1 Tuesday, 18 February 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
7 WITNESS: ALEKSANDAR VASILJEVIC [Resumed]
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Milosevic: [Continued]
10 Q. [Interpretation] General, you were speaking about the military
11 line, or the Vojna Linija, in the Ministry of the Interior of Serbia, and
12 as far as I understand it, you claim that Radmilo Bogdanovic was at the
13 head of this military line.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness repeat the answer, please.
15 JUDGE MAY: You're asked by the interpreters to repeat the answer
16 which you gave, General.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I spoke about the military line in
18 private session.
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Very well. Go into private session.
20 [Private session]
13 Pages 16319-16349 – redacted – private session
5 [Open session]
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. I'm going to move on to another matter. In view of your position,
8 General --
9 JUDGE MAY: Wait a minute -- just a moment. Let's have it
10 formally announced.
11 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session.
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
13 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. General, in view of your position in the security administration,
15 I would like to avail myself of this opportunity now that you're
16 testifying. I would like you to confirm or deny some of the things we
17 heard here regarding the alleged member of the KOS. That's the way he
18 introduced himself here. His name was Slobodan Lazarevic, and the KOS is
19 definitely an outdated thing anyway. Did I write this down properly, that
20 you were asked here about Lazarevic, and I wrote down what you said:
21 "Absolutely unknown. I categorically claim that he was not a member of
22 the security of the army of Yugoslavia, rather, the JNA"?
23 A. Exactly. That's what I said.
24 Q. Is that right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Could it have happened, General, that you, as head of the security
2 administration, would not know someone who were employed by the security
3 administration, that you would not know some security organ, at least at
4 that level as Lazarevic introduced himself to be?
5 A. No.
6 Q. So there is no possibility whatsoever for him to have been a
7 member of the Kos, as he had put it and for you not to know that?
8 A. This is absolutely impossible.
9 Q. Thank you very much. Now, Ajdinovic was mentioned, a security
10 officer. Is it correct that it is absolutely false that in 1991, in
11 Vojnic, the KOS organs - Ajdinovic primarily - organised the killing of
12 two Croat brothers, the Brajic brothers from Sweden?
13 A. I don't have any knowledge about this and I personally cannot
14 believe this, that any active military personnel would be engaged in this,
15 let alone members of the military security.
16 Q. Was Ajdinovic a member of the military security?
17 A. He was a member of the military security.
18 Q. Was he a good officer or was he prone to crime?
19 A. He was not prone to crime. He was a good officer.
20 Q. Oh, he was a good officer.
21 A. He had some views of his own, some problems of his own, but he was
22 not prone to crime and I can say that basically, he was an honest officer.
23 Q. A honest man, a honest officer. All right. Is it possible for
24 him to carry out this kind of crime and that you did not receive any
25 information about this whatsoever?
1 A. I described how the selection of information takes place. Along
2 the vertical line of security organs, there was the possibility of this
3 information being selected at the level of the 5th Military District
4 security organs and that it was not sent on to me. But if something like
5 that was in the hands of the 5th Military District, and if they did not
6 send it up further, that would have meant concealing this kind of
7 information. So whoever would have concealed this information would have
8 been an accomplice in this kind of crime.
9 However, I was a curious person, and I asked about things that
10 happened. And when this was first mentioned, I asked around and I came to
11 the conclusion that this was not reliable information.
12 Q. Explanations were provided here precisely by this alleged member
13 of the KOS that crimes were committed by the special unit of the 21st
14 Corps under the command of Ajdinovic, inter alia, the mayor of Vrginmost,
15 Obradovic, was killed, and further on, the Glina Vrginmost railroad was
16 blown up and the water tower at Glina. Do you know anything about any
17 such thing? Is there a grain of truth in any of this that was
18 presented --
19 JUDGE MAY: [Previous translation continues]... whether it's true
20 or not. What the witness can say is whether he knew anything about it or
21 not. What he can tell us about is his state of knowledge.
22 Yes. Did you know anything, General, about these matters?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not know anything about this,
24 and I could not believe that Ajdinovic was commander of any kind of unit.
25 I know that until the end of 1991 - that is to say I have reliable
1 information about that - was in the security organs. He had various
2 clashes with his chief, but this was within the line of work. And as far
3 as I know, after that he left security organs. But this 21st Corps was
4 not active when I was in the military. I think that this was a later
6 As regards the killing of Dimitrijevic [as interpreted], the
7 president of the municipality, I would not present any indications here,
8 but there were some indications that this was done by a different group.
9 So there is no possibility that this was committed by Ajdinovic or any of
10 the security officers, because this man was a communist by orientation,
11 Obradovic, and I think that that is how he was liquidated. And all my
12 security organs came from the same kinds of families.
13 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Tell me, it is known that this ideological confrontation was
15 rather strained in Krajina. According to what you've been saying just
16 now, is it clear that precisely this officer that you mentioned now could
17 have been confronted only with the other stream that was headed by Milan
18 Babic? I mean, not that officer, rather, the mayor of that town.
19 A. Yes. I cannot say that it was the current around Milan Babic.
20 There were several currents over there. There were currents originating
21 in Serbia, under the influence of Serbia.
22 Q. No. I asked you about Milan Babic.
23 A. I don't know.
24 Q. Very well. Let us move on. Tell me, please, what do you know
25 about the killing of the first security officer or, as you professionally
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 referred to him, the first security organ?
2 I have a note here that this occurred in May or June 1991 on the
3 road between Gorica and Zagreb, that is the airport and Zagreb, that he
4 was a lieutenant, that he was a member of the security service, and that
5 he was killed. Is this correct or not?
6 A. It is correct, though there were some security organs killed in
7 Slovenia later on. He was killed at a checkpoint which was held in those
8 days by the MUP of Croatia within the framework of an operation that they
9 called Jez or "hedgehog." There were 12 checkpoints in several belts
10 around Zagreb. I think that he was heading towards Sisak, if I'm not
11 mistaken. He was on an official trip. He didn't respect the procedure,
12 and he was killed.
13 Q. So this lieutenant that was killed by the Croatian MUP, and he was
14 a member of the JNA and a member of the security service, he was a Croat,
15 wasn't he?
16 A. Yes, he was.
17 Q. So he was the first member of the security service to be killed by
18 the Croatian police in those events that started in those days?
19 A. Yes. But in those days it didn't mean anything to them whether
20 someone was a Croat or something else. The main thing for them was that
21 he was a member of the JNA.
22 Q. Very well. I have to clear up an event that you -- that is linked
23 to Goran Radosavljevic, Gurij, his surname being Djeletovic. You claimed
24 something about him. I don't remember whether it was in open session or
25 in private session.
1 A. No, it was in private session.
2 Q. In private session. I see. Very well.
3 [Private session]
13 Pages 16357-16359 – redacted – private session
4 [Open session]
5 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Let us say at least something in open session. General, you were
8 saying that in the second half of 1991 and at the beginning of 1992, there
9 were -- there was some sort of ethnic purification in the JNA of the
10 officer cadres. Is that right? Is that what you said?
11 A. When? What period did you say?
12 Q. From the second half of 1991 and into 1992.
13 A. I was talking about the year 1992 and later.
14 Q. So you were talking about 1992 and later.
15 A. Yes. About a process that gained momentum and some initial
16 pensioning off started in the second half of 1991.
17 Q. Let us be brief. I would like to draw attention to only one
18 matter, and that is that you said that there was ethnic purification or
19 cleansing. I don't have many documents about this, but I do have one from
20 the General Staff of the army of Yugoslavia, sector for the organisation
21 reinforcement and information, personnel administration, the 14th of
22 October, 1992. That was the period of time when the Federal Republic of
23 Yugoslavia had been formed, the strength of the army had been reduced,
24 there was reorganisation under way, and some general -- some vacancies of
25 general posts had occurred because some had stayed in Croatia, some in
1 Bosnia, and so on.
2 So I'm quoting from this document because it is -- provides an
3 explanation, and it says: "The preamble is being neglected, which clearly
4 states that analysis of the active military officers and civilians in the
5 army of Yugoslavia has to be done on the basis of reliability, patriotism,
6 professionalism, and morale."
7 So where do you see any ethnic criterion here? Professionalism,
8 reliability, patriotism, morale. Where do you see the ethnic component?
9 Please look at this document and tell me whether you consider it to be
10 authentic. It was signed by Risto Matovic, the chief of department, and
11 there's a number under which it was logged.
12 A. I didn't say that absolute ethnic cleansing was carried out.
13 Q. I'm not talking about absolute or ethnic. I'm asking you whether
14 there was any ethnic cleansing in the army.
15 A. Specifically, I was cautioned in my -- I don't need that. I don't
16 need that. Thank you.
17 JUDGE MAY: No. Would you help us, General, by having a look at
18 it, since the accused is intending to produce it, no doubt. Just tell us
19 what it is, whether it looks to be a genuine document or not.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Judging by the form, this should be
21 an authentic document. But it says here that certain commands,
22 interpreting and taking measures by sector, and then there is the
23 personnel sector, had neglected the preamble or the introductory paragraph
24 in which these criteria were clearly specified, which means that certain
25 commands did not comply with these criteria of reliability, patriotism,
1 professionalism, and morale. So it means that there were certain attempts
2 to eliminate people on the basis of other criteria.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. But I am saying that from the top an intervention came containing
5 criteria that any army in the world today respects, isn't that so?
6 A. There's no dispute over that.
7 Q. Can anything else -- if anything else happens, can that only be an
8 expression of arbitrariness on the part of individuals?
9 A. If in March 1992 a general holding the second most important
10 position in the JNA --
11 Q. Who is that?
12 A. If you want me to give the name, General Zivota Panic.
13 Q. So what was he, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command?
14 A. Yes. Actually, he was virtually the Chief of Staff at the time.
15 You, young man, still have some Croats in your service. So he was
16 referring to a captain who was working on the operation to discover
17 weapons and the whole Spegelj affair. And he required that the security
18 service be cleansed of those who were not Serbs or Montenegrins. And I
19 said to him then he could then close the security administration, that he
20 has the personnel service, and they can look at the records and see who is
21 a Serb and who is a Montenegrin. They can stay. And I said for as long
22 as I was head of the security service, nobody would be removed on the
23 basis of that criterion. You mustn't smirk.
24 Q. Let me tell you why I'm smiling. Because this was a private
25 conversation because if it had been an order you would have carried it
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 out. It may have been a private conversation at lunch. That is not
2 binding on you.
3 A. I haven't finish the story. First of all, I never had lunch with
4 any one of those people or any private conversations. And when Nedeljko
5 Boskovic came, he called out the captain by name and told him, "You go
6 from here because your place is not here." And this man was on the
7 payroll for many years of the security service, but he couldn't come to
9 So I'm not saying that the situation throughout the army of
10 Yugoslavia developed in that direction but that that was the intention is
11 beyond dispute. And that is why there was this reaction. What are the
12 criteria for the termination of employment? Not ethnicity as being a
13 major criterion. It's not mentioned at all. But I assumed that this was
14 the reason and that is why they're being cautioned that these criteria
15 have to be respected; morale, patriotism, professionalism, and so on. So
16 this indirectly corroborates what I was saying.
17 Q. But this -- does this document show that there was an endeavour to
18 treat people correctly regardless of their ethnicity, to treat them
19 equally, that it has nothing to do with ethnicity?
20 A. Yes. This is a document which was meant to halt a process which
21 had already started.
22 Q. Which could have only been an arbitrary act, because it says in
23 individual commands such things were happening which must not happen. I'm
24 afraid our --
25 JUDGE MAY: Your time is up. Do you want that document exhibited?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, please. May I put two more
2 questions only?
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the document be exhibited. Bring it to the
4 registrar. Then two more questions.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I see that time is running out. I
6 do not wish to abuse your patience.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Please, you mentioned that the JNA had withdrawn from Macedonia
9 based on a meeting held between representatives of the republican
10 authorities of Macedonia and representatives of the JNA in February 1992;
11 is that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Is it disputed that before the Second World War Macedonia was a
14 part of Serbia?
15 A. I don't know how it was before the Second World War.
16 Q. Is there any dispute over the fact that not a single shot was
17 fired, nor was there any act of violence in Macedonia and that the army
18 withdrew without any conflicts breaking out at all?
19 A. That is correct, though there were some minor -- minor
20 provocations against the army in Macedonia.
21 Q. There were provocations, but nobody opened fire.
22 A. There was an incursion into the warehouse near Skopje where the
23 guards were disarmed and all the weapons pulled out during the night, and
24 we had to intervene to find where those soldiers were, and they were
25 detained in Titov Veles. So there was a rough attack against the JNA, but
1 there was no shooting. There was no fire. There was no spilling of
3 Q. A meeting was held, and the army withdrew without a single
4 windowpane being broken; is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Did you consider that that should serve as a model for the
7 withdrawal of the JNA from Bosnia and Herzegovina?
8 A. That should have been a model for the withdrawal of the JNA from
9 any area.
10 Q. And why, then, did a conflict occur over there? Is it true that
11 the difference is that in Macedonia the army was not attacked whereas in
12 these other areas very cruel and bloody attacks were made against the
13 army? Is that right or not?
14 A. I think not. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Serbian authority had
15 already separated. The Serbian MUP had separated, and a separate state
16 was being formed.
17 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness finish. This is the last answer.
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Surely you're not saying that the Serbs started the violence in
21 A. No. I wasn't saying that. I was saying that the difference,
22 major difference, was in a republic in which there were large ethnic
23 groups, Serbs, Muslims, and Croats. In Croatia, Serbs and Croats. And
24 the situation was quite different in Slovenia and Macedonia, where Serbs
25 were very few in number and withdrawing from that area evolved much more
1 easily and on the basis of agreement.
2 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, you've had your time. We will adjourn
3 now. Twenty minutes.
4 --- Recess taken at 10.35 a.m.
5 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes. The amicus.
7 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I should
8 like to make an explanation to the Court first of all. I would really
9 like to try, if I may, through my cross-examination to deal with the
10 organisation, command and control over the Yugoslav People's Army in the
11 context of constitutional regulations and to stick to that subject mainly.
12 Questioned by Mr. Tapuskovic:
13 Q. [Interpretation] So, Mr. Vasiljevic, during the
14 examination-in-chief -- I'm sorry, this cord of my headphones is very
15 short. I can't even stand upright. Sorry. It's fine now.
16 You explained during the examination-in-chief that in 1987, there
17 occurred major changes in the organisation of JNA, so you said, and that
18 the three military districts you mentioned were set up then. Is that so?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. That year, apart from that organisation of these military
21 districts, were there any other changes in the essence of the
22 organisation, command and control over the army? I mean within the
24 A. I do not think there were. However, part of the affairs dealing
25 with the reinforcement and personnel of the JNA was transferred to the
1 Ministry of the Interior.
2 Q. You know that these matters regarding the organisation, command
3 and control were regulated by the constitution of 1974. Is that so?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. As I heard, and I knew that from before, you remember that I was
6 one of the defenders the Opera case in 1991, 1992? I don't want to use
7 that experience in my cross-examination, and I can't use it since Mr. Nice
8 did not ask any questions about the Opera case or Labrador, although it
9 was in the proofing summary. I know that you were then in the service
10 where you served and you are very well acquainted with matters regarding
11 the issues I want to raise in my cross.
12 I know that in 1961, you graduated from the Military Academy and
13 that sometime in the 1970s you already had 15 years of service in the JNA
14 in security services.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And you know very well about all the things that happened in the
17 Yugoslav society, all the developments, as a man who was involved in the
18 security service of the army, and you know what and how happened regarding
19 the transformation command and control in the JNA.
20 A. Not that much.
21 Q. I'm only interested in military issues.
22 A. Within my job, that's all I can really answer.
23 Q. All I want to know is about military issues. You know that in
24 those years there was a live discussion about whether the army should be
25 professionalised and organised professionally, as in every state, and the
1 military leadership supported this idea headed by Chief of Staff Bosnjak.
2 This debate is still going on, but at the moment there was this other
3 faction since self-management began to dominate in all levels of Yugoslav
4 society. This self-management was supposed to take root even in the army.
5 A. I don't think so.
6 Q. Was there an idea to socialise the army, to give a weapon to every
7 man, to reorganise the society along the lines of arming the society and
8 creating the Territorial Defence?
9 A. That concept existed always.
10 Q. It was supported by Kardelj, Bakaric and Tito.
11 A. I don't know who advocated it. I know it existed.
12 Q. Did the constitution of 1974 create the Territorial Defence for
13 the first time? Was it written into the constitution?
14 A. I think so, but I'm not quite certain.
15 Q. Thank you. In that way, did two parallel, equal segments of the
16 armed forces come into being, the army and the Territorial Defence?
17 A. Yes, as part of an integrated armed force.
18 Q. Did the Territorial Defence exist then as an equal armed force of
19 municipalities and republics?
20 A. All I know for certain is that it was an integral part of the
21 armed forces, equal to the JNA but it was organised along different lines,
22 along different principles, and I can't say any more than that.
23 Q. Can you tell me, did this concept, the creation of the Territorial
24 Defence, mark a major blow to the JNA as far as command and control is
25 concerned? I'm talking about the 1990s.
1 A. There were no such problems until the 1990s.
2 Q. That's precisely what I'm saying. Is it true that even back then,
3 especially in the military leadership, there was a conviction that this is
4 a preparation of the armed forces of the republics for providing
5 resistance in the case of intervention by the JNA?
6 A. No. I already said there were no problems until the 1990s.
7 Q. All right. I'll show you later something that is written in a
8 text, but I'm just asking you for now: Is it a fact that in 1990 and even
9 in 1989 when the Yugoslav crisis began, there was practically in existence
10 -- there were eight separate armies and the JNA, and the idea of
11 withering of the state resulted in the existence of eight separate armies?
12 A. No. Until the 1990s, I, at least, didn't notice that within the
13 Territorial Defence there should be a separate army, alienated from the
14 JNA, and that there was a striving to create republican armies.
15 Q. But in the 1990s, after the events in Slovenia and after the
16 creation of the Territorial Defence and armed forces in Slovenia, and that
17 led to happening in Croatia as well, can we at least then talk about those
18 two separate armed forces within one state.
19 A. For instance, in Croatia that did not happen. I don't think it
20 happened in Slovenia either. One part of the Territorial Defence was
21 transformed and assimilated as the nucleus of a future republican army.
22 In Croatia, the entire Territorial Defence of the Republic of Croatia
23 never became the home guards corps. That's precisely why paramilitary
24 units were formed.
25 Therefore, the Territorial Defence did not become the ZNG.
1 Q. It became a separate armed force within a state which continued to
3 A. It continued to be the same as before, but it was undermined
4 illegally from within. That was typical also of the events in Bosnia with
5 the Patriotic People's League using the officers corps which was recruited
6 for the future republican army.
7 Q. This is a broad topic. We don't have time for it. What I want to
8 know, Mr. Vasiljevic, is the following: Can I hear from you, so the Court
9 can understand the situation better, all that you know directly or
10 indirectly about the functioning of the Ministry of Defence, the Federal
11 Secretariat for People's Defence, the General Staff, and especially the
12 staff of Supreme Command in this period of 1990 until May 1992. I suppose
13 you know this very well, taking into account the posts you held.
14 A. I don't understand. What's your question?
15 Q. I will ask you specific questions. I have to stick to the
16 examination-in-chief, to the scope of examination-in-chief, and in my
17 cross-examination, I will be using only one document, which I received
18 together with the indictment, and that is the text titled "State Without
19 the Army" by Veljko Kadijevic, including some information about specific
20 things which I suppose you knew about. You know about this writing?
21 A. I don't know which part of it you mean.
22 Q. I'll show it to you.
23 A. I read the book in my time. I have my own opinion about it.
24 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we received this
25 text in October 2001. It was translated into English. And as far as I
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 know from the Prosecution, certain data from this book need to be shown to
2 General Vasiljevic. Would you --
3 JUDGE MAY: Just let us recollect the position about this book.
4 Has it been exhibited?
5 MR. NICE: From what document's being put, the witness must be
6 asked whether he is prepared to deal with questions and whether he wants
7 to deal with them in closed session.
8 JUDGE MAY: We'll deal with that. Can we first of all deal with
9 this book. I recollect references to it. I do not recollect whether it's
10 been exhibited or not.
11 MR. NICE: It's not an exhibit. If it's the Kadijevic book, we've
12 already put it in --
13 JUDGE MAY: It's the Kadijevic book. Yes, I remember references
14 to it.
15 MR. NICE: -- in which case no problem.
16 JUDGE MAY: But there have been references to it in the evidence.
17 General Vasiljevic, can you deal with questions about this book?
18 You say you've read it and you've got your own opinions about it. Is that
20 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. I'll only be presenting certain data from this book to you.
22 A. I read this book a long time ago, when it was published. It
23 contains many facts which are true, according to my recollection, but
24 there are also certain things that I never knew about and I don't think
25 are true. It says, for instance, that the army was supposed to take over
1 the Karlobag-Virovitica line. I never heard that from anyone from the
2 General Staff, including General Kadijevic.
3 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours --
4 JUDGE MAY: [Previous translation continues]... questions. He's
5 going to put various passages, as I understand it, to you. Just answer
6 them. If at any time you want to go into private session, just say so.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't think there is any problem
8 that requires private session, because this is a book that was published
9 and is known to the public. But if the need occurs, we'll deal with it
11 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'll only deal with
12 facts which I suppose are known to Mr. Vasiljevic, and I even think he
13 worked on the collection of certain information that was supposed to
14 enable these operations. I will not mention a single name.
15 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, do you know about the assessment of the staff of
16 the Supreme Command - and I emphasise this - presented towards the end of
17 1989, namely the staff of the Supreme Command judged at this moment, in
18 1989, that control over the events in Yugoslavia is being taken over by
19 foreign elements as well as control of the Yugoslav crisis.
20 A. I was then in the -- I was not then in the staff of the Supreme
21 Command. I was in my division in Sarajevo.
22 Q. Then I'll skip all my questions. My next question is this: Do
23 you know that on the 3rd of April, 1990, there was a session of the
24 Presidency of the SFRY? Did you attend it, by any chance, when the staff
25 of the Supreme Command presented certain assessments and proposals?
1 A. I already told you that at that time, to make things easier, until
2 the 8th of July, 1990, I commanded the division in Sarajevo.
3 Q. Did this information ever reach you, that the staff of the Supreme
4 Command then presented its assessment and suggested certain measures?
5 Their assessment was as follows -- do you know about it, have you ever
6 heard about it, or were you informed? Their assessment was that
7 internally, the key segment of the SFRY, that is the federal system, was
8 already broken down, the country was ruled by chaos and complete
9 lawlessness. That's one.
10 Second, due to the break-up of the Warsaw Pact and the events that
11 preceded the break-up of the USSR, the Yugoslav territory became open to
12 the West, and the West's policy towards Yugoslavia changed. Did you know
13 about this assessment that was presented to the Presidency of the SFRY, as
14 I said, on the 3rd of April, 1990?
15 A. Generally speaking, through the system of information of
16 subordinate commands, I know about these assessments.
17 Q. Do you know that certain measures were suggested, primarily the
18 reinstitution of the constitutional order and the ruling out of all
19 enactments which are contrary to the constitution of the SFRY? Did you
20 hear about this presented to the Presidency?
21 A. I think I did.
22 Q. You know that according to the 1974 constitution, it is the task
23 -- the task of the armed forces was twofold: One, defending the country
24 from foreign aggression, and second, the protection of the constitutional
1 A. Yes, that's the task of the armed forces as a whole.
2 Q. And do you know that at that time the staff of the Supreme Command
3 gave the following assessment: That the 1974 constitution ensured the
4 destruction of the entirety, the integrity of the Yugoslav state through
5 the constitution, while at the same time the constitution cannot be used
6 to break up the integrity of Yugoslavia, which called for amendments of
7 the constitution?
8 A. I know about this. I don't know whether it was discussed at the
10 Q. Do you know that it was discussed?
11 A. I think so -- I don't think so.
12 Q. Do you know that this assessment and these proposals made by the
13 staff of the Supreme Command of the Presidency were accepted by a majority
15 A. I don't know about this.
16 Q. You don't know. And do you know whether anything that was
17 proposed by the Supreme Command was actually put into practice?
18 A. I don't know. I may assist the Court, perhaps, if I say the
19 following: I remember that these processes of disintegration were typical
20 of Slovenia primarily. That's where they began. Ignoring the federal
21 constitution and disregarding about -- of about 40 laws dealing with
22 national defence which ran counter to the constitution of Slovenia.
23 Federal laws, that is to say there were some 40 laws from the
24 domain of All People's Defence and self-protection that were proclaimed
25 invalid in Slovenia.
1 Q. I'm going to come to the point why I'm putting all these
2 questions, Mr. Vasiljevic, and I think that this will greatly assist the
3 Court, because already in 1991, you were very active working in the
4 Supreme Command Staff and the General Staff, weren't you?
5 A. Yes, I was.
6 Q. And towards the end of that year, the following assessment was
7 made: The military leadership had this, and this was discussed, and this
8 situation, in order not to improvise, I will have to read a few sentences
9 to you from this text as an assessment and as an estimate of the military
10 leadership, primarily the General Staff, and the Supreme Command Staff.
11 It reads as follows: "In order to justify aggression, there were two
12 variants. The first one, if the defenders of a united Yugoslavia were the
13 first to apply force, then there is an excuse because, 'the Unitarian
14 Greater Serbia forces' are trying to topple democratically elected regimes
15 within Yugoslavia. That is the first assessment. And the second one is
16 if this does not happen, then the secessionist forces of Yugoslavia should
17 be compelled to use force in order to impose their own will."
18 Are you aware of this assessment?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Can you explain to the Court, to the Honourable Judges, what is
21 mentioned here.
22 A. I would have to read --
23 JUDGE MAY: Which page? Which page?
24 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] 86 and 87. I've already read
25 that out. But what is referred to here and is put under quotation marks,
1 this danger from the Greater Serbian forces.
2 Q. Please, General Vasiljevic, in view of everything that you know
3 about these matters, before these times, in any crisis that broke out in
4 the territory of Yugoslavia, was it always said that it is primarily the
5 Greater Serbian Unitarian forces that were behind that and that this was
6 often pointed out?
7 A. No. It depends who pointed it out. From one setting, everything
8 that happened was always interpreted from the point of view of that
9 particular environment. But we, in the top military echelons, didn't look
10 at it that way. It was always extremist nationalist forces that stood
11 behind such things regardless of who they -- whose -- who they belonged
12 to. So separatists are the same all round.
13 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, since you said this, since you said this
14 assessment was correct, did this second variant occur? Because on the
15 27th of June, 1991, there was a conflict between the Territorial Defence
16 of Slovenia and the JNA, and about 50 unarmed soldiers of the JNA were
17 killed and the Presidency of Slovenia assessed that it was the JNA that
18 was the aggressor and they asked the population to organise resistance
19 against them.
20 A. First of all, it is inaccurate what is being said in the media all
21 the time, that these were unarmed soldiers, that these were children.
22 They were armed like the entire JNA was armed. And the fact remains that
23 the JNA was indeed proclaimed to be an occupying force, and that is the
24 way it was treated.
25 Q. Is it true that the Presidency of Slovenia said that after this
1 attack carried out by the Territorial Defence against the army, that the
2 JNA was proclaimed the aggressor?
3 A. Yes, I've just said so.
4 Q. Do you know exactly how many soldiers were killed in Slovenia at
5 the time?
6 A. As far as I know, a total of 56 members of the army lost their
8 Q. Thank you. Do you know that already three days later - this was
9 on the 27th of June - on the 30th of June or the 1st of July, you were
10 imprecise when you made a statement to the investigating judge in Belgrade
11 in 1999. One unit of the JNA was attacked at the Mladost bridge in Zagreb
12 when two members of the JNA were wounded. That is to say only three days
13 after what had happened in Slovenia.
14 A. It was the 30th of June.
15 Q. Oh, I see. And then this blockade of the military barracks took
16 place and everything that had to do with the military barracks, that was
17 after that, right?
18 A. Yes, that's right.
19 Q. Thank you. Do you know that on the 30th of June, at the
20 investigating judge's chambers in Belgrade, you said that an intercepted
21 conversation between Alija Izetbegovic and Tudjman was recorded. On the
22 30th of June.
23 A. Yes, that day, the 30th of June.
24 Q. Is it correct that in that intercepted conversation, Franjo
25 Tudjman says to Alija Izetbegovic that it is time for Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina to move against the JNA, and Alija Izetbegovic replied to him
2 that he was following the situation but that it is not time to move yet.
3 Is that the way it was?
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 Q. Is it correct that the crisis in the work of the Presidency broke
6 out only in March 1991, between the 12th and the 14th, when there was a
7 four to four ratio within the vote in the Presidency?
8 JUDGE MAY: Now, Mr. Tapuskovic, we've heard evidence about this,
9 and this witness is merely going to give it secondhand. Given the
10 constraints of time, I must ask you to move on.
11 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Well, I'm really trying to use up
12 as little time as possible. Half an hour, 40 minutes. There is so much
13 of this, Your Honours. I read that transcript for several months. This is
14 a film of over 100 hours. I just tried to deal with the actual substance
15 that was not dealt with until now. I'm making a maximum effort
16 to bear time in mind, and I'll try to do that, but I would like you to
17 view the situation in the best possible way.
18 Q. My next question would be the following: You know that the first
19 real foreign interference that took place was, and the General Staff was
20 opposed to that, when Stipe Mesic took over as the president of the
21 Presidency of the SFRY in the presence of the Troika of the European
23 JUDGE MAY: We've heard evidence from Mr. Mesic. We don't need
24 this witness to go over that. If there's anything you can ask which he
25 can deal with, of course you can ask it, but we don't need evidence to be
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 repeated. So let's move on.
2 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] This is what I wish to ask Mr.
3 Vasiljevic, and he knows about this for sure:
4 Q. The military leadership was opposed to that, wasn't it?
5 A. Opposed to what?
6 Q. Opposed to Mesic taking over that position in such a way.
7 A. No. The military leadership did not interfere with the election
8 of President Mesic.
9 Q. All right. And you know that on the 20th of January, 1991, at the
10 request of the government of Croatia, the Presidency of the SFRY allowed
11 the extension of the deadline of -- for disbanding irregular units?
12 A. It was on the 19th.
13 Q. All right. Do you know that on the same day, Stipe Mesic, as
14 vice-president to the Presidency of the SFRY stated before the parliament
15 or, rather, at the Assembly of the HDZ that through various trading
16 companies, the HDZ in Croatia bought weapons for themselves and that,
17 therefore, the reserve police forces got the same powers as the regular
18 police. In his opinion, the only paramilitary forces in Croatia were
19 those in Kninska Krajina. That was on the same day or the following day
20 after this decision of the Presidency was adopted, the 20th of January.
21 A. Yes. He said quite literally, "Well, they didn't think that we
22 are going to import pens in order to write requests to that effect."
23 Q. Do you know, since the Presidency could no longer meet, that Stipe
24 Mesic, without any decision of the Presidency of Yugoslavia, he did not
25 have a relevant decision of the Presidency but, as Supreme Commander, he
1 made public his decisions through the media but that he did not have any
2 underlying decision of the Presidency?
3 A. I don't know about that. I don't know about their internal
5 Q. I would like to conclude all of this by saying one more thing that
6 has to do with this. The international community, at one point in time,
7 did it try to influence the Federal Secretariat for National Defence to
8 take over the role of the Supreme Commander instead of the Presidency of
9 Yugoslavia? And this was at a meeting held at the Federal Secretariat
10 with Cyrus Vance at the end of May, 1991.
11 A. I am not aware of any such meeting.
12 Q. Did Veljko -- did Veljko Kadijevic tell you that it's best for the
13 international community to do whatever they can in order for the
14 Presidency to meet?
15 A. I don't know about that. I know about one particular case where
16 an effort was made to exert some kind of pressure on the then commander of
17 the air force to carry out a putsch and in this way reintroduce order in
18 the country, because in the previous history of Yugoslavia, it was always
19 the military that did that, but I'm not aware of any details of this
20 conversation between the Federal Secretary and Cyrus Vance.
21 Q. General Vasiljevic, I would like to conclude this particular topic
22 by referring to the following: You know that the SSNO, the General Staff,
23 and in the Supreme Command Staff nothing else was mentioned as an
24 objective except preserving Yugoslavia?
25 A. That's right.
1 Q. Do you know that the military leadership did not pass a single
2 decision or implement a single decision that was contrary to that
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. One more thing: Is it often said here in this courtroom, and
6 perhaps you could explain this to the Judges, it is often said Belgrade,
7 Belgrade, Belgrade had to be asked. Is it correct that the General Staff,
8 the Federal Secretariat for National Defence, and the Supreme Command
9 Staff had their headquarters in Belgrade, their seat in Belgrade, and that
10 the Supreme Command Staff never went out into the field in their full
12 A. Yes, that's right.
13 Q. And if I could just briefly refer to Vukovar now, just a few brief
14 questions related to Vukovar and Kosovo. I've dealt with this topic, I
15 won't need more than about ten minutes for this.
16 As regards Vukovar, Mr. Vasiljevic, do you know the exact number
17 of members of the ZNG that were under siege in Vukovar?
18 A. I don't know exactly.
19 Q. Could you give us approximation?
20 A. The town of Vukovar, how many of them were in the town of Vukovar
21 itself, I don't know. I know that they were reinforced all the time, that
22 fresh forces were brought in, that the town had been prepared for a
23 decisive defence.
24 Q. What was that?
25 A. They had fortified firing points in town on buildings, on
1 residential buildings that they practically turned into bunkers. So their
2 defence went from one building to another.
3 Q. All right. Do you know what form their armaments took? What kind
4 of arms did they have?
5 A. They had some artillery weapons, they had some anti-aircraft light
6 missiles, they had anti-armour equipment, rocket launchers and anti-tank
8 Q. On a film I got from the OTP, I saw that there were tanks as well
9 that were taken away from the defenders of Vukovar.
10 A. No. The recording you saw was taken elsewhere. Ernestinovo or
11 Lastovo, I'm not sure.
12 Q. All right. You said during the examination-in-chief that on the
13 day you arrived in Vukovar, when the fighting subsided on the 19th of
14 November, that on that day three soldiers were killed. You said that in
15 response to Prosecutor Nice's question.
16 A. I was not there then, I was at Milici at a meeting with General
17 Gracanin. That date is not correct. So the first time I came to Vukovar
18 was perhaps a few days after the operation started when the Guards Brigade
19 arrived, and then about 18 members of the military police were killed.
20 There were wounded and killed persons.
21 Q. Do you know how many soldiers were killed in the fighting around
23 A. I think there was a total of 516.
24 Q. Do you know about the existence of an order that special attention
25 should be devoted to prisoners in the following sense: That this will be
1 very important for the exchange that should ensue, the exchange of
2 prisoners? Wasn't there a telegram to that effect?
3 A. I don't know that taking prisoners was ever brought into the
4 context of exchanges. Not that. But that the Geneva Conventions had to
5 be applied and that all imprisoned persons had to be treated carefully.
6 That certainly was a fact.
7 Q. I see from the statement you gave to the investigating judge in
8 Belgrade that you said that in your notebook, you wrote down that in
9 Sremska Mitrovica there was a total of 1.300 prisoners.
10 A. I think it was 1.062, but possibly it was 1.300.
11 Q. All right, but then in front of the KP Dom in Sremska Mitrovica,
12 in buses at that time, there were an additional 1.050.
13 A. That was this other figure.
14 Q. Oh, this other figure. And is it correct that you wrote down in
15 your notebook that at one point in Sid there was a total of 5.000
16 prisoners and that then a very careful selection was carried out and that
17 everybody that had nothing to do with the fighting in Vukovar were
18 released, they could go wherever they wanted to go?
19 A. No. These 5.000 persons were not prisoners. These were 5.000
20 persons who got out of the town that was in ruins, and they were taken by
21 the Red Cross of Serbia in Sid and Mitrovica and that is where people were
22 asked as to where they wanted to go and whether they had anybody they
23 could stay with and who could take care of them. So these were the two
24 columns that the Croats did not allow to enter Croatia, although they
25 wanted to go there.
1 Q. All right. As regards prisoners of war, were two collection
2 centres established in Stajicevo and Begejci?
3 A. These are centres of the 1st Military District, the 1st Army
4 District, and they did exist.
5 Q. And according to what your notebook said, in Stajicevo there were
6 1.283 prisoners. On the 16th of December, 1991, you toured Stajicevo and
7 Begejci, is that right?
8 A. Yes, that's right.
9 Q. And then you established that there were 1.324 prisoners in
10 Stajicevo and 133 in Begejci.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Is it true that a certain number were identified as those who have
13 committed the gravest crimes because in these centres that we referred to
14 were seen by Red Cross teams four times before you went there?
15 A. As far as I know, yes.
16 Q. I heard from witness Dr. Bosanac that you were present in an
17 aeroplane when an exchange was carried out of over 50 persons, that you
18 were the person who carried this out.
19 A. Yes, that's right.
20 Q. Another thing in this relation that I would like to ask you about.
21 Any of these prisoners, any of these prisoners of war who were in these
22 localities where they were, were any of them killed, to the best your
24 A. I know of the case that was mentioned of a soldier, a reservist,
25 Goran Nikolic, who had killed four persons. I presented that during my
1 previous testimony. And I think that until the end there were eight cases
2 of deaths. All of them were investigated and all of them had to do with
3 natural death causes. However, the numbers from Stajicevo and Begejci
4 should not be summed up and equalised to the number in Sremska Mitrovica,
5 because when I came to the area, I was interested in seeing what this
6 collection centre was, and it was my assessment that the conditions there
7 were not right for accommodating these people because it was very cold and
8 the facilities had no heating, and I intervened at the Supreme Command
9 Staff with this particular bit of information. After that, they were
10 transferred to Sremska Mitrovica and to the KP Dom in Nis where the
11 conditions were quite normal for having them stay there.
12 Q. These 80 were prosecuted but then ultimately there was an exchange
13 all for all and no longer was any attention paid to who were suspects for
14 what, and towards the end of 1992 there was ultimately an exchange?
15 A. In August 1992 there was an exchange of all for all and about 800
16 persons to the best of my knowledge, and at that time I was in detention
17 together with them, were exchanged for a total of 34 men. Most of them
18 were civilians from the territory of Yugoslavia. Not a single person who
19 was suspected of having committed a war crime - and there was a total of
20 186 of them in proceedings before the military court in Belgrade - not a
21 single one of them was exchanged. So those who were suspects or who were
22 already convicted of having committed war crimes were not involved in
23 exchanges. Other people were being exchanged, those who had taken part in
24 the armed rebellion but those who had not committed any crimes on their
1 So therefore, these 50, if they were exchanged then, and I think
2 that this was the 10th of December, 1991, they were exchanged for
3 imprisoned members of the JNA from Gospic and some other pilots like
4 Stojcinovic who had been kidnapped and others whose planes were downed.
5 But none of them had the status of a criminal or a suspect.
6 Q. I think that will be sufficient. We don't have time to go into
7 details. Let me end with a few more questions regarding Kosovo. I think
8 that you could know that immediately after the end of the Second World
9 War, an order was issued that all those who had left Kosovo during the
10 war, even if they had a home and land there could not return to Kosovo.
11 Are you aware of that law? And it related in the first place to the
13 A. Could you repeat that?
14 Q. Are you aware of a law that was enacted immediately after the
15 Second World War --
16 JUDGE MAY: Now, we've ruled that this sort of evidence is way out
17 of our time span, particularly with this witness. It may be there will be
18 an historian who can deal with those matters, but not this witness. Let's
19 move on.
20 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] You're quite right, Your Honour.
21 There will probably be other opportunities to hear about that.
22 Q. But could you please tell us about the last 20 years or so,
23 between the 1970s and the 1990s. At certain points in time were their
24 crises, as with the Martinovic case, that triggered drastic emigration of
25 Serbs from Kosovo?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes. Such an event would occur that would trigger the Serbs
2 moving out.
3 Q. Can you tell us what happened to Martinovic, for instance, in
5 A. He was physically mistreated. He was stripped naked and a beer
6 bottle was pushed into his anus.
7 Q. Was this followed by massive departure from Kosovo?
8 A. Yes. This process of the moving out of Serbs was a continuous
9 process, but an event of this kind, such as rapes, also would speed up
10 this process.
11 JUDGE MAY: I'm going to limit this questioning. You really must,
12 Mr. Tapuskovic, deal with the time which this witness dealt with, which
13 was 1999. If you want to ask him some questions about that, you can, but
14 events back in history are not going to assist us.
15 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that was not
16 history. This was a process that continued for decades regarding Kosovo.
17 JUDGE MAY: That is history. As far as we're concerned, it is.
18 Now, move on. If you want to ask him something about 1999 and his
19 evidence, you can, but asking general questions, you cannot. I've already
20 explained, there will be an historian who can deal with it.
21 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Very well. You will hear a
22 witness who is due to come in the next few days who said that
23 Mr. Vasiljevic was the person most knowledgeable about events in Kosovo,
24 but of course I will abide by your ruling, Your Honour May.
25 Q. I would like to know in 1989 and 1990 and the years you have
1 testified about, those five or six years prior to 1990, was there a very
2 pronounced emigration of Albanian citizens moving into the territory of
3 Kosovo with their whole families and remaining there to live?
4 A. Those who had emigrated from Albania under the Enver Hoxha regime
5 were received as immigrants to Kosovo and were given homes and land.
6 Q. And allowed to live normally there?
7 A. Yes, as is the case with all other immigrants.
8 Q. Very well. I think that will be sufficient. But as someone who
9 went to Kosovo again in his official capacity in April 1999, did you then,
10 while staying in Kosovo and doing the work you did, did you learn anything
11 about what had happened in Racak?
12 A. I did not.
13 Q. Nothing?
14 A. Nothing.
15 Q. You hadn't even heard what happened at Racak?
16 A. I had heard earlier on from the media. There were opposing views
17 about it, but I really didn't inquire about it, nor was there any private
18 discussion about it.
19 Q. And when you arrived, the NATO bombing was under way?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And at that point in time, was the most important, the priority,
22 the top priority for the army and the civilian population to protect the
23 army and the civilians regardless of their ethnicity? Wasn't that the
24 dominant task of the army and the police --
25 JUDGE MAY: This is precisely the sort of issue we are going to
1 have to deal with. The Trial Chamber is going to have to determine what
2 was happening there.
3 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, General Vasiljevic
4 had a very important job in the army, and I'm asking whether he knows that
5 these were the main tasks of the army at that point in time.
6 Q. When ground -- there was a threat of ground forces intervening.
7 A. The emphasis was on securing the frontier area and anti-air
8 defences because of the constant NATO raids and attacks on military
10 Q. Did the KLA take advantage of that?
11 A. I know that there were KLA groups in inaccessible areas, that they
12 were surrounded and destroyed.
13 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 MR. NICE: Your Honour, a couple of administrative matters. We
15 will be serving an historian's report. We may have filed it already.
16 Whether in the event this will be a witness for whom there will be enough
17 time is a matter that I'm uncertain about. It's a matter I'm going to
18 turn to next Tuesday.
19 JUDGE MAY: I think we will need to make time for him.
20 MR. NICE: Her.
21 JUDGE MAY: Oh, it's a her. Very well.
22 MR. NICE: It's topic that I've got to discuss with you.
23 As to Kadijevic's book, the practice in the past has been, I
24 think, to exhibit the single page that has been referred to the witness.
25 Mr. Tapuskovic referred to a number of pages to this witness. I've got a
1 number that I might like to ask him about as well. It's quite a
2 substantial book, but it may be easier, frankly, for the Chamber to have
3 the whole book as an exhibit. Of course on the basis that it's merely
4 what it is, a book, because others may want to delve into it as well. I
5 don't know.
6 JUDGE MAY: I think in due course we will have to consider this,
7 but for the moment we are bound by the witness's answers. It's his
8 answers which is the evidence, not the book.
9 MR. NICE: I have quite a number of matters of re-examination.
10 I'll try and deal with them in an orderly way.
11 Re-examined by Mr. Nice:
12 Q. General, just a couple of opening points and then I'll try and
13 deal with things chronologically, but quite recently, you were
14 distinguishing between Macedonia and Slovenia on the one hand and the
15 other parts of the former Yugoslavia on the other when you were asked
16 about the peaceful separation of Macedonia. You seem to be saying,
17 correct me if I'm wrong, that the difference between those two states and
18 the others were that there were no Serbs in Macedonia or in Slovenia. Is
19 that what you understand to be the distinguishing feature as to why those
20 states separately peacefully?
21 A. I didn't say that there were no Serbs, but I said that they did
22 not constitute a significant number, and that is why in Macedonia or,
23 rather, in Slovenia there were no plebiscites of Serbs or any referendums
24 as to which state they wanted to live in. And that is why this problem of
25 the withdrawal of the JNA from Slovenia and Macedonia evolved far more
2 In Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Croatia, the Serbs at their
3 referendum stated their will to live in Yugoslavia. The problem was that
4 it was more or less accepted that they could live in Yugoslavia but that
5 they should go to Yugoslavia to do that and not take the territory with
6 them. And this contradiction actually led to armed conflict and a civil
7 war subsequently.
8 Q. Another general point on this, and obviously a lot of questions,
9 you've been there a long time, whenever you can answer a question briefly
10 it would be in all our interests for you to do so. You made your comments
11 about whether it was boys or soldiers that went from the JNA to Slovenia.
12 You were in the army; if the army had wanted to take and retain Slovenia
13 by force, could it have done so, in your judgement?
14 A. I think so, without any doubt.
15 Q. The last -- no. One more particular point: When you were dealing
16 with your meetings with the accused in relation to Kosovo in 1999, the
17 accused put a number of propositions to you about that meeting to suggest
18 that what he was saying in the meeting was a reflection of a single
19 reality, a reflection of his intentions, a reflection of how things were
20 being done. Just yes or no, do you accept that what he was saying was the
21 only version of events, the only version of reality, or may there have
22 been other realities apart from what he was saying to you in that meeting?
23 Just yes or no, please, a single word answer.
24 A. I have my own impressions. I cannot present reliable facts that
25 there was something else in evidence which we in the military leadership
1 did not have access to.
2 Q. You've already spoken of one or two characteristics of the
3 meeting, who was there, who wasn't there, who remained afterwards, and so
4 on. Just yes or no to this -- if you feel you can answer, just yes or
5 no: Is there material available to you or known to you that assists in
6 your consideration that there was another reality behind the accused's
7 presentation? Were there other material that led to you thinking there
8 was another reality? Just yes or no.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Again just yes or no: Is that material that you're able to refer
11 to to this Chamber, either in open session or in closed session?
12 A. I can't answer that question.
13 Q. If in the course of my re-examination you wish to draw to their
14 attention anything in that respect, perhaps you'll let us know.
15 Kadijevic's book. Can I ask you for your comments on a few other
16 passages. You've already said that his reference to the Karlobag line is
17 one you don't acknowledge, understand or accept, I think. Page 49 of the
18 book, he spoke of there being three phases for the tasks of the concept of
19 deployment, saying that at the beginning of this phase, the armed force's
20 task was to defend the Serb nation in Croatia and its national interest,
21 the second was to pull the JNA garrisons out of Croatia, and third was to
22 gain full control of Bosnia and Herzegovina, fourth was to create and
23 defend new Yugoslav state of those Yugoslav nations that desired to be
24 part of it. Do you accept that analysis of four objectives for
1 A. No. I believe that that is where I disagree with certain parts of
2 the book, in view of the fact when that book was written by General
3 Kadijevic and under which circumstances. This was the period when I was
4 in prison. This was the period when I was interrogated, and I was told
5 that if I open up and say what Kadijevic, Adzic, and Brovet were doing, I
6 would fare better. So objectively, there was a climate in which Kadijevic
7 was, in a strange way, given the facilities to be able to write this book.
8 And later on, one could not obtain military information, even very
9 ordinary information. So I think in those days he was writing things that
10 people wanted to hear.
11 I do not know that forces were deployed from Slovenia to Bosnia to
12 control Bosnia. In Bosnia, there was sufficient forces. The question was
13 where to deploy the forces from Slovenia. Some of them were deployed in
14 Montenegro, in Bar, for instance. So I don't find this approach of
15 General Kadijevic's clear.
16 Q. I'm going to ask you just a couple more passages, because you've
17 been asked extensively about it, but disagree as His Honour the Presiding
18 Judge, Judge May has said, in a sense your disagreement is enough, but
19 qualify it, of course, when you want to. Page 52, the General said: "The
20 constants of the war in Croatia were that the Serb nation had to be
21 defended, that is, liberated there where it lived." Do you accept that
22 analysis of what happened in Croatia?
23 A. That is a highly simplified analysis of the overall situation. It
24 all depends which stage we're talking about. In the first stage, when
25 there was massive arming on a party basis, that is the HDZ line, and when
1 minimum quantities of arms were distributed and there was this
2 demonstration of force around the areas mostly inhabited by Serbs, I spoke
3 about these newly formed 19 police stations around the Serb inhabited
4 areas, then such a statement would apply to that period, that there was
5 fear and efforts were made for the people to organise themselves locally,
6 by settlement, out of fear of incursion of those forces as they remembered
7 they had done earlier on in history.
8 Q. Perhaps lastly, though I may conceivably come back to it, the last
9 passage I would like your comment on at page 83, dealing with attacks that
10 were made on the JNA, and I pause to just ask you a question: General, do
11 you remain proud of the JNA of which you were a member, as a matter of
12 fact and so that we can have your perspective?
13 A. I am proud as an officer and any other senior officer who chose
14 this profession of his own free will, and I am proud of having been a
15 member of that army.
16 Q. Thank you very much. Then Kadijevic said this of those who
17 attacked the JNA, ignoring its positive accomplishments, especially for
18 the new Yugoslavia and particularly for the Serb nation in Croatia and
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and he went on to say: "At the same time, they hoped
20 to compromise the policy of the current Serbian leadership which ran the
21 JNA even before." So in writing, Kadijevic was speaking of the Serb
22 leadership running the JNA. Do you disagree with that expression of his
23 or do you agree with it?
24 A. I don't agree, because at meetings that I attended, even my
25 critical attitude towards the Serbian leadership - and this was noted in
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 my notebook, so I adopted a critical attitude - there were obstructions to
2 the mobilisation, obstruction to assisting the armed force being rounded
3 off properly, reinforced.
4 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I think there must be a
6 misunderstanding with the interpreters, because I see here on the
7 transcript that the witness had a critical attitude towards the Serbian
8 leadership, but I understood that the witness said he did not agree
9 because meetings that he attended, Kadijevic had a critical attitude to
10 the Serbian leadership. And this is a rather significant difference in
11 relation to the LiveNote.
12 JUDGE MAY: The transcript says otherwise. We will ask the
13 witness to clarify. Was it yours or Kadijevic's attitude which was
14 critical, General?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was not my attitude but the
16 attitude of General Kadijevic and other members of the military leadership
17 that I am aware of.
18 MR. NICE:
19 Q. We're now going to deal with things chronologically, please. I
20 think you were asked some questions about agreements on -- involving the
21 HDZ in perhaps March of 1990 about the JNA. Then in May you spoke of the
22 JNA --
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May.
24 JUDGE MAY: Now, yes, what is it, Mr. Milosevic?
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] When I quote a single piece of
1 paper, you insist that the witness has to have it in front of him, and I
2 feel he needs to have the book in front of him to be able to find the
3 quotations and to be able to comment on them.
4 JUDGE MAY: The book isn't evidence. What's evidence, as I've
5 said, is what the witness says about it. Now, I've allowed both Mr.
6 Tapuskovic and Mr. Nice to put passages to the witness so he can comment
7 on them. It's the comments which is the evidence, not what's in the book.
9 MR. NICE:
10 Q. You've spoken, General, of JNA support for Serbs in Croatia
11 facing, as you describe it, the difficulties of secession, and the Serbs
12 were armed, including being the beneficiaries of arms released from places
13 where they were stored. Whose authority and at what level was the
14 authority given to release those arms to Serbs in Croatia?
15 A. In my earlier testimony, I always said that I did not agree with
16 the expression "the arming of the Serbs by the JNA." Legal units of the
17 Territorial Defence were formed, which hadn't existed in the area. I
18 spoke about of the 6th Lika Division and other units which had their
19 numerical markings and were subordinated to the JNA. And as far as I
20 know, it was just a question of arming and completing those units of the
21 Territorial Defence, whereas the expression "the arming of the Serbs" is
22 being used as if they were a paramilitary structure, and I am not aware of
23 that. I did speak of individual cases. I mentioned four such cases when
24 some minor quantities of weapons were given or were prevented from being
1 Q. The question I'd still like your answer to, please, is this: If
2 weapons were released to Serbs that had previously been stored on the
3 territory, what level of authority would be required for that release?
4 A. I think such a decision would have to come from the Presidency,
5 and in operational terms, to be executed by the JNA. But I repeat, you
6 keep using the term "arming of the Serbs." I'm talking about the
7 Territorial Defence.
8 Q. When, to your knowledge, General, was the first Serb or
9 representative of the Serb DB in, say, Knin? Can you help us with that?
10 When abouts in 1990, do you know?
11 A. That was at the beginning of the second half of 1990. I joined
12 the security administration on the 8th of July, 1990, and then maybe I had
13 my first information about this in the following two months.
14 Q. The Spegelj material, and I'm not going to ask you very much about
15 that, was available at the end of 1990, wasn't it?
16 A. I don't know which material you're referring to, which specific
18 Q. The material from which you take direct responsibility, the films,
19 the secret films which you say were definitely him, when did you have
20 those first available to you?
21 A. The first shots or audio recording was made on the 14th of
22 October, 1990. The first TV recording was made on the 19th of October,
23 1990. And then successively from then on. That is as far as the
24 recordings are concerned.
25 As for knowledge, information as to what Spegelj was doing and
1 what he was advocating, I've had that knowledge ever since the 2nd of
2 October, 1990. And the chief of security in the 5th Military District
3 some ten days before that.
4 Q. Do I understand your evidence correctly that the material that you
5 commissioned is material that you say unequivocally is Spegelj speaking,
6 caught by the secret camera?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. The other material which has been cut into it or spliced into it
9 is not material for which you take personal direct responsibility?
10 A. I assume I don't have direct responsibility for what I filmed
11 secretly either, because I was discovering the preparation of an armed
12 rebellion against Yugoslavia. If that was correctly interpreted to me.
13 That's why I'm saying this.
14 The other parts of the film came from public statements by the
15 persons shown on those films.
16 Q. And the cutting of that material into the material you'd
17 commissioned and the use of that other material cut into the material you
18 commissioned was done by others, it wasn't done by you?
19 A. I didn't. I explained that in those days, I was mostly in Zagreb.
20 Q. And therefore, unless I've got it wrong, you're not in a position
21 to say definitively that that other material is always Spegelj's voice?
22 I'm not saying it isn't, I'm just saying that you're not in a position to
23 say definitely, always, for every sentence, it is his voice?
24 A. I am saying emphatically and claiming that it is his voice, that I
25 personally recorded those secret meetings that they held, that the
1 material secretly filmed was throughout under my full control and that
2 only a part of the material was provided for the film to be made and
3 selecting that material and fitting it into the future film was something
4 I attended, I was present there. And afterwards, the material was in my
5 hands again.
6 So there's absolutely no doubt that this is absolutely trustworthy
7 material because I filmed it myself and I had it in my own possession.
8 Q. I may come back to that, but I doubt it. And one last question on
9 Spegelj: Why, given the availability of the material in the autumn of
10 1990, was it not made available to the public until a date in the spring
11 of 1991? What was the purpose served by that?
12 A. The purpose of filming the material was not to make a film. We
13 were working on the discovery of paramilitary organisation and illegal
14 import of weapons and professionally provided appropriate documents for
15 court proceedings and for stopping those activities. So the material
16 wasn't made to make a film out of it.
17 Now, why it was finally released on the 25th of January, it was
18 because, up until that material was shown, the leaders of Croatia, from
19 Franjo Tudjman through Stipe Mesic, denied that there was any illegal
20 import of weapons in Croatia or the organisation of paramilitary
21 organisations within the auspices of the HDZ. I wasn't in Belgrade when
22 this was released, but I was reported -- I was informed about it. It was
23 only once he saw the film that Tudjman changed his position and promised
24 that the perpetrators would be handed over to the courts.
25 Q. Turning to aspects of control that you were asked about
1 extensively, particularly in relation to the Territorial Defence. You
2 told the learned Judges about the three states that could trigger a change
3 in control; a state of emergency, imminent threat of war, state of war.
4 By the beginning of 1991, had there been any relevant declaration?
5 A. Before 1991. I can speak of 1981 and 1989, when states of
6 emergency were proclaimed in Kosovo, but in 1991 --
7 Q. Was there any such declaration of binding, lawful effect during
9 A. Yes, there was.
10 Q. When do you say that was?
11 A. That was, as far as I can recollect, but I can't be absolutely
12 certain of that, I think it was either at the end of September or the
13 beginning of October when a state of imminent danger of war was
15 Q. By the Rump Presidency, without representatives of most of the
16 former states?
17 A. I said that, for us, it was the Presidency and that the position
18 of the military leadership was that even if one member of that Presidency
19 is operating and the others are not prohibited from attending, we would
20 treat them as the Supreme Command. The Presidency, such as it was at the
22 JUDGE MAY: It is now 12.15. We will adjourn. Twenty minutes.
23 --- Recess taken at 12.15 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 12.38 p.m.
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
1 MR. NICE:
2 Q. In 1991, General, the Territorial Defence in Eastern Slavonia, you
3 were asked questions by the accused challenging you as to whether you were
4 right to describe there being two types of Territorial Defence, and at one
5 stage you said to him on day one, on the 13th of February, last Thursday,
6 "I was explaining about the Territorial Defence headed by people from your
7 MUP." I don't know if that's something you feel you can particularise in
8 any greater detail in open or closed session.
9 A. I think we have discussed this at great length. I have nothing to
10 add to what I have already said.
11 Q. Does this relate to the man Badza?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You were shown a list of, or read out, I can't remember which, a
14 list of 16 generals for the year 1991, and you regularly tried to
15 distinguish between what happened at the beginning and the end of 1991,
16 I'm not sure that you ever finally got the answer out.
17 First of all, we can check it if necessary, but did that 16 -- did
18 those 16 generals include, I think, some four who were in charge of things
19 like academies rather than in charge of fighting units? The exhibit is
20 D101, but I don't want to take time looking at it. It doesn't matter if
21 you can't remember. I'm not going to take the time on that.
22 But what was the change during the first and second half of 1991
23 that you wanted to draw to our attention as to the composition of generals
24 by ethnicity?
25 A. Well, the accused claimed insistently that in 1991, there were
1 only two Serbs, maybe three, who were in the general -- who were among the
2 generals. And I said that until June 1991 and after that, in 1991 there
3 were shifts in posts and retirement of certain generals, and I named names
4 and posts. Which of them were academicians, I didn't check.
5 Q. When that changed, did it change the ethnic balance or not?
6 A. As far as the generals are concerned and people in command
7 functions, there were changes, specifically in the 1st Military District,
8 in the 2nd Operative Group. The commander was replaced and also all the
9 other persons I already mentioned.
10 Q. Hadzic appointing Territorial Defence in Eastern Slavonia, if he
11 did in his role as Prime Minister or president of the body there, so far
12 as you were concerned, to whom did he answer, if anyone?
13 A. I don't know that he was appointing, and I don't know to whom he
14 answered, if he did. I stand by what I said, namely that the most
15 influential man in that area, including personnel affairs and the use of
16 those units, of what I called the 2nd Territorial Defence was Badza
18 Q. And so as far as you could see, there was no formal line of
19 reporting to an official government body or to a minister or anything of
20 that sort, apart from what you've described?
21 A. I did not see that line, and I was not aware of it.
22 Q. In your capacity in 1991, you would obviously have been concerned
23 about any reports of wrongdoings. Before we look at them, just tell us
24 this: If there were amnesty reports, Amnesty International reports, on
25 Serbian paramilitary forces' wrongdoing, would they have come to your
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 A. I don't know who was supposed to have shown them to me, who had
3 these reports.
4 Q. Generally in your position there and knowing what you did in the
5 government, if international humanitarian organisations were preparing
6 reports in the autumn of 1991 complaining of, for example, Serbian
7 paramilitary wrongdoing, should that have been made available to you by
8 your government, for example?
9 A. First of all, I was not subordinated to any government, I was
10 subordinated to the Federal Secretary for National Defence, and I believe
11 that considering the department I belonged to, I don't think that report
12 would have come to me.
13 Q. To whom should such reports have gone, then, and we'll move on,
14 but to whom should such reports have gone assuming they were handled by
15 the government at all or the military at all? Who should have had them?
16 A. I don't know. It was a foreign non-governmental organisation, and
17 I don't know to whom, if anyone, they sent their reports. I don't know
18 that any such reports reached me or the top leadership of the military at
19 the time.
20 Q. I can't take the time of the Court by showing them to the witness,
21 but it will help us just then to have this picture, General: In the time
22 until your dismissal in 1992 and at your level of the army, are you saying
23 that no regard was being taken, to your knowledge, of international
24 reporting on wrongdoing by the JNA?
25 A. The JNA, within its system, did not monitor such things. I
1 suppose that in the federal government, there was a service dealing with
2 the writings of foreign media, but there was no such institution in the
3 army. Such things did not reach us. We were not given such things for
4 consideration and review.
5 Q. Neither the federal government nor the government of Serbia
6 disseminated this information to the army, so far as you know?
7 A. No, not so far as I know.
8 Q. Matters of detail, you were asked questions this morning about
9 Lovas again and Teslic. You gave a very detailed answer to His Honour
10 about to whom you reported when there was confusion in the questioning of
11 the accused. Should we be distinguishing between Lovas and Teslic, and
12 should we be distinguishing as to whom you informed about each?
13 A. The distinction should be made, because as far as Lovas is
14 concerned, I was then in active service and my job was such that I had to
15 send information on. As far as Teslic is concerned, I was not in active
16 service and the knowledge I gained was indirect.
17 Q. As to your -- no. That was in closed session, I won't trouble
18 with it. I'll move on.
19 There was a suggestion at some stage that -- by the accused, that
20 paramilitaries at this time were being created only by opposition parties.
21 Do you accept that or not? And then I have a supplementary question.
22 A. I accept that. I don't know that the party in power then set up
23 any paramilitary units.
24 Q. Then when we look at the parties that were setting them up, were
25 the goals of those parties, although technically opposition, themselves
1 sympathetic to the objectives of the accused?
2 A. I could not say that for certain. At that time, I thought, and I
3 still believe, that the creation of those paramilitary units was aimed
4 primarily at creating some sort of political image, that these parties
5 were fighting for the interests of those Serbs who were in danger.
6 Q. If such paramilitary units were established, do you know - and if
7 not, we can have a look at the relevant article - what would be the
8 consequence under the All People's Defence law of 1982 for their control?
9 Do you know if they were to be considered part of the armed forces
11 A. No. There is a procedure according to which units are formed as
12 an integral part of the armed forces.
13 MR. NICE: Can we just have a look, please, at one part, for your
14 comment, at the All People's Defence law of 1982. Thank you very much.
15 It's already been tendered as Exhibit 352, tab 21. If we can just lay
16 this on the overhead projector, if you get a chance. English for the
17 overhead projector and original for the witness, please.
18 Q. Just looking at Article 91 of the All People's Defence law for
19 1982, which reads: "The armed forces make up a single entity and are
20 comprised of the Yugoslav People's Army and the Territorial Defence, any
21 citizen who with weapons or in any other fashion participates in
22 resistance against the enemy is also considered a member of the armed
24 The paramilitary groups that you've been asked to talk about and
25 have spoken of having some political impetus behind them, should they not
1 qualify, or should they qualify for being considered a member of the armed
2 forces under this law?
3 A. This is just one article that deals with the issue of who may
4 become part of the armed forces. But there are mechanisms according to
5 which they have to be organised in terms of uniform, emblems, line of
6 command, and all the other elements that make up the armed forces
7 regardless of whether we're talking about the Territorial Defence or the
8 Yugoslav People's Army. And such groups, some of which I mentioned, did
9 exist outside the system. And there was an order regarding recruitment of
10 these volunteers into the legal units of the armed forces. And I'm now
11 talking about the JNA and the Territorial Defence, both.
12 So it is not enough for someone to be armed to become a member of
13 the armed forces. There are other attributes, other standards that have
14 to be met.
15 Q. Now, are you saying that they were all incorporated into the armed
16 forces or are you saying that in some way they were allowed to operate
17 outside control?
18 A. No. I said neither of these things. I said that by interpreting
19 only this first article, Article 91 that you quoted, it is not the only
20 attribute that someone has to have in order to become a member of the
21 armed forces, to be armed. I know of some groups that came from certain
22 political parties in the Knin Krajina who were expelled from there. They
23 were returned by the same bus in which they arrived. These groups were
24 backed and organised mainly by the political party of the SPO, Serbian
25 Renewal Movement.
1 And I spoke about cases concerning the centres for admission of
2 volunteers organised by the JNA in 1991 when people didn't want to put on
3 their JNA uniform or wear its emblems and were removed from these centres.
4 MR. NICE: Very briefly, one other exhibit already tendered, part
5 of 352, tab 24, please, which is the Official Gazette for the Republic of
6 Serbia's decree on proclamation of defence law. We only need look at the
7 first two sides of that. I'm sorry there's so much of it. There's only
8 the first sheet, in fact, Your Honours. I'm sorry I've caused so much to
9 be copied. I should have reduced it.
10 Q. We see that this decree on proclamation of defence law of the
11 Republic of Serbia in the Gazette, dated the 27th of July of 1991 has -
12 and, Your Honour, it's on the second page, article -- beg your pardon.
13 It's way in. Article 118.
14 If you would go to Article 118, General, please. It says here,
15 apparently clearly, that "Only competent state bodies may organise,
16 reinforce, arm, equip, and train armed forces." Were you aware of that
17 provision? And how would that fit with the existence on the territory of
18 paramilitary groups apparently outside the system?
19 A. I did not have previous opportunity to see this article or this
20 Official Gazette of Serbia, for that matter. I think that this is
21 completely appropriate in terms of who may organise and reinforce. That
22 should only be a competent state authority. This probably means the
23 Ministry of Defence of Serbia, the Ministry of the Interior of Serbia,
24 because this is the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia.
25 Q. Thank you. A couple of questions about Vukovar. I took you only
1 to a very limited part of what your inquiry had revealed when you asked
2 questions of Vukovar. The accused asked you rather more. Can you help
3 us, please: When you sought information from Sljivancanin and Mrksic, had
4 they already been indicted by this Tribunal?
5 A. I think they were, because I said in which years it happened. I
6 met with Sljivancanin in 1997 and with Mrksic in 1998.
7 Q. Are you aware, have you seen the evacuation agreement that existed
8 at the time, that we've seen recently as an exhibit in this case?
9 A. I don't know which evacuation you mean.
10 Q. From the hospital. Have you seen that one?
11 A. No. No, I didn't.
12 Q. If that was an agreement in full or in good order providing for a
13 proper and orderly evacuation. You've been asked about the JNA's
14 involvement or non-involvement in all this. If the JNA had custody of
15 those men who were subsequently killed, slaughtered. Would they need
16 authority to hand them over to some other body, the JNA?
17 A. I don't know. I assume they would.
18 Q. I think part of the account that was given in the circumstances
19 you've confirmed for us was that Sljivancanin was worried by the local
20 Territorial Defence, but in your experience, the JNA would be a match for
21 the local Territorial Defence, would it?
22 A. The local Territorial Defence was no match for the JNA. However,
23 the people who made it up were capable of uncontrolled acts. So it's not
24 a question of the balance of power between the Territorial Defence and the
25 JNA, it was the climate in which it happened, where people from the local
1 Territorial Defence acted in the way which I testified about, as well as
2 other witnesses. So there was a danger to the people involved from the
3 part of the extremists in that area.
4 Q. Yes, but --
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Just one correction. The witness is
6 talking about individuals from the Territorial Defence and the acts of the
7 individuals from the Territorial Defence, whereas there is no mention of
8 that in the interpretation, it just says Territorial Defence. The witness
9 said clearly "individuals."
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
11 MR. NICE:
12 Q. Just two more questions, General.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
14 MR. NICE:
15 Q. Two more questions, General. Are you aware of regulations on the
16 application of international laws of war on the armed forces of the SFRY
17 dated 1998?
18 A. Generally speaking, I am aware of these regulations and laws, but
19 I don't know which specific law you mean.
20 Q. Would they cover the treatment of prisoners of war?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Going back to my first question and just to see if we're quite
23 clear, for the JNA to release a large number of men in their custody and
24 control to another body would require authority from someone or other if
25 it was to be done properly?
1 A. As far as I know, there existed an agreement between the competent
2 authorities of Croatia about exchanges of prisoners of war and detained
3 persons, and there was a special body, organ in the JNA which dealt with
4 these matters.
5 Q. We're concerned, you understand, with releasing of men in
6 circumstances that they got slaughtered in the way we know about. For
7 them to be released by the JNA, some authority would have to be given,
8 wouldn't it?
9 A. I understood you to be speaking about prisoners of war and
10 exchanges. As far as I know, there was no exchange in Vukovar. Exchanges
11 took place later, up until August 1993 -- sorry, 1992. And if we are
12 talking about people who were taken prisoner from the hospital in Vukovar,
13 there was no exchange there. They were turned over under the
14 circumstances that I witnessed and that I described.
15 Q. I won't take that any further. Dubrovnik. You seemed to give
16 slightly contradictory answers at one stage as to whether there had been
17 actions mounted from Dubrovnik. You spoke of forces coming across the
18 Neretva River, which could be many kilometres away from Dubrovnik, and
19 then at another stage you seemed to answer the accused that there had been
20 some action coming out of Dubrovnik. Can you just clarify, please.
21 A. I can. I said that the forces of the ZNG from the area of Western
22 Herzegovina, and I know specifically about Metkovici, were transferred to
23 Dubrovnik through a part of the Bosnian territory, namely the municipality
24 of Neum, and they acted from Dubrovnik. So that is the context in which I
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Let's just break this down because the Judges may be very
2 interested in this: When you say "from Dubrovnik," are you suggesting the
3 old town, the fortress, or the surrounding area, the wider part of
4 Dubrovnik, or don't you know?
5 A. I wasn't a commander in this area, nor did I go to that area in
6 the time concerned, but based on the information that reached me, meaning
7 news, I knew that there were actions from the old part of the town and
8 from Dubrovnik as a whole. And I spoke about the simulation of
9 destruction that was carried out by setting on fire old tyres. But this
10 is sporadic knowledge that I gained.
11 Q. It's knowledge that you received from others. For example, the
12 car tyres, was it car tyres or was it cars on fire, their tyres also being
13 on fire, which we've seen in -- or the results of which we've seen in
14 video footage, or don't you know?
15 A. No. I only know about the information that tyres were set on
16 fire, and it's not that I know that cars were on fire and that the smoke
17 came from those car tyres. So it meant that there was this kind of arson
18 in order to alarm the international public. That's the information that I
20 Q. But none of it firsthand or secondhand; is that right?
21 A. No. I was not in that area. This came from the security organs,
22 from the 2nd Operative Group.
23 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
24 MR. NICE: Thank you.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I think that this comment is wrong,
1 because the witness is testifying in view of his position as chief of the
2 security administration of the military. He is testifying about what he
3 had within the official information he received from official organs, and
4 now firsthand or secondhand does not really amount to much in this
5 particular context.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, we will have to decide what weight to give to the
7 in evidence due course. Anything more?
8 MR. NICE:
9 Q. Finally, on Dubrovnik, when do you say the JNA was threatened from
10 Dubrovnik? Where was the JNA when it was threatened and when was it
11 threatened, on the intelligence that you received?
12 A. Well, I've already said that first and foremost I was not head of
13 the intelligence administration. And secondly, this is not an area that
14 the security organs dealt with. I do not have reports that arrive
15 regularly, and the task of the security organs is not to report from that
16 area how military operations were being carried out. So I did not have
17 this kind of information. This was through contacts with security organs
18 that had to do with completely different professional issues, and it was
19 only to the extent to which I've already referred to. So I cannot give
20 reliable indicators in this regard because I was not in charge of that,
21 according to my own line of work.
22 Q. Thank you. 1992. Now, you were -- in chief, General, you didn't
23 provide any evidence about Bosnia. You effectively were out of office by
24 then, and it may be that you expressed a view about whether you really
25 wanted to give bits of evidence about Bosnia, given that history. But
1 you've been asked a number of questions, and I'll just ask you a few
2 arising from them.
3 In fact, the VRS and the SVK, who paid for them?
4 A. Well, I've already said that at that time, I was retired. I spoke
5 clearly about the financing. As for personal incomes, salaries, officers
6 for the, officers in the army of Republika Srpska, I've already explained
7 that, and I really have nothing to add to it.
8 Q. You see, there's been various suggestions about the true
9 separateness of these various forces. Was there any source of funding
10 that you were aware of, because you had your contacts - and you've been
11 asked questions about this by the accused, you see - was there any source
12 of funding for the VRS other than that which came from Yugoslavia?
13 A. When you say the VRS, you are probably referring to the period
14 after 1992. As regards that period, I haven't got any facts. I talked
15 about part of the funding that went through in 1991 when I met with that
16 man who participated in the transfer of money. But that was in 1991.
17 Q. I'm just wondering if you'd look at one document for us, please.
18 MR. NICE: This is a new exhibit, Your Honours.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will be Prosecutor's Exhibit
20 388. And the document, so we have it for the record, the document of the
21 General Staff of the army of Yugoslavia, dated 14 October 1992, will be
22 marked for identification as Defence Exhibit 103.
23 MR. NICE: General, what I'm asking you to look at is a decision
24 of the government of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the
25 session held on the 14th of May of 1992, which is just after you --
1 literally days after you were pensioned off if we've got the record
2 accurate. And the decision reads -- the decision on using primary issue
3 funds, and it says this: "Primary issue --" which I take to be the
4 printing of money -- "of the National Bank of Yugoslavia will be used in
5 accordance with the National Bank of Yugoslavia decision on goals and
6 tasks of common monetary policy and common principles of credit
7 policy ..."
8 And: "In order to avoid adverse effects of the war on the economy
9 of the Serbian Republic, up to ... 80 per cent of primary issue will be
10 used for special purposes."
11 They will be transferred to special purpose accounts. Do you know
12 what was meant by that? And I'd like to show you one other document as
13 well, which is --
14 MR. NICE: I think again, Your Honour, this will be a new
15 document. And while we're finding it, I'm sorry to -- I apologise to Ms.
16 Dicklich for not having given her earlier notice of this.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. I'm not aware of
18 this at all. And anyway, I'm not an expert in that particular field, the
19 field of finance.
20 MR. NICE:
21 Q. I understand that, General. But in light of the questions that
22 have been asked about the nature of these forces and their suggested
23 separateness, and in light of your contact with -- maintaining of contact
24 with highly placed people into the period of the Bosnian conflict, I'd
25 like your answer on the next document and one other document that I'll
1 refer to.
2 This next document --
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May.
4 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It seems that I'm missing something,
6 because I got this decision. This is the Official Gazette of the
7 Republika Srpska and the decision on the use of funds, and the registrar
8 said that this exhibit has to do with that and with some other document of
9 the JNA. I don't have any JNA documents here within this exhibit. As far
10 as I can see from the transcript, I mean.
11 JUDGE MAY: The JNA document was the one which you produced and
12 has been exhibited amongst the Defence exhibits. So there's been a --
13 there have been these -- wait a moment. There have been these documents
14 which are produced now, and also the JNA document is one of your exhibits,
15 marked for identification.
16 Mr. Nice, I wonder if we're really straying rather far from this
17 witness's evidence here. There's a limit to what he can say.
18 MR. NICE: Your Honour, yes, but he was used as a vehicle for a
19 number of assertions by the accused aimed at suggesting separateness of
20 these various bodies and independence from the accused. The witness was
21 relied on for his proximity to sources -- to positions of power for the
22 answers that he gave, and with this exhibit, which is a small exhibit, and
23 with one other reference that I will explain in a minute, I'll invite his
24 comment, if I may. It won't take very long.
25 JUDGE MAY: We need to finish the witness by quarter to.
1 MR. NICE: Certainly, Your Honour.
2 Q. General, this is a document, Ministry of Defence of the Republika
3 Srpska, requesting credit for primary emission in Yugoslav dollars --
4 dinars, and it says in the second paragraph: "It is known that the
5 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has approved certain means from the primary
6 emission for the needs of the Republika Srpska and that the realisation is
7 handled by the Komercijalna Banka from Belgrade," and then there is a
8 reference to a particular supplier. So that that again refers to money
9 coming from the Yugoslav bank.
10 MR. NICE: And, Your Honour, I was going to ask the witness to
11 have that in mind and also to have a paragraph from the factual basis for
12 the plea of guilty of Mrs. Plavsic.
13 JUDGE MAY: Now, I think we'll need to think very carefully before
14 that is put in front of the witness.
15 MR. NICE: Well, Your Honour, can I -- can I be heard on that very
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
18 MR. NICE: It's a document by -- that we're going to say is an
19 admissible document in any event at some stage, subject to other
20 evidential sources of similar materials overtaking events. It's a public
21 document and it constitutes a fully acknowledged statement of an
22 individual. Witnesses throughout this trial are commenting on statements,
23 whether in books or in more formal settings of other individuals not
24 immediately present, and in our respectful submission, it would be
25 unrealistic not to take account of what has been said in the particular
1 circumstances by that individual. It's paragraph 14 on this topic.
2 JUDGE MAY: Speaking for myself, it is much too early to put that
3 sort of document in. I agree that we have allowed witnesses to comment on
4 documents, but this is a much more controversial one in the circumstances
5 of this case, and I would not be happy about it being put to a witness, I
6 have to tell you.
7 MR. NICE: Very well. I --
8 JUDGE MAY: No doubt you could make the point shortly, and if you
9 wish to produce other evidence, of course you can in due course, but it
10 doesn't seem to me to be right through this witness.
11 MR. NICE: Very well. I shan't take time any further on it at the
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kay.
15 MR. KAY: It seems to us that we're getting a very long way from
16 the evidence that this witness can usefully give, and he's being used as a
17 vehicle for comment that in any circumstance really would not be helpful
18 for the Trial Chamber, in our submission.
19 JUDGE MAY: You know, Mr. Nice, we are a Tribunal of professional
20 Judges. We are not a jury. And we have heard what the witness has said.
21 We know what the limit of his expertise is. These documents, of course
22 it's open for you to put in front of us, but I don't think we need these
23 points argued, if I may say respectfully, through the witness when they
24 can be argued by way of comment to us.
25 MR. NICE: Very well. I'm very happy to deal with it on that
1 basis, and I'm only making the point through the witness because of the
2 way he's been used on a topic that we didn't cover with him because of his
3 own concerns. And if I can conclude this passage with one question, I'll
4 move on. And the question is, in case the Court doesn't want it to be
5 asked to the witness, whether he's aware of any other method of funding at
6 the time for this army.
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes, of course you can ask that.
8 MR. NICE:
9 Q. General, were you aware of any other method of funding, apart from
10 those pointed to in these documents, to the VRS other than those
12 A. I don't know, apart from what I've been saying until now. And
13 these are really rather specific questions. And even if I had been in
14 active service, I wouldn't have had anything in common with these
15 particular subjects and this particular subject matter. Apart from what
16 I've testified to until now, I really have nothing else to add to that.
17 Q. Very well.
18 JUDGE MAY: Do you want the last document exhibited?
19 MR. NICE: Your Honour, it can probably come in later through
20 another witness because this witness has hardly dealt with it.
21 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
22 MR. NICE: I'm going to move, because of the pressure of time, to
23 the second phase of the -- and I'm going to rely on the fact that the
24 witness's evidence on Bosnia was taken in the way it was and without
25 examination-in-chief, and I'll come to the second phase of his evidence,
1 which relates to Kosovo.
2 Q. And, General, you made a number of observations about the history
3 of the Kosovo conflict which the Trial Chamber has indicated it is not
4 interested in having in detail before it, certainly from you, without
5 disrespect. I am going to ask you about one other report of a
6 humanitarian kind which we have heard was distributed to the authorities.
7 It's a report of Human Rights Watch which was Exhibit 198 and is already
8 in evidence and is a report called "A Week of Terror in Drenica." Now, in
9 your answers to the accused, you have said little or nothing of any wrongs
10 done to the Kosovo Albanians, and the evidence before the Chamber is that
11 this report, which falls within the period of time when you were in office
12 just about, was made available in detail to the Serbian -- to the FRY, in
13 fact, in various locations.
14 Now, you may not have seen this document or you may have done -
15 but if we look at the summary, Your Honour, and that's all we need to do
16 to remind ourselves - this is a report that speaks of serious violations
17 of international humanitarian law committed by Serbian and Yugoslav
18 government forces in Kosovo's Drenica region in the last week of 1998, and
19 goes on to deal with Racak. And what I want to know, please --
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kay.
21 MR. KAY: It seems to me we really should establish whether he
22 knows of the document first of all before we ask him questions of a
23 general nature. It is important whether he does know of it.
24 MR. NICE: Exactly the question I'm going to ask him.
25 JUDGE MAY: He can be asked whether or not he knows about the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 incidents which are described in the document. He must be entitled to
2 give evidence about that.
3 MR. KAY: He can do that, but it seemed it was being said that he
4 didn't want to ask that question, whether he'd seen it or not, according
5 to the transcript.
6 MR. NICE:
7 Q. I said you may not have seen the actual document. But first, have
8 you seen the document? If not, was it or its general nature drawn to your
9 attention by others?
10 A. No. This is the first time I see this document. I'm not aware of
11 its contents at all. And as regards the crimes that were committed in
12 Kosovo, I have nothing to add to what I've already presented in my
13 evidence. That is what I spoke about already. Racak did not occur while
14 I was in active service, and I don't know at all about the details of what
15 took place there.
16 Q. Well, then, this question: If there is a report, and as I say
17 it's in evidence that it was provided, detailing humanitarian or alleged
18 humanitarian offences committed over the period September 1998 until March
19 or so on of 1999, were the systems in place to which you were responding
20 such that they were not drawn to your attention by a higher authority?
21 A. If the interpretation I received is correct, you are asking me
22 about something that took place while I was not in active service. So I
23 don't know about that.
24 Q. The report relates to events either very shortly or comparatively
25 shortly before you were in active service and alleges crimes of a grave
1 kind that could be investigated. I want to know, please, whether the
2 systems that were in place and of which you have spoken in dealing with
3 the accused's questions, whether the systems in place did not allow for
4 you to read such material.
5 A. No. There would have been no bans in terms of reading it or even
6 checking out some of the information involved. I talked to you about the
7 case of the journalist who published in foreign media information that was
8 highly alarming. Immediately after that, we started checking out that
9 information. But I do not know that this material was provided to the
10 military organs, and I'm not aware of this at all.
11 Q. Thank you. One question on the Joint Command.
12 MR. NICE: Your Honour, there's -- in the original Prosecution
13 exhibit binder - I'll just get the number - Exhibit 387, we did not look,
14 because I was trying to save time, at a substantial document, tab 38.
15 Thank you very much. If we could look at that with the witness. Only a
16 couple pages of it need to be viewed, but in light of the questions asked
17 by the accused, it's now material that we should look at this and not just
18 take the witness's evidence on the point.
19 Q. General, this is the minutes or these are the minutes of something
20 called the Joint Command, and we can see on the second side of the first
21 page, over the page, it's for the 22nd of July of 1998, so it's before
22 your period of interest, but nevertheless you've reviewed this document.
23 And if the Court and the usher would be good enough first to go to page 27
24 of 164 and view that on the overhead projector. There's a passage. I'll
25 have to read it to you, General, because I know you reviewed it and will
1 probably notwithstanding the time you've been in the witness box be able
2 to remember it.
3 It's a passage which has Mr. Sainovic speaking of two detachments
4 on -- it's just above the bit on the -- just down a tiny little bit.
5 Usher, could you move it down just a little bit.
6 A. I can't find it.
7 Q. Don't worry, General. We're pressing for time. I'll read it to
8 you. Mr. Sainovic was referring to - it's very short - two detachments
9 on Mount Rudnik are to attack Lausa. The BG battle group must also be
10 active in order to cut off Lausa.
11 JUDGE KWON: It's in the upper part.
12 MR. NICE: I'm grateful to Your Honour. Yes, there it is.
13 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
14 MR. NICE:
15 Q. If you remember that passage and its being in the minutes, what
16 does that say to you about Sainovic's authority?
17 A. His authority was the commander of the Joint Command and to
18 coordinate the operations of the MUP forces and the forces of the army of
19 Yugoslavia with regard to a concrete assignment.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 A. Furthermore --
22 Q. Thank you very much, General. It's only want of time. If we go
23 to page 50 of 164, please. While the usher is finding it to view, this is
24 a passage where, General, Mr. Sainovic said this: "In the border belt,
25 the army is to look at its obligations. In this area, the police are to
1 cover all the territory and consolidate. DB are to cover and take over
2 the third area." And then it ends with: "The DB and the army to make
3 joint proposal for further plans."
4 MR. NICE: Page 50 of 164, at the bottom of the page. Further
5 down, Usher, please. That's it there.
6 Q. If you remember this passage, General, does this again accord with
7 your explanation of the true function of the Joint Command?
8 A. I did not look at these materials in such detail. They were only
9 shown to me as minutes. I said then that I did not observe at the meeting
10 that I attended on the 1st of June that anybody kept any kind of minutes.
11 It is interesting to note here how, after these positions were
12 presented by Mr. Sainovic, in view of the office that he held, how the
13 commander of the military unit who was present at that meeting reacted.
14 Now, did he inform the superior commander or command about this, and did
15 he get verification for that? I don't know about that. I can only draw
16 conclusions on the basis of what I saw and heard in my very own presence.
17 The meeting ended simply with agreeing to what had been proposed, namely
18 that what had been proposed should be done on the following day. And
19 after that, the meeting was over.
20 As for how the further mechanism went on, I do not know about that
21 in detail.
22 Q. One last passage which may help. Page 130 of 164, please. Bottom
23 half of the page.
24 The Chamber will recall the questions about the Joint Command and
25 the Supreme Command, and here we can see Mr. Minic speaking of a
1 preparation of a report concerning the realisation of the plan destroying
2 DTS, measures, forces, instruments, results and consequences have to be
3 presented. The headquarters has to write this report. And then it says
4 this: "With this report, we have to go to the Supreme Command."
5 Does this, General, if it's an accurate minute of the meeting,
6 reflect what you understand about a connection between the Joint Command
7 and the Supreme Command?
8 A. Yes. It says here that the Supreme Command should be informed
9 about the reports that these commands to which this pertains should report
10 on and that this should be given to the Supreme Command after the Joint
11 Command deals with it. That was my understanding of it, if I understood
12 it properly.
13 Q. My last questions, about two or three of them and that's all,
14 General - I'm sorry you've been detained so long - concern the meeting
15 where missing people or killed people were dealt with, and you also made
16 some reference to people being forced out of Kosovo. It will, of course,
17 be for the Judges in due course to decide on what the evidence about
18 figures reveals, and you've been asked questions, though, by the accused
19 on these topics, but if there is evidence of some 800.000-odd people being
20 compelled to leave Kosovo, and if there are exhumation figures totalling
21 some 3.500 and more people killed in the crisis, is there any comment you
22 can make which explains the gap between the much, much more modest figures
23 you were dealing with and this scale of figure that the Judges may have to
24 deal with in due course?
25 A. I do not know of the figures involved in Kosovo. I know about the
1 killed and wounded members of the JNA --
2 THE INTERPRETER: Of the army of Yugoslavia, rather.
3 Interpreter's correction.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- at headquarters, I did not
5 receive any information, any figures that would point to me that a policy
6 of expelling Albanians from Kosovo was being pursued. I confined myself
7 to my own area of work and my own line of work but I believe that nothing
8 similar was taking place within the military leadership.
9 MR. NICE:
10 Q. And equally, so far as bodies exhumed in Serbia that may be
11 traceable as bodies coming from Kosovo is concerned, some connected by DNA
12 analysis to particular villages, do you have anything that you can help us
13 with about that?
14 A. No.
15 MR. NICE: Thank you very much.
16 Questioned by the Court:
17 JUDGE KWON: Yes, General, I have a question. I'll be very brief.
18 It's about the Vojna Linija and the police. Although the definition of
19 Vojna Linija was dealt with in the open session, I think we'd better go
20 into private session for safety.
21 [Private session]
13 Page 16434 – redacted – private session
4 [Open session]
5 MR. NICE: -- your time in private session after the witness has
6 withdrawn, I'd be grateful.
7 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session.
8 JUDGE MAY: We're in open session. General Vasiljevic, that
9 concludes your evidence. I'm sorry that you have been detained here as
10 long as you have to give it, but thank you for coming. You are now free
11 to go. If you'd like to leave.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 [The witness withdrew]
14 JUDGE MAY: We'll go back into private session.
15 [Private session]
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
13 Page 16437 – redacted – private session
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.50 p.m.,
12 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 19th day of
13 February, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.