1 Thursday, 24 June 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning to everybody in and around the
8 Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours.
10 Good morning to everyone in and around the courtroom.
11 This is case number IT-04-81-T, the Prosecutor versus
12 Momcilo Perisic. Thank you.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
14 Could we have appearances for the day, starting with the
15 Prosecution, please.
16 MR. THOMAS: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
17 everybody in and around the courtroom. Carmela Javier and Barney Thomas
18 for the Prosecution.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
20 And for the Defence.
21 MR. GUY-SMITH: Good morning to all. Boris Zorko, Chad Mair,
22 Alex Fielding, and Gregor Guy-Smith on behalf of the Defence.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much, Mr. Guy-Smith.
24 Good morning, Mr. Vuksic, just to remind you, and I know you know
25 this already, but you have to be reminded that you are still bound by the
1 declaration you made at the beginning of your testimony to tell the
2 truth, the whole truth, and nothing else but the truth.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much, Mr. Vuksic.
5 Yes, Mr. Guy-Smith.
6 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 WITNESS: DRAGAN VUKSIC [Resumed]
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 Examination by Mr. Guy-Smith: [Continued]
10 Q. With regard to your duties, were you involved in arranging, what
11 I would call, meetings or shows, for example, an air show, between your
12 country and your army and other countries and their armies?
13 A. Yes, yes, I was. For the sake of clarity, may I add that one of
14 the tasks of the department that I headed was to deal with organisational
15 matters and protocol and the contacts we had within the framework of
16 international military co-operation. Therefore, the organisation of any
17 kind of event or any kind of meeting meant that certain organisational
18 measures had to be taken and to observe proper protocol as was part of
19 international practice.
20 Q. In that regard, in terms of the context that you had within the
21 framework of international military co-operation, were you involved in
22 setting up any air shows with any foreign governments or foreign
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Question asked and answered. That's the way you
1 MR. GUY-SMITH:
2 Q. Could you --
3 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: You are welcome.
5 MR. GUY-SMITH:
6 Q. Could you be more specific with regard to the foreign governments
7 and foreign military that you set up such meetings as an air show with,
8 and by that I mean identify who they were?
9 A. Yes, as far as I can remember, there were two air shows.
10 Q. When was the first air show?
11 A. In 1976 -- or, rather, 1996. I am sorry, that was a mistake. I
12 misspoke. And the second one was 1997. Both were held at the military
13 airport in Batajnica.
14 Q. Can you tell us who was involved, what countries were involved in
15 those air shows?
16 A. Aircraft from Russia, Greece.
17 Q. Anyone else, or is that the extent of it?
18 A. And France. France.
19 Q. Any other countries?
20 A. I think there were other countries too, but I cannot recall right
21 now. The most important presence there was the air force of the
22 Republic of France.
23 Q. And when you say "the most important presence was the air force
24 of the Republic of France," why was that the most important presence?
25 A. Well, I think it is primarily due to the time when the events
1 were being held, the time when my country, the Federal Republic of
2 Yugoslavia, and its army were not fully breathing yet, if I can put it
3 that way. The situation had not become normal again yet, and we were not
4 in a position to establish normal military relations within the framework
5 of overall bilateral relations with individual countries.
6 France was still a member of the Contact Group. The
7 Contact Group was discussing important issues, some related to Yugoslavia
8 as well. France took part from the very outset with parts of its armed
9 forces in all the missions and all the forces that were in the territory
10 of Yugoslavia. Over a long period of time - I cannot be more
11 specific - was the country that had the largest presence within UNPROFOR.
12 France sent, to UNPROFOR, about 7.000 men, 7.000 soldiers and members of
13 the armed force of France.
14 Three French generals were commanders of UNPROFOR for over three
15 years. The first commander for -- of UNPROFOR for Bosnia-Herzegovina,
16 that is to say, the most sensitive and most tragic area, was French
17 General Morillon, and so on and so forth. France was very active
18 politically, and our feeling as far as France was concerned was that
19 France was a traditional friend and ally, in view of everything that had
20 happened during the First World War.
21 Q. Thank you for that response, Mr. Vuksic. I now am going to
22 remain in the area of the air but move into a slightly different topic.
23 We previously have discussed the issue of violation of air-space,
24 and that was with regard to violation of air-space by UNPROFOR. I'd now
25 like to discuss with you whether or not you recall whether or not there
1 was any discussions concerning air-space violation by the
2 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1994 that you were a part of?
3 A. If you allow me, Mr. Guy-Smith, I would just like to correct what
4 you said. Let us be more specific, if possible; sometimes that is simply
5 not possible because of my faint recollections. This has to do with
6 violations of the no-fly zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina, later on Croatia
7 as well.
8 After the Dayton Agreement, it also had to do with the air-space
9 above Eastern Slavonia, Western Slavonia, Baranja, as it was called at
10 the time. --
11 Q. Excuse me, Mr. Vuksic, we may well get to that particular issue,
12 but right now I'm confining the question to the period of time of 1994.
13 We'll have an opportunity to discuss other years, but right now I'd like
14 you to confine your answer to 1994, if you would be so kind.
15 A. I understand and thank you. What I was trying to say was that
16 that was a topical issue from the very outset. There were quite a few
17 discussions as to who was violating the no-fly zone and how in
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1994 as well and that I took part in those
20 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you. Could we please have brought up on
21 the screen 65 ter 522D.
22 Q. Which would be tab 12 in your binder, Mr. Vuksic.
23 And if you would be so kind to take a look at this particular
24 document. And after you've had a chance to review it, could you please
25 indicate that you've had a chance to review the document.
1 A. I have just familiarised myself with this document.
2 Q. This document is dated the 29th of October, 1994, and it is
4 "Report on results of investigation to allegations of violations
5 of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia air-space on 19 through 20 October
6 1994 and measures taken."
7 Were you involved with regard to any investigations concerning
8 violations of air-space on those dates?
9 A. In a classical sense, I could not have been involved in the
10 investigation that involved a technical and technological process, that
11 is to say, the professional side of the problem. However, it was my duty
12 to convey to the appropriate organs the suspicions of the representatives
13 of international organisations, UNPROFOR specifically, namely, that
14 aircraft of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had violated the air-space
15 of Bosnia-Herzegovina thereby violating the ban; or that we, the Army of
16 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, had information that aircraft of the
17 international forces that were enforcing the no-fly zone had violated the
18 air-space of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; or that this was done by
19 one of the warring parties in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
20 So it is in that sense that the document that was signed by
21 General Perisic was quite naturally written inter alia on the basis of
22 what I had done in the course of my own duties, that is to say, on the
23 basis of my own reporting or the reporting of my department, or, rather,
24 the department that I headed and that was involved in dealing with that
1 Q. With regard to the document in front of you, looking at paragraph
2 number 1, the first entry indicates that:
3 "None of the VJ Yugoslav Army helicopters was in the air at the
4 given time and in the given sector."
5 Is that information that you were aware of?
6 A. No, I could not have known about that because, as I already said,
7 I did not take part in the technological part of that process of
8 establishing the truth. That was not within the scope of my duty.
9 Q. Apart from the, as you put it, the technological part of the
10 investigation, did you receive information from anyone concerning this
11 investigation with regard to the technological findings that were made
12 such that you were in a position to report back to your counter-parts
13 with regard to the findings?
14 A. You have worded this question so very nicely and therefore it is
15 easier for me to answer the question.
16 Yes, I did get answers to the documents that I sent and in which
17 I had stated that international factors believe that aircraft of the
18 Army of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had violated the no-fly zone
19 in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I conveyed the information I received to the
20 representatives of the forces and missions that were in contact with me.
21 It wasn't all that rarely, so I cannot remember any specific cases, and
22 no specific case is of particular relevance now.
23 However, may I repeat that the Chief of General Staff had decided
24 that a document should be written up that he would sign, and that very
25 fact meant that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, or rather, the Army
1 of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia wanted to do its very best to avoid
2 such things ever happening. If there were any suspicions voiced, then
3 they wanted to respond to them with proper argumentation.
4 Q. Understanding that you cannot remember at this time any specific
5 cases, I'm going to move to the second part of this document and ask you
6 whether or not you recall as to the measures that were decided to be
7 instituted with regard to air-space violations and whether or not you
8 conveyed those measures to your counter-parts. And I'm referring you to
9 paragraph number 2 in which a number of measures are set forth. The
10 following measures -- it states:
11 "The following measures were taken to prevent uncontrolled
12 flights across the FRY-RS border. In addition to the existing
13 surveillance system, an order has been issued to increase radar
14 observation by engaging one company and two platoons, Vojin, and to
15 increase visual observation by VJ border units. A reminder was issued
16 that VRS helicopters have been prohibited from flying in the FRY
17 territory, apart from humanitarian purposes with prior permission."
18 Are those matters that you became aware of after the
19 investigation occurred in terms of the kinds of remedies that were being
20 sought by General Perisic to cope with this problem?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Thank you. Furthermore, were you made aware of some of the
23 difficulties that would -- were envisioned as potentially existing, and
24 by that I mean referring to paragraph 3 of this document, General Perisic
1 "Despite the measures that have been applied, we would like to
2 point out that complete control of air-space is not possible at an
3 altitude below 100 metres and in a rugged terrain. Possibility for
4 surveillance is considerably reduced in mountainous areas."
5 Is that something you became privy to after the investigation as
6 a cautionary note with regard to the measures that could be taken and
7 instituted by FRY pursuant to the direction of General Perisic?
8 A. I knew that as a soldier too within the framework of my general
9 knowledge of the armed forces. I knew that if aircraft flew at low
10 altitudes, they would fly below the radar, as we say, so this is an
11 expression. And General Perisic is actually cautioning about that.
12 Q. And finally with regard to a report of General Perisic,
13 paragraph 4, indicating measures to be taken:
14 "Aircraft that have flown into the FRY without permission shall
15 be kept. If these measures are not respected, the anti-aircraft defence
16 system shall be activated and measures under the rules for preventing
17 air-space violations of the FRY territory."
18 Were you made privy to those particular determinations by
19 General Perisic as to what would occur in the event that there were
20 air-space violations into the territory of FRY?
21 A. I knew of such measures, that they could and should be taken.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 A. They were --
24 MR. GUY-SMITH: I would move this document's admission.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: You've read the entire document into the record,
1 Mr. Guy-Smith.
2 MR. GUY-SMITH: No, I haven't, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Well, virtually.
4 MR. GUY-SMITH: Well, but - I understand that - but I have not
5 read the entire document into the record.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Well, you know, I'm just trying to remind you of
7 the guide-lines that if you are going to tender a document, you don't
8 have to read through it; but if you are going to read through it, then
9 there is no need to do that, we have that guide-line.
10 MR. GUY-SMITH: I appreciate that, Your Honour. I understand
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: And you have read virtually 75 per cent of this
13 document into the record.
14 MR. GUY-SMITH: I haven't gone through a quantitative analysis of
15 how much of the document I've read line by line. I seek to tender the
16 document into evidence.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: But I'm just warning you for the future.
18 MR. GUY-SMITH: Very well.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
20 The document is admitted into evidence. May it please be given
21 an exhibit number.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
23 Exhibit D366. Thank you.
24 MR. GUY-SMITH:
25 Q. I'd like to stay on the subject for a moment, if we could, of
1 air-space issues. And turn your attention to 1995. And I request that
2 you take a look at tab 24 in your binder, which is 65 ter 1162D.
3 A. I'll just familiarise myself with this document.
4 Q. Are you the author of this document, sir?
5 A. Yes. I decided to have it written up, and I signed it.
6 MR. GUY-SMITH: I seek its admission.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
8 please be given an exhibit number.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
10 Exhibit D367. Thank you.
11 MR. GUY-SMITH: Excuse me, if I might. Returning to -- it's
12 page 9, line 11. I'm informed that the answer that was given by the
13 witness was "I knew of such measures, that they could" -- sorry. That
14 the answer he gave was:
15 "That they could and should be taken" and were taken.
16 And the answer, as given, excludes the last part of that: "And
17 were taken." And I'm now getting a confirmatory nod by Mr. Lukic who has
18 also joined us, that that is what the witness said with regard to that
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you confirm that, Mr. Vuksic?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm not certain what
22 exactly this is about. If what we are talking about are the measures
23 mentioned by General Perisic in his document, in that case we should all
24 proceed with great caution. What that would mean is the airplanes of the
25 UN peacekeeping forces that were actually violating the air-space were
1 held up at one point, or that the anti-aircraft defence systems were set
2 in motion --
3 MR. GUY-SMITH:
4 Q. Mr. Vuksic --
5 A. -- which is a delicate issue as far as I know.
6 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... it may well be a delicate
7 issue, and I do hate to interrupt you, but the Judge asked you a very
8 specific question and I think you owe him the courtesy of answering the
9 question that was asked, which is: Do you confirm that your answer
10 included that those measures were taken, as you are sitting here?
11 A. No. No.
12 Q. Very well. Thank you.
13 With regard to the last exhibit that we just looked at, you
14 indicated there was an attachment to that exhibit, to that letter, which
15 was the report of the co-chairman. And I'd like to have you go to your
16 binder, if you might, and take a look at tab number 27, which is P2485.
17 If you could take a look at the document.
18 And my question is: Is this the document that you appended to
19 the letter that you wrote on the 17th of May, 1995, the exhibit that we
20 just referred to?
21 A. Yes, that's the document.
22 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you. It can be taken off the screen.
23 Q. I'd like to direct your attention to --
24 MR. THOMAS: I'm sorry, Your Honours, I couldn't get my hands on
25 the hard copy of that document. I was waiting for the English to appear
1 on the screen because we had two B/C/S copies. I just want to view that
2 document briefly before ...
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just before the two B/C/S copies came onto the
4 screen, the English one disappeared. It was hardly a second on the
5 screen. If it can be brought back.
6 MR. THOMAS: Thank you, sir.
7 MR. GUY-SMITH: If it's of any assistance, Mr. Thomas, I have a
8 hard copy here in English.
9 MR. THOMAS: It's fine, Your Honour. Thank you.
10 MR. GUY-SMITH: Are we good?
11 Q. I'd like to turn our attention, if we could, to
12 September of 1995. I'd like to ask you if you recall there being any
13 air-strikes during that period of time which were the subject matter of
14 conversations between you and your counter-parts in international
15 organisations and foreign military attachés?
16 A. What you have in mind is probably the NATO air-strikes targeting
17 the positions and facilities belonging to the VRS, which went on for
18 quite sometime and spread to early September. In that case, the answer
19 is yes, I was in a position to raise this with a number of different
20 persons, specifically including international military representatives.
21 Q. And what was the -- if you could expand a bit here, sir, what was
22 the cause of concern with regard to these air-strikes?
23 A. The NATO air-strikes targeting the positions and facilities of
24 the VRS were an ultimate measure taken by international players, and here
25 I mean the UN along with everyone else, in a bid to force the hand of the
1 political and military leadership of Republika Srpska and get them to
2 behave in a certain way or to correct their behaviour as it had been up
3 to that point, especially in terms of releasing hostages taken from the
4 ranks of the UN peacekeeping forces, persons which they had previously
5 arrested in response to NATO's air-strikes.
6 If you so require, sir, I can tell you what else they were asked
7 to do.
8 Q. That's fine. Thank you. With regard to what you've stated thus
9 far, were you made privy at any time to the concerns raised by the
10 permanent representative of the Russian Federation Ambassador Lavrov
11 concerning these air-strikes, and specifically the air-strike on the
12 Stolce communications tower?
13 A. Yes, given the nature of my official capacity, it was my duty, to
14 the extent that I could, to follow what was going on on the political
15 plane. I was well aware of Russia's different views and position,
16 generally speaking, regarding the behaviour of Republika Srpska, both in
17 a political and in a military sense. Their positions differed to some
18 extent from those represented by their partners in the Contact Group and
19 other international bodies.
20 I also discussed this with their own military envoy.
21 Q. With regard to the issue of the air-strike on Stolce tower, were
22 you made privy to the position taken in this regard, that the Stolce
23 communication tower was outside of a permissible area for NATO air-strike
24 and that NATO had embarked upon a policy of disproportionate and
25 wide-ranging air-strikes without any authority? Were you made aware of
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: I have a problem, Mr. Guy-Smith. You virtually
3 have swapped positions with the witness.
4 MR. GUY-SMITH: Does that mean I get to sit down?
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: No, that means you are -- you are testifying, and,
6 you know --
7 MR. GUY-SMITH: I'm asking whether he was made privy to a
8 position. He was made privy to a position, yes or no --
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: But that's -- that's --
10 MR. GUY-SMITH: But that's not the thrust of the --
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: The point --
12 MR. GUY-SMITH: Excuse me, Your Honour, let me finish.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: No, but you are interrupting me when I'm speaking.
14 Your question should be, What were you -- what do you know about what
15 happened? You know --
16 MR. GUY-SMITH: Excuse me, Your Honour, if I might. I'm not
17 testifying. And the point here is not a point with regard to necessarily
18 what Ambassador Lavrov said but, rather, if armed with this information,
19 he did anything. Which is specifically a different issue. If Ambassador
20 Lavrov said, for example, that he felt something was incorrect, that he,
21 he, Ambassador Lavrov, had difficulties with what was being done and that
22 information was communicated, he was privy to that information and he
23 used that information with regard to his contacts with UN organisations
24 or his contacts with military attachés, that is a point. Now that is
25 something I can ask him.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: The point --
2 MR. GUY-SMITH: And that is the thrust of the question.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: The point is you got to ask this witness, if you
4 are not to lead him, what interaction he had with Lavrov, what Lavrov
5 told him, and what he did about it. Not for you to --
6 MR. GUY-SMITH: He may not have been -- he may not have had any
7 interaction with --
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Overlapping speakers] ... if he hasn't had any
9 interaction what Lavrov, then he can't tell you anything that he did
10 about what Lavrov did.
11 MR. GUY-SMITH: Oh, but of course he can. And it happens all the
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: But he can tell you. He can --
14 MR. GUY-SMITH: But excuse me, Your Honour. If I -- if I say,
15 for example, to you --
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated] I am a going to rule on
17 this one, okay.
18 MR. GUY-SMITH: [Overlapping speakers]... well, it's
19 conceptually -- conceptually -- conceptually it's foreclosing -- it's
20 foreclosing an area of an examination.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm not foreclosing an area of examination.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the president, please.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: You can ask this witness if he had any interaction
24 with Lavrov. If he didn't have any interaction with Lavrov, if he has
25 any information about what Lavrov might have done, and, if so, what he
1 did with it. But it has got to be this witness who testifies, otherwise
2 there's no point in calling witnesses if we are going to be testifying,
3 ourselves, from the bar.
4 MR. GUY-SMITH: Well, I understand the point you're taking. I
5 happen to disagree with it, but --
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's fine, but that's the point --
7 MR. GUY-SMITH: [Overlapping speakers]... that's neither here nor
8 there for purposes of where we are right now.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Right. Then do what I'm asking you to do then.
10 MR. GUY-SMITH:
11 Q. Did you have any interaction with Ambassador Lavrov, the
12 permanent representative of the Russian Federation?
13 A. No. No direct interaction.
14 Q. Did you have any indirect interaction with Ambassador Lavrov, the
15 permanent representative of the Russian Federation?
16 A. If we can apply that to the established practice, for example --
17 Q. Excuse me, sir, stop there. You say the "established practice,"
18 could you please explain to the Chamber what the established practice
20 A. Sure. There were official policies which provided a certain
21 framework, and the country set out certain official policies. Measures
22 are taken within that framework. This implies that certain positions are
23 taken and made official by representatives of that country. These
24 positions are then interpreted and verified by all other officials of the
25 country at what is perhaps a lower level, but this must always be in line
1 with the positions received from the appropriate authorities in their own
3 Q. Understanding what you've just said, did you in your capacity
4 receive any information about what Ambassador Lavrov might have done?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. What information did you -- excuse me, Mr. Vuksic. I want to
7 make sure that we do not offend.
8 What information did you receive as to what Ambassador Lavrov
9 might have done?
10 A. I received oral information conveyed to me by Russia's military
11 envoy, General Viktor Dimitrijevic - I can't remember his third name -
12 which is perfectly common with Russians and might in fact be of some
14 Q. And you indicated that you received oral information which
15 indicates -- and I understand that you are referring to oral information
16 as opposed to written information. With regard to the oral information
17 that you received from General Viktor Dimitrijevic, what factual oral
18 information did you receive from him with regard to what
19 Ambassador Lavrov might have done?
20 A. General Dimitrijevic asked me whether I knew about the
21 declaration and the measures take been by their official representative
22 to the UN, Ambassador Lavrov. I said that I knew about that but probably
23 not sufficiently. I said I would be grateful to him if he were to tell
24 me more about that. General Dimitrijevic, understandably, expressed his
25 satisfaction at being given an opportunity to interpret to me the meaning
1 and purpose of Mr. Lavrov's declaration or statement.
2 Over the course of the exchange, what I found out from him comes
3 down to more or less what is said here. What he shared with me was meant
4 to convince me that Russia was pursuing a principled policy in this case
5 and that it would remain adamant in terms of trying to correct some
6 errors that were occurring vis-à-vis the Serb side, conditionally
8 I was not personally entirely convinced at all times.
9 Q. I do hate to interrupt you. You've said "the Serb side,
10 conditionally speaking," I'm not sure what you mean when you use the term
11 "conditionally speaking." If you could clarify that term, when you say
12 "the Serb side, conditionally speaking," I'd appreciate it.
13 A. Yes. I'm used to being misunderstood when I speak like that.
14 That kind of misunderstanding has been a frequent occurrence ever since
15 the outbreak of the crisis in the former Yugoslavia, and it still goes
17 There were some players who tried to define who the parties were
18 to this crisis, and they found different expressions for this. When the
19 Russians talked about the Serb side, they meant Serbian people as found
20 throughout the territory of the former Yugoslavia, and their right to
21 entertain mutual relations and in a way live side by side.
22 I understand that then, as now, some people might find it
23 difficult to understand.
24 It also meant, as far as policies were concerned, as well as
25 possible errors, that the country that was wronged in some ways at the
1 time was the country that had the majority of Serbs living in it, which,
2 at the time, was the FRY. But that also applied to those living in
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Croatia.
4 Q. If I might interject. You indicated in your response that over
5 the course of the -- this is at page 17, line 25, continuing to
6 page 18, line 1:
7 "Over the course of the exchange, what I found out from him comes
8 down to more or less what is said here."
9 When you are referring to what is said here, what are you
10 alluding to there, "what is said here"? I don't know what you are
11 alluding to there.
12 A. That is said, and then the Stolice radio relay station is
13 mentioned. This is near Tuzla in Bosnia-Herzegovina. This was an
14 important hub in the signals and command system of the VRS. The Muslim
15 military units did their best to destroy this radio relay hub and leave
16 it unable to operate. This was a particularly delicate issue which drew
17 a lot of attention and interest. The representatives of certain NATO
18 countries as well as the representatives of certain international
19 organisations tried to phrase this cautiously in order to say they were
20 not fully in the clear as to what was going on in Bosnia-Herzegovina and
21 whether NATO's air force was in fact operating in keeping with the UN
22 mandate and conventions.
23 Specifically, the military advisors in the Belgrade UN office
24 were people that I used to meet on a regular basis, or at least a
25 frequent one. They couch this in very cautious terms, but their point
1 was clear; they said they did not understand this either.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 A. There would always be two or three advisors in that office.
4 Q. Now, I'm going to jump ahead in time, but we will be spending a
5 considerable period of time on this particular issue. But I'm jumping
6 ahead in time because of the manner in which this particular document is
7 comprised. And there's information in this document that I'd like to
8 discuss with you to see whether or not you have an understanding of this
9 or not.
10 Directing your attention to the 1st of September, 1995, were you
11 involved in any meetings that day with General Mladic and others
12 concerning issues such as the French pilots?
13 A. I did not attend the meeting with General Mladic that September.
14 I did meet him, however, several days before that meeting and perhaps
15 also several days after.
16 Q. With regard to the meeting on the 1st of September, to your
17 knowledge were there any air-strikes that day by NATO?
18 A. There were air-strikes. I can't say whether on that very day;
19 nevertheless, the air-strikes were quite frequent at the time.
20 Q. As a result of the meetings that were had with General Mladic --
21 let me back up there.
22 Do you know who was involved in the meetings with General Mladic?
23 A. What I knew is on that day General Perisic would be on his way --
24 Q. Excuse me, I'm only asking you for the participants in the
25 meeting, not for what occurred at this point in time.
1 A. I apologise. Yes, I know who the participants were.
2 Q. Who were they?
3 A. One of the negotiating sides was represented by General Janvier
4 who, at the time, was commander of the UN peacekeeping forces. He was
5 also the person who initiated this meeting. His counter-part on the
6 other side was General Mladic, commander of the General Staff of the VRS.
7 How did this meeting come about? The meeting was brokered, to
8 put it that way, by General Perisic.
9 Q. Before we get involved in the meeting, after the meeting on the
10 1st, did you become aware of what the various sides' positions were with
11 regard to what needed to be done by both General Mladic's side as well as
12 Janvier's side as it related to further air-strikes. Or put in other
13 terms: Were conditions set forth by the respective parties concerning
14 these negotiations?
15 A. I had very little direct knowledge about the substance of the
16 actual conversation at that meeting. Nevertheless, I understood the gist
17 of what the whole thing was about. I had previously debated some of the
18 same problems with people before that meeting as well as after. That
19 notwithstanding, I had the good or bad luck, depending on how you look at
20 it, to have a chance to familiarise myself with a report from that
21 meeting. It wasn't before then that I realised that this had indeed been
22 a very dramatic and significant meeting. Significant why? Because of
23 the topics that were raised and debated and the problems that were
25 Q. With regard to the topics --
1 A. Why was it --
2 Q. With regard to the topics that were raised, are you in a position
3 to assist us in that regard as to the topics that were raised and
5 A. Well, I think that there were three or four issues on the
6 agenda -- or, rather, requests posed by General Janvier which were
7 interpreted by General Mladic as an ultimatum. The first one was --
8 Q. Thank you, I was going to ask you specifically and what were
9 those requests?
10 A. I was just about to tell you that. If my answers are somewhat
11 too long, this is not because I wish to do that or because I enjoy
12 reminiscing about these events, but I'm rather afraid that the knowledge
13 that we have about this difficult time differs among different people --
14 Q. Mr. Vuksic --
15 A. Maybe I'm not doing it in a very skillful way. If that is the
16 case, I do apologise.
17 Q. MR. Vuksic, I --
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you for that warning, Mr. Vuksic. Could you
19 now get to the answer. We will remember that warning you've given us.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The first condition or request put
21 forward was for the heavy weaponry deployed around Sarajevo be moved
22 at -- 20 kilometres away from Sarajevo. That was a request that had been
23 repeated continuously, but which the warring parties did not want to
24 implement. As far as I know, the VRS for the most part was reluctant to
25 do that, but the same applied to the Muslim army as well.
1 The second request was not to attack the remaining protected
2 areas, UN protected areas. And by that I mean that the VRS had already
3 entered Srebrenica and Zepa.
4 The third request, as far as I can remember, was to allow free
5 access or free passage to humanitarian and other convoys that were
6 delivering supplies to Sarajevo and the areas populated by refugees and
7 who needed this relief badly.
8 MR. GUY-SMITH:
9 Q. Were there any other issues on the agenda that you can recall?
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: In fact, you said there were four items,
11 Mr. Vuksic; you've given us three.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said three or four. I cannot
13 remember exactly at the moment. There may have been even more than that.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay.
15 MR. GUY-SMITH:
16 Q. Okay.
17 A. Of course, I have to say this because it's very important in the
18 context: The NATO air-strikes and bombing would have been suspended.
19 But when I said earlier whether it was on that date that air-strikes took
20 place, I had in mind the fact that for that specific occasion
21 General Janvier ordered the air-strikes to stop, but I think that he
22 extended this period to 72 hours, if I remember correctly.
23 Q. Do you recall what happened after the 72-hour remit in
24 air-strikes terminated? Did the air-strikes cease from that time? Did
25 they start up again?
1 A. I believe that the outcome of the meeting was not such that
2 resulted in the termination of NATO air-strikes. And the bombing
3 continued, as far as I am aware.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 MR. GUY-SMITH: I would seek admission of this document.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: We've lost it from our screen. What was its
7 65 ter number?
8 MR. GUY-SMITH: [Microphone not activated] 65 ter 2109D.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: 2109D. May the document please be admitted into
10 evidence and be given an exhibit number. I don't remember seeing this
12 MR. THOMAS: Your Honour, it's not appeared on the screen because
13 I think my learned friend, through oversight, never asked for to be put
14 up there. But I wonder if we could just have it on the screen before
15 it's admitted.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Could we have it, because I'm seeing this
17 65 ter 2109D for the first time.
18 MR. GUY-SMITH: I thought I put it up on the screen.
19 My apologies, Mr. Thomas. My apologies to Chamber.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, it's definitely coming for the first time.
22 MR. THOMAS: That's fine, sir.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. The document is admitted into
24 evidence. May it please be given an exhibit number.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
1 Exhibit D368. Thank you.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
3 MR. GUY-SMITH:
4 Q. Before we go any further, I need to go back for a moment.
5 On page 20, beginning at line 18, I asked you the following
6 question and you gave me the following answer:
7 "Excuse me, I'm only asking you for the participants in the
8 meeting, not for what occurred at this point in time."
9 And your answer is:
10 "I apologise. Yes, I know who the participants were."
11 My next question to you was:
12 "Who were they?"
13 And your answer was:
14 "One of the negotiating sides was represented by General" -- and
15 as the transcript read there at the present it says General G, "who at
16 the time was the commander of the peacekeeping forces. He was also the
17 side ... was General Mladic, commander of the General Staff of the VRS."
18 And then what I have on the transcript is:
19 "... how ... way, by General Perisic?"
20 Now, I'd like to get a bit of clarification here, just in case
21 something has been missed, which is: With regard to this meeting, you
22 have mentioned a number of names, and if you could tell us who was the
23 commander of the peacekeeping forces at that meeting, his name?
24 A. I think I already said that that was General Janvier. I
25 mentioned his name several times. And if you allow me in that respect --
1 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vuksic. There's no question pending at this time.
2 I need to get a clarification for this particular answer.
3 With regard to your answer, you have indicated that
4 General Perisic was involved. Could you please explain to us what
5 General Perisic's involvement was with regard to the meeting between
6 Janvier and Mladic?
7 A. I have to say, again, that I should be allowed to say at least a
8 few sentences in order for us to comprehend this issue as a whole.
9 Q. Mr. Vuksic, I appreciate what you believe should be done.
10 There's certain information that we need to get. After we get that
11 information, a determination will be made with regard to whether or not
12 further discussion from you is necessary.
13 So, once again, sir, with regard to the meeting between
14 General Janvier and General Mladic, what was General Perisic's
15 involvement, if you know?
16 A. The role of General Perisic was known for quite some time, and it
17 involved making every effort on our part to set up a meeting between
18 international representatives who were asking for it and General Mladic.
19 And they wanted to meet General Mladic specifically.
20 We tried to implement that in the shortest possible time and in
21 the simplest way. We also wanted to assist in approximating views during
22 such meetings and in finding solutions, and by providing assistance meant
23 that we should do everything in our power to achieve that.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MR. GUY-SMITH: Your Honour, we are going to be moving into a new
1 topic. I note the time.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. We'll take a break and come
3 back at quarter to 11.00.
4 Court adjourned.
5 --- Recess taken at 10.13 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 10.45 a.m.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Guy-Smith.
8 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. Mr. Vuksic, if you could turn to tab 23 in your binder.
10 MR. GUY-SMITH: That would be 65 ter 1161D, Mr. Registrar.
11 Q. And if you could take a moment and look at the document and
12 indicate when you've reviewed the document, please.
13 A. I'm familiar with this document. It's very short. I signed it,
14 and I know what the purpose was.
15 Q. Okay. Could you identify for us, if possible, who Colonel Pug
16 is? Which is a name in the document.
17 A. Colonel Pug was an officer in the escort of General de Lapresle,
18 the previous commander of the UN peacekeeping forces; and now he was a
19 special envoy of the President of the Republic of France Mr. Chirac.
20 Q. And could you tell us what the purpose of asking permission to
21 approve the crossing to Republika Srpska was for?
22 A. It is difficult for me to give you a short answer, but I'll do my
23 best. For quite some time the relations between the VJ and the minister
24 of the interior were deteriorating. But, please, what I just said, take
25 with a certain reserve because I don't have enough time to explain such a
1 complex problem. I can only add something that in my view is truthful,
2 and I leave it to everyone else to construe it or abuse it in any way
3 they wish. These relations depended on the will of Slobodan Milosevic.
4 From the very outset of the Yugoslav crisis, when he became a prominent
5 figure, favoured the police.
6 Q. I am sorry, Mr. Vuksic, I've asked you a very specific question
7 and I understand that your answer can't be short, but if you could first
8 pay attention to the question asked and then thereafter we'll make a
9 determination what further explanation is needed.
10 And my question to you was: And could you tell us what the
11 purpose of asking permission to approve the crossing to Republika Srpska
12 was for?
13 A. Under normal circumstances, each organ takes care of their
14 duties. I would like to say that the situation and the relations in the
15 then-Yugoslavia and the region were not normal at the time. We wanted to
16 normalise those situations and relations, and we wanted that everyone do
17 their respective job properly.
18 In order to thwart any misunderstandings, we informed the
19 competent authorities within the Ministry of the Interior, and in this
20 particular case it was the police general Pusovic [phoen]. We informed
21 him about the fact that a representative of the UN peacekeeping forces
22 was asking to go to Republika Srpska and that we were going to escort him
23 at a certain time across the so-called border.
24 Q. To your knowledge, was this achieve? And by that, was the
25 representative of the UN peacekeeping forces allowed to go across the
1 border -- I'm sorry, allowed to go, as you put it, the so-called border?
2 A. Yes. I was informed about that by Colonel Vasiljevic and
3 Major Davidovic who were officers on duty in the administration that I
5 I'm sorry, it says here Colonel Vasiljevic and
6 Major Vasiljevic [as interpreted], but it should be the other way around.
7 It's Major Vasiljevic and Colonel Davidovic.
8 And in that connection, if you allow me, in the previous session
9 I wanted to ask a question whether the way I'm talking is acceptable to
10 the interpreters. Nobody has warned me about the pace that I speak.
11 Q. I trust your pace is all right, otherwise we would hear from the
12 interpreters; they would intervene. They often intervene with me,
13 Mr. Vuksic, and tell me that I'm doing something which could be improved
14 upon, so I'm sure you're doing just right.
15 I thank you for your responses.
16 MR. GUY-SMITH: And I would move to the admission of that
17 document, please.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
19 please be given an exhibit number.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honours. This document shall be
21 assigned Exhibit D369. Thank you.
22 MR. GUY-SMITH:
23 Q. Now, I'd like to discuss another document with you in
24 situations -- and that would be your tab 4, which is P2708.
25 MR. GUY-SMITH: I'm hearing that I perhaps should be in private
1 session. I'm hearing quite strongly that I should be in private session.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
3 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
4 [Private session]
5 THE REGISTRAR: We are in private session, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
7 Yes, Mr. Lukic -- Mr. Guy-Smith, I'm sorry.
8 MR. GUY-SMITH: I take that as a compliment; I don't know whether
9 Mr. Lukic does. Thank you.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated] ... take it as a slip of
11 tongue. To Mr. Saxon, I've done the same thing to him.
12 MR. GUY-SMITH:
13 Q. First of all, if you could just take a look at the very first
14 page of that document and note the date which is the -- that I have here
15 is 27/10/1995. And with regard to the permission that you had sought
16 which was in the previous document discussed, that's D369, I'm wondering
17 whether or not if you could tell us, is this -- if you know, is this the
18 meeting that you were seeking passage for General de Lapresle and
19 Colonel Pug? Since the date is the same, that's the reason I'm asking
20 the question.
21 A. Yes, there is no doubt about that. By looking at this document,
22 I have no doubt that the previous letter referred to the crossing of the
23 border by General de Lapresle in order to attend this particular meeting.
24 Q. Okay. Thank you for that response.
25 MR. GUY-SMITH: We can take that document off the screen.
1 And if we could go back into open session.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into open session.
3 [Open session]
4 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much, Mr. Registrar.
6 Yes, Mr. Guy-Smith.
7 MR. GUY-SMITH:
8 Q. Do you know an individual by the name of General Gracev [phoen]?
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 Q. Who is he?
11 A. At the time when I met him, he was the minister of defence of the
12 Russian Federation of Russia.
13 Q. To your knowledge, what involvement, if any, did General Gracev
14 have concerning the issue of the French pilots?
15 A. Yes, he was.
16 Q. And when you say "yes, he was," what was he? And by that I mean,
17 what was his involvement?
18 A. This is what I mean by his involvement: Primarily the interest
19 the Russian representatives, and I mean military attachés, expressed, as
20 well as members of the Russian contingent within UNPROFOR. They took an
21 interest in this problem. If you ask me, perhaps a little more than --
22 again, if you ask me, might be considered normal.
23 Q. Irrespective of whether or not their interest was normal, above
24 normal, or below normal, what was the interest that they took? And
25 specifically, what was the interest that the minister of defence Gracev
1 took, if you know, with regard to the issue of the French pilots? If you
2 know. If you don't, that's fine.
3 A. At the time, based on those conversations, I was able to
4 conclude - I repeat, to conclude - that General Gracev was paying
5 particular attention to this issue. At the time --
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Vuksic, we understand that he paid particular
7 attention. I think the thrust of the question is, Was he for the
8 release, or was he for the continued detention of the pilots? Which side
9 was he on? What was his position in this issue?
10 I guess I'm interpreting you correctly, Mr. Guy-Smith?
11 MR. GUY-SMITH: I certainly appreciate the assistance,
12 Your Honour, yes.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The position taken by him and his
14 representatives was to have the pilots released and set free.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
16 MR. GUY-SMITH:
17 Q. And with regard to the position that he took to have the pilots
18 released and set free, did he indicate, if you know, whether or not he
19 was or was not willing to become personally involved in receiving the
20 pilots himself, to having the pilots delivered to him?
21 A. At the time, based on those conversations, I was unable to glean
22 that as something that was certain. Nevertheless, one could surmise that
23 the Russian side and probably Minister Gracev as well were quite prepared
24 to take another step. Nevertheless, I was unable to conclude at the time
25 what that step might be and what its meaning might be.
1 Q. Thank you for that response. I'd like to continue with the issue
2 of the release of the French pilots. Do you by any chance know what
3 their names were? I mean, I've noticed that over the years everybody
4 talks about the release of the French pilots but nobody's ever given them
5 any names. Do you, by any chance, know what their names were?
6 A. Those are names that emerged somewhere in my consciousness and
7 then are gone again. I think one of them was called Major Vasuev
8 [phoen], and I can't remember the other man's name. I'm sure that I will
9 eventually be able to dredge it up from somewhere in my memory.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Were there only two?
11 MR. GUY-SMITH:
12 Q. If I were to --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for counsel, please.
14 MR. GUY-SMITH:
15 Q. If I were to give you the names of Frederic Chiffot and
16 Jose Souvignet, would that refresh your recollection with regard to the
17 names of the two French pilots?
18 A. Yes. And thank you very much for that, Mr. Guy-Smith. Our
19 pronunciation of these names at the time is a different matters; it's
20 very much a matter of our knowledge of the French language or perhaps
21 lack of it.
22 Q. I may be taking liberty with my pronunciation as well. And if I
23 am, I take -- I do apologise; I don't mean to offend. I'm wanting more
24 to acknowledge these two gentlemen for a minute.
25 In any event, with regard to the incident that we are referring
1 to in October, do you know whether or not the French pilots were released
2 in October?
3 A. They were not released in October 1995.
4 Q. How about November, was there any success in November?
5 A. They were not released in November 1995 either.
6 Q. To your knowledge, what efforts, if any, were made by
7 General Perisic with regard to obtaining the release of the French pilots
8 in the month of November?
9 A. Yes, General Perisic made some serious efforts and did everything
10 in his power to get the pilots released.
11 Q. Let's move to the month of December, then, shall we.
12 Now, in the month of December, were the French pilots released?
13 A. The pilots you mentioned were eventually released in
14 December 1995.
15 Q. With regard to the release of these two gentlemen, what, if any,
16 importance was their release to resolution of the general crisis at the
17 time in the region?
18 A. Their release was exceptionally important.
19 President Jacques Chirac saw their release as a prerequisite for
20 the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords in Paris.
21 Q. With what you've just said in mind, are you aware of any meetings
22 that occurred in December, before the release of these two gentlemen,
23 with regard to obtaining their release that involved General Perisic?
24 A. I can't say what all of the things were that General Perisic did
25 in order to get the pilots released, which eventually happened in
1 December 1995. Mentioning some of these steps would not constitute the
2 entire context. I do, however, know of two particularly important
3 meetings, one of which I personally attended. One thing that is
4 noteworthy in this context is that it was as a result of this meeting
5 that the pilots were released the very next day in Mali Zvornik.
6 Q. Well, let us talk about this first meeting that you were present
7 at. When was that meeting?
8 A. As far as I remember, it was held on the 11th of December, 1995,
9 at the Batajnica military airport in Belgrade.
10 Q. And who were the participants in that meeting as you remember?
11 A. Chief of the joint General Staff of the armed forces of France,
12 General -- you see, his name escapes me right now. Perhaps if you could
13 give me a hand with that. And his --
14 Q. If I were to mention the name of Douin to you, which I may be
15 pronouncing and probably pronouncing incorrectly --
16 A. Yes. Yes, yes. There you go. I'm gradually getting tired.
17 General Jacques Douin, with General Ratko Mladic as his counter-part in
18 these negotiations, accompanied by Generals Gvero and Tolimir. The role
19 of mediator was again played by General Perisic. For that occasion, he
20 order General Velickovic, the then-commander of the air force and
21 anti-aircraft defence, to be present, as well as Colonel-General
22 Dimitrijevic, chief of the security administration of the VJ.
23 Q. And before General Douin arrived with his group, was it decided
24 whether this was going to be a public meeting or private meeting? Was
25 this an official meeting? How would you characterise the kind of meeting
1 that was being held on the air strip?
2 A. Our side, if I may call it that, and by that I mean
3 General Perisic, wanted to make the occasion as official and as important
4 as possible. General Douin was to receive the military salute, and he
5 was to be welcomed by a military band. The usual honours extended to a
6 high-ranking soldier like him.
7 Being familiar, as I was, with the procedure around the
8 ceremonial aspects, I was quite skeptical about how this would work. I
9 knew General Perisic, and I did not believe that a thing like this might
10 work. I believe that General Douin would have preferred to leave this
11 visit a little more informal and have as little pomp as possible
12 attaching to it, which is what eventually happened.
13 Q. Before what happened, when General Douin's plane landed, was
14 there a military band with all of the attendant honours that befit
15 somebody of his stature available to greet him?
16 A. Yes. The unit that was supposed to welcome the general was lined
17 up and the band was there. This is standard procedure in most countries
18 when welcoming such a high-ranking military officer. General Douin was
19 able to see this from the plane as he was on his way in. So we were
20 there standing for him and waiting to welcome him and receive him, but he
21 just wouldn't get off the plane.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: May I just interrupt a little bit.
23 MR. GUY-SMITH: Sure.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: You indicated a couple of minutes ago, Mr. Vuksic,
25 that you were beginning to get tired. Are you in a position to carry on,
1 or do you like a break?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, thank you for your
3 concern. It was just a remark in passing, asking for your forgiveness
4 for being temporarily unable to remember a single name, names even of
5 those people I used to know quite well and that I remember with great
6 fondness; as opposed to my previous observation when I try to say that
7 all of these are developments that I did my best to repress and drive out
8 of my mind and memory. Nevertheless, I'm perfectly fit to continue my
9 testimony, and thank you for your concern.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
11 Yes, Mr. Guy-Smith.
12 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. You indicated that General Douin would not get off the plane.
14 What, if anything, transpired at that point in time? As I understand it,
15 there's a band ready to strike up the appropriate tunes, General Perisic
16 and others are in attendance waiting for General Douin to get off the
17 plane, and he is not getting off the plane. What happened?
18 A. I'll try to keep this as brief as possible. General Perisic got
19 into the plane and told us what to do. We reminded him that we were the
20 hosts and perhaps we could see our guest inside the plane for a minute to
21 see what the problem was. That is what we eventually did. We realised
22 that General Douin was not willing to be welcomed with the usual military
23 honours. We accepted that. The unit and the band were told to leave the
24 scene, and General Douin eventually got off the plane. We exchanged
25 greetings and --
1 Q. Let me --
2 A. -- continued with our contacts.
3 Q. Did General Douin give you any indication at all as to why he was
4 not willing to get off the plane and enjoy the acknowledgement of the
5 band and the official contact?
6 A. At the time, there was no time to discuss that on the runway or
7 in the plane itself. Nevertheless, it soon became clear.
8 Q. What became clear?
9 A. When -- when, yes, when we sat down in that room where we were to
10 hold our talks, General Douin realised that General Mladic was not there,
11 nor anyone standing in for him. He asked when and if the pilots would be
12 handed over to him. He made it a condition for meeting General Mladic.
13 He even went so far as to say, I refuse to talk with a man suspected of
14 war crimes. This was a very serious remark. We representing the VJ,
15 General Perisic, and the people who were with him exchanged glances,
16 realising that we were facing some difficult moments and hours ahead.
17 We realised the misunderstanding between the two parties was
18 enormous and that General Douin was probably expecting that he would just
19 put in an appearance that the pilots would be delivered to him in shorter
20 order, having previously undergone a medical check, and that he would be
21 leaving the Batajnica air strip and the FRY air-space that same day, that
22 he would soon be on his way back to Paris to inform President Chirac that
23 he had completed his mission.
24 Q. Where was Mladic?
25 A. Mladic was in the room right next to this one.
1 Q. If General Douin was in one room and Mladic was in the other
2 room, what was the difficulty that was occurring? Why couldn't they both
3 be in the same room?
4 A. General Mladic arrived at the Batajnica airport, but I don't know
5 when exactly. It wasn't my place to know when he would be appearing. I
6 was in charge of knowing when General Douin would be arriving though.
7 Having finished our conversation with General Douin, I think it was
8 General Perisic who tried to make the general see what the reality of our
9 situation was and what he would now have to face up to. We tried to tell
10 him that we -- that he were and was very skeptical about the possibility
11 of the pilots being released on that day. We told him that the talks to
12 achieve that objective would probably be long.
13 Some time had passed and then we told General Mladic that he
14 would be meeting General Douin. This was at about 11.00 or 12.00 a.m.
15 Once General Perisic had managed to persuade General Douin about the
16 actual reality of the situation -- and I have to say that General Douin
17 had gone back to the plane at least twice to confer with someone,
18 probably President Chirac, because his advisors had set up a special
19 antennae for him to be able to maintain a direct line through to Paris.
20 And we didn't know at this time whether General Douin would be back for
21 the talks. Nevertheless, we were happy to eventually see him back. And
22 then some more time went by --
23 Q. I you said, at page 38, line 8:
24 "Some time had passed and then we told General Mladic that he
25 would be meeting General Douin. That was about 11.00 or 12.00 a.m."
1 And was it Mladic that you told would be meeting General Douin or
2 General Douin who you told would be meeting General Mladic?
3 A. Both.
4 Q. So General Mladic was --
5 A. You have military men, high ranking ones, meeting like that. You
6 have to be very specific about the time and the meeting.
7 Q. Okay. Well, that's what I want to be because I want to make sure
8 that we're clear about what happened. Because, as I understand it, some
9 period of time transpired before the two generals actually met together.
10 When General Douin arrived at the air strip, was General Mladic present?
11 By that I mean present in the area.
12 A. I don't know.
13 Q. How long a period of time, if you know, transpired between
14 General Douin's arrival and your recognition that General Mladic was in
15 the general area?
16 A. Two hours from the time that was set as the time the meeting and
17 the talks would begin. I'll never forget that. Why? Because when we
18 told General Mladic that he would now have to go to the other room in
19 order to meet and talk with General Douin - if this is not a word that
20 the interpreters are familiar with, can they please request further
21 explanations - Mladic said, We were supposed to meet two hours ago; now
22 it is me who will keep him waiting for another two hours, and then
23 eventually I'll be the one calling the shot as to whether we would be
24 meeting or not.
25 Well, this -- that spelled for us was more difficult hours ahead.
1 General Douin had now been told about the real situation, and it was up
2 to us now to try and talk Mladic into perhaps curtailing the waiting time
3 that he had imposed so that the two negotiators could finally meet and
4 debate this grave problem. This was eventually the case.
5 Q. So let me understand something. From what you've told us, with
6 the signing of the Dayton Agreement hanging in the balance, you have the
7 initial task, and by that I mean General Perisic has the initial task,
8 which seems to have become somewhat arduous, but the initial task of just
9 getting these two men into the same room so that a conversation can be
10 had; is that what you are telling us?
11 A. That is precisely what I was telling you, yes.
12 Q. How many hours of negotiation were involved before
13 General Perisic was successful in the simple act of getting two men into
14 the same room to discuss a matter which could dramatically affect
15 something as minor as the Dayton Agreement? I'm just dealing with how
16 long it took to get them into the same room, nothing more for the moment.
17 A. Between three and three and a half hours, the way I remember it.
18 Q. After the three- to three-and-a-half-hour period transpired, from
19 what you've told us, I guess it would be General Mladic who relented and
20 decided that he would be responsible enough to come to the room to speak
21 with General Douin?
22 And if my characterisation is a bit bold, I do apologise.
23 A. No, you were not too bold. He managed to impose his will which
24 was very important, bearing in mind the structure of his personality both
25 as a human being and as a military person. Once he decided that, to meet
1 General Douin, it was when the meeting happened.
2 Q. What I'd like to do at this point, if I could, is I'd like to
3 have you go to tab 39 in your binder, which is --
4 MR. GUY-SMITH: And I believe that we are going to have to be in
5 private session for this.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
7 [Private session]
8 MR. GUY-SMITH: This document, I believe --
9 THE REGISTRAR: We are in private session, Your Honours.
10 MR. GUY-SMITH: This document, I believe, has been previously
11 admitted into evidence as 3339D.
12 And, Mr. Thomas, I also believe it's on your XN list as 505. So
13 between the two numbers, I believe you'll be able to grab it. I've been
14 corrected. I'm told it's in an MFI situation perhaps. In any event ...
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter 03339D was never used
16 before. Thank you.
17 MR. GUY-SMITH: Okay. Then I stand corrected.
18 Q. I'd like you to take a look --
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: In fact, we -- okay.
20 MR. GUY-SMITH: Since this is part of the Mladic diary and I've
21 not been privy to discussions that have been had back and forth with
22 regard to the use of the Mladic diary, I was left with the impression it
23 has been used before. But if it hasn't been used before, that's fine.
24 We're exactly where we should be. We're in private session, and I think
25 all parties know which document we are referring to.
1 If you'll excuse me for a moment.
2 [Defence counsel confer]
3 MR. GUY-SMITH: Mr. Thomas, I've just been informed by Mr. Lukic
4 that I need to obtain permission from you to use this particular
5 document, since it's apparently on your side of the aisle, not mine, at
6 this time. I request such permission.
7 MR. THOMAS: Your Honours, if what my friend is asking me is
8 whether I agree to this going on to the Defence 65 ter list, I have no
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Thomas.
11 MR. GUY-SMITH: I think --
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Overlapping speakers] ... that's what you were
13 asking for.
14 MR. GUY-SMITH: I think that the Is have been dotted and Ts
15 crossed, at least with regard to this issue. And I thank you,
16 Mr. Thomas.
17 Q. If you could return to the first page of this particular
18 document, sir. And the document starts out, after listing the
19 individuals who were present at the meeting, it says that General Perisic
20 opened the meeting with a brief introduction, thereafter there is an
21 entry as to what General Douin said. In that regard, it indicates that
22 he said that I come here --
23 "I do not come here as an enemy, but as a negotiator.
24 President Chirac is the commander of the OS, and I'm the chief joint GS
25 of the OS of France."
1 So my question to you here is: What was your understanding of
2 General Douin's position with regard to the negotiation concerning the
3 release of the French pilots?
4 A. Before I answer your question directly, allow me to go back to
5 what we called perhaps fatigue. It is obvious that when I addressed the
6 participants of the meeting, I omitted to mention General Grahovac. And
7 I see that his name is there. And he indeed attended the meeting. I
8 said that General Velickovic was there, but he was not there the whole
9 time. It was quite understandable because he was commander of the air
10 force and anti-aircraft defence, and the site where the meeting was
11 taking place was under his command. So these discrepancies could happen,
12 but they do not have a decisive impact.
13 Now, back to your question, Mr. Guy-Smith. At the time, I was
14 already more than fully informed about the way in which communications
15 and interface were conducted and the role of persons who carried out
16 special tasks. I understood the role of General Douin to be one that was
17 very sensitive and that -- one that he was not very familiar with.
18 Because he was not very knowledgeable about the region itself and the
19 relations prevailing there, that he had just assumed the position of the
20 chief of the joint staff, and that perhaps he had been given tasks and
21 instructions that probably were not commensurate with the situation that
22 he actually faced upon his arrival in Belgrade.
23 Q. Looking at this particular document, it indicates that
24 General Douin asked a couple of questions, which I take it he posed to
25 General Mladic, those being with regard to the --
1 A. It is correct.
2 Q. Excuse me. And the questions regarded the physical condition of
3 the pilots?
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can we see that, please, on the document.
5 MR. GUY-SMITH: It's the very first page, Your Honour, down at
6 the bottom. It's pages -- it's 1 of 5 -- and it's page 2 of 5. It
7 says --
8 [Defence counsel confer]
9 MR. GUY-SMITH: It's page 1 in B/C/S and 2 in English. The
10 questions are --
11 Do you see it, Your Honour? Do you have it on your screen?
12 "Can you confirm for me on your soldierly honour ..." and it
14 Q. Were those questions asked -- were those questions answered by
15 General Mladic at the time, if you know?
16 A. The questions that are mentioned here that were put by
17 General Douin and recorded by General Mladic are exactly the questions
18 that General Douin had put. That shows that what I previously said was
19 correct; he thought or perhaps he had the task to return them the very
20 same evening to Paris. Beforehand, a doctor would examine them. He
21 expected the pilots to be somewhere nearby so that they could be handed
22 over to him. That shows, at the same time, what a sensitive and
23 difficult role General Douin had and the extent to which this was not the
24 actual state of affairs.
25 Q. My question to you is: Did General Mladic answer General Douin's
1 questions? When General Douin's asked, Are the pilots alive, What is
2 their physical condition, did General Mladic answer those questions?
3 A. I had just intended to answer that part of the question.
4 General Mladic did not mention the questions that were put by
5 General Douin. Rather, he started these long remarks --
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let me interrupt you. The transcript says
7 General Mladic did not "mention" the questions that were put by
8 General Douin. Now, is that what you said or did you say General Mladic
9 did not "answer" the questions? Here it says "mention the questions."
10 The question to you is: Did he answer the questions?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He did not even mention them,
12 Mr. President.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Nor did he answer them?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that moment, he did not want to
15 mention these questions, and his own remarks moved in a completely
16 different direction.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. So I take it he didn't answer the questions
18 at that time.
19 You may proceed, Mr. Guy-Smith.
20 MR. GUY-SMITH:
21 Q. I notice that you're nodding in response to Judge Moloto's last
22 question, which is that he did not answer the questions at that time; is
23 that correct?
24 A. That's correct.
25 Q. You mentioned that he went off in a -- his own remarks moved in a
1 completely different direction. What did he discuss?
2 A. Again, bearing in mind General Mladic's personality and his
3 structure, to put it in the briefest possible terms, he wanted to lead
4 the game, regardless of who was involved. And he started his long
5 remarks on the conditions under which this might happen, that the
6 General Douin had asked for, that is. However, he did that so skillfully
7 that on the basis of his remarks, it was hard for you to conclude that he
8 was ready at all to meet any one of these requests.
9 Q. How long did these discussions last on the 11th of December?
10 A. Well, forgive me, but I cannot be very specific now. I think
11 that the lunch had not been served actually, the lunch that had been
12 planned. So nobody had eaten. At some point in time, the then-President
13 of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Lilic came to the airport, and that
14 all of that lasted up until sometime between 11.30 p.m. and midnight on
15 the 11th of December.
16 Q. By the conclusion --
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, sir. I'm sorry to do this to you. It
18 lasted until about 11.00 or midnight of that day having started at what
19 time? What was the time that General Douin arrived at the meeting?
20 Or rather, let me rephrase: After that three to three and a half
21 hours of waiting, at what time did the meeting start?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The meeting started around
23 1430 hours.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Gives you an idea.
25 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. At the conclusion of the meeting on the 11th of December, I take
2 it from what you've told us that no resolution had occurred? And by that
3 I mean the French pilots had not been released.
4 A. Let me start from the end of your question. On that day, the
5 French pilots had not been released, but considerable progress had been
6 made by virtue of the fact that it had been concluded that the talks
7 would continue on the next day at a certain point in time in
8 Mali Zvornik.
9 Q. Let me stop you there.
10 MR. GUY-SMITH: At this point in time, I'd like to take this
11 particular document off the screen and move back into open session.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: And are you not tendering it?
13 MR. GUY-SMITH: Not at this very moment.
14 You know what, Your Honour, it might make it easier just to
15 tender it at this moment. And that way that will be done and we don't
16 have to go back and forth. If we could tender this document.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just after I had written "not tendered."
18 MR. GUY-SMITH: Sorry. As I said, I think earlier today, I'm not
19 doing particularly well why my logistics.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: It's admitted into evidence. May it please be
21 given an exhibit number.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours this document shall be given
23 Exhibit D370.
24 MR. GUY-SMITH: And I believe that should be under seal.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Admitted under seal.
1 MR. GUY-SMITH: And if we could -- if we could now go into open
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: You said D?
4 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D370, admitted under seal. Thank you,
5 Your Honours.
6 [Open Session]
7 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. May I request -- okay good.
9 MR. GUY-SMITH:
10 Q. You've just told us that on the 11th of December the French
11 pilots had not been released but considerable progress had been made by
12 virtue of the fact that it had been concluded that talks would continue
13 on the next day in Mali Zvornik. I'd like to pick up -- I'd like to pick
14 up from there.
15 Now, with regard to the talks the next day in Mali Zvornik, to
16 your knowledge was General Perisic part of those conversations?
17 A. Yes. On the previous day, the talks had shown that his role was
18 a decisive one.
19 Q. When you say that "his role was a decisive one," could you please
20 explain to us what you mean by that?
21 A. Well, to this day, I'm convinced that it is only General Perisic,
22 in view of the position he held then and the way in which he operated in
23 all of these peace efforts to observe what had been agreed upon, that he
24 was the only person who could influence his colleague, the Chief of
25 General Staff of the French army, in order for him to understand the
1 situation that he was in was considerably different from what he had
2 expected. On the other hand, he could influence General Mladic in order
3 for him to understand that it was not a question of his vanity. I don't
4 know whether that is the right term. It is his will that is involved.
5 And the situation and peace in the region depended on that.
6 Q. I trust that when you're talking about vanity you're not talking
7 about the vanity of General Perisic, but, rather, the vanity of
8 General Mladic? You're not -- you're not ascribing that particular --
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: I think it's clear from --
10 MR. GUY-SMITH: Okay. I just wanted to make sure it is.
11 General Perisic --
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
13 MR. GUY-SMITH: [Previous translation continues] ... is anything
14 but a vain man; it's not something that he is.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's not what I said. It
16 pertains to General Mladic.
17 MR. GUY-SMITH:
18 Q. Perfect. Perfect. What I'd like to do now, if we could, is if
19 you could go to tab 22 in your binder. This is 65 ter 1090D. And I'd
20 like you to take a look at this. And after you've examined it, if you
21 could tell us.
22 A. I have studied this document. I recognise it, and it went
23 through my hands at the moment when it was supposed to be delivered to
24 General Perisic.
25 Q. And in that regard, I'd only like to deal with one aspect of this
1 document which is paragraph 3. It says:
2 "He is fully aware of General Perisic's decisive personal
3 contribution to the positive resolution of both these cases. This also
4 made him realise how much the VJ Chief of General Staff is committed to
6 Now, is that particular statement, that is made here by
7 Colonel Vialatte, one that was communicated to you, independent of this
8 particular letter?
9 A. Yes. As for such assessments regarding General Perisic's
10 activities, I heard them on different occasions from different foreign
11 military attachés and other interlocutors of mine from international
13 Q. As you sit here right now, when you say "from different foreign
14 military attachés," could you please identify any other foreign military
15 attachés that you heard such assessments regarding General Perisic's
16 activities from?
17 A. I can say that, although, at the time, these were sensitive
18 issues; however, I believe that today it is no secret any longer and it
19 could not work to anyone's detriment. For instance, what the Italian
20 military attaché said to me, a colonel whose name I cannot recall this
21 very instant, but we called him Pino because we were very close in the
22 contacts and the talks we had. What he said always went beyond what one
23 could expect from an official foreign military representative. I knew
24 how to appreciate that. Since I knew how to appreciate that, that's why
25 he said that to me. Then Colonel Vialatte in his own way was open too.
1 And he was not afraid of mentioning things and indicating things that he
2 may have thought that I had not noticed, or perhaps he may have thought
3 that these matters were not attached particular importance to in the
4 Army of Yugoslavia.
5 As far as I know, to my satisfaction, there is a person who
6 testified several times before this Tribunal and that is the British
7 military attaché Colonel Crosland, and so on and so forth. Talks with
8 Russian military representatives were, as a rule, a bit freer, and
9 perhaps more things were said on these occasions than otherwise would be
10 expected; although, I was cautious when talking to these people for
11 reasons that only I could understand and that I did not wish to share
12 with others, and so on.
13 Of course, the representatives of the United Nations, the
14 United Nations office in Belgrade, they were very open and frank too.
15 The head of that office Mr. Julian Harston was very frank. As far as I
16 know, he held that position in Belgrade three times. Also, members of
17 the monitoring mission were very open, the European Community Monitoring
18 Mission that has been mentioned several times now. They increasingly
19 understood the complexity of the problems in the Balkans, including the
20 area of the former Yugoslavia. If that will suffice, I perhaps could end
21 on that note.
22 Q. It does. And when you -- I just want to make sure that when --
23 A. Allow me, please. Perhaps my answer is quite superfluous, if I
24 did not say what I wanted to say at the very outset. It all boiled down
25 to the following: That they made a clear distinction between the
1 behaviour and actions of the current political leadership of the
2 then-Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on the one hand; and on the other
3 hand, the Army of Yugoslavia headed by General Perisic. I was grateful
4 to them for that. But I was also surprised. Sometimes I thought that
5 they were even exaggerating. This distinction was so important for them,
6 and I was assured of that later as a military attaché when discussing a
7 dramatic events. I'm not going to mention it now, but, if necessary, I
8 could explain that as well.
9 Q. I thank you for your answer. When you were indicating they were
10 very open, I take it what you meant by that is their openness, amongst
11 other things, related to the statement that I read to you from Vialatte
12 concerning General Perisic's decisive personal contribution to the
13 positive resolution of these cases in peace, since that was the thrust of
14 the underlying question?
15 A. Yes. This question --
16 Q. Thank you.
17 MR. GUY-SMITH: And I would move for the admission of the last
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
20 please be given an exhibit number.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
22 Exhibit D371. Thank you.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: And, Mr. Guy-Smith, would that be a convenient
25 MR. GUY-SMITH: It would be an excellent time, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: We'll take a break and come back at half
2 past 12.00.
3 Court adjourned.
4 --- Recess taken at 11.59 a.m.
5 --- On resuming at 12.51 p.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Guy-Smith.
7 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. I'd like to direct your attention, now, to matters in 1997. And
9 specifically I'd like to discuss with you, at this time, matters relating
10 to a number of demonstrations that occurred in January of 1997.
11 First of all, as you sit here today, do you recall there being
12 any demonstrations in Belgrade in 1997, January?
13 A. I remember, Mr. Guy-Smith; however, these demonstrations started
14 earlier, already in 1996, in the autumn of 1996, and they went into
15 January 1997.
16 Q. And when you say "these demonstrations started in the autumn of
17 1996," could you inform the Chamber as to the subject matter of these
19 A. The relationship between the opposition and the current
20 government of Slobodan Milosevic had already been strained, and the
21 immediate pretext were local elections. Directly, it had to do with the
22 fact that Slobodan Milosevic did not want to recognise the result of the
23 elections in Belgrade, since, in that case, the opposition would have
24 taken over, would have been in government because they had won the
25 election in Belgrade.
1 Q. And with regard to the participants of these demonstrations in
2 January, can you identify, if you know, who was participating in these
4 A. The people took part in these demonstrations. The population of
5 Belgrade belonging to all social structures. The demonstrations were led
6 by the coalition that was in force then between the Democratic Party, the
7 Serbian Renewal Movement, and some other smaller parties.
8 Q. Did there --
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: If I may just say something. I still have
10 problems with my screen here. It's stuck. And it does move, but it's
11 far behind.
12 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Guy-Smith. You may proceed.
14 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you.
15 Q. Did there come a time when you became involved in any discussions
16 or planning as a member of the VJ with regard to these demonstrations?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And could you explain to us what occurred?
19 A. Since the protests at Belgrade university were very well
20 organised and went on for a long time, students were one of the
21 structures that took part in these negotiations. And one day the
22 students asked that their representatives be received by the
23 Chief of General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia.
24 Q. At that time who was the Chief of Staff of the
25 Army of Yugoslavia?
1 A. I do apologise for not saying what is necessary and what is
2 generally known. The Chief of General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia
3 was Colonel-General Momcilo Perisic.
4 Q. Were you involved in any of the decisions with regard to whether
5 or not General Perisic would receive representatives from the student
7 A. Yes. To the extent to which General Perisic deemed this
9 Q. And when you say "to the extent to which General Perisic deemed
10 it necessary," to what extent was your involvement, if you could tell us,
11 with General Perisic?
12 A. One day, the so-called red telephone rang. I knew it was
13 General Perisic. He asked me whether I had heard that the students were
14 asking to be received by him, and I said yes. Further on, he asked me
15 what I thought about that. I thought about it briefly and I said that in
16 my view he should receive them. He said, It's easy for you to say, but
17 you know how sensitive that question is. I said to him that I was fully
18 aware of the sensitivity of the question involved but that I still
19 believed that he should receive them.
20 General Perisic said, All right, Vule - that's what he called me
21 then; it has do with my last name. And then the telephone line went
22 dead. I knew that I was not the first and only person that
23 General Perisic would consult, but I was pleased that he had asked me. I
24 knew that General Perisic received the students, but, of course, I was
25 not present since it would not have been right for me to be there. Then,
1 once again, General Perisic called me and said, See, I received them, and
2 now tell me what do you think, should we make that public? And I said
3 that I thought we should make that public, as was the case in some other
4 situations. The public deserved to be informed about such things. This
5 is what he said to me, in a friendly way, he said, There you go again.
6 When I saw that there was a statement that had been released for
7 the public, some people said that Milosevic had reacted in a pretty bad
8 way and asked for the statement to be withdrawn. Again, Perisic said,
9 Now what? See what you've got me into. Are we going withdraw the
10 release? And I said, No way.
11 Q. Let me stop you there just for a moment, if I could. You said
12 there was a statement that had been released for the public, and what was
13 the statement that was released for the public?
14 A. This statement for the public was something that I wasn't willing
15 to read at all. It could have been longer or shorter, but the essence
16 was the crucial thing, and that is that he had received them and this act
17 in itself was so significant, even if he hadn't told them anything and
18 even if that had not been made public. Later on, after reading the
19 statement, I realised that part of this press release said that the army
20 was not going to be involved in any way in that particular segment of
21 political life, or something to that effect. I think that was the key
23 Q. And with regard to the position taken by General Perisic that the
24 army was not going to be involved in, as you've phrased it, "that
25 particular segment of political life," to your knowledge were there any
1 other state organs that had taken a different position, or were all state
2 organs in accord with General Perisic with regard to involvement in terms
3 of the protests that were going on?
4 A. I would like to reply to your question, but please give me some
5 poetic licence. I would like to remind you that the then-minister of the
6 interior Mr. Milan Milutinovic, to my surprise, reacted in an unexpected
7 fashion, in that the Ministry of the Interior informed the public what it
8 thought about the requests posed by the international community with
9 regard to finding a solution to the problem and requesting Mr. Milosevic
10 to respect the will of the people expressed in the election. Later on,
11 Mr. Milan Milutinovic was dismissed from his post as the minister of the
13 Now I know why that happened, and that was precisely the reason
14 why he was dismissed. The only organ that acted positively was the
15 Ministry of the Interior, and that surprised me very much, because I knew
16 it was the Ministry of the Interior who should react in a situation where
17 you have demonstrations because they might turn ugly. The ministry was
18 not following this line, but, rather, they were prepared to carry out
19 Slobodan Milosevic's order, should he give them one. I don't know
20 anything about the reactions by other government organs.
21 Q. Excuse me, if I might, I'm getting some consternation from my
22 colleagues with regard to the position that Milan Milutinovic had at that
23 time. Was he the minister of the interior or the minister of foreign
25 A. Milan Milutinovic was the minister of foreign affairs of the FRY
1 at the time.
2 Q. Okay.
3 A. He was never minister of the interior.
4 Q. Because we were getting a translation of minister of the interior
5 here and just -- we just wanted to make sure about that.
6 Do you -- have you ever heard the name Zoran Sokolovic.
7 A. Yes, I have.
8 Q. And could you please tell us who Zoran Sokolovic is or was?
9 A. Zoran Sokolovic was the minister of the interior, whether of the
10 Republic of Serbia -- yes, of the Republic of Serbia. He and his
11 successor both committed suicide, and the latter was Zoran Stojiljkovic.
12 Q. With regard to Zoran Sokolovic -- excuse me --
13 A. I'm sorry. Allow me, I misspoke. Vlajko Stojiljkovic was the
15 Q. With regard to the gentleman I asked you about, Zoran Sokolovic,
16 what was his position with regard to the demonstrations that were
17 occurring? And by that I mean did he support them, was he against them,
18 was he in favour of what was going on? Did he issue any statements with
19 regard to them?
20 A. Zoran Sokolovic, as the minister of the interior, did not support
21 those demonstrations. I think, although I cannot remember exactly, that
22 the Ministry of the Interior issued statements on the issue, and that
23 these statements, to say the least, were warnings addressed to those who
24 participated in the demonstrations.
25 Q. And with regard to these demonstrations, you've told us that
1 General Perisic indicated that the army would not become involved in
2 this. With regard to the Ministry of Interior, what was the relationship
3 of the police to the Ministry of Interior?
4 A. In response to one of the questions asked of me previously, I had
5 already indicated that in my view there were disturbed or disrupted
6 relations between the Ministry of the Interior and the
7 Ministry of Defence, i.e., the Yugoslav Army.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let's stop you just there, sir. That's not the
9 question you are being asked. The question you are being asked is the
10 relationship between the police and the Ministry of Interior.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I can say in
12 response to this question that the issue of these relationships were
13 governed by specific documents.
14 MR. GUY-SMITH:
15 Q. That's fine. Thank you. That's fine. That's fine.
16 With regard to the demonstrations that were occurring, while the
17 demonstrations were occurring, to your knowledge were there or were there
18 not any armed police or riot police on the streets during these
20 A. Yes, there were. I remember to the demonstration of the
21 9th of March, 1991, and with anxiety I was observing this riot police
22 that was fully equipped to break up the demonstration, and they were
23 acting and performing their duties in the very centre of Belgrade.
24 Q. You referred us to 1991. I'm focusing us in 1997. When -- with
25 regard to that period of time, would your answer be the same or would it
1 be different as regards to the riot police?
2 A. I would give you the same answer. These police forces, as far as
3 I can remember, clashed with the demonstrators on the street called
4 Terazije, which is in down-town Belgrade. And some people got injured as
5 a result.
6 Q. And when you say that the riot police were fully equipped, if you
7 know, could you tell us what kind of equipment they were armed with at
8 the time that they clashed with the student demonstrators?
9 A. They were fully equipped in terms of how they were dressed. They
10 had batons for physical prevention of individuals doing something, and
11 they also had shields in front of them that they used to defend
12 themselves against possible assault. And nearby there must have been a
13 vehicle with water cannons that would break up the demonstrations with
14 powerful jets of water, which is common practice.
15 We were wondering at the time whether we had Martic's men there
16 as well. And Martic's men were, at the time, forces that constituted a
17 police brigade, but I don't know for sure what kind of forces those were.
18 If necessary, Milosevic would resort to bringing them over from Knin.
19 Q. Now, you indicated that after General Perisic made the statement
20 that he made, there was some discussion as to whether or not the
21 statement should be retracted after the directions of Slobodan Milosevic
22 to do so.
23 So we understand what's clearly going on at the time, when
24 Slobodan Milosevic directed General Perisic to retract the statement,
25 what was the result of that?
1 A. Well, I cannot say that it's quite clear to me what you are
2 asking me, but you have to bear in mind that already at the time the wife
3 of Slobodan Milosevic, Mirjana Markovic, had become a very powerful
4 personality and she said, We are not going to give up Belgrade without
5 blood shed. We liberated Belgrade by shedding blood, and we are not
6 going to give it up otherwise.
7 So that was the atmosphere that prevailed, and that was the
8 situation at the time.
9 As far as the retraction of the statement is concerned, that was
10 considered to be something common place. What wasn't pleasing to the
11 eyes and ears of Slobodan Milosevic and his wife was simply going to
12 disappear. And this is all I'm going to say on that issue.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you know, sir, whether indeed General Perisic
14 did withdraw the statement as a result of Slobodan Milosevic's demand
15 that he does so?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Now I
17 see that I forgot to say that because I thought it was self-explanatory.
18 No, this statement was not retracted.
19 MR. GUY-SMITH:
20 Q. Thank you for that answer.
21 If you could go to your binder, sir, and look at tab 30, which is
22 65 ter 1175D. In it's English only. And if you could take a look at
23 the -- at this document. And indicate to us when you've finished looking
24 at the document.
25 A. Yes, I have familiarised myself with this document.
1 Q. And are these the --
2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone please for the counsel.
3 MR. GUY-SMITH:
4 Q. And are these the events that you have been referring to in your
6 A. Yes. Yes, they are. These are the events.
7 MR. GUY-SMITH: I would move for the admission of this document.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
9 please be given an exhibit number.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
11 Exhibit D372. Thank you.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
13 Yes, Mr. Guy-Smith.
14 MR. GUY-SMITH: Now, I'd like to -- for a moment, before the
15 document goes off the screen, I'd like to go to -- I believe it's the
16 third page. Thank you.
17 Q. And on the third page there's an article in which there is a
18 quote which is - one, two, three, four, five - six paragraphs down that
20 "'Serbia will explode after January 9th.' Vasiljevic warned."
21 Do you see that?
22 A. Yes, I can.
23 Q. Can you tell us, if you know, to what extent the position that
24 General Perisic took that the army would not intervene in this political,
25 and if I might be so bold as to say, social strife, had on the concerns
1 that Serbia itself would explode?
2 And if my question is ambiguous, put in other terms: Was
3 General Perisic's meeting with the students and statement salutary in
4 terms of keeping violence to a minimum, if not non-existent, within --
5 with regard to these demonstrations?
6 A. At the time, I did not notice this statement made by this young
7 man by the name of Vasiljevic, so I still don't understand what this
8 short sentence might refer to, whether he meant that the demonstrators
9 would radicalise their protests or whether Serbia would explode in a
10 democratic sense, that is to say, that the people would eventually
11 realise that Slobodan Milosevic was not omnipotent and that his position
12 was sufficiently endangered, that other measures could be taken that
13 would direct Serbia onto the road of democracy. At this point, I'm not
14 able to make the distinction.
15 Q. Well, with that answer -- with that answer in mind, in terms of
16 whether the protests would be further radicalised or whether Serbia would
17 explode in a democratic sense, I'd like to discuss with you something
18 that we talked about at the very beginning of your testimony which is the
19 political party that you alluded to that both you and General Perisic
20 were members of, the Movement For Democratic Serbia.
21 MR. GUY-SMITH: And if we could in that regard have up on the
22 screen 65 ter 1192D, which would be tab 32 in your binder.
23 Q. Are you familiar with this document?
24 A. Yes, I am.
25 MR. GUY-SMITH: I would move its admission.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
2 please be given an exhibit number.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
4 Exhibit D373. Thank you.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
6 MR. GUY-SMITH:
7 Q. Now, to put this into perspective, at the time that this
8 political party was formed, was General Perisic still the Chief of Staff
9 of the army of the VJ?
10 A. No, he wasn't.
11 Q. And could you tell us, if you know, when General Perisic ceased
12 being Chief of Staff of the VJ army?
13 A. I believe that you're not expecting me to tell you the exact
14 date, but he was dismissed from the position of the Chief of
15 General Staff in early November 1998. Before that, he did
16 avert [as interpreted] a speech in his native town of Gornji Milanovac,
17 which was actually the cause for his dismissal.
18 Q. And what was the subject matter of that speech, sir?
19 A. Very briefly, the essence was that no country must be in conflict
20 with the whole world.
21 That was a very serious condemnation of the policies pursued at
22 the time.
23 Q. I'd like to turn your attention now to what is tab 34 in your
24 binder, which is 65 ter 1056D. I ask you to take a look at that
25 document, if you would, please.
1 A. I'm familiar with this document.
2 Q. And when you say you are familiar with this document, were you
3 aware of the press conference that he held that caused criminal charges
4 to be brought against him?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Do you know what the ultimate outcome was with regard to this
7 particular prosecution against, at that time it would be Mr. Perisic,
8 formerly General Perisic?
9 A. The outcome was the same as in the proceedings against me. On
10 the 5th of October, Milosevic's regime was overthrown after peaceful
11 demonstrations in Belgrade. The new people in power didn't quite know
12 how to handle the situation concerning this judgement passed by
13 Milosevic's regime.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just a second, Mr. Vuksic. You said that
15 Milosevic's regime was overthrown on the 5th of October, of which year?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 1999, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. And then you also say that people who came
18 into the new government did not know how to handle this judgement passed
19 by the Milosevic regime.
20 Now, this is not a judgement that we see on the screen, this is a
21 charge sheet. This is a charge -- or is it a judgement?
22 MR. GUY-SMITH: No, Your Honour, you're absolutely --
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: It's Criminal charges --
24 MR. GUY-SMITH: No, you're absolutely -- you're absolutely
25 correct; they are criminal charges.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: So the question is whether did the new government
2 proceed with the charges against Mr. Perisic, or what did they do with
3 this charge sheet?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I thank you for this
6 General Perisic was punished by having his rank removed, reserve
7 colonel general. He now no longer held that rank and was left a man
8 without a past. His pension payments were also terminated. He was left
9 without any means of sustenance. All of this was entirely unlawful,
10 arbitrary, and simply a result of a person's political will.
11 When I said the new authorities or the new people in power had
12 trouble handling the situation, as all of you lawyers here know, the most
13 difficult task for a lawyer is to deal with a case that is not founded on
14 any legal basis, but, rather, is a result of tyranny and wanton ambition
15 on the part of certain individuals. You have to make a ruling or a
16 decision in that case that is baseless in terms of law simply because the
17 law offers no foundation for dealing with a case that is in itself
18 irregular. This is the best I can say it, and I certainly hope that your
19 understanding of matters such as this one is better than mine.
20 MR. GUY-SMITH:
21 Q. If I might, Mr. Vuksic, in response to the question of
22 Judge Moloto, when he asked you in what year the Milosevic regime was
23 overthrown, the transcript indicates 1999 as the year in which
24 Milosevic's regime was overthrown. Is that correct; was it 1999?
25 A. No, I do apologise. This is another thing that we might call
1 wear and tear. It was, as a matter of fact, on the 5th of October, and
2 the year was 2000. I am sorry, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's fine, Mr. Vuksic. We have ten minutes to
4 go, and you will have a good -- some rest.
5 MR. GUY-SMITH: Actually, I wanted to thank Mr. Vuksic for his
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Guy-Smith.
8 Mr. Thomas?
9 MR. THOMAS: I do have some cross-examination, Your Honours, but
10 I wonder if we can leave that for tomorrow.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Mr. Vuksic, you can say thank you to
12 Mr. Thomas. He recognises the fact that the wear and tear is taking its
13 toll, so he is giving you an extra ten minutes of rest.
14 We will break at this time. We'll come back tomorrow in the same
15 court at 9.00 in the morning. And you are still reminded not to discuss
16 the case with anybody until you are excused from further testifying.
17 Court adjourned.
18 MR. GUY-SMITH: Excuse me, Your Honour, right before we adjourn,
19 there is a matter the I think requires our brief attention. It does not
20 require the presence of Mr. Vuksic; he can stay or he can go. But we do
21 need to alert the Chamber to some developments that have occurred in
22 terms of future planning that I think may be of some importance to us
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Mr. Vuksic, you are excused, if you want to
25 leave. If you don't, you can stay there. What's now going to be
1 discussed is just how we run the case.
2 MR. GUY-SMITH: And if we could go into private session,
3 Your Honour.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
5 [Private session]
11 Page 12229 redacted. Private session.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.40 p.m.,
21 to be reconvened on Friday, the 25th day
22 of June, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.