1 Monday, 19 January 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.23 p.m.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: May I say at the outset that in the absence of
6 Judge Van Den Wyngaert, Judge David and I sit pursuant to the provisions
7 of Rule 15 bis, and may I also apologise for the late start. I'm afraid
8 that the other functions that I have got in the way, and I apologise for
10 Are we able to start now, or do you have a point to make,
11 Mr. Groome?
12 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour, just briefly. On Thursday last
13 week, the Prosecution made a submission calling the Trial Chamber's
14 attention to Rule 67(A)(2) of the rules which obliges the Defence to
15 disclose any statements of Defence witnesses prior to the commencement of
16 the Defence case. The Prosecution informed the Chamber that it has thus
17 far received only 12 statements of Defence witnesses. At that time, the
18 Chamber invited the Prosecution to bring to the Chamber's attention
19 additional jurisprudence on the issue, particularly from the ad hoc
21 The Prosecution wishes to make a brief submission clarifying its
22 understanding of the jurisprudence with respect to how the term "witness
23 statement" has been defined by the relevant decisions and to renew its
24 request to the Defence to produce those documents properly considered
25 witness statements under the law.
1 According to the jurisprudence, a witness statement is to be
2 interpreted as "the account of a person's knowledge of a crime which is
3 recorded through due procedure in the course of an investigation into the
4 crime." This definition was set out in the Blaskic case by the Appeals
5 Chamber in its decision on the appellant's motions for the production of
6 material, suspension, or extension of the briefing schedule and
7 additional filings. That decision was entered on the 26th of December,
8 2000, and the cite that I mentioned is from paragraph 15.
9 This jurisprudence was cited by this very Trial Chamber in its
10 3rd of November, 2008, decision on the Defence motion to bar testimony of
11 Zehra Turjacanin in paragraph 12. In that decision, this Trial Chamber
12 stated - and this was with respect to a document that was entitled
13 "interview notes" - that the Chamber stated that due to the fact that the
14 notes "record Zehra Turjacanin's recollections regarding events in
15 Bikavac that relate to charges in the indictment..." and it goes on -
16 that's the only relevant portion, closed quote - they clearly fall within
17 the meaning of witness statement. The fact that a particular witness
18 statement does not correspond to a particular standard or form does not
19 relieve a party from its obligation to disclose, and for that proposition
20 I would cite the Appeals Chamber in the -- in an ICTR case entitled the
21 Niyitegeka judgement, entered on the 9th of July, 2004, at paragraph 31.
22 Therefore, the Prosecution submits that according to the
23 jurisprudence of the ad hoc tribunals, ICTY and ICTR, and the law of this
24 case as articulated by this Trial Chamber, any statement or declaration
25 made by a witness in relation to an event he or she witnessed related to
1 this case, regardless of the form it was recorded and regardless of who
2 recorded it, falls within the meaning of a witness statement, whether
3 that person who recorded it is an investigator, an attorney, or a
5 Last week, Mr. Cole also cited the Brima and the Norman cases
6 from the special court for Sierra Leone. We support this proposition. I
7 will not repeat those cites at this time.
8 The jurisprudence recognises that work product or internal notes
9 which fall under Rule 70(A) or not disclosable, but the fact that a
10 document contains such material does not relieve a party from disclosing
11 the material contained in the document which is properly disclosable.
12 Redactions can be made to those portions of the document which contain
13 material protected by Rule 70(A). We have received no disclosure for the
14 next witness, and I would ask Mr. Alarid to provide me with any prior
15 statements of the witness as that term is defined by the jurisprudence or
16 confirm on the record that the Milan Lukic Defence team is not in
17 possession of such.
18 Thank you, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you. I don't think we need to hear any
20 further comments. I was saying I don't think we need to hear any further
21 comments on that. It's a statement of the Prosecution's idea as to what
22 the law is on this matter.
23 MR. IVETIC: [Interpretation] And, Your Honours, I would only ask
24 if the Trial Chamber is going to consider that submission and make a
25 ruling on it, we would like to have the opportunity to respond in
1 writing, and in which case we would ask for the citations that were cited
2 by Mr. Cole the other day to be provided to us in some form that we can
3 actually track down the cases, as we do not have access to the
4 Prosecution's digest that was cited to -- by Mr. Cole in the last court
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. I mean, if -- if the matter arises in a
7 practical way, then of course I'll deal with it. But the Rule itself is
8 quite clear, Mr. Ivetic, that if you have the statements, then you must
9 produce them.
10 MR. IVETIC: [Interpretation] And, Your Honour, as I have said, I
11 believe this is now the third or fourth time I'm saying this, we have
12 provided the statements from witnesses that we have in our possession.
13 As far as I'm aware, we've disclosed them all. I don't have a list
14 prepared because I did not anticipate that we were going to be going
15 forward with this topic, but we've given them everything, and then
16 pursuant to the rules we've given them a summary for the viva voce
17 witnesses of what that witness -- what topics that witness is supposed to
18 testify about, and that's -- we feel that we've complied with the rules,
19 Your Honour. That's all I can say.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. The only way it would arise in a practical
21 way is if you have refrained from providing something which qualifies as
22 a witness statement according to the case law that Mr. Groome has just
23 outlined, and in which case, then, I would have to rule on that.
24 MR. IVETIC: [Interpretation] Correct, Your Honour, but then we'd
25 also have the right to give submissions as to what qualifies as a
1 statement or not. I can tell you as I've told you with respect to the
2 witness that we had here last week, I met with this witness. I met --
3 with the first witness that's coming in, I met with her the first time
4 approximately four -- four or five weeks ago when I went out into the
5 terrain, and then I met with her this morning. I've been trying to find
6 out about the case, and in that process I ask questions. That's what
7 every attorney does. I've been in this Tribunal for now almost ten
8 years, and this procedure by the Prosecution from these special ad hoc
9 tribunals is something that I've seen practiced nowhere in this Tribunal
10 in the way that is being offered by the Prosecution. I mean, my
11 preparation to present -- are they entitled to have my questions that
12 I've prepared to ask this witness? I mean, that's -- it seems to be
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: No, we're not arguing that, no.
15 MR. IVETIC: Okay.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: What I'm telling you is that if you have
17 something which might qualify if one were to accept Mr. Groome's
18 submissions, then if you are to discharge your duties as an officer of
19 the court properly, you must bring that to our attention, and the Chamber
20 will make a ruling on the matter. Do you understand?
21 MR. IVETIC: [Interpretation] I understand that.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Good.
23 MR. IVETIC: [Interpretation] To my knowledge with respect to
24 these two witnesses, everything has been provided that would fall under
25 that category.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: All right. Let's move on. Let's have the next
3 MR. IVETIC: [Interpretation] The next witness -- the first
4 witness, Your Honour, is Mrs. Anka Vasiljevic testifying without
5 protective measures and viva voce.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Microphone not activated] Is that right?
7 [The witness entered court]
8 MR. IVETIC: [Interpretation] I believe she's the fifth witness,
9 Your Honour. We have the one that did not complete the
10 cross-examination. It's still open. And including that individual, we
11 have had four witnesses who have testified here. So this would be our
12 fifth -- fifth witness in sequence. Sixth?
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: We'll check on that later, but let the witness
14 make the declaration in the meantime.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
16 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: You may sit and you may begin. The registrar
18 says she's the fifth witness.
19 MR. IVETIC: [Interpretation] Thank you for that correction, Your
20 Honour. WITNESS: ANKA VASILJEVIC
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 Examination by Mr. Ivetic:
23 Q. Good afternoon, madam. I'll wait for the --
24 A. Good afternoon.
25 Q. I trust you can hear me now with your headphones on. As you
1 know, I'm one of the attorneys for Milan Lukic in this case, and this
2 afternoon I would have some questions for you. My name is Dan Ivetic,
3 and I would ask that you start by first stating your full name for the
5 A. Anka Vasiljevic.
6 Q. And if you could tell us where it is, that is to say, what city
7 and what country do you presently reside in?
8 A. In Visegrad in Republika Srpska.
9 Q. Okay. I'm waiting for the transcript to catch up. I apologise.
10 I have to wait for the translation and the transcript to catch up with us
11 even though I can understand what you're saying since I have one ear
12 available. And where is it that you were born?
13 A. In Valjevo, in Serbia
14 Q. And when was it that you actually moved to the Visegrad
15 municipality? What were the circumstances around that?
16 A. I got married in 1975, and when I graduated from university, as
17 my husband came from Visegrad, in 1989 we both got jobs in Visegrad.
18 Q. Okay. You've mentioned your husband. Could you identify for us
19 what the name of your husband was?
20 A. His name was Radomir Vasiljevic.
21 Q. And am I correct, he is -- he is deceased? He is no longer with
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And am I -- was he also known by any other shortened versions of
25 his -- of his name, first name?
1 A. They called him Rasa.
2 Q. Now -- now, if you could tell us a little bit about your late
3 husband, Dr. Radomir Vasiljevic. First of all, what kind of man was he
4 if you would have to describe him to us? What characteristics did he
5 have or exhibit?
6 A. He was a great man, a great expert, a famous doctor, a good
7 father, a good husband, a good friend. I can say only all the best about
8 him. Nobody ever spoke ill of him. It's rare that such a person is
10 Q. And you indicated that he was a doctor. With respect to his
11 education and training, was he a specific type of doctor? If you could
12 explain that for us.
13 A. He was special. He was a specialist and epidemiologist, and he
14 was a specialist in sports medicine, and he sub-specialised in AIDS.
15 Q. If you would just repeat the first speciality he had. It appears
16 it did not make it into the transcript.
17 A. Epidemiologist, specialist in epidemics.
18 Q. And again, I'm just waiting for the transcript. And with respect
19 to yourself, you indicated that you had finished some schooling before
20 moving to Visegrad municipality. What schooling did you yourself
21 accomplish and complete?
22 A. I finished school for commercial affairs, and I worked in a
23 company for several years until it went bankrupt, in a commercial
25 Q. And now if you could focus on the time-period of 1992, and when I
1 say 1992, I include the time-period when there was a -- a war on the
2 territory of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the former SFRY Republic
3 of Bosnia-Herzegovina. During that time, did your late husband,
4 Dr. Vasiljevic, was he employed as a doctor and, if so, where was he
5 employed? So please give us the pre-war period and the -- during the
6 war, if you could.
7 A. Before the war, he worked in a work medicine health centre, and
8 then until his death he was the director of the health care centre in
10 Q. And with respect to that position as the director of the health
11 centre in Visegrad, did he have occasion during that specific
12 time-period, that is, before the war and during the war, to have a
13 practice involving the treatment of actual patients?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And do you, madam, have any knowledge of whether Dr. Vasiljevic's
16 practice of medicine before the war - now we're talking about just before
17 the war - included the treatment of patients from Visegrad of different
18 ethno-religious groups, and if so, what groups?
19 A. We never paid attention to ethnicity. It was irrelevant. It was
20 unimportant. We all got on well, socialised, and in his job especially,
21 no distinctions could be made.
22 Q. And with respect to your -- your husband's work as a doctor and
23 as director of the health centre in Visegrad, were there -- before the
24 war, were there personnel working with him in the health centre of
25 differing ethnic or religious affiliations?
1 A. Yes. We got on really well together. We were even on visiting
3 Q. Would you be able to -- sorry, again, I had to wait for the
4 transcript. Would you be able to identify any such individuals who were
5 your household friends as you identified who were of a differing ethnic
6 or religious affiliation?
7 A. Well, I can give you a lot of names. Avdija Zahiragic; Alma and
8 her husband, also a Muslim, I don't recall their last name; Dzevad Avdic;
9 Hazim Ustamujic; Enver Jamak, and if need be, I can enumerate more.
10 Q. Thank you. I think that would -- that would suffice. Did
11 yourself or your husband treat these people differently, that is to say,
12 did -- did you regard these people differently than your Serb friends, or
13 could you tell us anything about that?
14 A. No. We all socialised together. We celebrated together. We
15 Serbs have a holiday called slava. They would come to visit us, and they
16 celebrated Bajram, so we visited then. We had barbecues together. We
17 went on trips together. Our children went to school together. That sort
18 of thing didn't happen in Visegrad.
19 Q. Thank you. And now, I'd like to turn to another topic, namely
20 Mr. Milan
21 A. I've known him since 1992.
22 Q. And what is the precise nature of your relationship with him?
23 A. I know him very well. We have the kum relationship. Among us
24 Orthodox Serbs, there is this traditional relationship. He was my son's
25 godfather at my son's christening, and when my son gets married he will
1 be his best man.
2 Q. Thank you. And with respect to Mr. Milan Lukic, did you have
3 occasion to see him in 1992 during the time-period of the war?
4 A. Of course. He went to visit -- came to visit us all the time in
5 our home.
6 Q. And before we get to those household visits, did you have
7 occasion to see him out and about in the -- in the town during that
9 A. Sometimes. We would run into each other in the street.
10 Q. And with respect to those encounters now, let's focus on the ones
11 out in the street with Milan Lukic. What, if anything, could you tell us
12 about those encounters? Who was he with? How was he attired?
13 A. It was war-time. Everybody wore a uniform. All men wore
14 uniforms at that time, even my husband who was a doctor. No one wore
15 civilian clothes.
16 Q. And specifically with respect to Milan Lukic, did you ever
17 encounter him on the streets in the company of other persons whom you
18 recognised or knew from Visegrad, and if so, whom?
19 A. I used to see him. Our neighbour Dragan Tomic, who was a police
20 commander, was often with him. Whether he was his driver or what, I
21 don't know.
22 Q. Now -- now, if we could focus for a time-period on the house
23 visits when you said that Mr. Lukic came to visit you. Do you have an
24 approximation as to how frequently that occurred?
25 A. I don't know how often, how frequently, but two times a month or
1 once a month, but we did keep in touch.
2 Q. And just for the record, I don't believe that we have covered
3 exactly where you lived during 1992, during the war in Visegrad. Could
4 you describe for us what neighbourhood you -- you lived in at that point
5 in time or otherwise identify the location?
6 A. We lived in a family house in a neighbourhood called Kalate.
7 Q. And when you say "we lived," who else lived there with you, or
8 who were the members of your family, of your immediate family?
9 A. Now I have only my children left.
10 Q. Were the children living with you the entire time at the family
11 home in the Kalate neighbourhood during 1992, during the hostilities in
13 A. No. Very often, they were staying with my parents in Valjevo.
14 It was pointless to have one's children staying in Visegrad. Whoever
15 could take their children somewhere else did so. Muslims -- the Muslims
16 often shelled civilian facilities, schools, houses. They didn't select
17 their targets.
18 Q. Okay. We'll get more to that time-period and to those
19 occurrences later. With respect to that neighbourhood, you had indicated
20 earlier -- let me just double-check the -- the reference.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please move closer to the
22 microphone, the interpreters kindly request.
23 MR. IVETIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. You indicated your neighbour being a Dragan Tomic. Do you
25 describe for us where or how close that house was of Mr. Tomic to the
1 Vasiljevic family home where you resided with your husband during the
3 A. It was the fourth house from ours.
4 Q. And now, let's focus briefly for the time-period after the war.
5 How often did you have occasion to encounter Milan Lukic after the war,
6 and what can you tell us about those specific encounters with him?
7 A. We would meet at slava celebrations. He would always come to our
8 slava, and we would visit him when he had his slava. His family
9 celebrates St. John's Day, which is a day after our slava. When his wife
10 gave birth, we came to visit. When they baptised their little girl, we
11 went to the christening. My family had many obligations, unfortunately,
12 especially my husband, so we didn't have much time for a lot of
13 socialising, but now I regret this fact.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: What are slava celebrations?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's something that exists only
16 among Orthodox Serbs in Yugoslavia
17 the Russians. It's a saint's day. For example, my slava is St. George's
18 Day, and on that day we celebrate that saint. He is the patron saint of
19 my family.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Every family has its own patron
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Ivetic.
24 MR. IVETIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. During the war, did Milan Lukic ever have occasion to assist you
1 in regards to any requests relative to your husband or to your children?
2 A. Once when I came from work, I couldn't find my son. I was
3 afraid. He was in the third grade of primary school at the time. As I
4 had seen our kum with the police, I asked him to take a car and to look
5 for my son. I thought he might have set out to his grandmother's by bus,
6 so I asked him to go and look at that bus, but my son was at home. He
7 was hiding. He had been frightened by something, and he was hiding.
8 Q. Now, when you say: "I had seen our kum with the police, and I
9 asked him to take a car..." who is that particular kum whom you made this
10 request of?
11 A. Milan
12 Q. And you asked him to take a car and look for the son. Do you
13 know whether in fact he had complied with that request, and if so, how he
14 undertook it?
15 A. He was frightened, and he immediately set out to look for him.
16 He was in a panic, just as I was, and fortunately, everything ended well.
17 Q. And was it an ordinary type of car that he utilised, or was there
18 anything special about it?
19 A. As far as I can remember, it was a police car. I had my own car,
20 but I didn't think of asking him to drive my car because I was in a
21 panic. So I think he used his official car.
22 Q. Now, did you have occasion during the war to hear anything in
23 Visegrad, any kind of gossip, rumours, or reports about Milan Lukic
24 during the war and his -- and his activities during the war, and if so,
1 A. I didn't hear anything. I didn't hear anything unusual compared
2 to what I heard about other men.
3 Q. Okay. During the war, did you hear anything about any -- did you
4 hear any bad things about him?
5 MR. GROOME: Objection as to leading, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, it's leading.
7 MR. IVETIC: [Interpretation] Okay. All right.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Reformulate.
9 MR. IVETIC: I will.
10 Q. You say you didn't "hear anything unusual compared to what I
11 heard about other men." What sorts of things did you hear?
12 A. It was war-time. Everybody had been mobilised. Everybody went
13 to war, and the only thing that was interesting was who would remain
14 alive and who would be brought home dead.
15 Q. And you've described all these various encounters with Milan
16 during the war, either on the street or when he visited your familial
17 home. How would you describe Mr. Milan Lukic's demeanour during those
18 encounters that you had with him, again, during the war.
19 A. These were very warm encounters. He loved my children. He loved
20 all children. I heard that he gave sweets and chocolate to other
21 children in our street, not to just my children. He liked joking around.
22 He would encourage us, try to keep our spirits up if we were short of
23 food or the Muslims were attacking. He would say, Hold on; just hang on;
24 everything will be all right; this will all come to an end. He gave us
25 moral support. He would say, Everything will be all right. And he
1 adored children.
2 Q. And now, how, if you had to, would you describe his demeanour
3 after the war? Did it differ in any regard?
4 A. No, not at all. He had his own children then, and he was even
5 more caring then.
6 Q. And now based upon all these encounters with him, based upon your
7 personal knowledge of Milan Lukic and your direct interactions with him,
8 what opinion could you give us as to his character and personality in
10 A. Well, I've already told you everything. He was a good man, a
11 good friend, a good comrade, a good kum. I can only say the best about
12 him, all the best.
13 Q. And did you have occasion to have knowledge of his acts towards
14 others, of him helping anyone?
15 A. He was very correct towards everyone. Everyone adored him in the
16 town, and all the children loved him.
17 Q. And how about his interactions with adults? Did you have any
18 occasion to become familiar with any specific instances as to his
19 relations with adults either during the war or after the war?
20 A. Never in all these years, either in the course of the war or
21 after the war did I hear anybody say a bad word about him.
22 Q. Did you hear anyone say anything positive about him, in
23 particular that he had assisted them in any -- in any time?
24 A. He helped everybody, whoever asked for help. I had occasion to
25 ask for his help only once, and he helped me. But whoever came to him
1 for help, if he was able to help, he helped everybody.
2 Q. And now, did you have occasion at some point in time to become
3 familiar with certain allegations of crimes against Milan Lukic, and if
4 so, when and under what circumstances?
5 A. I learned this when I found an indictment against Milan and
6 Sredoje Lukic on the internet. I was shocked and surprised to see that.
7 It was the first time I had heard about all those things.
8 Q. And when you say you found an indictment against Milan and
9 Sredoje, before what court was that indictment that we -- that you're
10 referring to?
11 A. This court.
12 Q. And you indicated that you were surprised to see it and it was
13 the first time that you heard about those things. Let me ask you
14 specifically. During the war, did you have occasion as a resident of
15 Visegrad to hear anything about any alleged instance of house-burnings
16 wherein large numbers of persons of Muslim ethnicity perished and were
17 killed in either the Pionirska or the Bikavac neighbourhoods?
18 A. I certainly never heard anything about that. Visegrad is a small
19 town. News like that would have spread. If so many people had been
20 burned alive, there would have been a stench that could simply not be
21 concealed. It would have spread throughout the entire valley. This
22 wasn't something that one could possibly have concealed. I think this is
23 all a huge - what shall I call it - mistake.
24 Q. And you say it could not be concealed. It would have -- strike
1 You say it's a small town. Do you have familiarity with any of
2 the -- of those two sites that are alleged -- where it is alleged that
3 this -- that this occurred? How familiar are you with those areas?
4 A. I said Visegrad is a small town. I know all of the places. I
5 know about this one house. I'm not sure about the other, but I do know
6 the other one. I live right next to it, as a matter of fact, the house
7 where these people are alleged to have been burned alive. That
8 particular house did burn down, but it certainly wasn't alone. Many Serb
9 and Muslim houses burned down at the time.
10 Q. And with respect to what you found out when you examined the
11 indictment in this case against Mr. Milan Lukic, are you able to
12 reconcile any of those alleged acts contained therein with your personal
13 knowledge and experience of Milan Lukic, the human being and person?
14 A. It has nothing to do with him. No way could I reconcile the two,
15 and I really hope that everyone will see for themselves that this is
16 simply impossible.
17 Q. Thank you. One other individual I'd like to just ask you briefly
18 about. Are you familiar with Mitar Vasiljevic?
19 A. Yes. He's my husband's relative.
20 Q. Do you know him well enough to be able to describe him or tell us
21 anything about him that stands out?
22 A. I know him really well. He lived in our neighbourhood as well.
23 We socialised before the war and later. He was an alcoholic. It is an
24 embarrassing thing to say, but he was some sort of a clown or a buffoon
25 around town. Everyone was having jokes at his expense. He was all right
1 for everybody else but not for the own family or for his children. He
2 was the laughingstock of the entire town.
3 Q. Thank you. Oh, I'm sorry. Go ahead, finish. I didn't realise
4 you weren't finished.
5 A. Quite frequently during the war, they would call me because they
6 knew he was my husband's relative. He would get drunk, fall asleep out
7 in the street. I would drive over, pick him up, take him home, saying,
8 Mitar, don't bring shame on our family like this. He liked me and he
9 would listen to me. He would follow my advice. He would just get up,
10 get into the car, and drive home with me.
11 Q. Thank you. And now, ma'am, if we could return back to the one
12 topic you had started upon and I said we'd touch earlier, and that is to
13 say, with respect to the Vasiljevic familial home wherein you resided,
14 you indicated your children weren't there the entire time. I'd like to
15 first ask you, did you remain in Visegrad the entire year in 1992, or did
16 you have occasion to move or relocate somewhere else for any reason?
17 A. In 1991, on the 28th of May specifically, I gave birth to a
18 daughter. Twenty days after that, I had to flee Visegrad. I got into my
19 car with my baby and with my son who was 10 years old at the time. There
20 was also another neighbour of ours with her baby. We had to flee
21 Visegrad because we had been receiving phone threats. I didn't have the
22 courage to send my son to school anymore. We were receiving a great many
23 threats from the Muslims. I went to Valjevo with the children and stayed
24 there until September 1991, throughout that summer, after which I
25 returned to Visegrad. I was on sick leave at the time. I wasn't
1 actually working.
2 In May, possibly April, I can't be sure about the date, I had to
3 flee again with the children. The day I drove through the tunnel was
4 blown up in Dobrun, I came across a Muslim barricade. Not a Muslim
5 barricade. It was a barricade or a roadblock that was erected by the
6 police, but at the time all the Serbs had been driven out of the police,
7 force and only Muslims remain in the force. They put up those huge spiky
8 obstacles right in the middle of the road. They stopped me --
9 Q. I'm sorry, go ahead.
10 A. They started rummaging through our belongings, but there were
11 only diapers there. We had two babies with us. I said, Please don't. I
12 stood up to them. They threw my documents on the ground and said, Be
13 gone. And this is how you speak to a dog over where I come from.
14 Q. Now, if we --
15 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: One microphone at a time
16 while the witness is speaking, please. Thank you.
17 MR. IVETIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. If -- if we can go back. You had indicated you were receiving
19 threats and you did not have courage to send your son to school. Could
20 you give us more details relating to that?
21 A. It was at night-time, 2.00 or 3.00 in the morning. They would
22 phone us to say, You'll send your son over to school, will you, but will
23 he be back? That is the question. That's what they said. Sometime in
24 February 1992, I think, one of my husband's colleagues, Avdija Zahiragic,
25 came to our home. This man is still alive. He lives in Sarajevo. He
1 said that he was not allowed to go to work anymore because he had heard
2 in a body of the SDA that they would arrest him. From February on until
3 the Uzice Corps came into town, he hadn't shown up for work.
4 Q. When you said he was not allowed to go to work anymore because
5 they would arrest him, who is the "he" and the "him" in that portion of
6 your testimony?
7 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness please repeat what she said?
8 The interpreter didn't hear the answer.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Witness, will you please repeat what you just
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] February 1992, a colleague of my
12 husband's came to our home, Avdija Zahiragic, and told him he shouldn't
13 go to work anymore or mustn't go to work anymore because he heard from
14 some people, his own party, the SDA, that it was Rasa's turn to be
15 arrested now. Throughout this time, he allowed him to remain on sick
16 leave and issued him with appropriate documents so that he wouldn't have
17 to go to work.
18 MR. IVETIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. And I think the Judge was asking me, when you say Rasa, is that
20 -- who is that? I think we had mentioned that earlier, but just for the
21 record, who is Rasa?
22 A. Radomir, my husband.
23 MR. IVETIC: Your Honours, does that address your question or...
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Pardon?
25 MR. IVETIC: Does that adequately address your question, or can I
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, you can proceed.
3 MR. IVETIC: Thank you.
4 Q. Now, when you -- during the time periods when you left Visegrad,
5 you indicated you left with your neighbour. Do you have any knowledge as
6 to what other persons in Visegrad were doing, other -- other civilians
7 like yourself, were doing during that time-period?
8 A. All those who had somewhere to move their children to over in
10 were quite scared to have to do that. I was lucky to be able to remain
11 on sick leave at the time.
12 There were horrible things going on. In broad daylight, they
13 would pull a car over, force a man or a woman from the car, leave the
14 car, and then just beat them there, right there in the street. There
15 were no police around to complain to.
16 Q. Did you have occasion to return to Visegrad at any point in time
17 for work or otherwise, and if so, could you tell us about that, when it
19 A. I went back in 1992, May 1992, when the Uzice Corps came to
20 Visegrad. They -- they called me to respond to what we refer to as the
21 work assignment. All of us went back, both Serbs and Muslims. Many
22 Muslims had fled Visegrad with their children previously. We all worked
23 together as if nothing at all was going on.
24 Q. And at that point in time, you said you had to respond to what
25 you referred to as a work assignment. Did you in fact go back to your
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And if we could focus on that time-period, what was the condition
4 of the town of Visegrad
5 or anything?
6 A. When I came back to Visegrad, I could hardly recognise the place.
7 It had been largely destroyed. All the shops were smashed up. It was a
8 horrifying sight. It had turned into a horror town, shards of glass all
9 over the place.
10 Q. Thank you. Now, if we can return to your husband's line of work
11 in 1992. During the war, did he have occasion to speak to you regularly
12 about persons that he was treating as patients or otherwise?
13 A. Quite rarely, in fact, only when there was something exceptional.
14 He had taken the oath of Hippocrates, and he stuck to that. We hardly
15 ever discussed his business at home, and this cut both ways. But
16 whenever there was something exceptionally noteworthy, we might have
17 brought it up with each other.
18 Q. And was there in fact an occasion where there was something
19 exceptional that you recall your husband relaying to you about persons
20 treated by him during the course of the war in 1992?
21 A. It was in the summer of 1992, and I don't remember the date or
22 the month. It might have been June or July. He came home and told me
23 that he had never before seen a woman like that with burns of the highest
24 degree. Her arms were burned, her face, her hair. She had tried to
25 light a cigarette by using a gas stove and then caught fire.
1 Q. If -- if we --
2 A. He was horrified by this.
3 Q. If we could break this down a bit. First of all, you indicated
4 that this individual's arms were burned, her face, her hair. Did -- what
5 about the rest of her body? Did your husband relate to you anything with
6 respect to the condition of the rest of her body?
7 A. The rest was all right. She could walk, but she caught fire when
8 she tried to light a cigarette by using this gas stove. We have a gas
9 stove, too, back at our home, and that's how I light my cigarette very
10 often when I run out of matches. She leaned into the flame, and then the
11 gas burned her.
12 Q. Did you ever have occasion to discover the name or identity of
13 the person who had suffered such injuries in the manner described, either
14 from your husband or from any other source?
15 A. I didn't know at the time who he was talking about. However -
16 and I'm not sure what the year was - a friend of ours from Sarajevo
17 us a book by Ibrahim Klunj, called "Testimony." It was then that we
18 found out the woman's name was Zehra Turjacanin who expressed her
19 gratitude to Dr. Rasa because he had saved her life and helped her a
20 great deal. I read later on on the internet and in the press about her
21 evidence here at the Tribunal and realised that she had changed her
22 story, which struck me as entirely pointless.
23 Q. And now with respect to this individual, you had indicated
24 earlier the method in which she was injured. Did your husband relay to
25 you the bases for his knowledge that she had injured herself trying to
1 light a cigarette by using a stove -- a gas stove? Did he illuminate the
2 bases for his knowledge of that?
3 A. Well, I do know about that. There was a nurse who was with him
4 at the time, another neighbour of ours. She worked at the health centre,
5 Slavica Pabic [Realtime transcript read in error, "Babic"]. The two of
6 them were called by the command jointly. There was a command at Bikavac.
7 It's Papic, not Babic. They didn't know who this was. They had no idea
8 that this woman was of a different ethnicity. They just got into the
9 ambulance, they went there to pick her up, and when they picked her up
10 they told them that. They gave her the shots, the medicines, and drove
11 her back home. I'm not sure who the house that she was driven back to
12 belonged to.
13 Q. Thank you. And I'm sorry, if we could just have the last name of
14 the individual who had authored this book called "Svedocinje" [phoen] or
16 A. Ibrahim Kljun. He used to work as a photographer in Visegrad
17 before the war.
18 Q. And you indicated that a friend from Sarajevo had sent that to
19 you. What was the ethnic or religious affiliation of that particular
20 friend who sent that book to you?
21 A. He was a Muslim, Hazim Ustamujic. Ustamujic.
22 Q. Thank you. Just a moment so I can consult my notes. I think ...
23 I apologise. I don't have it on my screen now, but did you
24 indicate when -- what time-period this friend sent the book from
1 narrow down the time-period at all for us?
2 A. It was just before the end of the war. It might have been 1995.
3 Q. And -- and how did your husband react upon receiving that book
4 and -- and reading of Ms. Turjacanin's thanks and praise of him for
5 assisting her?
6 A. He was glad she thought of him, but he was shocked when he heard
7 about her other story.
8 Q. And if we could back up for a moment to another topic, another
9 individual. Are you familiar with Miljana Krsmanovic?
10 A. Of course. The prettiest girl in Visegrad. She was a doctor
11 too. She was my kum's girlfriend.
12 Q. When you say she was the girlfriend of your kum, again, I have to
13 ask you to specify. Which kum are you talking about? Which specific kum
14 is --
15 A. Milan
16 Q. And you indicated she was a doctor too. What was it -- what was
17 it -- what was her speciality or employment? Where did she work, if you
19 A. She was a GP. She worked at the health centre. She didn't
20 specialise in any particular field. Back where I come from, when a
21 doctor completes his studies they take another four years to specialise
22 and yet another four years to sub-specialise, as they say.
23 Q. And did you have occasion to ever witness or be visited by Milan
24 and Dr. Miljana, and if so, what can you tell us about those visits? How
25 did he act, et cetera?
1 A. They were in love. She was pretty. She was a stunning beauty.
2 I don't think I'd ever seen a woman as pretty as her in my whole life.
3 Q. I apologise. I'm waiting for the transcript again. Could you
4 tell us what time-period this was that Mr. Milan Lukic and Dr. Miljana
5 Krsmanovic were boyfriend/girlfriend? Could you tell us what time-period
6 that took place in? When was this?
7 A. I can't quite say, I'm afraid. I might go wrong. Was it 1993 or
8 1994? I don't know.
9 Q. How about in reference to the -- to the war? Was it before,
10 during, after?
11 A. During.
12 Q. Thank you. Mrs. Vasiljevic, I thank you. At this time I have no
13 further questions in direct examination. I may have some more in
14 re-direct depending on how my colleague on the other side proceeds, but
15 at this time, Mrs. Vasiljevic, I'd like to thank you and pass the
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Can I ask you, Witness, whether your husband was
18 in the habit of discussing his patients with you?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Just when there was something
20 extreme. I know of other two cases like that.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
22 Yes, Mr. Groome.
23 MR. GROOME: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Cross-examination by Mr. Groome:
25 Q. Good afternoon, Mrs. Vasiljevic. My name is Dermot Groome, and
1 I'm going to ask you a few questions on behalf of the Prosecution.
2 Can I begin by asking you, what was your family name before you
3 married into the Vasiljevic family?
4 A. Raskovic.
5 Q. Now, you've mentioned a few times of -- of working and being on
6 sick leave during different periods. Can I ask you the name of the --
7 the company that you -- that you worked for?
8 A. UPI. UPI Visegrad. U-p-i. It was a huge corporation
9 headquartered in Sarajevo
10 Q. And what kind of work does UPI do?
11 A. Trade.
12 Q. And where is the -- the physical location of where you worked in
14 A. The administration building. The centre of Visegrad.
15 Q. Now, you've -- you've told us a bit about this kumship
16 relationship that you have with Milan Lukic. Is it also true that your
17 family has a kumship relationship with Sredoje Lukic as well?
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Just a minute. Mr. Cepic.
19 MR. CEPIC: Your Honour, I haven't found anything in direct
20 examination related to my client and family relations to Sredoje Lukic's
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: And that prevents the question asked being
24 MR. CEPIC: Yes.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Groome.
1 MR. GROOME: I'm just trying to get in a bit detail exactly the
2 extent of this kumship relationship.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: I think we should move on. Mr. Ivetic spent 50
4 minutes, Mr. Groome.
5 MR. GROOME: Is the objection sustained, Your Honour?
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Yes. Move on.
7 MR. GROOME:
8 Q. What -- you've spoken about slavas and patron saints. What is
9 the patron saint of the Lukic family? What is their slava?
10 A. St. John
11 the 20th of January.
12 Q. Now, I'm a little unclear as to when precisely in the summer of
13 1992 you were physically present in Visegrad. I take it that you -- you
14 said you returned at some point in May of 1992; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Are you able to be more precise about when in May of 1992?
17 A. I can't be specific about the date, but it can be checked. It
18 was after the Uzice Corps had entered Visegrad. It was after that that
19 we all went back and we were called back to work, both Serbs and Muslims.
20 Q. And when you returned to Visegrad in May of 1992, did you remain
21 there throughout the course of the summer, in June, July, and August of
23 A. Yes, but I went to visit my children very often.
24 Q. Now, you also testified that -- that you lived right next to one
25 of the houses that's the subject of -- of this case. Which house, if you
1 can be more specific.
2 A. I didn't live there. I now live next to the house in question,
3 since a year ago.
4 Q. Now, when you said that you live in Kalate, is that -- you live
5 in Kalate now or you lived there in 1992?
6 A. I lived in Kalate in 1992. I now live in Pionirska Street, house
7 number 25.
8 Q. Can you give us some idea about where Kalate neighbourhood is in
9 relation to the Pionirska Street or the Mahala section of town?
10 A. Pionirska is not called Mahala. Mahala is another street, not
11 Pionirska Street
12 Q. And Kalate, is it on the right bank or the left bank of the
14 A. On the right bank.
15 Q. And is it north of the town centre or south of the town centre?
16 A. Down the Drina River
17 Q. So it's south of the town; is that correct? I saw you nod your
18 head. We need a verbal answer to record you.
19 A. Yes, yes.
20 Q. So would I be correct in saying that anything that happened in
21 Pionirska Street
22 it or witness any part of it from where your house was located in the
23 Kalate section of town; is that correct?
24 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, I would object as to the question being
25 too vague. He says "anything." If he has a specific instance or
1 occurrence, let him -- let him specify that.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: It seems to me the witness should be in a
3 position to answer.
4 Can you answer the question, Witness? Yes, go ahead.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. From my house, you can't see
6 the house in Pionirska Street, but it's so close that I would have had to
7 smell the stench. I would have had to hear shooting. I have had
8 opportunity to see what it looks like when a house is burning. Tiles
9 shatter, walls crack. You have to hear that. I couldn't have seen it
10 because there was a low hill between, but I would have smelt the stench,
11 and I would have heard the noise because the smell of people burning is
12 terrible. It's a disaster. I would have had to smell something.
13 MR. GROOME:
14 Q. And do you know what day the Pionirska Street fire took place or,
15 in your view, it's alleged to have taken place. Do you know what the
16 date is?
17 A. No. I learned that from you, here.
18 Q. So during June of 1992, you have no recollection of seeing,
19 hearing, or smelling anything which would indicate to you that a large
20 number of people were burnt to death; is that correct?
21 A. No. One would have to know. Visegrad Grad is a small town.
22 People would talk about it. People would talk about it. Somebody would
23 mention it.
24 Q. Now, I couldn't help but notice when you walked into the
25 courtroom, you waved at Mr. Milan Lukic and gave him a big smile. Would
1 it be correct to say that you still have deep affection for Milan Lukic,
2 your kum?
3 A. I adore him. I love him.
4 Q. Now --
5 A. He is a saint. He's like a patron saint of my family. He was my
6 son's godfather. That's not a small matter. My son will not be able to
7 get married until he gives him his blessing and takes him to church as
8 his best man.
9 Q. Now, you testified that you would join in celebrations with the
10 family of your kum. That's correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. In 1992, did you join together to celebrate Djurdjevdan Day?
13 A. We didn't celebrate Djurdjevdan together. Everyone celebrates in
14 their own house and guests arrive. My kum was my guest at my Slavs, and
15 we were his guests at his slava. As my husband was unable to go at the
16 time, I went there with my son because this goes down the male line in
17 the family. Women do not inherit the kum relationship; only men do. I
18 went with my son so that my son could break the cake at his slava
20 Q. Can you remind me again, what is your slava?
21 A. St. George. That's Djurdjevdan, on the 7th of May.
22 Q. And did Milan Lukic come to your home to help celebrate
23 Djurdjevdan Day with you in 1992?
24 A. Not in 1992 but in 1993. I don't think I knew him then, but I
25 did get to know him in 1993, and then he came regularly.
1 Q. What was the year that the child -- your child was born that he's
2 the godfather?
3 A. 1982.
4 Q. So it seems you first met Milan Lukic when?
5 A. My child was born in 1982, but as Milan comes from a village near
6 Visegrad, he went to school there, as I heard, and then he was away
7 working somewhere on a temporary basis, so I didn't meet him, and it was
8 only after 1987 that I began to live in Visegrad permanently. He was
9 already away from Visegrad. I knew his parents, and I met him only when
10 he came back in 1992, and he was my son's godfather on Djurdjevdan in
12 Q. So did you -- when in 1992 did you meet Milan Lukic? Is it
13 during the summer or after the summer?
14 A. In 1992? Well, as soon as he arrived in Visegrad we got to know
15 one another. It might have been in May when I myself got back after
16 being a refugee.
17 Q. You said that you went to -- you spent -- you went to Muslim
18 families to celebrate their holiday, Bajram. Do you remember who you
19 spent Bajram with in 1992? What was the name of the family?
20 A. I didn't celebrate their holidays. I went to visit them as their
21 guest, out of respect.
22 Q. Who was the --
23 A. But I didn't celebrate Bajram. I did visit my friends who
24 celebrated Bajram out of respect for them.
25 Q. I understand. I apologise for the misstatement. What friends
1 did you visit in 1992 to visit during -- when they were celebrated
3 A. In 1992, I didn't visit anyone.
4 Q. Now, in your evidence you testified that during the -- the spring
5 and summer of 1992, you did not hear any rumours about Milan Lukic being
6 involved in any kind of wrong-doing; is that correct?
7 A. No, I didn't.
8 Q. Did you hear any rumours about Sredoje Lukic being involved in
9 any wrong-doing?
10 A. No.
11 MR. CEPIC: We already have answer in transcript, Your Honour,
12 but just one more time to -- to stress that my client is not mentioned in
13 direct examination. Thank you.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let us look at that rule again. What's the
15 Rule, Mr. Groome? Is it 80 --
16 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, I'm not exactly sure which Rule the
17 Chamber is referring.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Is it 90 -- 90(h)(i), which says
19 cross-examination shall be limited to the subject matter of the evidence
20 in chief. It's on that basis, Mr. Cepic, that you object?
21 MR. CEPIC: Yes, Your Honour. Yes. Thank you.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: The question is, How is that to be interpreted?
23 I've always found it to be a little limiting myself. Does it mean
24 literally that the cross-examiner cannot mention a name if that name
25 wasn't mentioned in the examination-in-chief?
1 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, I think it doesn't, and if I would just
2 read the second part of the sentence: "The cross-examination shall be
3 limited to the subject matter of the evidence-in-chief and matters
4 affecting the credibility of the witness and where the witness is able to
5 give evidence relevant to the case for the cross-examining party to the
6 subject matter of that case."
7 Clearly, in this case the witness knows Sredoje Lukic equally
8 well. I should be entitled to put questions with respect to her
9 knowledge of Sredoje Lukic. As well, Mr. Cepic will certainly have an
10 opportunity to ask any other questions of the witness related to those
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: What is the part of the Rule that you say allows
13 you to do that?
14 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, the second part of the sentence in
15 (h)(i), after the comma where it says:
16 "... and, where the witness is able to give evidence relevant to
17 the case for the cross-examining party."
18 So in this particular case, it would be where the witness is able
19 to give evidence relevant to the case for the Prosecution.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Cepic?
21 MR. CEPIC: I don't have that view as Mr. Groome has. I think
22 that this role is clear related to that issue, and also, Mr. Groome
23 quoted that this witness knows Sredoje Lukic equally well, but I did not
24 hear that, and -- but just to conclude this discussion related to Sredoje
25 Lukic, we received from this witness clear answer related to the last
1 question of Mr. Groome.
2 Thank you, Your Honour.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Alarid.
5 MR. ALARID: Yes, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Can you assist us in the interpretation of this
7 Rule? I know that in the country where I'm from, the question would be
9 MR. ALARID: Your Honour, I think it's up to the discretion of
10 the Court, and beyond the scope of direct examination I understand
11 Mr. Cepic's objection, and we did not bring up Mr. Sredoje Lukic at all
12 in our -- in our direct exam. So I would simply leave it to the
13 discretion of the Court. I think it's -- it's interpretable either way.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Cepic, I'm rethinking the interpretation of
15 this, and I'm inclined to believe it must be given the wider -- the wider
16 scope, the broader scope. I can't see how you would be prejudiced
17 because you will have the right to examine on anything raised by
18 Mr. Groome.
19 I'm going to allow the question.
20 MR. CEPIC: Thank you, Your Honour. And just if I may say with
21 your leave, when Mr. Vasiljevic testified before this Honourable Trial
22 Chamber, I requested leave to ask him couple questions on the basis of
23 this -- of the same Rule, and it was not allowed in that situation, but
24 thank you very much for explanation, and if I feel any need, I will ask
25 for re-examination.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Very well.
2 MR. CEPIC: Thank you.
3 MR. GROOME:
4 Q. Mrs. Vasiljevic, the next question I'd like to ask you is prior
5 to the war, how would you have characterized the ethnic make-up of the
6 neighborhood you lived in, the Kalate area, mixed ethnicity or
7 predominantly populated by one of the ethnicities?
8 A. It was mixed.
9 Q. And are you able to tell us the mix using percentages? Are you
10 able to give us a rough estimate of how mixed it was?
11 A. The right bank of the Drina
12 there were Muslim houses here and there, while on the left bank there was
13 a purely Muslim population. We accepted them on our side of the river,
14 but they did not accept us on theirs.
15 Q. And would you be able to tell me today, just confined to your
16 neighbourhood, Kalate, what would be -- what would be the number of
17 Muslim families that live there today?
18 MR. IVETIC: I would object that he's misstating the testimony.
19 She's indicated that she no longer lives in Kalate, so to call it her
20 neighbourhood is a bit misleading, I think. She might be able to figure
21 out what he means by that, but the question as stated is misleading and
22 misstates the evidence.
23 MR. GROOME:
24 Q. Are you able to tell us today the ethnic composition of Kalate?
25 A. I know that there were some houses there that had been destroyed
1 and that have been rebuilt, but believe me, I have no idea who lives
2 there now because I don't live there anymore.
3 Q. Now, can I ask you, how did you come to be a witness in this
4 case? Who asked you to be a witness?
5 A. The lawyer.
6 Q. Do you know the name of the lawyer who -- who asked you to be a
8 A. Jelena.
9 Q. And how many times did you meet with Jelena prior to today?
10 A. Only once.
11 Q. And did you meet with any other members of the Defence team prior
12 to coming here to testify, prior to testifying today?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Now, when you met with Jelena, did she interview you with respect
15 to what information that you might be able to provide that was relevant
16 to this case?
17 A. She asked me whether I wished to testify. I said I did. I would
18 say everything I knew. There was no problem. I asked, What is this
19 about? She said, We will inform you. I signed a statement concerning
20 that woman who was burnt and nothing else.
21 Q. Can you describe the statement that you signed? How -- how long
22 was the statement that you signed?
23 A. Five or six lines perhaps.
24 Q. And did you have to go anywhere to sign it in terms -- did you go
25 to sign it in front of anyone, or did you just sign it in front of
2 A. Oh, we had it certified in court.
3 Q. In what court did you certify this written statement that you
5 A. In the court in Uzice.
6 Q. And as best you can recall, when was that that you certified this
7 written statement?
8 A. It was -- I was experiencing great problems at the time. I was
9 selling my flat in Cacak, and I had to travel a lot, so it's all mixed up
10 as regards the time, but I think it was most probably in October. I'm
11 not a hundred per cent certain of that.
12 Q. And did you --
13 A. But I do have the statement at home. I didn't pay attention to
14 the date. I didn't think it was important. Why is it so important?
15 Q. And have you seen a copy of the statement after arriving here in
16 The Hague
17 A. I left that statement at home in Visegrad. I didn't even bring
18 it with me.
19 Q. If it became important, would you be able to provide that
20 statement to the Chamber?
21 A. Well, I've already told you everything. I've said everything,
22 even more extensively.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Groome, it's time for the break.
24 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: The Prosecutor took 50 minutes -- I'm sorry, the
1 Defence took 50 minutes, and I'll give you about an hour.
2 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
3 --- Recess taken at 3.53 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 4.17 p.m.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Groome.
6 MR. GROOME: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Mrs. Vasiljevic, can you see either of the bridges in Visegrad
8 from where you live, where you live at in 1992?
9 A. I can see both bridges.
10 Q. And during June -- let's say May to August of 1992, did you ever
11 see anything which you thought was unusual occur on either of the
13 A. No, I didn't.
14 Q. During this period of time, did you travel into town to -- to
15 shop for your family and take care of other -- other chores of daily
17 A. I went to town every day because I worked in the town, but there
18 was no shopping because there was nothing to be bought.
19 Q. Well, during your daily excursions into town for work, did you
20 see anything that you thought was unusual occurring in the town?
21 A. Well, most often we women talked a lot about the fact that all
22 our husbands, brothers, and friends were in the army. When an action was
23 being prepared, when there was shelling, we only discussed where we would
24 run to and where we would shelter our children. That was a huge problem
25 for us, the biggest problem.
1 Q. And aside from that, did you see any other unusual occurrences in
2 the town? People in the town that you had not seen before, armed groups
3 moving through the town, did you see anything like that?
4 A. There were always armed groups in town. It was all our army,
5 police. It was unusual that every day there were funerals. We went to
6 the cemetery every day. Sometimes we had to run because shells landed on
7 the cemetery next to the church. All this was unusual for us. Maybe
8 someone would not find it unusual, but we all found it extremely unusual.
9 I don't know what you are referring to.
10 Q. Well, let me ask you more specifically. Do you have any
11 observations about how the Muslim population of Visegrad was treated
12 between June 1992 till about August 1992?
13 A. After the Uzice Corps left Visegrad, an offer was made to the
14 Muslims, and I even had occasion several times to see buses. On the
15 radio they called upon them. They said whoever wants to leave Visegrad,
16 transport will be provided. The buses were parked in front of the hotel,
17 and they drove them to wherever they wanted to go.
18 Q. And did those people who got on those buses and leave the town,
19 did they abandon their homes and their farms and their businesses when
20 they did that?
21 A. Well, they couldn't take their houses and their land on the bus.
22 When I fled from Visegrad, all I took with me were diapers, Pampers
23 diapers for my children. I couldn't take my home with me. The question
24 is absurd. How can they put their home on a bus and go?
25 Q. You testified that your husband wore a military uniform during
1 this time; is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did your husband have military duties?
4 A. My husband had no military duties. Before the war, he didn't
5 even serve in the army because of an injury to his eye.
6 Q. Who required him to wear a military uniform during this period?
7 A. No one required anyone to do that, but all the men wore uniforms
8 because they were conscripted, each doing his own job. When they called
9 him up in the Medical Corps to go to the woods because there were wounded
10 there, he wouldn't go there in a white coat and white trousers. It was
11 all camouflaged so that he wouldn't be seen and killed.
12 Q. It's traditional that doctors serving in a military wear a red
13 cross so that they're simply identified as simply being medical
14 personnel. Do you ever recall seeing your husband wearing the red cross
15 on his uniform?
16 A. He did not wear a red cross, but his paramedic who accompanied
17 him wore a red cross on his arm band, and there were red crosses on the
18 vehicle, just as in the case of UN soldiers. Their doctors also walked
19 around in camouflage uniforms in our part of the world.
20 Q. I just want to be clear. With respect to the information you're
21 providing about Zehra Turjacanin, all of that or the sole source of that
22 is your husband; correct?
23 A. The only source was he, the book, and what I read here on the
24 internet from The Hague Tribunal.
25 Q. But with respect to this portion of your evidence with respect to
1 her burning herself on a gas stove, am I correct in thinking that your
2 husband is the sole source of that piece of information?
3 A. He and the sister who with him, accompanying him.
4 Q. That's Ms. Papic. Did you speak with Ms. Papic about this as
6 A. No. She's a nurse, and she no longer lives in Visegrad.
7 Q. Do you know where she lives today?
8 A. Somewhere in Belgrade
9 Q. But she didn't tell you about the gas stove. It's simply your
10 husband, Dr. Vasiljevic, who told you about the -- the accident with the
11 gas stove; correct?
12 A. They were on their way back from work together. Her mother's
13 house is a stone's throw from ours. They would go to work together and
14 come back home from work together. We had coffee together every day. We
15 Serbs tend to hang out together a lot, and this is something that I've
16 been telling you about. I think she was there, too, when we were talking
17 about this because they were shocked what the degree of the woman's burns
18 was, how large the burns were, and this was something that a doctor would
19 have found striking. This is not something that you come across every
21 Q. Now, Ms. -- so, Mrs. Vasiljevic, so it's your testimony that not
22 only did your husband tell you about the accident with the gas stove, but
23 also nurse Papic who accompanied him, she also told you about the
24 accident with the gas stove. Is that your evidence? Yes or no, if
25 you're able to answer it either way.
1 A. She was there when he told me that.
2 Q. And I take from your testimony that they told you the day it
3 happened or very shortly after they met with Zehra Turjacanin; is that
5 A. Well, maybe that evening or perhaps the next time we met. My
6 husband did not exactly come home every day.
7 Q. Now, after that initial time that you had this conversation and
8 your husband told you about Zehra Turjacanin, did you ever discuss it
9 with him again?
10 A. Yes, when we read about her story, the story that was quite
11 unlike what she had told him and what she had said in that book. I might
12 never have remembered her again in my whole life had it not been for her
13 new statement, which was exactly the reverse of what she had said
14 previously. We were entirely shocked. I hadn't even known what the
15 woman's name was, and I don't think he had either.
16 Q. Ma'am --
17 A. We just weren't interested.
18 Q. My time is limited, so I would appreciate if you were able to
19 answer my questions in a brief way, it would help me get through my
20 questions, and we can move on to the next witness. Thank you.
21 When did you first read this book that was sent to you from this
22 person in Sarajevo
23 A. Perhaps 1995, possibly 1996. I can't be more specific.
24 Q. Now, between the time that your husband first told you about the
25 gas stove accident and the time you read about Zehra Turjacanin in this
1 book, did you and your husband ever discuss Zehra Turjacanin and her
2 treatment again?
3 A. He did say he was surprised she didn't turn up for the check. He
4 had no idea what had become of her. We didn't even know if she was still
5 alive or dead. Later on, we read the book and he said, Oh, thank God for
6 this. He had obviously provided her with sufficient medicine for her to
7 make it. Had he not assisted her medically, she would not have made it.
8 Q. You said he was surprised she did not turn up for the check. Am
9 I to take from your answer that your husband told you that he had
10 scheduled an appointment for her to be examined and treated again by your
11 husband? Is that correct?
12 A. I don't know whether he gave her an appointment or not.
13 Q. Well, the record records you as saying that -- let me just see if
14 I can get the exact reference. I'm sorry. Just bear with me for a
16 Now, the record on page 44, line 10, records you as saying: "He
17 did not" -- "He did say he was surprised she didn't turn up for the
18 check." What did you mean when you said that?
19 A. I meant that the burns were horrendous, at least based on what he
20 told me. People go back to their doctors even for much slighter
21 injuries, and given the extent of her injuries, it was only surprising
22 that she could would not reappear at some point. He had no idea what had
23 become of her.
24 Q. Now, you testified just a question before this one that your
25 husband was surprised that she had made it. Am I to take from that that
1 your husband thought that there was a risk of death that this woman faced
2 because of the severity of her burns?
3 A. Most probably. He had no opportunity at the time to take her to
4 a hospital anywhere, but he gave her sufficient medicine and told her how
5 to use it, but it is very relative, all things considered.
6 Q. Now, you told us that your husband died. Can I ask you what year
7 your husband died, please?
8 A. 2002.
9 Q. Now, in 2001 your husband actually came to this Tribunal and
10 testified in the case of Mitar Vasiljevic. Did he tell you that?
11 A. Of course.
12 Q. And he actually sat in the very spot now where you are sitting.
13 Your husband, prior to coming to testify, asked for a certificate of safe
14 passage, in other words, a certificate guaranteeing that he would not be
15 arrested during his travel to and from The Hague. Did he tell you why he
16 felt he needed such protection from being arrested?
17 A. I didn't know about that. This is news to me.
18 Q. Now, you've told us at Transcript 23 that your husband told you
19 that her burns were of the highest degree and her arms were burned, her
20 face, and her hair. My question to you is, Did your -- did he tell you
21 that her face was so badly burnt that it was difficult to recognise her?
22 A. When you have burns that have such a high degree, it's very
23 difficult for anyone to recognise.
24 Q. Now, can I ask you as precisely as you're able to recall for us,
25 what did your husband tell you that Zehra Turjacanin told him about how
1 she became so seriously burned?
2 A. Again, for a third time, she tried to use the gas stove to light
3 her cigarette. Her arms caught fire, her hair probably then caught fire,
4 and her face.
5 Q. And to -- so the record captures what you have just demonstrated
6 to us. You have leaned over and put your face towards the desk that
7 you're sitting in front of; correct? Again, we need an audible answer to
8 record your testimony.
9 A. I apologise. It was a knee-jerk reaction because the stove is
10 over there, and then you lean over the stove in order to light your
11 cigarette when you run out of matches. This is something I used to do
12 myself, very often, as a matter of fact.
13 Q. And when you did it very often, did you ever have any difficulty,
14 or did you ever get burnt or have any close calls with the gas stove?
15 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, I would object as to the relevance -- I
16 object as to the relevance of this question.
17 MR. GROOME: I'll withdraw it, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Move on.
19 MR. GROOME:
20 Q. Did that story make sense to you?
21 A. What story do you have in mind? This story?
22 Q. This story about suffering such grievous burns when trying to
23 light a cigarette on a gas stove. Did that make sense to you?
24 A. I really don't understand your question, try as I might. What
25 are you trying to achieve? My husband was no charlatan. He was a
1 well-known expert. He never took things like that lightly. The woman
2 turned on the gas stove, and this is what happened. I think you are
3 slandering my husband's memory.
4 Q. No, ma'am. It's not my intention to do so. All I'm asking you
5 is whether or not that account, whether it made sense to you, or if --
6 did it make sense to your husband? Was it an account that sounded
7 reasonable to you or your husband?
8 MR. ALARID: Objection, relevance and calls for speculation.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: I tend to agree.
10 Mr. Groome, please move on.
11 MR. GROOME:
12 Q. Ma'am, let me ask you this: If it's her intention to light the
13 cigarette on the stove, the cigarette is obviously not lit; correct?
14 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, calls for speculation. Wholly
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: I agree, Mr. Groome. Ask another question.
17 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, clearly the core portion of her
18 testimony relates to this. Clearly, my exploring the logic or illogical
19 nature of the story is not speculation. It's just applying the laws of
20 logic to the account that it's claimed Zehra Turjacanin provided her
22 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, I point to line 20. He's asking about
23 the intentions of Ms. Turjacanin. I can't see how any witness can
24 testify to the intentions of Zehra Turjacanin except for Zehra Turjacanin
1 MR. GROOME: I can broaden that to anyone seeking to light a
2 cigarette on a stove, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Why don't you try to put it on a more factual
4 basis. I do believe that it's permissible for you to try to get an
5 answer from the witness in relation to a parallel situation, but it all
6 depends on how the question is put and whether it's a matter that is
7 within the witness's knowledge.
8 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour. Perhaps I've omitted to ask a
9 foundational question.
10 Q. Mrs. Vasiljevic, did your husband, Dr. Vasiljevic, believe Zehra
11 Turjacanin, that that was how she sustained these serious burns?
12 A. One hundred per cent. I believe everything my husband said, and
13 you should too. This was certainly true.
14 Q. Ma'am, this isn't a personal attack on your husband, and that's
15 not the question that I asked you, so I apologise if the interpretation
16 is incorrect. What I'm asking you is not whether you believe your
17 husband. I have no qualms with that. What I'm asking you is did your
18 husband believe Zehra Turjacanin? Do you understand my question to you?
19 MR. ALARID: Calls for speculation and otherwise asked and
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Just a minute, please. Just a minute. There's
22 an objection. Yes, Mr. Alarid.
23 MR. ALARID: It calls for speculation and otherwise has been
24 asked and answered considering she was merely -- she has merely testified
25 as to what her husband told her, but I think it would be speculative to
1 say whether he believed her or not.
2 MR. GROOME: I can adjust the phrasing of the question, Your
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. I mean, she can say whether her husband
5 indicated to her that he believed Zehra Turjacanin.
6 MR. GROOME:
7 Q. Ma'am, and that is my question to you. Did your husband tell you
8 whether or not he believed the account Zehra Turjacanin provided him
9 about how she sustained these injuries?
10 A. Yes, he believed her 100 per cent. She told him personally.
11 This wasn't hearsay. She was the one who told him. Why would he not
12 have believed her?
13 Q. So your husband told you that he believes that this woman had
14 suffered this accident which caused her these very serious burns;
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. Did your husband ever tell you why he never took that gravely
18 injured woman to the hospital in Visegrad to treat her?
19 A. He said it, and he explained it to you here as well. I can
20 repeat that for your sake, but you can also go back to his evidence and
21 read it for yourself, but I can repeat it for you as well. It's not a
22 problem at all.
23 Q. As yet, your husband's testimony is not before the Chamber, and
24 I'm the only person in the courtroom who was here when your husband
25 testified. So would you please tell us what your husband told you was
1 the reason why he did not bring her to the hospital.
2 MR. IVETIC: If counsel could be more specific. I'm unfamiliar
3 with any hospital in Visegrad. Which hospital is being referred to?
4 MR. GROOME: It was called the Visegrad Medical Centre.
5 Q. Yes. Can you please tell us what your husband told you or why --
6 why -- what he told you about why he did not bring her to the Visegrad
7 Medical Centre.
8 A. There is a health centre in Visegrad, not a medical centre. The
9 medical centre, there is one at Uzice and one at Foca. The road to Foca
10 was blocked because of military operations. One couldn't travel there.
11 As to Uzice, he couldn't take her there or send her there because there
12 were roadblocks along at that road and this woman had no documents. Our
13 police was there, the Serb police, and when the paramedics take their
14 patients somewhere, they need to have appropriate documents, and she had
15 nothing. Her safety would have been at risk. He believed the best
16 course of action for her was to go to Medjedja, to Gorazde, perhaps,
17 where there were Muslims. Had he taken her to Uzice, her safety would
18 obviously have been at risk. That's what I read. He didn't tell me this
19 himself, but I read his statement, and I came across that.
20 Q. When you said you read his statement, you read his testimony in
21 the Vasiljevic case? Again, we need an audible answer.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Well, then you will know after having read his testimony in the
24 Vasiljevic case, although he talks about his treatment of Zehra
25 Turjacanin, he never mentions anything about this gas stove, does he?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Now --
3 A. He wasn't asked. No one asked him about the cause of her
4 injuries. They just asked him why he hadn't taken her there.
5 Q. Now, ma'am, the -- I don't quite understand what you're telling
6 us about Uzice. So is it your evidence that this young woman, seriously
7 burned, but because she did not have documents, that the police would not
8 allow an ambulance to take her to a hospital? Is that your evidence?
9 MR. ALARID: Objection. Calls for speculation, asked and
10 answered. She explained that the basis of her knowledge was from other
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: I will allow her to answer that.
13 Please answer the question.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what would have
15 happened. He believed that her safety would have been at risk, but it's
16 not for me to say. That is what he believed. So now we can hardly talk
17 about what might have happened. I for one certainly don't know.
18 Q. And you say that he told you that he advised her to go to
19 Medjedja? Is that correct?
20 A. That's what I read in his testimony.
21 Q. Is it true that he did not take her to the hospital because she
22 was a Muslim?
23 A. That is true because her life was at risk. Had he taken her
24 there, she would never have survived. It was war-time. There was a war
25 on. Each Muslim who captured an injured Serb killed him right there and
2 Q. Well, so far you've talked about your husband, an ambulance, and
3 police check-points. Who would have harmed this young Muslim woman who
4 was so seriously injured?
5 MR. ALARID: Objection. Calls for speculation.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: No. I think the witness can answer in light of
7 her knowledge of the prevailing circumstances.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Anyone might have. I don't know.
9 Any mother, for example, who had had her son killed by the Muslims. I
10 don't know.
11 Q. Well, then, ma'am, let me put this to you. It seems with a
12 person as seriously burned as this who you say your husband said was
13 unrecognisable, that a very simple solution to this would have been to
14 say to the woman, just use a Serb name and we'll take you to the
15 hospital. Wouldn't that have been a very simple solution to get this
16 woman the treatment that she needed?
17 MR. ALARID: Objection. Relevance and calls for speculation.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. No, I agree, Mr. Groome. Please ask
19 another question.
20 MR. GROOME:
21 Q. Ma'am, we have the log-book of patients that were treated on that
22 day as a Prosecution exhibit. Your husband never recorded his diagnosis
23 and treatment of Ms. Turjacanin anywhere. Did he ever tell you why he
24 did not?
25 A. Have you been listening to me, or are you just pretending not to
1 understand what I'm telling you? He was called over from the health
2 centre. Are you taunting me, sir? He received a call from the health
3 centre at Bikavac from the command, and they told him, Here's a woman who
4 is injured. He grabbed the medicine. He called a nurse, and they went
5 right there. She told him she was a Muslim, and he did whatever he
6 could. Whatever he could do on the spot, he did, and that was that. I
7 really have no clue what else you expect me to say. I believe I've given
8 you the whole story. What protocol are you talking about? This was all
9 happening out in a meadow. It's not like she came to the health centre
10 so the whole thing was recorded. You won't find a doctor working out in
11 the field doing that. When a patient appears at the health centre, then
12 the patient is recorded in the log-book. This log-book is not something
13 people carry around across meadows.
14 Q. Ma'am, you testified at Transcript 24:
15 "I read later on on the internet and in the press about her
16 evidence here at the Tribunal and realised that she had changed her
17 story, which shocked me as being pointless."
18 Am I correct in taking from that testimony that it was only after
19 Zehra Turjacanin gave her evidence in this case this year that you
20 realised she had, in your view, changed her story?
21 A. I think so.
22 Q. Well, ma'am, you also said just a page later on Transcript page
23 25 that your husband was shocked when he learned that she changed her
25 A. Of course. What else? Do you find that strange?
1 Q. Well, what I find contradictory about it, ma'am, is if your
2 husband died in 2002, that he expressed his shock at the change in her
3 story, yet you're sworn testimony here is that you did not know about the
4 change in her story until this very year after she testified. Can you
5 explain that contradiction?
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Ivetic.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's not true.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Ivetic.
9 MR. IVETIC: I'm trying to find a way of objecting without saying
10 anything that could be misconstrued as leading the witness, but in terms
11 of when her husband found out, given the evidence that has been elicited
12 thus far, I don't think there is a foundation for such speculation --
13 speculative evidence on the part of the witness.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: The question is perfectly proper. Please answer
15 it, Witness.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My husband was here in The Hague
17 2001. That's when he gave evidence. Even before that, ever since the
18 Tribunal started operating and there was a web site up and running, we
19 followed everything that was going on in relation to all of the trials
20 here, each of the persons being tried. It's not that we found out about
21 this just now this year with she last gave evidence. This wasn't the
22 first time she was here. She had testified here already a number of
23 times. My Rasa was still alive when we read her testimony in 2002 or
24 possibly 2000. I don't know if it really matters that much. I can track
25 down the information for you on the internet. Over at our place in
2 than well enough, and everybody knows about these things.
3 Q. Okay. Thank you for your explanation, ma'am. My next question
4 to you is, if what you are saying is true, that your husband learnt of
5 her change of story, that he was shocked by it, that what was an accident
6 had been falsely turned into an accusation against his kum of some of the
7 most serious crimes committed during the war, why is it, if you know,
8 would your husband ever tell you why he never publicly contradicted Zehra
9 Turjacanin's claim that her burns were the result of a crime by Serbs and
10 were not an accident? Did he ever tell you why he never publicly
11 contradicted that claim?
12 A. Here is what I'll tell you, and please don't ever again portray
13 my husband in such an unflattering light. My husband died when he came
14 back from The Hague
15 justice. He went here to prove it, but he couldn't, and when he was back
16 home, that was the reason he died. This sounded his death knell, and I
17 think all your questions are entirely pointless. I have no idea what
18 you're trying to achieve. Are you trying to besmirch his name? You
19 can't do that. He is a great man.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Witness. Yes, I don't believe that there is any
21 doubt that your husband is a great man. There is nothing in the
22 questions asked by counsel to suggest that he's trying to besmirch your
23 husband's reputation. Please calm yourself as best as possible. I know
24 you loved your husband, and we respect that. We respect that, but please
25 answer the question which counsel asked.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've answered the question. My
2 husband was here in 2001. He tried to prove the truth. He tried to help
3 justice, and yet he failed. It is for the sake of his memory and for the
4 sake of my love for my kum that I am here today.
5 MR. GROOME:
6 Q. Ma'am, I won't trouble you with any more questions. Thank you
7 for your answers to my questions.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Ivetic.
9 MR. IVETIC: Yes, Your Honour, just briefly.
10 Re-examination by Mr. Ivetic:
11 Q. First of all, Ms. Vasiljevic, I'll be brief, just a few
12 questions. Mr. Groome has raised the issue of the Visegrad health
13 clinic. In B/C/S, it's the "domostravia" [phoen]. With respect to that
14 facility, does that facility in Visegrad -- in 1992 or even at the
15 present, does that facility have in-patient services? That is, does it
16 have the capability to provide hospital care to patients?
17 A. No, it's just an outpatients' clinic. These are just
18 outpatients' clinics. For hospitalisation, you need another kind of
19 facility which does not exist in Visegrad.
20 Q. And you mentioned, I believe, Medjedja and Gorazde. Is there
21 another type of medical facility over there that would have this type of
22 in-patient hospital care for persons who report there?
23 A. You mean now or during the war?
24 Q. During the course of the war.
25 A. In the course of the war, I don't know what there was in Gorazde.
1 I don't know what they had, whether they had a hospital or not. Patients
2 were sent from Visegrad to Uzice in the Republic of Serbia
3 hospital was in Foca and the roads were cut off. They were blocked bit
4 Muslims. For that reason, all patients were sent to Serbia, those who
5 needed to be hospitalised, that is.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 [Defence counsel confer]
8 MR. IVETIC:
9 Q. Thank you. Now, just to clear up a few minor points. Madam, did
10 you have an occasion to meet with me in Visegrad, and do you recall when
11 that was?
12 A. That was this year, a few days after the New Year.
13 Q. And between that time and today, have you and I also met?
14 A. No, never. We didn't even speak on the phone.
15 Q. I'm somewhat at a loss because I do not have a copy of the
16 statement that you say you signed for Ms. Jelena. Does that statement
17 have anything additional or different from that that you have testified
18 to here today under oath as a witness in the defence of Milan Lukic?
19 A. No.
20 Q. On behalf of my client and the entire Defence team, I thank you
21 for having the courage to come here and testify, and I thank you for your
23 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, we have no further questions for this
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Cepic, I take it you're --
1 MR. CEPIC: Thank you, Your Honour. No questions for this
2 witness. Thank you.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Witness, that concludes your evidence, and we
4 thank you for coming to the Tribunal to give it. You may now leave.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you too.
6 [The witness withdrew]
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: The next witness, please.
8 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, the next witness has been granted
9 protective measures, MLD7. I'm told we need a pause for the equipment
10 for the protective measures to be put in place.
11 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: All right. We will adjourn for 15 minutes.
13 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, before it gets -- it gets away from me
14 to the next witness, in light of the witness's evidence that she did sign
15 a statement before a court, I would renew my request for a copy of that
16 statement, and I may be seeking an application to recall the witness.
17 I would also ask Mr. Alarid to please check with Jelena Rasic and
18 other members of his staff to ensure that all statements that she or
19 other members of the staff had part in generating are properly disclosed
20 to the Prosecution.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Thank you. It doesn't call for any
22 response, Mr. Alarid.
23 MR. ALARID: That's what I figured, Judge.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Okay.
25 --- Break taken at 5.02 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 5.27 p.m.
2 [The witness entered court]
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let the witness make the declaration.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
5 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
6 WITNESS: WITNESS MLD7
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: We won't take another break before the end of
9 the day's proceedings. Mr. Ivetic.
10 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour. Before I begin, I would
11 like to bring one matter to the Court's attention. The witness this
12 morning -- actually, VWS first and then the witness this morning informed
13 me he does have a medical condition that relates to his kidneys where he
14 gets a sharp pain in his kidneys, and that requires him to stand up and
15 walk around and sometimes going to the restroom, and he indicated to me
16 that if he was experiencing such pains he would make some kind of hand
17 gesture to alert myself and everyone else in the courtroom the same, so I
18 just ask the Court's indulgence in that matter to --
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: That's fine, Mr. Ivetic.
20 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour. Mr. -- I'm sorry. Mr. Cole
21 is on his feet.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
23 MR. COLE: Excuse me, Your Honour. Could I raise a matter now
24 rather than leaving it until the end. Your Honours indicated we're going
25 to go all the way through.
1 Now, this is to avoid any problems that we may have in the
2 future. The OTP received notification of a list of documents to be used
3 by the Defence for this witness, MLD7, at 12.55 p.m. today. Now, the
4 order of the Trial Chamber on the 9th of July, the Scheduling Order,
5 you'll recall, Your Honour, requires notification of exhibits to be used
6 in examination-in-chief basically at least by 4.00 p.m. on the working
7 day prior.
8 Now, I actually have brought up the Scheduling Order on the
9 screen. The order itself is directed to the Prosecution and makes no
10 reference specifically, I note, to documents to be used by the Defence
11 during examination-in-chief, but in my submission the similar provision
12 should apply, and what happens is if they don't, it seems we get very
13 late notification. So I'm going to ask, sir, if the Trial Chamber would
14 be prepared to apply the order of the 9th of July in respect of
15 notification of documentary exhibits during examination-in-chief to the
16 Defence, as well, so that we can have the benefit of advanced notice of
17 documents to be used, and it will avoid, I would hope, late notice in
18 future. Thank you, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, it certainly applies, Mr. Cole, and I
20 don't believe either Mr. Alarid or Mr. Ivetic would be saying that it
21 doesn't apply to them.
22 If the order itself doesn't say so, that is clearly an omission,
23 but it does apply to the Defence. It's a standard order that is made in
24 trials, and it seems that inadvertently the reference to the Defence has
25 been omitted. But I notice you're not taking a point, then, that you're
1 not able to carry on or anything like that, and for that I'm grateful,
2 and we will see to it that it is made expressly clear that the order does
3 apply to the Defence.
4 MR. IVETIC: And I can say for the Defence, we take it as
5 applying to the Defence if that assists.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Ivetic. Yes.
7 MR. IVETIC: Yes. Very well, sir.
8 Examination by Mr. Ivetic:
9 Q. Mr. MLD7 - I have to refer you to by that name as you are a
10 protected witness - I would ask first that you be shown the pseudonym
11 ship, which I would ask the assistance of the court staff to present to
12 you. Once you receive this sheet, sir, I would ask you to take a look at
13 the document, and without mentioning your name in public session, if you
14 could just let me know if the information contained therein is correct as
15 to your full name and as to your date of birth, and again, we have to
16 wait for that document to make its way to you, so I would beg your
18 A. I agree. This information is correct.
19 Q. In that case, sir, I would ask you to please initial the
21 MR. IVETIC: And once it is done, Your Honours, I would tender
22 this document under seal as the next available 1D exhibit.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 1D99 under seal, Your Honours.
24 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Madam Court Officer.
25 Q. Sir, if we could begin. If you could please tell us what
1 ethnicity you are.
2 A. I'm a Serb.
3 Q. And without giving us any details that might give away your
4 identity, if you could tell us just the city and country wherein you now
6 A. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Visegrad.
7 Q. And did you also reside in that same locale in 1992?
8 A. Yes, I did.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. IVETIC: Your Honours, the next few -- the next questions I
11 have deal with matters that might -- might have the witness's identity
12 revealed if discussed it open session, so I would ask to go in private
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
15 [Private session]
11 Pages 4240-4252 redacted. Private session.
10 [Open session]
11 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
12 MR. IVETIC: Thank you.
13 Q. Mr. MLD7, now we're in open session so, again, I would caution
14 you when giving your answers to my questions not to give any specific
15 details that might reveal your identity, as the testimony now is subject
16 to public dissemination.
17 With respect to the death of Vlatko Tripkovic, first of all,
18 could you tell us who Vlatko Tripkovic was in the structure of the armed
19 forces of the Republika Srpska?
20 A. The late Vlatko Tripkovic was a company commander. We called it
21 Kocarinska Lijestinska [phoen]. I think in terms of structure, it was
22 the 1st Company.
23 Q. And was this a -- was this a unit under the -- strike that.
24 Under which command, under which structure of the armed forces
25 did this unit fall under?
1 A. The Visegrad Brigade, which at the time was called the 2nd Light
2 Visegrad Brigade.
3 Q. Okay. And if you could now focus on the time-period -- pardon
4 me. Strike that.
5 Was there any military action that was underway when
6 Mr. Tripkovic -- Commander Tripkovic perished?
7 A. It was my team. We were intercepting Muslim communications at
8 the time, and we had arrived at the conclusion that they were grouping to
9 some extent along the Medjedja-Zepa road. Medjedja is the general area
10 and then on to Gorazde and Zepa, just in case you didn't know. So the
11 first estimates were that there might be an attack on the isolated Serb
12 villages where there were Serbs remaining at this point in time, few, if
13 any: Kocari, Gornja/Donja Lijeska, Han Brdo, Kopito. There were a few
14 of them there, and then the conclusion was that one should step up
15 defence measures over there and dispatch a unit there to surprise them so
16 that we might surprise them as opposed to the other way around, them
17 surprising us.
18 Q. And sir, with respect to that intelligence or information that
19 you had, did the army command in Visegrad undertake any orders or actions
20 relative to the same, and if so, what were they?
21 A. A group was formed comprising -- I can't say exactly, maybe
22 between 40 and 50 men who were prepared to go and do some reconnaissance,
23 set up some ambushes and generally be at the ready because we didn't know
24 where they would come from or where they would pass through. It was just
25 to make sure that all our forces were at Visegrad but send them further
1 up so that we might operate from many different directions, and that's
2 why this group of between 40 and 50 people were dispatched to that area
3 where we were expecting their breakthrough, possibly their attack.
4 Q. And with respect -- with respect to that group of 40 to 50
5 persons, what structures were these individuals drawn from? Were they
6 all from one structure, or were there multiple structures represented?
7 When I say structures, I mean organs of the Defence forces.
8 A. They were men mostly who were prepared to walk a little more and
9 to fight. Those who were on the young side, members of the Brigade, the
10 reserve police forces, they formed a group in order to be dispatched
11 there to this area where operations by the enemy were being expected.
12 Q. With respect to these persons, these forces, who was leading or
13 in charge of the military aspect, and who was leading or in charge of the
14 police contingent?
15 A. As this was the late Vlatko's native area and he had been a
16 company commander already, I think he commanded that unit, and then there
17 was another platoon commander, the late Vidakovic, Perica Markovic. It
18 was one of these two. They deputised for each other depending on the
19 point in time, but I think at this time they were both around.
20 Q. And did you have occasion to personally visually eye-witness the
21 personnel that were being assembled for this mission?
22 A. Every time men assembled drew a certain amount of curiosity and
23 anxiety when seeing men off. They started from this training-ground, and
24 I was 20 or 30 metres away from there. I saw them leave. I think there
25 was a single combat vehicle plus a number of passenger vehicles because
1 that was all we had at the time. That was all the equipment we had.
2 Q. Do you recall any of the names of the other individuals that were
3 part of the police contingent that was setting out for this task?
4 A. In addition to what I've mentioned, I think there was also Tomic;
5 Spasoje was certainly there; Perica Markovic, I'm sure about that. Some
6 men had already got into those cars. Some were singing, some were
7 screaming, but they were moving along.
8 Q. From which polygon?
9 A. I use the expression "training ground," but this actually used to
10 be a parking-lot to be used by the motel's guests, big enough to hold
11 about 50 passenger vehicles, so this was the place they started out from.
12 Q. And do you have -- do you have knowledge of where Milan Lukic was
13 on that day?
14 A. I remember that he was there. He was the most cheerful of all
15 those who were leaving on this military operation of sorts.
16 Q. And now, when this group set out, did your command retain the
17 ability to maintain radio communications with this group the entire time
18 that it was engaged on the region that you've described, the Zepa,
19 Kopito, Lijeska, Sjemec region?
20 A. What was a problem for us was the sources of electricity for our
21 radio devices, so we would do the work manually and connect our radio
22 devices to the batteries of these passenger vehicles, and the hub was the
23 car being used by the late Vlatko Tripkovic, the radio device in question
24 being RU12. The duty officer would always be at the hub, always
25 receiving communication because we had the largest batteries there to
1 provide power. All those out in the field would normally report back in
2 order to receive from us whatever was required, but they could always
3 call because the hub was always stationary.
4 Q. With respect to the RU12 communications device that was in the
5 car being used by the late Vlatko Tripkovic, did your command have
6 occasion to have those radio communications interrupted? If so, when and
7 if you could describe the circumstances surrounding the same.
8 A. Well, there was a disruption when the late Vlatko Tripkovic,
9 after the unit had moved, was on his way to the briefing, and he was also
10 on his way to get some supplies because I think he was reckoning that
11 they would be staying around for a while. On his way back, he was
12 ambushed. He was killed. The car was set alight, and as a result the
13 group remained without any of its communications.
14 Q. Now, first of all, with respect to that group that remained
15 without communications, how long in terms of days did that group remain
16 cut off of regular communications with your command?
17 A. They never again established a direct link with us. We tried to
18 establish a link to what I think was the forward command post of the
19 Rogatica Brigade, and this was behind them. It was through them that we
20 established some sort of messenger service. We didn't have any
21 communications equipment left, so they allowed us to use theirs.
22 Q. And what instructions or directives were communicated to the
23 forward command post of the Rogatica Brigade to be communicated or
24 relayed to the forces at Kopito via messenger, if you know.
25 A. It was the death of Vlatko Tripkovic and the two other men, and
1 this became known about town. We knew that there was a communications
3 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the last part
4 of the last sentence. The interpreter didn't understand.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Witness, the interpreter's asking you to repeat
6 the last part of the last sentence. I think you said: "We knew that
7 there was a communications breakdown."
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The death of Vlatko Tripkovic, this
9 is something that we learned about because he had been killed near our
10 previous permanent positions where people were watching houses. It
11 wasn't a mobile unit. That was another kilometre behind our last
12 permanent line. We didn't know how many of them were there. We knew
13 that there had been an incursion by a rather large group. It wasn't safe
14 to move about because we drove around all the time, and that's how most
15 of us were killed until we knew better.
16 Word was sent through to the command of the Rogatica Brigade to
17 get in touch with our unit over there, that there were no communications,
18 no links between us and them, and that someone should be sent over, and
19 then further actions would be agreed with them, and an action should be
20 coordinated between our unit, the Rogatica unit, and the unit from
21 Visegrad that had cleared the area and made sure the road was now safe.
22 Q. And when was it foreseen or planned for that action to take place
23 to make sure that the road was safe, if you know in terms of days or
24 date, any information you can provide on that matter.
25 A. I don't know the exact day, but I remember the late Vlatko's
1 death, the day on which it occurred. There was some lads, who were ready
2 to go, and they were out of town already, so it probably would have taken
3 them another day to get a new group ready, would go out and reconnoiter.
4 We called this combing the ground just to make sure who was when. First,
5 you get to one elevation, and then you realise that it's not there
6 because all of us who were back in Visegrad, that was the lie of the
7 land, and we were all out, and had we all gone out we couldn't have
8 covered the road, and we couldn't have made it safe for passage, things
9 being normal and all that.
10 Q. And so -- and so, again, you indicated that it would take a day
11 for the new group to get ready. When was the action to clear the road to
12 take place?
13 A. It should have been only the 13th right away when this happened
14 involving Vlatko, but progress was slow. It was a tragedy to lose young
15 lads like them. We didn't know what or who was where and who was waiting
16 hidden behind the next tree further down the road. It took another one
17 or two days, communications were still down, until we had realised that
18 this must have been some sort of group, a sabotage group or something,
19 just passing through because they used the same road, the
20 Visegrad-Rogatica road, and that there was this intersection in no man's
21 land, the two roads intersecting the Gorazde-Zepa road. We set up
22 ambushes for them, and they set up ambushes for us, and for a long time
23 this remained no man's land, a 10-kilometre stretch at least of that
25 Q. And was the action actually carried out and completed so as to
1 enable the forces to meet and use the road?
2 A. Yes. I think on or about the 15th, all this was completed. I
3 don't even think there were any combat operations earlier on on the 13th,
4 but I'm not positive. There was perhaps a sporadic exchange of fire.
5 Were there any dead out in the woods, I don't know, but I think by this
6 time at least for the previous seven days we had not suffered any
7 casualties in terms of one of our men getting killed.
8 Q. So then is it your testimony that that operation was completed on
9 the 15th of what month?
10 A. The 15th of June. Vlatko was killed on the 13th, the 14th, and
11 then the 15th the whole thing was back under control by our forces.
12 Q. Thank you. Now, I don't remember if in -- asking you earlier if
13 you had identified for us how it was that you found out or knew that --
14 that Commander Tripkovic was the one who had perished, and the other
15 individuals whom you had -- whom you had named earlier, Novica Savic, and
16 I forget the other individual's name. I believe it was Mirkovic. Zeljko
17 or Zarko. I can't remember the first name.
18 A. Veljko. Novica Savic and Veljko Mirkovic. Novica was the
19 operative in the staff. Veljko Mirkovic was his escort.
20 I explained to you that at that time every Serbian village was
21 guarded. It was local villagers who guarded the villages strengthened by
22 five or ten men, and these were mostly guards around the houses. From
23 the closest guarded Serbian village we could see flames, we could hear
24 shooting, and we expected trouble. Somebody went there to see the news
25 spread through the town from mouth to mouth. I still feel bad when I
1 think of it. The whole town knew that they had been killed, and I knew,
2 too, in the same way.
3 Q. And had the bodies been recovered?
4 A. Yes. They were charred, and they were disfigured. The car was
5 set on fire. I had many other obligations, so unfortunately I did not
6 attend the funeral, but I observed from a hill, and I think all of
7 Visegrad was there at that funeral.
8 [Defence counsel and accused confer]
9 MR. IVETIC: Your Honours, I think that's the conclusion of my
10 direct examination.
11 Mr. MLD7, I thank you. The counsel on the other side and Your
12 Honours might have questions for you. I might have questions later on,
13 but at this point in time I thank you for your testimony, sir.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
15 Mr. Cole.
16 MR. COLE: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Cross-examination by Mr. Cole:
18 Q. Now, my name is Cole, and I'm going to be asking you questions on
19 behalf of the Prosecution.
20 MR. COLE: Your Honour, could I ask that we go into closed
21 session. I have some particular questions that would require that.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
23 [Private session]
11 Pages 4262-4263 redacted. Private session.
7 [Open session]
8 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
9 MR. COLE:
10 Q. MLD7, do you have a good memory generally?
11 A. I'm satisfied with the way my memory serves me.
12 Q. Do you have a good memory for dates?
13 A. Well, I can remember events a hundred per cent, but with dates I
14 have to calculate.
15 Q. Now, you were living in Visegrad almost continually during the
16 Bosnian conflict over the years from 1992, weren't you?
17 A. That's correct.
18 Q. And prior to the war in Bosnia
19 occupants of Visegrad, the majority of occupants were Bosnian Muslim,
20 weren't they?
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. And today, the vast majority of the occupants of Visegrad are
23 Bosnian Serbs; correct?
24 A. That's correct.
25 Q. In fact, would it be over 90 per cent of those now living in
1 Visegrad are Bosnian Serbs?
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. And you can confirm that many innocent Bosnian Muslim civilians
4 were slaughtered right in Visegrad itself during the war in 1992;
6 MR. IVETIC: Objection, Your Honour. This question is without
7 foundation, speculation. I consider it to be a form of -- it's -- it's a
8 loaded question, if I can bring back to -- what the Prosecution was so
9 apt to quote throughout this case. It's a loaded-type question. It's
10 improper to ask a witness. It's beyond the scope of any direct, and it's
11 meant I think to intimidate or to try and harass.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Witness, are you in a position to say whether
13 innocent Bosnian Muslim civilians were slaughtered in Visegrad during the
14 war in 1992?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am convinced that no one who was
16 innocent was made a victim.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, there you have it.
18 MR. COLE:
19 Q. Well, can I ask you this: Can you confirm that many Bosnian
20 Muslim -- Muslim civilians were killed in Visegrad during the war in
22 MR. IVETIC: Again, we have a foundation issue, and it just --
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: The witness can answer that from his knowledge.
24 Let us -- let us get on with the trial.
25 Can you say whether many Bosnian Muslim civilians were killed in
1 Visegrad during the war in 1992? That's a question of fact.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can say that many are registered
3 as missing, but whether they were killed in Visegrad, well, it didn't
4 happen in the town because they weren't there, but that they got killed
5 outside the town, probably yes.
6 MR. COLE:
7 Q. Come on, MLD7. Many Muslims were killed, in fact, weren't they,
8 on the old bridge in Visegrad, a hundred metres from your home during
9 1992. You're aware of that, aren't you?
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Again?
11 MR. IVETIC: Asked and answered, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Answer the question. Let us know whether the
13 witness is in a position to provide the information. If he's not, he's
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you asked me whether I could
16 see the bridge, and I told you I couldn't, but I wasn't at home either.
17 I have to say that I used to be indoors for 24 hours at a time, a small
18 room 5 by 5, overwhelmed with work. So they would often bring food into
19 that room for me, and I even slept there, and I never went out for long
20 periods. So you couldn't see the bridge from there, from where I was,
21 actually, at the time.
22 MR. COLE:
23 Q. Sir, whether you can see the bridge or not, you were living in
24 Visegrad in 1992 and thereafter, and are you claiming you don't know what
25 was going on in Visegrad during the war because you were in a room
2 A. What went on, that's a broad concept. I knew a lot of things,
3 but believe me or not, I heard few stories, few rumours, and I wasn't
4 interested. It was my way of resisting the war, doing what I had to do,
5 what I knew how to do, and what I wanted to do. So I was completely
6 committed to communications. Nobody ever called me in four years without
7 receiving a reply. I was commended more than once for this, and my
8 biggest reward is that not a single soldier ever came to say, Where were
9 you, I was looking for you. Whenever there was a call, I responded. For
10 me to be able to do that, there was no social gathering in my room,
11 people dropping in to chat, and so on and so forth. I needed peace and
12 quiet in order to carry on my work.
13 Q. So you're saying you were so busy that you've got no idea about
14 Muslim civilians being killed in Visegrad in 1992. Is that what you're
16 MR. ALARID: Objection. Asked and answered, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Next question, Mr. Cole.
18 MR. COLE:
19 Q. How far was this office that you had from the square in Visegrad?
20 A. For a time, I was in that office when the Brigade was being
21 formed. As Visegrad is in a valley, for my communications centre to
22 function properly, I moved it to the hill overlooking Visegrad,
23 overlooking Vukovo Brdo in the area of the village of Nikitovici
24 was there for two years without interruption because it was not possible
25 to establish communications with many parts of the municipality unless
1 you were at a higher altitude, so that --
2 Q. I'm just going to have to --
3 A. -- very soon.
4 Q. I'm going to have you to interrupt you and just ask you please
5 to listen to the question because time is limited.
6 Now, let's do it this way: In June of 1992, where was your
8 A. At Bikavac.
9 Q. How far from the town square and the old bridge?
10 A. 200 or 300 metres as the crow flies, about a hundred and fifty
11 that way.
12 Q. And in June 1992, where were the police headquarters in Visegrad?
13 A. The police in Visegrad was where it was until half a year ago,
14 near Rzsavski Bridge
15 police station only by the Rzsavski Bridge
16 Q. Is this the bridge known as the old bridge or another bridge?
17 A. That's another bridge. The old bridge is across the Drina
18 it was the Rzav river that separated us.
19 Q. Do you know about a group of people being herded into a house or
20 into houses in Visegrad in June 1992, being barricaded in and the houses
21 being set on fire and the people inside being burned to death, 60 to 70
22 people at a time? Do you know about that?
23 A. I heard about that, but I don't believe it.
24 Q. So who did you hear about it from?
25 A. When I was at home, my mother asked me. She said, Son, I heard
1 that from the women; did this happen? And I said, Mother, I don't
2 believe that; what fool would do something like that?
3 Q. So when did you hear about it?
4 A. Well, if you were to shoot me here, I couldn't tell you, but
5 probably -- well, I really don't know. Quite honestly, I don't know.
6 It's very hard for me to link that up with any sort of time. I didn't
7 believe it, so I wasn't interested in it.
8 Q. It's a pretty horrific situation, isn't it, 60 or 70 people
9 burned to death in a house? Isn't it the sort of thing that you might
10 remember when you first heard it?
11 A. It is horrific, but I tried to evade horrific things as best I
12 could. I didn't want to hear about them, so I didn't ask around. I
13 didn't check. I didn't investigate. I simply found it easier if it did
14 happen for me not to know that it had happened because if a man were to
15 think about all these things, it would be really terrible. So the best
16 thing is to simply -- just to do your job and not think about anything
18 Q. Well, I hope you can give the Court some idea when you first
19 heard about people being burned to death in houses in Visegrad. So can
20 you give us a month and a year?
21 MR. ALARID: Objection, asked and answered.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: He has answered that already, Mr. Alarid?
23 MR. ALARID: I believe it was put in the context of more general,
24 and it's Mr. Cole attempting to be specific, but I think he stated he
25 didn't know exactly.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Can you give us the month and the year, Witness?
2 Please answer.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't. I really can't. I give
4 you my word.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Cole.
6 MR. COLE:
7 Q. If we could make it perhaps a little broader. That's asking for
8 a month and a year. Can you give us a year when you first heard about
9 people being burned to death, 60 to 70 at a time, in Visegrad?
10 A. I think it was that first war-time year, 1992, when people spoke
11 about it. I said quite sincerely that I don't believe it. I didn't
12 believe it then; I don't believe it now. As for months, I really
13 wouldn't be able to tell you.
14 Q. And as you sit there, do you know the locations where it was said
15 that these people were burned to death in houses?
16 A. I know people said -- I think the name of the street was
17 Pionirska Street
18 it was in that part of town, opposite Bikavac.
19 Q. So have I got this right? You understand that one of these
20 houses was in Pionirska Street in Visegrad?
21 A. The rumours were that it was that house, but let me repeat, I
22 don't know. I couldn't tell you the month. Whether it -- well, it was
23 1992 when those stories went 'round, but whether it was before May or
24 after May -- it had to be after May, but it's very hard to orient myself
25 about that event.
1 Q. Yes. Please listen to the question. Is it your testimony that
2 you understand one of the scenes of the house fires was in Pionirska
4 MR. IVETIC: Your Honours, I don't believe he's testified as to
5 there being more than one yet unless counsel has asked him a question.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Did you put to him that there was more than one
7 or the fire?
8 MR. COLE: Your Honour, he mentioned both Pionirska and Bikavac.
9 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, he mentioned it occurred in Pionirska,
10 which is the area opposite from Bikavac, so he's clearly locating the one
11 location in Pionirska, and he said then afterwards at page 93, line 1,
12 the rumours were it was that house. So I think that the question of
13 Mr. Cole of, You understand the house was Pionirska, has been answered.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Just reformulate the question, Mr. Cole.
15 MR. COLE: Yes.
16 Q. We'll do it this way, MLD7: How many fires are you aware of in
17 Visegrad where a large number of persons were incinerated inside
18 according to information available?
19 A. I only heard them talking about Pionirska Street. As to how many
20 houses were burnt, hundreds were burnt down.
21 Q. Well, there weren't hundreds of houses with 60 or 70 people in
22 them, were there?
23 MR. ALARID: Objection, calls for speculation, asked and
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ask another question, Mr. Cole.
1 MR. COLE:
2 Q. How many houses have you heard were burned down with a large
3 number of people, maybe 60 or 70 people, in Visegrad?
4 MR. IVETIC: Asked and answered at page 93, line 23 to 24, Your
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: He has said, I think hundreds were burnt down.
7 That's in line 23, Mr. Cole.
8 MR. COLE: I'm asking the witness how many with large numbers of
9 people. The answer he gave at that line is totally ambiguous, and it may
10 be that those houses had no persons inside them. I'm asking him, Your
11 Honour, about houses with large numbers of --
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Witness, answer that. The question is how
13 many houses with large numbers of people did you hear to have been burnt
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I heard about Pionirska. I did say
17 MR. COLE:
18 Q. And just to make it clear, is that the only house that you have
19 heard that was burnt down with a large number of people inside in
21 A. Yes, certainly, the only house which based on the accounts that I
22 heard had been burned with people in it.
23 Q. Now, you made a comment before that you must have heard about
24 this house burning down sometime after May in 1992. Why would it need to
25 be after May 1992?
1 A. Because I joined the army in May, and I remember that I was with
2 the army when I heard the stories. To be perfectly honest, I have no
3 idea about the month or the date, but I know that I started with the army
4 in May, and when I heard this I was a soldier already. That is my only
5 reference point 15 years on.
6 Q. Now, you testified earlier that you moved your office from the
7 location not far from the square in Visegrad. When did you move to the
8 new -- the new location? Was it in the village of Nikitovici
9 A. Above Vukovo Brdo, Nikitovici general area, yes. One of the
10 centres, and you must know that this was a radio hub, but the telephone
11 operators were still at the post office in the town centre. The
12 teleprinters were still at the SUP
13 of maintaining radio links to the units on the ground were at this
14 elevation because the best link could be established with an open line of
15 optical visibility.
16 Q. Excuse me, MLD7. Could I just ask, please, if you would listen
17 to the question. I wanted to know the date you moved offices, and you're
18 giving me an explanation that isn't in line with that question. Just a
20 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, I object to the mischaracterisation.
21 The question asked is what it in the village of Nikitovici
22 want to -- if you want to have clear answers, don't ask compound
23 questions, counsel, is what I would say. It's clear that the gentleman
24 was answering that question, so to characterise it as if the witness is
25 avoiding a question is, I believe, improper. It's not supported by the
1 record, Your Honours.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, let's have the answer to the question.
3 Can you re-ask the question?
4 MR. COLE:
5 Q. Yes. When did you move your office from the one location to the
6 other as you've described? When?
7 A. I think it was in August. It was summertime. I'm sure about
8 that. I was in a trailer under a slab. It still wasn't cold, which
9 means it wasn't autumn yet, radio communication.
10 Q. What year was it?
11 A. 1992.
12 Q. All right. We'll move on to another topic. Now, you're here
13 today testifying on behalf of Milan Lukic; correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Would you describe Milan Lukic as a friend yours, or how would
16 you describe him?
17 A. I wouldn't mind him considering me a friend.
18 Q. How would you describe your relationship with him?
19 A. He's a cheerful man, willing to help my people and his people.
20 He was young at the time, full of spirit, joyful. We needed men like him
21 to shake us up and keep us in good spirits and try to rid us of all that
23 Q. Are you or your wife related to Milan Lukic or his wife?
24 A. No.
25 Q. When did you last see Milan Lukic in person?
1 A. In 1998, I think, and then as certain events occurred, it may
2 have been also 1999. I'm sure about 1998. I'm not positive about 1999.
3 Q. So when and where -- sorry, where was it exactly that you saw
4 Milan Lukic in person?
5 A. I had my own private business. I built Milan Lukic's car, for
6 example. I had a workshop because been fired when I tried to right some
7 wrongs, and then a court ruling gave me back my work back in 2000. So it
8 must have been in 1998 that I last saw him. As to any later date, I'm
9 not sure I could really make a reliable calculation.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Cole, last question and then we'll break.
11 MR. COLE: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. Now, when did you last -- when did you or your wife last speak
13 with Mr. Lukic on the phone?
14 A. I didn't speak to Milan Lukic. I don't think so. As for my
15 wife, I think she would have said. I don't think she did either.
16 MR. COLE: If I could just clarify one matter there, Your Honour.
17 Q. Just to be clear, MLD7, are you saying since you last saw Milan
18 Lukic in person, you have not spoken to him on the phone, and you're not
19 aware that your wife has; is that correct?
20 A. To this very day I haven't, and I don't think my wife has either.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Cole.
22 MR. COLE: Yes, thank you.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: We are adjourned until 8.50 tomorrow morning.
24 MR. IVETIC: Did you want to give the instruction to the witness?
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Witness, we are adjourning now, and you will
1 return tomorrow morning. In the interim, you are not to discuss your
2 evidence with anybody.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand.
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.12 p.m.
5 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 20th day
6 of January, 2009, at 8.50 a.m.