The first

The second 


The First Timocka Article

Re-print of 15 September 1999 article in Timocka Krimi Revija (Timocka Crime Review), the tiny Serbian magazine where the freezer-truck allegations originated.
Translated by Vladimir Krsljanin

CRIME INVESTIGATION: One Unbelievable Story.

In the last several months [something has?] attracted the attention of the inhabitants of Timocka Krajina, and in the first place those in its northern part near the Danube.

Refrigerator Truck In The Danube - The Corpses  In The Truck

Dragan Vitomirovic -- Timocka Krimi Revija, September 15, 1999

When, recently, one distinguished journalist from [Zajecar?] told us that from a credible source he got to know that, at the very beginning of the war somewhere, between Kladovo and Tekija, a refrigerator truck floated from the Danube, and when they opened it, human corpses appeared.  When he told us that we couldn't believe it.  We told him openly that it was just a story made in order to disturb the public.  Our colleague swore he obtained that information from a competent person but he also swore he wouldn't say who was that person, and said he himself is not brave enough to write about that and, moreover, nobody would publish that.


So the writer of these lines and his distinguished colleague traveled an entire day, but in the behavior [?] of our colleague it was felt he could not hide any longer who was that credible source of information. So at sunset, when we reached the place we drove to, he told us his name.  And it really appeared that this man was really competent and certainly not a person who would fabricate such a story.


So several days later we visited that state official in one of the towns of Timocka Krajina.  We asked him openly what he knows about that.  He said that the information reached him at the establishment he runs, that two or three days before the beginning of the war a refrigerator truck was found on the bank of the Danube not far from Tekija, and when it was opened human corpses fell out.  His establishment was not involved in that and what was going on later he cannot tell us because even he does not know that. Our way led us further to Kladovo. There we talked with numerous people we know and for whom we thought that they were well-informed. They all admitted that such a story about the corpses in the truck is going around but none of them was willing to talk about that more. 


That's true, but any involvement in that can be dangerous, one man employed at the Djerdap hydroelectric plant told us, and he directed us to a man who allegedly knows much more about that than he.  With a lot of reluctance and interest [?] in who we are and why we are interested in that, this man told us the following.


Several days before the beginning of the bombardment, one refrigerator truck with Swiss plates went on the road from Kladovo towards Tekija.  A couple of kilometers before the Djerdap Hydroelectric plant, the refrigerator truck had rolled down and stopped on the very bank of Danube. Its door had been deformed a little and from the truck human corpses appeared. People started to gather around and then the police came and blocked the spot and moved the people away. Soon, a crane arrived, the corpses were reloaded into the truck and it continued its way towards Tekija. That was all said to us by this man of whom I cannot say that he fabricated the event. With a smile he told us that this was probably had to do with corpses of Kurds or Talibans who in some magic way appeared in our territory and they have been probably driven to some medical clinic in order for students to practice on them. He told us also a name of the man who was directly involved in the reloading of the corpses into the truck but our search for this man gave no results. Simply, we could not find him.


The same day, in Kladovo we contacted another colleague, a known journalist from that town. He had also confirmed to us the story about the corpses from the truck but he added to it one detail. In a known tourist object [?] in Kladovo, a man who earlier had been at the scene of events was sent to find bed sheets for wrapping up the corpses. He asked for bed linens but he forgot that they should be old. That's why the people from that firm offered him completely new sheets since they thought he needed them for a celebration. That is when he explained to them why he needed the sheets and they gave him old ones -- as this journalist told us.


So, finally we reached Tekija. As soon as we entered the town, we asked one old inhabitant whether he heard something about the refrigerator truck with the corpses. He told us, he had and that everybody in Tekija knows about that since the people were going to the spot near the monument of Captain Koca to see what was going on, but the police has returned them.


In the local administration office in Tekija, we didn’t find the chief since he was on a trip, but a young woman who was accidentally there told us that it is not good to talk about that and that she does not know much. A little later, she became more open, when we told her that we are journalists. So she told us that the event with the refrigerator truck did take place, and that the truck was taken out of the Danube when she came by, […?…] but that she did not see the corpses since the numerous policemen prohibited access to the spot. She told us that the refrigerator truck was taken out of the Danube on the spot where the monument of Captain Koca is, that it was taken out by the cranes from the "Brodoremont" ship repair company and from the Djerdap hydroelectric plant. The truck was then driven towards Donji Milanovac, and that it all happened sometime soon after the beginning of the war at the end of March this year.


At the end of our investigation, we are still not certain whether this event really took place or that "deaf telephone" is so mighty to convince so many people to believe in the story. We are not certain since we have not succeeded in finding and talking to anyone who was directly present. And the police is completely silent, the way they usually are in these last years.


If the story is correct, and we will our investigation [?] and inform our readers about the findings. It remains unclear how the Talibans or Kurds appeared in our territory. How the refrigerator truck with Swiss plates passed the border and entered our territory. Someone third [?] should appear publicly and explain to the people whether it happened or not and stop in this way the spreading of dangerous rumors which are going around like lightning and seriously disturbing the public.


This is background documentation for the


The Second Timocka Article

Re-print of 1 May 2001 article in Timocka Krimi Revija (Timocka Crime Review), the tiny Serbian magazine where the freezer-truck allegations originated.
Translated by Vladimir Krsljanin


What happened on the 6th of April 1999 in Tekija?

50 CORPSES IN REFRIGERATOR TRUCK - STATE SECRET "When we opened the frigo-box, the corpses started to fall out. There were 50. And then, the information was closed and the case proclaimed a state secret."

Covering up of a crime is also a crime. Particularly if the crime one is covering up is a serious one in respect to its causes and consequences, and if those who are covering up are the very ones who should investigate and bring the perpetrators before the face of justice, and especially if such a crime is declared a state secret. All these elements have joined together when the 6th of April, 1999, not far from Tekija a refrigerator truck with 50 corpses of women, children and old men was removed from the Danube.

Dragan Vitomirovic -- Timocka Krimi Revija, Jubilee 100 issue, May 1, 2001

From the story that follows, it will be seen that the police, public prosecutors (municipal and district), investigative judge and the very top of the Serbian mob have been informed about the event and all of them later took part in covering up of the crime. When it was established that all 50 corpses are from Kosovo, from Pec, it was ordered from the top that information about that should be closed in the strictest manner and the whole case was declared a state secret. One could perhaps understand the behavior of the police since by closing the information they attempted to protect themselves from public prosecutors and judges who have the sacred duty -- and after all they swore -- that they will protect the law, guaranteeing by their honor and morals so to bring before the court all perpetrators of criminal acts, and decide about the punishment they deserve so that crimes will not repeat themselves.

"When we pulled the refrigerator truck to shore, its rear side, more precisely the frigo-box, appeared from the water. On its back side, there was a double door, locked and surrounded with a thick chain with an additional lock. We pulled the rear out of the water a little bit and let the water out so that we could more easily pull the whole truck to the shore. After the water came out, fat spots started to appear on the surface of Danube. Since we did not know what was inside, and on the doors of the cabin it was written, that the truck was property of a firm from Pec in the business of processing and transporting meat, we started to joke that the truck is perhaps full of veal or baby beef. We started to feel a smell of spoiled meat and there we commented that we will probably not be able to taste that meat. Than, I went to get the big scissors, that cut iron, and when I was back, I cut the chain which locked the doors. After opening the door we experienced a shock. From the truck, corpses started to fall out. Many corpses of women, children and old men. Some women were dressed in shalvare, some children and old men were naked.

[ TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: "Shalvare" is traditional Muslim clothing, including Muslim Albanian women ]

It was a terrifying view. Bosko, a criminal specialist from Kladovo police station (who was with me all the time), and myself were confused, we looked at each other and tried to return the corpses inside because people who were passing were already gathering about. I was helping Bosko to take shots of the inside of the truck with his photo camera. My estimate was that there were around 50 corpses. After that, we quickly closed the door and went to inform the Kladovo police station."

This was how, after giving it much thought, and after much persuasion from us that his story will be a contribution to remove taboos about the crimes, a professional scuba-diver from Kladovo, Zivadin Zika Djordjevic, reluctantly began the story of his participation in this event.

As we said before, it was 6th of April, 1999. That day, in the early morning hours, the fishermen have been discovered that a corner of a box which looked like a refrigerator was seen above the surface of water a kilometer or two from Tekija down the river near the old cemetery and not far from the monument of Koca Andjelkovic - The Captain. They have informed the Kladovo police about that and the police has called as many times before a professional scuba-diver from Kladovo, Zika Djordjevic, and crime specialist of Kladovo police station, Bosko Rajkovic with the task to investigate what was in the river, whether there are eventual casualties or some traces of a criminal act.

"Since I am a professional scuba-diver, I am often engaged to cover the part of Danube from the confluence of river Nera to the confluence of river Timok, which is about 92 kilometers. The police, but also companies and individuals often call me, asking for help, particularly when there are traffic accidents and cars fall into Danube, so that I can help pulling out those vehicles or people out of the Danube. So that day as well they called me to see what this was all about. Bosko from the police station and myself went there. When we approached the spot, we saw something, one part of which was above the surface. I went under the water and soon I discovered not far from the shore a big refrigerator truck, the front part of which was on the bottom of the river since that part was heavier containing the engine and the back part, more precisely the frigo-box tended float, and one of its parts was above the surface. We have established that it was a "Mercedes" truck with a green cabin and with a white frigo-box. On the sides of the truck it had markings that said it was the property of a firm from Pec, dealing with processing and transportation of meat. There was also a phone number for the firm, 029-72997. Its license plates were registered in Pec. The front window of the cabin was missing, and it most probably fell down, when the truck fell into Danube, during the contact with the water. Besides that, the truck looked new, with little damage (even its lights were not broken). In a routine way, I entered the cabin. The key was still in its "Bosch-lock", there was a big stone on the gas pedal which was evidence that somebody had deliberately directed the truck towards the river and then left the cabin, leaving the truck to fall into the water. I have also seen that the truck passed 186.000 kilometers. I have also checked all the electrical cables and battery in order to exclude the possibility that there was an explosive device in the truck. There were no traces of the driver nor any person in the cabin.

Since the criminal specialist, Bosko and myself, have concluded there are no elements that there was any kind of criminal act, there are no dead or wounded, we went to inform about that the police station. After that we could start a commercial part of my job - to pull out the truck to the shore. As in all similar cases before, I have engaged a crane truck from the 'Djerdap' Hydroelectric plant. It was driven by my friend, Mojsije Paunovic.

[ HIR NOTE: This is incoherent. Even though at this point in the narrative the bodies have not been noticed, if a truck is found in a river with a rock on the gas pedal, the first and most plausible hypothesis is that a criminal act is behind it. The fact that Timocka has Djordjevic saying that he concluded there was no evidence of any kind of criminal act is evidence that this was a sloppily made-up narrative (or at least some elements of it are). Liars almost always talk too long. ]

We linked the metal rope of the crane to the back part of the truck and pull out operation started. It was going on slowly. I was entering the cabin and using the wheel despite being underwater. When we pulled it near the shore, we have linked the rope so that we could pick it up vertically and bring it to the shore. But we failed. The truck was that heavy, so our ropes broke twice. My friend Mojsije and I decided to bring another much stronger and bigger crane, a "Clark", from the Hydroelectric plant. Than, we linked a much thicker and stronger rope. We tried again to pick it up. Again it wouldn't go. My friend Mojsije pointed out that his instrument indicated the truck's weight to be more than 30 tons -- proof that there was something very heavy in the box, so we made jokes again about veal." -- Zika Djordjevic described.

[ HIR NOTE: This again is incoherent. "We made jokes again about veal"? But the first jokes were made when stuff was already coming out of the back part of the truck, according to the first quote attributed to Djordjevic, and which describes events which follow the ones described immediately above. More evidence of creative sloppiness. In this case the "again" resulted from the fact that they used an alleged quotation describing a later part of the story first, and so were apparently tempted to say "again" even though in the actual time-line this would have been the first remark about veal. Sloppy is as sloppy does. ]

Then they opened the box and saw the corpses in it. Bosko and Zika rushed to Kladovo to inform the responsible in the police about this unbelievable discovery. The commander of the police station, Vukasin Sperlic, and the chief of its criminalist department, Milan Stevanovic, have been informed. They have informed then the deputy municipal public prosecutor, Mirko Petkovic, and the president of the municipal court, Tomislav Milojkovic, in the capacity of the investigative judge. After the consultations about what should be done, the district public prosecutor from Negotin, Krsta Majstorovic, and the investigative judge of the district court in Negotin, Milorad Momcilovic, were informed. They ordered that everything should be prepared for a detailed investigation the next morning since it was evening already. Also, the head of district MUP [Ministry of the Interior] in Bor, colonel Caslav Golubovic, was informed. Colonel Golubovic immediately reported to the highest top of Serbian MUP -- specifically, he informed Colonel General Vlastimir Djordjevic, the deputy minister. Very soon, a sharp order came from "above" that all information should be closed and the whole case declared a state secret.

"When we were prepared the next morning to go to Kladovo for detailed investigation, we were informed by Milan Stevanovic, chief of the crime department in Kladovo, that we should consider that nothing happened and that all information was closed." - the investigative judge from the district court in Negotin, Milorad Momcilovic told us.

The commander of the Kladovo police station, Sperlic, ordered that the spot be secured immediately with a strong showing of police and not to allow anybody else access to the spot. That's how it happened. People, mostly from Tekija who came from curiosity to see what was going on were immediately sent away. It was agreed to spread a rumor for those who had heard something that the bodies in the truck were of Kurds who attempted to go illegally to [from?] Romania.

In the meantime, it was ordered to make in the neighboring factory a particular metal ring which shell be put around the box of the track so that it won't be deformed during picking it up. During the night Bosko, the technician, had changed the plates on the truck. He destroyed the ones from Pec and put on it false Bor plates so that the truck could be transported later without attracting attention.

In the morning of the 7th of April, 1999, the operation continued. The truck was picked up to the shore [?] and soon after that another refrigerator truck with Belgrade plates arrived. The two trucks were placed so that the doors of their boxes were next to each other. The new truck's box was cooled already. People from the Kladovo communal enterprise were engaged in moving the corpses from one truck to another. When it was done, the full truck went towards Donji Milanovac through Djerdap canyon. The truck which was pulled out of Danube was put on a rescue truck owned by someone in Kladovo and pulled to a neighboring village, Petrovo, to the training center used by SAJ special police unit from Belgrade for combat training. The unit has been commanded by Umalek - 'Legija' , or "Captain Rose".

[ TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: This is an inexplicable error of the author's; almost everybody in Serbia knows that the real name of "Legija" is Milorad Ulemek - so his first name is missing, and his surname is completely misspelled ]

The truck was moved to a shooting yard and a certain Milos, one of the SAJ commanders, in it 30 kilos of TNT explosive and blew it up. Only the small parts remain and a part of its back side which is still in the neighboring plum field. "I asked colonel Caslav Golubovic to give that truck to me and I would repair it in a way that nobody would recognize it. But he refused. He also refused to give me the truck's cooling device." - says Zika Djordjevic and adds that it is a pity the truck was destroyed, for it was as good as new.

Caslav Golubovic, now already former head of MUP department in Bor, forbid strictly to all participants of this operation to say anything about it, warning them that it was a state secret. Even today, when we attempted to talk about it to some people, we saw fear in their eyes and those who were telling us about the event asked us not to mention their names at any price.

We tried to talk about this with Miroslav Petkovic, the deputy municipal public prosecutor in Kladovo, who told us openly that he is not allowed to speak about that and that we should ask his boss. Some people from the police in Bor and Kladovo did not even want to meet us and especially not to talk about that.

All the photos, including negatives, made by the criminalist technician, Bosko Rajkovic, have been given to the head of Bor district MUP, colonel Caslav Golubovic, and according to the information we got, they have all been sent to the Serbian MUP in Belgrade.

Those who are better informed say that the truck "flew" into the Danube somewhere in the gorges of the Djerdap canyon, one who directed the truck there expected that it will be "buried" in "Kazan"

[ TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: "The Pot" - the deepest point in the Danube ]

But he did not expect all the ways this big river can behave, so the truck finally floated to the spot where it was discovered.