Defense military expert Dragutin Repinc says he noticed a ‘major discrepancy’ between two reports Markac filed about the murder of five elderly Serbs in the village of Grubori. However, because of ‘the sensitivity of the incident’, the witness was not able to personally conduct an investigation and see why the first document doesn’t speak about the incident at all. The second report claims that the civilians were killed in the cross-fire when the Croatian special police clashed with the Serb fighters. Repinc couldn’t rule out the possibility that the report was changed based on ‘fabricated’ and not ‘new’ facts

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

Today the prosecution cross-examined defense military expert Dragutin Repinc. All police units taking part in Operation Storm and the search operations that followed were under the control of Mladen Markac, special police commander, Repinc said. Generals Gotovina, Cermak and Markac are charged with crimes perpetrated against Serb civilians and their property at that time, in the summer and fall of 1995.

Prosecutor Mahindaratne referred to what the witness had said in his examination-in chief: Markac simply forwarded to the HV Main Staff daily reports his subordinates sent to him from the field without changing their contents. On 25 August1995, five elderly Serbs were killed in the village of Grubori. The prosecution noted that there were two different reports Markac drafted about the Grubori incident: one that doesn’t speak about any incidents and the other, which states that the elderly Serbs died in the cross-fire between Croatian special troops and the remaining Serb fighters. Only the first report matches the report drafted by the man who commanded the action, Zdravko Janic, the prosecution noted.

When he was drafting his expert report, General Repinc noticed ‘a major discrepancy’ between the two documents. ‘Out of human curiosity,’ Repinc wanted to find out why. However, ‘because of the sensitivity of the incident’, he was not able to personally investigate it. Repinc just said that he assumed that the new, subsequent, report included the new facts Markac had learned later. Repinc was not able to tell where the new facts had come from. In response to presiding judge Orie, the witness admitted that he ‘couldn’t rule out the possibility that Markac’s new report was written on the basis of fabricated facts rather than any new facts’.

The prosecution is trying to prove that the original report was modified at the demand of General Markac and his deputy Zeljko Sacic. The goal was to cover up the crime in the village of Grubori. The defense denies that the special police commander was involved in the incident.

In his examination-in chief, the witness argued that during and after Operation Storm, the special police were implicated in just one other incident, two days after the event in the village of Grubori. It would be wrong to conclude that Markac and his colleagues tolerated unruly behavior on the basis of just two incidents, the witness argued. The prosecution noted today that nobody has been punished for those two incidents yet. The witness confirmed this. However, people are being prosecuted, Repinc noted. He reminded the court of the recent arrest of Markac’s former assistant Zeljko Sacic and a group of current and former members of the special police in Croatia. The Trial Chamber stated that it had not received any information about the arrests. The prosecution indicated it would provide the information as soon as the Croatian authorities delivered the requested official documents.

Markac’s military expert will complete his evidence tomorrow.