In the examination-in-chief of protected witness ‘6’, the prosecutor showed footage of the shelling of Knin on 4 August 1995; in response, General Gotovina’s defense showed a recording of Milosevic’s famous speech at Gazimestan on 27 June 1989 and the footage of the ‘people’s rallies’ in the village of Kosovo in Dalmatia 11 days later

Ante Gotovina in the courtroomAnte Gotovina in the courtroom

In the face of objections by the defense teams of the three Croatian generals charged with crimes in Operation Storm in 1995 and its aftermath, the Trial Chamber granted this morning protective measures for the prosecution witness testifying under the pseudonym ‘6’ and with image and voice distortion. The Trial Chamber reached this decision after an hour and a half in private session.

After the witness confirmed the accuracy of his statement given to the OTP, it was tendered into evidence and the prosecutor read out a summary. In the morning of 4 August 1995, the artillery attack on Knin woke the witness up. The building he lived in was hit and he and his neighbors took shelter in the basement. The witness remained in the basement until noon, when he set off in direction of the garage where his car was. On his way there, he saw buildings that had been hit and panicked people running around looking for shelter. He drove off in his car to the village where his parents lived and tried to persuade them to leave. They refused at first, but then joined a refugee column the next day.

On an aerial photo of Knin, the witness marked the route he took on that day from his house to the garage noting the location the buildings that were hit. The prosecutor then went on to show a 10-minute excerpt from a documentary made by Zastava film studio. The documentary was directed by Colonel Milivoj Nestorovic who happened to be in Knin on 4 August 1995 with his cameraman. They recorded the artillery attack against Knin, the shell impacts, buildings on fire, traces of shell impacts on the concrete and clouds of smoke rising up from many parts of the town.

The prosecutor wanted only the images and the noise of shelling to be tendered into evidence, leaving out the propagandist, melodramatic and quasi-literary comments of the author. However, the comments, along the lines of ‘blood-thirsty Ustasha specter of death…attacks the sleeping town of peace and serenity’ could not be deleted from the tapes without removing the sound of shelling. The prosecution argues that the shelling of Knin was aimed at causing panic that would provoke the population to flee town.

In the beginning of his cross-examination, Luka Misetic, Ante Gotovina’s defense counsel, showed his video footage to counter the prosecution’s. First he showed a recording of the famous speech Milosevic made on 28 June 1989 at Gazimestan, where he presaged that ‘new battles’ would be fought, not ruling out ‘those fought with weapons’. Misetic also showed a recording of a gathering held eleven days later in the village of Kosovo near Knin. Several thousand Serbs from Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo and Montenegro met there singing Serbian nationalist songs. They cheered ‘Slobo the Serb’, vowing to follow him ‘to Tirana if necessary’.

What Misetic was aiming at remains to be seen as the cross-examination continues tomorrow. Today’s hearing ended immediately after the recording of the ‘people’s rally’ in the village of Kosovo in Dalmatia was shown.