1 Monday, 4 September 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. Sir, would you be kind enough to
7 take the card and read aloud the affirmation.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
9 the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
10 WITNESS: NELE RELJIC
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down. While he makes
13 himself comfortable, may we acknowledge your return, Mr. Vasic, and we are
14 delighted you've been able to rejoin us. You're looking so trim and fit.
15 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. Thank you
16 for the concern that you and my learned friends from the Prosecution and
17 the Defence expressed during my stay at the hospital. I am here now and
18 Mr. Domazet and I will do our best to conclude as efficiently and as
19 speedily as possible our part of the proceedings. We have already
20 considered some questions, witness list and other issues, and I can inform
21 you that we will reduce both the amount of hours and the number of
22 witnesses. This witness will be taken by Mr. Domazet.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, that's good news but we will leave it
24 for a few days, toward the end of this week, just to give you time to
25 settle in and to have some discussions with your fellow Defence counsel
1 before we go to that seriously but I'm sure that both your client and Mr.
2 Domazet rejoice with us at your return.
3 Mr. Weiner?
4 MR. WEINER: Yes, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE PARKER: It was my mistake, Mr. Weiner, born out of
6 confusion and habit. We saw so much of the Prosecution I can't believe
7 they've finished.
8 Mr. Domazet, my apologies.
9 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you, Your Honours.
10 Examination by Mr. Domazet:
11 Q. Good afternoon to all in the courtroom. Good afternoon, Mr.
12 Reljic. I will be leading the examination in chief on behalf of the
13 Defence team of Mr. Mrksic. And right at the outset I would like to ask
14 you to always pause before answering my questions. You can, if you wish,
15 follow on the screen and as soon as you see that the interpreters have
16 completed interpreting the question, you can proceed with your answer.
17 Would you please at the beginning give us your personal details,
18 dates of birth, place of birth, where you lived and so on.
19 A. I was born on the 17th of August 1948 in Drenova, Prijepolje
20 municipality, Republic of Serbia. I completed secondary military school
21 in Rijeka, and Titograd or Podgorica, as it is now known. Initially, I
22 was a sergeant and as such, I was assigned to the Belgrade garrison in
23 1966. In 1976, after completing certain training, which was called course
24 for officers and non-commissioned officers in driving automobiles and
25 motorcycles, I was assigned to the Guards Brigade, to the special auto
1 company of the Guards Brigade. Its main task was to provide security and
2 to escort the president of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
3 Josip Broz Tito. We were assigned to take care of all the driving needs
4 of the president. I remained there throughout my service.
5 Q. Very well. So you were in the unit which provided security and
6 escort to the then president of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito. I assume
7 that after his death, you remained in that unit, correct?
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. Did your unit have the same tasks following Tito's death when new
10 presidents came to power?
11 A. Yes. The unit continued implementing the same tasks, but in this
12 case, we were assigned to the president of the Presidency of the SFRY. We
13 also implemented these tasks when various guests arrived. Perhaps I
14 omitted to mention in my previous answer that during Tito's life, we also
15 escorted, accompanied and secured various guests, heads of state that came
16 to visit Tito in Yugoslavia. So after Tito's death we continued
17 performing the same type of tasks.
18 Q. All right. You performed these tasks over a number of years. I'm
19 now interested specifically in 1991. That year, just before the events in
20 Vukovar, which unit were you assigned to and what was your unit doing at
21 the time?
22 A. Just before the Vukovar events, my unit existed and worked under
23 normal circumstances. We performed the tasks that I have already
24 described. It is generally known that as the events in the then
25 Yugoslavia unfolded, the job that we performed was reduced in scope
1 because the number of foreign statesmen visiting Yugoslavia decreased.
2 Q. Yes. I understood that fully. However, you remained in that unit
3 and in 1991 you were serving in that unit, correct?
4 A. Yes, correct.
5 Q. Do you remember when the Guards Motorised Brigade or one of its
6 parts went to the Vukovar area?
7 A. Yes. I remember that when the Guards Brigade went to the Vukovar
8 area. Perhaps I don't have the exact date because it was quite a long
9 time ago. However, I remember well when they went.
10 Q. Were you personally deployed then with the Guards Brigade or did
11 you have some other tasks, perhaps?
12 A. I, or rather, my unit did not go to the Vukovar area. Rather, we
13 remained in the barracks. My entire unit was on active duty in the
14 barracks under the so-called barracks conditions. That means that all of
15 us were in the barracks available at all times to the command, 24 hours a
17 Q. Mr. Reljic, when you say that you were available 24 hours a day,
18 does this mean that all of you, including yourself personally, stayed in
19 the barracks day and night, 24 hours a day, actively serving?
20 A. Yes, that's correct. We were there day and night. Those who were
21 not on duty were able to rest during the night. All of this means that we
22 slept in the barracks.
23 Q. Thank you. Who was your commander at the time, or rather the
24 commander of the entire Guards Brigade?
25 A. At that time, my commander, the commander of the entire Guards
1 Brigade, was Colonel Mile Mrksic.
2 Q. Based on your recollections, did he go to the Vukovar area with
3 the Guards Brigade when it was deployed?
4 A. Yes. As far as I can remember, that's how it was, and it is
5 generally specified by the military rules that once the unit sets off
6 somewhere, the commander goes with it.
7 Q. During the events in Vukovar, did your commander, Colonel Mrksic,
8 come to Belgrade? Do you remember anything about it?
9 A. Yes, I remember that. When he came to Belgrade, during his stay
10 there, I was his driver. That is to say, I would pick him up and drive
11 him around Belgrade.
12 Q. I'm going to ask you that first. Do you remember the reasons for
13 his trips to Belgrade? Why did Colonel Mrksic come to Belgrade in those
15 A. I can suppose why Colonel Mrksic used to come. It's not that I'm
16 assuming this. I can claim this with full certainty. Because on the
17 following day, Colonel Mrksic and other commanders attended a meeting at
18 the then Federal Secretariat for National Defence, headed by the federal
19 secretary for Defence.
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Reljic. You said that it was on the following day
21 that they were received. What does this mean?
22 A. Well, it means this: I told you that I picked up Colonel Mrksic
23 and that I drove him, but that's not exactly how it was. I actually drove
24 him on the following day, if I can put it that way. However, on the
25 previous day, I completed a driving assignment for Colonel Mrksic.
1 Q. You mean the day before the reception at the office of the federal
2 secretary, correct?
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. You can now give us more details. How did this come about? What
5 exactly did you do and who told you to do that?
6 A. This is how it was. The day before the reception held by the
7 federal secretary, in the evening hours, the phone rang, and I answered.
8 This was in the premises or, rather, in our duty room. Colonel Mrksic
9 told me, "Nele, would you please go with a car to JNA boulevard?" I don't
10 remember the number of the house. The JNA boulevard is the longest street
11 in Belgrade. He gave me the house number. And he asked me to go look for
12 his sister Nada, who was staying at that address, and to drive her back to
13 his apartment. As far as I can remember, that was in the evening hours.
14 During those days, all of us, Serbs and Yugoslavs, regardless of
15 whether we were involved in politics or not, invariably watched the main
16 news programme on television and closely followed all events, including
17 war events in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. That was typical
18 for that period of time, and I remember this well. The main TV news
19 programme called Dnevnik would normally last half an hour but sometimes,
20 and rather frequently, it would last much longer, an hour to two hours, in
21 view of numerous news reports.
22 Q. So based on what you remember, sometime on that day, as you were
23 watching the news programme, you received this order to go to this
24 address. Do you remember what this place was called where you went to
25 fetch the sister?
1 A. Since this is a very long street, JNA boulevard, which still is
2 known under that name even near Avalski Put, a hill near Belgrade, I tried
3 to determine where that house number is located, and this is how I learned
4 that this house is right across a well-known restaurant at the time called
5 Zupa, and near a post office. So I got into the car and went there.
6 Q. Did you locate the sister of Colonel Mrksic at that address?
7 A. Yes, I did. I found her there. I remember that evening. It was
8 already dark. I told you that that street is very long, and the road is
9 quite dangerous, has many curves. As I was driving I saw the house number
10 and it was right in the middle of a curve, curving right. As I told you,
11 that road is very dangerous and it doesn't have a shoulder where one can
12 park. It has a very narrow area right next to the road. I was being
13 extremely careful and I parked my car on the right side, on this basically
14 non-existing shoulder, doing my best not to cause a traffic accident.
15 Q. And how did you find the sister?
16 A. Once I found the house with the right number, I parked the car,
17 and as I was leaving the car, a woman emerged from a bungalow-type house.
18 If I may say so, I was surprised by the appearance of that woman. In my
19 view, she was very distressed. She was almost crying and screaming, and
20 she dashed towards me saying, "Mile, Mile." I realised that she thought
21 that I was Mile or perhaps she thought that Mile had come with me. So I
22 told her, "Madam, please settle down. I will take you now to your brother
24 Q. Did she have any belongings to take with her? And did you set out
25 towards the Mrksic residence?
1 A. Yes. She had two bags with her, full of things, and as I came
2 closer to her, intending to help her carry the bags, I realised that she
3 had obviously suffered a lot and that she was under severe stress. She
4 was, if I may say so, quite disheveled in her appearance, and her
5 clothing, which made me think that she had experienced some very unusual
7 Q. As you were driving towards the Mrksic residence, did you talk to
8 her about anything or not?
9 A. I mostly didn't talk to her so as not to irritate her. When she
10 kept asking me, "Where is Mile, where is Mile?" I would simply tell
11 her, "Madam, please calm down, we are on our way to your brother's and we
12 will get there in about ten minutes or so."
13 Q. And what happened then?
14 A. Of course, since I knew where Colonel Mrksic lived, I went there,
15 parked the car and took the bags from the lady, and asked her to come with
16 me. And this is what she did.
17 Q. Did you take her things and accompany her to the Mrksic apartment
18 and then can you please describe what happened?
19 A. Of course. I took her things and already in the corridor
20 upstairs, you could hear, because Mile knew she was coming, he opened the
21 door and I brought in the things to the apartment and Madam Nada also
22 entered Colonel Mrksic's apartment.
23 Q. And did you stay in this apartment or not for sometime?
24 A. Yes. I stayed in the apartment for a short amount of time with
25 Colonel Mrksic.
1 Q. And can you describe how this happened, any initiative and what
2 you did, what you discussed?
3 A. Well, it was like this: My unit, let me say, was always a highly
4 professional unit, which, amongst other tasks, also carried out driving
5 assignments. So whenever we had that kind of situation, we would do the
6 assignment, of course, then we would say hello or good-bye and then return
7 to the unit. Then, of course, Colonel Mrksic, Mile, insisted on such
8 occasion, and he said, "Nele, please sit down. And he said, "Nele, please
9 sit down. Would you like to have a drink or something to refresh
10 yourself?" And I sat down and I think that I had a couple of sips of wine
11 or a glass -- a couple of sips, I think, as I was sitting.
12 Q. You described earlier your first meeting with Mile Mrksic's sister
13 and what your impression was. You probably saw their encounter and can
14 you please tell us how that was?
15 A. The encounter in those circumstances was not very emotional, I can
16 say, and as a person, I was bothered. I wanted to find out what it was
17 that happened to Madam Nada, what was going on, because already when I met
18 her she had gone to the bathroom with Mile's wife, and I asked, "What is
19 it with Nada? What's the matter with her? What was it that happened to
20 her?" Colonel Mrksic told me that -- I mean, what can I do when she went
21 over to the other side? It was all clear to me, and I didn't ask anything
22 else. But still I was curious why that person was in that state, which is
23 why I asked Mile about it.
24 Q. When you say, "In that state," you mean the first time you saw --
25 you saw her when she reacted nervously, that she behaved the same way when
1 she entered the Mrksic's household. Could you please clarify that a
2 little bit more for us?
3 A. Well, it was a state of, let me say it was a particular kind of
4 state of mind, with a sort of negative emotional charge. That's the state
5 Madam Nada was in, in relation to Mile.
6 Q. When you say "negative emotional charge," what do you mean? Was
7 that some kind of hysterical episode or something like that? Could you
8 please try to explain your impressions a little more of how it was at the
10 A. Just the fact that when I met her for the first time, she was
11 shouting and screaming, "Where is Mile? Why didn't he come to get me?"
12 And this again actually happened or transpired when they met, and it was
13 evident that the sister was in some way dissatisfied with her brother
15 Q. That is what your opinion was based on her general behaviour, is
16 that how we can understand that?
17 A. Yes, that is correct.
18 Q. And you didn't talk with her any more or see her any more during
19 that brief time you spent sitting with Mrksic? Did I understand you
21 A. Yes. That is correct because she went to the bathroom, and
22 probably she needed to do that because of the state she was in.
23 Q. Very well. You said that you didn't stay there for a long time.
24 Can you please tell us how long you actually stayed there and then what
25 you did after that?
1 A. From what I can recall, I stayed there maybe for ten or 15 minutes
2 at the most. That's how long I stayed in Colonel Mrksic's apartment.
3 Q. And where did you go from there?
4 A. Before I left, before we said good-bye, Mile Mrksic told me that,
5 he told me the following: "Nele, come to see me tomorrow at such and such
6 a time, and you're going to drive me." For me, the most important thing
7 was to know the time that I was to pick him up. I remembered that and I
8 wrote it down. We said our good-byes and I went to the unit.
9 Q. And the next day, did you come as agreed the day before? Did you
10 come to collect him?
11 A. Yes, I came the next day to pick him up at the agreed-upon time,
12 and I took Mile to the Guards Brigade command.
13 Q. When you say, "At the time agreed the day before," you mean the
14 time that he set or do you remember when that was?
15 A. The time that he said I should get there and I'm sure that that's
16 how it was. I really couldn't be specific and tell you what time it
17 actually was but it was definitely the time that he set. It was sometime
18 in the morning.
19 Q. When you say, "Morning," it could be early morning, late morning.
20 Can you be more specific whether it was early in the morning or --
21 A. Well, I could be almost sure that it was between 9.00 and 10.00 in
22 the morning.
23 Q. And after that, do you remember, after you dropped him off at the
24 barracks, what did you do after that?
25 A. Once again, according to an order by Colonel Mrksic, I took the
1 car to Heliodrom to wait for a helicopter.
2 Q. And who were you supposed to pick up?
3 A. I was supposed to pick up Major Tesic.
4 Q. And did you pick him up?
5 A. Yes. I went there and I waited for the helicopter. Major Tesic
6 came out of the helicopter, and I also brought him to the command. I was
7 closeby and waited because I knew that I would be taking Colonel Mrksic to
8 other places too.
9 Q. And did you take him anywhere else, and where did you take him?
10 A. After I brought Major Tesic there, and after some time, perhaps
11 some 20 minutes or so, Colonel Mrksic and Major Tesic came out and they
12 went and sat in the car and Colonel Mrksic said, "Nele, take us to the
13 Federal Secretariat for National Defence," which is what I did.
14 Q. And did you wait for Colonel Mrksic in your car or did you leave?
15 A. I waited for him because that was his order, to wait for him. So
16 I waited in the car at the building.
17 Q. And which building was that, do you remember?
18 A. I remember very well. It's the A building of the Federal
19 Secretariat for National Defence. The car was parked at the parking,
20 which is between building 1 of the General Staff and building A. That's
21 where the car was, while I waited in a room close to the reception desk of
22 building A.
23 Q. Were there any other drivers there, other senior officers, or were
24 you there by yourself?
25 A. I remember well that there, in that room, there was also General
1 Biorcevic's driver with me and we were waiting there together.
2 Q. And do you remember what happened then?
3 A. After a certain amount of time, Colonel Mrksic came out with Major
4 Tesic and in accordance with their orders, I took them to the Guards hall
5 which is at Topcider. Actually I took them to the restaurant in the
6 Guards hall.
7 Q. Even though it might be clear from your answer, but still I would
8 like to ask you whether this was a military restaurant, whether it
9 belonged to the army?
10 A. Yes. That is correct. It was run by the Dedinje military
11 institution. Actually, that institution was in charge of all the military
12 restaurants and mess halls.
13 Q. Thank you, and it was in the area of Belgrade called Topcider?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And what happened then? Did you stay there also to wait for
16 Colonel Mrksic or did you do something else?
17 A. Yes. I stayed there in the restaurant. The restaurant has a
18 number of sections, number of rooms, so I was in a different room, and at
19 one point, Colonel Mrksic came out and told me that I should take Major
20 Tesic to his apartment. He lived in New Belgrade.
21 Q. So, before this thing that Colonel Mrksic was there for, Major
22 Tesic left that gathering; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, that is correct. Major Tesic was at that gathering for a
24 very short period of time and I assume that he wanted to go and see his
25 family. I drove him to his address in New Belgrade.
1 Q. Do you remember taking him right to his house and do you recall
2 that it was his house or his apartment that you took him to?
3 A. No. I took him close to his apartment, and I have to tell this:
4 There was an incident when the father saw his son at the children's
5 playground where the child was playing, and when he saw that his father
6 was coming, the child ran and hugged him, and, of course, they both hugged
7 each other.
8 Q. If I understood you correctly, so when you said you didn't take
9 Major Tesic to his house, you actually left him at the place where he saw
10 his son or you went all the way to his apartment?
11 A. The drive was finished, as far as Major Tesic was concerned, and,
12 of course, I had to return to the Guards hall in order to wait for Colonel
13 Mrksic, which is what I did. I went back to the Guards hall.
14 Q. Very well. And does that mean that that day, you needed to be
15 wherever Colonel Mrksic needed to be?
16 A. Yes. That day, I was practically inseparable from Colonel Mrksic,
17 because I was driving him around.
18 Q. And do you remember how late you finished with your duties that
20 A. Yes, I do. I remember that there was a formal lunch, and the way
21 it was, it was a formal lunch and a formal dinner, and since it's in my
22 nature, I'm like that, I was there, then I went outside, I walked around
23 and waited in the car or near the car, but Colonel Mrksic came after me
24 and he said, "Nele, did you eat anything?" And I said, "Colonel." And he
25 said, "Nele, you have to go inside." And then he took me by the arm and
1 took me inside and he told the staff there to give this man lunch, meaning
2 me. So I had lunch there and then I continued to wait for the colonel.
3 Q. After all of these duties that Colonel Mrksic had, do you remember
4 where and when you took him after it was all over at the end of that day?
5 A. After all those activities there, I took Colonel Mrksic and
6 another officer further, and I remember that very well because there is a
7 large parking lot in front of the Guards Brigade and there is also a
8 street that is quite steep that goes from there, so when I left in the
9 car, it was already evening. From the other direction, from the top down,
10 down from the hill, a vehicle passed by at quite great speed. It wasn't
11 anything critical but there was a kind of brief encounter there. So I
12 remember it because of that. And in any case, we took some shortcuts from
13 the Guards hall through the barracks and we took a shortcut and came to
14 the brigade command.
15 Q. Very well. And then did you finally take Colonel Mrksic home that
16 evening or did someone else do that?
17 A. When we came to the brigade headquarters, there was a car waiting
18 somewhere close with an officer who entered the Guards hall together with
19 Colonel Mrksic and that officer then came out of the car. I took Colonel
20 Mrksic to his house. I took him to his apartment.
21 Q. And can you tell us what time of day it was or approximately what
22 time it was when you did this?
23 A. I remember it was dark already, it was evening, it was already
25 Q. Very well. And when you left Colonel Mrksic, did he give you any
1 instructions what to do further? Did he ask you to do anything else?
2 A. When I left Colonel Mrksic, he told me, "Nele, be at my place
3 tomorrow morning." And he set the time. And I remember that this was
4 somewhat earlier, so it was perhaps approximately at 7.00, something like
5 that, in the morning.
6 Q. When you say 7.00, do you mean that that was the time he told you
7 to be there at his place?
8 A. Yes, yes. Absolutely. That is the time he asked me to come the
9 following day, in front of his apartment, to be in front of his apartment
10 at 7.00 the following day.
11 Q. And were you there the next morning in front of his apartment?
12 A. Yes, of course. I did come. In any case, when we are doing
13 something like that, we like to make sure and leave some extra time so we
14 are always there earlier than we are supposed to be there.
15 Q. So you believe that you were there shortly before 7.00 and was
16 that when Colonel Mrksic came to the car?
17 A. I waited. The time came. However, Colonel Mrksic did not come
18 out. Naturally, I continued to wait. 15 minutes or 20 minutes passed and
19 I saw that something wasn't quite right, simply that the colonel wasn't
20 there so I was thinking what to do.
21 Q. And what happened then?
22 A. Then a girl, a young girl, came out of the entrance to Colonel
23 Mrksic's building. She came to the car and she asked, "Are you waiting
24 for Colonel Mrksic?" I said, "Yes." And she said, "You can go. You can
25 go ahead and go to the barracks. Colonel Mrksic has gone to headquarters
1 with his own car." And then she went somewhere. I got into the car and I
2 went and I seem to recall that I stopped and -- because I didn't know this
3 young girl, I asked her, "Where are you going?" She said, "I'm going to
4 school." And I said, "Why don't you come in the car and I will take you
5 to school." She was reluctant and I said, "No, you can come. I'll drop
6 you off. I'm going in that direction any way." So she got in the car and
7 I took her to town, to her school.
8 Q. Do you remember where you took her?
9 A. Yes. I remember that very well. That was the area around Kalinic
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Weiner?
12 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, the last two pages of testimony concern
13 this witness's visit to the defendant Mrksic on the 22nd. It is in direct
14 contrast or direct conflict with the notes that were provided to us
15 pursuant to 65 ter. The notes which were provided to us on August 10th,
16 on August 25th, August 29th and September 1st. I just want an objection
17 on the record. We haven't received any proofing notes and there is a
18 direct conflict because in the notes here, it says, on the 22nd November
19 1991, he drove Colonel Mrksic to the military airport where from Colonel
20 Mrksic left with Major Tesic to Negoslavci. There is nothing about this
21 situation at the house.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
23 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the note, the summary,
24 reflects that on the 22nd, in the morning, the driver was there. Colonel
25 Mrksic left Belgrade on that day in a helicopter. He travelled to
1 Negoslavci. However, the witness stated today and also yesterday or
2 rather the day before yesterday, when I saw him for the first time, this
3 witness told me that it was the way he described it to us today, namely
4 that he didn't drive Colonel Mrksic on that day because Colonel Mrksic had
5 already gone out earlier on his own. So unfortunately, we didn't know
6 this when we wrote the summary on this specific issue. This is precisely
7 why I put this question to the witness so that we could clarify it while
8 he's still here. So can I ask him again.
9 Q. On the 22nd, did you drive Colonel Mrksic? So this is the day
10 after the events in the Guards hall in Belgrade? Did you take him
11 anywhere, and if so, where?
12 A. No, on the last day I didn't drive Colonel Mrksic anywhere. I
13 just drove his daughter to her school, as I've explained to you.
14 Q. But you were supposed to drive him, you were scheduled to drive
16 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, in every case in this Tribunal, if there
17 is different evidence coming, proofing notes are supplied, and I think for
18 this case as well as all the other cases in the Tribunal, proofing notes
19 should be supplied from this day on. If there is new information, if
20 there are new facts, if they are in conflict with the summary, counsel
21 must provide proofing notes.
22 JUDGE PARKER: I'm sure Defence counsel will take notice of that,
23 and Mr. Domazet and Mr. Vasic in particular, during their case.
24 Carry on, please, Mr. Domazet.
25 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. So on the 22nd, in the morning, you didn't see Colonel Mrksic?
2 The last time you saw him was the previous night, correct?
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. So from that day until the Guards Brigade returned to Belgrade,
5 did Colonel Mrksic come to Belgrade again?
6 A. As far as I know, Colonel Mrksic didn't come until the Guards
7 Brigade returned to Belgrade.
8 Q. Do you remember how long it was before the entire brigade returned
9 to Belgrade?
10 A. A brief period of time, several days.
11 Q. Another question: When you described the events of that day, when
12 you drove Colonel Mrksic first to the Federal Secretariat and then to
13 Topcider, you described to us what happened that day. Do you remember
14 which day it was?
15 A. The day when I drove Colonel Mrksic is the day I remember quite
16 well. I know very well which date it was. Shall I explain?
17 Q. Yes, please. Tell us what date it was and how come you remember
18 it so well.
19 A. There was the reception at the Federal Secretariat for National
20 Defence. All Yugoslav radio stations, Serbian radio stations announced
21 and even some international radio stations made an announcement.
22 In addition to this, I have another recollection. Serbs, as a
23 rule, celebrate their patron saint days. A friend of mine, on that day,
24 celebrated his patron saint day, which is St. Archangel. And it happened
25 to be on that day. As to how I remember this, I remember it because I was
1 supposed to go to my friend's house on the account of him celebrating his
2 patron saint day and I was supposed to go even though we were on 24-hour
3 duty in the barracks, and I wasn't really supposed to leave the barracks.
4 It was against the rules. But I thought that I could still go to my
5 friend's house but upon obtaining consent from my superiors. However,
6 after I started driving on that day, it did not even occur to me to go and
7 ask for approval to go to my friend's house. In the end, my friend was
8 quite angry at me for not coming on that day, even though for decades
9 prior to that, I invariably went to his house on his patron saint day.
10 Naturally, I couldn't explain to him the reasons why I didn't come that
11 year, but I remember that he was quite offended and it almost cost me his
13 Q. Thank you. So you are sure that the reception at the federal
14 secretary of Defence and everything else that happened that day was on the
15 day of St. Archangel, the Orthodox holiday, correct?
16 A. Yes, correct, that's precisely why I remember. That's the main
17 reason I remember that day.
18 Q. This is one of Orthodox Serbian holidays. Is it a holiday
19 celebrated by many people or by few people?
20 A. I think that St. Archangel Michael, is the second-most-celebrated
21 Serbian orthodox holiday, if we look at the number of families celebrating
22 that day. I think that the most celebrated patron saint day is St.
23 Nicholas day.
24 Q. Do you remember what date it is, the St. Archangel Michael day?
25 A. Yes. Certainly. I know that. That's the 21st of November.
1 That's the date.
2 Q. Thank you. So when you testified about the reception at the
3 federal secretary of Defence and all the other tasks you had that day with
4 Colonel Mrksic was on that date. As for the events surrounding the sister
5 of Colonel Mrksic, what date was that?
6 A. Given that we know the date of St. Archangel Michael day, it is
7 easy to conclude which date it was when I drove the sister of Colonel
8 Mrksic. It was on the previous day and it's also easy to conclude which
9 date it was when I was supposed to drive Colonel Mrksic again, on the
10 following day, the day following St. Archangel Michael day.
11 Q. Thank you, sir.
12 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have completed my
13 examination of this witness.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Domazet.
15 Mr. Borovic?
16 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. No
18 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic?
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No questions for this witness, Your
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
22 Mr. Weiner?
23 Cross-examination by Mr. Weiner:
24 Q. Good afternoon, sir. My name is Phillip Weiner. I'm going to ask
25 you some questions on behalf of the Office of the Prosecutor, okay? Now,
1 sir, I just want to start by asking you that you were first contacted
2 about this matter about three weeks ago, four weeks ago, sir?
3 A. [No interpretation]
4 Q. I haven't received an answer?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Thank you. And you were contacted by Defence counsel?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And you were asked about your activities over a period of three or
9 four days, a period of three or four days in November of 1991; isn't that
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And, sir, you've never testified previously about any of these
13 facts, isn't that true?
14 A. I have never testified previously.
15 Q. Thank you. And you've never been interviewed previously about any
16 of these facts; isn't that correct, other than most recently, three weeks
18 A. No. But the first contact with the Defence, that is to say with
19 the lawyer, specifically Mr. Vasic, was several years ago, if I can put it
20 that way. The first contact wasn't just two or three weeks ago. Our
21 contact of a few weeks ago wasn't the first one. The first contact was
22 two or three years ago, around that time.
23 Q. Okay. And prior to that, no one had ever questioned you
24 previously about these facts, prior to let's say three years ago, prior to
1 A. Nobody ever.
2 Q. And throughout the 1990s, no one ever asked you to write a report,
3 interviewed you or interrogated you about these facts?
4 A. Nobody ever asked me to write anything or sign anything.
5 Q. Now, since we are dealing with facts which occurred over a
6 three-day period almost 15 years ago, did you keep a diary indicating what
7 you did on each of these days?
8 A. I personally never kept a diary about those days or any other days
9 during my service.
10 Q. And in addition to a diary, you don't have a calendar or an agenda
11 listing what you did on each of those days in November 1991?
12 A. No. I don't have a calendar. I never kept anything.
13 Q. So basically -- well, let's add: There are no logs or any
14 writings as to who you drove during that time period of November 1991;
15 isn't that correct too?
16 A. If those records exist, they are not available to me. I actually
17 think that no such records exist.
18 Q. So basically we are relying on your memory alone as to what
19 occurred 15 years ago, since there are no writings?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Now, you served as a driver, you said from 1976 to what year? To
22 what date were you a driver in the Guards motorised brigade? You didn't
23 indicate your date of retirement.
24 A. I retired, I went into retirement, in 1998 to 1999. My service
25 was terminated that year on new years day, between 1998 and 1999, that is
1 to say on the 31st of December, 1998.
2 Q. And in all those years, you've never maintained a list of the
3 persons that you drove and the specific dates and times?
4 A. That's another matter. As I said to you, in accordance with the
5 rules that existed at the time, and regulations in the army, all our
6 sorties with a vehicle had to be recorded in the records of the fleet, the
7 fleet of vehicles.
8 Q. But you don't have this list, do you?
9 A. I don't have that list, and I'm not authorised to have it. I'm
10 just a driver. I simply don't have it.
11 Q. And having been a driver so many years you really couldn't say how
12 many people or how many trips you had made over the years, how many people
13 you have driven or how many trips you've made? You've made hundreds, if
14 not thousands.
15 A. One could say so, yes.
16 Q. And you probably couldn't state how many trips you made in
17 November 1991 in total, not having any records.
18 A. I could state, based on my recollections, that in November of
19 1991, I had such and such number of assignments, roughly.
20 Q. But could you state an exact number?
21 A. Not with accuracy, because it's been many years, and it's hard to
22 remember everything.
23 Q. That's correct. And being hard to remember everything, you
24 couldn't state who you drove that month at which times. You couldn't say
25 at each date I drove these particular people and at exactly these times
1 because it's almost 15 years ago.
2 A. That's true.
3 Q. By the way, you referred to St. -- was it St. Michael's day? The
4 Archangel's day being on the 21st of November. Do you know what day that
5 was, what day of the week? If you recall.
6 A. I can't recall that.
7 Q. Okay. Thank you. It was on a Thursday.
8 Now, you knew who Colonel Mrksic was as your commander?
9 A. Yes. I knew him well.
10 Q. Okay. And you said you knew him well, in fact, he didn't call you
11 sergeant, he called you Nele instead of your first name Nenad; isn't that
12 correct? Your nickname, he addressed you by?
13 A. That's a mistake. My name is Nele.
14 Q. On the documents provided to the Court and to the Prosecution, it
15 has your name as Nenad. That's incorrect? Nenad, N-E-N-A-D, Reljic.
16 That's not your name, sir?
17 A. No. My name is Nele Reljic.
18 Q. Now, you said you knew Colonel Mrksic well. Had you ever driven
19 him previously or prior to November 1991?
20 A. I most likely drove him sometimes, not frequently but sometimes.
21 Q. And you knew where his home was. You drove right to his home.
22 Had you been to his home previously? Or after November 1991, have you
23 been to his home?
24 A. No, no. Never prior to the days I described, or rather, prior to
25 the evening I described when I took the sister. I never went to his
1 apartment prior to that.
2 Q. Now, did you ever drive or were you ever assigned to drive from
3 Belgrade to Vukovar or from Vukovar back to Belgrade?
4 A. There were driving assignments but what do you mean, specifically
5 what do you mean?
6 Q. I was interested in the time. It's 155 kilometres, approximately
7 155 kilometres from Vukovar to Belgrade. What's the approximate time to
8 drive that distance? Being a driver for many years.
9 A. Depending on the vehicle you are using. If you're travelling in a
10 passenger vehicle, then naturally you would arrive earlier. If you're
11 driving in an all-terrain vehicle or in a truck or in a bus, that will
12 change the driving time. But let's say that you're travelling in a
13 passenger car. It would take about two hours of normal driving.
14 Q. If we go to November of 1991, where we know there were
15 check-points along the road way, you would have to stop. We are dealing
16 with a two to two plus hour trip, aren't we?
17 A. One could say so, yes.
18 Q. Because with the checkpoints and we are not dealing with highways,
19 it's not a quick trip of let's say an hour and a half. It's a longer
21 A. The major part of that road is on the highway, and then the rest
22 are just national roads and other categories of roads.
23 Q. But as I said in November 1991, where there were check-points set
24 up along the way we would be dealing with a two to two-plus hour trip in a
25 passenger car, especially with check-points, where you would be stopped.
1 A. [No interpretation]
2 Q. Could you repeat your answer, please? It wasn't picked up on the
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, I have one more issue to address. Would
7 you like me to do that after the break?
8 JUDGE PARKER: We will resume at 5 minutes past 4.00.
9 --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 4.06 p.m.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Weiner.
12 MR. WEINER: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Good afternoon, sir. Now, you testified that you did not drive
14 Colonel Mrksic on November 22nd 1991. You testified to that earlier
15 today. Do you recall testifying to that about 40 minutes ago?
16 A. [No interpretation]
17 Q. Now, you had previously met with Defence counsel you said around
18 2003, so you said two to three years ago, so 2003, 2004. Did you tell
19 them at that time about the events of those days in November of 1991? Did
20 you provide your knowledge to them back then, some years ago?
21 A. Well, I can't remember exactly. Most likely we did talk about it
22 but I can't tell you that for sure right now.
23 Q. Now, on the 10th of August 2006, the Defence filed a summary of
24 your testimony, and on the bottom line it says, on 22 November 1991, he,
25 meaning you, drove Colonel Mrksic to the military airport, and that's on
1 page 13 of the 65 ter(G) submission. Now, did you provide that
2 information to the Defence, that on the 22nd of November, you drove
3 Colonel Mrksic to the military airport?
4 A. No, absolutely not.
5 Q. In fact, I'll read the whole thing. "On the 22nd November 1991,
6 he drove Colonel Mrksic to the military airport in Batajnica where from
7 Colonel Mrksic left with Major Tesic to Negoslavci." Did you provide that
8 information which is listed under your name as a summary of your
9 testimony? Did you provide that information to the Defence?
10 A. I don't believe that I did because this is not materially true,
11 that I drove Colonel Mrksic on the 22nd. I remember when I did drive him.
12 Q. Well, you said today that you just notified Defence counsel three
13 days or so ago that you didn't drive Colonel Mrksic on November 22nd. So
14 if you didn't tell them about that back then, who would have told them?
15 A. I don't know. I really don't know who could have said that on my
16 behalf. I don't know.
17 Q. Do you believe counsel is just making that up and putting that
18 under your name?
19 JUDGE PARKER: That's going too far, Mr. Weiner.
20 MR. WEINER: Withdrawn, sorry, Your Honour.
21 Q. Now, you indicated that you said for the first time three days ago
22 that you didn't drive Colonel Mrksic on the 22nd. Was there any reason
23 that you told Defence three days ago?
24 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Objection, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Domazet, this is a careful point where there is
1 a danger that in giving voice to what I suspect may be your objection, you
2 will in fact unwittingly no doubt be assisting the witness. So I would
3 ask you to wait for the moment until the questions are answered. Then you
4 can make whatever point it is you have in mind.
5 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, thank you, Your Honour.
6 MR. WEINER:
7 Q. Sir, is there any reason that you notified counsel only recently,
8 only three days ago, that you did not drive Colonel Mrksic on November
9 22nd 1991?
10 A. There is absolutely no reason why I should not tell them that I
11 did not drive him because I did not drive him on that day. I drove him on
12 the 21st. I was supposed to drive him on the 22nd but I did not.
13 Q. And did you just suddenly realise this fact a few days ago? And
14 today, to notify the Court?
15 A. I have no reason, and I did not have any reason to realise that
16 fact, because it was always the fact that I drove Colonel Mrksic on the
17 21st, the whole day, and that I was supposed to drive him on the 22nd but
18 I did not do so and I described why I did not drive him. That is that he
19 used his own transport to go, to reach the headquarters or the barracks.
20 Q. And he used his own transport after notifying you to be present at
21 7.00 in the morning on that date?
22 A. I assume that he used his own transport. Sometimes he had the
23 habit of just getting into his car and driving himself.
24 Q. And he didn't then notify you first thing in the morning not to
25 appear, so he wouldn't be wasting your time?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Sir, are you aware that Mrs. Mrksic testified a few days ago?
3 A. No, I'm not aware of that.
4 Q. And you're not aware that she testified a few days ago, on August
5 30th, I'm sorry, yes, August 30th, that you did not drive Colonel Mrksic
6 to the airport on that morning? Are you aware that she testified to that?
7 A. No. I'm not aware of that. I did not have the opportunity to
8 meet Mrs. Mrksic, not even when I was in their apartment. We did not --
9 we were introduced to each other, as would be the proper formal thing to
10 do. Even when I was at the apartment when I brought Colonel Mrksic's
11 sister we were not introduced.
12 Q. And you realise that her testimony on August 30th is in conflict
13 with the factual summary that you were going to say that you did drive
14 Colonel Mrksic to the airport, that there is a direct conflict between
15 that factual summary and her testimony?
16 A. I really don't know when Mrs. Mrksic testified and what her
17 testimony was. I really don't know that. I didn't even have the occasion
18 to formally be introduced to her.
19 Q. So, sir, it's nothing more than a coincidence that she testifies a
20 few days ago that you didn't not drive her husband to the airport, and
21 instead, you offered to take her daughter to school, and today, you
22 testify in conflict with the 65 ter summary and say the same thing? Is
23 that just a coincidence, sir?
24 A. There is no coincidence there. I know, when I would go on a
25 driving assignment, when I complete the assignment and when I -- I know
1 when I would complete an assignment and I know when it could not be
2 completed because Colonel Mrksic had already left with his own car. I
3 assume that he used his own car.
4 Q. Sir, isn't it true that you were doing nothing more today than
5 tailoring your testimony to help your friend, Colonel Mrksic, tailoring
6 your testimony to Mrs. Mrksic's testimony?
7 A. There is absolutely no tailoring. What I have already said, and
8 explained, is absolutely true. It's absolutely true.
9 MR. WEINER: One moment, Your Honour.
10 [Prosecution counsel confer]
11 MR. WEINER: No further questions, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Now, Mr. Domazet, do you have any submission or do
13 you just want to go into re-examination?
14 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I just wanted to
15 explain why I made the objection. I wanted to object because the witness
16 did not say. I said that the witness told me.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Domazet, if you are going to put questions to
18 the witness about this matter, can I suggest you should do that first
19 rather than you give some version of what happened yourself. And you can
20 put your submission later. You understand the point. There is a point
21 being made of credibility. It's better to test it through the witness
23 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I actually
24 understood that I should explain my objection first. I was waiting for
25 the end of the cross-examination. But of course I'm going to put my
1 questions first.
2 Re-examination by Mr. Domazet:
3 Q. Sir, Mr. Weiner asked you about your contacts with the Defence and
4 he meant that in the plural, contacts with Defence attorneys. You were
5 talking about Mr. Vasic actually?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. My direct question is: I, as a Defence attorney, did you know me
8 before now?
9 A. I never met you before and the first time we met was some two days
10 ago, here in The Hague. Before that, I had never seen you or been
11 introduced to you.
12 Q. We spoke here in The Hague. Did I ask you to tell me how
13 everything was and then you told me about the events as you recalled them?
14 A. I absolutely told you about the events based on how I remember
15 them, and because the things that happened were specific, and since I did
16 drive the commander for those thee days, or, rather, I did drive him, so I
17 remember everything. It's all crystal clear to me.
18 Q. And what you told me, is that what you've also told us here in
19 your testimony before this Trial Chamber today?
20 A. Yes. That's exactly it.
21 Q. Including what you said that on the 22nd you did not drive Colonel
23 A. Yes. The situation is quite clear. I was told, and I was
24 supposed to drive Colonel Mrksic on the 22nd, but in view of the fact that
25 he had already left, I didn't drive him. I assumed that was the only
2 Q. Thank you.
3 Mr. Weiner asked you about how long it takes to drive from Vukovar
4 to Belgrade, and he said that there were also check-points there and that
5 sometime was lost if you stopped at the check-points. So what I wanted to
6 ask you is: What is the distance from Belgrade to Sid?
7 A. The distance between Belgrade and Sid is approximately 100
9 Q. Is that the highway or just a regular road?
10 A. This is a modern highway.
11 Q. When I say the highway, or the motorway, what I mean is that are
12 there at least two lanes for traffic for each direction?
13 A. Yes, that is correct.
14 Q. Do you know what is the distance between Sid and Negoslavci?
15 A. If the distance to Sid is approximately 100 kilometres, then there
16 is about 50 or 60 more kilometres to Negoslavci.
17 Q. Well, so is Negoslavci before Vukovar, because you said it's 150
18 kilometres from Belgrade to Vukovar?
19 A. Yes. I didn't understand the gentleman actually who was asking
20 this question. I was driving to Negoslavci. I would usually go to
21 Negoslavci. So I never went to Vukovar. So I'm not sure about the
22 distance. Perhaps if you just deduct or -- the difference from the
23 distance that I've already given.
24 Q. Because of the check-points from Belgrade to Vukovar, the distance
25 can be covered in two to two and a half hours, and if the highway to --
1 from Belgrade to Sid is used, and then from Belgrade to Sid, it's about
2 100 kilometres, then how long does it take to cover this distance from Sid
3 to Belgrade without stopping for any other reason other than to stop at
4 the check-points?
5 A. The road -- the highway from Sid to Belgrade, when there is no
6 traffic, when it's not crowded, it's something that can be covered pretty
8 Q. When you say that there is no traffic, what you're trying to say
9 is that at the time it was very light traffic?
10 A. There was practically no traffic on that highway in that section
11 at that time.
12 Q. And can you please tell me what is the maximum speed permitted on
13 that road?
14 A. The maximum speed permitted is something that I assume is in most
15 highways in the world, and that is 120 kilometres an hour.
16 Q. So a vehicle, passenger vehicle, going from Sid to Belgrade, how
17 long would it need going at that speed?
18 A. A more powerful passenger vehicle could cover that distance
19 comfortably in an hour, I would say.
20 Q. Thank you. I'm not going to ask you about Sid and this because
21 the distance is not quite reliable, but it's easy to establish that and I
22 don't see any particular point in doing that.
23 When you responded to Mr. Weiner's question about records, you
24 said that you did not keep any records or a diary or any notes. Does that
25 refer throughout -- for the whole period of your military career or just
1 to the period that we discussed here today?
2 A. I, as a person, absolutely never kept any personal records about
3 my work. I never did anything like that.
4 Q. When you talked about the apartment house where Colonel Mrksic's
5 apartment is, you said that you knew from before where it was but you
6 explained that this time when you were taking his sister there, you
7 actually entered the apartment for the first time. Did you ever before
8 that or after that go inside the Mrksic apartment or was that the only
10 A. I never entered Colonel Mrksic's apartment before that evening,
11 when I helped his sister to go in, when I was helping her to take her
12 bags. She is a woman so I wanted to help her. And in view of the state
13 that she was in, that's what I did. I brought her things in and that was
14 the first time that I entered Colonel Mrksic's apartment.
15 Q. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Reljic.
16 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
17 questions for this witness and if you permit me I just wanted in one
18 sentence to explain what we talked about earlier, what was the essence of
19 my objection.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Domazet.
21 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Mr. Weiner's question
22 was, you said earlier, that three days ago, you told the Defence that you
23 did not drive Mrksic. The witness did not say that in this trial. I said
24 that when I said that I got this information from the witness when I
25 talked to the witness yesterday and the day before. Before his testimony.
1 The witness came to The Hague on Saturday, not even three days ago but
2 actually two days ago, and yesterday I had the opportunity to speak with
3 him and this is exactly what he said so I said that and not the witness.
4 So that was the gist of my objection, that the witness did not say that at
5 all, three days ago, but that I said it. Again, I want to say that it is
6 absolutely correct and true that in the summary I mistakenly said that
7 he -- instead of he was supposed to drive him, that I said he did drive
8 him. So I made the summary here in The Hague. It was supposed to be
9 submitted by the 10th of August. So I received the information from Mr.
10 Vasic and it was all done very quickly. I never spoke to this witness
11 actually or to any other Defence witnesses so this is how this mistake
12 came about.
13 And finally, I'd like to apologise for this to the Prosecution.
14 It is widely known that such mistakes took place before. The Prosecution
15 itself made several similar mistakes, and the witness said to me what he
16 basically repeated today in court. Thank you.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Domazet.
18 You'll be pleased to know, Mr. Reljic, that your evidence is at an
19 end and you are now free to leave and to return at a convenient time to
20 your home. The Chamber would thank you for your assistance in coming here
21 and for the evidence that you've given. You're now free to go. Thank
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 [The witness withdrew]
25 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic?
1 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
2 This is the first day in the courtroom for me, and my co-counsel
3 explained to you the situation last week. The Defence has nine witnesses,
4 each of whom has a passport ready. And we planned on submitting their
5 passports to the Dutch embassy last week on Wednesday. However, we were
6 told that it was impossible to submit passports directly. Rather, it
7 needs to be done through fields officer who came last week on Friday, and
8 took over passports. He needed prior approval of the Dutch Ministry of
9 Foreign Affairs in order to do that, before he travelled to Belgrade. So
10 last week, on Thursday, we did not have the field officer in Belgrade and
11 that's the information I received from our staff awaiting the contact with
12 the field officer in Belgrade. The field officer is scheduled to arrive
13 in Belgrade today and I hope that that will resolve the status of all nine
14 witnesses. If that were indeed to take place as planned, that means that
15 the next witness could travel to-- to arrive in The Hague tomorrow
16 afternoon and come to the courtroom on Wednesday. The only problem that I
17 believe we are unable to resolve in the technical sense is that we need a
18 field officer present for each contact with the Dutch embassy, and the
19 field officer is not available and in Belgrade every day so I think that
20 this is the only way that is available for us in order to obtain visas for
21 our witnesses, namely that the field officer take over all pass ports at
22 the same time.
23 We also need to take into account that it's not easy to get a
24 place on a plane. The planes are full currently. And sometimes we will
25 need to put witnesses on different airliners in order to ensure their
1 presence here so that everything can proceed as planned.
2 As I said, had we had direct access to the Dutch embassy, then all
3 of the passports would have been at the Dutch embassy last week and
4 everything would have been resolved by now.
5 I'm afraid that due to these technical problems, we currently do
6 not have a witness available, and if things proceed as planned, and as we
7 were informed by the field officer and the registry, the first witness
8 could arrive on Tuesday afternoon and be available in the courtroom on
10 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, you mentioned nine passports. Does that
11 complete the number of passports that will be necessary for the witnesses
12 you intend to call?
13 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that represents 80 per
14 cent of the witnesses that we intend to call. As for the remaining two or
15 three witnesses, I had to meet with some of them several times prior to
16 coming here in The Hague because they had not given their final consent to
17 come here and testify, and they had not obtained passports. So as it
18 stands now, I foresee that in addition to this group of nine witnesses,
19 there will be two or three more at the most and I think that that will be
20 the case of Mr. Mrksic. So the majority of our witnesses are the nine who
21 are currently awaiting their visas, as I've explained to you.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Are you able to give us the names of the nine?
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I will do that right away, Your
24 Honours. Just a second, please.
25 [Defence counsel confer]
1 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] We have passports for the following
2 witnesses: Andrija Milojevic, or Milevic. Razvigor Virijevic, Velimir
4 JUDGE PARKER: Could you just pause? I'm trying to pick up these
5 people on your 65 ter list. That's numbers 2, 15 and 16, if I'm correct.
6 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Yes, correct, Your Honours. I will
7 give you the numbers in addition to the names so it will be easier for you
8 to follow. 17, Dusan Jaksic, 19, Ivan Minic, 21 -- I apologise, 22, Nenad
9 Milicevic. 31, Zoran Basic. 34, Milan Babic. I'm just verifying to see
10 whether I omitted any names.
11 JUDGE PARKER: You've got 8 so far.
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Yes. And Dusan Milosevic, number 21.
13 We were supposed to get his passport yesterday and I think that it came
14 in. Plus our expert witness, Mile Stojkovic. That would be nine. And
15 with the witness who was supposed to hand over his passport yesterday,
16 that would be ten.
17 JUDGE PARKER: So for all of those, you're dependent on visas,
18 they each having passports at the present time?
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours. They have their
20 passports plus they need to provide a photograph for visa. The form for
21 visa application is filled by somebody else and I think that visas for two
22 witnesses are ready, Razvigor Virijevic, who is supposed to be our first
23 witness here, and witness Coric and Basic according to the information we
24 have also have guarantees for their visa. As for other witnesses, we will
25 need assistance to ensure that they get their visas on time and in the
1 meantime we'll try to do our best to ensure that their evidence doesn't
2 take too long.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE PARKER: And there may be two or three, you said,
5 additional, if they obtain passports?
6 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Two or three witnesses who are
7 currently awaiting their passports. They applied for passports to be
8 issued. That would represent about 80 per cent of our witnesses. I
9 wanted to tell you today that based on what --
10 JUDGE PARKER: Ground has moved there. The 80 per cent were those
11 that had passports, as I understood it. And then there were two or three
12 more that were seeking passports if they gave their consent to give
13 evidence. Is that correct?
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, out of 35 witnesses,
15 which we initially put on the list, we intend to call between 15 and 17.
16 The number of 15 to 17 witnesses can also be reduced because we are
17 currently considering whether to call here some witnesses or not. Some
18 witnesses have still not given us their consent to come here and testify.
19 So the number that we have right now is 15 to 17 out of initial 35. The
20 nine who have their passports and the three that we have already examined
21 here is 12 altogether, nine plus three is 12, and then in addition to
22 these 12, we would call additional three to five witnesses who still do
23 not have their passports and who are potential witnesses. As I said to
24 you, it could be that we will reduce this number further, the number of
25 witnesses, but we might also reduce the number of hours scheduled for
1 their testimony. In addition to these witnesses, we have one more expert
2 witness who is a military expert. So the number of 15 to 17 witnesses
3 includes the protected witness who is going to come here under subpoena,
4 and we are not concerned with his passport naturally.
5 JUDGE PARKER: It will merely delay matters and may not be helpful
6 at the moment for the Chamber to express its full views about the
7 situation, Mr. Vasic. Clearly, what is needed is for the difficulty of
8 the Defence's own making, that there are no visas and that all witnesses
9 do not have passports, needs to be remedied as quickly as possible.
10 The next thing that needs to be remedied is that the Prosecution
11 needs to be given a correct order in which to expect witnesses, because
12 the present information is clearly not now correct.
13 The next thing is that you need to consider again the time
14 estimates, because it is evident from the first three witnesses that you
15 have considerably overestimated the time that will be necessary.
16 Those things having been dealt with, you need to liaise carefully
17 with your other lead Defence counsel so that they can plan reliably the
18 dates upon which they need to have their witnesses here, because the
19 information you are now providing will alter the position they anticipate
21 The only course the Chamber can take at the moment, it appears, is
22 to adjourn until Wednesday morning, in the hope that by then there will be
23 witnesses here with the necessary visas, and clearly you need to give the
24 Prosecution and the other counsel notification of who will be called and
25 in what order, preferably today, so that they've got some chance of being
2 In view of these changes, it will clearly be at the end of this
3 week before we can expect realistically to look at the overall programme
4 for the Defence. It is unfortunate that there is this uncertainty and
5 that it involves the lost time that is presently being encountered.
6 Apart from that, the Chamber will not make any comment at the
7 present time.
8 For the reasons indicated, we must adjourn now until Wednesday.
9 Should it be the case on Wednesday that your problems have not by then
10 resolved, we will expect from you, Mr. Vasic, a very clear indication of
11 what will be the future course of your evidence.
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE PARKER: With good fortune, they will be resolved by
14 Wednesday and we will have witnesses, and let us hope then that other
15 counsel are in a position to adjust to the changed plans.
16 We will adjourn now until Wednesday morning at 9.00.
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.50 p.m., to
18 be reconvened on Wednesday, the 6th day of
19 September, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.