1 Wednesday, 23 June 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning to everybody in and around the
7 courtroom. Mr. Registrar, please call the case.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
9 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-81-T,
10 the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Perisic. Thank you.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Could we have the appearances,
12 starting with the Prosecution.
13 MR. THOMAS: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon to
14 everyone in and around the courtroom. Barney Thomas, and Carmela Javier
15 for the Prosecution.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Thomas. And for the
18 MR. GUY-SMITH: Good afternoon to all. Boris Zorko, Chad Mair,
19 Alex Fielding, and Gregor Guy-Smith appearing on behalf of Mr. Perisic.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Guy-Smith. Good
21 afternoon, Mr. Vuksic.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Just to remind you, Mr.
24 Vuksic, that you are still bound by the declaration you made at the
25 beginning of your testimony to tell the truth, the whole truth, and
1 nothing else but the truth.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I am
3 aware of that, and I will abide by that.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much, Mr. Vuksic. Mr. Guy-Smith.
5 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you.
6 WITNESS: DRAGAN VUKSIC [Resumed]
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 Examination by Mr. Guy-Smith: [Continued]
9 Q. Mr. Vuksic, before we start today, I'd like to enter into an
10 agreement with you, if I could. When I ask you a question, if you could
11 answer the question sometimes with a yes or no as succinctly and as
12 briefly as possible, I'm sure that the Chamber and all the parties here
13 would appreciate it. If you feel the need to explain an answer, of
14 course, you'll have the opportunity to do so and you can ask, but
15 sometimes the answers that you've given have gone into areas which are
16 admittedly well within your purview of knowledge, and it's clear that you
17 have a deep understanding and factual -- of the factual as well as
18 conceptual information. But if you could be briefer, I think it would
19 benefit us all.
20 A. Thank you, Mr. Guy-Smith, for this warning and for the words of
21 recognition that you uttered. I believe that that was due to the form of
22 the questions asked of me and it was almost impossible to answer them
23 with a yes or a no. However, in the future, I will try to be brief and I
24 would appreciate if you would direct me in the right direction.
25 Q. To the extent the fault is mine, I do apologise and I'll try to
1 correct that so that we are able to move ahead in an expeditious a manner
2 as possible.
3 Yesterday in your testimony you mentioned, I believe it was at
4 page 12075, that is Muslim general was wounded during the departure of
5 the JNA from Sarajevo. Do you recall that testimony?
6 A. Yes, that's what I said, but now I can tell you his name. That
7 was General Enes Taso.
8 Q. Thank you. I'd like to spend a moment on an issue that came to
9 mind after you gave us that answer, which is, to your knowledge, could
10 you tell us whether or not the Slovenian army during the war that you
11 were discussing yesterday was comprised of former members of the JNA or
13 A. Yes, it was.
14 Q. With regard to some of the other republics which ultimately
15 became states that you mentioned yesterday, I would ask you the same
16 question, if you know. With regard to the army of Croatia, were the
17 officers and soldiers of that army former members of the JNA?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. With regard to the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, would you give
20 us the same response, and by that I mean that the officers and soldiers
21 of that army were former members of the JNA?
22 A. Yes, I can give you the same answer, yes, they were.
23 Q. And with regard to Montenegro, would that be the same? Would
24 your answer be the same?
25 A. Yes, it would, only I would say that Montenegro didn't have its
1 independent army at the time that we're talking about. It formed its own
2 army only later, but in that army there are Serbs and members of other
3 ethnic groups from the former Yugoslavia as well.
4 Q. And since you've mentioned the issue of Serbs and other ethnic
5 groups, prior to the break-up of Yugoslavia, would it be fair to say that
6 the army, that being the JNA, was a multi-ethnic army and the officers --
7 let me first of all ask you that question. Would it be fair to say that
8 the army was a multi-ethnic army?
9 A. Yes, it was a multi-ethnic army, and the primary task of the
10 organ of the league of communists of Yugoslavia, then a single party
11 state, was for it not to be only multi-ethnic but to have all members of
12 all nationalities and national communities be proportionally represented.
13 Q. Thank you for that expansion of your answer. I think it does
15 With regard to the leadership of these armies, each of the armies
16 that we've now discussed, by that to make sure that we are together, the
17 Croatian army, the Bosnia-Herzegovina army, and the Slovenian army, the
18 leadership of each of those armies comprised of former JNA officers, if
19 you know?
20 A. Well, they were member of the Yugoslav People's Army, so both in
21 the army and the leadership of Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina
22 featured such members.
23 Q. Thank you. Now, I believe that we left off in your testimony
24 actually in 1992, if we were to put a chronological time on it. And what
25 I'd like to know very briefly is, from 1992, did your position change in
1 the army with regard to your duties as being what I would call the
2 contact person for western organisations and military attaches?
3 A. Starting from 1992 until the end of 1993, I was first with the
4 JNA operations group for liaising with international organisations. That
5 was a temporary organisation which later on became a permanent
6 organisation and was renamed administration for liaisons with
7 international organisations. In addition to changing the name of this
8 organisation, my duties were also altered, not essentially, but just
9 formally at first, I was deputy chief and then I was only assistant
10 chief, although I continued to do the same job.
11 Q. Very well. So your title changed, but your responsibilities
12 remained the same; is that a fair recapitulation of what you just said?
13 A. Yes. I did the same job but my position was somewhat lower. A
14 deputy is higher than an assistant, according to the rules in force at
15 the time. Therefore, I was not promoted in the meantime, actually, I was
16 demoted as it were.
17 Q. I understand. And thereafter did you remain in that particular
18 administration, that is the administration in which you were involved in
19 the operations group for liaising with international operations, or did
20 you move to another duty within the VJ?
21 A. At my own proposal, this organisational unit in which I was then
22 was merged with the department for liaisons with international
23 representatives. Towards the end of 1993, an administration was formed
24 for liaising with foreign military representatives and international
1 Q. We can stop there for a moment. You say "at my own proposal,"
2 who was this proposal made to?
3 THE INTERPRETER: Mr. Guy-Smith, could you please turn off your
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I presented this proposal to the
6 Chief of General Staff, General Momcilo Perisic, while he visited the
7 administration for liaising with international organisations. The
8 reasons I stated was that all the duties relating to foreign affairs
9 should be concentrated in one organisation alone and then that would be a
10 more efficient and cost-effective way of doing things.
11 Q. And I take it from the answer that you gave at line 23, which is
12 an administration was formed for liaising with foreign military
13 representatives and international organisations, that at that time
14 General Perisic agreed with your proposal?
15 A. Yes, that's correct.
16 Q. With the new responsibilities in that administration, that being
17 liaising with foreign military representatives, did you have an increase
18 in your title, were you promoted, did your position change, or did you
19 maintain the same position within this new administration?
20 A. I was appointed head of this newly-formed administration. I was
21 given a higher salary group equal to that of a general, but I didn't get
22 the position of a general. Therefore, certain things in my status
23 changed, but they were not significant changes.
24 Q. And could you tell us how long you remained in this position as
25 head of the newly-formed administration?
1 A. I remained in that position for exactly three years, that is to
2 say until the end of 1997.
3 Q. And in 1997 when you ceased being the -- involved as the head in
4 that particular administration, what were your duties, sir?
5 A. Well, at my request, my personal request, I was transferred -- or
6 actually, I asked to be transferred to a different duty. A decision was
7 then made that the best solution would be for me to be the military envoy
8 accredited in West Germany, and then in the Netherlands. For that
9 purpose, I was transferred to the intelligence administration of the
10 General Staff in order to be prepared for assuming a new duty.
11 Q. And how long did you remain in this position?
12 A. I was a military envoy from August 1998 until the 24th of March,
13 1999, when NATO-armed intervention against Yugoslavia began.
14 Q. Thereafter did you remain in the military or -- excuse me. And
15 thereafter did you remain in the military?
16 A. After diplomatic relations were unilaterally severed between my
17 government, the government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with the
18 USA, the UK, France, and the Federal Republic of Germany as a diplomat, I
19 had to go back home. These relations were unilaterally severed by the
20 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
21 Q. And after you went back home, you remained in the military for
22 some period of time, I take it. What were your duties at that point in
24 A. After my return on the 27th of March, I reported to my superior
25 and asked him what to do. I was told not to do anything, and to wait.
1 Q. After a period of waiting, were you then re-assigned to some new
3 A. After the bombing campaign stopped and the Kumanovo agreement was
4 signed, which provided for the stoppage of the bombing, the Yugoslav Army
5 and all other Yugoslav authorities withdrew from Kosovo, I contemplated
6 my status because I was still not assigned any kind of duty. Therefore,
7 I decided to do something that I had been pondering for a very long time
8 before that, and that is to leave the army and not to have anything to do
9 as an active-duty soldier in what had been happening in Yugoslavia for a
10 long time. I asked for an immediate retirement.
11 Q. And did you retire from the army?
12 A. Well, I filed my application on the 26th or 27th of July, 1999,
13 and on that same day that application was published in the daily
14 newspaper called "Blic."
15 Q. Sorry, I'm going to interrupt. You we will get to that
16 particular issue further down the line. Right now I'm just trying to get
17 a chronological understanding of your employment history.
18 I take it that you retired from the army in 1999; is that
20 A. Yes, I retired in early September 1999, and thereby my membership
21 in the VJ ceased.
22 Q. And after you retired from the army in 1999, what did you occupy
23 yourself with next?
24 A. As a retired army officer, or rather, a free citizen, which I
25 should have been in any normal democratic country, I felt the need to
1 become involved in politics.
2 Q. [Overlapping speakers] ... to become involved in politics, sir?
3 A. Yes, that's correct.
4 Q. And what party did you become involved with in terms of your
5 political endeavours?
6 A. Since at the time General Perisic was also retired, he
7 established a movement -- the movement for a democratic Serbia. We got
8 together and we agreed that I should join his political party. Later on,
9 this party became a member of the democratic opposition of Serbia which
10 consisted of 18 political parties.
11 Q. And with regard to your involvement in politics, were you or were
12 you not elected to any offices as a member of this particular party, the
13 movement for democratic Serbia?
14 A. Yes, although that was not my primary goal, I became a member of
15 the Main Board and the Presidency of the party.
16 Q. Were you at any point elected to a national post?
17 A. No. That was not even possible. Before the democratic
18 opposition of Serbia took power we didn't have any kind of body, but one
19 could say that it was the Presidency of the coalition of the 18 parties
20 and the Presidency was made up of the chairman of these political
22 Q. Thank you. I'm going to -- could you tell us what -- what years
23 you were involved in politics?
24 A. I was publicly and actively involved in politics as of September
25 1999, and it lasted until the fall of Milosevic's government, and beyond
1 that, that is to say late 2000 and the beginning of 2001. In that
2 capacity I was an MP in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.
3 Q. And while you were an MP in the national Republic of Serbia in
4 late 2000 and the beginning of 2001, did you have occasion to have any
5 conversations with any members of the Office of the Prosecutor concerning
6 matters pending at the ICTY?
7 A. I had an opportunity to meet a representative of The Hague
8 Tribunal in Belgrade, Mr. Dejan Mihov. This meeting took place at his
9 initiative. He explained to me that certain individuals, representatives
10 of the Tribunal, would like to talk to me and that they would explain the
11 reasons for that. He asked me if I was willing to do that, and I said
12 that I was.
13 Q. After that did you have occasion to meet with any members of the
14 Office of the Prosecutor for the ICTY?
15 A. Yes, I met with representatives of the Tribunal, but I can't tell
16 you their names nor their titles. We met -- I can't remember exactly,
17 but I think in early 2001 in the Assembly building of the Republic of
18 Serbia. And we talked for about two hours.
19 Q. When you say you met in the Assembly building, that is the
20 building where you had been -- where you served, where you had an office
21 as a result of your involvement in the political party that you've spoken
22 about; correct?
23 A. Yes. Yes, we met in my office, in my capacity as a national
25 Q. Could you tell us -- you said you met for two hours. Did you
1 meet with these people once or twice or three times? Could you tell us
2 how many times you met with them?
3 A. At least once, I believe, that would be the most accurate answer.
4 I'm not sure about any other meetings.
5 Q. As a result of the meeting that you had with these individuals,
6 were you ever furnished with a copy of any statement or notes with regard
7 to what transpired during that meeting?
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Shouldn't you be asking the witness what happened
9 in the meeting rather than telling him whether he was furnished with
11 MR. GUY-SMITH: I'm asking if he was furnished with copies of
12 what happened at the meeting, I'm not talking about what happened at the
13 meeting, just if he was furnished with any information. With a copy.
14 The only question is whether he was furnished with a copy of any
15 statement or notes.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: The minutes of the meeting.
17 MR. GUY-SMITH: Yes, that's all I'm asking.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I never met anyone from the
19 ICTY again, nor indeed was I given any source of document whatsoever, and
20 for that matter I did not sign anything at all that had to do with our
22 MR. GUY-SMITH:
23 Q. And to this date, have you ever been supplied with any
24 memorialisation in any form whatsoever the meeting which you had at your
25 office at the parliament building concerning your contact with the Office
1 of the Prosecutor?
2 A. No.
3 Q. I now wish to go back in time, and specifically back to 1993, and
4 the subject matter that I'm going to be raising with you is specifically
5 the subject matter of NordBat and the Pancevo barracks. And if I
6 could -- first of all, could you explain to the Chamber, if you know,
7 what does NordBat stand for?
8 A. The abbreviation stands for the Nordic Battalion, as you have
9 pointed out already. This was a mixed unit comprising members of the
10 armies of Sweden, Finland, and Norway.
11 Q. And when did you first become aware of NordBat or the Nordic
13 A. I believe the first time I came across NordBat was when the UN
14 Security Council decided to dispatch peacekeeping forces to Macedonia.
15 These were then called UNPREDEP, United Nations Preventive Forces. That
16 was in the north of Macedonia, right next to the Yugoslav border, and
17 that was where NordBat was deployed. I believe this was sometime in
18 1993. The next time I came across a peacekeeping unit called that was
19 when NordBat came to the UNPROFOR base in Pancevo and stayed there for
20 awhile. They were then supposed to be deployed somewhere in
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina next.
22 Q. Let me stop you there for a moment. When the NordBat came to the
23 UNPROFOR base in Pancevo, whose base was that, the Pancevo base?
24 A. UNPROFOR made a request at the Pancevo base to have a barracks
25 made available to them for their use. As far as we understood, this was
1 the logistics base of the UN peacekeeping forces, UNPROFOR.
2 Q. When you say that UNPROFOR made a request to have barracks made
3 available to them, who did they make that request to?
4 A. The UNPROFOR command followed a directive that had arrived from
5 New York, whereupon the UNPROFOR command submitted a request to the
6 federal government of Yugoslavia.
7 Q. And after the request by UNPROFOR command was submitted to the
8 federal government of Yugoslavia, do you know whether or not an agreement
9 was entered into between UNPROFOR or any other international organisation
10 and the federal government of Yugoslavia with regard to use of the
11 Pancevo barracks for United Nations peacekeeping forces?
12 A. Yes. The request was given due consideration as a matter of
13 regular procedure under such circumstances as prevailed at the time.
14 There existed a federal body for relations with the peacekeeping forces
15 and missions. The body was called federal committee. It was the federal
16 committee for liaison or relations, I can't remember which it was, with
17 peacekeeping forces and missions in the territory of Yugoslavia.
18 Q. Was this federal committee part of the military or part of some
19 other organ of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia?
20 A. No, the federal committee was an organ of the federal government.
21 It comprised specially appointed state officials or representatives from
22 other government departments. Foreign affairs, defence, justice,
23 interior, and so on and so forth. Therefore, the defence ministry, the
24 General Staff in the Army of Yugoslavia were but one of the sectors that
25 were to be represented in that committee.
1 MR. GUY-SMITH: Mr. Registrar, if we could please have up on the
2 screen P372.
3 Q. Mr. Vuksic, if you would be so kind as to turn to your binder and
4 go to tab number 1.
5 MR. GUY-SMITH: I believe that we may need to be in private
6 session for this.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
8 [Private session]
9 THE REGISTRAR: We are in private session, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Registrar. And I
11 believe, Mr. Guy-Smith, that your opposite number does have a copy of the
12 document that Mr. Vuksic is going to look at in his binder?
13 MR. GUY-SMITH: Most assuredly.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
15 MR. GUY-SMITH: And he's had an opportunity to also look at the
16 binder that Mr. Vuksic has been supplied with. And I don't think we have
17 any of those kinds of difficulties, and if we do, I'm sure we'll be able
18 to work them out during the recess.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
20 MR. GUY-SMITH:
21 Q. I'd like you to take a look at this document, if you could,
22 please, and I would like to direct your attention to paragraph number 1
23 initially, and then to paragraph number 3.
24 Now, my question to you, sir, is first of all, were you aware of
25 the fact that there was a meeting between General Cot, General Perisic,
1 General Mladic, and General Novakovic in Belgrade on the 25th September,
2 1993? Excuse me, let me rephrase that. Were you aware of the fact that
3 there were meetings between these gentlemen? My question was badly
5 A. I wasn't aware of this meeting at the time it was held.
6 Q. Very well. With regard to paragraph 3, the second sentence
8 "The contentious issue of the Pancevo barracks was also
10 And I'm wondering whether you can shed any light with regard to
11 what the contentious issue was with regard to Pancevo barracks on the
12 25th of September, 1993?
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: I have some difficulty, Mr. Guy-Smith. The
14 witness has just told us that he wasn't aware of these meetings. He
15 obviously was not part of this meeting itself. How is he supposed to
16 know what was being discussed in that meeting?
17 MR. GUY-SMITH: That's not -- I've asked the question a slightly
18 different way. I'm asking him whether or not he was aware of a
19 contentious issue with regard to Pancevo barracks. Whether or not he was
20 at the meeting or not, he still could be aware of the contentious issue.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Isn't that a question that could have been asked
22 even without showing him the document? If you show him the document and
23 the document mentions a contentious issues then at least he must -- it is
24 a specific issue that you want him to talk about, the one that is in the
1 MR. GUY-SMITH: That's true.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: But if you just think that he may know of any
3 contentious issue that surrounded the Pancevo barracks, that question can
4 be put without the document being used.
5 MR. GUY-SMITH: Well, to the the extent that a contentious issue
6 was discussed at this time I thought it would be of help and also it
7 guides the witness and it limits and it focuses his testimony. That was
8 my intent. I'm happy to ask more free-floating questions, but I think
9 the consequences of that is self-evident.
10 Q. But taking your position in mind, were you aware of the fact of
11 there being any contentious issues at all with regard to Pancevo barracks
12 in September of 1993?
13 A. Yes, I --
14 Q. Stop right there. Stop right there.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. What were you aware of?
17 A. I was aware of the dispute concerning the Pancevo barracks being
18 returned to the VJ by the international peacekeeping forces since the
19 compound was leased to them to be used over a single year. The year was
20 now out and I supposed General Perisic raised this contentious issue with
21 the objective of having the compound returned to the VJ.
22 Q. Is the issue of having the compound returned to the VJ a matter
23 that you discussed in your capacity with any members of international
24 organisations, for example, UNPROFOR independent of what General Perisic
25 may have done?
1 A. Yes, this was an issue that was raised several times during
2 several talks that I had with all these representatives that you
4 Q. And what was the nature of the discussion? What were the issues
5 that were involved apart from the issue of returning the barracks?
6 A. The problem had two aspects to it. The first, whether Pancevo
7 barracks should be returned or handed over. And the second, if UNPROFOR
8 still needed a compound to be made available to them in Serbia or
9 Belgrade, then we were to find another compound that we would allow them
10 to use. This problem was successfully tackled at a later date. The
11 other problem was that this compound that had been used by UNPROFOR for a
12 year now had to be brought back to its original condition in order to be
13 used as before. It is only natural that there was some wear and tear
14 during the year the compound was being used by UNPROFOR.
15 Q. And I take it that at that point in time, and I'm asking the
16 question in 1993 in the September, that that issue was resolved?
17 A. The first aspect was not something that was open to challenge.
18 We believed it was our duty to make ourselves available to the UN
19 peacekeeping forces because to begin with, they were there at the
20 proposal of the previous Presidency of the SFRY, so you might say they
21 had been invited by the Serbian side, under quotation marks simply
22 because I'm at a loss for a better piece of phrasing.
23 Q. And with regard to the second aspect, was that matter resolved
24 then, since you said the first aspect was something not open to
1 A. The second aspect was also beyond dispute. There was some
2 confusion at the outset. Some members of the VJ believed that this
3 should be a textbook situation where someone was leasing a flat to
4 someone else and now this other person was supposed to pay the rent.
5 That's how they pictured the whole situation. And it took some time
6 before the hotheads in the army understood that it was impossible to have
7 relations like that with any peacekeeping missions or the UN, and that no
8 rent such as we knew it would be paid.
9 Nevertheless, they were, on the other hand, prepared to review or
10 assess any damage that might have come about and look for a way to have
11 some sort of indemnity paid to the VJ for any damage incurred. Once that
12 had been understood, we took relatively little time finding a natural
14 Q. To your knowledge, was payment ever made for the use of the
15 Pancevo barracks?
16 A. I know that for a fact.
17 Q. Excuse me, let me stop you there. Can you tell us when payment
18 was made --
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: He hasn't said payment was made. He says he does
20 know whether payment --
21 MR. GUY-SMITH: He knows that for a fact [Microphone not
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for counsel, please. Microphone for
25 MR. GUY-SMITH:
1 "Q. To your knowledge was payment ever made for the use of the
2 Pancevo barracks?
3 "A. I know that for a fact.
4 "Q. Excuse me --
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: I know whether it was paid or not. The next
6 question, logical question, is, was it or was it not?
7 MR. GUY-SMITH: Very well.
8 Q. Was it or was it not?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. [Overlapping speakers] ...
11 A. The best part of the payment or rather the highest amount that we
12 received from the UN was a cheque written out to $900.000 brought to
13 Belgrade by Mr. Kofi Annan in person, who at the time was assistant
14 Secretary-General for peacekeeping operations. I'm not sure if I'm
15 entirely right about his precise position.
16 MR. GUY-SMITH: We can go out of private session.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into open session.
18 [Open session]
19 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Guy-Smith.
21 MR. GUY-SMITH:
22 Q. And do you know who the cheque for $900.000 that was bought by
23 Mr. Kofi Annan was delivered to?
24 A. The cheque was delivered to the administration of which I was
25 then head. It was in our finance department that the cheque was
1 received. Quite simply, by way of clarification, I was at the time a
2 member of the Dayton delegation, so I wasn't physically in Belgrade at
3 the time, and my deputy was acting on my behalf.
4 Q. So if you were not physically in Belgrade at the time --
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Thomas.
6 MR. THOMAS: Apologies to my learned friend, I'm not objecting,
7 Your Honours. I just wonder if now that we are in open session the
8 document can be taken off the screen, please.
9 MR. GUY-SMITH: Yes, my apologies.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the document please be removed from the
12 MR. GUY-SMITH:
13 Q. So if you were not physically in Belgrade at the time, how did
14 you become aware of the payment made by the United Nations to you for the
15 use of the Pancevo barracks by the -- by UNPROFOR?
16 A. Well, that's pretty clear-cut. When the director of a company or
17 the head of a department in the military comes back from somewhere, then
18 his subordinates tend to inform him on anything of substance that may
19 have happened over that period. The only thing I can say is that I was
20 quite happy to be informed about that specifically.
21 Q. That deals with one aspect of the issue in 1993, that being
22 Pancevo barracks at one level, and the other aspect of the matter that we
23 were going to be discussing was that of NordBat. Did there come a time
24 in the fall of 1993 when you were contacted by anyone in the VJ
25 concerning the NordBat Battalion?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Okay. And when you say "no," as you sit here today, do you
3 recall if there were any problems as a result of the NordBat Battalion
4 being in Belgrade?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Could you describe what those problems were?
7 A. NordBat was not a problem in itself. Its arrival was not a
8 problem and the time it spent there was no problem at all, well, not for
9 awhile, that's understood. What was the problem then? The problem
10 occurred at the logistics base of UNPROFOR at the Pancevo barracks. A
11 total of 16 tanks and 34 APCs arrived there - I'm not sure about the
12 figures - which caused quite a great amount of commotion.
13 Q. And why did this cause a great amount of commotion, if you know?
14 A. In my capacity as administration head and as a member of the
15 federal committee for relations with international peacekeeping forces
16 missions, and so on and so forth, I should have known about weapons of
17 that calibre arriving anywhere in the territory of the FRY.
18 Nevertheless, I did not get to know this through our regular procedure,
19 rather, I was informed by an officer from my administration off the
20 record. He simply happened to tell me, and I never heard about that
22 Q. When you say that you were informed by an officer in your
23 administration off the record, what do you mean by "off the record" here?
24 A. Perhaps I didn't phrase that adequately. Each time a superior
25 talks to one of his subordinates in an office, it's always official as
1 long as they are talking about something that falls within the purview of
2 that unit. Nevertheless, as I said, I should have been informed before
3 the weapons ever turned up in Pancevo. Nevertheless, I wasn't.
4 Q. And when you say you should have been informed before the weapons
5 turned up in Pancevo, could you tell us who you should have been informed
7 A. We should have been informed of that through our regular channels
8 at one of the sessions of the committee for relations with international
9 peacekeeping forces and missions. However, that was not discussed at
10 such a meeting.
11 Q. Apart from receiving this information from a subordinate, did you
12 have any further discussions with anyone within the VJ concerning the
13 arrival of these particular weapons?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And who was that?
16 A. The next conversation was with General Momcilo Perisic, the Chief
17 of Staff.
18 Q. Could you please relate to us how that conversation occurred?
19 A. Yes, I can. One does not forget that easily. He called me via
20 our red phone line, and I knew immediately who was on the other end. He
21 asked me what I was doing and I told him well, I was -- I'm going about
22 my tasks. And he said, well, it doesn't seem to be the case. Did you
23 know that in Pancevo there are foreign tanks and APCs?
24 Q. And what did you respond when he asked you that question?
25 A. I responded to him by saying that officially I had not been
1 informed, but that unofficially I was aware of it. He asked me to
2 explain and I told him that I had not received anything through our
3 official channels, through the federal committee, that is, but that I was
4 told that by our liaison officer at the logistics base in Pancevo
5 informed me of that.
6 Q. Was that the end of the conversation then?
7 A. General Perisic asked me if I was certain of that. I responded
8 positively. And then he asked me whether I was aware of anyone in the VJ
9 being aware of this or having considered this beforehand. I told him I
10 had no such knowledge and that I was doubtful as to anyone from the VJ
11 giving an approval for that given that no one had the authority to. He
12 then responded by saying, well, are you aware that we now have a problem.
13 And I said that I supposed as much.
14 Q. What was the problem that you now had considering that these
15 weapons were at the Pancevo barracks belonging to NordBat?
16 A. The problem was in ascertaining who gave approval, or rather, who
17 was to blame for that event.
18 Q. And above and beyond trying to determine responsibility for the
19 event, did you discuss there being any other problems with regard to
20 these particular weapons?
21 A. During that conversation, we did not discuss any other problems.
22 However, given the fact that there were tanks and APCs in Pancevo, we
23 concluded it by General Perisic asking me what we were to do next. I
24 said that it was my proposal to ask for an inquiry to try to establish
25 facts about who had given an approval.
1 Q. With regard to the inquiry, do you know if such an inquiry was
2 undergone -- I'm sorry, undertaken?
3 A. I don't think so.
4 Q. And with regard to the weapons themselves, do you know where
5 those weapons were destined to go?
6 A. Yes, it was known that those weapons were supposed to be
7 transported out of the FRY and into Bosnia-Herzegovina to be deployed in
8 the Tuzla area. What does that mean? Well, I'm afraid I cannot tell you
9 anything more precisely and I haven't pondered a lot about that.
10 Q. With regard to the weapons being transported out of the Federal
11 Republic of Yugoslavia and into the Bosnia-Herzegovina to be deployed in
12 the Tuzla area, were the weapons going to be crossing any borders or
14 A. Certainly. The weapons had to cross what one could have referred
15 to as the border between the FRY and Bosnia-Herzegovina, although it may
16 not have been the case at all times.
17 Q. And with regard to that crossing of that border, are you aware of
18 there being any resistance on the other side to those weapons being
19 transported to Tuzla?
20 A. Yes. The issue of the weapons and the territory of the FRY got a
21 different dimension. It was no longer the question of what will happen
22 with it, but also who was to blame for those weapons entering the
23 territory of the FRY, but I am afraid that I cannot shed any further
24 light as to the results of the inquiry. It was our conclusion that
25 perhaps those weapons were to go in two different directions in order to
1 leave the FRY. First --
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: May I interrupt you, Mr. Vuksic. Please try to
3 listen to the question and try to answer the question as succinctly as
4 you possibly can. The question is whether there was any resistance on
5 the other side to those weapons being transported to Tuzla. Your answer
6 is going to be yes there was, or no there was not, or I don't know, very
7 short and concise.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honour. You are
9 correct. Yes, there was resistance.
10 MR. GUY-SMITH:
11 Q. And do you know where that resistance came from?
12 A. That resistance came from Republika Srpska and its military and
13 political leadership.
14 Q. Was that issue to your knowledge, and by that I mean the
15 deployment of NordBat and the movement of those weapons, ever resolved?
16 A. Yes, it was. Although I cannot tell you exactly when, however, I
17 can tell you it happened within a reasonable amount of time, given that
18 the military and political leadership of Republika Srpska finally gave
19 their consent for the weapons to be transported into the territory of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, although I don't know whether that was supposed to
21 take place in Republika Srpska itself, the area of Tuzla may and may not
22 necessarily be within Republika Srpska.
23 Q. You indicated that it happened --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
25 MR. GUY-SMITH:
1 Q. You indicated that it happened within a reasonable amount of
2 time. My last question to you with regard to this issue is, do you
3 recall if that happened within the calendar year 1993 that this matter
4 was resolved?
5 A. Yes, it did.
6 MR. GUY-SMITH: I'm going to be moving on to another topic, Your
7 Honours. I note the time. I suggest that we stop now as opposed to
8 moving on it to a new topic.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Guy-Smith. We'll take a break now
10 and come back at 4.00. Court adjourned.
11 --- Recess taken at 3.26 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 4.00 p.m.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Guy-Smith.
14 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you.
15 Q. Between the times that we were referring to, that being September
16 of 1993 and December of 1993, do you recall there being any other
17 incidents of protest by UNPROFOR concerning matters that affected FRY,
18 specifically the VJ and, I'm at this point referring to an incident at a
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And what incident would that be, sir?
22 A. That incident took place at a bridge close to Batina. Certain
23 people stopped some international representatives and treated them
24 improperly or roughly, at least that was the initial information I
1 MR. GUY-SMITH: If we could go into -- I don't think we need to,
2 actually. If you could pull up 27D.
3 Q. And if you could go to your binder, sir, that would be tab number
4 8. We are waiting for something to be pulled up on the screen. Now, I'd
5 like you to review the letter and, first of all, I would ask you, do you
6 recognise this letter?
7 A. Certainly I do. I recognise the letter on the left-hand side of
8 the screen since I signed it.
9 Q. And is this a letter that deals with the issue that you mentioned
10 a moment before, that being of the Batina bridge?
11 A. Yes. It was a letter of the Chief of Staff of the General Staff
12 of VJ, which was drafted based on the letter I sent to the Chief of
13 General Staff, or rather, to his office.
14 Q. Just so we are clear, could you turn to tab 7 in your binder. Is
15 that the letter that you wrote to the Chief of the General Staff?
16 MR. GUY-SMITH: I think he was on the wrong tab, Mr. Thomas.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, that is correct.
18 MR. GUY-SMITH:
19 Q. Now, in this letter, you indicate that in your opinion -- it
21 "In our opinion, the protest is a means of putting pressure on
22 the FRY in the spirit of Resolution 871 and this case could turn very
23 serious if international factors think it necessary."
24 Could you please explain to us what you meant by that?
25 A. Given that a letter had arrived from UNPROFOR commander General
1 Cot, it was of multiple significance. The VJ was asked to do something
2 it could not.
3 Q. And what was it being asked to do that it could not?
4 A. It was asked that we control in full the so-called border, and
5 any movement of people between the then UN protected sector and the FRY.
6 When I say "we" I mean the Army of Yugoslavia. This could have escalated
7 in different ways. For example, General Cot, UNPROFOR commander, could
8 assign greater or lesser importance to it, meaning in turn that in the UN
9 or one might say in New York that case could cause more or less friction.
10 Nothing before that time or after that, or at least very few things could
11 have been unilaterally -- sorry, not unilaterally, unambiguously
12 interpreted when borders were in question. And what were the tasks of
13 what side and whether a particular side can meet a request especially
14 within a dead-line. This is a problem we had throughout that period.
15 Q. Let me ask you a specific question with regard to the answer
16 you've given. You say it was asked that we control in full the so-called
17 border. Why was the VJ not in a position to control in full the
18 so-called border?
19 A. If we are talking about borders in the standard meaning of the
20 term, the military never controlled the entire borderline, only the
21 stretches between official border crossings. At the official border
22 crossings, there was the police as well as customs.
23 Q. With regard to the incident that is being referred to here, that
24 being the incident at the Batina bridge, based on what you've just said
25 is a fact that that was a bridge something that affected jurisdiction of
1 the VJ with regard to being able to control that area or not? And I'm
2 assuming in my question that a bridge is an area can be used to cross a
4 A. You are correct. One cannot answer that question without being
5 familiar with the situation in the FRY and the region as a whole,
6 generally speaking. When the situation in the FRY is in question, the VJ
7 had numerous problems because political authorities, and I might need to
8 mention a particular name, and that is Slobodan Milosevic, had not only
9 their official channels but also unofficial channels of conditionally
10 speaking running the country and the administration. If I become even
11 more specific, I would dare say that the military was not Milosevic's
12 pet, quite the contrary. To say the least, he didn't like it and I
13 believe he even hated it. And the same applied to the former JNA. He
14 was much more in favour of the police and different other, I'd say,
15 para-military organisations that he issued tasks to, or at least he
16 turned a blind eye.
17 Q. If I might interject now. Irrespective of Milosevic's position
18 with regard to the VJ, were you aware of there being any laws that dealt
19 with crossing state borders and movement in the border areas that
20 directly affected the VJ's ability to control a border crossing such as
21 the bridge at Batina?
22 A. Part of what I have said in terms of the existing relationships
23 is something I need to reiterate. What laws there existed at the time
24 applied to what may and may not have been the border is something I can't
25 say. I can only speak about facts and what the situation was in the
1 field. That situation was not favourable to the army as an organised --
2 Q. Excuse me, Mr. Vuksic, both His Honour and I are suggest that you
3 stop for the moment because you are not responding to the question that
4 I've asked.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Vuksic, the question is simply this: Was
6 there anything, either in law or in fact, that prevented the VJ from
7 controlling the border post if there was one on the bridge Batina? Your
8 answer is, yes, there was something that could prevent it from
9 controlling; no, there was nothing that could prevent us, or I don't
10 know. It's a very simple question, Mr. Vuksic, please let us try to stay
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I cannot
13 answer that question in a brief way with a simple yes or no.
14 MR. GUY-SMITH:
15 Q. Let's see if I can be of some assistance to you.
16 MR. GUY-SMITH: Could we please have up on the screen D204.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before we do that, Mr. Guy-Smith, what do you want
18 to do with 27D?
19 MR. GUY-SMITH: Could we have that admitted, please.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
21 please be given an exhibit number.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
23 Exhibit D357. Thank you.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
25 MR. GUY-SMITH: And thank you, Your Honour, for reminding me.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: You are most welcome.
2 MR. GUY-SMITH:
3 Q. And that would be tab number 35 in your binder. 35, sir. Don't
4 look at the screen, look at your binder. Look at tab number 35.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Would the counsel please switch off his
6 microphone when not using it. Thank you.
7 MR. GUY-SMITH:
8 Q. And focusing your attention on paragraph 2, which discusses
9 Article 48 of the Law on Crossing the State Border and Movement in the
10 Border Area, are you aware of that being a law with regard to the
11 jurisdiction of the various organisations at the FRY?
12 A. Yes, I am aware of it.
13 Q. And with regard --
14 A. And this is probably correct.
15 Q. And with regard to the issue of who controlled the movement in
16 stay of persons in the border area inside populated places in border
17 crossings, can you tell the Chamber who had the jurisdiction to control
18 those areas?
19 A. As I said, any official border crossings were controlled by the
20 police and customs. The Army of Yugoslavia was tasked with controlling
21 areas outside designated border crossings, that is to say, the areas in
22 between the different border crossings.
23 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you. I do believe this has been previously
24 admitted as an exhibit.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Indeed, sir, you said it is D204.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Marked for identification. The document was
2 marked for identification at the time.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's fine.
4 MR. GUY-SMITH: Then I maintain the position. I'm not moving it
5 in at this point obviously. There's some translation issues that I think
6 that may exist with it. So let's leave it at that.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Except that I'm not sure whether I understand the
8 answer to be consistent with the letter, with the document. The document
9 seems to be saying it is -- that paragraph 2 that you referred to seems
10 to be tasking the army units to look after the borders and not the police
11 as I suspect was the answer from the witness. As I said, any official
12 border crossings were controlled by the police and customs.
13 MR. GUY-SMITH: Right, and if you look at the -- at this document
14 it says that the border army unit shall secure the state border and
15 control the movement and stay of persons in the border area, and then
16 it's qualified specifically, outside populated places in border
17 crossings. So the question is within populated places and border
18 crossings, who had the jurisdiction, because this deals with an area that
19 is outside of populated places and border, crossings, and it's specific
20 in that regard. That's what I was driving at, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
22 MR. GUY-SMITH: Sure.
23 Q. Now, a moment ago when we were discussing the incident you said
24 that -- and now if you could turn to tab 8 in your binder. I'd like you
25 to take a look at this which is 26 --
1 MR. GUY-SMITH: Let me double-check something, Your Honour, I
2 seem to be calling these up in a wrong fashion.
3 [Defence counsel confer]
4 MR. GUY-SMITH: 65 ter 26D. 65 ter 26D, which is going to be, I
5 believe, tab 13 in your binder. I'm sorry, tab 8 in your binder.
7 Q. I think you're there. You're there. I can see it from here.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Okay. This is a -- are you familiar with this letter? This is a
10 letter that was written by General Perisic to President Lilic. If you
11 are familiar with the letter, fine; if not, so be it.
12 A. No, I didn't know about this letter.
13 Q. Okay, very good. Were you aware of any discussion with regard to
14 the Batina bridge incident about a group of armed individuals who
15 belonged to Deputy Raznjatovic?
16 A. I was aware of that.
17 Q. And from whence did you obtain that information concerning this
19 A. At the time -- at the time in Sector East in one of the Serb
20 populated sectors that were under the protection of the UN forces, the
21 liaison between the forces deployed there, i.e., the Russian and Belgian
22 Battalions, there were two or three liaison officers stationed there
23 permanently who had come from the administration that I headed. Their
24 task was not to monitor this or similar events, but it was inevitable
25 that they become aware of such incidents either immediately as they
1 happened or subsequently, and it was those officers who informed me about
2 this incident.
3 Q. Do you know how this incident was ultimately --
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
5 MR. GUY-SMITH:
6 Q. Do you know how this incident was ultimately resolved internally?
7 A. I couldn't say that because I don't know.
8 Q. Fair enough. In 1993, did you have conversations with General
9 Perisic concerning the importance of involving other world leaders in
10 discussions about peace negotiations?
11 A. Not directly.
12 MR. GUY-SMITH: I'm going to show you another document and see
13 whether or not you recognise the document, or in the alternative
14 recognise the incident that is being discussed in that document. And if
15 we could have --
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before you have it, what do you want to do with
18 MR. GUY-SMITH: Well, I'd like to have it admitted, but I don't
19 know whether there would be any objection, and I think there may be some
20 foundational issue.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sure. What do you want to do?
22 MR. GUY-SMITH: Then at that point I can't move it for its
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: You can't move it.
25 MR. GUY-SMITH: I can't move for its admission because I have a
1 foundational problem.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: So you want to withdraw it?
3 MR. GUY-SMITH: Yes, I'll withdraw it.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's all I wanted.
5 MR. GUY-SMITH: Okay, fine. Well, I'd like to admit it, I mean,
6 if you wish to have it admitted, but I don't think Mr. Thomas would agree
7 nor would the Chamber. I understand, Your Honour.
8 Q. If you could take a look in your binder at tab number 19, that
9 would be 65 ter 32D. This is a letter that's written on the 17th of
10 December, 1993. The first question is, are you familiar with the letter?
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: The 17th of December or --
12 MR. GUY-SMITH: The letter of the 17th of December, yes. Letter
13 written by General Perisic to Mr. Milosevic.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have never seen this letter
15 before. I mean at the time it was written. This is the first time that
16 I'm seeing it.
17 MR. GUY-SMITH:
18 Q. Okay. Are you aware of Mr. Milosevic receiving a letter from
19 General Perisic concerning the importance of meeting with Boris Yeltsin
20 and President Bill Clinton concerning proposals for the resolution of the
21 Yugoslav crisis?
22 A. I have no reason to suspect that he didn't receive this letter.
23 Q. My question is, my question is, are you aware of efforts made by
24 General Perisic to have President Milosevic engage in this particular
25 behaviour which is to meet with Mr. Yeltsin and Clinton concerning the
1 views of how to reach a peaceful resolution of the crisis?
2 THE INTERPRETER: Would the counsel please switch off his
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know that on several occasions in
5 different ways and in different places and on different occasions we
6 considered what else the Yugoslav Army had do in order to persuade and
7 convince the political leadership to effect or find as soon as possible
8 and at any cost a political solution to the existing problems and to the
9 conflicts that were in progress. I believe that this letter was written
10 precisely with that intention in mind, although if somebody asked me at
11 that time, or if I had seen this letter I would have said that this
12 letter was overly optimistic, and that the recipients might construe this
13 as something that shouldn't concern the Chief of General Staff who was
14 not supposed to interfere with the highest level political decisions.
15 Q. Thank you for your answer. You mentioned that you know that on
16 several occasions in different ways and in different places we considered
17 what else Yugoslav Army had to do. In 1993, can you explain to the
18 Chamber what meetings you had with General Perisic or other members of
19 the VJ with this particular issue in mind, that issue being how to
20 persuade the political leadership to find as soon as possible at any cost
21 a solution to the problems?
22 A. I cannot say that in 1993 I had meetings that were primarily
23 aimed at resolving these issues because it was only in August of 1993
24 that General Perisic became Chief of General Staff of the VJ. I know
25 that he was very busy, that he found it hard to finish his working day
1 because he had so much to do, but one should understand that all the
2 discussions and activities carried out in that respect were somehow
3 overshadowed by the question of what to do in order to bring the
4 developments in Yugoslavia to an end and to get back to normal life in a
5 way for all the people and all the citizens and all ethnicities in
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. GUY-SMITH: Before we go any further I'd move for its
9 admission. I think that we've established a relationship between the
10 witness and the document pursuant to the guide-line 27.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
12 please be given an exhibit number.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
14 Exhibit D358. Thank you.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
16 MR. GUY-SMITH:
17 Q. I'd now like to turn our attention to --
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please.
19 MR. GUY-SMITH:
20 Q. I'd now like to turn our attention to a meeting in which you
21 wrote a report, and if you could at this point look at tab number 21 in
22 your binder, which is 65 ter 1061D, as in David. Have you had an
23 opportunity to look at that document?
24 A. Since I signed this document, I am familiar with this document,
25 of course.
1 Q. And in this document, there are a number of different matters
2 that are being discussed between General Perisic and Commander Cot.
3 First of all, there's an issue, paragraph 1, that deals with problems
4 around the border between FRY and Macedonia, which was raised by General
5 Thomson of UNPROFOR. Can you tell us what you recall with regard to
6 those particular issues, the border issues between FRY and Macedonia that
7 were raised by General Thomson?
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Isn't the paragraph self-explanatory about that,
9 that the paragraph says but he was unable to say what these problems were
10 or why they occurred?
11 MR. GUY-SMITH: Well, dealing with -- Mr. Vuksic said on occasion
12 he has more to say, which is the reason I'm asking the question.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: But he is the author of this document.
14 MR. GUY-SMITH: I understand, Your Honour. I'm well aware of
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: You think he may have more information --
17 MR. GUY-SMITH: He may, he may not.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: He may have more information than he had then.
19 MR. GUY-SMITH: He may.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Go ahead.
21 MR. GUY-SMITH:
22 Q. Yes, sir?
23 A. Yes, I can say that I was very much involved in following these
24 problems and that I invested all my powers and efforts in the job that I
25 was doing in order to avoid the creation of another hotbed or crisis spot
1 between the FRY and Macedonia since our army had withdrawn from Macedonia
2 in a peaceful way without any incidents whatsoever.
3 Q. Thank you. Thank you. With regard to paragraph 2, 3, and 4,
4 there is a discussion concerning violation of air-space by UN
5 helicopters. Now, I know what you say here in the document, but what was
6 the problem with the violation of air-space at that point in time? Why
7 would that be a problem?
8 A. If you allow me, I can explain this in more clear way if I speak
9 about UNPREDEP which is one of the first missions of that kind undertaken
10 by the UN by deploying a peacekeeping contingent whose task was to
11 prevent the occurrence of any incidents along the so-called never clearly
12 established border line between the FRY and Macedonia. Due to that,
13 these forces did not have clear tasks that they had, nor was it known
14 where the actual border was between the FRY and the already independent
15 former Yugoslavia or Republic of Macedonia. Whether this should be
16 treated as coinciding with the former administrative border from the
17 former Yugoslavia or whether it is something new that has to be
18 determined and agreed upon.
19 Another problem was that the international community believed
20 that Macedonia as it was and its armed forces as they were at the time
21 was incapable of controlling the border with the FRY itself. In my
22 opinion, that was a rather arbitrary and unilateral opinion because it
23 implied that somebody would resort to causing incidents, and it was
24 difficult to accept this kind of attitude.
25 We in the Yugoslav Army believed that regardless of that we
1 should maintain good relations with these forces deployed in Macedonia.
2 The incidents that took place were most often the ones that were
3 anticipated. And it was really difficult to establish --
4 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Not anticipated, but
5 supposed incident.
6 MR. GUY-SMITH:
7 Q. In your report you indicate that General Cot said that he
8 understood our position that the violations were not intentional and he
9 would take the appropriate steps. Do you know whether or not any
10 appropriate steps were taken or what was done to remedy the situation so
11 that there would not be any further difficulties in this regard?
12 A. Yes, I can express my satisfaction with what was done. We took
13 the promise made by General Cot very seriously and on our part we
14 undertook serious measures. Very soon, General Perisic authorised his
15 deputy, General Kovacevic, to consider together with me, the most
16 efficient way of dealing with the situation. In the meetings held with
17 UNPREDEP representatives, which is United Nations preventative forces, we
18 reached a conclusion that the best way and the best approach would be
19 that we maintain permanent communication, that we discuss problems, that
20 we meet and that none of those so-called incidents should be given undue
21 prominence until it was established whether it actually happened or not.
22 We knew that all this was unintentional and that General Perisic made
23 that clear to General Cot.
24 Q. Very well. If we could turn to paragraph 3 of the document, sir.
25 Now, paragraph 3 discusses something that we have been already having
1 some discussion about, and that regards the transport of the weapons and
2 equipment of NordBat, and what I'd like to focus on is the second full
3 paragraph under paragraph 3, which starts with the words "General Perisic
4 said..." I'll give you a chance to read that.
5 A. Yes, yes.
6 Q. Now, here you indicate that "General Perisic said that our
7 relationship with the Army of Republika Srpska is not" - in my
8 translation says - "commanding, and that all problems should be resolved
9 in co-operation with RS authorities and with their approval. Such
10 problems could have been avoided if they," could you tell us who the
11 "they" is that you are referring to?
12 A. First of all, I would kindly ask this translation to be
13 corrected. I'm going to tell you what was it that I exactly wrote and I
14 said that General Perisic indicated that our relations with the Army of
15 Republika Srpska was not the one that involved issuing orders.
16 Q. Okay.
17 A. In other words, that meant that we couldn't order them anything
18 and that we didn't wish to do so. We thought that all the problems
19 should be resolved with the authorities of Republika Srpska and with
20 their consent, and we had it in mind what we had already told to the UN
21 organs because we thought that they should have acquired the approval of
22 Republika Srpska prior to sending the weapons to the territory of the FRY
23 and then to ask us to permit this weapons to be transferred to the
24 territory of Republika Srpska. So that was one of the problems that
25 featured constantly in our relations.
1 Q. When you say "featured constantly in our relations," who are you
2 referring to in terms of "in our relations?"
3 A. When I say that, I mean all of the international players and
4 representatives regardless of whether they came from New York,
5 Washington, Brussels, or any other countries, the OSCE, or if they were
6 members or representatives of any of the UN missions and forces. There
7 was always the expectation and sometimes even the declaration that
8 General Mladic would do whatever he was told to do by the VJ or
9 specifically Chief of Staff. That was by no means true and the
10 assumption itself was entirely erroneous.
11 Q. Moving to the section number 2 of this same document, those
12 issues deal with Pancevo barracks, which I think we've discussed
13 previously, and in that you also mention in paragraph, that would be
14 paragraph 2 in section 2, you mention the barracks in Zemin. Could you
15 tell us whether or not ultimately the agreement that was reached had
16 UNPROFOR forces leaving the barracks in Pancevo and moving to the
17 barracks in Zemin?
18 A. At this point it suffices to simply repeat what is written
19 here --
20 Q. There's no need to do that. If it's simply written there, that
21 takes care of the issue, then we can rely on what has been written there,
22 and I thank you, Mr. Vuksic, for your response.
23 MR. GUY-SMITH: I would move this document's admission.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
25 please be given an exhibit number.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
2 Exhibit D359. Thank you.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
4 MR. GUY-SMITH:
5 Q. Now, one of the things that you've discussed with us was that you
6 had set up an administration after your proposal to General Perisic that
7 dealt both with international organisations as well as foreign military
8 attaches, and I'd like to dwell on that for a moment in terms of 1993.
9 And are you aware of a discussion that was had in November of 1993
10 between the Italian intelligence service and members of the VJ in Italy?
11 A. At the time I was aware of those meetings taking place. I was
12 not, however, in a position to read any reports, documents to do with
13 that. Nevertheless, I am aware of the persons holding those posts at the
15 Q. Who were those persons?
16 A. General Branko Cagic [phoen], Major-General Branko Cagic who was
17 at the time the chief of the intelligence administration, and Colonel
18 Petar Stojic who was chief of the department for -- that liaising with
19 foreign military representatives, which as you said at a later stage
20 became part of this joint administration for international military
21 co-operation, to put it as briefly as possible.
22 Q. And are you aware of the position of the Italian government with
23 regard to working or co-operating with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
24 during 1993?
25 A. Well, Italy's position in general was the same as over the
1 preceding years. They were our neighbours, and I would put it this way.
2 I think this is the most acceptable way of putting it. They felt this
3 way about it. There's something going on in our neighbourhood that is
4 quite unpleasant and constitutes a threat to peace and security. Italy
5 has an interest in this. Italy wishes to lend a hand in terms of doing
6 anything that is reasonable in order to normalise the situation and put
7 an end to the crisis. At the time the Italians also told us as follows:
8 As far as Serbia or the FRY or the Serbian people are concerned, we have
9 no bone of contention with you. I'm talking about the earlier period.
10 Nevertheless, if Yugoslavia breaks up and Croatia becomes independent,
11 the situation changes. They would normally leave it at that. We had no
12 interest in meddling in the affairs of Italy and this potentially
13 independent Croatia, and they for their part did not have any particular
14 interest in making it clear to us what this bone of contention might be.
15 It wasn't clear at the time or for that matter now.
16 Q. If I might ask you to go to tab 11 in your binder, which would be
17 65 ter 521D. And this is a report dated 25 December 1993, which was
18 written by the individuals whom you've just mentioned. And I'd like to
19 refer -- I'd like to refer your attention, if I could, to the following
20 passage which is:
21 "In open talks that were held in a friendly atmosphere, General
22 Puchi asked us to pass on the following message to the president of the
23 Republic of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic: 1, the Italian government is
24 aware that the FRY of Yugoslavia or Serbia is the basic factor of
25 stability in the Balkans. Being conscious of the fact that frequent
1 mistakes were made when dealing with Serbia and Montenegro and that the
2 sanctions against the FRY of Yugoslavia have had a counter-productive
3 affect (he mentioned that their effectiveness was only around 15 to 20
4 per cent) at the international level Italy will urge to have them reduced
5 and gradually cancelled. In order to be able to do so, it needs the help
6 of S. Milosevic, who is regarded by the Italians as the only figure of
7 decisive influence in finding a solution to the Yugoslav crisis. They
8 therefore believe that President Milosevic of the Republic of Serbia
9 should do his utmost to persuade the Bosnian Serbs to agree to the French
10 German proposal for the solution of the crisis in the territory of the
11 former BH, and if an agreement on cessation of hostilities is still not
12 reached after that, blame should be placed on those who are blocking it.
13 With regard to this, he expressed the readiness of Italy and the European
14 Union to apply pressure on Izetbegovic."
15 Now, my first question is with regard to the information that is
16 contained within this paragraph. Is this information that you were privy
17 to, and by that I mean that the subject matter of what is being discussed
18 are matters that you discussed either with these gentlemen or with others
19 concerning the position of Italy at the time?
20 A. I had not seen the document by this time. Nevertheless, given
21 the nature of my work I was aware of these conversations. To some
22 extent, I knew what the gist of those contacts was. And the same applies
23 to Italy's position regarding the sanctions, or to put it that way
24 penalizing Serbia and Montenegro. I'm asking myself whether General
25 Puchi really believed that the sanctions achieved a 15 to 20 per cent
1 success rate in terms of the damage done to the economy and living
2 conditions in the FRY. I wonder if he really believed that the success
3 rate in terms of furthering the peace process was really 15 per cent. As
4 far as the economy and the general situation in Yugoslavia, I think the
5 success rate of the sanctions was actually closer to 100 per cent, which
6 is something that I experienced myself to my own detriment.
7 Q. I understand. Let me ask you this: With regard to the agreement
8 to the French German proposal for the solution of the crisis, do you know
9 which proposal he is referring to here?
10 A. No, I don't know. I would perhaps have an a assumption about
11 that, but it would be purely speculative.
12 Q. Very well. If we could turn to paragraph 5 of the same document,
13 which deals with the issue of NATO as being considered a military option,
14 and my question to you is with regard to NATO being considered as a
15 military option in 1993, was that a matter that you discussed with any of
16 your contemporaries who were in foreign services, by that I mean
17 representing any of the NATO forces?
18 A. At the time I had to raise this unpleasant topic more than once
19 with a number of different people from different countries, different
20 international organisations, representatives of the UN. On one occasion
21 I had the assignment of appearing at press conference to explain what an
22 armed intervention by NATO would mean, and that the destruction of
23 bridges over the Drina would be interpreted as a direct attack on the
24 FRY. If I had been aware of the broader context because back in 1992 it
25 was with great satisfaction that I had read a piece written about that by
1 the then chief of the joint General Staff of the armed forces of the USA
2 General Pauly who stole the politicians thunder and asked the politicians
3 five questions that they were to answer before ever tasking him with a
4 NATO intervention in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I was glad to read that that
5 honourable man had done just that.
6 Q. Thank you for your answer in that regard. Now, finally, turning
7 to paragraph 4, it indicates the following:
8 "The latest incidents in the territory the former Yugoslavia
9 clearly show that this is a civil and religious war, and not Serbian
10 aggression, and the constructive contributions by the Yugoslav
11 leadership, especially S. Milosevic, have contributed to the Italian
12 media having a far more objective approach to the Yugoslav crisis and
13 writing increasingly favourably about Serbia and Montenegro."
14 And with regard to the statement here about the Italian media
15 having a far more objective approach to the Yugoslav crisis, can you tell
16 us if you know whether or not, first of all, in your opinion there was a
17 far more objective approach, and second of all, far more objective
18 approach then who would that be? Are we discussing here media wars, are
19 we discussing here -- if you know what is being discussed here.
20 A. As for this paragraph, if I may, what was going on in some parts
21 of the former Yugoslavia was not just a civilian war and a religious war,
22 but also an ethnic war. At different points in time, different aspects
23 would gain the upperhand in this conflict depending on the intensity of
24 hatred in certain parts of the former country. As for Milosevic, of
25 course that is a pure exaggeration and a form of encouragement. As for
1 my opinion to the effect that there had been a turnaround in the press
2 coverage, I think at this point in time the turnaround was not yet really
3 so marked as to be considered an essential sea change. I don't think I
4 can provide any particular details. Normally, the diplomatic
5 representatives were the people who covered the media and wrote up
6 reports about media coverage. I myself was not receiving any reports
7 like that in my post.
8 Q. Very well. Thank you.
9 MR. GUY-SMITH: I would move admission of this document.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted. May it please be given
11 an exhibit number.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
13 Exhibit D360. Thank you.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Guy-Smith.
15 MR. GUY-SMITH:
16 Q. I now wish to turn to 1994 specifically to discuss with you the
17 first of what I will term the hostage incidents that occurred in 1994, in
18 the spring of 1994. And my first question to you is, were you aware of
19 there being an incident involving hostages that were taken, French
20 citizens, in the spring of 1994?
21 A. Yes, I was aware of that incident, which doesn't mean that I was
22 officially informed. Rather, I was aware of this incident and I knew
23 that the incident would not bring us any luck.
24 Q. Who took the hostages, if you know?
25 A. You are talking about 1994, aren't you?
1 Q. Yes, I am.
2 A. The hostages, the same as those in 1995, were taken by the
3 military, the VRS.
4 Q. And with regard to the military that took these hostages, the
5 VRS, do you know what efforts were made specifically, if any that is,
6 specifically by General Perisic with regard to the release of those
7 hostages in the spring of 1994?
8 A. To take representatives of the UN peacekeeping forces hostage, no
9 matter whether you are actually happy with their work or not, no matter
10 whether they were always right or not, was an utterly unreasonable
11 decision. It was an attempt at vengeance and only served to exacerbate
12 the crisis in terms of the relations between all the mediating players
13 and all the peacekeeping players throughout the former Yugoslavia and
14 particularly in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
15 Q. Okay. Do you know, once again, what efforts General Perisic made
16 with regard to the release of those hostages. Obviously with the answer
17 you've just given in mind, do you know what he did?
18 A. As many times before and after, General Perisic had a
19 particularly significant and delicate role to play. He was supposed to
20 carry out certain tasks that sometimes resemble the task of tilting at
21 windmills which would not be entirely uncommon given the lie of the land
22 in the country of Holland. He was supposed to explain to representatives
23 of the VJ and General Ratko Mladic that there was something that they
24 weren't doing right, that there was something that they should improve,
25 particularly in terms of releasing those hostages. I do know, however,
1 that neither General Perisic nor I were ever in a position to tell
2 General Mladic or anyone else that they had done something wrong which
3 would sometimes leave him in a situation in which he was unable to
4 continue a reasonable discussion. We all started out by discussing
5 facts, something happened, let's try and do something about trying to not
6 cause any further harm, and that was precisely what General Perisic did.
7 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you, and I note the time.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Guy-Smith. We'll take a break and
9 come back at quarter to 6.00. Court adjourned.
10 --- Recess taken at 5.14 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 5.44 p.m.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Guy-Smith.
13 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you.
14 Q. Mr. Vuksic, are you familiar with a gentleman whose name was
15 Colonel Vialatte?
16 A. Yes. Colonel Vialatte.
17 Q. Could you tell the Chamber who this gentleman was?
18 A. Mr. Vialatte was an envoy from the defence ministry of the
19 Republic of France serving in the FRY at the time I took over as head of
20 the administration for liaising with international military
21 representatives international organisations.
22 Q. And after you took over, did you have occasion to meet with this
23 gentleman and discuss matters of mutual interest?
24 A. Of course. That was his first duty and my principal duty as
25 well, whenever he had anything to share with me, or for that matter,
1 whenever I had anything to share with him. When I say "anything to
2 share," what I mean is our regular procedural duties that we performed.
3 Q. And what were your regular procedural duties?
4 A. I and other officers serving in the administration were supposed
5 to get in touch and talk with international military representatives as
6 well as representatives of international organisations. We were supposed
7 to cover any issues or problems that had to do with the VJ's relations
8 with certain countries that these respective gentlemen represented, or
9 indeed with the international organisations represented by these men.
10 Q. With regard to the matter that we were discussing before the
11 break, that being the hostages, did you have discussion with this
12 gentleman concerning the hostages that were taken in the spring of 1994?
13 A. Yes. I would like to add the following though: Colonel Vialatte
14 in his capacity as an official representative of the armed forces of the
15 Republic of France serving as an envoy in the FRY was not the first
16 person or the most important person to discuss an issue like that. This
17 was in relation to Bosnia-Herzegovina, or rather, Republika Srpska.
18 Q. Very well. If you could go to your binder and go to tab number
20 MR. GUY-SMITH: That would be 65 ter 31D.
21 Q. I'd like you to take a look at the document.
22 A. Yes, I'm familiar with this document, and I was aware of the
23 document at the time it was produced.
24 Q. This document is dated the 12th of April, 1994. It's to the
25 Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army, and it says "Colonel
1 Vialatte, the Defence attache of the French embassy in Belgrade,
2 expresses his respects to the Chief of the General Staff the Yugoslav
3 Army and has the honour to attach this document a request for the release
4 of four French people from the Pharmaciens Sans Frontieres humanitarian
5 organisation who have been detained since 4 March 1995." First of all, I
6 take it that the four people who are being referred to in this document
7 are the individuals that we have been discussing before we brought this
8 letter up; is that a fair statement?
9 A. Yes.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: May I just ask a little question? Are we sure
11 that 1995 is correct if this letter is written in 1994?
12 MR. GUY-SMITH: I'm reading what the -- I understand there may be
13 a typo in the letter, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay.
15 MR. GUY-SMITH: We'll find out. Somehow or another we'll get to
16 the date of this particular issue.
17 Q. The next paragraph reads: "Colonel Vialatte understanding
18 perfectly that those who are imprisoning the four French people are not
19 subordinate to the," and I'm reading specific what I have in my
20 translation here, "the NGS of the VJ." I don't know how it reads for you
21 in your document, but could you tell us, please, after the words "are not
22 subordinate to" who is being referred to?
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Those who are imprisoning the French people. Do
24 you want to know their names?
25 MR. GUY-SMITH: Are not subordinate to the NGS, I'm assuming
1 that's the General Staff of the VJ. As I understand that what this says
2 is "Colonel Vialatte understands perfectly that those who are imprisoning
3 are not subordinate to the General Staff of the VJ. " My understanding --
4 that's why I just want to make sure that I'm dealing with the General
5 Staff of the VJ, first of all, because my translation reads NGS. I don't
6 want to take any liberties here.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Then the witness can tell us what NGS stands for.
8 MR. GUY-SMITH:
9 Q. Could you do that, Mr. Vuksic?
10 A. Yes, there is no doubt about this, this is the official
11 abbreviation that stands for chief of the General Staff of the VJ.
12 Q. And with regard to the statement here that those who are
13 imprisoning the four French people, you had earlier mentioned that those
14 individuals were being imprisoned by General Mladic. To your knowledge,
15 is that -- are those the people --
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Thomas.
17 MR. THOMAS: I might be wrong, sir, but I recall the answer being
18 the VRS, not General Mladic.
19 MR. GUY-SMITH:
20 Q. My apologies, if it was the VRS and not Mladic, let me -- I'll
21 have it double-checked, but in either event whether it be Mladic or the
22 VRS, people who were being imprisoned were being imprisoned by another,
23 how shall I put this, another army?
24 A. Yes, there is no doubt about this. They were being imprisoned by
25 members of the VRS.
1 Q. The letter guess on to -- go ahead, I'm sorry if I interrupted
2 you. Did I interrupt you?
3 A. No.
4 Q. The letter goes on to state:
5 "He also feels assured that the Chief of the General Staff of the
6 VJ, in order to preserve the image of the Serbs who are traditionally
7 respected for their valour and honour, will not neglect this opportunity
8 to use his influence in order to bring this painful affair to a close, in
9 the name of the traditional amity between Serbian and France, as is
10 anticipated by all French people."
11 Now, are you aware of whether or not General Perisic attempted to
12 use his influence or used his influence with regard to this painful
14 A. General Perisic took steps that were in line with this
15 beautifully composed letter, which I find very interesting. The four
16 arrested members of Medecins Sans Frontieres were released, although, I
17 don't know at what point in time. I called the letter interesting. If
18 necessary, I can explain. If that's not required, then I'll abstain.
19 Q. Yes, why don't you explain.
20 A. The old-school French diplomacy used a particularly high level of
21 distinguished communication when addressing others. Old-school French
22 diplomats also tend to use careful phrasing and particularly elevated
23 language. Secondly, Colonel Vialatte said in no uncertain terms he was
24 aware of the fact that those holding the four men prisoners were not
25 subordinated to the chief of the VJ General Staff. Thirdly, these four
1 members of Medecins Sans Frontieres were no military persons. Therefore,
2 it would have been logical for the health minister or whoever was the
3 counter-part in France to address another sector or ministry within the
4 FRY. This was, however, not the only situation in which Colonel Vialatte
5 had broader powers when it came to certain specific assignments.
6 Assignments which under normal circumstances would have exceeded his
7 authority. I'm able to say based on my personal experience that this is
8 something that is typical of the way the French work.
9 Q. Thank you for that answer. And I think I may have been -- I may
10 have made a mistake with regard to the date of this incident. I believe
11 this was the spring of 1995, not the spring of 1994. And just as you
12 remember, do you recall which year it was? Because I may have led you
13 astray in my question.
14 A. It's hard for me to say. The letter states the 12th of April,
15 1994. The heading says the 6th of March, 1995. Of course, this is
16 possibly a mistranslation, so the translator wrote 1995 instead of
17 writing 1994. Nevertheless in this note that I signed, the note in which
18 we invoked our of confidential number 5-15 dated the 13th of April, 1995,
19 I am unable to ascertain what the correct date might be. Nevertheless,
20 my comment would not change in any way regarding the substance of the
21 letter. And the substance does not depend on whether this in fact
22 occurred in 1994 or 1995.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 A. The substance would remain the same.
25 Q. Thank you for that answer.
1 MR. GUY-SMITH: I'm now going to move on to another document at
2 this time. And we will not be introducing this document at this time
3 until we get some more clarification about it.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Guy-Smith.
5 MR. GUY-SMITH: And if we could now move to your tab 5, which is
6 65 ter 352 which is in a document which is in English only.
7 Q. This document is dated August 8th, 1994. The subject matter --
8 yes, I'll start with the subject matter. The subject matter is "Perisic,
9 UN commander talks solve 'delicate problems.'"
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: I suppose 352 is a D document? Just a 352, 65
12 MR. GUY-SMITH: Yes, that's what I've been told. On our list, on
13 the Defence list.
14 Q. The source of this document is Belgrade, domestic service and
15 Serb Croatian 1421 GMT 8 August 1994, and the text reads as follows:
16 "Belgrade 8 August, (Tanjug) Colonel-General Momcilo Perisic
17 Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army, and his aides today
18 received French General Bertrand De Lapresle commander of UN Protection
19 Force (UNPROFOR) in the former Yugoslavia, at the latter's request, the
20 information service of the Yugoslav Army's General Staff announced today:
21 'Issues of importance for relations between UNPROFOR and the Yugoslav
22 Army were aired during the frank talks, and it was stressed that some
23 delicate problems were solved, thanks to the two sides' constructive
24 approach. This refers particularly to the area bordering on the former
25 Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, where an incident-prone situation has
1 been considerably defused through mutual efforts by UNPROFOR and the
2 Yugoslav Army. General Perisic and De Lapresle agreed that the Yugoslav
3 Army has made a considerable contribution to the efforts to find a
4 peaceful solution to the crisis in the territory of the former Socialist
5 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,' a statement says."
6 My question to you is, do you know what the delicate problems
7 that were solved were?
8 A. I'd like to reiterate that in my view, then as now, everything
9 that was considered to be problematic in our relations is something I
10 never truly believed were problems indeed. I can't tell you specifically
11 what this problem would be, the one referred to here, but there was an
12 issue, for example, when certain representatives of the VJ arrested --
13 Q. Let me stop you there since you say, "I can't tell you
14 specifically what this problem would be," it's one referred to here,
15 further on in this particular document it says:
16 "Where an incident-prone situation has been considerably diffused
17 through mutual efforts by UNPROFOR and the Yugoslav Army."
18 Are you in a position to tell us what the incident-prone
19 situation which was considerably diffused was?
20 A. Earlier on when I referred to the problems between the FRY and
21 the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as some called it, was in the
22 vein of recognising that there were general problems in existence because
23 there were no internationally recognised legal borders. In terms of
24 resolving such problems we decided to view the administrative border as
25 the border that was to be respected by both sides, the FRY and VJ on one
1 side, and the Macedonian authorities as well as the prevention mission of
2 the UN and Macedonia on the other.
3 This was viewed as our great contribution, and I believe that
4 indeed it was an act of goodwill on our part. We and the army believed
5 it needed to be done immediately, however, representatives of the
6 Ministry of Foreign Affairs and of the interior dragged their feet, as
7 usual. Usually, the army was the more flexible body which perhaps had a
8 more politically sober view of the situation than the two bodies I just
9 referred to. I believe this incident was the one when a representative
10 of the peacekeeping forces who was actually a US Army member, in view of
11 our border authorities, who were obviously not favourably disposed
12 towards representatives of the US, arrested him, stating that he crossed
13 over into the territory of the FRY. When something like that happens it
14 is reported the world over and is deemed a significant issue, especially
15 if it involved a member of the US armed forces. As for the FRY, we
16 conducted our own investigation immediately and the issue of whether we
17 would release him or not was never seriously considered, of course.
18 However, our interior organs were of a slightly different view because
19 the Chief of the General Staff of the VJ or of any army is not the sole
20 person to resolve such matters. That is why this issue lasted a couple
21 of days longer than necessary. I believe that General De Lapresle
22 believed that such a development deserved to figure in his report,
23 although I cannot say that with any certainty.
24 Q. And the development that figured, if I understand you, your
25 testimony, is that he and General Perisic worked out some agreement for
1 the release of this particular American soldier, and if that's wrong,
2 please do tell me that I'm not correct in my understanding.
3 A. I wouldn't say it was quite like that, I would be more prone to
4 say that General Perisic's explanation during his conversations with
5 General De Lapresle was a convincing one and that General De Lapresle on
6 that occasion as well as on many other occasions before and after that
7 was able to say that there were no problems in dealing with the VJ when
8 current issues needed to be resolved.
9 Q. Very well.
10 MR. GUY-SMITH: I move its admission.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
12 please be given an exhibit number.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this document shall be assigned
14 Exhibit D361. Thank you.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. Yes, Mr. Guy-Smith.
16 MR. GUY-SMITH:
17 Q. I now want to turn your attention to military co-operation
18 between FRY and the Republic of Hungary. And I'd like to start off by
19 asking you, were you aware of there being any discussions, conferences,
20 or contacts between FRY, the military of FRY and the military of Hungary
21 with regard to co-operation at any point in time? You know what, I won't
22 put it that way. During 1994, I'll make it more specific, although I
23 know I'm taking a bit of a lead in here.
24 A. Because of the nature of my work I had to be informed of such
25 developments because this went through the Hungarian military
1 representative to the FRY with whom I co-operated, as well as through the
2 military envoy of the FRY to Hungary. Both of them in turn had to be
3 informed immediately irrespective of the channels through which a
4 specific letter, draft agreement, or any such document arrived. This was
5 the gentleman's agreement we had and in diplomacy at that level, it would
6 have been seen as something very unfavourable if one side omitted to
7 inform the representative of another country. It would be viewed as an
8 underestimation of the importance of that person's position.
9 Q. Understood. If you could do us the kindness and turn to tab 16
10 in your binder, which would be 65 ter 28D?
11 MR. GUY-SMITH: And there are two associated documents with it,
12 Mr. Registrar, which I'll be calling up in sequential order which are 29
13 and 30, so you know, but we'll deal with them obviously one at a time.
14 Q. Now, this document is dated the 17th of October, 1994. What I'd
15 like to do is immediately direct your attention to the bottom of the
16 document where it indicates the distribution list in the bottom, to whom
17 this document was distributed to. And is this in line with what you just
18 told us, and by that I mean, I note that it says VJGS administration for
19 relations with foreign military representatives and international
20 organisations. That would have been your bailiwick?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And looking at the document itself, Mr. Vuksic, the document is
23 discussing, as I understand it, a draft of an agreement on military
24 co-operation between the RV and PVO of the armed forces of the Republic
25 of Hungary and FRY in 1994?
1 MR. LUKIC: Now, what I'd like to do is have this document
2 admitted at this time and then move on to the next document so that we
3 can discuss them all in a collective matter.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence, May it
5 please be given an exhibit number.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
7 Exhibit D362. Thank you.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Guy-Smith.
9 MR. GUY-SMITH: Yes, if we could have the next document up. That
10 would be tab number 17 in your binder, sir. That would be 65 ter 29D.
11 Q. Which, as I understand it, is the cover letter to the actual
12 agreement on the military co-operation between the RV PVO of the Army of
13 Republic of Hungary and the FRY, which was referred to in the previously
14 admitted exhibit. Do you recognise this document?
15 A. Yes.
16 MR. GUY-SMITH: [Overlapping speakers] ... admission. Thank you.
17 I move for its admission.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
19 please be given an exhibit number.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
21 Exhibit D364 -- pardon me, 363. Thank you.
22 MR. GUY-SMITH: And the next document would be found at tab
23 number 18, which would be sequentially 65 ter 30D.
24 Q. Which is entitled "Agreement on Military Co-Operation in the
25 Areas of the RV and the PVO Contracted Between the Government of the
1 Republic of Hungary and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia." And I ask
2 you the same question. Do you recognise this document?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, with regard to the agreement on military co-operation
5 between the two parties, do you know whether or not this agreement was
6 reached in 1994 or not, and I direct your attention to the end of the
7 document which would be Article 8, section 3 and 4?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And to your knowledge was it an actual agreement entered into
10 between Hungary and FRY in 1994?
11 A. I cannot confirm that for the simple reason that I need to tell
12 the truth. However, I'd like to point out that it may not be so
13 important, the fact whether it was signed and when because it was limited
14 by Article 8.3, you pointed out because of the UN Resolution number 757.
15 It is also important to note that such discussions were held and that it
16 was a topical issue at the time.
17 Q. Well, you've a actually focused on the very point of my inquiry,
18 which is considering UN Resolution number 757, do you know what that was?
19 A. No, I cannot memorise the contents of every resolution. In any
20 case, this particular resolution had to do with sanctions and the
21 isolation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in certain aspects.
22 Q. What I'm trying to understand and hopefully you can be of some
23 help here is considering the work that you were doing in 1994 was the
24 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under sanctions, to your knowledge?
25 A. Yes, unfortunately I recall that very well. The sanctions were
1 introduced against the FRY in 1992 and by way of further resolutions and
2 decisions, they were strengthened. I cannot tell you exactly when the
3 stringency was at its highest though.
4 Q. That's okay, because my question relates in another fashion. Can
5 you explain to the Chamber in light of the presence of these sanctions,
6 if you know, how you were going about engaging in discussions for
7 military co-operations with other nation states?
8 A. I will start replying by providing a remark which may seem a bit
9 philosophical, but I believe the Chamber is sufficiently tolerant to hear
10 me out. All matters in this world are relative, if not sooner than
11 later, as was proven by the theory of relativity. When I say this, I'm
12 trying to point out that it was very difficult to implement everything
13 that was on paper at the time by way of sanctions levelled against us.
14 In parallel with those papers and the situation the FRY was put in, there
15 were efforts running to try and ease that to make it more relative so as
16 to give certain encouragement to the people of Yugoslavia and its
17 authorities in order to indicate that we were not completely forgotten
18 and rejected, and that once conditions are created for it, we were to
19 become a normal country co-operating with others again. This
20 particularly had to do with the Army of Yugoslavia, which was supposed to
21 have been isolated the most.
22 Q. That's where I'd like if you could, please, if you could focus
23 because as we understand it and we've heard a fair amount of testimony
24 concerning sanctions that were blocking in relatively strong terms, a
25 contact, a certain military contact with the Federal Republic of
1 Yugoslavia how these kinds of agreements -- discussions about these
2 agreements could be taking place during the period of time these
3 sanctions were imposed.
4 A. I can't explain that. I can only say that I was happy it was
5 taking place at the time. When I think about it now I believe that
6 despite everything, somebody somewhere said that occasionally a blind eye
7 needed to be turned and that the country that was isolated in such a way
8 still deserved to be accorded contacts and discussions. I have lots of
9 proof for that and I know that General Perisic at his position of the
10 chief of the General Staff during those years visited Romania and Austria
11 more than once as well as Hungary. I don't know whether it was because
12 the Hungarians, Romanians, or Austrians were particularly founding of
13 us --
14 Q. Let me interrupt you there for a moment. You said that you know
15 that General Perisic in his position as chief of the General Staff
16 visited Romania, Austria, and more than once as well as Hungary. With
17 regard to Romania, do you know what the nature of those visits were apart
18 from the fact that he was visiting Romania in his official capacity as
19 Chief of the General Staff of the VJ? Do you know what the subject
20 matter at hand was?
21 A. Any such visit at that level receives relevant military
22 significance and plays an important role in the relations of two
23 countries. When he visited Romania, I was a member of the delegation, or
24 one of them, and if I hadn't known any better, I would have said that
25 there were no sanctions in place. Our relations were such as would
1 otherwise have been exhibited among friends at that level without any
2 hedges whatsoever basically.
3 Q. [Overlapping speakers] ...
4 A. We discussed any topic that was of mutual interest at that time.
5 Q. I understand you discussed any topic, I'm wondering if you can be
6 specific in that regard. If you can that's fine, if you can't that's
7 fine as well, which is what kinds of topics were discussed at that time
8 when you were part of the delegation that went to Romania in a military
9 official capacity?
10 A. I can tell you a lot about that but I don't want to waste your
11 time. I can say very clearly that both the Romanians and the Hungarians
12 spoke a lot about their intentions and about how they were paving a way
13 for the both countries to become NATO members. They told us what they
14 were doing, that didn't conceal the fact that that was a more important
15 task for them than their combat readiness, and we were able to see for
16 ourselves on the spot that that was true. They told us that once the
17 situation has normalised, they were convinced that the Federal Republic
18 of Yugoslavia would become a member of the partnership for peace and
20 Q. Let me stop you right there. You've mentioned a new element
21 which is the partnership for peace. Could you please describe for the
22 Chamber what the partnership for peace was?
23 A. Partnership for peace was an initiative adopted at a NATO meeting
24 in Brussels held at the level of the heads of states or governments of
25 NATO countries. I think it took place in January, I think 1994 or 1995.
1 It was conceived as a process of preparations for certain countries,
2 eastern countries, former communist countries that were supposed to
3 demonstrate, and some of them did so, a desire to become NATO countries.
4 I don't think there's any need for me to enumerate these countries but
5 I'll do it anyway, those were Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia or rather
6 the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Bulgaria, et cetera, who after a certain
7 period of time indeed became NATO members. That was a programme of
8 co-operation in the area of approximately 2.000 issues or rather a list
9 of issues that was never closed. I followed these problems and NATO
10 members were open for discussion of any issue that a potential candidate
11 for NATO membership would raise.
12 Q. With regard to the partnership for peace initiative, and maybe
13 moving somewhat forward in time, could you tell us, if you know, what
14 General Perisic's position was with regard to FRY becoming involved in
15 the partnership for peace?
16 A. The position of General Perisic vis-a-vis the partnership for
17 peace as the initiative that merited great attention was very positive.
18 He was interested in becoming familiarised with it and he wanted to be
19 briefed about it. He also wanted the competent organs to keep following
20 this with due care and that is what actually happened in the period that
21 followed, at least as far as the Yugoslav Army was concerned.
22 Q. Thank you. Now, you had mentioned that among other places that
23 General Perisic had visited Hungary in his official capacity, and I would
24 like you at this time, if you could, go to your binder and if you could
25 go to your tab, that would be tab number, I believe it's 13. That would
1 be 65 ter 550D.
2 MR. GUY-SMITH: And I'm reminded by Mr. Mair that I may have
3 neglected in moving the previous exhibit, 65 ter 30D, into evidence and I
4 would ask that it occurs at this time.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: 30D is admitted into evidence. May it please be
6 given an exhibit number.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
8 Exhibit D364. Thank you.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
10 MR. GUY-SMITH:
11 Q. Were you involved in setting this meeting up with a Chief of
12 Staff of the Hungarian army, Lieutenant-General Sandor Nemeth?
13 A. Yes, I was by virtue of my official capacity which meant that all
14 the preparations that were carried out through the Hungarian envoy in
15 Belgrade was implemented through my administration, but I was not a
16 member of the delegation which could have happened.
17 Q. I understand that. I'd like to go down to what would be the
18 fourth paragraph which starts off with the following:
19 "The Chief of General Staff of the Hungarian army, Sandor Nemeth,
20 then if he with could refer ourselves to the second sentence, which says:
21 "Relations between our armies were free from obstructions before
22 the embargo, but he pointed out the need to find possibilities for
23 co-operation even under the certainly limited circumstances."
24 I believe he that is being referred to here is chief of the
25 General Staff of the Hungarian army, Sandor Nemeth.
1 Now, were you aware of this particular view that even under the
2 currently limited circumstances that there was a need to find
3 co-operation, possibilities for co-operation between your army and the
4 Hungarian army?
5 A. Yes, this actually confirms what I already said and explained in
6 broader terms, so one should perceive this in this context, the agreement
7 between the two countries in the area of air force and anti-aircraft
8 defence mentioned earlier today.
9 Q. Continuing on in this particular document, there is -- it would
10 be on my page 2, I don't know if it correlates that way for you. There
11 is a paragraph that starts with the language "they" which I believe is
12 referring once again to the Hungarian army "see the partnership for peace
13 as the west's response to the wish of so many so-called 'new democracies'
14 to join NATO immediately" -- it's the sixth paragraph down in B/C/S I'm
15 informed by Mr. Zorko, thank you. Page 2.
16 A. Yes, I have found it.
17 Q. "And awaited response to this decision until economically,
18 technically and technologically ready to join. It is a framework to
19 improve the situation by getting to know the method, process, and system
20 of training and participation in bilateral or multilateral exercises."
21 And just stopping right there. Could you explain to the Chamber what
22 bilateral and multilateral exercises are?
23 A. Yes, I can if necessary. Generally speaking there are bilateral
24 and multilateral relations between countries, alliances, and some other
25 entities, not only in the military, but in other spheres as well.
1 Bilateral co-operation implies co-operation between two countries. It
2 could be in the area of military, which would involve then co-operation
3 of armed forces of two countries. Since NATO is a multilateral
4 international organisation, there was a possibility for two NATO member
5 countries to co-operate on a bilateral basis provided a decision to that
6 effect is taken and provided it is accepted by the Brussel. There was
7 also a possibility for a NATO member country to enter into bilateral
8 co-operation with a country that aspires to become a NATO member, again
9 provided this is agreed by the NATO organs and the potential NATO
10 candidate. This even applied to military exercises because that is the
11 most delicate mode of co-operation.
12 Q. In 1994 was the VJ involved in any military exercises with any
13 other militaries?
14 A. No, military exercises were out of the question. The Federal
15 Republic of Yugoslavia was not only in isolation but pursuant to
16 Resolution 713 of the UN, the territory of the former Yugoslavia was a no
17 zone for delivery of any weapons or equipment. This resolution was
18 passed in September 1991.
19 Q. I thank you. The document goes on to indicate that they would
20 like a verbal agreement on co-operation in the space to continuing
21 functioning as it had been agreed and for it to be officially verified in
22 writing. They propose that two ministers sign a framework agreement on
23 co-operation. I'm sorry, they propose that the two ministers sign a
24 framework agreement on co-operation. Which two ministers are being
25 referred to there, if you know, sir?
1 A. As I read it here in front of me, it says, "It has been proposed
2 for the two ministers to conclude a framework agreement on co-operation."
3 That means that the two ministers of defence were supposed to draft a
4 framework agreement on specific modes of co-operations that would be
5 implemented or would come in force immediately after the lifting of the
6 sanctions imposed against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In other
7 words, the sanctions imposed under the Resolution 713.
8 Q. I understand, thank you. Continuing in that paragraph it says:
9 "They believe they cannot arbitrate in the conflict in the
10 territory of the former SFRY but think they can have an indirect
11 influence in normalising relations."
12 I'd like to focus your attention to this issue of influence on
13 normalising relations. What would be the indirect influence they could
14 have, if you know, sir?
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Is this on the next page?
16 MR. GUY-SMITH: It may well be, Your Honour, yes.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't see that particular
18 portion, but I do understand very well what this is all about. Hungary
19 had very strong reasons even ethical reasons to initiate co-operation
20 with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia including military co-operation
21 given that at the beginning of the crisis in the former Yugoslavia the
22 Croatian para-military formations were supplied via Hungary with an
23 enormous amount of weapons and ammunition. In order to promote
24 co-operation, they thought that they could influence now the behaviour of
25 Croatia as an independent state with a view to normalising relations with
1 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
2 Q. First of all, I'd like to direct your attention in B/C/S to page
3 2, it would be the eighth paragraph down which would be discussing the
4 sentence that I just indicated, "They believe they cannot arbitrate the
5 conflict in the territory of the former Socialist Federal Republic of
6 Yugoslavia but they think they could have an indirect influence on
7 normalising relations."
8 I just want to know if you can see that in the text that you are
10 A. Yes, I can see that.
11 Q. And when you say this they thought they could influence the
12 behaviour of Croatia, how -- if you know, how does -- would they go about
13 engaging in that influence of that behaviour? What would they do, if you
15 A. I can only say that this could have been done, first of all, at
16 the government level, and how that would have been done concretely
17 depended on what they wanted to achieve. As an illustration I can
18 mention that recently the president of the Republic of Hungary offered
19 his good offices in order to establish a contact between the president of
20 Yugoslavia, Mr. Boris Talic, and the new elected president of the
21 Republic of Croatia, Ivo Josipovic given that a few months ago these
22 relations during the pre-election campaign in Croatia were sort of sore.
23 These offer for good offices could be public but also as diplomats would
24 say could be implemented behind closed doors, so to speak.
25 Q. Thank you for that answer. I would now like to go to the next
1 paragraph because something that you just told us seems to strike me as
2 curious strange. You indicated that FRY was not in a position to engage
3 in military exercises, you just told us that. As I read this next
4 paragraph, I'd like you to give us some help here. The paragraph says:
5 "Since two vessels from their river fleet," I take it that would
6 be the Hungarian army's or Hungarian's river fleet, "are to take part in
7 a joint exercise in Romania ..." Now, the language here "joint
8 exercise," would that be a military exercise that Hungary and Romania
9 would be exercising in?
10 A. First of all, minor correction for the sake of clarity, Hungary
11 doesn't have a fleet. A fleet usually implies a navy. This is a
12 flotilla which is of great significance for our soldiers but it's not
13 significant in this particular instance. This was a joint exercise
14 between Hungary and Romania. The Hungarian ships were to sail down the
15 Danube and cross the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia en
17 Q. Let me stop you there. Here is where I'm having some difficulty
18 in understanding the answer that you've given. You've told us that FRY
19 was prohibited from engaging in military exercises. And you've indicated
20 to us that there was an embargo in place. And as I understand this, what
21 is being requested here by the Hungarian military because they wish to
22 engage in a military exercise with Romania, is they are requesting
23 assistance in allowing passage of them along the Danube through the
24 country of FRY. Then it says primarily in providing maintenance and
25 service. But wouldn't that be a violation of the embargo for FRY to
1 allow any kind of military vessel to pass through? Wouldn't that be as
2 one would say wrong in terms of the embargo?
3 A. Well, formally speaking, yes, but as I said after Einstein's
4 theory, everything is relative in this world. So perhaps if a decision
5 is taken somewhere to certain level for something to be acceptable and if
6 we say that means justify the end, one can act accordingly. Of course,
7 Hungary didn't do that without seeking approval from certain authorities
8 that supervised or controlled the embargo, NATO was involved in that, but
9 not on the Danube. They did that in the Mediterranean and on the
10 Adriatic Sea. I think this is fully in line with what we already said a
11 few times is that all of this was relative. One can say that the
12 Yugoslav Army who was asked to allow not only passage but also the repair
13 and servicing and this is an unfinished sentence, it says that in case of
14 need, they would provide repair services for the voyage of these vessels,
15 but certain things could have happened that would necessitate the repair
16 of such vessels in the territory of Yugoslavia, that is to say on the
17 river Danube. So that was an additional element that would help us to
18 agree on what we discussed earlier and that is certain goodwill measures
19 that were granted to certain countries in order to avoid Yugoslavia being
20 completely and hopelessly isolated and discarded by the international
22 Q. Continuing with this particular document, it discusses with the
23 Chief of Staff of the Yugoslavia army stated. Then it says:
24 "Conclusion and assessment of the visit: The invitation and
25 overall visit were assessed as a well intentioned gesture by the new
1 leadership in the Hungarian army and an initial initiative which should
2 be followed by co-operation on specific tasks. The VJ chief of the
3 General Staff extended an invitation to the Hungarian army delegation for
4 an official return visit to the FRY."
5 To your knowledge was on official return visit to the FRY made by
6 the Hungarian army delegation?
7 A. I can't remember at this juncture whether this visit took place
8 or not. It may have happened later on after I ceased to be head of that
9 administration, but this passage confirms the view of the chief the
10 General Staff that it was a gesture of goodwill on the part of the new
11 leadership of Hungary and the state of Hungary itself. The extension of
12 an invitation for return visit --
13 Q. The document also indicates: "The overall impression is that
14 there is no danger of a threat to the FRY from the Hungarian army."
15 I'm trying to understand, is that something that was of
16 importance in these kinds of reports is a threat assessment of
17 neighbouring or close countries to the FRY?
18 A. These kinds of visits at the level of chiefs of General Staffs
19 cannot be effected or carried out without mentioning this particular
20 aspect, that is to say whether in any way could anyone predict that there
21 was direct danger or threat to the security by either country to the
22 other country. This language confirms that General Perisic was convinced
23 of that himself, and this should have served the political leadership in
24 their efforts towards developing better relations between the two
1 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you. I move for the admission of this
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
4 please be given an exhibit number.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
6 Exhibit D365.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
8 MR. GUY-SMITH:
9 Q. One final question and you can give us a yes or no answer to this
10 question, if possible, which is, do you recall there being a joint air
11 meeting, and by that I mean in which airplanes and air force were flown
12 from France, Russia, Italy, and Greece? It's not in that document, sir.
13 Mr. Vuksic, it's not in the document, sir. Do you recall there being a
14 joint military meeting in which air forces from the countries that I've
15 just mentioned, France, Russia, Italy, and Greece, occurred during the
16 time of the embargo in the territory of FRY?
17 MR. THOMAS: Objection, Your Honours. Leading question.
18 MR. GUY-SMITH: I was trying to do it quickly, so I'll pick it up
19 tomorrow morning.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Vuksic, once again I remind you that you are
21 not supposed to discuss the case with anybody until you are excused from
22 further testifying. The matter stands adjourned to tomorrow morning at
23 9.00 same Courtroom II. Court adjourned.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.
25 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 24th day of June,
1 2010, at 9.00 a.m.