a mistake.
14 Q. Now --
15 A. But - I apologise - I don't rule out the possibility that it was a
16 case of lack of familiarity.
17 Q. Thank you. Now, sir, it's obvious that you didn't participate in
18 the evacuations which occurred between the 18th and the 20th of November,
20 A. No, not even -- not even close to it.
21 Q. You were not at the hospital?
22 A. No.
23 Q. You don't know who was at the hospital, which members of the JNA.
24 A. I don't know, except for what I saw later on television, B92 and
25 so on. But I don't have firsthand information, because our positions were
1 quite distant from the hospital, in the opposite direction.
2 Q. So having seen this on the television, you know that there were
3 press people at the hospital; isn't that correct?
4 A. Well, yes. I saw this on television, and then later on I acquired
5 some information about what was going on at the hospital when talking to
6 our Sergeant Jovic, who had been wounded and was hospitalised.
7 Q. So you don't know what conversations people from the press had
8 with Captain Radic at the hospital, do you?
9 A. No, no, I don't know a single word.
10 Q. You don't know what conversations members of the press had with
11 Major Sljivancanin at the hospital, do you?
12 A. No, except for the footage that was filmed earlier, when he was
13 talking to a member of peacekeeping forces at the bridge. I think it was
14 before the fall of Vukovar. That's all I know. I don't know anything
15 else. And that kind of information wasn't really available to me.
16 Q. So, again, you're not certain of the dates, isn't that correct, of
17 that incident?
18 A. Which incident? Which one do you have in mind?
19 Q. The filming, you said, of Major Sljivancanin speaking to the
20 peacekeeper. You said you thought that was prior to the so-called fall of
21 Vukovar -- or the fall of Vukovar. You're not certain of any date on
22 that, are you?
23 A. No, no, I'm not certain, so I can't make any claims.
24 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, just for timing, are we going to the end
25 of the day?
1 JUDGE PARKER: Until about 20 minutes to, Mr. Weiner.
2 MR. WEINER: Okay, thank you. One moment, please.
3 [Prosecution counsel confer]
4 MR. WEINER: No further questions, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
6 Mr. Domazet?
7 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will try
8 to put as few questions as possible in my redirect.
9 Re-examined by Mr. Domazet:
10 Q. Let's deal with the last topic. You said out of all that footage,
11 you remember one in particular involving the peacekeeper, and you spoke
12 about that. When did you watch that?
13 A. I watched that footage when I came home, after all the combat had
14 ended, and that's how I know it.
15 Q. Is that why you can't be certain about the date of that
17 A. Yes. How could I remember something like that? This was
18 transpiring in a place distant from our positions, and I'm trying not to
19 memorise things that are of no concern of mine.
20 Q. My learned friend put many questions to you as to what you were
21 able to observe or what you were able to know about the tasks of other
22 units, and he especially focused on Territorial Defence and the Chetniks.
23 Were you in the position to see or to exercise any control over the
24 conduct of those units in combat?
25 A. No, no. Nobody in their right mind would send Chetniks anywhere
1 near us.
2 Q. When you mentioned Arkan, you said, "God forbid," and as far as I
3 remember, that referred to him and his people, not to anybody else.
4 A. That's precisely how it was.
5 Q. Did you at that point have in mind some other units, volunteer or
6 Chetniks units, or did you only have Arkan in mind?
7 A. At that particular point I only had Arkan in mind.
8 Q. When asked whether these other units had a lesser degree of
9 discipline, you said yes, but I don't think that it was clear enough. I
10 think that you continued on, saying that you believed your unit was the
11 most disciplined one. Do you mean more than other JNA units?
12 A. At that time it was the most disciplined unit which exercised a
13 great degree of self-discipline, too. When I say "self-discipline," that
14 means that each of us was well aware of our own duties and
15 responsibilities. We required no additional instruction.
16 Q. Is that in line with the explanation you gave as to how you
17 received the rules of conduct once and there was no need for you to
18 receive it again?
19 A. Yes. We went through four or five years of very serious military
20 training, so naturally there was no need for us to repeat to us on a daily
21 basis something that we had known already.
22 Q. Since my colleague asked you about the other units, do you know
23 whether other units received such instructions or not?
24 A. Listen, when you are on the front, you have no time to inquire as
25 to who got which instructions. You're just trying to save your life. So
1 I was in no position to inquire about these things.
2 Q. One of the questions was whether you saw anybody committing any
3 crime. You said no. And my question to you is: Had you encountered a
4 situation where somebody was taking revenge on somebody, would you have
5 prevented that? Would you have reported that person?
6 A. Reported is an understatement. Had I come across such a thing, I
7 would have personally liquidated such a person. I would have personally
8 dealt with it. Had I come across somebody killing somebody, I would have
9 drawn out my weapon and stopped him from doing that.
10 Q. Thank you. Then you spoke about the events of '91 and '92, and
11 then you said that you moved to a different unit. But then you gave the
12 date of the 1st June 2002. Was that correct? Is that the date when you
13 were transferred to a different unit?
14 A. No, no, no. I said that but I'm sure it was a mistake in the
15 transcript. In 1992, after my service in Vukovar, on the 1st June 1992, I
16 moved to the anti-sabotage unit. Its tasks are well known. And then in
17 2002 I retired.
18 Q. So what was recorded in the transcript that you moved to a
19 different unit on the 1st of June, 1992, was a mistake.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. My learned friend put a lot of questions to you about your
22 relationship with your commander and how much faith you had in him. You
23 were saying how, at the time when you were with him, he used to tell the
24 truth to everyone. But if I were to tell you that he stated here that he
25 went to Ovcara on the 20th --
1 MR. WEINER: I object. I object. We're outside the scope of the
2 cross-examination, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE PARKER: I can't see that proposition, Mr. Weiner, but I can
4 see difficulty with the way this question is shaping. So on a different
5 basis from what Mr. Weiner is putting, Mr. Domazet, I don't think that's a
6 proper form of question.
7 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] All right, Your Honour. No problem
8 whatsoever. I will withdraw the question.
9 Q. When you spoke earlier about what you would have done had you
10 learned of somebody committing a crime or misconducting, do you know that
11 that reaction was typical for everyone in your unit, all the way up to
12 Commander Mrksic?
13 MR. WEINER: I object. That's outside the scope of
14 cross-examination. Now he's asking to clarify an answer that he received
15 on an issue raised in redirect examination.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Perhaps more to the point, Mr. Domazet, you are
17 clearly asking this witness to conject, because he cannot know what
18 everyone else in his unit, or even what his commanding -- the commanding
19 officer of his brigade, would personally have thought about those
20 situations. It's just beyond his possible knowledge.
21 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you. I meant not just him
22 personally. But I have a couple of questions left.
23 Q. You say you did not take part in any evacuations or anything like
24 that. Do you know about the day of the fall of Vukovar? Did any of your
25 colleagues, perhaps, help the civilian population in any way on that day?
1 A. We had this professional person, Stevo Bisic, he was our logistics
2 man. He wasn't at the front line all the time. He was our driver. He
3 may have taken part in something. I suppose some people were involved,
4 but I didn't specifically see anything like that, simply because I was not
5 in all those places.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 A. I can't say yes and I can't say no, since ...
8 Q. You've said it yourself, you've answered my questions and my
9 learned friend's questions, you don't have a very good head for dates.
10 That is a fact. You don't even try. That's why I didn't even press you
11 on dates. However, the day of the fall of Vukovar, you said that was
12 important, because on that day, a day you described thoroughly today, the
13 only time you went to Ovcara occurred on that day; right, with your unit?
14 A. I'm speaking under oath here --
15 MR. WEINER: I'd object to that. That's a speech that's leading.
16 That's not redirect examination.
17 JUDGE PARKER: I think the effect of it, I've been trying to find
18 what the ultimate harm is, and the ultimate harm -- the ultimate point of
19 the question is: Was there something significant about the day of the
20 fall of Vukovar which imprinted that on your memory, making it different
21 from any other day.
22 MR. WEINER: That's the proper question to ask.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Weiner, but I think that's the
24 effect of what was being asked.
25 In that sense, go ahead, Mr. Domazet.
1 Do you have an answer, sir?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
3 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Yes.
5 A. Yes, I'm repeating this. This day remains etched in my memory
6 because that was the end of the war. No more killing. No more daily
7 danger. Will I survive? Will I not survive? So that's why that day
8 remains etched in my memory. Later, all these dates, they just passed me
9 by. I no longer cared. I was just looking to get out. That was all.
10 Q. My last question -- my last question: Since Ovcara was brought
11 up, if anyone were to say to you that your unit was there on a different
12 day and not the day of the fall of Vukovar, would they be telling the
14 A. No, that person would not be telling the truth and --
15 MR. WEINER: I object and I move to strike.
16 JUDGE PARKER: On what basis, Mr. Weiner?
17 MR. WEINER: Will they be telling the truth? You're asking one
18 person to comment on the credibility of another person. Can they be
19 wrong --
20 JUDGE PARKER: Can I reformulate the question, Mr. Weiner, just to
21 make you happy?
22 MR. WEINER: Yes, Your Honour, please.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Is it possible that the events you've described at
24 Ovcara could have occurred on some other date than the 18th of November,
25 which you've spoken about?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Never did I mention the 18th.
2 This --
3 JUDGE PARKER: That's very observant of you. You're correct, yes.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This occurred on the day Vukovar
5 fell. I know how hard I found it when I settled down to be told by my
6 commander, "Let's go, let's move on." That's one thing that stays with
7 me, etched in my memory, this one reaction. I had already been telling
8 myself, the war is over, it's all over, and suddenly I was called up by
9 someone and being told to go somewhere. So it's a natural reaction.
10 So this is something I remember in a particularly vivid way. And
11 I certainly never mentioned the 18th.
12 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I have no more
13 questions for this witness.
14 Thank you, Your Honours.
15 MR. WEINER: Can I re-cross?
16 JUDGE PARKER: No, Mr. Weiner.
17 Mr. Borovic.
18 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, do I have that right?
19 JUDGE PARKER: No, Mr. Borovic.
20 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 JUDGE PARKER: We're ready, Mr. Vasic, are we for another witness
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'll be quick.
24 Unfortunately the news is all bad today. The Victims and Witnesses Unit
25 has informed us that, although our witnesses do have all the required
1 visas, it just wasn't possible to get them on that plane today. Despite
2 us being adamant that they should be arriving today, we have just received
3 information to indicate that our two witnesses will be arriving tomorrow
4 and another two witnesses on Saturday. This is getting up to pace now.
5 We are processing nine witnesses. They've all been granted visas, and
6 it's just a technical matter of having them sent over. It's about flights
7 and about delayed flights. Unfortunately, with all the apologies due,
8 that is the best I can say for the time being. This is not something that
9 depends on us.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, that last comment cannot go unnoticed.
11 This should have been done weeks ago by you, the Defence. We must adjourn
12 now until Friday, at 9 a.m., for the obvious reason indicated.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.49 p.m.,
14 to be reconvened on Friday, the 8th day of
15 September, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.