1 Monday, 12 November 2001
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.
5 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, we've got your timetable for this week.
6 Bearing in mind the particular witnesses that you're calling are dealing
7 with a very narrow issue, I hope you have more witnesses than this
8 available for this week.
9 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as far as I know, the
10 witnesses that I have listed have come to The Hague. There is the
11 possibility of -- namely, if you consider that we will get through those
12 witnesses before Friday, there is the possibility that the witnesses which
13 were scheduled for next week could come in this week, but I think that the
14 witnesses I have on the list for this week will take up until the end of
15 the week. I don't think there'll be any gaps.
16 JUDGE HUNT: Perhaps we might review this by the end of Tuesday,
17 but I did say to you I would prefer to have some witnesses sitting around
18 enjoying the delights of the Netherlands weather over the weekend than for
19 us to be sitting down doing nothing. We do want to keep going.
20 So by tomorrow afternoon we'll see how your proposed timetable is
21 going. I know that Mr. Groome has been very long with your client, but,
22 then, he is the defendant, and I would not expect him to be otherwise, but
23 I hope that he won't be nearly so long with anybody else. And I suspect
24 that the nature of the evidence that these witnesses are giving is
25 something which can be dealt with, with all the detail necessary, within a
1 fairly short time, but let's see how we go.
2 Now, Mr. Vasiljevic, you understand, do you, you are still bound
3 by the solemn declaration that you took before we adjourned?
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
5 WITNESS: MITAR VASILJEVIC [Resumed]
6 [Witness answered through interpreter]
7 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome.
8 MR. GROOME: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE HUNT: You did promise it won't be very long.
10 MR. GROOME: I expect to be finished today, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE HUNT: You were talking about something like an hour, I
12 thought you said.
13 MR. GROOME: I would have to check the -- review the record to see
14 exactly what I said, but I imagine I would be a bit more than an hour.
15 Your Honour, I'm going to begin with referring to the pseudonym
16 sheet. I don't know if the Court has them handy. I have some extra
17 copies here.
18 JUDGE HUNT: Yes. The accused will need one because they don't
19 seem to let him keep it.
20 MR. GROOME: I have some additional copies for the Court if it
22 JUDGE HUNT: Yes. It might be just as well.
23 Cross-examined by Mr. Groome: [Continued]
24 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, I would like to begin today by going back to
25 Exhibit D22, and that is the list that you wrote on your second day of
1 testimony, and you told us that you would prefer to refer to these people
2 by a code number rather than use their name when you testified about
4 Now, some of the names on that list we have not heard you tell us
5 about, how it is they fit into this story, and I would like to ask you
6 that now.
7 VGD11. I'd ask you to look at D22. Can you tell us, how is it
8 that VGD11 fits into your account of what happened?
9 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I will explain this to you. If I may, may I just
10 make some comments with respect to the statement, for example, of -- I
11 can't see it. I apologise. I can't find that particular person.
12 If I may, Mr. Prosecutor, may I make some comments.
13 Q. Well, Mr. Domazet will have an opportunity to ask you some
14 questions to clarify any matter. What I'm asking you now is with respect
15 to VGD11. Do you have Defence Exhibit 22 in front of you?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Can you tell us how it is VGD11 -- what part does he play in your
18 account of what happened in matters related to this indictment?
19 A. VG11 is [redacted] and I will tell you something a
20 little bit later on, but I would have to do so in a closed session or
21 private or whatever you call it, but as [redacted].
22 [redacted]. So I don't wish to mention the names.
23 JUDGE HUNT: Well, Mr. Groome, that's fairly obvious, if he said
24 he didn't want to speak about them in public. If you want him to speak
25 about them, he'll have to speak in private.
1 MR. GROOME: Let me just ask one question to see if it is
2 necessary, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE HUNT: Certainly.
4 MR. GROOME:
5 Q. Is the information you want to tell us about these two men, does
6 it have anything to do with the matters that are now before the Court or
7 is it some other information?
8 A. Nothing with respect to VG10, but I could say something with
9 respect to VG11.
10 MR. GROOME: Recognising that, I would ask then that we go into
11 private session to discuss VGD11.
12 JUDGE HUNT: Yes. We'll go into private session, please.
13 [Private session]
13 Page 2139 - redacted – private session.
13 Page 2140 – redacted – private session.
24 [Open session]
25 JUDGE HUNT: We are now in public session.
1 MR. GROOME:
2 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, you just said something that I want to clarify
3 what you meant on the record. And in -- with respect to person number 21,
4 VGD21, you stated the following: "21 gave me that and he told me to set
5 the house on fire." What house are you referring to?
6 A. No, he said that I had set the house on -- he gave me a cassette
7 and the house was at Bikovac. On the cassette, that's what it says.
8 That's what it says on the cassette, and he was mentioned, and number
9 20 -- 20 and 21, that they had taken part in the execution of Muslims at
10 Rogatica. That's what it's about. And it also -- that is to say the
11 Muslim says how Milan Lukic brought them in and they were beaten and
12 looted and all that kind of thing.
13 And then at the end of that cassette, the reporter, the journalist
14 in the programme says, and another mass crime took place in Visad at the
15 place called Bikovac where Mitar Vasiljevic, Momir Savic, and Zoran
16 Sekulic set fire to a house full of Muslims. That's what it says, the
17 reporter says on the cassette, and that's how I learnt about the house at
18 Bikovac, through that programme and cassette of it.
19 Q. You've just told us that VGD17, 18, and 19 were police officers
20 that were suspended from the police force. Are they among the group of
21 police officers that were taken into custody with VGD10?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic --
24 A. No, not only, not only -- no, 19 wasn't.
25 Q. So 17 and 18.
1 A. And 10.
2 Q. All right. I want to ask you a couple of questions about your
3 criminal record. You testified on direct examination that you were
4 arrested and spent six months in gaol; is that correct?
5 A. Five.
6 Q. Can you tell us what exactly it was that you did that you were
7 convicted of?
8 A. We were singing national songs.
9 Q. And where, exactly were you, when you were singing these
10 nationalist songs?
11 A. In the village of Koritnik. We went to a shop, we drank and that
12 kind of thing.
13 Q. And would I be correct in saying that the songs that you were
14 singing would be intimidating or frightful to Muslims?
15 A. No, they weren't frightening. Let me tell you this too, yes, we
16 did sing those songs but we weren't singing what -- and they testified to
17 this later on -- they made this seem more serious. That's why we were
18 given prison terms. Otherwise, the songs -- you weren't allowed to sing
19 those songs in the socialist system either, and those didn't harm anybody
20 and I could have shut up thousands of people, because I worked in cafes
21 and restaurants, for singing similar songs but I didn't do that to anyone,
22 whereas me and the five of us or, rather, two of us because the rest were
23 minors, they had -- they went to gaol for 12 days but the two of us went
24 to gaol for six months and me for five.
25 Q. You said that it was in front of a store. Was that store owned by
1 Muslim people?
2 A. No, no, it wasn't in front of a store. We left the village. It
3 was when we went to Livade, and the shop was socially owned. There was no
4 private property at the time, it was socially-owned shop as we used to
5 call it. They were all socially owned.
6 Q. Well, did the police observe you engage in this conduct or did
7 Muslims or did somebody make a complaint against you to the police?
8 A. Well, some of them did report it. And the postman brought us
9 notes, and we went to the police station, and the magistrate sentenced us
10 to two months. We received a summons by the -- from the postman. Then we
11 went to the regular court and were given five months, and the two months
12 that we had already spent in custody were deducted from the final
14 Q. So Muslims, or at least a Muslim, reported your conduct to the
15 police. Is that what you're saying?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And it sounds from your comments here this morning that you feel
18 that your sentence was unduly harsh for the conduct that you engaged in;
19 is that correct?
20 A. It's like this: The court is the court, and the court makes its
21 decisions. Later on, it was even more dangerous to do something like
22 that, and the sentences were even harsher later on. So perhaps as we were
23 first offenders, that was a mitigating circumstance.
24 Q. Well, I'd like to read you the charge that you were convicted of
25 and ask you a question.
1 "Article 119: "Whoever with propaganda or otherwise provocates or
2 fans national, racial, or religious hatred or discord between the peoples
3 and nationalities living in Yugoslavia shall be punished with severe
4 imprisonment of up to 12 years."
5 So in fact, you could have received a sentence of up to 12 years
6 for the crime you were convicted of; is that correct?
7 A. Well, it wasn't a crime, it was songs. And nobody was ever
8 sentenced that much for songs. You'd have to do something far more
9 drastic to merit a 12-year sentence. You'd have to be working against the
10 state. But this was just singing under the effects of alcohol. We had
11 been drinking. I don't know how to explain this to you. I couldn't have
12 got 12 years. How would I get 12 years for something like that?
13 Q. I want to now move to what happened on Pionirska Street. Now, you
14 are very familiar with the allegations against both yourself, Milan Lukic,
15 and some of the other men. And in your statement of the 16th of November
16 last year, you stated that you believed the allegations against Milan
17 Lukic were true.
18 Do you still believe that those allegations are true regarding
19 Milan Lukic as you sit here today?
20 A. I still do. I always do.
21 Q. And why is it that you believe that the allegations are true
22 regarding Milan Lukic and his men?
23 A. Let me tell you this way: Now they're mentioning me in Pionirska
24 Street. I have now -- not aware of that at all. Let me -- I've already
25 said - let me repeat - I broke my leg on that day. I have no idea that
1 Milan did that, or Bikovac or Pionirska or any of that. I never knew any
2 of that. But witnesses have testified to that. Well, how do I know?
3 They mention him all the time, about the train and about Srebrenica and --
4 I was present in Sase by the river when the crime took place. In many,
5 many ways he is mentioned. He's mentioned in connection with rape,
6 looting and plundering, killing. Now that they mention me in Pionirska
7 Street and Bikovac. I don't know. I will prove the contrary with respect
8 to Pionirska.
9 Q. You've heard a number of witnesses identify Milan Lukic as being
10 present at the actual time that the fire was set on Pionirska Street. Do
11 you believe that any of these people were mistaken regarding Milan Lukic's
12 presence there that night?
13 A. What can I say? What can I tell you? They place me there. Now,
14 had I been in any way, had I seen, I would have told you. That's as far
15 as I go.
16 Now, I don't want to mention only him, but Sagolje [phoen] as
17 well. But I can't tell you anything about that, anything exact. About
18 5.00 I broke my leg, and I was not able to be there physically. I was in
19 no condition to be there.
20 Q. Well, Mr. Vasiljevic, let's go to the beginning of the day.
21 You've testified that at some point in the day, somebody told you about a
22 horse. Can you tell us who it was that told you about this horse?
23 A. An elderly man, Mimo Ristanovic who lives in Pionirska, up there,
24 too. And my house is close by to the house where the Muslims were, the
25 first time where they looted and plundered them, in that same street
2 Q. And --
3 A. Just a moment, please. He is a neighbour of the person who left,
4 whose horse -- who was the owner of the horse.
5 Q. And would we be able to speak to Mimo Ristanovic today to verify
6 whether or not he told you about this horse on that day?
7 A. Mimo Ristanovic died. He was an elderly man. I think he died
8 after the war.
9 Q. A few weeks ago, you told us about Dragan Tomic and how you told
10 him about what happened by the river. Would we be able to talk to Dragan
11 Tomic today to verify whether or not you did tell him what happened at the
13 A. I've already told you that Dragan Tomic was killed. His car hit a
14 mine. And the two of them are mentioned. He was the chief of police.
15 Q. Where was Mr. Ristanovic when he told you --
16 A. In Visegrad. Sorry.
17 Q. Where was Mr. Ristanovic when he told you about this horse?
18 A. I was in town. It happened in town. He asked me whether I know
19 somebody who would take the horse, because nobody wanted the horse. And I
20 said, "Well, I'll come, and we'll take the horse up towards Drinsko and
21 somebody will take it. Somebody needs the horse in rural areas on the
23 Q. Approximately what time did this conversation take place?
24 A. Well, perhaps 1.00 or 2.00 in the afternoon, thereabouts.
25 Q. And the person who owned this horse, was it a Muslim?
1 A. Yes. He had left to Kladanj, I think, or Kakanj perhaps.
2 Q. And do you know his name?
3 A. I don't. He was an elderly man, and all that I know is what he
4 said, that he -- he took that horse often when he went to the mosque,
5 because he was a practising believer.
6 Q. Had you seen this horse before?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Now, Mr. Ristanovic, did he give you any details about the horse
9 or did he simply tell you about this horse that had been left behind?
10 A. Well, he said that the horse was there. "It's a good horse, it's
11 quiet, and it will be good if somebody took it." So something to that
13 Q. Was it your intention to sell the horse?
14 A. Why, no. Nobody'd buy it. And what could I ask for it? I mean,
15 had he been able to sell it, somebody else would have bought it, surely.
16 Q. Were you able to go up and retrieve this horse?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And can you tell us more precisely, what exactly was your
19 intention? What were you going to do with the horse once you retrieved
21 A. I would have taken it uphill. I liked horses when I was a child,
22 and I often rode horses when I was a child. I even broke my head once
23 when I was a child, went to the hospital. And you know, I was born in a
24 village, and I even bought books about horses, about horse training and
25 horse riding for my -- and I worked with horses during summer holidays
1 with my sister and I. You know, those were hard times so that we had to
2 earn some money. And as a child, I worked with horses, and I like
4 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, my question is: What was your intention? What
5 were you going to do with this horse once you got the horse? What were
6 you going to do with it?
7 A. I wanted to send it to the village of Drinsko, to take it to the
8 old railway tracks, because there is a lot of grass there. This is an old
9 railway track which was out of use, and I thought that in the village --
10 in that village there would be somebody who would be willing to take that
11 horse, because in the town, of course, I couldn't find a customer.
12 Q. So it was your intention to leave this horse by a set of abandoned
13 railroad tracks, hoping that the horse would walk along those railroad
14 tracks to another village where hopefully somebody would find the horse
15 and take care of the horse? Is that your testimony?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And is there any particular reason why you thought that this horse
18 would walk along these railroad tracks?
19 A. Well, of course when you come out of the inhabited area, because
20 up there, there are meadows and there's woods. People would release
21 horses like that. And especially when I was a child. You could always
22 find horses grazing around.
23 Q. And the village that you thought the horse would walk towards,
24 that was a Muslim village in free territory; is that correct?
25 A. It was both Muslim and a Serb village. It was a mixed village up
1 there. Drinsko is sort of a neighbourhood community including several
2 villages. Just as you have Prelovo is a neighbourhood community, and
3 there were several villages making a part of it. So Drinsko was a kind of
4 a centre. I mean, there was the local school, the local office.
5 Q. At this point in time, were Serbs still living in the village of
7 A. Well, Serbs have always lived there and stayed there. Muslims
8 left the village of Drinsko during the war.
9 Q. Now, this was a Sunday; correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And this wasn't just any Sunday. In addition to this Sunday being
12 the fourth day of Kurban Bajram for Muslims, it was also an important
13 religious holiday for Serbs, was it not?
14 A. Yes, that's right.
15 Q. And it was the feast of the Holy Trinity; correct?
16 A. It is.
17 Q. Now, there are some Orthodox holidays which are more important
18 than others; is that correct?
19 A. You mean than the Holy Trinity?
20 Q. Well, let me put it to you this way: Would it be fair to say that
21 after Christmas and Easter, the feast of the Holy Trinity would be
22 considered one of the most important Orthodox holidays?
23 A. I wouldn't really be able to say anything about that. There are
24 many holidays, Slava for instance, family saints days. There are a number
25 of them. And I think that Holy Trinity is also the family holiday of some
1 people. That is when you take zito to the church.
2 I don't know. I mean, there are people who believe all that or
3 just to offer a sacrifice, to pray so that thunder spares the harvest. I
4 don't know. There are many holidays. I think you are not supposed to
5 build your house that day or something like that.
6 Q. On the feast of the Holy Trinity, it's actually a three-day
7 holiday; is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And would I be correct in saying that on this particular Sunday,
10 most Orthodox Serbs would attend some service in an Orthodox church?
11 A. Yes. Yes. Surely.
12 Q. And on this holiday, it would be common for Serbs to bring a
13 family icon to the church to be blessed? Would that be correct?
14 A. Icons? No. You -- when you buy an icon, then you take it to the
15 church. But why would I go from my home to the church carrying an icon?
16 There are icons in the church. Except unless it's been consecrated. You
17 can only take it to the priest to have it consecrated, and you don't need
18 a holiday to do that. You can take your icon for that on any day of the
20 Q. Wouldn't it also be true that a family would prepare a special
21 meal on this particular Sunday?
22 A. Well, let me put it this way: The -- my family saint is
23 St. George's Day. It is the 6th of May. Yes. You cook special dishes,
24 you invite guests, and so on and so forth. So there are people who --
25 whose Slava is Holy Trinity. I mean, every family has its own saint's
1 day. So that Holy Trinity is a Serb holiday as such, but there are also
2 families who have taken that as their day.
3 Q. Would your wife have cooked a special Sunday meal or meal to
4 celebrate this day?
5 A. Well, perhaps within the family. But Holy Trinity was not our
6 day, so that we wouldn't have any guests on that particular day. It is a
7 day marked by all Serbs. But I told you that my day is the 6th of May --
8 or rather, my father. It was my father's Slavs, and when he died, it was
9 my duty to mark that holiday. And when my father was alive, it wasn't my
10 duty to mark that holiday.
11 Q. You've just told us a few minutes ago that on this day, you're not
12 supposed to build your house. Is there a -- are you not supposed to do
13 any work on the feast of the Holy Trinity or is it just house building
14 that is prohibited?
15 A. No, no, no. I wouldn't be supposed to do anything, to till the
16 land or build a house. And those are the jobs.
17 Q. Did you work on this day, this cleaning of the town that you told
18 us about in your testimony?
19 A. Well, in the company, the enterprise you can do, you can work on
20 any holiday, but you can't, you don't do it at the house. We used to work
21 on Christmas day and on once Slava, I mean, we went to work. It's only
22 that at home you are not supposed to do anything, for instance, on
23 Christmas day or Easter or Holy Trinity or Slava. That would be a sin to
24 do anything, to do any work at home, but not when you worked in a company,
25 not when you worked for an enterprise. You've got to go to work. You
1 know, there are so many holidays, nobody would work if companies didn't
2 work on those holidays, and we had to work on holidays.
3 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, I'm asking you about the 14th of June, 1992 on the
4 feast of the Holy Trinity, did you work cleaning the town of Visegrad on
5 that day?
6 A. Yes. Yes, I did.
7 Q. And you've testified that Serbs and Muslims would help you clean
8 the town. Did you clean the town alone that day or did you clean it with
9 other people?
10 A. With others, in the company of others.
11 Q. Were some of those people Serbs?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And were some of those people Muslims?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. So it is your testimony here that on this day that had religious
16 significance for both Serbs and Muslims, they volunteered to work with you
17 to clean the town; is that your testimony?
18 A. Right. Well, I won't say shop owners, people from restaurants,
19 people who worked at the post office or the bank, they always cleaned it.
20 They did it every day. It's not much of a job, I mean you can do it in no
21 time at all, and women -- how much I worked that day, I don't know.
22 Q. But it's your testimony that both Serbs and Muslims volunteered to
23 work with you on this Sunday?
24 A. No, no, no. I'm saying while I was there. Now that Sunday, how
25 many, I can't remember, Serbs and Muslims, I don't know. Perhaps more
1 than Muslims, it was Bajram -- well, there wasn't much need to clean. It
2 wasn't all that much, perhaps in the early days but then the place was --
3 the town was really put in order so it didn't really have to do much about
4 it later on, you just ask people nicely and they do it.
5 Q. So your testimony is now that there wasn't much to do that day,
6 and you're not sure whether you had both Muslims and Serbs and how many
7 working with you that day; is that correct?
8 A. Oh, yes. Certainly, there was Serbs, men and women, who were
9 engaged in their regular jobs at work in their shops or restaurants or
10 wherever. So they'd come out, clean each one in front of his own shop and
11 so, day in, day out. It wasn't difficult. As the time went by, it became
12 very easier.
13 Q. It sounds from the way you're describing this that on this day you
14 worked in the centre of the town where the shops were; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Were you ever working in the area of Pionirska Street earlier in
17 the day?
18 A. Why, yes, we did go there earlier before that but, you know, it
19 was the cleanest area up there because the houses are new there. It's a
20 newly-developed area.
21 Q. Were you on Pionirska Street cleaning on the day of the 14th of
23 A. No, no. Or, again, I didn't -- I don't -- I don't remember. I
24 don't think so.
25 Q. Well, you were here when Witness VG87 told us how he watched you
1 walk along the street, and he told us that he was watching you from the
2 attic of his house. He told us how odd it sounded to him for you to be
3 calling people out to clean the street when, in fact, most of the Muslims
4 had either fled or had been taken away.
5 Does that refresh your memory whether or not you were on Pionirska
6 Street earlier in the day engaged in this cleaning activity?
7 A. In the morning, no, I don't think so. I don't know.
8 Q. Is it possible that you were on Pionirska Street earlier in the
9 morning of the 14th of June?
10 A. Now, how can I say exactly? I did rounds of streets, perhaps I
11 did go up there, but I can't tell you exactly. And if I was there, then
12 it had to be earlier, around 9.00 or 10.00.
13 Q. So it is possible that you were on Pionirska Street earlier in the
14 day, approximately 9.00 or 10.00 in the morning?
15 A. I cannot say with certainty. Perhaps -- I can't, I mean it was a
16 long time ago.
17 Q. It was also that particular witness's belief that what you were
18 really trying to do was to find out whether there were any Muslims
19 remaining in the houses on Pionirska Street. My question to you is: Is
20 it a fact that what you were doing on Pionirska Street earlier on that day
21 was to try to trick the remaining Muslims by getting them to come out of
22 their houses to clean the street? Isn't that what you were doing on
23 Pionirska Street earlier on that day?
24 A. To invite Muslims out, to find out how many of them there were and
25 so on, oh, no, sir. No. No. It never occurred to me. Why should I be
1 inviting them out? Why should I be checking on them? I mean, that's what
2 he thinks, that's what he says, well, that's his view. His wife perished
3 there on Pionirska Street.
4 Q. Well, by your own testimony, it was the -- one of the cleanest
5 areas in town; is that correct?
6 A. Yes. Yes. Yes. It was always the cleanest area of town because
7 it's a new area and there are many houses, but new houses. It was very
8 clean. It was very densely populated, but a newly-developed area.
9 Q. And as you have just noted, he is describing what he saw happen on
10 the day that his wife died. You don't think that he's confusing this day
11 with any other, do you?
12 A. Perhaps. Perhaps very likely. I don't know what he thinks. How,
13 why does he assume that I wanted to do something? Well, I don't know.
14 That's what he thinks and I cannot really comment about it. I mean, that
15 is what he thinks.
16 Q. Well, would you agree with me if VG87 wanted to tell a lie about
17 you to get you in trouble, he could have told the Chamber that you were
18 present when the fire was started; is that correct?
19 A. I won't say anything about that. That is his opinion, and I have
20 a high opinion of him as a man. I know him. I don't know what he really
21 said, but that is his view but, of course, he must be angry because his
22 wife burned to death there, and there were children too.
23 So that is what he thinks. What can I do about it? That is how I
24 understood him, that he took it that that was the reason why I invited
25 people out. Never. Never in my life, nor did I know what Lukic was about
1 to do. How could I?
2 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, you've testified in response to questions by
3 Mr. Domazet that sometimes when you drink, you forget some of the things
4 that you do, and you've also told us that you were drinking on this day.
5 Is it possible that you were on Pionirska Street earlier in the day,
6 calling people to come out to clean and that because you were drinking,
7 you do not have a clear memory of it? Is that possible?
8 A. Well, let me tell you, Pionirska Street wasn't the only one I was
9 on, I did rounds of all streets, a number of streets.
10 Q. I'm just referring to the 14th of June. Is it possible that you
11 were up there on the morning of the 14th of June calling out people but
12 have forgotten because you were drinking at the time? Is that a
14 A. If I was there, it was not in ill faith, I had no bad intentions
15 except to see that it was -- that it went on to be clean, but that I -- to
16 count the Muslims there, no, out of the question, so that something could
17 be done. So as to do something, well, with them, that is a witness, what
18 the witness says and of course he's angry, that is natural. But I can't
19 really comment much on that. I don't really know what to tell you. All I
20 know is, sir, that I did not participate in any way possible, that I
21 searched people as this lady witness has said, VG13. She mentioned Milan
22 Lukic 16 times, and by then, on the second occasion, she never mentioned
23 the -- she only mentioned Milan Lukic and Mitar Vasiljevic and she
24 mentioned herself 16 times.
25 Q. Sir, let me ask you what you were wearing that day. In response
1 to a question put to you by Mr. Domazet, you said that after your cousin's
2 death, you wore dark clothing; is that correct?
3 A. Well, dark clothes, yes, not exactly mourning, but dark clothes.
4 But I think I had olive-green/grey trousers. That was all old. When I
5 came out of the hospital, I did not take it.
6 Q. We're talking before the hospital, and would it be correct to say
7 that you wore dark clothing as a sign of respect for this cousin that you
8 cared for very much?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, you were also --
11 A. Dark colour.
12 Q. You were also asked whether or not you owned a black hat and you
13 told us that you do own a black hat. I want to ask you some specific
14 questions about that hat. When you say that the black hat had the brim
15 upturned, I want to ask you, is it the sides of the hat that had a brim
16 that was upturned?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And the brim of the hat still stuck out in the front and the back;
19 is that correct?
20 A. I don't understand.
21 Q. Well, the brim in the front and the back of the hat, that was not
22 upturned, was it?
23 A. No, no, no. No, just -- this is just a plain hat.
24 Q. And would I be correct in saying that if the brim of the hat were
25 allowed to be down, that it would be reasonable for people seeing this hat
1 to mistake it for a cowboy hat?
2 A. Well, what do I know? It also says that they had a Sajkaca, and
3 that it was a Serb cap. It was a yellow straw hat, and others saw me in a
4 camouflage uniform, some others saw me in olive-green/grey, some others
5 saw me without uniform. How do I really know, I mean ...
6 Q. My question to you is not about what other people said. I'm
7 asking you to tell us about the hat that you have told us, the black hat
8 that you have told us you own. And my question is: If the sides of the
9 hat, the sides of the brim were allowed to be down, can you tell us how it
10 would be different from a cowboy hat, how would your hat be different from
11 a cowboy hat?
12 A. Well, what shall I tell you? I mean to my mind, all hats are the
13 same, cowboy.
14 Q. So in other words, it would not be unreasonable for somebody to
15 see you in this hat and mistake it for a cowboy hat; is that correct?
16 A. I think that the hat was imaginary, thought up, because we've
17 heard of a straw hat, a yellow one, somebody saying a cowboy --
18 JUDGE HUNT: Now, Mr. Vasiljevic, please, you have been asked to
19 answer the questions about your black hat. Now, please answer the
20 question and do not keep on talking about the evidence generally. We'll
21 never finish if you keep on like this.
22 You have a very clever counsel here. He will obtain from you
23 anything which he thinks is relevant which you have not been allowed to
24 answer as the witness, but we have got to stop this continual description
25 by you of what other people have said in the evidence unless you are asked
1 specifically about it.
2 Now, Mr. Groome, you are talking about something which I am having
3 a little trouble with. You are talking about a hat with the brim down
4 being mistaken for a cowboy hat. It may be that your idea of a cowboy hat
5 and my idea of a cowboy hat are quite different, but I've always
6 understood, perhaps from watching too many American films, that cowboys
7 wear their hats with the sides of the brims up.
8 Now, you better describe what you mean by a cowboy hat so that he
9 can deal with your question.
10 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
11 Q. You just heard Judge Hunt describe seeing cowboy hats in movies.
12 Have you seen movies with cowboys wearing hats?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you describe for us how is it that your hat is, this black hat
15 is different from the typical cowboy hat that one might see in a movie?
16 How did it differ?
17 A. Cowboy hats are usually big. Big, cowboy hats are, they're big.
18 Q. Is there any other difference between your hat and a typical
19 cowboy hat?
20 A. Well, the hat we wore was the classical type of hat, the classical
22 Q. For those of us who are unfamiliar with classical type hats, can
23 you describe other than the size, was there anything to distinguish your
24 hat from a cowboy hat?
25 A. No. The hats that the army wore were turned upwards. Some were
1 black, some were camouflage.
2 Q. Would you agree with me that it would not be unreasonable for
3 somebody to see your hat and to believe or to describe it as a cowboy
4 hat? Would you agree with me that that is a possibility?
5 A. Well, I don't know. Depending on how you see it. Everybody has
6 his own opinion.
7 Q. I want to go back to the horse. Where were you going to find this
9 A. It's Vucine, the place is. It's about five minutes, ten minutes
10 away from Pionirska. The same street, actually.
11 Q. And as you came up -- or let me ask you this first: Did you
12 travel to this place up from the town of Visegrad?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And on your way up from the town, did you see any convoys or
16 A. No. Let me tell you this: I was in town, but I don't remember
17 seeing those people in town at all. They say they were in front of the
18 hotel. Probably, they were. But I don't remember seeing those people at
19 all in town at any moment, any time.
20 Q. Where were you just prior to going up for the horse?
21 A. I was in town. But as I say, I don't remember seeing any of those
22 people. I knew (redacted) from Sase well. But these people --
23 nothing is clear to me. I didn't see them in town when they went to the
24 hotel. I don't know. None of that -- I remember none of that.
25 Q. And approximately how long did it take you to travel from where
1 you were in town up to Pionirska Street?
2 A. Ten minutes perhaps. Something like that.
3 Q. Now --
4 A. It's about a kilometre. I'm not sure. Not even.
5 Q. Now, you heard the witnesses describe how they walked up to
6 Pionirska Street. Did you take the same path that they described here in
7 the court?
8 A. Yes. That's the only path.
9 Q. And before your encounter with (redacted), did you stop
10 anywhere else on the way from town to Pionirska Street?
11 A. Standing for a longer time? No. I don't know.
12 Q. My question is: Did you stop anywhere on the way up to Pionirska
13 Street before you met (redacted)?
14 A. I don't think I did. I don't know.
15 Q. Can you tell us what exactly it was that you said to (redacted)
16 (redacted) and what he said to you?
17 A. Let me tell you, I probably hadn't remembered anything had (redacted)
18 (redacted) not been there, but I know him, and I asked him the usual kind
19 of thing. "What's up, Mujo? What -- what -- " And he said, "I'm okay.
20 We have to go to Kladanj." And I know he said that his wife had to go on
21 ahead, had to go earlier. And Mujo said -- he offered two of his cows.
22 He said he -- "I have got two good cows. Do you want them?" And I said,
23 "Mujo, I can't. I haven't got anything to feed the cows with. I can
24 keep them until you return, but I've got nothing to feed them with." So
25 what we chatted about. We discussed things like that. That's what we
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 talked about. I don't know.
2 Q. And can you describe for us where precisely it was that you had
3 this conversation with (redacted)?
4 A. On the road towards the school. Somewhere about there.
5 MR. GROOME: I'm going to ask that Prosecution Exhibit 17.3 be
6 placed on the ELMO by the witness. I'm going to ask that he be given a
7 blue pen.
8 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, I'm going to ask you to look at P17.3, and I'm
9 going to ask you whether you can see on that photograph the location where
10 you spoke with (redacted). Please make no mark yet on the diagram.
11 Are you able to see?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. I would ask you to put your initials and a circle where it was
14 that you had the conversation with (redacted).
15 A. [Marks]
16 Q. And put a circle around it, please.
17 A. [Marks]
18 Q. And before you give it to the usher, would you please write your
19 name on the bottom of that exhibit.
20 A. [Marks]
21 Q. I'd ask that it now be placed on the ELMO. And I think it's
22 apparent where you have made the mark.
23 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, at this time, I would tender that copy
24 of 17.3 into evidence as 17.3.MV to indicate that it was the accused who
25 made these marks.
1 JUDGE HUNT: Any objection, Mr. Domazet?
2 MR. DOMAZET: No, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you. That will be Exhibit P17.3.MV.
4 MR. GROOME:
5 Q. Now, Mr. Vasiljevic, (redacted) was a farmer; is that
7 A. Mujo worked in the Terpentin company of Visegrad, but yes, he was
8 a farmer as well.
9 Q. And he had some fields upon which he raised some livestock,
10 including the two cows that he talked to you about; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now, would you say you were better friends with (redacted) or
13 better friends with Meho Dzafic? Who were you closer to?
14 A. I was closer to Meho Dzafic. I worked with him.
15 Q. Did you also consider (redacted) a good friend?
16 A. We were always good friends. He would pass by my house every day
17 on his way to work. We would have a drink very often. Mujo frequented
18 cafes more often.
19 Q. Now, Mujo wasn't giving you his cows because he didn't want them,
20 he was offering you the cows because he was being forced to leave and he
21 couldn't take them with him; is that correct?
22 A. Yes, so that his cows wouldn't perish.
23 Q. So he had to abandon his cows; correct?
24 A. He had to leave his house and property.
25 Q. So it seems that on this day, there were two more abandoned
1 animals that fit into the story, yet you were willing to walk all the way
2 up to Vucine on a Serb holiday to care for a horse whose owner you did not
3 know, but you refused to help your good friend take care of the two cows
4 that he had to abandon; isn't that correct?
5 A. No. Well, no. How could I keep two cows? You can't send a cow
6 out in the forest to fend for itself. I would have taken his cows had I
7 had a shed and food to feed them with. Why not? I would give him mine if
8 I had to leave. I would give them to anyone who was willing to look after
9 them and feed them.
10 Q. Well, Mr. Vasiljevic, this is the beginning of the summer. Cows
11 eat grass, don't they?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And there was grass in the field of (redacted), was there
15 A. Well, I couldn't go and tend to the cows by his house all the
16 time, on his field. If I had my own piece of land and my own shed, I
17 would take them then, but -- like this.
18 Q. So as far as you knew, when you refused Mujo's request regarding
19 the two cows, as far as you knew at that time, those two cows would have
20 just perished? You made no arrangements for those cows; correct?
21 A. Well, the cooperative took the cows and livestock. Generally, the
22 cooperative would do that. They would take the animals.
23 Q. Well, you told us a few weeks ago that you may have given Mujo
24 your address and your phone number. Do you recall telling us that?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. So you planned to remain in contact with (redacted); correct?
2 A. I would always with Mujo. But unfortunately, he was killed and
3 burnt in the house. We would still be friends today. We never had any
4 disagreements or problems. He was a good man. He liked to have a drink
5 now and again, and I knew him well.
6 Q. And you'll agree with me that you could have done this good friend
7 a great service by perhaps selling his cows and eventually giving him the
8 money; correct?
9 A. Who would I sell them to? I didn't even think about it at the
10 time. I couldn't take them, that was all. I knew that I couldn't take
11 them. Who could I sell his cows to?
12 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, when you were up on Pionirska Street talking to
13 Mujo, there were other people there that you recognised; isn't that
15 A. There was another man with Mujo. I don't know his name, but he
16 built houses in Sase. Now, whether he had a house up there in Jasarevici,
17 that settlement. The settlement in Sase was called Jasarevici. I know
18 that he was building a house below the road -- under -- below the
19 village. Now, what his name was, I can't quite remember now.
20 Q. And didn't you also recognise some of the people from Koritnik?
21 A. I don't know. I wasn't paying attention to things like that. How
22 would I know? I don't know. What can I tell you about that? I don't
23 know what to say. I know that they came. I know the women came, but --
24 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, is it your testimony here today that at the time
25 that you were speaking with (redacted), you did not recognise any of
1 the people, other people present, as being from Koritnik?
2 A. No. I know the people, but I don't know the names. You showed a
3 picture VG13, when she [sic] testified, but the fat man, but I don't know
4 his name. I know the other one from the cassette, [redacted]
5 [redacted] but I don't know the names. I know the people by
6 sight. I don't know the names, what their names are.
7 Q. Would it be fair for me to say --
8 JUDGE HUNT: Sorry, I just want to check the name that he
9 mentioned on the cassette. Is that a protected witness? The old man.
10 MR. GROOME: Sorry. Your Honour. The transcript isn't showing
11 the name.
12 JUDGE HUNT: I'm thinking the video that you have prepared which
13 includes showing a witness's father going past.
14 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour. That witness is a protected
16 JUDGE HUNT: Very well. Well, we'll redact the name. Thank you.
17 MR. GROOME: Thank you.
18 Q. Would it be fair to say that of the other people around the house,
19 although you did not know their names, you knew them by sight and you knew
20 that they were from the village of Koritnik? Would that be correct?
21 A. Yes. Now I don't know how many of them I saw. Well, had you
22 asked me exactly, had somebody said -- asked me, "Are they from Koritnik
23 or Osanica?" -- but I know the people, I know them by sight. They're from
24 that area, Zupa. It's all referred to that area, Zupa. I know they're
25 from there, that -- I do know that, yes.
1 Q. Now, Mr. Vasiljevic, you've sat here and you've seen a number of
2 witnesses, both live witnesses and witnesses by videolink, who told us
3 about being present on that day. Perhaps you did not know their name, but
4 would it be fair to say that you did recognise them as they entered the
5 courtroom, as they appeared on the monitor, that you recognised them as
6 people that were present on Pionirska Street on the 14th of June?
7 A. VG61.
8 Q. So you recognised VG61. Did you recognise VG --
9 A. 87, 15.
10 Q. You mean 115?
11 A. Yes, yes, 115.
12 Q. Did you recognise VG13 when she entered the courtroom?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Did you recognise VG18 when she entered the courtroom?
15 A. Maybe slightly but I could never actually -- had I met her in the
16 street, I would never have known that that was -- I wouldn't know who the
17 person was. Perhaps slightly, but nothing definite.
18 Q. Did you recognise VG38?
19 A. That was a child. How old was he, 12, 13? I couldn't recognise
20 him even if I had known him, and I don't know that I had known him ever.
21 Q. Did you recognise VG78?
22 A. Well, I can't say. They were sisters. No, I wouldn't recognise
23 them either because many years have gone by, how many, nine years.
24 Q. Now, you heard VG18 describe a brief conversation that she had
25 with you regarding a relative of hers who worked for the same company as
1 you. Do you recall having that conversation with her?
2 A. I don't know. Perhaps we talked, but I really can't say. I think
3 she said [redacted].
4 Q. I'd ask you not to talk about the nature of the relationship or
5 mention that person's name. Was the information that she disclosed here
6 in court regarding that person, regarding where he worked at the time, was
7 that information accurate?
8 A. If the person is the one I'm thinking of then, yes, we worked in
9 the same company, if that was [redacted]. But he's much younger than
10 her. Perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I think it's just him.
11 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome, if you want to rely upon anything here, I
12 think we're going to have to be a little more specific about the person
13 you're referring to and, if necessary, you can do it in private session.
14 But I don't think that you -- that it's fair to assume that you and the
15 witness are speaking about the same thing, same person.
16 MR. GROOME: Perhaps I will ask a few questions to see if I can
17 clear it up and if not, we'll go into private session.
18 JUDGE HUNT: Well, try that first.
19 MR. GROOME:
20 Q. I'm talking about Witness VG18. Do you see her name on the sheet
21 in front of you?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And do you recall her testifying regarding where a relative of
24 hers worked?
25 A. Yes, but she didn't say the name. I think it was -- well, you
1 don't want me to say names. That was the only surname, her maiden name,
2 and I think that's what she said, as you said. And [redacted] did work
3 in the company I worked for. We worked together in the same company. I'm
4 sorry, I mentioned the word [redacted] again.
5 Q. You've told us that you would not have recognised her on the
6 street; is that correct?
7 A. Well, I wouldn't now, no.
8 Q. So you knew this information about her relative because she told
9 you that on the 14th of June; is that correct? That's how you know this
11 A. I know that relative of hers, yes, I do. If she didn't say the
12 name but I think that's it because he was the only one in the company with
13 that surname, as a waiter, working as a waiter.
14 Q. And in fact, when you spoke with her regarding this relative, you
15 told her that he worked in another establishment owned by your company, a
16 different one than the particular cafe that you worked in; is that
18 A. That's what she says, but he did work up there at that time, and
19 we worked together too, for years.
20 Q. You don't have a very clear memory of the conversation you had
21 with her on that day, do you?
22 A. I don't remember. She says she asked me, maybe she did. Please
23 believe me when I say this. I don't want to say she didn't. I just can't
24 say. If she says we talked about it, then probably we did, but I don't
25 remember. Maybe we did. I can't say.
1 Q. Well, you told us on your first day of testimony that you
2 sometimes forget what you've said and what you've done when you're
3 drinking. Is it reasonable for us to conclude that because you were
4 drinking this day, that is why you do not have a clear memory of the
5 conversation you had with VG18? Can we conclude that?
6 A. Well, we can if we talked about it. Well, why should I remember?
7 Maybe the woman did ask me; I don't want to say she didn't. If she
8 mentioned that relative of hers, I know him.
9 Q. Is it a fact that when you do drink you sometimes forget the
10 things you say and the things you do and this problem has been an
11 increasing one over the years of your drinking; is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And, in fact, you told us that you -- sometimes you are not aware
14 of the things you do and say, and you gave us as an example not being
15 aware of how you got back to your house, whether you walked, whether
16 somebody drove you, and different things like that; is that correct?
17 A. When I'm very drunk, yes.
18 Q. Well, how drunk would you say you were on this day? Would you
19 consider yourself very drunk on this day?
20 A. Well, not that drunk. Well, when I fell, yes, I mean the horse
21 fell. We fell together. Well, not that drunk as I was then. Perhaps I
22 wouldn't remember anything.
23 Let me tell you, let me explain it to you, I might not have
24 remembered anything, had not (redacted) been there in that group, I
25 might have passed by. What would I have said to those women? Why would I
1 talk to them? Perhaps if somebody asked me something, I would respond and
2 answer, but I knew nothing about this until The Hague.
3 Q. Well, my question to you is: Given that you were drinking that
4 day, is it possible you said other things to some of the people there that
5 you now do not have a clear memory of saying?
6 A. Well, I don't know what to say. Possibly, I don't know.
7 Q. Well --
8 A. If I talked to someone, I don't know.
9 Q. Well, do you recall telling (redacted) that everything was
10 going to be all right; did you tell him that?
11 A. Well, I can't remember the exact conversation, what we said while
12 we -- what could I say? He was leaving his house, his property. What
13 could I say to him? What else could I tell him? What could I say to
15 Q. Let me see if this refreshes your memory. In your statement of
16 the 16th on page 86, and I will read you a quote from that, "So I told
17 him," referring to Mujo, "So I told him it's going to be all right, and
18 what else could I have told him?" Does that refresh your memory as to
19 whether you told (redacted) on that day that everything was going to
20 be all right?
21 A. Well, I thought they would come back, they would find something
22 there. I don't know, sir. What can I tell you? I can't describe to you
23 exactly what we talked about. It was a long time ago.
24 How we talked, now what we actually said, who, what, I felt sorry
25 for him, and not only for him, I was sorry. The poor man was having to
1 leave. He was leaving his home, his plot of land, and we promised to see
2 each other again to say hello. We were good friends. My wife worked in
3 his village.
4 What can I tell you? What can I say to what you're saying? What
5 happened happened. I really don't know anything about it. I don't know.
6 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, perhaps this will be a good place to
8 JUDGE HUNT: We'll resume at 11.30.
9 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
10 --- On resuming at 11.30 a.m.
11 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome.
12 MR. GROOME: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, we concluded the break with me asking you about
14 whether or not you said to (redacted) that everything would be all
15 right. I'm going to ask you -- because the answer to this question is
16 very important, I'm going to ask you to answer my next question with a
17 simple yes or no. Do you remember saying to (redacted) that
18 everything would be all right? Do you remember saying that? Yes or no?
19 A. Right, that everything will be all right. Now, I don't know -- I
20 don't really know how to explain it to you.
21 Q. Just a yes or no --
22 A. That -- well, yes. If I said it, then yes.
23 Q. Would it be fair to say, however, that as you sit here today in
24 court, you do not have a very clear memory of you saying that to (redacted)
25 (redacted)? Isn't that the problem that we're having, that you do not have
1 a clear memory, because you were drinking at the time, of what you said to
3 A. Well, I can't remember everything that was said, but I didn't say
4 anything bad was said to him, nothing.
5 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome, I'm wondering whether it's fair to add
6 what you said in that last question, it was because he had been drinking
7 at the time. He has said on a number of occasions that he had not found
8 out about any of this until he arrived at The Hague.
9 Now, if you want to put it to him he is having trouble
10 remembering, fair enough, but to add that it's as a result of that, I'm
11 not sure that he really has accepted that because of the number of times
12 he's referred to the other fact.
13 MR. GROOME: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, is your problem with recalling precisely what you
15 did on the 14th of June, is the problem with the length of time that has
16 gone by since the 14th of June, 1992, or is it because you were drinking
17 at the time?
18 A. Well, let me tell you, I think that the principal problem is the
19 time that has gone by, because I just don't know anything about it, about
20 all these things what happened until I arrived in The Hague.
21 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome, I'm sorry to interrupt again, but I'm not
22 sure that you got my point. The question is whether he would have
23 remembered anything that happened on the 14th of June if he had had no
24 occasion to recall it. It's a different issue.
25 If you asked me what I was doing on the 14th of June, 1992, I
1 would have absolutely no idea. Whether I spoke to a particular person at
2 a particular time on a particular street, I couldn't tell you. But if at
3 the time something dramatic had happened which would have impressed these
4 things in his mind, it's quite different.
5 As I understand the defendant's answers, he is saying, "Look, I
6 could have spoken to him. I just never was asked to recall anything about
7 it until I arrived here in The Hague." Now, that's not just the passage
8 of time. It's the need to have to recall it, which is important.
9 Now, I don't know whether we accept him or not. That's a matter
10 we have to determine at the end of the trial or whether we think that what
11 he says raises some reasonable doubt about it. But I think it's only fair
12 that if you want to tie him down, it's not just the extent of the period
13 that has passed, it's the fact that nobody had asked him to recall this
14 until he arrived here in The Hague.
15 MR. GROOME: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE HUNT: So if you want to rely upon his answers, may I
17 suggest you put that to him and see how that goes. In the end, we'll have
18 to determine how we approach it in the light of all of the evidence. But
19 I don't think that you're being quite accurate in the way you put it to
20 him at the moment.
21 MR. GROOME: Let me try again, Your Honour. Thank you.
22 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, you've heard the Court's comments. Is your
23 problem with remembering because in your mind nothing remarkable happened
24 on that day to make it stand out in your mind? Is that the essence of
25 your problem with remembering precisely what people said and what you may
1 have said that day?
2 A. Time and nothing special happened so that it would be impressed in
3 my mind. Had anything happened, had there been any problem or something,
4 then I would have remembered it. Then I would have known that.
5 Q. So there was nothing remarkable. Had there been something
6 remarkable, you would have a clearer memory of what was said to you and
7 what you may have said to other people; is that correct?
8 A. Well, I would have remembered what had happened. But there was
9 nothing that I -- that would have -- that stuck in my mind.
10 Q. Well, let's see whether or not some remarkable things happened on
11 this day. This was the last time that you saw your good friend (redacted)
12 (redacted) alive; is that correct?
13 A. The last time.
14 Q. And in fact, we're now talking about the last words that you and
15 this good friend exchanged; correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And this is also the day that you said that you had this terrible
18 accident with the horse that put you in the hospital for over two months;
19 is that correct?
20 A. Forty-three days, I think.
21 Q. And we also know from your earlier testimony that you do not seem
22 to have any problem recollecting what you said and what you did not say
23 with the man who told you initially about the horse. You remember that
24 quite clearly; is that correct? Mr. Ristanovic.
25 A. Yes. Well, I was off to get the horse.
1 Q. So that was remarkable enough for you to remember with specificity
2 the conversation that you had with Mr. Ristanovic; correct?
3 A. Well, yes, because I broke my leg that day. So there was reason
4 for me to remember it, because I broke my leg that day.
5 Q. And yet you've told us that you do not have a clear memory of what
6 you may have said to (redacted), your good friend, the last time you
7 spoke to him; is that still your testimony?
8 A. Well, I know what we talked about. We were together some 15 or 20
9 minutes so we must have talked about things. I'm sure we talked about
10 more but we -- but it wasn't anything bad that we talked about. Of
11 course, the bad thing is what happened but what can I do about that? It's
12 by the orders of others.
13 Q. Well, you seem to recall quite clearly that (redacted) spoke
14 to you about his wife and where she was at that moment, in the town of
15 Kladanj. You seem to recall quite clearly the conversation that you had
16 with him regarding the cows, both what he said to you and you said to him,
17 yet is it your testimony that you do not have a clear memory of saying to
18 him, "You will be all right."
19 A. Well, sir, what shall I tell you? Maybe I said it will be all
20 right, thinking that he'd be coming back. I can't give you every word,
21 every sentence. I really can't. I guess we talked about other things,
22 but there was no argument or any problem between us. There was nothing
23 like that ever.
24 Q. Well, let me ask you about some of the other things that witnesses
25 have told us you said to them at that time. One of the witnesses said
1 that you asked the people there if they had gotten settled in the Memic
2 house. Do you recall saying that?
3 A. I don't think so. To begin with, I didn't know. They could have
4 settled in any house. No, I didn't know that Memic's house was empty, and
5 truth to tell, I couldn't care less where they would settle, so they could
6 go to that house or to some other house. I had nothing to do with that,
7 so why would it be up to me to tell them what house to go to?
8 Q. Aside from the name of the person who owned the house, is it
9 possible that you said to these people or that you asked these people were
10 they settled in the house that you were standing in front of and they were
11 around? Can you be sure that you did not ask them were they settled in
12 that house?
13 A. I don't know about that. I don't know. It wasn't mine to
14 accommodate people. I don't know. I mean they were around me. They
15 could go to whatever house. I had nothing to do with where those people
16 would be accommodated.
17 Q. There is evidence before the Chamber that you said, "It's a good
18 place to spend the night." Can you be sure that you did not say that to
19 anybody on that day?
20 A. I don't think I did. Why should I? I mean any house is all
22 Q. There's also evidence that you said that there was a bus coming
23 the following morning. Can you be sure that you did not say that to any
24 of the people at that house?
25 A. I didn't enter any one of the houses.
1 Q. I'm talking about in front of the house. The witnesses described
2 you saying this at the front of the house. Can you be sure that you did
3 not tell anyone that day that there would be a bus coming the following
5 A. I know that Mujo was saying that they were too late, that there
6 was no bus. What did we talk about? I suppose somebody told them that it
7 would be coming the next day. I don't know, sir. Again, I'm saying I had
8 no bad intentions, and they could go to whatever house they liked. I
9 didn't organise those convoys. I didn't try to watch them or monitor them
10 or anything.
11 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, they are saying that you told them that a bus
12 would be coming the next day, and I'll ask you to answer the question with
13 a simple yes or no. Did you tell those people that a bus was coming the
14 next day; yes or no?
15 A. I don't think so. Somebody else told them. They were saying that
16 somebody had told them that they would be taken away the next day, I don't
17 know, and that they were late. I didn't know that until I saw (redacted)
18 (redacted). I didn't know they would be going. I didn't know anything.
19 Q. Sir, you said, "I don't think so." Can I take from that that it
20 is possible that you did say that a bus was coming the next day, but you
21 have since forgotten that?
22 A. It wasn't my responsibility. How could I know? How can I say it
23 will be -- the bus will be coming? I didn't work for the transport
24 company. How could I say something like that? How could I guarantee that
25 a bus would be coming? I didn't do that. I didn't -- I don't know how to
1 explain it. How can I say anything? How can I guarantee him that the bus
2 will be coming?
3 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, is it possible you told somebody that day that a
4 bus was coming the next day; yes or no, please? Is that possible?
5 A. I do not think it is.
6 Q. A witness testified several weeks ago that you told the people
7 that they should stay in that house. Without explaining how and why or
8 what your responsibilities were, can you tell us, yes or no, did you ever
9 tell anyone on that day that they should stay in the house?
10 A. I don't think I did, no. No, they could go to whatever house as
11 far as I was concerned.
12 Q. Now, regarding whether or not you wrote something down, you've
13 testified yourself that, "I could have perhaps given him," meaning (redacted)
14 (redacted), "my address or telephone number." Do you recall testifying to
15 that earlier in this trial?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. So at least on the issue of writing something, you do entertain
18 the possibility that you may have written something down, and you may have
19 given it to (redacted)?
20 A. Yes, that I gave it to him but that I had written for him a
21 guarantee or something like that as they are saying, that is, no. I mean,
22 who am I to issue any guarantees and who is responsible for such things.
23 He knew what I was, I mean, that I was a waiter.
24 Q. So if I'm correct, you do not dispute that you may have handed
25 (redacted) a piece of paper that you wrote on. What you do dispute is
1 what was written on that piece of paper; correct?
2 A. Yes. Because I couldn't give him any guarantees. If I did
3 something, I could have given him a telephone number or address, nothing
4 else at that time.
5 Q. And to be clear, what was written on that paper was written in the
6 presence of (redacted). It wasn't a piece of paper that was written
7 on earlier in the day; is that correct?
8 A. Well, I gave it to him, then I gave it to him then, but I just
9 have no recollection of these papers or anything. I'm not sure about any
10 of this. I don't know. It's all "perhaps."
11 Q. Can you refresh my memory? Am I correct in thinking that (redacted)
12 (redacted) lived across the street from you and very close to your home?
13 Is that correct?
14 A. Not across the street. He lived in Sase. It could be a kilometre
15 and a half from my house towards Banja, towards the Spa. That is, you
16 turn right to go to Sase, about a kilometre and a half. But he would pass
17 going to work every day. I saw him often. I knew him well, and his wife,
19 Q. And you testified that he stopped by your house very frequently.
20 I think maybe even you said every day. Is that correct? Yes or no?
21 A. Yes, yes, yes. He passed by every day, yes, going to work.
22 Q. And is it your testimony that despite that, (redacted) did not
23 know your address? Is that your testimony?
24 A. Well, perhaps he didn't know the street. Whether he knew the
25 street -- perhaps he knew the street, but I guess he didn't know the
1 telephone number. If I gave it to him, that is, because I don't remember
2 doing that.
3 Q. You heard Witness VG84, who was a boy at the time, standing quite
4 close to you when he says you addressed the people there. He said that
5 you stated a number of things to those people. He said that you said, "My
6 name is Mitar Vasiljevic. I represent the Red Cross. I am in charge of
7 your accommodation and security."
8 Did you say that?
9 A. No. I didn't work for the Red Cross, and I could not say that.
10 He was a child, so I can't remember him. But I could not say that,
11 because I did not work for the Red Cross.
12 Q. Well, we know that you never worked for the Red Cross. The
13 question is: Did you ever represent to people that you worked for the Red
15 A. No. I didn't work for the Red Cross, and I couldn't say anything
16 like that.
17 Q. Did you ever wear the symbol of the Red Cross on your camouflage
18 uniform during this period of time?
19 A. I never had a camouflage uniform in 1992.
20 Q. Did you ever wearing the insignia of the Red Cross on your
22 A. I had this red ribbon. Perhaps this is what they thought was the
23 Red Cross emblem. But that I said anything to them like that, no. It
24 never crossed my mind, because I never worked for it. Then I'd have to be
25 there the next day.
1 Q. We know from your prior testimony that the red ribbon had no words
2 on it and had no symbols on it. It was a simple plain red ribbon; is that
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And is it your testimony that that is all you wore? You never
6 wore the insignia of the Red Cross?
7 A. Never. Why? I didn't work for the Red Cross, never.
8 Q. Now, you told us on the last day that we were in session that you
9 had reviewed or read the Defence witness -- statements given by Defence
10 witnesses; is that correct?
11 A. The Defence witnesses, yes.
12 Q. And have you read the statement of a Defence witness by the name
13 of (redacted)?
14 A. Yes. The lawyer read it to me. That is my neighbour.
15 Q. And have you read the statement of the Defence witness by the name
16 of Dragisa Lindo?
17 A. Yes, but let me tell you, I never had them with me, so I can't
18 really remember all I said. I mean, the lawyer read them to me, so that I
19 really didn't have them with me, those witness statements, I mean, in the
20 cell to study them properly, only what the lawyer read out to me.
21 Q. But you will recall that both of those men claim that they both,
22 they both saw you with a Red Cross insignia on your uniform? You will
23 recall that, won't you?
24 A. With that ribbon. I don't know. As I said, I do not have a
25 single witness statement in my cell. I could have, but I never kept them
1 in the cell. So I just don't know. I only know what the lawyer read out
2 to me.
3 Q. Are these witnesses mistaken if they say that they saw you wearing
4 a Red Cross insignia? Are they mistaken if they should say that?
5 A. Well, they saw that ribbon, and what they took it to mean, I don't
6 know. They will explain it when they testify.
7 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, isn't it a fact that even Serbs, even your own
8 neighbours, believed that you were associated with the Red Cross because
9 of things you said or things you wore? Isn't it a fact that even your
10 neighbours believed you were associated with the Red Cross?
11 A. I don't really know. Well, he will be testifying. But the Red
12 Cross would have known had I worked for them, because these humanitarian
13 and whatnot, surely they would have known it had I worked for the Red
14 Cross, but I didn't.
15 Q. Do you remember telling us, before we took the two-week break,
16 telling us that (redacted) may have asked you about the red ribbon you
17 were wearing? Do you remember telling us that?
18 A. Why, yes, I suppose he did ask.
19 Q. And you also remember telling us that, and I quote, "I may have
20 said something"? Do you recall telling us that in this courtroom?
21 A. Well, yes, if I said that I was responsible for the cleaning of
22 the town, but I couldn't say that I was responsible for the Red Cross.
23 Q. Are you -- do you have a clear memory regarding what you said to
24 (redacted) regarding the red ribbon? Do you remember that?
25 A. I don't know, sir. I mean, how can I tell you all that I talked
1 with him about? It was a long time ago. How can I know now what he asked
2 me and what I asked him? But there was -- there was nothing bad that we
3 talked about, and I didn't think anything bad about him or that we talked
4 about anything untoward. I don't know. I mean, what happened, happened.
5 What can I do about it? What can I do about it? And I am very sorry that
6 he dead.
7 Q. Is it possible --
8 A. And I --- I've been accused of that.
9 Q. Is it possible that on that day you were wearing this Red Cross
10 insignia as described in the statements of two Defence witnesses and that
11 that is why some of these witnesses believed that you were representing
12 the Red Cross? Isn't that a possibility?
13 A. Well, that ribbon, I guess they must have thought that this red
14 ribbon was some Red Cross emblem. That's perhaps how they saw it. But
15 how can I say, I mean what people think about something?
16 Q. Before we leave this area, is it possible that you may have said
17 anything to these people which you can now remember which you believe that
18 they misinterpreted, just as you're telling us that they may have
19 misinterpreted the red ribbon? Can you recall anything that you said that
20 they may have misinterpreted?
21 A. I don't know, sir. I repeat, I cannot recollect every
22 conversation. But I did not say anything bad to these people.
23 Q. Now, Mr. Vasiljevic, at some point you had a drink with (redacted)
24 (redacted); is that correct? Yes or no, please.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And in your testimony, you told us that you had a bottle of brandy
2 with you; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And you had this bottle yourself from earlier in the day; is that
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did (redacted) have any bottle of any type of alcohol that you
8 could see during the time that you spoke with him?
9 A. No, I don't -- no. Perhaps he did, but in a bag.
10 Q. To your knowledge, did (redacted) ever leave where you were
11 talking with him, go to a store, and buy a bottle of brandy? Did he ever
12 do that?
13 A. No. No, I don't think so. Perhaps later, I don't know, when I
14 had left. I don't know.
15 Q. I'm going to read you a portion of your statement given on the
16 16th of November last year at page 86, and I'm quoting, "And so I said,"
17 referring to yourself, "'Shall we have a drink, Mujo?' He said, 'Very
18 well.' Then he went to the store, got a bottle of brandy and so we had
19 some drinks." Do you admit or deny that you said that on the 16th of
21 A. When he said "went," I read that. I didn't express myself
22 properly. You asked me the next day about that and I told you. I was
23 ashamed to tell you then. Now, it's up to you -- I was ashamed.
24 Q. Ashamed to tell me what?
25 A. Well, ashamed to say that I drank so much.
1 Q. And that is why you told myself and the investigators that it was
2 Mujo that bought the brandy. That is the reason why you told us that.
3 A. I corrected myself there. I said I went and bought the brandy,
4 something like that. I have it -- there are some mistakes there and it's
5 not quite clear, but to tell you the truth, I was ashamed, but what can I
6 do? And the hospital, neuropsychiatry, and everything -- well, I was
7 ashamed to say that I was carrying a bottle with me and that I was an
8 alcoholic, I was ashamed, although I did own up to it and I did go for
10 Q. So, sir, on the 16th of November, because you were ashamed of your
11 alcoholism, in your statement, you said something which you knew to be
12 false, and that is that (redacted) had bought the brandy. Is that
13 correct, you said something you knew to be false?
14 A. I wouldn't put it that way. I wouldn't say that I said it. I
15 said, "went bought brandy," I wasn't specific. I don't think I actually
16 said that Mujo went off. Does it say Mujo went to the shop to buy brandy,
17 because I don't think I said it as explicitly as that?
18 Q. I'll read it to you again. "'Shall we have a drink, Mujo?' He
19 said, 'Very well.' Then he went to the store, got a bottle of brandy, and
20 so we had some drinks."
21 Did you say that on the 16th of November?
22 A. The translation said, "... went to the store and bought a bottle
23 of brandy." It says I went. Now, there's something between the "I went"
24 and "went" and "he went" in the Serbian translation. I don't think --
25 well, I did say it. Well, I was ashamed to say that I carried the bottle
1 with me, and that's ...
2 Q. So you do admit that you said Mujo went to the store and bought
3 the brandy. You admit that now.
4 A. Well, no, I don't think that's what the translation -- that's not
5 what I wanted to say, but for me to buy it. It's different to go off and
6 buy the bottle and it's different to carry a bottle with you, and as I
7 said, this -- I was ashamed. And had you not asked me and I was treated
8 for alcoholism, I was in hospital, and probably I wouldn't have mentioned
9 that either had you not actually asked me. So "went," "bought."
10 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome, can you ask him those questions and ask
11 him to exclude what was in the Serbian translation and ask him what his
12 memory is now, because it's anything but clear to me from his answer as
13 it's being interpreted to me what it is he is saying. "I was ashamed to
14 say I carried the bottle with me," suggests that he did, in fact, carry
15 the bottle with him but was ashamed to say it and, therefore, ascribed the
16 action of purchasing it to this other fellow. But I'm not sure that is
17 what he's saying in the overall context. If it's important, you better
18 tie him down without reference to what's in the Serbian translation of his
20 MR. GROOME:
21 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, your statement is in evidence and the Court can
22 review that if they wish. Let's forget about the statement for the
23 moment. What is your testimony here today regarding the bottle of
24 brandy? Where did the bottle of brandy come from?
25 A. I carried it, sir. I carried it.
1 Q. Did you also carry the glasses for the brandy?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Where did those come from?
4 A. Well, I think Mujo must have gone into a house and brought out the
6 Q. At the time you had a drink with Mujo, were there other people in
7 the area?
8 A. Well, yes, there probably was, the houses nearby, people pass by.
9 Q. And the people that were around you, were they the people whose
10 names you did not know but whom you recognised from the villages of Sase
11 and Koritnik?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. How long did you drink with Mujo before you left that place?
14 A. Well, I don't know, perhaps 20 minutes, perhaps more. I don't
15 know exactly.
16 Q. And do you recall how many drinks you had?
17 A. Well, I don't know. I left him the bottle. I don't know. I
18 think -- I don't know.
19 Q. And how long did it take you to get to where the horse was
20 supposed to be?
21 A. It's not far, five or ten minutes.
22 Q. And can you tell us what time of the day, approximately, do you
23 arrive to where the horse is?
24 A. Well, I don't know exactly, perhaps half past 4.00, 5.00,
1 Q. So somewhere between 4.30 and 5.00 in the afternoon, you arrive to
2 the place where the horse is; correct?
3 A. Yes, thereabouts. Perhaps the time is not exact to the minute or
4 to the half hour, give or take a half hour, but thereabouts.
5 Q. Where, precisely, was the horse when you first saw it?
6 A. Vucine, it's a settlement right above Pionirska. There's a shed,
7 a wooden one, and there is a meadow in front of the shed, and he was tied
8 in a plum tree. He was tethered with a long piece of rope.
9 Q. And how was it you knew that this horse was the horse that you
10 were coming to get?
11 A. Ristanovic explained to me where the house was and everything up
12 there. It's not far.
13 Q. The meadow that you're referring to, was there a fence around the
15 A. No.
16 Q. How large was this horse?
17 A. Well, not very big, a smaller horse, smaller horse.
18 Q. Can you describe for us when you were standing, or if you were
19 standing next to this horse, how far up on your body would the back of the
20 horse come?
21 A. Well, I don't know. Maybe up to here, like this. I don't know.
22 But it was a smaller horse anyway, not big.
23 Q. And you were indicating the top of your chest by your collarbone;
24 is that correct?
25 JUDGE HUNT: Collarbone, I'm not sure --
1 A. Well, I don't know. Here somewhere.
2 JUDGE HUNT: He's saying on the -- on his chest, what would
3 normally be regarded as his chest.
4 MR. GROOME: That's sufficient.
5 JUDGE HUNT: Are you happy with that, Mr. Domazet?
6 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour.
7 MR. GROOME:
8 Q. Now, had you ever seen this horse before?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Did you know anything about this horse prior to this day?
11 A. No. No.
12 Q. Was there a saddle on the horse?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Did the horse have shoes on its hooves?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Did the horse have a bridle in its mouth?
17 A. Well, not what goes into the mouth. We call that a uzda, the
18 metal part. He just had the bit around, without the thing that goes
19 inside the mouth, without that metal bit.
20 Q. So he just had the piece of harness that surrounded his nose. He
21 had no metal bit in his mouth; correct?
22 A. He didn't, no.
23 Q. Did you -- you've told us about a shed. Did you go into that shed
24 and look for either a saddle or a bridle with a bit?
25 A. No.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Now, would I be correct in saying that a horse that is to be
2 ridden ordinarily would have shoes on its feet, would have a saddle put on
3 it, and would have a bridle with a bit? Isn't that correct?
4 A. Well, probably he did have a bridle and saddle, the owner, but I
5 didn't need it. I wasn't intending to keep it for myself. I was going to
6 refuse anyway. But he probably did. But that's not what I was looking
8 Q. Did you get up onto this horse?
9 A. I did.
10 Q. And how is it that you got up onto this horse without a saddle and
11 without stirrups?
12 A. Well, I went upwards and took him to a place that was downwards,
13 and I'd ridden horses when I was younger hundreds of times.
14 Q. So let me see if I understand what you're telling us. You took
15 the horse to a sloped part on the meadow and you were able to mount the
16 horse by standing on a --
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. -- higher part of the meadow? Am I correct in thinking --
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Am I correct in thinking that that would have required you to jump
21 up onto the horse?
22 A. No. No. You see, the bank -- embankment was a little raised. I
23 didn't actually have to make any precipitous movement and jump that way.
24 Q. So your testimony is that you mounted this horse, that you have no
25 personal knowledge whether this horse has been broken for riding or
1 trained for riding, that you mount this unknown horse without a saddle and
2 without a bridle with a bit; is that correct?
3 A. Yes. It was an old horse.
4 Q. And as soon as you were up on this horse, you begin to ride to
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And are you able to control the horse even though it has no bit in
8 its mouth?
9 A. I could. It was a calm horse. It was a very calm horse. If he
10 was a young -- to tell you the truth, if he was a younger horse, I
11 wouldn't dare, but he was a calm, old horse. I knew that.
12 Q. You knew that before you went for the horse or you knew after you
14 A. When I saw it.
15 Q. At the time you went up to look for the horse, you did not know
16 the age of the horse or whether it had been trained for riding; correct?
17 A. No. I stroked it. And you see, a horse -- well, I wouldn't have
18 dared if it was a young horse, a younger horse. A younger horse, you
19 know, he would have moved around. I wouldn't dare. Even if I had ridden
20 horses before, I wouldn't dare. I would have if he had a bit and bridle.
21 Q. Now, the area where the horse was --
22 THE INTERPRETER: "Reins." Sorry, not "bit," "reins."
23 Interpreter's note.
24 MR. GROOME:
25 Q. The area where the horse -- you found the horse, would it be fair
1 for me to say that it was a very rural area with many meadows and many
3 A. There are lots of houses up there. There are.
4 Q. Houses belonging to only Muslims or Muslims and Serbs?
5 A. Up there? Well, I don't know what villages. I think they're
6 Muslim. Vucine are mostly Muslims. Now, which those villages were, I
7 think they were Muslim. I'm not sure, because they're tied to Dobrun
8 further on up. I'm sure there are Serb houses, too, but the majority are
9 Muslim villages.
10 Q. Would I be correct in saying that with respect to grass for the
11 horse to graze on, there was substantially more grazing area for the horse
12 in Vucine than on the abandoned railroad tracks where you brought the
13 horse? Is that correct?
14 A. Well, let me tell you. I wanted to take him up to Drinsko, the
15 Serbian village, if somebody would take him. But nobody would take him up
16 there in Pionirska. And up there they were Muslim villages, so I rode
17 him. I liked -- I liked to ride. Like a -- as a -- when I was a child, I
18 fell lots of time. I had to go to hospital once or twice falling off a
19 horse before.
20 Q. Would you agree that with respect to the amount of food or grass
21 available for the horse, that there was more grazing land where the horse
22 was as opposed to where you let the horse go? Yes or no, please.
23 A. Well, there is grass up there, enough. All over. There was grass
24 all over the place. It was summertime. Yes, there was grass.
25 Q. When you let the horse go by the railroad tracks, how did you know
1 that the horse would go to this village of Drinsko rather than simply go
3 A. Well, I would --
4 Q. Just a minute.
5 JUDGE HUNT: Yes, Mr. Domazet.
6 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I understood
7 correctly, and I think that the English text reads that way, the question
8 was translated as saying that Mr. Vasiljevic let the horse go. But he
9 fell with that horse. He didn't let him go anywhere. So I think that
10 question is a leading one for something that was not stated in the
12 JUDGE HUNT: It's perfectly permissible to ask leading questions
13 in cross-examination. The only problem that I would have with it is that
14 it appears to be put as a version which the witness has already given.
15 I think you'll have to sort that one out, Mr. Groome. That is
16 certainly the way I understood it when the question was asked, and I was
17 thinking of precisely -- myself wondering how he let it go, let the horse
19 MR. GROOME: I apologise for that, Your Honour.
20 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, you told us it was your intention to let the horse
21 go by the railroad tracks so that it would travel down the railroad tracks
22 to the village of Drinsko; correct?
23 A. Yes. That's what I intended to do.
24 Q. And you intended that as you took that horse out of the meadow
25 where you found it grazing by the plum tree; correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Why was it that you believed if you let this horse go on the
3 railroad tracks that go to Drinsko that the horse was going to follow
4 those railroad tracks to Drinsko instead of simply going back to its home
5 where you took it from?
6 A. Well, it had to go back through the town, and I don't think the
7 horse would have gone back through town. I think he would have chosen the
8 open space. But he could have gone back.
9 Q. You've told us about all of your experience with horses. Maybe
10 you can tell us, isn't it quite common for a horse, if it gets lost or
11 gets loose, will very often return to a place that it knows, a place that
12 it -- to its home, to where its owners live?
13 A. Well, yes. A horse wants to go back usually, but that's why I was
14 going to take him up on the railroad tracks. I don't know if he would
15 know how to get back. I would take him up there to Duca and he would go
16 to the village, and somebody would take him in the village.
17 Q. Now, when you rode the horseback towards Visegrad, you went back
18 down along Pionirska Street; correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And approximately how long did it take you to ride the horse from
21 where you found it to where you had the drink with (redacted)?
22 A. About ten minutes perhaps.
23 Q. And how long did you spend up where the horse -- where you found
24 the horse? How long did you remain there?
25 A. Not long. Not long.
1 Q. More than five minutes?
2 A. Five, ten minutes perhaps.
3 Q. So if I understand you correctly, you arrived back at the house on
4 Pionirska Street, where you saw Mujo, approximately 20 minutes after you
6 A. I didn't quite understand. Do you mean in the house or by the
7 house? I went back by the house. The same -- I went back the same
8 street, the same way.
9 Q. And you would have passed by where you and Mujo had the drink,
10 approximately 20 minutes after you left; correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And what did you see?
13 A. It was windy and it was about to rain, that kind of thing. There
14 was a strong wind blowing, and it looked as if it was going to rain. I
15 don't remember seeing Mujo, the people, any more. I was riding the horse
16 until I reached town.
17 Q. When you left Mujo the first time, did you -- you knew that you
18 would be coming back in that direction; correct?
19 A. Yes. I had no other way to take. Perhaps I could have gone
20 roundabout, taken a roundabout route, but that was the only short route,
21 the shortest way of getting there.
22 Q. So did you expect to see Mujo again as you passed by?
23 A. I don't know. It was -- it was -- there was a storm brewing. It
24 was windy. It was going to rain. They'd probably gone into the houses.
25 Q. What I'm getting at, Mr. Vasiljevic, is that at the time you left
1 (redacted), was it your intention to stop on your way back, perhaps
2 have another drink from the bottle of brandy which you had given him? Was
3 that your intention at the time you left (redacted)?
4 A. Well, had I seen him on the road, I would have stopped. Quite
5 certainly I would have stopped, had I seen him.
6 Q. Did (redacted) give you any indication after you left or that
7 on the 14th, he was going to go somewhere else? Did you believe that he
8 was going to leave where you saw him that day on the 14th?
9 A. No. They said they would go the next day, that they didn't have a
10 bus that day, didn't have transport. And I told him that I would come to
11 say goodbye, to have another drink, and I would have gone had it -- but I
12 broke my leg, they lost their lives, and that's how it was.
13 Q. Would it be fair to say that when you passed the house, you could
14 not see any of the people that you saw there before?
15 A. Well, I don't remember because, as I say, there was a storm
16 brewing. It was very windy, and it was just about to rain. I know that.
17 Q. Well, as you rode past this house where you saw these people, you
18 did look to see if you could see them; correct?
19 A. I don't remember. Had Mujo been on the road, I would have got
20 down off the horse and had a drink with him. I'm sure I would have done
21 that and stayed for some time.
22 Q. But not only did you not see Mujo, you did not see anybody by the
23 house at that time; correct?
24 A. I don't remember anything about that.
25 Q. So is it possible that you did see people at the house and you now
1 have forgotten?
2 A. Well, perhaps I did, but I don't remember anything.
3 Q. But your best memory as you sit here today is that you don't
4 recall seeing anybody at the house; is that correct?
5 A. I think that's how it was. I don't know. I don't think I did.
6 As I say again, it was just about to rain. There was a lot of wind. It
7 was very windy.
8 Q. Did you see any cars or other vehicles in front of the house?
9 A. I don't remember. I don't know. Believe me, I don't know.
10 Q. Would I be correct in saying that had you seen some cars or
11 vehicles that you recognised, that you would have remembered it?
12 A. Well, had I seen Milan Lukic's car or him, I would have remembered
13 it. I repeat, I just don't see -- don't remember seeing him that day in
14 town, or I don't know. I don't know. I can't say anything exactly. I
15 had just left from up there and I was moving past. I didn't stop
17 Q. And as you went past the house, you did not hear anybody either,
18 did you?
19 A. I don't remember all those men, women. I don't remember
20 anything. I am telling you there was -- it was very stormy. There was a
21 lot of wind. It was about to rain, and it was really a very strong wind.
22 Q. Was it still -- given the stormy conditions that you are
23 describing, was it still light out at this time?
24 A. Yes, yes, yes. Yes, yes, one could -- yes, there was plenty of
1 Q. I want you to think very carefully about this next question I'm
2 going to ask you. You have heard a number of witnesses express their
3 belief that it was you who told Milan Lukic that they were there in that
4 house, that you were the only person who knew they were there. Perhaps it
5 wasn't Milan Lukic who you told. Is it at all possible that you said
6 something to someone about the people at that house?
7 A. If I understand what you're asking me, that I -- that I told Milan
8 Lukic that they were in that house; is that it?
9 Q. Did you tell Milan Lukic that they were in that house?
10 A. No. I was going from Pionirska, and less than five minutes later,
11 riding this horse, I fell off it and broke my leg. I did not see Milan.
12 I could not see him because five or ten minutes after I left Pionirska
13 down to the restaurant, that is where I fell and broke my leg and ...
14 Q. Did you say anything to anybody about the Muslims in that house on
15 that day?
16 A. No way. I couldn't. I returned with the horse, fell off it,
17 broke my leg.
18 Q. Are you absolutely sure you never told anyone about the people in
19 that house?
20 A. I am sure because I didn't have time to say that anything to
21 people, and I had nothing to do with it. I simply had no time to do that
22 because I rode past, and when I reached the grill restaurant, the horse
23 skidded, I fell off, broke my leg. So I simply had no opportunity to
24 tell -- to say anything to anyone.
25 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, isn't it a fact that as soon as you fell off the
1 horse, some of the first people to come and to give you assistance were
2 White Eagles, and they came from the hotel right where you fell off the
3 horse; isn't that a fact?
4 A. No. No, it wasn't the Eagles, it is a witness who will be coming
5 here, Pero Mitrovic, a teacher from Visegrad and his colleague, Djordje
6 Miscevic, not the White Eagles. And they put me in a car when the driver
7 came, Zivorad Savic, not the White Eagles.
8 Q. Actually, I'm referring to --
9 A. No.
10 Q. -- a different Defence witness, a witness by the name of Hajro
11 Hadzo. And I'm going to ask you -- yes. And that person's statement, the
12 person says, "From my place I could hear Mitar scream in pain. I saw
13 soldiers from the Eagles unit come out of the Hotel Visegrad trying to
14 help Mitar."
15 Isn't it a fact that members of the White Eagles came to your
16 immediate assistance as you fell off that horse?
17 A. What White Eagles? Well, the witness will be coming. I believe
18 he was on the reserve police force, a teacher from Visegrad. No, no, no.
19 And another one, I mean the other one, he was also a teacher. But yes,
20 they were in the hotel. That is true. Yes, they were in the hotel.
21 That's true. They held the hotel. But not the White Eagles, no, no, no.
22 No, no, no, they were, I think, the police reserve force. They are older
23 than I am. They are serious people. They took me in the car, and the
24 witness will be coming. He knows who was there better than I do because I
25 hurt at the time. What, White Eagles? No.
1 Q. Do you recall anyone in a uniform of any sort coming to help you
2 when you fell from the horse?
3 A. Well, the first one to arrive was Petar Mitrovic and Djordje
5 Q. Were they in uniform?
6 A. Yes, the reserve police, I believe.
7 Q. Were there other people there in uniform?
8 A. I don't know. I mean, what shall I say? When I fell, the rain
9 had already started falling so that there weren't many passersby. And of
10 course I hurt terribly. It was excruciating pain and ...
11 Q. Is it possible that you told anybody at that time, after you fell
12 off the horse, that there were Muslims up in the house on Pionirska
13 Street? Is that possible?
14 A. No. No. Do you know what kind of pain that is? I mean you can't
15 think of anything else.
16 Q. Now, I want to ask you about Mr. Lepenica. Have you read the
17 statement of that witness who will be appearing on behalf of the Defence?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now, Mr. Lepenica was a Muslim man who, together with you and
20 several other people, shared a room in Uzice hospital; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And you shared this room with Mr. Lepenica and the other people
23 for a number of days; is that correct?
24 A. It is.
25 Q. Now, Mr. Lepenica, in his statement, tells us that you described
1 to him and to the other people in that room just exactly how it was that
2 you came to have this horse or be riding this horse; is that correct?
3 A. It is.
4 Q. And he will testify, I imagine, that you told him that the horse
5 did not belong to this person up in Vucine, but in fact belonged to an
6 imam or a Muslim holy man and that you killed that imam and stole his
7 horse. Did you ever say that to Mr. Lepenica or any of the other people
8 in that room?
9 A. No. I never told him that. And there were two imams in Visegrad,
10 and I suppose -- I would testify about this. There are two hodzas, and I
11 know both of them. They didn't leave -- they didn't live far from me,
12 where I worked. And one Muslim mentioned to me that a hodza had been
13 killed, not that I killed a hodza.
14 Q. So you knew that a Muslim holy man by the name of Hodzic, I
15 believe you said, that he had been killed; is that correct?
16 A. Hadjji? I didn't understand.
17 Q. What is the name of the imam who you found out had been killed?
18 A. No, no, no. He's not Hadzic. Imam, that is a hodza. A hodza is
19 a religious leader or something like the priest is with the Serbs. Not
20 Hodzic. It was a hodza. "Imam," that is what you call them.
21 Q. Did that person have a horse?
22 A. No. How could he? I mean, he lived in the town. They had a
23 house that is -- that -- a religious house just below Panos. I know both
24 of them. One was of quite advanced age. The other one was younger.
25 Q. Is it your testimony that you never said to Mr. Lepenica or anyone
1 that you stole the horse after killing an imam?
2 A. No. Somebody would have testified that he had been killed. Imam
3 is a hodza. I think that there were two witnesses who spoke about that.
4 And they are both alive to this day.
5 Q. Can you tell us, after having spent such a long time in the
6 hospital, can you tell us the names of some of the other people who were
7 in that hospital room that you shared with Mr. Lepenica?
8 A. Well, I see that he says eight, six. Well, he changed rooms, as
9 far as I can see, four times, but he was there, and I, and two Serbs from
10 Uzice, one man quite elderly. I know he had some knee complaint.
11 Lepenica didn't have a leg. And next to Lepenica there was another Serb
12 who had been in a traffic accident, and I think that his leg got septic,
13 so he had to get the metal pins out of his leg because there was a septic
14 condition. But I think that he changed four rooms. I believe that we
15 were -- I mean, people who were bedridden. Other people could move in and
16 out of the room. I just couldn't. I was just bedridden.
17 Q. Do you recall the name of any of the Serbs whom you shared a room
18 with at this point in time when Mr. Lepenica was in the room too?
19 A. That elderly man, I think his last name was Jovancevic, but he was
20 of quite advanced age, 70 or more I would say. But the other one, I tried
21 to think about that and I don't know. But one can find it in the hospital
22 records. I believe his surname started with an "L", but I just don't
23 know. He was tall, thin.
24 Q. Now, Mr. Lepenica, also in his statement, says that on the wall of
25 the room you drew a picture of yourself riding a horse and that in one of
1 your hands you drew the picture of a megaphone. Did you ever draw such a
2 picture on the wall of your room?
3 A. Believe me, sir, when I tell you that I wouldn't be able to draw a
4 hand. Draw a horse? I wouldn't know how to draw a hen, if you will
5 believe me. To draw a hen properly, I wouldn't have been able to.
6 Q. Well, now, Mr. Lepenica, he's not from Visegrad, is he?
7 A. No. He's from Gorazde. I think he told me that he was born in
8 Sarajevo or something like that. I remember he told me he had a daughter
9 who was married to somebody in Macedonia - I remember that - and that he
10 worked in Gorazde, that he was a cook there.
11 Q. But my point is, Mr. Lepenica would have no way of knowing that on
12 at least one occasion in this time period you had possession of a
13 megaphone and used it, would he?
14 A. I think it must have been a joke on the patients' part. It must
15 have been that. He said that I -- he says that I drew a horse. No. I'm
16 not able even to draw a hen. I mean, forget the horse. I never knew how
17 to draw. I wouldn't be able to draw a tree.
18 Q. But my question, Mr. Vasiljevic, is that not being from Visegrad,
19 Mr. Lepenica -- it would have been impossible for Mr. Lepenica to know
20 that you, in the past, had used a megaphone? That would have been
21 impossible; correct?
22 A. What I can say is that every day, various patients came, those who
23 were in the orthopaedic ward, and there were lots of jokes lying about,
24 all sorts. So somebody -- somebody drew a horse. You know, we're in the
25 hospital. We're trying to cheer ourselves up. Everybody's bored. And
1 they -- some of them could walk around. I couldn't.
2 So he -- what did he say, that I draw it on the wall or on a sheet
3 of paper? I don't know. Was it on the wall or was it on a piece of paper
4 that I drew that horse?
5 Q. On the wall.
6 A. I couldn't. I couldn't possibly --
7 Q. Well, let me ask you this --
8 A. -- because I was bedridden. I couldn't move.
9 Q. You seem to suggest in your last answer that you may have seen
10 such a picture on the wall in your room, and I ask you, did you see such a
11 picture on the wall in your room that perhaps Mr. Lepenica mistakenly
12 assumed that you had drawn?
13 A. From a newspaper. I know patients found it, and other patients,
14 and just stuck it on the wall above me. They found perhaps a photograph
15 in the newspaper or something, and they stuck it up, not that I drew it.
16 I wasn't able to do that because my legs were fixed, and I had weights on
17 my legs. I was in extension, and I had those weights on a pulley. I
18 wouldn't have been able to turn and draw it, even if I knew how to draw.
19 I could perhaps have do something like that on a piece of paper had I
20 known - if I knew how to draw perhaps, but not on the wall. Besides, no
21 doctor would allow me to draw on the walls.
22 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, was there a picture of a horse on a wall above
24 A. Yes, they did. They did, from a newspaper.
25 Q. And did the person on that horse have a megaphone?
1 A. Well, believe me, perhaps -- well, people kept bringing me
2 newspapers and pictures, especially there would be a colour photograph
3 with a horse. You know, patients will always be patients. They're trying
4 to make jokes. What do you do in the hospital when the doctors have done
5 their rounds and we're all there?
6 Q. You've testified that you broke your left leg, the lower portion
7 of your left leg, on two occasions, once in 1992 and once in 1993; is that
9 A. It is.
10 Q. And in 1992, you broke both the large bone and the small bone in
11 your left leg; correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Are you absolutely sure that you broke both bones in 1992?
14 A. Both. Both. Yes, I am sure, hundred per cent.
15 Q. And are you so sure because the doctors that treated you told you
16 that you broke both bones in that leg?
17 A. A hundred per cent sure. But let me also tell you, I think - I
18 don't know - if you break only one bone, then you do not need any
19 extension for your leg. It is to strengthen your muscles because --
20 because the muscles will atrophy. And that is why you have to put those
21 weights. Because the second time I broke it, it was only the big bone,
22 and they did not apply any weights.
23 Q. In 1993, you only broke one bone, the large bone in your left leg;
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. So it's clear, the lower part of your left leg; correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And are you absolutely sure in 1993 that you only broke the large
4 bone on that leg?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And why are you so sure of that?
7 A. The doctor told me.
8 Q. Now, you've testified that for at least a period of time, you had
9 possession of all of the X-rays that were taken of your leg, and I believe
10 you explained that somehow they have now become misplaced or lost;
12 A. I had all these X-rays of the check-ups and the operation, and
13 they were all rolled up like this in a yellow paper. I remember it well.
14 I must have had some 15 X-rays from the check-ups and from the health
15 centres, and I don't know where they are. There were 15 of them.
16 I'm terribly sorry, but I must have -- when I moved house, we
17 threw away a lot of things.
18 And I showed this X-ray when a doctor testified here, and that was
19 the only one I had. I must have had 15 of them, both of my spine. I had
20 at least 10 to 15 X-rays.
21 Q. Now, during the course of this trial, although none of us here are
22 experts in this matter, we've all looked at the X-rays taken of your leg
23 and drawn certain conclusions. When you looked at the X-ray of your leg
24 in 1992, the ones that you had in your possession, were you able to see
25 the large bone in your leg broken?
1 A. Yes, you can see it on the X-ray. Yes, you can see both, both
2 these bones, the small one and the large one. You can see it well on the
4 Q. Could you see, was it clear to you on that X-ray from 1992, could
5 you see the small bone broken on the X-ray that you had?
6 A. Yeah, sure, because the doctor showed it to me. He showed it to
7 me and explained it all to me. I was told that I was -- that I had more
8 than two bones broken, but you know the leg works because it could turn.
9 In 1992, it could do like this, it could do like this, not in 1993. You
10 could turn it this way and that way as you liked.
11 Q. For the record, you're making a twisting motion with your hands to
12 describe what happened in 1992, I believe; correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. What I want to be clear about is that at some point, the doctor
15 showed you the X-ray of your leg in 1992 and to you, it was very clear
16 that both the large bone and the small bone had been broken; is that
18 A. Yes. Yes.
19 Q. Now, similarly, in 1993, did the doctor also show you a copy of
20 your X-ray at that point in time?
21 A. In 1993 when I arrived in the hospital, yes, he did this X-ray and
22 I said to the doctor, "Will I again have to have those weights," and he
23 said, "No, because it is a large bone that you broke this time, so we'll
24 apply plaster cast, and that will be it," and I somehow found it easier.
25 "How long will I have to stay in the cast?" "Three months," and so it
1 was three months. And in 1992, I spent three weeks in extension and then
2 had a plaster cast -- for 21 days in extension, and then for two months in
3 plaster cast.
4 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, did the doctor show you the 1993 X-ray at the time
5 you broke your leg; yes or no, please?
6 A. Yes. Yes. 1993, yes.
7 Q. And were you able to clearly see that the large bone in your lower
8 left leg was broken? Were you able to see that?
9 A. Yes. Yes. That's right. Well, that's how he holds this X-ray to
10 show me, yes, and they all look at it.
11 Q. And were you also able to see that the bone, the small bone in
12 your lower left leg was not broken; were you able to see that it was not
14 A. It wasn't. It wasn't. You can see that. You can see when a bone
16 Q. Now, before you left the hospital in 1992, I believe you left
17 around the 10th or 11th of August, according to your testimony? No, I'm
18 sorry, I withdraw that question.
19 When did you leave the hospital, according to your best
21 A. You mean completely when I was discharged from Uzice, when I left
22 the neurosurgery then?
23 Q. Yes.
24 A. 28th July. That's what it says. I spent a long time there, from
25 the 14th of June until the 28th of July.
1 Q. And is it true on the very last day that you left, or the day that
2 you left, you attempted to get into the room of Mr. Lepenica and to
3 assault him; is that true?
4 A. Last day? Why, no, my wife had come, and my uncle. I never went
5 up there. My wife and uncle had come to the ward, and they are not
6 adjacent. The orthopaedic surgery is in one building, and the
7 neurosurgery is in a different building. So I had no need to go there.
8 I don't know what he says. I don't know. He was in Gorazde, and
9 I thought up other stories too, but I didn't go to the orthopaedic ward.
10 I was in neurosurgery, and of course I knew when I had to report to the
11 doctor for a check-up, and then -- so that is when I went to Uzice when I
12 had to be -- when I had to have these examinations, follow-up
14 JUDGE HUNT: Is that a convenient time?
15 MR. GROOME: It is, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE HUNT: Are you able to give us any idea, Mr. Groome, of how
17 much more time you will be?
18 MR. GROOME: I'm definitely in the home stretch, Your Honour, and
19 I think it will be perhaps 15 or 20 minutes.
20 JUDGE HUNT: So the next witness should be ready after lunch.
21 That's the purpose of my inquiry, We're not complaining. We'll adjourn
22 now until 2.30.
23 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.35 p.m.
2 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome.
3 MR. GROOME: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Vasiljevic.
5 A. Good afternoon.
6 Q. I want to go back for just a minute and ask you a few more
7 questions about your criminal record. You've told us about your
8 conviction and incarceration in 1973. By my calculation, that would have
9 been at the same time that you told us you were in military service, and
10 so the question I have for you is: Were you in the military at the time
11 that you engaged in the conduct that subsequently landed you in gaol?
12 A. Let me explain. In 1973, I was convicted by the misdemeanours
13 judge, and in 1973 in November, I was to go to the army. The public
14 prosecutor filed proceedings further, and at the end of 1973, I went to
15 the army. In 1974, I returned from the army to the trial, and once I had
16 completed my military service on the 5th of January, once I came back from
17 the army, I went to complete the three-term -- three-month sentence.
18 Q. All right. Now -- thank you. Now, when Mr. Domazet asked you
19 about your criminal record, you told us that this was the only time you
20 had been in prison; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Was -- aside from being in prison, was there ever any other time
23 that you were convicted of a crime and perhaps received another sentence
24 such as parole -- probation or a fine?
25 A. Yes. Probation, a conditional sentence.
1 Q. Can you tell us when it was -- or excuse me. Can you tell us,
2 were you convicted of a crime then in addition to the crime that you were
3 convicted of in 1973?
4 A. It wasn't a crime. I don't know what year I was put on
5 probation. A man, a neighbour, provoked and insulted my sister. And I
6 mentioned him. We didn't find a common tongue, and I hit him. I don't
7 know what year that was. Was it 1980? Maybe thereabouts. I don't know
9 Q. As you know, we requested and received from the Ministry of
10 Justice in Banja Luka a report of your criminal history, and that is now
11 in evidence as P69 and P69.1 for the B/C/S version. I'm going to read you
12 a paragraph from that, and I ask you, is this the crime or is this the
13 event that you are now referring to? I'm quoting:
14 "Sentence of the Municipal Court, Visegrad, number K23/83, dated
15 the 18th of June, 1983, sentenced to four months of imprisonment, one year
16 on parole, because he committed a crime defined in the Article 53,
17 paragraph 2, and Article 55, paragraph 1 of the penal law of Bosnia and
19 And I'll read you paragraph 55 or Article 55, paragraph 1 so that
20 you know what exactly is contained in this.
21 "If a person imperils the security of persons by a serious threat
22 to attack upon life or limb of the persons in question or if in that way
23 he causes anxiety among citizens, he shall be punished by imprisonment for
24 a term not exceeding five years."
25 Is that the event that you are talking about on -- a conviction of
1 the 18th of June, 1983?
2 A. Yes, but it's not like that. It wasn't sent properly. Four
3 months of prison and one year on probation. That is what it was. It
4 wasn't like you said, one year parole or whatever you said. Four months
5 of prison sentence and one year on probation.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Yes, Mr. Domazet. I was waiting for your client to
8 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] [No translation] In the
9 translation, I heard "four years and one month," whereas when I read it
10 from the screen, it said the other way round, "four months and one year."
11 So I'm not sure that the accused understood.
12 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you. I was waiting for the translation which
13 somehow was delayed.
14 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE HUNT: What is it you said, Mr. Groome?
16 MR. GROOME: Four months' imprisonment and one year on parole.
17 JUDGE HUNT: That's the dispute then, Mr. Domazet. Your client
18 says it's the other way around, but Mr. Groome is suggesting it is the way
19 he put it. It's a matter which your client can deal with, and if
20 necessary, you can produce the document, one or the other side.
21 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, I know, but it was --
22 JUDGE HUNT: I understand your problem, but I think that we're now
24 You proceed, Mr. Groome.
25 MR. GROOME:
1 Q. Is that the event that you are describing? It sounds like an
2 altercation between yourself and someone else.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, the other person, was the other person convicted of any
6 A. Yes. He was convicted, too.
7 Q. And what was his sentence?
8 A. He was in courts all the time. I don't know. I mean, for the
9 same, yes, for the same crime.
10 Q. And what was his nationality?
11 A. A Serb.
12 Q. Now, was there another time in 1983, during the same month, in
13 June, that you were also before the Municipal Court in Visegrad?
14 A. Well, I would never have remembered it, but the lawyer brought me
15 a cheque which wasn't covered. I thought that I had not taken some books,
16 perhaps, that I had forgotten to take some books, but the issuance of a
17 cheque without something to cover it. I remember him saying that.
18 I think that I had picked up my salary before my company had
19 actually paid it into the bank. This happened from time to time, and I
20 received a fine. It wasn't a big sentence, a big fine, but it happened
21 very frequently to everyone. We would pick up our salaries on the basis
22 of a cheque before our company had paid in the money.
23 Q. And so you were -- in all, you've been convicted of three crimes
24 in your lifetime; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now, before the break, I was asking you a few questions about your
2 interaction with [redacted] in the hospital. During the course of your
3 stay there, did you ever make [redacted] sing Chetnik songs?
4 A. I couldn't force him to do that. He's saying these things now.
5 He was in hospital three months. Now, what he -- who he talked about this
6 to, what he did, I don't ...
7 Q. Well, you've read his statement and you see that he says that you
8 forced him. Did you ever force him to sing songs by way of threat? If
9 you were confined to your bed and were unable to physically force him, did
10 you ever make a threat to him in order to get him to sing Chetnik songs?
11 A. No, I couldn't do that, and I think that [redacted]
12 [redacted], and if he heard that I had set fire to one house and another
13 house as -- well, he could say anything. I don't know.
14 Q. He also says in his statement that you called him a derogatory
15 term that Serbs use for Muslims around this time period, and that is
16 "balija." Did you call him a balija while you were in the room with him
17 in the hospital?
18 A. He can say what he likes. How do I know?
19 Q. Well, I'm asking you: Did you say that?
20 A. Well, no, I didn't. No, why would I say that? No.
21 Q. He also says that despite having his leg recently amputated, a
22 reason for him also being in the hospital, that you also forced him to
23 clean the toilet in the room, sometimes several times a day. Is that
25 A. We didn't even have a toilet in the room.
1 Q. Was there a toilet nearby that the patients in your room would
3 A. Well, it was out in the corridor, but our room didn't have a
4 toilet. I didn't use it either, because I was bedridden with the weights
5 on me.
6 Q. [redacted]
6 A. That's what the doctor wrote. I don't know. On that day, that
7 particular day -- oh, I don't know. How can I explain this to you? I was
8 quite distraught. My nerves were not good. I wasn't feeling well, and
9 they had to tie me up when they took me to the neuropsychological,
10 psychiatric ward. Somebody pushed me, a woman. I was on with -- walking
11 with crutches. She said that I had told her something. I don't know what
12 was the matter with me. I felt afraid. I wasn't feeling well. I was
13 just not myself.
14 Q. Isn't it a fact that one of the reasons you were restrained was
15 because of your violent behaviour in the hospital?
16 A. Well, I made a lot of noise, to tell you the truth, to be quite
17 frank. I don't have to hide anything. I shouted a lot. I didn't want to
18 go home. And when I saw a wound and -- I thought that it was death. If I
19 would see a pigeon, I thought that my luck had turned. I hadn't got the
20 feeling that I was able to get hold of myself, to stabilise myself, if I
21 can put it that way. I just couldn't get a grip on myself.
22 Q. Let me ask you again, did you have any physical altercation with
23 [redacted] during the time you were in Uzice hospital?
24 A. Well, he doesn't say that, but doctor wrote something down. I
25 don't know. I must have said something bad or -- I don't know. I
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 can't -- what can I say? I was completely -- I wasn't good, as far as I
2 remember. I know that they took me away to the neuropsychiatric ward.
3 Q. [redacted] says that during the stay in the hospital, that you
4 used to brag to him and to the other sick people in the room about the
5 number of Muslims that you killed on the bridge over the Drina. He said
6 that you claimed to have killed them by hitting them with a wooden board
7 in the head and that some of them had jumped into the river before you had
8 an opportunity to strike them in the head.
9 Did you ever say that or anything like that to [redacted] or any
10 of the other people in your room? Yes or no, please.
11 A. No. And had that happened, somebody would have come to testify
12 that I hit somebody with a board. Somebody would come to testify,
13 somebody who is alive. How do I know what he heard from the other
15 What I want to tell you is this: Perhaps the Serb -- other Serb
16 patients were not -- their conduct wasn't proper perhaps towards him. I
17 don't want to say. There were other Muslims in other rooms. So
18 perhaps -- he was in hospital for three months, so ...
19 Q. Well, mister --
20 JUDGE HUNT: Just one moment. Yes, Mr. Domazet. I have asked
21 you, Mr. Domazet, please say something that you are objecting --
22 MR. DOMAZET: Yes.
23 JUDGE HUNT: -- because I can't see --
24 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, yes.
25 JUDGE HUNT: -- both sides of the room.
1 MR. DOMAZET: I know.
2 JUDGE HUNT: What's the problem?
3 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm afraid that by
4 mentioning the name of this witness, we have not made a mistake perhaps.
5 I place the witness on the list of Defence witnesses, although it was a
6 witness whom the Prosecution and the investigators of the OTP took
7 statements that Mr. Groome is bringing up now. He was VG113. That was
8 the number ascribed to him. And with that witness, except for that
9 statement, I have not had any contact, and I do not know whether he wishes
10 to have protective measures; that is to say that his name should not be
11 mentioned in view of the fact that he lives on the territory of the Bosnia
13 I'm afraid if we mention his full name and if this is broadcast in
14 the media, it might do a lot of harm, and the witness might not want to
15 testify, or that this is publicised can make problems for him. So that I
16 think that it would be better to have used the number that was assigned to
17 the witness. And as far as I remember, it was VG113.
18 JUDGE HUNT: Well, Mr. Groome, I haven't got the full list in
19 front of me but that's one of your numbers, 113. Had you got -- sorry.
20 You sought an order or had you obtained an order that he be referred to by
21 that pseudonym?
22 MR. GROOME: No, Your Honour. All of that -- maybe to clarify,
23 all of the witnesses that the Prosecutor speaks to are assigned VG numbers
24 for Visegrad. Only a portion of those that we sought protective measures
25 for, rather to keep matters simple, we asked that their VG number also be
1 used as their pseudonym to prevent another name for the witness. So
2 although he does have a VG number, we have never sought protective
3 measures for him, and I am unaware of any need that he has for them.
4 JUDGE HUNT: Except for this: that the situation in which he comes
5 to be a witness for the Defence is just a little unusual. You very
6 properly gave the Defence a copy of his statement. So nobody has had the
7 opportunity of speaking to him as to whether he needs them.
8 What Mr. Domazet says, and I think there is something to it, that
9 publicity being given to his name may frighten him off.
10 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, I would have no objection if we referred
11 to him by pseudonym. I would not oppose that. I wonder is it possible to
12 go back --
13 JUDGE HUNT: Oh, yes.
14 MR. GROOME: -- on what we've done today and redact?
15 JUDGE HUNT: We can certainly go back half an hour. Well, within
16 reason. Half an hour might be a little difficult, but we can certainly go
17 back as far as we can and redact what has already been said. But I do
18 think there is something to what Mr. Domazet says from the point of view
19 of perhaps casting some doubt upon his willingness to come along here to
20 give evidence on Mr. Vasiljevic's behalf.
21 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour. I have no objection to using a
22 pseudonym. I do not have an independent memory that VG113 is his number.
23 If Mr. Domazet can tell us he's sure of that, then perhaps we will -- we
24 can use that number, or perhaps we can call him "Mr. L" or some other
1 JUDGE HUNT: Just one moment.
2 MR. GROOME: I'm not sure he would appear on anything that the
3 Prosecution has tendered to the Court because we never intended to call
4 him as a witness.
5 JUDGE HUNT: I was looking for a complete list of the pseudonyms.
6 He would not be on that list.
7 MR. GROOME: Not on ours, no.
8 JUDGE HUNT: All right. Well, let's take him as VG200.
9 MR. GROOME:
10 Q. Now, my question to you, if you can answer yes or no - perhaps you
11 have already - refresh my memory, did you ever say anything to him
12 regarding you killing people on the Drina bridge?
13 A. No. I never killed anyone, and especially with a board. What
15 Q. Now --
16 A. I don't know what he heard from whom.
17 Q. Now, VG200 also says that you talked, while in the hospital, about
18 your cleaning crew and how your cleaning crew was made up of mostly
19 elderly people. Did you discuss or did you ever talk about your cleaning
20 crew in the presence of Mr. VG200 in the hospital?
21 A. Well, I suppose I did, yes. I must have talked about the cleaning
22 of the town.
23 Q. And Mr. VG200 says that on one occasion, a woman came to visit
24 you, and she informed you that 12 of the people who cleaned under you were
25 so exhausted and frail and that they could not stand any more, and VG200
1 says you told her that these 12 people should be thrown into the river.
2 Did you ever say that?
3 A. No. That's a concoction. No woman came to see me. What woman
4 would come to see me? No. No, no.
5 Frail? That is that they lost all their strength and everything
6 in about 15 days? No. That's not true. I mean, that is something he
7 heard about me in Gorazde or whatever and then he talked. He couldn't do
8 that, nor could a woman tell me that. What woman?
9 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, Witness VG200 also says that you had a good number
10 of visitors, primarily on Sundays. Did you have visitors while you were
11 in Uzice hospital, aside from your immediate family?
12 A. Yes. I had visitors because I have very many relations in Uzice,
13 and friends. So yes, they came.
14 Q. Did you also have visitors that were military personnel? VG200
15 says that he saw military personnel visit you. Is that correct?
16 A. Military personnel, not a single one. Now, let me tell you, from
17 Visegrad, I know that the president, that is the manager of the firm,
18 Mirkovic, came to see me and brought me some cigarettes, or perhaps a
19 soldier in a uniform came, but some officer to visit me, no. And I don't
20 have any relative of mine who is an officer. As far as I can remember, I
21 don't think there is a single officer in my family.
22 Q. Accepting that a military officer didn't come to see you, you have
23 just said that soldiers did come and see, is that correct, that soldiers
24 did come and visit you in Uzice hospital?
25 A. Well, not only me, there were many patients from Visegrad. How do
1 I know? I mean when somebody comes, he simply visits all day with all the
2 patients in the room and how can he know that officers came to see me when
3 they were military soldiers, that is, from -- every day from Roje, from
4 Visegrad, from all over.
5 Q. VG200 also states that members of the White Eagles came and
6 interrogated him at his bedside. Were you present in the room when that
8 A. No, I don't know anything about it. I -- I'm not aware that
9 anyone interrogated him. I know that from the Red Cross, a woman came to
10 see with him where he would go after he left the hospital, and I think he
11 was suggesting he should go to Macedonia because his daughter was there,
12 as far as I can remember, but I don't know.
13 Q. I draw your attention to Exhibit D22; you have it in front of
14 you. Did any of the people that you have listed on D22, did any of them
15 come and visit you in the hospital?
16 A. You mean one person, or any one of them, or what did you say?
17 Q. Any one of the people that you put on your list, did any of these
18 people come and visit you?
19 A. During my stay at the neuropsychiatric ward, person 17 and person
20 10 came for about 10 or 15 minutes. I don't know. I don't remember
21 seeing those others in the hospital ever.
22 Q. Did Milan Lukic ever come and visit you in the hospital?
23 A. No. No. Never. He never came.
24 Q. I want to ask you a question about one of the Defence witnesses,
25 Dragan Dikic; what kind of work does he do?
1 A. Dragan what?
2 Q. Dikic?
3 A. Dragisa Dikic.
4 Q. Dragisa Dikic. What kind of work does he do?
5 A. He is my neighbour. He is a car mechanic, car mechanic, and does
6 metal repairs, repairs cars, metal, bodywork of the cars.
7 Q. So would it be fair to say that he would repair damage to cars
8 that had been in an accident?
9 A. Yes. Yes. Yes, he still does that.
10 Q. Now, a search of our records has revealed a claim by a witness
11 that Mitar Knezevic, Dragisa Dikic and yourself committed crimes in and
12 around the town of Visegrad. Did you ever commit crimes in the presence
13 of Mitar Knezevic and Dragisa Dikic?
14 A. No.
15 Q. I want to ask you a few questions regarding your treatment after
16 you went to the neuropsychiatric ward. When you were on that ward, did
17 you meet with doctors and discuss some of the concerns and fears that you
18 had at that time?
19 A. Why, I did talk with the doctors. In the early days, they gave me
20 very powerful doses so that I slept all the time, but they asked me
22 Q. Did you discuss with them how you felt after your cousin had been
24 A. I am not -- I don't really think that I talked with them about
25 that. In the beginning, I think I didn't have -- I didn't even
1 communicate with them. But later on, and at the hospital, they will have
2 those what -- what do you call it -- they have some kind of lessons of
3 classes with patients or rather offer advice. There is some counselling
4 sessions, but that came later when I felt better.
5 Q. In these counselling sessions, did you discuss with them some of
6 the things that were bothering you?
7 A. Why, yes, of course. They talk with each one of us and then give
8 you some advice, and there is a psychologist who does that, or they give
9 us some tasks which we are expected to perform to show whether you can do
10 it, whether you're up to it to be -- for instance, in a room, to see
11 whether you can tend to other patients who are in a worse shape than you
12 are, to see if you can help them. I don't know. They have all kinds of
14 Q. Did you discuss with anybody, with any of the doctors in these
15 counselling sessions, your feelings regarding what occurred at the Drina
16 River on the 7th of June; did you tell them about that?
17 A. I don't remember, no. I don't know.
18 Q. During these sessions, did you see the doctors, would they take
19 notes in your medical file? Did you see them writing notes?
20 A. Well, they always -- yes, keep up with you and they allow every
21 patient to tell something, to tell a story on something, and then they
22 listen to it. And I suppose, yes, they do take notes because that is --
23 it is on the basis of that that they prescribe you the medication or
24 further therapy.
25 Q. Now, Mr. Vasiljevic, isn't it true that when you were released
1 from the orthopaedic ward, you, yourself, did not want to go home, that
2 you, yourself, wanted to go to the neuropsychiatric ward; is that correct?
3 A. That is when I was at the orthopaedic ward -- in the orthopaedic
4 ward that I didn't want to go home. But truth to tell, I would have
5 stayed in the hospital, because right across me in another bed opposite
6 me, a patient died. He was an alcoholic too, and he was barely 40. I was
7 very afraid when I saw that. I mean -- and then the doctor said, "Well,
8 see what brandy does to a man." They fought for his life for an hour,
9 perhaps two, and could not help him.
10 Q. You've referred to yourself several times during the course of
11 your testimony as having been mentally broken at this time, and I'm asking
12 you: Is it only the result of alcoholism or was it also the result of
13 some of the horrible things that were happening during the conflict that
14 you felt mentally broken?
15 A. Well, I think everything, everything, fear, concern for the
16 children, and all those sorts of problems and alcohol. I was afraid of
17 war. I was afraid of fame, and I was afraid for my children. You don't
18 hear any good news, and it all added up to ...
19 Q. Would it be fair to say that part of your emotional state at this
20 time was not only due to your fears for your own children, but some of the
21 acts that you had witnessed being committed against other people,
22 including Muslims, in the town of Visegrad?
23 A. Well, all of it. You simply hear nothing good. At that time, we
24 absolutely heard no good news.
25 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, I just have a few more questions for you, then I
1 will be finished.
2 We've now spent the better part of four days listening to your
3 account of these matters which are now before the Court, and I want you to
4 think very carefully before you answer my following questions. The Court
5 will weigh carefully what you have said here during this trial as well as
6 the other witnesses who have appeared before us, and clearly your version
7 is very different than theirs.
8 We have now come to your final opportunity to be completely honest
9 with the Court, if you haven't been so far, regarding the role you played
10 on the 7th and the 14th. I want to put the following facts before you and
11 ask you whether you admit or you deny them. Isn't it a fact that during
12 the summer of 1992, up until the time that you went into the hospital,
13 that at least on several occasions, you associated with and participated
14 with Milan Lukic and his men in the commission of crimes against some of
15 the Muslims living in Visegrad? Isn't that true, Mr. Vasiljevic?
16 A. I was with him only when he committed the crime next to the river,
17 and I said when I was coming from Prelovo in the village of Rusici in the
18 house of the Witness L59's father.
19 Q. Isn't it a fact, Mr. Vasiljevic, that a number of things happened
20 to you around that time that gave you the motivation and the desire to
21 commit crimes with Milan Lukic against Muslims; among those being the
22 death of your cousin at the hands of Muslims, among them your being sent
23 to the front battle line in Rujiste where you felt in danger; among them
24 being the arrest of your "kum," Sredoje Lukic, his being held as hostage,
25 and his dismissal from the police force; and finally among them your being
1 forced to clean the streets in Visegrad with Muslims in punishment for
2 what your -- your failure to complete your duty in Prelovo. Isn't it a
3 fact that all of those contributed to your motivation to work with Milan
4 Lukic to commit crimes?
5 A. I never committed any crimes with him. As for the 14th, I had no
6 idea what he would do or that he did that. I didn't know it until I
7 arrived in The Hague. And Sredoje Lukic was arrested in mid-April. So
8 why should I take revenge for his arrest?
9 And what else did you ask me about? That relative. Why do I take
10 it out on anyone for my cousin who had nothing to do with it? He was
11 killed on the ground, in the woods. Neither his father nor anybody knows
12 how he was -- who killed him because that was in the woods. Nor did my
13 uncle ask around. I mean, people -- he got killed in the woods.
14 Q. So, Mr. Vasiljevic, you would have us believe that during this
15 period of time, you had no feelings of malice towards the Muslim
16 population in Visegrad; is that correct?
17 A. Let me tell you like this: I could not set fire to a house, to
18 the smallest one, because I know what trouble -- how difficult it is to
19 build one. And the rest of it, I hope I shall prove. I could not do it
20 to a building because I know what it is to build a house. I had a very
21 hard time building my own, and I haven't finished it yet, and I've been
22 building it for 15 years.
23 Q. How would you characterise your feelings towards the Muslim
24 population of Visegrad in June of 1992?
25 A. I lived well with Muslims, with my colleagues. I never had any
1 problem with them. We always worked together. We'd have a drink
2 together. After hours, we'd go to Rogatica, to Uzice whenever -- asked
3 whether you're a Serb, you're a Muslim, we always got on very well. More
4 than 70 per cent of people who will be coming to testify for me are people
5 that I do not know.
6 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, can you give us one concrete example of during
7 this time of turmoil in Visegrad when Muslims were being taken from their
8 homes and killed and others were being forcibly deported and others were
9 fleeing out of fear, can you give us one concrete example of something you
10 did to help these Muslims who you claim you always had good relationships
12 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's addition: In the previous answer,
13 the witness also said that these witnesses were not his colleagues.
14 A. Let me tell you -- perhaps they are listening to this, but as a
15 matter, when the war broke out and when VG10 and others were captured, one
16 named Dragovic and another, Maric, they were young men, young Muslims, and
17 the Serb police had caught them with weapons, and they -- I let them out
18 on the sly. And they are still alive. I was the one who let them out.
19 When they crossed the hill -- we stayed down there. But when they
20 crossed the hill, I let them go. And I was criticised. Well, not
21 criticised. Why would I do that? But I was the one who let them go, but
22 maybe they're listening to all of this.
23 Q. So --
24 A. And I testify about this. I'm sorry. Had I meant anything,
25 anything, had I had any ill-intentions, were would I have done that?
1 JUDGE HUNT: Now, Mr. Groome, the interpreters have given us a
2 note, and in the hurry with which they had to do it, perhaps it's not very
3 clear, but you can see just coming up to the top of the screen now, the
4 witness's answer: "I lived well with Muslims, with my colleagues. I
5 never had any problem with them." Do you see that answer there?
6 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE HUNT: Now, the interpreters note, just after your question
8 and before the answer is: In the previous answer, the witness said these
9 are also not his colleagues. Now whether that means there was
10 contradiction in the answer or whether they're correcting that answer
11 saying "not colleagues," I'm not sure, but I think we better have it made
13 Perhaps you might like to ask the witness what it was he intended
14 to say.
15 MR. GROOME:
16 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, can you clear up what it is you are -- clear up
17 the Court's concern? Were the people that you were referring to your
18 colleagues or were they not, these witnesses?
19 JUDGE HUNT: No, no. I'm sorry. I'll read you -- it's
20 disappeared from the screen now. I'll read you what he said. The
21 question was:
22 Q. You would have us believe that during this period of
23 time, you had no feelings of malice towards the
24 Muslim population in Visegrad; is that correct?
25 A. Let me tell you like this: I could not set fire to a
1 house ...
2 et cetera.
3 And he goes on to deny the facts. Then the question:
4 Q. How would you characterise your feelings toward the
5 Muslim population of Visegrad in June of 1992?
6 The answer is recorded in these terms:
7 A. I lived well with Muslims, with my colleagues. I
8 never had any problems with them. We always worked
9 together. We'd have a drink together.
10 And then he went on to talk about going to have a drink with
12 Now, it's that which the interpreters have come back with a note
13 saying in the previous answer, the last I read, the witness said that
14 these were also not his colleagues.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Your Honours, the interpreter believes that he
16 meant witnesses testifying in his favour, that those were the people he
17 did not know.
18 JUDGE HUNT: Right. I think that's made it clear. I'm sorry to
19 have done that, but when we came back to it, bearing in mind this is quite
20 an issue you're raising with him, I wanted to have it very clear on the
21 transcript. So he's talking about the witnesses, not his colleagues that
22 he worked with.
23 MR. GROOME:
24 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, isn't it true that during the times that you were
25 present with Milan Lukic, you came to learn that Milan Lukic most often
1 told his intended victims lies to get them to remain calm, to help him
2 commit the crimes against them? Isn't that the truth?
3 A. I'm sorry. I didn't understand the question. Could you repeat
4 it, please?
5 Q. Isn't it a fact that during the times that you were with Milan
6 Lukic and his group, you came to learn that one of the weapons that they
7 used against their victims was to tell them lies, lies to get them to
8 remain calm, lies to make it easier for them to commit crimes against
10 You, yourself, have given us several examples of this. Is that
11 not true?
12 A. Well, at Sase, next -- by the river, it's true that he lied about
13 the exchange and all that. But what do I know what devices he resorted
14 to? I mean, witnesses described me on Pionirska, something, but I wasn't
15 all that much with him. I was his kum.
16 How he deceived those people when I went to the hospital, I
17 suppose he tried to deceive them in every possible way.
18 Q. And even in the village of Musici, didn't you come to learn that
19 he told those people to remain in the village, that they would be safe
20 there? Wasn't that another lie that Milan Lukic told the people to assist
21 in committing a crime against them?
22 A. He did nothing that day. I mean, harass anyone or took money from
23 anyone or beat anyone. He didn't. He really didn't. Now, after a few
24 days, I could see that he had been there and taken girls to rape them and
25 (redacted), or - I don't know - plunder, that he took people away and
1 kill them.
2 Q. You were present on the first day, on the first day when he
3 gathered the people of Musici and instructed them to remain in the
4 village, and he assured them that they would be safe in that village? You
5 were present that time; isn't that correct?
6 A. Yes. He asked for weapons, who had any weapons to return them
7 over. Listen, I mean, that's Milan -- that was Milan's doing. But he was
8 cunning, he was clever. He would never tell anyone who'd do that. I
9 mean, that's the kind of man he is. I don't know while he was there and
10 then while he was hiding. I don't think anyone knew where he was hiding.
11 Perhaps there was somebody, somebody who was close to him. But I don't
12 think -- even if he told you where he was hiding, I don't think you should
13 believe his words.
14 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic --
15 A. He's very clever.
16 Q. -- isn't it a fact that during the times that you committed crimes
17 with Milan Lukic, you also told the victims lies in order to keep them
18 calm, to help Milan Lukic commit these crimes?
19 One of the examples, one that you've told us is to the people of
20 Musici when you told them it would be all right. Isn't it a fact that you
21 also told lies to the victims of these crimes?
22 A. All I can say is that I did not know that he would come back the
23 next day or the day after that. That day he didn't do anything, and Milan
24 wouldn't have never told me that he would be going there tomorrow and
25 doing that. I had no hand in it. I could not send him anywhere or stop
1 him from doing something, because the authorities did not stop him. And I
2 most certainly could not do it. Milan is that kind of man. If I were a
3 member of his -- a member of his, he would have invited me to come to
5 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, isn't it true that on the 7th of June, 1992,
6 anything that you may have said to Meho Tesovic before his death to
7 comfort him was simply a trick to ensure that he was calm and to make it
8 easier for you, Milan Lukic, and the other two men to escort him down to
9 the river and to shoot him and the six other men in the back? Isn't that
10 in truth what happened on the 7th of June?
11 A. I didn't. On the life of my children, I did not know that he
12 would kill them. How did I know that he was arresting them and that he
13 would do that? He did not need me. He planned that. He decided that. I
14 didn't. I didn't. I couldn't kill my colleague, I couldn't.
15 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, isn't it a fact that on that day at the river
16 bank, you were in fact in possession of an automatic rifle, and you did
17 point it at those fearful, begging men, those unarmed men lined up along
18 the river bank, and you fired into the backs of their heads and into their
19 backs in an attempt to kill all of them? Isn't that in fact what really
21 A. On the 7th, I never had a weapon. After I left the prison,
22 never. One witness said a semi-automatic rifle and another witness said
23 automatic rifle. Well, there's a big difference between the two. But I
24 didn't have it. And even had I had one, I wouldn't have fired it, because
25 I knew that I had turned over my weapon - I know that - at Bikovac, at the
1 command. And even had I had a weapon, I wouldn't have dared before God,
2 because these are people that I had worked for a long time with, and he
3 taught me things. He did not deserve that. He was my elder colleague.
4 We worked together for years. And it's not all that easy to kill a man.
5 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, isn't it a fact that your poor mental state was in
6 fact the result of your guilt, the images of the crime that you had
7 participated in on that day, the 7th of June? Wasn't that a contributing
8 factor to your poor mental state?
9 A. Was difficult for me then. It's difficult for me now, especially
10 when I stand accused. But I had absolutely no idea that Milan would bring
11 those people. I had no idea what he was going to do. He had planned it
12 all. He did it all on his own, of his own back.
13 What am I to him? He could have brought other people, and he
14 did. I don't know what all else he did. He could -- I know somebody said
15 that he cut off somebody's head and paraded it around the school.
16 Sir, I was -- I couldn't -- I was so small in comparison to him.
17 He didn't need me for anything. What would he need me for?
18 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, on the 14th of June, isn't the truth of what
19 happened that day that after you convinced these people to remain in the
20 house, assured them that they would be safe, just as Milan Lukic had done
21 to the people of Musici, that after you had done the first part of the
22 crime, setting up the crime, that you went directly and immediately from
23 that house not to save some lost horse but to let Milan Lukic know that
24 you now had more Muslim victims on which -- upon which crimes could be
25 committed, crimes such as the crime you participated in on the 7th of
1 June? Isn't that in fact what happened? You went directly to Milan Lukic
2 and told him about the people you had convinced to stay in that house?
3 A. I tell you that I went to fetch the horse. I couldn't see him.
4 And Milan Lukic, he knows it better than I do, where they are. So after
5 3.00, when they came to loot them, eight to ten, as the witnesses stated,
6 am I the only person who knew where those people were? It's a street.
7 First of all, I was drinking, and Milan wouldn't believe anything
8 I said. He didn't drink. He didn't smoke.
9 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, on the 14th of June, not only did you tell Milan
10 Lukic about these people, isn't it a fact that you returned to the house
11 with him and you remained outside that house while Milan Lukic, Sredoje
12 Lukic, and Susnjar were inside robbing these people of their last few
13 possessions? Isn't that in fact what occurred on the 14th of June?
14 A. I was never in front of that house, never, never, and never, nor
15 did I know that they were robbing, never, never.
16 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic --
17 A. I tell you --
18 Q. -- didn't you, in fact, as witnesses have testified here, assist
19 Milan Lukic and the other men in moving people out from the house by the
20 road and to the house at the back in order to kill them? Isn't that in
21 fact what happened?
22 A. No. It was 11.00, half past twelve. I was in Uzice, in the
23 hospital. I couldn't have been present physically.
24 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, isn't it true that you did not break your leg
25 falling from a horse but that you broke your leg on the steep and slippery
1 bank of the creek by the house that was set on fire?
2 A. I apologise. I don't know if I've understood you, that you -- you
3 say that I broke the leg by the house that was set on fire.
4 Q. I'm asking you, isn't it a fact, isn't the truth that you broke
5 your leg slipping during the commission of the crime against those people
6 when you went around the back of house and you fell on the steep and
7 slippery bank of the creek?
8 A. That is a pure fabrication, sir. I have witnesses. They know
9 where I broke my leg. I have witnesses. There are doctors in Visegrad
10 when I was admitted. And this was happening at 11.00, half past eleven at
11 night. It is a fabrication.
12 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, isn't the truth of this case that the crime did
13 not begin when the match was struck at the rear of that house? It did not
14 even begin at the time that you convinced these people to remain in the
15 house, that perhaps the first act in furtherance of this crime was your
16 presence in Pionirska Street earlier in the day, trying to convince
17 Muslims who may have been hiding in their homes to come out and identify
18 themselves? Isn't that in fact when this crime began?
19 A. Sir, I have nothing to do with that. I don't know. On the lives
20 of my children I say this: that Milan would do that and that and what he
21 was going to do. That I agreed, of course I did not agree. Had I not
22 broken my leg, I would have told you everything otherwise, whether 1 or 50
23 of them were present, but I can't say -- I can't tell you anything about
24 that. I can't tell you anything about the crime.
25 MR. GROOME: [Previous translation continues] ... the Court. I
1 have no further questions.
2 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet.
3 Re-examined by Mr. Domazet:
4 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, Mr. Groome questioned you at length about what the
5 notion of kum and kumship represents in the Serbian -- with the Serbian
6 people, and in your particular case, the kumship relations between the
7 Lukic family and the Vasiljevic family. But you answered in detail and
8 said who could be eligible for a kum and how you came to be chosen to be
9 the kum at the wedding ceremony of Milan and who christened his children.
10 Now, if you remember, you said that it could have been -- asked by
11 Mr. Groome, you said that it could have been four members of the family,
12 you or your brother or the children of your brother; is that right?
13 A. Me, my brother, and my uncle's sons; that is to say, the
14 children -- yes, my uncle's sons. And let me tell you that I am the
15 eldest of the four of us. So by order of seniority, I was to be kum,
16 although it needn't be like that every time. But I was the oldest, so it
17 would be on me.
18 Q. That's what I was precisely asking you. Is your brother a younger
19 brother? Your brother, he's younger?
20 A. Yes. He's nine years younger than me, my brother is.
21 Q. So if I understood you correctly, you said that custom has it that
22 you usually follow the order of seniority. From your father it goes
23 down -- it is passed on to the next oldest child, which was you; is that
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. So when you answered Mr. Groome's question about that, you said,
2 "My brother lived in Belgrade and I lived in Visegrad." So that wasn't
3 the only reason, I assume, but the reason you have just explained to us.
4 A. Yes. It would be -- I would be the one chosen because of my
6 Q. When we are talking about Milan Lukic's marriage, do you remember
7 that day well?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. It was a marriage ceremony? A civil service, was it, or in the
10 church? Did it take place in the municipality or in the church?
11 A. In the municipality, before a registrar.
12 Q. It is customary that in marriages of that sort, in addition to the
13 bride and groom there are two kums or, rather, two witnesses who attend
14 the ceremony along with other guests? Other guests can also attend the
15 marriage ceremony. Was that the case when Milan Lukic got married?
16 A. No. I had taken my son to receive an injection. He was -- had
17 the flu. And when I was at the bridge, Milan caught up with me by car and
18 he says, "Where are you going?" I said, "I'm taking Nikola, my son, to
19 have an injection." And he said, "Well, come on. When you finish that,
20 be my kum at my wedding." And I said, "I'm not ready for anything like
21 that." You have to have a ring or anything. I didn't have any money,
22 either. And he said, "Don't worry about a thing. You don't need
23 anything. I have the rings." So what could I do? I couldn't say no. I
24 had to do it.
25 So we went to the hospital. My son received an injection. I went
1 home, and he said, "I'll be there in half an hour." Well, I tidied myself
2 up, changed my clothes. We went to the municipality building and there
3 was only the registrar. I don't need to say the names. Or, rather, there
4 was this person representing the municipality. I can't remember the name,
5 what they're called. He's the main person on behalf of the municipality.
6 There was me, and there was a little girl, Vidakovic, the kum of Vidakovic
7 and his wife. We didn't stay there longer than five minutes. We just
8 gave their particulars, signed it. We went to have lunch in a nearby
9 restaurant. That was all. So it wasn't really a proper wedding
11 He did give me the rings, and I gave the rings to the registrar,
12 and his wife. I felt rather uncomfortable having to do that because I
13 didn't have the rings. So if I was kum, I would have -- actually, I
14 should have bought the rings, but I didn't have the money and he had the
15 rings. He probably knew I didn't have the money to buy the rings with, so
16 he supplied the rings. And that's how it went. The wedding was over in a
18 I don't know. I wasn't -- I didn't want to turn him down. That
19 would have been a pity. Now I know that -- what we should have done,
20 according to custom, but that's how it was.
21 And I christened their child as well. I was kum at the
23 Q. The rings that you say is customary for the kum to buy, the kum
24 usually buys the rings and brings them, but you say on this occasion, he
25 bought the rings and gave them to you to hand over; is that right?
1 A. Yes. And had I knew ten days earlier, I would have done this
2 myself. You know why he was in a hurry, because his wife was supposed to
3 give birth. She was just about to give birth, so that's why everything
4 was done so quickly.
5 Q. So that day in the municipality, there was just the registrar,
6 that is to say, the employee of the municipality, the person conducting
7 the wedding ceremony?
8 A. Yes, that's right. But the person representing the municipality,
9 the lady conducting the wedding ceremony, myself, and this little girl and
10 who was the kuma to his wife, to the bride. She was the daughter of a
11 friend. So she was the little kuma to the bride. That's how it was.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Could you make pauses, please, between question
13 and answer.
14 JUDGE HUNT: Did you hear that, Mr. Domazet? Please pause before
15 you ask the question, and Mr. Vasiljevic, will you please pause before you
16 answer. It seems so long ago since we had to say that.
17 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
18 Q. You say "girl." She would have had to have been of age to have
19 been a witness, I suppose, and she was the second witness at the wedding
20 ceremony; is that right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. So your wife didn't attend the ceremony, did she?
23 A. No, just the two of us, and the registrar, and the employee of the
24 municipality, representing the municipality. The deputy or whatever he's
25 called, and the registrar was a woman.
1 Q. After that, you say you went to have lunch, those same people?
2 Those two and you two as kums?
3 A. Yes, only us.
4 Q. Is that customary, Mr. Vasiljevic?
5 A. Well, for a wedding, you usually have a big wedding and you invite
6 your friends and family and lots of other things, you have neighbours.
7 But in this particular case, he didn't organise anything else because his
8 wife was just about to give birth. So he organised this very quickly.
9 Q. Do you remember, Mr. Vasiljevic, how much time went by from that
10 day to the day when you christened their child, approximately, if you can
11 tell us?
12 A. Well, she was two and a half. I think in 1980 she was christened,
13 that's what I think. Maybe at the -- I don't know, thereabouts. She was
15 Q. She had already started walking.
16 A. Well, yes, she was two and a half years old, more than two years.
17 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, I understand you to say that the girl was two or
18 two and a half, but could you have a look at the transcript. It can't be
19 that year, all it can be is a mistake there, because as I see, and you did
20 say 1980. You said 1980, which would make it 20 years ago.
21 A. Oh, yes, I apologise. 1998, 1998.
22 Q. On that occasion, did Milan Lukic have a ceremonious lunch or
23 dinner to mark the occasion as is customary?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Did your wife attend?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Mr. Vasiljevic, asked by Mr. Groome about Milan Lukic and the
3 people who were with him, when it comes to how this group was called, the
4 name of the group, you, at one point, said that it was called the "Chetnik
5 Movement," the "Cetnicki Pokret"; is that correct, and if so, how did you
6 hear of that or were there other names that the group was given or did
7 they -- is that how they called themselves?
8 A. Well, I think, yes, Cetnicki Pokret or Chetnik movement, I don't
9 know. The witnesses said the White Eagles. I never heard of that. I
10 haven't -- didn't hear of the White Eagles, but ...
11 Q. What about the term "osvetnik" or "avenger"?
12 A. They gave that name to the group later on. I know they had a flag
13 with the avengers or something like that, osvetnik, but I was on sick
14 leave. I don't know what he did.
15 Q. Asked by Mr. Groome about whether you recognised anybody in
16 Pionirska Street on the 14th of June, apart from (redacted) whom you
17 sat down with, you looked at the list and said -- and gave us a few
18 names. Amongst them, you mentioned VG61. Would you take a look at the
19 list, please. And you said you saw part of his statement. Now, did you
20 see that witness personally, and if you did, did you talk to him, or do
21 you only assume that he was there in view of the statement he gave?
22 A. Oh, I don't know what I said. Perhaps I didn't say it properly,
23 but I meant his father. He was on the cassette, on the tape. I didn't
24 see him, I saw his father, that's who I meant, on the tape.
25 Q. I apologise to you. Yes, I was thinking of the elderly person,
1 the father.
2 A. Yes, I said the father. That's who I meant, (redacted), his
4 Q. So you saw that particular person on that day?
5 A. The father?
6 Q. Yes.
7 A. Yes, I think I did. He was a little fatter. I know him, but I
8 don't know his name. He was on the photograph that they showed.
9 [redacted], but I forgot his first name. The witness mentioned it but I
10 didn't remember it.
11 Q. Would you take a look at the list and see VG115, you also said
12 something in response to Mr. Groome's question, is that the person who was
13 with the group from Koritnik?
14 A. I never saw her ever. That is to say I did see her in Visegrad,
15 but not that day. I don't know anything about that day, not that day.
16 Q. Does this mean, Mr. Vasiljevic, that Witness VG115 you did not see
17 on that day in Pionirska Street?
18 A. No, I don't remember seeing her at all at any time.
19 Q. I seem to remember that you mentioned a witness whom you had seen,
20 that's why I'm asking you. So if I ask you once again: Are you certain,
21 did you see that person in Pionirska Street?
22 A. I don't remember having seen her. I don't know what I said.
23 Maybe I mixed something up, mixed things up, but she says that she saw me
24 the whole of June. I was in the hospital. She says Bikovac and Pionirska
25 so there's something not right there, but I know her well and if I did see
1 her, I did not remember.
2 Q. One of Mr. Groome's questions was the direction from the hotel in
3 the centre of town to Pionirska Street. The question was whether you had
4 seen anybody on that road on the way. Now, my question is: From the
5 hotel in Visegrad going towards Pionirska Street, do you have to cross the
6 bridge across the Rzava River?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, from that bridge to the hotel in Visegrad, are there one or
9 more directions that you can take?
10 A. From Rzava Bridge to the Visegrad Hotel, well, you can go via the
11 Drina, there is a road, or you can take the road through the centre, so
12 there are several ways.
13 Q. So from the Visegrad Hotel to the Rzava Bridge, there are at least
14 two independent routes you could take; is that right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. From the Rzava Bridge to Pionirska Street; is that the same case
17 or just one route?
18 A. No, just one road.
19 Q. When you said that you came across the horse, you found the horse
20 up above Pionirska Street, you said that the horse was tied, tethered; is
21 that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Mr. Groome's question was: Why did you go to fetch the horse in
24 the first place, because he says that the horse could have survived where
25 he was. Did you know that the horse was tied? Did the person who sent
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 you there tell you that?
2 A. No, when I got there, I saw that he was tied up, and he had
3 trodden on the grass all around him.
4 Q. You said that you knew horses very well. Could he have survived
5 had he remained tethered like that and had nobody to come and take him
7 A. No, because a horse needs water and food. But somebody would have
8 come by and untied him, somebody could have come by and untied him. But
9 tied up as he was, he wouldn't have survived. I'm sure somebody would
10 have come by and saved him at some point.
11 Q. Asked by Mr. Groome about what you intended to do with the horse,
12 you used an expression several times which, in Serbian, you said, you used
13 the term "odbiti," and the interpreters translated this word "odbiti"
14 "refused," but that has no logic. Would you explain what the Serbian
15 term you used "odbiti" means when you wanted to say that you --
16 A. I wanted to point the horse towards this area so that --
17 Q. So it's got nothing to do with "refuse," it means to point the
18 horse in a direction; is that right?
19 A. Yes.
20 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think it's time to
22 JUDGE HUNT: Just one moment.
23 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
24 JUDGE HUNT: We'll resume at 9.30 in the morning.
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
1 at 4.03 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday
2 the 13th day of November, 2001, at
3 9.30 a.m.