1 Tuesday, 25 January 2011
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE KWON: Good morning, everyone.
7 Good morning, Mr. Robinson. You have a new team member on your
9 MR. ROBINSON: Yes, Thank you, Mr. President. I'd like to
10 introduce to the Chamber Eleanor Livingstone, who is from the university
11 of Melbourne
12 JUDGE KWON: Good morning. If the witness could take the solemn
13 declaration, please.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
15 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
16 WITNESS: ALEKSANDR VISHNEVSKI
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. Please make yourself comfortable.
19 Yes, Mr. Hayden.
20 MR. HAYDEN: Good morning, Mr. President. Good morning,
21 Your Honours.
22 Examination by Mr. Hayden:
23 Q. Good morning, Mr. Vishnevski. Can you, Mr. Vishnevski, please
24 state your full name for the court record.
25 A. Aleksandr Vishnevski.
1 MR. HAYDEN: Can I ask for 65 ter 22687, please.
2 Q. Mr. Vishnevski, what you'll see on the screen in front of you
3 very shortly is a statement that was taken on the 5th of February, 1996
4 in front of a military prosecutor in Ukraine. Did you have a chance to
5 read this document in the Russian language yesterday in The Hague?
6 A. Yes, I did. I read it.
7 Q. And can you confirm that this is a statement that you gave and
8 that it is accurate?
9 A. Yes. This statement records what I said, and it is true and
11 Q. And if I was to ask you today about the same series of events,
12 would you provide the same information to the Trial Chamber?
13 A. Yes. I would give the same answers I gave back then.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MR. HAYDEN: Mr. President, I ask that this statement be moved
16 into evidence.
17 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
18 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P2135, Your Honours.
19 MR. HAYDEN: And I'll now read a short summary of the evidence in
20 that statement.
21 Mr. Aleksandr Vishnevski was serving as an engineer in the
22 UNPROFOR Ukrainian Battalion positioned near Sarajevo from January until
23 June -- sorry, from February until June 1995. The witness was initially
24 detained by Bosnian Serb forces at the Zaria check point in Ilidza on the
25 morning of 26th May 1995
1 UNPROFOR personnel that "in order to avoid bloodshed due to the
2 bombardment of the Energoinvest plant by the NATO Air Force, they should
3 hand over their weapons and they would be taken to a safe place."
4 When UNPROFOR personnel, including the witness, saw images on
5 television of French soldiers being handcuffed and assaulted by
6 Bosnian Serb soldiers, the UNPROFOR personnel refused to co-operate until
7 a Serb police commander placed a pistol to the head of a Ukrainian
8 lieutenant-colonel and threatened to fire if the remaining weapons were
9 not handed over.
10 The soldiers were detained in Ilidza and then subsequently taken
11 by bus to Bijeljina, escorted by Bosnian Serb police. In Bijeljina, they
12 joined a group of French UNPROFOR soldiers. From Bijeljina, the
13 Ukrainian soldiers were taken to a military compound in Banja Luka
14 arrival there, the Bosnian Serb forces set dogs on the soldiers when they
15 initially refused to be split into smaller groups.
16 The witness was detained as one of 14 Ukrainian soldiers in a
17 room of the military compound until the 6th of June, 1995, when he was
18 released via Novi Sad
19 That concludes the summary.
20 Q. Mr. Vishnevski, the Court and the Judges now have the statement
21 that you provided, and so there is no need for us to go back over the
22 whole story again, but I'd like to just clarify a few details and ask you
23 some very specific questions about your evidence.
24 Now, we know from your statement that you went to the Zaria
25 check-point in Ilidza on the 25th of May and that you stayed overnight
1 there, and then you say that after breakfast on that morning there was a
2 confrontation with Serb forces, and you were subsequently detained.
3 You said that you saw television footage of French soldiers. On
4 whose television did you view that footage?
5 A. The TV set was in the premises where we were. Four people stayed
6 in one room, and in each room there was a TV set. If I remember well, I
7 think the TV channel was CNN, and they were showing French soldiers who
8 were standing around some trees, around some poles, and that's what we
9 saw. They made them hug trees, hug poles.
10 Q. And the premises you referred to, did they belong to UNPROFOR or
11 the Bosnian Serbs?
12 A. It was the UNPROFOR compound.
13 Q. Now, Mr. Vishnevski, when you were in Bosnia in 1995, were you
14 able to speak or understand the Serbian language?
15 A. A little bit. "Hello," "good-bye," things like that. Very
17 JUDGE KWON: Just for clarification, Mr. Hayden, I take it
18 Mr. Vishnevski is speaking in Russian, Ukrainian, which is interpreted.
19 MR. HAYDEN: He's speaking in Russian, Mr. President, and we're
20 receiving interpretation.
21 JUDGE KWON: Thank you very much.
22 MR. HAYDEN:
23 Q. Sir, so you've told us that you spoke of -- a little amount of
24 Serbian. Were any of your Ukrainian colleagues at the Zaria check-point
25 able to speak or understand Serbian in a -- in a more comprehensive
2 A. Yes. There -- the people who were there for over a year could
3 understand Serbian quite well. Captain Movchaniuk was quite fluent in
5 Q. And how long had Captain Movchaniuk been at the Zaria
6 check-point, do you know?
7 A. I think that he had been there for over a year at that point.
8 Q. And on the morning of the 26th of May, the same morning you
9 handed over the weapons, did Captain Movchaniuk tell you anything with
10 respect to what the Bosnian Serb soldiers were saying?
11 A. No. He said that the Serb police had said that NATO would start
12 air-strikes, and since he spoke Serbian, he spoke to them, and they told
13 him that we had to be evacuated in order to safe from the NATO bombing.
14 Q. Thank you. And sorry, I think there was an error in my question
15 when I asked you what the Bosnian Serb soldiers were saying. I take it
16 that he was interacting with Bosnian Serb police officers, not soldiers;
17 is that right?
18 A. There were no soldiers of the Serbian Army there until we refused
19 to surrender any further weapons. At that point, the Serbian Army got
20 involved. Initially we surrendered our weapons or part of our weapons to
21 the Serbian police.
22 Q. And from what your colleague, the captain, was telling you or
23 otherwise, did you form a view as to why you were being detained on that
25 A. When we saw how they took French forces as hostages, we assumed
1 that the same fate would befall us, that we would also be taken as
2 hostages, but officially nobody said as much to us.
3 Q. Now, you were taken from Ilidza, and you eventually were taken by
4 bus to Bijeljina and from there to Banja Luka, and in your statement you
5 say that when you arrived in Banja Luka, that dogs were used to enforce
6 an order that you split into small groups.
7 Can you tell the Court precisely how the dogs were used to
8 enforce this order.
9 A. When they suggested that we break into smaller groups, we refused
10 to do that. We refused to follow that order of the Serb soldiers.
11 Captain Movchaniuk was involved in negotiations for quite a long time
12 with the commander of the Serb soldiers. Then he said to us that they
13 suggested that we break into smaller groups because we would be taken to
14 different locations. Lieutenant-Colonel Kruchkov, who was the senior
15 officer, he told us that we should resist to be broken into smaller
16 groups as much as possible. And then some younger soldiers who were 17
17 and 18 came to that location, and they brought German shepherds with them
18 on a leash, and to the extent that the leash allowed, they started
19 setting dogs on us. However, the Serb soldiers would only let the dogs
20 as far as the leash allowed, some 10 to 15 centimetres. And this is how
21 the 14 of us that were in our group were forced to move into the
22 barracks. The dogs had no muzzles on them.
23 Q. You were forced to move into the barracks. The room that you
24 were detained in, were you able to see outside from that room?
25 A. No. The thing is that we were in the barracks, and there were --
1 there were bed bunks there, and then there were sandbags around it so
2 that it was insulated.
3 Q. Now, when you were released in June, you subsequently filled out
4 a questionnaire for the United Nations in Zagreb.
5 And for others in the courtroom, I'm referring to 65 ter 19393,
6 and I'll be specifically referring to page 3. There's no need to bring
7 it up.
8 And in that questionnaire, Mr. Vishnevski, you state that you
9 were held in the vicinity of an airfield. If you couldn't see out the
10 window of the room you were detained in, how did you know you were being
11 detained near an airfield?
12 A. Because we could constantly hear the sound of planes taking off
13 and planes landing. So it wasn't difficult to establish that even though
14 we didn't see it.
15 Q. And judging from the noises you heard, the sounds of the planes
16 coming and going, were they close to where you were being detained?
17 A. I didn't see the airfield, but I could only make assumptions,
18 because it's not difficult to make a distinction between planes simply
19 flying over and planes landing or taking off. So we could see a little
20 bit, a tiny bit, through the window that wasn't covered with the
21 sandbags. So it wasn't difficult to establish what I have just told you.
22 MR. HAYDEN: Can I ask for 65 ter 23078.
23 Q. What you'll see on the screen in front of you, sir, is a map.
24 Can you confirm that you have reviewed this map and that it indicates the
25 different locations in Bosnia and Herzegovina that you were detained and
1 travelled to in this two-week period described in your statement?
2 A. Yes. I saw the map, and it corresponds to the movements which
3 took place at the time.
4 MR. HAYDEN: I ask for this to be admitted into evidence.
5 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
6 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P2136, Your Honours.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We were captured at Ilidza, we were
8 taken to Krivoglavci. We were taken there by buses, and then we were
9 escorted by police cars.
10 Can I see the map, please?
11 MR. HAYDEN:
12 Q. Mr. Vishnevski, the route that you described, I believe, is
13 contained in your statement, and this is a reflection of that. If there
14 are any corrections, of course, that you wish to make, then please do
15 indicate that.
16 A. No, no corrections are needed. The itinerary that we see on the
17 map fully corresponds to reality.
18 Q. Thank you. Finally, there are three documents that I'd like to
19 show you.
20 MR. HAYDEN: And if I can ask for 65 ter 03656.
21 Q. And I want to ask you whether certain aspects of these documents
22 are consistent with your experiences.
23 Now, these three documents come from the Bosnian Serb Army, so
24 there's no reason why you would be familiar with them or have seen them
25 before your arrival in The Hague
1 according to the header it's from the Main Staff of the Republika Srpska
2 Army, and it contains a number of orders, and I'd like to focus on the
3 second and the third bullet point.
4 The second is an order that says:
5 "The command of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, during the night of
6 27 May 1995
7 staff as follows."
8 And then under subpoint B
9 corps based in Banja Luka, would receive 40 UNPROFOR members.
10 And the next order, number 3, says that:
11 "The command of the 1st Krajina Corps shall immediately sent a
12 military police squad to the barracks in Bijeljina in order to receive
13 the above-mentioned number ..."
14 And it goes on to say they will be taken to Banja Luka.
15 Mr. Vishnevski, was it the case that 40 UNPROFOR members were
16 taken from Bijeljina by the 1st Krajina Corps to Banja Luka on the 27th
17 of May?
18 A. Yes, that's how it was. We left on the 26th, and on the 27th we
19 were in Banja Luka.
20 MR. HAYDEN: I ask for this document to be admitted into
22 JUDGE KWON: Yes, it will be admitted.
23 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P2137, Your Honours.
24 MR. HAYDEN: And I ask for 16505, please.
25 Q. The next document, sir, is dated the following day, the 28th of
1 May, 1995
2 Main Staff of the Republika Srpska Army.
3 If I can turn to page 6 of the English, which is page 3 of the
4 B/C/S. And I just want to focus on one paragraph here, the first
5 paragraph. It says:
6 "The 1st Krajina Corps command took over 57 UNPROFOR members from
7 the Eastern Bosnia Corps, including 43 Ukrainians ..."
8 Mr. Vishnevski, is that correct? Was it 43 Ukrainians who were
9 taken over by the 1st Krajina Corps?
10 A. Yes, there were 43 of us Ukrainians, and then in Bijeljina,
11 14 French marines joined us.
12 MR. HAYDEN: I ask that this document be admitted into evidence.
13 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
14 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P2138, Your Honours.
15 MR. HAYDEN: 65 ter 13528 is the next document.
16 Q. This is the final document, Mr. Vishnevski. This one's dated the
17 6th of June. Once again, it comes from the Main Staff, and it's entitled
18 "Order to release UNPROFOR prisoners of war."
19 If I could have page 2 of the English, leaving at page 1 of the
20 B/C/S, please.
21 And the first order in this document reads:
22 "The command of the 1st and 2nd Krajina Corps are to release the
23 captured UNPROFOR members and transport them to the Bijeljina Garrison."
24 Two questions, Mr. Vishnevski: First, were you released from
25 Banja Luka on the 6th of June, 1995?
1 A. Yes. We were released from Banja Luka on the 6th.
2 Q. And second question: Were you first taken to Bijeljina before
3 you left Bosnia
4 A. No. We went from Banja Luka to Bijeljina, and then from
5 Bijeljina, they took us to Novi Sad
6 Q. Just -- just to confirm, your -- the bus that took you from
7 Banja Luka, went via Bijeljina; is that right?
8 A. Yes. And then in Bijeljina, they held us the entire evening,
9 until about 1.00 a.m.
10 MR. HAYDEN: I ask that this document be admitted into evidence.
11 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
12 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P2139, Your Honours.
13 MR. HAYDEN: That concludes my direct examination. There are no
14 associated exhibits.
15 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Mr. Hayden.
16 Now, Mr. Karadzic, it's now for you to cross-examine
17 Mr. Vishnevski.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Good morning,
19 Your Excellency. Good morning, everyone.
20 Cross-examination by Mr. Karadzic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Vishnevski. Thank you for
22 agreeing to meet with the Defence previously. I think that will make
23 this cross-examination shorter and easier.
24 First of all, may I ask you to tell us whether on the 26th of May
25 you were in active service on the Ukrainian Battalion of the UNPROFOR?
1 A. Yes, I was still serving.
2 Q. Thank you. How about the others, the men that you knew who were
3 captured at the same time? Were they also in active service in the UN
5 A. Yes. We were still in active service, all of us, because all
6 these problems started around lunchtime on the 26th of May.
7 Q. Would I be right in thinking that in contacts -- you had contacts
8 with the Serbian police and later the Serb army from 11.00 on the 25th of
9 May until the 26th, and that you were held in a certain status? They
10 were telling you that you were going to be moved from that factory
11 because the factory may be targeted by air-strikes, and they were
12 protective towards you.
13 A. I don't really know about protectiveness. If they wanted to
14 protect us, why would they be taking away our personal weapons?
15 Q. Did they explain why they wanted to move you from the
16 Energoinvest factory? What was the reason given?
17 A. Yes. We were told by Captain Movchaniuk, who was negotiating
18 with the police, that they supposed that NATO air-strikes might target
19 the factory, and they wanted to move us from there in order not to become
20 collateral damage of those air-strikes. That's what the Serbian police
22 Q. Thank you. The first reason why you were stopped earlier, the
23 first reason given, was that Sarajevo
25 A. Yes. On the 25th, when we were transferring from Krivoglavci
1 back to the battalion, to the barracks Marsal Tito, we were stopped. Our
2 car was stopped in Ilidza by the police. They told us Sarajevo was under
3 a blockade, and it was impossible to move inside or around Sarajevo
4 Q. Thank you. In your statement that I have before me, dated
5 5 February 1996
6 factory compound of Energoinvest could become a target, that you should
7 turn over your weapons, and then the police would escort you to a safe
8 place. Is it then correct that you spent all of 26 hours in this
9 location with the Serbian police, and there was no crisis there? The
10 crisis occurred only around lunchtime on the 26th.
11 A. From lunchtime on the 25th, the whole night of the 25th, and in
12 the morning of the 26th, everything was fine. There was no conflict with
13 the Serbian police or the Serbian soldiers who were also present in the
14 factory compound. It was only when we started turning over weapons at
15 our request [as interpreted], and we initially agreed to turn over our
16 weapons and started handing them over together with ammunition, and in
17 the process of handing over our automatic rifles, with proper records
18 being made that we saw on television this footage of French soldiers
19 being taken hostage, and then we refused to hand over any more weapons,
20 and that's when the conflict started.
21 Q. Thank you. Did they tell you, did you have any knowledge, that
22 in the meantime a conflict had occurred between the Serbian Army and the
23 French UNPROFOR Battalion? It was an armed conflict near the
24 Vrbanja Bridge
25 A. No, nobody told us, and I don't know that, never heard of that.
1 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vishnevski. Thank you very much for coming here
2 to testify, for meeting with the Defence before coming to give evidence.
3 Thank you.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have no further questions,
5 Your Excellencies.
6 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Vishnevski, what was your rank at the time?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sergeant.
8 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Hayden, do you have any further re-examination?
9 MS. EDGERTON: No further questions.
10 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. Mr. Vishnevski, that concludes your
11 evidence. On behalf of the Tribunal and the Bench, I thank you for
12 coming to The Hague
13 [The witness withdrew]
14 JUDGE KWON: I was told that we need to break for at least 15
15 minutes to set up the courtroom for the next witness. We will take a
16 break for 15 minutes, and we will resume at 5 to 10.00.
17 --- Break taken at 9.40 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 9.59 a.m.
19 [The witness entered court]
20 JUDGE KWON: Good morning, Witness. Could you kindly take the
21 solemn declaration.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
23 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
24 WITNESS: KDZ196
25 [Witness answered through interpreter]
1 JUDGE KWON: Please make yourself comfortable.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 JUDGE KWON: Good morning, Ms. Edgerton. It's your witness.
4 MS. EDGERTON: Good morning, Your Honours. Thank you.
5 Examination by Ms. Edgerton:
6 Q. Mr. Witness, could you please telling us whether you recall
7 giving a signed statement under oath in March 1998 in relation to your
8 experiences in May and June of 1995?
9 A. Yes, indeed, I can confirm this. I made this statement.
10 Q. Now, prior to giving evidence here today, did you have an
11 opportunity to re-read that document, which I should note is
12 65 ter 22667, in a language you understood?
13 A. Yes, thank you, but if you allow me, I would like to go through
14 it briefly again.
15 MS. EDGERTON: Your indulgence for a moment, Your Honours.
16 I omitted, Your Honour, to bring a printed copy with me, so I've
17 just asked Mr. Reid to print that up again. It might take a couple of
19 Yes. I do note I could have displayed it in e-court,
20 Your Honour, but in the event he wishes to refer to it to refresh himself
21 in any regard, I thought this might be better.
22 JUDGE KWON: Fully understood, Ms. Edgerton. Please carry on.
23 MS. EDGERTON: Thank you.
24 Q. Now, Mr. Witness, do you recognise that to be the sworn statement
25 you gave in March of 1998?
1 A. Yes, indeed, I recognise this sworn statement which I gave in
3 Q. Now, I just have one question to ask you by way of clarification
4 to that document. In paragraph 3 -- 7, third subparagraph, you refer to
5 your unit as having three [Interpretation] [no interpretation] ERC 90
6 Sagaie, [In English] which is translated as three ERC Sagaie light tanks
7 in the English version. Could you just be a bit more precise about what
8 this vehicle actually was?
9 A. Yes, indeed. This is a light gun, 90-millimetre. It has -- it's
10 six-while drive, and it's usually called in English a light-armoured
11 vehicle. I believe that this will answer your question.
12 Q. Thank you. Now, as regards clarifications, I have no further
13 questions for you, but do you have any other changes, corrections, or
14 clarifications to that document?
15 A. No. Everything I said matches what happened, and I do not wish
16 to make any correction or clarifications.
17 Q. So then if I was to ask you the same questions today which gave
18 rise to the answers in that 1998 statement, would you give the same
20 A. Yes, indeed, I would.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 MS. EDGERTON: Could we then, please, Your Honours, have
23 65 ter 22667 as the next Prosecution exhibit under seal.
24 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
25 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P2140 under seal, Your Honours.
1 MS. EDGERTON: Thank you. I'll now read a summary of this
2 witness's written evidence in his own language.
3 [Interpretation] During the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the
4 witness was a member of UNPROFOR in Sarajevo in 1995. His mission was to
5 man the weapon collection point, WCP, in Poljine, in order to control
6 Serb weapons by daily patrols and contacts with Serb authorities.
7 Upon his arrival, the witness and his troops had a good
8 relationship with Bosnian Serbs. The witness used to meet Captain Drago
9 two or four times a day. However, after heavy fighting resumed in
11 more tense.
12 On the 26th of May, 1995, the witness and his soldiers were taken
13 hostage by Bosnian Serbs. Commander Medic, who was obviously in charge
14 of operations, asked them to lay down their weapons. Given that the
15 witness did not meet this request and started to discuss about it, was
16 subjected to threats. First of all, upon orders of Commander Medic, one
17 of his soldiers shot at the watchtower of the UNPROFOR post with a rocket
18 launcher. Then Captain Drago placed a knife on the neck of the witness
19 while another soldier was aiming at his back with a Kalashnikov, asking
20 to lay down his weapons, failing which they would be shot. And then
21 Captain Drago asked one of his soldiers to open fire with a rocket
22 launcher on the tank of the UNPROFOR and threatened the hostages to be
23 shot if they did not obey.
24 Feeling that the attackers were -- would act on their threats,
25 the witness decided to lay down their weapons. The UNPROFOR post was
1 immediately infested by Bosnian Serb soldiers. The witness and his
2 weapons --
3 THE INTERPRETER: Correction, the interpreter.
4 MS. EDGERTON: [Interpretation] The witness and his soldiers were
5 stripped of all their weapons as well as of their protection gear and
6 their personal items.
7 The witness and his soldiers moved from one location to another,
8 and this on several instances. They were taken to the military hospital
9 in Jagomir, to the military barracks of Bijeljina as well as in a house
10 near Doboj. During this time, hostages were not mistreated but they were
11 on close watch. It is only on the 7th of June that the witness and most
12 of his men were freed.
13 Q. [In English] Thank you. Now, that being the summary of the
14 witness's written evidence, I'd like to ask you, Mr. Witness, a couple of
15 additional questions, some arising from your statement.
16 In paragraph 7, in the first subparagraph you referred to three
17 weapons collection points in the area of your post and described
18 generally the weapons found there, and I'd like to ask you, did you
19 actually ever visit these weapons collection points? And perhaps before
20 you answer, could I ask you to speak slowly so that the interpreters can
21 follow everything you answer.
22 A. Yes, I can confirm that as far as the WCP of Poljine, there were
23 three weapon collection points. Actually, the first one was about
24 100 metres from our position and there were mainly 40-millimetre
25 anti-aircraft guns. There were about six or seven, I can't recall
1 exactly how many. And there were 2- or 300, M5 millimetre guns. At
2 about 500 metres from your position there were a second WCP, and there
3 you had 120 mortars as well as heavy tank of T-55 and a light tank M-17,
4 76 millimetres. And 3 kilometres away from our position there was a
5 third WCP, and there were 105-millimetre guns, as well as 122-millimetre
6 gun, and 120 mortars. So there were three WCPs, and I was overseeing the
7 entirety of those three WCPs in Poljine.
8 Q. How close were you -- or did you ever actually visit these
9 weapons collection points?
10 A. Between the 12th of May when we took our position and up to the
11 22nd of May, I would go there twice a day to each of those WCPs. I could
12 check on the fact that the weapons were there, and I could also talk to
13 Serb soldiers that were there. So upon my several visits there, I could
14 check that those weapons were there and were not used. So I went there
15 several times, up to the 21st or 22nd of May. After that, it was more
16 difficult to get there.
17 Q. During these earlier visits did you ever see the weapons in
18 actual use?
19 A. Given that we were based at our position, I could not go on site,
20 but I'm fairly certain that the T-55 as well as the M-80, 76- millimetre
21 tanks were used at several instances because we were very close to them
22 and we could basically clearly hear shots that were coming from there and
23 going towards the city. I could not, of course, confirm this positively
24 because I was not physically there, but I'm fairly certain that those
25 weapons were used and this on several instances, but I could not
1 double-check this.
2 Q. Now, in your evidence you've just noted that after 21, 22 May it
3 was more difficult to get there in regards to the weapons collection
4 points, and you also said something to that effect at paragraph 8 of your
5 statement. In fact, in paragraph 8 you said:
6 "[Interpretation] On the ground it means that we could not go
7 very often, and we -- this limited our movement and rendered our contacts
8 more difficult."
9 A. Indeed, I had daily contacts at the beginning with Captain Drago.
10 So we had a good relationship. But then we were not allowed any more to
11 go to the WCPs, and this was actually mentioned by Captain Drago, saying
12 that we were banned from going there. Thereafter, we tried to organise
13 patrols, but we were actually physically stopped by Bosnian Serb soldiers
14 that were on the way, and thereafter, because we really wanted to
15 organise those patrols, there were actually antitank mines, circular-type
16 mines that were on the tracks, and therefore we could not go.
17 Then after that, and I was not close enough, but there were
18 antipersonnel mines that were also set up in order stop us from getting
19 out of the observation post. This is why, as of the 22nd or 23rd of May,
20 we were not able to organise patrols for the weapon collection points
21 that I was in charge of.
22 Q. Thank you. Now, just to go a little bit further in your
23 statement, at paragraph 31 you referred to your own detention, saying you
24 were kept at a munitions depot and a command post, and I'd like to know
25 what was your basis for asserting that was the actual use of the location
1 where you were held.
2 A. I soon as I arrived in Doboj, I immediately recognised that it
3 was a munition depot, because there was a rather large number of
4 ammunition boxes or crates of all types. I could actually get closer to
5 those crates and boxes and I could see for myself that these were
6 ammunition. This was actually confirmed by the Serb captain who was in
7 charge of this position, and he was the head of this artillery unit for
8 this area, and he confirmed that on top of it being an ammunition depot,
9 it was also a command post for the sector or for the area.
10 Q. Thank you. Now, I have no additional questions as regards the
11 statement you gave in 1998, but I'd like to show you a number of
12 documents relating to the events you've given evidence about. The first
13 one is 65 ter 19319. It's a questionnaire.
14 MS. EDGERTON: That should, of course, not be broadcast.
15 Q. Do you recognise the document you see before you, Mr. Witness?
16 A. Yes, indeed, and this is my handwriting.
17 Q. Now, this is a questionnaire. Could you tell us when you filled
18 in this questionnaire and what it is?
19 A. I don't recall exactly when I filled in this questionnaire. I
20 remember that it was a few days after I was freed, and this questionnaire
21 was to be completed by individuals who were taken hostage at the WCP in
23 Q. Now, as it's not specifically mentioned in your statement of
24 1998, does this first page of this questionnaire confirm your position at
25 the time you were taken hostage?
1 A. Yes, indeed it does confirm the function that I had at the time.
2 MS. EDGERTON: Could this please be the next Prosecution exhibit
3 under seal.
4 MR. ROBINSON: Excuse me.
5 JUDGE KWON: I was about to ask you, Ms. Edgerton, what the point
6 is of tendering this. Is it consistent with our practice, having one
7 amalgamated statement? So ...
8 MS. EDGERTON: Your indulgence for a moment, Your Honour.
9 [Prosecution counsel confer]
10 MS. EDGERTON: Your Honour, this was or is being tendered now
11 because it being so contemporaneous to the events at the time, my view,
12 or, I took the position that it was a more of a contemporaneous action
13 than a statement and was being tendered in that regard, but I'm not going
14 to press the point, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE KWON: My question was whether there are points which were
16 not covered by his statement, whether there's specific parts you wanted
17 to tender. Or then deal with the matter. If you're not pressing, then
18 let's do without it.
19 MS. EDGERTON: Exactly, Your Honour. Thank you.
20 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
21 Was that your point, Mr. Robinson?
22 MR. ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
24 MS. EDGERTON:
25 Q. Now, Mr. Witness, in your statement, you referred repeatedly to
1 someone by the name of Vlado Medic, and at paragraph 21 you said:
2 "[Interpretation] Medic was in fact the commander of all these
3 operations and Drago was his subordinate."
4 A. Yes, I fully recall all of this. This is what I was aware of
5 when I took my position in Poljine. I knew that Commander Medic was the
6 commander of all these operations and that Drago was his subordinate. I
7 can confirm this.
8 MS. EDGERTON: Could we now see 65 ter 23073, please.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Ms. Edgerton, it needs to be released in e-court.
10 MS. EDGERTON: Has -- I understand that's just been done.
11 I see that's not the document that we had intended dealing with,
12 so I'll just move on and come back to that if I may.
13 Q. Mr. Witness, I'd like now to go to 65 ter 13528, please. That's
14 an order of the VRS Main Staff to the VRS corps, dated 6 June 1995.
15 MR. ROBINSON: That's now P2139, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
17 MS. EDGERTON: Apologies, Your Honours. I was elsewhere occupied
18 in the half hour that this was dealt with this morning.
19 Q. Mr. Witness, did you have an opportunity to look at this document
20 in preparation for your testimony today?
21 A. Yes, indeed. I've already seen this document before.
22 Q. Now, I understand you're able to read English to a certain
23 extent; is that correct?
24 A. Yes, indeed. That's not a problem.
25 Q. I'd like to take you to paragraph 1 of this document, which is on
1 the next page in English, which says:
2 "The commands of the 1st and 2nd KK," Krajina Corps, "are to
3 release the captured UNPROFOR members and transport them to the Bijeljina
5 And then I'd like to take you down to paragraph number 6 of this
6 document, which reads:
7 "The IBK command is to release one French UNPROFOR member and
8 hand him over to the MUP organs in the Bijeljina garrison."
9 And I'd like to ask you two questions: Are you able to confirm
10 that on the 6th of June you were, in fact, transported to the
11 Bijeljina garrison prior to your release?
12 A. Yes. As for this first question, I can confirm that as at the
13 date you mentioned that I was released from my Doboj detention location
14 and I was transported to the Bijeljina garrison.
15 Q. Do you have any comment with respect to the information contained
16 at paragraph 6 of this document?
17 A. Yes. As for this paragraph, we are probably talking about one of
18 my soldiers who was freed after me, and he was not detained and freed
19 with the rest of my troops. So it may be that this paragraph is
20 mentioning one of my troops.
21 Q. Thank you. If we could move on now to 65 ter 08047, please. And
22 while we're waiting for that, I'd like to ask you whether on being taken
23 hostage by Bosnian Serb forces, did they record your personal data?
24 A. When we were taken hostage, our personal items, namely our ID
25 documents, were not taken from us, which means that we could retain those
1 documents. As for our personal items that were within the possession,
2 they were taken by the Serbs when we were taken hostage, and we did not
3 have the opportunity to get our pictures, our ID documents, and our
4 protection gear.
5 Q. Perhaps I could just repeat the question. Did they -- when I
6 asked did they record your personal data, I meant to ask -- by that I
7 mean did they take your personal information, your biographical data?
8 A. This was done on two occasions, first at the Jagomir military
9 hospital the day after we were taking hostage, and it was done second
10 time on the military side of Bijeljina, and we were asked for our rank,
11 our name, our first name as well as our date of birth. I don't recall
12 having given any more personal data than that.
13 Q. Thank you. Now, if we could look at this document on the screen
14 in front of us, which actually, Your Honours, is P2109, is now P2109, do
15 you see this document in preparation for your testimony here today?
16 A. Yes, indeed. I have already seen this document before.
17 Q. Do you find this document to be consistent with the situation
18 you've experienced and what you've described?
19 A. Yes, indeed, and in subparagraph (a) we talk here about a list of
20 the members of UNPROFOR that were held hostage or taken prisoner.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 MS. EDGERTON: Your indulgence for one further moment, please,
23 Your Honours.
24 [Prosecution counsel confer]
25 MS. EDGERTON: Thank you. And if we could just now go back to
1 65 ter 23072, please.
2 JUDGE KWON: That's the item requested to be added to the 65 ter
3 list. Is there any objection from the Defence, Mr. Robinson?
4 MR. ROBINSON: No, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE KWON: Your leave is granted, Ms. Edgerton.
6 MS. EDGERTON: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Now, just to repeat my question of earlier: In your statement,
8 you referred repeatedly to one Vlado Medic and described him as being
9 commander of the operation by which you and your platoon were taken
10 hostage. Do you see the document on the screen in front of you?
11 A. Yes, I do.
12 Q. And do you see Vlado Medic being referred to in this document?
13 A. Yes, absolutely. I see his name on this document.
14 Q. Now, this is an order on appointing commanding personnel in the
15 Kosevo Brigade, appointing Vlado Medic to the rank of major. Do you find
16 this to be consistent with your assessment of Medic as exercising a
17 command function?
18 A. Yes, absolutely. This was his rank at the time.
19 MS. EDGERTON: Could that be the next Prosecution exhibit,
20 please, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P2141, Your Honours.
23 MS. EDGERTON:
24 Q. And finally, in your statement you've indicated you were taken
25 from Poljine and Jagomir in the Sarajevo
1 paragraphs 25 and 26, and to Doboj, paragraphs 27 to 31, back to
2 Bijeljina, paragraph 34, and then across the Serbian border. I'd like to
3 show you a map, 65 ter 23074, of Bosnia-Herzegovina, overlaid with the
4 areas of responsibility of the different corps of the Bosnian Serb Army.
5 Did you have an opportunity to look at this map in preparation
6 for your testimony today?
7 A. Yes, I did. I've already seen this map.
8 Q. Does this map accurately illustrate your movements during your
9 period of captivity?
10 A. Yes, I confirm that on this map there is the -- our movement
11 during these events.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MS. EDGERTON: Could that be the final Prosecution exhibit,
14 please, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, Exhibit P2142.
17 MS. EDGERTON: That concludes the examination-in-chief.
18 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Ms. Edgerton.
19 Mr. Karadzic, how long do you expect your cross-examination to
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I hope no longer than an
23 JUDGE KWON: Shall we take a break now, and then we'll break
24 till -- we've taken about a 15-minute break, so we'll take 20 minutes'
25 break this time. So we will resume at 5 to 11.00.
1 --- Recess taken at 10.36 a.m.
2 --- On resuming at 10.57 a.m.
3 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Karadzic.
4 Cross-examination by Mr. Karadzic:
5 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Witness.
6 A. Good morning.
7 Q. I regret that you did not meet with the Defence team, in which
8 case our cross-examination would have been shorter, but nevertheless, I
9 will endeavour to make it as short as possible.
10 On the 12th of May, you were supposed to go to Poljine. At what
11 time did you set out to go to Poljine on the 12th?
12 A. I don't really remember. It was very early in the morning,
13 probably around 8.00 or 9.00 in the morning. We were there to relieve
14 the post before noon
15 Q. Thank you. And then on the 13 they were relieved. A new shift
17 A. I went there twice, first time on the 12th. I tried to go there
18 alone to try and take the -- the relief -- for the relief to be early,
19 but it was not possible. The post was to be relieved the next day, on
20 the 13th.
21 Q. Thank you. In paragraph 7, you describe how there was a platoon,
22 and it had certain weaponry, individual weapons, rocket launchers, three
23 ERC 90 light tanks, one armoured personnel carrier, and one
24 light-armoured vehicle and a truck. Now, whose platoon was it, the one
25 that was together with you in that location?
1 A. This platoon was directly subordinated to an armoured squadron
2 who was in Zetra in Sarajevo
3 Q. So that was UNPROFOR troops; right?
4 A. Yes. This was an armoured squadron of UNPROFOR.
5 Q. Thank you. You submitted daily reports to your command; right?
6 A. As a serviceman, I was supposed to report daily of what had
7 happened on the post under my supervision, all incidents that might have
9 Q. What kind of information did you report on? In addition to
10 events, did you also inform about the state of morale, attitude, mood,
11 things like that?
12 A. My reports were based on facts. I reported on the number of
13 weapons, on the different points, on their state, whether they'd been
14 used or not. I also reported on my contacts with the local Serbian
15 authorities and on the substance of what had been said. I was not there
16 to make and give -- have any opinions on the atmosphere, whatever was
17 happening in the -- on the post.
18 Q. Thank you. In paragraph 8 of your statement, you say that you
19 were on good terms with the Serbs. You could even call them cordial
20 relations, that you met frequently, and you said that:
21 "This allowed us not only to obtain information about the zone
22 but also get to know the Serbs' state of mind."
23 This is what prompted me to put that question to you. Was it
24 indeed the way it is described here?
25 A. Well, to be very specific, thanks to this, I was able to know
1 exactly what was the relationship I had with the counterparts. The
2 purpose was not to obtain information.
3 Q. Thank you. You noted that from the 15th May onwards, the
4 situation deteriorated as a result of heavy fighting which had resumed in
6 offensive that the Muslim side launched first?
7 A. The only thing I noted with my open eyes was that there was an
8 exchange of fire between the two sides, combat. I cannot tell which side
9 started it. I was not informed of this.
10 Q. Thank you. In paragraph 10, you say that you had heard that a
11 Vlado Medic commanded a group of renegade Serbs in Vogosca. Now, who
12 described this group of soldiers as renegades, and who did they rebel
14 A. When I arrived in Sarajevo
15 They gave -- took -- they gave me an overview of the situation, and the
16 men with -- troops with Commander Vlado Medic were introduced to me as
17 such. Later on, I did note that it was indeed their chief and that
18 Vlado Medic was a very disciplined and very strong leader. But this was
19 reported to me by other people who were with me -- before me in Sarajevo
20 and in Poljine.
21 Q. However, you did accept that in that war there were three warring
22 sides, didn't you? So what did you think, that Vlado Medic was a
23 renegade who split from the Muslim government or who split from the Serb
25 A. During the facts [as interpreted] I was a lieutenant, head of a
1 platoon, and I didn't have enough elements at my disposal to answer your
2 question. All I can say, however, is that when I was there, I noted that
3 Vlado Medic was a commander, that he did command his troops, and that he
4 was the sector commander.
5 As far as your first question, at the time I was only a
6 lieutenant, and therefore I cannot answer you. I don't have enough
7 elements to answer you.
8 Q. Thank you. What you stated in paragraph 14, is it true, namely
9 that Vlado Medic told you, "You are our prisoner. Surrender and lay down
10 your weapons"?
11 A. Yes, absolutely. Earlier he introduced himself so I knew exactly
12 what his identity was as well as his intent.
13 Q. Thank you. Prior to that, in paragraph 11 you say that on the
14 26th of May, you were informed by Captain Drago that you were not to go
15 on any patrols or have any outings whatsoever, yet on the 26th of May,
16 you received an order to carry out a patrol, and that point in time, you
17 did not notice any change whatsoever; is that right?
18 A. Yes. This is what happened on May 26th.
19 Q. Therefore, Captain Drago did not forbid you from going on patrol
20 duty. Nobody prevented you from doing that; right?
21 A. On the morning of May 26th, no one stopped us in our patrols,
22 which had not been the case in the previous days.
23 Q. Thank you. Is it true what you state in paragraph 16, namely
24 that Medic wanted to recover Serbian weapons that were under your control
25 in order to prevent a Bosniak offensive?
1 A. I cannot find the sentence that you mentioned in this paragraph.
2 Could you tell me exactly which paragraph you're talking about?
3 Q. Paragraph 16, last sentence:
4 "He also told me that he hoped to recover Serbian weapons that
5 were under our control in order to prevent a Bosniak offensive."
6 I'm reading translation from -- from the French. I hope that
7 it's correctly translated for you. So it's paragraph 16, last sentence.
8 A. Yes, I've found the sentence. This is what -- this is exactly
9 what he told me.
10 Q. Thank you. That was already on the 26th, or perhaps on the 25th.
11 When was it?
12 A. Yes, sir, absolutely. It was on the 26th.
13 Q. So the offensive had been ongoing for ten days already, the
14 Muslim offensive. Do you know that in that part, the north-eastern part
15 of Sarajevo
17 A. As I told you earlier, I was not privy to this kind of
18 information. I did not know that a Muslim offensive had been launched
19 since the 15th or the 16th. I did not know what was the situation of the
20 warring parties in the region I was in.
21 Q. Thank you. Today, on page 25, lines 17 and 18, when interpreting
22 P2109, you said that the document spoke about the persons who were taken
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we have that document on the
25 screen again, P2109, please.
1 [In English] If I am not wrong, it was probably the last
2 document, P2109 that was in the electronic court.
3 JUDGE KWON: 65 ter 8047.
4 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
5 JUDGE KWON: I was advised, Mr. Karadzic, that we are having a
6 technical difficulty. Could you deal with another topic while they look
7 into the matter.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right. Thank you.
9 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. You say that after you intervened, somebody went to inquire
11 whether the situation had changed, and that person came back angry and
12 said that it wasn't true that the situation was improving. Were you then
13 informed about the conflict between Serb soldiers and UNPROFOR troops at
14 the Vrbanja Bridge
15 because in paragraph 24 you say that that happened when you were at the
16 Kasindol hospital?
17 A. Regarding the first item, it was commander Vlado Medic. When I
18 reported to my chief to tell him what had happened, it was the colonel
19 that was in charge of the 4th French Battalion, and he told me the
20 situation is improving. There's negotiation going on. Normally the
21 hostage crisis should not last long. So I reported this back to
22 Vlado Medic, and I think he probably went and called his superiors by
23 phone for about three or four minutes, and then he came back and was
24 extremely angry and said it wasn't true, the situation hadn't changed.
25 There were no negotiations. That is to answer your first question.
1 Now, regarding your second question, let me tell you that I was
2 only informed of the situation of what had happened on the Vrbanja Bridge
3 the next day, on May 27th, when I was at the Jagomir hospital. I believe
4 I've answered your second question.
5 Q. Thank you. They told you, that's the last sentence of paragraph
6 24, that people were killed on both sides. Did they tell you that some
7 soldiers were captured, that there were Serb soldiers who had been
9 A. No. At the time, I had no details. I was not informed that
10 there had been prisoners on either sides. I was not informed of the
11 casualties either, killed and wounded. I know that there were people
12 killed and other people wounded, but I didn't know about it. I knew the
13 detail -- the details were told to me later on.
14 Q. In the last sentence of paragraph 24, it says:
15 "We learned from a Serbian soldier that a military operation had
16 taken place at the Vrbanja Bridge
17 sides. This announcement created tension between us and the Serbs."
18 All right. Now let us move to this other document. In paragraph
19 (a), it seems that you interpreted this document to mean that -- in
20 Serbian it says that the number of members of UNPROFOR UNHCR who had been
21 taken prisoner should be counted. In English it says "prisoner," but it
22 doesn't say "hostage."
23 So would you agree with me that this document uses the phrase
24 "taken prisoner," not "taken hostage"?
25 A. This document was written by the Serbian authorities, and it does
1 mention prisoners, but they meant us.
2 Q. Yes. They, naturally, meant you, but they considered you
4 And then in paragraph 26, do you indeed say that:
5 "On the bus there were some hundred of us military prisoners"?
6 A. When I use the word "prisoners," I'm not using it in a legal
7 sense or in the military sense. I just meant that we were captive. We
8 were stuck in that bus, and we were in custody. We couldn't escape. I
10 Q. Thank you. On the 26th of May, 1995, were you an active
11 serviceman in the French Battalion of the UN?
12 A. Yes, sir.
13 Q. What did you and your troops have in terms of weapons?
14 A. There were 21 people in my platoon. Each had an individual
15 weapon, either an automatic pistol or an assault rifle. My platoon had
16 three light-armoured vehicles, ERC 90, as well as one APC, two light
17 recce armoured vehicles, one truck, as well as two light rocket launchers
18 and one sniper rifle, which was the normal standard issue for this kind
19 of a platoon.
20 Q. Thank you. The others who were taken prisoner with you, were
21 they also active servicemen in the UN army?
22 A. Yes. I can answer by a yes for the French units. I believe it
23 was the same case for the units of other nationalities, the British and
24 the Ukrainians that I met on the bus.
25 Q. Thank you, Witness. This concludes my cross-examination.
1 JUDGE KWON: Ms. Edgerton, do you have any re-examination?
2 MS. EDGERTON: Just your indulgence again for a couple of
3 seconds, please, Your Honour.
4 [Prosecution counsel confer]
5 MS. EDGERTON: Only one if I may.
6 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. Please proceed, Ms. Edgerton.
7 Re-examination by Ms. Edgerton:
8 Q. Mr. Witness, in the page immediately above page 35, lines 20 to
9 21, Dr. Karadzic asked you the following question:
10 "The others who were taken prisoner with you, were they also
11 active servicemen in the UN army?"
12 And you responded:
13 "I can answer by yes for the French units. I believe it was the
14 same case for the units of other nationalities," and listed those
16 So my question to you is: When you gave your answer to
17 Dr. Karadzic, what UN organ or body did you mean to be referring to?
18 Were you referring to the peacekeeping force?
19 A. I referred to the Blue Helmets, the peacekeeping forces,
21 Q. By "Blue Helmets," what do you mean?
22 A. Well, these are the military troops of UNPROFOR.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MS. EDGERTON: That's all, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
1 Mr. Witness, that concludes your evidence. On behalf of the
2 Bench and the Tribunal as a whole, I thank you for coming to the Tribunal
3 to give it. Now you are free to go and please have a safe journey back
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Thank
6 you to all Judges.
7 JUDGE KWON: Please wait a minute until we draw the curtain.
8 Shall we go into private session briefly.
9 [Private session]
25 [Open session]
1 THE REGISTRAR: We are now in open session.
2 JUDGE KWON: Is the next witness ready, Mr. Tieger?
3 MR. TIEGER: The next witness is not on premises, Your Honour, I
4 was informed by VWS. I think that's a reflection of the pace at which we
5 are moving in the previous schedule.
6 JUDGE KWON: How long do you think it would take to bring him to
7 the courtroom?
8 MR. TIEGER: Well, we are at your disposal, Your Honour. It
9 would be our recommendation, given the adjournment time, that -- and
10 given our projections for the remainder of the week, that it's probably
11 more expedient and sensible to adjourn for the day and continue tomorrow,
12 but, of course, I leave that to the Court.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE KWON: Can we know, Mr. Tieger, how long it will take the
15 bring the witness, if we are to bring him in?
16 MR. TIEGER: Well, I didn't receive that specific information
17 given my understanding generally of -- well, first of all, I understand
18 the witness was told by VWS that he was to commence testimony tomorrow.
19 JUDGE KWON: Tomorrow.
20 MR. TIEGER: So I don't -- I wasn't advised specifically whether
21 he is locatable in the hotel or is elsewhere. That I can find out
22 immediately, and I may be receiving an e-mail answering that imminently.
23 JUDGE KWON: In that case, we will adjourn for the day. So we
24 will resume tomorrow morning at 9.00. The hearing is now adjourned.
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 11.29 a.m.
1 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 26th day
2 of January, 2011, at 9.00 a.m.