1 Wednesday, 17 June 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.20 p.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon to
7 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-06-90-T,
8 the Prosecutor versus Ante Gotovina et al.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
10 I would like to inform the parties that the Chamber has
11 considered whether any follow-up should be given at this moment in
12 relation to Mr. van Rooyen. The Chamber, as matters stand now, does not
13 intend to give it a follow-up in this courtroom.
14 Therefore, Mr. Waespi, you're free to discuss the matter with
15 Mr. van Rooyen, and, as you said, you would report back, the Chamber
16 appreciates that it will be informed about the outcome.
17 Then we move into closed session.
18 [Closed session]
11 Pages 18699-18719 redacted. Closed session.
13 [Private session]
11 Pages 18721-18738 redacted. Private session.
17 [Open session]
18 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're in open session.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
20 Could the witness be brought into the courtroom.
21 We will turn in private session again for one second for ... and
22 even we have to turn into closed session. The parties may understand
23 why. We still have to wait for a second.
24 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
25 JUDGE ORIE: Closed session for a while.
1 [Closed session]
19 [Open session]
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
22 Mr. Mrksic, I'd like to address a few matters before the --
23 Mr. Misetic will have an opportunity to examine you as a witness.
24 First of all, everyone, if called as a witness, is under a duty
25 to testify. The Chamber is aware that you would not be inclined to
1 appear as a witness but that you waited until you received a subpoena.
2 That subpoena has been issued.
3 I inform you that Rule 77, under (A)(i) specifically states that
4 you can be held in contempt if you, as a witness before a Chamber,
5 contumaciously refuse or fails to answer questions. That means you have
6 to answer questions that are put to you. That's your duty as a witness,
7 and if you would fail to do so, contempt proceedings could be initiated
8 against you and failing to answer is punishable. And the maximum penalty
9 for contempt of court including failing to answer questions is - and I
10 have to look at it - I think a maximum term of imprisonment of 7 years,
11 or a fine not exceeding 100.000 Euros or both these penalties, that are
12 the maximum penalties if someone commits contempt of court, and that
13 includes failing to answer questions.
14 At the same time, I would like to inform you, that if you are
15 asked questions and where you think that your answer might tend to
16 incriminate yourself, that you may object to answering such a question.
17 The Chamber will then consider the matter, and we can either decide that
18 you don't have to answer the question, but we also can compel you to
19 answer the question. And testimony compelled in this way shall not be
20 used as evidence in a subsequent prosecution against you for any offence,
21 apart from giving false testimony. So if you answer the question, if it
22 is not truthful, then, of course, that would be -- that would be an
23 offence in itself. But apart from that exception that evidence cannot be
24 held against you.
25 I also inform you that this is, of course, specifically focussing
1 on Tribunal proceedings. It has never happened, to my knowledge, that it
2 was used in any other court. The Chamber inquired whether there's any
3 intention to prosecute you anywhere else. The Chamber is aware that you
4 still have to serve quite a lot of time in detention, because you have
5 been finally convicted and sentenced and are awaiting transfer to a
6 country where you will serve your sentence. So, at this moment, there is
7 no indication that a risk of being prosecuted elsewhere exists.
8 Finally, I address the following matter. The Chamber was
9 informed that you were hesitant/not inclined to testify because your
10 lawyer would not be present. The Chamber has considered this, and came
11 to the following provisional conclusions. You are aware already of some
12 time that there was an intention to call you as a witness. From the
13 communications between these parties and the Chamber, the Chamber is
14 aware that - is there any problem in -- the Chamber is aware that those
15 who have assisted you as counsel in the proceedings against yourself as
16 an accused were informed about all these steps preparing for your
17 testimony in court. Nevertheless no steps were taken for any counsel to
18 be present here, although they were aware of -- and they have not in any
19 way communicated with the Chamber any concerns. From what we understand
20 the only thing that was done is that it was communicated to the
21 Prosecution that you would prefer not to testify if counsel were not
23 Now, there is no right to be assisted by counsel if you appear as
24 a witness. To that extent, we could just ignore it, but that's not what
25 we are doing. The Chamber will seek that you will be assisted in getting
1 counsel being present in court with the limited role of advising you on
2 your position as a witness, and to have that done as quickly as possible,
3 but that we would start your testimony today.
4 Now, with efforts taken by everyone, it might be that tomorrow
5 already there could be someone sitting next to you. The Chamber has
6 instructed that OLAD and the victims and witness section will be
7 consulted on the matter, but the Chamber sees no reason to delay the
8 start of your testimony.
9 The Chamber has invited the party that was calling you not to put
10 -- not to start your testimony with any matter that might even come close
11 to any such situation as I just described. That is, that there would be
12 an objective concern about incriminating yourself by answering a
14 Therefore, under those circumstances, the Chamber will invite you
15 to make a solemn declaration. We'll start with your testimony, and, at
16 the same time, if you express your continued wish to be assisted by
17 counsel, or counsel being present, the Chamber will certainly promote
18 that that is in effect as soon as possible. And that is the present
20 Is that clear to you?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that is quite clear to
22 me. Based on my conversations with my lawyers, nobody invited them here.
23 One of them is in possession of a visa; the other one isn't. I don't see
24 where this misunderstanding arose. They were corresponding with the
25 Defence, and I don't see why I should be made an exception of. Others
1 testified based on a subpoena or not based on a subpoena, but with the
2 presence of their counsel. I do wish to testify. Of course, under the
3 proviso that you would be drawing my attention so as not to say anything
4 that might harm me, but I think the rules should be applied. I think
5 quite a few exceptions were already made at my expense before this
7 JUDGE ORIE: There is no rule that entitles you to be assisted by
8 counsel. Counsel have had an opportunity since they were aware that you
9 would be called to testify for weeks. We have not heard of any
10 application. They have not contacted the Chamber. Therefore, there's no
11 rule that you are entitled to be assisted by counsel as a witness.
12 So, therefore, the Chamber is not making any exception to the
13 rule. You and possible counsel have not addressed the Chamber with any
14 request up till this moment which is common in those circumstances,
15 where, as a matter of fact, an exception is made to the general rule.
16 The general rule is that the witness comes to this court, answers
17 questions, and is in no way assisted by counsel. That is the general
18 rule. And if you wanted an exception to be made, you should have taken
19 action, or your lawyers should have taken action.
20 At the same time I add to this, that in order to accommodate your
21 concerns, I instructed the staff to be in touch with VWS and OLAD to see
22 whether they can arrange for either your counsel or your counsel
23 instructing a counsel who is on duty and who could be present. So if you
24 say that you would prefer that counsel is present in court for you, just
25 tell us at this moment, and the Chamber will do everything that this wish
1 can be met.
2 If that is your wish, and I do understand it is, then the Chamber
3 staff will work on it from this very moment.
4 At the same time, I add to this, that the Chamber has asked
5 Mr. Misetic, who will examine you, to not deal with any matter that might
6 even come close to matters that could incriminate yourself. So I take it
7 that the questions today will be not touching upon these matters. And it
8 could well be that tomorrow your wish could already be met, but we start
10 Is that clear to you?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it is, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Then may --
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm counting on the proceedings
14 being fair here and that everything will be in order.
15 I would have preferred my counsel to be here. I am aware of the
16 fact that individuals were brought over here from Austria and other
17 countries and appeared here in the presence of their counsel. Even if I
18 am convicted, I haven't lost my right to having my counsel here. I might
19 give an answer that is not in my best interest under the influence of my
20 emotions. I'm not an expert.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Let me tell you one thing very clear. Even if
22 counsel is present, you will not be able to consult with counsel, apart
23 from here in the courtroom, because counsel is not allowed to discuss
24 with you or to speak with you about the substance of your testimony.
25 There is only one thing whether it is in your best interests or not, the
1 only thing we expect you to do is to give answers in accordance with the
2 truth, nothing else. Whether it is favourable, whether it is
3 unfavourable. Only if you would have to fear that the answer would tend
4 to incriminate yourself, under those circumstances we'll consider whether
5 the obligation to answer the question still exists or not. And that's
6 the matter on which you could consult with counsel, if present in court,
7 not on the substance of the questions and answers.
8 I'm happy to hear that you expect these proceedings to be fair,
9 not only in respect of the accused but that we would also be fair to
10 witnesses. That's exactly the reason why I explained to you in detail
11 not only what your duties are but also what your rights are in this
13 Then I would like to invite to you make a solemn declaration that
14 you will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 The text will now be handed out to you by Madam Usher.
16 Could you please stand and make that solemn declaration.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
18 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Mrksic. Please be seated.
20 I'm addressing you as Mr. Mrksic, but I take it that the first
21 question of Mr. Misetic will be to state your full name for the record.
22 Yes, Mr. Mrksic.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Before Mr. Misetic starts with his
24 questions if I can have a minute or two.
25 I said that new methods were being applied in relation to me.
1 What I meant to say was that I had a similar problem as that of
2 Mr. Misetic in my own case, (redacted) was supposed to appear
3 as a witness, a subpoena was issued which was not followed up on. That's
4 why I chose the course of action I did. I waited for the subpoena.
5 The Tribunal seemed to have exerted some pressure, and then I was
6 being told that I should appear or shouldn't appear, and I didn't think
7 that my questions would be threatened. Likewise, a doctor under
8 instructions that he received burst into my room and told me that I had
9 to urgently undergo a medical checkup for the purposes of the subpoena.
10 I agreed to that. However, they did not follow up on this. Nobody
11 conducted me later on. I was confronted by an official who showed up
12 with a subpoena to sign for me, and I asked about my lawyers. I wasn't
13 told anything other than I was to appear here the following day. I was
14 hoping that my counsel would be here, but since they are not, I can tell
15 you that I will answer your questions, and I will speak the truth and
16 nothing but the truth.
17 Now that the situation has arose, let me tell you that it's been
18 14 years that I've carried this burden within me. I have never testified
19 in the meantime; I haven't given any statements to the press or
20 television. I am a man who was silent for a very long time, and I would
21 not wish to bring harm to anyone now. Hence, my position is a difficult
22 one, and you should be the one to pay attention to what it is that I'm
23 doing because you have agreed to the situation where my counsel is not
24 present here.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
1 Mr. Hedaraly.
2 MR. HEDARALY: There's a name that was mentioned that should be
3 redacted that was a protected witness in the other case.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I wasn't aware of that.
5 Mr. Registrar, 49, line 9, I take it.
6 At not your name, Mr. Misetic, which also appears on that line.
7 MR. MISETIC: Sometimes I need protection.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I forgot that he was a protected
9 witness. My apologies.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Please carefully listen to the questions put to you
11 by Mr. Misetic and answer them and try to focus specifically on what is
13 I take it that you are aware that Mr. Misetic is counsel for
14 Mr. Gotovina. He called you as a witness, and he will be the first to
15 examine you. And let me assure you the Chamber is aware that it might
16 not be easy for you. That doesn't change that much the situation, but be
17 confident that we are aware of that.
18 Please proceed, Mr. Misetic.
19 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
20 WITNESS: MILE MRKSIC
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 Examination by Mr. Misetic:
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Mr. Misetic.
24 MR. MISETIC:
25 Q. General Mrksic, good afternoon.
1 A. Good afternoon, Mr. Misetic.
2 Q. General, would you please state your full name for the record.
3 A. My name is Mile Mrksic.
4 Q. Let me start off by saying --
5 A. Lieutenant-general in retirement.
6 Q. Let me start off by saying that it is my intention that this is
7 as least stressful as possible for you. If at any moment you don't feel
8 well, you should immediately tell the Presiding Judge. Do you understand
10 A. Yes, I do, Mr. Misetic.
11 Q. General, I would like to start by asking you some preliminary
13 First, could you tell us and tell the Court how you -- when you
14 became the Chief of Staff of the army of the Republika Srpska Krajina?
15 A. I think that this was after the fall of Western Slavonia, when
16 the commander Celeketic was replaced. They were looking for an
17 individual who would create a new climate of safety and security among
18 the people who were instilled with great fear, an individual who would be
19 able to exert influence on the top leadership of the Republic of Serbian
20 Krajina to change their conduct and to focus on the process of finding
21 the final settlement to the crisis in Croatia.
22 It was a very difficult process. I was called over special
23 telephone lines home and persuaded into accepting this duty knowing in
24 advance that it was going to be a very difficult and responsible
1 Q. Let me just state that if you could focus your answers to the
2 specific questions, we're going to have plenty time to get into the
3 details as we go along.
4 A. [In English] I understand.
5 Q. But it will be easier if you focus on the specific question.
6 So if you could next tell us, where were you physically located
7 when you were first asked to become the Chief of Staff of the army of the
8 Republika Srpska Krajina?
9 A. [Interpretation] The commander of the army of Serbian Krajina.
10 Previously I was assistant chief for land forces of the army of the SRY,
11 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Montenegro
12 developments, I was advisor to the defence minister. That's to say
13 between February 1995 and May, when I took up my duty as the commander of
14 the army of the Republic of Serbian Krajina.
15 Earlier on if you're interested in the history, I was the
16 commander of the special corps --
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, Mr. Misetic just asked you where were
18 you when you were first asked --
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In Belgrade.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was in Belgrade.
22 MR. MISETIC:
23 Q. Now --
24 JUDGE ORIE: I might interrupt you a couple of times. Again,
25 sometimes questions are far more simple than you think they are. Just
1 where were you, when was it. And if Mr. Misetic wants to know --
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you know how it is. We want
3 to say as much as we can, so I apologise that I'm not keeping within the
4 time-frame that you have in mind, and I hope that you will get back to
5 some issues, some questions.
6 I have no experience whatsoever with testifying. I have never
7 even appeared in court for a traffic incident, let alone anything else.
8 MR. MISETIC:
9 Q. Understood. And I think you will get used to it as we go along.
10 Please, can you clarify, you were the advisor to the minister of defence
11 of which country before you took up your post as commander of the ARSK?
12 A. Well, I that I was Serbia
13 changed rather frequently. Whether it was still the Federal Republic
15 leave this to history. I think Montenegro
16 that Yugoslavia
18 Q. Who approached you about leaving your post as the assistant --
19 sorry, advisor to the minister of defence of the FRY to become the
20 commander of the ARSK?
21 A. I was approached by the chief of the General Staff, or, rather,
22 by the minister who actually relayed the request of the Chief of Staff.
23 I was invited to a meeting, and then minister told me, actually, he told
24 me I should go to a meeting. I think the meeting was at Dedinje, a
25 meeting with President Milosevic where I also -- where also was the
1 president of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, Martic, who was in a
2 difficult emotional situation -- condition, because of the fall of
3 Western Slavonia and everything that was going on. And the request was
4 that I should be appointed the commander and Celeketic replaced.
5 Q. You said you were approached by the chief of the General Staff.
6 What was his name?
7 A. I don't know if it was he who actually told me anything -- or
8 rather the minister, the minister of defence was the one who actually
9 told me to go to this meeting. I can't say for sure now, but the chief
10 of the General Staff at the time was General Perisic, Colonel Perisic.
11 Q. Okay.
12 A. And the minister of defence was the late Pavle Bulatovic.
13 Q. Did they explain to you what they wanted you to do at this
14 meeting that you attended?
15 A. At this meeting, there was only an attempt to actually get me to
16 accept this. They were saying how they needed the best people in order
17 to resolve this issue, because panic had set in among the people after
18 Western Slavonia
19 would be acceptable both to the fighters and to the population there, and
20 also acceptable to the leadership, of course, and, of course,
21 President Milosevic, the late President Milosevic, was also there. He
22 said, We've selected the best men we could find.
23 Q. Now what were you told at this meeting was your task, if you
24 accepted this position.
25 A. Well, at this meeting, I did not accept this new post, and there
1 was no mention of what the tasks would be. The only discussion was about
2 how to -- how can I explain this to you? How to actually get me to
3 accept this role. So this was not the final meeting. There were three
4 or four following this, and there as lot of phone calls. They also
5 called me at home. There were also private phone calls, so that in the
6 end I realised that I would have to go there.
7 As for the tasks, I was issued assignments at another meeting,
8 what it was I was supposed to do and how. And that is precisely what I
9 would like to talk about here, because this has been a heavy burden on my
10 mind and no one has ever asked about this before.
11 Q. I will get to that question in a few minutes.
12 Let me ask you, though, preliminarily, can you explain to us why
13 or what -- what was your understanding of why Mr. Milosevic, Mr. Perisic
14 would be involved in deciding who would be the commander of the ARSK?
15 Why was that decision being taken in the ...
16 A. Mr. Misetic, if I may address you in that way, let me say this.
17 They were not the ones who were to decide on this. Because under the law
18 they did not have the authority to send me to the territory of another
19 republic or state unless I accepted this.
20 So Martic was the final instance who was supposed to decide on
21 this. He was the one who actually submitted the request. And because I
22 was born in that area, I -- I hail from that area, and I knew the
23 functions that I had been on earlier, they knew that I was the only man
24 who could have an influence on the people who lived there.
25 So Martic was the one who asked for this.
1 As for them, they really weren't happy about having to let go of
2 their own personnel. And also, it was in their interest to stabilize the
3 situation and avoid going into war.
4 Q. Well, Mr. Mrksic, General Mrksic, let me show awe document.
5 MR. MISETIC: And, Mr. Registrar, this is 65 ter 1D1077, please.
6 Q. What I'm going to show you is a transcript of an intercepted
7 telephone conversation between Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Perisic on the 18th
8 of May, and I will alert the Chamber already that I, just as I was
9 standing here, noted a translation issue, the English translation.
10 But, Mr. General Mrksic, you will understand it in the original.
11 If we go down a little bit on the first page.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Has the transcript been provided to the --
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The 18th of May, right?
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, we're talking about intercepted telephone
16 MR. MISETIC: I'm not playing the audio, I'm just -- [Overlapping
17 speakers] ...
18 JUDGE ORIE: You're not playing the audio.
19 MR. MISETIC: [Overlapping speakers] ...
20 Q. Yes, 18th of May. And if you see M, I believe, refers to --
21 A. Yes, Martic.
22 Q. No. M refers to Mr. - let me see - Mr. Perisic, and S is
23 Mr. Milosevic.
24 A. All right.
25 Q. And if we go down and read this, they greet each other. And then
1 it says -- S says:
2 "Look I have just received a report. Martic has gone completely
4 And then it says: "Yes" --
5 A. Yes.
6 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I ask your permission if I could
7 read out --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, if you would read it out the relevant portion
10 MR. MISETIC:
11 Q. The next sentence says:
12 [Interpretation] "He has gone mad after he heard of the
13 appointment of Mrksic."
14 [In English] Now, and then it goes on. Let me finish reading the
15 relevant portions to you, and then I will ask for your comments.
16 He says:
17 "Now he does not know how to evade his involvement. He has
18 agreed with Karadzic to pursue some sort of urgent unification so that
19 Karadzic would become president and Martic an army commander. Thus, they
20 would eliminate both Mrksic and Mladic with Krajisnik as prime minister."
21 And then if we turn the page in English, please --
22 A. All right.
23 Q. -- and in the B/C/S. It says:
24 M, again, is Mr. Perisic:
25 "Here's what we will do. I want Mrksic" --
1 A. What do you mean M is Perisic? Oh, Momcilo you mean.
2 Q. Yeah.
3 "Here's what we will do. I want Mrksic in my office tomorrow at
5 "Very well. Because is he going to this assembly meeting there.
6 You know where?"
7 A. That's right. This would have been either Borovo Selo or Dalj.
8 That's where I was appointed to be commander of the assembly. Martic was
9 only the proposer. He proposed to the assembly; he did not appoint
11 JUDGE ORIE: Could I ask you to wait until Mr. Misetic -- he is
12 just reading at this moment to make you acquainted with the text, and
13 then he will ask a question which could be anything. But wait until he
14 has put his question to you.
15 Please proceed, Mr. Misetic.
16 MR. MISETIC:
17 Q. Now S continues on a little bit lower and says:
18 "And tell Mile not to worry. The assembly will be all right. He
19 will ... the government will be all right, and none of his ramblings
20 [sic] will have any consequences."
21 A. What does he mean -- I mean whom does he mean when he says
23 JUDGE ORIE: You would wait until the question would be put to
24 you. You can ask if you do not understand, but wait for a moment.
25 MR. MISETIC: If we can turn the page one more time. Right in
1 the middle of the page it says:
2 "Right. This is what I will do with Loncar, and you need not
3 worry. I will" --
4 And then S for Slobodan, says:
5 "Tell him to communicate with no one else but Mrksic and not to
6 accept any orders from Martic."
7 Now my question to you is: At this time do you recall having
8 conversations with either Mr. Milosevic or Mr. Perisic or both?
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Russo.
10 MR. RUSSO: Mr. President, I don't necessarily have a problem
11 with this particular question, but I do want to object to the procedure
12 of putting a document to a witness on direct examination, reading it to
13 him. There's been no foundation for the document itself.
14 Representations have been made about who is speaking in it, what they are
15 saying. I think that this is it leading the witness in an inappropriate
16 way. He should be asked, first of all, if he is aware of this
17 conversation, and he should be asked before being shown the document
18 questions regarding what's in it before being introduced to what other
19 people have said about a matter with which he is going to be questioned.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Russo, you is said you have no objection to this
21 question. I think what you said is well understood by Mr. Misetic. I
22 cannot exactly know whether it was covered already by the earlier
23 question, yes or no. But since there is no objection against this
24 question, the witness may answer it.
25 MR. MISETIC: Yes. Let me ask that preliminary question, and
1 then I will --
2 JUDGE ORIE: The question was whether you had any conversations
3 at that point in time with Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Perisic.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, or Mr. Misetic, I have
5 no idea what you're showing me here. This is the first time that I see
6 this. Nor did I ever have occasion to hear of these conversations at an
7 assembly session, I was approached by a man who told me to show up at the
8 command post.
9 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear at what place.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And then I got there they told me
11 go to Karadjordjevo; the president is waiting for you there.
12 President Milosevic. And I'm glad you put this question because that is
13 exactly what I would want to talk about.
14 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, the reason I put this to him is
15 because the witness has testified that he was chosen by Mr. Martic. I
16 have already prepared on the issue of leading. I, just for the record,
17 given the circumstances here, call on the -- or just cite to the decision
18 of the Appeals Chamber of 1 February 2008
19 decision on impeachment of a party's own witness and ask that if this
20 objection is going to continue that the Appeals Chamber's ruling there
21 about the latitude given in direct examination on a case-by-case,
22 question-by-question basis apply here.
23 JUDGE ORIE: There is a law which says that the Court knows the
24 laws, but it is good that you have drawn our attention to a specific
1 Mr. Russo, I take it that you have some understanding for the
2 position of the Defence at this moment who has had no opportunity to
3 speak with the witness before.
4 MR. RUSSO: [Overlapping speakers] ... Let me say first, I'm not
5 familiar with this particular decision. I'm aware that the Chamber
6 certainly has the authority --
7 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ... No, I'm more or less --
8 I was -- always, I'm serious, but I think I expressed that I had no vivid
9 knowledge of this decision right at the spot. So, therefore, we will
10 look at it. And if you do the same, then we will see how we proceed.
11 MR. RUSSO: That's fine, Mr. President. Up to the point where
12 the matter is decided, I do have a standing objection to this process of
13 putting documents to a witness on direct examination which are leading.
14 JUDGE ORIE: That's on the record, and as I said before --
15 MR. MISETIC: Sorry. And I need to respond to one other matter.
16 In terms of the procedure and fairness, I would -- if we're going to
17 develop with this issue, what the Prosecution did in its case in chief
18 was put documents to witnesses, put it in a 92 ter, and then get around
19 the leading issue by saying it is in his 92 ter. So given that we have
20 had no opportunity to take a 92 ter, we think that, in terms of fairness,
21 that should be also taken into consideration.
22 JUDGE ORIE: We'll further consider the matter, and the standing
23 objection is on the record, Mr. Russo.
24 MR. MISETIC: Thank you.
25 Mr. President, I ask that this exhibit be marked, and I tender it
1 into evidence.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Russo.
3 MR. RUSSO: Again, Mr. President, I will object for lack of
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, could you please have it marked for
7 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1508,
8 marked for identification.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
10 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Q. Now, sir, you referred to a meeting of the Assembly. Can you
12 tell us what transpired at that meeting, in terms of your appointment?
13 A. Well, I know that there was some discussion on the responsibility
14 of Mikelic for the fall of Western Slavonia and Celeketic's
15 responsibility. But all I recall about myself was that I was appointed
16 commander, and I also remember that I was told after this session of
17 parliament that I should go to the Karadjordjevo villa where
18 President Milosevic was, that he was awaiting me. And I went there with
19 my security right away for a conversation, and the two of us spent some
20 two hours in conversation, maybe even longer, and that is what I would
21 like to talk about here. Because that was the key conversation, that
22 conversation between us was key for me and for everything that happened
23 afterwards, and yet there have been no documents shown or any notes shown
24 from the meeting.
25 It says here that Martic was not in favour of my appointment. I
1 think that's what you were trying to show. There were some documents
2 where he was actually complaining about my appointment. That is true.
3 However, he was forced by circumstance to accept me because he knew, as
4 the previous commanders were.
5 Q. He knew as -- if you could just finish that sentence. He knew as
6 the previous commanders were, what?
7 A. Well, he knew that I was a different type of commander, because
8 with previous commanders there were issues. He knew that I was a
9 professional who would not really meddle in political affairs; I would
10 just asked for assignments to be carried out; and I would impose issues
11 that had to be resolved.
12 And I did not have any kind of problem with figures of authority,
13 Milosevic, or Karadzic, or Mladic, or anyone. For me, the only authority
14 was the people.
15 Q. Just for our communication, if I put up my hand, I'm trying to
16 signal to you if could you stop, so that the translators can finish, and
17 I will put another question to you, okay?
18 Now let's talk about this meeting that you have brought up with
19 President Milosevic in Karadjordjevo. First can you tell us when that
20 conversation took place?
21 A. That's correct. That conversation took place right after the
22 Assembly session. Well, it could have been what, some two hours that it
23 took me to get to Karadjordjevo from Borovo Selo. I went -- we travelled
24 via Ilok. I think the session was at that afternoon, maybe around noon
25 I can't tell you exactly. I can't recall exactly.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, I want to ask you two things. First,
2 not to give any details you were not asked for, because the question was
3 when that conversation took place.
4 Now you are telling us by what route you went there, which
5 Mr. Misetic might not be interested in. So just say two hours after the
6 Assembly meeting, or on the 24th of May at 3.00 in the afternoon. But
7 just focus your answer on the question; that's one.
8 Second is that you're speaking very quickly. Could I ask you to
9 slow down; that's one. And also to make a short break between question
10 and answer. If you have finished your answer, it takes a while before it
11 is translated for us. So Mr. Misetic then waits until the translation is
12 finished and then puts his next question to you.
13 Now, if you start adding anything to your answer while
14 Mr. Misetic is still waiting for the translation to be finished, then the
15 interpreters cannot follow us anymore. And apart from that, Mr. Misetic
16 may be satisfied with your answer already and would like to put his next
17 question to you.
18 Could you please try to keep that in mind?
19 Mr. Misetic.
20 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Q. Now, at this meeting with President Milosevic in Karadjordjevo,
22 what did President Milosevic tell you?
23 A. President Milosevic, as far as I can recall, because I don't have
24 any documents or any papers, I had to return all those after the fall of
25 the Krajina. I don't have any official notes and the rest. But the
1 essence was the following.
2 As I had already been sent there earlier before that Assembly
3 session and I was advised of the situation in Krajina because I received
4 reports from different corps, I already knew what the situation was like
5 there, and I could talk about it with him.
6 So the -- the gist was this. That this issue could no longer be
7 resolved by military means. That it would have to be resolved by
8 political means. Western Slavonia showed that the Croatian forces had
9 grown to such an extent that the balance of power had changed, that we --
10 that we had to actually try to influence the -- the perceptions among our
11 leaders and also the understanding that the people had on the situation
12 on the ground and to try to find a situation -- to try to make the people
13 realize that they would have to accommodate the other side and stay
14 there. And then I asked him, Well, how do we do this? And he said, The
15 leaders there, the president and also Mikelic, the president of
16 parliament, who was supposed to retire at the time, but that I should
17 talk to them and by -- in exerting my authority to try to prevent the
18 unification of the Republic of Serbian Krajina and Republika Srpska,
19 because this is something that is unacceptable under some international
20 standards, and it would only be actually throwing sand in the eyes of the
21 people. And that I should take immediate action within the army so that
22 the people would change their intentions, because they had already packed
23 for leaving. So what he was telling me basically was, Please try and do
24 whatever you can so that the people would again trust the army.
25 So he said, Here, you have five to six months. You will have up
1 to November to create this new atmosphere within the army. And I had
2 intended to create various corps and that each corps should have a
3 reserve brigade. And it was important to understand that it was not
4 logistically possible to go into war, it was not reasonable, that we
5 would have to try to find other methods so that people can live together
7 Milosevic told me, Mile, I know that Western Slavonia is far, and
8 I know that Knin and Vukovar are very far. I will -- I want you to take
9 care of these 4th Corps. And I will give the same assignment so these
10 other commanders.
11 So my job was, You are supposed to change the perception among
12 the people of the role of the army. And once that happens, then it is
13 easy to persuade the people to stay.
14 And then he told me -- and then he told me, Just put your paw on
15 all TV programmes.
16 Q. Okay. Well, let's get to this then.
17 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if we could have Exhibit D923,
18 please, on the screen.
19 Q. General Mrksic, I'm going to show you a document on the screen.
20 Do you recall filing a report after Operation Storm to the chief
21 of the Main Staff of the Yugoslav Army about the activities of the RSK
22 from 4 August to 10 August 1995
23 If we could turn to the last page so you can see the stamp.
24 A. I can see.
25 Q. Is that your signature, sir?
1 A. All right. Yes. But could you just scroll it to the left so
2 that can I see who actually drafted this document.
3 This is my signature, but they wouldn't dare submit a document of
4 this type for me to sign.
5 Q. Well, where were you on the 26th of August --
6 A. And I will tell you immediately why.
7 Q. Yes.
8 A. The 26th of August?
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. I was in Banja Luka. But why am I saying this? Well, I'm saying
11 this because of other documents that you might show here, and there will
12 be various documents bearing my signature. But let me say this: I am a
13 professional, a general who had been schooled and appointed to the
14 highest duties. It is absolutely unthinkable that a document should be
15 signed by me without indication as to who had drafted it and who had
16 typed it. Anyone who had gone through some schooling would know this, so
17 this would not happen, not even to a squad leader in my army.
18 Now as for the contents, we can discuss it if I recall what it is
19 that it's talking about. But, first of all, we have to establish whether
20 is this actually my document, because in technical terms, in the terms of
21 its form, it is not a document -- it is impossible this is a document
22 that I would have signed.
23 Q. Let me ask you, sir. Did you file a report after Operation Storm
24 to the chief of the Main Staff of the Yugoslav Army?
25 A. We submitted not only reports but entire analyses produced by a
1 whole team. It's not a -- an insignificant matter to lose a war, to lose
2 a territory, and to lose a people. We did this job seriously. And it
3 was a study, even.
4 Q. Okay. Well, let's look at this document then.
5 MR. MISETIC: And if we could go back to the first page, please.
6 Q. Now if you look at section 1, it says:
7 "Situation within the SVK, conditions and characteristics of the
8 situation preceding the aggression?"
9 Now, it says in the first paragraph:
10 "In June there was a day and night work on reorganizing the
11 existing military organisation and establishing new units out of military
12 conscripts who were being brought from the territory of the FRY."
13 Now, is that statement there accurate? Were you in fact working
14 day and night to re-organise the military and establish new units from
15 military conscripts?
16 A. Yes, that's right. We were reorganizing the situation as it was.
17 I apologise, may I explain this. When I got there, I analysed --
18 This will save you additional questions you might have.
19 Q. I will ask you the questions, and I'm sure you will have an
20 opportunity to provide the information you wish.
21 Now --
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic -- Mr. Misetic, I'm at the same time
23 looking at the clock. Could you find within the next three or four
24 minutes a suitable moment for a break.
25 MR. MISETIC: Sure.
1 Q. Mr. Mrksic, if we turn the page in the English, and I think it's
2 still the same in the B/C/S. It says:
3 "Strengthening of the established organisation and making it
4 capable of carrying out combat activities required a minimum time-period
5 of two to three months (the reorganisation of the SVK, which had already
6 started was planned to conclude until the beginning of October, at the
8 Can you tell us briefly in just a few minutes - and we will pick
9 up on it after the break - what you were doing specifically in terms of
10 reorganisation that was going to be completed at the beginning of
12 A. Specifically, we were working toward creating a professional
13 army, the sort of army that Croatia
14 army that would not be linked to their land -- whatever. An army that
15 would be capable of deploying to Grahovo, to other areas that were part
16 of the Republic of Serbian
17 This was the -- this referred to the forces that were under my
18 command. The highest quality personnel fled as early as in 1994, 1995 to
20 reorganisation consisted of.
21 Certain tactical groups were supposed to be formed up to the
22 level of brigades within the corps that were supposed to solve specific
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, it is now that we have received the
25 interpretation of your words. We would rather not miss a word of what
1 you say, so if you slow down your speed of speech that would ...
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do recall at my trial that we
3 kept on slowing witnesses down, and I always wondered how it was that
4 they would never understand that they should slow down, so I do apologise
5 to the interpreters.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MR. MISETIC: This is a good time for a break, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: It is a good time for a break.
9 We will have a break, and we will resume at five minutes to 6.00.
10 [The witness stands down]
11 --- Recess taken at 5.36 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 6.03 p.m.
13 JUDGE ORIE: May the witness be brought into the courtroom.
14 [The witness takes the stand]
15 JUDGE ORIE: Before you restart, Mr. Misetic.
16 Mr. Mrksic, if everything goes well, tomorrow - and let me just
17 see, we are sitting, Mr. Registrar, afternoon? Morning - that somewhere
18 during tomorrow morning, that counsel will arrive that could then further
19 be present with this limited role, but that's -- there's a fair chance
20 that that will happen. He might not be there in the beginning of the
21 morning but perhaps at the end of the morning session.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Domazet. Who is it you are
23 referring to? Your Honour, who do you have in mind, Domazet or Vasic, or
24 you don't know?
25 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ...
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Domazet, thank you.
2 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. General Mrksic, picking up where we left off about this
5 Do you know what the special purposes corps was in the ARSK, and
6 can you tell us how that was created?
7 A. Mr. Misetic, the special purpose corps was named a corps, but far
8 be it that it was a corps. You know that corps normally have their AORs.
9 It had few men, but it was very efficient. Had the top notch weaponry,
10 94 guns at its disposal, the extent of which the RSK had at the time.
11 You see when I came to the Krajina to tour the army, I saw the
12 M84 tanks, and they were the cutting edge technology. And I suggested to
13 the Supreme Defence Council that I should build up the forces in an area,
14 and I meant tanks, APCs, 130-millimetre artillery, multi-barrel rocket
15 launchers, Orkans, Dvinas, Nevas, all these systems, which left outside
16 the control, could be very dangerous. And a brigade was formed from the
17 ranks of the very best infantry men in order to provide technical support
18 to the hardware.
19 I tried to make sure that professional employment contracts were
20 set up, and by the St. Vitus Day, the corps was in fact formed.
21 Q. Okay. Now, what were you going to use that corps for?
22 A. The corps's purpose was a preventative one. Should there be a
23 sudden incursion or advancement as happened in Western Slavonia, it
24 should be there to stop the advancement.
25 Its significance was more a psychological one, to restore the
1 confidence of the people into the army, to reassure them that they could
2 remain there, and to show both to the international community and the
3 Republic of Croatia
4 not in a war. The purpose was to make sure that negotiations were
5 embarked on, and not military activity. That's why I set it up.
6 Q. Do you know what the Pauk command was?
7 A. I don't think that this fell within the zone. It opens up
8 different issues that have nothing to do with this. I can tell you that
9 the first combat experience that the corps had --
10 JUDGE ORIE: The question simply was whether you know what the
11 Pauk command was. If you know, say yes; if you don't know, say no.
12 Whether it's a different issue or not, that's for Mr. Misetic to --
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, Mr. Misetic, I did
14 hear of the Pauk command which was part of western Bosnia, within the
15 area of Fikret Abdic. It had not been subordinated to me until the start
16 of combat activities in western Bosnia
17 July, the objective of that activity being that certain villages that
18 were part of the Cazin Krajina or, rather, they were on the fringes of
19 the Cazin Krajina and wanted to come under his command, Abdic's command,
20 it was to -- to that end that these forces were used. The Pauk command
21 and Fikret's forces seized the territories I referred to, and made sure
22 that the people who occupied the area joined their side. That particular
23 command was there before I came into the area.
24 JUDGE ORIE: It's now approximately that we've received the
1 Please proceed.
2 MR. MISETIC: Thank you.
3 Q. What units comprised the Pauk command or were under the command
4 of Pauk?
5 A. Either the command or the forces involved is something that I
6 never had occasion to learn. These were units under the command of
7 Fikret Abdic. They were subject to a special regime, and I cannot tell
8 you anything about it. I know that some 10.000 men were involved.
9 That's what I was told, that that was manpower I could count on. But
10 that's quite a different topic that we can broach.
11 Q. Mr. Mrksic, were you aware of any units of the Serbian SDB under
12 Frenki Simatovic or Jovica Stanisic operating in the territory of the
13 Pauk command?
14 A. I don't think that there were units there. There were only
15 individuals who were commanders of these units who were under
16 Fikret Abdic. And I'm sure those who were in the legion among you know
17 that, that these were merely units deployed in an area and cooperating.
18 They disagreed with the policies of the 5th Corps. I don't know who
19 personally who these persons were. I may have heard about them, but I
20 didn't inquire about that; I wasn't interest.
21 Q. Well, Mr. Mrksic, do you recall being in Belgrade at the end of
22 June and attending any meetings at which Mr. Perisic, Mr. Milosevic,
23 Ratko Mladic, and Jovica Stanisic were present, along with you?
24 A. There were meetings. I don't know what you have in mind. There
25 was one meeting where a decision was taken to launch an action to --
1 involving Fikret Abdic.
2 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear what exactly.
3 A. We did plan an operation to that effect.
4 MR. MISETIC:
5 Q. And --
6 A. However, this had -- [Previous translation continues] ... nothing
7 to do with the Dalmatian -- I could testify about that on some other
8 occasion, perhaps.
9 Q. You seem to be under the impression, and it hasn't been picked up
10 by the translation, that you get to decide what is relevant to
11 General Gotovina's case. And if you would please simply answer the
12 questions that I put to you, and if is there is something outside of the
13 indictment, our colleagues on the Prosecution will be sure to rise on
14 their feet and object. But in the meantime, if you would please answer
15 my questions, I would appreciate it.
16 Now at this meeting or meetings that you reference at the end of
17 June, do you recall Mr. Stanisic indicating that he had any forces under
18 his command, that he could send to assist in this operation that you have
19 now referred to?
20 A. I don't remember. I would have to have a look. I'm not familiar
21 with the minutes. I don't have the documents, and there were several
22 such meetings. I only know that the general position was that this
23 action should be launched in order for more room for manoeuvre to be
24 created for Fikret Abdic so that the people could join him.
25 Q. Well, I will show you some notes from that meeting in a minute.
1 But what I'd like to know right now is what you recollect.
2 And in those meetings concerning the Pauk command an operations
3 in western Bosnia
4 that operation in the Bihac pocket?
5 A. I controlled my forces, and over Krslja, I exerted pressure in
6 order for them to carry out their objectives. That's why the special
7 purpose corps was there. The forces came from the direction of Kladusa
8 and from the mountain, and they were Muslim forces that were under the
9 Pauk command.
10 Q. Well, in addition to forces that you were commanding, were there
11 also forces sent from the Serbian SDB?
12 A. I don't know. There was some talk of it, of some forces that may
13 have come from Eastern Slavonia or from Republika Srpska, from MUP, but
14 they did not come in my AOR
15 wasn't able to know what was going on there. I was at the command post
16 of Slunj, and Krslja is right across the Korana. So I can't tell you
17 what it was that happened in their area. It was a separate system that
18 we did not meddle with that much.
19 Q. Do you know Frenki Simatovic?
20 A. I do. He is here in the detention as well.
21 Q. Did you know Frenki Simatovic in 1995?
22 A. I did. But I did not see him in 1995. I would see him more
23 often in 1994 in Belgrade
24 Q. Did you communicate with Frenki Simatovic in 1995 by telephone or
25 other means?
1 A. I don't remember.
2 Q. Did Frenki Simatovic --
3 A. I had such powers as did not require me to call Frenki or have
4 any dealings with him. There was General Novakovic who was in Pauk
5 coordinating matters. Cedo Bulat as well.
6 Q. Well, what was Frenki Simatovic, in 1995, in your understanding,
7 what was his function?
8 A. I think he was one of the assistants in the DB sector for these
9 -- well, I don't know what sort of sectors they had there. He was in one
10 of the sectors. He was the assistant there.
11 Q. I think -- well, the DB sector of Serbia; correct?
12 A. Serbia
13 Q. Now this sector, did it involve having combat units?
14 A. As far as I know, there were some combat units that were called
15 red berets or something of that sort. These were special units carrying
16 out specific assignments. Fikret Abdic could not have set up an army on
17 his own without these specialists who were charged with specific
18 assignments. What their strength was, I didn't know, and I didn't ask
20 Q. Sir, do you know who Milorad Ulemek Legija is?
21 A. Yes, Legia, yes, I do.
22 Q. Did you know -- I'm sorry, did you communicate Milorad Ulemek
23 Legija in 1995?
24 A. He was there when the assignment for action called Sword much [as
25 interpreted] was issued. This was in the month of July. He was there to
1 receive assignments. I asked him how would he be carrying out
2 assignments, and he said that there, in the Foreign Legion, he only knew
3 of a squad. He didn't know how he should be issuing these assignments to
4 brigades. And he was part of Fikret Abdic's forces at the time. And his
5 attitude toward the assignment was very correct.
6 Q. Now, who, under whose command was Milorad Ulemek Legija?
7 A. He was under Pauk's command. It was General Novakovic and Bulat.
8 As for them, they were subject to professional monitoring from, probably
9 in addition to Fikret Abdic's staff, somebody from the DB. I don't know
10 who and when they came. But this was a separate structure. It was in
11 Kladusa, whereas I was in Slunj.
12 Q. At this meeting or meetings in Belgrade at the end of June 1995,
13 do you recall why this operation was being launched? Any discussion of
14 why it was being launched?
15 A. Yes. The operation was launched, and I was supposed to accompany
16 the forces that I formed. You didn't allow me to tell you what it was
17 that I did concerning the army, and I hope you will, because it will
18 prove important for some other matters that will come up later. And I am
19 expecting these questions.
20 We were supposed to start developing a plan to sever the forces
21 in Livanjsko Polje, and a counterattack was supposed to be carried there
22 by the forces of Republika Srpska and the RSK jointly in order to prevent
23 Knin from being cut off which in fact happened. However, the VRS had
24 some other priorities, I don't know which, and they gave up on this
25 participation. Whereas, I wasn't able to deploy in their area because
1 there was General Milovanovic there and a major, a lady, who told me that
2 I was not entitled to go into the their AOR. They only said, Just give
3 me a unit, give me some hardware, and whatever they -- whatever we
4 managed to seize during the day, they would then lose during the night.
5 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ...
6 MR. MISETIC: [Previous translation continues] ...
7 THE WITNESS: So we would have two steps forward; one step back.
8 And I was angry at the time because --
9 MR. MISETIC:
10 Q. Mr. Mrksic, for the purposes of the proceedings, if I could avoid
11 directing to your comments sitting to people behind me --
12 [Overlapping speakers]
13 THE WITNESS: [Previous translation continues] ... We are
14 soldiers. We understand each other.
15 JUDGE ORIE: As far as discipline is concerned, I take it that
16 reducing the speed of speech will be part of your discipline now.
17 THE WITNESS: [In English] Yes, yes. Thank you.
18 [Interpretation] Just caution me, and I will obey.
19 MR. MISETIC: The translation was, If you issue a disciplinary
20 measure, I will obey it. But that's fine.
21 Q. General, were you sensing that you understand my questions in
22 English. And for the purpose of the interpreters in the booth and the
23 transcribers, you still need to wait for the translation to finish in
24 your ears so that you start with your answer.
25 Now, let's go back to what my original question was, which is:
1 Why were you launching an operation against the Bihac pocket, or in the
2 Bihac pocket?
3 A. I didn't launch the operation. The Bihac pocket was secondary to
4 my priorities, one of which was Dinara, as well as Livno and Grahovo.
5 Q. Let's go to this report, and I'll maybe help you get to where the
6 specific question is.
7 MR. MISETIC: If we could turn to page 3 in the English, please.
8 Q. Now, this operation, if you were to follow the context of what
9 precedes the paragraph starts: "The initiation of the operations ..."
10 It says:
11 "The initiation of the operations against the 5th Muslim
12 Corps" -- and that would be the corps in the Bihac pocket; correct?
13 Do you have this in front of you, General?
14 A. Yes -- no, no, I don't have it.
15 Q. The top of page two in the B/C/S, please.
16 A. Yes, I can see that.
17 MR. MISETIC:
18 Q. The 5th Muslim Corps is the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina
19 in the Bihac Pocket; correct?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. Now it says:
22 "The initiation of the operations against the 5th Muslim Corps,
23 without the necessary readiness, particularly damaged the SVK, which was
24 always, as if according to some rule, being pushed into the fighting for
25 the territories of western Bosnia
1 Do you see that?
2 A. I do.
3 Q. Who's pushing the ARSK to fight for the territories of western
5 commander of the Main Staff of the ARSK. So who's pushing to fight for
6 the territories of western Bosnia
7 A. A meeting was held in Belgrade
8 you say, President Milosevic, and I believe there was also Perisic, and
9 someone else was there from Republika Srpska as well - I was there as
10 well - where I raised as the major issue, the axis across the Dinara.
11 However, a conclusion was arrived, and somebody told Fikret Abdic that
12 the inhabitants of the areas on the fringes of Cazin could hardly wait
13 for an action to be launched in order for them to join his side by
14 plebescite. It was concluded at the time that this would help the
15 creation of -- you know, that the Republic of Serbian Krajina
16 thinnest in the stretch from Ogulin toward Bihac. It wasn't an inhabited
17 area, and it was not difficult to capture. It would only take a day.
18 And if we look at the defence of the RSK on the operative level
19 and in terms of any surprise, hinterland had to be assured so that he
20 would have your back covered. Because it was difficult for us to hold
21 the line that was in front of us, and let alone the line that faced the
22 5th Corp. For this reason --
23 JUDGE ORIE: You have pressed yourself on for 15 lines. I still
24 do not know who was pushing. You're referred to meeting; was someone at
25 the meeting pushing, and, if so, who was it?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the request of Fikret Abdic, it
2 was President Milosevic who took up the position that the matter should
3 be resolved and that they should be helped. And he said, Mile, go over
4 there. Once this issue has been settled, go over there and see what you
5 request do about the Dinara.
6 JUDGE ORIE: So the simple answer seems to be, Who was pushing?
7 It was Fikret Abdic who got the support of Mr. Milosevic; they pushed it.
8 Is that ...
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Fikret Abdic could not issue
10 commands to me. He could submit a request to President Milosevic who
11 would then call Martic and so on, including me, and then a decision could
12 be made of that -- to that effect.
13 That decision was also in our favour because I needed to get some
14 security for my rear so I needed some depth of the territory.
15 JUDGE ORIE: I'm still trying to understand. Was it those at the
16 meeting who were pushing, as it was reported? Is that how I have to
17 understand your answer? Because that's the simple question. In the
18 report it says that -- and let me take it back for a second. It was read
19 to you by Mr. Misetic that you were -- the ARSK was pushed to fight for
20 the territories of western Bosnia
21 Is now your answer that those who pushed you were those present
22 at that meeting?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Try to focus, because you explained to us
25 whether -- what it was good for to do it, many other things. But
1 Mr. Misetic just wants to know who pushed you. And the answer could be
2 given in two or three lines: At a meeting in Belgrade where those and
3 those and those were present. We were pushed, or the ARSK was pushed --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I can't remember who all were
5 present there. Maybe you can read the names out to me and then maybe
6 that will help jog my memory.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Misetic.
8 MR. MISETIC:
9 Q. Yes, let me see if we can refresh your memory, General Mrksic.
10 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, this is Exhibit D1465.
11 Q. Mr. Mrksic --
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, I noted that 1D1077, you did not tender
13 that. Was that your intention? That's the transcript,
15 MR. MISETIC: I believe you MFI'd that one, if I'm not mistaken.
16 JUDGE ORIE: I don't think that one was MFI'd.
17 Yes, I see that. Yes, it has been MFI'd. Yes as D1508. Yes.
18 MR. MISETIC:
19 Q. Now, General Mrksic, this is the diary of Ratko Mladic which --
20 and --
21 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if we could go to B/C/S page 206 and
22 English page 201, please.
23 Q. Now this is -- you can see on the left-hand part of your screen,
24 a meeting purported to be on the 29th of June, 1995 -- I'll wait for the
25 English translation to be uploaded. There we go.
1 BGD, Belgrade
2 present at the meeting are Milosevic, Bulatovic, Perisic, Mrksic, and
3 presumably Mladic is the person taking the notes. If you look through
4 these notes, it is says SM, which by the initials, would seem to be
5 Slobodan Milosevic.
6 "Now have you stopped the Croat Muslim offensive. We helped you,
7 but we are at our last gasp.
8 "Republika Srpska is ensured, we must seal it and place emphasis
9 on the RSK and defend it."
10 MR. MISETIC: And if we could go to page 201 in the English.
11 I believe if we can turn the page in the B/C/S; perhaps 2 pages.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, I'm a bit lost. I'm now at 3rd of
14 MR. MISETIC: [Microphone not activated]
15 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
16 MR. MISETIC: If we could go back to we were in the English and
17 go two pages forward. I apologise. I'm using a different pagination in
18 my notes. I believe it would be page 203. Perhaps page 208 in the
19 B/C/S. That's it. Now, there's an entry --
20 I have to trust that the B/C/S is reflecting this accurately. I
21 don't read Cyrillic, Mr. President, so ... okay.
22 Q. It says:
23 "We must install RS and then defend the RSK.
24 "What would you give them, I ask him."
25 SM: "I would give Vogosca and Ilijas."
1 Now, General Mrksic, without much detail, can you tell the Court
2 where are Vogosca and Ilijas?
3 A. Vogosca and Ilijas were Sarajevo
4 Q. Then it goes on:
5 "They need a link with Sarajevo, Zenica, and Tuzla
6 enlarge on account of Fikret. I would not touch the enclaves; they are
7 islands which will run out."
8 Now, do you recall being present at a meeting where this
9 conversation -- is this the meeting that you were talking about, a
10 conversation to this effect?
11 A. Mr. Misetic, there were a number of meetings, and I can't recall
12 whether this was at this particular meeting. There was a meeting, I
13 remember, but what is written down here, that's not what transpired at
14 the meeting. There was a meeting which I attended, where there was an
15 inform conversation, and I wasn't even invited to the meeting. I was
16 invited once it was over.
17 Q. Well, do you recall -- let me just ask the question.
18 Do you recall being present at a meeting in Belgrade where
19 Mr. Milosevic was present, Mr. Perisic was present, Mr. Mladic was
20 present, and you were present at which there was a discussion about
21 giving Vogosca and Ilijas an enlarging on account of Fikret?
22 A. I did not attend a meeting where that was discussed. The meeting
23 where I was, was an informal meeting. It was a relaxed atmosphere. It
24 was in the evening. And there was no mention of seeding territory and so
25 on and so forth. President Milosevic and Mladic bantered. There were
1 discussing -- they were saying something about the microphone, the
2 tape-recorder, and so on and so forth.
3 So it didn't really look like a meeting, nor were any notes kept.
4 I didn't see anyone keeping any notes, nor did I write anything down in
5 my notebook, nor did I get any assignments. It was just an informal
6 meeting, and I noticed that what was said in this informal atmosphere was
7 that mile should be given some help in order to survive there. But I
8 heard nothing of this sort.
9 Q. Let's move on to the next day.
10 MR. MISETIC: And this is three pages forward in the English,
11 Mr. Registrar. This is it another meeting, the 30th of June, 1995
12 page 211 in the B/C/S.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Are we talking about the 30th of June?
14 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Which I find, at least, the witness being present.
16 MR. MISETIC: Yes, it's in the notes. Page 206 in the English.
17 JUDGE ORIE: 206 out of 334, yes.
18 MR. MISETIC:
19 Q. Now, Mr. Mrksic, this is 30 June 1995. It says it's a meeting
20 with President Milosevic at the Yugoslav Army General Staff. And then
21 President Milosevic:
22 "I called FA," Fikret Abdic, "to tell us what is new in the Bihac
23 pocket. That is very important for us. We must do something so he can
24 take Cazin. And then it will be easier later. And then FA proceeds to
25 apparently speak.
1 MR. MISETIC: And if we could turn the page, please.
2 Q. There's an entry that says:
3 "Legija and Bozovic had contact with Nanic through a Motorola.
4 We could take Cazin in two weeks if we had 1500 men."
5 Now, first can you tell the Court who Bozovic is?
6 A. Bozovic was at the same level as this other guy, what was his
8 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
9 A. As Legija, yes.
10 The two of them were representatives of two structures; they were
11 instructors, as it were. I think this is according to the legion code.
12 So they were instructors in the army of Fikret Abdic and each of them had
13 under their control one and a half to two brigades and conducted
14 operations with him, yes, he was an instructor. And whenever it was
15 necessary to get an assignment for Pauk, they would be the ones who would
16 attend. And they would just convey that information to Fikret Abdic. He
17 was not present. And this Nanic guy, he was some sort of official from
18 the 5th Corps, but I don't know exactly what he was, but I heard that
19 later on he got killed.
20 Q. Was Jovica Stanisic present at this meeting?
21 A. I don't know if his name is mentioned here in the notes. I can't
22 really recall on my own, but if it is in the notes, then we should
23 believe it; right?
24 Q. If you go to the next sentence it says JS. [Microphone not
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
3 A. Yes, yes, probably Jovica Stanisic. JS. Well, those are his
4 initials. I assume that probably that is him. And if we can see from
5 the notes that he took part in this discussion, I can't really -- I can't
6 really remember the -- there were five to six men. I can't remember
7 exact who was there and who wasn't.
8 Q. Yes, well, I ask because that sentence says:
9 "JS: Which forces can Mr. Mrksic engage?"
10 And then what about the police from Banja Luka, et cetera. And
11 then it goes on. And you have mentioned some of this --
12 MR. MISETIC: If we turn the page here.
13 Q. You've talked about a discussion, I believe earlier in your
14 testimony in this session, about you were asked to go in the Bihac
15 pocket, but you were talking about Livno.
16 MR. MISETIC: And if we turn to that page --
17 A. Yes, my plan was to -- Livno, Livno was my plan.
18 MR. MISETIC:
19 Q. If you look at -- in the middle of this page, SM, which again is
20 presumably Slobodan Milosevic.
21 "I think it is important to resolve the 5th Corps as soon as
22 possible and then to try cutting off near Livno."
23 Do you recall, as part of the conversation, that Mr. Milosevic
24 said this?
25 A. I think that he did say that, because I kept insisting on the
1 importance of Livno. I considered that Livno was of crucial importance
2 for the -- for Republika Srpska.
3 So the Dinara and not the 5th Corp. And he probably said that in
4 order to actually satisfy both needs, but Republika Srpska failed
5 completely in this respect.
6 Q. Explain to the Chamber why Livno was of crucial importance.
7 A. Well, when I say Livno, I don't mean that we would attack the
8 town of Livno. Rather, we would come in contact with the forces at
9 Livanjsko Polje so that the axis, Knin-Drvar could no longer be
10 threatened. We I think in this way we would shift the front line, and
11 this would return -- in this way the situation it the Dinara would be
12 reverted to where it was in 1994, mid-1994.
13 So when I say that communications have improved up there, there's
14 work being done, we can hear machines doing work, an attack is being
15 prepared from the rear, the -- the people from Republika Srpska did not
16 heed my words. They didn't consider them seriously enough, especially --
17 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter believes that the name was
19 THE WITNESS: Especially Milovanovic did not believe this, but of
20 course he proceeded to something else and now -- and then he would become
21 a senator in Republika Srpska.
22 MR. MISETIC:
23 Q. Okay. Let me ask you this, sir.
24 You talk about -- you wanted to return the situation to where it
25 was in mid-1994. Was it part of your plan -- we saw earlier that you had
1 a plan to improve the ARSK by early October. Was it part of your overall
2 plan to militarily return the situation to back -- back to the way it was
3 in the middle of 1994?
4 A. It was our idea to -- in political terms and in terms of
5 organisation, we would unify the will of the people and the politicians
6 and secure Republika Srpska without relying on Serbia because it was
7 clear to us that we won't get any help from the Republic of Serbia
8 I would like to tell this story.
9 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... political question now. I'm
10 asking you strictly militarily, from a military perspective.
11 A. Yes, militarily, that's what my answer refers to, if you just are
12 willing to hear me out.
13 In other words, to use our own forces, and relying on our own
14 forces only, to force our politicians to proceed to a peaceful resolution
15 of the issue in Croatia
16 THE INTERPRETER: The speaker is speaking too fast and cannot be
18 JUDGE ORIE: Would you slowly repeat the last part of your
19 answer, Mr. Mrksic, because we're missing your words if you speak too
21 [Overlapping speakers]
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All right. I will try and slow
23 down. And I apologise to the interpreters.
24 MR. MISETIC: [Previous translation continues] ... your answer
25 was, I wanted to return the front lines to where they were --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, I invited the witness to repeat the
2 last part of his answer, because I heard from the interpreters that they
3 could not follow it. But I invited him to do it slowly. So therefore,
4 I'm a bit --
5 MR. MISETIC: That's fine. I was trying to just get to a
6 response in answer to my question. But for the purposes of the record,
7 we need to hear what he said.
8 JUDGE ORIE: If you look at the page 87, line 237, that's what I
9 was referring to.
10 Mr. Mrksic, you said:
11 "In other words to use our own forces, and relying on our own
12 forces only, to force our politicians to proceed to a peaceful resolution
13 of the issue in Croatia
14 [Overlapping speakers]
15 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues]... that you added
16 to this in your answer because that's where the interpreters lost you.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I added this. It
18 wasn't our goal to win in Croatia
19 possible, we just wanted to stabilize the front on the axis of Livno and
20 Grahovo and on the Dinara.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In order to be able to proceed to
23 this new option, not a wartime option, but rather a co-existence type of
24 resolution, disarmament and so on, those who had leave Krajina, either if
25 they had committed a crime or not, well, let them leave, and if not --
1 and to keep politicians in such a spot where they cannot trick people
2 anymore but, rather, to proceed to serious negotiations with the Croatian
3 government, because we could not expect any help from Serbia because they
4 would not fight for anyone. Republika Srpska, in other words, took hands
5 -- took things in their own hands, and they tried to resolve their own
7 JUDGE ORIE: I invited you to repeat the last part of your
8 question. I, however, get the impression that apart from repeating it,
9 you added quite a bit.
10 Perhaps if the future if I think you go too quickly, I will use
11 my hand to give you signals to stop and take a breath and then to
12 continue once you have taken that breath, and once it is indicated with
13 my hand.
14 Please proceed, Mr. Misetic.
15 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 Q. General Mrksic, I'm going back to the line where you said you
17 wanted the front lines to go back to where they were in mid-1994. To
18 achieve that, you would have had to drive Croatian forces off of their
19 positions in the Dinara and in the Grahovo area; correct?
20 A. That was not realistically possible. The only possibility was to
21 stabilize the front line. The plan was to start with special operations
22 with Republika Srpska. However, this was just a decoy, because it was
23 impossible to actually implement that plan. And when I realised that I
24 was being lied to -- would you allow my to finish?
25 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... I want to get to the
1 question and draw your attention to your answer page 86, line 19, you
3 "We would shift the front line and -- and this would return. In
4 this way the situation in the Dinara would be reverted to where it was in
5 1994, mid-1994."
6 My question to you is: Could you have reverted the front lines
7 to where they were in mid-1994 without driving Croatian forces off the
8 Dinara and out of Grahovo?
9 A. This was done before the Croatian forces entered Grahovo. They
10 had not taken control over the entire Dinara. That's when we developed
11 this plan, not once the Croatian forces entered Grahovo, because then it
12 was a fait accompli. This should have been done earlier, in early July,
13 instead of this Pauk [indiscernible] and so on, we should have done this
14 part first and then Western Bosnia to stabilize the front line, rather
15 than take control of, I don't know, 40 or 50 kilometres, but, rather,
16 four to five kilometers. In other words to turn our backs on a military
17 solution and move on to a political solution.
18 JUDGE ORIE: The translation now has finished.
19 Please proceed.
20 MR. MISETIC:
21 Q. Looking back at the document on the screen, General Mrksic, the
22 last line on the page in English -- I'm not sure. I guess it should be
23 the last line in the B/C/S.
24 "General Mrksic is here, and as soon as" --
25 MR. MISETIC: If we turn the page.
1 Q. "As soon as he left we made a decision to subordinate the Pauk
2 command to him."
3 Now, after this, was the Pauk command ultimately subordinated to
5 A. During the operation, those 70 days or so, Mile Novakovic was
6 issued assignment directly from me, not from the Republic of Serbia
7 from Fikret. I don't know who it was that he receive his tasks from. So
8 it was from me, I was the commander, I commanded, and I issued orders for
9 active operations.
10 Q. The line that continues on ...
11 JUDGE ORIE: There seems to be a problem.
12 MR. MISETIC: Your microphone.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE ORIE: There seems to be a problem.
15 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
16 JUDGE ORIE: I do understand that the -- there are technical
17 problems with the French booth, although now listening to the French
18 channel, I -- it seems that it has been resolved, or partly resolved
20 Could I hear from the French booth? Yes. Everything is fine now
21 from what I understand.
22 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, I'm -- at the same time, I'm looking at
24 the clock. Since we have been interrupted anyhow, I suggest that we
25 would conclude for the day.
1 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President.
2 JUDGE ORIE: And I would first like the witness to be escorted
3 out of the courtroom.
4 Mr. Mrksic, I would like to instruct you that you should not
5 speak with anyone, also not in the detention unit, with whomever, about
6 your testimony, whether that is what you told us already today, or
7 whether it is what you will still be asked about the days to come. But
8 you should not speak with anyone about this. And we'd like to see you
9 back. And we'll start tomorrow morning, 9.00. But we hope halfway the
10 day that your counsel will arrive. We did our utmost best it resolve the
11 matter. As you may understand, until now, there seems to be no major
12 problem in terms of incriminating answers.
13 This having said --
14 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
16 MR. MISETIC: If I could just -- does the instruction include his
18 JUDGE ORIE: Instruction includes counsel. So even if there
19 would be -- that means that if you would have telephone conversation, for
20 example, with counsel, you are not allowed to speak about the questions
21 and -- that were put to you, the answers given by you, you should not
22 discuss it with anyone, not in the detention unit, not outside the
23 detention unit, not by telephone, not by whatever technical means. Just
24 don't -- do not speak with anyone about your testimony.
25 Is that clear?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is clear. I am -- what I'm not
2 clear on is how long will my testimony go on for, approximately, how many
3 days? Because I had no conduct with anyone either with the Prosecutor or
4 the Defence, and I don't know how long they intend to question me.
5 JUDGE ORIE: The time the Defence asked for was nine hours, and
6 then, of course, you may be cross-examined by the others, by the other
7 parties, other Defence, Prosecution. So it will take quite a while.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Nine hours. Does that mean five to
9 six days?
10 JUDGE ORIE: Well, three days examination-in-chief. But then
11 have you to add perhaps similar time for cross-examination. That might
12 take up quite a bit of time, Mr. Mrksic. I'm aware of that.
13 Is there any reason why you are so concerned about it? No
14 special programme?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, no. But next Wednesday, my
16 daughter will be here, and my son-in-law, and I really do not wish to
17 testify on that day, and I've written this to the gentleman. That's on
18 the 24th.
19 JUDGE ORIE: It's good that you tell us. We'll try to see --
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can you please try and wrap up by
21 Tuesday, next Tuesday, to complete this on Tuesday. Tomorrow is what?
22 JUDGE ORIE: That might be too optimistic, as far as I can see
24 Could you tell us this visit, family visit, is this planned for
25 the morning or the afternoon, or for the whole of the day?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For the whole day, on the 24th, the
2 25th, and the 26th. So they arrive on Wednesday, the 24th. This was
3 announced before I knew that I would be testifying.
4 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... we'll see to
5 what extent we can accommodate you. I cannot promise you anything at
6 this moment. One thing is for sure, that testimony will be given only
7 either morning or afternoon. We will look into the matter, and we'll see
8 what can be done, and if not, then --
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, if necessary, perhaps on one
10 of these days, I can testify the whole day.
11 JUDGE ORIE: We could -- this is a suggestion. Of course, the
12 Chamber might not be available for the whole of the day, but we will
13 certainly consider any option which would accommodate you. And would you
14 agree that we inquire with the detention unit when the visits exactly are
15 scheduled so that we are able to the best of our abilities --
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... we will do
19 Mr. Russo.
20 MR. RUSSO: Yes, Mr. President, if perhaps we could ask the
21 witness to take his earphones --
22 JUDGE ORIE: Does the witness have to stay, because I already
23 asked him to be escorted out of the courtroom.
24 MR. RUSSO: I do believe, depending on how the Court reacts to my
1 JUDGE ORIE: You have taken your earphones off. I do understand
2 that the witness understands English very well. That's what Mr. Misetic
3 said earlier, so --
4 MR. RUSSO: Then perhaps I can make my comments outside the
5 presence of the witness.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
7 Has the witness to remain stand by for these purposes?
8 MR. RUSSO: Probably not, Your Honour. I don't believe so.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Mr. Mrksic, I've given you my instructions.
10 We'd like to see you back tomorrow morning at -- yes. We would like to
11 see you back tomorrow morning at 9.00, although we will not be in the
12 same courtroom. We will be in Courtroom III.
13 I will ask you to be escorted out of the courtroom.
14 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
15 [The witness stands down]
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Russo.
17 MR. RUSSO: Thank you, Mr. President. I will be very brief.
18 My concern is that the Court's order to the witness not to speak
19 to his lawyer about the testimony he has given or the testimony to be
20 given, it escapes me how counsel is able to advise his client as to what
21 questions or types of questions he would implicate his right against
23 JUDGE ORIE: I think that if counsel arrives tomorrow, we will
24 have an opportunity to briefly address the matter with counsel. The
25 witness will be present at that moment as well, and then we'll see to
1 what extent we have to adapt the order.
2 Now, I'll -- the Chamber will pay proper attention to that
3 tomorrow. But I thought the instruction could not be clear enough today.
4 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
6 MR. MISETIC: So our position is clear, first, we don't see that
7 the Prosecution has standing to raise the matter. Secondly, if it is for
8 the witness to seek the advice of counsel, not for the lawyer to start
9 talking -- [Overlapping speakers] ...
10 JUDGE ORIE: Let's not discuss it at this moment in full detail.
11 The think that the Chamber did its utmost best to keep everything
12 in the appropriate order. And this certainly is a matter which we will
13 -- and address in the presence of council what his role can be and cannot
14 be, and how to communicate and, of course, if there's any specific matter
15 then, of course, counsel could -- if there's any need, we could discuss
17 I don't think it is an issue for which we should keep our
18 interpreters and transcribers any further in court.
19 We will adjourn for the day, and we will resume tomorrow,
20 Thursday, 18th of June, 9.00 in the morning, Courtroom III.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.08 p.m.
22 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 18th of June,
23 2009, at 9.00 a.m.