1 Monday, 14 June 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good afternoon to everybody in and around the
6 courtroom. Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon to
8 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-81-T,
9 the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Perisic.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much, could we have the appearances
11 for the day, starting with the Prosecution.
12 MR. HARMON: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon
13 everyone in the courtroom. Mark Harmon, Bronagh McKenna, and Carmela
14 Javier for the Prosecution.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
16 And for the Defence.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours, good
18 afternoon to everyone in the courtroom. Mr. Perisic is represented by
19 Novak Lukic and Mr. Guy-Smith as Defence counsel. We have
20 Ester Brilliant with us today for the first time in the courtroom and
21 Mr. Zorko.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much, Mr. Lukic.
23 Just to place on the record that the Chamber is still sitting
24 pursuant to Rule 15 bis, Judge David is still indisposed. Before we
25 start the business of the day, I would like just to talk about the order
1 of the Trial Chamber on the 65 ter summaries issued on the 28th of May
2 and the responses that came from the parties with respect to that. Let
3 me just say, it is all very well for parties to take points, but it
4 doesn't advance the trial of this case if we are going to take semantic
5 technical points which don't take us anywhere.
6 When the Defence case began, the Defence was supposed to have
7 given the entire 65 ter list and summaries to the Prosecution to enable
8 the Prosecution to prepare to cross-examine the witnesses. The Defence
9 was not ready to do so. In the spirit of accommodating the Defence, the
10 Chamber ordered that the Defence will give 15 names at a time two weeks
11 in advance until such time as you are able to give the entire list. To
12 now come and argue that you didn't say the 16 witnesses you are going to
13 call are the next witnesses is to play with time and to waste the Court's
14 time. And irrespective of what your submission might have said that it
15 did not have the word next, the court order said that the 15 that you
16 call or the 16 that you call shall be the next because what is the
17 purpose of giving us the 15 if they are not the next, if you are going to
18 call them at the end of the trial. They can only be the next people that
19 you are going to call as your witnesses in the case until such time as
20 you have given the entire 65 ter list. So let us stop playing. Let us
21 get on with the work.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't know if my
23 understanding of what you said is correct, but the gist of it is as
24 follows: The list of 15 witnesses that we submitted is a list of
25 witnesses that we intend to call in that order. However, we also have
1 the intention of calling other witnesses in respect of whose summaries
2 objections were not made, and they would fit in somewhere in between. So
3 if we have a witness for whom the Prosecution is already ready or for
4 whom the Trial Chamber deems the summaries fine, we don't see why we
5 could not fit him in even though we have the list of 15 witnesses. We
6 have met all the requirements of the guide-lines. We have listed all the
7 witnesses that are to be called until the summer recess, so we've gone
8 even beyond what is necessary in order to ensure that the Prosecution may
9 be able to prepare themselves. In addition to the 15 witnesses that we
10 listed, there is also a witness we intend to call whose summary is not
12 Now, our problem is of course to fit this witness in order to
13 call him only at the end of these 15 witnesses, and we don't feel that
14 this is in the spirit of the Trial Chamber's guide-line, that this is
15 indeed what the Prosecution needs to have.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic, if that's what you intend to do, that's
17 what you should have said in your submission. You didn't say so in your
18 submission. Let me remind you also that on the 1st of June as the last
19 point of discussion, the Chamber asked the Defence whether they had any
20 comments to make on that order of the Court and Mr. Lukic said, we will
21 comply. We've seen the order and we will comply. Now, instead of
22 complying, you gave a list of only seven witnesses instead of the 15,
23 Mr. Lukic. For starters, which is the point I didn't raise now. And
24 then you queried the use of the word "next," and what I'm talking about
25 is the use of the word "next." I'm saying, irrespective of what
1 submissions you might have made that you don't intend them to be the
2 next, the Chamber orders you to call them next. If you have others,
3 obviously that you have given before and that the Prosecution is ready to
4 cross-examine, that's a matter between you and the Prosecution. And if
5 you want to say, you want to fit them in, say so, which you didn't say in
6 your submission. You are now making the submission for the first time
7 today. And I don't want to belabour this point, all I'm just saying is
8 let's get on with the work. I hope you have now delivered the entire 15
9 to the Prosecution and that by the date stated in a previous order,
10 you'll submit the balance of the 65 ter list witnesses.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Give me a moment, please, to consult
12 with my learned colleague.
13 [Defence counsel confer]
14 MR. GUY-SMITH: Excuse me, Your Honour, if I might. It is our
15 intention to get the work done. It is not our intention to dawdle. It
16 is our intention to have available to the Prosecution that information
17 that they need for purposes of preparing their cross-examinations. I, as
18 you know, I was not in court at the last session and that may or may not
19 have caused some of the difficulty and to the extent that it has, I do
20 apologise, and take it upon my shoulders with regard to the issue of
22 And with regard to the issue of "next," we can a lengthy or short
23 conversation. I'm going to leave it alone. Obviously there was some
24 miscommunication to extent that miscommunication existed. I did not
25 consider that we were making a new submission, to the extent that it
1 seems that we are. Once again, that was not my intent and I apologise.
2 It is my present understanding the following exists: The Prosecution is
3 in possession of all, but I think, and I'm just asked to verify this, I
4 think all but seven 65 ter summaries.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: All but seven or are they in possession of seven?
6 MR. GUY-SMITH: No, all but seven. I think it's all but seven
7 that are in dispute. Or to which they felt they did not have sufficient
8 information. That is what I believe is the present state --
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: And is the but seven the part of the 15?
10 MR. GUY-SMITH: I'm -- I believe --
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: You see, when you say all but seven I need to
12 understand: Are you talking about the entire 65 ter list --
13 MR. GUY-SMITH: Yes, yes.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: -- of the Defence? In other words, you've
15 complied with the first part of the order, you've given them the 15 that
16 they were supposed to get. Now, with the remaining balance of your
17 entire witnesses you've given them all but seven or is it all but seven
18 as part of the 15?
19 MR. GUY-SMITH: Well, this is where I think -- this where I think
20 that we continue to have a level of confusion that I am going to attempt
21 to remedy in two ways. There are seven remaining 65 ter summaries
22 irrespective of how you wish to identify them for which the Prosecution
23 has sought further information out of the entirety of the Defence list.
24 Out of those seven, two of them will be submitted by the close of
25 business today. That leaves us with five 65 ter summaries out of the
1 entire list of the Defence for which there is some open issue.
2 With regard to that five, that particular group of five, that
3 particular group of five is part of the five that has been included in
4 the discussion for some period of time, and I'm saying this in a general
5 term because I don't want to misstate the record in any fashion
6 whatsoever. What we did do in our last submission was we submitted to
7 the Chamber and to the Prosecution those witnesses who would be called
8 between now and the the summer recess. Those would be the next seven
9 witnesses. Thereafter at the present time as we stand here today or as I
10 stand here right now, there is no further indication of who the first
11 witness would be after the summer recess. Okay.
12 So to the extent there is -- there is discordance between the
13 Chamber's order of the next 15 and the situation that we are in right
14 now, it would be fair to say that at the present time we have not said
15 who the witnesses will be when we begin again after the summer recess.
16 We have supplied to the Prosecution 65 ter summaries at this point in
17 time that will include, and that's from the entirety of all the Defence
18 witnesses, that will include the next witnesses that we call after the
19 summer recess.
20 I hope -- I hope -- I hope that that clarifies the situation in
21 which we are in and what we were trying to do is do this in an orderly
22 fashion because, among other things, and this is recognising with the
23 number 15 does exist, and also once again asserting and both strongly and
24 gently we have no desire to play any games, that once we come to the
25 summer recess, among other things, we are going to be engaged in further
1 re-assessment of how we are going to present the Defence after the recess
2 begins. So there will be, we believe, necessarily, a re-adjustment not
3 only of order of witnesses but number of witnesses.
4 So we were trying to do it in the most orderly fashion that we
5 could. If we have caused problems or we have caused confusion, once
6 again I apologise, that was not my intent.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Guy-Smith. Your apology
8 is accepted. You will appreciate that you are dealing with issues that
9 the Chamber has not raised. The Chamber has not raised anything about
10 what is going to happen after the recess, and therefore the Chamber is
11 going to confine itself to the issues that was raised by the Chamber.
12 Accepting as I do what you have told the Chamber, that you have
13 provided all 65 ter summaries to the Prosecution but seven, and to the
14 extent that the submissions by the parties relating to the issues raised
15 by the Chamber this morning require an order of the Court, this is the
16 order of the Court: The Defence is ordered to comply with the order of
17 the 28th of May 2010 fully. I say this because Chamber is not going to
18 give a written order or a written decision, that is the order, and I say
19 this notwithstanding what you say that you have complied. If you have
20 complied then there's nothing for you to do. If you haven't complied,
21 the Chamber orders you to comply timeously.
22 Mr. Harmon, I don't know whether you do want to say anything. I
23 know the Chamber has now given an order, but you may wanted to have been
24 heard maybe.
25 MR. HARMON: No, Your Honour, I'm satisfied with the Court's
1 order, I will wait to see what compliance with it follows. Thank you
2 very much.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. That done, then are we ready
4 to call the next witness?
5 [Trial Chamber and Legal Officer confer]
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. May I interrupt, you
7 Mr. Guy-Smith. There is just one other point that I've just been
8 reminded of which we needed to raise. The next point we'd like to raise
9 is the fact that in the last sitting, the last two sittings we sat
10 pursuant to 15 bis. We still pursuant to 15 bis today. On the last two
11 occasions, no evidence was led, and if the parties agree that those two
12 sittings could be seen as, what, 65 ter meetings or housekeeping
13 meetings, we can then sit 15 bis for the entire week. However, if the
14 parties don't agree then we'll only sit for three days. What I'm told is
15 that you would need a little more time for your next witness and you
16 would like to finish that witness and let him go. The Chamber does not
17 want to rule on this. It wants to hear the parties' position on this.
18 Starting with you, Mr. Harmon.
19 MR. HARMON: The Prosecution agrees, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
21 MR. GUY-SMITH: I'm being Mr. Lukic just for a second.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Guy-Smith.
23 MR. GUY-SMITH: Based on the Chamber's analysis, that is the last
24 two sittings were housekeeping sittings and we are defining them as such,
25 the Defence agrees because the Defence would like to be able to use the
1 entirety of this week for purposes of obtaining testimony. We are going
2 to do it for this limited purpose at this particular time and don't want
3 to be in a position where at any point in the future is this interpreted
4 as we are acceding to anything, other than with regard to the specific
5 situation given some of the issues.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: A precedent is not being created, it is based
7 specifically on the facts of this situation.
8 MR. GUY-SMITH: Very well, we agree.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Please let the parties agree on that,
10 that being the case, then your next witness, Mr. Guy-Smith.
11 MR. GUY-SMITH: Before we call the next witness, if we can go
12 into private session.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
14 [Private session]
11 Pages 11537-11546 redacted. Private session.
11 [Open session]
12 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much, Mr. Registrar.
14 [The witness entered court]
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the witness please make the declaration.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
17 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, sir. You may now be seated
19 and good afternoon to you. Madam usher, we are in open session, if you
20 might lift the blind for us, please.
21 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 WITNESS: PETAR SKRBIC
25 [Witness answered through interpreter]
1 Examination by Mr. Lukic:
2 Q. [Interpretation] Please state your full name for the transcript.
3 A. My name is Petar Skrbic, lieutenant-general, and I am retired.
4 Q. General Skrbic, during your testimony, I believe we will be
5 cautioned a number of times, me probably more than you, by the
6 interpreters to make pause between questions and answers. I would kindly
7 ask you to try and bear that in mind and you can follow the text on the
8 screen in front of you which may serve as an indication when to start
9 answering. Can you tell us how old you are and when you were born?
10 A. I was born on the 20th of October, 1946, so I'm 63, 64.
11 Q. Where were you born?
12 A. Apologies, I was born in the village of Hotkovci, Glamoc
13 municipality, which is now part of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
14 It used to be Bosnia and Herzegovina.
15 Q. Mr. Skrbic, I wanted to go briefly through your career and
16 perhaps you can confirm the details I will specify. I will also dwell on
17 certain parts of your career because I believe it is relevant for these
18 proceedings. In any case, you completed the military academy in 1968; is
19 that correct?
20 A. Yes, it is.
21 Q. Your specialty is that of rocket artillery, or perhaps you can
22 tell us more precisely what your specialty is in military terms?
23 A. The general specialty is anti-aircraft defence and my immediate
24 specialty is rocket units without the artillery part you mentioned.
25 Q. During your military career you went through all the levels from
1 a rank-and-file soldier to a commanding officer; is that correct?
2 A. I went through all the stages.
3 Q. You also specialised in another thing which is your degree in
4 military political matters at the higher political school of the JNA in
5 Belgrade. You also have a degree in military sociology and psychology;
7 A. The high military political school is something I completed in
8 1977. Following that, I began teaching in that school. I taught
9 dialectics of society which is in the field of philosophy.
10 Q. Then between 1985 and onwards, first you were a desk officer and
11 then you reached a level of chief of department in what used to be called
12 the political administration of the secretariat for national defence in
13 Belgrade, and later on it became an administration for political
14 education; is that correct?
15 A. Yes, you were quite precise in that.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we now see parts of
17 Mr. Skrbic's personal file, which is P1688. However, this part was not
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: That can't be part of P1688 if it's not admitted.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] You are quite right. The B/C/S
21 version was admitted but the Prosecutor skipped this part. I know, I
22 know, that is why I will ask --
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: But what is admitted, the English version, what is
24 the controlling language for admission? English or the B/C/S?
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we may spend a lot of
1 time discussing this issue because there is an issue with admission,
2 although I believe it should be settled out of court.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: The only reason I'm asking is that, you know, if
4 the Registrar pulls up P1688 and you are quoting something that is not
5 part of it, then we are not going to find it. I'm not trying to waste
6 time here I'm just being practical. So if it is outside P1688 then we
7 either call it by whatever ERN number it is and you can ask later to be
8 added to P1688 or you can ask a new number for it.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I was just notified by my Case
10 Manager that this page is part of P1688.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Thank you so much. Then it is P1688.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] ERN number is 0611-5210.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: We'll have Mr. Registrar determine what it is.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Page 6 in B/C/S and 2 in the English
16 THE REGISTRAR: For the record the English translation is
17 0611-5209. Thank you.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Very well, we can keep the English
19 version on the screen. I see.
20 Q. I'm interested in the bottom part, Mr. Skrbic. This is what's
21 relevant for these proceedings. It says here, I'm reading the
22 one-but-last box from the bottom. It says that in the federal
23 Secretariat for the National Defence, you were with the morale
24 administration as of the 27th of July --
25 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 29th of July, 1991.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, Mr. Lukic, can you just say again which box
2 are you reading and what do you mean by box here? There are columns and
3 what have you, but --
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I can see that the B/C/S version does
5 not correspond to the English page we have. It seems that this break in
6 the proceedings took its toll, we are now being assisted by the
7 Registrar. I thank him for that.
8 THE REGISTRAR: [Microphone not activated]
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. We have just seen this entry, Mr. Skrbic, did you perform these
12 duties within the period as specified?
13 A. It is correct. Perhaps I can be of assistance. The fourth
14 column contains the date you mentioned, the 29th of July, 1991. I was
15 appointed then as chief of morale guidance section.
16 Q. The next column --
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Is that the -- that's the third column, not the
18 fourth column, am I right? I see 29th July, 1991, in my third column and
19 my fourth column shows me above that 28th of July, 1991, which deals with
20 independent officer for NIR in humanities. But chief of morale guidance
21 section in the first department is 29th of July, 1991, in the third
22 column, am I right? I'm looking at the English.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes. Precisely.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. I'm interested in the penultimate column, Your Honour, in the
2 English translation and in the B/C/S it says, witness, that you were sent
3 to another military district in Sarajevo by a decision of the federal
4 secretariat of the 25th of April, 1992. Were you indeed sent to the
5 2nd Military District as per that decision at that time?
6 A. As is specified here, I was ordered by the personnel
7 administration of the federal Secretariat for National Defence that I was
8 supposed to be sent to the 2nd Military District; however, I did not go
9 for completely different reasons. However, I was ready to go.
10 Q. We'll discuss that later. After the Federal Republic of
11 Yugoslavia and the Army of Yugoslavia came into existence on the 10th of
12 July, 1992, as specified here in the administration for moral guidance
13 and education in sector for PVM, perhaps you can assist me with what that
15 A. Legal affairs and moral guidance.
16 Q. In any case, you were appointed to that position on the 10th of
17 July, 1992, following which, until the 11th of November of the same year
18 you were appointed chief of department for internal information in the
19 same administration; is that correct?
20 A. Yes, it is.
21 Q. This administration, was it attached to the General Staff or the
22 Ministry of Defence at the point when the Army of Yugoslavia, the VJ was
24 A. The administration was attached to the General Staff of the VJ.
25 Q. I saw the abbreviation MO here, and I wanted us to be quite
1 precise on this score. Thereafter as stated in your personnel file on
2 the 17th of December, 1993, pursuant to an order of the chief of the
3 personnel administration of the General Staff of the VJ, you were
4 temporarily assigned to the personnel centre at the Belgrade garrison,
5 this is the 30th personnel centre, and then on the 12th of February,
6 1994, pursuant to the same commanding officer's order, you were assigned
7 to the position of the assistant commander for moral guidance at the 30th
8 Personnel Centre of the General Staff of the VJ.
9 Let me ask you this: Where were you, in fact, assigned to and
10 where did you, in fact, go on the dates specified in this file?
11 A. On the 17th of December, 1993, I went to the 2nd Krajina Corps of
12 the Army of Republika Srpska de facto. There I was assigned the duty of
13 the assistant commander for moral guidance, religious, and legal affairs.
14 Q. We will get to that.
15 A. Yes. Of the 2nd Krajina Corp. That was the actual state of
17 Q. Were you ever assistant commander for morale in any -- or moral
18 guidance in any of the units of the corps of the Army of Yugoslavia, the
20 A. No.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we turn to the next page in the
22 B/C/S and English.
23 Q. There are three entries in manuscript, we will get back to them
24 later. Here we have three similar entries starting with the 13th of
25 January, 1997, according to which you were designated to be a stand-in.
1 We have the same entries but the dates are different. At the 13th, or
2 rather, at the 30th Personnel Centre, and you were supposed to be
3 assistant chief of the personnel administration within that centre, it's
4 just the dates that differ; is that right?
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. We will go back to this particular status you held, but this
7 period between the 13th of January, 1997, and the 31st of December, 1999,
8 did there exist a decision on your appointment to a duty within the Army
9 of Yugoslavia?
10 A. I did not have a decision appointing me to a duty within the VJ.
11 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: I thought I was alone in this problem so I wasn't
13 going to complain, but it looks like everybody or some people are having
14 problems with LiveNote. Shall we take an early break and let the
15 technicians look at the problem, please. Court adjourned. Come back at
17 --- Recess taken at 3.20 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 3.59 p.m.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we have the documents again on
21 our screens, the ones that we looked at earlier. Oh, excellent, they are
23 Q. Let's go through them and complete the topic of your professional
25 Can we have -- or rather, what I'm reading is the bottom part of
1 the English translation. Pursuant to a decision of the 31st of December,
2 1999, you were appointed to the position of a deputy of the information
3 and moral guidance administration of the General Staff of the VJ; is that
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. And the last position you held before your retirement, again
7 pursuant to a decision of the president of the FRY, was your position as
8 chief of the administration up until your retirement, again pursuant to a
9 decision of the president of the FRY, as of the date of the 31st of
10 December, 1999. You were discharged from your duties in the VJ on the
11 31st -- on the 3rd -- on the 31st of March, 2001; is that right?
12 A. I have to correct you somewhat. It was not pursuant to a
13 decision that I became the chief of the same administration, rather, I
14 became the chief of the information administration with the Federal
15 Ministry of Defence. In other words, I was transferred from the VJ
16 General Staff to the Federal Ministry of Defence. The rest is correct,
17 as you've described it.
18 Q. My apologies. You completed your professional career in the
19 Ministry of Defence of the FRY. I have a couple of questions left, but
20 we will be going back to this topic during your testimony. It has to do
21 with your ranks. I will be going through the ranks that we find relevant
22 for this trial only. In your personnel file, it is stated that you were
23 given the rank of major-general on the 27th of December, 1995, and that's
24 with the VJ; is that right?
25 A. Yes, that's right.
1 Q. Furthermore, you were promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general,
2 which is the rank you held upon your retirement on the 14th of September,
3 1999, again in the Army of Yugoslavia; is that right?
4 A. That's right.
5 Q. In addition to the degrees you hold and the positions you held,
6 can you tell me if you hold any other diplomas from any high-level
7 educational institutions of the JNA and the VJ?
8 A. Upon graduation from the military, I attended the military
9 political school of the JNA, and this is something that I've mentioned
10 earlier. Previously, I also graduated from the rocket and anti-aircraft
11 defence school, this was also post-military academy.
12 Q. Is it fair to say that in addition to these military schools,
13 you've also got your masters degree from the faculty of political
14 sciences in Belgrade in 1983, so you hold a master in political science
15 and the topic was freedom as a value and raison d'etre of society; is
16 that right?
17 A. Yes, that's right.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Madam Javier, are you okay? You're okay. Thank
19 you, you may proceed.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Another question which may be relevant for this trial.
22 Mr. Skrbic, you have already appeared as a witnesses before the ICTY,
23 according to the information I have, you testified in the Popovic et al.
24 case as a Prosecution witness; is that right?
25 A. I was a Prosecution witness in that case and I testified,
1 therefore, before this Tribunal previously.
2 Q. Very well. Let us move on to certain facts that I should like us
3 to focus during your testimony. I will be going through your
4 professional career and as I do, we will be covering certain topics. The
5 first of these topics is your work with the administration for moral
6 guidance and information, first with the SSNO and then with the VJ
7 General Staff. And let's start with 1991. Since before us we have a
8 gentleman who is versed in these matters, can you tell us what was the
9 standing of morale in the JNA in 1991?
10 A. In view of the analyses I worked on at the time which largely had
11 to do with the morale in the people's -- Yugoslav People's Army, we had a
12 number of indicators which we obtained based on scientific research,
13 based on interviews with army personnel, troops, officers, and civilians
14 employed in the JNA.
15 It was elements dictated by the situation which determined the
16 morale in the JNA. Primarily, it had to do with the disintegration of
17 Yugoslavia in all the various seams, the start of the armed conflicts in
18 the territory of the SFRY, the cessationist elements in Slovenia,
19 Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. All these elements made themselves felt
20 in the aspect of morale which was steadily falling and this was also due
21 to the fact that the role of the JNA became increasingly uncertain.
22 The entire personnel, be it ordinary soldiers or officers, felt
23 that there were no prospects in that institution. Then there was the
24 inflow of refugees from Slovenia, Croatia, among whom there were also JNA
25 servicemen. These were individuals who were homeless, in a way, who
1 found themselves in a very vulnerable position materially speaking, and
2 who came to the territory of the FRY as refugees.
3 Q. Let me interrupt you there and perhaps I should be more specific
4 in my question. Since you were part of the administration for morale and
5 information, what sort of treatment was the JNA accorded by the mass
6 media across the FRY? I'm referring to the Socialist Federal Republic of
7 Yugoslavia at the time.
8 A. These letters seem to be appearing very slowly.
9 Q. Well, you don't have to look at the screen. Suffice it that you
10 wait for a few seconds before answering my question.
11 A. After awhile, I joined a specially formed group within the SSNO
12 which engaged in analysing the way in which the JNA was viewed and
13 analysed by the mass media across Yugoslavia. Based on our work, we
14 concluded that the JNA came under increasing attacks by the media which
15 took it upon themselves to turn the population, especially in Slovenia,
16 against the JNA, especially so in Croatia, and the tendency spilled over
17 to Bosnia-Herzegovina and lastly to Serbia. Montenegro and Macedonia
18 were not that prominent in that sense.
19 The media attacks encouraged physical attacks on the JNA. They
20 first manifested themselves in power cuts, in the cuts in water and food
21 supplies to the JNA barracks, and these eventually escalated into
22 physical attacks on the barracks in Slovenia, Croatia, and then
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina as well.
24 To cut the long story short, let me say that we produced a study
25 which we prepared for the Federal Executive Council of the SFRY, which
1 was in actual fact the government. The study or the analysis we made was
2 forwarded to this institution, and it was supposed to alert them to the
3 possible remedies that needed to be found in such a situation.
4 I don't know what became of this analysis, to tell you the truth.
5 It did contain information highlighting the problems, the role, and the
6 position of the JNA at the time. This is something that I haven't really
7 presented in great detail now and perhaps there's no need for that at
8 this point.
9 Q. What was the position taken by your administration, and did you
10 formulate this position of yours to your superior structures with regard
11 to the JNA presence in Slovenia and, of course, I'm referring to the
12 events that transpired there in 1990 and 1991 and the armed conflict that
13 ensued there?
14 A. I remember quite clearly the conversation that several of us had
15 with the chief of the moral guidance administration of the SSNO on what
16 it was that we were supposed to give as a proposal with regard to the JNA
17 status in Slovenia. Our unanimous conclusion was that we should suggest
18 that the Yugoslav People's Army peacefully withdraw from Slovenia.
19 Q. What was the position taken by your administration with regard to
20 the JNA and the fact whether it should stay in Croatia? Was this -- and
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, was this something that you formulated as a proposal
22 for your superiors?
23 A. The position on the status of the JNA in Croatia and
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina was somewhat different. This because we suggested
25 that the JNA should remain in the territory of Croatia,
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina where it was supposed to play a delicate role, that of
2 preventing any ethnic conflicts, of protecting the JNA barracks, and of
3 facilitating peaceful withdrawal of the JNA troops from Slovenia on their
4 way through Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
5 And let me just add one thing. We were aware of the fact that
6 the role we wanted to give the JNA was a very complex one. Still what we
7 bore in mind were the constitutional and legal provisions regulating the
8 role and status of the JNA which, in a nutshell, stipulated that the JNA
9 should preserve and maintain the constitutional order, sovereignty, and
10 territorial integrity of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
11 Q. Concerning this topic and the description of the level of morale
12 of the JNA in that period, I'm now referring to 1991 and 1992 this time
13 round, what was the response to the call-up both of the reserve and the
14 officers' ranks in the JNA, particularly if you could distinguish if
15 there was any between JNA and VJ starting from 1992 onwards?
16 A. With respect to your question, I would like to state that the
17 strength of the JNA in the period that you discuss started being weakened
18 substantially. Slovenia, Croatia, and partly Bosnia-Herzegovina invited
19 troops and officers of the JNA to leave the JNA and guaranteed that the
20 fact of their desertion, although that was -- that would be treated as
21 desertion under the laws in force, that they would not feel any legal
22 consequences of such an act. And for that reason it was necessary to
23 mobilise some parts of the reserve contingent to fill up the numbers. At
24 the time mobilisation in Croatia and to an extent in Bosnia was
25 pointless. We simply did not even attempt to mobilise people in those
2 Let me finish. In Serbia and Montenegro, initially mobilisation
3 was partly successful only to start dwindling away given that
4 particularly in the territory of Serbia different groups started coming
5 up and started launching protests against mobilisation.
6 Q. Could you please --
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we please go into private
8 session, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
10 [Private session]
11 THE REGISTRAR: We are in private session, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Yes, Mr. Lukic.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we are going to try our
14 first attempt with the new documents. Could we please see on the screen
15 the document 1D12-0090. And the draft English translation would
16 be [in English] ET 1D12-0330. 0325. [Interpretation] That will be the
17 English version. B/C/S page will have to be rotated, I think.
18 Q. But while we are trying to do that, let me read out several
19 excerpts from this document and by reading out slowly, I hope to aid our
20 interpreters in the booth.
21 THE REGISTRAR: English reference.
22 MR. LUKIC: English, 1D12-0325. [Interpretation] That's
24 Q. Well, let's first take a look at this page, Your Honours.
25 Mr. Skrbic, during proofing for your testimony, I had an opportunity to
1 show you some of these excerpts.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we please turn to the next page
3 in the B/C/S. Well, the same page but the right-hand side.
4 Q. I showed you these documents and but the right-hand side. I
5 showed you these documents and elicited your comments during proofing the
6 way that I'm going to ask you during your testimony. I'm going to go
7 through some of the parts and would like you to testify about the facts
8 contained therein.
9 What we see here on the screen is briefing of the commander
10 organs to corps commander. The date is the 15th of July, 1991. It is
11 known to everybody in this courtroom that at the time Mr. Ratko Mladic
12 was chief of staff of the 9th Corps of the military and navy district,
13 the headquarters was in Knin. Did you know where he was in 1991 in July
14 since you had many contact with him?
15 A. When I came to the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska,
16 and after the war in particular, when General Mladic recounted his
17 career, I found out that he was Chief of Staff of the 9th Corps and the
18 commander of that corps, as far as I can remember, was General Vukovic.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we go to --
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, Mr. Lukic. First of all, two things I
21 would like to raise with you. We don't tell the witness an answer and
22 then ask him the question. You ask him the question and he answers the
23 question. Okay. Secondly, when the witness answers you've got to --
24 I've been seeing this happening quite a bit this afternoon, you know, try
25 to listen to what the witness is saying and focus the witness on your
1 question. Why I say we don't tell a witness the answer and then ask him
2 the question, you'll see at page 34, lines -- starting from line 14, you
4 "What we see here on the screen is briefing of the commander
5 organs to the corps commanders, the date is that. It is known to
6 everyone in this courtroom that at the time Mr. Ratko Mladic was the
7 chief of the staff of the 9th Corps of the military and navy district,
8 the headquarters was in Knin. Did you know where he was in 1991?"
9 You've just told him. There is the problem. And then the answer
10 he gives has nothing whatsoever to do with the question. He's telling us
11 of when he came into the staff of Republika Srpska and after the war in
12 particular, no longer in 1991. After the war, General Mladic recounted
13 his career and I found out that he was chief of the staff of the 9th
14 Corps and the commander of that corps as far as I can remember. It
15 doesn't answer to the period 1991, so listen to the question and make
16 sure that the witness answers your question because the whole discussion
17 becomes meaningless even to the Chamber.
18 Yes, Mr. Harmon.
19 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, in respect of this diary entry, since
20 this is the first diary entry that is sought to be utilized in this case,
21 I think the first procedural issue is a request to add this to the 65 ter
22 list. I haven't seen a motion to that effect. I think that's the first
23 step. If there's an English translation, I will say we don't have an
24 objection. Generally -- second of all, if there is an -- only in B/C/S,
25 then with would ask that it be MFI'd, but from a procedural point of
1 view, and I don't want to be hyper-technical, but I think it's been the
2 procedure in our case thus far that new exhibits have to be added to a 65
3 ter exhibit list first.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much for that Mr. Harmon. You
5 know, documents are just called and put on the screen without us knowing
6 where they come from, whether they come from the Mladic diaries or where
7 they come from. And, yes, if we had known we would have intervened.
8 However, it is also your responsibility to intervene at the beginning,
9 not in the middle of the use of the document.
10 MR. HARMON: No, I agree. I was waiting for Mr. Lukic to do that
11 and I waited, I should have intervened earlier. You're correct.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Indeed. Thank you so much. Yes, Mr. Lukic.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I should have done the
14 procedural bit and I understand what Mr. Harmon is saying. In the
15 morning I discussed this process situation with Mr. Saxon, and I informed
16 them that the Defence has an intention of amending the 65 ter list
17 whereby we would maybe adduce some parts if not all package 410.
18 When we amend our 65 ter list, first we wait for to receive the
19 translations into English before we consolidate that, and as I said to
20 Mr. Saxon today, Defence intends to MFI this document. And at the moment
21 when we amend our 65 ter list and the Prosecution gives a green light,
22 and if you approve, then we would move to give an exhibit number to this
23 document or those documents.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: That may very well be, Mr. Lukic, but do remember
25 that the Chamber is not privy to your discussions with Mr. Saxon this
1 morning, so when you come into court, for purposes of procedure, you say
2 I've discussed this with my colleague, he has no objections, however, I
3 make a formal request that this be added to the 65 ter and may I use it
4 in evidence today. And the record is clear.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes. Absolutely. I meant to say it
6 at the very end of analysing this document. I should have done it at the
7 very beginning.
8 Q. Let's turn to the next page of this document, please.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Harmon.
10 MR. HARMON: I'm not sure where we are on this. I think I had
11 asked that it be -- the procedural matter be done now. Mr. Lukic wants
12 to do it later. I think for clarity's sake that it be done now at each
13 excerpt that's available. I don't want to wait until either at the end
14 or at the -- some other day in the future where there are -- his
15 testimony about his excerpt, and then it may or may not appear on a later
16 list. I think for purposes of management, I think it's easier that --
17 well, we don't have a motion yet, to take each excerpt and make an oral
18 motion for a 65 -- an oral application for a change in the 65 ter exhibit
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: I think that is the correct procedural way to do
21 it. And I know that right through this trial a mistake has happened
22 where documents went in and then they were MFI'd to be decided later.
23 That's really not the correct procedure. The correct procedure is
24 admissibility must be ruled on before we use the document and then the
25 document can be tendered into evidence. Mr. Lukic, I would suggest that
1 late as it might be in the day, this may just be an appropriate time then
2 for you to make your oral application.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I fully endorse this. I was led by a
4 decision during a Prosecution case where first we MFI documents and then
5 tender them, but this is more useful, I think, so that I propose orally
6 that this document amends the 65 ter list. This document from page
7 ERN 0668-3833 to 0668-3838 in the B/C/S version as uploaded in e-court.
8 And if necessary, should I give this document a 65 ter number, I can do
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before you do that, let's clarify some of this.
11 Documents that have been MFI'd so far were MFI'd because there was a
12 debate about the admissibility at the beginning, and the parties agreed
13 we'll mark them for identification and we'll look at their admissibility
14 later. We don't just use documents without asking for that admission and
15 then say, okay, we are following the motions.
16 Secondly, for purpose -- I'm not quite sure whether these are the
17 only pages that you are going to tender at this part of the diary, or are
18 you going to expand on them later during your questioning of this
19 witness, and if you are, maybe the 65 ter number can be given when you
20 have expanded all of them. But if this is all you are going to use with
21 this witness, maybe, yes, you might perhaps give a 65 ter number,
22 depending on how Mr. Registrar thinks that will affect his work.
23 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, the situation is this document is not yet on
25 your official 65 ter list. Fine. First of all, you asked to add it to
1 your list.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Second, give it a 65 ter number, and finally you
4 are going to ask that it be admitted. Okay.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I understand.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Harmon, Prosecution's position that the
7 document be added to the 65 ter list of the Defence and that it be
8 used -- it is tendered into evidence and be given a 65 ter number.
9 MR. HARMON: What I was trying to clarify, Your Honour, is
10 whether the range, the ERN range given by Mr. Lukic, 3833 to 3838
11 included English translations for all of those pages, because if it does
12 not, and I can only see one page on the screen, if it does not, then I
13 would ask that it be MFI'd. So I just seek clarification from Mr. Lukic
14 as to whether that ERN range includes English translations completely.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Since this is a draft translation
17 that we uploaded, I propose that this be MFI'd until we've received an
18 official translation. This portion has not been received by -- by us
19 from the CLSS as an official translation. And the English translation
20 reflects those B/C/S pages.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are you saying, Mr. Lukic, that the English
22 translation that we see here is not the official CLSS translation?
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Well, then the official position is that there is
25 no English translation and therefore this must be MFI'd.
1 MR. HARMON: That's correct, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. You may proceed. And to that extent
3 you have no objection, Mr. Harmon?
4 MR. HARMON: No, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Thank you. Your request is granted.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I can assign it a Defence 65 ter
7 number which is 03328D.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would like to go through the rest
10 of the document with the witness and then I will propose it for marking.
11 Q. I am reading out the first paragraph in front of you, General, in
12 Cyrillic letters. It is on the left-hand side of the screen. "Desertion
13 by" -- sorry what does it say?
14 A. Desertion or abandoning their units.
15 Q. "Desertion by weak ones cannot be treated as extraordinary event
16 but as a treason of country, army, and breachment of solemn declaration."
17 A few lines below that it says:
18 "Movement 'mothers in front,' a political party behind, is
19 directed towards dignity and honour of young soldiers and entire
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we see the rest of the page in
22 B/C/S, the other side, please, towards the middle. In the English it is
23 the bottom part, Your Honours.
24 Q. "Movement of mothers, which initiated from Serbia is a very
25 cunning act directed at creating single ethnic armed forces which would
1 then engage in horrific clashes in the future."
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic, just for the record, even reading the
3 English, I don't understand what this is saying. I'm just saying I don't
4 understand what's -- and then I invite the parties to clarify it at some
5 stage, not necessarily now, at some stage to the Chamber so that when the
6 Chamber does come to read this, it can understand what it says. I can
7 read the individual English words, I can't get the message.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I will try to clarify that with the
9 witness. Perhaps I can provide a comment, I believe Mr. Harmon will be
10 able to confirm this. These notes are structured in such a way that
11 occasionally they need an interpretation since these are only bullet
12 points, it is our duty for all of us in the courtroom to try to clarify
13 this for the Chamber, at least for our interpretation of it.
14 Mr. Skrbic --
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Hence my request that at some stage that
16 interpretation be offered.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. In relation to what you have just been saying about the call-up,
19 can you tell us whether this text reflects the information you had at the
20 time which you have been discussing here?
21 A. In the moral guidance administration of the federal secretariat
22 for national defence, we had even more comprehensive information about
23 these movements than the information specified in these notes. This
24 movement in Serbia was also called the "mourning mothers," or "mothers in
25 black." We had occasional meetings with them because it was our
1 obligation to talk to them. They were indeed all dressed in black and
2 arrived in a meeting hall at Topcider to speak to the chief of the moral
3 guidance administration and a few other persons from the General Staff.
4 Their basic request was to have all the soldiers, their sons, as they
5 claimed, released immediately from the JNA to go home.
6 Q. In Serbia, especially because it is referred to in the document,
7 what was the impact of these movements on the call-up response of the
8 recruits to either serve their military term or to join to mobilised
10 A. The impact was such that there was a drastic decrease in terms of
11 the soldiers who were supposed to serve their military terms, and in
12 terms of the number of people mobilised.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The next page in B/C/S, please.
14 Q. I would like to go through another entry and ask you to comment.
15 This is it. Let me see where it is in English. I'll read out the second
16 paragraph. It is on the next page in English. That's it.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it is the first portion
18 in the English.
19 Q. I'll read it out now. "It is important for a man to keep his
20 honour. Many have constructed their position due to propaganda and
21 pressure. SFRY Presidency decisions are good decisions and should be
22 implemented. The only way out of the crisis is disarming and reducing
23 the strength of the police down to the levels in 1985, which was the
24 situation in 1989. The army (JNA) must provide a peaceful solution of
25 the crisis."
1 Did your administration have similar information or was it aware
2 of such positions, and is this what you tried to disseminate across the
3 unit and corps?
4 A. That was our basic position, that the JNA should provide a
5 peaceful solution to the crisis, and I believe that particular position
6 originated in our administration for moral guidance, as a matter of fact.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I seek to tender this
8 document and to have it marked for identification pending its
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Harmon.
11 MR. HARMON: No objection, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence and marked
13 for identification. May it please be given an exhibit number.
14 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
15 Exhibit D324 marked for identification.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank so much. 324.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we please remain in private
18 session, Your Honour, because we will go back to the documents, but in
19 the interim I just have one question for the witness.
20 Q. What was your information concerning the call-up in the FRY and
21 the response to it in 1993? Did this trend in terms of the dwindling
22 numbers of those who responded to the draft call continue in 1993 since I
23 believe you stayed with the armed forces until the end of that year?
24 A. Your Honours, perhaps I should offer two sentences by way of an
25 introduction. When there's a state of war, there is a general call-up or
1 general mobilisation. Since at that time there was no state of war
2 declared in the FRY, we resorted to partial call-up. It also partially
3 succeeded. In any case, it did not meet the expectations of the JNA.
4 Excuse me, it was the VJ at the time.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, before you ask the next question, can the
7 record show that that Exhibit D324 is under seal. Thank you so much.
8 You may proceed, Mr. Lukic.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. I want to move on to another topic in 1992 concerning certain
11 events in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is in the spring of that year. First
12 of all, what is your general recall of that situation as it existed
13 before the FRY was established in terms of the situation in
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina and especially in terms of the status and situation of
15 the members of the JNA, and did the situation change once the FRY was
17 A. Similar to the situation in Slovenia and Croatia, the one in
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina also developed the same way. Parts of the Territorial
19 Defence controlled by the president of the BIH, and parts of the police
20 force in Bosnia-Herzegovina openly engaged the JNA. So we see this same
21 syndrome in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Barracks came under attacks, electricity
22 and water-supply were cut off, and armed clashes escalated. The JNA was
23 there in a very complicated role even more so than it was in Slovenia.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Harmon.
25 MR. HARMON: I have a question, Your Honour. This subject matter
1 seems to be similar to other such matter that was in public session, and
2 I'm wondering if this is still -- if Mr. Lukic still require this to be
3 in private session.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would very much like to be in open
6 session, but I was just about to go back to the document which is why
7 we'll need to remain in private.
8 Could we please have --
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: I saw Mr. Harmon raise his hand in what could be
10 interpreted as agreement with you, so I take that's -- so unless he says
11 to the --
12 MR. HARMON: That's fine, Your Honour. I didn't intend to
13 interrupt Mr. Lukic, I'm sorry to have done so.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have 1D12-0096 for
15 the B/C/S. In the English we have a draft translation. No, it became
16 official. It came from the CLSS. It is ET-1D12-0106.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: And, Mr. Lukic, if I may ask, the question that
18 was asked by Mr. Harmon a couple of minutes ago, you've said you wanted
19 to stay in private session because you are still going to go back to the
20 previous document, which was --
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No, no. Perhaps the interpreters
22 misunderstood. I wanted to remain in private because this document is
23 from the same set.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Okay. I understand you better.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have in B/C/S. We
1 don't have the B/C/S version. 1D12-0096. Yes, that's it.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Harmon.
3 MR. HARMON: I don't mean to interrupt Mr. Lukic again, but I
4 understood that technically there would be an application to seek this as
5 an addition to the 65 ter list before it would be used.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: If we can remember that, Mr. Lukic, each time
7 we --
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes. I apologise. I apologise, I'm
9 trying to get used to the situation.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: We'll get to you, Mr. Skrbic, just a second. You
11 are getting used to the system. Mr. Skrbic wants to say something, do
12 you allow him? He raised his hand.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, certainly.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could we please take
15 a short break. I would be ready to come back immediately if necessary.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: If it's a brief one we'll wait for you,
17 Mr. Skrbic. You may step out.
18 [The witness stands down]
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] May I deal with this matter
20 procedurally then in the absence of the witness.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, you may, sir.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I should like to apply orally now for
23 the document to be added to our 65 ter list and that it be marked as 65
24 ter Defence document 03328D. I am sorry, 329D. The ERN of the document
25 in terms of the folder as we received it from the Defence is 0668-3099
1 through to and including 0668-3108. I'm told that we have the official
2 translation from CLSS. We would only ask that the English translation be
3 linked to the B/C/S original so that they are admitted together.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Harmon.
5 MR. HARMON: Just as a procedural matter, Your Honour, the range
6 that was given by Mr. Lukic and will help both of us in terms of how to
7 deal with this diary, because we are going to be confronting the same
8 situation, the ERN range given by Mr. Lukic is 3099 to 3108 which means
9 there is approximately eight or nine or ten pages of the diary.
10 Mr. Lukic may refer to only a paragraph in that range and then
11 seek admission for the whole of the eight or ten pages which raises an
12 issue, because if the witness comments on one paragraph and we are not
13 able to see the whole range, at least on the screen, seeking its
14 admission could create some difficulties because what comes in is subject
15 matter that's not relevant to this witness's evidence.
16 So I just -- I raise that with Mr. Lukic. We can confront it
17 later outside, we can try to deal with that, but I can see, for example,
18 the possibility of this getting quite long and the witness comments on
19 one paragraph and there's a half a diary in there that is a range of
20 pages that is then sought into admission, so I think we have to be very
21 careful in this exercise, that we are both going to engage in.
22 [The witness takes the stand]
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sure, Mr. Lukic, you can see the logic of that
24 precisely because these documents have not been exchanged and the parties
25 don't know the context of all the documents that are sought to be put in.
1 If you are putting in a range of plus minus ten pages, then you should be
2 in a position to take this witness through the entire ten pages so that
3 we can see them now in court and if the opposition has any objections to
4 what has to be seen, they can do so. If they had had the documents
5 before it would be different because they would be knowing, but now can I
6 ask you up front, are you going to go through the entire ten pages with
7 the witness, if not, I'll ask you to reduce it to what you are going to
8 go through with the witness.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] As for this document specifically,
10 which as you will see deals with one topic, I hope that I shall receive a
11 relevant answer for the witness. Now, as for what Mr. Harmon just said,
12 we were in a position so far that large voluminous documents such as
13 Assembly minutes would be admitted into evidence which deal with a number
14 of topics, only several of which were addressed by the witness. In line
15 with your instructions, I should like only the specific pages related to
16 a given witness be admitted rather than the voluminous document in its
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: I understand that, Mr. Lukic. The only difference
19 between your tendering this document and the voluminous documents that
20 were tendered by the Prosecution is that the voluminous documents that
21 were tendered by the Prosecution had been discovered to you, so you had
22 had time to go through them, or at least it is expected you had time to
23 go through them. This time, these are excerpts that have been given to
24 you on a priority basis by CLSS, nobody has looked at them, so what we
25 are saying is try to put into evidence now. You can put the bigger
1 document later, but for now put in the pages that you are going to go
2 through with the witness so that at least what we see is what is admitted
3 for now.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Let me just clarify our position with
5 the Prosecution for you. Before Mr. Skrbic's testimony, as I was going
6 through individual entries, I notified the Prosecution of my intention to
7 use them, and I believe that both Mr. Harmon and Mr. Saxon are privy to
8 these various pages that I wish to discuss with the witness based on the
9 proofing notes and they had the English translation of them as well, but
10 I don't think we will have any difficulty in going through them.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: That is casts a different light on to the matter.
12 If Mr. Harmon you are aware of the entire documents that are being
13 tendered now.
14 MR. HARMON: Mr. Lukic and Mr. Saxon had conversations. I'm
15 standing in for Mr. Saxon today, so I am not in a position to know what's
16 in these documents. I don't mean to hide behind that excuse. Maybe
17 Mr. Saxon and Mr. Lukic had these discussions and during the break I will
18 discuss this matter with Mr. Saxon and we can clarify it, but I am
19 personally not familiar with what is in this document. But I think as a
20 matter of principle, I think the issue that I have raised is -- still
21 needs to be -- we need to get some clarification on it. I will deal with
22 this particular document during the recess with Mr. Saxon and we can
23 clarify whether the whole thing goes in or the -- part of it goes in.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Harmon. The clarification of this
25 whole issue, if you do want clarification, Mr. Harmon, I'm not quite sure
1 we are going to be able to achieve right now. It's simply because of the
2 practical situation we find ourselves in. You haven't got -- okay, we
3 were told this morning that you have been given the entire 65 ter list
4 but for seven. When you will receive these, I don't know. Whether you
5 have been able to go through them, I don't know. And but the only way we
6 can deal with this properly in terms of procedure is if the -- you have
7 received them, you have had time to go through them, as they are being
8 tendered in court you know exactly what document is being tendered, if
9 they tender a hundred page document and they deal with 10 pages, you know
10 what the 90 pages are about and you can then stand up and say yes I agree
11 to the 90 being put in or I object to the 90 being put in.
12 The Chamber cannot clarify this because this situation is a
13 situation that is outside the rules and we are trying to accommodate one
14 another. And apparently we are just going to have to be jumping up like
15 this and making these objections because of the very peculiar situation
16 we find ourselves in. So I'm sorry, I'm not able to give you
17 clarification at this time.
18 MR. HARMON: I understand, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: You understand. Yes, thank you so much.
20 MR. HARMON: Thank you.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic, let's try to accommodate one another to
22 the best of our abilities.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would like to explain one
24 additional problem to you which arose from the other one, and this is
25 very important because it will be the subject of the trial. In line with
1 your guide-lines we are duty-bound to deliver these 65 ter documents list
2 to the Prosecution two days ahead of the witness's testimony, or five
3 days ahead if it's more than 100 documents. We are now at a stage when
4 we are having documents appear -- witnesses appearing and we need to
5 provide the Prosecution with the documents. In the proofing notes we
6 gave to the Prosecution now, we specifically referred to the pages that
7 we were going to use in order to assist the Prosecution. We will be
8 having such problems, but we will do our best to notify the Prosecution
9 of all the documents that we will be addressing with the witnesses to
10 come. Let us now focus on the witness who sits here.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Mr. Skrbic, we see the meeting with Colonel-General Adzic, the
14 30th of April, 1992.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Let's go to the next page in the
16 B/C/S, please. Let's turn the leaf, that's what I meant, in that sense,
17 the next page.
18 Q. While we are waiting for this, let me ask you this: In April of
19 1992 what was the position held by Colonel-General Adzic, Blagoje Adzic?
20 A. He was the chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav People's
21 Army, though I think that he represented the federal secretary for
22 national Defence at the time. He acted on his behalf.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] [Interpretation] Can we now look at
25 the page on the right-hand side in the B/C/S in order to see what
1 Mr. Adzic said at this meeting. The same goes for the English version,
2 we need the next page. That's right. Still another page ahead for the
3 English version. I am sorry.
4 Q. I will read a portion of Mr. Adzic's address as reflected here.
5 "The day before yesterday we decided on a meeting and we have to reach an
6 agreement in order to avoid chaos and a break-up."
7 Further down, I'm skipping parts since you can read them for
9 "The situation is extremely unfavourable on the one hand and
10 extremely favourable on the other, since the FRY has been established,
11 although it is not what we wanted, it is still --"
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we turn to the next page.
13 Q. "It is nevertheless a state of the S/C people and the Serbian
14 people want a state like that. The Serbian people who are outside of
15 this state and though they are very sad to be left out, nevertheless have
16 some sort of an ally at least in the neighbourhood."
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Give me a moment, please. Seems to
18 me now that even in the CLSS translation we have a difficulty. I'm going
19 to ask Mr. Skrbic to confirm this for me, I'll read it out once again and
20 Mr. Skrbic will confirm that I've read it well in the B/C/S because we
21 missed one word in the English.
22 "The Serbian people outside of this state, though very sad not to
23 be part of that state at present, still have at least some sort of an
24 ally in the neighbourhood."
25 Have I read this out well, Mr. Skrbic?
1 A. Yes, you have, Mr. Lukic.
2 Q. I'll read another portion further down --
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: We -- you are marking the time. Oh, no, you can
4 read the next question, but if got it just mark -- look at it.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. "If they break up this FRY of ours as well, then the entire
7 Serbian people will have been brought into a very difficult situation."
8 What function did you hold, Mr. Skrbic, in April of 1992?
9 A. I was the chief of the department within the moral guidance
10 administration which became part of the General Staff. In other words,
11 it was reattached from the ministry to the General Staff.
12 Q. The points I've read out, did they reflect the position of the
13 General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia at a time when the Federal
14 Republic of Yugoslavia was proclaimed?
15 A. Based on the information my administration had, these views
16 expressed here reflected our position at the time, so they are fully
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We -- I suppose we'll be having our
19 break now and then we would continue with another document.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are we in private session or in open session? May
21 the Chamber please move into open session.
22 [Open session]
23 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. We'll take a break and come
25 back at quarter to 6.00. Court adjourned.
1 --- Recess taken at 5.17 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 5.46 p.m.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before we proceed, I'm told that the witness
4 raised the issue of Rule 90(E) with the Court Officer during the break.
5 Let me just say for his comfort that, sir, your counsel did raise the
6 issue before you were called in this afternoon and the assumption of the
7 bench was that he probably discussed it with you and was going to warn
8 you and that you would invoke your rights as and when the occasion arose.
9 Yes, you do have that right to evoke that. Unfortunately, I'm not sure
10 whether counsel for Mr. Perisic is also acting as your counsel, but --
11 because you probably do need somebody to advise you and help you when to
12 invoke the right. But if you are able to do so on your own, by all means
13 do so. Thank you so much.
14 Yes, Mr. Lukic.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We need to go back into private
16 session, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
18 [Private session]
19 [Confidentiality partially lifted by order of Trial Chamber
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have the same
7 document on the screen, but page 5 in the B/C/S and 8 in the English. We
8 are still analysing this meeting at General Adzic's office of the 30th of
9 April, 1992. We are still discussing General Adzic's contribution.
10 Q. The following entry says:
11 "There are still dangers lying ahead of the FRY. The possibility
12 of breaking it up even further has not been ruled out into Kosovo Sandzak
13 and Vojvodina."
14 General, in terms of the information you had, what is this a
15 reference to, this further break-up? What can you tell us about this
16 part of the entry?
17 A. Well, this unfortunately came true.
18 Q. When?
19 A. When the FRY was finally broken up by the cessation of Montenegro
20 and later on Kosovo and Metohija.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we go to the right-hand side of
22 the B/C/S version and go to the next page in the English.
23 Q. The next sentence:
24 "Should there come an order for the JNA to withdraw from the area
25 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, it must be understood as being necessary to save
1 whatever there is to be saved. The Vance Plan must be implemented in the
2 territory of the RSK and the UN should take over the obligation to
3 protect the Serbian people. In a sense, we have been cheated as far as
4 the borders are concerned. I am not certain that we should engage in an
5 all-out war because of that."
6 These remarks by General Adzic as reflected here, do they reflect
7 the information you had on his position at the time.
8 A. Yes, and it was in keeping with our position and this position
9 was made clear to General Adzic as the Chief of Staff.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The next page in the B/C/S version,
11 please, as well as in the English.
12 Q. The part beginning with a question which says:
13 "What next?"
14 "It is possible that very soon the Presidency of the FRY will
15 adopt a decision that it has nothing to do with the army across the
16 Drina, and order that its citizens return. There's nothing we can do
17 about that decision, and we cannot use force to fight for this territory
18 (expect such a decision)."
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we go to the right-hand side in
20 the B/C/S, please.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, Mr. Lukic, can we be just reminded what is
22 the date of this document?
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The 30th of April, 1992.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Two days following the proclamation
1 of the constitution and the establishment of the FRY on the 28th of
3 Q. "If such a decision is taken, then the government of the SRBiH
4 should publicly invite all officers to defend their people." First of
5 all, this abbreviation, the government of the SRBiH, what government does
6 it refer to?
7 A. Well -- sorry, the abbreviation expanded is as follows: The Serb
8 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, so this is the government of the Serb
9 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
10 Q. Did you know at the time whether the authorities of the Serb
11 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina indeed invited all officers hailing from
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina to defend their people?
13 A. Yes, I am familiar with that. It was also in the media which we
14 closely followed.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Let's skip two pages in the B/C/S,
16 please, and go to page 8 in the English. Probably page 4 beginning with
17 specific issues, that is one of the subheadings.
18 Q. "Specific questions: The status of officers? I don't know who
19 could give us written guarantees. We have the guarantees of the current
20 leadership of the FRY in Serbia that their status will be resolved
21 through payments from the FRY budget, and partially from the Krajinas
22 which are able to do so. A very big problem is the payment of the
23 reserve forces officers. One of the reasons is to have peace and the
24 other is to defend the country for free. As long as I am in charge,
25 whatever applies for us will also apply for you."
1 General Skrbic, about this issue of officer status from the JNA
2 and their payment, what did you know about that when you were with the
3 information administration once the FRY was established?
4 A. By your leave, I wanted to correct a mistake you made
5 inadvertently when reading. It has to do with the penultimate paragraph.
6 It is an exceptionally big problem to sort out the payment of the reserve
7 force, not officers.
8 Q. You are quite right.
9 A. The administration I worked for shared this view: We proposed
10 some additional measures in terms of boosting the morale of those
11 officers who responded to the call that was made in order to stand up
12 against those who were in favour of an armed conflict.
13 Q. In what sense was that supposed to boost their morale?
14 A. Mr. Lukic, it was clear by that time that there was a war
15 underway. It was the position of our administration that all those who
16 can, irrespective of where they hail from, who are able to respond to the
17 call that was made to take part in combat units because in essence we do
18 not school officers for peace but for war. One could not imagine a
19 surgeon undergoing his education who would later on say well, I'm no
20 longer a surgeon. Hence given the situation in the FRY we each adopted a
21 position which was slightly different. We believe that all officers
22 should respond; whereas, here we have it slightly amended to include only
23 those who were born in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm not quite sure I understand the witness. You
25 were employed -- you were working, sir, not in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but in
1 Serbia, were you not?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not work in
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Your Honour. I was in the FRY.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's my point. Now, when you say, where is that
5 now, "We believe that all officers should respond; whereas, here we have
6 it slightly amended it to include only those who were born in the
7 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina." Now you being the FRY had the power to
8 call people in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina at that time, and what
9 were you calling them to do?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I need to be more
11 precise since there seems to be a misunderstanding. The difference
12 between the administration I worked for and the position of the
13 General Staff chief, Mr. Adzic, was in that he believed that those who
14 were born in Bosnia-Herzegovina should remain there. We in our
15 administration had a more radical position, along the lines that whoever
16 was requested to do so should respond to the call-up to go and be made
17 part of the various combat units. However, that position was not --
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: This call-up was by the FRY army, JNA or VJ or
19 whatever it was?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no. It was never made public.
21 It only remained part of the options we proposed.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: My question was who was making the call-up? Which
23 army was making the call-up?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that time the 27th of April, the
25 Army of Republika Srpska was not in existence. However, there was a
1 government of the Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina that existed and it
2 called the various officers to join. Those from the JNA who served in
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina and in FRY. They called them -- they invited them to
4 come to the Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was later on
5 renamed to become Republika Srpska so as not to confuse you further.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, I'm going to ask you to reconcile these two.
7 At page 58, line -- starting from line 11, you say "we," and underline
8 the word "we," "believe that all officers should respond; whereas, here
9 we have it slightly amended to include only those who were born in the
10 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina." Then at page 59 starting from line 18
11 you say "they," and I under line the word "they," "invited them to come
12 to the Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was later on renamed
13 the Republika Srpska so as not to confuse you further."
14 Now, who actually -- I still go back to my question who made the
15 call, first you say "we," later you say "they." And who are the "we" and
16 who are the "they," and between the "we" and the "they," which -- what is
17 the actual correct position, who made the call?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I presume, Your Honour, that the
19 interpretation is accurate. I was almost sure that I was as precise as
20 possible. When I said "we," I mean members of the morale and information
21 administration of the General Staff of Yugoslavia. We thought that they
22 should heed the call-up. They meaning officers. And when I say "they" I
23 mean the government of the Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina making
24 that call.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: So your short answer is the entity that made the
1 call-up is the government of Republika Srpska, by whatever name it went,
2 whether it was still called something other than Republika Srpska but it
3 was that government? It was not the FRY -- it was not the JNA or the VJ?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
6 Mr. Lukic, you may proceed.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would now move to tender this
8 document. I checked during the break of the English transcript. We do
9 not need an additional translation from the CLSS, so I believe that we
10 should tender this into evidence under seal, of course.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Harmon.
12 MR. HARMON: No objection, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you for not objecting, Mr. Harmon. Is your
14 earlier concern satisfied of dealing with the entire pages that have been
16 MR. HARMON: This witness, I think, addressed all the pages that
17 were being tendered.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Except that at some stage Mr. Lukic said we will
19 jump two pages.
20 MR. HARMON: I'm satisfied that the witness was discussing a
21 single meeting that was taking place. I informed myself of the content
22 of those documents. I may reserve my position later, but on this
23 particular document I have no objection.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Harmon. The document is
25 admitted into evidence and marked for identification and seal. May it
1 please be given an exhibit number.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document should be assigned
3 Exhibit D325 under seal. Thank you.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, and marked for identification,
5 Mr. Registrar. I beg your pardon, not marked for identification. I'm
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I do believe we can go back into open
8 session, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into open session.
10 [Open session]
11 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Registrar. Mr. Lukic.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we please bring on to the
14 screen Exhibit P1864, please. Could we please zoom in on the B/C/S
15 version so that Mr. Skrbic could see the first portion.
16 Q. So let's not repeat what we discussed in private session but
17 please take a look, Mr. Skrbic, at this first part. Read it carefully,
18 please. You don't have to read it out loud.
19 A. I am sorry. I read the first paragraph.
20 Q. What I'd like to know about is the 7th of May, 1992, the 5th
21 Corps, what army was it a part of? Maybe we could scroll down so that
22 you can see who signed the document.
23 A. May I begin my answer?
24 Q. Yes.
25 A. The 5th Corps was a corps of the Yugoslav People's Army located
1 at Banja Luka, I mean the seat and headquarters of the corps was in Banja
2 Luka and commander of that 5th Corps was General Momir Talic.
3 Q. And in paragraph 2 what is discussed is something concerning
4 status and entitlements and rights of those persons who are seconded or
5 who are staying in the territory. And its stated that they shall have
6 the same entitlements and rights as the personnel of the JNA.
7 A. That's correct, this is part of a quote.
8 Q. Whose position is this, those guarantees, what is the source of
9 that information that reaches the 5th Corps?
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] If we can scroll down a bit for the
11 witness to be able to see. Let's scroll up.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could we scroll up a bit higher,
13 please. I must read it out if you allow me:
14 "We have received from the personnel demonstration federal
15 secretariat for NO, we received the document reference number,"
16 et cetera, et cetera, and then there follows a quote.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. This was my question, what General Talic was writing to his
19 subordinate units, who did he get this information from?
20 A. From the personnel administration of the federal secretariat.
21 Q. Was that personnel administration transferred after May 1992 and
22 part of which organ was it made?
23 A. By the transformation of the JNA into the VJ, the personnel
24 administration is halved out of the Ministry of Defence and is made part
25 of the General Staff of the VJ.
1 Q. General, at the time you are still in the morale and information
2 administration of the VJ General Staff. My question to you is, what kind
3 of information in the period of April 1992 you had in terms of the volume
4 of officers leaving the VJ and non-commissioned officers into the VRS,
5 and I'm intentionally using the term "leaving." Did you have any
6 information about the numbers, was it -- were there more of them leaving
7 at the beginning and later a lower number towards the end or later or
9 A. The information we had referred to those members of the JNA who
10 served in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina of whom most or majority of
11 whom decided to stay in that territory. A response from the FRY and
12 leaving for Bosnia-Herzegovina from the FRY was quite good at the
13 beginning. Later on it petered out and only to cease, almost completely
14 ceased in the later years of the war.
15 Q. Later on we will see that from August 1994 you held the post of
16 assistant commander of the VRS commander for Main Staff of the VRS in
17 terms of mobilisation, and could you please tell the Court what was the
18 situation in this respect from August 1994 until the end of the war and
19 before that date in terms of influx of VJ officers who left for
21 A. The influx was very low.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We no longer need this document on
23 the screen.
24 Q. We are still discussing 1992 and the tasks that you performed in
25 the administration for information and moral guidance. My question is
1 what was the relationship of the officers of the VJ towards those
2 officers who hailed from Bosnia-Herzegovina and who stayed in the
3 territory of Yugoslavia and vice-versa, what was the relationship of
4 those who stayed and who hailed from Bosnia-Herzegovina towards the other
5 people in the same army? What I'm interested in are the questions and
6 issues of morale.
7 A. Those who were born in Bosnia-Herzegovina and stayed put, did not
8 leave for the VRS, were castigated, and those who left were encouraged
9 and respected by their peers.
10 Q. Did you at some point, General, feel the need to go into the
11 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina and join the VRS? When was that and what
12 happened if anything happened?
13 A. My wish and my desire was -- did not date from that moment but
14 from the very beginning of the outbreak of conflict. I had wanted to go
15 there and help my people. Then in 1993, I decided to do so. Most
16 probably you are going to ask me why I did not leave in 1992, but I'd
17 rather not discuss it.
18 Q. We saw an entry in your personnel file stating --
19 A. 27th --
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you want to discuss that in open session, that
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I believe that the witness has not
23 indicated that we should not discuss this in open session. I'm reminding
24 him --
25 Q. Mr. Skrbic, would you like to stay in --
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, he had just indicated that he would rather
2 not give the reasons why he didn't leave in 1992. You are now referring
3 him to an entry, and I'm not quite sure whether that does not relate to
4 what he has just taken a position about and what his position is with
5 respect to publicizing that point, let alone even answering in open
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I agree. I agree. Let's go into
8 private session.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
10 [Private session]
11 Page 11595 redacted. Private session.
5 [Open session]
6 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Yes, Mr. Lukic.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Skrbic, will you tell us where did that entry come from in
10 your personnel file stating that you were seconded to the 2nd Military
11 District on the 25th of April, 1992, whereas you stated here that you did
12 not in fact go to the 2nd district, that you, in fact, remained with the
13 VJ? How did that come about?
14 A. I received an order from the personnel administration of the SSNO
15 that I would be assigned to the 2nd Military District which was part of
16 the Yugoslav People's Army at the time. I packed my bags and was ready
17 to leave waiting for the order. I reported to my superior commanding
18 officer, General Vuk Obradovic. He told me, Skrbic, an analysis needs to
19 be made for the Chief of the General Staff, that was General Panic at the
20 time. Take these documents and develop an analysis. I told him that I
21 was supposed to go to the 2nd Military District, headquartered in
22 Sarajevo at the time, and his reply was you are not going anywhere. Do
23 this work, and I'll regulate this so that there will be no consequences
24 for you. It was an adamant order of his that I should produce this
25 analysis rather than leave and that's my explanation. I hope it's
1 clarified everything.
2 Q. Thank you. In answer to my earlier question about the moral
3 dilemma that these officers hailing from Bosnia-Herzegovina were faced
4 with, you said something but I should like also to know whether there was
5 any pressure exerted from the superior structures in Bosnia-Herzegovina
6 from the political circles, any sort of militation going on for these
7 officers to come and join their ranks in Bosnia?
8 A. I note that there were meetings held where there was lobbying
9 going on for these officers to join the ranks of the VRS. I did not
10 participate in any of these meetings, however.
11 Q. Did you have any information about what sort of meetings they
12 were, what turns these meetings took, et cetera?
13 A. Information about the atmosphere at these meetings reached the
14 administration I worked for. According to the information, the
15 atmosphere at these meetings was very painful, very difficult. Some of
16 the senior officers openly stated their refusal to go and join the war.
17 Others wondered what their status would be like and still others kept
19 Q. Did you know that at the time or later on officers were
20 encouraged to go and join the VRS by statements promising that their
21 gaining of Serbian citizenship would be facilitated?
22 MR. HARMON: Objection, leading question, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I truly don't believe that this is a
25 leading question. It is merely a question specifically referring to an
1 allegation from the indictment. I don't see anything leading in that,
2 Your Honour.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just a second. Mr. Harmon, the response is that
5 this is a statement coming directly out of the indictment and to that
6 extent it wouldn't be a leading question.
7 MR. HARMON: Could I have the reference section in the
8 indictment? I don't have it in front of me, but I can quickly find it.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Right away. I will give it to you
10 right away. Paragraph 13 -- I am sorry, I may be mistaken. Paragraph 13
11 of the indictment, yes.
12 MR. HARMON: I withdraw my objection, Your Honour. I would think
13 that the exact language of the indictment should be put to the witness
14 and he could comment on that.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Indeed, I think it would be helpful if you can
16 give that because your question as it stands is very vague.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I'll do so gladly.
18 Q. Did you know that those among the officers who were not too happy
19 to go and join the VRS were encouraged to do so by promises of
20 citizenship, of dual citizenship?
21 A. Your Honour, if you'll allow me to just make one point.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Make the point and I would like to make a point
23 after you. You go ahead.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At any rate, I do respect the
25 procedure that is in place here and I do understand that I'm far from
1 familiar with it, but nobody can lead me in any way with any questions.
2 I studied and later on lectured philosophy, so with that caveat, can I
3 now give my answer to the question?
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before you give your answer to the question, and
5 let me just say we do respect the fact that you studied and that you are
6 a highly educated person, but be that as it may, the procedures in the
7 court here have to the followed and this is one of the procedures that
8 answers are not put into your mouth but that you are asked questions by
9 this counsel and you give your answer. You tell your story. When you
10 get cross-examined by the opposition, they will tell you their story and
11 you will have to either agree or disagree with their story. For now, we
12 want the story to come from your mouth, not from the mouth of your
14 And having said that, the comment I did want to make on the
15 question said, as I heard it interpreted, it mentioned dual citizenship.
16 I don't see dual citizenship in the sentence that deals with citizenship.
17 They say:
18 "Many who were reluctant to go were induced with incentives such
19 as Yugoslav citizenship or coerced with threat of punitive measures such
20 forcible early retirement from the VJ."
21 So if we are going to be quoting from the indictment, let's make
22 sure that we stick to the strict wording of the indictment.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I've read it the way it was written
24 in the indictment, so this time I apologise to the interpreters, but
25 probably the session has been taxing on all of us. I did read the
1 precise quotation.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Could you put the question for the witness.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. So I'll repeat, did you know that the officers of the Army of
5 Yugoslavia who were not inclined to go were given incentives in the form
6 of Yugoslav citizenship?
7 A. I know and I can tell you that nobody was promised to get
8 Yugoslav citizenship and that would be a contradiction in terms. How can
9 you promise the citizenship of one country to someone and then dispatch
10 him to another?
11 Q. We were discussing 1992, but later on when you joined the VRS in
12 1994, specifically in view of the position you held, did you ever hear at
13 a later stage up until the end of the war that such situations ever arose
14 where people were being offered Yugoslav citizenship in exchange for
15 their joining the army?
16 A. No, I never heard any such thing.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Can the speakers please slow down.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: The interpreters ask that you slow down.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. At the time you were still a member of the administration for
21 information of the VJ General Staff, that is to say up until the end of
22 1993, were you aware of the fact that the VJ officers were coerced by
23 threats of various punishment such as early retirement unless they agreed
24 to join the ranks of the Army of Republika Srpska?
25 A. I was not aware of such a thing, Mr. Lukic.
1 Q. And from the moment you joined the VRS and held the various
2 positions that you discussed, did you come to learn that there were
3 threats issued of early retirement unless individuals agreed to join the
5 A. No, I was not aware of anything like that.
6 Q. Thank you. As we are able to see from your personnel file, at
7 one point you joined the Army of Republika Srpska. Can you tell us when
8 this happened and how this came about?
9 A. I decided to join the VRS on the 17th of December, or, in fact,
10 that was when I set out. I reported to my superior in the Army of
11 Yugoslavia and told him that I was leaving there --
12 Q. Sorry, I'm interrupting you, but can you tell us, please, which
13 year was that?
14 A. The 17th of December, 1993. On that day I reported to my
15 superior in the administration. I can't recall his name now. They
16 changed frequently. I think it was General Boric who had come over from
17 the 3rd Army. I don't know his first name. I told him that I was
18 leaving for the VRS. I packed my belongings and left that same day.
19 Q. Where exactly did you leave to?
20 A. Mr. Lukic, I am afraid I don't quite understand your question.
21 How did I leave?
22 Q. Please pause there if you are not clear on what my question is.
23 My question was where did you go to, and you can give us some other
24 details, was there anybody with you, how did you travel?
25 A. We had organised transportation by bus from the Neznanog Junaka
1 Street, that was where boarded the bus and left for Han Pijesak.
2 Q. Let's be quite precise, when you say Neznanog Junaka Street that
3 doesn't tell Their Honours anything. Can you tell us who is "we," who
4 was there with you?
5 A. Should I explain where the street is?
6 Q. Give us the town.
7 A. Belgrade, yes. We left Belgrade. And when I say "we," there
8 were several of us there on the bus. I did not count how many there were
9 though, Mr. Lukic.
10 Q. And where did you go to? Can you tell me the story?
11 A. We left for Han Pijesak, some 70 kilometres away from Zvornik in
12 the territory of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
13 Q. What happened next in Han Pijesak?
14 A. As soon as we got there we were met by -- I apologise, Your
15 Honours, can I mention names? Can I give names?
16 Q. Yes, of course, I'll be taking care of that.
17 A. Colonel Malcic was there to meet us. He told us that we were to
18 wait for awhile until the arrival of General Milovanovic; the Chief of
19 the Main Staff of the VRS. When he arrived, he greeted us and
20 Colonel Malcic told us what our assignments were.
21 Q. What rank did you hold in the VJ at the time you left for VRS?
22 A. I was colonel.
23 Q. When you left Belgrade, did you have an idea of where you would
24 be billeted, was any indication of this given to you at all?
25 A. I had no idea where I was going to be assigned to or the duties I
1 was going to be assigned to.
2 Q. And why weren't you interested in knowing what sort of duties you
3 would be assigned to?
4 A. Because it wasn't the duties that interested me. I was
5 interested in defending my people, and I expected to be given an
6 assignment in keeping with my rank, although had they assigned me to a
7 trench, I would not have refused. Had they assigned me to one such
8 position in the VRS, I would not have refused.
9 Q. Let me just see what it is that you said, who informed you of
10 where you would be assigned to. I don't think we have it in the
11 transcript. Milovanovic told you what? Where were you assigned to from
12 Han Pijesak?
13 A. General Milovanovic ordered Colonel Malcic to tell all of us our
14 assignments. He read out saying that Colonel Skrbic is being assigned to
15 the 2nd Krajina Corp.
16 Q. Did you receive any other information about the position you were
17 to occupy? Did you know the details or did you only learn those later
18 upon your arrival at the 2nd Krajina Corp?
19 A. I did not receive any information on my position at that moment
20 since the command of the 2nd Krajina Corp was located in Drvar which is
21 far away from Han Pijesak. I spent the night in Han Pijesak and
22 General Gvero told me more about the position I was to be assigned to the
23 next day.
24 Q. What was General Gvero's position within the VRS at the time?
25 A. At that point in time and throughout the war, General Gvero was
1 assistant commander of the General Staff of the VRS in charge of morale,
2 religious affairs, and legal affairs.
3 Q. Had you known him from earlier when you were both with the JNA in
4 view of your previous activities and work?
5 A. Yes, I had known him back then.
6 Q. When you arrived in the 2nd Krajina Corp and assigned to the
7 position you just told us, who became your first superior, immediate
9 A. On arrival in the 2nd Krajina Corp, I was aware that I was to be
10 appointed assistant corps commander for morale, religious, and legal
11 affairs. The corps commander told me the same thing once I reported to
12 him. My immediate superior was the 2nd Corps commander, the 2nd Corps of
13 the VRS, that is --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Of the RS, interpreter's correction.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And the name of the commander was
16 General Mujicic [as interpreted].
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. It should be Grujo Boric. General, as of that moment were you
19 still a member of the Army of Yugoslavia, or did you become a member of
20 another armed force, and if so, which?
21 A. I must tell Their Honours that for three months I was the general
22 manager of the military publishing centre with the Army of Yugoslavia.
23 However, after the three months, I became a full member of the Army of
24 the RS as part of the 2nd Krajina Corp of the Army of the RS when I
25 signed a document on the hand-over of duties.
1 Q. Did you retain the insignia and rank you had held with the Army
2 of Yugoslavia or did something else happen?
3 A. I only had a camouflage uniform, the M-73 type, from the Army of
4 Yugoslavia which is regularly issued to officers at peacetime without any
5 insignia. I received new insignia in the personnel office of the 2nd
6 Krajina Corp and attached them to the uniform. On the left arm there was
7 a round patch with the words "the Army of Republika Srpska" on the
8 circumference, and in the middle there was a flag of the RS.
9 Q. General, how important is insignia in terms of morale of any
10 given member of an armed force and their feeling of belonging to that
11 armed force?
12 A. In any armed force, in my opinion, the insignia is something to
13 be proud of marking one's honour and dignity. Irrespective of any war
14 time difficulties, the fighters, soldiers of the army of the RS bore that
15 insignia with pride. Even when things were very difficult for them and
16 you know very well that any war is difficult.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we please place 65 ter Defence
18 document on the screen, the number of which is 62D. It's a document of
19 the Main Staff of the VRS, sector for morale and religious affair, dated
20 the 2nd of March, 1995, signed by Milan Gvero.
21 Q. I'm interested in the first three paragraphs, General. I don't
22 want to lead you, but do the three first paragraphs reflect what you have
23 just said?
24 A. They do. However, I omitted the international element.
25 Q. There is always a but, it seems, in these documents. Perhaps we
1 can scroll down and it should be in the English version as well, perhaps
2 you can have a look for yourself, General. The paragraph speaks for
3 itself. It is March 1995 and my question is this: Well, I'll let you
4 read it first.
5 A. I've read it.
6 Q. So March 1995 when you were a member of the Main Staff of the
7 VRS, what was the position of the Main Staff, and perhaps if that
8 position was not a uniform one, what was your position about certain
9 divisions within the Army of Republika Srpska?
10 A. It was our position and not only in 1995, was that the VRS needs
11 to function in accordance with the law, and in the Law on the Armed
12 Forces, it is stated that the VRS must not be a political organisation
13 and that members of the VRS are not allowed to take part in any political
14 or trade union organisations. This is a direct quote from the law. And
15 we constantly strove to achieve such an armed force. The armed force of
16 the Republika Srpska, not a political body.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I seek to tender this document, Your
18 Honours, and perhaps we should call it a day.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Harmon.
20 MR. HARMON: No objection, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
22 please be given an exhibit number.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
24 Exhibit D326. Thank you.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
1 That, Mr. Skrbic, unfortunately we haven't finished with you.
2 You'll have to come back tomorrow, I suspect it's in the morning in the
3 same courtroom at 9.00. And just to warn you that now that you have
4 taken the witness-stand and you have made the declaration to tell the
5 truth, the whole truth, and nothing else but the truth, you may not
6 discuss the case with anybody, in particular not with your counsel, until
7 you have been excused from further testifying.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand fully, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Court adjourned to tomorrow
10 9.00 in the morning, Courtroom II.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.59 p.m.
12 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 15th day of June,
13 2010, at 9.00 a.m.