1 Thursday, 24 July 2014
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.36 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone in and around this
7 Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case
9 IT-09-92-T, the Prosecutor versus Ratko Mladic.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar. Any leftovers that were
11 announced are not necessarily to be dealt with before we have concluded
12 the testimony of the witness. Therefore, the Chamber suggests that we
13 leave them until after we've concluded the hearing of the evidence.
14 [The witness takes the stand]
15 WITNESS: ZORAN KOVACEVIC [Resumed]
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Kovacevic.
18 THE WITNESS: [In English] Good morning [Interpretation] Good
20 JUDGE ORIE: Both is okay.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, indeed.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kovacevic, before we continue, I'd like to
23 remind you that you're still bound by the solemn declaration you've given
24 at the beginning of your testimony. And Ms. Hasan will now continue her
25 cross-examination --
1 MS. HASAN: I have no questions.
2 JUDGE ORIE: No further questions. No. Any questions,
3 Mr. Lukic? Mr. Stojanovic? It's really time for a holiday because ...
4 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we have just a few
5 questions, as we indicated yesterday, and I would now like to ask
6 Mr. Kovacevic those questions with your kind permission.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Please do so.
8 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 Re-examination by Mr. Stojanovic:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacevic, I would now like to go through
11 the time line of events on the 12th of July, as far as you're able to
12 remember, of course. In your statement, in paragraph 14, you said that
13 you received the order to head towards Potocari sometime between 1000 and
14 1100 hours; do you remember that?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. My question to you: To the best of your recollection, when did
17 you reach Potocari, approximately? When did you reach the area where you
18 indicated yesterday that you gave the statement?
19 A. Around noon, half past 12.00, not later than 1.00 p.m.
20 Q. The next step, to the best of your recollection, how much time
21 did you spend in that area, on the road in Potocari?
22 A. In front of the building itself, after the interview, hmm, I may
23 have spent not more than 7 to 8 minutes. This is when the general came.
24 And then we moved behind the building and we spent about half an hour
1 Q. The next step, you receive further orders to go back to your
2 initial positions, and now, to the best of your recollection, when did
3 you leave the area of Potocari?
4 A. I think it was at 1.30, not later than that. After we received
5 the order we left the area where the houses were. There is a road behind
6 the Cinkara, the factory. We crossed the bridge and then we went back to
7 the Djogazi-Peciste line.
8 Q. To the best of your recollection, how many people, how many
9 soldiers, were there escorting General Mladic?
10 A. Well, I couldn't give you the exact number but I think about five
11 or six people. Not more than that. But I didn't really look all that
12 closely. After the General addressed us and told us to move on, we
13 simply left the area.
14 Q. Throughout that time, did you notice at any time that
15 General Mladic addressed the people there, using a loud speaker?
16 A. No. We went to the other side, and we did not see what happened
17 with the General because he was on the other side. I didn't see it.
18 Q. Do you know the person that might be your neighbour or your -- or
19 the neighbour of the woman that -- whose statement you heard yesterday,
20 whose name is Momir, who was supposed to be in your unit that day?
21 A. No. Momir was not with me. I only know Momir, aka Penzijica,
22 who was the deputy commander for security, and I think that we had not
23 seen each other for a month before those events, and I don't even recall
24 if we met at all after the events.
25 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, now I would like
1 us to look at the document that has the 65 ter number 31004 and let us
2 look at page 2 of this document in the B/C/S version, and I think it's
3 page 2 in the English version as well. I would like to look at page 2.
4 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, look at the last paragraph in B/C/S. It is the
5 penultimate passage on this page in the English version, Your Honours.
6 It says here in the statement taken from this witness: The next morning,
7 Ratko Mladic arrived. Would this correspond to the time when you were in
8 Potocari, this statement made by this witness that it was in the morning?
9 A. In all of my statements, I said that around 10.00 a.m.,
10 I received an order, while I was at the initial positions. After that we
11 had to prepare the unit, we had to gather up, and then we had to move
12 from the top of Caus to Potocari. In normal conditions, regular
13 conditions, if you don't search the terrain, it would take you an hour to
14 get there. So this -- I don't know, really, what to say. I don't see
15 how this could be true. Also, several thousand people? Hmm.
16 Q. I will be asking you about that specifically in a minute. So the
17 next part of this sentence reads, okay:
18 "Ratko Mladic arrived with several thousand of his soldiers."
19 Were you able to estimate now, not counting these people who were
20 escorting General Mladic, as you told us, how many people -- how many
21 soldiers of the VRS could have been there, counting your soldiers too?
22 A. My soldiers were in the courtyard of this building. They were
23 not out in the street. The general showed up, he was walking from
24 Srebrenica, and on both sides of the road there was this huge crowd of
25 people from Srebrenica, women, children and so on. I noticed the general
1 as he approached. Before that, or indeed afterwards as I was on my way
2 back, I did not see any troops, apart from those people that I saw while
3 we were behind this building. So a hundred soldiers, it's a huge mass of
4 people. You would have to notice them. The general showed up, he was on
5 foot, and he was surrounded by five, six, a maximum of eight people.
6 Q. I would like us to move on to the next page in the B/C/S version,
7 the English version is fine. I would like us to focus on the last
8 paragraph on this page in the English version, Your Honours. It says in
9 this statement: "With my neighbour Momir and Zoran Kovacevic, son of
10 Bosko, born in the village of Hurenovac," well, it says "Hurenovac" here,
11 "Bratunac municipality."
12 A. It's Kunjerac, it's a typo.
13 Q. That's right. So is there a village in the Srebrenica
14 municipality that would have something to do with your life, which would
15 be called Hurenovac?
16 A. I don't know about that.
17 Q. What is the name of your village?
18 A. It's Kunjerac. It's called Kunjerac. A hamlet of the village of
20 Q. Thank you. Let me finish by asking you if, at any time after the
21 war, on any occasion, in any situation, you have been able to meet with
22 the witness who provided this statement?
23 A. No, never. And since I hunt, I walk around her house, as I go
24 out to hunt, and her neighbours sometimes ask me to help them, if they
25 have something to be done. I have heard that she lives in Srebrenica but
1 I can't verify that.
2 Q. After the war, have you at any time, Mr. Kovacevic, have any
3 personal problems with your Muslim neighbours who have come back?
4 A. No, never. We are on the same terms as we used to be.
5 Q. And what kind of terms are we talking about?
6 A. We were friends, neighbours. There is no difference that would
7 be based on ethnicity, at least that's the way I feel about it.
8 Q. Have those people returned to their homes?
9 A. Well, these are mostly poor people. They had nowhere to go.
10 I think that at least the elderly have come back. There are some young
11 people, but I don't know them, really, so I can't tell you who they are,
12 but for the most part, yes.
13 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, thank you very much for your clarifications.
14 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
15 questions for this witness.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Stojanovic. Judge Fluegge has a
17 question for you.
18 Questioned by the Court:
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Kovacevic, Mr. Stojanovic asked you a minute
20 ago what is the name of your village. You said:
21 "It's called Kunjerac, a hamlet of the village of Loznica."
22 Is that the place where you lived in -- used to live in 1995?
23 A. No. That's where my father and my family live. I live in
24 Bratunac. I have a house in the Podgradac neighbourhood of Bratunac.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Is Loznica a part of the Bratunac municipality?
1 A. Yes.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You were born there?
3 A. Yes.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Are you still living in -- it's not recorded.
5 You said: "I have a house in the ... neighbourhood of Bratunac." But
6 can you please repeat the name of the location.
7 A. Podgradac. It's about 1200 metres from the centre of Bratunac in
8 the direction of Srebrenica.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And you used to live there in 1995 and also
10 today; correct?
11 A. I moved into my house in 1980 and I have been living there, it's
12 my own house, since then.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And you're still living there?
14 A. Yes.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kovacevic, could you think of any reason why
17 Ms. Salihovic would lie about what she stated specifically as far as your
18 activities are concerned?
19 A. I have given this some thought, when my father told me that she
20 had said that, so I have been thinking about it since then and I really
21 cannot think of a reason why. Perhaps if she saw the interview, she may
22 have been prompted by something to say that, but now as to what this
23 motive was, I really can't think of it, because if it had happened the
24 way she described it, it would be only logical for her to tell me, to ask
25 me: Neighbour, were you there or not? Or if she realised that she had
1 made a mistake, now it would be only natural for her to apologise to me
2 because of course, you can make a mistake, but if you realise that you've
3 made a mistake, you have to do something about it. I really cannot
4 comprehend why she has done that.
5 JUDGE ORIE: You say that you expected her to ask you whether you
6 were there or to apologise if she made a mistake. If she is quite
7 positive in her recollection, there would be no need to ask you. Would
8 you agree?
9 A. Yes, but she could at least come to me and say: "Why did you do
10 it," out of resentment, because if I were in her shoes, that's what
11 I would do. I would ask her: "Why did you do that?" Because if there
12 is somebody who did something bad, you can't keep on being friends with
14 My brother was killed in 1992. If I had heard that somebody had
15 killed him, I would not feel resentment but I would ask this person:
16 "Why did you kill my brother?" So I really -- if you think about this in
17 purely human terms, as a human being, I really cannot understand it.
18 In particular, the fact that she established this link between me
19 and Momir, and the war ended 20 years ago. People know everything in
20 Bratunac and I have never heard anyone in Bratunac say that somebody from
21 Bratunac took part in the separation, apart from Momir, aka Penzijica.
22 We all know what happened, and the moment General Mladic appeared,
23 everybody was running away from him, like the devil from the cross, and
24 that's what we did. And now she is saying this. I could understand it
25 if I had been close to the factory but I was not. So there was no
1 possibility for her to see me at all. There was just this interview,
2 this footage. Maybe that's what prompted her to say this.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Did you ever try to find out who separated families
4 at that point in time? Because if you say you are accused of having
5 participated, did you ever try to find out who, then, if not you, did
6 such things?
7 A. Well, everybody in Bratunac, everybody is saying things about
8 that. It's being discussed because it's a matter of general interest.
9 Of course, I am ready to be held accountable for everything that I have
10 done and I'm a reserve officer, I know what my responsibilities are. I
11 am ready to be held accountable for the things that I did, but this is
12 something that I did not do and that's why I'm bothered by it.
13 JUDGE ORIE: That's not really an answer to my question. My
14 question was whether you ever tried to find out who, then, may have
15 separated members of families at that point in time, at that location.
16 A. Well, if you talk to people in Bratunac, you know who is supposed
17 to know things. It's not the people who were in the army but those who
18 were milling about. And I'm always trying to find out, I have been
19 trying to find out, who took part in the separation, and I have not heard
20 from anyone about anyone else because people from our brigade were there.
21 Perhaps some civilian from Bratunac took part in that, but whoever I talk
22 to, they were unable to identify any other person that took part in it.
23 Somebody that I could talk to.
24 JUDGE ORIE: But you said it was not members of the army? Is
25 that well understood?
1 A. Certainly not. I'm saying members of the army, members of
2 civilian structures from Bratunac, because it would have to be that the
3 army or the civilian structures, as I've said. And through all these
4 conversations, had I ever been told a single name of any person, either
5 from the army or from the civilian structures, I would have said so.
6 I would have cleared my own name, if you will. But really, nobody in
7 Bratunac could have told me anything, whoever I talked to. It's been
8 15 years or so. And then people say they heard this or that or saw this
9 and that, but this directly, because I'm interested in that too, I simply
10 don't know. Perhaps someday there will be proceedings regarding this.
11 JUDGE ORIE: When you're saying, members of the civilian
12 structures, who do you have in mind, or who were perhaps talked about as
13 members of the civilian structures being there at the time?
14 A. It's not that people were talking, but I'm just assuming that in
15 those moments, it is only the civilian structures of government that can
16 decide and the army and the SUP. There is nobody else. That's why I'm
17 saying it's either the civilian structures or the army or the MUP. Who
18 else could it have been? It's not that someone can come in as a private
19 individual and do that kind of thing. So it's either in the name of the
20 army or of the civilian authorities or of the SUP. That is something
21 I never managed to find out.
22 The only truth I know is Momir, Penzijica. He's the only one who
23 was there, he knows who he operated with, and I really don't know
24 anything about that. I really wouldn't talk about that because I could
25 only engage in guesswork and that wouldn't be right.
1 JUDGE ORIE: And this Momir, Penzijica, who was that exactly?
2 A. Momir Nikolic, nicknamed Penzijica, that's what we call him. We
3 often forget his real name. The deputy commander of the brigade, the
4 deputy chief of security of the brigade actually, and he has been
5 convicted and he said everything he had to say.
6 JUDGE ORIE: But you did not talk to him in person?
7 A. No, no, I had no opportunity to do that. Before Srebrenica, a
8 month before that, I think I did not see him, and I never saw him
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. One more question. You said you didn't
11 see General Mladic addressing the crowd by megaphone. Did you hear
12 anything? Because the use of a megaphone may carry quite a distance.
13 A. Well, I wasn't interested. To tell you the truth, I wasn't even
14 paying attention. I don't remember. My memory doesn't tell me anything.
15 This really has not remained in my memory. About 50 metres behind that
16 building or so, that's where we were, by some other houses so why would
17 I say anything else? I can only say what is true, and that is that I
18 don't know.
19 JUDGE ORIE: I have no further questions. Ms. Hasan, any further
20 questions for the witness?
21 MS. HASAN: Yes, just a few, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please proceed.
23 Further Cross-examination by Ms. Hasan:
24 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, do you realise that Ms. Salihovic provided her
25 statement on the 26th of July, 1995, shortly after these events?
1 A. I don't know.
2 Q. Yes. And it was provided to the -- to the MUP?
3 A. Don't know. I really don't know. This is the first time I see
4 this here. I heard from my old father that that's what she said, and if
5 you look at the statement, you can probably see the date and everything.
6 But I really did not know about any of this.
7 Q. Is it fair to say that Momir is a fairly common name in that
9 A. Not in our area, but here she says her neighbour Momir and I.
10 Momir, Penzijica, in Bratunac, well, he's two kilometres towards Kravica,
11 Bjelovac -- actually Biljaca, where she is, is seven kilometres along the
12 Drina River, so that is ten kilometres between Momir's house and his --
13 and her house. And mine, sort of. So Momir, Penzijica, cannot be her
14 neighbour and mine. And then there are Muslims there, and then Kovacevic
15 and Stojanovic, my family. So her neighbour, Momir? No way. This can
16 only relate to Momir, Penzijica, as far as I can see, but to say that he
17 is her neighbour or mine, that would not be right. It's a lot,
18 ten kilometres. That's not a neighbour, a person who lives
19 ten kilometres away. And then also Momir was a high school teacher. If
20 she went to the high school in Bratunac where Momir taught, then she
21 could have known him as a teacher from there. So, really, this linking
22 of me and Momir, saying that we are neighbours, it just isn't right.
23 Q. Well, sir, for one thing, she does not mention Momir's last name,
24 nor does she mention his nickname Penzijica. This is something you have
25 told us. You have created this link. And we know that Momir Nikolic has
1 admitted about being involved in the separation of able-bodied men in
2 Potocari, and Ms. Salihovic here points out that a Momir was there with
3 you. So it is you today who draws the link between you and Momir and, in
4 fact, it's because you were there with Momir Nikolic separating these
5 men. Is that not the case?
6 A. It's just as if you'd say that you and I were in Potocari. It
7 would be equally true. So this has nothing to do with it. She is
8 speaking about Momir and the only Momir I know as Momir is that one. I
9 don't know anyone else. I did not have a single soldier by the name of
10 Momir. Also, in my village, in all of Loznica, that is several hamlets,
11 I don't think there is a single Momir to this day. I really don't know
12 who this Momir could be. The only Momir I know is that one and not a
13 single other one.
14 MS. HASAN: Thank you. I have nothing further.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Ms. Hasan. Have the questions by the
16 Bench triggered any need for further questions, Mr. Stojanovic?
17 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour, thank you.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Mr. Kovacevic, this concludes your testimony
19 in this court. I'd like to thank you very much for coming to The Hague
20 and for having answered the questions that were put to you, put to you by
21 the parties and put to you by the Bench. I wish you a safe return home
22 again. And you may follow the usher.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 [The witness withdrew]
25 JUDGE ORIE: Could I first ask the parties whether they have any
1 matters to raise?
2 MS. HASAN: Yes, Your Honour. These were sent by e-mail. Just
3 to put them on the record, it relates to MFI D553. The Prosecution has
4 discussed the tendering of a still image from the video from which
5 excerpts MFI D553 were taken and have agreed, as far as I understand,
6 about the tendering of still image from 06 seconds, at 06 seconds of the
7 full video which is -- the still image has been uploaded under
8 65 ter 31013.
9 Now, the parties as I understand, agree that Sedrenik appears in
10 the foreground and that the ridge of -- I'm going to mispronounce this,
11 Spicasta Stijena is also visible in the image. So basically the
12 Prosecution is seeking to admit 65 ter 31013 and understands that there
13 is no objection to that, and also does not object to the admission of
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stojanovic?
16 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] That's right, Your Honour. That
17 has been agreed. So if you just allow me one more sentence now that I'm
18 on my feet. D248, according to the information I have, has remained
19 pending and I would like to inform the Trial Chamber, I'd like it to be
20 on the record, that after we discussed this with the Prosecution, we are
21 prepared to inform the Trial Chamber that we give up on tendering this
22 document, D248.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar, D248 is vacated. D553 is admitted
24 into evidence. And would you please assign a number to the still of D553
25 which is uploaded under number 31013.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Document 31013 receives number D595,
2 Your Honours.
3 JUDGE ORIE: D559 is admitted -- I misspoke, D595 is admitted
4 into evidence. Any further matter?
5 MS. HASAN: Yes, Your Honour, just to inform the Chamber that we
6 confirm that the protective measures for Witness GRM277 are to be the
7 same as those provided in the Kunarac case and that's pseudonym and face
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. They continue to apply.
10 MS. HASAN: And then in relation to GRM311, the Prosecution has
11 reviewed the testimony of that witness in the D Milosevic case and has
12 decided that it will not make any further submissions in that regard.
13 And it won't be tendering additional portions of that.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you for that information.
15 This may overlap, I'm not quite certain about that, with a matter
16 I would raise later.
17 Could I first deal with the following matter. It's about
18 disclosure. On the 15th of July of this year, the Prosecution has
19 expressed concerns about the Defence not being able to meet its
20 disclosure obligation pursuant to the agreement between the parties. The
21 agreement of the 15th of May sets out, inter alia, that the Defence
22 agrees to disclose witness statements which have not already been
23 disclosed pursuant to the agreement as soon as practicable, and in any
24 case no later than the 15th of August. The Prosecution suggested that
25 the Chamber requests a detailed report from the Defence as to the status
1 of disclosure and weekly reports from the Defence until the disclosure is
2 complete. The Chamber is not inclined to follow the proposal by the
3 Prosecution but strongly urges the Defence to inform the Prosecution and
4 the Chamber, without delay, if there is a problem meeting the deadline
5 agreed on by the parties.
6 I would like to briefly move into private session.
7 [Private session]
11 Page 24639 redacted. Private session.
8 [Open session]
9 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
11 I have a few matters in relation to the testimony of
12 Luka Dragicevic, which we heard on the 8th and the 9th of July. On the
13 9th of July, during the cross-examination of Luka Dragicevic, the
14 Prosecution relied upon P6648, which is a Serbian State Security Service
15 note dated the 2nd of November, 1992. The Prosecution tendered the
16 document under seal. The Defence objected, as it was a statement of a
17 third-party witness not present in court to attest to it. The Chamber
18 made a remark that there was a distinction between different kinds of
19 statements and the attestation of a statement by a third-party witness
20 should occur if that statement has been taken for the purposes of
21 proceedings before the Tribunal. The Chamber then asked the Defence if
22 the Judges had previously stated otherwise during the Prosecution case,
23 and if so, when. The Defence sought time to review the trial transcript
24 and refer to the Chamber. The Chamber is seeking a follow-up on this
25 issue with the Defence, Mr. Lukic.
1 MR. IVETIC: Your Honours, I believe we gave a transcript
2 reference in court that day. I dealt with the witness and I believe
3 there was a transcript reference to a protected witness - we are in open
4 session - and I believe that reference is given in court following the
5 break, following one of the breaks in the proceedings.
6 JUDGE ORIE: We will check whether that is a -- I have a vague
7 recollection that we looked at that and that the situation was quite
8 different but I'm not sure about it. So therefore we will verify it and
9 if the situation is indeed very different, we will let you know through
10 an informal communication and in that case would invite you again to give
11 further references.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ivetic, do you have any recollection exactly,
14 apart from that it was after the break, but any page, any date, any line,
15 so that we can perhaps check it even during the break and -- if you would
16 try, then --
17 MR. IVETIC: I'm trying to retrace our steps on the transcript,
18 if I can. I can't remember the exact -- actually, I do now remember the
19 name of the witness.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Okay, we'll have a look at it during the break, if
21 you do the same, then --
22 MR. IVETIC: Okay.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Then I move on.
24 On the 9th of July, during the cross-examination of
25 Luka Dragicevic, the Prosecution relied upon the following exhibits:
1 P6649, which was a criminal report dated the 26th of October, 1992;
2 P6650, a receipt dated the 28th of September, 1992, for weapons received
3 by Milan Lukic from the VRS Visegrad command; and lastly, P6651, which
4 was a certificate issued by the 1st Visegrad Infantry Brigade. P6649 was
5 tendered by the Prosecution under seal. All three of these exhibits were
6 MFI'd pending provision of provenance information by the Prosecution, and
7 the Chamber would like to receive that provenance information. If you do
8 not have it immediately available, we would hear from you after the
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE ORIE: We will take the break first. There are a few
12 matters the parties have to sort out during that break. The Chamber will
13 then give the guidance it announced and we also may spend a word on --
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ivetic or Mr. Lukic, my colleague draws my
16 attention to the fact that when I read the issue about the disclosure,
17 report on disclosure, which we were inclined not to do but then urged the
18 Defence to inform the Prosecution, the Chamber, without delay, if there
19 would be a problem meeting the deadline agreed on by the parties, that
20 you were on your feet and I may have missed that. I don't know if you
21 want to add anything or make any submissions in that respect.
22 MR. LUKIC: I think that from that moment the situation changed
23 drastically. We started actually to send the statements. I was not
24 aware that our case manager is not forwarding the statements to the
25 Prosecution. So I think that the situation changed, and I don't see any
1 major problems in meeting our deadline by the 15th of August.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. If that would change in any way, then we
3 would like to be informed immediately and you should give notice to the
4 Defence -- to the Prosecution as well.
5 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Having dealt with all that, we take a break first,
7 and we will resume at 10 minutes to 11.00, then hear a few matters from
8 the parties, and the Chamber will issue the guidance and will also say
9 something about the restart after the recess.
10 We take a break.
11 --- Recess taken at 10.28 a.m.
12 --- On resuming at 10.54 a.m.
13 JUDGE ORIE: There were a few leftovers from before the break.
14 Mr. Ivetic, could you -- did you find the reference to where you
15 responded to the issue that was raised about admissibility of statements
16 taken by third parties, not for Tribunal purposes, and their
18 MR. IVETIC: Yes, Your Honour. The discussion was at transcript
19 page 23 --
20 JUDGE ORIE: If you give me one second, then I'll try to
21 immediately look at it. Was that the 9th of July or was it --
22 MR. IVETIC: That's correct, 9th of July.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Let's have a look. 9th of July. Yes.
24 MR. IVETIC: Transcript page 23752.
25 JUDGE ORIE: One second, 752. I'm with you on 752.
1 MR. IVETIC: And therein, I talked about a statement taken by the
2 Bosnian AID, 1D1370, that was discussed at transcript pages 18.000 --
3 JUDGE ORIE: One second, let me just first find your reference.
4 Line 5, I hear.
5 "Just while we are waiting, Your Honours, I can direct Your
6 Honours to transcript page 18652 through 18654." Yes, I have a vague
7 recollection that we looked at it at the time but let's do it again at
8 this very moment.
9 MR. IVETIC: Okay. And then there's --
10 JUDGE ORIE: It was 18 -- and that's -- let's have a look. Let
11 me see what date that is, 18652. 652 that should be the 1st of November.
12 Yes. Yes. I'm at 18652. And where, then, exactly we said because
13 it's -- could you assist us, Mr. Ivetic, what exactly was said there
14 which would support --
15 MR. IVETIC: THE admission of the AID statement 1D1370 was
17 JUDGE ORIE: Was denied. And for what reason exactly and where
18 do we find that?
19 Mr. Shin said:
20 "This is not the proper way of introducing a witness,
21 particularly one that the Defence intends to call as Mr. Lukic
23 Then I asked Mr. Lukic to respond specifically on it, and then
24 there was an issue about relevance.
25 And then I said:
1 "If you want to call that person as a witness, then you are, of
2 course, free to do so, if there will be a Defence case, Mr. Lukic."
3 And we denied the admission, but where do I read, because that
4 was the crucial point, where do I read that it was because it was a
5 statement taken by a third party. Because here there is certainly a --
6 I remember that we looked at it at the time --
7 MR. LUKIC: Yes, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: -- upon you giving this reference.
9 MR. LUKIC: We did, and then we had a further discussion at
10 transcript page 23765 on the matter, again on the 9th of July, where we
11 went through this. And you had asked if it's different where a witness
12 is on the Defence witness list, and I indicated that at the time that the
13 admission of that document was denied, there was no Defence witness list
14 in existence.
15 JUDGE ORIE: No, but it was announced that he would be called as
16 a Defence witness --
17 MR. IVETIC: Correct.
18 JUDGE ORIE: -- so even if there is no formal list.
19 But where do I see, because that was the issue, that just because
20 it was a statement taken by a third party, that that would make that
21 statement inadmissible? Because that is the issue that was your claim.
22 MR. IVETIC: That was my objection, and you asked for one
23 reference and we gave this reference which we believe, that's how we
24 understood the denial of admission to be based upon the fact that it's a
25 statement of an out-of-court declarant that we [overlapping speakers] --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Well, under those very specific circumstances.
2 Isn't it true that we have admitted many, many statements which were
3 taken out of court by third parties, not taken for the purposes of this
4 Tribunal, and that if there was not such a -- such a complicating factor,
5 that we usually just admit it.
6 MR. IVETIC: Your Honours, that's not my recollection. It's not
7 the recollection of my colleagues as well.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Then we -- I do then understand that -- and
9 did I -- you said it was again discussed at --
10 MR. IVETIC: 23765, where you raised the issue of it being a
11 Defence witness and we talked about the same things that we just talked
12 about now. So we talked about it twice on the 9th of July, this
13 particular transcript selection from the 1st of November.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, let me just reread it. I think it starts at
15 23765 almost at the bottom.
16 MR. IVETIC: That's correct.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Paragraph -- page -- line 18. So then in all
18 clarity, what the Chamber would like to receive from you is a reference
19 in which clearly and, if not exclusively, then at least mainly on the
20 basis that a statement was taken not for Tribunal -- that a statement was
21 taken by a third party although not for Tribunal purposes, that that in
22 itself was a reason to deny admission. I think that's what the Chamber
23 is seeking at this moment. If you could find one, we would appreciate if
24 would you bring it to our attention.
25 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour. I will endeavour to comply.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Yes.
2 Then what else do we have? I think the provenance of 6649, 6650,
3 and 6651 were -- and these numbers relate to P exhibits that we are --
4 still would like receive that from the Prosecution.
5 Mr. Weber.
6 MR. WEBER: Good morning, Your Honours. With respect to P6649,
7 that's the official criminal report from the Uzice SUP regarding the
8 detention of Milan Lukic dated 28 October 1992. The Prosecution received
9 that document from the Republic of Serbia pursuant to RFA SRB 1696 which
10 requested the criminal case file from the district court of Uzice against
11 those same proceedings against Milan Lukic for the possession of illegal
12 arms in October 1992.
13 According to these materials, the charges were dismissed on
14 4 November 1992.
15 With respect to the P6650, these were two certificates that were
16 issued by the Visegrad command of the VRS confirming the issuance of
17 weapons and communication radio to Milan Lukic.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could you please slow
19 down? Thank you.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We noticed that it would be very difficult for
21 the interpreters.
22 Mr. Weber.
23 MR. WEBER: Thank you to everyone. This was also received
24 pursuant to RFA SRB 1696, so the same criminal case file. P6651 are the
25 certificates issued by the 1st Visegrad Infantry Brigade related to
1 Milan Lukic's and Dragan Dragicevic's membership in the brigade. The ERN
2 that was tendered for this document is 04224603. With respect to this
3 document we got from an individual source, the document also is identical
4 to ERNs 06446129 and 06446130 in the Prosecution's possession, which also
5 originate from the criminal case file related to the same criminal
6 proceedings from the Uzice court. We received a copy of the same
7 versions of these certificates pursuant to RFA SRB 1696.
8 With respect to the document P6651, it was previously admitted as
9 Exhibit P314 on 26 March 2009 in the case of Prosecutor versus Lukic.
10 This can be found at transcript page 6375 of the Lukic proceedings.
11 That's the information available to the Prosecution.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Do the objections stand against admission? I think
13 it was not objections but it was just pending further information about
15 MR. IVETIC: That's my recollection as well, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ORIE: And now having received that information, is there
17 any objection?
18 MR. IVETIC: No.
19 JUDGE ORIE: P6649, P6650, and P6651, which were marked for
20 identification, are hereby admitted into evidence.
21 I think we have dealt with all the leftovers from before the
22 break. Any other matter to be raised by the parties?
23 Then I would finally give the guidance the Chamber announced.
24 The Chamber has carefully considered the use of court time from
25 the beginning of the Defence case until this point in the proceeding and
1 notes that in several respects the parties should improve. The Chamber
2 recalls the frequent guidance it gave during the Prosecution's case in
3 chief to which it now adds the following guidance. At the outset, the
4 Chamber notes its responsibility for ensuring the rights of the accused
5 as set forth in the Statute but emphasises that this duty must be
6 exercised with the -- and at the same time the Chamber should meet its
7 obligation to ensure an expeditious trial.
8 To this end, the Chamber notes with concern that many court hours
9 have been spent adducing evidence of questionable relevance, much of
10 which appears at this moment to also have questionable probative value.
11 Many Defence witnesses have given a great deal of evidence about matters
12 that neither appear to form part of any recognisable defence, nor relate
13 in any material way to the crimes alleged in the indictment.
14 Additionally, during cross-examination, it has often come to light that
15 the source of a witness's knowledge about a particular incident merely
16 stems from media reports or from the Karadzic Defence. The Chamber also
17 notes that often these witnesses make sweeping generalisations in their
18 statements which then trigger the Prosecution to spend a great amount of
19 time in cross-examination attempting to show what is readily apparent
20 from the start; that is, that sweeping generalisations have little, if
21 any, probative value.
22 Conversely, relevant content has sometimes been removed from
23 witness statements, apparently triggering the Prosecution's need to
24 explore these subjects as well as the reasons for removing them, all of
25 which needlessly uses a great deal of valuable court time.
1 Moreover, the Chamber notes the unfortunate tendency of both
2 parties to adduce evidence that is unnecessarily repetitious or that
3 relates to matters that are not in dispute in the first place. For
4 example, the Chamber has now heard several witnesses give evidence
5 concerning the strength and positions of ABiH units, but when these
6 matters are explored by the Chamber in court, it discovers that the
7 parties are more or less in agreement about such facts and there was
8 never a reason to spend court time adducing the evidence to begin with.
9 Lastly, the Chamber notes the frequency with which the Defence
10 has been ill prepared to present evidence in the form of witness
11 statements. There have been numerous occasions in which different
12 versions of a witness statement have been mixed up. The statement
13 tendered in the Rule 92 ter motion has turned out to be different from
14 the version offered in court, the wrong documents have been uploaded into
15 e-court, and documents have been misidentified in Defence Exhibit lists.
16 More significantly, the Chamber notes with serious concern that witnesses
17 have testified about alarming statement-taking practices, such as being
18 pressured to sign statements which they knew to contain errors, or
19 signing statements that they have not read. A great deal of court time
20 has been used trying to clarify and correct such issues as, for example,
21 those encountered with the statements of Witnesses Deronjic, Batinic, and
23 For the reasons discussed, and in keeping with its responsibility
24 to conduct an efficient and expeditious trial, the Chamber finds it
25 necessary to issue the following guidance to the parties which the
1 Chamber expects to be followed closely for the remainder of the trial.
2 First, the parties are expected to limit the production of
3 evidence to matters that are relevant and start by adducing evidence
4 which is most relevant. The Chamber reminds the parties that relevant
5 evidence has been defined by the Appeals Chamber as evidence relating to
6 a material issue and that the material issues of a case are to be found
7 in the indictment. Inasmuch as the Defence finds it's preferable to use
8 witness statements from other trials, it is expected to remove irrelevant
9 material from such statements before they are tendered in this case.
10 Similarly, the Prosecution is expected to not waste court time
11 cross-examining witnesses on matters of questionable relevance.
12 Second, the Chamber expects each party to pay close attention to
13 the probative value of the evidence it adduces or seeks to counter. In
14 short, this means that the Defence should avoid adducing evidence,
15 including in written statements, for which there is no factual basis or
16 which could be characterised as a sweeping generalisation.
17 Similarly, the Prosecution should carefully consider how much
18 time, if any, is needed to test such unsubstantiated evidence on
19 cross-examination. The Chamber draws the attention of the parties to its
20 3rd of July, 2012, decision on the admission of exhibits tendered through
21 Witness Harland, in which the Chamber stated that, absent corroborating
22 evidence, weight will not be given to the unsupported, unsourced opinion
23 of a witness.
24 Third, the Chamber expects the parties to carefully consider the
25 necessity of adducing repetitious or background evidence. The Chamber
1 reminds the Defence that should it wish to offer evidence that is, for
2 example, cumulative in nature, or which relates to the historical,
3 political, or military background of the case, it should seek to do so
4 pursuant to Rule 92 bis, a Rule created precisely for the purpose of
5 expediting complex trials by eliminating the need to use court time for
6 adducing such evidence.
7 The Prosecution is similarly urged to carefully consider what, if
8 any, cross-examination is needed when presented with such background
10 Fourth, the Chamber expects the parties to work together to avoid
11 adducing evidence about matters which are not in dispute. This cannot be
12 over-emphasised. There should be a question asked by each party before
13 any statement is tendered or any question is put to a witness: Does this
14 concern a matter that is in dispute? If there is any doubt about the
15 answer to this question for either party, the parties should work
16 together on the matter rather than wasting valuable court time arguing
17 about matters for which no argument is needed.
18 Fifth, the Chamber expects the Defence to be significantly more
19 diligent in the preparation and presentation of its case, especially with
20 respect to the manner in which it obtains, corrects, and uses witness
21 statements. To this end, the Chamber invites the Defence to seriously
22 consider whether presenting its witnesses viva voce might be more
23 conducive to an expeditious trial by avoiding arduous examinations
24 concerning witness statements.
25 In conclusion, the Chamber expects the parties to take seriously
1 the guidance just delivered and make the changes necessary to follow it
2 strictly. Otherwise, the Chamber will find itself in a position where it
3 has to take action, such as denying the admission of evidence, including
4 92 ter statements, requiring 92 ter witnesses to testify viva voce, and
5 terminating examinations of -- or cross-examinations due to lack of
6 relevance or probative value.
7 The Chamber now addresses the Defence in particular.
8 The Chamber has been reluctant to consider the application of
9 Rule 46 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence until this week, when the
10 Chamber has again heard evidence of serious problems with the
11 statement-taking practices of the Defence team.
12 Should such questionable practices continue, the Chamber will be
13 compelled to carefully consider whether and to what extent action might
14 be necessary under Rule 46.
15 And this concludes the guidance of the Chamber.
16 The only matter now remaining is to adjourn. If the Chamber
17 looks at the court calendar as it was issued until now, it seems that we
18 would restart on the 26th of August, which is a Tuesday. The Chamber is
19 not aware of any reason why we would not start on Monday, the
20 25th of August. Therefore, the parties should be prepared and the
21 Chamber adjourns -- will adjourn until the 25th of August. If we have
22 overlooked any reason which has caused the court calendar to tell us that
23 it would be the 26th, then we will let you know as soon as possible.
24 I do understand that Mr. Mladic would likely briefly consult, and
25 since we are about to adjourn for the summer recess, you have an
1 opportunity, if -- but at inaudible volume. At least for us inaudible.
2 [Defence counsel and Accused confer]
3 JUDGE ORIE: Is there anything resulting from the consultations
4 with Mr. Mladic?
5 MR. LUKIC: I don't think that's new topic. Mr. Mladic is
6 complaining that he cannot continue sitting five days a week but it's
7 really too tiresome for him.
8 JUDGE ORIE: That matter is pending and at this moment we are
9 digesting the newest medical reports. And the Chamber will certainly
10 consider whether those reports should have any consequences for the court
11 schedule. So it's not that we are not continually thinking about it and
12 it's not that we are not evaluating the newest report. One of the
13 problems being that some of them were drafted in a language not everyone
14 understands in this courtroom.
15 Then we will adjourn and I wish everyone, although the Chamber is
16 fully aware that circumstances are not the same for everyone, but I wish
17 everyone a good time to have sufficient time to rest and to recover from
18 the hard work everyone is doing in this courtroom, no one excluded.
19 We adjourn and we will resume Monday, the 25th of August, 9.30 in
20 the morning, courtroom -- most likely Courtroom I, but if any other
21 courtroom, to be announced.
22 We stand adjourned.
23 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 11.23 a.m.,
24 to be reconvened on Monday, the 25th day of August,
25 2014, at 9.30 a.m.