Defense military expert Dragutin Repinc contends that the special police under General Markac’s command searched more than 5,000 square kilometers of territory in the two months after Operation Storm: only two incidents were reported in that period. According to Repinc, this is proof of the high level of discipline in the Croatian special police

Dragutin Repinc, defence witness of Mladen MarkacDragutin Repinc, defence witness of Mladen Markac

In his evidence yesterday, defense military expert Dragutin Repinc described the war record of the special police in Operation Storm. Continuing his evidence, Repinc clarified parts of his expert report about the role of the special police after the operation. Repinc has been called by the defense of the former Special Police commander Mladen Markac, who is on trial together with generals Gotovina and Cermak for his role in the joint criminal enterprise aimed at expulsion of Serbs from Krajina in the summer and fall of 1995.

When on 9 August 1995 the combat was over in the area from Mount Velebit to the BH border, the Croatian special units were given new orders: to search and mop-up the terrain, Repinc said. The special police was first sent to the Petrova Gora area in Sector North and ordered to search the areas where the HV hadn’t yet been. The special police remained there until 21 August 1995.

The special police was then transferred back to Sector South where they continued combing the terrain until 9 October 1995, when their mission in Krajina ended. The indictment against the Croatian generals covers the incidents in Sector South. In that period, the special police searched more than 5,000 square kilometers: only two incidents were reported. According to Repinc, the incidents happened on 25 and 26 August 1995. This led Repinc to conclude that lack of discipline was sporadic in the special police, not widespread. The witness didn’t specify the incidents, but one of them is conceivably the crime in the village of Grubori, where five elderly Serbs were killed.

Repinc contends that the military and police documents show that after Operation Storm the special police continued operating under the command of the HV Main Staff; the search and mop-up operations were all done on General Cervenko’s orders. General Markac only implemented the orders of the Main Staff in the field, the witness argued. By the same token, General Markac signed reports sent to him from the field and forwarded them on to General Cervenko. General Repinc concluded his examination-in chief with the claim that he didn’t come across any documents ordering or reporting any crimes against civilians and their property.

The defense lawyers of the two other accused took until the end of the session today to cross-examine the witness. Gotovina’s defense argued that the HV had reason to believe that Knin was the pivotal point of the RSK defense, which involved the entire RSK population. Cermak’s defense counsel implied that his client was kept informed about the military activities in the field only to be able to forward them to the international community representatives when he met them. For the most part the witness agreed with these claims.

On Monday, prosecutor Mahindaratne will begin her cross-examination of General Repinc. Markac’s defense is expected to call its last witness after that.