1 Wednesday, 28 January 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We're grateful to the witness for being here,
6 and if the general would take the declaration part, which he has to cover
7 for him, now.
8 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
9 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
10 JUDGE MAY: Thank you very much. Yes, Mr. Nice.
11 WITNESS: FERENC VEGH
12 [Witness testified via videolink]
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 Examined by Mr. Nice:
15 Q. It's General Vegh. Your curriculum vitae is before the Court in a
16 document that I will produce in a second, with their leave. It reveals
17 that you've been a soldier effectively all of your working life with
18 relevant training, inter alia, in Moscow at the Military Academy of Tank
19 Units and also in the Army War College in the United States of America, a
20 person who has, I think, obtained a Ph.D. on a military subject which you
21 list; and, General, you achieved the rank of Deputy Chief of the General
22 Staff of the Hungarian defence forces in 1995 and rose to the rank of
23 commander of the Hungarian defence forces and Chief of the General Staff
24 in 1996, a position you held until 1999, thereafter being appointed
25 ambassador of Hungary to Turkey between the years 2000 and 2002, and the
1 conclusion of that part of your career is that you then suffered a very
2 serious car accident from which you are suffering -- from which you are
3 now undergoing and enjoying rehabilitation, and that explains why you were
4 seated when you took the solemn declaration; correct?
5 JUDGE MAY: Could we just ask -- could we just ask for one minute
6 to be allowed. Just a moment, please. Thank you. If you'd just wait one
7 moment while we consider this.
8 JUDGE KWON: It's Hungarian interpreter.
9 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
10 JUDGE MAY: Thank you very much. Thank you. I understand the
11 position fully. Yes, let's go on. If the general could continue, please.
12 MR. NICE: I think the accused had a concern. It may be he's
13 overlooked that he has to plug his earpiece into a different socket.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm receiving the Serbian
16 JUDGE MAY: I think that is the way it is to be done.
17 MR. NICE: And, Your Honour, I'm afraid I had understood in
18 advance that there was going to be simultaneous translation or
19 interpretation. I'm not sure why that isn't the case, and it's no doubt
20 my oversight, for which I apologise not checking the administration in
21 advance, but we will do the best we can. I will tailor my questions and
22 the amount of evidence I ask of the witness to the restricted facilities
23 that come without simultaneous interpretation.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note that the Hungarian conference
25 interpreters are in the booth to translate the general from Hungarian to
1 English but not in Budapest on the spot.
2 MR. NICE: That's what I understood.
3 Q. Very well, General --
4 JUDGE MAY: Let us continue, but we need to go back to the
5 General's curriculum vitae.
6 MR. NICE:
7 Q. General --
8 A. That is correct, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE MAY: I'm sorry to trouble you, but we are now again not
10 getting the right picture.
11 Yes. We now have it. Thank you very much.
12 MR. NICE:
13 Q. General, the -- first of all, can I check with the staff in -- can
14 I just check one administrative matter. General, are you, in fact,
15 hearing me in English?
16 MR. NICE: Your Honour, the position is that in fact I had a
17 conversation with the general shortly before we started this morning. His
18 English is impeccable, it's the mechanism for his hearing which is
19 impaired. It may be, if I could ask Ms. Anoya -- it may be that we could
20 speed the process up if the general is able to understand my questions in
21 English, to reply in Hungarian and to have the benefit of the interpreter
22 in the booth here. Can I ask Ms. Anoya to investigate that. I think she
23 can hear what I'm saying.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. General, can you hear the English when Mr.
25 Nice is speaking to you? Can you hear it?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can -- I can hear it, but in
2 a very limited way, and this is why I absolutely require interpreting.
3 MR. NICE: In which case I'll --
4 Q. General, your report dated the 26th of January of this year is in
5 two parts.
6 MR. NICE: Can the interpreter translate that, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Mr. Nice, can you please repeat your question.
8 MR. NICE: Of course.
9 Q. Your report of the 26th of January is in two parts.
10 A. Yes, it does comprise two parts.
11 Q. I'm going to deal effectively only with the conclusions of each
12 part in order to maximise the time available for the accused to ask you
13 questions. The rest the report, which has, I think, been publicly filed,
14 speaking for itself.
15 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I could listen --
16 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment. Just a moment. One at a time. We'll
17 deal with it in a moment. If there is some difficulty, would you go and
18 speak to the officer.
19 Would you go and ask him? Would you just wait for a moment and
20 speak to him. Let's do one thing at a time.
21 Yes. Let's continue for the moment.
22 MR. NICE: And I trust that the Chamber now has the paragraph
23 numbered versions of the report which were filed for ease of reference.
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Would you give us those, please, what they are.
25 MR. NICE: The paragraph number of the report to which I'm
1 turning, which is the conclusions, is at paragraph 125 and onwards, page
2 24 in the English version of the report.
3 Q. And, General Vegh, again, you were asked to prepare a report from
4 the position of a senior officer with experience of Warsaw Pact forces;
6 A. That is correct.
7 Q. You reviewed a quantity of documentation, and I think you also
8 reviewed the experts' reports produced by the Office of the Prosecutor
9 under the names of Reynaud Theunens and also including the name of Allen
10 Borrelli; correct?
11 A. Yes, Your Honour. All those documents and my own experience were
12 the basis for my answers.
13 Q. In paragraph 126 --
14 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nice, you have to wait. The Serbian interpreters
15 begin their interpretation after having the English translation.
16 MR. NICE: I apologise.
17 Q. At paragraph 126, you express your opinion that at the collapse of
18 the supreme state leadership, the armed forces became a tool for achieving
19 political objectives. In a couple of sentences only, please expand on
20 paragraph 126.
21 A. Your Honour, the defence forces, they carried out their tasks.
22 The armed leader -- the supreme state leadership carried out their tasks.
23 At the same force, the Territorial Defence forces, which were also part of
24 the defence forces, were not subordinated during peacetimes to the SFRY.
25 They were subordinated to the republic.
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13 English transcripts.
1 When the crisis broke out, the defence for the Territorial Defence
2 forces dissolved and were reorganised, and that was a problem for the
4 Q. Thank you. In paragraph 127, you express the view that commanders
5 of local units would not have been able to distribute weapons to local
6 inhabitants without superior orders. Does that remain your clear view
7 from the material you've reviewed?
8 A. Your Honours, yes, I'm still of the same opinion. The commanders
9 of the local military units cannot have the right to give arms to any
10 group which are not part of the military units.
11 Q. Paragraph 129. At what stage should volunteers and paramilitary
12 forces have been regulated so as to fall under the control of the JNA?
13 A. Your Honours, of course, it -- during -- in the armed forces --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Could the general please repeat this. Could you
15 ask the general to repeat this, please.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Generally speaking, the armed forces
17 and the military forces who defend the territory belong to the armed
18 forces, and the -- and because the reorganisation of the armed forces at
19 that time, the local defence force -- local defence forces were formed.
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes, one moment.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And also other groups. Other groups
22 were forming combat units. These groups can only get tasks when they are
23 subordinated to the armed forces.
24 JUDGE MAY: One moment. Yes?
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am only getting excerpts in the
1 Serbian language, just a word here and there, and they have been
2 interrupted with the words spoken by General Vegh. I really can't
3 understand anything he's saying.
4 JUDGE MAY: Do the best you can. You must do the best you can and
5 answer any questions as we can and do the best that we can in the present
7 Yes, let's go on. We have it in English, and you also have the
8 report, of course.
9 MR. NICE:
10 Q. Finally, so far as your conclusions in relation to Croatia are
11 concerned, paragraph 130, you express views on the inadequacy of the
12 maintenance of discipline, finding from the materials that maintenance of
13 discipline was not fully implemented. The question to which I would like
14 an answer is whether in your judgement the army had the mechanism of a
15 modern army sufficient to maintain discipline had it chosen to do so.
16 A. Your Honours, I would like to say first of all that I don't have
17 any direct experiences. The documents which I had, the laws, the
18 regulations, the publications which I had at my disposal were the basis
19 for my conclusions regarding as to how the army could have worked, and I
20 concluded that the army of the Yugoslav Republic at that time was
21 organised and was led according to the doctrines and the regulations in
22 force at that time, and there was a possibility to keep to the rules.
23 Q. I turn to --
24 A. At this same time, one can also see that the -- the circumstances
25 were such that the -- that there were very negative trends, and those were
1 mostly -- had mostly undesirable effects as far as the implication of the
2 doctrines was concerned, the practical implication.
3 For example, there could have been two standards for the -- for
4 judging certain circumstances or certain cases, or as far as judging the
5 tolerance and the sanctions is concerned. There were several cases where
6 theory and practice were not congruent or at least doubtful.
7 JUDGE MAY: We will allow the objection -- let him finish. What
8 is it you want to say?
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] From what I'm listening to and
10 hearing, I can conclude, and I'm sure that Mr. Tapuskovic will bear me
11 out, that the witness is speaking, after that we hear the English
12 interpretation, and then after the English interpretation we have the
13 Serbian interpretation. However, it overlaps. The Serbian interpretation
14 is still ongoing when the general starts speaking again. So we should
15 make a pause, wait for the Serbian interpretation to finish, otherwise
16 there is overlapping between the Serbian and what the general is saying,
17 and I can't hear anything.
18 JUDGE MAY: If that is the case, it should be put right. We will
19 do that, if it's necessary.
20 MR. NICE: I will ask Ms. Dicklich to tell me when the Serbian
21 version is concluded and I'll start my next question. Thank you.
22 There have been a few very detailed corrections, mostly to
23 footnotes, that the general has told me about. Rather than take time now,
24 I can deal with those at the conclusion of his evidence.
25 I turn to the conclusions in the Bosnia report. The majority of
1 the report speaking for itself, I take the Court and the general to
2 paragraph 257, English page 48.
3 JUDGE MAY: Has everybody -- has everybody got a picture, has got
4 the time? They were late.
5 MR. NICE: I think everybody has got them now.
6 Q. At paragraph 257, and between there and paragraph 271, you deal
7 with Operation Drina 93. In a couple of sentences, please, the
8 significance of this document for the interrelationship of the three
9 armies to which you refer; the SVK, the VJ, and the VRS.
10 A. Operation Drina 93 was a strategic plan. A strategic plan is
11 usually worked out by the leadership. The leadership carry out their
12 tasks according to their political aims and goals. The Drina plan had two
13 components; first of all, it assumes that the war, the crisis, could
14 expand to the whole region. The strategic plan determines the -- the aims
15 -- aims as far as counteracting the aggression is concerned.
16 The Krajina army and the Bosnian army --
17 THE INTERPRETER: Could the general please repeat. Could the
18 general please repeat.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Krajina Serbian army and the
20 Bosnian Serbian army had detailed tasks for -- for spring of 1994. This
21 plan belongs to the logistic and air defence plans of Yugoslavia. The
22 second phase of this plan concerns the cooperation of the Serbian states
23 in case of aggression. In this phase, the plan is counting on the active
24 cooperation of the Yugoslav army and also on the logistic support. This
25 plan was worked out by the leadership of the Bosnian Serb army and the
1 Chief of Staff has signed it.
2 MR. NICE:
3 Q. Thank you.
4 A. I think that since three different armies are involved here, or at
5 least their cooperation is involved here, the Chiefs of Staff certainly
6 were involved.
7 Q. I think the --
8 A. This --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Could the general please repeat this.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This -- this plan was probably drawn
11 up on the basis of a step-by-step plan.
12 MR. NICE:
13 Q. I think, General, that's enough. And the translation has
15 The time taken, General, requires us to be careful in our use of
16 it, and if we move beyond your analysis of the combat readiness for the
17 VRS in 1992 covered at 272 to 279, which is self-explanatory, we come to
18 paragraph 280.
19 Does -- at paragraph 280, you deal with the Gvozd Operation in
20 February 1995. For economic use of time, should the reader of the report
21 be focusing on this operation, as you describe it, for the similar
22 purpose, namely the degree of interrelationship between the armies that
23 the plan reveals?
24 A. Yes.
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes. What is it?
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13 English transcripts.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Quite simply, I don't think there
2 should be any overlapping in the interpretation. While the Serbian
3 interpreter is translating, the Hungarian interpreter is doing the same
4 and then we get Serbian and Hungarian at the same time so I can't
5 understand what is being said in Serbian. They have to wait for each
6 other to finish. If we have three languages, Serbian, English and
7 Hungarian, each interpreter has to wait or the other to finish, otherwise,
8 there is general overlapping.
9 JUDGE MAY: Indeed. We will ensure that matters are dealt with as
10 far as possible today.
11 MR. NICE:
12 Q. And my last question, in light of the time difficulties and
13 constraints: You were asked to express other conclusions, which you have
14 done, but at the very end of your report, 299, you were asked to focus on
15 the possible issue which may arise from language used by people at certain
16 points in chains of command, namely the phrase "one army" to describe the
17 connection between the VRS and the VJ.
18 Again, just in a couple of sentences, General, if you can, your
19 view from all the material on the appropriateness or not of the phrase
20 "one army."
21 A. Honourable Tribunal, in several records and several reports, we
22 see the expression "one army, own forces." This expression is used quite
23 often in every case where there is military cooperation. Generally
24 speaking, this is used in order to distinguish "own forces." And also, it
25 is a matter of recognising each other, mutual recognition. There are
1 various signs and symbols that serve the purpose of distinguishing in this
2 respect, and when you talk about one army or two separate armies, and this
3 I'm referring to as a theory, we can imagine different approaches to this
4 question. The most basic approach would be a distinction made on an
5 emotional basis, and this would mean that forces fighting on the same side
6 carry out their tasks in very close cooperation. They have common aims,
7 common goals, and at the same time, it is also possible that the
8 commanders and the soldiers of the military actually know each other. And
9 there can also be a similarity as regards organisation.
10 If we try to explain this using political arguments, and I'm still
11 talking about one army or two armies, then on the basis of the documents
12 that had been made available to me, it is very clear that the political
13 and legal grounds did in fact exist for the separation of the two armies.
14 Both the military and the political leadership control and command had
15 separate systems, and the structure that came into being as a result of
16 that did function and guaranteed independent functioning.
17 If we look at it from the military point of view, then we can
18 state that as a result of joint activities, there could be a very close
19 cooperation between the two armies, the two armed forces. And at the same
20 time, there could be a very strong logistical support. Therefore, two
21 armed forces working in close cooperation.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 A. And if we look at the question from the point of view of the
24 military logistical support, then we can conclude that previously the JNA
25 had a joint central logistical support system. But after -- after the
1 withdrawal, there was -- there were two separate systems. But at the same
2 time, the system of subordination prevailed. And therefore, from the
3 logistical point of view, we can talk about one army providing support to
4 another army. Therefore, there were two armed forces working jointly,
5 cooperating very closely --
6 Q. Thank you.
7 A. -- with each other.
8 Q. That's enough.
9 MR. NICE: Your Honour, before I sit down, I thought I heard on
10 line 23 of the previous page "juristical point of view," but it reads
11 "logistical point of view." I don't know if the interpreters can assist
12 me with that.
13 JUDGE MAY: It may be simpler to deal with the matter later rather
14 than spend time.
15 MR. NICE: There's only one correction that the witness told me
16 about that's in the body of the report. That's the only one I'll deal
17 with now. He doesn't need to comment on it. It's at page 13, paragraph
18 73. Last sentence reads, "He coordinates the combined operations of
19 service branches." The witness wishes the word "combined" to be replaced
20 by "joined." It's the same topic that we're dealing with in another part
21 of the report. I can deal with footnote corrections, if material, later.
22 Thank you, General Vegh, you will be asked further questions.
23 JUDGE MAY: What is your number for this, please?
24 THE REGISTRAR: 644.
25 MR. NICE: 644. And may the curriculum vitae be separately
1 exhibited, or tab 2.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Yes, we have that number.
3 MR. NICE: I would -- thank you, General, you will be asked
4 further questions.
5 THE INTERPRETER: May the interpreters interpose for a second? We
6 have a suggestion. If the Hungarian consecutive interpreter on the spot
7 could be asked to cut her microphone when she is speaking to the general,
8 then we would not hear her.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let us see if that improves, see how we get on.
10 Yes, you've got two hours to ask some questions, if you wish,
11 Mr. Milosevic. Yes.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, if we can just have one minute to
13 deal with the microphone, please.
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes, we can do that.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we may proceed.
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We can go on, Mr. Milosevic.
17 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I keep hearing some noise. I can't
19 -- do you hear that too?
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Don't be concerned about that. Just try and
21 concentrate on what you can and hear.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well. Very well, Mr. May.
23 Cross-examined by Mr. Milosevic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] General Vegh, in the beginning of your report,
25 you stated, and I'm quoting: "I was requested to describe the functions
1 of the military command and control system and its theoretical and
2 practical aspects and to draw conclusions that have a significant bearing
3 on the case."
4 My question is --
5 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness finish the question and then we'll
7 Yes. Has the matter not been repeated? Is that the difficulty,
8 the report?
9 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note, Your Honour, we're just
10 hearing silence while the Hungarian interpreter is interpreting to the
12 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. This is what I was asked to
14 do, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE KWON: But actually, we didn't hear the accused's question
16 as he could note from the transcript. What was your question,
17 Mr. Milosevic? Was your question whether it was right or not?
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No, I didn't even ask the question,
19 I just quoted from the general's report that he was requested to derive
20 conclusions which bear on the case. That's the quotation, and my question
21 is: When you say "in the army," I suppose you mean in armies in general,
22 not a specific individual army. Is that correct?
23 A. Yes. This is the case. Generally speaking, I was writing about
24 the way armed forces function, but there are certain specific cases in
25 which in the question you asked me concrete points, and in that case I
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13 English transcripts.
1 refer to those concrete points in my answers.
2 Q. I understand. I understand, General Vegh. Now my question is:
3 In your opinion, the systems of command and control in various armies in
4 the world, in civilised countries, I mean, are they very different across
5 the board or do they tend to be similar?
6 A. Honourable Jury, command and control tends to be similar in
7 different armed forces because every time we talk about organisations of
8 hierarchical set-up, there is one person in charge of subordination, a
9 command control and norms of discipline and activities following the
11 Q. You say in this written report that part of your task was to
12 derive, and I quote: "Conclusions which have a significant bearing on the
13 case." Which case do you mean?
14 A. Basically, I was asked questions based on the Croatian crisis
15 pertaining to the different characteristics of the Yugoslav People's Army
16 at that time, how I consider the leadership, command and control of this
17 army, how the doctrines could function in reality, in practice, what was
18 the system of discipline and the morale of the troops.
19 Q. In paragraph 2, you say: "The conclusions I drew about the
20 operations in Croatia with particular attention to the activities of the
21 armed forces in Yugoslavia are based on the materials, orders, and
22 regulations placed at my disposal as well as on my own research."
23 My question is, General, when you say "operations," do you imply
24 all the combat activities in 1991?
25 A. No, Your Honours. And I only have direct [as interpreted]
1 experiences. Those documents which were put at my disposal and my own
2 experience were the basis for my findings, and I only answered on the
3 basis of the questions asked how the armed forces could have functioned or
4 should have functioned.
5 Q. Very well, General. Thank you. Now, in paragraph 3, you state
6 that by that so-called Prosecution you were asked to refer exclusively to
7 those documents which their team placed at your disposal; is that right?
8 A. Yes, Your Honours. I only worked on the basis of the documents I
10 Q. Yes, I understand that, General. However, would you please
11 explain one thing to me. In point 3, you say that they - that is to say
12 the people from the so-called Prosecution - asked you, "For the purposes
13 of my report --" and I am quoting you, and to -- on the assumption -- "any
14 analysis or conclusions I made were done so on the presumption that any
15 accusations, facts and documents given to me are factually correct." And
16 you use the word "accusations." "... presumption that any accusations,
17 facts and documents given to me are factually correct." I should like to
18 underline that in your own paragraph 3. And so you say: "Finally, I have
19 been invited to assume the facts of the case are correct for the purposes
20 of my report, and to refer only to documents provided to me by the
21 Prosecution team. Any analysis or conclusions I made were done so on the
22 presumption that any accusations ..." and you use that word.
23 So, General, is that how it was? Is that correct?
24 A. Yes, Your Honour. I was asked to assume that the documents are
25 given -- which were given to me are factually correct.
1 Q. I should like to emphasise what you say when you say, "Any
2 analysis or conclusions I made were done so on the presumption of the
3 correctness of all the accusations ..." And that is what you say in
4 paragraph 3. Is that right? Is that correct, General?
5 A. I assume that the state of the procedure is such that the
6 documents put at my disposal are factually correct.
7 Q. Very well. I understand, yes. I have understood your answer,
9 Now, do you happen to know, since you're saying that you drew your
10 conclusions on the assumption that all the accusations were correct, that
11 in modern day law there is a rule or law that is called a presumed
12 innocent, and that is a term that is a basic human right and accepted
13 generally throughout the world?
14 A. I understand that, Your Honours. That is my assumption too.
15 Q. Well, in view of the fact that all your analyses and conclusions
16 were made presuming that all the accusations were correct, that means that
17 you have -- what is done here is starting out from the opposite premise,
18 that is to say the premise of guilt and not the presumption of innocence.
19 Now, this premise of guilt in this part of the world - and when I say
20 "this part of the world" I mean Europe - was last applied during the
21 Inquisition and after that never again. Are you aware of that, General?
22 JUDGE MAY: These are very broad comments by you, and probably no
23 truth to this at all on any basis. Now, come to a more detailed matter
24 that he can deal with.
25 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Well, very specifically now, General, is it clear to you, then,
2 that your conclusions, given on the presumption of the correctness of the
3 accusations, that those conclusions then finally should serve as
4 confirmation of those same accusations? Is that clear, that we're in a
5 vicious circle here, a new legal perpetuum mobile, if I can put it that
7 A. As I said before, Your Honour, I do not have any direct
8 experiences. I answered specifically to the questions asked on the basis
9 of the documents I received and my own experience. I did not detail the
10 details of the case, I only examined the possibilities of the functioning
11 of the armies.
12 JUDGE MAY: The witness has made that plain. He's made his
13 position quite clear. Now, let's move on to something else. He's
14 explained his position. If you want some other story, in due course you
15 can give evidence about it. That's his account.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, Mr. May, if this isn't clear
17 to you, then fine, let's move on.
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. General Vegh, in point 17, you say: "During studies of military
20 history, I got an insight into the events of World War II in Yugoslavia."
21 Is that right?
22 A. Yes, Your Honour. In the course of my general studies of history,
23 I dealt with World War II. Those were part of my studies.
24 Q. Yes, I understand that, but you refer to events in Yugoslavia
25 during World War II. Had you said that you dealt with World War II as a
1 whole, I wouldn't have asked you, but you mentioned World War II in
2 Yugoslavia, and I assumed that knowledge served you in writing this report
3 for the opposite side that is bringing you in to testify. Isn't that
4 right, General?
5 A. No, Your Honours. I'm -- I'm talking about general military
7 Q. Since you know about the events in Yugoslavia during World War II,
8 do you have any knowledge about the genocide against the Serbs that was
9 committed during World War II?
10 JUDGE MAY: What's the relevance of all of this, the matter which
11 the witness is giving evidence about?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May, the witness testified about
13 this and it is contained in paragraph 17. He said, "During my studies of
14 military history, I gained an insight into the events of the Second World
15 War in Yugoslavia." That is what it says in his report. So now I'm
16 asking him that since he is acquainted with Yugoslavia during World War
17 II, whether he knows about the genocide committed during World War II
18 against the Serbs.
19 JUDGE MAY: It's taking up even longer time at the moment. You
20 shall, of course, answer the witness if he wishes, but there are many more
21 matters he deals with.
22 Yes. Let the general answer.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do have knowledge, but I did not
24 get any questions on that in this respect, so I did not deal with it in my
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13 English transcripts.
1 JUDGE MAY: Move on to something else. You've heard what he said.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well, Mr. May. Fine.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Now, tell me, please, in paragraph 27 - I'm moving on to another
5 area now - you say that in various -- "In the Yugoslav armed forces eight
6 basic elements are considered important in command and control, and they
7 are: Objectives, authority, responsibility, trust, discipline, morale,
8 regulations and time." Now, where did you get these elements from? What
9 was your source? Because you don't tell us your source in your report.
10 Where do you get the eight elements from?
11 A. The most important elements were mentioned here, and in generally
12 speaking, the regulations of the Yugoslav army were the basis for my
13 choice, but I would like to stress that all these elements are part of any
15 Q. Very well, General. Now, speaking about the objectives as the
16 first of those eight elements as you enumerate them, you state the
17 following: "Objectives can be defined as specific values that have to be
18 achieved or preserved. Objectives are determined by social entities or
19 organs. Goals stem from objectives, tasks stem from goals."
20 So what is important for the armed forces, essentially important
21 for the armed forces of Yugoslavia are values which must be preserved, and
22 that represents an objective. For objectives to be put into practice, the
23 armed forces are faced with certain goals; is that right?
24 A. Your Honour, this is correct. Those are goals. On the basis of
25 goals, the tasks of the armies and the strategic goals and the commands
1 are the basis for the armed forces.
2 Q. Very well. The tasks of the armed forces of Yugoslavia were
3 provided for in the Yugoslav constitution as the highest legal act in the
4 land; is that right?
5 A. Yes, that is correct.
6 Q. I assume, since without doubt you wanted to do the work assigned
7 you well, that you know Article 41, paragraph 1 of the constitution, which
8 speaks about national defence, and I should like to quote that article
9 now. It is the following: "The armed forces of the Socialist Federal
10 Republic of Yugoslavia protect the independence, sovereignty, territorial
11 integrity and by this constitution the social system --"
12 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter does not have the document
13 before her. Would the witness proceed slower.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Speak more slowly, Mr. Milosevic.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I don't know whether this has been
16 translated for the witness, but I was quoting one of the paragraphs from
17 an article in the constitution which states that the armed forces protect
18 the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity. So I have
19 enumerated those values which the armed forces are there to protect and
20 defend. The goals and the tasks of the armed forces is to protect those
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Isn't that right, General?
24 JUDGE MAY: If -- if -- just one moment. If the -- if the witness
25 can answer the question, he can do so, but if it's some account written by
1 the accused, he doesn't have to do that. It's a matter for him.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in usual cases, that is
3 how it functions.
4 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Of course. Therefore, General, we agree that the defence of
6 territorial integrity of a state is something that is a basic
7 constitutionally-provided for task of the armed forces; is that right?
8 A. As far as the strategic goals are not changed, that is natural.
9 Q. Well, territorial integrity is a value which is to be protected by
10 the army. I don't assume you challenge that.
11 A. I share this viewpoint.
12 Q. Do you -- are you aware of Article 237 of the Yugoslav
13 constitution, which states the following: "It is the inviolable and
14 inalienable right and duty of the people and nations of Yugoslavia, the
15 working people and citizens, to protect and defend the independent
16 sovereignty and territorial integrity ..." et cetera, et cetera. So once
17 again, defence of the same values that the armed forces are there to
18 defend, that is, the inviolable and inalienable right of citizens in
19 general. Isn't that right, General?
20 A. Your Honour, generally speaking, that is the task of the armed
22 Q. General, when you compiled your report, did you bear in mind the
23 fact that the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia, beginning
24 with mid-1990, so in the middle of 1990, and even earlier, started their
25 preparations and activities that were geared towards their secession?
1 A. Your Honour, it was not my task in this study to consider this.
2 Q. Very well. So you didn't look at that aspect. Now, when you drew
3 up your report, did you have in mind the fact that the Republic of Croatia
4 and its authorities, official ones, began intensively and illegally to arm
5 themselves by importing arms illegally through your own country, in fact,
6 that is to say through Hungary? Did you take that into account when you
7 compiled your report?
8 A. Your Honour, since I did not get any questions in this respect, I
9 could not really elaborate in my report.
10 Q. Well, did you bear in mind, because I assume, General, you must --
11 JUDGE MAY: He's given his answer to this. There's no point going
12 on to hear some story that you're trying to prove. It's not fair. Now,
13 find one that the witness can answer, of course.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well. Well, he answered my
15 previous question, so how do you know what my next question is going to
17 JUDGE MAY: Just move on. Let's not waste time.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. General, I assume that you collected sufficient information to
21 compile your report, and in doing so did you bear in mind the fact that
22 the authorities of Croatia, the police of Croatia through its special
23 units in places where there was a majority Serb population, launched an
24 action to disarm the police stations forcibly?
25 A. Your Honour, no, I did not consider this since I did not get any
1 questions in this regard. Only about -- I only answered questions
2 regarding the functioning of the Serbian army.
3 Q. General, you are well aware of the fact that there was a conflict
4 going on over there. Isn't that right, General?
5 A. Yes, of course, since the report deals with the conflict.
6 Q. Then I assume that the conflict has two, and in Bosnia we see
7 three, parties to it. So is it possible to compile a report of this kind
8 by looking at only one side and that in part? As a soldier yourself, do
9 you consider that to be possible?
10 A. Of course, Your Honour. My report is relative and is limited to
11 the facts I got. Only the facts and the documents which I got were the
12 basis for my report.
13 As far as the report is perhaps not complete --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Could the general please repeat this last part
15 of his --
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If my report does not appear to be
17 complete, it is because the answers -- the questions were limited.
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. General, you said that you were given questions as to the conduct
20 -- about the conduct of the Serb army. Do you know that at that same time
21 it was the Yugoslav People's Army, the JNA, and not the Serb army, in
22 actual fact, and that the structure of the command cadres was Yugoslav and
23 not Serb? Of the three military districts that Yugoslavia had, two were
24 led by Croats, had Croats to head them. And in the structure of the
25 General Staff itself, the multi-ethnic principle was applied with a far
1 lesser percentage of the Serbs in the army, and the same was true in the
2 air force and in the navy. So we cannot speak of a Serb army; it was the
3 Yugoslav People's Army. Are you aware of that, General?
4 A. Yes, of course. At the beginning of the conflict, I judged the
5 functioning of the Yugoslav army, and that led to my conclusions about how
6 the Yugoslav army did function and could have functioned at that time.
7 Q. Very well. Now, in writing your report, did you bear in mind the
8 fact that the Presidency of Yugoslavia on the 9th of January, that is to
9 say at the beginning of 1991 itself, issued an order to disband all
10 irregular armed formations and to have the weapons that were illegally
11 introduced into the country handed over to the authorities or JNA units?
12 A. Your Honour, I got documents in this respect and also included
13 them in my report.
14 Q. When you wrote your report did you bear in mind that on the 20th
15 of January, the Presidency, also in 1991, that is, at the request of the
16 government of the Republic of Croatia extended the deadline for
17 disarmament and the disbanding of irregular formations? And did you bear
18 in mind that that deadline was not respected either?
19 A. Yes. The so-called rogue units are even mentioned in my report.
20 And it -- I also talk about a third appeal. And my conclusion was that
21 the leadership of the Yugoslav army tried to do everything possible in
22 order to have regular activities. Since -- you can see that in point 120.
23 Since the deadline -- since the deadline was not achieved, there were new
25 Q. I'm asking you, General, to give me your professional opinion as a
1 competent professional, because the General Staff of the army of
2 Yugoslavia, bearing in mind the tense situation in the country and the
3 presence of large quantities of illegally procured weapons, especially in
4 Croatia, so the General Staff appealed to the Presidency as the Supreme
5 Commander with the proposal to raise the level of combat readiness because
6 of the deteriorated political and security situation in the country.
7 So as a soldier yourself, and you were the Chief of the General
8 Staff, do you consider that the General Staff acted properly when, faced
9 with a situation of this kind, it appealed to the Yugoslav state
10 Presidency, that is to say to its Supreme Commander, to issue an order to
11 raise the level of combat readiness because of the situation that
13 A. Of course, Your Honour. The Supreme Command tried to do
14 everything possible and necessary. At the same time, my conclusion was on
15 the basis of what happened later that the -- in spite of the commands
16 given, it was not possible to have -- to enforce these regulations and
17 commands in each case.
18 JUDGE MAY: Your last time before we adjourn.
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. General, you probably have the wrong information, because I asked
21 you whether the General Staff acted properly what it appealed to the
22 Presidency to raise the level of combat readiness, and the Presidency, as
23 the Supreme Commander, did not authorise that because the representatives
24 of the republics who wished to secede blocked this -- the issuance of this
25 decision by the Presidency, that is to say the army. And I'm asking you
1 as a professional. The army could not act without a Presidency decision,
2 and the Presidency never made that decision or issued that order.
3 A. Your Honour, any army takes the steps to maintain combat
4 readiness. This is an army task, a soldier task, and where necessary the
5 leadership has to do everything necessary to maintain the combat readiness
6 of the armed forces.
7 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We will adjourn now for 20 minutes. We're
8 grateful for the general to do it, to give his evidence. Would you please
9 be back in 20 minutes, and not to speak, of course, about his evidence.
10 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
11 --- On resuming at 10.57 a.m.
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
13 MR. NICE: The interpreter in Budapest is in fact a simultaneous
14 interpreter but had been instructed, for administrative reasons, to
15 operate in the way she has been operating. The staff in Budapest tell me
16 they think that the system can now be changed so that she translates
17 simultaneously, offering the possible better use of time. No doubt we
18 must see how it goes. A happy rhythm had developed in the last part, or
19 in the second part of the first session but it may be it can now be done
21 JUDGE MAY: Let's see how we get on. Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May, you know, because it's in
23 front of you, the report of General Vegh contains 229 [as interpreted]
24 paragraphs, and you know that our time is getting extended even more
25 because we have to wait for interpretation, and you know that I can't
1 finish my cross-examination in two hours.
2 JUDGE MAY: We of course have that in mind. We'll see if we can
3 deal as awkwardly [sic] as possible. Yes.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. General, do you know that at the session on the 12th to the 14th
7 of March, 1991, due to political rifts, the Presidency of the SFRY decided
8 to refuse the proposal of the staff of the Supreme Command to raise combat
9 readiness in view of the high amount of illegally imported weapons and
10 international tensions. Do you think that with this refusal of the
11 General Staff proposal the Presidency of the SFRY turned a deaf ear to one
12 of its obligations as prescribed by the constitution and by the law?
13 A. I believe, Your Honour, that the leadership of the armed forces at
14 the time took the necessary steps that were required in order to maintain
15 all of these activities, and the activities were coherent with the
16 instructions of the political leadership and the expectations of the
17 political leadership as well.
18 Q. Are you aware of this fact, that the political leadership, that is
19 the SFRY Presidency, because of political divisions did not take the
20 decision requested by the General Staff?
21 A. I'm fully aware of the fact that the highest political leadership
22 had some reshuffling at that level, and as a result of that, I'm going to
23 go into details in my conclusion regarding that new situation.
24 Q. Very well. When drawing up the report, did you bear in mind that
25 on the 9th and 10th of May, 1991, the Presidency of the SFRY adopted a
1 specific programme of activities and measures of nine points for a
2 permanent solution to ethnic and nationalist tensions, and one of these
3 proposals was to allow movement only to JNA units and federal police in
4 one of the areas of Croatia populated mostly by Serbs, that is, to
5 restrict movement to all other formations, paramilitary or military?
6 A. [No interpretation]
7 JUDGE MAY: It will have to be considered again.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that -- you mentioned a
9 document in nine points, and I did not have this report in nine points,
10 but I did have a number of documents which defined the internal activities
11 of the armed forces as far as the paramilitary and the protection of the
12 borders are concerned and their cooperation. These documents were
13 available to me.
14 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Well, all right. When preparing your report, did you bear in mind
16 public appeals of both Croatian, Slovene, and Muslim Bosnian authorities
17 and political parties and other similar parties addressed to their
18 compatriots to not join the JNA and not to respond to its call-ups and
19 appeals and even to walk out of the JNA units? Are you aware of that?
20 A. I did not receive any documents regarding this. And as far as the
21 disciplinary aspects are concerned, I presented in great detail matters of
22 communication in the time of warfare.
23 Q. Very well, General. Do you know that as early as in May 1991, and
24 we have the example of Split in Croatia, attacks began against the JNA?
25 A. Well, basically, as far as the different missions are concerned, I
1 did not detail them in my report. I'm talking about military manoeuvres.
2 Q. Well, General, do you know and did you bear in mind when making
3 your report that after these initial attacks on the JNA, attacks were made
4 not only on officers and not only in barracks but even on their families
5 and property, in their apartments and in the streets, that it became a
6 regular, commonplace occurrence? Did you have information on that?
7 A. Yes. I did have a certain amount of information, and basically as
8 far as the manoeuvres are concerned, I considered a certain part of these
9 manoeuvres as defensive in nature when they concerned the immediate
10 surroundings of the barracks and also living quarters which were in fact
11 under attack.
12 Q. All right. But would you agree as a soldier that even without any
13 order or approval from superior places along the chain of command every
14 unit of the JNA in this case is entitled to self-defence if attacked? Is
15 that right or not?
16 A. In my opinion, every military organisation requires united control
17 and command, and there has to be a uniform underlying thinking and
18 strategy. So there must be coordination, and I'm aware of this. And I'm
19 perfectly aware of the fact that if the life of a soldier is in danger,
20 then of course he can rightfully use a weapon to defend himself.
21 Q. Certainly, because self-defence is acknowledged in international
22 law at all levels.
23 Tell me, General, when making your report, did you also bear in
24 mind that in addition to defending one's own members and property, JNA in
25 Croatia reacted only in a number of other limited cases by acting as a
1 buffer between conflicting parties, that is, between local Croatian forces
2 and Serb formations in order to prevent conflicts on a larger scale? Do
3 you know that?
4 A. Yes, I'm aware of this, and my opinion is the following: Every
5 military activity takes place between a higher and lower echelon, and of
6 course the commander is fully responsible whether there is a question of
7 self-defence or any other military activity. So it is the commander's
8 responsibility to follow all the different rules that pertain to the law
9 of war and contacts at wartime.
10 Q. General, do you know that at the time of the adoption of these
11 decisions on the secession of Slovenia and Croatia and the open display of
12 the desire to secede by the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the
13 president of the federal government, that is the Prime Minister, who is a
14 Croat, Ante Markovic, whose government was composed in such a way that all
15 republics and provinces were represented?
16 A. As far as these questions of the leadership are concerned, I've
17 not dealt with these questions, and I have not been asked questions
18 regarding these matters. The only information I have is concerning the
19 withdrawal of the Yugoslav People's Army from Croatia into
21 Q. All right, General. Do you know that this government, the one
22 that I described, on the 26th of June, 1991, evaluated that the decisions
23 of Slovenia and Croatia on secession were illegal, and they were supported
24 in that by the Constitutional Court of Yugoslavia, which is the only body
25 entitled to judge the legality and constitutionality of any enactment?
1 A. As far as legal questions are concerned, I did not deal with any
2 of these in my report.
3 Q. Fine. Do you know that on the 7th of July, with the participation
4 of --
5 JUDGE MAY: I wonder if we're not going to be wasting a lot of
6 time on this. The general has not been able to give any answers, he's not
7 dealing with it, so what's the point of wasting everybody's time doing it?
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, the point, Mr. May, is that
9 this precedes all the matters that the general deals with, and that is the
10 secession of Croatia and Slovenia. I suppose there is a logical chain of
11 events that enables us to see the whole picture.
12 May I continue with my questions, Mr. May?
13 JUDGE MAY: We will allow, first of all, the witness to see
14 whether there's anything he can add to anything he can add so far on that.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as the events are concerned,
16 I -- I was not asked to study the events prior to the questions that I was
17 asked, so I can only give you concrete answers regarding the facts I've
18 been asked to study.
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes. As to whether there is any point asking any
20 further questions, it's a matter for the accused, but it doesn't seem to
21 add very much.
22 Yes, go on.
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. All right. But very briefly, General: You know about the
25 so-called Brioni declaration made with the participation of the
1 representatives European Union, the Presidency of Yugoslavia and
2 representatives of Slovenia and Croatia, which established the presence of
3 the International Monitoring Mission and when it was agreed that the
4 decisions of Slovenia and Croatia on secession be placed under a
5 moratorium. On the 27th of July, a decision was made to introduce an
6 embargo on the use of force, and Slovenia and Croatia made it conditional
7 upon the withdrawal of the army. I suppose you are aware of that.
8 A. I have certain pieces of information. And I would like to assist
9 on the fact that I'm only an expert on military issues, and I have only
10 prepared to answer questions regarding this particular conflict.
11 Q. Well, the conflict involves two parties, General. You were given
12 certain questions, and you were asked to explain something based on the
13 facts provided you by the opposite side, the conduct of one of these
14 parties, but I suppose there is a causal link --
15 JUDGE MAY: Which page?
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I didn't say page; I said there were
17 two parties to the conflict.
18 JUDGE MAY: It is a waste of time. We have a detailed description
19 by the witness. What is the point of going through other matters? We've
20 got 200-plus and more. What is the purpose of all this if you don't ask
21 some proper questions?
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I believe I am --
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe --
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes. He was going to respond, the witness. If he
25 wishes, that is, to answer something.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, as I said in my report, and I
2 insisted several times, I only studied the conditions of the functioning
3 of the army, the leadership, the control and command, cooperation,
4 discipline, and so on in the first part of my report. And in the second
5 part of my report, I gave answers to concrete questions.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, you should concentrate on the
7 issues of command and control dealt with in the report.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. But there are also certain
9 things that the witness refers to himself that needs to be elucidated,
10 such as the withdrawal of the army from Croatia and Slovenia.
11 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Do you know, General, that on the 29th of July, 1991, units of the
13 JNA started withdrawing from Slovenia and Croatia?
14 A. Yes, of course I know. And a large party of these forces was in
15 fact withdrawn into Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I do discuss this in my
17 Q. Do you know that the JNA withdrawal from Croatia was considerably
18 disabled or made impossible precisely by the blockades of the barracks?
19 A. Yes, of course. I did in fact deal with this question, and I
20 described the fact that the Yugoslav People's Army carried out a very
21 complex, very difficult system of missions. There was a complex task. At
22 the same time, they were withdrawing and they maintained military
23 manoeuvres, and they provided support to the defence forces.
24 Q. All right. But in order to understand what was going on at the
25 same time on a parallel track, I will quote just a brief passage from the
1 book of Lord Owen who speaks, for instance, about the Knin Corps, which
2 was an important corps at the time. And you know where the town of Knin
3 is. He writes on page 182 of his book, The Balkan Odyssey, and I'm
4 quoting: "Like other corps, this one was falling apart, too, because
5 officers and troops began declaring themselves as Croats and Slovenes and
6 abandoning the JNA in order to join their own national armies. They left
7 military service, and in some cases, the country. Those, mainly Serbs,
8 who stayed with the JNA did not have any freedom, and many were kept under
9 blockade in barracks by the Croatian army. That is one of the reasons why
10 the JNA reacted so forcefully in places like Vukovar. At that stage a
11 classical, a traditional civil war erupted with breaches of friendships of
12 soldiers within the same corps when they started waging war against one
14 I want to ask you, General, did you have in mind the kind of
15 situation described by Lord Owen or did you deal with a different
16 situation as described to you by this side opposite?
17 A. Yes. According to my knowledge, the identity of the armed forces
18 simply stopped at the beginning of the conflict. There was no longer an
19 identity. And also, I know that there was disarmament of certain ethnical
20 groups, and at the same time other groups were armed. And as a result of
21 this, there was an imbalance, there was an uncertainty, and the situation
22 of forces and means changed as well.
23 Q. All right, General. A moment ago, Judge Robinson mentioned
24 command and control. Let us go back, therefore, to objectives as an
25 element essential to command and control in the armed forces of the SFRY.
1 From what I quoted, is it clear that the JNA, which has as a
2 constitutionally defined objective to defend and protect the territorial
3 integrity of the SFRY was facing Croatian forces whose objective was
4 precisely unilateral, forcible secession, i.e., breach of territorial
5 integrity? So you have on the other hand a legal constitutional
6 objective, and on the one hand an objective that is contrary to the
7 constitution. Is that clear, General?
8 A. Your Honour, I think that as far as the Yugoslav army was unified
9 and had unified goals and was intact, this was correct. But after they
10 lost their identity, the strategic goals were different which guided the
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask the interpreters
13 not to give me the Serb translation while the general is speaking because
14 I'm listening both to the general speaking Hungarian and at the same time
15 the Serbian translation, and I can't understand a thing because I don't
16 speak Hungarian.
17 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. General, is it fair to say that after this refusal from the
19 Presidency to raise combat readiness and to create possibilities for
20 disarming irregular formations the JNA reduced its activities to mere
21 self-defence and, to a lesser extent, calming down inter-ethnic tensions
22 in situations of erupting conflict?
23 A. According to my opinion, the self-defence can only be discussed as
24 regards certain questions. Of course, every military action has goals
25 beyond self-defence; for example, the annihilation of the enemy, the
1 conquering of the territory, and the maintenance of the territory.
2 Q. To tell you the truth, I did not understand this answer
3 completely, but it would take too much time to go through the whole thing
5 Do you think, General, since you talk about a shift in objectives,
6 that an armed formation that had been set in a legal way and which instead
7 of its legal objectives and tasks starts carrying out illegal and
8 unconstitutional tasks and objectives becomes in that way illegal and
9 paramilitary? Is that so or not?
10 A. Your Honour, according to my opinion, every manoeuvre, every
11 combat at the beginning needs to have a unified command for all military
12 units, and the principle of subordination must prevail.
13 Q. All right, General. That's not what I asked. I asked you if --
14 JUDGE MAY: What's your question? Put it again if you say it's
15 wrong. Let the answer be made if you say it's not true.
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. So if an armed formation which instead of its legal objectives and
18 tasks starts carrying out tasks and objectives which are illegal and
19 unconstitutional, does that formation ipso facto become irregular,
20 paramilitary? Is that right or not?
21 A. Yes, I understand the question. Such formations, such armed units
22 cannot be allowed. If, however, this should happen, the command has the
23 responsibility to disband these forces or to subordinate them, those
24 semi-military units.
25 Q. Your opinion on this matter is of particular interest to me
1 because of the shift in objectives and tasks in the Ministry of Defence of
2 Croatia and Slovenia, because the question arises whether the existence of
3 these formations which used to be legal and constitutional becomes illegal
4 when they started fighting the legal army, the JNA, to achieve forcible
5 secession of Slovenia and Croatia. Is that so or not, General?
6 A. The illegal actions must be prevented at all cost, and only the
7 legal activities -- only legal activities can be allowed for the armed
9 Q. Very well. Now, General, do you know that the ZNG, the Croatian
10 National Guard Corps, was formed in May 1991?
11 A. I do know about this, but I did not get any answers to this -- any
12 questions to this respect.
13 Q. Very well. Since you say that you do know about it, do you also
14 know that the Constitutional Court, when the Croatian National Guards
15 Corps was formed, which was contained in the law enacted by Croatia, and I
16 quote from the decision by the Constitutional Court of Yugoslavia. In the
17 law on Croatia, it said: "In the Republic of Croatia, a Croatian National
18 Guards Corps was being established as a professional uniformed armed
19 formation of military set-up for the defence of the country and for
20 keeping law and order as provided for by the Ministry of the Defence of
21 the Republic of Croatia."
22 Now, do you know that, defined in this way, the military structure
23 in Croatia at the time, that is to say in May 1991, was proclaimed by the
24 Constitutional Court of Yugoslavia to be unconstitutional and unlawful?
25 So therefore, this was a paramilitary formation; isn't that right,
2 A. Your Honour, it was not my task to deal with the Croatian armed
3 forces and their tasks.
4 Q. Those forces were established before the conflict broke out, and
5 those were the forces that attacked the JNA, that defended itself from
6 them. It was these forces that were paramilitary forces, and pursuant to
7 the decision made by the constitution of Yugoslavia and the position taken
8 by the federal government and these were the forces that stood up to the
9 JNA and opposed it. So all that went before the JNA reactions and the
10 events that I described. And I assume you're bearing that in mind.
11 JUDGE MAY: If the witness doesn't want to comment on that he
12 doesn't need to.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do not wish to comment on this,
14 Your Honour.
15 MR. NICE: Your Honour, it might be helpful simply to remind the
16 accused through the Court, and anybody else viewing it, that the general's
17 report was narrowly defined in order, of course, that shouldn't trespass
18 at all on fact-finding functions of the Trial Chamber and shouldn't go
19 beyond the proper remit of an expert. Thus, where he makes any comments
20 on the basis of facts, it's always on the precise basis, assuming facts
21 are as described but making no further comment.
22 JUDGE MAY: If the accused spends his time for another 25 minutes
23 or so, it may not be much use, but that's his position.
24 MR. NICE: Precisely so, Your Honour, and of course the report
25 will stand in its conclusions unchallenged by the accused, but that's his
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I don't understand what you're
3 saying, Mr. May.
4 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We've got another quarter of an hour, 20 or
5 minutes or so. We'll give you your time. It's a matter for you how you
6 choose to waste you time.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well, May. Do you really
8 consider that I can cross-examine this witness based on a report which
9 contains 299 points in the space of two hours with all the technical
10 handicaps that we're witnessing, that we are communicating at a very slow
11 pace today?
12 JUDGE KWON: Please concentrate on the issues which are dealt with
13 in the report. Otherwise, we will consider the time you will have for the
14 cross-examination. We will not extend the time for the cross-examination.
15 Please move on.
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. General, in your report, I think that shifting the army and
18 materiel you treat as a planned activity with a strategic goal in mind,
19 and you say that an important part of the JNA was withdrawn from Slovenia
20 and Croatia to strategically important territory in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
21 My question to you is as follows: Isn't it quite obvious that the
22 JNA withdrew from Slovenia and Croatia precisely because those two
23 republics had proclaimed secession and in order to avoid a conflict with
24 the paramilitary formations that were there? And in Croatia, we saw the
25 Vance-Owen Plan come into force, which means that the UN Protection Forces
1 arrived, and they were deployed in the area of Krajina. I assume you're
2 aware of that.
3 So there were agreements reached with the Slovenian and Croatian
4 authorities on that score on the one side and the Presidency of Yugoslavia
5 to have the army leave, both in conformity with the Vance Plan and the
6 agreements reached. Are you aware of that?
7 A. Your Honour, yes, I am aware of that. The 5th Military District
8 units left Croatia and Slovenia, and therefore a strong -- strong
9 concentrations were formed in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the military actions
10 were continued there.
11 Q. Very well. In withdrawing from Croatia and Slovenia, parts of the
12 JNA really did reach the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, I
13 assume you'll agree with me there was nothing strange in this because it
14 was Yugoslav territory. It was the state in which the JNA was the
15 official army. Isn't that right?
16 A. Yes. At that time, it was the case, naturally.
17 Q. And apart from that, Bosnia-Herzegovina was closer, territorially
18 speaking, to Croatia and to Slovenia. Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia
19 were further away. So it was logical to have a sufficient concentration
20 of forces find itself on the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And a
21 considerable portion of the troops going to Serbia went via
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, or to Montenegro or Macedonia. They had to have found
23 themselves at one point on the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina and
24 crossing through that territory on their way elsewhere. I assume you know
25 geography. Is that right?
1 A. Yes, of course. And actually, the withdrawal of the armed forces
2 from the former Yugoslavia --
3 THE INTERPRETER: Excuse me. Could the general please repeat his
4 answer. Could the general please repeat the answer from "withdrawal."
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So after the withdrawal, not only
6 were there strong concentrations of troops, but it is generally known that
7 the strategic reserves of the Yugoslav army, the bases, the air forces and
8 the air defence were partly also in this area.
9 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Of course, because Bosnia-Herzegovina was the centrally located
11 republic of the former Yugoslavia, and Yugoslavia itself always had a plan
12 -- the plan of defending its borders from whatever side they might be
13 attacked, so of course it was normal that it concentrated its largest
14 reserves in that central republic which was furthest from all the borders
15 of the republic itself. I assume you're aware of that, General.
16 A. I also saw the strategic concept like that.
17 Q. Very well. Now, when we're talking about the positions of the JNA
18 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, are you aware that in the second half of 1991
19 already the leadership of Bosnia-Herzegovina, without the Serbs albeit,
20 led by Izetbegovic, appealed to the citizens not to respond to calls from
21 the JNA, and even went so far as to ask that all military records be done
22 away with?
23 A. Could you please repeat this more slowly.
24 Q. What I asked was this: In connection with the position of the JNA
25 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, do you happen to know that the leadership, led by
1 Alija Izetbegovic, already in 1991 called upon the citizens not to respond
2 to the calls from the JNA and asked that all military records be done away
3 with, removed.
4 A. I did not receive any documents to this respect. They were not at
5 my disposal. I know the Yugoslav army's doctrine in this respect and the
6 questions pertaining to doctrine.
7 Q. I'm asking you, General, as I assume that you're putting the
8 pieces of a puzzle together, are you aware of the existence in
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina paramilitary organisations that were called the
10 Patriotic League, which was established by Izetbegovic and even to the
11 present day that 31st of March, 1991, that particular date - and let me
12 emphasise the year, 1991 - that is to say one year before the war broke
13 out in Bosnia-Herzegovina, that it is officially celebrated as the day on
14 which the Patriotic League was formed and it's celebrated as Patriotic
15 League Day. So do you know that this took place one year before the
16 conflict actually broke out? The Muslim side established this
17 paramilitary formation that was called the Patriotic League, and prior to
18 the conflict it numbered more than 100.000 armed men.
19 A. Your Honour, I -- my task was only to deal with the doctrine and
20 the tasks of the Yugoslav People's Army. I did not consider the things
21 which the witness [as interpreted] talks about.
22 Q. So all these organisations, those which attacked the Yugoslav
23 People's Army and were placed in the role of forcible secession, were not
24 your assignment. You weren't asked to look at them, were you, General?
25 A. That is correct.
1 Q. Very well. Do you at least know this: That before the war
2 officially began in Bosnia-Herzegovina, tens of Serbs had been killed
3 without any cause?
4 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I simply don't understand how this is
5 helping the Chamber. It's wasting time.
6 JUDGE MAY: No, I agree. We haven't stopped him in order to try
7 and not waste further time. He must be allowed a reasonable time but it
8 doesn't seem to add very much. The witness can answer.
9 MR. NICE: It seems so regrettable and the very considerable
10 resources of the Tribunal in making this excellent videolink available
11 from Budapest are frankly wasted in this way and the general's time is
12 wasted as well.
13 JUDGE MAY: He's had the opportunity to give the evidence. We are
14 very grateful to him. Whether the accused asks anything is a totally
15 different matter.
16 Yes. Let's move on to something else. Are you going to ask him
17 any questions, for instance, instead of talking?
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am constantly asking him
19 questions, and the general's answers were that that wasn't the assignment
20 he was given by the opposite side, so I can't --
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes. It's a complete waste of time, waste for
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. General, is it true that the army in Bosnia-Herzegovina was
25 established on the 15th of April, 1992? Officially.
1 A. Yes, I am aware of that fact.
2 Q. Very well. And the army of Republika Srpska was established one
3 month later, that is to say on the 15th of May, 1992; is that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And in your report, you refer to some sort of transition by the
6 JNA into the army of Republika Srpska, and this is a title on page 10 of
7 the second part of your report. And from the text, it appears that there
8 was a special plan to create the army of Republika Srpska from a part of
9 the JNA, if I've understood your report correctly.
10 A. I think that in 1992, in the spring of 1992, in May, there was a
11 very complicated reorganisation. There was a time when the army withdrew,
12 and when the army had withdrawn, a new military -- the -- the army
13 continued their activities in a new district and that is how, in my
14 opinion, the possibility of the formation of a new military force arose.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Could the general please repeat the last part of
16 his answer.
17 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment. If you would repeat that again,
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] After the withdrawal of the armed
20 forces, a new army unit was created. And the withdrawal of certain units
21 of the Yugoslav army was made possible, and the circumstances for the
22 achievement of the strategic goals were made possible.
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. General, that seems to me to be rather generalised. Now, do you
25 know that when the secession of Bosnia-Herzegovina took place in Skopje
1 26th of April, 1992, a meeting was held by the vice-president of the
2 Yugoslav state Presidency, Branko Kostic, General Colonel Blagoje Adzic,
3 who was chief of the General Staff, and the president of the Presidency of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Alija Izetbegovic, and at that meeting it was agreed
5 that in -- that the competent authorities of the JNA and the Republic of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina would as soon as possible reach an agreement with
7 respect to the status of the JNA in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and there was talk
8 of a time limit, a deadline by which the JNA should withdraw from
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina and for its transformation as well. In conformity with
10 that, the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Are you aware of that?
11 A. Yes. On 19th May of 1992 the Yugoslavian army withdrew the forces
12 which were not necessary there. At the same time, before that, the
13 Yugoslav army -- from part of the Yugoslav army, the Bosnian Herzegovina
14 army was formed. The army of the Yugoslav Republic had officers and
15 troops in many -- which were resident in many different places, and those
16 which were locals remained. And it is probable that technical material
17 also remained in place, considerable technical material, equipment and
18 also it is probable that those newly formed units were supported with
20 Q. Just a moment, General, please. Doesn't it seem to you to be
21 logical that if Bosnia-Herzegovina are -- is becoming gradually
22 independent and establishing itself as a new state, that the citizens from
23 the territory of that new state are preparing to live and work in that
24 state and be citizens of that state? And if they are by profession
25 soldiers, for example, then they will continue to perform that profession
1 in the state whose citizens they are? Do you know that the composition of
2 the army of Republika Srpska was made up from people of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina? They were all citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in
4 fact. They weren't members of the JNA who had come in from Serbia, for
5 example, or Macedonia, Montenegro; they were already citizens of
7 A. Yes. And since the new forces had a great many troops, naturally
8 part of the army was composed of those people. And at the same time, the
9 documents made available to me prove that the JNA had a number of officers
10 and sub-officers who remained in place and who participated in bringing
11 about the new forces and continued serving in the new army.
12 Q. Mr. Vegh, the JNA didn't leave them. The people who were from
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina remained in their own republic. And the army of
14 Yugoslavia, because the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia made up of Serbia
15 and Montenegro was formed, withdrew its citizens. So how can the army of
16 Yugoslavia withdrew -- withdraw citizens from another state from that
17 territory? For what reason? Why would it do that?
18 A. In my opinion, this was a process of reorganisation which was
19 extremely complex, and in fact for the 2nd Military District, became the
20 base for the new Bosnian armed forces. And as far as planning and
21 organisation was concerned, that required knowledge and expertise and
22 know-how, and the Yugoslav People's Army ex-officers became members of the
23 new force precisely in order to help its successful functioning.
24 Q. They remained in their republic. General, please, on the 4th of
25 May, 1992, that is to say before the official withdrawal, so I'm talking
1 about the 4th of May, the Yugoslav state Presidency officially called upon
2 the leadership of the three ethnicities in Bosnia-Herzegovina to decide
3 about taking over the JNA whose military composition was made up of the
4 citizens of that republic. And the official announcement made was that
5 the Yugoslav state Presidency at its session made a decision for the
6 accelerated withdrawal from Bosnia-Herzegovina of all citizens of the
7 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia who find themselves in service in the JNA
8 in that republic. In view of the fact that the process will be completed
9 within 15 days at the latest, according to the constitution of the Federal
10 Republic of Yugoslavia, there are no more grounds for the Presidency of
11 Yugoslavia or any other body of Yugoslavia decide on military matters on
12 the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Presidency of Yugoslavia appeals
13 to the leadership --
14 JUDGE MAY: No. The witness must have a chance to deal with this.
15 Would you deal with these fairly slowly. Yes.
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Well, I want to read this out: "The Presidency of Yugoslavia
18 appeals to the leadership of the three ethnic groups in
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is to say the Muslims, Serbs, and Croats, to
20 agree amongst themselves and to decide upon taking over the JNA whose
21 military composition was made up of the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina in
22 order to avoid any unfortunate situations and consequences."
23 So what else could the Yugoslav state Presidency have done? Faced
24 with the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina, it withdrew its citizens to
25 the -- its territory and left the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina on their
1 own territory.
2 A. I have no doubt as to such measures which took place, but on the
3 basis of the documents that I received, the Yugoslav People's Army left a
4 number of officers, NCOs, and troops that remained in place and continued
5 serving in the Bosnian army.
6 Q. Well, similarly, the officers and soldiers of the Yugoslav
7 People's Army made up the fulcrum of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina or the
8 army of Croatia, the backbone, because there were no others because this
9 division came about. Isn't at that clear, General?
10 A. I have no doubts about that.
11 Q. General, since you say that you were supplied with documents
12 relating to the events linked to this withdrawal, I should like to remind
13 you, and I assume you have had occasion to see this for yourself, the
14 report by the UN Secretary-General dated the 30th of May, 1992, on the
15 application of the UN Security Council Resolution 752. And I shall, just
16 in brief terms, or very briefly, quote from that because it deviates from
17 what the other side showed you as documents, this report by the UN
18 Secretary-General. I'm just going to quote several passages from the
19 original Resolution.
20 Point 5: "[In English] The bulk of the JNA personnel who were
21 deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina were citizens of that republic and were
22 not, therefore, covered by the Belgrade authorities' decision of 4th of
23 May to withdraw JNA from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most of them appear to
24 have joined the army of so-called Serbian Republic of Bosnia and
25 Herzegovina. Others have joined the Territorial Defence of Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina, which is under the political control of the Presidency of
2 that republic. Others may have joined various irregular forces operating
3 there. Those who are not citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina are said by
4 the Belgrade authorities to number barely 20 per cent of the total. Most
5 of these are believed to have withdrawn already into Serbia and
6 Montenegro, some of them having been subjected to attack during their
7 withdrawal. Others, however, remain at various garrisons in Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina, especially in Serb-controlled areas, including two
9 installations on the outskirts of Sarajevo."
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes. You must let the witness answer, if he wants to.
11 Is there anything you would like to add to it?
12 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Some of --
14 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment. Just wait.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Let me finish the quotation.
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes, but very quickly.
17 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. "[In English] A further category consists of personnel --"
19 [Interpretation] That is the preceding category, the second one, about
20 which it is said that they remained on the edges of Sarajevo. "A further
21 category remains in Sarajevo who had been blockaded in their barracks by
22 the Territorial Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina or hostile irregular
24 So I'm quoting Boutros Boutros-Ghali here, report of the UN
25 Secretary-General of 1992, the 30th of May, 1992. Do you understand,
1 General, that this runs counter to the conclusions that you drew?
2 A. Your Honour, in -- in my opinion, the Serbian army in Bosnia was
3 supposed to protect the territory with the reservists in place. They had
4 to pull them into the army and also include members of the population.
5 Paramilitary units could also join them in time.
6 JUDGE KWON: Yes, go on, please.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] How much time do I have left,
8 Mr. Kwon?
9 JUDGE MAY: The answer is that at the moment you have another 20
10 -- 20 minutes or so. We will continue. Whether you get any extra
11 minutes, it won't be very many.
12 JUDGE KWON: After the adjournment.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
14 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Let me just ask you then, General, about what the UN
16 Secretary-General said, namely that the JNA withdrew from Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina. Look at what it says in the same report about the presence
18 of the armed forces of the Republic of Croatia on the territory of Bosnia
19 and Herzegovina. Ghali says: "[In English] Regarding the withdrawal of
20 elements of the Croatian army in Bosnia, information currently available
21 in New York suggests that no such withdrawal has occurred. UNPROFOR has
22 received reliable reports of Croatian army personnel in uniform operating
23 within as part of military formation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The
24 Croatian authorities have consistently taken position, consistently taken
25 position that the Croatian soldiers in Bosnia and Herzegovina have left
1 the Croatian army and are not subject to this authority. International
2 observers do not, however -- do not, however, doubt that portions of
3 Bosnia and Herzegovina are under control of Croatian military units,
4 whether belonging to the local Territorial Defence, to paramilitary
5 groups, or to the Croatian army. It is unclear in the circumstances how
6 their withdrawal or disbandment, as required by the Council, can be
8 [Interpretation] So you don't deal with this in your report. As
9 you see, the report of the UN Secretary-General points to the decision of
10 Yugoslavia to withdraw its own citizens, not other countries' citizens, as
11 well as the fact that the Croatian army is not withdrawing from Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina. Do you have any comment upon this, General?
13 A. I have no reason to doubt the reality of this particular report.
14 Q. Thank you, General. So as a result of the agreement of the
15 Presidency of the SFRY, which took on the 4th of May the decision to
16 withdraw the JNA, which Boutros-Ghali refers to in his report, that is,
17 with a proviso that members of the JNA who are not locals of Bosnia and
18 Herzegovina had to withdraw, and people who were born in
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina were allowed to stay, but not as members of the JNA
20 because the JNA no longer existed in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Is that
21 correct, General?
22 A. Your Honour, after the withdrawal of the Yugoslav People's Army,
23 the JNA was transformed and it became the military forces of Yugoslavia.
24 But at the same time, the people who were living in this area joined the
25 Bosnian People's Army. But according to reports, we know that these
1 people nevertheless continued to receive their supplies and their pay from
2 the Yugoslav People's Army, and also in legal matters was also part and
3 parcel of the Yugoslav army.
4 Q. Well, in Republika Srpska, on the 15th of May, the army of
5 Republika Srpska was established and some, of course not all, former JNA
6 members from the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina joined that army. Among
7 others, its commander, General Ratko Mladic, who was also a local of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, unlike, for instance, the Chief of Staff of the VRS at
9 the time, Sefer Halilovic, who was from Serbia but who had come to
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina to fight in the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
11 If we were to look strictly at who came from where, then Serbia
12 could be accused of sending Sefer Halilovic to Bosnia-Herzegovina to
13 organise the defence of Bosnia. I suppose you know all this, General.
14 A. Your Honour, in my opinion, these officers and NCOs from the
15 material point of view, from the point of view of personnel issues and
16 material question, were still part of their original organisation, and
17 this was proven by the fact that promotions, pensions, and other financial
18 issues, they were still addressing the leadership of the Yugoslav army.
19 Q. Well, that's quite another matter, and we shouldn't waste time on
20 it. It's the question of assistance.
21 Is it in issue, General, that the VRS fought for the protection
22 and equality of its own people in Bosnia and Herzegovina? Everybody had
23 the right to self-defence. I suppose that includes Serbs in Bosnia and
25 A. Yes. Naturally, this is what the doctrine expresses and contains.
1 Q. You know full well that Serbs accepted the so-called Cutileiro
2 plan which divided Bosnia and Herzegovina into cantons and that its
3 implementation could have prevented the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina but
4 it was refused by the Muslims.
5 MR. NICE: Your Honour, it really is absurd for the accused to try
6 and put in his case through a witness who has come here to do one thing
7 and has researched one thing and by asking questions that he may know a
8 little about, he may know something about, but his answers to which are
9 unlikely to be regarded as determinative by the Court when these are
10 matters that the Court has to decide.
11 JUDGE MAY: One moment.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, I'm a fervent believer in the
13 right to cross-examine, and I have supported consistently your right to
14 cross-examine, but on this occasion you are abusing it, and I regret to
15 say I will not be in a position to support an extension.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right.
17 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Do you know, General, that after the agreement on withdrawal from
19 Bosnia and Herzegovina was reached Muslim forces interfered with that
20 withdrawal and hampered it by armed attacks? The most notorious is the
21 attack on the withdrawing column of the army in the Dobrovoljacka Street
22 in Sarajevo. I suppose you know that.
23 A. Yes, there might have been such atrocities.
24 Q. Do you know that on the 15th of May in Tuzla, also during the
25 evacuation of the JNA from the Husinska Buna barracks, a JNA column was
1 ambushed? People were burning like torches, and the JNA was very
2 peacefully withdrawing from their barracks in Tuzla. Do you know that?
3 A. Yes. It might have taken place, but I have no knowledge of
4 concrete events that have taken place.
5 Q. In Ghali's report that I quoted, it says, among other things:
6 "The Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina had initially been reluctant to
7 engage in talks [In English] on these and other issues with the leadership
8 of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. A senior JNA
9 representative from Belgrade, General Nedeljko Boskovic, has conducted
10 discussions with the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, but it has become
11 clear that his word is not binding on the commander of the army of the
12 Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
13 [Interpretation] Do we see from here --
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes, your time is coming up. You can ask, given the
15 time that has been wasted, you can ask one final question now and then it
16 will be brought to an end.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I thought you would give me at least
18 those 20 minutes that Mr. Kwon mentioned.
19 JUDGE MAY: No. We're not going to on this occasion because of
20 the time you've wasted.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right.
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. General, let us elucidate one more thing: Paragraph 296, towards
24 the end of your report --
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I continue, Mr. May?
1 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
2 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. I'm quoting you: "In my opinion, as far as command and control
4 are concerned, two completely independent armed forces came into being
5 which contained new order of battle elements at different organisations
6 and different sets of missions."
7 Is that correct, General?
8 A. Yes, absolutely, naturally.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And just one more thing I would like
10 to clarify, Mr. May.
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes, one more.
12 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. You proceed, General, from the premise that the army of Yugoslavia
14 waged war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and you draw your conclusions from some
15 Drina Operation or a Gvozd Operation, whereas neither operation, Drina or
16 Gvozd - and I must say I received the Drina plan from a previous witness -
17 contain no elements of any planning on the part of the army of Yugoslavia.
18 They are documents of the VRS. And even as such, as documents of the VRS,
19 they were never implemented because they deal with the situation in which
20 they would be attacked. But the army of the VRS -- sorry, the army of
21 Yugoslavia did not respond, even when it was attacked in the Flash
22 Operation or the Storm Operation. Nor was the Gvozd Operation plan
23 implemented. And you know that staffs prepare different plans for
24 different eventualities. Do you know that this plan that was never
25 realised is exclusively a plan of the VRS?
1 JUDGE MAY: We must bring this to a question. What is it?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my duty was to give my
3 opinion concerning the plan, and this is exactly what I did. Now, as far
4 as the implementation of the plan and the way it actually was carried out,
5 these are things that I had not been asked to comment on.
6 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We will adjourn.
7 Now, how long do you think you might be?
8 MR. KAY: Very, very brief on the one army issue.
9 JUDGE MAY: Then we will allow the Prosecution --
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
12 MR. NICE: And I should be very brief in re-examination and I'm
13 hopeful that we conclude Mr. Theunens today, given that there's five days
14 between -- four days between now and when we next sit.
15 JUDGE MAY: We'll consider the position today. It's a question of
17 General, thank you for your assistance, but there will be another
18 20 minutes or so. We will adjourn.
19 --- Recess taken at 12.20 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 12.44 p.m.
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
22 Questioned by Mr. Kay:
23 Q. General Vegh, you recognise that the VRS and VJ became two
24 separate armed forces. That's right, isn't it?
25 A. Yes. After the withdrawal, that was correct.
1 Q. One of the features that, therefore, is recognised by you is that
2 there then came about a separate command and control system of each armed
4 A. Yes. Separate -- there were separate systems of commands,
5 although there was close cooperation between the forces in carrying out
6 their tasks.
7 Q. After this separation, the VRS then became an armed force that was
8 able to act independently and separately from the VJ.
9 A. Yes. It was an independent military force, in my opinion, which
10 had also independent tasks to comply with.
11 Q. It was able to undertake its own operations of a military nature
12 that were independent of the VJ.
13 A. In my opinion, that -- they only had limited possibility of
14 military actions. They needed logistic and combat support.
15 Q. One factor within your report that I would like to ask you about,
16 which is one that has not been considered, and it arises from the original
17 existence of there being one force, the JNA, and then the division into
18 the VJ and VRS, and that concerns the already existing links between the
19 military leaders. Do you understand?
20 A. Yes, I understand. Before the withdrawal, the Yugoslav People's
21 Army was independent. After the forming of the Bosnian army, it was
22 divided into two armed forces, and they were able to carry out their tasks
23 independently from each other.
24 Q. General Mladic, who became the commander of the VRS armed forces,
25 had good links of a personal nature with officers within the VJ. Is that
1 something that was within the information that was given to you or
2 something that you were aware of when drafting your report?
3 A. Yes, it was contained in the informations, in the personal
4 reports. I got documents about his new post and about his activities.
5 Q. General Mladic had been a very popular figure within the army of
6 the JNA and was able to take those links and that popularity with him into
7 the VRS. Is that something that you were able to recognise?
8 A. I think that the general had official and unofficial links with
9 the Yugoslav army which he continued to have.
10 Q. Yes. The last matter you raised there is that which I was going
11 to deal with next, that he was able to rely upon those pre-existing ties
12 and links to draw on resources for the VRS for his own command and
14 A. I think that the appointment of the general was on the
15 recommendation of the Yugoslav army in consideration of his experiences.
16 He knew about the doctrine, and he relied on the traditions.
17 MR. KAY: Thank you. I have no further questions.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
19 MR. NICE: A few matters in re-examination.
20 Re-examined by Mr. Nice:
21 Q. Your overall opinion on the degree of separateness or the
22 character of separateness of the two armies is set out in full in the last
23 paragraphs of your report; is that correct?
24 A. Could you please repeat this? The answer is yes, that is correct.
25 Q. Immediately before that, in dealing with one particular document
1 at the request of the OTP, you reviewed the 50th Sessions of the national
2 Assembly of the Republika Srpska and the document recording what was said
3 at that session about the level of support for the VRS from the VJ.
4 A. Yes. I reviewed this document, especially as far as the
5 ammunition supply was concerned.
6 Q. Does that level of support, as you understand it to have been,
7 find reflection in your answer about the limited ability of the VRS to
8 carry out independent military operations?
9 A. Yes. I think that the VRS had only very limited material
10 possibilities and was forced to have continuous support by the Yugoslav
12 Q. On an associated point, not exactly parallel but associated, at
13 paragraph 194 of your report you express the view that in cases of
14 assignment of personnel from one force to another to perform military
15 duty, responsibility for disciplinary matters of the assigned personnel
16 stays with the assigning force. Correct?
17 A. Yes. When a soldier or troops are subordinated to another unit,
18 only the -- only the command is transferred. The personnel and the
19 disciplinary questions remain with the original commander if the
20 regulation does not foresee otherwise.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Is that a general finding or is it specifically
22 related to the situation in Yugoslavia?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
24 MR. NICE:
25 Q. I think that His Honour Judge Robinson would like to know whether
1 this is a general finding. You said yes, but I'm not quite sure whether
2 you're saying yes to that.
3 MR. NICE: I think he was.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's a general observation, but the
5 constitution makes the fine points on it, so to say.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: What was the situation in Yugoslavia? I mean,
7 are you in a position -- are you in a position to say that that general
8 finding applied in the specific situation of Yugoslavia, that
9 responsibility remained with the assigning force?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. That is generally so, and I
11 assume that it also is so in the case given.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: You assume.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. The -- this is what the
14 military rules prescribe. It is general practice when troops or soldiers
15 are assigned to another unit or force.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice.
17 MR. NICE:
18 Q. However, General, on both the question of the consequences in law
19 for support by one army for another, that's the ammunition and so on, or
20 assignment of troops, these questions are questions outside your area of
21 expertise and matters ultimately for the Judges or not?
22 A. I think that, generally speaking, it does belong to my province,
23 and this is not an extraordinary case. And the regulation also applies to
24 all NATO countries.
25 Q. Just a couple more questions. Drina and Gvozd as proposed
1 operations, to set out these plans, what level of authority would have
2 been required; top level, mid-level, or where?
3 A. Generally speaking, such plans are always drawn up by the
4 strategic leaders. That means the Defence Ministry and the political
5 leadership approves those plans and the -- and the strategic --
6 THE INTERPRETER: Could the general please repeat what he said
7 after "the Defence Ministry."
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The strategic plans are drawn up on
9 the leadership level, and the political leadership approves.
10 The war plans are also drawn up on the highest military level
11 involving the commanders who would participate.
12 The combat plans are drawn up by the mid-level leadership, so on
13 the mid-level.
14 MR. NICE:
15 Q. The Drina plan, it is said, never came into effect. That's not
16 the point of the questions you've been asked about it. As planned, did it
17 involve a substantial contribution from the VJ?
18 A. I did not quite understand this question.
19 Q. The Drina plan -- you remember dealing with the Drina plan in your
20 report. The suggestion by the accused has been that it didn't actually
21 take place. The point is, as planned, did the Drina plan foresee
22 substantial activity by the VJ in cooperation with the VRS?
23 A. I think that each approved plan must be started according to the
24 approved points. Of course, the plans may change as required, but also
25 for those changes, approval of the leadership is required.
1 Q. You were asked a question about the forces in Croatia at the
2 beginning of the conflict and at the time of the separation, and I think
3 the word "paramilitary" was used in the description of those forces. It
4 matters not to us at all what term is applied, but if the term
5 "paramilitary" was appropriate to the forces in Croatia at the beginning
6 of the conflict, is the same term appropriate to the VRS and the SVK?
7 A. Of course those paramilitary units might have been operating.
8 MR. NICE: I've made the point, Your Honour, and I'm going to move
9 on to save time.
10 Q. You were asked about events in Croatia on a particular basis by
11 the accused. Were you -- are you aware of events in August 1990 where
12 Martic took possession of the Knin police station?
13 A. Could -- could you please -- could you please repeat what you said
14 after "August 1990."
15 Q. Martic took possession of the Knin place station.
16 A. Could you please repeat the whole question.
17 MR. NICE: Your Honour, for want of time I'm going to move on. In
18 any event, this was questioning of the witness outside the area of his
19 expertise, and I don't think it's necessary to go further.
20 Q. And then finally as to your report, you were asked a large number
21 of questions about the basis of your report and the suggestion being that
22 you had in some way not taken account of the other side to a conflict or
23 the other sides to a conflict. Was it any part of your report to examine
24 the conflict overall or were you concerned, as instructed, simply to look
25 at the development of the JNA, the VJ, the VRS, and the SVK, and to look
1 at their interrelations one to another?
2 A. I examined the situation in a general way based on the documents,
3 and that was the basis for my conclusions.
4 MR. NICE: Yes, Your Honour, that's all I need ask, I think. With
5 many thanks to the general for his assistance but also, if I may, through
6 the Chamber, to the authorities, I think the military authorities in
7 Budapest, which have made available the videolink facility which, as we've
8 seen, is of a particularly high quality.
9 JUDGE MAY: That's certainly right, and we're very grateful to the
10 general to be here to assist us today, and we thank him for his
11 assistance, and we now bring that to an end. Thank you for your
13 MR. NICE: Your Honour, if the transmission can end, then the next
14 -- we return to the evidence of Reynaud Theunens. He is, I hope,
15 outside the door, so that we can maximise the use of time today.
16 [The witness's testimony via videolink concluded]
17 JUDGE MAY: We may not be able to finish it in the circumstances.
18 MR. NICE: We'll hope for the best.
19 JUDGE MAY: We can do that, yes.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May.
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Before the witness enters the
23 courtroom, I have something to say with respect to the list of witnesses,
24 and as there is a protected witness, I assume we ought to go into private
25 session just for a second, please.
1 JUDGE MAY: Briefly.
2 [Private session]
12 Page 31681 redacted, private session
11 [Open session]
12 [The witness entered court]
13 WITNESS: REYNAUD THEUNENS [Resumed]
14 JUDGE MAY: Fifteen minutes you have now, Mr. Milosevic, so you
15 need to organise your own time, but you have no more.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May, you said yesterday that I
17 would have 50 minutes, now you say I have 15 minutes.
18 JUDGE MAY: Fifteen.
19 Cross-examined by Mr. Milosevic: [Continued]
20 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Theunens, the JNA was present in Croatia up
21 until the Vance-Owen Plan came into force; isn't that right?
22 A. Your Honour, it's not the Vance-Owen Plan, it's the Vance Plan.
23 The Vance Plan was a transitional solution consisting of various aspects,
24 one of the aspects being the withdrawal of the armed forces, the JNA and
25 the Croatian counterpart, as well as the demilitarisation of the existing
1 forces in the area, being the local Serb TO.
2 Now, I didn't focus my analysis on that aspect, but you will find
3 in the second part of the document, and if there is further detail noted,
4 I can provide you with the exact page numbers. There are JNA documents
5 dealing, for example, with the transfer of JNA units into local Serb TO
6 units. There are also documents included in the section on logistical
7 support dealing with the creation of a logistical infrastructure for the
8 RSK TO, and subsequently the SVK, in a way to have a solution for when the
9 JNA isn't there any more.
10 This is also linked to the issue we discussed earlier, namely the
11 provision of personnel from the JNA to the local Serb defence structures.
12 Q. Mr. Theunens, I didn't say the Vance-Owen Plan, I said the Vance
14 A. Your Honour, the transcript reads on my monitor Vance-Owen Plan.
15 Q. Well, the transcript can make a mistake. I cannot.
16 Is it common knowledge, Mr. Theunens, that -- when we're talking
17 about the plan, of course, because I always strode to have it adopted and
18 I do know that it was, that it was Vance's plan, I hope you don't
19 challenge that from the moment the forces of the United Nations placed
20 under their protection these zones, these territories, Croatian territory
21 was not attacked from those zones until the end of the war.
22 A. Your Honours, my report doesn't deal with the activities of the
23 Croatian armed forces related to the UNPAs or not. Now, if required, I
24 can provide an answer based on my experience when serving in UNPROFOR. It
25 may well be correct that there were no offensive operations or major
1 offensive operations launched by the local Serb forces from the UNPAs, but
2 I do recall that there were regular exchanges of small-arms fire, mortar,
3 or even artillery between both warring factions, so as well the Croatian
4 armed forces as the local Serb armed forces, HV and SVK, along the
5 separation line.
6 Q. Very well. Now, do you know on the basis of documents and the
7 actual state of affairs as it was that the armed forces of Krajina
8 surrendered all heavy weapons according to the double-key formula, one to
9 them and one to the UN, handed over to UNPROFOR? Is that right, Mr.
11 A. Once again, this is not part of my analysis. If required, I can
12 provide an answer based on my experience both in UNPROFOR and earlier when
13 working with the Belgium Ministry of Defence. This experience is then
14 focused on the situation in Sector East where Belgium had one battalion
15 deployed in Baranja. It may well be correct that initially the weapons
16 were surrendered and put under a double key system, so a key for the local
17 Serb armed forces and UNPROFOR in a number of weapons storage areas,
18 however, quite shortly afterwards, for a number of reasons, weapons were
19 taken back, and I don't recall an exact date when weapons were taken back.
20 They were actually taken back several times and returned and taken back
21 again, but between let's say the latter part of 1992 and 1995.
22 And for example, when I was working in the UNPROFOR headquarters
23 between November -- excuse me, December 1994 and October 1995, we carried
24 out a number of visits to not only to Sector East, so the eastern part of
25 Croatia, but also other areas including Sector North and Sector West, and
1 during these visits, even if our freedom of movement was significantly
2 limited by not only local Serb armed forces, I have to include also the
3 Croatian armed forces, but notwithstanding these limitations, we could
4 notice ourselves that weapons, tanks, guns, were deployed along the
5 separation zone. So this initial situation of withdrawal of weapons and
6 putting them under a double-key system was only an initial situation which
7 didn't last.
8 Q. Don't you think that it is very vital that it went on up until the
9 time that the Croatian forces attacked the protected areas? And then they
10 had to take up weapons again to defend themselves. Are you aware of that?
11 Do you know about it? They surrendered their weapons, it was under the
12 double-key system, they were then attacked and had to take up arms again
13 to defend themselves. Was that how it was or not, Mr. Thuenens?
14 A. Your Honour, based --
15 Q. Just give me a yes or no answer, please. You needn't go into
16 lengthy explanations.
17 A. Your Honour, the answer is no.
18 Q. Very well. If your answer is no, then I'm going to read -- the
19 30th of June, 1992 is the date, it is a UN Security Council document, so
20 I'm not reading the papers to you, it is the UN Security Council in New
21 York, adopted Resolution 762, which calls on the Croatian government to
22 hand back the pink zones to UN control, and Croatia was condemned for the
23 offensive on the 21st of June and the bombing of Knin and they were
24 threatened with sanctions should they not comply with the demands set out
25 in this Resolution. Is that right, Mr. Theunens? You looked at the
1 documents, you're a military analyst yourself. Is that correct or perhaps
2 this is some sort of fiction too, this UN Security Council Resolution.
3 A. Your Honours, my answer will consist of two parts. First of all,
4 my report did not include an analysis of the I think over hundred -- 100
5 Security Council Resolutions that were adopted between end of 1991 and mid
6 of 1995 related to the conflict in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
7 Secondly, the question or actually the comment put by
8 Mr. Milosevic is, according to my experience, an incorrect reflection of
9 the facts. Resolution 762 dated indeed from 30th of June, 1992, but what
10 I tried to explain in my -- in the answer to your previous question was
11 that actually a lot of events occurred or happened between the 30th of
12 June, 1992, and the 1st Croatian -- the first significant Croatian
13 military operation against RSK-held territory, namely Operation Flash
14 which was launched early May 1995.
15 Q. So before May 1995, there were no operations against the protected
16 areas. Is that what you're saying, Mr. Theunens, on the basis of the
17 facts you have at your disposal?
18 A. No, Your Honour, that's not what I'm saying because I spoke about
19 the first significant Croatian military operation. I am aware of the
20 operation against the Medak pocket which took place -- which was launched,
21 if I'm correct, around early September 1993. And at that time too the
22 United Nations adopted a Resolution urging Croatia to withdraw troops. I
23 also recall that around that time - and I recall that not from my work in
24 the OTP but from my activities prior to my taking up a position here at
25 the OTP - that in September 1993 as a -- as a reprisal, the local Serb
1 armed forces tried to or attempted to shell, for example, Croatian cities
2 with long range artillery and there was, for example, ECMM reporting, so
3 the European Commission Monitoring Mission, that a kind of rocket or even
4 a rocket had impacted close to its hotel on the southern borders of
6 Q. Very well, Mr. Theunens. As my time is limited, these are the
7 facts, the material facts that cannot be disputed.
8 A. It depends which facts you want to raise, Mr. Milosevic -- or,
9 Your Honours, especially when it concerns facts related to the report.
10 Q. Mr. Theunens, in your report you say that there was a letter by
11 Helsinki Watch, and it spoke about various things. It mentioned the
12 media, and it mentioned crimes in that range. And on page 134 of the
13 report, of your report, you talk about the response to that letter. It
14 was addressed to me, I think, as well. I just pulled out this piece of
15 paper from the whole document, but it says here that the letter was
16 addressed to me, and then you say, "The chef de cabinet of Slobodan
17 Milosevic, Goran Milicevic, sent the Helsinki Watch organisation the
18 following response," and then you have the response sent by my chef de
19 cabinet, which reads as follows: "In connection with the letter sent on
20 the 21st of January to the president of the Republic of Serbia,
21 Mr. Slobodan Milosevic by the US Helsinki Watch committee, we should like
22 to inform you of the following: First, the places in which the mentioned
23 crimes were made -- were perpetrated are not located within the territory
24 of the Republic of Serbia."
25 So in -- that letter obviously makes mention of certain locations
1 where crimes had been committed. And it goes on to say, "Therefore, this
2 republic is not competent or in any way involved in acts of that kind, and
3 in this connection, the Republic of Serbia cannot be held responsible for
4 those acts.
5 "Point 2: The president of the Republic of Serbia has asked the
6 competent authorities in the Republic of Serbia to investigate the
7 violations that you stipulate in your letter, and if any citizen of the
8 Republic of Serbia took part in the perpetration of those crimes, he will
9 be prosecuted and brought to justice."
10 Now, tell me, please, what is there in that letter which is not
11 logical or incorrect? And one more question, let me add to that, do you
12 know that the first trials for war crimes, when it came to citizens of
13 Serbia that were committed somewhere outside Serbia, were court cases that
14 were tried in Serbia itself. Is that something that you know about?
15 A. Your Honours, I believe Mr. Milosevic is referring to the letter
16 which has been exhibited already. It's Exhibit 359, tab 6. Now, when you
17 look at my report on the page when --
18 Q. Well, it's your document.
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
20 THE WITNESS: When you look at the page in my report, it's page
21 130 of the second part where this letter is discussed. I only quote the
22 letter. There is no analysis or conclusion or anything else related to
23 that letter.
24 Now, to answer the second question of Mr. Milosevic, I also quote
25 another Human Rights Watch publication, and this starts on page 134 of the
1 second part of the report. It's a Human Rights Watch Helsinki report
2 published in July 1995, entitled War Crimes Trials in the Former
3 Yugoslavia. And without going into detail, I think the article indeed
4 refers to a trial that was ongoing, and from other -- from open sources,
5 local open sources, I believe this may be a trial that is related to the
6 activities of so-called Yellow Wasps, another paramilitary group.
7 JUDGE MAY: Your last question.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Has 15 minutes gone by already?
9 Very well.
10 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Let's just clear one more matter up, then. You said that in
12 Yugoslavia, officers who had committed certain crimes were even promoted,
13 and you gave as an example, the name of Colonel Sljivancanin in that
14 respect. Tell me now, please, Mr. Theunens, do you know that with respect
15 to this alleged guilt and the indictments and accusations made against
16 Colonel Sljivancanin, that there were proceedings before the military
17 court in Belgrade, that Colonel Sljivancanin was heard and examined by the
18 court, as were other individuals, and that the military court in Belgrade
19 or, rather, the competent authorities of military legislation reached the
20 conclusion that Colonel Sljivancanin was not guilty of having committed
21 any crimes? And this will be proved. Sljivancanin, unfortunately, is
22 here, but he is an honourable officer who did not commit any crimes, and
23 this was noted.
24 So what do you expect, except for the fact that the allegations
25 made in an accusation be scrutinised to see whether they are true and then
1 they were rejected, and the man is innocent.
2 A. Your Honours, I would like to correct what Mr. Milosevic said, or
3 at least the transcript, then. My report does not say that Colonel
4 Sljivancanin committed certain crimes. My report on page 139, paragraph D
5 - so it's the second part of the report again - mentions officer who had
6 been indicted by the ICTY. Now, I think that's clear enough. It doesn't
7 mean that -- it doesn't mean that I wrote it that he has committed certain
9 Now, I can only say, and that's reflected in this particular
10 paragraph, that Major -- excuse me, Colonel Sljivancanin had been indicted
11 for war crimes I think end of November 1995, and that did not prevent him
12 from pursuing or continuing his military career, achieving senior ranks,
13 and even being admitted to the most senior military courses, staff courses
14 in FRY.
15 I am familiar with the Belgrade military court case of 1998. And
16 actually, yeah, Mr. Milosevic himself mentioned that Sljivancanin is here
17 now, and that's all I have to say about this aspect.
18 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Yes.
19 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I was
20 really hesitant as to which topic to choose for my examination of
21 Mr. Theunens. I finally decided on paragraph 5 of his expert report, the
22 armed forces of SFRY and the conflict in Croatia.
23 Questioned by Mr. Tapuskovic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Theunens, in paragraph 5, in the first
25 sentence you said that republican presidents were not part of the Supreme
1 Command and had no legal competencies over the Yugoslav People's Army. I
2 am particularly interested in the year 1991 and in the entire period until
3 the Presidency existed, even if it was only the rump one. Is that
5 A. Your Honour, could Mr. Tapuskovic repeat which paragraph he's
6 referring to, because my paragraph 5 --
7 JUDGE KWON: Of the executive summary.
8 THE WITNESS: Of the executive summary. Okay.
9 Well, indeed, according to the legal framework or the laws I
10 looked at, namely the 1974 constitution and the 1982 Law on All People's
11 Defence, there is no role for the republican presidents, or no part for
12 the republican presidents in the command or the Supreme Command. The
13 Supreme Command consists of the Presidency, so the representatives of the
14 republics and autonomous provinces, according to the law, and is assisted
15 by a Supreme Command staff consisting of the Federal Secretary for
16 People's Defence, his secretariat, and the Chief of General Staff and the
17 General Staff.
18 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Now, please look at paragraph 7 of the executive summary. You
20 explained this already yesterday, but I would like to come back to this
21 issue, because it remained unclear, and I would like to clarify it for the
23 Is it clear that you haven't come across a single order that
24 pertains to any orders given by the JNA to the paramilitaries?
25 A. Your Honours, I have attempted to explain over the past days that
1 paramilitaries was used in two conditions. It was used to identify the
2 enemy forces, and in the second instance -- or it was also used to
3 identify -- it was used by security organs or other security or
4 intelligence organisations investigating volunteer groups.
5 As paramilitary groups were not foreseen in the legal framework, I
6 think it is quite logical that JNA orders of that time would not include
7 the name "paramilitaries," because if they did, then the order would be
8 illegal. So therefore - and I think that was clear from the documents we
9 looked at - the name, or the description of "volunteers" was used. Like,
10 for example, we saw the war diaries of the Guards Brigade where there is
11 mentioning of Seselj's volunteers, or the name Territorial Defence
12 Detachment was used, for example, the Vukovar TO. When you look at the
13 second part of the report and where the operations in Eastern Slavonia --
14 Q. Thank you. You say here in the first sentence of paragraph 7, you
15 say: "In order to regularise the de facto situation that existed on the
16 ground in particular with regard to the presence of volunteer groups and
17 paramilitary formations, legislation was amended." And here you speak of
18 the period of August and September 1991.
19 A. That's correct, Your Honour.
20 Q. So when you dealt with these matters regarding the paramilitaries,
21 you mentioned Kadijevic's book. Kadijevic's book was not exhibited in
22 these proceedings, but it was mentioned several times. You yourself
23 referred to it. But it is -- but there is another document which has been
24 exhibited and concerns the paramilitaries, and I would like it shown to
25 you now so that you explain to the Judges whether you were aware of it.
1 While you were doing your work, have you been shown this exhibit
2 which is 328, tab 18?
3 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] I referred to it several times,
4 Your Honours, but the expert who is now before us is somebody who could
5 give us a qualified opinion on it. I have it here in English, and I
6 marked the pages I would like to show to him. It's only several
8 A. Your --
9 JUDGE KWON: What's the tab number again?
10 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Tab 16. It concerns the meeting
11 of the Presidency with the top leadership of the military at the most
12 critical moment, and it concerns the paramilitaries. I would like the
13 expert to look at the English version, page 34, paragraphs 2 to 6, where
14 Kadijevic speaks for the record about certain things.
15 Q. Have you seen this document before? These are minutes, in fact.
16 A. Yeah. I -- I'm -- I cannot recall whether I recognise the
17 document now. I would like to make a correction. I used Kadijevic's book
18 only or mainly -- I read the whole book, obviously, but I was mainly to
19 explain the evolution in the objectives of the SFRY armed forces. It was
20 not myself who brought --
21 Q. No. I don't need Kadijevic's book. I'm showing you a document
22 and what Kadijevic said, according to stenographic notes, to the political
23 leadership of the state. Look at page 34, paragraphs 2 to 6. He was
24 speaking about the compositions of armed forces which numbered up to
25 200.000 people, whereas the army of Yugoslavia had less than 100.000.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: The first number
2 refers to irregular forces, irregular armed forces.
3 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, I would still like to finish my
4 previous answer. It is that I didn't bring up Kadijevic's book to discuss
5 the issue of paramilitaries. I used Kadijevic's book mainly to obtain an
6 understanding of the evolution in the operations of the JNA and, more
7 specifically, the mission of the SFRY armed forces during the conflict in
8 Croatia as Kadijevic in his position of Federal Secretariat for People's
9 Defence was one of the best placed people to discuss that issue. As far
10 as these --
11 JUDGE MAY: No, stop interrupting.
12 THE WITNESS: As far as these figures are concerned, it's a bit
13 difficult to comment on them in a sense that I haven't analysed this
14 document before, I can't compare it with other sources. I know from
15 experience that when armed forces discuss the opposing forces, sometimes
16 at least in -- not only in the former Yugoslavia but also in other
17 situations they can be quite generous when they have to make assessments
18 on the strength and the capabilities of the enemy, for various reasons, so
19 I would prefer not to comment on this particular document, or at least not
20 on this particular passage.
21 JUDGE MAY: The final question, please, today, before we go on to
22 another day.
23 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] I really don't understand. I'm
24 trying to complete this with only two more questions.
25 Q. Please look at page 140 in the English version, paragraph 2, where
1 Kadijevic said at that gathering: "We believe that the paragraph 1 and
2 especially the demobilisation of irregular organisations are a key point
3 for peace in Yugoslavia. We are not insisting on other things. But we
4 have to insist on this, I believe, because it is the basic condition for
5 peace in Yugoslavia. Demobilisation of all paramilitary units. And Mesic
6 responded when the decision was almost made: 'You make the decision, but
7 I won't sign it.'"
8 All this is in this document. Do you know about this or not? And
9 how is it possible that you did not receive this document from the OTP
10 when you made your analysis?
11 JUDGE MAY: The last question, please.
12 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, I -- my -- I didn't say that I didn't
13 receive the document, I only said that I don't recall seeing it now.
14 There are 400 footnotes or 400 -- at least 400 documents have been
15 included in the report itself. It's obvious that myself and my colleague
16 Borrelli, who assisted me with the Bosnia-Herzegovina report, also looked
17 at many documents and we had to make choices. So I don't claim that I
18 didn't receive the document.
19 As far as these statements are concerned, again, I do recall that
20 the situation of SFRY Presidency around July 1991 time -- time period was
21 quite complicated. I can comment on Kadijevic's passage and say, yes,
22 indeed, it would probably have helped if all paramilitaries or even -- if
23 all paramilitaries had been demobilised or disarmed and the military
24 adopted a more peaceful stance, but in general, the military does what the
25 political leadership tells it. So I assume there's also responsibility
1 for the political leadership on that level. And I'm not a political
2 analyst, I'm employed here as a military analyst, so I would refer to a
3 political or a constitutional expert to give a more worthwhile answer to
4 your questions.
5 JUDGE MAY: Very well. That is all today. We have no further
6 time. We will refer in due course to find an occasion for this. We must
7 adjourn now. Tuesday morning.
8 MR. NICE: Your Honour, with that conclusion of cross-examination,
9 I can waive re-examination so we can complete with this witness.
10 JUDGE MAY: We have to end it now. If this witness is prepared to
11 give it up, so well, but we have no further time today.
12 MR. NICE: I understand that but I think the position is
13 Mr. Tapuskovic has finished, I have no re-examination, so he's free to go.
14 JUDGE MAY: If he's finished, thank you very much.
15 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] No, I have not finished. I was
16 reckoning with 20 minutes, as you led me believe, but --
17 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Very well. In due course.
18 We will adjourn.
19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.40 p.m.,
20 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 3rd day of
21 February, 2004, at 9.00 a.m.