1 Friday, 25 June 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning to everybody in and around the
8 Mr. Registrar, will you please call the case.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
10 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-81-T,
11 the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Perisic. Thank you.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
13 Could we have appearances for the day, please, starting with the
15 MR. THOMAS: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
16 everyone in and around the courtroom. Carmela Javier and Barney Thomas
17 for the Prosecution.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
19 And for the Defence, Mr. Guy-Smith.
20 MR. GUY-SMITH: Good morning to all. Boris Zorko, Chad
21 Alex Fielding, Novak Lukic, and Gregor Guy-Smith appearing on behalf of
22 Mr. Perisic.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning, Mr. Vuksic, and just to remind you
24 that you're still bound by the --
25 THE WITNESS: Good morning.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning, sir. Just to remind you that you're
2 still bound by the declaration to tell the truth, the whole truth, and
3 nothing but the truth.
4 Mr. Thomas.
5 MR. THOMAS: Sir, I know my learned friend has a left over matter
6 relating to one document that he used yesterday which he would like to
7 address first.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Guy-Smith.
9 MR. GUY-SMITH: Yes, I would seek admission of the very last
10 document that we discussed yesterday which was 65 ter 1056D.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. That's admitted into evidence.
12 May it please be given an exhibit number.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours this document shall be assigned
14 Exhibit number D374.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
16 MR. GUY-SMITH: And with that matter taken care of, I reiterate
17 what I said at the conclusion of yesterday's proceedings which is thank
18 you very much, Mr. Vuksic, and I turn the witness over to Mr. Thomas.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
20 WITNESS: DRAGAN VUKSIC [Resumed]
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Thomas:
23 Q. Mr. Vuksic, good morning. My name is Barney Thomas. I'm a
24 lawyer with the Prosecution. I have the opportunity now, sir, to ask you
25 some questions arising out of the testimony that you have given over the
1 last few days. I do not have many questions for you and many of them
2 will seem very straightforward questions to you, I am sure. Can I please
3 ask you, just as you have heard from others this week, to listen very
4 carefully to my question. If you don't understand any aspect of my
5 question, please let me know and I will explain it for you. And of
6 course, please only answer the question that has been put to you.
7 Do you understand me, sir?
8 A. Good morning, Mr. Thomas. I have understood you and I shall
9 attempt to do as you said.
10 Q. Thank you, sir.
11 MR. THOMAS: I'd like to begin, please, Your Honours, with
12 looking once again at Exhibit D360, if we could have that on the screen,
14 Q. Now, Mr. Vuksic, you will -- sorry, I'll just wait for a version
15 in your language to appear on the screen.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Guy-Smith.
17 MR. GUY-SMITH: If it's of any assistance to Mr. Thomas, I don't
18 know if you want him to use the binder or not. If you do, I'm happy to
19 tell you which tabs as it comes up. If he satisfies you on the screen,
20 that's fine too, whatever you prefer.
21 MR. THOMAS: I'm grateful, sir. If we could have the tab number,
22 Mr. Vuksic has the benefit of having the document in front of him as
24 MR. GUY-SMITH: That would be tab number 11 in the yellow binder.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, I do not have the
2 MR. THOMAS:
3 Q. Sir, are you able to view the document sufficiently on the screen
4 in front of you?
5 A. Well, with lots of effort because it's a matter of distance
6 because I cannot take off my glasses and the distance is not really
7 suitable, so I cannot successfully read what I can see here. Yes, it's a
8 bit better now but I have to draw closer to the screen.
9 Q. Sir, I will try to deal with this another way. If you feel that
10 you need the document in front of you as I ask you these questions,
11 please let me know. But this document, sir, was a report on talks with
12 the Italian intelligence service, a document that you discussed
13 yesterday. Do you recall discussing this document, sir?
14 A. I do.
15 Q. Okay. We will see that it is date-stamped the 25th of December,
16 1993. Do you see that?
17 A. Yes, I can see that.
18 Q. Okay. Yesterday you made, sir, a very perceptive remark, if I
19 might say so, when you were discussing this document. And I want to
20 remind you and others of that remark.
21 MR. THOMAS: It appears, Your Honours, at page 12129, line 20 of
22 the transcript.
23 Q. And what you said and to place this in some context for you, sir,
24 you were discussing the Italians' description of the war as a civilian
25 and religious one, and your comment was as follows:
1 "What was going on in some parts of the former Yugoslavia was not
2 just a civilian and religious war, but also an ethnic war. At different
3 points in time different aspects would gain the upper hand in this
4 conflict, depending on the intensity of hatred in certain parts of the
5 former country."
6 Can I ask you, sir, first of all to explain what you mean by the
7 comment "at different points in time different aspects would gain the
8 upper hand in this conflict, depending on the intensity of hatred in
9 certain parts of the ... country."
10 A. I think that I mentioned both hatred and intolerance. That means
11 that there was a varying degree and opposition, because I think hatred is
12 a stronger form of intolerance, that is to say mutual opposition. And I
13 wanted to point out to the relativity of all of that. I meant that
14 during certain periods or in certain areas one or the other had the upper
15 hand, one of these aspects of mutual intolerance and mutual opposition.
16 At the beginning of my testimony, we said that the newly formed
17 armies were initially multi-ethnic, if not absolutely then relatively at
18 least. On the Serbian side, Serbian, under quotation marks, or in the
19 former JNA, you also had members of other ethnic communities at very high
20 levels who held generals' ranks. In the Muslim army, when it was
21 organised militarily at first, it was joined by Colonel Jovo Divjak, who
22 is a Serbian from Belgrade
23 perhaps in a village there might have been marked religious intolerance.
24 However, in another village it could have been interpreted as ethnic
25 intolerance or animosity. And in some other parts someone may have liked
2 socialist and communist country necessarily, and someone may have
3 preferred that there would no longer be such a country, that it should be
4 a multi-party and parliamentary country, that it should be with a
5 different form of socio-political organisation.
6 Q. In terms of the comment you made yesterday, sir, how did one side
7 or the other gain the upper hand depending on the intensity of hatred?
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, Mr. -- didn't the witness say what gains
9 the upper hand is either a religious or an ethnic feeling depending on --
10 not a side -- I'm not quite sure what you mean by "side."
11 MR. THOMAS: I can rephrase that, sir.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay.
13 MR. THOMAS:
14 Q. The comment you made yesterday, sir, was that "at different
15 points in time different aspects would gain the upper hand in the
16 conflict." What did you mean by "aspects"?
17 A. I think that I have answered this question. If a local leader in
18 a certain area, or let me not say village, emphasized that we are Serbs
19 and only Serbs or Muslims and only Muslims or Croats and only Croats and
20 that that was the reason why we opposed others from the same or a
21 different village, then I would say that that was the ethnic aspect that
22 was marked, the ethnic aspect of animosity or intolerance. It is the
23 same with the religious aspect or with the civil aspect.
24 Q. So was your comment effectively directed at -- in parts of the
25 country where it was religious hatred or religious intolerance, this
1 would be the key aspect; and in other parts of the country, it might be
2 ethnic hatred or ethnic intolerance. Is that right?
3 MR. GUY-SMITH: I believe the gentleman has specifically answered
4 the question to the contrary. You've defined it in terms of parts of the
5 country, and that factor is not one that he has mentioned.
6 MR. THOMAS: Well, I refer my learned friend to line 24 of
7 page 12129, Your Honours. That's exactly the words that he's used:
8 "At different points in time different aspects would gain the
9 upper hand in this conflict, depending on the intensity of hatred in
10 certain parts of the former country."
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: I actually don't understand what Mr. Guy-Smith is
13 MR. GUY-SMITH: I withdraw my objection at this time then to
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
16 MR. THOMAS:
17 Q. So that I understand you, Mr. Vuksic, are you saying that in a
18 certain location it might be religious hatred or religious intolerance
19 which pitted one side against the other, whereas in another location it
20 may have been ethnic hatred or ethnic intolerance which pitted one side
21 against the other?
22 A. Mr. Thomas, as far as I remember, the entire comment I made
23 yesterday followed from the fact that I wanted to say or I wanted to add
24 that it was a religious, ethnic, and civil war. I think that I have
25 already answered this question, but if you wish to know more about what I
1 think about that, then we would have to start with Slovenia and end with
3 example, Croatia
4 question for a seminar or a long conference, and I'm not sure what I
5 could say about that here and now in this courtroom.
6 Q. All right. Well, Mr. Vuksic, let me be a little blunter. This
7 is a question that is capable of a yes-or-no answer. Let me just pause
8 for a moment to stop my transcript.
9 My question, sir, is: Are you saying that in a certain location
10 it might be religious hatred or religious intolerance which pitted one
11 side against the other, whereas in another location it may have been
12 ethnic hatred or ethnic intolerance which pitted one side against the
13 other? That is a question that can be answered with a yes or no, sir.
14 A. Yes, with the addition that cannot be left out, namely, that I
15 said that one aspect, whether you prefer the ethnic one or the religious
16 one, was more marked. But I never said that only one of these aspects
17 resulted in the conflicts which occurred in the territory of the former
19 the truth, then I stated so before the Court.
20 Q. And we understand -- we understand the qualification that you
21 have given to that answer, sir. That was clear.
22 Which aspect, as a matter of interest, weighed more heavily than
23 the other, the religious aspect or the ethnic aspect?
24 MR. GUY-SMITH: Well, there are a number of difficulties with
25 that question: It's vague as to time, it's vague as to place, and it
1 calls for speculation.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Thomas.
3 MR. THOMAS: Sir, in the previous answer Mr. Vuksic said:
4 "I never said that only one of these aspects resulted in the
5 conflicts which occurred in the territory of the former Yugoslavia
6 because I know that it was not so ..."
7 But immediately before that he said:
8 "Yes, with the addition that cannot be left out, namely, that ...
9 one aspect, whether you prefer the ethnic or the religious one, was more
11 And I'm simply asking him, sir, what did he mean by that comment,
12 which one was more marked or is he treating them together?
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: But the problem, Mr. Thomas, is that what
14 Mr. Vuksic is saying is that some people would be driven by religious
15 beliefs, others by ethnic beliefs in promoting the war or promoting the
16 hatred. And is -- any one of these may or may not be stronger than the
17 other at any given time or in any given area, without really being able
18 to put a finger on it and saying, I can tell you that in this area this
19 was the case. I really think you're asking him a very difficult
21 MR. THOMAS: I understand, sir. If that's what he's saying -- I
22 just wasn't sure if that's what his answer was. If that's what he's
23 saying, I'm happy with that answer.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Maybe he can confirm.
25 Is that what you are saying, Mr. Vuksic? Did I interpret you
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I wish to thank you.
3 That is precisely what I wanted to say.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
5 MR. THOMAS: Thank you, Your Honours.
6 Q. Now, the situation you have described, you described in reference
7 to this letter that was date-stamped December 1993, but was it -- was it
8 your view of the situation in your former country as it was -- or at the
9 time, in December 1993?
10 A. I cannot answer that question.
11 Q. You've described -- you've described the war along religious and
12 ethnic grounds, and you've been describing that for us this morning. Was
13 that your understanding of the conflict or the characteristics of the
14 conflict as at December 1993? By then was that apparent to you?
15 A. Once again, I cannot answer your question.
16 Q. Can you tell me why you can't answer that, sir?
17 A. Well, if I told you that, I would have to be critical of you and
18 I have no right to be so nor do I wish to criticise you.
19 Q. I'm used to criticism, sir. All I'm after is your answer to the
20 question. Was this your view of the conflict as at December 1993?
21 A. Mr. Thomas, if you wish to ask me this question or other
22 questions connected to that, we would have to go back to the beginning of
23 the Yugoslav crisis. And once again, I would have to state my views in
24 many details and that would be very extensive, which I don't think is
25 relevant before this Court because I also mentioned civil war and civil
1 war has not been referred to here. Therefore, my opinion is perhaps more
2 complex. At the time, I was not in a position to say or write anything
3 about that, I mean in December 1993; and I did have my own opinion.
4 Q. Let me ask you this, sir: Was a tragic consequence of the war
5 that by December 1993 crimes against civilians and atrocities against
6 civilians were being committed by all warring parties?
7 A. If you would like me to be sincere, then I have to tell you that
8 on the basis of what I know now -- in the territory of the former
10 where I said various strange plays were enacted, dramas and tragedies,
11 then I can say that I am convinced today that all the warring parties had
12 already committed war crimes.
13 Q. And when did you come to the realisation, sir, that all sides had
14 committed crimes?
15 MR. GUY-SMITH: Excuse me, that question has been asked and
17 "If you would like me to be sincere ..." at page 11, line 5,
18 "then I have to tell you that on the basis of what I know ... that I can
19 say today" --
20 MR. THOMAS: I'm sure he didn't --
21 MR. GUY-SMITH: "Now, of what I know now."
22 MR. THOMAS: Yes.
23 What I'm asking him, Your Honours, is when he came to that
24 realisation. It would not have been today, obviously.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Proceed with the answer -- with the question.
1 MR. THOMAS:
2 Q. Sir, when did you come to the realisation that all sides had
3 committed crimes in the conflict?
4 A. I cannot refer to a specific period because this is a very
5 complex issue and problem.
6 MR. THOMAS: Thank you, Your Honours. No further questions.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Thomas.
8 Any re-examination, Mr. Guy-Smith?
9 MR. GUY-SMITH: No, Your Honour.
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 Questioned by the Court:
12 JUDGE DAVID: General, given your experience as a liaison officer
13 with international organisations, including the United Nations, were you
14 aware that the Security Council in 1993, 16 April, passed a resolution,
15 reaffirming the order of International Court of Justice in order that
16 requested the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to prevent the commission of
17 genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Were you aware of that resolution of the
18 Security Council of the United Nations in 1993?
19 A. Judge David, I'm not a general, just a colonel. I was aware of
20 that resolution.
21 JUDGE DAVID: Given the -- your knowledge of that resolution, do
22 you know, in your experience, if any investigation as to the seriousness
23 of these allegations were carried on in your department or the
24 General Staff of the Yugoslav Army or any other organisation in your
25 government at the time? I repeat the question.
1 Were you aware that this allegation -- given the seriousness of
2 these allegations, any investigation, inquiry, request, in order to
3 verify these allegations has been carried on in your department, related
4 departments? As Judge Moloto, you got -- say yes, no, or I don't know.
5 A. I'm not aware of any such thing.
6 JUDGE DAVID: You're not aware that any investigation was carried
8 A. I don't know whether anything of the kind happened or not. In
9 other words, I don't know anything about that.
10 JUDGE DAVID: In your testimony you have said something about the
11 principle of relativity and referred to Einstein, saying that anything is
12 relative. Was your view at the time that these allegations of genocide
13 were also part of a relative situation depending on arrangements that you
14 explained so well, if you had agreed with something you said in new
15 declarations you may give or not importance to these allegations.
16 I repeat the question: Have you dismissed yourself these
17 allegations because you thought they were not important or relative in
18 your experience? You told me you were aware of these resolutions. My
19 question is: Did you dismiss these allegations because they were of a
20 relative nature? Yes, no, or I don't know. Or you could make some
21 comments along that.
22 A. Mr. David, the only thing I could say or offer by way of comment
23 in view of the theory of relativity would be the fact that even then in
24 the territory of Yugoslavia
25 theatre of absurd, everything was very, very, very relative. And if you
1 wish my opinion with this regard, I am glad to provide it; but I also
2 feel that I should actually tell you that the issue could easily be
3 discussed at a seminar dedicated to it or a symposium dedicated to this
5 JUDGE DAVID: I understand that any matters could be studied at a
6 seminar. A seminar could be even focused on any topic, but my question
7 is: Given the seriousness of these allegations, given the absence of
8 any -- that you don't know of any investigations carried on, was your
9 view that these allegations merit no investigation? As a matter of fact,
10 there was a resolution in relation to genocide, alleged genocide in the
11 former territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
12 A. I was absolutely aware of the steps and the significance of the
13 steps that were undertaken by the United Nations when they issued the
14 resolution that you mentioned and by establishing the Tribunal for crimes
15 committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. I had other
16 information about that. I can say that I was even better informed than
17 others. I never changed my opinion that I still uphold, and you asked me
18 about your opinion. And you also asked me whether I undertook any steps
19 in my capacity. Of course I didn't because I was head of an OG, then
20 head of a group that had a peace time mission and whose only task was to
21 implement peace time activities, irrespective of who their initiator was,
22 be it the United Nations or anybody else. Neither me nor my subordinates
23 were ever in a position to do something of the kind that you mentioned.
24 JUDGE DAVID: Thank you. An additional question: You said
25 yesterday that in relation to a meeting in which General Perisic,
1 yourself, a French delegate, and so on participated, the French
2 representative said: I don't want to meet General Mladic because he's
3 allegedly guilty of war crimes. Were you aware at the time that this was
4 the case?
5 A. Mr. David, at the time General Mladic was already indicted for
6 war crimes; therefore, it was no longer important whether I was aware of
7 that or not. And I would like to thank you for your question because
8 such questions still cause me pain, to me as a human being who appears in
9 this courtroom. I would very much like to discuss the issue with
10 relevant collocutors, but I have not come across many of them, on the
11 contrary. And that's why I would like to remind you of what I already
12 said, and now you have jogged my memory. And that is the relativity of
13 everything that was going on in the territory of the former Yugoslavia,
14 especially when it came to other problems and dealing with some other
16 Yesterday I said that President Chirac had sent his Special
17 Envoy, the first general -- first General Laprelle and then General Douin
18 and what he had in mind was the interest for the French pilots to be set
19 free. That was his first year in office, and no sooner was he elected he
20 was faced with the demonstrations staged by peasants who took to the
21 streets with their tractors and other equipment. And he thought that
22 he -- it was his duty to answer some questions before the French general
23 public. And he co-signed the decision to set up the international
25 Does that shed some light on how decisions were made in the
1 international circles? Having said that, I'm not questioning any of the
2 decisions that Mr. Chirac made. Shall I continue? Do you have any
3 interest in hearing what else I have to say? It seems that you approve
4 of everything I've said so far, so I'm willing to continue.
5 JUDGE DAVID: Thank you. I don't expect you to elaborate more.
6 Thank you very much for your answers.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Any questions arising from the questions by the
8 Bench? Mr. Guy-Smith.
9 MR. GUY-SMITH: Yes, Your Honour.
10 Further examination by Mr. Guy-Smith:
11 Q. Mr. Vuksic, with regard to the resolution that Judge David was
12 just discussing with you, which I believe was Resolution 819, a date was
13 mentioned which is April 1993. Could you please tell us, who was the
14 Chief of Staff in April of 1993?
15 A. In April 1993, the Chief of General Staff of the Army of
17 MR. GUY-SMITH: And if I could have but a moment.
18 [Defence counsel confer]
19 MR. GUY-SMITH:
20 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Vuksic.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Thomas.
22 MR. THOMAS: No. Thank you, Your Honours.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Vuksic, thank you so much for taking the time
24 to come and testify at the Tribunal. This brings us to the end of your
25 testimony. We are grateful that you made the contribution that you made
1 to the work of the Tribunal. You are now excused and you may stand down.
2 Please travel well back home.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: You may stand down.
5 [The witness withdrew]
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Guy-Smith.
7 MR. GUY-SMITH: That concludes the witnesses that we have for
8 this week. I believe that we still are on track, as we indicated before,
9 for the next witness to appear on Monday, that would be the 5th of July,
10 which is what we discussed yesterday.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: I do remember, Mr. Guy-Smith. I thought,
12 Mr. Lukic, there was something you were going to ascertain --
13 MR. GUY-SMITH: That's right.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: -- last night and come back to us with it. I'm
15 not quite sure what it was.
16 MR. GUY-SMITH: Well, I think there were two things -- well, I
17 think there was one thing and there was also another development. The
18 question was whether or not we were going to be able to get somebody here
19 earlier so that we would be able to be in a position to have any
20 witnesses for next week. We are not in that position. We're not able to
21 do that. So the date of the 5th will remain the date that we are in a
22 position to call the next witness.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: And what was the other development?
24 MR. GUY-SMITH: The other matter is a matter that should be dealt
25 with in private session, I believe.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the chamber please move into private session.
2 [Private session]
11 Page 12249 redacted. Private session.
3 [Open session]
4 THE REGISTRAR: We're back to open session, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
6 We stand adjourned to Monday, the 5th of July. I think we have a
7 time and court, so -- yes, Courtroom II, 9.00 in the morning.
8 Court adjourned.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 9.48 a.m.
10 to be reconvened on Monday, the 5th day of
11 July, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.