THE HAGUE | 26.10.2005.

MRKSIC DID NOT KNOW DETAILS ABOUT THE AGREEMENT TO EVACUATE THE HOSPITAL

As Dr. Vesna Bosanac testifies, the accused Mile Mrksic did not oppose the evacuation of the Vukovar hospital, but ostensibly did not know how it was supposed to be done, in accordance with an agreement signed the day before by the representatives of the JNA and the Croatian authorities

“We talked about the evacuation of the wounded and the sick, I described the situation in the hospital, said the hospital was dirty, that it had no food, water, power, I said that gangrene was rampart." This is how Dr. Vesna Bosanac described the conversation she had with Mile Mrksic, commander of the Operational Group South in their headquarters. She continues her testimony at the trial of the Vukovar Three.

Mrksic stands accused, together with Veselin Sljivancanin ad Miroslav Radic, of having taken the wounded and the sick from the Vukovar hospital to the Ovcara farm on 20 November 1991, instead of transporting them to Croatia or Serbia. Those prisoners, about three hundred of them, were subsequently tortured and killed there.

The conversation between the director of the Vukovar hospital and the commander of the Operational Group South was supposed to result in the implementation of an agreement signed the day before in Zagreb. According to the agreement, the wounded and the sick from the Vukovar hospital were to have been transferred to Vinkovci. Although he was not opposed to the evacuation, Mrksic claimed he did not know what agreement General Andrija Raseta signed with the Croatian authorities. He told her the situation "has improved because there was no shooting any more" and that they would be able to "carry out the evacuation better".

Before asking the witness about the meeting with the accused Mrksic, prosecutor Marks Moore tendered into evidence a number of documents – letters and notes of telephone calls made by Dr. Bosanac to the European Community Monitoring Mission office in Zagreb in October and November 1991. In them, she urged the international community to do something to stop the shelling of the hospital and to organize the evacuation of the wounded and the sick. She explained she was "afraid of what would happen if the Yugoslav soldiers, who were destroying the town and killing people" entered the hospital without the presence of the monitors and the International Red Cross.

Vesna Bosanac denied today the claim that the Vukovar hospital had been used for military purposes. "The Croatian soldiers did not use the hospital in any way," she insisted, adding that she was "in the hospital every day and went through all the rooms there and she would have seen or someone would have told her had the hospital been used for military purposes".

Vesna Bosanac's testimony will continue tomorrow, when she should address the events on 20 November 1991: the selection of the patients and civilians from the Vukovar hospital and their taking to Ovcara.