1 Thursday, 2 October 2008
2 [Pre-Trial Conference]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 10.12 a.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning to everybody in and around the
8 Madam Registrar, may you please call the case.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning,
10 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-81-PT,
11 the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Perisic.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
13 Could we have the appearances, please, starting with the
15 MR. HARMON: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning, counsel.
16 My name is Mark Harmon. Appearing with me are Barney Thomas, Dan Saxon,
17 and Carmela Javier, the case manager.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
19 MR. HARMON: Thank you.
20 MR. HARMON: For the Defence.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good
22 morning to all the participants in this trial. My name is Novak Lukic.
23 I'm an attorney from Belgrade
24 attorney from San Francisco. We will be representing General Perisic.
25 And with us are our legal assistants, Tina Drolec, Chad Mair, and our
1 case manager, Danijela Tasic.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
3 General Momcilo Perisic returned to the UNDU on Monday, the 18th
4 of September, after having been on provisional release following the
5 Trial Chamber's decision on 9 June 2005
6 Mr. Perisic, can you hear the proceedings in a language that you
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I can.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. And, once again, how is your
10 health situation today?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It's fine. Quite well.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: You don't have any complaints that you'd like to
13 make the Chamber aware of?
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No, not for the time being.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Perisic. You may be
16 seated. Thank you.
17 Today, this Bench was composed by the order of Judge Orie, the
18 presiding judge of Trial Chamber I, following the order of the 2nd of
19 October, 2008, by the president of the Tribunal assigning Judge David and
20 Judge Picard to the Trial Chamber. Just for those of us who are probably
21 seeing Judge David and Judge Picard for the first time, Judge David sits
22 to my right and Judge Picard is to my left.
23 The opening statements are scheduled to begin today. Now, the
24 Prosecution informed the Chamber through the senior legal officer that
25 its opening statement would take approximately three hours. This will be
1 followed by the accused's statement, pursuant to Rule 84 bis, which would
2 take 30 to 45 minutes. Given the parties' submissions, the Prosecution
3 should be ready to call its first witness tomorrow, the 3rd of October.
4 In this Pre-Trial Conference, the Trial Chamber has to determine
5 the length of the Prosecution case. In this respect, Rule 73 bis (C)
6 provides that after having heard the Prosecution, the Trial Chamber shall
7 determine how many witnesses the Prosecution may call and how much time
8 will be available to the Prosecution for presenting its evidence.
9 On the 26th of September, 2008, in response to the Trial
10 Chamber's invitation, the Prosecution filed its revised witness list
11 indicating that it intends to call 150 witnesses and taking 355 hours in
12 total for the examination-in-chief. The Trial Chamber grants this
13 proposal and sets the number of witnesses to be called by the Prosecution
14 at 150. The Trial Chamber also determines that 355 hours will be
15 available to the Prosecution for the presentation of evidence, and this
16 time reflects the time available for examination-in-chief.
17 Are there any other matters that the parties would like to raise,
18 starting with the Prosecution?
19 MR. HARMON: One matter, Your Honour, and that is that -- it
20 relates to the opening statement, and if I may go into private session
21 for just a minute, then I can discuss with Your Honours something.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Harmon, I guess that's a stage after
23 transition into trial.
24 MR. HARMON: Fine. That's fine, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: For pre-trial purposes, is there something that
1 you would --
2 MR. HARMON: No, there is not, Your Honour. Thank you.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Nothing. Very well.
4 The Defence, Mr. Lukic?
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't know if we're
6 going to devote any time now to discussion about guidelines or whether
7 this will be dealt with after the Pre-Trial Conference. I believe that
8 these guidelines are a potential topic for the Pre-Trial Conference.
9 Given the time that you allotted to the Prosecution for their case, now,
10 if we are to say anything about that, we would like to note that the
11 Defence would like, in relation to several witnesses listed by the
12 Prosecution and the time it intends to devote to their
13 examination-in-chief, to ask that the cross-examination of those
14 witnesses -- well, we anticipate that it might take longer because of the
15 topics that we want to deal with in the cross-examination. We're talking
16 about just a couple of witnesses that, according to the Prosecution,
17 require less time than we anticipate. We would be in the position to
18 provide you with the names of those witnesses or the number of the
19 witnesses that we anticipate would take longer for cross-examination.
20 These are all viva voce witnesses.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Lukic. Would it be possible,
22 perhaps, as we get to those witnesses to indicate that that's the witness
23 that you'd like to take longer with, and we'll make note of the point at
24 that point? Anything else? I see Mr. Guy-Smith is trying to get your
25 attention, is trying to pull you by your robe. Maybe you want to confer
1 with him before you talk.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Well, I would actually like to give
3 the floor to Mr. Guy-Smith because we have full cooperation here in the
4 courtroom, but we fully accept your proposal. It will, indeed, be quite
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Lukic.
7 Mr. Guy-Smith.
8 MR. GUY-SMITH: Yes. Considering the manner in which we are
9 starting and some of the difficulties that we've had just in terms of the
10 time for starting, it seems, if it's available to the Court, that after
11 opening statements and before we start the presentation of evidence
12 tomorrow, there are perhaps a number of housekeeping matters that we
13 might attend to and deal with it at that period -- at that time as
14 opposed to dealing with it now.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Guy-Smith. Can we then
16 do that and deal with them at that time.
17 MR. GUY-SMITH: Fine.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. All right. Then it looks
19 like that brings us to the end of the pre-trial stage. We need now to
20 make a transition to the trial.
21 Madam Registrar, would you like now to call the case now for
22 trial purposes.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honours. This is IT-04-81-T, the
24 Prosecutor versus Momcilo Perisic.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. There is no need for
1 appearances to be made. We are aware of the appearances.
2 May the Chamber please move into private session.
3 [Private session]
11 [Open session]
12 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
14 Mr. Harmon, opening statement.
15 [Prosecution Opening Statement]
16 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, counsel, thank you very much. Before I
17 beginning my opening statements, I would like to inform the members of
18 the public that I will going -- I will be making exceptional requests to
19 the Trial Chamber to go into closed session because I need to refer to
20 protected documents. I will do so infrequently, sometimes briefly, but I
21 wanted to inform the public of that situation.
22 If I may begin, Your Honours.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: You may.
24 MR. HARMON: War, which had lain dormant on this continent for
25 half a century, was reawakened in the 1990s, and its scourge was visited
1 on the peoples of Bosnia
2 were added to history's long list of horrors: Srebrenica, the siege of
4 politicians fuelled the war, and this war laid waste to parts of Bosnia
5 and Croatia
6 During this period, Slobodan Milosevic sought to deceive his
7 international interlocutors, the international community, and the public
8 with false claims that the governments of which he was a member and the
9 instruments of those governments, including the army, were not
10 interfering in the affairs of Bosnia
11 and aid to the Bosnian Serb army and to the Bosnian Croat army. His
12 deceits and the deceits of his associates fooled no one.
13 This case, Your Honour, will pierce the veil of elaborate
14 deceptions and will expose the roles of Momcilo Perisic, one of
15 Milosevic's principal collaborators, and will expose his unstinting
16 support for Milosevic's policies to establish a single state of the
17 Serbian people.
18 Now, throughout my remarks, Your Honour, I'm going to be using a
19 number of acronyms. I'm going to be referring to the Federal Republic
21 Yugoslav People's Army as the JNA; and the Yugoslav Army as the VJ.
22 The accused, Your Honour, was the highest ranking member of the
23 Yugoslav Army chief -- of the army. He was the VJ Chief of the General
24 Staff. He was appointed to that position on the 26th of August, 1993
25 and he remained in that position until the 24th of November, 1998
1 his capacity as Chief of the General Staff, he had the overall authority
2 and responsibility for the functioning of the army.
3 General Perisic was a career military officer, having graduated
4 from the military academy in 1966. He held a number of important
5 positions in both the JNA and the VJ throughout his career, including
6 serving as the commander of the JNA Artillery School Centre in Zadar.
7 Now, that position should be borne in mind, Your Honours, when
8 considering the charges in this indictment, allegations that relate to
9 the 44-month siege and the artillery bombardment of the densely populated
10 city of Sarajevo
11 In November of 1998, following a disagreement that he had with
12 Slobodan Milosevic over the use of the army in the Kosovo crisis, he was
13 removed from his position as the head of the VJ.
14 Under Yugoslav law, the president of the Federal Republic
16 or SDC
17 decision-making body. It was composed of three members - the President
18 of the FRY, Zoran Lilic; the President of the Republic of Serbia
19 Slobodan Milosevic; and the President of the Republic of Montenegro
20 Momir Bulatovic. The SDC
21 formulated state policy.
22 Although not a member of the SDC, Momcilo Perisic attended every
23 session during his tenure as Chief of the VJ General Staff. He
24 participated fully in debates relating to military matters, and he
25 advised members of the SDC
1 government and his nation. He did so because he had the paramount
2 responsibility for both defence and security. He was well informed. He
3 had access to international media. He had access to his colleagues in
4 the adjacent countries of Croatia
5 In order to implement the policies of the SDC and the President
6 of the FRY, General Perisic issued orders and commands, and we intend to
7 present to Your Honours in our case in chief documents of commands and
8 other sorts of documents that will sustain and will demonstrate his
9 position as Chief of the General Staff.
10 Now, as Chief of the General Staff, General Perisic commanded the
11 army. He did so by issuing orders to his subordinates and to subordinate
12 units. He determined the organisation and establishment of units in the
13 army, and this is particularly important because I will be discussing
14 later in my opening remarks two formations - the 30th and the 40th
15 Personnel Centres - and you'll hear a considerable amount about them
16 during my remarks.
17 General Perisic appointed officers up to the rank of colonel; he
18 retained in the army service officers up to the rank of colonel; he could
19 transfer them; he would issue decisions about their service; he could
20 decide on their termination up to and including the rank of colonel; and
21 he appointed judges and presidents and military disciplinary prosecutors
22 in the military disciplinary court.
23 Outside of the formal sessions of the SDC, General Perisic was a
24 close and frequent collaborator with Slobodan Milosevic, Zoran Lilic,
25 Momir Bulatovic, and his friend General Ratko Mladic.
1 The accused is charged with 13 counts in the present indictment.
2 Those counts relate to events that occurred in Sarajevo, in Srebrenica,
3 and in Zagreb
4 Articles 7.1 and 7.3 for the crimes associated with Sarajevo and
5 Srebrenica, and he is responsible under Article 7.3 for the crimes
6 associated with Zagreb
7 Now, we focus on the Sarajevo
8 indictment. General Perisic is charged with two counts of murder - one
9 is a crime against humanity, and one is a violation of the laws or
10 customs of war; one count of inhumane acts - injuring and wounding
11 civilians as a crime against humanity; and one count of attacks on
12 civilians, a crime against humanity. All four counts relate to the
13 protracted campaign of shelling and sniping in Sarajevo that resulted in
14 the deaths and killings of thousands of civilians.
15 We allege in the indictment, Your Honours, that these crimes were
16 planned, instigated, ordered, committed and aided by General Perisic's
17 subordinates in the VRS, the Bosnian Serb army, including General Ratko
18 Mladic, including General Stanislav Galic and General Dragomir Milosevic,
19 both of whom were commanders of the Sarajevo Romanija Corps, both of --
20 the latter two have been convicted by this Tribunal. The indictment
21 alleges that General Perisic aided and abetted the commission of these
22 crimes with the knowledge that the assistance he provided would
23 contribute substantially in the commission of those crimes.
24 Schedules A and B of the indictment set forth specific incidents
25 of shelling and sniping, all of which have been litigated in the trials
1 of Generals Galic and Milosevic.
2 In respect of the crimes in Srebrenica, General Perisic is
3 charged with five counts. Those five counts include two counts of murder
4 as a crime against humanity and a violation of the laws and customs of
5 war; one count of inhumane acts, inflicting serious injuries and wounding
6 and forcible transfers as a crime against humanity; one count of
7 persecutions as a crime against humanity; and one count of extermination
8 as a crime against humanity.
9 These five counts relate to events that occurred in July of 1995
10 in the UN protected area of Srebrenica and its environs, where the VRS,
11 members of the VRS massacred between 7 and 8.000 Bosnian Muslim men and
12 boys and forcibly transferred approximately 25.000 Bosnian Muslims from
13 the enclave.
14 The Prosecution in the indictment alleges that the crimes were
15 planned, instigated, ordered, and aided by General Perisic's associates,
16 subordinates, in the VRS, including General Mladic, whom I've mentioned,
17 General Radislav Krstic, Dragan Obrenovic, Dragan Jokic, Colonel
18 Blagojevic, all of whom have been convicted in this Tribunal for crimes
19 committed in Sarajevo
20 the indictment include Vinko Pandurevic, Ljubisa Beara, Vujadin Popovic,
21 all of whom are currently on trial for those very same crimes in this
23 Finally, Your Honour, General Perisic is accused of four counts
24 in respect of the events in Zagreb
25 against humanity and a violation of the laws or customs of war; one count
1 of inhumane acts, injuring and wounding civilians as a crime against
2 humanity; and one count of attacks on civilians as a crime against
4 The charges relate to the missile attacks that took place on the
5 city centre of Zagreb
6 missile attacks were ordered by the President of the Republic of Srpska
7 Krajina Milan Martic and executed by General Perisic's subordinates who
8 served in the Bosnian Croat army.
9 Your Honours, the criminal acts that have been identified in the
10 indictment have been the subject of previous trials in this institution.
11 In fact, many of the facts and events have been judicially established,
12 obviating the need for us to call as witnesses once again people who
13 suffered from those crimes.
14 In pre-trial motions we filed a number of requests asking that
15 the written testimonies and the written statements of witnesses who had
16 testified in previous trials be admitted before Your Honours. The Trial
17 Chamber granted many of those motions, and to the extent that victims are
18 required to testify before Your Honours, we have summoned them to testify
19 and present their evidence to Your Honours in person. In fact, Your
20 Honours, you will hear from some of them very early, at the start of this
22 Our intention, Your Honours, not to call a large number of
23 victims to testify in our case in chief is not out of disrespect or
24 indifference to the victims' sufferings. Their eloquent voices have been
25 repeatedly heard in this institution. Their recorded testimonies and
1 past statements will be introduced to Your Honours for your
2 consideration, and we are indebted to the victims and to the witnesses
3 for the remarkable dignity and courage they displayed when publicly
4 bearing witness to the crimes, the unspeakable crimes, that were
5 inflicted upon them when confronting their tormenters in the courtroom
6 and when recounting the long-lasting effects that those crimes had on
7 their lives. We intend to rely, therefore, in large part on the
8 substantial public record created by their testimonies, their past
9 testimonies, to establish the facts relating to the events underlying the
11 Instead, Your Honours, our evidence will focus on the role of
12 General Perisic in aiding and abetting the commission of crimes alleged
13 in the indictment and on his failure to prevent his subordinates from
14 committing the crimes alleged in the indictment and his failure to punish
15 them for having committed them.
16 In assessing the role of General Perisic, it's necessary to be
17 cognizant of political and military developments that led to the
18 disintegration of the former Yugoslavia
19 objectives of the political and military leaders of Slobodan Milosevic's
22 framework. It's not intended to be comprehensive. You will be receiving
23 evidence of expert witnesses. You will be receiving reports of expert
24 witnesses that will touch upon those events in greater depth. In the
25 limited amount of time that's available to me, however, I would like to
1 highlight some of the points that I think will enable you to put the case
2 we're presenting against General Perisic into context.
3 Prior to the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic
5 the aftermath of the death of President Tito, latent nationalistic
6 impulses surfaced, and the existence of the Federal Republic
8 independence or a reform of the federal state. Opposing views favoured
9 the preservation of Yugoslavia
10 preservation of Yugoslavia
11 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, led by Slobodan Milosevic; the Bosnian
12 Serbs, led by Radovan Karadzic, Momcilo Krajisnik, and Biljana Plavsic;
13 and the Croatian Serbs, led by Milan Babic, Goran Hadzic, and Milan
15 The antagonists were unable to resolve their differences
16 peacefully and instead settled them by force of arms. A 10-day war in
18 armed conflict spread to Croatia
19 occupied parts of Croatia
20 the Croatian Serb entity, the Republika Srpska Krajina, or RSK as I'll
21 refer to it. Before that date, in April and May of 1991, the Serb-held
22 territories in Croatia
24 In Bosnia
25 anticipation of multi-party elections that were to occur in November and
1 December of 1990, political parties formed, and the three main political
2 parties were formed principally along ethnic lines. The three parties
3 were the Serb Democratic Party, the SDS, which was led by Radovan
4 Karadzic; the Party of Democratic Action, or the SDA, which was led by
5 Alija Izetbegovic and which was the party of the Bosniaks; and the
6 Croatian Democratic Union, or HDZ, which was the main political party of
7 the Bosnian Croats, which was led by Stjepan Kljujic. The SDS opposed an
8 independent Bosnia
10 from happening.
11 By October of 1991, the issue of prospective Bosnian independence
12 came to a head at a joint session of the assembly of Bosnia and
14 Bosnian Croats and the Bosnian Muslims favoured the adoption of that
15 memorandum. Radovan Karadzic at that session warned the Muslims that if
16 they pursued independence, they would disappear. After a considerable
17 debate on the issue, the SDS
18 deputies who remained - the SDA deputies, the HDZ deputies, and others -
19 voted in favour of the memorandum for independence.
20 Almost immediately after the walkout, the Bosnian Serbs set up
21 parallel bodies of authority, including a Bosnian Serb assembly. They
22 set it up in the same month, October 1991. On the 24th of October, 1991
23 Karadzic explained to Slobodan Milosevic the following, and I quote: "We
24 are moving on. We will establish full authority over the Serbian
25 territories in Bosnia
1 of Alija Izetbegovic, "will be able to show their nose there. He will
2 not be able to exercise power. He will not have control over 65 per cent
3 of his territory. That is our goal."
4 At the same time, the Bosnian Serbs prepared to seize power in
5 large areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina that they considered vital to their
6 interest. As the evidence will show, Your Honours, they did so with the
7 assistance of the JNA.
8 Now, as it became apparent that the federal Yugoslav state would
9 not remain intact and that the republics of Bosnia and Herzegovina
11 remain indifferent. The Belgrade
12 state encompassing as many of the Serb inhabitants of the Socialist
13 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
14 possible. The goal of the Serb leaders in the SFRY was the formation of
15 a common Serb state or a union of states.
16 One of the most powerful institutions in the SFRY was the
17 Yugoslav People's Army, or JNA, of which the accused was a high-ranking
18 officer member.
19 According to article 240 of the SFRY constitution, the JNA was
20 the common armed force of all nations and nationalities of the country,
21 meaning he was the common army of the Serbs, the Croats, the Muslims.
22 By December of 1991, with the conflict in Croatia raging and with
23 ethnic relations in Bosnia
24 JNA's commitment to ethnic impartiality or neutrality vanished, and the
25 army metamorphosed into the hammer by which Serb interests were to be
1 protected and advanced.
2 Two documents illustrate, Your Honour, the JNA's historic and
3 important shift favouring the Serbs.
4 The first document, if we could have that on the screen, please,
5 the first document was issued -- it should appear on the screen. Yes, it
6 does. The first document, Your Honour, was issued by the Federal
7 Secretariat for National Defence for the SFRY. It is a -- classified as
8 a military secret. It was issued by General -- Army General Veljko
9 Kadijevic, who was the federal secretary of national defence, and it is
10 entitled: "On the Use of the Armed Forces for the Preparation and
11 Performance of Combat Activities in the Forthcoming Period." It leaves
12 absolutely no doubt as to which ethnic group the JNA favoured.
13 You will see, Your Honours, an excerpt from the text of that
14 document. It says: "Our armed forces are entering a new period of
15 exceptional significance for accomplishing the ultimate aims of the war:
16 The protection of the Serbian population ..." and it goes on.
17 The second document, Your Honour, was issued four months later,
18 approximately four months later, on the 20th of March, 1992, and it is
19 entitled: "The Conclusions of the Evaluation of the Situation on the BiH
20 Territory in the Zone of Responsibility of the 2nd Military District."
21 This document, Your Honour, is a military secret. This document was sent
22 directly to the attention of the chief of the JNA General Staff.
23 It reflects -- if you can turn to the next portion, it reflects,
24 Your Honours, that the directive of General Kadijevic was swiftly
25 implemented in Bosnia
1 from that document issued by General Kukanjac, who was the head of the
2 2nd Military District, a JNA general. And if you turn to the caption,
3 this is: "Volunteer Units in the Zone of the 2nd Military District."
4 Subpart B says there are 69.198 volunteers. And in subpart C, you'll see
5 that the volunteer that he is referring to are not part of the formation,
6 construction of the JNA or Territorial Defence. These are people who
7 were outside of the army. If you go to subpart V, the JNA distributed
8 51.900 pieces of armament; 75 per cent in the SDS, which was the
9 political party of Radovan Karadzic distributed 17.298 pieces. That's a
10 total of 69.198 pieces of arms. G, subpart G reflects that 300 automatic
11 rifles had been distributed in Sarajevo
12 distributed in Sarajevo
13 Now, there was a key attached to General Kukanjac's report that
14 described geographically where these volunteers were located; and you
15 will see, Your Honour, it doesn't come up on one page, unfortunately, but
16 in this attachment there are 75 municipalities in Bosnia or areas within
17 municipalities where these arms were distributed. And appearing on the
18 screen before you, you will see those areas where the arms and where the
19 volunteers were. And if we go to the end of that particular document,
20 you will see that this is 69.198. That's the number of arms that were
21 distributed, and what's interesting to note about this document, Your
22 Honours, is that one can see that arms were distributed by the JNA to
23 Serb volunteers on a systematic and a widespread basis. It covered a
24 large area of Bosnia
25 Republika Srpska.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Harmon, do we have this document in the
2 English language?
3 MR. HARMON: We should have it, Your Honour, in the English
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Will the Chamber be provided with a copy?
6 MR. HARMON: Of course.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
8 MR. HARMON: Now, if I may go, very briefly, into closed session,
9 Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into closed session.
11 [Closed session]
7 [Open session]
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
10 Yes, Mr. Harmon.
11 MR. HARMON: Your Honours, let me now fast-forward to Bosnia
12 weeks after the report that was issued by General Kukanjac showing the
13 distribution of arms in the 75 areas in Bosnia.
14 On the 12th of May, six weeks after the Kukanjac report was
15 issued, the Bosnian Serbs held the 16th Session of the Bosnian Serb
16 assembly. It was an important assembly session. It was important
17 because it was at that session Radovan Karadzic announced the
18 establishment of the VRS and announced that Radovan -- that Ratko Mladic
19 would be serving as its head, and the announcement was made by Radovan
20 Karadzic of the six strategic objectives of the Bosnian Serb people.
21 Now, the six strategic objectives which are before Your Honours
22 on the screen were the core political and military goals of the Bosnian
23 Serb leadership. General Mladic, who attended the 16th Session,
24 addressed the members of the assembly, and he said that he, too, had been
25 involved in the formulation of these objectives, both with the "top
1 leadership" of the Republika Srpska and "an even more select political
2 leadership in Belgrade
3 Now, for purposes of this trial, Your Honours, the strategic
4 objectives that are the most important are strategic objectives 1, 3, and
5 5. Strategic objective 1 was to -- an objective to separate the Serb
6 communities from the non-Serbs in Bosnia. Strategic objective number 3 -
7 if we could have the map in front of Your Honours - strategic objective
8 number 3, Your Honours, is the establishment of a corridor in the Drina
9 River Valley
10 separates Bosnia
11 divide the city of Sarajevo
12 establish effective state authorities in both parts.
13 Now, Your Honours, the announcement of these strategic objectives
14 was not an epiphany because a month and a half before their announcement,
15 violent attacks had taken place against the Muslim community in the city
16 of Bijeljina. Bijeljina, Your Honours, for your information, relates to
17 strategic objective number 3. If you see the word "Semberija" on the
18 right-hand side, slightly above the letter A, you'll locate the city of
19 Bijeljina. What happened in Bijeljina was that paramilitary formations
20 led by the notorious paramilitary leader Arkan attacked the Muslims in
21 that community, took control of the municipality, and the JNA stood idly
22 by and did not intervene.
23 You'll receive evidence, as well, during the course of this trial
24 that the JNA took an active role in ethnic cleansing, in cleansing
25 non-Serbs from the territory that was coveted by the Bosnian Serbs.
1 For example, on the 9th of May, in the Bratunac municipality --
2 and Bratunac, for your information, can be located next to the number 3
3 that says "Drina SO3." It sits along the border between Bosnia
5 village of Glogova and the Muslim settlements in and around Bratunac.
6 Elsewhere in Bosnia
7 were formally announced at the assembly - the pattern was the same. In
8 the municipality of Bosanska Krupa, which is located in Western Bosnia -
9 it's located above the word "Una" on the left-hand side of the map - the
10 Bosnian Muslims were ethnically cleansed from the territory with the
11 assistance of the JNA.
12 At the 16th assembly session when the strategic objectives were
13 announced, the assembly deputy from Bosanska Krupa, Miroslav Vjestica,
14 reported to the fellow members of the assembly that "on the right bank of
15 the Una river, there are no more Muslims in the Serbian municipality of
16 Bosanska Krupa."
17 The Prosecution evidence, Your Honour, will establish that the
18 JNA played a critical role in that ethnic cleansing operation.
19 Those are just some examples, Your Honour. We will present
20 additional evidence relating to this topic.
21 Now, these large-scale crimes, these ethnic cleansings that had
22 happened along the eastern part of Bosnia
23 did not go unnoticed by the international community. Pressure was
24 brought to bear on Belgrade
25 and on the 19th of May, 1992, the FRY, the Federal Republic
2 personnel, JNA personnel, from Bosnia
3 Shortly thereafter, the JNA was renamed the Yugoslav Army, or the VJ.
4 However, the withdrawal of the JNA was a sham. It did not end the agony
5 in Bosnia
6 been obtained.
7 In order to implement the state policy of the rump Yugoslavia
8 "creating conditions for the establishment of a single state of the
9 Serbian people," the JNA left behind immense military reserves of
10 equipment for use by the VRS; and thereafter, the Federal Republic
12 with covert military assistance in violation of Yugoslav domestic law, in
13 breach of UN resolutions, and contrary to public pronouncements by FRY
14 political and military leaders. I intend to discuss this in greater
15 detail later in my remarks.
16 Now, I have presented this brief overview, Your Honour, so we
17 could put into context the case against General Perisic when he, Your
18 Honours, became the Chief of the General Staff and when he faithfully and
19 without reservation implemented the policies of the FRY.
20 Now, let me address, Your Honours, General Perisic's criminal
21 responsibility under article 7.1 of the Statute.
22 His criminal liability under 7.1 is based on his aiding and
23 abetting the crimes charged in respect of Sarajevo and Srebrenica.
24 Within the policies of the SDC
25 he provided extensive military aid to the VRS, which had a substantial
1 effect on the commission of the crimes. The evidence will show that
2 General Perisic was aware of the substantial likelihood that the military
3 assistance provided to the VRS would assist in the commission of crimes.
4 He aided and abetted these crimes in Sarajevo and Srebrenica in
5 four ways: By supplying large quantities of weapons, ammunition, and
6 other logistical materials without which the Bosnian Serb army could not
7 have prosecuted the war; he deployed and supported -- and supported
8 senior officers in the VRS; he sent regular VJ troops stationed in the
9 FRY into Bosnia
10 consistently failing to fulfil his duty to prevent, investigate, and
11 punish breaches of international law perpetrated by his subordinates
12 serving in the Bosnian Serb army and the Serbian -- the Croatian Serb
13 army, of which he was fully aware. And through this omission, this
14 series of omissions, he created an environment of impunity wherein his
15 subordinates were encouraged and did persist in committing crimes,
16 knowing that there would be no consequences for their derelictions.
17 Now, as I've stated earlier, Your Honours, the policy of Slobodan
18 Milosevic's Yugoslavia
19 brethren in both Bosnia
20 quantities of military aid to the VRS and the SVK, including artillery
21 weapons, small arms ammunition, small arms, communications equipment, and
22 the like. This assistance was a carefully guarded state secret, since it
23 was in breach of UN resolutions prohibiting the FRY from interfering in
24 the affairs of Bosnia
25 The vital military assistance that was provided to the two armies
1 in Bosnia
2 that large volumes of material were left for the Bosnian Serb forces when
3 the JNA officially left Bosnia
4 end of the war, the VJ supplied the VRS with their essential military
5 needs. This phase included the phase when General Perisic was Chief of
6 the VJ General Staff.
7 Now, what quantities am I talking about? Focusing solely on the
8 infantry ammunition left behind by the VJ -- by the JNA, General Mladic
9 at the 50th Session of the Bosnian Serb assembly, which was held on the
10 15th and 16th of April, 1995, estimated that 42.2 per cent of the total
11 infantry ammunition consumed since the beginning of the war, which was
12 9.185 tonnes, had been inherited or found -- inherited from the JNA or
13 found in the barracks.
14 Now, in addition to that 42.2-per cent infantry ammunition,
15 General Mladic specified the volume of material assistance the VJ had
16 provided to the VRS. So in addition to the 42 per cent, he said that
17 47.2 per cent of the total infantry ammunition consumed from the
18 beginning of the war was aid from -- received from the Yugoslav Army;
19 34.4 per cent of the 18.151 tonnes of artillery ammunition used by the
20 VRS was from VJ aid.
21 As the Chief of the VJ General Staff, General Perisic ordered a
22 substantial amount of that military support be furnished to the VRS.
23 Now, once again, Your Honour, I need to go into closed session.
24 I'll do so briefly, but I need to refer to two exhibits.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into closed session
1 [Closed session]
5 [Open session]
6 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
8 Yes, Mr. Harmon.
9 MR. HARMON: Your Honours, the Prosecution evidence will show
10 that the VJ was the sole supplier of critical munitions during certain
11 periods of the war, including 155-millimetre artillery ammunition, the
12 type of ammunition that was used during the shelling of Sarajevo.
13 Now, the Prosecution evidence will link munitions provided to the
14 VRS to crimes alleged in the indictment. Expended ammunition, shell
15 cartridges that were recovered by the Office of the Prosecutor at various
16 execution sites identified in the schedule relating to Srebrenica, the
17 massacre sites, were produced in the FRY at the that General Perisic was
18 Chief of the VJ General Staff. Likewise, artillery fragments recovered
19 at the sites of some of the scheduled shelling incidents and other
20 incidents were produced in the FRY at the same time.
21 Now, the fearsome war engine of the Bosnian Serbs would have
22 collapsed without the assistance, the massive military assistance
23 provided from the VJ and from the FRY.
24 Again, I need to go into closed session very, very briefly. If I
25 could have the Court's permission, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into closed session.
2 [Closed session]
21 [Open session]
22 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
24 Mr. Harmon.
25 MR. HARMON: Your Honours will receive evidence that, according
1 to the accused, the volume of military assistance the VJ provided to the
2 Bosnian Serb army and the Bosnian Croat army was so great that it
3 imperilled the combat-readiness of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
4 Now, let me turn to another element of -- where General Perisic
5 aided and abetted.
6 The indictment alleges that General Perisic continued the
7 practice of providing, deploying, and supporting senior officers to the
8 VRS. In order to achieve by military means the objectives that were
9 sought by the leaders of the Republika Srpska and the Republic of Serbian
10 Krajina, new armies had to be created, and they were created. The VRS
11 was established on the 12th of May, 1992, and the SVK, Bosnian Croat
12 Army, was established on the 16th of October, 1992. Their ranks filled
13 with volunteers, many of whom had served in the Territorial Defence or
14 who had served in the JNA. But these nascent armies were not capable of
15 survival without substantial manpower and financial assistance from the
16 FRY; and in order to sustain them, the JNA, and later the VJ, ordered its
17 personnel to serve in those armies. In many cases, Your Honours, the VRS
18 and the SVK requested the services of specifically identified officers,
19 and they were given; or they requested officers who could fill specific
20 needs of the army, and they were given.
21 When General Perisic became Chief of the General Staff of the
22 Yugoslav Army, he continued the FRY policy of providing officers to serve
23 in those armies, in deploying them to those armies, and in supporting
24 them. He proposed - and I'll discuss this later - he proposed two
25 temporary personnel formations be created: the 30th Personnel Centre and
1 the 40th Personnel Centre. The 30th Personnel Centre was for persons
2 serving in the Republika Srpska, and the 40th Personnel Centre was for VJ
3 personnel serving in the SVK. The structure and the purpose of these
4 personnel centres was an elaborate deception. It was a deception to
5 disguise the provision and payment of these officers to those armies.
6 If we turn to the next document, Your Honour, the 30th and 40th
7 Personnel Centres, you'll see on the organigramme in front of you was
8 part of the VJ General Staff. The 30th and 40th Personnel Centres are
9 the two boxes that appear at the bottom of the organigramme. They are
10 part of the personnel administration, and they are part of the
11 recruitment and mobilisation organ of the VJ.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can we zoom in? We can't read what is there.
13 MR. HARMON: Now, Your Honours, the Prosecution evidence will
14 show that the VRS and the SVK command structures were made up of members
15 of the 30th and 40th Personnel Centres.
16 In its pre-trial brief, the Defence asserts that "The members of
17 the VRS Main Staff and the VRS core commanders were not members of the
18 VJ." That's found at the Defence pre-trial brief, page 44, subpart J.
19 This is significant, and let me explain why.
20 If we can -- the first document, the document that is before you,
21 Your Honours, is the 30th Personnel Centre; and although the font is
22 quite small, we can zoom in on it if you would like. It identifies VJ
23 personnel who served in the 30th Personnel Centre and who made up the
24 Bosnian Serb army command structure. So if we go -- if I can focus your
25 attention, Your Honours, down to the first parallel group, these are the
1 various organs of the VRS. These are the Department for Security and
2 Intelligence Affairs, for example, the various staff organs of the VRS.
3 And if we go down one lower, then Your Honours will see that the VJ
4 personnel also made up a substantial part of the corps of the VRS,
5 including the Drina Corps, whose area of responsibility was where the
6 Srebrenica massacres took place, and the Sarajevo Romanija Corps, whose
7 commanders were General Milosevic and General Galic.
8 Now, without members of the 30th and 40th Personnel Centres of
9 the VJ making up part of the command structure, let me show you what the
10 VRS command structure would look like. So in front of you is an
11 organigramme showing you what the VRS command structure looked like
12 without VJ officers from the 30th and 40th Personnel Centres.
13 If we turn, Your Honours, to the next organigramme, which shows
14 the 40th Personnel Centre officers or VJ officers within the SVK command
15 structure, Your Honours will see this organigramme is set up in a similar
16 way to the previous one, the first going from the bottom up. The long
17 column going from left to right are the corps of the SVK. Above that are
18 the organs of the SVK, and above that is the Superior Command of the SVK.
19 I can blow that up if Your Honours wish.
20 These are the corps, Your Honour. These are the VJ personnel
21 from the 40th Personnel Centre who were in the SVK command structure.
22 Your Honour, if we go up a level, these officers -- these are
23 officers in the various organs of the SVK, and if we go up to the two
24 levels -- the two levels above that, Your Honours will see this is the
25 higher echelon of the SVK. The command at the top is the commanders of
1 the Main Staff of the SVK, and the box to the lower -- to the left are
2 the assistant commanders and the Chief of the General Staff of the SVK.
3 Now, Your Honours, what would that command structure look like
4 without VJ officers from the 40th Personnel Centre? The next
5 organigramme shows Your Honours what that command structure would look
6 like without VJ officers from the 40th Personnel Centre.
7 We also allege, Your Honour, in the indictment that General
8 Perisic aided and abetted the crimes in the indictment by, in some
9 instances, ordering regular VJ troops stationed in the FRY into Bosnia
10 We will lead evidence, Your Honour, about one such operation.
11 "Pancir-2" was the name of the operation. It occurred in late 1993 and
12 early 1994. And the purpose of Pancir-2 was to take the high ground,
13 Mount Zuc
14 their efforts to achieve military control over Sarajevo.
15 We'll take a look, Your Honour, at the first exhibit before you.
16 This is as -- or the first piece before you, Your Honour. We have
17 identified the location of Mount Zuc
18 much -- toward the bottom the much denser area below the dark is the city
19 of Sarajevo
20 So Mount Zuc, if we can go to the next document, you'll have a
21 better view of Mount Zuc
23 to the left of the city overlooking the city. That's Mount Zuc
24 And in order to achieve, in order to take that mountain, General
25 Perisic ordered members of the VJ special forces to the Sarajevo front.
1 The VJ special core units, including the Guards Brigade, the 72nd Special
2 Corps Units, the 72nd Brigade, and the 63rd Parachute Brigade, were
3 directly subordinated to the VJ of the General Staff, to General Perisic,
4 and he had authority to order their engagement and use in combat.
5 Now, the Office of the Prosecutor asked General Perisic about the
6 participation of VJ troops in Bosnia
7 responses to questions put to him about that subject, in his recorded
8 suspect interview, and in his pre-trial brief, General Perisic denied
9 that the VJ was involved in operations in Bosnia during the time he was
10 Chief of the VJ General Staff or that he ever ordered VJ units into
11 operation in Bosnia
12 have left the FRY and operated in and around Sarajevo, but they did not
13 commit any crimes alleged in the indictment.
14 General Perisic was untruthful in his responses. If we can turn
15 to the next document, Your Honour, the next document -- if we turn to the
16 next document, Your Honour, this is a document from the Sarajevo Romanija
17 Corps command, and it is an order to carry out an operation. It's dated
18 the 3rd of November, 1993, and it's to all the commanders, and you'll see
19 in subpart 1 the units that will be taking place -- taking part in that
20 operation. You'll see it says at the end of the -- the bottom of that
21 page, it says: "VJ Special Forces up to 120 people and a helicopter
22 squad." And if we go further down in that order, you'll see that the
23 operation was to be carried out in two stages. The first stage was the
24 capture of Zuc.
25 Now, Your Honours, the presence of VJ troops operating in Bosnia
1 approximately seven months after the JNA had officially withdrawn from
3 Milosevic, one that could have exposed the FRY to grave - graver, I
4 should say - consequences. For that reason, the FRY and the VRS took
5 considerable efforts to hide the participation of VJ units in Bosnia
6 This is reflected in the next document I'm going to present.
7 This next document, Your Honour, it is -- you'll see from the --
8 I'm going to show you different parts of this document. The first part
9 of this document, Your Honour, this is from the Main Staff of the Army of
10 the Republika Srpska. It was issued by the Deputy Commander of the VRS,
11 General Milovanovic, and it is very urgent. If we go to the next part of
12 this document, you'll see what it was that was very urgent. It is a
13 warning, and the warning says, and I go to the second sentence: "In
14 order to protect confidentiality and other measures and activities that
15 we have been undertaking, I forbid the use of or any reference in regular
16 and telephone communications to the term Yugoslav Army units."
17 It goes on to the next page to say at the top: "The Yugoslav
18 Army units shall be treated as reserve forces of the General Staff, the
19 VRS Main Staff, regardless of their size, type, or strength." In other
20 words, don't refer to the VJ troops; refer to them as VRS reserve units.
21 Now, normal circumstances, I suspect, the Sarajevo Romanija Corps
22 commanders would have respected that warning. But if we turn to the next
23 document, you'll see that they did not. When members of the VJ Special
24 unit, the 72nd Special Brigade, participated in the attack on Mount Zuc
25 Your Honours, they suffered considerable casualties, and the Sarajevo
1 Romanija Corps commander, General Galic, reported that.
2 This is a report from General Galic. It's dated the 27th of
3 December, 1993, and it says: "On the 27th of December, in accordance
4 with Operation Pancir-2, a planned attack by combat groups under the
5 command of Colonel Stupar, commander of the 72nd Brigade of the VJ," the
6 Yugoslav Army, "was carried out."
7 Now, if we go down to the next part of this document, General
8 Galic then reports that they sustained casualties, and you'll see in this
9 section that I'm illustrating on your monitors that seven members of the
10 72nd Brigade were killed, and the rest of them managed to pull out with
11 difficulties. It also goes on to say that ten of them were wounded.
12 Now, these casualties -- VJ casualties were recorded in VJ
13 military documents, and they were recorded in obituaries that were in --
14 that appeared in newspapers in Belgrade
15 show you of this is an obituary for a captain of the Yugoslav Army whose
16 obituary you have before you on the monitor. According to one of the
17 obituaries, it says that this young man, who was a captain in the
18 Yugoslav Army, "who died a heroic death on 27 December 1993, defending
19 his country, the Greater Serbia."
20 Our evidence will show, Your Honour, that on the 27th of
21 December, 1993, when the VJ special units were assaulting Mount Zuc
22 you've seen their proximity to Sarajevo
24 itself of great intensity. Approximately 600 shells fell on the centre
25 of Sarajevo
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Harmon?
3 MR. HARMON: Yes.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Would it be possible in the next five minutes to
5 get to a convenient time?
6 MR. HARMON: Yes, it will be, Your Honour. I'm just about done,
7 and we can take a break.
8 Your Honour, shortly after the failed assault on Mount Zuc
9 General Perisic, on the 8th of January, 1994 - in other words, about two
10 weeks later - flew to Sarajevo
11 then-commander of the Special Units Corps of the VJ General Staff, with
12 General Mladic, with General Galic, and others, and he was briefed on the
13 situation in and around Sarajevo
14 With that, Your Honour, this is a convenient time to take a
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: We will take a break and come back at 12.00.
17 --- Recess taken at 11.36 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 12.01 p.m.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Harmon.
20 MR. HARMON: Your Honours, I have previously addressed the fourth
21 manner in which General Perisic aided and abetted in the commission of
22 the crimes, that is, by consistently failing in his duty to prevent, to
23 investigate, and to punish breaches of international law committed by his
24 subordinates serving in the VRS and the SVK, and I won't go further on
25 that topic.
1 Instead, I'd like to turn to General Perisic's responsibility
2 under Article 7.3 of the Statute of the Tribunal. General Perisic is
3 charged in all counts with 7.3, criminal responsibility.
4 Now, quite obviously his responsibility to prevent the criminal
5 conduct of his subordinates extended until the war ended, which was the
6 signing of the Dayton Agreements. His criminal liability to punish,
7 however, extended for a considerable period longer. It extended
8 throughout the period he was Chief of the VJ General Staff, that is,
9 through November the 24th, 1998.
10 In order to establish his criminal responsibility under Article
11 7.3, the Prosecution has to establish three elements: That a
12 superior-subordinate relationship existed between General Perisic and his
13 subordinates who committed the crimes; that General Perisic knew or had
14 reason to know that a criminal act was about to be or had been committed;
15 and that he failed to take reasonable and necessary measures to prevent
16 the criminal act from occurring or to punish the perpetrators who
17 committed them.
18 Now, one of the principal issues that will be before Your Honours
19 in this case is whether a superior-subordinate relationship existed
20 between General Perisic and the officers who were members of the 30th and
21 40th Personnel Centres, the special formations that I've identified that
22 were part of the VJ General Staff structure. Our position is that they
23 were; the Defence position is that they were not his subordinates.
24 Now, his subordinates, as you have seen from the organigrammes
25 that I have presented, included General Mladic, General Krstic, General
1 Milosevic, General Galic, and others.
2 In order, Your Honour, to prove a superior-subordinate
3 relationship, it's incumbent on the Prosecution to establish that General
4 Perisic had effective control, meaning that he had the ability -- the
5 material ability to prevent or punish the commission of the offences.
6 Now, when assessing the various elements in the evidentiary
7 matrix that make up effective control, I want to draw Your Honours'
8 attention to one point, and that is that General Perisic did not exercise
9 operational control over his subordinates in the SVK and VRS -- the VRS
10 and the SVK. And by "operational control," what I mean is exercising
11 command and control through issuing orders, commands, instructions,
12 directives for military combat operations being conducted in the field.
13 In fact, operational control had de facto been delegated to the
14 commanders of the VRS and the SVK, and this created a situation where
15 they, as well as Perisic, had the material ability to prevent and punish
16 the criminal conduct of seconded VJ officers.
17 In other words, General Perisic's material ability to prevent and
18 punish criminal conduct of VJ officers was parallel and concurrent to the
19 material ability held by the commanders of the VRS and the SVK who had
20 operational control of these officers and who also had a
21 superior-subordinate relationship with them.
22 For example, Radovan Karadzic was the Supreme Commander of the
23 VRS. He had the material ability to punish his subordinates in the VRS,
24 including soldiers seconded to that army from the VJ. If General Perisic
25 was aware that his subordinates had committed crimes while serving in the
1 VRS and he was aware that President Karadzic failed to sanction those
2 offenders, General Perisic's responsibility to do so was not extinguished
3 because of Karadzic's indifference or his inaction. General Perisic was
4 obliged to take action against his VJ subordinates.
5 Now, you've heard a lot about the 30th and the 40th Personnel
6 Centres. Let me turn to the creation and the purpose of those centres.
7 This has a direct bearing on both General Perisic's criminal
8 responsibility under Article 7.1 and also 7.3.
9 Before General Perisic became Chief of the VJ General Staff,
10 members of the JNA and members of the VJ had volunteered to serve in the
11 two armies in Bosnia
12 and the JNA to serve in those armies. The salaries of those officers
13 were paid to them by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia throughout the
14 period of the war with one exception, and that is following the Republika
15 Srpska's failure to accept the Contact Group Peace Plan in 1994. There
16 was a brief interruption in the payment of salaries.
17 The law on the VJ permitted an officer in the VJ to serve outside
18 the borders of the FRY in two circumstances: as part of an international
19 peace-keeping force or in diplomatic postings. General Perisic was aware
20 that neither one of those conditions applied to VJ personnel who were
21 serving in the VRS or the SVK or would apply to soldiers he was going to
22 deploy there in the future.
23 In his suspect interview, General Perisic said, and he
24 acknowledged that those -- and I'm quoting, those who would be
25 dispatching VJ soldiers to participate in the war in Bosnia "would be
1 breaking a law." To rectify this problem, General Perisic proposed that
2 special personnel centres be created.
3 One of the important issues that Your Honours will deal with in
4 this case was what was the nature of the 30th and 40th Personnel Centres?
5 In his suspect interview, General Perisic described the personnel
6 centres. He said it was merely "one office" that was based in the
7 personnel administration of the General Staff and was staffed with "2 or
8 3" men.
9 According to General Perisic - and I'm putting up on the screen,
10 Your Honour, an excerpt from his written responses to questions that were
11 put to him - according to General Perisic, these -- and I'm quoting,
12 "These centres were formed in late 1993 by order of the VSO" -- that's
13 Supreme Defence Council -- "for the purpose of drawing up complete
14 records indicating which individuals, former JNA/VJ members born in
16 Serbian Krajina as volunteers." And also: "... all other JNA/VJ members
17 that joined these armies on a volunteer basis. Precise records were
18 needed for the following reasons..." and he then lists the reasons.
19 In his suspect interview, General Perisic went on to define the
20 term "volunteer." He defined it this way: "People who voluntarily,
21 without any influence of anyone but out of their will, want to go and
22 perform a certain job and task."
23 Now, Prosecution evidence will show that the nature of the 30th
24 and 40th Personnel Centres was considerably different. The 30th and 40th
25 Personnel Centres were created as legal cover to hide the fact that the
1 VJ was ordering its personnel to serve in Bosnia and in Croatia
2 contravention of FRY law and in contravention of international
3 undertakings and obligations.
4 If we can go into closed session, please.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into closed session.
6 [Closed session]
11 Page 383 redacted. Closed session.
14 [Open session]
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
17 Mr. Harmon.
18 MR. HARMON: Your Honours, secrecy was absolutely vital for this
19 deception. In front of you on the screen, Your Honour, is the
20 instructions on the functioning of the programme of activities of special
21 personnel centres. It was issued by General Perisic on the 8th of
22 December, 1993, and it's quite a revealing document. You'll see in the
23 section before you the "General Work Principles of the Special Personnel
24 Centres," and it says under paragraph 1: "These Instructions shall
25 establish the functioning and work of special personnel centres for the
1 complete execution of missions set out in special orders from the
2 relevant state and military organs."
3 If we go to -- under that same chapeau to paragraphs 12, 13 --
4 and 13, it reads: "Personnel service organs and other command organs and
5 officers cannot provide copies, photocopies, or extracts from decisions
6 or orders except in administrative proceedings to the individuals to
7 which these documents refer. The decisions and orders regulating service
8 will only be given verbally to such individuals."
9 Paragraph 13: "For professional soldiers and civilians in the
10 personnel centre records department, the protection of secrecy of
11 information contained in decisions, orders, and other documents and acts
12 relating to all service status and the service itself is of special
13 interest and significance to the Yugoslav Army.
14 "Any individual in the personnel centre records department or
15 group of individuals in the Yugoslav Army who threaten the protection of
16 secret information as described under paragraph 1 herein in a prohibited
17 manner shall be subject to regular disciplinary or criminal
18 responsibility depending on the degree and means of endangering the
19 secrecy of the information."
20 Now, following the creation of these personnel centres, our
21 evidence will show, Your Honour, that in fact these personnel centres did
22 perform administrative functions. They did regulate the paperwork for VJ
23 soldiers serving in the armies of Bosnia and Croatia
24 their benefits. However, they were more than mere administrative
25 centres. When a VJ officer was transferred to the 30th Personnel Centre,
1 his duty post was designated to be Belgrade
2 his assignment to a duty post in Belgrade
3 assignment to the 30th Personnel Centre or the 40th Personnel Centre
4 wasn't an assignment to perform clerical work, administering the benefits
5 and payroll of VJ or SVK members. Transfers to the 30th Personnel Centre
6 and the 40th Personnel Centre were transfers to the Army of the Republika
7 Srpska and the Bosnian Croat army.
8 During this period -- I will illustrate this with three orders of
9 a single individual, Your Honour. The first of these appears on the
10 screen in front of you, Your Honour. It is an order -- it is an order of
11 the Chief of the Personnel Administration of the General Staff of the
12 Yugoslav Army. It's dated the 15th of February, 1994, and it is based
13 on, in part, an order of the Chief of Staff of the Yugoslav Army. And if
14 we turn to the next portion of this same document, you'll see, Your
15 Honours, that this relates to an individual named Bogdan Sladojevic, who
16 was a colonel in the army, and his appointment is to the General Staff of
17 the Yugoslav Army 40th Personnel Centre as a commander. And if we go to
18 the bottom of that very document, you'll see that he's been reassigned
19 and appointed as per the service requirements. So as to the needs of the
20 service, he's been appointed to the 40th Personnel Centre.
21 If we turn to the next document, Your Honour, this is a -- this
22 is an order, so if we go to the top of this -- Your Honours, can you read
23 that document or should it be -- this document or -- why don't you
24 enlarge it.
25 This document, Your Honour, is an order from General Perisic
1 himself, and it pertains to the same officer. This is dated the 4th of
2 October, 1994, and this redeploys Colonel Sladojevic to the 1st Army of
3 the VJ, the Novi Sad Corps, as a commander.
4 If we go down to the next part of this document, Your Honour, the
5 bottom of this document, it says that Colonel Sladojevic was a commander
6 in the 2nd Corps of the 40th Personnel Centre of the VJ General Staff.
7 At the bottom, it says: "He is being re-deployed and assigned according
8 to the service requirements."
9 Following the career of Colonel Sladojevic, Your Honour, we now
10 move forward to the 3rd of July, 1995. This is an order -- this is an
11 order, Your Honour, that was issued on the 3rd of July. We'll get this
12 on the screen, Your Honour. This is an order that was issued on the 3rd
13 of July pursuant to an order by the Chief of the General Staff of the
14 army temporarily assigning Colonel Sladojevic to the 30th Personnel
15 Centre --
16 MR. GUY-SMITH: Excuse me, Mr. Harmon. I do hate to interrupt.
17 We've just sent your case manager a message with regard to these
18 documents. I think they may be matters that are more appropriately dealt
19 with in --
20 MR. HARMON: They are not. We've examined the documents. These
21 are documents -- this document we've received from a very reliable
23 MR. GUY-SMITH: Very well. I just wanted to make sure this is
24 not a closed-session document since it was a personnel -- I do apologise
25 for interrupting. I apologise to the Court as well.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Guy-Smith.
2 MR. GUY-SMITH: Just because of the concern you'd raised earlier
3 concerning --
4 MR. HARMON: I appreciate your concern, but we looked at this
6 MR. GUY-SMITH: Excellent. I'm so pleased.
7 MR. HARMON: So this document -- this, Your Honours, is the -- a
8 document that is -- shows that Colonel Sladojevic, having been
9 transferred to the 40th Personnel Centre, then ordered back to the VJ by
10 General Perisic, he's now ordered to the 40th Personnel Centre.
11 Your Honours, the system of transfers from the VJ to the VRS or
12 the SVK wasn't a one-way street; it was a two-way street. These armies
13 inter-changed their personnel.
14 If we turn to the next document, the screen in front of you, it's
15 dated the 7th of April, 1994, and this is from the General Staff
16 Recruitment and Mobilisation Section to the Main Staff of the 40th
17 Personnel Centre. And this document indicates that a particular -- the
18 army of the Military School Centre requests that a particular individual
19 be returned as soon as possible to that particular centre for -- based on
20 the needs of the service. He's currently in the 11th Corps of the 40th
21 Personnel Centre where he was sent temporarily, and they ask then that
22 authorisation be issued to permit him to come back from the SVK to the
24 Now, Your Honours, our evidence will include documents that show
25 the involuntary nature of transfers to the 30th and 40th Personnel
1 Centres. One such document -- one such document, Your Honour, is a
2 record of an official talk between General Zivanovic, who was the
3 then-commander of the Drina Corps of the VRS, with an individual who's
4 identified in this document. It's an official talk about this particular
5 officer's transfer to the VRS. And if you go to subpart A, you will see
6 the following: "No one asked me for an opinion regarding my transfer to
7 the 30th Personnel Centre." He goes on to say: "I should not have been
8 transferred to the VRS without my personal consent. I have refused to be
9 transferred ..."
10 If we go to the next page of that document, Your Honour, you'll
11 see the remaining portion of this particular talk, in subpart F: "Based
12 on the above, I request to be returned to the Zrenjanin garrison, from
13 which I have been transferred to the VRS as soon as possible." At the
14 end, he says: "In case my request is not granted, I will be forced to
15 ask for my right at the Court of Law."
16 Now, consistent with the evidence I have described earlier about
17 an individual who refused an order to go -- an assignment to go to the
18 30th and 40th Personnel Centres and that that would have consequences,
19 let me show you the following document. And if we could ...
20 This is a document, Your Honour, that was issued on the 10th of
21 July from the 3rd Army. And you'll see under "Urgent," it says:
22 "Pursuant to the order of the VJ General Staff," and it gives a number
23 and a date, "and after interviews of the professional officers and
24 non-commissioned officers with the VJ General Staff Chief regarding
25 transfer and appointment to the 40th Personnel Centre, I order ..."
1 And then this document, if we can go to the next portion of this
2 document, there's a subpart 1 of the document that is not highlighted.
3 It says: "Transfer the following eight individuals to the 40th Personnel
5 If we go to the highlighted portion next, which is subpart 2, it
6 says: "Initiate the procedure for termination of military service for
7 the following," and it identifies two individuals. "On the meeting held
8 with the Chief of the VJ General Staff, the above-mentioned persons had
9 stated that they would like to terminate their professional military
10 service with their right for retirement."
11 On the following page, the document reads in respect of these two
12 individuals: "In case the above named do not want to terminate their
13 professional military service upon their request, they are to be referred
14 to report to units of the 40th Personnel Centre ..."
15 Now, Your Honours will also receive information and evidence
16 about promotions and a process called "verification." The crux of the
17 problem was this: If a VJ soldier who had been ordered to go to serve in
18 the VRS received a promotion, would that promotion automatically be
19 recognised in the VJ? That was the problem. To resolve that problem,
20 the verification process was developed, and it was this: For officers
21 who were promoted up to the rank of general, a recommendation by the
22 Chief of the General Staff to the SDC
23 decide. For officers up to the rank of -- promoted to the rank of
24 colonel, General Perisic could decide on those promotions. However, the
25 issue of promotions in the VJ was also a matter of secrecy, and General
1 Perisic was instructed to maintain secrecy on those promotions. There
2 should be no paper-trail reflecting that the promotion in the VJ was
3 based on service in the VRS or the SVK.
4 If I could go into, very briefly -- I apologise, but if I could
5 go into closed session, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into closed session.
7 [Closed session]
11 Page 392 redacted. Closed session.
11 [Open session]
12 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
14 Yes, Mr. Harmon.
15 MR. HARMON: Earlier in my remarks, Your Honours, I discussed the
16 concern that possible legal actions would expose the President to the
17 presence of VJ soldiers serving in the VRS and the SVK. In fact,
18 lawsuits were filed by VJ members who were seeking compensations for
19 their services and entitlements while serving in the VRS.
20 We're going to present to Your Honours judgements from the
21 Supreme Military Court
22 that members of the personnel centres were members of the VJ ordered to
23 serve in the VRS.
24 One such example of that lawsuit -- of such a lawsuit, Your
25 Honour, involved an individual by the name of Colonel Lubojevic, who was
1 a member of the VJ who had been sent to serve in the VRS, and he made an
2 administrative claim for compensation for unused annual leave from the
3 years 1992 to 1995 while he was serving in the VRS. But his claim was
4 denied by the 30th Personnel Centre, and he appealed. He appealed on the
5 basis that he took part in military operations in Bosnia as a member of
6 the VJ on orders of his superior officer, and as a VJ member he was
7 entitled to compensations for his annual leave. The Supreme Military
8 Court agreed with him and reversed the decision made by the 30th
9 Personnel Centre.
10 This extract, Your Honour, is from that particular judgement I
11 cited, and it says as follows: "In this specific case, the key facts on
12 which a lawful ruling hinges in this legal matter are not in dispute by
13 the parties. No one disputes that the plaintiff was away from the
14 Yugoslav Army force during the time for which he seeks the compensation
15 in question, i.e., he was in a part of the former SFRY," Bosnia
16 member of the Yugoslav Army on orders from his superior officer and did
17 not take annual leave in 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995, as can be seen from
18 the confirmation by the superior officer."
19 Now, this legal conclusion and conclusions like this are
20 important because they were relied on to award compensation to numerous
21 other members of the 30th and 40th Personnel Centres who sought similar
23 One person who sought similar relieve was General Mladic. The
24 document in front of you -- in this document, Your Honours, this is dated
25 the 17th of May, 2001, and this is a request by General Mladic, who was
1 serving in military post 3001 Belgrade
2 unused leave for the years 1991 to 1995. The court awarded him that
3 compensation based on the judgement number 1690/2000, which is the
4 Lubojevic judgement I just showed you an extract of.
5 If we turn to the next page, the reasons for awarding this
6 judgement, this compensation to General Mladic, this says, the request is
7 founded "based on the legal opinion of the Supreme Military Court
9 Yugoslav Army by his superior officer and did not use his annual leave
10 must be brought in line with the position of serviceman whose annual
11 leave was deferred or terminated by the Chief of the General Staff due to
12 extraordinary needs of the service."
13 We will present to Your Honours other judgements of this nature.
14 In conclusion, on this aspect of the evidence we will present Your
15 Honour, we will present you with evidence that there was a
16 superior-subordinate relationship that existed between General Perisic
17 and members of the 30th and 40th Personnel Centres.
18 I'd like to turn, Your Honour, to the second element of 7.3
19 criminal responsibility, that is, whether General Perisic knew or had
20 reason to know that the crimes were about to be committed or had been
22 The law for command or responsibility/liability and the mens rea
23 standard for that responsibility, superior responsibility, has been set
24 forth in the Strugar appeals judgement, and it is as follows, that there
25 be "sufficiently alarming information putting a superior on notice of the
1 risk that crimes might subsequently be carried out by his subordinates
2 and justifying further inquiry..." Now, this information "may be general
3 in nature and does not need to contain specific details on the unlawful
4 acts which have been or which are about to be committed."
5 Your Honours, should I pause here for a moment?
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's fine.
7 MR. HARMON: All right, Your Honour.
8 The Defence, in its pre-trial brief, at page 42, paragraph 135 C,
9 asserts that there is no evidence that General Perisic knew or was aware
10 that there was a substantial likelihood that crimes that are alleged in
11 the indictment would be committed by members of the VRS. Therefore, one
12 of the central issues for you to decide in this case is whether General
13 Perisic received sufficiently alarming information to put him on notice
14 that his subordinates might commit crimes.
15 Now, our evidence that we will present will demonstrate that
16 General Perisic did have sufficient notice, and it comes from a variety
17 of sources: His military experiences in Bosnia at the outset of the war
18 and his personal contacts with Radovan Karadzic and other Republika
19 Srpska leaders; his visits to Bosnia
20 General Staff and his ability to observe firsthand the effects of Bosnian
21 Serb military operations in the area. Those visits included visits to
23 around Bihac and elsewhere. He received notice, Your Honour, through UN
24 resolutions and UN reports; discussions with representatives of the
25 international community who complained to him directly about crimes being
1 committed in Bosnia
2 communications from diplomats; media source material; and he received
3 direct reports about crimes committed by his subordinates from Slobodan
5 Now, Perisic's Bosnian experiences provided him with information
6 that would and should have put him on notice. He gained insight into the
7 thinking of the leaders of the Republika Srpska when he served as a JNA
8 commander in Mostar, which was in Bosnia
9 conflict. In April of 1992, Radovan Karadzic asked General Perisic to
10 become the commander of the VRS. He rejected the offer. In his suspect
11 interview, he said why he rejected the offer.
12 He said: "The members of the Republika Srpska, both political
13 and military leaderships, knew well that" -- and then there's an
14 indiscernible word -- "against any persecution of civilians and
15 destruction of property. And Karadzic asked me to be commander of the
16 Army of Republika Srpska, when I was a corps commander in Mostar, or
17 rather in Bileca. I refused that for three reasons. The first reason
18 was that they wanted an ethnically cleansed army and myself, in Bileca
19 Corps, had as members the representatives of all the national minorities
20 and peoples living in Bosnia
21 be influenced by the SDS
22 ruling party. Thirdly, because I saw that their concept was unacceptable
23 to me; and fourthly, because I was not born in the area of the Republic
24 of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
25 Now, if we can go very, very briefly again into closed session,
1 Your Honour.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into closed session.
3 [Closed session]
20 [Open session]
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
23 Yes, Mr. Harmon.
24 MR. HARMON: General Perisic also had alarming information
25 available to him through UN reports and UN resolutions. The events that
1 had taken place and were taking place in the former Yugoslavia were of
2 urgent concern to the members of the United Nations Security Council
3 because of the risk that those events posed to peace and security. The
4 United Nations issued a number of resolutions and a number of reports
5 condemning both the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia interference in the
6 conflicts in Bosnia
7 taken place there, including violations that had occurred in Sarajevo
8 violations that occurred in Srebrenica.
9 Pursuant to UN Resolution 757, the UN Security Council, on the
10 30th of May, 1992, imposed sanctions on the FRY because it had not
11 complied with Security Council demands that interference in Bosnia
12 immediately and that forcible expulsions and attempts to change the
13 composition of the population cease immediately as well. Because those
14 sanctions impacted seriously on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's
15 economic well-being, its political leaders and its military leaders,
16 including General Perisic, were particularly concerned and attentive to
17 the UN debates and reports that were emanating from that body.
18 Let me turn to some of the types of information that was
19 available to General Perisic in respect of the crimes being committed in
21 By the time General Perisic became the Chief of the General Staff
22 in August of 1993, Sarajevo
23 World War. Heavy artillery and other weapons had been pounding Sarajevo
24 The crimes that were being perpetrated by the VRS against its inhabitants
25 were notorious and well-known and, frankly, better reported than any
1 other crimes in any other war, probably, in the history of mankind. Both
2 reported in print media and reported in the broadcast media, sometimes in
3 very near realtime. Your Honours may recall the many disturbing images
4 that appeared on CNN and SkyNews and the BBC: among other things, dead
5 and maimed people in marketplaces in Bosnia in the streets, destroyed
6 buildings, desperate people who were cold and hungry, terrified by the
7 campaign that was being waged by General Perisic's subordinates.
8 We will present evidence, Your Honour, of some of the persons who
9 suffered that violence. We will present them early in the case. We will
10 present evidence to you of some of these broadcasts.
11 Now, neither General Perisic nor Slobodan Milosevic lived in an
12 information-free bubble. Very early in the war, on the 30th of March,
13 1992, before the date General Perisic became Chief of the General Staff,
14 Slobodan Milosevic characterised the bombardment of Sarajevo
15 criminal bombardment." He said, and I quote, "While he could understand
16 fighting in self-defence, there was no justification for the continued
17 bombardment of the civilian population of Sarajevo."
18 General Perisic received notice from his international
19 interlocutors who complained to him directly, and you'll hear from some
20 of those people who will testify for the Prosecution. And as the head of
21 the -- as the former head of the JNA artillery school in Zadar, Perisic,
22 more so than others, knew the devastating effects of artillery in a
23 densely populated urban area.
24 Our evidence will show that after he became Chief of the VJ
25 General Staff, he travelled to Sarajevo
1 personally observe the effects of what had happened and what was
2 happening in Sarajevo
3 If we could go very briefly into private session.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the session please moved into private --
5 MR. HARMON: Or closed session. I'm sorry.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Closed session.
7 [Closed session]
16 [Open session]
17 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
19 Yes, Mr. Harmon.
20 MR. HARMON: In respect of Sarajevo, Your Honour, the Prosecution
21 evidence that we will be submitting to Your Honours will show that
22 General Perisic was fully apprised of the situation in Sarajevo, fully
23 apprised of the crimes being committed against civilians in that city by
24 his subordinates both before and after he became Chief of the General
25 Staff. Those crimes continued throughout his tenure.
1 If I can turn now to Srebrenica, Your Honour. In Srebrenica,
2 Your Honour, the crimes differ from those committed in Sarajevo in this
3 sense: The Sarajevo crimes were a series of crimes on a continuum over a
4 period of years. The Srebrenica crimes were crimes that happened in July
5 of 1995, well after General Perisic became Chief of the VJ General Staff,
6 although the antecedents from that crime -- although the antecedents to
7 the Srebrenica crimes predated his tenure in the VJ General Staff.
8 One of the contested issues in this case, Your Honour, is whether
9 or not General Perisic was aware that there was a substantial likelihood
10 that crimes against the Muslim population were likely to occur during and
11 after the attack on Srebrenica. The Defence has raised that point in its
12 pre-trial brief - page 48, subpart CC - asserting that there's a lack of
13 evidence to support that allegation.
14 Now, the Prosecution evidence, Your Honour, will establish that
15 General Perisic was aware that Muslims in Bosnia were at considerable
16 risk and that a Bosnian Serb takeover of the safe area would result in
17 the substantial likelihood that the Muslim inhabitants would be
18 persecuted, would be forcibly transferred, and would be killed.
19 In considering the evidence in this case, Your Honours must place
20 the VRS takeover of Srebrenica in the context of events that had occurred
21 in Bosnia
22 large swaths of territory were conquered and occupied by the JNA and the
23 VRS forces, and once those territories were taken over, the non-Serb
24 populations in many of those municipalities were forcibly transferred.
25 They were detained in camps, killed. Their religious and cultural sites
1 were destroyed. I've already described some of those events to Your
2 Honours in Bijeljina, in the village of Glogova
3 Bosanska Krupa. I won't belabour a description of those events at this
5 But this pattern became known as ethnic cleansing. It was
6 notorious, and it was well-documented, and it was one that garnered the
7 opprobrium of the international community. As the former Polish Prime
8 Minister Minister Tadeuz Mazowiecki, who was the Special Rapporteur at
9 the Commission on Human Rights, stated in his 27 October 1992 report that
10 was transmitted to the UN General Assembly and to the Security Council,
11 he said the following:
12 "Ethnic cleansing does not appear to be the consequence of the
13 war, but rather, its goal. This goal to a large extent has already been
14 achieved through killings, beatings, rape, destruction of houses and
15 threats. Recent events ... prove that Serbian leaders in Bosnia and
17 populations in the territory controlled by the Serbian authorities live
18 under enormous pressure and terror. Hundreds of thousands of people are
19 being forced to leave their homes and to abandon their belongings in
20 order to save their lives."
21 If we could go into closed session very briefly, and if the usher
22 could stand by the button, this will be a very brief closed session, Your
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into closed session.
25 [Closed session]
18 [Open session]
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
21 Yes, Mr. Harmon.
22 MR. HARMON: Your Honours, in early 19 -- late 1992 and early
23 1993, the VRS and the JNA conducted a military operation in and around
24 the area of Srebrenica. It was in the Podrinje area. It was a very
25 important area, as Your Honours have seen earlier, because it was the
1 area continuous with the Drina River
2 sought to be eliminated as a border.
3 If I can direct Your Honours' attention to a document that's on
4 the screen. This is the top part of the document. This is an army
5 directive that was issued by General Mladic. It was issued on the 19th
6 of November, 1994, and it was directed to the various units who were
7 under General Mladic's supervision -- under his control.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: If I may just interrupt you a little bit,
9 Mr. Harmon.
10 MR. HARMON: Yes.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: You said it is dated the 19th of November, 1994
12 MR. HARMON: No, I made a mistake, Your Honour. I apologise. It
13 should be 1992.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
15 MR. HARMON: Now, this directive, Your Honour, you'll see - if we
16 could go to the next part of the document - issued commands to various
17 corps who were subordinated to the Main Staff, and you'll see the
18 directive that was issued to the Drina Corps. And the Drina Corps was
19 directed to -- from its present position -- and I quote: "From its
20 present positions, its main forces shall persistently defend Visegrad
21 (the dam ), Zvornik and the corridor, while the rest of its forces in the
22 wider Podrinje region shall exhaust the enemy, inflict the heaviest
23 possible losses on him, and force him to leave the Birac, Zepa, and
24 Gorazde areas together with the Muslim population."
25 We will be presenting Your Honours with other orders that flowed
1 down through the Drina Corps to subordinate units directing them to
2 eliminate and remove the Muslim population. This order is an order to
3 ethnically cleanse, and the consequences of the Drina Corps operation --
4 I mean the operation in the Podrinje resulted, Your Honour, in thousands
5 of Muslims being concentrated into an area and resulted -- as a result of
6 the shocking developments in the Podrinje area resulted in the United
7 Nations passing Resolution 819, which created Srebrenica as a UN safe
8 area that was supposed to be free from armed attack or any other hostile
10 Now, the UN safe area, if we could go to the map, Your Honour,
11 the UN safe area, once again to relocate this, because this is
12 significant as it relates to strategic objective 3, which was the
13 elimination of the Drina
14 the Zepa enclave and the Gorazde enclaves were areas that posed a major
15 impediment for the Bosnian Serbs to realise their goal of having a state,
16 one, with the populations being separated - that was strategic objective
17 number 1 - and the elimination of the Drina as a border because the
18 presence of these enclaves in the heart of Bosnian Serb territory with
19 tens of thousands of Muslims in them was an impediment to the realisation
20 of the objectives; and therefore, it is a factor that Your Honours should
21 consider when assessing whether or not General Mladic would have --
22 General Perisic would have known that the elimination of these enclaves
23 would have resulted in the forcible displacement of the populations in
24 light of what had happened throughout Bosnia in the previous three years
25 and in light of other events.
1 Now, General Perisic contests our assertion that we made in our
2 pre-trial brief that he was aware that a major military operation against
3 Srebrenica was to be undertaken and was -- and he contests that he was
4 aware of its progress. I refer Your Honours to the Defence pre-trial
5 brief, page 48, subpart AA. He also claimed ignorance of the VRS
6 operation to attack the protected enclaves in Eastern Bosnia in his
7 suspect interview.
8 We will tender evidence, Your Honour, to show that General
9 Perisic, as Chief of the General Staff and the person who was most
10 responsible for the defence and the security of the Federal Republic
13 On the 4th of July, 1995, two days before the VRS launched its
14 offensive operations into Srebrenica, General Ojdanic, the commander of
15 the 1st army of the Yugoslav Army and a direct subordinate of General
16 Perisic, publicly stated, and I quote: "The two Muslim enclaves of
17 Srebrenica and Zepa are situated in the heart of Serb territory, and it
18 should not have been allowed to form them. It is impossible to remain
19 this way. It has to be solved militarily."
20 The VRS attack was directed at a highly sensitive target, the
21 UN-protected enclave; the attack on that enclave would have enormous
22 consequences, both politically and economically, for the FRY; the attack
23 was being directed by General Perisic's subordinates; General Perisic
24 held monthly coordination meetings with the commanders of the VRS and the
25 SVK at the General Staff building in Belgrade; he had direct channels of
1 communications with General Mladic before, during, and after the attack;
2 General Mladic, in fact, came to Belgrade
3 while the attack was in progress and met with Slobodan Milosevic, in
4 addition to which domestic and international media reported extensively
5 on the attack on the UN safe area.
6 Your Honour, I have, in an earlier session -- Your Honour, if we
7 could go into closed session, very briefly again.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into closed session.
9 [Closed session]
8 [Open session]
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
11 Yes, Mr. Harmon.
12 MR. HARMON: Again, focusing on the type of information that
13 might alarm a superior officer, Your Honour, the Prosecution will lead
14 evidence to show that General Perisic received direct information about
15 the murders committed in Srebrenica at the time they were being
17 In his suspect interview with the Office of the Prosecutor,
18 General Perisic stated that Slobodan Milosevic told him sometime between
19 the 15th and the 20th of July, 1995, that mass murder had taken place in
20 the wider area of Srebrenica. Milosevic linked those murders to General
21 Mladic. Your Honours will note the time period, the 15th to the 20th of
22 July, was the same period when, in the schedules to the indictment, the
23 murders were taking place. According to General Perisic, he did nothing
24 about it. As he said in his interview: "When I heard from Milosevic
25 about the terrible crime, believe it or not, since then I did not want to
1 know anything about it. I distanced myself from that because it is
2 unbelievable that something like that happens ... at the end of the 20th
3 and the beginning of the 21st century."
4 Now, focusing, Your Honour, on a notice that relates to the last
5 set of crimes described in the indictment, the Zagreb missile attacks.
6 Our evidence will show, Your Honour, that following the
7 commencement of Operation Flash, which was a Croatian offensive to retake
8 Serb-occupied parts of Western Slavonia, the SVK fired Orkan rockets
9 fitted with cluster bomb warheads into the city of Zagreb, which was the
10 capital of Croatia
11 We will tender as evidence intercepted communications that show
12 that General Perisic was informed about the first missile attack almost
13 immediately after it had occurred, and he discussed it with Slobodan
14 Milosevic and with his subordinates. He was also informed the following
15 day of the second missile attack; and despite that information, he did
16 nothing in respect of his subordinates.
17 If I may turn, Your Honours, to General Perisic's failure to
18 punish his subordinates.
19 This is an issue that is not contested. General Perisic does not
20 contest the fact that he failed to punish the persons who were named in
21 the indictment as members of the VRS and the SVK. You'll find that at
22 Defence pre-trial brief, page 47, subpart V. What Perisic does contest,
23 however, is whether he had the ability and the authority to discipline or
24 punish his subordinates in those armies. Again, Your Honours, I refer to
25 the Defence pre-trial brief, page 47, subparts V and W.
1 The Defence asserts that General Perisic didn't have the ability
2 or the authority to implement -- institute criminal proceedings before
3 military disciplinary courts in the Republika Srpska or the Republika
4 Srpska Krajina for the commission of war crimes. Those courts, the
5 Defence asserts, would have been the proper courts in which to prosecute
6 members of the VRS and the SVK.
7 However, Your Honours, the issue of General Perisic's authority
8 to initiate proceedings in the SVK or the RS military courts is not the
9 issue in this case. What is at issue in this case is his ability and his
10 authority to institute disciplinary proceedings against his subordinates
11 before the FRY military courts and to initiate investigations or take
12 other measures that would have sanctioned them for the commission of
13 crimes he knew they had committed.
14 We will present to Your Honours texts, legal texts, statutes, and
15 regulations that set forth in explicit terms General Perisic's duties,
16 his responsibilities, and his obligations as a member of the VJ, and you
17 will hear expert testimony on that topic.
18 The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had adopted the international
19 legal obligations of its predecessor, the SFRY. It adopted regulations
20 that authorised and, in fact, indeed, compelled General Perisic to take
21 actions against his subordinates upon being informed that they had
22 committed violations of law -- the laws of war.
23 I'll give you an example. If you take Article 21 of the
24 instructions on the application of the International Laws of War in the
25 Armed Forces of the SFRY, it states -- very much like -- in some
1 respects, like the law of the Tribunal: "An officer shall be personally
2 liable for violations of the laws of war if he knew of or could have
3 known that units subordinate to him or other units or individuals were
4 planning the commission of such violations, and, at the time when it was
5 still possible to prevent their commission, failed to take measures to
6 prevent such violations."
7 It goes on to say that an officer shall be personally liable who,
8 if he's aware of those violations, fails to institute disciplinary and
9 criminal proceedings against the offender; and it goes on to say that
10 such an officer would be answerable as an accomplice or an instigator if
11 by failure to take action against his subordinates who violate the law he
12 contributes to the repeated commission of such acts by units or
13 individuals subordinated to him.
14 Article 36 of those same instructions indicate that: "A Yugoslav
15 officer who learns of violations of the laws of war shall order that the
16 circumstances and facts surrounding them are investigated and necessary
17 evidence collected ..."
18 So, Your Honour, I will summarize briefly. As Chief of the VJ
19 General Staff, the competencies that General Perisic had will be
20 supported by the evidence we will present.
21 He had the ability to investigate -- initiate investigations for
22 breaches of military discipline. Following the completion of an
23 investigation for a disciplinary offence, he could pronounce a
24 disciplinary sentence for minor disciplinary offences, or he could
25 forward the case to have charges filed before the military disciplinary
1 court. He could remove from duty an individual who had committed a
2 disciplinary offence if the disciplinary offence was of such a nature
3 that it would be damaging to the interest of the service. Now,
4 committing genocide, Your Honour, would be damaging to the interests of
5 the service. He could decide on the termination of service of
6 non-commissioned officers up to the rank of colonel. He could appoint
7 and transfer officers up to the rank of colonel.
8 Our evidence will show, Your Honour, that at all times relevant
9 to the period of the indictment the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
10 fully functioning military disciplinary court system.
11 Now, General Perisic believed he had the disciplinary authority
12 that I've described, and he actually exercised it vis-a-vis members of
13 the 40th Personnel Centre, but he exercised it selectively, not because
14 his subordinates in the SVK or not because his subordinates in the VRS
15 had committed crimes, war crimes, but because their derelictions of duty
16 had resulted in a loss of territory that was occupied in the Serbian
17 Krajina, or he -- because of a breach of VJ administrative regulations.
18 Now, the events in the Krajina that stimulated General Perisic to
19 sanction his subordinates serving in the SVK with the events that
20 followed Operation Storm, Operation Storm was a stunning success. SVK
21 defences collapsed, SVK troops were quickly routed, and significant
22 territory occupied by the Croatian Serbs was lost. This incensed both
23 General Perisic and Slobodan Milosevic.
24 If we could go into closed session, please.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into closed session.
1 [Closed session]
11 Pages 416-418 redacted. Closed session.
9 [Open session]
10 MR. HARMON: All right. Your Honour, then I will be brief.
11 Our evidence will also show that the FRY military disciplinary
12 courts did in fact exercise jurisdiction over VJ personnel who had
13 committed disciplinary infractions while serving in the VRS. One of
14 those files relates to Vinko Pandurevic, who had violated a housing
15 infraction, who had committed a housing infraction in -- while serving in
16 the VRS. His commanding officer in the VRS, General Talic, informed the
17 General Staff of that violation, it had been committed, and military
18 disciplinary proceedings in the military court of the VJ General Staff
19 were then conducted against Vinko Pandurevic.
20 Finally, Your Honour, I want to touch upon another element
21 relating to General Perisic's criminal responsibility under Article 7.3,
22 and that is his assistance to General Mladic.
23 On the 24th of July, 1995, and the 16th of November, 1995
24 General Ratko Mladic was indicted by this institution for crimes
25 committed in Bosnia
1 Srebrenica. General Perisic was aware of those indictments. He took
2 affirmative steps to protect General Mladic from accountability before
3 this institution. Two examples will suffice, Your Honour.
4 During the NATO bombings that took place before the end of the
5 war, two French pilots had been shot down. They were captured. They
6 were in possession of the VRS, and there was enormous pressure brought to
7 bear on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to have those pilots returned
8 safely, but they were in General Mladic's custody. As a condition for
9 General Mladic returning those pilots -- as a condition for General
10 Mladic returning those pilots, General Mladic insisted that he be
11 protected from being arrested and prosecuted by this Tribunal.
12 We will introduce two intercepts - a number of intercepts,
13 frankly, but I was planning to show you two - two intercepts in which
14 there is a conversation between General Perisic and President of the FRY,
15 Zoran Lilic; and General Perisic, in one conversation dated the 9th of
16 December, 1995, at 2300 hours, says the following: General Perisic,
17 referring to Mladic, he says the following:
18 "If they exempt him from the Tribunal, that should not be a
19 problem. He will solve it at once. I told him we ..." Lilic then says:
20 "Do my word and your word and Chirac's and Slobodan's word suffice?"
21 Perisic: "Well, all right, then. I will do it now." Lilic: "That is
22 sufficient. He hasn't got a chance, Momo." Perisic: "I will call him
23 again now, and I will tell him."
24 Twenty minutes later on the same date, another conversation took
25 place between General Perisic and President Lilic, and in that
1 conversation President Lilic says: "To bring them together with us, he
2 can. Look, Momo, I understand him. He does not trust anybody, and
3 that's normal. He can leave them in Zvornik, somewhere close in
4 Bijeljina, wherever he wants. He does not have to tell us, Momo. He has
5 your guarantee and my guarantee if that means anything. Fuck it. And in
6 writing, not just our word. I will write the letter now on a FRY
7 memorandum that we guarantee him that he will not be extradited to the
8 Tribunal. He has Chirac's and Slobodan's guarantee. I don't know what
9 else. And you and I will go there and give it to him." And Perisic
10 responds: "Then he should come here with us." Later in the
11 conversation, President Lilic says: "Whatever you like, call him and let
12 me know. Explain to him nicely that the FRY guarantees on a memorandum
13 with a stamp and my signature on it." General Perisic says: "Very
14 well." Lilic: "Mine and yours, he won't be extradited anywhere. He has
15 guarantees that Slobodan and Chirac will do the same. Therefore, he only
16 has to surrender those men to us if he wants."
17 Do I have a few more minutes, Your Honour, just five minutes?
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Under five minutes.
19 MR. HARMON: Under five minutes. Well, I have to go into a
20 closed session, which I will ...
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into closed session.
22 MR. HARMON: I should add, Your Honour, that -- I don't know
23 where we are in between.
24 [Closed session]
16 [Open session]
17 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
19 Yes, Mr. Harmon.
20 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, this concludes my review of the issues
21 that will be before Your Honours at trial and a brief description of some
22 of the evidence that we will be tendering in the course of the trial.
23 Your Honours, we are about to embark on a long and difficult
24 journey together. We understand that trial is an arduous process in an
25 effort to find the truth; and during that process, there will be
1 frustrations, perhaps anger, and surely moments that will test our
2 patience both inside and outside of the courtroom.
3 In our efforts to discharge our responsibilities to the
4 international community to ensure that persons responsible for serious
5 violations of the law are vigorously and fairly prosecuted and to ensure
6 that justice is done, it is our intention to present the evidence in this
7 complex case expeditiously but in a manner that does not sacrifice our
8 ability to present the evidence comprehensively and effectively. You
9 deserve it, nothing less; the victims deserve nothing less; and justice
10 demands nothing less.
11 We look forward to the journey, Your Honours. I appreciate your
12 patience and your consideration during my lengthy opening remarks. Thank
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Harmon.
15 Because of the lateness of the hour, the court will stand
16 adjourned until tomorrow morning at 9.00. I'm not just quite sure in
17 which courtroom. Courtroom I. Court adjourned.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.
19 to be reconvened on Friday, the 3rd day of
20 October, 2008, at 9.00 a.m.