JULY 18 2007 13:54h

Military Police Was Not Involved in the Operation


Lausic only learned of Operation Dzep 93 on September 14. Military police had not been involved in the preparations, he said.

The trial of Rahim Ademi and Mirko Norac for the crimes committed in the Operation Medacki Dzep (Medak Pocket) resumed with the testimony of the former head of military police Mate Lausic. 

“I first heard of the Operation Dzep 93, as it was called back then, on September 14, 1993, when Brigadier Drago Krpina, the head of the political administration of the Croatian army, called me and asked that I prepare a report about the visit of an International Red Cross representative to prisoners of war from an operation conducted around Gospic. I then called Major Vrban at the 71st battalion of the military police and learned that, on September 8, he had received the order from the commander of the Gospic military district to reassign a tenth of the first company to Colonel Norac’s command. I also learned that, on September 7, Colonel Norac ordered that the military police establish three control points,” said witness Mate Lausic.  

The former head of military police did not take particular interest in what happened after that, but he knows that, soon afterwards, the media started bringing up negative media connotations about the campaign. He was not surprised when, on September 27, he received a written order from Defence Minister Gojko Susak, written two days earlier, saying that possible crimes committed by the Croatian Army (HV) had to be investigated. 

Without representatives of the General Staff and the Inspectorate  

“I forwarded the order to Ante Gugic, the head of the crime department of the military police and pointed out to him in my own writing that he needed to get in touch with the General Staff and Chief Inspectorate of the Ministry of Defence. I know that he worked out a detailed plan on how to do the job in the field. [People at] the General Staff and Chief Inspectorate told him that they were founding their own commission.” 

Subsequently, Major Gugic and his truncated team went to Gospic, put together an operation report and appended about 30 documents to it.  

The report also shows that he talked to General Ademi, who gave him all the orders, including those related to field sanitation. Also appended were the reports of three pathologists who had examined 51 bodies (46 male and five female). 29 bodies had gunshot wounds and 22 had explosion wounds. All the wounds had been inflicted from a great distance, with the exception of one body with a gunshot wound at close proximity and one with arm injuries caused by an explosive device. It was concluded that they had both committed suicide.  

Without expert evaluation and availability of the area    

“Major Gugic said that they could not enter the area where UNPROFOR was nor could court appointed expert evaluation be ordered because the bodies had been delivered to the Serbian side. The report was delivered to Defence Minister Gojko Susak, but without my accompanying memorandum, to verify the report. According to Gugic’s explanation, the Minister requested the report in a rush and I was not in Zagreb at the time, so he took it without my accompanying memorandum. ‘You did yours, the rest is up to me,’ the Minister told him and, based on that, Gugic put the ‘ad acta’ report away in a document,” said Lausic.    

Lausic did not know the response to the question why the military police had not been informed on the preparations for the campaign, even though it had been included in the preparations for Maslenica, which occurred six months earlier. Generally, the military police must inform the army commander who issued them the order and their superiors on what they find in the field. 

Jadranka Slokovic, Rahim Ademi’s defence attorney, gave the court the document in which Ademi had requested that members of the anti-terrorist unit be involved, and this is what witness Lausic said in response to her questions: 

“I found out about some of the documents in 2004, when I was questioned by the Hague investigators. A document in which, on September 11, 1993, Ademi requested that the members of the military police anti-terrorist unit be deployed to Gospic. His request was denied by my deputy Biskic and I signed it when I returned from the field. Generally, the unit was established for the purpose of executing combat and high risk tasks, and the demand implied that [the unit] was requested for regular and reserve tasks. 

Ademi: I did not speak to Gugic    

The other document brought forth by Ademi’s defence attorney Jadranka Slokovic clearly shows that he had issued a command to the company of the 71st battalion of the military police, which they did not execute. In response, Lausic said that it was not customary for a command to be issued to a company, but to a battalion, which would then forward the order to a lower level. 

At a meeting that was held with the head of the General Staff, General Janko Bobetko, on October 1, Davor Domazet Loso did an analysis of the Operation Dzep. It is precisely for this fact that Ademi’s defence attorneys claim that the operation was run by Domazet and not Ademi.   

“It was a custom to invite commanding officers for an analysis, but this meeting was [held to discuss] the activities in July in August and only in the end did General Bobetko let Domazet speak. After Maslenica, for instance, there was no analysis at all and, for [operations] Flash and Storm, General Cervenko led the analysis, who was also in charge of these operations,” clarified Lausic. 

Rahim Ademi objected to the witness’ statement, claiming that he had not given Gugic any documents nor had he spoken to him. Lausic responded that he gave his statement based on the report submitted by Gugic. 

The hearing continues at 12:35 h and witness Ante Gugic, head of the military police crime department, is set to testify.