1 Monday, 21 June 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning to everybody in and around the
8 Mr. Registrar, will you please 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, Mr. Registrar.
13 Could we have the appearances for the day, starting with the
15 MR. SAXON: Good morning, Your Honours. Dan Saxon,
16 Bronagh McKenna, and Carmela Javier for the Prosecution.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much, Mr. Saxon.
18 And for the Defence.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good
20 morning to everyone participating in the proceedings. Novak Lukic and
21 Boris Zorko are representing Mr. Perisic today.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
23 Good morning, Mr. Skrbic. Just to remind you again - I know you
24 know it already - that you're still bound by the declaration you made at
25 the beginning of the testimony to tell the truth, the whole truth, and
1 nothing else but the truth. Thank you so much.
2 Mr. Saxon.
3 MR. SAXON: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 WITNESS: PETAR SKRBIC [Resumed]
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 Cross-examination by Mr. Saxon: [Continued]
7 Q. Good morning, General Skrbic.
8 MR. SAXON: Can we please show the witness P2719, please.
9 Q. General Skrbic, I'm going to show you very briefly one more
10 document that is related to the subject of training; however, I'm not
11 going to ask you any substantive questions about training. I need to
12 show you this document to see if you can clarify an acronym.
13 MR. SAXON: And if we could make both versions a bit bigger,
14 please. Thank you.
15 Q. General Skrbic, you'll see this is a document dated the 15th of
16 April, 1995. It's from Commander Ratko Mladic from the Main Staff of the
17 Army of Republika Srpska, and it's addressed to the Yugoslav Army
18 General Staff, personally to the chief. If you look at the full
19 paragraph in this document you'll see -- in English at least it says:
20 "Please approve that it be approved that two
21 officers - instructors from the Pancevo ..."
22 And then there is an acronym "OBS," with the diacritic, "C."
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: OBO -- actually, I'm a bit lost. You talked of
24 the 15th of April. The document I have is dated the 20th of April and --
25 MR. SAXON: I apologise, Your Honour, because the page I have in
1 front of me seems not to be in the same order.
2 Can we go to the next document, please -- the next page in both
4 Well, it's not exactly the document I was looking for, but it is
5 part of this exhibit and we see the same acronym.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay.
7 MR. SAXON:
8 Q. General Skrbic, can you tell us what the Pancevo BOSC stood for,
9 what that acronym means or meant?
10 A. Good morning to everyone. Mr. Saxon, this acronym, BOSC, means
11 security and intelligence training centre of Pancevo.
12 Q. Okay. And that was a VJ --
13 MR. SAXON: Oops.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I heard the interpreters repeating
16 the same interpretation that is in the document, but I think that the
17 training centre is not a correct term. It should literally be translated
18 as schooling centre because schooling is normally related to education
19 not training. Therefore, I would ask the interpreters to correct that.
20 THE INTERPRETER: As the interpreters did, interpreter's note.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm not quite sure I understand what the
22 interpreter means by "as the interpreters did, interpreter's note." I
23 don't know whether they mean they agree that it is "schooling" and not
24 "training," and if they don't mean that, then I want to say to Mr. Lukic
25 do you want to swap places with the interpreters?
1 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The literal translation
2 would be schooling centre.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
4 Mr. Saxon.
5 MR. SAXON: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Can we go to the next page in both languages, please.
7 Q. And if you can -- this is the document that I was referring to
8 initially, General Skrbic. It's part of the same exhibit, 2719.
9 MR. SAXON: And if we could enlarge, please, the middle of the
10 B/C/S version, please. Thank you.
11 Q. And so, General, this is the original request dated 15th April
12 1995. It's from Ratko Mladic from the Main Staff of the VRS to the
13 Yugoslav Army General Staff, personally to the chief. So this request,
14 actually now that you've -- we've clarified the acronym and clarified the
15 English, this is a request that two VJ officers who normally work at a VJ
16 schooling centre extend their engagement at the Banja Luka military
17 school centre of the VRS. Is that a fair interpretation?
18 A. Yes, it's correct.
19 Q. Okay. Thank you.
20 MR. SAXON: We can leave this document now.
21 Q. General Skrbic, you are aware, are you not, that in 1995 this
22 Tribunal indicted Ratko Mladic for his responsibility for events at
24 A. I don't understand your question. What were you actually asking
1 Q. I'm simply asking you to confirm that you have knowledge that
2 this Tribunal has indicted Ratko Mladic for his responsibility -- excuse
3 me, his alleged responsibility for the events that occurred in Srebrenica
4 in July 1995?
5 A. I don't know about the year, but I know that the indictment has
6 been issued, as you said, in 1995.
7 Q. Okay. Can you recall when you became aware that General Mladic
8 was indicted by this Tribunal?
9 A. Can you please repeat the question.
10 Q. Can you recall approximately when you became aware that
11 Ratko Mladic had been indicted by this Tribunal?
12 A. I can't remember even approximately. I only remember the event
13 itself. A son of my colleague told me that there was an indictment on
14 the internet, I looked at it, but I don't remember which date it was when
15 I did that. Later on I reviewed the indictment on several occasions on
16 the internet, and I think you know that all the indictments are available
17 on the internet.
18 Q. Okay. That's fine.
19 MR. SAXON: Can we please show the witness Exhibit D346.
20 Q. We're going to show you, General Skrbic --
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you need private session?
22 MR. SAXON: Thank you very much, Your Honour. Yes, I do. Thank
23 you very much.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the chamber please move into private session.
25 [Private session]
11 Pages 11927-11937 redacted. Private session.
10 [Open session]
11 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
13 Yes, Mr. Saxon.
14 MR. SAXON: Can we please show the witness what is Exhibit P628,
16 Q. General, if you take a look, please, at this document, the date
17 at the top is very -- the actual year at the top is a bit difficult to
18 read. It says 15 August 19 and the last two numbers are difficult to
19 read, but at the bottom we see a date stamp of the special units of the
20 VJ from 17 August 1994. And you'll see this document, it's from the
21 General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia, sector for logistics. And
22 you'll see at the bottom it's signed by General Perisic, Chief of the
23 General Staff. And in this document General Perisic is referring to an
24 order of the president of the FRY, dated the 18th of February, 1994,
25 pursuant to which General Perisic issued an instruction for replenishment
1 of the 30th and 40th Personnel Centre with material supplies, which was
2 submitted to you under -- and then he gives the number of that order of
4 And then General Perisic goes on to say the following:
5 "Despite constant warnings, certain commanding officers of the VJ
6 disobeyed the order and issued equipment for the needs of the 30th and
7 40th Personnel Centre without authorisation."
8 He refers to disciplinary and criminal procedures that are under
9 way. And then he gives a series of four instructions, and number 1 is:
10 "Warn all those issuing orders and all material organs to
11 strictly implement the measures and procedures from the mentioned
13 "2. Prevent the unauthorised issuance of weaponry and military
15 Have you been able to read along with me?
16 A. Yes, I have been able to read along with you.
17 Q. Now, there's nothing in this order of General Perisic that says,
18 "Stop providing equipment and materiel to the VRS, is there?
19 A. Yes, Mr. Saxon.
20 Q. And so basically in summary form General Perisic is saying if
21 you're going to give materiel and equipment to the VRS, do it the way I
22 told you to do it; right?
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. --
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that's your interpretation.
25 I don't know what General Perisic meant. You're showing me a document
1 that I've not seen before, a document issued by the Army of Yugoslavia,
2 not by the VRS. And finally, you want me to explain things that concern
3 equipment, whereas my area of responsibility was the personnel.
4 MR. SAXON:
5 Q. Absolutely right, General. However, you did testify on direct
6 examination about the effect of this blockade, about the sanctions that
7 were imposed in August 1994. And that's why I'm exploring this topic
8 with you. Let's look at another document, if we can.
9 MR. SAXON: Can we please show the witness Exhibit P851.
10 We don't seem to have a B/C/S version on the screen. Maybe it's
11 coming now. There we are. Can that be enlarged a bit, please.
12 Q. You'll see, General Skrbic, this is a document addressed by
13 General Perisic to commander of the Republika Srpska Main Staff, and it
14 says -- it's dated the 22nd of February, 1995. But in the first
15 paragraph you'll see that General Perisic is referring to a decision from
16 mid-September 1994 that the supreme council took to suspend the payment
17 of salaries to "your people." But then General Perisic says:
18 "We have agreed that I send you 500.000 dinars, which I did on 21
19 September. And the money was collected by General Tomic."
20 So we see here at least an effort by General Perisic to try to
21 continue with salary payments for members of the VRS; is that right?
22 A. That's not correct. This is not much. This is very little
23 money, and I believe that you had Mr. --
24 General Borijovanic [as interpreted] as a witness. He was in a position
25 to explain how could the Chief of General Staff, be it General Perisic or
1 General XY, how he could dispose with 500.000 dinars. That was part of
2 some reserves. I can't explain, but any finance guy can explain how a
3 Chief of the General Staff has petty cash, as it were, and allocate those
4 funds wherever they wanted.
5 However, when it cam to the big money, the budget of the military, he
6 could not distribute or allocate money from that. I did see this
7 document, Mr. Saxon; Mr. Lukic showed it to me. And I told him that I
8 had not been aware of this document and also that I had not been aware of
9 that money allocation.
10 Q. All right. First of all, no one by the name of
11 General Borijovanic has testified to date in this trial, but I want to
12 explore something that you said. You mentioned part of -- that this
13 payment was part of some reservist, and so if I understand your
14 testimony, the Chief of the General Staff has a certain amount of money
15 allocated to him called reserves or what have you. And the Chief of the
16 General Staff then, at least at this time during the war, had the
17 discretion to use those reserves how he saw fit.
18 MR. SAXON: And Mr. Lukic is on his feet.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] First of all, let me correct the --
21 and say that the witness mentioned General Boro Jovanovic. That's my
22 first correction. The second thing that I want to say and object, it
23 seems that the witness himself has said that he was not a relevant
24 authority on the area. So whatever you now ask him may only call of
25 speculation as to what the Chief of General Staff could do with his
2 Let me just add one more thing. The witness was talking in
3 principle about what any Chief of General Staff anywhere in the world can
4 do, so he was laying down a principle, a standard. Calling for any other
5 detail is simply calling for speculation on the part of this witness.
6 MR. SAXON: Two responses, Your Honour. I think I should be able
7 to ask the witness whether he is able to answer my question. And second
8 of all, I object to what was clearly Mr. Lukic now putting words
9 available for the witness. I don't think that was appropriate.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Objection sustained.
11 MR. SAXON: May we please show the witness Exhibit P1257.
12 Q. General Skrbic, you'll see this is a document dated the 27th of
13 February, 1995. It's signed by lieutenant -- it's signed by a person
14 representing Lieutenant Commander Ojdanic -- Lieutenant-General Ojdanic.
15 It's addressed to a military post in Kragujevac. And it says on the
16 basis of a ruling, and there's a particular number dated the 24th of
17 February, 1995, "by the Chief of the General Staff of the VJ," it says
18 "... please issue to the 30th Personnel Centre from military post 5292
19 Mrsac the following ..."
20 And the items to be issued are 100 rounds of 152-millimetre
21 contact fuses. And down below it gives a dead-line for the realisation
22 of the task as 28 February 1995.
23 You told Mr. Lukic during your direct examination -- or actually
24 you affirmed today that your position is only humanitarian assistance was
25 crossing the border between the FRY and Republika Srpska after the
1 blockade was imposed. This document suggests that in addition to
2 humanitarian assistance, military materiel was also being sent to the RS,
3 doesn't it?
4 A. I'm not able to answer that question, but it doesn't say that
5 it's going to Republika Srpska, but rather to the Kragujevac TRZ, which
6 stands for maintenance and repair centre or department in Kragujevac.
7 Q. General Skrbic, it does say at the top beneath the date "to be
8 delivered to the military post at Kragujevac," but then in the next
9 provision it says:
10 "On the basis of the ruling ..." issued on the "24th of February,
11 1995, by the Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army, please
12 issue to the 30th Personnel Centre from military post 5292 ... the
13 following ..."
14 And then we see a hundred pieces of 152-millimetre contact fuses.
15 Now, the 30th Personnel Centre stood for the Army of Republika Srpska,
16 didn't it?
17 A. No.
18 Q. It didn't?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Well --
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think that the witness responded in
23 this way because probably due to misinterpretation into B/C/S. So could
24 Mr. Saxon please repeat his question.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Saxon.
1 MR. SAXON: Yeah.
2 Q. First of all, may we start with the first principles. When an
3 officer was assigned to the 30th Personnel Centre, that meant that
4 officer was going to serve in the Army of Republika Srpska; isn't that
5 right, General?
6 A. That's right, Mr. Saxon.
7 Q. So - and I'm grateful to Mr. Lukic - with respect to this
8 document if we have munitions being issued to the 30th Personnel Centre,
9 that means these munitions are going to be sent to the Army of Republika
10 Srpska; isn't that right?
11 A. If ammunition or anything of the sort is being sent.
12 Q. Right.
13 A. I'm not disputing that.
14 Q. Okay. And this document would indicate that ammunition was being
15 sent to the Army of Republika Srpska during the time of the blockade;
16 isn't that right?
17 A. I'm sorry, but I have to comment on this comment even though this
18 is beyond my scope of responsibility. But this is such a confused and
19 imprecise document that all of us here who are making tremendous effort
20 to understand it are find it difficult to understand it. What you read
21 in the first sentence is completely accurate, but then later on when we
22 speak about the rounds please look at the sentence which says "the
23 transportation" to -- "of the ammunition to the TRZ Kragujevac where the
24 take-over will occur is to be done by the issuer using their own motor
1 Therefore, in spite of all my efforts towards understanding this
2 document, I still can't fathom certain things that are contained therein.
3 I'm not evading an answer, Mr. Saxon. I'm really doing my best to help
4 you, but I would like to be accurate in trying to help you because this
5 is what I came here for to do.
6 Q. Well, that paragraph which is causing you confusion, doesn't it
7 simply indicate that the personnel at the military post in Kragujevac
8 will obtain the ammunition and bring it to the maintenance and repair
9 department in Kragujevac? Isn't that what the first part of that
10 sentence says?
11 A. Well, according to our interpretation, yes, that could be the
13 Q. And then we see the phrase "where the take-over will occur," and
14 that indicates that someone, whether it's a person from the Army of
15 Republika Srpska or someone else, is going to take-over these contact
16 fuses at the maintenance and repair department at Kragujevac; right?
17 A. I don't know about that. I can only guess.
18 Q. Okay.
19 MR. SAXON: Can we move into -- no, it's all right to remain in
20 public session. Can we please show the witness P2746, please.
21 Q. General Skrbic, this document -- excuse me, this Prosecution
22 exhibit has several pages to it. This first page, you'll see, it's dated
23 the 7th of October, 1995. It's from the Main Staff of the Army of
24 Republika Srpska. It's from Commander Ratko Mladic and it's addressed to
25 the command of the General Staff of the VJ, Chief of the General Staff
1 personally. And you'll see, if you look, I believe, in the second
2 paragraph in your version, that General Mladic is saying:
3 "Please send us 10 FAB-275/4 ..." because the VRS does not have
4 any such ammunition. And these are -- it's stated higher up in the
5 text -- there's a reference in the English version to aerial bombs. And
6 can we go to the next page, please, in both versions.
7 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, I've just been informed by my colleague
8 from the Registry that there is no second page. Um -- one moment,
10 [Prosecution counsel confer]
11 MR. SAXON: All right. Can we please show the witness then P951.
12 Q. General Skrbic, here we see a document dated the exact same day
13 as the request from General Mladic. It's issued by the office of the
14 Chief of the General Staff of the VJ. It's addressed to the Republika
15 Srpska army Main Staff. It's referencing the document that I showed you
16 a moment ago, the same number and same date. And it says:
17 "The collection of ten pieces of FAB-275/4 is hereby approved.
18 You can collect them yourself from the 608th Logistics Base."
19 And it's signed by the chief of the cabinet of the -- chief of
20 the General Staff, Colonel Borovic. Now, these two documents would
21 indicate that military materiel was moving from the FRY to the Army of
22 Republika Srpska during the period that the blockade was in place; isn't
23 that right?
24 A. Well, it's not right, Mr. Saxon. This is dated 9th October 1995.
25 That was the most difficult period for the Army of Republika Srpska, and
1 I believe that that was the period when preparations for the Dayton
2 Accords were underway. And then again, would you please not ask me about
3 the documents that contained information beyond my responsibility. This
4 is the first time that I'm seeing this document. This is the first time
5 that I'm hearing about the request for this ten pieces of equipment. The
6 things were calming down because the Dayton Accords were in the offing.
7 Many things in this respect are not clear to me and what is not clear to
8 me I'm reluctant to try and to explain to you. That was, as you can see,
9 towards the end of 1995. We are talking about October.
10 Q. Thank you, General Skrbic. One last --
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Would that be -- okay, one last.
12 MR. SAXON: It is one last question, Your Honour.
13 Q. The sanctions, the blockade between the FRY and the Army of
14 Republika Srpska, was still formally in place in October of 1995; right?
15 A. Yes, you're right about that.
16 MR. SAXON: Can we take the first break, Your Honour?
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: We'll take the break and come back at quarter to
18 11.00. Court adjourned.
19 --- Recess taken at 10.18 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 10.45 a.m.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Saxon.
22 MR. SAXON:
23 Q. General Skrbic, I'd like to move to a different topic now. I'd
24 like you to turn your mind back to your testimony from last week. On
25 last -- last Wednesday - this is at pages 11691 through 11692 - you and
1 Mr. Lukic discussed a group of officers from the VJ who arrived in the
2 Republika Srpska in mid-July 1995 who were to be assigned to posts in the
3 Army of Republika Srpska. And on page 11693 at lines 14 to 18 you
4 described how Bogdan Sladojevic was first sent to the
5 Sarajevo-Romanija Corps and then after several days he was transferred to
6 the Main Staff of the VRS, and from the Main Staff of the VRS you
7 explained that Bogdan Sladojevic was then sent to the Drina Corps.
8 Do you recall that testimony?
9 A. Yes, I do, Mr. Saxon. Only I didn't mean that he was sent to the
10 Drina Corps. He was sent to join the units of the Drina Corps because he
11 received certain tasks. He was assigned to the Main Staff of
12 Republika Srpska after having been at the Drina Corps.
13 Q. I want to make sure that the record is clear and that there's not
14 a problem in interpretation. It's perfectly clear where you say "he,"
15 Mr. Sladojevic, "was sent to join the units of the Drina Corps because he
16 received certain tasks."
17 But then, according to the English interpretation, it then says:
18 "He was assigned to the Main Staff of Republika Srpska after
19 having been at the Drina Corps."
20 And I understood your testimony from last week that first
21 Mr. Sladojevic was assigned to the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, and then
22 after several days in the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps Mr. Sladojevic was
23 transferred to the VRS Main Staff; and then from the VRS Main Staff,
24 Mr. Sladojevic was transferred to the Drina Corps, pursuant to an order,
25 as a representative of the VRS Main Staff. Have I correctly summarised
1 this chain of events?
2 A. Yes, precisely and exactly you have summarised it, but he was
3 never assigned to the Drina Corps. As for the rest, it is all correct.
4 Q. Okay. In fact, General Mladic ordered that Colonel Sladojevic
5 and two other colonels, Colonel Trkulja and Stankovic, go to the
6 Drina Corps in July 1995 to assist the Drina Corps, in particular the
7 1st Zvornik Brigade, in the planning and co-ordination of combat
8 operations with Muslim forces in the wider areas of Kamenica and Cerska;
9 isn't that right? That was the reason for which Colonel Sladojevic had
10 to go to the Drina Corps.
11 A. Yes, that's right, Mr. Saxon. Only I learned about that from an
12 expert analysis compiled by Mr. Richard Butler.
13 Q. Right. And it was important at that time, which is -- and this
14 is why General Mladic sent these three experienced officers to the
15 1st Zvornik Brigade, what was needed at the time was a plan to comb the
16 terrain and block and destroy, if you will, the remaining parts of armed
17 Muslim groups in that area. Is that right?
18 A. I can only guess about that, and I'm not willing to give you a
19 reply on that basis because I was not privy to those issues at the time.
20 Q. All right. I want to talk to you, General Skrbic, about the
21 issue of VRS personnel returning to the Army of Yugoslavia. Last week at
22 page 11776 of the transcript starting at line 10, Mr. Lukic asked you:
23 "Was General Perisic or anybody else from the VJ able to order
24 you or anybody else from the VRS to go back to the VJ without prior
25 consent of Ratko Mladic?"
1 And this was your response:
2 "First of all, he couldn't issue such an order because there was
3 no such relationship between General Perisic and the Army of Republika
4 Srpska. He could ask the commander of the Main Staff of the VRS whether
5 a certain officer could be transferred if he really needed that officer.
6 To be fully clear, General Perisic could not order me, General Skrbic, to
7 go back to the Army of Yugoslavia."
8 Do you recall that testimony, sir?
9 A. Yes, Mr. Saxon.
10 MR. SAXON: Can we please show General Skrbic what is Exhibit
11 P2598, please.
12 Q. General Skrbic, you'll see this is an order --
13 MR. SAXON: Yes, if we could zoom in on that.
14 Q. It's order number 5-193 - and I'd like you to please try to
15 remember that number, please, because we're going to see it again - of
16 the chief of the personnel administration of the General Staff of the
17 Army of Yugoslavia. It's dated the 17th of June, 1994. And you'll see
18 here that this document contains a series of appointments, appointment
19 orders, issued by the personnel administration. And can we please turn
20 to page 9 in the English, please, and page 8 in the B/C/S version. And
21 if we could focus on the bottom of the page in the English version,
22 please, and the bottom half of the B/C/S version as well. Thank you.
23 And you'll see here, General Skrbic -- actually, before we do
24 this, can we go to the last page in both -- in both versions, please.
25 You'll see, General Skrbic, that this order was signed by
1 Major-General Dusan Zoric, and at the time he was the chief of the
2 personnel administration at the VJ General Staff; correct?
3 A. Yes, correct, Mr. Saxon.
4 Q. Now, can we please go to page 9 in the English, page 8 in B/C/S.
5 And focus -- if we could zoom in on the bottom half of each version.
6 You'll see, General Skrbic, that number 13 here refers to a
7 Captain Tihomir Babic, who's being sent or appointed to the Loznica
8 garrison, the 1st Army -- there's a subheading above 13 to the 1st Army,
9 to operations group Drina. And then it says that now Captain Babic has a
10 duty post at the 30th Personnel Centre of the Yugoslav Army
11 General Staff, he's filling an establishment post of a major, as of 10th
12 of November, 1993. Are you able to follow with me, sir?
13 A. Yes, I was.
14 MR. SAXON: Can we please go to the next page just in the English
15 version. And if we could zoom in a little bit at the top of the page,
17 Q. And, General Skrbic, if you could focus on the text at the bottom
18 of the page in your version.
19 MR. SAXON: Those following in English, please look at the top of
20 the page.
21 Q. It says:
22 "Responsible commanding officer will appoint the named person
24 And then it says:
25 "Upon receipt of the document on appointment, he shall be
1 immediately released from duty as per peace time and sent to the new
3 And then it says below that the last line there:
4 "Rationale: Redeployed as required."
5 Have you been able to follow with me, General Skrbic?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Okay.
8 MR. SAXON: Can we please show General Skrbic Exhibit P1856.
9 Q. General Skrbic, we see that this is a document from the Main
10 Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska from the sector for organisation,
11 mobilisation, and personnel. It's dated the 14th of August, 19 --
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, I am not receiving
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are we able to help? The witness is not receiving
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's correct.
17 MR. SAXON:
18 Q. You'll see, General Skrbic, this is a document from the Main
19 Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska, from the sector for organisation,
20 mobilisation, and personnel, and it's dated the 14th of August, 1994.
21 Correct me if I'm wrong, this is the day before you took over your duties
22 as the chief of this sector; is that right?
23 A. You're right.
24 Q. Okay. And we see below there the document references the same
25 gentleman that we saw a moment ago in the VJ personnel administration
1 order, Tihomir Babic, captain first class. It says:
2 "Execution of an order regarding transfer."
3 And sent to the command of the Drina Corps. And then in the text
4 below it says:
5 "Further to an order number 5-193, dated the 17th of June,
6 1994 ..."
7 That was the same order that we saw a minute ago. Are you
8 following me, General Skrbic?
9 A. I am, yes.
10 Q. And it says that Captain Babic is transferred from the 30th
11 Personnel Centre to the -- to the VJ. And then it says:
12 "The aforementioned shall be forthwith discharged from his
13 present unit and dispatched into transfer."
14 And then it's from your predecessor, Major-General Grubor.
15 Now, General Skrbic, first of all, this document shows that
16 Major-General Grubor was executing an order of the chief of the personnel
17 administration of the VJ General Staff; right?
18 A. No, it doesn't show that. He executed an order and I can't
19 remember the name. I suppose that he first received an approval to be
20 transferred to the Army of Yugoslavia from the commander of the Main
21 Staff of the VRS, and then the Personnel Administration Chief of the
22 General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia issued an order to send him to
23 that unit. And Mico Grubic [as interpreted], my predecessor, regulated
24 his situation in the VRS to be sent there, to be re-assigned to the army,
25 and the rest is correct.
1 Q. I understand your supposition, but nowhere in this document is
2 there a reference to any kind of approval from the commander of the Main
3 Staff of the VRS, is there?
4 A. No, Mr. Saxon.
5 Q. Okay.
6 MR. SAXON: Can we please show the witness P1855.
7 Q. And before we look at the next document, General Skrbic, if such
8 an approval, this kind of approval of the commander of the Main Staff was
9 issued, that approval should exist in the personnel file of this person,
10 shouldn't it?
11 A. Mr. Saxon, such a document is not archived in the personnel file.
12 In my sector, for example, such a document is used to regulate the status
13 in the Army of Republika Srpska, and if he is transferred to the Army of
14 Yugoslavia his authorities in the Army of Yugoslavia use it to regulate
15 his status there, and that is if he's transferred to the Army of
17 And second of all, and I apologise for adding things to your
18 question, and that document was not sent to the corps command. The corps
19 command was just verbally informed. In the command of the Drina Corps,
20 if there is possibly such an approval - and as I said, I'm not sure
21 whether we sent them or not, Mico Grubor would be better placed to say
22 what the fact was - it wouldn't be in the Drina Corps. It would be in
23 the Main Staff of the VRS in the sector for organisation, mobilisation,
24 and personnel affairs.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I have an objection from my client
2 that he is not receiving interpretation, and I must say that I also have
3 problems hearing the witness through the headphones. I can hear him
4 better across the room. There is a problem with channel 6. Could I
5 please hear the interpreters just to check the interpretation. Now it's
6 better. We both are receiving a much better interpretation now. We have
7 a much better reception of the interpretation.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
9 And thank you, Mr. Usher.
10 Yes, Mr. Saxon.
11 MR. SAXON:
12 Q. I want to make sure I understand your testimony. I think I
13 understood you to be saying that the corps command was just verbally
14 informed. Are you saying that your sector with the long name that I'm
15 sure I will butcher if I try to say it, are you saying that for something
16 as important as the redeployment from the VRS back to the VJ, your sector
17 would not receive any written documentation about this in terms of the
18 approval that was given?
19 A. No, Mr. Saxon. Just the contrary was the case. We did have
20 documents to that effect. If that person had received an approval from
21 the commander of the Main Staff of the VRS, that approval should be found
22 in the sector where I worked, and the name is a mouthful, so let --
23 forgive me if I don't say it in full. Sometimes I myself find it
24 difficult to say its full name.
25 MR. SAXON: I see Mr. Lukic is having a problem, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: I see Mr. Registrar is trying to communicate with
2 some technicians. I hope we'll get assistance.
3 Mr. Lukic, if you're still not receiving any interpretation,
4 please say, and then we'll issue a stop until technicians have attended
5 to the problem, either you or your client.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] At first we could not hear
7 Mr. Skrbic's answer, and now I can hear you and I believe that the
8 situation is the same with Mr. Perisic. I'll keep watch on the
9 developments and I will keep you posted.
10 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: If you get the problem again, just rise.
12 Thank you. Mr. Saxon, you may proceed.
13 MR. SAXON:
14 Q. You say, General, that -- let me go back to my earlier question.
15 Actually, we'll work with this document that we have on the screen.
16 This, I believe, is P1855.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's what you called.
18 MR. SAXON: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. You'll see, General Skrbic, this is a document from the
20 Drina Corps command dated the 16th of August, 1994. Again it refers to
21 Captain Tihomir Babic. Again it says "execution of an order regarding
22 transfer." It says "to the command of the 2nd," and then we see an
23 acronym. I'm wondering if you can help us with this, sir. The acronym
24 Plpbr, does that stand for the 2nd Podrinje Light Brigade?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Okay. And that was --
2 A. Light infantry brigade.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: But my question would be: Is it Podrinje or
5 MR. SAXON:
6 Q. In the English, General Skrbic, the English version of this
7 document after the acronym we see the phrase Prizren Light Infantry
8 Brigade with a question mark, and my question for you is: Should that
9 English version actually say "Podrinje Light Infantry Brigade"?
10 A. Yes, you are right.
11 Q. Okay. And again in this order it begins:
12 "Further to order PU," the personnel administration,
13 "confidential number 5-193, dated 17 June 1994," and it says that
14 Captain Tihomir Babic is transferred from the 30th Personnel Centre to
15 the 1st Army, where he will resume a corresponding position. And it's
16 signed by Major-General Milenko Zivanovic, the commander of the
17 Drina Corps.
18 Again, General Skrbic, this document refers to an execution of an
19 order regarding transfer. It refers to the VJ order that we saw a few
20 moments ago. There's no reference at all to any communication from the
21 chief of the VRS Main Staff giving approval for this transfer. Doesn't
22 that indicate -- again we see Major-General Zivanovic executing an order
23 of the VJ?
24 A. This is a mistakenly drafted transfer note. The Drina Corps
25 cannot refer to an order of the personnel administration. It had to
1 refer to an order signed by my predecessor, Mico Grubor. The personnel
2 officer who was in the Drina Corps, his name was Radenko Jovicic. He was
3 my subordinate and he often made mistakes, and I often warned him about
4 that. And here again he made a mistake. He was supposed to refer to an
5 order issued by the Main Staff of the VRS and not the order that he
6 referred to herein. He sometimes bypassed everybody. He communicated
7 directly with the Army of Yugoslavia. Later on we put a ban on that.
8 Q. Thank you. Now, your predecessor, Major-General Grubor, he was a
9 competent officer, wasn't he?
10 A. Yes, no doubt about that.
11 Q. He was a careful man, followed the rules; right?
12 A. Yes.
13 MR. SAXON: Can we please go back to what is P1856.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Saxon, there were things that
15 he did superficially, and I'm not saying that I was immune to that
16 either. Sometimes I did things half-heartedly and superficially. You
17 know, war does that to people. Mistakes cannot be excluded.
18 MR. SAXON:
19 Q. And as you said earlier in your testimony, during your direct
20 testimony, very few requests to be -- for VRS officers to return to the
21 VJ were approved because, as you put it, the VRS did not want to erode
22 the strength of its army. And so the matter of a transfer back to the VJ
23 would have been looked at very carefully; isn't that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. All right. So now if we look at P1856 again, this is the
1 document issued by your predecessor, Major-General Mico Grubor, again, as
2 he put it, an execution of an order regarding transfer. And again, what
3 we see Major-General Grubor doing here, as did Major-General Zivanovic,
4 is he's basing his order on the order number 5-193 that was issued by the
5 General Staff of the VJ; right?
6 A. Right. You established the correct link here.
7 Q. And the reason that link was important was because when such
8 orders were issued the members of your sector in the VRS Main Staff had
9 to respond to them; correct?
10 A. From the moment I joined the sector we executed things only on
11 the approval of the commander of the Main Staff of the VRS. Nobody
12 else's, you can be sure of that.
13 MR. SAXON: Can we please show General Skrbic what is
14 Exhibit P1934. And can we please go to page 11 in the Serbo-Croat
15 version and in the English from -- there are several different excerpted
16 translations in this exhibit, and can we please go to the English excerpt
17 that starts with 0422-8609, page 1.
18 MR. SAXON: And maybe what we -- if we could go to page 3 of the
19 B/C/S version, please. One more page in the B/C/S version, please. One
20 more page in the B/C/S version. I just want to show -- this is a
21 personnel file and I want to show General Skrbic the first page. Can we
22 go one more page forward. I need to go forward. I don't need that
23 enlarged. Can we go forward another page, please. There we are.
24 Q. You'll see, General Skrbic, that we're going to spend a few
25 minutes looking at the personnel file, the VJ personnel file, of
1 Vujadin Popovic. Do you see his name there, the first page of his file?
2 A. Yes, I can see that.
3 MR. SAXON: Now, can we please go to page 11 in the B/C/S
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't see the photo.
6 MR. SAXON:
7 Q. I know, it's too dark.
8 MR. SAXON: If we can --
9 Q. Well, what we see here, General Skrbic, is part of a table
10 showing the different appointments and positions held by Mr. Popovic
11 during his military career. And you'll see in the third assignment from
12 the top in your version and in the English version as well we see
13 then-Major Popovic being assigned to the 30th Personnel Centre. Do you
14 see that?
15 A. Yes, I can see that.
16 MR. SAXON: Can we scroll down just a bit in the English version,
17 please. Bit more. Thank you.
18 Q. And we see that that transfer is done pursuant to an order of the
19 personnel administration, the chief of the personnel administration of
20 the Main Staff of the VJ, dated 9 February 1994. Are you able to see
21 that, General Skrbic?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. In the column below that we see another entry, where on the far
24 left we see that now it's Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic is being appointed
25 as the assistant head of command and operations in security and
1 intelligence, still in the 30th Personnel Centre. Do you see that?
2 A. Yes, I can see that, but there is something else here,
3 counter-intelligence and security affairs it says here.
4 Q. Okay. All right. Thank you, sir.
5 MR. SAXON: Can we please go to the next page in the English
6 version. And perhaps we could make the first half of the page a bit
7 bigger for those following along in English. Thank you.
8 Q. The next entry, still in the 30th Personnel Centre, now it's
9 Colonel Popovic being appointed head of the security department in the
10 intelligence security organ. Is that what that shows, General Skrbic?
11 A. No, Mr. Saxon. It says chief of department for security in the
12 organ for security and intelligence services. I've given you the full
13 title. In the corps there were no sectors -- administrations but
14 departments. I wanted you to understand the abbreviation in the way that
15 I've just expanded it, in the way that I've just explained.
16 Q. Okay. Thank you very much for clarifying that. And then the
17 next entry, in English it says that Colonel Popovic was dismissed from
18 duty and sent for training in the 46th, I believe it's -- well, I
19 won't -- you know what I'll do, General, I'm going to ask you to read the
20 next entry, please, so that the interpreters can interpret for us so that
21 we make sure that that next entry is accurate. Can you read the next
22 entry in your language, please, can you read it out loud?
23 A. Yes, I can do that, Mr. Saxon. It reads as follows:
24 "Dismissed from duty and sent for schooling in the 46th class of
25 the General Staff school with the centre of military schools in Belgrade
1 a PG," which is salary group 9, PG stands for salary group.
2 Q. All right. And this is happening in September 1997; right?
3 A. Right.
4 Q. Then we see the next entry, it's made in July 1998 and apparently
5 Colonel Popovic has finished his schooling because he's now being
6 assigned back to the 30th Personnel Centre in an undetermined station.
7 Isn't that right?
8 A. Yes, this is an undetermined duty station.
9 Q. All right. But in the next entry, which is pursuant to an order
10 of the 30th of September, 1998, we see that Colonel Popovic is going to
11 become the head of the security -- well, I apologise if the English
12 translation is wrong, but in English it says head of security sector.
13 And then it says in the next column security administration in the 30th
14 Personnel Centre. Is that correct or does that need a correction as
16 A. I'm going to read it as it should be read. I'm sorry. Probably
17 English language cannot faithfully reflect everything. This is what it
18 says: Head of the section for security affairs, security administration
19 of the 30th Personnel Centre of the VJ General Staff.
20 Q. All right. Now I'd like you to please focus on the next entry,
21 which says:
22 "Sent temporarily to the 2nd Army, duty station not determined."
23 And that's pursuant to an order of the VJ personnel
24 administration in the VJ General Staff of the 22nd of April, 1999. Now,
25 if we just focus on this particular transfer, first of all, this
1 reference to the 2nd Army, that's the 2nd Army of the VJ; isn't that
3 A. Yes, that's right.
4 Q. Now, Colonel Popovic did not have to re-enlist in the VJ when he
5 was sent to the 2nd Army; correct?
6 A. I don't understand. As you said, the 2nd Army was part of the
8 Q. Up until this point, Colonel Popovic had been a member of the
9 30th Personnel Centre, and that means that he was serving in the Army of
10 Republika Srpska; right?
11 A. He was a member of the VRS and his status was regulated by the
12 30th Personnel Centre. Up until 1999 he maintained that status, as you
13 put it correctly.
14 Q. All right. And up until -- when he returned -- when he was sent
15 temporarily to the 2nd Army of the VJ in April of 1999, he did not have
16 to re-enlist in the VJ, did he?
17 A. Well, he had to. How else would he be receiving his salary?
18 Q. Well, if this gentleman had to re-enlist, then there would have
19 to be, for example, documentation of that re-enlistment, right, in his
20 personnel file?
21 A. Well, there are lots of documents kept in personnel files, but
22 not all of them. That's why you have all these boxes and you have all
23 these references to relevant orders.
24 Q. Well, when he -- when he was sent temporarily to the 2nd Army of
25 the VJ in April 1999, would a new officer's commission have been issued
1 for general -- for Colonel Popovic?
2 A. No. No. Not necessarily.
3 Q. So in summary, an officer like in this case Colonel Popovic,
4 who's being transferred back from the VRS to the VJ wasn't required to go
5 through the normal processes of induction into an army at that time?
6 A. I don't understand what you mean by "normal processes."
7 Q. Well, give me a minute then.
8 For example, in accordance with Article 14 of the Law of the
9 VJ -- actually, one moment, that's not the right article. Article 21 of
10 the Law of the Army of Yugoslavia, subtitled: "Entry into Professional
11 Military Service." And it says:
12 "A citizen of Yugoslavia who fulfils the following general
13 requirements may enter into service as a professional soldier ..."
14 And then there are a series of criteria that are listed, if he
15 has appropriate qualifications, for example, if he's medically fit to
16 serve in the army, if there are no criminal proceedings instigated
17 against him, if he has performed his compulsory military service or
18 regulated his military service in another way. There was no need for
19 Colonel Popovic to establish this -- these criteria in April of 1999, was
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Saxon -- okay.
22 Mr. Lukic first.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Well, I can see that the interpreters
24 are having problems with these terms. I think that we should put this on
25 the screen in front of the witness so that he can see the exact wording
1 of this article of the law.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: I understand that to the extent that we are able
3 to respond to that we can do that.
4 But, Mr. Saxon, I don't have the piece of law before me, but
5 hearing what you say I thought you were saying enter into military
6 service. This to me sounds like initial entry, a new person who's just
7 qualified and is getting into the army for the first time, not a transfer
8 of a person who's already within the army.
9 You see, I have another problem because people -- this 30th
10 Personnel Centre is supposed to be regulating soldiers who are physically
11 working in the VRS, and these transfers that are taking place that you
12 have been referring to, they talk of 30th Personnel Centre, they talk of
13 VJ, and the 30th Personnel Centre is said to be in Belgrade. You know,
14 and we have seen before that people are said to be in the 30th Personnel
15 Centre Belgrade in the VJ, when in fact they are in the VRS.
16 Now, I'm not quite sure how we go about understanding a document
17 like this one which is so cryptic in just column forms and not in a
18 narrative way just what is happening. You know, because we're having
19 this person who we know qualified in the VJ, is working in the VRS, his
20 personnel file is controlled by the 30th Personnel Centre. If indeed
21 he's going from the VRS to the VJ, does the VJ have to go through that
22 process of an initiate, when in fact this is their soldier whom they had
23 loaned to somebody else?
24 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, that was essentially the question that I
25 wanted to put next to the witness, but perhaps he could respond to you.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Skrbic, I know I've confused the whole thing,
2 but that's the confusion that's going on in my mind as I try to follow
3 the trend of the story.
4 But are you able to come to our rescue, Mr. Skrbic?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm glad that you
6 yourself completely comprehend the situation. As an illustration let me
7 tell you this: If somebody joined the VJ, he didn't have to join again
8 any other army. At the time we had the VJ, now we have the Army of
9 Serbia, then there was the Croatian army, then there was the Army of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina. People from the JNA joined all these army without
11 having to enlist again.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, we understand that, Mr. Skrbic. For the time
13 being we're not talking about the Army of the BiH or the Army of Croatia.
14 Let's try and stay with the VRS and the VJ, because to me it seems like
15 there is movement backwards and forwards between the VRS and the VJ here.
16 And my question really is: If a soldier - and I want to suspect that
17 Mr. Popovic will have gone into the army at -- for the first time when it
18 was still called the JNA, then it became the VJ, then as part of the VJ
19 was transferred to the 30th Personnel Centre to work in the VRS.
20 Now, if this table here is documenting his transfer back to the
21 VJ, my biggest problem is two questions. First of all, what Mr. Saxon
22 asked you, does he have to go through the process that Mr. Saxon
23 explained, they check his criminal record, they check whether he's got
24 qualifications? Now, this is the man who qualified with them to the JNA.
25 Do they check his qualifications again, do they check all these things.
1 That's the first point, that's the question by Mr. Saxon.
2 My question again is: How do we determine in fact that this
3 person is going back to the VJ when in fact certain posts in the VRS are
4 described as VJ posts Belgrade, 30th Personnel Centre, when in fact we
5 know that the person is in the VRS? How do we determine without a
6 narration that this is a real transfer or maybe just an intent of it.
7 That's the question I find -- I would like to be -- to have answered.
8 But first I turn to Mr. Saxon's question. Does a JNA soldier who
9 qualified as a JNA who is in the VRS have to go through the process that
10 Mr. Saxon referred to when he's transferred back to the VJ, yes or no?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Thank you.
13 Are you able to explain or how are we to determine what actually
14 is happening from this table without a narration, where some of these
15 posts are used -- the names are used interchangeably? In other words, a
16 person is said to be working for the VJ 30th Personnel Centre in
17 Belgrade, when in fact we know he's in the VRS. And then when you talk
18 of a transfer to the -- to head security administration -- okay, this one
19 says 30th Personnel Centre. If he goes back, is he going back to the VJ
20 or is he still in the VRS? Because saying head of security sector,
21 security administration 30th personnel General Staff of the VJ Belgrade
22 707, you could either be in the VRS or you could be in the VJ. We don't
23 know. And unless there is a narrative that explains this, then we
24 understand that -- yeah, okay. Let me refrain from saying that. But how
25 do we know?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, you cannot conclude
2 that from these documents. I can tell you that de facto he was the head
3 of the security administration of the General Staff of the VRS, but
4 that's something that I know. However, this is the format used to
5 regulate his status in order for him to receive all the benefits, social
6 security, salary, et cetera.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yeah. I think the witness's answer just confirms
8 my confusion and my difficulty. I'm not sure whether you want to take
9 the matter any further, Mr. Saxon.
10 MR. SAXON: I may take it just a bit further, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: If you could.
12 MR. SAXON: If I can.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: If you could, I would be very happy.
14 MR. SAXON:
15 Q. We see in this table here, General Skrbic, that Colonel Popovic
16 was the head of the security administration in the 30th Personnel Centre
17 beginning in September 1998, although you've just explained that you
18 knew -- you are aware that de facto he was serving in the VRS beginning
19 in that time. That's clear.
20 But then in the next entry from April 1999 we see that Colonel
21 Popovic is sent temporarily to the 2nd Army of the VJ. And the point
22 that I think that I would like to try to make is that there was no need
23 for Colonel Popovic to go through any enlistment process, qualification
24 process, when he moved temporarily from the Republika Srpska to the
25 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia because formally Colonel Popovic had never
1 left the Army of Yugoslavia. Is my point correct?
2 A. Yes, according to his formal status, he didn't leave the VJ; but
3 de facto, he was a member of the VRS.
4 Q. De facto during these years where it says here that he was
5 assigned to the 30th Personnel Centre, Colonel Popovic was physically
6 serving in the VRS; right?
7 A. That's right, Mr. Saxon.
8 Q. Okay. Now I want to ask you the following.
9 MR. SAXON: Can we please show the witness what is P191.
10 Q. General Skrbic, this is the Law on the Army of Republika Srpska,
11 which I'm sure you're familiar with. Help us with this, there's nothing
12 in the Law on the Army of Republika Srpska, at least as it existed during
13 the war, that provides that members of the VRS can be sent to serve in
14 foreign armies, is there?
15 A. No, there isn't.
16 Q. Okay.
17 One moment, please.
18 MR. SAXON: Your Honours, briefly before the break, before we
19 take the next pause, last week Mr. Lukic during direct examination used
20 an organigram depicting the structure of the Main Staff of the VRS with
21 General Skrbic. With your leave, I'd like to ask the usher to please
22 provide the B/C/S version on the ELMO so that -- I have one question that
23 I'd like to ask General Skrbic about this structure, please.
24 And if you could show it to Mr. Lukic first.
25 Q. General, you saw this organigram last week. You made some
1 corrections to it. It's an attempt to describe or to depict the
2 structure of the VRS Main Staff in July 1995.
3 MR. SAXON: And with the usher's assistance, perhaps, or with our
4 audio/visual people, can we please zoom in on the bottom right corner of
5 this document, please. The bottom right quarter -- no, now we're going
6 to -- no, sorry, the other way, we need to go the other way. Can we
7 please move the document to the left, please. More to the left, please.
8 Okay. Now stop there, please.
9 Q. General Skrbic --
10 MR. SAXON: Can you stop it right there, please.
11 Q. -- you'll see at the very bottom of the page there is a square
12 that says "10th Sabotage Detachment." Do you see that?
13 General Skrbic, can you look at the hard copy in front of you.
14 It's probably going to be much clearer. It's this box right here.
15 A. Yes, I can see it.
16 Q. The 10th Sabotage Detachment was part of the structure of the VRS
17 Main Staff; right?
18 A. Yes, it was. But it was not called the 10th Sabotage Detachment,
19 but rather the 10th Reconnaissance Sabotage Detachment.
20 Q. Thank you for that clarification. And so as part of the
21 structure of the VRS Main Staff, the 10th Reconnaissance Sabotage
22 Detachment would have been subordinated to General Mladic; right?
23 A. Yes.
24 MR. SAXON: Your Honours, may we take the second break now,
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: We'll take a break and come back at half past
2 12.00. Court adjourned.
3 --- Recess taken at 11.58 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 12.30 p.m.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Saxon.
6 MR. SAXON: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Very briefly can we show the witness again Exhibit P1934.
8 Q. General Skrbic, I'm going to take you back for a few moments to
9 the personnel file of Vujadin Popovic.
10 MR. SAXON: And if we can go to page 11 in the B/C/S version,
11 please, and to the next page in the English version, please?
12 Q. General Skrbic, maybe just to orient you, if you could please
13 first take a look at the entry where Colonel Popovic is assigned to the
14 security administration of the 30th Personnel Centre, and this is the
15 particular order dated 30 September 1998. Do you see that? It's in the
16 middle of the page in both versions.
17 A. Yes, I can see that.
18 Q. All right. Now --
19 A. I apologise. I'm not receiving -- or actually, I don't have the
20 English translation on the left-hand side screen.
21 Q. All right. Now, this -- if we look at the entry above it, we see
22 that Colonel Popovic is assigned to the 30th Personnel Centre, a duty
23 station not determined, and that's dated the 3rd of July, 1998. And then
24 the next entry Colonel Popovic, he's assigned to the security
25 administration of the 30th Personnel Centre dated the 30th of September,
1 1998. Even though those entries say the 30th Personnel Centre of the
2 General Staff of the VJ, it really means that Colonel Popovic was serving
3 in the VRS; right? De facto now, de facto.
4 A. Yes, that was a fact.
5 Q. All right. And then in the next entry it says that
6 Colonel Popovic was sent or perhaps by now General Popovic was sent
7 temporarily to the 2nd Army of the VJ. This is the entry of the 22nd
8 April 1999. And so in this appointment General Popovic is going to be
9 serving de facto and de jure in the Army of Yugoslavia; correct?
10 A. As far as I know, Popovic never became a general. He -- he's a
11 colonel. However, judging from the wording, I cannot conclude that he
12 was de facto in a different army -- the 2nd Army.
13 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter apologises.
14 MR. SAXON:
15 Q. Okay. I'm going to come back to this in a moment.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Saxon, can you remind us what the headings to
17 the various columns are because we talk of assigned -- looking at the
18 first column and then we talk of assigned looking at the second column as
19 well. I'm not quite sure what is happening in each of these columns.
20 MR. SAXON: In the English version can we please go back a page.
21 And if we could focus a bit on the upper part of the page.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Status in service. Okay.
23 MR. SAXON: All right.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Unit - institution and place. Okay. That doesn't
25 tell us much. Okay.
1 MR. SAXON:
2 Q. General, Skrbic -- whoa, what just happened there. Can we go
3 back to what we saw before.
4 General Skrbic, what does status in the service of the active
5 military serviceman mean?
6 A. Status in the service implies an establishment duty, a rank that
7 is required for such an establishment duty, the pay group, and the time
8 from which to which that duty is performed. Those are the facts that
9 give rise to the status that you have inquired about.
10 Q. The next --
11 A. -- some other elements that at this point in time are not
13 Q. The next column to the right is entitled "unit - institution and
14 place," and that's pretty self-explanatory, isn't it? It refers to the
15 particular unit within a particular institution of an army where the
16 person is assigned and the particular place; correct?
17 A. Yes, that's what I'm reading in that column.
18 Q. And then the next column over to the right, "establishment
19 rank - training and occupational specialty," which we see in these
20 columns it's often a series of numbers, but we see it refers to the rank
21 of the person and the particular professional training or professional
22 specialisation that the officer has; right?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. And it also would include a pay grade, right, for PG?
25 A. Well, you're reading it PJ and I'm reading it PG, and in any case
1 it stands for a P group or a P grade, but they're both the same, are they
3 Q. I'm sorry, I tried to say PG, but obviously I didn't speak very
4 clearly. My mistake. What does rank grouping mean? It's the next
5 column over. What does the phrase rank grouping --
6 A. I can see that, Mr. Saxon. Yes. The abbreviation is FC, which
7 stands for establishment rank. That's if we look under 1 he would be
8 captain first class or major, which means that for that position the rank
9 can range from "(captain first class to major)."
10 Q. The time is self-explanatory and then the last column on the
11 right, "decree-order which regulated the status," refers to the
12 particular order that discusses the particular appointment, right, to a
13 particular post?
14 A. Correct.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thanks.
16 MR. SAXON: Can we go one page forward in the English version,
18 Q. If you could focus again on the entry from the 22nd of April,
19 1999, General Skrbic, it says "sent temporarily to the 2nd Army -- one
20 moment, please.
21 A. Yes, I've seen that, Mr. Saxon.
22 MR. SAXON: If we can show -- I want to go to a different English
23 excerpt from this same exhibit, from the same personnel file of
24 Colonel Popovic, it's from the excerpt beginning with ERN 0422-8656. And
25 I'd like to start with page 10, please. And meanwhile, can we please go
1 to page 64 in the B/C/S version of e-court. Now, this is not the
2 document. Is this page 10? There we are.
3 Q. General Skrbic, you'll see this is a document sent from the
4 command of the 30th Personnel Centre. It's dated the 17th of May, 1999.
5 It's signed by a major-general with the last name Skrbic. That would be
6 you, wouldn't it?
7 A. Yes, Mr. Saxon.
8 Q. It's submitted to the 2nd Army command, and it describes the
9 order by the chief of the personnel administration of the General Staff
10 of the VJ that was dated 22nd April 1999 regarding
11 Lieutenant-Colonel Vujadin Popovic, saying that Popovic has been
12 temporarily assigned to your, that is, the 2nd Army command composition.
13 And then it says that the a forenamed has been informed about this order
14 on the 8th of May, 1999, with the remark that he should immediately obey
15 an order.
16 And then below that we see that you wrote this:
17 "We are asking you to inform us by telegram whether the a
18 forenamed has reported to your command in order to be deployed to the
19 specified duty."
20 Are you following me, please?
21 A. I'm following.
22 MR. SAXON: Can we please go to the next page in both English and
24 Q. You'll see, General Skrbic, this is a reply dated the following
25 day, the 18th of May, 1999, from the command of the 2nd Army to the 30th
1 Personnel Centre command in relation to your request, saying that:
2 "We are informing you that Dragan Djudjilo, medical major has not
3 reported to our command until today and that Vujadin Popovic, engineering
4 lieutenant-colonel has reported on the 13th of May, 1999."
5 So together these two documents indicate that
6 Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic did de facto serve -- go to serve in the VJ
7 army as of May -- 13 May 1999; correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Okay.
10 MR. SAXON: Can we please go back to Exhibit P1934, please.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: It's the same --
12 MR. SAXON: I'm --
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: It's the same one.
14 MR. SAXON: It's late in the day and I apologise. Absolutely
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Would you like a break?
17 MR. SAXON: No, Your Honour, that's fine. Thank you.
18 Can we please go back to the prior ERN excerpt, prior English ERN
19 excerpt, which begins with 0422-8609. And in the B/C/S version, please,
20 can we go back to page 11.
21 In the English version can we move forward one page, and if we
22 could focus on the last half of the page in English.
23 Q. And, General Skrbic, you'll see there that in the middle of the
24 page that after his service in the 2nd Army there's an entry saying that
25 Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic was redeployed and appointed to - I don't know
1 what MP stands for - as head of the security sector in the security
2 administration of the 30th Personnel Centre of the VJ General Staff. And
3 this is an order -- he's now colonel. This is an order dated the 26th of
4 July, the year 2000. Do you see that?
5 A. I have found everything.
6 Q. And this entry really means that Colonel Popovic is de facto
7 serving in the VRS; right?
8 A. After this, yes. When I say "this" I mean the date, the 1st of
9 July, 2000.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: What does MP mean, if you know, Mr. Skrbic?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know, Your Honour, that means
13 according to peace time establishment.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
15 MR. SAXON: We can leave this document, please, and I'd like to
16 move on to another topic.
17 Can we please show the witness Exhibit D347.
18 Q. General Skrbic, you saw this document during your direct
19 examination. This is the decree of President Plavsic dated the 28th of
20 January, 1997, the decree in which your service in the VRS was
21 terminated. And it says here that your -- you would be relieved of your
22 duties as -- effective 31 January 1997; right?
23 A. That's what I'm reading, Mr. Saxon, but that's not correct. It
24 should have been the 31st of January, 1996 -- oh, I apologise. I
25 apologise. It's correct. Everything's correct. Whatever you have read
1 out is correct and I apologise.
2 Q. No problem. No need to apologise. All right. Now, last
3 Thursday during your direct examination --
4 MR. SAXON: Your Honours, this is at page 11808 of the
5 transcript, lines 6 to 7 or a bit before that starting at page 11807.
6 Q. -- you described the work that you did in the personnel
7 administration of the VJ General Staff from 1997 until 2000 in the
8 capacity of a stand-in. And you explained that you assisted the chief of
9 the personnel administration of the VJ --
10 MR. SAXON: Mr. Lukic is on his feet, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I heard the interpreter and I
13 understand the interpreter when Mr. Saxon said you were standing -- I
14 believe that Mr. Saxon meant acting on somebody's behalf, not physically
15 standing on one's feet. So I just wanted to correct that.
16 MR. SAXON: Mr. Lukic is absolutely correct.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: And so is the transcript because the transcript
18 said "stand-in," which means exactly that, not you are standing
19 physically there, but that you are standing-in for somebody.
20 MR. SAXON: Yes, Your Honour. Yes, Your Honour.
21 Q. Do you recall that testimony, sir?
22 A. Yes, I remember.
23 Q. Okay. You explain that you assisted the chief of the personnel
24 administration of the VJ General Staff on personnel issues in the 30th
25 Personnel Centre. And on page 11808 you told the Trial Chamber:
1 "I did not have an obligation to report to work every day, but
2 nevertheless I did come every day."
3 So just so that I understand you, your position is, sir, that
4 once you were assigned as a stand-in to that position in the personnel
5 administration of the VJ General Staff, you did not have a duty to come
6 to work each day and attend to the daily responsibilities required by the
7 job. That's your position?
8 A. Very much so, Mr. Saxon.
9 Q. Okay.
10 MR. SAXON: Can we please show General Skrbic P1688.
11 Q. General Skrbic, I want to review with you some portions of your
12 personnel file from the Army of Yugoslavia, all right.
13 MR. SAXON: And if we could please start with page 5 from the
14 English excerpt 0611-5200 and page 7 in the B/C/S original.
15 Is there a technical problem?
16 THE REGISTRAR: For the record, the English translation ends with
17 5205. Thank you.
18 MR. SAXON: I apologise.
19 Q. This is, you'll see, the first page of your personnel file,
20 General Skrbic.
21 MR. SAXON: Can we go to page 5 of this English portion, please,
22 and go to page 7 in B/C/S? We can't?
23 Court's indulgence, please.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: You have. You have the Court's indulgence.
25 [Prosecution counsel confer]
1 MR. SAXON: Can we please try -- and you found it for me. I am
2 most grateful to our courtroom personnel and their superb skill that
3 they're showing today. Thank you.
4 THE REGISTRAR: For the court record, reference for the English
5 translation is 0611-5209. Thank you. Page 5.
6 MR. SAXON: Thank you very much.
7 Q. General Skrbic, please focus for now on the very first entry
8 where it says, at least in English, "assigned as stand-in." It's an
9 order -- on the right-hand column it reflects an order of the chief of
10 the personnel administration of the VJ General Staff dated the 13th of
11 January, 1997. Do you see that?
12 A. Yes, correct.
13 Q. My first question for you is: How is it that the personnel
14 administration of the VJ General Staff issued an order assigning you as a
15 stand-in in a vacant post in the personnel administration of the VJ
16 General Staff 15 days before President Plavsic issued a decree
17 terminating your service in the VRS? How did that happen? Help us with
19 A. Well, because Mrs. Plavsic told me orally that I could go
20 wherever I wanted to. She thanked me. And subsequently I went to the VJ
21 and reported to them. After that, when she had time enough and when she
22 had the proper documents prepared, she signed them.
23 Q. Well -- but doesn't this demonstrate that concurrently you were
24 subject to the powers and authorities of both the VJ and the VRS?
25 A. Yes, at that point in time.
1 Q. And when you returned to work in the personnel administration of
2 the VJ General Staff, you did not re-enlist in the VJ, did you?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Now, I'd like to show you another portion of your professional --
5 of your personnel file --
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before we do that, can I just ask a question on
7 this one.
8 This very entry, Mr. Skrbic, that has been -- you have been
9 referred to, it says you're performing those duties of stand-in in
10 addition to your regular duties in the period between 10th January and --
11 to 9th January 1997. What were your other regular duties?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, you have spotted that
13 correctly, but in fact I didn't have any other duties. This bureaucratic
14 formulation allows for this kind of wording. Because I had the rank of
15 general, I could not be appointed by any other document other than an
16 order, otherwise a decree on my appointment should have been issued. In
17 my previous testimony I said that not a single member of the VRS was
18 given a decree on appointment.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Then that nullifies my next question.
20 Okay. Thank you very much.
21 Mr. Saxon.
22 MR. SAXON:
23 Q. Before I show you another portion of your personnel file, I want
24 to remain on this page for another moment, sir. If we just look at the
25 first entry where you're assigned as stand-in and the -- although the
1 dates are different, the language is virtually the same. The first entry
2 from 13 January -- related to the order of 13 January 1997 says:
3 "Assigned as stand-in for the deserted FM ..."
4 FM means establishment post; is that right?
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. "Assigned as stand-in for the deserted FM," establishment post,
7 "of assistant chief of the personnel administration for the 30th
8 personnel centre, FC Major-General, PG-5, Belgrade garrison."
9 And then it says:
10 "He shall perform the stand-in duties in addition to his regular
11 duties ..."
12 Now, that phrase "he shall perform the stand-in duties ..."
13 confirms that in this particular position you had duties to perform,
15 A. Yes, I had certain duties.
16 Q. One of those duties would have been then to come to work and take
17 care of your responsibilities; right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Okay.
20 MR. SAXON: I would like to please move to -- in the same exhibit
21 but in a different English translation excerpt, if we could go to English
22 excerpt that has the ERN 0611-5218, and I'm praying that I'm giving the
23 number correctly now.
24 One moment, please.
25 Q. General Skrbic, here we see the assessment of your work within
1 the VJ -- or certainly an assessment produced by the VJ for the period 30
2 April 1993 to 30 December 1998; correct?
3 A. The period of assessment starts on the 26th March 1999 until 28th
4 of June, 1999.
5 Q. We are in -- I'm sorry, we are in the wrong document. One
6 moment, please.
7 MR. SAXON: Can we go to the English translation excerpt before
8 this one -- hold on, hold on. The -- excuse me.
9 Q. The document that's on our screen, General -- okay, we have an
10 English -- we have an English version assessing the period from 30 April
11 1993 to 30 December 1998, but in B/C/S we see the period beginning 26
12 March 1999.
13 General, I'm going to give you a hard copy of the B/C/S version
14 of this assessment.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Well, the ERN number of the B/C/S
17 exists in e-court, and that's 0611-5218.
18 MR. SAXON: Thank you. We found the right document now. Thank
19 you, Mr. Lukic. Okay.
20 Q. Now, General Skrbic, you can see that this is your -- the
21 assessment that was made regarding yourself in the VJ. The period being
22 assessed is the 20 -- now something has gone awry again. I need the
23 English version that we had before, and I can give General Skrbic a hard
24 copy of his version if that would speed things up because -- okay. Now
25 we have -- no, we don't have the right B/C/S version. I'm going to --
1 okay -- now we have it and I'm grateful to the courtroom personnel for
2 their assistance.
3 Now, General, hopefully you will see your professional assessment
4 from the period of 30 April 1993 to 30 December 1998. Do you see that in
5 front of you now?
6 A. Yes, I do.
7 Q. And if we look down in the middle of the page in both versions,
8 there is a -- there is an item that says post and position in service in
9 the period being assessed. And below that it says assistant commander in
10 the 30th Personnel Centre, assistant commander for organisation,
11 mobilisation, and personnel at the 30th Personnel Centre of the
12 General Staff. And then it says:
13 "And assistant chief of the personnel administration of the VJ
14 General Staff for the 30th Personnel Centre."
15 Do you see that?
16 A. Yes, I do.
17 Q. Can we please go to the next page in both languages.
18 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, can I help you with something?
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, please. Okay it's gone now. I'm just
20 looking at those two positions. Both have personnel as a common
21 denominator. What does this mean? Does this mean this is the same thing
22 by a different name or are these two different administrations? The one
23 is commander organisation, mobilisation, and personnel --
24 MR. SAXON: At the 30th Personnel Centre.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, yes, yes, the next one.
1 MR. SAXON: The next one is assistant chief of the personnel
2 administration of the VJ General Staff for the 30th Personnel Centre,
3 which corresponds, for example, to the assignment on stand-in that we saw
4 a moment ago, Your Honour. I can clarify it with the witness if you
5 want, but ...
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now that you say "for," okay.
7 MR. SAXON: Thank you.
8 Now can we move forward two pages in the English and one page in
9 Serbo-Croat, please. And can we focus on the bottom of the page, please,
10 in English, the last half of the page in B/C/S.
11 One moment.
12 Q. The description there, General Skrbic, begins this way:
13 "Descriptive assessment and conclusion: As a highly educated and
14 experienced officer and proven patriot, he was selected and dispatched on
15 17 December 1993 to the 30th Personnel Centre, where he was assigned
16 high-level and responsible duties. Due to his excellent results and
17 achievements, he was promoted to the rank of major-general on 27 December
19 And then it says:
20 "He confirmed his exceptional qualities as an officer at his post
21 as assistant chief of the personnel administration at the 30th Personnel
22 Centre that he has held since 13 January 1997 ..."
23 I'm not quite sure if that English translation is really precise.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: It's "at" or "for."
25 MR. SAXON: It should have been assistant chief of the personnel
1 administration for the 30th Personnel Centre.
2 Q. Correct, General Skrbic?
3 A. Yes, that's how it reads.
4 Q. Okay. And down below in what is in English I think in both
5 versions, the penultimate paragraph:
6 "As a result of these high professional, expert, and moral
7 qualities and his sense for working and managing people, he should
8 continue to hold high military duties at the service."
9 So this assessment is a recognition of the excellent job that you
10 did in carrying out your duties in that position as stand-in; right?
11 A. That's right, although there's some exaggeration and I'm a bit
12 embarrassed by all these attributes and compliments, but I did sign this
13 which meant that I did agree with that eventually.
14 Q. General, you're too modest, you're too modest.
15 One thing I'd like to ask you, though, this assessment, it covers
16 the period April 1993 through December 1998. Now, during that period you
17 were serving in the VJ army and then you went to serve in the VRS army
18 and then you came back to serve in the VJ army; correct?
19 A. Yes, that's correct.
20 Q. So the officer who is signing off on this assessment is assessing
21 you for your period of service or your periods of service in both armies;
23 A. For the period between the 17th December until the date in 1995,
24 I didn't have the assessment of the commander of the 2nd Krajina Corps
25 and the commander of the VRS who were in charge of providing an
1 assessment for that particular period. Instead, this gentleman covered
2 that period as well in his assessment.
3 Q. Okay. Okay. "This gentleman" being
4 Lieutenant-General Dusan Zoric, the chief of the personnel administration
5 of the VJ; right?
6 A. Yes, that's right, Mr. Saxon.
7 MR. SAXON: Now, can we please show the witness what I hope is
8 the next English portion that hopefully has the ERN range 0611-5216 to
9 5217. Okay so far so good in English.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: We still have "at" instead of "for." The question
11 is how do we interpret all these documents together?
12 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, if the Defence agrees, I can seek a
13 change -- a revision of the English translation, given the witness's
14 testimony today.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] At any rate, this is very important
17 to be checked in. We should not burden the whole CLSS to translate the
18 entire document or could we just state it for the record that this
19 proposition -- preposition is wrong. And I agree that we should have
20 "for" instead of "at," because that's how it reads in the original. If
21 we state that for the record, I don't see any need for sending the
22 document back to the translation service.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Lukic. We'll do as you suggest,
24 now that you agree that it is supposed to be "for" and not "at." So
25 we'll read it to mean "for."
1 MR. SAXON: Thank you.
2 Q. General Skrbic, in front of you now is your assessment by the VJ
3 for the period of 30 December 1990 -- excuse me, for the period 26 March
4 1999 to 28 June 1999. And we all know that was war time in the
5 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; right?
6 A. Correct. It was my second war in my career.
7 MR. SAXON: Can we please move forward two pages in English and
8 go forward one page in Serbo-Croat, please. And if we could focus on the
9 bottom half of each page.
10 Q. General Skrbic, in the description that's given here of your
11 performance during this difficult time, it begins:
12 "During the war, with his conduct, behaviour, and steadfastness,
13 especially during enemy attacks on features in the direct vicinity of the
14 troops' deployment, he had a positive influence on the overall success of
15 the forces he commanded."
16 And in the next paragraph it says the following:
17 "He selected officers properly and quickly from the
18 30th Personnel Centre in order to dispatch them to units and
19 installations focusing on carrying out combat tasks."
20 Now, you've told us before there's nothing in the Law on the Army
21 of Republika Srpska that provides for the transfer of soldiers to the
22 army of a foreign country. So you are able to perform this function as
23 you did during the period of NATO bombing, 1999, you were able to select
24 officers quickly from the 30th Personnel Centre and dispatch them
25 because, at least in a formal sense, those officers were still members of
1 the Army of Yugoslavia. Correct?
2 A. Not entirely correct, Mr. Saxon. Do you want me to elaborate?
3 Q. Yes, please.
4 A. I'll try and be brief. I will be brief. There is no mystery
5 there at all. At that time there were ten officers in the school for
6 National Defence, and in the command staff school for tactics there were
7 30 officers I believe. And during their education on the strength of the
8 Army of Yugoslavia, although they were from the Army of Republika
9 Srpska -- and I did nothing else but propose as to where those officers
10 could be assigned in Serbia and Montenegro in terms of their military
12 Q. And you were able to assign them, you were able to assign these
13 officers, because at least in a formal sense these officers were still
14 members of the Army of Yugoslavia; right?
15 A. Both de facto and de jure while they were in education, they did
16 belong to the Army of Yugoslavia. You will remember that I have already
17 told you that we had students from Russia and from France, and when they
18 were educated by the Army of Yugoslavia they were considered to be
19 members of the Army of Yugoslavia.
20 Q. Are you suggesting that when a soldier from a foreign -- or an
21 officer from a foreign country comes to participate in an educational
22 activity or an educational programme in the Army of Yugoslavia, that
23 officer cuts all of his or her ties with his own army?
24 A. Correct. While they are part of an educational programme, they
25 do severe all of their official ties -- not private ties. I believe that
1 we are talking about the same things. I'm not talking about their
2 private ties with their home country.
3 Q. Are you saying, General Skrbic, that if an officer in the Russian
4 army is sent to school in the military education centre of the Army of
5 Yugoslavia for a period of some months and in the middle of that period
6 that Russian officer receives an order from his home army to return to
7 the Russian army, that Russian officer does not have to obey that order?
8 A. Well, those are just assumptions, but I should say no.
9 Education, Mr. Saxon, is usually carried out in peace time and there is
10 never urgency for a person to go back home if they are in education, but
11 the circumstances had changed. There was war going on and they were in
12 education, and as such they were on the strength of the Army of
13 Yugoslavia. We had students from Africa and they wore the uniforms of
14 the Army of Yugoslavia when they were in education in Yugoslavia, and the
15 same applied to officers of Republika Srpska, irrespective of the fact
16 that they joined from the Army of Republika Srpska, they were members of
17 the VJ while in education.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can I ask a question --
19 MR. SAXON: Of course.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: -- while you are ...
21 Mr. Skrbic, during this time, during this war in the FRY, the
22 bombing by NATO, were there any military students from France, Russia,
23 and Africa in the VJ?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Had there been any, would they have been assigned
1 to go and do their work that the VRS members of the VJ contingent were
2 assigned to do?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm afraid I didn't understand your
4 question properly.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Okay. You're discussing with Mr. Saxon
6 that soldiers who were VRS soldiers but had come to school in the VJ were
7 sent to war by you during 1999. Okay. That's what you are discussing.
8 And you're saying -- your position is --
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct, yes.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: -- your position is such a student, while he's a
11 student, he's part of the VJ and therefore he must carry out VJ orders.
12 That's why they went. My question is: If at the time this bombardment
13 took place you had soldiers from France, Russia, and Africa, would they
14 also have been obliged to be ordered to go to war like the VRS was who
15 were in the VJ?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will give you a
17 very specific example to illustrate my point, and I'm very familiar with
18 that case. I spoke to General Talic, who at that moment was the Chief of
19 Staff -- or rather, the Chief of the General Staff of the VRS. I asked
20 him, "General, what are we supposed to do with the men in education?"
21 And he said, "Skrbic, let them go to war. Those who do not want to go to
22 war should not even return here once they finish with their education."
23 That was our agreement and a decision was made. I was the one who
24 proposed where those men should be sent, where they should be deployed,
25 in view of their military specialties.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Skrbic, for that
2 explanation. Can I go back to my question.
3 If at the time of the bombing by NATO you had in a VJ military
4 school soldiers from Russia, France, and Africa, would you have ordered
5 them also to go to war like you did soldiers from the Republika Srpska?
6 Your answer doesn't have to be long. You can either say yes or no.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
9 Yes, Mr. Saxon, you may proceed.
10 MR. SAXON:
11 Q. Is it your evidence today, sir -- I'm from the United States,
12 General Skrbic. Is it your evidence that if I had been a military
13 officer from the United States and found myself studying for a year at
14 the higher defence academy in Belgrade, that the Army of Yugoslavia could
15 have ordered me to go to war and fight for Yugoslavia in war time?
16 A. Yes, Mr. Saxon. In that case you would be fighting against
18 Q. Under what authority would the Army of Yugoslavia done that?
19 A. Unfortunately I don't know the name of the officer from a
20 higher -- a higher who is now in education at military academy. He is a
21 member of the Army of Serbia --
22 Q. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. My question wasn't clear. Under what
23 legal authority would the Army of Yugoslavia have ordered me to fight for
25 A. It would be the Law on Education and Scientific and Research
1 institutions, which is currently in effect.
2 Q. And would that -- was that law in effect in 1999?
3 A. I can't answer your question with a hundred per cent certainty.
4 Q. Can you cite to us an article or section or chapter of that law
5 that gives such authority?
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Saxon, if the witness can't be sure whether
7 the law existed, can he have a section and an article of the law?
8 MR. SAXON: Well, we're talking about two different things.
9 We're -- I'm not asking him now -- he mentioned a law. He's not sure
10 when that law came into effect --
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay.
12 MR. SAXON: -- but I'm asking him whenever it came into effect,
13 if he can take me to a particular portion or portions of the law.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: My apologies.
15 MR. SAXON:
16 Q. Can you answer my question, sir?
17 A. No, Mr. Saxon, I can't give you the exact portion of the law.
18 Q. Can you direct me to any portion of the Law on the Army of
19 Yugoslavia that grants such legal authority?
20 A. I believe that it was the Law on Education, which is dedicated to
21 education and scientific and research institutions and it stems from the
22 basic Law on the Military.
23 Q. Which basic Law on the Military are you referring to, sir?
24 A. The basic Law on the Military of Yugoslavia.
25 Q. This assessment that you received, your excellent assessment for
1 this period in 1999 says that:
2 "He," that's you, General Skrbic, "selected officers properly and
3 quickly from the 30th Personnel Centre in order to dispatch them to units
4 and installations."
5 It doesn't say that you selected people from any military
6 educational establishment. Can you comment on that?
7 A. Because I did not select people from that educational
8 institution. There were people there from the entire state of
9 Yugoslavia, from Yugoslavia, from Montenegro, from Serbia, and this
10 document is worded the way it is to know exactly where I was proposing
11 for them to be deployed to go into war.
12 Q. A few moments ago we looked at the personnel file of
13 Colonel Popovic, and we saw that he was assigned from the 30th Personnel
14 Centre, that is, the Army of Republika Srpska, to the 2nd Army of the VJ
15 during the Kosovo war. So Colonel Popovic was not in any educational
16 establishment in the VJ when he was sent to the VJ 2nd Army; right?
17 A. Not general, but colonel; and the answer is: No, he was not in
18 any educational establishment at the time.
19 MR. SAXON: May I have the Court's indulgence for one moment,
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: You may.
22 [Prosecution counsel confer]
23 MR. SAXON:
24 Q. General Skrbic, I would thank you for your time and your
25 patience, and I'll pass you back to Mr. Lukic now.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Saxon.
2 Mr. Lukic.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I certainly cannot
4 complete my additional examination today. If Mr. Skrbic is tired, could
5 we perhaps be allowed not to begin within the next four or five minutes
6 that we still have left today. You're probably going to ask me how much
7 time I need for my additional questions. I have been notorious in my
8 assessments not being correct. I believe that I could finish within one
9 session. So as far as I'm concerned, I'm sure that Mr. Skrbic's
10 testimony will be over today [as interpreted]. I can start now if
11 Mr. Skrbic is not too tired, but I can't really cover any of the areas
12 within the next three minutes to be honest with you.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are you tired?
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I'm not, no, no. I'm not.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are you sure you're not tired? Okay.
16 So the real reason is that you are not able to finish a point
17 within the time remaining, not because he's tired? He hasn't complained.
18 Okay. Then we'll stand adjourned to tomorrow at quarter past
19 2.00, Mr. Skrbic, not in the morning, it's quarter past 2.00; same court.
20 Once again you are reminded not to discuss the case with anybody,
21 especially not the Defence.
22 Court adjourned to tomorrow, quarter past 2.00.
23 MR. LUKIC: Excuse me, Your Honour, just one small issue.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] A technical issue. I don't know
1 whether the Court can help me with that.
2 General Skrbic before he came here to testify and when he came to
3 testify, he applied to be able to visit two persons in the Detention Unit
4 and he was told that he would be able to do that after the end of the
5 testimony. Since we are in session tomorrow afternoon and it is possible
6 that the Witness and Victims Unit will want to send him home on Wednesday
7 morning, I would kindly ask the Trial Chamber to grant their approval for
8 him to visit his friends tomorrow morning. I don't see any problem
9 there, although his testimony is not finished, but he will certainly not
10 be able to discuss any of the matters that are dealt with in his
11 testimony because they would be under supervised visits. So I don't
12 think there should be a problem with you granting him an approval to
13 visit his friends tomorrow morning before the afternoon session.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: I see you are standing up, Mr. Saxon.
15 MR. SAXON: I am, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes.
17 MR. SAXON: The Prosecution feels that it would not be
18 appropriate for General Skrbic to be meeting with his friends or former
19 colleagues in the UN Detention Unit before his testimony is finished.
20 There are just too many overlapping cases involved here, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: But apart from overlapping cases -- if you're
22 using overlapping cases, that can still be affected even after he has
24 My answer to both of you is you are at the wrong forum. I am
25 hearing -- this Chamber is hearing for the first time that Mr. Skrbic has
1 asked for permission to go and visit his friends in the UNDU, and the
2 authority that granted that permission and gave the condition that he
3 does so after testifying is the correct authority that you must go to to
4 ask for permission, not us.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: We stand adjourned to tomorrow, quarter past 2.00,
7 Courtroom II.
8 Court adjourned.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.43 p.m.,
10 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 22nd day of
11 June, 2010, at 2.15 p.m.