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Aleksandar Vasiljević

Aleksandar Vasiljević was Deputy-Head of Security in the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) from 1990 to 1991, its head until 1992, and again deputy Head in the JNA's successor, the Yugoslav Army (VJ), from 1999 to 2000.

General Aleksandar Vasiljević describes Slobodan Milošević’s control over appointments to key positions, including the Serbian Interior Ministry:

"Q. ... Did the accused exercise any influence over the appointment of people to the Serbian Ministry of the Interior? He obviously had the power to, but did he actually exercise that power?
A. The procedure of appointing ministers in the government is clear. They were nominated by the Prime Minister designate, and I think that there is no doubt that in relation to the key positions, one of which was always the post of Minister of the Interior, were certainly strongly influenced by the accused. The appointees were people he had special confidence in. However, the entire procedure, in formal terms, went through the Assembly or the parliament, and there the Socialist Party of Serbia held the majority, and he was the president of that party, so that it was very easy for votes to be in favour of what had already been planned".

Q. To whom did it -- to whom was it directly subordinate, the state security of Serbia?
A. To all intents and purposes, it was subordinated to the President of Serbia at the time, that is to say Slobodan Milošević.

Q. When he became President of the FRY, what was the position then about the [State Security Service] of Serbia? To whom was it then subordinate?
A. In a very short space of time, it was to be subordinated contrary to the provisions in force at the time. Once again, subordinated to President Milošević as the president of Yugoslavia."

General Aleksandar Vasiljević testified that the Croatian Serb and Bosnian Serb armies (the SVK and VRS, respectively) were treated as if they were both part of the Yugolav Army (VJ):

“…Objectively, there were two armies in two countries. And from a third country, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, they were treated as if they were both armies of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, because they were supplied with funds, personnel, materiel and equipment…”

General Aleksandar Vasiljević was among the Prosecution’s key insider witnesses. Having served in the security department of the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) in 1990 and 1991, and its successor, the Yugoslav Army (VJ) from 1999 to 2000, Vasiljević provided evidence that related to the Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo indictments against Slobodan Milošević.

General Vasiljević gave a detailed explanation of how the JNA and VJ military chains of command worked, showing the precise legal authority of Slobodan Milošević and his co-perpetrators over military forces that the Prosecution alleged committed crimes. Vasiljević also explained how the military’s reporting channels worked, and thus helped to demonstrate that Slobodan Milošević and his co-perpetrators had the means to know about the crimes that were being committed. Vasiljević’s testimony corroborated a plethora of other evidence that the Croatian Serb Army (SVK) and the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) were effectively subdivisions of the VJ.

As deputy-chief of the military’s security administration in both the JNA and the VJ, General Vasiljević also had detailed information about the role that the Serbian Interior Ministry, its State Security Service, special units, and volunteer and paramilitary groups played in the conflicts. Vasiljević testified that real power within the Interior Ministry lay in the head of the Serbian State Security Service, Jovica Stanišić, who Vasiljević said was directly linked to Milošević. Vasiljević testified that Slobodan Milošević appointed the head of the State Security Service, and treated him as if he were of a higher rank than the Interior Minister, who was by law the State Security chief’s superior. Vasiljević also testified that Jovica Stanišić stood behind most of the paramilitary units operating in Croatia, as well as the territorial defence forces. With his testimony about the crimes that these units committed, Vasiljević charted a direct line from Slobodan Milošević to the perpetrators on the ground that ran through Jovica Stanišić.

General Vasiljević provided important testimony about Slobodan Milošević’s authority over key institutions and individuals that the Prosecution alleged were involved in committing crimes. In addition to Milošević’s authority over the Serbian State Security Service, Vasiljević testified that Milošević had authority over the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Presidency, which had command authority over the JNA. Vasiljević testified that because of Milošević’s authority, “in reality, [he was] able to influence four of the members of the Presidency, and these were the ones from Serbia, from Kosovo, and Metohija, and Vojvodina.” Also, Vasiljević explained that because of Milošević’s position as head of the Socialist Party of Serbia, which formed the majority in both the republic and federal parliaments, Milošević was able to ensure that candidates he wanted for ministerial posts got elected.

General Aleksandar Vasiljević was a career Yugoslav military officer. From 1986 to 1988, he was Head of counter-intelligence within the Security Administration of the Federal Secretariat for People’s Defence (SSN0). From July 1990 to June 1991, he was Deputy-Head of the SSNO Security Administration, and became its head on 16 June 1991. On 8 May 1992, he was prematurely pensioned off. Seven years later, on 7 April 1999, during the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, General Vasiljević offered his services to the country. He was appointed deputy head of the Yugoslav Army's Security Service at that time, and held that position until March 2000. General Vasiljević was then appointed Advisor for Security to the Chief of the VJ General Staff. He was pensioned off again on 31 December 2000, and left the army on 31 March 2001. General Vasiljević is named as a co-perpetrator in the indictment against Slobodan Milošević for crimes committed in Croatia. However, he was not indicted.

Aleksandar Vasiljević testified from 5 to 18 February 2003. The relevant transcripts can be accessed through the Cases page on this site.