Franko Simatovic’s last witness claims that the accused was in Knin in 1991 to follow Captain Dragan Vasiljkovic who was a target of a surveillance operation. The prosecution contends that Simatovic visited Knin to help Krajina Serbs to prepare for war
After Rade Vukovic, former chief of the operational technology department in the Serbian State Security Service, completed his testimony, Franko Simatovic’s defense called another former colleague of the accused. Radivoje Micic worked as an operative in the counter-intelligence group, part of the Belgrade center of the Serbian State Security Service. The group was tasked with countering the espionage efforts of American intelligence. Until the spring of 1992, Franko Simatovic headed the so-called American group and was then appointed deputy chief of the Second Administration in the Serbian secret service, and finally ended up as an advisor to the Service chief, Jovica Stanisic.
As the witness explained, Simatovic’s group was monitoring American journalists and junior researchers in Serbia and Serbian citizens visiting the United States. An Australian citizen of Serb descent was among their ‘targets’: Daniel Snedden also known as Captain Dragan Vasiljkovic. Captain Dragan’s personnel file has been admitted into evidence at the trial of Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic. The file shows that the Serbian State Security Service intelligence officers did follow captain Dragan and that his telephones were wire-tapped.
Micic claims that Simatovic went to Knin in the spring of 1991 to ‘stay near the target’, Daniel Snedden, and follow his movements and actions because it was difficult to monitor telephone lines outside Serbia. The service thought there was a ‘real risk’ that Captain Dragan’s activities might jeopardize Serbia’s security, the witness said. As the witness was not a member of the team monitoring Snedden, he could not tell the judges what steps Simatovic took in the operation. The witness only knew that when Captain Dragan returned to Belgrade, the American Group issued an order on 6 November 1991 for round-the-clock wire-tapping of Dragan’s telephone. The defense tendered the order into evidence.
The defense is trying to contest the prosecution’s argument that Captain Dragan was the Serbian State Security Service’s man in Krajina, in charge of training the Knin special units in a training center in Golubic. The special units later joined various police and paramilitary units and took part in the crimes against non-Serbs in the wars in Croatia and BH. The defense wants to use Micic’s testimony to contest the allegation in the indictment that Simatovic was in Knin to help the Krajina authorities prepare for the war. The witness didn’t deny that the accused had met with various people in Krajina but thought they were Captain Dragan’s ‘contacts’ and persons who could provide information about him.
Radivoje Micic is the last witness called by Franko Simatovic’s defense. Simatovic and Jovica Stanisic are on trial for the crimes committed by the police and paramilitaries under their control in Croatia and BH. Micic will complete his evidence next week. A witness will then be recalled for additional cross-examination, and then the prosecution may call evidence to rebut the defense case.Presiding judge Orie recalled the Trial Chamber’s previous decision ordering the parties to file their final briefs before the Tribunal’s summer recess in late July 2012.