1 Tuesday, 23 October 2001
2 [Defence Opening Statement]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Call the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-98-32-T, the Prosecutor versus
8 Mitar Vasiljevic.
9 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, I understand from one of the legal
10 officers that you are concerned as to whether you are permitted to speak
11 to your client during the United Nations holiday tomorrow. You understand
12 that the general rule here is that once a witness starts to give evidence,
13 his counsel cannot speak to him. The purpose of the rule is to overcome
14 what was seen to be the practice, unfortunately, from the Prosecution
15 side, of coaching the witness while they're giving their evidence. If you
16 had finished his evidence-in-chief today and before he started his
17 cross-examination, the Trial Chamber would consider giving you permission
18 to speak to him. But if he's in the middle of either his
19 evidence-in-chief or he's into his cross-examination, it would be unwise
20 from his point of view because of inferences which could be drawn if he
21 changes his evidence in any way. I'm not suggesting that there's going to
22 be any impropriety, but it's just that the inference is open and it's
23 wrong that your client should suffer if indeed it's a purely innocent
24 discussion about the future conduct of the case.
25 If you have finished your cross-examination before the end of
1 today -- I'm sorry, if you finish your evidence-in-chief before the end of
2 today, we would consider adjourning early so that the cross-examination
3 can start on Thursday. We seem to have plenty of time in relation to only
4 two witnesses this week. We'll hear what you want to say, Mr. Groome,
5 about it later, but it seems to me if counsel are going off for what is
6 now two weeks to prepare the case, it would be unfortunate if they were
7 not able to take advantage of the UN holiday tomorrow, but obviously the
8 timing of it will be important.
9 Well, are you ready to start now, Mr. Domazet?
10 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, thank you.
11 [Interpretation] The Defence of the accused Mitar Vasiljevic
12 doesn't propose today to analyse the evidence that has been led by the
13 Prosecution because we believe that it is appropriate to do so during the
14 closing arguments of the Defence. We wish, Your Honour, during this
15 opening statement merely to announce the evidence that we propose to lead,
16 that is, the evidence to the fact which will prove that Mitar Vasiljevic
17 did not commit the crimes with which he has been charged in the
19 The witnesses of the Defence, including the accused Mitar
20 Vasiljevic himself, will seek to prove that he was never a member of any
21 paramilitary formation, neither a group belonging to -- neither the group
22 belonging to Milan Lukic, nor did he ever use any weapon against anyone,
23 nor did he participate in the planning or perpetration of the crimes with
24 which he has been charged.
25 Mitar Vasiljevic originates from a poor but honourable peasant
1 family and, ever since his school days, he has been living of his own
2 work, first as a waiter trainee, then as a waiter, and he was always a
3 very good worker and liked by his colleagues and his guests, his clients.
4 He started a family, he raised two children, and he began to build
5 his family house. He was never involved in politics, neither prior nor
6 during 1991 and 1992, the time when interethnic relations in the town of
7 Visegrad got so exacerbated that numerous Serb families or individuals, as
8 a minority, started abandoning the town of Visegrad either temporarily or
9 for good.
10 Mitar Vasiljevic continued with his life and his work there up
11 until the month of May 1992, and he never had any differences with either
12 Muslims or Serbs, nor did he enter into any kind of conflicts with either
14 At one point in time he was mobilised into the Territorial
15 Defence, and he took from his home the only military uniform which he had,
16 the kind of uniform that other reservists had at the time; namely, a JNA
17 uniform, a so-called SMB olive-drab uniform, so a unicoloured uniform. He
18 was also issued with a weapon, and he started working in a military
19 kitchen, in a canteen, in the village of Prelovo, which is located some
20 ten kilometres from the town of Visegrad down the Drina River. The
21 village is located at the same distance from his house which is situated
22 on the outskirts of the town.
23 We propose to call witnesses, Your Honour, who will testify to
24 this particular fact, the witnesses who were with him in Prelovo, and who
25 had also been mobilised to work in the military kitchen in Prelovo. They
1 will testify that Mitar Vasiljevic was, throughout that period of time,
2 with them in Prelovo, that he was working in the kitchen, that he was
3 involved in procurement and maintenance of the kitchen, and that from time
4 to time, whenever it was possible, he would go home to Visegrad where
5 sometimes he would spend the night and then the next morning he would go
6 back to Prelovo.
7 Since he was never a driver - he never owned a driver's license or
8 a car - on such occasions he would commute by hitchhiking and using
9 vehicles that were passing by along the road or by covering some of the
10 way on foot.
11 And so it happened that on one particular night, in late May 1992,
12 he was given a ride from the village of Prelovo to the town of Visegrad by
13 Milan Lukic who, on that particular occasion, called in the village of
14 Musici, a fact which was testified about by some Prosecution witnesses.
15 And this is something that Mitar Vasiljevic will also testify about.
16 Although the two families, the families Vasiljevic and Lukic, have
17 had a very long relationship, more than 100 years old, a very close
18 relationship, that of kumship, which means that they have many mutual
19 godfathers and godmothers as well as best men and bridesmaids, which is a
20 very old, very traditional Serbian - but not only Serbian - custom in that
21 area. So despite that fact, Mitar Vasiljevic, up until that time, had
22 almost not known Milan Lukic at all, because Milan belongs to a younger
23 generation, a much younger generation than Mitar Vasiljevic; and
24 furthermore, he was exiled from the area for a certain period of time and
25 spent several years working and living in Switzerland, and also in the
1 town of Obrenovac in Serbia.
2 It was only at that period in time, that is, in the month of May
3 1992, that he came to the area of Visegrad together with his people from
4 the town of Obrenovac in Serbia. Local residents of the town of Visegrad
5 did not belong to his group, neither did Mitar Vasiljevic who, at that
6 time, was a reservist serving in the military kitchen in Prelovo.
7 Mitar Vasiljevic will testify, as will several other witnesses of
8 the Defence, that he, Mitar, was even arrested at one point in time and
9 detained in the prison in Uzamnica in late May 1992 or early June 1992,
10 on which occasion he came to the Visegrad town on his own, on his own
11 initiative, and went to his command at Bikavac to see Drago Gavrilovic.
12 His intention was to return, again on his own, his weapon because
13 he had refused to distribute food from the village of Prelovo to some
14 positions which were not secured and where he was asked to go during the
15 night. Because of this behaviour, because of this conduct of Mitar
16 Vasiljevic, and also apparently because of the state of inebriation in
17 which he was at the time he did this, he was arrested, he was taken into
18 custody on the same day by the military police and detained in the prison
19 in Uzamnica where he was visited and treated by witness Dr. Radomir
21 It is very likely that Mitar Vasiljevic would have spent much
22 longer time in that prison, longer than the three or four days that he
23 spent there, if his cousin, his uncle's son, had not been killed, Sikiric
24 Zeljko from the town of Vardiste, whom he loved very much. Following this
25 incident, he went on a hunger strike and he asked to be released from
1 prison to be able to attend the burial of his cousin. He was, therefore,
2 released from prison and he started getting drunk very often, something
3 that he hadn't been doing for quite some time because he had, prior to
4 that, undergone treatment for alcoholism.
5 Your Honour, we will call witnesses to testify about this, the
6 witnesses who will also testify that on the day of the burial of his
7 cousin, Zeljko Sikiric, he was completely drunk and totally beside
8 himself and that it was impossible to establish any normal contact with
9 him at that time.
10 During those days, pursuant to a permission which was issued by
11 his command, in order to avoid going to the military positions and to the
12 former military unit which was located in the kitchen, he was tasked and
13 he, indeed, began -- he was tasked with and began cleaning the streets of
14 the town, including shop windows in business premises, from various kinds
15 of debris and rubbish. It was for the purposes of this particular task
16 that he assembled all of the local residents whom he was able to reach at
17 that period of time, regardless of what ethnic community they belonged to.
18 In those days, Your Honour, he wore a red ribbon tied around his
19 sleeve, the same red ribbon which he used to wear earlier on in Prelovo.
20 However, he no longer wore any military uniform nor did he carry any
21 weapons. We will call witnesses to testify about this particular fact,
22 the witnesses who knew him very well and who indeed used to be his
24 And that is how he happened to be, on the 14th of June, 1992, in
25 the afternoon hours of that day, in the Pionirska Street. At the time,
1 when coming from the direction of the centre of the town, a group of
2 women, children, and elderly people arrived and found accommodation in the
3 two houses belonging to the Memic families. At that moment, Mitar
4 Vasiljevic was in the same street, however slightly further up the street,
5 in the vicinity of the elementary school building. It was at that point
6 in time that he came across a very good acquaintance of his, (redacted)
7 (redacted), with whom he often used to go out and have a drink, and that is
8 what he did on this occasion as well. He offered him some drink from the
9 bottle that he was carrying and from which he had already been drinking.
10 That particular conversation with (redacted) and the drink was
11 everything in terms of contact that he had with that particular group of
12 people, because this is -- it is because of this particular event that he
13 was able to remember the events of the day.
14 After that encounter, he continued further up the street to the
15 spot where he found a horse which he rode all the way to the centre of the
16 Visegrad town where, probably because of the slippery road conditions,
17 because it was raining on that day, or perhaps because of the turn he did
18 towards one of the witnesses who had called him, the horse fell down and
19 Mitar consequently fell down as well. It was during that particular
20 incident that Mitar Vasiljevic sustained a fracture on his left lower
21 leg. This, Your Honour, will be testified about by witnesses, indeed,
22 eyewitnesses who were present when Mitar Vasiljevic fell off the horse,
23 the witnesses who assisted him before the arrival of the ambulance, which
24 arrived upon somebody's invitation and whose driver, who will also be
25 called to testify about these events, assisted by those who were present,
1 again who will testify as witnesses, he carried Mitar into the ambulance
2 and drove him to a physician on duty in the medical centre in Visegrad.
3 The doctor examined him, sent him to have an x-ray taken, and ordered that
4 he be transferred to the surgery ward to undergo medical surgery and
5 further treatment in the hospital in Uzice. It was the same physician who
6 ordered the driver to take him there as soon as it was possible.
7 During that same afternoon, while it was still daylight, the
8 driver, who was at that moment accompanied by the chief of accounting
9 service of the medical centre, who will also be called to testify in this
10 case, left in the ambulance for Uzice. Mitar was lying down in the
11 ambulance and they started driving towards the town of Uzice, although the
12 road was not safe enough because of very frequent ambushes but also
13 because of very poor road conditions and weather conditions as well.
14 During that journey, they stopped in the village of Vardiste which
15 lies on the very road to Uzice in which village Mitar's uncle had a cafe.
16 And the same witnesses will testify about this particular fact. They
17 stayed there in that cafe for awhile. Mitar was given a blanket to cover
18 himself because he did not leave the vehicle, he did not get out of the
19 ambulance. So after that brief visit, they continued on their way to
20 Uzice, arriving there sometime around 10.00 in the evening, and at that
21 time, it was already dark.
22 From information that we were able to obtain later on, the
23 information which was obtained mainly from the hospital's register, which
24 will also be presented as a Defence exhibit, we will be able to establish
25 that the exact time of Mitar Vasiljevic's admittance into the hospital was
1 21 hours, 35 minutes of that day, that is, the 14th of June, 1992,
2 although he had arrived sometime earlier than that.
3 So he was admitted into hospital on the same day, x-rays were
4 taken again, and he underwent surgery on the following morning. He spent
5 three weeks immobile. And because of the crisis that he was undergoing
6 due to his alcoholism and because of his behaviour in such a condition,
7 after the weight extensions were taken off, he was transferred to the
8 psychiatry ward where he spent, as an in-house patient, a certain period
9 of time. He left the hospital on the 28th of July, 1992, the time when he
10 was released from hospital on the explicit request made by his wife and
11 not on the doctor's request.
12 As regards this particular period of time, we intend to call
13 certain witnesses who will also present numerous written and other
14 material regarding his treatment. The Defence will show that he was
15 admitted to hospital on the 14th of June, 1992 and that he spent that
16 entire period of time in hospital, that is, until the end of the month of
17 July 1992. We propose to call witnesses, Your Honour, to testify about
18 these facts, the witnesses which will include members of the relevant
19 hospital establishment, including physicians and nurses who participated
20 in his treatment. Likewise, we intend to call witnesses who visited him
21 while he was hospitalised or witnesses who happened to be in the same room
22 as he was, as was the case of a man who had been seriously wounded and who
23 is a Muslim national, of Muslim ethnic background, who was in hospital
24 during that period of time having been admitted to that particular
25 hospital on the 6th of May, 1992. That witness, Your Honour, will testify
1 that Mitar Vasiljevic was indeed with him, that his behaviour was rather
2 odd and strange, which was the main reason why he was transferred to the
3 psychiatric ward for further treatment.
4 Because of this behaviour of Mitar Vasiljevic and his delirious
5 state due to alcoholism, evidence that he had undergone treatment for
6 alcoholism before that, and his behaviour after his cousin died, and in
7 view of all the available medical documentation and testimony of the
8 physicians who treated him, and other medical personnel, we proposed a
9 psychiatric expert witness who would examine the accused in order to
10 establish his mental state and his accountability at the critical time,
11 and an expert witness will testify to that.
12 The period after Mitar Vasiljevic left the hospital is not covered
13 by the indictment of Mitar Vasiljevic, the amended indictment, that is,
14 and there was, therefore, no need for us to offer proof of his subsequent
15 invalidity even if there is relevant medical documentation about that and
16 even though there are witnesses who can also testify to these facts.
17 On the basis of all the evidence produced, witness testimonies and
18 evidence in writing, the Defence will show that there is not even a
19 reasonable doubt [as interpreted] that Mitar Vasiljevic took, personally,
20 part in the otherwise truly severe crime such as the murder of a large
21 number of women, children, and elderly, caused by a fire in the night
22 between the 14th and the 15th of June, 1992. He did not even know about
23 this fire, nor could he even assume that anything like that could happen.
24 With reference to the incident of the 7th of June, 1992, Mitar
25 Vasiljevic is, unfortunately, the only witness for the Defence. At least,
1 he was an eyewitness to this event and he offers a very logical and very
2 persuasive explanation that he found himself at Vilina Vlas that day
3 without a uniform and without any weapons as he did not have them any more
4 at that time, and that he could -- he had no way of knowing or expecting
5 that Milan Lukic and his group would also bring along a group of seven
6 Muslim civilians whom, by all appearances, he wanted to leave there and
7 then changed his mind and took them back in the same car whilst Mitar
8 Vasiljevic, unfortunately, followed them, came along with them, believing
9 that he was indeed taking them back and that they would give him a lift to
10 his house as it was on their way.
11 Regrettably, by all appearances, Milan Lukic has already devised a
12 completely different plan, and rather than turning left towards Visegrad
13 at a place called Sase, he took a right turn, heading for Prelovo, and
14 shortly stopped the vehicles, and with two of his soldiers, took those men
15 towards the Drina. Mitar Vasiljevic not only took no part in this,
16 because, to begin with, he had no weapons, nor did this ever cross his
17 mind, not to mention that he simply had no way of preventing Milan Lukic
18 and his soldiers from doing what they were about to do.
19 He was very distraught by this fact because, for the first time in
20 his life, he witnessed killing, and in particular because one of the
21 victims was his former and older colleague with whom he had always been on
22 good terms.
23 Following that, Mitar Vasiljevic was very depressed and continued
24 to drink, which he had regrettably done before too and especially after
25 his cousin's death which immediately preceded this incident. He then
1 complained to his wife, who will also testify to these facts and other
2 facts of relevance in this case, and he also complained to the then-chief
3 of police, Tomic, who was the only man he trusted as Tomic had a
4 reputation of a very honest man and policeman. However, by all
5 appearances, he was also afraid to take any action whatsoever. And in
6 addition to his already poor state of health, Mitar found that a
7 sufficient reason to avoid any further encounter with Milan Lukic and his
8 soldiers until his fall on the horse and injury on the 14th of June,
9 1992, after which date he was absent from Visegrad.
10 These facts and the situation will be the subject of the defence.
11 The Defence will try to show these facts by producing evidence and by
12 having already produced some evidence and the witnesses it will call to
13 testify about these facts and produced evidence in writing and findings of
14 expert witnesses, the Defence expects that all of this evidence will show
15 that there cannot be any reasonable doubt that the accused Mitar
16 Vasiljevic, during the critical period of time, committed any of the
17 crimes he's charged with between May and June of 1992, that he was never a
18 member of Milan Lukic's paramilitary formation or any other formation, or
19 that he committed any of the crimes for which he is accused.
20 The Defence of Mitar Vasiljevic also proposes to begin its case by
21 calling Mitar Vasiljevic as the first witness for the Defence before all
22 the other evidence that the Defence will produce.
23 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you, Mr. Domazet. One particular thing I
24 should raise at this stage: I don't know whether the accused's wife is in
25 any position to hear the proceedings. If she is, she should now go away
1 somewhere. She should not hear her husband's evidence before she gives
2 her evidence.
3 Secondly, just out of pure curiosity - and I hope you'll give some
4 evidence about this - but can you explain to us what was the purpose of
5 wearing this red ribbon? What did it signify?
6 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as far as I could
7 gather from witnesses and Mitar himself, in Prelovo, all those who worked
8 for the quartermaster, who worked in the army kitchen or were kitchen
9 sweepers or something, had that red ribbon. That was sort of a mark to
10 show that they were part of that unit. And he started wearing this ribbon
11 again when he began to clean the town. At that time, he did not have any
12 proper uniform or anything, so he wanted to wear it to show that he was
13 responsible for the job. That is the only explanation, and I believe that
14 Mitar himself and other witnesses will make the same kind of explanation.
15 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you. One last thing: You said that there
16 was an x-ray taken at the Visegrad medical centre. I notice that's not on
17 the list of exhibits. I don't know whether this is something that you
18 would like to pursue during your two-week break, but it is something which
19 may or may not be very important.
20 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think it will be very
21 important if we could find any x-rays dating back to that time, bearing in
22 mind, in the first place, that the x-ray which is in the record and which
23 is part of the medical documentation and was turned over by the staff in
24 Visegrad is questioned. So we really want very badly to find such an
25 x-ray because that was done in Visegrad and in Uzice, of course. However,
1 witnesses will testify about that.
2 Under the then conditions, and generally in Yugoslavia, the
3 practice was to give the x-rays to the patient himself so that he could
4 take them and show them whenever he went for further checkups outside that
5 particular institution. Mitar Vasiljevic did have some of these x-rays,
6 perhaps not all of them, but unfortunately, these x-rays are no longer in
7 his house, because when he was moving house he did away with very many
8 things and presumably these same household documentation because he never
9 thought he would need it again. We shall, nevertheless, try to find it,
10 and if we succeed to do that in this fortnight that we have at our
11 disposal, yes, I would be the happiest if we could find another x-ray.
12 JUDGE HUNT: In any event, if you are unable to produce it, we
13 would expect you to lead some evidence about the attempts or perhaps the
14 provenance of the original x-rays and the attempts to find them.
15 Now, are you ready to call your client? Thank you.
16 Mr. Vasiljevic, will you come across to the witness box, please.
17 [The witness takes the stand]
18 JUDGE HUNT: Stand up first, please, sir. Yes. Would you please
19 make the solemn declaration in the document which the court usher is
20 showing you.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
22 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
23 WITNESS: Mitar Vasiljevic
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 JUDGE HUNT: Sit down, please.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Yes, Mr. Domazet.
2 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Examined by Mr. Domazet:
4 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Vasiljevic, I should first like to ask you to
5 give us some particulars about yourself and your family. You were born in
6 the village of Djurevac; is that correct?
7 A. It is.
8 Q. And your father's name is?
9 A. Ljubisa.
10 Q. And your mother?
11 A. Vojka.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Will the counsel and witness please pause between
13 question and answer.
14 JUDGE HUNT: Both of you have been here long enough to know that
15 there are problems with the interpretation if you answer straight away and
16 if you ask the question straight away. So, Mr. Vasiljevic, please pause
17 before you give your answer to enable the interpreters to catch up. Do
18 you understand that?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do, Your Honour.
20 A. I was born on the 25th of August, 1954.
21 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Do you have any brothers or sisters?
23 A. Yes, I have one brother and three sisters.
24 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, can you tell us something about your education and
25 how you learned your trade.
1 A. I graduated, I matriculated from a school of restaurant business,
2 and I became a waiter.
3 Q. And where did you work?
4 A. I spent my career in a hostelry enterprise in Visegrad called
6 Q. In other words, from your early days until the end, you worked
7 always for one company only?
8 A. Yes, I only worked for Panos. That was my only employer.
9 Q. And that company had a number of restaurants, of coffee bars,
10 hotels, and so on, isn't it?
11 A. That's right.
12 Q. Where did you work, or rather, did you work in different places,
13 and for how long?
14 A. I started my career, I began -- my first job was in a spa, the
15 former spa. Later on -- that is, I spent there some four or five years,
16 I'm not sure. Then I moved over to Visegrad Hotel. Well, I practically
17 worked at most of their facilities. Perhaps a couple -- there are a
18 couple of coffee bars where I didn't, but Panos had a restaurant which
19 was called after the company and that is in the centre of the town, and I
20 worked there too. I worked at the restaurant called Usce, Brodar,
21 Mezalin, and so on. I also worked in Pivnica, that is a brewery, and
22 then we also had a restaurant called the Drina and I worked there too.
23 There was a restaurant a Dobrun but I never worked there. And then we
24 had another restaurant in the direction of Medzedza, I also worked
25 there. There was a restaurant, or rather, a little coffee bar and I
1 worked there too for awhile.
2 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, I believe you mentioned that your first job was in
3 Stara Banja, that is, old spa, Vilina Vlas, and the hotel that is often
4 mentioned in this case, was that hotel part of your company, Panos, in
5 1992, or wasn't it?
6 A. No, not in 1992, because they had split, some three years before
7 that, into individual units, so that Panos and the old spa, Stara Banja,
8 and the Vilina Vlas Hotel, was renamed the hotel and rehabilitation
9 centre, recreation centre, Vilina Vlas. It was a kind of sanatorium.
10 Q. So at that time, in 1992, it was a separate company, it was a
11 company which became independent of Panos' company.
12 A. Well, no, it was a self-contained unit practically because we had
13 our separate payroll and all the rest, and we were all part of Ehos
14 company in Sarajevo.
15 Q. And in your company, the personnel must have included both Serbs
16 and Muslims, isn't it?
17 A. That is correct.
18 Q. And on what kind of terms were you with those people; that is, did
19 you -- were you at odds with any of them? Did you ever have any argument,
20 any differences with them that would derive from your different ethnic
22 A. No. The relations were very good. It had nothing to do with the
23 ethnic composition. We all worked together and one never asked whom you
24 were working with, whether it was Muslim or Croat or whoever. We did our
1 Q. Did Meho Dzafic work with you?
2 A. Meho Dzafic worked with me for a very long time until his
3 retirement. I think that in 1990 or 1991, perhaps a year or two before
4 the war, he retired, and he was also my supervisor at the time when I was
5 an apprentice under him and he was a very good tutor. He was an excellent
7 Q. Did you have any problems, did you ever fall out with him?
8 A. No, never. Meho Dzafic was very good to me, and I am in great
9 debt to him because he was my tutor. Usually you underwent a two- or
10 three-year apprenticeship. You work as a trainee, and then after you'd
11 finished this, he often would invite me to his home. If it rained, if we
12 worked long into the night, then he would invite me to spend the night at
13 his place, or sometimes would -- he'd take the shift -- he'd take my shift
14 so that I wouldn't have to stay there long, so on and so forth. And we
15 worked there together for a long time.
16 Q. When you said that he was your supervisor, you mean he was a
17 senior colleague of yours who trained you; you did not imply any kind of
19 A. No, no. He was my teacher while I was an apprentice, while I was
20 a trainee waiter. Once you complete your education, you become also what
21 we call majstor, master, so it was in that sense that he was my teacher,
22 and he was helping me as a junior waiter. At the time, I still had a lot
23 of things to learn; how to manage to bar, how to serve people, and so on
24 and so forth, because I did not have relevant experience, and he was there
25 to impart his knowledge onto younger generations, including myself.
1 JUDGE HUNT: Both of you are forgetting that pause. Please
2 remember. We want to hear all of your evidence, Mr. Vasiljevic, but we're
3 going to lose some of it if you don't wait for a few seconds before you
4 start your answer. So please remember that. I'm afraid, Mr. Domazet, you
5 came in a few times there too. So just give us a pause.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honour.
7 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, did you complete your compulsory military service
9 with the former JNA?
10 A. I did my military service, yes, in the former JNA.
11 Q. When, where, and in what section of the army you served?
12 A. I did my military service, that is, I completed my military
13 service in late November 1973. Actually, it was the time I started my
14 military service, and I was still in the military in 1994, up until
15 mid-January 1995. The military service lasted 15 months, and I served in
16 the town of Skopje, that is -- sorry, I apologise. I underwent training
17 in Gorce Petrov, which is a town not far from Skopje, some ten kilometres
18 away from the town of Skopje. It was a training centre. And after a
19 four-and-a-half month course, I was transferred to the town of Stip, also
20 in Macedonia, whereupon four of us cooks were transferred to work in the
21 field, to the village called Leskovica, where we stayed until the end of
22 our military service, working as cooks for force engineers, because force
23 engineers unit was engaged on building a road there. So it was actually
24 in the field that we did our military service.
25 Q. You said you were with the quartermaster service. Could you
1 explain that to us? You said you were a cook. Does it mean that you
2 worked in the kitchen, in the procurement, in similar services and that is
3 what you did throughout your military service?
4 A. Yes, yes, we were cooks. We prepared food. We worked in the
6 Q. You said that you went -- that you began your military service in
7 late November 1973; is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. At that time, the compulsory military service lasted how long?
10 A. Fifteen months. But I didn't serve 15 months because I did not
11 use -- I did not avail myself of our regular leave, which was 20 days, and
12 then I had some compensatory time off, so I managed to leave, to complete
13 my military service earlier than usual. I was sent home earlier.
14 Q. But you completed your service sometime in January 1975?
15 A. Yes, it was in mid-January that I left the army.
16 Q. I've asked you this question again because I think you misspoke,
17 and the transcript says that you completed your military service in 1995.
18 Is that an error?
19 A. Yes. I finished my military service in 1975.
20 Q. Thank you. When did you start a family, Mr. Vasiljevic?
21 A. I got married in February, 1988.
22 Q. Where did you live after you got married?
23 A. In Visegrad. And even prior to my marriage, I lived in Visegrad
25 Q. Did you live in the same house? Did you continue living in the
1 same house?
2 A. Yes, I continued living in the same house, which is actually our
3 family house. But I was the only one living there at the time. I can
4 provide you with the relevant details, if necessary. It was my father who
5 bought the house, and I lived there. And since there was an agreement
6 that I would build my own house, my father left the house to my brother,
7 and it was agreed in the family that they would help me as much as they
8 could to build my own house. And once I'm able to do that, that I would
9 move to my new house, whereas the old family house would become the
10 property of my brother. And it is still the property of my brother, but
11 he never lived there. He works in Belgrade, and he's nine years younger
12 than me. He found his first employment there and he never went back to
13 Visegrad, so he never needed any accommodation in Visegrad, and that's why
14 he never lived there, in that house.
15 Q. So you actually lived in the house which was bought by your father
16 but which was intended for your brother, who at that time lived in
17 Belgrade; is that correct?
18 A. Yes. Yes, I lived in that house from 1976, I believe; since it
19 was bought. It was in 1976 that it was bought. Yes, 1976.
20 Q. So you had an agreement with your family according to which you
21 would build your own house next to the family house, and once that house
22 was completed, that you would move to this new house, leaving the family
23 house to your brother?
24 A. Yes, that is correct.
25 Q. So it was actually up until very recently that you were engaged in
1 building that new house?
2 A. Yes. Yes, I spent a lot of time working on it. I was not in a
3 hurry. I spent about 15 years working on it. But, you know, there was no
4 need for me to hurry because I had accommodation. So I would work on the
5 house whenever I had some spare time. And I personally never lived in
6 this new house. My family now resides in that house. When I completed
7 the house, when it became habitable, so to speak, I actually rented it out
8 to members of the French SFOR contingent, so they were actually the first
9 occupants of the house. And the house is located next to the old family
10 house, some five or six metres away from it. So once again, I personally
11 never lived in that house, but my family now resides in it.
12 Q. So it was with the assistance of your father that you spent 15
13 years building that house, and the first occupants of the house were
14 actually members of the French contingent of SFOR; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. When did you actually rent it out, prior to your arrival here in
17 The Hague? When was it exactly that you rented the house?
18 A. It was on the 14th of July, I think, 1999.
19 Q. So it would have been six months that those soldiers spent living
20 in your house?
21 A. Yes. From the 5th -- until the 5th of January, 2001.
22 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, when did you get married, and when were your
23 children born?
24 A. I believe I already told you that I got married in February 1988.
25 My first child, my daughter, was born -- actually, my first -- my very
1 first child was a son but the baby died during the childbirth in 1989.
2 And then I had a daughter on the 14th of July, 1980 [as interpreted], and
3 then we had our third child, again a girl, who also died at childbirth.
4 My wife had very severe problems with child-bearing, and eventually she
5 had a Caesarean with her fourth child, a baby boy who was born in 1988 [as
6 interpreted]. So that, thank God, I now have two children, a son and a
8 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, the dates, at least as interpreted, are
9 a little strange. The first son -- first child was a son who died during
10 the childbirth in 1989. That seems to be all right. Then your client is
11 reported as having said he had a daughter on the 14th of July, 1980, and
12 then there was the third child, no date is given, and then a baby boy who
13 was born in 1988. Now, there seems to be some confusion either in the
14 witness's mind or in the interpretation.
15 A. I apologise, Your Honour. My first child, a boy, was born in
16 1979, not in 1989, because my daughter was born in 1980, the second
17 child. Sorry, I was wrong ten years.
18 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, were you also wrong about the date of your
20 marriage? Because the transcript said that you got married in 1988.
21 A. Oh, yes, I'm sorry, I apologise; in 1978, when I got married.
22 Yes, 1978.
23 JUDGE HUNT: I think we're straight now.
24 THE WITNESS: I apologise.
25 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, I should like to ask you now about something that
2 turned out to be quite significant in this case, and that is the
3 relationship of kumship between your family and the Lukic family which
4 originates from the village of Rujiste. Would you please explain to the
5 Court how long have your two families been related in this particular
6 manner, and in what way has this relationship been sustained all these
8 A. I cannot give you the exact details as to when we first
9 established this relationship of kumship. I don't think my father or my
10 grandfather would know about it. It is not only our particular Vasiljevic
11 family that is in this particular relationship with the Lukic family; it
12 extends further on to all of the Vasiljevic families from my village. All
13 of our families have this very close link with the Lukic family from
14 Rujiste. We exchanged godfathers, godmothers, best men at weddings, and
15 so on and so forth. So all of the Vasiljevic families have been in this
16 type of relationship with the Lukic family for a very, very long time. As
17 to where it all began, I really couldn't tell you, I just know that it is
18 a very long-standing tradition within our two families.
19 Q. So if I understand you correctly, it extends beyond the generation
20 of your grandfather. So can we agree on the fact that this particular
21 relationship has been going on for more than a hundred years between your
22 two families?
23 A. Yes, that is correct.
24 Q. And likewise, if I understand you correctly, this relationship
25 concerns and involves all other families originating from the old
1 Vasiljevic and Lukic families from the village of Djurevici and Rujiste
2 respectively, regardless of their subsequent places of residence?
3 A. Yes, that is correct.
4 Q. So Milan Lukic is also from one of these Lukic families with whom
5 your family, the Vasiljevic family, was closely related?
6 A. Yes. My father was his godfather and he was also his sister's and
7 brother's godfather. And maybe even my grandfather, I don't know.
8 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, how well did you know Milan Lukic personally
9 before the month of May 1992?
10 A. I knew Milan Lukic as a student while he was attending school in
11 Visegrad, and I also knew him when he was a child. And then I know that,
12 when he completed his secondary school, he went off to the army to do his
13 military service, after which he left for Switzerland and I no longer saw
14 him until 1992. Well, as to how well I knew him as a person, that is a
15 different matter. He is, I believe, 13 years younger than me, and we
16 never socialised together. We didn't belong to the same generation, and
17 so I can't say I knew him very well. And then he was not living in
18 Visegrad, he was in Switzerland.
19 Q. So after he finished his secondary school and completed his
20 military service, he left the area of Visegrad; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. He worked in Switzerland. Do you know his place of residence at
23 that period of time, since everybody worked abroad needed to have an
24 official place of residence abroad? Was his official place of residence
25 still in Visegrad or was it abroad?
1 A. I'm not sure I quite understand you. What do you mean, that he
2 lived in Visegrad and worked in Switzerland? I apologise. I don't think
3 I understand your question.
4 Q. No, Mr. Vasiljevic, I was not referring to his formal, official
5 whereabouts, though if you know that, you can tell us that, of course. I
6 would like to know where in Yugoslavia he was registered as a resident
7 while he was working in Switzerland. Was he a resident of Visegrad?
8 A. I think his place of residence, officially speaking, was in
9 Belgrade, that he bought an apartment in Belgrade at the time he was
10 working in Switzerland.
11 Q. The town of Obrenovac has been frequently mentioned in this case.
12 Is that town in any way related or connected with Milan Lukic or not?
13 A. Whether prior to his departure for Switzerland he had worked in
14 Obrenovac, I don't know. All I know, that his brother used to work in
15 Obrenovac as a teacher. Whether Milan worked there as well, I don't
16 know. Even if he did, that could have only been prior to his departure
17 for Switzerland, if he did work there. Obrenovac is not very far from
19 Q. The Lukic family is a very large family; am I correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did you answer my previous question, was your response that Milan
22 Lukic was officially residing in Belgrade at the time he was working in
23 Switzerland, that is to say that he was no longer officially a resident
24 of Visegrad?
25 A. Yes. Yes, he has an apartment in Belgrade, that is correct, at
1 the Bezanijska Kosa neighbourhood.
2 Q. During that period of time, that is, several years before the
3 events in May 1992, did you ever happen to see him in person?
4 A. Before or after May? I'm sorry.
5 Q. Before the month of May 1992.
6 A. No. Especially the last year or two, no. No, I don't remember --
7 I don't remember seeing him during those five years, perhaps. No, no, I
8 didn't see him.
9 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm about to cover one
10 portion -- actually, I have covered this subject matter, and I think this
11 is the convenient time for a break.
12 JUDGE HUNT: Very well. We will adjourn now until 11.30.
13 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 11.30 a.m.
15 JUDGE HUNT: Yes, Mr. Domazet.
16 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, let's turn to you and the state of your health.
18 We have heard here about certain injuries that you sustained, and
19 fractures. You broke your leg in 1992, on the 14th of June, as you rode a
20 horse; is that correct?
21 A. It is.
22 Q. And before that, did you ever sustain a similar injury; that is,
23 did you break your leg on any other occasion prior to that?
24 A. No, never. Never leg or arm or anything, not even a finger.
25 Q. And after that, after 1992?
1 A. I broke my leg in 1992 and then I broke the same left leg in
3 Q. And in which hospitals did you receive treatment on those two
5 A. Both these fractures were treated at the Uzice hospital.
6 Q. Were you ever hospitalised in the Uzice hospital at any other time
7 and on any other occasion?
8 A. In 1976, I was hospitalised there because I had trouble with my
9 lymph nodes, and I spent there two months, and then I was transferred to
10 Sarajevo to the hospital called Pod Hrastovima, under the oaks. And in
11 1980-something, four or something, I was again in hospital receiving
12 treatment for alcoholism. I think I was in the Uzice neuropsychiatric
13 ward on three different occasions. And that thing in 1992 was, I think,
14 my fourth time in the neuropsychiatric ward.
15 Q. So on these three occasions prior to 1992, were you then on all
16 those three occasions hospitalised for alcoholism?
17 THE INTERPRETER: We did not hear the answer. We are sorry.
18 JUDGE HUNT: You better ask the question again. There was no
20 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
21 Q. When you mention three times when you were admitted to hospital in
22 Uzice prior to 1992, were you hospitalised on all these three occasions
23 for alcoholism?
24 A. I said in 1976 was the first time that I was in the hospital, to
25 treat my lymph nodes, and then, yes, I was admitted to the hospital three
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 times to receive treatment for alcoholism, and that was when I was at
2 the neuropsychiatric ward.
3 Q. Apart from the treatment in hospital, were you also treated as an
5 A. Yes, in Visegrad.
6 Q. Could you tell us, Mr. Vasiljevic, something about your reactions
7 when you are under the influence or drunk. What can you tell us about
8 how you behave under those circumstances?
9 A. Well, if I start drinking, it is difficult for me to give up. I
10 crave for alcohol. So that - I don't know how to put it - if I'm not too
11 deep into it and if I go to the outpatient clinic for infusion in time
12 and start eating, then I manage to pull myself away. I was an addict,
13 really. I mean, if I got to drinking, it was very difficult for myself to
14 pull myself away, although -- and I couldn't eat. I simply craved for
16 Q. And in such situations and when you were in such a state, were you
18 A. No. I liked to have company when drinking. I liked to drink, I
19 mean, I liked to drink. It didn't matter who it was with. If I had -- I
20 was capable of spending all the money I had on me, and everybody around me
21 drank when I drank. People knew me in the -- around town and people felt
22 sorry for me, my colleagues reproached me.
23 Q. Yes, I understand that. But my question was specifically what do
24 you think, were you aggressive on such occasions towards people around
1 A. No, no, no. I was -- I simply liked to drink. I didn't quarrel
2 with anyone if someone provoked me. At times, I could even work. Well,
3 not when I was really drunk, but I could even work. I would just go
4 behind the bar and have a couple and -- well, I couldn't, of course, work
5 when I was stone drunk, when I was stoned, but otherwise I could drink and
7 Q. When I asked you if you were aggressive, I mean physical
8 aggression --
9 A. No.
10 Q. Please wait for my question. But in such situations, did you ever
11 attack anyone around you or --
12 A. No, no, no, never. Never. I never. I liked to sing and drink,
13 and that -- no, no, I never offended anyone.
14 Q. Did it ever happen, then, that in such situations, when in such a
15 state, you would start talking uncontrolled, perhaps start talking,
16 whatever, and then insult, even unwittingly, anyone?
17 A. Well, let me tell you, in the beginning, when I was younger, even
18 when I was sloshed, I knew perfectly well who I was with, how I was, what
19 coffee bar or what, whether I'd walked home or been driven to it. Later
20 on, I stopped being aware of those things, and quite often I wouldn't know
21 who I'd been with and who had brought me home. Who knows all that went on
22 and how it went on; I didn't.
23 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, when you say when you were younger that you could
24 take drink better, that you still remember events, and that later on you
25 stopped remembering these things, but do you ever recall if, when under
1 influence, when you were very young, do you remember committing any
2 offence, any crime, for which you were imprisoned then? Do you recall
4 A. I do.
5 Q. And was that offence the singing of an offensive song in the
6 company of other persons who were also brought to justice together with
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. How old were you then, Mr. Vasiljevic?
10 A. I was 18, 18 -- 18 and 11 months, thereabouts, or 18 and 10
11 months. I was 18 and 10 months old.
12 Q. Right. But under Yugoslav law, it means you were of age already
13 and you were tried and sentenced and you served your term, didn't you?
14 A. Yes, yes, I did.
15 Q. Was that the only time that you served a term in prison?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now, Mr. Vasiljevic, I'd like to move on to another topic, and
18 that is Visegrad on the eve of the arrival of the Uzice Corps, in other
19 words, early April 1992. Can you tell me, but concisely, what you were
20 doing then, and in briefest possible terms, what went on in Visegrad at
21 the time.
22 A. Well, what do you want me to tell you? Before the Uzice Corps,
23 there were some -- I don't know where to begin. I think that the police
24 split up into the Muslim and Serb police. They stopped working together.
25 Whether all of them or not, I don't know. So that this tension rose.
1 And sometime around the 10th or 11th, I was at home at the time,
2 and there was a threat that the whole power plant would be blown up, and I
3 heard this conversation on the radio. And people panicked. Nobody
4 believed that that might happen. But some of the gates were opened and
5 water -- but if it happened, then water started to pour in. I don't know
6 whether there were any people in the town, Serbs or Muslims, but I know
7 that we withdrew to the village called Omar. And the Serb policemen were
8 captured at the time, some of the regular force and some of these - what
9 you call it - the reserve force, and they were taken up to the hydro power
10 plant or something. I can't tell you every little detail, but all I know
11 is that they were captured.
12 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, did this make people leave the town, I mean, both
13 the Muslim and the Serb inhabitants, were they prompted to leave the town?
14 A. Well, I didn't go into town to tell you whether they'd all left,
15 but yes, most people did, Muslims and Serbs, as likely as not, because
16 when water was released, nobody could be happy about that.
17 Q. So if I understand you well, Mr. Vasiljevic, before that happened,
18 you had already left Visegrad and you were somewhere in the vicinity.
19 When you say Kalate, is Kalate the name of the locality where your house
20 in Visegrad is?
21 Q. And how far was that from your house, that is, the town itself?
22 A. You mean where we went to, where we went from Kalate?
23 Q. Yes.
24 A. Well, it's not far. It's a hill of 500 or 600 metres, the village
25 of Omar. But it wasn't safe there. Serbs were arriving from the town on
1 the run too, so that we moved on to Banja, to the spa, which is some three
2 kilometres further away, the village of Jelasica.
3 Q. And why wasn't it safe, as you say? Can you explain it? How
4 wasn't it safe?
5 A. Well, these Serb policemen were captured, and people fled up
6 towards the border with Serbia, so that we all had to fear.
7 Q. You say people fled towards the boundary with Serbia. What people
8 do you have in mind, Mr. Vasiljevic? Do you mean the Serb or the Muslim
9 population, or both?
10 A. Serb, by and large, but there were also some Muslims who were
11 fleeing to Serbia. I know that up at the sanatorium, there were Serbs and
12 Muslims, and that we transferred all the patients there to the boundary as
13 we went, as we were on our way. They were all heading towards the
15 Q. And in that village, in the village of Jelasica where you were,
16 were you there when the Uzice Corps arrived in Visegrad?
17 A. Yes. We heard that the Uzice Corps had arrived whilst we were up
19 Q. From what you could hear or learn personally, did the arrival of
20 the Uzice Corps help to improve the situation, to calm down the situation,
21 in Visegrad and around it, or was it the other way around?
22 A. Well, when they came, the situation became more normal. There was
23 no more tension. They invited all the population, Serb and Muslim, to go
24 back to work. And then, well ...
25 Q. And did people go back to work and to the town itself?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And you, Mr. Vasiljevic, do you have any recollection of any
3 incident at that time, any note-worthy incident during that time while the
4 Uzice Corps was still in the town?
5 A. Before the Uzice Corps came, yes. The first victim was, I
6 believe, a Serb. He could have been around 25 or so, Mico Indzic, and
7 I think he was the first victim.
8 Q. Yes, but you are talking about the time before the Uzice Corps
9 arrived and you yourself said that there was tension in Visegrad. But my
10 question was while the Uzice Corps was there, were there any serious
11 incidents then in Visegrad?
12 A. Well, I don't know if there were any serious incidents. I did not
13 hear anything about any serious incidents. They had their commanders.
14 They were the army. The army was under the command. There could have
15 been a victim or two. I know there was some Smajic and his wife, but I
16 don't know how that came about. Medo Smajic, I think.
17 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, did these soldiers of the Uzice Corps have their
18 checkpoints on the roads, and if yes, was one such checkpoint near your
20 A. Yes. They had their checkpoints usually, as a rule, on bridges,
21 then at junctions, at the intersections, and one was near my house, that
22 is, towards the village of Omar. That was one such crossroads. And they
23 manned it for some ten days or so, when that checkpoint was moved to the
24 village of Sase.
25 Q. Your street, the street on which your house is, is called Vojvode
1 Stepe; is that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And is it on the main road, or perhaps the only road leading from
4 the centre of Visegrad to Sase, that is, Vilina Vlas, and Prelovo which is
5 still further away, that is the only road there?
6 A. If you go by car. If you go on foot, you can cut across the
8 Q. Speaking of the checkpoint which was located in the vicinity of
9 your house, on the road, that is, in your street, did you, at any point in
10 time during that period, have any specific tasks such as duty shift? Were
11 you in charge of controlling people passing through that checkpoint?
12 A. No. It was impossible for us to participate in their duties.
13 They had their own army, their own command. They did not ask us to do any
14 such tasks.
15 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, could you now describe for us what happened with
16 you specifically after the departure of the Uzice Corps.
17 A. After the Uzice Corps had left, I received call-up papers for
18 mobilisation. I was asked to report at the school in Prelovo.
19 Q. Did you respond to the call-up papers that you received?
20 A. Yes, I did.
21 Q. At that time, did you have a uniform belonging to the reservists
22 of the JNA at house [as interpreted]?
23 A. Yes, I did.
24 Q. And did you take that uniform with you when you went to Prelovo?
25 A. Yes, I did.
1 Q. Could you please describe for us what kind of uniform it was.
2 A. It was a former JNA uniform, the so-called SMB uniform. I was
3 issued that uniform some ten years prior to the events. That kind of
4 uniform was issued to all of us, Muslims, Serbs, Yugoslavs. It was in the
5 former Yugoslavia, and it was the kind of uniform that we kept at home, we
6 members of the reserve forces. Usually, once you were over 30, you would
7 become a member of the reservists, of the reserve force of the army. So I
8 had that uniform for about ten years, and it was a regular olive-drab
9 uniform. I was not the only one. All of us had this kind of uniform.
10 Q. Would it be correct for me to say that all members of the reserve
11 force had such a uniform at home, and that that was the kind of uniform
12 that they would take when they were called to perform military exercises?
13 A. Well, I cannot say that all of us had such uniforms, but the
14 majority of us did. Some people maybe didn't have it; maybe they received
15 it later on.
16 Q. When you said that it was an olive-drab uniform of the former JNA,
17 did you mean that it was a unicoloured uniform which was olive-grey in
18 colour, a rather light hue of olive-grey?
19 A. Yes, yes, it had only one colour.
20 Q. Could you tell us something more about the unit to which you were
21 sent in Prelovo.
22 A. It was a quartermaster unit. It belonged to the quartermaster
24 Q. What does that mean, Mr. Vasiljevic?
25 A. I was assigned to that particular unit together with another
1 cook. We had an assistant as well and a driver, and there was also a
2 paramedic with us, a male nurse. So that would have been, what, five of
3 us altogether.
4 Q. Do you remember any of the names of those people, Mr. Vasiljevic?
5 A. I know all of them.
6 Q. Could you please tell us the names you remember.
7 A. The chief cook was an elderly man who, prior to that, used to work
8 in various canteens and restaurants in Serbia. Whether he was retired or
9 not, I don't know. But his name was Vaso Vojnovic. The driver was a
10 relative of his who used to work in Visegrad as a driver for the forestry
11 company, and his name was Obren Vojnovic. The assistant was Dragisa
12 Lindo, and the paramedic, Stevo Grujic, and myself.
13 Q. Do you remember anyone else who was there but not a member of your
15 A. I know that Dragan Simic was there, the commander Krsto Papic,
16 because the command was there as well.
17 Q. So, Mr. Vasiljevic, could you give us a description of your
18 personal duties during your time in Prelovo.
19 A. When I arrived in Prelovo, we were immediately assigned to various
20 tasks. The main cook, the chief cook, as I said, was Vaso Vojnovic. And
21 I was tasked with procurement of foodstuffs and kitchenware, because it
22 was at the very beginning, so I was also supposed to help with the kitchen
23 work whenever I was there. So that is how we began our work at the school
24 there. But we had some difficulties with cooking there so we moved to
25 another building, to a house nearby, in order to be separate from the rest
1 of the troops.
2 So we prepared food there. My duty was to take food to the front
3 line, together with the driver, Obren Vojnovic, so this is what we did.
4 We would drive the food to the front line, which at the time was in the
5 village of Blace. We distributed lunch, and in the evening, dinner,
6 except on the occasions when they only had a can of food or a sandwich for
7 dinner, something not cooked. In general, then that would be distributed
8 together with the lunch so that we didn't have to go again in the evening.
9 Q. The distribution of food to the front lines, in your opinion, was
10 it dangerous for you during that period of time?
11 A. Yes. I personally was scared, especially during the night.
12 During the day, it was more or less okay, I wasn't that afraid. However,
13 during the night, I had problems doing it. It was really difficult for me
14 to do that, but I had to.
15 Q. Did you complain about that problem to your superiors?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. I omitted to ask you at the beginning of this Prelovo section
18 whether you were issued any weapon.
19 THE INTERPRETER: We believe the witness said yes.
20 A. I was issued with an automatic rifle, some machine-gun called
21 Schmeisser, before I left for Prelovo. So when I got to Prelovo, I
22 returned that weapon and was issued instead an automatic rifle; that is, I
23 returned the Schmeisser or the sub-machine-gun.
24 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
25 Q. So that was the rifle that you carried with you at the time you
1 were in Prelovo; is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did you ever go to Visegrad, either on business or for other
4 reasons, during that period of time?
5 A. Yes. I would usually go to Visegrad in the morning to obtain the
6 necessary things, and sometimes I would even go twice a day if I needed to
7 bring some kitchenware, some pots and pans, if necessary, if there were
8 things that needed to be brought to the kitchen.
9 Q. You have told us that you personally never drove a car, neither
10 did you have a driver's license. Who was it who took you there?
11 A. Obren Vojnovic did, in a van.
12 Q. That would have been your official journeys from Prelovo and back
13 for the purposes of the kitchen you were working for?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Did you ever leave Prelovo to go to your house? Did you stay at
16 your house for awhile and then return to the unit?
17 A. Yes. If I was able to find some transport, I was allowed to go
18 home until the following day.
19 Q. If I understand you correctly, whenever it was possible for you to
20 do that, in view of the duties that you had at Prelovo, and whenever you
21 were able to find some transport, you would go home in the evening and
22 then come back on the following day?
23 A. Yes, except that we were not allowed to use the van for our
24 personal purposes, only for the kitchen. But we personally were not
25 allowed to use it for our needs, no.
1 Q. So on those other occasions, how did you go home?
2 A. Well, usually, I would stop a car passing by. Someone would give
3 me a lift.
4 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, do you remember one particular occasion during
5 that period of time being driven from Prelovo to your home by Milan Lukic,
6 personally? Do you remember that?
7 A. Yes, I do.
8 Q. Would you please tell the Court when that was and whether you made
9 a stop on the way.
10 A. It was sometime in late May. I was standing by the road, waiting
11 for someone to pass by, and Milan Lukic, together with two other vehicles
12 coming from the direction of Prelovo, passed by, so I stopped them and
13 asked them to give me a lift to Visegrad. As we were getting near the
14 village of Musici, which lies some three or four kilometres away from
15 Prelovo, he said he had to stop to check if anyone had any weapons there,
16 because allegedly someone had opened fire on the police patrol. And I
17 said, "Milan, why do you want to have anything to do with them? I mean,
18 you were not shot at." But he stopped in that village, and others got out
19 as well, and they went towards the [redacted] house, and I said, "Milan, for
20 God's sake, please don't touch those people." I knew all of them.
21 Perhaps not personally, but I did know them. But he entered their house
22 and he asked if anyone had any weapons.
23 To tell you the truth, I was aware of the fact that both [redacted]
24 [redacted] were members of the [redacted], but I never told him
25 that. I didn't want to tell him that. It wasn't my intention to say
1 anything. I know for a fact that both [redacted] were members of the
2 [redacted], but I never told him that.
3 JUDGE HUNT: Just one moment, sir. What's the problem?
4 MR. GROOME: He's referring to protected witnesses. If I might,
5 I've prepared a pseudonym sheet for cross-examination. I would offer it
6 to Defence, if they care to use it, and he can refer to them by their
8 JUDGE HUNT: That might be a very good idea, Mr. Domazet.
9 Have you got a copy of it for us so that the redactions can be
11 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE HUNT: Have you ascribed a number for it?
13 MR. GROOME: Just a second, Your Honour. While we're discussing
14 this, I might also state that in the accused's interview in November, he
15 expressed concern that two names would be mentioned, that it could cause
16 possible harm to his family. I would have no objection if the Court
17 assigned them Defence pseudonyms. I will be asking him about those two
18 gentlemen, and their names are on the bottom of that sheet.
19 The next number would be Prosecution document number 164, Your
21 JUDGE HUNT: That will be Exhibit P164, and it's under seal.
22 In relation to Defence pseudonyms, have you thought of any
23 numbers? We've used VGD-1 and VGD-2. But have you organised any others,
24 Mr. Domazet, or shall we just proceed with 3 and 4?
25 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] I agree, Your Honour, that we
1 continue with numbers 3 and 4, because I still don't have a separate list
2 so I don't think there's any problem with that.
3 JUDGE HUNT: Well, the first of the additional names on Exhibit
4 P164 should be referred to as VGD-3, and the second of those names as
5 VGD-4. Perhaps they better be written on the sheet that the witness has
6 so that he's got them readily available to him.
7 I interrupted the answer, I'm sorry. Can you pick it up,
8 Mr. Domazet?
9 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, of course.
10 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you, Mr. Groome, for that.
11 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, before we continue, I should like to ask you to
13 have a look at this list, and should it become necessary for you to
14 mention any of these individuals, to indicate them by number instead of
15 using their names.
16 As regards the two last individuals on the list, you have separate
17 numbers if we should have any questions in relation to them.
18 A. I apologise, Your Honours, for having mentioned the name of
19 Witness 059.
20 So when he got to their house, he entered the house. I was
21 standing in front of the door --
22 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, would you please wait for my question first.
23 Mr. Vasiljevic, try to concentrate on my questions and give me
24 specific and brief answers to them. First of all, do you remember how
25 many vehicles there were in addition to Milan Lukic's car with whom you
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 A. Three. I believe that there were three vehicles.
3 Q. Did Milan Lukic's car stop some 20 metres away from the house of
4 Witness VG-059?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Where did the other vehicles stop?
7 A. I think they stopped somewhere in the vicinity. It's a small
9 Q. The individuals who were in those other vehicles, were they
10 wearing a uniform and carrying weapons?
11 A. Yes, as far as I could tell. I don't know whether all of them
12 were. I don't know. I mean, I didn't know all of them.
13 Q. What kind of uniforms did they have, including Milan Lukic?
14 A. Most of them were wearing camouflage uniforms.
15 Q. Did Milan Lukic also have a uniform like that?
16 A. Yes, he did.
17 Q. Were you wearing your uniform, the one that you had when you were
18 in Prelovo?
19 A. You mean the SMB uniform?
20 Q. Yes, yes. Did you have it on on that evening?
21 A. Yes, most probably -- yes, I did. I don't know what else I would
22 have had on.
23 Q. Did you also have your weapon, the one you were issued whilst in
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. A moment ago you told us that it was only Milan Lukic who entered
2 the house of VG-059.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And you only reached the door and stood in the doorway. That is
5 how you explained it to us.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did you see where other soldiers went?
8 A. Well, they were there in the village.
9 Q. Can you tell us if Milan Lukic said something or if he asked
10 something from those people whose house he had entered, briefly?
11 A. Weapons only.
12 Q. When you say "weapons only," does that mean that he asked them if
13 they had any weapons, or something else?
14 A. If anyone had any weapons and if they knew who had weapons.
15 Q. And what did they answer?
16 A. Nothing. They said they had nothing. And people from the village
17 gathered. He was with them there. What they talked about word for word,
18 I cannot say. But he was looking for weapons, saying, "Does anyone have
19 any weapons? If yes, turn it over," things of that sort.
20 Q. Let's move slowly, Mr. Vasiljevic. If I understood you well, at
21 first Milan Lukic was alone with the members of the family of the witness
22 059, and then you say other people gathered. Does that mean that other
23 villagers had come to that house?
24 A. The house that he entered belonged to the father of Witness 059,
25 and his brother was there too, and 59 too, 55 was there, the wife of 59,
1 but they came later.
2 Q. If I understood you well, you said that a little later some other
3 villagers of Musici also turned up; is that correct?
4 A. It is.
5 Q. And did Milan Lukic say to them the same thing about weapons, or
6 perhaps did he ask something else?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And during that time while you were there, were there any
9 incidents or did anything happen that would indicate that there was
10 something between them?
11 A. In the house belonging to the father of 059, no.
12 Q. Did you then leave the village of Musici altogether and head for
14 A. I asked and gave my word to Milan that those people were good
15 people, because I went to school with the brother of 059, and he wanted to
16 go and search. And I gave him my word that he was telling the truth, that
17 there was nobody up there. And Witness 59 said so in his statement to the
18 investigators. I trusted those people, I said. And that day, there was
19 nothing; he didn't rob them or hit anyone, he didn't.
20 Q. If I understand what you are saying, nobody searched the houses,
21 nobody went to the attic or --
22 A. No, no, no, not the attic. Just the rooms and kitchen, I think,
23 but not the attic. I said I know, the many questions said to me, there is
24 nothing and I said so because I ...
25 Q. And after that, did you leave Musici altogether? I mean, the same
1 vehicles, you in the car that you had come up in and the others in their
3 A. Yes, I left with them, I think all of them. I got off where my
4 house is because it's slightly in front of Visegrad, slightly before you
5 enter Visegrad.
6 Q. So with them, you reached your house which is at the entrance into
7 Visegrad, on the same road, and that is where you parted company with
9 A. Yes, yes, I got off when we reached my house.
10 Q. And after that, did you ever go to the village of Musici again
11 with Milan Lukic or anyone else from his group?
12 A. No, never again did I go there with Milan Lukic, to the village of
13 Musici, and I'm quite positive about that. I did go through the village,
14 though, because that's the only road which takes one to Prelovo. But not
15 with Milan Lukic, no.
16 Q. And did your unit, that army kitchen at Prelovo, did it receive
17 orders to relocate to the village of Blace, or in its direction?
18 A. I asked to be transferred to the village of Blace to avoid
19 commuting by night, but they would not allow it. And later on it turned
20 out that I had been in the right, and then they did transfer me. Perhaps
21 we do not understand one another. We took the food to the village of
22 Blace, and the army kitchen was moved over there later on.
23 Q. If I understand you well, at the time when the kitchen was
24 relocated to the village of Blace, you were no longer with it?
25 A. No, no, no. It was transferred to the village of Blace while I
1 was still in Prelovo.
2 Q. Will you tell us, how did it come about that you stopped being in
3 Prelovo, rather, in that army kitchen?
4 A. The line from Prelovo to the village of Blace where we took food
5 was to be moved five kilometres on to the village of Rujiste and the
6 village of Paocici which is below the village of Rujiste. The road takes
7 you through the forest there. And I refused to take the food there at
8 night, and they then returned to Visegrad and gave me a reference so that
9 I would report to the command.
10 Q. So where did you go, and what happened then?
11 A. I went to Bikavac where the command was, reported to Drago
12 Gavrilovic, and he says to me that I have to go back and I tell him that I
13 won't. There was no way that I could take any food anywhere at night,
14 especially now that the front line was being moved another five
15 kilometres. "You have to do it." "I can't, I daren't, I won't." "Well,
16 drink less and then you'll dare," he says. To tell you honest, without a
17 drink, I would never move from my house, I would be afraid to do that.
18 So we did not manage to see eye to eye. I returned the weapon --
19 no, I forgot to say, I didn't -- when I had started from Prelovo, up there
20 they took away my automatic rifle and gave me back the submachine-gun, the
21 one that I had been issued with before. At Bikavac, I returned the
22 submachine-gun, and Drago says, "Mitar, you're going to be put behind the
23 bars." I said, "It's all right with me. I don't care. I am too afraid
24 to go there," and that's the end of it. And they did arrest me that day.
25 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, do you remember the day when that happened or the
1 period of time when that happened?
2 A. I think it was the 29th. They did not give me any disposition or
3 decision or anything.
4 Q. So you think it was the end of May 1992; is that it? When you say
5 that you were arrested the same day, was it at that same place or where?
6 A. It was down in the town.
7 Q. And who arrested you?
8 A. Two military policemen. Let me tell you, they invited me to board
9 their car. They did not try to do anything to me; they did not use any
10 force. "Come along, get into the car." I did. They took me to the
11 station. They were quite correct. I didn't expect that.
12 Q. But he gave you -- they gave you no paper, no document about it at
14 A. No. I asked for it and they promised. They said allegedly I'd
15 spent 15 days in gaol.
16 Q. And where did they take you?
17 A. To the Uzamnica -- to Uzamnica.
18 Q. Was that a prison or what?
19 A. It was the barracks. Earlier, I mean, it was the JNA
21 Q. Do you recall any of the people who worked there or who were
22 possibly serving terms at the same time?
23 A. When I arrived up there, I found there another prisoner, Pero
24 Simcic his name was.
25 Q. And that Pero Simcic was incarcerated in the same place, in the
1 same room?
2 A. Yes, we were in the same room.
3 Q. And do you remember any of the staff of that prison?
4 A. Well, there was a colleague of mine who distributed food there.
5 There were guards too.
6 THE INTERPRETER: I did not catch the name of the man who
7 distributed food.
8 JUDGE HUNT: The interpreters lost the name there, if he gave one.
9 Mr. Vasiljevic, you do drop your voice quite often. Just
10 remember that it's got to get through to the interpreters. Indeed, it's
11 got to get through to Mr. Domazet as well.
12 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Will you please repeat the name of that man who you say is your
14 colleague and served food there.
15 A. Ilija Zecevic.
16 Q. Thank you. And during the term, did you receive any medical
18 A. I did.
19 Q. Whose?
20 A. Dr. Vasiljevic, and a nurse who came with him. I think her name,
21 her first name is Marica. I don't know what her last name is.
22 Q. And why did that doctor and that nurse come to see you?
23 A. My nerves were in a bad state. I suppose alcohol had something to
24 do with it. So he gave me an infusion. I was on a hunger strike.
25 Q. Do you remember how, at the time when you were arrested and taken
1 to Uzamnica, if you were drunk then?
2 A. Well, yes, to be quite frank, I never stopped drinking at the
4 Q. Was that the reason or one of the reasons for the intervention by
5 the doctor and the nurse?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Do you remember, how many days did you spend at Uzamnica?
8 A. Well, I was released from Uzamnica after my cousin was killed.
9 Q. Which cousin, Mr. Vasiljevic?
10 A. Zeljko Sikiric.
11 Q. And where was he killed; do you know that?
12 A. Up there somewhere near Brodar, in the direction of Medzedza.
13 Somewhere in the woods. I don't know exactly where, but it was near
14 Brodar somewhere.
15 Q. You say that was the reason why they let you out of the prison.
16 After how many days; can you remember that?
17 A. I spent three days up there. Three or maybe four.
18 Q. And did you attend the funeral of your cousin Sikiric?
19 A. I did.
20 Q. Did this funeral take place only, more or less, immediately after
21 he died, or did it take place a few days later; do you remember that? Or
22 let me rephrase this. Funerals usually take place a day or two after the
23 demise. That is a custom with us. Was that the case in this particular
25 A. No, because they were killed in the woods. There were two
1 neighbours with him, and these other two were -- got out before him and
2 they were buried a couple of days before him. So one had to wait, I don't
3 know how long really, while they found them and then could get to them.
4 They had to wait for the army to liberate it. So that he wasn't brought
5 that same day, no.
6 Q. So from the moment when your cousin was killed until the time when
7 his body was pulled out and then buried, several days elapsed; is that
9 A. Yes, yes, it is.
10 Q. Can you explain the relationship? Who is he? What is he?
11 A. He's my uncle's son. Dobrivoje Sikiric.
12 Q. So Dobrivoje Sikiric is your mother's brother; is that it?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Where did he live?
15 A. In the village called Vardiste.
16 Q. And Vardiste is on the main road from Visegrad to Uzice; is that
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. At that time, did he have a coffee bar in that village?
20 A. He did. He must have had it for some ten years at the time,
21 perhaps even longer.
22 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, did you attend Zeljko Sikiric's funeral?
23 A. I did.
24 Q. Did you -- if you can remember, that is, were you under influence
25 at that time or not?
1 A. I was, yes.
2 Q. Why? Could you explain it, please?
3 A. Well, I was sorry; we were relatives. I grieved.
4 Q. Thank you. Now I'll move on to another matter, and that is the
5 7th of June, 1992 and what happened that day. Let me remind you. It was
6 the incident with which you are charged. Do you remember what you did
7 that day, and how did it happen that you went to Vilina Vlas?
8 A. When they released me from Uzamnica, from prison, I reported to
9 the command and begged them not to lock me up again. And then they let me
10 organise the cleaning of the town. And that day I was on my way back
11 home, and before I got there, Stanko Pecikoza in a car caught up with
13 Q. And who was Stanko Pecikoza?
14 A. Stanko Pecikoza was a Serb from Vise, a businessman. He had
15 his sawmill and his carpenter shop about a kilometre from my house, in a
16 village called Kosovo Polje.
17 JUDGE HUNT: Is this convenient, Mr. Domazet?
18 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE HUNT: How are you going for your estimate and the length of
20 your evidence-in-chief? I have in mind your wish to speak to the witness
21 tomorrow. Do you think you'll be finished by 4.00?
22 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour, I hope to finish before then.
23 JUDGE HUNT: I don't want you to hurry it in any way, but it
24 certainly would be to yours and the accused's advantage if you do finish
25 by 4.00. But please don't feel in any way pushed.
1 We'll adjourn now until 2.30.
2 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.30 p.m.
2 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet.
3 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, we left off at the moment when you started talking
5 about Stanko Pecikoza and his encounter with yourself on the 7th of June.
6 I should like you to continue describing that particular encounter. On
7 that day, Stanko Pecikoza stopped his car and then you saw him, and can
8 you please tell us what happened next.
9 A. Yes. Stanko stopped his car and he asked me whether I knew where
10 Lukic was, whether I had seem him around. I said, "Stanko, I don't know.
11 It's possible that he's at Banja, because that's where he usually spends
12 the night." And then he asked me whether I would like to join him, to go
13 to Banja, and I said, "Yes, why not," because it was an opportunity for me
14 to take my waiter's uniform which was left over there.
15 Q. Your waiter's uniform was there for how long?
16 A. Well, I left it there at the time I worked there at Banja, while
17 the Uzice Corps was there, while I worked there. But not all the time,
18 maybe for about 15 days. So that is how we set out towards Banja.
19 Q. Just a moment. Does that mean, Mr. Vasiljevic, that you had not
20 been at Banja ever since, that is, since the time you left your waiter's
21 uniform there?
22 A. Yes, I did go to Stara Banja once or twice while the locality was
23 still functioning, while the corps was there. But no, I didn't go there
24 very often, no.
25 Q. So did you go to Vilina Vlas with Stanko Pecikoza in his car?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Did you see anyone there when you got there?
3 A. Milivoje Susnjar was at the reception desk and I asked him whether
4 he knew about Milan Stanko, because they were looking for him because of
5 the incidents that he was involved in. Stanko was active in the party. I
6 don't know exactly what he was, he was a deputy chairman, I think. And
7 he was very much against Milan and his behaviour, his actions. But
8 anyway, he wasn't there, and Stanko told me to -- well, he actually asked
9 me to stay there and he said, "If he should come back, please let me know
10 that he's there, and I'm now going to look for him, see if I can find
11 him." He said, "I'm going down to Prelovo to see if he's there," because
12 he had already been looking for him for quite some time, around the town
14 So Stanko left and I remained there with Milivoje for awhile. I
15 was not able to get my uniform, my waiter's uniform, because the area
16 behind the kitchen was locked up, and that is where our cloakrooms were.
17 So I was unable to get there. But I stayed there for awhile, half an hour
18 maybe, and then Milan Lukic came, together with seven Muslims and three or
19 four other people with him whom they had collected in Bikavac. Meho
20 Dzafic was there and his son.
21 Q. I should like you to pause for awhile. Could you please focus on
22 my question so that we can give the Court as precise a description as
23 possible. So you remained at Vilina Vlas, and Milivoje Susnjar was the
24 only individual who was with you at the time. Milivoje Susnjar is the one
25 whom you found when you got there.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Some 30 minutes after Pecikoza left, Milan Lukic came with his
3 men, taking with him a group of people amongst whom you recognised Meho
4 Dzafic; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 MR. GROOME: Objection. Leading.
7 JUDGE HUNT: I think it was a leading question. If it's
8 important, Mr. Domazet, you really should not lead because it destroys the
9 value of his answer.
10 If you want to object, let's hear you say it. I can't look at
11 both sides of the courtroom at the same time.
12 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
13 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mitar Vasiljevic
14 himself said that seven Muslims arrived with him, including Meho Dzafic
15 and his son, and that was the reason why I phrased my question the way I
16 phrased it, because he had already given me the answer. However, I will
17 try to rephrase it.
18 JUDGE HUNT: If he had, it was some time ago, because I don't
19 recall it, frankly. But if he had said it, then it was not a leading
20 question. But let's not argue, let's get on with the case.
21 MR. DOMAZET: Yes.
22 Q. [Interpretation] The individuals whom you just mentioned entered
23 the hotel. Where were you at that moment?
24 A. At the reception desk of the hotel. Actually, I was not inside, I
25 was in front of the reception.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. In that lobby, there is a door on the left leading to the swimming
2 pool, then a cloakroom, and then further down the hall is the reception.
3 Can you remember exactly where you were at the moment those people entered
4 the building?
5 A. Well, I was there near the desk. I mean, I was around. I was in
6 the lobby, right in front of the reception desk.
7 Q. Were you armed?
8 A. No, I wasn't.
9 Q. At the time, were you issued with any weapon at all?
10 A. No, I was not. I told you that I had returned my weapon when I
11 was captured, when I was arrested, at Bikavac. It was at Bikavac that I
12 returned my weapon.
13 Q. Did you have your uniform on?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. What kind of uniform? Could you describe it for us, please.
16 A. The usual SMB uniform; the trousers, T-shirt, a shirt, that is.
17 Q. The trousers were part of the SMB uniform. What about the shirt?
18 Was it a military shirt or a civilian shirt?
19 A. Most probably it was also an SMB shirt, a sports shirt or a
20 similar one. I don't know. I changed shirts very often in those days
21 because I was cleaning the town, so I probably had this kind of a sports
22 shirt on at that time as well.
23 Q. Did you have anything on your head?
24 A. I had a hat.
25 Q. What kind of hat, Mr. Vasiljevic?
1 A. A black hat which was usually worn by the military.
2 Q. Did you often wear this hat?
3 A. Sometimes, though not always.
4 Q. On that particular occasion, did you have a red ribbon tied around
5 your sleeve?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Why did you wear that ribbon? Could you explain that to us,
9 A. It was a kind of sign, indicating that I was working as a cleaner,
10 that I had my duty in the town.
11 Q. Could you now tell us what happened when this group of people
12 entered the hotel, when they came to the reception? Did any one of them
13 speak to Susnjar, who was the only person present there, and what happened
15 A. Susnjar was working at the reception. He was a kind of janitor
16 there. He had been one even prior to the war. So when Milan and his men
17 entered together with those Muslims, he went to look for the keys.
18 Actually, Milan asked for the keys but Susnjar didn't want to give him the
19 keys because he was very rude, Milan, that is, and he was persistent. He
20 wanted to have the keys but Susnjar wouldn't give him the keys. Milan
21 wanted to lock those people up. He wanted to take them upstairs.
22 Allegedly, he needed them for some kind of exchange. I don't know exactly
23 what he had in mind.
24 Q. Did he actually say that? Did he actually tell you that he wanted
25 to lock them up or that he wanted to take them for an exchange, or is it
1 something that you were able to conclude from his behaviour?
2 A. He wanted to lock those people up. He was asking for keys to the
3 rooms, but Susnjar didn't want to give him the keys, which made him very
4 rude, extremely rude, and he started making a lot of noise. Frankly
5 speaking, I was very embarrassed because I was there with this senior
6 colleague of mine with whom I had worked together for a very long time.
7 But this didn't last very long, it all happened very quickly.
8 Q. Did Susnjar tell him why he didn't want to give him the keys? Was
9 there any specific reason for that, or did they discuss the subject at
11 A. Well, to tell you the truth, it's -- well, it's hard for me to
12 remember the details of the conversation. Actually, it was with Meho
13 Dzafic that I went outside. I know that Susnjar didn't give him the keys
14 most probably because he had been taking people there already. I don't
15 know whether I can mention -- I mean, I've already said Susnjar. I think
16 that he released some people that he had previously brought there.
17 Q. Did anyone say something to that effect on that occasion?
18 A. I cannot say that I personally heard that. It is possible that at
19 that moment I was already outside with Meho. It's difficult for me to
20 remember all of the details. What I do remember, however, is that he was
21 very rude and that he insisted on having the keys and that Susnjar refused
22 to give him the keys. He said he wanted to lock those people up and to
23 later take them to be exchanged, because allegedly some Serbs had been
24 taken prisoners and taken from Rujiste to Zepa. I don't know who. Who
25 would know? I mean, all those plans that he had in mind, I really don't
2 Q. So what happened when he didn't get the keys? What did Milan do
3 at that point?
4 A. I left out -- I went out with Meho Dzafic and we talked for
5 awhile, and Dzafic said, "I don't know what happened. He came to my
6 house, he picked up some people." And then I said, "What does he want to
7 do with you?" He told me that he wanted to have them exchanged. And I
8 said, "Well, for whom are you supposed to be exchanged?" And he said he
9 didn't know. He was very much afraid, and he said, "Mitar, could you
10 please come with me, if you can," and I said, "Well, Meho, I will."
11 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, would you please answer my questions. My question
12 was: What did Milan do after those keys were not given to him?
13 A. He said that they were to go back to the vehicles, to the cars,
14 and that they were going to be exchanged. So I got out of the hotel with
15 Meho --
16 Q. So did they actually go there?
17 A. Well, I went out with Meho and Meho asked me if I had a cigarette.
18 I gave him a cigarette, he smoked it halfway, and then Milan came and,
19 rude as he was, he snatched that cigarette from him and he threw it away.
20 He said, "You're not going to smoke in the car." And I said, "Well, why
21 don't you let him finish his cigarette." And he said, "He's not going to
22 smoke in the car," and then he said, "Now, get in the car." And I
23 remember very well that I was sitting in the car -- Meho was sitting in
24 the middle and I was sitting next to him, and there was another Muslim
25 sitting to Meho's left. I was sitting on his right. There was also
1 Meho's son with us, and the soldier under number 4 here.
2 Q. So you left Vilina Vlas in a car?
3 A. Yes, that is correct.
4 Q. Which car was the first one in line, in the column?
5 A. Lukic's car, a Passat.
6 Q. At one point in time you reached the junction at Sase. What
7 happened next?
8 A. Some 500 metres from the junction, to the right, in the direction
9 towards Prelovo, he stopped the car. In Sase, actually.
10 Q. Did he leave the car? Did he get out of the car?
11 A. Yes, he did.
12 Q. What about other passengers in his car?
13 A. Yes. We all got out of the car. Also, the people who were in the
14 Jugo, they also got out of the car, pursuant to his orders.
15 Q. And what happened next?
16 A. He told us to continue down towards the Drina. Then at that
17 point, people started panicking. The situation was not normal. And I
18 said, "Milan, for God's sake, leave these people alone." He said, "I told
19 you to go down to the Drina." So these people went down the meadow
20 towards the Drina. Meho stayed with me. Meho was crying. And I remember
21 Milan at one point in time putting his arm around Meho and I thought that
22 he would have pity on him. And he said, "Mitar, would you please help
23 me," and I said, "Milan, please, leave these people alone. What have they
24 done to you? Nothing." And those other Muslims started to beg, but Milan
25 wouldn't budge. He said, "No discussion. Just go down the meadow,
1 continue towards the Drina."
2 Those people were still begging him. There were people who
3 couldn't swim. But he just wouldn't budge.
4 Q. Who said, "Who can swim?"
5 A. Milan said. Milan did.
6 Q. From what you have just told us, one can conclude that you too
7 realised what the danger was, that you too could conclude that those
8 people would be killed by Milan.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And that is indeed what happened, they were killed sometime later,
11 except for the two individuals who managed to save themselves?
12 A. Yes, that is correct.
13 Q. Do you think that you were in a position to prevent that?
14 A. I was trying. I begged him, but it was impossible to order him to
15 do anything or to ask him anything. He was -- he was cruel. He wouldn't
17 Q. So you went down towards the Drina with those people; is that
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. How far did you go with them? How far did you accompany them; all
21 the way down, or did you stop at one point?
22 A. I stopped some 10 or 15 metres before the river, because I
23 realised that there was nothing that can be done, that it was all over.
24 Q. Did Milan or someone else line up those people on the bank of the
1 A. Well, they went all the way down to the river. I remained where I
2 was, some 10 or 15 metres away from the bank, near some bushes. I could
3 hear the noise, I could hear people cry and beg, but it was to no avail.
4 And then shooting started and I heard those shots and I heard those
5 terrible moans, screams of people being drowned.
6 Q. How many of them opened fire? How many of them actually shot?
7 A. Three of them. Three of them actually went down to the river.
8 Q. Are you also counting Milan Lukic amongst those three individuals?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Were you behind those people at the moment the shooting started?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. How far were you, and where exactly where you standing?
13 A. I was some 10 to 15 metres away from them, actually, away from the
15 Q. At the spot where you were, were there any bushes or trees?
16 A. There were some bushes, some brambles growing near the water.
17 Q. Could you tell us what kind of bushes those were?
18 A. Well, it's the kind of -- it's a kind of bush or a tree which
19 grows near the water. Usually you would find such bushes and small trees
20 growing near rivers. And there were also some other trees there, some
21 poplars, the kind of trees that you usually find near the river.
22 Q. So you remained there, near those trees, and you were some 10 or
23 15 metres behind the people, behind the individuals who shot at the group
24 which was standing at the bank of the river; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did you watch the shooting itself?
2 A. Well, not directly. I didn't watch them kill those people. I
3 turned around because it was very difficult for me to watch that. But I
4 could hear the shots and I could hear people getting drowned. It was
5 terrible to listen to all that.
6 Q. Did you ever -- were you ever present at any shooting incident
7 before that?
8 A. No, never. I had never seen any shooting except in the movies.
10 Q. And what happened next?
11 A. They shot those people dead. I started up the meadow; they
12 followed. And, What did you do? Why did you have to do that? But he
13 wouldn't turn a hair. He just didn't care, that's how he behaved. So we
14 reached the vehicles. We set off. I got out at my house.
15 Q. You mean your house at the entrance into Visegrad?
16 A. That's right.
17 Q. And who were you in the car with?
18 A. Number 4.
19 Q. So in the same car that you went to the Drina; is that it?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did you discuss the things that you saw that day with anyone?
22 A. It was difficult to do that. I was very distraught even before
23 that, and it was -- it was very hard for me. I tried to. I was washing
24 my face, I poured water on the back of my neck. Everything that happened,
25 it was just too hard to even think about.
1 Q. But what did you tell your wife? Did you tell her the whole
3 A. I told her. I told her how Milan had brought Meho and his son and
4 another five and how he killed them next to the Drina.
5 Q. Did you talk about this with anyone else?
6 A. In the morning, I went to the police station and I told the
7 commander, Tomic.
8 Q. Why him?
9 A. Why, he was the commander, and I knew him too. He came from the
10 neighbourhood and he was the police chief, so who else would I go to?
11 Q. Did Tomic say anything to you?
12 A. He asked me what was that, what happened, who were those men. He
13 wrote it down, the cause for that.
14 Q. Do you know if he took any steps?
15 A. I don't. I don't know if he took any steps.
16 Q. Now, I'd like to ask you about -- something about what you did
17 when you were a street-sweep.
18 A. Well, I told Stanko the same thing. Stanko wanted to banish him
19 from Visegrad, but then Stanko got killed too so that -- well, you know.
20 Q. Will you tell me something about what you did when you tried to
21 clean the town up. You said that you organised the sweeping of streets.
22 Now, how, where, what did you do, and who helped you in that?
23 A. The town was really in shambles, very unkempt, and so at Bikavac,
24 in the command, they suggested to me to organise the cleaning up of the
25 town. "Would you do that?" "Sure," I said. "Who did this?" "Well,
1 those were salesmen or businessmen." Everybody did in front of their
2 buildings, or tenants in front of their buildings, postmen in front of the
3 post office, in the neighbourhood -- in different neighbourhoods, I mean,
4 where individual houses stand, it was usually the housewives. And we
5 worked until 9.00 or 10.00 so that the town was put back in order. It
6 had never been cleaner than then. Never. Everybody did his bit and
7 everything was put in order, cleaned and swept. You couldn't
8 recognise it.
9 Q. When you say 9.00 or 10.00, that means one hour a day; is that it?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Did you do it daily, or did it depend on something else?
12 A. Well, usually, yes. In front of the shops, restaurants, selling
13 outlets, post offices, banks, newsstands, usually at that time.
14 Q. When you organised these drives, what did you wear; civilian or
15 some other clothes?
16 A. Well, everything. I mean, civilian clothes. I also wore that old
17 SMB, the olive-green/grey uniform. At times I would have the army
18 trousers and a civilian shirt. I mean, there was no obligation, one
19 didn't have to wear anything special, nor did I have any clothes that
20 would show what I was doing. The only thing I had was this red ribbon.
21 And those people, I mean, the Visegradians, they knew me. And they did
22 that, they liked to do that, especially in front of their shops and
23 businesses. You didn't have to say anything to them, those people,
24 especially saleswomen, they all swept it clean.
25 Q. And on such occasions, did you always wear that red ribbon?
1 A. Yes. I think we were the busiest in my street, because when the
2 lake was released, of course, the water had carried all sorts of things,
3 poplar trunks and branches and all that, and so we had to bring some saws
4 to -- some electric saws to do that, but of course it was the men who did
5 that because it was all brought in by the water, but we managed to clean
6 that up too.
7 Q. Did both the Serbs and Muslims take part in that?
8 A. Yes, yes, people from the buildings. Yes, everybody. Everybody
9 who lived in the residential buildings, they would come down and do that.
10 Nobody was forced to do that. There were no summons issued to people to
11 come out to that. No, never. And besides, I had no right to do any such
12 thing. Nobody was forced to do that. People accepted to do that, and the
13 town was clean as clean, and we helped. We also helped the public
14 utilities company. We tried to put all the rubbish in some parcels, and
15 then a truck would come and we would just load it in.
16 Q. These drives, did they go on until that day when you suffered you
17 injury or, rather, when you broke your leg?
18 A. Until up to that day, you mean, that day?
19 Q. I mean the period preceding it and that day.
20 A. Well, the preceding period, all the time up to that day and on
21 that day too.
22 Q. And that day, that is, the last day, the day when you suffered
23 your injury, did you happen on Pionirska Street?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you recall how sometime, somewhere near the elementary school
1 on Pionirska Street, how you walked down the street, inviting people to
2 come out and clean the streets? Do you remember that?
3 A. Let me tell you, I went everywhere; to Bikavac and Pionirska
4 Street, and Jondza, and Kalate, and the area towards the station. I did
5 rounds of all that. And people did it. I asked people and they did it.
6 I mean, really, everybody, whoever had time, and everybody was keen to do
7 it, and people were very happy because the town was suddenly all clean. I
8 mean, it was so unkempt and it looked in such disorder and there was so
9 much dirt around and waste paper and posters and all that, it was all over
10 the place, but that was all removed, taken away. You couldn't recognise
11 it. All the broken glass, all the shards, we all took that out, collected
12 it, removed it, everything.
13 Q. Fine. You have explained it to us all in detail, and I think that
14 is clear now. But what I asked you was whether you remembered how, on
15 that day, you were on Pionirska Street, somewhere near the elementary
16 school, that is, in the upper part of the street, and as you walked down
17 the street, how you invited people to come out and sweep the streets. And
18 do you remember if you had a loudspeaker of any kind or something, a
20 MR. GROOME: Objection.
21 A. No.
22 JUDGE HUNT: Yes, Mr. Groome?
23 MR. GROOME: Leading, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE HUNT: Yes. By the way, on the previous one, both you and
25 I, I think, probably missed, but about three questions before you took
1 your previous objection, the witness had in fact referred to those. I was
2 distracted because Mr. Domazet had actually remonstrated with his client
3 to answer his question, so I didn't really take much notice of the answer
4 he had given but it had been given there.
5 But this one, Mr. Domazet, whereabouts has the witness given
6 evidence about this? You opened it, but about the last three questions,
7 if I may suggest to you, are suggesting to him the answer. One of the
8 worst of them was, "Did you just happen upon Pionirska Street?" Now, do
9 you suggest that he has given this evidence about the loudspeaker?
10 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, a witness mentioned
11 that loudspeaker and he claimed that, on that occasion, Mr. Vasiljevic had
12 one such loudspeaker in his hands, and that is why I -- yes.
13 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, that is still a leading question. Now,
14 please let the witness give the evidence. Don't give it from the bar
15 table. If you want us to place weight upon his evidence, please do not
16 lead him. Now, that's very basic. You are destroying your own client's
17 evidence by leading him along these lines.
18 I know the witness gave evidence about it, but that's not the
19 point here. You ask him what he recalls having been said. If he is
20 unable to do it, then you can draw his attention to the evidence which the
21 witness has given as such. But that was clearly leading. But the worst
22 of them, and I wondered why there was no objection, was that expression,
23 "You just happened to be on Pionirska Street." Now, please, that's a
24 very vital issue in this case, so help your client by not leading him.
25 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Very well, Your Honour. I will then
1 withdraw this question.
2 Q. So, Mr. Vasiljevic, my question is: What do you remember about
3 Pionirska Street on that day; that is, what did you do there? Did you
4 have anything in your hands? How were you dressed?
5 A. To be quite honest, I am charged with that crime on Pionirska
6 Street, but I never knew about that crime until I arrived in The Hague.
7 Q. Just a moment. We may arrive there, but I'm asking you to give me
8 specific answers to my questions. My question was whether you remember
9 what you wore on that occasion, did you have anything in your hands, and
10 where were you headed when you found yourself on Pionirska Street?
11 A. I had the SMB trousers, a shirt - it was of a dark colour because
12 it was after my cousin's death I told you about - boots, and a bottle, I'm
14 Q. And did you have anything on your head?
15 A. I don't remember. I don't know.
16 JUDGE HUNT: Well, now, Mr. Domazet, at that stage you are
17 entitled to ask him specifically about the witness's evidence as to what
18 he had in his hands and what he had on his head. You can ask him
19 specifically now in relation to that evidence. You've got him to exhaust
20 his recollection.
21 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Right.
22 Q. So, Mr. Vasiljevic, apart from the bottle which you mentioned, do
23 you recall that you had anything else in your hands?
24 A. No, I don't recall anything.
25 Q. I'm speaking about that bottle. What is that? Was it a full
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 bottle or, rather, what was there in the bottle, if there was anything?
2 A. Well, alcohol, what else? Brandy.
3 Q. Were you drinking then from that bottle?
4 A. Well, I must have, surely.
5 Q. And on Pionirska Street, did you then come across a person whom
6 you had known from before?
7 A. Yes. I came across (redacted).
8 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, I don't know if you misunderstood me,
9 but you are now entitled to put to him the evidence which the witnesses
10 have given to enable him to deny them if it be the case. For example, if
11 he was wearing a big floppy black hat, was he wearing one? I don't want
12 you to have misunderstood what I have said. You have to get him, first of
13 all, to give his version before you can put the witness's evidence to him,
14 but now you've taken him through it, he says he has no recollection, you
15 can say to him, Were you wearing a big, black, floppy hat? if I've got the
16 right description, and you can put to him what the witnesses said he had
17 in his hand and he is then able to deny it.
18 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, you said that now and then you would wear a black
20 hat, but you could not remember that you had any head covering on that
21 occasion; is that correct?
22 A. Yes, I did have a black hat.
23 Q. And that black hat was a broad-rimmed hat, or how was it?
24 A. No, no, no, it was a military hat with upturned brim.
25 Q. So it was a narrow-brimmed hat; is that correct?
1 A. Yes, it is.
2 Q. Did you ever wear a straw hat?
3 A. No, never. It's yellow. A straw hat is yellow.
4 Q. Or perhaps a hat of any other colour except that black hat that
5 you mentioned?
6 A. No. That was the only one that I had.
7 Q. In addition to what you have just described, did you have a coat?
8 A. I never wore any coat.
9 Q. You say you never wore any coat. So on that occasion or any other
10 occasion, you simply do not wear any coats?
11 A. No, I've never worn a long coat in my life. Had I had one, I
12 wouldn't have been soaked by the rain. I never wore that, never in my
13 life. I never had one.
14 Q. And did you have any weapon on you on that occasion?
15 A. I didn't.
16 Q. And did you have a megaphone or some loudspeaker or some PA
18 A. No, no, I didn't.
19 Q. Did you use any such contraption to call people, to summon people,
20 or did you use only your own unaided voice?
21 A. Only the first day, only when this drive started, when I started
22 organising this, that was the only time I did that. After that, no, there
23 was no need to do it.
24 Q. I understand that once, in the beginning, you used a loudspeaker.
25 A. Yes. After that, people knew about that. There was no need to
1 organise people any more.
2 Q. Are you sure, or would you allow that you perhaps did have a
3 loudspeaker with you on that occasion?
4 A. No, no, no, I was off on another -- on a different errand.
5 Q. And that was?
6 A. I went to get a horse from a settlement called Vucina.
7 Q. And is that the road to Vucina, you take Pionirska Street to go
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Awhile ago you said that you had noticed and approached your
11 acquaintance, (redacted).
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Will you tell me something about that conversation that you had,
14 if, that is, you had any?
15 A. I knew Mujo well. He came from the village of Sase, and he'd pass
16 by my house every day when he worked -- when he went to work. And he also
17 frequented various restaurants and coffee bars, especially coffee bars.
18 He was quite fond of drink too. So we inquired after each other's
19 health. "So what's new, Mujo?" and he said, "Well, nothing. We have to
20 go." He says, "We've just received orders to go to Kladanj." "Why is
21 that? What's that?" And I know that he told me that his wife had left
22 already. Well, we had a drink and he offered also his cows to me. He
23 said, "I've got two cows. Want them?" "What do I want these cows for,
24 Mujo? You know I have nowhere to keep them. I have no use for them," I
25 said. And so we talked for awhile, and I said, "Well, don't worry, boy,
1 you'll be back. All this madness will pass." "Oh, well, I don't know
2 what to do." Well, it was nine years ago. I don't really remember all
3 that we talked about, but that was that, more or less.
4 Q. Do you remember anything else that was said in that conversation,
5 or do you remember anything that you think would be important to tell us?
6 A. There was Mujo's neighbour with him. I don't know what his name
7 is, but he was building a house next to Mujo, on his left, about 200
8 metres down below the road. Mujo lived in Jasarevici, and this man -- you
9 know, where that warehouse is. They're neighbours. As a matter of
10 fact, that house wasn't finished yet but he was building it, I know that,
11 passing by my place. What his name is, I don't know. I knew him by
13 Q. Did (redacted) know about your cleaning drives, rather, that
14 you headed those actions?
15 A. I'm sure he didn't because I didn't go down to villages. But
16 he -- perhaps he did ask me because of the ribbon or something. I may
17 have said something. But what I'm not sure about I won't talk about,
18 because the crime is a very severe crime, so I won't talk about that. And
19 it's a long time ago, and I wouldn't have remembered any of this had it
20 not been for (redacted) there, nor would I have remembered any of the
21 other people because I just passed by them. I don't know what to say.
22 I'm being accused of having done this, so to give you every detail about
23 everything that we talked about, I really can't remember it all. We might
24 have spent some half an hour together, I don't know.
25 Q. Did you -- and you were drinking brandy all that while with him?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You say that you don't really remember it all because you never
3 thought that it might become important. But did you pay any attention to
4 other persons who were possibly around there, or is it that you don't
5 remember any such thing?
6 A. I know that he told me that they were ordered to leave, to go.
7 There were quite a few people there, including women. I remember the
8 weather. It was cloudy and the wind was blowing. I was also in a hurry.
9 I wanted to fetch that horse. But I would have stayed with him for
10 awhile, I'm sure about that.
11 Q. Apart from that conversation that you had with him, tete-a-tete
12 for about half an hour, did you personally address anyone else? Did you
13 say anything to anyone, if you remember?
14 A. No. It wasn't possible for me to address them in any way. I
15 didn't know who was behind it, who was in charge of the overall
16 organisation. There was nothing I could have possibly told those people.
17 Nor did I know that they were heading somewhere. I don't know who -- I
18 didn't know who was in charge, who took the initiative to take them
19 wherever they were being taken to. I really didn't know anything. I must
20 have told them something, if anyone asked me anything, but I wasn't
21 organising anything. I never escorted any such group. I had no idea
22 about such things.
23 Q. I was just about to ask you, Mr. Vasiljevic, if you had heard, if
24 you had become aware before your conversation with Meho, that any such
25 group had left Visegrad, or was it at that time that you learned about
2 A. No, I never knew anything about that. I had no idea that they
3 would have to leave Koritnik and be taken somewhere. I really didn't know
4 who was the organiser. I would have passed by and continued on my way if
5 I had not seen Mujo. But because I knew Mujo, I just wondered and I
6 stopped, and then he was telling me all these things and I felt really
7 sorry for him. We had had a drink on a number of occasions before that,
8 so I offered him to drink on that occasion as well, and I said that we
9 would see each other soon again or something like that. But now you're
10 asking me about specific things and who was in charge of the organisation
11 of all -- I mean, I really don't know. Who was I, after all? I wasn't
12 issuing any tasks, any duties to anyone. They had been sent by the Red
13 Cross to the Pionirska Street.
14 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Vasiljevic, you really must pause before you
15 start your answer. You're coming in far too quickly. So pause a bit
16 longer, would you?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand you, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, this is one of the problems when you're
19 having something translated; I may have interrupted his answer there. I
20 thought he'd finished. You may want to pick up about the Red Cross
22 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, that's what I was
23 about to ask.
24 Q. How do you know that, Mr. Vasiljevic? How do you know that they
25 were sent by the Red Cross to go to Pionirska Street?
1 A. Mujo told me that. He told me that they had been given orders to
2 that effect, and he said that they were running late on that day and that
3 -- yes, and I also remember that he told me that his wife had already
4 left. That, I remember. But it's all blurred in my mind. It was a long
5 time ago.
6 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, did you personally ever work for the Red Cross?
7 A. No, never.
8 Q. Did you ever introduce yourself as an employee of the Red Cross to
10 A. No. How could I? I didn't dare. I mean, why would I have done
11 such a thing? Why would I have falsely introduced myself? I would have,
12 I don't know, had to know something about the work itself and how it was
14 Q. On that occasion while you were with (redacted), did he or
15 anyone else ask you to write something down for them?
16 A. No. I couldn't write anything down for him. I could have perhaps
17 given him my address or a telephone number, but no, no. What could I have
18 possibly written to him? I was just nobody, and he knew that. And I -- I
19 was working at that time, but I was not dressed in a fancy manner, as an
20 official of some kind. I didn't look like anyone in an official capacity.
21 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, could you answer my questions. Is your answer no?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did you carry a piece of paper or a pencil with you?
24 A. No, no, I had no paper whatsoever. It was -- it wasn't possible
25 for me to give them any such piece of paper, because such a piece of paper
1 would have had to have a seal, a stamp of some kind.
2 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, please concentrate yourself on my questions. Did
3 you have any paper, any pencil or pen with you on that occasion? Did you
4 have it on you?
5 A. No, no. How could I have? I cannot even remember that I had a
6 piece of paper or a pencil. I may have had it, but I don't know. I
7 didn't need it.
8 Q. After you left (redacted), did you continue on your way? Did
9 you go and fetch that horse?
10 A. Yes, I went on.
11 Q. On the way back, did you again see (redacted) or anyone else,
12 if you took the same street on the way back?
13 A. Yes, I went back along the same street. I didn't see Mujo. I
14 don't remember seeing anyone else. But I remember that I did not see
15 Mujo, that's for sure. And it was going to rain. I was riding that
16 horse, and at the moment I was leaving the town, when I was in the
17 outskirts of the town, I remembered that it began to rain and it was
18 actually quite a shower which struck suddenly. And I remember that -- I
19 remember the sun rays coming through the clouds. I remember that
20 particular moment because it was at that time that I fell off the horse.
21 Q. So you were riding a horse along Pionirska Street and you were
22 going towards the centre of the town. Does that mean that you were riding
23 in the direction of the Visegrad Hotel?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you remember how fast you were riding? Slowly or quickly?
1 What was your speed?
2 A. Well, I wasn't riding very fast. The horse did not have a saddle
3 on, and the horse didn't have horseshoes on, and that was perhaps one of
4 the reasons why it tripped, and also because the surface of the street was
6 Q. How did you fall?
7 A. Well, at the moment, I was near the -- near a restaurant, I wanted
8 to take the horse to the railway because I was afraid that somebody would
9 take it. It's difficult for me to explain. It was Semso who called me
10 from the terrace, and this Professor Mitrovic was there. I must have
11 turned around. Maybe it was my fault that the horse fell down, that it
12 tripped. But whatever happened, the horse tripped and it fell down, and I
13 fell, of course, with the horse and I fell on my left leg and it hurt
14 immediately. The horse immediately stood up and I wasn't able to get off
15 the ground because my leg was hurting me very badly. And then Pero and
16 this other guy approached me, and I remember that it was raining. It was
17 no longer a shower but it was still drizzling. And then Pero took my leg,
18 he felt it, and he said, "I think you've broken it."
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphones are off.
20 A. So since I was unable to get up, they called the ambulance from
21 the hotel. I spent some 10 or 15 minutes lying there, and then the
22 ambulance arrived. They put me on a stretcher and they took me in to the
23 ambulance which drove me to the hospital in Visegrad. Let me just say
24 that it was Zivorad Savic who drove the car. I know him.
25 Once in hospital, I was admitted by a physician who was there.
1 His name is Goran Loncarevic. They took me to the x-ray machine, and
2 the doctor said, "Mitar, you have broken two bones." And they put the
3 sling on my leg with some extension weights, and I was no longer in pain.
4 Of course, when I tried to move the leg, it hurt, but as long as I was
5 still, I was okay, it wasn't painful.
6 I stayed there for awhile. I waited for some time, and I think
7 that in the meantime the ambulance left. They were off to see a patient
8 in his house. The doctor provided me with the necessary documentation,
9 including his opinion and recommendations, whatever I might need for this
10 other hospital, and he sent me to the hospital in Uzice.
11 I am not able to tell you the exact time, what time it was when we
12 left Visegrad. Whether it was 7.00 or 8.00, I don't know. I remember it
13 was still raining, it was still cloudy, and me and the driver left the
15 As we were passing by the Sarajevo bank, a building in the centre
16 of the town, Mile Novakovic was there, he lived in the vicinity, and he
17 was head of the accountancy service of that bank. And that is how we
18 started for Uzice.
19 As we were passing through the village of Vardiste, I asked the
20 driver to stop by the house of my uncle and to bring me a blanket because
21 I was getting cold.
22 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, you have now told us that story on your own,
24 without any questions. I do not wish to repeat anything, but I would just
25 like to know whether that was the uncle who had this coffee shop in
1 Vardiste and whose son was killed and whose burial you attended. Is that
2 the uncle you're talking about?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. So it was your uncle who gave you this blanket for you to cover
5 yourself. Apart from that, did the driver and this person by the name of
6 Novakovic who was with you stay at the coffee shop?
7 A. The two of them went to the cafe and stayed there for awhile.
8 They had a coffee there or a drink, I don't know. And they brought me
9 some juice. My uncle and my aunt came down to see me and they asked me
10 what had happened, "You've broken your leg," and I said yes. "So you have
11 to go to hospital now?" and I said yes. Then the driver came back
12 together with Mile Novakovic and we continued our journey towards Uzice.
13 Q. Before that, Mr. Vasiljevic, I would like to know whether you
14 received any medication at the medical centre in Visegrad?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Do you know why?
17 A. Well, they couldn't give me any medicine because of all the
18 alcohol that I had drunk that day.
19 Q. Did you inform your family or wife of what had happened to you?
20 A. When I came to Vardiste, actually, it was my uncle who gave her a
21 call because I told him to inform her.
22 Q. So it was from him that she learned that you were on your way to
23 Uzice and that you had been injured?
24 A. Yes. Yes, she told me that he was the one who informed her first
25 about what had happened.
1 Q. Were there any checkpoints on that road, and did you have to stop?
2 A. Yes. There was a checkpoint on the Bosnian side and then another
3 one on the Serbian side.
4 Q. Do you remember what time it was when you reached the Uzice
5 hospital, approximately?
6 A. I couldn't tell you the exact hour. I mean, I can tell you what I
7 can find in the documents. The document says 2135, but it could have been
8 some ten minutes earlier than that. But it was at that time, more or
9 less. At least, that's what was recorded by the woman who was at the
10 reception. So it was around that time that I arrived.
11 Q. Was it already dark?
12 A. Yes, it was.
13 Q. At the time you left Visegrad, was it still daylight?
14 A. Yes, yes.
15 Q. Once at the hospital in Uzice, were any additional x-rays taken?
16 Were you examined? What happened?
17 A. They took some x-rays of my leg again. Again, they diagnosed a
18 fracture. I remember that I was admitted by Dr. Dusko Jovicic in that
19 hospital, whom I had not known prior to that.
20 Q. Did you know anyone else?
21 A. He was assisted by his colleague, Alexandar Moljevic, whom I knew
22 very well. He is from Visegrad by origin and he used to work as a GP in
23 Visegrad for several years. Later on, he specialised in something. I
24 don't know exactly where he was for his specialisation. I know that he
25 ended up working in Uzice, and he was the one on duty that night together
1 with Jovicic. But my lead doctor was Dr. Jovicic. He was the one who
2 followed me, because normally it is the doctor who initially admits you
3 that is also in charge for further observation of the patient. Anyway, so
4 they took off the bandages that were applied in Visegrad, and I think they
5 put them back again.
6 The following morning, they took blood from me and carried out all
7 the necessary examinations, the usual one which is done on admittance to
8 hospital. Then he said that I was to undergo a surgery, and I thought --
9 I didn't know what they were going to do. I was afraid that they might
10 amputate my leg. And then he said, no, no, no, we're just going to drill
11 it a little bit. So they took me away together with the bed which had
12 wheels on, and they took me to a surgery theatre. There was a woman
13 patient before me, I remember, and some drilling surgery was performed on
14 her as well. And I heard her scream and I thought that it was a very
15 painful procedure. So when she was finished, it was my turn. They
16 applied some ointment on my heel and they took this drill and --
17 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, I don't think that we need all of these details.
18 They are not crucial to the case. So you were admitted to the hospital,
19 and on the following morning you underwent surgery.
20 A. Yes. Actually, they performed some minor drilling surgery on my
21 heel. It was not a very complex operation. They just needed to make a
22 little hole in my heel so that those extension weights could be applied on
23 my leg.
24 Q. What was the purpose, what was the objective of that surgery?
25 A. They needed to stretch my muscles so that the bones would heel
1 properly. I don't know exactly why they did it or what the reason was,
2 but anyway, that is what I was told. Anyway, when I was back to my room,
3 I was lying on my bed, underneath some extensions with some weights on it,
4 and I had to spend 21 days lying like that. I mean, that was the usual
5 procedure that was applied in cases like mine, and it lasted at least 20
7 Q. Does it mean that you were bedridden for 21 days with the
8 extensions applied to your leg, together with the weights, and is it
9 correct that you were not able to leave your bed because of that?
10 A. Yes, that is correct. It is impossible to leave the bed, because
11 those weights are applied to my -- to my leg through this hole that they
12 had drilled in my heel. It was only possible for me to sit on the bed but
13 not to leave the bed altogether.
14 Q. Do you remember the room where you were? Did it have several
15 beds? Were you there together with other patients?
16 A. There were four of us altogether. My bed was the one next to the
17 window. There was an elderly gentleman from Uzice, then a Muslim who was
18 from Gorazde who had had his leg amputated, and then another man from
19 Uzice whose bed was next to this Muslim.
20 Q. So you spent three weeks in that department, orthopaedic
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And after that?
24 A. After that, I was transferred to the neuropsychiatric ward within
25 the same hospital. I mean, it was part of the same hospital complex but
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 in a different building.
2 Q. What was the reason for that transfer, Mr. Vasiljevic?
3 A. I was in a very difficult state, psychologically and emotionally.
4 I had those visions and fears. I was imagining all kinds of things, that
5 I was talking to God, to the devil. There were all kinds of strange
6 visions and images that came to me.
7 Q. Did you have any problems, any quarrels with the staff of the
9 A. I think I did. I don't remember the details, though.
10 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet --
11 A. But I had -- it was a very strange period of time.
12 JUDGE HUNT: -- what do you think is left in your
14 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't have that many
15 questions left, but I think I can also finish for today and then continue
16 on Thursday, because there was -- I just wanted to use the day of tomorrow
17 to recover a little bit. I am somewhat under the weather and I don't feel
18 very well. However, if Your Honour thinks that it is important for me to
19 continue and see this examination-in-chief to its end, I can try and do my
20 best and finish today, but ...
21 JUDGE HUNT: Not at all, Mr. Domazet. It was in response to an
22 inquiry you made, as I understood it, of one of the legal officers that
23 you wanted to have a consultation with your client tomorrow, and I pointed
24 out to you that if you could fit that in between the examination-in-chief
25 and the cross-examination, the Trial Chamber would listen sympathetically
1 to your application. But if you are, indeed, in need of a recovery, you
2 probably won't be going out to see your client anyway. I certainly don't
3 want you to pursue the case at this stage if you are not up to it, and if
4 you are not in need or you are not able to interview your client tomorrow.
5 So we will continue on Thursday morning. It's a matter for you.
6 MR. DOMAZET: Yes.
7 JUDGE HUNT: Very well. Then we'll adjourn now and we'll resume
8 at 9.30 on Thursday. Have a very happy United Nations holiday.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.05 p.m.,
10 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 25th day of
11 October, 2001, at 9.30 a.m.