1 Monday, 30 January 2012
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.18 p.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon to everybody in the courtroom and
6 to those following these proceedings. We turn, briefly, into private
7 session, please.
8 [Private session]
7 [Open session]
8 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours. Thank
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
11 Are there any other matters to be addressed before the next
12 witness is coming in?
13 Mr. McCloskey.
14 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, good afternoon, Mr. President, Your Honours,
15 everyone. Yes, there is one matter that may help the overall
16 administrative of justice, not just for our case but for the Karadzic
17 case as well. I have been informed that the Karadzic Defence has made a
18 request for confidential material in our case, which, as you know, is
19 part of the ongoing process. I believe they -- they are looking for the
20 testimony of 208 who partially testified in public, as you know,
21 recently, and we have filed our notice of compliance and not objected to
22 that. And we just did it this afternoon.
23 Apparently, the Prosecution in Karadzic would really like to be
24 able to get the Defence their request because there may be some Rule 68,
25 that kind of thing, and there are some witnesses that are coming up where
1 the Defence really would like to have it. And so it's my understanding
2 that if we can get from General Tolimir his view on whether he and
3 Mr. Gajic have any problems with that material being released per the
4 procedures, that should be able to free it up if he doesn't. If he does,
5 of course, then that's another matter.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. McCloskey, I take it that this relates to a
7 decision of this Chamber filed last year that the Defence in the Karadzic
8 case may be -- have access to confidential material in our case, and
9 indeed we asked the parties to update the Chamber on a monthly basis
10 to -- about the progress in that respect.
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. This is our second notice, and my memory of
12 this is that perhaps you had to remind us a time or two to do this so --
13 but, yes, that's --
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: That's true.
15 MR. McCLOSKEY: That is absolutely where this is coming from.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
17 Mr. Tolimir, what is your position in that respect?
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Thank
19 you, Mr. McCloskey. Greetings to everyone present here. And peace unto
20 this courtroom, and let the outcome of this trial be decided by
21 providence rather than by my wishes.
22 The Defence has no objection to any disclosure whatsoever, and
23 since this is a Prosecution witness, it is up to them to decide. We
24 didn't even have any questions for that witness.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is, I think, not quite correct because both
1 parties have to agree on this kind of disclosure of confidential material
2 and we asked both parties, that means also the Defence, to update us on a
3 monthly basis. But I take it this is now your agreement with this
4 disclosure at this point in time. This is now on the record, but I
5 expect you to file such submissions and notices to the Chamber on a
6 monthly basis.
7 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The Registry will provide the Defence in the
9 Karadzic case with the relevant material.
10 Any other matters to be dealt with before the witness is coming
12 Mr. Gajic.
13 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the Defence has only
14 one oral submission, pursuant to 65 ter Rule. It concerns a document
15 that we have received just now over the weekend from the witness himself
16 during the proofing session. It is a document uploaded in e-court under
17 number 1D111, 65 ter 1D111. There is one digit missing. There should be
18 four 1s. 1D1111.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Now we have it on the record. Can you -- and you
20 said it is uploaded in e-court and it's available to the Prosecution,
22 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, of course. It is available to
23 the Prosecution, too. Unfortunately, we don't have a translation into
24 English since we received this document over the weekend. This concerns
25 the notes that the witness made during the relevant period during the
1 war, and we believe that it contains relevant information that will be of
2 assistance to the Trial Chamber to reach a proper decision, and we are
3 going to use this document during the examination of this witness. We
4 are also going to give the CLSS some time to translate at least one
5 portion of this document or -- but I don't believe that we shall be able
6 to question this witness about it today.
7 Therefore, we are kindly asking the leave of the Chamber to allow
8 us to add this one document to our 65 ter list.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. McCloskey, do you have any objection?
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: I have not seen it yet, Mr. President, but no,
11 not at all. That's, of course, normally happens all the time here and we
12 have no problem.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Then leave is granted to add this document,
14 1D1111, to the Defence 65 ter exhibit list.
15 Anything else to be dealt with now?
16 Since this is not the case, the witness should be brought in,
18 [The witness entered court]
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon, Mr. Skrbic. Welcome to the
20 Tribunal. Would you please read aloud the affirmation on the card which
21 is shown to you now.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
23 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Please sit down and make
25 yourself comfortable.
1 WITNESS: PETAR SKRBIC
2 [Witness answered through interpreter]
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The Defence, that means Mr. Tolimir, is now
4 conducting his examination-in-chief, followed by the Prosecution. Did
5 you receive a proper interpretation?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I did.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please commence your
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
10 Examination by Mr. Tolimir:
11 Q. [Interpretation] Greetings to Mr. Skrbic and I wish him a
12 pleasant stay here with us. I have a few questions for him. Can you
13 please tell us your full name, for the record? Thank you.
14 A. My name is Petar Skrbic.
15 Q. Thank you. Can you also tell us, for the record, what is your
16 current occupation?
17 A. I was born on the 20th of October, 1946, in Glamoc, in the
18 People's Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina that was part at the time of
19 the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia. My birthplace was
20 unfortunately burned in 1995, and my parent's house is no longer there.
21 This is where I finished my elementary school, then I went to the
22 teacher's college, and then a military academy. At the moment, I am
23 retired and I am mostly engaged in scientific research work.
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: Excuse me, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. McCloskey.
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: Sorry to interrupt, but that was a very simple
2 question of his occupation and he offered a whole lot of details about
3 the burning of his house and things, so I would hope that we can direct
4 the witness to try to answer the question; otherwise, this is going to be
5 quite a long day.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. McCloskey, I was going to do the same to give
7 some guidance in that respect, but I didn't want to do that after the
8 first question of the witness -- put to the witness.
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Thank
12 you, Mr. McCloskey.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic, for your answer. My next question is as
15 follows: Have you ever testified before this Tribunal, and if you have,
16 in which cases? Thank you.
17 A. I have testified before this Tribunal on two occasions. For the
18 first time it was in Popovic et al. case, and for the second time it was
19 in the Perisic case.
20 Q. Thank you. Did you appear in the Popovic et al. case as a
21 Defence witness or a Prosecution witness? And the same question applies
22 to the Perisic case as well.
23 A. In the Popovic et al. case I was a Prosecution witness, and in
24 the Perisic case I was a Defence witness.
25 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell us, briefly, something about your
1 educational background? Thank you.
2 A. I finished elementary school in my birthplace in the village of
3 Hotkovci in Glamoc. I started attending teacher's college in Livno for
4 one year, and I finished it in Banja Luka in 1965. I had scholarship
5 granted by the Yugoslav Peoples' Army. When I finished the teacher's
6 college, I went to the military academy in Belgrade. I attended a
7 general course there for two years, then one semester I spent in Zadar,
8 and after that I returned to Batajnica, near Belgrade, where I finished
9 rocket missile school in 1968. In --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness please repeat the year, again.
11 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I have to stop you. I have to stop you for a
13 moment. The interpreters didn't catch part of your answer, especially in
14 relation to a year. The last sentence you started was:
15 "I attended a general course there for two years, then one
16 semester I spent in Zadar, and after that I returned to Batajnica, near
17 Belgrade, where I finished rocket missile school in 1968 ..."
18 From there on, please, repeat what you have said.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am going to repeat, Your Honours.
20 I understand your question.
21 This rocket missile school was part of the anti-aircraft defence
22 course, and I finished it in 1968. Then in 1978 I finished high military
23 and political school. In 1983 I acquired an MA at the faculty of
24 political sciences, and my thesis was: "Freedom as the Meaning and
25 Essence of the Defence of a Society."
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Thank you. Mr. Skrbic, if I may ask you to try and speak more
3 slowly for the benefit of the interpreters. I will do my best to do the
4 same because both of us speak the same language and this is causing
5 problems for them. Thank you.
6 Now, please, can you tell us when did you become a member of the
7 Army of Republika Srpska? Thank you.
8 A. I became a member of the Army of Republika Srpska on the
9 17th December, 1993. Your Honours, earlier I gave a statement in which I
10 said that I became a member on the 17th November, 1993. I don't know
11 whether that was my mistake or somebody else's mistake. I would, anyway,
12 like this to be corrected. So the correct date is the 17th of December,
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much for that.
15 Mr. Tolimir.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Can you please tell the
18 Chamber something about your career prior to 1993 when you joined the
19 Army of Republika Srpska on the 17th of December? Thank you.
20 A. After I finished military academy, I was assigned to the
21 1st Rocket Battalion of the 205th [as interpreted] Rocket Regiment in
22 Batajnica. I worked there as a technician involved in creating commands.
23 Maybe this is incomprehensible for you, but I have to tell you what the
24 title of my job was at the time.
25 After that I was transferred to the rocket brigade command in
1 Belgrade, where I discharged the duties of a commander and, at the same
2 time, I was the chief of the operations centre of the 205th [as
3 interpreted] Operational Regiment. After that, I was an assistant of the
4 division commander for political guidance until 1977.
5 As I said, in that year I started attending the school, as I
6 already indicated, which I finished in 1979. In this high political
7 school of the JNA, following its completion, I taught the subject which
8 was called dialectical philosophy of society [as interpreted]. I
9 remained in that post until 1985. In the meantime, General Tolimir also
10 finished a course as an attendee in the high political school which means
11 that I was one of his teachers.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
13 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, unfortunately, it
14 seems that we have a couple of mistakes in the transcript. First page 9,
15 lines 19 and 24. I think that I heard the witness say "250th" not
16 "205th" or "2005th."
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I noticed that there were different ways to
18 record it, and therefore I would kindly ask you to say -- to give us the
19 correct number of this regiment again.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The exact designation number is
21 250th, 250, Rocket Regiment.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think now we have it on the record correctly.
23 Mr. Gajic.
24 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, and on page 10,
25 line 4, the translation says "dialectical philosophy of society," and it
1 should read, according to what the witness says, "the dialectics of
2 society or philosophy." So there is no equation between the two.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This might be an interpretation issue.
4 Could you please, again, sir, tell us, you taught the subject
5 which was called, and now again this subject, please.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The subject was called the
7 dialectics of society.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
9 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Can you please tell us how your career progressed from that
13 moment onwards? Thank you.
14 A. From that moment on, I was assigned to the political
15 administration of the Federal Secretariat for National Defence. I was an
16 officer in charge of idealogical and political guidance of JNA officers.
17 Later, I was assigned as official for scientific and research work in the
18 field of social sciences, that was in the JNA, the Yugoslav People's
19 Army. When the JNA -- I apologise, I've remembered other duties that I
20 performed and perhaps it's relevant.
21 After my duties as an official for scientific research, I was
22 assigned to an analytical group which was involved in analysing and
23 dealing with the JNA and All People's Defence, and this was within the
24 framework of public information, within the framework of the media.
25 After the JNA was transformed into the Army of Yugoslavia, which was in
1 1992, I was assigned to the administration for morale in the
2 General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia as the chief of the
3 1st Department for Morale, therefore for moral guidance. And
4 three months prior to the completion of my duties in the Army of
5 Yugoslavia, I performed the duties of the director of military editorial
6 centre of the Army of Yugoslavia. It was also a publishing group.
7 Q. Thank you. Could you please inform the Chamber whether anyone
8 forced you to go to the Army of Republika Srpska? And could you briefly
9 tell us about the circumstances under which you became a member of the
10 Army of Republika Srpska? Thank you.
11 A. No one forced me to join the Army of Republika Srpska. As for
12 the circumstances, as I was involved in analytical work, I was quite
13 familiar with the circumstances, the circumstances were such that the
14 circumstances themselves put pressure on -- on a man and on one's reason.
15 Then it was also often said that those who were there should defend their
16 homeland, the place they were born in, and in my opinion that's quite
18 And in 1992 I wanted to go to Republika Srpska. However, the
19 chief of the General Staff, General Zivota Panic prevented me from doing
20 so, because I was forced to carry out an analysis for the General Staff.
21 And then, thus, in 1993, I decided to go to the Army of Republika Srpska.
22 That was in 1993 and I went there. You already have that information.
23 Q. Thank you. Please tell us, when you arrived in the Army of
24 Republika Srpska, when you joined it, what rank did you have and what
25 establishment position did you have?
1 A. When I joined the Army of Republika Srpska, my rank was that of a
2 colonel. I had to perform the duties of an assistant commander for
3 morale, religious, and legal affairs in the 2nd Krajina Corps.
4 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us which duties you performed, if they
5 were numerous, within the 2nd Krajina Corps? Thank you. I am referring
6 to the duties you had to perform as an assistant for religious and legal
7 affairs. Thank you.
8 A. I've understood your question, Mr. Tolimir. Within the field of
9 morale, the duties I performed involved gathering and analysing
10 information on the morale of all the members of the 2nd Krajina Corps.
11 And on that basis, I submitted a monthly report to the General Staff of
12 the Army of Republika Srpska, which would then be signed by the corps
14 As for religious affairs, we co-operated with the
15 Orthodox Church. When anniversaries were held or celebrations were held
16 in the army, there were anniversaries, consecration of buildings, of the
17 flags of certain brigades, and there were also religious services,
18 masses, outside the army in churches, so then we tried to see how to take
19 members of the army to the church to see when they were free or when they
20 weren't involved in combat activities and so on and so forth.
21 As far as legal affairs are concerned, I had a reserve officer
22 who was a judge in Bosnian Petrovac, a civilian judge in Bosnian Petrovac
23 [as interpreted], and his task was to analyse and gather information on
24 violations of discipline and on crimes. And he had to submit reports to
25 the military prosecutor's office in Banja Luka, and that office would
1 then decide whether to institute proceedings or not.
2 Your Honours, I've really tried to be brief but it wasn't
3 possible for me to be more succinct, so I do apologise if I went into
4 some detail.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed --
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed we all would appreciate if you could be as
8 short and as precise as possible.
9 Mr. Tolimir.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Did you remain in the 2nd Corps until the end of the war, or were
13 you also in some other unit? Thank you.
14 A. I didn't remain in the 2nd Krajina Corps until the end, but in
15 July 1994 I was transferred to the General Staff of the Army of
16 Republika Srpska.
17 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us what your establishment position
18 was in the Army of Republika Srpska? Thank you.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: Excuse me, Mr. President. We are getting a --
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. McCloskey.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: -- a translation that is "the General Staff," and
22 I just -- I don't know if he's saying "general" or "glavni." And I know
23 they know the difference but I just want to point that out because there
24 is a difference.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, could you please clarify the right
1 term with the witness?
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Skrbic, which unit did you join after you were transferred
5 from the 2nd Krajina Corps, and what was your establishment position?
6 Thank you.
7 A. I was transferred to the Main Staff of the Army of
8 Republika Srpska. My position was that of assistant commander of the
9 Main Staff, responsible for organisational, mobilisation, and personnel
11 Q. Thank you. To describe your career, before we move on to other
12 essential issues, could you tell us how long you stayed in the
13 Army of Republika Srpska and how did your career subsequently develop?
14 Thank you.
15 A. I remained in the Army of Republika Srpska until the end of 1996.
16 At the beginning of 1997, I was transferred to the Army of Yugoslavia.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You're microphone is off, Mr. Tolimir.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I apologise to the interpreters and
20 to the Chamber.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Could you tell us which place you went to and which establishment
23 position did you have in the Army of Yugoslavia, after you left the Army
24 of Republika Srpska? Thank you. And I do apologise.
25 A. I was assigned to the personnel department of the General Staff
1 of the Army of Yugoslavia, and I was the assistant for the -- the
2 assistant chief for the personnel department in the year 2000. By decree
3 of the president of the republic, I was assigned to the deputy or the
4 assistant chief for the administration for moral guidance, and on that
5 very same year -- in that very same year I was the minister of defence
6 for information. In 2001, on the 4th [as interpreted] of April, my
7 military career came to an end.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Interpretation -- interpreter's correction, I
9 was assistant minister.
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
11 Q. In order for the record, could you tell us when you retired in
12 2001, in which month did you retire, and what was your rank when you
14 A. I retired on the 1st of April, 2001. My rank was
16 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Let's move on to your duties as the
17 assistant commander for organisational matters in the Army of
18 Republika Srpska in its Main Staff. Can you tell us where the sector for
19 organisational and personnel issues is located, and you're a member of
20 that body? Thank you.
21 A. Mr. Tolimir, do you have the place, the location in mind?
22 Q. Yes, I do apologise, Mr. Skrbic. I am asking you about the
23 location, the place. Thank you.
24 A. All the staff who worked in the sector where I worked as an
25 assistant was located in Han Pijesak, the rear command post.
1 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us how far that was from the
2 Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska in kilometres, and could you
3 tell us where the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska was actually
4 located? Thank you.
5 A. The Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska was in a place
6 called Crna Rijeka, which, in my assessment, is about 3 and a half to
7 4 kilometres from Han Pijesak.
8 I apologise, Your Honours. I have to rephrase that, with your
9 leave. It's not a place. It's not a village. It was a location of the
10 Main Staff, but there was no settlement there.
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Please, could you tell us what duties you
12 had as assistant commander for organisation, mobilisation, and personnel
13 issues in the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska?
14 A. I had a lot of tasks that I had to carry out. I'll try to give
15 you a general idea of these tasks and not go into all the details. That
16 would take a lot of time. But all the duties that I performed had to do
17 with personnel issues. It concerned managing offices. It involved
18 training, education, promotion, cessation of activity, and so on and so
20 As for organisation, as far as organisation is concerned, we
21 didn't have too much work because when I arrived in the Main Staff,
22 organisational matters had been dealt with.
23 Mobilisation -- well, the Main Staff had to draw up mobilisation
24 plans and co-ordinate this with units. As for calling up men and
25 obtaining supplies, that was the responsibility of the Ministry of
2 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. As you said, organisational matters had
3 been dealt with. Could you briefly tell the Chamber what organisation
4 involves? What is involved in organisational work? Thank you.
5 A. Organisation is a system, and the army uses units and
6 institutions that it sets up in order to function as a whole.
7 Q. Thank you. Please, could you tell us whether you had all the
8 information on the structure and organisation of the Main Staff and of
9 other units of the Army of Republika Srpska that was subordinated to the
10 Main Staff?
11 A. Yes, I did.
12 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell the Chamber what personnel
13 issues involves? What field does this cover? Thank you.
14 A. Your Honours, I've partially provided you with a description of
15 those duties. I'll add something else, and this concerns something that
16 was done together with the minister of defence of the Republika Srpska,
17 and this had to do with publishing competitions for military schools and
18 academies. Other forms of training were under my responsibility, right
19 up to the level of military -- the military academy. We didn't send
20 officers to military schools above the level of military academy, though
21 there are such schools, because we believed that war was the best way to
22 obtain an education.
23 As for other activities, there was the activity of assigning
24 professional and reserve officers or deploying them. Assigning them
25 establishment positions, issuing orders that pertain to such
1 establishment positions. Then we had to deal with promotional matters,
2 promoting to the rank of major or general. A certain procedure then had
3 to be followed, and I hope there will be questions about that because
4 it's a different procedure for each and every category. And then there
5 was also the matter of retirement, if necessary. I say "if necessary"
6 because some men were wounded, some were killed. A decision on
7 retirement would have to be taken so that the family of a person
8 concerned could receive certain benefits, for example.
9 So there were quite a lot of tasks, and I think I have said
10 enough. I wouldn't want to go into too many details about that.
11 Q. Thank you. Since you discharge quite a few duties, can you tell
12 us, briefly, what did you mean by mobilisation, because that was also in
13 the name of the institution that you worked for? Thank you.
14 A. It implies the submission of requests to the Ministry of Defence
15 in order to call up conscripts and institutions to place their assets at
16 the disposal of the VRS Army.
17 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell us how mobilisation is being
18 carried out in wartime? Thank you.
19 A. There are several ways to do that. When general mobilisation is
20 proclaimed, then men are not called up but, rather, units can freely
21 recruit all able-bodied men and engage them in units. However, when
22 there is no mobilisation and no state of war, then civilian organisations
23 are the one who send out call-up papers, and they served personally to
24 each individual.
25 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us whether there was a state of war
1 declared in Republika Srpska, and if it was, when was that? Thank you.
2 A. A state of war was declared in Republika Srpska in the area of
3 responsibility of Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. I believe that that was in
4 early 1995. Then what followed was the area of responsibility of the
5 2nd Krajina Corps, again in 1995, and then in the area of Srebrenica in
6 1995. However, a state of war in the entire territory of
7 Republika Srpska was declared only in October 1995. I may be wrong with
8 the months but the year is correct.
9 Q. Thank you. In addition to organisation and mobilisation and
10 personnel duties that you discharged, did you perform any other duties?
11 And if you did, on whose orders did you do that whilst you were in the
12 Main Staff?
13 A. Of course I did. Of course I performed other duties as well, as
14 per orders of the commander of the Main Staff of the VRS. I had no
15 option but to comply.
16 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell us if your department was obliged
17 to keep precise records about organisations, structure, and level of
19 A. Yes, that was one of our obligations.
20 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us what was the staffing level of the
21 Main Staff compared to those envisaged in the establishment? If you have
22 this information.
23 A. The staffing level of the Main Staff was very poor. It didn't
24 reach 30 per cent. Some organisational units within the staff had even a
25 lower percentage of the staffing levels.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we please have P2227 in
2 e-court. Thank you. It's a chart --
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
4 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the Defence has a
5 sufficient number of hard copies of this chart in both languages. Since
6 the screen is too small for this kind of chart, we believe that it would
7 be beneficial for everyone following these proceedings be given a hard
8 copy and the witness will have a copy in the B/C/S which is in A3 format.
9 And I think that will facilitate the whole procedure for everyone
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic, I appreciate that. And the
12 Court Usher should give one copy to the witness, one to the Prosecution,
13 and for the Chamber, please.
14 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter from the booth also would like
15 to have a copy.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic, do you have enough copies so that we
17 can provide the interpreters also with a copy for every booth?
18 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] More than enough.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The interpreters should get one, too.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Usher.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Mr. Skrbic, as you can see, this is the chart that depicts the
23 composition of the Main Staff of the VRS in July 1995. My question is:
24 Did you have an opportunity to become familiarised with this chart as we
25 see it here during your preparations for your testimony here?
1 A. Yes, I did.
2 Q. Thank you. We see here that it says "The commander of the
3 Main Staff" on top, and that's Colonel General Ratko Mladic. Can you see
4 that anything is missing there?
5 A. A box is missing there which should indicate his staff or cabinet
6 or office.
7 Q. Since this box is missing, can you please insert it in the chart,
8 if you know, and mark it with a number 1, or you can orally explain who
9 members of the commander's office were while you were there, for the
10 record, please.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I think it's sufficient that it is
12 explained orally because we have one technical problem: You see the
13 screen is divided. On top we have the B/C/S version and below that the
14 English version of this chart. That's helpful for those who can't read
15 both languages. So it's, perhaps, more satisfying if the witness would
16 explain orally because, otherwise, he has to put some comments or in
17 additions to both versions on the screen.
18 Mr. Skrbic, are you able to answer the question?
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Mr. Skrbic, can you tell us what should be added here next to the
21 box which says "Commander of the Main Staff" as an integral part of this
22 organ, and just explain this to us orally?
23 A. Your Honours, I am going to try to simplify this as much as I
24 can, and I think that everyone listening to this will understand. So a
25 box is missing which should indicate the office, and it is at the same
1 level as the department for civilian affairs.
2 Q. Thank you. Since we see here the department for civilian affairs
3 has two members of staff, can you tell us how many people would be in
4 that box that is missing indicating the office of the Main Staff and who
5 they were?
6 A. For a long time, this office box was blank, and after that we
7 appointed Rajko Banduka who was transferred from the position of
8 aide-de-camp, and then later on his rank was warrant officer. And then
9 later on --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the name of the
11 second member.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Could you please repeat the second name you have
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that the second person was
15 Major Dragomir Pecanac.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Mr. Skrbic, we see here that all the sectors in this third line
19 belonging to the Main Staff are indicated. Can you tell us what was the
20 position of the Chief of the Main Staff?
21 A. According to this organisational chart, the box that you are
22 asking me about, Mr. Tolimir, is correctly filled. The Chief of Staff is
23 at the same time a deputy commander of the Main Staff.
24 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us what is the difference between the
25 commander and the Chief of Staff as his deputy, and what are his powers
1 with regard to command and control? Thank you.
2 A. This formulation, Your Honours, comes from the establishment of
3 the VRS, and it says that the Chief of Staff is, at the same time, a
4 deputy commander of the Main Staff. According to that description, it
5 means that the Chief of Staff stands in for the commander when he is
6 prevented from carrying out his duties and no specific orders are needed.
7 Other persons indicated here can only stand in for the commander pursuant
8 to an appropriate document that can be -- only be issued by the president
9 of the republic. In short, the Chief of Staff can act as a deputy
10 commander at any given time but never when the commander is present.
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Was it possible for the commander, if he
12 was there, to delegate certain powers with regard to command/control to
13 the Chief of Staff? Thank you.
14 A. Yes, it was.
15 Q. Thank you. Can you please explain, briefly, what this meant in
16 practice in the operation of the Main Staff?
17 A. As far as I know, Your Honours, was -- for example, the commander
18 was entitled to authorise his deputy to call us to attend the senior
19 staff meeting. We would have to respond and comply without asking
20 whether he was authorised to do that because he would clearly be
21 authorised. Now, as for controlling the staff units and other units, the
22 same applied but when he was present on the premises. So he could only
23 perform the duties that the commander gave him the authority to do.
24 Q. Now, further on we see that below the commander of the
25 Main Staff, we see assistant commanders. Can you tell the Chamber who
1 the assistant commanders were and how many of them were on the Main Staff
2 of the VRS in 1995? Thank you.
3 A. According to this chart, the assistant commander positions are
4 accurately depicted. The assistant for morale guidance, legal and
5 religious affairs; assistant for logistics; assistant for mobilisation
6 organisation, and personnel; assistant for intelligence and security; and
7 the assistant for planning, development, and finances; and finally, the
8 assistant for airforce and anti-aircraft defence. In total,
9 Your Honours, this is six assistants. And, with your leave, I would like
10 this to be amended because the indictment says that there were seven
11 assistants. And I accessed the indictment on the internet.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is your evidence and we have it on the
14 Mr. Tolimir.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Mr. Skrbic, since you performed the duties of assistant commander
18 for personnel affairs, could you tell us what the role of the assistant
19 commander was in terms of control and command? What your role was, in
21 A. As assistant commander for personnel, organisational, and
22 mobilisation affairs, I had the duty of analysing the situation in the
23 Army of Republika Srpska, and I had to prepare material for meetings that
24 had to do with mobilisation, promotion, deployment, and the training of
25 officers. Such material would be discussed at meetings of the
1 commanders, but the decisions would only be taken by the commander, to be
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: Excuse me, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. McCloskey.
6 MR. McCLOSKEY: I think there must be something missing, because
7 our English says "meeting of the commanders," and I think we'll agree
8 that there is one commander at the Main Staff, which, I think, Mr. Skrbic
9 just said. I'm sorry to ask him, I think he needs to repeat it because
10 it doesn't make sense the way it is in there.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Witness, you have heard the last sentence by
12 Mr. McCloskey. We see on the record, I quote:
13 "Such material would be discussed at meetings of the commanders,"
15 Can you repeat what you really said, precisely?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct, Your Honour. At
17 those meetings, at those collegiums, all the corps commanders were
18 present when the subject matter that I have just been speaking about was,
19 in fact, discussed. So these were meetings of commanders, and the
20 commander of the Main Staff was in charge of those meetings. He would
21 chair those meetings.
22 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Which commanders? It's not in the
24 transcript. Because it's in the plural, could you reply -- could you
25 repeat which commanders?
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It is on the record. We have it on the record.
2 He referred to the corps commanders who took part in meetings with the
3 commander of the VRS. This is my understanding. I see the witness --
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I see the witness nodding. You may continue,
6 Mr. Tolimir.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I do
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation].
10 Q. Could you very briefly and precisely tell us whether the
11 assistant commanders - and there are a number of them in this chart -
12 could you tell us whether they had a role to play of any kind when it
13 came to command and control? Did they have the right to command and
14 control in the staff and in relation to the units? Thank you.
15 A. I apologise. All the assistant commanders in the Main Staff had
16 the right to control but not to command. Not a single one of them had
17 the right to command.
18 Q. Thank you. Since a distinction is made between command and
19 control in the answer, could you tell us what command involves and what
20 control involves? What is the distinction to be made between these
21 two concepts in our army, in NATO, in the US, and so on and so forth?
22 Thank you.
23 A. Your Honours, in the available literature, these concepts are
24 both compatible and incompatible. In the West, it's a lot clearer. The
25 term used there is "command." In the Eastern world, we have the terms
1 "command" and "control." Sometimes the same is a meant by these two
2 terms and sometimes a significant distinction is made.
3 In the military schools of the JNA, there is a subject called
4 "command and control." And the administration would be involved in
5 analysis of control, in planning, and so on, but command involved
6 teaching about the singleness of command and it involved teaching about
7 tasks. But this isn't the place to discuss such scientific issues, so I
8 think I would prefer to provide you with a practical example in order to
9 try and explain to you what command and control actually means in the
10 Army of Republika Srpska.
11 In the Army of Republika Srpska, well, it is the Supreme
12 Commander who exercises command and control. The Ministry of Defence
13 controls some parts that fall within that domain, but in the army itself,
14 both command and control are exercised, but only the commanders have the
15 right to command. Only they have such authority, whereas all the others
16 don't have such authority unless authorised, for example, unless there is
17 an order issued by commanders authorising them.
18 So I could say that "control" resembles a civilian process, a
19 civilian organisation. "Command" is a military process par excellence,
20 so that is why the term, the best and most precise term in that case is
21 "to command."
22 Q. Thank you.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Mindua has a question.
24 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Skrbic. This question
25 concerning command and control is, in fact, a very complicated issue. It
1 is something that has been frequently discussed in this courtroom. But
2 let me come back to what you said in the transcript, page 28, line -- or
3 lines 3 and 4. The Ministry -- the minister of defence -- the Ministry
4 of Defence - I am trying to translate this into French - controls, or,
5 rather has a certain amount of responsibility for control, but the army
6 itself is responsible for command -- or command and control, in fact.
7 Is it possible for the Ministry of Defence to control something
8 that it has no command over? Do you have an example that you could
9 provide us with?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's a little more
11 difficult for me to hear the interpreter now. I don't know what's
12 happening, but I understand the Honourable Judge has just said.
13 When we are speaking about command in relation to the army, I
14 said - and this is on the base of experience and practice, it's not a
15 theoretical matter - the Ministry of Defence in Republika Srpska could
16 not have command over the Army of Republika Srpska because in wartime,
17 and it was a war, command would only be exercised under the Supreme
18 Commander, commander of the Army of Republika Srpska. But the ministry
19 had certain duties that it controlled, you know. Duties such as
20 mobilisation, obtaining equipment for the army, as well as food for the
21 army, but because it had to perform these activities, that didn't mean
22 that it had the right to exercise command over the army.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please slow down while speaking, because we lost
24 some of your explanations on the transcript.
25 Judge Mindua.
1 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Very well. That's very
2 interesting, witness. So the Ministry of Defence could, for example,
3 exercise control over certain areas, supply, for example. But the
4 Ministry of Defence could not exercise command.
5 The question I am putting to myself is whether we are dealing
6 with a semantic problem. Is it a matter of vocabulary? With regard to
7 supplies, could you try and provide me an example to explain what command
8 involves in relation to supplies and what control involves in relation to
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When it is necessary to obtain
11 equipment of a certain kind, then the relevant decisions are taken by the
12 commander, that is to say, the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, and
13 that is the president of the republic. He then assigns a task to the
14 government. The government then forwards the task to the Ministry of
15 Defence, which is an integral part of the government. But since it's
16 involved -- but although it is involved in obtaining equipment and
17 supplies, that does not mean that it has the right to exercise command
18 over the army.
19 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Very well. I have understood your
20 answer. You are quite right. But this is my last question: Could the
21 ministry, for example, decide or order a commander to use three vehicles
22 and afterwards could it exercise control, or did the ministry have to go
23 along with the decision on the number of vehicles to be used if that
24 decision was taken by the commander?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the ministry couldn't
1 issue orders of any kind in the course of the war. That was common
3 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Nyambe has a question.
5 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you very much. If I may just take you back
6 to the same quotation, but seeking a different clarification. At page 28
7 of today's transcript, starting from line 1, we have you recorded as
8 stating that:
9 "In the Army of Republika Srpska -- in the Army of Republika
10 Srpska, well, it is the Supreme Commander who exercises command and
11 control," and you go on up to line 8. In this passage you are using the
12 word "commander" and "commanders" interchangeably. I am a bit confused.
13 For example, when you say:
14 "But in the army itself, both command and control are exercised,"
15 you don't say by who, "but only the commanders have the right to
17 I assume by this you are saying assistant commanders or corps
18 commanders. And then you go on to say:
19 "Unless there is an order issued by commanders authorising them."
20 Again, I am not quite sure which segment of the commanders you
21 are referring to. I wonder if you could clarify that particular portion
22 of your evidence for me again, please. Thank you.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, some concepts are
24 clear to me and I do speak rapidly, but I am surprised, however, that
25 such confusion has been caused. I'll try and be more precise.
1 Within the army itself, only commanders can exercise command. We
2 start with the commander of the Main Staff of the Army of Republika
3 Srpska, who has command over corps commanders. So the corps commanders
4 exercise command over all the units within their corps. The brigade
5 commanders exercise command over the brigades. The other members of the
6 command don't have the right to exercise a command, but they do have to
7 deal or, rather, perform the duties they are responsible for. They have
8 to perform analysis. They have to propose measures to be taken by their
9 commanders. For example, we would also propose measures to be taken to
10 the commander of the Main Staff, but they also have to report on the
11 implementation of the measures.
12 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you very much for your answer.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would suggest that this is a convenient time
14 for our first break. We will resume after half an hour at 4.15. We
16 --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.
17 [The witness stands down]
18 [The witness takes the stand]
19 --- On resuming at 4.17 p.m.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Tolimir. Please continue your
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Skrbic, a moment ago you described and explained the various
25 relations and relationships between commanders; in other words, the
1 Main Staff commander and the corps commanders. So my question is this:
2 Since you were an assistant commander both in the Main Staff and at corps
3 level, can you tell us whether the assistant commander at the Main Staff
4 could issue orders to assistant commanders at corps levels? In other
5 words, did they have command ability or capability?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Thank you. Could you issue an order to someone who came to
8 replace you at the 2nd Corps once you were transferred to the Main Staff?
9 Thank you.
10 A. All I could do is seek information from him, but I could not
11 issue commands to him.
12 Q. Thank you. And could that person send any requests to you
13 directly and sign them himself, personally, so could that be done in that
14 way or what was the procedure?
15 A. No, that person would not be able to send any requests to me
16 without his commander's signature.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. McCloskey.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: Just, sorry for the interruption, but we
20 repeatedly are getting the -- Mr. Skrbic working for the 2nd Corps.
21 Somehow 2nd Krajina Corps is getting left out of it, and given that who
22 we know the 2nd Corps is, I think it's probably an issue of speed, but I
23 just wanted to point that out.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. McCloskey. We will
25 resolve that. I will put a question to the witness.
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Skrbic, did any organ within the corps have the capability to
3 send any request to you, even if it was dealing with the same issues that
4 they dealt with at the corps level as the issues that you dealt with at
5 the Main Staff level, and could they sign such requests?
6 A. Your Honour, in my purview usually the issues that I dealt with
7 were proposals for promotions, and such requests could not be sent by an
8 assistant commander at the 2nd Krajina Corps without the signature of the
9 commander of the 2nd Krajina Corps.
10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Now my next question: If an organ from
11 within your sector were to be sent per order of the commander to a lower
12 level unit at the brigade level or so, would you be able to issue orders
13 to such an individual? Thank you.
14 A. No.
15 Q. Thank you. And would that person be allowed to send reports to
16 you if he was acting in -- if he was acting according to the orders from
17 the commander who was sent? So could he send reports to someone from
18 your sector?
19 A. Regardless of who it was who was at my sector, who it was that
20 sent him, the person --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat this part of
22 his answer.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I have to stop you for a moment. We have two
24 problems: One is that you are speaking quite fast, like Mr. Tolimir does
25 sometimes, too, and you are overlapping. Please pause between question
1 and answer. The interpreters have to finalise their interpretation,
2 otherwise they will not get the first part of your answer.
3 Could you please repeat the whole answer again.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My apologies, Your Honour. So far
5 I've tried to slow down, and I don't know why I picked up speed. Perhaps
6 because the question was a very broad one, so I was just trying to save
7 some time.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. I will try to be brief in my questions
11 and clearer.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I asked the witness to repeat his
13 answer and I would like to hear the answer.
14 Please repeat the last answer.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All those who were transferred to
16 units or were sent there in order to perform an analysis of the situation
17 are duty-bound to assess the situation within their line of service. So
18 those who were within the unit and who dealt with issues belonging to the
19 same purview would report to them, and then this information would be
20 collated and reported to the commander who sent them to do this.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Thank you. Mr. Skrbic, the individuals who were sent to a
23 lower-level unit, corps or brigade, either independently or as part of a
24 team, who was it that they had to submit reports? Was it to the
25 commander or to someone else?
1 A. They had to report -- to submit reports to their commander alone.
2 Q. Thank you. Now the next question: If someone from your sector,
3 a person who was your subordinate, was sent to carry out a task from
4 another purview that had nothing to do with mobilisation, for instance,
5 but at a lower level, corps or brigade level, did that person have to
6 report to you on any matters and was it their duty to send written
7 reports to you on their work, on the task that they were assigned to
8 perform? Thank you.
9 A. No, they didn't have to do that. But I would like to make a
10 distinction here. If a commander assigned an individual from my sector
11 to carry out another task, another assignment, he does not -- he was not
12 obliged to inform me of that; however, if that individual was sent to
13 carry out an assignment which was within my purview, that field, then
14 they would have to report to me and inform me.
15 Q. And was he supposed to report during the task or following a
16 task -- following a completion of the task?
17 A. Following the completion of the task.
18 Q. So he would have to report on whose orders he performed that task
19 as well, right?
20 A. Yes, that's correct.
21 Q. Thank you. Tell us, please, could you issue any orders or could
22 you issue commands to an assistant corps commander for organisation,
23 personnel, and mobilisation without the approval of the commander from
24 the Main Staff? Thank you.
25 A. Your Honours, there are quite a number of jobs that have to be
1 done within my sector that run on a continuous basis, and people who were
2 in charge of these areas knew ahead of time what it was that they were
3 supposed to do. However, I could not take any steps that had to deal
4 with the corps without the approval of the commander from the Main Staff
5 of the VRS.
6 Q. Thank you. Now, can you please explain just briefly what the
7 difference is between the sector, an administration, and an institution
8 or institute at the level of the main corps -- Main Staff and the corps
9 levels? Thank you.
10 A. Sectors or departments were complex units. They are more complex
11 than administrations because their purview was broader. Administrations
12 are of somewhat lower level rank than sectors or administrations because
13 the volume of work that they had to do was less. And then you asked me
14 about the institutes. Those are organisational units within the VRS that
15 dealt with civilian affairs or semi --
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Semi-civilian
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- for the needs of the VRS, some
19 of which or some of whom were part of the VRS. And if you would like me,
20 I can provide some examples.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Thank you. Would you please then answer my question that I am
23 going to put now, and then you can give us some examples. Now, tell
24 us -- now, could there be the same type of work or same jobs that would
25 be assigned to various sectors; in other words, sectors that deal with
1 various departments of work? Thank you.
2 A. Well, I am not really clear what you are trying to ask me, but
3 can I try to clarify it, at least the way I understand it. Jobs of
4 similar type are usually put within the same sector. They are assigned
5 to the same sector.
6 Q. Thank you. Was it possible for a chief of sector or department
7 to be a person who did similar work --
8 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the question be
9 repeated, please. It was not understood by interpreter.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, the interpreters asked you to repeat
11 your question because they didn't catch it.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. The chief of sector, could he issue commands to all parts of his
15 sector, administrations, units, and so on, or did he just unify them in
16 terms of organisation or location?
17 A. Your Honour, with all due respect to General Tolimir, there was
18 no chief of sector. There were assistant commanders for various areas.
19 That was the official title in official documents. However, for ease of
20 communication we can refer to them as chiefs, although such a title did
21 not really exist.
22 So an assistant in charge of a certain sector was responsible for
23 the command and control of that sector, and then within the sector
24 itself, the officers were his subordinates. But outside of the sector,
25 no one was subordinate to him. The relationships within the sector
1 itself were functional. For instance, General Djukic as the assistant
2 commander for logistics could co-operate with another assistant
3 commander, but we could not issue orders to one another.
4 Q. Thank you for your clarification and for the correction. But can
5 you tell me, please, your organ or sector, could it be part of the rear
6 organ or logistics organ that was under the command of General Djukic?
7 Thank you.
8 A. No.
9 Q. Thank you. Tell us, please, in our army was a distinction made
10 between command and control, or, rather, "komandovanje, rukovodjenje i
11 kontrola." Command, directing, and control. Thank you.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic, again this topic?
13 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I believe that everyone
14 is aware of this problem. We do not have an exact interpretation because
15 the semantics are different. So we have different terms. We have the
16 word "komandovanje," "command"; "rukovodjenje," "direction"; and
17 "kontrola," "control."
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic, it's, of course, a problem to have
19 different languages in our record but it is taped and it might be checked
20 at a later stage which words were originally spoken and which translation
21 was used.
22 Mr. McCloskey.
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, I don't want to bring up the old dispute,
24 but CLSS has translated "komandovanje" and "rukovodjenje" as "command"
25 and "control," and the term "kontrola" also is "control," not as
1 "direction" as Mr. Gajic would prefer it. And so as long as we
2 understand that, I think we can go ahead, but that -- that's the
3 situation, the old debate which we obviously won't resolve here.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And this is why I say on page 39, line 1, I
5 didn't ask Mr. Gajic to help. I said "again this topic," with a question
6 mark, because we indeed have had this discussion quite often.
7 Mr. Gajic, you want to say something.
8 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just in order to be
9 clear for the record, I spoke in Serbian and I mentioned the terms that
10 Mr. Tolimir mentioned, and I was very careful not to say anything that
11 might be understood to be leading to the witness or anyone else.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think this witness is capable to describe his
13 position and his duties in the VRS properly, and this is the reason why I
14 would like to put a question to him.
15 Mr. Skrbic, you explained earlier today that there is a
16 distinction between command and control. Did you have a control function
17 in your position as assistant commander in the Main Staff?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you for making
19 it easier for me to answer this question, because I know exactly what my
20 purview was and what my responsibilities were. As far as my relationship
21 with subordinate units, I had no control -- no command responsibilities.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Let me interrupt you.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As for --
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would like really to clarify and to make a
25 distinction between command and control. I just asked you about your --
1 if you had a control function.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I had a supervisory
3 function, not control.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can you explain that? What is the difference
5 between supervisory function and control?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A control entity had the right to
7 take action and measures when something was established, a situation was
8 established. As for supervision, that only meant that we would observe
9 how certain actions are carried out. Control mainly had to do with
10 command and combat tasks; whereas supervision had to do with personnel
11 issues, security issues, logistics issues, and so on.
12 Your Honour, we were duty-bound to have -- for instance, as
13 assistant commander, I had to have insight into how certain orders for
14 appointments were carried out, how orders to do with relief of duty were
15 carried out, and so on.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: By carrying out this duty, it could happen that
17 you find out that somebody is not following the correct procedure and is
18 not abiding by orders. What are you doing then?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would report that to
20 the commander of the Main Staff.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: If somebody in your sector is not abiding by any
22 order, what are you doing then?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, there were no
24 situations like that, but if somebody who was directly subordinated to
25 me, there were measures that I could take then, but only in terms of
1 reprimanding them. I was not entitled to dismiss them.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Up to now we are dealing with the supervisory
3 tasks, now we come to control. Did you personally or did your sector
4 have any control function in the VRS?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. Your Honours, only within the
6 teams appointed by the commander of the Main Staff in order to dispatch
7 them to carry out control of subordinate units.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Did you have any command function in the VRS,
9 inside your sector or to other units or subordinate units?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Within my sector I was superior to
11 the officers appointed to that sector. Apart from that, I was not
12 superior to anyone else.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I asked you if you had command function of any
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Who was your deputy?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Colonel Stojan Malcic was my
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Was it possible that you did order him to do
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I asked you if you had command function of any
23 kind, and then you said "no," but you had command function in relation to
24 your deputy. To whom else could you issue any kind of orders?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that's this distinction that
1 apparently cannot be properly established in our communications because
2 there is still difference between command and control. It was possible
3 for me to issue orders to Colonel Slobodan Kovacevic who was one of my
4 subordinates, as well as to Stojan Malcic, but command function has to do
5 with the carrying out of combat missions.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And I was just asking you about your command
7 function you carried out personally, and you gave an answer. You were in
8 a position to issue orders to your deputy and to subordinates in your
9 sector; is that correct?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is correct, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Who was in a position to issue orders to a
12 subordinate unit, in the corps or somewhere else, which was responsible
13 for organisation, mobilisation, and personnel affairs? For instance, in
14 a corps.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the commander of the
16 Main Staff issued orders to the corps commander within the relevant
17 domain. I was not entitled to issue any corps orders of that kind.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Not to any organisation in a subordinate unit
19 which was responsible, for instance, for mobilisation or personnel
20 affairs? How about promotion or something else?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not a single unit. All I could do,
22 Your Honour, was to intervene if they failed to submit proposals for
23 promotion in time and just to remind them that they were supposed to do
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: What do you mean by "they"?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I mean the personnel organs from
2 subordinate units, from the corps.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Is that a supervisory function, when you find out
4 that they failed to report, for instance?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. We can agree
6 that this constitutes a supervisory function.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Or was it a control function?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Again, we are -- or I am struggling
9 with this English terminology because in the Serbian language we
10 distinguish between "supervision" and "control," and we see control as a
11 more serious process which implies an imperative nature. Supervisory is
12 a more lenient process and doesn't contain any imperatives. This is a
13 distinction that I find difficult to explain for those who speak English.
14 If there is no other term in English for supervision, then we can agree
15 about control. But I explained to you what was the scope of control and
16 what was the scope of supervision.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: When you found out that a subordinate unit didn't
18 report correctly, could you order them to report?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I had the right to
20 send the report back to them, pointing out the mistakes and asking them
21 to correct it.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much for your answers.
23 Mr. Gajic, you wanted to raise a matter.
24 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, there was a
25 mistranslation on page 42, line 15. It says here "command and control,"
1 whereas the witness was talking about the difference between command
2 function and issuing orders.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is your position. We have it on the record.
4 Thank you.
5 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. Skrbic, since we didn't discuss much the function of control,
9 was it possible for you to control the jobs that you assigned
10 independently or were you able to control the jobs that were assigned to
11 be done by units by the commander?
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
13 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, two terms: "Control"
14 and "control," or "rukovodjenje" and "kontrola," are often translated
15 from B/C/S into English by using a single term, "control." Therefore, we
16 have a slight confusion, and I believe that this is affecting both the
17 witness, the Chamber, and all of us who are following this because if
18 different terms are interpreted by one and the same word, which is
19 "control," and due to that we wouldn't be able to read the transcript
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic, I am afraid that we will waste time to
22 discuss that over and over again. We have received some advice by the
23 translation unit, and we should be very much looking forward to overcome
24 that. We can't resolve this problem in the courtroom, and everything is
25 taped in all languages, so that might be controlled later on.
1 Mr. McCloskey.
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. On another topic, Mr. President. We see
3 from this question where General Tolimir says:
4 "And we didn't discuss much the function of control. Was it
5 possible for you to control the jobs that you assigned independently or
6 were you able to control the jobs that were assigned to be done by units
7 of the commander?"
8 Can we -- so the question is not vague and is understandable,
9 when asked such a question, can he make sure he's telling us is he asking
10 about directions to his staff within his sector, or is he asking about
11 directions or directives or orders to his functional subordinates, those
12 in the corps or the brigade. It's a completely different answer, and
13 unless we know who he is issuing the directions to, we don't -- we
14 won't -- the answer won't make any sense. And in that question you can't
15 tell whether it's his sector he's issuing these things to or a corps or a
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir may clarify this if he wants to do
18 it, otherwise you will have the opportunity to do that during your
19 cross-examination, Mr. McCloskey.
20 Judge Nyambe.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It is not the first time in this trial that we
23 came across this problem. If I remember correctly, we have had a similar
24 instance last year, sometime in early autumn. We at that point in time
25 asked the translation unit to check and revise the transcript and the
1 tapes again and provide us with the correct official translation. We are
2 not able to understand the B/C/S language. Mr. Tolimir is not able to
3 understand fully English. Mr. Gajic is quite capable of English, but he
4 is not an translation expert. Mr. McCloskey is not able to understand
5 B/C/S, although I was deeply impressed when you used these terms.
6 The only way to resolve this is after this -- after court, to ask
7 the Registry and the translation unit to check the tapes in B/C/S and to
8 revise the transcript of the testimony of this witness and to get an
9 official revised version of the transcript. We, at least I, don't see
10 any other way to resolve this problem without a waste of time.
11 Mr. Tolimir, please continue.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Mr. Skrbic, there may be some changes in interpretation, so
15 please give us a precise answer about combat activities. Did assistant
16 commanders control the business in their sectors in accordance with the
17 commander's decision, or are they entitled to change it? Thank you.
18 A. They cannot change it, but what they -- actually, what they
19 cannot change is the commander's order; whereas a decision is part of an
21 Q. Thank you. Let me repeat my question: Can they change the
22 commander's decision or order? Thank you.
23 A. They cannot change either.
24 Q. Thank you. Can they control the business or tasks in order to
25 achieve what the commander ordered? Thank you.
1 A. They are experts for the implementation of the commander's order
2 and decision in the best possible way.
3 Q. Thank you. Does that mean that they can only engage in their
4 professional business in the framework of the order or -- and -- given or
5 task assigned to them? Thank you.
6 A. Yes, they can only engage in their professional business, their
7 professional tasks.
8 Q. Thank you. Before this correction, please tell us what the
9 closest synonym is of the B/C/S term "rukovodjenje"?
10 A. There is no complete synonym for "rukovodjenje." I said at the
11 outset that sometimes "komandovanje" and "rukovodjenje," "command" and
12 "control," are synonyms. They are compatible, but there are distinctions
13 that must be born in mind. Whereas the term "rukovodjenje" has no
15 Q. Thank you. Is there a synonym for "komandovanje," "command"?
16 A. There is a synonym. Oftentimes the term "issuing orders" is
18 Q. Thank you. Is there a synonym for "kontrola" that would
19 correspond to some of the activities carried out in the framework of
20 command and control?
21 A. In the Serbian language there is no synonym for "kontrola."
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Let us not dwell on this any longer.
23 Please take a look at the schematic that you see in front of you.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And that's Exhibit 2227.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. It shows the structure of the Main Staff and staff unit.
2 Please --
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Let me just put on the record that on page 48,
4 lines 4 and 7, it should read "kontrola." Now it's correct on the
5 record. I hope we all can agree.
6 Now continue please, Mr. Tolimir.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could we please see --
8 or, rather, enlarge this schematic because it's very small on my screen.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Which part do you want to have zoomed in?
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The upper part. We can see two
11 halves, but I am interested in the upper half because I am about to ask
12 questions about it. Thank you.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Please take a look at the schematic and tell us what's missing
15 here. Thank you. Is any unit missing in this schematic?
16 A. But which schematic? I apologise. And which part of it, the
17 upper half, the lower half, all of it?
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The scheme is the same. One, the upper part, in
19 B/C/S, the lower part in -- the lower, we can see here on the screen is
20 in English. And Mr. Tolimir, as he did two hours ago, is asking you if
21 there is something missing. I don't think that he is asking you about a
22 unit attached to the commander himself. And you have it -- you have it
23 in hard copy in front of you, Mr. Skrbic.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I start
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, please do so.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Because a lot is missing in this
3 schematic. I was in two minds as to whether this question referred to
4 what we have already clarified. I am referring to the level where we see
5 the names of General Milovanovic, Gvero, Djukic, and the others. Talking
6 about this section, this is all correct.
7 However, in the other horizontal part, where we read
8 "1st Krajina Corps," "2nd Krajina Corps," and so on, at that level
9 everything is all right, too. But the level which on the left begins
10 with "67th Communications Regiment," it's in the lower left corner, this
11 regiment is an independent unit of the Main Staff of the VRS. There is a
12 lot of information missing at that level, and if I may I can tell you
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I am not sure if Mr. Tolimir is referring to that
15 question or not.
16 You may continue and clarify your question, please.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I was asking what was
18 missing from this schematic because his job description included the
19 formation -- or, rather, the establishment structure. So I asked him for
20 his opinion what was missing. Thank you.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We all understood your question. Perhaps you can
22 clarify it or make it a bit more specific so that the witness is not in a
23 position to explain everything but the specific part you are interested
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Skrbic, tell us which Main Staff units are missing here?
3 Thank you. I mean units subordinated to the commander.
4 A. The 89th Artillery Rocket Brigade is missing. The 14th Logistics
5 Base. The 27th Logistics Base. The 30th Logistics Base. The
6 35th Logistics Base. Furthermore, the airforce institute ORAO is
7 missing. The technical maintenance institute Kosmos is missing. Then
8 the technical maintenance institute Hadzici. The preventative medical
9 institute is missing. The military medical centre.
10 I am making a break for the interpreter to follow more easily.
11 The military hospital of the Main Staff is also missing. The
12 410th Intelligence Centre. Furthermore, the counter-intelligence group.
13 Then the military accounting centre. Then the military bookkeeping
14 centre. Then the information and propaganda centre. The Manjaca
15 training centre is also missing. The electronic data processing centre
16 is missing. It wasn't fully active during the war, however, because the
17 technical conditions had not been created. The central library of the
18 VRS. The military orchestra.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, is this the kind of information you
20 were asking for? Then you should please carry on.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. This is
22 the information I wanted to elicit because this witness is most familiar
23 with the establishment structure of the VRS.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Just carry on, please.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Skrbic, I interrupted you, and now I am going to ask you
2 about some things that I find most interesting in connection with these
3 Main Staff units. What was the status of the 410th Intelligence Centre
4 and the counter-intelligence group that you mentioned as missing from
5 this schematic and which were subordinated to the commander? Thank you.
6 I can amend my question: Who commanded and controlled these
7 organisational units of the Main Staff, as far as you know? Thank you.
8 A. The 410th Intelligence Centre and the counter-intelligence group
9 were Main Staff institutes directly subordinate to the commander of the
10 Main Staff of the VRS. That's why I listed them, Your Honours. I
11 mentioned all of them to be comprehensive and accurate. I apologise if
12 my answer was too lengthy.
13 Q. Here is my question: Could anybody command the 410th Centre and
14 the counter-intelligence group without the commander of the Main Staff
15 knowing about it? Thank you.
16 A. Without the knowledge and authorisation of the Main Staff
17 commander nobody could command these two units.
18 Q. Thank you. Did the Main Staff commander -- or could the
19 Main Staff commander order the counter-intelligence group to take
20 measures against General Tolimir or General Salapura or anybody from the
21 intelligence and security administration without being duty-bound to
22 inform these people, nor being held accountable for that decision?
23 A. Yes, he could issue such orders. According to the rules and
24 regulations, he was not duty-bound to inform anybody about that.
25 Q. Thank you. If he issued such orders to the counter-intelligence
1 group to eavesdrop on Tolimir or anybody from his structure, did those
2 who did it or could those who did it, were they allowed to inform the
3 relevant persons about their activities?
4 A. I cannot explain it in this way. I can only explain the process.
5 When the commander orders the 410th Intelligence Centre and the
6 counter-intelligence group to do something, then they have to carry out
7 the task and they don't inform anybody about it but the commander of the
8 Main Staff, because they are directly subordinated to him. The specifics
9 of their activities are not part of my expertise. I don't know if he
10 ever issued such orders. But if the commander of the Main Staff issues
11 them such orders, he can do so because that's part of his remit.
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Let's please see the
14 65 ter document now. 2365 is the number, page 2 in the Serbian version
15 and page 1 in the English version. Thank you.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Mr. Skrbic, can you explain the nature of this document to us,
18 the nature of this chart? What does it represent?
19 A. This document is a working plan. It contains all establishment
20 elements, establishment duties.
21 Q. Thank you. And is this document -- or was this document or plan
22 drawn up in your sector, and if so, who was behind it? Which body or
23 which individual? Thank you.
24 A. This document was compiled in the sector at the -- that was under
25 my responsibility. The document and information was compiled by
1 officials, officers in my sector who were responsibility for personnel
2 affairs. But you can see that this is a document created on a computer.
3 A computer expert couldn't work on a computer without the information
4 from officers who were under me. This document had the following
5 purpose. It was for me and for the commander of the Main Staff so that
6 it could be seen which positions had been filled and which hadn't been
8 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Let's briefly have a look at this chart.
9 And could you first tell me what sort of information is contained in the
10 chart? Thank you.
11 A. Your Honour, it's a little difficult for me to see. Would it be
12 possible to enlarge the Serbian version? Although I know these things by
13 heart to a large extent, but I wouldn't want to speak about it off the
14 top of my head. That's fine.
15 May I, Your Honour? I am starting from the top left-hand corner
16 where you can see the term "establishment." Establishment -- under
17 "establishment" you have "position," and then in the next box "rank."
18 Under "rank" you have VES, you have that abbreviation which means
19 "military specialty." And under the abbreviation VES you have the
20 letters PG, that's "payroll group." That stands for "payroll group."
21 And to the right, I think it means "position."
22 In the next column you have "father's name," "family name." And
23 then in the box further right you have the personal rank referred to and
24 VES and the payroll group. In the next box to the right, it says:
25 "Appointed by order of." And then in the next box to the right it says:
1 "Registered in the following unit and institution." And in the final box
2 to the right it says: "Remarks."
3 Q. Thank you. Does this working chart include all those who are
4 occupying establishment positions in the Main Staff or in some other
6 A. Here you have only the actual situation that is depicted, and
7 those individuals in this chart were actually in the Main Staff.
8 Q. Thank you. Does this working chart correctly depict the
9 establishment of the Main Staff of the VRS?
10 A. This working chart was compiled on the basis of a book on
11 establishment. I have referred to certain elements which cannot be
12 created, cannot be made up, and these elements were taken from a book on
14 Q. Thank you.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please see page 23 now in
16 the e-court system. Thank you.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
18 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in order to be of
19 assistance for the e-court, this entire chart hasn't been translated.
20 The translation is only partial, so I am afraid that the parts that we
21 are now going to be using are not contained in the translated documents
22 that we have in the e-court system.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: So the B/C/S version can be enlarged.
24 Mr. Tolimir.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could you scroll up a bit so that I
3 can see the part that you can't see on the screen right now. Thank you.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Do you see the title where it says: "Sector for intelligence and
7 A. Yes, I do.
8 Q. In this part of the work chart that has to do with the
9 intelligence and security sector, can you find information on the
10 410th Centre? Thank you.
11 A. No.
12 Q. Could you tell us why no such information is to be found there?
13 A. Because the 410th Intelligence Centre wasn't part of the
14 intelligence and security sector.
15 Q. Thank you. And is there any information here on the sabotage
16 unit and on the counter-intelligence group?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Why not?
19 A. For the same reasons I have just mentioned, because they were not
20 part of the sector.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we now see page 99, please.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. In the second column, above which it says: "The 66th Motorised
25 Protection Regiment," can you see that part? "The 65th Regiment."
1 A. Your Honour, in the English it says "the 66th."
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It's already corrected, 65th.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, I do apologise. Yes. I
4 can see the 65th Motorised Protection Regiment. I do apologise, what was
5 the question again?
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Thank you. I haven't put it yet. What was the status of this
8 unit in the Main Staff?
9 A. The 65th Motorised Protection Regiment was a headquarter support
10 unit in the Main Staff, directly subordinate to the commander of the
11 Main Staff.
12 Q. Thank you. And what was the status of the Guards Motorised
13 Brigade and who was it subordinated to? Thank you.
14 A. The 1st Guards Motorised Brigade is not a headquarter support
15 unit, but it is directly subordinated to the commander of the Main Staff.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we now please see page 100.
18 Thank you.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Here we can see above the second column it says: "The
22 14th Logistics Base." How many such bases were there and what was their
23 relationship with the logistics sector of the Main Staff? Thank you.
24 A. There were four bases. I have already mentioned their names in
25 my previous answer. These bases were also subordinated, directly
1 subordinated to the commander of the Main Staff. They weren't part of
2 the corps; although, they assisted the corps when it came to the
3 logistics, having obtained authorisation to do so from the commander of
4 the Main Staff.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please see now page 106.
7 Thank you. Thank you.
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Above the second column, it says: "The 410th Intelligence
10 Centre." Why can we find this in this part of the working chart? Thank
12 A. Because it was a separate, independent institution of the
13 Main Staff of the VRS, which was directly subordinated to the commander.
14 Q. Thank you. Did the commander exercise command and control over
15 this body? Thank you.
16 A. He did exercise command, that's for sure, but perhaps he
17 transferred certain authorities to the sector for intelligence and
19 Q. Thank you. And could the intelligence and security sector
20 exercise command over the 410th Intelligence Centre?
21 A. No, it couldn't.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we now see page 108 --
23 THE INTERPRETER: If the interpreter heard correctly.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. At the bottom of the page of this chart, it says: "The
2 Counter-Intelligence Group." My question is as follows -- well, now we
3 have it there. Why [Realtime transcript read in error "where"] can we
4 find this in this part of the working chart? If you could answer that
5 question, please.
6 A. Because it was also an independent body within the Main Staff of
7 the VRS.
8 Q. Thank you. Could you tell me whether the military prosecution
9 was independent of the VRS, or was it an integral part of the VRS and
10 subordinated to someone?
11 A. Since this is an independent body I did not want to mention it,
12 but within the Main Staff of the VRS there was also a military
13 prosecutor's office with a lawyer Supic at its head. I don't know if he
14 was judge. Nebojsa Supic. In judicial terms it was independent. It was
15 dependent on the Main Staff only in terms of administrative issues. So
16 it was an independent organisation, and the commander couldn't exercise
17 command over the military prosecutor's office.
18 Q. Thank you. Did the commander of the Main Staff and the command
19 of the Main Staff have to comply with their requests so that this body
20 could function properly? Thank you.
21 A. Yes, that's correct.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Nyambe has a question.
23 JUDGE NYAMBE: Yes, I just need a clarification. At page 58,
24 line 9 of today's transcript, the question was:
25 "At the bottom of the page of this chart, it says:
1 'Counter-intelligence group.' My question is: Where can we find this in
2 this part of the working chart?"
3 And your answer is:
4 "Because it was also an independent body of the VRS."
5 The question doesn't follow. Is it my understanding that that
6 is: "Why can we find this" rather than "where can we find this"? I
7 don't know if I am clear.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I didn't say that it
9 was part of the ministry. That's number one. And then I said that this
10 counter-intelligence group was an independent institution, directly
11 subordinated to the Main Staff commander. And I think the question was
12 why is it entered in the chart as a separate entity, so you have separate
13 entities such as corps and all the other institutions that I enumerated.
14 JUDGE NYAMBE: Okay. So then we agreed that in line 10, the
15 beginning of the sentence should be "why" rather than "where"?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Why do we see that they are
17 independent units, Your Honour? I'm sorry, I didn't understand your
19 JUDGE NYAMBE: I don't think it's your problem. I think it's --
20 it should be a clarification from the interpretation. Was it "where" or
21 was it "why"?
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can we have line 9 back on the screen? It
23 disappeared in the meantime. Thank you.
24 May I assist, please. Look at the screen. Page 58, line 9 and
25 10. I don't know if you can read and understand the English transcript.
1 In line 10, it says:
2 "Where can we find this in this part of the working chart?"
3 And Judge Nyambe is suggesting the better understanding would be
4 of this question:
5 "Why can we find this in this part of the working chart?"
6 What is your position?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Madam Judge is right.
8 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
10 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I didn't want to
11 interrupt, but Mr. Tolimir always asked why. That was the Defence
12 question. Of course, I don't always think it is necessary for me to get
13 up to have the record corrected because it is going to be revised anyway.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
15 Mr. McCloskey.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, could we just, for all our sakes, get an
17 answer to - I am not sure it was your question - but the general's
18 knowledge of English, just so we know? Because these sorts of things can
19 be helpful, if we know.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I'm sorry. I didn't understand you.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: You -- you basically, Your Honour, said:
22 "I don't know if you can read and understand English transcript."
23 But then he looked and he seems to have been able to answer the
24 question. So can we just find out from the general how well he can speak
25 and -- or read English.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Could you help us with that? Are you able to
2 understand and speak English and read English?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very little, Your Honours. It's a
4 very superficial knowledge that I have.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
6 We must have our second break now, and we will resume quarter
7 past 6.00.
8 --- Recess taken at 5.46 p.m.
9 [The witness stands down]
10 [The witness takes the stand]
11 --- On resuming at 6.19 p.m.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: There were, again, some discussions about the
13 correct interpretation of some words in B/C/S, and I heard that the
14 interpreters would be willing to assist us today if we put the three
15 terms to them and to receive their interpretation in a very slow way.
16 And these had to do with "control" and "command." And there were three
18 And, Mr. Tolimir, perhaps you can put these three terms we
19 discussed about, just on the record, one-by-one.
20 And after the first one, I would kindly ask the interpreters to
21 give us their official translation.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I am
23 grateful to Judge Nyambe for having noticed the discrepancy between the
24 question and the answer, the interpretation thereof.
25 Can we please have Exhibit P227 admitted.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, can you just say the word and put it
2 on the record what you -- the B/C/S word for "command."
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Would
4 you like me -- all right. We are going to tell the witness the
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Please, we mentioned three terms here: "Komandovanje,"
8 "rukovodjenje," and "kontrola." Are all those synonyms or not? In
9 command terms, do we have three different terms for three different
10 operations? Thank you.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: First of all, I would like to ask you if in
12 lines 12 and 13 of page 62, the Serbian words are recorded correctly? If
13 you please have a look on the screen and this transcript. Page 62,
14 lines 12 and 13.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what the word "redak"
16 [phoen] means -- I mean I know what it means, but I don't know how it is
17 marked in the transcript.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please look at line 12. The last word, is that
19 written correctly?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it is correct, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And the following words, too?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Rukovodjenje" and "kontrola."
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Are they written correctly?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, they are.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Now I would kindly ask the
1 interpreters to help us with their understanding, their correct
2 translation. We start with "komandovanje."
3 THE INTERPRETER: "Command."
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Then the next word, "rukovodjenje."
5 THE INTERPRETER: In military terms it would be translated as
6 "control," but in another context it can means things like "managing,"
7 "running, "administering," et cetera.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. And the third word is "kontrola."
9 THE INTERPRETER: "Control."
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. This is, I think, all what
11 we can do today for the sake of the transcript. Would the parties agree?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. I would like to ask the witness about the essence of these three
15 terms in the B/C/S, and I would like the interpreters to bear that in
17 Mr. Skrbic, command, does it mean issuing oral and written orders
18 to subordinate commands? Can you please explain the meaning of this
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. McCloskey.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: That's leading. It's a simple question and an
22 important one.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Skrbic, what does the word "command" mean in
24 military terms?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The term "command" means the
1 following: Oral and written issuing of tasks to units through documents
2 and orders.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. To avoid any
4 misunderstanding, could you please explain the meaning of the word
5 "rukovodjenje" in military terms?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The term "control" contains
7 processes that pertain to managing various professional areas. In that
8 regard, plans, instructions, and directives, et cetera, can be issued.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. And please help us with your
10 understanding of the word "kontrola" in military terms.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this word, "kontrola,"
12 I understand to mean the word that contains having an insight into the
13 implementation and performance of the tasks that have been ordered.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
15 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. If we have P227 in
17 evidence, can we now look at another document.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, before we call up another document,
19 we have still on the screen 65 ter 2365. I was told that this document
20 contains 108 pages, 15 of whom were translated into English. I don't
21 know if you are going to tender it. I suppose so. We have seen on the
22 screen one page which was translated into English, and then page 23, 99,
23 100, 106, and 108. These have no English translation yet and all the
24 others have no translation yet. I would suggest, if you are tendering
25 this document, that we only translate these pages you have used in the
1 courtroom. They are part of your -- the evidence and your examination,
2 and then we can mark these five pages for identification, pending
3 translation. What is your position?
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, as far as I am
5 concerned I can accept that, but for the benefit of the Trial Chamber and
6 everybody else who is going to refer to these pages and this document, I
7 think that it would be advisable to have the whole document translated
8 because that's an information that comes from the Main Staff and
9 everybody who is interested in that will find it useful. The Defence
10 believe this to be a crucial issue. Thank you.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, 15 pages are already in English, and
12 I think they will be helpful for a good understanding of the context of
13 the whole document. I am not quite sure if you really need a translation
14 of all the other pages because most of the entries in these tables are
15 understandable and were not used in this trial.
16 Mr. McCloskey.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President. And many of the entries are
18 handwritten and by the time it gets to CLSS it's very difficult for them
19 to make it. And if -- we can get them better copies for the few pages.
20 But it's much like a phone book. So the particular ones of interest,
21 certainly, but the whole thing I don't think is necessary.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It's really a burden for the translation unit.
23 Would you agree to follow my proposal, Mr. Tolimir?
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mr. President, it is
25 difficult for me to agree. The question was: Why in this part of the
1 flowchart do we find this or that unit. And we cannot tell whether it's
2 a logistics structure or something else, and the one who will look at it
3 will wonder where this protection regiment belongs or this unit or that
4 because they are all in the separate parts. That's where they can be
5 found and not in the first part. Thank you.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Not to waste time with the witness, we will
7 postpone a decision on that and review the pages we haven't seen yet in
8 the meantime so that we are in a position to discuss it more properly at
9 a later stage.
10 Please continue with the next document, Mr. Tolimir.
11 Yes, we could MFI the whole document and come back to that
12 question later.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter document 2365 shall be
14 assigned Exhibit D341, marked for identification. Thank you.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
16 Please continue, Mr. Tolimir.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Could we
18 please see Exhibit P2520. Thank you. Thank you.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Now we can see the document. This is document of the Main Staff
21 of the VRS. The sector for organisation, mobilisation, and personal
22 affairs. That was your sector. It was drafted on 12 July 1995. Did you
23 draft this document and forward it? And when I say "you," I mean your
24 organ. Thank you.
25 A. Your Honours, I would like to draw your attention to the line
1 saying: "Assistant commander, Major-General Petar Skrbic." That's me.
2 I signed it. And as to who drafted it, well, we would have to look at
3 these initials that can poorly be seen in the original. Oh, I seem to
4 have done something wrong now.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can that part be zoomed in, please. Thank you.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I am confused by
7 these letters. It looks like a P and the following letter resembles a C,
8 but I think I drafted it; whereas the other two initials must have been
9 those of the person who typed it up. I don't remember who that was. But
10 anyway, I -- I'm the author of the document.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The document that we cannot see now
14 because we zoomed in on the initials, could we have it back, please.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Does it say:
17 "With the utmost urgency order the Sarajevo and Zvornik MO
18 Secretariats to mobilise through the Pale, Sokolac, Rogatica, Visegrad,
19 Han Pijesak, Vlasenica, Milici, Bratunac, and Zvornik MO departments all
20 buses available in these municipalities.
21 "At least 50 buses need to be mobilised and sent to Bratunac ...
22 by 1400 hours on 12 July 1995 to the Bratunac sports stadium."
23 And as you said, the signature block reads:
24 "Assistant commander, Major-General Petar Skrbic."
25 Thank you. Please explain to the Trial Chamber the nature of
1 this document. Thank you.
2 A. Your Honour, the sentence that in the translation begins with the
3 words "At least 50 buses," there is a date, but I believe that it -- the
4 date really should be the 13th and not the 12th, because it's impossible
5 to -- it's impossible otherwise. No, it isn't legible even now. But it
6 must be the 13th. I don't understand where this 12th in the English
7 translation came from. All the rest was read out correctly. And the
8 assistant who figures here is me. The question was about what it all
10 This document is a request to the Ministry of Defence to mobilise
11 50 buses, and there is also information where the buses are needed and
12 when, once they are mobilised.
13 Q. Thank you. Mr. Skrbic, why did you send this document to the
14 Ministry of Defence? Thank you.
15 A. Because under the law, the mobilisation of personnel and materiel
16 is in the purview of the Ministry of Defence.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please zoom in on the
18 lower left-hand corner of the document. Thank you. Thank you. I
19 apologise, I made a mistake. I meant the lower right-hand corner where
20 the seal is, the stamp. Thank you. Thank you.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Mr. Skrbic, is this an incoming or an outgoing document? Can you
23 tell by looking at the dates -- at the date and time stated here? Thank
25 A. This is an outgoing document. It emanated from the
1 communications centre, the teleprinter operator who entered his personal
3 Q. Thank you. Please tell us from which location this cable was
4 sent at? Was it from the Main Staff or was it from a logistics location?
5 Thank you.
6 A. This cable was sent from the communications centre, as I said,
7 but from the teleprinter of the command post of logistics, because the
8 centre where I --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The sector where I worked did not
11 have such a device.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
13 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I don't think that
14 there should be any major problems. In line 11 of page 69, it says
15 "command post of the logistics." I think it should be "rear command
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: What is the reason for your understanding?
18 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, because that's what
19 the witness said in Serbian, "pozadinsko komandno mesto," whereas this is
20 a bit different. Logistics and what is called "pozadina" in Serbian need
21 not coincide necessarily. As far as I was able to tell, the Serbian
22 phrase that the witness used in his answer is often translated in
23 documents shown here as "rear command post."
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Skrbic, could you repeat, please, in Serbian
25 how you referred to this post?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I called it "pozadinsko komandno
2 mesto" which cannot be equaled to the logistical process because it's a
3 command post in the rear, a rear command post.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Could you please repeat the Serbian word, only
5 the word itself, because it was not -- no, sorry, now we have a
6 correction. If you could please look at page 70, line 5, in the middle.
7 "I called it," you see there, and then a word. Can you confirm that this
8 is written correctly or repeat it, please.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Pozadinsko."
10 THE INTERPRETER: P-o-z-a-d-i-n-s-k-o.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: But that was not all. That was only the first of
12 three words.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The other two words were
14 "komandno mesto," "command post."
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We don't have it properly on the record. Could
16 the interpreters please repeat the Serbian words, all the three of them.
17 THE INTERPRETER: I'll spell: "K-o-m-a-n-d-n-o." Second word,
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
20 Mr. McCloskey.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: Just to clarify this. Can we be told what in the
22 stamp is the word that's crossed out with the two lines and what is the
23 word that's underlined? Do they have anything to do with what he's
24 saying or something else?
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Skrbic, could you please read the second line
1 of the stamp?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I understand what you
3 are pointing out to me, but I am unable to read it because the letters
4 are not crisp and I wouldn't want to speculate.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. Skrbic, please tell us if the rear command post and the main
9 command post of the Main Staff were at the same location? Thank you.
10 A. The main command post was at Crna Rijeka and the rear command
11 post was at Han Pijesak.
12 Q. Thank you. Was this telegram sent from the rear command post at
13 Han Pijesak? Thank you.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Thank you. Please take a look at what is typed under the number
16 halfway through the document. What does that mean? Thank you.
17 A. You mean what's printed under "sector"? It says "Confidential
18 number 39/31/13-3/154," and below that it's "12 July 1995."
19 Q. Thank you. Tell us now what is printed to the right of the line
20 of the confidential number?
21 A. It says "very urgent" in capital letters and double spaced.
22 Q. Thank you. What does it mean to encryption operators when they
23 get such a mark?
24 A. The teleprinter operator doesn't ask anybody but skips all other
25 documents that are in process and immediately begins processing this
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
3 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, on page 71, line 19, I
4 think the number is not correct. It should say "09/31 ..." and so on.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic, this kind of correction is a problem.
6 I don't know what the witness said in Serbian. I heard exactly what the
7 interpreters said. This is different from the English translation. I
8 can't properly read the original. We all have to figure out at a later
9 stage which is really the correct number. But we have now your position
10 on the screen and on the record.
11 Mr. Tolimir, you may continue.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Mr. Skrbic, when you have a look at this telegram and its
15 contents, can you say on the basis of this telegram when it was sent, on
16 which date and at what time? Thank you.
17 A. Could you please scroll up a bit? I can't see the whole
18 document. I want to see the bottom part, the bottom page, and could you
19 enlarge it, please? I can see it now. It was sent on the 12th of July,
20 1995, at 9.50, 0950 hours.
21 Q. Thank you. My question is as follows: Why did you draft this
22 request? Thank you.
23 A. Because an order was conveyed to me according to which it was
24 necessary to urgently request that the Ministry of Defence mobilise
1 Q. Thank you. Were you aware of the purpose for which buses were to
2 be mobilised?
3 A. The buses were to be used to transport people. Naturally, it was
4 important for me for these people to be mobilised and to arrive at the
5 destinations they were supposed to arrive at on time.
6 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us when you were informed that you
7 should draft such a request to be forwarded to the Ministry of Defence?
8 Thank you.
9 A. I received this information on the 11th of July, 1995, in the
10 evening hours.
11 Q. Thank you. Could you please explain for the benefit of the
12 Trial Chamber what tasks you subsequently carried out, if you did carry
13 any tasks out?
14 A. Yes, I did. Having spoken to the person who informed me of this
15 need, I phoned the Ministry of Defence and I informed the deputy minister
16 of the request. The name of the person in question was Momo Kovacevic.
17 He said, "Very well, general. But please write this request. Put this
18 request in writing for me."
19 Q. Thank you. Who has the right to request that buses be mobilised?
20 Thank you.
21 A. In this case only the commander of the Main Staff of the VRS.
22 Q. Thank you. Thank you. Can anyone in the Main Staff, apart from
23 the commander, request mobilisation of vehicles and can they submit this
24 request to the individuals you mentioned? Thank you.
25 A. No, not without the commander's authorisation.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please see the following
3 65 ter document, 0014 --
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Stop, please. We are approaching the end of
5 today's hearing, and I would like to put a question to the witness first.
6 Sir, you said that you -- an order was conveyed to you to contact
7 the Ministry of Justice and to send or to forward this request to the
8 Ministry of Justice. Who informed you about this order?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I cannot remember now.
10 I cannot remember who informed me of this order.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: By which means did you receive this information?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I received this
13 information over the phone, the number of which is 250, extension 250.
14 Only the commander can use this number or someone authorised by the
15 commander. So I had no doubts about the fact that the information on
16 that request had been authorised by the commander. I had no such doubts
17 because this extension number was, in fact, used.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: When you say "the commander," are you referring
19 to General Mladic?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Did this person who called you from this
22 extension number inform you that it was a decision by or an order by the
23 commander, Mladic?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, of course.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
1 We are at the end of today's hearing. We will continue tomorrow.
2 Please be reminded that you have -- are not permitted to have any contact
3 to either party during the break before we continue tomorrow morning.
4 We will resume at 9.00 in this courtroom, and we will adjourn
6 [The witness stands down]
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
8 7.00 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday, the
9 31st day of January, 2012, at 9.00 a.m.