1 Thursday, 15 March 2007
2 [Prosecution Closing Statement]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
6 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Good afternoon. I give the floor to
7 Mr. Moore for 15 minutes.
8 MR. MOORE: Well, I will try and be shorter than that.
9 May I deal with the sentencing elements, and I have indicated to
10 my learned friend, if I deal with it just very gently. In our -- very
11 generally. There are two principal considerations in any sentence that we
12 submit the Court should take into account. One, that first part should
13 reflect the overall gravamen of the situation itself; and secondly, what I
14 will call an element of deterrence.
15 In this case, it is perfectly clear from the facts that have been
16 alleged and the court are very familiar with that this was an appalling
17 crime, and therefore we would submit that the following sentences are
18 appropriate: With regard to Mr. Mrksic and Mr. Sljivacanin, if they were
19 committed for what I will call JCE 1 or JCE 3, we submit that the
20 appropriate sentence is one of life imprisonment.
21 With regard to Mr. Mrksic and Mr. Sljivacanin in respect of
22 individual modes of liability or responsibility, namely, ordering or
23 aiding and abetting, we submit that life imprisonment is the appropriate
24 sentence. For Mr. Mrksic and Mr. Sljivacanin, for 7(3), we submit that
25 the failure to prevent such a large number of people being killed and/or
1 persecuted it should be life in prison, and for failure to punish, there
2 should be a period of 10 to 15 years.
3 In respect of Mr. Radic, if he were convicted of JCE 1 or 3, we
4 submit, even though his part is not as significant as the other two, life
5 imprisonment. In relation to Mr. Radic, for again, individual modes of
6 liability, in this instance only aiding and abetting, we submit that life
7 imprisonment is also appropriate. However, when we come to 7(3),
8 liability, there are certain subplots. The failure to prevent basically
9 the TO, if in actual fact the Court find that they were subordinated to
10 him, the appropriate sentence would be between 10 and 15 years. Failure
11 to punish the TO, sentence of 8 to 10 years, and if the Court is not
12 satisfied of the issue of subordination in relation to the TO itself,
13 there are clearly three other JNA soldiers who were directly subordinated
14 to him. We would submit that the period would be between 4 and 6 years.
15 Mr. Radic, I believe, has been in custody I think just over three years.
16 I would not seek to address the Court on any other issue in
17 relation to sentencing.
18 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Thank you very much, Mr. Moore. I will
19 then give the floor to Mr. Vasic.
20 [Defence Closing Statement]
21 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon to all. Good
22 afternoon, Your Honours.
23 I would like to apologise now given the number of people who make
24 up the respective teams assisting us and the Prosecutor. I have not had
25 the time or the ability to put together a presentation for my closing
1 argument. I will be reading out all the relevant numbers, though, and I
2 will be using the tab given to us by Mr. Moore.
3 Your Honours, this closing argument has been conceived as a
4 response to the Prosecutor's final brief and the Prosecutor's closing
5 argument. I will be using references not mentioned in Mr. Mrksic's final
6 brief. As for any others that have been mentioned, we shall merely be
7 using the substance of information indicating that the facts were indeed
8 different from what the OTP have pleaded. We could say that the objective
9 of all the parties involved in this trial was to, after more than 15
10 years, contribute to shedding some light on the events that occurred
11 between the 20th and the 21st of November, 1991, at the Ovcara farm near
13 Although at the outset this may have seemed an easy task, it was
14 by no means easy, partly because of the long time that has passed, leaving
15 a question mark over the evidence given by witnesses in terms of their
16 precision and reliability, and also because there is an abundance of
17 relevant documents that have in the meantime disappeared or have remained
18 beyond the reach of the parties involved in this trial. Unfortunately,
19 this documentation that the Defence looked for so hard, such as the
20 operations log of the Guards Motorised Brigade and the briefing book of
21 the Guards Motorised Brigade would certainly have allowed us to achieve a
22 more reliable construction of these events that occurred over 15 years
23 ago, as well as the respective roles of all of the protagonists. It would
24 certainly have allowed us to critically assess the evidence given by those
25 involved, evidence which they, as witnesses, brought before this Court.
1 Another problem which made this task even more arduous has been
2 the absence of a number of important witnesses who have not appeared
3 before the Trial Chamber because my learned friends from the OTP simply
4 dropped them or indeed because any effort to have them appear has proved
5 too complicated even once court orders have been issued. However, these
6 documents that the Mrksic Defence looked for so hard, sometimes physically
7 by rummaging through the archives and sometimes by requesting these
8 documents through official state bodies, have not been found. In all
9 likelihood, it could be addressed in more detail by witnesses who
10 regrettably are no longer with us or witnesses dropped by my learned
12 However, despite all the peculiarities of this case, we can say
13 that the initial hypothesis that a case which only concerns the territory
14 of a small town and its surroundings, such as Vukovar, and a time frame of
15 a single day and night will be swiftly and simply concluded, has proved
16 erroneous. Instead of that, over the one and a half years of this trial,
17 both parties have presented a large number of witnesses and exhibits which
18 we assessed in our final brief and which we are assessing now.
19 When assessing the evidence, at the end of this trial, the parties
20 were compelled to go again through more than 16.000 pages of the
21 transcript and over 880 exhibits in order to be able, in their final
22 briefs, to point out to the Court the relevant portions, and by
23 cross-referencing, try to show and prove what among all the evidence given
24 by witnesses was truthful and what was not, as well as the reasons why
25 certain witnesses should not be given credibility.
1 Although, in this way, the Defence has refreshed its memory of
2 everything that went on in this case as well as all the evidence, it was
3 quite surprised by the way that our learned friend Mr. Moore addressed all
4 these issues in his own final brief. While reading their final brief, it
5 was difficult sometimes to ascertain how certain conclusions were drawn
6 that are stated in the final brief, and sometimes invoking certain
7 portions of transcript came down to invoking isolated portions of the
8 transcript taken out of context might fit the Prosecutor's purpose.
9 However, many of these portions, once set in their proper context, do
10 suddenly look different in the context of a witness's overall evidence.
11 Sometimes my learned friend used generic phrases in order to obscure a
12 more focused version on the roles played by certain individuals in all
13 these events.
14 For example, in one part of his final brief, he uses names,
15 surnames, ranks, and positions occupied by certain people in order to
16 corroborate some of his submissions. In other portions, he just refers
17 generically to all these as OG South or the Guards Motorised Brigade, in a
18 bid to suggest that all of this is one and the same thing, although,
19 throughout the trial, we have been successful in distinguishing between
20 all these various entities and units. In fact, this goes so far that, as
21 witness Bogdan Vujic likes to say, even the representatives of the Supreme
22 Command such as Colonel Pavkovic and Colonel Terzic are placed within the
23 very same framework of OG South, although he himself at page 23, paragraph
24 44 of the final brief, states explicitly that they were detached to the
25 command of the Guards Motorised Brigade as liaison officers, which implies
1 that they were not part of the command nor could they receive any orders
2 whatsoever from the command of the Guards Motorised Brigade or indeed the
3 command of OG South. Colonel Pavkovic and Colonel Terzic, even in the
4 OTP's submission, had no command function to perform within the command of
5 the Guards Motorised Brigade.
6 On page 13691 of the transcript, Mr. Sljivacanin testified:
7 "Regulations that were in force in the Yugoslav People's Army and
8 at that time since Pavkovic came from the superior command, it is true
9 that Mrksic was unable to issue any assessment to him -- assignment."
11 My learned friend, on page 23 of his own brief, claims that
12 Colonel Mrksic issued orders to Colonel Pavkovic. He makes this claim
13 based on Mr. Sljivacanin's evidence more specifically at page 13550.
14 However, if we consider the response of Mr. Sljivacanin quoted above, it
15 is clear that Colonel Mrksic could never have issued any orders whatsoever
16 to Colonel Pavkovic, an officer belonging to the superior command and the
17 supervisor of the command of Guards Motorised Brigade and OG South.
18 Eventually this was confirm by all the relevant witnesses; not
19 only all the relevant Defence witnesses but OTP witnesses as well. For
20 example, the oft quoted witnesses Trifunovic, the relevant pages being
21 8064 and 8065. The following example could be found at page 26 of the
22 OTP's final brief, where in paragraph 55 the submission is made that
23 Colonel Mrksic resubordinate to the Petrova Gora TO to the 80th Motorised
24 Brigade and the Leva Supoderica Detachment to the 12th corps by an order
25 which was admitted in this trial as Exhibit 422. These submissions about
1 the signing of that order and report also apply to Exhibit 386 dated the
2 21st of November, 1991.
3 During the trial, it seemed quite obvious that the said order was
4 not signed by Colonel Mrksic but, rather, by the then stand-in commander,
5 chief of staff Miodrag Panic. The transcript reference is 14413, lines 21
6 through 25.
7 "[In English] On the same statement, on page 58, did you state
8 that that morning, the 21st of November, 1991, you signed an order on
9 resubordinating these units as deputy commander in the absence of
10 Mr. Mrksic? Did you say that? Do you remember that?" It was the
12 "Answer: Yes, there is a document concerning that and I signed
14 "Question: All right, Mr. Panic. Tell me, please, this order
15 here you signed at 6 a.m. on the 21st of November, 1991 pursuant to the
16 order of the 1st Military District 15 -- 115/151; correct?
17 "Answer: Yes."
18 This is transcript number 14414, lines 10 to 14.
19 [Interpretation] Furthermore, it seemed indisputable to us that on
20 the 21st of November, 1991, Colonel Mrksic was in Belgrade. If I
21 understand my learned friend correctly, and if he is suggesting that it
22 remains to be proved whether Colonel Mrksic left for Belgrade on the 20th
23 of November, 1991, then in relation to the 21st of November no such
24 statement was made. Despite this, in his final brief, he claims that
25 Colonel Mrksic wrote and signed both the order and the report to his
1 superior command, dated the 21st of November, 1991.
2 We all know that this report was again compiled by his deputy,
3 Miodrag Panic, who, at the time, was chief of staff.
4 Yesterday, my learned friend yet again repeated this stunning
5 claim in his closing argument, which moved me to conclude -- which led me
6 to conclude that he is holding on to this story that Colonel Mrksic flew
7 to Belgrade on the morning of the 21st of November, 1991, and not in a car
8 on the 20th of November, 1991, because he is aware of the fact that until
9 his departure there had been nothing at all to suggest that a tragedy
10 would occur. Any information that eventually reached him at the meeting
11 and the regular briefing, any information shared by Lieutenant Colonel
12 Panic, as well as some information shared by Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic,
13 clearly indicated that an omission had been made in terms of security, but
14 also that the situation was by no means critical and was now again fully
15 under controlment.
16 This is what witness Panic has to say about this. The transcript
17 reference is 14328 and 14329.
18 "[In English] Yes, yes. When I informed him about all of this, I
19 said it wouldn't be a bad thing if some of the security organs or military
20 police went to Ovcara to indicate certain things or offer assistance in
21 professional terms if necessary to Lieutenant Colonel Vojnovic. I don't
22 know whether he sent anyone. I think he did, and I think on the basis of
23 everything I remember and having made these previous statements too. I
24 think that he actually did send some people there, and I think that Mile
25 Bozic was among them. He was there in Negoslavci and at the command post
1 or, rather, in a house there near the command post."
2 [Interpretation] And this is what Witness Vojnovic says about it.
3 The page reference is 8980, lines 18 through 23.
4 "[In English] Question: You say Mrksic was angry and I told you
5 don't even tell me about that. Yes, don't even tell me about that. Your
6 report on Mrksic was in relation to the situation such that it was on the
7 time you left the hangar at Ovcara.
9 On the transcript 18983, lines 13 to 23:
10 "Question: You told him what had happen. You told him what was
11 going on. POW had been attacked, you are leaving the hangar, you are on
12 the way to the command. Some degree of order is now established because
13 these people are now physically separated from the terror men; right?
14 "Answer: Precisely.
15 "Question: Could Colonel Mrksic have told you and other
16 commanders perhaps no more than the following words: Don't even tell me
17 about that, meaning, take any measures that you can with your units, the
18 units at your disposal. If that proves out to be [indiscernible], I shall
19 authorise that you use units from the military company of the 1st Military
20 Company and the armoured vehicle to the chief of staff of the Operational
22 "The witness: No, I heard nothing like that."
23 [Interpretation] There is evidence to suggest that before his
24 departure from Belgrade that evening on the 20th of November, which is
25 something addressed by Witness Gluscevic, but also Witness Panic,
1 Lieutenant Colonel Panic, Mrksic warned everyone that there should be no
2 such incidents, and he requested that the commander of the 80th Motorised
3 Brigade, through the chief of staff Lieutenant Colonel Panic, in case of
4 need, should be given reinforcements in order to allow him to secure the
6 My learned friend, in this inappropriate way, is trying to hold up
7 his -- his claim that on the 20th of November, the evening of the 20th of
8 November, Colonel Mrksic was in fact in Negoslavci. We know for a fact
9 that he wasn't there simply because a large number of witnesses confirmed
10 this. On the other hand, even the OTP witness Trifunovic claims that
11 Mrksic was not in Negoslavci that evening. However he claims that he was
12 in Berak and that he return the next morning, which is not consistent with
13 the truth, because it is beyond dispute that at 6.00 in the morning
14 Lieutenant Colonel Panic, chief of staff, signed an order on Commander
15 Mrksic's behalf which he could only have ever done if Mrksic had not been
17 This story with the alleged order, which is on page 28 of the OTP
18 final brief, about the appointment of Miroljub Vujic as TO commander and
19 we need to remember that no one, save for Witness Trifunovic, ever claims
20 to have seen this and the OTP gives the following transcript references
21 8210 and 8371, as opposed to pages 8285 and 8286 from the evidence given
22 by the same witness, where Witness Trifunovic, of all people, claims that
23 it is possible that this order was signed on the 21st of November, the
24 morning of the 21st, which means precisely during Colonel Mrksic's absence
25 from Negoslavci.
1 In that case, the order could only have been signed by Lieutenant
2 Colonel Panic, the chief of staff. However, there is nothing in the war
3 log to suggest the existence of such an order, which leaves this as a mere
4 fabrication on the part of Witness Trifunovic in a bid to please the OTP.
5 This was eventually corroborated by Vujevic himself in a different
6 trial in Belgrade last week. At page 136, paragraph 375 of his final
7 brief, my learned friend himself claims that Dusan Jaksic was removed and
8 Miroljub Vujevic appointed as TO commander of TO Vukovar by Major Veselin
9 Sljivacanin. It is quite obvious that my learned friend cannot make up
10 his mind, and what he would like best is for all of the accused to be
11 responsible for everything.
12 In the chapter about the evacuation of the hospital in Vukovar and
13 the Zagreb Agreement, on pages 43 through 45 of the OTP final brief, the
14 substance of what this agreement was really about is obscured. What is
15 also obscured is the nature of the contacts between the ECMM and ICRC with
16 military officials in Negoslavci and Vukovar. It is quite clear that the
17 persons that the agreement spoke about were only the wounded and the sick
18 and that the observers such as Kypr, Schou, and Cunningham held talks with
19 officers from the SSNO, and the command of the 1st Military District who
20 spoke on behalf of the Supreme Command, General Raseta and Admiral Brovet
21 and not in fact with the OG South command. Exhibits 322, 333, and 344
22 clearly show this.
23 Yesterday my learned friend, in part at least, interpreted Exhibit
24 320, which is the ECMM report indicating that an ICRC representative was
25 thrown out of the hospital at 2000 hours on the 19th of November, which is
1 not really true if one takes into account what that same representative
2 sold Vesna Bosanac, which is something that Vesna Bosanac addressed at
3 686, lines 14 through 25.
4 At any rate, we find the following sentence in that report, which
5 is a sentence not quoted by my learned friend.
6 "[In English] After receiving instructions from General Raseta,
7 the registration process began and the sick and wounded were loaded into
8 bus and ambulances."
9 [Interpretation] On page 57, in paragraph 128, referring to the
10 meeting between Cyrus Vance and Colonel Mrksic, my learned colleague
11 states something which is not to be found in either Exhibit 418, nor was
12 it uttered by the witness Trifunovic. In his talk with Mr. -- with
13 Colonel Mrksic, Mr. Cyrus Vance was briefly informed of the situation in
14 the field and with the activities of the OG South, but he neither
15 expressed the desire at that moment to go to the Vukovar Hospital nor was
16 this at all discussed.
17 Page 8123 of the transcript refers to Mr. Cyrus's -- Cyrus Vance's
18 desire to go to the Vukovar barracks and not the hospital. Eventually, at
19 the end of the meeting, Colonel Mrksic said that the delegation should be
20 taken to see whatever it wanted to see in Vukovar.
21 The allegations of the Prosecution on page 76, paragraph 190, to
22 the effect that on the 19th of November, 1991, Colonel Mrksic had been
23 informed about the agreement reached in Zagreb between the JNA and the
24 Croatian authorities does not -- do not stand. It is quite clear from
25 ECMM documentation, that is Exhibit 315, that that mission received a
1 report on the signed agreement on the 19th of November in the evening,
2 namely, at 2241 hours by fax. So Colonel Mrksic could not have been
3 acquainted with this, neither at that time nor during his talk with Vesna
4 Bosanac, nor could have Vesna Bosanac have been acquainted with it as she
5 herself says. There is no dispute, in fact, about the fact that the OTP
6 has not proven that Colonel Mrksic received the text of this agreement in
7 any way and at any time.
8 As my learned colleague invoked this -- the statement of Vesna
9 Bosanac in regard of this particular fact yesterday, I should like to read
10 out for you what she says in the transcript. Page 672.
11 "[In English] No. My understanding at that time was as follows:
12 He said that the situation was now better because the shooting had ceased.
13 He said we would now be better able to conduct an evacuation.
14 Nevertheless, he himself didn't know exactly what it was that General
15 Raseta had signed in Zagreb."
16 [Interpretation] As regards the Zagreb Agreement, as a matter of
17 fact, my learned colleague deliberately or fortuitously seems to fail to
18 understand the substance of this agreement. Although the text of the
19 agreement was not available in the field in Vukovar, not even on the 20th
20 of November, because on that day Colonel Pavkovic says to the ICRC
21 representative to show him a copy of that agreement. It does seem that
22 the agreement itself states that it deals with the evacuation of the sick
23 and wounded from the Vukovar Hospital of whom, according to the data,
24 which were obviously obtained from the hospital on the date of the
25 signature of the agreement. There were 40 severe patients and 360 or so
1 wounded, a third of whom required stretchers. Those are the people
2 encompassed by that agreement. So there were a total of around 400 of
4 If the fact is borne in mind that there were no combat operations
5 from the 18th of November and on and that no new patients were admitted,
6 then that should be the final number of patients to be evacuated. When
7 this number is compared with the number in Exhibit 321, the report of the
8 ECMM, which states that at 1430 hours on the 20th of November, 82
9 bedridden wounded persons, and 263 mobile-wounded persons were evacuated
10 and that there remained another 52 to be evacuated on the following day.
11 The conclusion that can be drawn is that is precisely the number which the
12 Zagreb Agreement refers to. And the number that was evacuated, in fact,
13 in the presence of the ECMM and the ICRC, when this is borne in mind, it
14 is not clear then what submissions my learned colleague is making in terms
15 of violations of the Zagreb Agreement.
16 Evidently the agreement was signed for the sake of the sick and
17 wounded. They are persons to be supervised by the ICRC, but they are at
18 the same time a category of persons which, under the provisions of the
19 Geneva Conventions, could also be categorised as POWs and retained on the
20 side of the capturing party. However, that obviously was not the case
21 here. All the sick and wounded, at least that is what the numbers say,
22 eventually reached Croatia. Thus it is not the category of people that
23 the agreement refers to, as my learned colleague claims, but the agreement
24 actually says the wounded and the sick.
25 Then perhaps the question could be asked, And who are then the
1 people who were taken out of the hospital in a convoy of six buses? Well,
2 the answer would be that they are not a part of the Zagreb Agreement,
3 which I again say never even reached the territory of Vukovar, and that
4 they were either not at all expected there or, on the other hand, were
5 brought there deliberately in order to create a problem with evacuation.
6 Had that not been so, then Dr. Bosanac, when she was giving the numbers of
7 the sick and wounded to Zagreb, probably on the 18th or on the 19th of
8 November, would have certainly included in that number also those on whose
9 healthy legs she would subsequently place plaster casts or whose healthy
10 arms she would cut notches in or put bandages on their eyes and whose
11 rifles she would then throw into the hospital garbage container.
12 As the numbers of the wounded and sick reported by the hospital
13 and those who were evacuated tally, then the people who were found at a
14 hospital were, in fact, in a place in which they shouldn't have been. It
15 was to be ascertained who they were and what they were and how come they
16 found themselves in the hospital seeing that they were not sick. And some
17 of them had to account for the fact why they were clothed in patient's or
18 hospital clothes without being either sick nor being part of the hospital
20 It is precisely for such persons and their selections that a group
21 of experts arrived from the security administration and the security
22 department of the 1st MD. The more so as those who were removed from the
23 hospital on the 20th were in fact those who did not transfer themselves to
24 Velepromet on the previous day voluntarily, even though they were not
25 under the auspices of the Vukovar Red Cross, even though they were not
1 within the category of persons who were supposed to be in hospital. The
2 removal of these persons actually does not amount to evacuation of the
3 hospital, because that implies evacuation of those who are in hospital for
5 The people who were separated that morning were combatants. And
6 it seems to me that in Vukovar it was erroneous to divide people the way
7 my learned colleague does and the indictment does to ex-combatants,
8 political followers of the HDZ, journalists, the elderly, younger people,
9 women, because from the testimonies of witnesses heard here, it follows
10 that everybody had their place and role, their function, in the defence of
11 Vukovar, within the units of the ZNG, the MUP, volunteer units, and the
12 civilian part. That according to the statement of the witness Zvezdana
13 Polovina, even journalists were active in rendering support to the defence
14 staff of Vukovar.
15 Can -- an HDZ activist be imagined who at that time was not a
16 member of a military unit? I believe that that is in fact impossible.
17 And finally my learned colleagues forget that it was the precisely the
18 Prosecution witnesses who confirmed, here, to us all that there was a
19 general mobilisation in Vukovar which encompassed according to the then
20 law categories of persons from age 16 to the age of 65.
21 Also the submission of my learned colleague yesterday in -- to the
22 effect of ostensible differences in -- in the treatment of persons from
23 Mitnica, as he will put it yesterday, soldiers, and persons from the
24 hospital as he put it -- put it yesterday, terrorists and criminals, is
25 completely faulty. If you recall his point in this particular regard, it
1 was that in the first case lists were compiled, whereas in the second
2 instance no lists were made, and that that in fact was a difference in the
3 treatment of the two groups, a difference which was actually to determine
4 their respective fates.
5 Did my learned colleague lose sight of testimony of his own
6 witnesses, namely both Mr. Vezmarovic and Mr. Vojinovic, and P-014. As
7 far as I can see, and you will certainly recall this, in both cases were
8 lists made in the hangar at Ovcara.
9 In the first case it ended up with the security officer in Sremska
10 Mitrovica, and in the second case, according to what the witness P-014
11 said, it ended up precisely on the table of yet another Prosecution
12 witness and that is Lieutenant Colonel Vojnovic.
13 Witness P-014 in the transcript at page 7815 and page 7816 has the
14 following to say --
15 Your Honours, perhaps it would be good now to go -- to move into
16 private session. I'm not quite sure to what extent this statement I'm
17 going to read will actually reveal the identity of the witness.
18 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Okay, Mr. Vasic. Private, please.
19 [Private session]
11 Page 16148 redacted. Private session.
9 [Open session]
10 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
11 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] So there was no difference whatsoever
12 in the treatment of these groups as regards their registration and as
13 regards their destination as well.
14 The epilogue of the events would probably have been different had
15 the security of the 80th Motorised Brigade not withdrawn late at night
16 without any apparent reason. Therefore, according to the position of the
17 Defence, this withdrawal is an incident and not a deliberate plan of the
18 JCE as submitted by the Prosecutor.
19 What does Colonel -- Lieutenant Colonel Vojnovic tell us in regard
20 to this list? On page 8974, lines 21 to 25:
21 "[In English] No, I'm not saying that it didn't reach the command,
22 but it didn't reach me or my desk. I assert that I didn't see it. Maybe
23 somebody placed it on the desk and then took it again. These are all
24 possibilities and guesses, and that's something that it's really not
25 material here."
1 [Interpretation] Now we shall leave this subject and pass to
2 another one, and that is the allegation of the OTP on page 105 of their
3 final brief.
4 "[In English] The command of OG South received specific written
5 orders from the 1st Military District warning them of the dangers of
6 retaliation by the Vukovar TO and volunteers against the Vukovar
8 [Interpretation] No piece of evidence presented in these
9 proceedings demonstrates any such warning, nor does it follow from the
10 testimony of any one witness. And the order which is Exhibit 409 and
11 which is invoked by the Prosecution, it is not stated that this warning
12 refers to the actions of TO Vukovar, nor does it indicate in any way
13 whatsoever that this can be associated with the area of activity of this
14 TO. And I should like also to remind you that this was -- this order was
15 forwarded to all units that were subordinated to the command of the 1st
16 Military District.
17 In addition to this order, the command of OG South also received
18 an order of the command of the 1st MD, which is Exhibit 415, this exhibit,
19 which perhaps, has been the most exploited one by the Prosecution in this
21 According to this -- under this order, according to the claim of
22 the Prosecution, Mrksic, with his written order, warned his subordinates
23 of practices to which the command of the 1st Military District had also
24 been pointing to. This is also attested to by OTP witnesses. For
25 instance, Witness Trifunovic, and Defence witnesses for Mr. Mrksic,
1 Colonel Lesanovic, Colonel Gluscevic, Lieutenant Colonel Danilovic, as
2 well as Defence witnesses for the Defence of Mr. Sljivacanin, Lieutenant
3 Colonel Panic, and Major Vukasinovic.
4 Colonel Mrksic pointed to the danger which was actually the
5 substance of these orders; also, in his order of the 20th of November,
6 1991, which constitutes Exhibit 419. Namely, he warned the commanders of
7 towns that they should secure and control the security of property and
8 persons in their respective zones of responsibility.
9 Also when he comments on the visit of Mr. Seselj to Vukovar, my
10 learned colleague does something that we have been pointing out to the
11 Bench at all times, namely, on page 110 of his final brief, my learned
12 friend states that the command of OG South had to allow this visit
13 invoking the testimony of Witness Trifunovic, although, on page 8287 of
14 the transcript, Witness Trifunovic has the following to say:
15 "[In English] In practice, what would happen with his visits is
16 something that I really don't know. Who authorised him or issued
17 permission for him to do that, I don't know that. But as far as the
18 procedure is concerned, I'm sure some people could explain how that went.
19 All I heard was that he came and that he was at Petrova Gora, that he was
20 in the south detachment 1, that he was raising morale working on the
21 motivation, and I think that Colonel Mrksic didn't issue permission for
22 that either. Perhaps when he found out he was just reconciled to the
24 [Interpretation] It is quite clear from this that, precisely the
25 witness invoked by the Prosecution, states that Colonel Mrksic did not
1 issue any permission to Mr. Seselj to come to Vukovar.
2 Furthermore, on page 111, the OTP suggests that the conflict in
3 Vukovar also went on after November the 18th, and that Witness Trifunovic
4 spoke about the problems that were created by members of the TO but also
5 by volunteers and by paramilitary units, and of which Colonel Mrksic had
6 allegedly been informed, and in the conclusion of the OTP, failed to take
7 any measures in order to -- failed to take any measures.
8 The Witness Trifunovic on page 8150 states the following:
9 "[In English] I heard that there were problems on all three days,
10 on the 18th in Mitnica, but these were minor problems which are quite
11 realistically possible in such a situation. I heard about 19, too, that
12 there were problems with the transfer of people from the captured parts of
13 town, primarily from the central part of town, to Velepromet, the barracks
14 in Ovcara, that there were problems with the local population as well as
15 members of the TO defence who are from that area."
16 [Interpretation] And then, as regards his assessment of the
17 situation, what his assessment of the situation in the command of OG South
18 was, he says on page 8281:
19 "Q. Yesterday you stated that all the information that came down
20 to verbal abuse or light physical contact as you put it?
21 "A. Yes."
22 [Interpretation] Therefore, not even the witness himself, the one
23 relied on by the Prosecution, didn't say that there existed information
24 indicating that the events were such that they could lead to any serious
25 incidents. Also, he didn't claim that volunteers and paramilitaries
1 participated in these events but, rather, just members of the local TO.
2 On page 138, paragraph 382, my learned friend brings the views of
3 Colonel Bogdan Vujic about having informed Colonel Mrksic and Major
4 Sljivancanin about events at Velepromet on the 19th of November. And that
5 on the following day, 17 corpses were found in Velepromet and that they
6 were buried at the military cemetery with the logistical support of
7 officers of Colonel Mrksic.
8 As for the personality and character traits of witness Bogdan
9 Vujic, we spoke about that in our final brief concerning the validity of
10 the conclusion of my learned friend that he was an honest and decent man.
11 This is something that Mr. Domazet will address a bit later.
12 It remains for me to say here that his story, the one he invented,
13 fortunately, had its own eyewitness, and that is the eyewitness who is
14 invoked by Bogdan Vujic himself. This is precisely Branko Korica, the
15 witness who was heard here, and based on his testimony, we can see exactly
16 which part of the story of Bogdan Vujic was correct and which part wasn't.
17 In this specific case, it is not true that he either informed
18 Colonel Mrksic or Major Sljivacanin, whom he didn't even see that night,
19 as well as that no bodies were found, bodies that were allegedly buried
20 with the assistance of Colonel Mrksic.
21 Had my learned friend wanted to present firsthand evidence to the
22 Trial Chamber, he would have called Mr. Kijanovic to come in and testify.
23 Witness Vujic says about Kijanovic that he allegedly told him about
24 burying those corpses himself. You will admit that that would have been
25 logical had he done that. However, preparing for this case, my learned
1 friend knew that Witness Kijanovic, in his testimony before the court in
2 Belgrade, did not confirm these allegations by Witness Vujic. Therefore,
3 he didn't call him to testify, and it all boiled down to the hearsay
5 Naturally, Colonel Mrksic neither saw Vujic in the might between
6 the 20th and 21st of November, nor were the corpses buried by Lesanovic at
7 the time with the assistance -- I apologise, not Lesanovic but Kijanovic.
8 Buried by Kijanovic with the assistance of the logistical unit of
9 Mr. Mrksic. These are just pure fabrications of Witness Vujic that my
10 learned friend has accepted.
11 On the same page, in paragraph 383, my learned friend claims that
12 Colonel Mrksic involved -- or engaged the units of TO Vukovar in the
13 triage and transport of prisoners. That doesn't stand from any piece of
14 evidence or testimony heard before this Trial Chamber. Colonel Mrksic had
15 nothing to do either with the selection or transport of prisoners. And
16 this entire task was performed by security organs due to the nature of the
17 task itself. They had come to Vukovar in November -- on the 19th of
18 November, 1991, precisely in order to perform this task.
19 Colonel Mrksic never issued any kind of order for the TO Vukovar
20 units to participate in any similar operation. Thus, this is a pure
21 insinuation that is not supported by any material, formal, or written
22 piece of evidence.
23 Also in paragraph 385, my learned friend brings forward some
24 arbitrary conclusions concerning Colonel Mrksic. He claims that on the
25 19th of November, Colonel Mrksic gave assignments to his subordinates
1 about a joint plan -- or, rather, concerning joint criminal enterprise,
2 which was the evacuation of the so-called criminals, as he termed them,
3 from the hospital.
4 If you look at Exhibit 419, it will be clear that this is not true
5 and that by way of this order, precisely, the evacuation of the sick,
6 wounded, and civilian hospital staff was ordered and not the evacuation of
7 the so-called criminals, as termed by my learned friend, whose transport
8 and triage was dealt by the competent organs.
9 Your Honours, I would now like to ask you to turn into private
10 session, because this witness testified in a closed session, and this is a
11 very sensitive witness whose name was mentioned yesterday by my learned
12 friend, and this is a very important witness, and I will have to read out
13 a large portion of his testimony.
14 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Private.
15 [Private session]
11 Pages 16156-16157 redacted. Private session.
20 [Open session]
21 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honours.
22 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 There is not a single piece of evidence that can support the
24 argument of my learned friend that Colonel Mrksic ordered Lieutenant
25 Colonel Vojnovic, commander of the 80th Motorised Brigade, whose unit in
1 its area of responsibility guarded prisoners of war, to withdraw the
2 military police company and turn over prisoners to the TO Vukovar members
3 for further guarding.
4 This argument was not uttered by Vojnovic himself either, nor was
5 it uttered by witness Vukosavljevic, his security organ chief, or Witness
6 Vezmarovic, company commander of the military police company or Witness
7 Karanfilov who allegedly conveyed the order. Not even chief of staff,
8 Lieutenant Colonel Panic said that. Even the omniscient witness
9 Trifunovic has no knowledge of this.
10 These arguments of the Prosecution are not supported by logic
11 either, the arguments put forward on page 102 of the final brief. If we
12 were to rely on the tried and trusted claims of the Prosecution such as
13 who could have done it if it weren't for the commander, then the
14 Prosecutor would first have to explain several points. First, how come
15 Mrksic issued an order when he was not in Negoslavci, or at least, if they
16 claim that he was in Negoslavci, why did he do that through the security
17 organ with whom he had no direct contact? Why didn't he do it directly
18 through the commander of the 80th Motorised Brigade which whom he had
19 regular contact and whom he saw that same evening?
20 I will remind you that in his testimony here, Lieutenant Colonel
21 Vojnovic said that he did not receive any order from Colonel Mrksic about
22 withdrawing security detail but, rather, that he took the comment he heard
23 as the reason for withdrawing. That comment didn't even suggest anything
24 that we as laymen could use in order to conclude something like that. It
25 was definitely not sufficient for a professional soldier such as Vojnovic,
1 especially if I were to remind you that Lieutenant Colonel Vojnovic in his
2 career was a battalion commander of the military police and dealt with
3 security affairs.
4 It is the position of the Defence that this sentence which
5 Lieutenant Colonel Vojnovic, who in our view is the main culprit for the
6 tragedy that took place at Ovcara, was understood by him, providing that
7 it was uttered in the first place. The only possible interpretation in
8 our view would be this: What are you doing there? Why weren't you using
9 1.000 soldiers and tanks which I had resubordinated to you in order to
10 ensure law and order in the Grabovo, Ovcara, and Jakupovac sector?
11 This is why Colonel Mrksic could not have ordered to him, who was
12 commander of this sector, to withdraw the security detail.
13 We heard here both the theory and provisions of the rules of
14 service based on which it is clear that during the night Lieutenant
15 Colonel Vojnovic should not have withdrawn. He should not have allowed
16 for the security detail to withdraw from the Ovcara farm, the security
17 which was deployed there on the basis of his own order at 1600 hours.
18 Even had something of that nature been ordered by anyone else, Lieutenant
19 Colonel Vojnovic as an experienced officer knew that he had to request an
20 explicit written order for withdrawal rather than assume, as he put it
21 here, what somebody else thought.
22 Even if he had received a written order, which was not the case in
23 this instance, he still who should not have withdrawn the military police
24 during the night if he believed the situation to be critical. What he had
25 to do under the circumstances was refuse to carry out such an order and to
1 address himself to the commander of the 1st Military District and
2 intervene for the execution of such an order to stop.
3 Therefore, we were unable to find a single piece of evidence
4 indicating that Colonel Mrksic ordered anything of the sort except for
5 what is offered by my learned friend, which are the statement of
6 Lieutenant Colonel Panic as to who could have done it if it weren't
7 Colonel Mrksic, as well as the statement of Mr. Sljivacanin Defence expert
8 Mr. Vuga who again said, Who else could have done it but Colonel Mrksic.
9 Nobody either saw the order or heard the order, nor did the person
10 receiving the order ever claim that it was issued by Colonel Mrksic.
11 Given the state of affairs in this instance, any similar conclusion is
13 Now I will go back to Lieutenant Colonel Panic and his claim about
14 the alleged instructions concerning the surrender of prisoners that he
15 received for the government cabinet session.
16 When he was asked to surrender them to the cabinet based on
17 this -- these instructions, when he was asked who was supposed to carry
18 out this surrender based on the instructions, the answer was, "I don't
19 know." "Was that you?" Answer, "No". "Where was surrender supposed to
20 take place?" The answer, "I don't know." "Where was this surrender to
21 take place?" The answer, "I don't know." "Who was supposed to write up
22 the lists for surrender?" Answer, "I don't know."
23 So what kind of a command representative is he as he described
24 himself? He went there to convey the order for the surrender of certain
25 people, and he said himself that he was authorised to do that but didn't
1 know who was supposed to surrender them, when, or where, or why. How come
2 this is not mentioned by a single word in his notebook?
3 I think that due to these reasons his testimony should not be
4 accepted. It should also not be accepted due to the portion which is
5 contradictory to the testimony of Bogdan Vujic about the session itself
6 and what Lieutenant Colonel Panic said about what had transpired during
7 that session, but I will speak more of this later.
8 I wanted to highlight something else here. It is clear to me why
9 witnesses Trifunovic and Panic do not speak truth about the events of the
10 20th of November, especially when it comes to the role of Mr. Mrksic and
11 his trip to Belgrade.
12 Deputy Commander Lieutenant Colonel Panic and Chief Operations
13 Officer, Trifunovic, upon the departure of the commander on the 20th of
14 November in the evening, were the ones in command of the unit. They
15 drafted -- or, rather, one of them drafted and the other one signed the
16 famous Exhibit 422 about resubordination, which is based on the alleged
17 order of the command of the 1st Military District, number 115-151, dated
18 the 20th of November, which in reality is not an order. It deals with the
19 issue of resubordination, and as I said, it is not an order but, rather,
20 just a plain report.
21 In this order, which has a false base, I'm referring to Exhibit
22 422, a false foundation, they used terms which cannot be found in any
23 other order from that period of time. They're using terms such
24 as "Seselj's men," or "Seseljevci," or "Sumadinac" or men from Sumadija.
25 If we look at Exhibit 444 dated the 22nd of November, 1991,
1 dealing with the cooperation of the Vukovar TO with the command of the
2 80th Motorised Brigade, this is to say about the cooperation, then it
3 becomes clear that there was no resubordination there whatsoever. Thus,
4 the content of Exhibit 422 is false as well.
5 It would have been natural, following the 18th of November and
6 completion of main combat operations in the liberation of the town, for
7 all TO units to return, TO units which were within temporary units such as
8 assault detachments. It would have been natural for them to return to the
9 command of their staff.
10 Your Honours, is this a good time for a break?
11 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Yes, Mr. Vasic. We will have a break of
12 20 minutes.
13 --- Recess taken at 3.47 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 4.10 p.m.
15 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Mr. Vasic, may we ask you to be very
16 aware of the time. We will give you five minutes more that we have given
17 to Mr. Moore, but please be aware of the time because otherwise the
18 schedule will be impossible to maintain. Thank you.
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Speaking of the group of officers that the OTP call as their
21 witnesses, we have already pointed out that, in the case of many of them,
22 it would have been far more logical to find them included in the
23 indictment instead, especially those officers of the 80th Motorised
24 Brigade who, within their area of responsibility, guarded the prisoners of
25 war who were eventually struck by the crime that occurred.
1 The commander of the 80th Brigade, Vojnovic, used none of the
2 units resubordinated to him by Colonel Mrksic in order to secure the
3 territory of Grabovo, Ovcara, and Jakupovac, which means he didn't need
4 them and which means he had sufficient manpower to secure the hangar and
5 the prisoners. He is the principal culprit for not preventing the
6 withdrawal of his unit from the hangar, which is something that I have
7 already addressed.
8 He allowed Witness P-014, whose duty was to control the facility
9 and whatever went on inside it, to refuse to perform his function, and
10 even to refuse to return to the command post of his own unit unless the
11 assistance of military police were secured for him to guard his own
12 command post. He did get the security required from Colonel Vojnovic and
13 eventually returned to the command post, ordering to fire at anyone
14 attempting to enter the command building during that night. And people
15 were being taken away at a distance of a mere 200 or 300 metres from this
16 very place throughout the night.
17 As to all of these events and also what happened the following
18 morning, Vojnovic did not tell what he knew anyone from the superior
19 command, which is something that he himself has claimed. Instead, the
20 next day, he sent a delegation from Kragujevac to Ovcara to visit the
21 command and the witness that I have just mentioned.
22 None of these witnesses were included in the OTP indictment, nor
23 was, for that matter, Bogdan Vujic, if indeed what we heard from him
24 during his testimony is true. He claimed to have been the commander of
25 the triage of the persons at Velepromet on the 19th of November. He
1 claimed that he was given the assignment by the security administration
2 and he performed this task on behalf of the Supreme Command. He claims
3 that during the evacuation some persons were taken away and killed, and
4 yet he did nothing to stop this or indeed to arrest or even, if necessary,
5 kill the perpetrators which he names as Topola and Crevar. As a security
6 officer on this mission, he was certainly authorised to take steps of that
8 As a high-ranking officer of the security administration, he
9 didn't do this, yet he tried to shift the blame for his own omissions to
10 Colonel Mrksic and Major Sljivacanin during his testimony before this
11 Trial Chamber. Fortunately, his story is almost entirely illogical and as
12 such has been refuted in its entirety by the testimony of Witness Branko
14 As to the group of witnesses called by the Prosecution and some of
15 the witnesses called by Mr. Sljivacanin's Defence team, that had
16 previously been dropped by the OTP, these witnesses are officers who faced
17 a potential indictment or at least faced the status of suspects. Based on
18 their evidence, we were able to tell that they tailored their evidence
19 with a view to escaping criminal responsibility, their own or that of
20 their own -- or that of their close associates. The objective was to
21 protect themselves and their associates to the degree possible. This
22 becomes clear if you study the evidence they gave in criminal proceedings
23 throughout the 1990s and compare these to the evidence provided by these
24 persons over the last couple of years, specifically before this court.
25 Some of these witnesses told us that meetings had been held as
1 well as debates between the witnesses themselves, witnesses of this
2 nature. Trials were monitored and transcripts were studied in order to
3 ascertain who said what at a certain trial, what sort of things were being
4 said and made public. The only person left with no protection at all,
5 left exposed and left to dry, as it were, as a convenient scapegoat was
6 Commander Colonel Mile Mrksic. There was finger pointing at him by those
7 whose task was to conduct the triage. Organs of the security
8 administration of the 1st Army. Vukasinovic who was in charge of the
9 transportation section or for that matter by those people whose duty was
10 to guard the prisoners at Ovcara such as the officers of the 18th Brigade
11 the ones I've already mentioned, and finally those who after the departure
12 of the commander on the 28th of November were the command of OG South
13 between the evening of the 20th and the afternoon of the 22nd these
14 persons being the chief of staff and the chief operative officer of the
15 Guards Brigade.
16 There is one thing that no one has raised during this trial. The
17 issue wasn't even raised by the OTP in their final brief, for that matter.
18 If things were the way they suggest they were, that is if Mrksic had
19 ordered the withdrawal, why then does Witness Borce Karanfilov not say in
20 plain terms before this Chamber that he had simply been ordered to do this
21 by his commander, to go to Ovcara and to withdraw the security detail of
22 the 80th Brigade? If that is true, the witness escapes personal
23 responsibility or indeed the responsibility of Mr. Sljivacanin on who's
24 behalf he testified.
25 The only reason he ended up not saying this was precisely this:
1 Colonel Mrksic never ordered anyone to withdraw the security detail from
2 the Ovcara farm.
3 As to who did this while waiting for him to leave for Belgrade,
4 now that is something that we have not been able to ascertain throughout
5 this trial. Another thing that will remain a mystery is who issued the
6 order or why. Documents have gone missing, that is one thing. And the
7 other is my learned friend simply chose not to call certain witnesses.
8 One thing is certain. The person who issued this order was not
9 Colonel Mrksic. Had he done this, then between the government session and
10 the withdrawal of the security there would not have elapsed over seven
11 hours. It would have been well known who was doing the hand-over, who was
12 involved in the hand-over, and where. The order to withdraw would not
13 have gone through security clerks but, rather, through the commanders of
14 the unit within whose area of responsibility these persons were and indeed
15 under whose command they were.
16 Likewise, it is certain that this would have been a subject raised
17 at the meeting with the regular briefing which in fact was not the case,
18 not even when the events at Ovcara were discussed.
19 Finally, this would no doubt have been entered into the war log,
20 which was not the case either.
21 As for the government session itself, even the OTP tendered under
22 Rule 98 bis statements made by government ministers who took part in that
23 session claiming that no decision was reached in that respect on that day
24 in Vukovar. Perhaps the most relevant witness on this is Witness Jaksic,
25 whom Mrksic explicitly instructed on the 28th of November to convey to the
1 president of the Supreme Court his refusal to surrender these persons.
2 Just as interesting is the testimony of Colonel Sisic, a
3 Sljivacanin Defence witness, who claims that on the 20th of November while
4 the buses were still in the barracks, he called Mrksic. He claims that
5 Mrksic told him to guard them at all cost until the government reached a
6 decision on their eventual fate. However, there is no inherent logic to
7 this evidence. This officer had no need to call Mrksic directly since
8 protection measures had already been taken by Witness Vukasinovic as he
9 already told us he was in charge of the convoy by the barracks and town
10 commander who was present, Major Branislav Lukic, and by the Guards
11 Brigade chief of staff who was also there, Miodrag Panic. The commander's
12 eyes and ears, which is how my learned friend Mr. Moore prefers to refer
13 to him.
14 Had that been the decision taken, then the convoy would have
15 stayed right there waiting for that decision. They would not have just
16 moved on. Yet it was before the session itself that he went to Ovcara.
17 It's OTP witnesses that we have on the record as saying that. They were
18 the people on the buses.
19 If that decision had been taken, it would have been recorded on a
20 slip of paper in that notepad used by Lieutenant Colonel Panic, which
21 apparently, as he said, he carried around instead of an official notebook
22 whenever he went to official meetings. We would be able to find decisions
23 there, not just a handful of sentences jotted down and no reference at all
24 to any decision whatsoever. This same Panic, controlling any entries into
25 the war log, would have asked for this to be recorded unless this had
1 already been done, and it hadn't. Probably this would have been the
2 subject of a report submitted to the 1st Military District, even perhaps
3 the report that Lieutenant Colonel Panic wrote himself on the 21st of
4 November, 1991.
5 There is no way this sort of information could have been
6 suppressed. Zivota Panic would have known through his own organs, through
7 his own commissions monitoring the Vukovar evacuation. Generals Mile
8 Babic -- General Mile Babic and Colonel Petkovic would have known who sent
9 out their own security troops from Sid to conduct a triage. Eventually,
10 General Aca Vasiljevic would have known the chief of the security
11 administration who on that same mission sent out one of his own teams and
12 was present in the area at the critical point in time.
13 Finally, we heard evidence from Mr. Karan, that even Goran Hadzic,
14 the Prime Minister at the time, was an associate of the military security
15 service. The SSNO should have known. They should have known about his
16 contacts to the officers, to Colonel Pavkovic and Colonel Terzic. The
17 SSNO was involved in the negotiations on how the evacuation to the Vukovar
18 Hospital was to be conducted through Colonel Pavkovic, General Raseta,
19 Admiral Brovet, and Colonel Memisevic, persons involved in these events,
20 even in some case as decision-makers.
21 Bearing all of this in mind, was it possible to conclude that
22 Colonel Mrksic had taken the decision to surrender these persons to the
23 government as Miodrag Panic would have it and yet for this to remain a
24 secret and go entirely unrecorded? Is it possible to hold him responsible
25 for that? This was outside his authority, and this is clearly confirmed
1 by such exhibits as the order by General Vlado Stojanovic, dated the 19th
2 of November. The hand-over of prisoners took place without his approval.
3 And we also have Aleksandar Vasiljevic's telegram, the telegram he sent to
4 Major Sljivacanin to show the same thing.
5 This sort of decision could not have been concealed, bearing in
6 mind all the circumstances. I don't believe it could have been concealed
7 from the representatives of the ICRC or the international monitors, for
8 that matter, who, on the same day they entered the hospital, found out
9 that people had been taken away even as the buses were still waiting in
10 the barracks. Therefore, the answer is no, there is no way that Colonel
11 Mrksic could have taken such a decision. There is no way that he would
12 have ever have been able or in a position to take such a decision.
13 Had he taken this decision, then Miodrag Panic would not have been
14 right there at Ovcara watching the prisoners leave. Security officers
15 Kijanovic, Tomic, and Mucan [phoen], as well as the rest of them, would
16 not have been there inside the hangar or around the hangar in the
17 afternoon and evening hours on that day. Finally, the prisoners would not
18 have remained under guard until 10.30 that night when the security people
19 eventually withdrew.
20 Had Mrksic decided for those persons to be surrendered, Captain
21 Vukosavljevic, the leaders of the counter-intelligence group from Sid
22 would not have told Captain Vukosavljevic not to investigate Ovcara but,
23 rather, to try and look after the safety of his own unit.
24 Finally, had Mrksic decided that, the exact entry relating to his
25 departure for Belgrade would not have been inaccurate. What we have heard
1 is he never took that flight with Major Tesic on the morning of the 21st
2 of November. Had Mrksic been there, this sort of order could never have
3 been taken, nor would it have ever been possible to withdraw the security
4 detail from the Ovcara farm.
5 These are examples of how the Prosecution decided not to indict
6 those who really are to blame for the crime at Ovcara in order to elicit
7 their testimony against the already-accused Mrksic. This creates a bias
8 in relation to their evidence, and we have seen this at work. I do hope
9 that the Honourable Chamber will eventually confirm this and rule on it.
10 Drawing conclusions as to why the final brief of my learned friend
11 says what it says and taking into account what in the submission of our
12 defence would be a valid assessment of the evidence, we have reached the
13 conclusion that the reason must be that the OTP did not pay sufficient
14 attention to evidence given by witnesses in cross-examination or in
16 In order to obtain, therefore, a complete mosaic of the events and
17 a valid assessment of the existence of the liability of the accused, it is
18 necessary to simultaneously read the brief of my learned colleague with
19 the final briefs of the Defence, because only then will it be -- will it
20 be possible for each individual question to be elucidated from all the
21 necessary sides.
22 I shall say a few words about the experts which the OTP called
23 here. First of all, about Mr. Theunens, who is in fact a member of the
24 Prosecution team and who according to his own testimony participated in
25 the shaping of the indictment in the compilation of the questions to be
1 put to the witnesses and the only thing which he did not do was to
2 question the witnesses in the courtroom, but he did question them outside
3 the courtroom, and we have testimony to that effect. He is on the OTP's
4 payroll, and he is temporarily employed there, and we deem that his
5 account cannot be objective and acceptable, while the material evidence
6 attached to his findings can be accepted and appraised.
7 As regards the other expert witness, General Pringle, with his
8 responses and with his attempt at sustaining the unsustainable where
9 Witness Vojnovic is concerned, he has compromised his expertise and his
11 I'm just going to mention the references, Your Honours, because I
12 do not have the time to read it all. These are transcripts number 11064
13 to 11096, and then 11070 to 11071, and 11093 to 11095.
14 In brief, this witness did not have an insight into a single -- he
15 did not inspect a single doctrine or document of general People's Defence,
16 total People's Defence and social protection that he pretended to give
17 expert opinions about [no interpretation].
18 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Sorry, interpreters have a problem?
19 THE INTERPRETER: He did not have access to the documents. He did
20 not have access to the documents of the 80th Motorised Brigade nor those
21 of the 1st Military District.
22 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Nor did he know that the command of
23 the 1st Military District had set up a team that monitored, that followed
24 the evacuation in Vukovar. And the greatest mistake was perhaps that he
25 thought that the Zagreb Agreement had regulated the evacuation of
1 prisoners of war, which is actually inadmissible lack of knowledge of the
2 content of this document, so that his expertise, in our view, cannot be
3 taken into account as grounded in the judicial decision that will be
5 I shall now speak very briefly about what my learned colleague
6 referred to yesterday when we talk about the rules on the application of
7 the rules of International Law of War. I should just like to say that my
8 colleague forgot to attach Articles 1 to 4 of the rule in question.
9 Article 1 states that it is applicable only in the event of an
10 international conflict, so that the different modality has to be found in
11 respect of the content of these provisions that my learned colleague
12 invokes in this context.
13 And the second omission which he made is his claim that the war
14 log was -- was actually kept from the 1st of October to the 23rd of
16 Now, it was actually kept until the 22nd of November, when the OG
17 South actually handed over the zone of responsibility to the 80th
18 Motorised Brigade. This -- this is -- this is something that you will see
19 from Exhibit 401, which is the war log.
20 And finally, and I believe that this is the last question and it
21 stems from your question yesterday, Your Honour, Judge Thelin, and it is
22 connected to General Aleksandar Vasiljevic and his presence in Vukovar, it
23 is the position of the Defence that there exists serious claims that he
24 was in Negoslavci also in the night between the 20th of November and the
25 21st of November, and that could also be concluded on the basis of the
1 testimony of Witness Karanfilov who states that on the same day when he
2 brought the Commissioner for Vukovar to Negoslavci and saw the buses in
3 the barracks and a group of locals around the buses that on that same day
4 in the evening General Vasiljevic came to the house where the security
5 organs were accompanied by General Tumanov. This is not an a customary
6 thing for two security generals to come on such a visit. There had to be
7 a very special reason indeed for that. If the statement of Karanfilov is
8 to be lent credence that that could have happened only on the 20th of
9 November, because it was only on that date that there were buses in the
10 barracks surrounded by people, and it was only on that day that he could
11 have taken the Commissioner from the barracks to Negoslavci.
12 Why can this be of consequence? Well, if the head of the
13 administration was the one who was deciding on the fate of the POWs and
14 who was in charge of the exchange for the Labredo [phoen] group, then he
15 could have decided the fate of the captives from Ovcara as well. But
16 whether he had indeed done so is something that we could not actually
17 verify because my learned colleague from the Prosecution actually chose
18 not to call General Vasiljevic as a witness although he had been on the 65
19 ter list.
20 After this assessment of the final brief and the closing arguments
21 of my learned colleague, I am drawing to a close and I will give the floor
22 to my learned colleague, Vladimir Domazet who will actually conclude the
23 closing arguments for the Defence.
24 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Thank you, Mr. Vasic. The problem is we
25 have only five minutes to go for Mr. Domazet, so he will have to be very
1 short. Thank you.
2 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it seems that I only
3 have the time to say good afternoon. Unfortunately, I had envisaged about
4 40 minutes for my statement, so in the five minutes allocated to me, I
5 will have to pick and choose from it and say a few words that in view of
6 the fact that Mr. Vasic has left me some time to contribute to the Defence
7 statement myself, but I will have to abridge that as well.
8 As regards Vujic, I would like to say a few words about some very
9 important things that our learned colleague, Moore, also insisted on
10 yesterday and that has to do with coming from Velepromet on that night.
11 At that time he certainly could not have seen Colonel Mrksic, not only
12 owing to the fact that it was far after midnight when the commander was
13 already in bed and only the officer on duty could have been in the
14 operations group room, but also because of the fact that the witness's --
15 the testimony of Witness Korica is eminently clear to the effect that he
16 had come from Velepromet before Vujic had, because in contrast to him who
17 walked, he had come by car and that throughout that period while he was
18 there, that is, he didn't see Colonel Mrksic, so that Vujic could not have
19 seen him either, Vujic who came much later, and then he went together with
20 Korica, that is to say they all went to bed.
21 And just another thing. It is really totally illogical and quite
22 unacceptable that an officer of the kind of Mrksic would have listened to
23 those -- would have heard the words uttered here by Vujic without
24 responding to that in any way whatsoever. That is unacceptable. It is
25 unbelievable. It is improbable, because Vujic could not have really
1 fabricated a response to the briefing, to the reporting that never was, in
3 Regrettably I cannot dwell on this in any longer. I shall just
4 focus for a couple of minutes on the role of Colonel Mrksic himself to say
5 that at times it emanated here from statements that his role was solely to
6 look after or see about what would be happening with this group of 200 or
7 so prisoners. One should bear in mind that especially during those final
8 days the commander of the operations group had to look after several
9 thousand soldiers under his command, several thousand civilians who
10 demanded to leave the city after the combat had died down, with the
11 situation being as it was still very insecure. The town was mined. He
12 had many problems to address and solve.
13 And having said this, I should like to add that not a single piece
14 of evidence was presented here to the effect that during the morning when
15 the triage took place in the hospital, had commander Mrksic at any moment
16 been informed whether it had been carried out, how many people had been
17 included in the triage process, who the people were, and it is claimed
18 that allegedly he handed over those people to some government at a meeting
19 that has already been referred to here repeatedly, and I'm not going to
20 repeat that myself.
21 Just a few words in conclusion about Mrksic himself, who was
22 actually born in Croatia where he pursued his schooling and where he
23 lived. He finished high school in precisely Vukovar, and he pursued his
24 education, his military education, reaching -- attaining the highest ranks
25 for the most part of the time in this elite unit, the kind of that the
1 Guards Brigade was. He would never have attained such positions, and held
2 such ranks had anything been there to indicate in any way whatsoever that
3 this was the sort of person who could do anything bad to people of another
4 ethnicity, who could do anything wrong by them.
5 I should like to remind you that as an officer and as a human
6 being he was referred to by all the witnesses who were asked the question
7 and who took the stand here. He was referred in the nicest terms --
8 referred to in the nicest terms by all such witnesses as a person and as a
10 And finally, in contrast to many who held much lower ranks and
11 held much lower positions in these wars but managed to amass fortunes,
12 General Mrksic was retired and lived with his wife and three children,
13 three daughters whom he's still supporting, namely who are still living
14 off his pension, and in fact until he surrendered to this Tribunal he did
15 manual work at a market in Belgrade in order to make ends meet, which
16 actually shows best what kind of a person he is.
17 Unfortunately, I really have no time, and I can only reiterate our
18 submission, our proposal and our submission which is the Defence considers
19 that the Prosecution has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that
20 the accused Mrksic has committed the acts that he is charged with, and
21 that the Defence proposes to this honourable Tribunal to acquit the
22 accused of all charges. Thank you.
23 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Thank you, Mr. Domazet.
24 We will turn now to the Defence of Mr. Radic. Mr. Borovic has the
1 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
2 Your Honours, distinguished colleagues from the Prosecution, I
3 shall start with a quotation by our great poet of Petar Petrovic Njegos
4 who said, "Fear of life often taints honour." And this is a principle
5 that Miroslav Radic often followed in his life and that is why he decided
6 to come forward and tell the truth before this august Tribunal so that the
7 Croatian public and the public in Serbia and elsewhere would know what his
8 role had been in this entire thing. And we should like to say that the
9 accused Radic and the defence of Radic condemn the heinous act and crime
10 at Ovcara as an appalling act and that we all share this feeling.
11 The indictment charges the accused with the violation of laws and
12 customs of war and crimes against humanity. In our final brief, we have
13 dealt with everything which is dealt with under Article 3 of the Statute.
14 The Prosecution's final brief submissions in detail as regards Article 3
15 of the Statute and as regards Article 5 of the Statute, we can only add
16 that the Defence feels, at the very outset, that the Prosecution has
17 failed to prove the allegations of the Prosecution beyond reasonable
18 doubt, that is to say, that the accused had been aware of the widespread
19 or systematic attack or of its context of a widespread or systematic
20 attack or that his actions were part of that attack.
21 In addition to that, the Prosecution, both in its case and in its
22 final brief, failed to prove that the accused was aware of the fact that
23 the Serbian forces had taken all settlements in Eastern Slavonia, as the
24 Prosecution claims. The Prosecution also failed to prove that Miroslav
25 Radic was informed or could have been informed or put on notice or was
1 aware that an attack of that nature was in progress. He, as a company
2 commander, came to Vukovar, was given a task which was limited to just one
3 street, and he carried out this task pursuant to the orders of his
5 The jurisprudence of this Tribunal has established that one has to
6 prove that the accused not only had an intention to commit a crime that
7 he's charged with, but also had to know that there was an attack on
8 civilian population. We heard the account of Miroslav Radic during his
9 testimony. Another thing that one also needs to point out is that he had
10 to risk at least to have his acts become part of that attack.
11 I don't think that any of these three elements which constitute
12 the elements of violation of Article 5 were proven by the Prosecution.
13 In paragraph 139, the Prosecution speaks about the initial
14 selection at the hospital on the 18th and 19th of November. Yesterday, we
15 heard an inspired submission by my learned friend, Mr. Lunny, who said,
16 with respect to this, what Dr. Njavro stated during his testimony. What
17 is especially curious is what was inferred concerning this witness. They
18 said that if the Chamber does not prove Dr. Njavro, then definitely
19 somebody from the Guards Motorised Brigade participated in this initial
21 The Prosecution also believes that if Dr. Njavro was wrong and
22 wrongly conveyed the fact concerning Dr. Dejanovic, then it doesn't mean
23 that everything else said by Dr. Njavro wasn't true either. The Defence
24 believes this is something that should not be ignored.
25 Every witness who took an oath before this court, who took a
1 solemn declaration, not only Witness P-024 concerning whom we requested
2 that an investigation be instituted against him, has to speak the truth in
3 front of every court, and this applies to this witness as well, regardless
4 of the fact that he was a minister of health of Croatia. His testimony
5 was discredited by the testimony of officer Karan, an honest officer, who
6 learned that Dr. Radomir Dejanovic was mentioned in this context and he
7 explained very explicitly to this Trial Chamber that he was the one who
8 asked Dr. Njavro whether he knew Dr. Dejanovic, and he said that he was
9 the one who did all the acts that the Prosecution wrongly attributes to
10 the accused Radic. He was captain of security organ, and without knowing
11 what Karan was going to testify, the Defence kept pointing out that Radic
12 was not a security captain, was not a member who belonged to
13 counter-intelligence service, which is something that Dr. Njavro claimed.
14 He said that he not only inquired about his friend Dr. Radomir Dejanovic
15 but also in front of this court he explained who the members of
16 Dr. Dejanovic's assembly were, how old he was, where he had studied and so
18 We put to Witness Njavro that Dejanovic could not have gone to
19 school with Radic and that he had completed his college in Belgrade, that
20 he was 10 years older than Radic, and that on the other hand Radic had
21 graduated from the military academy in Sarajevo and that he was 10 years
22 younger. However, the intention to trick the Chamber to assist the
23 Prosecution or perhaps some other reason which we are unaware of,
24 motivated this witness to stand by his original claims. However, owing to
25 the conditions which this Trial Chamber created for the Defence counsel
1 and for the fair trial of their accused, we conducted an investigation,
2 and I will put this in very mild terms and say that Njavro was wrong when
3 he said that Captain Radic arrested him and took to Sremska Mitrovica.
4 Witness Karan said, I was the one who did that. I was the security organ
5 and I did that task in accordance with the law and this is something that
6 many other witnesses confirm. Then Dr. Njavro proceeds to say something
7 about the events with Ante Maric. He placed it in the context of acts
8 allegedly performed by Radic, and Witness Antic said, "I was the one who
9 spoke to him. I said, take off the yellow boots, because otherwise you
10 could have problems."
11 All of this are the elements which Dr. Njavro tried to place
12 before the Trial Chamber, but these facts were not true. So not only is
13 it not true that somebody from the Guards Motorised Brigade participated
14 in this election process and abused -- abused patients in the hospital,
15 but simply the Trial Chamber cannot rely on this witness because he did
16 not say the truth.
17 Now, Witness P-012, who on page of the transcript 3727/5, when it
18 comes to the date, when a witness said that he toured the hospital with
19 Kuzmic, Njavro said that it was Radic, whereas this witness says that I
20 know that this was a captain with a moustache. I could recognise him if I
21 saw him, and I saw this captain in the movie "100 Days of Vukovar."
22 Your Honours, we introduced that piece of evidence here which is
23 Exhibit 171. I hope that any dilemmas concerning this have been resolved
24 by the Defence, and perhaps this could be of assistance to the
25 Prosecution. Perhaps this could point them in some other direction when
1 it comes to this witness.
2 The Prosecution interviewed Dr. Radomir Dejanovic, and he said, in
3 order to round off the conclusion, he said, "I do not know Captain
4 Miroslav Radic."
5 In paragraph 144, on the other -- of the Prosecution, there is a
6 position put forward that Radic took part in the process of identification
7 and selection of the alleged criminals acting pursuant to the orders of
8 Sljivacanin. In order to support their allegations, the Prosecution
9 brought Witness P-030 to testify here. This witness, P-030, claims that
10 he heard, and this is the only sentence which several years ago placed
11 Captain Miroslav Radic in the context of joint criminal enterprise. The
12 Defence has succeeded, and I will explain this further, in establishing
13 that this witness didn't say the truth either.
14 Perhaps it is not a popular method to say of the Prosecution
15 witnesses that they did not speak the truth, but I apologise, Your
16 Honours. Except for Witness Njavro, all other Prosecution witnesses who
17 allegedly agitate -- aggravate the position of Accused Radic were
18 protected witnesses who hid themselves from the public. This is why the
19 public will never learn -- both the public in Croatia and the public in
20 Serbia will never learn about their testimonies. Even once the judgement
21 is handed down, the public will not know what evidence was adduced because
22 all of the evidence was adduced in private or closed sessions.
23 So this Witness P-030 claims that he heard, when Sljivacanin
24 said, "Captain Radic, search the people." We asked him and this witness
25 gave several statements concerning this fact and he said the following:
1 "This is a captain who had four stars on his shoulders. He was 35
2 to 40 old. He was 175 centimetres to 180 centimetres tall." It was put
3 to him that Captain Miroslav Radic at the time was 29. It also put to him
4 that he was 192 centimetres tall. My learned friend yesterday claimed
5 that this was the height of Sljivacanin. It was put to this witness that
6 he was a captain who had three stars, but normally he didn't have rank
7 insignia on his uniform, and a lot of witnesses testified to this.
8 We also showed a photograph showing him without insignia on his
9 shoulders. This was something that was not done during wartime. Rather,
10 a badge was worn with insignia. He did not have a beret on his head, no
11 kind of burgundy beret nor did he wear an olive drab uniform on the 20th
12 of November, 1991. We clearly stated, that on the 20th of November,
13 Miroslav Radic wore a camouflage uniform.
14 We heard how Witness 2D4 confirmed this and he also confirmed that
15 he didn't wear his rank insignia on his shoulders.
16 The witness -- the Defence impeached and discredited this witness
17 not only when it comes to him seeing Radic on the 20th of November
18 conducting the selection and identification, but he was also discredited
19 by the witnesses of Mr. Sljivacanin. Sljivacanin himself, in his
20 testimony before the Court, said that Miroslav Radic on the 20th of
21 November, 1991 at the time when the evacuation was conducted was not
22 present at the hospital.
23 Witness Simic, commander of the military police company, which
24 secured the evacuation, conducted the search of the prisoners, escorted
25 them to the buses and so on, said firmly before this Court under oath that
1 Captain Miroslav Radic was not present nor did he participate in triage,
2 search, or selection of the prisoners.
3 Paunovic, a witness who explained in detail his role at the
4 hospital here, when asked directly, said that Miroslav Radic could not
5 have had any role nor did he have any role considering that his military
6 police company was present or, rather, his subordinate company commander
7 Simic and himself.
8 We asked Simic directly whether Radic participated in this
9 selection process. He said on page -- or, rather, Paunovic said on page
10 14182/24. And then we asked Simic, since I as Defence counsel failed to
11 put this question directly to Paunovic, I asked him how old he was in
12 1991, and he said that he was born in 1956, which means that at the
13 relevant period of time he was 35. He was 175 to 180 centimetres tall,
14 which means at least that this witness could have seen Witness Paunovic
15 but definitely not Captain Radic.
16 When the search was conducted and triage and when the people about
17 were escorted to the buses witnesses such as Dragutin Berghofer were
18 present as were Witnesses P-031, Emil Cakalic, Witness P-009, and Witness
20 His Honour Judge Parker enabled the Defence at the time to put to
21 the Witness P-030 other things that witnesses had stated according to the
22 rules which in force at the time. None of them heard anybody mention or
23 call out the name of Captain Radic. All of them stood together in that
24 group in front of the hospital some one to two metres away from Witness
25 P-030. My learned friend, Mr. Moore at one point in time, tried to
1 explain this before the Trial Chamber. A question was put to Berghofer,
2 and he said that it seemed that that man had no rank insignia. He was
3 about 40 years old. Whereas Witness P-031 said it was a lieutenant, a
4 lieutenant who conducted the search, and that same person was present in
5 the barracks and took out those 15 people off a bus.
6 The Prosecutor insisted for quite a while on this issue. You can
7 see this on transcript page 3240 to 3248, and in the end it was clear that
8 that was the same person that was a lieutenant. Naturally, nobody ever
9 mentioned Captain Miroslav Radic.
10 This Trial Chamber knows that the problem of identification is a
11 very significant one. The Prosecution pointed that out as well, and
12 rightly so. Namely, that we have to be extremely cautious when
13 identifying somebody in order not to harm somebody, especially not one of
14 the accused.
15 Witness P-030 was perhaps misled by the movie called 100 Days of
16 Vukovar when a different person was shown and the name Miroslav Radic was
17 constantly attributed to that person, and that was a different person in
18 that footage. Perhaps Witness P-030 had to state that before the Trial
19 Chamber because, and we mustn't forget that he was one of the persons that
20 was subjected to special investigation by Croatian secret police, SIS. I
21 think that Exhibit 300 deals with this. This exhibit was adduced. And
22 let me repeat here that this secret Croatian service managed to acquire
23 information, secret information, from this OTP, and OTP should be
24 concerned about this. They used this information in order to prepare some
25 witnesses, including Witness P-030, and naturally somebody had to confirm
1 the allegations in this hastily assembled indictment. They didn't manage
2 to do this in the end. I think that the Prosecution should have attempted
3 to word the prosecution in a different way and the aim of that indictment
4 should have been to establish the truth and ensure a fair trial.
5 Another allegation of the Prosecution has to do with selection and
6 boarding on buses. On the 20th of November according to the Prosecution
7 in view of everything that I have stated so far, Radic was together with
8 Sljivacanin at the hospital. The Prosecution says yes, but in a different
9 context. And we could have avoided this, because we knew the factual
11 Radic said the truth when he said that he was at the hospital, but
12 he went there later after the evacuation. He wore camouflage uniform. He
13 did not meet Sljivacanin. He wasn't present during triage, selection, and
14 escorting of the people to buses.
15 The Prosecution invokes the testimony of Witness P-018 who said
16 that he went with Radic to the hospital perhaps, but in that case the
17 Trial Chamber here has to believe Witness Radic, because a number of
18 persons I mentioned confirmed that Radic was not present during the
19 evacuation, and I think that this is what we should highlight.
20 On the other hand, if we only remember the testimony of Witness
21 P-002 and 022, we will see that these two witnesses spoke about (redacted)
22 (redacted) in order to see what
23 was happening at the hospital.
24 Witness P-002 stated here, when testifying, that upon arriving at
25 the hospital he did not see Miroslav Radic. He knows him well, and he
1 tried hard to aggravate his position in the trial.
2 P-022 claims that Captain Radic was with Petrova Gora and he sent
3 him to take P-002 to the hospital. At the very moment when P-002 and
4 P-022 were at the hospital, Radic was elsewhere altogether. The witnesses
5 we heard here and the witnesses questioned in detail by the OTP told us
6 about the process of the search, selection, and triage. It was our
7 understanding when looking at the rules that some of that business or the
8 involvement of the military security in some of the business or the
9 involvement of the military police, it would have been so illogical and so
10 lifeless to reach the conclusion that an ordinary captain of an ordinary
11 military police company in a complicated operation like this simply
12 strolled along in order to issue orders to members of the military police
13 and the security organ.
14 As for Radic's presence at the barracks in relation to Witness
15 P-030, the one and only witness causing a lot of harm to Miroslav Radic
16 because of these two arbitrary constructions that he put together, Witness
17 P-030 says that, again after a while, he saw Captain Radic in the
18 barracks, this time, however, wearing some sort of a leather jacket and a
19 Bordeaux dark red colour beret, a cap that would not have been worn by any
20 officer, let alone Radic. He said he was holding a list of names and
21 searching persons who were later taken or, rather, returned to the
23 Another witness we heard was the accused Sljivacanin's deputy,
24 Ljubisa Vukasinovic. Vukasinovic says, "I am the one who put persons on
25 the buses. I am the one who took 15 people off the buses inside the
1 barracks according to a list that I had and sent those back to the
2 hospital." This was his duty. This was his mission. He was asked
3 directly if Captain Miroslav Radic had any part in this or indeed if he
4 had ever been seen at the barracks. The answer was a clear negative.
5 Witness Susic was heard as well. He exercised command over the
6 military police at the barracks. He never met or laid eyes on Captain
7 Radic in the barracks, not before this time, not at the critical time.
8 I'm not sure how to phrase this mildly. There is this attempt by
9 the OTP to perhaps speculate, I'm not sure if that makes any sense, but
10 I'm an at a loss for a better word. As for Vukosinovic's evidence and the
11 evidence of Witness P-030, those are not mutually exclusive they say
12 because Vukosinovic looked at three buses. There is obviously the
13 possibility that Radic looked at some other buses, they say. Vukosinovic
14 is crystal clear on this. "I'm the one." These people are honourable
15 witnesses who testified under oath causing themselves a lot of grief. He
16 says, "I'm the one who read the names off that list, took people off that
17 bus, and sent them back to the hospital." There is no dilemma involved
18 here. There is no possible interpretation that can possibly aggravate the
19 position of Miroslav Radic.
20 Bearing all of this in mind, and we did try to explain this in
21 some detail in our final brief, it is perfectly clear that Radic could not
22 possibly have been present when people were mistreated or beaten in the
23 hospital, in the barracks, or, for that matter, at a later time, if indeed
24 such a thing ever occurred within the hospital compound, within the
25 perimeter of the hospital. He could not have been involved in the
1 so-called reselection that occur later on at the hospital as posited by
2 the OTP in their final brief, in the presence of Miroljub Vujevic, a TO
3 member, which means that he could never have known since he wasn't there,
4 that the prisoners had been attacked or threatened in any way. I think
5 the evidence is self-explanatory and the Defence does not have the
6 slightest doubt about this.
7 As for the mistreatment and killings at Ovcara on the 20th of
8 November, this is something that the OTP addressed. The Defence denied
9 this from day one, denied Radic's involvement in any way. Radic never
10 found out, and I will address the issue more thoroughly at a later stage.
11 There is a special chapter dedicated by the OTP to the omission of the
12 Guards Motorised Brigade to intervene in the more effective way during the
13 evacuation of the hospital and the withdrawal from Ovcara later on. I
14 think Mr. Vasic addressed that in quite some length. This is about the
15 responsibility of the 80th Kragujevac Brigade.
16 The Radic Defence believes the following: This is a very serious
17 circumstance and Defence counsel, in any criminal case, find it very
18 difficult to say this. But the Prosecution have clear evidence against
19 certain people from the 80th Kragujevac Brigade. And I'm saying this, not
20 because I now wish to cause grief, any grief at all to someone else, but
21 because those people decided to side with the OTP. They're trying to now
22 glorify their own actions there at the time and some of these people
23 occupy very high-ranking positions in what used to be the army of
24 Yugoslavia and is now the army of Serbia. Whereas what I have here is a
25 petty captain who left the army back in 1992 and he was on a fast track to
1 a glittering military career yet decided to leave. Now he's supposed to
2 foot the bill for these omissions committed by people who had to take
3 better care of their own zone of responsibility. Vujnovic was the town
4 commander for Jakupovac, Ovcara, and Grabovo, all three locations. His
5 own man was the commander of Ovcara, a responsibility which he had
6 bestowed on him, and at the time in question, he was there. He witnessed
7 the mistreatment and the attacks. They had the knowledge. They had the
8 awareness that a crime might happen at Ovcara, but they ran. They ran at
9 2230 hundred hours that night. They simply got away.
10 In addition to running from the scene at 2230 hundred hours, and
11 in addition to saying that no crime had occurred before then, this is
12 directly denied by Witness P-022, who says that the crimes actually took
13 place between 1700 hours and later on. And he says he left for Petrova
14 Gora at 11, 12, or 1.00. If we respect the principle in dubio pro reo,
15 which means that in that case we have to favour the accused, we to have
16 lend credence to the theory that he was at Petrova Gora at 11.00 on the
17 20th of November. If, at 11.00, he was there and he doesn't know exactly
18 how he got from Petrova Gora back to Ovcara, which is what he says, then
19 we have to believe that he simply walked there, which means he had left a
20 lot earlier before the 80th Kragujevac Brigade abandoned Ovcara, before
21 Ovcara was abandoned by Witness P-022. Therefore, he could not have known
22 that a crime was in progress and was not himself involved.
23 At any rate, I will be addressing the issue, but especially later
24 on. In theory, that Radic had to leave with his company after 11.00 with
25 his company, in order to foil the killings is entirely unfounded.
1 Firstly, he didn't know what Witness P-022 claims he knew. Secondly, this
2 is the area of responsibility covered by the 80th Kragujevac Motorised
3 Brigade. They have their own military police company. He had no business
4 calling them over to their area of responsibility. This theory is
5 entirely unfounded and I'm not even sure what it stems from. One thing we
6 mustn't forget is this: If at 10.30 on the 20th of November, they ran,
7 they abandoned the area where the crime occurred, on the 21st of November
8 at 0600 hours, in the OTP's submission, and we have that in evidence, the
9 Vukovar TO was resubordinated to the 80th Kragujevac Brigade. Okay,
10 10.30, the time between 10.30 and 6.00 the following morning, they were
11 still at Ovcara in the yellow house because that's where the town
12 commander was, the Ovcara town commander.
13 They assumed responsibility de jure at 6.00 that morning. They
14 were the ones who were in a position to stop that crime from happening
15 firstly and, secondly, to -- to punish the Vukovar TO members because it
16 was de jure that they were resubordinated to them at 0600 hours on the
17 21st of November, that morning, therefore, these two major counts of the
18 indictment are easily challenged and they invoke the responsibility of
19 Captain Miroslav Radic.
20 The next important question is whether the crimes at Ovcara were
21 predictable. This is an important question for the Trial Chamber. The
22 OTP believes that the accused should have known about the reputation of
23 the TO for lawlessness. The OTP corroborates this by saying that the JNA
24 people had the duty to be informed about their own respective areas of
25 responsibility and their subordinates. Not a single company commander
1 actually has a zone of responsibility according to the doctrine. They can
2 act in concert in coordination. It is only from the battalion level up
3 that areas of responsibility are assigned and I think even the OTP experts
4 confirmed this. However, at the time when Radic was along the axis of
5 operations of his own company, not a single crime took place, even in a
6 layman's interpretation, which is to say, that it was some sort of area of
7 responsibility, meaning the location along the axis of operations of his
9 Radic's blamed even for things that he did well, in the sense of
10 him being aware of the poor reputation of the TO, because Miroslav Radic
11 was involved in the fighting along the front line. This is entirely
12 unfounded. He was an honourable officer. He fought. He didn't shy away
13 from the fighting. He didn't hide in the surrounding villages such as
14 Negoslavci as some officers did. He was there. He stuck with his
15 soldiers. We heard evidence from people who were wounded at the front
16 line how he looked after them after the war. All of that was misused by
17 the OTP. Even Radic visiting the graves of some of the people who were
18 killed, it is quite clear he didn't know, even if some of those people had
19 been involved, why would he have visited them. This proves his innocence
20 if it proves anything at all.
21 Another thing about this, about Radic being aware of the
22 reputation, of the poor reputation of the TO is this: The OTP talks about
23 his friendship with Karanfilov. Incredible. I never found anything about
24 that. I've gone through all the transcripts. What the OTP could possibly
25 have had in mind, so my conclusion was this: Miroslav Radic himself was
1 in Negoslavci once in October back when he was wounded and that's in
2 evidence and then twice on the 13th and 14th of November when he came
3 there to get permission, authorisation that was to be signed by Momcilovic
4 for leave, extra leave awarded to him by Captain Stijakovic, the commander
5 of the 1st Motorised Battalion as a reward. I have gone through all the
6 transcripts. There is nothing, nothing at all to indicate that he and
7 Karanfilov if indeed they ever met at all and there is no evidence to show
8 that, that he and Karanfilov discussed the problems and the lawlessness of
9 the Vukovar TO. Therefore, these two conditionally speaking attempts by
10 the OTP to blame Miroslav Radic for this led to nothing in my submission.
11 As for the behaviour of the Vukovar TO prior to the 18th of
12 November, 1991, paragraph 178 we see this wording again, namely that the
13 Vukovar TO members were subordinated to Radic and that he accepted their
14 reputation -- the reputation of the TO and the volunteers in his
15 interview, an interview which has been exhibited and I will be addressing
16 that later. However these two are entirely erroneous premises which the
17 OTP have used as a foundation for their theory firstly the fact that these
18 people were subordinated to Radic and we shall prove by the end of our
19 closing argument that in fact they weren't. In our final brief and
20 through our case I think we have even succeeded in convincing the OTP to a
21 significant degree at least.
22 The thing is we heard about this interview given by Miroslav Radic
23 that he trained, as the interview claims, nearly 500 people but we also
24 heard a witness who was the chief of security of the 80 Kragujevac Brigade
25 whose last name is Vukosavljevic. He says that about 400 people from the
1 1st battalion or the 2nd of the 80 Kragujevac Motorised Brigade I'm not
2 quite sure at the very outset actually found themselves in the Petrova
3 Gora area. They were securing the area. They were enjoying some sort of
4 logistical support but they weren't at the actual front line and it is in
5 relation to them that Captain Radic is claiming that they were some of the
6 volunteers which at the stage one of the operation he helped to train.
7 Therefore these are not Vukovar TO members. These are volunteers from
8 Serbia, and unfortunately there were some of those in the area too.
9 The fact about indiscipline and Radic is this is not in relation
10 to TO. This is in relation to the volunteers. This tells us many things.
11 This first of all favours Radic as someone who had established a good
12 command climate which is again abused by the OTP on the other hand he
13 identified all of those who were a potential source of trouble.
14 Therefore, those who remained were not people who had criminal reputations
15 of any kind and there was nothing to suggest that those people would
16 suggest crimes. Unfortunately the Prosecution invokes Witness P-024 who
17 is a witness that I invoked at the outset. I said this witness had to be
18 prosecuted because of all the things that he did not only in Serbia but
19 also because of perjury that he committed before this Trial Chamber. He
20 says that there was a lack of discipline among Radic's men that there was
21 violence and that there was a generally known principle at the time. All
22 of the witnesses including P-022, P-018, OTP witnesses as well as all the
23 officers and soldiers that we heard throughout this trial are unanimous in
24 this. Radic was an honourable officer a serious officer a strict officer
25 and an honest officer. There is no doubt about this. Trifunovic of all
1 people spoke about this when questioned by the Defence about the command
2 climate. All of it in relation to evidence provided by OTP experts before
3 this Trial Chamber.
4 Why was P-024 assigned this kind of role? Well, the Defence is at
5 a loss. This is the greatest Tribunal of this kind in the world and our
6 belief is that credible witnesses should be brought before this Tribunal.
7 Witness P-024, I am not using his evidence. I am not abusing the patience
8 of this Court. But when we suggested he be prosecuted, the decision was
9 made that the Chamber would take into consideration everything that we
10 submitted in terms of documents when deciding on the credibility of this
11 particular witness, which means that I now have to remind the Chamber that
12 this witness was unfamiliar with fundamental concepts relating to the area
13 in which he was at the time. He said that in addition to the Leva
14 Supoderica Detachment there was the Desna Supoderica Detachment. Nonsense
15 we won't forget the notebook, the booklet, a photocopy of which he brought
16 along for his testimony which was a piece of forgery as simple as that.
17 Thirdly -- or, rather, on page 3 of the document there's a box where you
18 need to get stamp for the military post and there were some general stamps
19 there belonging to a local commune, some local commune rather, and I think
20 we used Witness Trifunovic to disprove that.
21 We then asked him about the original of that booklet. We can't
22 possibly use a photocopy as evidence in a trial such as this, especially
23 if that is the only thing that corroborates this document. And he simply
24 said that he had burned it. Why then did we seek that this witness be
25 criminally prosecuted. We showed him Exhibit 19 A. He said that at the
1 time he would meet Captain Radic on a daily basis as well as his own
2 captain Kameni. That he was his right-hand man virtually and we showed
3 him that photograph Exhibit 19 A and he simply failed to recognise his own
4 commander in that photograph which can only suggest that he lied to the
16 My learned friends failed to do a background check on him and see
17 that he -- that he was a convicted criminal. That says -- that speaks
18 volumes about his credibility. In paragraph 100 -- it 283, the Prosecutor
19 speaks about violence. They speak about the beatings outside Radic's
20 command post and the kills and beatings that took place across the road in
21 a house, as suggested by Witness P-018. That's where there was a
22 detention facility. That's what he says. So this was the theory put
23 forward by the OTP. P-018 claimed that there was this special building.
24 As concerns the Defence of Miroslav Radic, we asked all the
25 witnesses this very question even Witness P-022. In this street at
1 Petrova Gora was there any sort of detention facility or a house where
2 people were tortured? There wasn't a single witness to confirm that.
3 Quite the contrary. The witnesses were astonished to hear about this
5 Witness P-018, at any rate we cross-examine him, he said that at
6 Ovcara 1.040 people were killed he was he was there. The transcript
7 reference is 7564, 7565. However -- however, he also says that he was
8 furious, that he made up these statements as he went along. He denied
9 ever having been present at Ovcara and so on and so forth.
10 The Prosecution is submitting something that is entirely erroneous
11 and my learned young friend Mr. Lunny spoke about that yesterday, namely
12 that Radic was present when a Croatian POW was beaten by the Vukovar TO.
13 This is a fabrication that has been repeated many times. The witness
14 invoked is Witness P-022.
15 The Defence claims and this is easy enough to prove, that this was
16 no Croatian POW at all to begin with. Secondly, even according to the
17 submissions of Witness P-022 he wasn't in fact beaten by the TO or the
18 Leva Supoderica men but which the military policemen securing Tesic's
19 headquarters. This is the notorious addendum made by Witness P-022 -- the
20 addendum which additionally appeared just on the eve of his evidence here,
21 15 years later he remembers that a man was beaten up and that Captain
22 Miroslav Radic was cool as a cucumber, never raised a finger. This was
23 probably to back up his own false allegation that when people came from
24 Ovcara and told him about the crime he just shrugged his shoulders.
25 Why are we so convinced that this is perjury, that this is false
1 evidence? It is for the following reason Witness P-022, in the transcript
2 on page 4979/19, this witness says about this person who the OTP claim was
3 a Croatian POW beaten by members of the TO, "Radic told me to take him to
4 Major Tesic's HQ which I did. There were military policemen there and I
5 said this is a deserter, whereupon one of the military policemen struck
6 out at Krstic. Krstic hit him in the head, in fact. He then fell down
7 and was beaten by another four persons... I then went back to the
8 headquarters and reported this to Captain Radic." It is based on this
9 that you can see this was no Croatian POW and was not beaten by the TO
11 Thereafter, on page T 5100/16 he said, "I, Radic, and Vidic saw
12 that and we watched it." So even in this construction there was no
13 reference to Miroslav Radic's being at the command post and he was not
14 being beaten by TO members.
15 Witness P-022, in connection with the Krstic case, as we called
16 it, to the question whether that had happened on the very same day when
17 Lieutenant Kostic had died in transcript 0999/4 says, "Yes," because it
18 was on the same day and only eight -- eight lines further on page 5099/16
19 he says "No."
20 After all, I'm not going to belabour the point. It is the
21 position of the Defence that this witness misinterpreted things proceeding
22 from misinterpretation of the military orders that were presented and also
23 that the testimony of this witness -- do I have more time before the
24 break? I'm not able to tell.
25 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: The break should be around about now. We
1 had until five past, so you can go for a few minutes or if -- can we have
2 the break now or...
3 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, we can have the break now.
4 Thank you.
5 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: We will start again at five to 6.00.
6 --- Recess taken at 5.37 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 5.56 p.m.
8 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Yes, Mr. Borovic.
9 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
10 The next question is Seselj's visit to which the Prosecution
11 attaches more importance than I consider is warranted for the problem that
12 we have at hand in this courtroom and to his -- and his visit on the 13th
13 of November, as the Prosecution puts it to Radic's command post. Radic
14 did not have a command post, that we heard many times already. The
15 witness never actually said so in his note which we presented as evidence
16 and that note it is very interesting because we waited for 15 years to
17 appear before a Court, because that witness had taken the stand in many
18 other cases, and I'm not going to say which in order not to reveal his
20 There is a formulation there by Seselj to the effect that no
21 Ustasha can leave Vukovar alive. That is the way it was interpreted.
22 Until that note, that memo appeared and analysing it we actually
23 ascertained that what was written there was no Ustasha can get out, but
24 there is another formulation which says no volunteer can -- may leave
25 Vukovar. So that is another one there. So by a compilation of these --
1 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: I'm sorry, Mr. Borovic, but I don't see
2 in the transcript a reference to the witness that you are referring to.
3 You may have said it, but I don't see it, or I overlooked.
4 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I will -- I was referring to the
5 Witness P-022, and his document which was led here as evidence. P-022 is
6 the witness.
7 I shall just say that the note makes no reference whatsoever to a
8 command post. What it does make reference to is the house of so-and-so.
9 In the note, and that was presented as a piece of evidence, 884, page 212,
10 the name of Captain Radic is not mentioned as the person attending the
11 meeting whereas it would have been logical for his name to have been
12 jotted down along with the other ones.
13 This witness tried to invoke colleagues Peternik and Prelic who
14 gave testimony before the court in Belgrade when the Defence stated that
15 they had -- when the Defence actually said that to them, to him, what they
16 had said, the only thing that he had to say is that these were insane
17 people, crazy people, and liars. However, what is of importance for this
18 Court, we have dealt with it in the trial brief, so that I'm not going to
19 go into detail but just the essentials.
20 On page 2005, the note says, "(redacted) is coming. He's arriving.
21 He is wounded." The witness Razvigor Virijevic, Mladen Maric, Milivoje
22 Simic, and Jovan Susic, and -- were asked by me whether officer (redacted)
23 had ever been wounded at the Vukovar front and they all denied that.
24 Then most interesting, which also undermines the credibility of
25 that alleged document is the part which is on page 199 of the notebook and
1 I should like to ask the Bench to take a good look at page 199 as well as
2 page 200 and that for the following reason: Because it shows that this
3 witness P-002, to whom greater importance is attached indeed, actually
4 inserted on page 200 Captain Radic without any context, and then he
5 subsequently added in a different pencil colour the name of Captain Radic.
6 He talks about the axis of operations where captain (redacted) is and
7 the captain -- the tank operator Ristic who he called Rile, and then on
8 page 200, after this name Rile, he just added in parenthesis Radic, and
9 then Rile is an abbreviation for Ristic. It is short for Ristic and Rile
10 is short for Radic. So obviously there was no mistake, but by
11 subsequently later fabricating this note, he inserted him in that
12 particular period 13th of November, while at that time, Radic was actually
13 in Negoslavci and that was the time when he went to Belgrade to get that
15 In our final brief, we submitted an analysis of all that he had
16 written there, and worst of all and to which the Prosecution -- in the
17 fact that the Prosecution devotes so much attention to this witness is
18 that this witness came to this Prosecution either of his own volition or
19 initiative or I don't know why and with the courtesy of our colleagues he
20 gave – (redacted)
1 (redacted) people who come to give
2 false statements for money and at a certain time were ardent followers and
3 servants of the regime of Slobodan Milosevic. Well, I have to say that in
4 1991, in March, we were on opposite sides. I was at the helm of the
5 biggest opposition party in Serbia, and he was on the other side. So this
6 is something that the public has to know because those riots, those
7 demonstrations were the largest ones organised after the war because of
8 the writings in the regime's media and this person wrote for one of the
9 regime's papers. I'm not going to say which.
10 So five years later, after he had learned, as he says, of the
11 crimes of the 21st of November, and it had been his duty to report that
12 but he hadn't, but he waited for five or six years and then started
13 concocting the scenario in agreement with the OTP.
14 As regards the knowledge of the accused of the behaviour of the
15 Territorial Defence on the 18th and 19th of November, I shall try to be
16 brief. He said that Radic attended the evacuation from the hospital. He
17 claimed that patients in light blue striped pyjamas all clean-shaven and
18 very neat were all taken out. Dr. Vesna Bosanac didn't say -- didn't know
19 that the wounded and the sick had been dressed in that fashion, and she
20 confirmed that the army had first entered the hospital compound on the
21 19th of November, 1991, and this was confirmed by P-021, 20 -- 2D04,
22 Paunovic, Simic, and other witnesses.
23 We should not forget when the colleague from the Defence team of
24 Mr. Sljivacanin showed the argument between Sljivacanin and Borsinger on
25 the 20th of November, the witness, without batting an eyelash, said in
1 court that that had been a few days before that in Belgrade. He actually
2 lied, because he didn't know how to explain about Captain Radic, in what
3 unit he was or where he was, nor did he provide any evidence about what he
4 wrote. And when he was asked, on a map, Exhibit 156, to show where the
5 hospital was in Vukovar, he was unable to do so. And he actually
6 testified here to the fact that he was a psychiatric patient but did not
7 use drugs but discarded them. And then when we pressurised him with proof
8 that the actual evacuation was on the 20th of November and when we showed
9 him the photograph of the soldier, it was quite clear that this witness
10 did not know at all what had happened in Vukovar on that day. And as he
11 said, "I was with the JNA and someone is going to pay dearly for
12 everything that happened to me." And I believe that this is a position
13 that is not to be adopted by any witness who is to give evidence before
14 this Court.
15 Three, the knowledge of the accused about the conduct of the
16 Territorial Defence on the 20th of November, 1991, and this refers to
17 abuses and mistreatment of people. Actually, what happened in the
18 hospital and the barracks. And as I have presented the Defence's
19 position, I'm not going to go into detail.
20 As regards the knowledge of the Guards Motorised Brigade on
21 crimes, the OTP invokes P-022 and P-018, the witnesses, namely, that
22 Captain Radic had found out from witnesses what had happened, that he had
23 found out what had happened. He just shrugged his shoulders, said they,
24 Captain Radic, according to him, was actually in the next room and could
25 be -- was able to hear what was being said.
1 The Defence managed to prove that Witness P-022, who is the most
2 important witness in respect of this fact, according to the OTP, was
3 lying, was not telling the truth owing to this fact. He actually gave his
4 statement to the OTP as a suspect. He was told, "You are a suspect but
5 there will be no criminal proceedings instituted against you."
8 I'm going to just quote something he said to demonstrate that on
9 the 20th of November, at the critical time when the crimes took place, he
10 was not at Ovcara, irrespective of the fact that he -- he claims that he
11 was a killer and that he was at Ovcara. He said that the security of
12 Captain Radic took P-022 to hospital. He claims that on the orders of
13 Captain Radic he took Witness P-002 to the hospital, and he was asked how
14 long he stayed in the hospital, and then he said "about one hour.
15 Following that, I returned back to the headquarters, and on that day, Your
16 Honours, I remained within the staff sector."
17 Various dates were mentioned there, when it comes to the bringing
18 of Witness P-002 by Witness P-022 to the hospital, but what is the most
19 important for this Tribunal is that both of them stated that he was
20 brought to the hospital only once with the assistance of soldier P-022.
21 We went over what was supplied by the OTP, and we found video
22 footage, Exhibit 568 in this trial, and in that film, in that excerpt, we
23 can see Witness P-002 at the time of the evacuation.
24 I may have made a mistake concerning protected witnesses. I am
25 doing my best, Your Honours. All of them are protected witnesses with a P
1 and multiple 0s.
2 Exhibit 568. If both witnesses claim that they met only on that
3 day and were brought to the hospital only on that day, and Witness P-022
4 claims that Captain Radic remained at home or, rather, at Petrova Gora,
5 and that he returned and spent the entire day in the sector of the
6 headquarters, that is to say, Petrova Gora, then he could not have been at
7 Ovcara at 12.00 as he claimed here to the Trial Chamber.
8 What remains for us to do? We believe that this Trial Chamber
9 consisting of professional Judges should not allow, and I'm sure that they
10 will not allow themselves to believe this witness who was a blackmailed
11 witness without verifying the facts. (redacted)
18 If we were now to try and verify the claims of this witness
19 concerning other two soldiers, it would be a futile attempt. The persons
20 that he mentioned as being at Ovcara were Jankovic and Vidacek. Both of
21 those witnesses are dead now and it's not a coincidence in my view the
22 fact that he decided to mention two persons who cannot support or
23 discredit his story, and by doing so he denied us the possibility to
24 believe him that following the crimes that he committed he went back to
25 Nova Street and told Captain Radic about the events at Ovcara.
1 Why shouldn't we believe him is fully -- is further supported by
2 the fact that he doesn't know when he came back, with whom he came back,
3 and what his most surprising is that he says he was in civilian clothes
4 with a rifle that wasn't a standard issue rifle.
5 Witness P-002 was asked the following: On that day, the 22nd of
6 November, when this witness that we are referring to now brought him to
7 the hospital, how he was dressed and what weapons he had, he confirmed
8 what he stated in the Belgrade Ovcara trial, namely that he had a
9 camouflage uniform, an M-72 automatic rifle on him. On the same day at
10 the same time that we're referring to now I think that in this instance
11 Witness P-002 should be believed.
12 We heard from Witness P-022 that he killed in front of the hangar
13 from 1700 hours onwards. He said that there was a hall in front of the
14 hangar, and there is not another witness who was at Ovcara whom I failed
15 to ask, including the colonel who conducted sanitization following the
16 war, whether any traces of a hall in front of the entrance into hangar
17 were found, and this colonel said very graphically, "No. I only saw
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour, please.
24 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I truly apologise. Can we move into
25 private session, please.
1 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Private.
2 [Private session]
16 [Open session]
17 THE REGISTRAR: We are -- we're back in open session, Your
19 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] As for Witness P-018, we brought
20 witnesses Stijakovic, Vuckovic, Zirojevic, and Tesic to contradict him,
21 because during the critical evening Radic on the 20th evening attended
22 dinner at Vuckovic's. It is true, and later on I will speak about this.
23 For the second time Witness P-002 spoke the truth. Contrary to
24 Witness P-022, he said on the 20th of November in the evening he was at
25 home with Nada and Stanko and that evening Radic did not come home.
1 As for the 21st of November and what Witness P-002 told us about
2 that, from the note we were able to establish that there never existed any
3 command post. Rather, there was a house, Nada and Stanko's home, and this
4 witness never asked Captain Radic directly about murders at Ovcara. In
5 cross-examination when we cornered him specifically about what he had
6 asked Captain Radic, he answered, "Well, that." "Question: What that?"
7 This is not something that could be taken as serious indication
8 that he truly asked Captain Radic about what had happened at Ovcara.
9 Following that, we tried to verify his claims and he provided three
10 versions to us. Number one, that he asked him at the same time as Stanko.
11 Then the second version was that he asked him later on when he met him in
12 passing no less. And the third version was that he thought that it was
13 either that evening or the following evening.
14 When comes to such an important fact, we are not convinced, we do
15 not have evidence that proves beyond reasonable doubt that he indeed asked
16 Captain Radic about it, especially since we provided evidence to the Trial
17 Chamber that on the 21st of November Radic had an inspection of his
18 company conducted by Stijakovic deputy commander of the 1st Motorised
19 Battalion. This is further proven by Zirojevic, Stojanovic, Vuckovic and
20 Stijakovic naturally.
21 This witness attempted to show us that he spoke the truth, and he
22 even offered to confirm this in writing, and he invoked two witnesses to
23 support this. One was the volunteer Daca, and the other one was Slavisa
24 Pavlovic from Smederevo. Your Honours, this is a tried and trusted recipe
25 used by false witnesses. He again attempts to rely on two dead persons.
1 We cannot verify whether he indeed spoke to these people. Both of them
2 are dead.
3 When we cross-examined him about his notes, especially about
4 Slavisa Pavlovic, we asked him when he wrote down the name of Slavisa
5 Pavlovic. Witness P-002 said, "I wrote that in later on because
6 Aleksandar Vasiljevic told me the name of that person."
7 Do you see the absurdity of this, namely, that the general of
8 Yugoslav People's Army told him the name of a volunteer from Smederevo
9 five years after the fact, and he never saw this person. Can the Court
10 really rely on this?
11 And what is the worst thing about this witness, which undermines
12 his credibility, is that he made a lot of notations later on and then
13 corrected them. We spoke about this in our final brief. And when it
14 comes to the crimes at Ovcara, it says that he asked Stanko, "Why didn't
15 you do this in a more discreet way?" Can you believe the attitude of this
16 witness, who in 1991, approved a crime that was committed against innocent
17 people by asking, Why didn't you do it in a more discreet way? He never
18 reported this to anyone, and then later on he moved to an opposition
19 paper. Why did he do it? Because he wanted to make money. That idea
20 occurred to him. He lied, and somebody will be held responsible for this,
21 I hope.
22 Now I will speak about the responsibility of the accused, because
23 this is of greater interest to the Trial Chamber than the issues that I
24 spoke of just now.
25 If we are dealing with joint criminal enterprise -- now that we're
1 dealing with joint criminal enterprise, Your Honours, the Prosecution
2 claims that Mrksic, Radic, Sljivacanin together with other members of the
3 joint criminal enterprise had a plan to persecute Croats and other
4 non-Serbs present in the Vukovar Hospital. They list three things, three
5 points which I'll link to this Prosecution plan. Number one, that Mrksic
6 designated Sljivacanin as the person in charge of the evacuation of the
7 hospital; two, that the evacuation was conducted before the arrival of
8 international observers; and three, and this is something to do with my
9 client, namely, that the triage and selection were conducted with the
10 assistance of Radic, officer of the Guards Motorised Brigade.
11 Your Honours, Miroslav Radic did not participate in creating any
12 sort of a plan nor did he participate in selection, search or triage.
13 This is something that witnesses Sljivancanin, Simic, Paunovic,
14 Vukasinovic, and Karan speak about.
15 The Prosecution claims that the crimes were within the objective
16 of joint criminal enterprise and that each of the accused had intention to
17 carry out these crimes, or one of the crimes. The Prosecution believes
18 that there had to be joint act, and that is true, but other participants
19 of joint criminal enterprise listed by the Prosecution, specifically,
20 Miroslav Radic as company commander had no joint action with any other
21 members of joint criminal enterprise as defined by the Prosecution. He
22 had no plan involving members of the Vukovar TO, nor did he in any way
23 share the intention to execute that plan, to implement it.
24 I regret the fact that some honest witnesses testified here and
25 told the truth and the Prosecution misinterpreted that in their final
1 brief. The joint plan was to persecute Croats, and crimes for which
2 Miroslav Radic is charged with are part of that plan. Now the Prosecution
3 are saying, if they were not part to a joint plan, then alternatively it
4 was foreseeable and that Radic took the risk or accepted the risk.
5 However, I'm now repeating myself, and I'm doing that only because in the
6 OTP final brief, these issues mention several times. He was not present
7 at the hospital during the evacuation. He did not go to the barracks at
8 all, and he was not at Ovcara at all. So it is quite clear that he could
9 not have persecuted Croats. He had no joint plan, no joint action, and
10 that he wasn't able to carry out murders, torture, inhumane treatment, or
11 treating inhumanely prisoners at the hospital, in the barracks, and
13 It is quite clear that in the alternative of what the Prosecution
14 is saying, if there was no joint plan, Radic wasn't able either to foresee
15 what was going to happen, nor did he voluntarily accept to participate in
16 the crime.
17 As for the earlier plan concept, the one mentioned by the
18 Prosecution, in order for the joint plan to materialise, there need not be
19 previous preparation, and this can stem from some facts. Theoretically,
20 this is true. However, the Prosecution claims that the first steps aimed
21 at persecuting Croats, torturing and killing prisoners, began before the
22 19th and 20th of November, 1991. They mostly speak about the status of
23 Sljivacanin and Mrksic in that regard and devote less intention to Radic.
24 As for the Territorial Defence of Vukovar and members of the joint
25 criminal enterprise, I will speak very briefly about that because I will
1 devote most of my attention to what the Prosecution insisted on most,
2 namely, that they were subordinated to Captain Miroslav Radic which is not
3 true. So the status and participation in joint criminal enterprise is not
4 something that is of interest to the defence of Miroslav Radic.
5 The Prosecution claims that Radic and units subordinated to him
6 contributed to the commission of the crime. Why did I say that I wasn't
7 going to speak of this in detail? Because the Prosecution keeps saying
8 that Radic and units subordinated to him participated in triage, and then
9 that Radic was seen at the barracks together with Sljivacanin and that he
10 sent at least three soldiers to Ovcara.
11 Radic's intention to work together with the co-accused and other
12 members of the joint criminal enterprise in order to achieve the joint
13 plan and goal boils down to triage and beating of the people in the
14 barracks and at the hospital, and then they go on to say that Radic was
15 aware of this beating and torture.
16 We deny this fully, and we base this on the facts that we pointed
17 out during our case and the fact that he wasn't present in these places at
18 the time.
19 It is said that Radic omitted to act when the three soldiers got
20 back, that's the third circumstance. And he was aware of this goal, and
21 he was aware of the secret evacuation. They said units were never
22 subordinate to Radic. It is the position of our Defence that Radic never
23 sent any soldiers to Ovcara and therefore he could not have been aware of
24 the killing or the beating that took place at Ovcara.
25 The OTP also states that the international observers were banned
1 from entering the hospital. My colleagues have addressed that, and I
2 won't be repeating it. What is important for this context, speaking of
3 the knowledge of the accused, any knowledge that the accused may have had
4 of the violent behaviour by the TO prior to the hospital evacuation, the
5 OTP claims that Radic should have known about this information from the
6 1st Military District because according to the chain of command he should
7 have found out from Tesic, but we have seen no evidence to corroborate
9 Again there is a reference there to his friendship with
10 Karanfilov. They had spent four years together at the military academy,
11 but they weren't the only ones. There were plenty of friendships there.
12 So this is an encounter -- or, rather, this meeting where the TO was
13 supposed to be discussed never materialised. It's as simple as that.
14 As far as his involvement in the joint plan is concerned, for the
15 most part the OTP rely on the briefing in Negoslavci on that day. So if
16 that's the case it's quite obvious, isn't it, that Radic, if he was
17 involved in the joint criminal enterprise at least he would have turned up
18 at that meeting in Negoslavci where Mrksic was present, Sljivacanin and
19 everybody else who made up the command structure so to speak.
20 The Prosecution is trying to -- to sort of pin on Mr. Radic that
21 he was in Negoslavci at least that once or twice when he went there to get
22 the permit so that they may be able to place him in the context of
23 knowledge of the plan in some way. Radic did not additionally contribute
24 to that plan since he didn't know, and therefore he could not have been
25 involved in the selection at the hospital. He could not have been in the
1 barracks. He could not have seen what happened there. He didn't know
2 about the government meeting. He was never at Ovcara. And I think the
3 Defence has been successful in proving this.
4 My learned friends addressed in a particular way the question of
5 intent. Intent is something that matters a lot in this legal framework.
6 They said that the accused shared a joint intent, and then again there are
7 allegations that Radic participated in the beatings on the 18th of
8 November, that he was involved in the selection process at the barracks
9 and in the hospital. Some witnesses are named. However, the OTP have
10 never succeeded in proving that Radic had an awareness of this to begin
11 with, and nobody reported to him. There was talk of three soldiers, but
12 he never sent anyone there to begin with.
13 I'm not dealing with this any more because this is very repetitive
14 and it's all about three particular circumstances and three places where
15 Radic had no role to play, leaving him allegedly in this really serious
16 story. But since the OTP have provided no serious evidence, I won't be
17 dwelling on this individual criminal responsibility 7(1) and 7(3).
18 Radic was aware of the threats being made to prisoners. He was
19 aware of the reputation, and he was able to predict what would happen.
20 That's what the Prosecution claims when quoting P-016 and the alleged
21 statement made by Radic "These are dead men." But the timing is not right
22 and the witness cannot trusted. Therefore, Radic's awareness is not
23 corroborated. That is our submission. Therefore, Radic could not have
24 prevented any mistreatment in the barracks in the hospital or at Ovcara
1 As to the actus reus, in relation to 7(1), the OTP claims that
2 Radic aided and abetted the principal perpetrators of the crime by being
3 involved in the mistreatment in taking victims away from the hospital and
4 being involved in the selection process in the barracks and again we're
5 back to square one, these issues of responsibility. Radic is aiding the
6 principal perpetrators and then there is special focus given to the
7 selection process to him aiding Sljivacanin with the selection process.
8 There is a reference to Njavro, to Anto Aric and the Defence believes that
9 none of this requires any further comments at all.
10 In terms of individual responsibility, Article 7(1) cannot even
11 exist. Radic was not involved in the reselection in the JNA barracks. As
12 for the theory that Radic allowed regular soldiers to be involved in the
13 crimes at Ovcara. Well, even if we look at the evidence of that
14 particular witness, there is nothing to indicate that he could possibly
15 have had this sort of intent or for that matter an awareness of what might
16 happen at Ovcara even if you take that statement, even if you see it in
17 the most favourable light, it can't be used as evidence to show this, and
18 it must be proved beyond reasonable doubt which it wasn't. It has not
19 been that Radic was involved in a joint criminal enterprise or indeed that
20 there was some sort of coordinated cooperation between them as
22 By this very fact we have to address the question of mens rea
23 about Radic knowing that by his acts and omissions he was contributing to
24 the joint criminal enterprise. This is not true. Radic was not in the
25 hospital. He was not in the barracks. He was not familiar with the
1 criminal propensity of the main perpetrators. He was not involved in the
2 selection process in the hospital. He was not involved in the
3 mistreatment on the 18th of November. He was not present in the barracks
4 when those 20 people were taken off that bus. He had no intention of
5 committing any sort of acts of discrimination along any ethnic, religious
6 or racial lines -- no discrimination whatsoever. Nor have the OTP been
7 able to prove anything at all to that effect.
8 The OTP have not succeeded in proving that the accused had the
9 sufficient mens rea in terms of knowing that his own actions would
10 contribute to the commission of a crime or indeed that he was aware of the
11 exceptional likelihood that his own actions might contribute to the
12 commission of a crime.
13 As for Article 7(3), we're speaking here about effective control.
14 This is a very important issue. The OTP claims there was both de jure and
15 de facto control. The Defence took issue with that -- that Captain Radic
16 had effective control over the TO on the Leva Supoderica Detachment. I
17 would like to particularly draw your attention to the 10th of November,
18 1991. The OTP had the ambition obviously in their final brief and I must
19 address this specially to use legal and doctrinal documents to invoke
20 certain witnesses in relation to this issue of effective control. Above
21 all as for any legal and doctrinal regulations, such as ones invoked by
22 the OTP, we would like to say this: It is certainly true that in
23 Yugoslavia and in the SFRY that is, there were such legal and doctrinal
24 regulations that existed quite independently of the influence of Miroslav
25 Radic but he as a company commander was duty-bound to apply those.
1 Secondly, in the armed forces of the SFRY there was a well-established
2 system of control and command. This existed quite independently from any
3 influence potentially exercised by Miroslav Radic. He was duty-bound to
4 comply with that system, the system already in place. Radic was sent to
5 Vukovar. There was nothing he could have done about that. There was
6 nothing he could have done about the mission given to the Guards Motorised
7 Brigade, the 1st Motorised Brigade and his own 3rd Motorised Company.
8 Facts have been proved beyond doubt if we look at the OTP
9 witnesses and the Defence Witness Forca. The following facts: The TO was
10 organised from the lowest possible level and then up to the republican
11 level. There was the municipal TO, municipal Vukovar TO at a certain
12 point in time. It split up into the Serbian faction and the Croat
13 faction. The Serb faction was the one that -- or rather, the Croat
14 faction was the one favouring secession from the SFRY and not in favour of
15 siding with the JNA in order to preserve the unity of Yugoslavia. What
16 has been proved as a fact is that a TO detachment is the highest-ranking
17 unit of the TO within its territorial structure. Expert Theunens should
18 know that this is a huge force in terms of manoeuvring power to be
19 employed in a small area like that.
20 The existence of the TO is beyond doubt even prior to the arrival
21 of the Guards Motorised Brigade in Vukovar, Your Honours. This is
22 confirmed by a written order on lifting the blockade and attacking Exhibit
23 405 issued by the commander of the Guards Motorised Brigade, Mrksic, the
24 1st of October 1991. If you look at item 3 of that order there's
25 reference there to neighbours. There's a store called the Vukovar
1 Territorial Defence who were neighbours. They had four companies. They
2 had good equipment. They were armed and they had their own logistic
3 support. The rules of combat, rules of engagement that prevailed in the
4 JNA and I think this is very important for our purposes are the rules in
5 relation to the battalions, platoons and companies and these rules say in
6 no uncertain terms which unit can be used to reinforce which other unit
7 within the structure of the JNA, which unit is used to reinforce which
8 other unit in the JNA. And then if you look at the rules in relation to
9 the company and platoon and in relation to motorised companies all it says
10 is that there could have been an element from that company, a platoon
11 specifically, and this could have been reinforced by a unit of the
12 Territorial Defence but not a company in its entirety. It was not
13 possible for an entire TO detachment to be attached to a company. That
14 was out of the question.
15 As for the established system of control and command and the OTP
16 expert says it was almost at NATO level that it was very good and
17 well-established. It's very easy to conclude that within that system of
18 command Mrksic and all the other superior commanders were familiar with
19 the provisions of this rule. They knew full well which units could be
20 attached to which other units and this rule was very much applied in
21 everyday practice. As for temporary units, temporary formations such as
22 Operations Group Assault Detachment and Assault Group there is no
23 doctrinal rule among those invoked by the OTP saying that a company could
24 be used in the role of an assault group. There is no rule anywhere to
25 suggest that possibility. At any rate let's try to imagine a single
1 street in Vukovar where operations were in progress. There were
2 buildings, there were streets. The witness told us all of that. You
3 couldn't fit a company into that one street with a Territorial Defence
4 Detachment attached. There could have been only one group. This is
5 settled area after all teeming with houses.
6 As for command of the armed forces in the SFRY what is accepted
7 there is the right to decide to give orders and to exercise control. A
8 person is appointed to give orders and exercise control and whoever that
9 person happens to be is also in command. I will now, briefly, reflect
10 upon several important points raised by the final brief of the Prosecutor,
11 such as 36 saying that each Motorised Battalion of the Guards Motorised
12 Brigade numbered an average 700 people. This is simply inaccurate, simply
13 because the Motorised Battalion was the first to march into Vukovar with
14 428 people.
15 When in item 41 they say that Radic was the commander of the 3rd
16 Assault Group, just one example. I'll use just one example to prove that
17 that is simply not true. P-022, on page 5000/18, when he speaks about
18 Jankovic, he says the following, "His son's name was Miroslav. He was
19 Miroljub's deputy. When Miroljub was wounded, Major Tesic appointed him
20 to be in charge of the Territorial Defence unit along the axis of our
21 company. There are three things that are important here, there is this
22 appointment by Tesic, not by Radic, at the head of any assault group
23 whatsoever. Right, they are being led by Miroslav Jankovic of the TO, not
24 by Radic. And, thirdly, they are along the axis of operations of our
25 company, along the axis of that company, but not actually as part of that
1 company, not absorbed by the company."
2 At 46 the OTP claims that Radic had a command post. There was no
3 such thing. We know that. There was an observation post. And there's a
4 huge distinction in terms of their structure between a command post and
5 observation post; these are two different concepts. Thirdly, company
6 commander commands his company from a combat disposition and the
7 observation post is always where the company commander is. There's also a
8 place where he rests, it's called observation post. Therefore, there can
9 be no such thing as a command post. All can be or, rather, it can only
10 exist, such a thing as command post, from battalion level up.
11 At 54 of their final brief, the OTP claims that the assault
12 detachments were established on the 15th of October, 1991, and that they
13 were reinforced with units of the Vukovar TO. That's not true. That's
14 what they say. The first attachment ever of the TO Petrova Gora
15 Detachment to the Assault Detachment 1 occurred on the 29th of October
16 1991. Secondly, by using the previous analogy, it is simply incorrect
17 that Radic was in command of the 3rd Assault Group or that it included
18 Leva Supoderica and Petrova Gora.
19 Thirdly, this is item 54 in the final brief. It doesn't mean that
20 operations group south was responsible for any logistics support to the
21 TO -- to the Vukovar TO Detachment because it was already enjoying such
22 support as pointed out earlier. There is the order "strictly
23 confidential" 235-1 by OG South for an extension of the attack against
24 Vukovar dated the 29th of October, 1991, and we're fully familiar with it
25 by now. It says, the Leva Supoderica, Petrova Gora detachments were among
1 the forces included in JOD 1, full stop. But it was Tesic and not Radic
2 who was in charge of JOD 1 and that's the essence of it.
3 Item 55. The OTP claims that Witness Vuga is right when he says
4 some important things about resubordination. In order to have
5 resubordination, you need to have a written order. We do accept that to
6 be a fact. I would like the OTP now to produce, for my benefit, a written
7 order on the resubordination of the Vukovar TO and Leva Supoderica to
8 Radic's 3rd Company. Can they please do that for me. There is no such
9 thing; it doesn't exist, therefore, this act of resubordination never took
11 Item 55 makes reference to Colonel Trifunovic. Makes reference to
12 a lot of things really, but the OTP are trying to avoid saying what
13 Trifunovic said before this Chamber, namely, that Borovoje Tesic and
14 Borovoje Tesic alone was in charge of Leva Supoderica and Petrova Gora.
15 Tesic reported to him and that's how they were recorded in the war log.
16 He reported to him and he submitted reports to him on behalf of the TO and
17 Leva Supoderica not Radic.
18 At 55, the only thing that can be true is the very last sentence
19 about the earliest resubordination of Leva Supoderica and Petrova Gora but
20 by the Guards Motorised Brigade and towards other units. That's what I'm
21 saying by the Guards Motorised Brigade and not some other unit and
22 especially not by Radic. That's what it says.
23 Radic's commander was Tesic, item 56. Mrksic enabled Radic to
24 exercise command. Mrksic never made a decision in relation to Radic
25 directly, never. He never gave any orders to Radic whatsoever, nor did he
1 exercise any control over Radic. He was not a -- he was not under Mrksic;
2 he was under Tesic. At 55B, the OTP claims that Mrksic appointed Miroljub
3 Vujevic as Vukovar TO commander. If we accept that logic, it seems quite
4 ambiguous then who the Vukovar TO could have been subordinated to.
5 Item 61. They arbitrarily claim that Leva Supoderica and Petrova
6 Gora were subordinated to Radic. If this started at the latest, why the
7 15th of October, 1991 and it was not concluded by the 21st of November,
8 1991. That's what the Prosecutor claims. This is an absolute untruth.
9 We have the decision of the commander of OG South dated the 15th
10 of October, 1991, which shows that the Leva Supoderica Detachment is a
11 neighbour of the 1st Motorised Battalion, the Leva Supoderica Detachment.
12 There's no reference to it whatsoever. On the other hand, there is
13 nothing in writing such as I spoke about a while ago, something that the
14 OTP would like to see, nothing on paper to show that they were
15 subordinated to Radic. Particularly erroneous is the statement that Leva
16 Supoderica and Petrova Gora were subordinated to Radic. This error is
17 made particularly in item 63 in a bid to introduce what Radic himself
18 stated in that interview. Radic could have been boasting for example. I
19 explained the statement. I explained what Vukosavljevic statement was
20 about those 400 persons. But if they believe Radic's interview, why do
21 the OTP refuse to leave Radic at this trial, when he says he was not the
22 commander of Leva Supoderica or Petrova Gora.
23 Thirdly, and most importantly, the TO Detachment. The TO
24 Detachment could not have been subordinated to a company commander
25 especially not to detachments like that because a detachment is a much
1 larger unit with more manpower. We can corroborate that by Stijakovic's
2 diary. He says he arrived at Vukovar with 428 soldiers and officers and
3 this is very important. If you count them all up, all those who came with
4 the battalion, the volunteers and the reserve officers, that totals about
5 500 persons throughout the duration of the Vukovar operation. The fact
6 that this is not about Leva Supoderica and Petrova Gora can simply and
7 unequivocally be proved by comparing the diary produced by Stijakovic with
8 the war diary war log of the Guards Motorised Brigade; namely, the
9 greatest number of volunteers and reservists who were mobilised drafted
10 into the 1st Motorised Battalion came between the 26th and the 29th of
11 October, 1991, which is consistent with the war diary or war log kept by
12 OG South.
13 This detachment, therefore, was attached to JOD 1 to Tesic, not to
14 Radic. As for the interview, lest I forget, I think it's important for me
15 to point out what the headline is over that interview. The principal
16 headline is, "I am sick of war." That is Miroslav Radic's view. There's
17 that one sentence that the OTP's theory has been resolving around for a
18 year or more. We haven't been able to check it. Even if it had been
19 checked, I explained about why 500 people and what it meant. Radic goes
20 on to say that all conflicts should be resolved in a peaceful way and that
21 he's sick of war and that he wants peace and that is why he was the only
22 officer who is active in Vukovar who left the army back in 1992. That's
23 how he feels about the war, that's how he feels about the crimes. That is
24 something that this Trial Chamber needs to accept and bear in mind when
25 trying to assess the interview. I think all other written evidence is far
1 more important than this single interview and a sentence entirely torn out
2 of context.
3 The responsibility or the command climate, again, a
4 misinterpretation by the OTP. Radic was disciplined, he was responsible.
5 It is strange indeed that the OTP talks about those three soldiers, item
6 65, that Radic was in command of, as they say, by corroborating the fact
7 that Radic was in command of Leva Supoderica and Petrova Gora, but
8 refusing at the same time to lend credence to Stijakovic, Tesic's deputy
9 or Trifunovic. Stijakovic. But also the company commanders Vuckovic and
10 Zirojevic unequivocally stated that assignments were given to company
11 commanders by -- were handed out to company commanders by Tesic and to TO
12 commanders as well. Those were handed out by Tesic, too, to Jaksic first
13 and then later to Vujovic. Is this something that Jakic told us. When we
14 were at the command post of the 1st Motorised Battalion, special
15 assignments were handed out to company commanders. We got our own
16 assignments, but I exercised command over my own company commanders
17 because the Territorial Defence and those four that I mentioned.
18 At 67 of their final brief, the Prosecutor is trying to show how
19 they're really familiar with the doctrine. They think they know the
20 doctrine behind the armed forces of the SFRY, the principles of command
21 and control. And they say that on the 29th of October, 1991, this
22 doctrine was to the effect that all forces operating in the same area were
23 to be subordinated to one and the same commander, to a single commander.
24 I would like to read more slowly, but I don't have the time.
25 This is beyond dispute. The commander of the Vukovar operation
1 was Mrksic, the commander of OG South. In the sector of the first JOD, it
2 was Tesic. It is in this context that the position should be interpreted
3 against that kind of background. At 68, the OTP claims that Radic was in
4 command of all units along his axis of operations. That's quite correct.
5 All of his own units and he was coordinating this operation with other
6 units of the TO but he was not in command.
7 At 71 of their final brief, the OTP says that Radic admitted that
8 he was the only officer who had completed the military academy. He
9 assumed the duty and responsibility of planning combat operations. A
10 company is not the level at which combat operations are planned. Planning
11 operations is the highest military level. This is done at an operative
12 and strategic level. Radic may have drawn some sketches and diagrams,
13 coordinated signals and -- and general activities, this wasn't tantamount
14 to planning operations, nor did he have a command post.
15 There were no regular meetings, no such meetings were held. Radic
16 was never recorded in the war diary. It was the name of the JOD commander
17 that was recorded and so on and so forth.
18 Radic was not in command of the Leva Supoderica and Petrova Gora
19 detachments and the confirmation of this can be found in the diary of the
20 1st Motorised Battalion by Stijakovic.
21 Secondly, the decisions by Mrksic on the 14th and 16th of November
22 are pretty clear. There is a clear distinction between JOD 1 and the 1st
23 Motorised Battalion. What that distinction implies is other missions, new
24 missions, new activity along different axes.
25 At 83, about Mrksic's order, dated the 14th of November, it is
1 unequivocally clear what JOD 1 means. Mine is the 1st Motorised
2 Battalion. This means an explicit order from the commander of OG South to
3 split up the 1st Motorised Battalion and the remaining forces, the
4 remaining forces being Petrova Gora and Leva Supoderica.
5 They were split up on the 14th of November on a permanent basis
6 with permanent effect. On the 18th of November, Vukovar fell and it is
7 not my intention to keep accusing Tesic. I'm not accusing him. I think
8 he's an honourable officer. I think he wouldn't have allowed anything at
9 all to happen at Ovcara, but on the 18th of November, he had de jure and
10 de facto control which could have ceased on the 18th of November when the
11 need ceased for an Assault Detachment to exist. But if on the 21st of
12 November the Vukovar TO was resubordinated, couldn't that have been
13 resubordinated by Radic and the 18th Kragujevac Brigade. It could only
14 have been JOD 1. This is a fact proven beyond reasonable doubt. Miroslav
15 Radic, supported by such witnesses as Stijakovic and Trifunovic, is a
16 person who was in no way involved in commanding and controlling the TO
17 units or Leva Supoderica.
18 I see that I have three minutes left. Five minutes. Domazet took
19 a bit longer than he was supposed to, so if I may, I would like to have
20 another five minutes.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the President, please.
22 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Yesterday, we went on until 7 past 7.00
23 so I give you five more minutes. Equality.
24 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Radic's awareness of the situation
25 at Ovcara. He sent two soldiers who reported to him, but not on time.
1 They are right on time and so the Prosecution claims that he was quite
2 aware that they would commit crimes. This is also mentioned in respect of
3 the statements of this witnesses and their credibility as regards his
4 subsequent knowledge of what happened at Ovcara. I believe that we have
5 more than cogently shown here that the OTP had a chance to say whether
6 those three soldiers had indeed been at Ovcara.
7 As regards one of these witnesses, I have shown what was wrong as
8 far as he is concerned. One of the witnesses did and one of them was in
9 the hands of the OTP. Lieutenant Hadzic gave an interview to the OTP. He
10 did not say that he had been at Ovcara and why did not the OTP call him as
11 a witness so that we could hear the relevance of what is claimed by a
12 witness who earlier invoked two dead witnesses and later a live one whom
13 the OTP failed to call before this court? Then we would be able to verify
14 those facts about the three soldiers.
15 As regards the alibi, I believe the OTP must have known that there
16 was a decision of this Tribunal associated with the witnesses Vuckovic and
17 Zirojevic, when the Chamber established that in the given circumstances
18 the expected statement of the witnesses Zirojevic and Vuckovic stricto
19 senso cannot be qualified as evidence which actually substantiates an
20 alibi in the sense of Article 79(A). At any rate, these two witnesses
21 were very adamant. These are people who, thanks to what Tesic stated in
22 the interview to the OTP, actually found confirmation in their accounts.
23 They didn't know that in an interview that he gave to the OTP Tesic had
24 stated that Vuckovic had told him that he was at a dinner with Radic on
25 the 20th of November. Why was not Tesic called and he was proposed by
1 both the OTP and the Defence of the first accused.
2 So following the principle which was established on that day in
3 the courtroom when colleague Weiner was studying Tesic's statement we also
4 availed ourselves of this right and said that what he stated was that
5 Miroslav Radic was with Miroslav Vuckovic on the 21st -- together on the
6 20th in the evening. So that is more than an alibi. Whether they talked
7 about it with Tesic on the 21st, they may have, but it doesn't really
9 We did not actually pursue this further because it was not up to
10 us to -- to ask Mrksic's witness whether he had seen or whether he was not
11 telling the truth as regards Mrksic's testimony. Radic did not, says the
12 Prosecutor, prevent the members of the Territorial Defence, if the 80th
13 Motorised Brigade failed to prevent them in the evening on the 20th at
14 2230, I don't see why it should have been the obligation given all these
15 circumstances of Miroslav Radic to stop them from doing that. The 80th
16 Motorised Brigade could have done that at 2230. Of course Miroslav Radic
17 had had no need or reason to punish Territorial Defence because, by 6.00,
18 they had been resubordinated to the 80th Motorised Brigade.
19 Thank you, Your Honours, for giving me this extra time. I'm not
20 going to pursue this any further. I should like to ask the Tribunal to
21 carefully weigh all this evidence to acquit Miroslav Radic for all counts
22 of the indictment from 1 to 8 for the crimes against humanity and
23 violation of the laws or customs of war because this was an honourable
24 descent man, a man who is the father of two children. His spouse is a
25 justice herself and this is a criterion. I made the choice of -- spouse
1 certainly says something about a man and any penalty would compromise the
2 integrity of his -- of his family. And as I said in the beginning, his
3 attitude towards decency and towards honourableness is such that it really
4 warrants an acquittal on the part of this Tribunal. Thank you.
5 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Thank you, Mr. Borovic. I see Mr. Lukic
6 on his feet.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Very briefly, Your Honours. I should
8 like to ask to be granted another half hour, that is to say, an extra half
9 hour in addition to my normal two hours because -- for the simple reason
10 Mr. Moore spoke about solely about my client for over two hours yesterday,
11 so it would mean a lot to me if that were conceded. And I should like to
12 know the answer now. I would require perhaps an extra 15 minutes, that is
13 to say, perhaps less than two and a half hours, but given the multitude of
14 facts adduced by Mr. Moore in speaking about my client, I believe that it
15 would be useful.
16 And another thing that I should like to mention, Mr. Moore has
17 informally told me that he perhaps might not avail himself of his right to
18 reply so that perhaps we may be able to finish, if there is no such reply
19 on his part, we might be able to finish within the allotted time tomorrow.
20 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Can you help us with that Mr. Moore?
21 MR. MOORE: I cannot possibly give any undertaking until I hear
22 the argument. All I would ask the Court to bear in mind is that we had a
23 significant amount of material which we ourselves did not use and we stuck
24 to our own timetable. The points that we have referred to are in the
25 brief of my learned friend and were in our brief.
1 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Thank you, Mr. Moore.
2 Mr. Lukic, we have a heavy agenda for tomorrow because, not only
3 do we have your final brief, but we also have the wish of the accused to
4 address the Court. We also have this question that I submitted to you for
5 your submissions, so I think it's going to be very difficult to -- to
6 accept what you propose. So I suggest that we stick to the calendar that
7 we had planned originally. So on this, we will adjourn and we will
8 reconvene tomorrow at a quarter past.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.08 p.m.,
10 to be reconvened on Friday, the 16th day
11 of March, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.