1 Thursday, 17 June 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning to everybody in and around the
8 Mr. Registrar, will you call the case.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
10 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-81-T,
11 the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Perisic. Thank you.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Could we have the appearances
13 for the day starting with the Prosecution, please.
14 MR. SAXON: Good morning, Your Honours. Dan Saxon, Bronagh
15 McKenna, and Mr. Laurent Vuillemin for the Prosecution.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. For the Defence.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good
18 morning to everybody in the courtroom. Novak Lukic and Boris Zorko for
19 Mr. Perisic.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: My apologies. The Chamber is still sitting
22 pursuant to Rule 15 bis in Judge David's unavailability.
23 Again, good morning, Mr. Skrbic.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning to everyone.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Again my warning that you are bound by the
1 declaration you made at the beginning of your testimony to tell the
2 truth, the whole truth, and nothing else but the truth. Thank you so
4 Mr. Lukic. And before you start, Mr. Lukic, can you tell us what
5 became of your 65 ter 03334D? It doesn't look like it was admitted into
6 evidence. I don't know whether you intended to tender it.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] It is a separate document that we
8 went over yesterday, I haven't concluded it with the witness. Once I
9 conclude it, then I will tender it into evidence because yesterday we had
10 to stop. We had to adjourned.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Okay. You may proceed then,
12 Mr. Lukic. Don't be surprised that your colleague is standing. He's
13 sitting, actually.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] There's just one matter. Either
15 Mr. Saxon or I will inform you about it, but we need to go into private
16 session anyway. So we might as well do it right away.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
18 [Private session] [Confidentiality lifted by order of Trial Chamber]
19 THE REGISTRAR: We're in private session, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Yes, Mr. Lukic.
21 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, if I may --
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Saxon.
23 MR. SAXON: I was watching the testimony of the last session
24 yesterday from my office and following it on the -- on the screen as
25 well. I am aware of the witness's request to view one of the original
1 notebooks, and I just want to inform the Court of the following: I have
2 arranged to have one of the original notebooks available, and Mr. Lukic
3 and I have agreed if you will grant us leave that at the first break,
4 with the assistance of the usher, when the witness is escorted back to
5 the witness waiting-room, I will then go retrieve this original notebook,
6 and Mr. Lukic and I will come to the witness waiting-room, and we will
7 simply put it in front of the witness so he may look at it if that is all
8 right with the Chamber.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's fine by the Chamber, if it's fine by
10 Mr. Lukic. Thank you.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, Your Honours.
12 Now, I would like to go back to the document that we looked at
13 yesterday. This is 1D12-0009.
14 WITNESS: PETAR SKRBIC [Resumed]
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 Examination by Mr. Lukic: [Continued]
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] And just to remind everyone, this is
18 an entry from the notebook of General Mladic about a meeting held at the
19 command post on the 12th of August, 1994, and we need page 10, both in
20 the B/C/S and in English.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Didn't we look at this page yesterday?
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No. We came to this page, page 10,
23 which is now before you. This is where we stopped. We came to the words
24 of General Skrbic. This is where we adjourned. So I will take it from
1 Q. Mr. Skrbic, during proofing session you looked at the document,
2 so I won't read it out loud, but just to remind yourself, would you
3 please read this portion.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] And can we also see the next page so
5 that we see the entirety of what the then Colonel Skrbic said. Thank
7 Q. Once you have read this, please tell us so we turn to the next
9 Can we turn to the next page?
10 A. Yes. I have read it, Your Honours.
11 Q. I'm asking you now, does this entry reflect what you remember as
12 having said at that meeting?
13 A. Yes, fully. Not everything was written down, but it is really
14 unimportant what's missing.
15 Q. On the second page it says:
16 "A lot of persons in the RS are expecting that salaries will no
17 longer be paid."
18 Can you comment on these words of yours?
19 A. This is not a fully accurate term. We had about 2.000 active
20 servicemen which were called that in the VRS, and also about 1.400
21 civilians in the VRS whom we worked -- whom we called employees of the
23 Now, whether all of them were thinking that their salaries will
24 no longer be paid, I don't know. What is written here indicates that a
25 lot of them did.
1 Q. To be fully precise, are these people who were counting on their
2 salaries being paid out from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And then underneath your words we see Colonel Miletic. Can you
5 please tell us who was Mr. Miletic at the time and to which army he
7 A. I can confirm that in both versions the last name is entered
8 correctly. His first name is Radivoje. He was a colonel at the time,
9 chief of the administration for operations and staff affairs in the
10 operations sector within the Main Staff of the VRS.
11 Q. There is a sentence here attributed to him, and I would like you
12 to comment on it and tell us whether this adequately reflects what he
13 said at the time. The second sentence:
14 "To demand that all these officers turn against the Serbian
15 leadership is against the people, and that is the greatest crime."
16 Is this consistent with what you remember him saying at the time,
18 A. Yes, exactly. This entry has reminded me that that's what he
19 said, because one can forget some things, but then once you see it on
20 paper, then it helps you remember the authentic words, and the atmosphere
21 was such that one could never forget it.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could we turn to the
23 next page, please. It deals with the next meeting, not with the one that
24 we are looking at now, but since it touches upon what this witness has
25 testified, then I suggest that it all be tendered together. We still
1 stay within the same document.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Before you do that, I would like to go
3 back to the witness's speech, just the statement where -- yeah, where he
4 was speaking himself.
5 Mr. Skrbic, obviously you were speaking to your colleagues who
6 know the background to the whole situation, but for me reading what you
7 said, I don't know where you stood. Are you speaking for disobeying the
8 political leadership of the RS, or are you speaking against disobeying
9 the leadership of the RS, which was the topic of discussion on the day,
10 in this passage where you are being quoted?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was being very
12 clever and avoided stating explicitly what I believed in. My thesis was
13 that both leaderships, the leadership of Republika Srpska and the
14 leadership of the Army of Yugoslavia, did not appreciate the army as they
15 should have. I think that the president of the Republic of Srpska and
16 the rest of the leadership should have given much more credit to their
17 army, should have respected their army much more than they did. And if
18 you want to ask me what exactly I thought at the time, I can tell you
19 that even though back at that time I did not utter those words, and
20 they're not recorded anywhere. I can give you a general sentence.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: No. I don't want you to tell us what you thought
22 which you didn't mention. I just wanted us to -- I want you to explain
23 what you were saying here, that's all. So that's -- you were just
24 complaining that both the VJ and the RS political leadership don't
25 appreciate the VRS. Thank you. Thank you.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we turn to the next page,
2 please. The entry concerning that meeting ends with the words of
3 General Miletic, and now we turn to another meeting, Your Honours, entry
4 from another meeting, but it has to do with what this witness testified
5 about, about the day when he took over his new duties.
6 Q. I will ask Mr. Skrbic to tell us whether this is an accurate
7 record of the date when the hand-over duties was carried out between you
8 and your predecessor, when you took over your new duties at the Main
10 A. Everything was recorded accurately because the author of this
11 text, General Mladic, was present during the hand-over of duties.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to tender
14 this document into evidence. Can this -- it be assigned a number, and
15 can it stay confidential until the Chamber decides otherwise, if at all.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, Mr. Lukic, is this part of 65 ter 03334D or
17 is it ID 120009.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes. No. This is what we started
19 analysing yesterday before we adjourned as I have marked it 03334D.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: I understand that, but you see, this morning now
21 you said you are calling ID 120009 -- is ID 0009 a page in 0333?
22 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. I have the explanation. The
24 document is admitted into evidence. May it please be given an exhibit
25 number under seal.
1 THE REGISTRAR: This document shall be assigned Exhibit D344,
2 admitted under seal. Thank you.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we go back into open session now.
5 I have another couple of questions to put about this meeting, but I think
6 we can do that now in open session.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into open session.
8 [Open session]
9 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Mr. Skrbic, the meeting of the leadership of the Main Staff of
13 the VRS with General Perisic and his associate held on the 12th of
14 August, 1994, on the occasion of the discussion about the acceptance of
15 the Contact Group plan by the VRS, why was this meeting so important, and
16 why did it leave such a strong impression on you? Why do you remember it
17 so vividly? What was so important about that meeting?
18 A. I remember it because of the openness and brazen messages sent by
19 President Milosevic. In fact, it was an ultimatum that he had put
20 forward to us. In terms of what I personally thought at the time, I
21 don't understand how you can leave an army completely shut off and on its
22 own. Therefore, my opinion was that what was to follow was something to
23 do with those very serious threats and ultimatums.
24 Q. Was any sanctions or measures imposed specifically relating to
25 salaries and other status-related fringe benefits?
1 A. Yes. The most notorious one was that the salaries were not -- no
2 longer paid to the persons that I mentioned before, and I gave you the
3 exact number of the persons involved.
4 Q. After the imposition of the sanctions against Republika Srpska
5 and the Army of Republika Srpska, was the process of verification of
6 ranks continued that existed before between the VRS and the VJ?
7 A. No. It was discontinued.
8 Q. How did these measures reflect on your mood compared to the one
9 that existed before the ultimatum given by President Milosevic? Did you
10 change your position, or did you maintain the same stance?
11 A. It is difficult to give you a short answer, but I will do my
12 best. The majority of members of the VRS, and I'm talking about
13 active-duty personnel that we discussed here, certain spite emerged. We
14 were prepared to continue defending our people even if we were hungry.
15 Secondly, the heaviest burden that was laid upon us was care for
16 our families, because they were put in a very difficult social position.
17 That was our major concern, because we did have sort of food. We did
18 have some clothing, so to speak, et cetera, but in a sense, I can say
19 that we were taken care of. We, I might say, didn't need any money, but
20 we were concerned about our families who had been put to the position of
21 poverty and uncertainty.
22 My family -- or, rather, my wife had to borrow money from her
23 brother, and she concealed that fact from me. She didn't want to tell me
24 what she did. I learned about that only later.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before you go to the next question, I want to ask
1 this question before the screen disappears.
2 You said, Mr. Skrbic, that after the imposition of sanctions
3 against the Republika Srpska and the VRS, the process of verification of
4 ranks did not -- was discontinued.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not only that. Everything that had
6 to do with the 30th Personnel --
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: My question to you is: What then -- what was the
8 effect of this discontinuation? If people were promoted in the VRS and
9 were entitled to higher salary, what then happened? Because the salaries
10 were supposed to be paid from the VJ, or were the salaries also
11 discontinued from the VJ, from the 30th Personnel Centre?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this embargo lasted
13 for five months, and I'm talking about that specific period. We didn't
14 receive any salaries, nor were any ranks verified during that time. And
15 I clearly remember that I remember my rank being verified but only in
16 December 1995, after the embargo had been lifted.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. That clarifies me.
18 Yes, Mr. Lukic.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Speaking about this issue, what was your salary during the war?
21 How was it correlated with your service in the Army of Republika Srpska?
22 A. The majority of VRS officers were focused on providing basic
23 existence for their families. Our personal existence was not jeopardised
24 whether we received salaries or not. We were in danger during the war
25 due to other factors.
1 If an economist would analyse the trends of salaries both in
2 Yugoslavia and in Republika Srpska, who I think was included in the
3 system of payments of the FRY, this economist would have established that
4 the salaries, both in the VJ and the VRS were meager. They were even
6 As an illustration, I can tell you that a salary in the VRS was
7 2 Deutschmark, let's say today, but due to hyperinflation the next day it
8 would be reduced to 1 German mark. Some people even received no salary
9 during the hyperinflation. But the same inflation was in Yugoslavia. So
10 we personally did not depend a lot on our salaries, but our families did.
11 And I believe that I found some statistical data during proofing which
12 reminded me of something that I already knew, which is that around 68 per
13 cent of our families lived outside the territory of Republika Srpska, and
14 about 40 per cent lived in Republika Srpska and were concentrated mostly
15 in Banja Luka. But I have to add that Banja Luka didn't have water or
16 electricity supply, no fuel, and therefore the families living in Banja
17 Luka were dependent on this -- let's call it peanut money that was
19 Q. The officers families --
20 A. Not only commissioned officers' families, but non-commissioned
21 officers' families. Even the worst situation was with the families of
22 reserve members. We are talking now only about the 2.000 officers that
23 you asked me about.
24 Q. General, are you aware whether after this meeting General Mladic
25 went to Belgrade to meet the leadership of the FRY? Did he inform you
1 about this, if at all, about this meeting and further discussions
2 relating to the acceptance of the Contact Group plan?
3 A. Mr. Lukic, I have to think very carefully how to formulate this,
4 because we are in an open session, and I think I can do it now.
5 There are some documents that reminded me of his going there, but
6 he did not inform us beforehand. He informed us only after he would
8 Q. Well, that is what I am interested in. What exactly did he tell
9 you after he would return from these meetings as members of the Main
10 Staff? Did he tell you, "I had this and that discussion. I said this
11 and that." Do you remember that?
12 A. Yes, I do. He said I am not going to re-tell to you all the
13 political discussions, you can count that the trench is on the Drina and
14 you have to acknowledge and accept that as reality, and then he would
15 issue tasks to all of us individually in compliance with our respective
16 areas of responsibility.
17 Q. When you say the trench on the Drina, what did he mean by that?
18 What did he want to convey to you?
19 A. Well, Mr. Lukic, that sounded like a metaphor, but it wasn't a
20 metaphor. There was a total blockade on the border, and this trench
21 meant not only the blockade, but it also meant that an armed conflict
22 could have occurred between the VRS and the VJ.
23 As far as I know, and as far as we were informed by the
24 commander, the VJ had undertaken certain military measures on the border.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we'll have to move to
1 private session again.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
3 [Private session] [Confidentiality lifted by order of the Chamber]
4 THE REGISTRAR: We're in private session, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we see document P756. I think
7 it's a three-page document. So let's first start with page 1 in both
9 We can see on our screens minutes of the 25th Session of the
10 Supreme Defence Council held on the 30th of August, 1994. Can we now
11 turn to page 3, please.
12 Q. If you look at the conclusion number 5, it reads as follows:
13 "Military officers currently in Republika Srpska, but disagreeing
14 with the policies of Republika Srpska's leadership, and want to come back
15 shall be welcomed back to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."
16 I suppose that at the time you did not have an insight into these
17 minutes of the Supreme Defence Council meeting, but at the time when this
18 blockade of salaries was imposed, was there a situation in which someone
19 who disagreed with the policies of Republika Srpska wanted to go back,
20 and if so, how did you deal with these situations?
21 A. The Main Staff had been receiving applications for transfer to
22 the VJ. The number of these applications was increased somewhat, but
23 none of them contained the statement to the effect that they did not
24 accept the policies of the leadership of Republika Srpska. They quoted
25 different reasons, such as health reasons or grounds of family problems,
1 et cetera.
2 We analysed all these applications in great detail, and we did
3 not allow anyone other than those who really had serious health problems
4 themselves or their families to leave.
5 Q. Can you please be more specific when you say the number was
6 increased. Can we say what was the monthly average number of
7 applications for retransfer to the VJ, and what was the percentage of the
8 increase during the period, if you can remember?
9 A. From the point of view of the accuracy of the information, I must
10 tell you we did not keep monthly records. We collected the applications,
11 but we were unable to deal with them every month and to hold the meeting
12 of the Main Staff of VRS because that was the only place where we could
13 take such decisions.
14 For example, in a month or in two months, depending when we dealt
15 with these applications, between five or -- and ten such applications
16 would be dealt with at such meeting. The commander of the Main Staff of
17 the VRS would read the applications, hear the proposals, and he would do
18 that at my suggestion, and he would then decide which applications to
19 approve and which not to approve.
20 After the embargo was imposed, almost each application was turned
21 down with the explanation that "This is my people here."
22 Q. I didn't get an answer to the second part of my question. Can
23 you tell us roughly how many applications were received? But you said
24 there was an increase. Can you tell us what the increase was?
25 A. I think that it rose to up to 20. I'm not quite sure. If I may
1 see a document related to this issue, I might give you a more accurate
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please now go back to open
4 session. And I don't need this document any longer on our screens.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into open session.
6 [Open session]
7 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Did General -- was General Perisic or anybody else from the VJ
11 able to order you or anybody else from the VRS to go back to the VJ
12 without prior consent of Ratko Mladic?
13 A. First of all, he couldn't issue such an order because there was
14 no such relationship between General Perisic and the Army of Republika
15 Srpska. He could ask the commander of the Main Staff of the VRS whether
16 a certain officer could be transferred if he really needed that officer.
17 To be fully clear, General Perisic could not order me, General Skrbic, to
18 go back to the Army of Yugoslavia.
19 Q. We will turn to a different topic now, but let us now see what
20 happened to you throughout the war.
21 Tell me, please, did you remain in Han Pijesak, in your premises
22 at the rear command post of the Main Staff of the VRS in Han Pijesak,
23 throughout the war?
24 A. The rear command post of the Main Staff of the VRS was located in
25 Han Pijesak. General Djukic and I were there. And it can be considered
1 that we were there continually. However, we didn't stay in Han Pijesak
2 for a very long time at any period of time because there was so much work
3 elsewhere. We travelled throughout the territory of the RS wherever the
4 units were.
5 In 1995, starting on the 20th of July and then until the end of
6 1995, almost all of us were in Banja Luka or rather, in the western part
7 of Republika Srpska.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we see P1624, please.
9 THE INTERPRETER: Could all unnecessary microphones please be
10 switched off. Thank you.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] This is a decision of the President
12 of Republika Srpska, Radovan Karadzic, on declaring the state of war in
13 the territory of Republika Srpska.
14 Could we turn into private session for -- just briefly, please.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
16 [Private session]
11 Page 11778 redacted. Private session.
15 [Open session]
16 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honours.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. Yes, Mr. Lukic.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Skrbic, I will now turn to another topic, and that is Dayton
20 Accords and the relationship between -- or, rather, the attitude of the
21 authorities and the VRS towards that agreement. Tell me, please, when
22 did you learn that the Dayton Accords were signed, and what was the
23 position that the Main Staff took concerning the accords?
24 A. At that time, on the eve of the Dayton agreement, before the
25 Dayton agreement, in the military and in every other sense the situation
1 of the VRS was very complex, even critical. The army was subjected to
2 attacks of the joint forces of Croatian Army, HVO, the Army of Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina, with the air and electronic support of NATO. So that
4 situation quite clearly made us think realistically. It forced us.
5 At the time, we had no time to meet. I'm now referring to the
6 period of time when we were in Banja Luka. However, the commander
7 briefly informed us that there was an agreement in the making and that
8 most likely the political and state leadership of Republika Srpska would
9 not take part in the process but that the Army of Republika Srpska had a
10 chance of taking part in it.
11 We asked him, "What do you envisage that this agreement could
12 bring?" He told us, "You are all smart people. You can make your own
13 conclusions about how this agreement will not bring anything to us, but
14 what is most important, it will bring us peace."
15 General Tolimir would go -- can I mention his name?
16 General Tolimir would most likely be a member of the delegation that
17 would be led by the president of the FRY, Slobodan Milosevic. He would
18 go to Dayton, and he will do as much as he can to make sure that this
19 agreement is acceptable for us. Once the agreement is signed, then we
20 will see what we're going to do.
21 Q. And then at one point in time did you find out what was signed?
22 Did you receive the document, and were you able to analyse it?
23 A. Unlike the Contact Group plan which we didn't analyse in details
24 except for the map that I have mentioned, we analysed the Dayton
25 agreement to the last detail because General Tolimir, upon his return
1 from Dayton, came to the Main Staff, and then he was asked to explain the
2 agreement to us, and he did so fully.
3 The commander ordered the army to implement its task, and I will
4 just give you an example. We asked how we were to report the number of
5 equipment and the number of personnel. My position was to report all of
6 the personnel of the VRS from the first to the last one so it reflects
7 the actual numbers, and the numbers at the time were 209.000 members of
8 the Army of Republika Srpska. The commander asked me why I made such a
9 proposal, and I said that this is how we would tell the truth and that
10 after that we would never every have to lie again.
11 You asked me to explain this, and I haven't concluded yet.
12 Were there anyone -- anyone who disagreed, and was there any
13 discontent? Yes, there was, especially with the district of Brcko
14 because several of us believed that that area would be cut off and that
15 in the military sense we wouldn't be able to establish communications via
16 that corridor, but nobody was against establishing peace. Everybody
17 believed that peace needed to be established.
18 Q. At that time, what was the relationship like between the
19 leadership of Republika Srpska and the Army of Republika Srpska? Did you
20 have a unanimous position there about accepting the Dayton agreement?
21 A. We had constant differences with the leadership of Republika
22 Srpska, but we respected their decisions. However, on this particular
23 issue we were in full agreement. We had some disagreements about other
24 issues and problems, about losing territories and so on. However, we
25 fully agreed on the Dayton agreement.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we will have to go into
2 private session again.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
4 [Private session] [Confidentiality lifted by order of Trial Chamber]
5 THE REGISTRAR: We're in private session, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Yes, Mr. Lukic.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I will once again now suggest that we
8 turn to a part of the notebook of General Mladic for Mr. Saxon. This is
9 from folder 32. And since this document is not on the 65 ter list, I
10 will first ask for your permission to cover this with the witness and
11 then to orally make -- orally move to assign the following number to this
12 document: 0337D. And in the electronic version, this document has a
13 different number.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Lukic please repeat the number.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] This has to do with two meetings, but
16 I link them together because in the notebook they appear one after the
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are you expecting something from the Bench?
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes. I'm expecting Mr. Saxon now to
20 give his position, because I am now orally making a submission for this
21 to be put on the 65 ter list. Maybe Mr. Saxon wasn't here on the first
22 day when we have introduced this procedure, and then after he states his
23 opinion then maybe the Chamber could rule on it.
24 MR. SAXON: No objection, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Saxon.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. What we see before us on the screen reads as follows:
3 "Meeting with the leadership of the FRY, Montenegro, and RS,
4 Dobanovci, 27 November 1995." Present: Lilic, Milosevic, Bulatovic,
5 Perisic, Tolimir, Mladic.
6 You are not mentioned here, but we will go back to this meeting
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] And can we, in the meantime, see page
9 8 of the document. In the lower portion we see that it says:
10 "Meeting of the inner corps of the General Staff of the VRS.
11 Command post, 30th November, 1995.
13 "Study of the documents signed in Dayton."
14 And then under 2 it says:
15 "Briefing of the General Staff of the VRS members about the
16 meeting held with the FRY leadership on 27 November 1995."
17 Could we please turn to the next page now.
18 Q. So as not to read everything, General, do you see that you're
19 mentioned -- you are mentioned as being present here at the meeting of
20 the corps of the General Staff?
21 A. Yes. I was present.
22 Q. Since not much is recorded about this meeting, but what is
23 recorded is how you were briefed about the previous meeting, I will ask
24 you to give your comment about two things that were entered regarding the
25 first meeting, and I will ask you to tell us what your told about it.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we now go back to page 5 where
2 we see what President Milosevic said. We don't need to go page by page.
3 Unfortunately, I see that the pages do not correspond now. Oh, yes, we
4 have it. We have the exact part.
5 Q. Mr. Skrbic, I will be reading the middle portion. So these words
6 are the words of President Milosevic --
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. --
8 MR. SAXON: I'm very, very sorry. I'm just a bit confused
9 exactly where we are now. Are we now reading the excerpts from the
10 notebook for the meeting of 27 November 1995? And the page that is on
11 the screen in English, is that the page that is being addressed? Thank
12 you. Okay.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, that's right. What I wish to
14 ask the witness is whether he remembers that at the following meeting
15 Commander Mladic, when briefing them on this meeting, repeated the
16 statements I'm about to read out now. I quote:
17 "What is most important for us is that the army should have a
18 positive attitude towards the peace process.
19 "These maps and borders are fixed --"
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Overlapping speakers] [Previous translation
21 continues] ...
22 MR. LUKIC: "The most important thing for us."
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. "These maps and borders are fixed and cannot be changed through a
1 local or global military operation, at this would not be considered war
2 but a pure terrorist operation. There is no more tailoring of the map by
4 Have I read this out correctly, General?
5 A. Yes, you have. What you read is correct.
6 Q. These are the words of Milosevic quoted in this notebook. So who
7 does "us" refer to, and what army is President Milosevic referring to?
8 And first of all, did General Mladic, when you briefing you at the
9 meeting of the Main Staff, convey the words entered into his notebook?
10 MR. SAXON: Your Honour. Your Honour. Your Honour, this is
11 becoming very confusing. This is clearly a compound question, and
12 perhaps Mr. Lukic could take this one at a time.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic, it's very difficult.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I apologise.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, in fact, is it Mladic speaking here or is it
16 Slobodan Milosevic?
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I showed you two sets of notes. What
18 I have read out now are words spoken by Slobodan Milosevic at a meeting
19 attended by Mladic. At the following meeting, Mladic briefed the members
20 of his Main Staff about that meeting.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Fine. Now, you know, what? Deal with
22 what's on the screen. If you are going to talk us about the following
23 meeting where Mladic is reporting, you will put the documents that relate
24 to that. For now, deal with this, and let's understand what is happening
25 here, and one question at a time. I'll actively stop you now, because
1 I'm also getting confused.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] To put it more precisely, Your
3 Honours, the reason I showed you the other meeting was to show that
4 Mr. Skrbic attended the meeting where Mladic was conveying information,
5 but first I want to go through the meeting attended by General Mladic to
6 see whether this information was conveyed to Mr. Skrbic a few days later.
7 But maybe I shouldn't have shown this other meeting, but the presence of
8 Skrbic is important there, which is why I wanted to show it.
9 Q. So, General, what I have just read out and described as words
10 spoken by President Milosevic in a meeting attended by Commander Mladic,
11 were these words conveyed to you by General Mladic?
12 A. Mr. Lukic, he did not convey the words to us in this form. I do
13 remember how he conveyed them. Are you interested in that?
14 Q. Certainly.
15 A. At this meeting, as I told you, we went through the Dayton
16 agreement in detail. That was an analysis which took quite a lot of
17 time. At the end of this analysis, he said the following:
18 "Generals, Slobodan Milosevic has observed that the army has the
19 most important role in implementing this agreement, and I think Milosevic
20 is right. The Army of Republika Srpska is still in control of the
21 situation, and Slobodan Milosevic is afraid, as Mladic said, that the
22 army might cause an incident. You must not allow this. Not because
23 Milosevic said so, but because I am ordering you to prevent any incident
24 from occurring."
25 I may not have quoted his precise words, but that was certainly
1 the gist of what he said. He didn't like to speak about politics, but I
2 see that he liked to note these statements down in his notebook.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have the next page so
4 we can comment on one more sentence, and then I'll be finished with this
6 At the bottom of the screen, Your Honours, the sentence beginning
7 with "Please convene your Main Staff."
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry -- okay.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] So we are still quoting the words of
10 Slobodan Milosevic as recorded in this notebook.
11 "Please convene your Main Staff to tell them this and that this
12 is a final political solution, that relations should be extremely
13 friendly and that they should adhere to the peace plan."
14 Q. Does this jog your memory? Did General Mladic convey this to
16 A. Yes, especially that we should adhere to the peace plan
17 regardless of the fact that General Ratko Mladic said however
18 dissatisfied we are with it, we have to comply with it.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I wish to tender this
20 document under seal.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
22 please be given an exhibit number and kept under seal.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
24 Exhibit 345, admitted under seal.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think we can now go back into open
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into open session.
4 [Open session]
5 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Yes, Mr. Lukic.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. Skrbic, let move on in chronological order. Were you
9 involved in any way in the negotiations about the release of the French
10 pilots in 1995, in the late autumn? If so, you can tell us freely in
11 open session exactly what happened, and then we'll go through some
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: One question at a time. Were you involved in the
14 negotiations? Wait for an answer. "Yes." "Tell us what happened."
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. I won't repeat. Could you please answer His Honour's questions.
17 You understood it.
18 A. There were rumours going around about the French pilots in the
19 Main Staff of Republika Srpska. The entire Main Staff, including General
20 Ratko Mladic, denied the existence of any French pilots there. After
21 that a meeting was convened, and I attended it, concerning negotiations
22 about the French pilots.
23 Q. When did this meeting take place? Do you remember,
25 A. I remember all the details and the venue, but I'm not clear about
1 the time. A lot of information has been going through my head recently.
2 It's in the Jela restaurant on the Romanija plateau, and it was attended
3 by the president of the FRY, Lilic, General Perisic, and I think there
4 was another general there with him, I don't remember who, from the VJ,
5 the Army of Yugoslavia, but I remember the president of the FRY, Lilic,
6 was there, as was General Perisic, the Chief of the General Staff at the
7 time. On the other side were General Ratko Mladic and all his
9 Q. Can you describe the course of the meeting in your own words?
10 A. Well, first some courtesies were exchanged, greetings which are
11 not relevant, but the main negotiations were conducted by the president
12 of the FRY, Lilic, and the commander of the Main Staff of the VRS, Ratko
13 Mladic. Ratko Mladic claimed for an hour or an hour and a half that he
14 knew nothing about any French pilots and that he didn't understand why
15 they, meaning President Lilic and General Perisic, were there, but at one
16 point he gave himself away by saying he had played chess with them. And
17 then President Lilic said, "Now come you played chess with them if you
18 don't know where they are?" Well, then he said, "The pilots are with me,
19 I know where they are. They're alive and well. Please wait outside and
20 I will discuss what to do with the members of my collegium." Then
21 President Lilic and General Perisic went outside. Well, they could have
22 stayed in the room, but they went outside. I think it was sunny.
23 I wouldn't be telling you all these details if they didn't reveal
24 so much. They're very characteristic.
25 They waited outside while we were there in a small room with the
1 commander of the Main Staff discussing what should be done. We all asked
2 the commander, "Well, why didn't you tell us you knew about the pilots?"
3 He said, "Well, we won't go into this. I know about it. What should we
5 Q. Just a moment. When you say, "What should we do?" who said
6 those words?
7 A. The commander of the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska,
8 General Ratko Mladic.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did you give him an answer?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. I was just about to
11 continue, Your Honour, but I will summarise this in one sentence.
12 We said, "Commander --" we called him chief. So we said, "Chief,
13 I think that the FRY, for its reaffirmation and to raise its image in the
14 world, should be a mediator in the release of the pilots. So promise
15 these people that you will give them the pilots and they can hand them
16 over to the French." I spoke about the Russian president, Yeltsin, and
17 about the French president, Chirac, but I said, "Don't give the pilots to
18 them directly but through the mediation of the president of Yugoslavia."
19 He didn't tell us what his decision was. He left the room, and then we
20 met again with President Lilic and Momcilo Perisic -- is my speed all
21 right now, sir?
22 The commander of the Main Staff of the VRS at that point said,
23 "Mr. President, Mr. Lilic, you will get the pilots, and you can hand them
24 over. They're alive and well. I guarantee that."
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Would that be a convenient time?
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: We'll take a break and come back at quarter to
3 11.00. Court adjourned.
4 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, if I could simply ask the usher to
5 remain with the witness for a moment, please, while we deal with the
6 matter that we discussed before.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Indeed. Would the usher please do so.
8 --- Recess taken at 10.16 a.m.
9 --- On resuming at 10.46 a.m.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just one more question in open
12 session, and then we'll have to move into private session again. Just a
14 Q. General, tell us, after this meeting were you further involved in
15 any way in this case of the French pilots? Do you have any direct
16 knowledge about this, apart from what you've already told us?
17 A. No, I was not involved, and I have no direct knowledge.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We now have to move back into private
19 session, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
21 [Private session] [Confidentiality lifted by order of Trial Chamber]
22 THE REGISTRAR: We're in private session, Your Honours.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Yes, Mr. Lukic.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We will again look at an entry in
25 this document, General Mladic's documentation. It's not on the 65 ter
1 list. It's 1D12-0142 in e-court, and we are making an oral application
2 to have it given a 65 ter number, 0338D, if Mr. Saxon does not object,
3 and if you will allow us to go through the document with the witness.
4 MR. SAXON: No objection, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Saxon.
6 Yes, Mr. Lukic.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We will now look at it on the screen.
8 It's a meeting. So meeting with President Lilic and General Perisic at
9 their request. And if we can just scroll down a bit or up. Okay. Jela,
10 Sunday, 10th December, 1995, and the participants are listed here. To
11 avoid any confusion, there are no two people named General Skrbic.
12 Q. I assume that it's an error on General Mladic's part that he
13 entered your name here twice.
14 A. Yes, that's right. There was no other General Skrbic, only me,
15 in the VRS.
16 Q. To avoid going through this page by page, it says here
17 G. Milovanovic. What Milovanovic does this refer to? Who attended this
18 meeting named Milovanovic?
19 A. In the context of my reply to your previous question who the
20 participants or the members of the Main Staff were, G. Milovanovic was
21 General Manojlo Milovanovic, the chief of the staff sector in the army of
22 Republika Srpska.
23 Q. General Dimitrijevic and General Djukic are listed here as well.
24 Are they the people you identified yesterday by name and position?
25 A. Yes. It's the same people. Is there anything you want me to say
1 about them?
2 Q. No.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we now move to page 4, please,
4 because I think this text speaks for itself.
5 Q. I'm only interested in your comment on the words of
6 General Perisic on page 4 in B/C/S. I will read this brief entry.
7 "He's talking about the encirclement."
8 These are the words of General Perisic as quoted here.
9 "The Serbian people is not an enemy of the new world order.
10 "Emissaries were sent to Western Bosnia and have raised the
11 people. The army didn't lose there.
12 "Handing over the pilots prevents the division of the Serbian
13 ethnic entity."
14 I find the second sentence unclear. Do you recall what
15 emissaries were being referred to? What did Mr. Perisic mean by this at
16 that time?
17 A. Yes. I can tell you with certainty who these emissaries were.
18 They were people from the police of the Republika Srpska who wore police
19 uniforms to begin with and were recognisable and went to the Western part
20 of Bosnia, even my native area of Glamoc telling the people, "Flee. This
21 has been lost. Flee. This has been lost." The members of the Main
22 Staff of the VRS when they observed this, it was evident because these
23 people were wearing police uniforms, then they took off their police
24 uniforms and put on military uniforms, but we knew that these were these
25 emissaries using the -- using the uniforms of the army as a camouflage in
1 order to get the people to move out of that area.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Of what country were the police uniforms that they
3 were wearing?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I said this. I don't
5 know whether it entered the transcript. It was the police of Republika
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: And of what army did the -- did they change into
8 when they put on their soldiers' uniforms, the army uniforms?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were camouflage uniforms of
10 the Army of Republika Srpska, the VRS.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. But they were indeed not soldiers of
12 the VRS.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, they were not.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you know who they were?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were policemen employed by the
16 Ministry of the Interior of Republika Srpska.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we now turn to the next page to
19 see whose contribution is there.
20 Q. This is President Lilic speaking here, and towards the end of the
21 page it says:
22 "We have two options today:
23 "1. To hand over the pilots alive.
24 "2. To hand over the pilots dead."
25 And if we can please look at the next page, and then I put a
1 question to you with regard to what I have just read to you.
2 Now, it continues as follows: President Lilic says at the end,
3 and that's the last entry, it reads:
4 "I need one sentence:
5 "We have pilots or we don't have them."
6 After this entry we see that there is nothing else in this
8 Now, I'm asking you what you testified about in open session,
9 whether this took place after this conversation of yours with Lilic and
10 Perisic, and do you remember when these particular words were uttered?
11 A. I remember these words. When these words were uttered, the
12 debate was still going on at the joint meeting about whether the pilots
13 were there or not. Then it was concluded at this joint meeting that they
14 were there due to the statement that they were playing chess with
15 General Mladic, and after that we went on to debate, although that's not
16 a military term, with regard to what we were going to propose to the
17 general to do.
18 Q. What you said before the break in the open session about the
19 proposal for handing over the pilots to the FRY authorities, do you
20 remember whose proposal was that from the Main Staff? Was that made by
21 anyone in particular?
22 A. It was a joint proposal which was made in unison.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have an exhibit number
24 for this document, please, under seal for the moment.
25 MR. SAXON: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
1 please be given an exhibit number under seal.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this document shall be assigned
3 Exhibit D346, admitted under seal. Thank you.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We can go back now to an open
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber move to open session.
8 [Open session]
9 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Yes, Mr. Lukic.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. I'm going to continue now in a chronological order, but I'd like
13 to go back to some situations in the service that we dealt with but we
14 omitted to do that. I'm referring particularly to the termination of
15 service due to retirement, but I forgot to ask you one thing, and that is
16 whether members of the VRS army afforded any decorations and medals.
17 A. Yes. Those were decorations of Republika Srpska.
18 Q. In compliance with which specific regulation was that done?
19 A. In compliance with the regulations of Republika Srpska, because
20 there were no decorations existing in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
21 at the time, and of that I'm sure.
22 Q. How come that the fact that decorations were afforded to members
23 of the VRS affected the morale of the servicemen?
24 MR. SAXON: Your Honour.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. --
1 MR. SAXON: The structure of that question indicates that it is a
2 very leading question. Perhaps Mr. Lukic could rephrase it.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I'll rephrase my question, Your
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Did the fact that the decoration had anything to do with the
9 morale in the units?
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's another leading question. What is the
11 effect of the decorations? What is the effect of the decorations?
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Very well. I apologise. So -- I'll
13 never learn this.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated]
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I understood the
16 question exactly as you put it, and if you allow me, I'll give you an
17 answer. The decorations were afforded by the decree issued by the
18 President of Republika Srpska, who was authorised to issue them. These
19 decrees were announced and publicised in units, whereas the form of the
20 decoration and its specific shapes were not decided yet. However, even
21 those decrees only were an incentive for servicemen, particularly in
22 terms of the morale, particularly when the whole unit was decorated
23 jointly. This was a promotion process, and these decrees were read out
24 to all servicemen who were able to hear what president said in these
1 As I said before, you cannot have all units assembled at one
2 point because they were busy on the front, but you could gather certain
3 number of people and tell them that they were afforded decorations. The
4 medals themselves were only afforded after the war or maybe even in 1995
5 when they were actually made.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. During the war if an officer of the VRS fulfils all the
8 conditions for requirement, what was the procedure applied by your
10 A. There were quite a few members of the VRS who under the law on
11 the VRS fulfilled all the requirements for retirement. In view of the
12 need for personnel, we did not strictly abide by the legal regulations,
13 especially because the law allowed us that even after they have reached a
14 pensionable age we were able to keep them in the army if we needed them.
15 Those who for reasons of poor health had to retire, we allowed them to be
16 pensioned off.
17 Q. Were the -- were these pensions having any effects on their
18 subsequent status?
19 A. Their service in the VRS was terminated with the very act of
20 retirement, and after that they did not need to file any applications for
21 transfer. They were allowed to settle in the entire territory of the
22 FRY, because as of that moment they ceased to be members of the VRS.
23 Q. The officers who were receiving salaries through the 30th
24 Personnel Centre from the FRY, did they continue to receive their
25 pensions in the same way from the FRY?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What was the role of your sector, if any, with regard to the
3 procedure of putting those people on the pension budget of the FRY?
4 A. That was no longer the budget of the FRY. It was part of the
5 social security system of the military personnel, and the funds were
6 collected through contributions from every serviceman during their
7 service. We only had to provide the list to the 30th Personnel Centre so
8 that they would be aware of the fact that those people were retired.
9 After that, they would issue their own decision on pension because they
10 had to accommodate this with the legal framework of the FRY.
11 Q. While you were working in the sector of the Main Staff of the
12 VRS, were any requests from General Perisic or someone else for a
13 particular person to be pensioned off?
14 A. No. There were no such requests.
15 Q. And alternatively, were there any requests for someone to remain
16 in the service after you decided for them to be pensioned off?
17 A. No. There was no way for that to be done. Anyone who was to be
18 pensioned off was pensioned off, and no one questioned that decision.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can I just have moment, please.
20 Q. Let's go on about status-related issues but in a specific
21 context. Do you know how long Radovan Karadzic remained President of
22 Republika Srpska and who replaced him?
23 A. That took place in December 1996. I cannot remember exactly the
24 date. He was replaced as president of the republic by Mrs. Biljana
1 Q. When she came at the helm of the leadership of Republika Srpska,
2 did any changes occur in the Army of Republika Srpska?
3 A. Yes. There were some personnel changes. Mrs. Plavsic, the
4 president, issued a decree replacing or dismissing General Mladic as the
5 Chief of the Main Staff of VRS. Some of us who did not fulfil the
6 conditions for retirement were placed at the disposal.
7 Q. What does that mean, "placed at disposal?" Can you please
8 explain to the Chamber what you meant by this phrase.
9 A. Given the fact that we were relatively young people, we didn't
10 have enough years of service, we could not be pensioned off under the
11 law. Therefore, they decided to opt for this option, to place us at
12 disposal, which is also provided by the law on the Army of Republika
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: At whose disposal?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in the definitions
16 contained in the president's decree, there were two decisions. One read
17 that this person is placed at the disposal of the Army of Republika
18 Srpska, and in another decision it was said that this particular person
19 was placed at the disposal of the army of the Federal Republic of
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, those of you who were young and had not
22 accumulated sufficient years of service, were you put at the disposal --
23 were there any of you who were put at the disposal of the VJ?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours. I was among
25 those, General Skrbic.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are you able to explain how come Madam Plavsic is
2 able to put VRS soldiers at the disposal of -- of foreign army? If
3 you're not able to, you're not able to, but ...
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have to tell you
5 something which I believe is crucial to this issue. Mrs. Biljana
6 Plavsic, as Commander-In-Chief of the VRS, invited me for a conversation
7 in which the new Chief of Main Staff, General Pero Colic, took part.
8 General Miletic was me as well.
9 When she asked me if I wanted to remain in the VRS, I said,
10 "Madam President, I don't want to remain in the VRS any longer. I thank
11 you for the words that you said, and if possible, I would appreciate if
12 you would put me at the disposal of the VJ." The war is over, and I
13 didn't think there was anything for me to do any more.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: What I don't understand is why she doesn't just
15 retire you, and you can take the initiative to put yourself at the
16 disposal of the VJ. What -- why is she, as the President of Republika
17 Srpska, able to put you at the disposal of the VJ, which is an army of
18 the FRY?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, she couldn't pension
20 me off. I was not eligible for pension because I didn't have sufficient
21 number years of service.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... she could
23 dismiss you or you could resign -- or you could resign. As you told her,
24 the war is over. You didn't want to be in the VRS any longer. You could
25 say, "I resign." And then you could go to the VJ and say, "You know, I'm
1 still a young soldier. Are you prepared to employ me?"
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is exactly what
3 happened. I said that I didn't want to remain in the service of the VRS
4 any longer. She said, "Thank you, General, for everything you did. I'm
5 going to find a solution for you." And that is what she did by placing
6 me at the disposal of the VJ.
7 Your Honours, I was no longer an officer for personnel affairs.
8 I don't know who drafted these decrees for her. I'm really doing my
9 best. I'm trying to explain to you, but it seems that I myself don't
10 understand it entirely.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we put a document from the
13 65 ter list of Defence 00119D.
14 Q. While we're waiting for the document, will you please remind us,
15 General. Yesterday, we -- we looked at the orders for deciding on
16 competencies in the VRS. Who was competent for deciding on that?
17 A. Mr. Lukic, would you please repeat your question. I wasn't
18 focused enough. I apologise.
19 Q. So the order on competencies and regulating the status of service
20 in the VRS, when it comes to generals, who was competent to decide about
21 their status?
22 A. Well, this is the question that confuses me. Maybe it wasn't
23 that I wasn't focused enough, because this order on competencies did not
24 cover the competency of the president of the republic. No. It only
25 regulated competencies within the VRS. As for the president of the RS,
1 the law provided that he was competent to decide the status of colonels
2 who were being promoted to generals and various generals being promoted
3 to higher ranks.
4 Q. You're fully right. This is Article 369 on the Law on the Army
5 of Republika Srpska. Is this the document that you were referring to
6 when replying to His Honour Moloto's question?
7 A. I can confirm that this document was signed by Madam President,
8 Biljana Plavsic, and this is a presidential decree dated 28 January 1997.
9 The content of the decree has been translated into English accurately
10 based on what I can see.
11 MR. SAXON: Your Honour.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Saxon.
13 MR. SAXON: Just for clarification, it appears from this exchange
14 that Mr. Lukic and General Skrbic are talking about a question that was
15 asked either yesterday or the day before from His Honour Judge Moloto,
16 and I'm wondering if Mr. Lukic could please directed us to where in the
17 transcript I could find this and I can be sure I understand the
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: I thought you were referring to a question I asked
20 a few minutes ago.
21 MR. SAXON: Just that question? Very well.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes. You see, the heading of this document says,
23 "The person below is hereby relieved of his duties and is placed at the
24 disposal of the Yugoslav Army." But the interesting thing is that the
25 body of the order of the decree doesn't use the words "put at the
1 disposal." It just says, "You are relieved," which is what I was asked
2 Mr. Skrbic about, why at the disposal. If you are just relieved, you are
3 relieved, and then you can go look for a job with the VJ.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Well, we're still dealing with your case --
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Or, rather, Your Honours, can we
7 tender this into evidence first.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
9 please be given an exhibit number.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
11 Exhibit D347. Thank you.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: And it's not under seal. No. Thank you.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation].
14 Q. On the first day of your testimony we analysed your personnel
15 file, and we saw how you progressed in service, and we saw that there
16 were three entries in your personnel file in the Army of Yugoslavia where
17 it is mentioned that you were -- where you were in the position of the
18 acting chief of the personnel administration within the General Staff of
19 the Army of Yugoslavia. Did I put it correctly?
20 A. Yes, that's correct.
21 Q. During that period of time, in addition to this order where you
22 were appointed acting chief, did you hold any other position in the Army
23 of Yugoslavia?
24 A. I wasn't appointed by way of a decree to any position within the
25 Army of Yugoslavia. When I say "decree," I'm referring to the
1 presidential decree of the president of the FRY.
2 Q. And why were these orders on deputising on you -- on you being
3 appointed acting issued?
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did you want to say something?
5 MR. SAXON: I do, Your Honour. My objection is lines 12 to 13,
6 the question was:
7 "Did you hold any other position in the Army of Yugoslavia?"
8 And the witness answered:
9 "I wasn't appointed by way of a decree to any position within the
10 Army of Yugoslavia."
11 And I don't see that as necessarily responsive to the question,
12 Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sure. I often believe that's not the basis for an
14 objection, but it's the basis for saying, "Sir, you haven't got the
15 answer to your question." And what I did also want to ask you to
16 clarify, Mr. Lukic, in that same sentence that Mr. Saxon has referred to,
17 you started off by saying, "In that period of time -- during that period
18 of time." Just to orientate us, can you give us the time in years,
19 please. What year -- what year is this?
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, perhaps it would be a
21 good idea to go back to this so that you can see it too.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: We don't have to go back. You -- you have gone
23 through the personnel files of the witness. Just remind us what time
24 during his employment you are talking about in years.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. General Skrbic, when were you again appointed to a position in
2 the Army of Yugoslavia?
3 A. A regulation that dealings with the generals, which is a
4 presidential decree appointed me to a position in the Army of Yugoslavia,
5 again in the year of 2000.
6 Q. Between 1997 --
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: What I really wanted clarification on was whether
8 when you said "during that period of time," are you referring to that
9 period of time before the formation of the VRS when he was still with the
10 VJ, or after he has been put at the disposal of the VJ? That's why I was
11 asking you.
12 Now, the witness says he was again appointed in 2000. What year
13 was he put at the disposal by -- what was the date of that decree by
14 Madam Plavsic?
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I was just about to clarify that.
16 Q. So from January 1997 until the year of 2000, were you appointed
17 to a position in the Army of Yugoslavia?
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues]... [overlapping
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I wanted to ask this first.
21 Q. Would you please answer Judge Moloto's question. What did you do
22 from 1997 until 2000?
23 A. In early 1997, I transferred to the Army of Yugoslavia. From
24 1997 until 2000, I did not have an appointment by way of an appropriate
25 enactment, which in the case of generals is a presidential decree. And
1 my status and service was regulated by way of orders for standing in, and
2 this was until the year of 2000.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Were there any other officers of the Army of Republika Srpska
6 whose service in the VRS had terminated, had ceased, and who were
7 appointed to any positions in the VJ? Let us now focus on generals.
8 A. Mr. Lukic, your question is fully clear to me. You don't need to
9 make your situation more difficult by giving me additional explanations,
10 and I apologise for making this comment.
11 In addition to me there were other officers, generals, who had
12 the same status. There was no presidential decree appointing them to
13 which they were entitled. Rather, their status in service was regulated
14 by way of orders on standing in.
15 I was the one who -- the only difference was that I did have some
16 work in the personnel administration of the VJ, and they did nothing.
17 There was no work for them whatsoever.
18 Q. And let us look at this. What did you do in the personnel
19 administration of the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia during this
20 period of time?
21 A. I assisted chief of the personnel administration about various
22 personnel issues in the 30th Personnel Centre. Later on when they saw
23 that I had various other abilities, they wanted me also to assist them in
24 analysing the situation in the Army of Yugoslavia because I was able to
25 analyse the indicators, and I was able to give them a good analysis. I
1 apologise for saying this. So they relied on me for drafting various
2 analyses, but I wasn't duty-bound to do that. I had no obligation to do
4 Q. Did you have an obligation to report to work every day during
5 that period of time?
6 A. I did not have an obligation to report to work every day, but
7 nevertheless, I did come every day.
8 Q. Can you tell the Chamber why these other generals who had not
9 been appointed to any position in the Army of Yugoslavia received these
10 orders appointing them as standing in for somebody? Why were they given
11 this status?
12 A. The main reason was for them to be given entitlements that went
13 with their rank and with their positions, the ones they had in the VRS.
14 Q. When you say "entitlements," what do you refer to specifically?
15 A. I have used the proper term, "entitlements," because that doesn't
16 encompass just a salary but also retirement benefits, social security and
17 other contributions, and what they receive net is just their salary. So
18 in order not to disturb the system, what they were entitled to.
19 Q. If any of these generals met the retirement requirements, what
20 happened to them? Did they continue to be appointed as standing in for
21 somebody, or was something else done?
22 A. In the Law on the Army of Yugoslavia, there were several options
23 on termination of service. One of the options was that somebody's
24 service could be terminated if they had over 35 years of service, and if
25 they met that requirement they could be proposed for retirement. As soon
1 as somebody met that requirement he was retired, pensioned off.
2 Some persons were retired by way of paying for additional years
3 of service by making a contribution in the pension fund so that they
4 could have 40 years of service and then be retired.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we see P2024, please.
6 Q. You testified about this earlier. We have a presidential decree
7 from the President of Republika Srpska, Dr. Biljana Plavsic, dated the
8 8th November of 1996. It pertains to Ratko Mladic and Manojlo
9 Milovanovic. By way of this presidential decree, as far as I can see,
10 they were put at the disposal of the General Staff of the VRS.
11 Do you know, General, was General Mladic ever put at the disposal
12 of the VJ after being relieved of duties as the Chief of Staff of the
14 A. Yes, I know about that. He was never put at the disposal of the
15 Army of Yugoslavia.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: If I may just ask a question. Having been now --
18 I see that these two are put at the disposal of the VRS. Did the VRS use
19 them after this?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, person under number 1
21 was never again hired or employed by the Army of Republika Srpska. He
22 never did any more work for them.
23 Person number 2, Manojlo Milovanovic, you know how members of the
24 government are appointed. He was appointed as a member of the government
25 by the president of the republic, and he served within the government as
1 minister of defence of Republika Srpska, which is to say that he no
2 longer served in the army either. But he was in the Ministry of Defence.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. I will follow up on this question of His Honour Moloto to be
5 quite specific about the military terminology. General Mladic, was he
6 ever appointed to any other position within the VRS after this? Because
7 this actually concerns his status and service. This is why I'm asking
9 A. No. Never again.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment. Could we please have
12 P1905, please.
13 Q. This is a decree issued by the president of the Federal Republic
14 of Yugoslavia. The signature is on the next page. It's the signature of
15 Vojislav Kostunica. It's dated the 16th of June 2001. And as mentioned
16 on page 1, the following persons are removed from the records of
17 professional soldiers of the Yugoslav Army.
18 Just one comment, please. Read through these names slowly. You
19 have seen this document before during your proofing, and tell us whether
20 any of the persons listed here held any post in the Army of Yugoslavia
21 after the end of the war.
22 After you've seen the first page, tell us so then we can turn to
23 the next page.
24 A. Please bear with me a little bit because I want to read the names
1 Could I have page 2 now, please. Okay. Excuse me, could you
2 please repeat your question.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Could you repeat the question.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. General, are you aware that any of the persons listed in this
6 document after the end of the war performed any sort of duty in the Army
7 of Yugoslavia?
8 A. I am well aware, after analysing the document you have shown me,
9 that none of these persons served in the Army of Yugoslavia after this
11 Q. Can you tell the Court why they were still on the records of the
12 Army of Yugoslavia and were only removed on that date?
13 A. Your Honours, they were on the records in the 30th Personnel
14 Centre until that date mentioned here and by a decree of
15 President Kostunica they were removed from the records of the Army of
16 Yugoslavia in the 30th Personnel Centre.
17 Q. But can you tell us why they remained on the records of the 30th
18 Personnel Centre?
19 A. Because even in peacetime their salaries were paid by the Army of
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we now please have P2033.
22 Q. This document was dated the 16th of June, 2001. And the document
23 we see now is dated the 7th of March, 2002.
24 What we see here is a decree issued by the President of Republika
25 Srpska, Mirko Sarovic, relating to Mr. Ratko Mladic, terminating his
1 professional military service, and it says here "Serving in the General
2 Staff of the VRS." Is that what it says here?
3 A. Where does it say that?
4 Q. Where his details are mentioned, his personal details, his date
5 of birth and so on. And then it's in the line underneath his date of
7 A. Is that on page 1?
8 Q. Can we zoom in a little?
9 A. I can see quite well, but I can't find the sentence.
10 Q. Ratko Mladic, Colonel-General --
11 A. Oh, yes, I see now. It does say serving in the General Staff of
12 the Army of Republika Srpska.
13 Q. So my question to you is: Where did General Ratko Mladic serve,
14 and where was he serving at the point in time when his active military
15 service was terminated?
16 A. He was serving in the Army of Republika Srpska.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic, you said this document is dated the 7th
19 of March, 2002.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes. We have to look at page 2, and
21 we will see the date. I do apologise.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Mr. Skrbic, can you explain a little
23 problem for me here. We saw earlier in the decree by Madam Plavsic
24 that -- which was a 1997 decree, that Ratko Mladic and the other
25 gentleman, Milovanovic were dismissed.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Manojlo Milovanovic.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: They were -- they were -- they were put at the --
3 removed from the VRS and put at the disposal of the VRS. And you said
4 that Mladic never did any work for the VRS thereafter.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: How come in 2002 does now the RS terminate his
7 employment with the VRS when he had already been dismissed in 1997?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this was only a
9 formality. His status had to be regulated formally, because he had not
10 been pensioned off. He was not in the Army of Yugoslavia. He was on
11 record as a member of the Army of Republika Srpska. It looks nonsensical
12 at first glance, but that's how it was. For the sake of formality, a
13 decree was issued stating that he was serving in the VRS, but actually he
14 did not serve in the Army of Republika Srpska after the date we
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: You -- you are right, it does sound nonsensical
17 for me. Not only at first glance, but also on second study, and I'll
18 tell you why. For me -- or my understanding is if a person who is
19 working and has not yet reached retirement age gets dismissed, that
20 person gets his pension up to the day of dismissal. Okay? Now, you
21 don't dismiss the person and then say, okay, you know, had we not
22 dismissed this person, he would have worked for another ten years. So
23 ten years later, we are now going to regulate, for purposes of his
24 pension, that he -- we terminate his services ten years later. The
25 services were terminated when he was dismissed, and the pension you are
1 entitled to is for those years that you have worked. The extra ten years
2 you have not worked, you are not entitled to any pension for those years.
3 Now, it seems to me as if this document that we are looking at on
4 the screen, that is dated 2002, is intended to enable him to get pension
5 up to 2002, when, in fact, he has not been working since 1997. To me
6 that looks nonsensical, and I would like to understand why. If you are
7 able to explain. If you're not able to, you're not able to.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot explain this. It's hard
9 for me to explain this to you.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Lukic.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please.
12 I'd like to look at another document now from the 65 ter list of
13 the Defence. It's 65 ter 00148D, Your Honours. It's four pages long.
14 After the general has seen the first page, we might go through it page by
15 page so the general can see the whole, and my question will be as
17 Q. What army were these persons members of at the time their
18 professional military service was terminated?
19 A. They served in the Army of Republika Srpska. I could even tell
20 you what duties some of them performed. But they were all serving in the
21 Army of Republika Srpska at this time.
22 Q. Can we look at the last page so that we can see the date.
23 A. Yes, the date and the signature.
24 Q. We see that the document dates from 2002, and it was signed by
25 Mirko Sarovic, the then President of Republika Srpska.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I wish to tender this document into
2 evidence, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: 2002 or 2003?
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Two. The English translation does
5 not correspond to the original. There is an error in the number, in the
6 year, but I don't think we need to ask for a retranslation.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: So it's not 7th of March, 2003, it's 2002. Okay.
8 Thank you very much. The document is admitted into evidence. May it
9 please be given an exhibit number.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
11 Exhibit D348.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we move into private session for
14 a moment.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: We move into private session.
16 [Private session]
11 Page 11816 redacted. Private session.
2 [Open session]
3 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Yes, Mr. Lukic.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] There's another document I'd like us
6 to see from this series. 65 ter 00115D. I think the document in English
7 does not correspond to the B/C/S. No.
8 Q. This is a decree issued by the President of Republika Srpska on
9 the 7th of November, 1997, signed by Biljana Plavsic, appointing stand-in
10 officers to the General Staff of Republika Srpska in the wartime
11 establishment, and it refers to Radislav Krstic and Vlado Lizdek.
12 According to this document, sir, what army was General Krstic in
13 on the 7th of November, 1997?
14 A. General Radislav Krstic was at that time a member of the VRS, the
15 Army of Republika Srpska.
16 Q. Did his service in the VRS ever cease before he was pensioned
18 A. No, and he was not pensioned off, Mr. Lukic.
19 Q. Correct. I apologise. He was arrested while he was still an
20 active-duty officers of the VRS; is that right?
21 A. Your Honours, he was pensioned off after awhile, but at the
22 moment of his arrest he was an active-duty officer of the Army of
23 Republika Srpska.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] May this document be admitted into
25 evidence, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
2 please be given an exhibit number.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
4 Exhibit D350. Thank you.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. If I may just ask. Now, he
6 had been -- that these two gentlemen were all the time in the VRS, isn't
7 it? Was this just a transfer within the army?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. That's correct, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: It's just that they use the word "appointment" so
10 as if it's a new -- they don't say "transfer."
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] And one more document before the
12 break. 65 ter 00116D.
13 Q. General, yesterday we spoke about training, and you said that in
14 the course of the war none of the officers of the VRS went to any sort of
15 training or education. We have a document dated the 7th of November,
16 1997. My question is as follows: The document speaks for itself. These
17 persons, Vinko Pandurevic and Bogdan Sladojevic, were they still members
18 of the VRS while they were being trained in the VJ?
19 A. No, Mr. Lukic. The persons you see here, as it says in the
20 preamble, are relieved of their duties and dispatched to training. This
21 was the practice in all armies. The JNA used to train officers from
22 various countries, and when they arrived, they became members of the JNA
23 for the duration of their training.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I wish to
25 tender this document.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
2 please be given an exhibit number.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
4 Exhibit D351. Thank you.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think it's time for a break.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: We'll take a break and come back at half past
8 12.00. Court adjourned.
9 --- Recess taken at 12.02 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 12.30 p.m.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. General, were you involved or did you take part in any discussion
14 with the political leaders of the FRY concerning the further status of
15 the members of the VRS, and if so, when did that take place and whom did
16 you meet?
17 A. Yes. That was in 1995. I had a meeting with the Supreme Defence
18 Council, which comprised President Lilic, President Milosevic as
19 President of Serbia, and President Bulatovic as President of Montenegro.
20 In addition to that we also had meetings with President Milosevic.
21 Q. What was the general position of the leadership of the FRY when
22 it came to the status of the VRS officers following the end of the war?
23 A. After the salaries were deblocked in 1995, the Supreme Defence
24 Council of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia once again reinstated the
25 decision and guaranteed the status of the VRS members when it came to the
1 salaries they received from the FRY -- or, rather, from the Ministry of
2 Defence of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
3 Q. Was that the position that the leadership of FRY maintained after
4 the Dayton agreement?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. What was the position of the leadership of the Federal Republic
7 of Yugoslavia in general vis-a-vis the VRS after the Dayton agreement?
8 Did they want to keep things status quo, or did they want to introduce
9 some changes? Do you know anything about it?
10 A. Yes, I do know. They guaranteed that the status would remain as
11 it was until then, but they told us that there was no chance for VRS to
12 join the Army of Yugoslavia.
13 Q. Do you know what was the position of General Perisic vis-a-vis --
14 or, rather, let me put it this way: What was the position of the
15 generals of VJ concerning the return of the VRS generals into the Army of
16 Yugoslavia? Did he give you his personal position about that?
17 A. Mr. Lukic, he never told me that personally, but I did hear some
18 of his words being reported in those meetings that I have mentioned. The
19 position of General Perisic was that the generals from VRS are not to
20 return to the Army of Yugoslavia. Most likely because -- no, not most
21 likely. I am sure it was because he had no establishment positions for
22 those generals in the VJ, which is to say that if he wanted anyone to be
23 proposed to be promoted to the rank of general by the presidential
24 decree, he would have had to either retire or relieve of duty some of his
25 existing generals. So he had no vacancies so to speak. There were no
1 establishment positions available in the Army of Yugoslavia.
2 Q. Were you a member of some delegation of the VRS in November --
3 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters didn't hear the year.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. -- in a meeting with President Milosevic, and if you remember,
6 tell us about the place and the meeting.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: The interpreters didn't hear the year.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. November of 1996.
10 A. Yes, I remember well that meeting, and if necessary, I can tell
11 the Chamber where that took place, in Belgrade. If that detail is not
12 important, then let me just tell you that at that meeting with President
13 Milosevic there was General Perisic from the Army of Yugoslavia present;
14 General Manojlo Milovanovic; I, General Petar Skrbic; and General Milan
15 Gvero from the VRS.
16 Q. Can you tell us what made that meeting memorable for you? What
17 was the topic discussed, and what were the viewpoints of the
19 A. In briefest terms, President Milosevic at that meeting explicitly
20 guaranteed the status of the members of the VRS of professional soldiers.
21 He guaranteed that their status would be the same as that after the
22 salaries were deblocked. However - and I remember this well - he said
23 that, as you know at that time, the Main Staff of the VRS was falling
24 apart. Madam President was ensuring that it fell apart. He said that
25 none of those generals of the VRS could go back to the VJ and be
1 appointed as generals by way of a presidential decree.
2 Q. Well, tell me -- I was going to ask you why this was important to
3 be discussed in November of 1996. Please tell us what was the reason for
4 you going there then to see Milosevic and Perisic?
5 A. May I answer? I'm reminding you that we had already discussed
6 the topic of personnel changes in the Main Staff of the VRS, and we in
7 the VRS realised that we had a problem, and I, as the competent person as
8 well as the commander who would issue final decisions, had to deal with
9 the issue of what to do with that many generals who were not eligible for
10 retirement and had to somehow continue their service.
11 Q. Do you remember what position General Perisic took at that
13 A. Yes, I do, but I'm now contemplating how to present it to the
14 Trial Chamber. I will tell you this: I observed that General Perisic
15 had some objections to what was said by President Milosevic. I saw that
16 based on his gesticulation, because Milosevic never let him speak.
17 I'm paraphrasing now. Milosevic said to him, "Well, why are you
18 telling me this now? Why didn't you tell me this before?" He just
19 added, and I remember this, "President, I don't think we will be able to
20 do what you have just promised." I remember him saying that.
21 As for the other details -- oh, yes. I remember this detail as
22 well. I apologise. He asked the president whether he could talk to him
23 for some five minutes after that, and the president said, "All right,
24 Momo, we will talk," but he was in a rush, and I don't know whether they
25 eventually did talk.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We will have to go into private
2 session, your honour.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
4 [Private session] [Confidentiality partially lifted by order of the Chamber]
5 THE REGISTRAR: We're in private session, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Yes, Mr. Lukic.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] First of all, could we see P769. We
8 see now minutes from the 58th session of the Supreme Defence Council of
9 the FRY, held on the 21st of November, 1996.
10 Could we now turn to the next page in B/C/S, please. And I think
11 the following page in the English too.
12 Q. In the middle here it says, "Analysing the situation." Do you
13 see that, general?
14 And you see at the end of that passage it says that he pointed
16 "He mentioned the information acquired following a meeting with
17 several members of the Main Staff of the VRS that the split has even
18 taken the form of an open antagonism."
19 Do you remember that anything of the sort was discussed at the
21 A. Which paragraph do you have in mind?
22 Q. Well, this large passage, "Analysing the situation in the
23 region ..." Please read it to yourself.
24 A. General Perisic said this at the session of the Supreme Defence
25 Council based on the meeting he had with us, General Milovanovic, General
1 Gvero, and myself, which took place on the previous day, but I don't
2 think he said these words at that meeting with the president.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we see the next page of the
5 document, please.
6 Q. Could you please read this portion here, paragraph four,
7 "Participating in the debate." Do you see that?
8 A. I have read this.
9 Q. Is this consistent with what transpired at that meeting that you
10 had with them in November?
11 A. Essentially, yes. It is completely consistent with it.
11 Pages 11825-11842 redacted. Private session.
6 [Open session]
7 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Lukic.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we now have document 65 ter
11 Q. We spoke a little while ago in open session about your departure
12 for Belgrade. I'll repeat the number. 01191D.
13 What was the general attitude of Ratko Mladic as to the
14 preservation of the Army of Republika Srpska after Biljana Plavsic became
15 the President of Republika Srpska? What was his position concerning the
17 A. In essence, the attitude of General Mladic was that we have to
18 preserve the army. We as individuals are insignificant. The army has to
19 survive. And when I say "army," I mean the Army of Republika Srpska.
20 Q. And from your meetings with top political officials from
21 Republika Srpska and the FRY, in your view -- in your experience was
22 Slobodan Milosevic satisfied with the election of Biljana Plavsic to that
23 position, and did she have any influence?
24 A. He was not satisfied, and he was unable to influence her. And
25 Mrs. Biljana Plavsic, as I heard her say, was angry with Mr. Milosevic,
1 because he did not allow her to cross the border.
2 Q. At that time in the course of 1996, was it important for the
3 Dayton Accord to be maintained and for the VRS to comply with all the
4 provisions of the Dayton Accord?
5 A. Yes, it was important, and all of us officers complied with the
6 accord, although we were not happy with it. I don't think anyone
7 complied with it to a greater extent than the Army of Republika Srpska
9 Q. We have a document before us. We can turn to page 2. It's a
10 poor copy.
11 General, are you familiar with this document? It's dated the
12 27th of November by General Ratko Mladic, and the decision is that he's
13 transferring the authority of the commander of the Main Staff to Manojlo
14 Milovanovic. What can you tell us about this document? Were you
15 familiar with it, and what were its consequences?
16 A. Your Honours, may I just say two sentences that are related to
17 this document.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, you may, sir.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] General Ratko Mladic did not accept
20 the decree issued by President Biljana Plavsic on his dismissal. I told
21 him that he had been appointed by the Peoples Assembly of Republika
22 Srpska, and unless the same institution dismisses him, he was not
23 duty-bound to comply. As soon as the Assembly convened and dismissed
24 General Mladic, he, without any consultations with his associate and
25 colleagues, drafted this document.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have this document
2 admitted into evidence, Your Honours?
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: You were going to ask the witness some question,
4 and before he answered, he asked to say two sentences. He has said the
5 two sentences.
6 Now, has he answered the question that you put? Your question
7 had been:
8 "We have a document before --"
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Well, in fact, he did. He told us
10 the whole background and how all this occurred.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. The document is admitted into evidence.
12 May it please be given an exhibit number. Do you want it under seal? Do
13 you want it ...
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honours.
15 THE REGISTRAR: It will be assigned Exhibit D353.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. General, in February of 1996, General Djukic was arrested. What
19 was the position of the Main Staff of the VRS towards The Hague Tribunal
20 at the time, and in that context, what views did they take or were any
21 actions taken by the Main Staff of the VRS?
22 A. This is a complicated question. I'll try to focus and give you
23 an answer.
24 Political misconceptions about the Tribunal were spread across
25 both Yugoslavia and Republika Srpska. Unfortunately, some of us on the
1 Main Staff bought these misconceptions.
2 On the date when General Djukic was arrested, the Bosnian police,
3 without any indictment, arrested him along with Colonel [indiscernible]
4 Jovanovic. We were really shocked by that, but that made us realise that
5 there can be no misconception about the Tribunal, because pursuant to the
6 UN Security Council Resolution, this Tribunal was set up in 1993 and was
7 factually operating.
8 Since we were upset by this arrest, we in the Main Staff of the
9 VRS started looking for a way in which we should react.
10 Colonel Aleksa Krsmanovic had no indictment issued against him.
11 His son was killed in Sarajevo in 1992, I think by the Muslim forces. As
12 I later heard, he was totally mentally and psychologically devastated by
14 This fact, and particularly due to the fact that I knew what his
15 condition was, we condemned this act of arrest even stronger, but that
16 was all we could do. When I say "we," I'm talking about the Main Staff,
17 and the only thing that we could do at the time was to freeze our
18 relations with UNPROFOR pending their release. However, that was an
19 illusion on our part, because later on we realised that UNPROFOR had no
20 competence or any authority to influence this Tribunal because this is an
21 independent court like any other court in the world. And if possible,
22 please spare me any questions regarding our views about this Tribunal.
23 Q. No, I'm not going to ask you any questions in that respect. This
24 was important.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would need an
1 additional 15 minutes to finish my examination-in-chief, and with your
2 leave, would I like to break now, and I will finish with this witness
3 tomorrow and it will take about 15 minutes.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
5 Once again, Mr. Skrbic, we are not supposed to discuss the topic,
6 the case with anybody, least of all not the Defence team. We are going
7 to take a break for the day, and we will come back at 9.00 in the
8 morning, same courtroom.
9 Yes, Mr. Skrbic.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it seems that you are
11 the only person that I can talk to. Can you tell me roughly how long
12 will I have to stay here as witness in The Hague?
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: The person who has the answer to that question
14 actually is Mr. Lukic.
15 Mr. Lukic, can you answer the witness's question, please?
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, I think that the
17 person that can give the answer to this is absent. I'm going to finish
18 tomorrow very quickly, and I talked to Mr. Saxon during our last break,
19 because he's going to cross-examine Mr. Skrbic, and I asked him about his
20 further intentions and about the problems that Mr. Skrbic has relating to
21 his family situation because he is supposed to leave for Belgrade towards
22 the end of this month, so we can give him this answer only after we hear
23 tomorrow from Mr. Saxon how long the cross-examination is going to last.
24 I have been examining this witness for four days. We had some
25 technical problems in the first two days which delayed the whole process,
1 but I believe that this testimony is extremely important, and I wanted to
2 focus on crucial things.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: I know that's not very helpful to you, Mr. Skrbic,
4 but that's the answer we have. We will probably have to find out how
5 long Mr. Saxon intends staying with you in cross-examination. Then, of
6 course, we are going to find out how long he wants to stay with you in
8 However, if you do have any problems back home which you would
9 like to raise and which you would like to attend -- you don't have to
10 tell us your private life, but if there is any need for you to -- to make
11 alternative arrangements, please do raise it. Something like maybe you
12 want to attend to something back home urgently, and maybe you want to
13 come back later to come and complete your testimony. That can always be
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honours. All I can tell
16 you is that you can count on me on Monday and Tuesday and tomorrow as
17 well. But after Tuesday, if this is not hampering the whole process, I
18 can even stay on Wednesday, so that would be my plans. I don't want to
19 cause harm to anyone due to the duration of my testimony, and I have no
20 special reason to go back home. I am going to be lonely. It is not
21 easily, but I will endure.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: I can understand and -- I can understand your
23 problem, Mr. Skrbic. Let's hope that we can make it as quickly as we
24 possibly can and release you soon. But I can understand the question of
1 We will take an adjournment and come back tomorrow at 9.00
2 tomorrow morning. Court adjourned.
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m.,
4 to be reconvened on Friday, the 18th day
5 of June, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.