1 Friday, 26 October 2001
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.
5 JUDGE HUNT: Call the case, please.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. This is case number IT-98-32-T,
7 the Prosecutor versus Vasiljevic.
8 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome, and please remember, slowly.
9 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
10 WITNESS: MITAR VASILJEVIC [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 Examined by Mr. Groome: [Continued]
13 Q. Good morning, Mr. Vasiljevic.
14 A. Good morning. Sir, I apologise for interrupting you, but there
15 was something I was going to ask you. I was thinking yesterday about the
16 event that happened at Musici, when Milan Lukic came and took away those
17 women, and there's something that's still unclear to me. I have some
18 papers here but they are mixed up. I cannot find myself -- find my way in
19 these papers. Again, I don't know whether I understand you correctly. In
20 the statement I gave in November, that I gave to you, it is stated that I
21 came together with Milan Lukic and took away those women, or whether that
22 statement says that that was something that I heard, that I found from
23 other witnesses' statements. I'm still a bit unclear. I don't know
24 exactly what it says. I'm not sure I have the right page, but I'm sure
25 you will be able to explain this to me.
1 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, we will --
2 JUDGE HUNT: Just one moment. There is a problem, Mr. Groome. We
3 still don't have those in evidence. Has there been an agreement about the
4 English version of the statements?
5 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, I'm informed that Mr. Domazet has them
6 now. It's just waiting for his agreement to the redactions that have been
7 made, and then it can be submitted to the Court.
8 JUDGE HUNT: When you say redactions, is that for the purposes of
9 witness protection.
10 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE HUNT: I see. So that the documents that we have should be
12 the same as that, indeed, more complete.
13 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE HUNT: So we can go to those.
15 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE HUNT: Well, now, may I suggest that if you can find the
17 passage, if you can pick it up quickly, you take Mr. Vasiljevic to it so
18 that we all know what it is that was said at the interview.
19 MR. GROOME: Okay.
20 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, you have some papers in front of you. Is that a
21 transcript of the -- of your statement?
22 A. Yes. It's just that the papers got mixed up. So I start reading
23 one passage and then all of a sudden there's the house at Bikovac and then
24 the house at Pionirska Street, and then all of a sudden the hospital,
25 because the page numbers do not follow each other. So yesterday I was
1 thinking about the whole thing a little bit. I don't know whether I
2 understood you correctly. I was not present when Milan Lukic took away
3 those women. However, here I find -- I see that he took away the [redacted]
4 [redacted], and so on and so forth. According to witness
5 statements, I see that he took away women to be raped, that there was a
6 woman who was three or four months pregnant.
7 THE INTERPRETER: We do not have the statement.
8 MR. GROOME:
9 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic --
10 A. Sorry, I haven't finished. Then he took away her --
11 JUDGE HUNT: Just one moment, sir. Why haven't the interpreters
12 got the statements? Surely they were given copies of the documents.
13 MR. GROOME: They were given when we used them and they have been
14 returned. We will get them a copy now.
15 JUDGE HUNT: I think that's imperative if we're going to go
16 through this. It's very difficult for them, especially when somebody
17 reads, they usually speed up.
18 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, maybe I can make a suggestion. It seems
19 that Mr. Vasiljevic's copy has somehow got -- the pages are all mixed up.
20 Perhaps we can solve this problem by furnishing Mr. Vasiljevic with a new
21 full copy of the B/C/S version of his statement and then he would be able
22 to review it.
23 JUDGE HUNT: That would be a very good idea. But at some stage,
24 and I don't mean now, but if you can find the passage that you think he's
25 referring to so that you can give him at least a page number.
1 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour. I'm not sure the page numbers will
2 correspond, but if I can ask him a few questions, perhaps it we can narrow
3 it down.
4 JUDGE HUNT: Go ahead.
5 MR. GROOME:
6 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, we will provide you with a fresh copy of your
7 statement in B/C/S so that there's no confusion about the pages. Can I
8 ask you, on the copy that you have, is that from the 16th or the 17th of
10 A. I think that the interview of the 16th has page numbers. However,
11 on the 17th, I no longer have any page numbers.
12 Q. Okay. And just to clarify it, the Prosecution isn't alleging that
13 you were present when the women were taken away. We will -- I will ask
14 you some questions about what happened in Musici in a few minutes this
15 morning, but in case you misperceived any question that I've asked you,
16 it's never been suggested that you took women away from Musici.
17 A. Thank you, Mr. Groome, because I was all of a sudden afraid,
18 because I thought that that was your interpretation, that according to
19 your interpretation I was present, whereas I really was not. I state here
20 that she was taken away -- what can I say. I was not an eyewitness.
21 Q. We will try to get you a copy of that statement at the moment. We
22 will give it to you as soon as possible. The questions that I will ask
23 you now will not involve Musici. And I would also state that if, at any
24 time, your recollection of what you said during your statement is
25 different than the transcript, you are free to tell us the difference,
1 what the difference is.
2 I'd like to resume. Yesterday, we finished --
3 A. I'm sorry, I apologise once again, I don't have the list with
4 witness pseudonyms, the two sheets of paper that I had yesterday.
5 JUDGE HUNT: Obviously, we'll need to get a few of those run off,
6 because if the witness is not allowed to keep it, we'll need to supply him
7 with one each day.
8 MR. GROOME: There should be two, P164 and D22.
9 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you.
10 MR. GROOME:
11 Q. Do you have both copies in front of you now of the two exhibits?
12 A. I don't have the list with Prosecution witnesses, the protected
14 JUDGE HUNT: That's 164, isn't it?
15 MR. GROOME: I have a spare copy.
16 Q. I believe you have both of the pseudonym sheets now.
17 When we finished yesterday, you were describing for us how, in the
18 mornings, the van for the TO in Prelovo would pick you up at your house;
19 is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Who actually drove that vehicle?
22 A. Obren Vojnovic. He used to work as a driver for the forestry, and
23 that was the car that he had official use of.
24 Q. Where was the van kept during the day?
25 A. At Prelovo, unless it was away bringing or taking food. But
1 normally it would be stationed there.
2 Q. And was this van used for any other purpose other than the
3 distribution of food? Were other units permitted to take and use this
5 A. No. That was the only van we had, so it had to be there all the
6 time. It was used for transporting food and bringing foodstuffs from the
8 Q. Who was responsible for keeping the van at night?
9 A. It was parked there in front of the command building, so the guard
10 would have been responsible for it. It had to be there at all times. And
11 also for other purposes, if something should happen.
12 Q. Now, I believe you said in your testimony on Tuesday that you were
13 issued a gun by the Territorial Defence; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And of the, I believe you mentioned, five different men that
16 worked with you, were you the only person that was issued a gun?
17 A. We were all issued a gun.
18 Q. And were you all issued guns for security reasons, to protect
20 A. Well, we all had to be issued with some kind of weapon. We had to
21 have a weapon each.
22 Q. Now, what time each day would you conclude your work?
23 A. If I distributed food in the evening hours, I would come back at
24 around 10.00, if we had to drive dinner up to the positions. However, if
25 dinner could be distributed together with the lunch, if those were only
1 rations of food, then we wouldn't go back in the evening.
2 Q. And out of the nine or ten days that you did this job,
3 approximately how many times were you able to distribute the dinner
4 rations at lunchtime?
5 A. It happened maybe once or twice. Not more than that.
6 Q. During those nine or ten days, were you ever required to stay
7 there overnight?
8 A. There was no other place for us to go. We had to sleep there.
9 Sometimes, if I had transport, I was allowed to leave, I could leave;
10 however, I would have to be back the next morning.
11 Q. Back in Prelovo the next morning?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. So out of these ten days, how many days did you actually stay
14 overnight in Prelovo?
15 A. I don't know exactly how many. I may have gone home on two or
16 three occasions. Usually, there would be no transport, because we
17 couldn't -- we were not allowed to use the van for our private needs. The
18 vehicle had to stay there overnight. I mean, we couldn't use it for our
19 private business.
20 Q. Now, in your direct testimony -- your evidence in chief, you told
21 us that you believe that the first person killed in the conflict in
22 Visegrad was a Serb. What I want to ask you is, can you approximate for
23 us when that occurred?
24 A. Well, I'm afraid I might be wrong, but it would have been sometime
25 after the release of water at the dam. On that day, maybe the day
1 before -- no, I think it was one day after the water was let out from the
2 dam. And, I'm sorry, and after the arrest of the police.
3 Q. So that would be sometime in mid-April or later; would that be
5 A. No, before, because he was killed before the Uzice Corps came,
6 before that, before their arrival.
7 Q. Was it in April or March?
8 A. In April. In April.
9 Q. Now, I want to ask you some questions about the weapons that you
10 were in possession of in the spring and summer of 1992. Am I correct in
11 saying that the first weapon you possessed was a Schmeisser rifle that was
12 issued to you by the SDS political party; is that correct?
13 A. I did have a Schmeisser. I mean, I didn't take it. It's not that
14 it was the SDS that gave it to me. I don't know how to put it. I don't
15 know whether it was organised by the SDS via Territorial Defence. I don't
16 know those details, nor was it possible for me to obtain this type of
17 information. It's not that anyone told me that it was the SDS. I don't
18 know who was in charge of that.
19 Q. Let me ask you, do you admit or deny that in your statement of the
20 16th of November, for Defence counsel, page 30, that you said the
22 "A. We were distributed these weapons in our settlement to
23 villages, and I don't know how this was done, but I believe that it was
24 all organised by the party; it was all done through the party.
25 Q. And who received these weapons?
1 A. Everybody did."
2 Do you admit you said that on the 16th of November?
3 A. Yes, yes. But, again, it is something that I think happened. It
4 is only my assumption. It's not something that I'm certain about. I
5 cannot guarantee you that.
6 Q. And to your knowledge, were most Serb men issued weapons similarly
7 to you?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And you received your Schmeisser as early as March of 1992; is
10 that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And at the time you began to travel back and forth from Prelovo,
13 for those ten days, you were issued a different weapon, an automatic
14 rifle; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. So from March of 1992 until May 19th, when you were mobilised, did
17 you carry this Schmeisser with you that you were issued?
18 A. Yes. But as I told you, I exchanged it later on at Prelovo. I
19 mean, I returned the Schmeisser and I was, in turn, issued an automatic
21 Q. The automatic rifle that you were issued, was it possible to use
22 that gun as both a single-shot weapon and a multiple-shot weapon?
23 A. Both.
24 Q. And can you describe for us how one would convert the weapon from
25 firing a single shot to firing multiple shots?
1 A. On the right side of the rifle, there is a device which you use to
2 convert the rifle for that purpose. It has to be pushed and then it's
4 Q. And when you push this device on the rifle, does it make a sound?
5 A. I'm sorry. First you have to move the handle, I mean you have to
6 put in the bullet, and then you use the device to set the rifle on single
7 shots or multiple shots. First you have to put the bullet in.
8 Q. Well, would I be correct in saying that when somebody changes the
9 rifle from one mode to another, that it makes a clicking sound; would that
10 be correct?
11 A. Yes, you can hear that. Yes, you can hear this click.
12 Q. Are you familiar with a weapon that is commonly called a Tommy gun
13 or a Thompson submachine-gun? Are you familiar with the weapon I'm now
14 referring to?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. That gun has a rather unique appearance, doesn't it?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. It has a round magazine as opposed to an elongated magazine; is
19 that correct?
20 A. No, it's not a round magazine. Thompson does not have a round
21 magazine. Some Russian weapons of the similar type do, but Thompson is an
22 English weapon.
23 Q. But you would agree with me that a Thompson or a Tommy gun is a
24 unique weapon distinct from the automatic rifle that you carried; would
25 you agree with that?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. During this time period, were you ever in possession of a Tommy
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Can you tell us when that was?
6 A. When I was released from hospital, I did not have a weapon. I
7 still had my plaster on. So I was issued with this type of weapon which
8 was normally not issued to soldiers for combat purposes. It's not a kind
9 of weapon that is taken by soldiers to the front line. I was given some
10 sort of certificate and issued that weapon so that I would have something
11 at home. But I was still on sick-leave during that period of time.
12 Q. Now, would it be fair to say that part of your responsibility in
13 the distribution of food in Prelovo was to ensure the security of your
14 fellow workers?
15 A. I don't know whether I quite understand your question, to ensure
16 the security. We were safe when we were at Prelovo, because we were at
17 the command. So there was no danger present there. But when the driver
18 and I went to distribute food, then of course in terms of security, it was
19 expected that we would assist each other should anything happen. However,
20 while we were at Prelovo, there was nothing I could or had to do to help
21 them, except if they needed something from the quartermaster service.
22 But one other thing that I should mention. We were not required
23 to stand guard, I mean we, members of the quartermaster service.
24 Q. But as the driver is driving the food into an area that may be
25 dangerous, would it be fair to say that you would be accompanying him, you
1 would have your automatic rifle, and you would be alert to any dangers
2 that might face you and the driver; would that be correct?
3 A. Yes. He would have a rifle too like myself, so we would both have
5 Q. Now, on these trips from Prelovo to Visegrad to collect
6 foodstuffs, would the van pass through Muslim villages?
7 A. If going from Prelovo to Visegrad?
8 Q. Yes.
9 A. Yes, we would pass the villages of Kurtalici, Musici, and Sase,
10 and Kosovo Polje.
11 Q. Would it be fair to say that as the driver was driving, you were
12 in possession of your automatic rifle, again to ensure the security of the
13 van and both of you?
14 A. How shall I put it? We both had a weapon and of course we
15 carried it for our own safety. But on the road from Prelovo to Visegrad,
16 we never had any problems. But should anyone open fire on us on that
17 journey, it would be very difficult for us to protect ourselves. But I
18 never had any -- I never experienced any trouble, any problems from
20 Q. But am I correct in thinking that you kept possession of your
21 rifle at all times; is that correct?
22 A. Yes, yes, I would hold it like this on my knees. Sometimes it
23 would be next to me, next to the seat of the car.
24 JUDGE HUNT: Can you describe that? Because it was impossible to
1 MR. GROOME:
2 Q. Can you please describe, using words, exactly how you would hold
3 your weapon in the van. You made a --
4 A. Well, it depended. Sometimes I would be holding it in my lap;
5 sometimes it would be next to my seat, not far from me, of course, so that
6 I could grab it.
7 Q. And you motioned with your hand down to the right side of your
8 knee. Is that where you would keep it when --
9 A. Next to my seat, yes. Yes, next to my right knee.
10 Q. Now, it would have been considered a very serious breach if you
11 had ever lost that weapon, wouldn't it?
12 A. Definitely.
13 Q. You described on your direct testimony that the place that you
14 worked out of in the Prelovo area was, I believe you first said, a school
15 and then in a house; is that correct?
16 A. It is.
17 Q. So in the places that you worked, there was no place for you to
18 safely lock up your weapon and leave it; am I correct in saying that?
19 A. I didn't say because of the weapons. We prepared meals there.
20 Troops were there. So it was advisable to get away from there so that
21 other soldiers wouldn't get in our way as we prepared food, so that nobody
22 would interfere with our work. It wasn't for the sake of weapons, it was
23 for the sake of the kitchen itself, to better organise ourselves, to
24 prepare food easier. We were not far from the school. We were about 200
25 metres down, perhaps, on the road itself.
1 Q. What I'm asking you is, the places that you worked, there was no
2 safe place where you could lock up your gun for the night, was there? You
3 had to keep it with you at all times.
4 A. Well, yes, one always had the rifle with one, even when sleeping.
5 But nobody would take your rifle from you. But perhaps it did happen now
6 and then, but no, not as a rule. Everybody had his own rifle.
7 Q. You never lost your weapon; is that correct?
8 A. I didn't.
9 Q. Now, on the nights that you were able to go down to your home near
10 Visegrad, you would take that rifle with you; is that correct?
11 A. You mean when I went from Prelovo home?
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. Overnight? No, I carried the weapon with me, of course. I
14 couldn't leave it find.
15 Q. Your commander at this time was a person by the name of [redacted]
16 [redacted]; is that correct?
17 A. No, not in Prelovo, no. Krsta Papic was the commander in
18 Prelovo. [redacted] was in Visegrad. I don't know what he was. He was up
19 there, but he wasn't the Commander-in-Chief. I do not really know what
20 his position was. In Prelovo, it was Krsta Papic who was my commander.
21 MR. GROOME: Mr. Domazet is on his feet.
22 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, sorry, if you want to object, do make
23 yourself orally known, otherwise you'll have to stand forever. What is
24 the problem?
25 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 [Interpretation] Well, Mr. Groome has just mentioned a name which
2 is on Mr. Vasiljevic's list, so could we have it struck out from the
3 transcript, please. It is line 16 --
4 MR. GROOME: I apologise.
5 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] -- from Mr. Vasiljevic's list. If
6 that could be redacted.
7 JUDGE HUNT: Yes, certainly. I'm just trying to see where number
8 16 has been mentioned.
9 MR. GROOME: It's VGD16, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE HUNT: Oh, right. I'm sorry. Yes, I see it. Yes, that
11 will be redacted. Thank you for drawing it to our attention.
12 MR. GROOME:
13 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, other than VGD16 and this person you've told us is
14 named Papic, did you have any other superiors during this time that you
15 were in the TO?
16 A. We at the quartermasters, we didn't. Now, as for the companies, I
17 suppose soldiers there in those companies, they must have had those. But
18 we down at the quartermasters, and we were five, no, we didn't. And then
19 a battalion is then subdivided into companies and they each have their own
20 commanders and whatnot, but we were not under them. They were around
21 villages, standing guard there. They couldn't issue orders to us. Our
22 duty was to supply them with food. But apart from that, they could not
23 issue any orders to us because we were not under them, we did not belong
24 to them.
25 Q. Yesterday, you told us that you were released from the Uzamnica
1 gaol on the 1st of June, the day your cousin was killed; is that correct?
2 A. It is.
3 Q. Are you sure that that is the day that you were released?
4 A. I think so. I think it was the 1st.
5 Q. Could it have been the 2nd?
6 A. Well, I don't know. I don't know. The 1st, the 2nd, don't know.
7 Could be. I don't know.
8 Q. But it was either on the day that your cousin --
9 A. Sorry. Let me try to explain it. They told me that. Now,
10 perhaps they told me on the 2nd that he had got killed. He was killed on
11 the 1st, but perhaps they did tell me on the 2nd. Now, I don't really
13 Q. Let me ask you the question in another way. Approximately how
14 many days transpired between the day you got out of gaol and the day you
15 attended your cousin's funeral?
16 A. He and two of his neighbours were killed, or rather the two of
17 them were from Gornja Vardiste, and he came from Donja Vardiste. But they
18 did not pull the bodies out immediately. I know that they got out one of
19 those other two first, and the two of them were buried before my cousin.
20 The Defence has the document issued by the church, saying it was the 7th.
21 So it was five days in between. So he was brought home on the 6th, or
22 perhaps on the 4th, because he was first taken to the hospital in
23 Visegrad, and they dressed him. I can't really tell you exactly. I know
24 that he was first taken to the Visegrad hospital, to the morgue.
25 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, I'm more interested in whether you remember being
1 at your home a number of days between the time you were released from gaol
2 and the time that you attended the funeral.
3 A. Yes, yes, there was some time in between. But, now, how many
4 days? I mean, they knew that he was killed, the command, but they simply
5 couldn't get his body out, because he was killed on the front line.
6 Q. Are you able to estimate for us how many nights you spent in your
7 own home before you attended the funeral of your cousin?
8 A. Well, it would make four days, or what? Thereabouts. Because I
9 also went to Vardiste before the funeral to see my uncle, before he was
10 brought over.
11 Q. I want to now move to what occurred in the village of Musici. You
12 were here and heard Witnesses VG55 and VG59 describe what occurred in the
13 village of Musici the night that they saw you. Was their account
14 essentially correct?
15 A. Yes. No, sorry, that day when I was there, that only day when I
16 stopped the car up there -- now, what should I say? I do not know about
17 the theft of his money in his house. The man says so, so it must be true.
18 But I was only by his house. And when those stole his money and searched
19 his house, I mean, he has no reason to make it all up. But I don't know
20 that and I don't think he'd tell me about that.
21 Q. So just to be clear, they never testified that you were present
22 when Milan Lukic returned two or three days later and committed other
23 crimes against them; they never said that you were there on that second
24 time, did they?
25 A. Yes, you're right, at least that's how I understood them, yes,
1 although that witness, 059, he said, "I didn't see him, but I guess he was
2 there," or "I assume he was there."
3 Q. I want to go to the first night, the first event that they talked
4 about in Musici, the day that you were in Musici, and ask you, did this
5 happen during the time that you were working at Prelovo?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Where did you see Milan Lukic and his men for the first time on
8 that day?
9 A. I had finished lunch. We took the pots and all the crockery back
10 down, and I had then to take the dry pack. And I wanted to go and get a
11 bath. I stood on the road. They were coming from the direction of Zupa,
12 and I lifted my finger. They stopped and took me. So perhaps about a
13 kilometre before Musici, he said, "I'm going to see here if there are any
14 weapons around," because allegedly somebody had fired shots at their
15 police patrol. "So what have you got to do with it? He didn't fire at
16 you," or something.
17 But he then stopped in the village, and above the house -- no,
18 above -- no, in front of Vila Uzeir, and he was moving fast, he walked
19 fast always, and he entered the house --
20 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, I want to ask you some more specific questions
21 about where it was that you first saw them. Let me ask you this: This
22 day, do you recall if this is one of the days that you were able to
23 distribute the evening rations early in the day, or was it one of the days
24 that you had to serve the dinner in the field?
25 A. No, I said that that day we distributed lunch, and for the evening
1 meal, the dry pack was in order, so there was nothing that we had to carry
2 there in the evening. I mean, they had some tins, dry pack.
3 Q. What time did you finish your work on that day?
4 A. I could have -- I returned perhaps at around 4.00, half past
6 Q. And where were you on the road with your finger up looking for a
7 ride? Were you in Prelovo itself?
8 A. Right next to the kitchen, because the kitchen is by the road, I
9 mean the building, next to a walnut tree. There's a big walnut tree
10 there, and right next to it.
11 Q. Now, when you first saw Milan Lukic, he was in a car; correct?
12 A. Yes. He was driving the car.
13 Q. Was there more than one car in the group?
14 A. Three.
15 Q. Was one of those cars the red Passat that we spoke about
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And that is the car that Milan Lukic was driving.
19 A. That's right.
20 Q. Who else in that -- who else was in that car with Milan Lukic?
21 A. There was a fair-haired woman, quite young, perhaps 20,
23 Q. Anybody else?
24 A. With him, no.
25 Q. And --
1 A. Only that woman.
2 Q. Can you describe the other cars, or can you describe the second
3 car that you saw in that group?
4 A. I'm not quite sure whether it was a Lada or what now. I'm not
5 sure. I don't know. I mean, I put my finger up and stopped him, and he
6 was the first one in that column.
7 Q. Did you recognise anybody in the second car in the group?
8 A. VGD4, as he was stepping out at Musici.
9 Q. Was there anybody else in that car with VGD4?
10 A. I'm not sure. I mean, there were five or six of them, or maybe
11 even seven or eight. I don't know. I don't really have the best
13 Q. The third car, do you recall recognising anybody in that car?
14 A. No. There was a man, rather obese, who could be 25 or something,
15 but I don't know what his name was. I'd seen him around. I saw him in
16 Milan's company, but he wasn't there when I returned from the hospital. I
17 don't know his name or anything. All I know is that he was overweight.
18 And as far as I know, he had a beard, but I can't really tell you. I
19 don't know.
20 Q. When you got into the red Passat, am I correct in saying that you
21 sat next to Milan Lukic, in the front seat?
22 A. No. I was behind him.
23 Q. Was there anybody in the back seat with you?
24 A. No.
25 Q. This person you've described as a fair-haired woman, had you ever
1 seen her before?
2 A. She was not from Visegrad. She was not a Visegradian, that I'm
3 sure about. But I used to see her again around there prior to my going to
4 the hospital, but I don't know, I think she came from Serbia. I'm not
6 Q. Was Milan Lukic armed at that time?
7 A. He was.
8 Q. And was he dressed in a uniform that you described to us
10 A. Yes. He was always in that same uniform.
11 Q. And was there anything lying about inside the car which would have
12 indicated to you that perhaps they had been engaged in some criminal
13 activity such as stealing property or other criminal activity?
14 A. You mean whether there was something on the seats in the car? In
15 the car? I didn't see anything in the car. Whether there was something
16 in the boot, I wouldn't know.
17 Q. Now, how far did the car drive after it picked you up, before it
18 stopped in Musici?
19 A. Well, not much. Three, maybe four kilometres, if that many.
20 Q. And was Milan Lukic's car the first of the three to pull over in
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And did the other two cars stop as well?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Prior -- excuse me. You travelled this road just about every day
1 in the course of your work, and my question to you is did any of your
2 superiors, or had you heard from any official source that somebody had
3 been fired upon as they drove past the village of Musici? Had you been
4 given any official warning of that nature?
5 A. No.
6 Q. You've told us that Milan Lukic said he wanted to stop to search
7 for weapons because a police patrol had been fired upon; is that correct?
8 A. It is.
9 Q. He never said to you that he wanted to harass these people or to
10 commit any crimes against these people, did he?
11 A. He didn't, no. Well, it was three kilometres; that is, we
12 travelled together for three or four kilometres, and all I said was, "What
13 have you got to do with it? He didn't fire at you. So why don't you let
14 them solve it." But the man that he is, I don't know, he stopped, went
15 into the house to those [redacted] oh, I've just mentioned their name, sorry. He
16 entered the house belonging to the father of Witness VGD59, and I
17 followed. I asked them to leave those people alone. Well, if he went to
18 look for weapons, then let him look for weapons. So he went in and they
19 said, "No, no, we have nothing," and then he said, "Well, let's have all
20 the people from the village together." So that VG59 went, and he was
21 about to search the attic, the loft, and -- the attic. And I asked the
22 brother, 055 - as a matter of fact, we went to school together, we were
23 school fellows - I asked him, "Have you got anything up there?" and he
24 said, "No." And so I said, "Milan, let these people go. I know them."
25 Q. What I'm interested in is, can you tell us exactly what you said
1 to Milan Lukic when he first says he wants to stop at Musici? Did you say
2 to him, "Please, Milan, take it easy"?
3 A. Yes. "Don't do something to them." Well, I think had I said
4 anything bad, he would have reacted just as badly, the man that he was.
5 But I didn't. I simply asked him nicely, and then I think he looked for
6 weapons. He didn't look for money or for valuables. He did not hit
7 anyone that day. What happened later, well, that ...
8 Q. So you said, "Don't do something to them." Did you also say,
9 "Don't provoke these people"?
10 A. Yes. Something. Something. I can't really tell you word for
11 word what I said. But I didn't say anything to provoke him into doing
12 something bad. I mean, I didn't say anything as if I'd wanted to do
13 something wrong. I even said, "Well, I trust every word this man says. I
14 know they are honest people," and I said I knew the man well. I was very
15 ill at ease because his father used to work with my wife. I mean, he was
16 an elderly man. He was a craftsman and a good man. So what do I know?
17 So, of course, I mean, but there was fear present and all that. But he
18 looked for weapons. He didn't take any gold, he didn't look or ask for
19 any money, not that day.
20 Q. When you said, "Please don't provoke these people," what kinds of
21 things would have been a provocation? What were you asking him not to do
22 to these people?
23 A. Not to mistreat them, not to harass them, to stop shouting and
24 yelling so that people wouldn't be so afraid.
25 Q. Were you worried about the safety of these people?
1 A. Well, frankly speaking, it never occurred to me that he would open
2 fire. It's just that I didn't want him to harass them or mistreat them in
3 any way. Well, he didn't open fire. Thank God he didn't shoot. But he
4 kept asking him, begging him. I was standing next to the door and I know
5 that he did not ask for any money or gold on that day. He didn't hit
6 anyone. And then he was quiet, he wasn't really shouting around the
8 Q. On Tuesday you told us that you were aware that two of the men in
9 the house were police reservists, and that you did not tell Milan Lukic
10 this fact. Why did you not tell Milan Lukic that these two men were
11 connected with the police?
12 A. I don't know whether you understood me correctly. VG55 and his
13 brother were members of the reserve police force, that's what I wanted to
14 say. They were members of the reserve police force before the war.
15 Q. But you told us on Tuesday that you made the intentional decision
16 not to tell Milan Lukic that; is that correct?
17 A. No, no, no, I would have never told him that, because I know that
18 then he would have searched them, he would ask for weapons. And, no, it
19 never occurred to me to tell him that.
20 Q. Well, he's already there searching them for weapons. What else do
21 you think he might have done to these two men if he learnt that they were
22 members of the reserve police force?
23 A. I don't know. He most probably would have mistreated those
24 people. He would go on searching for weapons. He would never give up. I
25 don't know what else he would have done. But he would for sure insist on
1 finding the weapons.
2 Q. You told us yesterday that the first time that you believed Milan
3 Lukic and his men were dangerous was on the 7th of June. My question to
4 you is why did you believe at this stage that Milan Lukic presented a
5 danger to these men because they were police reservists? What did you
6 base that on?
7 A. Sir, I don't quite understand your question.
8 Q. Yesterday you told us that you did not believe that these men were
9 dangerous until you saw them kill people on the 7th of June; is that
11 A. Never in my life was I present at a killing incident up until that
12 time, until the 7th of July. I had never prior to that eyewitnessed
13 anything nor heard any such thing. And then when I was able to observe it
14 personally, when I was able to see for myself how rude, how heartless and
15 merciless he was, then of course ...
16 Q. But the incident we are talking about now is more than one week
17 before you witnessed that, and yet you felt that these two men who were
18 police reservists were in some type of danger in the company of Milan
19 Lukic; is that correct?
20 A. Again, I don't understand. Are you referring to Prosecution
21 witnesses or the two men whom I just mentioned?
22 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome, I think you have to put it together.
23 You're fragmenting your question a little bit. You mean he was aware at
24 the time that if Milan Lukic knew they were police reservists, then they
25 were in some form of danger from him, that's what you're after.
1 MR. GROOME: Yes.
2 JUDGE HUNT: It's the two men that Mr. Vasiljevic has referred
4 MR. GROOME: Yes.
5 JUDGE HUNT: Well, put it all together in one question, because I
6 think it is difficult for the witness if you don't put it all together.
7 MR. GROOME: Thank you.
8 Q. First I am referring to VG55 and his brother who are police
9 reservists, those are the two people I'm referring to, and I'm asking you,
10 at that time, the day you were in Musici, you were aware that these men
11 were in danger or faced some danger from Milan Lukic if he knew -- if he
12 knew that they were police reservists; correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. My next question is why? What did you know about Milan Lukic and
15 his men on this day that made you believe that?
16 A. It's like this: You see, if he had found weapons on him, he would
17 have mistreated him. I would have only created the situation very
18 difficult for me if I had told them they were members of the reserve
19 police force, that they had weapons for sure. He would have never stopped
20 until he found something. I never thought about that. I could -- I think
21 I even guaranteed that I -- that [redacted] could be trusted, that he was
22 with me in school, and the fact that he was a member of the reserve police
23 force was not surprising because there were many such cases, not only
24 them. The police force was still mixed. I didn't consider it to be any
25 violation of the rules. It just didn't seem strange at all. There were
1 many Serbs.
2 Q. At this point in time, had you heard of Milan Lukic and his men
3 having mistreated other people, at this point in time?
4 A. Up there in the village?
5 Q. In any place in Visegrad.
6 A. Until the 20th of July or the 27th of July, I don't know. What I
7 heard later on throughout those three or four years is another matter.
8 It's difficult for me to tell you whether, on the 27th, I had heard that
9 he had mistreated someone. It's very difficult for me to be precise. I
10 don't think that he caused any serious incidents prior to the 27th. Well,
11 according to the statements, I can now see that he killed this woman,
12 Bahija Zukic. But I didn't hear about that before the 27th. I don't know
13 exactly when I heard about that. Nor did I ever hear about the incident
14 in Pionirska Street until I arrived here in The Hague. Before that, I had
15 never heard of such thing happening, never, never. I did for Bikovac but
16 not for this one.
17 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, when you arrived in Musici, you went directly to
18 the home of VG59; is that correct?
19 A. Yes. No, sorry. It was the house of his father. And VG59 was
20 living with his wife. He was building a house in the village of Musici.
21 Actually, he completed the house. And it was his brother who lived with
22 his father. And Witness 55 also lived with his father. So it would have
23 been his brother and 055 that lived with his father.
24 Q. Now, you went to the front of the house but you did not enter it.
25 A. No, I didn't enter the house.
1 Q. And you didn't want to enter the house; is that correct?
2 A. No, I didn't want to, because it was all too embarrassing for me.
3 I wish he didn't stop by the house, or I wish I'd stayed in the car. I
4 only -- I'm glad that on that occasion he didn't commit any such thing,
5 that he didn't threaten people or loot the house or hit anyone. He didn't
6 do anything bad on that day, and I'm glad about that, because I was
7 there. He was looking for weapons, and I could see that he was entering
8 various rooms inside the house. He probably had some suspicions. He
9 probably thought that someone was hiding up there. I think he made up the
10 story about the shooting incident involving the police. It was just a
11 pretext for him to enter the house and search the premises.
12 Q. Were you armed when you were standing in front of that house?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. With your automatic rifle?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. How far away was the car parked from the house?
17 A. Not more than 20 metres away. Twenty, thereabouts.
18 Q. Now, according to you, you tried to set the family at ease by
19 telling them that they need not worry; is that correct?
20 A. Yes. I said to [redacted], again, I told you that we went to school
21 together, and I mean thank God nothing happened on that day, thank God he
22 didn't do anything on that day.
23 Q. In fact, you said, "Don't worry. It's all right."
24 A. See, it never occurred to me that he would open fire. I didn't
25 simply think that it was possible, that he would kill someone or
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 something. But I was worried because, you know, every time there's a
2 search, people are afraid. But I didn't think that he was about to do
3 something bad.
4 Q. Did you say to them, "It's all right" in order to keep them calm?
5 Is that the reason why you told them, "It's all right," to keep these
6 people calm?
7 A. Yes, yes, so that they wouldn't be afraid. I just told them,
8 "Just don't worry. He will conduct his search and everything will be
9 over soon," because he wasn't looking for anything else other than
11 Q. And it was your belief that if these people did remain calm, it
12 was less likely that the situation would have escalated and somebody would
13 have gotten hurt; is that correct?
14 A. How shall I put it? I didn't want those people to be afraid while
15 he was conducting his search. He was actually on his own, I mean he was
16 acting on his own. There was no way for me to order him anything. If I
17 had been at the wheel of the car, I would not have stopped, I would not
18 have let him go search the house. But I never drove a car. And if,
19 again, I would have been at the wheel of the car, there would have been no
20 way for him to say, "Stop here for awhile until I search this house."
21 Q. But am I right in saying that you told him to be calm in order
22 that they would just comply with what Milan Lukic was doing, searching
23 their home, and by doing that there was less chance that they would be
24 hurt by him; is that correct? Is that what you were thinking?
25 A. No. If I'm correct, you probably want to say that if they had
1 reacted in a different way, that he would have opened fire, that they
2 protested in a way -- I mean, had they behaved differently that he would
3 have acted differently, is that what you're trying to say? I mean, it's
4 possible. Maybe if those people didn't want to let him in, well, it's
5 possible -- actually, I'm sure that he would have reacted differently, but
6 I don't know.
7 Q. So --
8 A. He would have behaved differently, I'm sure about that.
9 Q. If they did resist, if they did try to fight back against Milan
10 Lukic, do you believe that he would have shot some of those people?
11 A. At that moment, I didn't believe that he would shoot, but I wasn't
12 sure what he could do. It was all a long time ago, you know. I offered
13 some guarantees. I said, "I trust these people." I said, "[redacted], don't
14 fear. I do believe what you're saying." I didn't say to [redacted], "Let him
15 search the house."
16 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Vasiljevic, I think you have referred to that
17 person now three times. Just be careful. He is one of those protected
18 witnesses, is he not?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise.
20 MR. GROOME:
21 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, what I'm getting at is, it was your belief at that
22 time, if this family remained calm and just permitted Milan Lukic to
23 search the house for weapons, then nobody would get hurt; wasn't that your
24 belief at that time?
25 A. Yes --
1 Q. Now --
2 A. -- how shall I put it? It's not that it was my wish. I didn't
3 want him to search that house and those people. I just wanted to -- the
4 whole thing to be over as soon as possible, without any problems. It was
5 my wish to see the whole thing finish as soon as possible. I wanted to go
6 home. It's difficult for me to describe this to you. I didn't have any
7 intentions whatsoever, sir. I didn't insist on anything. And I believe
8 that one of the witnesses stated, but not before the Chamber, that I had
9 told his brother that I could guarantee about him, that I knew that he was
10 an honourable man, something to that effect. I think that it was VG59 who
11 stated that to the investigator, something to that effect, that I offered
12 some guarantees. And I cannot quote what he said, but it was about some
13 guarantees that I offered in respect of his brother.
14 Q. Now, Mr. Vasiljevic, you've just told us that it was your belief
15 that if the people remained calm, it would all be over with and there
16 would be no problem. What I'm asking you now is, is that why you told the
17 people it would be all right, to make them calm, to make them less
18 afraid? Is that why you said it would be all right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Now, at this time, you've just testified, you had some concerns
21 about their safety. You were worried about them; is that correct?
22 A. Yes. I was embarrassed.
23 Q. So I would be correct in saying that these people in this house,
24 they would have been entitled to be worried as well. That would have been
25 a reasonable response to what was happening, to be worried, to be afraid;
1 is that correct?
2 A. Yes, yes, and that's exactly what I wanted to tell them. And then
3 there's another thing that I'd like to say. I passed by that house every
4 day while going about my business, and it was not in my interest. But
5 when I was with him as we were coming from Prelovo, I wanted to guarantee
6 for this family because I knew them and I knew the brother and I knew that
7 he was honest and sincere, and I also knew their father. But if I had
8 told him that they were members of the reserve police force, he would have
9 behaved differently. He would have searched the whole property including
10 the barns and outside buildings, and so on and so forth. I didn't want to
11 tell him that, though I knew perfectly well that they were members of the
12 reserve police force.
13 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, isn't it a fact that on this occasion you told
14 these people not to worry, it will be all right, that you told them a lie
15 in order to get them to comply with what Milan Lukic was doing in their
16 house. Didn't you lie to them in order to get them not to resist Milan
17 Lukic? Isn't that correct?
18 A. No, I never told them not to resist. I just wanted to tell them
19 not to be afraid, that everything would be all right. I don't know how to
20 explain this to you. I didn't have any bad intentions. It was not my
21 desire to see them harassed or mistreated by him. I didn't want him to
22 provoke these people, to shout at these people, and I just wanted him to
23 leave the house as soon as possible.
24 Q. VG55, you have known this person for a very long time; is that
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You both are around the same age and essentially grew up together;
3 isn't that correct?
4 A. Well, we didn't grow up together. Our two villages are far
5 apart. [redacted]
6 [redacted]. So I did know him as a child for about two years, and then later
7 on we got together again and I can say that I knew him maybe from 1967.
8 Q. Is there any reason that you know of that VG55 would have come
9 before this Tribunal and said something that was false about you? Do you
10 know any reason they would do something like that?
11 A. Well, I don't think that he would have ever appeared before this
12 court if Lukic hadn't done what he did. If I had been alone in his house,
13 I don't think that he would have ever come here, despite the fact that I
14 was maybe in uniform or armed, because my intentions would have been
15 different. But I don't think that he's charging me that much here. I
16 mean, I was at his house. And he also said that he believes that I was
17 there on the second or the third day when Lukic came but that he didn't
18 see me. It was just his assumption. Maybe he saw him at the time of the
19 arrest, that I was in the car. But that's not something that he said.
20 It's just that my name was mentioned in connection with a very bad person
21 who committed crimes, and many witnesses appeared and testified to that
22 effect. I don't wish to repeat everything they said; I would be wasting
23 your time. 115, for example, I had two fractures during the period of two
24 years, and she apparently never saw me on crutches. I mean --
25 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, what I'm asking you is you and VG55 never had any
1 kind of dispute or anything happen between you two that would make him
2 want to say something false about; correct?
3 A. No, no. We were even very good friends. His brother, VG55, his
4 wife worked not very far from where I worked.
5 Q. In fact, if VG55 did want to get you in trouble or say something
6 false about you, he could have said that he saw you on the second night
7 when the really bad things happened in Musici; correct?
8 A. Yes. But, see, sir, now that I'm thinking about this whole thing,
9 I think that I would also be angry if someone came to my house carrying a
10 weapon. When I look at it realistically, of course I understand that it
11 was altogether very embarrassing and that people did not feel at ease.
12 But I was simply there with Lukic. I didn't act badly in any way. I
13 didn't encourage Lukic to do anything bad, and I didn't tell him anything
14 bad about VG55 and others. If I had spoken badly about them, I'm sure
15 that Lukic, the kind of man he was, would have -- no, no, I didn't.
16 I understand, I understand their feelings, but it's just that at
17 that time, it didn't occur to me. My intentions were the best possible
18 intentions. And I had problems with alcohol and, you know, but -- and
19 then this house at Bikovac, in Pionirska Street, never, sir. Never did it
20 occur to me to point a rifle at any man. But I am here being held
21 accountable because I was in the company of a bad person.
22 Q. VG59, you have known VG59 for a very long time as well.
23 A. I know he's the wife of the brother, 55. Our villages are next to
24 each other. I went to her village to school. She's somewhat younger than
1 Q. There's no reason that you're aware of that VG59 would say
2 anything false about you, is there?
3 A. No. I mean, that's exactly what I'm trying to say. Of course,
4 the witnesses didn't enjoy the situation, I mean the fact that I was
5 there, but I feel thankful because they could have said all kinds of
6 things about me, that I had come there on the second or third occasion,
7 that I had taken those women to be raped, and so on and so forth. I think
8 that they were rather correct in their testimonies.
9 And the fact that I was there with Lukic on that particular day, I
10 can only offer my apologies. I'm glad that at least on that day nothing
11 bad happened. I was naive a little bit, and I was under the influence.
12 Milan's mother, Milan's father begged me. But in the house of VG55, if I
13 wasn't able to help, I don't think -- who would? If I had spoken badly
14 about him, I think this whole situation would have ended up differently.
15 MR. GROOME: Should we pause here?
16 JUDGE HUNT: Yes. Before we go, though, Mr. Groome, we've now got
17 the application for safe conduct for the Defence witnesses. Have you got
18 any objection to safe conduct being granted?
19 MR. GROOME: I would like to see the application, Your Honour,
20 before I offer my opinion to the Court.
21 JUDGE HUNT: We're usually the last to get these things. We got
22 ours yesterday. Would you have a look and see if you can find it and let
23 us know, because I'd like to have it dealt with before the end of the
25 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE HUNT: 11.30.
2 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 11.30 a.m.
4 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome.
5 MR. GROOME: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, over the break, the interpreters have expressed
7 some of their concerns regarding they had some difficulty translating your
8 answers this morning. May I ask if it's possible to answer my question
9 with a yes or no, do that, and let us know if you need to explain it
10 further. And if you do explain your answers, please do it a little more
11 slowly and try to speak in complete sentences, and it will be of
12 assistance to the interpreters.
13 You told us that Mr. Lukic searched the house for weapons. Did
14 they, in fact, find any weapons?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Did there come a time when Milan Lukic asked to check the attic of
17 that house?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And at that point in time, didn't you then ask one of the people
20 in that house if he had any weapons in the attic?
21 A. Yes, whether there were any weapons or something. The brother of
22 VG55, whether there was anything of the kind.
23 Q. But it was you that had asked him, not Milan Lukic; correct?
24 A. No, no, no. Milan, how shall I say it, perhaps I was afraid, so I
25 asked him, "Well, have you got any?" I said that he was my school
1 fellow. "No, I've got nothing, Mitar." Had he made a sign to me to show
2 that he had it, then I'd go with him surely. So I said to Milan, "Milan,
3 I believe every word this man says," so as to stop Milan from going to the
4 attic. And had he indicated to me somehow that he did have some, then I
5 would have gone with the brother of 55. And had I gone up there and
6 returned, I would have nonetheless said that there was nothing there. But
7 I didn't want to say anything, and I guaranteed then that he was telling
8 the truth, the brother of Witness 55. So he didn't go to the attic.
9 Q. And --
10 A. I'm sorry. And had I kept silent, Lukic would have gone to the
11 attic, I'm quite sure he would have done that had I not had this idea.
12 And for that [redacted] I apologise, Your Honours, I mentioned again the name
13 of this witness. But I again said, forestalling Lukic, I said him, "Do
14 you have any?" and he said "No, I don't." And then I said, "Milan, I
15 trust every word this man says." I simply wanted to get away from the
16 house as soon as possible. I felt very awkward being there, because after
17 all, we went to school together. We've known each other for years. We
18 would stop, meet, have a coffee or something. Or when we would both be
19 going to work, we would meet in the street and talk, never any bad
20 intentions. And I'm very happy that nothing bad happened.
21 Q. Now, my point is that when you told Milan Lukic that, "I've asked
22 for weapons, he says no, I guarantee it," Milan Lukic believes you; is
23 that correct? He does not go up to the attic.
24 A. That's right, yes.
25 Q. Now, you've heard VG55 describe Milan Lukic's group and yourself
1 as storming the house, rushing towards the house. When they approached
2 the house, did they rush to the house, did they storm the house?
3 A. I didn't quite understand what you meant. Are you asking me if I
4 entered the house, that Witness 55 said that I entered the house, is that
5 it, or 59? Is that what you are asking me?
6 Q. What I'm asking you is --
7 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome, I can see where the source of this
8 confusion is. If you keep referring him to other witness' evidence, you
9 are in effect asking him to keep in mind the evidence. Why don't you just
10 ask him, did they storm the house.
11 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
12 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, when the group arrived at the house, did they rush
13 into the house?
14 A. You mean abruptly, that we were running towards it?
15 Q. Yes.
16 A. Is that what you're asking?
17 Q. Yes.
18 A. No, no. Well, why? I mean, it's 20 metres. It's 20 metres off
19 the road, the house is.
20 Q. So they walked up to the house; is that what you're saying?
21 A. Wait. No, no. This house, VG -- that is, the father's, it's
22 straight up there, 20 metres away, and those other houses are to the
23 right. Now, how did they go there? There's a lane there and there is
24 woods there and there are plum trees and orchards, but I can't tell you
25 how they went there because I don't know, because there's -- the road
1 forks off and there are trees. And whether they ran up to those houses, I
2 don't know. I couldn't see that. One couldn't see that from the house
3 belonging to Witness 59 father's house. I don't think that I could see
4 that because they went to the right.
5 At some point, they stopped their cars and then you follow for ten
6 minutes -- ten metres more, and then there is a road which forks off to
7 that locality. And his house is the first one from Prelovo, above the
8 road, and below the road is Uzeir's house, his neighbour. But they went
9 to the right, and I don't think I would have been able to see them, seeing
10 the house that I was in, because it's rather steep there.
11 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, I'm just asking you about the house that you
12 yourself went to. Was it just you and Milan Lukic that went to that
13 house, or were there other men?
14 A. And that woman.
15 Q. So the three of you go to that particular house; is that correct?
16 A. Yes, from that car, from the car driven by Lukic.
17 Q. Did Lukic and the woman walk to the house or run to the house?
18 A. No, they were not running. It's less than 20 metres.
19 Q. Was this woman armed?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. When they get to the front door of the house, is the door open or
22 is it shut?
23 A. Oh, I don't know. Lukic, Lukic was leading. But I think it was
24 open. I think. I was the last one to get there. I think it was open.
25 Q. Did he stop at the doorway and wait for the owner of the house to
1 come and invite him in, or did he just walk into the house?
2 A. I think he was talking with a brother, 59. No, this one didn't
3 try to prevent him from entering. I didn't see any trouble there.
4 Q. But he simply walked into the house, he wasn't invited into the
6 A. Well, he did not use force. He did not force his way in. I think
7 that there was one of those in the doorway, but I can't really bring this
8 scene back to describe it properly. I don't think that anyone tried to
9 stop him.
10 Q. You said in the first session this morning that, looking back on
11 the events of that evening, you do not believe that Milan Lukic was really
12 looking for weapons. My question to you is, looking back on it, what do
13 you believe the intent of Milan Lukic and his group was on that evening in
15 A. Well, what was the intent? I think he was looking for weapons.
16 No, I think he would have been happy to have found any weapons, because
17 that would have given him a pretext. But I don't know. I saw all sorts
18 of things in the statements. I was never present when he looted, and they
19 did all sorts of things, getting money and ...
20 Q. VG59 testified that you told them that they were looking for
21 someone named Avdo who had allegedly killed a Serb woman and her two
22 children. Do you recall ever saying anything like that to VG59?
23 A. I don't know. I didn't. Did he say before the Court that I had
24 said that? Is that how it was, that I had said that or that I had asked
25 that? Is that what he said?
1 Q. Quoting from the transcript at page 658, VG59 stated: "He,"
2 referring to you, "told us that they were looking for a certain Avdo who
3 had killed a Serb woman and two children, and that they were searching the
4 houses to arrest him, and I believed him."
5 My question is did you ever say anything about an Avdo to that
7 A. I'm asking you again, does he say that I asked him or Lukic.
8 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Vasiljevic, you have had read to you what he
9 said. Now, that's clear enough. That's to describe to you the reason for
10 the question. The question is simply did you ever say anything to VG59
11 about a person called Avdo on that occasion?
12 A. No, nor do I know anything about the killing of a Serb woman and
13 two children. I'm not aware of a Serb woman with two children being
14 killed. I know nothing about that.
15 MR. GROOME:
16 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, you also said on Tuesday that the people from the
17 village gathered together, and Mr. Domazet asked you, and I'm quoting from
18 the transcript at page 44: "If I understood you well, you said that a
19 little later some other villagers of Musici also turned up; is that
20 correct?" And you said, "It is."
21 My question to you is did these people voluntarily come and gather
22 in one spot? Was that what you were saying on Tuesday?
23 A. Yes. I think VG55, I believe, went to tell them to come to the
24 house of 59's father, villagers I mean. That is what Lukic had demanded.
25 Q. So what is correct is that these people did not voluntary gather,
1 Milan Lukic demanded that they be rounded up together so that he could say
2 something to them; correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, VG55 also told us that Milan Lukic said two things. The
5 first thing was that they weren't to go anywhere, they were to remain in
6 that village. Do you recall Milan Lukic saying that to these people?
7 A. Let me tell you, I was outside, I was outside in front of the
8 house, but I believe he said that. They were inside. But I do believe he
9 did say that.
10 Q. And the second thing that he allegedly said to them was, he told
11 them that they would be safe there. Do you recall Milan Lukic saying that
12 to the group of people from Musici, that they would be safe in their
14 A. Well, I'm telling you that I was outside. And whether he said
15 that, well, he must have. But he was talking to those people while inside
16 the house so I couldn't really overhear anything.
17 Q. Were you at the doorway of that house?
18 A. In front of the house, not far from the door.
19 Q. And how many people had been gathered into that house?
20 A. Why, 15, 20. I wouldn't know.
21 Q. Now, when you left Musici, did you get into the red Passat again?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And was Milan Lukic and this fair-haired woman in the Passat as
25 A. Yes.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Was anybody else in the Passat?
2 A. No.
3 Q. And did you see anything in the Passat that led you to believe
4 that Milan Lukic or this woman had taken anything from these people?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Did the fair-haired woman and Milan Lukic say anything to each
7 other regarding what had happened in Musici?
8 A. I can't recall what they were talking about. I'm not really
10 Q. When did you learn, first learn about -- when did you first learn
11 that Milan Lukic returned to Musici one or two days later and committed
12 crimes against the people of that village?
13 A. I don't know anything about his going back. Yes, naturally, he
14 did, I know that he took those women. And when did I hear about that? I
15 don't know. Was it in the witness statements or while still there, I
16 don't know. All those -- all that Milan did, all these nefarious deeds
17 that he committed, I never heard anything good said about him. But, no,
18 not those days, no. At that time, I didn't hear anything then.
19 Q. Did you get out from the car by your house on the road to
21 A. Yes. As I've already said, my house is right before Visegrad.
22 Q. Did you tell your wife what happened in Musici that night?
23 A. I don't remember. I don't know. Don't know. I don't know. I
24 don't think so. Well, I mean, nothing happened. Well, yes, it did
25 happen, he searched, but nothing happened that would -- I mean, he did not
1 hit anyone, he did not strike anyone, he did not rob anyone.
2 Q. While we're discussing VG59, you heard him describe a black flag
3 with a skull on it hanging in the reception area of the Vilina Vlas Hotel,
4 the place where you said, in your statement, that Milan Lukic and his
5 group stayed during this period. My question to you is whether, during
6 the times that you were in the Vilina Vlas Hotel, did you ever see the
7 flag described by VG59?
8 A. I was not there when he was brought up there and kept there for
9 two days or something. I do not know anything about hoisting a flag.
10 Perhaps they did. But I don't know. He would know best. I don't know
11 when he was taken in or out.
12 Q. Did you ever see a flag matching that description?
13 A. As far as I remember, he said something like a Serbian flag with a
14 skull, or a Chetnik flag. Will you please remind me?
15 Q. He said it was a black -- he said, "I saw a big black flag, and on
16 it was a skull where it said, "We trust in God for king and motherland."
17 It's on transcript page 663. Do you ever recall seeing a flag matching
18 that description?
19 A. Black flag? Well, I saw flags. This black with -- I don't know.
20 What do I know? All those flags that they carry around.
21 Q. You just started to say, "Well, I saw flags." Have you seen a
22 flag that matched this description?
23 A. Was it black?
24 Q. Yes.
25 A. I'm not sure. A black flag? I don't know, I don't know. I may
1 have. I don't know. It's a long time ago, and there were all sorts of
3 Q. VG81, in her testimony, described seeing you in the possession of
4 a black flag, carrying it on the road by Kosovo Polje. Did you ever carry
5 a flag, a black flag with a skull on it, either drunk or sober? Did you
6 ever carry such a flag?
7 A. VG81 could neither see me -- she mentioned that flag, she
8 mentioned me several times. From 8.00 in the evening of the 14th onward,
9 if she saw me on the 17th and on the 14th, the 21st, 23rd, 25th, if she
10 made this -- if she made that up, then she could have made that up about
11 the flag. But she never said anything, that was true. I do not think
12 that VG81 should have testified, because she said that she'd seen me on
13 various occasions when she simply could not have seen me on the 17th or
14 18th, 23rd, 25th, whenever something happened someplace.
15 Q. Did you ever, at any time, walk on the road between Visegrad and
16 Prelovo with any type of flag? Did you ever do that?
17 A. Never. Never I had it in my hands. Never. I'm not sure even if
18 at a wedding party, for instance, I had a -- no, not even -- not even at a
19 wedding party. Never.
20 Q. Now, after -- it was after this event in Musici that you were
21 arrested; correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And you've told us why, in your view, you were arrested and I want
24 to ask you a couple of questions regarding it. You yourself never fought
25 on the front line; that's correct, is it not?
1 A. It is, that I myself participated in taking a front line or
2 something, no, never.
3 Q. Yet there were Serbs from Visegrad who, every day, were getting
4 injured and killed on that front line; isn't that correct?
5 A. Well, yes. I can't say that it happened every day, but people got
7 Q. Was your commander at the time very upset with you that you were
8 refusing to take even a small portion of the risk that the other men in
9 Visegrad were being forced to take fighting on the front line?
10 A. Why, yes, must have, surely. But I had nothing to do with it. I
11 carried food by night.
12 Q. Did he --
13 A. No.
14 Q. Did he accuse you of being a coward?
15 A. I don't know how he commented that.
16 Q. Did he ever say to you that he thought you were a deserter?
17 A. Well, that's how they saw me. I'm only saying -- I'm now changing
18 the topic. When I injured my toe near Kladanj, they thought that I had
19 done it deliberately, that I'd done it on purpose. And they said, "Why
20 don't you fire at your head?" They thought that I did that in order to
21 dodge further service in the army.
22 Q. So they accused of you being a coward at that time, of shooting
23 yourself intentionally in the foot to avoid military service?
24 A. Yes. They said, "Why didn't you shoot in your head?"
25 Q. I want to now talk about the death of your cousin. You said to us
1 on Tuesday that you loved him very much; is that correct?
2 A. Yes. Not only him, I liked all of my cousins.
3 Q. Would you say that you were particularly close to this cousin?
4 A. Yes, very close. We couldn't be closer. His father is my uncle.
5 Q. Were you around the same age?
6 A. No. He was born in the same year as my brother, in 1963, so he's
7 younger than me.
8 Q. Why was it that you felt especially close to this particular
9 cousin? Did you do a lot of things together?
10 A. No. We never worked together. But I was close to him the way I
11 was close to all of my cousins. You normally love the members of your
12 family. He was my first cousin. Only my brother was closer to me than
13 himself. But, you know, like every other cousin, I mean I felt sorry when
14 he got killed as much as I felt sorry when my aunt's son was killed in
15 October. I mean, I felt sorry for everyone who got killed. I have about
16 ten first cousins from my uncles and from my aunt.
17 Q. Did he leave a wife behind?
18 A. Yes, he did, a wife and two children.
19 Q. And how old were the children?
20 A. His daughter is the same age as my son, so she was about four
21 years old, and his son is now attending the first form of the secondary
22 school, so he could have been seven or eight at that time.
23 Q. And your --
24 A. He is now 15. Yes.
25 Q. And your cousin was killed by Muslims; correct?
1 A. Yes, at the front line.
2 Q. And you've told us that his body lay in the forest for several
3 days; correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And that was because Muslims still controlled the area in which he
6 was killed.
7 A. I don't know what the situation was at that precise spot. I know
8 only that it was in the woods, that there were actually two groves with a
9 meadow in between. And down there I think there was a hut on the Muslim
10 side. So they were supposed to run across the meadow, and they probably
11 didn't know that there was someone in the hut. And their command, I mean
12 whoever was the leader of the group, was guilty because they issued the
13 order to cross over the meadow. But he stayed behind and his colleagues
14 were actually angry with him, and the commander didn't attend the
15 funeral. But the guy who was the leader of the group, Ljupko Tasic, he
16 was actually angry with him because the others had gone already across the
17 meadow. But it was the commander's fault because he didn't carry out
18 appropriate reconnoitering. He didn't know that there was someone in the
19 hut. So he got killed, and two other young men from the village of
20 Dobrun, I think. I think that five of them were killed in total on that
21 day, three of them being from Rujiste. But everybody accused Tasic of
22 conducting the action in a very naive way. And he was the one who didn't
23 go, who didn't move forward together with his men. He stayed behind.
24 Q. Who told you about his death?
25 A. I learned about that while I was in prison in Uzamnica. I don't
1 know exactly when that was. Maybe when the doctor came to administer
2 infusion. Whether they had learned about it or whether the doctor
3 actually came to see me with some medication on the next day, I don't
4 know. I don't quite remember how it was. All I know is that I learned
5 about his death while I was in Uzamnica. Then they released me. Whether
6 it was on the 1st or on the 2nd, I don't know. It's possible that he got
7 killed on the 1st and that I learned the news on the 2nd, but I'm really
8 not sure.
9 Q. And were you depressed at hearing the news that your cousin had
10 been killed?
11 A. Of course I felt depressed.
12 Q. You attended the funeral on the 6th of June. Were you drunk at
13 the funeral?
14 A. Well, I was drinking at the time, it's true. It's embarrassing
15 for me to speak about it. I drank all the time in those days, yes.
16 Q. Now, you weren't permitted, or were you permitted to drink in
18 A. No, no, I wasn't.
19 Q. When did you begin to drink after you left Uzamnica?
20 A. Right away.
21 Q. Now, at the time that you were released from gaol, it was to go to
22 the funeral; is that correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. At that point in time, you had not been assigned to do cleaning in
25 the town; is that correct?
1 A. I reported at Bikovac after I was released from prison. After the
2 funeral I thought that I would be taken back, because I was told that I
3 had to spend 15 days there. So I was going to ask them to release me
4 altogether, not to lock me up again. I wanted them to find me some post
5 somewhere. I didn't want to distribute food during the night again. And
6 that was actually their suggestion, that I should do the cleaning in the
7 town and to organise this whole action, and I accepted because, frankly
8 speaking, that seemed to be the easiest and the least dangerous work to do
9 in those days.
10 Q. And this arrangement regarding the cleaning was arrived at the day
11 after the funeral; correct?
12 A. I think that it was after I was released that I went to see
13 [redacted] at Bikovac. I wanted to ask him kindly not to lock me up
14 again, because I thought that I would be put back to prison immediately
15 after the funeral, that I would be taken back to Uzamnica.
16 Q. Do you remember in your direct testimony, you telling us,
17 referring to page 51, that the day that you were -- the day that this
18 arrangement regarding the cleaning was made was the same day that Stanko
19 Pecikoza picked you up in his car? Do you recall telling us that on
21 A. No. If that's what I said -- I don't know how it was translated.
22 I was busy cleaning the town when Stanko Pecikoza picked me in his car.
23 Q. Let me read you the portion of the transcript and you tell us
24 whether you do agree that you said this or you did not say this on
25 Tuesday. Again, from page 51: "And then they let me organise the
1 cleaning of the town, and that day I was on my way back home and before I
2 got there, Stanko Pecikoza, in a car, caught up with me."
3 Did you say that on Tuesday?
4 A. Yes, but when? When do you -- when do you mean that they let me
5 organise the cleaning, when I was released from the prison, on that same
7 Q. Well, according to your testimony on Tuesday, you said, "and that
8 day." I'm interpreting that to mean that the organisation of the cleaning
9 and the day you met Stanko Pecikoza are the same day. Is that not
11 A. No, I don't think so. I wouldn't put it that way. I was tasked
12 with that job after my release from Uzamnica. But I'm not sure. Frankly
13 speaking, my mental state was not very good at the time because of the
14 influence of alcohol. But I'm sure that it was before the 7th.
15 Q. So it's your -- it's your testimony --
16 A. No, no, no, it was several days prior to the 7th. I think I had
17 already been tasked with that job when I attended the funeral.
18 Q. Now, was it also -- was it your understanding when this
19 arrangement was reached to have you clean the streets that if you did not
20 do that properly, you would be returned to gaol?
21 A. They made me this offer and I accepted. I think that they would
22 have put me back if I had not accepted their offer.
23 Q. And did you understand this arrangement that if you failed to
24 complete this assignment of cleaning the streets properly, that it could
25 result in you being returned to gaol?
1 A. Yes, yes, I would have been returned to gaol, because I was still
2 a Territorial Defence conscript and I'm sure that they would have, yes.
3 Q. So in fact what really happened was that your punishment was
4 changed from one of being locked up in gaol to being forced to clean the
5 rubbish off the streets of Visegrad; is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And you did that job sometime after you were released and up until
8 the 14th of June.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did you not find it degrading that you were now required to pick
11 up rubbish on the streets of Visegrad?
12 A. No. Why? Let it be clean. Why do you think that the cleaning
13 job is degrading to people who are doing it?
14 Q. Well, who were the people that you had to work with? You told us
15 that some of the people were Muslims who were in the town; is that
17 A. The company, the utility company normally does it every day. But,
18 for example, I didn't have the right to force anyone to do it, be it a
19 Muslim or a Serb. The idea is to clean the public spaces before the post
20 office, bank buildings, cafes, businesses, and so on and so forth.
21 Residential areas were supposed to be cleaned by the local residents. And
22 the people were really enthusiastic about it, and very soon you could no
23 longer recognise the city. The people from the local utility company
24 helped us because they carted away the rubbish on a regular basis, and of
25 course they liked it because if they had to do it alone, it would have
1 taken them a very long time. But we did a very good job, and it was
2 mainly done by people who did not have any military obligations, such as
3 retired people, local residents who would organise themselves to clean up
4 around their buildings, and so on and so forth. And it was very well
5 organised, and we didn't really need anyone to supervise it in any way.
6 No one was specifically ordered to clean. People volunteered. And we
7 would usually work an hour per day, between 9.00 and 10.00. Some streets
8 maybe required some additional work. My neighbourhood had suffered a lot
9 because the water -- because of the water that had been released, and
10 there were lots of logs and branches of the trees, various objects. But
11 we managed to clean it all.
12 Q. By this point in time, many of the Muslims had fled Visegrad;
13 isn't that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you describe for us, how was it that you went about getting
16 Muslims to now volunteer to work with you to clean these streets? How did
17 you do that?
18 A. I wasn't the one who made them do anything. People volunteered
19 because it was about their residential areas. We would ask them kindly,
20 and then the women would come up and did their bit, the retired people
21 also. There were not specific orders or tasks, there was just this
22 general recommendation that the area should be cleaned up.
23 Q. Well, can you tell us what it was that you did? Let's say that
24 you were assigned or you were going to clean a particular street on this
25 day. How did you go about letting people know that you were looking for
1 volunteers to clean that street?
2 A. The streets and the public places were cleaned by, for example,
3 cafe owners, by the people who owned local businesses. It didn't take a
4 very long time. People who owned shops would clean the space in front of
5 their shops. Everyone did his own bit.
6 Q. In response to a question that Mr. Domazet said or asked you, you
7 said that you used a megaphone on the first day, or a loudspeaker, to
8 announce the cleaning drive; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And who gave you this megaphone?
11 A. At Bikovac, when I was there.
12 Q. And how long were you in possession of this megaphone?
13 A. Only that one day. I felt embarrassed because I had never used it
14 before. I remember the words that I said: "Residents are kindly
15 requested to clean up the spaces in front of their shops and around their
16 apartment blocks," something to that effect. But I had to go there in
17 person, I had to see those shop owners so that they would really take it
18 seriously. But once it really started, people didn't need to be persuaded
19 to do it, because the town was really in a very, very bad shape.
20 Q. You've told us that after you were put in charge or made to do
21 this cleaning, you were given a red ribbon which meant that you were in
22 charge of this function; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, yes, that I was given this particular task. Yes, you can put
24 it that way.
25 Q. Was there anything written on that ribbon?
1 A. No. It was just a ribbon which was supposed to be some kind of
2 sign or mark that ...
3 Q. And you've indicated your left arm by your bicep. Is that where
4 you wore this ribbon?
5 A. Yes, here.
6 Q. And you tied it around your arm; is that correct?
7 A. Yes. It was a rather large band.
8 Q. Approximately, how wide was this red ribbon band?
9 A. Like this. Five centimetres.
10 Q. Now, how was it that people in the town were supposed to know that
11 a red ribbon with nothing written on it indicated that you were in charge
12 of cleaning the streets? Was there a public announcement to this effect?
13 A. No, no. Visegrad is not a very big town and people know me, so it
14 was not a problem. It's a small town, Visegrad. People know each other
15 well enough.
16 Q. So there was nothing done to communicate to the town about this
17 cleaning drive or that this red ribbon indicated that you were in charge
18 of it; is that correct?
19 A. People trusted me, people knew me, and people did it gladly. They
20 were very enthusiastic about it. Everything that was needed was the
21 initiative. But we had no problems whatsoever. It wasn't difficult at
23 Q. You've told us that you would clean for approximately one hour a
24 day. Who was it that set your hours?
25 A. In front of the shops, if there wasn't too much garbage, they
1 needed only 10 or 15 minutes to clean it up. If there are two shop
2 assistants in the shop, one would go out and clean up the space in front
3 of the shop, so he only needed 10 or 15 minutes to complete the work, and
4 then he would do it the next day if necessary. But if it wasn't very
5 dirty, he only did ten minutes.
6 Q. I'm not asking you about how much time the volunteers worked, I'm
7 asking you who told you that you yourself should only work one hour per
9 A. They didn't impose any restrictions on me in terms of hours. No
10 one ever told me anything specific, nor did they assign other people to
11 work with me, except for the workers for the employees of the utility
12 company who worked seven hours per day. But that's different.
13 Q. And did you work the same hour each day?
14 A. Well, as days went by, there was less work to do every day.
15 Q. But would you work, let's say, 9.00 to 10.00 every day, or did you
16 pick another hour that that was the hour that Mitar Vasiljevic supervised
17 the cleaning?
18 A. No, not necessarily. If someone needed to assist the customers,
19 of course they would do that first, or their colleagues or assistants
20 would help. I mean, there were no problems in terms of organisation. And
21 I did some cleaning myself.
22 Q. Were you required to report to anyone each day?
23 A. No, no, I wasn't. I didn't have to provide them with any such
24 report. It was just the cleaning of the town.
25 Q. Did anyone ever come and check your work?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. No, no, never. Well, one could see the results in the town. It
2 was a very successful action. People talked about it. And the situation
3 improved every day. Later, after we completed the cleaning, we also made
4 it look nicer. We took care of the parks, of the green areas. We mowed
5 them. It was really a good thing to do. We didn't have any problems
6 whatsoever. Whatever we were able to do for the town, we did it.
7 Q. And all of this was accomplished, all this good work that you
8 talked about was accomplished before the 14th of June, and you started
9 sometime around the 2nd or 3rd of June; is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. The Serbs that worked, you told us that they were mostly women and
12 elderly people who could not engage in work more directly connected with
13 the fighting. Would it be fair to say that, for the most part, these
14 people cleaned in front of their own home or their own shop, that that's
15 all they worked at?
16 A. Well, shop owners, publicans, or the cleaning woman from the post
17 office, yes, they cleaned it in front of their premises. You can't expect
18 a shop owner to go and clean somewhere far away, because he has to run his
19 shop. So one of them goes out and just sweeps the street in front of the
20 shop. But nobody protested because it was in shambles. And then the
21 women removed all the ancient posters and all that, and everybody was very
22 happy to do that.
23 Q. The Muslims that worked, were they asked to go and clean in areas
24 away from their homes, away from their shops?
25 A. No, no.
1 Q. At this time, were any of the Muslim shopkeepers still opening
2 their shops for business?
3 A. No, no, no. I must tell the truth. No, no.
4 Q. And why was that?
5 A. Well, I left, they didn't work. I can't say that they did when
6 they didn't.
7 Q. Would it be fair to say that many of those shop windows had been
8 busted in, the Muslim shop windows?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Who did you get to clean in front of those shops, the abandoned
11 Muslim shops with the broken glass? Who did you get to clean those shops?
12 A. It was mostly those people from the public utility company.
13 Q. At this point in time, was --
14 A. No, just a moment. I mean, broken glass had to be removed even
15 before I started doing that. I mean, those shops may have been savage
16 broken before, their window shops, those glass panes and that, that could
17 have been broken even before that.
18 Q. At this point in time, it was common knowledge that a number of
19 Muslims from Visegrad town had been killed; correct?
20 A. You mean up to the 14th? Well, yes, yes. Now, who saw what and
21 where ...
22 Q. Would it also be fair to say that many of the Muslims who
23 volunteered to work with you, those that remained behind, that they were
25 A. I didn't quite understand. Afraid? Afraid of what, of whom,
2 Q. I'm not suggesting that they were afraid of you, I am asking you,
3 were they afraid for their own safety, being in Visegrad?
4 A. Why, they must have been. What could people -- what can one do?
5 I would have been afraid. Anybody would be.
6 Q. Would it be fair to characterise that some of them were even
7 terrorised at the thought of remaining in Visegrad?
8 A. Well, I apologise again. Stay in Visegrad, that they would have
9 been terrorised when they stayed in Visegrad, or if they stayed in
10 Visegrad; is that it?
11 Q. Yes. You told us that Muslim shops had been abandoned. You told
12 us that it had been common knowledge that Muslims had been killed. You
13 told us you saw several Muslim houses burnt to the ground. Would it have
14 been fair to say that the Muslims you were in contact with were afraid
15 about remaining in Visegrad at this time?
16 A. Oh, yes, no doubt, naturally. If you see your neighbour's house
17 burning or somebody being killed or robbed or taken to be raped, no doubt,
18 they had reason to be afraid, and how. I mean, I'm afraid of such
19 things. Any man would be afraid of anything like that happening. Nobody
20 could be -- could have his peace of mind, surely.
21 Q. And yet you maintain that Muslims were happy to work with you
22 voluntarily to clean the streets of this beloved town of Visegrad. That's
23 what you're telling us here today.
24 A. But there is a difference, what you feel if it's clean around your
25 house and what you -- and the fear you may feel about your future. I
1 mean, these are two completely different things. Whether you'll have it
2 clean around your house or whether you'll be thinking that somebody might
3 come at night and take you away, I mean, these are two completely
4 different things.
5 Q. So it's your belief that these people who were afraid of being
6 taken away in the night were still concerned about how the front of their
7 house appeared?
8 A. Why, not because of that, just to have it clean. I mean, if you
9 hear that one of your neighbours was killed, a Muslim or a relative, then
10 of course, I mean you are afraid, it's only natural, or that somebody's
11 house had burnt down or all that. You can't be indifferent to all of
12 that. How can you?
13 Q. I'd like to ask you now about Mr. Stanko Pecikoza. You were on
14 your way home from Visegrad on the 7th of June when a car driven by Stanko
15 Pecikoza stopped and he spoke with you; is that correct?
16 A. It is.
17 Q. Stanko was a Serb; correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And Stanko was also a Serb who treated Muslims well; is that
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Is the person who spoke to you this day the same Stanko that
23 witnesses have referred to several times over the course of this trial?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And he died on the 20th of June.
1 A. Yes. I saw the obituary. I was in the hospital at that time. Or
2 rather, he didn't die, he was killed.
3 Q. And do you know who killed him?
4 A. Well, Milan Lukic was suspected of that, because Stanko was killed
5 in the Serbian territory.
6 Q. Well, you've told us yesterday about a number of occasions after
7 1992 that you spoke with Milan Lukic. During any of those times, did he
8 admit to you that he killed Stanko Pecikoza?
9 A. I'll tell you this: There was this suspicion that Milan had done
10 it. I suppose his family must have some information. And when this
11 incident with the train at Strpci happened, Lukic was arrested in Serbia
12 and charged with the murder of Pecikoza, because Stanko Pecikoza was
13 killed in the territory of Serbia, as soon as you pass the customs point
14 down there in Serbia -- no, I don't know how many metres. And he was
15 tried for it, he spent some 15 months in prison in Belgrade, whether they
16 didn't have enough evidence about that train and about Stanko. But then
17 he was transferred to a prison in Sarajevo and then released. And if he
18 said that he'd killed him, oh, no, he wasn't a man to tell you anything.
19 He is foxy. I mean, you see him, but he doesn't talk to anyone about what
20 he does. Would he say now that he was hiding somewhere? No. And even if
21 you told you something, that wouldn't be true.
22 Q. Did Stanko own a business?
23 A. Stanko Pecikoza kept a saw mill and a carpenter's shop. I worked
24 for him -- I moonlighted for him when I had days off or when I had time.
25 And that is why he did all the carpentry work for the house, that is,
1 that's why he didn't pay me in cash, he would pay me in kind. And I would
2 go there and work whenever I could, a day, half a day, ten days,
3 depending, for instance, if I was on holiday. And he treated me very
4 decently, and he still owed me the front door. And after the war, I
5 went to his son and he said absolutely -- the only thing he said was that,
6 "Mitar, if you say so. I know that you worked here. How much do I owe
7 you? I have it all here on paper, that you worked for us, so no problem
8 at all." And he really did that door. I mean, I worked for him, and I
9 was very happy to work for him. I mean, I did all sorts of manual labour
10 for him, the hardest carrying timber and doing things like that. I mean,
11 I did the hardest chores for him, but one has to do it, so it's not all
12 that difficult when you have to.
13 Q. How many employees did Stanko have in this business?
14 A. Well, I worked often but not all that often. Once I spent there
15 60 work days in a row. I had taken an unpaid leave. And Dzeric was my
16 immediate superior. He was a very good carpenter. He had two brothers,
17 two brothers working for him full time. But there were often pensioners
18 part time; there were Muslims working there full time.
19 Q. Can you give us an --
20 A. Three -- three, again, good craftsmen who were full-time
21 employees. But again there were a number of people who worked part time
22 when things had to be loaded or carried or something. And he knew who
23 needed whatever building materials taken to a house and he did it. And he
24 had his factory. His mill was quite good. He was a good man, an
25 honest man. He paid well so that I worked for him whenever I could.
1 Q. Are you saying that Stanko Pecikoza only had three full-time
3 A. Well, these Muslims, and his brothers I think. I think they were
4 registered full time. And he had another brother who was pensioned, but
5 he was -- he also worked for him, but he didn't have to pay the health
6 insurance and all the rest, pension insurance, and whatnot. And I think
7 he had yet another man, a carpenter, but that one had earned his pension
8 in Germany, so he worked for him, he didn't have to pay for his insurance
9 either. And there was another carpenter, a younger one, I think his name
10 was Slavko. But he had a number of pensioners and people like me.
11 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, what was the name of this business?
12 A. Let me see.
13 Q. Was it the Varda company?
14 A. Wait, wait, wait. No, no, no, Varda was a socially-owned
15 company. Beginning with P.
16 Q. Was it the Partizan --
17 A. I think it was an acronym.
18 Q. Was it the Partizan company?
19 A. Partizan is another socially-owned company. This is the only
20 private sawmill.
21 Q. On the day --
22 A. Oh, come on, I can't remember it.
23 Q. It's okay, Mr. Vasiljevic. It's not important to the case. At
24 some -- when Mr. -- when Stanko pulled over and spoke to you, he asked you
25 to help him find Milan Lukic; is that correct?
1 A. It is.
2 Q. Were you drinking on this day?
3 A. Well, let me tell you, I would always have a drink when I work in
4 the town, I mean cleaning.
5 Q. But you did not have a bottle of alcohol with you as you walked
6 home that day, did you?
7 A. I didn't.
8 Q. Did Stanko appear upset to you?
9 A. He was looking for Lukic. Stanko was truly a good man, and that
10 war damaged him, damaged his interests, because he had a factory to run.
11 And allegedly he'd been taking men from Varda and from other companies,
12 and he knew about those things. I think he was deputy president of the
13 SDS, if I am correct.
14 Q. Was he upset when he spoke with you?
15 A. What do you want me to tell you? Stanko was an honest man. He
16 was looking for him. He wasn't angry. I suppose, though, they already
17 had some contact before that. But God only knows why he was killed.
18 Q. Was there anyone else in the car?
19 A. No, no, he was alone.
20 Q. Now, when he asked for your assistance in finding Milan Lukic, did
21 you suggest that the two of you go to a particular place?
22 A. I said to him, "He might be in Banja, in the spa," because that is
23 where they spent the night, he and his men.
24 Q. And by the spa at Banja, you mean the Hotel Vilina Vlas; correct?
25 A. Yes, yes, yes, that's right. Vilina Vlas, yes, yes.
1 Q. How did you know that that is where Milan Lukic and his group were
2 spending the night?
3 A. Let me tell you, they passed by my house very often, every day, in
4 their car, and they were up there. And after all, you hear these things,
5 one knows it.
6 Q. Well, it's not possible to see the Hotel Vilina Vlas from your
7 house; is that correct?
8 A. No, no, no, it is not. I didn't say that. But it's a road. I
9 mean, the road to Vilina Vlas goes past my house.
10 Q. So your house is on the road between Visegrad and Prelovo;
12 A. Yes, you could say so, and -- except you turn right to go to
13 Vilina Vlas, and to Visegrad, you turn to the left, and my house is before
14 Sase, before Kosovo Polje, that is, it is -- it's about one kilometre to
16 Q. If I were to drive from Visegrad to go to Vilina Vlas, I would
17 drive up past your house, continue for about one kilometre, and then turn
18 off of that road, make a right, and go up to the road of Vilina Vlas;
20 A. No, no. I said that my house was one kilometre away from
21 Visegrad. And to Sase, it's about two kilometres, two and a half, and
22 from Sase you turn right to go to Vilina Vlas, about two kilometres away,
23 and again past Sase you also go to Prelovo. So it is through Sase that
24 you are going to go either to Prelovo or to Vilina Vlas, but you take the
25 same road from Visegrad.
1 Q. What I'm asking you is how is it that you knew, when you saw Milan
2 Lukic and his group drive past your house, that they were going to make a
3 right turn up to Vilina Vlas and not continue straight on to Prelovo or
4 some other place north of Visegrad?
5 A. No, that's not what I meant. I know that they stayed there, that
6 they slept over there, they spent their nights there. But you can't see
7 it. But I'm sure that they lived up there.
8 Q. Well, I'm asking you how were you sure that they lived up there?
9 Did they ever tell you that?
10 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome, you may not have heard the complete
11 answer, but after having said that they passed by his house, he added,
12 "You hear these things. You know."
13 MR. GROOME: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. So is it your testimony that you heard from somebody that they
15 were staying up at the Vilina Vlas Hotel?
16 A. Yes. Well, I knew. People knew, I mean one knows. I repeat it:
17 Visegrad is a small place. Yes, they lived there. When I returned from
18 the hospital, they were still there, and they passed by every now and
20 Q. When you would see them pass by, was Milan Lukic driving the red
22 A. True. Yes, yes, he always drove the red Passat.
23 Q. Now, you told us on Tuesday that the Vilina Vlas Hotel used to be
24 owned by the Panos company up until three years before 1992; is that
1 A. Well, yes, more or less. Three years, maybe four.
2 Q. And you told us that in June of 1992, it was operated by an
3 independent company with a separate payroll and administration; is that
5 A. June 1992?
6 Q. Yes.
7 A. No, no, I didn't. June 1992, we had war on at the time. What I
8 said -- no, I can't know exactly. There was this one company called
9 Panos. Ehos Sarajevo was the mother company, and we were one company
10 called Panos and then we split into two self-contained units, and they
11 became the rehabilitation sanatorium Vilina Vlas.
12 Q. And that was a -- that company or that hotel was not owned by the
13 Panos company, it was a separate company.
14 A. You mean the Sarajevo company, Ehos, the one that I mentioned?
15 Q. Yes.
16 A. Ehos -- now, how am I going to explain this to you? Ehos is a
17 general company --
18 JUDGE HUNT: Perhaps you might explain it to us after lunch.
19 Now, Mr. Groome, two things: First of all, I would like to know
20 at 2.30 whether you object to the safe conduct orders that are sought.
21 MR. GROOME: I have some information on that, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE HUNT: Yes.
23 MR. GROOME: We tried to get a copy of those. We were told by the
24 Registry that they were filed ex parte and that is why we are not being
25 given a copy of those orders.
1 JUDGE HUNT: It merely says, "Confidential."
2 Was any arrangement made for it to be ex parte, Mr. Domazet? I
3 can't imagine why there would be.
4 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in my submission, I did
5 not ask for that. But then when a person from the Registry came to take
6 it, he asked me -- perhaps he asked me whether it should be ex parte, and
7 I may have said yes. Otherwise, it's not in this submission. So that
8 could have been a mistake. I mean I simply forgot that ex parte meant
9 that it would not be disclosed to the Prosecutor, and that of course is
10 out of the question.
11 JUDGE HUNT: Yes. It's not usually done. So here's a copy for
12 you. You better tell us at 2.30 whether you object to it.
13 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE HUNT: Now, the second thing: So that Mr. Domazet has got
15 some idea of how many witnesses to bring, would you be able to tell him, I
16 don't want to hear it myself, but would you be able to tell him how long
17 you think your cross-examination of the defendant will take?
18 MR. GROOME: I've already discussed that with him.
19 JUDGE HUNT: That's all right, as long as you have, because I had
20 made it very clear to Mr. Domazet that we did not expect his witnesses to
21 take as long as he had estimated, and that he should have plenty of
22 witnesses here when we resume in a couple weeks' time. So I don't want to
23 have too many witnesses here if you're going to take a long time with the
24 cross-examination. But if you are able to give him some idea of how long
25 you'll be, then he will know how many witnesses to ask the Victims and
1 Witnesses Unit to bring along for him.
2 All right. We'll resume at 2.30.
3 MR. DOMAZET: One moment.
4 JUDGE HUNT: I'm sorry. Yes, Mr. Domazet.
5 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] My apologies, Your Honour, but with
6 your leave I would like to resolve a matter.
7 I already have my first witness, and it is quite evident that it
8 will not be possible now to call that witness in today, I mean
9 Mr. Vasiljevic's wife. So presumably she will be testifying that first
10 week when we resume the hearings.
11 Nonetheless, I thought somehow that this would be over, that is,
12 that Mr. Vasiljevic's testimony would be over. I agreed to a request, and
13 their children should arrive in The Hague for a week's visit to see
14 Mr. Vasiljevic. Now, of course, I understand that now we have a problem
15 regarding Mrs. Vasiljevic, whether she can visit Mr. Vasiljevic. But my
16 question is can the children visit him? Because if not, then I'd try to
17 call them and intercept them, or rather tell them not to come from
18 Belgrade tomorrow.
19 JUDGE HUNT: Well, I think, Mr. Groome, we've got to know, how
20 long do you think you're going to be in cross-examination?
21 MR. GROOME: I think it will go into after the break. I don't
22 anticipate finishing today. I certainly have absolutely no objection to
23 Mr. Vasiljevic visiting with his children or even, for that matter, his
24 wife, given the circumstances.
25 JUDGE HUNT: That's fair enough. There you are, Mr. Domazet. So
1 that they can come and they can visit, both the wife and the children.
2 There's no objection from the Prosecution. That resolves what might have
3 been a very difficult problem. Thank you, Mr. Groome.
4 Is that all you wanted to raise, Mr. Domazet?
5 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, thank you, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you. We will now adjourn until 2.30.
7 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.05 p.m.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 --- On resuming at 2.30 p.m.
2 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome, have you worked out whether we can sign
3 those orders yet?
4 MR. GROOME: I do have some information for the Court. I must
5 confess that this is my first time dealing with such an application.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Yes, the Prosecution usually get away with doing it
7 ex parte and I have never understood why. However, the Defence has done
8 it properly this time.
9 MR. GROOME: Well --
10 JUDGE HUNT: It's usual, shall I say that.
11 MR. GROOME: Well, then, maybe I will just offer what information I
12 can that might be most relevant.
13 THE COURT: Yes.
14 MR. GROOME: The Deputy Prosecutor has authorised me to inform the
15 Court that none of the people on this list are the subject of an
16 indictment. There is no intention to provisionally arrest them under Rule
17 40, so they in fact have nothing to fear. But having said that, I will
18 leave it to the Court to decide on that motion.
19 JUDGE HUNT: I'm sure they will all be very happy to hear it. But
20 we will make the orders and I will sign them this afternoon.
21 Now, we can proceed with the cross-examination.
22 I'm not getting any transcript at the moment.
23 THE COURT REPORTER: It's coming, Your Honour.
24 MR. GROOME:
25 Q. You testified earlier today --
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, Mr. Groome. I just
2 wanted to say that later on, if you wish me to do so, I can go back to the
3 cleaning of the town. And if we can go into private session, there's
4 something more I should like to say about that particular issue. I don't
5 know whether you want to go on with your questions or ...
6 JUDGE HUNT: Speaking for myself, I cannot imagine what more could
7 be said about it. We've been on it for so long, and I'm not sure where we
8 got. Do you want to add to your evidence, Mr. Vasiljevic?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE HUNT: And it is actually going to be in answer to the
11 questions Mr. Groome asked about it as to who was involved and where they
12 did the cleaning; is that it?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
14 JUDGE HUNT: Very well. We'll go into private session. Just one
16 [Private session]
21 [Open session]
22 JUDGE HUNT: We're now in public session.
23 MR. GROOME:
24 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vasiljevic. I want to now return to the day of the
25 7th and your meeting with Stanko Pecikoza. You told us earlier today that
1 Stanko Pecikoza had spoken with Milan Lukic earlier; is that correct?
2 A. Yes, I'm sure he did. Stanko tried to do as much as he could. He
3 was a very influential person within the municipality. He actually did
4 not work for the municipality; he was active with the party.
5 Q. Now, you've told us several times now that you had no connection
6 with Milan Lukic or his group. What I would ask you at this point in time
7 is why is it, then, that Stanko Pecikoza sought your help in locating
8 Milan Lukic?
9 A. Probably because of this kum relationship. And then Milan comes
10 from the same area that I do. He knew that I knew him, that we were kums,
11 so that was probably the reason why.
12 Q. Well, you also told us that Visegrad being a small town, everyone
13 knew where Milan Lukic was staying, up at the Vilina Vlas Hotel; isn't
14 that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Wouldn't it be reasonable for us to assume that Stanko Pecikoza
17 also had heard this and knew where Milan Lukic was?
18 A. Oh, most probably. I'm sure he knew. It's not that his house is
19 on the same road. But I'm sure he knew. His house is located a little
20 bit off the road. I don't think he could see him pass by in his car.
21 Maybe he could, though, but not very well.
22 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome, can we get to the issue on this one?
23 Everybody may know where he lived. The question is where he was at that
24 time, isn't it?
25 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE HUNT: And they came along and asked the accused.
2 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
3 Q. I'm going to ask you a few questions about Stanko Pecikoza. He
4 lived in a Muslim village, didn't he?
5 A. Yes. But there were also four or five Serb houses there, on the
6 upper side, above the road or, no, more, actually more than that, a dozen
7 or so. The Muslim part of the village was below the road.
8 Q. And that's in the area of Kosovo Polje?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You told us what position Mr. Stanko Pecikoza had in the SDS
11 party. How many people would have had higher positions in the SDS party
12 in Visegrad?
13 A. I think he was the president of the party -- no, vice-president,
14 deputy president of the party, so only the president would have had a
15 higher position than him.
16 Q. Now, would it be fair to say that Mr. Pecikoza was influential
17 enough in Visegrad to be able to call the police commander, Dragan Tomic,
18 and ask him to address this particular problem with Milan Lukic? Was he
19 that influential?
20 A. Yes, he was.
21 Q. Now, after you got into the car with Mr. Pecikoza, I want to ask
22 you exactly what did he tell you regarding Milan Lukic?
23 A. That he was harassing people, taking them out from work.
24 Q. Did he tell you that Milan Lukic was coming to his factory, taking
25 men away and killing them?
1 A. Not that he was killing them but that he also went to his home, to
2 his place, and that he also harassed his employees, Muslims.
3 Q. Do you recall being asked this question and giving this answer on
4 the 17th of November, page 87:
5 "Q. Not the names of the men that were killed, but that Milan
6 Lukic was killing men.
7 A. Yes, that he was causing problems, that he didn't know what to
8 do with him. And I don't know what Stanko was in the party, but he was a
9 high enough rank."
10 Do you remember being asked that question and responding in that
12 A. Well, yes. Whether he was the deputy of the president, I don't
13 know for sure, but I know that he did have influence, that he was
15 Q. My question is did Stanko tell you whether or not Milan Lukic was
16 killing members of his staff from his factory?
17 A. Workers from the Varda factory, I don't think he -- he didn't kill
18 any of his employees. I just think that at one point in time he took them
19 away while Stanko was in town. But luckily for those people, because they
20 were about to be taken away -- or they were already taken away, but he
21 sent his son and his brother and they managed to catch up with the vehicle
22 transporting them somewhere near Banja, and they took them off of the
23 vehicle, his son and his brother did. So again, they were lucky that he
24 was on time. But that happened only later, after the 7th.
25 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, I'm just interested in what Stanko Pecikoza told
1 you on the 7th regarding activities of Mr. Lukic. Aside from telling you
2 about the men from the Varda company, did he also tell you about other
3 activities or other crimes being committed by Milan Lukic?
4 A. Well, he didn't speak in detail. It was not a very long journey.
5 Banja is not very far, maybe 3 kilometres away, so I don't remember
6 exactly what else was said literally, I mean word for word. I don't
8 Q. Did Stanko also tell you that Milan Lukic was taking men from the
9 Partizan factory as well as other places? Did he tell you that?
10 A. Yes, yes. And I think that he was particularly angry because of a
11 neighbour of his, a younger man, almost a child, who was, I don't know, 20
12 or 21 years old, by the surname of Velagic. I happen to know him. I also
13 know his father. His father's name was Suljo. I don't remember what the
14 young man's name was. I don't remember, but I knew his father, and I used
15 to know him as a child. He would pass by my house on his way to school.
16 Velagic, the name escapes me, the name of the young man. So he was one of
17 Stanko's neighbours.
18 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, did he tell you what Milan Lukic was doing with
19 these men that he took from these various places?
20 A. Killing them. I don't know. I think they found the body of that
21 young man, Velagic, somewhere in the vicinity of the village.
22 Q. When you arrived at Vilina Vlas Hotel with Stanko, what did you
24 A. The car was gone, Milan's car was no longer there, and I asked
25 Susnjar, who came out, whether Milan was there and he said he wasn't.
1 Q. And did Stanko tell you that he wanted you to remain at the hotel
2 while he went and looked for Milan Lukic himself?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And did he say where he was going to go to look for him?
5 A. He said he would go to Prelovo. He had probably been looking for
6 him around the town but didn't find him.
7 Q. Did he ask you to get in touch with him whenever Milan Lukic
8 showed up?
9 A. Yes, if I found him, to come and see him at his house so that he
10 could get him.
11 Q. So he asked you to remain in Vilina Vlas and then come to his
12 house when Milan Lukic arrived; is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And approximately how many kilometres is it from the Vilina Vlas
15 Hotel to your house?
16 A. From the Vilina Vlas Hotel to my house?
17 Q. I'm sorry, from the Vilina Vlas Hotel to Stanko Pecikoza's house,
18 how far is that?
19 A. Three kilometres, approximately. Three, three and a half, three
21 Q. When he left the Vilina Vlas Hotel, did he head back in the
22 direction of Sase?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And that would have also been in the direction of your house;
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Had you ever spent a night during this time period in the Vilina
3 Vlas Hotel?
4 A. During that period of time, no, never.
5 Q. Now, aside from helping Stanko Pecikoza, you gave us another
6 reason for wanting to go to the Vilina Vlas Hotel, and that was to go and
7 collect your uniform; is that correct?
8 A. Not that I intended to fetch my uniform there at the time I was
9 leaving the town, but since I was already there, I thought that I might as
10 well take the uniform, I mean my waiter's uniform.
11 Q. And your waiter's uniform was up there, you said to us, because
12 you were working in this hotel.
13 A. It was up there, but let me tell you, the hotel was no longer open
14 for guests. So the kitchen and the bar area, including the changing
15 rooms, were locked.
16 Q. So is it your testimony that one of the reasons -- let me ask you
17 this: Is that one of the reasons you agreed to go to the Vilina Vlas
18 Hotel with Stanko, to be able to collect your uniform?
19 A. No, no, no. I would have gone with him anyway.
20 Q. Can you explain to us how it was if your company, the company that
21 you worked for, was no longer associated with the Vilina Vlas Hotel for
22 three to four years, how it was that your uniform came to be locked up in
23 this hotel owned by another company?
24 A. I believe I already told you. I was mobilised there when the
25 Uzice Corps arrived -- I'm sorry, I used the wrong word. It's not that I
1 was mobilised, I had my work obligation there, I had to perform my working
2 duty there, the working obligation as we called it. So I worked at the
3 Vilina Vlas Hotel for about 20 days or so, me and some other colleagues
4 who were also waiters. Not only myself, there were also some cooks from
5 my company there. But although we belonged to separate sections, we were
6 always accepted to assist each other. So even to this day, if they're
7 very busy, some groups would be sent from our section to help them out.
8 If they had a wedding or a goodbye ceremony for a military service, or any
9 major event, we were always expected to help, and we gladly did that.
10 Q. So at this time the Vilina Vlas Hotel was used as a headquarters
11 for the Uzice Corps?
12 A. No, no, the headquarters was not there. Maybe some officers slept
13 there, but not the troops, and their command was not located there
15 Q. When you arrived at the hotel, there were no cars in the parking
16 lot; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You've already told us that the hotel was closed during that
19 period of time; correct?
20 A. Yes, the area including the kitchen, the bar, did not work.
21 Personnel was not working; there were no guests either, of course. One
22 thing I wanted to add was the working capacity of those catering
23 facilities was reduced to a minimum in those days.
24 Q. You said that the bar was not working. Would it then be fair to
25 conclude that during your time up at the Vilina Vlas Hotel, that you did
1 not have anything to drink?
2 A. No -- yeah. I mean, We didn't want to. There was only the guard
3 and myself. He had the keys, though, most probably, but we didn't want to
4 enter that area. It was not really a recommendable thing to do. And it
5 wasn't that important, I mean the changing rooms. It's not that I
6 insisted on getting it. I knew it was there in the cloakroom, so that was
8 Q. You told us that Mr. Susnjar had the keys. He was, in effect, a
9 janitor of some sorts at the Vilina Vlas Hotel; correct?
10 A. Yes, a guard, a janitor, yes. That was his post. He used to work
11 as a night guard at the reception, a night porter.
12 Q. During this period of time, was Milan Susnjar a member -- I'm
13 sorry, Milojve Susnjar a member of Milan Lukic's group?
14 A. Did I say Milan Susnjar or Milivoje Susnjar? Milivoje Susnjar is
15 his name.
16 Q. Was Milivoje Susnjar a member of Milan Lukic's group?
17 A. No, no. He's an elderly man. He's older than myself. No, he
18 wasn't, I'm sure about that.
19 Q. What was he wearing that day, Mr. Susnjar?
20 A. He too was wearing an SMB uniform.
21 Q. And was he armed?
22 A. Yes, he had a rifle, but he would keep it at the reception.
23 Q. Were you able to see that rifle when you entered the hotel?
24 A. I believe it was a semi-automatic rifle.
25 Q. Now, aside from Mr. Susnjar and yourself, after Stanko left, was
1 there anybody else in the lobby of the hotel?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Did Susnjar know Milan Lukic?
4 A. I don't think he knew him before the war, I don't think he did,
5 because the two villages are far apart. And Susnjar is an older man.
6 No, most probably not.
7 Q. But at this point in time, Milan Lukic is now staying in the hotel
8 where Mr. Susnjar is the janitor; correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did it ever occur to you to ask Susnjar to get in contact with you
11 or Stanko when Milan Lukic returned to the Vilina Vlas Hotel?
12 A. I was there with Susnjar for about half an hour. I don't know
13 exactly what we talked about. We used to work together for a very long
14 time. We're not exactly colleagues. I was a waiter and he was an
15 unskilled worker while I worked at Stara Banja. But we knew each other
16 very well. So while I was standing with him at the reception desk - I
17 don't know how much time we spent there, half an hour maybe - Milan Lukic
18 appeared, bringing those people.
19 Q. What I'm asking you is, there were no cars in the parking lot, you
20 live some distance away, rather than risk having to walk home, did it not
21 occur to you to simply ask Susnjar or to have Susnjar contact Stanko
22 himself when Milan Lukic arrived at the hotel?
23 A. No, we didn't talk about it. Maybe when I went home, perhaps I
24 would have suggested, but I was at that time still with him.
25 Q. Did you ever get your uniform on that day?
1 A. No, if you're referring to my work uniform, the waiter's uniform.
2 Q. Yes. Did you ever collect your uniform that day?
3 A. No, not on that day.
4 Q. And why was it you were unable to collect it that day, given
5 Susnjar had the keys to the hotel?
6 A. Because it's not a very good idea to open, to unlock that area.
7 Even in peacetime, you know, when we were there, no one would ever --
8 especially a waiter, do that. I mean, we didn't -- we were not allowed to
9 enter that part of the hotel, those premises. I mean only the personnel
10 who was in charge of that particular area could do that. But waiters in
11 particular were not advised to do that, to enter that area unaccompanied
12 by, let's say, a cook or someone else from the local personnel there.
13 Q. Well, wasn't Susnjar --
14 A. No, it was not advisable at all.
15 Q. Wasn't Mr. Susnjar one of the local personnel there?
16 A. Yes, but he was not the man in charge of that area.
17 Q. Did you ask --
18 A. He wasn't responsible for all the stocks that were kept there. He
19 couldn't enter that area either.
20 Q. Did he have the key to that area?
21 A. Well, all the keys were kept at the reception desk.
22 Q. Now, at this time, you also knew that the Vilina Vlas Hotel was
23 being used to detain Muslims; is that correct?
24 A. No, I didn't. I never saw any -- anybody detained there.
25 Q. But had you heard that it had been used to detain Muslims?
1 A. Well, now, I heard something, but when that was? I've already
2 told you about that tape that I listened to of the testimony of a witness,
3 Witness 55 who was detained there. So, well, yes, no doubt allegedly a
4 young woman jumped through the window, from an upper floor, a Muslim girl.
5 Q. Well, in your conversations with Susnjar, did he tell you that
6 there were Muslims being detained at the hotel?
7 A. Well, I don't know. I think Susnjar let some people go, though I
8 wouldn't really talk with him about that because it might mean trouble for
9 him. I think he let some people out, some of the detainees.
10 Q. Wasn't it a fact that when Milan Lukic eventually arrived at the
11 hotel, he was angry with Susnjar for having released some of the Muslim
13 A. Well, I suppose Milan knows best whom he detained and whom he let
14 go. I remember talking about that. I suppose Susnjar also felt that he
15 was in an awkward position, and he must have been afraid too.
16 Q. So you were present when Milan Lukic yelled at Susnjar for
17 releasing detainees; correct?
18 A. Well, I see it from the witness statements. I can't really recall
19 what he said. He asked for the keys because he wanted to lock them up.
20 That I do know. Now, but remember every single detail, that conversation,
21 I don't know. I know he was very angry. He used very rough language, and
22 Susnjar argued with him for awhile. But I think that Susnjar was in awe
23 of him, that he feared him.
24 Q. When Milan Lukic did arrive, he arrived in the red Passat;
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Were there other members of his group with him?
3 A. VGD4, VGD3.
4 Q. And those two men, were they armed?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. What were they armed with?
7 A. Automatic.
8 Q. And Milan Lukic, was he armed?
9 A. He was.
10 Q. With what?
11 A. Sniper rifle.
12 Q. Did they have people, Muslims, detained with them?
13 A. They did.
14 Q. How many?
15 A. Seven.
16 Q. Did you ask Milan Lukic why he had these seven men detained?
17 A. He first wanted to detain them there; that is, he asked for the
18 keys and Susnjar refused to give them to him. So he yelled around there,
19 and then he said: "I wanted to exchange them." "Milan, let those people
20 alone. What exchange?" "Well, some people had been captured," but
21 that's his stories. "But I'll take them for exchange to Zepa." Well, it
22 all lasted very short. What do you want me to tell you? He was very
23 loud, made a lot of noise, used ugly language.
24 Q. Can you explain to us what you understood "exchange" to mean?
25 What was going to happen at an exchange?
1 A. Well, I don't know. It was all very fast. Maybe he did. I don't
2 know how to explain it really. I don't know.
3 Q. Would I be correct in saying that exchanges were made between the
4 two sides on occasion where Serbs held by Muslims would be exchanged for
5 Muslims held by Serbs? Is that what an exchange is?
6 A. Well, yes, and that is the right way to do it. But then how could
7 I know? I mean, those were very early days. I had no idea about what it
8 was. I didn't know. But, yes, that would be the right way.
9 Q. And --
10 A. And I think he made it up.
11 Q. You think that he made it up. At the time did you think that he
12 was making up a story about an exchange?
13 A. No. At that time, I wasn't really sure. I mean, how could I know
14 whether he had the right to do that or what. I don't really know. But I
15 kept thinking that is -- that is what I thought, that somebody would be
16 there in Prelovo where the command was, that there would be some of the
17 civilians. But it was all happening so fast, I don't really know how --
18 what you're supposed to say or how you're supposed to react at that
20 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, would I be correct in saying that these exchanges
21 would occur near the front lines and that the Muslims would be released
22 into Muslim territory and the Serbs would be then released into their own
23 territory? Is that how an exchange would work?
24 A. Well, I've never attended an exchange but yes, that would be it.
25 Q. Prior to this day -- let me ask you, sorry, another question.
1 There were actually exchange commissions set up during the war to conduct
2 these exchanges; is that correct?
3 A. Yes, later on during the war, yes.
4 Q. Had you ever heard from anybody prior to this day that Milan Lukic
5 was involved in the work of exchanging Serb and Muslim prisoners?
6 A. No, no, and I'm not aware of any exchanges.
7 Q. Looking back on the days or on the events of this day, is it now
8 your belief that Milan Lukic told these men that he would exchange them in
9 order to keep them calm?
10 A. Well, now when I look back -- I don't quite understand. If it
11 were happening now? Are you asking me now if I have some knowledge about
12 that? I'm not quite sure about the order, the sequence of things. I
13 didn't quite understand what you meant.
14 Q. Let me ask you another question. None of these men were
15 handcuffed or bound in any manner; is that correct?
16 A. It is.
17 Q. You now know that Milan Lukic lied to these men, that he did not
18 take them to be exchanged, he took them to be killed. You now know that
19 to be true; correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Is it your belief that he told them this lie to prevent these
22 unbound, unhandcuffed men from fleeing or resisting what he was attempting
23 to do to them?
24 A. Yes, that could be. That could be a possibility, yes.
25 Q. Did his lie to these seven men make it easier for him to commit
1 the crime against them?
2 JUDGE HUNT: Isn't that a comment, or are you seeking an
4 MR. GROOME: I'm seeking his opinion, having been there.
5 JUDGE HUNT: I'm not sure what his opinion is worth. If it
6 constitutes an admission, it's worth something.
7 MR. GROOME: I'm essentially asking him to give us an opinion on
8 the state of mind of the captives and how that was affected by statements
9 made to them.
10 JUDGE HUNT: That wasn't your question, Mr. Groome. If you want
11 to get an admission as to a fact, by all means you attempt to do so. He
12 is the accused. But I'm not sure that his opinion on these sorts of
13 matters are going to have any weight. He's not an expert.
14 MR. GROOME: I'll move on.
15 Q. Now, on Tuesday, you told us that Milan Lukic asked Susnjar for
16 keys to a room, but Susnjar did not want to give him keys because Milan
17 was very rude; is that correct?
18 A. It is.
19 Q. So is it your testimony that Mr. Susnjar, an elderly janitor,
20 stood up to Milan Lukic and these other men who were armed and refused his
21 request for the keys?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did Milan Lukic ever threaten Susnjar with a weapon or with his
24 words to turn over the keys that he was looking for?
25 A. No, no, he didn't. He did not threaten him with weapons or
1 anything. Well, I did not hear it anyway, because I had gone out at the
3 Q. And this is the point in time when you went outside of the hotel
4 with your colleague, Meho Dzafic?
5 A. Right.
6 Q. Did Milan Lukic or any of the others attempt to stop you when you
7 went out of the lobby?
8 A. No, no. I don't know. He had his back to me. Perhaps he did not
9 see that. But he didn't do anything, no.
10 Q. And it's outside of the hotel that Meho first says to you, "Mitar,
11 could you please come with me if you can."
12 A. Yes. We came out of the hotel and I know well we came out and
13 stood by the pine tree, and Meho asked me for a cigarette so I offered
14 him one.
15 Q. At this stage, you still believed that Meho and the other six men
16 were going to be taken to be exchanged; correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did Meho tell you why he wanted you to go to the exchange?
19 A. He -- no, not in so many words. He did not say that I should go
20 to the exchange with him. But we worked together for a long time. I
21 think that he was retired in 1990. But before that, we'd worked together
22 for a long time, and on various occasions -- well, we were together in one
23 company, and before that in the restaurant, in the Panos restaurant. That
24 is where he spent most of his career, and that is where I also came to
25 work, so I knew him well.
1 Q. The transcript is reading that your answer to this question is
2 that "He did not say that I should go to the exchange with him." Are you
3 now changing your answer as to whether Meho asked you to go to the
5 A. No, no, no, not that I should come there, not to come along as a
6 person who would do the exchange, that is what I meant, not as somebody
7 who would be responsible for the exchange, just to come along.
8 Q. But if both you and Meho believed that he is going to be
9 exchanged, meaning released into Muslim territory, why does he -- why is
10 it necessary for you to go to the exchange?
11 A. I thought if anything would come out of it, well, how do you know,
12 if anything would come out of it, if he had been captured, that they would
13 have to go to the command first, to go through that. And I thought that
14 there I could ask somebody to let him go, because he was of advanced age
15 and he was ill, he had ulcer. And now this talk about this exchange, and
16 you suddenly hear about that. You never knew about that, you never knew
17 what that was and what the -- how those things were arranged or anything.
18 Q. Are you saying that Meho did not want to be exchanged?
19 A. Why, no. I would have asked them on his behalf. I just said,
20 "What are they going to do to you?" and he said, "No, no, no, they are
21 going and rounding up people in the villages and they are rounding up only
22 our folk." But whatever he said, he cheated people, that's what he did.
23 Had they known what would come to pass, whether they knew -- had they
24 known about him, had they heard about him, they would have fled their
25 homes, they wouldn't have been there. How shall I put it? He is -- he
1 can deceive easily because he has a smooth tongue. He's very persuasive.
2 I don't know how to put it.
3 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, what I'm trying to get at is what are you to do at
4 the exchange? Why is it that you are being asked to go to this exchange?
5 If Meho is simply going to be released into Muslim territory, what is your
6 function at that exchange?
7 A. Meho says, "You're coming with me," and I would have come along,
8 and I did. Now, I would have no role to play there, I wouldn't have it.
9 I thought there would be a commission or something in Prelovo that came to
10 Prelovo. You know, it happens in a split second so then I would intercede
11 on Meho's behalf. Or whether those people were returned, whether they
12 would be exchanged if -- you know, these are thoughts that go through your
13 head. I don't know. They'd release people, maybe there was some
14 conditions. I don't know.
15 Q. Did Meho ever ask you to go to the exchange in order that he might
16 be allowed to return to Visegrad for a health condition? Did he ever say
17 that to you?
18 A. Well, I mean, he asked me to come with him, and I promised, I
19 said, "Yes, I will, Meho." I'm telling you, he's an elderly man, and --
20 well, I don't know what it's all about, but we're going to see. I didn't
21 know where. So I thought that it -- that that place should be in Prelovo,
22 but that's what I think. And I -- now, how does he feel up there? That
23 one is yelling, calling people out. All this, I don't know what to tell
25 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, drawing your attention to the interview on the
1 17th of November, I'm going to read a question and answer from that
2 interview and ask you whether you admit or deny giving this answer.
3 "Q. Well, if the exchange commission is there, why do they need
4 Mitar Vasiljevic to go along with Meho to talk to them?
5 A. Because Meho asked me and I was going to request that he be
6 let go to come back because he had a health condition. He had an ulcer,
7 and I knew that he had been suffering of that for years, suffering from
8 that for years."
9 Do you admit that you gave that answer to that question on the
10 17th of November last year?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now, at some point you left the Vilina Vlas Hotel with this
13 group --
14 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome, I'm sorry to interrupt. Are you going to
15 accept that that's the end of it? Are you going to ask whether it's
17 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
18 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, was that true?
19 A. Yes, yes.
20 Q. And that was your intent for going to the exchange, to ask that
21 Meho could be returned to Visegrad to get medical treatment?
22 A. Yes, to let him go. I knew that Meho was a very ill man. Not a
23 very ill man, but he often had this -- he often had these bouts of pain
24 because of his ulcer.
25 Q. Now, Meho's son was with him as well, was he not?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Did Meho ask you to try to have his son released to come back to
4 A. We didn't. Let me put it this way: I cannot remember every
5 minute detail of that conversation, but as we are talking, I'd given Meho
6 a cigarette, he is smoking, Milan is coming from over there, "Get into the
7 cars," angrily, and he approaches Meho and snatches the cigarette. He
8 snatched his cigarette and threw it away.
9 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome, I'm very concerned as to what we're going
10 to be asked to make of this later. The reason why the accused went with
11 Milan Lukic and the other men is, I would have thought, one of the vital
12 points in this case. Now, he gave an explanation in his statement back in
13 November. When asked today why he went -- he was going to go to the
14 exchange, you said, "Why is it that you are being asked to go to this
15 exchange if Meho is simply going to be released into Muslim territory,
16 what is your function at that stage?" And the accused said, "Meho says
17 you're coming with me, and I would have come along, and I did. Now, I
18 would have had no role to play there and I wouldn't have it. I thought
19 there would be a commission or something." Now, there was no explanation
20 then which is consistent with what he said in the statement. Now, I don't
21 know which one you're going to accept in the end. I still don't
22 understand it. But it seems to me that this is vitally important in this
23 case as to why the accused went to the Drina River with these men, and
24 I -- it may be that you're being too clever for me, but I have no way of
25 understanding what the Prosecution case is on this from your
1 cross-examination. And it is your obligation in cross-examination to put
2 your case to the witness.
3 Now, at some stage, before you keep going off to some other
4 subject, I would like to know what the Prosecution case is about his
5 motive for going. If you are going to lead up to it, I will let you do
6 it, but you seem to be going off on another course all the time and not
7 finishing on this particular matter.
8 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, the Prosecution is simply seeking to
9 impeach the witness with another inconsistent statement for the same
10 conduct, that at various times the accused has given different reasons for
11 his conduct. Simply that.
12 JUDGE HUNT: Simply that.
13 MR. GROOME: Nothing more clever than that.
14 JUDGE HUNT: It's clever enough, I suppose, but I still, if I may
15 say so, have been left in the dark and it's been making me very worried.
16 But if that's your case, then you've probably put it sufficiently.
17 MR. GROOME:
18 Q. Now, at some point, Mr. Vasiljevic, you get into the vehicles and
19 you leave with Milan Lukic and these other men; correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And at this point, you're still under the belief that no harm will
22 come to these men, and that they are simply being taken to an exchange.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. When is the first time that you realise that they are not being
25 taken for an exchange?
1 A. Whilst in Sase.
2 Q. And what happened in Sase that led you to believe that you were
3 not going to an exchange?
4 A. As I said, he stopped in Sase and he made those people get out of
5 the car. He ordered them to walk down to the river.
6 Q. At any time before leaving the hotel, did you tell Milan Lukic
7 that Stanko Pecikoza was looking for him?
8 A. Yes. "He will find me," something to that effect.
9 Q. What precisely did you say to Milan Lukic regarding Stanko
11 A. That Stanko was looking for him, something to that effect. But he
12 was very angry.
13 Q. And what did he say to you when you told him this?
14 A. "We'll find him," "I'll find him," something like that. He didn't
15 talk much.
16 Q. At the point you realise you are not going to an exchange, do you
17 realise what Milan Lukic's intentions are?
18 A. While we were still in the car or after those people, the victims,
19 got out of the car? When we got out of the car, is that what you mean?
20 Are you referring to that moment, as we were going down to the river?
21 A. I'm asking you, at the moment that you realise you are not going
22 to an exchange, do you know at that point in time what Milan Lukic really
23 intends for these people?
24 A. Well, as soon as he ordered them to walk to the river, I realised
25 what it was all about.
1 Q. And what was that?
2 A. He ordered them to go down to the Drina.
3 Q. And at that point in time, was it clear to you that he intended to
4 kill them?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And what did you do?
7 A. I begged him, I said, "Milan, please don't. These people haven't
8 done any harm to you. Leave them alone." But it was to no avail. He
9 couldn't be persuaded. He was so angry. And I was trying to reason with
10 him, to explain to him that I had known Meho for years. And I said,
11 "Milan, please, for God's sake." It was such a terrible moment. And at
12 one point in time he did hug Meho, he put his arm around him, but that was
13 just his game.
14 Q. So you begged for the lives of all the men, not simply your friend
15 Meho; correct?
16 A. I don't know. He could have brought other people, it could have
17 been some other people.
18 Q. What I'm asking you is when you were begging Milan Lukic, you were
19 asking him to spare all seven of their lives, not simply Meho's?
20 A. Yes, yes, all of them. I said, "These people haven't done
21 anything wrong. What's happening with you? Are you normal?" And I was
22 telling him that this person was my colleague, with whom I had worked for
23 so many years. I was also afraid. I was afraid of god's wrath. But it
24 was all to no avail. He simply couldn't be talked to. He kept going down
25 to the river, and it was no use begging him. He didn't even let us talk.
1 Q. And when you were begging Milan Lukic, would you characterise for
2 us your tone of voice? Was it simply conversational or were you speaking
3 loudly to him?
4 A. The usual tone. I was with him, I was with Meho, we were walking
5 behind the rest of them. At one point in time, he put his arm around
6 Meho, and I thought that he would have pity on him. But it happened all
7 very fast. Those were just seconds, not even minutes. And the whole
8 situation was so embarrassing, awkward.
9 Q. Now, you've testified that after the murders, you were terribly
10 upset; correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And you were quite upset not only because you witnessed this but
13 because you lost a close friend and colleague; correct?
14 A. Yes. I never saw it, I had never seen such a thing before. I
15 don't know how to describe it. Terrible.
16 Q. Well, in the days after you witnessed this horrible killing, you
17 never went and told the wife of Meho about her son's -- her husband and
18 her son's death, did you?
19 A. No, nor did I dare.
20 Q. And in the days after this murder, you never returned to the site
21 of the murder and buried the body of your dear friend and colleague, did
23 A. No, nor would it have been possible for me to do that.
24 Q. And why would it have been impossible for you to do that?
25 A. I simply couldn't. I don't think I would have been able to bear
1 this. I was never in a position to -- I mean, I had already seen dead
2 bodies, but I don't think I would have been able to recover his body, to
3 take it. And it's not only Meho. I don't think I would have been able to
4 do that with any other body.
5 Q. You did tell us that you reported the crime to Dragan Tomic, the
6 commander of the police; correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And you reported it the very next day; correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And you told him all the names of the people who were involved;
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And he wrote down details of what you described for him.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. You also told us before that it was having witnessed this murder
16 of these men that you realised just how dangerous these men were; correct?
17 A. Only later on, yes, what this exchange meant for him.
18 Q. And in fact, knowing how dangerous these men are, you've asked us
19 to refer to them by code numbers rather than using their name because of
20 what they may do; correct?
21 A. Yes. VG3 and VG4 are not as dangerous as Milan, I mean far from
22 that. He was the one who led everything. If he wanted to release those
23 people and not to kill them, I don't think that VG3 and VG would be able
24 to do anything about it. It's just the kind of man he is. He was the
25 organiser. They simply accompanied him. Okay, they also did arrest
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 people, but he was behind everything. He was the mastermind. They
2 wouldn't have been there if he hadn't suggested that. He is most probably
3 the organiser of the whole thing.
4 Q. What I'm asking you, Mr. Vasiljevic, is having learnt how
5 dangerous these men were, having fears for your family, how was it that
6 you went to the police, the very police that they were working with, to
7 report their names as having committed this crime? Did you not have fears
8 that they would cause harm to you and your family back then?
9 A. No, no. I asked the commander not to say that I was the one who
10 reported it. Only maybe if he had managed to arrest them, I don't think
11 in that case I would have been afraid. It's very -- it would have been
12 very difficult for me had they known that I was the one who had reported
13 that, and if they were still at large.
14 Q. Well, would you agree with me that at the place where these
15 murders took place, there are no houses, they are simply vacant fields on
16 both sides of the river; correct?
17 A. There's a meadow below the road, and yes, you are right, there are
18 no houses on that meadow. But as you leave Sase, going towards Prelovo,
19 there is an area which has some houses. However, at the very spot where
20 this all took place, maybe 200 or 300 metres away from the spot, there are
21 no houses at all. At the very spot where it all happened, there are no
22 houses. But then once again, as you move along the road, up above the
23 road there are two or three houses, and another one which was still under
24 construction did not have a roof. It was not a finished house. Nobody
25 lived there.
1 Q. Well, would you agree with me that, according to your version of
2 these events, you were the only witness to that crime, the only person who
3 witnessed the crime and did not participate in it? Is that not correct?
4 A. Yes, yes, for sure.
5 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic --
6 A. Mr. Groome, sir, if I may, please. My children are coming to see
7 me tomorrow, and if I did not have a weapon -- let my children suffer what
8 all those victims suffered if I'm not telling the truth now.
9 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, would it not have been perfectly clear to Milan
10 Lukic and these other two men who it was that reported this crime to
11 Dragan Tomic? Wouldn't they have known that it had to have been you, it
12 could only have been you?
13 A. Let me tell you, I asked him, I didn't want him to tell them that
14 I was the one who reported that. Of course, if he had arrested them, I
15 would have then been able to speak about it. But no one took any steps in
16 that respect.
17 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, your attorney has told us that there will be some
18 witnesses testifying about your mental state at the time of these crimes.
19 I would ask you now to describe for us what did you believe your mental
20 condition was during June of 1992.
21 A. I did drink, I'm not trying to hide that fact. I was not well
22 psychologically. My mental state was not okay. I was afraid, I
23 experienced fear. I was under the influence of alcohol. I just wasn't
24 myself. If I had been sober, I probably would have reacted better, I
25 would have managed to perhaps exert some influence on Milan. I am sure
1 that my conduct was not the same as it would have been if I had not been
2 drunk. It's true, I drank, but I think that I was also unlucky in a
3 sense. And then there was in cousin of mine who got killed, and I was not
4 the only one in such a situation. There were lots of other men, soldiers,
5 who were not simply well at that time.
6 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, you were able to appreciate that the crime that
7 occurred on the 7th of June was wrong, weren't you?
8 A. Yes, yes, I was.
9 Q. Whatever problems you remember having with your alcoholism, it did
10 not impede your ability to know that that was wrong, what happened; is
11 that correct?
12 A. No, of course. After all, they were people. No, of course it was
13 wrong, even if you're totally drunk. Of course.
14 Q. Just regarding how much alcohol or when you last had alcohol, at
15 the time of the killings, when was the last time that you had a drink that
17 A. You mean before the event? Maybe an hour and a half or two. I
18 will be sincere with you. Even when I was at work, working at the bar, I
19 would have a sip here and there. But when I was completely off alcohol, I
20 wouldn't drink at all. But otherwise I drank almost constantly, and
21 that's how I am when I drink.
22 MR. GROOME: Thank you, Mr. Vasiljevic.
23 Your Honour, I'm about to embark on a new area, and there are a
24 couple of administrative matters. They should only take about five
25 minutes. But would the Court wish me to continue?
1 JUDGE HUNT: No, no, if we can fill in some of the time.
2 Mr. Vasiljevic, you can go back to sit -- you can return to your
3 seat behind counsel.
4 [The witness stands down]
5 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, the first matter is I have a
6 repaginated, complete set of the accused's statement in his own language
7 to replace the one that has seemingly become confused.
8 JUDGE HUNT: And are the pages numbered for him this time?
9 MR. GROOME: Yes, they are, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE HUNT: All right. Thank you for doing that.
11 MR. GROOME: I also have the redacted copies of the statement for
12 the Chamber and for Mr. Domazet, and they are already in evidence as P15.
13 These would be the redacted copies.
14 JUDGE HUNT: Well, I'd rather like to keep 15 as it stands, but
15 we'll call it 15.1 if you like.
16 MR. GROOME: Sure, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE HUNT: Have you got any problems? You've checked these,
18 have you, Mr. Domazet, these redactions? These are the redactions to
19 protect witnesses' names.
20 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, yes, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE HUNT: Very well. They will be Exhibit P15.1.
22 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, I'm not sure if 15 is under seal. If
23 it's not, I would ask that that be placed under seal, and 15.1 be the
24 public ...
25 JUDGE HUNT: Very well, then. Exhibit 15 will now be placed under
1 seal. Yes.
2 MR. GROOME: I have nothing further, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE HUNT: That hardly took five minutes. Still. We'll write
4 15.1 on that.
5 Very well. Then we'll adjourn now until 9.30 on Monday, the 12th
6 of November.
7 MR. DOMAZET: Your Honour.
8 JUDGE HUNT: Oh.
9 MR. DOMAZET: I apologise.
10 JUDGE HUNT: One day we'll get out of the courtroom before you
11 catch us, Mr. Domazet.
12 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I wish to ask the
13 Court's indulgence to allow me to talk to Mr. Vasiljevic for about five
14 minutes, because we are not going to see each other for two weeks, and
15 there was something I wanted to raise with him. I don't know if this is
16 possible because he hasn't finished his testimony.
17 JUDGE HUNT: I don't want to know what it is that you want to
18 raise with him, but is it safe to describe it as something to do with the
19 future conduct of the proceedings rather than the evidence which he's
21 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, just that.
22 JUDGE HUNT: Well, Mr. Groome, I've already pointed out to
23 Mr. Domazet that there may be some comment passed or some inference drawn
24 if the defendant changes his evidence on some point at this time, but it
25 is a difficult situation we find ourselves in. I must say I never thought
1 we would still be having the accused in the box at this stage. What's
2 your attitude towards this?
3 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, Mr. Vasiljevic's ability to participate
4 in the preparation of his defence is an extremely important right. I have
5 known Mr. Domazet to be a man of honesty and integrity. If he assures us
6 that he will not speak about his testimony, I would have no objection to
7 him speaking to Mr. Vasiljevic about preparing his upcoming defence.
8 JUDGE HUNT: Does that satisfy you, Mr. Domazet, apart from the
10 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you very much, then. Thank you, Mr. Groome.
12 That's a very sensible attitude to take.
13 Now, can we go? All right, we'll adjourn now.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 3.55 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Monday, the 12th day of
16 November, 2001, at 9.30 a.m.