1 Thursday, 4 March 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning to everybody in and around the
8 Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
10 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-81-T,
11 the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Perisic thank you.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Could we have the appearances
13 for the day, starting with the Prosecution.
14 MR. THOMAS: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning everyone.
15 Barney Thomas, Carmela Javier, and Dan Saxon for the Prosecution.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Thomas. And for the
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good
19 morning everyone. Mr. Perisic is represented today by Novak Lukic,
20 Gregor Guy-Smith, Tina Drolec, and Boris Zorko.
21 WITNESS: STAMENKO NIKOLIC [Resumed]
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning to you, Mr. Nikolic.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let me remind you that you are bound by the
1 declaration you made at the beginning of your testimony yesterday to tell
2 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing else but the truth.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm fully aware of that.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just before I call you, Mr. Lukic, just to find
5 out from Madam stenographer, I see there isn't any of your colleagues
6 outside. Can we go on? Thank you.
7 THE COURT REPORTER: Yes.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
9 Examination by Mr. Lukic: [Continued]
10 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Nikolic. We're going to
11 continue where we left off two days ago, and now I'd like to give you a
12 binder with the documents that we are going to work on. I have already
13 shown that to my learned friends from the Prosecution, so we can
14 immediately pass it on to the witness.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can we have on our
16 screens again Defence document 01113D page 12 in B/C/S and page 16 in
18 Q. Mr. Nikolic, that's the rule of responsibilities that we already
19 saw. Can you please move to Article 26, which is on page 19 in your hard
21 We'll go back to the subject that we left off when we suspended
22 your examination. Can you just give me -- we discussed the subject of
23 material and market inspection. You have given us some general answers
24 concerning this organisational unit of the Ministry of Defence. You
25 remember that this is where we left off. You gave us a general comment
1 on Article 26. Now, as a follow-up and in order to finish this subject
2 and this document, I would kindly ask you to comment on item 1 which
3 reads that:
4 "This financial and market inspection controls the drafting and
5 the implementation of the budget of the Yugoslav Army, the harmonisation
6 of the budget with the plans for development, building, and equipping the
7 Yugoslav Army and the efficient use of the budget funds in the units and
8 installations of the Yugoslav Army."
9 Can you tell us how that inspection operated specifically with
10 regard to these tasks?
11 A. The financial market inspection is an organ of the Federal
12 Ministry of Defence. As you said it yourself, its responsibility is to
13 carry out tasks entrusted to it as their responsibility. Based on these
14 rules and other laws that pertain to the responsibility of the MOD, what
15 it stems from here, it means that it oversees the entire financial and
16 material operations of all organisational units of the MOD and the
17 Yugoslav Army. The focus here is on financial inspection and control of
18 the budget. The budget is being prepared in order to be adopted by the
19 highest authority in the country, which is the Federal Assembly.
20 Q. Item 2 says that this controls the expenditure of budget funds
21 for each purpose. My question is: Who is it that defines the purposes
22 of the budget, and can you enumerate them?
23 A. When proposing a budget, the General Staff of the VJ, at the
24 request of the Ministry of Defence, more precisely the administration for
25 finances and budget of the federal MOD, requests the General Staff of the
1 Yugoslav Army to put down their requirements with regard to assets that
2 have to be included in the budget according to specify purposes. These
3 proposals put together with the proposals coming from organisational
4 units of the Ministry of Defence are then submitted to the minister of
5 defence for approval. If the minister of defence endorses these
6 proposals, then a follow-up procedure is implemented. These kind of
7 proposal is then submitted to the federal government.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 A. If you allow me an additional explanation. You asked me who
10 decides the purposes and who approves the plan. That is actually the
11 next stage after the budget has been adopted by the Federal Assembly.
12 Then the responsible department of the federal government, in this
13 particular case the Ministry of Defence, adopts a plan specifying the
14 purposes of the use of budget. In this particular interest, the
15 General Staff of the VJ has no influence any longer on the amount of
16 budget and the purposes provided this has been verified by the Assembly
17 and the minister of defence.
18 Q. Later on we shall come back to the budget again. Can you please
19 comment on Article 8. It says that this administration --
20 A. Article 8?
21 Q. Item 8, and it says that this administration oversees the
22 expenditure, budget expenditures. Can you tell me who submits reports on
23 the expenditure?
24 A. The expenditure reports relating to the budget on behalf of
25 organisational units, the General Staff of the VJ is submitted by the 5th
1 Administration of the General Staff of the VJ pertaining to the General
2 Staff, and as for other organisational units of the units, the officials
3 or the heads of these organisational units of the Ministry of Defence do
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I've finished with this document, and
7 I would like to tender it into evidence.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
9 please be given a exhibit number.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours this shall be assigned Exhibit D240.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Lukic.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Let us look at another document which is the Law on Defence of
14 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Can we please have P1183, page 4 in
15 the B/C/S and page 6 in English, and the specific articles that I would
16 like you to look at, sir, are first Article 42. Can you just give me a
17 brief comment.
18 A. Can you please enlarge it.
19 Q. All right. We are going to enlarge Article 42, which relates to
20 the federal government. Can you see it now?
21 A. The federal government. Article 42? Yes, I can see it.
22 Q. Can you tell us just in few words what is the essence of the Law
23 on Defence, what it governs, and what kind of provisions it contains.
24 A. The Law on Defence of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is one
25 of the series of laws adopted on the basis of the constitution of the FRY
1 of the 27th April 1992. It is a precursor of the Law on the Army of
3 In this particular article, 42, all the obligations have been set
4 out very precisely, including the tasks of the federal government. What
5 is important for the Army of Yugoslavia and the ministry is contained
6 under Item 1 of this article which says that the federal government shall
7 implement federal laws and other regulations adopted by the Federal
8 Assembly that relate to the country's defence.
9 There's a particular item that refers to the Army of Yugoslavia,
10 which is item 2.
11 Q. Just a moment, please. This law is self-explanatory, as well as
12 the provisions. Can you please comment item 6 because it is related to
13 the topic that we have been discussing. Can you tell us what are the
14 responsibilities of the federal government when it comes to material and
15 finance funds mentioned under item 6.
16 A. In fact, responsibilities of the General Staff and the federal
17 government of the FRY are separated here, and it is precisely set out in
18 item 6 which says that it is in charge of securing required material and
19 financial resources for implementing the country's defence plan and
20 securing the federal commodity reserves for the country's needs in case
21 of a war, an imminent threat of war or state of emergency, as well as for
22 financing other aspects which are of particular importance for the
23 country's defence.
24 Q. Thank you. Let us now take a look at Article 43. I'm not going
25 to ask you to make particular analysis of this article which speaks about
1 the responsibilities of the MOD, except that I would like to as you to
2 give us an example relating to this introductory paragraph and explain to
3 us what does it mean when it says here:
4 "The Federal Minister of Defence performs the following
5 administrative and specialist tasks relating to the implementation of the
6 country's defence policy."
7 What does that mean specifically?
8 A. Article 43 defines the tasks and obligations of the Ministry of
9 Defence that relate to the implementation of the defence policy. When we
10 speak about administrative and specialist tasks, administrative means
11 that the minister of defence, as the person in charge of the ministry, is
12 entitled to adopt all kinds of enactments, orders and decisions relating
13 to the implementation of the defence policy; whereas professional
14 specialty tasks means that organisational units of the same ministry
15 within their purview of the ministry make proposals for certain
16 enactments, documents, and rules and regulation to be adopted and which
17 are required to fulfil all the obligations that are within the
18 jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence.
19 Q. Thank you. Can you just comment Article 44.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, for your benefit, it's
21 at the end of the page that we see now, and it goes on to page 7, but I
22 think what we see on this particular page will be sufficient, and I would
23 like the witness to comment on this.
24 Q. General, Article 44 speaks about inspection that we already
25 discussed when we spoke about organisational units. I am particular
1 interested in hearing your comment on item 2 which reads:
2 "The implementation of decisions and enactments rendered by the
3 President of the Republic, the Supreme Defence Council and the federal
5 A. Article 44 of this Law on Defence explicitly provides for the
6 Federal Ministry of Defence, in addition to its other duties and
7 responsibilities, that it is obliged to implement the decisions and
8 enactments rendered by the president of the republic, the Supreme Defence
9 Council, and the federal government. That means that the highest
10 authority or the organ of command and control, which is the Supreme
11 Defence Council and whose obligations are set out by the constitution,
12 this implies that its duty is to implement them to the letter. This also
13 relates to the decisions taken by the federal government, which means if
14 the president of the republic based -- adopted a decision based on the
15 decision adopted by the Supreme Defence Council.
16 Q. Let me -- let us just be more accurate. Pursuant to this
17 article, if the Supreme Defence Council and the Commander-in-Chief adopts
18 a certain decision, who is in charge of overseeing the implementation of
19 that decision and to whom they send notice if any notice is required to
20 be sent with regard to the implementation?
21 A. A while ago we spoke about the inspection, but we only focused on
22 one aspect, which was financial and market inspections. Here we are
23 talking about the jurisdiction of the administration for civilian
24 defence, which says that everything that this administration for civilian
25 defence does and the documents that it prepares for the federal
1 government, it is the Ministry of Defence that carries out inspection to
2 check whether the enactments and laws relating to the defence of the
3 country are being implemented in line with the law and the decisions of
4 the Supreme Defence Council.
5 Q. And if they find out that the Supreme Defence Council's decision
6 or the decisions of the Commander-in-Chief are not being implemented as
7 provided, what shall it do?
8 A. The inspection in charge of the Federal Ministry of Defence, if
9 in the course of inspection and control finds out that there has been a
10 breach of law or that the decision of the Supreme Defence Council has
11 been violated, they submit their report to the minister of defence as the
12 person in charge to instigate certain measures as provided by the law.
13 Which particular measures are going to be taken depends on the decision
14 of the minister of defence.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let me just ask, who are the "they" that are
16 referred to in the question and answer at this point? The question
17 reads: "And if they find out that." Who are "they"?
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I was referring to the witness's
19 previous answer where he mentioned the inspection service of the Ministry
20 of Defence which he called the civilian -- but let us have the witness
21 tell us this.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the inspection
23 service of defence is directly subordinated to the minister of defence.
24 It is made up of three, actually, inspection units: The civilian defence
25 inspection unit, the civil engineering and construction inspection unit,
1 and the financial and market inspection unit.
2 Here we are talking particular about -- particularly about the
3 civilian defence inspection unit, because this is within their remit.
4 And as I said, this is part of the inspection department as one of the
5 ministry's departments.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, you said this is --
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry. You said this department makes its
9 inspections, and at page 9, lines 8 to 9, you say they submit their
10 report to the minister of defence as the person in charge to instigate
11 certain measures as provided by the law. And what then does the minister
12 do once that investigation has been done with the results of the
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, when a report is
15 submitted to the defence minister, and when one reviews all of the
16 problems of what nature, what the degree of responsibility entailed might
17 be, what the subject matter is, he will then decide whether this is
18 something that belongs to his area of work and whether he has the powers
19 to conclude whether it is possible that certain areas, in certain
20 sectoral units can be remedied swiftly and with no consequences. He then
21 adopts a decision and sets deadlines for these areas to be remedied.
22 If there is any sort of responsibility involved, in the sense of
23 violations of certain laws and regulations, the minister then takes other
24 measures that are available under the prevailing laws. This can be
25 criminal responsibility. This can be material responsibility, or other
1 types of liability regulated by all these specific laws and regulations.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let me make sure I understand you, and I'm going
3 to put a scenario to you, and I would like you to tell me whether it is
4 correct or incorrect.
5 Earlier I thought you said that the Ministry of Defence
6 implements orders from the SDC
7 government; am I right thus far? Right.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, if in I am pleating those orders this is
10 these violations of laws, is it your testimony that neither the president
11 nor the Supreme Defence Council, nor the federal government have
12 supervisory powers over the Ministry of Defence, that the Ministry of
13 Defence will then have to supervise itself through this department that
14 conducts the investigation, make a report to the minister, and the
15 minister will decide whether the results are within his jurisdiction or
16 whether he must pass them on to somebody else. There is nobody who
17 supervises the minister? Is that your testimony? Do I understand your
18 testimony correctly?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, your question merits
20 an additional explanation. If I may, I will try to explain.
21 What we're looking at here is this: It's not about the fact that
22 there is no other form of supervision above the minister. The minister
23 answers to the prime minister, that is, the federal government. The
24 federal government, depending on the sector in question, are we talking
25 about finances, are we talking about other types of decisions, are we
1 talking about material violations, has its own financial supervision or
2 control. Likewise, these decisions or responsibilities of the defence
3 minister go through the federal government and all the way to the Federal
4 Assembly. The Federal Assembly is the supreme legislative body. There
5 are certain committees that are part of the Federal Assembly such as the
6 budget control committee, as well as safety and protection committee.
7 Depending on the sector, the appropriate federal bodies do this
8 on behalf of the prime minister, and the government in its turn is
9 supervised or, if you like, under the control of the Federal Assembly.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. General, do you know if the federal defence minister was involved
13 in the work of the Supreme Defence Council? Did you have any direct
14 first-hand knowledge of that?
15 A. Under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
16 defence minister is not a member of the Supreme Defence Council.
17 Nevertheless, when matters of exceptional importance are reviewed from
18 the domain of the federal government's work and the appropriate ministry,
19 the defence minister takes part in the work of the Supreme Defence
21 Q. Thank you. There is another document that I would like us to
22 look at just to round this off. This is a Defence exhibit, D114, the Law
23 on Property on the -- of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in keeping with your
25 earlier guidelines, we tendered only a part of this law, not the law in
1 its entirety, and I'm now willing to go through no more than a couple of
2 articles and paragraphs with this witness. For that purpose, we have a
3 draft translation into English of some of these articles and provisions.
4 I would like to ask you, therefore, to follow the draft translation for
5 the articles in question, then once we receive an official translation,
6 it will tender as a whole.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just explain something, Mr. Lukic. How come it
8 already has an exhibit number if it's got only a draft translation?
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I'm happy to explain, Your Honour.
10 We have D114, which is an exhibit. It contains no more than several
11 paragraphs of this law. When we were working with Mr. Starcevic, you
12 instructed us to comment on no more than a couple of paragraphs from one
13 portion of the law. And now we want to go through another couple of
14 articles with this witness, and that's why we have no more than draft
15 translation. We did not have a complete translation. You remember that
16 we criticised this practice earlier on. We do believe that laws should
17 be tendered in their entirety, but the translation service and your
18 guidelines kept us from having the entire law translated, and this also
19 happens to be the case with the Law on Property, the one that I'm dealing
20 with right now. Only a handful of the actual articles have been
21 tendered, and what we are facing now is another set of articles of the
22 same law.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: And it means the articles you are about to deal
24 with do not form part of D114. Then you must give them a 65 ter number,
25 and they will be admitted as a separate exhibit, or you can request that
1 they be added to D114. But you can't -- you can't call them part of 114
2 if they have been tendered yet. D114 is only those that have been
3 tendered so far.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The B/C/S is complete, and you are
5 quite right, D114 contains only those articles that have so far been
6 translated into English.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are you saying to me that D114 in the B/C/S is the
8 complete act, and the English is only translation of certain articles?
9 Can't be that. Shouldn't be that. The English version should be exactly
10 the same as the B/C/S. You can't, you can't tender the whole in the
11 B/C/S and -- and just give a part in the English.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a minute, Your Honour. I fully
13 understand what you're saying. Please allow me to just check what
14 exactly the situation is and then we can deal with the Registry.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, you may do so.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think you are right. What we have
17 in the B/C/S of D114 is merely a portion of that law and not the law in
18 its entirety.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you want to check that with the Registry?
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do so.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, maybe it would be a
23 good idea to take the opportunity during the break to talk to the
24 Registry, and maybe they have a proposal for us on how to tender this
25 document into evidence; but we might either give it a 65 ter number or
1 perhaps just link this up with the existing Exhibit D114, of course as
2 long as Your Honour agrees.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated] ... during the break,
4 Mr. Lukic, but in the future just make sure that what is tendered, the
5 B/C/S is identical to the English, a whole --
6 MR. LUKIC: [Overlapping speakers]
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: -- a part this side.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I'll try not to further complicate
9 matters. You realise that we have a lot of documents in our 65 ter list
10 that are -- are already parts of some P documents tendered by the OTP.
11 Perhaps the Chamber should think about what they might find useful in
12 their work. Would it be better to have it marked as item 1 of the Law on
13 Property, a part of which is in D114 and now a new number? Personally, I
14 think that it would be much easier for us, for each of us to analyse this
15 later on if we just get an added number for this. This is just my
16 proposal, but maybe I should check later on with the Registry whether
17 that is indeed the most helpful course of action we can take.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: What you are now proposing to deal with with this
19 witness, it's not the balance of the entire act. It's a few other
20 articles of the act. So if you knew you were going to use these articles
21 also, they should have formed part of D114 even though you may not have
22 dealt with them -- with these particular articles at that time, because
23 you might have known that you are going to deal with these with this
24 witness, and they would have then formed one exhibit.
25 Now that that has not happened, I think, and I'm also saying this
1 subject to correction, that it might perhaps be better when finally this
2 is admitted to be made part of D114 so that they are keep at one place,
3 articles of the same act are kept at one place. But I would ask the team
4 to try to ensure that at the first admission of a part, the entire part
5 that is going to be needed is admitted. Then when you refer to that
6 exhibit later, it's already in.
7 Thank you.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I fully understand. Thank you.
9 Q. Sir -- Mr. Nikolic, we have this in front of us and the
10 Trial Chamber only has the corresponding articles. Can you tell us the
11 name of this law in front of you and when it was adopted, when it was
12 published? The Chamber also has that in English, I believe.
13 A. It's called "Decree on adoption of law on the property of the
14 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It was adopted in 1993 and published in
15 the Official Gazette of the SRJ, number 19, dated the 23rd of July, 1993
16 The law normally comes into force eight days after its publication. So
17 that's how you should see this in context.
18 Q. Can you please comment on Article 2. What is it in relation to,
19 and what sort of property are we talking about, property of the Federal
20 Republic of Yugoslavia
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe you are now
22 looking at the draft translation and should be able to follow.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Article 2, the Law on Property of
24 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia --
25 MR. THOMAS: Your Honours, General, I'm sorry to interrupt. The
1 transcript refers to Article 2, but I have Article 38 on the screen.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: You are supposed to have been given a hard copy.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] That's the hard copy.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic should pass --
5 MR. THOMAS: That's what I need, Your Honours. Thank you. My
6 apologies, Counsel.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Thomas.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Nikolic, please proceed.
10 A. Thank you. Article 2 of the law precisely envisages in paragraph
11 1 what constitutes the property of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
12 This comprises the possession of things, real estate and movable
13 property, monetary assets, commercial notes and other ownership rights
14 both domestically and foreign whose holder is the Federal Republic
16 Paragraph 2 specifies which bodies are to be considered the
17 federal bodies and services in the sense of this law. The Federal
18 Assembly, the president of the republic, the federal government, the
19 federal ministries, the Federal Court, the federal state prosecutor, the
20 national bank of Yugoslavia
21 other federal bodies as envisaged in this law.
22 Q. Paragraph 2 of Article 1 tells us about these monetary funds.
23 Can you please now comment on Article 40. I believe you should have that
24 in front of you, sir. Article 40, please.
25 A. Monetary assets. Article 40 defines these monetary assets. It
1 says that these are assets secured by the federal budget for the purpose
2 of financing the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and its operations. All
3 of this has to be in keeping with the federal law.
4 Q. What about the salaries? Are the salaries, too, part of the
5 budget, and are they part of these monetary assets?
6 A. By all means.
7 Q. Thank you. Could we move on to Article 45. It's on the same
8 page, I believe, in the draft translation.
9 A. May I?
10 Q. Yes. Yes. I'm expecting your answer.
11 A. Article 45 of this law talks about the supervision of the
12 implementation of the enactments of this law and other federal laws
13 relative to the acquisition, use, management, and dispensation of FRY
14 property. This links up with Article 7 or refers to Article 7. As far
15 as I know, Article 7 refers to the Federal Justice Ministry. But if I
16 may just provide an additional explanation, please.
17 The law provides for the fact that the Federal Justice Ministry
18 does not have this sort of power over the federal defence ministry.
19 Rather, it's the minister with his inspections which is something that we
20 covered a minute ago.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we've been looking at
22 this document now and I would like to mark it with the 65 ter number
23 03321D. I move that the document be MFI'd for the time being, and once
24 we have received a complete translation, we shall see what course of
25 action is best taken with documents such as this one that were
1 provisionally MFI
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Then 0 --
3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the President, please.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm awfully sorry.
5 Document 03321D is admitted into evidence, marked for
6 identification. May it please be given an exhibit number.
7 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic, it looks like this is causing serious
9 problems within the -- within Registry, and is it possible for you to
10 tender this once we have got the official translation? Then it can
11 become straight part of D114 at that stage rather than give it a separate
12 65 ter number and a separate exhibit number.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Fine. Fantastic. Thank you,
14 Your Honour. I think that proposal is great, and that's precisely the
15 course of action that I will take.
16 Q. Let's move on to more specific matters, General, which is
17 something that we mentioned two days ago, but let's try to talk about the
18 salaries and get to the gist of it, fringe benefits for the Federal Army
19 of Yugoslavia
20 Can we please move on to the law on the army, which is an
21 exhibit, P197. Article 71. In the B/C/S it's page 7, and in the English
22 it's pages 17 and 18. Article 71. May we please have a look.
23 Sir, what salaries are there? What forms do these salaries take,
24 or what is the basis for these salaries for members of the Army of
1 Hold on a second, sir.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is at the bottom
3 of the page. It's exactly the right portion in English, the one that we
4 have on our screens now. Article 71, paragraph 1. This will be perfect
5 for you to follow.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What makes up the salary of a
7 professional member of the VJ? That is specifically envisaged in
8 Article 71 of the law on the VJ. What we find here is the elements of
9 the salary. By the same token, the salaries of the professional members
10 of the VJ comprise a part of the salary as defined by the rank, a part of
11 the salary as defined by the relative position of this member within the
12 VJ, a military supplement, which is also part of the salary, and there is
13 another part of the salary that may or may not be due on account of a
14 particular position that a member holds within the VJ.
15 Q. In view of these elements, were the salaries calculated for each
16 and every member of the VJ based on these criteria?
17 A. As I said yesterday, regarding the way the salaries were
18 calculated and paid, more specific standards are to be found in the
19 decree on the salaries of the professional members of the VJ. And this
20 was a document adopted by the federal government. What follows, based on
21 all of that, is that the salaries of the professional members of the VJ
22 were different in terms of the actual amounts in terms of how high the
23 salaries were. Those were the higher rank that were a more important
24 duty. Those closer to their retirement age or those occupying a
25 particularly important position would, as a rule, have higher salaries.
1 For that to be codified and made into a law, one needed to have certain
2 legal documents first. So this decree now regulates that. It's the
3 order on the establishment of a certain individual, the assignment of a
4 certain individuals to a certain establishment post within the system,
5 and this position is defined exactly under the establishment.
6 Q. Let us try to illustrate this in the most graphic manner
7 possible. Given the rank system, I thin that should be pretty clear,
8 nevertheless; for example, we have a colonel who works at the military
9 institute for geography. Does this person have the same salary as the --
10 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, Mr. Lukic. You said, "Does this person
12 have the same salary as the," and the sentence is not finished but the
13 witness has answered, he said, No.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. So does he have the same salary as a colonel who works as the
16 chief of the first administration of the sector for operations and staff
17 affairs of the General Staff of the VJ. By way of example, yesterday,
18 rather a few days ago, oh, yes, we had General Simic, who was
19 lieutenant-colonel at the time, meaning we want to know about his salary,
20 and for example, another colonel who is, as I said by way of an example,
21 worked in an institute or something like that.
22 A. Your Honours, this requires some more detailed explanation. In
23 order to understand better the reasons for this, we should refer to this
24 fourth element of the salary when I was explaining the components of
1 The director of the military geographical institute, for example,
2 holds a different position, has different tasks, physical and mental, and
3 also different responsibilities as compared to the head of the
4 administration or deputy head of administration in an operational
5 administration. This allowance expressed in percentage varies. For
6 example, in one case it would be 15 per cent of the basic salary, and
7 that would apply to the director of the military geographical institute;
8 whereas the person employed in the first administration, this percentage
9 would be, for example, 20 per cent.
10 Similarly, as per establishment, we have post-related groups
11 although we have personnel with same ranks. It nevertheless means that
12 according to establishment in the military geographical institute, a
13 colonel working there would be in post-related group number 9. Those
14 working in the first administration would be in post-related group number
15 7, and pursuant to that, he would receive a higher allowance. I hope
16 this was clear.
17 Q. I think so. Now, do we also have the length of service as one of
18 the elements that affect the pay as mentioned in the law?
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Isn't that self explanatory?
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No problem, Your Honours.
21 Q. We said that the military allowances provided in Article 74 and
22 the law is very precise in that respect. Can you tell us what the annual
23 vacation allowance is? Is that another fringe benefit that -- or
24 entitlement? Where it is mentioned in the law?
25 A. During the period when this law on the VJ army was in force,
1 there was certain remuneration or the so-called annual leave allowance
2 was provided, and that was one of the fringe benefits payable to the
3 personnel. This was governed by the federal government decree on
4 salaries and other fringe benefits.
5 Q. Very well. Can we please look at Article 211, page 53 in
6 English, page 18 in B/C/S. What kind of benefits derive from the status
7 of members of the personnel with respect to social security and other
8 forms of insurance and security provisions?
9 A. Yes, I have found this.
10 Q. So can you tell us what kind of social security are provided for
11 military personnel under the law?
12 A. According to the law on the Yugoslav Army, there is an area which
13 we call area number 3 of the law on the army and that relates to social
14 security issues. It is made up of three elements: Health insurance,
15 pension, and disability insurance.
16 Since you mentioned Article 201, it regulates health insurance of
17 military personnel, military academy cadets, students of secondary
18 military school, trainees of reserve officer schools and individuals in
19 the reserve forces.
20 Now, from Article 217 onwards, we have health protection issues
21 and provisions of professional soldiers, commissioned and
22 non-commissioned officers, contract soldiers and military personnel in
24 Q. What are the rights that the families of military personnel enjoy
25 with regard to this protection?
1 Can we look at Article 216. Do family members enjoy certain
2 benefits from the status of the member of the military?
3 A. Article 216 of this law provides full protection, health
4 insurance of family members of professional or personnel.
5 Q. I asked you about the family.
6 A. Yes. I said all members of the family of the military personnel
7 who has this kind of insurance. I tried to explain this in a more
8 graphic way.
9 Q. Can you tell us in a couple of words about another entitlement
10 that stems from the status, and that's the housing support and insurance.
11 What kind of rights derive from this particular provision?
12 A. Provision of housing facilities includes providing housing for
13 persons by allocating flats to them from the housing stock of the then
14 JNA and now the VJ or by granting housing credit lines through banks or
15 by allocating a service flat to be used for a period of time while the
16 member of the personnel is serving and carrying out his duty, which means
17 that for the duration of his service he needs to have a housing facility
18 provided for both him and members of his family.
19 Q. General, can we please explain a notion that probably is a bit
20 foreign to the Trial Chamber because it's a relic from the
21 self-management era. When we talk about tenancy right, can you tell us
22 what that was, and what happened when these tenancy rights were converted
23 into ownership rights and how this affected certain groups of citizens?
24 A. According to the law on housing construction and provision of
25 housing facilities that were in force until the Law on Property was
1 adopted, one of the provisions related to tenancy rights.
2 Now, what tenancy rights mean. Tenancy rights involving
3 allocating a flat to a certain person from the JNA housing stock or later
4 of the VJ housing stock without the right to acquire an ownership right
5 on this particular flat. However, according to the regulations then in
6 force, there was a possibility which was conditioned for the person
7 involved to have spent 15 or more years in the service to lease this
8 apartment for an indefinite period of time and with eventually a
9 possibility for him to buy it and to convert it into his private
11 Q. Do you know in the former SFRY and the FRY when these regulations
12 relating to the buying off of flats, was that going on? What was the
13 actual market value of the flats, and what was the amounts that were
14 indeed paid by those who were using them, because I think there was a
15 discrepancy between these two values.
16 A. The situation relating to the housing issues during the period of
17 the SFRY was such that the JNA had exceptional possibilities to quickly
18 resolve all the housing problems of the personnel. Since I was head of
19 the sector for housing in the JNA, that is to say in the third department
20 of the then personnel administration, which was later renamed to
21 administration for status-related issues, based on some statistical data
22 the average time for a member of the army who was waiting to be allocated
23 a flat was two years. At the time, people started buying off the flats
24 on which they had tenancy rights, and they became owners eventually. And
25 we are talking about a large number of people. These people finally
1 decided that after the termination of service, for a variety of reasons,
2 education of their children, et cetera, wanted to remain in these flats.
3 Q. Thank you. Maybe I wasn't accurate enough. Let me put it this
4 way: At the time when these flats were bought during this enormous
5 inflation, how did people actually pay for them, and why this buying of
6 flats was relatively easy in that period?
7 A. The flats from the housing stock of the JNA, as I said before,
8 were bought off just like any other flat in society. The principles and
9 the instalments relating to payment did not differ from other
10 arrangements in other segments of society.
11 As for the value of the flat, for some it was very small, but for
12 others it was very high. It all depended on the length of service.
13 If you allow me, I have to clarify further. There was a special
14 law called the law on earmarking funds for housing construction. If I'm
15 not wrong, it was adopted in 1974. Under this law, all members of the
16 JNA were obliged to earmark 4.5 per cent of their gross salary for
17 housing construction irrespective of whether they already had a flat or
18 didn't have a flat at all. This was based on the principle of
19 solidarity. Thanks to that, enormous funds were accumulated and that
20 provided swift solutions for housing problems of the military personnel.
21 Q. Thank you. The day before yesterday, you mentioned another
22 article, i.e., Article 87. Page 21 in English, Your Honours, and page 8
23 in B/C/S.
24 General, can you just briefly comment this article, because you
25 referred to it the day before yesterday when you talked about who decided
1 the salaries.
2 A. Since this article is the last one that relates to the military
3 salaries, Article 87 gives federal government the responsibility to --
4 what they're going to be deciding on and what is going to be deciding by
5 the minister of defence. What this shows is that the federal government
6 shall prescribe the salary according to the rank --
7 Q. You don't have to read it.
8 A. Military allowance, et cetera. Let me just explain. When I
9 spoke about different segments of salary, I didn't mention this segment
10 relating to the length of service, and it is decided according to the
11 republican provisions. It is calculated .5 per cent per each year of
12 service, but it cannot exceed the total percentage of 20. I thought this
13 would be a helpful explanation for the Trial Chamber.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think this is a good time for us to
15 take a break.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: We will take a break and come back at quarter to
17 11.00. Court adjourned.
18 --- Recess taken at 10.18 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 10.46 a.m.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
21 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour. [Interpretation] I keep
22 saying that we are finished with the legal part, but we are not. There
23 is one more article I would like the witness to comment on, and then we
24 will be moving on to a different topic.
25 Q. General, that's Article 337 of the Law on Army of the VJ.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we have page 88 of
2 Exhibit 197. Article 337 is the one I should like Mr. Nikolic to look
3 at. Page 30 of the B/C/S version.
4 Q. General, I believe that we have already discussed this, but tell
5 me, does this article define the matters we discussed today and two days
6 ago as part of the provisions covered by the Law on the Army of
8 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness's microphones please be
9 switched on.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Would you repeat your answer, please, Mr. Nikolic,
11 now that the microphone is on.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. This is connected to Article
13 337 of the Law on Property that we discussed a moment ago. Here the
14 manner in which funds and material assets are to be managed and dispensed
15 is defined.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Two days ago you mentioned the Law on Finances of the Federal
18 Republic of Yugoslavia
19 unfortunately. However, who is it who is in charge of managing assets
20 who is mentioned in the Law on the VJ and in connection with the law on
21 financing of the FRY?
22 A. It's called the Law on Finances of the FRY, which places emphasis
23 on assets available, managed and dispensed with. The chief of the staff
24 is not the one who would be entitled to manage these assets. He is
25 entitled to dispense the assets that are conferred upon him pursuant to a
1 decision of the minister of defence.
2 Q. Thank you. And now, General, we will be moving to a different
3 topic. You said on the 27th of April, 1992, the FRY constitution was
4 passed and a new state was formed, as it were. This historic moment,
5 what bearing did it have on the Yugoslav People's Army, in terms of its
6 status and the status of its members?
7 A. Can you please clarify your question?
8 Q. What became of the Yugoslav People's Army once a new state was
9 set up and a new constitution passed on the 27th of April, 1992
10 A. Pursuant to an order of the Presidency of the Socialist Federal
11 Republic of Yugoslavia
12 whereby all the units of the Yugoslav People's Army were within 15 days
13 to withdraw from the territory of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
14 cross over to the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. That
15 meant that within 15 days they had to withdraw all the units, including
16 military hardware, troops and families of servicemen. It raised a number
17 of difficult issues as to how to deal with the transportation of men and
18 assets. However, the greatest difficulty faced the families and
19 professional servicemen of the former JNA who remained in the territory
20 of the Serbian Republic
21 became members, joined the ranks of armies.
22 Q. We will get back to that later. Go ahead.
23 A. In other words, there were great difficulties which needed
24 solutions. Primarily the status of the members of the Army of Yugoslavia
25 needed to be resolved as well as any other material and social issues,
1 accommodation, food, disposition, billeting and the related locations.
2 Q. Let us call up a 65 ter document, 476D, an order issued by the
3 Presidency of the Socialist Federal Republic
4 April, 1992
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic, when you say this document is 476D --
6 okay. Thank you so much.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Apologies. I skipped the first two
9 Q. General, according to the date of the decision -- or, rather the
10 date of the decision coincides with the date of the adoption of the FRY
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Article 2 of the order signed by Branko Kostic -- well, first of
14 all can you tell us what was the role of Branko Kostic at the time?
15 A. He was the vice-president of the Presidency of the SFRY as the
16 body vested with commanding powers.
17 Q. Thank you. It reads:
18 "The plan should contain the transformation of the JNA into the
19 Army of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and its reducing to the
20 territory of the FRY and citizens of the FRY, which implies also a
21 transfer of non-nationals [sic] of FRY who are members of the JNA from
22 the territories of other republics to the territory of the Federal
23 Republic of Yugoslavia
24 MR. THOMAS: I'm sorry, Your Honours. There's a discrepancy
25 between the translation and the transcript and the English version of the
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] That's correct. I seem to have
3 misread this. Page 30, line 12: "Transfer to nationals of FRY," not
4 "non-nationals." So the English translation is correct.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: When you say "transfer to nationals," that doesn't
6 sound grammatically correct. What do you transfer to the nationals?
7 MR. LUKIC: Transfer of citizens.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Transfer of.
9 MR. LUKIC: Of citizens. yes, yes.
10 MR. THOMAS: I'm sorry, Your Honours. There's a further
11 inconsistency. If I could just pause the transcript for a moment. At
12 line 30 -- sorry, page 30, line 12, at line -- sorry, page 30, line 11,
13 we have -- and I'm not sure if my learned friend was reading here or
14 whether he was putting a proposition, but what the transcript records is:
15 "The plan should contain the transformation of the JNA into the
16 Army of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and its reducing to the
17 territory of the FRY and citizens of the FRY which implies also a
18 transfer of non-nationals."
19 Now, I don't know if at that point he is reading from the
20 provision, because if he was, that's not what the English version of the
21 provision says, which there's no talk of implication at all. It
22 expressly states that it includes the transfer of citizens. And I'm just
23 not clear whether what my learned friend was doing was reading the
24 provision or whether he was commenting on the provision.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can you see that, Mr. Lukic?
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I was reading the text. I wasn't
2 commenting on it, and I don't see what the problem is.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: The problem is that what appears on the transcript
4 does not accord with what appears on the -- on Article 2 of the order,
5 and that kind of problem can be solved by counsel not reading a document
6 which is on the screen but ask questions about it, because when you read
7 it, we have it on the screen and then you bring it on the transcript and
8 this kind of problem will arise.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I can see that, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. General, rather than me reading the document, can you give us
13 your comments on the text of item 2, and can you tell us what it is that
14 you know about this matter.
15 A. Yes, I can. This is an order issued by the Presidency of the
16 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia following the adoption of the
17 FRY constitution or on the date of its passing, whereby the staff of the
18 Supreme Command of the armed forces of the JNA is ordered to fulfil
19 certain obligations within the time limit stated. And item 2 precisely
20 defines that the staff of the Supreme Command should draw up a plan which
21 would provide for the transformation of the JNA into the Army of
23 to the territory of the FRY and the citizens of the FRY.
24 The term that seemed to be the problem here had to do with the
25 transfer onto the citizens of the FRY, because you know that the units
1 were spread out across the SFRY. So those who were in other countries,
2 in other republics then the FRY should return to the territory of the
3 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
4 Q. And what about the "vice versa" at the end? What does it mean?
5 A. I have to explain this. This means that those who are not
6 nationals of the FRY can inversely return to the territories or cross
7 over to the territories of their respective republics.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic, or maybe Mr. Nikolic, at page 32,
9 line -- starting from line 14, you say:
10 "The term that seemed to be the problem here had to do with the
11 transfer onto the citizens of the FRY ..."
12 I'm not quite sure I understand what is meant by the term
13 "transfer onto the citizens of the FRY," and I don't seem to see a
14 similar term in Article 2 of the order.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I can only clarify
16 this one sentence which I believes constitution the problem. It also
17 implies or includes the transfer onto. You can't read it clearly. The
18 citizens of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia who are members of the JNA
19 from the territories of other republics, because the JNA, up until that
20 point, had been deployed throughout the territories, and they should be
21 returning to the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia where
22 the Army of Yugoslavia would be constituted.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: That I understand. What I don't understand is
24 "transfer onto the citizens," or onto -- yes. Transfer of those citizens
25 from other republics back to the Federative Republic of Serbia, "transfer
1 of," not onto. It would make sense, but when you say "onto," it doesn't
2 make sense.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I agree with you fully,
4 Your Honour.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The formulation itself --
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: If you agree with me, thank you so much, because I
8 think that is what the article is saying, at English version, at least,
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is not defined properly.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: It's fine, but we have agreed. Thank you so much.
12 Mr. Lukic.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. General, can you clarify something. Before this order was
15 issued, at the time when the SFRY existed, were certain members of the
16 then JNA also transferred from certain territories to others and why?
17 Can you explain the Court -- to the Court when this happened and what it
19 A. After the Yugoslav People's Army withdrew from the territory
20 of -- territories of the Republic of Croatia
22 JNA joined the ranks of these armies as professional servicemen.
23 Following the transformation of the Yugoslav People's Army into
24 the Army of Yugoslavia, professional soldiers who hailed from these
25 territories, who were born in Croatia
1 to be in the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia joined these
2 armies of their own free will and thereby left the system of -- the
3 command system of the Army of Yugoslavia and joined the command structure
4 of the other armies.
5 Q. I have to put the question to you again. I may not have made
6 myself quite clear. I was interested in the pre-April 1992 period before
7 the FRY was constituted, and in respect of the JNA within the SFRY was
8 there a time in that period, 1991, when members of the JNA of the old
9 SFRY would be transferred from one territory to the other and why, and
10 what was their status?
11 A. Yes. I wanted to clarify that particular issue and then deal
12 with this one. Their status was not defined at that point in time, and
13 their status was that of members of the Yugoslav People's Army. However,
14 as various armies came into being, the status of these various servicemen
15 who left certain ranks and joined others had to be defined. So in answer
16 to your question, yes, absolutely, there were.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before you go further, would I like to get what
18 you mean in your question, Mr. Lukic, by the term "territory." You're
19 talking about the territory -- when you say from one territory to
20 another, are you talking about the territory that formed the SFRY or the
21 territory outside the SFRY, because at that time the whole of the SFRY
22 was SFRY territory. Now, when you say "transferred from one territory to
23 another," I'm not sure what you mean, unless you mean a territory outside
24 the SFRY. Greece
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No. You -- you're getting close
1 though. The problem lies in me trying to avoid putting leading questions
2 and trying to deal with what was, in fact, a mess, because you had a
3 state called the SFRY without Slovenia
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Precisely. Precisely. Now --
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] So I'm using the term "Socialist
6 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia" but with one part of its former territory
7 outside of it now. So I wanted to skirt the issue.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: I fully --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the President, please.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: My apologies.
11 I fully appreciate that by 1992 Slovenia was out of the
12 federation, and hence my question. Does the word "territory" here refer
13 to what at the beginning of 1992 was the SFRY, in other words, SFRY minus
15 republics of the SFRY, and all I want to know is what you mean by the
16 word "territories."
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, indeed. I was using what was
18 then the official name, SFRY. Obviously the territory of that country
19 had changed.
20 Q. General, what I want to know and I'll try to be more specific
21 with my question is this: Were there any problems with the members of
22 the JNA regarding their status and their position after Slovenia
23 its independence in the summer of 1991?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. What exactly was that situation about, something that you would
1 have known of given your line of work at the time?
2 A. Many members of the JNA, following Slovenia's declaration of
3 independence, as you suggested yourself, and this was later followed by
4 the Republic of Croatia
5 of April, 1992. A time when the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had
6 already been constituted. As you can tell if you look at this document
7 this refers to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Many of the members
8 had no choice but to leave their flats, take their families with them and
9 physically move them to the territory of the FRY. This caused a lot of
10 social problems. At the time, many of these citizens had not yet
11 resolved issues regarding their nationality or citizenship.
12 I am willing to share with you, if I may, one particular piece of
13 information regarding what the constitution says about this. Following
14 the withdraw of the JNA pursuant to decisions taken at the time by the
15 Presidency of the SFRY, and this is with regard to the territory of the
16 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as paragraph 2 specifies, 13.000 members
17 arrived from various republics. If my understanding of your question is
19 Q. Thirteen thousand members of the JNA?
20 A. I'm sorry if I misspoke. Members of the JNA with their units and
21 their families on the territory of the FRY with about 40.000 relatives.
22 If I may press on.
23 Q. Just a minute, please, for the interpretation.
24 [Defence counsel confer]
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic, I have a problem with the answer. Your
1 question at page 36, starting at line 9, specifically refers to the
2 problems with the members of the JNA regarding their status and their
3 position after Slovenia
4 with the period after the Republika Srpska and the Republic of Serbian
5 Krajina have [indiscernible]. So can you please make sure that you get
6 the witness back.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. General, you understand the problem that the Presiding Judge
9 seems to be having with this answer. My question was quite specific. We
10 shall be discussing a wide range of subjects here. I would like you to
11 address my question and no more than my question when you go about
12 answering my questions.
13 What do you know about what the JNA faced after --
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Maybe say to the witness: After Slovenia broke
15 off but before the break by the other -- by Bosnia and Croatia
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes.
17 Q. I'm trying to draw a distinction here, and we talked about this
18 during your proofing, sir. This is a long period of time. At one point
20 have vis-a-vis members of the JNA? It's probably best if you answer that
21 question first. With this happening with the cessation or separation or
22 break up of Slovenia
23 perhaps and then we can tackle the rest.
24 A. To couch this in the briefest possible terms, the most prominent
25 problems arose about the status and position of those members of the JNA,
1 and by the same token there were problems with the records of the
2 military staff withdrawing from the Republic of Slovenia
4 Q. You mentioned a while ago some figures. I'll be asking you about
6 about those figures? Did your administration deal with statistics or
7 anything to do with these figures and the records of these persons
8 withdrawing from certain territories in a very general sense?
9 A. Based on the analysis that I remember, but don't hold me to it --
10 Q. Before you even start answering, General, my question was: How
11 did you come about that information? Did your administration do that
12 type of work? First let's take this one step at a time.
13 A. At the outset today, I stated that within my administration was
14 also the housing department. One of our basic tasks was to monitor and
15 report on the housing problems and the living standard of these members
16 and all the rest.
17 Q. All right. And I'm asking you in terms of specific information,
18 how many professional JNA servicemen left Slovenia's territory, and what
19 were the consequences in terms of the work of your administration?
20 A. I don't have specific information regarding Slovenia, but I know
21 how many flats were left in Slovenia
23 to work on.
24 Q. All right. One step at a time. Can you tell us about the number
25 of flats that remained in the Republic of Slovenia
2 A. The analysis was drawn up in 1992. It has been a long time.
3 Therefore, Your Honours, please don't hold me to each and every figure.
4 Nevertheless, I can say that there remained about 6.500 flats in the
5 Republic of Slovenia
6 that time, available to the JNA.
7 Q. Thank you very much. What about the Republic of Macedonia
8 did Macedonia
9 of the JNA, provided your administration was aware of any.
10 A. Fortunately, an agreement was reached with the Republic of
12 federal authorities of the FRY and the representatives of the Republic of
14 way of peacefully resolving this situation in relation to those members
15 who left the Republic of Macedonia
17 Q. What specifically happened with those flats?
18 A. Quite specifically, certain people bought those flats that had
19 previously been owned and used by the JNA. They were now free to
20 exchange those flats with no hindrance whatsoever with those who wished
21 the leave the JNA and join the Army of the Republic of Macedonia
22 up to the persons involved to deal with that and perform these exchanges.
23 Another way was to simply sell the flats off and use any proceeds from
24 those sales in order to buy themselves flats in the FRY, which was
25 definitely an avenue that was open to them.
1 Q. In situation number 3, I'm looking at the document in front us,
2 Article 3 specifically, and I'll try to paraphrase this. Acting Federal
3 Secretary Blagoje Adzic would be continuing in keeping with the new
4 constitutional situations and the representatives of all three
5 constituent peoples in that republic.
6 Sir, do you know if any talks were held about the rights of
7 members of the JNA and their status after April 1992, and did that have
8 anything to do with these talks between the three constituent peoples and
9 their political representatives in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We know what
10 those were.
11 A. The leaders of the two countries -- rather, the political
12 authorities, as far as I was aware, were in fact having talks,
13 negotiations, in a bid to deal with certain issues regarding the free
14 withdrawal or departure of JNA members, all of them shifting between
15 different armies. They wanted to remove all obstacles to a peaceful
16 progress of this. Opportunities were being seized to make it possible
17 for those people to go wherever they liked with no hindrance at all.
18 I seem to remember that the Chief of Staff of the Yugoslav Army
19 established a team whose task was to monitor the implementation of this
20 plan that was reached. Nevertheless, as far as I know, talks were
21 scheduled to be held by the Acting Federal Secretary for All People's
22 Defence, General Blagoje Adzic, at the time, and I don't think he was
23 successful in agreeing all of the terms for a dignified and peaceful
24 resolution of this problem. Nevertheless, as far as the Army of
1 problems, no members of any other ethnicities were pressured to leave or
2 to stay either way.
3 Q. If I may just latched on to the last thing you were talking
4 about. Do you perhaps know if members of the former JNA who left the JNA
5 and joined, for example, the BH Army or Croatia's army and had flats, for
6 example, in Belgrade
7 those flats from them that they happened to own in the territory of the
9 A. I never came across anything like that. I don't think that sort
10 of pressure was ever exerted on any of those individuals as long as they
11 were the rightful owners of those flats, of course.
12 Q. All right. I see. And what about the flats that happened to be
13 in the Republic of Croatia
15 previously withdrawn from those territories? Were they free to do as
16 they saw fit with those flats? What does your information suggest, sir?
17 A. Regrettably, members of the JNA who were using flats and had
18 tenancy rights, as you pointed out a while ago, but those who bought
19 flats from the JNA, the flats available to the JNA for their use, after
20 the withdrawal of the JNA they were driven out of those flats and were
21 never allowed to use those flats again or indeed to sell those flats in
22 order to try to deal with their own housing issues elsewhere in the FRY.
23 Q. All right. Let us now try to return to what you were talking
24 about earlier on. According to your information, how many members of the
25 JNA came to the FRY from Croatia
1 and how many relatives? Were any specific records kept?
2 A. In my previous answer, I talked about the individual figures, the
3 Republic of Slovenia
4 when we drafted this analysis. In our administration our information
5 suggesting at the time that over 13.000 members of the JNA had arrived
6 from these territories followed by another 40.000 relatives. They
7 arrived in the FRY with no accommodation to speak of and nowhere to stay.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry, I would like to intervene.
9 Mr. Nikolic --
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't hear you, Mr. President.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: I was just calling your name. I was saying
12 Mr. Nikolic. Mr. Lukic asked you at page 42, line 2:
13 "Were they free to do as they saw fit with those flats? What
14 does your information suggest, sir?"
15 Your answer was:
16 "Regrettably, members of the JNA who were using flats and had
17 tenancy rights, as you pointed out a while ago, but those who bought
18 flats from the JNA, the flats avail --"
19 And you tell us the problems experienced by those in those flats,
20 that they were not allowed to use those flats. You haven't told us what
21 about those who had tenancy rights. Can you tell us what was -- if there
22 was any problem with those who had tenancy rights and if so, what was the
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours. If I may
25 furnish an additional explanation. As far as I know, after this
1 situation took place, the Croatian parliament adopted a decision for the
2 persons who abandoned their flats and previously had tenancy rights on
3 those flats were to lose those rights and effectively were not able to
4 exercise them any longer.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Proceed, Mr. Lukic.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. General, on page 42, line 17, you said 13 [as interpreted]
8 members of the JNA. Are you referring to the professional servicemen?
9 A. Yes. And I can give you some more information if you allow me.
10 Q. Yes.
11 A. I intentionally didn't speak about retired servicemen. To my
12 knowledge and from what I can recall, around 4.000 retired servicemen
13 were expelled from their flats in the above-mentioned republics. That
14 was another problem that the FRY had to resolve, so on top of the 13.000
15 that I mentioned earlier.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would like to tender this document
17 into evidence, Your Honours.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
19 please be given an exhibit number.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honours. This document shall be
21 assigned Exhibit D241. Thank you.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
23 Mr. Lukic.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please now look at another
25 document, Your Honours. The original document is marked P729, but since
1 it's a very bad copy, there's a retyped one produced in the Tribunal.
2 And I think we can talk about Mr. Thomas later about just attaching the
3 B/C/S version to it, and that's a document of the 6th of May, 1992,
4 signed by Blagoje Adzic, and a better copy is 65 ter is 0138D. And the
5 original document is P729, and the original has the seal and the stamp.
6 We are going to look at P729, and you will see how bad the copy is.
7 Q. So this is a Prosecution exhibit, and I will suggest to you,
8 Mr. Nikolic to look at document 1318D in front of you. Can you find it?
9 Because that's one and the same document?
10 A. Yes, but just if I may take some time to look at it.
11 Q. Indeed.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Is this document 138D or 1318D?
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No. What you're looking at is 1318D,
14 the 65 ter documents of the Defence. It doesn't have the signature or
15 the stamp, whereas the original version of this document is marked P729.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can see it. What was your
17 question? I haven't heard it.
18 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Thomas, what's the Prosecution's position with
20 respect to the now legible copy that is being produced by the Defence?
21 MR. THOMAS: Your Honours, I'm all in favour of using a copy that
22 is legible. I have no difficulty with the legible copy being attached in
23 some way to the existing exhibit. We have the original already attached
24 which bears the signature and other authenticating features. For the
25 purposes of using the document with General Nikolic, I have no difficulty
1 with the document as suggested by my learned friend being used. I have
2 one qualification. I'm just having somebody check for my own purposes
3 that the -- that the two documents match, but assuming that they do, I
4 ultimately would have no difficulty with this version also being attached
5 to the already tendered exhibit.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Thomas.
7 Yes, Mr. Lukic.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Simic -- oh, I'm sorry. I spent a lot of time with another
11 Mr. Nikolic, would you please tell me, are you familiar with this
12 document and what does it speak about?
13 A. I became familiar with this document during proofing. Since this
14 was written in 1992, I wasn't in the ministry, but I can provide you with
15 very specific and valid answers.
16 The deputy of the federal secretary at the time for national
17 defence colonel-general --
18 Q. Before you start, we have to correct a mistake. You said -- I
19 apologise to the interpreters. Page 45, 24 line, the witness said that
20 he was at the ministry at that time.
21 A. In 1992. May I continue?
22 Q. Yes, please.
23 A. Thank you. What we have here in this letter which was submitted
24 to the commands of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Armies, et cetera, deals
25 with the procedure of regulating the status of active military personnel
1 and civilians employed in the army. This is how they were called under
2 the Law on the Army. It has been ordered that pursuant to a decision of
3 the SFRY Presidency of the 5th of May, 1992, to ensure that all members
4 of the JNA who remain in the territory of the Republic of
6 from the territory of the FRY, if I may add, shall retain all the rights,
7 and I underline, as all other members of the JNA.
8 That's paragraph 1. May I continue?
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. Given that these servicemen had already their status regulated
11 under the law on the service in the armed forces, it is specified here
12 that for the purpose of fairness and the retention of certain rights
13 these personnel shall retain their current duties and positions in the
14 units of the JNA in the BH who had the citizenship of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
15 In order to avoid depriving other personnel of their rights, members of
16 the JNA who did not acquire the citizenship of BH may keep their posts in
17 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, or, alternatively, they can
18 voluntarily declare their wish to be transferred to the territory of the
19 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. And there was a deadline set until which
20 they may express such wish and to whom. Those who wanted to be
21 transferred to the FRY, according to this letter, shall be submitted to
22 the personnel administration of the Federal Secretariat for National
23 Defence, because at the time the personnel administration was an
24 independent administration, that is to say by 10th of May, 1992, midnight
25 or 1200 hours at the latest.
1 Q. Very well.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we just attach this copy to P
3 exhibit, or shall we wait until after the break to give a chance to
4 Mr. Thomas to compare the two versions of the document and then to attach
5 it to P729? Maybe it's better that we don't do it now and leave it until
6 after the break.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Lukic. We will do it
8 after the break.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The next document that I'd like to
10 show to Mr. Nikolic is dated 6th of May, 1992, marked 65 ter Defence
11 0039D. It's a letter written by Colonel-General Blagoje Adzic.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have found it.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. General, we have seen this document during briefing -- proofing
15 as well. My question pertains to paragraph 2 of this document. You
16 said --
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Thomas.
18 MR. THOMAS: Sorry, Your Honour. I'm not sure that we've got the
19 right 65 ter number. It looks to me like this is document 390D. Sorry,
20 that's not reflected in the transcript, sir.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: On the transcript it says 0039D.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, it's wrong. [In English] I
23 always remove first two numbers. 65 ter 00390D.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated]
25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: You can't remove the last zero, or you may not.
2 Okay. So 00390D.
3 Mr. Thomas, 00390D.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Nikolic, my colleagues and associates recommend that for the
6 benefit of translation you try to speak a little bit more slowly.
7 A. I'll do my best.
8 Q. Paragraph 2 of this document, could you please comment on it and
9 tell me -- it is clear what it says here, but after May 1992, did the
10 people who remained back there really manage to exercise their rights and
11 to regulate their -- all the issues on which their livelihood and
12 everything else depended on?
13 A. Paragraph 2 of this letter written by the Deputy Federal
14 Secretary for National Defence General Adzic, addressed to the Presidency
15 of the SFRY, deals with the problems at that we discussed a while ago.
16 He indicates that the implementation of the decision of the SFRY
17 Presidency on the transformation of the Yugoslav Army and the pull-out --
18 I am sorry, the transformation of the JNA into VJ and the solution of
19 other pending issues will greatly depend on how certain issues were going
20 to be resolved that would affect the existence and the life of members of
21 the JNA who would remain in the territory of B
22 those who are going to be sent to that territory and particularly how to
23 provide the protection for their families.
24 This is about solving the fundamental and basic status-related
25 issues of the JNA and VJ servicemen, or, rather, the personnel who were
1 going to that specific territory and joining the armies there. This
2 mainly had to do with their social and financial status.
3 Q. General Adzic goes on to put forth certain proposals to the
4 Presidency. I'm not going to read them. I'm just going to ask you
5 whether the -- these proposals were accepted and acted upon accordingly
6 as proposed to the Presidency of the SFRY.
7 A. All these proposals for conclusions put forth by General Adzic
8 were fully accepted by the Presidency, as far as I know.
9 Q. You worked in the administration of the ministry for a certain
10 period of time. Members of the Army of Republika Srpska who exercised
11 certain rights based on these kind of documents, were they receiving
12 salaries from May 1992 onwards from the government of the FRY?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. We'll go back to this issue later. I just wanted to wrap it up
15 in this way.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] May we please have this document
17 admitted into evidence.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: It's admitted. May it please be given an exhibit
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
21 Exhibit D242. Thank you.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Yes, Mr. Lukic.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Let us move on to the next document, please, while remaining on
25 the same subject. This is Defence 65 ter 01120D.
1 Mr. Nikolic, this is a document by the federal defence ministry
2 signed by General Zunic. The date is the 24th of August, 1993.
3 Do you know who General Zunic is and what exactly was his job?
4 A. Sure I do, he was my direct superior. I'm familiar with this
5 document and my administration took part in the drafting of this
7 Q. The heading is, if we look at the following page in both the
8 B/C/S and English, this is from August 1993. It reads:
9 "Proposal of issues and problems from within the ambit of the
10 sector that should be included in a plan on eliminating these issues and
11 problems pursuant to a criteria and said by the president of the FRY."
12 Can I have your comments, please? If we move on to the next page
13 in the B/C/S and in the English that should be page -- I think it's
14 probably the next page. Let me check.
15 It says, however -- yes, yes, there you go, the last paragraph,
16 Your Honours, in the English. However -- Mr. Nikolic, the illegibility's
17 quite poor. I'm not sure if you can read. It's right about where it
18 says, "Issues and problems were [indiscernible] may and ought to be dealt
19 with by the VJ." It says, "However in spite of all the measures
20 taken --"
21 A. I do apologise. I have numbers 1 and 2 here, please.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Slow down. Slow down. Slow down. The
23 interpreter is struggling to keep peace.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Can you go to page 3, General. It says, "1. Issues and problems
1 within," and so on and so forth. I want to know about the paragraph
2 right above which reads, "However in spite of all the measures taken"; do
3 you see that?
4 A. Yes, yes, I do.
5 Q. Can you please read for yourself the paragraph and then I would
6 like to have your comments, sir. What exactly does this item refer to?
7 A. If you look at this, you have here the sector for system and
8 status-related issues. He's sending a letter to the defence minister as
9 their superior. It says that in addition to all the measures taken to
10 deal with the issues that we mentioned a while ago, it was still
11 necessary to deal basically with three fundamental issues.
12 It goes on to say we have so far been paying the salaries to
13 around 50.000 members of the VJ and now the number has increased up to
14 63.000. This is information suggesting that a total of 13.000 JNA
15 members arrived in the territory of -- of the FRY, professional soldiers,
16 and that is exactly the figure that I mentioned awhile ago, meaning now
17 we should also increase some budgetary items in order to be able to pay
18 those people's salaries. The most serious problem being the fact that
19 the status of JNA members in the Krajina, so as the document reads, and
20 especially in the Republika Srpska had not been resolved yet.
21 Next it goes on to state that there was a certain amount of
22 trouble and difficulty having to do with personnel records. We didn't
23 know who went where, why, and whatever, and this didn't quite correspond
24 with the files as they were in the database number one kept by the
25 personnel departments.
1 Next, the most serious problem was their social condition. Also
2 regarding that, a list was to be drawn up, a neat one regarding these
3 problems that came about after the Army of Yugoslavia was created or,
4 rather, renamed. That is the fundamental problem.
5 Q. Can we please move on to the next page. I think it's also the
6 next page in the English. The last portion, please, if it can be -- if
7 it can be -- the last portion pulled up in English. Paragraph 2,
9 "Issues and problems that ought to be dealt with by the VJ with
10 the assistance of the FRY state bodies in charge."
11 And then fourth down it reads:
12 "2. Have the government of the FRY RS and RSK resolve issue of
13 paying personnel who are now being paid by the VJ?"
14 Do you know why this was written back in August 1993, and why was
15 this addressed to the government?
16 A. Well, this was the fundamental problem, especially starting from
17 the -- the line of work of my own administration. How were we now to
18 deal with the issue of these JNA members who now joined this army? All
19 those who were dispatched to other armies, specifically the Army of
20 Republika Srpska, VRS, and the Krajina army. They were now out of the
21 chain of command of the VJ and became part of the chain of command of
22 those two armies. Who should be paying their salaries and how? How
23 shall we deal with their status, their right to receive appropriate
24 housing and social security? We looked for an appropriate basis in the
25 existing regulations to resolve that problem in a legal way, by legal
1 means, to whatever extent possible and for this to become part of the
2 legal system of the country as a whole.
3 Q. Is there a proposal being made for this to be dealt with on a
4 political level?
5 A. Given the fact that the regulations did not state anything
6 specific about this, a request was made for the supreme political body
7 and the supreme organ of command in the JNA to take a decision regarding
9 [Defence counsel confer]
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Can we -- can we comment on where it talks about the housing
12 problems being faced by members of the VJ.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think it's probably the next page
14 in the English, Your Honours.
15 Q. General, can you see that paragraph down there in the
16 organisation of the VJ for the most part in military facilities, and so
17 on and so forth. Can you see that?
18 A. Yes. Yes.
19 Q. I'm not going to read it back to you, but does this tally with
20 what you said? Where were these members of the former JNA accommodating
21 those who were arriving in the territory of the FRY? How did they deal
22 with their own housing and accommodation issues when they first came?
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, can you just direct us in the English.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. I'm sorry. Your Honour,
25 that is paragraph 4: "The VJ organised accommodation," et cetera.
1 Q. Mr. Nikolic, can you answer that one, please?
2 A. It was a sad situation, if I may put it that way. I was watching
3 the situation unfold, and it was a sad sight. The problem became more
4 complex, as I said before, when the 13.000 new people cropped up. If you
5 take their families into account, this totaled about 40.000 new persons.
6 The issue arising now was how to come up with appropriate
7 accommodation for all those people. The defence minister was requested
8 and so was the Chief of the General Staff of the VJ, and I can tell you
9 with no reservations that the VJ in practical terms took up the
10 responsibility of dealing with this problem rather than the federal
11 government, which is the body that should by rights have dealt with an
12 issue like this. Nevertheless, you can say that there were no flats to
13 go around.
14 If you look at paragraph 1, you can see that the number had risen
15 to 25.000 requests, and there were about 17.500 of them with no
16 accommodation at all. We had to do something to put these people up in
17 the barracks. We even vacated some of our barracks in order to put these
18 people up there. We used military facilities for accommodation. We used
19 trailers that were previously used for recreation in certain military
20 facilities, and we would now allow their relatives, the relatives of
21 these new people use these trailers as accommodation. I have to say I --
22 I remain sad to this very day. The problem has not been adequately --
23 adequately dealt with, but we were nevertheless successful in putting up
24 about 3.000 persons in these military facilities, buildings trailers and
25 so forth the living conditions were horrifying they were not dignified at
1 all and not fit for -- for a military officer or indeed any of their
2 relatives, but we had to deal with this somehow and this was the way that
3 we found in terms of dealing with this.
4 Q. Your Honours, may we -- may we have a number for this document,
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
7 please be given an exhibit number.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
9 Exhibit D243. Thank you.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
11 Yes, Mr. Lukic. Would that be a convenient moment?
12 We'll take a break and come back at half past 12.00. Court
14 --- Recess taken at 12.03 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 12.31 p.m.
16 MR. THOMAS: Your Honours, just before we begin, I can confirm
17 that the document that we were going to discuss over the break, and it's
18 65 ter 01318D, the retyped version of the B/C/S original entered by -- or
19 intended to be tendered by Mr. Lukic. I have no problem at all with that
20 version of the document. It can be attached to P729.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. May it please be attached to
22 P729, Mr. Court Registrar.
23 THE REGISTRAR: The document has been attached. Thank you.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. General, we will be dwelling on this subject a little more.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have document -- it is
3 65 ter Defence document, 01123D.
5 Staff of the VJ, General Zivota Panic, about visiting some units on the
6 27th of October, 1992.
7 General, my first question, there is a reference here to the
8 Sombor Garrison. Just for the benefit of the Chamber, could you define
9 this geographically? Under whose army was that garrison?
10 A. The Sombor Garrison is in the Vojvodina, autonomous province of
11 the Republic of Serbia
13 Q. At the time, that was the FRY.
14 A. Yes, and now the Republic of Serbia
15 Q. What is this document, General, briefly, please? What is the
16 substance of this document?
17 A. The then Chief of the General Staff of the VJ, Colonel-General
18 Zivota Panic, within the framework of his assignments, also visited the
19 Sombor Garrison. For the -- for the benefit of the Chamber, this is
20 garrison holding a large number of VJ members and units. When he was
21 touring the troops at the Sombor Garrison, he listened to the problems
22 being faced by his subordinates. Having obtained that kind of
23 information and having conducted conversations with the high-ranking
24 officers there, he came to certain conclusions after which he also handed
25 out specific tasks.
1 Q. There are some facts stated in paragraph 3 and paragraph 4.
2 Why -- why was the logistics sector ordered to deal with this problem?
3 This is something that we addressed, didn't we?
4 A. This was a prominent problem. It was something that I addressed
5 a while ago in answer to one of your questions. Nevertheless, if I may
6 just supplement the information. One of the questions was how many flats
7 remained in Slovenia
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and this document addresses that. So if I may
9 just give you the information based on the analysis that during my work
10 with my administration I came across, based on my knowledge and my
11 memory, there were about 30.000 flats, JNA flats, remaining in Croatia
12 In Bosnia
13 added to Slovenia
14 persons who were driven out, displaced or simply left their homes. These
15 people now had nowhere left to go. They had no furniture, no belongings.
16 They were down and out to all practical intents. The Chief of the
17 General Staff of the VJ, in paragraph 3 specifically, says that the
18 possibility should be studied for those with no accommodation for the
19 people who were down and out now or were renting flats to be accommodated
20 in prefab housing. He suggested that this be adopted and also proposed a
21 solution for this.
22 Why did he give this order to the assistant chief of General
23 Staff for logistics? Because this was something he was in charge of, but
24 again he had to work closely with the defence ministry. It wasn't just
25 for him to do, but his task was to co-ordinate with the ministry and the
1 federal government in order to deal with these remaining issues.
2 As for the logistics sector, the chief of that sector had certain
3 avenues open to him in order to see where he could get the trailers, the
4 prefab building, the military facilities not being used or about to be
5 vacated, and then his task was to put people up in those facilities.
6 Paragraph 4, because of exceptionally low earnings, it was
7 inevitable that people should start asking themselves how do we keep our
8 families? You had water bills, electricity bills, and so on and so
9 forth. And the Chief of Staff immediately order ban any payments on
10 accommodation and charge wholesale prices for supplies and foodstuffs.
11 No VAT or anything like that. He wanted to make the situation a little
12 easier on the people who remained and were now facing those problems.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Nikolic, given the fact that Vojvodina was in
14 the FRY, what was the cost of this housing crisis in Vojvodina? This is
15 not an area where people had to either withdraw from other republics to
16 come back to Serbia
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, thank you for asking
18 me this question. In the then Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
19 there were six republics. One of them was the Republic of Serbia
20 its two autonomous provinces, the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and
21 that of Kosovo and Metohija.
22 After the FRY had been constituted, these two provinces remained
23 part of the Republic of Serbia
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Hence my question.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As for your question whether people
1 settled there, that was the garrison where units were stationed of the
2 air force and the army, and these formations were joined by former JNA
3 units that were coming from the Republic of Croatia
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. General, you mentioned this social situation. I didn't ask you
8 about this in proofing, but do you remember whether in 1992 and 1993,
9 what was the situation with respect to inflation rate in Yugoslavia?
10 More specifically, do you remember the amount of your salary that you
11 were receiving towards the end of 1993?
12 A. Somebody will be shocked if I tell you that due to the sanctions
13 and the fact that the country found itself in extremely difficult
14 conditions, my salary at that time, that is to say 1992, was, if
15 converted into German marks, between 10 and 15 German marks.
16 Q. That is for which period? No, no, no. Was that a monthly salary
17 or a weekly wages, what?
18 A. That was my monthly salary. And if I may just add something.
19 Due to this hyperinflation which we used to call giga-inflation, we
20 requested the salaries to be paid out every ten days in order to preserve
21 at least some of their values.
22 Q. We already heard evidence about the situation.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to tender
24 this into evidence.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before you do that, just to be able to get meaning
1 to this 15 German marks, that was a drop from what figure before
2 inflation? In other words, before inflation, what was yours salary, sir,
3 per month, to be able to compare to the 15 German marks.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Let me make it a little bit clearer.
5 Q. How many marks were you able to purchase before inflation and
6 then during inflation?
7 A. Your Honours, before the sanctions and inflation, I could live
8 very comfortably on my salary and support my family as well.
9 When you ask me how much exactly that was, in the then dinars
10 that was, according to the issue, 30 or 40 dinars to one German mark. My
11 salary was 15 times 40. So that would be my salary during inflation.
12 However, before the sanctions were imposed, my salary as a
13 lieutenant-colonel was 1.600 German marks.
14 Have I managed to answer your question?
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: You have, sir. Thank you so much, Mr. Nikolic.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we admit this document into
18 evidence, Your Honours?
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
20 please be given an exhibit number.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, document shall be assigned Exhibit
22 P244. Thank you -- oh, pardon me, D244.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Indeed. Thank you so much.
24 Yes, Mr. Lukic.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please now look at document
1 65 ter Defence 01054D.
2 Q. General, this is a letter signed by General Matovic, dated the
3 24th of August, 1993. It's a letter issued by the personnel
4 administration of the General Staff of the VJ. It is addressed to the
5 sector for operational issues of the General Staff, and the title is
6 "Problems that pertain to VJ."
7 I'm going to ask you first why was this letter written, because
8 we know that at the time General Matovic was chief. Of was this a letter
9 issued within the General Staff, and what was the reason underlying the
10 drafting of this letter?
11 A. This is the letter written by the chief of the personnel
12 administration, which was within the sector for mobilisation, staffing,
13 and systemic issues.
14 General Matovic highlights here a number of problems that need to
15 be addressed as they went along. In paragraph 2, he speaks about -- that
16 the army needs to be reinforced and prepared for performing its basic
17 functions but only within the scope of responsibility of the personnel
18 administration of the VJ General Staff.
19 Shall I talk about the content?
20 Q. Just a moment. Some legislature is mentioned in the first three
21 paragraphs of this letter. However, I'm interested in your comment on
22 paragraph 5, and for that purpose we need to go to the next page in both
24 In paragraph 5 it is said, and I'm going to read it because I
25 think the English translation corresponds to the original. I hope the
1 interpreters in the booth can see it:
2 "Pass a decision on status of members of the armies of Republika
3 Srpska and the Republic of Serbian Krajina who remain in the territory of
4 the break-away republics as well as those who are in the Yugoslav Army
5 and are citizens of these republics. Level-federal government, Federal
6 Ministry of Defence, and VJ General Staff in co-operation with the
7 personnel administration."
8 General, can you comment on this, please? This was written by
9 General Matovic in August 1993. Just a moment, please.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We need to correct the transcript:
11 "Level-federal government, Federal Ministry of Defence, and the
12 VJ General Staff in co-operation with the personnel administration."
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is a continuation of my
14 previous answers. Here we see that the accent here is on the problems
15 faced by the General Staff and its organisational units in dealing and
16 addressing specific issues, particularly of personnel who were members of
17 the armies of Republika Srpska and the Republic of Serbian Krajina
18 which relate to the problems of their status in the service.
19 Since these problems went beyond the scope of responsibilities of
20 the General Staff and particularly of the chief of the administration and
21 the sector, the chief of the administration suggested the levels were
22 decisions need to be made in order to resolve the issue -- the
23 status-related issues of members of these two armies.
24 If you allow me, in my view, he omitted the most responsible
25 organs. This is the Federal Assembly and the Supreme Defence Council.
1 This was the estimation by General Matovic about who should be involved.
2 However, we need to have here also the Supreme Defence Council and the
3 federal republic of --
4 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry, interpreter's correction: The Federal
5 Assembly of the FRY.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. This is your opinion.
8 A. Yes, it is.
9 Q. Speaking about that, do you know whether the Supreme Defence
10 Council ever addressed these issues in this period after May 1992? Did
11 they try to seek any solutions to the problems mentioned by Mr. Matovic?
12 A. Yes. Since the Ministry of Defence -- or, rather, the sector for
13 systemic and legal issues and administrative issues was responsible for
14 codifying certain issues. We acted in co-ordination with the responsible
15 organisational units within the General Staff depending on the scope of
16 responsibility and of specific unit that we need to co-operate with.
17 That means that we revisited this issue both on the General Staff and in
18 the ministry and also, as far as I know, at the Supreme Defence Council.
19 Q. General, I think that it's an indisputable fact in that case that
20 on the 1st of June, 1991, it was publish in the Official Gazette that the
21 Army of Republika Srpska was formed. What happened to the JNA officers
22 who remained in Bosnia-Herzegovina after the pull-out of the JNA from
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina and after the Army of Republika Srpska had been
25 A. As far as I can remember -- or, rather, I know that in the
1 provisional -- in the transitional provisions of that law, it is
2 explicitly stipulated that all members who joined this army shall become
3 professional officers of that army.
4 Q. Very well.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a second, please.
6 [Defence counsel confer]
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Can you please comment on paragraph 9. Were you aware at the
9 time that there were any problems with records, and in what sense was
10 this -- these records important for your administration and for the
11 functioning of the army as a whole?
12 A. Yes. Can I clarify further? Professional members of the
13 Yugoslav Army could have been assigned to the ministry and other
14 government organs, but there was a certain school of thinking or, let's
15 say, considerations in the General Staff not to delegate certain
16 responsibilities to other persons. That was the Chief of General Staff.
17 In Article 158 of the law on the Yugoslav Army, the scope of
18 responsibilities and powers of the federal minister of defence are
19 clearly stated, and they fully are complementary with the authorities and
20 powers of the Chief of General Staff with regard to the status related
21 issues in the -- and service-related issues in the army.
22 Q. Before the personnel centres were formed - and we have seen a
23 document from August 1993 - so before the personnel centres were form,
24 was there a clear cut and orderly record kept of the members of the two
25 armies, RS and --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please repeat the question
2 slowly, if possible. Thank you very much.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Please repeat the question slowly, if you can,
4 Mr. Lukic.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I apologise to the interpreters.
6 Q. Before the personnel centres were established, was there record
7 kept in the VJ or in any other organ about all members of the Yugoslav
8 Army, the Army of Republika Srpska, and the Serbian Army of Krajina that
9 exercised certain rights in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia?
10 A. Before I answer this question, I would like to remind you of
11 something, which is the document that we had a while ago, General Matovic
12 as head of personnel. The basic problem that he was basing was that of
13 keeping records. This was the most difficult -- difficult issue to
14 tackle in the army. I'm not going to expand at great length, that would
15 take too much time, but one had to produce proper records on the
16 professional soldiers who were members of the JNA, the professional
17 soldiers remaining in the territories of the break-away republics and so
18 on and so forth. For those reasons it was necessary to set up proper
19 records. Records covering all members of the JNA were kept by the
20 personnel administration or what used to be the SSNO and then later on
21 the VJ. This was called DPP1, which meant personnel information files.
22 Q. What about the fact that no records were kept? Did that give
23 rise to problems, difficulties? Can you give us an obvious example?
24 What sort of thing may occur if no records are kept?
25 A. Personnel records in relation to members of the VJ were
1 exceptionally important. It's important for regulating the position and
2 status of a member within an army. Any erroneous information in relation
3 to any individual may lead to that person not being able to exercise his
4 rights or perhaps to that person exercising his rights beyond his actual
6 Q. Records not being kept, did that cause any problems in terms of
7 the soldiers of the Army of Republika Srpska and the Serbian Krajina,
8 anything to do with their rights?
9 A. Yes. May I explain? There was one problem in particular posed
10 by the rights already earned based on one's years of service in the army,
11 in the JNA earlier on. No one had the right under the constitution or
12 indeed under any international provisions to declare such rights null and
13 void. Also, those persons were facing such a situation that unless their
14 status was resolved and the rights they enjoyed under their status, this
15 would have utterly destroy their families and make their physical
16 survival as human beings entirely impossible.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did you, at any stage, work in the Army of
18 Republika Srpska, the VRS, and/or the SVK?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I please have the
20 abbreviations explained to me.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did you ever work in the Army of the Republika
22 Srpska and the army of -- the Serbian Army of Krajina?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes -- or, rather, yes.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: You did. When was this?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I became chief of the
1 personnel administration, head of personnel administration on the 31st of
2 December, 1998
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: You don't have to give me an additional
5 We're talking here, I think, around the period 1992/1993,
6 Mr. Lukic, don't we -- aren't we? Not 1998, Mr. Nikolic. And the reason
7 I'm asking you this question is because you are being asked the question:
8 "Records not being kept, did that cause any problems in terms of the
9 soldiers of the Army of Republika Srpska and Serbian Krajina, anything to
10 do with their rights?"
11 Now, the question is not clear whether these records are not
12 being kept in the Army of Republika Srpska and the Serbian Krajina or in
13 the VJ. However, you have testified earlier, a couple of minutes ago,
14 that the SSNO did keep records, which was within the JNA. Now, I'm not
15 quite sure what the phrase "records not being kept" refers to.
16 I might add, Mr. Lukic, that a little earlier again, when the
17 witness did tell us that records were kept by the SSNO, you followed up
18 again by a question -- with a question that suggested that records were
19 not being kept. I didn't intervene, but, in fact, I expected your
20 colleagues on the other side to jump up, but they didn't. And I didn't
21 understand where this non-keeping of records comes from when the witness
22 has not testified to that.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I will try to use my questions to
24 shed light on the situation that has arisen.
25 I'm somewhat taken aback, I think. I don't think the witness
1 understood your first question.
2 Q. His Honour Judge Moloto wanted to know if you ever worked with
3 the VRS and the SVK, and you said, Yes. I was somewhat taken aback by
4 that. Let us try and clarify that first because that was my
5 understanding of the Judge's question. Did you, sir, Mr. Nikolic, ever
6 work with the VRS or the SVK?
7 A. Most certainly not.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: You haven't worked with them. My question was
9 going to be how you knew that they did or did not keep records, but that
10 depends on the meaning of the question that I started with that came from
11 Mr. Lukic where he states at page 66, starting at line 5:
12 "Records not being kept, did that cause any problems in terms of
13 the soldiers of the Army of Republika Srpska and the Serbian Krajina,
14 anything to do with their rights?"
15 So where, if I may ask you, when you ask the question, sir, when
16 you talk about records not being kept, in which army are records not
17 being kept?
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. What about the Federal Secretariat for All People's Defence? Did
20 they keep records of all members of the JNA? That's my first question.
21 I'm referring to active-duty soldiers.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Later on the VJ was established, the defence ministry of the FRY.
24 Were records still kept regarding persons who as members of the VRS or
25 the SVK had certain entitlements in the FRY?
1 A. No, up to a certain point in time.
2 Q. I'm not sure if I'm making myself any clearer now.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: You're confusing me further. I don't understand
4 why after the break-up of the armies into three armies, why the VJ must
5 keep records of the VRS and the SVK, the VRS being --
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Perhaps the witness should be allowed
7 to answer the question without asking him to leaving the courtroom.
8 Q. The Judge's question is: This why was it necessary for the VJ to
9 keep records of persons who were in a different army?
10 A. I understand. Your Honours, as far as I understand, we are
11 looking here at the problem of the file keeping and record-keeping. That
12 was my understanding of the question as it was posed regarding
13 professional members of the VRS and the SVK remaining in the territories
14 of those republics as well as those who had been sent or who are now
15 being sent to those armies to join them as members, but it didn't apply
16 to everyone.
17 The only objective of all of this being for them to be able to
18 exercise their statutory rights based on their service in whichever army
19 they legally belonged to.
20 Q. We'll be using a number of other documents dealing with this.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] May this document please be received,
22 Your Honour.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated]
24 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honours. This document shall be
25 assigned Exhibit D245. Thank you.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
2 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] The members of the army who were
3 serving in the Yugoslav Army who then remained in the Serb Krajina army
4 or in the Republika Srpska.
5 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter apologises. She didn't hear
6 the beginning of the question.
7 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] I would like to know what happened
8 to the former JNA members who decided to join the Croatian Army or the
9 ABiH army. What difference in your eyes is there between all these
10 former soldiers of the JNA?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I understand the
12 question. I would like to point out one thing, though. I'm not sure if
13 it's a misinterpretation. You said "former soldiers of the JNA." They
14 were members of the JNA working with the Yugoslavia All People's Army.
15 Is that who you have in mind?
16 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Well actually, you made a number
17 of comments on legal texts that had to do with the soldiers of the
18 National Yugoslav Army which had chosen either to remain in the Serbian
19 Krajina army or the Army of Bosnia
20 Srpska, not Bosnia-Herzegovina.
21 So I would like to know the following: Regarding their status in
22 relation to the JNA -- or to the VJ or to the former JNA, I would like to
23 know what was the status of the soldiers of the troops who had decided to
24 join either the ABiH or the Croatian Army? Did you also keep records on
25 them for their pension rights, for their benefits that they had accrued?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, personnel
2 administration as I said for as long as there was the SFRY kept records
3 in relation to all members of the JNA. From the moment that the armies
4 of the Republic of Slovenia
5 well as the BH Army, I will not keep enumerating those anymore such as
6 the VRS and the SVK. Each of the armies kept their own personal records
7 and dealt with their own personal issues. What you're asking me about is
8 do I know what the status was of soldiers in the Army of the Republic of
10 and it exceeds --
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Slow down.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Carry on.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me repeat. Your Honour, should
15 I --
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, repeat.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, for as long as there
18 was the SFRY and its armed forces, records were kept by the personnel
19 administration of the SSNO for all members of the JNA. From the moment
20 that certain armies broke off in certain countries, the records from that
21 were there remain with the personnel administration. But if you ask me,
22 the records were not accurate because nobody knew who was going where and
23 so on and so forth. The status of these persons was regulated by the
24 countries of whose armies they now became new members. Personally, I do
25 not know how they dealt with issues regarding their status.
1 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] That's precisely the question I
2 would like you to help me solve. As far as the members of the army or
3 the soldiers who served in the Serbian Krajina are concerned and that
4 served in the Army of the Republika Srpska, they were part of a foreign
5 army as compared with the Yugoslav Army. No? Wasn't that the case? So
6 why did you keep all the archives and the service of all these men and
7 not the other men, or was it one and the same army? But I don't think
8 you're going to answer that, are you?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the VJ - as Madam
10 Judge, I'm not sure what her name is said - looked after the situation in
11 the service. The situation in the VRS and the SVK was dealt with
12 internally by those armies because those were the chains of command. The
13 only reason records were being kept, and the sole reason, was that there
14 were relatives of these members now arriving in the territory of the FRY.
15 There were certain social benefits such as health insurance and
16 other such things that the issue hinged on. This was an issue of status.
17 It was a mere question of status. In relation to these members that we
18 have been discussing, it wasn't about regulating their situation within
19 the service as such.
20 This decision, Your Honour, could not have been passed by the
21 defence minister or by the Chief of the General Staff. The only
22 possibility was for this decision to be taken by the supreme political
23 body in Yugoslavia
24 JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you for your answer.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. General, we are soon now going to see a document relating to the
3 establishment of personnel centre which is the 10th of November, 1993
4 Do you know before that period and before General Perisic became Chief of
5 the General Staff, were any solutions sought to these issues that had to
6 do with the status?
7 A. Yes. Based on the documents and the previous conclusions, one
8 can see that the highest command and controlled organs were looking for
9 specific solutions in order to resolve the status-related problems of
10 members of the army. I was personally involved as the head of my
11 administration and at the request of the VJ General Staff in the process
12 of searching for solutions for these problems, and we came up with
13 certain proposals to be submitted to the Supreme Defence Council to
14 enable it to make appropriate decisions within their purview.
15 Q. Can we please now look at Prosecution Exhibit P730. This is a
16 decision relating to the competence and manner resolving status-related
17 issues for active military personnel in the Yugoslav Army, et cetera.
18 This document is undated, and on the last page we can see the name of
19 Zoran Lilic, president of the FRY. The document is not signed. What do
20 you know about this document? And it refers to the Serbian Army of
22 A. As I said before, I know from this document how status-related
23 issues should be resolved with regard to professional members of the Army
24 of Republika Srpska and the Army of Serbian Krajina who became their
25 members or had been sent from the territory of the FRY who were removed
1 from the chain command -- of command of the VJ and were put in the chain
2 of command of these two armies. We were looking for the best possible
3 solutions to propose to the president and the Supreme Defence Council who
4 will then take a final decision so as to create a possibility for
5 resolving these issues in the proposed manner. One can see from this
6 document that we invoke the decisions taken on the 4th of May, 1992,
7 because there were regulations and a whole set of laws such as the Law on
8 Defence, the Law on the Army, and the financing of property were in
9 place, but we didn't have any concrete decisions in place. If I may add,
10 under item number 1, you can see, and it reads as follows:
11 "The General Staff of the VJ will continue to finance gross
12 salaries ..."
13 As far as I know, President Lilic took the position of the
14 chairman of the Supreme Defence Council in June 1993, not 1992, 1993, and
15 since these legislative documents were still in the procedure of
16 adoption, this was an attempt to find some mode of solving the
17 status-related issues of servicemen.
18 Q. This document refers to the Serbian Army of Krajina. Can we now
19 look at document 65 ter Defence --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please repeat the number of
21 the document.
22 MR. LUKIC: 00037D.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before we do that, I'd like to get some clarity
24 from the witness on this document.
25 From your answer to the questions about this P730, Mr. Nikolic,
1 you left me with the impression that your administration acted on this --
2 the contents of this document; am I right?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, representatives of my
4 administration participated in drafting certain proposals that are
5 contained in this document.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes. Okay. Fine. Now, with those proposals now
7 contained in this document, did you -- did any organ of the Army of
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as far as I can
10 remember and as far as I know, organisational units from the ministry and
11 the VJ took part in this, primarily the personnel administration, the
12 General Staff, and the administration for the legal and personnel affairs
13 of the Ministry of Defence. I don't know about anyone else being
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: When you say "took part in this," what do you
16 mean? Took part in what?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They took part in drafting this
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: I've passed the drafting part, Mr. Nikolic.
20 Please listen to my question. My question is no longer about the
21 drafting of the document. In fact, it never was. My question is: Did
22 any organ of the -- or in particular your organ, your administration, did
23 you take any steps to implement the proposals contained in this document?
24 Your answer should either be, Yes, or No, or I don't know.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could you please repeat the
1 question, Your Honours.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did your administration, sir, implement the
3 proposals contained in this document?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A number of proposals were accepted
5 and are part of the draft decision.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let me tell you why I'm asking you this question,
7 sir. At page 73, starting from line 1, you are being asked a question:
8 "Do you know before that period, before --" beg your pardon. Let me go
9 up. Starting at page 72, line 24:
10 "General, we are soon now going to see a document relating to the
11 establishment of personnel centre which is the 10th of November, 1993
12 Do you know before that period and before General Perisic became Chief of
13 the General Staff were any solutions sought to these issues that had to
14 do with the status?"
15 Your answer was:
16 "Yes. Based on the documents and the previous conclusions, one
17 can see that the highest command and controlled organs were looking for
18 specific solutions in order to resolve the status-related problems of
19 members of the army. I was personally involved as the head of my
20 administration, and at the request of the VJ General Staff in the process
21 of searching for solutions for these problems and we came up with certain
22 proposals to be submitted to the Supreme Defence Council to enable it to
23 make appropriate decisions within their purview."
24 Now, then as I understand your answer, it's -- you made these
25 proposals to enable the Supreme Defence Council to make appropriate
1 decisions. Hence my question: Did any organ -- did the Supreme Defence
2 Council, for argument's sake, make any decisions based on the proposals
3 contained in this document? You should be able to say, Yes, No, or I
4 don't know.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have an additional
6 question in order for me to able to say yes or no.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: What's your question? What's your question?
8 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear the last sentence
9 that the witness said.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You asked me whether certain
11 proposals that we made were accepted for the purpose of drafting a
12 decision to be signed by the chairman of the Supreme Defence Council. I
13 can answer yes to that question. Some of these proposals were accepted
14 and incorporated into the draft decision that was later signed by
15 President Lilic.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Nikolic, that's not the question I asked you.
17 My question simply is: Did anybody act on the basis of this document?
18 Did this document authorise anybody to do anything, and did anybody do
19 anything about the content -- the contents of this document?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Now I understand your question,
21 Your Honours. By looking at the content of this documents, things were
22 being done, but I see that there is no signature here. As a jurist, I
23 cannot say, maybe there is a signature, but I don't see one. That is why
24 I mention November 1993 when President Lilic signed a similar document.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: You see, I'm not taking about the similar
1 document. I'm talking about this document. I'm asking you whether
2 anything was done by anybody based on this document, and that is why I'm
3 saying your answer should be either, Yes or a No or I don't know.
4 You see, you're not testifying on the similar document because we
5 don't have it before us. We're talking about this document.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much, Mr. Nikolic.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know if any action was
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just before I hand you over to Judge David, you
11 referred to the -- you referred to the fact that that document does not
12 have a signature. What's the significance of the lack of signature on
13 the document?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Counsel Lukic himself said that
15 this is an unsigned document.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: I know that. I know that. My question to you is:
17 What is the significance of the fact that it is not signed?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know any facts that would
19 explain why this was not signed.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's not my question. I'm not asking you why it
21 was not signed. I'm saying what is the significance? What significance
22 does this document have if it is unsigned?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This document is important because
24 it was not explicitly prescribed in what way status-related issues of the
25 category of the persons mentioned were going to be resolved, and we, who
1 made this proposals, we adapted the solutions, or, rather, based them on
2 the existing provisions in the law. Because there was no explicit
3 provision for that. We came up with these proposals.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: I give up. Thank you.
5 JUDGE DAVID: General, you said recently as a jurist when
6 answering a question to Judge Moloto. Now, as a jurist, I would like
7 you, if you can, to answer the following question: In the first
8 paragraph of the document that we are examining says:
9 "The General Staff of the Yugoslav Army shall continue to
10 provide funds for gross salaries for all active military personnel," and
12 Is this sentence related to a problem of record-keeping or
13 adjusting social security matters, record-keeping or social security
14 matters, or the providing of funds has other meanings, which is direct
15 support for all activities of the two armies, Republika Srpska Army and
16 Serbian Krajina army? I'm asking you as a jurist this question.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What follows, based on this is that
18 up until this time the drafting of this decision, the members of the
19 discussion had been financed, but the idea here was for the supreme
20 political body in the FRY to take a decision regarding that. Supreme
21 political body or the highest level of command and control. That was the
22 chief objective in achieving these results. And if I may, there is a
23 reference here to Article 271 of the Law on Service in the armed forces,
24 and that is what we are invoking here, because there was at the time no
25 law on the Army of the Republic of Yugoslavia
2 As a jurist, the only possible solution was this.
3 JUDGE DAVID: General, in your answer, you are saying that the
4 members of the discussion have been financed, but the idea here was for
5 the supreme political body in the FRY to take a decision regarding that.
6 Could you elaborate on that? Are you saying that financing was
7 already going on without any authorisation or decree at the high
8 political level and this legitimised what was going on already?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Payments of compensation for this
10 category of persons were being done pursuant to the decisions of the then
11 Supreme Command and control body, the Presidency of the SFRY. The
12 association of the republics of Yugoslavia
13 body came into existence, the Supreme Defence Council, which bore a
14 different name, and now we had to go to that body for a decision.
15 JUDGE DAVID: Additional question, General. Thank you for your
17 Was this transformation of one unity, the Yugoslav People's Army,
18 into two more branches of the same, a process related to a status
19 situation of soldiers and officers or record-keeping or have other
20 context of political and military meaning?
21 I don't know if my question is clear to you.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's clear. It's clear.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge David, you quoted
24 the witness as saying something, but I never heard the witness say that
25 there was a transformation of the VJ into -- [In English] Two branches of
1 the same army.
2 JUDGE DAVID: The witness, if I may recall, has repeated and
3 there is a document here talking of transformation you have just
4 presented during this session.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
6 JUDGE DAVID: I am asking about that transformation.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] All right. That's your question.
8 You weren't actually quoting the witness were you.
9 MR. GUY-SMITH: Your Honour, just for purposes of clarification,
10 so I'm clear about your question because I'm a bit confused. You used
11 the language "into two branches of the same," and that's what I'm unclear
12 about. I'm not clear where that -- that is arising from.
13 JUDGE DAVID: I just said originally that I wanted to know how
14 this transformation evolved.
15 MR. GUY-SMITH: Okay.
16 JUDGE DAVID: If it was just a matter of record keeping or a
17 status-related questions or there were other contextual elements of
18 political and military nature.
19 MR. GUY-SMITH: That I understand. That's a slightly different
20 question that I understand.
21 JUDGE DAVID: General.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the question is
23 entirely clear to me. You emphasise what you call branches of the VJ.
24 They were absolutely not branches. These were entirely different armies,
25 each with their own system of command, not the VJ as some sort of
1 superstructure. This is about the transformation of Yugoslav All
2 People's Army, the old JNA. Those units came from the territories of the
3 breakaway republics and were now in the territory of the FRY. That is
4 what's being transformed. The former JNA is being transformed into the
5 VJ, and it wasn't the transformation of the VJ into some branches. What
6 you call branches were separate armies each with their own system of
7 command, each with its own set of laws and constitution. There was
8 certainly no hierarchy here or subordination. They weren't under the VJ
9 or indeed its branches.
10 JUDGE DAVID: A final question: If they were two separate armies
11 as you said, each with their own system of command, each with their own
12 set of laws and constitution, this provision of funds for gross salaries
13 for all military personnel is logically derived from the situation of
14 these different armies? I repeat the question.
15 You asserted that there were separate armies, each with their own
16 system of command, each with their own sets of laws and constitution, and
17 then I asked you: This provision of funds for gross salaries for all
18 military personnel in Article 1 of the document, which I repeated before,
19 is logically related to the conclusions that you have just stated that
20 they were separate, independent armies, logically derived from the fact
21 that there were three different armies, or is contradictory to the
22 statement itself, or you don't find any problem? You can say, Yes, No.
23 You said is logically consistent to provide salaries to soldiers and
24 military personnel of two different -- entirely different armies, or you
25 could say, It's not consistent to do so or, I don't know. As
1 Judge Moloto always emphasise, Yes, or No, or I don't know.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as I pointed out in my
3 statement and in my evidence, these were compensations up to the level of
4 salary. For this there has to be a decision by the Supreme Defence
5 Council as the highest-ranking political body. All of this has the
6 objective of resolving these status-related issues.
7 May I continue? I apologise. All this has the objective of
8 resolving status-related rights under the terms of service, but not in
9 order to regulate any situation within the service. And then the
10 compensation is granted that is as high as the salary, but only to those
11 persons who happen to be and who joined the VRS and the SVK after the
12 withdrawal of the JNA from those territories as well as those who were
13 dispatched by that army and now entered a new and separate chain of
15 JUDGE DAVID: I finished my question. Judge Moloto asks another
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry, and I realise we've gone past our time,
18 but maybe -- I would like to clarify -- to clear this with some question
19 with the witness here.
20 Mr. Nikolic, Slovenia
21 army; is that correct?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Croatia
24 And then the Serbian -- the RSK, the Republic of the Serbian Krajina also
25 broke away and formed its army called the Serbian Army of Krajina. And
1 the Republika Srpska also broke away and formed its army called the Army
2 of the Republika Srpska; is that correct?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Slovenia
5 there was no need for the VJ to continue to keep records and pay salaries
6 of the soldiers of the Slovenia
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The records remained. We no longer
8 kept the records but they were still there from the former JNA, the files
9 and records.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: You didn't continue to pay their entitlements,
11 their rights. Isn't that so?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: You continued to pay such entitlements for
14 soldiers in the Army of the Republika Srpska and in the Army of the
15 Serbian Krajina.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: And these four armies, Slovenia, Croatia
18 Krajina, and VRS, were separate armies from the VJ. The question is:
19 Why do you continue to pay certain entitlements to the soldiers of the
20 Serbian Krajina and the Republika Srpska Army and not to the Slovenian
21 ones and the Croatian ones? That's the question.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may, just a
23 single correction, or perhaps I was not receiving good interpretation.
24 We did not just simply pay the money to the members of the VRS or the SVK
25 as a category, only those persons as specified earlier on, because the
1 interpretation that I received, the General Staff or the VJ was paying
2 their salaries to all of the members of the VRS and the SVK. No. Only
3 those who met the criteria that I specified. And to the best of my
4 knowledge, the number of those that actually received the benefits
5 actually constitutes a very small portion of their total. I have
6 previously enumerated the specific categories.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: The question still stands: What about those
8 categories within the Slovenian Army and within the Croatian Army? Why
9 were they not paid?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Slovenia
11 passed their own laws by which they would no longer be applying any of
12 the federal laws including those in relation to the federal army. They
13 adopted their own sets of laws and regulated their own issues as they saw
14 fit. I have no idea how they regulated the status-related issues of
15 their own members. Why were we paying no benefits and salaries to these
16 men, is that the question?
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did the Serbian Army of Krajina and the Army of
18 Republika Srpska not pass their own laws to regulate their own armies?
19 They didn't, didn't they?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were laws in place, both in
21 the VRS and in the SVK.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: You continued to pay them.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Excuse me, can you please repeat
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: You continued to pay them. You said the Slovenian
1 Army and the Croatian Army set up their own laws to regulate themselves,
2 and I'm saying so did the Republika Srpska Army and the Serbian Army of
3 Krajina. They also came up with their own laws, but you still continued
4 to pay them some monies which you didn't pay to the Slovenian and
5 Croatian armies and, I might add, the BiH Army.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, these payments were
7 aid payments. And this was envisaged by a decision of the highest
8 command body of the Presidency of the SFRY. And again I'm saying only
9 those who actually became members of this --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Can the witness please
11 repeat the answer. The interpreters failed to understand the answer.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Please repeat your answer, and be brief.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The decision of the Presidency of
14 the SFRY was for those people who remained within the VRS and the SVK, as
15 well as those to be dispatched or have already been dispatched to those
16 armies to continue to receive compensation and benefits. The main
17 reason, Your Honour, being that their families were now in the territory
18 of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and we needed to provide them with
19 some sort of livelihood, subsistence.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did you have anything to --
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I do have something, but I think it's
22 best left for tomorrow.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: We'll take a break. I'm sorry about this.
24 Mr. Nikolic, we're back again in Courtroom I tomorrow at 9.00 in
25 the morning, and again you are warned you may not discuss the case with
1 anybody for as long as you are in the witness stand.
2 Court adjourned. Tomorrow morning at 9.00, Courtroom I.
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.57 p.m.
4 to be reconvened on Friday, the 5th day
5 of March, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.