1 Monday, 16 October 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.19 p.m.
5 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. It will be necessary for us to sit
7 without Judge Van den Wyngaert, we believe just this afternoon, and we'll
8 therefore sit in accordance with Rule 15 bis.
9 Mr. Moore.
10 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, may I just deal with one or two small
11 administrative matters at the start of the week, because it really has to
12 do with the running of the trial.
13 Clearly, there is a continuation of cross-examination today.
14 There will be one more Radic witness to be called, dealing principally
15 with two areas. It may well be that that will not take a long period of
16 time. Then there is, I believe, one final quasi fact witness tomorrow,
17 and I believe Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we are sitting full days;
18 Friday, the normal day, as I will call it.
19 JUDGE PARKER: I thought it was only Tuesday and Wednesday.
20 MR. MOORE: Well, I asked certain members and I was told Tuesday,
21 Wednesday, Thursday. I know we'll all be devastated if we're not sitting
22 a full day on Thursday.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Well, we couldn't get a court on Thursday when I
24 last heard, but if you've found one, Mr. Moore, we're pleased to
25 accommodate you.
1 MR. MOORE: I won't look too hard.
2 In any event, there is an expert to be called on behalf of
3 Mr. Radic. Working out our timings, we had hoped and believed, actually,
4 that that witness would perhaps start his evidence tomorrow,
5 approximately -- well, the afternoon, and we thought that the
6 cross-examination would probably conclude by Wednesday afternoon.
7 Therefore -- well, it may be at the end of Wednesday. But certainly, it
8 brings into play Thursday and Friday, what may occur.
9 We have looked at the case as a whole, and we had hoped that the
10 evidence would conclude in toto by the end of November, perhaps the start
11 of December, and we had believed that it might be possible for the written
12 work, the submissions by both Prosecution and Defence, to be in just
13 before Christmas. Now, that may be an overly optimistic estimate, but
14 certainly it is one of the options that seem to remain.
15 If that isn't the case, then I would have thought, given the
16 holidays, the Christian holidays and the Orthodox Christian holidays in
17 Serbia, it would be unlikely, then, that the written work would not be
18 sought by the Court before the end of the second week in January. And it
19 really, then, begs the question whether, in actual fact, Mr. Sljivancanin
20 will be commencing his evidence on Thursday.
21 The reason I ask is as follows: We have asked twice now for
22 clarification on certain issues, factual issues. The 65 ter summaries are
23 two pages only. We have put in, again, another request for details. But
24 if the case for Sljivancanin were to start on Thursday and it were to go
25 over, what I will call, the four-day break - Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and
1 Tuesday - that would be analogous to giving the Prosecution notice of the
2 issues that were to arise and therefore we could start on the Thursday or
3 the Friday.
4 I would just seek the Court's guidance in relation to that,
5 because clearly plans have to be made by all parties, both Prosecution,
6 Defence, and obviously the Bench as well.
7 JUDGE PARKER: I lost the thread partway through. Are you
8 proposing that we move to the Sljivancanin case on Thursday or the
9 following Wednesday?
10 MR. MOORE: I would suggest Thursday, because it's two days, it's
11 two full days, and then we would have the equivalent of the notice that is
12 really not obvious in the 65 ter summaries. The 65 ter summaries are
13 still inadequate. They don't deal with factual matters in sufficient
14 detail. We have, again, asked for those details to be clarified. If the
15 Sljivancanin case were to start on Thursday, then he would be through most
16 of his evidence and we would know what the issues would be, and we'd have
17 an appropriate time to consider them. If he were to start on the
18 following Wednesday, without any notice from the Defence or any additional
19 notice, we may find ourselves asking for time because we are not aware,
20 still, of many of the issues.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Well, that doesn't depend on starting time; that
22 depends upon you receiving additional information.
23 MR. MOORE: Yes, it does.
24 JUDGE PARKER: And that will be arrived whether we start on
25 Thursday or the following Wednesday. It should be available at the same
2 MR. MOORE: Well, one would hope so. But I understand the
3 difficulties my friend has, my learned friend Mr. Lukic has, on time. He
4 has a large case to control. I understand that. What I am concerned
5 about is that proofing notes may come in on Monday or Tuesday of next
6 week, when most people will not be available. That's what's concerning me
7 more than anything else. People have made other arrangements.
8 JUDGE PARKER: But isn't that going to happen whether we start on
9 Thursday, if that's possible, or the following Wednesday?
10 MR. MOORE: If we start on Thursday, and Sljivancanin gives his
11 evidence - let us say it's two days - then we know exactly what the issues
12 are going to be and we can proceed and continue on the Wednesday, and we
13 make up two days.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Is it notice of the evidence -- the factual matters
15 to be dealt with by Mr. Sljivancanin or factual matters to be dealt with
16 by other witnesses that you need?
17 MR. MOORE: Initially, clearly, Mr. Sljivancanin, because he is
18 the trunk of the tree. So it is the Sljivancanin 65 ter summaries that we
19 are concerned about. Clearly, there are other witnesses. It may require
20 amendment by my learned friend Mr. Lukic; it may require clarification.
21 But as matters stand now -- and I don't know if the Court has got the 65
22 ter summaries. I think it is three pages. And with regard to the 20th, I
23 think it is no more than about six lines. And when one thinks about
24 various issues, for example, did Sljivancanin meet Vujic? Did he speak to
25 Vujic? Did he have the briefing at 6.00 in the morning? How long did
1 Sljivancanin stay at the hospital? Was he part of the re-selection
2 process? Did he ever visit the JNA barracks? Although we have formative
3 of challenge on that. Did he ever visit Ovcara?
4 There are number of matters that specifically relate to the 20th
5 that clearly are matters that concern us and, I suspect, concern the
6 Bench. So we need to have some form of notice, in accurate and precise
7 form, to deal with that.
8 Pulling up transcripts, checking other matters, such as documents,
9 are not always easy; they take time. So if we start on Thursday, then we
10 will have sufficient time.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Well, you've raised a number of issues. I don't
12 believe all of them can be dealt with today. The first is when you will
13 receive adequate notice of the facts, the material facts, at least, that
14 will be the subject of evidence by Mr. Sljivancanin and then by his other
16 MR. MOORE: Yes.
17 JUDGE PARKER: The second is whether the progress of the trial
18 this week will be such that it will be sensible and practical to start the
19 Sljivancanin defence this week, or whether it would be preferably delayed
20 to the Wednesday of the next.
21 Now, beyond that, you're wanting to look into crystal balls about
22 December and January and February or March --
23 MR. MOORE: No, not February and not March.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Well, yes, I keep remembering a year ago,
25 Mr. Moore.
1 MR. MOORE: So do I.
2 JUDGE PARKER: I think at this point it may be too much to ask
3 for, to think that we will have very clear dates about that at the moment.
4 MR. MOORE: Yes. And just --
5 JUDGE PARKER: Let's just deal with the immediate and then see how
6 the future lies.
7 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I am not worried for myself. I am not
8 concerned for myself. I --
9 JUDGE PARKER: I thought you were.
10 MR. MOORE: No, not in the slightest. I live in this jurisdiction
11 and therefore it does not create difficulties for me. But there are other
12 people who have to make arrangements, and they have long ways to travel
13 and it's very difficult to know exactly when it is they are able to book.
14 Those are the people I concern myself for.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Even the Presiding Judge might live a little
16 distance from here.
17 MR. MOORE: Yes. But Your Honour makes the rules; I only obey
19 JUDGE PARKER: I have to make them within a framework, Mr. Moore.
20 MR. MOORE: Very well.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
22 Mr. Lukic, a great deal of interest attaches to you.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. I'm not
24 sure where to start. I was not thinking about raising that issue today,
25 but Mr. Moore clearly put me to it.
1 As for the length of the Defence case, I thought there was a
2 ruling by the Chamber on that, on how long our case should take; that was
3 certainly my guiding light when I was drawing up my schedule and the
4 specific order of witnesses appearing before the Chamber.
5 As for the summaries, I got an e-mail from Mr. Moore today. We've
6 discussed that already. Although we do normally talk about any problems
7 that might arise, we are working on it and I think tomorrow we'll have a
8 more detailed summary relative to all the points that would be raised in
9 the examination-in-chief.
10 I have no intention of answering Mr. Moore's questions in that
11 summary, but I have every intention of informing him of all the -- giving
12 him notice of all the material facts that the witness will be addressing
13 during the examination-in-chief. This detailed summary will be submitted
14 to both Mr. Moore and the Chamber.
15 Another matter that has arisen and seems to be problematic for me
16 and our Defence team is the following: If, indeed, we start on Thursday -
17 and this is something that I mentioned some days ago; however, there seems
18 to be a rather technical problem now - if we start Mr. Sljivancanin's
19 testimony on Thursday, we only have the next two days left to proof him
20 and be finished by 8.00 in the evening. We saw him today and we have
21 visits scheduled for tomorrow, the day after tomorrow. The authorities
22 from the Detention Unit tell us it normally takes between one and two
23 hours before they can actually talk to us. And 1945 hours in the evening
24 seems to be the latest we can stay there, and yet we have to put him on
25 the witness stand in a condition which can only be described as exhausted,
1 and that applies equally to him and to us.
2 I know you are going to say we have been doing this for a long
3 time, but it's like a college student, you know, we always need one more
4 day. We have been preparing for the 23rd and the 24th of October, to
5 spend these two days proofing the witness for his testimony. This was the
6 principal reason we meant to ask the Chamber to start as previously
7 determined and ruled upon. The deadline is clear, I believe more so than
8 either of the two other Defence teams or the OTP themselves. We know
9 exactly when the trial ends, and that also puts an end to our case.
10 The 33 working days seems to be the framework for our Defence
11 case, and it seems to be set in stone. The evidence, as Mr. Moore has
12 suggested himself, is quite material. We'll make sure to be submitting to
13 him a detailed summary and we'll make sure that he knows anything that he
14 might want to know about any of our future witnesses, any of the documents
15 that we shall be tendering in relation to Mr. Sljivancanin. And we shall
16 certainly abide by the framework set for his testimony.
17 It would be very helpful to us to start his testimony next
18 Wednesday, and Mr. Moore should have sufficient time. At the very latest,
19 the day after tomorrow, he receives a detailed summary and that should
20 allow him plenty of time to prepare properly.
21 What is really not so helpful is we'll spend the following two
22 days in the courtroom, both morning and afternoon, and then putting
23 Mr. Sljivancanin on the stand right after would not be so convenient,
24 whereas we might get the two days next week that we could really use.
25 This is not an application to have the deadline as scheduled
1 extended or deferred. But we think the 25th should be the day we start,
2 first, with a brief opening statement and then with Mr. Sljivancanin's
3 testimony. It is in our best interest to keep track of time and to keep
4 the testimony running according to schedule.
5 JUDGE PARKER: There seems no inclination of any other Defence
6 team to speak.
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE PARKER: The Chamber has previously indicated that we plan
9 for evidence in the Defence case of Mr. Sljivancanin to finish no later
10 than the Friday, the first full week of December. Mr. Lukic seems at ease
11 in his mind that that can be accomplished with the commencement of
12 Wednesday of next week. To give both Mr. Sljivancanin and Mr. Lukic and
13 those assisting, on the one hand, and Mr. Moore and those assisting him,
14 on the other, every reasonable opportunity, we will therefore commence the
15 Sljivancanin Defence case on Wednesday of next week.
16 We are comforted by the assurances that there will be attention
17 given in the course of this week and before the end of this week by
18 Mr. Lukic to the concerns of Mr. Moore about notice. That being so, with
19 the long weekend to follow, matters should be entirely on track for a
20 commencement of the evidence on Wednesday of next week.
21 If there are no further reasons to have to delay the trial, that,
22 of course, will lead us to the end of the Defence case by, I think it is,
23 Friday, the 8th of December. We have only the week following, if there is
24 any slip-up or difficulty. I think all parties would see that it would be
25 extremely beneficial for everybody concerned if we can be sure to have the
1 evidence behind us before we break at the end of this year.
2 So, from the Chamber's point of view, we will be proceeding with
3 that objective. I hope it will be with the full and ready assistance of
4 all parties.
5 I think, Mr. Moore, that is as far as we should go today.
6 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much. That's very helpful. Could I,
7 however, ask for the Court to make an order that we have the supplementary
8 65 ter summaries by end of business tomorrow. There has been a
9 considerable time for the Defence to prepare these summaries. It is not,
10 I would submit, an unreasonable request, rather than have it open-ended.
11 JUDGE PARKER: The end of business on Thursday, Mr. Moore.
12 MR. MOORE: That, Your Honour, with the utmost respect, is unfair
13 and I would submit --
14 JUDGE PARKER: You may consider that, Mr. Moore, but don't stretch
15 things too far --
16 MR. MOORE: Your Honour --
17 JUDGE PARKER: -- it will be Thursday.
18 MR. MOORE: -- might I indicate why there would be difficulties?
19 JUDGE PARKER: You have indicated enough. Thank you, Mr. Moore.
20 Could we have the witness, please.
21 [The witness entered court]
22 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon, sir. May I remind you of the
23 affirmation you made at the beginning of your evidence, which still
24 applies. Now Mr. Weiner is continue with his questions.
25 Mr. Weiner.
1 MR. WEINER: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 WITNESS: WITNESS 2D4 [Resumed]
3 [Witness answered through interpreter]
4 Cross-examination by Mr. Weiner: [Continued]
5 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
6 A. Good afternoon.
7 Q. Now, last Friday when we left off, we were discussing November
8 19th at the Vukovar Hospital. Do you recall that, sir?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Thank you. Now, you didn't enter the hospital with Captain Radic
11 on November 19th. You didn't walk through the hospital with him, did you,
13 A. On the 19th, with Captain Radic and the soldiers, we came to the
14 hospital and secured it.
15 Q. You didn't enter or go inside the hospital with Captain Radic on
16 the 19th, did you?
17 A. Captain Radic was next to the hospital when I found him.
18 Q. My question is: At any time did you enter the hospital with
19 Captain Radic? While Captain Radic was inside the hospital, were you with
21 A. As far as I know, Captain Radic was not in the hospital.
22 Q. You never saw him enter the hospital, sir?
23 A. No. Captain Radic was not in the hospital.
24 Q. Sir, would it surprise you that Captain Radic testified last week
25 that he was inside the hospital? Would that surprise you?
1 A. I did not see Captain Radic in the hospital, nor did I find him
2 there when I reported on the aforementioned.
3 Q. So you don't know what Captain Radic was doing in that hospital,
4 do you?
5 A. Captain Radic was next to the hospital.
6 Q. But while he was inside the hospital, you don't know what he was
8 A. I found Captain Radic next to the hospital. I don't know whether
9 he had been inside, because he was next to the building, on the external
10 side of the building.
11 Q. While you were outside the building, searching for clothes and
12 other objects, you don't know what Captain Radic was doing, do you?
13 A. First of all, we were not searching for these clothes; we just
14 found them. As far as I know, as far as I know, Captain Radic was outside
15 the hospital.
16 Q. But if you were on the other side or in the back of the hospital,
17 you couldn't tell where Captain Radic was; that's why you had to go look
18 for him.
19 A. Yes. And when I found Captain Radic, he was outside the hospital,
20 on the external side.
21 Q. And did you ask him whether or not he went into the hospital when
22 you found him?
23 A. Could I ask you to repeat the question, because I did not hear it
24 right through these headphones.
25 Q. Sure, sir. When you found Captain Radic, did you ask him if he
1 went inside the hospital?
2 MR. WEINER: Is there a technical problem?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, now. Yes.
4 MR. WEINER:
5 Q. Okay, sir. When you found Captain Radic, did you ask him if he
6 had gone inside the hospital?
7 A. Me? Yes.
8 Q. So you had asked him. And what was his answer?
9 A. I would kindly ask you to repeat your question because I was being
10 interrupted twice. I didn't manage to hear your question. I mean I
11 didn't hear the interpretation of your question.
12 Q. Certainly. When you found Captain Radic, did you ask him if he
13 had gone into the hospital?
14 A. I ran up to Captain Radic and I reported to him about what I had
15 found. Captain Radic, in that area where he was, ordered the soldiers to
16 be in a state of full combat readiness. And together with him, I ran in
17 the direction which I marked on the sketch and we ran to that place. So I
18 did not talk to Captain Radic; I just reported to him what it was that we
19 had found.
20 Q. Now -- so that's no. So when you saw Captain Radic, you said you
21 warned him that there could be an ambush, that it was a dangerous
22 situation. Sir, in the anticipated testimony -- I'm sorry, in the summary
23 of anticipated testimony, the two of them filed in July of 2006, that
24 statement that you warned Captain Radic of some danger was never
25 included. Isn't it true that you're stating that -- that you stated that
1 for the first time on Friday?
2 A. I am sorry, but that statement that you referred to, whose
3 statement is this?
4 Q. This is a statement of the Defence -- two statements of the
5 Defence that they filed as to your anticipated testimony, and there is
6 nothing in either statement filed in July of 2006 in relation to your
7 testimony today and Friday, relating to you warning Captain Radic. Are
8 you just stating this for the first time on Friday?
9 A. First of all, in that period of time, when I said that I had given
10 a statement, I had not given any statement to anyone. The first statement
11 that could have come from me could have come only from 1500 hours on the
12 13th of September, from the moment when I got the paper that was a waiver
13 from keeping state secrets.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Tapuskovic.
15 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would just like
16 the terminology used to be more precise, because the interpretation that
17 the witness received was that he made a statement to the Defence and that
18 is probably why there is this confusion on the witness's part. We also
19 seem to have a problem with the microphone. Could my colleague put it in
20 terms of proofing notes, not statement.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
22 I don't know whether that helps, Mr. Weiner.
23 MR. WEINER: Well, that foreshadows the next question.
24 Q. Sir, in your most recent proofing notes, the notes that the
25 Defence filed with the Prosecution on October 12th, last Thursday, there
1 is nothing in that statement in relation to your warning Captain Radic
2 about a potential ambush. Isn't that correct?
3 A. Upon my arrival here, I talked to the Defence but it was about
4 what and how.
5 Q. So does it surprise you, sir, that there is no statement -- I'm
6 sorry, no reference in the proofing notes in relation to your warning
7 Captain Radic? Did you ever tell anyone prior to testifying Friday and
8 today that you, in fact, warned Captain Radic?
9 A. I said that on Friday and now I've repeated it. I warned Captain
10 Radic of this danger.
11 Q. And then you testified, sir, that Captain Radic said something
12 along the lines of -- no, actually, Captain Radic ran after you. Is that
13 correct? That's what you testified to at page, I believe, 13.006; that he
14 ran after you and caught up to you. Is that correct?
15 A. According to the report, I set out and Captain Radic set out.
16 Now, who was in the front and who was in the back, at this point in time,
17 I cannot say. But that's the way it was. We set out together.
18 Q. Sir, you testified on Friday that he ran after you. Did he run
19 after you or didn't he?
20 THE REGISTRAR: Microphone, please.
21 A. We set out together.
22 MR. WEINER:
23 Q. And, sir, you indicated that Captain Radic called the officers and
24 told them: "Maximum combat alert. Prepare for action." You said that
25 twice on pages 1306 -- I'm sorry, 1307 -- I'm sorry, 13.007 and 13.008.
1 Did that happen, sir?
2 A. I reported to Captain Radic --
3 Q. Sir, the question is: Did Captain Radic then yell: "Maximum
4 combat alert. Prepare for action"? That's the question before you. Yes
5 or no?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Again, sir, in the proofing notes that were supplied by your -- by
8 the Defence counsel as to what you were going to testify to on 12 October
9 2006, there is nothing about that happening. Did you just make this up,
11 A. What I experienced, what I saw, what I carried out, I said all of
12 that. Now, whether the Defence omitted to ask me about this or not, I
13 don't know. I told you what happened, and that is what I'm here for, to
14 tell the truth about this case.
15 Q. Sir, would it surprise you that Captain Radic testified last week
16 and he never testified as to such an incident occurring? Does that
17 surprise you, sir?
18 A. I told you what I did at that given point in time. I saw; I
19 reported. We took measures related to combat readiness. And I drew this
20 for you exactly. I drew this for you exactly; the place, or rather, the
21 direction in which Captain Radic moved together with me.
22 Q. So does it surprise you that Captain Radic never testified to any
23 such incident occurring? Does it surprise you, sir?
24 A. I came to testify about my knowledge and what I saw.
25 Q. Sir, Major Tesic gave a statement and he never mentions this
1 situation occurring. Does that surprise you?
2 A. Again, I say that I said to you and presented before this
3 honourable Court what happened and how things were. What others stated, I
4 don't know. I know what I experienced, what I saw, and what I carried
6 Q. Sir, Captain Bojkovski has given a statement. He never
7 testified -- he never gave a statement indicating that this happened.
8 Does that surprise you?
9 A. Again, I'm saying that I don't want to make any comments regarding
10 what others stated. I am talking about what I experienced, what I saw,
11 and what I carried out.
12 Q. And we know, sir, that there was never an ambush and no such
13 situation ever did, in fact, occur. Isn't that correct?
14 A. We found uniforms that were packed in the container. And if we
15 found weapons, the first assumption as to what this was could only be that
16 somebody threw that away, is hiding somewhere, camouflaged. And we did
17 not know what kind of weapons they had, and whether they had any at all.
18 Q. Sir, the question is: Do you agree that no such ambush ever
19 occurred? Isn't that correct?
20 A. On the basis of what we saw, first and foremost, we professionals
21 can - how should I put this? - can have a suspicion that there is an
22 ambush, because these uniforms were thrown away and there were discarded
23 weapons, too. Now, whether there was an ambush or not, I cannot say. We
24 could not check that. We could not wait for a possible attack, in case of
25 which we would sustain losses.
1 Q. But you know, sir, there was no such ambush or attack that day.
2 Isn't that correct?
3 A. There was no attack, but I would like to point out that on the
4 basis of the discarded uniforms and weapons, the assumption was that there
5 were more weapons somewhere --
6 Q. Sir, sir, the question was: Was there an attack? There was no
7 attack. Isn't that correct?
8 A. There was no attack, and it is fortunate that there was no attack.
9 Q. Well, I put it to you, sir, that there was never -- that this
10 incident never occurred, that you made this up. And you made it up to
11 remove Captain Radic from the hospital, because he admitted last week in
12 his testimony that he was inside that hospital. Isn't it true that you
13 made this incident up, sir?
14 A. From the moment when we arrived to the hospital, when we -- from
15 the moment when we arrived to secure the hospital and up to the moment
16 when we left that area, when we handed over to the other units in charge,
17 things were exactly the way I drew them for you. As a matter of fact, on
18 that day, I said to you, when I drew this position, that you should not
19 think because -- this had to do with a tree; at that time the tree wasn't
20 that way. You shouldn't think that any of our soldiers were on the tree,
21 but rather, underneath. I drew you exactly the position of the
22 container. You have concrete data on that sketch.
23 Q. Sir, on page 14 today you mentioned "waiver," and you mentioned
24 that on Friday at page 13.054. You started mentioning speaking to the
25 Defence and you mentioned "waiver."
1 During your testimony, on page 13.054, you took a piece of paper
2 from your pocket and you said that you received a waiver on September
3 13th; and today you said -- at September 13th, did you say at 3.00 p.m.?
4 Did you say at 1500 hours was when you received your waiver? That's on
5 page 14. 1500 hours, 3.00 p.m. Is that correct?
6 A. The 13th of September, at 1450 hours, at the ministry, or rather,
7 at the Centre for Cooperation with the Hague Tribunal, I signed a
8 document, a waiver, allowing me to disclose state secrets. Practically
9 from that moment the Defence could communicate with me. They were here,
10 though, so they were not in a position to communicate with me. But this
11 document does not pertain to those other points about which you wanted to
12 talk to me, and those were the points upon which your colleagues pressured
13 me in Belgrade.
14 Q. So, sir, you received the waiver at approximately 3.00 p.m., or
15 1500 hours, on September 13th. Now, you went to an interview in Belgrade
16 with the Office of the Prosecutor on September 15th. Isn't that correct?
17 A. Yes, at 1400 hours.
18 Q. And you met with an investigator and a prosecutor from the Office
19 of the Prosecutor. Isn't that correct?
20 A. Correct. There were two representatives and a lady who was
22 Q. And you were there, sir, for just under an hour. Let's say
23 approximately one hour.
24 A. No.
25 Q. Well, tell us, how long were you there, sir?
1 A. It was 1355 when I entered the building. At 1400 hours sharp, the
2 interview started. It took about an hour. I left the premises at 1540
4 Q. Now, during the time that you were there, you stated repeatedly
5 that no waiver had been received. Isn't that correct, sir?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And at least five times during an interview, you explained that
8 you were waiting -- awaiting the waiver document from the government.
9 Isn't that correct, sir?
10 A. I wouldn't agree with you. It wasn't just five times; it was many
11 more than that. I told them that I was waiting for a waiver to be served
12 on me.
13 Q. You told them that many times, even though you've testified in
14 this courtroom, two days earlier, at 2.55 p.m., you had received that
15 document of waiver. Isn't that correct, sir?
16 A. The document that I received on the 13th of September and that I
17 signed is a document sent by the Defence, and it states in no uncertain
18 terms there is this request by the Defence for a waiver; therefore, this
19 was a waiver for the Defence's purposes solely.
20 Q. Sir, you know that that document does not say it was a waiver for
21 Defence purposes. You were shown a government document by the Office of
22 the Prosecutor, saying a waiver had been issued. And when asked about
23 whether you received a waiver on behalf of the Defence, you denied that,
24 too, sir, didn't you?
25 A. There's one thing I'd like to ask you. You're talking about
1 information. Can you please ask me one step at a time, in a manner of
2 speaking, so that I might be able to provide specific answers. And I do
4 Q. Sir, you never stated that you had a waiver, that you had received
5 a waiver on the 13th; in fact, you denied it. Isn't that correct, sir?
6 A. Yes. I denied that in front of your representatives because --
7 the document is crystal clear about that. I'm sorry I don't have it on me
8 right now, but it says, "A waiver is hereby granted pursuant to a request
9 from attorney-at-law Borovic's office." The document that you wanted was
10 something that I received on the 21st. The Government of Serbia signed it
11 on the 21st, and I think it was on the 26th, or possibly the 29th, that I
12 physically received that same document in relation to you. I'm talking
13 about those eight questions.
14 Q. Sir, you denied ever receiving a waiver - isn't that correct? -
15 even though you had, in fact, received one. Correct?
16 A. The document that I received was in relation to the Defence and
17 not the OTP.
18 Q. Sir, you didn't even tell them that you received a waiver. Isn't
19 that correct? You denied receiving a waiver from anyone. That wasn't
21 A. The document that I received from the Defence is a confidential
22 one. It was for the Defence, not for the OTP; these are two crucial
24 Q. Sir, they showed you a government document saying that the waiver
25 had been issued. You knew that it had been issued on behalf of all
1 parties, sir, and you denied. They asked you specifically and you
2 denied. Isn't that correct, sir?
3 A. No to both of the things you've just suggested. What I denied is
4 what I said. That was the previous document. The document that your
5 colleagues were showing me could have been written by anyone. That's what
6 I'm telling you. And I apologise, please try not to interrupt me.
7 Because the document had no stamp on it, no signature -- I apologise,
8 please don't interrupt me. I would like to be given a chance to finish my
10 Q. Please answer the questions you're being asked.
11 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, we have a transcript here of that
12 interview. May I pass them out to the court.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
14 MR. WEINER: We also have the oral statement. We can play the
15 statement and have it translated.
16 The others are for the interpreters. If you could ...
17 Q. Now, sir, I'm going to ask you if you recall this portion of your
18 statement. It's on page 3; it's the sixth paragraph down or a third up
19 from the bottom. It's in English, but we can play it also for you in
21 "Q. To inform you that the Court in The Hague, the Tribunal in
22 The Hague, has been informed by Mr. Radic's lawyers that waivers for you
23 and others were issued on 7th -- on the 7th of September. Have you been
24 contacted, either by telephone or personally, informing you that a waiver
25 has been issued for you?"
1 And your answer is:
2 "A. No.
3 "Q. Does that mean that you have never seen a waiver or have been
4 contacted about a waiver?"
5 Page 4:
6 "A. In only have information" - that should be "I" - "I only have
7 information that the procedure has started."
8 Do you recall those statements, sir, those questions and your
10 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours --
11 JUDGE PARKER: Carry on. What is your answer, please?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Given the fact that that document
13 was based on Mr. Borovic, the attorney-at-law, and that I had received a
14 waiver for Defence purposes, I said that this -- that I did not get a
15 document for you. And that's what I thought. It's not business-like to
16 give someone one document so that the other person can misuse it, because
17 your questions have nothing to do with the one question that I received
18 pursuant to Mr. Borovic's request.
19 MR. WEINER:
20 Q. Sir, again, the question was that you were asked:
21 "To inform you that the Court in The Hague, the Tribunal in The
22 Hague, has been informed by Mr. Radic's lawyers that waivers for you and
23 others were issued on the 7th of December" - I'm sorry - "September.
24 "Have you been contacted, either by telephone or personally,
25 informing you that a waiver has been issued for you?"
1 And you answered: "No."
2 First, do you recall saying that?
3 A. The document signed by the Government of Serbia is dated the 9th
4 of September. I don't know what happened before then. I'm not interested
5 in any agreements, and in particular that goes for that document of yours
6 which bore neither a stamp nor a signature.
7 Q. The question is: Do you remember saying "No," in answering that
8 question? Or I would be happy to play that portion of the interview for
9 you. Would you like that, sir?
10 A. For your purposes, I did not have a waiver on me. It would have
11 been unprofessional for me to say back then -- unprofessional, yes.
12 Q. So you did, in fact, say no. You said no in answering that
13 question. Isn't that correct? When you were asked about a waiver, you
14 said no. Isn't that correct?
15 A. There were numbers being mentioned about authorisation of some
16 sort. I said: "No, I don't have that document. I have never seen it and
17 I don't know that it exists." This is a document for the purposes of the
18 Defence, not the OTP.
19 Q. Sir, they've asked you, based on a statement from Mr. Radic's
20 lawyers, had you been contacted by telephone or personally informing you
21 that a waiver has been issued for you? And you said no. Isn't that
22 correct? Yes or no, sir?
23 A. No. Nobody had informed me on the phone.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Tapuskovic, I'm sorry, I wanted that passage to
25 be concluded before turning to you. Yes.
1 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I wasn't going to
2 raise an objection about the substance of this question. I just wanted to
3 see what sort of a document it was that was given to the witness, because
4 what we have received now is a transcript of the witness's interview which
5 took place in Belgrade. It's in English. I know for a fact the witness
6 doesn't understand English, and I thought that he might perhaps use a
8 JUDGE PARKER: The document, we're told, is a transcript of the
9 conversation that was in the witness's language being interpreted to it
10 and his answers, of course, being in that language.
11 Carry on, please, Mr. Weiner.
12 MR. WEINER:
13 Q. Sir, I'd like to move to another part of that interview; page 7,
14 just after "33 minutes." Do you recall this part of the interview, sir:
15 "Q. Have the lawyers of Mr. Radic ever contacted you to say that
16 a waiver has been issued? Just yes or no.
17 "A. No.
18 "Q. Thank you. All right. Can I take it, then, that if you had
19 a waiver served personally on you, you would have been willing to have an
20 interview with me?
21 "A. Well, that would be my duty. It's no question whether I'm --
22 I will be willing. Since I received the summons, I have to respond to the
24 Do you recall that passage during the interview?
25 A. Yes, I did say that I had responded to the summons. When I
1 realised that I had a piece of paper being foisted on me in a bid to
2 convince me that this was a waiver, with no signature, no stamp, no
3 nothing, just a piece of paper which your colleagues were trying to
4 convince me was a valid waiver, I had to refuse that.
5 Q. But, sir, you had already received notice two days earlier of a
6 waiver that allowed you to provide information in relation to military
7 actions, hadn't you?
8 A. The document that I received several days previously, mind you,
9 was in relation to attorney-at-law Borovic's request, whereas the waiver
10 that I received for your purposes was received for the 26th or the 29th of
11 September. I can't quite remember.
12 Be that as it may, as of that date, you would have been able to
13 get in touch with me and to do the interview, which is not something that
14 you actually ended up doing. There are documents in the archives of
15 Serbia's government to show that. You can verify that for yourself.
16 There is such a document in relation to --
17 Q. Sir, you never said on September 15th, at the offices in Belgrade,
18 that you had received a waiver on the 13th. First, isn't that correct;
19 yes or no?
20 A. I believed then, and I still believe, that I was under no
21 obligation to inform you, because this document was not issued at your
22 request and it is a confidential document.
23 Q. Sir, you never stated at those offices in Belgrade that you
24 received a waiver at the request of the Defence, did you, sir? You never
25 said that.
1 A. Why would I share anything like that with you? Would that be a
2 business-like thing to do? It's a Defence document. Why should I be
3 mentioning that to you? I am a Defence witness, after all, aren't I?
4 Q. That's obvious, sir. Sir, you never said at that meeting
5 that "I've received a document of waiver and that I'm awaiting a second
6 waiver from the government." You never said that either, did you, sir?
7 A. The document that I received was in relation to Mr. Borovic's
8 request. We were expecting yet another document from Serbia's government,
9 at your own prompting, which was eventually received on the 26th or the
10 29th; I can't quite remember. But it had been signed on the 21st of
11 September by Serbia's government, for your own purposes.
12 Q. Sir, the first waiver you received wasn't a Defence waiver; it was
13 a waiver allowing you to speak. Isn't that correct?
14 A. No. With you, no.
15 Q. Sir, I put it to you that you falsely maintained that you had no
16 waiver on September 15th, when, in truth, you had received that waiver at
17 2.55 on September 13th. Isn't that correct?
18 A. The document that I got was for the purposes of the Defence. It
19 is a business secret. In our country, in Serbia, that is what it is
20 called. As for a document that you sent to me, I cannot show it to the
21 Defence. If it was a document at the request of Mr. Borovic, then it is a
22 document at the request of Mr. Borovic, and then I would have talked to
23 him. However, at that time they were not in a position to do so. You
24 could not abuse that document and conduct an interview with me, because
25 the questions that you mentioned, those eight, do not coincide with the
1 questions that are based on Mr. Borovic's request.
2 Q. Sir, you've been in the military long enough that you know the
3 rules, and when a waiver is issued, you're allowed to speak. It's not for
4 one party; it's not for the other. Isn't it true that you lied when you
5 said that no waiver had been issued, when you, in fact, had a waiver in
6 hand? Isn't that correct, sir?
7 A. I note and I repeat: The document that I received had to do with
8 the following, and it says quite literally: At the request of the Borovic
9 law office. And that is how I got the waiver so that I could speak. The
10 second document that I got says, literally, questions for which I got a
11 waiver for the purposes of the international Office of the Prosecutor, and
12 that is appreciated and that is taken into account. If it's for Mr.
13 Borovic, then it's only for Mr. Borovic; if it's for you, then it's only
14 for you, and it can be no other way.
15 After all, that's what the document itself says. Unfortunately, I
16 haven't brought it along, this document, but by way of fax, the Government
17 of Serbia can submit it to you and you can see what it says, quite
18 literally: At the request of Mr. Borovic and the Defence team. And the
19 second document: For the needs of the Office of the Prosecutor.
20 Q. Sir, you had waiver, you had the ability or the right to speak,
21 and you didn't and you lied about it on September 15th. Isn't that
22 correct? Because you never said you had a waiver on that date. Isn't
23 that correct?
24 A. I am telling you that the document I received is for Mr. Borovic,
25 attorney-at-law. It would be unbusiness-like and unprofessional to give
1 that document to you so that you would abuse it. That is why I said: No,
2 I did not receive it. For your purposes, no.
3 Q. So you lied; you said something that wasn't true. Isn't that
5 A. As for whether I lied or not, it is something that the honourable
6 Court is going to decide on. If they wish to see these documents, they
7 will see these documents where it says, literally: For the purposes of
8 the Defence and for the purposes of the Office of the Prosecutor. So you
9 could not abuse that document that was for Mr. Borovic.
10 Q. Let's move on to one last area, sir. Are you aware, in late
11 October 1991, that an assault group was formed - Are you aware of that? -
12 along the axis that Captain Radic had or possessed? Are you aware of
14 A. Assault group? I don't know about that. I know that there was an
15 assault detachment. As for an assault group, I don't know. And that was
16 at the beginning of October, not at the end of October. That's when the
17 assault detachment was established.
18 Q. Were you aware that within an assault detachment -- Major Tesic's
19 assault detachment, there were three assault groups, of which Captain
20 Radic oversaw one of them? Are you aware of that?
21 A. I know that there was an assault detachment, and I know that there
22 was our company, the 3rd Company. As for other names of companies, I'm
23 not aware of any. I know there was the 3rd Company, the 2nd Company, and
24 the 1st Company.
25 Q. Were you aware, sir, that Captain Radic would control and plan
1 combat activity for the 3rd Assault Group? Were you aware of that, sir?
2 A. The 3rd Company, yes, JNA units; as for the rest, I don't know,
3 especially assault group. I don't know about that.
4 Q. Sir, were you aware that Captain Radic would draw up plans for
5 actions and issue tasks based on these plans to the assault group
6 commanders? Were you aware of that?
7 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Tapuskovic.
9 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] As for three questions put by my
10 learned friend Mr. Weiner on the existence of an assault group, the
11 witness said that he did not know of the existence of an assault group on
12 three occasions. So I believe that this line of questioning is no longer
13 appropriate and should not be pursued any further. He said that he had
14 heard of an assault detachment but that he had not heard of an assault
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Weiner is, I think, putting his case, which is
17 to the contrary, over these matters. That's appropriate.
18 Carry on, Mr. Weiner.
19 MR. WEINER:
20 Q. Sir, were you aware that Captain Radic would draw up plans for
21 actions and issue tasks to the assault group commanders based on those
22 plans? Were you aware of that, sir?
23 A. I mentioned a few moments ago and I'm saying it once again: I
24 don't know about assault groups.
25 Q. Were you aware that Captain Radic would receive orders from the
1 brigade and battalion and pass those orders along to the assault --
2 actually, issue those orders to the assault group commanders? Were you
3 aware of that, sir?
4 A. I did not understand the word "order" that you used. Are you
5 referring to actual orders?
6 Q. Yes, sir, actual orders.
7 A. Captain Radic got orders, specific orders, from the battalion
9 Q. And were you aware that Captain Radic would receive those orders
10 and he would pass them along to the assault group commanders, which
11 included Miroljub Vujovic and Kameni Lancuzanin -- Kameni Lancuzanin?
12 Were you aware of that, sir?
13 A. Captain Radic received orders every day, every evening, from the
14 battalion command, and he only issued orders to us, carrying out the
15 orders that he had received. He commanded the 3rd Company. I'm not aware
16 of any others.
17 Q. Would it surprise you, sir, that Captain Radic was solely
18 responsible for planning combat operations of that assault group?
19 A. Captain Radic received orders from the commander of the battalion,
20 who studied and planned actions for the 3rd Company of the JNA. Captain
21 Radic, that is to say, did not issue orders on his own, as you had put it;
22 he received orders, studied them, and made decisions.
23 Q. Sir, my question is: Did Captain Radic draw up plans for combat
24 actions and then issue those tasks to the assault group commanders?
25 A. Captain Radic, upon returning from the battalion command where he
1 had received assignments, would study for the following day, how the day
2 after that would develop. As for assault groups, I don't know about
3 that. We didn't have that. I told you about assault detachments. We had
4 that. But assault groups, I don't know about that.
5 Q. Sir, were you familiar with the 82-millimetre Mortar Platoon of
6 the TO, the 82-millimetre Mortar Platoon of the TO?
7 A. No. This is the first time I hear of it from you.
8 Q. We're talking about the mortar platoon that was commanded and
9 guided by Lieutenant Hadzic.
10 A. As I already said on Friday, Lieutenant Hadzic led that unit of
11 the JNA, not of the Territorial Defence, as you had put it just now,
12 especially that company, whatever. I don't know about that. He commanded
13 active troops.
14 Q. Were you aware, sir, that Captain Radic tasked Lieutenant Hadzic
15 to command, to observe, and to guide the firing during combat actions of
16 that TO mortar platoon or mortar company? Were you aware of that?
17 A. That Captain Radic gave orders and planned the activity of mortar
18 fire, or rather, the firing preparations 10 or 15 minutes perhaps before
19 an operation, I know about that. But that Lieutenant Hadzic commanded and
20 had the TO under him, as you had put it, that is not true. Lieutenant
21 Hadzic did not have the TO within his composition. He had only
22 active-duty soldiers and reservists. These are units of the JNA.
23 Q. Sir, that's interesting that you say it's not true, because that's
24 the testimony of Captain Radic, at page 12.622, and I quote:
25 "I didn't trust anyone else sufficiently, apart from him, to guide
1 mortar fire by way of support for the assault group attacking. Therefore,
2 that task of commanding, observing and guiding mortar fire - and the
3 mortars we used were 82-millimetre calibre - I gave that task to him. He
4 was not the commander of that platoon of the 82-millimetre mortars but,
5 rather, during combat he commanded that platoon since I knew that the
6 soldiers from the TO were trained to use mortars, but I didn't know
7 exactly to what extent they could command and guide mortar fire. And for
8 purely security and safety reasons, I appointed him to command."
9 Those are lines 1 through 10 of page 12.622. Are you saying that
10 Captain Radic did not testify truthfully when he said that?
11 A. In view of the fact that I know Captain Radic, I know his mode of
12 command, what you read out to me just now looks like a statement of your
13 own. Captain Radic could not have issued this kind of order because he is
14 a trained officer of the then-JNA. What you told me about just now is
15 something that makes no sense at all.
16 Q. Sir, it would make sense if that TO unit was subordinated to
17 Captain Radic; therefore, he could assign one of his subordinates to
18 command it and to supervise it. Isn't that correct, sir?
19 A. The TO units, no; the active-duty soldiers, yes. But not command,
20 as you say, but to guide fire and carry out orders that he had received
21 from Captain Radic. According to what you read out to me just now, it
22 seems that Lieutenant Hadzic had the freedom to take action whenever he
23 wished to do so, without any plan. No. Action was carried out, along
24 with proper control and with active-duty soldiers, without members of the
1 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, is it time for the break? Thank you.
2 JUDGE PARKER: We will resume at ten past 4.00.
3 --- Recess taken at 3.46 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 4.13 p.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
6 MR. WEINER: Thank you.
7 Q. Sir, isn't it true that Captain Radic would plan each evening, for
8 the next day's military activity, the next day's military actions, for a
9 group along his axis, which included the Leva Supoderica unit and Miroljub
10 Vujovic's portion of the Vukovar TO. Isn't that correct?
11 A. Captain Radic, upon receiving his assignments, or rather, orders
12 from the battalion command, would come to the observation post in that
13 company office, the one that you called a meeting room; but at this
14 company office, he would study his assignment and assess the following day
15 in terms of how this activity would evolve exclusively for the JNA units.
16 Captain Radic did not plan actions; he only studied tasks that he had
17 received from the superior command, that is to say, the battalion
19 Q. Did Captain Radic plan combat operations; yes or no?
20 A. Captain Radic, when receiving a task, would study it and pass a
21 decision for the following day; that is to say, that Captain Radic did not
22 plan. He would only receive tasks, study them, and then pass decisions
23 for the following day.
24 Q. Sir, I'd like to read a portion of Captain Radic's testimony where
25 he said he did do so. Page 12.620, lines 14 through 20; 12.620, lines 14
1 through 20.
2 "A. If one wants to control and plan any combat activity, be it
3 an attack or a defence, excuse me, one needs to do that thoroughly because
4 the outcome of that operation depends on it. Since I mentioned a moment
5 ago that I was the only officer who had completed the military academy, I
6 didn't want to leave it to chance that anyone should plan combat
7 operations except for myself. This means that Miroljub Vujovic didn't
8 know how to do that. I also knew that Milan Lancuzanin couldn't do that."
9 Sir, isn't it true that it was Captain Radic that was planning the
10 combat activity for those units?
11 A. Captain Radic, upon receiving tasks from the battalion commander,
12 studied these tasks, and it is not correct that in our company he was the
13 only one who had completed the military academy, as far as I managed to
14 understand this. There was also Lieutenant Hadzic who had completed a
15 four-year military academy. And it was only the 3rd Company of the JNA
16 that he commanded; that is to say, these tasks that he received, he
17 studied and then passed decisions for the following day; that is to say
18 that Captain Radic did not plan combat activity on his own. He would
19 study the tasks received and make decisions.
20 Q. Captain Radic testified on page 12.621:
21 "... I always issued those orders to those commanders which were
22 part of the assault group immediately prior to going into action, that is
23 the morning. If we were to start attacking at 7.00 a.m. and if we were
24 all assembled at 6.30, I used to issue those tasks 10 to 15 minutes before
25 we were supposed to set out."
1 Wasn't Captain Radic issuing tasks to other units other than the
2 3rd Company -- 3rd Motorised Company?
3 A. Captain Radic did issue tasks in the morning. You gave a
4 particular hour. Let it be the way you put it. Maybe it was 8.00 or
5 9.00. It all depended on the weather conditions and whether there was any
6 action on that day or not. But it was only in relation to the JNA units,
7 not these so-called assault groups. I don't know about these assault
8 groups. I do not know about him issuing anything to these assault
9 groups. And he did not issue tasks to anyone else but the 3rd Company of
10 the JNA.
11 Q. Finally, sir, isn't it true that Captain Radic established the
12 system of communication in that he was the person who set all the codes
13 for each military action? So he knew, by codes, what the name was for
14 each group or squad; he knew what the code was for each geographical
15 terms -- I'm sorry, each geographical location; and that he was the only
16 person who knew all of these codes. Isn't that correct?
17 A. What codes are we talking about?
18 Q. The codes before going into combat. So if he wanted to talk to
19 someone on the Motorola, they'd identify themselves in code; they'd say
20 where they were in code. And we're talking about all units along his
21 axis. He was the only one who knew the codes because he was the one who
22 drew them up. Isn't that correct?
23 A. No. Captain Radic was not the one who drew up the codes. In our
24 company, there were two radio communications devices, and the codes were
25 issued by the battalion command. Now, was it for a day or two or three,
1 whatever, they would change the codes so that the enemy could not
2 intercept our frequencies. But it was the battalion command that did
3 that, not Captain Radic.
4 Q. Sir, I'd like to read Captain Radic's testimony on page 12.620
5 into 12.621; on 12.620, lines 21 to 25, and the first three lines of 621:
6 "In order to protect the data and the system of communication, I
7 did that exclusively. This means that each evening, after daily
8 activities had been completed, I withdrew to a separate room and I drew up
9 the communications systems for each squad leader separately, using code
10 names which usually included various colours, geographical terms and so on
11 and so forth. This was done so that, in the process of communication, no
12 one but me could know who I was talking to and where the particular unit
13 or part of the unit or squad is at that moment."
14 Do you agree with that testimony, sir, of Captain Radic?
15 A. In our company there were two radio devices. There was Captain
16 Radic and Captain Hadzic. For the codes, you should ask the Supreme
17 Command. Changes were made by him, perhaps, if the superior command told
18 him to do so. As I said on Friday, a company commander is a person who
19 carries out orders.
20 MR. WEINER: Sir, since you're not aware of the assault group in
21 the area, I'm going to ask no further questions at this time. Thank you
22 very much.
23 Re-examination by Ms. Tapuskovic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir. I'll ask you several
25 questions in re-examination. The questions will be about your evidence so
1 far as a whole, both the examination-in-chief and the cross-examination.
2 Do you understand?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. On Friday you were asked by my learned friend Mr. Weiner about
5 rules called the company and platoon rules, and he showed a copy of this
6 to you on the monitor. Do you remember that?
7 A. Yes, I do remember that being shown.
8 Q. There is, I suppose, no need for me to show you the rules again.
9 I'll just ask you a question about them. Back in 1991, during your time
10 in Vukovar, can you tell us, what was your so-called military specialty or
12 A. I was from the quartermaster's unit.
13 Q. Thank you very much. Back in 1991, were you familiar with the
14 infantry rules? Were you supposed to study those and know them well, back
15 in 1991?
16 A. In principle, these should be studied just because of the relative
17 competencies so that we, too, are in the loop.
18 Q. But it wasn't a binding thing, was it, nor did you ever take any
19 exams on those rules in relation to platoons and companies, the rules that
20 we discussed and that was shown on your monitor on Friday?
21 A. No, there was no obligation, nor were we made to take any exams on
2 Q. Fine. You said as much. Just in order to avoid going back to
3 private session, let us just not mention it altogether. I do, however,
4 wish to dwell on the same subject.
5 So, sir, given how you described your own duty and given the fact
6 that you were a quartermaster in terms of your military specialty, can you
7 please tell us if you were part of the control and command system at the
8 time. I'm talking about the autumn of 1991, the month of November.
9 A. No, I was not part of the command and control system.
10 Q. Thank you. We'll now be moving on to something else, something
11 that my learned friend Mr. Weiner has exploited to quite a high degree.
12 It's about you arriving at the hospital, when you set up an external
13 security system there. Mr. Weiner told you what the battalion commander,
14 Borivoje Tesic, said about those events.
15 Now, sir, in relation to the time when you were securing the
16 hospital - and you told us on Friday that the battalion commander did
17 eventually come to the hospital - can you tell us whether the battalion
18 commander, or rather, when he came, and would he have been able to see or
19 hear you report to Captain Radic about what you had come across in the
20 hospital yard?
21 A. No. Commander Borivoje Tesic arrived later.
22 Q. Thank you. Last Friday you were asked by the OTP - for my learned
23 friends' benefit, the reference is page 56 - and I quote, you said: "The
24 company commander's meetings were held at the command post of the 1st
1 Can you tell us when the commander of your company, Miroslav
2 Radic, went to those, as you called them at the time, meetings, or rather,
3 those briefings? When, what time of day, and how long would these
4 meetings normally take?
5 A. Yes. Captain Radic would go to the command every day. He would
6 do this every day, in the evening. I can't be more specific about the
7 time, but it was certainly after 1900 hours. He would stay between an
8 hour, an hour and a half, depending on the situation. But it was always
9 in the evening.
10 Q. Thank you. I'll ask you about what went on in Belgrade. My
11 colleague asked you all sorts of questions about this. You said the first
12 request was submitted by the Borovic law office for a waiver to be granted
13 you. So, sir, what exactly were you thinking when you were told that
14 there had been -- that there had been a request put in by the Borovic law
15 office? Who, at that point in time, would have been authorised to ask you
16 questions about the subject matter that the waiver was in relation to or
17 that the waiver was covering?
18 A. I received two documents. The first document was dated the 13th
19 of September. It was the Defence, and the Defence alone, that would have
20 been authorised to ask me questions about that. As I've told the
21 Prosecution, there was something else that I had not yet received, because
22 previously I had been mentally harassed and humiliated about this
23 purported waiver. I wanted to keep them from misusing that document, and
24 that was why I said no, because this document was for Defence purposes
1 Q. What about this other waiver? At that interview, did the OTP not
2 tell you that they, too, had put in a request for you to be granted a
4 A. No, they did not put in a request, but official channels were
5 employed through my own institution, there was an official request to
6 Serbia's government which was eventually approved. On the 21st of
7 September, the document was signed and -- hold on a minute.
8 Q. There is no need for that, sir. I just ask you my question and
9 you just answer it. There is just one question I have about that. At
10 that interview, were you shown a document in Serbian or a document in
12 A. Yes, the document that I was shown was in Serbian. And I
13 immediately realised that this had nothing to do with the communication of
14 office business.
15 Q. Let us just correct something. I think I may have misheard you
16 myself, something you said on page 35, line 7. When you talked about
17 Hadzic's years of military academy, can you please repeat that? Because I
18 think I may have misheard you. I think you said two years, didn't you?
19 A. No. As far as I know, Lieutenant Hadzic completed the military
20 academy, and the course was a four-year course.
21 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Microphone not activated].
22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for counsel, please.
23 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
24 questions for this witness. Thank you.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Ms. Tapuskovic.
1 Sir, you'll be pleased to know that's the end of your
2 questioning. The Chamber would like to thank you for your attendance here
3 and your assistance, and you're now free to go back to your ordinary
4 activities. The court officer will show you out.
5 We need to deal with the security.
6 [The witness withdrew]
7 JUDGE PARKER: We need the next witness.
8 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon, sir.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please read aloud the affirmation on the
13 card shown to you.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
15 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Please sit down.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic.
19 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
20 WITNESS: ZORAN ZIROJEVIC
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 Examination by Mr. Borovic:
23 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
24 A. Good afternoon.
25 Q. Sir, could you be so kind as to tell us, briefly, your name first,
1 when and where were you born, and tell us about your family background.
2 A. My name is Zoran Zirojevic. I was born on the 14th of October,
3 1963, in Backa Palanka. I'm married and I have two children.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 A. You're welcome.
6 Q. Would you please be so kind -- I would need to ask you a lot of
7 little questions just to bring you through this, but please tell us
8 briefly about your educational background; if and when you completed the
9 military academy; and when you took up your position as a JNA officer.
10 A. In Backa Palanka, my place of birth, I finished elementary and
11 secondary school. Between 1982 and 1986, I attended the military academy,
12 infantry. I was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant on the 26th of
13 July, 1986. After that, I was assigned the duty of a platoon commander in
14 the Brcko garrison. From May 1988, I was officially transferred to the
15 Guards Motorised Brigade.
16 Q. Thank you very much. Now, slowly, please, for the benefit of the
17 interpreters, list your various duties in the Guards Motorised Brigade
18 before your departure for Vukovar.
19 A. Upon my arrival in the Guards Motorised Brigade, I was first
20 platoon commander; it was an artillery platoon, a rifle platoon. And then
21 I was the commander of the 2nd Motorised Company in the 1st Motorised
22 Battalion of the Guards Motorised Brigade.
23 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell us about the make-up - and I mean,
24 first and foremost, the ethnic make-up - of the Guards Motorised Brigade
25 before its departure for Vukovar. Can you tell us about that. Can you
1 also tell us about the ethnic make-up of the 1st Motorised Battalion.
2 A. The ethnic make-up of the Guards Motorised Brigade, and I assume
3 the same thing applied to other JNA units, was multi-ethnic, which means
4 there were soldiers with all sorts of different ethnic backgrounds. By
5 the same token, the ethnic make-up of the 1st Motorised Battalion was also
6 multi-ethnic. And here I mean both the officers and the soldiers.
7 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us about your company. What was its
8 ethnic make-up? And was it the same back in Belgrade and upon your
9 arrival in Vukovar?
10 A. As for the regular make-up of my company, they came from all sorts
11 of different ethnicities. The commander of one particular platoon was an
12 ethnic Macedonian, the commander of a different platoon was a Serb, and
13 the commander of a third platoon declared himself as an ethnic Yugoslav.
14 The company officer was a Bosnian, a Muslim, and he went to Vukovar with
15 me. As for foot soldiers, there were all the different ethnicities, with
16 the exception of Albanians, but I had also Albanians among my reservists.
17 Q. When you were supposed to leave for Vukovar, were there any
18 problems about the ethnic make-up? Were there any refusals and were any
19 consequences suffered by anyone refusing to go to the front? What
20 specifically happened, if anything, in your 2nd Company?
21 A. At the battalion level - and I assume the same thing applied to
22 the brigade - a decision was passed to the effect that soldiers, and
23 officers, too, who did not feel sufficiently fit or mentally fit to carry
24 out combat missions - and this was particularly in reference to recruits
25 aged 18 and 19 at the time - they were given an opportunity to say that
1 they were not willing to go and carry out combat missions. So we applied
2 this. There were soldiers who said they wanted to stay back at the
3 barracks, but there were very few soldiers who did that. In my own
4 company, between five and seven soldiers, I would say, who demanded to
5 stay behind.
6 Q. Thank you. Did they suffer any consequences because they
7 effectively refused to go to the front?
8 A. No consequences were suffered. All those who stayed behind at the
9 barracks were assembled in a temporary unit, and their assignment was to
10 secure the barracks and to make sure there was order in the barracks while
11 the unit itself was away.
12 Q. Can you please now explain to the Chamber and my friends from the
13 OTP how it was that you eventually ended up going to Vukovar back in
14 1991? Which month specifically? And where did you first arrive when you
15 reached that area?
16 A. While we were still at the barracks in Belgrade, we received a
17 preliminary order and we knew what the assignment was facing our unit, the
18 1st Motorised Battalion, and by that same token, the 2nd Motorised
19 Company, of which I was in command. We received an assignment to carry
20 out the necessary preparations and to conduct a march down the following
21 axis: Belgrade-Sid-Tovarnik. We were also tasked with bringing the unit
22 to a staging area at the Dubrava farm.
23 Q. Thank you. Before you reached the Dubrava farm, had you been
24 subjected to any attacks from anywhere? Did you come under fire at any
25 time? And how did you reach that area? Can you tell us, in very general
1 terms, please.
2 A. The march began between the 30th of September and the 1st of
3 October. We passed Tovarnik, and up until that point, we had not been
4 attacked. As we were approaching the village of Negoslavci, we came under
5 sporadic sniper fire from the village of Nijemci. We conducted this march
6 in vehicles, which disgorged our troops at the -- upon entering the
7 village of Negoslavci, and we continued our march on foot. We walked from
8 Negoslavci to Vukovar, down the road connecting these two. Two kilometres
9 after Negoslavci there was a road that forked off to Dubrava. As we
10 headed down that road to the farm known as Dubrava, we came under mortar
11 fire. The calibre, I suppose, was 82-millimetre and 62-millimetre
12 mortars, the mortars being used.
13 Q. When you arrived in Vukovar, were you given a mission, or did you
14 know what the mission would be upon arriving in Vukovar?
15 A. As I've pointed out already, back in Belgrade, our battalion
16 commander had given us our previous assignment, which was to conduct a
17 march along the specified axis. It was to take our unit to the staging
18 area there and to be at the ready to attack Vukovar.
19 The objective of that combat mission was to lift the blockade of
20 the barracks there as well as to liberate the population of Vukovar, who
21 had been under siege and under fire and kept that way for some time by
22 Croat paramilitary units.
23 Q. Thank you. Could you please say, by way of introduction, what
24 commander's reconnaissance means? How is that term used?
25 A. Commander's reconnaissance is something that a commander does from
1 the battalion level up, the objective being, before setting out on a
2 combat mission, to specify to his subordinate officers what the specific
3 assignments would be, to each of his subordinate officers, along a given
5 Q. Commander's reconnaissance, what exactly does that mean as opposed
6 to komandant reconnaissance?
7 A. No, not essentially. One is from battalion level up and the other
8 is from battalion level down. And it involves a commander's subordinate
10 Q. Before you reached the area that you have now described, did your
11 own battalion commander carry out such commander's reconnaissance?
12 A. Yes. The battalion commander, or rather, the brigade command did,
13 and this involved battalion commanders, so that their assignments would be
14 clear upon their arrival in Vukovar.
15 Q. Thank you. Does that mean that, in keeping with this rule, Major
16 Tesic welcomed you in your area of assignment?
17 A. No. Commander's reconnaissance had been carried out several days
18 before we even set out for Vukovar. The battalion commander and his
19 command was part of the march, part of the battalion's march, and reached
20 the staging area together with us.
21 Q. Thank you. Let's try to hurry things along a little since there
22 are a great many facts that we are familiar with based on the evidence of
23 a number of different witnesses.
24 As for the Dubrava farm area, after that you moved on Vukovar.
25 Specifically, you started approaching the Petrova Gora neighbourhood;
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. At the time did you have any scouts who were showing you the way?
4 Or can you tell us more about how you reached that axis. Any guides?
5 Since this was your first time in Vukovar; right?
6 A. The night before we set out for Vukovar, the battalion commander
7 had issued an order to attack. On that occasion, he gave each company two
8 guides who, I suppose, were locals, natives of the Petrova Gora
9 neighbourhood. This means they took us there, when we eventually set out,
10 and took us as far as the confrontation line, which were also our attack
12 Q. Do you know what Assault Detachment 1 means, JOD 1? If so, how
13 exactly was JOD 1, Assault Detachment 1, established in the area?
14 A. Assault Detachment 1, at the outset, consisted of the 1st
15 Motorised Battalion and a tank platoon - those were T-84 tanks - as well
16 as a platoon of 20 anti-aircraft guns, 20/3-millimetre guns.
17 Q. Thank you very much. What happened later, at stage 2? Since you
18 say, at the outset, it was like this, what happened after that?
19 A. In late October, the JOD was re-established, JOD 1, I'm saying,
20 and again it was made up of the 1st Motorised Battalion, the Petrova Gora
21 TO Detachment, the Leva Supoderica TO Detachment, and a detachment made up
22 of volunteers who had arrived from Novi Sad.
23 Q. Thank you very much. Who was the commander of JOD 1 at the time?
24 A. From the very beginning, it was Major Borivoje Tesic.
25 Q. Would you please be so kind as to tell us exactly what the axis
1 was of your 2nd Company when you reached the Petrova Gora neighbourhood.
2 Which axis did you occupy?
3 A. The axis of the 2nd Motorised Company was as follows: Svetozara
4 Markovica Street, the 2nd Congress School, and the Bosko Buha
6 Q. Thank you. Were there any volunteer units along your own axis,
7 along the axis of the 2nd Motorised Company?
8 A. Not in the early days of combat, but afterwards there were
9 elements from the Novi Sad volunteer unit involved.
10 Q. Thank you very much. Can you please tell us what an observation
11 post is, and can you tell us if you, as a company commander, actually had
12 an observation post.
13 A. An observation post is, for all practical intents, is the place
14 where a platoon commander, a company commander, stays. It is from there
15 that a company commander or a platoon commander exercises command and
16 control over a combat operation, depending on what it is.
17 What we refer to as an observation post is not a stationary
18 thing. It's never in one place only. This very much depends on the
19 nature of combat operations. It can be static or stationary when one is
20 defending, but it has to move when one is attacking.
21 Q. For a company commander, was there any observation post along your
22 own axis? Did you have an observation post at the same place where you
23 were staying?
24 A. As I explained, an observation post is where a company commander
25 is staying. If he's staying in a house or on top of a hill, then that's
1 the observation post.
2 Q. What was the street where you were staying which was the place
3 which was considered the observation post of the command of the 2nd
4 Motorised Company?
5 A. It was Svetozara Markovica Street, and the building was a catering
6 facility locally known as the Zeplin.
7 Q. Can you tell us along which axis the 3rd Motorised Company was
8 deployed, the company under the command of Captain Miroslav Radic?
9 A. If I might digress for a while, I don't have the transcript which
10 you said I would be following on my monitor. Maybe I'm going too fast and
11 maybe I'm making life difficult for the interpreters, but I can hardly
12 know since I don't have the transcript to follow in front of me.
13 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have the transcript
14 brought up, then.
15 Q. Do you have it now?
16 A. Yes, I do. I only had your image on my screen a while ago.
17 Q. Maybe we're better off that way, for all I know. But, okay, let's
18 move on.
19 A. The 3rd Motorised Company was the left-hand neighbour of my own
20 company. Its own axis of attack was Petrova Gora, more specifically Nova
21 Street, the neighbourhood known as the 6th Proletarian Division.
22 Q. Thank you. Was this are of operations in the direction of Milovo
24 A. This whole area, the 6th Proletarian Division neighbourhood, the
25 2nd Congress School, and the Bosko Buha neighbourhood belongs to Milovo
1 Brdo, which is an elevation above the Vuka River.
2 Q. Thank you very much. Do you know where Captain Radic's
3 observation post was, or the place where he slept? Do you know about
4 this; and if so, did you ever go there?
5 A. Yes, I do. His observation post was at Nova Street - I don't know
6 the house number - but I was there on several occasions, in that house
7 where Captain Radic had his observation post.
8 Q. Since you were there, did you ever see or learn or hear that,
9 across the way from there or anywhere nearby, there was some sort of a
10 prison or a detention facility for holding prisoners? Did you ever catch
11 any reference to that?
12 A. No. There was a procedure in place. We knew what we were
13 expected to do with any prisoners. Every time before setting out on a
14 combat mission, each soldier and officer would be given a brochure
15 containing the provisions of the international law of war, and all of us
16 acted in compliance with those.
17 Q. Thank you very much. You say you sometimes went to see Captain
18 Radic at his observation post, the place where he was staying. Did you
19 ever see or hear of any regular meetings taking place there involving
20 members of the Petrova Gora TO and the Leva Supoderica TO detachments,
21 Radic and those two TO detachments?
22 A. Nothing I know indicates that. I never saw or heard anything
23 about this taking place.
24 Q. Did you ever hear anything about the fact that the observation
25 post at Nova Street was being used as a command post for planning
1 operations in order to liberate Vukovar?
2 A. As I said a while ago, a company commander cannot set up a command
3 post; he can only establish an observation post. Therefore, this could
4 never have been a command post to begin with.
5 Q. Regardless of this military conclusion and your position as a
6 witness, did you ever hear of a staff or a headquarters being there at
7 Nova Street, where the liberation of Vukovar was being planned with Tesic,
8 Sljivancanin, Radic, Vujanovic, and Miroljub Vujovic in attendance?
9 A. Most definitely not.
10 Q. Thank you very much. Would you now please be so kind as to tell
11 us who Stanko Vujanovic was.
12 A. The name does ring a bell.
13 Q. Was he also deployed along the axis of operations of Sasa
14 Bojkovski's company?
15 A. Yes, indeed, he was, as far as I know.
16 Q. Since you were a neighbour of the 3rd Company, as you said, and of
17 Captain Radic, too, did you ever see him along the axis of operations of
18 the 3rd Company, the company under Captain Miroslav Radic?
19 A. No, never.
20 Q. Thank you. Mr. Zirojevic, would you now please tell us where the
21 command post of the 1st Motorised Battalion was.
22 A. Their command post was also at Svetozara Markovica Street. I
23 can't remember the number, but it was halfway between the rail track and
24 the street leading to Nova Street.
25 Q. Were regular briefings held at that command post by the company
1 commanders, as they were the subordinate units?
2 A. Except for the first few days, that is to say, two or three days,
3 on all other days until the end of combat operations, we had regular
4 briefings at the command post of the 1st Motorised Battalion.
5 Q. Thank you. Who attended these regular briefings?
6 A. The battalion commander attended these briefings; then his deputy,
7 Captain Stijakovic, that is; then the company commanders of the 1st, 2nd,
8 and 3rd, respectively; the commanders of the 120-millimetre Mortar Battery
9 and the armoured company.
10 Q. Thank you. What about the mortar company? What was the name of
11 the commander?
12 A. Damir Vuckovic [as interpreted].
13 Q. Thank you. Can you explain to the Trial Chamber this command post
14 in a bit of detail. What did it mean from a physical point of view?
15 Could anyone come there unannounced? And also, was there anyone who
16 provided security for this command post?
17 A. The command battalion has its command post. It is a post where
18 planning takes place, planning of combat activities, that is, and inter
19 alia that is how orders are transmitted to subordinates. That is where
20 the communications equipment is. Security is provided by the military
21 police. No one uninvited can come to the command post, or rather, without
22 the approval of the battalion commander, that is to say, that not just
23 anyone who wishes to can walk in there.
24 Q. Thank you. How many buildings are there? Do you remember, after
25 all these years? Can you remember?
1 A. Specifically, the building where the command post was is a
2 single-storey building, and there was an auxiliary building in the yard, a
3 smaller one, one that was smaller from the building where the command post
4 of the battalion command or battalion commander was.
5 Q. Thank you. If somebody wanted to listen in to hear what was being
6 said at the briefing, could they actually do that from the auxiliary
7 building? Could they hear the orders and the briefing itself?
8 A. I don't think that was possible. I'm sure it was not possible, in
9 actual fact, because that building is at least about 10 metres away from
10 the main building, if I can call it that, where the regular briefings took
12 Q. Thank you. Have you heard of the name of Dusan Jaksic?
13 A. It sounds familiar.
14 Q. Do you know who he was at the time in Vukovar?
15 A. He was introduced to us as the commander of the Petrova Gora
16 Territorial Defence Detachment.
17 Q. Do you know who the commander of the Leva Supoderica Detachment
19 A. I heard a certain Lancuzanin, nicknamed Kameni.
20 Q. Thank you. Have you heard of Miroljub Vujovic?
21 A. Yes, I've heard of him, too.
22 Q. What was he commander of?
23 A. As far as I know, at first he led one of these TO groups, Petrova
24 Gora; and later, I think he was appointed commander instead of the
25 mentioned Jaksic.
1 Q. Thank you. So, in your view, in terms of what your understanding
2 was at the time, who was in command of the Territorial Defence of Petrova
3 Gora and the Leva Supoderica Detachment, on the ground?
4 A. At first, Jaksic; and after that, Vujovic.
5 Q. Thank you. When you had briefings at the command post, did it
6 ever happen that the commanders of TO Petrova Gora and the commander of
7 the Leva Supoderica Detachment would attend the briefings at the same time
8 when you did?
9 A. In the briefings room, never. For a while, with us, the company
10 commanders, there were none of these other people who were present, Jaksic
11 or Lancuzanin.
12 Q. Thank you. At any time when you came to these briefings and when
13 you were receiving orders, did you see at the command post, before or
14 after you were leaving briefings, did you ever see them?
15 A. Yes, several times. Either they were leaving as we were coming
16 in, or after our regular briefings, they would be there waiting to be
17 received by the commander of the assault detachment.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 A. You're welcome.
20 Q. When you say "to be received," does that mean that they were
21 coming to get their own assignments, irrespective of you?
22 A. Yes. Thank you.
23 MR. LUNNY: Your Honour, I was concerned my learned friend was
24 started to lead down that road. The answer has now been given, but
25 perhaps, in the future, he could be less leading in his questions on this
2 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Lunny.
3 MR. LUNNY: Obliged.
4 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the witness gave an
5 answer and it's not in the transcript. "I assume I was not there." It's
6 not in the transcript. After all, I can ask again.
7 Q. You saw them sometimes before the briefings; sometimes after.
8 What is it that you assumed?
9 A. I assumed that they came to receive assignments from the commander
10 of the 1st Assault Detachment.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] If this pleases my learned friend, I
13 would like to proceed.
14 Q. In the companies of the 1st Motorised Battalion, did you have
15 messengers; and if so, until when?
16 A. Messenger communication is a particular type of communication. At
17 first, going by the rules, we had messengers and we used them up until
18 approximately -- well, it's not approximately. I know the exact date, the
19 10th of October. Since at that time, in my company, we had a casualty.
20 Ramic Indir, my messenger, a Bosniak, got killed, and also Captain Radic's
21 messenger got killed. And that is when the battalion command made the
22 following decision, since the communications equipment we used until then
23 became unreliable and they could easily be intercepted by the Croatian
24 paramilitary formations, it was decided that messengers would no longer be
25 used but, rather, hand-held radio transmitters, popularly known as
2 Q. What was the ethnicity of your messenger who got killed on the
3 10th of October?
4 A. Well, I've said, a Muslim, a Bosniak.
5 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us how this communication took place
6 through these Motorolas that now became an establishment-based system of
8 A. All the officers who had Motorolas were on a single channel, that
9 is to say, that practically we could hear all the conversations that were
10 taking place between any two of the participants involved. It's only that
11 we could not have multiple participation. There could only be two
12 participants in a particular communication, but we could hear everybody.
13 Q. Thank you. Did I understand properly that all the Motorolas were
14 part of a single network of communications? Or would you call it
15 something different or would you explain it in a different way?
16 A. Since this type of radio device has several channels, we all used
17 one single channel. We were all on the same channel and we could all hear
18 everyone's conversation.
19 Q. Does that mean that if the battalion commander is issuing an order
20 to you, as the commander of the 2nd Company, that at the same time this
21 communication between you and the commander of the battalion can be heard
22 by the commanders of the 1st and 3rd Companies, respectively?
23 A. Yes, that is exactly what it means.
24 Q. Did I understand you well, that you said that after the 10th of
25 October, when you introduced Motorolas, you no longer had the need for
1 messenger services?
2 A. Yes, precisely, so that we could have less movement by soldiers,
3 especially unnecessary movement, because the Croat forces were opening
4 sniper fire. We wanted to reduce movement of soldiers, and that is why we
5 practically did away with the messenger service.
6 Q. Thank you. When you went to the command post, did you personally,
7 as a company commander, take your own messenger or did you take your own
8 security detail, or did you go on your own?
9 A. At first, yes, until the lines were fortified, but not after that,
10 especially not after the 10th of October. I went alone.
11 Q. Thank you. Was this the case with other company commanders and
12 the commander of the mortar battery?
13 A. Yes, yes, that was the order of the battalion commander.
14 Q. Thank you. Does that mean that after the 10th of October, even in
15 that small house that was near the command post, there was no need for any
16 messengers or any soldiers to come there?
17 A. Precisely.
18 Q. Thank you. Mr. Zirojevic, do you know when Milovo Brdo fell or
19 was liberated, rather?
20 A. Yes. On the 10th of November, 1991.
21 Q. Do you know what your own tasks were then and what the task of
22 Captain Miroslav Radic's company was?
23 A. Since the command of the battalion concluded that the most
24 favourable way of completing this mission, that is to say, taking Milovo
25 Brdo, was through the 3rd Company, the 3rd Company practically did this;
1 whereas the 1st and 2nd Company cooperated by securing the flanks and the
2 lines attained.
3 Q. Thank you. When Captain Radic's company completed its mission and
4 reached Milovo Brdo, was its further mission to safeguard the taken lines?
5 I don't want to lead --
6 MR. LUNNY: Objection.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lunny.
8 MR. LUNNY: Again, Your Honour, my friend is leading on this
9 point. He should ask: After Milovo Brdo, what did the company do next?
10 Not suggest what the task was.
11 JUDGE PARKER: You're on alert, Mr. Borovic, about the leading.
12 Thank you.
13 MR. LUNNY: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. The 3rd Company of Captain Miroslav Radic, to the best of your
16 knowledge, when it reached Milovo Brdo, did it have a mission?
17 A. Not only Captain Radic's company, but also the 2nd and the 1st
18 Companies and the mortar battery, once Milovo Brdo was taken, remained at
19 the lines attained and did not have any mission to continue the attack.
20 Q. Thank you. When you say "remained at the lines attained," what
21 does that mean?
22 A. That means that the area of Milovo Brdo that had been taken was
23 fortified, security was put in place, and we were not engaged in any kind
24 of further movement, since the primary task of the 1st Motorised
25 Battalion, the one that we had received at the outset, at the beginning of
1 the attack, was to take Milovo Brdo, the area of Milovo Brdo. By virtue
2 of that fact, we established control over part of Vukovar that we could
3 not see until then, because the area of Milovo Brdo was not within our
4 vision. We had control over the bridges across the Vuka, linking the old
5 and new part of Vukovar, so to speak. So we had completed our mission,
6 and did not move.
7 Q. Thank you. When you say "control of the bridges," was that
8 visual, fire, or what type of control? How would you explain it to the
10 A. At any rate, it was both visual and fire control of the bridges.
11 From these positions, we could control, by way of fire, any movement of
12 the Croat paramilitary forces. And there was no need to go to the foot of
13 the hill. Tactically, that would have been illogical, because we had
14 positions that were high up and higher up than those of the Croat
15 paramilitary forces. So it was virtually impossible because it is a very
16 steep slope below Milovo Brdo, so you couldn't really go down.
17 Q. Thank you. When did you remain in the area of Milovo Brdo? And
18 after that mission to fortify the taken area, when was your next task and
19 when did you get it? I'm referring to the companies of the 1st Motorised
21 A. After Milovo Brdo was taken, and at the proposal of the deputy
22 battalion commander, we asked, or rather, the battalion command asked,
23 that the 1st Motorised Battalion, since it had carried out its mission,
24 should remain at the lines attained and that the other parts of the
25 brigade should carry out their assignment. This was accepted by the
1 brigade command, and I think that on the 14th this was definitely
2 regulated, that is to say that the 1st Motorised Battalion got out of the
3 assault detachment and remained in the area of Milovo Brdo, ready to
4 engage along some other axis and support other units from the brigade.
5 Q. Thank you. At any point in time from the 10th until the fall of
6 Vukovar, in the area of Milovo Brdo, did the members of TO Petrova Gora
7 and the Leva Supoderica Detachment ever take part in securing the lines
8 attained with you?
9 A. According to the decision reached on the 14th and earlier on, that
10 is to say, from the 10th onwards practically, they were no longer within
11 the composition, or rather, these positions. And according to the
12 decision of the brigade, or rather, the Operations Group South of the 14th
13 of November, the 1st Assault Detachment consisted of those units without
14 the 1st Battalion.
15 Q. Not to go into interpreting various orders and decisions; I did
16 that several times here and I do not want to tire the Trial Chamber with
17 that. I am now asking you about the factual situation. On the 10th of
18 November and up to the fall of Vukovar, the members of TO Petrova Gora and
19 Leva Supoderica, did they, together with you, take part in securing the
20 attained lines?
21 A. From the fall of Milovo Brdo, Petrova Gora and Leva Supoderica no
22 longer acted in concert with the 1st Battalion in carrying out its tasks.
23 Q. Thank you. And when was Vukovar liberated? And how did you find
24 out about the liberation of Vukovar? Did someone tell you? Who told
25 you? In what way did you find out?
1 A. As for information about that, that the handover of Vukovar, or
2 rather, that the Croat paramilitary forces were surrendering, I heard
3 about that in the early morning hours of the 18th of November.
4 Specifically, I was on the rim of Milovo Brdo, in a part of Milovo Brdo
5 that the local population calls Drvena Pijaca, the log market or timber
6 market, Captain Radic and Captain Bojkovski were there, too, and
7 Lieutenant Hadzic told us this. He was a platoon commander in Captain
8 Radic's company.
9 Q. On the 19th of November, 1991, did you - and I mean your three
10 companies - move, or rather, were you still in the Milovo Brdo area on
11 that day?
12 A. Yes, because Milovo Brdo is not just the elevation itself but also
13 the surrounding area, including the timber market that I mentioned. That
14 is also part of Milovo Brdo.
15 Q. I think there's an interpretation problem, so can you please
16 describe this place you refer to as the timber market. What does that
17 mean, the timber market?
18 A. I suppose that it was in that area that timber was bought and
19 sold. It's a small square with a petrol station right in the middle of
20 it. The square was a confluence of five or six different streets from
21 different parts of town. It's a rather small square, and one of its
22 typical features was the presence of a petrol station.
23 Q. A while ago you said that on the 19th you happened to be in the
24 timber market, which was part of the Milovo Brdo area. My question: You
25 personally, as the commander of the 2nd Company of the 1st Motorised
1 Battalion, were you given any specific tasks by your commander, since you
2 say that Vukovar fell on that day, the 18th of November?
3 A. Indeed. I was told to take my soldiers and cross a bridge over at
4 Vuka River, head straight for the Danube Hotel, which was at the point
5 where the Vuka River flows into the Danube. I was told to search that
6 building since we had received information to indicate that a man known as
7 Jastreb, who was the commander of Croat paramilitary formations, had
8 previously established his headquarters there and was still hiding in that
10 Q. Do you know if, on that day, or rather, at that time, Captain
11 Miroslav Radic was also given an assignment? Just briefly, because we're
12 about to have a break. Do you know that? And what was the assignment?
13 A. I received my assignment over a Motorola from the battalion
14 commander, Major Tesic. After that, he handed out an assignment to
15 Captain Radic, too, since we were all part of a single network. He told
16 him to take his soldiers, go to the hospital area, set up a security
17 regime outside the hospital, and allow no one in or out until we were
19 Q. Thank you.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lunny.
21 MR. LUNNY: Thank you, Your Honour. It's not an objection on this
22 occasion, but more asking for clarification. My learned friend asked the
23 question on page 62, at line 7, in respect of the 19th, and Mr. Zirojevic
24 being in the timber market. Further on in the paragraph he says: "Since
25 you say that Vukovar fell that day, the 18th of November." There seems to
1 be some confusion, perhaps due to translation, but certainly with the
2 transcript I have, there seems to be different dates talked about here.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
4 Do you want to follow that up at all, Mr. Borovic?
5 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 Q. Do you know on what day Vukovar was liberated?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Go ahead.
9 A. The 18th of November, 1991.
10 Q. Thank you. Were you at the timber market on the 19th of November,
11 at the foot of Milovo Brdo, when you received that first assignment?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us if you heard whether other company
14 commanders and the commander of the mortar battery received their
15 assignments much the same way as you did, over a Motorola.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. What do you know about that?
18 A. I know that the commander of the mortar battery was told to be at
19 the ready, since the situation was still not clear-cut, and that other
20 attacks were still expected by minor groups who had refused to surrender.
21 They were told to be at the ready in order to open fire in the eventuality
22 of an attack by one of those minor groups.
23 Further, Captain Bojkovski was ordered to stay with his unit in
24 that same area, at the ready, in order to step in should there be any
25 further acts of provocation by those minor units.
1 Q. Thank you very much.
2 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, is this a convenient
3 time for the break? I think I've slightly lost my bearings, so I'm not
4 sure. If so, I move that we take a break now.
5 JUDGE PARKER: It's the right time for the break, and we will
6 resume at 6.00 because of a redaction. Thank you.
7 --- Recess taken at 5.32 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 6.01 p.m.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Borovic.
10 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. When you got this assignment on the 19th of November, did you go
12 and carry it out? And did you carry it out?
13 A. Yes. Having received the assignment, I sent one soldier, one
14 officer, on foot, and I drove there in a vehicle. I searched the hotel
15 building from the basement to the upper most floor. In the meantime I had
16 been given the assignment of preparing the conference room of the hotel.
17 Q. Wait a minute, please. I see an error in the transcript. I will
18 repeat that question.
19 A. I sent the commander of my platoon, from my company that means,
20 with soldiers to go there. They walked and I drove after them.
21 Q. That's all right, because the transcript says "I sent one
23 A. I received a new assignment. The assignment was to prepare a
24 conference room and clear it, because there was all sorts of rubble in
25 that room, since there was to be a press conference in that conference
1 room on the following day. Having searched the hotel, I continued with
2 this other mission.
3 Q. Thank you. If I understand you correctly, the only people on that
4 mission were soldiers and officers from your company, weren't they?
5 A. Yes, indeed.
6 Q. Were there any members of the Leva Supoderica TO Detachment?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Thank you very much. On the evening of the 19th, did you have a
9 regular briefing? And who was there?
10 A. As any other day, there was a briefing on the evening of the
11 19th. The battalion commander was there, Major Tesic; his deputy, Captain
12 Stijakovic; the company commanders; and the commander of the
13 120-millimetre mortar battery.
14 Q. Thank you. On the following day, the 20th of November, were you
15 still on this mission at the Danube Hotel; if so, for how long? What
16 exactly went on? Can you tell us anything that we might find of interest
17 here in this courtroom? What happened by the regular briefing on the
18 evening of the 20th of November, 1991?
19 A. I left behind at the Danube Hotel as security an officer from my
20 unit, with about ten other soldiers, to secure the hotel building. The
21 next morning, with the remainder of the soldiers whom I had pulled back to
22 our area of deployment previously, I went back to the Danube Hotel and
23 continued with the preparations for this press conference, clearing and
24 cleaning the conference room.
25 Q. In your opinion, did you have the impression or was there anything
1 for you to indicate who had been in the Danube Hotel during combat
2 operations prior to your arrival?
3 A. There had been indications that a man named Jastreb, who was in
4 the command of the Croat paramilitary forces, had been staying there. We
5 even found a vehicle when we arrived, one that had been destroyed. It was
6 not in good working order. And there was also some equipment, some
7 communication devices, some documents. I didn't really look closely what
8 the documents were. That was one of the reasons for the hotel to be
9 thoroughly searched, because there was a certain likelihood that some
10 remaining members of the Croat paramilitary formations were still there.
11 This is a tall building; therefore, there was also the likelihood of
12 snipers still present in the building. And that was another reason why we
13 conducted this search.
14 Q. So the following day you continued this mission, you carried on
15 with this mission. Did anyone from your superior command come to see
16 you? Did anyone from the other companies belonging to the 1st Motorised
17 Battalion come to see you?
18 A. Yes. That morning, Captain Radic came several times. At about
19 noon, possibly early afternoon, Captain Stijakovic arrived as well to
20 check how far we had got with our preparations, and he stayed a while with
21 Captain Radic.
22 Q. How do you know that on the 20th of November, the second day of
23 your missions, Stijakovic arrived?
24 A. I know because we sat there together.
25 Q. Was it not, perhaps, Borivoje Tesic?
1 A. I know because we sat together, and I gave Captain Stijakovic an
2 interesting bottled drink as a gift. It was on some sort of a metal
3 swing, and it was half vermouth -- on a seesaw. It was half vermouth and
4 half something else.
5 Q. After that, did you have your regular briefing on the evening of
6 the 20th? Who was there? And did you see any TO members or people from
7 the Leva Supoderica Detachment anywhere near?
8 A. Yes, of course. As any other day, we held a regular briefing that
9 evening, which meant that reports were submitted on any missions carried
10 out over the course of the day. And another thing that was done is that
11 missions were handed out for the following day.
12 Q. Which specific assignments did you receive on the evening of the
13 19th and which on the evening of the 20th of November?
14 A. On the 19th, I was told to carry on with the preparations for that
15 press conference. Having completed that, I was to carry on gathering any
16 equipment left behind during combat operations. On the evening of the
17 20th --
18 Q. Who was there?
19 A. For a short while, 20 minutes, half an hour, the battalion
20 commander was there, and then he left and said he was on his way to the
21 brigade command. And the deputy commander, Captain Stijakovic, was also
22 there; the company commanders and the commander of the mortar battery.
23 As for the assignment I got on the evening of the 20th --
24 Q. Hold it right there, please.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Domazet.
1 MR. DOMAZET: [Microphone not activated].
2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for counsel, please.
3 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe there might
4 be an error in the transcript at page 67. Let me just take a minute to
5 find that. Mr. Borovic's question was: "Were members of the TO and Leva
6 Supoderica ..." and it says: "Members of the TO from Leva Supoderica,"
7 which would imply that this was one and the same thing. So if Mr. Borovic
8 could please rephrase that question because I think both the question and
9 the answer have been erroneously recorded.
10 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I thank my learned friend for giving
11 me a hand with this.
12 Q. So, did any of the Petrova Gora TO Detachment or the Leva
13 Supoderica TO Detachment assist you with carrying out this mission at the
14 Danube Hotel on the 19th or 20th of November, 1991?
15 A. Most certainly not.
16 Q. Thank you. On the evening of the 20th, was Radic wearing the same
17 sort of uniform that all of you company commanders in the 1st Motorised
18 Battalion had been wearing up to that point? Or did you, perhaps, spot a
20 A. No, not only 20th. It was on the 19th that he stopped wearing the
21 same uniform that we had been wearing up to that point. He got a
22 camouflage uniform, which we had not been familiar with up to that point
23 in time. It was only later to be introduced as part of standard-issue JNA
24 equipment, a green camouflage uniform.
25 Q. You say that on the 20th of November, at the briefing that
1 evening, Radic was wearing this camouflage uniform.
2 A. Yes, the 19th and the 20th.
3 Q. I'm asking you about the 20th.
4 A. Yes, on the 20th as well.
5 Q. On the 20th, when he came to the Danube Hotel, was he wearing that
6 same uniform that he had -- just a minute, please -- that he had worn at
7 the 19th of November briefing?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. You say that after a while Major Tesic was off somewhere. Do you
10 know where it was that he went to?
11 A. Yes. He told us that he was on his way to the brigade command --
12 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: There is an overlap between
13 different voices and we find it impossible to follow the witness.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic, you're asked to slow and to leave a
15 space between question and answer. Thank you.
16 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I will comply with this caution.
17 Q. Mr. Zirojevic, please, when you hear my question, wait and then
18 answer slowly. Thank you.
19 Who took over command of the 1st Motorised Battalion after Tesic
20 left on the 20th of November, 1991? And how long did that go on for?
21 A. It was his deputy, Captain Stijakovic, that took over, and this
22 went on until the return of Major Tesic from Belgrade, which was on the
23 following day, the afternoon or possibly the evening of the following day.
24 Q. Thank you. Did he give you any orders in relation to the
25 following day, Captain Stijakovic, in his capacity as the deputy of the
1 battalion commander? And what sort of assignment did you receive, if any?
2 A. Yes, in addition to those known to us from earlier on, we were
3 also given the following assignment: The following day, the 21st, in the
4 morning, Captain Stijakovic said he would be reviewing troops, soldiers,
5 and officers alike in each of the units, in their own areas of deployment.
6 Q. Thank you. Was he more specific? Which units was he supposed to
7 review? Can you please wait for the interpretation to finish. Go ahead,
9 A. He said -- or he ordered, or rather, he told us to prepare for
10 this and said that he would be reviewing the companies, each of the
11 companies, that is.
12 Q. Thank you. And did he order a review of the mortar battery as
13 well, or did that go without out saying when he said "companies," because,
14 from the point of view of establishment, it was a company. And what about
15 the commander, Damir Vuckovic [as interpreted], did he attend the
17 A. Of course. The mortar battery is considered to be a company. It
18 is at company level, so that is why I am not mentioning it specifically in
19 every answer. And Mr. Vuckovic was present at this briefing. The review
20 also involved his unit.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, two times we have the
23 name "Damir" in the transcript but it's supposed to be "Davor," Davor
24 Vuckovic. This must be a mistake in the interpretation, so we don't want
25 problems later.
1 Q. What is the name of the commander of the mortar battery?
2 A. Davor Vuckovic.
3 Q. Thank you. Now we have it right. Where did you go after the
4 briefing on the 20th of November, 1991, you, personally? And where did
5 the others go from this briefing?
6 A. Towards the end of this briefing, the commander of the mortar
7 battery, Vuckovic, invited all of those present to be his guests that
8 evening at the house that he used for rest, because he had prepared dinner
9 there, a modest dinner. His soldiers got a pig from the locals, so he
10 invited all of us who had been present there.
11 After this regular briefing, I went to the deployment area of my
12 own unit. I ordered activities with a view to preparing the review that
13 was supposed to take place on the following day. And then after that I
14 went to that house that the commander of the mortar battery had been using
15 for his own rest.
16 Q. Thank you. Who else came to this dinner from the command post?
17 Was Stijakovic present? Did he come to this dinner?
18 MR. LUNNY: Your Honour, I object.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lunny.
20 MR. LUNNY: Your Honour, my friend is entitled to ask who was at
21 this dinner; he's not entitled to tell the witness the names in advance.
22 Again, he's leading the witness in a very important aspect of his
24 JUDGE PARKER: If you'd take notice, thank you, Mr. Borovic.
25 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
1 Q. After the briefing, who came, if anybody did, to this dinner at
2 Davor Vuckovic's?
3 A. From the battalion command, Sergeant Bojic came, Staff Sergeant
4 Bojic. Captain Stijakovic expressed his thanks for the invitation, but
5 since the commander of the battalion was not at his command post, he quite
6 simply could not leave the command post. He could not leave it, since
7 there were no other officers there who could be in charge of the command
8 post. Then Captain Radic was present. I think he first went to the area
9 of deployment of his company and then he came to this house that Vuckovic
10 had been using for rest. That is as far as those who were present at the
11 briefing were concerned. The commander of the 1st Company wasn't there
12 and of the armoured company either.
13 Q. Thank you. Until when did you stay? And can you give us a more
14 graphic description of what it was that you did there. Briefly, if you
15 can recall.
16 A. Since it was an opportunity to relax after a long time without
17 thinking about possible attacks and combat activities, so that is what we
18 did, roughly. We relaxed. We drank, ate, sang. So it was a relaxed
19 atmosphere, practically as if we were not in the situation that we were
20 in. So we were sort of decompressing after all the stress that we had
21 gone through over the preceding two months.
22 Q. And until when, approximately, did you stay at that dinner?
23 A. I don't know what the exact hour was, but I know that it was just
24 before dawn. Actually, it had already started dawning.
25 Q. Well, we already heard several times in this courtroom persons
1 referring to food and drink during the Vukovar operation. My question
2 was: Were you hungry during these operations, or thirsty?
3 A. We were not hungry or thirsty, but if I tell you that during those
4 50-something days I had a cooked meal only twice and the rest of the time
5 I was eating only canned food, you can assume how enjoyable that was for
6 all of us.
7 Q. Thank you. Was that, perhaps, the reason why you remember this
8 dinner so well, the first time after the fall of Vukovar?
9 MR. LUNNY: Objection, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lunny.
11 MR. LUNNY: My friend is giving the witness an answer in advance
12 as to why he remembers this dinner.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic, Mr. Lunny has made very clear that he
14 would object to leading on these matters, and you are quite often now
15 leading on matters of some significance in this case. If you would take
16 care. Thank you.
17 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I think that my learned friend
18 Mr. Lunny likes to imitate me a bit. I like this way of communicating
19 professionally; he's right.
20 Q. Can you describe for us, in addition to this relaxation, what it
21 was like. Who sat where; do you remember? If you can, try; if not, just
22 tell us you cannot remember.
23 A. I am waiting for the transcript to finish so that I start my
25 So, in addition to the persons I mentioned, there were a few
1 soldiers there, Captain Vuckovic's soldiers; then the owner of that house
2 that was being used by Captain Vuckovic for rest; then there were a few of
3 his neighbours there. I know that the owner of the house sat at this long
4 table. I know that he sat at the head of the table on one side, and that
5 at the other side, at the head of the table, there was Vuckovic, whereas
6 Radic and I sat opposite each other, next to Vuckovic. As for the rest,
7 the other soldiers and civilians, or rather, neighbours, they were there
8 on the sides, on some benches. On one side there were benches, and on the
9 other side there were chairs. And I also think that there was this dining
11 Q. Thank you. Since you said that it was almost morning when you
12 parted, did you carry out your task? Or did the review take place where
13 your company was; and if so, when?
14 A. Since, after the briefing, I issued a task to the platoon
15 commander from my company to prepare this, the review had been prepared by
16 morning. Specifically, the review of my company was at 9.00 in the
17 morning. Of course, when I arrived I went to sleep and -- but I did get
18 up, observing the orders of the deputy commander, and I was present at the
20 Q. Thank you. During combat operations in Vukovar, were any of your
21 soldiers wounded or killed? I'm referring to soldiers from your company.
22 A. Of course, I had wounded soldiers and I had killed soldiers, both
23 soldiers and officers. Perhaps I could illustrate this by saying that I
24 took 120 soldiers to Vukovar and returned 20 from Vukovar. I believe that
25 that will be sufficient.
1 Q. Thank you. When did you return from Vukovar to Belgrade, on what
3 A. On the 24th of November, in the morning hours, that's when we
4 left, and we arrived in barracks, in Belgrade, around 7.00 or 8.00 in the
6 Q. Thank you. As for this task that you had at the Danube Hotel and
7 then on the 21st the task that had to do with the review, what about the
8 remaining two days before you went to Belgrade? Did you have any special
9 assignments or -- or what were you doing? What tasks did you have?
10 A. The task was along the axis of attack, every company along the
11 axis of its own attack should collect equipment, arms, ammunition,
12 explosives, mines; to have all the combat kits right; to have the soldiers
13 in proper condition, that they should all get haircuts, and so on;
14 practically cleaning up the terrain in terms of military equipment,
15 gathering this military equipment; and preparing for return to Belgrade;
16 and perhaps carrying out another task.
17 Q. Thank you. During the Vukovar operation, on the axis where you
18 were, as well as the 3rd Company, up to Milovo Brdo, the liberation of
19 Milovo Brdo, was there artillery fire at your positions by the
20 paramilitary formations? And what do you know about that? I'm referring
21 to Croat paramilitary formations.
22 A. Of course we were under artillery fire. I've already explained
23 that this happened when we came to the area of deployment at Dubrava
24 farm. That was the first time. And the next time was when we set out to
25 carry out our assignment, attack. There was terrible mortar fire and
1 other artillery fire in the Petrova Gora neighbourhood. Of course, during
2 combat activity, practically every day we were under mortar fire and fire
3 coming from other artillery pieces. The death of soldier Ramic that I
4 already referred to, I mean he was seriously wounded by a mortar shell.
5 After that, he bled to death.
6 Q. Thank you. Mr. Zirojevic, can you tell the Trial Chamber who
7 Captain Miroslav Radic is during the Vukovar operation, before, and after
8 the Vukovar operations. During this time as a commander, komandir, how
9 did he behave? And how could you describe him as a human being and as a
10 professional? What is it that you know about him?
11 A. Captain Radic is a very honourable, honest, and professional
12 officer. At the time when he was a professional military man, if he had
13 not been that kind of person, I believe that he could not have been a
14 member of the Guards Brigade, as the most elite unit of the Yugoslav
15 People's Army. He's a family man, the father of two children; highly
16 responsible towards his family and his work.
17 Q. Thank you. Specifically, since you were neighbours, what were the
18 comments made with regard to his courage, discipline, his self-
19 initiative? Can you tell us a bit more about that, because this would be
20 the end of the examination-in-chief, and you are a witness who can give us
21 a closer description of what can be said about him personally and from a
22 military point of view.
23 A. Captain Radic could not take any initiative of his own because
24 there was no such thing in the Guards Brigade. There was no
25 self-initiative. So he behaved in accordance with the tasks that he
1 received from the battalion command, or rather, the battalion commander.
2 So, during combat activities, he could not do anything on his own; should
3 not have done anything on his own.
4 Q. Did you hear anything about the discipline that prevailed in his
5 3rd Company?
6 A. During these combat activities, we were often in contact. I'm not
7 only taking into account the regular briefings, but during the actual
8 combat actions, practically every day, since we were neighbours and since
9 we had to fortify our positions.
10 After the end, when night fell, it was impossible to carry out any
11 kind of combat activity, and no movement was allowed. I know that once he
12 told me that he had problems with a certain group of reserve soldiers and
13 that he sent them back, or rather, sent them away from his unit. They
14 tried to introduce defeatism to make the rest of the troops rebel, so he
15 sent them away so his unit would not fall apart, that it would, rather,
16 carry out its task.
17 Q. Thank you. Was he strict and did he mete out punishment, or did
18 he behave in some other way?
19 A. Well, I don't know what you mean by "punishment."
20 Q. Could he punish people, or did he resolve things in a different
22 A. In the Yugoslav People's Army, punishment was actually
23 disciplinary action. No torture, no physical mistreatment, beatings,
24 tying up of soldiers; soldiers or officers could not be punished in that
25 way. Only disciplinary measures were taken for any infraction.
1 Q. Thank you. Did you ever hear from anyone that Captain Radic was
2 responsible for what happened at Ovcara, or not?
3 A. Most certainly not. And knowing him as a person, I would find
4 that inconceivable. He, quite simply, could not do any such thing.
5 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have completed the
6 examination-in-chief of this witness, and now he is here, ready to answer
7 other questions. Thank you.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Borovic.
9 Mr. Domazet, any questions?
10 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just a few questions.
11 Examination by Mr. Domazet:
12 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Zirojevic, I am Vladimir Domazet,
13 attorney-at-law, Defence counsel for Mr. Mrksic. I just have a few
14 questions for you, quite simply to some things that I, perhaps, did not
15 understand. So I'm going to ask you, perhaps, even to repeat some answers
16 so that I will not lead you, although this is cross-examination.
17 You will remember - and now I'm asking you once again - who was
18 the commander of the Territorial Defence of Petrova Gora?
19 A. At first, as far as I know, it was a certain Jaksic, Captain
20 Jaksic, and after that, again, as far as I know, Miroljub Vujovic.
21 Q. Thank you. And the commander of Leva Supoderica, you've already
22 spoken about that, too.
23 A. A man named Lancuzanin, Milan Lancuzanin, unless I'm wrong,
24 nicknamed Kameni.
25 Q. Something else about that. Did he remain as a commander until the
1 very end, or was he, at one point, removed?
2 A. As far as I know, he remained throughout.
3 Q. Thank you. Just another thing you said about Major Tesic, I
4 think, on the 20th. You were asked and you provided an answer, but
5 because of the speed, your answer was not recorded in its entirety, so
6 that there still remains something that is not quite clear because there
7 was an intervention by the interpreter saying that there was overlap
8 between the different voices and microphones.
9 Now, my clarification is: Where did Major Tesic go on the evening
10 of the 20th?
11 A. He stayed at the briefing briefly and then he said he was off to
12 Negoslavci, to the brigade command post or the operations group command
13 post. He said that after he'd be off to Belgrade, because the following
14 day there was a reception for Motorised Guards Brigade officers at the
15 Federal Secretary for All People's Defence.
16 Q. So the following day, the 21st, he was no longer in Negoslavci; he
17 was away. I think you said that when you talked about the review.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Thank you. Thank you very much.
20 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Domazet.
23 Mr. Lukic -- I'm sorry. Mr. Bulatovic.
24 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] No problem at all, Your Honour.
25 Examination by Mr. Bulatovic:
1 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Zirojevic.
2 A. Good afternoon.
3 Q. I am one of Mr. Sljivancanin's Defence counsel. I have merely a
4 handful of questions, issues of interest to the Sljivancanin Defence
5 team. It's about the following: During your time in Vukovar, your
6 assignments and any combat missions that you describe, were you in touch
7 with Veselin Sljivancanin?
8 A. Yes, several times.
9 Q. What was the purpose of these contacts between you? And where did
10 these contacts occur?
11 A. As the chief of security of the brigade, he would tour all the
12 units along the front line, and that was where we met, depending on where
13 my observation post was at a given point in time. He wanted to know about
14 the situation prevailing in our unit in terms of morale, in terms of
15 security. He wanted to know about the activities taken by the enemy --
16 Q. Can you just slow down a little, please.
17 A. That's fine. He wanted to know about the activities undertaken by
18 the Croatian paramilitary units. He wanted to know about the situation
19 that prevailed in my company in the sense of there being any soldiers
20 trying to stoke up a rebellion of some sort. Most of all, he wanted to
21 know about anything that might have adversely affected the security
22 situation in the unit and thereby the unit's mission.
23 Q. During these contacts between you and Veselin Sljivancanin, did he
24 ever try to issue you an order, or did he effectively order anything to
1 A. Not in the sense of carrying out a mission. Never. In principle,
2 he would not have had the power to issue me an order without my superior
3 command being informed, first of all.
4 Q. At these regular briefings at the battalion commanders, the
5 briefings that you spoke about in reply to my learned friend Mr. Borovic's
6 questions, did you ever hear from anyone present at the briefing about
7 people saying that Major Sljivancanin had issued anyone any order at all,
8 since he was, after all, as you said yourself, touring all the units along
9 the front line?
10 A. No. I never heard anything of that nature. And besides, it is
11 the duty of an officer, having received an order from a superior command
12 level, to inform his direct superior accordingly. More specifically, if,
13 for example, a brigade commander issues an order to a company commander,
14 this company commander is duty-bound to, first of all, carry out this
15 order and to inform the battalion commander.
16 Q. I'd like to ask you this now. You answered questions by
17 Mr. Borovic about the ethnic make-up of the Guards Brigade and the ethnic
18 make-up of your own unit. What I want to know is: Did all the members of
19 your company, regardless of their ethnicity, take part in combat action
20 that you carried out?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You said that you brought 120 men to Vukovar and came back with a
23 mere 20, which would mean that 100 people were put out of action at some
24 point, at various points during the campaign. Among those killed, were
25 there any Croats or people belonging to other ethnicities - Albanians,
1 Bosnians, Slovaks, Hungarians, what have you - if you remember?
2 A. Of course there were. The first soldier ever to be wounded, a
3 member of my company, was an ethnic Croat, Goran Dencic, who was a
4 sharpshooter in his own squad. I already mentioned the late Indir Ramic,
5 who was a Bosniak. There was another Croat soldier who was wounded; he
6 was -- then there was the commander of the 3rd Platoon, Marijan Catelevski
7 [phoen], who was an ethnicity Macedonian.
8 As far as loss, retrievable losses, so to speak, those who were
9 put out of action as a result of high stress and were consequently sent
10 back, so not entirely put out of action you might say, there were
11 situations, such as the one in late October, where our reservists were
12 sent back -- our reserve soldiers and officers returned to Belgrade, in
13 actual fact, the reason being the federal government had adopted a
14 decision to the effect that any reservist could only be kept in a unit for
15 as long as 45 days. And that is one of the reasons why you have this
16 100-men discrepancy. But there certainly were losses as well that were
18 Q. Does the name of Slobodan Popovic, Sergeant Slobodan Popovic, mean
19 anything to you?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Can you please explain who this person is. And do you know what
22 became of him?
23 A. Sergeant Popovic was in Major Sljivancanin's closest security
24 circle. He died on the 6th of October, 1991. He was killed outside my
25 own observation post. I saw him being killed with my own eyes. If you
1 want me to explain what exactly happened, I'd be glad to.
2 Q. Please try. Was there anything unusual about this? And what was
3 the late Sergeant Popovic doing with Major Sljivancanin at your
4 observation post?
5 A. That day I had suffered certain losses on account of the mortar
6 fire of the Croat paramilitary forces. I wasn't able to evacuate the
7 wounded with my own men, so I did whatever I could. I applied some
8 makeshift measures to stop the bleeding, to dress their wounds. And then
9 I applied to the battalion command, since the firing was still going on,
10 to send me a vehicle that I could use to withstand that firing.
11 After about half an hour, 45 minutes, a combat vehicle emerged
12 with a caterpillar. This was an infantry combat vehicle. The vehicle
13 disgorged Major Sljivancanin. Major Sljivancanin walked into the front
14 yard, followed by the late Sergeant Popovic. I saw an enemy bullet hit
15 him with my very own eyes. His body was on the ground, and he was hit
16 about another dozen time by bullets. The driver remained inside the
17 vehicle, and then we asked him, the driver of the combat vehicle, to get
18 into the front yard in order for us to be able to evacuate the wounded
19 from that building. As he was manoeuvreing the vehicle, he simply drove
20 over Sergeant Popovic's body, flattening him there. It was an ugly
21 scene. I'm not sure what to say. A disaster.
22 Q. Was his body evacuated, pulled out?
23 A. Yes, that very same day.
24 Q. How?
25 A. We used a metal hook attached to a length of rope, the principal
1 purpose of which was to remove booby-traps or anti-tank mines with an
2 additional fuse that was not visible to the naked eye. And using this
3 metal hook attached to a string or a length of rope, you make sure the
4 distance is sufficient. If you pull it out like that, there are no
5 casualties and no one is hurt.
6 Q. Can you tell us why this method was used in order to evacuate the
7 body of the late Sergeant Popovic? What was the reason for that? Just to
8 avoid being leading.
9 A. Well, we simply couldn't reach the body because of the heavy
10 firing that we were subjected to by the Croatian side, their
11 sharpshooters, especially because they were using armour-piercing dumdum
12 bullets that caused a lot of panic. They would make a sound when
13 exploding, and that created even more fear, even more panic among the
14 soldiers and officers. But most of all, because of the sniper fire, this
15 was the only way we could get the body out. It's that simple.
16 Q. Mr. Zirojevic, let me ask you this to wrap things up: Popovic was
17 hit by a sniper; his body was lying on the ground and still being showered
18 and riddled with bullets. There is this combat vehicle, a caterpillar,
19 helping the wounded to get away. What sort of effect did that have on all
20 of you present there, including Major Sljivancanin? How exactly were you
21 affected by this scene that you experienced?
22 A. It had a disastrous effect; it had a demoralising effect. We were
23 speechless; we were deeply sorry. I happened to know this man personally
24 and it really affected me in a very bad way.
25 Q. Thank you very much.
1 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
2 questions for this witness.
3 Mr. Zirojevic, thank you very much.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're welcome.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Bulatovic.
6 Now, Mr. Lunny, it's ten to. Is it practical to start now or in
7 the morning?
8 MR. LUNNY: Your Honour, I'm in Your Honour's hands in that
9 regard. I'm certainly happy to start just now, but the first set of
10 questions I have would run for more than ten minutes and I don't think
11 there's any natural break in that set of the evidence, in that section of
12 the evidence. And perhaps --
13 JUDGE PARKER: I think, in the circumstances, we will adjourn now
14 and continue tomorrow at 9.30.
15 MR. LUNNY: Obliged, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.50 p.m.,
18 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 17th day of
19 October, 2006, at 9.30 a.m.