1 Wednesday, 20 May 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.21 p.m.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yesterday, the Milan Lukic Defence filed their
6 fifth motion for the admission of documents from the bar table requesting
7 the admission of three death certificates into evidence. I am to ask the
8 Prosecution whether they have any submissions to make on this motion.
9 MR. GROOME: Yes, I do, Your Honour. The Prosecution would like
10 to respond to that motion that was filed yesterday. The documents in
11 issue were disclosed to the Defence on the 5th of September, 2008, prior
12 to the testimonies of any of the Varda witnesses and prior to the
13 testimony from Prosecution experts who gave evidence in relation to the
14 fates of the victims. The application is untimely, and the Defence had
15 numerous opportunities to present this evidence previously and elected
16 not to, and all matters related to the proof of death of victims has been
17 exhaustively and finally litigated in this case.
18 The information contained in these death certificates is already
19 in evidence within Prosecution Exhibit 119 on page 1. The Defence
20 presents these documents as if they are new; they are not. They are part
21 of a body of data Ms. Tabeau has considered and has included already in
22 her report.
23 Beginning on page transcript -- page 6119 of the transcript,
24 Mr. Alarid questioned Dr. Tabeau for over five pages of testimony as to
25 the manner in which death certificates are applied for by family members
1 and issued by governmental authorities.
2 The information in these death certificates, including the
3 believed date of death, is provided by the family member who may or may
4 not have been a witness to the crime. Dr. Tabeau explained how she
5 considered this information along with all other available information
6 before preparing Prosecution Exhibit 119 and her subsequent
8 The key information from these certificates has already been
9 admitted into evidence and fully explored during the course of
10 Dr. Tabeau's two appearances before this Chamber. In light of this, the
11 Prosecution takes no position and defers to the Chamber. If the Chamber
12 determines these documents will assist it in its work, the Prosecution
13 does not oppose their admission.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Alarid.
15 MR. ALARID: Your Honour, I think they should simply come in for
16 completeness of the records. I agree that they are somewhat referenced
17 in P119, but I don't think they're cumulative because they are the
18 official government document, and considering the fact that I received
19 them in September, they were untranslated, and so sometimes things get
20 missed in a case with voluminous paperwork, especially untranslated. I
21 think it's appropriate they come in.
22 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: I have a question for Mr. Alarid. Do
23 they concern persons mentioned in the indictment?
24 MR. ALARID: Yes, Your Honour. All three are members of the
25 Varda allegation, the seven alleged dead people of Varda.
1 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Thank you.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: The Chamber will admit the documents.
3 Now, Mr. Alarid, yesterday you indicated that the accused
4 Milan Lukic desired to make a statement. How long will that statement
6 MR. ALARID: Fifteen to 20 minutes. Fifteen, I would say, other
7 than him speaking slow.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: We are disposed to allow it with that time-limit
9 in mind.
10 MR. ALARID: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: So Mr. Lukic, you may make your statement of
12 15 to 20 minutes now.
13 THE ACCUSED MILAN
14 Statement of the Accused Milan Lukic:
15 THE ACCUSED MILAN
16 listening to the Prosecution witnesses in this courtroom, I was on the
17 verge of a nervous breakdown.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speaker please come closer to the
19 microphone, and read slowly. The interpreters do not have the text.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: You are being asked to come closer to the
21 microphone. In fact, you may sit. You may sit. You don't have to
22 stand. Sit, and read a little slower.
23 THE ACCUSED MILAN
24 Your Honours, listening in this courtroom to the Prosecution
25 witnesses, frankly speaking, I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
1 The nebulous things and lies that they said about me are completely
2 unreasonable, especially given that they clearly indicate what the
3 Prosecution is capable of doing. Throughout the Prosecution case, I had
4 to take tranquilisers and painkillers because I could not stand the
5 monstrous fabrications and lies similar to scenarios in horror movies.
6 In order for you not to have a distorted picture of me, I decided to say
7 a few words to you in order to tell you the truth about who I am and how
8 I found myself in the war in 1992 in Visegrad. My purpose is to destroy
9 the plan of the Prosecution.
10 I was born in a mixed Muslim Serbian village Rujiste, a small
11 village. I was born in an ethnically mixed small village of Rujiste
12 where Muslims and Serbs lived. This village is on the right bank of
14 of my parents. I was brought up and I grew up with my sister, two
15 brothers, and my friends; Serbs and Muslims. We lived modestly, just
16 like all other residents of the village. We were raised in a patriarchal
17 atmosphere where honour and dignity were considered prime values.
18 My father was orphaned in World War II because fascists during
19 the war broke into the house and took his father away. Thanks to the
20 good people and neighbours, both Serbs and Muslims, my father, his sister
21 and brother, and their mother -- single mother survived all the horrors
22 of World War II. My father, the long-suffered father, and my mother
23 always taught us children that we should always help everybody in need
24 regardless of their faith and ethnic background because one measures a
25 man based on his characteristics and his integrity.
1 This is why without any bias I had a lot of friends among
2 Muslims. I played with them and shared whatever I had, frequently shared
3 a meal or a bed in my home or in their home under watchful eye of our
4 parents. Socialising with Muslims continued throughout elementary
5 schooling, secondary schooling, and later on when I attended school in
7 first love was a Muslim girl. I always considered and still do Muslims
8 -- I always think all the best about Muslims, just like I do about all
9 other peoples.
10 In Bosnia
11 disregarded the faith of people they socialised with and their ethnic
12 background. It was a beautiful country, and people lived in harmony. To
13 this day, I maintain contact with many Muslims, nowadays unfortunately
14 only by phone. The nationalists of the former Yugoslavia together with
15 various mentors created hatred and disagreement in our country and
16 destroyed a wonderful country. Following my mandatory military service
17 lasting one year in Slovenia
18 university. I had various jobs as a student, and then in mid-1988 a
19 school friend of mine from elementary school asked me to come and be a
20 guest in the house of him and his parents. When I arrived in Germany
21 soon understood that this was a paradise. I liked the country so much
22 that I wanted to remain there.
23 Since I was athletically talented, I obtained papers, residence
24 papers and a job through a football club. I didn't mind doing various
25 jobs as long as they were honourable. I remained in Germany for more
1 than a year. I met a girl from Switzerland
2 I started working and training football there. When the war broke out in
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina, I was in Switzerland
4 visit my parents, and to my misfortune I was immediately mobilised by the
5 public security station in Visegrad.
6 I was assigned as reserve policeman in the public security
7 station in Visegrad. I remained in that position three months, and later
8 on I was assigned to a reconnaissance unit of the Army of Republika
9 Srpska. Throughout the war, I had no command responsibility or position,
10 nor did I engage in politics. I could not stand injustice, and I
11 publicly spoke out against Mafia attitude, communist links that prevailed
12 in Visegrad, and all those protagonists took their revenge against me.
13 They killed my brother in his house in the presence of his wife, and
14 nobody was ever brought to justice for that crime.
15 I was young, innocent, and I had no idea what would come about
16 and how war profiteers, communists, and various criminals would use
17 everything they had to accuse me. Throughout the difficult days of war,
18 as much as I could, I helped everybody of Muslim faith and origin. Even
19 though I was not charged with rape, the Prosecution brought various women
20 here to lie about this, about this alleged rape.
21 I have always held women in great respect, and this is something
22 that was instilled in me by my mother and my older sister. I could never
23 stand rapists and those who used power, and they knew about that, and
24 they never dared come close to me.
25 Throughout the war in Visegrad, I had a girlfriend who was a well
1 known doctor in the medical centre in Visegrad, and she was a well
2 respected woman, and it is clear to everybody that all these stories
3 about rape are just a fabrication of a sick mind. I only recognise love
4 and respect, and I have nothing but despise for rapists.
5 Currently I have two young girls and I always, as I said, held
6 women in great esteem. Now that my girls need me the most, I
7 unfortunately am not next to them. They suffer due to my absence, and
8 they suffer even more due to these fabricated false accusations against
9 me. I haven't seen my parents since 1998.
10 You are well aware that in 1992, there were some 20 passengers
11 Muslims that were kidnapped from a passenger train in Strpce. Those
12 people disappeared without a trace. It is believed that all of them were
13 liquidated. I was accused as the main perpetrator even though when the
14 kidnapping took place, I was far away from the place of the incident.
15 This is why the police of Serbia
16 prison in Serbia
17 various methods, including lie detectors, and after everything the court
18 in Serbia
19 I was even paid damages due to my unjustified stay in prison.
20 As a result of that, I once again went abroad to work, and it was
21 there that I found out that criminal proceedings were put in place
22 against me due to alleged kidnapping of Muslims who were travelling on a
23 bus in Severin in 1992. I had nothing to do with this incident either.
24 Until a man from Serbia
25 court that he had information that the kidnapped Muslims were later seen
1 in the public security station in Visegrad after the kidnapping, it is
2 well known that at the time when these men were kidnapped, I no longer
3 worked for the public security station in Visegrad. I was a soldier for
4 the Army of Republika Srpska. Whoever organised this kidnapping and took
5 these innocent people to the police station in Visegrad knows where these
6 people ended up. People who are in charge of life and death in Visegrad
7 -- who were in charge between 1992 and 1996, Perisic and Savovic knew
8 much more about this. They can answer your questions as to why these
9 people were kidnapped and where these innocent kidnapped people ended
10 their lives.
11 The Prosecutor here accused me of murders in Visegrad in private
12 homes and in Bikavac. They accused me of crimes that I took no part in
13 it. The Prosecution put on the list of victims many people who are died
14 or who died before the war, and they also put the names of people who
15 never even existed.
16 As for the incident on the Drina River
17 it. One of the alleged survivors described a perpetrator who does not
18 resemble me at all. The testimony of other two witnesses, one of them
19 was a protected witness, MLD-025, and they made me as one of the
20 co-perpetrators, and it has been proven that at the time of the crime
21 they could not have been present at the site. You were able to see that
22 this protected witness lied in order to protect himself.
23 More than 90 percent of OTP witnesses linked me to this red
24 Passat car as though it was some identifying mark, and this car in fact
25 belonged to the police station in Visegrad. It is true that the red
1 Passat was used by the members of the public security station in
2 Visegrad. How this car came to be in possession of the public security
3 station in Visegrad is something that Risto Perisic could tell you about.
4 He is the chief of the public security station in Visegrad who was in
5 that position between 1992 and 1996.
6 When it comes to incident concerning the Zukic family, I can tell
7 you this, that Bakira Hasecic from the women's association together with
8 secret Bosnian services AID and SIPA pressured women, Zukic Dzenita and
9 her sister, to come to The Hague Tribunal to falsely accuse me of taking
10 a car away from their family and killing their family members, father,
11 mother, and brother. Since these girls knew the truth, they knew that I
12 had nothing to do with their car or with their family. They did not wish
13 to come here to lie and accuse an innocent man, all the more so since
14 they are pious women and they are afraid of God. The Zukic girls wanted
15 to testify for my defence, but due to threats and the fact that their
16 children's lives were threatened in Sarajevo, I gave up from calling them
17 to come here to testify because it my duty to protect these honest and
18 honourable girls, now women and mothers. They do have the right to know
19 what happened to their father, mother, and brother, but not the way the
20 Prosecution wants them.
21 I would now like to address the issue of the Koran book that was
22 seen here in the courtroom at my table. I was given this book as a gift
23 by Muslim general whom I came to know here at the Detention Unit. He
24 told me, Since you are an honest and pious man, I will give you this book
25 to take it to the courtroom with you, to hold it in front of you so that
1 any false witnesses and anybody who uses lies will be persecuted by
2 devil. Whoever took this book to the courtroom was given minimal
3 sentences, and why doesn't an honest and honourable Serb have the same
4 fate? I read Koran several times, and had everybody who was involved in
5 the war read Koran and Bible, there would have been no war.
6 Your Honours, it was my desire to study Arabic language. I know
7 a lot about Muslim faith, but I didn't convert into Islam even though I
8 had a lot of respect for that religion. Your Honours, you are able to
9 see that I'm innocent. It is up to you to be guided by professional and
10 legal principles and norms.
11 Please do not allow somebody else such as a media campaign to
12 take charge of your conscience. The true perpetrators should be found
13 and punished but not an innocent man. Do not allow this court to be used
14 as a tool to achieve injustice. Do not give up in the face of these
16 You need to set free an innocent man who has been falsely accused
17 in public. I feel sorry for every single victim who fell in the war in
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Visegrad. The scum became rich, and innocent
19 people fell victims. The life of me personally and my family since 1992
20 has been hell. I despise the war because that is the greatest enemy of
21 an honest lie [as interpreted], and I would advise every man to flee any
22 war-like situation.
23 Having faith in your professionalism, I calmly await the
24 judgement, and I thank you very much for allowing me to give this
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
2 Now, Mr. Cepic, for your closing remarks.
3 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
4 Defence for Sredoje Lukic Closing Statement:
5 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Esteemed president of the Chamber,
6 esteemed members of the Chamber -- [French on English channel] -- it is
7 my pleasure to present our closing argument. First of all, we completely
8 agree with Mr. Groome's assertion when he said that this case is not only
9 about identification but also about inconsistencies. But we completely
10 disagree that these inconsistencies are minor.
11 Bearing in mind the magnitude of these inconsistencies, the
12 explanation provided by the Prosecution is neither sufficient nor
13 convincing. Contrary to the Prosecution's assertion that the Defence has
14 presented this case in an artificial and unnatural manner, the closing
15 argument of the Defence clearly indicates that the Defence has analysed
16 and presented all the evidence in a full context.
17 I would like to address the propositions put forward in the
18 Prosecution's final brief and closing argument. I submit that they are
19 based solely on assumptions rather than facts, and it is well known that
20 all assumptions crumble in the face of a single fact.
21 A distinguished and considerably more colleague who appeared
22 before his court and who is now a judge in the UK has given me the
23 following advice: Always check the references and footnotes contained in
24 the Prosecution's submissions.
25 In this particular case, we were astonished, not only I, but all
1 members of our team to find a substantial lack of references, a large
2 number of misquotes, and incorrect references leading to wrong
4 I will devote only one part of my closing argument to these
5 incorrect references and misinterpretation of evidence. Let me start
6 with witness VG-013. In paragraph 216 of the Prosecution final brief
7 states that VG-013 has seen Sredoje Lukic on the occasion in question by
8 making reference to transcript page 1031. We can see this part of the
9 transcript in front of us which clearly indicates that she hasn't seen
10 Sredoje Lukic on that occasion.
11 What I would like to say about this witness, her testimony under
12 oath in response to the questions, including the question asked by the
13 esteemed president whether she has seen Sredoje Lukic, she clearly
14 answered that she hasn't. She confirmed the same that in -- in -- that
15 she didn't -- she didn't see Sredoje Lukic and that she didn't know him
16 from before. Furthermore, she clearly stated that on that particular day
17 she didn't see Sredoje Lukic.
18 The Prosecution wanted to defy or to deny the authenticity of the
19 interview of this witness by saying that the adages probably have edited
20 part of this. It is simply illogical to me that this witness
21 persistently quotes two names of perpetrators, and that is simply
22 impossible for an editor to cut out the third name. The witness
23 confirmed the authenticity of this interview page 1130, and the
24 Prosecution had an opportunity in redirect to ask the question about the
25 interview, which he failed to say.
1 Furthermore, I would like to make reference to the testimony in
2 the Vasiljevic case during which this witness never mentioned the
3 involvement of Sredoje Lukic.
4 I would particularly like to stress Prosecution Exhibit P62,
5 which is a statement given by VG-013, given under no oath to the district
6 public Prosecutor in Sarajevo
7 incident without ever mentioning the involvement of Sredoje Lukic.
8 In paragraph 167, the Prosecution designated Edhem Kurspahic as
9 an alleged recognition witness. VG-013 stated that she had allegedly
10 heard from Edhem Kurspahic that Sredoje Lukic was outside the house.
11 However, there is not a single statement or interview given by Mr.
12 Edhem Kurspahic with relation to this incident, which would enable us to
13 verify whether Edhem really knew Sredoje Lukic.
14 Asked about this issue, VG-013 was unable to give a reliable
15 answer but only a supposition. That's referenced in the transcript,
16 page 1121. At that time our team thought that there was a clear doubt
17 about this question. However, we decided to take a step further in order
18 to clarify the issue of whether Edhem Kurspahic really knew
19 Sredoje Lukic.
20 During yesterday's closing argument, the Prosecution wanted to
21 downplay the fundamental importance of testimony of VG-018 related to
22 Edhem Kurspahic, namely, after the incident VG-018 and her son VG-084
23 lived as refugees in Srebrenica together with Edhem Kurspahic; reference,
24 transcript page 1360. It is only reasonable to conclude that they often
25 discussed the Pionirska incident in the period following it.
1 In the course of giving evidence when asked by Sredoje Lukic's
2 Defence team and the esteemed presiding judge, if Edhem Kurspahic had
3 known Sredoje Lukic, VG-018 responded by confirming quite clearly that
4 she had not known him. We can see now the references to her response on
5 our screens.
6 Now, the next Prosecution witness mentioned quite a few times
7 yesterday by the Prosecution, and that is witness VG-038, an alleged
8 recognition witness. The position of the Defence is that this witness
9 couldn't have seen anything more during the incident than his mother
10 VG-013 since at the time of the incident he was only 13 years old and
11 that he was with his mother throughout the entire course of the
12 incidents; reference, transcript page 1121.
13 What I would like to emphasise is that the credibility of this
14 witness has been undermined to such an extent that it makes it impossible
15 to accept his testimony in full with regard to Sredoje Lukic.
16 During -- this witness gave evidence about something not
17 mentioned in his previous statements in the previous testimony. I would
18 kindly ask for this not to be broadcast. He responded to the president
19 of the Chamber that he had known Sredoje Lukic for a period of seven
20 years before the incident and added that Sredoje Lukic was a police
21 officer and that that was how he came to meet him. However, during
22 examination-in-chief, he completely changed his statement --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: During
25 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] He completely changed his statement
1 by claiming that he had never known Sredoje Lukic. The clear answer
2 given by this witness on this issue was tried to be explained by the
3 Prosecutor yesterday that it was allegedly taken out of context; that's
4 yesterday's transcript page 46, line 15. We would like to point to the
5 entire context of this examination and this particular page of the
6 transcript that you see on the screens in front of you, which clearly
7 indicates that nothing was taken out of context, but that this witness,
8 however, gave a clear answer which corresponds to his other statements
9 and testimonies in the Vasiljevic case.
10 Therefore, this witness neither knew Sredoje Lukic before the
11 incidents or anything about him, which is clearly shown in the testimony
12 in the Vasiljevic case, which is page of the transcript 54 --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Page 1409, line 54.
14 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Also, a statement given in 1995,
15 which is Exhibit 1D26, in which it is stated that Sredoje Lukic was a
16 worker at the Unis wire factory. [English] Yes, thank you very much.
17 [Interpretation] So if somebody was working in a wire factory, he
18 definitely cannot be a policeman at the same time. I would also like to
19 point out to the statement given to the OTP 1998, Exhibit 2D4.
20 And finally, concerning the statement by the Prosecutor given
21 yesterday on page 47, wrongly asserted that VG-038 was wrongly quoted in
22 our exhibit, and he referred to page 1377 of Exhibit P44. We have to
23 point out that on this page nothing was said specifically, but that is in
24 fact transcript page 1378 of the Exhibit P44, where this witness clearly
25 testified that he did not dare to look at the man.
1 I would like now to address the assertions in the final brief by
2 the Prosecution in which witnesses 18, 84, 78, and 101 were designated as
3 identification witnesses. These are paragraphs 172 and 173 in the
4 Prosecution final brief. I have to point out that we have persistently
5 insisted throughout the proceedings and explained in our final brief why
6 we were opposed to identification in the courtroom, and I would like to
7 add that not a single one of these witnesses neither in the courtroom nor
8 in any other way made a positive identification of Sredoje Lukic.
9 Witness VG-018 claimed that she had heard Sredoje Lukic introduce
10 himself in the house. However, she didn't know Sredoje Lukic, nor was
11 she able to provide any reliable information about the perpetrators.
12 This explains her answer that she did not dare look in the direction of
13 the perpetrators. This is on page 1317, which you can see right now on
14 your screens.
15 Her son, VG-084, had also not known Sredoje Lukic before the
16 incident and was with his mother all the time while this incident was
17 going on, and this is reference 1272 and 1273 pages in the transcript.
18 This witness claimed to have heard Sredoje Lukic introduce himself.
19 However, when asked about these circumstances by the esteemed president
20 of the Chamber, this witness responded under oath that he had heard
21 nothing that would enable him to identify Sredoje Lukic. We can see this
22 response on our screens at this very moment. So this is a considerable
23 discrepancy in the statement.
24 Furthermore, I would like to say that in the Prosecution brief
25 more than 25 people involved in the incident knew Sredoje Lukic, and this
1 conclusion was drawn based on the testimony of VG-084. However, when
2 asked to give the names of at least some of these 25 percent of the
3 people --
4 [In English] I have to intervene. Page 17, line 6, 25 percent of
5 people involved has to be. Thank you.
6 [Interpretation] However, when asked to give the names of at
7 least one name of these 25 percent of the people, the witness was unable
8 to provide a single name. We can see this is reference shown on the
9 screens right now. Nearly all the other answers given by this witness
10 were that he did not remember.
11 The next two witnesses, VG-078 and VG-101, the Prosecution state
12 that these two witnesses did not know Sredoje Lukic from before but were,
13 rather, told that night from other individuals that that was
14 Sredoje Lukic. The Prosecutor even quotes references in footnote 494 in
15 their brief to the effect that VG-078 mentioned Sredoje Lukic in her
16 testimony. This reference refers to transcript page 1378 --
17 THE INTERPRETER: 87, interpreter's correction.
18 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Looking at the page of the transcript
19 before us, we can clearly see that there is no mention of Sredoje Lukic.
20 We particularly wish to emphasise that these two witnesses, not only on
21 this page of the transcript, but in their statements and other
22 testimonies have never mentioned the name of Sredoje Lukic, nor provided
23 any description that would match that of Sredoje Lukic.
24 Now we come to witness VG-115, designated by the Prosecution as a
25 recognition witness in paragraph 169 of their final brief. And in
1 yesterday's presentation by the Prosecution, I nearly understood this to
2 be one of the key witnesses for the Prosecution. The Prosecution tried
3 yesterday to misinterpret the conduct of the Defence in cross-examination
4 of this witness and VG-013 stating that Defence had improperly
5 interrupted the testimony on several occasions.
6 The Defence would like to point out that this is not just the
7 right of Defence but also its duty to lead the witness in
8 cross-examination. I would like to point out that this witness, VG-115,
9 in the Mitar Vasiljevic judgement was characterised as an unreliable
10 witness particularly with regard to identification so much so that his
11 evidence could not be accepted, and I have to underline that all parties
12 agree and that is that this case is based on identification.
13 Let me also point out paragraph 120 in the final brief of the
14 Prosecution, in which this witness claims to have allegedly seen
15 Sredoje Lukic. However, an important detail is omitted, which is that
16 she saw Sredoje Lukic wearing a balaclava. Yesterday on transcript
17 page 42, the Prosecutor provided an explanation saying that this stocking
18 or, rather, balaclava was worn on the head just to cover the shaved head.
19 The Prosecution referred, also, to a video footage from April 1992 saying
20 that at that time Sredoje Lukic's head was shaven. This is P203, and it
21 clearly shows that he only had short hair at the time and not a shaven
23 I would also like to point out to page of the transcript 686, in
24 which, speaking about the Pionirska incident, this witness clearly said
25 that he had some kind of stocking over his head, over his whole head.
1 This is what we see on the screens right now. In addition to this, the
2 testimony of VG-115 are so illogical starting from the possibility -- her
3 impossibility to see at all how people had been brought into this house,
4 which was also confirmed by Cliff Jenkins, the expert witness of the
5 Defence, and all of us who were there, we all could see that it was
6 impossible to see the door to the house from the street. And in
7 addition, this witness marked completely differently the door to the
8 house where this incident took place. And also, it was said that this
9 incident kept -- happened on a working day; however, the
10 adjudicated fact 62 and 65 confirm that this incident took on a religious
11 holiday in both faiths, the Christian and the Muslim faith, around [as
12 interpreted] the 14th of June.
13 I would now like to say something about Hasib Kurspahic, a
14 hearsay witness.
15 [In English] Page 19, line 6, I said "on," not "around" 14th of
16 June, because it's so precise adjudicated fact. Thank you.
17 [Interpretation] The next witness about whom I would like to say
18 a few words is Huso Kurspahic designated by the Prosecution in their
19 final brief, para 159 and 161 as a recognition witness. As we know, this
20 witness has secondhand knowledge because it was his father who survived
21 the incident, whereas this witness was not present there himself. I
22 would like to say that this witness also testified about the same
23 incident in the Mitar Vasiljevic case, but the Trial Chamber dismissed
24 his testimony.
25 This witness claims that his father allegedly told him that
1 Sredoje Lukic was one of the perpetrators; reference, transcript page 879
2 and Exhibit P36, page 3. I would kindly ask for this portion of the
3 transcript not to be broadcast outside of this court. The father of
4 Huso Kurspahic, Hasib Kurspahic, is one of the survivors of this serious
5 incident. The Prosecution has designated Hasib Kurspahic as a
6 recognition witness. One of the few facts that the Defence and the
7 Prosecution agree is that Hasib Kurspahic knew Sredoje Lukic very well
8 and that he actually knew him much better than any other person. It has
9 been clearly demonstrated during the trial that Sredoje Lukic and
10 Hasib Kurspahic had met frequently, shaken hands, and that Sredoje Lukic
11 ate at his home and spent time many, many times.
12 The Defence would like to stress that perhaps the key evidence in
13 Sredoje Lukic's Defence case is an interview with Hasib Kurspahic gave
14 only 24 days after the incident. Generally speaking, this is in fact the
15 first piece of evidence obtained after the incident. Yesterday on
16 page 51, the Prosecutor suggested that Hasib didn't dare mention anyone
17 because he was frightened. Only after he had united with his son, he
18 felt safe enough to tell him who the perpetrators were. However, I would
19 like to point out to the Chamber, and this is exactly what you can see on
20 the screen, is part of the statement given by this witness, which says
21 that "... Mitar the waiter had come and said that he was a town
22 commander." If this witness was able to indicate who introduced himself
23 as a town commander, it was only logical to conclude that he would be
24 able to identify other perpetrators that he now knew from before.
25 However, as we can see on the screen, this witness, that is to say
1 Mr. Kurspahic, when asked directly whether he had identified or
2 recognised anyone during the incident that lasted for hours and through
3 several contacts that he had an opportunity to establish with the
4 perpetrators during the looting and the taking out of people of their
5 house, this witness gave a straightforward answer that he did not
6 recognise anyone.
7 A considerable number of statements given in 1994, 1995, and
8 1996, given to the investigating authorities of Bosnia-Herzegovina have
9 been admitted into evidence in this case. Huso Kurspahic, as an
10 experienced policeman, if he had really heard such information from his
11 father, could have simply taken a statement from him, compiled an
12 Official Note, which is the duty of every policeman, or quite simply
13 called the investigating organs of Bosnia-Herzegovina or any other organs
14 over the period of three years in order to take a statement from
15 Mr. Huso Kurspahic about these particular circumstances.
16 Thank you for your attention. Now I would like to address the
17 Bikavac incident. The Prosecution has identified four witnesses in
18 paragraph 311 to 313 as identification witnesses. I will first refer to
19 paragraph 311 and witness Zehra Turjacanin. In their brief, the
20 Prosecution is trying to create an impression that Zehra Turjacanin
21 recognised Sredoje Lukic as one of the perpetrators involved in the
22 Bikavac incident. However, her testimony and all other exhibits admitted
23 into evidence create a completely opposite impression.
24 The witness has not indicated or described Sredoje Lukic as a
25 potential perpetrator involved in the incident in any of her testimonies,
1 statements, or interviews. During the examination-in-chief -- and I
2 would also kindly ask this next portion of the transcript not to be
3 broadcast because it contains confidential information. So during
4 examination-in-chief, Zehra Turjacanin mentioned that Milan Lukic was
5 with a relative of his who was 20 years his senior and who used to work
6 in the police. The Defence would like to point out that Sredoje Lukic is
7 of the same age as witness Zehra Turjacanin, and that he was an active
8 duty police officer at the time, and that he was not someone who had been
9 a policeman in the long-distant past.
10 As we can see in this description provided by Zehra Turjacanin,
11 you can clearly see that this corresponds to Sredoje Lukic; and from
12 5230, we can see in the picture that he didn't look older than any person
13 of the age of 30. Likewise, I wish to bring to your attention this
14 description now that you can see on your screens, which clearly
15 demonstrates that Sredoje Lukic was not identified as one of the
17 I wish to emphasise that following this incident, this witness
18 gave three video interviews and a statement within a short space of time.
19 I wish to bring this to Chamber's attention. These are P66, and this was
20 given in the presence of VG-032 when VG-032 was dressing the wounds of
21 this other witness. And then we have a transcript of the interview in
22 2D37. This was drafted in Medjedja after the incident. And we also have
23 Exhibit P139, which was a statement given in Zenica hospital.
24 Following that, we have a statement of this witness given in
25 July 1992 in the presence of VG-032. This is Exhibit 2D36. We also have
1 a statement in Exhibit 1D83, which is an interview given to the
2 Prosecutor. This is Exhibit 2D38. And we have an interview in 2D39
3 given to Oslobodenje where she lists names of many perpetrators but not
4 that of Sredoje Lukic.
5 I also wish to emphasise that not in a single of these pieces of
6 evidence did Zehra Turjacanin mention Sredoje Lukic or describe anyone
7 resembling him. She didn't even mention any relative policemen, and it
8 is indisputable that there were a number of people in the Lukic family
9 who worked in the police.
10 I also wish to emphasise the testimony of witness VG-032, who
11 throughout the critical period of time was with witness Zehra Turjacanin
12 and was a witness to at least two interviews, that is to say P62 and
13 2D36. There is even a video shot of this witness dressing the wounds of
14 Zehra Turjacanin, and he was also an eye-witness when the statement was
15 signed in 1992. This witness said that he knew Sredoje Lukic, and he
16 said that he had heard nothing bad about Sredoje Lukic throughout the war
17 and later.
18 I also wish to reiterate that all other witnesses who base their
19 testimony on the Bikavac incident, and they base their testimony on the
20 basis of testimony of Zehra Turjacanin, and these witnesses, VG-119,
21 VG-058, and Huso Kurspahic are unreliable witnesses because we have very
22 clear evidence in the testimony of Zehra Turjacanin which in no way
23 implicates Sredoje Lukic in this incident.
24 Once again, I wish to go back to witness VG-115 who testified
25 about the Bikavac incident. Yesterday, the Prosecutor wanted to explain
1 how VG-115 actually explained that Sredoje Lukic had a stocking on his
2 head just to conceal his shaven head. Thank you.
3 So, as I was saying, the Prosecutor wanted to explain how
4 according to VG-115 Sredoje Lukic had a stocking just to conceal his
5 shaven head. As I have said earlier, such allegations are not
6 corroborated, were not grounded in any other fact, and are completely
7 contradictory to all other evidence. We will now see part of the
8 transcript of the testimony of witness VG-115 where this witness speaks
9 about the Bikavac incident. This is page of the transcript 780. Based
10 on this, we can clearly see that this witness in line 24, page 780, of
11 the transcript said that witness had a sock pulled over the entire head.
12 I'm now wondering, how is it possible to recognise somebody wearing a
13 mask or a balaclava or a stocking over his head from a distance of dozens
14 of metres? How it is possible to recognise the voice of a person wearing
15 a mask or anything else on his head from that distance?
16 Another element that undermines, already undermines credibility
17 of witness VG-115 is a very significant discrepancy between the
18 explanation of where she followed the incident at Bikavac from, where it
19 was given in the statement in Exhibit 1D18, where she says that she was
20 following the events from the meadow. I would like this to be shown but
21 only in the courtroom. This is Exhibit 2D2.
22 So there is a considerable discrepancy between the testimony
23 given in the courtroom and the statement given before. In the statement,
24 she claims that she stood in the meadow, and while testifying here, she
25 said that she was on the main road. And we can see on this map that this
1 distance is quite significant between these two spots. And I have to
2 emphasise that Zehra Turjacanin stated that when she ran out of the
3 house, the perpetrators of the incidents were lying on that meadow. And
4 now, VG-115 is claiming that she was on the same meadow where the
5 perpetrators were. This is why her allegations are completely
6 unrealistic, also bearing in mind the significant discrepancy about the
7 spot from which she was following the incident.
8 The next witness that the Prosecutor mentioned in his closing
9 argument yesterday is witness VG-035 and witness CW-002. Namely, the
10 Prosecutor said yesterday that witness CW-002 did not know Sredoje Lukic
11 and as a result could not have seen him in the incident. We believe that
12 it is a reasonable conclusion that she did know him because she clearly
13 explained that he had lived in her house.
14 In addition to that, I wish to emphasise that the statement of
15 witness VG-035 from 1998 that this witness gave to the Prosecution under
16 oath over two days significantly is corroborated by the statement of
17 witness CW-002. Namely, none of them mention the participation of
18 Sredoje Lukic in the event on Bikavac on that day. So one can reasonably
19 conclude that if VG-035 did know Sredoje Lukic, then she would have
20 certainly informed her fellow witness, CW-002, and told her this is
21 Sredoje Lukic, but as we can see, these two statements given earlier
22 completely corroborate and fully challenge the testimony of VG-035.
23 I also wish to say that VG-035 could not have given a single
24 reasonable explanation as to why in the statement given to the
25 investigators of the OTP under oath she failed to mention Sredoje Lukic
1 as a perpetrator of this incident.
2 The Defence is convinced that these two incidents are something
3 that the Prosecution did not prove beyond reasonable doubt in relation to
4 Sredoje Lukic. But in addition to that, or despite of that, the Defence
5 presented its case of the defence of alibi that had been notified to the
6 pre-trial judge, Judge Thelin, and following that notification, the
7 Defence also supplied to the Prosecution the statements of alibi
9 This took place quite a long time before the trial started, at
10 the time where nobody even knew when the trial would begin. In Belgrade
11 the Prosecutor during the pre-trial phase, conducted interviews with
12 alibi witnesses, and all of these interviews were admitted in their
13 entirety into evidence when tendered by the Defence of Sredoje Lukic.
14 In addition to that, the Prosecutor inspected all of the
15 documents that had been adopted as evidence of alibi defence, and not a
16 single case their authenticity was challenged. I also wish to point out
17 that alibi witnesses gave consistent evidence that clearly confirms alibi
18 of Sredoje Lukic, namely that on the 14th and 27th of June, 1992, he was
19 not present in Visegrad but was, rather, in Serbia, namely in Obrenovac
20 and Belgrade
21 not ordinary days just like any days in a year, especially not when it
22 comes to the alibi witnesses of the Sredoje Lukic's Defence. Namely, the
23 14th of June was the Holy Trinity holiday and also an important village
24 feast or, rather, the patron saint day of that village, village Krtinska.
25 Witness for the Defence gave evidence stating - his name is Veroljub
1 Zivkovic - gave evidence stating that he was with Sredoje Lukic on the
2 14th of June in a shop there. The Prosecutor in his cross-examination of
3 this witness mostly dealt with his credibility and did not try to
4 challenge the events on the 14th of June, 1992. This is how Exhibits
5 P199 and P201 were admitted into evidence, and those are judgements
6 finding this witness guilty because he knocked down the fence of a
7 witness. The consistency of the evidence of Veroljub Zivkovic can be
8 clearly seen from the statement that he gave to the Defence team. This
9 is Exhibit 2D41. It can also be seen based on his interview given to the
10 Prosecution in Belgrade
11 and 2D54.
12 The next Defence witness, Branimir Buganski, he testified before
13 this Trial Chamber in relation to the events taking place on the 14th and
14 27th of June, 1992, and he confirmed that in that period of time, the
15 family of Sredoje Lukic lived in one of his homes. Defence believes that
16 not even numerous Prosecution questions and cross-examination could cast
17 a doubt on the reliability and credibility of this witness.
18 However, in their final brief in paragraph 447, the Prosecutor
19 completely wrongly explained the testimony of Mr. Bugarski claiming that
20 he wrongly stated when a NATO bomb had fallen in his village. We can see
21 this on our screens now. The Prosecutor tried to impugn to the witness a
22 reply that it was on the 28th of March, but the witness clearly explained
23 when that took place, during which month, and where he was at that time,
24 and the Prosecutor did not adduce any other evidence or document to
25 challenge the credibility of this witness. This clearly states that the
1 memory of this witness is fully reliable.
2 Also, when it comes to the 14th of July, I wish to state that the
3 confirmation that it was an important day for that village and that they
4 had a village holiday on that day, a religious holiday, is also the
5 certificate issued by the village priest which is Exhibit 2D48, and you
6 can also see the church calendar or the religious calendar for June of
8 When it comes to the 14th of June, the Prosecution in their final
9 brief, paragraph 434, claim that the incident in Pionirska took place on
10 or about the 14th of June, 1992. However, I wish to reiterate that this
11 Trial Chamber established adjudicated facts number 62 and 65. This is
12 decision that was handed down in August of 2008, where it is stated that
13 this incident took place exactly on the 14th of June, 1992.
14 Now, the 27th of June, 1992, was a significant day because it was
15 the eve of the greatest Serbian holiday, St. Vitus's Day, and in the life
16 of witness Zorka Lukic it was an especially important period of time
17 because on the previous day she had come home with her newly born baby,
18 Dragina, home; and this witness said that Sredoje Lukic on that day came
19 to visit her family because that was the custom, and she clearly stated
20 that in her testimony.
21 I wish to point out that under Rule 92 ter, we adopted the
22 statement of this witness given to the investigators of the Prosecution,
23 not to the investigators of the Defence. The Prosecution did not lead
24 almost any evidence to rebut the alibi of Sredoje Lukic. We only heard
25 an ad hoc testimony of witness VG-024 pertaining to the
1 27th and 28th June of 1992, and her unreliability when it comes to those
2 details is clearly explained in our final brief. I do not wish to dwell
3 on this any longer before this Trial Chamber. We can clearly conclude
4 that the Prosecution did not eliminate the possibility that the alibi of
5 Sredoje Lukic is solid.
6 Now, I wish to turn to a third incident that my client is charged
7 with. It relates to the camp in Uzamnica. We heard three witnesses
8 concerning this, and the statement of the fourth witness was adopted as
10 The witness who spent the longest in the camp is Nurko
11 Dervisevic. In his testimony, he said that he saw Sredoje Lukic only
12 once in the camp. Previous statements to this witness given under oath
13 and signed were confirmed by this witness when he came here to testify.
14 Exhibit 2D15 is a statement given on the 23rd of December, 1994. And in
15 this statement, this witness never once mentioned Sredoje Lukic but
16 mentioned other perpetrators. Then just two weeks later, he gave another
17 statement on the 6th of January, 1995. This is Exhibit 2D16, and once
18 again, Sredoje Lukic is not mentioned in this statement either. And the
19 third statement is 2D17, given on the 22nd of June, 2007, and once again,
20 in this third statement Sredoje Lukic is not mentioned by this witness.
21 This distinguished Trial Chamber adopted the statement of
22 witness VG-025 who spent some time in Uzamnica, and in this statement
23 this witness said he knew Sredoje Lukic as a police officer from Visegrad
24 but that he had never seen him in Uzamnica.
25 The next two witnesses, Islam Kustura and Adem Berberovic claim
1 that they learned from others, namely from Nurko Dervisevic, that Sredoje
2 Lukic had come to the camp several times. I must mention that several
3 weeks after being released from the camp, Islam Kustura gave a statement
4 where he mentioned 16 perpetrators without ever mentioning Sredoje Lukic.
5 Adem Berberovic gave a statement to the Prosecution. A statement was
6 given by Ib Jul Hansen who also testified here, and in that statement,
7 this witness said that in a photo spread he pointed to Sredoje Lukic.
8 This is 2D20. However, the investigator of the OTP, the head of the OTP
9 investigations team who testified here clearly state that no photograph
10 of Sredoje Lukic was ever used in photo identification. Based on this,
11 we can clearly conclude that this witness never identified Sredoje Lukic.
12 What I have to reemphasise here is the description of Sredoje
13 Lukic given by these two witnesses. Can we now see on our screens part
14 of the testimony of Kustura and Berberovic. Both of these witnesses, and
15 not just these two witnesses, but also numerous other witnesses for the
16 Prosecution describe Sredoje Lukic as a person significantly shorter than
18 rebuttal portion of the case and who said that Sredoje Lukic was
19 allegedly shorter than her, and her height is 175 centimetres. Now, we
20 can see here that both Kustura and Berberovic said that Sredoje Lukic was
21 15 to 20 centimetres shorter than Milan Lukic.
22 Now, this difference in height of 15 to 20 centimetres, which is
23 more than half a foot, is a significant difference. Some standards shown
24 before this court say that there is some degree of tolerance. However,
25 such a significant difference clearly indicates that these people
1 identified a completely different person, and all of us here are fully in
2 agreement that the central issue of this case is the identification.
3 I would especially like to bring to your attention that
4 Sredoje Lukic is not shorter than Milan Lukic, not 10 centimetres, not
5 15, not 20. They are almost the same height, and you can see that in the
6 courtroom -- in the photograph taken in the courtroom, Exhibit 2D52. You
7 can also see that from the certificate given by the Detention Unit about
8 the height of Sredoje Lukic. This is Exhibit 2D64.
9 So we are clearly stating that these two people are of the same
10 height, which is completely contrary to what the Prosecution witnesses
12 And finally, I would like to show part of the testimony -- but
13 please do not broadcast outside of the courtroom. Now, speaking of
14 identification and based on all the evidence adduced in this case, we are
15 deeply convinced that Sredoje Lukic was not identified in any of the
16 incidents for which he was charged. What is especially fascinating in
17 this case is the confirmation given by the chief investigator of the
18 Prosecution. Can we see it on our screens, but please, not outside the
19 courtroom. So the chief investigator of the Prosecution when testifying
20 here clearly and unambiguously confirmed that in the pre-trial
21 proceedings which lasted for a number of years, no identification
22 procedure was ever conducted in relation to Sredoje Lukic. It sounds
23 shocking, but it is a fact, and we see a reference here, transcript
24 page 3137.
25 I now wish to turn to paragraph 628 of the Prosecution brief
1 where they claim that Sredoje Lukic had power, ability, and duty to help
2 Muslims, stating that he had saved the life of only one Muslim, which is
3 what witness VG-064 claimed. But what I wish to state is that VG-064
4 clearly stated that Sredoje Lukic risked his own life to save the life of
5 her husband and her brother.
6 I also wish to say that we also heard from witness Mevsud Poljo
7 testifying for the Prosecution who explicitly at his own request in
8 examination-in-chief said that he wanted to describe how Sredoje Lukic
9 helped Muslims and how he saved the life of his neighbour Moradif Karic
10 [phoen]. This was a great act of sacrifice on his part.
11 Now, as to how many other Muslims Sredoje Lukic saved during the
12 war, we don't know about that. What we heard here, we heard from the OTP
13 witness in examination-in-chief. I especially want to point out that a
14 significant number of OTP witnesses gave an extremely positive opinion of
15 Mr. Sredoje Lukic. Let me remind you of the testimony of VG-133, where
16 it was stated that this witness never heard from anybody -- anybody of
17 any significance anything bad about Sredoje Lukic. And then VG-011 said
18 that even nowadays he would like to sit down and have a drink with
19 Sredoje Lukic. Also, VG-017 who is a man who suffered greatly having
20 lost two sons during the war.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: How much longer do you have, Mr. Cepic?
22 MR. CEPIC: I'm almost completing, just two minutes.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
24 MR. CEPIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 [Interpretation] Bearing in mind everything said earlier, we
1 would like to emphasise that the Prosecution has not proven beyond
2 reasonable doubt their case against Sredoje Lukic, that the Prosecution
3 has not eliminated the alibi of Sredoje Lukic as the truthful alibi.
4 Consequently, the Defence proposes that Sredoje Lukic be acquitted on all
5 counts of the indictment.
6 Finally, I wish to express gratitude to the members of the
7 Defence team, especially Mr. Jens Dieckmann, a very diligent co-counsel;
8 then to exceptionally diligent case manager, Sladjana Marjanovic; our
9 excellent assistants, Christina Kerll, Snezina Pusic; our investigator,
10 Nada Mandic; all exceptional individuals.
11 And finally, I wish to say that it has been a great honour and
12 pleasure to appear as Defence counsel of Sredoje Lukic before this
13 distinguished Trial Chamber.
14 Thank you very much for your attention.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Cepic.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: I just wanted to bring you up to date on the
19 motions that have either been filed recently and/or remain pending before
20 the Trial Chamber. Can we go into private session.
21 [Private session]
11 Page 7253 redacted. Private session.
8 [Open session]
9 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: I was saying that we will adjourn the
11 proceedings now and resume on the day when the Chamber will issue its
12 judgement in this case. We are adjourned.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.00 p.m.