1 Tuesday, 20 January 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 8.53 a.m.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Cole, to continue with your
7 cross-examination. I should have said that in the absence of Judge Van
8 den Wyngaert, Judge David and I sit pursuant to the provisions of
9 Rule 15 bis.
10 Mr. Cole, you would have about another half an hour.
11 MR. COLE: Yes, Your Honour. We did our own calculations and
12 thought it was perhaps about 40 minutes.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: 40 minutes. We'll see, yes.
14 MR. COLE: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
15 WITNESS: WITNESS MLD7 [Resumed]
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 Cross-examination by Mr. Cole: [Continued]
18 Q. Yes, good morning, MLD7.
19 A. Good morning.
20 Q. Just finish off an area that I was dealing with yesterday, and
21 I'm going to ask you -- I was asking you then about contact that you had
22 with Milan Lukic, and I'm going to ask you now, since 1998, have you or
23 your wife ever received any letters or written material from Milan Lukic?
24 A. I never received anything.
25 Q. Right. We'll move on to another area. Being in the
1 communications area in the military in 1992 and thereafter, I take it you
2 would have heard Milan Lukic's name mentioned on many occasions?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Amongst the things you heard about Milan Lukic, did you hear that
5 he was killing people?
6 A. No, no, I never heard that he was killing people. I heard that
7 he was involved in military operations and that he was a fighter.
8 Q. When was it that you were first contacted by the Milan Lukic
9 Defence team?
10 A. I can't answer. I can't specify in terms of time. Perhaps two
11 or three months ago, no more than that. I provided a statement at the
12 municipal building, and that was the first time they came to see me. I
13 don't know the date, but the statement should reflect it.
14 Q. Yes, we have the date and a copy of the written statement that
15 you made. You met with the Defence on that day, I take it?
16 A. Yes, yes.
17 Q. Now, wasn't there a contact made by phone or something like that
18 before you had the actual meeting?
19 A. No.
20 Q. So what are you saying, someone arrived on your door-step to talk
21 to you about this matter?
22 A. Precisely.
23 Q. Who was it that arrived to talk to you?
24 A. Two men came who introduced themselves as members of Milan
25 Lukic's team, Defence team. They came to my home. They talked to me and
1 asked me whether I was willing to give them a hand with this. They said,
2 Greetings from Milan
3 Q. Who were the two persons?
4 A. Two men from Belgrade
5 Believe me, I don't really know.
6 Q. All right. So would one of them be Vlado Rasic, and the other
7 possibly Mihailo Lakcevic?
8 A. Don't hold me to it. I can provide a description if you like. I
9 think one of them was called Vlado, but it's not that I was actually
10 thinking about their names that much at the time.
11 Q. All right. What were you told that they were interested in when
12 they came to see you?
13 A. Well, they asked me about my statement, whether I remembered all
14 that. They realised that I remembered everything, and they said, Are you
15 willing to repeat this at the Tribunal? I said yes. And they wanted me
16 to sign something. I didn't wish to travel anywhere, and in the end I
17 did this in Visegrad. I signed this statement, and I signed what I
18 believed to be true.
19 Q. And you signed the statement at the -- at an office in Visegrad,
20 and it was certified by an official on the same day; is that right?
21 A. Yes, that's right. It was on the same day they first got in
22 touch. That's when I met them.
23 Q. Now, your statement refers to the dates 13 to 15 June 1992. How
24 did you know it was those dates so that you could include the dates in
25 your statement?
1 A. I checked the date the late Vlatko was killed. Yesterday, I
2 mentioned I had a good head for events but perhaps not for dates. You
3 can use math to get at that. So the day of his death is reflected on
4 gravestones. I knew when the husband of a relative was killed, as well,
5 so that is why I remembered the exact date.
6 Q. Are you saying you went to the office in Visegrad via these
7 headstones and so that's how you know the dates?
8 A. No, that's not what I said. That's far away from the office,
9 several kilometres perhaps. But the lads knew the dates, and I just
10 verified at the time whether that was indeed the case, so I reassured
11 myself that the late Vlatko Tripkovic and Novica Mirkovic [as
12 interpreted] were both killed exactly on the 13th of June, 1992
13 Q. You referred to the "lads." Are you referring to the men from
14 the -- from Belgrade
15 A. Yes, yes.
16 Q. All right. So these men from Belgrade wanted you to confirm that
17 the dates -- the date that Vlatko Tripkovic was killed was the 13th of
18 June; have I got that right?
19 A. That's right.
20 Q. Because if they hadn't mentioned the date first, you would have
21 had some trouble remembering the date, it being some 16 years previously,
22 wouldn't you?
23 A. Well, it would have been difficult for me to remember the date or
24 the day, but I'll never forget what happened for as long as I live.
25 Q. Do you know what day of the week was the 13th of June, 1992
1 A. No.
2 Q. All right. Now, MLD7, you yourself were not at Kopito at the
3 time of this operation in June 1992, were you?
4 A. No.
5 Q. And you personally do not know from your own observation what was
6 or wasn't happening on the road around Kopito between the 13th and 15th
7 of June, 1992, because you were not there; correct?
8 A. That's right.
9 Q. Now, were you aware of convoys of Muslim persons leaving Visegrad
10 in buses during June 1992?
11 A. I'm not sure about June. I know about the convoys, but I'm not
12 sure about the month. I know there were many buses leaving, many people
13 leaving. It probably was in June.
14 Q. And you could confirm that these convoys of buses went along the
15 road from Visegrad through Gornja and Donja Lijeska, Sjemec, and Kopito,
16 didn't they?
17 A. I know that some convoys took that route, but come convoys took
18 the road to Serbia
19 who chose to be taken there were taken there.
20 Q. Now, this Court has heard from Witnesses VG-11, VG-133 -- and
21 VG-133 that a convoy left the square in Visegrad on 14 June, 1992. The
22 Court has also heard that Milan Lukic was in the square that day and got
23 onto the buses, checking people before the buses departed. What do you
24 have to say about that?
25 MR. ALARID: Objection. Calls for speculation and improper use
1 of another witness's statement to cross-examine in violation of the prior
2 Court's order.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: But that's in this trial.
4 MR. ALARID: But this witness has no reason to know what these
5 other witnesses said; otherwise, the question calls for speculation.
6 MR. COLE: Your Honour, this is a proper cross-examination
7 technique that Your Honours indicated. This is part of the evidence in
8 this trial that contradicts what this witness is saying. Now, I'm
9 required to put the Prosecution case, and this is part of it, and I
10 haven't heard anything from my learned friend that's a relevant or proper
11 objection to this - I haven't finished - a relevant or proper objection
12 to the question that I'm putting to the witness, Your Honour.
13 MR. ALARID: Then we would argue lack of foundation, Your Honour.
14 The witness was not placed in the square that day to have such a
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, the only difficulty I see is, as Mr.
18 Alarid has indicated, whether the witness would have been in a position
19 to provide any information on the matter.
20 MR. COLE: Yes, and that's why, Your Honour, I'm asking him. I'm
21 putting it to him, putting him in the picture the evidence that is
22 contradicting his evidence, and let's hear what he has to say about it,
23 with respect.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Witness, are you able to comment on that, the
25 fact that we have evidence in this Court, in these proceedings that on
1 that day, the accused Milan Lukic was in the square putting people and
2 checking people on that convoy?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] First of all, as for that day and
4 the buses on that day, I really don't know. We didn't take the road that
5 the Prosecutor mentioned on that day because that road certainly was
6 blocked until at least the afternoon of the 15th. All my information
7 seems to indicate that Milan
8 I know. I'm telling you what I assume, but I really do not know that any
9 convoy on that day took that road. If there was a convoy that left on
10 that day, they probably went to Serbia
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Where were you on that day?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the communications hub, Your
13 Honour. I spent all my days there, probably. I was hardly elsewhere.
14 When I moved, there were three different places that I went to. I had my
15 telephone operators at the post-office about 200 or 300 metres from
16 Bikavac. The teleprinter was at the SUP building, which is another 300
17 metres in a different direction, but this was all happening within a
18 radius of perhaps up to 300 metres.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Cole, he says he was at the communications
21 MR. COLE: Yes, Your Honour.
22 Q. Now, I think it was your evidence that Milan Lukic, you saw him
23 departing Visegrad on the 13th, but you don't claim that you ever saw
24 Milan Lukic at Kopito on the 13th, 14th, or 15th of June, 1992, do you?
25 A. I'm not sure you understood what I was saying. I was a
1 communications officer. I was merely seeing units off on their way to
2 the field. I didn't go there myself. I would stay back at the
3 communications hub using my stationary equipment, and other people went
4 out. I couldn't possibly have been at Kopito, since I was at the
5 communication hub receiving communications all the time. I never went
6 around those hills over there. I was lucky enough to be allowed to stay
7 inside my own four walls.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: What's the distance between Kopito and the
9 communications hub?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have to do some math now.
11 Gornja/Donja Lijeska, 5 kilometres-plus, Gornja, 10 over there, 7, about
12 17, up to 20 kilometres if you take the road through Sjemec.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Cole.
14 MR. COLE: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. Now, continuing from where I left off a short time ago talking
16 about the convoy of buses leaving Visegrad via Kopito on the 14th of
17 June, 1992, witnesses have told the Court -- this Court, it's in evidence
18 that the buses went from Visegrad via Kopito on the 14th of June, 1992
19 There was nothing blocking the road that day. Now, what do you say about
21 A. The blockade was not on the road. It was a soldier standing by
22 the road. As for a convoy leaving Visegrad on that day, I don't know. I
23 know that there were ambushes along the road. The lie of the land was
24 such that no one would be rolling any stones in order to reveal their
25 position. They would be waiting behind a tree. You can only drive very
1 slowly there, about 10 kilometres per hour. The road was blocked, and
2 one couldn't take it until the soldiers made sure it was safe and clear
3 again. Again, I'm telling you, I don't know anything about the specific
4 dates in which convoys left Visegrad.
5 Q. VG-133, a Prosecution witness, also told the Court that Milan
6 Lukic was in the town square after the convoy left on the 14th of June,
7 1992; a large group of people were brought to the square, and they were
8 then taken towards the Mahala area of Visegrad. Do you have any comment
9 to make about that?
10 MR. ALARID: Objection, asked and answered. The witness has
11 already stated where he was that day.
12 MR. COLE: I asked, Your Honour, if he had any comment about it,
13 not where he was.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Do you have any comment on that, Mr. Witness?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, none. I really know nothing
16 about that.
17 MR. COLE:
18 Q. Now, Vlatko Tripkovic, was he the commander of this operation?
19 A. Vlatko Tripkovic was a native of this village that we are talking
20 about. These are these two villages in the vicinity. It's a small area.
21 He was a company commander, and as such, he was supposed to exercise
22 command over the whole operation because above him there was only the
23 brigade commander, and the brigade commander never went out on a specific
24 mission. That's how it worked at the time.
25 Q. And was Vlatko Tripkovic, was he a police officer or an army
2 A. He was a reserve army officer, but then this was converted later
3 on, needless to say. He served in the JNA [as interpreted]. It was a
4 reserve officer school once upon a time. That's what it was called a
5 long time ago. As such, he was company commander, a member of the
6 brigade, therefore, of the Army of Republika Srpska.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Ivetic.
8 MR. IVETIC: Just a correction on the transcript. I believe line
9 2, the acronym used was SRO
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
11 MR. COLE:
12 Q. So Vlatko Tripkovic was an army officer, not a police officer; is
13 that correct?
14 A. That's right.
15 Q. The two men killed with him, were they army or police officers?
16 A. The late Novica Savic was an operative with the staff. I know
17 about that. The late Veljko Mirkovic I think was a police officer, but
18 it should be easy enough to check if you look at the files. I think he
19 was a policeman.
20 Q. Now, you said yesterday that word of the killing of Vlatko
21 Tripkovic and the other two men spread through the town from mouth to
22 mouth and the whole town knew and you knew the same way. You said that
23 at page 83. Is that correct?
24 A. Well, yes, that's true. No one told me in a military way this
25 man or that man was killed. This sort of information spreads by word of
1 mouth, and I think that's probably the fastest channel of communication
2 in cases such as these.
3 Q. So word spread quickly, you're saying?
4 A. I think two hours after the event the entire town knew. Is that
5 fast? Is that slow? At any rate, the whole town knew within two hours.
6 Q. So have I got this right: You heard about the death of Vlatko
7 Tripkovic the same day that he was killed, the 13th of June, 1992
8 then it took some two days until the 15th of June to complete this
9 operation to restore order at Kopito?
10 A. That's exactly the way it must have been. It should have been
11 that way. The death was a difficult thing because by then no one had
12 even realised that there was a war going on. It wasn't that we were a
13 full-fledged army, that we could go out into the field. At any rate, it
14 was a shock, and then other people had to be found, other young men.
15 Some who had volunteered remained without any means of communication.
16 You didn't have other units that were ready. We didn't have any other --
17 Q. If I could just interrupt you. Thank you. You have answered the
18 question satisfactorily.
19 Now, I'll just ask you this: You heard about the death of Vlatko
20 Tripkovic I think you said within, what, two hours or so, and this means,
21 doesn't it, that you had immediate communication with what was happening
22 at Kopito, regardless of any breakdown in radio communication. Isn't
23 that right?
24 A. Vlatko Tripkovic didn't get killed at Kopito. He got killed --
25 it's very hard to say, but say around 10 kilometres away from Kopito. He
1 got killed about 3 or 4 kilometres away from our line. The young men
2 heard the shooting and realised that a vehicle was burning, and then it's
3 hard to run through the forest to see what's going on. There was a war
4 going on, you know, so that's why I'm saying it took two or three hours.
5 Once the first soldier found out, then we all found out. Now, I don't
6 know if I'm understanding what it is that you're asking me.
7 Q. Well, you're a communications officer. You've said in your
8 testimony earlier that the radio communication broke down, if I've got it
9 correct, but what I'm suggesting to you, there was still communication
10 with the road at Kopito, Donja Lijeska, Sjemec, whatever, regardless of
11 any breakdown in radio communication. There were Serb villages; word was
12 being passed mouth to mouth in a very fast fashion, wasn't it?
13 MR. ALARID: Objection, Your Honour. Compound question.
14 Misstates the evidence.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Cole, just put in one or two sentences the
16 question which you wanted to ask.
17 MR. COLE: Yes, certainly, Your Honour.
18 Q. Yes, MLD7, what I'm saying to you is you had the ability for
19 continual communication from the 13th to the 15th of June, 1992, contrary
20 to your suggestion and your testimony that there was a total breakdown of
21 communication. What do you say about that?
22 A. I don't agree in terms of the way in which you are putting this
23 question. Now, who do you think that I had communications with? When I
24 say that I did not have communication with the unit up there, I did not
25 from the moment of Vlatko's death. But communication is also
1 communication via messenger, via radio links, telephone. I had
2 communications indirectly through the Rogatica Brigade, and then they
3 would send a man out there, and then it takes time for the person to get
4 there, but that's considered to be some kind of communication too. Had I
5 had a radio signal, well, that was not the case. That was not the case.
6 From the moment when the late Vlatko got killed and until they returned
7 to town via my radio equipment, and there was no other equipment, there
8 was no communication.
9 Q. All right. We'll move on to another area now.
10 You told the Court you last saw Milan Lukic in 1998; correct?
11 A. I've said that I think that it's 1998.
12 Q. And you've told this Court that you wouldn't mind Milan
13 considering you a friend, how you needed men like him, and how he kept
14 you in good spirits; correct?
15 A. Correct. He was a brave man, and wherever it was tough - and I
16 apologise for using that expression - he was the first one to go out to
17 defend us when we were being attacked.
18 Q. Did you recognise Milan Lukic in court here yesterday?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And you can see him again here today, can you?
21 A. That's right.
22 Q. Which man is he? What's he wearing?
23 A. I don't know how to describe that kind of thing, but I know Milan
24 and Sredoje very well. Can I walk up to them and point them out?
25 Q. There's no need to do that. You've pointed in the direction of
1 the men in the back row. Which man do you say is Milan? That's the man
2 in the suit on the left of the two men that you've identified as Milan
3 Lukic; right?
4 A. They are both wearing suits, but Milan is the one on the left.
5 Q. Now, you are aware that Milan Lukic is facing serious charges in
6 this court including extermination and murder; correct?
7 A. Well, I've been following the press. Nothing more than that,
8 radio, television, newspapers, so I know from there.
9 Q. And do you know that there are allegations against him of killing
10 many innocent people. You're aware of that, aren't you?
11 A. Well, yes.
12 Q. And you are aware that many of these allegations relate to your
13 hometown of Visegrad, aren't you?
14 A. Well, I guess.
15 Q. You do know, don't you? They relate to Visegrad?
16 A. Well, I've told you that I've been following radio and television
17 and this trial whenever it can be seen on my channels. It is hardly ever
18 there, very rarely. It's not that I have this modern technical
19 equipment, but I try to follow it as best I can.
20 Q. Well, you know some of these allegations include burning people
21 to death in a house at Pionirska Street in June 1992 and another house in
22 Bikavac, also in June 1992, don't you?
23 MR. ALARID: Objection, asked and answered. Yesterday he
24 testified that he knew about Pionirska Street and had not heard about
1 MR. COLE: I'm talking about the allegations now, not the
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Let him answer the question.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could you please repeat that
6 MR. COLE:
7 Q. Certainly. You know -- I'm putting to you that you that know the
8 allegations against Milan Lukic include burning people to death in a
9 house at Pionirska Street in Visegrad in June 1992 and also at another
10 house in Bikavac in June 1992.
11 A. I hadn't heard of Bikavac, but I did hear about the house in
12 Pionirska, namely on federal television. In this TV programme -- now,
13 what's it called, "Women In Black," "The Women of Srebrenica," what was
14 it called? I watched this report and this lady from Visegrad who talked
15 about it.
16 Q. Now, did you read or hear or see about Milan Lukic's arrest in
17 August 2005?
18 A. Now, I don't know whether I watched actual footage, but I would
19 see on TV his picture. His picture would appear on TV. That's it.
20 Q. My suggestion to you is that you were aware that he was arrested
21 some three years ago at the time, weren't you?
22 A. Well, I don't know the very moment, but anyway, when it was made
23 public, that's when I found out. I don't know the year exactly. Now,
24 has it been that long? I thought it was a more recent thing.
25 Q. Okay. So if I tell you it was August 2005, do you confirm that
1 you would have heard about it about that time?
2 A. Well, I believe -- well, I mean, the town knew that he had been
3 arrested. It's not only me. Everyone knew. We all knew Milan Lukic. I
4 mean, it's a small town.
5 Q. Now, can I just ask you if you are related to a man called -- I
6 think we'll need to go into closed session now, sir, just briefly.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
8 [Private session]
5 [Open session]
6 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
7 MR. COLE: Thank you.
8 Q. MLD7, Milan Lukic has been in custody since 2005, nearly three
9 and a half years ago. Did you make any attempt to contact Milan Lukic or
10 his lawyers to tell them you could help out before they contacted you
11 this year?
12 MR. IVETIC: Your I, Honour think it misstates the evidence that
13 they contacted him this year.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: What's the evidence on that?
15 MR. COLE: Yes. I'm sorry, Your Honour. It's 2009. I'm still
16 in 2008. I'll put the question again.
17 Q. Milan Lukic has been in custody since 2005, nearly three and a
18 half years ago. Did you make any attempt to contact Milan Lukic or his
19 lawyers before they contacted you last year?
20 A. I never contacted anyone until those two mentioned men came to my
21 home. Before that, no one called me or asked me anything.
22 Q. MLD7, you had important information relating to the date of the
23 Pionirska Street fire allegations against Milan Lukic, namely information
24 that you say Milan Lukic was elsewhere at that time. Why did you not
25 come forward with that information and try and contact Milan Lukic or his
1 Defence team? Why did you wait until someone came to your address last
3 A. Well, how would I know that he needed me? No one asked me for
4 anything. When the men came and asked whether I knew something about it,
5 I said what it was that I knew. I did not link up dates or anything like
6 that. I mean, I remember the event. I mean, I said of course I remember
7 it when they asked, and at the time, as for these first conversation I
8 had with them, I didn't know the dates. I told you that already. I told
9 you that I remember events and that as for the dates I got to the 13th by
10 asking this relative of mine, Tell me, what was the date when the late
11 Vlatko got killed? That's how I arrived at the date. It's -- well, they
12 asked me whether I remember whether Milan
13 got killed. I said, Yes, I remember that. They said, What date was
14 that? I said, I don't know, but I'm going to find out when that actually
15 happened. So that's how we came to that date, the 13th. But I lost a
16 lot of friends, unfortunately, and I don't know all the dates when they
17 all got killed, but I know the events, that's for sure, how they all lost
18 their lives.
19 Q. All right. We'll change the subject. Are you related to --
20 could we go into closed session briefly, please, Your Honour?
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
22 [Private session]
7 [Open session]
8 MR. COLE:
9 Q. I'm now going to ask you whether you know some of the other --
10 THE REGISTRAR: We are now in open session.
11 MR. COLE:
12 Q. I'm now going to ask if you know some of the other Defence
13 witnesses in this case. And firstly, I'm going to ask you, and this
14 person has testified openly, do you know Goran Djeric?
15 A. No.
16 MR. COLE: Could we briefly go into closed session for the
17 others, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
19 [Private session]
11 Pages 4296-4307 redacted. Private session.
15 [Open session]
16 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
17 MR. IVETIC: Thank you. MLD7, I have no further questions for
18 you. On behalf of the Defence of Milan Lukic, I want to thank you very
19 much for coming here to testify and to tell us about what you know
20 relative to the events that are needed in this case.
21 Thank you very much, Your Honours. No further questions for this
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Witness, that concludes your evidence. We thank
24 you for coming to give it, and you may now leave.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I just say a
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: I'm afraid of these words witness -- I'm afraid
3 of witnesses' words at the end of testimony. I won't allow it. Please
4 leave. You have done your duty. You have done your duty. You may now
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 [The witness withdrew]
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Ivetic, the next witness.
9 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, we had earlier anticipated to have the
10 videolink scheduled for today. The Court has not ruled on that yet. We
11 tried to get the next available witness, who is MLD1, here for that --
12 after that, but the visa wasn't ready, and VWS can get him here tomorrow
13 in the evening. We, of course, don't have court scheduled for tomorrow,
14 but it's my understanding his flight arrives - and perhaps I can get
15 assistance on that - sometime after 10.00 in the evening, in which case
16 we would be proofing him that evening to appear on Thursday in the
17 morning session, as we're scheduled in the morning as well. If that's
18 possible, I can do it, but of course --
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: You say the visa wasn't ready.
20 MR. IVETIC: Correct.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, did you give the VWS sufficient time?
22 MR. IVETIC: I believe that tomorrow is the fifth day, the fifth
23 day from the giving of the copy of the passport and the other information
24 that is part of the process. Maybe I can -- I'm getting a different
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: As far as the videolink witnesses are concerned,
2 the Chamber will give its ruling today. In fact, I've already signed the
3 order to that effect, and in view of the very late notice to the
4 Prosecution, we'll hear their evidence later. That is that the date will
5 be specified is specified in the order, and so we'll hear that evidence
6 of those two witnesses later. I believe it's the 2nd or 3rd of February,
7 the dates that are specified in the order.
8 Yes, Mr. Groome.
9 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, I'd like to comment on what I see is a
10 troubling trend here. Last Thursday when we received a list of
11 witnesses, Mr. Cole contacted the Defence team and asked whether they
12 would confirm the order of the -- of the witnesses so that we could
13 adjust our preparations, and according to the order that -- of witnesses
14 that were confirmed, after this gentleman, and I won't say the names in
15 open session because I'm not sure whether they are going to be the
16 subject of protective measures applications, but there was a woman
17 scheduled to testify next. Then there was another person scheduled to
18 testify, and then it was the person that Mr. Ivetic has just mentioned.
19 At two minutes after we left the courtroom yesterday, we received
20 an e-mail that the woman who was supposed to testify is going to be
21 rescheduled to next week. I was going to ask Mr. Alarid to please give
22 an explanation as to that, why we weren't told in court. I did not go up
23 and sit at my computer. I went straight home. So Ms. Sartorio worked
24 last night to try to prepare for the witness whose last name begins with
25 P and has done that, and now we find out that that witness is not going
1 to be called.
2 The one occasion where there was an unforeseen event in the
3 Prosecution case where one of the elderly woman became ill, we notified
4 the Chamber and the Defence immediately upon learning that information so
5 the Defence could adjust their preparations. Here, we now have a major
6 change in the schedule that I'm sitting here and learning for the first
8 Given, Your Honour, some of the other patterns that I see here,
9 failure to provide witness statements that we know from witnesses exist,
10 failure in some cases to provide witness summaries on -- pursuant to
11 65 ter that are any more than just a sentence or two, not summarising the
12 facts, leading alibi evidence for the first time without any notice in
13 the middle of a witness's testimony, the Prosecution is being seriously
14 prejudiced here, and I would encourage the Chamber or request the Chamber
15 to please intercede to ensure that the Prosecution itself receives a fair
16 trial in this case.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, I don't agree with the last parts of your
18 statement, that the Prosecution is being prejudiced, because I've always
19 ensured when the notice is late from the Defence that the witnesses are
20 not called before a certain time to allow you to prepare, for example,
21 for the video witness links. I believe our order specifies that they are
22 not to be called before the 2nd or 3rd of February, and so in the
23 Chamber's view that would afford you enough time to investigate the
25 Our duty, really, is to see that the trial proceeds, and the
1 Defence is of course lax in not giving time, but it appears to the
2 Chamber to be entirely disproportionate to bar the witnesses from giving
3 evidence. The proper course, it seems to us, is to schedule the
4 witnesses to testify at a later date, thereby providing the Prosecution
5 with time for preparation.
6 But I still believe, Mr. Ivetic, that you must answer what the
7 Prosecutor has said about these last-minute changes of witnesses. That
8 is not acceptable. You can't change your witness list at the last
10 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, if either of us can't get them here in
11 the time that we had anticipated as of last week, I have to change the
12 witness order. The two witnesses -- the two female witnesses I believe
13 are the two covered by the videolink issue, and what we've done is the
14 one witness that was not able to come this week, the VWS said could come
15 at the earliest Monday. We have pushed that witness back to Monday. The
16 other witnesses are proceeding in the order that we have provided. We
17 have to go with the next available witness. I mean, the witness is
18 scheduled for --
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Ivetic, I will be seeking information as to
20 precisely when you notified VWS. You are supposed to give them five
21 days. Now, you say that the fifth day will expire -- are you saying the
22 fifth day will expire tomorrow?
23 MR. IVETIC: Whatever the time-period that they needed for the
24 visa expires tomorrow. That's when they were able to get a visa for the
25 Witness MLD1, and that's when he's scheduled to -- when that witness is
1 scheduled to travel here. There was issue we needed to -- the original
2 passports from the witnesses in Belgrade
3 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
4 MR. ALARID: Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Alarid.
6 MR. ALARID: For the record, though, I would like to say when we
7 used VWS or any issues that we are in no way implying that VWS has been
8 lax. That's not what we're implying. In fact, if anyone is going to
9 fall on the sword, it's us. But I think that the limitations that we are
10 faced with are very practical considering the limited resources we do
11 have in our limited presence in the region. All we do have is this
12 Ms. Jelena who is a 20-something with no formal investigative training or
13 legal training who at times has had to go on her own trying to find
14 witnesses. She's worked closely with Mr. Lukic on the phone, trying to
15 trace down leads and what-not. But with regard to visas and passports,
16 there's just been times from a quality control situation we have not
17 gotten those visas until we get them to them, we've not gotten the
18 passports until we get them to them, and as much as I'd love to have been
19 ahead of the game, having had to prepare the Defence during -- in this
20 manner has been difficult, and so I don't want to imply that VWS is at
21 any way at fault in this. They are working with exactly what we're
22 working with, Your Honour, and it's been trying for everyone.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: The Chamber will cause an investigation to be
24 made, and we will satisfy ourselves to see that due notice was given
25 because the trial must go on in fairness to all parties. But if we lose
1 time and it turns out that that is due to fault of the Defence, lack of
2 notification to VWS, then I intend to deduct that time from the account
3 of the Defence.
4 But I won't make any determination on that issue now because I'm
5 not provided with all the information that I need.
6 MR. ALARID: Well, Your Honour, if you're going to do that sort
7 of investigation, I mean, the reality is is we have to bring in sort of
8 the circumstance of the Defence, and I know we've probably bothered the
9 Court with our complaints as to our resources and our ability to get
10 around Bosnia
11 time-frame that we've done. Another thing that, Your Honour, that we
12 told the Court that we were going to do with regards to this is follow-up
13 and talk to the people that we've been chasing down before because it's
14 not fair for us to present evidence to the Court without an attorney
15 having done due diligence, because like I said, our investigations have
16 been done by a young lady with no investigative experience.
17 And in fact, Your Honour, I would like to address -- and we can
18 go into private session with regards to this, but I would like to address
19 the concerns of Mr. Groome with regards to the statements because we
20 stayed into the evening last night and actually into the morning hours
21 tracking that down, and we do have an explanation for the Court.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, I want to hear the explanation, very
23 briefly. So go into private session then.
24 [Private session]
11 Pages 4315-4319 redacted. Private session.
24 [Open session]
25 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, we will adjourn, then, until Thursday. Is
2 it in the morning or in the afternoon? In the morning, 8.50 a.m. Thank
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 10.57 a.m.
5 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 22nd day of
6 January, 2009, at 8.50 a.m.