PROSECUTOR vs. SLAVKO DOKMANOVIĆ
WITNESS NAME: Ljubica Došen
6 February 1998
Friday, 6th February 1998
(The witness entered court)
JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning. Could you
please make the formal declaration?
LJUBICA DOSEN (sworn)
JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be seated.
Examined by MR. WAESPI
MR. WAESPI: Your Honours, from this witness
we have an English version of the statement, and
I believe that you have not yet received it -- oh, you
have it. Oh, that is just perfect. Thank you very much.
Good morning, Ms. Dosen.
A. Good morning.
Q. Do you feel comfortable?
Q. Were you interviewed by an investigator from
this Tribunal on 22nd August 1995, and did you sign a document which was the English translation of that interview?
Q. I will now show to you a document, and would like to ask you whether that was this very document which you have signed.
A. Yes. That is the document.
Q. Thank you very much. Do you see your
signature on that document?
A. Yes, I do.
MR. WAESPI: Thank you. Your Honours, I would
like to tender that as the next Prosecution exhibit. THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit number 60.
MR. WAESPI: Thank you. It should be -- we
have no Croatian version so far, and it should be under seal.
JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. No objection?
MR. FILA: No, but there is
a misunderstanding. We got a translation into the Croatian language from the Prosecution, so there is a translation. Here it is.
MR. WAESPI: Perfect. Thank you very much.
I will enquire and we will then tender it as Exhibit A. Thank you.
JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you Mr. Fila.
MR. WAESPI: Were you again, Ms. Dosen,
interviewed by an investigator from this Tribunal on 17th March 1996, and did you again sign a document
which was the English translation of the second interview?
Q. I would also like to show you this document. I would like to ask you whether you again see your signature on the bottom of that document, on the pages. A. Yes.
MR. WAESPI: Thank you very much. I would again like to tender that as the next Prosecution exhibit.
THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit number 61 under
MR. WAESPI: Yes, thank you, and I will look for the Croatian version as well.
JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Waespi, we have not
received this second document, the second interview taken on the 17th March 1996.
MR. WAESPI: Okay. Thank you, your Honours. JUDGE CASSESE: At least I cannot find it. I have only one.
MR. WAESPI: It might be attached to it. The
first one has eight pages and then there is an additional three pages, but I would have three copies for you, your Honours, if you...
JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
MR. FILA: The Defence has not received it either.
MR. WAESPI: I apologise, your Honours, for this inconvenience, and to the Defence as well, my apologies.
JUDGE CASSESE: Shall we give the Defence a few minutes so that they can go through the -- all right. Thank you. All right. So you may proceed. MR. WAESPI: Thank you, your Honours.
Will you please state to the court your full name?
A. Ljubica Dosen.
Q. And what is the place and date of your birth? A. Luzani, Slavonski Brod, on 9th March 1949. Q. What is your profession?
A. I am a skilled worker and I make rubber footwear.
Q. Is it Vukovar your home town? Have you always been living in Vukovar?
A. I came to Vukovar as a two-month baby. Q. And you have most of your life been living in
Vukovar; is that correct?
A. All my life from then onwards. I lived in Vukovar.
Q. Where did you live in summer 1991?
A. In Vukovar, in the street of Mose Pijade. Q. Who did you live with?
A. With my husband, Martin Dosen and my daughter, Tanja Dosen.
Q. What was the profession of your husband?
A. My husband is a fisherman, a private
Q. Was he involved in politics? Was he a party member?
A. My husband was never involved in politics, but he was a member of the HD.
Q. Was your husband also involved in the defence of the town?
Q. Can you tell us the reason why he was
A. He was involved in the defence of the town because the shelling had already started then and he simply wanted to protect his family.
Q. Was your house also destroyed by shelling? A. Yes.
Q. Do you remember the date?
A. This was at the beginning, but it was not fully destroyed. It had only been shelled, because we were right next door to the theatre that was shelled very quickly and destroyed.
Q. Was your husband wounded in the course of the summer 1991?
Q. Can you describe the events which led up to those wounds?
A. My husband went to our then Territorial
Defence to see what would happen and how they should be organised, and since those who were attacking us were on the other side of the Danube, and they knew where this was, and they shelled the Territorial Defence, and as he came in front of the Territorial Defence building, a shell fell and a fragment wounded his leg. Q. Was he treated in hospital because of these wounds?
A. Yes, he was. He stayed in the hospital and then he was sent home for treatment because he did not have to stay as an in-patient because it was only the leg tissue that was wounded.
Q. Was he then again seriously wounded in
November 1991 when he fell from the third floor
Q. Was he then again hospitalised?
A. He was then. He stayed on in the hospital. He did not come back home.
Q. When was that? -- excuse me, I withdraw that. Did you and your daughter get the permission to join your husband to go to the hospital? A. Yes. Because my husband was immobile and he expressed his wish to have us with him so that I could help him because the staff was too busy with the other wounded people.
Q. When did you join your husband? When did you move yourself into the hospital?
A. My husband went to the hospital on November 16th, and we came between 17th and 18th to the hospital. I mean my daughter and I.
Q. Do you recall how many nights you did spend in the hospital alongside your husband?
A. Well, two nights, and another day before the evacuation took place.
Q. So, you might have left the hospital either on the 19th or the 20th November. Is that correct? A. During the night of the 19th they came to the hospital, and we were evacuated on the morning of the
Q. Can you describe to us very briefly in
general the overall situation in the hospital during these three, four days you stayed in the hospital? A. It was terrible for me. First of all, there were very many wounded people, there was no water, there was no food, there was not any medicine. The shelling was very frequent. Civilians were coming in because they had nowhere else to go, because of all the shelling. You could feel blood everywhere. Doctor Bosanac feared an epidemic. There were people who were dying, they could not be buried because no one could go out because of the shelling. All of these people, really tormented. They did not have any cigarettes. They were hungry. They got some kind of food aid packages. They were hungry. They were exhausted. They were in pain. It was awful.
Q. Were these civilians evacuated to Velepromet at one point in time?
A. Yes, because very many civilians came from basements, from shelters, from houses where they were, because they knew that the convoy was coming and everybody wanted to get out of that hell. So Dr. Bosanac asked if they could be away from the wounded, if they could stay at Velepromet because the convoy would come
there too, so it was mostly women and children who went to Velepromet.
Q. Do you recall when these civilians were
evacuated, or rather transported to Velepromet? A. This entire procedure started in the morning and went on until late in the afternoon, and evening between 18th and 19th. A day before the convoy came, they had already reached Velepromet.
Q. Now, where did you spend the last night in the hospital, the night before your evacuation? A. I spent the last night by my husband's side, because he asked for me to be with him during evacuation because immobile, so that I could give him water, whatever else he needed. So I slept by his feet on his bed.
Q. What was the condition your husband was in during that night?
A. It was awful. He was terribly afraid. He was a sportsman and his work also kept him very active, and
he simply could not reconcile himself to immobility and depending on someone else and he cried a lot. So he always asked for me to be by him to give him something, to bring him a bit of water, juice or something, but to be next to him and to talk to him because he was terribly frightened as to how he would live after that,
in that state, immobile, so I was with him during those last days, all the time.
Q. Was there a medical record with him at that time?
A. The morning before we were to be evacuated, Nurse Biba gave every wounded person his medical record, if they were to be transported further, although we had all assumed that we were going to Zagreb, especially the wounded who needed further treatment and further care because our hospital was not in a position to do so, so every patient, every wounded person had his medical record with him so that his treatment would be continued at another hospital. I do not know where.
My husband was wounded so badly that he could not hold these papers, this medical record, so it so happened that I took this bag with his medical record and I still have it with me.
Q. Do you have this record now, here in court? A. Yes. I have it with me.
Q. Thank you. Did you later in 1992 ask two
doctors who have treated or had treated your husband in Vukovar to confirm that medical record in two separate letters?
A. Yes, I did. One of the doctors is Dr. Nejarvo
and the other is Dr. Aleksijevic, who in the hospital treated my husband.
MR. WAESPI: I would now like, your Honours,
to show the witness a copy of the record she showed to us in the days before today, and I would like to ask her to tell us whether the copy we have is, in fact, the copy of the original of hers.
The Defence is already in possession of this record of both the Croatian original and the English translation, and I have here again copies here of the translation and the original for the judges. JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Waespi, are you tendering these documents in evidence?
MR. WAESPI: Yes, I will.
JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. There is no
MR. WAESPI: Now, Ms. Dosen, is that copy the copy of the original you have with you today in court? A. Yes.
Q. Thank you. Can you tell us briefly,
lead us through these pages of the document just referring quickly, what do you see, what do you see written on that document.
A. This is the medical record of my husband's
illness. It is a document that says his name and
surname, Dosen, Martin, born in 1952, residence, Vukovar, Mose Pijade, sex, male. On 16th November 1991 he was admitted to the Vukovar medical centre. Q. Thank you. Thank you very much. If you now turn to the second page, and could tell us, not to read everything, but just to tell us in your language what we have.
A. On the second page there is an anamnaesis and the medical findings of his wounds and the illness of my husband. It is written in Latin. That is why I asked Dr. Aleksijevic to translate this for me to know what it says.
Q. Thank you very much. The third page --
A. The third page is a list of my husband's
temperature because it was taken every day. That is to say that it is a very important document for me because it says that on the 16th November, the 17th November, and the 18th November, his temperature was taken. On the 19th and 20th it was not. That is when they were being prepared for evacuation. That document is important for me, because it shows that my husband was at the Vukovar hospital and he has never been seen since.
Q. Thank you very much. If you could please keep the next pages in your original, because they are
empty, they are only forms, and come to the two letters we were referring to earlier. The first letter is a letter by whom, Ms. Dosen?
A. The first letter is a certificate by Dr. Juraj Njavro, a surgeon at the Vukovar hospital who treated my husband's leg when he was first wounded and he wrote:
"Dosen, Martin, hurt in August, wounded by
a grenade. His right leg was wounded. He was treated as an out-patient. He regularly came for check-ups. The certificate is being given at the request of his wife." Q. Thank you very much. I think we can skip the last letter because it confirms just what you have told us; if you agree, Ms. Dosen?
Q. Thank you very much. I am tendering that -- A. You are welcome.
Q. -- as the next Prosecution exhibit.
MR. WAESPI: THE REGISTRAR: That will be
Exhibit 62 and the English translation, 62A. MR. WAESPI: Thank you very much.
Now, Ms. Dosen, were you told in the morning of the 20th November that you would be evacuated? A. Yes.
Q. Who told you so?
A. Well, that day in the morning a soldier in uniform came. He looked special. We did not know who he was then. At least on that occasion he was decent. He
said, "I am Major Sljivancanin. From now on I am in command here. We are now going to read out a list of names to you and please, as we call out your name, get out of the hospital".
Q. Can you, briefly, describe to us the
appearance of the person you described as,
A. I personally think I shall never forget him, particularly because his looks were special. You rarely see such people in our parts, because he is very tall with a big black moustache. You would remember him anyway, if you saw him, and he has a Montenegrin accent.
Q. What happened next? Were you taken out of the hospital?
A. Next to him were two other soldiers whom I do not know, and in their hands they had a list, and they were reading it out. It so happened that my husband, Martin Dosen, was the first on the list and Tadija Dosen, Ivan Dosen, Ivan Vulic and all of them, and they were told to go out as their names were called out. My husband was immobile so I stayed on waiting for
him to be transferred from his bed onto a stretcher. So the wounded who could move were walking by me as they were getting out. I still was not aware of what was going on outside. Then two nurses came and they were supposed to carry my husband. However, he was a man who weighed 120 kilos and it was not all that easy to carry him, so it was hard for them so Major Sljivancanin ordered two soldiers to carry him out on a stretcher. When they took him, my daughter and I followed the stretcher and it is only then that I went out in front of the hospital. To my left there were other civilians, women, children, who were already standing out there. I am sorry, on the right-hand side, civilians were on the right-hand side, and at the left-hand side we had to pass by two lines of soldiers that were standing on the left- and the right-hand side but then I realised that we were not moving towards the main entrance, but that we were going behind the hospital.
Q. I am sorry, Ms. Dosen, I have a little
problem with my earphones. I cannot really hear any translation. (Pause). Let me just change the earphones, maybe that helps. Do you hear me? A. Yes.
Q. Thank you very much. Now it works again.
You are now out of the hospital in the yard
of the hospital, and were you then taken further after we have seen these lines of soldiers?
A. Yes. Yes. We had to walk between the two
lines and we came to a road behind the Vukovar hospital where four buses were parked, two civilian buses and one military bus and behind it yet another civilian bus. And I saw that my husband was being carried
precisely to this military bus which was very unusual to me because if this was a convoy, and if we were all supposed to be evacuated, then how come they were taking him to the military bus? And there were armed soldiers standing next to this bus, four of them outside the bus and two inside.
This seemed a bit unusual to me, and not
a single wife or child were there. It was only myself and my daughter Tanja who were there. They brought my husband to the bus and they put him next to it because he could not board the bus, because he was incapable of sitting, and they could not carry the stretcher onto the bus. I stood in front of the bus, I looked inside, and then I saw that on that bus it was not two people who were sitting next to each other, two by two, but one by one. Then Ivan, my husband's younger brother and Tadija, my husband's older brother, the young Kozul,
Sinisa Glavasevic, I know them all because we grew up together, so I told my husband, "I do not understand this. What is this?", and he said, "I do not understand it too. Something strange is going on here". Q. You said that you were now standing in front of the military bus. Which bus in the line of these buses you saw and you described was this bus? In what position?
A. There were two buses, one next to another, civilian, normal buses that used to drive us to work or wherever people had to go, but I immediately noticed and I shall never forget, the military bus because I was wondering why a military bus. I turned to a soldier, and I said, "young man, please. Where are these buses going to?", because I saw that it was not a convoy. The European Community was there. No one was there. Only a bit further on Major Sljivancanin was standing by the first bus and issuing orders who was supposed to go where and who was supposed to sit where, and I saw that something was wrong. And he said, "I am sorry, but I really do not know. Ask someone else". At that moment a soldier in uniform from the bus, a reservist, got my younger brother-in-law out, my husband's younger brother, and they pushed him so hard towards the fence of the hospital and said that he
should get everything out of his pockets, whatever he had, and he said, "you Ustasha, now we are going to show you", and Martin was lying out there but was looking at this other man with an automatic rifle, was standing there pointing it at him. My daughter started crying, my husband started crying, I did not know what to do, and he said, "do something! Take my child away from here!", and I said, "how do you think I am going to do that? I have a Kalashnikov pointed at my back? How do you think I am going to take her?", and he said, "I do not know what you are going to do, but do something. Take my chain off my neck and take my ring and take off my watch and I promised my ring to my
son". I mean, it was awful. I can never forget that and my child can never forget it.
I thought that it was all over, that they
would kill this youngest brother in front of us all there on. On the other side they were bringing his niece, Ruzica Markobasic, who was pregnant, five months pregnant. They were also pulling her by her fur coat and her handbag and they were throwing her things around, and they were saying, "you whore, you Ustasha whore, where are your pictures, where are your pictures of your husband cutting off children's finger and making necklaces out of them?". These are such banal
things. We did not kill anyone, let alone children. On the contrary, we fed them and we gave them food and my husband helped them. I had a restaurant of my own. I gave them milk and food and oil and sugar and if they were fair and honest. They should have said that, that not a single Croat mistreated children there or beat children there, least of all we, the women, Croat women. On the contrary. In my building where I lived, those who lived next door got wheat flour and bread and yeast and everything from me, and my daughter also baked sweets and she gave them to their children. It is not that we would shut ourselves into the room and not give them anything, and this was a very ugly thing because we did not do that to them.
Q. Can you tell us, Ms. Dosen, what happened to the woman you just described, Ruzica Markobasic? Was she led into the bus eventually?
A. Yes. She was also brought there by a young man. He is not from Vukovar, but I would recognise him. And as they were getting onto the bus, he took my hand and he squeezed my hand. I was wondering what it was. Perhaps it was a message or something. He took her on to the bus and automatically, I opened my hand and there were 2,000 Yugoslav dinars in my hand and I said, "sorry, young man, but what do I need this far?", and
he said, "madam, you might need this, but she certainly will not any more".
MR. WAESPI: Thank you, Ms. Dosen. Maybe your Honours, that is a convenient time for the break. JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. So we stand in recess
for twenty minutes.
(A short break)
MR. WAESPI: Your Honour, I would like to show the witness Prosecution exhibit number 43. That is a still picture from the video about the patients in the hospital we have seen the other day:
Can you please put it onto the ELMO?
Thank you. It is only one picture so I think we can have the lights like this.
Ms. Dosen, do you know a person on this
A. Yes. I know him. This is my husband's nephew, his sister's son Martin Jakubovski Dosen.
Q. Can you please describe him, what is he
wearing, what does he look like on this picture? A. He is wearing hospital pyjamas, but as he was wounded, he had a high fever, and he was always cold, so I gave him this pullover that he is wearing. He was
wounded in the arm. He had a serious wound. His hand was to be amputated but Dr. Aleksijevic did all he could to save his hand, so that he used screws and surgery to sew it on, and he had an injury of the pelvic bone. Q. Thank you. Just for clarification, what is the colour of the pullover you were just mentioning? A. The pullover is pinkish. You can see that it is a lady's pullover. It was mine, and I gave it to him.
Q. So, it is the person on the right side you were referring to.
A. Yes. This young man with a sling and his hand in a sling.
Q. Perhaps you could point to him on the ELMO. A. This is him. (Indicated).
Q. Yes. Thank you very much.
Ms. Dosen, did you see this person,
Mr. Jakubovski that morning, 20th November? A. Yes. Exactly on this bench that he is sitting on, we sat there together, gave him a cigarette, because he also smoked, and when they started calling out the names as he was a mobile patient he went out before us. However, when I reached the bus, he was still not there. He was held up somewhere.
In the meantime, while I was standing by the
bus, another soldier brought him. He stood in front of the bus. He turned around towards me and Tanja, and he said, "bye aunty, and you cousin, take care", and then he boarded the bus.
Q. Have you ever seen this person again?
A. No. He was exhumed from Ovcara and buried in Vinkovci. He was 21.
Q. Do you know a person called Darko Vuk?
A. Yes. I know him personally, because he was a little older than Martin, but he was very bad. I do not know what we did to him, for him to suddenly become such a big Serb. I thought he was a friend, and I asked him, "Darko, could you save any one of mine, my family?", and he looked at me ironically and said, "you Dosens have done a lot of harm so you just keep quiet". Q. Can you describe his appearance that day? What was he wearing?
A. He was wearing a camouflage uniform. He was rather arrogant, he behaved like a great liberator. I do not know who he was liberating me from. I thought that if he was a man from Vukovar, a native of Vukovar, I cannot accept that he was in jeopardy because he was not, at least there was no threat from any one of us,