1 Friday, 18 June 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning to everybody in and around the
8 Mr. Registrar, will you please call the case.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
10 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-81-T,
11 the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Perisic. Thank you.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Could we have the appearances
13 for the day starting with the Prosecution, please, Mr. Saxon.
14 MR. SAXON: Good morning, Your Honours. Bronagh McKenna, Dan
15 Saxon, and Carmela Javier for the Prosecution.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. And for the Defence.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good
18 morning to everyone participating in the proceedings. Novak Lukic and
19 Boris Zorko are representing Mr. Perisic today in this trial.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Lukic.
21 Again for the record, the Chamber is still sitting pursuant to
22 Rule 15 bis in Judge David's absence.
23 And if we may just go through the ritual, Mr. Skrbic. Good
24 morning to you. And can you just remember that are still bound by the
25 declaration you made at the beginning of your testimony to tell the
1 truth, the whole truth and nothing else but the truth. Thank you so
3 Mr. Lukic.
4 WITNESS: PETAR SKRBIC [Resumed]
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 Examination by Mr. Lukic: [Continued]
7 Q. [Interpretation] I will try my best to stick to the time that I
8 promised yesterday so, Mr. Skrbic, it will take a very short time before
9 I hand you over to the Prosecution. During the proofing I went through
10 you -- I went with you through Annex E of the indictment, and it relates
11 to senior officers of the VRS. I asked you about particular individuals,
12 and I'm going to divide this into two or three questions pertaining to
13 specify areas.
14 Now, first of all, I'm going to ask about yourself. In the
15 indictment, the Prosecution in Annex E to the indictment, under the
16 subtitle of "Department for Mobilisation and Personnel," the Prosecutor
17 claims that starting from June 1994, Major-General Petar Skrbic took over
18 the duty from Grubor, and then it says as follows:
19 "In December of 1995, Skrbic was nominally promoted to the rank
20 of major in the Army of Yugoslavia."
21 Now, Mr. Skrbic, do you agree with what the Prosecutor claims
22 here, that is to say that in 1995, in December of that year, you were
23 formally or nominally promoted to a rank in the VJ?
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, is it formally or nominally? The English
25 translation said formally or nominally. Those -- I mean, those are two
1 different things.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We do not have the
3 original text.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I'm reading the original in B/C/S and
5 the word is "nominal."
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Overlapping speakers]
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have to make certain corrections
8 in the title that I had. I was not chief of the department. I was,
9 rather, head of the sector, and I think that also in English there is a
10 distinction between the two. So I was the head of the sector for
11 organisation and mobilisation affairs.
12 Your Honours, I wanted to ask you whether we are talking about
13 nominal appointment or formal appointment. I was formally appointed or
14 promoted in 1995 to the rank of major-general.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: If you're asking the Bench, paragraph (F) under
16 this heading, Department for Mobilisation and Personnel Affairs, they
17 said beginning in June 1994, Major-General Petar Skrbic assumed Grubor's
18 duties. In December 1995 Skrbic was nominally promoted to the rank of
19 major-general in the VJ. That's what I read in the English Annex E to
20 the indictment. Now, nominally means something different from formally.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can anyone explain to me what
22 "nominally" means? Is that actually?
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I am reluctant to try
24 and explain what the Prosecutor meant by the word "nominally." I should
25 leave it up to the Prosecution in cross-examination. However, as for all
1 other individuals mentioned in Annex E, the Prosecutor always says that
2 they were nominally promoted or the only one who was nominally appointed
3 to the VJ was Mr. Skrbic, and they are using the same term, "nominally."
4 Probably the Prosecutor is going to explain this in their final brief.
5 As I understand the word "nominally," something very close to
6 "formally," although you think there is a distinction. So let me
7 rephrase the question that I want to ask Mr. Skrbic.
8 Q. Now, essentially and actually, where were you promoted to the
9 rank of major-general, in the VRS or in the VJ?
10 A. In the Army of Republika Srpska.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: And was that promotion any different from the
13 promotion of any other of your colleagues in the -- in the Army of
14 Republika Srpska?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, there was no
16 difference. All of us were actually and essentially promoted in the Army
17 of Republika Srpska.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: And -- okay. Thank you so much.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation].
20 Q. I'm going to move now to another set of facts alleged by the
21 Prosecutor to be pertaining to a number of individuals. For example, in
22 Schedule E, the Prosecutor claims about Momir Talic, Lieutenant-General
23 Bosko Kelecevic, Boric Grujo, Novica Simic, and Zivomere Ninkovic, the
24 same thing by using the same phrase, i.e., that is to say that in October
25 1993, the VJ postponed the final decision on the promotion pending a
1 report from General Mladic.
2 You remember we went through this yesterday. All these
3 individuals that I named are linked to October and November of 1993,
4 which is the time when you were not yet in the Main Staff of the VRS or
5 for that matter not in the VRS at all. My question is: From the moment
6 when you were appointed to the duty of the assistant commander of the
7 sector that has a long name, are you aware whether for any verification
8 of the ranks of general Mr. Mladic's opinion had been sought?
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Where are you reading from?
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I collected this from several
11 passages, but I will give you a reference for you, Your Honours, to be
12 able to follow. I was quoting the facts where it says, the 1st Krajina
13 Corps, and then under (a) and (b), then the 2nd Krajina Corps under (a),
14 the Eastern Bosnia Corps under (a), and air force and antiaircraft
15 defence under 8. The Prosecutor alleges the same thing for all these
16 individuals mentioned therein. In October of 1993, the VJ decided to
17 postpone the decision on their promotion pending a report from
18 General Mladic, so each of these individuals has this sentence attached
19 to their name. I just put them together in one and the same group
20 because of the same context.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. You can get your answer from the
22 witness. The witness has not answered you.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, that's right.
24 Q. So, Mr. Skrbic, you understood my question. From the moment when
25 you took over your duty and you explained to us how involved you were in
1 the verification of the ranks of general in your sector, are you aware
2 that for any of those verification an opinion of Mr. Mladic or
3 General Mladic was sought?
4 A. The list of the generals who were promoted in the Army of
5 Republika Srpska was submitted to the 30th Personnel Centre. It went
6 without saying that this list should have looked at by General Mladic and
7 that he gave his opinion. As we saw in one of the exhibits, he put the
8 word "no" next to one of the name. So this kind of list was then also
9 submitted to the 30th Personnel Centre for the sake of preparation of
10 certain documents for verification.
11 Q. Let us try to be more precise. After submitting this list, do
12 you know whether anyone from the VJ asked the opinion of Mr. Mladic
13 regarding the verification? Are you aware of that?
14 A. No, I'm not.
15 Q. Do you know whether from the General Staff of the VJ through the
16 30th Personnel Centre asked your sector to provide additional information
17 about any of the general for whom the verification of the rank was
19 A. Nobody asked them for their opinion nor were they authorised to
20 offer any opinions about this group of generals.
21 Q. Three individuals mentioned in the indictment --
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] And if Your Honours would just bear
23 with me for a moment because I would like to go through this quickly.
24 Q. It says in the indictment that the person under (B) Budimir
25 Gavric, under the heading "Eastern Bosnia Corps," and the person under
1 (b) from the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, Dragomir Milosevic, that their
2 promotion was rejected because of their links with the SDS?
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic, it's just not sufficient to say the
4 person under (b). You've got to tell us what part of the indictment are
5 you reading. Are you still on Annex E?
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I said, but it wasn't probably
7 recorded. I'm still on Schedule E, the section relating to Eastern
8 Bosnian Corps under (b) General Budimir Gavric, and also from the
9 Sarajevo-Romanija Corps from the next page under (b) General Dragomir
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: What about them?
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] There's the same sentence attached to
13 the both names, namely that their promotion to the VJ had been rejected
14 because they had links with the SDS. You can see that, that the
15 identical sentence was used for both individuals.
16 Can we please move to private session.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
18 [Private session]
11 Pages 11857-11863 redacted. Private session.
25 [Open session]
1 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Yes, Mr. Lukic.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. I will have two more questions concerning Schedule E. Under the
5 Drina Corps and (a) in relation to Major-General Milankovic, the
6 Prosecution invokes a document and states that when he was relieved of
7 his duty, General Zivanovic, interpreter's correction, it is stated that
8 he was posted to a new position within the VJ/VRS.
9 THE INTERPRETER: Can counsel please slow down with quoting
10 because the interpreters didn't find the actual reference.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: The interpreter requested that you slow down when
12 you're quoting because they don't have the reference. They don't have
13 the document before them to read, so they can't interpret what you're
14 saying. So can you try to be very slow.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. I will read as it is stated here. In the Drina Corps heading,
17 under the Drina Corps heading under (a), General Zivanovic, the
18 Prosecution makes reference to a document where it is state that:
19 "When Zivanovic was relieved of his duty as commander, that
20 Major-General Radoslav Krstic, father's name Milorad, assumed the post of
21 corps commander, and Major-General Milenko Zivanovic the previous
22 co-commander was appointed to new duties in the VJ-VRS."
23 Now, my question is: When General Zivanovic was relieved of his
24 duty as commander, do you know what became of him afterwards?
25 A. General Milenko Zivanovic was retired. He wasn't assigned
2 Q. Thank you. I have a question relating to another individual, but
3 let us be careful because of interpretation.
4 I'm interested in the heading under "Air force and anti-aircraft
5 defence," under (b), Bozo Novak. The indictment alleges as follows:
6 "In September 1996, it was decided by the VJ that Novak be
7 recalled and placed at the disposal of the VJ. He was later retired at
8 the end of 1996."
9 Do you know that General Bozo Novak was recalled from his duty in
10 the VRS by the Army of Yugoslavia?
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Saxon.
12 MR. SAXON: I withdraw my objection.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Saxon.
14 Yes, Mr. Lukic.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It -- I almost myself objected to
16 what Mr. Lukic asked me because I don't understand his question. I know
17 everything there is to know about General Novak, but what it is that
18 Mr. Lukic wants me to say. I can, even if not asked a question, tell you
19 the story concerning him, but --
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Skrbic, whenever you are asked a question you
21 do not understand, it is your right to say, "I don't understand your
22 question." So don't hesitate to object on that basis if you call that an
23 objection. Just tell him, "I don't understand your question. Could you
24 rephrase." Because you must answer a question that you understand so
25 that you tell us what you know.
1 Rephrase your question, Mr. Lukic.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. It's difficult for me to do that because I merely read out what
4 the indictment said, and I'll repeat my question. If you can't answer,
5 tell me so.
6 Do you know, General Skrbic, that the Army of Yugoslavia recalled
7 General Bozo Novak from his duty in the Army of Republika Srpska? I
8 think that now it should be quite understandable.
9 A. I know about that. It wasn't the Army of Yugoslavia that
10 recalled him.
11 Q. Thank you. I've completed this part, and I just have two
12 questions left, General, and then I'll be done. And I do apologise if it
13 was your understanding that I took up too much of your time.
14 A. No. I was just joking.
15 Q. We heard during your testimony that you used to see
16 Mr. Milosevic, Mr. Mladic, and Mr. Perisic, that you were in their
17 company. Can you tell us on the basis of these encounters what was their
18 relationship between President Milosevic and General Perisic --
19 General Mladic?
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Is it between Milosevic and Perisic or Milosevic
21 and Mladic?
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. I have two questions. My first question is --
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: You must ask one question at a time.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] That is the way I had put it to the
1 witness. Yes, I do apologise to the interpreters. Again I'm sorry, I
2 apologise to the interpreters if I misspoke. I don't know mind whether
3 we do this in public session or private session. It is really up to you,
4 witness. President Milosevic and General Mladic, I would like to ask you
5 about their relationship.
6 A. Your Honours, up to the moment when that name was mentioned, and
7 you know which one it was, I can give answers in open session. The
8 relationship between President Milosevic, the president of the Federal
9 Republic of Yugoslavia, and for a while the President of Serbia as well,
10 who was in both capacities a member of the Supreme Defence Council of the
11 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on the one hand and General Mladic on the
12 other hand, may I explain this very briefly. It was a relationship of
13 courtesy. They respected their respective roles. Mladic thought that
14 the president was saying political things and that did he not have a good
15 attitude towards the Army of Yugoslavia, and he said that to him quite
16 openly at one point in time. Sometimes he behaved to him in a feisty
17 way, but it was my opinion that President Milosevic did respect him.
18 That was my impression.
19 Q. Can you explain the relationship between General Mladic and
20 General Perisic on the basis of the facts that you know?
21 A. That relationship between General Mladic and General Perisic was
22 a very complex one, in my opinion. I shall explain it now just in terms
23 of certain categories that there's no need for me to explain really.
24 Namely, that means that it was a comradely relationship, that there was a
25 certain degree of respect involved. Also, that there was ignorance
1 involved sometimes -- or, rather, ignoring and sometimes even
2 underestimation, especially from General Mladic towards General Perisic.
3 But General Perisic would sometimes respond in kind. It was my
4 impression that sometimes the communication was even banal. Sometimes
5 they even addressed each other as if they were on close terms, but I
6 don't think that that was their true relationship. All in all, their
7 relationship was truly highly complex.
8 I do apologise to Mr. Perisic if I'm saying something here that
9 are perhaps not exactly pleasant for him.
10 Q. Did you personally hear, or did you hear from others that Perisic
11 ever issued any kind of order to Mladic?
12 A. I never heard any such thing.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
14 Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Your Honours, I have completed my
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Overlapping speakers] [Previous translation
17 continues] ... very long 15 minutes.
18 Mr. Saxon. Mr. Saxon, yesterday I think you -- I don't know
19 whether you were here or it was just Mr. Harmon, the witness wanted to
20 know how much longer he's going to be kept. Are you able to guesstimate
21 your cross-examination?
22 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, I do not think that I will finish today.
23 I think it's most likely now it will be Monday morning.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Did you hear that, Mr. Skrbic? This is to
25 your question yesterday about how long you're likely to be here.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It all fits in, Your Honour.
2 There's no problem.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Thank you.
4 Cross-examination by Mr. Saxon:
5 Q. Good morning, General Skrbic. My name is Dan Saxon, and I'm
6 representing the Prosecution today. I've got some questions for you.
7 Before I start, as Judge Moloto instructed you previously, please
8 if you do not understand my questions, simply stop me and ask me to
9 rephrase that, and I'll be happy to do so. It won't be the first time.
10 I'm sure it will not be the last time.
11 Secondly, I'd ask -- I will try to ask my questions as clearly as
12 I can, and I'd ask that you try to listen to my question as best as you
13 can and provide me with hopefully relatively brief answers when you can.
14 Do we understand each other?
15 A. Good morning to you, too, Mr. Saxon. I have fully understood
16 what you said.
17 Q. All right. General, I'm aware, obviously, of your successful
18 military career. You started out you were trained in anti-aircraft
19 rocketry. By the time you retired, you were a lieutenant-general. And
20 I'm also aware of your impressive academic background. I understand you
21 have a degree in military psychology and sociology. You've got a Masters
22 Degree in political science, and I note that you have published articles
23 on topics ranging from the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia and as
24 well on questions of morale in military units. And, in fact, even today
25 earlier in the transcript, I think it was at page 11, lines 7 to 11, when
1 you were describing your time as a member of the Main Staff of the VRS,
2 you explained how it was important for high-ranking military officers to
3 contemplate political issues both domestic and international. And I'd
4 like to focus, if we can, please, first on how you used your academic
5 expertise and your knowledge to assist you in your work first as a JNA
6 officer and later as a VJ officer working in the Administration for
7 Morale and Information Affairs and then later on in the 2nd Krajina Corps
8 of the VRS. And maybe we should just start with some of the basics,
10 Just fundamentally, in a military sense, it's important for
11 armies to monitor the morale of their officers and soldiers because
12 during wartime if morale is poor, chances are the soldiers won't fight
13 very well. Do you agree with that? Am I right on that?
14 A. Yes. Yes. I agree. They will not be fighting properly.
15 Q. All right. Now, on Monday, the first day of your testimony, and
16 this is at page 11558 of the transcript, you testified briefly how in
17 July 1991 you joined a group within the Ministry of Defence of the
18 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a group which analysed the way
19 in which the JNA was viewed and analysed by the mass media across
20 Yugoslavia. Do you remember that testimony?
21 A. Yes, I remember that. However, I don't know what it's called in
22 English, but in Serbian, I did not actually become a member of, et
23 cetera. I was actually ordered to join this group that was involved in
24 that particular work. Sorry, I was no member of anything whatsoever. I
25 was an officer.
1 Q. Thank you for correcting me. I stand corrected, General.
2 And you also testified that in its report this group concluded
3 that a survey of the media concluded that the JNA was under increasing
4 attacks by the media and it produced a study which was prepared for the
5 Federal Executive Council. Do you recall?
6 A. I do recall that. That's what I said, and you have just said
7 that properly.
8 Q. Now, on page 11558, lines 11 through 18, you mentioned how in
9 general terms this group reviewed mass media, and you mentioned mass
10 media from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro,
11 and Macedonia. So can you describe this process? Help us understand it
12 a little bit more, please. When you say your group reviewed the mass
13 media, are you -- would you be including, for example, the daily
15 A. Mr. Saxon, we analysed everything, daily newspapers, press
16 clippings that were submitted to us by a certain institution. Some
17 officers monitored the radio and others monitored television but only
18 with regard to the topics that are involved here.
19 Q. Very well. And how about weekly magazines, magazines like
20 "Vreme," for example, weekly news magazines?
21 A. Mr. Saxon, I don't seem to recall that at the time "Vreme" was
22 being published at all. However, in Serbia we did follow "Nin" in
23 particular. As for the magazine "Vreme" I cannot remember exactly, so I
24 do apologise, but I cannot give you a specific answer. If it was being
25 published at the time, then we were certainly following that as well.
1 Q. Okay. And I can -- I imagine, sir, that you contributed your
2 expertise in performing comprehensive research and analysis to guide
3 other personnel in that group who were reviewing this material; is that
5 A. Mr. Saxon, that group was headed by Colonel Mile Susnjar, and I
6 was his deputy. The two of us provided instructions as to how the media
7 was to be followed.
8 Q. Okay. Can you describe those instructions for us?
9 A. I'll give you a brief description. We would give certain persons
10 an assignment to follow, say, "Politika," "Vecernje Novosti," "Mladina"
11 from Slovenia and other newspapers, and we tell them not to read
12 everything, not to waste time but just to read up on the articles where
13 the JNA is mentioned and how the JNA is mentioned in these articles, and
14 then they prepare that for the daily report that we compiled, and then we
15 carried out a monthly analysis. "Mladina" from Slovenia was practically
16 in its entirety devoted to attacks against the JNA. They had to read
17 that in detail.
18 Q. And I imagine other persons were given the assignment to do
19 something similar with television broadcasts and radio broadcasts; right?
20 A. Yes. But it was much easier to follow TV, because that
21 information about the JNA, regardless of whether it was positive or
22 negative, was brief.
23 Q. Okay. Now, General, after the JNA became the VJ in 1992 and the
24 Administration for Morale and Information became part of the General
25 Staff of the VJ, I know that you became eventually deputy chief of the --
1 of the Administration for Morale and Information. And no doubt during
2 1992 and 1993, critical years, at least until December 1993, you ensured
3 that the Administration for Morale and Information continued to monitor
4 the mass media in the former Yugoslavia for information that could affect
5 the morale of VJ personnel. Is that right?
6 A. It is right basically, but I was no longer in that group for
7 following how the media treated the army. I was transferred to the
8 administration that you gave the name of, properly so, and then I started
9 dealing with the question of morale in the Army of Yugoslavia.
10 I'm not sure, but I think that this group actually ceased to
11 exist, something like that.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Lest there be any misunderstanding, I
14 think that Mr. Saxon should be very specific in his question, especially
15 when in line 21 he says that the mass media in the former Yugoslavia
16 should be followed, 1992 and 1993. Which mass media did he expect this
17 administration to follow? Did Mr. Saxon mean media outside the FRY at
18 the time and, if so, could his question be very specific in that sense.
19 MR. SAXON: I'm going to get to that, Your Honour, if I may.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay.
21 MR. SAXON:
22 Q. Can you describe, General, at the time you became the deputy
23 chief of the Administration for Morale and Information, what instructions
24 did you give to your subordinates vis-a-vis monitoring the media?
25 A. Mr. Saxon, I received my orders from the chief of administration
1 who was my superior. He was the one who issued instructions as to what
2 kind of work the department should do with regard to the effects on the
3 morale. I did that only in technical terms, without changing anything in
4 the essence of these instructions.
5 Q. Well, can you describe the instructions that were issued by the
6 chief of the administration regarding following the media for issues that
7 might affect the morale of VJ soldiers?
8 A. There was a particular instruction on building, monitoring, and
9 improving the morale of the army. Pursuant to that instruction, we
10 received information from subordinate units, but only relating to the
11 factors that have either positive or negative effects on the morale.
12 Also, other details were elaborately presented in that instruction. I am
13 doing my best to give you the shortest possible answer, but this is a
14 complex matter, if you agree with me.
15 Q. Well, let me see if I can ask my question a different way. While
16 you were the assistant -- the assistant chief or the deputy chief at the
17 Administration for Morale and Information in the Army of Yugoslavia, were
18 there personnel who as part of their duties in that administration
19 monitored the media?
20 A. No, not within that department. There was a smaller department
21 compared to the group that he had spoken of before, but as they're
22 co-workers, we used some of their information. I couldn't order them to
23 provide any such information, but could I tell the chief of
24 administration that we needed this particular information, and we would
25 eventually get it.
1 Q. I see. And are you able to tell us in public session the name of
2 this department that was doing this media monitoring?
3 A. Yes. I can say that. It was called the Department for
5 Q. Okay.
6 A. I don't remember now.
7 Q. All right. And can you tell us, this Department for Information,
8 then, no doubt monitored information that came out in the media, did it
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And this Department for Information, no doubt, periodically would
12 have synthesised or collected important information that came out in the
13 media and produced periodic reports for other members of the General
14 Staff; is that right?
15 A. That's right, Mr. Saxon. Not only periodically but after the war
16 started in the neighbourhood, they provided daily information about what
17 the media wrote about. I think it was called a bulletin, and it was
18 published on a daily basis. If you have any information where this
19 particular publication is called differently, I'm sorry, but I think it
20 was called a bulletin.
21 Q. Thank you so much, sir. And no doubt you would have received
22 these daily bulletins; right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And no doubt sometimes these daily bulletins contained
25 information that had been circulated in the media that might affect the
1 morale of VJ personnel; right?
2 A. Sometimes, and particular pieces of information, but not all of
4 Q. Sure. Very well. And these bulletins would also go to the other
5 members of the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia, including the
6 Chief of the General Staff, or at least the office of the Chief of the
7 General Staff; correct?
8 A. Not only to the Chief of the General Staff, who at the time was
9 General Zivota Panic, but also to all members of the General Staff who
10 had the rank of general.
11 Q. Very well. And the same system, though, was in place -- maybe I
12 should step back for a moment, General.
13 I know that you left for Republika Srpska in December of 1993,
14 but before that, in the months previous to that, say from August 1993
15 until December 1993, this same system of the circulation of an
16 information -- circulation of a bulletin from the information department,
17 that same system existed; right?
18 A. While I was working in the administration this system was
19 operating continually, but after that I took up the position of the
20 director of military publishing house, and I didn't carry out these
21 duties any longer. I don't know what happened with the systems in the
22 aftermath. After my departure, this administration was totally revamped,
23 and I personally disagreed with that, but that's how it was done. And I
24 don't know how the system continued to operate.
25 Q. And tell us, please, when you took up the position of the
1 director of the military publishing house, if you recall.
2 A. I cannot remember the exact date. I hope the Chamber won't mind
3 that. I took over the duty, but I never carried it out for a minute
4 because I left and joined the VRS. I think that it coincided with the
5 period sometime in mid-1993, but I don't recall the date.
6 Q. Okay. These daily bulletins, if you will, they contained
7 information taken from media reports from throughout the former
9 A. Up until 1992, it was from the whole of the former Yugoslavia.
10 After at that it was reduced to Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro,
11 Macedonia, and Serbia. There were no comments in those bulletins of any
12 kind. No one was allowed to provide their judgmental opinions. They
13 were just required to report what the media in Bosnia-Herzegovina and
14 elsewhere were writing about.
15 Q. Sure. And those bulletins would also have included particular
16 information that was reported prominently in the international media;
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. Information that was reported are -- actually, I'll stop here for
20 a moment. Okay.
22 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, I note the time. I need to show the
23 witness an exhibit and work through it with him and that will take some
24 time. Could we perhaps take the first break now and come back at a
25 quarter to 11.00?
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: We will take a break and come back at a quarter to
2 11.00. Court adjourned.
3 --- Recess taken at 10.14 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 10.45 a.m.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Saxon.
6 MR. SAXON: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. General Skrbic, before the break we were talking about the
8 production and circulation of the bulletin, the daily bulletin from the
9 information department, and on page 28 of today's LiveNote transcript,
10 starting at line 10, you noted that while you were working in the
11 administration of the General Staff of the VJ for morale and information,
12 the daily bulletin system was operating continually, but after you took
13 up your position as the director of the military publishing house, you
14 don't know what happened with the system -- with this system in the
15 aftermath, and my question for you is: Do you have any reason to believe
16 that after you took up your duties as the director of the military
17 publishing house approximately in mid 1993, that the chief of the General
18 Staff or the chiefs of the administrations and the General Staff stopped
19 receiving this media information?
20 MR. LUKIC: Can I object, Your Honour?
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I believe that any answer provided by
23 the witness would be pure speculation. He said in his previous answer
24 that he didn't know what happened afterwards, so I think that whatever is
25 going to be elicited from this witness is going to be pure speculation.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Saxon.
2 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, I'm not asking the witness to speculate.
3 I'm asking him a factual question. I'm asking him whether he personally
4 has any reason to believe that this daily bulletin system stopped in mid
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: The question will be allowed.
7 MR. SAXON: Thank you.
8 Q. Do you want me to repeat my question, General Skrbic?
9 A. There's no need for that, Mr. Saxon, but again I can only surmise
10 what happened. In view of the fact that this administration had been
11 reorganised, I suppose that it continued to operate for a certain period
12 of time and that after that it stopped operating.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: But you are surmising. You have no factual
14 knowledge of that.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I don't, Your Honours.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Saxon.
17 MR. SAXON:
18 Q. Also before the break, General Skrbic, you mentioned that -- this
19 is at page 29. You acknowledged that these daily bulletins would also
20 have included particular information that was reported prominently in the
21 international media. So if you can recall, for example -- if we just
22 focus right now, for example, on international television, would this
23 bulletin have included reports from television stations such as BBC, Sky
24 News, CNN?
25 A. Precisely so. We monitored the broadcast of these media outlets.
1 Q. And with respect to international radio, would the bulletin also
2 have included information coming from, for example, the Voice of America?
3 A. Yes. That was the only radio station that we followed. We
4 didn't listen to any other radio station.
5 Q. With respect to the print media or news agencies, would the
6 bulletin have included information from news agencies such as Reuters or
7 the Associated Press?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. General Skrbic, one reason why it was important for the
10 Department of Information to monitor information coming out of the mass
11 media at that time was because some of that information concerned issues
12 of security pertaining to the VJ and the former Yugoslavia; is that
14 A. If I may only add the JNA, the Army of Yugoslavia, and the former
16 Q. Okay. And activities of international organisations such as NATO
17 and United Nations in parts of the former Yugoslavia were also important
18 to security, wasn't that correct?
19 A. Yes, they were.
20 MR. SAXON: Can we please show General Skrbic what is
21 Exhibit P2870, please. And could we please zoom in a bit on the B/C/S
22 version when this comes up and a bit in the English version as well.
23 Yes. If we can zoom in. You will see on the right-hand side, if we can
24 zoom in on that article where you see some yellow highlight. Thank you
25 so much. Maybe even zoom in just a little bit more if it's possible.
1 Q. General Skrbic, I'll give you a moment to take a look at the
2 first few paragraphs of this article. It's an article that was
3 originally published in the Belgrade daily "Politika," on the 14th of
4 August, 1993. It appears to be sort of political commentary by a man
5 named Miroslav Lazanski, and it's entitled "Recall Vietnam." And you'll
6 see in the first paragraph the author is talking about possibilities that
7 NATO might bomb certain targets in Bosnia. Do you see that?
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I don't know if it would be fair to
10 the witness to see what the date of this article is. All I can see is
11 that in the English version it says the 14th of August, 1993. I think
12 that would be useful for the witness to be able to find his bearing in
13 the article.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Saxon mentioned the 14th
15 of August, 1993, and I, myself, can see that that is correct.
16 Mr. Saxon, I have read this first paragraph.
17 MR. SAXON:
18 Q. General Skrbic, although the print is not very large, would it
19 assist you to read off of a hard copy? Would it just make your life a
20 bit easier right now? It's up to you.
21 A. No, I'm fine with the screen, and I said that I have read only
22 the first paragraph. Do I need to read the whole article?
23 Q. No, sir. I want to ask you right now something about what's said
24 just in that first paragraph. And actually, it may be at the start of
25 the second paragraph, Your Honour, General Skrbic. It says that:
1 "We are witnesses of television screens in which Manfred Werner,
2 General-Secretary of NATO, is absolutely grinning with joy that bomber
3 squadrons at the Aviano base are ready for action."
4 Do you see that sentence there? I believe in your version it's
5 the beginning of the first paragraph -- it's the second paragraph, I'm
7 A. Yes, I can see it, and I've read it.
8 Q. My question goes back now to these daily bulletins and the
9 information service. Would it have been the responsibility of those
10 officers who received -- who found such an article like this from
11 "Politika" to have gone back, then, to the -- perhaps the original media
12 reports that are referred to here such as these television scenes of the
13 General-Secretary of NATO? Would that have been part of the
15 A. I'm not sure that I understood your question, but I can tell you
16 this: The analyst's duty was to include this military political
17 commentary into the body of information, and after that they would make
18 comparisons. So they would focus on the particular subject, whether it
19 be NATO or whatever. If we had time, we would analyse it and compare the
20 sources, but as I said, at the time I was not part of that group.
21 Q. So when you say, "If we had time we would analyse and compare the
22 sources," you mean the sources that are referred to, for example, in an
23 article like this one, television, "Washington Post," "New York Times?"
24 A. That's right.
25 Q. Before I showed you this particular document, General Skrbic, you
1 acknowledged that information about the activities of NATO, United -- or
2 the United Nations in the former Yugoslavia were important because they
3 might -- they might affect the security of the FRY, of the VJ. Can you
4 recall what kind of events or activities of NATO or of UNPROFOR were
5 reflected in these bulletins? Can you recall?
6 A. I can only recall the situation where NATO imposed a no-fly zone
7 above Bosnia-Herzegovina and that they monitored the situation by radar
8 on AWACS. And as for the rest, I can't remember what we analysed there.
9 Q. Okay. Can you recall whether these bulletins would have
10 contained information about the deployment and operations of units of
11 UNPROFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
12 A. Yes. We would come across such information too.
13 Q. Okay. And obviously, then, these bulletins also would have
14 included information about the activities of the Army of Republika
15 Srpska, the Army of Republika Srpska Krajina, the Army of Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina; correct?
17 A. No, that's not correct. The department that was charged with
18 monitoring the information, and I wasn't in that department, would follow
19 the press coverage. They wouldn't go beyond that. For instance, if
20 Mr. Lazanski wrote an article on these events, then of course the
21 department would analyse those topics too.
22 Q. I'm sorry, General, it was my mistake, I think. My question was
23 not clear.
24 That's what I meant. In other words, these daily bulletins would
25 have included information from the media about the activities, military
1 activities, political activities, going on in Republika Srpska, Republic
2 of Serbian Krajina; is that right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Okay. General Skrbic, I'd like to move to a different topic now.
5 Actually, not so different perhaps. Let's -- let's fast forward a bit to
6 when you became a member of the Army of Republika Srpska. I know that
7 you were first in charge of morale and information and legal affairs in
8 the 2nd Krajina Corps, and then in mid-1994 you moved to the VRS Main
10 Can you tell us what kind of system or procedure was in place in
11 the VRS to provide high-ranking officers like yourself with important
12 information coming from the media?
13 A. There wasn't a worked-out system, Mr. Saxon. We had to deal with
14 that ourselves. We did not have such groups within the VRS that would
15 analyse the media. We were left to our own devices in that regard.
16 You're asking me about the time when I assumed my duties in -- in
17 that army. Of course, in the Main Staff there was something of that
18 sort, but we were simply short of staff.
19 Q. Can you describe what -- what did exist in the Main Staff in this
21 A. Within the VRS Main Staff there existed a centre which was
22 detached from the department for morale, religious and legal affairs. It
23 was an independent analytical group charged with monitoring the issues
24 we're discussing.
25 Q. I see. And this independent analytical group, how often would it
1 produce -- I don't know what you might -- what you call them at the VRS
2 Main Staff: Bulletins, reports? How often did that occur?
3 A. They didn't produce anything, Mr. Saxon. Rather, they would
4 orally convey information to the commander of the Main Staff, as well as
5 to the general who was tasked with the field of morale, religious and
6 legal affairs. It may have so happened that they would write a report
7 here and there, but they were not duty-bound to do so.
8 Q. All right. And depending on the information and the importance
9 of the information and, to use a term that you have used, "the need to
10 know," would some of this information then have been passed on orally to
11 other members of the Main Staff as well?
12 A. The information would have been passed only in cases, which were
13 very rare, where the specific topic would concern one of the high-ranking
14 officers or commanders. There was a strict selection in place. In times
15 of war you can't simply swamp people with great amounts of information.
16 You can do that in peacetime. In wartime you don't have time enough to
17 engage in thorough analyses.
18 Q. Understood, General, understood, but that is sort of the point
19 that I'm interested in. Because of the demands of wartime, important
20 information that was reported in the media would have been brought to the
21 attention, at least to the chief of the VRS Main Staff; is that right?
22 A. That's right.
23 Q. Okay. You said earlier that -- I'll try to find what you said
24 just a few moments ago.
25 "We had to deal with that ourselves. In other words, we had to
1 deal with access to media information ourselves."
2 This is at page 36. You said:
3 "We did not have such groups within the VRS that would analyse
4 the media. We were left to our own devices in that regard."
5 Did you individually find ways to get access to media
6 information, to keep up on the, you know, national, international,
7 political and military issues that might affect the VRS?
8 A. Mr. Saxon, let me underline one important difference or to draw a
9 distinction, and that's the fact that in the 2nd Krajina Corps I had to
10 take it upon myself to get hold of information, and that's what I did. I
11 read papers wherever I could. I watched TV whenever I was able to. And
12 that's the major difference compared to the Main Staff. When I was
13 transferred to the Main Staff, I didn't ask for such information, I
14 didn't look for such information, and I didn't need it.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] At page 38, 2, the witness said that
16 they listened to the radio -- he listened to the radio when he could and
17 that he didn't have a TV, and this isn't reflected in the transcript.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry. Mr. Lukic, the transcript says:
19 "I watched TV whenever I was able to."
20 Now, you say you said he never had -- he didn't have a TV and he
21 listened to radio.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes. That's what he said, but you
23 can ask the witness directly. I don't want to interpret him. He can
24 repeat what he said.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Indeed.
1 Mr. Saxon, can you ask the witness the question again.
2 MR. SAXON: I will, Your Honour.
3 Q. General, my -- my original question was:
4 "Did you individually find ways to get access to media
5 information, to keep up on the national, international, political, and
6 military issues that might affect the VRS?"
7 And then you began to respond, talking about an important
8 difference, and perhaps if you could repeat your response for -- for the
9 Chamber and the interpreters, please.
10 A. Yes, I can repeat what I said. While I was occupying the duty in
11 the 2nd Krajina Corps of the Army of Republika Srpska, I was forced to
12 draw on -- on my own resources and to follow the media that I was
13 technically able to. When I was transferred to the Main Staff of the
14 VRS, this wasn't an area of interest to me. I could hear information as
15 a private citizen, but I did not follow it officially.
16 Was I clear enough now?
17 Q. Yes, you were, but I'd like to ask a follow-up question, sir.
18 With respect to your comment about when you were part of the
19 2nd Krajina Corps and you were following the media that you were
20 technically able to do, can you be a bit more specific? During that
21 period of time, what kind of media were you technically able to follow?
22 A. We could continually follow the radio. We had TV sets, but the
23 image could not be transmitted because of interference which existed
24 throughout that time in the area of Drvar. We also did not receive
25 newspapers on a regular basis. I think it was only the "Srpski Glas"
1 paper that we received regularly. For the rest it depended on the war
2 conditions. In the 2nd Krajina Corps we received the bulletin "Vojska
3 Army" of the Army of Republika Srpska.
4 Q. All right. And did you also continue to receive the bulletin
5 "Vojska" of the Army of Yugoslavia?
6 A. No.
7 Q. You said during this period when you were in the
8 2nd Krajina Corps you had TV sets but the image could not be transmitted.
9 Was the sound available?
10 A. No. The interference was complete, and I didn't know where it
11 came from.
12 Q. All right.
13 A. Sorry, Mr. Saxon. At times you would get the image and then it
14 would be lost again. So it was very difficult to cover. Then we had
15 power outages as well, so you couldn't follow the radio either. That was
16 the actual state of affairs, but I'm trying to shorten my answers and I'm
17 not explaining all these things.
18 I apologise to everyone if at times my sentence turns out to be
19 appear contradictory.
20 Q. No. Your sentences are fine. It's very clear. Thank you,
22 I want to move to another topic now. I want to bring -- bring
23 you back, General, to some testimony that you gave earlier this week. I
24 can't recall right now whether it was Monday or Tuesday, but it's at
25 pages 11600 to 11601 of the transcript, and Mr. Lukic was asking you some
1 questions about persons who left the FRY to join the Army of Republika
2 Srpska, and in response to one of Mr. Lukic's questions, you said that
3 you were not aware that VJ officers were coerced by threats of early
4 retirement unless they agreed to join the ranks of the VRS.
5 Do you recall that testimony?
6 A. Can you remind me again what my answer was? Did I deny this
8 Q. I wouldn't quite say that. You said that you were -- I'll start
10 Mr. Lukic asked you whether you were aware whether VJ officers
11 were coerced by, for example, threats of punishment such as early
12 retirement, unless they agreed to join the ranks of the VRS. And your
13 response was, no, you were not aware of this.
14 Is that clear now?
15 A. That's clear, Mr. Saxon. I'm quite clear on that now. Yes,
16 that's right.
17 Q. All right. I'd like to show you a document, if I can.
18 MR. SAXON: Can we show the witness Exhibit P2827, please.
19 Q. General Skrbic, I'd like to give you a moment to familiarise
20 yourself with this document. You'll see it's from the 3rd Army command
21 of the VJ. It's dated the 26th of September, 1994, and it's addressed to
22 the commands of the Nis and Pristina Corps and the 201st Anti-armour
23 Battalion Command, and the first paragraph says:
24 "Following the orders given by the chief of the VJ Main Staff at
25 the meeting held on 5 September 1994, and the records kept within the
1 personnel administration of the VJ Main Staff, regarding those officers
2 who failed to follow the order on deployment as well as the officers who
3 left the units of the 40th Personnel Centre of their own will --"
4 A. Your Honour, with all due respect, I'm not receiving
5 interpretation at all times because I seem to be -- the voice seems to be
6 fading at times. I don't know if it's a technical problem. Should the
7 interpreter come closer to the microphone or something just to increase
8 the volume.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes. We don't know what it is caused by. Can ...
10 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Maybe with the volume increased let's see whether
12 you can hear now. Could we do a test, please. Could the interpreter say
13 something to the witness, "Testing, testing, testing," something like
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can hear it now a bit better,
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
18 Sorry for that interruption, Mr. Saxon. Could you rephrase your
19 question or restate it.
20 MR. SAXON: Of course, Your Honour.
21 Q. General Skrbic, let's start again. Have you had a chance to
22 review the first paragraph of the document?
23 A. I have, but you haven't read it fully.
24 Q. You're absolutely right. Not yet. And it says at the end:
25 "... it is necessary to do the following:
1 "1. Establish the whereabouts of officers deployed to the 40th
2 Personnel Centre units from your basic units.
3 "2. Urgently inform the personnel of the 3rd Army command by
4 telegram in case any of these persons return to the 40th Personnel Centre
5 main composition.
6 "3. Pass on the order by the chief of the VJ Main Staff to all
7 persons who left the 40th Personnel Centre units of their own will, or
8 failed to carry out the deployment order into the 40th Personnel Centre,
9 that they are required to report to the meeting with the chief of the VJ
10 Main Staff," and then it gives --
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you have a problem, Mr. Skrbic?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, not me personally, but
13 the question relates to the 40th Personnel Centre. In order to save
14 everyone's time, can I please ask you not to put questions to me
15 concerning the 40th Personnel Centre since I'm not competent in that
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: If you're not competent when the question is put,
18 just say, "I don't know anything about that." If you don't know
19 anything, you don't know anything about it.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My apologies.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's fine, Mr. Skrbic.
22 Mr. Saxon.
23 MR. SAXON: Thank you, Your Honour. I'll take that as a
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Take it as a slip of the tongue.
1 MR. SAXON:
2 Q. And then there's an instruction to report to the meeting at the
3 address and the date and time. And then you'll see, and if we can scroll
4 down in both versions, please, you will see there's a list of names
5 there, General. Can we go to the next page in the English version,
7 And if you could, I just want to draw your attention, General,
8 for now to two names on this list, number 3, Mraovic Zeljko, warrant
9 officer 1st Class serving in the Nis Corps; and number 9, Djuro Sakic,
10 warrant officer 1st Class, serving in the 201st Anti-Armour Battalion.
11 And could we please go to the next page in B/C/S, please.
12 General, you'll see at the top of page 2 in the version in
13 Serbo-Croat that Lieutenant-General Samardzic is saying:
14 "A written report is to be delivered before either 30 or 29
15 September 1994, at 10.00, for the purpose of preparing a report for the
16 chief of the VJ Main Staff regarding the officers who are required to
17 attend the meeting with the chief of the VJ Main Staff."
18 Are you able to read that there?
19 A. Yes.
20 MR. SAXON: Can we leave this document, please, and can we show
21 the witness Exhibit P1865.
22 Q. General Skrbic, this document is dated the 7th of October, 1994.
23 It's from the 3rd Army command, and in the preamble underneath the word
24 "Urgent," it says:
25 "Pursuant to the order of the VJ General Staff chief," and
1 there's a number, "and after interviews of the professional officers and
2 non-commissioned officers with the VJ General Staff chief regarding
3 transfer and appointment to the 40th Personnel Centre, I order."
4 And then you'll see under heading 1 there's a group of officers
5 who are to be put into operation order on transfer and appointment to the
6 40th Personnel Centre. Do you see that?
7 A. Yes, I see that.
8 Q. Can we --
9 A. I really don't know why I'm looking at it.
10 Q. Just be patient with me, General, please.
11 MR. SAXON: Can we scroll down in both languages.
12 Q. And in the -- at the start of the bottom half of the page we
13 see -- we see the phrase "Rim 2." Do you know what that abbreviation
14 stands for, General Skrbic?
15 A. Roman 2.
16 Q. Very well. Thank you.
17 A. Do you know what the Roman numeral 2 is like? I don't need to
18 remind you. It's a double I in the Latin alphabet.
19 Q. Thank you, General. It says "Roman numeral 2, to initiate
20 procedure for termination of professional military service for the
21 following." And then we see the names of the two officers that I had
22 asked you to pay attention to in the last document, Mraovic, Zeljko, the
23 warrant officer, and Sakic, Djuro, another warrant officer, and it says:
24 "On the meeting held with the chief of the VJ General Staff, the
25 above-mentioned persons have stated that they would like to terminate
1 their professional military service with their right for retirement."
2 Are you able to follow me?
3 A. I'm following you.
4 Q. Can we please go to -- the last paragraph talks about scheduling
5 an official interview regarding their request for termination of
6 professional military service.
7 MR. SAXON: Can we please go to the next page in both languages,
9 Q. And, General, you'll see at the top of page 2 the first paragraph
11 "In case that the above-named do not want to terminate their
12 professional military service upon their request, they are to be referred
13 to report to units of the 40th Personnel Centre in the period regulated
14 by point 1 of this order."
15 My question for you, General, is that doesn't this indicate that
16 effectively Warrant Officer Mraovic and Warrant Officer Sakic were given
17 two choices: Report to the 40th Personnel Centre, or end their
18 professional military service. Isn't that what these two documents
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's an embellishment of the statement,
21 Mr. Saxon. This document doesn't say report or terminate. It says
22 report to 40th and they choose to terminate. It's at their request.
23 Let's not mislead the witness.
24 MR. SAXON: My apologies, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: They choose to -- they choose to terminate when
1 they are being called upon to go to the 40th Personnel Centre it looks
3 MR. SAXON: I see Judge Picard is shaking her head, Your Honour,
4 so I'm not quite sure which Your Honour I need to be responding to, and
5 perhaps --
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: If you understand what Judge Picard said by the
7 shaking of her head, would you please respond to her.
8 MR. SAXON: If you'll give me a moment, please.
9 Your Honour, we -- I can perhaps rephrase my question a bit.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: I think you should.
11 MR. SAXON: All right. Let me -- let me try to rephrase my
12 question, and I'm going to try to -- well, never mind.
13 Q. One reasonable interpretation of this document, General Skrbic,
14 is that if these two officers were not going to terminate their military
15 service, they would have to report to the 40th Personnel Centre; is that
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think that Mr. Skrbic is here to
19 testify about facts that he knows about, not to assess documents. Now
20 he's being asked to provide his opinion about a certain document that
21 Mr. Saxon is putting to him, and in this way he is supposed to go into
22 the sphere of speculation.
23 My question was very fair. I mean, the proposition I made, the
24 answer that he gave during the examination-in-chief was fair, and if
25 Mr. Saxon wants to challenge that, he has to put it that way to the
1 witness. I think that this question simply calls for speculation.
2 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, may I -- may I respond?
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Any time, Mr. Saxon. You are entitled to respond.
4 MR. SAXON: Thank you. Your Honour, I'm a bit surprised by
5 Mr. Lukic's objection in that he asked this witness on direct examination
6 about his opinions on numerous, numerous documents about what was
7 happening, what relationships were being affected by different documents,
8 and clearly this witness was a lieutenant-general, extremely -- he's
9 extremely qualified to give his opinion on what can be interpreted in a
10 military document.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: First of all, is your back okay?
12 MR. SAXON: That's all right, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: I see you're holding it, and I --
14 MR. SAXON: It's all right, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. I find myself in a difficult situation,
16 because, yes, Mr. Lukic may have asked those questions of the witness,
17 but those were questions in relation to areas that the witness had worked
18 in. The witness, with respect to this document, has actually requested
19 not to be asked questions about the 40th Personnel Centre, and the
20 Chamber said to him if he doesn't know the answer to the question he must
21 just say he doesn't know, because it's not for the Chamber to restrict
22 counsel on what questions to ask.
23 Now, if he is being asked to express an opinion about things that
24 happened in the 40th Personnel Centre about which he says he has no
25 knowledge, I think that puts that question in a slightly different
1 category from the category of questions that were asked where he was
2 being asked about his field of work.
3 MR. SAXON: Then I will move on, Your Honour. Thank you.
4 Q. General Skrbic, I want to talk to you about the period when you
5 went from the VJ to serve in the Army of Republika Srpska in December
6 1993. Just so that I understand, I want to clarify something, part of
7 your testimony under direct examination.
8 MR. SAXON: And my question relates to testimony of
9 General Skrbic and page 11604 of the transcript, lines 21 through 25.
10 If I may have a moment.
11 Q. General Skrbic, at this part of your direct examination in
12 response to a question from Mr. Lukic, you told the Trial Chamber:
13 "I must tell Their Honours that for three months I was the
14 general manager of the military publishing centre with the Army of
15 Yugoslavia. However, after the three months, I became a full member of
16 the Army of the Republika Srpska as part of the 2nd Krajina Corps of the
17 Army of Republika Srpska when I signed a document on the hand-over of
19 Do you recall that testimony, sir?
20 A. Yes, Mr. Saxon. However, I don't know why it is reflected that
21 way in the transcript, because there is a bit of imprecision there, a
22 little bit.
23 Q. Is there something you'd like to correct, sir, or make more
25 A. Well, may I just tell you that as for being director of a
1 military publishing centre, I never received that duty. For three months
2 I was director or general manager in formal terms, but I was transferred
3 to the Army of Republika Srpska. After those three months, I became a
4 member of the Army of Republika Srpska, and I signed a document on the
5 hand-over of duty in the 2nd Krajina Corps.
6 Q. Okay. So if I can just make the chronology clear. Since you
7 were transferred to the Army of Republika Srpska in December 1993, then
8 you would have been the director or general manager of the military
9 publishing centre from September 1993 until December 1993. Is that
11 A. No. From the 17th from December, and then three months on.
12 That's when I was director, in formal terms. As for that duty, that is
13 the director of the publishing centre, I never carried out those duties.
14 Q. All right. Just so the record is clear, I just want to ask a
15 follow-up question or two. You're transferred to the Army of Republika
16 Srpska on the 17th of December, 1993, and for your first three months of
17 service in the 2nd Krajina Corps of the VRS, at least in a formal sense
18 you also held the position of the director of the military publishing
19 centre of the Army of Yugoslavia. Is that correct?
20 A. That's right, Mr. Saxon.
21 Q. All right.
22 MR. SAXON: I apologise for the delay.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Take your time.
24 MR. SAXON:
25 Q. General Skrbic, I want to talk about your transfer to the VRS in
1 December of 1993. In the Army of Yugoslavia, there was a procedure
2 created by the Law on the Army for termination of professional military
3 service. Isn't that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. All right. And although I know you were transferred in December
6 of 1993, if you'll permit me to refer to articles -- I believe it's
7 Articles 111 through 114 of the Law on the Army of Yugoslavia, that
8 law -- those are the articles at that deal with termination of
9 professional military service from the version of the law that was
10 created in 1994; is that correct?
11 A. I think that these articles are not correct, because I recall
12 that it was Article 107 and another one, but I do remember for sure that
13 Article 107 says something about the termination of professional military
14 service. However, please don't take my word for it. I don't have the
15 law in front of me. Perhaps Mr. Saxon is actually putting it accurately,
16 because I don't know which version of the law he has.
17 Q. Actually, I'm grateful to you, General Skrbic. I was putting it
18 partially accurately, and I'm glad you made me more accurate. You're
19 absolutely correct. I mistakenly did not include Article 107, and I
20 should have, which is entitled "Reasons for Termination of Professional
21 Military Service." You're absolutely correct.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, can we talk about some other little point.
23 You say those articles were created in 1994.
24 MR. SAXON: I'm referring to these articles as they are stated in
25 the Law of the VJ of 1994, and I --
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: After he went to the VRS.
2 MR. SAXON: Correct. And I have a follow-up question to try to
3 clarify this.
4 Q. When you went to the VRS in December 1993, were there in the
5 older Law on the Army, I guess it was the law --
6 MR. SAXON: Mr. Lukic is kindly trying to correct something that
7 I said. I -- all right. I'll keep going.
8 Q. I assume that in the Law of the Armed Forces of the Socialist
9 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that was still in place when you were
10 transferred to the VRS, there were similar articles, similar procedures
11 for termination of military service; is that correct?
12 A. Mr. Saxon, that is correct what you said. They were similar but
13 not identical.
14 Q. Okay. When you were transferred to serve in the VRS, your
15 service in the VJ was not terminated, was it?
16 A. De facto, yes. Formally, it went on for another three months.
17 Q. Formally, you say, it went on for another three months. So does
18 that mean three months later you received an official VJ document
19 terminating your service?
20 A. No. I did not receive such a document. The document on the
21 basis of which my service in the VJ was terminated is called the report
22 on the hand-over of duty. And I do apologise for drawing your attention
23 to that report yet again. That was the document that meant that I had
24 taken over this duty in the Army of Republika Srpska and that I had
25 become a member of the Army of Republika Srpska.
1 Q. But it certainly was not a document terminating your status as a
2 member of the Army of Yugoslavia, was it?
3 A. Yes, that's correct. My status in the VJ was not terminated, but
4 I was serving in the Army of Republika Srpska.
5 Q. All right. Now, when your professional military service in the
6 Army of Yugoslavia ended pursuant to a decree of the president of the FRY
7 on 31 December 2000, you received a document at that time terminating
8 your military service in the Army of Yugoslavia, didn't you?
9 A. Yes, that's correct.
10 Q. All right.
11 A. I'm not sure that this date is correct though. I think that I
12 retired on the 1st of April, 2001, on the basis of a degree issued by the
13 president of Yugoslavia, Mr. Vojislav Kostunica.
14 Q. Absolutely.
15 MR. SAXON: One moment, please.
16 Q. But the decree of the president was dated the 31st of December,
17 2000, wasn't it?
18 A. That's right, Mr. Saxon, but that is the decree on the
19 termination of service. However, yet another document is passed and that
20 is the decision on the termination of service, because during those three
21 months, from the 1st of January until the 1st of April, I was still
22 available, and my service as such was terminated by this document called
23 the order on hand-over, and I can explain why that is what it is called.
24 You return all your equipment, your uniforms, et cetera, then once that
25 has been done then you say good-bye and they say good-bye to you and
1 that's it.
2 Q. Thank you for that clarification.
3 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, may we take the second break at this
4 time, please.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, we may, if you have no use for the remaining
6 minutes. We will come back at half past 12.00. Court adjourned.
7 --- Recess taken at 11.57 a.m.
8 --- On resuming at 12.30 p.m.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Saxon.
10 MR. SAXON: Thank you, Your Honours.
11 General Skrbic's microphones need to be turned on, I believe.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thanks, Mr. Registrar.
13 MR. SAXON: Thank you.
14 Q. I just have a few questions for you, General Skrbic, regarding
15 your transfer to the VRS in December of 1993. You were transferred, in
16 fact, pursuant to an order of the chief of the personnel administration
17 of the VJ General Staff, dated the 21st of December, 1993. Isn't that
19 A. Yes, it is.
20 Q. Okay. At that time -- maybe I should say that month, December
21 1993, can you recall how many other VJ officers received such orders?
22 A. I don't remember.
23 Q. Okay. Can you recall perhaps specific individuals, specific
24 individual VJ officers, colleagues of yours, perhaps, who were
25 transferred to the VRS at that time?
1 A. Yes, I do, but it will take some effort on my part to tell you
2 the name. One of them was Colonel Despotovic, and the other man's name
3 was Nebojsa, who was an officer and a film director by occupation. These
4 are the only two names that I can remember at the moment.
5 Q. Can you recall what position in the VRS Colonel Despotovic
7 A. Yes, do I. I remember, Mr. Saxon, because General Milovanovic
8 had asked him, "What is your profession, Colonel?" And he says that he
9 was a physiotherapist, and then he said, "You will remain in the VRS in
10 order to provide treatment for me."
11 Maybe that person can help you too. I'm sorry for this joke.
12 Q. No. I was going to say what a shame Colonel Despotovic isn't
13 here right now.
14 And the officer who was a film director by occupation, can you
15 recall what position in the VRS that person filled?
16 A. I remember him being appointed to the sector for morale,
17 religious affairs with General Gvero, but I don't remember exactly which
18 position he filled.
19 Q. This order, for example, transferring you to the 30th Personnel
20 Centre, was that a written order or a verbal order?
21 A. I suppose it was a written order, but I wasn't much interested in
22 that because I had decided to join the VRS and that is what happened.
23 Q. You never received a copy of this -- of a written order
24 transferring you to the VRS, did you?
25 A. Yes, did I receive it, but I don't remember its content.
1 Q. Where would we find such an order? Where we would find a copy of
2 this order?
3 A. I can't answer that question, Mr. Saxon. I can only make a
4 supposition, but I don't think that would be appropriate.
5 Q. All right. General Skrbic, can you recall what undertakings were
6 given in those orders? What was the content of the order?
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: I thought he just said he doesn't remember the
9 MR. SAXON: Did he say that, Your Honour, or did he say --
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Line 11, page 55.
11 MR. SAXON: I stand corrected, Your Honour.
12 Q. Tell me, General Skrbic, the VJ officers who received these
13 orders transferring them to the 30th Personnel Centre, such as the one
14 you received in December 1993, did the VJ officers have to obey the
16 A. According to this order, they had an attitude of taking it
17 voluntarily. They were supposed to obey it, but it was up to them.
18 Q. I'm trying to understand that response, General. Now, it's my
19 understanding that in any modern army an order is an order. Orders are
20 given so that they are obeyed. Now, is my general understanding correct?
21 A. I will give you an explanation taking my personal example. I
22 know what an order is.
23 Q. I need to stop you there for a moment, please, sir. I want you
24 to answer my question. Is my general understanding correct as I just
25 expressed it to you?
1 A. Your understanding is correct.
2 Q. Okay. Now I'd like to hear your additional explanation, please.
3 A. I'm going to explain my personal example. I knew what an order
4 meant, but I was entitled to say no, I'm not joining the VRS, and after
5 that, and I knew that for sure, I would not have faced any consequences
6 or any sanctions.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Skrbic, you've just accepted that generally
8 speaking, orders were orders. They had to be obeyed. If orders had to
9 be obeyed, why would you not face any consequences if you had disobeyed
10 this specific order? Is there any reason?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Because there was no legal basis
12 for taking any sanctions against such individuals.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
14 MR. SAXON:
15 Q. General Skrbic, if I can ask a follow-up question to that last
16 response to His Honour Judge Moloto. You say there was no legal basis
17 for taking any sanctions against such individuals. Is that because there
18 was no basis in the law of the -- law on the armed forces of the SFRY or
19 the law on the Army of Yugoslavia -- let me -- let me stop there and try
20 to ask a clearer question.
21 You say that there was no legal basis for taking any sanctions
22 against such individuals. Is that because under the law of Yugoslavia,
23 as it existed at that time, there was no legal basis for the VJ to be
24 sending its officers to fight outside the territory of the Federal
25 Republic of Yugoslavia?
1 A. Mr. Saxon, you had a more competent witness here than I am, who
2 could have provided a better explanation than I can. What I can say is
3 that I personally volunteered to join the VRS, but I didn't want to go
4 without any document.
5 If you want an official vehicle to be driven, you have to have a
6 paper that goes with it. So I didn't want to go over there without any
8 It is possible that experts found some legal basis for issuing
9 such kind of documents, but I cannot explain that to you. All I know and
10 all I was interested in was that I joined the VRS.
11 Q. All right. Let me -- I'm sorry, Your Honour?
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Was there a legal basis for the Army of Yugoslavia
13 to transfer its officers to a foreign army?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There must have been some kind of
15 provision in that respect, but I cannot remember. It's not formulated
16 for an army, but probably it says a different department or -- or the
17 positions filled by military attaches or labour organisations that were
18 involved in special-purpose production. All that was provided for in the
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: That I understand. That's just being transferred
21 within the same army of -- of Yugoslavia. But to the best of your
22 memory, was there a legal -- legal provision within the law on the Army
23 of Yugoslavia that allowed the Army of Yugoslavia, for instance, to say
24 to you, "Now go and join the Russian army. Get out of here. Get out of
25 the VJ and go join the Russian army?" Was there such a legal basis, to
1 the best of your memory?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as far as I know
3 there wasn't such provision.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thanks.
5 MR. SAXON:
6 Q. General Skrbic, I want to follow up on a comment that you made
7 shortly before Judge Moloto's last question. You say, "What I can --"
8 this is what you said, page 57, starting at line 12:
9 "What I can say is that I personally volunteered to join the VRS,
10 but I didn't want to go without any document."
11 And then you say:
12 "If you want an official vehicle to be driven, you have to have a
13 paper that goes with it. So I didn't want to go over there without any
15 And the reason you didn't want to go to the Army of Republika
16 Srpska without any documents is because you needed to have official
17 permission or clearance from the Army of Yugoslavia because otherwise you
18 would have been going AWOL. Isn't that right?
19 A. Yes, that's right, Mr. Saxon.
20 Q. And you as a career military officer, a very competent,
21 obviously, military officer, didn't want to do anything that would
22 jeopardise your career, your reputation, with the Army of Yugoslavia;
23 isn't that right?
24 A. Mr. Saxon, all I was concerned about is not to jeopardise my
25 family, because I was going to war, Mr. Saxon. I could have been killed.
1 Therefore, I wanted to have at least a document on the basis of which my
2 family could have claimed certain rights, because then and now my family
3 is living in Belgrade. I wasn't much interested in my career. You
4 remember me saying that I was prepared to go and fight in trenches like
5 an ordinary soldier. I was not interested in my career, and I'm not
6 offended by your questions. I just want you to know what I thought.
7 Q. That's fine, and I appreciate that response, General.
8 The bottom line is, though, you needed to maintain your
9 membership in the Army of Yugoslavia so that your family would maintain
10 their rights and be taken care of while you were serving in the Army of
11 Republika Srpska; right?
12 A. Precisely so, Mr. Saxon, and thank you for providing such a
13 precise definition.
14 Q. Thank you so much. I may come back to this topic, but I'm going
15 to move on for the time being.
16 General Skrbic -- General Skrbic, during your direct examination
17 with Mr. Lukic, at pages 11736 to 11737 of the transcript, Mr. Lukic
18 asked you the following, he said:
19 "Do you know if during the war, at the time when you took up your
20 position in the Main Staff, some of the members of the VRS went to attend
21 command staff schools, specialised schools, or the School of National
22 Defence of the Army of Yugoslavia?"
23 And your response was the following:
24 "The position of the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska
25 was that those who had graduated from the military academy need not
1 attend post-graduate schools because the war itself was the best of
2 schooling. So during the war we did not send a single individual to
3 attend any of these schools."
4 Do you recall that testimony?
5 A. Yes, I do. And as far as I could discern, you have quoted my
6 reply accurately.
7 MR. SAXON: Can we please show the witness Exhibit P867, please.
8 Q. General Skrbic, you'll see that this is an order from the Drina
9 Corps command, signed by Major-General Zivanovic, on the 18th of July,
10 1994. It's entitled "Training for 30 combatants in Pancevo Special
11 Battalion." And it says that the Zvornik Light Infantry Brigade will
12 refer 30 combatants from the Manoeuvre Battalion, to the Special
13 Battalion Pancevo Garrison in the period between 25 July and 10 August
15 And in number 2 it says that:
16 "The Yugoslav Army Special Unit Corps will regulate the intake,
17 accommodation, nourishment, and training of combatants."
18 Have you been able to following along with me, sir?
19 A. Yes, I can follow it.
20 Q. But in the middle of the page above the phrase that says "I
21 hereby order," it also says -- it says it's pursuant to an order of the
22 General Staff of the VRS, dated 15 July, 1994, and "... our demand for
23 performing special training for some of our units."
24 This document demonstrates that certain members of the Army of
25 the Republika Srpska received training by the Army of Yugoslavia during
1 the armed conflict. Do you agree with that?
2 A. Yes, Mr. Saxon, but this has nothing to do with what I was
3 talking about, higher military education. This is training, whereas
4 schooling and training in the VRS were very much different. In addition
5 to that, I would like to draw your attention that here we're talking
6 about combatants who had attended no school whatsoever before that, let
7 alone be sent to attend some higher schools. And my remarks are well
8 meant and well intended in this respect.
9 Q. I understand that, General. Now, one way to maintain and improve
10 the morale of soldiers is to provide them with good training. Isn't that
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I don't know how much this is
14 deriving from my examination-in-chief. Mr. Saxon read my question and
15 the answer relating to higher education in military service, whereas he
16 has moved to training. I asked no questions about training, and the
17 witness decidedly said that his sector had nothing to do with training,
18 and that is what he said in his examination-in-chief.
19 MR. SAXON: Absolutely correct, Your Honour. However, Rule
20 90(h)(ii) does not restrict me to topics covered by counsel during direct
21 examination, and this is a topic that is relevant to the case of the
22 Prosecution, and I want to explore it.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: My only concern with the way you put your question
24 is that you link it to -- you link it with higher education, military
25 education when you say, "But the bottom line is." You're suggesting that
1 notwithstanding you, Mr. Witness, saying that you talked about higher
2 education and not training, I'm still saying to you that the bottom line
3 is that these people received training from the VJ. He's never testified
4 about whether people did or did not receive training from the VJ. He
5 testified about whether people went for higher education in the military
6 academy, and I think if you just want to ask about whether people did go
7 for military training with the VJ you can ask that, but when you link the
8 two, I think again we're sort of tampering with the evidence in chief.
9 MR. SAXON: Point is taken, Your Honour, and my apologies to the
10 Chamber and to General Skrbic if I -- if the structure end of my cross
11 was misleading in that sense.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: You can say, let's deal with a different topic.
13 MR. SAXON:
14 Q. Let us deal, General Skrbic, with the topic of training if we can
15 do that, all right? And my question for you is: One way of training and
16 improving the morale of soldiers is to provide them with good training.
17 Isn't that right?
18 A. Quite right.
19 Q. Okay.
20 MR. SAXON: Can we please leave this exhibit and show the witness
21 what is Exhibit P931, please.
22 Q. General Skrbic, you will see this document is a report from the
23 tactical live fire exercise with the rocket Strela 2-M in the Federal
24 Republic of Yugoslavia. And if we can just stop there for a moment. I
25 know that you have a background in anti-aircraft rockets. Is the
1 Strela 2-M a sophisticated weapon for anti-aircraft defence?
2 A. Mr. Saxon, very sophisticated but very simple in terms of
3 anti-aircraft defence.
4 Q. Okay. This report, you will see, talks about 46 soldiers from
5 the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps who first received some initial training in
6 Banja Luka and then proceeded for live fire training with senior officers
7 in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia where they were accommodated at the
8 Batajnica barracks in Belgrade.
9 That's in the middle of the page. Do you see that? Can we
10 scroll down in the English -- in the B/C/S. Thank you so much.
11 A. What am I supposed to read, Mr. Saxon?
12 Q. No. I just asked if you have read that portion, that's all. I
13 just want to make sure you're seeing what the document says, that's all.
14 A. I've hardly read anything, so could you please indicate to me
15 which paragraph I'm supposed to look at.
16 Q. Okay. There is a paragraph beginning -- I believe it's the third
17 full paragraph from the bottom in your version, beginning with "Upon the
18 completion." Do you see that paragraph? You will see that paragraph
19 describes 42 VRS soldiers who were accommodated in the VJ barracks at
20 Batajnica where in December 1994 they trained with the Strela rocket
21 launcher and training simulators.
22 The next paragraph -- are you following with me, General Skrbic?
23 A. I'm following you.
24 Q. Okay. The next paragraph talks about the fact that there was
25 classroom training. There was a theoretical part of this training. A
1 daily plane flyover was organised so that the officers involved could
2 train with real targets that were arriving and departing, which led to
3 live fire training on the 9th of December, 1994.
4 And then in the very -- one the very last sentences, the author
5 of this document, Lieutenant-Colonel Trncic, says, "This was a real
6 example of how training for Strela operators should be conducted."
7 This kind of training was provided to members of the VRS, so in
8 this case these members of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, so that they
9 could carry out their operations more proficiently; isn't that right?
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I waited for Mr. Saxon to finish in
12 order to provide a general objection to this line of questioning. I
13 noticed that Mr. Saxon, a few moments ago, referred to 90(h) and the
14 right to ask every witness that appears in this courtroom -- ask about
15 facts that have to do with his testimony. However, there is no doubt
16 that this was not brought up at all during the direct examination.
17 What we see here is something that appeared in the Prosecution
18 case, what we see on the screen now, and the Prosecution concluded that
19 this document was sufficient per se for their case.
20 Now, in my view, Mr. Saxon is re-opening his case through the
21 back door, if I can put it that way. This document had nothing to do
22 whatsoever with the testimony of this witness or the direct examination.
23 In this way he is trying to get to new facts that are important for his
25 I think that this line of questioning, now that the Prosecution
1 case is over, is actually a re-opening of the Prosecution case and that
2 is why I oppose this line of questioning in general.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Saxon.
4 MR. SAXON: First of all, Your Honour, I'm not aware of any
5 authority, certainly from this Tribunal, that supports the position of
6 Mr. Lukic.
7 Second of all, I am not re-opening my case. I am asking this
8 witness to comment on evidence that -- yes, that has been admitted in
9 this trial. There is nothing from the Prlic jurisprudence, for example,
10 or I believe nothing from the Delic jurisprudence that classifies
11 evidence that has been already admitted -- or questions stemming from
12 evidence that has already been admitted as fresh evidence.
13 This witness is here. This witness has a particular expertise
14 and understanding and knowledge, and I'm trying to explore a facet of his
16 Now, that -- that -- if I'm not allowed to do that, then quite
17 frankly I think a large part of Rule 90(h)(ii) is then gutted, Your
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Very brief. The Prosecutor had the
20 document during his case. He had expert witnesses who testified. I'm
21 not going to refer to their names, because they were protected witnesses.
22 He did not put any questions in this regard. I think that that is why
23 the Prosecution is dealing with this document now, a document of his own
24 that he didn't want to use at all during his own case. Now he is trying
25 to re-open his case through this document during the Defence case.
1 MR. SAXON: That's not correct.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: You're done?
3 MR. SAXON: One moment.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are you done? "That's not correct," that's what
5 you want -- that's your response? I want to come in now --
6 MR. SAXON: I'm done, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: -- again, yes, the Prosecution is not restricted
8 in cross-examining the witness. Cross-examination can go in various
9 directions. What, however, causes me concern, and I hope the Bench, is
10 the fact that Mr. Skrbic has not denied that training was provided by the
11 VJ to the VRS, quite apart from having not testified about that.
12 He's now being asked to comment on this document when he doesn't
13 have prior knowledge of it. Yes, he has knowledge of anti-aircraft
14 rockets. He was trained in rockets, but I'm not quite sure where the
15 Prosecution is going with this kind of cross-examination of this
16 witness --
17 MR. SAXON: Your Honour --
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: -- because I think the Prosecution has made its
19 case that there was that kind of training which this witness is not
20 denying. Beyond not denying it, I'm not sure what it is you want from
21 this witness.
22 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, there's a few points that you made
23 there, and I'm going to try to respond to them, if I may.
24 First of all, if the witness is not able to answer the question
25 of the Prosecution related to this document, that's fine, and of course
1 that may be -- that may be a very normal turn of events. But the
2 position of the Prosecution is the Prosecution should not be precluded
3 from asking its questions, okay? First of all -- I mean, if Mr. Lukic is
4 correct --
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: You're commenting on my points? I never said you
6 absolutely should be precluded from asking questions. I actually said
7 the opposite. I said you can go at large. But I'm saying what I do
8 not -- I'm trying to follow the cross-examination, and I'm trying to say,
9 and I know the bulk of my understanding will come during final arguments,
10 but as the case goes on, I'm trying to follow what counsel is trying to
11 establish with the witness.
12 Now, to the extent that this witness has not denied any training
13 of combatants of the VRS by the VJ, I'm not quite certain where counsel
14 is going with the further questions beyond that point. That's all I've
15 said. I haven't said you're precluded from doing anything.
16 MR. SAXON: For example, Your Honour, I asked a question a short
17 time ago that, for example --
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: The question that made Mr. Lukic rise on his feet,
19 yeah. That's have a look at it.
20 MR. SAXON: This -- page 64, this -- line 18.
21 "This kind of training was provided to members of the VRS, so in
22 this case these members of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, so that they
23 could carry out their operations more proficiently; is that right?"
24 That was my question, Your Honour. And depending on the answer
25 that I was going to get, I was going to ask a follow-up question as well
1 based on -- I have of in front of me, I have a career military officer
2 who also served in both the VJ and the VRS, who has obviously experience
3 and knowledge of the events that were occurring during the time of the
4 indictment period, some of which involved training.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Then the objection is overruled.
6 MR. SAXON: Okay.
7 Q. General Skrbic, would you like me to repeat my question?
8 A. I would kindly ask you to repeat your question.
9 Q. This kind of training, the Strela rocket training, was provided
10 to members of the VRS - in this case they were members of the
11 Sarajevo-Romanija Corps - so that they could carry out their operations
12 more proficiently; correct?
13 A. I cannot give you an answer to this question. If you want to
14 hear me as an expert, and I am not one, at this point in time I do not
15 have that status, you can remove these documents and ask me about
16 anti-aircraft defence, especially about training for Strela 1 and
17 Strela 2. Then I'm going to give you answers. I don't need any
18 documents for that. I did not dealing with training in the Army of
19 Republika Srpska.
20 Q. General Skrbic, I'm sorry, I can't accept that response. You
21 were a career military officer. You personally had training, for
22 example, in anti-aircraft rockets. Let me start from a more general
23 question. The purpose of training soldiers and officers is to help them
24 become more proficient in their duties. Isn't that right? In general
1 A. That is correct. No one can deny that for you.
2 Q. So in the particular case of this document, we've got soldiers
3 who are being trained to make them more proficient in the use of these
4 rockets; right?
5 A. Trained in Republika Srpska, and they had more possibilities for
6 gaining greater knowledge there because they actually did have sorties
7 with weapons, Mr. Saxon. I have to see which period this refers to.
8 Well, I cannot see it, actually.
9 Q. General Skrbic, this document refers to the training of a group
10 of soldiers from Sarajevo-Romanija Corps who travelled to Batajnica near
11 Belgrade to receive this training. Do you -- do you understood that?
12 That's what the document says.
13 A. Yes, I agree with that.
14 Q. All right. Now, will you agree that this training would have
15 made these particular military personnel more proficient in the use of
16 this anti-aircraft system?
17 A. Not a single military officer from any army in the world could
18 dispute that for you.
19 Q. And there's no dispute, is there, that becoming more proficient
20 is going to assist one's morale in any military. Isn't that right?
21 A. This kind of simplified conclusion cannot be drawn,
22 unfortunately. It has to be proven. In order to become more morally
23 capable, you have to know something that will affect you, Mr. Saxon. The
24 question is how much the actual soldiers knew about this. I see this
25 document for the very first time in my life. So now if you're going to
1 ask me how training affects morale, it's actually the other way around:
2 How does morale affect training? Where is education inserted into the
3 process? We can discuss that, and I'm prepared to do that. However, if
4 you are going to use general questions to lead me through a specific
5 document, I'm afraid you're going to get logical answers rather than
6 specific ones.
7 Q. If you'll give me one moment, please.
8 Line 63 I asked you --
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: You said line or page?
10 MR. SAXON: Excuse me. Page 63, line 1.
11 Q. I asked you:
12 "One way of improving the morale of soldiers is to provide them
13 with good training. Isn't that right?"
14 Your response was:
15 "Quite right."
16 So are you stepping back from your earlier testimony?
17 A. I'm not stepping back, Mr. Saxon.
18 Q. Okay.
19 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, I note that there is still some time
20 left in this session. However, I probably have at least another session
21 worth of questions, so I'm not going to finish today. As, you know, my
22 back is not a hundred per cent. Would it be possible to adjourn at this
23 moment until Monday?
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: I thought before the break you said your back was
25 fine when I asked you --
1 MR. SAXON: Well, I mean -- I did say that, Your Honour, and I'm
2 prepared to carry on if you want me to carry on. I didn't want to stand
3 there and complain about my back.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: I don't want to make you carry on if you're not
5 feeling well. You say you're not well right now.
6 MR. SAXON: Yes. If you want me to carry on I will, Your Honour.
7 That's fine.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: No. It's not in the nature of this Chamber to
9 force people to do work when they are not in a position to do it,
10 particularly when the reason is related to health.
11 Okay. We will take a break.
12 Unfortunately, then, Mr. Skrbic -- there we have it now -- who is
13 that therapist -- physiotherapist now? He's not here, it would be --
14 MR. SAXON: Despotovic.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Despotovic, okay.
16 Once again, Mr. Skrbic, you are not supposed to talk to anybody
17 about the case until you are excused from testifying, I'll just remind
18 you of that.
19 We will come back to court on Monday, the 21st of June at 9.00 in
20 the morning in the same courtroom. We will take an adjournment until
21 9.00 Monday morning. Court adjourned.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.24 p.m.,
23 to be reconvened on Monday, the 21st day of June, 2010,
24 at 9.00 a.m.