1 Wednesday, 16 June 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning to everybody in and around the
7 courtroom. Mr. Registrar, will you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
9 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-81-T,
10 the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Perisic. Thank you.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Mr. Saxon, I have heard you
12 have problems. You do what you choose, you want to stand you can stand;
13 you want to sit, you can sit.
14 MR. SAXON: I am grateful.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: If you do stand because of exercise and not
16 because you're objecting, indicate -- differentiate that from when you
17 are objecting so that I can call on you when you are objecting.
18 MR. SAXON: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can we have appearances then starting with you.
20 MR. SAXON: Dan Saxon, Bronagh McKenna, and Carmela Javier for
21 the Prosecution.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. And for the Defence.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good
24 morning to everyone in the courtroom. Mr. Perisic is represented today
25 by Novak Lukic and Boris Zorko.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much, Mr. Lukic.
2 Just for the record, the Chamber is still sitting pursuant to 15
3 bis, Judge David still indisposed.
4 And good morning to you, Mr. Skrbic.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning to everyone.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much, Mr. Skrbic. I know you know
7 this, but I must record that I've reminded you that you are still bound
8 by the declaration you made at the beginning of your testimony to tell
9 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing else but the truth.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Intellectually speaking my
11 testimony makes me happy, and I will abide by the declaration.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
13 Mr. Lukic.
14 WITNESS: PETAR SKRBIC [Resumed]
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 Examination by Mr. Lukic: [Continued]
17 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Skrbic, good morning to you.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Let us first go back to the document
19 that we could not examine in the absence of a translation. I was just
20 told that there is an official translation of the document, so I will
21 call up 65 ter document of the Defence 00072D.
22 Q. Let me first identify the document for the transcript. As the
23 heading says, it is an order determining the competence and powers of
24 commanding officers on decision-making -- in decision-making about
25 relations in the service of the military personnel and workers in the
1 employ of the Army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Later
2 on we will see that the date is that of the 16th of June, 1992 and that
3 it was signed by Bogdan Subotic.
4 Mr. Skrbic, let us first go back to your yesterday's testimony.
5 Have you ever seen this document before?
6 A. Can I kindly ask that the transcript in English be switched on on
7 my left monitor so that I can follow the questions as they are put.
8 Thank you very much.
9 Yes, I have seen this document, and I am familiar with it.
10 Q. What does this order define or regulate?
11 A. The order signed by the then-minister of defence Bogdan Subotic,
12 otherwise a general, determines the competence and powers of the senior
13 officers of the Army of Republika Srpska when it comes to the relations
14 within the service and the various powers as defined in the items
15 designated in sequential numbers here.
16 Q. And which are these relations that the order regulates, and I
17 mean the relations within the service?
18 A. Well, a concise definition of these relations would be powers in
19 the field of defining, or rather, promoting, appointing, and transferring
20 personnel within the Army of Republika Srpska.
21 Q. Does it also regulate the termination of service?
22 A. Yes, it does.
23 Q. What is the basis for the issuance of this order? I don't want
24 to lead you in any way.
25 A. Well, there's no need for that at all, because you can see the
1 basis in the preamble of the document where it is stated that the basis
2 is Article 370 of the Law on the Army of the Serbian Republic of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and it is pursuant to this article that the member of
4 the government, i.e., minister of defence issued this order.
5 Q. Let us go to the last page now. I think that the document is
6 self-explanatory, and I'm interested, in fact, in item 6.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] It's the penultimate page in
8 English -- oh, I'm sorry, so the page before this one in B/C/S as well.
9 This is merely the certification of the original. So the previous page
10 in the B/C/S and in English -- yes, we have the right page. But the text
11 continues on to the next one in English.
12 Q. By virtue of this order what are the rights and duties of the
13 commander of the Main Staff with regard to the relations within the
15 A. Item 6 of the order provides for the commander of the Main Staff
16 of the VRS, or rather, at the time it was called the Army of the Serbian
17 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina provides for his power under A, and let me
18 not explain this, that according to the peacetime organisational
19 structure, he shall appoint active-duty, non-commissioned and
20 commissioned officers. Then there is B where he will conclude fixed
21 contracts; and C, pursuant to peacetime and war time assignments, he will
22 also appoint junior officers up to and including the rank of
23 lieutenant-colonel; and D, he shall also take decisions on layoffs and
24 termination of active duty service -- of active duty non-commissioned and
25 commissioned officers up to and including the rank of lieutenant-colonel;
1 and E, promote non-commissioned and commissioned officers up to and
2 including the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
3 Q. Who takes decisions for posts within the service involving the
4 rank of a lieutenant in the VRS or lieutenant-colonel?
5 A. In relation to all these various items, let us not read them
6 again, it's the minister of defence who will issue these decisions, also
7 pursuant to the legislation in force.
8 Q. We have already discussed the matter involving generals and who
9 has the power to issue such decisions for them. Let me ask you this:
10 The order, as we have seen it now with the various powers it defines, was
11 it in force throughout the war, that is to say up until the Dayton
12 Accords in 1995?
13 A. Yes, throughout.
14 Q. Very well. Tell me, when Mr. Ninkovic took up the position of
15 the minister of defence, what was the situation like with regard to the
16 promotion of lieutenant-colonels and various other status related issues
17 as defined in this order?
18 A. Milan Ninkovic, the defence minister, who was a civilian, not a
19 serviceman, issued a draft order defining powers in 1995 wherein item 6
20 was fully modified and the powers of the commander of the Main Staff were
21 derogated with regard to the appointment, release from duty, and
22 promotion of active-duty servicemen.
23 Since this was a draft decision, we, and when I say we, Your
24 Honours, I apologise, I have to be quite clear on this issue, the Main
25 Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska proposed that the president should
1 not adopt such a document and that he should not allow the minister to
2 forward such a document to the Main Staff of the VRS. This proposal was
3 heeded and such an order never saw the light of day because the Main
4 Staff suggested that the president should decide, that the order that we
5 have now on our screens from 1992, should continue to be in force, and
6 this was the case, in fact, throughout the existence of the Main Staff of
7 the VRS. What the situation was like later on when the General Staff of
8 the VRS was set up is something I don't know because my service within
9 the VRS had by that time ceased.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we have this document admitted
12 into evidence. We have an official translation, so I think we have all
13 the requirements in place.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just before we do that, can I get clarity on that
15 last sentence of the witness. He says, there was a case throughout the
16 existence of the Main Staff of the VRS. What the situation was like
17 later on when the General Staff of the VRS was set up is something I
18 don't know because, when did this change take place?
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We will get to that, Your Honour.
20 That's 1996. And I did intend to discuss this issue with the witness, so
21 we will get to that topic, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
23 please be given an exhibit number.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
25 Exhibit D332. Thank you.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Let us resume where we left off yesterday when we discussed the
4 various appointments, and I'm sure that now we've seen this document, it
5 will be much easier to understand documents to follow.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we now call up document 164D. I
7 would, in fact, withdraw the document because I see that we don't have
8 page 2 in e-court, so we don't have a complete document. I will,
9 however, deal with the document later. I will withdraw it for the time
10 being. I think that it's a known document.
11 Can we now call up 65 ter document 00236D. That's Defence 65 ter
12 document. Thank you.
13 Q. General, what is this that we can see before us now?
14 A. Can the Serbian version be enlarged somewhat. The English as
15 well. That's enough, thank you.
16 This is a copy of a document entitled "record of taking up of
17 duty" on behalf of this individual here who is a member of the armoured
18 units and his name is Dragan Milomir Obrenovic.
19 Q. We can see that this document is dated 1999, and there's a stamp
20 in fact, or a seal at the bottom. Can we have the bottom to see who the
21 superior officer is, who signed this transfer of duty document.
22 Can you tell me -- it says the command of the 5th Corps, so can
23 you tell us this stamp or seal, who does it belong to?
24 A. It can clearly be seen from the copy of this document that the
25 responsible officer who signed the document was Major-General Svetozar
1 Andric. Now, the stamp itself says that it's the command of the 5th
2 Corps, and this is the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, which through
3 re-organisation of the VRS resulted in the 5th Corps.
4 Q. In other words, in 1999 Major-General Svetozar Andric was
5 commander of the 5th Corps, that's to say of which army then?
6 A. Of the Army of Republika Srpska.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we have this document admitted
9 into evidence, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before we do that, if this is a document of the
11 VRS, why does it have Belgrade on it, 1st of February, 1999, Belgrade.
12 And then it says, I have taken up the duties of commander of the 503rd
13 Motorised Brigade 5th Corps 30th Personnel Division. Okay. The document
14 is admitted into evidence. May it please be given an exhibit number.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this document shall be assigned
16 Exhibit D333. Thank you.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The next document I wish to show and
19 has to do with the same matter is the OTP evidence Exhibit P2099. I
20 think it's a public document. If we can please, the second page, so that
21 we can see who signed it.
22 Q. General, are you familiar with this document and who signed it,
24 A. Having examined the copy that I'm looking at, I can confirm that
25 this is an authentic document since it was signed -- it was supposed to
1 be signed by me, Major-General Petar Skrbic but since I was most likely
2 absent, this document was signed pursuant to my authorisation by my
3 deputy Colonel Martic [as interpreted] whose handwriting I can recognise.
4 Colonel Maltic [as interpreted].
5 Q. Can we go back to the first page. The date is 13th of September,
6 1995, but there's some other dates mentioned there, so could you please
7 comment on that.
8 A. We can see here that certain persons, whose names we don't need
9 to mention, are being transferred. You can see at the top it says that
10 the following were being transferred to the Main Staff of the Army of
11 Republika Srpska, and then their names that go on to the second page, and
12 I was in charge of transferring these persons because I was assistant
13 commander for organisational and personnel matters.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we move the first page, not the
15 second page, but the first page to the right a little bit. Can we see
16 the handwritten annotations on the left side. That's right.
17 Q. General, next to the person number 2 and number 3, there are some
18 handwritten annotations, can you comment on them?
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can we see the relevant page of the English so
20 that we can read the transcript of the handwritten annotations, please.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The English version needs to be
22 scrolled down.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: And now can we be guided as to where are these
24 annotations supposed to be in the English?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Do you see the heading "Drinski
1 Corps," Drina Corps. It's the previous page in English. Here on this
2 page in the English version, Your Honour, you see the words "to Drina
3 Corps," but then most likely on the next page is the rest of the text
4 written in Cyrillic script. I can't read this in English. I will
5 comment on the Serbian version.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I can confirm that what
7 is written by hand in Cyrillic script has not been translated into
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Then are you going to ask the witness about that
10 part of the document?
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, certainly, certainly. That's
12 what I wanted to do. I want the witness to explain the handwritten
13 annotation, what it means. We just needed to find the corresponding
14 portion in English.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: My point being that your English version is not a
16 copy of the Cyrillic script because it doesn't have this annotation
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes. This is a P exhibit, Your
19 Honour. A Prosecution exhibit.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Well, talk to Mr. Saxon about that. Yes,
21 carry on.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Skrbic, so what does it read, this handwritten annotation in
24 Cyrillic script, and what does it mean?
25 A. Underneath the heading "to the Drina Corps" next to the person
1 number 2, Inic Vukadin, son of Novak, somebody wrote by hand "mistake, to
2 the HK," which stands for the Herzegovina Corps. Therefore, this person
3 named here, was not being assigned to the Drina Corps, but rather to the
4 Herzegovina Corps. Next to the following name, person number 3, where it
5 says "Petrovic, Djokica, son of Cvjetko," on the left margin, there's an
6 annotation, 5BVP, which stands for the 5th Battalion of the military
8 Q. And can we see the following page in the B/C/S, please?
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before we go to the following page, can we see the
10 top of the B/C/S page, please.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, you are right. There is
12 something --
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: At the top of the page there, please.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. General, can you please tell us what is written by hand in
16 Cyrillic script in the upper right corner of the document?
17 A. And, sir, under number 04540747, there is a handwritten
18 annotation in Cyrillic script that reads [B/C/S spoken] and that means
19 entered into records, and then the annotation is underlined.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] And could we now see the second page
22 of the document, please.
23 Q. What does it say here next to number 4, General?
24 A. Next to number 4, which is a person called Zekic, Milivoj, son of
25 Matija. There is an acronym, 1BPBR, which stands for the 1st Battalion
1 of the infantry brigade, and this notation is underlined as well.
2 Q. Now, tell me, please, was this data written typically by hand,
3 and if so, by whom was it done when persons were assigned?
4 A. I know about this, Mr. Lukic, and I can tell you with almost full
5 certainty even whose handwriting this is, but I don't know if I may say
6 that in open session.
7 Q. I don't think there are any hindrances to that.
8 A. These are the annotations of the commander of the Main Staff of
9 the Army of Republika Srpska, and I had to implement them.
10 Q. Thank you. Now, let me ask you this: Do you remember that in
11 mid-July 1995, a certain number of officers of the Army of Yugoslavia
12 arrived who were supposed to be assigned to posts in the VRS. I can even
13 tell you that the Prosecution claims that at about 13th of July, some 30
14 officers of the Army of Yugoslavia arrived in Han Pijesak.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is paragraph 60C
16 of the indictment.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wouldn't like to speak of the
18 numbers because I'm not sure of the numbers, but I can confirm that a
19 certain number of officers arrived, indeed.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Do you remember whether some of those officers at the time were
22 assigned to the Drina Corps, or rather, to the area of Srebrenica?
23 A. Initially none of the officers were assigned to the Drina Corps
24 out of that group of officers, none were assigned there.
25 Q. And where were they assigned, do you remember that?
1 A. The largest number was assigned to the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps,
2 and that, Mr. Lukic, depended on their military occupational specialty.
3 All of those who were from the air force were sent to the air force
4 command and anti-aircraft defence. None of them were sent to the
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, let me just get clarity. Mr. Skrbic, you
7 answered a question, do you remember whether some of those officers at
8 the time were assigned to the Drina Corps or rather this area of
9 Srebrenica, and you said, Initially none of the officers were assigned to
10 the Drina Corps out of that group of officers. None were assigned there.
11 When you say "initially," what do you mean? Are you suggesting that
12 later they were assigned to the Srebrenica area or to the Drina Corps?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, based on the
14 documents of this Tribunal, I know that some officers from the Main Staff
15 including Bogdan Sladojevic did go to the Drina Corps. Bogdan Sladojevic
16 went there pursuant to an order as a representative of the Main Staff,
17 and none of the officers were posted, were assigned to the Drina Corps at
18 the time, at the time that you are referring to.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: And is this Bogdan, sorry, the name is not --
20 surname is not sort of coming up on the screen, was he part of the
21 officer from the army of the VJ?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was an officer who had arrived
23 with that group and we assigned him, we posted him to the
24 Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. But after several days we moved him, we
25 transferred him to the Main Staff of the VRS at the request of General
1 Jovanovic. He was assigned to his staff.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Rather General
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. If we can clarify something regarding colonel and later general
7 Bogdan Sladojevic. Do you know until what time he remained in the Army
8 of Republika Srpska?
9 A. Mr. Lukic, have I understood you well, you are asking about
10 General Bogdan Subotic?
11 Q. No, no, I'm asking about Sladojevic who later became general,
12 Bogdan Sladojevic. Until what time did he remain in the VRS and from
13 which army did he retire, if you know?
14 A. Bogdan Sladojevic remained in the Army of Republika Srpska until
15 it was abolished, and I think that he remained in service even after the
16 VRS was abolished and then he retired from there.
17 Q. When you say "abolished," when was the Army of Republika Srpska
18 abolished according to you?
19 A. On the 31st of December 2001.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just a point I don't understand, I don't know
21 whether you are interpreted correctly. You say Bogdan Sladojevic
22 remained in the Army of Republika Srpska until it was abolished, and I
23 think that he remained in service even after the VRS was abolished and
24 then he retired from there. That doesn't make sense. If he remains in
25 service, in service of which army, if the army is abolished, and where
1 does he retire from, where is the they? Maybe you were misinterpreted,
2 but that's what the record says. Can you correct that.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm not quite clear on
4 that terminology as you are not. The VRS was abolished, however, a
5 number of officers remained in service because a third, in brackets,
6 Republika Srpska Regiment was set up which became part of what is, I
7 suppose now called the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and of course,
8 that's a single armed force. So Bogdan Sladojevic remained in the
9 service of the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but please don't hold
10 me to that because I really don't know what the proper title of that
11 armed forces right now, and that's a single armed force in
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina comprising all the entities.
13 I wasn't really following these developments, so please don't
14 hold it against me if I don't give you precise data. I am a bit puzzled
15 by it myself.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: It explains remained in service even after
17 abolishment of the VRS. It explains that part of it. Even if we don't
18 know the name of that army.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. General, can you please comment on the following document.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] It's a Defence 65 ter document,
23 00066D. I would like to discuss transfers with you now.
24 Q. General, we can see that the document was signed by whom?
25 A. Assistant commander Colonel Petar Skrbic, and I do confirm the
1 authenticity of the document because the signature is mine.
2 Q. The document is self-explanatory, but can you explain to us what
3 was involved here, who are you writing to and why?
4 A. I will try to give you a concise answer and not burden you with
5 details. What can be seen in the upper right-hand corner is to the
6 command of the 65th Motorised Protection Regiment and the appointed, or
7 rather, the named individuals Knezevic and Glisic asked for a transfer
8 from the 65th Protection Motorised Regiment, which was stationed in Han
9 Pijesak, and they wanted to be transferred to Banja Luka apparently
10 because of some private reasons of their own, and this is within the VRS.
11 The commander of the Main Staff decided to deny their request and we
12 informed the regiment accordingly, and they were, in turn, supposed to
13 inform the individuals concerned.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we have a number assigned to this
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted. May it please be given
18 a number.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
20 Exhibit D334. Thank you.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The next document is 65 ter document
24 Q. Can you tell us again who signed the document?
25 A. The document was signed by assistant commander Major-General
1 Petar Skrbic, that's to say myself, and I confirm the authenticity of the
2 signature, although I changed my signature for awhile, I don't know why,
3 but this is my signature.
4 Q. The document is dated the 25th of December, 1996. Can you tell
5 us what the procedure was with regard to this document, and how these
6 requests for transfers to the Army of Yugoslavia were dealt with?
7 A. All the requests for transfer to the Army of Yugoslavia were
8 discussed at the meeting, the collegium meeting of the commander of the
9 Main Staff. It was the commander who ultimately decided on such requests
10 and for the most part they were denied. Only those requests involving
11 individuals who were ill, seriously wounded, or had family difficulties
12 were accepted. Otherwise the -- most of the requests were denied that I
13 was involved with.
14 Q. And this is late 1996. At the time what sort of a position did
15 the commander of the Main Staff take with regard to such requests for
17 A. This date marks the end of the operation of the Main Staff of the
18 Army of Republika Srpska. We were aware of it, but we were still vested
19 with powers to regulate the various relations within the service.
20 However, the general position that we adhered to throughout the war was
21 that no one without showing good cause could be transferred to the Army
22 of Yugoslavia. And we stuck by that position in order to prevent the
23 erosion of the Army of Republika Srpska.
24 Q. We will discuss the events in 1996 later on.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can this document be admitted into
1 evidence, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: It is admitted. May it please be given an exhibit
4 THE REGISTRAR: This document shall be assigned Exhibit D335.
5 Thank you.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we now call up a Defence 65 ter
8 document 00314D.
9 Q. This is a document that is very similar to the earlier one, and I
10 think it even bears the same date, but the decision is the opposite of
11 the earlier one. Tell us, when requests are denied by the collegium, is
12 the procedure involved the same, would the officer concerned be informed
13 of it or not?
14 A. The document is authentic since it bears my signature, and
15 there's a follow-up action whether the request is approved or denied.
16 Both the command and the individual concerned are informed accordingly.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can this document be assigned a
18 number, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: How many similar documents are we going to see?
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No more, Your Honours. I was really
21 trying to give a copy each, and I am going to show another P document
22 which is similar to this one.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
24 please be given an exhibit number.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
1 Exhibit D336.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we now call up P1858.
3 Q. Let us see who signed this document. Can we see the bottom.
4 A. It's a copy of an authentic document where clearly Colonel Stojan
5 Malcic, my deputy, signed this in my stead, and he was authorised to do
7 Q. We can see that there are two individuals listed here whose lines
8 were circled, and we see handwritten annotations in Cyrillic. Can you
9 tell us who wrote this annotation and why?
10 A. Next to the individual listed under 2, Dragutin Erak it is
11 handwritten that he left off his own free will. And also in relation to
12 the person listed under 3, I will not read his name aloud, I will have
13 words to say about this. It also says that he left of his own free will
14 and those who were thus qualified were considered deserters.
15 Q. If you considered them to be deserters, did this mean that by
16 virtue of that qualification, did you in the VRS or in the Army of
17 Yugoslavia initiate any follow-up steps?
18 A. Yes. Within the Army of Republika Srpska we initiated
19 appropriate legal proceedings. The matters were handed over to the
20 courts, but to not much avail. The courts functioned poorly be it
21 because of the war. At any rate, the procedures were very lengthy. What
22 such cases, what became of them, and how they were dealt with in the Army
23 of Yugoslavia, I don't know.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness repeat the last sentence he
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Skrbic, the interpreters would like you to
2 repeat just the last sentence, they missed that.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will modify this somewhat. Let
4 me not say we, but the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska felt
5 that their service should be terminated, that they should be discharged
6 from service as deserters.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes. But you were telling us about the court
8 procedures that you took, reported them to appropriate -- you said you
9 took appropriate legal proceedings but these were lengthy and the cases,
10 what became of them and how they were dealt with in the Army of
11 Yugoslavia, you don't know. And I don't know whether there was anything
12 else you said after that which is what the interpreters wanted you to
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Nothing else but the sentence that
15 I said just now.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
17 Yes, Mr. Lukic.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we now call up Prosecution
19 Exhibit P1860. A moment, please, I think the document has several pages.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not this one, Mr. Lukic.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we see the next page. Let me see
22 if that's what we are looking for. Yes, this is what I'm interested in.
23 Q. General, can you tell me who signed this document?
24 A. The copy of the document that I'm looking at was signed by
25 lieutenant-colonel Dane Maric who worked in the sector that I headed. He
1 was also authorised to sign these documents because we couldn't be
2 present at the command post at all time. He also drafted the document
3 which is denoted by the DM initials on the left-hand side. DM standing
4 for Dane Maric. And he, or rather, the sector that I headed informed the
5 command of the Drina Corps about this request.
6 Q. I'm interested in the following: It is clear from the document
7 that the individual addressed the General Staff of the Army of
8 Yugoslavia. Were there such situations, and it obviously transpires from
9 this document that it was, that a chief or anyone else from the Army of
10 Yugoslavia should address you with the request for an individual to be
11 returned to the service of the Army of Yugoslavia; how many such cases
12 were there, if any; and what was their fate?
13 A. I know that there were no such requests. I have to add a minor
14 reservation. Except for technical specialties in air force where the
15 Army of Yugoslavia was lacking personnel and we didn't have sufficient
16 needs for such personnel, that seems to be the only such example in my
17 mind now.
18 Q. And why didn't you have the need for the technical specialty of
19 air force during the war? Why did you have no such needs?
20 A. I would like to remind everybody in the courtroom that there was
21 a flight ban in force at the time. Only NATO air force was allowed to
22 fly in the air-space above Republika Srpska at that time, and they were
23 the only ones flying throughout the war. So the air-space above the
24 entire Bosnia-Herzegovina, not just Republika Srpska, was controlled by
25 NATO air force and their land-based radars.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we now see Defence document
3 from our 65 ter list 01076D.
4 Q. This document bears the date of your transfer to the Army of
5 Republika Srpska when you were in the 2nd Krajina Corps. I think the
6 document is rather clear, but rather, can we first turn to page 2 to
7 confirm that it was signed by the commander of the Army of Republika
8 Srpska. We can see that the document was sent to the sector where you
9 eventually transferred to in 1994 and also to all other units of the Army
10 of Republika Srpska. On the previous page, could you please comment part
11 of the order, item 2.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we see the first page again,
14 Q. The first sentence actually explains the purpose of this order,
15 why General Mladic issued this order. We don't need to comment on it.
16 But let us now just look at item 2.
17 A. This document was not drafted within the sector for
18 organisational mobilisation and personnel affairs because at the bottom
19 you can see the addressees and among the addressees, it is this sector as
20 well. I assume that this document came from the administration for
21 development and finance based on the registration number. They probably
22 prepared this document for the commander of the Main Staff of the Army of
23 Republika Srpska to sign it and he did sign it. And you want me to
24 comment on the item where it says --
25 Q. I want you to comment on item 2 under the word "order."
1 A. All right. Organs in charge of planning and MFP which stands for
2 materiel and financial operations shall immediately send to the
3 accounting and data processing centre of the Ministry of Defence of the
4 Army of Yugoslavia lists of names of individuals whose entitlements are
5 to be abolished and request that centre to stop further payment, spending
6 issues of appropriate decisions. So if it were established that they do
7 not meet the requirements for receiving such entitlements, then we were
8 to inform the organs, whose names I have just read out, that they should
9 stop any further payment of such entitlements.
10 Q. It is missing in the transcript, but we can see it in the
11 translation in English that we are requesting the accounting centre of
12 the Ministry of Defence of the Army of Yugoslavia to do this, and you can
13 see this clearly in the text.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can this document be
15 assigned a number, please.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
17 please be given an exhibit number.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
19 Exhibit D337. Thank you.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. I would now like to deal with another issue, namely the
22 promotions in service. Mr. Skrbic, we heard some evidence about
23 promotions in the Army of Republika Srpska, but so far we have not heard
24 any evidence on promotions of generals. And that's what I would like to
25 focus on right now.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we now see a document from the
2 Defence 65 ter list, 00820D.
3 Q. While we are waiting for the document, General, would you please
4 tell me, based on which regulations and what type of promotions existed
5 in the Army of Republika Srpska?
6 A. Based on the Law on the Army of Republika Srpska, as well as
7 other regulations dealing with this in detail, such as orders on
8 competencies that we saw earlier, promotions can be made from the rank of
9 sergeant to warrant officer 2nd class, which are not commissioned
10 officers, and then also promotions for officers from 2nd Lieutenant and
12 Q. And what kind of promotions are there? What types of promotions?
13 A. Mr. Lukic, I'm not sure I understood you well. There are
14 so-called initial promotions --
15 Q. All right. All right. Please go ahead.
16 A. Initial promotions which are commissions. Somebody can be
17 commissioned as a sergeant, and this is not really formally a promotion.
18 This is when somebody receives their commission. It's a different
19 matter. And then what else were you interested in?
20 Q. Well, when it comes to the time-frame, to the period of time
21 necessary for a promotion, how are promotions classified based on that?
22 I don't want to lead you, but --
23 A. Well, I know how promotions are made from the rank of sergeant up
24 to the rank of general, but I would need half an hour to describe all
25 that to you.
1 Q. No need for that.
2 A. If you are referring to competencies, who has powers to
3 promote --
4 Q. No, no, that's not what I was interested in. My question is as
5 follows, and I hope Mr. Saxon will not object to this: Were there
6 regular and extraordinary promotions?
7 A. Yes, that existed.
8 Q. And what is the difference between these two terms? Why are
9 there two kinds of promotions?
10 A. When it comes to regular promotions, a person that is proposed
11 for a promotion has to have a certain number of years, and the
12 requirement is different for each rank. Normally they should have at
13 least one year of service, and they also need to have certain educational
14 qualifications for a promotion. All of these requirements were defined
15 within the system when it comes to establishment positions.
16 As for extraordinary or fast-track promotions, they are given to
17 persons who achieve or do something very special extraordinary, or who do
18 that over a certain period of time. They have a number of special
19 achievements, and they can be promoted even if they do not meet the
20 educational requirements.
21 Q. Now, could you please comment on the document that we see on the
22 screens. Just briefly, I think it's rather self-explanatory, this
24 A. All of these promotions, and especially promotions to senior
25 ranks, especially ranks of colonel and general were made on the occasion
1 of a holiday, 28th of June. This is St. Vitus's Day and St. Vitus was
2 the patron Saint of the Army of Republika Srpska. And also on the 9th of
3 January, which is also a holiday of the patron Saint of the Army of
4 Republika Srpska, and this is why we wanted everybody to submit their
5 proposals, their candidacies, before a certain dead-line so that we would
6 have time to prepare all that. Once it was approved, then orders were
7 sent to -- by the Main Staff, and decrees were issued, and these orders
8 or decrees on promotions were normally read at the command because
9 brigades and units could be out there on the ground and not easily
11 Q. Just a brief question. Promotion to the rank of general in the
12 Army of Republika Srpska. In addition to being read publicly in the
13 unit, were such orders promoting somebody into rank of general also
14 publicly announced, published?
15 A. Yes, it was a public enactment issued by the president of
16 Republika Srpska who had powers to promote into rank of general. That
17 would normally be announced in the main news programme which lasted
18 between 7.30 until 8.00 p.m. prime-time television announcement.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can this document be
20 admitted into evidence, and I suggest that we have our break after that.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
22 please be given an exhibit number.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this document shall be assigned
24 Exhibit D338.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much, Mr. Registrar. We'll take a
1 break and come back at quarter to 11.00. Court adjourned.
2 --- Recess taken at 10.15 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 10.46 a.m.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Mr. Skrbic, we will stay with the topic of promotions. Can you
7 describe for Their Honours what the procedure was like for promotions,
8 particularly to the rank of general from the point when a proposal is
9 made to the point where the president issues a decree?
10 A. At the meetings of the collegium of the commander of the Main
11 Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska, discussions took place of all the
12 promotions. In such situations, the collegium would sit in its extended
13 form, meaning that corps commanders would be present. Special attention
14 was paid to the promotions involving the rank of general. It was the
15 commander of the Main Staff who took decisions on all the proposals from
16 promotions who may have consulted with us. He would tell us to draft
17 decrees and take them to the president who was the one vested with the
18 power to issue a decree on promotions. Normally it would be me to
19 take -- who would take such draft decrees to the president who, if in
20 agreement with our proposal, would issue a decree promoting to the rank
21 of general. Major-general would be the first to step, then the next
22 would be lieutenant-general, the one above colonel-general, and then army
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we move into private session for
25 a moment, please.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
2 [Private session]
11 Pages 11708-11713 redacted. Private session.
2 [Open session]
3 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
5 Yes, Mr. Lukic.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we call up Defence 65 ter
7 document 00056D.
8 Q. We will be discussing this document very briefly. We looked at
9 it during proofing. This is an order on the promotion of certain senior
10 officers, and we'll see that it was signed by the commander of the Main
11 Staff, Ratko Mladic, and the date is the 7th of October, 1993. These are
12 officers of lower rank, but the units involved are quite specific. The
13 document is self-explanatory. Why was it Ratko Mladic who issued this
14 order on promotions, and how does it tally with the order governing
15 various competencies and powers that we looked at earlier?
16 A. The document is consistent with these powers. However, an
17 important detail needs to be taken notice of, which is that the order was
18 issued pursuant to Article 67 through to 74 of the Law on the Armed
19 Forces of Republika Srpska and published, et cetera. I can't recall
20 exactly if the order governing various powers was issued at roughly the
21 same time. Nevertheless, there is not a single rank here which would be
22 contrary to those powers, other than the fact that these lower ranks were
23 subsequently transferred to the remit of the corps.
24 Q. The Law on the Service in the Armed Forces which was published in
25 the SFRY "Official Gazette" is referred to and only subsequently is the
1 RS law referred to.
2 A. Yes, you are right, I apologise.
3 Q. And the other matter is this, we misunderstood each other. Were
4 there specific units which were directly subordinated to the Main Staff
5 and who had the power to decide on promotions related to these units?
6 A. I listed these independent units attached to the Main Staff for
7 you yesterday. For these units, promotions to ranks, whatever they may
8 be, are issued by the commander of the Main Staff. And this is
9 consistent with the order governing various powers because these are
10 units that are immediately subordinated to him.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I wish to tender this document into
12 evidence, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
14 please be given an exhibit number. Do you want it under seal, sir? We
15 are in open session. We are in private session.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Open. No need for that.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
18 Exhibit D341.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would like to call up Defence 65
21 ter 00065D.
22 Q. We are still dealing with subject of promotions. Can you please
23 comment on the document, tell us who signed it and what procedure this --
24 is involved in this document.
25 A. At the collegium of the commander of the Main Staff, the
1 commander decided not to grant this request for the promotion of the
2 individuals listed under 1 and 2, and we are here informing their units
3 accordingly, which is clearly denoted by the fact that this is addressed
4 by the military post 7590 Han Pijesak. I signed it, Petar Skrbic. It's
5 a copy of my signature, but it is consistent with my signature.
6 Q. Would such individuals and units be given the reasons why their
7 requests or proposals were denied, or were they merely informed of the
9 A. They would only be notified of the fact that their proposal was
10 rejected. The reasons behind the decision are not given, as you can see
11 in this document.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can this document be admitted into
13 evidence, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
15 please be given an exhibit number.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
17 Exhibit D342. Thank you.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. General, how important was a promotion in the Army of Republika
21 Srpska? How important was it for the members of the VRS and the person
22 being promoted?
23 A. Every promotion was very important for everybody in terms of the
24 honour bestowed.
25 Q. Since you said that the promotions were made public in front of
1 the entire unit and when it came to the highest promotions, it was
2 publicly announced on television, so how important was that fact, that it
3 was announced publicly for everyone to hear?
4 A. I have to remind you that I said that neither the information nor
5 the orders on promotion could be made public in front of the entire unit
6 if that unit was out there on the ground on combat activities. At the
7 Vlasic mount, a commander lined up his unit to publicly announce an order
8 on promotion and a mortar grenade hit that line of soldiers killing a
9 number of them. Following that, we banned any gatherings of that nature.
10 However, commands did meet and read out orders on promotion publicly.
11 The announcements, or rather, the orders on promotion were given
12 personally to the person involved as soon as that became practicable.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we now see 0061D, please.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 00061D.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. This morning we saw the order on competencies, defining
17 competencies, so I would like you to comment on this document of
18 General Mladic issued on the 26th of February, 1995. Why does it say
19 implement again the order on defining competencies and so on?
20 A. I have answered this question this morning, but I will repeat it
21 in one sentence. Here we can see that the order of the minister of
22 defence on competencies of Ninkovic, which was only in the draft form,
23 was never implemented, and this is why the commander is reminding us that
24 this order needs to be implemented again, the order of Bogdan Subotic,
25 the minister of defence that we saw this morning.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can this be admitted into evidence,
2 Your Honours.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
4 please be given an exhibit number.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
6 Exhibit D343. Thank you.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. I'm not quite sure I understand, this
8 document at paragraph 2 purports not to recognise any promotions that
9 have not been proposed by the VRS. And I was going to be -- I was going
10 to ask you what impact this has on promotions done by the minister, but
11 now you are saying that this order says the order of Bogdan Subotic, the
12 minister of defence that we saw this morning must be implemented again.
13 Isn't it saying the opposite, that it should not be implemented, or am I
14 missing something? Is it not refusing to recognise the minister's order?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to draw
16 your attention to item 3, which is that this document 23/20-1177 of the
17 23rd of December, 1994 is hereby set aside, so that minister Ninkovic at
18 that point in time issued this order completely derogating the powers of
19 the commander of the Main Staff when it comes to promotions. And this
20 order mentioned in item 1, 21-59/92 dated 16th of June, regulates the
21 power of the commander of the Main Staff when it comes to promotions.
22 And I already said that he had powers from the rank of major to rank of
23 lieutenant-colonel, whereas the minister of defence had powers from the
24 rank of colonel up. Therefore, the commander hereby warns that we would
25 not recognise the ranks that were not proposed by us, and we did not
1 derogate the minister's powers to make promotions from the rank of
2 colonel up.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Skrbic.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. General, how do you understand the term "verification?"
6 A. Verification is a formal recognition of a rank.
7 Q. We need a clarification. Formally by whom? Who is to recognise
8 what? How do you understand this, tell us, please, so that we can
9 analyse this?
10 A. Mr. Lukic, I always explain everything in my own words, so you
11 don't need to worry about it. All promotions in the Army of Republika
12 Srpska were actual real promotions. Following that, all those promotions
13 were verified at the Army of Yugoslavia. Sometimes it took shorter,
14 sometimes it took longer, sometime it took over a year for some generals
15 for their rank to be verified. Why did this need to be verified?
16 Because when it came to ranks, they were entitled to a pay increase.
17 That could not be recognised in the Army of Yugoslavia if the rank had
18 not been previously recognised by the Army of Yugoslavia as well. I'm
19 trying to give you essential information here, and I don't think that
20 anything more than this is required in this instance.
21 Q. I fully agree with you. You gave me an answer that seems to be
22 fully clear to me. Now, what we and the Chamber are interested is this.
23 What were the activities that your sector did in relation to this process
24 of verification? Can you please focus on generals only because we
25 already heard evidence about lower ranks. What did you have to do once
1 the president of the republic promoted, say, you or some other general in
2 the Army of Republika Srpska?
3 A. The list of promoted persons, especially generals, and nothing
4 else other than the list was sent to the 30th personal centre or
5 personnel administration with a proposal that these ranks be verified.
6 Mr. Lukic, if I may add another sentence. Explanations or statement of
7 reasons was written for all promotions, and a questionnaire on promotion
8 was also filled. We did not send these questionnaires and statement of
9 reasons to the 30th Personnel Centre. When I say "we" I'm referring to
10 the Main Staff of the VRS.
11 Q. Do you know if there were situations where the Federal Republic
12 of Yugoslavia, and I'm referring to the president of the republic because
13 we are dealing with generals, whether they promoted a member of the VRS
14 into a rank in the VJ without that person being previously promoted into
15 that same rank in the VRS? Did you know of any such cases?
16 A. I am aware of that. However, I learned it only after the war and
17 during our proofing session.
18 Q. We will discuss that case later, but outside of the case of
19 General Ratko Mladic, do you know, when you came there all the way up
20 until the end of the war while you headed that sector and while you were
21 aware about promotions and verifications, did you know of any such cases
22 where the matter was first resolved at the VJ and later on at the VRS?
23 A. I know of a case of General Radivoje Miletic, but there the time
24 difference amounted to only two days.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Let us now look at P1902, please.
1 Q. We can see here decree of the president of the Federal Republic
2 of Yugoslavia Zoran Lilic dated the 16th of July, 1994, or rather, 16th
3 of June, 1994, and this is an extraordinary promotion promoting Ratko
4 Mladic to the rank of colonel-general, and this is the -- they are
5 referring to the 30th Personnel Centre here. Does this date mean
6 anything to you, 16th of June? Is that an important date for the Federal
7 Republic of Yugoslavia and the Army of Yugoslavia?
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Saxon.
9 MR. SAXON: I apologise for the interruption and perhaps I can be
10 corrected, I'm not aware at this time that the Prosecution was notified
11 that this document would be used. Were we, in fact notified? P1902.
12 Because we have P1901 and 1903.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] This could only be a typo. I was not
15 interested in 1903, but 1901 and 1902 are two linked -- documents that
16 are linked. I hope there will be no problems. 1901 has nothing to do
17 with this one.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Saxon, if you could place on the record your
20 MR. SAXON: I apologise. Please carry on. Thank you.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: What does that mean? Does that mean you are
22 satisfied with the explanation? You are happy to --
23 MR. SAXON: Yes, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
25 Yes, Mr. Lukic.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I'm grateful to Mr. Saxon for his
2 understanding, for understanding my explanation.
3 Q. Mr. Skrbic, you heard the question, could you please answer.
4 A. Yes. You asked about the 16th of June, 1994. 16th of June is
5 the holiday of the Army of Yugoslavia. It was the date it was founded.
6 And since it was known as the day of the army and it involved a number of
7 celebrations and activities, then normally promotions were given on that
8 day. So the same goes for this promotion, the 16th of June.
9 Let me add this: In the Army of Yugoslavia, they used another
10 date for announcing promotions, which was at the end of the year, but I
11 think that it's a tradition they carried over from the Yugoslav People's
12 Army. And why was that? Because in the Yugoslav People's Army, all
13 promotions, especially those most important ones were done on the 22nd of
14 December which was the day of the Yugoslav People's Army, it was their
16 Q. Thank you.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we now see P1903, which is the
18 document that is linked to the previous one. 1901 was a typo.
19 Q. We have here the presidential decree of the president of
20 Republika Srpska, Dr. Radovan Karadzic. The date is the 28th of June,
21 1994, and it involves an extraordinary promotion to the rank of colonel
22 general of General Mladic, and it says that he was the commander of the
23 Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska. So these two documents, when
24 we put them in front of us, we see these difference of some two weeks in
25 terms of the date, less than two weeks, 12 days, from the day he was
1 promoted first in the Army of Yugoslavia and then in the VRS.
2 Let me ask you this: The 28th of June, how is that a date
3 important for the VRS?
4 A. The 28th of June is the day of the patron saint of the VRS. It
5 is St. Vitus's Day. And there's the difference between the VRS and the
6 VJ. The VJ did not have a patron saint and the VRS did. We in the VRS
7 believed this to be -- or held this date to be one of the most joyous
8 days because this was the day of our patron saint. And this is why most
9 promotions were given on that day.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The transcript ...
11 Q. General, earlier we saw a document that was admitted into
12 evidence showing the dead-lines for proposals for promotions. At this
13 period of time, you were still at the Krajina Corps. Do you know whether
14 a proposal was made for General Mladic to be promoted in the VRS, the
15 promotion that he eventually did receive on St. Vitus's Day? Do you know
16 anything about it?
17 A. Yes, in lower subordinate units and in the army in general, just
18 like in all armies, there are stories circulating about who is to be
19 promoted into senior ranks, especially colonels and all the way up to
20 generals. And I knew, my corps commander told me that General Mladic
21 would most likely be promoted to the rank of colonel-general. But nobody
22 knew for sure until the president issued a presidential decree, but
23 people were commenting on this.
24 Q. So had he not been promoted in the VJ, or rather, had his
25 promotion not been verified in the VJ on the 16th of June, when was the
1 first next occasion it could have been done before this promotion that
2 was made on the 28th of June?
3 A. I told you that in the VJ the generals from the VJ were promoted
4 in December, and then the next occasion was for the ones who were
5 verified, so that could have been done in December. I have another piece
6 of information that I can tell you by your leave, Your Honours.
7 Q. Please go ahead.
8 A. May I? Up until my proofing session with Mr. Lukic, I did not
9 know at all that this rank was verified for General Mladic, nor have I
10 ever asked him about it. He didn't like to discuss such topics with us,
11 when it came to him personally.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: I was going to say, Mr. Lukic, it would be odd for
14 me to call what happened on the 16th of June verification. When you
15 verify, you verify something that has happened. Nothing had happened by
16 the 16th of June. What happened in the VRS happened on the 28th of June,
17 so there couldn't be -- there was a promotion, it was not a verification.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] In that sense, Your Honour, you are
19 quite right, yes.
20 Q. Mr. Skrbic, from your personal experience and as an individual
21 who dealt with the issue of moral guidance and morale, when were you
22 promoted to the rank of major-general within the VRS?
23 A. I was promoted to the rank of major-general on the 23rd of June,
25 Q. When was the rank verified in the Army of Yugoslavia?
1 A. Mr. Lukic, you showed me that document from my personnel file as
2 well, but I can't remember the date. I only remember that it was in
3 December 1995.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: If I may just ask, Mr. Skrbic, while Mr. Lukic is
5 looking through his book, what saint day is the 23rd of June? What
6 patron is recognised on the 23rd of June? I thought promotions take
7 place on patron's day on the VRS. You were promoted on the 23rd of June.
8 I'm asking is that a patron's day and who is the patron on the 23rd of
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it will be my pleasure
11 to explain this to you. My promotion bears the date of the 23rd of June,
12 but it was pronounced on the patron saint's day, i.e., on the 28th of
13 June. The decree does not necessarily have to bear the date of the 28th
14 of June, but it was on the 28th of June that General Petar Skrbic and
15 other generals who were on the list together with him, on that occasion
16 that they were formally promoted.
17 You see, I had activities in Bijeljina as well where festivities
18 were organised in my honour and this too took place on the 28th of June.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. I don't have the time to go through your personnel file fully,
22 but what it says with regard to your promotions, what it mentions as the
23 date when you were promoted to the rank of major-general in the Army of
24 Yugoslavia is the 27th of December, 1995.
25 Now, what did the verification received from the Army of
1 Yugoslavia, the verification of a promotion to a certain rank mean to you
2 as an officer of the Army of Republika Srpska?
3 A. Well, it was on the 23rd of June, 1995 that I became a general
4 and that's something that I knew rationally, but I can't say that it
5 didn't have a meaning for me emotionally as well in view of the rank that
6 I received and the fact that it was verified.
7 Q. Tell me, the verification of ranks issued by the Army of
8 Yugoslavia, were they published, were they at all discussed amongst
9 officers in the Army of Republika Srpska?
10 A. No, this was not discussed.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could all unnecessary microphones be switched
12 off, please.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were not --
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, one of the interpreters said something.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you very much. Could
16 all unnecessary microphones be switched off, because in the French booth
17 we hear English a lot from somebody's headphone. Thank you.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, so much. We will do that. Sorry, you
19 were saying something, Mr. Skrbic?
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. You said something which wasn't entered in the transcript. You
22 said you made a distinction between the public at large and the officers
23 themselves. Can you repeat that, please?
24 A. I repeat, nothing was published, and the general public in
25 Yugoslavia was not privy to this. I drew this distinction because it
1 was, of course, natural that we should discuss it. Even after
2 verifications were made, the entitlements were late in arriving, so of
3 course, that's why the officers would discuss these matters, but they
4 were not discussed in the public domain.
5 Q. We discussed the meetings called collegium in the Main Staff.
6 Can you tell us how did these collegia of the Main Staff work, and I mean
7 the inner collegium. Can you tell us something about that?
8 A. I will answer the question from the perspective of the specialist
9 line I dealt with. I would inform the commander and tell him General,
10 sir, we have quite a lot of material to discuss at the impending meeting.
11 I have prepared the material, can you tell me when we can schedule a
12 session of the collegium. He would inform me about it and at such
13 meetings, whenever promotions were discussed, we would have an extended
14 composition, which would include corps commanders, rank and file, because
15 they had to be heard and their proposals had to be heard as well.
16 There were two books of records, I'll really make this answer as
17 short as possible. There was one book of records, which I kept as the
18 chief of the sector for organisation affairs, and the other book of
19 records kept by the commander. He would enter on the right-hand side of
20 the book in response to a certain question yes or no, and that was the
21 book that was used as reference, his commander's book of notes. That
22 book was used as the basis for all the documents that my sector produced.
23 These were quite large books of records. It would so happen that
24 we wouldn't be able to discuss all the points, so we had to leave them
25 for later. I may have even bore the commander sometime with these
1 affairs, but that's what these meetings of the collegium were like. Of
2 course, the collegium also discussed other issues. I can -- I'm open to
3 discussing those as well. I only answered your question.
4 Q. And I have another general question, which I don't believe I put
5 yesterday. From the point you became a member of the staff and by that
6 token a member of the collegium, did the collegium meet regularly during
7 the war, and if so, at which intervals, and how far between, let's put it
8 that way?
9 A. It was only after the war that the meetings of the collegium of
10 the commander would take place regularly. During the war, it depended on
11 the situation, whenever practicable. I even told you that during the war
12 when some personnel matters were discussed, meetings had to be
14 Q. You gave us a specific answer, but can you be more general. You
15 said as practicable but can you give us a more specific answer, although
16 I understand that you can't be too specific?
17 A. One part of the Main Staff and of the collegium which was
18 stationed in Crna Rijeka had the opportunity to meet on a daily basis. I
19 don't know that they did, but General Djukic and I who were in -- who
20 were away from that particular location, we would normally told -- attend
21 monthly meetings and then that would be, of course, in addition to the
22 issues that I discussed. In certain periods the meetings would take
23 place in shorter intervals as the need arose.
24 Q. Thank you. We have been hearing a term in this case, and I am
25 sure that it will arise again. Have you ever heard of the term personnel
1 council, and if you did, can you tell us what it stands for?
2 A. Yes, I heard of the term which stems from the Law on the Service
3 in the Armed Forces of the SFRY which stipulates that persons
4 participating in discussions at the personnel -- in the personnel council
5 have a vote of parity and the matters discussed normally concern
6 personnel. In other words, if somebody was promoted, or rather, if
7 someone was eligible for promotion, the commander could not just make a
8 promotion without the personnel council, but the personnel council did
9 not exist in the VRS. Your Honour, I have myself seen certain documents,
10 and I'm sure you will, where an individual was a member of the -- or
11 wrote the term personnel council, but I can tell you for a fact that
12 personnel council did not exist in the VRS. We did discuss matters. We
13 were consulted. Our votes were taken into consideration, but they were
14 not decisive. It was the commander who would take the decision on an
16 Q. Mr. Skrbic, I keep repeating myself, but I would like you to
17 focus on the period you became part of the Main Staff in August of 1994.
18 From that point on, had you ever heard of the so-called co-ordination
19 meetings of the three army, or had you previously heard of co-ordination
20 meetings of three armies, and had you ever participated in anything of
21 the sort?
22 A. I had heard of such meetings, but I had never taken part in them,
23 nor were they held as of my arrival on the Main Staff of the Army of
24 Republika Srpska.
25 Q. Thank you. I will move to a different subject now, which is
1 interesting because it is mentioned in the indictment and related to your
3 Did your sector have as part of its competence any sort of
4 participation in the training of officers of the VRS? And may I just
5 intervene because this is a very important term, there's training and
6 education, and I'm asking about education specifically, not training, and
7 I think the interpreters -- can you, in fact, explain for us, did your
8 sector take part in any training, that's also important?
9 A. We did not participate in training, no.
10 Q. And in what sense was your sector involved in educating the
11 personnel of the VRS?
12 A. The education of VRS personnel at various levels was one of the
13 core activities of my sector which was titled, you know how, I don't want
14 to repeat that lengthy title again.
15 Q. Let me just make a correction. In answer to my question at page
16 51, line 3, the witness said the -- that they did not participate in
17 training, no. I don't want to exclude the possibility that some other
18 sector was involved in training. I understood Mr. Skrbic to answer in
19 the sense that his sector did not participate in the training of VRS
20 members and can ask him now to answer the question again, did your sector
21 participate in that --
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Your question specifically says that. He has
23 answered to your question. Your question was, did your sector take part.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, you are right, I apologise. It
25 is quite clear then. I am sorry.
1 Q. Did there exist military schools in Republika Srpska, and if so,
2 when and where?
3 A. Yes. Throughout the war in Republika Srpska there existed the
4 commissioned and non-commissioned officers school as part of the centre
5 of high military schools Rajko Bajic in Banja Luka. The education of
6 non-commissioned officers lasted a year and for the commissioned officers
7 a year as well which was actually a shortened term with a view to
8 ensuring the joining of officers in the VRS as soon as possible.
9 Q. Who provided funding for the schooling?
10 A. The school was financed by the Ministry of Defence of Republika
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated] ... when it's a
13 convenient moment.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Another question then.
15 Q. Upon completion of the schooling, would the individuals be
16 conferred a rank, and who was it who actually, as you put it, confers a
17 rank upon them for the first time?
18 A. The non-commissioned officers would be given the rank of sergeant
19 by the Ministry of Defence and the attendees of the school for
20 commissioned officers for their promotion to the rank of second
21 lieutenant, that promotion would be made by the president of the
23 Q. Another short question, these non-commissioned officers and
24 commissioned officers once promoted to their respective ranks, did they
25 have anything to do with the 30th Personnel Centre and the payroll from
1 the FRY and the Army of Yugoslavia?
2 A. No.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think we can take the break now.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: We'll take a break and come back at half past
5 12.00. Court adjourned.
6 --- Recess taken at 12.01 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 12.30 p.m.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 Q. Before the break we discussed education in the military schools
11 of Republika Srpska. I'd like the following information to be recorded.
12 How many attendees were there in a class of students in the school for
13 commissioned and non-commissioned officers in Republika Srpska during the
15 A. These schools had four classes in all, a class would complete its
16 schooling in a term of one year. And roughly there were from 50 to 100
17 students in each. And this applies to both schools. I'm not really
18 familiar with the precise figures, but I don't think it went over 100 per
20 Q. Did the citizens of Republika Srpska during the war attend the
21 military schools of Army of Yugoslavia, to what extent was your sector
22 involved in it, and did you have any information about it all?
23 A. The admissions exams for the high school, the associate degree
24 military schools, and the military academy were advertised in Republika
25 Srpska. The Main Staff of the VRS wanted as many citizens as possible to
1 apply for such admissions exams, but we could have no impact on it other
2 than encourage people to join these schools. Citizens applied for these
3 exams for military schools of the Army of Yugoslavia depending on their
4 wishes and abilities.
5 Q. When you are referring to these schools, I suppose you are
6 referring to the military academy and the non-commissioned officers
8 A. Yes, roughly secondary schools.
9 Q. What sort of ranks would they be promoted to at the end of these
10 schools, and what did that have to do with the Army of Republika Srpska?
11 A. The citizens who sat the admissions exams for secondary military
12 schools would upon completion of their secondary schooling continue in
13 the military academy. Those who applied for secondary military schools
14 and graduated from those would be promoted to the rank of sergeant.
15 Those who graduated from the military academy of the Army of Yugoslavia
16 would be promoted to the initial rank of 2nd lieutenant in a ceremony
17 held in Belgrade. And that's an officer's, commissioned officer's rank.
18 Q. What would happen with them next?
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: You may answer that question, Mr. Skrbic, I'll ask
20 mine later.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can you please remind me of your
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. What would happen --
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: The question is what would happen with them next?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All those who had left Republika
2 Srpska for their schooling would return to Republika Srpska, the VRS.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: My question was at page 53 line 12, Mr. Lukic
4 says -- asked you a question, did the citizens of Republika Srpska during
5 the war attend the military schools of the Army of Yugoslavia, to what
6 extent was your sector involved in it, and did you have any information
7 about it, although it's a very long compound question. And you then said
8 that admissions exams for high school, associate degree for military
9 school and military academy were advertised, when these people who
10 were -- these citizens who were attending these schools, they were
11 attending the schools in the Army of Yugoslavia. My question to you is,
12 were there none attending schools in the Republika Srpska? Or were there
13 no schools in Republika Srpska?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, save for the schools
15 that I referred to, which operated on a shortened programme, there were
16 people attending these schools in the Army of Yugoslavia which had a full
17 term and full curriculum. Of course we could not exert any sort of
18 influence on citizens who wanted to go to study in the schools of the
19 Army of Yugoslavia because it was a different country. It was Mr. Milan
20 Gvero who was in charge of this sector specifically and who promoted
21 military schooling to the public at large. That was his role. We, for
22 our part, could not encourage anyone directly to go and attend military
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: And how long was the full term of schooling?
25 You've told us one year when you talked about the VRS schools, but -- and
1 the full term in the Yugoslav schools, how long was that?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The full term for officers was
3 eight years of schooling, four years of secondary military school and
4 four years of the military academy. For non-commissioned officers, the
5 schooling lasted four years in the secondary military school in the Army
6 of Yugoslavia.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, you may he proceed.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. In the course of the two years, or rather, through to the end of
10 the war starting from mid-1994 when you took up the position of the chief
11 of sector, according to your information and to the best of your
12 recollection, how many such future VRS servicemen were educated and
13 schooled in the Army of Yugoslavia? How many, let's say, per generation,
14 per class?
15 A. I was aware of the information concerning the military academy.
16 In the beginning of the war up to 50 people had graduated from the
17 academy. In the course of the war, that's to say 1993, 1994, and 1995,
18 the number dwindled. In 1994, I took over in Belgrade 51
19 non-commissioned officers and 28 officers with the rank of 2nd lieutenant
20 who had graduated from the academy.
21 Q. I don't think it was entered correctly, your answer. Can you say
22 1994, how many non-commissioned officers did you -- or rather, the 2nd
23 lieutenant officers?
24 A. 31. It says 51.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: 51 non-commissioned officers?
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No, no, that's an error, Your Honour.
2 There was mention of 2nd Lieutenant Officers who had graduated from the
3 academy, whereas he said that he was not charged with dealings with
4 non-commissioned officers.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Another question on this topic, Mr. Skrbic. Do you know if
8 during the war at the time when you took up your position in the Main
9 Staff some of the members of the VRS went to attend command staff
10 schools, specialised schools, or the school of national defence of the
11 Army of Yugoslavia?
12 A. The position of the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska
13 was that those who had graduated from the military academy need not
14 attend post-graduate schools because the war itself was the best of
15 schooling. So during the war we did not send a single individual to
16 attend any of these schools.
17 Q. I have completed this topic now. I would like to briefly analyse
18 an institution that we haven't dealt with so far which is the Supreme
19 Command of Republika Srpska. What sort of body is this, and who does it
20 comprise? Can you first answer this question.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Supreme Command of the Republika Srpska or Supreme
22 Command of the VRS?
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. The Supreme Command of Republika Srpska, I think that's the
25 proper title. I think so. I'm not sure either. The witness will tell
2 A. Your Honour, I will tell you now exactly what its title is. This
3 was defined in a law published in the "Official Gazette." I had occasion
4 to review the law which was present in other cases as well. It is called
5 the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces of Republika Srpska. The armed
6 forces of Republika Srpska during the war comprise the Army of Republika
7 Srpska and the MUP, which stands for the Ministry of the Interior. The
8 Supreme Command is composed of the supreme commander, i.e., the president
9 of the republic, who by virtue of this position is the supreme commander.
10 Next, the minister of the interior, minister of defence -- I'm sorry, I
11 seem to have lost track of my answer. Minister of defence and nobody
13 From the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska, nobody was a
14 member of the Supreme Command. Let me add that the Supreme Command was
15 co-opted by the president of the republic and the vice-president. These
16 were, and can I tell their names? Dr. Nikola Koljevic and madam Biljana
18 Q. Did the president of the Assembly take part in the work of the
19 Supreme Command, do you know anything about it?
20 A. Well, let me tell you that I'm in a dilemma here perhaps. I
21 can't answer the question because I'm not certain. It can be reviewed in
22 the document I referred to in my answer.
23 Q. We will not go into any further detail because we hope to call a
24 witness who can discuss this topic. I will move on to a different
25 subject. There is another aspect of the service that is to say
1 termination of service and retirement that we will discuss at a later
2 point, but I would like to discuss an event now.
3 Mr. Skrbic, you joined the Main Staff in the summer of 1994.
4 Does the plan of the Contact Group mean anything to you? Can you tell
5 us, do you know anything about the document?
6 A. The contents of the plan and the proposal of the Contact Group
7 which consisted of you know who was something I wasn't familiar with. I
8 was familiar with the map proposed by the contact group, and I do recall
9 that we discussed this issue at several meetings.
10 Q. Can you tell us, if you know, what the position of the political
11 leadership of the Republika Srpska was in relation to the adoption of the
12 plan of the Contact Group? You also say that you discussed the issue, do
13 you know what the specific issue was, what the proposal was, was it
14 acceptable to you? Can you briefly tell us what you know about it?
15 MR. HARMON: I'm going to object first of all to the compound
16 nature of the question. Second of all, he has indicated in his evidence,
17 he says the contents of the plan he wasn't familiar with, so I have two
18 objections to the question.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: I was going to make you aware of that second part,
20 Mr. Lukic.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I agree.
22 Q. Mr. Skrbic, it is stated in the transcript that you said that you
23 are not familiar with the contents of the plan. But you said that you
24 discussed something at the meeting of the Main Staff. Can you tell us
25 what did you discuss and what the position of the Main Staff was? My
1 apologies, I'm not focused enough.
2 Can you tell us what it involved.
3 A. I said in no uncertain terms that I was familiar with the map
4 proposed by the Contact Group. On this map, Bosnia-Herzegovina looked
5 like leopard skin, fragmented and made into little parts. And this was
6 basis enough for us to discuss it. And it was precisely because of the
7 map that we didn't need to look at the contents at all. It was on the
8 basis of a map that we discussed whether the plan should be accepted or
9 not. It was precisely because of the way the map appeared that the
10 military leadership of Republika Srpska and the political leadership,
11 that is to say the president and other members of the government did not
12 accept the plan.
13 Q. Do you remember what was the decision taken by the authorities
14 and by the Assembly of Republika Srpska regarding that plan when it was
15 discussed in those circles?
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Hasn't just told us that? He said it was on the
17 basis of the map that the political leadership and the military
18 leadership did not accept the plan.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. I didn't want to suggest, but did the Assembly make a decision on
21 some referendum? Do you know anything about that?
22 A. Yes, I do. But I have to be quite specific now, we know that the
23 Assembly adopted the decision to schedule a referendum, and then we from
24 the Main Staff of the VRS regulated technical issues as to how members of
25 the VRS could vote at the referendum. I have to tell you that I am not
1 familiar with the results of the voting at the referendum, but given that
2 the plan of the Contact Group was rejected, I would say that authorities
3 must have take into account the outcome of the referendum.
4 Q. Do you remember what was the position of the leadership of the
5 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Army of Yugoslavia when it came to
6 the acceptance of the plan?
7 A. Yes, I remember that very well. They wanted the plan to be
8 accepted unconditionally and without reservation.
9 Q. Did you and members of the Main Staff have any direct contacts
10 with the members of the VJ in relation to the plan?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Can you describe when that was, how, and with whom?
13 A. Your Honours, we remember some dates so well that we can never
14 forget them. You have seen here that sometimes I answer questions
15 without being able to remember some of the details. However, I remember
16 very well that a meeting was held in Crna Rijeka. It was a sunny day,
17 the meeting was held outside in open air and the meeting was between the
18 delegation of the VRS led by General Perisic, and the inner collegium of
19 the commander of the Main Staff of the VRS. And this is what we
20 discussed at the meeting.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: The interpreter says it was a meeting and the
22 inner collegium of the commander of the Main Staff of the VRS and this
23 is -- wait a minute, a meeting between the delegation of the VRS led by
24 General Perisic. Is that what you said?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's what I said, but I don't see
1 that it was reflected here that it was on the 12th of August, 1994.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: You hadn't mentioned the date yet. But what I do
3 want to know is that are you saying General Perisic was leading a
4 delegation of the VRS?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. No, no, I apologise. Not the
6 VRS, the VJ. Army of Yugoslavia. I almost got it wrong.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: General Perisic was leading the delegation of the
8 VJ and that delegation, who was it meeting in Crna Rijeka? Which
9 delegation was it meeting or what group?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] With the members of the inner
11 collegium of the commander of the Main Staff of the Army of Republika
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If necessary, I can give you the
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we now go into private session,
17 Your Honours.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
19 [Private session]
20 THE REGISTRAR: We are in private session, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we are going back to
23 what we have touched upon two days ago. The procedure is such that I
24 first want this one document which is from the notebook of Ratko Mladic
25 to be discussed with the witness. It is not on the 65 ter list of the
1 Defence. It has been marked as doc 1D12-0009. We have received the CLSS
2 official translation of the document from this meeting. The meeting is
3 with General Perisic on the 12th of August --
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just a second, sir. You have raised a point here
5 which I think even before you carry on talking about that document we
6 would need to hear the response of the Prosecution.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
8 MR. HARMON: Yes, Your Honour. Obviously we have no objection to
9 the diary being used. I understand, however, that CLSS translation, I
10 was informed before I came into court, that it was just received within
11 the hour. So we have not had an opportunity to review it and we would
12 ask that it be MFI'd, the document.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Harmon. Yes, Mr. Lukic, you may
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. Thank you. I think that
16 by tomorrow the OTP will be able to verify this. Could we now analyse
17 this document with the witness, please. I will now give the 65 ter
18 designation of the Defence. It's 03334. 03334.
19 Q. General, tell us, please, you have already mentioned, and we will
20 see as we go through these pages that your name is mentioned here. Can
21 we just go over some pages of this document. The first thing we see is
22 the date, the 12th of August, 1994, KM Friday. What does KM stand for?
23 A. Command post.
24 Q. It says "meeting with general." I will read the first part --
25 A. Mr. Lukic, can I put a question. I apologise, a question to the
1 Trial Chamber regarding such documents, and I put the same question to
2 you earlier on. Your Honours, may I put a question to you, it's about
3 the documents?
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: You may.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I may. In proofing with Mr. Lukic,
6 I asked to see the original based on which copies of these notebooks were
7 made because I would like to, and I also see that you want everything to
8 be as specific and accurate as possible, I wanted to see the original of
9 at least one notebook. I didn't have to see all notebooks but in order
10 to establish authenticity I wanted to see at least one, even though this
11 handwriting is rather familiar to me, but I wanted to see at least one
12 original of these notebooks.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can I give a comment concerning what
14 the witness just said to the Trial Chamber? I wanted to warn the Chamber
15 that I have around spoken to Mr. Saxon regarding this. When I had
16 proofing with this witness, I wrote this down in the proofing note and
17 then Mr. Saxon called me up asking for an explanation, and I conveyed to
18 him what Mr. Skrbic had told me during proofing. We, as Defence, do not
19 challenge the authenticity of the documents, and we put them on our 65
20 ter list. Mr. Saxon explained to me that the OTP, as an institution,
21 takes very good care of this document and that any contact with the
22 document could create what Mr. Saxon described to me as even DNA
23 problems. I would like to know whether during some break, Mr. Skrbic
24 could be shown this document. I don't know whether the OTP can help us
25 with this. But we are not going to either challenge or prove the
1 authenticity of this document via Mr. Skrbic. For us this document is
2 authentic. And in that respect, Mr. Saxon told me that they were not
3 going to put any questions to Mr. Skrbic concerning these matters that
4 are of concern to him.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Harmon.
6 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, I will regulate that with Mr. Lukic at
7 the appropriate time. I understand that colour copies of these documents
8 have been made, that they are available for the witness to examine. They
9 are almost perfect reproductions of the documents themselves. There are
10 reasons why the originals are inaccessible at the moment, it relates to
11 the contamination that Mr. Lukic discussed with Mr. Saxon. So I will
12 regulate that with the Court's permission where Mr. Lukic. I think we've
13 resolved the issue in terms of the authenticity, it's not an issue in
14 this case with these documents according to the Defence. And I don't
15 want to run the risk of contaminating evidence that could have other
16 purposes, could be affected by DNA and contamination from sources, other
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: I must confess, you gentleman are speaking above
19 me. The witness would like to see the original. A colour copy is not an
20 original. He might as well look at what we are looking at the screen.
21 Where you are above me is where you talk about contamination by DNA.
22 Now, these documents were taken from the house of Mr. Mladic by police,
23 handled by them, given to the Prosecution, handled by the Prosecution.
24 The Prosecution made transcripts into Latin script, passed on the
25 originals with the Latin scripts to CLSS, the documents are handled by
1 the CLSS, there's a lot of contamination that has taken place here. I
2 just want to know what this contamination is that can be brought about by
3 Mr. Skrbic if he was to look at these documents in the presence of his
4 counsel and in the presence of somebody from the Prosecution if somebody
5 from the Prosecution must verify that Mr. Skrbic does nothing to the
7 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, I've not been dealing with this
8 particular issue. It's been dealt with by a team of people in my office,
9 including Mr. Saxon. He is in the best position to give Your Honour an
10 answer to this question and enlighten you further as to the contamination
11 issue and the potential issue. I'm not. If we could defer this issue
12 and this matter then we will offer Your Honours a proper explanation to
13 what our concerns are.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: I look forward to that explanation. Thank you.
15 Mr. Skrbic, I guess you heard what they are saying about your question
16 that you raised. You wanted to see the original. Mr. Harmon and
17 Mr. Lukic will try to sort the problem out and see how best they can give
18 you something that you can look at.
19 Now I have a question for you. Are you able to testify further
20 on this document without having seen the original?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, yes, I can.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: You may proceed, Mr. Lukic.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, but I would like to
24 see at least one notebook of the original. I don't see -- I don't have
25 to see all of it, and I don't even have to touch it with my hand. I'm
1 very pleased about what you said. I saw photocopies in colour but they
2 are still just photocopies as you said. I apologise for taking up your
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: You are not taking up our time, Mr. Skrbic. We
5 are here to hear you and we must hear you. That's our job. Thank you
6 for saying that, and I want to underline what you said. You don't even
7 want to touch them, you just want to see them. Thank you.
8 You may proceed, Mr. Lukic.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 Q. General, I will cover this document the same way we did it two
11 days ago. I will ask you about the fact, especially since you were
12 present at this meeting and you remember it. I'm now reading the first
13 portion. "General Perisic, it pleases me that we are here among you. We
14 have passed through the blockade incognito and we are here, A to --"
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic, can I interrupt you, I guess you are
16 going to tender that document.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: And I want to believe that it goes beyond this
19 first page? Is this all of it?
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No. The document has some ten pages.
21 It's a large document. 12 pages.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: My worry is now you are starting to read it
23 instead of putting it here for us to read it and then you can ask your
24 questions, because we can read it.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No, no, no, I'm not going to read all
1 of it, just.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Go ahead.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I fully agree. Only some sequences
4 is what I'm going to read.
5 Q. What I have just read out what's on the first page where it says,
6 "we have passed through the blockade incognito," what does this pertain
7 to? How did you understand this if this is indeed what General Perisic
9 A. These are the niceties as uttered by General Perisic at the
10 beginning of the meeting. I don't know why they had to do it incognito.
11 Maybe somebody had forbidden them from going across the border.
12 Q. Do you know whether there was a blockade at the time imposed by
13 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia against the Republika Srpska?
14 A. Thank you, thank you, Mr. Lukic for reminding me. There are
15 things that I simply cannot remember.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we see the next page, please,
17 both in English and in B/C/S. I think they correspond.
18 Q. Here it says under C that we need to agree on how to proceed from
19 here. Then a couple of lines down, I don't know if you can see it on the
20 screen in the original. The English is quite legible, but do you see
21 what General Perisic says about the position of the leadership of the
22 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia? Can you read that? I can also put the
23 Serbian text in Latin script.
24 A. No, I can read this handwriting quite well.
25 Q. Yes, you did that during proofing too. From this bullet point
1 where it says the stand of the FRY leadership, I have read everything
2 until the end of the page. Does it look like those were the words of
3 General Perisic during that meeting?
4 A. General Perisic conveyed to us the position of the FRY leadership
5 with these words.
6 Q. Somewhere in the middle it says the position of the FRY, if the
7 plan is accepted, they will continue assisting as they have so far or
8 better. If the plan is not accepted than a series of measures will be
9 implemented. Some have already been implemented. What did they mean by
11 A. What is meant by this is that the border was closed in every
12 sense, the border between the FRY and the Republika Srpska at the Drina
13 River and in other places. If the plan was not accepted, then further
14 and I would add, drastic measures were to follow. That the embargo would
15 be expanded on to military personnel as well, that all contacts and links
16 would be terminated, and that Republika Srpska would be placed in a cage.
17 This was added by me, but I'm doing that because I was present at the
18 meeting, and I listened to what was said there. This is a matter for --
19 added by me. There was no mention of cage at the meeting.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Skrbic, before Mr. Lukic goes on, there is
21 that sentence that says, "the position of the FRY, if the plan is
22 accepted, they will continue assisting as they have so far or better."
23 Who are the "they" here? Is that the FRY? The they who will continue
24 assisting. Who are those?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They is the Supreme Defence Council
1 of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: You may proceed.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we turn to the next page, please.
4 Q. The information contained therein is self-explanatory, I believe.
5 These are bullets standing for the words uttered by General Perisic.
6 That's right. The page is correct. Perhaps the fourth or fifth line
8 "A conflict has erupted between the policies of the FRY and the
9 RS. The policy of the FRY favours the protection of something general
10 (the national being of the Serbian people), while the policy of the RS
11 favours the protection of something specific. I think that both a
12 struggle for power and the personal interests of individuals are involved
14 And then I'm interested in what follows next.
15 "In order to avoid divisions, the message of the FRY leadership
16 to you as soldiers is: To perform tasks." In English it says police
17 tasks, whereas I'm convinced that the term in Serbian doesn't say that.
18 I was unable to decipher the word myself, but I don't know if General
19 Skrbic can do that.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: You want to take the stand, Mr. Lukic?
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I'm clear on the continuation of the
22 sentence, but the word itself is not something that I can make out at
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Ask the witness. Unless you want to swap places
25 with him.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Apologies.
2 Q. General Skrbic, can you make out what it says there? To perform
3 tasks, and can this be enlarged a little bit, please.
4 A. Can I start my answer -- in giving my answer?
5 Q. Yes.
6 A. When Mr. Lukic showed me this document, I read and reread the
7 word a dozen times, and I could not make myself believe that what it
8 really says is police, but unfortunately, it does seem that it says so.
9 I can't decipher the word. Knowing the state of affairs at the time, I
10 don't think this should in fact be police here.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can this bit be zoomed in on --
12 that's the middle part of the page, the bit that is in quotation marks.
13 A. Your Honour, I can see the word clearly, but I can't decipher it.
14 However, what follows next is: In other words, to reject the authority
15 or refuse obedience to the ERS leadership, this is something that I can
16 see clearly, and I can read clearly.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: What I don't understand is the following
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: On the 14th of August, 1994, they want to form a
21 flying Chetnik corps.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] That's what I was about to ask the
24 Q. I will now read out in Serbian, and I hope that the interpreters
25 can follow, and then General Skrbic can explain to us what General
1 Perisic meant by this.
2 "They are announcing a bloody September and on the 14th of
3 August, 1994 in Kostajnica, they want to form a flying Chetnik corps, to
4 which many of those who were unstable or were retired on any grounds have
5 gone. They are trying to find a corps for the soldiers and officers in
6 all three armies. There are particular many such persons, around 20 to
7 30 per cent in the MUP of Serbia."
8 Have I read this accurately, General?
9 A. Yes, you have, Mr. Lukic.
10 Q. Can you tell us what it is that General Perisic is referring
12 A. General Perisic is conveying to us the intelligence that he
13 received from the competent sector in the General Staff of the Army of
14 Yugoslavia. In view of the fact that General Perisic was aware of us not
15 supporting the Chetnik army, when I say "us," I mean the VRS and the Main
16 Staff, he is conveying to us something that may be an accurate piece of
17 information, that a Chetnik corps was in the making, that would include
18 various Chetniks from various armies. The Army of Republika Srpska was
19 constantly opposed to Chetnik units and did not allow for their
20 establishment. This piece of information conveyed by General Perisic was
21 told with the intention of letting us know that on the 14th of August,
22 1994, we may expect para-military formations to be set up in the
23 territory of Republika Srpska.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we turn to the next page, please.
25 Both in the B/C/S and in English.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic, if we are going to tender this
2 document, we are not going to keep reading these paragraphs, the witness
3 can read them for himself.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Correct. If I observe any
5 discrepancies between what I'm reading and the translation, well, I hope
6 we won't have any problems what that.
7 Q. Mr. Skrbic, can you see there it says SM, and from what I can
8 make out it says message from him and then a colon and several bullet
9 points. Can you read that, please, and I'll have a couple of questions
10 for you.
11 A. I have read the bullet points.
12 Q. I can see that the translation service has already marked
13 something in the English translation which I wanted to ask the witness
14 about, but I have to since we don't have that in the B/C/S because we
15 have SM, and we don't have the text in brackets explaining what it stands
16 for. But can I ask you, whose message was conveyed here by General
17 Perisic, who is SM?
18 A. It can be concluded reliably that SM stands for Slobodan
19 Milosevic, and the translation here is correct.
20 Q. What you have just read here, does it reflect the words uttered
21 by General Perisic at the meeting as you remember them?
22 A. Yes, Mr. Lukic. This has remained etched in my memory just as a
23 lightening when it hits the tree and halves it, just as that tree remains
24 always in halves, the same way I can never forget these words conveyed by
25 Slobodan Milosevic.
1 Q. It was written here in no uncertain terms that Slobodan Milosevic
2 was asking from you to reject the authority of the leadership of
3 Republika Srpska. This is something that General Perisic told you on
4 this occasion; is that right?
5 A. Yes, that's correct. And he asked another individual to convey
6 this message to us instead of coming there personally to tell us as much.
7 And I'm very sorry about that. Let me tell you what I feel about it.
8 Why didn't he appear in person and tell us what he had to say instead of
9 using other individuals to convey his messages?
10 Q. We will later on have an opportunity to hear out what your
11 reactions were to these words. I would now like to now see who the
12 participants involved were, and let's take it page by page.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we now go to the next page to see
14 who took the floor.
15 Q. And we'd like you to tell us who is who because this isn't
16 annotated in the diary. The first thing that is written at the top is
17 General R. Milovanovic. Do you know who this individual is and which
18 army he belonged to?
19 A. Yes, I do. I know -- this is General Ratko Milovanovic,
20 assistant chief for logistics of the General Staff of the Army of
21 Yugoslavia, and he accompanied Mr. Perisic. In English you can add the
22 word Ratko. Ratko Milovanovic.
23 Q. Thank you. Below it is written General Dimitrijevic. Who is he,
24 and what position did he have, and do you recall him being at the
1 A. General Dimitrijevic, his first name Aleksandar, was the chief of
2 the administration for security of the General Staff of the Army of
3 Yugoslavia. He was present at the meeting having arrived there together
4 with General Perisic.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we move two pages ahead now.
7 Q. It says at the top, Discussion by members of the GS VRS. The
8 first individual mentioned is General Milovanovic and we said that he was
9 Chief of the General Staff, and you explained his role fully yesterday.
10 I would like you to comment on one point made somewhere in the middle.
11 It says "Yugoslavia's stand," do you see that? "In my opinion is an
12 ultimatum," do you see that?
13 A. Yes, I do.
14 Q. And if we accept the plan, we can have a confederation, or if it
15 is a no, then that we will have a blockade.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] You will see, Your Honours, there is
17 a certain discrepancy between what I was reading and the translation
18 because the word [B/C/S spoken] in the B/C/S was interpreted, is missing
19 in translation, and I can read it quite clearly, but I will be going
20 through the document carefully once more.
21 Q. What I read just now, do you recall these being the words uttered
22 by General Milovanovic, and do you recall this roughly being the tenor of
23 his address?
24 A. Before I answer this question can I make one point, Your Honours.
25 In these notebooks you will most likely be coming across the abbreviation
1 NS, which stands for the Chief of Staff, that was General Milovanovic.
2 But that was the informal title. His formal title was the chief of the
3 sector of operations and training, just as my full title -- he was the
4 chief of sector for operations and staff affairs. So that was his title.
5 What is written here accurately reflects his position, and I
6 believe that he was the most articulate, clear, and resolute in the
7 presentation of his position.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we turn to the next page and see
9 what General Milovanovic had to say. Your Honours, I will read that
10 sentence out loud because I think that the interpreters in the booth are
11 following me well, and it is very clear for me that the transcript is
12 accurate when it comes to this particular sentence.
13 Q. "You are asking us to reject authority of our leadership. This
14 leadership was elected by the people, and they are what they are. I
15 cannot reject authority of such a leadership because you did not reject
16 authority of your leadership either."
17 Do you remember these words of General Milovanovic, and were
18 they, indeed, as reflected in this document, and if so, what did they
19 mean at the time?
20 A. I remember these words well, and perhaps this is the portion that
21 remained best etched in my memory. I didn't really try to remember the
22 things that were of a general nature. So General Milovanovic very
23 clearly explained his position, namely that we were not going to turn our
24 backs to the leadership of Republika Srpska because we considered it the
25 official leadership of our republic and they became -- they were given
1 that authority and legitimacy at the elections.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] All right. Can we see the next
3 page --
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Skrbic, is it then your testimony that there
5 was no agreement within the delegation led by General Perisic? You
6 indicated that General Milovanovic came as part of Mr. Perisic's
7 delegation. He seems to be differing -- his stand is differing from the
8 stand of Mr. Perisic, or am I misunderstanding again?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, but you are
10 misunderstanding this. The first Milovanovic I mentioned, his first name
11 is Ratko. That Milovanovic arrived with General Perisic. As for the
12 other Milovanovic who has the same last name, his first name is Manojlo,
13 and he is at the staff of the VRS. It just so happened that they had the
14 same last names.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Thank you for clearing that. Thank
16 you so much. I understand.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The next page, please.
18 Q. We see General Djukic. We already know what his position was.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No, no, we had the right page.
20 Please go back to the previous page.
21 Q. I don't want to lead you, but General Djukic was a member of your
22 Main Staff; right? Chief for logistics. I don't think Mr. Harmon will
23 object to me saying this.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Harmon.
25 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, I know who General Djukic is, but I
1 don't know if this General Djukic was the General Djukic who was in
2 attendance at this particular meeting, and I think it's important rather
3 than lead the witness, to ask this witness who he is and perhaps this
4 witness will identify him as the same General Djukic, it may be a
5 different General Djukic.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let me just give a general warning, Mr. Lukic,
7 about leading questions. Even if they are not objected against, you know
8 what the effect they have, they have the effect of lessening the
9 probative value of your witness's testimony. Even without suggesting
10 that he not credible, he is credible, but the fact that you put words
11 into his mouth, that's what happens when his testimony gets assessed that
12 this man was not testifying, he was being told answers and what probative
13 value can you put on this. It is in your own interest that you don't
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] When I make mistakes unconsciously, I
16 am certainly guilty, but sometimes I'm doing this in order to speed up
17 the proceedings, and there is no need to do that. I was just thinking
18 that there are some things that are so familiar that we can speed
19 through, but you are quite right, Your Honours, I should do it by the
20 book so that it can be evaluated properly. I will follow your
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation], Your Honours, by your leave.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Skrbic.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've heard Mr. Lukic asking me who
25 is General Djukic, but I don't want to interrupt him and answer
1 immediately. I'm following the transcript and I'm waiting to make sure
2 that the interpretation is recorded before I start answering, but it was
3 completely clear to me that he asked me who General Djukic was.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's fine, Mr. Skrbic, and you're doing the
5 right thing, and we are taking no issue with what you are doing. I'm
6 just sort of trying to say to Mr. Lukic there are certain procedures that
7 we got to follow. Just like you had some procedures you had to follow in
8 the army, like unity of command, that's the one lesson I've learned about
9 the army, I'm getting there, but there are also procedures here, and he
10 knows them, so that's what I'm trying to say. Thank you so much. Okay.
11 You can tell us who Mr. Djukic is -- General Djukic.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] His first name is Djordje, and he
13 was assistant commander of the Main Staff of the VRS for logistics. You
14 call it the sector for logistics here. He attended the meeting, and
15 where it says "General Djukic," it refers to him.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Could you please comment on what is in this rectangle here where
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we see the next page, please, to
9 see who is mentioned there.
10 Q. It says Lieutenant-Colonel Koranovic?
11 A. Karanovic.
12 Q. In answer it says Koranovic -- in English it says Koranovic.
13 Please tell us who this is.
14 A. Lieutenant-Colonel Jovica Karanovic worked at the security
15 administration of the Main Staff of the VRS at the sector for
16 intelligence and security affairs of the VRS. He also attended the
18 Q. I see that the transcript reflects Koranovic as the translation,
19 but it's not Koranovic, it should be Karanovic. K-a.
20 MR. LUKIC: Good, thank you.
21 Q. Then underneath it it says, Puk Skrbic. I have to ask you, who
22 is this?
23 A. That is me. At the time I was Pukovnik, a colonel, and I was
24 about to take over the new duty. I came to the Main Staff on the 27th of
25 July, and I took over my new duty on the 15th of August. However, I
1 attended this meeting, as I have explained to you earlier. This is
2 meeting that remained etched in my memory and where I took the floor.
3 Not everything I said is reflected here in the document.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, since what witness
5 Skrbic said takes up almost an entire page of this document and I see
6 what time it is, I suggest that we stop for the day and then turn to the
7 words of Mr. Skrbic tomorrow.
8 I have to add another issue. I don't know whether you will ever
9 put this question to me, but you are probably wondering how long witness
10 Skrbic is going to testify. Initially we said eight to ten hours, but
11 given the documents and given this particular document, I expect to
12 continue tomorrow for the whole day. This is the only witness who will
13 be coming from the Main Staff, and I think that he needs to be given this
14 much time and you will see tomorrow from the topics that I will cover
15 with him that they are all deserving topics that need to be heard viva
16 voce in the courtroom.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: May we remove this document from the screen,
18 please. Thank you so much. May the Chamber please move into open
20 [Open session]
21 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Registrar.
23 Mr. Skrbic, again it's the end of the day for us today. The next
24 court must come and sit. Again I remind you you are not supposed to
25 discuss the case with anybody, in particular not with your Defence
1 counsel until you are excused from the stand. The matter stands
2 adjourned to tomorrow again, same courtroom, 9.00 in the morning. Court
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.
5 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 17th day of
6 June, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.