1 Thursday, 10 July 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning, Madam Registrar. Good morning,
6 everybody. Could you call the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours this the case number
8 IT-05-88-T, the Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic et al.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, madam. All the accused are here, and
10 were it not for Mr. Krgovic and Mr. Haynes we would be full house. But
11 we aren't. And from the Prosecution I notice Mr. McCloskey, Mr. Thayer,
12 and Mr. Vanderpuye. Is there anyone else? All right.
13 I take it there are no preliminaries? We might come back to
14 you on a couple of points later. We need to finish with the
15 documents, the Defence team for Popovic, in relation to the previous
16 witness. Mr. Zivanovic.
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Good morning, Your Honours. We provided the list
18 of our documents and distributed to the all teams and the Prosecution.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. And are there any objections,
20 Mr. McCloskey?
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: Not right now, Mr. President. A few of them were
22 not dealt with with the witness, but we've spoken to Mr. Zivanovic, and
23 we all think they are part of his report. If there's a problem there
24 we'll let you know, but I don't think there should be.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: I think you dealt with that last time. Basically
1 you said that they referred to the witness's report or something like
2 that and in view of that you would not be objecting.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: That was the Nikolic team.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I see.
5 MR. McCLOSKEY: And I think the situation is the same, but the
6 Prosecution has one additional document it to offer, and that is 1D1302.
7 That's the Matowietsky Report that Mr. Zivanovic said he was going to
8 offer at the time. He's - I've spoken to him. He's changed his mind,
9 but given that it was used and why it was used and how it was used, we --
10 I would offer that report into evidence.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Josse.
12 MR. JOSSE: I think one of the reasons my learned friend Mr.
13 Zivanovic didn't use it is I made it clear to him that I would oppose it
14 if he sought to put it in. I haven't had that conversation with Mr.
15 McCloskey. He wasn't aware of it. I take the same stance. Two
16 paragraphs of a very long report was referred to. Those two paragraphs
17 were read out. They could be exhibited separately, and I would take no
18 objection to that. But why the rest of the report should go in I really
19 don't know.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Were the two paragraphs part of the conclusions?
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, Your Honour, but I used just one.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, but they were part of the conclusions in
23 other words. Yes, one moment Mr. McCloskey. Ms. Fauveau?
24 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I fully support what
25 Mr. Josse just said, but would I like to add that this is a very long
1 document and it deals with '93, the year '93, which is not really
2 relevant [as interpreted] in this trial. Furthermore, I believe that the
3 Trial Chamber has a practice when there are only two paragraphs that were
4 presented, and when these paragraphs have already been read out during
5 the hearing there's no need to tender the full document into evidence.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
7 MR. McCLOSKEY: 1993 is of significant relevance to this case.
8 The history of this situation is vitally important to understand. We
9 have chosen to target our indictment to 1995, but that has not kept
10 anyone from dealing in depth with 1993. This witness dealt in depth with
11 1992, 1993, and we heard document after document, statement after
12 statement of the situation with Naser Oric and the 28th Division. And
13 then the Matowietsky Report is used for one particular conclusion, so I
14 bring the Matowietsky Report in because the Defence used it for a
15 conclusion in a report and to rebut much of what the witness said. You
16 know, the Defence brings up these sorts of things at their peril, and you
17 can't just take one little piece and then expect that that little piece
18 is going to sit by itself. And the paragraph above their piece was also
19 obviously very important, but those two important conclusions are not
20 fully in context unless you see the whole report.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you. Yes, Mr. Josse.
22 MR. JOSSE: There are obviously eight parties to this case, seven
23 accused, and perhaps the Chamber would bear that in mind in relation to
24 what Mr. McCloskey has just said.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Otherwise -- yes, Mr. Lazarevic.
1 MR. LAZAREVIC: Just to add the Borovcanin Defence would like to
2 draw in the objection that my learned colleague Mr. Josse has raised and
3 also what Madam Fauveau has just said. It was in the line of this Trial
4 Chamber, so only what was used during cross-examination of the witness
5 should enter into evidence, not the whole document.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, thank you.
7 MR. OSTOJIC: We join, as well, Mr. President. Good morning.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Even that the 1993 events are not
10 MR. OSTOJIC: No, Your Honour, and I watch that very carefully,
11 and I'm happy that my learned friend was open and honest with the Court
12 regarding that. I do not share -- I agree with my learned friend the
13 1993 is relevant and it is probative as the Court knows from our
14 evidence, and I'm glad that he agrees with us.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE AGIUS: So our decision is as follows: We are not yet in a
18 position to know precisely whether for our purposes when we come to
19 deliberate having in the records just that one page where -- which was
20 made use of would suffice or not. It may well be the case that in order
21 to understand better that conclusion, we might need to refer to the rest
22 of the report or other parts of that report. So our decision is, for the
23 time being, we are admitting that page only with the caveat that if we
24 feel the need to have the whole report, UN report, admitted, then we will
25 ask for it, and of course we will let you know that we have done so. Yes,
1 Mr. McCloskey.
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President. I'm sorry I was not
3 more prepared on that issue. I thought Mr. Zivanovic was going to offer
4 it into evidence. It is a 20-page report only, and would the Court
5 accept a brief argument from the Prosecution on that? When I take a
6 closer look at that last page, maybe there is a way to narrow it down to
7 the chapter or whatever, But it's only a 20-page report.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. Yes, Ms. -- let's not lose more
9 time on this. Yes.
10 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like to
11 correct the transcript. On page 2, last line, line 25, or page 3, first
12 line, 1993 was not -- it says that "1993 was not relevant." It's not
13 exactly what I said. I said that 1993 is not the topic of this trial,
14 which is a bit different.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you. That's important. So all
16 these documents of the Popovic Defence team are admitted. I take it
17 there are no objections from any of the other Defence teams?
18 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
19 JUDGE AGIUS: It seems that quite a number of them have not yet
20 been translated, and therefore, those will remain marked for
21 identification only until they are translated to the satisfaction of the
22 parties, and then the upgrade will be automatic.
23 With regard to the document that the Prosecution tendered, I
24 think we have been clear. It's only that page which is being received
25 for the time being. The rest we'll decide if we need afterwards. Yes,
1 Mr. McCloskey.
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'm told that's page 18 from that report.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Page 18. Thank you.
4 So we have now finished the first Defence case, and we are
5 starting with the second today. In the meantime, before I give the
6 floor to Mr. Beara, there is a motion from the Nikolic Defence team
7 which I would kindly ask you to attend to and come back to us at your
8 earliest, please, with your response.
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President. That will be done with all
10 the rest.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. And Mr. Ostojic. You have 60
13 Defence Opening Statement:
14 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Mr. President and Your Honours. May it
15 please the Court, my learned friends from both sides of the table, Mr.
16 Beara and other accused.
17 Your Honours, it is certainly a privilege after two years to be
18 able to have an opportunity again to address you, and once again, on
19 behalf of the Beara Defence we thank you for that opportunity.
20 We've heard a lot of evidence, but I think we have not heard a
21 sufficient amount of evidence. My preliminary remarks are that proof
22 that crimes have been -- have occurred or that they have been
23 committed is not sufficient to sustain a conviction of an
24 individual. Criminal proceedings require much more, and they require
25 that the Prosecution establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused
1 is responsible for crimes before a conviction can be entered. I
2 raise that because the issue of burden of proof comes to mind, and we
3 must remind ourselves once again that we, the Defence, have no burden
4 whatsoever to prove any element or any facts in this case. The burden
5 of proof as decided by the decisional authority in this Tribunal is that
6 it remains with the Prosecution throughout the trial, even the phase
7 of the Defence case.
8 That burden, as heavy as it may be, which is to prove beyond a
9 reasonable doubt, is a cardinal principle of criminal law. The burden
10 never shifts to the accused or the Defence, and by choosing to present
11 evidence during this phase of the proceedings, we are not suggesting or
12 intimating that we are accepting or shifting that burden to ourselves;
13 but rather, it is a further step in the process and the interest of
14 justice to assist this honourable Trial Chamber to see
15 the areas and issues which have not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt
16 And to show the Trial Chamber where certain reasonable inferences may be
17 drawn in favour of the accused.
18 The first issue I'd like to discuss and establish with the
19 evidence that we'll bring is the issue between evacuation and deportation
20 or forcible transfer. In paragraph 78 of the second
21 amended consolidated indictment, the Prosecution alleges against Mr.
22 Beara that he planned, organised, and assisted in the gathering
23 together, detaining, and transporting of Muslim men. They further
24 allege that he supervised, facilitated, and oversaw the men from Potocari
25 that they be placed in detention centres in the Zvornik
1 area. What evidence do we expect to bring forth and why?
2 Initially, I must tell the Court that one of our witnesses,
3 although she is a joint witness, is a demographer, Dr. Svetlana
4 Radovanovic. She will hopefully come during our case, as we've
5 identified her on the list of witnesses for July to assist, the Trial
6 Chamber and to show us that defects and the flaws in the OTP's
7 demographic analysis through experts which they have brought. We also
8 believe that through her testimony she will further reveal not only the
9 flaws in that analysis but the flaws used in the methodology and the
10 conclusions reached by the demographic experts that the OTP provided to
11 the Court.
12 We believe that her evidence will assist us in giving us more
13 accurately the number of citizens and the population that existed in
14 Srebrenica at that critical time. In keeping things in context, I
15 think it's important to know whether those citizens in Srebrenica were
16 themselves refugees and whether or not the government of BiH at any
17 time and specifically in 1993, expressly as we've seen from time to time,
18 prohibited them from exiting Srebrenica. Their willingness or
19 voluntariness to leave will be an issue that will be discussed as some
21 The movement or removal of the civilians in cooperation with
22 DutchBat was an evacuation in our opinion and as a result a military
23 necessity and was not either deportation or forcible transfer.
24 When we see the allegations in paragraph 78 of this second
25 amended consolidated indictment, we look again at the words that they
1 have alleged of planned, organised, and assisted. Although I must say
2 that I believe the OTP evidence is not only doubtful, it doesn't exist in
3 that regard with respect to Mr. Beara. A key focus for us,
4 and I think this Tribunal, should be the whereabouts of Mr. Beara
5 during these critical time periods. We know several things that the
6 OTP did during their investigation and during the presentation of
7 their evidence as well as through witnesses that they brought forth here
8 at trial, and they acknowledge that they have no evidence whatsoever of
9 Ljubisa Beara's whereabouts from July 16th through July
10 31st, 1995, and I believe that in January of this year Mr. Butler plainly
11 and reasonably said so.
12 In addition, the OTP, when it comes to Mr. Beara, although
13 they make these vast allegations, have no evidence whatsoever as to
14 his whereabouts from July 1st through July 11th inclusive, 1995. Given
15 that, when we look at the allegations there is no such evidence with
16 respect to planning, organising, or assisting. The evidence was not
17 brought forth, and once again it is not our burden to share with the
18 Court where the whereabouts of Mr. Beara, was but there should be enough
19 reasonable doubt and lack of evidence to acquit simply by the evidence
20 that they brought forth and/or lack thereof.
21 Nevertheless, in the interests of justice and in the spirit of
22 having this Court have evidence that we believe is probative and
23 relevant, we bring forth evidence and, again, although not our duty and
24 certainly not our burden, to show, reveal, and expose the weaknesses in
25 the OTP's theory.
1 Evidence will be called and has been heard that the VRS at
2 that time was divided into six geographical-based corps in a very vast
3 territory. The 1st Krajina corps, the 2nd Krajina corps, the
4 Sarajevo-Romania corps, the Herzegovina corps, the east Bosnia corps, as
5 well as from what we know from this trial, the Drina Corps.
6 We asked the question, would the VRS or any military and its
7 Main Staff, despite the spring 1995 offensive in the Krajina areas and
8 in the Birac area, simply ignore who fail to send any of its staff
9 officers to those regions during July 1995? We know briefly the answer
10 to that question because the Office of the Prosecution brought one
11 witness, Mihajlo Milovanovic, who is the Chief of Staff, and he states
12 that he was on the other front, namely in the Birac area or in the east
13 Bosnia corps. We have evidence and we hope to present evidence and
14 expect to present that evidence to you that from July 16th for
15 approximately 10 to 12 days, Mr. Beara went to various subordinate corps
16 in the VRS throughout that vast territory including the 1st Krajina
17 corps, the 2nd Krajina corps, and the east Bosnia corps.
18 According to the Prosecution, no one went to that area even
19 though there was a war brewing and combat engagements existing on all the
20 fronts, both east and west, as well as north and south. It would be
21 unrealistic to believe that the entirety of the Main Staff or the
22 entirety of the VRS was concentrated in the enclave of Srebrenica and/or
24 The evidence will be elicited from people who were at these
25 various subordinate corps as well as from, we expect, Mr. Ljubisa Beara's
1 driver, Milos Tomovic. I must spend some time to discuss
2 this witness with the Court. Mr. Beara's driver was interviewed by
3 the OTP on one occasion. We heard that briefly from their lead
4 investigator at the time, Tomas, Tomas Blascyk, and he indeed informed
5 the Office of the Prosecution of the whereabouts of Mr. Beara. He
6 informed them that he drove Mr. Beara both to the 1st, 2nd, and east --
7 1st, 2nd Krajina corps and the east Bosnia corps as well. Why their
8 investigator and why their analysts were not privy to that information
9 will be a discussion that we will submit to this Court at a later time,
10 namely during closing arguments.
11 They have had this information for a long time, and yet they
12 don't utilize it, but they leave us in the dark. Similarly, the
13 Office of the Prosecution knew or should have known that when a very
14 frightened and scared individual with no counsel or representation and
15 absolutely no preparation erroneously states under oath on the record
16 that he himself was never in Belgrade on July 13th or 14th, 1995, we
17 believe that it is the duty of the Prosecution, having all the
18 evidence that they have seized in their possession to assist this
19 witness to obtain a clear and honest record. Mr. Tomovic in his
20 interview states that he was not in Belgrade in July 13th, 1995, which is
21 simply not true. How do we know? When assisted to refresh
22 his recollection, and this is evidence we hope and expect that you
23 will hear, when Mr. Tomovic was assisted and his recollection
24 refreshed, he recalled and verified that indeed he was in Belgrade on
25 July 13th, 1995 on the order of Zdravko Tolimir.
1 Seems simple enough, but it becomes more complicated. As I am
2 sure all are thinking how was is and what was used to refresh his
3 recollection? Again, we used evidence that was in the possession of the
4 OTP to assist and to probe and to find the truth of the matter. We asked
5 initially Mr. Tomovic whether he kept a diary; he said no. But we found
6 the diary, and it was not the diary of Mr. Beara or Mr. Tomovic but it
7 was a diary of an American journalist from Phoenix, Arizona, of Serbian
9 This American journalist was also interviewed by the Office of
10 the Prosecution in his diary that he kept contemporaneously with the
11 visits that he had in the Srebrenica, Belgrade, and Pale and Sarajevo
12 areas were in July of 1995. He took down daily records of people that he
13 met, who drove him, where they drove him from. This daily
14 record indicates on the date of July 13th that Mr. Robert Djurdjevic
15 from Phoenix, Arizona, the American journalist I referred to, was picked
16 up by Milos Tomovic. When we inquired of Mr. Tomovic if he has a
17 recollection of that American journalist, he said he did, but he couldn't
18 remember the dates. He said, I remember picking up an
19 American Serb from Belgrade and drove him down to Vlasenica because he
20 was required and insisted on having a meeting with General Mladic. On
21 the cover of this diary and then also in the diary as my learned
22 friends know, this journalist in detailed fashion shows where Mr.
23 Tomovic drove him, what they observed, where the checkpoints were, and
24 whom they encountered with.
25 On the cover of that diary, I believe that it says written by the
1 journalist himself, that this diary should not be opened or disclosed for
2 two to three years until after the war in the former Yugoslavia ceases.
3 This diary was created at the time and kept contemporaneous with the
4 events that have occurred and unlike other documents was not at any time
5 in anybody's possession but the Office
6 of the Prosecution and was not altered or manipulated with.
7 When we initially met with Mr. Tomovic, we asked, do you
8 remember anything else; are you sure that it was the 13th? He
9 couldn't. When we showed him the diary, although it is in English and we
10 translated it for him and showed him the specific dates that were
11 conspicuous on the diary, his first reaction was, oh, my God; that
12 means that I lied to the Prosecution when I told them I never went to
13 Belgrade on the 13th of July, 1995.
14 Mr. Tomovic never lied to the Prosecution when he was
15 interviewed. Mr. Tomovic was scared. Mr. Tomovic as most witnesses when
16 they are confronted with the Prosecution request to talk about events
17 that are horrific and tragic was certainly intimidated. Mr. Tomovic made
18 a mistake. The support to confirm that Mr. Tomovic actually was in
19 Belgrade in July 13th, 1995, is independent, and it should be accepted by
20 this Court without debate.
21 The rest of the story, of course, deals directly with the
22 whereabouts of Mr. Beara. Milan Stanic, our investigator, and Milos
23 Tomovic will address those issues: Who drove with Milos Tomovic when he
24 went to Belgrade? Who else but the person that Mr. Tomovic normally and
25 regularly drives?
1 When we look in the context of what was happening July 12th, the
2 Muslim men escaped to the forest unbeknownst to the VRS, unbeknownst to
3 the Drina Corps. The Drina Corps find themselves in a situation where
4 they are not engaged in battle in Srebrenica itself. The 12th
5 negotiations were being conducted to evacuate the civilian population
6 with DutchBat in participation. For most parts, the event of Srebrenica
7 occurred quickly, quietly, and it was over. Of course, Mr. Beara's
8 birthday is the 14th of July. We've discussed that on numerous occasions
9 or at least in our last opening two years ago. Mr. Beara had reason to
10 go to Belgrade, and the evidence we produce will help illustrate those
11 reasons and where he was specifically on that day.
12 Now, we know and we understand that mere presence or absence at
13 the scene of a crime does not render a person either culpable or
14 innocent, especially given the overly broad and in my opinion rather
15 diluted theory of Joint Criminal Enterprise that the Prosecution alleges
16 against us. Nevertheless, we firmly believe that the whereabouts of Mr.
17 Beara and, indeed, significantly while addressing the issues of planning,
18 organising, and assisting become all the more important.
19 I'm not sure if Mr. President is indicating for me to stop.
20 Okay. Thank you.
21 The evidence is consistent in this regard as to Mr. Beara's
22 whereabouts, and we've seen even from the presentation of the evidence
23 that the Prosecution called that Mr. Beara was not seen ever in
24 Srebrenica, and we can take a look at any of those videos. He was never
25 seen in Potocari, and we have those videos as well. He was never seen at
1 the Hotel Fontana at either the first, second, or third meeting; And
2 certainly, he wasn't even seen at Mr. Zivanovic's retirement party.
3 It's significant for many reasons. The obvious one, he wasn't
4 seen because he was not there. He physically was not in that area or
5 territory during that time period. It's also significant because we
6 believe that it shows what I referenced two years ago, a detachment that
7 Mr. Beara was not within a close knit group and did not follow Mladic or
8 others and was excluded particularly from key and relevant situations.
9 In fact, I believe our first witness today will testify about
10 this detachment and will give the Court some background on it because
11 keeping it in context is relevant and should be permitted. Before the
12 VRS was formed, the Court should understand where Mr. Beara was and who
13 was his subordinate. For example, this next witness we hope will
14 establish for the Court that as late as 1990 and 1991, Mr. Zdravko
15 Tolimir was a subordinate to Mr. Beara. When Mr. Tolimir goes to the VRS
16 and several months later - approximately six, if I'm correct - Mr. Beara
17 joins the VRS and he becomes not a superior or doesn't remain a superior
18 to Mr. Tolimir; he becomes his subordinate, despite the fact that Mr.
19 Tolimir is nine to ten years younger than Mr. Beara. And all of us who
20 have studied any military code and know anything about rank can
21 appreciate the significance of that evidence and the import that it has,
22 and in our view, the relevance it has as to why Mr. Beara was indeed
23 detached from General Mladic and others.
24 Naturally, the VRS was a newly formed army, and it had
25 numerous conflicts within itself as well as the political parties and the
1 pro-Serbian nationalists, both for power, position, and rank within their
2 territory. The dislike or the displeasure, lack of trust and lack of
3 cooperation, and quite candidly, the lack of relations is perhaps best
4 illustrated by the feelings, attitudes, and opinions that the civilians,
5 including Dr. Karadzic, had for former JNA officers. The former JNA
6 officers were not pro-Serb nationalists. The new political wave and the
7 new political party seeking, as the Prosecution alleges, a different
8 makeup of Bosnia or Serbia or former Yugoslavia were indeed these
9 pro-nationalists. Mr. Beara was politically, diametrically opposed to
10 the politics that were being brewed in the area at that time.
11 We have a witness and witnesses to help further establish that
12 for the Court. For example, Dr. Srdja Trifkovic who the Prosecution
13 seems to suggest, informally and maybe even formally, that he may not be
14 relevant. Here is also another American journalist of Serbian descent
15 who is an advisor to Dr. Karadzic not only in 1992 and 1993. He was at
16 -- in Pale ^ in July of 1995. He was with Dr. Karadzic and the other
17 civilian power brokers who were discussing and examining the facts as
18 they unfolded in the territory. This also is quite candidly confirmed
19 and corroborated by the witness whose diary we cited in the beginning of
20 our discussion here today. He writes that he also met Dr. Srdja
21 Trifkovic in Pale, that he discussed with them and they know each other
22 obviously from before because they are both journalists.
23 I think Dr. Srdja Trifkovic and I believe expect and believe that
24 his testimony will enlighten us as to how diametrically opposed the
25 civilian pro-Serb nationalists were when it came to specifically JNA
1 staff security officers. There was not just, as I've mentioned, a
2 dislike or displeasure. There was strong animosity and a strong
3 distrust. We raise this point, and although this issue is on appeal,
4 because the Prosecution admitted evidence of a deceased individual
5 without giving us the opportunity to cross-examine him and the Court,
6 with all due respect, granted the evidence of a Miroslav Deronjic who as
7 we know was a civilian within Bratunac in 1992 through 1995.
8 It's incredible to suggest that Dr. Karadzic being so
9 diametrically opposed politically having not only animosity but, indeed,
10 hatred for security staff officers that he would entrust and convey a
11 secret message purportedly to kill Bosnian Muslim men in the Srebrenica
12 area. It's not only illogical; it's unreasonable, and there is no basis
13 for it whatsoever despite the Prosecution's attempt to give that
14 testimony to the Court through the deceased Mr. Deronjic.
15 On the other hand, we know that the civilian Mr. Deronjic was
16 very close to Dr. Karadzic. On that same notion, we find it incredible
17 that indeed Mr. Karadzic or Dr. Karadzic would have used an intermediary
18 although he had direct access to Mr. Deronjic could have conveyed any
19 such message if indeed that message was ever conveyed. We suggest that
20 it was not, but just the inferences the Prosecution is trying to suggest
21 to this Court and the way in which they speculate as to how things
22 unfolded just do not have a sound basis in any of the facts or in logic.
23 Other witnesses such as Dr. Srdja Trifkovic that we expect to
24 call will also further establish that there was this great hatred and
25 animosity by the civilians, not only at the national level through Dr.
1 Karadzic but also at the local level in Bratunac through Mr. Deronjic.
2 Going back a little bit to the whereabouts of Mr. Beara, some of
3 us may be thinking, what about the witnesses that the Prosecution called
4 and tried to lead evidence in that seemed to suggest, supposedly, that
5 Mr. Beara was at a site where killings were being either about to happen
6 or were already completed?
7 We bring forth two specific categories of witnesses in this
8 regard. First, we bring to this Court an expert witness, a psychologist
9 here from the Netherlands who has, in my view and I think the view in all
10 of us in this courtroom, an excellent reputation. He is an expert who
11 will share with us, and his name is Professor Vodned [phoen]. He is an
12 expert who will testify, and I think the issues are relevant, to the
13 purported whereabouts of Mr. Beara, and he will specifically address
14 those witnesses that erroneously claim they saw someone or described
15 someone that the Prosecution is alleging is Mr. Beara.
16 At the end of the day, he will address with us through direct
17 examination the flaws and weaknesses of such purported identification,
18 premised on both recognition and identification. These two, although
19 simple concepts, are quite distinct. One is do you recognise someone you
20 have met before, and the other category is identifying someone for the
21 first time. We believe that through our cross-examination we've raised
22 enough doubt that those witnesses were incorrect and erroneous, that that
23 was Mr. Beara who they came claimed or who the Prosecution claims they
24 have seen.
25 Further, with Mr. Wagner, we believe that he will not only
1 discuss how and why these witnesses are unreliable by looking at certain
2 indicia of suspicion. He will also share with us the flaws caused and
3 the failures committed by the Office of the Prosecution during its
4 investigation by failing or refusing to properly conduct and show these
5 witnesses a relatively simple and straightforward objective photo board,
6 as it's called, which is a group of pictures, as I'm sure we all know, of
7 people who look similar or have similar characteristics. This photo
8 board is actually a very, very important issue for both Professor Vodned
9 and it should be in this case. If the Prosecution want to stand by those
10 witnesses, we must ask ourselves why didn't they use a photo board? We
11 will hear from Professor Vodned that it is a very inexpensive and simple
12 procedure and that any investigator in the smallest of towns is familiar
13 with it.
14 But in this case, what is unique and special is that the
15 Prosecution did use a photo board in this case. The Prosecution knows
16 how to use a photo board. The Prosecution selectively chose not to use a
17 photo board in this case, but in two instances they tried to do it; and,
18 my apologies to Mr. Popovic and his counsel, one was of Mr. Popovic
19 with the testimony of a witness who was an executioner at a site.
20 They executed the Prosecution and counsel for Mr. Popovic a stipulation
21 in that regard, and affixed to that stipulation is an eight-man photo
22 board of eight similarly looking individuals, and they asked this witness
23 who testified here, you mentioned that it was a lieutenant-colonel and/or
24 colonel that you saw at the site. This witness was given a photo board,
25 and he said, no, these people on this photo do not contain the
1 individuals -- on this photo board do not contain the individuals that I
2 recall seeing at the site who were giving me orders to execute Bosnian
3 Muslims. That same witness, however, was shown a prejudicial photo board
4 of Mr. Beara. He was shown a picture with Mr. Beara in the centre, The
5 only - and excuse me - older individual within the picture, the only
6 individual whose rank is clearly depicted and his stripes clearly
7 depicted on his left breast. That photo board is what Professor Vodned
8 will tell you causes great prejudice. If that witness said that he saw a
9 colonel or lieutenant-colonel and you show him a picture with one
10 individual, a colonel who should be older, and if you show him a picture
11 with that individual's stripes and rank, it should be easy to detect who
12 the individual is.
13 We were fortunate enough that that witness, also, as with Mr.
14 Popovic, he rejected that photo and said this is not affirmatively the
15 witness or the person I saw at the killing site when I was executing
16 Bosnian Muslims. That, too, is in a stipulation that we filed, and it's
17 before the Court. It's relevant because our expert will complete the
18 story and show that the Prosecution had the ability but no interest to do
19 a photo board with all, not just some, witnesses.
20 Who was Ljubisa Beara? We've spent significant or at least some
21 time discussing his whereabouts, and we'll get back to that for the other
22 period. But who was he? During our evidence, we expect to show that Mr.
23 Beara throughout his professional career and his personal life was a man
24 who fostered and promoted multiethnic unit and tolerance. The evidence
25 we expect to call will reveal that Mr. Beara when possible throughout his
1 career and specifically during the most difficult times during the war in
2 former Yugoslavia from 1992 to 1995 helped, assisted, organised, and
3 saved a large number of Jewish citizens from the former Yugoslavia. And
4 when we say large number, it's my personal knowledge from speaking with
5 this particular witness that he gives credit to Mr. Beara for saving, in
6 his words, in the first time in the history of the world that the Jews
7 were not persecuted or killed. He believes as being the head of that
8 commission that Mr. Beara is the individual who was not only instrumental
9 but it would not have been accomplished without Mr. Beara's assistance.
10 The number according to this witness was approximately 1.500 Jewish
11 citizens that Mr. Beara helped evacuate and help safe during the 1992 to
12 1995 period.
13 We have evidence and will bring forth the evidence that Mr.
14 Beara also helped Croatians as well as Macedonians during that war. We
15 have evidence and we expect to bring evidence to this Court, if necessary
16 with your assistance, that Mr. Beara throughout the war also assisted and
17 helped Bosnian Muslims. He had from time to time both subordinates and
18 colleagues who were Bosnian Muslims.
19 Mr. Beara did indeed save some of these individuals from
20 remaining in an area even such as Bratunac. One witness in particular,
21 his family was from Bratunac. Mr. Beara assisted his family and others
22 that he did not know, meaning friends of this individual that he knew
23 that he helped save, to leave because Mr. Deronjic and these civilians
24 came in and we know because weave heard and seen the plea of Mr. Deronjic
25 as to what occurred in Bratunac at that time. Mr. Beara did help save
1 those people, he couldn't save everybody. Didn't save anyone and by no
2 question and never alleged he was not responsible to save anyone.
3 Or everyone.
4 We expect to present evidence that Mr. Beara did not and could
5 not have the specific intent necessary for the crimes that are alleged
6 against him. I will address that a little later, time permitting.
7 My learned friend asked a question, was in there a conspiracy
8 then against Mr. Beara? Very, very difficult and complicated to prove.
9 It is not our burden to prove whether there was a conspiracy. We bring
10 forth the facts. But let me share with you one fact in particular, and
11 that's a proofing note on the 23rd of October 2007. And I believe it may
12 have an ERN number -- I mean, a 65 ter number. I was unable to find it
13 but I do have the ERN number and I'll just share with the Court so the
14 record is complete. That is ERN number 0624-2637.
15 We think that examining that issue will shed further light as to
16 how, when and why certain individuals like Deronjic and Dragan Mirkovic
17 and others in the Bratunac area who were civilians had lied and
18 fabricated evidence and stories. No doubt they had a motive. Crimes
19 occurred before their very eyes, both in 1992 and in 1993.
20 This document that I referenced and proofing note of the 23rd of
21 October 2007 is also of a former local individual from that area. He was
22 convicted and he pled guilty, but when he was proved and it was evidence
23 that the Prosecution sought to leave, my learned friend Julian Nicholls,
24 who I'm sorry he is not here and I apologise for referencing him because
25 he is not here, he conducted that interview. And
1 with all due respect to him, I think he certainly has the qualities -- or
2 was a Defence attorney or has the qualities to be one.
3 He records honestly in that proofing statement portions of that
4 discussion with Mr. Nikolic. First he tells us that the witness stated
5 that he learned through information that, among others, Dragomir Vasic,
6 Miodrag Josipovic and Dragan Mirkovic held a meeting at the Bratunac MUP
7 headquarters after the killing. I don't think we are argument about
8 this. This is discussing after the Kravica killing. Never mentions Mr.
9 Beara. Mr. Beara was not there, did not participate in any such crimes
10 that occurred there.
11 Point 2 from the 23rd of October 2007 proofing note, same
12 document, Mr. Nicholls records that this witness also stated that:
13 "Beara had nothing to do with the burial of the bodies at Glogova."
14 Point 3, same document, Mr. Nicholls records that this witness
18 The civilian authorities in Bratunac did not know Ljubisa Beara.
19 Even those who claim that they met him during those events supposedly for
20 several minutes or moments while they were conducting the transfer of
21 detainees never before met him or had an encounter with him or under any
22 circumstances would not have accepted or discussed any of the matters
23 that the Prosecution has alleged that have occurred as it relates to
24 Mr. Beara.
25 They had their local military officers who they placed in power
1 in that community. Military men they knew, military men that they
2 supported and military men perhaps whom they conspired with. The
3 Bratunac civilian authorities did not need any outside influence to
4 assist them in the transportation of civilians or Bosnian Muslims in
5 1995. Their strong fisted or iron fisted power and authority by
6 specifically Deronjic in Bratunac shows us that they did this very thing
7 in 1992 and 1993. They were lost, the civilians in Bratunac, and were
8 unaware how they should handle POWs. They were confused as to which
9 sites can be utilized to hold and detain these individuals in 1995?
10 Hardly, given that they experienced this very same thing, unfortunately,
11 two or three years earlier.
12 They needed no assistance, no consultation, coordination or
13 facilitation to detain these Bosnian Muslims from Ljubisa Beara. It is,
14 indeed, we suggest a conspiracy and we will bring forth evidence of
15 individuals who will help further define those civilians, specifically
16 Mr. Deronjic. We also will bring a Muslim witness, we hope, who will
17 share with us what his views were of Mr. Deronjic, but not from a
18 civilian perspective, but from a military perspective. This young man
19 was in the JNA and he knew how Deronjic or what Deronjic felt about JNA
20 officers. How he treated them and how he felt, Deronjic that is, was
21 above both the military and the law.
22 Interestingly, the Prosecution in its indictment also
23 mentioned a relative, although I'm not sure if it's a first cousin, I
24 think Nenad Deronjic, who committed crimes during this area in the
25 Bratunac vicinity. Of course he did. Any relative, friend or family
1 member of that power structure there had the green light to commit that
2 because Deronjic was a strong-fisted power broker and allowed it to
4 Genocide. As with all the other counts in the indictment
5 including extermination, persecution, murder, et cetera, the OTP again
6 alleges that Mr. Beara organised, coordinated and facilitated the
7 detention, transportation and summary execution of these Bosnian Muslim
8 men. I suggest to the Court that they never answered the most simple and
9 straightforward question. If you are going to make a claim that we've
10 organised it, coordinated and facilitated it, inform us by whom were you
11 so given such an order. When? Where? What was said to whom?
12 They, during our 98 bis submissions, claimed that there was this
13 order. They have no details to that claim. It's merely a speculative
14 claim that Mladic passed an order to Mr. Beara. When? What was said?
15 They are going to argue, well, certainly those types of things are not
16 recorded. Certainly we've seen from witnesses in evidence such as
17 Mr. Vasic, he plainly writes: "Killing. Killings are occurring and we
18 are structuring it and we are assisting in it," in his July 1995 report.
19 Their expert witness said that word "killing," "killings," doesn't mean
20 really killings. It means something totally different. I suggest that
21 the Prosecution is selective in their prosecution and I believe the
22 evidence will help assist us in revealing that.
23 You must also be wondering, but what about the intercepts. The
24 intercepts seem to suggest, according to the Prosecution, that there was
25 only one man called Ljubisa, one man who has a nickname or is called
1 Ljubo at that time.
2 We are presenting evidence to help define who Ljubisa Beara was
3 by presenting evidence of people who knew him before, during and after
4 the July 1995 period, and will confirm that indeed Mr. Beara had a rather
5 distinct dialect formed from the Herzegovina and Croatia influences. One
6 witness is an expert witness, Dr. Remetic. He is a linguist but also a
7 specialist in dialects. He will help us and I believe will opine that
8 after he read and analysed the intercepts, after he met and evaluated
9 Mr. Beara's speech pattern and current dialect and distinct speech, that
10 the intercepts which merely mention Ljubo, or a derivative of that,
11 without compromise to the identity, meaning it does not say that it was
12 Ljubisa Beara on the other line, cannot and should not be attributed to
13 Mr. Beara. Furthermore, Dr. and Professor Remetic will address the use
14 of the term "triage" and how it has multiple meanings and in fact does
15 exist, despite what the Prosecution seems to suggest, in the military
17 We believe that evidence is critical and important because you've
18 heard from the intercept operators. And despite our attempts at
19 cross-examination with them to show that they have added or changed and
20 in sometimes, in our view, respectfully, manipulated those logbooks and
21 intercept books, those intercept operators clearly said we took down
22 things verbatim. If someone spoke in a different dialect, we would
23 record it and we wouldn't record it any other way. There's no evidence
24 in those intercepts that that was the dialect that Mr. Beara uses now,
25 used then and used his entire life. Those speech patterns cannot be
1 changed or altered. Those intercept operators should have and would have
2 quite candidly, wrote down the dialect Mr. Beara uses and used if he was
3 the person who was involved in the intercept conversation. He was not
4 and therefore you do not see that anywhere throughout the intercept
5 documentation that is been brought forth.
6 We do also have additional witnesses in connection with the
7 intercept. Specifically an individual who will talk about how the wiring
8 -- and I'm just not certain if he is going to ask for protective measures
9 so -- I believe that he may. He is going to show us how someone can call
10 from a third place and get connected to Badem who will then switch him
11 and have a conversation with Zlatar. So this person calling from, let's
12 say, Belgrade, calls Badem and Badem connects him with the individuals at
14 The way the Prosecution sets their case, they put the person in
15 Belgrade, they place them at Badem and say, He was there because he has a
16 conversation with Zlatar and Zlatar is calling the Badem IKM or command.
17 Untrue. That's not the way the communication system worked at that time
18 nor how it worked at any time. This witness will help flush out those
19 issues for us and we expect that his testimony will be quite relevant and
20 will be rather revealing.
21 Finally, on issues of genocide, extermination, persecution.
22 Recently in the appellate court in the Naser Oric case rendered its
23 judgement. In that case, the Honourable Justice Schomburg had what I
24 felt was a quite interesting quote from Sir Isaac Isaacs -- and it is Sir
25 Isaac Issacs, I actually checked it twice. I don't know verbatim but it
1 really challenges Your Honours and us all to say that we can and should
2 re-evaluate legal and factual issues and it's our opportunity to do so
3 here. It's our duty to do that. We do not, and suggest that you won't,
4 but to simply argue that genocide was found in the Krstic case or in the
5 Blagojevic case is not sufficient. I think in those cases, with all due
6 respect to them, the evidence that we've evaluated was in far greater
7 detail, I think the evidence in those cases did not examine the
8 anthropology or the archeology or the pathology significance of these
9 issues and we invite the Court to look at that, as I'm sure you have, and
10 respectfully I'm suggesting it, let's not persistently use precedents as
11 a way to suggest that we are correct. Let's re-evaluate the facts and
12 the law and to determine, regardless of what those decisions said,
13 whether or not there was indeed genocide that was committed here. We
14 suggest with the highest of respect to the victims and to the families
15 and to the people of Bosnia, that there was no genocide. There were
16 tragic and horrific crimes that occurred. But there was no genocide in
17 our view.
18 We will present evidence and one, I believe, although the Court
19 hasn't ruled but it has not drawn an objection from the Prosecution
20 through 92 bis, and that is the evidence of Dr. Chester Moore, an
21 anthropologist. We also will call a forensic anthropologist to the
22 stand, hopefully next week, Dr. Debra Komar from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
23 We believe that both, and specifically Dr. Komar, will address and
24 discuss with this Court the notion of minimum number of individuals as
25 referred to here "MNI."
1 She will also address some of the more salient and significant
2 points where she believes that the anthropologist and archeologists that
3 the OTP called failed in their duty to properly maintain, record and
4 secure data and or relevant findings.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: You've still got time.
6 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you. I just wasn't sure, Your Honour. I saw
7 you looking at me and -- thank you.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Why shouldn't I be looking at you?
9 MR. OSTOJIC: Well, it frightens me at times. But Thank you,
10 Your Honour. I didn't know if you were giving me a signal, so that's my
11 only concern.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
13 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Finally, coupled with our evidence that we were going to bring in
15 our case, and he was a joint witness and my learned esteemed colleague
16 Mr. Zivanovic brought him, when we look at that anthropologist evidence
17 from Dr. Komar and Dr. Moore, and we also take into consideration Dr.
18 Dusan Dunjic's evidence, which is our evidence, as well, we can see that
19 very important points, I believe, or at least we tried to make those
20 points, and Dr. Dunjic tried to explain it during his testimony when he
21 tried to convey to the Court, I believe that if you are going to
22 determine or render an opinion with respect to manner of death, you must
23 in all instances know what the cause of death was. In no instance can
24 you conclude what the manner of death is, homicide, if you not know what
25 the cause of death is.
1 Dr. Dunjic as other experts used this sample methodology, and he
2 picked out several - I think it was 50, 52 - examples of autopsy reports
3 to suggest that it is not plausible, not reliable that one can conclude a
4 criminal act such as homicide occurred when they identify it under the
5 category "manner of death" when in fact under cause of death the
6 pathologist would write "unknown" or "undetermined." If you don't know
7 how someone died, you certainly don't know why he died, whether it was a
8 killing or by any other means.
9 This sample methodology Dr. Dunjic used revealed that in far too
10 many instances we had this undetermined cause of death and that
11 unrealistically homicide was identified as the manner of death. In
12 any event, we expect to thoroughly analyse these autopsy reports in
13 order to further establish that many thousands died during what
14 Richard Butler himself coined and identified "legitimate military
15 combat engagements."
16 It is striking that in the autopsy reports the OTP experts
17 find no combat engagement or no legitimate military combat engagement
18 death. Not one person. We believe just that very fact causes not
19 only suspicion but renders their forensic pathologist and
20 anthropologist expert reports and opinions to be rendered unreliable.
21 Further, I have been personally in contact with several Bosnian
22 Muslims who were victims of crimes during the 1992 period. Although
23 difficult, I expect and hope that they continue to have the courage to
24 speak with me and that they can honestly recollect for this Trial
25 Chamber consistent with the statements that they gave authorities when
1 they were they -- ultimately they reached Tuzla, consistent with the
2 statements that they gave the Office of the Prosecution at times when
3 they were interviewed. They've defined and described for us that
4 hundreds, thousands were killed in these legitimate military combat
6 Further and perhaps finally on the issue of genocide, the
7 honourable Alan Dershowitz in discussing the holocaust that occurred in
8 Nazi Germany, describes genocide, and he is an esteemed colleague of ours
9 because he practices before this Tribunal. He describes the word
10 "genocide" and says, there's no doubt that it happened in Germany by the
11 Nazis. However, he says that the view that genocide occurred in
12 Srebrenica is negated by the very evacuation, removal, or deportation,
13 legal or illegal, of the women, children, and elderly men. His
14 suggestion is, and we believe that in order for there to have been
15 genocide or any genocidal intent, "The children had to be killed first
16 because they were the genetic future. They are the genes."
17 In this case, it is, we think, extremely significant that during
18 the evacuation process in Potocari, Srebrenica, as well as in Zepa, the
19 children, women, and men were indeed evacuated. We believe it was a
20 result of military necessity. We believe it was military necessity
21 because no one knew whether there was going to be resistance to the VRS
22 during that time period. The VRS didn't even know what the reaction
23 would be of the Bosnian Muslim military. They were quite surprised as
24 we've seen from videos that there was no resistance. In fact, on the
25 11th, perhaps planned on the 10th, the Bosnian army of the 28th Division
1 went to the woods in Susnjari. These are significant matters. The VRS
2 had no knowledge that there would be no resistance. If there was any
3 attempt or any suggestion of this genocidal intent, I believe that you
4 will find just from those facts that genocide did not occur and that at
5 the very least Mr. Beara did not have genocidal intent, not only because
6 of his absence or lack of presence in the area, given his complete and
7 consistent professional attempts to try to save people of all ethnic
8 backgrounds, that he did not participate or knew of such intent if it
9 existed; and quite honestly, I suggest that it did not.
10 Finally, I'm sure the Prosecution wants to discuss the
11 logbooks, another piece of evidence that they seem to claim and have
12 weaved into this -- its corroborative type of evidence. It's not
13 corroborative. We will bring evidence to show this Court, again, through
14 expert and fact witnesses to show the Court not only that there was a
15 manipulation and an alteration of these medical records -- sorry, of
16 these logbooks, but that in fact there's great inconsistency if we look
17 beyond just the dates highlighted by the Prosecution. One of our experts
18 in this case is the esteemed Professor Gogic. He is still in the process
19 of examining and reviewing that. We have his preliminary report on this
20 data, And we hope that when is he lists out for us what the indicia or
21 factors of suspicion are, and I think we as reasonable people can know
22 that some of the factors are control and custody of the logbook. If it's
23 maintained in a proper custodial fashion, you are not as suspicious. If
24 one individual holds it, moves it, opens it, reviews it, pulls out pages
25 from it, of course you should be suspicious. The next indicia of
1 suspicion is did anyone admit or can we see evidence of post facto
2 additions, even simple dates. Did anyone open the book and insert
3 anything in the book? If they did, even in one instance, we suspect the
4 document. The Prosecution nonetheless says we admit that these dates
5 were added, but that's all we are going to admit to here. These indicia
6 of suspicion and things such as placement of entries, obliterated pages,
7 ink colours, are important, I think, for the Court to read if you are
8 going to rely at all on these logbooks.
9 We think that the evidence, and I hope to call - because I've
10 personally met with some witnesses that I am being challenged with now; I
11 am having some difficulty, but I think it's important for the Court to
12 hear it - that in intercepts and in logbooks people were adding
13 individual's names in order to shift blame and responsibility. That's
14 not a defence, and it's not our defence to suggest that others are
15 culpable or to suggest that an empty chair may be responsible for the
16 crimes that occurred as they suggested in the Krstic or Blagojevic case
17 when it relates to Mr. Beara. That is not a defence. It never has been,
18 and I'm sure it won't pass muster here.
19 Finally, I want to discuss, if I may, pressure, pressure towards
20 an accused, pressure from the Prosecution, pressure even from his own
21 lawyers to give the OTP something, anything, so that they may finalise
22 the plea negotiations that were being discussed. We have a very, very
23 scared confidential witness who was present during the time that some of
24 these negotiations were being undertaken between the Prosecution and an
2 We hope that in the interests of justice that that confidential
3 witness will come forth as he promised he would and will share with the
4 Court how the Prosecution conducted these plea agreements or that plea
5 agreement, how the Prosecution asked after years and months of this
6 witness not mentioning Mr. Beara, all of a sudden when there was
7 something, consideration on the table, and pleas from the Prosecution
8 with fists slamming on the desk, pressure from his own counsel, this
9 individual ultimately suggests and supposedly offers that, again, others
10 were responsible. He acknowledges his culpability, not sufficiently in
11 our view, but he also in spreading his web of lies also tries to
12 encapsulate and include Mr. Beara.
13 It will be difficult, and I know this, to bring this witness
14 here. He said he'd come. He is very, very afraid. He is an honest man.
15 He is a lawyer. He is a person who has worked at this Tribunal for some
16 time. We think that it is important for this Tribunal to get the entire
17 picture. Thank you.
18 Your Honours and Mr. President, we expect that through this
19 evidence, although I highlighted some, not all of the evidence that we
20 hope to bring forth, that you will respectfully find that indeed there
21 is reasonable doubt on all the charges against Ljubisa Beara and that the
22 OTP has failed to meet its burden of proof as mandated.
23 Thank you very much once again for the opportunity to address
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Ostojic.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
3 JUDGE AGIUS: We'll have a break now of 30 minutes because I have
4 a meeting, and we'll start with the first witness immediately after.
5 Thank you.
6 --- Recess taken at 10.28 a.m.
7 --- On resuming at 11.02 a.m.
8 [The witness entered court]
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: You are most welcome.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm the presiding judge. My name is Agius. My
14 colleague to my immediate right is Judge Kwon; then there's Judge Stole,
15 and to my left I have Judge Prost.
16 This is the case against Popovic and others. You've been
17 summoned here to give evidence by the defence team for Colonel Beara,
18 Ljubisa Beara, And you are the very first witness.
19 Before you start giving evidence, our rules require that you make
20 a solemn declaration to the effect that the course of your testimony you
21 will be speaking the truth and the whole truth. The text has just been
22 handed to you now. Please read it out aloud, and that will be your
23 solemn undertaking with us.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
25 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
1 WITNESS: SPIRIDON ALACOV
2 [Witness answered through interpreter]
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, sir. Please make yourself
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: As I read it, it's Mr. Nikolic from the Beara
7 Defence team who will be examining you first, And then he will be
8 followed on cross-examination by some others presumably. Mr. Nikolic, if
9 you could also introduce yourself to the witness, please.
10 MR. NIKOLIC: [Microphone not activated]
11 MR. OSTOJIC: Mr. President, the microphone doesn't seem to work,
12 if we could have a little assistance.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: He can try the other one.
14 MR. OSTOJIC: This one doesn't work either, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I heard a microphone.
16 MR. OSTOJIC: Mine is on now.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Switch his off, please, and let him switch his on.
18 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you for the assistance.
19 Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to everyone in the courtroom.
20 Q. Mr. Alacov, I want to introduce myself. My name is Predrag
21 Nikolic, attorney at law.
22 THE INTERPRETER: The counsel's microphone is off again.
23 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
24 JUDGE AGIUS: In the meantime, in order not to lose time, would
25 you mind exchanging places with him, Mr. Ostojic.
1 MR. OSTOJIC: Not at all, but my microphone doesn't work either.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yours is not working either now. And -- oh, none
3 of them? Only mine, I mean, that I can understand. And I have no
4 daughter to impress today, but will you try again?
5 MR. NIKOLIC: [Microphone not activated]
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't know. I can't help you from here. I mean,
7 mine seems to be working fine, but ... Even my colleague's is not
9 MR. OSTOJIC: Mr. President, it seems that when the witness's
10 microphone is on it deactivates our microphones. At least, that's what
11 it seems to be.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't know. Yeah, yeah, but it's on now. Can we
13 work with one microphone with the witness? All right, then. Let's
15 Examination by Mr. Nikolic:
16 Q. [Interpretation] It seems we have dealt with the difficulty. I
17 will introduce myself again. Predrag Nikolic, attorney at law, from
18 Ljubisa Beara Defence team. Good morning. It seems that the microphone
19 is working now and we can continue. Could you please introduce yourself
20 for the record by saying your first and last name as well as the date of
21 birth and place of birth. You don't need to stand up.
22 A. My name is Spiridon Alacov. I was born in 1943 on the 20th of
23 January, 1943.
24 Q. Tell me briefly what your educational background is.
25 A. I was born in Ohrid. I completed my elementary and secondary
1 school in the field of economic affairs. After that, I enrolled at the
2 military academy in Belgrade in 1962. I completed the ground forces
3 academy in 1965, after which I was sent to my first garrison, which was
4 in Raska, between Kraljevo, and Mitrovica. I spent a year there at the
5 position of the platoon commander within an infantry company, after which
6 I was transferred because of the needs of the service to the officer
7 platoon of the guard's brigade in Belgrade providing direct security for
8 the then President Tito. I was there until 1970 when I was transferred
9 to the Benkovac Garrison. To clarify, that is between Knin and Zadar and
10 Dalmatia. I was platoon --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- company commander until 1972
13 when I was transferred to the garrison of Lastovo the island of Lastovo.
14 My duty there is was security organ at the naval barracks. I was there
15 until 1976 in late August. From there, I was sent to Belgrade to attend
16 the staff -- command staff academy. After having completed that academy
17 in 1976, I was transferred to the garrison of Split. I was the desk
18 officer within the counterintelligence group of the naval military
20 I remained at that post until 1983 or 4. I was then
21 transferred to the security department of the command of the naval
22 district as the desk officer for security. I was there until August
23 1988, and due to the needs of service, I was sent to the garrison of
24 Knin. I was the chief of the security organ of the 9th corps,
25 also known as the Knin corps. I remained in that position until late
1 August or mid-August 1990, whereupon I returned to Split to the
2 establishment post of assistant chief of the security department of the
3 military naval district in charge of staff security affairs. I remained
4 there until the end of my professional military career, which was by late
5 June 2000.
6 In the meantime, because of the well known events in the
7 former Yugoslavia, I left Split together with my command for Kumbor, and
8 I retired from there. That was my career briefly put.
9 Q. Thank you. In your answer, you mentioned several locations of
10 your service: Lastovo, Split, Knin, and Kumbor. Did all these locations
11 fall in the area of the naval military district of Split?
12 A. Yes, all of those garrisons were under direct command of the
13 naval military district headquartered in Split.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Please pause before answering.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: More or less, we are synchronized, the interpreter
16 and myself, because you've been overlapping and you are creating
17 difficulties. Mr. Alacov, try to allow a short pause after Mr.
18 Nikolic has finished his question in the same language you speak because
19 the interpreters have still got to translate to us who don't understand
20 your language.
21 Yes, Mr. Nikolic. Sorry for having interrupted you like this,
22 but it was necessary.
23 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 Q. Mr. Alacov, to go back now to the period when you were on
25 Lastovo, what was your position there?
1 A. In the garrison of Lastovo, I was the security desk officer at
2 the naval military garrison barracks there. It was the first post I had
3 in the field of security.
4 Q. Did you ever meet Mr. Beara, and if so, on what occasion?
5 A. Yes. Immediately after my arrival in Lastovo, a few months after
6 that, perhaps two or three months later, Mr. Ljubisa Beara, together with
7 a team from the counterintelligence group, officially visited Lastovo
8 attending to some tasks assigned to him by his superiors. Upon his
9 arrival in Lastovo, Mr. Ljubisa Beara introduced himself and explained
10 that he was there to attend to some business that needed to be done in
11 that territory. He introduced himself and then his colleagues.
12 Q. Judging by your answer, you were at the time working for the
13 security service. Was that closely related with the counterintelligence
15 A. Yes, the spheres of activity overlap as well as the competences
16 of the counterintelligence group and our garrison. It had to do with the
17 army units. My competence was the unit I worked in. I was in charge of
18 its internal security. However, the jobs are almost identical, and they
19 overlap in many segments of activity.
20 Q. Was that overlap the reason why you met Mr. Ljubisa Beara?
21 A. Yes. It is customary when one goes to an area covered by a
22 certain security organ that that person from the outside should introduce
23 themselves. Mr. Ljubisa did so not only for the official reasons, but he
24 seemed to be very pleasant. He introduced himself, and we spent time
25 together during the period that he was there. It was only a few days,
1 but we also saw each other outside working hours.
2 Q. Mr. Alacov, and last of all, you were still a young man,
3 relatively young for someone involved in security activities. What
4 impression did you gain after having met these counterintelligence
5 officers, in particular Mr. Ljubisa Beara?
6 A. By that time, I had only begun working for the security service,
7 and that contact meant a lot to me, particularly because on the island of
8 Lastovo there were no other security organ members. And I don't know how
9 familiar you are with that, but Lastovo is a remote island, and travel
10 and communication via telephone was made difficult. I made the best use
11 of that meeting, and Mr. Ljubisa was very open, and he was kind enough to
12 explain to me some things that pertained security, what one needs to do,
13 focus on, and what methodology to use. Although it was not his task, he
14 did so as an experienced member of the security organ. That situation
15 contributed much to my knowledge in that first phase of my work.
16 Q. As far as I can see, it was an incentive for your future work.
17 Were you able to later in the course of your work contact and ask Mr.
18 Ljubisa Beara's opinion on various things, regardless of whether it was
19 directly related to your work as the security officers but maybe only
20 because you had a question that had to do with your sphere of activity
21 alone rather than his?
22 A. When we met, we didn't only discuss official affairs. Ljubisa
23 was very accessible, very open, and although it was a very brief period
24 of time, our relationship resembled two people who have known each other
25 for awhile. Just before he departed, he invited me to drop by their
1 office whenever I am in Split to either have a cup of coffee together or
2 a chat, and whenever I had time and travelled to Split, I did go to their
3 offices in my free time, in my spare time, and contacted him.
4 Q. From your answer, it seems that the next post you held was in
5 Split. What was your duty there?
6 A. Having completed the command staff academy in 1978, I was
7 transferred to the garrison of Split. My establishment post there was
8 the desk officer of the counterintelligence group of the naval military
9 district. In that period, the naval captain at the time, Ljubisa Beara,
10 was no longer with the counterintelligence group. As far as I can
11 recall, at first he was the desk officer of the security department of
12 the command of the military naval district.
13 Q. Did you continue your relationship not only in professional terms
14 but also privately?
15 A. Yes. Along professional lines as the desk officer, he was
16 supposed to supervise my work. We worked in the same sector, but it was
17 then that we began spending time together privately but it lasted for a
18 short while only. As far as I can recall, Ljubisa Beara in early 1979
19 was transferred to the garrison of Kumbor to work for the security organ
21 Q. On your -- or rather, on his return from Kumbor, was he at any
22 point your superior?
23 A. Yes. He was my immediate superior when he took up the post of
24 chief of the security department of the counterintelligence group.
25 However, he had a superior role, also, while he was deputy chief of the
1 security department, while I still held the post I had in the
2 counterintelligence group and the desk officer in the security
4 Q. Mr. Alacov, your relations are now those of superior and
5 subordinate. Can you describe to me the characteristics of Ljubisa Beara
6 as a superior; how did he treat you and other subordinate officers?
7 A. As a superior officer, I can say that he was very correct, always
8 willing to help, always ready to guide, to provide guidance and to
9 explain how things should be done. He asked that things be done well and
10 in a timely manner.
11 As I said, neither I nor my colleagues ever hesitated to
12 consult him, to ask him for guidance, to ask him for advice or for
13 instructions as to how best to do our tasks.
14 Q. Tell me, please, at that time in Split, what was the ethnic
15 breakdown of the security organ you worked in?
16 A. Well, I can tell you that it was heterogenous. There were
17 Slovenians, Muslims or Bosniaks, Croats, Macedonians. At that time, we
18 didn't pay special attention to people's ethnic background. There was
19 Hazim Begovic, who was a Muslim or Bosniak; there was Vjeloslav Runje,
20 who was a Croat; Miloje Garanovic, who was either a Serb or a Macedonian,
21 he was born in Skopje; and there were other persons, so there were people
22 from all the parts of the former Yugoslavia, all the republics.
23 Q. Now that we are talking about the ethnic makeup, let me ask you
24 about your ethnicity.
25 A. I was born in Macedonia, so according to my place of birth I am a
1 Macedonian. My parents were Macedonian. I grew up in Macedonia and
2 lived there for awhile.
3 Q. Thank you. I see that at one period you served in Knin. What
4 post did you hold there and in what unit?
5 A. I served in Knin from the end of August 1988 until August 1990.
6 There I was appointed head or chief of the security organ of the 9th
7 Corps. At that time, the 9th Corps was being established and that
8 command was being formed at the time.
9 Q. So in 1990 you returned to Split. Did you return to the same
11 A. Yes. Yes, I still had the same post and the same function.
12 Q. Let's dwell a little on the end of 1990 and the beginning of
13 1991. What was the security and political situation like bearing in mind
14 that wartime tensions were already mounting in Croatia?
15 A. From the end of 1989 and even before that, ethnic tensions began
16 mounting. Various events upset people, and nationalism began to awake on
17 both sides. The tensions escalated to such an extent that people began
18 to build barricades made of logs; and as the Knin area has a mixed
19 population, there are villages with Serb populations and villages with
20 Croat populations, people built barricades to protect themselves from one
21 another. People organised themselves because they wanted to avoid being
22 taken by surprise. Relations deteriorated to such an extent that this
23 later became an armed conflict.
24 Q. Let's dwell a little on the city of Split. You yourself said
25 that ethnic tensions grew. Your service had a heterogenous ethnic
1 makeup, so to what extent did all this effect the work of the service?
2 How was it reflected in the work of the service?
3 A. Generally speaking, among the members of the security organ
4 relations were quite stable. We didn't feel the influence of these
5 events to a large extent. Some persons would as a joke rather than
6 anything else start putting forward their ethnic affiliation, not
7 maliciously. Before that, we hadn't paid attention to other people's
8 ethnic backgrounds, but now we started taking an interest in who was from
9 where and what their ethnic affiliation was. It was then that I learned
10 that Ljubisa Beara was a Serb and not a Croat. All the time I had
11 thought he was a Croat because he used the Croatian dialect with a
12 Dalmatian accent, or rather, the Croatian language and he used the
13 Dalmatian dialect, but he continued to speak in the same way as before,
14 not just he but others also. I can say that Ljubisa Beara and the others
15 tried very hard to retain the unity of the service. I can tell you about
16 an incident that happened, a colleague of ours who worked in the
18 Q. Just a little bit. We are straying from our topic, so excuse me
19 for interrupting. We spoke about the mounting tensions in Split. What
20 were the causes of this mounting tension, and what was the position of
21 the JNA organ and the military naval district?
22 A. If you are referring to the position of members of the army, of
23 the territory military district and the overall situation, we were
24 subject to all sorts of pressure. Certain officers -- well, they started
25 following us, or rather, the members of the ZNG started following us
1 around, threatening our families, denying the commands of the units
2 supplies which were absolutely necessary, such as food, power, water;
3 telephone lines were cut off, and this was mainly in 1990 and onwards.
4 They harassed our families, especially those of members of the security
5 organs and the commanding officers of the military naval district and its
7 Q. At that time, was Ljubisa Beara your superior officer?
8 A. Yes, he was. It was precisely then that he was chief of the
9 security department and I was assistant chief of the security organ for
10 staff security affairs, and I was directly subordinate to Captain Ljubisa
12 Q. Bearing in mind everything you've said, the provocations and so
13 on, I'm interested in Ljubisa Beara's response as a superior officer who
14 had certain responsibility for organising the service under these
15 circumstances. Please give me some examples as to how and in what
16 direction he made attempts to deal with this situation within his
18 A. Well, both before this period and especially during this period,
19 he insisted that all tasks be carried out in a highly professional manner
20 in the spirit of the rules and regulations governing the work of the
21 security organ and the armed forces of the SFRY. He did not permit any
22 deviation from this or any improvisation. He especially insisted that we
23 guard ourselves and our units from any unwanted consequences either with
24 respect to other persons, especially civilians, or anybody else.
25 Q. What measures did he order to be taken in relation to these
1 provocations, such as cutting off electrical power, water, and other
2 utilities, which all, you will admit, caused nervousness among you?
3 A. The organs of command took measures through the official
4 authorities as far as was possible at the time and as far as this
5 functioned at the time to avoid such things happening. From time to
6 time, these things were dealt with and they would stop but then they
7 would happen again. Ljubisa Beara through representatives of the
8 ministry of the interior in Split and other institutions made efforts to
9 have these situations resolved peacefully without the use of force or any
10 other undesirable measures, and force was not used until the breakout of
11 the armed conflict.
12 Q. Did this situation cause the awakening of nationalism among
13 individuals within the command?
14 A. As for extreme situations regarding the awakening of nationalism
15 in the security organ, this did not happen, but people did begin to leave
16 the service, for example, and they were allowed to do this without any
17 obstruction. They did this quite legally. Among the first to leave was
18 then Captain Curko Stojan. He was the first to legally leave the
19 security organ and take up another post, and later on he left the navy.
20 He left the JNA altogether.
21 Among the others, I wouldn't say they were hostile, but there
22 is an event that sticks in my mind which occurred in the office of
23 Flag Officer Petrovic, Color Sergeant Dragan Petrovic, who was then
24 taking care of the archives within the security organ. He was in
25 charge of the archives, and I was there when Ljubisa Beara entered
1 his office and color sergeant Petrovic took from his -- took
2 from his desk a Sajkaca. This an old fashioned Serbian cap with a
3 Chetnik symbol. He put it on his head, and he said, Ljubo, look at this.
4 He was a non-commissioned officer but yet he addressed him as Ljubo, by
5 his first name, because that shows how close we are. We were on
6 first-name terms, all of us. So when Ljubisa Beara was the captain of a
7 war ship saw this, he told him to take that cap off his head. He said
8 that such things could not be kept on the premises of the armed forces.
9 They couldn't be brought to the office. He told him to pack it up and
10 take it back where it came from, and he criticized him for bringing
11 such things on to our premises.
12 I apologise to the interpreters, but I don't think there is any
13 need for me to stress that the Sajkaca cap is not a nationalistic symbol
14 per se. It's a regular traditional cap worn even nowadays in Serbia,
15 however, without the symbol.
16 Q. Mr. Alacov, I'm interested in this situation and the reaction of
17 such an officer such as Officer Ljubisa Beara in the situation where
18 certain people were leaving the service on the one hand. On the other
19 hand, the barracks were being blockaded; there were tensions; electricity
20 and water supply were cut off. How did he try to deal with those things,
21 and what instructions did he give you?
22 A. Whoever expressed their wish to leave the security organ or the
23 armed forces of the SFRY, that was approved without any pressure or
24 obstacles. Some people expressed their wish for the pressures they felt
25 to move to other services of the armed forces, whereas some others stated
1 that they wanted to leave the armed forces altogether. Whoever expressed
2 such a wish, their request was met, and the Naval Captain Beara stood by
3 the principle that the work is prescribed by the rules of service of the
4 security organ, that such work is voluntary and that whenever somebody
5 wants to leave, may do so. However, that person is still under the
6 obligation to keep state and other secrets.
7 Q. Mr. Alacov, all of us who hail from the region know of an event
8 that took place in Split that was carried by the media. It is usually
9 referred to as the Split Strangler incident. Can you tell us what
10 happened, and how did the security service deal with it? Who headed the
11 security's activities pertaining to that, and how was it all concluded?
12 A. The propaganda that was in place at the time generally speaking
13 and across all spheres of politics blurred everyone's vision. Some
14 people believed all of the information that was served by various media.
15 It culminated in early May 1992. They said it was spontaneous; however,
16 I believe otherwise. In any case, there was a gathering in front of the
17 naval military district command building, and it was blocked. The truth
18 of the matter was that people were sent from their companies to go and to
19 come in front of the building and demonstrate against what they termed
20 the Serbian army, although at the time we were still the Yugoslav army.
21 Q. Why was that incident characteristic? Why was it called the
22 Split Strangler?
23 A. It is a well known incident because certain extremist groups
24 among the mass of people there tried to create chaos. It was clear that
25 they were seeking to provoke the use of force. The incident is well
1 known because the first soldier of the JNA was killed by the name of
2 Gesovski of Macedonia. He was a sentry and did nothing to cause fire
3 being opened at him. It is also known for certain extremist groups which
4 acted violently against the security forces. A group of them mounted an
5 armoured vehicle, an armoured personnel carrier, that was there to
6 provide security for the command. There was a very strong young man who
7 grabbed a soldier whose head was protruding through an opening of the
8 armoured carrier, trying to pull him out of the vehicle by the neck. We
9 were instructed strictly to avoid any use of force. We could have used
10 ammunition and explosives, but there were masses of people there, and had
11 something like that happened, there would have been many more innocent
12 victims except for the strangler. He was called the strangler because he
13 grabbed the soldier by the throat trying to pull him out and nearly
14 killed him.
15 Q. You said that you were instructed not to use mines and weapons.
16 Who issued that order?
17 A. The command. I know that the naval captain had a role in that.
18 He himself suggested that force be not used, and when assigning tasks he
19 would regularly instruct us that we should resort to arms only if
20 strictly necessary, as the last resort in trying to save our lives. He
21 suggested to the command that an order be issued prohibiting the use of
23 Q. We can see that there was a lot of provocation, that a soldier
24 was hurt. Did the security service try to identify the perpetrators?
25 A. Just another thing concerning the event before I answer. When
1 the command of the naval military district was blocked by the citizens,
2 some extremist groups also blocked the movement of a column of armoured
3 personnel carriers, which were on their way to the naval military
4 district command to provide additional security. That part of the unit
5 was stopped along the road by an extremist group. A crew was kicked out
6 of an armoured vehicle, and it was taken away, the vehicle, that is. By
7 constant talks and negotiations over the phone with MUP representatives,
8 the naval Captain Beara managed to have the armoured carriers brought
9 back and secured by our personnel. Later on, they were indeed returned
10 to the unit they had been taken from. Therefore, there was no use of
11 force or weapons, and it was done in that way.
12 Sorry, your question was?
13 Q. Let's take it slowly. Answer this first, please: How do you
14 know that it was Ljubisa Beara himself that contacted and talked on the
15 phone with the MUP representatives?
16 A. Since it was practically a state of emergency, we were constantly
17 in our offices in a state of ready, and I was in the office at the moment
18 when he spoke on the phone. I was with the naval captain Beara. There
19 were several such conversations that took place to deal with other cases,
20 as well, but this was the one I was referring to.
21 Q. To go back to one of my previous questions, I don't think you've
22 answered that, did the security service take any measures in order to
23 capture the perpetrators?
24 A. Yes. Since there was a lot of damage and a human life was lost
25 and among other things, it also constituted an attack on a legally formed
1 armed forces in Croatia. We tried contacting the MUP, without much hope,
2 though, but the security administration insisted that we take measures to
3 identify the main players, in particular, the killer of the soldier and
4 the strangler's identity as well as the identity of the remaining three
5 persons. I cannot recall their names off the cuff. A lot of time has
6 passed. We were assigned the task from the security administration as
7 well as their assistance in dealing with that issue.
8 With that goal in mind, the then chief of the security
9 administration, General Aco Vasiljevic arrived at the naval
10 district. He issued instructions and helped us to deal with the
11 situation. In a short span of time, we managed to identify those
12 people and to apprehend them and detain them in the military prison.
13 Later on, they were interrogated and taken over by the court. I know
14 that finally they were exchanged. Excuse me, we did not manage to
15 apprehend the person who opened fire killing the soldier, but according
16 to our information that person enjoyed the protection of the organs of
17 the MUP of Croatia.
18 Q. Mr. Alacov, did Mr. Ljubisa Beara take part in that operation,
19 and if so, what was his role?
20 A. Yes. As head of the security department, he was the person in
21 charge of the operation. We drew up a plan of action. We assigned
22 people and went through a process of preparation with them. He also
23 managed the operation until its completion. It was done, I should say,
24 without any use of weapons or any beatings or anything of the sort.
25 Q. Obviously, the operation and the incident was at the peak of the
1 tensions. In your sector, that is, the security organ, what was the
2 ethnic makeup at the time? Was it still mixed?
3 A. Yes. A few people had left by the time, such as Crnko, that I
4 mentioned, later on Zoran Radic left as well. There were a few others
5 who left, but in total there weren't many of them, and the makeup was
6 still heterogenous, and it remained so even up until the time that we
7 were relocated to Kumbor. I may be more specific if needed.
8 Q. Take it slowly, please. In the course of your answer, you
9 managed that Ljubisa had a particular accent and that you thought him to
10 be Croatian for that. However, now you know that he is a Serb, and at
11 the time of that operation you knew that as well. In the course of such
12 tensions, did he ever act inappropriately or did he present himself as a
14 A. I never noticed anything of the sort. He continued behaving and
15 speaking in the same fashion. At no moment did I see that he had any
16 bias, that he held anything against people of other ethnicities.
17 Q. A moment ago you said that the naval military district command
18 was relocated to Kumbor. Why did it take place and when?
19 A. After the May events and contrary to the promises made by the
20 authorities that the tension would be reduced and problems resolved, the
21 situation grew even more complex. Our electricity was being cut off as
22 well as the water supply, food supply, and we were no longer able to use
23 regular communication routes and modes of transport. There were other
24 things as well. There was a danger of us being completely cut off so
25 that we would be forced to surrender the command facilities. That is why
1 in the course of August, a decision was made that was supposed to provide
2 for the continuity of command, and for that reason a part of the command
3 was supposed to be relocated to a forward command post, as we would say
4 in the armed forces. That was supposed to take place on the island of
5 Vis. The commander left for the island with some other members of the
6 command. It was also foreseen that the shifts would take up to a week.
7 However, around the 9th or 10th of September, we were indeed cut off
8 completely and blocked, and those people who were on the island of Vis at
9 the time remained there. I was one of those. We remained there until
10 the moment that the entire command and units were taken outside Croatia.
11 It was all preceded by a long-lasting process of negotiation
12 under the auspices of many international organizations, which by that
13 time had arrived in the territory. We negotiated with the authorities to
14 provide for a safe pullout of the forces, their family members, and
15 equipment from the territory of Croatia. It was towards
16 the end of 1991, December 1991, although I cannot recall the exact
17 date. It was then that the last unit pulled out of Split.
18 Q. Mr. Alacov, we'll move on to another topic now. At the time you
19 were serving in Split and in Knin - but let's talk about Split first -
20 was General Tolimir serving in Split?
21 A. Yes, at the time he was a captain. Before that, he had served in
22 Velas in Macedonia and he and another captain, Steta, were transferred to
23 fill vacant posts -- vacant establishment posts in Split. I can't recall
24 the exact years they arrived, but it was sometime around 1983. It might
25 have been a year before or a year later, I'm not sure, but both Tolimir
1 and Captain Steta were appointed to the establishment post of desk
2 officers in the counterintelligence group of Split. That was the first
3 time I encountered Tolimir, when he arrived there.
4 Q. At that time, what duty was Ljubo Beara performing when Tolimir
5 arrived in Split?
6 A. I think it was at that time that he had returned from the Kumbor
7 garrison, and as far as I can recall he was appointed assistant chief of
8 the counterintelligence service of the Split naval military district, or
9 rather, chief of the security department.
10 Q. At that time, was Beara superior to Tolimir?
11 A. No. He was not his direct superior officer. The chief of the
12 counterintelligence group was his immediate superior, and he was
13 subordinate to the chief of the counterintelligence group, but there were
14 contacts and exchange of information and experience, provision of
15 instructions, but only as regards professional matters, the technical
16 aspects of the job.
17 Q. So at that time you were there -- so can you tell us what the
18 relationship was between Beara and Tolimir? Were they merely acquainted
19 as officers, and what was their professional relationship?
20 A. Well, if you want to talk about their personal relationship, I
21 just mentioned that Ljubisa was a very open, accessible, friendly person.
22 As we had spent a long time there and socialized for a long time, I knew
23 that, but as far as I know he didn't socialize with Tolimir especially.
24 Their contacts were purely professional as far as I know. They didn't
25 visit each other's homes to the best of my knowledge, and at that time
1 there was already a circle of friends who knew each other from before
2 whom he socialized with, so as far as I know they didn't have any private
3 social contacts.
4 Q. As you were in Split until the dislocation of the military naval
5 district, at that time was Tolimir in Split the whole time?
6 A. Tolimir was in Split and held the same establishment post until
7 August 1990, except for the period when he went for further training. In
8 August 1990, he came to the Kumbor garrison to replace me at my
9 establishment post, and I returned to Split.
10 Q. You said that he came to your place in Kumbor, to your post in --
11 A. No, in Knin, sorry. It was in Knin that he took up the
12 establishment post of chief of the security organ of the command of the
13 9th Corps, and he replaced me at that post. I do apologise if I said
14 Kumbor. I meant Knin.
15 Q. And you had been in Knin up to that point?
16 A. Yes, from 1988 until August 1990.
17 Q. Who at the time was the commander of the 9th Corps known as the
18 Knin corps?
19 A. The commander of the 9th corps was General Trajcevski, Tomislav
20 Trajcevski, who arrived from the command of the then 3rd Army in Skoplje.
21 Q. The 9th corps or the Knin corps as it was called, was it part of
22 the military naval district of Split?
23 A. Yes. The 9th corps was directly subordinate to the command of
24 the military naval district in that period.
25 Q. I see that you mentioned in that period. Was there another
1 period when it was not part of the military naval district?
2 A. When the armed conflict started and towards the end of 1991, the
3 9th corps was subordinate to the General Staff of the armed forces of the
4 SFRY along one chain of command. It was in the rear of the command of a
5 military naval district, and in operative terms part of it was under the
6 command of the General Staff.
7 Q. Mr. Alacov, please tell me, in that period at any point was
8 General Mladic the commander of this corps?
9 A. While I was the -- while I was serving in Knin, Mladic did not
10 hold any position in the 9th Corps. When I left in August 1990 and when
11 Tolimir arrived, Spiro Nikovic, General Spiro Nikovic was appointed
12 commander, but he didn't stay there long. Perhaps a year. I didn't see
13 Mladic, but I heard that he came to Knin, but this was certainly after
14 June 1991.
15 Q. Although you assume that General Mladic arrived and took up the
16 corps commander only in June 1991, the military naval district and you as
17 officers and the security organs and Ljubisa Beara as the chief of that
18 organ remained in Split for a certain time because you said that in late
19 1991, you were dislocated. Do you know whether in that period Mr. Beara
20 and General Mladic had either private or official contacts?
21 A. Let me tell you that for a while Mladic was Chief of Staff, and
22 after Nikovic left he took up the duty of commander. And let me also
23 tell you that in view of the situation at the time, it was very difficult
24 to move around and communicate, and there was very little time, or
25 rather, no time for any personal contacts and for socializing. I have no
1 information or knowledge that Beara ever socialized with Mladic. It's
2 possible that there were brief professional official contacts when they
3 both went to briefings at our command while it was still possible or in
4 the course of brief visits by the security organ, Beara to Knin. But
5 this may have amounted to two or three visits in that period to the best
6 of my recollection.
7 Q. Answering my questions, you said that General Tolimir moved from
8 Split to Knin in 1990 if I remember correctly. Please tell me, to the
9 best of your knowledge did he go back to Split or did he remain in the
10 Knin corps?
11 A. After the dislocation of the units of the military naval district
12 from the territory of Croatia, the 9th corps remained for awhile on the
13 territory it was responsible for so that Tolimir also remained with that
14 unit. But I don't know until when because after we left, I lost contact
15 with him.
16 Q. So the military naval district had a new headquarters, a new
17 area; can you tell us where this was?
18 A. That was the Kumbor garrison in the Montenegrin coastal area.
19 Herceg Novi was the first -- the nearest larger town.
20 Q. Before you, there were huge tasks. You had to find headquarters
21 for the command. Who coordinated this work on behalf of your service,
22 and did you have any cooperation with the civilian authorities?
23 A. If you are referring to Montenegro, on the territory of
24 Montenegro, yes, we did have direct cooperation, and certain civilian
25 facilities were given over to our use for the accommodation of our units
1 and commands.
2 Q. Colonel Beara was in the administration in Kumbor at the time.
3 Did he organise the work of the service?
4 A. Yes. Persons, or rather, members of security organs from all the
5 units were there in a small area. We were overstaffed, and in view of
6 the new needs and circumstances, a new establishment structure had to be
7 put in place and appointments made, or rather, the establishment post had
8 to be filled, and administratively the status of all these persons had to
9 be dealt with and Captain Beara was in charge of all this. He proposed
10 certain solutions to the command of what was by then the navy.
11 Q. From your testimony today, it follows that you spent quite a long
12 period of time either serving with or close to Beara from the beginnings
13 of your work in Lastovo until Kumbor where you were from, or rather, this
14 is the period from 1973 to 1991. And when did you part ways, you and
15 Colonel Beara finally?
16 A. Well, we never did, but we did say farewell in July 1992 when he
17 left to take up another establishment post. I think it was for awhile in
18 the security administration and then I don't know; he went to the Army of
19 Republika Srpska.
20 Q. Well, this was a long time ago, 1992, but I see that you knew
21 each other well, that you were friends, as you say. Can you describe
22 Ljubisa Beara to me as he was in 1992 when you saw him for the last time?
23 What is the image that sticks in your mind? What did he look like
25 A. Well, I'll take the liberty of saying that as for three or four
1 months we had been separated, he was in Split and I was on Vis. Our
2 first encounter was in Kumbor after August 1991, and our next meeting was
3 in late January 1992. He looked as he usually did but was a little
4 thinner. He is a tall man. If I have to describe him physically, he had
5 sideburns. He wore glasses. He looked after his appearance. He was
6 neat and tidy, always clean shaven, always appropriately dressed. His
7 clothes were always clean and ironed. I especially remember his shoes
8 because they were always very shiny, as if they were patent leather
9 shoes. That's how shiny they were.
10 Q. Very well, Mr. Alacov. Evidently, Ljubisa Beara is a man you
11 remember as a good man. Were you ever in a situation including these
12 dramatic times in Split ever to observe or sense or feel that Ljubisa
13 Beara took up a nationalist stance in relation to anybody, not just
14 professionally but in your private socializing?
15 A. In relation to me, there was never a gesture, never a statement
16 where he ever expressed any sort of nationalist sentiment. He never
17 offended me in any way, and I never observed him acting in that way
18 towards anybody else either. On the contrary, in that very sensitive
19 situation he never paid attention to people's ethnic background, to
20 people's religious affiliation, but when appointing people to
21 establishment posts, all he cared about was people's qualifications and
22 the quality of their work.
23 In those critical years when nationalism was burgeoning and
24 negative tensions were mounting, he appointed Major Tole Zarko as
25 battalion commander, for example. I also know that in that critical
1 period, he helped while I was in Knin my subordinate captain Peter Jukic
2 to be from Knin to Split and to be appointed -- and he was a Croat by
3 ethnicity, and he was appointed to the establishment post of the security
4 organ in the protection regiment. This protection regiment was a very
5 important unit.
6 After the dislocation to Kumbor, the then-lieutenant commander
7 Ramiz Dugalic who was a Muslim was appointed deputy chief of the
8 counterintelligence group, so there are other examples to demonstrate
9 that he did not have any prejudices against people of different ethnic
10 affiliations. Although I am a Macedonian, I remained at the
11 establishment post I held before, and this was a leading position in
12 the security organ.
13 Q. Thank you, Mr. Alacov, for your exhaustive replies.
14 MR. NIKOLIC: Your Honours, I have completed my
16 JUDGE AGIUS: That's why I didn't interrupt you before as we were
17 approaching the break time because I noticed you were approaching the
18 end. I thank you, Mr. Nikolic, I thank you, Mr. -- or Colonel Alacov.
19 We'll have a short break now of 25 minutes. And then we'll start with
20 the cross-examinations. Thank you.
21 --- Recess taken at 12.31 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 12.58 p.m.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Zivanovic, do you wish to cross-examine the
25 MR. ZIVANOVIC: No, Your Honour. Thank you.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. [Microphone not activated]
2 Madam Nikolic, do you wish to cross-examine the witness?
3 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] No, thank you, Your Honour. No
4 questions for this witness.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Lazarevic has already indicated there is no
6 cross. Correct, Ms. Fauveau?
7 MS. FAUVEAU: No questions, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: No questions from the Miletic Defence team. We are
9 not aware you would like to cross-examine the witness.
10 MR. JOSSE: Well, I was about to apologise for the fact that we
11 hadn't provided a filing. Apologies, anyway. It won't surprise the
12 Trial Chamber. No, we have absolutely no questions for this witness
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Mr. Sarapa, would you like to
15 cross-examine this witness? Okay. Thank you.
16 MR. SARAPA: No, thank you.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: That brings us to you, Mr. Vanderpuye.
18 MR. VANDERPUYE: Yes, Mr. President. I'll have brief
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, please Go ahead.
21 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Vanderpuye:
23 Q. Good afternoon to you, sir. My name is Kweku Vanderpuye.
24 MR. VANDERPUYE: He's not hearing? Okay.
25 Q. Thank you. Colonel Alacov, you can here me now; is that right?
1 All right. Good afternoon to you. My name is Kweku Vanderpuye, and on
2 behalf of the Prosecution, I'm going to put some questions to you in
3 relation to your direct examination.
4 A. Please go ahead.
5 Q. Okay. Now, the very last thing that you spoke about before we
6 broke about a half an hour ago is you indicated that you were not aware
7 of any particular event in which Mr. Beara had offended anybody or paid
8 any particular attention to a person's ethnic background. Do you
9 remember that testimony?
10 A. Yes, I do.
11 Q. Sir, are you familiar with the term "Turk" as is used to describe
12 a Bosnian Muslim?
13 A. I heard of such a term. Do you mean when used in derogatory
14 fashion? Well, I never heard that word from Captain Beara; at least, I
15 was never present on such occasions.
16 Q. What about the term "balija"? Have you heard that term?
17 A. I did hear about that term.
18 Q. Okay. And is that a derogatory term as well?
19 A. Yes, it is.
20 Q. In fact, it's an extremely offensive and demeaning term, isn't
22 A. Depends on one's understanding and depending on what occasion it
23 is used. There are different offensive words in particular in the
24 Serbian language which can have a particular weight given the context or
25 the situation in which they are used.
1 Q. All right. Is that the kind of language that you would expect a
2 high-ranking officer in the army to use?
3 A. If it is an official communication, in that case it would be
4 inappropriate. If -- on the other hand, if we have two people speaking
5 in jest or in their unofficial capacity, then it could take place
6 especially among those of us who hail from the south. One could then
7 hear terms of such nature.
8 Q. Well, have you ever heard Mr. Beara use those terms?
9 A. I was never present on such an occasion, and I don't remember him
10 using such terms. Maybe even I used some terms in different situations
11 but ...
12 Q. All right. Now, Let me acquaint you with a document that's 65
13 ter 539. Now, this is a document as you can see from the bottom that is
14 type-signed Ljubisa Beara. It's dated 16th August 1995, And this is a
15 communication; it says supreme military corps; it has a strictly
16 confidential number 15/95. You can see right there, right in the first
17 line where Mr. Beara is referring to all the POWs from the former balija
18 enclave of Zepa. Do you see that, sir?
19 A. Yes, I do.
20 Q. If you go on a little bit further on in the document, you can see
21 right after there is a reference to the members of the VRS, on the next
22 line it says that members of the VRS and RS Republika Srpska MUP and the
23 security organs who will interrogate the captured balija in order to
24 provide criminal justice documentation. Do you see that? That's right
25 there in the second line of the second paragraph.
1 A. I can't see it very well, but I'll take your word for it. I
2 trust that what you read is correct.
3 Q. All right. Let me take you down to the third paragraph, and if
4 you look at the last sentence of that, you can see where it says to do
5 this to investigating judges with typists and deputy prosecutor should be
6 sent to Serbian correctional facilities to so the criminal law?
7 "Documentation can be formed immediately after the interrogation of the
8 balija." Do you see that?
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 Q. In relation to one of the last questions that was put to you, you
11 also indicated that when it came to making appointments, that all Mr.
12 Beara was concerned about was the qualifications and the quality of the
13 work of the people that he was selecting. Do you recall that?
14 A. Yes, I do. I remember.
15 Q. Let me acquaint you with another document. Could I have 65 ter
16 3502 in e-court, please. All right. We don't have the English -- yeah,
17 we do have the English. Okay. This is a document -- if we can go to the
18 second page just for a moment so I can show the gentleman that this is a
19 document that is signed by -- you see that it's signed by Ljubisa Beara?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Okay. Now, this is a document that is dated 27th November 1995.
22 Has a number, strictly confidential number of 12/46-701/95, and what it
23 talks about is choosing a number of NCOs and soldiers from the military
24 police battalion as a personal escort for members of the Main Staff.
25 Now, if you go, if we could, if we could go to the bottom of this page in
1 the B/C/S, and if we could go to the second page in the English. The
2 second paragraph of the English, it reads "The NCOs and soldiers
3 appointed for escort duty should excel in military conduct and appearance
4 as well as in military knowledge and well-mannered behaviour in similar.
5 They may only be Serbs and not those from mixed marriages or those whose
6 family members live in the territory controlled by the enemy." These are
7 among the criteria that Mr. Beara has specified are to be found or to be
8 observed in filling this position.
9 This relates to more than just whether or not a person is
10 qualified, doesn't it, sir?
11 A. Yes. That is correct factually speaking, and that is what it
12 says. However, we seem to be forgetting one fact, and that is that in
13 the period that I talked about, while the unified Yugoslavia was still in
14 existence, that at that time there was still the army of Yugoslavia that
15 existed. However, this period is in 1995 already when the opposing
16 parties were Serbs and Muslims, Bosniaks. To me, it seems normal that
17 when choosing the candidates for a post like that one bears in mind
18 certain things. This should not be insulting to anyone, the fact that I
19 as a Macedonian or another person who is a Bosniak would not be
20 considered. The conditions were different; the situation was different
21 from that when we were still together. I talked about the period before
22 June 1992. After that, we went our separate ways.
23 Q. All right. I think you actually said in your testimony that you
24 never parted ways even though physically you parted. What I'd like to
25 know is whether or not in your view the words that are written here
1 reflect somebody's or a person's paying attention to a person's
2 ethnicity above all in relation to filling a qualified position?
3 A. I think that what they had in mind was to choose the persons who
4 would fully implement the tasks they were assigned, much as you would
5 choose your work team. On top of their abilities, you also consider who
6 and what they are. By the same token, the other side also has the right
7 to choose the people who are going to be assigned certain tasks. To my
8 mind, this is no insult or disadvantage that someone may not be
9 considered for a certain position. I should not be offended if I am not
10 appointed as your assistant because I was not qualified, and in this
11 particular consideration other circumstances played a role too.
12 Q. And That qualification can just depend on who it is you happen to
13 have married before the conflict in your view? That's right, Mr.
14 Alacov, isn't it? One of the criteria you see in here says "not those
15 from mixed marriages." That's justifiable in your view, right, Mr.
17 A. Well, the situation evidently showed that in the course of the
18 breaking up of Yugoslavia, that some people who hailed from mixed
19 marriages fell under the influence of their wives and other members of
20 their family. They left the armed forces, and they abandoned the
21 service, which they had sworn to protect, saying that they would
22 conscientiously perform their tasks. Instead, they were under the
23 influence of their family members and leaving the armed forces at the
24 very moment when they were needed the most. That was the starting point.
25 As well as based on the experience of others, this is normal.
1 When electing persons to sensitive positions, this also had to be borne
2 in mind. As far as I knew, this is something you find in each and every
3 army of the world. Some people cannot be trusted with certain functions
4 if they don't meet the other criteria. There's also a categorization of
5 officers in terms of category 1, 2 and 3, and you know exactly to what
6 level a certain officer can advance. It is not my fault that I would,
7 for example, fall in category 3. I shouldn't be angry by that -- because
8 of that. And as far as I know, such categories exist in foreign armies
9 as well.
10 Q. Okay. What category would somebody like General Miletic fall
12 A. I don't know.
13 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I object. I object. I really
14 don't see the purpose of this question. This is a witness testifying to
15 the character of another person. He didn't even talk about the Army of
16 Republika Srpska. We don't even know if he knows General Miletic. Maybe
17 it would be good to start -- for a start to know whether he knows General
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Ms. Fauveau.
20 MR. VANDERPUYE: I think he has answered the question. I have no
21 further questions. Thank you, Mr. President.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Is there re-examination, Mr. Nikolic?
23 Yes, please go ahead.
24 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, briefly.
25 Re-examination by Mr. Nikolic:
1 Q. Mr. Alacov, during your military service, were you a member of
2 the League of Communists of Yugoslavia?
3 A. Yes, I was.
4 Q. Was one of the criteria to be accepted for military service and
5 to obtain senior military positions, was the membership in the league a
7 A. Well, there were some army members who were not members of the
8 party, but they were not assigned leading positions.
9 Q. You told that during the time you talked about your command and
10 the armed forces reflected the multiethnic composition of the then state.
11 My question is this: Was one of the criteria used to elect people to the
12 senior positions in the army the ethnic key, that is to say that they
13 hailed from a particular ethnic group which was represented the most in
14 any -- in that given area?
15 A. At the beginning of my military career, there was a principle in
16 place that to the extent possible, especially in managing positions,
17 there should be a proportionate representation of people of different
18 ethnic backgrounds. However, later on the principle was liberalised,
19 relaxed, and especially for those other duties, the practice was to
20 employ people who hailed from the area where the garrison was. However,
21 for the senior positions, the ethnic key was still used so that there
22 wouldn't be people of a single ethnicity occupying most of the senior
24 Q. Mr. Alacov, former Yugoslavia fell apart, and for the most part
25 national states were created. What is your opinion? Would it have been
1 possible and logical in an elite unit such as we could see from the
2 document supposed to provide security for the most senior officials to be
3 elected into it if one were, say, a Serb coming from a mixed marriage
4 living in Croatia?
5 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment before you answer. Yes, Mr. Vanderpuye.
6 MR. VANDERPUYE: I see that the question invites speculation in
7 this respect. The witness is not testifying as an expert, and the
8 questions I put to him related to the specific document that was
9 presented to him.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I can understand why and when you stood up because
11 -- to object because that was after the use by counsel of what is your
12 opinion. However, later on, actually, he is asking a very specific
13 question, which can be answered by the witness based on his expertise.
14 But still, I don't blame you for standing up at the time.
15 Yes, Colonel Alacov, could you answer the question, please. It's
16 a very simple one. Would it have been possible and logical in an elite
17 unit such as we could see from the document supposed to provide security
18 for the most senior officials to be elected into it if one were, say, a
19 Serb coming from a mixed marriage living in Croatia? And What is not
20 clear in my mind exactly is what period and time are you referring the
21 witness to? Is it before Yugoslavia fell apart or when the war was on?
22 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I had in mind the
23 post-war period. In my previous question, I said that several nation
24 states were formed, and my question pertained to the period after the
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Right. The period after the war or during the war?
2 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Either way. During the war or
3 after 1996.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Then you can split your answer into two
5 parts, during the war and after the war. If you can answer the question.
6 If you are not in a position to answer the question, please tell us so,
7 and we'll move to the next one.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'll try to answer. At the outset,
9 I have to say that in any event or in any rule there are exceptions. If
10 there is information in existence about someone that that person is loyal
11 and that accepts the basic ideology or position, then that person is
12 included in such a unit. However, we have exceptions, but rules are not
13 based on those. In the Serbian army today there are Serbs, members of
14 the army, who hail from Croatia or Republika Srpska, that is,
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina. As to whether they occupy senior positions or not, I
16 have no knowledge of it. Well, there may be some in senior positions,
17 but what do you define -- how do you define a senior position? The Chief
18 of Staff of the General Staff, or as far as I know, the person occupying
19 that position currently hails from Knin. I don't know whether I've
20 answered the question.
21 MR. NIKOLIC:
22 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Alacov, there were two questions. Please
23 pay a bit more attention to what I'm about to say now. Based on
24 everything you've said so far, was it possible in the course of the war
25 in an elite unit in Croatia that a person be appointed into that unit
1 assigned to provide security for senior officials and provided that
2 person was of Serbian origin; and the second question is whether
3 something like that would be possible in the newly formed states after
4 the war.
5 A. To repeat what I've said, there are exceptions to any rule. In
6 the course of the war or a war, it is difficult to get by information on
7 people's affiliation. People often find themselves in such fluctuating
8 situations, and one changes affiliation and behaviour frequently. There
9 are those who represent a position today, changing it the very next day.
10 If someone falls under the influence of another, they can change their
11 views causing more damage than good. During the combat operations in
12 Croatia, there were members of other ethnicities in senior positions as
13 well. There was an Albanian who commanded a brigade. He is one of the
14 accused before this Tribunal, Mr. Ademi.
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Alacov.
16 MR. NIKOLIC: Your Honour, I have no further questions.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Judge Kwon, do you have any questions?
18 Judge Stole?
19 We don't have any further questions for you, Colonel, which means
20 you are free to go. Our staff will give you all the assistance you
21 require. On behalf of everyone, I would like to thank you for having
22 come over and also wish you a safe journey back home.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. And I'd like to thank
24 everyone who was of assistance.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Documents, Mr. Nikolic?
1 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, no documents to
3 [The witness withdrew]
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Mr. Vanderpuye.
5 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you. Mr. President I have 65 ter 539 and
6 65 ter 3502.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Any objections, Mr. Nikolic?
8 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] We object to the 1996 document
9 because it is outside the scope of the indictment.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you wish to respond to that, Mr. Vanderpuye?
11 MR. VANDERPUYE: The documents I showed to the witness, Mr.
12 President, were 1995 documents, both of them were.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: That's what I think, but I'm not here to argue the
15 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Evidently, I overlooked the date.
16 Thank you.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: So it means that you have no objection basically.
18 All right. Thank you, so they are both admitted.
19 Which brings us to the next witness. Is he here? One moment.
20 Yes, Madam Fauveau.
21 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Your Honour, before hearing the
22 testimony of the next witness so that we aren't faced with any surprises,
23 I would like to ask you for supplementary guidelines on the
24 cross-examination led by the Prosecution because if the Prosecution is
25 allowed to ask questions that have nothing to do with the
1 examination-in-chief and to mention an accused that is not at all
2 prepared, this is not fair to the Defence. I'm not asking you to
3 completely forbid such questions, but in such a case the Prosecution
4 should be obliged to inform the Defence counsels of the other accused who
5 might be mentioned in the cross-examination so we can prepare adequately.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I can see your point, of course, and I appreciate
7 it, but on the other hand a cross-examination is what it is. And most of
8 the time, one doesn't anticipate or can't anticipate much. One question
9 follows another sometimes; the next question was never intended, and it
10 is put precisely because of the answer to the previous question. So I
11 remember when I used to cross-examine, myself, that I would just scrap
12 all the papers and everything that would have prepared, finding myself
13 faced with new facts. Yes.
14 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I fully agree with
15 you; nonetheless, I find that the question regarding my client that was
16 addressed to the witness was just completely out of the context of the
17 cross-examination and had nothing to do with what the witness had said,
18 could not at all have been deduced or derived from the answers of that
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Anyway, yes, Mr. Vanderpuye. Do you wish to
21 comment on that?
22 MR. VANDERPUYE: If you'd like me to, I will. I think.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Very briefly, please.
24 MR. VANDERPUYE: It was directly related to the answer that the
25 witness gave. The witness gave -- the witness precisely responded to the
1 question of considering one's ethnicity in terms of the advancement or
2 the possibilities that are available to a person coming from a mixed
3 marriage, and that is precisely the reason why the question was put to
4 the witness, and it is also exemplary, I think, of the credibility of the
5 witness in terms of his assessment of the significance of that material.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you both. I'm sure that in the future
7 if there are cases which are -- justify attracting such questions or
8 problems, we'll deal with them as they arise, Ms. Fauveau.
9 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Your Honour, but that's exactly my
10 point of view. I think that in fact now we are in a situation that is
11 not at all fair to the witness. He answered a precise question. He
12 said, I don't know. We have no idea whether this witness ever heard of a
13 General Miletic, if he knows what were his functions within the army of
14 the Republika Srpska. We do not know if he knows that General Miletic is
15 married to a Croatia woman. We have no idea of any of that, and we know
16 that the witness does not know to which category General Miletic belongs,
17 so I don't see how he can assess such evidence in the context or given
18 all that we do not know.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Thank you, Madam Fauveau, but I don't think
20 we need to discuss it any further. Where is the new witness? Yes, Mr.
22 MR. VANDERPUYE: I'm just switching.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
24 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we will call the next
25 witness. I have more time than is left today, so if Your Honours feel it
1 best, we can start tomorrow morning. If, however, you wish us to start
2 now, we are ready.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's start with the preliminaries at least. We'll
4 clear those up. We'll clear those up, and then we can continue tomorrow
5 if my colleagues are in agreement. Okay.
6 [The witness entered court]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon to you, sir.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I welcome you to this Tribunal and to this case in
10 particular where you are one of the witnesses summoned by the Defence
11 team for Ljubisa Beara. You are about to start giving evidence now.
12 We've only got 10 minutes left, and then we'll continue tomorrow.
13 Before you start testifying, you are required by our rules to make a
14 solemn declaration that in the course of your testimony you'll be
15 testifying the truth. The text is going to be handed to you now. Please
16 read it out aloud, and that will be your commitment with us.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
18 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
19 WITNESS: VOJISLAV MEDIC
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. Please make yourself comfortable.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Since you were a judge in your career, you are
24 perfectly aware what the procedure is likely to be here. The Beara
25 Defence team who have summoned you as their witness will go first and
1 direct examination of you; and they will then be followed by
2 cross-examination from the Prosecution and possibly other Defence teams
3 later on.
4 Who is -- Mr. Nikolic. We finish at quarter to 2, please.
5 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
6 Examination by Mr. Nikolic:
7 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Medic. [Realtime transcript read in error,
9 A. Good afternoon.
10 Q. Although we have been introduced, I will introduce myself
11 officially now for the record. My name is Predrag Nikolic. I'm an
12 attorney at law in the Defence team of Ljubisa Beara. Before you start
13 answering my questions, we will have to agree on some technical matters.
14 As we speak to each other in the Serbian language, the interpreters will
15 need time to interpret all of this to the other participants in the
16 courtroom. That's why I will ask you to always pause between question
17 and answer.
18 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] There is an error in the
19 transcript. Page 75, line 21, it says Mr. Remetic; however, this
20 gentleman is Mr. Medic. Mr. Remetic will arrive later.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, for pointing that out, Mr. Nikolic.
22 The correction will be effected in due course. Thank you.
23 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 Q. Mr. Medic, I will ask you now to introduce yourself to us. Tell
25 us your first and last name and your place and date of birth.
1 A. My name is Vojislav Medic. I was born on the 1st of October,
2 1956, in the village of Gornja Suvaja, Donji Lapac municipality. Now it
3 is Gracac municipality in the Republic of Croatia.
4 Q. What is your education?
5 A. I completed primary school, secondary military school, and the
6 faculty of law at university.
7 Q. Did you have any specialist education or training?
8 A. Yes. After secondary school, I completed the course in radio
9 telegraphy, and I sailed on submarines as a radio telegraph operator.
10 Q. Thank you. And where have you worked as a lawyer?
11 A. After graduating from university in 1982, I was transferred to
12 the military court in Ljubljana, where I was an intern for two years.
13 After that in 1984, I was appointed an associate in the supreme military
14 court in Belgrade.
15 Q. If I understand you correctly, you volunteered to join the
16 military legal service?
17 A. Yes. After graduating from law school, I asked to be moved
19 Q. What kind of work did you do? Did you deal with civil law or
20 something else while you were in the army?
21 A. In the military, in the supreme military court, I was an
22 associate in the crime department. In 1987, I was appointed an
23 investigating judge in the investigating court in Belgrade military
24 court, and I dealt only with criminal law.
25 Q. And throughout this period until the outbreak of the war, were
1 you an investigating judge?
2 A. Not throughout this period. I was an investigating judge from
3 1987 to 1993, if I remember correctly, and then I was the presiding judge
4 of chambers sitting in criminal cases until 1995.
5 Q. I'll ask you to explain to us the organisation of the military
6 courts in the period immediately preceding the outbreak of war, that is,
7 up to 1992.
8 A. If you are referring to the territorial organisation, there were
9 military courts attached to every military district. They used to be
10 called armies. So every army had its own military court, and there was
11 also a prosecutor's office, and then there was the supreme military court
12 in Belgrade.
13 Q. Can you recall the names of these military courts and their
14 headquarters, their seats, the first-instance military courts, that is?
15 A. Certainly. There was a military court in Belgrade for the 1st
16 Army district; one in Ljubljana, I think it was the 9th army; one in
17 Zagreb for the 2nd army; one in Split for the military naval district;
18 one in Sarajevo, I think it was the 7th army; there was one in Skoplje;
19 and I don't know what the number of that army was; and there was a
20 military court in Nis.
21 Q. This organisation of courts, was it changed and to what extent
22 was it changed when Yugoslavia fell apart and when in 1992 the FRY was
23 established? Can you explain the territorial organisation of the courts
24 in the FRY as it was in 1992?
25 A. I think that in 1991 or in 1992, I'm not exactly sure now, after
1 the withdrawal of the army from Slovenia, the role of that court ceased
2 to exist. There was a military court in Zagreb, but when war broke out
3 the military court from Split was relocated to Tivat in Montenegro.
4 The other courts continued working in that period.
5 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if we could now
6 finish for the day because I rounded off this topic and I intend to start
7 a new one tomorrow.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. We'll continue tomorrow morning at
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
11 1.44 p.m. to be reconvened on Friday, 11th day of
12 July 2008, at 9.00 a.m.